I know people have asked these things before or assumed much, but I can't seem to find much in way to answer my questions.
Geisha Bard states:
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.
Therefore, this ceremony could be done on behalf of the party by a hired geisha while they adventure as long as she considers them her allies?
The point of Bardic performance is to put forth some sound/inspiring word to cause an effect in regards to the world, yourself or people around you. Therefore, I would think the ceremony would naturally have to affect those who can hear/see the ceremony. I haven't found a masterpiece/song that works otherwise, and frankly, it makes sense given the flavor of the archetype.
Is there some errata somewhere or some information that I'm missing? If it is the above version, it can be quite useful despite its 10minute cast time. It almost makes it worth it for the 4 rounds of bardic performance.
What are your thoughts? Any advice or can you direct me to some good authentic information?
To me it seems clear that the intent was;
1: Only people present for the 10 minute ceremony receive the benefit.
2: 4 rounds of performance expended per person receiving the benefits
3: The tea ceremony doesn't replace any other class abilities
The first of those is unstated, but seems inescapably implied. The second is stated directly. The third doesn't say anything one way or the other, and thus I assume no impact by default... the alternative would be to guess at/make up some class power to be removed.
1. We've been playing that anyone who wants to benefit from the tea ceremony must participate (be present for the full 10 minutes).
2. It's 4 rounds per participant. If you want the Barbarian and the Gunslinger to get the benefits you have to spend 4 rounds on the barbarian and 4 more rounds on the gunslinger (total 8 rounds). Note that you don't have to include yourself, so if the Geisha isn't set up as a damage dealer you can save rounds by not giving yourself the benefit.
3. As far as I can tell Tea Ceremony is giving you a new way to apply bardic performances, but doesn't actually give you the performances. Thus you can't give your allies Inspire Heroics before you would normally have access to Inspire Heroics.
the ceremony as far as i can see can do things normal performance can't.
mainly the bard doesn't need to perform while the bonus happen and the target doesn't need to see\hear the bard to gain the benefits after the ceremony is over.
might also be that in the same ceremony the bard can give different kind of performance benefit to different targets (courage to one and greatness to and other). but i could be reading that wrong. (i would allow this in my game as the investment of 4 rounds for each character and the long 'casting time' are a big investment)
Not to mention it seems very situational. You need to have 10 minutes spare to perform the ceremony then have your encounter within 10 minutes of it finishing. Even if you know in advance something might happen and can take the time for a 10 minute ceremony you could have your encounter 12 minutes after it.
Thanks for the input guys.
So here is how I see it working well. Naturally in a party you will have a spotter, or a mage scouting out the dungeon with magic eye spells/divination spells. Mark where enemies are and where they are not likely to be. Then from there, perform your ceremony before delving into the dungeon. When your time limit is up, you can always retreat to a safe spot that has been cleared out and have another ceremony.
That is how I see it working in regards to combat. While people are looting bodies, you can be setting up tea on that altar to Asmodeus and using it as a table (do this at your own risk).
In regards to skill challenges, that's a completely different story. If you are going to be going through a gauntlet and need some crazy skill checks all in a row and the bard can't follow...ceremony.
As for saves, it is somewhat useful, but only in the case where you know what lies ahead of you. If you are summoning a planar beast and need to resist its temptations, have a ceremony and chat away. Again, having a spotter or magical diviner know there is a basilisk ahead can prep the fight beforehand.
It seems useful to me for what little you give up. While bardic knowledge is powerful, I've rarely had need of the bonus you get from it when playing a bard. I usually just have someone make me a Saliharion and use my monster Charisma to know all. The armor is a hit, but I prefer miss chance anyway. You may be getting hit at lower levels, but typically I phase out armor completely on dex builds when it gets obscene anyways.