Gods for evil bards


Advice


There don't seem to be a lot. I mean, yes, the Trickery domain. But evil gods whose portfolios connect to core bard stuff like music, performance, art and diplomacy? Seems like a pretty short list.

Assume a plain vanilla bard who's doing typical bard stuff but is, you know, evil. What deity might be a plausible fit?

Doug M.


Besmara for one. Shes a goddess of strife and conflict. Perfect for a pot stirrer

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any god, just thinking about the different styles of bards. I can make a bard of Zon-Kuthon, focused more as a spy, or of Gorum, focused on oratory and inciting the masses to battle


I feel like Norgorber works well for a Bard who is a silver-tongued confidence man or a broker of secrets/blackmailer.


Entertainment is assumed to bring joy, so it's hardly an evil concept, so no wonder it rarely fits the portfolios of evil deities. If an evil bard does it, you need to ask why is he doing it, for example

A bard that creates paeans glorifying the tyrannical ruler, or is another type of propagandist, may worship Asmodeus.

A bard who specializes in using his performances to create distraction while his partner pickpockets the spectators may worship Norgorber.

A bard who is using his art and charms to seduce women may worship Calistria.


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I hear Azathoth is a music fan.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Actually, I think just about every god would have some bard followers as clergy. Perform Oratory and Knowledge Religion would make bards very adept as teachers in the temples. Bards are often equated as entertainers, but they don't really have to be. The original bards weren't laughable entertainers, they were respected members of the priestly caste.


I'll repeat what I said on your other thread: Hastur. He's not very invested in what exactly you do, because invariably you'll bring about his plans longterm...


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Cheliax is known for their operas.

Asmodeus, Asmodeus!

Rock me, Asmodeus!


Val'bryn2 wrote:
Any god, just thinking about the different styles of bards. I can make a bard of Zon-Kuthon, focused more as a spy, or of Gorum, focused on oratory and inciting the masses to battle

Yeah, but then you're building the bard towards the god. There's no god there that's a natural, obvious fit for a vanilla bard.

Doug M.


Adjoint wrote:

A bard that creates paeans glorifying the tyrannical ruler, or is another type of propagandist, may worship Asmodeus.

A bard who specializes in using his performances to create distraction while his partner pickpockets the spectators may worship Norgorber.

A bard who is using his art and charms to seduce women may worship Calistria.

All reasonable, but again, we're shaping the bard to fit the worship of a particular god. There isn't an evil deity whose portfolio includes entertainment as such. And it's really not hard to imagine such a thing! I mean, there are evil gods whose portfolios include everything from food and sex to illusions and alchemy. And there is a Great Old One (see below) which shows the thing is possible.

Doug M.


Artofregicide wrote:
I'll repeat what I said on your other thread: Hastur. He's not very invested in what exactly you do, because invariably you'll bring about his plans longterm...

On one hand, I think you're right -- Hastur is the closest thing you're going to get in the current set of deities. His writeup specifically says that bards play a particularly important role in his worship because of their ability to stage and perform his unholy play, _The King In Yellow_. And his portfolio includes decadence, which is definitely extended to art -- he's associated with artists and musicians.

On the other hand, he's a Great Old One, not a god per se. Yeah, mechanically they're exactly the same. Still. It gives him a much narrower focus. And there's still a certain amount of "shaping to the god", though less than with the others -- a bard of Hastur would presumably be into creepy, decadent art, and would be a nihilist, and would have a long term goal of performing The King In Yellow and driving a town insane or causing it to join Carcosa. Again, I agree it's the best fit so far. It's just a little... specific.

Doug M.


It makes sense that an evil deity wouldn't have "entertainment" as part of their portfolio. After all, an evil person does not perform for the benefit of others, an evil person will perform as a means to an end, be it personal benefit or ushering in the reign of dark forces.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
It makes sense that an evil deity wouldn't have "entertainment" as part of their portfolio. After all, an evil person does not perform for the benefit of others, an evil person will perform as a means to an end, be it personal benefit or ushering in the reign of dark forces.

I give you two Neutral Evil demigods, Anton and Franton. They're twins!

Anton is the evil god of creative art, and he's a god of arrogant excellence. Every chef who has abused a kitchen full of subordinates, every musician who has left a string of broken hearts behind, every artist who has justified revolting personal behavior because they are the best... they all serve Anton, whether they know it or not.

Anton's specialty is the creation of art -- music, writing, food, jewelry, you name it. He also claims dominion over jacks-of-all-trades and skill monkeys, because universal competence is one way to be the best. He welcomes ambitious strivers, and encourages them to excel by whatever means. Second Violin who wants to be move up? Arrange a little accident for the First Violin -- you're already the best, it's just accelerating the inevitable.

Anton's is a narrow niche -- he's only worshipped by artists and creative types, a few academics, and a smattering of ambitious dreamers -- but he's fine with that. He has a complex love/hate relationship with Shelyn; they're both gods of art and creativity, and Shelyn can't help but love some of his work. But he's personally such a complete dirtbag that she has to very strictly separate creation from creator.

Franton, his brother/sister, is the evil god/goddess of art appreciation. Franton wants you to enjoy that delicious meal, and never mind the starving people outside. Delight in that beautiful music -- if it's sung by slaves, well, good for you for giving a purpose to their worthless lives. "That's my last duchess, painted on the wall." You should enjoy these things, because you deserve them. You're the best, and the consumption and appreciation of beauty is how you show it.

Franton competes with Urgathoa, but her portfolio is both broader and shallower: it includes gluttony and lust, but also music, art, and more abstract appreciations of beauty and knowledge, and of course Franton is revolted by the undead. Ugly things! Away! Naturally, Franton is popular among aristocrats, the wealthy, and aesthetes of all kinds, and also among poseurs, social climbers, and those who yearn after sophistication.

Strictly speaking Anton covers evil in the creation of art, while Franton's portfolio is evil in its consumption. But there's broad overlap, and a bard could happily worship either, or both.

Doug M.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Adjoint wrote:

A bard that creates paeans glorifying the tyrannical ruler, or is another type of propagandist, may worship Asmodeus.

A bard who specializes in using his performances to create distraction while his partner pickpockets the spectators may worship Norgorber.

A bard who is using his art and charms to seduce women may worship Calistria.

All reasonable, but again, we're shaping the bard to fit the worship of a particular god. There isn't an evil deity whose portfolio includes entertainment as such. And it's really not hard to imagine such a thing! I mean, there are evil gods whose portfolios include everything from food and sex to illusions and alchemy. And there is a Great Old One (see below) which shows the thing is possible.

That's not how I've been thinking of it. What I've meant you cannot just slap a class (bard) and alignment (evil) together and be done. You cannot call him evil eithout some extra some extra details. You need to explain to me what evil thing is your bard doing and why. Also, why is he singing songs, performing etc., as that doesn't seem to be an obvious choice for someone with evil tendencies. They may be various reasons and they may all be selfish, and no deity needs to have anything to do about it. But after you have these details you can think what deity this person would worship.

For example, a lustful bard may worship Calistria (or Nocticula) because he's lustful; it's not that he's being lustful because he worships Calistria. Being lustful comes first.

Tell me more details about what kind of evil bard you have in mind, and I may try to find a suiting deity for them to worship. It probably won't be a deity of art, as I've mentioned art is usually considered a good thing and is no concern for good deities, but since 'doing performance' cannot be the only character trait thst the bard has, the other character traits may lead them to a particular choice of deity.


There are several deities that would be fitting for an evil bard.

Belial is the Archdevil of adultery, deception and desire. He is known as a seducer, creator and a deceiver. I could easily see a bard being drawn to his worship.

The Lantern King may be chaotic neutral instead of evil, and one of the eldest, but he would be a natural for an evil bard. His portfolios include laughter, and mischief. His Obedience includes telling a joke or story. How many deities have two performances listed in their obedience’s?

Socothebenoth: is the Demon lord of perversion, pride and taboos. His worshipers include hedonists, jaded aristocrats, lechers and promicuious libertines.

Entertainment is an important aspect of a bard, but it is not the only one. Knowledge is just as important to many bards as entertainment. There are a lot of deities of knowledge that would be a natural fit for a bard.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:

Cheliax is known for their operas.

Asmodeus, Asmodeus!

Rock me, Asmodeus!

Yep, I so heard this. Now it's stuck in my head! LOL


Urgathoa seems like a good fit -- consumption to excess, decadent wallowing in pleasure, all that kind of stuff. Sure, canonically that's mostly about food, but I could certainly see it expressed in music or other forms of art as well. Baudelaire on steroids, a lot of late-19th-century fin-de-sicle nihilists, certain rock musicians... the list goes on.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:


Assume a plain vanilla bard who's doing typical bard stuff but is, you know, evil. What deity might be a plausible fit?

This seems to be way insufficient information.

I could see this being a swindler bard who bilks people for money. Equally it could be a megalomaniac creating a massive cult of personality for genocidal purposes.

Both vanilla bards and both evil, but so widely different in motivations, goals and the nature of the evil that they do that they are completely different in the kinds of beings they would worship.

I'll grant that there really isn't a specific god the perfectly fits 'performing for evil' but that certainly doesn't mean that if you figure out a characters (evil) motivations and methods you can't find a god that will fit well.

I will also note that in our culture we regard art and beauty is innately good, so much so that when we see things like the work of Leni Riefenstahl, undoubtedly of artistic merit and technical brilliance but also undoubtedly in the service of one of the greatest evils we know it creates a degree of cognitive dissonance. Since, at the end of the day, the Golarion deities are products of our culture, it isn't surprising that 'evil art' doesn't really show up too much.


An evil bard doesn't necessarily need to worship a god. Add the inherent selfishness of an evil alignment to the prima-donna tendencies of many bards, and you have a recipe for a narcissist who, while he might pay lip service to a god (or many gods), refuses to bend the knee to one.


I found a bunch just scanning down the deity list on archives of nethys that make sense for a bard

Baalzebul - Arrogance, lies
Belial - deception, desire
Maeha - abduction, propoganda
Onamahli - Beauty, double standards
Zaigasnar - destructive vanity
Lao Shu Po - night, rats, thieves
Areshkagal - greed, riddles
Socothbenoth - perversion, pride, taboos
Pirias - Denial, drugs, wonder
Ruzel - Blasphemy, humor
Xhasnaphar - masks
Calcabrina - dreams, insanity, mystery

In almost every case you can find multiple evil deities that are related to the traits above. So, there are a lot of options. As others have said you just need to determine "why" the bard is evil. What evil things are they using their talents to perpetrate? Even if its just for personal glory much of what I listed above could work.


Evil bard is really too broad of a description to figure out what deity they worship. Character classes are simply a framework from which you use to build a character. You can have two characters with the same class and they can be completely different, especially with a bard. I could have a gnome bard who specializes in illusion and trickery, or I could have a warrior poet who supports the lawful good king as an advisor. Both could easily be built as a vanilla bard.

Even when you throw in an evil alignment it does not really give much more. Is the character evil because he only cares about himself and is willing to sacrifice others or his own benefit? Or is he someone who actively promotes an evil agenda? The first type of character would not necessarily worship an evil deity. They probably would not worship a good deity, but a neutral deity is quite likely. The second type will worship an evil deity.

Unless the class is getting a game benefit from worshiping a deity they are usually not restricted in who they can worship. Who an evil bard worships is going to be determined by more than just class and alignment.

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