Bard class development (yes, again)

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gmonk
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Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:38 pm

Hi folks,

I've been running a BFRPG game for a few weeks and developing a Bard class alongside the game.

Here's the draft of what I've got so far, it's a work in progress and some things are only 'roughed in'. I'd be grateful for any feedback or constructive criticism.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z9P ... y=CMynoL0B

Cheers and thanks for the game!
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SmootRK
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Tue May 10, 2011 8:33 am

I like a truly non-magical bard, with songs that don't really cross the line into magical. This is a good start for it. You mention 'same chance as Thief to Read Languages", but the BFRPG Thief does not have this ability in the core rules (although some might have it in their house-rules (I am adding such an ability in my HRs)).

Abilities I want in a Bard:
Lore
Language
Persuasion Bonus (really just an extra boost beyond CHA in reactions and checks involving CHA)
Hear Noise
Pick Pockets/Sleight of Hand
Song, thinking that they start with 2 Songs, then every other level (3rd, 5th, 7th, etc) gain either a new song or can increase proficiency in an already known song (perhaps with some limits or minimum levels for certain bonuses, For instance, a Bard must be 5th level to increase any one Song bonus to +3, 9th level for +4.

Song Related (but should have better song names):
Morale Boost Song (allies)
Morale Killing Song (foes)
Resting Song (increase HP recovery during rest periods, quicker spell recovery time)
Offensive Battle Song to increase allies 'to hit' chance
Defensive Battle Song to increase allies AC
Saves Songs, one or more songs to grant bonus to certain saves
Marching Song to reduce fatigue (allowing longer march)
Fast March Song to increase overland movement rates
CounterSong to negate or minimize effects of other Song/Sound effects (Siren, Satyr Pipes, etc.)

Other Considerations:
Increased effectiveness with Musical Magic Items (Horn of Blasting, Pipes of Sewers, etc.)
If various Spell Components (V,S,M) are utilized, then Song, Singing, or the actual music produced by an instrument can be considered for Verbal Component of Spells (more properly should be termed Auditory Component), and Playing of Instrument (fingerwork or movements involved) can be considered for Somatic portion of Spellcasting... allowing Bards to be versatile to either use bardic music or cast spells without unnecessary dropping/switching of instruments.
Special Bard Only Spells available to spellcasters with Bardic Ability (assumes something like quasi-class is utilized).

I had other ideas that seem to be lost to me right now. I will try to update later (edit: added a few more Song Ideas).
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Joe the Rat
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Tue May 10, 2011 10:58 am

The Bard has been one of the spooniest of classes to wrangle from the get-go. These are two good looks at it. I actually rather like the no-magic, no thieving version, as it strips the Bard down to the core concept. This is the loremaster of oral traditions, who can still kick orc well enough to be the kings and heroes of those stories. Knowing things, understanding languages, charming, bolstering, and panicking with music and song, maybe scroll use are the core abilites here.
(I'd also push 'any instrument' here as a personal preference; I have this image of a Bard with a large drum scaring the bejeezus out of an opposing army with thunderous cadence and an operatic voice.)

Read Languages was in Thief Options, IIRC, but it would be easy to find from other sources. It may even be justifiable to have as an ability for bards, and not for thieves for a given campaign.

We do also like our tasty add-ons. I'd actually suggest making a strong distinction between takes: keep the Song (bolstering, charming, etc.) and Legend Lore core as a distinct approach (I'm calling this "Warrior-Poet" for now), and adding two separate variations: one with magic (Master of Lore and Legerdemain) and one with some thief abilities (The Rougish Raconteur). Think of them as specialists in different aspects of the concept.

One source, three versions.
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SmootRK
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Tue May 10, 2011 11:28 am

Perhaps Bard Options could be developed as a Quasi-Class (but I know some don't like the quasi-class method)... that way the core parts of being a bard can be layered upon any base class. There can be Druid-Bards (coming close to the AD&D 1e version), MU-Bards (approximating later editions), Fighter-Bards (the Warrior Poet style), Cleric-Bards (Cantor), Ranger-Bard (singing woodsmen), or Thief-Bards (witty charlatans).

I may need to try to see what I can work up going that route.
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Joe the Rat
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Tue May 10, 2011 2:46 pm

The "singing woodsmen" alone might be justification to not do it that way. :P

You might want to put thought into what outside the Core Four (or Central Six) it could stack with. Bard-Knights would be pretty awesome (and fitting to a Romance setting), and Illusionist Bards close to the Welsh variant, but NecroBards would need a fair bit of setting justification.

gmonk - DO keep working on you ideas. Do you have plans to work your bard into your game?
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SmootRK
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Tue May 10, 2011 6:01 pm

Joe the Rat wrote:The "singing woodsmen" alone might be justification to not do it that way. :P

You might want to put thought into what outside the Core Four (or Central Six) it could stack with. Bard-Knights would be pretty awesome (and fitting to a Romance setting), and Illusionist Bards close to the Welsh variant, but NecroBards would need a fair bit of setting justification.

gmonk - DO keep working on you ideas. Do you have plans to work your bard into your game?
Singing woodsman brings up something like a Tom Bombadil sort of personality (not power level). I think if I were to get it written up, I would leave it alone with only a note that GM has the final say in whether any particular combinations are viable (as many do not use many of the other sub-classes or variants).... but I agree that your friendly neighbourhood singing necromancer is probably a little "out-there".
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JoeCarr28
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Wed May 11, 2011 3:19 pm

SmootRK wrote: Song Related (but should have better song names):
Morale Boost Song (allies)
Morale Killing Song (foes)
Resting Song (increase HP recovery during rest periods, quicker spell recovery time)
Offensive Battle Song to increase allies 'to hit' chance
Defensive Battle Song to increase allies AC
Saves Songs, one or more songs to grant bonus to certain saves
Marching Song to reduce fatigue (allowing longer march)
Fast March Song to increase overland movement rates
CounterSong to negate or minimize effects of other Song/Sound effects (Siren, Satyr Pipes, etc.)
I know it's a quite different kind of game, but I have a Minstrel in 'Lord of the Rings Online', and that's pretty much how they work - a repertoire of songs that provide buffs to fellowship members and debuffs to enemies.
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SmootRK
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Wed May 11, 2011 3:39 pm

I had been doing a little of the writing for a Quasi-Class version of a Bard using ideas presented above...

...like I did in the Holy quasi-class part of that supplement, I like to use specific names for the different combinations. Any ideas for certain bardic combos? I am looking for MU/Bard term.
Here are my thoughts as of now:
Bardic Cleric = Cantor
Bardic Fighter = Skald (Viking-ish term which is closest to something like warrior poets)
Bardic Thief = Bard (the most common sort)
Bardic Magic-User = ??? (perhaps something made up like Mynstrel)

then there are the other possibilities that might be named in the supplement:
Bardic Ranger =
Bardic Knight =
Bardic Illusionist = Charlatan
Bardic Druid = Ovate (term I just learned about a real life group of neo-bard/druid types)
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Sir Bedivere
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Wed May 11, 2011 4:00 pm

JoeCarr28 wrote:I know it's a quite different kind of game, but I have a Minstrel in 'Lord of the Rings Online', and that's pretty much how they work - a repertoire of songs that provide buffs to fellowship members and debuffs to enemies.
So, the minstrel / bard doesn't actually fight; he sings during the fight? (There's a long tradition of this in the real world, like the pipers of the Black Watch.)

For me, 'bard' will always mean the Celtic, magical version just because I loved Keith Taylor's novels as a kid. So, I would go with some other class title like minstrel for a non-magical version. BUT, that's just my own bias and there's no reason anyone else should do it that way.

Smoot, I love your quasi-classes. A bard/minstrel quasi-class is probably what I will do if I add this to my game. Since I have my own naming system, I won't use the class combo names you're coming up with, but for Magic-User Bard, how about Spellsinger? (Another early fantasy influence.) Speaking of which, a quasi-class version could solve the magical/non-magical issue as well. Spell casters who added minstrel as a quasi-class might be able to combine music and magic, while non-spell casters could just do the music part.
Joe the Rat wrote:The "singing woodsmen" alone might be justification to not do it that way. :P
Oh, no! You had to go and do that ...

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SmootRK
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Re: Bard class development (yes, again)

Post Wed May 11, 2011 7:53 pm

Ok, so I suppose I could write it up so that the Bardic Magic-User is called the Bard, and the fully non-magical Bardic Thief would be a Minstrel.

And yes, the quasi-class mechanism is what I imagine would solve the conundrum of fitting the bard into different ideas of how the class should operate. The GM could easily allow only certain combos that fit his/her idea of how it should work. If non-magical bards paired with either fighter or thief is their idea of how it should work, then there you go; just preclude Cleric and MU combinations. If one likes the sort that has magical powers, then make the default be either MU or perhaps Druid paired combinations.

As to magical bard types... I would like to insert a few Bard only spells into my version, available only to Bardic Spellcasters... just to give them something to set them apart from ordinary MUs and Clerics (sorry no extra kudos for Fighter or Thief ones).

I love Lumberjacks... reminds me that I have a Lumberjack Dwarf character concept I am dying to play. Tromping through the Mountain Forests, clear-cutting the majestic aspen groves for raw materials for his clan's forges. Sorta the opposite of the tree-hugging hippy sorts... a Ranger who uses his knowledge of the forests to fully exploit its resources.
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