How good are Bardic Masterpieces, really?


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When you start a new performance the effects of the previous one ceases. That includes performace whose bonus lasts past the performance duration like in the case of lingering performance, and things like summons or buffs.

The Exchange

I'm not entirely sure that's how performances and masterpieces interact. I know a couple years ago there was the James Jacob post and recently there's been requests for a FAQ.

I guess it's up to your GM how good they are though I seriously doubt the intent is to dismiss a planar ally whenever you start performing again.


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It wasn't originally how Masterpieces worked. Or at least, it was never clarified that way, and people, like myself, assumed the development team actually wanted Bards to use Masterpieces. My group and I decided that Masterpieces were something separate from Bardic Music, so you could have one Masterpiece and Performance up at the same time. It was a lot more fun to play that way. But no performance is, in combat, better than Inspire Courage, except maybe AoE Freedom of Movement or the one that blinds evil targets.

With the new rulings, you're basically stuck with just the long duration utility effects, like Triple Time, Pageant of the Peacock (which is ridiculous), or Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain.


Can you link the James Jacobs post for it?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Here is the James Jacob's link.

At the moment, the only bard who can use both Inspire Courage and a Bardic Masterpiece is a 14+ level Duettist, because they can perform one song while their familiar performs another.

This bums me to no end, because mixing free teamwork feats with inspire courage would be a lot of fun. However, this might give those bards who give up Inspire Courage something to do...

___________________________

So, regarding the Symphony of the Elysian Heart, what's the best way for a bard to create difficult terrain? Because I would love to do this if I can also create Freedom of Movement.


I've got a Half-Orc Skald that is looking forward to learning Virtuoso Performance next level so he can use Raging Song with Battle Song of the People's Revolt granting Amplified Rage. He will also have Greater Skald's Vigor at that point and will likely spend most combats buffing up the party and moving around to make sure everyone has an adjacent buddy. Round 1: Battle Song, Virtuoso Performance (Raging song). Round 2: Haste and move into position. Round 3: Convince the wizard that with his new strength bonuses, it would be a great idea to pretend to be a monk. Round 4: Stabilize the dying wizard.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Okay Virtuoso Performance is available at 10th level to Bards and Skalds, providing a slightly earlier entry to having multiple performances going. Are there any others?

Looking at Symphony of the Elysian Heart, you could actually plan a PFS build around that one. Get a wand of Stone Call and either use it with UMD, or pass it off to the nearest Wizard / Sorc / Druid / Magus / Bloodrager. This could totally turn around a lot of PFS battles and make for very interesting gameplay tactics.


There is also Shadowbard, a lvl 5 spell. Gives you the same benefits as Virtuoso Performance but without the performance rnd costs.


I took Quickening Pulse a while back, as I wanted my bard to have a way to "weaponize" her music.

It's really, really bad. I've never even had opportunity to use it—there are always superior options (such as just attacking someone). Maybe if it were a swift action, like my performances, I could justify it. But I'm spending my action every round and dealing no damage with it—instead, I get to invest as many rounds as I like and then start dealing 1d6 per round, assuming combat's still even running. As-is, it's flat-out terrible. I totally regret having it.

Let's do a breakdown:

Method A: Quickening Pulse
Round 1: I begin performing the Pulse, along with Inspire Courage.
Round 2: I continue performing the Pulse and potentially move.
Round 3: I continue performing the Pulse and potentially move.
Round 4: I continue performing the Pulse and potentially move.
Round 5: I continue performing the Pulse and potentially move.
Round 6: I stop performing the pulse. Enemies take 1d6 ⇒ 1 damage. I full attack with my bow, hitting once for 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6 damage, and begin performing Inspire Courage.
Round 7: Enemies take 1d6 ⇒ 1 damage. I full attack with my bow and continue performing.
Round 8: Enemies take 1d6 ⇒ 3 damage. I shoot once with my bow, draw a scroll of heal, and continue performing.
Round 9: Enemies take 1d6 ⇒ 6 damage. I move over and use the scroll of heal on my fighter buddy. I continue performing.
Round 10: Enemies take 1d6 ⇒ 4 damage. I full attack with my bow, hitting once for 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7 damage, and continue performing.

Method B: Summon Monster III (the spell that we'll say I gave up to get Quickening Pulse)
Round 1: I begin summoning a monster.
Round 2: I summon a Lantern Archon, cast, let's say Charm Monster on an enemy (we'll say it saves), and start performing Inspire Courage. The lantern archon launches two touch attacks and one hits, dealing 1d6 ⇒ 4 damage (bypassing DR). Several enemies fail their saves against the archon's aura and take a -2 to attacks and AC.
Round 3: I cast blink on myself and continue performing. The archon launches two touch attacks and one hits, dealing 1d6 ⇒ 1 damage (bypassing DR).
Round 4: I full attack with my bow and continue performing. The archon launches two touch attacks and one hits, dealing 1d6 ⇒ 6 damage (bypassing DR).
Round 5: I full attack with my bow, hitting once for 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10 damage, and continue performing. The archon launches two touch attacks and one hits, dealing 1d6 ⇒ 2 damage (bypassing DR).
Round 6: I full attack with my bow and continue performing. The archon launches two touch attacks and neither hit.
Round 7: I full attack with my bow, hitting once for 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 damage, and continue performing. The archon launches two touch attacks and both hit, dealing 2d6 ⇒ (5, 3) = 8 damage (bypassing DR).
Round 8: I shoot once with my bow, draw a scroll of heal, and continue performing. The archon launches two touch attacks and one hits, dealing 1d6 ⇒ 4 damage (bypassing DR).
Round 9: I move over and use the scroll of heal on my fighter buddy. I continue performing. Let's say an enemy decides to shoot at the archon and manages to deal 23 damage, killing it.
Round 10: I remember that hardly any combats at this level ever last this long and end my performance.

Mathematically speaking, Quickening Pulse just doesn't keep up. It might be worth a second-level spell at most. With the summons, I dealt more damage, had time to do my own actions, and did the damage quicker ("Gee, thanks for killing the monsters after we all died...").


While that one is a decent spell, it's quite costly.

Shadow bard however is very good, though a little later on.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateMagic/spells/shadowbard.html


Masterpieces use bardic performance as a resource but can be used at the same time as a bardic performance. I remember reading that from Mr. Jacobs, I just cannot remember where I read it.
Because you know, if they could not be used simultaneously, then what is the point of having masterpieces? Otherwise, the only thing a bard should do is Inspire Courage.


Fourshadow wrote:

Masterpieces use bardic performance as a resource but can be used at the same time as a bardic performance. I remember reading that from Mr. Jacobs, I just cannot remember where I read it.

Because you know, if they could not be used simultaneously, then what is the point of having masterpieces? Otherwise, the only thing a bard should do is Inspire Courage.

James Jacob later clarified that they can't be done at the same time. Masterpieces are false options or for bards that give up inspire courage for some reason.


Well, if they can't, then a lot of them just become flat-out jokes.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Well, if they can't, then a lot of them just become flat-out jokes.

The whole masterpiece option becomes a joke if that is the case. It will NEVER be as good as Inspire Courage, so why can't they be simultaneous?! Are we afraid it would be overpowered? How could it be when they both run off of a rather finite resource? At 12th level or so, you'll have what 35 rounds? How can that be considered "OP" if you will seriously deplete it in just 15 rounds (using both a Bardic Performance and Masterpiece) of play?

If you cannot use them both at once (which WAS the original ruling), masterpieces become next to useless.
I know at my table, the original ruling rules.


The current James Jacobs based ruling is that they can not be performed together. So the earliest that you can utilize both inspire courage and a masterpiece at the same time is lvl 10 with Virtuoso Performance.

This doesn't mean that all masterpieces are bad, it just means that you should focus on the really good ones / ones that don't require maintenance.

Triple time is a great pre-buff example. Spend a minute and 1 rnd of performance for mass longstrider that lasts an hour.

Pageant of the Peacock is pretty awesome. Though it is so awesome that people are more inclined to RAI rather than RAW.

Symphony of the Elysian Heart is another totally awesome example. If your a bard at lvl 10 there is absolutely no reason not to have this going. Give your entire party freedom of movement for a performance rnd per rnd. I will gladly cast Virtuoso performance at lvl 10 and pay 3 rnds per rnd of combat to have both inspire courage and freedom of movement up on my entire party. Gets cheaper at lvl 13 when I get Shadowbard. Then it is like having mass freedom of movement as a 5th lvl spell.


The rules states that you cannot have the effects of two performance at the same time. Most people get confused by the rules that state that a bard can't mantain more than one performance at a time and forget this second explicitly stated restriction.
As it stands, strict RAW rends Virtuoso Performance quite usless. I'm assuming there should have been an exception to this rules stated in the spell description.


Dekalinder wrote:

The rules states that you cannot have the effects of two performance at the same time. Most people get confused by the rules that state that a bard can't mantain more than one performance at a time and forget this second explicitly stated restriction.

As it stands, strict RAW rends Virtuoso Performance quite usless. I'm assuming there should have been an exception to this rules stated in the spell description.

So if my party is benefiting from triple time I can't use Inspire Courage? Lame.

Or, if I start Inspiring Courage it suppresses the effects of triple time? Lame.

Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying?


mbauers wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:

The rules states that you cannot have the effects of two performance at the same time. Most people get confused by the rules that state that a bard can't mantain more than one performance at a time and forget this second explicitly stated restriction.

As it stands, strict RAW rends Virtuoso Performance quite usless. I'm assuming there should have been an exception to this rules stated in the spell description.

So if my party is benefiting from triple time I can't use Inspire Courage? Lame.

Or, if I start Inspiring Courage it suppresses the effects of triple time? Lame.

Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying?

it's the second one. If you start a new performance the old one's effects end.


No that's exactly what i'm saying. I quoted it from the CRB in the first page. Here it is again

Bardic Performance wrote:
A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

I'm pretty sure we can all concour on what "in effect" means.


Dekalinder wrote:
As it stands, strict RAW rends Virtuoso Performance quite usless. I'm assuming there should have been an exception to this rules stated in the spell description.

I give the writers more credit than that. I am going to evoke a specific beats general ruling on this and say that Virtuoso Performance works just fine.


Lab_Rat wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
As it stands, strict RAW rends Virtuoso Performance quite usless. I'm assuming there should have been an exception to this rules stated in the spell description.
I give the writers more credit than that. I am going to evoke a specific beats general ruling on this and say that Virtuoso Performance works just fine.

I'm instead going with classic "word count" togheter with a "we don't think people are that idiot" on the issue. Anyway, I think there is little doubt on the fact that Virtuoso Performance should work.


The more interesting question is does the effect of a long lasting performance such as Triple Time end the second you start to inspire courage.

If so the masterpieces are utterly useless inside combat until you get to lvl 10.


I say they are, they are the effect of the performance, thus they'd end when you started another performance.


Lab_Rat wrote:

The more interesting question is does the effect of a long lasting performance such as Triple Time end the second you start to inspire courage.

If so the masterpieces are utterly useless inside combat until you get to lvl 10.

That was the entire point of the argument. And the answer is yes.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't agree with the "in effect" = 'effect of' argument.

By that logic, a bard using fascinate to implant suggestions in a group one at a time would be immediately cancelling each 'suggestion bardic performance' with the next round of the 'fascinate bardic performance'... or any other performance they used after implanting the suggestion(s). Taking it to an even more absurd level, the "effect of" soothing performance (i.e. restored HPs) would end when any other bardic performance was used. Victims of deadly performance would return to life if the bard ever used any other bardic performance at any point in the future. Et cetera.

In short, it seems clear to me that the text;
"A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time."

means: 'A bard cannot perform more than one bardic performance at a time.'

NOT: 'The results of all past bardic performances cease when a new bardic performance is started.'

As to using bardic performance and masterpieces at the same time... that always seemed clearly barred by the rules text to me (masterpieces ARE performances and, as per the above, you can't perform two at the same time), and JJ's supposed 'ruling' to the contrary (since clarified/reversed) was likely a misinterpretation of which part of a compound statement his "Yes" response referred to. That is, he was likely saying "Yes", in response to the part of the post asking whether, "...they [masterpieces] actually count as bardic performances."

All that being said... has anyone else house ruled 'normal' bardic performances into masterpieces? This allows various archetypes that give up one or more performances to get them back in exchange for a feat/spell. Can also do the same with some of the special performances normally only available to a particular archetype. The Ninth Legion 'battle songs' from the Faction Guide can also be made into masterpieces pretty easily.


CBDunkerson wrote:


As to using bardic performance and masterpieces at the same time... that always seemed clearly barred by the rules text to me (masterpieces ARE performances and, as per the above, you can't perform two at the same time), and JJ's supposed 'ruling' to the contrary (since clarified/reversed) was likely a misinterpretation of which part of a compound statement his "Yes" response referred to. That is, he was likely saying "Yes", in response to the part of the post asking whether, "...they [masterpieces] actually count as bardic performances."

Oh no, there was no mistake there. The ruling he made, he did not do 'accidentally'. If you didn't actually read it, then do not assume. It only makes a donkey out of you and me. I read it. I was elated that bards could do something like that. Both come from a finite source and each takes awhile to set up, so it isn't broken at all. Just someone decided to renege on said ruling. Do not understand why.

But again, Johnnys-coming-lately should not 'assume'.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Fourshadow wrote:

Oh no, there was no mistake there. The ruling he made, he did not do 'accidentally'. If you didn't actually read it, then do not assume. It only makes a donkey out of you and me. I read it. I was elated that bards could do something like that. Both come from a finite source and each takes awhile to set up, so it isn't broken at all. Just someone decided to renege on said ruling. Do not understand why.

But again, Johnnys-coming-lately should not 'assume'.

Ummm... I DID read it. Obviously. I quoted it. That'd be rather difficult to do without reading it.

As to your having read it also... Reading != Understanding. You presumably read my post above, yet you didn't understand it or you wouldn't be telling me I need to read something I quoted. Nor claiming that >I< assumed something when I wrote only that I found it "likely"... while you are the one insisting that your assumption is unquestionably correct.

Jacobs' highly detailed response of, "Yes", could have referred to either half of the text he was responding to... yielding completely opposite results. Given that one of those results would contradict his later answer and the plain reading of the actual rules, I think it most likely he intended the other.

Indeed, the alternate interpretation doesn't even seem to make sense. It would allow a Bard to do physically impossible things like singing two songs or performing two dances at the same time. Or more... nothing in the masterpiece specific text says you can't maintain multiple masterpieces simultaneously. That, apparently unchallenged, limitation only comes in because they are clearly stated to be bardic performances.


He clarified in a later post that while they use the same resource, they are NOT the same thing and therefore could be used simultaneously.


Link?

The most recent clarification from James regarding bardic masterpieces has already been posted in thread. He has now resorted to punting the question rather than giving an answer with responses that can be summed up as "just Faq the stupid thing already and stop asking me." That was made in April of this year.


Lab_Rat wrote:

Link?

The most recent clarification from James regarding bardic masterpieces has already been posted in thread. He has now resorted to punting the question rather than giving an answer with responses that can be summed up as "just Faq the stupid thing already and stop asking me." That was made in April of this year.

Unfortunately, I did not know what 'favorite' did at the time or I would have done that and could produce exactly what you are asking. However, it is pretty much a moot point anyway (except at your own table) as Mr. Jacobs chose to renege on it anyway, thus neutering the whole wonderful creative "Masterpieces" game mechanic.


So I finally got around to it.

CLICK HERE for the Bardic Masterpiece FAQ request. Click the blue FAQ at the top right. Leave a post on your thoughts / opinions as this helps keep the thread alive and on the front page. A living FAQ is an FAQ that gets answered.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thank you, for taking this step, Lab Rat! I have not only FAQ'ed but also posted. I want this fixed.

Hmm


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the trend lately is shutting down options, so I'm guessing the answer will be not at the same time

and then you'll have another hardly ever used option

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

It is worth asking. Certainty is better than table variation. The lack of certainty right now is keeping me from taking anything other than Triple Time as a masterpiece, because that at least has out of combat utility.

Besides, not all FAQ answers shut down options. Although the errata caused some options to be nerfed, they improved certain other options that were problematic -- Psychic Searcher Oracles now get their inspiration dice off of charisma, not wisdom.

Hmm


I think that knowing an answer either way is helpful. All of my play is currently in PFS. When the rules are ambiguous some players feel they are missing out on options they didn't choose but GMs favor while others are frustrated that GMs void options they invested in. That being said, I definitely favor a more open interpretation that doesn't void every masterpiece but the obviously superior Symphony of the Elysian Heart (my favorite if you haven't noticed).


right clarity is good. I'm just thinking this is going to be(based off the description of masterpieces) a walks like a duck quacks like a duck thing


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This class really needs a win. Making masterpieces separate from performances would make many of these actually worth the feat/Spell known to take.

I still wish Bard would get a rework making it a full spell caster (9 levels vs 6) but with the limited spell list.

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