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


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As the title says.

Conceptually, I like the bard. I like the blend of abilties. I think the abilities are cool.

However, I completely fail at describing the class in such a way that players are interested in choosing it. Sadly, I also fail as a GM in portraying their Bardic Performance ability in a way that doesn't seem absurd.

"Ezren just got sniped by an arrow! What do you do?"
PC#1 (on the front line): "Somebody stabilize him!"
Bard: "Why I keep singing to maintain my bardic performance benefits!"
PC#2: "....ok. I guess I stop fighting to do it..."

Yeah, it's an extreme example but I think you get the idea. I get the idea of the bard inspiring troops. I get the idea of influencing crowds. I just can't get my head around the idea that a bard is going to Countersong in the middle of a combat (with an instrument no less).

No other class has resulted in this lack of imagination on my part. Help!


You don't need an instrument and you sustain bardic music as a free action.


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Kierato wrote:
You don't need an instrument and you sustain bardic music as a free action.

Perform - yes instrument or oratory. Still not getting it from a "how to represent it in-character" (vs. in-game). I keep getting visions of Order of the Stick...

I also fully appreciate it's a failing on my part and not the class. Problem still persists, though.


You don[t need an instrument.
Perform Dance could be akin to Dazzling Display with your weapon being flourished, inspiring allies or cowing enemies as you choose. Perform Oratory could be inspiring battle commands or inspiring oneliners, or cutting comments against the other side...

Like K said, it[s a free action, and I don't think it's really necessary to imagine it as a CONTINUAL outpouring of music/words/etc, just enough for the Free Action every 6 seconds (normal talking is akin here), more or less.

If you want something really interesting, try to grab some of those weapons that make sound as you use them, I think there's some exotic weapons that have holes in them that make noise... Now you can uses Perform Wind Instruments while just straight up meleeing, I guess...

Really, ANY character should plausibly be able to act/perform 'inspiringly' during battle on top of what they are normally doing... Bards just have a specific mechanical benefit for doing so. If you want Perform: Headbanging (Speed Death Metal style), then that works. You just need to know what sensory perception others are aware of your performance by (in case that sense is blocked).


I thought in-character and in-game were the same...
From an in-game perspective describe the ancient musics flowing through the people inspiring them to new heights. Eg. Ancient Songs reminding them of those who have overcome impossible odds.
From an out of game perspective; explain that you spend a standard action to initiate and a free action to sustain, granting ongoing bonuses and still allowing them to participate in battle.


Theoden King wrote:

Theoden: Eomer. Take your Èored down the left flank. Gamling, follow the King's banner down the center. Grimbold, take your company right, after you pass the wall. Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... ere the sun rises!

Ride now!... Ride now!... Ride! Ride to ruin and the world's ending!

Death! Death! DEATH! Forth, Eorlingas!

That's a bard using Inspire Courage, using Perform: Oratory. As for the continuing inspiration, there's no reason it has to actually be anything at all. The bard's spending resources and people still feel inspired by his speech. If something bad happens to the bard, the inspiration he provided falters.

Silver Crusade

See Tenacious D's Tribute video.

Every time you use bardic performance, the bit right after "Nay, we are but men! Rock!" is what happens.

The Exchange

Personally I always play my bards as the "Arcane Duelist" archetype, even before it was available (conceptually, anyways). Back in 3.5 they added a section of performance called "weapon drills" which was perfect for adding an awesome martial flair to the much joked-about bard. Rather than the "traditional" lute-wielding bard, the arcane duelist can just as easily fascinate and inspire courage with his immaculate sword play.

For me, I always take Perform (Sing) and Perform (Dance) or (Weapon Drill). With sing, your countersong could be whatever you want. For me, I usually have my character whistle so high-pitched that my allies snap out of whatever effect they were under.


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Zurai wrote:
Theoden King wrote:

Theoden: Eomer. Take your Èored down the left flank. Gamling, follow the King's banner down the center. Grimbold, take your company right, after you pass the wall. Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... ere the sun rises!

Ride now!... Ride now!... Ride! Ride to ruin and the world's ending!

Death! Death! DEATH! Forth, Eorlingas!

That's a bard using Inspire Courage, using Perform: Oratory. As for the continuing inspiration, there's no reason it has to actually be anything at all. The bard's spending resources and people still feel inspired by his speech. If something bad happens to the bard, the inspiration he provided falters.

This one helps. It was as much the sustaining-aspect of it that was making it seem ridiculous. Inspire Courage or Competence on round 1 and the effect being sustained (unless something happens to the bard) makes a lot more sense than the bard having to be a cheerleader every round.

Grand Lodge

I made an NPC gnome bard once that was a Pathfinder Captain/mentor. His bardic performance was based off the oratory skill. In combat his performance took the form of "teaching." For example during combat with an orc while using Inspire Courage he would say something to the effect of: "See how he parried to the left? That's an old Broken Spine trick to keep you off-balance, press your attack on the left." (ie. +1 to attack) He was always overly level headed, even seeing combat as nothing more than a field trip!


The recipients do have to be in sight/hearing range to continue to be effected, with the sense dependent on the Performance type (and the Bard thus unable to conceal their presense via this sense, e.g. maintain complete silence with a sonic Performance, Invisibility with a visual one... unless recipients have See Invisible). ...But this can be as simple as having SOME subsequent cue, eg call of anguish midbattle, visual flourish, etc. Or do your characters NEED to be visually and auditorally un-noticeable for RP reasons? In that case, I don't the Stealth Bard works all that well. But every other archetype should be fine. "ARGH!!!", their normal combat movements 'echoing' the inspiring grace of their trained Performance, etc, is all that should be needed for MOST 'ongoing' Performance usages.

Contributor

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You could try Perform (Melodrama)....

BARD: Oh woe! You brute! You merciless fiend! Whoever shall save me from your vile depravity? Oh woe! (swoons dramatically)

PARTY: We will save you, fair bard!

BARD: My heroes!

Silver Crusade

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I keep thinking of Shelley Long at the end of the 80's movie Outrageous Fortune. She used her dancing skill to leap across a large gap on a mountain. Which is like using Perform (Dance) to do an Acrobatics check.

I may have the wrong impression, but I imagine that the idea behind Versatile Performance is that the Bard that learns how to dance also learns acrobatics. Just like Daniel-san learns the skills to block a punch when he cleans Mr Miyagi’s cars.

Mind you, I have a hard time finding examples of what a keyboard instrument player learns that will allow him to intimidate. Maybe if they can wield the instrument with one hand...


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I like Zurai's take on it, though I must admit, despite the Battle of the Pelennor Fields being one of my favorite scenes in LotR (I still get chills both from the passage Zurai quotes, and the part where Eomer laughs "Because he was yet unscathed, and he was young and he was king"), It wasn't the first literary soliloquy that came to mind. The first thing *I* think of when I think of Inspire Courage is:

[quote = Shakespeare]Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Hmmm.... Shakespeare, a bard? Nahh....

Another modern popular example would be the ancestor chant in The 13th Warrior.

The thing to remember when thinking about the bardic music abilities is to not only get into the head of the bsrd himself, but of the entire cultural mindset behind the existence of the class. Even though the setting(s) aren't usually truly medieval, they are to a great extent inspired by the medieval and renaissance periods, and in particular, the renaissance's portrayal of the medieval. We're talking about cultures where only the most educated classes read and wrote, where entertainment was very much a collective experience -- storytelling, plays, the chanted epics, eddas etc. People got as much out of a storyteller by the campfire as we get out of going to catch the latest blockbuster, or reading LotR, maybe even more. It inspired them, it shaped their world view and informed their ethics. That's why, beyond the practical gaming mechanics, I always prefer vocal performances for my bards in combat, with a few minor flavor-inspired exceptions *chough cough bagpipes cough cough*. I see the Bard as moving around the battlefield, chanting out the histories of great warrios and epic battles, encouraging her companions to fight valiantly, comparing them to Leonidas or Roland or Eomer...

Just my take on it.


I think intimidating with keyboard skills would require a booming pipe organ.


Brambleman wrote:
I think intimidating with keyboard skills would require a booming pipe organ.

First two pieces of music that came to mind even before you mentioned the organ were Beethoven's 5th and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in d minor.


Diodric wrote:
I made an NPC gnome bard once that was a Pathfinder Captain/mentor. His bardic performance was based off the oratory skill. In combat his performance took the form of "teaching." For example during combat with an orc while using Inspire Courage he would say something to the effect of: "See how he parried to the left? That's an old Broken Spine trick to keep you off-balance, press your attack on the left." (ie. +1 to attack) He was always overly level headed, even seeing combat as nothing more than a field trip!

That is brilliant my friend! Stolen. So, so very stolen!


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Think about the Iliad in real time.

Shadow Lodge

MultiClassClown wrote:

I like Zurai's take on it, though I must admit, despite the Battle of the Pelennor Fields being one of my favorite scenes in LotR (I still get chills both from the passage Zurai quotes, and the part where Eomer laughs "Because he was yet unscathed, and he was young and he was king"), It wasn't the first literary soliloquy that came to mind. The first thing *I* think of when I think of Inspire Courage is:

[quote = Shakespeare]Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Nice! I gotta use that...

Although I prefer the speech on the battlefield of Agincourt:

(lengthy Shakespearean monologue here)

But if olde English isn't your cup of tea, I'd recommend taking perform (oratory) and spend the combat yelling at the rest of party using insults, threats and colourful language to 'motivate' them. :)


Neil Mansell wrote:

Nice!

I gotta use that...
Although I prefer the speech on the battlefield of Agincourt:

(lengthy Shakespearean monologue here)

But if olde English isn't your cup of tea, I'd recommend taking perform (oratory) and spend the combat yelling at the rest of party using insults, threats and colourful language to 'motivate' them. :)

Thang Kyew.

Yeah, I thought of the St. Crispian's speech too, but I avoided it for two reasons: 1) I have a lot of respect for veterans, and I never served in the military, so that whole speech, with the "Band of Brothers" reference, is sort of holy ground upon which I personally refuse to tread; 2) The Breach soliloquy is much more "heat-of-the-moment-y", and so seems to fit more for the mechanics of the bardic abilities.

Olde? Hell, Shakespeare's closer to moderne English than to MIDDLE English, let alone olde.

EDIT: Corrected wine-induced misspellings.


I am running a bard in the Crypt of Everflame (series) and she has both Acting and Sing. In general, she remeinds her fellows of what is expected of them: courage, resolve, skill...

Bull bits and pieces from all performing arts-Oratory, Singing, Instruments... Use those ideas to express your Bard's in-game performance :) use mottos, slogans, anything :)

Imagine the Orc bard that shouts, "TO DIE IS GAIN!" as he leads the charge into the enemy! :D

GNOME


Check out this example from the webcomic Guilded Age.

Pretty nifty.


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When I make a sound, any sound -
sshhhh
- I transfer energy from myself to the world around me.

My voice, my hands, my breath, my feet impart energy into the air, the ground, the water; when that energy reaches you, you hear it, feel it, absorb it.

What could be more primal as magic?

Have you ever listened to music that made your heart beat faster? That made you cry? That made you remember a particular summer day at the park, even though the song had nothing to do with it at all? Did you think it was just music that did that to you?

Watch Cyrano De Bergerac. The 1950 version with José Ferrer. He wins a sword fight by composing poetry at someone.

Drum, pipe, and horn were vital parts of pre-modern warfare. Why? They were the most efficient means available of conveying a message to all troops on the field, especially one the enemy couldn't easily decode.

If your bard whips out a lute or fife as the Ogre charges...you may have some mental issues to deal with. Of course, if he then uses the instrument to give his companions helpful encrypted warnings (Another one behind you! The one on the right has an injured foot!) he may be on to something smart.

Morale is important in a fight. Every fight is won in the mind before it is won in the body. Don't underestimate the positive impact that appearing so confident you can strike up a tune will have on your friends. Or yourself.

There are lots of ways to take this. Think of Banshee or Syren from the X-Men; maybe your bard's music is subtly disquieting to the enemy, and that is why your friends get a bonus. Counterspell? Absolutely! Wizard can't say his magic words right when you're singing at him in Gnomish! Maybe your music helps your friends relax and concentrate; panic and stiffness are major problems in a fight, and the right tune could dismiss those.

Or maybe it's just magic.

Design your bard sensibly, though. Wandering through a dungeon wielding a two-handed instrument is silly. But holding a sword in one hand and playing the small drum attached to your belt with the other? Could work. Singing, chanting, or proclaiming battle instructions works too.

Check out The Abhorsen books by Garth Nix: necromancy based on magic bells. Actually, based on use of magical notes; the bells just were best at making them.


BPorter wrote:
Kierato wrote:
You don't need an instrument and you sustain bardic music as a free action.

Perform - yes instrument or oratory. Still not getting it from a "how to represent it in-character" (vs. in-game). I keep getting visions of Order of the Stick...

I also fully appreciate it's a failing on my part and not the class. Problem still persists, though.

As a DM, i treat the bard music as something positive and uplifting. = Also i CHEAT !!, i pull out the CD player, and have 2-5 songs, that just sound cool and play them for Mood music.

As a player, well i still cheat = Elven bards, were i treat there music, not as music, but as elven song magic. Need a healing spells, sing a few words, and cast the spell Cure light wounds. Total ignore the suggestion and charm bard stuff (control other is a head acke), use the moral effecting ones if no cleric around (does not combine with bless or prayer). But really, the bard stuff i just treat as spell effects, because the music or words do not fit the mood, are dumb to role-play out, and just take away from the normal role playing game time (personal view, love bard as adventures, not as entertainers).

Once in a blue moon, you will get a real musical player to play bard, who makes up his own songs, sings them, and write music for them. But that is a lot of work, and most people not into music will not bother.

..........

My subjection, cheat. pull out the CD player. If you have a player, playing a bard, ask him to pick out some mood music, to play when he is doing his song.... If anyone complains about the music, just point out that Bard get to pick the music that he plays when singing.


How I would portray a bard being the most awesome rocking class you can play in the game...

Allow me to digress a bit. Currently my PC Court Bard is fartin' about in Farmingtown, a hamlet devoted to Erastil, near Pitax. The "ruler" of Farmingtown is a well known general, famed for his Silver tongue, armor and sword. Farmingtown burnt to the ground shortly after the Silver General arrived, around my PC bard no less. In the roughly six weeks since, and thanks to a change in leadership in the capital and some barbarian and troll raids, the people have become depressed. Begging for money in the streets, assaulting PC types in the streets for goods, homeless mothers snatching filthy children wearing rags away from the curious, good looking stranger who likes to sing.

But you know what? A couple of days scrubbing pots in a soup kitchen and singing happy songs, and those cattle (excuse me, economically disadvantaged persons at the short end of the feudal system of leadership) are eating out of my bard's palm. 100 gold is not much for my PC to spend on feeding starving people scraps, with her 2500gp ring, she does not need to eat, heck, she barely needs to sleep any more. Several members of her party are contributing as well, the thief is cooking in the soup kitchen, our cleric is healing and tending to the sick, you know, really productive offices, but the people love her.

As for representation of a bard's abilities in battle... Oh man, court bard is fun. My PCs jerb is to make herself the brightest point on the battle map (or in the party's and GMs imagination, if that is still your thing) telling stories that absolutely AWE her audience flat-footed while the sneaky, sneaky rogue with tons more to hit goes around confirming criticals and putting men and barbarians to bed with her daggers. Satire, well, "Mr. Etin, your stuff ain't all that great, in fact i remember when SNEAK ATTACK to the rogue!" Mockery, hoo boy, heckling other performers, when is that not going to be fun?

That is the way you represent a bard to potential players. Your PC is so awesome at what he does, he makes everyone around him better. Sure, he's not as flashy as the fighter, ranger, or rogue who makes foes rain blood, but at the end of the day, he or she is going to be the one that the people will remember for their deeds, if only because he is intelligible enough to make a good story out of it later. And let's face it, the only one who does debuffs, enchantments and illusions better are wizards, but charisma is rarely their forte.


I played a drow bard who was a racist and believed in the superiority of the drow race over others. So a lot of his Inspire Courage work was, "We're drow and they're inferior. Show them how pathetic they are and cut those wretched weaklings down." Things like that. I think with perform oratory and perform comedy you can do it in a way that goes against the fop stereotype which sings a pansy song while playing a lute.

If you're not playing a racist drow then maybe you're pointing out weak points or flaws in the fighting styles of your enemies. EG "His guard is too high, strike low and fast!". Even if it isn't maybe in doing it you're boosting the confidence of your allies and psyching out your opponents. Maybe its got a bit more of an edge to it in which you slander your opponents, "He's a pissweak little peacock! Soft as butter!"

Perhaps its perform comedy in which you mock your opponents. Think Muhammed Ali "I'm too pretty to lose to this fool..."

The fop stereotype plagues all bards, but you can break it by RP'ing with a harder or darker edge. May take awhile, but you can change the perceptions of the other players who will see your bard as just another pansy womaniser.


Zurai wrote:
Theoden King wrote:

Theoden: Eomer. Take your Èored down the left flank. Gamling, follow the King's banner down the center. Grimbold, take your company right, after you pass the wall. Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... ere the sun rises!

Ride now!... Ride now!... Ride! Ride to ruin and the world's ending!

Death! Death! DEATH! Forth, Eorlingas!

...this also gave me the chills ;) Most awesome scene ever :) ...and thanks to these boards I've also changed my view on the bard - also thanks to the Battle Herald PrC. I really like the idea of that class :)


I had a character with Perform (oratory) that basically talked like a drill sergeant (berating his allies into doing better). Feels a lot less like a cheerleader if you are basically dressing down someone for missing. I do that anyways out of character. ;)

Regarding the "sustaining" effect, I read a forgotten realms novel with what I'm pretty sure was a bard in it (Promise of the Witch-king or Road of the Patriarch, maybe both). The guy taunted his enemies or made light of the situation through limerick, but basically laughed in a distinguishable manner. He kept laughing in this way, and I could see that being a manner of sustaining the effect without needing to constantly speak.

Something as simple as commenting on particular moments of combat (Good hit!) can work, without being too wordy or cheerleader-ish, although it touches on it if you do it every round or on every attack, heh.


I really like the bard but the singing or performing in combat really pushed me away from playing one.My gm thought it would be cool if they used pitch and tone from vibrations made from hitting their weapon on the ground.all the mechanics are the same,the sound just triggers certain parts of the brain or emotions or anything really to rage,calm,or disorient.Perform being used to manipulate the frequency and such..it really help me me view the bard in another light as a smart melee hybrid caster and not that guy dancing on a table the fighter pretends not to know.


Lurk3r wrote:

Check out this example from the webcomic Guilded Age.

Pretty nifty.

A bard that rocks so hard he changes the nature of the universe.


A cool way to do the counter song ability is to start speaking the incantation along with the caster and change some of the words. It sounds silly but it can work. A real life example is when someone is counting something. You can mess up their count by counting along with them and then skipping some numbers.

Imagine a cleric casting Command and the bard chanting with him.

By the power of (insert god) I command you to sneeze. No I meant sleep.


RedXian wrote:

I keep thinking of Shelley Long at the end of the 80's movie Outrageous Fortune. She used her dancing skill to leap across a large gap on a mountain. Which is like using Perform (Dance) to do an Acrobatics check.

I may have the wrong impression, but I imagine that the idea behind Versatile Performance is that the Bard that learns how to dance also learns acrobatics. Just like Daniel-san learns the skills to block a punch when he cleans Mr Miyagi’s cars.

Mind you, I have a hard time finding examples of what a keyboard instrument player learns that will allow him to intimidate. Maybe if they can wield the instrument with one hand...

Every really good villain has the 'Evil Hands' which are so much like the way you play concert piano; combine with 'Crazy Eyes' like Lon Cheney, and you can loom over (or up at, if your foes have the misfortune of being larger than you) anybody you want. ;)


I think of perform oratory as a variety of things. The inspiring speech, the wrathful battle cry, or the evangelist working the crowd to a frenzy.

Forget the lute, my bard rolls around in combat, cutting foes down and preaching forth about the failings of his foes and the strength of his comrades.

Lo, for the goblin's filthy nature betrays it, and weakens its consitution in the face of battle! Watch as they flee before our might and blade!

And we shall not flee before the dragon, for he is a creature of deception and trickery, and only by confronting the worm can we conquer it!

Can I get an amen?


See the character description for my favorite bard I've ever played. She focused in perform (dance) and perform (sing) but only sang around the campfire at night, usually with a generous casting of lullaby on anyone nearby. She maxed ranks in acrobatics (well, tumble - I played her in a 3.5 game) and her inspire courage was usually an impressive tumbling assault on the enemies.


both historically and modern, militaries chant, in march and in battle.
Keeps you in step, in rhythm, and if trained right, can be used for passing commands quickly.

And many are very motivating to the troops while rather intimidating to the enemy.

Dark Archive

My favorites have been inspiring oratory, tactical strategy and religious exhortations.

Liberty's Edge

Set wrote:

My favorites have been inspiring oratory, tactical strategy and religious exhortations.

+1

I have a Bard (Archivist) and I play him as a sort of chatty version of Giles from Buffy... guiding my party-mates with Perform (Oratory) by chiming in on the weak points of the monster they're engaged with, or encouragement of the pedantic and professorial sort.
Ex:
Quote:

This particular breed of manticore can breath a rather nasty huff of fire, do be careful!

Good good, now disable its tail!
It's strength is flagging, boys! Rally, rally!

Etc.


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First of all, thanks to everyone for the suggestions and inspirations. I've definitely got some more options to consider.

I did want to try to clarify futher the "concept issue" that I'm having.

The lead-up to the fight, the march to war, the public oratory, taking action to rally the troops, even the first round of battle - I get it. Bardic performance is made for these circumstances.

It's the [ii]on-going nature of the performance[/i] that I have the issue with. If the bard is "performing", that means he's sustaining the effort through the combat. NO player I've encountered wants to be a cheerleader sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is contributing the smackdown with weapon or spell. Assuming that they can maintain their performance while attacking, defending, dodging, and manuevering strains credibility and steers dangerously close to Monty Python style camp. It's these 2 issues I'm trying to resolve.

Even if it's oratory - if performed while fighting, is it really any different from another PC talking smack to infuriate a foe? If it's singing, can they really keep that up & sustain the supernatural benefits while hacking, slashing, and parrying? I get that the game may allow it in terms of actions, but it induces SERIOUS eye-rolling at my table.


BPorter wrote:

It's the [ii]on-going nature of the performance[/i] that I have the issue with. If the bard is "performing", that means he's sustaining the effort through the combat. NO player I've encountered wants to be a cheerleader sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is contributing the smackdown with weapon or spell. Assuming that they can maintain their performance while attacking, defending, dodging, and manuevering strains credibility and steers dangerously close to Monty Python style camp. It's these 2 issues I'm trying to resolve.

Even if it's oratory - if performed while fighting, is it really any different from another PC talking smack to infuriate a foe? If it's singing, can they really keep that up & sustain the supernatural benefits while hacking, slashing, and parrying? I get that the game may allow it in terms of actions, but it induces SERIOUS eye-rolling at my table.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMZ1UQnIfnM

The Chuck Norris Cadence (sorry, couldnt resist)

We do them marching in full battle gear and running. So, yeah, you can maintain it oratory in combat. We do it in full battle gear

Shadow Lodge

Just channel the Ramones.

HEY HO Let's Go
HEY HO Let's Go
HEY HO Let's Go
HEY HO Let's Go
Raaaaaarrrrggghhh!!!


BPorter wrote:
Even if it's oratory - if performed while fighting, is it really any different from another PC talking smack to infuriate a foe?

Yes. The difference is that when you choose to play a bard, you aren't choosing a normal class. When you write or type or select "Bard" on your character sheet, you are declaring at the top of your lungs that you are donning the mantle of "awesome incarnate" and fully accept that no one can rival your awesomeness.

One of the many benefits of being this awesome is that your smack talk is mechanically and thematically better than everyone else's.

The world gets to make saving throws against everyone else's smack talk but yours.

BPorter wrote:
If it's singing, can they really keep that up & sustain the supernatural benefits while hacking, slashing, and parrying? I get that the game may allow it in terms of actions, but it induces SERIOUS eye-rolling at my table.

Once again, yes. If eye-rolling does occur, be cool about it and remember "haters gonna hate."


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
BPorter wrote:

Assuming that they can maintain their performance while attacking, defending, dodging, and manuevering strains credibility and steers dangerously close to Monty Python style camp. It's these 2 issues I'm trying to resolve.

Even if it's oratory - if performed while fighting, is it really any different from another PC talking smack to infuriate a foe? If it's singing, can they really keep that up & sustain the supernatural benefits while hacking, slashing, and parrying? I get that the game may allow it in terms of actions, but it induces SERIOUS eye-rolling at my table.

Have you ever been to a performance of Starlight Express? Not much as a work of art, but absolutely amazing as an example of what people can do while simultaneously orating and singing. I could not believe that people were skating around on overhead tracks at high speeds doing flips and tricks while singing. And they didn't have magic to help them.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

You could try Perform (Melodrama)....

BARD: Oh woe! You brute! You merciless fiend! Whoever shall save me from your vile depravity? Oh woe! (swoons dramatically)

PARTY: We will save you, fair bard!

BARD: My heroes!

I thank you and my party will hate you as soon as I get to start a new character.


BPorter wrote:
Even if it's oratory - if performed while fighting, is it really any different from another PC talking smack to infuriate a foe?

I've never understood how a Rogue taking advantage of a foe who can't defend himself in a fight is somehow more effective than a Fighter who would try to do the same thing. Arguably, the Fighter should have more experience fighting, be more knowledgeable about fighting, and know how to exploit weak spots better (it ends fights more efficiently). But there it is, the Rogue gets bonus damage and the Fighter doesn't. There is some fundamental difference about the class and not the act that makes them doing it special.

Bard's supernatural oration is actually easier to explain than the previous example for me; just like their ability to cast spells, they have devised methods for putting supernatural "weight" behind their inspiration (or vitriol). It's like having spell slots specifically devoted to unique, Still Enchantment spells.

BPorter wrote:
If it's singing, can they really keep that up & sustain the supernatural benefits while hacking, slashing, and parrying? I get that the game may allow it in terms of actions, but it induces SERIOUS eye-rolling at my table.

I would think that if you have the endurance to keep up active combat for any respectable length of time, and the quickness of mind to keep track of it while continuing to spout lyrics (improvised or from memory), it might actually help you to coordinate your efforts. The few times it foils you, well, you rolled a 1 on your attack or the enemy critically hit- the dice already reflect that. As far as it coordinating your efforts, there's a reason a lot of people play music during sparring practice. I know I actually used to speed up when doing math homework while playing techno or classical music.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

You could try Perform (Melodrama)....

BARD: Oh woe! You brute! You merciless fiend! Whoever shall save me from your vile depravity? Oh woe! (swoons dramatically)

PARTY: We will save you, fair bard!

BARD: My heroes!

I thank you and my party will hate you as soon as I get to start a new character.

Most. Annoying. Character. Ever.

No, wait, still second to Kenders.


BPorter wrote:

It's the [ii]on-going nature of the performance[/i] that I have the issue with. If the bard is "performing", that means he's sustaining the effort through the combat. NO player I've encountered wants to be a cheerleader sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is contributing the smackdown with weapon or spell. Assuming that they can maintain their performance while attacking, defending, dodging, and manuevering strains credibility and steers dangerously close to Monty Python style camp. It's these 2 issues I'm trying to resolve.

Even if it's oratory - if performed while fighting, is it really any different from another PC talking smack to infuriate a foe?

No, it`s not really that different than what any non-Bard may do with Peform... It just has mechanical benefits that non-Bards don`t, because Bards are especially inspiring/intimidating/etc.

Like I said before, on-going doesn`t need to be continual...
Do your non-Bard characters normally go thru battle without speaking or yelling (or moving, for Perform Dance)? No? OK, then, such type of actions shouldn`t be a problem for a Bard then. You can`t be INCONSPICUOUS while Performing, but it doesn`t need to maintain all your attention either.


How I like to protray bardic music:
Watch starting at 24:00

Or you can watch the whole thing (about 30 minutes), its pretty funny. It always gets me into the mood of wanting to play a bard...


CunningMongoose wrote:


Most. Annoying. Character. Ever.

No, wait, still second to Kenders.

Damn Straight! I still have some dignity!

Liberty's Edge

If you want a jumping off point for a bard maybe look at Thom Merrilen from the "Wheel of Time" series or maybe Kvothe from "The Name of The Wind". Heck I think you could even consider Eddie Riggs from "Brutal Legend" a bard.


*ahem*

I present to you... The Pop Bard.

The key to this whole class... the thing that really ties it together... is the wand. Yes the wand. The wand of Ghost Sound.

Perform: Wand of Ghost Sound.

Ever seen a conductor warm up the band? The bard clears his throat... he lifts his hand and makes a gesture... casting silence on the crowd. Or possibly just causing them to fall into a hush. Then... he begins to play. *Insert favorite catchy and thematic tune*

All allies are inspired, or possibly, all enemies are demoralized, depends on the kind of bard. You cast spells with obvious flourishes and alterations of the already going ghost-sound effect. You can even pretend it's other musical instrumments.

Huzzah!

*fistshakes!*

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