View Full Version : Between Backstories and Bards

2007-07-22, 02:13 AM
I've a campaign I've been running for a very short amount of time thus far, however, the players are of a solid level (8) and things have been going almost smoothly for them.

We're using Forgotten Realms, by the way.

There's a Draconic Human Female Wizard, NG

Male Human Psion, NG

Male Human Bard (Middle-age), CG

Male Glacier Dwarf Druid, NG

Oh, and there's a Sorceress with them (succubus in disguise), but she'll be leaving soon, because the guy she was attempting to seduce (the Psion's previous character, a half-orc Fighter) left because of moral differences he had with the party. He was CN.

Now, I required everyone give me a nice character history that I could work with and use for their benefit and mine. I get to include it into the plot, and they get spotlight time. However... I did not receive a history from the Bard, and unfortunately he's sort of the 'party leader' (even if he sucks at the role, he's kinda everyone else's paycheck), and has essentially paid these mooks to help him.

In truth, he's a free Harper agent, and he's looking for his wife who he has found out may be in the Underdark. And he'd been looking for her for eight years at this point, the party he'd gathered, is relatively new. Now, this is all I've got from him.

I have some things I want some help with deciding his fate. I warned everyone if they didn't give me a history, I'd make one for them. Or, in this case, I'll have some help creating one for him. :smallamused:

Also: The players and myself have no intention of hitting the Underdark just anytime soon, they plan to go through Anauroch and their way to Waterdeep to do some more research on the Underdark first.

Another case I'd like to bring up... I'm extremely inexperienced with playing or using Bards, and he's becoming incredibly impotent by this level, what sort of PrCs should I suggest to him?

And one more thing, I'm looking for a way to get this Bard out of command of this party: The problem is the fact that I don't know how to keep all of these individuals together once that happens.

The Wizard wants to see the world a bit before returning to Silverymoon into an arranged marriage. The Psion has escaped from the Underdark awhile back, and is exploring the surface world, I should note he worships Eilistraee, oddly enough, and the Dwarf, too wishes to see the world, as he's left his home in the Great Glacier after a white dragon slew many of his kin. The dragon, was, in turn, destroyed (what he doesn't know is that the dragon is now a Draco Lich... :smallamused: ).

While at first glance it may seem easy enough to keep a bunch of people wanting to see the world together, the bard, is of course, in the way.

So... Now that I've said all of that jumbled mess... Help?

Inyssius Tor
2007-07-22, 02:20 AM
Okay... you shouldn't have a problem with optimizing a character here, so I'll move on to the next part.

You want to remove him from his role as party leader? Why? The man is apparently the one thing holding your party together.

2007-07-22, 02:27 AM
Technically, yes, he is, but his buffoonery and poor leadership has endangered the players and even the plot at times. I'm sure he means well, but... I've seen this cause problems in the past when he played as well.

Tokiko Mima
2007-07-22, 02:54 AM

Have you thought about making the Bard's long-lost wife into a powerful servant that's fallen madly in love with your BBEG? Or perhaps she actually *was* the succubus that's leaving the party soon. Succubi are wonderful characters in that they possess all of the qualities of dopplegangers, with a fun and playful demonic edge. They enjoy screwing you, physically, metaphysically, emotionally, or however they can. Succubi could be anyone you've ever met as long as you don't regularly use true seeing, after all. Maybe the entire time she was married she was trying to learn some family secret of the Bards' (what it is, the player doesn't know because he didn't write out a full history. :smalltongue: You'll come up with it and tell him his character forgot/doesn't remember. )

As far as keeping the team together, when the BBEG reveals him/herself, just have the requisite list of death threats include *all* the characters and make sure they are credible threats. Make sure everyone know that the BBEG wants *each* of them, and their friends/loved ones too if necessary. That will have them start to band together out of common goal of survival/defense rather than because they are mercenaries being paid for a job. This means that whoever is most suited to lead will be in charge... this might be the Bard though. Some people like to lead in any social setting and supressing that or changing it is very difficult. You could talk to the bard's player about this, maybe?

As far as good Bard PrCs, it depends on what you want the Bard to do. Cast more spells? Fight in combat better? Different singing advancement? As a general Bard-but-better class, I like Fochlucan Lyrist (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a&page=2) for a Bard that take a level or more of Druid first. This gives you full divine/arcane casting advancement, full BAB advancement, 6+Int skill points, and full singing advancement. A Bard advancing in this PrC will be be the equal of most any build, and have a ton of spells ready at any given moment.

Dairun Cates
2007-07-22, 03:12 AM
Technically, yes, he is, but his buffoonery and poor leadership has endangered the players and even the plot at times. I'm sure he means well, but... I've seen this cause problems in the past when he played as well.

Sounds like you're trying to hard to work against that honestly. If someone in the party is in a position of power AND falls stupidly into traps with predictable accuracy, it sounds like you have something to help move the plot rather than something that hinders. You obviously have a grasp of the kind of things he's willing to do. You just need to divert all that buffoonery and poor leadership TOWARDS what you want the players to do. Have his mistakes lead TO the plot hooks rather than away from them. It won't feel like railroading to them at that point, because the players will believe this is an extension of his actions and not your will. Tao of GM'ing.

Edit: Also, what's an adventure without danger peril and buffoonery?

But seriously, sometimes it's not a matter of player power, but just twisting a few encounters to what his character is actually good at. If he's being overpowered in EVERY area, then it sounds like a problem with your group not planning in general or him not specializing in anything.

2007-07-24, 05:51 PM
We probably need to see the BArd's build before we can help you 'make him better'.

2007-07-24, 07:07 PM
If you want to make him better, Sublime Chord, Seeker of Song from CAr and Lyric Thaumaturge form CM help. Let him rebuild to get prereqs if you are concerned with his effectiveness that much. Suggest Song of Heart as a feat (from Ebberon, but still) and Inspirational Boost as a spell (CAd and SC). Doomspeek in Champions of Ruin is a great bard feat as well.

Basically, you could make him a better caster with Sublime Chord and Lyric Thaumaturge, or more offensive and a good buffer with Seeker of Song. The feats and spell basically make him a better buffer.

The caster route is the most effective, but there is somthing to be said about ignoring spell resistance with the Seeker's stuff.