The enigmatic Bards are an order of arcane warrior-poets. Cunning loremasters as well as entertainers extraordinare, their ancient art encorporates martial prowess, stealth, and magical might. As true jacks of all trades, they can never hope to rival Fighters, Magic-Users, or Thieves within their respective realms of expertise, yet their unparalleled social aptitude, deep reservoir of knowledge, and sheer flexibility grant them an undeniable edge all their own.
Prime Attribute: Strength and Intelligence, both 13+ (+5% experience bonus)
Hit Dice:1d6/level (Gain 1 hp/level after 10th level)
Armor/Shield Permitted: Leather, ring, chain; shield permitted
Weapons Permitted: Any
Ancestry: Human, Dwarf (maximum 8th level), Elf (maximum 8th level), Halfling (maximum 8th level)
Alignment: Bards may be of any alignment, although most are Neutral and on friendly terms with druidic organizations. Lawful bards do not have access to thieving skills.
Bardic Colleges: Bard characters derive thier many skills from training obtained through scholarly organizations known as colleges. These scarcely resemble institutions of higher learning as we know them, instead being loose yet far-reaching webs of association maintained between individual Bards of similar accomplishment. While Bards of higher colleges can often be snobbish about associating with their "lessers" in lower ones, all Bards tend to be fiercely loyal to their fellows and the college system as a whole, regardless of alignment. It is rumored that magical intruments with wonderous effects exist that can only be properly played by Bards of a high enough college.
BARD CLASS ABILITIES
Fighting Ability: Bards use the same attack and saving throw values as Clerics. They do not gain any class-specific saving throw bonuses, however.
Thievery: Non-Lawful Bards have thieving abilities equal to a Thief of half their current level (round down). Non-human Bards benefit from the same bonuses non-human Thieves do. Note that Bards do not gain a Backstab ability and cannot climb walls or move silently when wearing any armor heavier than leather.
Spellcasting: Bards learn, prepare, and cast Magic-User spells in the same manner members of that class do. They cannot cast spells while wearing any form of non-magical armor.
Magic Items: Bards may employ any magic item usable by Fighters, Thieves, or members of all classes. Additionally, they may use (but not create) Magic-User scrolls. At the Referee's discretion, magic items based on sound (Horn of Blasting, Pipes of the Sewers, etc.) may have enhanced effects when used by Bards.
Charm: The mystical song of Bards has a percentage chance of mesmerizing any listeners within a 60' radius of them. This power may be used up to once per level per day and affected beings will do nothing but stand in place listening to the Bard until the singing stops, the Bard leaves the area of effect, or they are attacked or otherwise startled. The Bard may attempt to verbally implant a Suggestion in any charmed being (as per the third level Magic-User spell). A saving throw is permitted to resist the Suggestion and success both breaks the charm and is apt to leave the target very angry. A Bard's song also nullifies the hazardous effect of a harpy's. Situational modifers apply to charm attempts, as per the chart below.
Bard Charm Modifiers
|Bard has charisma 15+||Bard is an Elf||Target is a Monk||Target is other classed character||Target is undead||Target is demon||Target is other monster||Target has AC bonus from magic items|
|+5% per point above 14||+5%||-10%/level||-5% per level over four||-10%/HD||-200%||-5% per HD over three||-5% per point of bonus|
Lore: This number represents the Bard's base percentage chance to possess information relating to a person, place, item, or event deemed significant enough by the Referee to have inspired tales and legends within the campaign setting. It can be used to identify magic items, but the chance of success will generally be half normal (or less) if the item in question is not a weapon or piece of armor. Bards of Elf ancestry gain +5% to this ability.
Expert Linguist: Being both highly educated and well-traveled, a Bard may learn as many additional languages as he or she has points of Intelligence.
Followers: As natural leaders, Bards attract a much higher than usual number of special hirelings, as shown in the accompanying chart. The class of each is determined using the "Bard Follower Classes" chart. Higher level follower slots will generally be taken up by already existing followers who have advanced in level, rather than all new ones. For example, a Bard who advances from the first college to the second will be joined by a new first level follower and one of the previous two will be promoted to second level in order to fill that slot on the chart. A Bard need not pay these followers, and ones that die or otherwise leave the campaign are not replaced. Bards following other Bards will not have their own followers. If the optional morale rules are used, these followers gain a +4 morale bonus (not cumulative with any bonus from high Charisma, but low Charisma penalties still apply).
Bard Follower by College
|College||Followers by Level|
|Bard||Druid||Fighter||Thief||Magic-User||Roll twice, ignoring 100%|
Bard Advancement Table
|Level*||XP Required for Level||Hit Dice (d6)**||Saving Throw||College||Charm/Lore||Number of Spells (by level)|
*Bards are capped at 25 levels of ability.
**Hit points shown for levels after the character no longer gains full hit dice are the total combined number. A 12th-level Bard has 10 HD plus 2 hit points total, not 10 HD plus one hit point gained at 11th level and another 2 hit points gained at 12th.