Bard System!

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Bard System!

Post by AD on Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:31 pm

Morning All!

So it with nervous excitement that I am announcing the desire to implement a bard system into game! Why am I making this announcement if I don't have the system working yet? To get your views and ideas about it. I want to know what you think will work and what you think will not work.

What am I looking for? The system needs to be comparatively balanced. There needs to be a way for people to know that they are being buffed, or cursed, and this needs to be thought of so that way people can't cheese it. When thinking of this please be mindful that people can accidentally cheese and some people will intentionally cheese it and that we want this to happen as little as possible. Also, and this is most important, the bard will actually need to be able to play an instrument or sing, auditions will happen. There will not, can not etc have/be described actions. This is non negotiable. We want the bard system to encourage actual music in game, described actions do not. So with that in mind, be mindful that people's personal instruments will be at game and that they wouldn't want them broken.

Uummmm AD? I still don't think this answered the whole "what am I looking for" thing. Ok fine, be picky. How we are currently envisioning the bard system to act is as a support system, giving buffs and the like. Maybe not awesome in it's own right but amazing in the right hands. So Bard plays a song and the people get buffed for 5 toughness for 10 minutes. That kind of thing.

What I do not want is complications. I want this to be as uncomplicated as possible. Any buffs and curses shouldn't be ambiguous nor hard to understand. Keep to the idea of how the magic spells and psychic states work. "The Earth will bind your feet/With Fire I heat your/ etc."

Here's hoping!

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Re: Bard System!

Post by Grayfeared the Whitehawk on Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:49 pm

I should probably chime in on this, as this topic strikes a chord with me... The puns shall stop now. Keep in mind, all I'm saying are loose suggestions. The ultimate power lies with you. I'm just happy to see the system making progress.

I'm assuming you are looking into some rpg system bards for ideas. One I would like to see, would be some kind of "Inspire" thing. Like a boon to damage. As in, While the bards playing, allies within, say 20 or 30 feet, would receive +1 to damage. Limiting range would probably lower cheesing. As "With-in earshot" would be vague. If you limit earshot to an actual number, it would help with balancing.

Another thing would be to have various charms and things that would work through the music. Such as a lullaby to make a target sleep. Or when fighting multiple enemies, to make one of them think they are on your side for a while.

In D&D bards are sort of the jack of all trades, master of none thing. So some bardic spells would be nice. Such as something to cause sonic damage, or the "Borrow skill" spell from pathfinder that lets the bard make a skill check with another person skill. This could change to, the bard gains one skill the person has on their sheet for 10 minutes. I.E. When fighting the necrodancer, I could use that to copy Volks ability to use clubs.

Another good thing would be some sort of healing aid, Like while playing, people the medics are healing gain a rank of fast healing. This could be attributed to the body relaxing when it hears soothing music. Another thing would be some sort of regeneration thing, like, 1hp every 10 minutes of playing.

When coming up with the system, please keep in mind bards are also excellent story tellers. So maybe a story told in the watering hole that day, might inspire toughness, or speed in their work.

To address the real problem, of how people know a song has an effect attached to it, Could be solved by saying something like, "Ah, this should aid your healing", Or "Let my song strengthen your arm my friends!".

That's my 2 cents. If you need a sounding board for ideas on the system, feel free to message me!
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Re: Bard System!

Post by Horns on Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:56 pm

I would suggest having an initial incant, and whoever hears that gets the buff (Although you may want to impose a range as well), and the buff lasts until you can no longer hear the music (Or until you are a certain distance away from the music, or whatever system works best for losing the buff).

So if you're in the woods, and you do not hear Greyfeared say, "The sound of my music gives you 5 Toughness," (or whatever), but then you walk into the tavern and you hear the music, you do not get the buff.

If you are in the tavern with Greyfeared when he says the incant, you do get the buff, but if you go into the woods without him you lose the buff.

If you get the buff from Greyfeared, and then Greyfeared has to stop playing (Because he gets knocked unconscious/is trying to run away and stops playing while he does), you lose the buff. The buff has to be recast (Potentially within earshot of the enemies, who would then get the buff) in order for you to gain the buff again.

-This prevents the issue of walking in and having to ask what the buff is.
-It also removes the vague "allies", as whoever hears the incant gets the buff, friend or foe.
-But it makes the system more useful than if everybody who can hear the music gets the buff regardless of when they start hearing the music; if only your buddies are around when you start playing, the enemies don't get the buff.
-Additionally, makes it so each individual bard can play any song for any spell, as the music is independent of the actual spell.
-As well, this system means the bard must keep playing for the effect to continue, which I personally think balances the system; it does not have a material cost (Like mana or psychic states), but the bard can't do something else while using bard skills (That should be a rule, to keep instruments fair- you can't fight while playing guitar, so you shouldn't be able to fight while singing, even if you physically could).
-Also, the bard having to play in order to continue the effect increases the amount of music being played, which is kind of the point!

Now, this would make it so some of the spells outlined in the post above wouldn't work or would have to be changed.

-The healing aid/heal would work the same.
-Any buffs would work the same.
-An AOE damage spell (x damage per minute to anyone who can hear, where x is your level of bard?) would work, but you'd have to balance it and usefulness would be limited, as allies would be affected if they're there when the song starts.
-A lullaby would work, but affect everyone (Which is still potentially useful!).
-A bard could borrow a skill for the length of the song, but it would only be helpful if it were passive, in my system. So you could take Weaponmaster, but it wouldn't help you, as you can't use weapons while you're playing the song. You could take Toughness, however, and the increase to threshold would still apply.
-As well, a bard could project a skill (This falls under the buff category). "The sound of my music gives you 1 rank of Weaponmaster." Probably limit it to skills the bard actually has, and to one rank of that skill. However, the rank might be additive to whatever the listener has. (So if you have no ranks of Weaponmaster, you get Weaponmaster 1 for the duration. If you have Weaponmaster 2, you get Weaponmaster 3 for the duration)
-Instead of having an enemy come to your side, which wouldn't work in my system, you could make everyone passive for the duration of the song, or throw everyone in a bloodlust for the duration of the song (Although if they turn that bloodlust on you, you may be in trouble. And people probably wouldn't be happy afterwards).

One problem I can already see in this system is instrument safety. Instruments are hella expensive, and nobody wants one to get damaged. Perhaps a mechanic should be in place similar to a call out, where if you get close enough to and intend to hit a bard carrying an instrument, you call a hold, let them safely secure the instrument, and then play on? Potentially time-consuming. And it makes it no safer to take the instrument into the woods/run with it, which might limit the bard's ability to play.

Although, in situations where the bard doesn't want to take their instrument, they could always just sing, I suppose, or have a harmonica or something similar which is not expensive and/or breakable. They would have to audition for each instrument if they wanted more than one, of course. This assumes that the bard can either sing or play an instrument that fits that description, though, so some bards would still have trouble.

I hope that this was helpful, but you're under no obligation to use any of these ideas! I have no idea if I'll even still like any of them when it isn't 3:30am, but this is what I came up with. Regardless of what's chosen, I'm really excited to see what happens with the bard skill tree, and can't wait for it to be in game! Very Happy

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Re: Bard System!

Post by Torvallis! on Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:55 am

I was rather fond of Rob's suggestion of marks given to people. People with the bard's mark would then be the ones receiving the buff.

Perhaps permanent Bard's marks can be limited to some function of the level of Bard

I think that bard should maybe be a boost of the bard's other skills.

So to explore some of what that means:

-A bard-mage can use a mana and sing a song to effect everyone with that bard's mark who can hear the song being announced
-A bard-mage can mark people, "With the power of music, I mark you!", by throwing a mana, which can be resisted/dispelled with effects like Strong Will:Magic or anything that cures magically induced states. (Perhaps this is a basic bard-spell? (see below))
-A bard-mage can use bard & awareness 2 to boost the tiers of any mage nearby in one element the bard-mage has. (read: Can link without touching, maybe can allow the use of one spell the bard-mage knows, named in the song announcement). Perhaps higher levels of bard or awareness means the bard can even boost tiers they don't have, or boost tiers beyond their normal capability.
-A bard-mage can use a mana and sing a song to effect everyone *without* that bard's mark, (ex: "With fire I strike you 5 points").
-A bard-mage could boost the impact of a single target spell by singing a song. Example: "With earth I heal you [my ranks in earth + my ranks in bard]", or even [ranks + earth * ranks in bard]. But it has to be a spell they can target throughout the length of the song, like someone sitting still for healz. IE: not an enemy in battle, though perhaps an unconscious enemy.

-An alchemist-bard can craft extra temporary marks. An alchemy mark and a contact gel can then forcibly mark people. It can resisted with strong will:alchemy, or dispelled with 'With water I untaint you'
-An alchemist-bard can use a potion to effect everyone with that bard's mark with that potion

-A medic bard could field-medic multiple people at once
-A medic bard could sing to halt the bleed-count for everyone in range
-A medic bard could speed up other surgeries around them, say, doubling the healing effects of all surgeries done by medics with that bard's mark within hearing range.

-A warrior-bard could give everyone up to their own ability in rage or fury
-A warrior-bard could grant people ranks in wear-armour, (Order of the Stick comes to mind: "Dodge, dodge, dodge the errant arrow! Deflect deflect deflect the cruel blade!" "Shut up, Elan")
-A warrior-bard could grant everyone upto their own ranks in weaponmaster or marksmen

-A smith-bard could field-repair many sets of armour at once, without a field repair kit
-A smith-bard could lend their levels in smith to anyone else doing proper repairing nearby, (allowing them to repair [x] extra tagged items per 15 minutes), or maybe speed up the repairing process (7 & 1/2 minutes)

-A psychic bard could . . .I dunno. Some possibilities are obvious, like changing the target of 'project emotion'. But I don't know psychic very well.

Bard-spells: bards can learn unique spells that give effects for as long as the song is being played. They require an alchemical token specially for bard spells, (maybe alchemical bard marks?), or a mana to cast, and they effect everyone *without* a mark in range.

Examples: Lullaby, intoxicate ("What do you do with a drunken sailor . . ."), Amnesia, Aphasia, Hate, Love, Lust, Fear, Madness. But no need to limit bard spells to alchemy, it just happens that the ones obvious flavourful to me are all also alchemy potions . . . Note that these would only last as long as the song is played, while a potion boosted by an alchemist-bard would effect everyone as long as the potion would.


Under this system, a Bard would *only* be useful in the right hands. Higher levels of bard could have the bard be boosting people outside of their normal abilities . . . this would encourage the 'jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none' style Bard, which I'm rather fond of.


Songs would be announced before playing them, "I play a song of fire, 5 tiers!", "I sing a song of alchemy!", "I sing/play a song of battle!"
And after the song, or after the initial tune-up, the actual effect is announced: "With [Fire] and Song [I strike you all for [5] points!]" , "With [potion] and song, I [intoxicate] everyone!", "With [courage] and song, I am granting [fury, [3] ranks]!", "With [air] and song, I am granting [4 tiers in air]", "With Song, I cast a spell of sleep on everyone!"

For ongoing effects, they take effect after mentioned 'tune-up', and remain in effect as long as the bard keeps playing. After each repetition of the song, the bard yells out the effect again.


For attacking the bard, people simply have to come 'close enough' and say: "Disarm instrument [3]", where the number in brackets is what they would strike for. If the bard's toughness or wear armour would make that no effect, then no effect. Otherwise the bard places the instrument somewhere safe, (ie: runs back to the bunkhouse), and joins battle.

(Note that they wouldn't have to touch the bard. Instruments be expensive, yo . . .)





Bardic rituals could grant magical knowledge seeking. With a material sacrifice of some sort, perhaps that would even serve as a tutor for a skill. (I'm thinking 'plot-limited thingamabobbie' + gems/goods equal to 1/rock per XP of skill).

Oh, and I was thinking about having the bard come up with, but the AD approve the different songs. Approval might be just 'sounds different enough' and 'long enough'. The bard would have one song per effect, (some things are wrapped into one effect, example: boosting fire magic, instead of 'boosting each fire spell', but 'spreading fire effect to everyone with mark', 'spreading fire effect to everyone without effect', 'boosting fire magic' would be three different songs.

The songs would be actually played to the AD, thus requiring that the bard actually know the song. Cheesing and playing a different song is thus unlikely, because the bard already knows all the songs that they play. Playing the wrong song for an effect isn't too big of a deal, (variety is the purpose), and playing the same song for everything is quite noticeable.

I suggest for actual singing of songs, that the lyrics be either non-english, or passably related to the effect of the song.

And then, if Bards come up with multiple songs for the same effect, sure, why not. If a mage-bard wants to come up with a song for every single fire-spell, why not? Just as long as the AD confirms that they have a single song for that purpose that is separate from all their other songs, I don't think they should even need to check in with the AD to use another song. The trouble comes when they use the same songs for everything, and that's noticeable regardless. If they use different songs for things they don't need different songs for, that is the opposite of a problem.

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Re: Bard System!

Post by Grayfeared the Whitehawk on Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:31 pm

I can agree with a lot that the guys are saying. Especially the marks. But the few problems I have is that people often confuse bards for minstrels. Bards do a little of everything, so not all of their stuff should be based on sound. (A fair bit maybe, but not all). An example I can think of, pulled out of the pathfinder rule system, is the bardic spell, "Vanish". It would defeat the purpose of being invisible if you had to sing the whole time. Razz

Another thing is that when you memorize a song, you have to commit to playing it almost every day, or you may forget it. When things get heated, you don't want someone thinking, "Come all ye good people and.. umm... crap what was the rest?!" Then not remembering the song. The whole idea of writing and memorizing multiple songs would probably scare off any people that would think of taking bard, thus reducing the amount of music available. I think the guidelines I was given work best, "Just don't have it break immersion, and try to avoid songs that mention place names, or at least change them to names from epoch lore". That way people know they can't play their acoustic "Rap God" covers, but will have the option to play old folk songs like "Rileys daughter" Or some jigs and reels.

Just some things to keep in mind.
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Re: Bard System!

Post by Malva on Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:37 am

Some things to consider:
-How will bards acquire songs? Do they have to be learned and cost xp like spells, do they need to be obtained in game like recipes?
-Would bards just purchase the skill for a song's effect and then come up with their own personal song for it, or would each effect have its own song, uniform across all bards?
-What will bard marks look like? Will they be tape like psychic? Is the AD going to have to go get a button maker?
-How will we differentiate one bard's mark from another bard's mark? Color coding? Writing the bard's name on it?
-Imagine the hypothetical situation that some time in the future there are 10 bards in game. A new player comes into game and is greeted by 5 of those bards who put a mark on them. That new player is going to have a hard time remembering who's spells affect them. Should the bards have to wear something to signify that they are the owner of whatever mark, or do we just blame the newbie's poor memory?
-How do bards get marks? Will they be unlimited? Limited by the bard's level? Taken as income? Leveled up as it's own separate skill (i.e. players with bard mark 5 could have 5 people marked at a given time)?
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Re: Bard System!

Post by Torvallis! on Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:47 am

Personally, I was imagining people could only have one bard mark at a time. The phys rep question is a good one. Maybe articles of clothing that the Bard gives to people? One bard gives out scarves, another gives out hats, another gives out gloves . . .

The only people who really need to know what a particular bard's mark is are the people who have one, really.

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Re: Bard System!

Post by AD on Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:32 pm

Morning all! So I don't have anything conclusive yet but I would like to say that I am enjoying all of this! Of course something's will have to get changed, looked over, etc but everyone is contributing well and I love it! Keep it up!

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Re: Bard System!

Post by Grayfeared the Whitehawk on Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:40 am

You know, the vikings believed a topic should be debated twice. Once sober, and once inebriated. Given that it is 6am, you can guess which one I am. #Bardlifeyo... But I digress, The bard marks have to be guitar picks on a necklace, worn around the neck. Think about it, "My bard mark is gloves"... "But I already have gloves and these interfere with my fighting and make my weapon feel weird." Guitar picks are cheap, come in many different colors, and can be plainly seen when worn outside the clothes, but won't cause someone to need to wear a scarf on a 30 degree day. lol
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Re: Bard System!

Post by Torvallis! on Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:59 am

Well, whoever said that the article of clothing had to be worn normally? Sticking out of a pouch, wrapped around an arm, etc. (And a necklace of guitar picks would also already be viable).

I don't see the need for high visibility. For rules, it's sufficient to confirm afterwards that someone has a bard mark.
Besides which, it'd be odd to see a trumpeter give someone a guitar pick bracelet :p

While I mentioned Trumpets, Rob has also suggested that different families of instrument, (I believe he had them split into drums, strings, and woodwind/brass), would have different effects. So that's food for thought.


And another thing to talk about: What happens when three bards try to play all at once?

It makes obvious sense that a band playing a song together would have some benefit for doing so, but what happens when 2 or more bards are playing two different songs very close to one another?

I have a few thoughts on this, but the forum ate my first post and I need to dash to class soon

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Re: Bard System!

Post by Degren Brightforge on Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:58 pm

Is it strictly to singing? What about interpretive dance? Or, in my case, inspirational speeches? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEOOZDbMrgE

I think this would a great way to get people into giving performances and speeches, and also get people out of their shells. I mean, once you've interpretive danced to give people awesome bonuses, everything else is cake, right?
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Re: Bard System!

Post by Octavia Rhoswen on Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:53 pm

If ideas are used, will credit be given in the future if you write a new rulebook? If I were to create a game in the future, could I still use the idea?

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Re: Bard System!

Post by AD on Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:59 pm

To Degren, I don't know about the speeches or dancing. The idea is to introduce music into game. There are going to be auditions and interpretive dancing is very hard to audition for. I feel that singing and playing are easier to pick out a flaw in the song, whereas interpretive dancing would be harder to spot a flaw.

The idea is that someone plays an instrument, or sings, or both and gives the bonus. These songs will be figured out later but they will be songs and not improv. Auditions will be held and there will be the ability to be told "no". Though that isn't something we want to say, it is something people should be aware of.

With music, or even a speech, you can be prepping and doing other things while it's happening because all you need is the sound of the song. With dancing you need to watch it in order to get the emotions because there isn't the same kind of sound. To that degree even a speech gets more power when you watch the person perform it. You maintain eye contact with public speaking whereas music performers tend to close their eyes, as do the audience.

I'm not throwing out the idea of speeches but don't hold your breath. Dancing...I don't want to say "no"...but...I'm saying no. The idea is to introduce music into game and dancing doesn't. It can accompany but it isn't music.


To Octavia, I unno. We're mashing ideas together and I don't intend to credit myself for it, in the rulebook. The idea I had is that the club is putting this together and thus the credit goes to the club. The club being, Epoch on the Rock. Also, how do you mean, "create a game in the future"?

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Re: Bard System!

Post by ValerieTheHuntress on Wed May 25, 2016 9:34 pm

AD wrote:To Degren, I don't know about the speeches or dancing. The idea is to introduce music into game. There are going to be auditions and interpretive dancing is very hard to audition for. I feel that singing and playing are easier to pick out a flaw in the song, whereas interpretive dancing would be harder to spot a flaw.

The idea is that someone plays an instrument, or sings, or both and gives the bonus. These songs will be figured out later but they will be songs and not improv. Auditions will be held and there will be the ability to be told "no". Though that isn't something we want to say, it is something people should be aware of.

With music, or even a speech, you can be prepping and doing other things while it's happening because all you need is the sound of the song. With dancing you need to watch it in order to get the emotions because there isn't the same kind of sound. To that degree even a speech gets more power when you watch the person perform it. You maintain eye contact with public speaking whereas music performers tend to close their eyes, as do the audience.

I'm not throwing out the idea of speeches but don't hold your breath. Dancing...I don't want to say "no"...but...I'm saying no. The idea is to introduce music into game and dancing doesn't. It can accompany but it isn't music.


To Octavia, I unno. We're mashing ideas together and I don't intend to credit myself for it, in the rulebook. The idea I had is that the club is putting this together and thus the credit goes to the club. The club being, Epoch on the Rock. Also, how do you mean, "create a game in the future"?

Are Bards currently only playable by the AD and/or Cast? or can a regular player be a Bard?
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Re: Bard System!

Post by AD on Sun May 29, 2016 8:56 pm

Currently the bard system hasn't even been introduced to game but when it is it will only by cast playable until the kinks get worked out.

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Re: Bard System!

Post by ValerieTheHuntress on Mon May 30, 2016 4:55 am

makes sense, thank you
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Re: Bard System!

Post by Joy Rosewood on Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:02 pm

I want to make a Bard for next season. Is this possible?
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