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The Bard

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This article presents the bard as a full character class for use in the D&DŽ game. It is based in part on the work of Bruce Heard, who presented the bard as a modification of the thief class in issue 177 of DragonŽ magazine. Some of his original ideas have been incorporated into this document, and as such the authors thank and give credit to him appropriately.

 

 

 

Prime Requisite: Dexterity and Charisma.

Other Requirements: Dexterity and Charisma scores of 9 or higher.

Experience Bonus: 5% for Dexterity and Charisma 13-15; 10% for Dexterity and Charisma 16-18.

Hit Dice: 1d6 per level up to 9th level. Starting at 10th level, +1 hit point per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.

Maximum Level: 36.

Armour: Up to chain mail; shield permitted if less than large-sized.

Weapons: Any one-handed.

Special Abilities: Bard spell-songs, charm ability, some Thief abilities (see below).

Saving Throws: As Thief of same level.

THAC0: As Thief of same level.

Thief Abilities: Any bard can use the following abilities as a thief of the same level - Climb Walls, Hear Noise, Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, subject to penalties for wearing heavier armour.

Weapon Mastery: Begin with two weapon choices; additional choices as per other non-fighter classes. An extra choice per 200,000 xp gained after level 36.

 

From the earliest days of prehistory, there have been people whose calling it has been to sing the songs of others’ deeds, to contribute to the lore of a people. In many cultures, the bard is the individual who serves this purpose. He or she would often travel the land, learning of great events by witnessing them, or by hearing of them from other travellers. In many ways, bards were the only source of news the average person had, and they were often the means by which cultural lore was passed down through the generations. In the D&DŽ system, bards fill this role, but they also possess a unique talent – the ability to sing what are known as “spell-songs”.

 

In a typical adventuring party, a bard is a competent fighter and an adequate scout – he or she will not need to be protected at all times. They can wield most weapons, and wear light and medium armour, and their prowess is bolstered by their spell-songs. Additionally, bards can be good information gatherers through their skills and charisma, thus helping the rest of the party acquire important clues over the course of their adventures.

 

The level advancement chart for the bard is:


Bard Experience Table

Spell Songs/Level

Level

XP

Title

1

2

3

4

5

1

0

Apprentice

1

-

-

-

-

2

1,925

Musician

2

-

-

-

-

3

3,850

Performer

2

1

-

-

-

4

7,700

Lyrist

2

2

-

-

-

5

15,400

Poet

2

2

1

-

-

6

30,000

Sonneteer

2

2

2

-

-

7

60,000

Troubadour

3

2

2

-

-

8

120,000

Minstrel

3

3

2

1

-

9

240,000

Bard

3

3

2

2

-

10

360,000

3

3

3

2

-

11

480,000

3

3

3

2

1

12

600,000

4

3

3

3

2

13

720,000

4

4

3

3

3

14

840,000

4

4

4

3

3

15

960,000

4

4

4

4

3

16

1,080,000

5

4

4

4

4

17

1,200,000

5

5

4

4

4

18

1,320,000

5

5

5

4

4

19

1,440,000

5

5

5

5

4

20

1,560,000

5

5

5

5

5

21

1,680,000

5

5

5

5

5

22

1,800,000

5

5

5

5

5

23

1,920,000

5

5

5

5

5

24

2,040,000

5

5

5

5

5

25

2,160,000

5

5

5

5

5

26

2,280,000

5

5

5

5

5

27

2,400,000

5

5

5

5

5

28

2,520,000

5

5

5

5

5

29

2,640,000

5

5

5

5

5

30

2,760,000

5

5

5

5

5

31

2,880,000

5

5

5

5

5

32

3,000,000

5

5

5

5

5

33

3,120,000

5

5

5

5

5

34

3,240,000

5

5

5

5

5

35

3,360,000

5

5

5

5

5

36

3,480,000

Master Bard

5

5

5

5

5

 


 

Class Details

Prime Requisite:

The bardic profession is one that requires considerable charisma – a performer must be able to encourage his or her audience to pay attention to them for a prolonged period. It also helps if the performer is found to be interesting, or likeable. Bards must also be able to communicate with others, empathise with them, and gain their trust whenever possible. In addition to this, bards must have good co-ordination if they are to be good performers. Thus, a bard’s prime requisites are Charisma and Dexterity. If both of these attributes are between 13 and 15, the bard earns a 5% bonus to earned experience points; if they are both between 16 and 18, the bonus is 10%.

Hit Dice:

Owing to their more combat-oriented nature, compared to other roguish characters, bards roll 1d6 to determine their hit points (plus any Constitution bonus). This reflects the greater need for them to be in the heat of battle.

Armour:

Although a bard was wear any armour type up to, and including, chain mail, it should be remembered that their thief abilities can be affected whenever a bard employing these skills is wearing armour heavier than leather. The table below presents the various penalties to be applied by the DM against a bard’s thief skills whenever he or she employs them while wearing scale or chain mail.


Bardic Thief Skill Penalties

Armour Type

Hide in Shadows

Move Silently

Hear Noise

Climb Surfaces

Scale Mail

-5%

-15%

-5%

-15%

Chain Mail

-10%

-20%*

-10%

-20%

 


 

*This should be halved if the bard is wearing elven chain mail.

Bards may also use shields of medium size or smaller, although this will make it impossible for them to play any two-handed musical instrument.

 

Weapons:

Looking at how bards are portrayed in conventional literature, it is clear that they are people often versed in the art of combat as well as music and song; although, as with the primary focus of their careers, a bard’s combat talents tend to focus more on style, rather than brute force. It is not a bard’s job to skulk about in the shadows and gain information or treasure, either - though he or she may wish to rely on those talents as needed. A bard’s primary purpose is to inspire his or her fellows to greater heights and bolder deeds, and assisting them in combat where possible. They may not wield two-handed weapons, either, as these interfere too much with the bard’s style and way of life, which revolves around freedom of movement, and such weapons tend to be cumbersome.

 

Skills:

A bard must take the following skills when he or she is created: Singing, Music (instrument), and Storytelling. The thief skills possessed by the bard are Climb Walls, Hear Noise, Hide in Shadows, and Move Silently. These develop at a rate identical to those of a thief of the same level. Bards also receive the Gather Information skill for free. This skill is described below:

 

Gather Information (CHA): This skill allows a PC to use his or her savoir-faire and connections to gain another person’s trust, and thereby gather information about a particular topic. The player must specify before making the skill check what sort of information is sought, and the DM assigns modifiers according to the specificity of the information required, and its obscurity. Penalties may also be assigned if the PC is trying to gather information from someone whose culture or native language differs from their own.

 

Special Abilities

A bard has two special abilities – charm, and the ability to perform spell-songs.

 

The Charm Ability:

Starting at 3rd level, the bard gains the ability to charm once per day, as per the magic-user spell charm person. He or she can affect a number of Hit Dice or levels equal to one-third his or her own level, rounded down. The bard must sing, recite poetry, or play an instrument for three rounds, and then make a skill check in the weakest of his or her mandatory skills (singing, storytelling, or playing a musical instrument). If the skill check fails, the victim saves vs. Spells at +3. The charm ability can also be used to negate another bard’s charm attempt. If the bard is injured or interrupted while attempting to charm, the effect is ruined, and the victim(s) may become hostile.

 

At 9th level, the bard’s charm ability extends to intelligent monsters (but not undead), as per the charm monster magic-user spell. A successful save vs. Spells negates this effect.

 

At 15th level, the bard’s charm ability is extended again to plants, as per the magic-user spell charm plant. This ability is negated if the target successfully saves vs. Spells.

 

At 21st level, the bard’s charm ability is extended once more to large crowds, as per the magic user spell mass charm. A successful save vs. Spells will negate the charm effect.

 

Spell-Songs:

Spell-songs are musical compositions that draw upon and shape the ambient magical energies of the world; they neither rely on symbols (as runic magic does), nor do they depend on magical formulae and complex invocations. As such, bardic magic does not actually “create” anything – it can only manipulate what already exists, and in so doing evoke sounds, sights, sensations, smells, and feelings – in other words, the bard works more on the level of illusions and influence. Nevertheless, the performance of a spell-song can influence the recipient to do, feel, or think many things. As such, spell-songs that affect the senses or perceptions do not affect undead, or those immune to sensory attacks (such as constructs).

The means by which spell-songs can be obtained differ considerably from the spells used by magic users or clerics. As bardic lore is predominantly oral in nature, if a bard wishes to increase the number of spell-songs he or she knows, they will have to learn them from a bard of higher level. Often, the senior bard will require a favour of the seeker – essentially a quest – in exchange for the spell-song. When the spell is obtained, the younger bard must spend at least one week in intense study with his or her teacher.

 

Spell-songs may also be written on scrolls, but this is quite rare, and they are often found only in bardic conservatories (more on this below). Even so, such scrolls are closely guarded by their owners, as they are usually intended to remain as a record of a particular bard’s achievements long after his or her passing, so that their music need not be lost to the community of bards. Therefore, an adventuring party would seldom find a bard scroll in a treasure hoard. If and when they are found, bard scrolls resemble complicated sheet music – the notes to be played are written down, and supplementary notes concerning the timing of lyrics (if any) and other relevant information are written in code, such that they resemble musical notes, as well. This bardic code is a closely guarded secret, much like the meanings of the words intoned by magic-users, or thieves’ cant. As with thieves’ cant, the bardic code can also be used to convey simple messages or ideas; these are often written into mundane songs, and thus are detectable only by other bards.

 

As a bard advances in level, his or her repertoire of spell-songs - those that have been committed to memory, and the complexity of the songs that may be sung - will increase, as shown on the level advancement chart. Each spell-song may be sung only once per day, and all of them are committed to memory (except in the case of powerful mental attacks, such as feebleminding). This differs considerably from magic-users, who must memorise their spells, and clerics, who must pray for them. When singing a spell-song, the bard may choose whether or not to call forth the magical potential of the song itself. In this way, he or she may simply sing them for entertainment purposes, with no magical side effects on the patrons. It should be noted that the bard’s spell-song repertoire increases only until 20th level, after which no further improvements are possible.

DMs should also note that the number of spell-songs listed on this chart indicates how many songs of each level a bard may sing per day, and still be able to use their magical effects. Any magical song may be sung any number of times after its magic has been triggered, but it will possess no power until the next day. Until then, it is a mundane song, but still beautiful, nonetheless. Prior to singing any spell-song, a bard must decide whether or not to invoke its magical powers.

 

Once a bard reaches 9th level, he or she can write their own spell-songs, due to their accumulated knowledge and experience. The rules governing the creation of spell-songs are the same as those which apply to magic-users, and, assuming the spell-song was created successfully, the bard’s repertoire will be increased, but he or she will still not be able to exceed the maximum number of spell-songs for that level each day.

 

Instruments:

In order for most spell-songs to have any effect, a bard must have a magical musical instrument in his or her possession. This can be of any sort appropriate to the bard’s native culture, but it must be enchanted. A simple enchant iem cast by a magic-user would be sufficient, or a wish. Once an instrument has been enchanted, it may be used to play spell-songs. A bard’s instrument is likely his or her most prized possession, and he or she would be loath to part with it. The DM may decide to allow a starting bard PC to have his or her own magical instrument, much as magic-users have their own spell books at the start. If not, it would be easy to add one to any reasonably sized treasure hoard. t

 

Singing and Playing:

For spell-songs of levels 1-2, the bard only needs to play an instrument, or sing (this will be noted in the spell description), for one round prior to invoking the effects of the spell-song itself. Spell-songs of levels 3-5 generally require the bard to both sing and play an instrument for that one round (hence, woodwind instruments, such as flutes, are often unsuitable for such spell-songs, unless the song’s description notes otherwise). Spell-songs that are more combat-oriented (these are marked in italics on the chart below) often require the bard to sing and/or play an instrument for the spell-song’s duration, which is limited only by the bard’s Constitution. If for any reason the spell-song itself is interrupted, that attempt is ruined and cannot be tried again until the next day. It should also be mentioned that a bard may not employ the effects of more than one spell-song at a time - both will cancel each other out.


Bards may also ply their trade for money. If a bard is singing a mundane song, telling a story, or playing an instrument, he or she may earn up to 5 cp per person (5 gp per person if the audience consists of nobles). If the skill check is successful, the amount earned is 1 cp per person, plus an extra cp for every point scored under the skill. For example, if the bard’s singing skill is 14, and a 12 is rolled, then the amount earned will be 3 cp per person (1 cp plus an extra 2 cp for the two points rolled under 14). If a spell-song is played without invoking its magical effects, the amount earned for playing in front of a commoner audience should be in silver pieces instead of copper (for a maximum of 5 sp per person), while nobles might provide an additional 10-20% tip, in recognition of the fact that such songs are of exquisite beauty. In any case, a failed skill roll could result in a hostile audience.

 

Spell-Song List:

Having discussed the basic rules for magical bard songs, it is now necessary to present a list of spell-songs for use in any D&DŽ campaign. Please note that this list is by no means an exhaustive one. The names given are the titles of the songs. As with spells, each spell-song is described according to its duration, its range, and a brief description.


 

First Level

Second Level

Third Level

Fourth Level

Fifth Level

Eternal Wanderer

Bellow

Epic Battle

Breathstealer

Dance With Me

Faerie Lights

Flight Be True

Requiem Melody

Magic’s End

Fantasy

Lullaby

Guardian Angels

Song of Binding

Mind Render

Forgotten Thoughts

Moonlight Shadow

Hero’s Chant

Song of Freedom

Tempest

Rolls Of Thunder

Seeker of Magic

Tireless Hero

View From Afar

Truthtell

Satire

 


 

First Level Spell-Songs:

 

Eternal Wanderer:

Range: 10’ +2’/level of bard

Duration: 4 hours +1 hour/level of bard

Effect: Increases the movement rates of the recipients of this spell-song.

When performed, this spell-song allows the bard and anyone within his or her immediate vicinity to enjoy effects similar to that of the longstride spell known to the Shadow Elves. While the spell is in effect, the recipients’ movement rates are tripled, and they do not tire. In this way, many miles may be covered in a matter of hours, with no ill effects on the travellers. After singing this song, the travellers must spend an equivalent number of hours resting as were spent travelling.

 

Faerie Lights:

Range: 10’ + 10’/level of bard

Duration: 6 turns

Effect: Creates floating lights that provide a 30’ radius illumination.

This spell-song creates a series of shimmering lights that dance around any target, organic or not. They provide the same amount of light as a conventional light spell, providing enough light to illuminate an area with a radius of 30’. The lights themselves dance and flicker, seeming to have lives of their own. Apart from dazzling any creatures with animal intelligence or lower (save vs. paralysis or be stunned for 1d6 rounds), this song has no other effects.

 

Lullaby:

Range: 40’

Duration: 1d4 hours

Effect: Makes creatures within range fall asleep.

When sung, this spell-song puts a number of Hit Dice worth of living, sentient creatures equal to his or level, within range, fall asleep. Creatures whose Hit Dice is less than half of the bard’s level receive no saving throw; others may make a saving throw vs. Spells to avoid this spell-song’s effect. When performing this spell-song, the bard may choose which creatures will be affected, as long as the Hit Dice limit has not yet been reached, and as long as the target creatures remain within range. This means that if some creatures make their saving throws one round, they may succumb the following round if they remain within range, until the bard has sung a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score, after which no other creatures may be affected. Those who fall asleep can be awakened by shaking or poking them for 1d4 rounds, but otherwise will remain asleep for 1d4 hours. Only creatures of man-size or smaller may be affected by this spell-song.


Moonlight Shadow:

Range: 50'

Duration: 1d4 turns

Effect: Deepens surrounding shadows.

This spell-song may only be cast on a moonlit night, or in daytime in an area with considerable shadow. The bard calls to the shadows y singing or quietly playing this spell-song, causing them to appear to deepen and thicken over a period of 1d6 rounds. The spell-song affects an area of roughly 30' diameter. Once complete, the shadowy area grants the bard (or a thief or rake) a +25% bonus to his or her Hide in Shadows roll, or provides a flat 25% chance for non-thief classes to Hide in Shadows. The area of effect for this spell increases by 5' diameter, and the Hide roll bonus by 5%, for every three levels of the bard, to a maximum of 60' diameter and 55% bonus at 19th level. The range, duration, and casting time are unchanged.

 

Seeker of Magic:

Range: 0’ (bard only)

Duration: 6 turns

Effect: Detects magic within a 20’ x 20’ x 20’ area.

When sung, thus song reveals the magical nature of all magical items within the area of effect. All magical items, including those worn, will have a soft blue halo about them for the duration of the spell. There is a 3% chance per level that the bard can identify correctly the exact nature of the magical object(s) examined, as per the magic-user’s analyse spell - though he or she will not be able to find out the number of charges (if any).

 

Second Level Spell-Songs:

 

Bellow:

Range: 50’ + 5’/level of bard

Duration: 1 round

Effect: Creates a blasting cone of sound.

After singing this spell-song for one round, the bard may shout the next round, creating a cone of sonic force 40’ wide at its far end, which inflicts 2d6 damage on everyone within the area of effect. In addition, those within the cone must save vs. Death Ray or be deafened for six turns. Every three levels after 3rd level, the bard will inflict an additional 1d6 damage with this spell-song, such that a 6th level bard’s bellow will do 3d6 damage, up to a maximum of 13d6 damage at 36th level.

 

Flight Be True:

Range: 20’ + 10’/level of bard

Duration: Special

Effect: Temporarily enchants one arrow, quarrel, or sling stone each round.

This spell-song allows the bard to temporarily enchant one missile weapon attack each round, as long as he or she is singing and playing his or her instrument, and is succeeding in all required checks. That attack gains an extra +4 to hit, as well as the ability to injure creatures that would normally be immune to non-silvered or non-magical attacks, provided the creature is alive. The bard may sing this song for a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score, after which time he or she will pass out for 1d4 hours. If the spell-song is stopped before then, no ill effects result.

 

Guardian Angels:

Range: 15’ +5’/level of bard

Duration: 10 rounds

Effect: Improves the armour classes of the recipients temporarily.

Once sung, this spell-song emboldens the bard and other recipients, providing them with a bonus of -2 to their armour classes for the duration of the spell-song’s effect. This bonus is applied against all attacks made by opponents. This spell-song also renders the recipients, for its duration, immune to all effects from other spell-songs.

 

Hero’s Chant:

Range: 10’ +2’/level of bard

Duration: Special

Area of Effect: Inspires one’s allies to fight with renewed vigour.

This spell-song invigorates and inspires friendly combatants within range, conferring a bonus of +1 on all attack and damage rolls against opponents, a +1 to saving throws, and a +1 bonus to morale. Unlike other combat-oriented spell-songs, this one must be sung continuously in order for its effects to be enjoyed. The bard may sing this song for a length of time in rounds equivalent to his or her Constitution, after which he or she will fall unconscious for 1d4 turns. If he or she stops singing before this point, there are no ill effects.

 

Tireless Hero:

Range: 10’

Duration: Eight hours

Effect: Bard and anyone within 10’ may go without rest for eight hours.

When this song is sung, all within its area of effect will instantly feel as though they have just had a full night’s sleep. Any penalties for fatigue are eliminated, and parties otherwise needing to sleep for the night will be able to go without rest.  

The effects of this spell-song may not be utilised for more than three days in a row, nor may this song be sung more than four times a week. Otherwise, the bard and his or her companions will suffer penalties for fatigue as per the normal rules - the body can go without sleep only for a short while. After the spell-song’s duration expires, the recipients must rest for at least six hours, though a second casting will obviate this need. If this is done, the rest requirement would then be 12 hours, and this cannot be avoided by a third invocation of this spell-song.

 

Third Level Spell-Songs:

 

Epic Battle:

Range: 10’ +5’/level of bard

Duration: 12 rounds

Effect: Creates an illusory battle scene up to 20’ x 20’ x 20’ in size.

This spell-song allows the bard to create, from his or her imagination, any battle scene up to 20 feet cubed in size. The scene will be realistic, and is capable of moving with the bard - all those seeing it must save vs. Spells in order to recognise it as an illusion, otherwise they will be awed by what they see, and be stunned for 1d6 rounds. Most often, the scene is of an epic battle, or of a great hero defeating his foes. The images can be placed anywhere within range by the bard, such that the party can appear to be bolstered by several powerful-looking warriors or wizards. In any case, all images have an armour class of 9, and if touched will disappear. As with magic-user phantasma force spell, those “killed” by an illusion will fall unconscious, but only for 1d6 rounds. l

 

Requiem Melody:

Range: 120'

Duration: Special

Effect: Saddens 4d4 Hit Dice worth of creatures.

When the bard begins to sing this requiem, 4d4 Hit Dice worth of creatures, ogre-sized or smaller, become overcome with sorrow (-1 to attacks and damage, no save) and must make a saving throw vs. Spells in order to avoid the other effects of the spell-song. If the saving throw is successful, the penalty lasts only as long as the bard continues to play the song, which is a maximum of one round per Constitution point. If the saving throw fails, the victim falls into despair, mourning his or her ill fortune (real or imaginary), and unable to perform any action. This bout of depression can last for a maximum number of rounds equal the bard's Constitution (see rules above). The spell-song only works against intelligent (i.e., those with an Intelligence of 3 or higher) creatures. Whether or not the bard stops singing before a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution has passed, he or she must make a Wisdom check to hold off the negative emotional energies that were summoned with the spell-song. If the save succeeds, the bard is stunned for 1d4 rounds; if it fails, the bard passes out for one round per round spent singing.

 

Song of Binding:

Range: 30' + 10'/level of bard

Duration: 1 round/level of bard

Effect: Paralyses up to four creatures.

This spell-song is similar to the magic user spell hold person. The bard can paralyse up to four creatures of Medium size (up to 7' tall), two creatures of Large size (7+' to 12' tall), or one creature of Huge size (12+' to 25' tall); it has no effect on creatures greater than 25' in height (Gargantuan size). The victims must be within the range of the spell-song and must listen to the song for at least one round in order to be affected. Each victim can avoid the effects by making a successful saving throw vs. Paralysis, otherwise they are convinced that they are paralysed. The paralysis lasts for one round per level of the bard and can be dispelled in the normal ways (such as the spell free person), or by the reverse of this song (see below).

 

Song of Freedom:

Range: 30' + 10'/level of bard

Duration: 1 round/level of bard

Effect: Frees up to four creatures within range from the effects of paralysis.

This spell is the opposite of the spell-song called Song of Binding. It has the same range and characteristics of that spell-song, and can be used to permanently negate all paralysing effects in the area (from spells such as hold person, as well as ghouls’ touches). As long as the duration lasts, all paralysed creatures within range are filled with nefound energy, and are allowed a new saving throw vs. Paralysis each round to free themselves of any paralysing effect that is holding them.

 

View From Afar:

Range: 0’ (bard only)

Duration: 3 turns

Effect: Allows the bard to see places up to five miles away.

The effects of this spell-song are much like that of a crystal ball. Upon singing the song, the bard can see any location up to five miles away. He or she only needs to know the name of the place, and a brief description, in order to see it. His or her point of view of this location can rotate up to 360 degrees at will, but cannot move. The bard may look at different locations within the duration by naming different places and descriptions, and so may obtain a form of “movement” in this way, though far less accurate than that of a wizard eye spell. This spell-song cannot allow the bard to see through solid objects, or at any place shielded by magical wards or enchantments. Also, while the spell-song is in effect, the bard is in a trance-like state; there is no awareness of surroundings or events. Should the bard be injured in any way, his or her concentration is broken, and the spell-song is ruined.

 

Fourth Level Spell-Songs:

 

Breathstealer:

Range: 20' + 10'/level of bard

Duration: Special

Effect: Suffocates anyone within an area measuring 30'x30'x30'.

When sung by the bard, anyone within a 30’ cube within range must save vs. Spells at -2, for each round in which the spell-song is in effect, or think they are beginning to suffocate. As long as the bard sings, the victims must make a save every round, losing three points of Constitution temporarily if they fail, losing nothing if they make it. In either case they are able to move normally, though those failing their save must make a Constitution check (at the reduced score if they failed a saving throw) in order to do so while they are within the area of effect. Every time the victim fails the saving throw, another three points of Constitution is lost. Victims within the area of effect who have failed their saving throw also have their movement rates halved as long as they are suffocating. In addition to this, suffocating victims cannot cast spells, speak, or make any attacks, and death will result if their Constitution score reaches zero. The bard may sing this song for as many rounds as he or she has Constitution points. Should the bard sing until his or her Constitution reaches zero, he or she will pass out for 2d6 rounds. It should be noted that everyone within the area of effect (including a bard’s friends!) will be affected by this spell-song. Lost points of Constitution are regained at 1d3 points per full day of rest.

 

Magic’s End:

Range: 60’

Duration: Permanent

Effect: Nullifies magical effects within a cube measuring 20’x20’x20’ in size.

When sung or played by the bard, this spell-song will instantly dispel all spells and spell effects within a 20’ cubed area up to 60’ away. Unlike the mage spell dispel magic, there is always a chance that the target(s) of this spell-song may resist this effect. The base chance is 20% for all spells and spell effects of a level equal to or lower than that of the bard performing this spell-song. This chance increases by 5% for every level of difference between the spell and the bard. For example, an 8th level bard wishes to dispel a cloudkill spell cast by a 12th level mage. The spell has a 40% chance of resisting the spell-song’s dispelling effect (base 20% chance, plus 20% for four levels of difference). The same rules apply for dispelling spell-like effects - except that the DM must estimate the level of the mage who crafted the item in order to determine its resistance factor.

 

Mind Render:

Range: 50’

Duration: Special

Effect: Induces primal fear in anyone within range.

This spell-song, when sung or played, induces in every sentient being within the area of effect an insane fear of all that is around them, unless they make a saving throw vs. Spells at a -2 penalty each round they are in the area of effect. Those who make this save each round, or who leave the area, are unaffected. Those who fail any save while in the area instantly become delusional - fearing that everyone around them is out to get them. There is a 50% chance each round thereafter that they will launch into a frenzied assault on the nearest person, regardless of whether they are friend or foe. All such attacks are made at an additional +1 to hit and damage, on top of regular Strength bonuses. This effect will occur even if the victim who failed his or her saving throw leaves the area of effect, and will last for a number of hours equal to the level of the bard. This effect may be removed by a normal remove curse spell, a wish, or any other magical means of removing enchantments. The bard may perform this spell-song for a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score. If he or she does not stop playing before then, the bard may maintain this spell-song, but must make a save vs. Spells each round, or fall under the same effects as the intended victims. It should be noted that this spell-song is indiscriminate, affecting everyone within the area of effect - even a bard’s friends.


Tempest:

Range: 0’ (bard only)

Duration: Special

Effect: Creates illusory weather conditions within 120 yards.

When performed, this spell-song allows the bard to create illusory weather conditions in a 120-yard area, centred on him- or herself. This spell-song must be performed outdoors, and the effect may move with the bard as long as he or she continues performing. In many ways, this spell-song works in much the same way as the druidic weather conrol spell. The bard may select a weather pattern with which he or she is familiar, and create a realistic illusion of it. Those caught within the effect (except the bard’s companions) must make a save vs. Spells to see through the illusion, otherwise they will believe it is real, and will suffer its effects. Typical weather conditions, and their effects on those who fail the save, could include the following: t r

            • Rain: All missile fire within the area of effect is penalised by –2, the ground appears to become muddy after 12 rounds (all those affected by the illusion move at half normal rates);

            • Fog: Visibility is reduced to 20’, movement rates are effectively halved, and people may get lost;

            • High winds: Missile fire and flying is impossible, movement rates are halved; and

            • Snow: Visibility is reduced to 20’, movement rates are halved.

 

The bard may perform this spell-song for a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score, after which he or she may continue the spell-song, but must save vs. Spells each round or pass out for 1d6 rounds due to the exertion. If the bard stops performing before that time, no ill effects result.

 

Truthtell:

Range: 50’

Duration: 5 questions

Effect: Makes one person provide information freely.

After being performed for one round, this spell-song allows the bard to select one individual within range, and compel him or her to answer up to five questions truthfully. The victim of this spell is not chamed, but he or she cannot disobey the bard. The answer to each question will be given as fully as possible, including the victim’s opinions and inner thoughts on the subject matter – nothing can be held back. Details that the victim does not remember, or of which he or she was unaware, cannot be obtained by this spell-song. Once the questioning is over, the victim will not remember the experience, and will return to “reality” in another three rounds, after which he or she will be slightly disoriented. At the DM’s discretion, victims may be allowed a save vs. Spells every week to recall the questioning.

 

Fifth Level Spell Songs:

 

Dance With Me:

Range: 0’ (bard only)

Duration: Up to one round per Constitution point

Effect: Makes people within 30’ of the bard dance wildly.

This spell-song is very similar to the magic-user spell dance. In this case, the bard plays his or her instrument and all those who are within 30' of the bard, and who fail their save vs. Spells, begin to dance uncontrollably following the rhythm of the song. While they dance they cannot cast spells, fight or dodge, and cannot activate magical objects. They are totally caught up in the dance and do not pay attention to anything else around them. They move following the source of the sounds and cannot thus exit the area of effect of the spell-song, unless somebody pulls them away by force (a Strength check is required). If they are somehow hurt while dancing, they ignore the pain and keep on dancing. The victims of this spell suffer the following penalties: -4 to their saving throws; -4 to every skill check; and their armour class is calculated using only their magical bonuses and without the shield (if any). The bard may continue playing this wild spell-song for a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score; if he or she stops, the whole effect ends. The effect can be cancelled also via a Magic's End spell-song or a silence spell; dispel magic has no effect whatsoever.

 

Fantasy:

Range: 120’

Duration: Special

Effect: Induces hallucinations in up to 15 Hit Dice of creatures within range.

When invoking this spell-song, the bard can affect up to 25 Hit Dice worth of creatures (i.e., one 25 HD creature, five 5 HD creatures, 25 1 HD creatures, or any other combination). The player indicates which creature(s) he or she wishes the bard to target, and the DM secretly determines how many of those creatures are affected. From the 25 Hit Dice maximum, the DM should first subtract the larger Hit Die creatures, and then apportion the remainder (if any) among the weaker creatures. If any Hit Dice are left over, either because all of the creatures have been affected, or because there are not enough to affect the remainder, they are lost. Once the creatures have been chosen, they must save vs. Spells or succumb to a vivid combination of audio and visual hallucinations. So intense are these sensations that the affected creature(s) cannot interact with the outside world in any way; they will literally believe they are in another world, devised by the bard through his or her singing and playing. As such, the bard can create almost any experience desired for those affected by the spell-song, though violent hallucinations may result in the victims striking out wildly with their weapons (the DM should determine whether such attacks might hit anyone). This effect may be maintained for a number of rounds equal to the bard’s Constitution score. If the number of rounds equal to that score have passed, the bard may maintain the spell-song, but he or she must make a save vs. Spells every round to avoid experiencing a sensory overload, which will stun the bard for 2d6 rounds. There are no ill effects if the bard ends the spell-song before his or her Constitution limit is reached, though the creatures affected by the spell will be stunned for 1d6 rounds due to the sudden shift back to reality.

 

Forgotten Thoughts:

Range: 30'

Duration: Permanent

Effect: Makes one victim forget something.

By playing this spell-song, the bard hypnotises the victim and makes him or her forget something stored in their memory. The victim who fails their save vs. Spells finds themselves staring blankly at the bard who continues playing while whispering to him or her to forget a specific thing. In order for this power to function correctly, three things are needed:

            a) the victim must understand the bard's language and hear him/her;

            b) the bard must know what to erase from the victim's memory; and

            c) the victim must have an Intelligence score of 17 or lower (it does not affect geniuses).

 

The bard can erase from the victim's mind a single memory (for example the name of a person or the location of a hideout or even a spell stored in his or her mind), or they can erase a brief period of the victim’s memory, up to one hour per level (for example, a 11th level bard could say: "You will forget everything you did yesterday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm" or "on Ambyrmont the 23rd" or "on Nuwmont the 4th of AC 989"). There is no limitation to the point in the past the memory can go.

This spell-song does not make a spellcasting victim forget all of his or her spells; only one (chosen by the bard, provided he or she knows what spells the victim memorised). Memory lost as a result of this spell-song can only be regained via a wish, a psychic surgery or a restoraion spell cast by a cleric of higher level than the bard. t

 

Rolls Of Thunder:

Range: 120’

Duration: 1 round

Effect: Creates a thunderous wave of sonic force.

This spell-song produces a great blast of sound from the bard’s instrument at the end of the round in which it is played, which affects all creatures standing in front of the bard, in a cone 120’ long and 60’ wide at its far end. Those within the cone are buffeted by the sonic wave, and receive 2d8 points of damage (they may save vs. Dragon Breath for half damage). In addition, all victims must save vs. Death Ray or be blown over by the blast. No additional damage is taken if the save fails, but victims will be stunned for 1d6 rounds. Every five levels after 11th level, the bard will inflict an additional 1d8 damage per victim with this spell-song, up to a maximum of 7d8 damage at 36th level (although victims may still save for half damage).

 

Satire:

Range: Special

Duration: Special

Effect: Curses one being.

This spell-song is one of the most potent weapons in a bard’s armoury; it enables the bard to place a form of curse on a single individual who has wronged him or her, or those whose side he or she takes. Each use of this spell requires the bard to compose and write a new song (a process that takes at least one week), lambasting the chosen target in a particular way; the song should generate derision, contempt, or dislike for the target in those who hear it. A skill roll (using the lowest score of the bard’s three required skills) is required at its completion, to see if it succeeds in evoking the effect the bard wants; failing this roll means that the bard must start again, with -1 penalty on the next skill roll. If the attempt fails three times (cumulative penalty), the bard may not Satirise that individual until he or she gains at least two more levels.

If the attempt succeeds, the bard may cast the spell by playing the song in front of an audience of no less than 20 people. The target need not be in the audience, or even in the same country, but must nevertheless make a Saving Throw vs. Spells (with -1 on the roll for each 10 people who hear the Saire’s debut performance) or be affected by the curse. This may be anything from a penalty to saving throws, to a reduction in one characteristic (no more than two points), to some physical effect - an obscenely long nose, for instance, or the sound of a donkey braying when the cursed person speaks; anything which makes a suitable punishment for the target’s "crime". t

The effect of the curse lasts for as long as people remember, and continue to sing, the satirical song; if no further performances are given, the effect fades in about a week. A wronged bard is a vengeful creature, however, and is likely to perform the Satire as often as necessary, and to as many people as possible, to keep it going. The task may be made easier if fellow bards and minstrels can be convinced to take up the Satire - two (or ten, or twenty) bards can spread a song much more effectively than one, after all. No bard may have more than one Satire in operation at once; this includes those relaying another bard’s Satire.

The subject of the Satire is entitled to an additional save once per month, for as long as the curse continues; if successful, he or she is freed from its effects forever. The power to Satirise someone is the most important ability, and most sacred trust, held by the bards; they never use it for frivolous or trivial purposes. If a bard should ever stoop to such an act (DM’s judgement), he or she may find the effects of the curse rebounding threefold.

 

Higher Experience Levels

Upon reaching 9th level – or Name level, as it is sometimes called – a bard has the option of building a stronghold, or of becoming a traveling bard, as per the guidelines below.

 

Land-Owning Bards:

Name level bards may construct a conservatory (which can be in any form, such as a building in a town, a tower, or anything that strikes the bard’s fancy - but the bard must finance the construction), which will attract 1d8 first level bards, who wish to commence training or add to their repertoires. They will be loyal, but will not sacrifice themselves for the PC, who will have to replace them if they leave or are killed. At a conservatory a Name-level bard may teach novices, research new spell-songs, store the lore of heroes, or learn of unsung epic deeds from travelling bards (see below). For many smaller towns, conservatories are a source of information on great historical events and people, as well as legends.

 

Land-owning bards are also required, by the unspoken code of their trade, to provide shelter to any travelling bard who requests it, as well as allow such visitors to avail themselves of any historical lore that is available. In most cases this is beneficial to both bards - the traveller gets a temporary place to stay, and the host obtains news of the outside world and can provide his or her students with another teacher for a while.

 

Travelling Bards:

If a Name level bard chooses to become a travelling bard, they may never decide to construct a conservatory afterwards. Travelling bards have a chance (once per month, at the DM’s discretion) of learning of epic deeds for which no song has been written. This is in the form of rumours or chance encounters, and this provides opportunities for them to meet great heroes and travel with them for a while, earning some experience along the way while composing an appropriate tribute. This sort of information is of a greater depth or obscurity than could otherwise be obtained with the Gather Information skill. Travelling bards may also take refuge in any conservatory they find, and use the resources therein to further their own studies, but they must repay the hospitality by offering to assist in the teaching of any students that might be there.

 

Further Advancement:

As the bardic profession is rather small and tightly knit, with its secrets guarded jealously, there are very few high-level bards, who are known as Meistersingers (those of 21st level or greater). To attain this rank, a 20th level bard must make their way, once they have enough experience points to advance to the next level, to one of the greater conservatories, and undergo a test to determine their suitability for advancement. This test can take many forms, but often consists of displays of musical and storytelling talent, and possibly a duel. The aspirant will be matched with a Meistersinger of one level higher than him- or herself, who will administer the test. If the applicant succeeds (the DM is encouraged to run the test as a roleplaying opportunity), he or she will be able to advance to the next level. Those who fail must wait one month before trying again. In the meantime, they may continue to gain experience points through adventuring, but they will not advance in level until they pass the test. This process must be undertaken each time the bard wishes to advance in level beyond 20th, until they reach 36th level, after which they will become one of the six Master Bards.

 

Demihuman Bards:

As with certain other classes, demihumans (elves, dwarves, halflings, and the like) may become bards. The notes below discuss the rules associated with each race in terms of their advancement and saving throws.

 

Dwarves: Dwarven bards advance and save as dwarves equal to their level. A dwarven bard cannot also be a cleric. Upon reaching 10th level, the dwarf may choose either to continue advancing as a dwarf (and thereby he or she will gain the dwarven fighter options and abilities, but will not progress further as a bard), or as a bard (and thereby will continue to improve his or her bardic abilities, but will not gain the fighting abilities normally available to dwarves at higher levels). If the latter option is chosen, use the expanded demihuman experience table provided in the Rules Encyclopaedia, and continue spell-song progression according to the table provided in this supplement, equating dwarven level with bardic level for spell-song progression purposes.

 

Elves: Elven bards advance and save as normal elves until 10th level, after which they may, as per the rules from the Elves of Afheim Gazetteer, advance as an elf mage (and increase their magical powers, but not their bardic or fighting abilities), an elf lord (improving their fighting skills while their bardic and magical powers do not advance), or as an elf bard (bardic abilities continue to improve, but fighting and magical abilities do not). As with dwarves, elves should follow the expanded demihuman level progression table given in the Rules Encyclopaedia, and continue spell-song progression according to the table provided in this document. l

 

Halflings: Halfling bards advance and save as regular bards, and will gain the racial immunities normally available to halflings at higher levels, when their experience point total is the amount required for obtaining them. They will not gain the special fighter abilities normally available to halflings.

 

Lupins and Rakastas: These two races can also be bards; in fact, there are several good kits to use with these races if you use the AD&D™ rules system. If you are using the D&DŽ rules, then both of these races advance and save as regular bards, and start game play as 2 HD creatures, as per the rules in DragonŽ magazine. Racial abilities, such as the lupin’s perception sense and detect invisible ability, and the rakasta’s infravision, are retained. The one-time penalties for these races (-2,000 XP for lupins, and -2,200 XP for rakasta) must still be overcome before the character can progress to 2nd level.