Bard College of Percussion

by Chad M. Lensch
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First Thoughts​

When I opened this supplement, I expected it to just be 2 - 3 maybe 4 pages max. I thought it would just be the subclass information and maybe a few new spells. Boy was I fucking wrong, and happy to be so!

Pitched Percussion Bards

 

3rd Level Ability - Bonus Proficiency & Healing Melodies

 

Gives you additional skills and gives advantage against saving throws.

 

The Colleges of Swords, Lore and Valor all give extra proficiencies (skills, weapons, armor) so in that regard it's pretty standard and on par with the rest of them.  It also includes this ability: you have advantage on saving throws against charm spells. It seems misplaced in the section for additional proficiencies and *might* be overpowered.

 

Only one other subclass allows your bardic inspiration to heal others, Glamour but it functions differently from this healing ability. The number of hit points that potentially gets healed (it goes up with bard levels) isn't a problem but I think the number of people that can be healed at a time should be limited to the bard's charisma modifier, following the same formula as Glamour.

 

 

6th Level Ability - Mending Harmonies

 

Allows you to use Inspiration to cast aid, lesser restoration, healing, or calm emotions and gives extra benefits depending on which spell.

 

Abilities vary at this level between different subclasses. Valor and Swords get an extra attack. Lore gives you additional spells. Glamour and Whispers grant you abilities to trick others or force your will upon them so trying to compare all those with different abilities to get a baseline for College of Percussion was a bit tricky.

 

I think it's more versatile than the other abilities and by my understanding allows you to cast spells you might not even know as a bard which is pretty powerful.

 

 

I do think the number of people that can be affected by this ability needs to be limited by the bard's charisma modifier.

 

14th Level Capstone - Tonal Dissonance

 

 Allows you to use any number of bardic inspiration to cause psychic damage to one enemy.

 

None of the other capstone abilities convert bardic inspiration directly into damage. This by far is the most powerful capstone ability (assuming characters are increasing their Charisma score) with the potential of having 3 - 5 d10 worth of psychic damage when a player first gets it and stronger at 15th level.

Non-Pitched Percussion Bard

3rd Level Ability - Bonus Proficiencies & Drums of Battle

 

 You're granted a skill proficiency and proficiency in 9 different weapons ranging from simple to martial.

 

This ability gives you the most proficiencies of all the 3rd level abilities like this. I don't think it's necessarily overpowered just it's the highest by far.

 

Nothing too fancy about Drums of Battle. It just allows you some battlefield control/mobility with your allies. 

 

6th Level Ability - Drums of Panic

 

Allows you to frighten creatures that fail a save.

 

This falls within the standard of abilities from this level and is limited in the same way as other abilities.

14th Level Capstone - Cadence of War

Allows you to bolster your allies attacks and defenses

I really like this capstone, not to say I didn't like any of the others, but it functions like modified versions of bless and blade ward. I like it because it feels really thematic. When reading it I pictured a bard leading an army into battle feels really thematic. When reading it I pictured a bard leading an army into battle.

Backgrounds

 

Street Musicians

 

It's a good background that doesn't step on the toes of the entertainer and gives a unique feature and an EXCELLENT table that is useful for DMs even without anyone having the entertainer background.

 

Military Drummer

 

The military drummer is similar to the soldier background but still has a unique twist to it and the feature plays into the overall theme.

 

Shaman

 

This background feels out of place compared to the others. It doesn't have the same tie in to percussions that the other two do in my opinion, but it is still a good background in general with a cool feature.

One thing I want to note for these backgrounds is that their features are once per day features and this doesn't line up with most of the PHB backgrounds. The exceptions are Hermit and Sailor and even these don't fall into that category neatly. The Hermit Feature Discovery is a one off and the Sailor Feature Ship's Passage could technically be used multiple times a day but is unlikely given how sea voyages tend to happen.

DM Inspiration & Elements for Your Game

 

Seekers of Kurtulmak

So a new faction and a number of story hooks are introduced in this supplement. It utilizes the age old tale of the imprisonment of Kurtulmak, the god of Kobolds, and fervent followers trying to free him.

 

The faction missions are on par with other faction missions and the story hooks are interesting and a plot twist is also provided to shake things up.

I know that the other official factions aren't necessarily all/majority human depending on your DM but this faction is specifically a kobold faction - or at least run by the. As far as I can tell any ancestry can work for them.

NPCs

There are three new npcs (Kobold Rubblemuck Ug'draang, Wood Elf Bubenik Firth, Octopod Zildjiaz) two of your standard ancestries and one competely new one. Only Rubblemuck Ug'draang is associated with the Seekrs of Kurtulmak and the other two are just people in the world with a love and connection to percussion instruments.

Magic Instruments

There are twelve new magic instruments, all made from unique materials in theme with percussions. Two of my favorites are  Bombo's Transmentificator for it's interesting back story and The Mallets of Gruumsh because I love fucking orcs and anything to do with them + it has a cool thematic transformation ability.

Final Thoughts​

 

There are some issues with this module but nothing so big that you can't tweak it a bit and give it to your players, and even if the subclasses aren't for you this product is filled to the brim with other things that can be added to the game to enrich your players' experience.

 

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