Bards shouldn’t be musicians.

Seriously, this isn’t some cartoon about a band having wacky adventures.

No. Certainly not.

You can’t just stop and have a musical number every five minutes, and you DEFINITELY don’t bring a lute to a swordfight. I think the bard is great, having a spell list that REQUIRES awesomeness to survive and the skills to carve out your own path in the game world (probably littered with lusty women).

But then someone comes along (there’s one in every group, at least) who starts ruining your character with snide comments like ‘bluff, bluff, bluff, bluff the stupid ogre’, and ‘build a wall of dead bards’ (this is hypothetical, not bitter, myself being exclusively a DM).

And it’s not like bardic performance isn’t cool- working a bit of storytelling into a speech that inspires everyone to go another mile is cool, suddenly wheeling to face the enemies while chanting something hauntingly ethereal, stopping them in their tracks, (yes, Dirge of Doom is only Pathfinder, but it’s cool) is cool. But the problem occurs when bardic performance becomes the bard’s only ability, and that’s when the bard stops being cool. You can’t overdo one type of coolness. There’s nothing wrong with a bard performing a lot, but the whole ‘Magic Music’ schtick just gets silly when used that often. A bard’s archetype shouldn’t be a musician, it should be a wanderer, endlessly travelling and picking up new things, including some magical abilities. And if your bard doesn’t use it as much as he can, what use is Bardic Performance? So get rid of it. Trade it off.

A couple of buff spells, and the bard doesn’t need inspire courage or inspire competence. Give him


some more spells per day in exchange. Same for Dirge of Doom and Deadly Performance. Countersong would have to stay if you didn’t want to invent a whole new spell, but it shouldn’t have to be musical- you can just treat it as a spell-like ability that throws a wrench into the enemy spellcasters’ concentration when extending their consciousness to bend others to their will.

In fact, it would be a lot cooler if anyone could do these things- maybe have a spell that enhances one’s performance, or as the inverse, give bards an extraordinary ability that let’s them cast spells by performing- that would be a lot cooler.




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