From Epic Path
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Ability Score Used: Charisma
Armor Check Penalty Applies? No

You are skilled at one form of entertainment, from singing to acting to playing an instrument. Like the Knowledge, and Profession skills, Perform is actually a number of separate skills. You could have several Perform skills, each with its own ranks.

Each of the categories of the Perform skill includes a variety of methods, instruments, or techniques, a small sample of which is provided for each category below.

  • Acting — you can perform parts in plays, emote reactions and emotions to large crowds, partake in stage fighting convincingly, etc.
  • Comedy — includes general buffoonery (e.g., physical comedy and slapstick), reciting of limericks, and stand-up joke-telling.
  • Dancing — any sort of rhythmic movement, from ballet, waltzes, and jigs, to marches. Can be used to evoke feelings or tell stories without words.
  • Musical Instruments — while you are only truly excellent with one instrument, you can play most instruments with some degree of skill.
  • Oratory — the spoken word, and telling of tales. These can range from epics in High Cant, to bawdy odes, folktales, and tall tales.
  • Singing — you can perform songs using your own voice as your instrument.

Perform can also be used in conjunction with other skills, such as Acrobatics or Sleight of Hand to create specific kinds of performances (such as a gymnastic performance or a stage magic show, respectively). In such cases, the specialty of your perform skill will also influence the nature of the performance. Combining Acrobatics with Perform (Comedy) leads to a very different show than combining Acrobatics with Perform (Dance). Both are perfectly viable, but result in very different kinds of shows.

This skill is frequently subject to Environmental Effects.

As with all skills, the uses below are merely suggestions, and by no means the full gamut of possible ways a skill can be used. Players and GM's are encouraged to find additional ways to use each skill.


You can use perform to entertain an audience, delivering a type of performance based on the specialty you have selected.

While Entertain can be used to try to "sing for your bread", that really isn't the intent of the skill use. While the performer probably earns tips and maybe even gets payment from the venue's owner, the amount earned by such things is rarely enough for most heroes to care about (it's usually measured in silver pieces). To earn a living with the perform skill, see Impress a Patron, below.

Instead, entertain is a way to make a crowd more amiable, and more prone to interact positively with the performer. In addition, entertain can be used to spread the popularity of particular works and performances. Catchy tunes will eventually get memorized by audiences and start spreading of their own accord. This can be particularly useful if the work being spread contains some gossip you want to insert into the public's consciousness, or paints some individual in a particular light (good or bad). It can be a useful way to alter the mood of an entire populace, given enough time and enough performances.

Note however that singing songs about how stupid the king is can be hazardous to your health, if the wrong people hear you.

Action Required:

Minimum of 5 minutes, but typically an hour or longer.

DC of Check:
  • Small Crowd: Average DC against the creature with the lowest CR in the audience, with a +1 modifier for every other person you wish to entertain.
  • Moderate Crowd: You may choose to start with a Hard DC against the creature with the lowest CR in the audience, to instead add a +1 modifier per 10 people in the crowd.
  • Large Crowd: You may choose to start with a Hard DC against the creature with the lowest CR in the audience, to instead add a +1 modifier per 100 people in the crowd.
  • Massive Crowd: You may choose to start with a Impossible DC against the creature with the lowest CR in the audience, to instead add a +1 modifier per 1,000 people in the crowd.
Modifiers to Check
  • Quality of the Crowd: the kind of crowd you are playing to affects your performance DC:
Type of Crowd Description DC Modifier
Hostile Crowd would rather fight or do anything else than be entertained +10
Rowdy Crowd is drunk, prone to heckling, not really interested in what you're selling +5
Indifferent Crowd didn't really come here to be entertained, but doesn't hate the idea 0
Warmed-Up A previous performer or some other event has gotten the crowd in the mood to be entertained -5
Eager The crowd is looking forward to your show, and came here just to see it -10
  • Venue: Some venues are better suited to performing in front of large crowds than others. If the people in the back can't hear or see you, it will be much harder to impress them.
Venue Description DC Modifier
Terrible This place was never designed for performances, and its design actively inhibits success +10
Bad Numerous pockets and 'dead zones' prevent sections of the audience from appreciating your art +5
Average Designed for performances, probably has a stage 0
Enhanced Uses low-level magic to boost sound or improve sight lines -5
Legendary Magically ensorcelled such that each member of the audience can see and hear you as though you are right next to them. -10
  • Complexity: You can deliberately choose to perform works which are very difficult, in order to demonstrate your talent to your audience. You may increase the DC by up to +20 prior to making your check to reflect the difficulty of your chosen performance.
Take 10? / Take 20?

You can take 10, but you cannot take 20.

Allows Assists?

Yes (up to 5 allies).

Results of Success

You improve the general mood of your audience. This can have any number of effects, but generally grants a circumstance bonus to interact with your audience for the next hour or so. Audience members are more inclined to buy you drinks, share gossip, or relate information to you, to get to know you better or get into your good graces. After an hour, the 'high' of the performance wears off, and this benefit is lost.

GM's are encouraged to grant a circumstance bonus to interaction rolls, which should vary from +1 to +5 for opposed checks, or as high as +10 or even +20 for checks against flat DC's. The quality of the performance, and how well the performance fits within the culture and general preferences of the crowd should factor into the bonus granted.

If you attempted a more complex work, electing to raise the DC above the normal DC for the venue and crowd, and successfully performed it, your circumstance bonus should be higher, especially with regards to impressing a crowd which can appreciate the nuances of your performance. In addition, such performances are nearly always necessary to gain a good patron.

Consequences of Failure

The crowd is unimpressed with your show. You gain no benefits from the performance, and likely suffer some rather hurtful heckling.

Retry Allowed?

No. You must wait at least 24 hours before attempting to perform in front of the same (or mostly the same) crowd.

Provokes AOO?


Create / Compose

You can compose or create a new work of artistic value, which can be performed by you or anyone else with the same perform specialty as yours. While this can be simply an effort to add more beauty into the world, new works can often hide satire or political meaning. Such works can change the attitudes of those exposed to it, swaying their regard for an individual, a country, or even a whole race of beings.

Often, new works are used to improve the status of the performer's patron (see Impress a Patron below). When your patron's status improves in society, the benefits they grant to you also tend to improve. Thus, it is a win-win for the performer.

Of course, you can also compose a work to attempt to improve your own fame, or to celebrate the victories and exploits of you and your party of adventurers. Such works can spread your fame and build your reputation, though they are also highly egotistical and self-serving.

Do not underestimate the power of performance. A compelling song can bring a nation to war, or end a centuries-long feud. It can as easily topple a benign king as raise up a new leader out of the masses.

Action Required:

3 days, +3 days per 10 of the DC being attempted (drop fractions).

Note that this is just to create the work, not to perform or disseminate it into the populace (which is done with the Entertain skill use, above.

DC of Check:

20 The DC is based on the combination of two factors: how much the work attempts to change current opinion about a person or subject, and how easy the performance is to perform.

Modifiers to Check
  • Take Your Time: You can lower your target DC by taking longer to compose your new work. You decrease the DC by 1 for every additional day you spend composing it, to a maximum of 20 additional days (-20 to the DC).
  • Hurry: You can attempt to compose a new work more quickly than normal. You can reduce the time required by 1 day per +2 you add to the DC (no maximum). This addition to the DC does not add to the time required.
  • Complexity: You can decide how complex or simple the performance is to actually perform. If someone needs 20 ranks in the same perform specialty as you to replicate the performance, the DC is unchanged. For every rank below 20 required to perform your work, the DC increases by +1. For every rank above 20 required to perform your work, the DC is reduced by -1. Thus, for a new work to be performable by anyone at all (no ranks in perform), the DC is increased by +20. For the new work to be so hard that only someone with 35 ranks in perform can replicate it, the DC is decreased by 15. Of course, very complex performances spread much more slowly through a society if fewer people are capable of performing them. Conversely, complex works give performers an opportunity to show off their talent to a crowd.
  • Leave Current Opinions Intact: if you want every listener to retain their current prejudices about the topic of your work, not challenging them at all, the DC is unchanged.
  • Sway Opinion: If you wish to improve (or malign) opinion toward the topic of your work, altering attitudes towards the subject by 1 or 2 steps (see Diplomacy), the DC is increased by +20 for 1 step, or +40 for 2 steps. You cannot exceed two steps.
Take 10? / Take 20?


Allows Assists?

Yes (up to 5 allies). Allies must have ranks in the same specialty of perform as you.

Results of Success

You have successfully created your new work! Congratulations!

When you complete a new work, you should record the following information:

  • Name of the new work. You must come up with a name!
  • Type of perform skill required.
  • Minimum ranks in that perform specialty to successfully perform the work.
  • Topic of the work (person, place, subject, theme, etc.).
  • How attitudes are influenced about the topic (positively or negatively, and how much).

The complexity of a work has two sides to it. Simpler works are repeated by other performers far more easily, and therefore spread more quickly through a population. However, they are also somewhat insipid, and aren't good vehicles for demonstrating mastery over a particular kind of performance.

The influence of a work also has a few effects. First, as the popularity of the work spreads, the general attitude towards the subject of your work will trend towards the attitude you have influenced it towards. Second, the topic of your work changes its attitude towards you! If you impugn the sexual prowess of the prince, you can bet he will send some people to ask you why you're being so mean. Likely with knives.

Consequences of Failure

You are unable to put together a work which is up to your standards, and all you have to show for it is a bunch of wasted time.

Retry Allowed?

Yes. If you try again to create the same work without pausing to do something else, you can reclaim 1 lost day per 10 of the base DC, and apply those days towards the new attempt. If you take a break before retrying, you have to start from the beginning.

Provokes AOO?


Impress a Patron

As performers gain ranks in their skill, and successfully perform in front of crowds, they eventually attract the attention of a patron. A patron is someone who wishes to advance the fine arts, but who also hopes to improve their own standing among their peers by appearing philanthropic and generous. Furthermore, having a performer under your patronage means you can ask them to perform at your parties, guaranteeing a certain quality of performer to impress your guests. Finally, as performers improve their own talents, they may choose to paint their patrons in a good light with a new work, improving their patron's standing in society (and incidentally improving their own standing in the process).

Acquiring a patron can be a role-playing opportunity for both the player and the GM, as several prospective patrons may offer their support to a burgeoning performer. A performer may seek out a particular patron known for generosity, kindness and deep pockets, or several patrons may choose to fight amongst themselves for a particularly talented performer with strong potential. Conversely, if this doesn't interest your particular table of players, a patron can simply be an automatic boon for having a high perform skill. In either case, attracting the interest of a patron should typically take about 7 full days of performing, socializing, and generally being charismatic in social arenas where patrons might frequent. These 7 days need not be contiguous, but you must be in the same general location (same city, etc.) during any days you wish to count towards this time. Days spent attracting a patron cannot be spent for other purposes such as adventuring, or Self-Improvement.

Characters rarely "outgrow" their patrons. Instead, as characters grow in level and become even more capable of legendary performances, their own prowess on the stage propels their patron to greater social heights. The patron grows, and therefore gives greater benefits to the performer.

The principle benefit of having a patron is that they provide for your day to day expenses. Higher level performers with more renowned patrons can enjoy quite opulent lifestyles for the low price of playing at a few parties a year on the patron's behalf. Your patron's wealth is valued almost anywhere, though outside of the patron's home town, the lifestyle granted is less impressive. GM's may declare that some societies far removed from the patron's influence may not respect them enough for the lifestyle to be valid there at all, but generally, the lifestyle is fully portable, as long as there's a civilized part of town to enjoy it.

Every time you perform or create a new work, however, you have a chance of impressing a patron. You must have a certain number of ranks in perform to enjoy the benefits of a patron.

Ranks in Perform Lifestyle in Patron's Home Town Lifestyle in Other Towns
1 - 4 - -
5 - 8 Modest Meager
9 - 12 Modest Modest
13 - 16 Comfortable Modest
17 - 20 Comfortable Comfortable
21 - 24 Wealthy Comfortable
25 - 28 Wealthy Wealthy
29 - 32 Lesser Nobility Wealthy
33+ Lesser Nobility Lesser Nobility

If you are also receiving a lifestyle from a Profession skill, you gain only the greater benefit of the two. If you wish to acquire a higher quality lifestyle than that provided to you by your patron, you only need to spend the difference in cost (per month) to do so.

Other Patron Benefits

In addition to covering your living expenses, you can always ask for a favor from your patron, though patrons rarely offer gifts of money or magic items. Some examples of favors include (but are not limited to):

  • Self-Improvement: Patrons will frequently grant their wards access to excellent locations for self-improvement, and have even been known to provide expert instructors to those they favor highly.
  • Workshops: Patrons may also grant access to well appointed workshops for crafting magic items, should the need be justified.
  • Intros: Introductions to prominent figures, trustworthy and/or high quality professionals, etc.
  • Invites: Invitations to parties or social events.
  • Access: Access to 'restricted' areas of town (e.g., the king's palace, etc.), private libraries, private museums, etc.
  • Help: Assistance with defending yourself against legal issues, spats with nobility, etc.

If a player manages to build a strong relationship with their patron through exceptional role-playing, some GM's may be inclined to broaden these benefits, even to the point of gifts of magic items and/or treasure.

Patrons are also a great source for giving players new quests!