View Full Version : Fiddle me this... [PrC] [PEACH]

2008-01-01, 07:34 PM
The Golden Fiddle

I originally made this about a month and a half ago for Footsteps, but seeing as it's been a month since the second issue was supposed to come out, I figured I'd just post this up and get some feedback on it. :smallsmile:

The title of golden fiddle is granted only to exceptional bards who prove themselves the master of the fiddle in a deadly contest against the most skilled fiddlers in all the multiverse: the fiddler devils of the Nine Hells. To become a golden fiddle, a prospective bard who believes himself ready must put his own soul on the line in taking a challenge from a fiddler devil. Those who triumph win hellish musical power from Baator to use in whatever way they care to. Those who lose the contest, however, have an eternity of torment to contemplate their recklessness as they are slowly tortured in the depths of hell.


To qualify to become a golden fiddle, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any nonlawful and nonevil.
Class Feature: Bardic Music (suggestion)
Skills: Knowledge (the Planes) 5 ranks, Perform (string instruments) 9 ranks, Speak Language (Infernal)
Special: Must have beaten a fiddler devil in an infernal fiddle challenge

Hit Die: d6.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Golden Fiddle
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells per Day

+2|Devilís fiddle (devilís debt), evil exception|Ė

+3|Devilís fiddle (inspire courage +1)|+1 Level of Existing Bard Spellcasting Class

+3|Devilís fiddle (devilís sight)|+1 Level of Existing Bard Spellcasting Class

+4|Devilís fiddle (fiendish resilience 1)|Ė

+4|Devilís fiddle (amnesia)|+1 Level of Existing Bard Spellcasting Class

+5|Devilís fiddle (dark lexicon)|+1 Level of Existing Bard Spellcasting Class

+5|Devilís fiddle (forged by fire)|Ė

+6|Devilís fiddle (inspire courage +2)|+1 Level of Existing Bard Spellcasting Class

+6|Devilís fiddle (fiendish resilience 3)|+1 Level of Existing Bard Spellcasting Class

+7|Devilís fiddle (gate)|Ė


Class Skills: The golden fiddleís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (n/a), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

All of the following are class features of the golden fiddle prestige class.

Armor and Weapon Proficiencies: The golden fiddle gains no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

Spellcasting: At each level except 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th, the golden fiddle gains additional spells per day as if he had also gained a level in the bard class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a bard would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting.

Devilís Fiddle: The golden fiddle can use his fiddle to produce a far more fiendish array of effects than a normal bard. Devilís fiddle follows the same rules as bardic music (see Bardic Music, page 29 of the Playerís Handbook). Golden fiddle levels stack with bard levels for determining how often a character can use devilís fiddle or bardic music. Each of these songs counts as a use of bardic music. Devilís fiddle can only be used with a fiddle.

Devilís Debt (Sp): A golden fiddle with at least 10 ranks in Perform (string instuments) can use his music to summon Baatezu to help him. This ability works exactly like the summon monster i spell, but can only be used to summon devils. The normal duration of the spell is replaced with a number of rounds equal to the golden fiddleís Perform (string instruments) check.

At each class level the golden fiddle gains, he may use this ability to replicate a summon monster spell of one grade higher, up to a maximum of imitating summon monster ix at level 9.

Inspire Courage (Su): At 2nd and 8th levels, the golden fiddleís gains a bonus with his inspire courage bardic music ability of +1. In addition, he may grant this bonus as a profane bonus instead of a morale bonus at his choice.

Devilís Sight (Su): A golden fiddle of 3rd level with at least 12 ranks in Perform (string instruments) can use his music to give the sight of the Baatezu to his allies. This ability affects all allies who can hear the golden fiddle play. All affected allies gain the ability to see perfectly in darkness of any kind, even that created by a deeper darkness spell. This ability lasts as long as the golden fiddle continues to play.

Fiendish Resilience (Su): A golden fiddle of 4th level with at least 13 ranks in Perform (string instruments) can use his fiendish music to close the wounds of his allyís with unearthly speed. This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to his Perform (string instruments) check. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear the golden fiddle play. All affected allies gain fast healing 1 for the duration of the effect. At 9th level this improves to fast healing 3. This ability stacks with the benefit granted by the warlockís class feature of the same name.

Amnesia (Sp): A golden fiddle of 5th level with at least 14 ranks in Perform (string instruments) can use his music to channel the mind-altering power of the river Styx which flows through the depths of hell. This ability works exactly like the modify memory spell, but the Will saving throw DC to resist it is equal to the golden fiddleís Perform (string instruments) check.

The time it takes to modify memory (and subsequently the amount of memory that can be altered) is equal to the amount of time the golden fiddle spends playing, up to a maximum of 1 minute per class level.

Dark Lexicon (Sp): A golden fiddle of 6th level with at least 15 ranks in Perform (string instruments) can imbue his music with the dark speech of hell. This ability replicates the effect of the blasphemy spell or the dictum spell, at the golden fiddleís choice. The saving throw DC to resist this ability is equal to the golden fiddleís Perform (string instruments) check. In addition, for the effects of this ability, the golden fiddle may use his ranks in Perform (string instruments) instead of his caster level.

Forged by Fire (Su): A golden fiddle of 7th level who has at least 16 ranks in Perform (string instruments) can use his music to grant the immunities of the Baatezu to his allies. This ability affects all allies who can hear the golden fiddle play. All affected allies gain immunity to fire and poison. This ability lasts as long as the golden fiddle continues to play.

Gate (Sp): A golden fiddle of 10th level who has at least 19 ranks in Perform (string instruments) can use his planar music to open a portal to hell. This ability works exactly like the gate spell, but can only be used for planar travel and not for summoning and can only connect to the Nine Hells of Baator. The spell lasts for as long as the golden fiddle continues to play.

Evil Exception (Su): The golden fiddle has seen the best hell has to offer and has scoffed at it. He does not suffer any penalties or restrictions from handling or using an evil item.

Fiddler Devil

Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)
HD 8d8+16 (55 HP)
Speed 30ft. (6 squares)
Init: +6
AC 16; touch 12; flat-footed 14 (+2 Dex, +4 natural)
BAB +8; Grp +8
Attack Claw +10 melee (1d6)
Full-Attack 2 claws +10 melee (1d6)
Space 5ft.; Reach 5ft.
Special Attacks: Infernal fiddle challenge, spell-like ability, summon Baatezu
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/good, darkvision 60ft., immunity to fire and poison, resistance to acid 10 and cold 10, see in darkness, telepathy 100ft.
Saves Fort +8 Ref +8 Will +6
Abilities Str 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 22
Skills: Bluff +17, Diplomacy +17, Intimidate +17, Perform (dance) +17, Perform (string instruments) +20, Perform (oratory) +17, Perform (sing) +17
Feats: Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Perform [string instruments]), Weapon Finesse
Environment: the Nine Hells of Baator
Organization: solitary (challenger)
Challenge Rating 6
Treasure: golden fiddle
Alignment: always lawful evil
Advancement: Ė; Favoured Class: Troubadour (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48398)
Level Adjustment: +4


Fiddler devils loathe combat and if forced into it will escape by any means possible; generally with their greater teleport spell-like ability. Any prospective bard who helps kill a fiddler devil is never granted another chance at the infernal fiddle challenge. Fiddler devils always carry with them a golden fiddle to offer as a prize. This fiddle has no magical powers, but is worth at least 1,000 gp to the right buyer.

Infernal Fiddle Challenge: The fiddler devil collects the souls of overly ambitious bards hoping to make a name for themselves. It has the right to challenge a being to an infernal fiddle challenge. It is authorized to offer its golden fiddle and entrance into the golden fiddle prestige class as a prize for this challenge.

Spell-Like Ability: Caster level 12th.

At will - greater teleport (self plus 50 pounds of objects only)

Summon Baatezu (Sp): Once per day a fiddler devil can attempt to summon 2d8 lemures or 1d3 bearded devils with a 50% chance of success. This ability is the equivalent of a 3rd-level spell.

Infernal Fiddle Challenge

The infernal fiddle challenge is widely known as the most intense and deadly duel of fiddling in existence. A prospective challenger must first draw the attention of a fiddler devil. This requires a performance by a bard who speaks Infernal in a metropolis who succeeds on a DC 30 Perform (string instruments) check playing a fiddle. This is enough to draw the attention of a fiddler devil, hellish beings always on the lookout for bards foolish enough to agree to the challenge.

Prior to the challenge, the bard must agree to give his soul to the fiddler devil if he loses. If he wins, he gains the right to enter the golden fiddle prestige class as well as the golden fiddle that the fiddler devil always carries. The devil himself has no more need of it, as losing a challenge is cause for instant demotion to the form of a nupperibo.

The actual challenge is simple. It is resolved in front of an audience equal in size to a full half of the population of the city the bard has chosen. The bard and the fiddler devil each have three chances to win the audience to their side with their fiddling skills. They alternate playing back and forth, with the fiddler devil going first.

Each stage of the challenge begins with the player making a Perform (string instruments) check. Afterwards, he may select any Charisma-based skill to accompany the performance. He makes a roll with this skill, which modifies his previous Perform check slightly. The modifier granted by the accompanying skill is shown on the following table:


The following player makes a Perform (string instruments) check of his own on the following round. However, unless his check beats the highest previous Perform (string instruments) check made, he must use the same Charisma-based skill to accompany his own performance as was used by his opponent. If his Perform (string instruments) check beats the highest previous check, he may instead select a new applicable skill to use to accompany his performance and thus force his opponent to use in the following round.

The two players alternate playing back and forth three times each, adding the modifier Perform checks of each round together to form a total. The player with the highest total check for the challenge is declared the winner. If the bard loses, he is instantly teleported to Avernus in a crack of smoke and brimstone. If the devil loses, he instead vanishes, leaving nothing behind but the promised golden fiddle.

2008-01-01, 10:39 PM
Let me guess the song, Devil went down to Georgia

2008-01-02, 02:24 AM
Lets see.

First of all, I love the idea. Awesome.

I was convinced that the abilities using the perform check as a save DC were overpowered, but looking at the spells themselves, they seem alright.

I am slightly confused at the contest.

Player one makes a perform check, and a charisma based skill check.
Player two makes a perform check. If his perform check is greater than the previous perform check (does this mean just the perform check, or does it include the modifier from the charisma-based skill check chart?) then he can choose a different charisma based skill to use

At the end, add up each of the three perform checks (with the modifiers earned from the charisma-based skill checks, as on the chart) and the winner gets what is promised.

Ok, I guess I just had one question. :smallbiggrin:

Well, once again: awesome. My brother might actually use this...

Of course, beating a devil with a +20 perform and +17 on most charisma based checks at level 6 would be pretty challenging. Although...how does he have a +20 on perform? 11 max ranks and +6 cha, where is the other 3?

2008-01-02, 02:36 AM
Yes, you got the contest right. That's how it works. And yes, a +20 is very dangerous when you only get one chance at it. If it was me, I'd probably wait a couple levels to have better odds, but you can enter the class as early as 6th level, and enter the challenge as soon as you have at least a +10 Perform.

As for the devil, he has Skill Focus (Perform [String Instruments]). :smallsmile:

2008-01-02, 03:30 AM
A level adjustment on that devil would be really awesome. It could make for a really entertaining character.

2008-01-02, 03:59 AM
A level adjustment on that devil would be really awesome. It could make for a really entertaining character.

That would be awesome...hmm

2008-01-02, 04:01 AM
It's now got a +4 LA, which is probably about right. They get all the Baatezu stuff, including the biggie: greater teleport at will. Bear in mind they also have 8 racial HD, and they're probably not that attractive as a PC choice except in a very strange circumstance. Seem reasonable?

2008-01-04, 10:21 PM
I really do like unique bard builds, so I'm loving the Fiddle already, and everything about him seems kinda cool; bard with a devilish twist. Excellent work.

My one problem is with the capstone. At 16th level, the Fiddle can cast a limited version of gate at least 16 times a day. This, as far as I can see it, can be used in one of two ways, both flawed for different reasons.

Passive Gate: Using the ability as a transport mechanism is highly flawed, the least reason of which is that no one in their right mind WANTS to go to Baator, least of all a character who's successfully tricked and taunted one of their devils. It's the sort of thing that doesn't come up much. Adding to the fact is that once the doorway is closed, there's no way to come back, making it a one-way trip, which makes any portal that much less desirable. I suppose the Fiddle could stay behind and let his friends travel through on their own, reopening the gate at a predetermined time, but... doesn't that just kinda take the Fiddle out of the action? I dunno. So I can't see any frequent reason why the Fiddle would use the ability passively on a regular basis, which for a capstone is troublesome. This invariably leads to...

Agressive Gate: Look, a big enemy! Not any more, I just opened a portal under it and sent it to hell. Look, an impassable wall! Not any more, I just opened a few angled portals and sent it to hell. Look, the king! Not any more, I just sent him to hell. Look, the big super evil bad monster! Not...well, you see where I'm going with this. Unless the DM starts playing fast and loose with the dimensional anchor spells, which seems a little manipulative, you've given the character at least 16 insta-kills a day if he wants to. Which seems a teensy bit broken, especially considering the spell has no limitation other than how long the Fiddle plays, which is probably kept off the gate spell itself for good reasons. He could keep it open for an hour, put it in front of the enemy marching army, cast a few illusion spells to make it seem like there's nothing there and watch his foes doom themselves to a fiery fate. All for nothing more than a single use of bardic music.

I don't think it's unfixable, and I don't think it's not cool, but there need to be limits. You could take a page out of some of the other high-level-prestige bard abilities and make it cost 2-4 uses of bardic music, for example. Alternately, you could increase the casting time; maybe the Fiddle needs to play for a round or a minute before hell opens itself up, giving smart monsters and villains enough time to sometimes get out of the way.

The other big quibble I have with the class is that, aside from Evil Exception (very cool), and a crippling spellcasting, all the Fiddle gets are bardic music abilities. I've played my shared of bards and various prestiges, and while fun, the drawback to having a host of BM abilities are that you can only use one at once, meaning that most of the time your class abilities are left by the wayside. It's the same problem Seeker of the Song (Complete Arcane) gets; ten new abilities, but a lot of them don't come up a whole lot. And that class has the refrains, while the Fiddle...doesn't. I mean, half the time the Fiddle will probably be inspiring courage, because it's basic and continues to stack. And since there are so many new options available, not to mention the five or more he has from before the class starts... perhaps give him the ability to activate two Devil's Fiddle abilities at once?

Overall a very cool class, though. Love to play one.

2008-01-08, 09:24 AM
Beautiful. Do you get a situational bonus on the perform checks if your bard's name is "Charlie Daniels"?

2008-01-10, 01:44 AM
Heh. Yeah, I conceived the class while watching my brother play the song on Guitar Hero 3 about 30 times trying to beat it. :smalltongue:

As for the capstone, it's a severely crippled 9th level spell-like-ability that uses bardic music, the same ability that fuels every other class feature they get. I suppose they could find ways to abuse it, but there's a pretty tight limit on screwing around with it, since they only have so much bardic music a day. And when they're out, they're a bard that's lost 4 spellcasting levels. :smallsmile:

2009-06-15, 10:10 AM
So, as stated before, bardic music specialists are weak in the sense that they cannot use half their skills because they're inspiring courage all the time. Additionally, perform(fiddle) requires hands whereas perform(oratory) doesn't. How about giving this class a couple of fiddle boosts? Just some thoughts:

Resonance +x
When you stop playing, your bardic music effects last x round(s) longer.

Dual melody
By playing at least two strings of your fiddle all the time, you can have two bardic music effects active at once. As a full round action, you can activate both.

The Tygre
2009-06-15, 02:45 PM
"Wait, wouldn't a gold fiddle weigh hundreds of pounds and sound crummy?"

2009-06-15, 09:58 PM
Help us all if the golden fiddle multi-classes in Through the Fire and the flames.

2009-06-15, 11:41 PM
It says the requirements include: "Alignment: Nonlawful and nonevil".

I'm not 100% sure about law (though this is devil-based), but don't you mean "evil" instead of "nonevil", since the class uses fiendish abilities?

2009-06-16, 02:28 AM
Listen to the song ;)

This is specifically for non-evil bards.

2009-06-16, 07:47 AM
They should also get spells known as well as spells per day.