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Problems with Bardic Music Fascinate ability

Squire James

First Post
Casting buff spells or even healing spells is CLEARLY prep for combat (why heal if there will be no combat?). Fascinate should have been gone as soon as the first spell was cast, and the villain should have a full-round action at that time.

Ditto for moving into flanking positions. Not all combat is attacking... maneuvering is an important combat action. I'd make him do a Spot check to notice each such move, though, because a reasonably stealthy approach should still work.

In certain limited cases, the BBEG may even have reason to think that PC's that study or look at him hard are really assassins studying for a Death Attack, and regard such looks as combative behavior! I'd save that excuse for an unhinged paranoid type.
 

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Lord Pendragon

First Post
Squire James said:
(why heal if there will be no combat?).
Could it be...because you are injured?

In any case, there doesn't really seem to be any more evidence to present on either side, so I think this is a good point to agree to disagree. :)
 

Jhulae

First Post
Lord Pendragon said:
Could it be...because you are injured?

In any case, there doesn't really seem to be any more evidence to present on either side, so I think this is a good point to agree to disagree. :)

Except it's not, really.

to use a real life example, if some guy started talking to me about something I found fascintating, lets say gaming for example, as soon as his 3 other buddies started to surround me, I'd start getting a little worried and would feel threatened.

Same thing, except the party was also casting spells.
 

Lord Pendragon said:
Could it be...because you are injured?

In any case, there doesn't really seem to be any more evidence to present on either side, so I think this is a good point to agree to disagree. :)
Let me quote you a few sections from the Fascinate description (3.5):

"The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working."

"Any potential threat, such as an ally of the bard approaching the fascinated creature, 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."

The first quote clearly states that a bard can't win initiative in a combat to use his fascinate ability (which is what happened in the original poster's situation). A combat that is in its first round of initiative certainly qualifies as "other dangers".

Even if combat hadn't started yet, and the party rolled initiative in order to get the jump on the unsuspecting BBEG, the rules in quotes 2 and 3 were violated numerous times. The bard's allies: a) approached the BBEG b) drew weapons c) cast spells and (possibly) d) aimed ranged weapons. All of these effects necessitate either a new save or breaking the fascination.

This isn't a grey area; the rules and the spirit of the rules were broken here.
 

tarchon

First Post
ElectricDragon said:
I have a problem with the buffing spells. Those should break the ability immediately; no re-roll the Perform check and another save attempt; ability ends.

Yeah, most NPCs have no way of knowing whether a spell is threatening or not.
Fascinate definitely doesn't allow allies of the bard to take up tactical positions (though that should only be a reroll, which usually has a good chance of working). The basic idea behind it is that it allows unnoticed allies to sneak around with the target distracted. Silent/Still spells would also be allowable, or any other activity that could be concealed, like a Rogue using Sleight of Hand to do something. I've also used it for doing a Suggestion before.
 
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LostSoul

Adventurer
It sounds like a really cool encounter, with the Bard sweet-talking his way out of things. But I would have, at the very least, given the bad guy a Listen check to hear the spells being cast, and, if it succeeded, the Fascinate would have worn off.

It's still a good trick, because you can "get into position" and work out strategy before you plunge into battle. Or the PCs can back off and buff up and then come charging back.
 

UltimaGabe

First Post
Here's my question about the above-mentioned encounter:

The party members all allegedly readied actions to move in and attack and so on. How exactly did they all coordinate their attacks in such a manner? Did they stand there and say, "Alright, I'll run in and attack, then you, the rogue, can go behind him and sneak attack... then, the Ranger can fire his bow in, and blah blah blah...."? If so, there's pretty much no chance the bad guy wouldn't have noticed that all of them huddle up, then start casting spells, then begin to move around him (regardless of their actual proximity to them). That's pretty shifty behavior, if you ask me. And if they didn't huddle up and discuss it, what did they do? Did the players talk about it, and have their characters independantly come up with this perfectly-orchestrated chain of events? If so, that's total and blatant metagaming. That's along the lines of players discussing enemy's weaknesses during battle, when it isn't their turns, out of game. The only other alternative is that all of the characters have telepathy, or some sort of Hive Mind. But if they've got that, I don't think they'd be relying on Fascination.

So there's two options- either they obviously did something suspicious and should have broken the Fascinate, or they metagamed completely. Which was it?
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I'm surprised that nobody else has mentioned the thing which I find most disturbing about the fascinate power - the Bard sets the save DC with a perform check(!).

In one campaign I play in the 10th level bard has a perform check of +21 (13 ranks, +5 Cha, +3 skill focus). On average he sets the Will DC at 31 and it can reach up to DC41(!). Basically he can easily provide unbeatable DC's with almost no effort. Bad guys can do the same.

It seems rather out of whack with all other DCs (even considering the limited usefulness of fascination)
 

tarchon

First Post
Plane Sailing said:
I'm surprised that nobody else has mentioned the thing which I find most disturbing about the fascinate power - the Bard sets the save DC with a perform check(!).

In one campaign I play in the 10th level bard has a perform check of +21 (13 ranks, +5 Cha, +3 skill focus). On average he sets the Will DC at 31 and it can reach up to DC41(!). Basically he can easily provide unbeatable DC's with almost no effort. Bad guys can do the same.

It seems rather out of whack with all other DCs (even considering the limited usefulness of fascination)

It's somewhat changed in 3.5 since they broke Perform into separate skills, which makes it a lot less likely that every 10th level bard in the world has 13 ranks in a Perform skill. I think it's a good thing that Fascinate is an almost sure thing though. If you take the strict interpretation of the ability's limitations, it's really not good for much, and the Suggestion DC is much less impressive. Then again, the fact that it's almost unbeatable means that the DM needs to keep the lid fairly tight.
BTW, why would you use up a feat to take Skill Focus in Perform? It always seemed like the last thing my bard needed was a Perform bonus, even with my measly +15.
 

Senior Bobo

First Post
Ulorian said:
"The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working."

This is in my opinion the key sentence to answer this encounter. Was there a nearby danger to distract the BBEG? Obviously, since he rolled initiative, he wasn't surprised, and therefore was aware that there was some danger to himself. He was probably aware of the danger the second he saw the party, before initiative was even rolled. That itself should have made the use of fascinate impossible.

If the BBEG is aware of the party, and perceives them as a danger in any shape or form, the ability cannot be used on him. Unless the party bluffed him into thinking they were someone else, or he was monumentally stupid and trusting for a BBEG, I'd say any BBEG who finds multiple people armed to the teeth standing in his room will consider them a danger.
 

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