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  1. #1

    Bards (version by: KGauck)

    Discussion thread for User:KGauck/Bards.

    I REALLY like this! I've always felt that the 3rd/3.5th edition bard is a poor fit with the Birthright campaign setting since bardic magic supposedly originated with the sidhe and the sidhe do not have access to healing magic. This is a great example of compromise between staying true to the setting and staying true to the core rules.

    It also helps to affirm some of the divine relationships. Perhaps Avani gifted her husband and daughter with knowledge of bardcraft and Laerme passed the knowledge along to Curiaecen (possibly the cause of the rumors that romantically link the pair of younger gods)? I could also see Eloele stealing this knowledge and using it to create a fourth type of bard: the spy.
    Last edited by Magnus Argent; 10-10-2007 at 10:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ShadowMoon's Avatar
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    You could make Bards having choice on first level to tap Arcane or Divine sources for their spells. Something like Divine Inspiration and Arcane Invocation... One choice excludes the other, and affect Feats and Class Abilities later, maybe even Spell Selection...
    In addition You could create Focuses (Domain-like Spells and Powers), that Bards selects (only one by default) and add it to their repertoire, to depict their College, Inspiration, and/or Philosophy; thus differencing them even more...

    Specialist Bards, like Erik's Skald or Laerme's Muse, or Karamhul War Chanter, could be (and should be IMHO) Prestige Classes...

    Example:

    Divine Inspiration Bards:
    Skald (Erik) + Focus: Weather
    Muse (Laerme) + Focus: Fire
    War Chanter (Moradin) + Focus: War
    Doom Cryer (Kriesha) + Focus: Winter

    Arcane Invocation Bards:
    Spell Singer (Sidhe) + Focus: Plants
    Mystic Orator + Focus: Protection
    Shadow Dancer + Focus: Darkness
    Lore Keeper + Focus: Knowledge
    Last edited by ShadowMoon; 10-10-2007 at 08:31 PM.
    "If the wizards and students who lived here centuries ago had practiced control - in their spellcasting and in their dealings with the politics of the empire - you would be studying in a tall tower made by the best dwarf stone masons, not in an old military barracks."
    Applied Thaumaturgy Lector of the Royal College of Sorcery to new generation of students.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    To me, I am sorry to say, that's even worse: that way, you serve neither edition nor original material. Don't misunderstand me, but I've found KGauck doing that a little too often, and I disapprove of that logic to some extent.

    The only change I mean to make from the BRCS is that I strongly believe that bards should retain a smidge of their old aspects; thus, bards in any of my BR campaigns are sure to be of any neutral alignment (i.e. NG, LN, N, CN, or NE alignment; the non-extreme alignments), lose access to healing spells, and have a number of their 3e spells restored (namely, all +4 to an ability score ones, Gust of Wind and a tad others).

    Also note that bards learned only their enchantments from the elves, which is the reason they normally excel in this field. :P

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 07:14 AM 10/10/2007, RaspK_FOG wrote:

    >The only change I mean to make from the BRCS is that I strongly believe that bards should retain a smidge of their old aspects; thus, bards in any of >my BR campaigns are sure to be of any neutral alignment (i.e. NG, LN, N, CN, or NE alignment; the non-extreme alignments), lose access to healing >spells, and have a number of their 3e spells restored (namely, all +4 to an ability score ones, Gust of Wind and a tad others).

    One of the things I find the most entertaining in an RPG is when the semantics and vocabulary actually mesh with the game mechanics. In 3e there are very few of the alignment restrictions you`re espousing, but that doesn`t mean we can`t still have 3e variants that work as a nod to the old version of the game and also recognize BR setting material dynamics. Here`s a suggestion for how one might want to interpret such a thing:

    In BR we have several different types of characters who would take levels in the D&D bard class. However, there are demonstrable differences between characters based on the BR background materials and cultural differences. Rjurik bards, for instance, are probably the closest to the original D&D bard, but even amongst the more Celtic/druidic rubric of that culture there are campaign specific reasons to make up a variant. Anuirean, Khinasi, Brecht and the rare Vos bard would all be different. In BR, the bardic magics came about through emulation of the Sidhe take on such things, so that`s a factor as well. It`s cool when those differences aren`t just in the flavour text of the materials; they should be portrayed game mechanically too.

    Fortunately, there already exists descriptive material for how to switch out a class feature here and there in order to customize a class, and some version of that is the most efficient way of going about such campaign specific differences. After all, the differences between an Anuirean and a Brecht bard are in kith not in kind. So, in order to reflect the differences between one type of bard and another one should make a few changes to the class and call the new variant something slightly different.

    In particular, the alignment restrictions noted above for 2e bards might still exist in a 3e ( and 4e, presumably) version of BR by keeping that requirement but only for elven and Rjurik bards. Elven bards might be called 'True Bards' and get some sort of ability related to their role as teachers and historians. Rjurik 'skalds' also have the alignment restriction, and gain diplomatic skill bonuses or something related to druids/priests of Erik as their theme is more directly Celtic and specifically describes their role in Rjurik society as heralds, negotiators, etc. A Vos bard might be called 'Warsinger' and have more violent abilities. Etc.

    That way one can maintain both a nod to the old style bard, which really is in many ways endorsed by certain aspects of the campaign materials, and have a more versatile and descriptive game mechanic.

    Gary
    Last edited by Thelandrin; 10-11-2007 at 04:18 AM. Reason: Removed some line breaks to save on vertical space.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I kind of ommitted the other bardic issues because I found those to be explicitly implied; i.e. skalds are lawful, Sidhelien (not Sidhe :P) bards are non-lawful, etc.

    Would I care to make any changes to their spellcasting? Well, elven bards would get the nature spells, no questions asked, and the Rjurik would get a couple lawful-ish or Rjurik-related spells, but that's it.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I adopted the divine bard because I think it is the best expression of the original material using the current edition. I can certainly appreciate that everyone will not find this approach to their taste, but that's what a house rules page is for. Others may choose to emphisize other aspects of the original materials, but for my time and effort, this is the best approach for the original materials.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I can appreciate where you come from, but I don't believe you are doing the current edition any particular favour in and of itself; I'm reminded of the Dragon articles where bards have spells in Dark Sun and such stuff...

    People tend to forget that this edition of D&D (3rd Edition and Revised 3rd Edition) are only particularly using the d20 Core Mechanic, a number of rules that have been refined from their original form or rewritten from scratch for this version, plus a number of variations of all-time classics and sacred cows.

    However, it would never do any particular disservice to the edition if you made a variant of the bard; we just generally avoid that sort of action for two reasons: for the sake of simplicity and for the sake of consistency.
    Last edited by RaspK_FOG; 10-12-2007 at 01:04 AM.

  8. #8
    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    Well, I'm with you, Rasp, on the matter of bards not being healers. It completely violates the ancient meme that healing is divine magic and expressly granted by the gods. In my games, I restrict all sonic magic (except Word of... or similar spells) to bards and remove all their healing magic.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RaspK_FOG View Post
    I can appreciate where you come from, but I don't believe you are doing the current edition any particular favour in and of itself; I'm reminded of the Dragon articles where bards have spells in Dark Sun and such stuff...

    People tend to forget that this edition of D&D (3rd Edition and Revised 3rd Edition) are only particularly using the d20 Core Mechanic, a number of rules that have been refined from their original form or rewritten from scratch for this version, plus a number of variations of all-time classics and sacred cows.

    However, it would never do any particular disservice to the edition if you made a variant of the bard; we just generally avoid that sort of action for two reasons: for the sake of simplicity and for the sake of consistency.
    I don't see how it does a disservice to the rule set. I would point out that the Eberron setting -- the first (and only) campaign setting created specifically for the 3.5th edition (by WOTC no less) -- created a base character class that infuses items with magic that is neither arcane nor divine. I don't think you give the rule set enough credit. It is robust enough to weather changes far greater than this one tweak.

    And, as KGauck pointed out, this thread is in reference to an article posted in his house rule section. I would certainly love to see the house rules you use for your campaigns and the logic that went into them. Maybe you should create your own wiki section for you to use to showcase them? If you need help setting it up, PM me and I'd be more than happy to assist.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Bards have healing spells. Heralds would naturally have Cuiraecen as patron, and if we were to build one from scratch, they would look very much like bards. So much so, that I really don't see a reason not to just use the standard bard. Likewise with Laerme. There is the issue that the class description of bards says that the first bards were elves, and founded the bardic tradition. But this was prior to Cuiraecen (and Laerme), who seems now to be the patron of heralds and diplomats. Perhaps in the past human bards were arcanists, in the sidhe tradition, and labored with lessor magic limitations. Of course the Rjuven, and later the Rjurik, seem to have always have skalds, so once we have the appearance of Cuiraecen, I have little doubt that heralds and diplomats swiftly abandon the limitations of lessor magic for the advantages of divine magic, including healing and a full spell list. Once Laerme appeared, there would be no bards still clinging to the arcane tradition, except the elves themselves, since they would have full access to true magic and would not have access to divine magic in any event.

    If one continues to insist on arcane bards, one has two issues to resolve; lessor magic and healing spells. Unblooded bards should not be casting spells that a magician could not cast. Overlooking this issue is not being authentic to the source of arcane magic and the problems of who can wield it. The original material simply overlooked this problem. Ditching healing spells makes the bard less attractive, and there are some who regard the class as too weak already. So selling this class to players familiar with 3e+ without healing is a pretty tough sell.

    Instead, just making them divine allows you to keep the class as written, because all that changes is the selection of one of three patrons best suited to the way you want to play your bard.

    So that a divine bard eliminates the need for special exemplar classes for these gods, since it would already be a bard varient, it explains healing magic and sets aside the problems of lessor magic that an arcanist bard should have to deal with, and finally it allows the class to be used as written.

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