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    Bugbear in the Playground
    UristMcRandom's Avatar

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    Jan 2014

    Default Bardic College: College of Song

    Spoiler: Information
    When I first sat down to write this subclass, my idea was to do a simple port of the 3.5 Bardic Music ability to 5e, replacing effects such as numerical bonuses with advantage, and other changes like that. As I worked on it, though, I found myself deviating from the original concept and into different territory. In this quasi-finished product, I've attempted to leave the core concept of bardic music intact, while also creating something of my own. I'm still working on a full list of Bardsong Effects, but it was getting late and I wanted to publish this, so for now I only have a few examples of the kind of power I'm aiming for in each category. I'm particularly concerned about the balance level of these abilities, however, so any advice on keeping them balanced would be greatly appreciated.

    Right now my design philosophy is as follows:
    - Themes are the equivalent of what other classes or systems would call stances. Movements provide the Song Bard and his allies minor passive buffs, or impose a passive debuff on the Song Bard's enemies.
    - Stanzas are more powerful effects, generally starting as slightly weaker than a 4th-level spell, and scaling in power as the Song Bard gains levels in the class. That means that they start off as immensely powerful abilities, then their power tempers a bit and evens out with the rest of the party. To balance the early game, a given Stanza may only be used once per bardsong, which means that a 3rd level Song Bard with 15 charisma will only be able to use two of them per Long Rest, assuming he uses both of his Stanzas in one bardsong.
    - Codas are powerful finishing attacks which affect all creatures within the range of the bardsong, except the bard. This adds a tactical element to them, as the potential for friendly fire is high unless the bard coordinates well with his allies. Take Flaming Finale, for instance: improper usage of the ability at low levels can easily result in a TPK (since at low levels even a minimum-power Flame Strike can be instantly fatal), but if the bard is surrounded by enemies it can prove equally deadly to them. Honestly, Codas are the abilities I'm most concerned about balancing, even if they can only be used once per Long Rest, it seems like a cop-out to call an ability "balanced" just because it has the potential to kill your allies.

    College of Song
    Bards of the College of Song are neither daring skalds nor seekers of knowledge and truth. Rather than peering into musty tomes for ancient magical secrets, they prefer to bring forth a power all their own through the magic of bardsong. The bardsong is a special art, drawing its power from the bard's own gift for the arcane, and from the ancient echoes of creation that reverberate throughout the cosmos.

    At 3rd level you gain the ability to use music or speech to weave various magical effects. By expending two uses of your Bardic Inspiration you may begin a bardsong, which allows you to use bardsong effects known as movements, themes, and codas. Unless stated otherwise, a bardsong effect can only affect creatures within 30 ft. of you who can hear your bardsong, and if a creature leaves that range or can no longer hear the bardsong any effects they are under immediately end. Maintaining a bardsong requires concentration, and you cannot cast spells while concentrating on a bardsong (even spells that do not require concentration), though you can take all other actions normally. Some bardsong effects call for saving throws, the DC for these saving throws is as follows:

    Bardsong Saving Throw DC: 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus

    Theme. When you join the College of Song at 3rd level, you know three themes of your choice. You learn a new theme at 6th, 10th, and 15th level. Each time you learn a new theme, you may replace one theme you know with a different one. Themes provide minor effects that can inspire and empower your allies, or weaken and intimidate your foes. Beginning a theme requires a bonus action, and unless otherwise stated a theme's effects last until you begin another theme or dismiss the effect (which requires no action), plus a number of rounds equal to your charisma modifier (minimum 1). The effects of two different themes stack, but two uses of the same theme do not stack. Theme effects linger as normal after your bardsong ends, unless you use a coda (see below).

    Stanzas. You know two stanzas of your choice. You learn a new stanzas at 8th, 12th, and 17th level. Each time you learn a new stanza, you may replace one stanza you know with a different one. Stanzas are magical effects that are more powerful than themes, but not as powerful as the song-ending codas. Activating a stanza requires an action, and a stanza's effects last until you begin another stanza, or dismiss the effect (which requires no action). You can only use a given stanza once per bardsong.

    Codas. You know one coda when you join the College of Song. You learn a new coda at 10th level, and another at 18th level. Codas are major effects that a bard can activate when he ends his bardsong, releasing the magic of his song in a single powerful burst. Using a coda requires an action, and immediately ends your bardsong and any active effects (though you may then use a bonus action to begin a new bardsong, if you wish). Once you use a coda, you may not use it again until you've completed a long rest.

    Lethal Refrain
    At 6th level, when you dismiss a stanza, you may deal 1d6 psychic damage to any creature within 30 ft. The creature must be able to hear your bardsong to be affected by this ability. The damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d8 at 9th level, to 1d10 at 13th level, and to 1d12 at 17th level.

    Lyric Spell
    At 14th level you may cast spells while using your bardsong. Using your bardsong still requires concentration, however, and casting a spell that requires concentration will still end your bardsong as normal.

    Bardsong Effects
    Spoiler: Themes
    Inspire Courage. Your bardsong inspires great courage in your allies. All allied creatures within 30 ft. who can hear your bardsong receive advantage on a single attack roll or saving throw they make in a round while this effect is active.

    Inspire Competence. Your bardsong helps you allies to succeed at difficult tasks. A single ally within 30 ft. of you who can hear your bardsong adds half your proficiency bonus to any skill check they perform while this effect is active. You cannot inspire confidence in yourself, and some uses of this ability are unfeasible.

    Spoiler: Stanzas
    Fascinate. Your bardsong can cause creatures to become fascinated with you. Any creatures of your choice within 30 ft. of you must make a Wisdom saving throw or else be Charmed by you. If they succeed on the save, they have advantage on any future saves against this effect until you complete a long rest. Any obvious threat by you towards a creature Charmed in this manner ends the effect immediately.

    Terrorize. Your bardsong strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies. Any enemy creatures within 30 ft. of you who can hear your bardsong must make a Wisdom saving throw or else be Frightened of you. If they succeed on the save, they have advantage on any future saves against this effect until you complete a long rest.

    Suggestion. You can use the magic of the bardsong to influence people. You make a Suggestion (as the spell) to a single creature within 30 ft. who can hear your bardsong. A creature who has been Charmed by you with the Fascinate stanza has disadvantage on their saving throw to resist the suggestion. At 18th level this stanza allows you to use Mass Suggestion instead of Suggestion.

    Inspire Greatness. Your bardsong inspires greatness in you or your allies, granting them exceptional combat ability. Roll two bardic inspiration dice. A single willing ally of your choice within 30 ft. who can hear your bardsong (or yourself, if you so choose) gains a number of temporary hit points equal to the result at the beginning of each round, and has advantage on any attack rolls, damage rolls, or saving throws made for the duration of the theme.

    Inspire Heroics. Your bardsong inspires great heroism in yourself or your allies. One allied creature within 30 ft. who can hear your bardsong (or yourself, if you so choose) gains immunity to fear and temporary hit points as though affected by the spell Heroism. In addition, when this ability's recipient is attacked, the attacker has disadvantage on the attack roll. At 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th levels this ability can target an additional creature.

    Wake the Dead. Your bardsong is imbued with fell power that causes the dead to walk. A single corpse or skeleton within 30 ft. that you can see is affected as though by the Animate Dead spell, except the maximum range to command a creature created by the spell is 30 ft. At 6th level the maximum range extends to 60 feet. At 8th, 12th, and 16th level you can target an additional corpse or skeleton.

    Musical Jaunt. You channel your bardsong's magic to teleport a short distance as though using the spell Dimension Door, except the maximum range is only 100 feet. At 4th level, this range increases to 250 feet, and at 6th it increases to 500. At 8th, 12th, and 14th level you can bring along an additional creature.

    Spoiler: Codas
    Shattering Chord. You play a single chord that sends vibrations rippling through the area. All creatures (excluding yourself) and objects within 30 ft. are affected as though by a Shatter spell cast at the highest level you can cast (or the minimum level the spell can be cast at, whichever is higher).

    Flaming Finale. Your bardsong ends on a deafening note. All creatures within 30 ft. (excluding yourself) are struck by fire as though caught in a Flame Strike spell cast at the highest level you can cast (or the minimum level the spell can be cast at, whichever is higher).

    Last edited by UristMcRandom; 2016-02-02 at 11:01 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by OctoberRaven View Post
    "It's a fireball. It's basically a magic hand grenade."
    My Homebrew

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