That guy from Asterix the Gaul who get tossed on his ass every time he sings.
I should probably be thinking of a Saxon reciting Beowulf around a roaring hearth on a dark and stormy night. But what I actually think of first is tights, lutes and codpieces.
Some ponce who plays music during a fight. Nothing good, in other words.
That guy in Animal House who gets his guitar smashed.
An effeminate fellow with a bright feather in his hair, a gaudy costume of vermillion and maroon and his long curl-toed felt boots on a table in a tavern packed with brutal mercenaries. He smiles, winks and nods as he sings quietly a litany of insults directed at those around him and places thin metal object in the bellies of those who disrupt his melodious reflections.
Storyteller/Illusionist/Pick-pocket/Charismatic. In 2nd edition AD&D the bard is a very powerful and flavorful class.
Unfortunately, a smarmy guy with a lute. Or Gabriel from *Zena*, at the beginning of the series when she was just annoying.Bards could be interesting if you think of them as magic hobos, like every Tom Waits film role ever. But I don't think they work well as PCs.
I usually think of a Norse Skald or Anglo Saxon Scop. A guy who is OK at fighting, but knows some things. A guy who can ruin a reputation with a song and a harp.
I don't see why a mage of a fighter can't be a musician. Magic music? Ok, you mage sings his songs, your clerics holy symbol is a flute, etc. Shakespeare was "The Bard." Definitive article. Master. D&D bards are sort of watered down. Doesn't Grettir the Strong spend time writing poetry? That right there is a "bard" I can get with.
I always think of the tale of Sir Robin.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4SJ0xR2_bQ
Bards as class... seems unnecessary, lame. A fighter or specialist/thief couldn't sing, entertain or tell stories? Legends and lore is suddenly a bard-only skill? I don't see why a base class couldn't already be a bad-ass skald, herald, singer or storyteller.Introducing Magical Singing and a new style of Song Magic to give the bard a niche smacks too much of emulating a narrow genre... I can't think of a literary example. Are there any iconic fantasy characters that march around using their lame Magic Songs to charm, put to sleep, calm and bolster? (Maybe Glorfindel from LOTR used singing spells? That's probably why he was cut from the movie scripts.)The image of a bard class standing in the background singing in his tights while the fighters throw down with the monsters is... yeah, pretty dumb.
Okay, I went a little overboard. When I think of an example of bard, it's Chaucer from 'A Knight's Tale', the joker's movie (heath ledger).
The parties front man, the guy that gets them important missions, negotiates contracts, their PR rep.
I don't much like the whole "magic music" aspect of them, but I see what they were attempting to do, and give Charisma a major class. Fighters:STR, Wizards:INT, Thieves:DEX, Clerics:WIS, Dwarves:CON, and Bards would be:CHA.And I think the desire to want to do that only arose after the attributes were made to have some function in gameplay.If one feels that CHA does need a specific class built around it, I'm not sure I can think of one that fits the genre better, but I like to think of all the attributes as applicable to all the classes, and in fact, totally independent of them. To me, Bard is a background flavor thing, same as "my fighter can't read!" - not something that makes sense as a functional class without forcing it in there (ie, inventing magic music).
I think of people kvetching about how much they hate bards. I prefer them as lightly-armored singing illusionists, even in lieu of "standard" illusionists.
Two words: Renfaire Rockstar
I guess some mix of Roger Miller’s Allan-a-dale from Disney’s Robin Hood and various characters encountered at renfaires.They’re the character who can freely move between any social group. They’ll equally welcome and at home in the king’s court or the sailors’ tavern. Their high charisma means that they are pretty good at persuasion and influence, whether it be influencing the local lord or blathering at the bad guys to confuse them long enough to effect an escape.Is it a class? Maybe; maybe not.
I think that the Castles & Crusades bard is the bard done right: no spells and lots of hit points.When I think of the C&C bard, I think of the movie version of Aragorn.
HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!!!
Minstrels able to weave a magical tune once in a while. The really well traveled ones are a good source of lore but some might just be troubadours trying to pull a flim-flam and coax you out of a few pennies.
I think of powergamers and other types I can't stand gaming with.
What comes to mind? "You mean I have to survive at least 10 levels as something else before I get to play what I really want to play? F*ck that!" - conversation at gaming table, some time around 1985
I used to think of it as a class with a little bit of everything. Basically a nice, rounded alternative. These days Order of the Stick have changed my immediate association, but I still like the idea of the class. The last D&D character I did was a Bard. Unfortunately I only got to play one session. :(
I really hate to say it, but I think of that older fellow from the Wheel of Time books (I forget his name) who travels around performing and throwing knives into people and shit. He's charming, sneaky, keeps his ear to the door so to speak, and likes to shiv people. No magic lutes, just some stupid cloak. Not really something I dig, but it's the first thing that pops into my mind.
Bards as they have become known in a Fantasy RPG sense, have no historical (or to my knowledge, literary) basis, and really are just an industry creation.I used to be a fan, but it's fallen away and I really haven't been into RPG bards for 15+ years.
@ Lord Gwydion: Fflewddur Fflam = genius, me too!.The people who say bards have no "basis" are foolish - neither does a cleric (other than Jesus), paladin, or druid (historically accurate) basis. Has anyone heard of Orpheus, among others?You know, in sum, I like it overall as a class, if the party if larger 5-6+ to provide as @Colin #1 statesLet's roll call editions:1st ed: Asinine prestige class and "bolt-on" element of the game like Psionics that made no sense and was actually equiv of Old School Powergaming, like "Dual Classes" or subduing a dragon, or the 18 STR percentiles.2nd Ed: Added a lot to the game, in a number of ways providing an alt-ability class with spells to a moderate level. A good addition.3rd Ed: Strange class, but has its role especially as the "skill guy", or as a hybrid.4th: Like all classes, worthless assemblies of a> do some damage and then buff/heal others in same action or b> limited use mass effect that picks from a standard battery of game conditions like "combat advantage" and otherwise inflicts commodatized damage.In sum, I like it overall, but if you put a gun to my head and take a cap 6-maximum character classes I am not sure it would make the list.That list of would likely be Wizard, Fighter, Thief, Cleric, Ranger, some form of Monk
I picture:1) Someone who can charm monsters and people with their music.2) Someone you don't want to piss off, or they'll ruin your reputation. 3) A seldom used appendix in the Players Handbook.I'm okay with the idea of bards casting illusions, but I think they should be more focused on charms. I was never a big fan of bardic songs improving the actions of other players (even in the old Bard's Tale video game).
I also think of Fflewddur Fflam from the Lloyd Alexander books.
Another vote for good old Fflewddur.
A Fflam never retreats! Except from a giant cat! I also think of Felimid from Keith Taylor's Bard series, and my buddy Nathan's 2e bard, Hadian Joyce, who was given to making up insolent songs while demolishing enemies.
Gurney Halleck.Yep, that simple.
Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd.Väinämöinen.Orpheus.Jack Vance's Liane the Wayfarer.Errol Flynn as Robin Hood.Unfortunately most of the versions of the Bard in different editions live up quite poorly to the above mentioned characters. I think bards should be either swashbucklers, diplomats, and spies, or powerful spellsingers like most of the characters in Kalevala or the Norse skalds, rather than Brave Sir Robin's minstrel or Trubadurix from Asterix.
Ugh. Bards. Ugh. Every edition. Hate.If someone wanted to line up classes for all the attributes, why not make a Warlock for CHA? Or a Halfling? Or a Warlord/Marshal? Or a Swashbuckler type of class?Or, hell, a HARLOT!Why a Bard?!"My character is a 9th-level Harlot with 24 hit points and a Charisma of 17!"
Gilbert from FFIV. He's a bard. And he's spoony.In all seriousness, though, it's good symmetry to have a CHA class. Fighter (STR), Thief (DEX), Monk (CON), Mage (INT), Cleric (WIS), Bard (CHA). Just makes sense to me.
I think of a fighter, magic user or thief with a good charisma score and some background/role-play musical abilities...
Cacofonix, "pointless" and "unnecessary", in roughly that order.
Fflewddur Fflam, ffor sure.
I think of the best Bardic magic - in 'Forward to Adventure' by the RPG Pundit.Also - the music of the spheres magic in TSR's Galactos Barrierand 1001 bawdy pub songs
WHO SAYS KNIGHTS TALE UP THERE!!!!! THE BEST CALL- I DONT KNOW WHO ISTHE BARD BUT HIS PARTY MUST ROCK LIEK THIS:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr2Vhxs-krs&feature=related#t=1m04sIF NOT, PUT DOWN THE TINY GITAR AND PICK UP A SORD BECAUSE YOUR JUST A FIGHTER..............
I also think of Fflewddur Fflam. Also "spoony"
Fflewddur Fflamm. Sir Robin's minstrels (aka, "what do we eat when we are out of iron rations and hobbits?"). A ponce in tights. Danny Kaye in "The Court Jester." The guy who shot Smaug with an arrow. Shakespeare. A college in upstate NY.One of the more annoying 3e players I have known usually plays a dwarf bard multi-classed with illusionist or cleric or something or another... so he ends up with a PC who can do a little bit of everything (and the player who plays this character usually chooses to do something at the wrong time). This player is also famous for long, rambling and pointless anecdotes.
A skald or an unsuccessful Fili with a musical inclination.Taliesin & Amergin.Fflewder and Fafhrd are also up there.Gellor, from Saga of Old City is another referent; but he's cheating. One of the only good things I remember from the later Gord novels was Gellor chanting mocking rhymes at their enemies as he fought.
Maybe Huckleberry Hound when he was "El Kabong"...
I suppose that you are asking this question from the standpoint of considering one for Wierd Fantasy Roleplaying--which means that you, as the creator, are taking MY idea. Yes, I was thinking of writing up a bard class for YOUR game, and possibly 'publishing' it. (Although since you haven't really talked about people creating material for your game, that isn't quite realistic yet.)Assuming that I am right, I think that a bard in WF would be like the Specialist, in that he has a list of skills (same mechanic, but different skills) that tie into music/charms/improving the morale of his peers while ruining the morale of his opponents. Of course, if it is going to be 'wierd' there has to be some (perhaps minor) twist to the class.
>>(Although since you haven't really talked about people creating material for your game, that isn't quite realistic yet.)At this point, just ask. I'm not really very qualified to make a legal "LotFP: RPG Compatibility License," really, although getting one straightened out probably needs to be done sooner or later.Anyway, the purpose of my asking is to confirm that my impression of the RPG bard is in line with the general consensus. I'm not building a class or anything, but rather commissioning art designed to be against type.I'll go ahead and give the basic idea here:Renaissance Minstrel Lemmy.
Jim, I think Lemmy has Flame Princess written all over him. Well.. you know what I mean. Maybe he has Weird written all over him. At any rate, I think that's a great fit for your game.What I'd really love to see is a game version of the actual, real-life, historical bards who wandered about Spain, Southern France, and Italy, joining the retinues of warring nobles and telling their tales and songs of the road. However, this version very specifically does not play music during a battle. They just used their steel. Thus, not really what you're after.Also, 'Maybe Huckleberry Hound when he was "El Kabong"... ' provided my best laugh of the day. Thank you!
Not shocked. ;) Lemmy seems like a guy who could make it in your game world. Or at least, wouldn't need any time to acclimate. :)
Bards? Wimpy guys who pay too much attention their hair. Now, if they were heavy metal bards, that would be awesome. Guitars with axe blades and so forth. Magical distortion pedals.If the bard is Captain from Captain & Tenille, not so awesome.
Ooooo yes Lemmy would be a glorious bard.
So, yeah, a couple things.#1: Bard->Face from the A-Team#2: Lemmy...yeah, that's kinda what I played at the last GaryCon in this fun pick-up game on Sunday. Only mine didn't have discernable talent or amphetamine psychosis.This bard (race="human, mostly") that, well...so, he plays adequately in a crappy bar band. He's That Underworld Guy that the cops go to when they want to find out the Word On The Street is, always in trouble for little stupid stuff--drunk & disorderly, assault, but never anything really bad. Good at getting women into bed, lousy at relationships. Not so good at holding down a day job either. Reasonably decent guy but definitely skeevy, high charisma, terrible wisdom, smokes way too much. Not adventuring material (this was an urban game), because that looks like hard work and you sleep on the ground a lot and have to get up early. Screw that.
1. Holler at the "spoony bard" reference 2. I should probably be thinking of a Saxon reciting Beowulf around a roaring hearth on a dark and stormy night. But what I actually think of first is tights, lutes and codpieces. Ditto.
As someone said already, why can't any old PC be good at singing and telling stories etc.The introduction of the bard seems like an arbitrary decision made as an attempt to counter Charisma being a 'dump-stat'. Pointless and stupid.Just have 'lute', 'singing' and 'history' as available skills or something. Bards also really don't seem to fit in with the vancian magic system very well.Also, offtopic: I hate monks. They do not fit into any campaign setting outside of an eastern(style) one. Having such a skilled puncher is very disassociated to me, and really undermines any descriptions of how good your swordsmen etc are. Like he's quick enough to parry a blow, dodge another and scalp a guy in one movement, but somehow this robed asshole keeps dodging all of his strikes and punching him in the face. Really ruins other classes I think.
Mostly useless, it has always been the class that has been done in such way it is very difficult to contribute anything of value to the game. I have had games where the players hire NPC bards and "dancing girls" to tag along big outdoor expeditions with enormous amounts of meatshield henchies and guys whose only job is to carry stuffs so there propably is place for them.
hmmmm, I used to picture Fflewddur Fflam or that Scarlet kid from Robin Hood, but now all I can think of is people attempting to play guitar hero . . . So maybe Lute Hero or Harp Hero(or the Dreaded Cowbell Hero) would be more appropriate
Thing is with Bards I would like to play someone like Fafrd of Lanhmar series or Väinämöinen of myths but I'm stuck with Elton John that moans about candle in the wind while everyone else is killing stuff.
1) Bard's Tale2) Flynn from "The Gamers: Dorkness rising;" Specifically the wall of bodies.
El Kabong was Quick Draw McGraw, but I may have missed a joke here.
In my LotFP game bards are specialists by class - I add "Lore" and "Performance" to the specialist skill list (base 1/6 for everybody in those, of course) and that's all it takes. No reason at all for a travelling entertainer to have magic, but plenty of reason for him to have many of those traditional thief skills. This way the player can decide for himself where his character ends up on the bard-thief axis by his skill point distribution.As can be seen from the above, my primary association for the concept of "bard" is more strongly history-based than D&D-based; it's just one name for the ancient profession of entertainment. In the romantic context of history and fantasy I imagine the bard as a world-wise, legend-wise rogue type, not much different from a thief, really.
The one from the AD&D PHB appendix: A fighter/thief/druid hybrid with a ton of hit points who uses magical music instruments and knows lots of obscure lore.
I think of the Allen-a-dale from Disney's Robin Hood, and similar depictions from the 2nd Edition era: puffy sleeves, frills, feathered hats, lutes and lyres. All the worst excesses of Elizabethan fashion. Not someone i want on an adventure. Mechanically, what the class can offer is great, and I've used various forms of bards to serve as minor magicians, including shamans and mesmerists in a gaslight-era campaign i ran. But the name "Bard" kills it. However, Skalds would be awesome. With an ongoing rivalry between the Singing Skalds and the Roaring Skalds...
Combat in the first Monkey Island game.A rogue/thief/scum with some sort of performance skill.