Blood! Gore! The screams of the dying, the adulation of the crowds… music, art, life and death! Call it bloodsport, call it barbaric, call it whatever you should like… but as long as the audience cheers, how bad can a little killing be?
Read on below to enter the arena with the College of Glory!Bard College of Glory v1
You can also find the PDF version here.
A bard of the College of Glory lives for two things – killing, and praise. A gladiator’s life is built upon both. It isn’t enough to be good at killing your opponents, you need to have some flair! An act! Maybe even a musical number if you’re feeling particularly creative – but what it is doesn’t matter. All you need to remember is that whatever “it” is, some people have it, and the others bleed out in the sand. So, who do you want to be?
- A rapier just isn’t gonna cut it, friend. Audiences want to see exotic and lethal weapons! Swords and shields, tridents or nets, the sky’s the limit!
- And the crowd goes wild! Fighting isn’t enough – you need true Acts of Daring to thrill the audience!
- Keep a cool head though – the arena floor is the last place you want to lose your concentration.
- And what is an act without a suitably grand, astonishing, and ultimately lethal finale! For you or your enemy, of course – whatever makes for the best story!
- Gladiators are, as a concept, kinda messed up. But hey, when in Rome why not fight to the death because some fat guy with leaves on his head turned a thumb, right?
- In any case, this is the Gladiator Bard – meant to be a counterpart to, and yet also significantly different from, the College of Valor bard. Where that bard is about weaving melee and spellcasting together, the College of Glory is more about the display. Hence the psuedo-Battlemaster Acts of Daring.
- As is always the case when I draw from another class for my design, I worry that I’ve drawn too much. I don’t want the Glory Bard to be too similar to the Battlemaster, so I’ve tried to have their respective in-combat abilities cover different uses. In particular, I’ve tried to focus less on direct control effects and more on “tricks.” Jury’s out on how well that went though.
- One thing of particular note is Grand Finale – it has a weird caveat on it that allows the bard to use the feature without expending a use, but only when on the brink of death. The exertion then promptly kills them (or puts them at 0 hit points at least). Needless to say, this is a bit different. I like the narrative concept so much though that it managed to stay in past when I might otherwise have removed it. So, does that work? Or is it too complex?
- At the end of the day, I’m good with the College of Glory. It came as one of those “out of nowhere” ideas, but ultimately seems to have worked out pretty well. I also was smart enough to avoid giving them that one concept feature that would’ve let them make attacks with their Performance check, which would be like giving Hexblade warlocks Expertise in hitting stuff. A terrible idea, really.
Thanks for reading!