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Bard

Bards bring news of the outside world, entertain kings, act as cultural diplomats, and pass along rich oral traditions to commoners and nobility alike. Some call them jacks-of-all-trades, saying that they are generalists, never specialists, but this isn't true. Bards specialize as repositories of histories and carriers of legend, versed in the mythologies of lands across the world. Their knowledge brings them power, but their greatest power derives from their understanding of the intricacies of art—whether that art is musical, dramatic, or comedic, bards understand the power and allure of story, song, and dance, and tap into this knowledge to create supernatural powers that fashion legends of their own.

This section introduces masterpieces—specialized uses of the bardic performance class ability that allow a bard to do amazing things. Following the masterpieces are new bard archetypes.

Masterpieces

Talented bards can learn or create masterpieces, unusual applications of the bardic performance ability requiring special training. Masterpiece descriptions adhere to the following guidelines.

Masterpiece Name: In addition to the name of the masterpiece, this line indicates which Perform skill or skills the masterpiece relies upon.

Prerequisites: Like feats, masterpieces have prerequisites that a bard must meet in order to learn them. Only bards may learn masterpieces.

Cost: Each masterpiece has an associated cost to learn it. Typically, a bard must spend one of his bard spells known of a specific spell level or select it in place of a feat. The bard can spend a bard spell known of a level higher than the listed level to learn a masterpiece (for example, spending a 4th-level spell known to learn a masterpiece that requires spending a 3rd-level spell known).

Effect: This brief description summarizes what occurs when a bard performs the masterpiece. Unless otherwise stated, a masterpiece's effects are supernatural. Unwilling creatures may attempt a Will save against the effect of a masterpiece; the save DC for masterpieces is equal to 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard's Charisma bonus. Masterpieces that duplicate spells use the bard's caster level for the spell's caster level.

Use: This line specifies how many bardic performance rounds the bard must use to activate the masterpiece. In some cases, the bard can extend the duration of the masterpiece by expending additional rounds of bardic performance, just as if it were any other use of bardic performance. The bard expends the listed number of bardic performance rounds when he starts performing the masterpiece; if he is interrupted, the attempt fails and the spent performance rounds are lost.

Action: This line indicates the type of action performing the masterpiece requires. If it only requires a standard action to activate, being able to activate a bardic performance more quickly (at 7th level, activation is a move action, and at 13th, it becomes a swift action) applies to the masterpiece as well.

Unless otherwise stated, effects or feats that extend the duration of bardic performance (such as the Lingering Performance feat) do not apply to masterpieces.

GMs can use these masterpieces to inspire their own ideas for other masterpieces. Masterpieces should generally be no more powerful than a cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell available to a caster of the same level as the minimum level needed to select the masterpiece (a masterpiece requiring 7 ranks in Perform requires a 7th-level bard, and thus should not be more powerful than a 4th-level cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell).

At the Heart of It All (String, Wind)

Your song pierces to the heart of a creature's identity, weakening it against you.

Prerequisite: Perform (string) or Perform (wind) 7 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 3rd-level bard spell known.

Effect: This haunting melody teases at the veils of understanding and drills into the bedrock of truth. Upon completing this performance, the target attempts a Will save. Failure means you understand the target's primal nature; you gain a +4 bonus on Charisma-based checks to influence the target, and the DCs of your abilities and spells that would influence the creature or its actions (including charm and compulsion effects) increase by +2. These bonuses last for 1 day.

You must have an idea of who the creature is when you begin to play the song, either through researching the creature or by observing it directly from no farther than 100 feet.

Use: 5 rounds of bardic performance.

Action: 5 full rounds.

The Cat-Step (Dance)

Your agile dancing allows you and others to fall safely and land gracefully.

Prerequisite: Perform (dance) 5 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 2nd-level bard spell known.

Effect: This quick dance is a series of small steps culminating in a series of leaps. When you complete the performance, for the next 10 minutes you treat any distance fallen as if it were a number of feet shorter equal to half your bard level × 5. You may spend the first minute of this effect demonstrating the dance to up to one creature per two bard levels; if these students succeed at a DC 15 Perform (dance) check, they also gain the benefits of this masterpiece for the remainder of its duration.

Use: 4 bardic performance rounds.

Action: 4 full rounds.

The Dance of 23 Steps (Dance)

This complex dance makes you difficult to strike.

Prerequisite: Perform (dance) 4 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 2nd-level bard spell known.

Effect: The shuffling steps, bends, and leaps of this intricate dance make you a difficult target to hit, but also make it more difficult for you to perform other actions. When using this masterpiece, you take a –2 penalty on melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks, and you must make a concentration check to cast any spell (DC 15 + the spell's level), but you gain a +2 dodge bonus to your Armor Class. When you have 8 ranks in Perform (dance), and every 4 ranks thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the dodge bonus increases by +1. You can combine this masterpiece with fighting defensively and Combat Expertise, but not total defense. When you use this masterpiece, it lasts until the start of your next turn. Abilities that extend the duration of a bardic performance (such as Lingering Performance) affect this masterpiece; this allows you to get multiple rounds of its benefit (and its penalties) at the cost of only 1 round of bardic performance.

Use: 1 bardic performance round.

Action: 1 free action.

The Depths of the Mountain (Percussion, Wind)

Your drumming skills can break solid rock.

Prerequisite: Perform (percussion) 15 ranks or Perform (wind) 15 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 5th-level bard spell known.

Effect: Like a singer shattering a wine glass with a perfect note, your music cracks stone, shivering solid rock until it snaps. When you complete the performance, you create a tremor identical to an earthquake spell.

For each round you continue to expend bardic performance rounds, the area experiences a round-long aftershock, which has the following effects.

Caves, Caverns, or Tunnels: Smaller collapses cause 4d6 points of damage (Reflex DC 5 half) and pin any creatures caught inside.

Cliffs: More cliffs crumble, creating a landslide that travels half as far horizontally as it falls vertically. Any creature in the path takes 4d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 5 half) and is pinned beneath the rubble.

Open Ground: Each creature standing in the area must make a DC 5 Reflex save or fall down. Fissures open in the earth, and every creature on the ground has a 25% chance of falling into one (Reflex DC 10 to avoid a fissure). The fissures are 20 feet deep, and these fissures remain open at the end of the quake.

Pinned Beneath Rubble: Any creature pinned by the effects of the aftershock takes 1d3 points of nonlethal damage per minute while pinned. If a pinned character falls unconscious, she must make a DC 5 Constitution check or take 1d3 points of lethal damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead.

Rivers, Lakes, or Marshes: The area drained away by the earthquake remains drained for the duration of the aftershock.

Spellcasting: The concentration DC to cast during an aftershock is 15 + the spell's level.

Structure: Any structure standing on open ground takes 50 points of damage. A collapsing structure deals 4d6 points of bludgeoning damage to creatures inside it (Reflex DC 5 half), and the creatures inside are pinned beneath the rubble.

Use: 10 rounds of bardic performance, +1 round for each round of aftershocks.

Action: 10 full rounds.

The Dumbshow of Gorroc (Act, Comedy)

Your acting conjures hellfire and salt to destroy plants.

Prerequisite: Perform (act) or Perform (comedy) 6 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 2nd-level bard spell known.

Effect: This pantomime tells the tale of Gorroc, a foolish farmer who failed to control the weeds that grew so quickly upon his land. In desperation, Gorroc bargained with a devil, who blasted the earth with salt and withering heat, leaving the fertile land desolate for a century. When you complete the performance, you can create a 30-foot cone or a 60-foot line that is blasted with scorching air and hot salt. Plants and oozes in this area take 1d6 points of damage per bard level (maximum 10d6); half this damage is fire damage, half is piercing damage. A Reflex save reduces the damage by half. Creatures other than plants or oozes take half damage, or no damage on a successful save.

Use: 2 bardic performance rounds.

Action: 1 full round.

The House of the Imaginary Walls (Act)

You can trap opponents with the power of your acting.

Prerequisite: Perform (act) 10 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 4th-level bard spell known.

Effect: You silently mime building an invisible wall, flattening your hands along linear planes to indicate its location and orientation. This “wall” is only real for creatures that see you perform this masterpiece (Will negates); you and your allies may automatically fail your saves if you want to treat the wall as real (for example, if you want to use the wall as a bridge to cross a chasm). For creatures who believe the wall is real, it has hardness 8, 90 hit points, and a break DC of 30 (multiple believing creatures can attack the walls, breaking through it more quickly as if they were all attacking a real wall rather than each attacking separate mental constructs). This is an illusion (phantasm) effect. Because the wall is a mental image, it blocks incorporeal creatures that fail their saves (because they perceive it as a magical barrier that excludes them), though they can still go around the wall or through the floor or ceiling to bypass it. It does not affect objects or creatures immune to mental effects (which can result in situations like an archer firing through the wall but unable to physically cross it).

You can create one 10-foot-square wall per use of this ability; over several rounds you can extend this square or create other walls, all of which persist until you stop using bardic performance rounds to sustain them. The wall is immobile once created. Part of the wall must be in or along the edge of your space, and you cannot create a wall that extends beyond your natural reach (though you can create a wall, move, and create another by using this ability again). Once created, the wall exists until you end your performance or affected creatures “break” it. Abilities that extend the duration of a bardic performance (such as Lingering Performance) affect this masterpiece.

Use: 1 bardic performance round per round.

Action: 1 standard action per 10-foot square.

Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain (String)

Your skilled playing can conjure up supernatural servants.

Prerequisite: Perform (string) 11 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 4th-level bard spell known.

This fast-paced tune harmonizes with the magical frequencies of another plane, allowing you to draw an extraplanar creature to you and bargain for its service. When you complete this performance, you call one or more outsiders as if using planar ally. Unlike with planar ally, the creature is not necessarily associated with your deity, and has an initial attitude of “indifferent” toward you. Because it is intrigued by your performance, it remains for up to 1 minute to hear the service you are requesting and the payment you are offering. If you succeed at an opposed Charisma check against the creature (with a +0 to +6 bonus on your roll based on the nature of the service and the offered reward), it agrees to perform the service. This ability otherwise works like planar ally.

Though the best-known version of this masterpiece refers to an infernal bargain, it can be used to conjure any sort of extraplanar creature (such as an archon, elemental, or protean). Other versions and arrangements of this masterpiece may have different names but otherwise identical effects.

Use: 10 bardic performance rounds.

Action: 10 minutes.

The Lullaby of Ember the Ancient (Sing)

You can put powerful creatures to sleep with the power of your song.

Prerequisite: Perform (sing) 7 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 3rd-level bard spell known.

Effect: When you activate this soothing performance, one target within close range falls asleep as if affected by deep slumber as long as you maintain the performance. Unlike the spell (which affects weaker creatures first), this masterpiece targets a specific creature of your choice. Although this lullaby does have words, it is not a language-dependent effect.

Use: 1 bardic performance round per round.

Action: 1 round.

Minuet of the Midnight Ivy (Dance)

Your winding, twisting dance is helpful in dodging obstacles and climbing.

Prerequisite: Perform (dance) 4 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 2nd-level bard spell known.

Effect: As ivy climbs walls and spills across even the rockiest and most uneven of terrain, so too does your dance propel you across broken stone and up walls. As long as you maintain the performance, whenever you move, you may move through 5 feet of difficult terrain each round as if it were normal terrain; this allows you to take a 5-foot step into difficult terrain. As long as you move laterally at least 10 feet, you may climb as if you had a climb speed equal to your base speed. You may spend the first round of this performance demonstrating the dance to up to one creature per two bard levels; if these students succeed at a DC 15 Perform (dance) check, they also gain the benefits of this masterpiece as long as you maintain the performance.

Use: 1 bardic performance round per round.

Action: 1 full round.

The Quickening Pulse (Percussion, Wind)

Your driving notes cause unnatural heart rates in your opponents.

Prerequisite: Perform (percussion) 7 ranks or Perform (wind) 7 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 3rd-level bard spell known.

Effect: You create a musical tempo that first mirrors your enemies' heartbeats, and then quickens them to dangerous levels. When you complete the performance, all enemies within 30 feet who can hear your performance must save or take 1d6 points of damage as their pounding heart causes them to sweat blood. Creatures that are immune to critical hits are unaffected by this ability.

Each round that you continue the performance adds another round to the bleed effect. Abilities that extend the duration of a bardic performance (such as Lingering Performance) affect this masterpiece.

Use: 1 bardic performance round per round of bleed.

Action: 1 standard action.

The Requiem of the Fallen Priest-King (Oratory, Sing)

Your performance reveals ways to cheat time itself.

Prerequisite: Perform (oratory) 10 ranks or Perform (sing) 10 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 3rd-level bard spell known.

Effect: This piece tells the story of a mighty priest-king who seemed to defy time by snatching near-victory from an overwhelming number of enemies. When you complete the performance, you gain the ability to accelerate time once, which must be used in the next 10 minutes. When you perform this masterpiece, you gain the ability to spend a swift action to perform a nonmagical action that normally requires a move action or a standard action. For example, you could make a full attack, then spend a swift action to take a normal move, load a light crossbow, or draw a weapon in the same round. You must use this extra action within 10 minutes of performing the masterpiece; otherwise the benefit is lost.

This ability does not stack with other effects that increase your speed (such as haste) or alter time (such as time stop).

Your allies may benefit from this masterpiece, but they must listen to it intently (to the exclusion of all other activities) for the duration of the performance, and you must expend 1 round of bardic performance for each ally other than yourself whom you want to gain the ability to accelerate time (for example, affecting yourself and five others requires expending 11 rounds of bardic performance). This is a language-dependent effect.

Use: 5 bardic performance rounds, +1 round per additional person affected.

Action: 1 minute.

Stone Face (Comedy, Oratory)

Your antics can soften even the hardest visage.

Prerequisite: Perform (comedy) or Perform (oratory) 7 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 3rd-level bard spell known.

Effect: You tell an old and humorous tale about a woman who refused to smile at anything, no matter how funny. Through a series of increasingly unlikely events involving a cart of horse manure, a king, and a flying carpet, her legendary frown broke at last. When you complete the performance, the target is affected by stone to flesh.

Use: 2 bardic performance rounds.

Action: 1 minute.

Toccata and Fugue of the Danse Macabre (Keyboard, Wind)

Your spooky music blurs the boundaries between life and death, confusing the senses of undead creatures.

Prerequisite: Perform (keyboard) or Perform (wind)
4 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 2nd-level bard spell known.

Effect: The complex notes and layered repetitions of this masterpiece bring to mind the countless dead of ages past and suffuse those who listen to it with a subtle melancholia and grim acceptance of the temporary nature of life. Starting with a trio of notes, repeated frequently and with ever-greater insistence, it becomes a whirling, head-spinning vortex of sound. Upon completing the performance, you and up to one ally per level within listening range become hidden from undead, as if under the effects of a hide from undead spell.

As with hide from undead, one creature breaking the effect ends the benefit of the performance for all recipients. But by spending an additional round of bardic performance when you perform or maintain the masterpiece, you can dedicate a refrain to a particular ally; even if one ally breaks the hide from undead effect, the ally receiving the dedication remains hidden so long as he does not break the effect himself. You can dedicate a refrain multiple times in the performance (up to once per round) as long as you spend 1 round of bardic performance each time for the ally receiving a dedication.

Use: 1 bardic performance round per round of the performance, +1 round per ally affected, +1 round per dedicated refrain.

Action: 1 minute.

Triple Time (Percussion, String, Wind)

Your lively cadence puts a spring in the step of weary marchers.

Prerequisite: Perform (percussion) 3 ranks, Perform (string) 3 ranks, or Perform (wind) 3 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 1st-level bard spell known.

Effect: This bright and spritely tune mimics the sound of human feet, slowly building to a steady, ground-eating pace. When you complete this performance, you affect one ally in hearing range per bard level. This masterpiece increases the affected target's base land speed by 10 feet for 1 hour. This adjustment is treated as an enhancement bonus. There is no effect on other modes of movement, such as burrow, climb, fly, or swim. As with any effect that increases your speed, this spell affects your jumping distance (see the Acrobatics skill).

Use: 1 bardic performance round.

Action: 1 minute.

The Winds of the Five Heavens (Act, Oratory)

You control the wind by telling a tale demonstrating the hubris of mortals.

Prerequisite: Perform (act) or Perform (oratory) 10 ranks.

Cost: Feat or 4th-level bard spell known.

Effect: This short monologue tells the story of a village priest who thought to command the gods. This so annoyed the gods of the weather that they gave him exactly what he wished for, and the priest's long-winded sermons tore apart his temple and scattered his parishioners. When you complete the performance, you conjure a great wind as if you had cast control winds.

Use: 3 bardic performance round.

Action: 3 full rounds.

Animal Speaker (Archetype)

An animal speaker focuses not on the ears and minds of humans, but on the creatures of the wild and those in the underbellies of cities.

Animal Friend: An animal speaker selects a particular kind of animal, such as apes, badgers, bears, boars, cats, snakes, and so on. The bard gains a +4 bonus on Handle Animal checks to influence animals of his chosen kind. Animals of this kind have a starting attitude of at least “indifferent” toward the bard and never attack him unless he attacks them first.

Animal companions and magically controlled animals can be directed to attack the bard if the controlling creature wins an opposed Charisma check against the bard (this check can be made once per round until it succeeds, after which no further checks are needed). Supernatural versions of animals (such as animals with the fiendish template) can attempt an opposed Charisma check against the bard with a +4 bonus on its roll to overcome this hesitation. This ability has no effect on creatures other than animals. This ability replaces fascinate.

Nature's Speaker: At 5th, 11th, and 17th level, the animal speaker selects another kind of animal friend. The bard can use speak with animals at will on animals of his selected kinds. This ability replaces well-versed.

Bardic Performance: An animal speaker gains the following types of bardic performance.

Soothing Performance: At 3rd level, an animal speaker can use bardic performance to influence animals. This works like the druid ability wild empathy, except he expends 1 round of bardic performance and makes a Perform check. If the bard already has wild empathy from another class, he adds the class levels that provide wild empathy to the result of his Perform check to influence an animal. This ability replaces inspire competence.

Attract Rats: At 5th level, the animal speaker can use bardic performance to summon 1d3 rat swarms; they remain as long as he continues performing. At 11th level, he summons 2d3 swarms instead of 1d3 and the swarms have the advanced creature simple template. At 17th level, the number of swarms he summons increases to 3d3. This ability replaces lore master.

Summon Nature's Ally: At 1st level, the animal speaker adds summon nature's ally I to his bard spell list and bard spells known as a 1st-level spell. At 4th level (when he gains access to 2nd-level spells) he adds summon nature's ally II to his spell list and spells known as a 2nd-level spell, and so on every 3 levels thereafter, until 16th level when he adds summon nature's ally VI to his 6th-level spell list and spells known.

Celebrity (Archetype)

Known for being known, a celebrity bard is a master of performance who captures the imagination and attention of his audience. He trades on his charisma, his wit, and his exploits to build his renown—and that of his companions.

Famous: At 1st level, a celebrity bard may choose a region where he is famous, and within that region, the locals are more likely to react favorably toward the bard. The bard gains a bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks in that area and to influence people from that area.

At 1st level, this region is a settlement or settlements with a total population of 1,000 or fewer people, and the modifier on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks is +1. As the celebrity grows more famous, additional areas learn of him (typically places where he has lived or traveled, or settlements adjacent to those where he is known) and his bonuses apply to even more people. At 5th level, the region is a settlement or settlements with a total population of 5,000 or fewer people, and the modifier on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks is +2. At 9th level, the region is a settlement or settlements with a total population of up to 25,000 people, and the modifier on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks is +3. At 13th level, the region is a settlement or settlements with a total population of up to 100,000 people, and the modifier to Diplomacy and Intimidate is +4. At 17th level and above, the bard's renown has spread far, and most civilized folk know of him (GM's discretion); the bard's modifier on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks is +5.

This ability replaces inspire courage.

Bardic Performance: A celebrity gains the following type of bardic performance.

Gather Crowd (Ex): At 5th level, the celebrity is skilled at drawing an audience to his performances. If he is in a settlement or populated area, he can shout, sing, or otherwise make himself noticed in order to attract an audience to his impromptu stage. The size of the crowd depends on the local population, but typically is a number of people equal to 1/2 the bard's class level × the result of the bard's Perform check. The crowd gathers over the next 1d10 rounds. If the bard fails to engage the crowd (such as by performing, kissing babies, trying to use fascinate, and so on), it disperses over the next 1d10 rounds. This ability replaces lore master.

Shining Star (Su): At 8th level, the celebrity has learned how to focus attention on himself so thoroughly that even the presence of danger does not distract his adoring crowd. When using fascinate, a target making a save to break the effect because of a potential threat takes a –4 penalty on that save, and even obvious threats require a save rather than automatically breaking the effect. Creatures affected by the bard's fascinate ability ignore the shaken condition. The ability replaces dirge of doom.

Demagogue (Archetype)

Not content with providing amusing and occasionally instructive performances, the demagogue seeks to inflame and ignite his audience, driving them toward a specific purpose with carefully chosen words and tones that may spark momentous change.

Famous: At 1st level, a demagogue is famous in a particular region. This works like the famous ability of the celebrity bard archetype, except the demagogue's skill bonuses apply to Bluff and Intimidate instead of Diplomacy and Intimidate. This ability replaces inspire courage +1.

Bardic Performance: A demagogue gains the following type of bardic performance.

Gather Crowd (Ex): At 5th level, the demagogue gains the ability to quickly gather a crowd. This is identical to the gather crowd ability of the celebrity bard archetype. This ability replaces lore master.

Incite Violence (Ex): At 6th level, the demagogue can use his performance to fan the fury of a crowd of people he has fascinated. Using this ability does not disrupt the fascinate effect, but does require a standard action to activate (in addition to the free action to continue the fascinate effect). The bard selects a number of targets equal to his level, who must make Will saves (DC 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard's Charisma modifier) or be affected by rage for a number of rounds equal to the bard's level. The bard indicates who is the intended target of violence (either after using this ability or as part of the performance leading to it) and the enraged members of the crowd immediately attack the target if possible. The target does not need to be present (“kill the king” is a suitable choice) and can be an object instead of a person (“destroy the prison!” is likewise appropriate). Other members of the crowd may follow suit, though they do not gain the benefits of rage. This is a sound-based effect and is affected by countersong. If two or more bards are attempting to direct the crowd against different targets, they must make opposed Charisma checks, with the crowd following the directions of the winner. This ability replaces suggestion.

Righteous Cause (Ex): At 18th level, the demagogue can lift a crowd's emotions and turn them toward a common purpose. First, he must fascinate the crowd, and then use incite violence without designating a target, at which point he can use righteous cause. Instead of driving the crowd with anger, he fills them with purpose. Fascinated creatures must make Will saves (DC 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard's Charisma modifier) to resist. Those who fail are affected by mass suggestion of a plausible idea that lingers with them for one day. Typical uses of this ability are to spark rebellion, overthrow a king, build a beneficial structure such as an orphanage, or donate money to a cause. This ability replaces mass suggestion.

Dirge Bard (Archetype)

A composer of sonorous laments for the dead and elaborate requiems for those lost yet long remembered, dirge bards master musical tools and tropes that must appeal to the ears and hearts of both the living and the dead.

Bardic Performance: A dirge bard gains the following type of bardic performance.

Dance of the Dead (Su): At 10th level, a dirge bard can use his bardic performance to cause dead bones or bodies to rise up and move or fight at his command. This ability functions like animate dead, but the created skeletons or zombies remain fully animate only as long as the dirge bard continues the performance. Once it stops, any created undead collapse into carrion. Bodies or bones cannot be animated more than once using this ability. Unlike animate dead, dance of the dead requires no components and does not have the evil descriptor. This performance replaces jack-of-all-trades.

Haunted Eyes (Ex): At 2nd level, a dirge bard gains a +4 bonus on saves against fear, energy drain, death effects, and necromantic effects. This ability replaces well-versed.

Secrets of the Grave (Ex): At 2nd level, a dirge bard gains a bonus equal to half his bard level on Knowledge (religion) checks made to identify undead creatures and their abilities. A dirge bard may use mind-affecting spells to affect undead as if they were living creatures, even if they are mindless (though spells that affect only humanoids do not affect them, even if they were humanoids in life). In addition, he may add one necromancy spell from the spell list of any arcane spellcasting class to his list of spells known at 2nd level and every four levels thereafter. This ability replaces versatile performance.

Haunting Refrain (Su): At 5th level, a dirge bard is able to stir primal terrors in the hearts of listeners. He can use a Perform (keyboard) or Perform (percussion) check in place of an Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent, with a bonus equal to half his bard level. In addition, saving throws against any fear effect he creates are made with a –2 penalty, and this penalty increases by –1 every 5 levels beyond 5th. This ability replaces lore master.

Geisha (Archetype)

In some cultures, the professional entertainer is a prestigious role. Specially trained entertainers called geisha are praised for their appearance and skill at conversation, music, dancing, singing, poetry, and calligraphy. A geisha provides social intimacy and status but not physical intimacy.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Geisha are proficient in all simple weapons and one monk weapon. Geisha are not proficient in any armor or shield; unlike bards, geisha are subject to arcane spell failure even when casting in light armor or when using a shield. This replaces the normal bard armor and weapon proficiencies.

Tea Ceremony (Su): By spending 10 minutes preparing an elaborate tea ceremony, a geisha may affect her allies with inspire courage, inspire competence, inspire greatness, or inspire heroics. The ceremony's effects last 10 minutes. The geisha must spend 4 rounds of bardic performance for each creature to be affected.

Geisha Knowledge: A geisha adds half her class level (minimum 1) on Craft (calligraphy) checks, Diplomacy checks, Knowledge (nobility) checks, and one type of Perform check (act, dance, oratory, percussion, string instruments, or sing); she may make checks with these skills untrained. This replaces bardic knowledge.

Scribe Scroll: A geisha gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.

Songhealer (Archetype)

Words can harm, but they also heal. The songhealer brings peace and surcease of pain, calming wild emotions and providing a balm for the wounded body.

Enhance Healing (Su): A number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier, a songhealer can cause any healing effect from a spell completion or spell trigger item to function at a caster level equal to his class level. This ability replaces versatile performance.

Bardic Performance: A songhealer gains the following type of bardic performance.

Healing Performance (Su): A bard of 14th level or higher can use his performance to create an effect equivalent to heal on a living target (or harm on an undead target), using the bard's level as the caster level. Using this ability requires 5 rounds of continuous performance, and the target must be able to see and hear the bard throughout the performance. The healing performance relies on audible and visual components. This ability replaces frightening tune.

Funereal Ballad (Su): A bard of 20th level or higher can use his performance to create an effect equivalent to resurrection on a dead creature, using the bard's level as the caster level. Using this ability requires 20 rounds of continuous performance, and the target must be within 10 feet of the bard for the entire performance. Funereal ballad relies on audible and visual components. This ability replaces deadly performance.

Sound Striker (Archetype)

They say that words can cut deeper than any blade, and the sound striker proves this true. Using music and words as a weapon, he can focus his performances into a deadly delivery.

Bardic Performance: A sound striker gains the following type of bardic performance. Neither performance can be performed more quickly than a standard action.

Wordstrike (Su): At 3rd level, the sound striker bard can spend 1 round of bardic performance as a standard action to direct a burst of sonically charged words at a creature or object. This performance deals 1d4 points of damage plus the bard's level to an object, or half this damage to a living creature. This performance replaces inspire competence.

Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus (Fortitude half), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word. This performance replaces suggestion.