Bardic Music Help
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  1. #1
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    Bardic Music Help

    As a DM I try to give the PCs plenty of opportunities to use their abilities. Everyone should be able to say, "Boy, isn't it lucky that I'm playing a druid?" every once in a while. However, I've always had trouble with low level bards. Now don't get me wrong, inspire courage can really save a low level party's bacon, and bardic knowledge is just dead sexy, but I don't feel like there are lots of reasons to use countersong or fascinate. Truth be told, I'm not sure I've ever seen them used (at least not until suggestion becomes available). So here's the challenge: Brainstorm situations where the party bard is going to be glad she has access to those weak sisters of the bardic music set. Feel free to post any other ideas about making the bard feel valuable, too, but I'm really interested in countersong and fascinate. Thanks.

    Morrow

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrow
    As a DM I try to give the PCs plenty of opportunities to use their abilities. Everyone should be able to say, "Boy, isn't it lucky that I'm playing a druid?" every once in a while. However, I've always had trouble with low level bards. Now don't get me wrong, inspire courage can really save a low level party's bacon, and bardic knowledge is just dead sexy, but I don't feel like there are lots of reasons to use countersong or fascinate. Truth be told, I'm not sure I've ever seen them used (at least not until suggestion becomes available). So here's the challenge: Brainstorm situations where the party bard is going to be glad she has access to those weak sisters of the bardic music set. Feel free to post any other ideas about making the bard feel valuable, too, but I'm really interested in countersong and fascinate. Thanks.

    Morrow
    Countersong... sorry. Don't think it will ever be useful, mainly because it's not reactive.

    However fascinate is great. The DC can be very high, and using it can get you out of any social situation that is turning nasty.

    For instance - a bunch of thugs jump you and give the standard threat "your money or your life".

    The bard says "I have only this to offer, it was given to me by my great grandfather, who once had a donkey, now this donkey...."

    Et voila. Fascinate commenced. Once the thugs are fascinated, the party simply walks away.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Morrow
    Brainstorm situations where the party bard is going to be glad she has access to those weak sisters of the bardic music set.
    With respect to Countersong, the lower level spells that are language dependent or sonic are:

    Animal Trance, Command, Enthrall, Message, Shatter, Shout, Sound Blast, Speak With Dead, and Suggestion.

    The most obvious use for a countersong is to give someone under the effect of a Suggestion or Enthrall spell another Saving Throw, which can be very useful if the suggestion is something really bad. By the way, Geas spells (specifically, Lesser Geas, which gets a save) are language dependent, Wail of the Banshee is sonic, and so on so this could be incredibly useful at higher levels, especially with very high levels of Perform.

    As for Fascinate, the most obvious use there is to provide a distraction for a Rogue, either sneaking past someone or setting up for a backstab.
    Last edited by John Morrow; Tuesday, 21st December, 2004 at 11:40 PM.

  4. #4
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    I used countersong once, against a gibbering mouther, and fascinate's been useful several times. I used a fascinate/suggestion to interrogate a BBEG once. Countersong really exists because of the story of Orpheus and the sirens - it's not something that comes up all the time. However, see http://www.buckbd.com/games/bards.html for uses (3.0 though).
    Last edited by tarchon; Wednesday, 22nd December, 2004 at 12:21 AM.

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    My bard used countersong in the very first Adventure Path module. Can't remember the creature now, but there was something on the first level, on the way to the crypt, that attached our party with some sort of sonic or vocal attack; IIRC, it caused fear. I used countersong to offset it.

    I've used it since then, too. The trick is for the DM to use monsters with sonic or vocal attacks.

    I've also used fascinate several times, usually to allow the rest of the party to slip past some guards. I usually charm the guards first, then fascinate them with a song or two to allow the rest of the party to slip past, then I join them -- much easier now that I have a couple of levels of shadowdancer PrC.

    Basically, as was stated in the original post, the DM has to provide the opportunities/situations for the PCs to use the class abilities.

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    Countersong, meet my friend the Harpy.

    Let's get downright nasty. Meet my friend the harpy while you are walking on that road that meanders along a cliff. Ms. Harpy is flying and the most direct path to her is off the cliff. Yeah, the brutes will get another save to avoid falling, but Countersong is still useful.

    In 3.0, Countersong was effective when trying to rest with Howler's around.

    As noted, Countersong works against the Gibbering Mouther.

    The Allip is another source of Countersong goodness.

    A Satyr with pipes.

    A Grig's fiddle.

    A Yeth Hound's Bay.

    At higher levels, the Destrachan uses "Destructive Harmonics".
    The Androsphinx uses a Roar. But he is Good. There are a few Good creatures that use sonic based attacks.

    You could also look beyond the monsters in the SRD. But this might be a good start.

  7. #7
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    This seems to be the full 3.5 SRD list of countersongable spells:
    Sonic:
    Animal Trance, Dictum, Enthrall, Glyph of Warding (blast glyph, sonic), Greater Glyph of Warding (greater blast glyph, sonic), Holy Word, Shatter, Shout, Greater Shout, Song of Discord, Sound Blast, Wail of the Banshee, Word of Chaos, and any sonic-substituted spell with a saving throw
    Language-dependent:
    Command, Greater Command, Geas/Quest, Lesser Geas, Speak With Dead, Suggestion, Mass Suggestion
    Last edited by tarchon; Wednesday, 22nd December, 2004 at 04:59 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BardStephenFox
    Countersong, meet my friend the Harpy.
    The problem with this example (and, indeed, ANY of these examples) is that it's too late.

    DM: "You see some winged women approaching"

    Bard, avoiding metagaming: "I get my bow out and drawn"

    DM: "The women start up a sonic mind-affecting supernatural power. Your buddies walk off the cliff".

    Bard: Damn.

    That's the problem - the bard is unlikely to have it going before his opponent makes use of their power.

    It CAN make a difference, in scenarios where the opponent repeatedly uses the power, or where it can be used after an effect, but before the consequences of the effect, but all too often you're already gone once the power works on you.

    Personally I'd like to see a feat that allows a reactive countersong, which would make it all that more useful.

  9. #9
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    I am now playing in a high level party (12th) with 6 PC's a bard would rocK!
    in a good round, two party members can dish out 10 attacks. Even a first level inspire courage would have a huge effect. As the melee priest I am going to start using prayer - possibly bless!
    We had a bard manage to fascinate, using invisablity and ventriquism, but I missed the see and hear the bard line, so I got nothin

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saeviomagy
    The problem with this example (and, indeed, ANY of these examples) is that it's too late.
    No, it actually gives a new save against ongoing effects. It's only with the instantaneous effects that it's usless unless it's either running already or used reactively. Most mind-affecting sonic effects fall into the ongoing category. The sonic attacks are the ones where it's less like to be useful without preparation.

    Oh, and in your example, the bard rolls bardic knowledge, remembers a tale about evil winged women with a seductive song, and starts the countersong anyway.

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