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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

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    Apr 2010

    Default My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    .
    Preface
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    The core 3.5e Bard is a low-power T3 class (mid/high if drastically optimized with multiple gaming resources, regarding Sublime Chord more as a Sorcerer variant than Bard variant).
    It can be taken to more than one direction.
    It is almost reasonably versatile.


    So why would I wish to homebrew a Bard remake, one might ask?

    Well, my main gripe with all the official classes, Bard not excluded of course, is that to really enjoy a character’s scope of abilities, one needs to turn to several resources for feats, to several other resources for spells, to yet some more resources for items, to another one sometimes for a juicy template, and then to some more resources for PrCs.

    I'm always aiming for out-of-the-box awesomeness.

    Basically, there are just too many Bard-ish features that I find missing.
    - The core Bard has a single class feature (inspire courage) smeared over 4 levels. That’s 3 dead levels more than visually apparent.
    - The core Bard, being the supposedly undisputed master of performance has no special resistance to performance associated powers.
    - The core Bard, combining performance and spells, has no feature that does so in a unique way.
    - The core Bard, being so dependent upon sound, has no inherent means of dealing with magical silence.
    - The core Bard is missing a key element in its features: the ability to befuddle, confound & terrorize his opponents.
    - The core Bard, having fewer spell levels than full spellcasters and no bonus feats, suffers badly on the action economy aspect.
    - The core Bard doesn’t have any inherent ability for significant self empowerment.
    - All special class features either amount to numerical bonuses or are very situational. This is not fun most of the time.


    In terms of concept and role, I view the bard’s place in an adventuring party as Factotum on steroids. A polymath. Someone with a toolbag for almost any situation, and definitely more than a 5th wheel.


    So, the main challenge here is to upgrade the Bard in such manner that would make players see it and say “mannn, this is one awesome class. I want to play this and see it through to level 20”.
    Not because it breaks the game or steps on everyone's toes, but by virtue of always having things to do and that the options are fun and interesting.
    I'm not looking for char-op synergy, but rather more diversity (horizontal upgrade rather than vertical).


    Am I gonna succeed – remains to be seen.
    Maybe with some serious PEACHing I just might.


    So, without further delay, here are the changes I wish to apply to the core bard.

    Almost all changes amount to additions, so anything not specifically detailed here is to be taken from the core Bard – including stuff that’s not mentioned at all.
    If any contradictions arise between what’s written here and core, what’s written here persists.



    The Elevated Bard



    Alignment: No restrictions. I never really understood why they decided that a bard had to be chaotic. Even a mischievous type can be a loyal friend and have a strict CoC. Also. Court bards actually were lawful. They served their rulers in many ways beyond entertainment.

    Skills: This Bard variant possesses all the core Bard’s class skills. In addition, the following skills are also to be included: Autohypnosis, Forgery, Handle Animal, Lucid Dreaming, Ride, Spot and Survival.


    HD: d8
    {table=head]Level|Special
    1st|Bardic Music, Bardic Knowledge, Countersong, Fascinate, Inspire Courage, Spells
    2nd|Loremaster, Well Versed
    3rd|Inspire Competence
    4th|Spellsinger, Piety
    5th|Bonus Feat, Bolstering Performance
    6th|Suggestion
    7th|Instill Fear
    8th|Break the Silence, Sustaining Tunes
    9th|Inspire Greatness
    10th|Discord
    11th|Bonus Feat, Accelerated Performance
    12th|Song of Freedom
    13th|Jarring Echoes
    14th|Cunning Brilliance, Power in Performance
    15th|Inspire Heroics
    16th|Song of Timelesness
    17th|Bonus Feat, Harmony
    18th|Mass Suggestion
    19th|Revealing Chime
    20th|Mimicking Retort, Deadly Performance
    [/table]


    Class Features


    Spells
    Use the core Bard’s spell list, spells known and spells per day, but also add the following to the Bard Spells list:
    1st: Detect Snares and Pits
    2nd: Pass Without Trace
    3rd: Remove Curse
    4th: Restoration
    5th: Heal
    6th: Vision




    Bardic Music (Su)
    Bardic Music can be practiced with any selected application of the Perform (…?...) skill, as long as the result is audible in some manner (vocal/instrument/drums/clicking etc).
    Bladesingers (see below) are the only exception to this constraint and may use their specialized combat maneuvers to initiate Bardic Music effects.

    A bard chooses one aspect of the Perform skill that’s valid for Bardic Music. The bard automatically gains maximized ranks in his chosen performance skills with level progression (Reason: no bard in the world will ever take less, so those are always wasted skill points – an unjust penalty).

    All Bardic Music effects linger for 5 rounds after the bard’s performance has ended.

    A bard has a pool of #uses to his Bardic Music ability.
    At 1st level, this pool capacity is 1.
    At 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, a bard's Bardic Music pool increases by +1 (2/3/4/5/6/7/8/... at levels 2/5/8/11/14/17/20/... respectively). This number is reset once per hour.
    Writer's Note:
    Spoiler
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    The idea was to give the Bard a lot more lasting power throughout the day, but not to let a player burn out everything within a single encounter. While this is not a reasonable scenario with the core class and rules, This Bard variant's Bardic Music has a lot more power and versatility, and (as will be evident by reading on and going through the Bardic Music feats) allows a significantly faster burn with level progression. This will make the Bard a lot more useful and interesting to play in the long run, and guarantee that it is not a practical option to just stand and sing throughout entire encounters.



    Inspire Courage (Su)
    Inspire Courage starts by granting +1 bonus. For each 6 levels beyond 1st, this bonus increases by +1 (+2/+3/+4 at levels 7/13/19 respectively).
    In addition, Inspire Courage also has the following cumulative effects when performance commences:
    Bard Level 1: Automatically cancels existing Shaken condition upon all affected allies, and reduces stronger fear conditions by one step (Cowering->Panicked, Panicked->Frightened, Frightened->Shaken).
    Bard Level 7: Automatically cancels existing Frightened condition upon all affected allies, and reduces stronger fear conditions by two step (Cowering->Frightened, Panicked->Shaken).
    Bard Level 13: Automatically cancels existing Panicked condition upon all affected allies, and reduces Panicked condition to Shaken.
    Bard Level 19: Automatically cancels existing Cowering condition upon all affected allies.


    Loremaster (Ex)
    Bards are the renowned sages of the game world.
    On top of Bardic Knowledge, starting at 2nd level, a bard gains a bonus of +1 rank per 2 Bard levels to all knowledge skills given in PHB I (ranks for "Local", "History" and "Nobility & Royalty" Knowledge categories may be assigned to more than a single nation, but the total bonus is still +1 per 2 levels each).


    Well Versed (Ex)
    The bard's rich experience with music and sound grants him high tolerance to associated effects.
    Starting at 2nd level, a bard gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made vs. all voice/music/sonic effects that are associated with enchantment, illusion and compulsion. This, of course, encompasses all Bardic Music derived effects where a save is relevant.


    Spellsinger (Su)
    Starting at 4th level, a bard gains an ability to cast spells while in the middle of performing Bardic Music, by weaving the incantation into the song. By spending one Bardic Music use, he can cast a spell without ending or interrupting an ongoing song. Only spells from the Bard’s list can be cast in this way, not spells gained from other classes.


    Piety (Su)
    A 4th level bard can mimic the Cleric’s Turn Undead ability.
    You may spend 1 use of your Bardic Music as a standard action to affect undead as a cleric of 3 levels below your Bard level.
    You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Cha-bonus (if any).
    You cannot use Piety if you have exhausted your daily uses, even if you have Bardic Music uses left to spend.
    No matter what your alignment, you cannot control undead – your understanding of divine magic is too rudimentary for that.
    This ability cannot in any way substitute true Turn Undead ability as prerequisite for anything.


    Bonus Feat
    At levels 5, 11 and 17, a bard gains a bonus feat.
    Choose any feat that affects Bardic Music in any way or grants a new Bardic Music power.
    You must meet all of the feat’s prerequisites.


    Bolstering Performance
    At 5th level, while the Bard is under an effect of his Bardic Music, he receives his Cha-bonus as competence bonus to all saving throws.


    Instill Fear (Su)
    A bard of 7th level or higher can use his performance to foster a sense of growing dread in his enemies, causing them to become Shaken. To be affected, an enemy must be within 30’ and able to see and hear the bard's performance. The effect persists for as long as the enemy is within 30 feet and the bard continues the performance. The performance cannot cause a creature to become Frightened or Panicked, even if the targets are already Shaken from another effect. Instill Fear is a mind-affecting fear effect, and it relies on audible and visual components.
    Starting at 10th level, opponents failing their saves are instead Frightened. On a successful save they’re subject to a second saving throw to avoid being Shaken. The performance cannot cause a creature to become Panicked.
    Starting at 14th level, opponents failing their saves are instead Panicked. On a successful save they’re subject to a second saving throw to avoid being Frightened and a third save to avoid being Shaken. The performance cannot cause a creature to become Cowering.
    Starting at 19th level, opponents failing their saves are instead Cowering. On a successful save they’re subject to a second saving throw to avoid being Panicked. And a third and a forth as noted above.
    All of the above effects allow a save each round to lessen the effect (or negate it altogether if shaken).


    Break the Silence (Su)
    At 8th level, by expending 1 use of his Bardic Music as a part of another action that involves the character’s voice, the bard can breach through Silence spell, or other barriers designed to negate or prevent sound transmission. In order to do so, he must either be affected by the spell or be within the area of influence.
    He may either breach it momentarily (automatic success), or attempt to dispel is as if via Dispel Magic.


    Sustaining Tunes (Su)
    All allies that are affected by any of an 8th level bard’s benign Bardic Music effects (including the bard himself) gain Fast Healing 1. Each 3 levels beyond 8th increase the HP recovery per round by +1 (fast healing 2 at 11th, fast healing 3 at 14th, etc).
    Dying allies also automatically stabilize.


    Discord (Su)
    The bard can use his Bardic Music to cause his enemies to become confused.
    To be affected, an enemy must be able to hear the bard perform and within 60' line of effect. Each enemy receives a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Bard level + CHA-bonus) to negate the effect. At the end of an affected creature’s turn, it is allowed a new Will save to overcome the effect.
    Once a target successfully resists the effect, it is immune to Discord for 24 hours.


    Accelerated Performance
    An 11th level bard's speed and precision increase, allowing him to use Bardic Music as a move action (but still only once per round), or combine Bardic Music with countersong in a single standard action.


    Jarring Echoes (Su)
    A 13th level bard can use his music or poetics to rattle his opponents' senses.
    Each round during the bard's performance, he may choose one target within 60' to be the victim of Jarring Echoes.
    Any action made by the selected target that requires any degree of concentration requires a Concentration check vs. the bard's perform check to avoid failure.
    Actions that do not require concentration suffer -2 to their rolls.
    Actions that normally succeed without any check are unaffected by Jarring Echoes.
    Unlike most other Bardic Music powers, this one terminates immediately when the bard's performance ends. Furthermore, a bard may only affect one target at a time and when the bard switches targets the previous one suffers no further ill effects of Jarring Echoes.


    Cunning Brilliance (Ex)
    Drawing upon a great wealth of stories and insights, through sheer inspiration and latent talent, a 14th level bard is able to augment his actions, enabling him to fill the shoes of his companions or of his beloved heroes when needed most.
    Three times per day, by spending 1 Bardic Music use as a free action, you gain the benefits and drawbacks of one (Ex) ability of another character class at a level no higher than your Bard level minus 5 for 1 minute. You use the ability as if your level in the relevant class equaled your Bard level. Improved (Ex) abilities (such as Im. Evasion or Im. Uncanny Dodge) require 2 Bardic Music uses. Features with double improvements (e.g. Mighty Rage, if and when a bard hits level 25) require 3 uses.
    For example, if you use a monk’s Flurry of Blows ability, you gain all the benefits and drawbacks described under Flurry of Blows (PH 40). You do not gain the benefits of unarmed strike, because that is a separate ability in the Monk’s class description.


    Power in Performance
    At 14th level, whenever the Bard is under the effects of his or her Bardic Music, he gains half his Cha-bonus as competence bonus to attack, damage, and AC (dodge).


    Song of Timelessness (Su)
    A bard of 16th level or higher knows the song of timelessness.
    As a standard action, he can envelop a single creature within 60’ in a field of timelessness, provided he has line of effect to the target (PHB, p.176).
    The subject is entitled to a Will save (DC 10 + bard level + Cha-bonus) to negate the effect.
    If the subject fails its save, it is frozen in a shimmering aura of timelessness and can take no actions. However, no force can affect it. Weapons cannot reach it, spells that target it automatically fail, and if the ground it is standing on is somehow taken away, it would not even begin to fall.
    A bard can keep his target frozen in time for as long as he maintains the power by continuing to perform, up to a maximum of 1 minute per level. When he stops performing, the subject immediately returns to normal. As far as the creature is concerned, no time seems to have passed.


    Harmony
    at 17th level, The bard has mastered his art, allowing him to use 2 Bardic Music effects and one countersong as a single standard action.


    Revealing Chime
    A 19th level bard can enable all allies within 30' (self included) to see things as they truly are.
    All allies are affected by True Seeing that lasts for 10 rounds.


    Mimicking Retort (Sp)
    Once per encounter, after surviving the effects of a spell, assuming he is still able to act in combat, a 20th level bard may make a level check (resolved as a Spellcraft check) against the spell that had just struck him. If he succeeds, he manages to temporarily preserve the effect's energies and may recreate it once (using his own CL and Cha-mod) within the next [3 + Cha-mod] rounds.
    Special: 5 ranks in Spellcraft grant a +2 synergy bonus to all such checks.


    Deadly Performance (Su)
    A bard of 20th level or higher can use his performance to cause one enemy to die from joy or sorrow. To be affected, the target must be able to see and hear the bard perform for 1 full round and be within 30’. The target receives a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the bard’s level + the bard’s Cha-bonus) to negate the effect. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, the target is staggered for 1d4 rounds, and the bard cannot use deadly performance on that creature again for 24 hours. If a creature's saving throw fails, it dies. Deadly performance is a mind-effecting death effect that relies on audible and visual components.













    Bard Variant: Bladesinger
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    Some Elven societies have a special, highly graceful, Bard variant that is somewhat more combat focused.
    Most bladesingers choose the War Chanter role, but this is by no means mandatory.
    On extremely rare occasions, non elves are allowed to practice blasésinging.


    Variant Requirements: Race: Elf, Dex 13+, Cha 13+, INT 13+, Balance 4 ranks, Tumble 4 ranks.
    Bardic Perform focus: Sing / oratory (player's choice) and dance – both are maximized at no SkPts cost.


    Writer’s Notes:
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    Reminding all readers that we’re in the homebrew department.
    Given my newly adopted attitude toward PrCs as 3e’s worst invention, I don’t see myself compelled to any loyalty to the CW Bladesinger PrC.
    This is [B]my interpretation of the Bladesinger[.B].

    It took me forever to nail this one right. I finally figured that to keep concurrent my view of things, I'd have to make the Bladesinger a Bard variant (even though I didn't like the heavy 1st-level prereqs), since:
    - The Bladesinger is supposed to combine sword & spells effectively from the get go, so it was inappropriate as a PrC.
    - It must be a hybrid class, since it delves into many aspects: sword, spells, skills & song.
    - Its signature features are combat-singing & combat-grace – both extremely Bard-ish.
    - No incarnation of the Bladesinger is able to use the features omitted from the regular Bard (see below), and most of them are still available as spells (if one really finds them hard to give up).

    Now, is it worth it? Well, it's all a matter of personal preference. If you have no problem with being an Elf and are ok with the restrictive build and are patient enough:
    - You save all those precious Concentration SkPts.
    - At 6th level you gain significant defensive bonuses that help you linger on in direct confrontation.
    - At 12th level you can wield magic free of quite a bit of worries. Sure, you're no Mage, but both factors offset one another quite nicely.
    - At 18th level you absolutely rock against opponents susceptible to mind effects (note that some are quite immune at those levels).




    Bladesingers don't gain the following Bard features:
    - Bardic Knowledge
    - Fascinate
    - Loremaster
    - Bonus Feat
    - Suggestion
    - Song of Freedom
    - Mass Suggestion


    Bladesingers gain* the following features:


    Combat Performance (Ex)
    Bladsingers use their performance skill when making Concentration checks related to spellcasting and Bardic music (such as maintaining a spell while taking damage).

    Inspiring Dance (Ex)
    Starting at 2nd level, a Bladesinger's unique and impressive combat style allows him to use any of his "Inspire" Bardic Music abilities to influence allies and Discord to influence enemies as part of his melee or range attacks. To be affected, targets must be able to see the Bladesinger.
    Note that Bladesingers still depend on their Sing / Oratory performance for the remaining Bardic Music features.

    Defensive Aptitude (Ex)
    Putting more emphasis on combat prowess than musical versatility, and stepping into the pyre on a much more regular basis, Bladesingers hone impressive defensive capabilities. At levels 5, 11 & 17 Bladesingers select one of the following abilities (at any desired order): Evasion, Mettle, Uncanny Dodge.

    Battlegrace (Ex)
    At 6th level, a Bladesinger may add his Cha-mod to AC and Ref saves.
    He also no longer provokes movement-derived AoOs.

    Bladecasting (Ex)
    At 12th level, a Bladesinger no longer provokes AoOs from casting Bard spells in melee combat, unless denied his Dex-bonus to AC.
    Also, by expending 3 uses of his Bardic Music as he casts, the Bladesinger may cast any of his Bard spells as a swift action (a multiclass Bladesinger may not use this ability with spells that he did not obtain via his Bard class).

    Bladesong Perfection (Su)
    At 18th level, a Bladesinger can truly mesmerize his opponents. Every time he hits an opponent (mild touch is enough), he may discharge one of his Bard spells upon it.


    * All of the Bladesinger's class features are inapplicable unless he's:
    1. Wielding longsword/rapier/scimitar in one hand and nothing in the other (also unarmed, with Improved Unarmed Strike).
    2. Wearing light or no armor.
    3. Light loaded.
    Also, all Bladesinger features are inapplicable during Rage or under any form of mental compulsion spell or effect (e.g. Confusion).



    And the Bladesinger's table goes as follows:


    {table=head]Level|Special
    1st|Bardic Music, Combat Performance, Countersong, Inspire Courage, Spells
    2nd|Inspiring Dance, Well Versed
    3rd|Inspire Competence
    4th|Spellsinger, Piety
    5th|Defensive Aptitude, Bolstering Performance
    6th|Battlegrace
    7th|Instill Fear
    8th|Break the Silence, Sustaining Tunes
    9th|Inspire Greatness
    10th|Discord
    11th|Defensive Aptitude, Fast Performance
    12th|Bladecasting
    13th|Jarring Echoes
    14th|Cunning Brilliance, Power in Performance
    15th|Inspire Heroics
    16th|Song of Timelesness
    17th|Defensive Aptitude, Harmony
    18th|Bladesong Perfection
    19th|Revealing Chime
    20th|Mimicking Retort, Deadly Performance
    [/table]


    Bard Variant: Feral Bard
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    Bards are first and foremost scholars and sages, so there aren’t truly feral Bards.
    However, some prefer to study instincts more primal to valor and majestic heroics.
    Feral bards are rare but dangerous heralds of the wild. They perform the savage anthems and rhythms of nature with voice and drums, eschewing most other forms of inspirational performance. They know songs that spur their allies to savagery, cooperation and freedom in combat.


    Inspire Rage (replaces Inspire Courage)
    The feral bard’s chants and rhythms inspire a violent fury in his allies.
    At 1st level, a Feral Bard may use his Bardic Music to instill rage in his companions.
    Any willing ally (including the bard) who can hear the bard gains a +2 morale bonus to STR and CON, and a +1 morale bonus to Will saves. However, while under this effect, they are under the same restrictions to their actions as a raging barbarian.
    After this effect ends, the allies are fatigued for twice as long as they were enraged.
    At 7th level, and at every 6 Bard levels thereafter, the Str & Con bonuses go up by +2 and the Will bonus by +1.

    Inspire Pack Tactics (replaces Inspire Competence)
    The feral bard inspires his allies to work together as a team, in order to be more efficient and deadly.
    While the bard is performing, all bonuses from aid another attempts and flanking are doubled. This stacks with any other ability that increases bonuses from flanking or aid another.

    Song of the Free Spirit (replaces Song of Freedom)
    The feral bard plays a fast and wild beat, urging his comrades to break free of their shackles.
    The feral bard may enhance his allies’ movement. All allies within 60' of the bard who can see and hear him gain a 20’ morale bonus to all forms of movement that they possess. In addition, they are treated as though under the effects of Freedom of Movement spell.
    The feral bard cannot use this ability on himself.






    Bard feats
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    Music of the Gods
    Requirements: CHA 21+, Green EarCAdv, RequiemSong & Silence, The Heart, Mind, and Soul (see below), Perform 15 ranks
    Benefits: The bard is capable of using Bardic Music to affect all creatures, even creatures that would otherwise be immune to the effects of his Bardic Music.

    Panpipe Charm
    Requirements: Bard 3rd, Perform (panpipe) 6 ranks
    Benefits: Through the use of this feat, a bard can mimic the Satyr’s power over pipe music.
    The bard can use his Bardic Music ability to produce charm person, scare or sleep.
    When the bard attains 10th level and 13 ranks in Perform (panpipe), he may then also use his Bardic Music to produce Charm Monster, Fear and Deep Slumber effects when playing the panpipe.

    Reactive Countersong
    Requirements: Countersong class feature
    Benefits: You can begin a countersong at any time, even when it isn't your turn, without readying an action to do so.
    You can't use Reactive Countersong at the same time you are using Bardic Music ability, though you could stop an ongoing performance to initiate Reactive Countersong.

    Shadow Hymn
    Requirements: Bard level 9th
    Benefits: By expending a Bardic Music use, the bard gains Darkvision out to 30' for a number of hours equal to his Cha-bonus.

    Sonic Symphony
    Requirements: Break the Silence class feature, Perform (any musical instruments) 12 ranks
    Benefits: You may use a lute, guitar, or other string instrument as means of generating sonic attacks.
    The bard can, as a standard action, spend 1 use of his Bardic Music to produce one of the following attacks:
    - 100’ ray (ranged touch)
    - 60’ line (ref save for ½ damage, DC 10 + Bard class level + Cha-bonus)
    - 30’ cone (ref save for ½ damage, DC 10 + Bard class level + Cha-bonus)
    Whatever shape the bard chooses, the damage always equals the bard's Perform check.
    The bard may spend a use of Bardic Music to up the damage to the bard's class level * Cha-bonus.

    Tenebrous Tune
    Requirements: Shadow Hymn, Perform 15 Ranks
    Benefits: By spending two Bardic Music uses, the bard may cause all creatures affected by his Fascinate Bardic Music ability to make a Will save (10 + ½ Bard Level + CHA-mod) or fall asleep for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 bard's class level. This affects even those who are usually immune to mind affecting abilities, although they gain a +4 bonus. Mindless targets gain a +8 bonus.

    The Heart, Mind, and Soul (Su)
    Requirements: Bard level 8, CHA 19+, Perform 13 ranks
    Benefits: The bard’s Bardic Music not only breaks the silence, it now directly touches the heart, mind and soul of even the deaf and the blind.

    Twin Blade Dance
    Requirements: Battlegrace class feature, proficiency with Scimitar, TWF
    Benefits: The Bladesinger has mastered the technique of applying all Bladesinger features while duel-wielding a pair of Scimitars, taking a -2 penalty on all attack rolls, as if the offhand scimitar is a light weapon.



    Music of the Far Realm:
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    Eerie Chant
    Requirements: Bard 6, Knowledge (the planes) 7 ranks
    Benefits: The bard can emit a strange chant to confound those not tied to the Far Realms. To be affected, a creature must be within 60' and able to hear the bard perform. The effect lasts for as long as the enemy hears the bard perform and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected creature is sickened unless it succeeds on a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 class-level + CHA-mod). Success renders the creature immune to this ability for 24 hours. Creatures native to the Far Realms are immune to this ability.

    Destructive Cacophony
    Requirements: Bard 9, Knowledge (the planes) 11 ranks, Eerie Chant
    Benefits: The bard’s music can warp and break items of this world. The effect lasts for as long as the bard performs and for 5 rounds thereafter. All objects within 60' that can “hear” the bard perform must make a Fort save (DC [10 + Perform ranks) or lose the benefit of their hardness. Further, every round the bard can target a single object in the area of this ability with a Shatter spell effect.

    Music of the Shattered Spheres
    Requirements: Bard 12, Knowledge (the planes) 15 ranks, Destructive Cacophony
    Benefits: The bard can temporarily become a direct link to the Far Realm, channeling its pure madness into music. To be affected, a creature must be able to hear the bard perform. The effect lasts for as long as the enemy hears bard perform. An effected creature must make a Will save (DC = [10 + Perform ranks) or fall to the ground gibbering (similar to Hideous Laughter). Success renders the creature immune to this ability for 24 hours. When the performance ends, all affected creatures must make another save (same DC) or be rendered insane as the spell. In addition, during the performance, all creatures lose any immunity to mind-affecting abilities they may have. Creatures native to the Far Realms are immune to this ability.



    Expanded Spell Repertoire:
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    Chanter of Life & Afterlife
    Your fascination with the afterlife enables you to dabble into powers related to life, death and afterlife.
    Requirements: Bard, Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells:
    - 0th SL: Purify Food and Drink
    - 1st SL: Bless Water
    - 2nd SL: Consecrate
    - 3rd SL: Speak with Dead
    - 4th SL: Death Ward
    - 5th SL: Commune
    - 6th SL: Raise Dead

    Green Whisperer
    Your training has significantly strengthened your ties with animal & plant life and with nature in general.
    Requirements: Knowledge (nature) 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells:
    - 0th SL: Know Direction
    - 1st SL: Charm Animal
    - 2nd SL: Speak with Animals
    - 3rd SL: Speak with Plants
    - 4th SL: Command Plants
    - 5th SL: Awaken
    - 6th SL: Transport via Plants

    Gypsy Oracle
    Divination runs deep in your veins.
    Requirements: Lucid Dreaming 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells:
    - 0th SL: Guidance
    - 1st SL: Deathwatch
    - 2nd SL: Augury
    - 3rd SL: Arcane Sight
    - 4th SL: Arcane Eye
    - 5th SL: True Seeing
    - 6th SL: Discern Location

    Knowledge Hunter
    Bards, more than anyone else, understand the power of "being able to get there" and obtaining the desired information.
    Requirements: Spellcraft 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells:
    - 0th SL: Message
    - 1st SL: Mount
    - 2nd SL: Darkvision
    - 3rd SL: Water Breathing
    - 4th SL: Fly
    - 5th SL: Blink, Improved (CDiv)
    - 6th SL: Plane Shift

    Mystical Hymnist
    Melody runs more deeply in your veins than even most other bards.
    Requirements: Perform (musical instrument) 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells (described in "Song & Sorcery", unless noted otherwise):
    - 0th SL: Fine-Tuning
    - 1st SL: Joyful Noise
    - 2nd SL: Summon Instrument, Greater (can summon a large instrument and has 1-hour / level duration (see the S&S 0-level Bard spell))
    - 3rd SL: Hymn of Praise
    - 4th SL: Follow the Leader
    - 5th SL: Wail of Doom
    - 6th SL: Fanfare

    Occult Spinner
    Your obsession with the occult leads you through a path of manipulation and dark powers
    Requirements: Craft (alchemy) 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells:
    - 0th SL: Prestidigitation
    - 1st SL: Obscuring Mist
    - 2nd SL: Gust of Wind
    - 3rd SL: Bestow Curse
    - 4th SL: Black Tentacles
    - 5th SL: Baleful Polymorph
    - 6th SL: Finger of Death

    War Chanter
    You are an invaluable asset on the battlefield.
    Requirements: Knowledge (history) 4 ranks
    Benefits: You add the following spells to your Known-Spells:
    - 0th SL: Guidance
    - 1st SL: Expeditions Retreat, Swift (CAdv)
    - 2nd SL: Daggerspell Stance (CAdv)
    - 3rd SL: Tactical Precision (CAdv)
    - 4th SL: War Cry (CAdv)
    - 5th SL: Righteous Might
    - 6th SL: Brilliant Blade (CArc)


    .

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    At a first read through I can't see anything really wrong with it other than Jarring Echoes needing some clarification, is it a separate use of Bardic Music, it seems like the first half of the ability got cut off.
    Having trouble writing up hard stat blocks but I'm doing a lot of sharing ideas and soft mechanics lately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mentalist View Post
    At a first read through I can't see anything really wrong with it other than Jarring Echoes needing some clarification, is it a separate use of Bardic Music, it seems like the first half of the ability got cut off.
    Thanks.
    You're right. It was half baked.
    I fixed it, along with some other stuff that required some polishing.

    To be honest, I'm quite puzzled.
    Maybe it's because of the weekend, but still, I was sure with a high level of certainty that a "super-awesome-Bard-incarnation" project (one that makes most Bard PrCs cry themselves to sleep at night, and yet doesn't breach into T2) would draw more attention.

    Is it possible that I managed to nail down everything correctly? I doubt that. This mini-project is too extensive to be flawless at 1st (2nd) attempt.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Extremely minor, personal nitpick: Would you kindly un-spoiler the class features if you get a moment? They're great for notes, but the class features are the reason we're here

    Does your Bard use the same BAB/Save progession?

    Love the altered spell list. Great idea and fluff. Green Whisperer in particular works great with some fluff that already exists in Eberron.

    Free Perform ranks; makes sense. The daily uses for Bardic Music is sort of confusing. By level 20 you have about 8 uses, correct? Why not just give them 1+ half level? Although if it resets every hour, you might as well not impose any restriction at all. My personal favorite take on this is Pathfinder where you get rounds per day and not uses per day, so unused bardic music never goes wasted.

    To give Inspire Courage a little more 'oomf' maybe it also reduced fear conditions down one step, or multiple steps as it increases in power? (Cowering to Panicked, Panicked to Frightened, Frightened to Shaken)

    Another personal nitpick: I never liked Bardic Knowledge. Just seemed like it gave no reason to take other Knowledge checks (I know it says otherwise in the desctiption, but I always get challenged on the call everytime someone wants to make the roll). The knowledge bonuses are nice, though.

    Spellsinger sounds great. Good call on it only applying to Bard spells.

    Piety, throwing some Factotum in there, I can dig it. Any reason why the turn undead is Wisdom based? Even clerics use Charisma, and it's far more important to bards.

    Bolstering Performance and bonus feats, nice.

    Instill Fear may have a typo, it's referred to as Dirge of Doom in the description.

    I like Breaking the Silence and Sustaining Tunes.

    So with Cunning Brillance, is there no restriction to previous abilities? Like instead of Evasion, you can hop straight to Improved Evasion? That's not really OP (it's a level 15 14 but whose counting? ability after all), but be careful with this one. It looks ripe for abuse.

    Song of Timelessness is bolded wrong.

    Gonna get to more, that's all I have time for at the moment. I quite like it overall
    Last edited by Lappy9001; 2013-09-29 at 09:55 AM.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Extremely minor, personal nitpick: Would you kindly un-spoiler the class features if you get a moment? They're great for notes, but the class features are the reason we're here
    They say that god is in the details
    Anyway, one person's nitpick could be another's bread & butter.
    Done.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Does your Bard use the same BAB/Save progession?
    From the Preface spoiler (bottom):
    "Almost all changes amount to additions, so anything not specifically detailed here is to be taken from the core Bard – including stuff that’s not mentioned at all.
    If any contradictions arise between what’s written here and core, what’s written here persists."


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Love the altered spell list. Great idea and fluff. Green Whisperer in particular works great with some fluff that already exists in Eberron.
    (just to avoid misinterpretation)
    Notice that all of the original Bard's spells are still available for selection (6 spells were added to that list and a character is free to ignore them altogether). The alternating lists are additional, role dependent known spells.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Free Perform ranks; makes sense. The daily uses for Bardic Music is sort of confusing. By level 20 you have about 8 uses, correct? Why not just give them 1+ half level? Although if it resets every hour, you might as well not impose any restriction at all. My personal favorite take on this is Pathfinder where you get rounds per day and not uses per day, so unused bardic music never goes wasted.
    I'm trying to not allow single-minded players do nothing with their character beyond stand there like an ass playing his ukulele.
    You see, I don't assume that players will make well thought out decisions for their characters, so I'm doing my best to lead them in the right direction.
    I wonder if adding Cha-bonus capped by 1/4 Bard class level to the pool of hourly uses would even things up without giving too much, but I'm concerned this will go against my intention to promote strategy and fight off gametime stagnation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    To give Inspire Courage a little more 'oomf' maybe it also reduced fear conditions down one step, or multiple steps as it increases in power? (Cowering to Panicked, Panicked to Frightened, Frightened to Shaken)
    Good call
    Done.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Another personal nitpick: I never liked Bardic Knowledge. Just seemed like it gave no reason to take other Knowledge checks (I know it says otherwise in the desctiption, but I always get challenged on the call everytime someone wants to make the roll). The knowledge bonuses are nice, though.
    I could think of one: identifying monster weaknesses & strategies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Piety, throwing some Factotum in there, I can dig it. Any reason why the turn undead is Wisdom based? Even clerics use Charisma, and it's far more important to bards.
    Typo.
    Fixed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Instill Fear may have a typo, it's referred to as Dirge of Doom in the description.
    Ooooppssss
    Fixed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    So with Cunning Brillance, is there no restriction to previous abilities? Like instead of Evasion, you can hop straight to Improved Evasion? That's not really OP (it's a level 15 14 but whose counting? ability after all), but be careful with this one. It looks ripe for abuse.
    Got you.
    I clarified things in the description.
    I'm considering allowing on-the-fly selection (i.e. no need to decide which 3 in advance), but that's just a thought ATM.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Song of Timelessness is bolded wrong.
    Fixed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Gonna get to more, that's all I have time for at the moment. I quite like it overall
    Great PEACHing so far

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Was knowledge (local, history and nobility/royalty) always limited to specific nations? Seems weird that those would be limited like that and the other broad knowledge skills remain broad in their applications.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bassetking View Post
    ...You don't know joy, until you look into the eyes of the GM, and see a scream of terror frozen right behind his pupils.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swok View Post
    Was knowledge (local, history and nobility/royalty) always limited to specific nations? Seems weird that those would be limited like that and the other broad knowledge skills remain broad in their applications.
    It's not written in so many words, but . . .
    ==============================
    History (royalty, wars, colonies, migrations, founding of cities)
     Local (legends, personalities, inhabitants, laws, customs, traditions,
    humanoids)
     Nobility and royalty (lineages, heraldry, family trees, mottoes,
    personalities)
    ==============================
    It's obvious that these are culture-tied.
    You don't have to state this anymore than stating that a dead guy can't talk.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    And yet arcana (put any of the other knowledges that have broader creature types/ applicability here) let's you identify anything related to it no matter where it came from.
    Local is particularly weird considering it has an entire creature type folded into it. I don't particularly care about the other two, but limiting the ability to identify all humanoids because of poor categorization is...really weird.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bassetking View Post
    ...You don't know joy, until you look into the eyes of the GM, and see a scream of terror frozen right behind his pupils.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swok View Post
    And yet arcana (put any of the other knowledges that have broader creature types/ applicability here) let's you identify anything related to it no matter where it came from.
    Local is particularly weird considering it has an entire creature type folded into it. I don't particularly care about the other two, but limiting the ability to identify all humanoids because of poor categorization is...really weird.
    Yes, I see what you mean.
    I see no problem with deciding that Knowledge (local) for one region covers practically all humanoids of a campaign world (and maybe imposing higher DCs for radically rare humanoid races).
    I'll leave it in the DMs' hands to decide where on the spectrum the needle rests, because there's no bad decision here.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    A part of me feels that the piety ability could be represented by choral music, though that is admittedly mostly a fluff thing that wouldn't necessarily fit every campaign world.

    A part of me also can't help but feel that The hour based refresh has all the potential for the drawback of per day abilities (like say the rest of the party is tapped out of uses and needs to retreat/ rest).
    Last edited by Swok; 2013-09-29 at 05:44 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bassetking View Post
    ...You don't know joy, until you look into the eyes of the GM, and see a scream of terror frozen right behind his pupils.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swok View Post
    A part of me feels that the piety ability could be represented by choral music, though that is admittedly mostly a fluff thing that wouldn't necessarily fit every campaign world.
    I say let's keep things fluid. I wouldn't want to force fluff on anyone.


    Quote Originally Posted by Swok View Post
    A part of me also can't help but feel that The hour based refresh has all the potential for the drawback of per day abilities (like say the rest of the party is tapped out of uses and needs to retreat/ rest).
    Sword-Skill-Song-Spell.
    This Bards has enough resources to work with.
    Also, at almost all levels, a bard would have to try real hard to burn out all his Bardic Music resources in 2 rounds. That's about 1/2 the encounter time on average, if he doesn't plan ahead at all.
    Also, a bard can usually count on his traveling companions' resources in time of need.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Yeah I'm very likely focusing far too much on the songs. Though that is the part that's changed the most.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bassetking View Post
    ...You don't know joy, until you look into the eyes of the GM, and see a scream of terror frozen right behind his pupils.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Nice, I like the new Cunning Brilliance wording. I found some precedent for that sort of thing if you're interested, in Zeta Kai's awesome FFX d20. Had somebody build a lancer and tried to break it (he couldn't)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Nice, I like the new Cunning Brilliance wording. I found some precedent for that sort of thing if you're interested, in Zeta Kai's awesome FFX d20. Had somebody build a lancer and tried to break it (he couldn't)
    Does this mean I can drop the "must select his 3 (Ex) features in the morning" with a clear conscience?

    Also, do you have any ideas for more bard roles? (if by any chance the answer is "yes", then let's start by focusing on the concept and worry about spells later on)
    And what do you think about the size of the pool of Bardic Music #uses?

    Finally, can you think of any more Bard variants that might allow character development on a different angle that will still feel Bard-ish?


    P.S. Are you done with all issues that merit corrections/clarifications ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Does this mean I can drop the "must select his 3 (Ex) features in the morning" with a clear conscience?
    I suppose, if you feel like it. I thought it was a nice touch, personally.

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Also, do you have any ideas for more bard roles? (if by any chance the answer is "yes", then let's start by focusing on the concept and worry about spells later on)
    Not especially.

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    And what do you think about the size of the pool of Bardic Music #uses?
    Huge. A bard will rarely run out, which is a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Finally, can you think of any more Bard variants that might allow character development on a different angle that will still feel Bard-ish?
    You could probably do a forum search via Google or look at Dandwiki (for ideas, not content )

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    P.S. Are you done with all issues that merit corrections/clarifications ?
    For the moment, I believe so. Did you have something in mind?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    I suppose, if you feel like it. I thought it was a nice touch, personally.
    Good to know. I'll take care of it sometime today.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Not especially.
    Ok, but if something pops to mind, let me know.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    Huge. A bard will rarely run out, which is a good thing.
    So that's a NO on increasing Bardic Music #uses in any way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    You could probably do a forum search via Google or look at Dandwiki (for ideas, not content )
    I'm no stranger to D&DWiki.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9001 View Post
    For the moment, I believe so. Did you have something in mind?
    Nothing in particular, just to point out anything else (if you find any) that's imbalanced (broken/useless) or badly worded (...or typos ...or whatever).

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    Peaching as requested.

    I generally prefer classes to be on the low end of tier 3. My general take on the bard is that it is a fine class in terms of overall power. The main issue is that the spellcasting tends to dominate the class features. Bardic knowledge is of limited utility, and bardic music has too few uses at low levels and not enough variety by mid/high level; you end up just using the same buff every time. Compared to the raw bard, I'd want to make it more music/sound focused, and less wizard-lite. I'd note specifically that although the bard gets fewer spells than a wizard, he still never actually runs out of spells per day in practice.

    Alignment: I generally throw out alignment anyway. We're cool here.

    Skills: Disagree here. Some skills just don't make much sense for a bard to be top-tier in. Knowledge skills and "face" skills, yes. But swimming, sailing, climbing, not so much. Warriors and other athletic types don't get to shine much anyway; I'm not going to take this too away from them

    Spells: Bard spell list probably does need reworking, but I'm not sure more spells is the answer.

    Bardic Music: Agree that any sound-based Perform skill should work.

    Agree with the maximised Perform in a single Perform skill. My homebrew rogue has maximised skill ranks for purposes of Disable Device, on the same principle (and yes, I recognise I'm imposing a specific trope on my rogue).

    Uses: An hourly pool instead of a daily pool? Intriguing. Some bard feats use bard song uses as their fuel, and are balanced against the daily limit. THis change may cause problems.

    Loremaster: This is essentially giving an ACF for free. I've never been a fan of that particular ACF, although I'm not sure why.

    Well Versed: Looks good.

    Spellsinger: Makes sense. Interesting alternate song usage.

    Piety: Flavour-wise, this doesn't make sense for me. Should should specifically call out divine metamagic as something that cannot be done with this.

    Instil fear: The higher level upgrades are very powerful. Frightened and panicked conditions are essentially "shutdown" powers, and should be used sparingly. If you have multiple uses per hour, you can basically shutdown any enemy with ears any time you like. On a game design note, there really should be something between shaken and frightened.

    Break the Silence: YES! This is the coolest ability bards should have always had.

    Discord: Another area-effect shutdown power.

    Jarring Echoes: I like this.

    Cunning Brilliance: I guess this works for your bard concept, but not for me.

    ----

    I think my ideal bard would drop spellcasting entirely, use a psionics-inspired mechanic for bardic music, and have a repertoire of songs that grows as he levels. Most of the iconic bard spells would then be re-written as songs. The bardic lore ability in 1e was essentially an identify spell with a % chance of success. I'd consider making that a daily use ability that only works on permanent magic items (ie not potions or scrolls).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Peaching as requested.
    Thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    I'd note specifically that although the bard gets fewer spells than a wizard, he still never actually runs out of spells per day in practice.
    let’s take a 9th level bard. 3/3/3/2 (8 spells & 3 cantrips) is hardly “never actually runs out of spells per day in practice”.
    Even at 14th, 4/3/3/3/3/1 is far from an endless list – especially with Spellsinger easily available on every encounter you’d wish to make it available.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Skills: Disagree here. Some skills just don't make much sense for a bard to be top-tier in. Knowledge skills and "face" skills, yes. But swimming, sailing, climbing, not so much. Warriors and other athletic types don't get to shine much anyway; I'm not going to take this too away from them
    I got you there, but there are additional skills that should be added, such as Ride & Handle Animal (Especially for Green Whisperer).
    Which would you reccomen?


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Spells: Bard spell list probably does need reworking, but I'm not sure more spells is the answer.
    My aim was to open as many doors as possible for maximum versatility.
    I wonder if it would be too much to allow taking on additional roles via feats (maybe even require feats rather than giving one away for free). Judging from Collegiate Wizard, I don’t think this will be problematic. Your thought . . . ?


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Uses: An hourly pool instead of a daily pool? Intriguing. Some bard feats use bard song uses as their fuel, and are balanced against the daily limit. THis change may cause problems.
    Hourly usage just means that you don’t burn out after 15min workday.
    It also means that you don’t have as much resources per encounter.
    This will actually mitigate feats such as Metamagic Song (the core Bard can do crazy stuff with that one when combined with Rapid MetamagicCM + Arcane ThesisPHB-II).
    But talking about stepping on other’s toes, Power in Performance probably grants too much and should be ½ Cha-bonus rather than full Cha-bonus.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Loremaster: This is essentially giving an ACF for free. I've never been a fan of that particular ACF, although I'm not sure why.
    I too don’t like Bardic Knack.
    Loremaster is designed differently. You get actual ranks, so you don’t burn skill points for nothing until you exceed your bonus.
    Also, it’s limited to Knowledge, which fits the archetype I’m aiming for.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Piety: Flavour-wise, this doesn't make sense for me. Should should specifically call out divine metamagic as something that cannot be done with this.
    the Bard symbolizes the role of a polymath. It touches every aspect of the classic 4 classes.
    I also specifically stated: “This ability cannot in any way substitute true Turn Undead ability as prerequisite for anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Instil fear: The higher level upgrades are very powerful. Frightened and panicked conditions are essentially "shutdown" powers, and should be used sparingly. If you have multiple uses per hour, you can basically shutdown any enemy with ears any time you like. On a game design note, there really should be something between shaken and frightened.
    At 10th level, half the encounters don’t even offer targets that are susceptible to fear (undead, constructs, outsiders, vermin etc).
    The percentage goes down with level progression and saving throws go way up.
    Also, the save-each-round mitigates things quite a lot.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Discord: Another area-effect shutdown power.
    Confusion is on the core Bard’s spell list, so I’m breaking nothing here.
    It was a lot more a thematic issue than a power boost.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Cunning Brilliance: I guess this works for your bard concept, but not for me.
    Bards tell tales of great heroes from the past. They also get to role their heroes to some extent (role playing a role-player that actually draws practical benefit from the role he takes – I actually like it a lot :-))


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    I think my ideal bard would drop spellcasting entirely, use a psionics-inspired mechanic for bardic music, and have a repertoire of songs that grows as he levels. Most of the iconic bard spells would then be re-written as songs.
    Actually, with Spellsinger, spellcasting takes the form of performance, so thematically I see no issue here.
    Also, when I think of the Bard class, I imagine Puck a lot more than a Darksun character that drills into the minds of his opponents.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    The bardic lore ability in 1e was essentially an identify spell with a % chance of success. I'd consider making that a daily use ability that only works on permanent magic items (ie not potions or scrolls).
    In such case, what would you suggest to cover the 3/5e’s Bardic Knowledge?

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    larger spell lists: The problem with broadening a class's spell list is that you don't end up making the class more versatile. What you end up with is easier cherry-picking for the best spells. This is a key flaw with the core wizard design: In trying to accommodate all wizardly tropes, it ends up being an optimiser's dream.

    spells per day: I get your point that a bard has fewer spells total than a wizard. But he also has bardic music, which can typically account for one of his actions each battle. Played well, a bard will run through fewer spells per day than a wizard anyway. (Besides, wizard is a poor balancing point for class design.)

    the discord power and "shurtdown" powers: Yes, bards have the confusion spell. But this song, with your hourly-recharge mechanic, is in effect the autmatic default first round song for every bard. While it is true that fewer encounters feature enemies siusceptiable to these attacks, it simply means either the bard loses his best attack for that encounter (rogues and various creature types suffer this too, as do wizards and golems), or the encounter gets decided by a single die roll. Neither case really makes for a satisfying encounter.

    psionics as the base mechanic: I didn't mean to imply that the bard's songs would actually be fluffed as core psionics are. "psi points" might be refluffed as a measure of how dry your bard's throat is, and when he's sung one song too many, his throat is dry and he can't sing no more.

    bardic lore: I'd consider giving bards free 1/2 class level ranks in all Knowledge skills (except campaign-specific especially-esoteric ones), not stacking with actual skill ranks. I see bards as dabblers in knowledge, not deep sages. Or possibly instead they get maximised K/history skill, seeing as stories and tales are meant to be their stock-in-trade.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2013-10-02 at 04:20 AM.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    larger spell lists: The problem with broadening a class's spell list is that you don't end up making the class more versatile. What you end up with is easier cherry-picking for the best spells. This is a key flaw with the core wizard design: In trying to accommodate all wizardly tropes, it ends up being an optimiser's dream.
    Notice that they come in groups, so no cherry-picking there.
    And each feat spent on a group is one less feat available for optimization.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    spells per day: I get your point that a bard has fewer spells total than a wizard. But he also has bardic music, which can typically account for one of his actions each battle. Played well, a bard will run through fewer spells per day than a wizard anyway. (Besides, wizard is a poor balancing point for class design.)
    You're right, but the Bard has another mitigating factor - lower spell levels on average - meaning less potent effects with lower DCs.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    the discord power and "shurtdown" powers: Yes, bards have the confusion spell. But this song, with your hourly-recharge mechanic, is in effect the autmatic default first round song for every bard. While it is true that fewer encounters feature enemies siusceptiable to these attacks, it simply means either the bard loses his best attack for that encounter (rogues and various creature types suffer this too, as do wizards and golems), or the encounter gets decided by a single die roll. Neither case really makes for a satisfying encounter.
    1. The Friend as well as foe factor makes it circumstantial.
    2. I'd much rather strengthening myself with Bardic Music and pumping up my saves (and battle stats, starting at 14th).


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    psionics as the base mechanic: I didn't mean to imply that the bard's songs would actually be fluffed as core psionics are. "psi points" might be refluffed as a measure of how dry your bard's throat is, and when he's sung one song too many, his throat is dry and he can't sing no more.
    I still don't see how you'd implement it mechanically (applying levels to different songs in some way maybe?)


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    bardic lore: I'd consider giving bards free 1/2 class level ranks in all Knowledge skills (except campaign-specific especially-esoteric ones), not stacking with actual skill ranks. I see bards as dabblers in knowledge, not deep sages. Or possibly instead they get maximised K/history skill, seeing as stories and tales are meant to be their stock-in-trade.
    Maximised K/history definitely seems appropriate.
    As for not stacking - this is exactly what I don't like about Bardic Knack - to go one point above your bonus you'd have to burn your bonus worth of skill points without gaining anything in return.
    Which K/? specifically would you remove from the equation?

    And again, if I drop Bardic Knowledge, what ability would provide such knowledge in the game?
    I mean, this kind of esoteric knowledge should be available by some kind of means.
    So Bardic Knowledge will become Knowledge (???)

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Skills: Disagree here. Some skills just don't make much sense for a bard to be top-tier in. Knowledge skills and "face" skills, yes. But swimming, sailing, climbing, not so much. Warriors and other athletic types don't get to shine much anyway; I'm not going to take this too away from them
    I decided that you're right on this one to some extent. but...
    I can easily picture a messenger/courier bard, meaning Handle Animal, Ride & Survival should be there.
    Also, having Hide, Listen and Move Silently practically demands Spot to be included as well.
    Finally, there’s no reason why Forgery wouldn't come naturally to an expert in knowledge and languages.

    This leaves Disable Device, Heal, Intimidate, Open Lock and Use Rope out of the equation.
    And it’s now clear to me why they shouldn't be included.
    - Disable Device, Open Lock and Use Rope are tinkering skills and Bards don't seem like tinkerers to me.
    - Heal is not really needed, given the class grants means for healing without "getting your hands dirty".
    - Intimidate is the least appropriate. A menacing bard is an oxymoron.

    Now all that’s left is to add Autohypnosis and Lucid Dreaming and we’re done.



    I also decided against maximized K/history.
    Anyone who wishes to specialize in storytelling can put the extra skill ranks (it's not like the Bard suffers from shortage in skill points).

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    As for additional Bard roles I have the old second edition Bard's Handbook that had a bunch of roles in it that I could cull for ideas.
    Having trouble writing up hard stat blocks but I'm doing a lot of sharing ideas and soft mechanics lately.

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    Default Re: My Take At The Bard (some serious PEACHing required)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mentalist View Post
    As for additional Bard roles I have the old second edition Bard's Handbook that had a bunch of roles in it that I could cull for ideas.
    Thanks for the tip.
    I found a copy online.
    It doesn't offer enough spells to batch into a single role.
    Furthermore, the kits seem too much Rogue/Swashbuckler oriented
    Btw, notice that I changed the roles into feats.

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