Saturday, September 17, 2022

A "quick and dirty" single class bard for AD&D

Like a lot of old schoolers, I dig the flavor of the AD&D 1st edition bard class and even a lot of its implementation, but balk somewhat at the convoluted pseudo-dual classing shenanigans and the usual lack of player interest in such a delayed satisfaction approach. Since I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to tweaking stuff, here's my stab at a single class version that sticks fairly close to the core concept of a druid/thief loremaster. Combat ability is scaled back to sub-fighter levels, but the combination of the cleric's weapon proficiency and better weapon and armor options than either the druid or thief still maintains some martial emphasis. Thief ability growth should be slow enough to not make dedicated thieves or assassins obsolete.

Stat/race/alignment requirements: No change from PHB.

Weapons/armor/magic items permitted: No change from PHB.

Experience progression: No change from PHB Bards Table I.

Hit Dice: As druid. +1 hp/level for levels 15 through 23.

Combat ability/saving throws/weapon proficiency: As cleric.

Druid spells: No change from PHB Bards Table I. Apart from spell casting (including from scrolls) and knowledge of the secret druidic tongue, no other druid-specific class abilities are available to bards. Bards do not receive bonus spells for high wisdom.

Thief abilities: As 1st level thief at start, advancing at the rate of one thief level at every odd-numbered bard level thereafter.

Other bard abilities (charm, legend lore, etc.): No change from PHB Bards Table II.

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