Monday, 17 February 2014

Bards: here we go

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about bards. I’m not able to find a version of this class that makes me happy, and so I have decided to do it myself. In AD&D 1e the bard is really a mess, requiring the character to be first a fighter, then a thief, and finally a bard; the 2nd edition bard is uninspiring, and OSRIC’s is too complicated for my taste.
I want a bard with simple rules, some combat effectiveness and no thief skills! I understand the jack-of-all-trades angle, but I find that bards and thieves are not in the least related.
Here is what I think could be an interesting approach to the bard class: d8 for hit points, clerics’ attack and saving throws matrices, limited armour (chain mail and elfin chain mail are the best ones a bard can wear), some good weapons, some spells (a mix from almost all spell-casting lists, with a unique bards’ spell), a chance to read language and a chance to identify magical objects.
I’ve based the experience (and spells) progression upon OSRIC’s bard, and I think that a word of caution is necessary: this rules have not yet been tested, though I hope to see “my” bard in action sooner or later (maybe if I kill one or two characters in my campaign I could “suggest” a bard as next PC... let me think about it).


And if someone wants to have a try and is willing to give me some feedback, I’ll be truly grateful!

THE BARD

Hit dice: d8.
Ability requirements: Strength 10, Intelligence 15, Wisdom 13, Dexterity 13, Constitution 10, Charisma 15
Experience bonus (+10%): both Intelligence and Charisma 16 or more.
Alignment: any Neutral.
Amour: leather, studded leather, chain mail, elfin chain mail.
Weapons: club, dagger, dart, javelin, sling, scimitar, spear, quarterstaff, broadsword, longsword, shortsword, short bow.
Initial number of weapons: 2
Non-proficiency penalty: -4
Added proficiencies in weapons, per level: 1/4
Starting money: 20-160mo (2d8)

Experience points
Level
HD
Spells
Lore
Read language



1
2
3
4
5


0 – 2.000
1
1
1
-
-
-
-
0%
0%
2.001 – 4.000
2
2
2
-
-
-
-
1%
5%
4.001 – 8.000
3
3
3
-
-
-
-
2%
10%
8.001 – 16.000
4
4
3
1
-
-
-
5%
15%
16.001 – 33.000
5
5
3
2
-
-
-
8%
20%
33.001 – 67.000
6
6
3
3
-
-
-
11%
25%
67.001 – 135.000
7
7
3
3
1
-
-
14%
30%
135.001 – 270.000
8
8
3
3
2
-
-
18%
35%
270.001 – 500.000
9
9
3
3
3
-
-
22%
40%
500.001 – 750.000
10
9+2
3
3
3
1
-
26%
45%
750.001 – 1.000.000
11
9+4
3
3
3
2
-
31%
50%
1.000.001 – 1.300.000
12
9+6
3
3
3
3
-
36%
55%
1.300.001 – 1.600.000
13
9+8
3
3
3
3
1
41%
60%
1.600.001 – 1.900.000
14
9+10
3
3
3
3
2
46%
65%
1.900.001 – 2.250.000
15
9+12
4
3
3
3
3
51%
70%
2.250.001 – 2.600.000
16
9+14
4
4
3
3
3
57%
75%
2.600.001 – 2.950.000
17
9+16
4
4
4
3
3
63%
79%
2.950.001 – 3.300.000
18
9+18
5
4
4
4
4
69%
82%
3.300.001 – 3.700.000
19
9+20
5
4
4
4
4
75%
84%
3.700.001 – 4.150.000
20
9+22
5
5
4
4
4
81%
85%
4.150.001 – 4.650000
21
9+23
5
5
5
4
4
87%
86%
4.650.001 – 5.400.000
22
9+24
5
5
5
5
4
93%
87%
5.400.001
23
9+25
5
5
5
5
5
99%
88%

+2 Hit Point per level after the 9th.

Spells
- Bards can cast spells even while wearing allowed armour.
- Since they actually are “songs of power”, all bard spells require a vocal component.
- A bard does not need a spellbook: every spell, once learned, is never forgotten. Learnt spells are however not always available: they must be prepared (usually as soon as the bard wakes up in the morning). The bard decides every day which spells he memorises (requiring the standard resting and studying time, as per DMG pag40), picking them from the ones he knows.
- A first level bard knows two random spells from the first level spells’ list. Roll d10 twice. If both dice roll the same result, the player can freely choose the second spell.
- Bards have a chance to learn new spells as magic users do, and their Intelligence score determines how many spells/level they can learn (minimum and maximum number).
- Bards acquire new spells by learning them from their teachers during the training time or by finding them while adventuring. A teacher normally allows a bard to add a single spell to his list during the training time.
- Scrolls with bard spells do exist. Only bards may us them. A bard scroll can be used to cast a spell directly from it or to study the spell(s) in order to add it to one’s spell list, exactly as magic users do.
Read languages: the percentage shows both the chance to understand a written text and the overall comprehension of the document.
Lore: the percentage shows the chance to identify magical objects, and is modified by +1% per 1,000gp (or fraction thereof) of value of the item.
Attack and saving throws: bards use the same attack and saving throws matrices as clerics/druids.
Permitted races: only humans, elves and half-elves can become bards.

Bard spells
LEVEL 1
1
Speak with animals
Druids 1
2
Charm person*
Magic users 1
3
Detect magic
Magic users 1
4
Friends
Magic users 1
5
Audible glamer
Illusonists 1
6
Change self
Illusonists 1
7
Hypnotism
Illusonists 1
8
Phantasmal force
Illusonists 1
9
Bless
Clerics 1
10
Remove fear
Clerics 1
LEVEL 2
1
Barkskin
Druids 2
2
Charm person or mammal**
Druids 2
3
Fools gold
Magic users 2
4
Forget
Magic users 2
5
Pyrotechnics
Magic users 2
6
Scare
Magic users 2
7
Strength
Magic users 2
8
Deafness
Illusonists 2
9
Misdirection
Illusonists 2
10
Peaceful sleep
Bards 2
LEVEL 3
1
Hold animal
Druids 3
2
Plant growth
Druids 3
3
Protection from fire
Druids 3
4
Clairaudience
Magic users 3
5
Haste
Magic users 3
6
Slow
Magic users 3
7
Suggestion
Magic users 3
8
Tongues
Magic users 3
9
Dispel illusion
Illusonists 3
10
Fear
Illusonists 3
LEVEL 4
1
Animal summoning I
Druids 4
2
Hold plant
Druids 4
3
Protection from lightning
Druids 4
4
Speak with plants
Druids 4
5
Charm monster **
Magic users 4
6
Confusion
Magic users 4
7
Fumble
Magic users 4
8
Hold person
Magic users 3
9
Bestow curse †
Magic users 4
10
Emotion
Illusonists 4
LEVEL 5
1
Animal growth
Druids 5
2
Animal summoning II
Druids 5
3
Commune with nature
Druids 5
4
Contact other plane
Magic users 5
5
Feeblemind
Magic users 5
6
Hold monster
Magic users 5
7
Chaos
Illusonists 5
8
Maze
Illusonists 5
9
Quest
Clerics 5
10
True seeing
Clerics 5
* bards can reverse this spell (on the spur of the moment, without need to memorise the reversed version) in order to get a kind of remove charm: they bestow a +4 bonus on a single creature’s saving throws against charm spells for one turn, or they allow and immediate, additional saving throw to a victim of a charm spell; this saving throw is made with a +1 bonus for every level of the bard.
** this spell is actually a more powerful and encompassing version of the first level spell charm person, and like the latter it can be reversed (q. v.).
† this spell is the reversed version of remove curse; bards can only bestow curses, and cannot remove them.


New spell


Peaceful sleep [Enchantment/Charm]

Level: 2                                                                                Components: V, S, M
Range: 6”                                                                            Casting time: 1 turn
Duration: Permanent                                                        Saving Throw: None
Area of effect: One creature per 3 levels of the bard

The bard’s playing and singing soothe the wounded target and induce a particularly resting sleep. If it can sleep for at least 8 hours, the target wakes up fully rested, having recovered 1-8 plus the bard’s level hit points. If the sleep is interrupted, the spell has no effect. The material component is the bard’s instrument, which must be played while the bard gently sings a lullaby.

(peaceful sleep has been developed by the great wizard-druid FMP, whom I thank for letting me use it!)

3 comments:

  1. You might be interested in the Adventures Dark and Deep bard, which has a lot of custom, sound-based, spells and skills more attuned to verbal patter than thieving. It's also a "normal" class, not requiring one to be a fighter and a thief beforehand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I have not read Adventures Dark and Deep, but now I'm curious...

      Delete
  2. I think the prime attribute for a Bard is Charisma. Intelligence is secondary, as it would for most other classes.

    ReplyDelete