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    Default The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    Hello all,

    About a year ago I posted this prestige class and received much constructive criticism. I finally managed to find the file again (PC crashed, thank the gods for backups...) and re-worked the class and now I think it's more playable then before (though still perhaps a little weak ).

    So without further ado I give you... The Songbird.

    Fluff:

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    The Songbird
    “A little bird told me…”
    Marcus Thymetouched, a Songbird

    Kindness begets kindness they say and that’s what Eleonora of the Roses (the first known Songbird) received when she opened the doors to a lords’ aviary, releasing all the birds trapped within. Three nights after her deed of mercy, she felt something small and warm land on her shoulder and a tiny voice whispered.

    “Eleonora, Eleonora…as you helped us…so shall we…We know what you seek…We know where it is…We know whether light or darkness lies within ones’ heart…and we shall tell these to you, all of them…for you freed us…and we shall free you in turn…”

    Becoming a Songbird:

    To become a Songbird one must first perform a deed of kindness towards an avian creature. This can range from simply opening the door of a small cage ‘accidentally’ to breaking into a menagerie releasing all the animals kept within. Regardless of the act if any of the avian creatures feels that the person who released or saved them is of pure enough heart, it will return to him or her with a proposal no sooner or later then three days or nights. The proposal, in effect a simple deal, is as follows: Birds, creatures of the air that look down upon the earth and thus see and hear many secrets, will help the character from now on so long as he or she continues to help birds in any way he or she can.
    Bards are particularly well suited to becoming Songbirds, but the simple act of kindness required can be performed by anyone with a kind heart and thus near any kind aligned person can enter this Prestige Class.
    NPC Songbirds seem to know a lot of stuff that they should not and can travel great distances quite fast. They guard their secret carefully to prevent harm to their feathered friends and it is rare for two songbirds to know each other. Thanks to their huge network of allies songbirds are often the first people to get word of stirring evil and their kind and cheerful nature often ensures that many more creatures apart from birds call them friends.
    DMs should offer access to this prestige class as a surprise reward to an unsuspecting PC, if only to show them that small acts of kindness can return great rewards.


    Requirements

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    Requirements:
    AL: Any non evil
    Skills: Knowledge (Nature): 4 ranks, Listen: 8 ranks, Perform (oratory, wind instruments or dance): 8 ranks.
    Special: The potential candidate must perform act of kindness towards an avian creature without having knowledge of the possible reward the creature has to offer. Once the ‘pact’ has been made, the character must continue to be kind towards avian creatures, otherwise he or she immediately loses all the advantages gained by this PrC and may not continue advancement in it. Whether eating an avian creature consists an unkind deed is entirely up to the DM to decide.

    Note: An avian creature is a creature that is a bird or looks like a bird and has the animal or magical beast type.


    The Table (Thank you Satyrus!)
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    Hit Die: D6
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Spellcasting
    1|+0|+0|+2|+2|A little bird told me, Bardic Music, A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song, Winged Messenger|+1 level of existing class
    2|+1|+0|+3|+3|I have a friend, Springs’ dawn chorus, Birds of a feather flock together|+1 level of existing class
    3|+1|+1|+3|+3|A bird’s eye view |+1 level of existing class
    4|+2|+1|+4|+4|Awaken, If one always looks at the skies one will end with wings|+1 level of existing class
    5|+2|+1|+4|+4|I know why the caged bird sings|+1 level of existing class[/table]

    Class Skills: 6+Int mod/ lv: Appraise, Bluff, Concentration, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Heal, Hide, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Listen, Move Silently, Perform (all skills taken individually), Sense Motive, Speak Language and Survival


    Class Features:
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    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Songbirds do not gain any new weapon or armor proficiencies.
    Spells per day: At every level the character gains spells per day, and spells known if applicable, as if she had gained a new level in one of her spellcasting classes she belonged to before she entered this prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefits associated with gaining a level in that class and if she had levels in multiple spellcasting classes before entering this prestige class she must chose to which one the new spellcasting level applies.
    A little bird told me (Ex): The first thing birds teach a Songbird is their language. She can now communicate ‘verbally’ (really a series of chirps, whistles, quacks…) with any avian creature that is capable of producing sound at will. Birds will only teach their language only to those they really trust and thus being able to do so is a good sign to a bird that the individual is a friend. For this reason all mundane birds are considered to have a friendly starting attitude towards a Songbird. Other good or neutral aligned avian creatures (magical beasts) are also likely to be friendly towards the Songbird, but this is entirely up to the DM. Evil creatures are unlikely to care about acts of kindness performed by the Songbird, but they may be curious enough to refrain from attacking on sight and ask how she learnt their language.
    Due to her being able to talk their language the Songbird may ask avian creatures questions. They will usually be eager to answer, but will not necessarily know the answer. For example a magpie may know where lady Khaal keeps the jewelry in her room and a hawk may know where the bandits’ lair is in the wilderness, but a bird is unlikely to be able to understand politics to serve as a spy in the kings council unless it’s awakened.
    Bardic Music: Once per day per Songbird level; a Songbird can produce an affect identical to inspire Inspire Courage (Su) (PHB p. 29) produced by a Bard of equal level to the number of levels the character has in this prestige class. If the character has levels in Bard, they stack for the purposes of determining the number of times per day she can use Bardic music and the strength of the Inspire Courage but she learns no other abilities, however.
    A bird does not sing because it has an answer, It sings because it has a song (Ex): Few creatures are as vocal or take as much joy in their vocalizations as birds. This enthusiasm for song they pass on to their friends and at first level a Songbird gains an untyped bonus to perform (oratory, wind instrument or dance checks) equal to their Songbird levels.
    Winged Messenger (Sp): By humming softly and offering a handful of feed a Songbird can attract a small bird to whisper a message to. Effectively a Songbird of 1st level can cast the spell animal messenger (PHB page 198) for the cost of 1 use of her daily Bardic Music ability with the difference that the animal to serve must be a bird.
    I have a friend (Su): Upon entering the second level a Songbird is able to form a mystical bond with a bird. He or she effectively gains a familiar (see page 52 of the PHB for how to gain a familiar and its abilities) with the following differences: Anyone can gain the familiar from the ‘I have a friend’ class feature and the abilities of the familiar are determined by all of the characters level, not just the arcane spell casting one.
    If you already have a familiar, the levels of the Songbird prestige class stack with the class levels that grant you a familiar for the determination of its abilities. You do not gain a second familiar from this ability.
    The familiar gained from the ‘I have a friend’ class feature must be a bird. Thus Ravens, Hawks, Owls, Screech Owls, Parrots, Thrushes, Gulls and Hummingbirds are all appropriate familiars as is the Corrolax (MM 2 page 50) and Elysian Thrush (MotP page 118) if the character selects Improved Familiar as one of his feats and is of 7th level or higher. In addition Songbirds have access to the Nightingale (treat as Thrush in terms of statistics, DMG page 203) which grants +3 to Perform (Oratory) checks.
    Spring’s Dawn Chorus (Su): Spring is the season of rejuvenation, joy and new beginnings. Upon entering the 2nd level of this, birds, the heralds of spring, teach the Songbird how to truly praise and appreciate spring. A Songbird can now play or sing a tune that refreshes and improves the attitude of creatures around her and momentarily break the woes of winter.
    The Inspire Courage ability of the Songbird now grants its bonus to all saving throws and skill checks in addition to its normal abilities as a morale bonus.
    Birds of a feather flock together (Sp): With an urgent tune on her flute or a quickly sang prayer a Songbird can ask his feathered allies for aid. For one use of her daily Bardic Music ability a Songbird of second level can effectively cast summon swarm (PHB 289) at a caster level equal to her Songbird level plus her Bard levels if any with the following differences. The swarm summoned is always composed of birds (that can be of multiple species, the abilities’ name is somewhat of a misnomer) and must be cast above ground (so using this ability in a room next to an open window will usually work. Using it deep underground, however, will probably not work, unless there are birds in it. Activating this ability is a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity.
    Statistic wise a bird swarm uses the Bat Swarm statistics (page 237 MM), but it doesn’t have blindsight (note, however, that a very few bird species do use echo location). If Tome of Magic is available use the statistics for the variant entry on the Murder of Crows on page 87, or just use the entry as is if it suits the character.
    A Bird’s Eye View (Sp): As the friendship between the Songbird and birds increases they allow them to view the world more and more from their perspective.
    Starting at 3rd level, a Songbird may expend a single use of their Bardic Music ability to duplicate the effects of the Share Husk spell (SC p. 187) between her and a willing avian creature. She may maintain a number of such ‘relationships’ equal to her Songbird levels and her caster level equals that of her class levels.
    Awaken: The Songbird can now awaken her friends to a state of consciousness similar to her own. She adds the spell awaken (PHB p. 202) to her list of known third level spells, but it only works on willing avian creatures of the animal type.
    If one always looks at the skies, one will end with wings (Su): Finally; the birds grant the Songbird the freedom of the skies and welcome her as one of their own. For the cost of one use of her Bardic Music ability the Songbird may wildshape into any small or smaller sized avian creature. She may activate bard song and cast spells normally while using this ability.
    She can use this ability a number of times equal to her Charisma modifier plus 3 (minimum three) and can remain in wildshaped form for a number of hours equal to the number of levels she has in this prestige class. If the character has Druid levels they stack for the purposes of determining wildshape duration, but are treated separately for all other purposes.
    I know why the caged bird sings (Su): It sings for it remembers the sky that once embraced it and the hidden places it once touched. It cries for the nest it cannot return too, the nestlings it cannot reach, the mate that alone was forced to be. Visualizing the tragedy of such a creature a Songbird fills her song with grief strong enough to break the bonds of captivity.
    Once per day, a Songbird of 5th level may elect to transform any number of willing living creatures that can hear her song into a small or smaller avian creature. The duration for this ability is equal to the number of Songbird levels (five hours at this point). The transformed creatures gain the physical stats of their new form but retain their original mental stats, any equipment they had on their person merges into their new form. Additionally all creatures affected in this manner also benefit from a freedom of movement effect for as long as they are in avian form.
    A creature cannot spellcast in this form unless it has the natural spell feat or is a Songbird of at least level four. The creature can end the effect any time it desires prior to the natural expiration time of the ability.
    Legend has it that entire prison compounds have been found empty, the contents of each cell replaced with a scattering of feathers.


    Edit: Updated. Many thanks for the comments:

    1) Removed Animal Affinity as a requirement. Though it makes sense, it's a crippling feat and I firmly believe that Prestige Classes shouldn't require such feats.
    2) Added Appraise to the Class Skill List. Makes sense considering corvids.
    3) The Prestige Class now grants Inspire Courage use to any entry. It still favours Bards, but it works for others better now.
    4) Fixed all the Bardic Music issues thanks to 2. Most abilities still run on Bardic Music uses, but it is not expected that they will be spammed anyhow.
    5) Made the capstone ability more appropriate. It is imo more fitting now, 'a great escape' sort of ability. But the class could perhaps use more with something a little more offensive.
    Last edited by Rising Phoenix; 2010-09-19 at 09:54 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    Here's a table for you just quote and paste into your first post and then I'll delete this one. I'll also post some feedback in a few minutes. The best way to learn how to make table's in my experience is to copy somebody else's and then pick through how the formatting works.

    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Spellcasting
    1|+0|+0|+2|+2|A little bird told me, Bardic Music, A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song, Winged Messenger|+1 level of existing class
    2|+1|+0|+3|+3|I have a friend, Springs’ dawn chorus, Birds of a feather flock together|+1 level of existing class
    3|+1|+1|+3|+3|A bird’s eye view |+1 level of existing class
    4|+2|+1|+4|+4|Awaken, If one always looks at the skies one will end with wings|+1 level of existing class
    5|+2|+1|+4|+4|I know why the caged bird sings|+1 level of existing class[/table]

    A little bird told me (Ex):
    Flavorfull and useful ability that is useable at every level and as long as the DM pays attention and doesn't allow abuse with orders it should work great. Good job on this one.

    Bardic Music
    This should be bolded in the class features entry. Also why not just have levels of Songbird treated as levels of Bard for determining uses and power of Bardic Music for all characters rather than just stacking with bard levels. So a level 18 fighter, level 1 songbird gets one use of Bardic Music per day as a level 1 bard would. That way the class is more appealing to other classes and still isn't game-breaking, plus right now a lot of abilities depend on uses of bardic music but I'll get to that a little later.

    A bird does not sing because it has an answer, It sings because it has a song (Ex):
    Simple and clean. No problems really that I see.

    Winged Messenger (Sp):
    The only issue I have for this ability and the other abilities that depend on Bardic Music uses with the clause at the end if they don't have Bardic Music is that is seems silly to need that clause. So I would suggest something like this instead, allow Songbird levels to be treated as bard levels for the purpose of uses of Bardic Music (including as a new ability) and the songbird can use their powers a number of times equal to 3 + cha mod per day with an additional use if they expend a Bardic Music use.

    I have a friend (Su):
    Ok this one should be fine you allowed all levels to stack in this case, which I think is good.

    Spring’s Dawn Chorus (Su):
    I don't understand the reasoning behind the 9 ranks in Perform After all they are required to have 8 ranks in it anyway for the entry to the prestige class. Also, this ability with the class as written is useful excluseively to bards but giving the Bardic Music ability to everyone as I suggested above makes it useable at least to everyone.

    Birds of a feather flock together (Sp):
    Looks fine just the issue of relying on Bardic Music uses to activate it. Back to the Winged Messenger comment.

    A Bird’s Eye View (Sp):
    I don't have the Magic of Faerun book so I can't comment on the spell's power but the uses relying on Bardic Music is back.

    Awaken:
    In response to the post below by Tetra sodium it's not unlimited use. It's added to the spells known list so it is limited by how many spells you can cast per day. The only issue is that non-casters that enter the class get nothing. Perhaps a boost to their familiar instead would be a good choice?

    If one always looks at the skies, one will end with wings (Su):
    Same issue with the reliance on uses of Bardic Music but there needs to be a limit to the time limit on this or they might as well just stay as a bird all the time since they can still cast and such, unless that was your intention.

    I know why the caged bird sings (Su):
    Same issue as before with Bardic Music use. Also this is kind of disappointing as the final ability for the class so I'd suggest something more dramatic like being able to remain in bird form indefinitely or something akin to that.

    Hope that was helpful.
    Last edited by Satyrus; 2010-09-18 at 02:30 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    you might want to put a x/day or x/week limit on awaken to avoid the potential of awakening thousands of birds in a brief period of time and reenacting shrek on whatever bbeg happens to be a convincing threat to a swarm of low level birds as explained by what's likely to be a high diplomacy character :)

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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    Thank you both.

    I've updated the class.

    Summary below of your concerns/advice:

    1) The class now grants Bardic Music to any entry making it much more friendly and solves the issue of things running of Bardic Music. The abilities that do run of it are probably going to be situational so I don't think it's going to be too Bardic Music starved. If it is. I could just give it the Extra Music feat as a bonus feat at level 2 or 3.

    2) Awaken. It's added to your list of spells known and remember that it has a 24 hour casting time. I also expect the GM to do his job and prevent such 'abuse'. (The image conjured, however, is hilarious...)

    3) If one always looks at the skies, one will end with wings: Is basically wildshape light (thus the stacking) and can be pretty much 24/7. I think it's reasonably powerful buff. You become much better at sneaking, spying and potentially gain a reasonable bonus to your AC. If it's too powerful, however, I may have to impose that you take Natural Spell in order to spellcast in this form, but frankly the Bardic Spell list is not something to be terrified of (less you take the appropriate prestige classess)

    4) Capstone is, I think, better. A great escape/ travel button useable once per day on the entire party. Not as fool proof as teleport, but appropriate.

    Cheers,

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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    I really like this class, though since a non-caster can enter this class, you might want to give awaken once a day or something for non-casters. It also seems to have a lot of abilities for a five level class, I'm not sure it could quite be a 10 level, but maybe spreading some of the abilities out more might help.
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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Dumbledore lives View Post
    I really like this class, though since a non-caster can enter this class, you might want to give awaken once a day or something for non-casters. It also seems to have a lot of abilities for a five level class, I'm not sure it could quite be a 10 level, but maybe spreading some of the abilities out more might help.
    Thanks for your reply and glad you like it,

    I know what you mean, however, I think that most of the abilities are quite weak so it evens out in the end (?)

    Cheers,

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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    I like the class. It's really flavourful. :)

    Although, you wrote barding music instead of bardic in the class features.
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    Default Re: The Songbird prestige class (3.5) take 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Lix Lorn View Post
    I like the class. It's really flavourful. :)

    Although, you wrote barding music instead of bardic in the class features.
    Thank you!

    LOL. Please excuse that typo.
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