The Bard Grievance Thread


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I find myself at odds with a lot of the 3.X community when it comes to the bard class. I've been quite vocal about my dismay and resentment over bards, but I don't think I've had sufficient space to argue the point that they are ridiculous, especially considering that the "bard issue" is usually brought up as a tangent in other threads with different foci.

And to all the board moderators, I want to remind you that I've had some vitriolic anti-bard posts deleted in the past. Please bear in my mind that any attack on the bard is not an attack on Paizo; The bard is part of the company's inheritance from the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 tradition, and it is Wizards of the Coast who I blame for the class' existence. I am a flamboyant, unapologetic Paizo supporter.

So what do I think is wrong with the bard?

I must state clearly that my problems with the bard have nothing at all to do with power level. I'm a part time powergamer at worst and will play anything (even something suboptimal) if I like the concept. My problem with the bard is bardic performance.

Singing in battle

I can't get behind the idea that a character who sings or plays the drums/lute in battle. There's not much of an argument to be made here, this is just my gut reaction. Weather it's beating the drum, singing, playing the lute, you name it. When the ogre comes crashing through the gate, you better be swinging at axe, chucking a fireball or doing something practical/cool.

There are of course some classic counterpoints to this view.

1) But the music is MAGICAL!
-Again, this represents a flavor bridge I just don't want to cross. While I understand that a magical lute song is no more irrational than a magical fireball, one strikes me as "cool" and the other as "irredeemably lame".

2) But combat musicians are an important part of history!
-Yes. With lines of hundreds or thousands of men, some small fraction of their number could actually benefit the war effort by playing music to enforce bravery and cohesion. But in a party of two to six, or even ten people this stops making any kind of sense.

3) But you can reflavor it! (performance)
-Yes. You can reflavor literally anything. I can think of my sword as a vicious bunny that latches onto my arm and bites people.You can decide that a wizard hurling lightning bolts is actually an archer shooting arrows. People don't usually do these things because flavor and mechanics set up a basic series of assumptions which make the game much easier to understand. The flavor and mechanics of bardic performace tell me that a bard is "performing".

Here's another problem: For me, the alternatives to singing in battle are just plain worse.

-Dancing: If I was angry that the bard was making me super powerful by singing, I'm furious that little Billy Elliot is tap dancing so beautifully that I become a titan in battle. I prefer not to play with musical bards, but I would outright refuse to play with a dancer.
-Oratory: Oration seems a little cooler than music and at a glance outright cool, but it is the worst transgressor of them all when it comes to my final problem with the bard, the "Life Coach Problem"

The Life Coach Problem

This is the phrase I use to describe my chief complaint with the bard, possibly the one that trumps all the others. The bard is a motivational speaker. The bard is a hero who is so good at telling other people that "they can do it!" that he becomes invaluable as a coach and leader. On a related note, the Mary Sue concept is baked right into the class: The bard is a master of skills, especially social skills, to the point where for all intents and purposes, everybody loves em'!

The problem with this is that it lends itself to situations where characters in game give empowering speeches even though the player is inarticulate and unimaginative. Or a situation where my fighter is hyped up by the unerring spirit of the party cheerleader. Think about this; I want to play a stoic, tough guy character. And here he is, being told "You can do it! You're a winner!" by this sissy singer/dancer/speech giver and this stuff is giving my character bonuses in combat. The flavor/mechanical implication is that the bard effects my character emotionally and has an intuitive ability to rally him to greater heights of valor. Shouldn't abilities like this happen through role playing in character? Why should the dice or the basic game mechanics tell me that you just gave an awesome performance and it effected me emotionally?

I'd like to see what others think, ranging from disagreement to additional problems with the class.


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Dude, war chants have been around for thousands of years. Sorry, but if you don't think that counts as 'singing', I think you're beyond convincing, and also wasting your time trying to convince anyone else of your position.


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I have a new one size fits all post for this kind of "realistic" nonsense:

I assume that as someone who supports realism in your games, your dragons can't fly, your giants have been square cube lawed out of existence (along with most monstrous version of real-world fauna) and you have no half-x races.

Sounds like a fun fantasy adventure to me (sarcasm).

Dark Archive

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No matter how I tried, I couldn't bring myself to want to play a Bard - even though I know they're really good. But then Skald happened, and I don't think I've ever looked forward to playing a class as much as it.

You don't have to like Bards, OP. But don't think that that means they need to be changed or removed. For every person like you who hates them, there is surely at least 1-2 people who adore the Bard.

P.S.: When you lock yourself into one mode of thought about how things can be played (ie: Bards can only go rah rah sis boom bah!, Paladins can only be Lawful Stupid, Rogues have to steal everything that's not nailed down, etc.) the problem is not the class.


No one can force you to like bards or what they do, and I really do understand why you have this problem with them, but it's one of those things I don't think I've ever seen anyone else complain about.

You're probably going to find yourself very alone on this issue.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

OK, I get that you don't like bards.
Is this as a DM or a player?

Are you the DM? Don't allow it, deal done.
Not TOO many players who want to play a bard-like character are not going to be able to find SOMETHING that will give them the feel they want.

Are you a player in a group with a bard that you hate?
Meh. I've found that the players who want to play Orc Barbarians or Aasimar Paladins (to pick out a couple out of a hat) more disruptive to actual play.

Now if you want to call a bard a "sissy singer/dancer/speech giver"...well, may I suggest reading Egil's Saga.

Silver Crusade

I don't care for the bard class either,so what I do is not play one.


As long as you're not stoping other people at your table from playing a bard you're entitled to your opinion. But that is all it is: your opinion. And always remember that if you voice your opinion, the bard can voice his opnion that you opinion is plain stupid. Freedom of speech goes both ways.

Liberty's Edge

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Mostly, your arguments come down to personal preference. But there are a couple that are actually incorrect. I doubt they'll change anything for you, but they seem worth noting.

Zolanoteph wrote:
I can't get behind the idea that a character who sings or plays the drums/lute in battle. There's not much of an argument to be made here, this is just my gut reaction. Weather it's beating the drum, singing, playing the lute, you name it. When the ogre comes crashing through the gate, you better be swinging at axe, chucking a fireball or doing something practical/cool.

That last bit? Bards do that. Nothing prevents you from stabbing people with a sword or casting spells while you Perform, and indeed Bards are expected to do so mechanically. So...they are in fact doing something awesome while singing rather than singing instead of doing it.

Zolanoteph wrote:
-Dancing: If I was angry that the bard was making me super powerful by singing, I'm furious that little Billy Elliot is tap dancing so beautifully that I become a titan in battle. I prefer not to play with musical bards, but I would outright refuse to play with a dancer.

Have you ever seen a sword-dance, or someone using Capoeira? That's more like what a combat dance looks like from a Bard, just imagine them working their foes into the pattern of their dance. I personally don't think that's silly or uninspiring at all.

There's also Comedy, where you can basically just be Spider-Man and make fun of your enemies while kicking their asses. That one's really easy to justify.


Also, war dances have been a thing for an equally long time as chants. The one that comes to mind is the Haka used by Maori warriors.

And even if we don't just justify that by narrow definitions, magical music has a long history as well. Now, I can't recall any specific examples (I'm sure others can), but many warriors have been stopped dead in their tracks by magical music. And the Pied Piper of Hamelin mind controls animals and people with his music.

You may not like the bard, but it certainly deserves to be here.


Whatever works in your game for your group. I don't find any of those criticisms an issue. Some players are better at selling the bard concept than others tis true which helps at the table but the class and its concepts are pretty firmly rooted in fantasy and D&D tropes.


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I'm getting really hung up on the "sissy" comment in the OP. What exactly is being criticized here? Does the OP's extremely narrow and hackneyed take on what sort of archetypes (as in the actual word, not the PF mechanical concept) the bard class is able to faithfully portray mean to suggest bards are effeminate, and that this is a bad thing? Does he have the same problem with sensuous, sultry sorceresses? What about female bards? Are they allowed to be sissy? Imagine a drug-crazed two-spirit transgender warrior queen howling like a banshee rushing at you with a totem spear, with movements so graceful and exact she looks more to be dancing with the spirits than engaging in fisticuffs as she slashes your throat and daubs her cheeks with your blood. I dunno, man. I'm not buying into your basic premise, and it sounds ever so slightly bigoted.


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Well this is turning into a bloodbath hahaha...

Oh and I have to say, bards have easily some of the best Archetype around:

Magicians is a god send for those who want to play a lower magic campaign but want their mages to be more "battle ready" than your typical wizard (without the Gish feel of the magus)

Arcane Duelists are are awesome gishes

Dervish Dancers/Dervish of Dawns pretty much epitomizes the idea of the person whose swordplay flows so much that it almost looks like they are dancing a spiraling field of carnage around them

Watersingers are pretty much Avatar Water-benders and AWESOME in flavor

I mean... really? The bard is easily one of the best classes in the game...


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Zolanoteph wrote:
it is Wizards of the Coast who I blame for the class' existence.

Wizards may have written the mechanics, but they aren't responsible for the flavor you have mentioned disliking.

The guilty party is centuries of history, legend and myth in the real world, aided and abetted by framers of the modern fantasy genre such as Tolkien who long predate any incarnation of Dnd.


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You just mad jelly of all dat Bard swag.


If I'm playing my bard as Elan, and your PC is too macho to accept Inspire Courage from a lute, you are welcome to refuse the bonuses. You don't have to be inspired. I, for my part, would normally NOT choose to reflavor the performance as anything more warlike. Depends on the bard character, I guess.

It has absolutely nothing to do with realism for me, nor do I think it does for you (Anzyr's comment notwithstanding). It's about the tropes that we find cool.

Shattering the ogre's greataxe with a few notes from a lyre is cool to me, but to you it is irredeemably lame. Indeed, I find it cool BECAUSE the ogre is that incarnation of rage, muscle, and aggression that seems the antithesis of the stylish and elegant bard. And it is because bards are criticized as sissies (you're not the first that I've heard say that) that I refuse to concede that trope being a negative thing, and so refuse to re-fluff their dancing and singing as capoeira/haka/screaming.

And I do realize that some realm of agreement on cool vs. lame is crucially important for a game, moreso than agreeing on a ruleset. Anime-style martials rub me the wrong way, but others love them.


Zolanoteph wrote:

So what do I think is wrong with the bard?

.....
Singing in battle...
Dancing....
-Oratory....

War dances, chants and instruments have been a part of battle for millenium, along with flag bearers. In fact, if the drummer or bearer died in many cultures you were to drop your weapon and take up the role, as it was seen more important than swinging the weapon. Research cultural warfare, you may be very surprised by many of the things cultures did before combat. Even the geishas tea ceremonies have some basis on reality, many cultures got together and got drugged up before going into battle. And many cultures have legendary stories of their leader holding them together with their words. This is so ingrained into history and the human collective I really don't know what else to say.

Zolanoteph wrote:
The Life Coach Problem

This is a problem in general, regardless of class. I got reamed in another thread where I brought up some people shouldn't play faces, so I agree with you in theory. I don't take this as a Bard problem though, its more of an RP issue and can happen with nearly any class.

Even though I haven't ever played a bard, I love the class, and have several potential builds to try, though ACG pushed those back some! Its flavorful, mechanically strong, and versatile. Also, its HIGHLY steeped in history, perhaps more than nearly any other class, so has that going for it.


Inspire Courage could very easily be RPd like a sergeant telling his squad to hold the line and to strike true when the time comes. No need for prancing or lutes.

Dark Archive

Silas Hawkwinter wrote:
Inspire Courage could very easily be RPd like a sergeant telling his squad to hold the line and to strike true when the time comes. No need for prancing or lutes.

I'm pretty sure every Skald should either be R. Lee Ermey or just roaring at the top of their lungs. Just because that's awesome.


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Zolanoteph wrote:

Here's another problem: For me, the alternatives to singing in battle are just plain worse.

-Dancing: If I was angry that the bard was making me super powerful by singing, I'm furious that little Billy Elliot is tap dancing so beautifully that I become a titan in battle. I prefer not to play with musical bards, but I would outright refuse to play with a dancer.
-Oratory: Oration seems a little cooler than music and at a glance outright cool, but it is the worst transgressor of them all when it comes to my final problem with the bard, the "Life Coach Problem"

You obviously have some problems with genre and drama then.

For perform, oratory...if I had to pick one of the better 'in battle' rather than 'prebattle pep talks', then one of the best examples I can think of is this:

"I am Indigo Montoya. You killed my Father. Prepare to Die".

It is an obvious example of Inspire Greatness (giving him temporay hp, increasing his fort saves against death, and a bonus to attack rolls).

Another way I like to imagine it- pretend you are in a terrible Kung-fu film with bad lip syncing. That can help with both dance (awe inspiring wire-fu!) and oratory.

"Even if the heavens forgive your actions, I will not!"
"The net of heaven is wide, but it has few holes"
"For the crimes against the emperor, you will pay with your life"

As long as you give some brief speech about how evil the other guy is (and make it so that 5 year olds will say 'yeah, get the bad guys'), then it seems fine. It is reasonable enough way to do it without trying to boost their confidence. Instead, you are inciting their rage against those they fight against. And I, for one, am perfectly fine with bards that try to be corny 'protagonists' with these dramatic speeches.

Of course, this problem could be avoided if you take an archaeologist. Not entirely the same niche (less buffing others with performances, more cool skill bonuses, as well as tanky saves). It is a much easier way to approach the bard- this person is someone that goes into dungeons and relies upon his wits, skills, and luck. He has some magic, but it is mostly utilitarian and simple. Overall, it meshes far easier with a party since it seems like your average 'adventurer' that just happened to take some elective courses in introductory magic and lock picking in adventurer college.

Grand Lodge

Roughly half my PCs are bards. Most of them use Perform (Comedy) for foul-mouthed trash-talking during battle.


Real world history and myth aside, use of "dance" in battle is not even confined to humans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_war_dance


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Have you ever seen an 80s movie? What do all the montages have in common?

Do you have a "life coach problem" with the cavalier or inquisitor's teamwork-feat-granting abilities?

Did you have a "life coach problem" with the Marshal base class in 3.5?

Did you have a "life coach problem" with the 3.5 Archivist's ability to give other party members bonuses when fighting monsters the archivist made a successful Knowledge check for?

Mechanically, these are all very similar; they just use different bonus types.

The bard may well not be giving them "life coach" advice, so much as having so many pieces of information in their head that they can remember a helpful proverb for virtually any situation and convey this key information to other party members. And just knowing that at least one person has that degree of familiarity with what the hell is happening can be a pretty big morale boost.

----------

ALL THAT ASIDE...

I think your real problem is the music you picture the bard playing in your head.

You think this.

Instead think this.

(Those are the same lyrics, by the way).


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I bring my own theme music.

I bring spirit to the fight.

Music is not just music: Music is joy, music is sadness. Music is hope, and music is fear. It floats down the rapids of air, encasing, consuming, inspiring those who receive its touch.

Music springs from everything. Throw a stone, pour some wine, swing a sword and clang some metal. Listen to the wind as it plays with the leaves of the trees, be they in spring green treetops or a whirl of autumn reds and oranges rushing down the forest trail.

Music is life. Life is music.

I take this all, and through music, I create magic. Through music, I create wonders. Through music I soothe and nurture, I lift the soul to new heights, and I plunge it into the deepest depths of despair.

I am a bard, and I rock your life.


Zolanoteph wrote:
This is the phrase I use to describe my chief complaint with the bard, possibly the one that trumps all the others. The bard is a motivational speaker. The bard is a hero who is so good at telling other people that "they can do it!" that he becomes invaluable as a coach and leader. On a related note, the Mary Sue concept is baked right into the class: The bard is a master of skills, especially social skills, to the point where for all intents and purposes, everybody loves em'!

I don't think you know what "Mary Sue" means. My bard doesn't resemble myself at all (except that he's exceptionally handsome). He uses oratory and comedy -- definitely not my RL specialities. He's not even a musician (which I am).

Quote:
Think about this; I want to play a stoic, tough guy character. And here he is, being told "You can do it! You're a winner!" by this sissy singer/dancer/speech giver and this stuff is giving my character bonuses in combat.

Obviously your character should refuse the buff. I don't think there are any rules requiring you to accept it. You don't want any bonuses? Fine, you're hobbling your own character, not mine. Don't be surprised when other people roll better than you.

Quote:

The problem with this is that it lends itself to situations where characters in game give empowering speeches even though the player is inarticulate and unimaginative. Or a situation where my fighter is hyped up by the unerring spirit of the party cheerleader.

...
The flavor/mechanical implication is that the bard effects my character emotionally and has an intuitive ability to rally him to greater heights of valor. Shouldn't abilities like this happen through role playing in character? Why should the dice or the basic game mechanics tell me that you just gave an awesome performance and it effected me emotionally?

So, I guess you don't allow skill checks very often when you GM? Everything has to be done in RP, so if you can't describe how to pick a lock you can't do it. You can't RP knowledge local politics? No knowledge check allowed. Do casters have to RP their VSM components?

What about as a player? Do you wave your hands around and say some nonsense every time you cast a spell? Have you ever made a Diplomacy or Intimidate check? Why didn't you just RP it? What's the point of any check or skill system if this is how you play the game?

I don't mean to attack you personally, but that all sounds more nonsensical than an oratory/comedy bard being able to affect creatures that don't speak the same language.

Have you ever done any LARPing? I haven't, but it sounds closer to the "everything must be done through RP" idea you're proposing.


I also agree with others that there's some homophobia and sexism going on here. At least in the language used by the OP, if not in his actual attitude.


Ashoka wrote:
I also agree with others that there's some homophobia and sexism going on here. At least in the language used by the OP, if not in his actual attitude.

I don't think anyone mentioned sexism before you did... Where did that come from?


It's very easy (and, I'd say, appropriate) for the GM to add a few restrictions for purposes of flavor. For example, maybe visual performances are inherently distracting to watch, so Perform (Dance) is not a good idea for party buffs, but perfectly reasonable for Fascinate.

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.


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The thing that gets me is the idea that perform(singing) is somehow sissy when wading into battle, chopping heads while singing your war song is viking as f*%#.

Quote:
The problem with this is that it lends itself to situations where characters in game give empowering speeches even though the player is inarticulate and unimaginative.

Isn't that kind of the whole point of it being a roleplaying game? I don't imagine you stop your fighter from breaking objects if their player is weak, do you?


JoeJ wrote:

It's very easy (and, I'd say, appropriate) for the GM to add a few restrictions for purposes of flavor. For example, maybe visual performances are inherently distracting to watch, so Perform (Dance) is not a good idea for party buffs, but perfectly reasonable for Fascinate.

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.

But the flying lizards, impossible half races, and oversized fauna that are so unreal it is laughable is ok though? Talk about a double standard.


Anzyr wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

It's very easy (and, I'd say, appropriate) for the GM to add a few restrictions for purposes of flavor. For example, maybe visual performances are inherently distracting to watch, so Perform (Dance) is not a good idea for party buffs, but perfectly reasonable for Fascinate.

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.

But the flying lizards, impossible half races, and oversized fauna that are so unreal it is laughable is ok though? Talk about a double standard.

Sorry, but your comment doesn't make any sense. Unless you're claiming that the standard fantasy tropes can't be done with a serious tone but only as slapstick?


Thymus Vulgaris wrote:
Ashoka wrote:
I also agree with others that there's some homophobia and sexism going on here. At least in the language used by the OP, if not in his actual attitude.
I don't think anyone mentioned sexism before you did... Where did that come from?

Sissy.

It doesn't quite carry the same weight as "b*%#+" or "pussy," but it's inherently sexist.

It's not explicitly sexist, but it basically says "too girly" and implies that femininity is not a desirable quality (especially in a male character). Wikipedia describes is as a "pejorative" term and talks about "sissyphobia" being a combination of homophobia and misogyny. I'm actually not sure if one can fully separate misogyny and homophobia.

But this probably isn't the right thread for this topic.


JoeJ wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

It's very easy (and, I'd say, appropriate) for the GM to add a few restrictions for purposes of flavor. For example, maybe visual performances are inherently distracting to watch, so Perform (Dance) is not a good idea for party buffs, but perfectly reasonable for Fascinate.

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.

But the flying lizards, impossible half races, and oversized fauna that are so unreal it is laughable is ok though? Talk about a double standard.

Sorry, but your comment doesn't make any sense. Unless you're claiming that the standard fantasy tropes can't be done with a serious tone but only as slapstick?

I'm saying that a Bard using Perform (Comedy) can be done just as seriously as those equally silly things. If one of them can be seriously, they all can.


JoeJ wrote:

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.

Fun fact: A +1 bonus to hit for the whole party is functionally identical to a -1 penalty to AC for all enemies.

Maybe the bard with Perform (Comedy) is an expert in insulting taunts and provocative slander, making his foes so angry that they are less effective in combat.

That can work well in a pretty serious game.


This thread has given me a great idea. Bard primarily using comedy, the catch off guard feat, and a lot of hilarious props including a whole tray of custard pies.


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Lucy_Valentine wrote:
This thread has given me a great idea. Bard primarily using comedy, the catch off guard feat, and a lot of hilarious props including a whole tray of custard pies.

I am generally down with all sorts of bard characters that people will build, but I draw the line at Gallagher.


I completely disagree with your viewpoint on reflavoring the bard's abilities. The game's default flavor is specifically that ... the default, a place to start, not a place to finish, and certainly not a reason to limit yourself.

Here's another fun bit ... only two(2) 'bardic performances' actually require you to make a perform check, and both of those are pretty useless abilities, so you can simply forget they exist, or archetype them away. You can make a perfectly good bard with zero perform ranks, which means you're obviously not a performer of any stripe.

As far as the 'motivational speaker' idea goes, two words - The Warlord.


I have to assume that everyone who says music can't affect people has never actually listened to music or is incapable of feeling emotions. If it's just a matter of inspiring in six seconds, then you just haven't listened to enough music. Play the opening six seconds of Sweet Child O' Mine, see who recognizes it. Similarly Smells Like Teen Spirit, Back in Black, Smoke on the Water, Eye of the Tiger (need 10 second on that one), and Come Together. Those are just the ones I know, I'm sure others can fill in more.


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Zolanoteph wrote:
Why should the dice or the basic game mechanics tell me that you just gave an awesome performance and it effected me emotionally?

Oh... this again. The old "If you can't temporarily channel Olivier, your Diplomacy check of 25 still fails" saw.

Listen, homeskillet, I respect your right to your seemingly bigoted and homophobic opinions, even though I couldn't possibly disagree more, but I've got to step up and take some issue with this...

Dude, it's a fantasy game. It's full of all manner of stuff what ain't real. Monsters, magic swords, barmaids that are almost always hot... fantasy. So, if you accept the fantastic elements of the game enough to not only play, but to be a "flamboyant (interesting word choice given the undertones of macho flibbertigibbetiness), unapologetic" fan, why draw the line here?

Do your Strength-based martials have to be able to bench three-fitty before they can heft an imaginary greataxe? Do your Wizard players need to be Mensa members? You get my point, I hope.

See, people like to play different things. And sometimes, they even want to play things that they know they aren't good at IRL... like a person who is terrified of public speaking, or maybe just bad at it, wanting for a short while to play someone whose skill at such things is so great that they can affect the outcome of a life-and-death situation with a speech.

Have your opinions but try not to be so petty as to ruin the fun of others with them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play a ninja and throw some shuriken... which in real life would end with me losing an eye or skewering my meat and two veg somehow... so I guess it's a good thing it's just fantasy.


Zolanoteph wrote:
Why should the dice or the basic game mechanics tell me that you just gave an awesome performance and it effected me emotionally?

For the same reason the dice or the basic game mechanics tell you that you have an arrow in your shoulder.

There's another option I just thought of. Since you don't need to perform to do anything, turn the whole thing on its head. Your music doesn't make magic, it's the other way around. You're just casting a spell, like every other normal spellcaster in the game; the audiovisual effects are simply different.

I don't know if anybody here has ever seen the Chaotic cartoon, but they have 'mugic'; theirs is item-based, but the idea works. When you use mugic, the effect starts with seven musical notes, and then stuff happens. The user never does anything but toss the thing into the air.


Anzyr wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

It's very easy (and, I'd say, appropriate) for the GM to add a few restrictions for purposes of flavor. For example, maybe visual performances are inherently distracting to watch, so Perform (Dance) is not a good idea for party buffs, but perfectly reasonable for Fascinate.

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.

But the flying lizards, impossible half races, and oversized fauna that are so unreal it is laughable is ok though? Talk about a double standard.

Sorry, but your comment doesn't make any sense. Unless you're claiming that the standard fantasy tropes can't be done with a serious tone but only as slapstick?

I'm saying that a Bard using Perform (Comedy) can be done just as seriously as those equally silly things. If one of them can be seriously, they all can.

Show me that it can.


LessPopMoreFizz wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

And I would probably not allow Bardic Inspiration to be done with Perform (Comedy) in any game that had a very serious tone because it would break the mood.

Fun fact: A +1 bonus to hit for the whole party is functionally identical to a -1 penalty to AC for all enemies.

Maybe the bard with Perform (Comedy) is an expert in insulting taunts and provocative slander, making his foes so angry that they are less effective in combat.

That can work well in a pretty serious game.

Flavor matters. A bonus to hit and a penalty to AC might end up producing the same end result, but they are not the same thing.

If a player can show me OOC how a comedy performance during combat would work in a deadly serious story, I'll consider it. But I'm not going to try to mix Lord of the Rings with Robin Hood: Men in Tights.


JoeJ wrote:
Anzyr wrote:

I'm saying that a Bard using Perform (Comedy) can be done just as seriously as those equally silly things. If one of them can be seriously, they all can.

Show me that it can.

Ciaphas Cain, holding off a monster he can't actually beat in combat while someone else lines up a kill shot:

Traitor's Hand wrote:

Cain: I thought the acolytes of Khorne were supposed to be warriors, not a bunch of pansies.

(a rather frustrated) Khorne Berserker: I'll feed you your own entrails!
Cain: Like I've never heard that one before...

And if you think that's not a serious story, you've never seen Warhammer 40k.


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JoeJ wrote:


Flavor matters. A bonus to hit and a penalty to AC might end up producing the same end result, but they are not the same thing.

That's not flavor

Quote:
If a player can show me OOC how a comedy performance during combat would work in a deadly serious story, I'll consider it. But I'm not going to try to mix Lord of the Rings with Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Spiderman taunting and mocking his enemies is occasionally played for laughs, but not always.

Lord of the Rings you said? In the film edition Gimli and Legolas jeer and joke back and forth with one another about their own prowess and abilities and fight harder because of it. Not quite comedy, but in a similar vein.

Only way I can see this not working is if by "deadly serious" you mean "grimmy grim dark grim dark".


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Anzyr wrote:

I'm saying that a Bard using Perform (Comedy) can be done just as seriously as those equally silly things. If one of them can be seriously, they all can.

Show me that it can.

Ciaphas Cain, holding off a monster he can't actually beat in combat while someone else lines up a kill shot:

Traitor's Hand wrote:

Cain: I thought the acolytes of Khorne were supposed to be warriors, not a bunch of pansies.

(a rather frustrated) Khorne Berserker: I'll feed you your own entrails!
Cain: Like I've never heard that one before...
And if you think that's not a serious story, you've never seen Warhammer 40k.

I'm sorry, I have no idea who that is. Was this doing something that could reasonably be considered a bardic performance in PF terms? You're certainly right about my not being familiar with Warhammer 40k. All I know is that it's a miniatures game with some (in my opinion) very silly figures.

Just to be clear, I don't agree with the OP. I like bards, I just expect player characters of any class to fit aesthetically into the world.

Liberty's Edge

@JoeJ, the idea that comedy must mean slapstick/Robin Hood: Men In Tights style is just wrong. Sarcasm and satire are both forms of comedy, can both be cutting, and can both absolutely be serious.

A bard's perform: comedy need not involve banana cream pies and seltzer water.

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