Bard

Adventures: Bards are commonly afflicted with wanderlust. They travel the world seeking new tales, new songs, or new routines, either from other bards, lost works, or just being inspired. Many join adventuring parties because they view this as the best way to achieve their goals - if all else fails, perhaps the deeds of the party will be suitable for a heroic tale.

Characteristics: Bards bring history and fantasy alive through their acting, their performances and their singing. Many study at a bardic college, or perhaps with another bard who has taken them into an apprenticeship. Tribal lorekeepers study under their shaman or tutor. Most bards dress distinctively and make their abilities known, as it can get them anything from a free meal to safe passage; most also carry one or more instruments.

Alignment: Bards tend more toward the chaotic end of the spectrum, as freedom of will and action most closely typefies their worldview.

Religion: Most bards pay homage to god(dess) of music or art. Many churches have bards in their service to spread the music of their church to other ears, or to train their choir. It is good money, if the bard is skilled enough, as the church expects only the best.

Background: It is often said that being a bard is a calling, not an occupation - wanderlust drives them to seek out new horizons, or the roar of the crowd makes them seek the limelight. All bards, regardless of their calling, learn their craft from a tutor or teacher. It is this person who teaches them their first songs, stories, or acts.

Races: Bards can be found among all races, though their roles vary widely - among humanoid tribes, bards serve as warchanters and tribal lorekeepers; among the civilized races, they lean more toward performers. Even then, the type of bard can differ; dwarven bards, for example, are well-known bass and baritone singers; halflings are acrobats, comics, and musicians; and half-elves can master a wide variety of bardic skills. Half-orcs are ill-suited to being bards, though some serve as warchanters for orcish clans; gnomish bards are rarely seen outside their own society, where they serve on their ships as drummers and seasingers.

Other Classes: Bards' talents complement other classes well, and they work easily with members of all other classes. While they aren't as good at any one thing as any other class (with the exception of being a sorcerer's equal at party leadership), they can fill most roles in a pinch.

Role: In an adventuring party, the bard provides moderate combat skills and magical backup, but he is most valued for his extensive knowledge of lore and his music.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: The bard's primary attribute is Charisma, with Intelligence and Dexterity following close behind. Wisdom is next, followed by Constitution. Speed and skill are preferred over strength, so Strength is often the last concern of a bard.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills

The bard's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points Per Level: 8 + Int modifier



Table 1: The Bard
Spells Per Day
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic music, bardic knowledge 2 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 3 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Bardic music 3 3
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 3 3 1
5th +3 +2 +4 +4 Polyglot 3 3 2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Bardic music 4 3 2
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 4 3 3 1
8th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 4 4 3 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Bardic music 4 4 3 2
10th +7/+2 +4 +7 +7 Disguise spell 4 4 3 3 1
11th +8/+3 +4 +7 +7 4 4 3 3 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Bardic music 4 4 4 3 2
13th +9/+4 +5 +8 +8 4 4 4 3 3 1
14th +10/+5 +5 +9 +9 4 4 4 3 3 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +6 +9 +9 Skill mastery, bardic music 4 4 4 4 3 2
16th +12/+7/+2 +6 +10 +10 4 4 4 4 3 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +6 +10 +10 4 4 4 4 3 3 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +7 +11 +11 Bardic music 4 4 4 4 4 3 2
19th +14/+9/+4 +7 +11 +11 4 4 4 4 4 3 3
20th +15/+10/+5 +8 +12 +12 Loremaster 4 4 4 4 4 3 3


Table 2: Bard Spells Known

Spells Known
Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1st 4 2
2nd 5 3
3rd 6 3
4th 6 4 2
5th 6 4 3
6th 6 4 3
7th 6 4 4 2
8th 6 4 4 3
9th 6 4 4 3
10th 6 5 4 4 2
11th 6 5 4 4 3
12th 6 5 4 4 3
13th 6 5 5 4 4 2
14th 6 5 5 4 4 3
15th 6 5 5 4 4 3
16th 6 5 5 5 4 4 2
17th 6 5 5 5 4 4 3
18th 6 5 5 5 4 4 3
19th 6 5 5 5 5 4 4
20th 6 5 5 5 5 4 4


Class Features
All of the following are class features of the bard.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bards are proficient with the Short Blades and Slings weapon groups, as well as one of the player's choice. They are proficient with light and medium armor and shields (but not tower shields).

Spells: A bard casts arcane spells. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, like a cleric or wizard must. Every bard spell has a verbal component (singing, reciting, or music). The bard casts these spells without needing to memorize them beforehand or keep a spellbook. Bards receive bonus spells for high Charisma, and to cast a spell a bard must have a Charisma score at least equal to 10 + spell level. The Difficulty Class for a save against a bard's spell is 10 + 1/2 the bard's caster level + the spell level.

Like other spellcasters, a bard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table 2. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.

Three times per level, a bard can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the bard "loses" the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell's level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged.

If a bard creates his own spells, he can add them to his spells known in addition to the spells he is normally allowed by level.

Bardic Knowledge: Bards spend their careers hearing stories and gleaning information; as a result, they are fonts of trivia and odd bits of lore. They gain a bonus to all Knowledge checks equal to half their class level; even if a bard has no ranks in a given Knowledge skill, he can make an Intelligence check (with the bonus) against the check DC to see if he knows or has heard something about the subject in question.

Bardic Music: Once per day per class level, a bard can use his song or poetics to produce 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. Starting a bardic music effect is a standard action. In order to use a bardic music ability, the bard must make a Perform check, using whichever Perform skill he wishes; the DC for this check varies depending on the bardic music ability (see below). If the check succeeds, the bard can use the ability. If the check fails, the attempt still counts against his daily limit.

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 doesn't 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.

Creatures that are deaf or that otherwise cannot hear the bard perform are not affected.

At 1st level, 3rd level, and every three class levels thereafter, the bard can choose one song (see Bardic Music, below). He must fulfill the listed prerequisites to choose that song.

Polyglot (Ex): Bards are exposed to a wide variety of languages in their travels. At 5th level, a bard gains 2 + Int bonus points that he can use to learn spoken or written languages. He cannot become better than conversant with any language via this ability, however (though he can spend normal skill points to become fluent).

Disguise Spell (Ex): The bard has mastered the art of casting spells unobtrusively, mingling verbal and somatic components into his music and performances so that others rarely catch him in the act of casting a spell. Like a silent, stilled spell, a disguised spell can't be identified through Spellcraft. The performance is obvious to everyone in the vicinity, but the fact that the bard is casting a spell isn't. Unless the spell visibly emanates from him or observers have some other means of determining its source, they don't know where the effect came from. Since disguising a spell in this manner requires a bit of effort, the bard must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level); if the check fails, he still casts it successfully, but it is not disguised.

Skill Mastery (Ex): The bard becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that he can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. At 15th level, he selects a number of skills equal to 3 + his Intelligence bonus. When making a skill check with one of these skills, he can take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent him from doing so.

Loremaster (Ex): The bard's store of knowledge is so vast that he can take 10 on a Knowledge check to search his memory for a random bit of information. Effectively, he drops into a semi-trance for 1 minute while he turns his attention inward, seeking the answer to the question. Doing so is taxing, however; he can do so only three times per day.


Bardic Music

Bards can choose their songs from the following list. The following benefits apply to all bardic music abilities, if applicable. All the benefits stack – that is, a check result 60 or more over the DC means the ability is widened, maximized, and empowered, in addition to the bonuses granted for that particular ability by a high check result.

If the check succeeds by 20 or more, the area of effect is widened.

If the check succeeds by 40 or more, all effects are extended by 50%. (In the case of inspire courage and inspire heroics, the bonus remains in effect for an additional 50% of the time the bard spent singing after he stops. For example, the bonus from a bard who spent 10 rounds singing would last for another 5 rounds afterward.) If the effect normally ends when the bard stops performing, then it is extended for 1 minute.

If the check succeeds by 60 or more, all effects are empowered. If the song affects a certain number of allies (inspire courage, e.g.) the number is increased by 50%.

Table 3: Bardic Songs

Song Prereqs Perform DC
Bolstering ballad 6th level 20
Collaborative chant 1st level 14
Countersong 2nd level 15
Dominate Fascinate, 11th level 27
Fascinate 1st level 14
Hindering song Countersong, 12th level 25
Inspire courage 2nd level 15
Inspire greatness 8th level 21
Inspire heroics Inspire courage, inspire greatness, 20th level 38
Inspire valor Inspire courage, 14th level 30
Magical melody Collaborative chant, bolstering ballad, 16th level 33
Mass suggestion Fascinate, suggestion, 16th level 33
Song of freedom Countersong, unravel, 17th level 34
Suggestion Fascinate, 6th level 19
Unravel 7th level 20
Vitalizing Verse Collaborative chant, 11th level 26

Bolstering Ballad (Su): A bard who makes a DC 20 Perform check can bolster his or an ally's ability to resist harmful spells and effects. For every three class levels above 11th, the bard can affect one extra ally. The ally to be affected must be within 30 feet and able to hear the bard. It gains a +2 competence bonus to all saves while the bard sings.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 20, the ally gains an additional +1 bonus to its saves.

Prerequisite: 6th level.

Collaborative Chant (Su): A bard who makes a DC 14 Perform check 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, and 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 bard's 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 can't affect himself. Collaborative chant is a mind-affecting ability.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 14, the ally gains an additional +1 competence bonus to skill checks.

Prerequisite: 1st level.

Countersong (Su): A bard who makes a DC 15 Perform check 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 caster level check (using his bard level as the caster level). If the caster level check succeeds, the other effect is negated for that round for all creatures within 30 feet of the bard (including the bard himself). If the caster level check fails, the creatures can still make their own saving throws. If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a noninstantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, the bard can make a caster level check each round to negate it, as if he were using a dispel magic spell. Countersong has no effect against effects that don't allow saves. The bard can keep up the countersong for 10 rounds.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 15, he gains a +1 bonus to the caster level check.

Prerequisite: 1st level.

Dominate (Sp): A bard who makes a DC 27 Perform check can use his music or poetics to dominate a creature that she has already fascinated. Using this ability does not break the bard's concentration on the fascinate effect, nor does it allow a second saving throw. The target is entitled to a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 bard's level + bard's Cha modifier); if it fails, it is dominated for as long as the bard maintains the fascinate effect and for 1 minute per level afterward. It is otherwise identical to the dominate person spell.

Dominate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language-dependent ability.

For every 5 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 27, the save DC is increased by +1.

Prerequisites: Fascinate, 11th level.

Fascinate (Sp): A bard who makes a DC 14 Perform check can use his music or poetics to fascinate one or more creatures. Each creature to be affected 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 the 1st, he can affect one additional creature (two at 4th, three at 7th, etc.).

All creatures to be affected must make a saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 bard's level + Cha bonus) to resist it. If a creature's save succeeds, the bard cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its save 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 Perception checks. Any potential threat requires the bard to make another Perform check (DC 16) and allows the creature a new save.

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.

For every 5 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 16, the save DC is increased by +1; for every 10 points, he can affect one additional creature.

Prerequisite: 1st level.

Hindering Song (Su): A bard who makes a DC 25 Perform check can use song or poetics to hinder enemy spellcasters within 30 feet. To successfully cast a spell within this area, a spellcaster must make a Concentration check as if he or she were casting defensively (DC 10 + 1/2 bard's level + bard's Cha bonus). The bard can choose to exclude anyone from this effect. The bard can keep up the hindering song for a maximum of 10 rounds.

For each 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds 35, the Concentration DC increases by +1.

Prerequisites: Countersong, 12th level.

Inspire Courage (Su): A bard who makes a DC 15 Perform check can use song or poetics to inspire courage in allies within 30 feet (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing or remains in the area of effect, and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally receives a +2 morale bonus to saves against charm and fear effects and a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls. Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 15, allies gain an additional +1 morale bonus to saves and attack rolls.

Prerequisite: 2nd level.

Inspire Greatness (Su): A bard who makes a DC 21 Perform check can use music or poetics to inspire greatness in all allies (including himself) within 30 feet. A creature so inspired gains a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and melee damage rolls, and a +2 morale bonus to saves against charm and fear effects. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for up to 5 rounds thereafter. Inspire greatness is a mind-affecting ability.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 21, affected creatures gain an additional +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls, and to saves. For every 20 points over the DC, he can affect an additional ally (exclusive of the number he can affect according to his level).

Prerequisite: 8th level.

Inspire Heroism (Su): A bard who makes a DC 38 Perform check can use music or poetics to inspire heroism in all allies (including himself) within 30 feet. To be inspired, the ally must hear the bard sing for a full round. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard and for 5 rounds thereafter. A creature inspired with heroism gains 2 bonus Hit Dice (d10s), the commensurate number of temporary hit points (apply the target's Constitution modifier, if any, to these bonus Hit Dice), a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls, a +4 morale bonus to saves vs. charm and fear effects, and +2 dodge bonus to AC, and a +2 morale bonus on Fortitude saves. The bonus Hit Dice count as regular Hit Dice for determining the effect of spells that are Hit Die-dependent. Inspire heroics is a mind-affecting ability.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 38, all allies affected gain an additional +1 competence bonus on attack and damage rolls, saves, and Fort saves, and a +1 dodge bonus to AC. For every 20 points, all allies affected gain an additional Hit Die, and he can affect an additional ally (exclusive of the number he can affect according to his level).

Prerequisites: Inspire courage, inspire greatness, 20th level.

Inspire Valor (Su): A bard who makes a DC 30 Perform check can use music or poetics to inspire valor in all allies (including himself) within 30 feet. A creature so inspired gains a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and melee damage rolls, a +4 morale bonus to saves vs. charm and fear effects, and a +2 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 valor is a mind-affecting ability.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 30, affected creatures gain an additional +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls and saves, and a +1 dodge bonus to AC. For every 20 points over the DC, he can affect an additional ally (exclusive of the number he can affect according to his level).

Prerequisites: Inspire courage, 14th level.

Magical Melody (Su): A bard who makes a DC 33 Perform check can use music or poetics to boost his allies' spellcasting ability. He can affect one spellcaster per three class levels; in order to gain the bonus, the spellcaster must be able to hear the bard sing. The bard's song grants a +2 competence bonus on caster level checks to resist dispelling, and a +4 competence bonus on Concentration checks. This bonus lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds afterward.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 33, affected creatures gain an additional +1 bonus to caster level checks and +2 to Concentration checks.

Prerequisites: Collaborative chant, bolstering ballad, 16th level.

Mass Suggestion (Sp): This ability functions like suggestion, except that a bard who makes a DC 33 Perform check 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.

For every 5 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 33, the save DC is increased by +1.

Prerequisites: Fascinate, suggestion, 16th level.

Song of Freedom (Sp): A bard who makes a DC 34 Perform check can use music or poetics to create an effect equivalent to the break enchantment spell (caster level equals the character's 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 can't use song of freedom on himself.

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 34, he gains a +1 bonus to the caster level check.

Prerequisites: Countersong, unravel, 17th level.

Suggestion (Sp): A bard who makes a DC 20 Perform check can make a suggestion (as the spell) to a creature that he has already fascinated. Using this ability does not break the bard's concentration on the fascinate effect, nor does it allow a second save against it.

Making a suggestion doesn't count against a bard's daily limit on bardic music performances. A Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 bard's level + bard's Cha modifier) negates the effect. This ability affects only a single creature (but see mass suggestion). Suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language-dependent ability.

For every 5 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 20, the save DC is increased by +1.

Prerequisites: Fascinate, 6th level.

Unravel (Su): A bard who makes a DC 21 Perform check can attempt to dispel a spell or effect from the Enchantment or Illusion schools (basically, any charm, domination, or similar effect, or any illusion). In order to do so, he must be able to see the target (either a creature being affected, or the illusion) and actively must know of its presence. She makes a caster level check – 1d20 + his bard level vs. 11 + the effect's caster level – but he also gains a +1 bonus to the check per 5 points by which he exceeds DC 21. If the check succeeds, the spell or effect is dispelled.

Prerequisite: 7th level.

Vitalizing Verse (Su): A bard who makes a DC 26 Perform check can grant a bonus to all rolls modifier by one ability score for his allies. To be affected, an ally must hear the bard sing for 1 full round. The effect lasts as long as the bard sings and for 5 rounds after he stops (or 5 rounds after the ally can no longer hear him). While singing, the bard can fight but cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by command word (such as wands). Each ally to be inspired gains a +4 competence bonus to the same ability, which the bard must choose before he begins singing (for example, if the bard chose to boost everyone's strength, they would gain a +4 bonus to Strength checks, attack and damage rolls, all skills modified by Strength, etc.).

For every 10 points by which the bard's Perform check exceeds DC 26, the allies gain an additional +1 bonus to the chosen ability score.

Prerequisites: Collaborative chant, 11th level.

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