BRCS:Chapter one/Character/Bard

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Cerilian bards are students of the ancient elven art of spellsong. The first human bards were taught the secrets of the spellsong by elves sent to the human tribes (shortly after their arrival in Cerilia) to teach and learn from their new neighbors. The disciples of these elves founded colleges to teach, study, and improve the use of this lore. These colleges exist today primarily as political associations, each with their own policies, goals, and (sometimes hidden) agendas. Due to the efforts of these colleges, most human cultures revere bards as healers, historians, heralds, messengers, advisers, and tutors. Most, but not all, human bards are members of one of these colleges. By tradition, members of bardic colleges are free to come and go from human lands as they please. Colleges insure this freedom through threat of college interdict - a ruler that interferes with this freedom may find that no bard will visit his land, depriving his populace of news, entertainment, and bardic lore.

The bards of Cerilia are practitioners of lesser arcane magic. Their arcane lore is not based upon the channeling of immense natural powers, but rather on the refinement and evocation of a more precise and subtle lore. Some spells on the bard spell list are beyond other practitioners of lesser arcane magic. The power of the spellsong allows bards to weave intricate magical harmonies to cast selected spells from the schools of abjuration, transmutation, evocation, and other schools (as per the standard bard spell list). These spells are considered particularly challenging.

Bards are carefully trained to employ their magics with great care to bring health, wonder, and guidance without inspiring superstitious dread. Most rulers will go to great extents to retain the permanent services of a court bard. The skill and wisdom of their court bard is often a great status symbol for a ruler - and more importantly one that does not invoke the dread that is often associated with a court wizard.

The bardic tradition is strong in Rjurik lands. Singing skalds are a living repository of Rjurik history and culture, traveling the land, bringing news, entertainment, and knowledge to distant nomadic tribes and villages. Rjurik skalds are sworn to truthfulness is all their dealings and to purposely harm a skald is a grave offense against Erik. Although most bards cannot be of lawful alignment, the unique cultural role of the Rjurik skald requires a lawful alignment.

Preferred Class Races/Cultures: Although Cerilian bards can be found throughout the continent, most Bards are elves, half-elves, or humans. Bardic lore is passed directly from master to apprentice. A willing master can teach the art to any student with the appropriate musical and magical aptitudes. Yet these aptitudes are not uniformly common among the races. Such aptitudes are pervasive among elven folk, yet elven bards are rarely seen in human lands. Half-elves often have the necessarily aptitudes and are prized as apprentices. Possession of both aptitudes is far rarer among humans. Most human bards consider themselves fortunate if they succeed in passing on their lore to only a handful of apprentices. Rjurik skalds are highly valued by their people, but the Vos have little appreciation for song or art. The Khinasi culture distrusts bards and the saying 'as worthless as the word of a bard' is a common proverb.

Dwarven bards are rare, as the aptitude for arcane magic is exceptionally rare among their people, but they are highly valued members of their societies. Bards are exceptionally rare among the goblinoid races; they tend to lack the ear and patience required by the demanding musical skills that must be developed before mastering the spellsong.

See Also: D20 Bard
This article is a Birthright Campaign Setting (D&D 3.5/D20) page
The BRCS Document is a comprehensive toolbox consisting of rules, races, classes, feats, skills, various systems, spells, magic items, and monsters compatible with the d20 System version of Dungeons & Dragons from Wizards of the Coast.

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