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Baron Corm
2008-01-11, 12:33 AM
I've never particularly liked the bard. Or the paladin, or the ranger. Something about not getting your money's worth of spells and compensating for it with a whole lot of dead levels. Well, I present to you, a bard which does not attack, but still feels like he's doing something during battle, contributes significantly, and is happy when he levels up. The mechanics I used are a little strange, so I would definitely like comments on this class. Would you have fun playing it, and is it balanced?

Bard
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|
Special

1st|
+0|
+0|
+2|
+2|Bardic performance

2nd|
+1|
+0|
+3|
+3|Performance focus +1

3rd|
+1|
+1|
+3|
+3|Bardic performance

4th|
+2|
+1|
+4|
+4|Enhanced synergies

5th|
+2|
+1|
+4|
+4|Bardic performance

6th|
+3|
+2|
+5|
+5|Bardic performance (Loud, Soft, Silent, or Master Silent only)

7th|
+3|
+2|
+5|
+5|Bardic performance

8th|
+4|
+2|
+6|
+6|Performance focus +2

9th|
+4|
+3|
+6|
+6|Bardic performance

10th|
+5|
+3|
+7|
+7|Enhanced synergies

11th|
+5|
+3|
+7|
+7|Bardic performance (Master performances)

12th|
+6/+1|
+4|
+8|
+8|Performance focus +3

13th|
+6/+1|
+4|
+8|
+8|Bardic performance

14th|
+7/+2|
+4|
+9|
+9|Bardic performance (Loud, Soft, Silent, or Master Silent only)

15th|
+7/+2|
+5|
+9|
+9|Bardic performance

16th|
+8/+3|
+5|
+10|
+10|Enhanced synergies

17th|
+8/+3|
+5|
+10|
+10|Bardic performance

18th|
+9/+4|
+6|
+11|
+11|Performance focus +4

19th|
+9/+4|
+6|
+11|
+11|Bardic performance

20th|
+10/+5|
+6|
+12|
+12|Rousing introduction[/table]

Hit Die: d6
Class Skills: Same as bard
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies

Bards are proficient with no weapons. They are proficient with light armor, but not with any shields.

Bardic Performance (Ex)

A bard can play music, dance, or otherwise perform to grant nearby allies morale bonuses. This is represented by a number of abilities, called performances. The number of performances known is shown on the table. The static number referred to under most of these abilities is the bardic bonus. This is a number equal to one-fourth of your Perform skill, to a maximum of one-half your bard level (minimum 1). No Perform checks are actually made to use performances.

Performances affect all allies (not including the bard himself) within (20 x bardic bonus) feet, though the bard may play more softly (in increments of 5 feet), to prevent others from hearing.

Beginning a bardic performance is a full-round action, and maintaining it is a standard action. After the initial round, the bard may freely switch between types of performances, doing a different one each round as a standard action, and indeed gets bonuses for doing so, called combos.

A combo bonus remains as long as you don't stop playing. If you change your performance, you can get double or triple combos, which add on to previous combo bonuses. You cannot have a double combo unless it is building off of a regular combo, and triple combos must build off of doubles. You can, once you have achieved that level of combo, announce that you are switching combo bonuses instead of adding another level of combo. Ceasing to perform (willingly or otherwise) ends any combo chain. Combos cannot be started unless one is in an encounter.

Simply knowing certain performances gives a passive bonus to other performances; these bonuses are called synergies.

Not all combos and synergies are available immediately. A bard must learn a performance three times to reap its full benefits. Taking it once grants use of its basic combo, but no synergy bonus. Taking it twice grants half the listed synergy bonus and allows use of the double combo. Taking it a third time grants the full listed synergy bonus and allows use of double and triple combos. On a character sheet, the different grades of performance are Novice, Intermediate, and Master, depending on how many times the performance has been taken. A bard may not learn Master performances until he has achieved 11th level.

Depending on how a bard chooses to deliver his performance, silence or bondage may render him unable to perform. Regardless of his preferred method, a bard cannot perform in anything heavier than light armor.

Bard Interaction

If more than one bard is playing within range of one another, and they are enemies, they roll opposed level checks, with a bonus equal to their bardic bonus. The loser has his effective bardic bonus reduced by half of the winner's bardic bonus. The check is made again each round, though additional losses do not stack. If the loser wins, his effective bardic bonus is returned to normal. If more than one bard is trying to exert influence, all of the penalties and bonuses stack.

If the bards are allies, their performance bonuses do not stack. However they may have different performances and combos active at the same time. In addition, each bard playing in the same band increases the bardic bonuses of the band members by +1 (maximum +5).

The performances a bard may choose are as follows (all relevant bonuses are mind-affecting morale bonuses):

Slow

A slow performance grants the bardic bonus to AC.

Synergy: Learning to perform slowly grants one-half the bardic bonus to AC to contemplative or uplifting performances.

Combo: Reduces the cost of metamagic by 1 spell level (total). Does nothing if spell was prepared at the higher level in advance.

Double Combo: Doubles the critical threat range of weapons and weapon-like spells.

Triple Combo: Improves any existing spell resistance by the bardic bonus.

Fast

A fast performance grants the bardic bonus to ability score checks.

Synergy: Learning to perform fast grants one-half the bardic bonus to ability score checks to powerful or lively performances.

Combo: Grants the ability to ignore any mundane or magical concealment less than total concealment.

Double Combo: Grants an additional swift or immediate action each round.

Triple Combo: Grants the ability to critical hit and apply precision damage to any creature, even if it is not normally subject to critical hits or precision damage.

Contemplative

A contemplative performance grants the bardic bonus to skill checks.

Synergy: Learning to perform contemplatively grants one-half the bardic bonus to skill checks to slow or uplifting performances.

Combo: Grants the ability to take 10 on any skill check.

Double Combo: Grants the ability to reroll any roll of 1, up to a number of times equal to half the bardic bonus.

Triple Combo: Grants the ability to take 10 on any d20 rolls. If the contemplative combo is active, grants the ability to take 20 on skill checks with no increase in time.

Uplifting

An uplifting performance grants (5 x bardic bonus) feet to all movement speeds.

Synergy: Learning to perform upliftingly grants (2.5 x bardic bonus) feet to all movement speeds to slow or contemplative performances.

Combo: Grants a bonus on initiative checks equal to half the bardic bonus. Initiative is not rerolled, but the current order may change as a result of this.

Double Combo: Grants the ability to ignore any nonmagical difficult terrain or mundane weather conditions.

Triple Combo: Grants an additional move action each round.

Powerful

A powerful performance increases the damage die of any damage rolls by two steps.

Synergy: Learning to perform powerfully increases the damage die of any damage rolls by one step when performing fast or lively.

Combo: Grants damage reduction/- equal to half the bardic bonus.

Double Combo: Grants a bonus to caster level equal to half the bardic bonus.

Triple Combo: Causes any damage done to be maximized.

Lively

A lively performance grants the bardic bonus to attack rolls.

Synergy: Learning to perform lively grants one-half the bardic bonus to attack rolls to fast or powerful performances.

Combo: Doubles the critical multiplier of weapons and weapon-like spells.

Double Combo: Grants resistance to all forms of energy equal to twice the bardic bonus.

Triple Combo: Grants the ability to use two standard actions instead of a standard action and a move action.

Soft

Learning to perform softly grants only a synergy bonus.

Synergy: When you keep the range of your performance at lower than half maximum, you grant a bonus on saving throws equal to half your bardic bonus. There are no grades of Soft; the full bonus is gotten with one take.

Loud

Learning to perform loudly grants only a synergy bonus.

Synergy: When you keep the range of your performance at greater than half maximum, increase the save DC of any ability or spell by half your bardic bonus. There are no grades of Loud; the full bonus is gotten with one take.

Silent

Learning to insert a pause into your performance grants only a combo effect.

Any Combo: If you skip a round of performing and then resume (each a standard action, just as if you were still performing), your bardic bonus for the next round's performance is doubled. This does not break any combos, but cannot be done more than once per combo chain. Unlike most combo bonuses, it only applies for one round. Silent may be taken twice to triple your bardic bonus instead of doubling it. The two grades of Silent are Novice Silent and Master Silent.

Performance Focus (Ex)

At level 2, select either slow, fast, contemplative, uplifting, powerful, or lively. When performing that type of performance, your effective bardic bonus is increased by +1. It is increased by an additional +1 at levels 8, 12, and 18.

Enhanced Synergies (Ex)

At level 4, you may enhance the synergy bonus between two performances. The two performance types now give their synergy bonuses to each other, if they didn't before, and the synergy bonuses are doubled. There is no additional benefit if the performances gave synergy bonuses to each other before applying this ability. You may enhance the synergy bonuses between two additional performances at levels 10 and 16.

Rousing Introduction (Ex)

At level 20, you may start your combo chain on the first round of playing.

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Bardic Instruments

While the performances of a bard can inspire others to do epic feats, they remain, themselves, mundane. However, just as a warrior has his magical weapons to level the playing field against tough opponents, so does a bard have his. Bardic instruments cast spells somewhat similarly to wands or staves, except their powers are supernatural (Su) and can be used at will, as long as the bard is performing a certain type of performance.

The method used to determine their price is identical to the one for magical weapons, with a few differences. The maximum number of special abilities one may apply to a bardic instrument is the equivalent of +10, and there is no stipulation that the instrument must have at least a +1 enhancement bonus, because in fact there is no such thing for a bardic instrument.

Each special ability also grants a competence bonus to Perform checks equal to its enhancement bonus. A bard may not make use of an ability unless his bardic bonus is greater than or equal to its enhancement bonus.

For the purpose of caster level, the bard's is equal to his class level. All save DCs are equal to (10 + 1/2 bard level + Charisma modifier).

The following properties may be applied to any masterwork item which would normally add to the bard's Perform (preferred type) skill. They retain their masterwork bonus. The Craft Bardic Instrument feat is required to craft items with these properties.

Reality
Price: +1 bonus

Your art has a supernatural ability to reach into the real world. While performing lively, contemplatively, or powerfully, you gain the use of greater mage hand. You may use any aspect of the spell as a swift action.

Surreality
Price: +3 bonus

As reality, but with telekinesis instead of greater mage hand. You may use any aspect of the spell as a swift action.

Rock
Price: +1 bonus

Your performance affects others with enormous force and brutality. The Rock/Metal abilities may only be used when playing loudly. When performing fast, powerfully, or upliftingly, as a swift action, you may deal 1 sonic damage per level (Fortitude half) to a single target within range of your performance.

Hard Rock
Price: +4 bonus

As rock, but 1d4 sonic damage/level (Fortitude half). In addition, the bard may make an Intimidate check to demoralize as a free action against a creature who fails his Fortitude save.

Metal
Price: +6 bonus

As hard rock, but 1d6 sonic damage/level (Fortitude half). In addition, the bard can silence his target if it fails its Fortitude save; this lasts until the bard's next turn. If the bard succeeds on an opposed bardic bonus check, this can also function against other bards.

Heavy Metal
Price: +8 bonus

As metal, but 1d8 sonic damage/level (Fortitude half). In addition, when making Intimidate checks to demoralize enemies, the bard's target is now frightened instead of shaken.

Death Metal
Price: +10 bonus

As heavy metal, but 1d10 sonic damage/level (Fortitude half). In addition, the bard cannot be magically silenced.

Soothing
Price: +2 bonus

Your performance soothes the mind and the soul with its balmy rhythm. The Soothing and Soul Soothing abilities may only be used when performing softly. When performing slowly, lively, or upliftingly, as a swift action, you may heal a single creature within range of your performance for a number of hit points equal to your bard level.

Soul Soothing
Price: +5 bonus

As soothing, but heal damage equal to your bard level times your Charisma modifier.

Soothing Aura
Price: +5 bonus

As soothing, but allows you to apply the effect to all creatures within range.

Enthralling
Price: +2 bonus

Your performances enrapture those around you, filling them with admiration, among other things. When performing contemplatively, upliftingly, or fast, as a swift action, the bard can cause one creature within range of his performance to become fascinated for 1 round per class level unless they make a Will save. A creature who saves against this effect cannot be affected again for 24 hours. Any hostile action will break the fascination.

Enchanting
Price: +3 bonus

As enthralling, but also grants the ability to plant a suggestion in the mind of a creature within range of your performance as a swift action, as long as the creature has already been fascinated by you, with no saving throw. You may not plant more than one suggestion per creature per 24 hour period.

Pied
Price: +4 bonus

As enchanting, but you may affect all creatures within range of your performance with either effect as a swift action. You may select a different effect for each creature. Creatures who save against the fascination effect can be affected again each round.

Lament
Price: +2 bonus

Your performance calls to the restless, unliving energies which surround a corpse. When performing slowly, upliftingly, or powerfully, you may, as a swift action, cast animate dead. Being a supernatural effect, it has no material component. However, you cannot create more HD of undead than half your bard level, and you cannot control more HD of undead in total than your bard level. If you ever lose control of your lament instrument, you lose control of your undead as well. You regain control of them when you regain the instrument.

Lament also allows your performances and instrument abilities to affect mindless undead, though any numerical effects are divided by 4.

Requiem
Price: +3 bonus

As lament, but you can create undead with HD equal to your bard level, and you can control total undead with HD equal to twice your bard level. In addition, numerical effects are only divided by 2 for mindless undead.

Dirge
Price: +4 bonus

As requiem, but creation and controlling HD numbers are equal to that of animate dead. In addition, numerical effects are as normal for mindless undead.

Countersong
Price: +3 bonus

Your performance sends off negative vibrations. When performing fast, lively, or slowly, you can negate the effect of a single attack or spell made or cast within range of your performance as an immediate action. The attacker or caster is allowed a Will save to negate.

Baron Corm
2008-01-13, 07:40 PM
Would very much like comments and suggestions.

Vadin
2008-01-13, 08:26 PM
Its good, but it really seems kind of...boring. It doesn't ever roll anything, and when its using its bardic music stuff it can only take move actions. As a player, what do I do? I provide bonuses to my party, sure, but what else? I can move. And thats it. I can't attack. I can't use spells. I can just move. This may sound a little mean, but it's kind of boring. I'm little more than a set of bonuses for the rest of my party. And when I'm not playing, I can't even fight!

From a player's perspective, what is there to do?

If you gave him a leadership-like ability that would let him gain an animal companion and an improved leadership sort of thing, that would probably be an improvement. I can't say anything about balance, but it would definitely give the player something to do while their bard is busy playing bonus beast.

Baron Corm
2008-01-14, 04:11 PM
Updated the rock line of instruments to be available as a +1 bonus. If the player is so inclined, he can deal damage once per round in addition to setting up combos. The "doing something" part is supposed to stem from the instruments, so any ideas for more of those would be helpful. Still in dire need of comments on balance as well.

Vadin
2008-01-14, 07:42 PM
The static number referred to under most of these abilities is the bardic bonus. This is a number equal to one-fifth of your Perform skill, to a maximum of one-half your bard level (minimum 1).

One fifth the perform skill? Really? How are you expecting them to get near one-half their bard level? Lets say they get to level 4 bard. They have 7 ranks in perform (so a +1 bardic bonus). Three more levels in some other class that grants perform, and they can get a +2 bardic bonus thanks to their 10 ranks in perform. Now they need two more levels of bard (for a maximum +3 bonus) and 3 more levels of something else.

Looking at it again, I'm seeing little reason for them to get more than 8 levels in bard. After that, they can just take any other class that grants perform as a class skill or have taken that feat that lets them get any skill as a class skill. Besides the bardic instrument stuff and a whole bunch of extra performance types, they can function just as well later as long as they focus early.

Wait...I think I might be confused at this point. Is the bardic bonus equal to 1/5 their ranks in perform, or 1/5 their bonus to perform (ranks+ability bonus+items+feats+etc.(but not affected by bardic stuff))?

Baron Corm
2008-01-15, 01:17 AM
Yeah the second one heheh

I figure (at level 20), base ranks (+23), item (+10), Charisma (+13) is 46 right there. Not sure how well this works in the inbetween levels though, it would have to be playtested I think. Just did my best to make the bard want to take Perform. Looking at it again, perhaps I should be more lax for those who roll stats (ew) or don't have access to that powerful an item. Probably works better on the in between levels too.

Hmm.. at level 10, +13 ranks, +5 Charisma, +5 item, 23, 1/4 is 5 is 1/2 of 10, seems to work out there too. Changing it to one-fourth now.

Edit: Sorry I can't add.. it's 46 not 43