Beneath the Borderlands
Part skald and part minstrel, the Bard is both a master musician and a keeper of legends and lore. Bards are knowledgeable in many areas and the ancient legends and obscure lore studied by the Bard gives this class insight into many things. In addition, by way of their great musical prowess, Bards may influence an audience through music or song. Bards also possess some class abilities in common with other classes such as the Magic-User’s spell casting ability and some of the Thief’s special abilities.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions: Bards may use any weapons, and may wear leather or chain armor.
Thieving Abilities (2nd Level): Starting at 2nd level, Bards possess the abilities of a Thief one half his level, rounded down. These abilities include; Open Locks, Remove Traps, Pick Pockets & Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Hear Noises, and Climb Sheer Surfaces. Bards wearing chain armor cannot use the Climb Sheer Surfaces and Move Silently abilities. Bards with a Dexterity score of less than 9 see their chances of successfully performing their thieving skills cut in half. A Bard of Lawful alignment or one that becomes Lawful through play loses his thieving abilities. Bard’s do not possess the Thief’s Back-stab ability.
Spell Casting and Magic Items: Bards may use any magic items usable by Fighters, Thieves, in addition to those usable by all classes. Bard’s are also able to cast arcane spells in the same manner as a Magic-User as detailed below (and choose from the standard list of Magic-User Spells):
Charm: The Bard Abilities table lists the chance (on a d20) of the bard charming an audience (within 60 ft.) through music or song. Monsters of 4 HD or more add a +1 penalty to the Bard’s roll for every HD above 3. Likewise, characters of 5th level or greater also add a +1 penalty to the Bard’s roll result for every level above 4. Some creature are more resilient to the Bard’s charm. Undead, for example, add a penalty of +2 to a Bard’s charm roll for ever HD they possess. At the Referee’s discretion, extremely powerful creatures, such as Baalrochs, may have a fixed penalty to the Bard’s roll (up to +20) which exceeds what the creature’s HD would normally confer. When using his charm, the Bard makes 1 roll and compares his result against each audience member affected, modifying his success range for each individual.
A 5th level Bard attempts to charm a group composed of a 6th level Fighter (+2 penalty to the Bard’s chances to charm), 2 1HD men-at-arms, and a 5 HD cockatrice (also +2 to the Bard’s roll result). A 5th level Bard’s normal chance to charm is 1-10 on a d20, and he rolls a 9. Individually applying each audience member’s modifier to his roll results in only the 2 men-at-arms being charmed (the Fighter’s +2 modifier adjusts the Bard’s roll result to 11, which is over the success range. The cockatrice’s +2 penalty to the Bard’s charm also modifies the result to 11, thus meaning the charm was likewise ineffective versus the beast). A charm affects all those within 60 ft., excluding the Bard’s party. A Bard may use his charm ability once per day per level.
Suggestion: While a Bard has an audience charmed, he may attempt to implant a suggestion within the audience’s subconscious. This suggestion acts in a similar manner to the arcane spell Suggestion. Victims are afforded a chance to save versus the suggestion. A successful save will result in the victim detecting the attempted suggestion and will most likely attack the Bard and his party.
Lore: A Bard’s Lore ability (see Bard Abilities table) gives the Bard’s chance, on a d20, to use his wealth of knowledge of ancient legends and lore to discern the properties of magic items, as well as knowledge of locales and legends outside the dungeon. When trying to discern the properties of magic items he cannot use, the Bard’s chances are halved. The lore ability isn’t simply limited to discovering the properties of magic items but can be used to glean information on anything that knowledge of legend and ancient lore might assist. The Referee should assign a penalty to the bard’s chance of success based on the obscurity of the information sought.
Languages: A Bard character may begin play with knowledge of any Languages of Ig desired (subject to Intelligence limits and referee approval).
Followers (3rd Level): Starting at 3rd level, and every 3 levels afterwards, Bards attract followers to follow him on his journeys. Although a Bard’s followers do not need to be paid, when one dies, the follower is not replaced. The tables below indicate what level followers the Bard attracts as well as the class of the followers:
The following are magical instruments are usable by Bards:
- Magical Harp: This harp adds + 2 to the Bard’s chance of successfully charming an audience. In addition, this harp possesses 3 songs which can each be played once per day. At fifth level, and for each 3 levels afterwards, the Bard may play the songs one extra time per day. The first song playable on this magic harp is one of protection and is identical to an arcane Protection from Evil spell. The second song produces effects similar to a Shield spell. The third song mimics a Continual Light spell. A Bard must be of 2nd level or higher to play this harp. 1st level Bards attempting to do so receive 1d6 points of damage.
- Magical Harp, Greater: This harp adds + 4 to the Bard’s chance of successfully charming an audience and possesses all the songs of the lesser harp. In addition, the greater magical harp possesses 2 additional songs. The first turns the Bard invisible for as long as he is playing (note that the sound of the harp playing will be heard while invisible, which will seem to others as if the music is coming out of thin air). The second song produces effects identical to an arcane Vigor spell. Like the first song, the effects of this strength-giving melody cease once the Bard stops playing (either willingly or through interruption). The two songs of the greater harp are playable once per day. At eighth level the Bard may play the songs one extra time per day. Bards of less than fifth level who attempt to this this harp suffer 3d6 points of damage.
- Magical Lyre: This magic instrument adds + 6 to the Bard’s chance of successfully charming an audience. It possesses all the songs from both the magical harp and the greater magical harp. In addition, the magical lyre possesses 2 additional songs which can each be played once per day. When reaching 10th level the Bard may play the songs one extra time per day. The first song playable on the magic lyre allows the Bard to fly as if affected by a 3rd level magic-user Fly spell. The effects last for 1d6 turns +1 turn per Bard level, or until the Bard stops playing (either willingly or through interruption). The second song produces effects identical to a Dispel Magic spell (use the Bard’s level to determine the chance of success). A Bard must be of 8th level or higher to play this lyre. Lower level Bards attempting to do so receive 5d6 points of damage.