PDA

View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class More versatile bard casting



Altair_the_Vexed
2018-09-27, 10:00 AM
I'm playing a bard in PF, which is mainly fun, but I'm finding the number of spells known to be really restrictive - and not entirely in keeping with the knowledge-gathering schtick of the bard class.
I feel like bards should have a little more knowledge available to them, and not so much restriction on their magic - they're not exactly top notch casters, are they?

So, here's a suggestion to give the bard more spells to choose from:

Spells:
You have a Spellbook, which contains the spells you have gathered over the years. At each level, your Spellbook automatically has a number of spells inscribed into it, as listed in Table 3-4 (PF) / 3-5 (3.x): "Bard Spells Known" - plus one extra spell for each point of INT bonus that you have: these extra spells may be of any level you can cast.

Additionally, you may research and inscribe spells into your Spellbook, using the same rules as for a Wizard's Spellbook. All spells in your Spellbook must be from the Bard spell list.

Each day, you must prepare a selection of spells from your Spellbook. The number of spells you prepare is listed in Table: "Bard Spells Known". You may cast any of these prepared spells at any time, assuming you have not used up your daily allotment of spells per day.

---

So clearly, this adds a little versatility to the bard - but does it break much? Would you let it in your game?

OttoVonBigby
2018-10-10, 08:58 AM
Well, in my ~3.6 (3.5 + a bit of PF) homebrew, I gave them an arguably more powerful option: spirit shaman-style casting (if you're not familiar with it, check it out in Complete Divine). Instead of "retrieving" their spells, they "rehearse" them :smallcool:

It gives them access to the entire bard list, but not fully-spontaneously. So far it hasn't seemed overpowered--probably due to the sorts of spells that are on the bard list.

Nifft
2018-10-10, 12:23 PM
I like the word "Rehearse" for this purpose.

Not sure about a physical spellbook -- on the one hand, it makes integrating non-Core spells a LOT easier going forward, since there's no expectation that any Bard can Rehearse any spell in any book, so when a Bard player finds a new spell, that's exciting. On the other hand, having a book is kicking the Wizard right in her design space.

Maybe make the Bard more like an Eidetic Wizard? So they get the benefits of Rehearsing from a repertoire of known spells, but they don't have a physical book to lose. Hell, maybe just call it a Repertoire, since that's also a sufficiently theatrical word.

Hmm, having no physical book means a Bard can't just shiv a competitor and crib spells from the dead Bard's notes. Bards need to be alive and talkative to share spells. This makes Bards like Wizards in that they study well together, but a Bard would be forced to actually socialize to get more knowledge. They're not rewarded for acting like they've got anti-social personality disorder. I really like that.

Lacuna Caster
2018-10-10, 02:02 PM
I'm playing a bard in PF, which is mainly fun, but I'm finding the number of spells known to be really restrictive - and not entirely in keeping with the knowledge-gathering schtick of the bard class.
Very true. The original bards were lorekeeping intellectuals, rather than rambling troubadours, which creates a certain degree of confusion. Though I gather 5e did a better job at distinguishing the two?


Maybe make the Bard more like an Eidetic Wizard? So they get the benefits of Rehearsing from a repertoire of known spells, but they don't have a physical book to lose. Hell, maybe just call it a Repertoire, since that's also a sufficiently theatrical word.
I quite like the Rehearsal/Repertoire terminology.

I have been trying to think of ways to integrate Bard-style magic with more conventional arcane casting, but I sorta assumed you could use song to benefit any spellcasting with verbal components, or maybe as an aid to memorisation in some sense. The sort of thing you might expect from a society without widespread literacy or where their body of knowledge had been politically suppressed.

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-10-11, 04:59 PM
Thanks for the feedback!

Having access to the whole bard spell list for free would be nice, but I think that its going a little too far. I prefer having to work for the expended choice of spells.

I had toyed with using names like Songbook, or similar - but as not all bards use singing and actual music, I shied away from it.
Repertoire is a good fit for a name if you go with the idea of not having an actual book - but I still want to incur a cost similar to that of copying into your spellbook...

Maybe you learn from other bards by hanging out and jamming routines together - and this costs time and money.

Nifft
2018-10-11, 09:46 PM
Repertoire is a good fit for a name if you go with the idea of not having an actual book - but I still want to incur a cost similar to that of copying into your spellbook...

Maybe you learn from other bards by hanging out and jamming routines together - and this costs time and money.

Perhaps the price of a song is metered in debauchery.

"How much more self-esteem do you need to accrue before you learn the aria?"

"Let's see, it's 5th level, so that's 250 gp worth of ale and whores."

"Well you'd better get started, that much grog & snog could take weeks."

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-10-12, 05:43 AM
Perhaps the price of a song is metered in debauchery.

"How much more self-esteem do you need to accrue before you learn the aria?"

"Let's see, it's 5th level, so that's 250 gp worth of ale and whores."

"Well you'd better get started, that much grog & snog could take weeks."
That's kind of what I had in mind, but less explicitly so - one of our players is the teenage daughter of the GM, so we're watching our manners!

nonsi
2018-10-14, 02:17 AM
Well, in my ~3.6 (3.5 + a bit of PF) homebrew, I gave them an arguably more powerful option: spirit shaman-style casting (if you're not familiar with it, check it out in Complete Divine). Instead of "retrieving" their spells, they "rehearse" them :smallcool:

It gives them access to the entire bard list, but not fully-spontaneously. So far it hasn't seemed overpowered--probably due to the sorts of spells that are on the bard list.

Do you include Spell Compendium in regards to "the entire bard list"?

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-10-19, 05:42 AM
This has been useful - I have enough input here to support my claim to be able to have an expanded repertoire of spells.

Sadly, my bard isn't going to enjoy any of this. He was stabbed and incinerated to death last night, and the party is too low level to get him raised. Very sad. :smallsigh:
Also, part of the reason I was fishing for ways to improve the bard class - I was enjoying playing him less than I thought I would! So a new character will be a welcome change. :smallbiggrin:

Sporeegg
2018-10-19, 05:53 AM
Personally I would go for a stat split for the purpose of balancing.

Int would help the bard know more different spells.
Cha would allow them to cast them (slots/day).

The main idea being that an Int 10 bard plays like a traditional bard while an Int 16/Cha 18 bard has a superior reportoire.

I would not fiddle with the spell lists as is because that can become rapidly confusing and open up cheese. Rather I would employ a class ability that keys off Int to allow the bard to recall and switch around spells with the 15 minute break usual prepared casters need to fill slots. Like this:

"Bardic Reportoire" - the bard plays a few songs, rummages in her inventory or looks for ancient and forgotten magic in their tomes. Using this feature takes 15 minutes. You roll d20+bard level+your int modifier against a DC 15+spell level check. If you succeed, you can temporarily switch out up to your int modifier of spells, including cantrips. These spells default to your usual choices after 24 hours have passed or you have replenished your spells.

Nifft
2018-10-19, 12:20 PM
This has been useful - I have enough input here to support my claim to be able to have an expanded repertoire of spells.

Sadly, my bard isn't going to enjoy any of this. He was stabbed and incinerated to death last night, and the party is too low level to get him raised. Very sad. :smallsigh:
Also, part of the reason I was fishing for ways to improve the bard class - I was enjoying playing him less than I thought I would! So a new character will be a welcome change. :smallbiggrin:

Ah too bad.

My positive experiences with Bards are usually when they're focused on a few things: great at Inspire Courage / secondary caster; or great at UMD & social skills / secondary buffer; etc.

It can be a fun class... but you do have to pick what you want it to be good at.

Lacuna Caster
2018-10-19, 06:28 PM
Sadly, my bard isn't going to enjoy any of this. He was stabbed and incinerated to death last night, and the party is too low level to get him raised. Very sad. :smallsigh:
I'll take "vengeful ghost with full spellcasting powers", for 500.

Elvensilver
2018-11-07, 07:57 AM
I really like every new option that empowers bards, probably because I myself play hardly anything else. :smallwink:
But even though bards seem limited because of their spells, I would like to see a hard limit (based on intellligence/wisdom for different archetypes) to the number of spells a bard can learn,simply to distingush them from specialised Wizards with added spontoneity. 1+ Intelligence Modificator /Lvl seems enough to make a big difference. But I fear, this would make Bards a bit more MAD, whereas large repertoires of spells to half-sponaneously cast seem a bit unfairly strong.

But still: Bards need more Spells, and with the verstility than they should have, I'd like to propose the idea to not only give them more spells from the bard spelllist, but, for a price, limited Spells from other lists. This spells should take some extra time to convert to an artistically pleasing form - meaning they are more expensive to learn -, be at least one spell level under the highest spell level known, and take two spell slots to cast. And only one spell per spelllevel should be from another class. I propose this mainly for small groups, where bards are the only healers/arcane casters/utility/whatever (As my poor overworked bard is), where some spells are crucially missed. I really would like to see a bard cast a raise dead with drumming. :smallbiggrin:

Nifft
2018-11-07, 11:12 AM
I really like every new option that empowers bards, probably because I myself play hardly anything else. :smallwink:
But even though bards seem limited because of their spells, I would like to see a hard limit (based on intellligence/wisdom for different archetypes) to the number of spells a bard can learn,simply to distingush them from specialised Wizards with added spontoneity. 1+ Intelligence Modificator /Lvl seems enough to make a big difference.

No need to get Int involved. Just double the Spells Known table value -- you can know up to twice the number of spells you have readied at each level. You auto-learn your base Spells Known (so you're never stuck with unusable slots on level up), then you can add new spells to your Repertoire up to double that number.

If you want Int or Wis to be involved, maybe use the bonus spells table and apply that bonus to the doubling. At low point-buys you won't see much effect; at high point-buys you won't see nearly as much abuse.