Help me portray Bardic Performance in a way that doesn't suck.


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I'm currently playing an NPC bard (I'm the GM), who whistles a little tune to himself while he's fighting. It's the sort of totally unconcerned kind of whistle you might do while you're doing some mundane task like polishing your armor or cleaning the kitchen.

The idea is that he sees fighting the current foe as being hardly worth the effort-- "Oh, I suppose I'll help clear out this rabble, even though the rest of you could handle it without my help, but I'm not really busy with anything else at the moment."

Seeing how nonchalant he is about the enemy boosts the confidence of everyone around him-- "Jeez, what was I thinking? For a minute there, I actually thought these guys might beat us!"

It still works thematically if they're up against something that's really scary-- he's still going to be whistling his tune even when he's down to 1 HP because he's never going to let his enemies (or his allies) see him sweat. And his allies, seeing this, assume he has a plan and are heartened by his confidence.

Scarab Sages

Because Bardic Performance does not require an instrument -- or even a performance check -- I have always looked at it a little differently, especially where the bard prefers performances such as keyboards or strings or other combat-unlikely things that turn most people off the class entirely.

I look at it as the bard using her general communication skills to convey the message/magic of the performance rather than the specific performance. Audible or visual: that's all a trained bard needs to be concerned with. Oratory, singing, acting, dance -- all these are specifics that don't even really need to enter into it. Whether a bard is trained in any or none of these, the training in communication is all that matters, and the flavor is up to the bard in question.

A bard who prefers string instruments to the exclusion of all other performances can still choose either audio or visual bardic performance, as that's what she's trained to do -- whether beating a rhythm in time on her shield to whistling/humming that old folk song about Robin Hood to saying "Hey guys, we got this!" (with or without flowery speech, inflection can mean everything).

As to how to continue the action, it can be as easy as a gesture (visual THUMBS UP!) or an enthusiastic audible "YEAH! That's it!"


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I keep meaning to roll a skald who uses Perform (bad puns) to drive his allies into a rage.


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Well, since this was Necro'd from over 8 years ago, I can post this.

Its technically a D&D Bard "guide", but the time stamp makes a good point about what bards can do. I've wanted to play a Bard that picks up martial profiency somewhere and uses Preform (act) or Preform (dance) to create drawings in the dirt with a spear or other back end of a reach weapon.


SorrySleeping wrote:

Well, since this was Necro'd from over 8 years ago, I can post this.

Its technically a D&D Bard "guide", but the time stamp makes a good point about what bards can do. I've wanted to play a Bard that picks up martial profiency somewhere and uses Preform (act) or Preform (dance) to create drawings in the dirt with a spear or other back end of a reach weapon.

combination bard/monk who uses perform:dance and styles their martial arts as capoera.


Ever watch a good action film? I mean, like, something when you were a kid that sent chills down your spine when the punches and bullets started flying? Was there a musical score playing in the background?

Bardic Performance.

Ever read old Spider Man comics, back when his secret I.D. was Peter Parker and he wasn't super-angsty or an Avenger? Did you ever grin or chuckle at his quips in the middle of a fight?

Bardic Performance.

Ever heard a speech by Winston Churchill? How about some of Shakespeare's soliloquies? Perhaps even something as simple as a movie quote from a hero to urge the folks around them to get up, keep going?

Bardic Performance.

Try to conjure up the most in-the-moment, inspiring, and emotion-evoking experiences of speech, comedy, music and action you've ever experienced in media or real life. These are all forms of Bardic Performance. It could be as simple as a Skald chanting out "What makes the grass grow? BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!" to a Magician singing/Ghost Sounding/Performing the slow, burning build of Carmina Burana perfectly synched to the action of the fighting around them.

I think it just comes down to one question: what inspires YOU? Not in a silly, Order-of-the-Stick way but really makes you IRL stop and pause, gives you a wistful look and makes you feel like you a just a little bit better than you thought capable a moment ago.

THAT is Bardic Performance.

As for how it gets used mechanically, Pathfinder (and all tabletop RPGs for that matter) is an abstraction. A round of combat only represents 6 seconds. You have to suspend disbelief a lot to imagine through the RAW, but the mechanics are that once you've started your BP it continues as a Free Action allowing you to take other actions such as helping keep friends on their feet with healing.

Personally I like the one Halfling Bard I conceptualized for a game a couple years ago. It was a big party (6 players including me) so I didn't figure my Small sized damage would be missed on the front lines. Instead my idea was 3 fold:

1. have a high Cha and Perform: Oratory for BP
2. take Helpful Halfling and Fools for Friends as my Traits, granting folks a +5 on Aid Another actions
3. take Feats around getting myself a Familiar, make it a Valet Familiar, trade out its starting Feat for Extra Traits, give it the Traits of Helpful and Fools for Friends
4. Take Gang Up and Team Up, Swift Aid, and other Aid Another Teamwork Feats (the Valet shares all TW Feats with me)

Over time all I'd ever be doing is making sure that folks do better at THEIR job. He'd be glib, charming, and have lots of inspiring quotes and speeches at the ready (I went and got a pocket book of famous quotes).

Grand Lodge

I always wanted to play a dual wielding dwarf drummer using his enemies as instruments when he “drum” on different parts of their bodies with his warhammers to make music/rythm.
He will offen complain if the notes are off... “I thought orcs had thicker skulls... I was expecting a GONG not a Gnooosh” or “Why are you using leather armor - it mutes my master piece!!”


Use Perform (Tap Dance). You don't need to move from you square, if you don't want to. You can move all over if you want, as well.

/cevah


SorrySleeping wrote:
Well, since this was Necro'd from over 8 years ago

Oh no, I dood it this time! Don't hate me, thread!


blahpers wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
Well, since this was Necro'd from over 8 years ago
Oh no, I dood it this time! Don't hate me, thread!

Grr.

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