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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Elves's Avatar

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    Feb 2019

    Default Poet (TOB bard) - WIP, PEACH

    This is the last class for Age of Warriors.

    The class doesn’t involve music-themed abilities, which are the bard’s purview. A poet who’s an oral performer might very well use backup music; it’s just not the focus or power source.

    Ideas for the invocation bonuses would be great, as these are the big unfinished element.

    Class Overview

    - Maneuvers from Divine Muse, Dream Battle, and Infinite Shore (the latter two will be revamped).
    - Muse provides x/day self-help abilities
    - Buffing provides limited use of maneuvers to allies
    - Imaginary Friend provides the benefit of a Leadership cohort, but only for a while and they’re not fully real. The upside is that you get to keep a stable of cohorts and choose which one to summon each time. Later you can summon more of them.

    - Wordsmith lets you serve as party face.

    Alternate Class Feature
    - Warrior-Poet ACF makes you primarily a warrior, boosting HD, Fort and BAB at the cost of class features.


    Husky fellows. Some of them have exploited your worlds. Without cares and in no hurry to use their brilliant faculties and their knowledge of your consciences. What virile men! No comparison here with your Fakirs and other stage antics. In improvised costumes and in the style of a bad dream they recite sad poems and perform tragedies of brigands and spiritual demigods such as history or religion never had. They would interpret new plays and sentimental songs. As master jugglers they transform the place and the characters and use magnetic comedy. Their eyes catch fire, their blood sings, their bones grow big, tears and red rivulets stream. Their farce or their terror lasts a minute or for months on end.
    I alone have the key of this wild circus.

    It was only recently that applying the Sublime Practice to disciplines other than war became mainstream. But warfare and the arts have a long connection; indeed the first poetic works recorded take the form of epics valorizing warrior-heroes. Reshar himself wrote an epic poem that described his motivations for uniting the nine disciplines.

    Despite this connection, most poets prefer peace. When they do engage in combat, they do so as brutal fantasts, blading past reality with the license of their Sublime Muse.

    Class Skills
    Skill points per level: 4+int (x4 at 1st level)

    The poet’s class skills are Concentration, Craft, Gather Information, Knowledges (Arcana), (Geography), (History), (Local), (Nature), (Religion), and (the Planes), Listen, Lucid Dreaming, Speak Language, Perform, and Profession.

    Craft (Written Composition), Perform (Oratory), and Profession (Writer) are your most important skills. Each keys off a different mental stat.

    Vital Statistics
    BAB: Poor
    Saves: Bad Fort, bad Ref, good Will
    HD: d4
    Proficiencies: Light armor. Simple weapons plus weapons created by Infinite Shore. Fighting gets a lot easier for them once guns are invented.

    Table: The Poet

    Level Special Maneuvers Known Maneuvers Readied Stances Known
    1 Musal Invocation 1/day, Sublime Muse 5 5 (0-2) 2
    2 Wordsmith 5 5 (0-2) 2
    3 Imaginary Friend 6 5 (0-2) 2
    4 Musal Invocation 2/day 6 5 (0-2) 2
    5 7 5 (0-2) 3
    6 Performative Invocation 7 5 (0-2) 3
    7 Musal Invocation 3/day 8 5 (0-2) 3
    8 Sustained Inspiration (1d2) 8 5 (0-2) 3
    9 9 5 (0-2) 4
    10 9 6 (0-3) 4
    11 Musal Invocation 4/day 10 6 (0-3) 4
    12 Sustained Inspiration (1d3) 10 6 (0-3) 4
    13 Imaginary Friendsquad 11 6 (0-3) 4
    14 (utility TBA) 11 6 (0-3) 4
    15 12 6 (0-3) 5
    16 Musal Invocation 5/day 12 6 (0-3) 5
    17 Imaginary Army 13 6 (0-3) 5
    18 Musal Invocation 6/day 13 6 (0-3) 5
    19 14 6 (0-3) 5
    20 Dual Invocation 14 6 (0-3) 5

    Low bab is partly compensated for by the strike while the iron is hot bonus and musal invocation bonuses (see below). These admittedly don't help iteratives; poets should be using maneuvers not making full attacks.



    You may substitute Perform (Oratory) skill checks for Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks. If you have time to prepare and have a very clear idea of the situation you’ll be facing, such as a scheduled speech, you can do the same with Craft (Written Composition) or Profession (Writer). In a more dynamic situation, like a live conversation, these last two skills aren’t substitutable.

    You can substitute a Craft (Written Composition) or Profession (Writer) check for Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate when making a remote check via written communication.

    Sublime Muse

    Sublime poets are the vessels of a Muse, whose nature depends on the setting and the character: it could mean they channel the power of tutelary goddesses like the Greeks had; at its most grounded it could be stretched to simply describe their unconscious faculties. Somewhere in between, and by default, it’s the same sort of wellspring of extraordinary potential by which other martial adepts fuel their implausibilities: “the awful shadow of some unseen Power”. It could also be some kind of mental gremlin, or even an eidolon you had some part in constructing. This ability doesn’t mean a muse in the colloquial sense of a real person who inspires you.

    Only by channeling this Muse does the poet gain access to martial maneuvers. Your disciplines known by default are Divine Muse, Dream Battle, and Infinite Shore. (The latter two will be revised.)


    Before or after resting, you ready your maneuvers for the upcoming day by spending at least an hour composing. You can do this mentally if no materials are at hand, but must be in a state of undistracted concentration. You can then change your readied maneuvers at any point by spending at least 10 minutes in imaginative exercises.

    Like crusaders, poets rely on flashes of inspiration to perform their maneuvers.

    At the start of an encounter, and then at the start of your turn on each subsequent round, you’re granted between 0 and 2 of your readied maneuvers, or more at higher levels. The rest of your readied maneuvers are withheld, currently inaccessible. You don’t lose access to maneuvers if you don’t use them on the same turn they’re granted. But inspiration is best struck while the iron is hot:

    Quote Originally Posted by Strike While the Iron is Hot
    You get a +2 bonus on attack rolls, skill checks and save DCs that are part of a maneuver you use in the same round it’s made accessible. At 3rd level and every odd level thereafter the attack roll and skill check bonuses increase by 1, up to +10 at 19th level. The save DC bonus doesn’t increase.

    The mind in creation is as a fading coal, which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness; ...when composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline.

    Unlike a crusader, your maneuvers don’t automatically refresh and reset as soon as they’re all available. The crusader has a steady and constant pulse of faith, but inspiration is more dynamic. So instead, you refresh by adopting a new stance. When you start your turn in a different stance than the one you ended your last turn in, your maneuvers are refreshed and the granting cycle begins anew.

    No stance doesn’t count as a different stance for the purposes of refreshing. But when not in a stance (such as when adopting the stance benefit of a performance buff, see below) you can still use any maneuvers you have accessible. Your only means of refreshing while not in a stance is to spend a Musal Invocation.

    Like a crusader, your granting process starts afresh at the start of each encounter. Granted maneuvers can't be kept between encounters.

    Musal Invocations

    Starting at 2nd level, to save you from the tedious trickle inspiration normally is, you can perform Musal Invocations, which make all your readied maneuvers immediately available and provide a bonus when you use them.

    You get a daily number of Musal Invocations. With an intentional and often formalized address (a free action), you summon up the strength of your Sublime Muse to aid you. When you invoke your Muse in this way, you immediately refresh and are granted all of your readied maneuvers. Furthermore, you gain a special bonus each time you expend one of the maneuvers in this newly refreshed “batch”.

    At first, you can choose from three different invocation bonuses whenever you use a Musal Invocation. As you gain Poet levels you gain access to more options. These are listed in the post below.

    Ideally here there’d be some conflict about whether to use your invocations to nova vs saving them for rounds when you have bad luck and gain 0 maneuvers. At later levels, they could be useful for holding onto a performative invocation stance benefit once you need to refresh.

    Musal Invocations aren’t related to the at-will spells called invocations that are used by warlocks.

    Starting at 6th level, you can instead use Musal Invocations on a Performative Invocation:

    Performative Invocation

    This is an alternate use of Musal Invocation. You channel your Muse to augment your performance of your work. The performance becomes so enthralling, and what you say seems so real, that the audience gains power from it, a resonance which lasts for some time after. They might find themselves holding themselves like a hero in an epic, or engulfed in the breath of spring, or gripped by a more general expansiveness and awe.

    The performance buff also affects you, since putting on this performance is an exhilarating experience.

    The buff this ability grants has two parts, a general benefit and a stance benefit. A general benefit applies automatically. A stance benefit is only accessible by foregoing the benefits of a stance you’re in, and the benefit immediately ends if you enter a stance. You don’t have to activate the stance benefit immediately upon being buffed, but once the stance benefit ends, you can’t resume it except by receiving another performance buff.

    The afterglow from the performance wears off after two hours.

    The performance buffs you can choose from are listed in the next post, after the normal Musal Invocation buffs.

    Imaginary Friend

    Starting at 3rd level, a poet can use a 12 second (two full round actions) visualization exercise to conjure the apparition of a fictional character from their works. The imaginary friend can also be an abstract or allegorical figure, such as Spring. This apparition is physical and substantial but only semi-real. They can be any level, up to your poet level -2. When conjured they appear next to you.

    Since the character is the product of the poet’s imagination, the poet gets to control the imaginary friend’s build details. Of course, the build details should be representative: Achilles wouldn’t be a wizard, an embodiment of spring might be a druid with the Spontaneous Rejuvenation ACF, and so on. They can’t just be a daydream, but must be a character who has been portrayed in depth in a fictional or poetic work. The key being “in depth”: you can’t summon a dragon just because one line of a poem metaphorically compares something to a dragon, or summon a random side character or extra.

    The imaginary friend has all the possessions the fictional character does, scaled to fit NPC wealth by level. For example, 3rd level Frodo might have an item of Swift Invisibility. (Though Frodo is probably a bad example; for him you’d want to arrange with your DM that he has commoner levels and no particular personal powers, but in exchange gets a powerful scaling artifact.)

    The imaginary friend can’t give their items to anyone else, and can’t use or benefit from magic items given to them, except perhaps in special cases. Scrolls and wands are subject to DM approval, must be in character and can’t be a higher caster level than the character’s own. Consumables aren’t refreshed when you summon them next time.

    The character acts according to their personality, and remembers the previous times you have summoned them. They aren’t bound to your command, especially if their alignment is opposed to yours, but as their creator they are typically amiable to your desires.

    You can also try to summon a fictional character not from your works, but they’re much harder to control, and may see your conjuration of them as insulting or pathetic. A phantom who escapes your grip might fizzle or it might take on an existence of its own.

    The imaginary friend is similar to a shadow illusion. When another creature has an interaction with them, which includes attacking or being attacked by them, that creature gets a roll to disbelieve. The DC is 10+1/2 your initiator level+your highest mental ability modifier). If they succeed, the character ceases to exist for them; they cannot affect or be affected by it.

    Maintaining an imaginary friend doesn’t take any actions but it takes concentration. If your Concentration is broken (see SRD), your imaginary friend fizzles away.

    [insert time limit or daily usage limit.]

    Your “stable” of imaginary friends available to summon typically holds a number of characters equal to ½ your level, but could well be more: ideally, roleplay effort put into having your character create more works should be rewarded with the ability to summon a wider variety of friends.

    Example in Play

    John Keats has five imaginary friends he calls up like hookers, all of whom have names like hookers too: Beauty, Autumn, Psyche, Melancholy, and Hyperion (he’s open minded). And sometimes he conjures up this vase. Don’t ask.

    Ollebraur wants to make a wish, so he writes a whole saga called the The Jolly Efreet about an efreet who loves to grant wishes to anyone they meet. When he tries to manifest the efreet, however, he finds it lacks essence and fails. He rewrites his saga, giving his character a long backstory that justifies why its personality is this way. He still can’t manifest it. Seeking to expand the collective strength of the delusion, he pays several bards to add his saga to their routine. No luck! Frustrated, Ollebraur writes a comical metafictional story about the fact that powerful poets’ ability to manifest their inventions skews their incentives. He manifests the genie, but when he makes his wish, it blows a raspberry.

    Sustained Inspiration

    At 8th level, after using a Musal Invocation, you get your strike while the iron is hot bonus for an additional 1d2 rounds after the first, increasing to 1d3 at 12th level. This additional period ends if you refresh your maneuvers, whether normally or via Invocation.

    Imaginary Friendsquad

    At 13th level you can summon one additional imaginary friend who is your level -4 and one whose level is yours -8.

    Imaginary Army

    At 17th level, in addition to your imaginary cohorts, you can summon followers as if you had the Leadership feat and a leadership score of 25. If summoning characters from works not your own, your effective leadership score is reduced to 15 and they're less in your control.

    This ability is usable once per day. Charges of Musal Invocation can be spent to use it additional times, but this can't add followers above your cap.

    The followers sprawl outward from you in a shape roughly to your determination; if there isn’t space for all of them you can have them stacked in piles or whatever.

    Dual Invocation

    At 20th level, whenever you use a Musal Invocation, you choose two invocation benefits instead of one, including two performance benefits in the case of Performative Invocation (sacrificing your stance then grants you the stance benefit of both performance buffs).
    Last edited by Elves; 2019-11-30 at 11:30 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Elves's Avatar

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    Feb 2019

    Default Re: Poet (TOB bard) (WIP) - PEACH

    This is the big WIP part:

    Musal Invocation Benefits

    Each time you use a Musal Invocation, you choose one benefit from those your poet level is high enough to use. Each time you use one of the maneuvers your Musal Invocation just refreshed, you gain that benefit. This only applies to the specific instance of a given maneuver that your invocation refreshed and granted, not if you use that same maneuver later. Ongoing benefits end prematurely if your maneuvers are refreshed.

    You can receive a benefit multiple times in a round, but unless noted as stackable each is a separate instance: eg, two successive 1/3 chances, not 2/3 chance.

    Tier 1
    Heartening Bravado - +Chamod to attack and allies within 30ft get +1, +1 per 4 poet levels to saves and attack rolls for 1 round
    Musal Insight - +Wismod to attack and 1/3 chance of extra immediate action this round
    Preterconscious Moves - +Intmod to attack and 1/3 chance of extra swift action this turn

    Tier 2 (5th level)
    Golden Endurance - IL temp hp (stackable).
    Pierian Drip - Fast healing = 1/2 IL for 1d4 rounds (successive applications can overlap).
    Stooge for Punishment - DR 5/- for 1 round (stackable)
    Spritelike Shimmering - 10% miss chance for 1 round (stackable)

    Tier 3 (10th level)
    - all allies within 30ft may enter your current stance for 1 round. If affected by a performance buff, they may activate the stance benefit.
    - for 1 round, allies within 30ft gain the martial study feat for one strike maneuver you know. They must still have a high enough IL to use the strike.

    Tier 4 (15th level)

    Tier 5 (20th level)

    Performative Invocation Buffs

    Performance buffs have two parts, a general benefit and a stance benefit.

    In order to obtain the stance benefit, you must be in a stance and forego the benefit of that stance. This doesn’t work with a stance you only know contingently, as from an object or spell. The stance benefit ends as soon as you enter any stance, or when the performance buff wears off. You don’t need to activate the stance benefit immediately after being buffed, but once the benefit is activated and ends, it can’t be reactivated except by being buffed again.

    Finally, stance benefits have a level requirement. You can only access Tier 2 stance benefits if you know a 3rd level stance, Tier 3 if you know a 5th level stance, and Tier 4 if you know an 8th level stance.

    The general benefit doesn’t have any level requirement.

    With the exception of 20th level poets, a single creature can only benefit from one performance buff at a time. However, if you are subject to multiple performance buffs, you can choose which one to retain. So multiple performances could potentially be useful for granting different people their ideal buff.

    Tier 1
    Heroism - +x to attacks and saves vs fear. Stance benefit:
    Humor -
    Melancholy -
    Transformation - Gain the effects of a Disguise Self spell. Stance benefit: Alter Self instead.
    Rhythm -

    Tier 2 (10th level)
    Ecstasy -
    Illumination -
    Communication - Telepathy x feet. Stance benefit: speak with x
    Fury - Gain the effects of a Rage spell, but no Con bonus. Stance benefit:
    Serenity -

    Tier 3 (15th level)
    Complexity -
    Flexibility -
    Multiplicity - Gain the benefit of a Mirror Image spell. Stance benefit: x
    Mutation -
    Paradox -

    Tier 4 (20th level)
    Achronicity -
    Immortality -
    Infinitude -
    Transformation II - Gain the effect of a Polymorph Any Object Spell, CL=poet's IL. Stance benefit: gain the effects of a Shapechange spell, 15HD max.
    Truth - x. Stance benefit: gain True Seeing.
    Last edited by Elves; 2019-08-16 at 08:41 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Feb 2019

    Default Re: Poet (TOB bard) (WIP) - PEACH

    Reserved: fluff section

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Poet (TOB bard) (WIP) - PEACH

    Alternate Class Feature: Warrior-Poet

    You’re a warrior with a “poet’s soul” and a keen aesthetic eye. In another life you might have pursued this artistic bent, but in this one the trials of the campaign, quest or road have become your fate or main passion. Despite that you find yourself occasionally touched by a Muse, even if those urges find their main siphon in combat.

    HD: d10
    Saves: Good Fortitude, low Reflex, good Will
    BAB: Full
    Proficiencies: Heavy armor and shields, martial weapons
    Skills: Replace class skill list with the warblade's, plus Perform and Profession

    Disciplines: Divine Muse, Iron Heart, White Raven

    No Strike While the Iron is Hot bonus (and hence no Sustained Inspiration)
    Lose Imaginary Friend/Squad/Army

    Prestige Classes

    One PRC TBA


    Poete Maudit

    Your Sublime Muse is also your infernal patron.

    Benefit: Your poet levels stack with warlock and hexblade levels for the sake of IL and CL, as well as the progressions of eldritch blast damage, hexblade’s curse uses per day, and musal invocation uses per day. You gain access to the Witch Razor discipline. (Hexblade and warlock levels don’t stack with each other.)

    In addition, during a round when you use a Musal Invocation, the invocation benefit also applies to warlock invocations and hexblade's curse uses.


    You write poetry in the fundamental language of creation.

    Benefit: Your poet levels stack with truenamer levels for the sake of IL, effective truenamer level, Musal Invocation uses, and x.

    Specific Questions

    1: How many uses of Musal Invocation is right?

    2: Time/usage limits for Imaginary Friend?

    3: How to balance the general benefit of the performance buffs with the potential for very large audiences? Maybe a level requirement? “You need a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty” basically.

    4: Should performance buffs be decoupled from Muse charges?

    As well as PEACH help in general. Thanks!
    Last edited by Elves; 2019-08-16 at 08:37 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    May 2013

    Default Re: Poet (TOB bard) - WIP, PEACH

    Imaginary Friends looks like it needs to be a lot more "crunchy" to lighten DM workload, perhaps using some Leadership or Diplomacy variant as the root of the attitude/obedience, then thinking about the general contributors to the fluff's limit, such as having baselines for known other-authors, general oral tradition, mythotypes and personal works, modified by degree of rarity of that particular take, renown as a performer of the works and so on, perhaps having the disadvantage of using another author's work be an opposed check against their value. And cover the issues of character open-endedness by having some sort of mechanic permission list, rather than relying on DM adjudication for the entirety of the mechanic's conditions beyond the level limit.

    Having some sort of guideline enumerated for the tradeoff of item-based power and internal power would also help, and could be used as a lever for Wizard and Archivist balancing by accounting for internalized wealth separately from the raw GP budgeting. Making certain to clarify they are guidelines rather than hard rules so that all this DM adjudication can be brought in if the Poet player is being a problem by over-optimizing these guidelines should let it be there as a good baseline for the people who don't want to deal with massive amounts of "Mother May I?" on a primary class feature.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Elves's Avatar

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    Default Re: Poet (TOB bard) - WIP, PEACH

    Adding. What do you think the usage restrictions (time limit or x/day) should be? Compared to Leadership the benefit is the much greater flexibility and easier replacement if the cohort dies, the detriment is the roll to disbelieve part and more limited item interaction.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Apr 2017
    The Devil's Playground

    Default Re: Poet (TOB bard) - WIP, PEACH

    How do you scribe scrolls in this game, or, is that a thing of the past?
    !! Thug Life !!

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