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Thread: Deathsingers

  1. #1
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I had this idea today: what if a Rjurik bard becomes non-lawful and is exiled from his people? How would that affect the proud skald that has helped and encouraged his people as few others will ever do? Thus, this prestige class was born...

    I know that some people diagree with such specific prestige classes, but I do not require that the character has the inspire greatness ability! Indeed, WotC published somewhat class-specific prestige classes...


    Deathsinger
    15-level prestige class for Rjurik eX-Skalds - a Sketch.

    Deathsingers are proud skalds that were banished due to an unacceptable change of attitude; well, for their society at least. The feeling of betrayal thus born within a skald make him feel bitter, and bitterness leads to spite. Now, he is a cast-out, a blemish to all Rjurik...
    Only Rjurik skalds with some influence amongst their people ever become deathsingers; other civilisations lack the approach Rjurik have towards bardic tradition, and thus fail to produce such people. It is paramount that a person has at least a couple of levels in the bard class for the prestige class to be accessible.
    Hit Die: d6.


    Requirements
    Race: Human (Rjurik)
    Alignment: Any non-lawful and non-good.
    Special: Inspire Competence Bardic Music ability; must be an ex-skald.


    BAB: Average (as Bard); BSB: F - High, R - Low, W - High.


    Class Features

    Weapon and Armour Proficiencies: No additional.

    Spells: Deathsingers take a different approach on typical bardic music; they can still use the spellsong, but their maddened state gives them such insight over the workings of lesser arcane magic that they can alter their spells in a dramatic manner.
    Deathsingers continue gaining spell-casting ability as if they gained a level in the bard class. They choose spells from the bard spell list, with the difference that beneficial spells they acquire after becoming ex-bards must have a "Personal" range; other beneficial spells are substituted by their harmful counterparts (poison instead of neutralise poison, etc.). Whenever they may exchange an old spell for a new one, they may choose one of their old bardic spells not found in the Deathsinger spell list for the latter's counterpart.
    [Deathsinger Spell List will be completed shortly; MUST 6th spell replacement - otto's irresistible dance for wail of the banshee]

    Deathsong: Deathsingers gain extra uses and abilities of bardic music as if they gained bardic levels; effects are in reverse. For example, inspire dread replaces inspire courage, and it works on enemies the opposite way the latter works on allies: it gives them a morale penalty on attack and damage rolls, as well as saving throws against fear and enchantment effects. The same goes for the rest of the abilities.

    Madness: Deathsingers add their Charisma bonus in place of their Wisdom bonus on Will saves. [1st-level]
    At 1st level and every 3rd level thereafter, a Deathsinger's Wisdom score is permanently lowered by 1.

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    For one the prereqs are too low. The 3.5 DMG specifies that prestige classes require a character to be at least 5th level before meeting the prereqs. Unlike 3.0 (which didn't specify it) - 3.5 made it crystal clear. But then again 3.5 also did away with the premise that prestige classes weren't more powerful than regular ones.

    Why make it a Rjurik oriented prestige class? This has potential to work as an assassin styled class (real close to the Athasan bard (master of poison) from Dark Sun).

    Beef up the prereqs or it is not a prestige class just a different standard class.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    The idea was to make them an off-shoot of Rjurik ex-skalds, maddened by their loss of stature amongst their people. I guess requiring that he knows how to use Suggestion is fine, as bards gain that power at 6th-level...

    An altogether different class? Yes, I am acquainted with the Athasian bard; nice guy...

    One of the coolest proportions of the prestige class was the madness ability, which should now have it's last entry changed to: "At 1st level and every 5th level, Deathsingers have their Wisdom score permanently lowered by 1. This can only be temporarilly cured by the application of a heal or similar spell, which only cures the madness for 10 minutes per spell level (maximum 1 hour and a half). This cure also reverses the application of the Deathsinger's Charisma bonus instead of his Wisdom bonus on Will saves."

    Note that the prestige-class has 15 levels; this allows for ex-bards to reacquire their abilities in reverse without getting them any sooner.

  4. #4
    Note that the prestige-class has 15 levels; this allows for ex-bards to reacquire their abilities in reverse without getting them any sooner.
    Well, actually Mass Suggestion is at level 18.
    "Who was the first that forged the deadly blade? Of rugged steel his savage soul was made." --Tibullus

    "Qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum." --Vegetius

    "Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than war." --Homer

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    A major conceptual (cultural) proble with this is the culture reactions of Rjurik to skalds. They will never harm them and will always offer them sanctuary.

    If an ex-skald is going about harming people then this cultural philosphy is immediately called into question.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Remember that Rjurik traditions are partly celtic-based; Celts never harmed skalds due to their role in battle: can you imagine how defenseless a bagpiper really is? It was honourless to attack a skald for this reason alone, and this is the reason attacking a bard can still be considered a problem in D&D mechanics...

    Nonetheless, an ex-skald is someone who is not accepted by his people due to his own alignment; otherwise, a skald should be able to go on as a bard in any other culture... No, it is the failure of the former skald to abide to the traditions that made his people turn against him, yet in his maddened state, burning his scores and raping music and tales in his mind, he finds a new way to go on: by casting out his former shell, mastering this new form of spellsong, one the elves did not ever consider at all, and becoming a scythe of death and hatred...

    Now that I think of it, adding a new requirement seems interesting:
    Special: Must spend a month in finding a release in his madness, unleashing upon his music, and thus changing the nature of spellsong to fit his needs; he must study alone, and he must succeed at a check in the Perform sub-skill he has the most ranks (DC 15 + his bard level). Failing to master this new form requires another month of experimentation."
    Any ideas?

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Remember that Rjurik traditions are partly celtic-based; Celts never harmed skalds due to their role in battle: can you imagine how defenseless a bagpiper really is? It was honourless to attack a skald for this reason alone, and this is the reason attacking a bard can still be considered a problem in D&D mechanics.
    Actually the role of the celtic bard was to keep the oral history of their people. They didn't have a written language per se and had to rely on bards to spread the news. This was why they were offered safe haven.


    No the point about having an anti-bard causing problems is simple when one looks at the fact that the anti-skald functins pretty much like the skald as far as abilities go. The only difference is in the effect that is caused. Using this as a basis how could the people know the difference? That was my point the people keep a person that looks like a bard in high esteem and receive them well, especially if they are Rjurik. Now an anti-skald shows up and destrows this trust by attempting to harm them, how are they going to continue to trust a normal bard from that point on? This is what I meant by messing with the cultural aspects of the class.
    Duane Eggert

  8. #8
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Hmm... I see what you mean (my reference to the celtic history was a bit fuzzy, but that was part of why they were not attacking bards; and the bards on the other sider on the field of battle qualifies as an enemy, either way...), and have to agree you are right.

    But, my devious mind has not yet slept the slumber of giving up! Can you imagine such an awnshegh? A madened ex-skald that has run amok in such a way?

    I think I like the idea... Any ideas of yours?

  9. #9
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    If you want an anti-skald awnshegh then make him a true anti-skald. Distort everything that the skald hold dear. Have him freely cast arcane magic (something that Rjurik dislike), have him lie and cause confusion, etc.
    Duane Eggert

  10. #10
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    irdeggman writes:



    > If you want an anti-skald awnshegh then make him a true anti-skald.

    > Distort everything that the skald hold dear. Have him freely cast

    > arcane magic (something that Rjurik dislike), have him lie and cause

    > confusion, etc.



    When it comes to making an anti-skald giving the character the opposed class

    abilities is one thing that should be considered, but on the whole the

    abilities should conform to an opposing theme for the class. When it comes

    to some sort of "anti-bard" I think the better focus would be on something

    more in-line with opposing the role of the bard in Rjurik society. That is,

    where skalds have a role in diplomacy and act as heralds, an anti-bard might

    be more inclined towards sabotage and muckraking.



    In that context, the class abilities of the "Deathsinger" might still be

    very similar to that of a bard (influencing other characters, knowledge of

    lore, charisma-based skills, etc.) but are simply employed to evil ends.

    Consider, for instance, the "anti-paladins" that have been proposed from

    time to time. Generally, the class abilities are very similar to that of

    the paladin. One or two significant differences should be incorporated, but

    on the whole an "anti-bard" could (and probably should) be very similar to

    the basic bard.



    Gary

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