View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Bardic College - College of the Spheres (Lovecraftian Artist)

2016-10-22, 10:41 AM
So here's a new version (http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/S1Nigqylg) of this Great Old Ones-themed Bardic College.
[Updated! 27/10/16]

My main concerns right now:

Maestro of Madness: This is effectively a single-target Bane that doesn't allow a saving throw and only affects Wisdom. Is it too much? Too little? Should it instead be "spend a Bardic Inspiration use as a reaction to inflict a Bardic Inspiration penalty on a single saving throw"? Or something more esoteric, like forcing a number of characters to roll Wisdom saves or else suffer disadvantage on all saves until the end of their next turn?
Whispers from Beyond: This is like truesight, but only applies to hearing. I consider it more-or-less a ribbon, to make up for a less impressive final feature, but I might well be wrong. What do you think?

College of Spheres
Inspiration does not always come easily.

Those who find words and tunes slipping through their fingers must find stimulus elsewhere. Some delve into books, examining the work of earlier masters. Others immerse themselves in natural beauty, or seek answers in bottles. A scant few are mad enough to reach further, and such lost souls make up the College of Spheres.

The members of this college form no recognised community, though rumours speak of decayed noble houses whose manors are lined with blasphemous art, of secretive circles who share copies of plays that provoked inexplicable atrocities, of hidden concerts conducted from heretical music sheets that are equal parts acoustic and algebra.

These performers have discovered that art is not universal. It *transcends* universes, speaking to and spoken by minds far beyond mortal ken. They compose, and the void beyond our world offers its applause.

This is the true music of the spheres.

Eldritch Embrace
When you join this College at 3rd level, your experience with depicting and worshipping entities that defy mortal sanity grants you proficiency in Wisdom saving throws.

You also have advantage on Wisdom (Insight) and Charisma (Performance) or (Persuasion) checks when dealing with aberrations and insane creatures.

Maestro of Madness
Also at 3rd level, you may use your bonus action and expend a single use of Bardic Inspiration to curse a creature you can see within 60 feet, shattering their perceptions.

Whenever that creature makes a Wisdom check or saving throw, they also roll one of your Bardic Inspiration dice and apply half the result (minimum one) as a penalty to their roll.

This effect lasts for one minute, or until removed with *dispel magic* or *calm emotions*. The creature is immune if its immune to being frightened.

Sanity's Requiem
Beginning at 6th level, any creature which inflicts psychic damage on you or tries to read your thoughts finds their mind recoiling from the strange patterns of your own. They must make a Wisdom save at your bard spell save DC or immediately roll on the short term madness table (Dungeon Master's Guide, pg. 258).

In addition, when you deal psychic damage to another creature, you add your Charisma modifier to that damage.

Whispers from Beyond
Starting at 14th level, you become attuned to mad whispers, granting you a form of truesight focused on hearing. You can automatically identify noises created by illusions, perceive real noises concealed by magic, and hear sounds originating in the ethereal plane, all up to 30 feet away.

Incomprehensible Artistry
Also at 14th level, your soul warps far past the point of mortal aesthetics. The artist has at last become the subject, and you are considered a humanoid aberration.

You may use your reaction to offer a brief glimpse of this hidden, horrid truth to a creature that targets you with an attack or spell. They are frightened until the end of their next turn, and must immediately make a Wisdom save as though they had tried to read your thoughts.

Fellow aberrations are charmed rather than frightened , and you may allow them to automatically pass the save. You can use this feature a number of times up to your Charisma modifier, but you regain all expended uses after a long rest.

Master of Insanity
The College of Spheres has an affinity for twisted or alien mindsets, drawing on them for their disturbing art. Games that use the optional Sanity rules (Dungeon Master's Guide, pg. 265) are in use, it may replace (or benefit alongside) the Wisdom ability for this College's features.

Similarly, the College uses "aberrations" to refer to a whole swathe of eldritch abominations, and may affect other entities, particularly certain fiends or oozes, at the DM's discretion. The demon Jubilex is arguably both, and certainly fits the bill.

Which of these College features inflict Sanity loss is up to the DM's discretion.

2016-10-22, 10:45 AM
I would concur that proficiency in Wisdom saving throws is too much. That gives the Bard two excellent saving throws with Dex and Wisdom, and he's good at Cha saves too.

2016-10-22, 01:36 PM
I would concur that proficiency in Wisdom saving throws is too much. That gives the Bard two excellent saving throws with Dex and Wisdom, and he's good at Cha saves too.

Hm. Really?

I mean, College of Lore gives you the equivalent of the Skilled Feat.

This gives you the equivalent of the Resiliency (Wisdom) feat, minus the free point of Wisdom... plus advantage on two (non-combat) skill checks against aberrations.

2016-10-23, 02:38 AM
Intuitively, I don't feel like the Wisdom proficiency is too much, but it should be taken into account that each individual extra proficiency is less valuable to a bard than to another class, due to the Jack of All Trades feature.

Anyways, really cool concept.

2016-10-23, 10:36 AM
I don't think it's too strong. Bard 3 is really good in both existing subclasses. Lore gets three skills and expertise, which is huge. Valor gets medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. They're each as good as two feats at least

2016-10-23, 07:39 PM
In response to criticism raised elsewhere, I've halved the bonus/penalty offered by Maestro of Madness.

I'll work on a more fundamental rewrite later. Most likely that reaction-penalty I spoke of.

2016-10-27, 09:42 AM
So I've updated this College in a few ways.

First, Maestro of Madness now lets you inflict a Wisdom check/save penalty on a single creature, equal to half your Bardic Inspiration. With up to five potential uses, you're essentially casting Bane once with no save! Except it affects only Wisdom, activates one creature per round, and consumes all your Bardic Inspiration dice. I think that's a fair enough trade. What do you think?

Second, Sanity's Requiem no longer lets you drive people permanently insane instead, it means those who try to read your thoughts or deal psychic damage suffer a nasty surprise. They can still do that, mind you they just have to save or go crazy for a bit. This replaces the psychic defense of Incomprehensible Aesthetic.

Third, I've clarified Whispers from Beyond, and Incomprehensible Aesthetic no longer activates on checks, just on attacks.

Let me know your thoughts!