Creative ideas for a bard who doesn’t sing?


Advice


So my wife hates the idea of bards because they sing or play instruments. I would like to make one that can do all the things like inspire but without singing or using a flute. I like how in 2E they use occult magic so maybe that can be used in a creative manner? So no feats or class dips, just pure imagination and creativity please. Any help is welcomed.


Perform (dance) is already an option. If you want to be creative you can reskin it as Perform (juggling) or something.


She hates bards but wants to play one?

Aside from that oddness, you could always just use a different perform skill. Hell, you could use Perform (comedy) and tell really, really good jokes- jokes so good that they inspire courage in others or demoralize your foes. The only thing you can't do without an instrument/singing is countersong, which is a pretty situational ability anyways. Comedy and Oratory work just fine for every other bard ability.

So go ahead and build George Carlin or Martin Luther King Jr. No singing or instruments needed. This isn't a very creative response, but honestly it's all you really need to make a non-musical bard.


One classic concept is a Perform (Oratory) Bard that is essentially just a military commander shouting orders.

Perform (Dance) can be flavored as just being your fighting style (the Dawnflower Dervish archetypes double down on this idea but you don't need them to do this at all).

There's a character in my current campaign who's literally just Chaucer from A Knight's Tale. Perform (Comedy), this particular example is a Court Bard that sasses enemies to debuff them but again you don't need that archetype to swing this concept.

There are a lot of ways to do a Bard that don't involve an instrument at all.


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You could try being a silent bard. Otherwise known as.... The dreaded mime!


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Arachnofiend wrote:
One classic concept is a Perform (Oratory) Bard that is essentially just a military commander shouting orders.

I considered a bard that was essentially doing "sports commentary" using (oratory) for a while.


Percussion gives a fair bit of leeway as well... from stomping your foot on the ground, punching a wall, to banging a weapon on a shield.

Hell, if you did it right, you could smash things on the enemy to create a percussive rhythm. =)


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Pan, definitely not a Kitsune wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
One classic concept is a Perform (Oratory) Bard that is essentially just a military commander shouting orders.
I considered a bard that was essentially doing "sports commentary" using (oratory) for a while.

I'm not sure if this would be better if you were mimicking golf or soccer.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Pan, definitely not a Kitsune wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
One classic concept is a Perform (Oratory) Bard that is essentially just a military commander shouting orders.
I considered a bard that was essentially doing "sports commentary" using (oratory) for a while.
I'm not sure if this would be better if you were mimicking golf or soccer.

"And Korzok the Skullcrusher steps up for his next swing. The terrain has been rather difficult today, so he's been having some trouble keeping up his usual rate of decapitations today. And he swings, and... a solid par. Good show." *Polite clapping*

Sovereign Court

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You could give orders like Captain America does at the end of the first Avengers movie.

Captain America scene in Avengers:
Captain America: You need men in these buildings. There are people inside and they're going to be running right into the line of fire. You take them to the basements, or through the subway. You keep them off the streets. I need a perimeter as far back as 39th.

Police Sergeant: Why the hell should I take orders from you?

[the Chitauri attack. Cap blocks a blast with his shield, bats one Chitauri away with it, then blocks a point blank assault, punches another in the face, he grabs one of their weapons and then punches the Chitauri, flinging it across the street]

Police Sergeant: I need men in those buildings. Lead the people down and away from the streets. We're going to set up a perimeter all the way down 39th Street.


Heather 540 wrote:
You could try being a silent bard. Otherwise known as.... The dreaded mime!

In my long-ago D&D2e campaign mimes were the most feared people in the largest city in the setting because they were rumored to be assassins. They were a bard kit that I created. I don't know how balanced they were, but we had fun.


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Stand up Comedy. He bardic performance is trolling


There are a lot of nonmusical bardic archetypes. Archeologist comes to mind, and there are a lot of other scholar-adventurers.

Flame Dancer bards don't sing: they dance. A firedance can let your allies see through smoke and flame. If she gets an Eversmoking Bottle, she can effectively Blind all the party opponents without Blinding her allies, potentially turning every combat into a cakewalk/curbstomp.


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There are Geisha Bards.

You could make something up for just about any kind of performance you wanted to. It probably wouldn't take too much effort to make a Lawyer Bard.


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Breakdancing is the classic bard performance and should always be used while fighting. Optionally with boot blades or something if you want to get really into it.


So your wife wants to play a bard mechanically without ANY of the fluff. That’s... not a good way to play a roleplaying game, imo.

But if you must, try some of the archetypes, as has been suggested. Many of them trade the singing and instrument playing away for different, sometimes similar, powers. They often suck though, but that’s the price you pay for trying to have your cake and eat it too.


May I suggest the ring leader? While you can still do the traditional bard stuff... you're basically Hannibal of the A Team. You give orders and they enact your song later on when they feel like it. Makes for a really fun way to say "ok you go that way quietly and open the safe. Here is a safe cracking bonus"


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Kelvorn wrote:
So my wife hates the idea of bards because they sing or play instruments. I would like to make one that can do all the things like inspire but without singing or using a flute. I like how in 2E they use occult magic so maybe that can be used in a creative manner? So no feats or class dips, just pure imagination and creativity please. Any help is welcomed.

Comedy or Oratory.

I prefer oratory, although dirge of doom could be a great comedy roast character.


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Reksew_Trebla wrote:

So your wife wants to play a bard mechanically without ANY of the fluff. That’s... not a good way to play a roleplaying game, imo.

But if you must, try some of the archetypes, as has been suggested. Many of them trade the singing and instrument playing away for different, sometimes similar, powers. They often suck though, but that’s the price you pay for trying to have your cake and eat it too.

Well here's a grognard without a creative bone in their body


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Whistling is kinda fun. It's really common, and a fun sort of way to raise people's spirits without being artsy.
There's also the mute musician; taking the archetype as a naturally telepathic race, you could inspire people without all that hum-drum humming or drumming.

You could go for something more unlikely and do one of those living statue street performances, or a geek show if you're into hanging yourself from hooks or eating weird stuff in battle. Make sure you have a bite attack and the proper gravitas to really hammer home that you are eating people, and Bob's your uncle


There are a lot of performances that don’t require and instrument or singing. The only class ability that you may have problems with is countersong. The list of perform skills that it can use other than singing all use instruments. As several people have suggested percussion instruments may work.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
There are a lot of performances that don’t require and instrument or singing. The only class ability that you may have problems with is countersong. The list of perform skills that it can use other than singing all use instruments. As several people have suggested percussion instruments may work.

It's true that you technically cannot countersong without an instrument based performance skill or performance sing. But considering how the ability works oratory or comedy or maybe even acting should be usable by a gm that is the least bit lenient. Especially considering how rarely that ability comes into play.


Comedy Juggling! But don't forget, the comedy is there to serve the juggling.


A Drill Sergeant. Always shouting. Always rude, crude and in-your-face.
But she'll get people to rise above themselves all the same.

"Singing? Playing the violin? Are you trying to mock me, child? Get out there and kill me some Orcs, or I'll play you like a violin. And child, you'd be the one singing then!"


I've had a couple bards where my DM let me take perform oratory and my bard would write poems about te battle as it happend, thus kind of "fating" my allies into a better position. The other I worked with my DM to simply make a perform. It was Perform: Artistry, and my bard would paint a picture of the battle as it happened.

Alternatively, theres no need to be using perform/inspire courage, take the sound striker archetype and shout people to death.


Comedy: mock your opponents into submission
Oratory: rap battle
Dance: combine with booth blades or unarmed strike/monk for capoeira


Kelvorn wrote:
So my wife hates the idea of bards because they sing or play instruments. I would like to make one that can do all the things like inspire but without singing or using a flute. I like how in 2E they use occult magic so maybe that can be used in a creative manner? So no feats or class dips, just pure imagination and creativity please. Any help is welcomed.

Dervish of dawn bard archetype with perform dance.


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Reksew_Trebla wrote:
So your wife wants to play a bard mechanically without ANY of the fluff. That’s... not a good way to play a roleplaying game, imo.

Whoa there. "sing or play instruments" is not the fluff of a Pathfinder Bard. It can be, but it's not be default - the description does not emphasize these performances, and is fairly clear in that you can use any performance subskill (as showcased by the "performance with visual component" ruletext).

In addition to archetypes like Archaeologist, Busker, or Dawnflower Dervish, I want to highlight the Stonesinger Bard - the performance is "a subsonic vibration", so no one hears or sees anything.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Comedy Juggling! But don't forget, the comedy is there to serve the juggling.

Watch out. The enemy will allays go for the juggler.

You can also go for the Cleric(Evangelist), which uses Perform(Oratory) and gets to be a full nine level caster.

/cevah


I love the idea of the mime, but the way that people always hate on mimes...I mean, should he just wear a target?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My last bard was a scholarly type, whose "instrument" from her equipment kit was a quick reference book on monster types and whose "performance" was reciting facts about the creatures and strategies to counter them using Perform (oratory). It helps that I sound really pedantic and scholarly naturally. Rousing pre-battle speeches show up in every fantasy movie for a reason, and war drummers are a real-life example that's shown up in numerous cultures throughout history. (Technically drums are an instrument, I suppose, but far from the delicate and silly perception some people get of bards.) There's lots of options.

Dark Archive

Perform (oratory) combined with a student of military history and tactics, offering advice and inspirational rhetoric during combat, or a religious evangelist using quotes from scripture and homilies to provide bardic inspiration are my two favorites.


If you're going to use Perform (act) to create a mime, be sure to get this appropriate masterpiece.

And yeah, there's a lot of ways to be a bard without singing. Acting is good, oratory is good--and if you think of all of the great historical speeches before/during a battle (even if they were mostly made up after the fact), there's a lot of IRL precedent for a talking bard. Heck, every sports movie ever has that scene in the third act where the coach comes into the locker room at halftime and inspires everyone...

And of course there is the single best inspirational use of Perform (oratory) in history.

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