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subtledoctor

Call for input - bardic magic

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I'm planning a complete redesign of the bard class

I can share my PNP bard for whatever inspiration it gives, altering it for BG.

 

I think it's important to decide what a bard is. I spent many years struggling with what a bard is supposed to be, what role it serves. I finally decided that what it's for is for those who want a little of everything, without the xp penalty of multiclassing.

 

For example, a person who wants to play an F/C, but doesn't want to fall far behind the party in levels, might choose a paladin. It's not exactly an F/C, but close enough to have elements of both. Now, what if someone wants to play an F/M/T or F/M/C? That will put you well behind the party. What about the ultimate, an F/T/C/M? And doing this in 3E? Forget it. A 5/5/5/5 char is pathetic compared to a 20 anything.

 

The bard class is the solution. It lets you get elements of the four main classes without the massive xp hit. People have long repeated that the bard is a "jack of all trades, master of none". However, in constant reviews of the class, people keep focusing on the "master of none" part. They keep designing bards that are second rate fighters, or second rate mages. But why play a second rate something when you can play a first rate something?

 

People never seem to remember the first part of that phrase: "jack of all trades". It's not that you can mold and shape the development of your bard to eventually be a second rate fighter OR mage. The strength of the class should be that you can be a second rate fighter AND mage AND thief AND priest. The key word here is "and", not "or".

 

To me, a well-designed bard class should allow elements of all four classes. The strength is not that it is better in any given area when compared to a class that focuses on that, but that the bard is skilled in ALL areas, something no other class can do. It is supposed to be a jack of ALL trades.

 

*********************************************************************

 

Armor = chain (can cast spells in armor)

Shield = no

Weapons = no 2H melee (or bastard or katana)

Style = single weapon style

Skills = PP, OL, DI... 10 points to spend per level (player essentially chooses one skill to train) (DI should be bard-only skill)

 

In my PNP game, casters have infinite castings. They can cast the few spells they know infinite times a day, with a cooldown for each spell after casting. I've also pushed back when casters gain new spell levels from every odd level to every even level. This means they have NO spells at first level (which makes your cantrip component a welcome addition). Priests however are still without. Any chance of adding orisons for priests?

 

In PNP bards only have 1/2 spells per level (one at each level, capping at two), but they also have a bard domain to help out. In BG, since I can't give infinite castings, I've modified my spell tables to give bards 2/4 spells (two at each level, capping at four). I give 4/8 for clerics and mages, and 6/12 for druids and sorcerers in BG.

 

While bards have the fewest spell slots of all the casting classes, I give them the widest selection. In PNP, bards are not limited to arcane spells. They can choose any cleric, any druid or any mage spell they wish. It's entirely possible to have a bard that can cast bless, barkskin and fireball. Because of such a huge selection to choose from, it virtually guarantees that every bard met will have a unique spell selection, emphasizing their diversity.

 

I don't know how difficult it would be to give bards all the divine spells, or if it's even possible, but that to me is part of the strength of the class, what it's "supposed" to have. In addition, I think bards should also have the ability to use any magic item at start, a lesser form of the UAI HLA. This stems from their high lore skill. I also think UAI should only be available to bards, not thieves.

 

While bards might not have all the armor, weapon and style skills of fighters, they have enough. They don't have all the thief skills, but they have enough. They can't cast as many spells as major casters, but they have the entire spell index to choose from. And by being composed of tiny parts of every class, they qualify as each class when it comes to using every magic item they find. As I've said, they are jacks of all trades.

 

As for their bard song, there are different approaches you can choose. You can follow the BG method which is just to create one song for each kit, so if you want 7 bard songs, you create 7 kits. Another approach is to create a song that scales (hehe) with level. I think the default song is too weak, and both needs to start stronger (like the skald) and scale better.

 

Right now it acts like a bless spell. I recommend having it affect everything: hit, damage, crit, saves... even perhaps MR and physical/energy resistance. It should also help obviously with morale (khalid) and fear. I would look into allowing a bard to sing and fight at the same time (but not cast spells or use items).

 

Welp, that's my input, HTH.

Edited by Gay Lord

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3E ... A 5/5/5/5 char

is a misc Fighter. He's "Thac0" what ever that is in that game is quite still closer to that of a fighter than the others. He probably has also good self boost spells to actually able to take on a 20th level fighter if it's allowed to cast them before the fight and keep them on power until the fight is over. Actually it could be likely that if the 20th level fighter and the 5/5/5/5 other char would be armed with only a sword each, the divided char could win cause he can learn haste, flame blade, shield of faith, shield, armor etc... spells. Of course without those conditions, it's quite doomed.

 

I don't know how difficult it would be to give bards all the divine spells, or if it's even possible...

It's completely possible. It's easy actually, but it involves install time permanency... so any changes made to the spells after the kit is installed will only be effecting the original spell, not the bard one. The other consideration is the spell levels..

 

To me, it's not that much that the bard is not able to cast multiple kinds of spell, but the fact that it drops off on level 4-5 or like in the original 6th ... while the 40th level mage is able to cast multiple of 9th level spells, you are still stuck with the spells you got access to on your 16th level. While the mage learns still new at level ~18.

It would be nice if the bard would get eventually access to level 9th spells at more graduate phase... like say level 31. :p He could eventually have more lower level spells than a mage too, cause he casts them by riming or whatever... so while mage is stuck with 6 spells per spell level, bard could have 12 as max. So while the mages over all cast-able spells would be somewhat linear progression, bards would be exponential.

 

EDIT: This is an old table of mine from ages ago:

 

2DA V1.0
0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 7 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 8 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 9 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
9 10 6 4 1 0 0 0 0 0
10 11 7 5 2 1 0 0 0 0
11 11 8 6 2 1 0 0 0 0
12 12 8 7 3 2 1 0 0 0
13 12 9 7 4 2 1 0 0 0
14 12 9 8 5 3 2 1 0 0
15 12 10 8 6 4 2 1 0 0
16 12 10 9 6 5 3 1 0 0
17 12 10 9 7 6 3 2 0 0
18 12 10 9 7 6 4 2 0 0
19 12 11 9 7 7 4 2 1 0
20 12 11 10 7 7 5 3 1 0
21 12 11 10 8 7 5 3 1 0
22 12 11 10 8 7 5 3 1 0
23 12 12 10 8 7 6 4 2 0
24 12 12 10 8 7 6 4 2 0
25 12 12 11 8 8 6 4 2 0
26 12 12 11 9 8 6 5 2 0
27 12 12 11 9 8 6 5 3 0
28 12 12 11 9 8 6 5 3 1
29 12 12 11 9 9 7 5 3 1
30 12 12 12 9 9 7 6 3 1
31 12 12 12 10 9 7 6 4 1
32 12 12 12 10 9 7 6 4 1
33 12 12 12 10 9 7 6 4 1
34 12 12 12 10 9 7 6 4 1
35 12 12 12 10 10 7 6 5 1
36 12 12 12 10 10 7 7 5 1
37 12 12 12 11 10 7 7 5 1
38 12 12 12 11 10 7 7 5 1
39 12 12 12 11 10 7 7 6 2
40 12 12 12 11 10 7 7 6 2
41 12 12 12 11 10 7 7 6 2
42 12 12 12 11 10 7 7 6 2
43 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 6 2
44 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 2
45 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 2
46 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 2
47 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 2
48 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 2
49 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 2
50 12 12 12 12 10 7 7 7 3

 

Edited by Jarno Mikkola

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To me, it's not that much that the bard is not able to cast multiple kinds of spell, but the fact that it drops off on level 4-5 or like in the original 6th ...

In my world bards can cast up to 9th. All classes capable of casting spells, can cast 9th at the appropriate level (18th).

 

I even let the side casters, like pal and rgr cast up to 9th. What I did with them was erase their handful of spells, and the hefty level delay, and just give them a domain. They gain spells at the same level as every other caster (even levels), but the only have their one domain, so they only get one spell for each spell level. So a L18 ranger has spells of 1/1/1/1/1/1/1/1/1. With only one spell to choose from at each level, there's no difficulty for the not-very-bright warriors on what to pick. And because they gain spells at the standard rate instead of a huge delay, you no longer have stupid things like a 9th level paladin getting a CLW. Gosh, my 70hp pallie can now heal 4 hp a day. Look out world!

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I even let the side casters, like pal and rgr cast up to 9th. ...

The problem with this is that the bards spells have to also co-exist in the same sphere as the mage spells in power level.. this is because the game regards the two as the same... yes, in normal game a bard can learn a 7th level wizard spell without ever being able to cast them(without mods). So granting the bards a 1 level 9th spell, they can always cast the same Gate spell the mage can. Well, unless you go through everyone of the spells, use a multi step process that's likely to fail and them presume the evidence. Aka make every spell cast a spell that creates a creature that runs a script and go according to the finding of that script to cast the effect. The thing is, there's a holes in all of this, so it's not practical.

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You can have a Bard with the Sorceror-style spell casting. In original BG2 there were no Sorcerer kits but you could create them, Druidic Sorcerer and Geomantic Sorcerer are examples. Both could add Druid spells to their repertoire of Wizard spells. (The latter is a re-write of the former.) Said spells were Wizard translations of Druid spells.
Druidic Sorcerer is created as a Druid and then becomes a Sorcerer.

Links:
http://www.shsforums.net/files/file/132-druidic-sorcerer-kit/
http://www.gibberlings3.net/geomantic/

I translated the Geomantic Sorcerer to the EE world:
http://gibberlings3.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=12196&page=10

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You can have a Bard with the Sorceror-style spell casting.

Intresti... but:

 

In original BG2...

Those are not actually bards, just a variants of the Sorcerers. Like for example you'll always be forced to follow to the same spell pick screen, the spell tables are relative between the CLAB file and the original sorcerer spell casting table... etc things. And the class is a Sorcerer, not bard, so you'll always end up with the Plane Sphere, and not the bards play house as your stronghold. Well unless you really wish to show you can mod things... and then potentially break all the multi stronghold mods.

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Rewriting files should give you the Playhouse option.

You can apparently give them Bard Thac0 and HP, with a bit of hacking. Spell selection will be Sorcerer but they can be given spells outside of that screen, that is how the Geomantic and Druidic Sorcerers work. You can give them the name of Bard even though they are really Sorcerers.

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Another option for Tome & Blood - they already have cleric-y sorcerers and druid-y sorcerers and 8 different dragon disciples, and something called a 'magus.' Different spell selection for each one, by moving spell selection to a dialogue-based system.

 

Could do a bardic sorcerer as well... it would be a real old-school bard, like from the Celts sourcebook, instead of the "watered down FMT" that's in the game now...

 

But anyway, this post is asking for specific ideas for sound- and music-based innate abilities for my very different idea, which is to move bards into the *thief* class.

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