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Thread: A pacifist bard

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    RangerGuy

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    Default A pacifist bard

    I am thinking about creating a bard character who is completely focused on musical abilities, and follows a strict code of pacifism.
    I want to focus on avoiding combat completely, and possibly later have a heavy focus on spellcasting, taking levels in sublime chord.
    What should I do to ensure that this character is of some use to his party and is not just a crazy roleplaying scheme?
    What tactics, spells, feats etc. should I use?
    I like being asked difficult and interesting questions, even though sometimes the only answer is "I wish I knew".

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Well, I don't know what it gives you, but Vow of Nonviolence(BoED) fits from a fluff stand point.
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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Boost your diplomacy through the roof. The bard half-elf substitution level from races of destiny might help too (Song that gives a calm emotions effect with a DC equal to your diplomacy check. Basically, they'll only save on a 20). Find out what houserule you're employing for diplomacy first though (RAW gets crazy fast, but the one on this site is pretty good).

    Conversion rules from book of exalted deeds can also be useful for when you can't just throw the guy in prison, or when you need to make an ally from an enemy.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Maybe this is just a pipe dream, but I actually wanted my character to be a part of combat. Just not actually participating, rather supporting his allies with bardic music. Are there any feats that greatly improve the effectiveness of bardic music?
    Well, I don't know what it gives you, but Vow of Nonviolence(BoED) fits from a fluff stand point.
    Also does anybody know what this does?
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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Song of the Heart (Eberron Campaign Setting), Words of Creation (Book of Exalted Deeds) and Dragonfire Inspiration (Dragon Magic) are fairly standard Bardic Music enhancing feats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hironomus View Post
    Also does anybody know what this does?
    It increases the saving throw DCs of your nondamaging spells by 4, meaning it is a friggin' powerhouse of a feat for Bards.
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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by Hironomus View Post
    Maybe this is just a pipe dream, but I actually wanted my character to be a part of combat. Just not actually participating, rather supporting his allies with bardic music. Are there any feats that greatly improve the effectiveness of bardic music?

    Also does anybody know what this does?
    Words of Creation feat from BoED, Song of the Heart feat from the ECS, inspirational boost spell from the SC, the badge of valor from the MIC, and masterwork war drums, from...Complete Scoundrel? Complete Adventurer? I don't remember.

    Assuming three levels in bard and all of the above, that's +10 from your Inspire Courage.

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by Hironomus View Post
    I am thinking about creating a bard character who is completely focused on musical abilities, and follows a strict code of pacifism.
    I want to focus on avoiding combat completely, and possibly later have a heavy focus on spellcasting, taking levels in sublime chord.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hironomus View Post
    Maybe this is just a pipe dream, but I actually wanted my character to be a part of combat. Just not actually participating, rather supporting his allies with bardic music.

    I'm missing something here. Does the guy just strongly prefer a support role because that's what he's good at, or does he have an actual ethical code that says "It would be wrong for me to kill you, but it's all right for me to stand over here on the side and actively help my friends kill you"?
    Last edited by mucat; 2010-07-03 at 07:20 PM.

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    I'm missing something here. Does the guy just strongly prefer a support role because that's what he's good at, or does he have an actual ethical code that says "It would be wrong for me to kill you, but it's all right for me to stand over here on the side and actively help my friends kill you"?
    Well, some people are just hypocritical like that. It's against their personal code to kill, but they'll hire assassins just fine.

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    I'm missing something here. Does the guy just strongly prefer a support role because that's what he's good at, or does he have an actual ethical code that says "It would be wrong for me to kill you, but it's all right for me to stand over here on the side and actively help my friends kill you"?
    Well, Batman has a code against killing, but still wouldn't care if the bad guys died from other causes (read: by other hands), unless it is a bunch of bad guys fighting amongst themselves and others being caught in the crossfire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Bark View Post
    Well, Batman has a code against killing, but still wouldn't care if the bad guys died from other causes (read: by other hands), unless it is a bunch of bad guys fighting amongst themselves and others being caught in the crossfire.
    That's fine, but Batman generally saves the badguys from being murdered, if he's around watching it happen. And he doesn't actively help people to kill them, if he can help it.

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    I'm missing something here. Does the guy just strongly prefer a support role because that's what he's good at, or does he have an actual ethical code that says "It would be wrong for me to kill you, but it's all right for me to stand over here on the side and actively help my friends kill you"?
    But... he's just singing!
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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    There's nothing stopping you from using inspire courage with nonlethal attacks. Especially since with your boost, the -4 won't be such a big deal. You'll just have to convince the rest of the party to see things your way.

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Haha yes, the idea is he cannot directly shed blood with his own hands. I haven't worked out all the details yet. Don't blame him for being hypocritical, wisdom is a dump stat for bards.
    Of course he would also be pretty dreadful in combat anyway.
    honestly what made me like this idea was the thought: "wouldn't it be awesome to play a character that didn't even carry a weapon?"

    Quote Originally Posted by M-Bark View Post
    Well, Batman has a code against killing, but still wouldn't care if the bad guys died from other causes (read: by other hands), unless it is a bunch of bad guys fighting amongst themselves and others being caught in the crossfire.
    Yes thats the idea. Except no violence at all. I wouldn't mind playing a pacifist party, but knowing the circle I play with, it would be stupid even to suggest that.
    Last edited by Hironomus; 2010-07-03 at 07:37 PM.
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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by Hironomus View Post
    Haha yes, the idea is he cannot directly shed blood with his own hands. I haven't worked out all the details yet. Don't blame him for being hypocritical, wisdom is a dump stat for bards.
    Of course he would also be pretty dreadful in combat anyway.
    honestly what made me like this idea was the thought: "wouldn't it be awesome to play a character that didn't even carry a weapon?"
    It's fine to play a weakling whose strength is in supporting others. That's pretty much the bard stereotype, after all.

    Just be aware that refusing to take life because of moral issues while arming a group of superpowers with the equivalent of a nuclear arsenal IS hypocrisy.

    Maybe hypocrisy is a major character trait in other things, too? Could make for an interesting play experience. He's a compulsive liar and hypocrite. And yet still CG.

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by Hironomus View Post
    Haha yes, the idea is he cannot directly shed blood with his own hands. I haven't worked out all the details yet. Don't blame him for being hypocritical, wisdom is a dump stat for bards.
    Of course he would also be pretty dreadful in combat anyway.
    honestly what made me like this idea was the thought: "wouldn't it be awesome to play a character that didn't even carry a weapon?"



    Yes thats the idea. Except no violence at all. I wouldn't mind playing a pacifist party, but knowing the circle I play with, it would be stupid even to suggest that.
    That's cool, but I wouldn't try to play it as an ethical/moral code on the bard's part, or he really will look like a hypocrite when he aids and abets the party in killing someone. There are lots of other reasons to avoid direct violence, from squeamishness to pride to simple practicality: "It's not what I'm good at."

    I did once play a rogue/wizard who almost never resorted to violence or direct offensive spells, but didn't mind too much when the rest of the party did. Her aversion to violence was a combination of squeamishness -- not extreme, just a "normal person's reaction" rather than an "adventurer's reaction" -- and professionalism. In her judgment, if you are in a fight, then you have already screwed up the job very badly.

    She tolerated violence from her friends because, though they were undeniably useful in the situation they had all been dropped into, they were unprofessional, and she knew she couldn't hold them to the standards she expected of herself. "You go to war with the resistance cell you have, not the resistance cell you wish you had," as someone might say...
    Last edited by mucat; 2010-07-03 at 08:35 PM.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    That's cool, but I wouldn't try to play it as an ethical/moral code on the bard's part, or he really will look like a hypocrite when he aids and abets the party in killing someone. There are lots of other reasons to avoid direct violence, from squeamishness to pride to simple practicality: "It's not what I'm good at."

    I did once play a rogue/wizard who almost never resorted to violence or direct offensive spells, but didn't mind too much when the rest of the party did. Her aversion to violence was a combination of squeamishness -- not extreme, just a "normal person's reaction" rather than an "adventurer's reaction" -- and professionalism. In her judgment, if you are in a fight, then you have already screwed up the job very badly.

    She tolerated violence from her friends because, though they were undeniably useful in the situation they had all been dropped into, they were unprofessional, and she knew she couldn't hold them to the standards she expected of herself. "You go to war with the resistance cell you have, not the resistance cell you wish you had," as someone might say...
    My original description wasn't very good. I definitely don't want him to be a moral character, with a rigid code or anything. I think that is slightly counterintuitive for a bard character. I was thinking he is ever so slightly unhinged, and has an unhelathy obsession with 'the poetry of battle' but cannot abide getting bloody himself.
    I had this image of him as a higher level character standing on a hillside sillhouetted against the full moon, unobserved by two forces clashing below, then pulling out a jet black violin and playing a deeply disturbing song that affected both sides indiscriminately. He would watch serenely as the two sides hacked eachother to pieces. But that really is getting of the topic of how I could feasibly play the character. stat wise.

    Anyway, thankyou all for your help. I now have plenty to think about both in terms of gameplay and unexpectedly roleplay as well.
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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Ah, that does sound cool. Have fun with it!

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    Default Re: A pacifist bard

    Don't forget about nonlethal weapons and the Extra music feat.



    Bards get lots of love in the splat books, so be sure to check out some online guides for them. They have some good racial level options for Half-Elves, Gnomes and Spellscales.
    Last edited by HunterOfJello; 2010-07-03 at 09:13 PM.

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