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I know this topic has been brushed over a few times, but I did not find any full conversions for the Athasian bard into Pathfinder. I originally considered just designing a bard archetype, but the loss of all spell casting is a bit beyond an archetype's scope. The bard version on Athas.org is good, but seems very weak in combat, even more so than the rogue. While the performance abilities are strong, the loss of additional buffs from spells takes a huge toll from the bard's utility.
This version is basically a mash up of the original bard, with rogue/ninja tricks tossed in to offset the loss of spells. The theme of Dark Sun bards was always that of performer-by-day/assassin-by-night, so the poison abilities are prominent.
Concerns: While this bard has songs, tricks and poison, I'm still afraid it comes up weak in the combat department. Rogues and ninjas have sneak attack to offset (a little) of their flaws, but sneak attack didn't seem appropriate here. Rogues/ninjas are stealthy types, while bards seem to favor bluffs and misdirection. I'm considering ways to buff that theme here.
Any and all suggestions are much appreciated!!
Hit Die: d8.
Class Skills: The bard's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Base Attack Bonus: 3/4 progression.
Saves: Reflex and Will good.
Level / Special
1st /Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1, poison use
2nd / Versatile performance, well-versed
3rd / Inspire competence +2
4th / Trade secret
5th / Inspire courage +2, lore master 1/day
6th / Suggestion, versatile performance
7th / Inspire competence +3, trade secret
8th / Dirge of doom
9th / Inspire greatness
10th / Jack-of-all-trades, trade secret, versatile performance
11th / Inspire competence +4, inspire courage +3, lore master 2/day
12th / Soothing performance
13th / Trade secret
14th / Frightening tune, versatile performance
15th / Inspire competence +5, inspire heroics
16th / Trade secret
17th / Inspire courage +4, lore master 3/day
18th / Mass suggestion, versatile performance
19th / Inspire competence +6, trade secret
20th / Deadly performance
All of the following are class features of the bard.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A bard is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the bard’s friend, crossbow (any), garrote, greater blowgun, whip and widow’s knife. Bards are also proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields).
Bardic Knowledge (Ex): Per the standard bard class feature.
Bardic Performance: Per the standard bard class feature.
Poison Use: At 1st level, a bard is trained in the use of poison and cannot accidentally poison herself when applying poison to a weapon.
Versatile Performance (Ex): Per the standard bard class feature.
Well-versed (Ex): Per the standard bard class feature.
Trade Secret: As a bard gains more experience and notoriety, they gain access to secrets of their clandestine trade. Starting at 4th level, a bard learns one trade secret. She gains one additional trade secret at 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th and 19th level. Unless otherwise noted, a bard cannot select an individual trade secret more than once.
- Accurate (Ex): A bard with this ability can ignore 1 point of natural armor bonus to AC or 1 point of armor bonus to AC. This trade secret may be chosen more than once, and its effects stack.
- Assassinate (Ex): A bard with this trade secret can kill foes that are unable to defend themselves. To attempt to assassinate a target, the bard must first study her target for 1 round as a standard action. On the following round, if the bard makes an attack against the target and the target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC, the attack has the additional effect of possibly killing the target. This attempt automatically fails if the target recognizes the bard as an enemy. If the attack is successful and the target of this attack fails a Fortitude save, it dies. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard's Charisma modifier. If the save is successful, the target still takes damage as normal, but it is immune to that bard's assassinate ability for 1 day. The bard must be at least 10th level before selecting this trade secret.
- Blinding Bomb (Ex): Whenever the bard throws a smoke bomb, all living creatures in the cloud must make a Fortitude save or be blinded by the black smoke for 1d4 rounds. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard's Charisma modifier. This trade secret cannot be combined with a choking bomb, but the bard can combine a blinding bomb with a poison bomb. The bard must have the choking bomb trade secret before selecting this trade secret. The bard must be at least 10th level before selecting this trade secret.
- Choking Bomb (Ex): Whenever a bard throws a smoke bomb, all living creatures in the resulting cloud must make a Fortitude save or become staggered by the choking black smoke for 1d4 rounds. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard's Charisma modifier. The bard can decide to create an ordinary smoke bomb or add poison to this smoke bomb as normal. The bard must have the poison bomb trade secret before selecting this trade secret.
- Combat Trick: A bard that selects this trade secret gains a bonus combat feat.
- Defensive Roll (Ex): With this trade secret, the bard can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than she otherwise would. Once per day, when she would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the bard can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the bard must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC=damage dealt). If the save succeeds, she takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, she takes full damage. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll—if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can't use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll. The bard must be at least 10th level before selecting this trade secret.
- Deft Poisoner: A bard with this trade secret can apply poison to a weapon as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity.
- Evasion (Ex): A bard can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the bard is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless bard does not gain the benefit of evasion. The bard must be at least 10th level before selecting this trade secret.
- Feat: A bard may gain any feat she qualifies for in place of a trade secret. The bard must be at least 10th level before selecting this trade secret.
- Finesse Strike: A bard that selects this trade secret gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.
- Forgotten Secret (Ex): A bard with this ability can recall one trade secret she heard of in passing or in her early apprenticeship. When she uses this ability, she selects one trade secret that she does not know and can use that trade secret for a number of rounds equal to her level. This ability can be used once per day, and the bard must meet and adhere to the selected trade secret's prerequisites and restrictions.
- Improvised Materials: A bard with this trade secret can craft poisons from raw materials at hand instead of relying on specific ingredients. Doing so increases the Craft (poisonmaking) check DC by 5 but otherwise has no effect on the poison's potency.
- Major Magic (Sp): A bard with this trade secret gains the ability to cast a 1st-level spell from the wizard spell list two times a day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to the bard's level. The save DC for this spell is 11 + the bard's Intelligence modifier. The bard must have an Intelligence of at least 11 to select this talent. A bard must have the minor magic rogue talent before choosing this talent. This spell-like ability uses the rules for preserving and defiling magic.
- Minor Magic (Sp): A bard with this trade secret gains the ability to cast a 0-level spell from the wizard spell list. This spell can be cast three times a day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to the bard's level. The save DC for this spell is 10 + the bard's Intelligence modifier. The bard must have an Intelligence of at least 10 to select this talent. This spell-like ability uses the rules for preserving and defiling magic.
- Poison Bomb (Ex): Whenever the bard throws a smoke bomb, she can decide to include 1 dose of any inhaled poison she possesses. This poison affects all creatures in the smoke and lasts as long as the smoke lasts. She must pay for the poison normally. The bard must have the smoke bomb trade secret before selecting this trick.
- Poison Resistance (Ex): A bard with this trade secret receives a +4 bonus to saving throws against poisons.
- Quick Thinking (Ex): A bard with this trade secret is trained to react quickly, and gains a +2 bonus on Initiative checks. This trade secret may be chosen up to three times, and its effects stack.
- Scorpion's Touch (Ex): This ability adds +1 to the DC of all poisons applied by the bard. This trade secret may be chosen more than once, and its effects stack.
- Slippery Mind (Ex): This ability represents the bard's ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel her. If a bard with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw. The bard must be at least 13th level before selecting this trade secret.
- Smoke Bomb (Ex): This ability allows a bard to throw a smoke bomb that creates a cloud of smoke with a 15-foot radius. This acts like the smoke from a smokestick. The bard can center this smoke on herself, or throw the bomb as a ranged touch attack with a range of 20 feet. Using this ability is a standard action, and can used a number of times a day equal to 3 + the bard's Intelligence modifier.
- Ventriloquism (Su): As a swift action, the bard can throw her voice as if using the spell ventriloquism. She can use this ability for a cumulative total of 1 minute per bard level, per day. Each individual use of the ability consumes a minimum of 1 minute.
Lore Master (Ex): Per the standard bard class feature.
Jack-of-All-Trades (Ex): Per the standard bard class feature.