- 1 Description
- 2 Class Abilities
- 2.1 Weapon and Armor Proficiency
- 2.2 Spells
- 2.3 Bardic Knowledge (Ex)
- 2.4 Bardic Performance (Ex, Stance)
- 2.5 Implements
- 2.6 Harmony (Sp)
- 2.7 Versatile Performance (Ex)
- 2.8 Well-Versed (Ex)
- 2.9 Staccato (Su)
- 2.10 Lore Master (Ex)
- 2.11 Bonus Metamagic Feat
- 2.12 Jack of All Trades (Ex)
- 3 Epic Bard
- 4 Epic Class Abilities
Untold wonders and secrets exist for those skillful enough to discover them. Through cleverness, talent, and magic, these cunning few unravel the wiles of the world, becoming adept in the arts of persuasion, manipulation, and inspiration. Typically masters of one or many forms of artistry, bards possess an uncanny ability to know more than they should and use what they learn to keep themselves and their allies ever one step ahead of danger. Bards are quick-witted and captivating, and their skills might lead them down many paths, be they gamblers or jacks-of-all-trades, scholars or performers, leaders or scoundrels, or even all of the above. For bards, every day brings its own opportunities, adventures, and challenges, and only by bucking the odds, knowing the most, and being the best might they claim the treasures of each.
Role: Bards capably confuse and confound their foes while inspiring their allies to ever-greater daring. While accomplished with both weapons and magic, the true strength of bards lies outside melee, where they can support their companions and undermine their foes without fear of interruptions to their performances.
Hit Die: d6
Starting Wealth: 250 gp
Natural Talent: At character creation, all characters get natural talent with their bailiwick skill, and one additional skill of their choice. Natural talent allows you to re-map a skill to use any ability score you wish, rather than the ability score it normally uses. You may not select a skill for natural talent that you cannot put ranks into (such as a bailiwick skill not available to your class). Natural talent skills never suffer an armor check penalty, even if the chosen ability modifier is STR or DEX.
Skill Ranks Per Level: 7 + Int modifier.
Recommended Ability Score Priority: CHA (spells, social skills, harmony and staccato damage), DEX (ranged to-hit, AC, agility skills), INT (skill points, knowledge skills). CON and STR are optional, but useful when in the thick of combat. WIS is only useful for will saves.
|Level||BAB||Fort||Refl||Will||Harmony / Staccato||Inspire Courage||Song of Steel Bonus||Special||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th|
|1st||+0||0||2||2||1d6||1d4||-||Bardic Knowledge, Bardic Performance, Cantrips, Countersong, Distraction, Fascinate, Harmony, Inspire Courage||1||-||-||-||-||-|
|2nd||+1||0||3||3||1d6||1d4||+1||Versatile Performance, Well-Versed, Song of Steel (Performance)||2||-||-||-||-||-|
|3rd||+1||1||3||3||2d6||1d4||+2||Inspire Competence (Performance), Staccato||3||-||-||-||-||-|
|4th||+2||1||4||4||2d6||1d4||+2||Palliative Command (Performance)||4||1||-||-||-||-|
|5th||+2||1||4||4||3d6||1d6||+3||Lore Master 1/day||4||2||-||-||-||-|
|7th||+3||2||5||5||4d6||1d6||+4||Bonus Metamagic Feat||4||3||1||-||-||-|
|9th||+4||3||6||6||5d6||1d8||+5||Inspire Greatness (Performance)||5||4||3||-||-||-|
|11th||+5||3||7||7||6d6||1d8||+6||Lore Master 2/day||5||4||4||2||-||-|
|12th||+6/+1||4||8||8||6d6||1d8||+6||Soothing Performance (Performance) 1 hp/round||5||5||4||3||-||-|
|14th||+7/+2||4||9||9||7d6||1d10||+7||Haunting Ballad (Performance)||5||5||4||4||2||-|
|15th||+7/+2||5||9||9||8d6||1d10||+8||Inspire Heroics (Performance), Soothing Performance (Performance) 2 hp/round||5||5||5||4||3||-|
|16th||+8/+3||5||10||10||8d6||1d10||+8||Palliative Utterance (Performance)||5||5||5||4||3||1|
|17th||+8/+3||5||10||10||9d6||1d12||+9||Lore Master 3/day||5||5||5||4||4||2|
|18th||+9/+4||6||11||11||9d6||1d12||+9||Mass Suggestion (Performance)||5||5||5||5||4||3|
|20th||+10/+5||6||12||12||10d6||1d12||+10||Deadly Performance (Performance), Soothing Performance (Performance) 5 hp/round||5||5||5||5||5||5|
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
A bard is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, shortsword, shortbow, and whip (only the 'whip', not the exotic whips). Bards are also proficient with light armor and light shields. A bard can cast bard spells while wearing light armor and using a light shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spell caster, a bard wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass bard still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.
Beginning at 1st level, a bard casts arcane spells drawn from the bard spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. Every bard spell has a verbal component (singing, reciting, or music). To learn or cast a spell, a bard must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class (DC) for a saving throw against a bard's spell is 10 + the spell level + the bard's Charisma modifier.
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: Bard. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.
The bard's selection of spells is extremely limited. A bard begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of the bard's choice. At each new bard level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Bard Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a bard knows is not affected by his Charisma score (See Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).
Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third bard level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), 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, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level bard spell the bard can cast. A bard may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.
A bard need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell's level.
Table: Bard Spells Known
Bard's learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Bard Spells Known under "Spells Known." These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.
Bardic Knowledge (Ex)
Bardic Performance (Ex, Stance)
Beginning at 1st level, a bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around him, including himself, if desired. To initiate one of his performances, he enters a Stance, which follows the rules for stances, except as described below. Each round, the bard can produce any one of the types of bardic performance that he has mastered, as indicated by his level.
Entering the stance of a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Entering a stance does not provoke attacks of opportunity. A Bardic Performance requires the bard to be standing, wielding an Instrument (see below), occupies both hands, and requires the Bard to have all their actions available each round to maintain the Stance.
Ending a bardic performance requires an immediate action (or a swift action if done during the bard's turn) and can trigger a finale (see below). A performance cannot be ended the same round it was begun, and the same performance cannot be ended and then re-started in the same round. However, a bard can end one performance and begin a different one in the same round, assuming he has enough actions to do so. A bardic performance is disrupted if he is knocked out of his stance (see Stance rules). If the performance stance is disrupted, the bard must use another standard action to re-initiate the stance (unless he has the higher level abilities which reduce this to lesser action types). A disrupted performance does not trigger the performance's finale (see below).
As with all stances, a bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time. While in the bardic performance stance, the bardic abilities Harmony or Staccato may be used, as long as the bard has adequate actions to do so.
At 7th level, a bard can enter the stance of a bardic performance as a move action instead of a standard action. At 13th level, a bard can initiate the stance of a bardic performance as a swift action.
Allies must be within the range of the performance (typically 30 feet, but see the performance's description) to gain the benefits of the performance. Depending on the Perform skill specialization being used with the stance, allies will also require line of sight for visual-based performance (e.g. dance) or line of effect for audible performances (e.g. percussion). Some performance types require both line of sight and line of effect (e.g. acting).
If a bardic performance has audible components, the targets must be able to hear the bard for the performance to have any effect, and such performances are language dependent. A deaf bard has a 20% change to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with an audible component. This check is made at the beginning of his turn each round, and is not an action. If he fails this check, the performance grants no benefits or effects until a successful check is made on a subsequent round. Deaf creatures are immune to bardic performances with audible components.
If a bardic performance has a visual component, the targets must have line of sight to the bard for the performance to have any effect. A blind bard has a 50% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with a visual component. This check is made at the beginning of his turn each round, and is not an action. If he fails this check, the performance grants no benefits or effects until a successful check is made on a subsequent round. Blind creatures are immune to bardic performances with visual components.
In order to use their Performance skill and enter a Performance Stance, a bard must wield an Instrument with both hands. This may be a traditional instrument such as a lute, violin, or flute, or it may be any other Instrument which the Bard uses to focus his Performance. It can be an item of clothing such as a signature hat which is manipulated about the body, as used by Fred Astaire, it can be an artifact such as Yorick's Skull to which he declaims dramatically, it can be a scarf which is held and manipulated to emphasize the performance, or anything else the player wishes.
Note that you can, if you wish, declare you are a martially-oriented Bard and use a Sword and Shield (for example) as your instrument, and this is perfectly legitimate! However, this has the major caveat that when you are using your sword and shield as your Bardic instrument to maintain a Stance, you CANNOT also use it as a weapon and shield, with the single exception of the "Song of Steel" Bardic Performance.
In addition to allowing the use of their Performance skill to enter a Performance Stance, a Bard's Instrument can, optionally, be enchanted to act as a light shield. This has the advantage that they can gain a shield bonus without having to put their Instrument away, and vice versa. In such cases, the Instrument can only be used for one function at a time, much as a Shield with Shield Spikes: IE, if you are using it with one hand defensively as a shield, you may not wield it with both hands as an Instrument to Perform in that same round.
Magic bard instruments are a subset of magical shields which follow modified rules for their construction. Like normal shields, Bard instruments may have one or more magic properties in addition to an enhancement bonus. Bardic Instruments may also be made with any dweomermetal, with the caveat that the properties of the dweomermetal only apply in rounds when the Instrument is being used as a shield.
The magic properties for a Bard Instrument being used as a shield may be chosen as for any other shield, following the same rules as magic shield properties for the number of properties which may be added (i.e. campaign limits must be followed as to the maximum amount of properties which are allowed). The cost to create a magic instrument is the same as the cost for a comparably enchanted magic shield (the cost of the instrument itself, plus the cost for the absolute bonus of the total number of magic weapon properties being applied).
During combat, as an Immediate action, the bard may end her performance and gain a Finale effect. Note that 'ending a performance' is not the same as having the stance disrupted, and disrupted stances do not allow the bard to gain a Finale effect. The Finale may not be used in same round that the performance starts. A new performance may begin the same round a Finale is used, but it must be a different performance than the one just ended. The bard is never obligated to use the finale when ending a performance, though voluntarily ending a performance always costs an immediate/swift action. Finales may only be used during combat (while there is an initiative order).
Types of Bardic Performance
Each of the Bardic Performance types described below is a stance, and follows all of the rules of Stances. Once the selected stance is entered, the bard may sustain it each round as a free action, or end it as an immediate (or swift) action to gain its finale effect. If the stance is disrupted, the finale may not be used, and the stance must be re-initiated. If the bard wishes to change the stance he is using to a different performance, he must end the current stance, and initiate the new stance as a standard action (or a move action at 7th level, or swift action at 13th). If the stance is disrupted, the interrupted performance may be re-initiated or a different performance may be initiated if the bard so chooses. The only legal way to end a performance and begin a new one is to either spend an immediate action to end it (and get the Finale benefit if eligible) or have the stance disrupted.
|Bardic Performance||Type of Ability||SR Applies?||Level Acquired|
|Song of Steel||Ex||-||2nd|
The Bard is one of the classes which is allowed to use Implements to boost their magical ranged touch attacks. The bard's bardic instrument may be enchanted as an implement, in addition to any other enchantments it may have. See the Crafting Magic Implements page for more details.
Starting at 1st level, any time during combat that the bard is maintaining a performance stance (including surprise rounds), a bard may magically strike at his enemies with illusory shadows of his performance as a standard action, in addition to the effects of the Stance. The range of the attack is Close (25 ft + 5 ft/two levels (round down)) and it is a ranged touch attack that follows all the rules of ray attacks.
As a ranged touch attack, Harmony may be boosted if the Bard has an Implement in their hand when the ability is used. If their Implement is also their Instrument, this usage does not interrupt their performance.
Harmony is a mind-affecting ability, though the bard need not share a language with the target. Harmony is a spell-like ability that provokes AOO's unless a Caster Check to Concentrate is made to combat-cast. Harmony is treated as though it belongs to the illusion school of spells, even though it is not a spell, for purposes of feats like Spell Focus. Harmony is also subject to Spell Resistance if the targeted creature(s) have it. Unlike most spell-like abilities, bards can get a bonus attack with Harmony while under the effects of a Haste spell, when making a full attack action.
If the target is successfully struck by Harmony, the Bard may first Slide the target 1 square as forced movement. As with all forced movement, this ignores difficult terrain, never provokes attacks of opportunity, and may be negated if the target elects to fall Prone. In addition to the slide, Harmony inflicts 1d6 + CHA modifier of psychic damage (resisted only by ER x/-) at level 1, and this damage increases by 1d6 at each odd level, as detailed in Table: Bard.
Beginning at level 8, the bard may use harmony twice during a full attack action. The second attack is at BAB - 5. Beginning at level 21, the Bard may use Harmony three times during a full attack action, although the third attack is made at -10. Harmony may never be used in the same round as Staccato or any of the Symphony abilities, unless an action point is used.
Versatile Performance (Ex)
At 2nd level, a bard can use any one of his Perform skills as a substitute for all checks made against one of the skills listed below. Any time a check is required for that skill, the bard makes a check against his Perform skill instead. Note that the Bard isn't actually using the Perform skill (e.g. playing an instrument) to make the skill check. Instead, he is using various epiphanies he has achieved in his music to inspire his ability with the chosen skill. Only one of the skills listed below may be selected at 2nd level, but any of the Bard's Perform skills may be used in place of that skill.
The skills that may be selected for substitution by your Perform skill are:
- Handle Animal
- Sense Motive
Every 2 levels after 2nd level (e.g. 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th), the bard can select one additional skill from the list above to substitute with any of his Perform skills.
At 2nd level, the bard becomes resistant to the bardic performance of others, and to sonic effects in general. The bard gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made against bardic performance, sonic, and language-dependent effects.
Starting at 3rd level, in or out of their Bardic Stance, the Bard may attempt to strike at his enemies with sound as a standard action. This is a supernatural ability, does not provoke, and affects one square within a fifteen foot cone. (Select an area for a 15-foot cone, following the rules for cones. All creatures and objects in the designated square are affected. The rest of the 15-foot cone is unaffected. Staccato is an area of effect, and thus does increased damage to creatures vulnerable to such effects, like swarms. Staccato may be a loud shout, a piercing scream, a shattering clap of the hands, a snap of the fingers, or anything else the Bard desires.
Staccato inflicts 2d6 + CHA modifier points of sonic damage at Level 3, and this damage increases by 1d6 at each odd level. Victims of Staccato are allowed a Fort save, DC 10 + half the Bard's level + CHA mod, for half damage. Staccato is treated as though it belongs to the conjuration school of spells, even though it is not a spell, for purposes of feats like Spell Focus. Staccato is not subject to Spell Resistance.
Alternatively, Staccato can also be used to make a Sunder check against a single worn, wielded, or unattended object in the chosen square, instead of dealing damage. If he attempts to sunder a worn or wielded object, the bard must succeed on a Maneuver Offense check against the wielder's Maneuver Defense. If he attempts to sunder an unattended object, he must overcome the object's Sunder DC. If the bard chooses to perform a Sunder, he cannot also deal damage with the same Staccato attack.
Beginning at 11th level, Staccato may affect up to 2 squares within the fifteen foot cone. The bard may choose to deal damage to one square and sunder an object in another, or deal damage to both squares, or sunder one object in each of the two squares, or he may place both squares' effects on the same target, dealing damage and sundering one object in the same square.
Note that no single creature can take damage from a Staccato more than once per Staccato attack. That is, a size large creature, despite taking up multiple squares, can only take a single Staccato's damage one time, even if both squares of its effect are placed in different squares of the large creature.
At 21st level, the bard may damage up to three squares and/or sunder up to three objects within the 15-foot cone.
Staccato may never be used in the same round as Harmony (or any of the Symphony abilities) unless an action point is used.
Lore Master (Ex)
At 5th level, the bard becomes a master of lore and can take 10 on any Knowledge skill check that he has ranks in. A bard can choose not to take 10 and can instead roll normally. In addition, once per day, the bard can take 20 on any Knowledge skill check he has ranks in as a standard action. He can use this ability one additional time per day for every six levels he possesses beyond 5th, to a maximum of three times per day at 17th level. This ability may also be used on the Spellcraft and Spycraft skills when they are used for knowledge checks, assuming the bard has ranks in these skills.
Bonus Metamagic Feat
At 7th level, Bards may choose one bonus feat from the list of non-epic metamagic feats. The bard must meet any prerequisites that the feat requires.
Jack of All Trades (Ex)
At 10th level, the bard can use any skill, even if the skill normally requires her to be trained. At 16th level, the bard gains one additional skill as a Natural Talent, allowing her to remap it to the ability modifier of the bard's choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill. At 19th level, the bard can take 10 on any skill check, even if it is not normally allowed.
Table: Epic Bard
|Level||BAB||Fort||Refl||Will||Harmony / Staccato / Symphony||Inspire Courage||Song of Steel Bonus||Special||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th||10th||11th|
|22nd||+11/+6||7||13||13||11d6||2d6||+10||Bonus Metamagic Feat||5||5||5||5||5||5||2||-||-||-||-|
|25th||+13/+8||9||15||15||13d6||2d8||+10||Soothing Performance (Performance) 7 hp/round||5||5||5||5||5||5||4||2||-||-||-|
|28th||+14/+9||10||16||16||14d6||2d8||+10||Bonus Metamagic Feat, Grand Symphony||5||5||5||5||5||5||4||4||2||-||-|
|30th||+15/+10||11||17||17||15d6||2d10||+10||Soothing Performance (Performance) 9 hp/round||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||4||3||1||-|
|34th||+17/+12||13||19||19||17d6||2d12||+10||Bonus Metamagic Feat||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||4||4||2|
Epic Class Abilities
With Sostenuto, the bard may end his performance as a swift action, but the performance lingers to the end of the Bards next round. Any other requirement, such as range or specific conditions, must still be met for the effect to continue, and if the Performance has a Finale, it is lost.
During this time, the bard may initiate a new performance and thus gain the benefits of both performances. As per the bardic performance rules, the bard may not begin the same performance just ended, but must instead perform a different performance. Also, the bard may never end a performance the same round in which it was begun.
An example of Sostenuto in action might be:
- Round 1: Use Swift Action to begin "Inspire Courage"
- Round 2: Use Swift Action to end "Inspire Courage" to trigger Lingering Performance. Use Swift Action to "Inspire Greatness". Inspire Courage Lingers.
- Round 3: Use Swift Action to end "Inspire Greatness" to trigger Lingering Performance. Use Swift Action to "Inspire Courage". Inspire Greatness Lingers.
You may never have more than two performances running at the same time.
Note: At level 27, the Reprise ability allows you to begin and end a performance in the same round! This allows you to have two Performances running even during the first round of a combat.
Beginning at level 21, and every level thereafter, bards receive spell slots above level 6 so that metamagic feats may be applied to their higher level spells.
Bard Spells Known
At 22nd level and every even numbered level thereafter, Bards may choose another spell from the list of Bard spells. They may choose any spell they wish between spell levels 0 and 6. Bards never gain spells higher than sixth level.
Bonus Epic Metamagic Feat
At 22nd, 28th, and 34th levels, Bards may choose one bonus feat from the list of metamagic feats. The bard must meet any prerequisites that the feat requires, but the feat may be selected from the epic or non-epic metamagic feats, as the bard wishes.
At level 23, the range of the bard's performance expands by 10 feet. In most cases, this brings the range to 40 feet instead of 30 feet. Refer to the specific bardic performance entry for the base range.
At level 24, as a standard action, the bard may produce a destructive Symphony which deals piercing damage equal to the bard's Harmony damage as a fifteen foot cone (if using audible performance skills) or a fifteen foot radius centered on himself (if using visual performance skills.) The Bard is immune to damage created by his own Symphony ability. This mind-affecting spell-like ability harms all creatures caught in the area of effect, though they are allowed a Will save (DC 10 + half the bard's level + CHA mod) for half damage. This attack provokes attacks of opportunity unless the bard makes a Caster Check to Concentrate to combat-cast. If used as a full-attack action, Symphony may be used the same number of times per round as Harmony.
At level 26, the bard can reduce the radius of his bardic performance to 15 feet, but may perform without visual or audible components. While using bardic performance thusly, the bard and his party take no stealth penalties from the performance, and the performance cannot be countersong-ed. Furthermore, the bard may enter a stealth stance at the same time as he is using a performance stance with the Piano ability, assuming he meets the conditions required for stealth.
At level 27, the bard may begin the same bardic performance in the same round in which he used that performance's finale. The bard may also perform the finale of a performance that he began this round. This means it is now possible to get the effects of a particular performance's finale each round (during combat).
Grand Symphony (Sp)
At level 28, as a standard action, the bard may produce a destructive Grand Symphony which deals piercing damage equal to the bard's Harmony damage as a thirty foot cone (if using audible performance skills) or a thirty foot radius centered on himself (if using visual performance skills.) The Bard is immune to damage created by his own Grand Symphony ability. This mind-affecting spell-like ability harms all creatures caught in the area of effect, though they are allowed a Will save (DC 10 + half the bard's level + CHA mod) for half damage. This attack provokes attacks of opportunity unless the bard makes a Caster Check to Concentrate to combat-cast. If used as a full-attack action, Grand Symphony may be used the same number of times per round as Harmony.
At level 29, the range of the bard's performance expands by an additional 10 feet (for a total of +20 feet, counting Forte). In most cases, this brings the range to 50 feet. Refer to the specific bardic performance entry for the base range.
Mythopoetic Symphony (Sp)
At level 31, as a standard action, the bard may produce a destructive Mythopoetic Symphony which deals piercing damage equal to the bard's Harmony damage as a sixty foot cone. The Bard is immune to damage created by his own Mythopoetic Symphony ability. This mind-affecting spell-like ability harms all creatures caught in the area of effect, though they are allowed a Will save (DC 10 + half the bard's level + CHA mod) for half damage. This attack provokes attacks of opportunity unless the bard makes a Caster Check to Concentrate to combat-cast. If used as a full-attack action, Symphony may be used the same number of times per round as Harmony.
At level 32, the bard can reduce the radius of his bardic performance to 30 feet, but may perform without visual or audible components. While using bardic performance thusly, the bard and his party take no stealth penalties from the performance, and the performance cannot be countersong-ed. Furthermore, the bard may enter a stealth stance at the same time as he is using a performance stance with the Pianissimo ability.
At level 35, the range of the bard's performance expands by an additional 10 feet (for a total of +30 feet, counting Forte and Mezzo-Forte). In most cases, this brings the range to 60 feet. Refer to the specific bardic performance entry for the base range.
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