Thursday, May 14, 2020

Best Left Buried: The Bard (Unofficial)

The Bard
“Now it isn’t my fault that I, of smoldering gaze and a smile as white as moonlight, can woo three generations of uptight nobility into seeking me out whilst I lounge in their boudoir, priming my instrument for their pleasure. In truth I think it is our society which is to blame for putting such burdens of position upon young souls and souls young at heart who wish to be ravished by the imagined what if, of someone other than who they are bound. Thus the song, thus the dance, thus the dreams, thus the scandal.” - the Bard

"...Do you even hear yourself when you talk?" - Sensible Companions



Anyone will tell you that a Bard is a monster. Someone with a winning smile, an aesthetic somehow sublime even when waist deep in filth; someone with a voice that enrapts and seduces with all the possibilities of a better life.They entertain, naturally beguiling, drawing crowds and lacing their lyrics with infatuating thoughts. They fancy themselves true voices of the people, but in truth they know they can only exist among those who need their faint embers of hope enkindled. Those of true ambition, and deepest despair, have no time for such wastrels.

Secrets & Scandals: Bards have a nature about them which makes them seem good to talk to. This is universally, always, a bad idea. The Bard may, when conversing with individuals, spend a point of Grip to make a Wits check. On a successful roll, the party the Bard is talking to reveals; unintentionally, something personal or ripe for their own destruction.

This information may be a casual secret, an assumed desire, an emotional tell; not necessarily true, but something the Bard can convince others is true and manipulate for their own personal gain. The Bard holds the Upper Hand on rolls made to manipulate others into believing whatever scandal they conjure up about their victim.

The Bard may release this benefit in exchange for being held to no consequence for their wrong-doings, demanding blackmail payment, passing the blame on to another for the scandal, or manipulating the victim to anger or sorrow at the Bard’s discretion.

Bad Influence: Bards have the Upper Hand when encouraging others to engage in acts of hedonism, foolishness, bad faith, debauchery, or in pursuit of darkly-held desires. If the Bard is able to convince someone to do something they would not otherwise wish to do; such as getting a former alcoholic turned friar to succumb to drinking again, or getting a childhood crush to confess to a now married person despite the humiliation; the Bard regains 1d3 Grip. 

Celebrity Quality: Bards are adored by the public for their aesthetic, their voice, and the romanticism applied to what others assume to be natural bravado and charisma. Bards can spend a point of Grip to attract a crowd in places where this would make sense (in a tavern, the village square, anywhere in a big city.) Doing this causes the Bard to be Against the Odds with local authorities, such as respected elders, scornful parents, bitter guards, and senior religious officials.

Intolerable Company: For as much as the public adores the Bard, their companions generally find them to be troublesome at the best of times. Other members of the Bard’s party act Against the Odds to aid, rescue, or help the Bard if the Bard has made use of their Secrets & Scandal within the last 24 hours. Furthermore, if the current situation has been made overtly worse by the Bard’s Bad Influence, party members must spend a point of Grip to even attempt to aid the Bard.

Dastards and Everymen of backgrounds that would make them easy prey for a Bard do not consider the Bard to be intolerable company and may aid them as usual.

Suggested Advancements: Take Child of Prophecy if your Bard is an absolute prat with delusions of grandeur. Take Battle Frenzy if your Bard has a violent temper when things don’t go their way. Take Eldritch Pact if your Bard is only so talented and beautiful because of background dealings with monstrosities from beyond the veil.

Note: I don't like Bards, and if there has to be one in Best Left Buried, I'd enjoy it to feel like a liability to have around. They can gather crowds, they can get useful blackmail, they can do and make people do terrible things because peer pressure; because why not trust the handsome/beautiful stranger? They wouldn't lead you wrong. 

Once again I don't want to step on the niche of a Scholar class, as they deserve to have the lore abilities. Scholars can know about Ghouls, Bards can convince you they saw the deacon making love to one based on a slur of the speech or a misplaced glance. They aren't inherently musical individuals from a mechanical standpoint, but there's nothing stopping you from having them do all this while cranking a hurdy-gurdy. 

Bards are designed to be socially based, not of the greatest use in the crypt; but they can cause enough havoc to ensure you get paid ample bits more than what you signed up for by virtue of blackmailing their hosts or driving them to violence or humiliation paid for by another patron. Their downside is of course, that Bards are very scorned by authority proper---as well as most other cryptdiggers who don't much appreciate having a shitty pretty boy accompanying them, strumming on loots, and ticking off the rabble. 

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