Wednesday, December 23, 2020

December Bards - Songs of Power In The Dragon issue number #56 of December '81 & ACK's Rpg's Heroic Fantasy Handbook

 Adventurer,Conqeuror, King rpg is often one of my favorite rpg's to turn to after dealing with players who are looking for that extra bit of romance for their PC's. Bards have been a source of bane & boon within our campaigns for years. Going way back to issue number #56 of December of '81 the 'Songs Instead of  Spells'  an article by Bill Howell  has been of particular interest & this article  covers;" A list of Songs of Power to replace spells for Bardic magic." 

But the article gets to the heart of my own issues with the bard;"The greatest failing of the present system governing bards is an overemphasis of the actual historic relationship between bards and druids. True, in the Celtic world, bards were essentially a subclass of druids; but the bard as described in the AD&D rules is not the historic bard. Since the game does not mandate that the druid character class wield the same near-total control over the society of a campaign world which it historically wielded in the ancient world, there is no justification for locking the bard class into such close association with it. This is especially true when one considers that the AD&D bard is based almost as much upon the Norse skald and European troubador as upon the Celtic bard. The Norse skald was generally an older fighter whose duty it was to inspire his companions by recounting the heroic sagas of great warriors such as Sigurd, Starkad, Hrolf Kraki, and others. Nevertheless, the skald was primarily a fighter. The European troubador was essentially a thief and an illusionist. These troubadors travelled from castle to manor house throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. " And there's some really solid ideas in this article as well;"First, the bardic colleges should be sponsored by the bards themselves in a 10 guild-like arrangement, rather than belonging to the druids. In addition, there is no justification for bards possessing uniquely druidic abilities such as shapechanging, +2 saving throw vs. fire and lightning, immunity to woodland charm, and all the rest. It is also inappropriate for bards to exercise their spell-like powers by casting druidic spells; down through history and legend, from Orpheus and his lyre, through the Irish legends, to such modern fictional bards as Wymarc in Andre Norton’s Quag Keep, it is by means of certain mystic songs that bards tap the powers of other planes to do their will on the Prime Material. Bards do not cast spells; instead, they sing their “Songs of Power” while playing their chosen stringed instrument. By tapping the magical power of other planes through the proper sounds, these Songs of Power have essentially the same effect as certain of the magic-user, illusionist, and druidic spells. Bards do not carry spell books, nor do they pray to a deity to receive their Songs; rather, they memorize all their Songs during their studies at the various colleges, a new level at each of the five lower colleges. Afterwards, they simply choose each day which Songs of Power they will implant in their minds that day, just as other spell-casters do. " 
And this is what I really want the bards in my games to do?! And so after a bit of research & really concentrating on the ACK's rpg system my eyes were cast to the ACK's Heroic Fantasy  Handbook especially this bit; "A new way of casting spells, spellsinging, that allows characters to spontaneously weave together new spells on the fly. Use spellsinging to represent the fluid arts of the elves, the psionic powers of a dying race, or the weaving of words of power by island wizards." 

The Spell Singing system feels more like a comprimise to us & that's fine for the player's perspective; "The following rules explain how spellsinging works. The Elven Spellsinger class in these rules is built on these mechanics, but the Judge may convert other classes to spellsingers if desired. The Heroic Secrets chapter (p. 200) has further details on building and converting classes. SPELL POINTS Spellsingers perform magic by spending spell points (SP) rather than by expending daily spell castings. The spellsingers’ use of spell points gives them the flexibility to choose to cast a large number of low level spells, a small number of high level spells, or any combination in between. The number of spell points that a spellsinger has is determined by his casting progression and level of experience, as shown on the Spell Points Per Day table. Spellsingers recover their spell points in the same way spellcasters recover their daily spell castings, by spending eight hours resting without interruption and one hour concentrating on prayer or study. Spell points can only be recovered by resting once every 24 hours. However, in some circumstances spellsingers can recover spell points more quickly by tapping ambient magic (see p. 104). SPELLSINGING REPERTOIRE Like other eldritch casters, a spellsinger’s spell selection is limited to the spells in his repertoire. A spellsinger’s repertoire can include a number of spells up to the number and level of spells listed for his level, increased by his Intelligence bonus, and functions exactly like an arcane/eldritch caster’s repertoire in all respects. Spellsingers can cast sp'ells that are not in their repertoire, however, by extemporaneously singing spells (see below)."
 Now of course we're going to have to wait until after the Christmas holiday & then take PC affairs from there. For the moment the Elven Spell Singer PC class is on the table. 

Recently the player's PC was killed in our last ACK's game session & so there's been a bit of an atmosphere when it comes to what needs to be done in order to come up with a brand new bardic like concept. The Spell Singer PC came across the table but the bard with songs of power is also on the table top more as this develops. 

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