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Thread: [3.5] Alternate Bard (PEACH)
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- Dec 2006
[3.5] Alternate Bard (PEACH)
Skills: Appraise, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge, Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Spot, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device, Use Rope.
Skill Points: 6.
Proficiencies: Simple Weapons, One Martial Weapon, Light Armor, No Shields.
1st|+0|+0|+2|+2|Performance Arts, Performance I.
6th|+4|+2|+5|+5|Expanded Performance I.
9th|+6|+3|+6|+6|Fast Performance (Move).
11th|+8|+3|+7|+7|Expanded Performance II.
14th|+10|+4|+9|+9|Fast Performance (Swift).
16th|+12|+5|+10|+10|Expanded Performance III.
19th|+14|+6|+11|+11|Fast Performance (Free).
20th|+15|+6|+12|+12|Performance V, Virtuoso Performance.[/table]
Spellcasting: This variant bard casts spells following the normal rules for bards, but they do receive arcane spell failure for casting spells in armor (however, see Performance Arts).
Performance Arts: At first level, the bard chooses its primary form of Performance, as well as an associated Perform skill. The bard may choose Verbal, Somatic, or Focus performance. Verbal bards may choose Sing, Oratory, Act, Comedy, or some other primarily vocal Perform skill. Somatic bards may choose Dance or some other movement-oriented Perform skill. Focus bards may choose any instrumental Perform skill.
For each bard level, the bard automatically receives one rank in the chosen Perform skill, with an additional +3 ranks at first level. This does not allow the bard to exceed its normal maximum ranks for the skill.
The bard's Performance Art determines how it casts spells. Verbal bards use songs, chants, or other vocalizations. Somatic bards use dance or other movements. Focus bards carry a musical instrument valued at at least 50 gold as a focus. Normal Verbal, Somatic, Material, and Divine Focus components are removed from the bard's spells, and the appropriate type of component is added in their place. In other words, a Verbal bard's spells all and only have Verbal components, regardless of their normal component requirements, and so on for Somatic and Focus bards. Note that Focus bards do not actually need to play their instruments to cast spells, only to carry it on their person.
This does not extend to a spell's expensive material components, expensive focus components, or XP costs. Those costs remain and must be paid normally. Likewise, material components that have no price due to being unique or priceless must still be provided.
The bard's Performance Art also determines its primary method of using its Performance ability - through speech, dance, or playing an instrument. Since using a Performance typically means the bard's voice, movements, or instrument are occupied (and magic is flowing through them, regardless) the bard cannot both cast spells and maintain a Performance in the same round.
The Focus bard has both a unique advantage and a unique disadvantage in comparison to others. Since a Focus bard's hands are occupied with its instrument, it requires both hands to be using its Performance ability, preventing it from wielding weapons or otherwise using its hands while performing. However, the bard receives the option to invest in more expensive instruments to offset the cost of expensive spells. Each gold piece value of its instrument counts as one gold piece value for any expensive focuses the bard's spells might require. Each 50 gold pieces lowers the cost of expensive material components by 1 gold. Each 250 gold pieces lowers the cost of XP components by 1 XP. These deductions apply only to costs of spells. The bard may also enchant its focus as if it had the Craft Wondrous Item feat, without needing any spells. Enchantments on the focus apply as long as it is carried, and there is no additional cost for the fact that it does not take up an item slot. It may receive any Wondrous Item enchantments that don't require the actual item's shape or function to work properly (for example, a flute makes a lousy Flying Carpet). The value of enchantments on the item count towards its reduction in component costs.
Performance (Su): Bards are able to weave magic into their performances in various ways to assist their allies or hamper their foes. There are five distinct types of Performance, which the bard may choose from freely when it uses this ability. The bard may perform one type of Performance at a time. The bard's Performance ability is given a level which begins at 1 and improves by 1 at each fifth bard level. Unless otherwise stated, all Performance effects are Morale and Mind-Affecting effects.
Beginning a Performance is a standard action. In subsequent rounds, the bard can maintain the performance as a swift action. As explained under Performance Arts, a Performance prevents the bard from casting spells while it is maintained. Bards are not limited in the number of times per day they can perform.
Performances have a range of 10' per point of the bard's Charisma modifier, plus 10' per bard level. The power of a bardic performance is particularly subtle, requiring a truly formidable will or active effort to resist. A character who does not wish to be affected by the bard's performance may only ignore it if its total Will save bonus exceeds 5 + 1/2 the bard's ranks in Perform + the bard's Charisma modifier. As a standard action, a character may actively attempt to throw off the effects of the performance by making a Will save against a DC of 10 + 1/2 the bard's ranks in Perform + the bard's Charisma modifier. It may do so once per round.
The bard may not start a new performance while maintaining another one (until gaining the Double and Triple Performance abilities), with the exception of an Invoking Performance.
Incite: The bard's performance is charged with emotion. This type of performance is not typically used in combat, for its effects are far more subtle, but also more pervasive. The range of this form of Performance is doubled, and a character may only make one attempt to actively throw it off. Even then, most characters will not recognize the influence of this Performance; only those with ranks in Spellcraft or Sense Motive at least equal to the bard's level may even make the attempt. A failed attempt to throw off the Performance, or a lack of an attempt, indicates that the character is unaware that emotion-manipulating magic is at work.
This Performance affects all characters in range, regardless of affiliation. For the duration of the performance, such characters are subtly influenced by an emotion of the bard's choice. For example, if the bard incites calm, affected characters will become generally more relaxed and passive, while inciting rage will make those affected more confrontational. The exact effects of this are largely up to the DM (and players of affected characters, for PCs), although the bard's player may input a desired course of events for the DM to consider.
Additionally, certain skill checks are enhanced or hindered when used by or against targets, receiving a +2 bonus or -2 penalty per level of the performance. This always includes any Perform check made by the bard to determine how impressive its performance is - after all, the stirring of emotion cannot be denied. Other affected checks can vary, again at DM discretion with input from the bard's player. For example, inciting calm might penalize targets' Spot and Listen checks as they become more relaxed, while fear would of course boost any Intimidate checks made against them. The performance should never apply to a given opposed check more than once - even if the logical consequences would be to enhance one side's check and hinder the other's, apply only one modification.
Inspire: The bardic classic, an inspiring performance to aid the bard's allies in combat. The bard may choose two of the following benefits per level of the Performance. The same bonus can be chosen up to a number of times equal to the level of the Performance, increasing the bonus proportionately. All allies in range receive the chosen bonuses for the duration of the performance.
- +1 bonus to attack rolls.
- +1 bonus to AC.
- +1 bonus to all saving throws.
- +2 bonus to a specific type of saving throw.
- +1 bonus to effective level for purposes of numerical effects that scale with level (such as spell damage or sneak attack, but not, say, whether Uncanny Dodge becomes Improved Uncanny Dodge).
- +2 bonus to weapon damage rolls.
- Temporary hit points equal to half the bard's Charisma modifier, which refresh each round the performance is maintained.
- DR 1/-.
- +10' to all movement modes.
Interfere: The bard uses its performance to disrupt and hinder its foes. The bard may choose two of the following penalties per level of the Performance. The same penalty can be chosen up to a number of times equal to the level of the Performance, increasing the penalty proportionately. All enemies in range receive the chosen penalties for the duration of the performance.
- -1 penalty to attack rolls.
- -1 penalty to AC.
- -1 penalty to all saving throws.
- -1 penalty to effective level for purposes of numerical effects that scale with level (such as caster level or sneak attack, but not, say, whether Uncanny Dodge becomes Improved Uncanny Dodge or spells known or per day).
- -2 penalty to weapon damage rolls.
- Receive Sonic damage each round equal to the bard's Charisma modifier. This is not a Mind-Affecting or Morale effect.
- Receive two additional damage every time damage is dealt.
- -5' to all movement modes.
Interrupt: The bard uses its performance to counteract certain types of effects. Upon starting this Performance, roll a Perform check. This check can replace allied saving throws against effects of the following type, if the check is better. Additionally, any bardic music or Silence effect with an overlapping range is excluded from the range of your Performance unless either you allow it, or the other bard beats your check result with its own Perform check (or a Spellcraft check in the case of Silence spells).
- A level 1 Performance protects against Fear and Language-dependent effects.
- A level 2 Performance also protects against Charm and Sonic effects.
- A level 3 Performance also protects against Compulsion and Phantasm effects.
- A level 4 Performance also protects against Mind-Affecting effects, and negates any immunity to Mind-Affecting or Morale effects from foes in range (this is not, itself, a Mind-Affecting or Morale ability).
- A level 5 Performance also protects against any effect caused by reality-warping magic - Limited Wish, Wish, Miracle, and the like, and can also exclude anti-magic, dead magic, and wild magic effects or areas in the same way it can exclude Silence effects.
Invoke: The bard performs a word, gesture, or chord of focused power. This affects a single target within range, and either deals 1d6 points of Sonic damage per two class levels, or grants 1d6 temporary hit points per two class levels, which don't stack with multiple applications of the ability and last for five minutes. These are not Morale or Mind Affecting abilities, but most other effects of this Performance are. The target may make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 bard's Perform ranks + bard's Charisma modifier) to negate.
If this Performance is maintained, only effects below that last for one round are maintained. The Fast Performance ability does not apply to this Performance. Other effects, and the base damage or temporary hit points provided, do not repeat over successive rounds. Effects that cost the target an immediate action all use the same immediate action to trigger. An Invoking Performance can be initiated while another is being maintained.
The bard may also divide its Performance levels among the following options, adding them to the effects. A single save negates all undesired effects.
- One Level: Deal additional sonic damage equal to the bard's level + its Charisma modifier.
- One Level: Grant the target additional temporary hit points equal to the bard's level + its Charisma modifier.
- Two Levels: Render the target Shaken, Sickened, Prone, or Immobilized for one round.
- Two Levels: Let the target make an additional attack as part of a full attack action on its next turn.
- Three Levels: Render the target Blind, Confused, Slowed, or Staggered for one round.
- Three Levels: Let the target make an immediate move action by spending an immediate action.
- Four Levels: Render the target Stunned, Dazed, or Nauseated for one round.
- Four Levels: Let the target make an immediate standard action by spending an immediate action.
- Five Levels: Render the target Paralyzed, Unconscious, or Asleep for one round.
- Five Levels: Let the target make an immediate full round action by spending an immediate action.
Battle Dance (Ex): Bards are not necessarily masters of combat, but they use sheer grace, flashy maneuvers, swashbuckling skills, and, sometimes, sheer dumb luck to good effect. Starting at second level, a bard wearing light or no armor adds its Charisma modifier (minimum +0) to its AC and to its attack rolls. The bonus to attack rolls is in lieu of its Strength or Dexterity modifier. Its flashy parries also provide an Armor Bonus to AC (which does not stack with any other Armor bonus) equal to 2 + its weapon's enhancement bonus. Unlike the defenses of monks and similar characters, the bard's flashy maneuvers require it to react to attacks, so the defensive benefits of a Battle Dance are lost when the bard is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC. The effects of Battle Dance do not stack with any other ability that adds an ability modifier to AC, such as a monk's AC bonus or the duelist's Canny Defense ability.
Bardic Knowledge (Ex): By third level, the bard has connected enough stories, myths, and rumors that it could feasibly know something about just about anything. Once per day per point of its Intelligence modifier, the bard may gain information about something relevant to the current scene or situation. The DM chooses what information it gains, but it should be relevant and useful to the current situation - clues, hints, and tactical data work well, as do confirming or refuting a specific theory. The bard may only gain information about a given subject once per day, and may only gain such information when the subject is at hand - the bard can't spend several days using this ability to gain intelligence about an enemy, for example, but when confronted with that enemy, some useful piece of half-forgotten lore may pop into the forefront of the bard's mind. The bard may only gain information that it could acquire through analysis of the scene at hand or previous study - it can't make accurate predictions about the future or a character's thoughts or motives (although the information it can acquire can still be used to inform speculation).
In addition, for each point of the bard's Intelligence modifier, it may add its free skill ranks from Performance Arts to a single Craft, Knowledge, Perform, or Profession skill of its choice. It may change one such allocation with a week of study or practice of the new talent (bards being bards, this need not be an intensive study; it can still adventure normally, practicing the new skill in its off time).
Bardic Niche (Ex): Many performers, especially as they develop a following, find themselves altering their styles to appeal to a wider audience, while others determinedly maintain their preferences regardless of what critics say. Starting at 4th level, the bard may elect to take a Bardic Niche, choosing either Personal or Audience. If it takes a Bardic Niche, the effective level of its Inspire Performance increases by 2, and two other forms of Performance increase by 1, but the bard's options when Inspiring are reduced.
A Personal Bard performs for itself; its Inspire Performance only affects itself, not its allies, and while maintaining only Performances that affect itself, it need not spend a swift action each round. Since its performances tend to be less appealing to others, its Interfere Performance gains +1 level. Since it also tends to decry other forms of performance (and other forms of influence) as strictly inferior to its favored genre, it also improves its Interrupt Performance by one level.
An Audience bard seeks to appeal to wider audiences, even if it has to sacrifice some of its personal preferences. It no longer benefits from its Inspire Performance, granting the bonus only to its allies. Since it is a master of swaying its audiences for good or ill, both its Incite and Invoke Performances improve by one level.
Expanded Performance (Su): A sixth level bard is able to perform far more complicated works, expanding the scope of one of its Performances. Each five levels thereafter, the bard gains another expansion. The bard must choose which type of performance the expansion applies to. It may choose the same performance multiple types, and can change the designation with a week of practice. The effects of the expansions depend on the Performance:
Incite: The bard can incite another emotion. This does not increase the skill bonuses, but allows more complex manipulations and potentially extends the benefit to more skills.
Inspire: The bard can add another bonus per performance level.
Interfere: The bard can add another penalty per performance level.
Interrupt: The bard can roll an additional Perform check, taking the best result.
Invoke: The bard can affect an additional target.
Spellsong/Spelldance/Spellplay (Su): A seventh level bard has mastered the art of weaving magic into music. It can now cast spells while maintaining a Performance. Additionally, the save DC of the bard's spells changes to 10 + 1/2 the bard's Perform ranks + the bard's Charisma Modifier, regardless of the spell's level.
Double Performance (Su): An eighth level bard can perform two works at a time. Each type of work must use a different Performance Art, and the bard must have ranks in a Perform skill relevant to the art to be used. The bard's effective class level for alternate types of performances is capped at its ranks in the relevant skill - 3 (so a 10th level Verbal bard with only 8 ranks in Perform [Dance] would count as a 5th level bard for purposes of its Somatic Peformances). The same Performance type cannot be performed multiple times, so a bard could Inspire and Interfere, but not Inspire twice at once. Initiating both Performances takes a single action one step higher than normal (so, initially, a full-round action). Alternately, you can initiate each performance with its own individual action, but no more than one Performance per round (this also lets you drop one Performance and replace it with a new one). Sustaining a second Performance costs a Move action each round, in addition to the swift action.
Fast Performance (Ex): A ninth level bard can now initiate a Performance (other than an Invoking Performance) as a move action. Sustaining still uses a Swift action. At fourteenth level, initiating a Performance becomes a swift action. At nineteenth level, initiating a Performance becomes a free action. Nineteenth level also reduces the action cost to sustain a Performance by one step, so a single Performance is sustained for free, the second for a swift action, and the third (since by this point you have Triple Performance) for a move action.
Bardic Lore (Ex): By twelfth level, the bard has forgotten more than most people will ever know. When using its Bardic Knowledge ability to request information, the bard may specify a piece of information it wants. The DM may veto a request if the information is more valuable than a hint, clue, piece of tactical data, or confirmation or refutation of a specific theory, though this does not use up the ability.
Additionally, the bard may use its Bardic Knowledge on the same situation multiple times per day, limited only by its daily uses of the ability.
Investiture (Su): Starting at 13th level, the bard gains a new form of Performance, Invest. When the bard initiates the Invest Performance, it also casts a spell of its choice (using the action cost of the spell or the Performance, whichever is higher). The spell must be one that affects one or more targets, not an Area or Effect spell. It may be Personal, but this increases the effective spell level by 1 for purposes of interactions with this ability. The spell's duration is replaced with the Performance duration, and the spell affects either all allies or all enemies (bard's choice) within its normal Performance range. The bard may only channel a spell with a spell level no higher than its Performance Level. For each expansion from the Expanded Performance ability, the bard can Invest one additional spell at a time, though it must cast additional spells normally during the performance; it does not immediately cast them at the start.
Triple Performance (Su): Starting at 17th level, the bard can combine all three types of Performance Art, activating and maintaining three different Performances at once. This follows all rules for Double Performance, but increases the activation action by two steps, rather than one, if initiating all three at once. The third Performance uses a standard action each round to sustain.
Bardic Legends (Ex): An eighteenth level bard has heard so many stories and songs, seen so many plays and acts, that it can make incredibly informed speculations. When using Bardic Knowledge, the bard may now request answers to questions about the future, a character's thoughts or motivations, or other information that it couldn't know through analysis or previous study. It is still limited as to the scope of its questions, so this ability is still only useful for gaining clues, hints, tactical data, or confirming theories, but now it can do so in a much broader way.
Additionally, the bard no longer needs to be "on scene" to use its Bardic Knowledge, so long as it is asking specific questions rather than requesting a DM-driven piece of information; just by spending some time thinking on the subject, the bard can come to surprisingly accurate conclusions, limited only by its daily Bardic Knowledge uses.
Virtuoso Performance (Su): A 20th level bard may, once per day, turn one Performance (or a single part of a Double or Triple Performance) into a Virtuoso Performance, adding a powerful additional effect:
Incite: The bard can incite an incredibly powerful emotion, prompting a profound reaction from anyone affected. For example, it could use Rage to start a riot, Fear to send people fleeing in panic, Hate to assemble a lynch mob, and so on.
Inspire: The bard may choose a single benefit being applied, and double it. This effect can be maintained for a maximum of one round per level.
Interfere: The bard may choose a single hindrance being applied, and double it. This effect can be maintained for a maximum of one round per level.
Interrupt: Any enemy casting spells into or within the range of the performance must roll a Spellcraft check opposing the bard's Perform check for each spell. On a failure, the spell is either excluded from the area (if cast into it) or negated outright (if cast while within it). Any enemies with active spells upon them when they enter the area must also roll the check, or those spells are suppressed while within.
Invoke: Enemy targets who fail their saves die, allied targets who were killed within the past one round per two points of the bard's Charisma modifier are restored to life with half hit points, without loss of level or Constitution.