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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Hey there!

    I've put together a special bardic college called the College of Metal for one of my players. It revolves around essentially turning yourself into a turret and rocking out while blasting off waves of sound and fire and lightning.

    https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/S1rfL40k8

    It's balanced enough for our purposes (I can hotfix anything if needed), but I was wondering what gitp thought before I put it anywhere for general use. Didn't just want this to be another completely busted homebrew.

    What do you think?

    Edit: Just had a look through the homebrew section and someone else has posted a bard college with the same name a matter of days ago. What are the odds?
    Ventruenox, if you're reading this, I promise I had no idea that you'd made that.

    Edit: Changed homebrewery link to reflect changes made.
    Last edited by NotPrior; 2020-01-10 at 02:32 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    TinyMushroom's Avatar

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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    The formatting of the first page is broken I think (the text is displayed far lower than it should be). Therefore I can't really get a sense of how this class works, because I don't know how often a character can shred or what the features of this class besides shredding are.

    Additionally, I suggest maybe changing the hue of your images to be closer to the background color. Some of the black drawings cross over into the text and make it hard to read.
    Last edited by TinyMushroom; 2020-01-10 at 10:23 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Quote Originally Posted by TinyMushroom View Post
    The formatting of the first page is broken I think (the text is displayed far lower than it should be). Therefore I can't really get a sense of how this class works, because I don't know how often a character can shred or what the features of this class besides shredding are.

    Additionally, I suggest maybe changing the hue of your images to be closer to the background color. Some of the black drawings cross over into the text and make it hard to read.
    I can only assume you're using firefox as your browser. Unfortunately homebrewery doesn't format properly with some browsers, and causes overlaps as you've seen- none of the pictures overlap the text on Chrome. I will post a pdf or transcript as soon as I get home from work.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    thisdude9001's Avatar

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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotPrior View Post
    I can only assume you're using firefox as your browser. Unfortunately homebrewery doesn't format properly with some browsers, and causes overlaps as you've seen- none of the pictures overlap the text on Chrome.
    I'm using chrome and got the same issue
    My limited homebrew experience
    oh hey didn't see you there

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Stranger in the Playground Moderator Ventruenox's Avatar
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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    No worries, I will chalk coincidence up to an impulse from the collective unconscious. I rather like the design layout and artwork choices for your subclass. It's a clever concept, but probably not one that I'll present to my player (not that I'm biased in any way in favor of my own ideas, noooo...).

    I do need to note that the Powerchord Zero text is cut off, and I almost missed it entirely if not for the note at the end of the document. As it was, I had to highlight it from its location and copy/paste it elsewhere just to read it. I certainly would not allow that ability at my game for a PC, but it would be a blast to describe for an NPC.

    Replacing the words "bonus hitpoints" with "temporary hitpoints" for the Energizing Chord would help prevent stacking shenanigans with other spells. The buffing chords could have a possible interesting interaction; a cone effect with a minionmancer in the party (Animate Dead, Animate Objects, Summon Woodland Creatures, etc.) might make for some unbalanced combats.

    Using the term "spell-like abilities" instead of it being a spell will prevent Metamagics from applying, so good call there.

    My biggest question is, where are the enemy saves? You can effectively get a free See Invisibility spell for the whole party with the Resonating Chord, where Faerie Fire at least allows for a Dex save. While the damage from the elemental chords isn't massive, using them in an AoE style is akin to getting an upcasted Magic Missile every turn without spell slots. Allowing an enemy save for half damage, let alone versus a status effect like Deafened should be required.

    The 14th level power chords do seem a bit unbalanced. I would expect 1-3 power chords to be played for a nova-oriented encounter. Any one of these concentration-free effects being used is going to seriously annoy the DM for breaking the encounter. 50' speed with flyby for the whole party? Unless the bard goes down immediately, that boss is done for. Damage options with no save are as mentioned previously, pretty unbalanced.

    I understand the use of Exhaustion levels to keep this subclass in check, but please remember that Greater Restoration is a Bard spell, the Epic Heroism rest variant might be in play, the Potion of Vitality could be had, and being raised from the dead reduces Exhaustion levels by one (PHB Errata).

    As for muticlassing, also consider what an Action Surge might do to the encounter if you can pump out 12 different chords in a round in a variety of targeting options. With crowded battlefields, this may result in D&D 4E real-time combat length battles.

    Nice work with what you've done here, and I appreciate the balance arguments at the end of the document.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Well if it's buggered for Chrome then I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Either way, here's the transcript.




    College of Metal


    And the universe came into being. It was wrong to call it a big bang. That would just be noise, and all that noise could create is more noise and a cosmos full of random particles. Matter exploded into being, apparently as chaos, but in fact as a chord. The ultimate power chord. Everything, all together, streaming out in one huge rush that contained within itself, like reverse fossils, everything that it was going to be. And, zigzagging through the expanding cloud, alive, that first wild live music. This had shape. It had spin. It had rhythm. It had a beat, and you could dance to it. Everything did.*

    There is a music behind everything in the firmament. It pulses through the universe, an indelible song of creation which cannot ever be silenced. It rings loudest in metal, resonating in iron and steel and bronze. It is loudest in the heaviest metals, adamantium and gold and lead, but still almost impossibly quiet.

    A few bards learn to listen to this song, and a few of those choose to replicate it. They become members of the College of Metal, and their screeching riffs ring out across all the worlds. In their quests to discover the true music of creation they may descend into the darkest places and the blackest nights, into skull-strewn landscapes and lands of fire, becoming terrible practioners of death or fantastical heroes of steel.

    Either way, the song of metal remains.


    The College of Metal is presented as an alternate bardic college to be chosen by bards at third level. It is focused around mixing of different spell-like abilities to deal big AoE damage attacks and provide buffs to teammates.

    Metalsoul Axe

    When you choose this college at third level you gain the ability to craft your perfect instrument, a Metalsoul Axe. This crafting process takes one long rest, and costs nothing, not even raw materials.

    A Metalsoul Axe is a battleaxe which does magic damage with which you are proficient. It can also be played as an instrument. Only you can play your Metalsoul Axe while you live, and another may only play it with your consent after your death- anyone else who tries will produce only a horrible screeching wail.

    In addition to the crafting your Axe you also gain the ability to enter a state called *shredding*. You may begin *shredding* at any time you are playing your Axe by using a bardic inspiration on yourself. While *shredding* you are resistant to all damage, but are also blinded and deafened and cannot move. You also make an almost impossibly loud noise, which can be heard up to a mile away in clear conditions.

    You may stop *shredding* at any time on your turn, and automatically stop immediately if you stop playing your Axe or are grappled. When you stop *shredding* you immediately gain one level of exhaustion.



    Chords

    Starting from third level while *shredding* you may spend your action to play up to two chords. Chords are unique spell-like abilities available only to College of Metal bards. When played a chord applies its affects to either every creature within 15 feet of you, every creature within a 30 foot cone, or one creature within 90 feet of you. You do not need to be able to see any of these creatures, and they do not need to be able to hear you. Multiple chords played with the same action need not target the same creature or use the same targeting method. You do not take damage from your own chords.

    **Shock Chord:**
    Every affected creature takes 1d6 thunder damage.

    **Blitz Chord:**
    Every affected creature takes 1d6 lightning damage.

    **Pyro Chord:**
    Every affected creature takes 1d6 fire damage.

    **Cryo Chord:**
    Every affected creature takes 1d6 cold damage.

    **Mortal Chord:**
    Every affected creature takes 1d6 necrotic damage.

    **Slam Chord:**
    Every affected creature is moved 10 feet away from you.

    **Spot Chord:** Every affected creature which attacks you before the start of your next turn must pass a dexterity saving throw, with advantage, or be blinded until the end of your next turn.

    **Shielding Chord:** Every affected creature recieves a bonus of +1 to their AC until the start of your next turn.

    **Savage Chord:** Every affected creature recieves a bonus of +1 to their attack rolls until the start of your next turn.

    **Energising Chord:**
    Every affected creature recieves 1d6 bonus hitpoints until the start of your next turn. These bonus hitpoints may stack with other hitpoints provided with *Energising Chord*, but may not stack with bonus hitpoints provided by other sources.

    **Resonating Chord:**
    Every affected creature is deafened until the start of your next turn. If that creature is invisible then this invisibility is disregarded while they are deafened by your resonating chord.


    Faster Shred

    Starting from sixth level you shred ever faster. You can now spend your action to play four chords instead of two while *shredding*.

    At twelfth level you can shred *even faster*, and pull off some really sick solos. You gain the ability to play six chords with one action, instead of four while *shredding*.

    Power Chord

    At 14th level you can play a single *Power Chord* instead of the chords you would otherwise play with your action. Power chords are much stronger than normal chords, but every time you play one you immediately recieve one level of exhaustion.

    **Diabolic Powerchord:** Every affected creature takes 16d6 fire damage.

    **Angelic Powerchord:** Every affected creature regains 1 hitpoint and recieves a flying speed of 50 ft until you stop shredding. They cannot be hit with opportunity attacks during this time.

    **Anarchy Powerchord:** You are surrounded by an anarchy field until you stop *shredding*. At the end of each of your turns while surrounded by an anarchy field you play three randomly selected chords.

    **Authority Powerchord:** Every affected creature recieves a +5 bonus to their armour class until you stop *shredding*. *Authority Powerchord* cannot stack with itself.

    **Sturm Powerchord:** Every affected creature takes 5d6 thunder damage, 5d6 lightning damage, and is pushed 30 feet away from you.

    **Powerchord Zero:** Every affected creature takes 10d100 force damage. You then immediately die, leaving no remains except for your Axe. Creatures killed by *Powerchord Zero* also leave no remains. Finally if you chose to apply *Powerchord Zero* in a cone or sphere then every piece of matter within that cone or sphere is annihilated... except for, once again, your Axe.
    \page

    **Intention Notes:**

    The College of Metal is designed to fill one very specific niche- rocking out covered in fire and sound waves in the middle of a battle. It is, by its very premise, quite silly, but I hope it's fun.

    The CoM is intended to be long rest and heavily nova-focused. Shredding costs inspiration, yes, but it also costs fatigue which doesn't quickly reset (note that fatigue stacks *DON'T* all go away on a long rest). Knowing when and how to shred is quite crucial, which is compensated for by the fact that shredding is quite strong.

    **Balance**

    I have no idea if the CoM is balanced, but it is designed to be- this isn't *just* a joke class.

    **Damage balance:**

    Assuming all chords are played against a single target the CoM does rougly two thirds of the damage a fighter would do if they landed all their attacks (7/14/21 vs 10/20/30). This means a shredding bard is *roughly* level with a fighter's single-target damage output assuming no feats or crits. The CoM however can't keep this up for every fight due to the fatigue issue, while the fighter can. The CoM bard *does* blow the fighter out of the water if they can put down an AoE, but this is very risky- CoM bards are very vulnerable to grapples, and their AoEs are terribly short ranged. Note also that each level of improved shredding comes a level after the fighter's +1 attack.

    **Support balance:**

    The alternative use for chords is as support. CoM bards can make one person functionally invulnerable permanently with either +2/4/6 AC or +7/14/21 temporary hp per turn. This does however completely neglect the CoM bard's own defence (hint: if you don't regularly buff your own AC or use spot chord then you will quickly be grappled since all attacks have advantage against you) and also removes their offense completely. I consider this on par with combinations like reverse gravity/moonbeam, invisbility/pass without trace, wall of stone/cloudkill, and centaur/rider. Very strong, but completely teamwork-reliant and based on a 2-person resource dump.

    **Power Chord balance:**

    Finally we have power chords. Power chords are *very* strong. They deal either vast amounts of damage, give concentration-free flight, or make an entire party much much harder to hit. Their weakness is that they are A) late game and B) an extremely precious resource.

    Assuming that the CoM bard enters shred for the first time in a while and has no fatigue at all then they can play 4 power chords. Only 4, and they all have to be in that shred. That gives 4 levels of fatigue, with another one to follow once they finish shredding. That then creates 5 levels of fatigue, which is crippling. If they play 5 power chords then they aren't crippled, they instead die immediately on ending the shred (level 6 fatigue is just death, no save). Playing a power chord is a serious commitment, and makes assessing whether or not shred is necessary even more vital.

    **Multiclassing:**
    There are, as far as I can tell, no especially strong multiclass synergies with the CoM bard. Obviously there are the normal bard multiclasses, but that's a different issue.

    The strongest is probably Fighter 1/CoM bard 19, in order to get access to heavy armour which you can in turn stack with shielding chord, but that's about it. Barbarian could also work for unarmoured defense, but raging while shredding gives no real advantage except possibly to avoid grappling. You *can* attack while shredding, but you're blinded and can't move into range. Other heavy armour classes are also possible, but you can't smite with shred and can't generally cast while shredding since you're permanently blinded, making cleric and paladin of questionable usefulness at best.

    Beastmaster rangers could concievably work, as there are no real limits on your pet while you shred. Unfortunately this requires you to be a beastmaster ranger.

    Monks have no notable synergies as far as I can see. Sorcerers, wizards and warlocks are also of course blinded and therefore having difficulty casting. Rogues do not seem useful here, as bards already.

    If your DM is actually insane and lets you shred while wildshaped then Moon Druid could also work, using a large creature to become much harder to grapple and getting piles of free hp, but that's entirely dependent on your DM letting you play guitar as a bear. If they do allow this however you are doing yourself a disservice by not taking 3 levels of druid. Do it. Tell me how it goes. Don't worry about the whole 3 levels behind thing, you're a bear now.





    Oh, one last thing. Powerchord Zero is absolutely ridiculous. It might be a good idea to ban it... but if the idea of the desperate bard doing his oneshot suicide move and taking himself and everything within 15 feet out in a nova of sound and fury *doesn't* sound cool as hell then consider where you went wrong in life.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Responses are in bold italics within the broader quote.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ventruenox View Post
    I certainly would not allow that ability at my game for a PC, but it would be a blast to describe for an NPC.

    If I banned anything it would be PCZ. I know my players would value their own lives enough to only use it when things were truly desperate instead of yolo-ing it down to see Orcus immediately, but yeah it's not always going to be a sensible choice.

    Replacing the words "bonus hitpoints" with "temporary hitpoints" for the Energizing Chord would help prevent stacking shenanigans with other spells. The buffing chords could have a possible interesting interaction; a cone effect with a minionmancer in the party (Animate Dead, Animate Objects, Summon Woodland Creatures, etc.) might make for some unbalanced combats.

    That should definitely be temporary hp, messed up the term. Good spot.


    My biggest question is, where are the enemy saves? You can effectively get a free See Invisibility spell for the whole party with the Resonating Chord, where Faerie Fire at least allows for a Dex save. While the damage from the elemental chords isn't massive, using them in an AoE style is akin to getting an upcasted Magic Missile every turn without spell slots. Allowing an enemy save for half damage, let alone versus a status effect like Deafened should be required.

    The damage is guaranteed but (comparatively) poor unless the enemy is very close or surrounding the bard. It is indeed like magic missile, which is the goal, although I'm expecting AoE applications of shred to be pretty rare since it doesn't distinguish between friend or foe and is very short range. It would move it more in line with the rest of the game if it had a save, that's true, but I feel so long as it averages out it's mostly balanced and feels more unique.

    The 14th level power chords do seem a bit unbalanced. I would expect 1-3 power chords to be played for a nova-oriented encounter. Any one of these concentration-free effects being used is going to seriously annoy the DM for breaking the encounter. 50' speed with flyby for the whole party? Unless the bard goes down immediately, that boss is done for. Damage options with no save are as mentioned previously, pretty unbalanced.

    The damage is probably in excess, but the intention is to be roughly level with disintegrate (a roughly comparable resource at 14th level I think, since the wizard has 2 and the bard realistically has 2-3 diabolics unless they've been completely saving their shred) except made more reliable. Going to adjust it to 14d6 since that makes it 2/3 of disintegrate's average single target damage, and disintegrate-related material improves with levels and items while power chords are completely static. That'll mean a power spike at 14th but the others should catch up (wizards get more disintegrate later, and can switch to upcasted fireballs once they're out which aren't as good but are still strong). Once again the assumption is that AoE power chords realistically won't happen often.

    I did not consider the implications of party-wide flyby, especially since the bard can then just sit there spamming shielding chord and/or use authority to become ungrappleable. Going to adjust that.


    I understand the use of Exhaustion levels to keep this subclass in check, but please remember that Greater Restoration is a Bard spell, the Epic Heroism rest variant might be in play, the Potion of Vitality could be had, and being raised from the dead reduces Exhaustion levels by one (PHB Errata).

    Bugger, I completely forgot about GR. You're right, it breaks the class in half if shred or a power chord only costs a fifth level spell. I'm going to have to think seriously about that, might just say that the shred/power chord exhaustion can only be removed by a long rest, although I'll try and come up with something more elegant. Potions of vitality I am less concerned with since magic items are unreliable, but you're right they would be busted in for example a planescape campaign. Epic heroism however would also be giving everyone else back their long rest stuff.... although nobody else gains much from chaining long rests except berserker barbarians.

    One thing I DID just check however is that revivify doesn't fix exhaustion at all, and nor do raise dead or even true resurrection. If you die of too much shred/powerchord spam you're permadead RAW.


    As for muticlassing, also consider what an Action Surge might do to the encounter if you can pump out 12 different chords in a round in a variety of targeting options. With crowded battlefields, this may result in D&D 4E real-time combat length battles.

    Action surge is good for CoM, but I'd say action surge is always good. It's great on CoM bards but it's also pretty godly on wizards and sorcs, who can drop bigger, more damaging AoEs (excluding the power chords) at longer ranges.

    Nice work with what you've done here, and I appreciate the balance arguments at the end of the document.

    Oh, thanks.

    Damage balance is based off the idea that a 2/3 hit rate is only slightly unrealistic for a fighter (slightly unrealistic because of the resource expenditure for shred), and support balance is based off the idea that a PC completely devoting all their efforts to supporting another should make that other very strong since they themselves are now useless. I feel those are both valid assumptions, but if they're not please let me know.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Stranger in the Playground Moderator Ventruenox's Avatar
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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotPrior View Post
    One thing I DID just check however is that revivify doesn't fix exhaustion at all, and nor do raise dead or even true resurrection. If you die of too much shred/powerchord spam you're permadead RAW.
    Quote Originally Posted by PHB Errata 2018
    Appendix A: Conditions
    [New] Exhaustion (p. 291). The following sentence is appended to the last
    paragraph: “Also, being raised from the
    dead reduces a creature’s exhaustion
    level by 1.”
    Here's the link if you want it.

    I was also thinking that the 10' forced movement with no save can also be abused. A single enemy could be pushed well out of their movement range from a target with multiple shreds, and is then is kept out of range while the other PCs ping it to death. Concentration spells can be kept active during shreds, and while I don't immediately see glaring gamebreaking combos, casting a Fear spell, Spike Growth, or Spirit Guardians before shredding seems to be an obvious tactic that puts this Bard's combat potential into the OP category.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: College of Metal (Homebrew Heavy Metal Bardic College)

    Mtng10chlm

    Quote Originally Posted by Ventruenox View Post
    Here's the link if you want it.

    Oop, fair enough. I should probably keep up better with Erratas.

    I was also thinking that the 10' forced movement with no save can also be abused. A single enemy could be pushed well out of their movement range from a target with multiple shreds, and is then is kept out of range while the other PCs ping it to death. Concentration spells can be kept active during shreds, and while I don't immediately see glaring gamebreaking combos, casting a Fear spell, Spike Growth, or Spirit Guardians before shredding seems to be an obvious tactic that puts this Bard's combat potential into the OP category.

    Good point. Shredding now precludes maintaining concentration, although it's still not concentration itself.
    While two people spamming slam chord could indeed keep a monster at bay permanently this is also possible for flyers. In both cases all the PCs really have to fear is ranged enemies. Could still be a problem, though- reducing chord range to sixty feet to bring it more into line with monster move speeds.

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