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Thread: Court Bard

  1. #1
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    This is a new prestige class I've been working on, that, in my opinion, suits the mood of the birthright campaign, so here it is:

    Court Bard

    The tradition of the court bard is an ancient one, and dates back to the grand elven kingdom that existed on Cerilia centuries before the arrival of the humans. And it persists even today, especially among the elves and the Anuireans.
    Court bards often operate as their regent's right hand. Intelligent and charismatic, they are used as diplomats and spies, both abroad and within the regent's court itself. Thanks to their ability to intuit truth they are sound advisors and have good grasp of situations.
    In addition, court bards entertain the court, and are the keepers of lore and traditions. A powerful and learned court bard is a coveted status symbol in Anuire. However, a court may not employ more than one court bard at any given time.
    Many church regents also retain court bards, who fill more or less the same functions of those who serve land-regents. In these cases the talents of the bard as a keeper of lore and diplomat are emphasized more than her talents as an entertainer, although the churches of Laerme do celebrate their court bard ingenuity in performance as suitable praise for their goddess of the arts.
    Most court bards are bards, but combinations such as bard/wizard, bard/rogue, bard/sorcerer, loremaster/wizard, loremaster/magician or loremaster/sorcerer are not unheard of. Church court bards tend to include also cleric/bards or loremaster/clerics.

    Hit Die: d6

    Requirements

    To qualify to become a court bard, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

    Feats: Spell Focus (enchantment), Skill Focus (sense motive).

    Skills: bluff 2 ranks, decipher script 2 ranks, diplomacy 2 ranks, gather information 2 ranks, knowledge (history) 2 ranks, knowledge (local) 2 ranks, knowledge (nobility) 2 ranks, perform (must have epic and ballad among his perform types) 10 ranks, sense motive 2 ranks.

    Spellcasting: Ability to cast 2nd level spells

    Special: a. bardic knowledge or similar ability.
    b. Nonregent.
    c. Must be trained by a court bard and receive appointment as one.
    d. Must have composed in the past an epic poem, ballad or elegy, dealing with the history of his nation or its ruler, of at least DC 20.

    Class Skills

    The court bard's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Innuendo (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Intuit Direction (Wis), Knowledge (all skills, taken separately) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Scry (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Languages, Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 8+Int modifier

    Class Features

    All of the following are class features of the court bard:

    Weapon Proficiency: The court bard gains no proficiency in the use of weapons or armors.

    Spells per Day: Every level a court bard gains, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class she already possesses levels in. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (metamagic/item creation feats etc.)
    If the character has more than one spellcasting class she may decide which class she chooses to raise.

    Bardic Knowledge: The court bard continues to enlarge his general knowledge of the world around her; as a result she gains +1 to her bardic knowledge score each time she gains a level.

    Bardic Immunity: The court bard is considered to be the one person who can say anything at all to her regent. The court bard is expected to say the truth to his regent, ignoring etiquette, protocol, and the usual courtier flattery. As a result, by custom stronger than law, the court bard cannot be arrested or attacked by anyone within the borders of his regent's domain. Doing so is considered a serious offense sometimes punishable by death. If one has evidence, however, of any illegal actions taken by the court bard, one can take his charges to the local bard school or guild, where an inquiry or a tribunal will take place. If the court bard is found guilty, she is removed from her position (losing all class abilities), so she can stand trial.

    Bardic Music: the court bard continues to study and improve her musical abilities, but with her additional studies and obligation, she cannot do that in the same rate that other bards do. As a result the court bard gains the bardic music ability, but can use it once per every two court bard levels per day. These uses stack with any other bardic music abilities the court bard may have. Court bard level count when determining how many people are affected by the 'Inspire Greatness' ability.

    Apprentice: upon reaching 3rd level the court bard gains an apprentice. The level of the apprentice is determined as if he were a cohort (cf. the Leadership feat), except that he must have at least one bard level. The apprentice does not count against any cohort (or follower) the court bard may have from the Leadership feat (if indeed she has taken it).

    Bonus Feat: at 5th level a court bard can choose one of the following feats: Jack-of-All-Trades or Disguise Spell.

    Intuit Truth: The court bards experience with courtly scheming and gossip, grants him the ability to ascertain whether a rumor has a base in reality, or if it is a fabrication. Starting 7th level, when hearing a rumor, a court bard can attempt to make a special bardic knowledge check to ascertain the validity of the rumor. The DC is as follows:

    The rumor is far-fetched or the court bard knows things that contradicts it. DC 10
    The rumor has some elements grounded in reality, but overall it is inconsistent with what the court bard knows. DC 15
    The rumor is close to the truth, but has many fictitious elements to the court bard's knowledge. DC 20
    The rumor is very close to what the court bard knows to be true, differing in just a few minor details, or one major (not huge) one. DC 25
    The rumor is almost identical to what the court bard knows to be true, differing in just a minor detail (regardless of whether the detail is important or not). DC 30

    Great Inspiration: upon reaching 9th level the court bard can use her 'Inspire Courage' ability to great effect. When the court bard's country is under attack, the court bard may speak in front of an entire military unit, granting the entire unit +1 morale bonus to attack, defense and saving throws against charm and fear effects. The affect lasts one hour per each round the court bard spent speaking to the unit before the battle. The use of this ability counts against 4 daily uses of the court bard's bardic music ability. This is a mind-affecting supernatural ability.

    National Treasure: upon reaching 10th level the court bard is considered a national treasure. Her countrymen, who often give her small gifts, or refuse taking payment from her, treat her with near divine reverence. Most court bards are expected to refuse those offers except in the direst of need. She gains a bodyguard as if she were a regent, at her country's expense. In addition to this, she gains +2 to all her charisma-based skill check and her charisma checks when dealing with members of her own country. When dealing with member of her own nation who are not of her own country this bonus drops to +1. For example: Seoman, Anuirean Bard 7/court bard 10 of Mhoried, tries to find out at the local restaurant what the ambassador of Elinie (Anuirean), the ambassador of Dhoesone (half-elf) and the ambassador of Kiergard (brecht) had for dinner, as their waiter is a fellow Mhorien, Seoman gains +2 to his gather information check. Later that evening he tries to persuade each of the three to a trade agreement with the Mhor, gaining +1 to his diplomacy check with the Elinien and no bonus with the Dhoesone or the Kiergard ambassadors. Had Seoman been a half-elf he'd still gain a +2 with the waiter, but now he'd have gotten +1 with the Dhosonean and no bonuses with the others.

    The Court bard

    Class Level Base Att. Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day/ Spells Known
    1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic knowledge, bardic immunity +1 level of spellcating class
    2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Bardic music 1/day +1 level of spellcating class
    3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Apprentice +1 level of spellcating class
    4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Bardic music 2/day +1 level of spellcating class
    5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Bonus Feat +1 level of spellcating class
    6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Bardic music 3/day +1 level of spellcating class
    7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Intuit truth +1 level of spellcating class
    8th +6 +2 +6 +6 Bardic music 4/day +1 level of spellcating class
    9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Great Inspiration +1 level of spellcating class
    10th +7 +3 +7 +7 Bardic music 5/day, national treasure +1 level of spellcating class


    Please tell me what you think!

  2. #2
    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    How many skill points does a court bard get per level? 4+ int-modifier? Maybe even 6+ int-modifier?

    I like your idea. I would center on less skill requirements, but those less should have more ranks. At least I would enhance "sense motive" and "diplomacy", but I would drop "decipher script" and "gather information".
    Further I would say, the requirement should only be one knowledge skill (but more ranks).

    My critics should not trash your work, I realy like it, I only want to give some hints to make it better.
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    10 ranks in perform, that would make it a 7th level character as a minimum (4 ranks at 1st level + 1 rank/level afterwards for a class skill). If the character must be at least 7th level then it better translates as a 5 level prestige class rather than a 10 level one.

    I think that I'd focus less on spell ability and more on skills (and feats) the character is basically a diviner (at least per the write up) so more spells in a focused area would make more sense than the usual bardic hodge-podge system of acquiring spells.

    I believe that 3.5 will probably give the bard more skillpoints per level. 4 is pretty low, I personally favor around 6.:)
    Duane Eggert

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Perhaps some cultural discussion would be appropriate. There would never be a court bard in Khinasi lands. They are probably shunned in Vosgaard and Rjuik. Even though bards are a strong class in Rjurik, those that focus on their arcane abilities vice storytelling and passing of messages are basically shunned also - they don't really like arcane spellcsters culturally.

    Very popular in Anuire and Brechtur, also in elven provinces.:)
    Duane Eggert

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    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irdeggman

    Perhaps some cultural discussion would be appropriate. There would never be a court bard in Khinasi lands.
    Why should there be no Court Bard in Khinasi? Khinasi is the most civilised culture within Cerilia. IMO lands like Ariya should have a Court Bard (O.K., maybe not Aftane)...
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ariadne





    Originally posted by irdeggman

    Perhaps some cultural discussion would be appropriate. There would never be a court bard in Khinasi lands.
    Why should there be no Court Bard in Khinasi? Khinasi is the most civilised culture within Cerilia. IMO lands like Ariya should have a Court Bard (O.K., maybe not Aftane)...
    Because Khinasi as a culture look down on bards. Per Cities in the Sun the phrase "as worthless as the word of a bard" comes to mind.
    Duane Eggert

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    Moo! Are you happy now? Arjan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irdeggman


    Because Khinasi as a culture look down on bards. Per Cities in the Sun the phrase "as worthless as the word of a bard" comes to mind.
    Can you imagine how worthless the word of a regent will be then :)
    Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I think what happens is that in different cultures, the bard changes its
    meaning more than other classes. In Khinasi, the bardic class would reflect
    more of an educated, scholarly class, with capability for etiquette and the
    arts. Laerme and Avani are the patrons of the Khinasi bard.

    In Rjurik, the bards are historians, genealogists, and keepers of Rjurik
    lore. They are associated with the druids and their patron is Erik.

    In Anuire, the bards are diplomats and heralds. Their patron is Cuiraecen.

    In Brechtur, bards are just entertainers who trade talent for coin. Their
    patron is Laerme, but they pay homage to Sera as well.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    Thanks all for responding!

    Ariadne- the role of the court bard, as I see it, is to serve as a multipurpose agent of his or her regent. For that reason court bards need a little bit of schooling in many fields of knowledge, the better to help them deal with court intrigue. Gather information (and to a lesser extent, decipher script, serve well in complementing their role. Originally I thought of making the 'Jack-of-All-Trades' feat a requirement, but then realized it had an 8th level requirement, so I dropped it. If you look carefully you'll see that I've written they get 8+int bonus per level.

    irdeggman- I disagree. Most PrCs are meant to be taken between levels 5-7. If you look at the 'Virtuoso' PrC (from 'Song and Silence') you'll see it also has a perform 10 ranks requirement. I don't think it unreasonable.

  10. #10
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by kgauck





    I think what happens is that in different cultures, the bard changes its
    meaning more than other classes. In Khinasi, the bardic class would reflect
    more of an educated, scholarly class, with capability for etiquette and the
    arts. Laerme and Avani are the patrons of the Khinasi bard.

    In Rjurik, the bards are historians, genealogists, and keepers of Rjurik
    lore. They are associated with the druids and their patron is Erik.

    In Anuire, the bards are diplomats and heralds. Their patron is Cuiraecen.

    In Brechtur, bards are just entertainers who trade talent for coin. Their
    patron is Laerme, but they pay homage to Sera as well.

    Kenneth Gauck


    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    Kenneth,
    I have to disagree with the Khinasi view of bards. As I recall in the Cities in the Sun bards in Khinasi culture are portrayed as beggers and street "magicians". They are basically looked down as amongst the lowest "members" of society, below even a 2nd ed thief. It could also be extrapolated that another reason for this looking down on is due to their treatment of arcane magic. Khinasi culture is very education based and they tend to favor wizards and magicians (arcane classes who excel through study). The way a bard picks up spells on the fly, has no spell books (in 2nd ed they did however) and have no real dedication to studying magic (they would rather entertain) leads one to see how they could be looked down at in a culture like the Khinasi one. In Khinasi culture the magician would more likely be the basis for the court bard portrayed here, but any association with the "bard" title would likely be a disgrace in their society - "Why couldn't you get a job as a magician, like your cousin? Something a little more cultured."

    I'm not so certain about Cuircean being the patron deity of a bard. It just doesn't seem military/warrior-like enough. Come on, they are pansies who only wear "light" armors, if any. Not much of a soldier. I think I understand the connection trying to be made with the herald of Haelyn, but overall it just doesn't seem like a good fit. This is a polytheistic society afterall, which is why they have a pantheon.:)
    Duane Eggert

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