Bard Spellsongs

Most bards know numerous songs and stories to enthrall their audiences. However, some songs are special and have magical effects on their listeners. These are spellsongs. Bard spellsongs are different than either wizard spells or cleric prayer spells. Bards cannot cast either.

For spell-songs of levels 1-2, the bard only needs to play the instrument of his or her choice for one round prior to casting the spell itself. Spell-songs of levels 3-5 require the bard to both sing and play an instrument for that one round, requiring success on both skill checks.

Those songs that are more combat-oriented often require the bard to sing and/or play an instrument during the actual spell duration, which is limited only by the bard’s Constitution. If for any reason the song itself is interrupted, that attempt is ruined and cannot be tried again until the next day. It should also be mentioned that a bard many not employ the effects of more than one spell-song at a time – both will cancel each other out.

First Level Spell-Songs

The Eternal Wanderer
Range: 0 (bard + recipients only)
Area of Effect: Bard and anyone within 10’ (+2’/level of bard)
Duration: 4 hours +1 hour/level of bard
Description: When sung, this song allows the bard and anyone within his or her immediate vicinity to move at increased speed without tiring. While the spell is in effect, the recipients’ movement rates are tripled, and they do not tire. In this way, many miles may be covered in a matter of hours, with no ill effects on the travelers. After singing this song, the travelers must spend an equivalent number of hours resting as were spent traveling.

Lights of the Faerie
Range: 10’ + 10’/level of bard
Area of Effect: 30’ radius
Duration: 6 turns
Description: This song creates a series of shimmering lights that dance around any target, organic or not. They provide the same amount of light as a conventional light spell, providing enough light to illuminate an area with a radius of 30’. The lights themselves dance and flicker, seeming to have lives of their own. Apart from dazzling any creatures with animal intelligence or lower (save vs. paralysis or be stunned for 1d6 rounds), this song has no other effects.

The Seeker of Magic
Range: 0 (bard only)
Area of Effect: An area 20’ x 20’ x 20’
Duration: 6 turns
Description: When sung, thus song reveals the magical nature of all magical items within the area of effect. All magical items, including those worn, will have a soft blue halo about them for the duration of the spell. There is a 3% chance per level that the bard can identify correctly the exact nature of the magical object(s) examined – though he or she will not be able to find out the number of charges (if any).

Demerris’ Resolve
Range: 0
Area of Effect: Any one living creature
Duration: 2 turns
Description: When the song of Demerris is sung and the bard lays his hand on any living creature, the creature is instantly calmed and any fear is removed. If this spellsong is used on a victim of magical fear (such as the reversed clerical spell, cause fear), the victim gets a saving throw at +3 to shake the effect of the fear.

For four levels of experience above first, the bard may touch one more person: 2 at 5th level; 3 at 9th, etc.

Lyndon’s Orchestra
Range: 0 (touch)
Area of Effect: 1 instrument
Duration: 1 turn/level
Description: By chanting this spellsong, the bard can transform one musical instrument into another of similar size and equal value. Any hand-held instrument can be altered into any other hand-held instrument. However, to obtain a large instrument, such as a base harp, organ or any other instrument that Is too large or heavy to be easily carried, the bard must start with an equally large instrument.

In any event, the value of the new instrument is identical to the original. A golden recorder will generate a silver plated lute, a child’s drum will generate a nonfunctional lyre, etc.

Bards use this spell to save both money and equipment carried. It is a lot cheaper to buy a single instrument and alter it when another is needed.

If the instrument the bard wishes to alter is being carried or played by another character, a successful attack roll against the opponent’s AC must be made in order to touch the instrument.

Sonora’s Lullaby
Range: 30 feet
Area of Effect: Special
Duration: 5 rounds/level
Description: When the bard sings of Sonora and her decades long slumber, s/he can induce a comatose sleep similar to the magic-user spell, sleep. This spellsong affects all (including friends) within 30 feet of the caster, however, like the magic-user spell, it is also affected by the hit dice of the victims. The spellsong affects 2d4 (+1 for every level of the caster) hit dice or levels. Creatures with the least number of hit dice are affected first and partial effects are ignored.

For example, a lone second level bard sings Sonora’s Lullaby and rolls a 6 on 2d4. He therefore affects 8 hit dice of creatures. If his targets are six goblins and an ogre, he would affect all of the goblins (6×1 hit dice each) but not the ogre because there is not enough left over to affect the four hit dice of that creature. The bard should probably think about running!

Sound Bubble
Range: 0
Area of Effect: Special
Duration: 10 rounds +1 round/level
Description: When this spellsong is performed, an invisible bubble springs into existence. It can either be centered on and mobile with the bard or cast on an area. The mobile bubble has a radius of 10 feet while the area bubble has a radius of 5 feet per caster level. The bubble has only one effect: sound cannot pass through it. Thus sound generated within the bubble cannot be heard by those outside and vice versa.

Bards often use this spellsong to enhance the quality and effect of their performances. It also functions nicely when a bard wishes to use one of his talents in a dungeon or other limited setting in which noise is sure to draw unwanted attention.

This spellsong provides a defense against sound-based attacks such as harpy singing, a horn of blasting, etc. if the attack comes from the opposite side of the bubble.

Dance Macabre
Range: 10 yards
Area of Effect: 1 corpse
Duration: 1d4 rounds plus 1 round per level
Description: This spellsong tells the tale of of an ancient king who returned from the dead to save his people. When sung with magical effect, it causes a single dead body (roughly man-sized) to animate, moving like a marionette according to the bard’s wishes. The body’s crude and clumsy movements do not allow it to attack nor to perform precise or delicate actions. However, it can lift and drop heavy objects with both hands.

The corpse has 1d8 hitpoints and an AC appropriate to its clothing or armor. A turning attempt successful against zombies dispels this enchantment, causing the corpse to drop to the ground.

This spell is often used to animate a fallen enemy to frighten its former allies. Seeing such a sight should trigger a morale check!

Second Level Spell-Songs

Blissful Slumber
Range: 0 (bard + recipients only)
Area of Effect: Bard and anyone within 10’
Duration: 0 (instant effect)
Description: When this song is sung, all within its area of effect will instantly feel as though they have just had a full night’s sleep. Any penalties for fatigue are eliminated, and parties otherwise needing to sleep for the night will be able to do without rest. The effects of this spell-song may not be utilized for more than three days in a row, nor may this song be sung more than four times a week. Otherwise, the bard and his or her companions will suffer penalties for fatigue as per the normal rules – the body can go without sleep only for a short while.

Eye of Kertigen
Range: 0 (bard only)
Area of Effect: An area 20’ x 20’ x 20’
Duration: 6 turns
Description: When this song is performed, the bard is able to see clearly any objects or beings that are invisible, as well as any that are astral, ethereal or out of phase. In addition, it enables the bard to detect hidden or concealed creatures (for example, thieves in shadows, forestors in underbrush, etc.). It does not reveal the method of concealment or invisibility nor does it reveal illusions or enable the bard to see through physical objects.

Flight Be True
Range: 20’ + 10’/level of bard
Area of Effect: One arrow, quarrel, or sling stone.
Duration: Special
Description: This spell-song allows the bard to temporarily enchant one missile weapon attack per round of battle. As long as the bard is singing and playing his or her instrument, and is succeeding in all required checks, he or she may select one missile attack for enchantment. That attack gains an extra +4 to hit, as well as the ability to injure creatures that would normally be immune to non-silvered or non-magical attacks. The bard may sing this song for an equivalent number of rounds as his or her Constitution score, after which time he or she will pass out for 1d4 hours. If the spell- song is stopped before then, no ill effects result.

Friends of the Piper
Range: 60 yards
Area of Effect: 10 foot cube
Duration: Special
Description: The bard who performs this spellsong summons a swarm of small animals or insects that will viciously attack all creatures in the area chosen by the bard. Creatures actively defending against the swarm to the exclusion of other activities suffer 1 point of damage for each round spent in the swarm. Those taking other actions, including leaving the swarm, receive damage equal to 1d4 plus 1 point per three levels of the bard for each round in the swarm. Note that spellcasting within the swarm is impossible.

The type of creatures summoned are found by using the following table:

Dice RollSwarm Type
01-40Rats
41-70Bats
71-80Spiders
81-90Centipedes/beetles
91-100Flying Insects

The swarm cannot be fought effectively with weapons but fire and area effects can force it to disperse. By inflicting damage. The swarm disperses when it has taken a total of 2 hit points per bard caster level. A protection from evil spell or all good things spellsong can keep the swarm at bay and magical gusts of wind or clouds cause the swarm to disperse immediately.

The bard must continue to sing the spellsong and concentrate in order to maintain the swarm. Otherwise, it disperses after two rounds. The swarm is stationary once summoned.

Guardian Angels
Range: 0 (bard + recipients only)
Area of Effect: Bard and anyone within 15’ (+5’/level of bard)
Duration: 10 rounds
Description: Once sung, this spell-song provides the bard and other recipients with a bonus of -2 to their armor classes for the duration of the spell-song’s effect. This bonus is applied against all attacks by opponents. This spell-song also provides the recipients, for its duration, an immunity to all effects from other bardic spell-songs.

The Hero’s Chant
Range: 0 (bard + recipients only)
Area of Effect: Bard and anyone within 10’ (+2’/level of bard)
Duration: Special
Description: This spell-song works in much the same way as a bless spell does – it confers a bonus of +1 on all attack and damage rolls against opponents, a +1 to saving throws, and a +1 bonus to morale. Unlike other combat-oriented spell-songs, this one must be sung continuously in order for its effects to be used. The bard may sing this song for a length of time in rounds equivalent to his or her Constitution, after which he or she will fall unconscious for 1d4 turns. If he or she stops singing before this point, there are no ill effects.

Music No More
Range: 60 yards
Area of Effect: One creature
Duration: Special
Description: When this song is sung, the bard chooses a subject victim. If the victim fails a saving throw versus spells, it becomes totally deaf and unable to hear any sounds. An affected creature has a –1 penalty to surprise rolls unless its other senses are unusually keen. Deafened spellcasters have a 20% chance to miscast any spell. This deafness can be done away with only by a dispel magic spell, magic’s end spellsong or by the caster him/herself.

Still Night
Range: 60 yards
Area of Effect: 20’ diameter sphere
Duration: 2 rounds/level
Description: This song has the effect of creating a sphere of silence 20’ wide – not unlike the cleric spell silence 15’ radius. All sound is stopped: communication is impossible, spells cannot be cast and no noise issues from or enters the are. The sphere is stationary unless cast on a mobile object or creature. If the spell is centered on a creature, the effect then radiates from the creature and moves as it moves. An unwilling creature receives a saving throw vs. spells. If successful, the spell effect is centered about one foot behind the creature and does not move. This spellsong provides a defense against sound-based attacks such as harpy singing, a horn of blasting, etc.

Third Level Spell-Songs

All Good Things
Range: 0. (bard only)
Area of Effect: Creates a protective circle 30’ around the bard.
Duration: Up to 1 turn per Constitution point
Description: With this spell-song, the bard evokes all things good and pure that exist in the world, and creates a veritable circle of protection with a radius of 30 feet around him- or herself that works in a manner identical to the spell protection from evil. To maintain the circle of protection the bard must go on playing or singing, and can do so for up to one turn per Constitution point. This spell-song can be dispelled only by the Magic’s End spellsong, or by incapacitating or interrupting the bard for at least one round; a silence spell may also work.

The Epic
Range: 10’ (+5’/level of bard)
Area of Effect: An area 20’ x 20’ x 20’
Duration: 12 rounds
Description: This spell-song allows the bard to create, from his or her imagination, any battle scene. The scene will be realistic, and all those seeing it must save vs. Spells in order to see its true nature, otherwise they will be awed by what they see – being stunned for 1d4 rounds. Most often, the scene is of an epic battle, or of a great hero defeating his foes. The images can be placed anywhere within range, such that the party can appear to be bolstered by several powerful-looking warrior or wizards. In any case, all images have an armor class of 9, and it touched will disappear. As with phantasmal force, those “killed” by an illusion will fall unconscious, but only for 1d6 rounds.

Requiem Melody
Range: 120’
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Duration: Special
Description: This spell-song is always directed against one specific creature that must be within the range of the song. When the bard begins to sing this requiem, the target is overcome with grief and sorrow (1 to attacks and damage, no save) and must make a saving throw vs. Spells in order to avoid the other effects of the song. If the saving throw is successful, the penalty lasts only as long as the bard continues to play the song, which is a maximum of 1 round per Constitution point. If the saving throw fails, the victim starts crying and despairing and cannot do anything else but stab him or herself with whichever weapon is handy (or bare handed if there is none available). The self-inflicted damage is real and weapon masteries do not count in calculating the damage. This fit of madness can last for a maximum number of rounds equal the bard’s Constitution (see rules above). The song works only against an intelligent (i.e.: those with an Intelligence of 3 or higher) creatures. Whether or not the bard stops singing before a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution has passed, he or she must make a Wisdom check to hold off the Psychic energies that were summoned with the spell-song. If the check succeeds, the bard is stunned for 1d4 rounds; if it fails, the bard passes out for 1 round per round spent singing.

Song of Binding
Range: 30’ (+ 10’/level of bard)
Area of Effect: Up to four people within range
Duration: 1 round/level of bard
Description: This spell-song is similar to the magic user spell hold person. The bard can paralyze up to four people of Medium size (up to 7’ tall), two people of Large size (7+’ to 12’ tall), or one creature of Huge size (12+’ to 25’ tall); it has no effect on creatures larger than 25’ in height (Gargantuan size). The victims must be inside the range of the song and must listen to the song for at least one round in order to be affected. Each victim can avoid the effects of the song by making a successful saving throw vs. Paralysis. The paralysis lasts for one round per level of the bard and can be dispelled in the normal ways (such as the spell free person), or by the reverse of this song (see below).

View From Afar
Range: 0 (bard only)
Area of Effect: 0 (bard only)
Duration: 3 turns
Description: The effects of this spell-song are much like that of a crystal ball. Upon singing the song, the bard can see any location up to five miles away. He or she only needs to know the name of the place, and a brief description, in order to see it. His or her point of view of this location can rotate up 360 degrees at will, but cannot move. The bard may look at different locations within the duration by naming different places and descriptions, and so may obtain a form of “movement” in this way, though far less accurate than that of a wizard eye spell. This spell-song cannot allow the bard to see through solid objects, or any place shielded by magical wards or enchantments. Also, while the spell-song is in effect, the bard is in a trance-like state; there is no awareness of surroundings or events. Should the bard be injured in any way, his or her concentration is broken, and the spell-song is ruined.

Fourth Level Spell-Songs

Breathstealer
Range: 20’ + 10’/level of bard
Area of Effect: Anyone within an area measuring 30’x30’x30’
Duration: Special
Description: When sung by the bard, anyone within the area of effect must save vs. Spells at -2, for each round in which the spell-song is in effect, or begin to suffocate. As long as the bard sings, the victims must make a save every round, losing three points of Constitution temporarily if they fail, losing nothing if they make it. In either case they are able to move normally, though those failing their save must make a Constitution check (at the reduced score if they failed a saving throw) in order to do so while they are within the area of effect. Every time the victim fails the saving throw, another three points of Constitution are lost. Victims within the area of effect who have failed their saving throw also have their movement rates halved as long as they are suffocating. In addition to this, suffocating victims cannot cast spells, speak, or make any attacks, and death will result if their Constitution score reaches zero. The bard may sing this song for as many rounds as he or she has Constitution points. Should the bard sing until his or her Constitution reaches zero, he or she will pass out for 2d6 rounds. It should be noted that everyone within the area of effect (including a bard’s friends!) will be affected by this spell-song. Lost points of Constitution are regained at 1d3 points per full day of rest.

Magic’s End
Range: 60’
Area of Effect: A cube 20’x20’x20’ in size
Duration: Permanent
Description: When sung by the bard, this spell-song will instantly dispel all spells and spell effects within range. Unlike the mage spell dispel magic, there is always a chance that the target(s) of this spell- song may resist its effect. The base chance is 20% for all spells and spell effects of a level equal to or lower than that of the bard singing this song. This chance increases by 5% for every level that a spellcaster is higher than that of the bard. For example, a 7th level bard wishes to dispel a cloudkill spell cast by a 12th level mage. The spell has a 45% chance of resisting the spell-song’s dispelling effect. The same rules apply for dispelling spell-like effects – except that the DM must estimate the level of the mage who crafted the item in order to determine its resistance factor. While this spell may seem weak, it is essential to remember that the bard is not a full spellcaster by profession; rather, it is one of many crafts known. As such, all spell effects from spell- songs are bound to be weaker than their wizardly counterparts.

Mind Render
Range: 50’
Area of Effect: Anyone within a 30’x30’x30’ area
Duration: Special
Description: This spell-song, when sung, induces in every sentient being within the area of effect an insane fear of all that is around them, unless they make a saving throw vs. Spells at a -2 penalty each round they are in the area of effect. Those who make this save each round, or who leave the area, are unaffected. Those who fail any save while in the area instantly become delusional – fearing that everyone around them is out to get them. There is a 50% chance each round thereafter that they will launch into a frenzied assault on the nearest person, regardless of whether they are friend or foe. All such attacks are made at an additional +1 to hit and damage, on top of regular Strength bonuses. This effect will occur even if the victim who failed his or her saving throw leaves the area of effect, and will last for a number of hours equal to the level of the bard. This effect may be removed by a normal remove curse spell, a wish, or any other magical means of removing enchantments. The bard may play this spell-song for a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score. If he or she does not stop playing before then, the bard may continue playing, but must make a save vs. Spells each round, or fall under the same effects as the intended victims. It should be noted that this spell-song is indiscriminate, affecting everyone within the area of effect – even a bard’s friends.

The Miracle of Love
Range: 80’
Effect: All within range who can hear the song
Duration: 24 hours
Description: This most powerful spell-song requires the bard to play his or her instrument for at least one minute to touch the heart of the intended victim and make him or her feel love for another person (not an animal or a monster). The victim who fails his or her save vs. Spells (at a .3 penalty) will love the subject of the spell-song passionately, for a period of 24 hours from the time of the failed saving throw. They cannot refrain from showing their love. In game terms, this means the “bewitched” victim of this spellsong is treated as though they were charmed by the “lover” for the whole day, at the end of which the song’s effects expire, and their original feelings resurface. This effect can only be dispelled by performing the Magic’s End spellsong, or by a remove curse spell cast by a cleric of 15th level or higher.

Song of Freedom
Range: 30’ (+ 10’/level of bard)
Area of Effect: Up to four people within range
Duration: 1 round/level of bard
Description: This spell is the opposite of the third level spell-song called Song of Binding. It has the same range of the Song of Binding, and can be used to permanently negate all paralyzing effects in the area. As long as the duration lasts, all paralyzed creatures in range are allowed a new saving throw vs. Paralysis each round to free themselves of any paralyzing effect that is holding them.

Fifth Level Spell-Songs

I Am Become Death
Range: Touch
Area of Effect: 50’ radius
Duration: Up to 1 round per Constitution point
Description: One of the most powerful and deadliest spellsongs of the bard, this is normally used against evil creatures or in very dire situations. By playing this song, the bard makes all those within 50 feet of the bard who fail their saving throw vs. Spells believe that the bard is death incarnate. They start seeing him as a dark, cloaked grim reaper armed with a silver scythe and fear him to the point of avoiding any contact with him (this means they will not engage in melee combat with him). All the others who make their saving throw are simply unnerved by the bard’s presence and make all attacks against him or her at -2. The bard must play for two rounds before the effects of the spell-song take place, then they last for up to one round per Constitution point of the bard without any need for him or her to go on playing; the bard must however keep on singing. All the people who failed their saving throw who are touched by the bard (normal hit roll) faint instantly and remain comatose for 20 rounds minus their Wisdom score; at the end of this period, they awake and realize it has all been an illusion. If the bard touches a person who was inside the spellsong’s area of effect when he or she first played the spell-song, but made their saving throw, nothing happens. This power can be dispelled with a Magic’s End spell-song or by casting dispel magic.

Dance With Me
Range: 0’ (bard only)
Area of Effect: 30’ radius
Duration: Up to one round per Constitution point
Description: This spell-song is very similar to the magic-user spell dance. In this case, the bard plays his or her instrument and all those who are within 30’ of the bard, and who fail their save vs. Spells, begin to dance uncontrollably following the rhythm of the song. While they dance they cannot cast spells, fight or dodge, and cannot activate magical objects. They are totally caught up in the dance and do not pay attention to anything else around them. They move following the source of the sounds and cannot thus exit the area of effect of the spell-song, unless somebody pulls them away by force (a Strength check is required). If they are somehow hurt while dancing, they ignore the pain and keep on dancing. The victims of this spell suffer the following penalties: -4 to their saving throws; -4 to every skill check; and their armor class is calculated using only their magical bonuses and without the shield (if any). The bard may continue playing this wild spellsong for a number of rounds equal to his or her Constitution score; if he or she stops, the whole effect ends. The effect can be canceled also via a Magic’s End spell-song or a silence spell; dispel magic has no effect whatsoever.

Fantasy
Range: 120’
Area of Effect: Up to 15 Hit Dice of creatures within range.
Duration: Special
Description: When invoking this spell-song, the bard can affect up to 25 Hit Dice worth of creatures (i.e., one 25 HD creature, five 5 HD creatures, 25 1 HD creatures, or any other combination). The player indicates which creature(s) he or she wishes the bard to target, and the DM secretly determines how many of those creatures are affected. From the 25 Hit Dice maximum, the DM should first subtract the larger Hit Die creatures, and then apportion the remainder (if any) among the weaker creatures. If any Hit Dice are left over, either because all of the creatures have been affected, or because there are not enough to affect the remainder, they are lost. Once the creatures have been chosen, they must save vs. Spells or succumb to a vivid combination of audio and visual hallucinations. So intense are these sensations that the affected creature(s) cannot interact with the outside world in any way; they will literally believe they are in another world, devised by the bard through his or her singing and playing. As such, the bard can create almost any experience desired for those affected by the spell-song, though violent hallucinations may result in the victims striking out wildly with their weapons (the DM should determine whether such attacks might hit anyone). This effect may be maintained for a number of rounds equal to the bard’s Constitution score. If the number of rounds equal to that score have passed, the bard may maintain the spell-song, but he or she must make a save vs. Spells every round to avoid experiencing a sensory overload, which will stun the bard for 2d6 rounds. There are no ill effects if the bard ends the spell-song before his or her Constitution limit is reached, though the creatures affected by the spell will be stunned for 1d6 rounds due to the sudden shift back to reality.

Forgotten Thoughts
Range: 30’
Area of Effect: One victim
Duration: Permanent
Description: By playing this spell-song, the bard hypnotizes the victim and makes him or her forget something stored in their memory. The victim who fails their save vs. Spells finds themselves staring blankly at the bard who continues playing while whispering to him or her to forget a specific thing. In order for this power to function correctly, three things are needed:

a) the victim must understand the bard’s language and hear him/her; b) the bard must know what to erase from the victim’s memory; and c) the victim must have an Intelligence score of 17 or lower (it does not affect geniuses).

The bard can erase from the victim’s mind a single memory (for example the name of a person or the location of a hideout or even a spell stored in his or her mind), or they can erase a brief period of the victim’s memory, up to one hour per level (for example, a 11th level bard could say: “You will forget everything you did yesterday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm” or “on Ambyrmont the 23rd” or “on Nuwmont the 4th of AC 989”). There is no limitation to the point in the past the memory can go.

This spell-song does not make a spellcasting victim forget all of his or her spells; only one (chosen by the bard, provided he or she knows what spells the victim memorized). Memory lost as a result of this spell-song can only be regained via a wish, a psychic surgery or a restoration spell cast by a cleric of higher level than the bard.

Rolls Of Thunder
Range: 120’
Area of Effect: A cone 120’ long and 60’ wide at its end.
Duration: 1 round
Description: This spell-song produces a great blast of sound from the bard’s instrument at the end of the round in which it is played, which affects all creatures standing in front of the bard, in a cone 120’ long and 60’ wide at its far end. Those within the cone are buffeted by the sonic wave, and receive 2d8 points of damage (they may save vs. Dragon Breath for half damage). In addition, all victims must save vs. Death Ray or be blown over by the blast. No additional damage is taken if the save fails, but victims will be stunned for 1d6 rounds. Every five levels after 11th level, the bard will inflict an additional 1d8 damage per victim with this spell-song, up to a maximum of 7d8 damage at 36th level (although victims may still save for half damage).

Satire
Range: Special
Area of Effect: One being.
Duration: Special
Description: This spell-song is one of the most potent weapons in a bard’s armory; it enables the bard to place a form of curse on a single individual who has wronged him or her, or those whose side he or she takes. Each use of this spell requires the bard to compose and write a new song (a process that takes at least one week), lambasting the chosen target in a particular way; the song should generate derision, contempt, or dislike for the target in those who hear it. A skill roll (using the lowest score of the bard’s three required skills) is required at its completion, to see if it succeeds in evoking the effect the bard wants; failing this roll means that the bard must start again, with –1 penalty on the next skill roll. If the attempt fails three times (cumulative penalty), the bard may not Satirize that individual until he or she gains at least two more levels.

If the attempt succeeds, the bard may cast the spell by playing the song in front of an audience of no less than 20 people. The target need not be in the audience, or even in the same country, but must nevertheless make a Saving Throw vs. Spells (with -1 on the roll for each 10 people who hear the Satire’s debut performance) or be affected by the curse. This may be anything from a penalty to saving throws, to a reduction in one characteristic (no more than two points), to some physical effect – an obscenely long nose, for instance, or the sound of a donkey braying when the cursed person speaks; anything which makes a suitable punishment for the target’s “crime.” The effect of the curse lasts for as long as people remember, and continue to sing, the satirical song; if no further performances are given, the effect fades in about a week. A wronged bard is a vengeful creature, however, and is likely to perform the Satire as often as necessary, and to as many people as possible, to keep it going. The task may be made easier if fellow bards and minstrels can be convinced to take up the Satire – two (or ten, or twenty) bards can spread a song much more effectively than one, after all. No bard may have more than one Satire in operation at once; this includes those relaying another bard’s Satire.

The subject of the Satire is entitled to an additional save once per month, for as long as the curse continues; if successful, he or she is freed from its effects forever. The power to Satirize someone is the most important ability, and most sacred trust, held by the bards; they never use it for frivolous or trivial purposes. If a bard should ever stoop to such an act (DM’s judgment), he or she may find the effects of the curse rebounding threefold.

Bard Spellsongs

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