Don’t expect a song that peppy, of course. The mourner’s song is one of tolling bells, the inevitability of death across all of existence. All things die one death or another; the withering of age, the ravages of disease, or the horrors of battle. The bell tolls, but that needn’t be a frightening thing.
The bell tolls, and its echoes might never need to fade.
Continue below for the College of Mourning bard!
Or go directly to the PDF version!
All bards sing songs of the past, but you have dedicated yourself to those most morbid tales. The death of heroes, the fall of empires, and the ending of ages. You might not see it the same, of course. Your job, after all, is to provide these legends the reward they so earned in life; immortality in death. Through you, the echoes of the past live again, forming new legends even as you sing the glories of their adventurous past.
- Bardic Necromancy. Through tales of the heroes of old, you can summon echoes of their power through your Dirges and Tributes.
- Make New Legends. As you adventure, you can inspire allies as The Bell Tolls on the deaths of your enemies. The echoes of the Heroes of Old also answer your call more powerfully, eager to make new legends.
- Together at World’s End. Finally, your power grows to the point where the Echoing Spirits consider you their equal, with several of them willing to fight and die once more at your side.
- First, make sure to check out Racial Feats v2 – Volo’s Notes on Sentient Beings too! It’s the first part of my updated feats for races homebrew from a while back, and includes 25 feats for the options presented in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. It’s PWYW, so go check it out!
- And with that out of the way, welcome back to the necromancer bard! This is one of the bard concepts I first came up with quite a while ago, while thinking of different ways to use Bardic Inspiration dice. And while it ended up differently than my original concept (which might make it as a separate option soon), I’m very happy with it all the same.
- The big innovation this time around is the introduction of the Heroic Echo statblock. I wanted to add a Sage option, and standardize the Warrior and Hunter, and I realized the best way to do that was by making a single statblock for each to call on.
- Now comes the problem, though. While I’m content with the Warrior and Hunter (neither of whom have really changed in power from the statblock’s introduction), the Sage presents some worries. Specifically I’m concerned about its ability to cast 1st level spells.
- I tried to balance this by giving it mostly mediocre spells (and by “mediocre” I mean “actually useful but just not in combat”). To keep it from feeling too boring though, I also threw in magic missile. That one is a good spell, but its low damage and the fact that the echo can only cast it once per use might keep it in line.
- Ultimately, the issue just becomes one of allowing bards to effectively exchange Bardic Inspiration dice for free spell casts. A 3rd level bard can reasonably expect to have 3 BI dice, which equals out to 3 free casts of magic missile, which seems iffy. But that also means they can’t use the BI dice to help their party… but is that a good enough drawback?
- I decided to put this up as-is to see what people thought. I’ve also included a variant on page 2 which pushes the ability to summon Sage echoes out to 6th level, at which point a few extra 1st level spells won’t make that much of a difference. Even still, I wasn’t happy enough with the variant to just go with that from the start, hence why two options are presented.
Let me know what you think!