Deaf to all but the Song - Questions about the Bard


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

Greetings everyone! I finally took the leap and made a post! I’ve been lurking on the forums for more than a year, trying to build up the courage to say hi and create a constructive post, and now I finally did it. The bard has been my class ever since I was exposed to D&D at a fairly young age. Something about the 3.5 description really evoked glorious images in my mind. And now I am here, hoping to influence the development of the Pathfinder Online bard a bit. I must admit, I feel quite excited at this opportunity to ask some questions that will hopefully bring my hopes and concerns to the minds of the developers! So without further ado, I hereby represent my questions about the bard:

1: Many bards are famous for knowing a lot about everything and are prone to knowing the answer to everything ever in the tabletop. Will Bardic Knowledge (and by extension, knowledge skills in general) somehow be present in Pathfinder Online? If so, in what manner will it be present?

2: In "I Fell into a Burning Ring of Fire", it is revealed that Pathfinder Online will include friendly fire. As someone who plays bards wherever possible, especially in Pathfinder, i know that much of our mechanics are dependent on aura abilities like Inspire Courage, abilities that are meant to help our allies or hinder our foes. However, the inclusion of friendly fire means that Inspire-type abilities and also other sorts of "auras" will have trouble distinguishing friend from foe. How will this problem be handled?

3: In “I Put a Spell on You”, it is revealed that wizards are going to have to equip spellbooks to use their more powerful spells. This got me thinking… What if bards could equip an instrument in a similar way? This could help give bards an identity beyond “rogue with magic”, since they’d whip out an instrument now and again to use their more powerful abilities. Will something like this be present in Pathfinder Online?

4: And now for a somewhat less bard-related question, but an important one nonetheless. In Lord of the Rings Online, it is possible to use in-game instruments to make music. I feel this would be a superb addition to Pathfinder Online, since it would let players express themselves in another manner than building characters and settlements. And it is apparently a quite well-received feature, since you don’t have to look too far to see that Youtube contains quite a few videos of in-game performances:

Examples: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixUCUsW4X8s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qOis2pLlnM

While it might not be an immediate concern, I am sure me and my boyfriend (all credits to him for reminding me of the idea by the way) aren’t the only ones that would like such a feature.

And that was my questions and concerns. It has been a pleasure, truly! I really want the Pathfinder Online bard to live up to what the class deserves, which is why I am posting this in the first place after all. However, I am very much someone who believes in the power of feedback, which is why I implore those who have anything to add to do so. If the bard is to be a fun class to play, Goblinworks needs us to speak our minds! And with that, I wish you all a wonderful day. Thanks for reading!

Goblin Squad Member

Rinn Nightingale wrote:
Greetings everyone! I finally took the leap and made a post! I’ve been lurking on the forums for more than a year, trying to build up the courage to say hi and create a constructive post, and now I finally did it.
Thank you Rinn: we have been awaiting your thoughts!
Rinn Nightingale wrote:

The bard has been my class ever since I was exposed to D&D at a fairly young age. Something about the 3.5 description really evoked glorious images in my mind. And now I am here, hoping to influence the development of the Pathfinder Online bard a bit. I must admit, I feel quite excited at this opportunity to ask some questions that will hopefully bring my hopes and concerns to the minds of the developers! So without further ado, I hereby represent my questions about the bard:

1: Many bards are famous for knowing a lot about everything and are prone to knowing the answer to everything ever in the tabletop. Will Bardic Knowledge (and by extension, knowledge skills in general) somehow be present in Pathfinder Online? If so, in what manner will it be present?

Currently unknown, but I should think that being social creatures who wander the towns with a rousing flair for adventure and conversation, Bardic Knowledge should come both naturally and systemically, that Bards would hear all the good conversations and also perhaps have means to know, for example, the Development indices, personalities and their positions, populations, and prosperity of the towns they visit, moreso than the common PC. Just my guess, mind.
Rinn Nightingale wrote:
2: In "I Fell into a Burning Ring of Fire", it is revealed that Pathfinder Online will include friendly fire. As someone who plays bards wherever possible, especially in Pathfinder, i know that much of our mechanics are dependent on aura abilities like Inspire Courage, abilities that are meant to help our allies or hinder our foes. However, the inclusion of friendly fire means that Inspire-type abilities and also other sorts of "auras" will have trouble distinguishing friend from foe. How will this problem be handled?
We cannot yet know until it is revealed, but my guess is that the songs would be alignment specific: that anyone of the bard's alignment or compatible would benefit from such a buff and those of non-allied alignments would gain the debuff version.
Rinn Nightingale wrote:
3: In “I Put a Spell on You”, it is revealed that wizards are going to have to equip spellbooks to use their more powerful spells. This got me thinking… What if bards could equip an instrument in a similar way? This could help give bards an identity beyond “rogue with magic”, since they’d whip out an instrument now and again to use their more powerful abilities. Will something like this be present in Pathfinder Online?
I rather like that mechanism. Wasn't it LotRO (or was that DAoC?) that did something similar, at least in the early days (may have been changed: trying to recall the last time I played my minstrel)? However while certain instruments are more suitable for martial and others for spiritual and others for taunting/control, perhaps the flexibility that is desirable, and the 'building' aspect a spellbook has, perhaps arrangements of sheet music might be more promising an avenue?
Rinn Nightingale wrote:
4: And now for a somewhat less bard-related question, but an important one nonetheless. In Lord of the Rings Online, it is possible to use in-game instruments to make music. I feel this would be a superb addition to Pathfinder Online, since it would let players express themselves in another manner than building characters and settlements.

I concur, but also that seems it might be challenging to code and beyond 'minimally viable product', however it certainly looks attractive to me and I would urge pathfinder to include it in the 'nice to have after release' category. What if it is even better than LotRO's? Can you think of how that could be? What is your ideal vision of a music stem for PFO?

I am very glad you have chosen to speak up and present your thoughts and questions. Please accept my welcome and esteem.

Goblin Squad Member

Rinn Nightingale wrote:


1: .... Will Bardic Knowledge (and by extension, knowledge skills in general) somehow be present in Pathfinder Online?

2: .... the inclusion of friendly fire means that Inspire-type abilities and also other sorts of "auras" will have trouble distinguishing friend from foe. How will this problem be handled?

3: .... What if bards could equip an instrument in a similar way?

4: .... in-game instruments to make music...

Hi Rinn and welcome!

1: no idea. Possible uses of knowledge could be identifying keywords on equipment and spells wielded by others, getting more info on mobs and escalation cycles.

2: Beneficial auras (bard, paladin etc) may be restricted to your group, or could affect anyone not hostile to you. However inspiring two strangers fighting each other would become messy (could be loser death curse you for aiding in his death, could the winner turn to you for helping his opponent?), so restricting it to those explicitly allied with you would likely work best. Detrimental auras could be subject to friendly fire as usual.

3: I expect this is exactly what they plan. Higher quality instruments with more keywords should allow better/more varied songs.

4: ...or how about composing a signature melody to each of your spells? (just drooling, not expecting this in the first 12-18 months).

Goblin Squad Member

I'll toss out there that Bardic Knowledge, even if it doesn't give mechanical benefits, should still work. You'll be going around, meeting people, hearing this or that, which is what the skill represents.

Also, welcome! Thanks for posting. What instrument(s) do y'all love most?

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

cartomancer wrote:


Also, welcome! Thanks for posting. What instrument(s) do y'all love most?

I once played a bard that specialized in keyboards. His non-adventuring job ws playing the pipe organ at a temple, but he carried an accordian when adventuring.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Welcome Rinn, and thanks for joining the conversation.

First, I strongly suspect that bardic music will affect significantly less than "all allies who can perceive the performance". However, the various defined social structures provide a quick (if not always accurate) way to figure out allies.

I'm rooting for instruments to be viable replacements for swords and wands, not spellbooks. Among other things, that introduces the concept of the axe-axe.

I'm not sure what advantage, if any, would be served by knowledge mechanics. Since that is a big part of what the bard does in many PnP games, it makes sense to have a situationally useful knowledge ability that does something that neither Google nor global chat can duplicate. Perhaps they could gain information about dungeons and ruins without delving bodily into them; knowing "this is the lair of a den of ice wolves" provides specific concrete advantages.

Goblin Squad Member

Rinn Nightingale wrote:


3: In “I Put a Spell on You”, it is revealed that wizards are going to have to equip spellbooks to use their more powerful spells. This got me thinking… What if bards could equip an instrument in a similar way? This could help give bards an identity beyond “rogue with magic”, since they’d whip out an instrument now and again to use their more powerful abilities. Will something like this be present in Pathfinder Online?

Sweet Jezzus this is brilliant! If the "crowdforging" we were sold only produces one thing please may it be THIS ^^^^^^.

TT Pathfinder did a very very cool thing for bards when it gave them "masterpeices". Big spells produced only with certain intsruments, singing, dancing etc. Using bardic instruments liek wizard schools goes really really well with what GW has said their design will be.

I LOVE this idea.

Goblin Squad Member

Also, there was discussed in a recent update, the morale of settlements. Bards, in my opinion, should be able to affect this greatly.

Goblin Squad Member

Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
Also, there was discussed in a recent update, the morale of settlements. Bards, in my opinion, should be able to affect this greatly.

I think that is another great idea. Famous bards arriving to "entertain" the people is a classic. Boosting the morale in the long winter and the summer festivals.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

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Bringslite wrote:
Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
Also, there was discussed in a recent update, the morale of settlements. Bards, in my opinion, should be able to affect this greatly.
I think that is another great idea. Famous bards arriving to "entertain" the people is a classic. Boosting the morale in the long winter and the summer festivals.

Or allow Bards to use Satire to lower an enemy settlement morale. character assassination of a leader may be more effective than an actual assassination.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Welcome, Rinn! These are excellent questions and suggestions - and since at least one of my friends will play a bard, or not play at all, I'm very interested in hearing more about the class.

Goblin Squad Member

Those were exactly the sort of things I'd imagine Bards doing. It fits in so thematically as well as mechanically. Hearts and minds people!

Goblin Squad Member

Wow! This is great, everyone! I absolutely love this community, since you're all so friendly to strangers like me that pop up out of nowhere. It's been a pleasure to make your acquaintance!

Being said wrote:
However while certain instruments are more suitable for martial and others for spiritual and others for taunting/control, perhaps the flexibility that is desirable, and the 'building' aspect a spellbook has, perhaps arrangements of sheet music might be more promising an avenue?

I don't really think bards should have the same spell flexibility as a wizard. After all, isn't that what wizards do best? While a bard does need versatility to truly be a bard, that versatility has to come from the bard's ability to switch their role in-combat, rather than by switching instruments/sheet music/spellbooks out of combat.

All of the responses so far has got me thinking, though... Where would instruments fit the most? So far, I can see many convincing arguments for and against weapon instruments and "spellbook" instruments.

If instruments are weapons, they won't step on the MO of wizards in any way and you will be able to use a realistic amount of instruments due to the limit to carried weapons. My main worry here is that it would lead to instruments having actual weapon attacks, which I don't think is a good idea. An instrument is rarely a weapon (unless we count the Sound Striker archetype).

If instruments are spellbook-like objects, it runs afoul of being too like wizardry, but bards will then get to use as many weapons as other classes while also having a plethora of bardic performance powers. Aside from possibly being too wizard-like, it may also mean that actual bard spells get squeezed out. While not as vital as bardic performance, I feel that more traditional magic is an important part of the class regardless.

Mirrel the Marvelous said wrote:
Also, there was discussed in a recent update, the morale of settlements. Bards, in my opinion, should be able to affect this greatly.

I absolutely agree with this! Letting bards into the playing field of politics would do much to increase their importance and what this class should be able to do, something that doesn't always shine in the often more combat-oriented tabletop. However, I fear that if I engage in satire, I might be a victim of an assassin myself, since they don't seem too fond of bards for some reason... However, speaking of non-combat roles...

Being said wrote:
... I should think that being social creatures who wander the towns with a rousing flair for adventure and conversation, Bardic Knowledge should come both naturally and systemically, that Bards would hear all the good conversations and also perhaps have means to know, for example, the Development indices, personalities and their positions, populations, and prosperity of the towns they visit, moreso than the common PC. Just my guess, mind.

Absolutely wonderful suggestion! This really touches on one of the roles I absolutely love when bards partake in: Espionage. The ability to see development indices, leaders and the like would make bards perfect for such a role!

cartomancer said wrote:
Also, welcome! Thanks for posting. What instrument(s) do y'all love most?

Thanks! It's been a real pleasure! While I don't have a favourite instrument exactly, I am a fan of the violin, as well as singing, since I find it really isn't practical to play an instrument in battle. Not when you can sing instead.

Goblin Squad Member

I think all bardic magic can be funneled into foci driven performance magic and the system would work quite beautifully. PFO will have limited options on the action bar so performance + sorc type spells + combat might be a bit much. Clerics could equip by domains as long as we are on this.

Goblin Squad Member

avari3 said wrote:

Sweet Jezzus this is brilliant! If the "crowdforging" we were sold only produces one thing please may it be THIS ^^^^^^.

TT Pathfinder did a very very cool thing for bards when it gave them "masterpeices". Big spells produced only with certain intsruments, singing, dancing etc. Using bardic instruments liek wizard schools goes really really well with what GW has said their design will be.

I LOVE this idea.

Oh, I almost forgot! I'm happy you like the idea!

avari3 said wrote:
I think all bardic magic can be funneled into foci driven performance magic and the system would work quite beautifully. PFO will have limited options on the action bar so performance + sorc type spells + combat might be a bit much. Clerics could equip by domains as long as we are on this.

And yeah, it might be that it is a bit too much. But while there is a lot of overlap between magic and performance, magic offers a massive amount of the bard's utility. If they can let me use things like Silent Image, Grease, Cure X and Dimension Door without it feeling weird, I'd be thrilled to use instruments as spell foci. If not, magic still got a place with the bard.

Goblin Squad Member

Rinn Nightingale wrote:


And yeah, it might be that it is a bit too much. But while there is a lot of overlap between magic and performance, magic offers a massive amount of the bard's utility. If they can let me use things like Silent Image, Grease, Cure X and Dimension Door without it feeling weird, I'd be thrilled to use instruments as spell foci. If not, magic still got a place with the bard.

It would be a seemless transition IMo and streamline the class overall methinks. Comedy, strings and winds all sound like great foci for cure X. Winds, dance and percussion can all do dimension door. Comedy, dance, percussion can do grease. Just spitting them out there but yeah it works. And then each performance type gets its own powerful "masterpiece spells". Maybe monster charm for winds or summon greater shadow for strings.

Oh yeah, it really works.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Bardic casting has more in common with sorcery than wizardry. I'm not sure how to implement sorcery with the other announced features.

As currently discussed, wizards can change spells by swapping equipment. To remain different, bards should not swap equipment to change spells. It should be harder to change bard spells, in addition to those spells being different in nature. Additionally, bard weapon abilities should be different in nature from fighter weapon abilities.

I would hate to force a choice between weapon-bard and instrument-bard, but I don't want to deny the effectiveness of the pure-instrument bard. Allowing for equipment which is weapon and/or instrument gives the full range of options from greatax-orator through song blades to the one-man-band.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:


I would hate to force a choice between weapon-bard and instrument-bard, but I don't want to deny the effectiveness of the pure-instrument bard. Allowing for equipment which is weapon and/or instrument gives the full range of options from greatax-orator through song blades to the one-man-band.

There are historical instances of instruments that can be used as weapons. The most famous is the bamboo flute with is played by David Carradine in Kung Fu and Kill Bill. There are several martial arts forms that use it as a weapon. The Shawm is a medieval ancestor to the Oboe and was often used as a club. There is also the Musical Bow which is in many cases an actual bow that is used for music instead of or in addition to archery.

Goblin Squad Member

As keyword armor will be good a defense from physical attack, but less so against energy attacks, I can see the bard's instrument as a sonic energy based weapon. A specific instrument could have six song/music spell slots to use for individual attack or AoE. I also think that bardic AoE effects like inspire courage would work extremely well in formation combat in war.

Goblin Squad Member

PS, Welcome Rinn.

Goblin Squad Member

Welcome Rinn!

Harad Navar wrote:
As keyword armor will be good a defense from physical attack, but less so against energy attacks, I can see the bard's instrument as a sonic energy based weapon. A specific instrument could have six song/music spell slots to use for individual attack or AoE. I also think that bardic AoE effects like inspire courage would work extremely well in formation combat in war.

Nice idea, Harad. Puts a new spin on the 'brown note'.

As my 'buddy' is most likely going to play the bard archetype, I'm interested to see how all this pans out.

Goblin Squad Member

I'd play a Bard online if we could actually 'write' our own music.

I can just see the party now, hewing their way through a dungeon, with me blasting out Dragonforce's 'Heroes of our Time' on the Violin. Glorious.

Goblin Squad Member

HalfOrc with a Hat of Disguise wrote:

I'd play a Bard online if we could actually 'write' our own music.

I can just see the party now, hewing their way through a dungeon, with me blasting out Dragonforce's 'Heroes of our Time' on the Violin. Glorious.

That's pretty much the reason why most games don't allow it.

Goblin Squad Member

*sigh* True. Still, hunting down new 'songs' and ancient works of art might be an incentive for Bards to journey out into the world.

Specific songs may have unique sound-tracks that Goblinworks can slip in, something suitable for the theme of both the game and the intent/effect of the song.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm hoping bards can produce similar effects to fleet boosters in EVE. In EVE if you have the right skills you can boost effective HP of your fleet (armour or shield tank or both). Other bonuses are available, including resistances, speed, repair. Bonus amount is a function of skill level, ship flown (eg command ship), skill at piloting that class of ship, equipment used and cybernetic implants installed.

Also hoping that this type of aura or team bonus can be achieved via either thematically appropriate musical instrument (bagpipes?) or carrying a standard.

Think it would be neat if an army had a standard bearer who could provide a morale bonus of some sort, at the risk of becoming a prime target.

Goblin Squad Member

Concerning to what extent the bard should rely on their instruments for doing damage:

Call me boring but I prefer the bard as I remember it from Baldur's Gate: Uses normal weapons and wizard spells and also has a limited repertoire of songs giving buffs or debuffs. They work like a wizard/thief dual class with the addition of the unique song mechanic.

Making it more like a sorcerer/thief dual would work better though imo, i suspect the bard had wizard spells because the class is "older" than the sorcerer class.

Note: player created music and giving temporary morale boosts to settlements and such sounds cool and still works with this kind of bard. I just don't like the idea of a bard playing his lute and killing enemies with sound waves or whatever.

Goblin Squad Member

It definitely seems like they're already giving bardic performance buffs some thought. They're touched on (very briefly) in the blog back in October.

A Three-Headed Hydra wrote:

Passive Slots

In addition to the slots that require the player to hit a button or click to activate, there are a number of passive slots players can use to slot in permanent abilities that are always running. These are divided into three groups:

•Defensive: Abilities that protect the character like Evasion or Uncanny Dodge.
•Reactive: Abilities that activate when something sets them off, such as Diehard or Stand Up.
•Aura: Abilities that affect characters in a radius, such as many Bard abilities or a Paladin's various Aura abilities.

Goblin Squad Member

I'll add another welcome, Rinn. I've played more than my share of bards, minstrels, and entertainers as well. I love the knowledge-exploration game, and, in D&D/Pathfinder, the Bard just naturally migrates to that.

Don't be afraid to check out the various Settlements/Chartered Companies available, as well, since they'll be important for both fun and survival. If you're interested, Nihimon's got a good thread HERE.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

@Wurner

Baldur's Gate was working with 2nd Edition D&D rules, and frankly, the 2nd edition Bard was terrible. They had the second worst THAC0, the worst thief skills, stunted spellcasting, and sub-par songs. 3rd edition made them better, and Pathfinder made them good.

As far as spells, there is no difference at all between Sorcerer spells and Wizard Spells, the difference is in how they a re learned and cast. I agree with you about using sonic attacks as a basic attack, but Sonic damage spells should be available to them.

Goblin Squad Member

@Wurner

In pathfinder, Bards are more like sorcerer/rogues. They're spontaneous casters.

Goblin Squad Member

Imbicatus wrote:

@Wurner

Baldur's Gate was working with 2nd Edition D&D rules, and frankly, the 2nd edition Bard was terrible. They had the second worst THAC0, the worst thief skills, stunted spellcasting, and sub-par songs. 3rd edition made them better, and Pathfinder made them good.

As far as spells, there is no difference at all between Sorcerer spells and Wizard Spells, the difference is in how they a re learned and cast. I agree with you about using sonic attacks as a basic attack, but Sonic damage spells should be available to them.

Haha you're right the bard was really bad and I never played one myself. What I meant was that I would prefer the bard to use a mix of normal weapons and spells in combat, using music for buffs or debuffs. If the bard has a few extra sonic based spells (i assume the other arcane casters will already have a few) unique to that class to provied flavour, I am perfectly fine with that. Sounds to me like we are on the same page here.

What I meant with the sorcerer vs. wizard thing was based on the difference between the two classes in BGII (most of what I know about DnD comes from BG&BGII), in that game the sorcerer used charisma as main stat while the wizard used intelligence and the sorcerer as you said used innate rather than learned casting abilities. The spells themselves were identical, yeah. I meant that sorcerer-type casting in that aspect would suit the bard better IMO. I really don't know how bards work in Pathfinder PnP.

EDIT: Thanks Dario, sounds good!

Goblin Squad Member

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Wurner, if you're curious to get a bit more info on how the Pathfinder tabletop runs, I'd recommend poking around the PRD or the SRD. You can get a feel for the classes. Or you could check out Golariopedia or Pathfinder Wiki if you want to learn a bit about the setting.

Edit: Fixed link.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

Just to add to Dario's post, here is the link for the bard in Pathfinder: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/classes/bard.html.

Goblin Squad Member

Wow I never would have thought that the entire rulebooks could be found online, very nice to have! Expect me to start making more informed posts from now on.

Thank you.

Goblin Squad Member

Wurner wrote:
I just don't like the idea of a bard playing his lute and killing enemies with sound waves or whatever.

Yes, that might be a bit much. However, if music is the "material component" of bard spells, then having an instrument that has a "song book" so to speak of spells would make some sense. This would be different than the passive aura slots as Dario pointed out.

Goblin Squad Member

I think we'll need to see how sorcerer casting works before we can comment on bard casting. Sorcerers have much more in common with bard magic than wizards and their spellbooks do.

Goblin Squad Member

Agreed.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

I hope that there will be more to Bards than just Sorcerer with some songs though. Bards are more than just spellcasting. As a class designed to be fifth wheel, they run the danger of being outclassed by everything. I hope that there is enough draw to them mechanically to allow them to be unique without having to fall to Fighter/Rogue/Sorcerer light.

Goblin Squad Member

Dario wrote:
I think we'll need to see how sorcerer casting works before we can comment on bard casting.

For some reason, reading this made me wonder if this week's blog would be about Cleric healing.

I understand the devs want to focus on Basic Fighting, Basic Spellcasting, and Basic Healing before they really delve into other areas. It feels like it might be time...

Goblin Squad Member

Bards need seamless access to instruments for performances, attacks with weapons, and spells in combat because... that's what they do. You can't say it's too complicated for the UI because what about a PC that trains sorcerer/rogue mix of skills? There are going to be lots of spell/weapon combos running around (my bet) with further racial/item/multiclass actions to account for so whatever GUI system they come up with it will have to smoothly account for all of that for more than just bards.

The abilities related to performances are listed as supernatural type. Game-wise the bard only intends his party to be buffed or specific selected enemies to be affected so I think the supernaturalness gives a good cause for mechanically limiting performance affects to just the bard's party or who he had selected. I don't think bards have ever been allowed to play a frightening dirge into an empty room and get someone to unstealth so that doesn't seem as big a concern as fireballing into the empty room.

The spellbook analogy doesn't work for me because a bard only knows up to six spells in a level and can cast any of them at any time up to his limit; totally different than the spellbook system. And either 1.)his instrument is unrelated to spellcasting (if the bard even uses instrument-based performances) or 2.) the instrument is the equipped weapon that generates magical attacks like a wand would be; but I don't like that version as much.

Bardic Knowledge as a mechanic could display some information from a game database of items/places/lore (lots of it should already be present just for playing the game or easily ported text from guides) to represent the bard remembering this or that about the subject.

It would be very nice to get some varied /music emotes for different instruments. The impromptu jam sessions in Asheron's Call 2 were a top 3 feature of a great game and led to a lot of social interaction.

I don't have any good ideas for the mechanics of a rousing bard raising the morale index of a settlement but I approve of the concept. I look forward to the blog update about the character assassin tag.

Goblin Squad Member

I would guess that an (Ex) ability like bard songs would be mechanically different than spell-casting. Not just in terms of lore consistency, but in the functional aspect AoE friendly fire is meant to address. To the best of my understanding, the Dev's want to make spell-casters accountable for AoE fire, and have to make a choice before they start blasting. That doesn't seem to be an issue with songs or auras--no one is going to depth-charge a wooded glen with lute music.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
That doesn't seem to be an issue with songs or auras--no one is going to depth-charge a wooded glen with lute music.

Sir Robin's minstrels might, but then they would simply get eaten in the frozen land of Nador.

Goblin Squad Member

But then you'd have much rejoicing...

Goblin Squad Member

I've always been fond of the idea of using a Bards performance ability in sync with their spell casting; whether playing an instrument, dancing, or telling an epic story.

Take note that the Performance skill that Bards use is not just about music in Pathfinder.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

Welcome, Rinn!

I could see placing a musical instrument in the weapon slot, but not to deal out damage. Instead, it would represent the fact that when you're strumming a lute or tapping a drum, you don't have your hands free to hold a weapon. Switching from sword to flute, for example, could be handled by the game just like switching from sword to pike (hopefully the polearm, not the fish).

Dancing and oratory don't physically occupy your hands the same way as an instrument, but barring a special ability like Sword Dance, they do typically prevent you from fighting while you're performing. In those cases you could put a representative icon, like a pair of ballet shoes or a podium, in the weapon slot.

Edit: In many of the MMOs that include them, fishing poles are handled this way.

Incidentally, it's pretty embarrassing to charge into battle alongside your party members after you've been fishing for a while, notice you aren't inflicting much damage, then discover that you're whacking the monster with your fishing pole.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

KarlBob wrote:


Dancing and oratory don't physically occupy your hands the same way as an instrument, but barring a special ability like Sword Dance, they do typically prevent you from fighting while you're performing.

Not only can Pathfinder bards sing, orate, and/or dance while fighting, they are better fighters while doing so. (As a supernatural ability)

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

KarlBob wrote:

Welcome, Rinn!

I could see placing a musical instrument in the weapon slot, but not to deal out damage. Instead, it would represent the fact that when you're strumming a lute or tapping a drum, you don't have your hands free to hold a weapon. Switching from sword to flute, for example, could be handled by the game just like switching from sword to pike (hopefully the polearm, not the fish).

Dancing and oratory don't physically occupy your hands the same way as an instrument, but barring a special ability like Sword Dance, they do typically prevent you from fighting while you're performing. In those cases you could put a representative icon, like a pair of ballet shoes or a podium, in the weapon slot.

Edit: In many of the MMOs that include them, fishing poles are handled this way.

Incidentally, it's pretty embarrassing to charge into battle alongside your party members after you've been fishing for a while, notice you aren't inflicting much damage, then discover that you're whacking the monster with your fishing pole.

That's what made fishing in WoW interesting for me: the possibility of getting jumped while you had a fishing pole equipped made it a little dangerous (okay, a simple macro to swap in your weapons negated the danger, but I needed something to make it interesting).

One thing to mention is that the devs have mentioned that you can swap between 3 (?) weapons in combat. Depending on how long that swap takes bards might be switching between instruments and weapons as needed. Bards could then follow their jack-of-all-trades style and switch their role in a group as needed.

If there are performances where you don't need to hold an instrument the bard can fight and use their song at the same time (at least in PF). This needs to be balanced against instruments where you can't use a weapon at the same time.

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
KarlBob wrote:


Dancing and oratory don't physically occupy your hands the same way as an instrument, but barring a special ability like Sword Dance, they do typically prevent you from fighting while you're performing.

Not only can Pathfinder bards sing, orate, and/or dance while fighting, they are better fighters while doing so. (As a supernatural ability)

Oops. You're right.

From a 2010 post about bards:

James Jacobs wrote:
One of the bard's cool stunts is the ability to play the flute or drums or lute AND still cast spells or attack. For REALLY bulky musical instruments, I'd say either that the bard's magic keeps the instrument playing once he starts, or (if that solution is too high magic for your tastes) that he simply incorporates his other actions into the performance in a way that enhances it.

If a bard can play the drums while swinging a sword, I guess there's no reason why a bard can't sing, orate and/or dance while swinging a sword.

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