Bard Class Preview

Monday, July 16, 2018

The bard—it's arguably the most iconic support character. For some reason, bards are often the butt of goofy jokes, even though they're powerful force multipliers who can contribute to just about every aspect of play. Bard is one of my favorite classes in Pathfinder, and it has some of the most exciting changes of any of the classes in the Pathfinder Playtest, but I'm going to start you with a big one first. Are you sitting down yet? OK, good:

Bards are full 10-level spellcasters.

Spellcasting

As before, bards are spontaneous spellcasters who make up for having not quite as many spells as the other spontaneous caster, the sorcerer, by having special bardic performances. But this time around, bards don't have a delayed spellcasting progression. Instead, they have one fewer spell in their repertoire and one fewer spell slot per day at each spell level, compared to the sorcerer. That's pretty awesome already, but here's the even cooler part: bards have collected all sorts of esoteric bardic knowledge since forever, right? With an offbeat spell list that combines mental magic, a handful of unique additions, and a little bit of healing, bards are the primary occult spellcasters, blending mental and spiritual essences. That brings bards, whose spell list has grown with far less than that of wizards, to the forefront among the other primary spellcasters. This has given us the opportunity to create a bunch of cool never-before-seen bard spells for the playtest. Also, as I mentioned in the spells blog, bards can replace the Somatic Casting and Verbal Casting components of spellcasting by playing a musical instrument, in case you want a bard who plays the violin to cast his spells! But what about their performances? How do those come into play?

Compositions

Compositions are a special type of spell that only bards gain. You might be thinking these are probably powers like other classes, right? Not so! In exchange for their slightly lower number of spells bards get, most of their compositions are cantrips, usable at will, meaning you no longer need to worry about running out of bardic performance rounds per day. Not only that, they're often cast with a single action. They start out with a composition that will likely look familiar.

Inspire Courage Cantrip

Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting
Area 60-foot aura
Duration 1 round

You inspire your allies with words or tunes of encouragement. You and all allies in the aura gain a +1 conditional bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves against fear.

Usually, a bard can cast only one composition per turn and have only one active at a time.

Bards have powers and Spell Points in addition to their compositions. Many bard powers allow you to manipulate and customize your performances as you desire, including increasing the duration, granting a more significant bonus (an extremely powerful benefit), or having multiple compositions active at a time. Typically, these extra benefits require a successful Performance check to activate and provide an even more powerful effect on a critical success. Take for example, lingering composition.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Lingering Composition Power 1

Enchantment, Power
Casting [[F]] Verbal Casting; Trigger You finish casting a cantrip composition with a duration of 1 round.

You attempt to add a flourish to your composition to extend its benefits. Attempt a Performance check. The DC is usually a high-difficulty DC of a level equal to the highest-level target of your composition, but the GM can assign a different DC based on the circumstances. The effect depends on the result of your check.

Success The composition lasts 2 rounds.
Critical Success The composition lasts 3 rounds.
Failure The composition lasts 1 round.

But altering your performances with special modifications like this is just one of several paths represented by a new bardic class feature…

Muses

A bard's inspiration comes from a unique place—his muse. There are three muses in the Pathfinder Playtest. The first is maestro, focused on powers that alter compositions. Next is lore, focused on Occultism, willpower, and unusual knowledge. The third is polymath, focused on being a jack of all trades with increased skills and ability to handle unexpected situations, including the ability to keep a spellbook to prepare a small number of new spells to add to your repertoire each day. As befits the individualistic nature of a performer's muse, none of the initial muse abilities are exclusive, so you can use your feats to traverse as deeply as you want into the abilities from each path; your muse merely represents a starting point on your bardic journey.

For example, if you select the maestro muse at 1st level, you gain the Lingering Composition bard feat (granting you the lingering composition power detailed above) and add soothe to your spell repertoire, but any bard can take this feat or learn this spell—selecting the maestro muse just grants them as a default.

Bard Features

As a bard, you gain spellcasting and occult spell proficiency at the same levels as the other spellcasters, new spell levels at every odd level except 19, expert proficiency in occult spells at 12th level, master proficiency at 16th level, and legendary proficiency at 19th level. You also have the most trained skills at 1st level except for rogues, just barely edging out rangers. Finally, you begin play at 1st level with two compositions, the inspire courage cantrip (which has been detailed above) and the counter performance power.

Counter Performance Power 1

Composition, Enchantment, Fortune, Mental, Power
Casting [[R]] Verbal Casting or [[R]] Somatic Casting; Trigger You or an ally within 60 feet must roll a saving throw against an auditory or visual effect.
Area 60-foot aura

You protect yourself and allies through performance. Choose an auditory performance if the trigger was auditory or a visual performance if it was visual, then roll a Performance check for the chosen performance. You and allies in the area can use the higher result of your Performance check or their saving throws.

Since you need to use only a reaction to cast counter performance, rather than needing to activate it ahead of time like in Pathfinder First Edition, creatures that rely on visual or auditory effects will have a really hard time messing with you!

Bard Feats

Bard feats tend to fall in two categories: feats associated that are loosely associated with one of the three muses, and those that grant you a new composition.

For instance, the Cantrip Expansion feat at 4th level allows you to add two cantrips from the occult spell list to your spell repertoire, which can come in handy for those bards with the lore or the polymath muses. The powerful 14th-level Allegro feat, on the other hand, grants you the following cantrip to add a spring to an ally's step.

Allegro Cantrip

Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one ally
Duration 1 round

You perform rapidly, speeding your ally. The ally is quick and can use the action to Strike, Stride, or Step.

There's plenty of favorites in there from among bardic masterpieces from Ultimate Magic too, like house of imaginary walls, which Cosmo used with his goblin bard to mime a box around my ranger, trapping me with a dangerous enemy while Cosmo remained safe and sound.

In a nutshell, bards now have a vast number of quality-of-life improvements, while fundamentally staying true to the way they worked before. Fellow bard fans, what do you think?

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Shoggoth Went Down to Georgia:
The shoggoth went down to Georgia
He was lookin' for another meal
He was in a bind
But his sight was blind
And he was willin' to make a deal
When he came upon this young man
Sawin' on a fiddle and playin' it hot
And the shoggoth jumped
Up on a hickory stump
And said, "boy, let me tell you what
I guess you didn't know it
But I'm a fiddle player too
And if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you
Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy
But give the shoggoth his due
I'll bet the secrets of humanity
Against your sanity
'Cause I think I'm better than you"
The boy said, "my name's Johnny
And it might be insane
But I'll take your bet
And you're gonna regret
'Cause I'm not just bein' vain"
Johnny, rosined up his bow, and the fiddle practiced often he
'Cause the mythos broke loose in Georgia, to a maddening cacophony
And if you win, you get the secrets of humanity
But if you lose, the shoggoth gets your sanity
The shoggoth opened up his case
And he said, "I'll start this show"
And dark sludge flew from his tentacles
As he rosined up his bow
Then he pulled the bow across the strings
With a non-Euclidean hiss
And a band of Deep Ones joined in
And it sounded something like this

When the shoggoth finished
Johnny said, "well, you're pretty good, old son
But sit down in that chair right there
And let me show you how it's done"
He played Sarenrae's Mountain, don't delay
The shoggoth's in the City of Lost R'lyeh
Chicken in a bread pan pickin' out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no
The shoggoth bowed to the youth
Because he knew he was behind
And he laid humanity's truth
Deep into Johnny's mind
Johnny said, "Shoggoth, come back to the ring
If you ever want to try again
I done told you once you son of an Elder Thing
I'm not just being vain"
He played Sarenrae's Mountain, don't delay
The shoggoth's in the City of Lost R'lyeh
Chicken in a bread pan pickin' out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no


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Mark Seifter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

I haven't bothered to log in and post in years, but I just had to tip my hat to this.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

*blinks*

.
.
.
*slow claps*


Friendly Rogue wrote:

Bards have always been associated with magical lore, especially considering in P1e one of their key class abilities is Bardic Knowledge. Bards are just as much collectors of lore, orators, and scholars as they are performers who prance around the battlefield while tooting a flute - the fact that they're not shoehorned into being exclusively musicians is part of the reason why they're my favorite class.

Besides, the P1e Bard spell list focused heavily on spells that affect the mind and evoked occult themes on their own, including Hideous Laughter, Mad Hallucination, Mad Sultan's Melody... Bards are more than qualified to be considered Occult if you ask me.

And yet the magic bards have picked up has never been shown to be occult in flavour. Just because something manipulates minds does not make it automatically fit the occult flavour. It sounds like bards are only occult casters because they want psychic-style casters later to use the occult spell list so the occult spell list is where mind-manipulating stuff will be focused, despite the fact the bard flavour has zero occult elements. And if they're studying magical lore, then why doesn't their spellcasting style reflect the fact their power comes from learning with it being charisma based?

Xenocrat wrote:

A wizard studies magic directly in formulaic, organized ways to apply mental discipline and symbology to alter the world and other minds. A bard studies an eclectic mix of psychology, ritual, hedge magic, and other sources to learn how to use force of personality and the rhythms and inspiration of music (or poetry, or oratory, or comedy, or...) to create magic that taps into the spirit world or manipulates minds. Magic and song as a combination are at least as old as the Odyssey and the sirens. Instrumental music in folklore is used in to soothe and control beasts, summon and banish spirits (shamanistic drums), and probably more that I'm forgetting.

So Mental + Vital essence, not the Mental + Spiritual essence of occult flavour.

Also, still not enough to justify performers as The Occult Casters in my mind when they're not doing anything Occult. They're performers who pick up skills and tricks here and there as they wander about. Why do you need to be a performer or have an aboleth mum to use psychic magic?

Reckless wrote:
So, Psychic/Occult magic requires thought and emotion, and originate from the composite experience of the caster. Sounds like something a poet, songwriter, or artist would be best able to formulate and express to me.

So your saying it fits because you can see it sharing the components despite the fact the class has no links at all to occult flavour. Based on this, rogues should be arcane casters because of their dexterity and bluffing skills and would make them good at somatic and verbal components. -.-


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Mark Seifter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Well that was awesome.


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Depends on what they're doing. Chanting in Aklo hinting at dark cosmic truths is a very different vibe from serenading Princess Butterface with a Chelish aria. ;)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

This was a mad masterpiece, and truly beautiful. Did you craft it? Because I'm really tempted to post this over at Tumblr and want to attribute it properly....

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tangent101 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
This was a mad masterpiece, and truly beautiful. Did you craft it? Because I'm really tempted to post this over at Tumblr and want to attribute it properly....

Yeah, maybe 20 minutes after my post to Arachnofiend about the shoggoth coming down to Georgia, I thought it would be funny and decided to write it. Note, as is no doubt clear to those familiar with the original song, that many of the lyrics are still just the same as the original song.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
I'll probably end up needing to ban this class in my campaigns since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to musicians who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably ban Wizards since they still want to restrict the fluff to heavy readers who have magic for no discernible reason.
I might ban Clerics since they still want to restrict the fluff to clergy who have magic for no discernible reason.

I'll probably need to ban Druids since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to defenders of nature who have magic for no discernible reason.

Paizo Employee Designer

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KingOfAnything wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
I'll probably end up needing to ban this class in my campaigns since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to musicians who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably ban Wizards since they still want to restrict the fluff to heavy readers who have magic for no discernible reason.
I might ban Clerics since they still want to restrict the fluff to clergy who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably need to ban Druids since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to defenders of nature who have magic for no discernible reason.

Even though I do understand Milo's point, I feel we have to complete this cycle now with the final casting class. Maybe something like this?:

I have a feeling I'll have to ban sorcerers since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to the results of interspecies romance fanfic who have magic for no discernible reason.


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Milo v3 wrote:
And yet the magic bards have picked up has never been shown to be occult in flavour. Just because something manipulates minds does not make it automatically fit the occult flavour. It sounds like bards are only occult casters because they want psychic-style casters later to use the occult spell list so the occult spell list is where mind-manipulating stuff will be focused, despite the fact the bard flavour has zero occult elements. And if they're studying magical lore, then why doesn't their spellcasting style reflect the fact their power comes from learning with it being charisma based?

Alright, then what is the occult flavor? I can easily associate the Bard to occult themes due to 1.) their constant theme of extensive knowledge, which makes sense that those who are worldly and delve into ancient knowledge forgotten by traditional scholars would have occult knowledge (and, consequentially, the ability to cast spells), 2.) occult works in general tend to have themes that coincide pretty naturally with the bard, such as H.P. Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann as discussed upthread, especially considering Azathoth is frequently associated with music, and 3.) the fact that the Bard spell list focused primarily on mental and force effects, much like how the Occult spell list is going to focus primarily on mental and force effects, and as a result they tie in really close together.

From the sound of things, though, you can't divorce the concept of a spoony luter making a fool out of himself and trying to seduce everything from the Bard, which, frankly, sells the Bard short on what it represents as a whole, be it in the playtest or P1e.

As far as your point about Paizo just wanting a core class to have the Occult class so other classes in the future can quickly adopt it... so? As far as I'm concerned, there's already plenty of justification to have the Bard be the core Occult spellcaster, but even if there wasn't, what are they gonna do, give the Occult spell list to the Cleric? Just have the Bard bum off of the Arcane spell list even though it makes absolutely no sense mechanically? No matter which way you spin it, the Bard being given the Occult spell list is perfectly justifiable.


Well this thread went some places. I guess I shouldn't be surprised the bard thread went into song, huh?


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Well this thread went some places. I guess I shouldn't be surprised the bard thread went into song, huh?

What surprised me was that it took >450 posts to do so ... ;)

Sovereign Court

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The Mad Comrade wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Well this thread went some places. I guess I shouldn't be surprised the bard thread went into song, huh?
What surprised me was that it took >450 posts to do so ... ;)

Closer to 250. Hmm waited so patiently for the Bard Blog.


Tangent101 wrote:

s.

What I'm asking about are the spells themselves. I heard about Bards getting Magic Missile potentially and that seems... well, it feels a little off, especially seeing Bardic spells are mental and spiritual in nature.

Sound Striker.


Friendly Rogue wrote:
Alright, then what is the occult flavor? I can easily associate the Bard to occult themes due to 1.) their constant theme of extensive knowledge, which makes sense that those who are worldly and delve into ancient knowledge forgotten by traditional scholars would have occult knowledge (and, consequentially, the ability to cast spells),

There's a big difference to me between "the jack" style character who knows bits and pieces from his travels and full blown as magical as a dedicated sorcerer/wizard/warlock/magician with mastery of magic as the seeming biggest aspect.

Occult flavour is about things like cults, rituals, invocation, forbidden practices, relics, sacrifice, drawing in power from outside, sympathy, spirits, old gods, ascension, etc.

Quote:
2.) occult works in general tend to have themes that coincide pretty naturally with the bard, such as H.P. Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann as discussed upthread, especially considering Azathoth is frequently associated with music

Except the occult works don't tend to.... There are rare examples, but there are probably as many examples for linking occult to nearly anything.

Quote:
and 3.) the fact that the Bard spell list focused primarily on mental and force effects, much like how the Occult spell list is going to focus primarily on mental and force effects, and as a result they tie in really close together.

Yes, the bard spell list focuses on the same effects, my issue is that Paizo has claimed that Occult magic = x flavour, and then are ignoring that flavour because of the effects of the spells happen to match up.

Quote:
From the sound of things, though, you can't divorce the concept of a spoony luter making a fool out of himself and trying to seduce everything from the Bard, which, frankly, sells the Bard short on what it represents as a whole, be it in the playtest or P1e.

I can, the issue is that I can't divorce the "performer" requirement for being insanely arbitrary and only really existing because of D&D legacy, and is made all the worse that it's now diluting the flavour of occult magic to that it b

Quote:
As far as your point about Paizo just wanting a core class to have the Occult class so other classes in the future can quickly adopt it... so? As far as I'm concerned, there's already plenty of justification to have the Bard be the core Occult spellcaster, but even if there wasn't, what are they gonna do, give the Occult spell list...

Yep, that's definitely an issue when it comes two different flavours of classes are forced to use the same list. Tbh, I'd prefer if Occult List but cast as an Arcane caster just to keep the flavour consistent.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Yep, that's definitely an issue when it comes two different flavours of classes are forced to use the same list. Tbh, I'd prefer if Occult List but cast as an Arcane caster just to keep the flavour consistent.

...What? They haven't even implied that Bards wouldn't be using Verbal/Somatic components for their spells - they're going to be casting just like every other spellcaster in the Playtest, so in essence it pretty much is just them casting off of the Occult list as an "arcane" caster, in the sense that they have Verbal and Somatic components. With how the way spellcasting classes seem to work in P2e, I actually wouldn't be surprised if the use of Thought and Emotion components become exclusive to just a few classes, like the Psychic and Mesmerist, when they eventually bring the Occult Adventures classes into P2e.


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Friendly Rogue wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
And yet the magic bards have picked up has never been shown to be occult in flavour. Just because something manipulates minds does not make it automatically fit the occult flavour. It sounds like bards are only occult casters because they want psychic-style casters later to use the occult spell list so the occult spell list is where mind-manipulating stuff will be focused, despite the fact the bard flavour has zero occult elements. And if they're studying magical lore, then why doesn't their spellcasting style reflect the fact their power comes from learning with it being charisma based?

Alright, then what is the occult flavor? I can easily associate the Bard to occult themes due to 1.) their constant theme of extensive knowledge, which makes sense that those who are worldly and delve into ancient knowledge forgotten by traditional scholars would have occult knowledge (and, consequentially, the ability to cast spells), 2.) occult works in general tend to have themes that coincide pretty naturally with the bard, such as H.P. Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann as discussed upthread, especially considering Azathoth is frequently associated with music, and 3.) the fact that the Bard spell list focused primarily on mental and force effects, much like how the Occult spell list is going to focus primarily on mental and force effects, and as a result they tie in really close together.

From the sound of things, though, you can't divorce the concept of a spoony luter making a fool out of himself and trying to seduce everything from the Bard, which, frankly, sells the Bard short on what it represents as a whole, be it in the playtest or P1e.

As far as your point about Paizo just wanting a core class to have the Occult class so other classes in the future can quickly adopt it... so? As far as I'm concerned, there's already plenty of justification to have the Bard be the core Occult spellcaster, but even if there wasn't, what are they gonna do, give the Occult spell list...

As far as I can tell (and Milo, correct me if I'm wrong), the bolded is the only point of contention for Milo (and definitely me).

Edit: Milo was already writing his response while I was writing mine; oh well.

I totally buy the Bard having extensive esoteric knowledge, including the obscure and best-left-forgotten (and therefore, the Bard is Occult).

I totally buy one expression (no, not all of them, but certainly one) of the occult being music (and therefore, the Bard is Occult).

I totally buy the Bard spell list being focused on the mind and force effects (and therefore, the Bard is Occult). Heck, my favorite refluff of the Bard is to make them manipulators of the universal Om from Hindu traditions; nothing says "music equals magic" quite like vibrating the fundamental metaphysical strings of existence, and having reality rewrite itself to match.

It falls apart when you HAVE to be a performing music-y dude. When you can't NOT be the performing music-y dude. And even having the performance be an oration like a military drill sergeant is still an obligation to have the character be someone who fundamentally can't function if people aren't paying attention to him (which even the Om manipulator concept doesn't require, since it's more like the Truenamer in concept and more concerned with talking to the universe than any particular resident).

It's not WE who can't divorce the concept of a spoony luter from a Bard. I already asked if performing was optional. The closest I heard to an answer was "no". Paizo is saying the Bard must include the concept of a spoony luter.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Friendly Rogue wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Yep, that's definitely an issue when it comes two different flavours of classes are forced to use the same list. Tbh, I'd prefer if Occult List but cast as an Arcane caster just to keep the flavour consistent.
...What? They haven't even implied that Bards wouldn't be using Verbal/Somatic components for their spells - they're going to be casting just like every other spellcaster in the Playtest, so in essence it pretty much is just them casting off of the Occult list as an "arcane" caster, in the sense that they have Verbal and Somatic components. With how the way spellcasting classes seem to work in P2e, I actually wouldn't be surprised if the use of Thought and Emotion components become exclusive to just a few classes, like the Psychic and Mesmerist, when they eventually bring the Occult Adventures classes into P2e.

There is a difference between the spells and essences intrinsic to the occult tradition and the trappings of casting psychic magic. It's possible to make a bard a caster who follows the occult tradition and doesn't use psychic magic.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tectorman wrote:
It falls apart when you HAVE to be a performing music-y dude. When you can't NOT be the performing music-y dude. And even having the performance be an oration like a military drill sergeant is still an obligation to have the character be someone who fundamentally can't function if people aren't paying attention to him (which even the Om manipulator concept doesn't require, since it's more like the Truenamer in concept and more concerned with talking to the universe than any particular resident).

Sometimes, it doesn't matter if another living being hears you, but only if the universe does. There is ritual in the ways we perform and interact, and the act of composing is the act of formulating and writing down the ritual's formula.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
It falls apart when you HAVE to be a performing music-y dude. When you can't NOT be the performing music-y dude. And even having the performance be an oration like a military drill sergeant is still an obligation to have the character be someone who fundamentally can't function if people aren't paying attention to him (which even the Om manipulator concept doesn't require, since it's more like the Truenamer in concept and more concerned with talking to the universe than any particular resident).
Sometimes, it doesn't matter if another living being hears you, but only if the universe does. There is ritual in the ways we perform and interact, and the act of composing is the act of formulating and writing down the ritual's formula.

So how does that reconcile with this?

Mark Seifter wrote:
I don't think it will cover for people who don't want to do anything involving performance, but it might do well on the niche of a batman bard that some took with archaeologist. The polymath is the muse for you if you're always thinking "Oh, I want to do this...but wait, I could do that! Why can't I do it all?" Prepare a spell to spontaneously cast, get more spontaneous heightening, use skills in a versatile way so you can succeed at a wide variety of stuff? That's the polymath's shtick.

Are you saying that "Performance" as used by Paizo in the context of the Bard includes conducting rituals with absolutely no witnesses (besides the universe itself) and with no goal of entertaining anyone or even being acknowledged by anyone?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Yep, that's definitely an issue when it comes two different flavours of classes are forced to use the same list. Tbh, I'd prefer if Occult List but cast as an Arcane caster just to keep the flavour consistent.
...What? They haven't even implied that Bards wouldn't be using Verbal/Somatic components for their spells - they're going to be casting just like every other spellcaster in the Playtest, so in essence it pretty much is just them casting off of the Occult list as an "arcane" caster, in the sense that they have Verbal and Somatic components. With how the way spellcasting classes seem to work in P2e, I actually wouldn't be surprised if the use of Thought and Emotion components become exclusive to just a few classes, like the Psychic and Mesmerist, when they eventually bring the Occult Adventures classes into P2e.
There is a difference between the spells and essences intrinsic to the occult tradition and the trappings of casting psychic magic. It's possible to make a bard a caster who follows the occult tradition and doesn't use psychic magic.

Am I wrong in guessing that spells of a single essence may exist on multiple lists, where relevant, to limit refluffing a duplication?


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Well this thread went some places. I guess I shouldn't be surprised the bard thread went into song, huh?

Mark's parody and reference to "inter-species romance fan fiction" have made this the best blog thread ever.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tectorman wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
It falls apart when you HAVE to be a performing music-y dude. When you can't NOT be the performing music-y dude. And even having the performance be an oration like a military drill sergeant is still an obligation to have the character be someone who fundamentally can't function if people aren't paying attention to him (which even the Om manipulator concept doesn't require, since it's more like the Truenamer in concept and more concerned with talking to the universe than any particular resident).
Sometimes, it doesn't matter if another living being hears you, but only if the universe does. There is ritual in the ways we perform and interact, and the act of composing is the act of formulating and writing down the ritual's formula.

So how does that reconcile with this?

Mark Seifter wrote:
I don't think it will cover for people who don't want to do anything involving performance, but it might do well on the niche of a batman bard that some took with archaeologist. The polymath is the muse for you if you're always thinking "Oh, I want to do this...but wait, I could do that! Why can't I do it all?" Prepare a spell to spontaneously cast, get more spontaneous heightening, use skills in a versatile way so you can succeed at a wide variety of stuff? That's the polymath's shtick.
Are you saying that "Performance" as used by Paizo in the context of the Bard includes conducting rituals with absolutely no witnesses (besides the universe itself) and with no goal of entertaining anyone or even being acknowledged by anyone?

It's certainly not the most common use of the word perform, but there's a reason the verb often used to indicate someone is doing something in a ritualistic fashion is "performing" a ritual.

I imagine most bards will play it pretty straight with the use of Performance, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Now that example was for polymath muse, which has some Performance-related options. If you were to go pure lore muse, the sole option you'd necessarily possess that uses the Performance skill at all would be counter performance, which works even if it's just you and the bad guys and you're using as a mantra for yourself. That's equal or fewer than the number of abilities that the bard had built in that used the Perform skill in PF1.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Felinus wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Yep, that's definitely an issue when it comes two different flavours of classes are forced to use the same list. Tbh, I'd prefer if Occult List but cast as an Arcane caster just to keep the flavour consistent.
...What? They haven't even implied that Bards wouldn't be using Verbal/Somatic components for their spells - they're going to be casting just like every other spellcaster in the Playtest, so in essence it pretty much is just them casting off of the Occult list as an "arcane" caster, in the sense that they have Verbal and Somatic components. With how the way spellcasting classes seem to work in P2e, I actually wouldn't be surprised if the use of Thought and Emotion components become exclusive to just a few classes, like the Psychic and Mesmerist, when they eventually bring the Occult Adventures classes into P2e.
There is a difference between the spells and essences intrinsic to the occult tradition and the trappings of casting psychic magic. It's possible to make a bard a caster who follows the occult tradition and doesn't use psychic magic.
Am I wrong in guessing that spells of a single essence may exist on multiple lists, where relevant, to limit refluffing a duplication?

You are not wrong. Spells with two adjacent essences (they rarely have two opposing essences) may even be on all three lists that border either essence, depending on how they work.


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Tectorman wrote:
Are you saying that "Performance" as used by Paizo in the context of the Bard includes conducting rituals with absolutely no witnesses (besides the universe itself) and with no goal of entertaining anyone or even being acknowledged by anyone?

I mean, in the context of a lot of the class abilities, you're going to be using your Bardic Performances to directly buff people and, as a result, there will be (corporeal) witnesses, but in the context of using Bardic Performances to only buff yourself or otherwise not effect other characters? That could entirely be the case.

Besides, for an example of how Oration could work in the context of a Bard, one of the major NPCs in one of my games is an Elf Studious Librarian Bard who does the bookkeeping for her family's estate; she's used to searching and delving into old, musty tomes, creating records for relics and artifacts some of her relatives find on expeditions for the purposes of keeping track of finances, and occasionally she has to set up meetings where she has to discuss events such as mysterious persons gaining access to the family fortune - to her, using Oration for Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and her Bardic Performances is a result of her falling back to rehearsed and trained slogans and speeches to gain the upper hand in situations and otherwise bolster the morale of her associates, even if she leans more on the introvert side of things.


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Mark Seifter wrote:

It's certainly not the most common use of the word perform, but there's a reason the verb often used to indicate someone is doing something in a ritualistic fashion is "performing" a ritual.

I imagine most bards will play it pretty straight with the use of Performance, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Now that example was for polymath muse, which has some Performance-related options. If you were to go pure Lore muse, the sole option you'd necessarily possess that uses the Performance skill at all would be counter performance, which works even if it's just you and the bad guys and you're using as a mantra for yourself. That's equal or fewer than the number of abilities that the bard had built in that used the Perform skill in PF1.

I definitely intend to use the recitation of a mantra to ward off evil as Counter Performance. This applies to certain visual 'counters' as well. From personal experience, gestures used in Italian culture to ward off evil and bad luck are particularly resonant with the Occult spell-list. Throwing salt, flipping the horns, etc.

Really loving the direction Bard is going Mark.

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Felinus wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

It's certainly not the most common use of the word perform, but there's a reason the verb often used to indicate someone is doing something in a ritualistic fashion is "performing" a ritual.

I imagine most bards will play it pretty straight with the use of Performance, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Now that example was for polymath muse, which has some Performance-related options. If you were to go pure Lore muse, the sole option you'd necessarily possess that uses the Performance skill at all would be counter performance, which works even if it's just you and the bad guys and you're using as a mantra for yourself. That's equal or fewer than the number of abilities that the bard had built in that used the Perform skill in PF1.

I definitely intend to use the recitation of a mantra to ward off evil as Counter Performance. This applies to certain visual 'counters' as well. From personal experience, gestures used in Italian culture to ward off evil and bad luck are particularly resonant with the Occult spell-list. Throwing salt, flipping the horns, etc.

Really loving the direction bard is going Mark.

Those sorts of folk gestures, or even ritual expressions in conversations (common enough in any language, and particularly common in languages like Japanese) are some of the sorts of weird bardic knowledge bards have studied even back to the pre-PF1 days when bardic knowledge was a separate kind of knowledge. Bardic Knowledge is also very similar to the way we've always described the occult characters in Occult Adventures as sifting through unusual and bizarre folklore that arcane and divine scholars discounted and ridiculed, discovering that most of it is hokum but a small fraction has real power.


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Mark Seifter wrote:

It's certainly not the most common use of the word perform, but there's a reason the verb often used to indicate someone is doing something in a ritualistic fashion is "performing" a ritual.

I imagine most bards will play it pretty straight with the use of Performance, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Now that example was for polymath muse, which has some Performance-related options. If you were to go pure Lore muse, the sole option you'd necessarily possess that uses the Performance skill at all would be counter performance, which works even if it's just you and the bad guys and you're using as a mantra for yourself. That's equal or fewer than the number of abilities that the bard had built in that used the Perform skill in PF1.

Plus, P1E never (to my knowledge) allowed Performance to connote an action without witnesses or intention of popular acclaim or regard, which made Bard an intimidating choice of class as it seemed to necessitate the player to WANT the spotlight.

Thanks. This helps. Though, this expansion on what "Performance" is allowed to entail should probably find its way somewhere into the final product...

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Brock Landers wrote:
What is the need for essences, what do they accomplish, I mean, are not spell lists enough?

They are 100% purely background explanation of how magic works to help keep magic and its role in the multiverse consistent. An explanation of them doesn't appear in the Playtest CRB itself, so you'll only learn about it from places like here where we deep dive into secrets of the metaphysics of magic.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
I'll probably end up needing to ban this class in my campaigns since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to musicians who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably ban Wizards since they still want to restrict the fluff to heavy readers who have magic for no discernible reason.
I might ban Clerics since they still want to restrict the fluff to clergy who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably need to ban Druids since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to defenders of nature who have magic for no discernible reason.

Even though I do understand Milo's point, I feel we have to complete this cycle now with the final casting class. Maybe something like this?:

I have a feeling I'll have to ban sorcerers since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to the results of interspecies romance fanfic who have magic for no discernible reason.

Well, now I'm being called out. ^_^

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Brock Landers wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Brock Landers wrote:
What is the need for essences, what do they accomplish, I mean, are not spell lists enough?
They are 100% purely background explanation of how magic works to help keep magic and its role in the multiverse consistent. An explanation of them doesn't appear in the Playtest CRB itself, so you'll only learn about it from places like here where we deep dive into secrets of the metaphysics of magic.
Nifty, I love fluff, but, this begs the question: Consistent magic? I know, D&D has always been that way, but what if it was not.

You mean what if magic was a little wilder and more unpredictable? By explaining a consistent role in the multiverse, I'm not necessarily saying magic can't be like that. In fact we explicitly state in the book that some of these numbers, especially spell durations, are approximations, and you can't set an hour-long spell as a stopwatch when you need to wait exactly one hour to the second.

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Isabelle Lee wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
I'll probably end up needing to ban this class in my campaigns since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to musicians who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably ban Wizards since they still want to restrict the fluff to heavy readers who have magic for no discernible reason.
I might ban Clerics since they still want to restrict the fluff to clergy who have magic for no discernible reason.
I'll probably need to ban Druids since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to defenders of nature who have magic for no discernible reason.

Even though I do understand Milo's point, I feel we have to complete this cycle now with the final casting class. Maybe something like this?:

I have a feeling I'll have to ban sorcerers since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to the results of interspecies romance fanfic who have magic for no discernible reason.

Well, now I'm being called out. ^_^

Huh? I don't think so?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I have a feeling I'll have to ban sorcerers since it looks like they still want to restrict the fluff to the results of interspecies romance fanfic who have magic for no discernible reason.
Well, now I'm being called out. ^_^
Huh? I don't think so?

^_^ = as an interspecies romance fanfic enthusiast

But really, aren't we all?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tectorman wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

It's certainly not the most common use of the word perform, but there's a reason the verb often used to indicate someone is doing something in a ritualistic fashion is "performing" a ritual.

I imagine most bards will play it pretty straight with the use of Performance, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Now that example was for polymath muse, which has some Performance-related options. If you were to go pure Lore muse, the sole option you'd necessarily possess that uses the Performance skill at all would be counter performance, which works even if it's just you and the bad guys and you're using as a mantra for yourself. That's equal or fewer than the number of abilities that the bard had built in that used the Perform skill in PF1.

Plus, P1E never (to my knowledge) allowed Performance to connote an action without witnesses or intention of popular acclaim or regard, which made Bard an intimidating choice of class as it seemed to necessitate the player to WANT the spotlight.

Thanks. This helps. Though, this expansion on what "Performance" is allowed to entail should probably find its way somewhere into the final product...

Honestly, the more I think of this, the more I could see polymath's main other Performance ability (to use several particular actions and activities associated with other skills with Performance instead) could be seen in this fashion. In this lens, you might not be particularly trained up on being sociable, menacing, or good at lying, but you know how to perform the expected rituals in conversation to succeed at any of those tasks.


Mark Seifter wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Cool, cool. I can definitely get on board with a lot of this. I am curious if an actor Bard is still a default option, or if it requires refluffing. Spiritual/mental definitely fits “occult”. It sounds like healing is getting snuck in from vital somehow?

Yes, you can act very easily. There's even a magic item for it that's very actor.

The bard's healing is a different spell that isn't heal and isn't vital. Sure does also protect you against mental attacks though.

This post has raised a question for me. Will there still be some spells shared between spell lists? I feel like we may have gotten this confirmed by some of the Paizo banquet reveals, but I'm not sure about that.

On the one hand, it would be kind of neat if the spells were more unique. On the other, not letting bards have charm or the cleric have dispel magic feels weird.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Cool, cool. I can definitely get on board with a lot of this. I am curious if an actor Bard is still a default option, or if it requires refluffing. Spiritual/mental definitely fits “occult”. It sounds like healing is getting snuck in from vital somehow?

Yes, you can act very easily. There's even a magic item for it that's very actor.

The bard's healing is a different spell that isn't heal and isn't vital. Sure does also protect you against mental attacks though.

This post has raised a question for me. Will there still be some spells shared between spell lists? I feel like we may have gotten this confirmed by some of the Paizo banquet reveals, but I'm not sure about that.

On the one hand, it would be kind of neat if the spells were more unique. On the other, not letting bards have charm or the cleric have dispel magic feels weird.

My other post on this page about this has confirmed they will be shared. But even though they do make sense as a healer, bards never made as much sense channeling positive and negative energy, and heal is full on vital essence, not something the non-vital traditions would use.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Cool, cool. I can definitely get on board with a lot of this. I am curious if an actor Bard is still a default option, or if it requires refluffing. Spiritual/mental definitely fits “occult”. It sounds like healing is getting snuck in from vital somehow?

Yes, you can act very easily. There's even a magic item for it that's very actor.

The bard's healing is a different spell that isn't heal and isn't vital. Sure does also protect you against mental attacks though.

This post has raised a question for me. Will there still be some spells shared between spell lists? I feel like we may have gotten this confirmed by some of the Paizo banquet reveals, but I'm not sure about that.

On the one hand, it would be kind of neat if the spells were more unique. On the other, not letting bards have charm or the cleric have dispel magic feels weird.

Part of the essences background is that each essence of magic is a component of two magical traditions. I expect most spells will be included on exactly two spell lists, with some exceptions for exclusive spells, and some more generic spells on all four (detect magic, read magic)

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Brock Landers wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Brock Landers wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Brock Landers wrote:
What is the need for essences, what do they accomplish, I mean, are not spell lists enough?
They are 100% purely background explanation of how magic works to help keep magic and its role in the multiverse consistent. An explanation of them doesn't appear in the Playtest CRB itself, so you'll only learn about it from places like here where we deep dive into secrets of the metaphysics of magic.
Nifty, I love fluff, but, this begs the question: Consistent magic? I know, D&D has always been that way, but what if it was not.
You mean what if magic was a little wilder and more unpredictable? By explaining a consistent role in the multiverse, I'm not necessarily saying magic can't be like that. In fact we explicitly state in the book that some of these numbers, especially spell durations, are approximations, and you can't set an hour-long spell as a stopwatch when you need to wait exactly one hour to the second.
Nice, though, again, magic having a consistent role in the universe does not have to be a thing; but I love the not-to-the-second timing, next we need to get rid of that "...oh, I am just in the square outside the fireball, so I am fine"-deal.

In encounter mode, we tend to lean into the abstractions of the game more to allow for predictable and precise choices, things like space in quanta of exactly a 5-foot square if you're using a grid, and time in quanta of exactly 6 second combat rounds. But in the world, not everything is exactly on a 5-foot grid (assuming that the world is measured on a 5-foot grid at all times caused issues in an infamous pit jumping thread, for instance), and magic doesn't bleed away on exact multiples of 6 seconds.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

I mean

The Eldritch Abomination Went Down To Georgia just doesn't quite have the same ring to it, unfortunately... Maybe we can workshop it.
The Shoggoth Went Down to Georgia?

You can't forget the great musical A Shoggoth on the Roof. Tentacles!

And since I'm thinking about music and the mythos, I am compelled by unspeakable eldritch forces from beyond time and space to mention The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. Their latest album even has an instrumental (with viol of course) titled Erich Zann which is pretty good. And another about the Great Molasses Disaster of Boston in 1919 (a true story). That one isn't mythos really, but it's a great song.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Associating bards with the occult is a pretty weird leap to me. The conflict between performance (a public expression of artistic creativity) and occult knowledge (by definition secretive and insular) just doesn't work. I respect people trying to reconcile the concepts here, but if the connection isn't intuitive to readers, why use it? If you were to tell me that *any* major spellcasting class had a link to the occult, bards would have been last on my list.


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I for one am not trying to reconcile a thing. It is perfectly intuitive to me and makes so much sense that I latched on instantly. Bards gather a myriad and diverse collection of lore and weave it into their magic. They had me at hello on this one.


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Jhaeman wrote:
Associating bards with the occult is a pretty weird leap to me. The conflict between performance (a public expression of artistic creativity) and occult knowledge (by definition secretive and insular) just doesn't work. I respect people trying to reconcile the concepts here, but if the connection isn't intuitive to readers, why use it? If you were to tell me that *any* major spellcasting class had a link to the occult, bards would have been last on my list.

I don't want to be that person, but if we're going off of definitions, Arcane is the one that is more strictly defined as mysterious, secretive, and insular. While the actual word Occult has its roots with the Latin word for "secret," most modern definitions tend to more closely tie it with explicit magical/supernatural beliefs or practices. Either way, both the terms "arcane" and "occult" are practically synonyms in practice, so you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

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