What is the point of a Geisha bard?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Title says it all. Seems to be one of the crappiest archetypes I've ever seen, and brother, I've seen the Strangler Brawler, so I've seen some crappy archetypes.

...and before you say it, you DO know you can roleplay a Geisha without actually choosing the Geisha archetype, right?


It's not a great archetype, but I'd consider it for non-direct combatant Bard builds. The loss of armor/weapon proficiencies is lessened if you aren't planning on going up to things to attack and Tea Ceremony can be safely ignored as it is just an alternate use, not a replacement for, Bardic Performance.

As far as good things about the archetype:

1. Scribe Scroll, perfect for the bard who wishes to be more caster centric but feels limited by spells per day.

2. Geisha Knowledge: "Wait, that's good?" I'm sure you are thinking. Yes, yes it is. Why? Pageant of the Peacock.. With that, Geisha Knowledge is actually a large improvement to Bardic Knowledge.

Overall you are trading proficiencies for Scribe Scroll and a greatly expanded Bardic Knowledge ability. It's not really a bad trade, just one geared toward a different kind of character.


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Some archetypes are intended more for NPCs than PCs.


Pageant of the Peacock lets you use bluff for int-based skills, not whatever versatile performance you are using to replace bluff, so I hardly see how Geisha Knowledge helps with PotP.

Honestly, it's kind of the same argument if you do allow it, which it doesn't seem you should RAW. If Pageant of the Peacock can use perform - act to roll for int-based skills through use of versatile performance despite it being not actually bluff, then why can't standard bardic knowledge boost knowledge skills gained an alternate manner, such as through Pageant of the Peacock, despite it not actually being a knowledge skill?


Melkiador wrote:
Some archetypes are intended more for NPCs than PCs.

And for what purpose would I, as a GM, use this archetype?

Again, I can roleplay my NPCs as geishas without the actual archetype.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
Melkiador wrote:


Again, I can roleplay my NPCs as geishas without the actual archetype.

And you could role play your fighter as a rogue. In Pathfinder that is what a geisha is. You could role play something else as a geisha but it wouldn't be a geisha.


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Melkiador wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Melkiador wrote:


Again, I can roleplay my NPCs as geishas without the actual archetype.
And you could role play your fighter as a rogue. In Pathfinder that is what a geisha is. You could role play something else as a geisha but it wouldn't be a geisha.

Ah, you sir, belong in the flavor vs. crunch thread, but let me simplify something for you. My players don't know what I'm engaging them with. I do not spell out "THIS GUY IS A BARD" to them. If I put an NPC fighter against them instead of a rogue, there is a purpose, however, and that is the mechanics associated with the class, and honestly, if I wanted to throw a rogue against them, I'd probably just use a slayer or an investigator, depending on if I wanted a combat rogue or a skill monkey rogue...and since I NEVER tell them what class it is, and they are much more familiar with the CRB, it's a rogue to them, so really, my purpose is served.

If you really insist on continuing the line of "You must be a Geisha class to play a Geisha!!1!" I can gladly link you to the flavor text - is it necessary thread, or even save you some time by pointing you to the Order of the Stick comic happily parodying this argument with a Samurai with no levels in Samurai.

I am questioning the purpose of the existing mechanics.


To provide a half-naked <preferred gender> to cling to the leg of your awesome pink mohawk kick in the door party. More specifically, did you miss the part where the tea ceremony lasts 10 minutes? So if your party wants to blitz a dungeon to keep up their minute/level buffs at high levels or their 10 minute/level buffs at low levels a Tea Ceremony is awesome. They also don't have to continue to see/hear the Geisha to benefit from it, allowing Inspire Competence to work with Stealth.

Let's see, assuming average length of 3 rounds for fights you need 1.3 fights per person affected to make Tea Ceremony pay off. If you don't use it on the whole party that's actually pretty likely. More so if the Geisha doesn't go into the dungeon with them. Makes it sound like a great cohort, honestly. If your average fights are longer then you need less battles for it to pay out, if your average fights are shorter you really don't need a bard. And that's just the combat applications, Inspire Competence for 10 minutes is 100 rounds of performance for a vanilla bard. 34 if they use lingering performance and only one every three rounds, but that's still pretty out there. Or 4 rounds/person for a Geisha.

So the point of the Geisha is to do long-term inspire courage/competence/greatness. In return they give up armor and the longsword, rapier, sap, shortsword, shortbow, and whip and gain a monk weapon (lots of possibilities there) and change the focus of their bardic knowledge from knowledge to courtly things (calligraphy, diplomacy, nobility, a perform).

It's not a choice I'd make for every campaign but I could certainly see it as the basis for a pure caster/buffer bard. The only problem I have with it is that you can't start using tea ceremony regularly until level 8 or so (letting you use it on 6 people a day).


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It technically combines with archaeologist bard. So use both to make the proper British explorer who has his friends join in on a good pot of tea. :p


thegreenteagamer wrote:

Pageant of the Peacock lets you use bluff for int-based skills, not whatever versatile performance you are using to replace bluff, so I hardly see how Geisha Knowledge helps with PotP.

Honestly, it's kind of the same argument if you do allow it, which it doesn't seem you should RAW. If Pageant of the Peacock can use perform - act to roll for int-based skills through use of versatile performance despite it being not actually bluff, then why can't standard bardic knowledge boost knowledge skills gained an alternate manner, such as through Pageant of the Peacock, despite it not actually being a knowledge skill?

I don't see how there can be a dispute that Geisha Knowledge works with Pageant.

1. Pageant says use Bluff in place of Int skills.
2. Versatile Performance says use Perform in place of Bluff.
3. Therefore when you use the two together you are making an intelligence based skill check using Bluff using Perform. It all chains together.

As far as things like Bardic Knowledge applying to a Pageant of the Peacock roll, copy pasting my thoughts from a topic yesterday:

"Based on dev commentary concerning how Versatile Performance interacts (or should interact) with bonuses to the skills it replaces, I don't see why Pageant wouldn't stack with Bardic Knowledge; the general idea was that special modifiers to a particular skill would still apply even if an ability said you could use another skill instead (i.e. you have a +5 to diplomacy from an item, so it gets added in to your Versatile Performance check in place of diplomacy). The idea there of course being that class abilities should not actually make you worse at what you are trying to do. It's not exactly the same thing but it would seem to follow the same logic. That's a debatable subject though."

That aside, the interaction of Geisha Knowledge and Pageant seems to have a much more solid RAW grounding (i.e. no unofficial dev commentary required) and would also apply to all int skills, not just knowledge skills, as well as the two skills of the chosen Versatile Performance; that's why I'm saying it's just Bardic Knowledge+ with Pageant.


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PRD wrote:

Tea Ceremony (Su)

By spending 10 minutes preparing an elaborate tea ceremony, a geisha may affect her allies with inspire courage, inspire competence, inspire greatness, or inspire heroics. The ceremony’s effects last 10 minutes. The geisha must spend 4 rounds of bardic performance for each creature to be affected.

Wait, am I misreading this, or does this ability make Inspire Greatness and Inspire Heroics available at first level?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Some archetypes are intended more for NPCs than PCs.
And for what purpose would I, as a GM, use this archetype?

To have actual rules for your magical tea party.


Deadkitten wrote:
It technically combines with archaeologist bard. So use both to make the proper British explorer who has his friends join in on a good pot of tea. :p

This is kind of a hilarious twist of the rules; you get all the swift-action self-buffing of the Archaeologist without losing the ability to Inspire your party. This is obviously not RAI but I would totally allow it just because it's amusing and actually mechanically sound.


Off-topic here, but did they change the wording on PotP some time ago? I recall there were numerous debates over the use of the masterpiece, specifically on using bluff instead of knowledge for monster lore checks. Looks like they clarified that yes, you can shake your rump and tell a lie, and know what a creature's weaknesses are.


Trigger Loaded wrote:
Off-topic here, but did they change the wording on PotP some time ago? I recall there were numerous debates over the use of the masterpiece, specifically on using bluff instead of knowledge for monster lore checks. Looks like they clarified that yes, you can shake your rump and tell a lie, and know what a creature's weaknesses are.

Remember that performance is a supernatural effect. Your lie is magically enhanced to the point that it is actually the truth.

Grand Lodge

Melkiador wrote:
Some archetypes are intended more for NPCs than PCs.

Just like how some prestige classes are intended more for NPCs. Looking at you, Red Mantis Assassin.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Trigger Loaded wrote:
Off-topic here, but did they change the wording on PotP some time ago? I recall there were numerous debates over the use of the masterpiece, specifically on using bluff instead of knowledge for monster lore checks. Looks like they clarified that yes, you can shake your rump and tell a lie, and know what a creature's weaknesses are.
Remember that performance is a supernatural effect. Your lie is magically enhanced to the point that it is actually the truth.

If it didn't function that way then you would just be using the bluff skill as written... in which case why would the ability even exist or make mention of using bluff at all?


Arachnofiend wrote:
Deadkitten wrote:
It technically combines with archaeologist bard. So use both to make the proper British explorer who has his friends join in on a good pot of tea. :p
This is kind of a hilarious twist of the rules; you get all the swift-action self-buffing of the Archaeologist without losing the ability to Inspire your party. This is obviously not RAI but I would totally allow it just because it's amusing and actually mechanically sound.

Is it actually? I don't see where you're getting the four rounds of performance from to make the tea party happen since archaeologist trades away bardic performance.

Scarab Sages

johnnythexxxiv wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Deadkitten wrote:
It technically combines with archaeologist bard. So use both to make the proper British explorer who has his friends join in on a good pot of tea. :p
This is kind of a hilarious twist of the rules; you get all the swift-action self-buffing of the Archaeologist without losing the ability to Inspire your party. This is obviously not RAI but I would totally allow it just because it's amusing and actually mechanically sound.
Is it actually? I don't see where you're getting the four rounds of performance from to make the tea party happen since archaeologist trades away bardic performance.

It gains luck though, and luck is treated as performance for feats or abilities that modify performance.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:

Title says it all. Seems to be one of the crappiest archetypes I've ever seen, and brother, I've seen the Strangler Brawler, so I've seen some crappy archetypes.

...am I really the only person who likes the Strangler Brawler? It seems like a good alternative for someone who wants to build a grapple-focused character.

Also, isn't the point of the Geisha that you can hand out your buffs ahead of time and be doing other stuff during combat?

Silver Crusade

Eh, you can build a decent Strangler Brawler.

Contributor

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Geisha's inspire ability was originally supposed to last longer (an hour, I think), but someone else felt that was too long and reduced it to 10 minutes. Which makes the ability kinda pointless, honestly.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Geisha's inspire ability was originally supposed to last longer (an hour, I think), but someone else felt that was too long and reduced it to 10 minutes. Which makes the ability kinda pointless, honestly.

Kind of funny to imagine a party camped in front of a dungeon door, huddled around a teapot and sipping with their pinkies out moments before kicking in the door to fight the Lich they've been after. :P

On the bright side, Geisha's get one free proficiency with a Monk weapon, and if you took the double-chain Kama, you'd have a reach weapon that you can also use in close-quarters.


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When a Mommy and a Daddy don't love each other so much any more, Daddy hires a Geisha Bard.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Geisha's inspire ability was originally supposed to last longer (an hour, I think), but someone else felt that was too long and reduced it to 10 minutes. Which makes the ability kinda pointless, honestly.

Any chance of Errata to fix this? The archetype is interesting, and even as it is now I could see having some fun with a Geisha/Sound Striker Bard.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ah, the Sound Striker, another one in need of errata...but I digress.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ah, the Sound Striker, another one in need of errata...but I digress.

Theoretically, at third level you could very slowly (1d4+3) shout someone's weapon apart without having to make any sunder checks. :P

Someone should form an organization to make playable builds out of the least-desirable (yet most interesting) Archetypes.

Contributor

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spectrevk wrote:
Any chance of Errata to fix this? The archetype is interesting, and even as it is now I could see having some fun with a Geisha/Sound Striker Bard.

For there to be errata, you'd have to convince the responsible someone that the duration should be longer than 10 minutes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A quick and dirty house-rule might be to make it 10min per 2 Geisha levels, minimum 10. So 20 minutes at level 4, 30 at level 6, etc. Makes sense that a particularly skilled Geisha could perform a better ceremony than a beginner. Even without that though, it's not a useless ability. Under ordinary circumstances, a Bardic Performance such as Inspire Courage buffs all members of the party for 6 seconds at a time. For the sake of easy math, let's assume 4 party members, so you get 24 seconds worth of buffing per BP. Using Tea Ceremony, you use 4x the number of BP uses to receive a flat 100x duration, but only for 1 person. So instead of 24 effective seconds for 1 use, you're getting 600 seconds for 4 uses, or 16 uses if you affect the whole party (as appropriate, depending on which performance). The downside, of course, is the cast time. 10 minutes to conduct the ceremony just flat doesn't work in combat. You need to know exactly when the combat is about to start, AND guarantee that you won't be disturbed ahead of schedule.

To that end, I would propose a different house-rule entirely: Make the benefit last 10 minutes, as usual, but don't require them to be consecutive. Make them usable by the affected party member(s) as a swift action (maintained or paused as a free action), with a minimum of 1 minute increments. The opportunity to use them would expire at the end of 1 hour/10 minutes of the Tea Ceremony casting time, maximum of 3. That way, if you wanted 3 hours of preparedness, you'd have to sit through a half-hour-long ceremony, but if 1 hour were enough, it'd only take 10 minutes. To come up with this, I took inspiration from (and liberties with) the spell Ceremony, which seems appropriate.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ah, the Sound Striker, another one in need of errata...but I digress.

Am I misreading this? The 6th level Sound striker ability seems pretty awesome:

Quote:
Weird Words (Su): At 6th level, a sound striker can start a performance as a standard action, lashing out with 1 potent sound per bard level (maximum 10), each sound affecting one target within 30 feet. These are ranged touch attacks. Each weird word deals 1d8 points of damage plus the bard's Charisma bonus (Fortitude half), and the bard chooses whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage for each word. This performance replaces suggestion.

Now, at 6th level that's 6 "potent words" for one round of Bardic Performance, and there's nothing saying that you can't aim multiple words at a single target. That's like 6d8 + 6XCharisma (fort half), all for one round of performance.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yeah, that's the problem. It's been discussed as having been intended to be one word per target, changing the ability drastically. Plus, at 10th level you have to roll 30 dice to resolve each use.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Intended or not, it hasn't been errata'd that way, and even if it was, that's still some pretty decent AOE at lower levels. The amount of dice rolling is pretty heavy, though.

As written, you're getting one really bad ability, and one pretty good one, in exchange for giving up two fairly mediocre Bard performances.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Which is why there is a huge thread about it. Edit: With the PDT weighing in.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yeah, that's the problem. It's been discussed as having been intended to be one word per target, changing the ability drastically. Plus, at 10th level you have to roll 30 dice to resolve each use.

I really see no issue with being able to hit one target with all 10 words... it's really not all that great as DR applies, they can miss, and the target can fort for half. The ridiculous number of dice rolls to resolve is the real issue, especially as it means that damage for each attack has to be rolled separately too so you know which to half and which to not. It's the kind of ability that brings the game to a screeching halt and that is poor design.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Huh. That was posted more than a year ago, and they still haven't updated the PRD or the FAQ? Weird.

Shadow Lodge

SKR left paizo before a complete errata was issued, so at one point they all gave up on the ability. Basically you can go the way you want, there is the SKR version, the PDT version/s and the original version.


spectrevk wrote:
Huh. That was posted more than a year ago, and they still haven't updated the PRD or the FAQ? Weird.

It might be on account of the all the negative feedback that followed.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well, maybe it'll get a look when they're tidying things up for Unleashed.

Shadow Lodge

Its been one of the few times (actually the first time i see) the PDT shows an unfinished errata of the a "to be faqed" ability. I applaud the idea but it was counterproducent at that time considering there was a big portion of the people who vouched for the full power of weird words who felt their idea was to nerf the ability in to uslesness (someting paizo sometimes does).

Just imagine if the PDT showed that they were planning to nerf crane wing, everyone would have gone nuts, me included.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Don't get me started on the Crane Wing thing. I'll never use it in PFS post-nerf, and in my own games I'm house-ruling it to whatever it says in my copy of Ultimate Combat.

Shadow Lodge

to try to keepo this on topic, it would be a good idea to start a faq thread to ask for a errata/fix for the geisha ability duration, it could be a potentially useful archetype if its buff lasted 1 hour ( or more) as SKR posted


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Why not something like 10 min/level?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Alright, boredom on Christmas Eve left me with enough time to try writing up a usable build for the Geisha. I'm far from a pro-level min-maxer though, and a fair bit of what you'll see here is for funsies. Due to the weirdness involving the Sound Striker archetype, I replaced it with Animal Speaker:

Spoiler:
Half-Elf Bard (Geisha/Animal Speaker) 1

STR 10
DEX 16
CON 12
INT 13
WIS 10
CHA 16

SKILLS
*Acrobatics (Dex) +7
*Diplomacy (Cha) +8
*Disguise (Cha) +7
*Knowledge (nobility) (Int) +6
*Perception (Wis) +6
*Perform (Sing)(Cha) +8
*Stealth (Dex) +7

FEATS
Scribe Scroll, Agile Maneuvers

Alternate Racial Abilities:
Drow Magic, Drow-Blooded

Class Abilities
Animal Friend: Wolves (+4 Handle Animal, starting attitude is indifferent, will not attack unless attacked first)
Summon Nature's Ally I added to spell list
Proficiency with Kusarigama
Favored Class: +1 round Bardic Performance (Half-Elf)

SPELLS
1/day: Dancing Lights, Darkness, Faerie Fire
0:(4)Light, Message, Ghost Sound, Daze
1:(2)Cause Fear, Cure Light Wounds, Summon Nature's Ally I

Combat Tactics:
Make a lot of CLW Scrolls for cheap. In combat, start Inspire Courage, then summon an Eagle, then make trip/disarm/grapple attacks from the safety of 10 feet away using the Kusarigama. Stay the hell away from everything, because your AC is terrible.


I am playing one, with one level of Gunslinger (mysterious stranger) and I really like that character. Sure, you can't go in front like the normal bard, but if you stay on the ''ranged/ caster'' character it's not that bad. And the tea ceremony, even if it's underpowered (we house ruled it as 10 minutes per 2 level), can be usefull (I'm level 3 geisha, and I used it when we had some negociation with a Daimio). And the trade for versatile is not that bad: sure you loose on knowledge, but you gain a lot in diplomacy.

So no, I do think it's a viable archetype. Not a great archetype, and sure Tea Ceremony would need a boost, but it has some good point to work on.


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johnnythexxxiv wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Deadkitten wrote:
It technically combines with archaeologist bard. So use both to make the proper British explorer who has his friends join in on a good pot of tea. :p
This is kind of a hilarious twist of the rules; you get all the swift-action self-buffing of the Archaeologist without losing the ability to Inspire your party. This is obviously not RAI but I would totally allow it just because it's amusing and actually mechanically sound.
Is it actually? I don't see where you're getting the four rounds of performance from to make the tea party happen since archaeologist trades away bardic performance.

I can see this as Hilarious as a mid-dungeon break.

"By jove! Those orcs gave us a proper scrap and I can use a cuppa. Grimwald, break out the campfire bead and I'll get the pot out. Father Duggen, you have create water memorized? Excellent!"


I've always thought a coven of witches trained in perform (geisha) or a range of appropriate perform skills (dance, etc.) operating their own geisha house, with maiko (geisha in training) as witches in training, taking the charm, slumber and speak in dreams hexes to operate as a ring of seductress spies.

Not that I wouldn't use a geisha bard, but I can think of many exotic options to represent a geisha with many classes.

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