Can a bard / barbarian maintain Inspire Courage while Raging?


Rules Questions

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I know there have been several threads floated around over the past few years that tackle this issue. But I've not seen anything definitive that helps to carry this topic out of the "grey" area. So this is more of a FAQ request to help clear up a core issue that has been debated for quite a few years now.

Argument For:
Inspire Courage CAN be maintained while Raging because none of the Rage restrictions are being violated. Inspire Courage is not listed as requiring Concentration or Patience and does not require a Skill Check to use.

Argument Against:
Bardic Performance is a collection of magical effects that are described as being created by use of the Perform skill, regardless of whether any skill check is made or not. Since Perform is a Charisma-based skill that is not given as an exception in the Rage description, it is disallowed.

Feel free to post your arguments FOR or AGAINST the use of Inspire Courage while Raging. But also please hit the FAQ button to see if we can get this answered definitively.


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Concentration is defined in the game by effects which require a concentration check to perform, almost explicitly for spellcasting, whether it's casting defensively, or maintaining a spell effect.

Patience, however, is not. The dictionary definition refers to "bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like," which Bardic Performance does not apply to, since it's an activity that doesn't require an (excessive) amount of time or issue to utilize.

Also, the Bardic Performance only cites the Perform skill when you are actually required to make a Perform check, usually with the likes of Fascination or Countersong.

All of this results in Bardic Performances (sans ones that require usage of the Perform skill) to be usable with Rage.

I don't personally agree with that sort of thing, but the rules all point toward Bardic Performances like Inspire Courage to work with Rage.


Bardic performance is using the Perform Skill, which is a Charisma-based skill. The only Charisma-based skill you can use while raging is Intimidate.


Thank you, gentlemen, for perfectly expressing WHY such a FAQ is needed. :)

Please hit the FAQ button.


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Brf wrote:
Bardic performance is using the Perform Skill, which is a Charisma-based skill. The only Charisma-based skill you can use while raging is Intimidate.

Not for Inspire Courage. You aren't required to make a Perform check, or use the Perform skill, unless it says you have to in relation to the performance being used.


Also, Urban Barbarian/Urban Bloodrager (and Enlightened Bloodrager at level >=4) get an explicit ability to use Charisma-based skills.

Finally, Skald by definition has to be able to use all their performances with Rage (at least their own Raging Spellsong), because otherwise their class features just wouldn't work.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Not for Inspire Courage. You aren't required to make a Perform check, or use the Perform skill, unless it says you have to in relation to the performance being used.

Is that true? The description of Bardic Performance implies you are using the perform skill.

Quote:
Bardic Performance: A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects...


This would generate another question:

Are you considered using a Skill even if you don't make a skill check for it?

Or phrased another way: If you're not making a roll, taking 10, or taking 20, then can you still be considered to be using a Skill?


From the Perform skill:

Perform wrote:
Special: A bard must have ranks in specific Perform categories to use some of his Bardic Performance abilities.

The Perform skill is not required for all Bardic Performances, only for those that specifically call them out. You can just as easily not have any ranks or be unable to use the Perform skill (for whatever reason), and you can still utilize the benefits of Inspire Courage, because the Perform skill is only required for the Bardic Performances that specifically cite you to make a check.


Elbedor wrote:

This would generate another question:

Are you considered using a Skill even if you don't make a skill check for it?

Or phrased another way, if you're not making a roll, taking 10, or taking 20, then can you still be considered to be using a Skill?

If you don't have to make a check, then you aren't using the skill in question.

And I don't mean that your skill is so high that you can't possibly fail it, I mean if the situation doesn't require a skill check, such as using the guard's keys instead of using a lockpick (Disable Device) to get out of a jail cell.


Let me weigh in here for a moment, because I think it's important to remember that Rage is actually talking about two things. Skills and Abilities.

For Skills, you can't use any Charisma-based Skill other than Intimidate.

For Abilities, you can't use any that require patience or concentration.

Bardic Performance is an ability, so it would default to the Abilities section. And nowhere in the Performance section does it say that using this ability requires patience or concentration.

Now some Performances require skill checks, so those Performances could not be used during a Rage because the Perform skill check needed to activate them can't be made.


That said, if we give weight to where the Bardic Performance description says "A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects...",

then we must ask ourselves, can we be considered to be using a skill if we're not rolling or Taking 10 or 20?


Elbedor wrote:

Let me weigh in here for a moment, because I think it's important to remember that Rage is actually talking about two things. Skills and Abilities.

For Skills, you can't use any Charisma-based Skill other than Intimidate.

For Abilities, you can't use any that require patience or concentration.

Bardic Performance is an ability, so it would default to the Abilities section. And nowhere in the Performance section does it say that using this ability requires patience or concentration.

Now some Performances require skill checks, so those Performances could not be used during a Rage because the Perform skill check needed to activate them can't be made.

That is exactly what the rules say, and how the RAW is adjudicated.

Bardic Performance is a Supernatural or Spell-Like Ability (depending on which performance you use), meaning it's treated as an Ability, not a Skill.

I can add on here, to say that Bardic Performances which are SLAs would also not work, as they would function as Spells, which require concentration to cast.

You're only using the Perform skill when the Bardic Performance requires it. This means that only those Bardic Performances would fall under the "Can't use Charisma-based Skills" clause of Rage, and not be usable.

Everything else, is fair game.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Brf wrote:
Bardic performance is using the Perform Skill, which is a Charisma-based skill. The only Charisma-based skill you can use while raging is Intimidate.
Not for Inspire Courage. You aren't required to make a Perform check, or use the Perform skill, unless it says you have to in relation to the performance being used.

I found this post which confirms you are correct, and the line I quoted is just flavor-text left over from 3.5.


It really does come down to the line "Bardic Performance: A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around him, including himself if desired. He can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + his Charisma modifier."

Because this says you're "using" the perform skill regardless of if you're making a perform check, but by simply using any bardic performance you're using a perform skill. And inspire courage needs either visual or vocal aspect. So you're definitely doing something that could be considered based on a perform skill, just that the quality of the skill doesn't factor into the effectiveness of the ability.

The other view is that the line must just be fluff because the perform skill isn't mentioned in certain performances, just that you need to say if you're doing auditory or visual aspect for some reason.

I'd love to have it work, but I just can't see that first line as something to ignore. Now an urban rager could since they can use that skill.


It's not required to use a Perform skill to do any Bardic Performance check. The Perform skill even says that only some of them require the Perform skill to use certain performances.

Since there are performances which spell out that a Perform check of XYZ is required, it leads the precedent that a performance does not require a Perform check (much less the Perform skill) unless it specifically says it does. Therefore, the general rule then becomes "Perform skill not required," unless the specific performance itself requires it, in which case it would be noted.


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Brf wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Brf wrote:
Bardic performance is using the Perform Skill, which is a Charisma-based skill. The only Charisma-based skill you can use while raging is Intimidate.
Not for Inspire Courage. You aren't required to make a Perform check, or use the Perform skill, unless it says you have to in relation to the performance being used.
I found this post which confirms you are correct, and the line I quoted is just flavor-text left over from 3.5.

JJ isn't a rules guy. He's good to ask for Golarion-specific things, or for a different perspective on things, but saying he's a rules source would be wrong (and he'd agree with it).


Interesting. Brf just conceded his point to you, Darksol. But you appear to be arguing against the quote that is agreeing with you.

Although to JJ's benefit, he mentions in his following post that he was involved in the Bard's design. So I'd probably give weight to his word on this matter.


Elbedor wrote:

Interesting. Brf just conceded his point to you, Darksol. But you appear to be arguing against the quote that is agreeing with you.

Although to JJ's benefit, he mentions in his following post that he was involved in the Bard's design. So I'd probably give weight to his word on this matter.

JJ has been wrong about rules before (most notably about how Shield Spikes interact with enhancing shields), and he has said that he isn't a rules guy, meaning that generally speaking, JJ's statements should be taken as just that: statements.

Granted, being the designer behind something provides significantly more weight than being a creative director for the universe that Pathfinder is based on, that was a factor not previously disclosed (nor explored on my behalf), meaning all I had to go on was a statement.

That being said, the argument I presented should stand for itself, JJ's input not withstanding. Maybe I'm just being a little over-prideful about this than I should be (which is funny, considering I originally came in here saying that Bardic Performances during Rage shouldn't be allowed, even though they are); the argument is presented, whether it's overturned or not, time will tell. Until then, I'll bow my head out of this one.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Couldnt the bard just perform some death metal while raging?


"A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects."

is an absolutely true statement. Taking that to mean, that all of the abilities that are listed under bardic performance and produce magical effects require using the perform skill would be unwarranted however.

Some bardic performances require using skills, some do not.


I consider Bardic PERFORMance to in fact be using Perform skill.
Because it said so, and even if we don't care about the check result, we are still using the Perform skill, just as if a commoner picks up a flute around the campfire they are using Perform skill even though the check result has no mechanical effect (at most is a general guide for how nice the performance was - which applies the same to Bardic Performance).

"A bard must have ranks in specific Perform categories to use some of his Bardic Performance abilities."
Covers the fact that specific bardic performance abilities may be tied to specific Performance types (e.g. Oratory, Wind Instruments, Dance) as well as having higher training requirement. (Perform by default is usable Untrained, including for Bardic Performace unless otherwise stated by specific Bardic Performance ability)

But you are still using Perform skill for Bardic Performance, and you must choose a specific mode of Perform skill (e.g. Wind Instrument, Dance, Oratory) each time you do so, even if there is no specific mechanical effect directly tied to Performance (other than general assessment of how pleasing of a performance it is, in normal non-Su terms). But a Perform skill usage is still being made, and effects readied vs Perform skill usages still work against it, etc. You cannot say "I am not using any Perform skill modality" i.e. be immune to anything which might be apply to any of those (e.g. limitation of other class ability in OP's case), you must be using one of those modalities of the Perform skill even if most of the time you don't really care about the check result (in combat terms, general aesthetic judgements still apply... "Alain, damn we kicked those Orcs' green hides... But PLEASE, do not play that song again in that way, it really was painful.")

Honestly, I am surprised Paizo has never implemented a simple "Counter Performance" mechanic by which one Bard can negate anothers' Performance effect with opposed skill checks.. Existence of such would be another case where allowing Bardic Performance without usage of a Performance skill mode would be broken, since saying "I'm not using Performance skill just Bardic Performance SU ability, so there is no basis for opposed skill check" is just a means of evading potential hostile mechanic, just as it is a means of evading limitation on usage of Perform skill (and just as it is a means of evading normal aesthetic judgement of one's performance talent :-)).


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skill checks

Quote:
whenever you attempt to use a skill, you must make a skill check.

The very definition of using a skill is making a skill check it is not optional. No skill check = not using the skill.

Dark Archive

Quandary wrote:

"A bard must have ranks in specific Perform categories to use some of his Bardic Performance abilities."

Unless the ability indicates specifically that it requires a Perform check, then it does not require (or use) a Perform check and can be used while raging. If the ability states that a Perform check is needed, then it can't be used while raging.


right, that's why the commoner blowing in a flute around the campfire still makes a check.
and why a bard blowing in a flute while using BP still makes a check, even if the check result isn't used by BP-specific mechanics.
direct and up front, bardic performance is about using performance checks, which you can apply special Su effects to.
(some of which effects directly correlate to skill check result, some don't, but are still applied on top of Perform skill usage)


"A bard must have ranks in specific Perform categories to use some of his Bardic Performance abilities."

all that line says is that some BP abilities are tied to having ranks in specific perform categories... leaving others to be category-agnostic within the perform skill which default doesn't need ranks to be used as skill.


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Quandary wrote:

But you are still using Perform skill for Bardic Performance, and you must choose a specific mode of Perform skill (e.g. Wind Instrument, Dance, Oratory) each time you do so, even if there is no specific mechanical effect directly tied to Performance (other than general assessment of how pleasing of a performance it is, in normal non-Su terms). But a Perform skill usage is still being made, and effects readied vs Perform skill usages still work against it, etc. You cannot say "I am not using any Perform skill modality" i.e. be immune to anything which might be apply to any of those (e.g. limitation of other class ability in OP's case), you must be using one of those modalities of the Perform skill even if most of the time you don't really care about the check result (in combat terms, general aesthetic judgements still apply... "Alain, damn we kicked those Orcs' green hides... But PLEASE, do not play that song again in that way, it really was painful.")

Honestly, I am surprised Paizo has never implemented a simple "Counter Performance" mechanic by which one Bard can negate anothers' Performance effect with opposed skill checks.. Existence of such would be...

There is no such bolded wording in the Bardic Performance entry. Not even the first sentence alludes to it. It says that when you use a performance, it must have one of two components, visual and/or auditory, and that's defined under each performance as to what components you provide; but that has nothing to do with using a Perform skill to do them.

In fact, JJ has specifically stated that you only use a Perform skill for a performance when it cites a skill check is needed, such as with Distraction, and for ones that don't cite a skill check (Inspire Courage), you don't use the Perform skill. I only reference this because JJ himself primarily designed the Bard class when it was released for Pathfinder; otherwise, I wouldn't use it as a "rules answer." (No offense to JJ, of course.)

Here is the post that says he was the "lead designer" in regards to the Bard class, and here is the post that says the first sentence of the Bardic Performance entry is flavor text left-over from 3.X, that it only has bearing on Bardic Performances which cite a Perform skill check.

**EDIT**

They do have a "Counter Performance." It's called Countersong.

Countersong wrote:
At 1st level, a bard learns to counter magic effects that depend on sound (but not spells that have verbal components.)

There it is, most Bardic Performances are magic effects (SU) that depend on sound (audible components). It doesn't work for visual components, but for Performances that rely on audible components, there is this. It also requires a Perform check, so you can certainly have one negate the other, though it ends up being a game of Counterspell, except with Performances.


Y'know, this actually makes me want to ask...why not just play a Skald?


Inspire courage stacks w rage, inspired rage does not.


Collectively, the issue seems to be resolving here.

JJ is clear to say that he's worked on the Bard and so knows how it is designed and that the key text important to the "No Inspire while Raging" camp's argument is only fluff and not rule.

We know according to the CRB that if you want to use a skill you must make a skill check. So if you're not making a check, then you aren't using a skill.

We know Raging does not limit the use of charisma-based abilities such as negative channeling at your enemies, unless those abilities are described as requiring patience or concentration or a forbidden skill to activate.

We know that Rage's limit on skill use doesn't apply to Inspire Courage, because no skill is being used.

That said, if you haven't hit the FAQ button for this, please consider doing so. It would be nice to have a finalized answer one way or the other instead of some shade of grey.


Java Man wrote:
Inspire courage stacks w rage, inspired rage does not.

And Skald is not an option for any home game or PFS game focused on CORE.


So I found something interesting today

"This ability is similar in all respects to bardic performance as used by a bard of the storyteller's medium level (including interactions with feats, spells, and other abilities), and uses Perform (act), Perform (comedy), or Perform (oratory) as the storyteller's performance skill. However, a storyteller gains only the following types of bardic performance: inspire courage (2nd level), inspire competence (3rd level), inspire greatness (9th level), and inspire heroics (15th level)."

This is from an RPG line book, and says it's limited to certain perform skills, yet none of the types of performances it can do require a skill check. So why say it can only use certain skills as the performance skill if none of them need a performance skill?

This seems to indicate that while JJ might have been in charge of porting the Bard, and at the time didn't mean to include the first sentence, the current team seems to indicate that all of them use a skill.


(edit: never mind, just me being a muppet)

Performances can be associated with a skill without requiring the use of that skill.


That sounds like a conflict between the various developers, because that text violates the CRB rule that if you are using a Skill, you must make a skill check.

As Chess Pwn points out, even though it gives various Perform skills that are used "...as the storyteller's performance skill", there aren't actually any skills being used.

This would seem to indicate that the Storyteller as a supplemental class is in conflict with the established core rules. The editors might want to clean that up sometime. Because what is the purpose of having any ranks in Act, Comedy, or Oratory if they are never actually used?

Or as dragonhunterq shows, the class may be drawing an association of some type between a skill and an ability. The key point though is that the skill is not actually being used to trigger the ability. So the Rage restriction is not being violated.

Liberty's Edge

Which skill you use to enact a bardic performance is relevant because it determines the audible / visual component. For instance, inspire courage can be either audible or visual - the text says the bard chooses one when starting the performance. If it is visual then Oratory, Keyboard, String, Percussion, Wind, and Sing performance types are all out.

Of course, since you don't have to make a roll that seldom matters... but what if our Storyteller bard with their limited performance selection went with 'Oratory' and then got hit with a silence effect? Or used Act and then a darkness spell blocked ally sight of them?


Well, I would be glad if they FAQ this...

As far as JJ goes, AFAIK he has recused himself from Rules rulings, and Paizo has also made rulings that basically went with implication of RAW that wasn't explicitly decided at time that rules were written, so I don't necessarly think JJ's opinion on this is definitive.

The auditory/visual component issue is important here IMHO, some types of performances have specific performance types requirements tied to either of those, but even for the ones that don't it still matters what type of performance you are using for those shut-down scenarios like silence/darkness, and you need to choose that upfront when starting the performance.


Quandary wrote:

Well, I would be glad if they FAQ this...

As far as JJ goes, AFAIK he has recused himself from Rules rulings, and Paizo has also made rulings that basically went with implication of RAW that wasn't explicitly decided at time that rules were written, so I don't necessarly think JJ's opinion on this is definitive.

The auditory/visual component issue is important here IMHO, some types of performances have specific performance types requirements tied to either of those, but even for the ones that don't it still matters what type of performance you are using for those shut-down scenarios like silence/darkness, and you need to choose that upfront when starting the performance.

But the specific performance linked to the bardic ability still isn't using the perform skill. It is the use of the skill that is restricted, not it's association with a different ability.

If using the bardic ability depended in some way on a skill check then rage would prevent it, as it is it generally doesn't.

Grand Lodge

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I fundamentally disagree with allowing the Barbarian to maintain Inspire Courage while raging. RAW may support it, but RAI does not. The class description should include restrictions for charisma-based skills and abilities and is remiss in that regard. Inspire Courage is a charisma-based ability, since as OPs and JJ have said, it does not specifically require a skill check, but is bounded by charisma bonus for number of rounds per day.

The APG includes 2 rage powers:
1. Reckless Abandon: Attack +1, AC -1
2. Inspire Ferocity: Use a move action to confer Reckless Abandon to allies within 30'.

So, in stark comparison, by taking 1 level of bard, the barbarian can bypass 4 class levels and undercut 2 rage powers with the superior Inspire Courage ability, including a damage bonus and no AC or action economy penalties? (...besides the fact that, logically, knowing how to yell and scream as a frothing barbarian is not the same thing as having the focused presence of mind to know how and be able to inspire allies to grant combat bonuses).

I agree that this issue desperately requires FAQ treatment and rules revision.

IMO, if you want to be a Barbarian, you can use rage powers and Intimidate. Otherwise, if you want to make use of hybrid classes that have additional charisma support (beyond limited rage powers), consider Skald (or even Bloodrager). Otherwise, word-smithing rage+bardic performance because of an obvious gap in the class text doesn't really work (at least not for me).

Barbarians don't have the presence of mind while raging and the APG rage powers would seem to confirm that observation, as well as the intended restrictions for raging barbarians and how they confer bonuses to allies.


Barbarians as frothing morons is not the only way to play a barbarians rage.

Grand Lodge

I don't recall using the word "moron".

Rage, by definition, sidelines clear-headed reasoning, represented in the form of defined class restrictions -- except for things that are aligned with rage (as with intimidate) or where they have specifically trained as a barbarian to do them as part of their class training (as with rage powers).

As for words like "frothing," "seething," "savage," or other synonyms, when barbarians rage, those non-exclusive, extreme adjectives would seem to be very common descriptors. It's not like they're serving tea, while delicately fuming, after all. ;)


We had the same discussion awhile back about whether a Barbarian could sneak attack while raging; because one of my players also DM's and in his game he rules No, because to him sneak attack requires a level of focus and attention that you clearly don't have while raging. I rule Yes, because I view Rage to be more of an adrenaline surge than a berserker fury.

Anyways, not trying to derail the thread, I'm just pointing out that it's going to come down to a lot of table variations. Normally I would argue for Yes, that Skald shows they wanted to make a class around this concept, and yet I can see arguing No, because Skald could just as well have been created because Barb/Bard doesn't function together...

Honestly, doesn't your Barbarian raging naturally inspire courage in the group anyways? LOL

Bardic Performance wrote:
Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Changing a bardic performance from one effect to another requires the bard to stop the previous performance and start a new one as a standard action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the bard is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round.

Rage does not prevent free actions. It also cannot be disrupted, reasoning that if you started Inspire Courage first, you could Rage the second round, not disrupt it, and maintain as a free action.

Bardic Performance wrote:
A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around him, including himself if desired.
Rage wrote:
While in rage, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.

Perform is CHA based. So that creates the issue. Of course, one could rule the same type of "performance" to Inspire Courage could also be used to Intimidate... But then again you just end up with a House Rule.

Inspire Courage wrote:
A 1st-level bard can use his performance to inspire courage in his allies (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the bard's performance. (SNIP) Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability. Inspire courage can use audible or visual components. The bard must choose which component to use when starting his performance.

What if the performance was simply "Visual Component: me raging"? Are we classifying "performance" to require use of the Perform skill, despite no actual die roll being made?

Skills, Perform wrote:

You are skilled at one form of entertainment, from singing to acting to playing an instrument. Like Craft, Knowledge, and Profession, Perform is actually a number of separate skills. You could have several Perform skills, each with its own ranks.Each of the nine categories of the Perform skill includes a variety of methods, instruments, or techniques, a small sample of which is provided for each category below. (SNIP)

Oratory (epic, ode, storytelling)

Does raging prevent you from talking, yelling, strategizing and giving commands? How about simply Perform (battlecry)?


FrozenLaughs wrote:

We had the same discussion awhile back about whether a Barbarian could sneak attack while raging; because one of my players also DM's and in his game he rules No, because to him sneak attack requires a level of focus and attention that you clearly don't have while raging. I rule Yes, because I view Rage to be more of an adrenaline surge than a berserker fury.

Anyways, not trying to derail the thread, I'm just pointing out that it's going to come down to a lot of table variations. Normally I would argue for Yes, that Skald shows they wanted to make a class around this concept, and yet I can see arguing No, because Skald could just as well have been created because Barb/Bard doesn't function together...

Honestly, doesn't your Barbarian raging naturally inspire courage in the group anyways? LOL

Bardic Performance wrote:
Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Changing a bardic performance from one effect to another requires the bard to stop the previous performance and start a new one as a standard action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the bard is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round.

Rage does not prevent free actions. It also cannot be disrupted, reasoning that if you started Inspire Courage first, you could Rage the second round, not disrupt it, and maintain as a free action.

Bardic Performance wrote:
A bard is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around him, including himself if desired.
Rage wrote:
While in rage, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.
Perform is CHA based. So that creates the issue. Of course, one could rule the same type of "performance" to Inspire Courage could also be used to...

Popping in to say that GM would be wrong to rule that way, because Sneak Attack is not something that is defined (nor characterized) as requiring concentration (which is exclusively related to casting spells) or patience (not properly defined, but considering Sneak Attack's benefits are instantaneous, I don't see how patience, according to the dictionary definition, would apply here).

In fact, here's what the Sneak Attack feature says:

Sneak Attack wrote:

If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target...

...The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

So let's see here. Sneak Attack has the following synopsis:

-Applies when an enemy cannot properly defend themselves from the attack being made.
-Conditions are set for whenever the target is denied their Dexterity Bonus (via Flat-footed and Feinting), or when being flanked by the PC and some other goon.
-Must be able to see the target properly to attack them, and must have reach to them (which is fairly obvious).
-Does not apply to enemies with some form of concealment, probably a corollary/condition to the third bullet of the synopsis.

Do you see ANYTHING in that ability which mentions concentration, patience, focus, or attention? No? Then quite frankly, your GM is putting words into an ability when they aren't there, and should be swatted on the nose with a newspaper.


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Keep in mind that regardless of whether Bardic performance is tied to a skill, you are not actually using that skill. The rule of Skill Use in the CRB is that if you are using a skill, then you must make a skill check. As Inspire Courage doesn't require a skill check, then you are not 'using' a skill.

What you ARE doing is using a Supernatural ability that is tied to a Charisma-based skill, but that ability doesn't actually involve using that skill in the case of Inspire Courage. It can't, because to say you are using a skill and not making a check for it is breaking RAW.

Rage only restricts certain skill uses and any Abilities that require patience and concentration...none of which Inspire Courage demands. If Inspire Courage required a skill check to activate or was described as needing patience or concentration, then and only then would Rage restrict it from being activated/maintained.

But we know this is not the case.

I believe Inspire Courage falls into the same category as Channel Energy.
They are both Supernatural Abilities.
They are both Charisma-based.
Neither are described as needing patience or concentration.
Neither require skill use to activate.

This makes them ok to activate/maintain while Raging.

Grand Lodge

As above, I disagree. You and others are side-stepping the fact that the barbarian class includes two rage powers that define what is required for a barbarian to be able to "inspire" others during rage. And, they require four levels of barbarian to obtain -- at the rate of 1 rage power/2 levels.

Reckless Abandon and Inspired Ferocity are how a barbarian shares his attack bonus, along with an AC penalty, no damage bonus and a 30' range limitation for which allies are affected.

Rule-smithing the class description to do an end-run around the defined barbarian rage restrictions and undercut existing rage powers with a single level of bard to get the superior Inspired Courage ability doesn't really work, regardless of the fact that the barbarian class description appears to be remiss in not more explicitly excluding charisma-based abilities (such as performance).

So, unless someone has an explanation for the existence of Reckless Abandon and Inspired Ferocity in the APG (which appeared after the CRB and against the canvas of the long-standing debate on this issue), the rest of the discussion about skills, patience, concentration, performance, etc. is moot. Further, the justification of saying that you get the ability because you have to take a level of bard is not a sufficient exchange (vs. four barbarian levels for the notably less powerful rage power version).

Otherwise, if Inspired Courage is really going to be allowed while raging, then every barbarian who wants to inspire should just take a level of bard and completely ignore the defined barbarian rage powers and 4 required class levels. In that case, Reckless Abandon and Inspired Ferocity are just a waste of space in the APG, right?

And, finally, many rage powers are supernatural abilities where a rage power is required to use them during rage, so the fact that Inspire Courage is also a supernatural ability does not support its use during rage in the absence of a dedicated rage power.


Reckless abandon stacks with inspire courage and scales with levels. At lv4 barb is giving +2 to hit while a dip of bard is +1 to attack and damage.
At lv12 the barb would be giving +4 attack while the dip would still be +1 to attack and damage.

Grand Lodge

Yes - I understand the scaling issue and it is also important to remember that the AC penalty also scales.

The point is that the abilities are similar in intent, the barbarian rage versions have limitations/penalties, and it takes a dedicated rage power (Inspire Ferocity) -- implying class training -- to be able to share the bonus while raging (along with the related limitations). The limitations are indicative of what a barbarian is able to manifest and share with allies while raging.


not in the slightest. Sorry, but the game just doesn't work that way.


I'm sorry, what does a Rage Power have to do with Bardic Performance working while raging in general? They don't have anything to do with each other, they function independently, and have their own mechanics.

Inspire Ferocity is a Rage Power, not a Bardic Performance, that requires the Reckless Abandon Rage Power to take, and can be taken as early as 3rd level (presuming you spend a feat on Extra Rage Power to acquire it). Rage Powers are only active while Raging, meaning if you want to benefit from any Rage Powers, you must apply all the benefits and drawbacks of Raging.

Here's what it says:

Inspire Ferocity wrote:
While raging, the barbarian can use a move action to impart her reckless abandon modifier to all willing allies within 30 feet for a number of rounds equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

Based on the text, that is either a one-time application that all allies can use or not use (until it expires), or it's an aura that moves with the Barbarian (until it expires), affecting all allies within the listed area. Considering that Reckless Abandon applies similar to Power Attack, I'm inclined to say it functions as the former.

Now, Inspire Courage is a Bardic Performance, not a Rage Power, and it requires taking a level in Bard (or some other class that grants it, though it may require more levels if you do so).

General rules of Bardic Performance has this to say:

Bardic Performance wrote:

Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the bard is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round. A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

Each bardic performance has audible components, visual components, or both.

If a bardic performance has audible components, the targets must be able to hear the bard for the performance to have any effect, and many such performances are language dependent (as noted in the description). A deaf bard has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with an audible component. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Deaf creatures are immune to bardic performances with audible components.

If a bardic performance has a visual component, the targets must have line of sight to the bard for the performance to have any effect. A blind bard has a 50% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with a visual component. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Blind creatures are immune to bardic performances with visual components.

And here's the Inspire Courage description:

Inspire Courage wrote:
A 1st-level bard can use his performance to inspire courage in his allies (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the bard's performance. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. At 5th level, and every six bard levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +4 at 17th level. Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability. Inspire courage can use audible or visual components. The bard must choose which component to use when starting his performance.

So, based on this text, let's break down what the conditions and effects for Inspire Courage and Inspire Ferocity are:

Inspire Ferocity
-Rage Power
-Requires Raging to use (Free Action to activate, remains active until a Free Action is spent to deactivate, or run out of Rage rounds)
-Requires allies to be within 30 feet, either constantly or upon activation, does not affect self
-Requires a Move Action to use
-Duration scales off of Charisma, no mental skill required, nor does it require patience or concentration.

Inspire Courage
-Bardic Performance
-Requires a Standard Action to activate and a Free Action to maintain it for each consecutive round.
-Must pick either a visual or audible component upon activation
-Allies must be able to perceive the performance, depending on which component is chosen (range limit is equal to the distance/ability on which allies can perceive the character)
-Cannot be disrupted, but immediately ends under a slew of conditions or inability to spend a free action to maintain it.
-Can only use or maintain a single Bardic Performance at any time; trying to maintain multiple by self ends the foremost one used.

Now that we got them broken down as to what they are, what they do, and what their noted limitations are, let's take a Barbarian 4/Bard 1 PC as an example. Now, in the first round of combat, I can initiate Inspire Courage as a Standard Action, Rage as a Free Action, and apply Inspire Ferocity to all allies in range as a Move Action.

In essence, I activated the Rage class feature, activated a Bardic Performance, and activated a Rage Power all within that round. This is all legal, both action-economy wise and stacking wise.

So you're telling me that these don't stack, why, exactly?


He's saying that they've shown what a barbarian can inspire while raging, inspire ferocity, and that they couldn't possibly inspire something that doesn't follow the same path as inspire ferocity, especially if it's "better" than inspire ferocity.


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HoloGnome wrote:
The class description should include restrictions for charisma-based skills and abilities and is remiss in that regard.

If rage would prevent all charisma-based abilities (exept intimidate), that would stop Inspire Ferocity, too. Seriously, you gave an example of a charisma-based ability that inspiries others while raging and try to use it as an example why a barbarian shouldn't be able to use charisma-based abilities that inspiries others while raging?

HoloGnome wrote:
(...besides the fact that, logically, knowing how to yell and scream as a frothing barbarian is not the same thing as having the focused presence of mind to know how and be able to inspire allies to grant combat bonuses).

If you can't see how being angry can be an inspiring performance, you obviously have never seen the likes of hooligans or a riot where some angry guy whips up the mob. Quite frankly, charging into battle can be an excellent inspiration to others. You're telling me you need to have a "focused presence of mind" to do that?

HoloGnome wrote:
(...)because of an obvious gap in the class text (...)

Your definition of "obvious" seems to significantly diverge from mine.

You may think dipping a level and spending a standard action during the first round of combat for a meager +1 to attack and damage is overpowered, but I'd rather pounce in that first round. Of course, the +1 to attack only applies to your allies and not to yourself, because you lost 1 BAB from the dip.

Your arguments have no basis in the rules, no basis in class and ability design (they made an entire class thet does exactly what you're saying is impossible), no basis in class balancing, and no basis in reality.

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