It is said that music has a special magic, and the bard proves that saying true. Wandering across the land, gathering lore, telling stories working magic with their music, and living on the gratitude of their audience—such is the life of a bard. When chance or opportunity draws them into a conflict, bards serve as diplomats, negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies.
A bard’s magic comes from the heart. If their heart is good, a bard brings hope and courage to the downtrodden and uses their tricks, music, and magic to thwart the schemes of evildoers. If the nobles of the land are corrupt, the good bard is an enemy of the state, cunningly evading capture and raising the spirits of the oppressed. But music can spring from an evil heart as well. Evil bards forego blatant violence in favor of manipulation, holding sway over the hearts and minds of others and taking what enraptured audiences “willingly” give.
Alignment: Any nonlawful
Speed: 20 ft
Starting Gold: 500 gp
Starting Health: 2
Spell Counters: Cha + 3 per level, x4 at first level
Saving Throws: Ref 2, Wil 3
Guilds: Yes, tend towards Chaperon
Spells: Emotional Legendary magic, tend towards Astrology or Arcana
Achievements: Spellcasting, Magic Attacks, Using Aspects, Charisma-based Skills, Will Saves, and Wisdom-based Skills grant x3 XP. Ranged Attacks, Reflex Saves, Armor Class, Dexterity-based Skills, and Intelligence-based Skills grant x2 XP.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Speed||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+0||Bloodline power, bardic music, bardic knowledge, countersong, fascinate, inspire courage +1||2|
|3rd||+2||Bloodline power, bloodline spell, inspire competence||3||1|
|7th||+5||Bloodline feat, bloodline spell||3||3||2|
|8th||+6||Inspire courage +2||3||3||3||1|
|9th||+6||+10 ft||Bloodline power, bloodline spell, inspire greatness||3||3||3||2|
|12th||+9||Song of freedom||3||3||3||3||2|
|13th||+9||Bloodline feat, bloodline spell||3||3||3||3||2|
|14th||+10||Inspire courage +3||4||3||3||3||3||1|
|15th||+11||Bloodline power, bloodline spell, inspire heroics||4||4||3||3||3||2|
|17th||+12||+10 ft||Bloodline spell||4||4||4||4||3||3||1|
|19th||+14||Bloodline feat, bloodline spell||4||4||4||4||4||4||3|
|20th||+15||Bloodline power, inspire courage +4||4||4||4||4||4||4||4|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level): Appraise, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Computer Use, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gamble, Gather Information, Hide, Jump, Knowledge, Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Profession, Research, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bards are proficient with all simple bows, curved blades, staves, crossbows, and wands. They are proficient with light and medium armor and light shields.
Spells: A bard casts legendary spells (the same type of spells available to knights and guardians), which are drawn from the legendary spell list. They can cast any spell they know without preparing it ahead of time, the way a caster or cleric must (see below). Every legendary 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 (Cha 10 for 0-level spells, Cha 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class 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. Their base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Bard. In addition, they receive bonus spells per day if they have a high Charisma score. When the above table indicates that the bard gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level (for instance, 1st-level spells for a 2nd-level bard), they gain only the bonus spells they would be entitled to based on their Charisma score for that spell level.
The bard’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A bard begins play knowing four 0-level spells (also called cantrips) of your choice. At most new bard levels, they gain 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 their Charisma score; the numbers on said table are fixed.)
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 they already know. 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 two levels 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 they gain new spells known for the level.
As noted above, a bard need not prepare their spells in advance, like other emotional spellcasters. They can cast any spell they know at any time, assuming they have not yet used up their allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level. They do not have to decide ahead of time which spells they’ll cast. However, because their magic is spontaneous, emotional spellcasters have a spell fail chance for higher level spells.
Bloodline: Each bard has a source of magic somewhere in their heritage that grants them spells, bonus feats, an additional class skill, and other special abilities. This source can represent a blood relation or an extreme event involving a creature somewhere in the family's past. Regardless of the source, this influence manifests in a number of ways as the bard gains levels. A bard must pick one bloodline upon taking their first level of bard. Once made, this choice cannot be changed.
At 3rd level, and every two levels thereafter, a bard learns an additional spell, derived from their bloodline. These spells are in addition to the number of spells given on Table: Bard Spells Known. These spells cannot be exchanged for different spells at higher levels.
At 7th level, and every six levels thereafter, a bard receives one bonus feat, chosen from a list specific to each bloodline. The bard must meet the prerequisites for these bonus feats.
Filled with magical power that screams for release, Legendary magic is not so much a calling as a blessing—or a curse. For some bards, this magical birthright manifests in subtle and carefully controlled ways, assisting in their manipulation of others or the pursuit of lofty goals. For others, it is wild and unpredictable, the primal and explosive lashing out of a power greater than themselves.
Bardic Knowledge: A bard picks up a lot of stray knowledge while wandering the land and learning stories from other bards. They may make a special bardic knowledge check with a bonus equal to their bard level + their Intelligence modifier to see whether they know some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. (If the bard has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (history), they gain a +2 bonus on this check.)
|DC||Type of Knowledge||Examples|
|10||Common, known by at least a substantial minority of the population.||A local mayor's reputation for drinking; common legends about a powerful place of mystery.|
|20||Uncommon but available, known by only a few people in the area.||A local priest's shady past; legends about a powerful Magic item.|
|25||Obscure, known by few, hard to come by.||A knight's family history; legends about a minor place of mystery or magic item.|
|30||Extremely obscure, known by very few, possibly forgotten by most who once knew it, possibly known only by those who don't understand the significance of the knowledge.||A mighty caster's childhood nickname; the history of a petty magic item.|
A successful bardic knowledge check will not reveal the powers of a magic item but may give a hint as to its general function. A bard may not take 10 or take 20 on this check; this sort of knowledge is essentially random.
Bardic Music: Once per day per bard level, a bard can use their song or poetics to produce magical effects on those around them (usually including themselves, if desired). While these abilities fall under the category of bardic music and the descriptions discuss singing or playing instruments, they can all be activated by reciting poetry, chanting, singing lyrical songs, singing melodies (fa-la-la, and so forth), whistling, playing an instrument, or playing an instrument in combination with some spoken performance. Each ability requires both a minimum bard level and a minimum number of ranks in the Perform skill to qualify; if a bard does not have the required number of ranks in at least one Perform skill, they do not gain the bardic music ability until they acquire the needed ranks.
Starting a bardic music effect is a standard action. Some bardic music abilities require concentration, which means the bard must take a standard action each round to maintain the ability. Even while using bardic music that doesn’t require concentration, a bard cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by magic word (such as wands). Just as for casting a spell with a verbal component, a deaf bard has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use bardic music. If they fail, the attempt still counts against their daily limit.
Countersong (Su): A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use their music or poetics to counter magical effects that depend on sound (but not spells that simply have verbal components). Each round of the countersong, they make a Perform check. Any creature within 30 feet of the bard (including the bard themselves) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack (such as a sound burst or command spell) may use the bard’s Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a noninstantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use the bard’s Perform check result for the save. Countersong has no effect against effects that don’t allow saves. The bard may keep up the countersong for 10 rounds.
Fascinate (Sp): A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use their music or poetics to cause one or more creatures to become fascinated with them. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90 feet, able to see and hear the bard, and able to pay attention to them. The bard must also be able to see the creature. The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working. For every three levels a bard attains beyond 1st, they can target one additional creature with a single use of this ability (two at 4th level, three at 7th level, and so on).
To use the ability, a bard makes a Perform check. Their check result is the DC for each affected creature’s Will save against the effect. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, the bard cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate (up to a maximum of 1 round per bard level). While fascinated, a target takes a –4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen and Spot checks. Any potential threat requires the bard to make another Perform check and allows the creature a new saving throw against a DC equal to the new Perform check result. Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect. Fascinate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.
Inspire Courage (Su): A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use song or poetics to inspire courage in their allies (including themselves), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear the bard sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. At 8th level, and every six bard levels thereafter, this bonus increases by 1 (+2 at 8th, +3 at 14th, and +4 at 20th). Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.
Inspire Competence (Su): A bard of 3rd level or higher with 6 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use their music or poetics to help an ally succeed at a task. The ally must be within 30 feet and able to see and hear the bard. The bard must also be able to see the ally. Depending on the task that the ally has at hand, the bard may use their bardic music to lift the ally’s spirits, to help them focus mentally, or in some other way. The ally gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as they continue to hear the bard’s music. The DM may rule that certain uses of this ability are infeasible—chanting to make a rogue move more quietly, for example, is self-defeating. The effect lasts as long as the bard concentrates, up to a maximum of 2 minutes. A bard can’t inspire competence in themselves. Inspire competence is a mind-affecting ability.
Suggestion (Sp): A bard of 6th level or higher with 9 or more ranks in a Perform skill can make a suggestion (as the spell) to a creature that they have already fascinated (see above). Using this ability does not break the bard’s concentration on the fascinate effect, nor does it allow a second saving throw against the fascinate effect. Making a suggestion doesn’t count against a bard’s daily limit on bardic music performances. A Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 bard’s level + bard’s Cha modifier) negates the effect. This ability affects only a single creature (but see mass suggestion, below). Suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language dependent ability.
Inspire Greatness (Su): A bard of 9th level or higher with 12 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use music or poetics to inspire greatness in themselves or a single willing ally within 30 feet, granting them extra fighting capability. For every three levels a bard attains beyond 9th, they can target one additional ally with a single use of this ability (two at 12th level, three at 15th, four at 18th). To inspire greatness, a bard must sing and an ally must hear him sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. A creature inspired with greatness gains 2 bonus Hit Dice (d10s), the commensurate number of temporary hit points (apply the target’s Constitution modifier, if any, to these bonus Hit Dice), a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls, and a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves. The bonus Hit Dice count as regular Hit Dice for determining the effect of spells such as sleep. Inspire greatness is a mind-affecting ability.
Song of Freedom (Sp): A bard of 12th level or higher with 15 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use music or poetics to create an effect equivalent to the break enchantment spell (caster level equals the character’s bard level). Using this ability requires 1 minute of uninterrupted concentration and music, and it functions on a single target within 30 feet. A bard can’t use song of freedom on themselves.
Inspire Heroics (Su): A bard of 15th level or higher with 18 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use music or poetics to inspire tremendous heroism in themselves or a single willing ally within 30 feet, allowing that creature to fight bravely even against overwhelming odds. For every three bard levels the character attains beyond 15th, they can inspire heroics in one additional creature. To inspire heroics, a bard must sing and an ally must hear the bard sing for a full round. A creature so inspired gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws and a +4 dodge bonus to AC. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for up to 5 rounds thereafter. Inspire heroics is a mind-affecting ability.
Mass Suggestion (Sp): This ability functions like suggestion, above, except that a bard of 18th level or higher with 21 or more ranks in a Perform skill can make the suggestion simultaneously to any number of creatures that they have already fascinated (see above). Mass suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language-dependent ability.
A bard who becomes lawful in alignment cannot progress in levels as a bard, though they retain all their bard abilities.