Saving the Bard

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Do you remember Batman's archenemy "Joker"? Before Alan Moore's "the killing joke" he was a ridiculous villain. Now in the last Martin Scorsese's movie Joker is one of the most dreadful and complex characters from the current speculative fiction.



This is not really about the gameplay but the background of the character. Bard is the famous star in king's court but also the street survivor. The bard is mixing Sailor Moon and Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman, Pretty Cure and Tyrion Lannister, Equestria Girls and the man with iron fists (2012 movie), Lucio in Overwatch and E.T.C. in Heroes of the Storm.







Bard - Mabinogi: Character Class Trailer

 
The cleric and the wizard are, within the scope of the "Vancian" magic system, pretty close to the tropes of fantasy novels. The bard is not.
That's pretty close to "apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln..."

Vancian is harshly at odds with the usual tropes, besides....

Noting of course, that the Vancian magic isn't a match to Vance's first three novels (as far as I could stand to read of it).
The more concise example is Mazirian the Magician, a short story.

And, unless you trim the spell list and levels, a lot, yeah, D&D not a good model.

And that the proper term is Magic-User, but I'll use Wizard for that class. Sorcerers and Rangers are later additions.
Was the proper term - though I still find myself saying MU now and then. ;)

I was responding more to the
barely looks like it's original in-game version nor their real-world inspirations...
portion, more than the struck-through, though I don't really disagree with that, either.

The current Bard, flinging about a wide variety of powerful magic certainly goes beyond any plausible real-world inspirations, even including myth/legend, like Orpheus or Taelsin.

A D&D sorcerer (good, even well-designed, class as it's been at times), is a sort of Marvel Mutant magic-user, gifted with inborn power.
A 'real' Sorcerer claims magical powers gained from dealing with spirits, and range from legend/fantasy magic-weilders to RL believers and, of course charlatans & grifter. RL sorcerers, of course are far more into bestowing & removing curses and offering to cure medical conditions than throwing fireballs.

Gandalf is only using spells equivalent to a 5th level wizard, & he's a demigod, as well. (See the article in Dragon about this.)
From the various stories, we know Merlin can ... all of which amount to 4th level... Morgan also can polymorph, and she's able to hold person on Merlin... and has a number of other things..
Both really do fill the bill for being 9th level wizards.
A 9th level D&D wizard would have access to spells duplicating the powers they displayed, sure - and more - and would cast them in the contrary Vancian mode - and is only half-way up the level progression.

The cleric really seems to be more akin to Van Helsing
Legend has it, that was the idea.
and the tales of the various miracle working bishops in the Lives of the Saints than the typical fantasy clergy pre-D&D
Yet purports to be some sort of oddball polytheism.

The Wizard really is a good fit to the fiction base.
Everything above argues that they are not. They use aberrant Vancian mechanics that don't even do a fair job of modeling Vance and call upon a dizzying range and power of effects that beggar even the greatest iconic mages of legend & fiction.

That's every bit as far afield as the current D&D bard from the myths of Orpheus or the knowledge & notorious Satire of the Celitc bards of legend.

Rangers have several prototypicals which were explicitly mentioned in the article introducing them;
But they've ranged(pi) far and wide from the original Aragorn clone, becoming TWF specialist, gish & pet-class - as uniquely D&D weirdness as the bard has ever been or become.

again, the adaptation is reasonable, within the class/level/vancian-magic paradigm.
Class/level I can grant, but Vancian is too bizarre a deviation from traditional and genre magic.

In all cases, yes, they do become their own thing, in the same way that D&D is now essentially its own genre
Well, fine, we can just agree, then. :hmmph:
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
The cleric and the wizard are, within the scope of the "Vancian" magic system, pretty close to the tropes of fantasy novels. The bard is not.
This is one reason I really like the bard (class and character) Edward from Final Fantasy IV. One the one hand, he's a hero with the special ability to hide from battle. So: not cool. But he's not a generic good-at-everything guy (like some iterations of the bard). He has a niche - he used his social (?) skills to travel to a distant desert town and avoid being recognized as nobility, wooed the daughter of the one guy on the planet who knows how to cast Meteor (brave, right?), and then knows a handful of harp/lute tunes that would, in theory, coerce angry monsters. (Spoiler: they don't.)

In fairness to Edward, part of the story is that he learns how to be brave (like he wasn't already?), so the Hide-ability might be more of a character-specific thing than a bard thing.
To be honest some players are just made to be the face of the party and have a higher wit and charisma themselves that make them ideal for such classes with superior skills sets. . . However I could not be the face as a paladin as I don't really wield a personality that demands instant respect from the players or other characters which I personally feel I would need. As for the bard, I would struggle to be the face because I am not very good at story telling; it could be argued I could use the same style as my rogue but I think the danger of sneak attack and my general willingness to commit crimes to my benefit adds a element of....dare I say aggressive negotiations.
So the bard's problem isn't as much on GMs and their systems - it's that players can't play bards properly? I think this touches on the mental/physical thing again. If a player can simulate knowing how to place a spear somewhere useful without dying, why can't another player simulate telling a persuasive story?
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Myths are changing. The original god Thor was redheard, and Loki wasn't his (adoptive) brother at all. He was married and with some children. Xena's universe destroy Olympian myths, and some historical facts. In the videogames Kratos killed most, or almost all, Olympian pantheon.

The ninjas in the shonen manga and anime with their superpowers (jutsu techniques) are too different of the real spy.

It is our game, our toys, and we create and build as we want.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
Back in second editions days - if I wanted to run a game with magic more like the novels I was reading in the 90s, I'd ban both Clerics and Magic Users and rename the druid class, "Wizard".

These days, if I wanted to run a game like the fantasy novels I've been reading (And I do, but alas D&D you've gone too far the wrong way), there probably would be little or no magic.
 
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Phion

Explorer
So the bard's problem isn't as much on GMs and their systems - it's that players can't play bards properly? I think this touches on the mental/physical thing again. If a player can simulate knowing how to place a spear somewhere useful without dying, why can't another player simulate telling a persuasive story?
Oh no sorry, some people were saying that the party having a face was an issue and I was just pointing out that some players will just fall into that role. Then I went on a bit of a tangent considering the different styles of talkers you may have; I personally would make a poor bard but seen many bards who roleplay well.
 

Warpiglet

Explorer
Bards do need saving, but not how you think.

When a lore bard can cast nearly anything it seems...odd.

I am happy to be beat up on for this unpopular opinion. For me, a bard focused on charms and the ability to influence through song, spoken word and knowledge could be cool. But it has to be really roleplayed maybe moreso than some classes.

I don't like bards with evocations generally.

So oddly I say their mechanics are fine but hey are not for me good out of the box. I think you need a good character idea to keep them from being a weird magic user.

A valor bard who chants and hammers drums into battle improving morale or fearing enemies? I am down with it.

True knowledge keepers, true namers and heralds? Played right I am down.

Some guy that is basically a mage with a lute? I dunno. Not for me. For that reason, not a fan of lord bards generally without a very good background and roleplaying hook...

I don't care how powerful they are.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I was wondering if anyone else had read those.
(I'd recommend reading the first 3 and leaving it at that. Unless you end the third novel hating some of the characters, then, by all means...)
Don't forget the game Bard's Tale and the books that went with it! Notably Castle of Deception!


And Danilo Thann from the FR novels. All great representations of Bards in fiction with magics.

Though I do agree that the best Bards aren't tossing around Evocations... who am I to say they didn't find a scroll of fireball and then spent years of their game life breaking the code on it until they could cast it themselves?

It's very much in the flavor of bards and in line with the 2e AD&D bards who gained Wizard spells at level 2 and had a full caster level, and gained 3rd level spells at 7th level (and gained levels faster than a wizard because of XP tables, so a 7th level bard's fireball was MORE powerful than a 6th level Wizard's because they both had 40,000 xp!)
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Do you remember Batman's archenemy "Joker"? Before Alan Moore's "the killing joke" he was a ridiculous villain. Now in the last Martin Scorsese's movie Joker is one of the most dreadful and complex characters from the current speculative fiction.
No.

sigh

Two things- first, this is not Scorsese's movie. Just because you have an homage (a very shallow one) is not the same as directing it.

Second, while many people remember the Romero Joker from the TV series, the Joker was a complex character before Alan Moore and the Killing Joke.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
For me, a bard focused on charms and the ability to influence through song, spoken word and knowledge could be cool. But it has to be really roleplayed maybe moreso than some classes.

I don't like bards with evocations generally. . .

Some guy that is basically a mage with a lute? I dunno. Not for me. For that reason, not a fan of lord bards generally without a very good background and roleplaying hook...
I don't know much about 5e bards, but this is the impression that I was getting. Saving the bard is one thing, making him another class (mage with lute) is something else. So now I'm wondering about my last bard...
The last bard I played ended up being almost a Witcher-type character: a gruff swordfighter and magic-user, who used music and tidings as payment for his lodging as he wandered.
...was this guy a bard, or a gish who told stories and had a lute?

By profession, he was an adventuring bard, using music and knowledge not only to entertain for money but to deceive and/or confuse opponents.

By class, although it was a classless system, he had skills for knowledge and performance, but his attributes were fairly balanced, so he was bard-ish, but not full bard.

By gear, he was a brigand: longsword and light armor, with a lute, of course.

By appearance, he was the Witcher, so - pretty far removed from the regalia of a jester (typical bard dress?).

I'm not sure that I'd call him a fighter with a lute, because he didn't use heavy armor and most of his combat skill was just with the longsword. Not a mage+lute either, because didn't know more than two spells. It feels wrong to call someone who looks like Geralt a bard though...
 

Phion

Explorer
...was this guy a bard, or a gish who told stories and had a lute?

By profession, he was an adventuring bard, using music and knowledge not only to entertain for money but to deceive and/or confuse opponents.

By class, although it was a classless system, he had skills for knowledge and performance, but his attributes were fairly balanced, so he was bard-ish, but not full bard.

By gear, he was a brigand: longsword and light armor, with a lute, of course.

By appearance, he was the Witcher, so - pretty far removed from the regalia of a jester (typical bard dress?).

I'm not sure that I'd call him a fighter with a lute, because he didn't use heavy armor and most of his combat skill was just with the longsword. Not a mage+lute either, because didn't know more than two spells. It feels wrong to call someone who looks like Geralt a bard though...
Sounds like you made a well rounded person. He sounds like the kind of guy who is pragmatic and would argue he is a fighter, a bard or maybe a wizard in whatever the situation called for.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
Where can you find a Cleric in a novel that's not based on D&D?
Quite a few in various pre-D&D novellas and novels within the pulp genre. Usually as bad guys, but not always.

Several Norse sagas mention Goði - the norse priests. Given that they are mythologized history... That's bit fantasy right there.

And, at least to some, various editions of the religious genre Lives of the Saints count as fantasy, and quite a few are miracle working priests.


Some consider the bible itself fiction...in which case all the prophets, acts of the apostles, and Kings and Chronicles.

Any miracle working clergyman published before 1973 counts.
I highly recommend the "Bard" fantasy novels by Keith Taylor.
Irrelevant to the discussion, as it postdates the bard class in AD&D, let alone OE D&D. If there are similarities to the vancian magic bard, we cannot rule the influence of D&D out.
 
Irrelevant to the discussion, as it postdates the bard class in AD&D, let alone OE D&D. If there are similarities to the vancian magic bard, we cannot rule the influence of D&D out.
No memorization or prepping in Keith Taylor's Bard - but, yeah, unless he's on record as having been influenced by D&D, or as knowing nothing about it at the time, you can't say for sure. And, of course, there were converging influences at the time, so even if he wasn't influenced by D&D, he might've been influenced by other sources that also influenced D&D.
The interesting bit I remember about how magic worked in Bard was an antagonism between magic and Christianity - if you were baptized, you couldn't see many of the magical creatures or effects, or saw them differently. Very un-D&D, which both avoided mentioning Christianity at all, while also borrowing heavily from it's tradition of miracle-working (thaumaturgy) for it's Cleric spells, and even the oddball blunt-weapons restriction.

There were bards in the world before D&D.
Like the Druid, it's one of the D&D classes that that goes back to Celtic myth/legend for it's inspiration.
 

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