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Telok
2006-11-14, 10:49 PM
A few things in my current game led to my making this prestige class. First off my party has been looking to me for leadership recently. This isn't really my thing most of the time and my current character is definately not a leader type. So I was thinking that after a short decent into paranoid psychosis leading to character retirement I could introduce them to a real leader type.

Enter the bard. Bards are not only the perfect leader character but also fills some moderately glaring holes in the party (tho you'd think that after six months and 3+ characters each one of them would have made a skill/social character, I just haven't ever died). Unfortunately bards have one major weakness, combat. I'm simply quite unimpressed with 15th+ level combat options for straight up bards and don't want to play a heavy caster anymore. I wouldn't really worry too much about this except that the last time I missed a game four people died... badly. The party has come to depend on my current character to "pull the bacon out of the fire" when things go bad. That and a knack for planning and tatics is sort of what defaulted me into a quasi-leadership role.

I was looking at bard prestige classes and saw a number for augmenting the spell casting and affecting different stuff with the bardic music or altering the bardic music. I even found the War Chanter PrC, still not impressed, bards just aren't much in combat unless they default to spellcasting. I figured out that it was more the lack of armor and hit points coupled with the fact that the individual uses bardic music just aren't very convincing as combat options unless you start stacking them. Standing around and yodeling during combat to give a several people within 30 feet +2 and +3 to this or that isn't exactly impressive at 15th level when you're seeing 50 to 100 damage spells/attack routines, group teleporting, and the cleric goes through three Last Breaths[\i] in a single heavy combat. Plus if you're spending three rounds singing, you can't attack.

Anyways since I couldn't find a good combat bard PrC, and I don't want a caster bard, I went and made one. This PrC is designed for a bard to be [b]in[\b] combat, leading the attack, with the spells for backup and non-combat stuff. So take a look and please make suggestions. I'm not real sure of the seventh level special ability, I was thinking more of one of the Marshal abilities (I think) but I don't have that paticular book to use. Mabey drop another level level of spellcasting out.


War Thunderer.

Prerequsites: Power Attack or Combat Expertise, Leadership, Inspire Greatness class ability, Knowledge (Battle Tatics) 13 ranks.

Skills Points: 4+ Int bonus skill points per level.

Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Intimidate (Chr), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
{table]Level|HD|Base attack|Fortitude|Reflex|Willpower|Special|Spells per Day
1|1d10|+1|+2|+0|+2|Bardic War Music, Great Volume|-
2|2d10|+2|+3|+0|+3|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
3|3d10|+3|+3|+1|+3|War Chanting |+1 level of existing spellcasting class
4|4d10|+4|+4|+1|+4|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
5|5d10|+5|+4|+1|+4|Thundering Voice|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
6|6d10|+6|+5|+2|+5|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
7|7d10|+7|+5|+2|+5|Commander|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
8|8d10|+8|+6|+2|+6|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
9|9d10|+9|+6|+3|+6|Glorious Leader|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
10|10d10|+10|+7|+3|+7|Thunder of War|-
[/table]

Bardic War Music.
War Thunderer levels stack with Bard levels for calculating Bardic Music abilities.

Great Volume.
The range of Inspire Greatness and Inspire Heroics is increased to the same range as Inspire Courage. (These powers are normally limited to 30 feet)

War Chanting.
The War Thunderer can continue to concentrate on Inspire Courage, Inspire Greatness, and Inspire Heroics as a move action as long as he makes an attack action, during the same round. This ability does not allow the character to concentrate on more than form of bardic music at one time.

Thundering Voice.
The War Thunderer may use one of his bardic music uses as a swift action attempt to be heard through a magical silence, deafening, or sound blocking effect for one round. The War Thunderer makes a Voice check (1d20 + bard

level + War Thunderer level, maximum +10) against the spell or effect that is blocking the sound. The DC for this Voice check is 11 + the spellís caster level. If you succeed on a particular check, that spell is dispelled; if you fail, that spell remains in effect.

Commander.
The War Thunderer may use one of his bardic music uses to [i]Command (as the spell) everyone currently affected by his Inspire Courage, Inspire Greatness, or Inspire Heroics. Save DC is 10 + War Thunderers Charisma modifier.

Glorious Leader.
War Thunderer may affect all allies within range with Inspire Greatness and/or Inspire Heroics as long as he makes an attack action, during the same round. (This ability stacks with War Chanting and with Great Volume)

Thunder of War.
War Thunderer may Inspire Courage, Inspire Greatness, and Inspire Heroics as a free actions as long as he makes a successful and damaging attack during the same round. This ability does allow the character to concentrate on more than form of bardic music at one time.

Khantalas
2006-11-15, 09:44 AM
I am not the one to ask, really, but...

Too powerful?

It has a fighter's BAB, Hit Die size, better saves, almost full spellcasting progression and it gains one of the bard's most unique abilities (and arguably the only useful) without loss of levels.

I'd reduce the Hit Die to d8s, make spellcasting progression skip more levels and give new musical abilities related to war while making War Thunderer levels stack with bard levels only for the purposes of daily uses of Bardic Music (which would also be used to activate War Thunderer abilities).

Again, Bard is not a great class by itself, but this makes it like a tiny uber god. Very, very tiny.

And the best leadership class may be Marshal. Still, I know only the mechanics, not how they are balanced.

Necrosis
2006-11-15, 02:55 PM
"Bardic War Music.
War Thunderer levels stack with Bard levels for calculating Bardic Music abilities."

This is seriosuly unblanced since you also gain a level in your exsisting spell class-UNLESS you are only gainign a level in your exsitign spell casting class to determine spells per day.

Telok
2006-11-15, 05:48 PM
Khantalas, I'm pretty sure it's starting out a little strong but the only places I can really see to knock it down is the spellcasting. The class is trying to put a bard in the fight without making him just another spellcaster after 10th level.

The HD are the only real thing keeping the class in combat since heavier armor would kill all spell casting. Full BAB is only a +2 increase over straight bard at level 20 while moderate BAB would put the character at +14 total BAB at level 20.

I was considering dropping another level of spell progression out, bround the 5th or 6th level probably. The biggest problem with interfering with the bardic music progression is that at late levels the music just isn't all the strong, often third level spells will give similar levels of bonus with longer durations and no need to continue concentration on them.

I'm trying to keep the bard up with a 15th level party in combat without being a spellcaster. At 15th the bard can give +3 morale on attack/damage within hearing range, +2d10 hp and +2 competence attack and +1 fort save on three people, +4 save and dodge AC on one person. But to do that the character has to spend three of every five rounds singing and be within 30 feet of everybody. The total level of effect seems to be about equal to two sixth level spells and one second level spell, the spells would have much longer durations but the bard would have about three times as many uses if that was the only thing being done with his bardic music.

I think what I'm trying to do mostly is allow the bard to fight and sing at the same time, rather than just cast spells after 10th level. So far all I've got to go on is that it's very slightly overpowered, the Commander ability is rather questionable, and rpobably drop one more level of spells out.

Necrosis: Explain, I don't quite understand what you're asking or the reasoning behind it.

Khantalas
2006-11-15, 05:58 PM
I realise what you're trying to do, but it's too good for a bard to pass up. The best way to make sure a PrC is balanced is, paraphrased from DMG II, having a player think about whether s/he will take a level of a core class or a PrC. No-one will take bard over this, IMHO.

And if I understand Necrosis right, he seems to believe that "+1 level of existing spellcasting class" gives all kinds of class features, not just spellcasting. Of course, I may be wrong, and I probably am. But still...

grinner666
2006-11-15, 08:58 PM
Actually if you're looking for a leader-type who's good in combat, try playing a Rogue with a decent Cha and some skill points in the various social skills. They've got more skill points than ANYONE, and with an even average Cha and the Leadership skill ... you've got one heck of a party leader/face.

Telok
2006-11-17, 01:52 PM
Ok, let's try this.

Theme: Combat bard PrC designed to make bardic music and melee a real alternative to spellcasting at levels 12+


War Thunderer.

Prerequsites: Power Attack or Combat Expertise, Leadership, Inspire Greatness class ability, Knowledge (Battle Tatics) 13 ranks.

Skills Points: 4+ Int bonus skill points per level.

Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Intimidate (Chr), Knowledge {list to be determined} (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

{table]Level|HD|Base attack|Fortitude|Reflex|Willpower|Special|Spells per Day
1|1d10|+1|+2|+0|+2|Bardic War Music, Great Volume|-
2|2d10|+2|+3|+0|+3|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
3|3d10|+3|+3|+1|+3|War Chanting|-
4|4d10|+4|+4|+1|+4|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
5|5d10|+5|+4|+1|+4|Thundering Voice|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
6|6d10|+6|+5|+2|+5|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
7|7d10|+7|+5|+2|+5|Glorious Leader|-
8|8d10|+8|+6|+2|+6|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
9|9d10|+9|+6|+3|+6|-|+1 level of existing spellcasting class
10|10d10|+10|+7|+3|+7|Thunder of War|- [/table]
Bardic War Music.
War Thunderer levels stack with Bard levels for calculating Bardic Music abilities.

Great Volume.
The range of Inspire Greatness and Inspire Heroics is increased to the same range as Inspire Courage. (These powers are normally limited to 30 feet)

War Chanting.
The War Thunderer can continue to concentrate on Inspire Courage, Inspire Greatness, and Inspire Heroics as a move action as long as he makes an attack action, during the same round. This ability does not allow the character to concentrate on more than form of bardic music at one time nor does it allow the bard to cast spells while using bardic music.

Thundering Voice.
The War Thunderer may use one of his bardic music uses as a swift action attempt to be heard through a magical silence, deafening, or sound blocking effect for one round. The War Thunderer makes a Voice check (1d20 + bard level + War Thunderer level, maximum +10) against the spell or effect that is blocking the sound. The DC for this Voice check is 11 + the spellís caster level. If you succeed on a particular check, that spell is dispelled; if you fail, that spell remains in effect.

Glorious Leader.
War Thunderer may affect all allies within range with Inspire Greatness and/or Inspire Heroics as long as he makes an attack action, during the same round. (This ability stacks with War Chanting and with Great Volume)

Thunder of War.
War Thunderer may Inspire Courage, Inspire Greatness, and Inspire Heroics as a free actions as long as he makes a successful and damaging attack during the same round. This ability does allow the character to concentrate on more than form of bardic music at one time. This ability does not allow the character to cast spells with verbal components or durations including concentration while using bardic music.

Ok, so how does that look?

Fax Celestis
2006-11-17, 02:13 PM
Quick notes:

*Use a d8 hd. d10 is reserved for tough people (fighters), while d8s are reserved for skillful fighters (dragon shamans, rangers, monks). Give him Armored Mage (Medium) as a class ability and Armored Mage (Heavy Shield) further down the line; that'll help keep him alive.
*Losing 4 caster levels is appropriate, and you do have them spread out nicely.
*Why did you get rid of Commander?
*War Chanter should be swift action, while Thunder of War should be free action.
*You have a prerequisite of a skill that doesn't have any other use, and at 13 ranks. Try using Martial Lore (out of the Tome of Battle) instead; same net effect, more uses for a great investiture of skill ranks.
*Drop the good will save. This is a fighter-type, not a mental-type, so give him the good fort, maybe good ref, bad will. For the sake of balance, I'd say one good save: Fort.

storybookknight
2006-11-17, 03:48 PM
It seems similar to the War Chanter from Complete Warrior, who sacrifices spellcasting entirely for bardic music effects and good fighting ability. Your class definitely has a different take on the martial bard idea, which makes it worth it, just definitely go for the d8 h.d. if you want to distinguish it.

Telok
2006-11-18, 01:48 PM
Hmm, I'm opposed to dropping the HD and adding Armored Mage. Mostly because without the HP the class won't be able to engage in combat very much and medium armor is not a significant advantage over light armor. Although the Armored Mage (Heavy Shield) sounds good. Combat bards suffer heavily from MAD, and the HD are part of trying to reduct that a little bit. Those first 9d6+6 hp already strongly push them towards casting in later levels. I am going to add medium and heavy armor proficency, but not tower shield, to the class.

What may help in some of this is that all my books are currently with the group, so I have to work off the SRD. Also I stopped participating in the WotC book spamming a quite while ago, so I haven't even seen the inside of the Tomes or half the Completes. Because of this I have no idea what Martial Lore does, previous to your post I had no idea it existed. It does sound like what I want, might alter it to another "or" type prerequsite.

Looking at War Chanting and Thunder of War, I'm going to remove the sentence in Thunder about being able to use more than one bardic effect at one time, Glorious Leader provides a huge boost to the music and there's no way to activate a second bardic music effect because of the attack requirement. Unless there is some spell I'm unaware of that would allow an attack and a standard action in a single round. I may have to make it explicit that attacks of opportunity don't count for that ability. Dunno, what would you suggest for wording them?

I dropped Commander because I looked at Command and found it had changed from what I remembered. I may reinstitute it if I can come up with (or hear of) something that feels right. Mostly it's the ability to give commands on a battlefield and have them obeyed immedately beacuse the persom giving the command is the leader, absolutely and unquestioningly. That was also the reason for the bloody low save DC and the fact that it only affected allies anyways.

And the Will save stays. It's a leader-type, fighting is actually second to that. Mind you that's a very close second, but second. I'm actually borderline about dropping another level of spellcasting, just going with half spell advancement. But I'm not sure if the current slate of abilities justifies it.