Mad artists draw inspiration from glimpses of terrible truths about the nature of reality. They are often tragic figures, drawn to cruel beings and self-destructive cults by sympathy born of confusion and anxiety.
Aberrant Mind (Ex)
The mad artist gains a bonus equal to half his bard level on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive checks to interact with aberrations and extraplanar creatures. A mad artist’s stage of dread is never less than 1. A mad artist takes a –2 penalty on saving throws against confusion, dread, and insanity.
Bardic Performance: A mad artist has access to the following bardic performances.
Unnatural Rapport (Ex)
At 1st level, a mad artist can use his performance to communicate with unnatural creatures within 90 ft., including aberrations, oozes, creatures not native to his home plane, and undead. He can communicate simple concepts without a shared language and can even communicate with mindless creatures. Although the mad artist must perform constantly to maintain the benefits of this performance, he expends only 1 round of bardic performance per minute of interaction. Using this performance causes the artist to become shaken for its duration. This cannot make him frightened, but if your game uses the dread rules, it increases his dread by 1 stage, and his stage of dread can’t decrease while he performs. Unnatural rapport relies on audible and visual components.
This performance replaces fascinate.
Dream Guide (Ex)
At 3rd level, a mad artist can use his storytelling skills to guide others in the Dreamlands.
Although the mad artist must perform constantly to maintain the benefits of this performance, he expends only one round of bardic performance per 1 hour of travel. If the mad artist begins the performance in the physical world, he and up to one creature per bard level who falls asleep listening to his performance can travel consciously to the Dreamlands, becoming temporarily aware of their parallel lives there. They must listen to the performance for 1 hour before sleeping to gain this benefit. While in the Dreamlands, this performance grants the mad artist and his fellow travelers a +2 bonus on Perception and Survival checks to navigate the Dreamlands and notice creatures and hazards there, as well as on initiative checks. This ability relies on audible and visual components.
While in the Dreamlands, the mad artist functions normally while simultaneously performing in the waking world. The bard must travel to the Dreamlands (by falling asleep) with the targets or the effect is wasted. The duration of the ability elapses in Dreamlands time (which seems normal to the dream travelers but might be faster than in the waking world) once the group enters the Dreamlands. If the mad artist is interrupted while performing (either voluntarily or involuntarily), then he (and all the party traveling with him) immediately returns to where he was in the waking world.
This performance replaces inspire competence.
Visionary Fugue (Ex)
At 8th level, a mad artist can perform or create art for 8 hours to learn things mortals were not meant to know by emulating the thoughts of alien beings. This is similar to legend lore except that the mad artist can recall legends regarding aberrations, outsiders, and undead of CR 9 or higher and he must succeed at a Will save against DC 15 + target’s CR or be shaken for 1d12 days.
This performance replaces dirge of doom.
Eldritch Symbolism (Ex)
At 2nd level, a mad artist gains a +4 bonus on skill checks made to identify or create magical runes, ritual diagrams, and magic traps. He also gains a +4 bonus on saves against magic traps (including symbols, runes, and glyphs).
This ability replaces well-versed.
Symbolic Magic (Ex)
At 2nd level and every four levels thereafter, a mad artist adds two spells that create magical glyphs, runes, or symbols from the cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell list to his spell list and spells known. If the spell is 5th level, the mad artist adds it as a 4th-level bard spell. If the spell is 6th level, the mad artist adds it as a 5th-level bard spell. If the spell is 7th- or 8th-level, the mad artist treats it as a 6th-level bard spell. The mad artist cannot learn 9th level spells.
Instead of learning a spell this way, the mad artist can opt to learn a ritual without enough clues and without the usual skill check required.
This ability replaces versatile performance.
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.