Bards

 

Ability Requirements:  Dexterity 12, Intelligence 13, Charisma 15
Prime Requisite:  Dexterity, Charisma
Allowed Races:  Human, Half-Elf

The bard makes his way in life by his charm, talent, and wit.  A good bard should be glib of tongue, light of heart, and fleet of foot (when all else fails).  A bard can be lawful, neutral, or chaotic, good or evil, but must always be partially neutral.  Only by retaining some amount of detachment can he successfully fulfill his role as a bard (therefore only Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Good or Neutral Evil).

A bard with a Dexterity score and Charisma score of 16 or more gains a 10 percent bonus to the experience points he earns.  All bards use the table below to determine their advancement in levels a they gain experience points.  All bards gain one six-sided Hit Die (1d6) per level from 1st through 10th.  After 10th level, bards earn 2 hp per level and no longer receive additional hit point bonuses for high Constitution scores.

BARD EXPERIENCE LEVELS

Level

Bard

Hit Dice (d6)

1

           0

1
2     1,250 2
3     2,500 3
4     5,000 4
5    10,000 5
6    20,000 6
7    40,000 7
8    70,000 8
9  110,000 9
10   160,000 10
11   220,000 10+2
12  440,000 10+4
13  660,000 10+6
14   880,000 10+8
15 1,100,000 10+10
16 1,320,000 10+12
17 1,540,000 10+14
18 1,760,000 10+16
19 1,980,000 10+18
20 2,200,000 10+20

A bard, by nature, tends to learn many different skills.  He is a jack-of-all-trades but master of none.  Although he fights as a rogue, he can use any weapon.  He can wear any armor up to, and including, chain mail, but he cannot use a shield.

All bards are proficient singers, chanters, or vocalists and can play a musical instrument of the player's choice (preferably one that is portable).  Additional instruments can be learned with proficiencies.  The bard can learn two instruments for every proficiency slot spent.

In his travels, a bard also manages to learn a  few wizard spells.  Like a wizard, a bard's Intelligence determines the number of spells he can know and the chance to know any given spell.  These he keeps in his spell book, abiding by all the restrictions on memorization and spell use that bind a mage, especially in the prohibition of armor.  Hence, a bard will tend to use his spells more to entertain and impress than to fight.  The table below lists the number of spells a bard can cast at each level.

BARD SPELL PROGRESSION

Bard Level

Spell Level
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - - - - - -
2 1 - - - - -
3 2 - - - - -
4 2 1 - - - -
5 3 1 - - - -
6 3 2 - - - -
7 3 2 1 - - -
8 3 3 1 - - -
9 3 3 2 1 - -
10 3 3 2 1 - -
11 3 3 3 2 - -
12 3 3 3 2 - -
13 3 3 3 3 1 -
14 3 3 3 3 1 -
15 3 3 3 3 2 -
16 4 3 3 3 2 1
17 4 4 3 3 3 1
18 4 4 4 3 3 2
19 4 4 4 4 3 2
20 4 4 4 4 4 3

Since bards are dabblers rather than full-time wizards, their spells tend to be gained by serendipity and happenstance.  In no case can a bard choose to specialize in a school of magic.  Beginning bards do not have a selection of spells.  A 2nd- level bard begins with one to four spells, chosen either randomly or by the DM.  (An Intelligence check must still be made to see if the bard can learn a given spell.)  The bard is not guaranteed to know read magic, as this is not needed to read the writings in a spell book.  The bard can add new spells to his spell book as he finds them, but he does not automatically gain additional spells as he advances in level.  All spells beyond those he starts with must be found during the course of adventuring.  The bard's casting level is equal to his current level.

Combat and spells, however, are not the main strength of the bard.  His expertise is in dealing and communicating with others.  To this end, the bard has a number of special powers.  The base percentage for each power is listed on the table below.  This base percentage must be adjusted for the race and Dexterity of the bard as given in the Thief description.  After all adjustments are made, the player must distribute (however he chooses) 20 additional percentage points to the various special abilities.  Thereafter, each time the character advances a level, he receives an additional 15 points to distribute.

BARD ABILITIES
Climb Walls:  50%
Detect Noise:  20%
Pick Pockets:  10%
Read Languages:  5%

Bard abilities are subject to modifiers for situation and armor as per the thief (see the Thief description for a complete explanation).

Climb Walls enables a bard to climb near sheer surfaces without the aid of tools, just like the thief.

Detect Noise improves the bard's chance of hearing and interpreting sounds.  He may be able to overhear parts of a conversation on the other side of a door o pick up the sound of something stalking the party.  To use the ability, the bard must stand unhelmeted and concentrate for one round (one minute).  During this time, all other party members must remain silent.  The DM secretly makes the check and informs the player of the result.

Pick Pockets enables the bard not only to filch small purses, wallets, keys and the like, but also to perform small feats of sleight-of-hand (useful for entertain crowds).  Complete details on pickpocketing (and your character's chances of getting caught) can be found in the Thief description.

Read Languages is an important ability, since words are the meat and drink of bards.  They have some ability to read documents written in languages they do not know, relying on words and phrases they have picked up in their studies and travels.  The percentage given is the chance to puzzle out a foreign tongue.  It also represents the degree of comprehension the bard has if he is successful.  The DM can rule that a language is too rare or unfamiliar, especially if it has never been previously encounter by the bard, effectively foiling his attempts to translate it.  At the other extreme, the bard need not make the dice roll for any language he is proficient in.  Success is assumed to be automatic in such cases.

The bard can also influence reactions of groups of NPCs.  When performing before a group that is not attacking (and not intending to attack in just seconds), the bard can try to alter the mood of the listeners.  He can try to soften their mood or make it uglier.  The method can be whatever is most suitable to the situation at the moment--a fiery speech, collection of jokes, a sad tale, a fine tune played on a fiddle, a haunting lute melody, or a heroic song from the old homeland.  Everyone in the group listening must roll a saving throw versus paralyzation (if the crowd is large, make saving throws for groups of people using average hit dice).  The die roll is modified by -1 for every three experience levels of the bard (round fractions down).  If the saving roll fails, the group's reaction can be shifted one level, toward either the friendly or hostile end of the scale, at the player's option.  Those who make a successful saving throw have their reaction shifted one level toward the opposite end of the scale.

This ability cannot affect people in the midst of battle; it is effective only when the audience has time to listen.  Furthermore, the form of entertainment used must be appropriate to the audience.  A bard might be able to calm (or enrage) a bear with music, but he won't have much luck telling jokes to orcs unless he speaks their language.

The music, poetry, and stories of the bard can also be inspiration, rallying friends and allies.  If the exact nature of an impending threat is known, the bard can heroically inspire his companions (immortalizing them in word and song), granting a +1 bonus to attack rolls or a +1 bonus to saving throws, or a +2 bonus to morale (particularly useful in large battles) to those involved in melee.  The bard must spend at least three full rounds singing or reciting before the battle begins.  This affects those within a range of 10 feet per experience level of the bard.

The effect lasts one round per level.  Once the effect wears off, it can't be renewed if the recipients are still in battle.  However, troops who have withdrawn from combat can be reinspired by the bard's words.

Bards are also able to counter the effect of songs and poetry used as magical attacks.  Characters within 30 feet of the bard are immune to the attack as long as the bard sings a counter song (or recites a poem, etc.).  While doing this, the bard can perform no other action except a slow walk.  Furthermore, if he is struck or fails a saving throw, his effort is ruined.  Success is checked by having the bard make a saving throw versus spell.  Success blocks the attack, failure means the attack has its normal effect (everyone affected rolls saving throws, normal damage is inflicted, etc.).  The bard can use this ability once per encounter or battle.  This power does not affect verbal spell components or command words; it is effective against spells that involve explanations, commands, or suggestions.

Finally, bards learn a little bit of everything in their studies and travels.  Thus all bards can read and write their native tongue (if a written language exists) and all know local history (without nonweapon proficiency cost).  Furthermore, bards have a 5 percent chance per experience level to identify the general purpose and function of any magical item.  The bard need not handle the item but must examine it closely.  Even if successful, the exact function of the item is not revealed, only its general nature.  This ability does not enable him to identify an item's exact properties, only its history and background.  He has no idea of its bonuses or penalties, or any special magical powers, except as can be inferred from the histories.

Being something of a warrior, a bard can build a stronghold and attract followers upon reaching 9th level.  The bard attracts 10d6 0th-level soldiers into his service.  They arrive over a period of time, but they are not automatically replaced if lost in battle.  Of course, a bard can build a stronghold any time, but no followers arrive until he reaches 9th level.

Upon reaching 10th level, a bard can attempt to use magical devices of written nature--scrolls, books, etc.  However, his understanding of magic is imperfect (although better than that of a thief), so there is a 15% chance that any written item he uses is read incorrectly.  When this happens, the magical power works the opposite of what is intended, generally to the detriment of the bards or his friends.  The DM will tell you what happens to your character, based on the situation and particular magical item.  The result may be unpleasant, deadly, or embarrassing.


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