Schooled Bard

Music requires well pitched lyrics and intimate hand movements to affect those nearby. It can bring a happy person to tears, a sleeping person to attention, can trap a body and force it to dance — like magic. A schooled bard bridges the gap between musician and magician, able to create powerful arcane effects through performance.

A schooled bard is not a mere lounge singer or performing artist – he is a world traveler whose tales and songs channel magic in its purest form. An individual is shaped by the experiences in his life. As a collector of experience, a schooled bard is constantly reshaping that which defines him. As such, a schooled bard is not just an individual. He is an ever changing work of art.

Role: The schooled bard brings out the most in his allies. He is at home right in the middle of the party so his songs can affect the most allies and so he is not in the thick of combat, but not so far away so to be a non-factor in melee. His high charisma makes him an ideal leader or spokesperson. Finally, he uses music to fill many roles in combat: encouragement for his allies; discouragement for his enemies; a focal-point around which tactics are made; or as simple distraction.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The schooled bard’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Additionally, the schooled bard gets a set of skills exclusive to the class: Bardic Perform skills. There are five Bardic Perform skills, one for each bardic school of music: Perform (Mesmerizing); Perform (Minstrel); Perform (Rousing); Perform (Sentry); Perform (Warchant).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Schooled Bard

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic performance, bardic school, cantrips, martial weapon proficiency 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Bardic knowledge, specialty 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 3
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspiration and influence (level 0) 3 1
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Piece de resistance 1/day 4 2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 4 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Inspiration and influence (level 1) 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Piece de resistance 2/day 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Martial weapon proficiency 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Inspiration and influence (level 2) 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Encore 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Inspiration and influence (level 3) 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Piece de resistance 3/day 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Inspiration and influence (level 4) 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Martial weapon proficiency 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Inspiration and influence (level 5) 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Musical oneness 5 5 5 5 5 5

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the schooled bard.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A schooled bard is proficient with all simple weapons, light armor and shields (except tower shields). a schooled bard can cast bard spells while wearing light armor and use a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a schooled bard wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass schooled bard still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.


Table: Schooled Bard Spells Known

Level 0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st 4 2
2nd 5 3
3rd 6 4
4th 6 4 2
5th 6 4 3
6th 6 4 4
7th 6 5 4 2
8th 6 5 4 3
9th 6 5 4 4
10th 6 5 5 4 2
11th 6 6 5 4 3
12th 6 6 5 4 4
13th 6 6 5 5 4 2
14th 6 6 6 5 4 3
15th 6 6 6 5 4 4
16th 6 6 6 5 5 4 2
17th 6 6 6 6 5 4 3
18th 6 6 6 6 5 4 4
19th 6 6 6 6 5 5 4
20th 6 6 6 6 6 5 5

A schooled bard casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the bard spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. Every bard spell has a verbal component (singing, reciting, or music). To learn or cast a spell, a schooled bard must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a schooled bard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the schooled bard’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a schooled bard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given in Table 1-2. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. When Table: Schooled Bard indicates that the schooled bard gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Charisma score for that spell level.

The schooled bard’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A schooled bard begins play knowing five 0-level spells and one 1st level spell of your choice. At most new schooled bard levels, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Schooled Bard Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a schooled bard knows is not affected by his Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Schooled Bard Spells Known are fixed.)

Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered schooled bard level after that, a schooled bard can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, he “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level bard spell the schooled bard can cast. A schooled bard may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

As noted above, a schooled bard need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.


Schooled bards learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Schooled Bard Spells Known. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.

Bardic Performance

A schooled bard is trained to use Perform skills to create magical effects on those around him, including himself if desired. He can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + his Charisma modifier. At each level after 1st a schooled bard can use bardic performance for 2 additional rounds per day. Each round, the schooled bard can produce any one of the types of bardic performance that he has mastered, as indicated by his level and his bardic school.

Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Changing a bardic performance from one effect to another requires the schooled bard to stop the previous performance and start a new one as a standard action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the schooled bard is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round. A schooled bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

At 7th level, a schooled bard can start a bardic performance as a move action instead of a standard action. At 13th level, he can start a bardic performance as a swift action.

Each bardic performance has audible components, visual components, or both.

If a bardic performance has audible components, the targets must be able to hear the schooled bard for the performance to have any effect, and such performances are language dependent. A deaf schooled bard has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with an audible component. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Deaf creatures are immune to bardic performances with audible components.

If a bardic performance has a visual component, the targets must have line of sight to the schooled bard for the performance to have any effect. A blind schooled bard has a 50% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with a visual component. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Blind creatures are immune to bardic performances with visual components.

Bardic Schools

There are five schools of bardic performances, each defined by a common theme. A schooled bard may study any or all five schools, although this requires a great deal of dedication.

All schooled bards choose a single school as his specialty, focusing slightly more on that aspect of his performances (see below). If desired, a schooled bard may choose to exclude all schools of bardic music but his specialty, unlocking abilities exclusive to that school. The five bardic schools of music, and the special Perform skill associated with each, are:

Martial Weapon Proficiency

As dabblers in all subjects, a schooled bard is rarely limited to just the basics. This is as true about his casting as it is about his weapon proficiency. A schooled bard gains Martial Weapon Proficiency as a bonus feat. The martial weapon chosen must be a light or one-handed melee weapon or a ranged weapon; he may not use this bonus feat to gain proficiency with a two-handed martial melee weapon.

A schooled bard gains an additional Martial Weapon Proficiency at 9th level and again at 17th level. Each time it is applied to a different light or one-handed martial melee weapon or a ranged weapon.

Bardic Knowledge (Ex)

Starting at 2nd level, a schooled bard may make a special bardic knowledge check with a bonus equal to his schooled bard level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information on any topic presented to him. A schooled bard may not live with his nose in a book, but he does keep his ear to the ground. Knowing a squeeze of lemon juice really brings out cheap ale’s tang could prove as useful as knowing that Princess Violet had an affair with a stable boy, even if he doesn’t know who Princess Violet is.

A Bardic Knowledge check can substitute for any knowledge skill check a situation calls for. For example, a schooled bard could use Bardic Knowledge in place of Knowledge (Religion) to recognize a holy symbol. DCs for Bardic Knowledge checks are always five higher than a standard knowledge skill check.

Specialty (Ex)

A schooled bard shows a preference towards a school of music. Even if he is equally capable of performing every school, there is always one that speaks to him more on a personal level. This school isn’t about playing the right notes to him; it is a channel for all of music’s possibilities.

At 3rd level, a schooled bard chooses one bardic music school, into which he has put maximum ranks in the corresponding Perform skill. This is his specialty. A schooled bard gains two additional rounds of bardic performance per day to be used on a song from the school of his specialty at 2nd level and an additional round per day for every schooled bard level. If a schooled bard has no ranks in any other perform skill, he gains a unique specialty ability.

Influence and Inspiration (Ex)

A schooled bard leads a busy life. He entertains crowds, heals the sick, leads adventuring parties down dangerous paths, and – more often than not – saves damsels in distress. It is hard to be an expert on everything and keep up on the latest spells. Luckily, a schooled bard doesn’t just pick up juicy rumors in crowds and interesting insights from his surroundings. He can learn new spells by watching others cast them, spells a bard normally couldn’t cast.

At 4th level, a schooled bard can attempt to learn spells he witnesses. Whenever a schooled bard sees and hears a 0-level arcane or divine spell being cast, he may make a Spellcraft check to identify the spell. If successful, he adds the spell to his spells known until the next time he gains new spells. A schooled bard treats any spell he learns in this manner as a 1st level bard spell. A schooled bard can use influence and inspiration to learn one spell at a time. If he learns another spell using influence and inspiration, he immediately loses any other spell learned in this way. A spell learned in this manner is above and beyond the normal number of spells the schooled bard knows.

Starting at 7th level, a schooled bard can use influence and inspiration to learn 1st level spells as 2nd level bard spells. At 10th level, he can also learn 2nd level spells as 3rd level bard spells; at 13th level, 3rd level spells as 4th level bard spells; at 16th level, 4th level spells as 5th level bard spells. Finally, at 19th level, he can also learn 5th level spells as 6th level bard spells.

Piece de Resistance (Su)

A schooled bard hears music in everything – wind blowing through leaves, a cobbler hammering shoe nails, bow strings being pulled back and launching arrows into a creature’s flesh. Starting at 5th level, once per day as a full round action, a schooled bard can make a Perform check instead of an attack roll to hit in combat. A schooled bard can use this ability more times per day at 8th and 14th level.

Encore (Ex)

A good performer caters to his audience. Beginning at 11th level, a schooled bard can maintain a bardic performance from the previous round without using up another round of his daily allotment of bardic performances. A schooled bard can use encore a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier.

Musical Oneness (Su)

After a career of tapping into music’s full magical potential, a schooled bard becomes a being of pure musical energy.

Beginning at 20th level, a schooled bard changes his type to outsider and becomes incorporeal. At will, he can turn into a being of color and light, or one of pitch darkness. A good bard radiates light as though the subject of a daylight spell. An evil bard absorbs light as though the subject of a darkness spell, however he ignores the concealment of any creatures within his lightless dome. Neutral bards may choose whether to create a light radius or a darkness radius when they activate musical oneness. Musical oneness can be activated and deactivated at will. Activating and deactivating musical oneness is an immediate action.

Archetypes & Alternate Class Features

When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.

Table: Schooled Bard Archetypes / Alternate Class Features

Archetype / Alternate Class Feature Class Features Changed or Replaced
Class Skills Weapon & Armor Spells Cantrips Bardic Performance Bardic School Martial Weapon Proficiency Bardic Knowledge Specialty Influence and Inspiration Piece de Resistance Encore Musical Oneness
1 9 17 4 7 10 13 16 19 5 8 14
3rd Party Publishers
4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
X=replaced, (X)=optional replacement, C=changed

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Section 15: Copyright Notice

Strategists and Tacticians. Copyright 2010, 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming; Author Ryan Costello, Jr.

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