This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Hey folks,

A number of you expressed an interest in my new bard kit, the Imperial Herald,
so here it is. This is brand new, so if anyone has any ideas or suggestions
for me, or thoughts on how the Royal Heraldic Academy might operate, I'd love
to hear them. Of course, just plain praise is welcome too! ;)

Kevin Moss

P.S. I love all your thoughts and ideas about life in the Imperial City...its
all great background for my campaign, thanks!

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

by Kevin Moss

The Imperial Herald is a class of bard trained at the Royal Heraldic Acad=
emy, a prestigious bardic college and university devoted to preserving th=
e cultural and artistic heritage of the old Empire. Located in the city =
of Anuire in a complex adjacent to the Royal College of Sorcery, the Acad=
emy also boasts the Imperial Library and Museum, the single largest repos=
itory of knowledge in all of Cerilia.

Not all the graduates of the college become Heralds, only those accepted =
into Imperial service. Competition for admission into this elite program=
is fierce, and the course of study is demanding. Other graduates still =
may attain prestigious assignments throughout Anuire as teachers, histori=
ans, artists, advisors and diplomats, but only the finest and most accomp=
lished students receive the coveted title of Imperial Herald.

Player characters enter the Academy at 1st level and graduate (and begin =
play) at 3rd level. Their first assignment is usually (but not always) a=
s an apprentice to a Master Herald, a Herald who has reached 10th or "nam=
e" level. This apprenticeship generally lasts one year, or longer if the=
Master feels the apprentice is not yet ready to operate independently. =
At the DMs option, the Master Herald may serve as a patron for the charac=
ter's initial adventures.

(NOTE: Player characters who attend the Academy but do not join the Impe=
rial service are treated as normal bards as per the rules in the PHB and =
BR Rulebook. These individuals enter the college at 1st level, and gradu=
ate as a 3rd level bard. Only Imperial Heralds receive the benefits desc=
ribed here. Optionally, the DM may design their own Bard kits to reflect=
other courses of study available at the Academy.)

The Imperial Heralds serve the Imperial Chamberlain, Caliedhe Dosiere, an=
d are the intelligence gathering and adventuring arm of what remains of t=
he Empire. In a land shattered and divided by warring regents and rival=
factions, they are the eyes and ears of the Chamberlain. Their mission =
is two-fold:

1. To preserve and protect the cultural and artistic heritage of Imperial=
Anuire, that the Empire may one day rise again to its former greatness.
2. To observe and document the actions of the regents and rulers of Anuir=
e, that a worthy successor to the Iron Throne may one day be found.

In addition to this mission, they often undertake sensitive and secret mi=
ssions at the behest of the Chamberlain. Although Heralds often assume p=
ositions in the courts of other regents, their ultimate loyaty is to the =
Chamberlain and to the Empire.

- -retriever of Imperial artifacts and treasures
- -intelligence gathering (spy!)
- -investigator
- -negotiator/arbiter
- -ambassador/diplomat
- -advisor/lieutenant
- -courier/messenger
- -court historian/steward
- -teacher/tutor (retired or semi-retired Heralds of higher level often ser=
ve as teachers at the Academy)
- -translator/interpreter
- -entertainer (songs & stories of the old Empire's greatness, heores of th=
e Imperium, etc.)

ARMOR ALLOWED: up to and including chain mail, no shield.
WEAPON PROFICIENCIES: Bonus: none. Required: gladius (short sword). Re=
commended: quarterstaff, club, dagger.
NON-WEAPON PROFICIENCIES: Bonus: Ancient History (Anuire), Diplomacy, Re=
ad/Write Anuirean. Required: Artistic Ability, Etiquette, Heraldry. Rec=
ommended: Andu (ancient Anuirean), Appraising, Musical Instrument. Not=
e: As per the PHB, Heralds may learn two musical instruments for each pro=
ficiency slot spent.

COMBAT: Imperial Heralds are given intensive training in personal combat,=
due to the sensitive and often dangerous nature of their work and the ne=
ed for self-defense. They are conditioned to use their fighting abilitie=
s only when necessary and only in defense of themselves or their mission.=
Their combat skills are highly respected by those who have had the unfo=
rtunate opportunity to find themselves facing them in combat.

Although they may not specialize in a weapon, Imperial Heralds fight with=
the THAC0 of a warrior in the first two weapons they select (i.e., the g=
ladius and one other weapon they trained with while at the Academy). Thi=
s reflects the intensive combat training in these weapons which they rece=
ive as part of their schooling. Also, Heralds gain additional attacks at=
higher levels as per a warrior, but only with their two initial weapons.=
With all subsequent weapons learned they use the THAC0 and number of at=
tacks normally allowed a rogue.

Upon graduation from the Academy, new Imperial Heralds are given a drusus=
(a gladius of exceptional quality, see Complete Fighter's handbook, pp. =
96-98) as a symbol of their new station in life. While not magical, thes=
e weapons are suitable for later enchantment.

THIEF ABILITIES: A Herald may select any four thief abilities as electiv=
es to study while at the Academy. Advancement in these skills is as per =
the rules for Bards in the PHB.

MAGIC USE: Students at the Academy are given limited instruction in magi=
c in conjunction with the nearby Royal College of Sorcery. As per the BR=
Rulebook, Heralds can only cast spells of the Divination and Illusion sc=
hools, and spells of the Enchantment/Charm school using ancient elven son=
gs. Upon graduation they have successfully learned the following 1st-lev=
el spells: Charm Person (song), Detect Magic, Identify and Rea=
d Magic. A Herald may also select two additional spells as "elective=
s" to add to their spellbook.

OTHER ABILITIES: Imperial Heralds also possess the influencing and inspi=
rational abilities, as well as the 5% per level chance of determining the=
general purpose and function of magic items, of Bards as described in th=
e PHB.

- - Alignments allowed: Neutral Good, Neutral (True), Lawful Neutral
- - All Heralds must swear a lifelong oath of service and loyalty to the Em=
pire and to the Imperial Chamberlain. This oath requires unquestioning d=
evotion to the above-stated missions of the Imperial Heralds, and include=
s a covenenant of strict neutrality in the affairs of independent soverei=
gn nations. An Imperial herald may never control holdings outside the Im=
perial City unless directed to do so by the Chamberlain. They may assist=
other regents and serve as an interim regent in emergencies but may neve=
r aquire Regency Points of their own. Violation of this oath is punishab=
le by death, however such a sentence may only be passed after a full inve=
stigation by either a Master Herald or the Chamberlain himself.
- - Uniform: All Heralds must wear a uniform when on "official" assignments=
. This uniform consists of a dark purple tabard with golden trim, black =
trousers and boots, and a slate-grey cloak. The tabard is often worn ove=
r a suit of leather or chain mail armor. The Herald's ceremonial drusus =
and a golden brooch emblazoned with the seal of the Imperial City of Anui=
re, worn on the left breast over the heart, round out the uniform.