non-magic Bard Class - Review please?
Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1

    non-magic Bard Class - Review please?

    EDIT to note changes (left in from Wizards forum):
    -Changed Bard Music/Swashbuckler weird schedule to 3rd and every two levels afterwards. Net increase of 1 Bard/Swashbuckler ability. Accounted for by next change.
    -Removed 'slippery mind' from normal list and added as selectable ability at 17th level (near where it already was).
    -Removed 'Grace' and replaced with 'Roguish Charm', which increases at the same rate but gives bonus to CHA skills, instead of Reflex which Bard is already good at.
    -Removed 12th level 'Improved Critical' and added 9th level "Tumbling Spring Attack". If they want to use the 'critical' options that come up, let them burn a feat to maximize them.
    -Moved 'Always armed' from 8 to 7; Level 8 (and 9) don't need to be filled in, they get +BAB and saves.
    -Moved 'Dodge +2' from 9 to 10 (where it normally is on the Swashbuckler)
    -Last one: Changed 'Tumbling Spring Attack' to 'Acrobatic...', and made it tumbling and/or jumping
    *********************************

    So our last campaign has ended and my DM is starting a new one in the same world, only about 200 years later. Due to the world (http://www.westendforest.com/westend/game.htm) and recent events there, there are a number of restrictions on classes. Our DM mentioned that the bard could be a possibility, but he shouldn't have magical abilities, and that he wasn't entirely sure what to do with the class. Now I don't normally play bards, but I like creating things, so I started thinking. I also really think that a bard would play well in this new world.

    So here is my attempt at creating a non-magic bard variant that doesn't suck. It also plays in a little bit to some of the 4e concept of letting the player choose powers. I don't like classes, so the more choice the better in my opinion. This is a blend of the base class Bard and the base class Swashbuckler (from CW, I think).

    Now I don't normally play bards, but I like creating things, so I started thinking. I also really think that a bard would play well in this new world.

    So here is my attempt at creating a non-magic bard variant that doesn't suck. It also plays in a little bit to some of the 4e concept of letting the player choose powers. I don't like classes, so the more choice the better in my opinion. This is a blend of the base class Bard and the base class Swashbuckler (from CW, I think).

    Here is the character file:
    Non-Magic Bard

    Anyway, please, I welcome any and all comments on this.
    ************************************************** ******
    Bard, Non-Magic variant
    Characteristics
    Minstrel, storyteller, poet, or rogue, the bard is all of these. The bard combines skill, finesse, and panache, dazzling with her abilities and capturing minds with her arts. Wanderers, the bard has been everywhere and done everything, or so she would like you to believe. In a fight, the bard tends to be more agile and mobile then most melee combatants, distracting in their speech and quick with a sword. When she can pick her battles carefully, a bard becomes a very deadly opponent (not to mention hard to pin down), but even when she cannot, anything at hand becomes an effective weapon. Bards also hold their own in social situations, unlike most fighters.
    Bards can be any alignment, though they tend towards the chaotic. It takes a special sort of person to start singing or playing music in the midst of battle, generally one free from restraint.
    Alignment:Any, normally chaotic

    Hit die: d8 (Half-way between Bard(d6) and Swashbuckler (d10) )
    Class Skills:(Bardís, + ĎUse Ropeí)
    The bardís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Str).
    Skill Points at 1st Level (Bardís Skill points): (6 + Int modifier) ◊4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.



    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the non-magic bard.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency
    A bard is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Bards are proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). Some of the bardís class features, as noted below, rely on her being no more than lightly armored and unencumbered.

    Weapon Finesse
    A bard gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat at 1st level even if she does not qualify for the feat.

    Improved Feint
    A bard gains Improved Feint as a bonus feat at 6th level even if she does not qualify for the feat. The bard does not feint through movements, but rather through wit, thus a bard must be able to speak and be understood by her enemy for this application of the feat to work.

    Bardic Knowledge
    A bard may make a special bardic knowledge check with a bonus equal to his bard level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. (If the bard has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (history), he gains a +2 bonus on this check.)
    A successful bardic knowledge check will not normally reveal the powers of a magic item but may give a hint as to its general function. A bard may not take 10 or take 20 on this check; this sort of knowledge is essentially random.
    **I would suggest that for West End a bardic knowledge check could reveal the properties of a magic item, but perhaps the check should be 25 + CL of the item.

    Code:
    DC	Type of Knowledge
    10	Common, known by at least a substantial minority of the local population.
    20	Uncommon but available, known by only a few people legends.
    25	Obscure, known by few, hard to come by.
    30	Extremely obscure, known by very few, possibly forgotten by most who
                 once knew it, possibly known only by those who donít understand
                 the significance of the knowledge.
    Roguish Charm
    A bard is skilled in the art of communication. A bard gains a +1 competence bonus to Cha skills at 2nd level. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 20th level.

    Dodge Bonus
    A bard is trained at focusing her defenses on a single opponent in melee. Starting at 5th level she may, during her action, designate an opponent and receive a +1 dodge bonus to her armor class against melee attacks from that opponent. She can select a new opponent on any action. This bonus increase by +1 at every five levels after 5th (+2 at 10th level, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th). A bard loses this bonus when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

    If the bard also has the Dodge feat, she need not designate the same target for this ability as for the Dodge feat. (If she designates the same target, the bonuses stack.)

    Always Armed
    A bard of 8th level or higher is skilled at using whatever is at hand as a deadly weapon. She may wield improvised weapons without suffering the usual -4 penalty to attacks. Most objects do 1d4 + Str danage, while larger two-handed objects (chairs, etc.) do 1d6 + Str. Improvised objects are generally considered blunt, though the DM should rule based on the object. A broken chair leg, for example, may be blunt/piercing.

    Acrobatic Spring Attack
    At 9th level, the character may act as if they have the Spring Attack feat when using tumbling and/or jumping as their movement. A bard cannot use this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

    Bardic Music / Swashbuckling
    At first level, the Bard may select a Bardic Music ability from the list below. After that, at levels 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, and 19, the bard must choose either a Bardic Music ability or a Swashbuckling ability. For ease of reference, the lists of available abilities are grouped below. The descriptions of each follow.



    Swashbuckling
    Insightful Strike
    At 3rd level, a bard becomes able to place her finesse attacks where they deal greater damage. She applies her Intelligence bonus (if any) as a bonus on damage rolls (in addition to any Strength bonus she may have) with any light weapon, as well as any other weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse, such as a rapier, whip, or spiked chain. Targets immune to sneak attacks or critical hits are immune to the bardís insightful strike. A bard cannot use this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

    Acrobatic Charge

    A bard of 7th level or higher can charge in situations where others cannot. She may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement or allies blocking her path. This ability enables her to run down steep stairs, leap down from a balcony, or to tumble over tables to get to her target. Depending on circumstances, she may still need to make appropriate checks (Jump or Tumble checks, in particular) to successfully move over the terrain.

    Improved Flanking
    A bard of 8th level or higher who is flanking an opponent gains a +4 bonus to attacks instead of a +2 bonus on attacks. (Other characters flanking with the bard donít gain this increased bonus.)

    Lucky
    Many bards live by the credo ďBetter lucky than good.Ē Once per day, a bard of 10th level or higher may reroll any failed attack roll, skill check, ability check, or saving throw. The character must take the result of the reroll, even if itís worse than the original roll.

    Acrobatic Skills Mastery
    At 13th level, a bard becomes so certain in the use of her acrobatic skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. When making a Jump or Tumble check, a bard may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so.

    Weakening Critical
    A bard of 14th level or higher who scores a critical hit against a creature also deals 2 points of Strength damage to the creature. Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to this effect.

    Slippery Mind
    When a bard reaches 17th level, her mind becomes more difficult to control. If the bard fails her save against an enchantment spell or effect, she can attempt the save again 1 round later at the same DC (assuming she is still alive). She gets only this one extra chance to succeed at a certain saving throw.

    Wounding Critical

    A bard of 19th level or higher who scores a critical hit against a creature also deals 2 points of Constitution damage to the creature. (This damage is in addition to the Strength damage dealt but the bardís weakening critical class feature.) Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to this effect.

    Bardic Music
    Once per day per bard level, a bard can use his song or poetics to produce near-magical effects on those around him (usually including himself, if desired). While these abilities fall under the category of bardic music and the descriptions discuss singing or playing instruments, they can all be activated by reciting poetry, chanting, singing lyrical songs, singing melodies, whistling, playing an instrument, or playing an instrument in combination with some spoken performance. Each ability requires both a minimum bard level and a minimum number of ranks in the Perform skill to qualify; if a bard does not have the required number of ranks in at least one Perform skill, he does not gain the bardic music ability until he acquires the needed ranks.
    Starting a bardic music effect is a standard action. Some bardic music abilities require concentration, which means the bard must take a standard action each round to maintain the ability. Even while using bardic music that doesnít require concentration, a bard cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), spell trigger (such as wands), or command word. Just as for casting a spell with a verbal component, a deaf bard has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use bardic music. If he fails, the attempt still counts against his daily limit.

    Countersong (Ex) (Perform 3)
    A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use his music or poetics to counter magical effects that depend on sound (but not spells that simply have verbal components). Each round of the countersong, he makes a Perform check. Any creature within 30 feet of the bard (including the bard himself) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use the bardís Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a noninstantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use the bardís Perform check result for the save. Countersong has no effect against effects that donít allow saves. The bard may keep up the countersong for 10 rounds.

    Fascinate (Ex) (Perform 3)
    A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use his music or poetics to cause one or more creatures to become fascinated with him. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90 feet, able to see and hear the bard, and able to pay attention to him. The bard must also be able to see the creature. The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working. For every three levels a bard attains beyond 1st, he can target one additional creature with a single use of this ability.
    To use the ability, a bard makes a Perform check. His check result is the DC for each affected creatureís Will save against the effect. If a creatureís saving throw succeeds, the bard cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate (up to a maximum of 1 round per bard level). While fascinated, a target takes a -4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen and Spot checks. Any potential threat requires the bard to make another Perform check and allows the creature a new saving throw against a DC equal to the new Perform check result.
    Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect. Fascinate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.

    Inspire Courage (Ex) (Perform 3)
    A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use song or poetics to inspire courage in his allies (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear the bard sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. At 8th level, and every six bard levels thereafter, this bonus increases by 1 (+2 at 8th, +3 at 14th, and +4 at 20th). Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.

    Inspire Competence (Ex) (Perform 6)
    A bard of 3rd level or higher with 6 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use his music or poetics to help an ally succeed at a task. The ally must be within 30 feet and able to see and hear the bard. The bard must also be able to see the ally.
    The ally gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as he or she continues to hear the bardís music. Certain uses of this ability are infeasible. The effect lasts as long as the bard concentrates, up to a maximum of 2 minutes. A bard canít inspire competence in himself. Inspire competence is a mind-affecting ability.

    Suggestion (Ex) (Perform 9)
    A bard of 6th level or higher with 9 or more ranks in a Perform skill can make a suggestion (as the spell) to a creature that he has already fascinated. Using this ability does not break the bardís concentration on the fascinate effect, nor does it allow a second saving throw against the fascinate effect.
    Making a suggestion doesnít count against a bardís daily limit on bardic music performances. A Will saving throw (DC 10 + Ĺ bardís level + bardís Cha modifier) negates the effect. This ability affects only a single creature (but see mass suggestion, below). Suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language dependent ability.

    Inspire Greatness (Ex) (Perform 12)
    A bard of 9th level or higher with 12 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use music or poetics to inspire greatness in himself or a single willing ally within 30 feet, granting him or her extra fighting capability. For every three levels a bard attains beyond 9th, he can target one additional ally with a single use of this ability (two at 12th level, three at 15th, four at 18th). To inspire greatness, a bard must sing and an ally must hear him sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. A creature inspired with greatness gains 2 bonus Hit Dice (d10s), the commensurate number of temporary hit points (apply the targetís Constitution modifier, if any, to these bonus Hit Dice), a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls, and a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves. The bonus Hit Dice count as regular Hit Dice for determining the effect of spells that are Hit Dice dependant. Inspire greatness is a mind-affecting ability.

    Song of Freedom (Ex) (Perform 15)
    A bard of 12th level or higher with 15 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use music or poetics to create an effect equivalent to the break enchantment spell (caster level equals the characterís bard level). Using this ability requires 1 minute of uninterrupted concentration and music, and it functions on a single target within 30 feet. A bard canít use song of freedom on himself.

    Inspire Heroics (Ex) (Perform 18)
    A bard of 15th level or higher with 18 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use music or poetics to inspire tremendous heroism in himself or a single willing ally within 30 feet. For every three bard levels the character attains beyond 15th, he can inspire heroics in one additional creature. To inspire heroics, a bard must sing and an ally must hear the bard sing for a full round. A creature so inspired gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws and a +4 dodge bonus to AC. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for up to 5 rounds thereafter. Inspire heroics is a mind-affecting ability.

    Mass Suggestion (Ex) (Perform 21)
    This ability functions like suggestion, above, except that a bard of 18th level or higher with 21 or more ranks in a Perform skill can make the suggestion simultaneously to any number of creatures that he has already fascinated. Mass suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language-dependent ability.
    Last edited by prophet224; Wednesday, 11th June, 2008 at 04:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Member
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

    Arkhandus's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    6,415
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block Arkhandus


    Ý Friend+
    Hm. Seems fine I guess, though they get a bit much of their abilities around the middle levels, despite some of those being kinda weak or limited. Would be a bit better if some of those were bumped up 1-2 levels. Like, Improved Feint (7th), Always Armed (9th), Acrobatic Spring Attack (13th).

    A quick edit: Also, for the campaign you mentioned, it sounds like Bardic Music would be out of the question, since all BM abilities are supernatural or spell-like, and thus magical. Your "non-magic" bard will be required to choose at least 2 BM abilities, at 1st and 5th level at minimum, even if trying to be completely non-magical. There aren't enough Swashbuckling options to avoid it, and likewise there aren't enough BM options to avoid having to take a Swashbuckling ability at least two times. And you only have them listed as getting BM at 1st-level, not BM/Swashbuckling.
    Last edited by Arkhandus; Wednesday, 11th June, 2008 at 08:30 AM.

  3. #3
    First, thanks for the comments. I see what you mean; perhaps that should be spread out some more... let me ponder...

    Now, as far as bardic music, that was in there on purpose. In fact, at first level they get weapon finesse and are forced to choose one bardic music feat, as you noted. The available abilities are intended to force the player to have a mix eventually, and to cause at least some degree of indecision when choosing them.

    Here's the thing. Both I and my DM agree that the Bardic Music abilities are certainly 'near-magic', but not necessarily magical abilities. It may be a little bit of a stretch, but even in our world there is a certain 'magic in music'. Some of the splatbook abilities (one gives DR 5 for a round, for instance) are a bit much, but to fascinate someone with music, or to inspire them to (slightly) greater efforts in attacking or evading? I think that's pretty reasonable.

    That said, I'll have to fix the (Su) and (Sp) notations, as I just copied the Bardic Music from the SRD. Thanks again!

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. Class Acts: Bard
    By avin in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: Thursday, 21st January, 2010, 08:38 PM
  2. Help! RE: Spell-less Bard Class
    By Poison Idea in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Monday, 26th October, 2009, 08:40 PM
  3. Do We Need A Bard Class?
    By The Shadow in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: Saturday, 23rd February, 2008, 03:12 PM
  4. Anyone know of a non magic Bard class alternate?
    By Darklance in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Monday, 25th March, 2002, 05:15 AM
  5. Alternate Bard for Review
    By Khaalis in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Tuesday, 29th January, 2002, 12:36 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •