Welcome back to Multiclass Mondays!
Multiclass Mondays is a continuation of the “You, Version 2.0″ posts (here and here) that were put up a few weeks back regarding using the Theme mechanics to more effectively multiclass characters. The concept seemed to be a hit with many players and DMs around the Web, so we’re going to go through and provide Themes for all current D&D classes (even Psionics!) and maybe.. just maybe… throw in a few bonus Themes. For now, though, let’s stick to the basics.
Last week, we sounded the call on the Warlord… Marshall? Marshall (Warlord)? Warlord (Marshall)? Whatever. This week, we ‘cover’ the Bard. (Ya know like, a cover song? You don’t need to laugh, it wasn’t that funny. Just nod.)
What is it exactly that makes a Bard a Bard? In terms of fiction, we usually thinking of singing, performing, reciting epic poetry, etc. Mechanically speaking, though, what is the definitive Bard feature? Is there one? My initial reaction to that question is ‘bardic rituals’ but I’m aware that I have a certain fondness for rituals that many don’t share. That leaves us with (in my estimation) either the multiclass versatility or Words of Friendship as features that exemplify both the mechanical and fictional feel of the class. For reasons that I will discuss in a moment, I have decided to eschew the multiclass versatility:
You count as a Bard for all feat, theme and paragon path requirements. You gain the Words of Friendship class feature.
In addition, you may wield Bard implements.
So why not Multiclass Versatility? Seems like it would fit well with the whole ‘easy multiclass’ thing we’re doing here, right? Well, sort of, but not entirely. I keep getting the question “Why are you charging a feat for this? It’s a Theme, it should be free.” I first direct you back to the original “You, version 2.0″ articles conveniently linked at the beginning of this post; several of my reasons are described there. There is another good reason, though, that I have seen with my own players since then. Most if not all classes have a specific feat (or several) that are considered “mandatory” for the class. Sudden Roots for the Warden, Backstabber for the Rogue, and Improved Pact Boon for the Warlock are all examples of said feats. If we allow multiclass Themes to be taken without the cost of a feat, such key feats could be taken several levels sooner thus putting a significant smudge on the lines between classes. Recall also that you’ve racked up 18 feats by level 30, whereas you hold 17 powers by that time in a tight 1:1 progression, so controlling feat choice for balance is just as important as power choice. The full Bard is unique in having such a wide variety of feat and power options due to its multiclassing versatility; it should stay that way.
Theme at Level 1
Charming Rake (Multiclass Bard)
Theme Feature: Misdirected Mark (encounter usage, Dark Sun only)
Lv 1. Theme Power: Misdirected Mark (encounter usage, non Dark-Sun only)
Nothing says ‘talk my way out of anything’ like smacking a guy and then flat-out telling him someone else did it. That’s the power of persuasion at its finest. Furthermore, ‘go hit someone else’ is a power that everyone has a use for at one point or another.
Theme at Levels 2+
- Lv 2: Inspire Competence
- Lv 3: Unicorn’s Charge
- Lv 5: Satire of Bravery
- Lv 6: Song of Conquest (to make up for the lack of War Song Strike)
- Lv 7: Unluck
- Lv 9: Saga of Vengeance
- Lv 10: Song of Recovery
One of the difficulties with writing a Bard Theme is that the class is split evenly between distance and melee builds, meaning you have to decide whether the Theme is going to run cohesively with one of those builds or split the difference and try to offer something for everyone without being internally consistent. I imagine the iconic Bard to be sort of a second-row implement user like its conceptual cousin the Invoker and designed the Theme accordingly.
Next week, we’ll sink our teeth into the Warden. Thanks for reading!
- Multiclass Mondays #6 – Warden
- Multiclass Mondays #4 – Warlord
- Multiclass Monday #11 – Miscellaneous Power