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So...How's This Bardic Revision?

 
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Oberoni
Knight


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 386

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:03 pm    Post subject: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I orginally posted this during one of those Uncon contests on the WotC boards. It didn't even get to round two of the contest.

Hmph.

At any rate, I'm not hear to cry about it. I'm just want some input on this retooling of the Bard I did. I personally really like it...but, y'know, having other people's opinions is a good idea.

The Jack of All Trades (aka the Marshal, the Team Leader, the Red Mage Wannabe, etc.)

Alignment: All alignment restrictions have been removed. Versatility can translate as both rigid study for all contingencies and "picking up bits here and there."

Religion: Varied.

Role: The ultimate generalist and coordinator. The Jack is able to motivate, boss around, and otherwise augment the effectiveness of the party as a whole based on any number of methods. Oftentimes, the Jack is able to coordinate his party so well because he has experienced a bit of everything. As such, he makes a good "second-best" in a variety of fields.


Game Rule Information:

Abilities: The Jack relies extensively on his natural Charisma to guide his spells. Many Jacks also use their Charisma to motivate their teammates; other Jacks rely instead on accumulated Wisdom to devise the best tactics in battle.

Class Skills: As the Bard.

Class Features:

(BAB, Saves: As Bard)
(Hit Die: d8. The Jack will occasionally need to frontline.)

[CODE]
Level:

1st Inspire, Lore, Countermotivate, fascinate, inspire courage, Ignore Arcane Spell Failure (5%)
2nd Hero's Defense
3rd
4th Spontaneous Casting
5th Bonus Feat
6th Ignore Arcane Spell Failure (10%)
7th
8th
9th Bonus Feat
10th
11th Ignore Arcane Spell Failure (15%)
12th
13th Bonus Feat
14th
15th
16th Ignore Arcane Spell Failure (20%)
17th Bonus Feat
18th
19th
20th Bonus Feat[/CODE]

Class Features:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Jack is proficient with the same weapons and armor that the Bard is. Furthermore, the Jack is proficient with Medium armor.

Motivate: This is an expanded version of Bardic Music. It still grants all the Bardic Music abilities of the 3.5 Bard with all the same prerequisites. It now allows the Jack to improve himself and his allies' abilities either through music, fiery speech, or even just a sense of confidence that he instills in others.

In game terms, the Jack may motivate either through force of personality (Charisma) or common sense and carefully-chosen words (Wisdom). He makes the choice at first level, and applies the appropriate ability score modifer to his Perform check. In general, talented singers, skilled musicians, and fiery warriors tend to rely on Charisma and use Perform skills such as Oratory, Singing, or even an instrument group (much like Bardic Music currently works), while more reserved tacticians rely on Wisdom and Perform: Oratory.

Lore: As Bardic Knowledge.

Countermotivate: As Countersong. Jacks can pull apart the power of magic not just through music, but also through the strength and convictions of their words. "Don't listen to him!" and "Focus on the battle!" is often enough for a Jack to stop an enemy's Dominate from affecting his teammate.

Ignore Arcane Spell Failure: At first level, a Jack may ignore 5% arcane spell failure. This amount increases as the Jack gains levels.

Hero's Defense: A Jack may add his Charisma modifier as a bonus to his AC starting at second level. If his Charisma modifier is currently higher than his Jack level, add his Jack level to AC instead. For example, a second-level Jack with a Charisma of 14 adds a +2 bonus to his AC. If his Charisma is 16, he still only adds a +2 bonus, and must become a level 3 Jack before adding his full Charisma bonus.

Spontaneous Casting: Starting at 4th level, a Jack may convert one memorized spell a day into any other learned spell of equal or lower level. He gains one additional daily use of this ability for every four Jack levels. (In game terms, this is a compromise between spontaneous casting and the unfortunately-superior prepared spellcasting)

Bonus Feats: At the levels referenced in the above chart, the Jack learns a bonus feat. This allows the Jack to customize his general style, and to pick up some of the Jack-related feats that would be created for this class. Note that a Jack must still meet the listed prerequisites for any feat in order to take the feat.

Spells per day:

[CODE]
Level Spells Per Day: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
01 2
02 3 1
03 3 2
04 3 2 1
05 4 3 1
06 4 3 2
07 4 3 3 2
08 4 4 3 2
09 5 4 3 2 1
10 5 4 4 3 2
11 5 4 4 3 2 1
12 5 5 5 4 3 2
13 5 5 5 4 3 2
14 5 5 5 4 3 2 1
15 5 5 5 5 4 3 2
16 5 5 5 5 4 3 2 1
17 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 2
18 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3
19 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
20 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
[/CODE]

Spell Preparation: A Jack learns, prepares, and casts spells in much the same fashion that a Wizard does. Upon reaching 1st level, a Jack must choose to use either Intelligence as his key spellcasting attribute (like a Wizard), or Charisma (like a Sorcerer).

Spell List:

0: All 0-level spells listed in the PHB

1: Alarm, Animate Rope, Bane, Calm Animals, Cause Fear, Charm Animal, Charm Person, Color Spray, Command, Comprehend Languages, Confusion (lesser), Cure Light Wounds, all 1st level 'detect' spells, Disguise Self, Doom, Endure Elements, Enlarge Person, Entangle, Entropic Shield, Erase, Expeditious Retreat, Faerie Fire, Feather Fall, Grease, Hide From Animals, Hold Portal, Hypnotism, Identify, Jump, Mage Armor, Magic Fang, Magic Missile, Magic Mouth, Magic Weapon, Mount, Nystul's Magic Aura, Obscure Object, Obscuring Mist, Produce Flame, Reduce Person, Remove Fear, Silent Image, Sleep, Summon Monster I, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Tenser's Floating Disk, True Strike, Undetectable Alignment, Unseen Servant, Ventriloquism

2: Aid, Align Weapon, Alter Self, Animal Messenger, Animal Trance, Arcane Lock, Augury, Barkskin, all "anibuffs," Blindness/Deafness, Blur, Calm Emotions, Darkness, Daze Monster, Darkvision, Delay Poison, Detect Thoughts, Enthrall, Find Traps, Flame Blade, Flaming Sphere, Fog Cloud, Glitterdust, Gust of Wind, Heroism, Hold Persion, Hypnotic Pattern, Invisibility, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, Make Whole, Minor Image, Mirror Image, Misdirection, Pyrotechnics, Rage, Resist Energy, Restoration (Lesser), Rope Trick, Scare, Shatter, Silence, Sound Burst, Spider Climb, Status, Suggestion, Summon Monster II, Summon Swarm, Tongues, Whispering Wind

3: Arcane Sight, Blink, Charm Monster, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Confusion, Continual Flame, Create Food and Water, Crushing Despair, Cure Serious Wounds, Daylight, Deep Slumber, Dispel Magic, Displacement, Explosive Runes, Fear, Fireball, Fire Trap, Fly, Gaseous Form, Geas (lesser), Glibness, Good Hope, Haste, Helping Hand, Illusory Script, Invisibility Sphere, Leomund's Tiny Hut, Lightning Bolt, Magic Fang (Greater), Major Image, Meld Into Stone, Phantom Steed, Protection from Energy, Protection from [alignment], Ray of Exhaustion, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Scrying, Sculpt Sound, Secret Page, See Invisibility, Sepia Snake Sigil, Shrink Item, Slow, Snare, Speak with Animals, Summon Monster III, Water Breathing, Water Walk, Wind Wall

4: Air Walk, Arcane Eye, Bestow Curse, Cure Critical Wounds, Detect Scrying, Dimension Door, Dimensional Lock, Discern Lies, Dominate Person, Hallucinatory Terrain, Hold Monster, Illusory Wall, Invisibility (Greater), Legend Lore, Leomund's Secure Shelter, Locate Creature, Magic Weapon (Greater), Modify Memory, Neutralize Poison, Nondetection, Poison, Rainbow Pattern, Repel Vermin, Restoration, Shadow Conjuration, Shout, Solid Fog, Speak with Plants, Summon Monster IV, Wall of Ice, Zone of Silence

5: Animate Objects, Break Enchantment, Greater Command, Cone of Cold, Control Water, Control Winds, Cure Light Wounds (Mass), Dismissal, Dream, False Vision, Flame Strike, Freedom of Movement, Leomund's Secret Chest, Mirage Arcana, Mislead, Private Sanctum, Nightmare, Overland Flight, Passwall, Seeming, Sending, Shadow Evocation, Shadow Walk, Song of Discord, Suggestion (Mass), Summon Monster V, Symbol of Sleep, Telekinesis, Teleport

6: Analyze Dweomer, Antimagic Field, all "mass anibuffs," Chain Lightning, Charm Monster (Mass), Contingency, Cure Moderate Wounds (Mass), Death Ward, Drawmij's Instant Summons, Eyebite, Find the Path, Geas/Quest, Guards and Wards, Heroes' Feast, Otto's Irresistible Dance, Permanent Image, Plane Shift, Programmed Image, Project Image, Prying Eyes, Scrying (Greater), Shout (Greater), Stone to Flesh, Summon Monster VI, Symbol of Persuasion, Sympathetic Vibration, Veil, Vision

7: Animate Plants, Astral Projection, Banishment, Blade Barrier, Cure Serious Wounds (Mass), Dominate Monster, Ethereal Jaunt, Freedom, Heal, Hold Person (Mass), Horrid Wilting, Insanity, Limited Wish, Mind Blank, Magnificent Mansion, Regenerate, Repulsion, Shadow Conjuration (Greater), Summon Monster VII, Teleport (Greater), True Seeing, Wind Walk

Final design notes and reasons for changes: This guy's much stronger than the Bard, that's for sure. My starting design premise was roughly similar to the Bard's: He should be fantastic at social interaction, and second-best at everything else. You'll find that the Jack of All Trades really is the second-best divin(ish) caster, second-best healer, second-best arcane caster, second-best skill guy, etc. in the group. He's pretty good at buffs, especially those granted from his ability to Motivate. In terms of melee combat, he's certainly tolerable, but won't overshadow any front-line fighter. In terms of versatility, he's unmatched; his ability to spontaneously cast a few spells a day means that the party won't be caught with its pants down very often. It also means that the other party casters don't need to worry quite as much about preparing utility spells, as the Jack should have that covered.

I would also like to discuss why I altered Bardic Music. Quite simply, I find the idea of a guy running around strumming his guitar in a battle to be a bit...odd. I also find the lack of mechanics that define the roll a good leader can make in combat to be a bit annoying. With this, I kill two birds in one stone. Not only can the Jack of All Trades still be a bard, but he can also be a Batman or Captain America, if you will--not the strongest person on the team, but versatile and able to effectively coordinate an attack.

I'll put it this way: Even though the Jack of All Trades isn't as combat-powerful as a Cleric, Druid, Wizard, or Psion, I'd actually consider playing one.
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Oberoni
Knight


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 386

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 10:42 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I will say that there's some things I need to change on this, but I'm not exactly sure how I want to go about doing it.

I want to change the arcane spell failure reduction so that it doesn't take so long to eventually hit the point where you know just what sort of armor you want to wear.

I also want to add some more useful stuff at the higher levels.
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Neeek
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 653

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, you could just have him get 20% Ignore Spell Failure at level 1, but have it only apply to "Jack Spells" or whatnot. Then have it go up at your current rate.

The Wisdom bit seems completely pointless, btw. You have abilities that key off of Charisma, so I can't imagine anyone taking the Wisdom path unless they were some Bad Idea(A cleric/jack hybrid). Of course having the option doesn't hurt either way.

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Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:30 pm    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Is there any compelling reason why your bard or any bard can't completely inherit the sorceror's spellcasting list? Like, completely inherit with a few bard-only spells.
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Oberoni
Knight


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 386

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 10:43 pm    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You mean with 9 levels of spells?
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Lago_AM3P
Duke


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:41 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yes.

It seems to be the absolutely simplest way to make both classes playable; all of a sorceror's uniqueness and flavor is already either related to a bard or a wizard, so why not make the bard the sorceror?

I also don't see any compelling reason why bards can't or don't conjure up mountains of steel and stone for castle construction for a spell (PoA), create evil duplicates (simacrulum), permanently dominate the minds of stupid beasts (enchant monster), trap someone's soul forever (soul trap), or even grant wishes--other than stupid legacy mechanics.
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Oberoni
Knight


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 386

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:34 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, that's another project, and it's not my goal, honestly.

I really do want the Bard to be second-best at everything, not just to be a conflation of the current Bard and the Sorcerer.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:04 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

But 7th level spells don't make you the second best at spellcasting. At 17th level, the Wizard is the best at Arcane Spellcasting. The guy who is second best at arcane spellcasting is his aprentice - the 15th level Wizard cohort.

Having only 7th level spells at 17th level means that you have the spellcasting abilities of the cohort of your cohort - which means that you are third best.

That's the harsh relaity of exponential-base levels. If you are more than one spell level behind, you're a fvcking joke. The Mystic Theurge is a hillarious prank, and so is this. Basically, you've locked people into taking more and more levels of this class because they'll have wasted their levels already so invested if they don't - but you're having them grow slower than other spellcasters with each level. In short, they have the choice of multicasting (and being many levels behind right now), or monocasting (and gradually accumulating levels of power debt forever), and either option sucks.

If you want them to be the second best in spellcasting, just don't even give them spellcasting at first level - give them spellcasting at third level. But give them full spellcasting at that point - just as if every damn level they ever took was a Wizard level from then on. And don't even slow down the other bonuses. Just keep piling on the new spells and class features. Your third level class feature is "from now on you are also a Wizard", but it doesn't have to go any farther than that.

-Frank
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Oberoni
Knight


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 386

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:59 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

I will consider that. Where would you include the traditionally-clerical spells I've added to that list, then? You think that it's still workable to have them as eligible for the Jack spell slots as well? I'm not going to lie, I want that to be a part of the mix as well.
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RandomCasualty
Prince


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The real problem I see with this guy is his inability to fight. For a guy that's supposed to potentially be a frontliner, having cleric BaB and no great buff spells pretty much means you suck. Now I suppose he could go using wands of divine power, but I figure you might as well just give him divine power/divine favor as spells.

As for the spellcasting, I think you're more or less on the right track with it. Since this guy is kinda like a fighter/mage/cleric mix, just being 2 spell levels behind a normal caster makes him far too good, considering that's how many levels the Mystic theurge is behind and he's only getting d4 hit dice and crap for skill points.

I'd keep a spellcastng progression similar to what you have, just add more spells from the cleric list, or possibly allow him to cast any spell from the cleric, wizard and druid lists. That'd probably make him the most versatile. You may want to leave out deity specific spells like commune but other than that, i see a good jack of all trades having a huge spell list.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:53 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC wrote:
The real problem I see with this guy is his inability to fight.


True. The second best Fighter in the long run is in fact the Fighter (after the Divine Caster), but even at first level, the second best Fighter would be the Warrior. Having a cut-rate BAB and no combat bonuses makes you fight like a Wizard for your first two levels, which means that you are actually the worst Fighter.

So really, if you gave them a full BAB and didn't modify them otherwise, they'd be the second best Fighter for a while (and then start to stink later on). If you kept giving them class features of some kind, I could imagine them keeping the covetted "second best Fighter" position in the party.

-Frank
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Oberoni
Knight


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:47 am    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ok, so ideas bouncing around in my head:

1. Give this guy a delayed caster progression; in other words, make him like a Wizard from level 3 on.

2. Tack on more (or even all) spells from the divine spell lists--in particular, the combat buffs such as Divine Favor.

3. More class features! Not sure what exactly, though. he already gets a lot of skills, bardic music, spells, and bonus feats. Any other ideas?
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RandomCasualty
Prince


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For the spellcasting, I'd really stick wtih the idea of expanding the spontaneous casting ability to more uses per day, perhaps 1 for every 3 or even 2 levels.

Then it's ok for him to have only 7th or even 6th level casting as the goal is to create the most versatile caster in the party, not necessarily the most powerful. Skilled players will find great ways to make that spontaneous casting ability really count even if it is limited to 6th level spells. And it makes him feel different from a core class mystic theurge.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: So...How's This Bardic Revision? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I would prefer something like being able to spontaneous cast off of one spell slot of each spell level he has available. This keeps him from just spontaneous casting all of his combat spells at high level and getting him to do what you actually want him to do - which is to spontaneously cast Knock at 11th level when there's a door in the way.

As to feeling different from a Mystic Theurge - I should damn well hope so. Mystic Theurges are weak like a ninja at levels 4-7, fairly shitty at levels 8-16, and puzzlingly useless at levels 17 and up. Being different from a MyTh isn't enough. If a bag of tricks character is to be viable, they had better be better than a MyTh.

And that's one of the reasons I hold that getting less than a full BAB out of this class screws the pooch from the get go. Being a viable second-bester means being about two levels behind at any particular task. As soon as you can be 3 BAB behind at level 9 - you've already failed. You're in animal companion territory.

If you don't get spellcasting for two whole levels, you'll be casting like a cohort, which is what you want. Fighting at a reasonable level rquires class features and a BAB. If you start by giving out the BAB, you can start giving the fighting class features at higher levels - say fourth or fifth. I'm not sure what the class can do at first or second level, but actually standing around with a pile of skills and a BAB of +2 is not a terrible thing for a second level character to do with his life - so maybe you don't have to worry about it overmuch.

Note that this entire concept - the "everything theurge", while it is probably balanced, is not multiclasable. Once you step onto these rails, you can't get off. Ever. That's a fundamental fact of the way D&D works. Taking levels in XXX doesn't increase your level-dependent effects of YYY. That makes multiclassing a vicious prank unless you are mixxing levels of XXX and XXZ.

-Frank
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