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Bardic Masterpieces – Paizo





Talented bards can learn or create masterpieces, unusual applications of the bardic performance ability requiring special training.

GMs can use these masterpieces to inspire their own ideas for other masterpieces. Masterpieces should generally be no more powerful than a cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell available to a caster of the same level as the minimum level needed to select the masterpiece (a masterpiece requiring 7 ranks in Perform requires a 7th-level bard, and thus should not be more powerful than a 4th-level cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell).

Masterpiece descriptions adhere to the following guidelines:

Masterpiece Name

In addition to the name of the masterpiece, this line indicates which Perform skill or skills the masterpiece relies upon.

Prerequisites: Like feats, masterpieces have prerequisites that a bard must meet in order to learn them. Only bards may learn masterpieces.

Cost: Each masterpiece has an associated cost to learn it. Typically, a bard must spend one of his bard spells known of a specific spell level or select it in place of a feat. The bard can spend a bard spell known of a level higher than the listed level to learn a masterpiece (for example, spending a 4th-level spell known to learn a masterpiece that requires spending a 3rd-level spell known).

Effect: This brief description summarizes what occurs when a bard performs the masterpiece. Unless otherwise stated, a masterpiece’s effects are supernatural. Unwilling creatures may attempt a Will save against the effect of a masterpiece; the save DC for masterpieces is equal to 10 + 1/2 the bard’s level + the bard’s Charisma bonus. Masterpieces that duplicate spells use the bard’s caster level for the spell’s caster level.

Use: This line specifies how many bardic performance rounds the bard must use to activate the masterpiece. In some cases, the bard can extend the duration of the masterpiece by expending additional rounds of bardic performance, just as if it were any other use of bardic performance. The bard expends the listed number of bardic performance rounds when he starts performing the masterpiece; if he is interrupted, the attempt fails and the spent performance rounds are lost.

Action: This line indicates the type of action performing the masterpiece requires. If it only requires a standard action to activate, being able to activate a bardic performance more quickly (at 7th level, activation is a move action, and at 13th, it becomes a swift action) applies to the masterpiece as well. Unless otherwise stated, effects or feats that extend the duration of bardic performance (such as the Lingering Performance feat) do not apply to masterpieces.

Table: Bardic Masterpiece Summaries
Masterpiece Name Prerequisites Benefit Use Activation Source
Ancients’ Flight (Oratory) Perform (oratory) 13 ranks, ability to speak Draconic, bardic performance This urgent verse tugs at the racial arrogance of dragonkind, compelling dragons, both true and lesser, to perform the epic alongside you. 2 bardic performance rounds per round. 1 full round DSH
At the Heart of It All (String, Wind) Perform (string) or Perform (wind) 7 ranks, bardic performance This haunting melody teases at the veils of understanding and drills into the bedrock of truth. Upon completing this performance, the target attempts a Will save. 5 rounds of bardic performance. 5 full rounds UM
Canticle of Joy, The (Sing) Perform (sing) 7 ranks, bardic performance This agonizing eulogy gets into a listener’s blood, and bestows on her the phantom sensation of great agonies. One target within range is cursed as though affected by bestow curse as long as the bard maintains the performance. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 round BoG
Cat-Step, The (Dance) Perform (dance) 5 ranks, bardic performance This quick dance is a series of small steps culminating in a series of leaps. When you complete the performance, for the next 10 minutes you treat any distance fallen as if it were a number of feet shorter. 4 bardic performance rounds. 4 full rounds UM
Clamor of the Heavens (Percussion, Sing) Perform (percussion or sing) 10 ranks, bardic performance Evil creatures that hear the performance and fail a Will save against the effect are blinded and deafened for the duration. 3 bardic performance rounds, +1 round per additional round of duration. 3 full rounds CoP
Dance of 23 Steps, The (Dance) Perform (dance) 4 ranks, bardic performance The shuffling steps, bends, and leaps of this intricate dance make you a difficult target to hit, but also make it more difficult for you to perform other actions. 1 bardic performance round. 1 free action UM
Dance of Kindled Desires, The (Dance) Perform (dance) 5 ranks, bardic performance Your dance entices one creature within 30 ft. that is able to see you, invoking every imaginable vice and craving until finally the desire the creature personally finds most appealing overwhelms its thoughts. 3 bardic performance rounds. 3 full rounds BoF
Depths of the Mountain, The (Percussion, Wind) Perform (percussion) 15 ranks or Perform (wind) 15 ranks, bardic performance When you complete the performance, you create a tremor identical to an earthquake spell. 10 rounds of bardic performance, +1 round for each round of aftershocks. 10 full rounds UM
Dragon and the First King, The (String, Wind) Perform (string) or Perform (wind) 6 ranks, bardic performance Any creature of the dragon type that hears the entire performance must succeed at a Will save to avoid having her attitude toward the performer and her allies improved by two steps. 2 bardic performance rounds. 2 full rounds DSH
Dumbshow of Gorroc, The (Act, Comedy) Perform (act) or Perform (comedy) 6 ranks, bardic performance This pantomime tells the tale of a foolish farmer who failed to control the weeds that grew so quickly upon her land 2 bardic performance rounds. 1 full round UM
House of the Imaginary Walls, The (Act) Perform (act) 10 ranks, bardic performance You silently mime building an invisible wall, flattening your hands along linear planes to indicate its location and orientation. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 standard action per 10-foot square UM
Illusion’s Decree (Comedy, Oratory) Perform (comedy) 5 ranks or Perform (oratory) 5 ranks, bardic performance While performing this masterpiece, you gain a +4 bonus on saving throws to disbelieve illusions 1 bardic performance round per round, +1 round per ally affected. 1 full round HH
Legato Piece on the Infernal Bargain (String) Perform (string) 11 ranks, bardic performance This fast-paced tune harmonizes with the magical frequencies of another plane, allowing you to draw an extraplanar creature to you and bargain for its service. When you complete this performance, you call one or more outsiders as if using planar ally. 10 bardic performance rounds. 10 minutes UM
Life Budding In Salted Earth (Sing, String, Wind) Perform (sing), Perform (string), or Perform (wind) 4 ranks, bardic performance This masterpiece grants all allies within 30 feet fast healing 1 for as long as the bard maintains the performance. 1 bardic performance round per round, plus 1 or more additional uses per round to increase the duration of this effect. 1 standard action CoP
Lullaby of Ember the Ancient, The (Sing) Perform (sing) 7 ranks, bardic performance When you activate this soothing performance, one target within close range falls asleep as if affected by a special deep slumber as long as you maintain the performance. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 round UM
Melody of Frightful Death (String) Perform (string) 7 ranks, bardic performance You produce a sound that causes creatures to believe they are suffering a particularly ghastly and terrifying death, such as immolation, freezing to death, or being eaten alive by insects. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 standard action BoF
Minuet of the Midnight Ivy (Dance) Perform (dance) 4 ranks, bardic performance As ivy climbs walls and spills across even the rockiest and most uneven of terrain, so too does your dance propel you across broken stone and up walls. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 full round UM
Pageant of the Peacock (Act, Dance) Perform (act) or Perform (dance) 4 ranks, bardic performance For the duration of the effect, you gain a +4 circumstance bonus on Bluff checks, and may attempt a Bluff check in place of an Intelligence check or Intelligence-based skill check. 1 bardic performance round per 10 minutes of the effect’s duration. 1 standard action DSH
Pallavi of Nirvana’s Blossoming (Dance) Perform (dance) 11 ranks, bardic performance Upon completing the performance, you summon a fixed aura of divine sunlight that glows in a 100-ft.-radius circle centered on you. 3 bardic performance rounds. 3 full rounds BoA
Quickening Pulse, The (Percussion, Wind) Perform (percussion) 7 ranks or Perform (wind) 7 ranks, bardic performance You create a musical tempo that first mirrors your enemies’ heartbeats, and then quickens them to dangerous levels. When you complete the performance, all enemies within 30 ft. who can hear your performance must save or take 1d6 points of damage as their pounding heart causes them to sweat blood. 1 bardic performance round per round of bleed. 1 standard action UM
Rat Quadrille (Percussion, Sing) Perform (percussion) or Perform (sing) 4 ranks, bardic performance You tap out or sing a diverting tune that sticks in the mind of the target, causing the target to take a –2 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty on concentration checks for 10 minutes. 3 bardic performance rounds. 1 standard action MM
Requiem of the Fallen Priest-King, The (Oratory, Sing) Perform (oratory) 10 ranks or Perform (sing) 10 ranks, bardic performance This piece tells the story of a mighty priest-king who seemed to defy time by snatching near-victory from an overwhelming number of enemies. 5 bardic performance rounds, +1 round per additional person affected. 1 minute UM
Rheumy Refrain, The (Sing) Perform (sing) 5 ranks, bardic performance Your song emulates the sounds of a terrible illness, causing one creature you are aware of who can hear your song to develop a psychosomatic flu. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 standard action BoF
Rondeau of Heavenly Order (Sing) Perform (sing) 4 ranks, bardic performance As you sing, listeners find their actions bound by your song’s relentless order. One enemy per bard level within listening range must make a successful Will save or find its movements hampered. 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 round BoA
Stone Face (Comedy, Oratory) Perform (comedy) or Perform (oratory) 7 ranks, bardic performance When you complete the performance, the target is affected by stone to flesh. 2 bardic performance rounds. 1 minute UM
Symphony of the Elysian Heart (Keyboard, Wind) Perform (keyboard) or Perform (wind) 7 ranks, bardic performance You and up to one ally per bard level within 30 feet who can hear you are under the effect is basically to that of freedom of movement, 1 bardic performance round per round. 1 round BoA
Tales of Twisting Steel (Act, Oratory) Perform (act) 3 ranks or Perform (oratory) 3 ranks, bardic performance This collection includes the stories of The Big Sky, The Rabbit Prince, and The Sickness, among others. You and that creature are affected as if you had cast shield other. 3 bardic performance rounds. 3 rounds HH
Toccata and Fugue of the Danse Macabre (Keyboard, Wind) Perform (keyboard) or Perform (wind) 4 ranks, bardic performance Upon completing the performance, you and up to one ally per level within listening range become hidden from undead, as if under the effects of a hide from undead spell. 1 bardic performance round per round of the performance, +1 round per ally affected, +1 round per dedicated refrain. 1 minute UM
Triple Time (Percussion, String, Wind) Perform (percussion) 3 ranks, Perform (string) 3 ranks, or Perform (wind) 3 ranks, bardic performance This bright and spritely tune mimics the sound of human feet, slowly building to a steady, ground-eating pace. When you complete this performance, you affect one ally in hearing range per bard level. 1 bardic performance round. 1 minute UM
Vindictive Soliloquy (Act, Oratory, Sing) Perform (act), Perform (oratory), or Perform (sing) 10 ranks, bardic performance You provide an impassioned monologue from the point of view of a noble queen, voicing her inner turmoil at being betrayed by her own sister and calling for justice to strike from the heavens 5 bardic performance rounds. 5 full rounds MM
Winds of the Five Heavens, The (Act, Oratory) Perform (act) or Perform (oratory) 10 ranks, bardic performance This short monologue tells the story of a village priest who thought to command the gods. When you complete the performance, you conjure a great wind as if you had cast control winds. 3 bardic performance rounds. 3 full rounds UM