Bard Class Preview

IctinusIctinus ProducerAdministrator, Immortal
edited March 2022 in Aetolia Development
With recent events having set the future stage for its release, I am pleased to announce our next class: Bard! By now I'm sure plenty of you may have figured out that this is the new neutral class I promised in my end of year post, so we've decided to reveal some of the details of it in advance. Obviously the class is still in development, so some specifics may change between now and the release.

To begin with, here is what HELP BARD will look like!

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Performers and assassins both, the Bards of Djeir operate openly out of their historical sanctuary, the Theater of Shadows. Their origins lay within the founding years of Undercity of Djeir, arising as a theater that showcased a gruesome - yet celebrated - blend of traditional drama and bloodsport. As the Undercity became embroiled within the throes of civil war following the death of Jy'rilia Garilicci, First Empress of Djeir, the Bards emerged as an unexpected power.

As all the major and minor noble houses warred for the throne, opportunities for public theater spread thin as the safety of a manor's walls grew more attractive. Still craving entertainment, the nobles began instead to invite the Theater to their estates to host their dramas for them and their allies. This provided many opportunities for a Bard to glean the secrets and plans of each house in order to sell the information to enemy factions. It did not take long for the first hired kills to follow that, starting the Bards' long, storied tradition in aristocratic assassination.

The Theater of Shadows grew powerful with alarming haste, eventually turning the nobility against them. As most houses established a tenuous ceasefire in order to slaughter the Theater, a fabled hero-bard would pen his name into the history books using a blood-stained falchion: Vascsce, of common birth. A talented actor and lead performer in the Theater, Vascsce was already owed fame, yet the events the eve before the Bards' planned demise would elevate him to legendary status.

Vascsce was lover to one Nueciale Garilicci, a minor noble within her family line with little prospects, that had accidentally become privy to her elders' scheme. Learning of the plans through her, Vascsce sought to bring an end to the civil war and secure a future for him and his colleagues. Humming a tune, he set off to the noble quarters and demonstrated his other talent.

One by one, Vascsce felled the heads of each house in a deadly performance, the intensity of his humming growing as he continued manor to manor, deeper into the noble quarters of the city. Resistance mounted to levels impossible for him to overcome and Vascsce bared all he had as the tune reached a fevered pitch. Prepared for death, he was stunned instead to see a path cleared before him as guard turned upon guard in defiance of reason. He had poured every inch of his being into his work during the frenzied encounter - including his soul - heightening his tune to magical levels to discover the art of Songcalling.

By the time the morrow had arrived, any noble that had a stronger claim to the throne than Nueciale was dead. She was coronated as Empress, ending the brutal civil war and solidifying the Garilicci family's position as the royal line. One of her first decrees was to grant Vascsce "attro ca pa'sa" - the Grace of the Empress - forgiving him of any crimes committed under Djeirani law. Her next ruling act was to establish a relationship with the Theater of Shadows, enacting an accord that lasts even today.

In short, the accord established that the sitting Empress of Djeir would be patron to the Theater of Shadows, and in exchange, the Empress would be immune to any assassination or attack from them. Should a Bard carry out an assassination, they must perform certain ceremonial steps during the deed in order to be able to invoke attro ca pa'sa and be forgiven of any crime. Failure to complete the proper ceremony would find them instead subject to Djeirani justice.

And so it remains a rare affair for a Bard to carry out a cloak and dagger assassination. Those still happen, when the need is high and pay is higher still, but it carries great risk to the Bard. Without a public audience to witness their kill, they would be beholden to honesty of the victim's family that the ceremony was completed properly. The theater of bloodsport was reborn under the royal accord and the Bards leaned into their performance. With each hired kill, a Bard tried to out-do prior spectacles to gain fame and notoriety, and to stretch towards the legend of Vascsce. And with each kill, the Djeirani cheered and reveled.

Defined by their three skills of Performance, Weaving and Songcalling, the Bards use each one for both theater and killing. With Performance, the Bards utilise their falchion with flair while finding ways to throw off an opponent's pace. Through Songcalling, a Bard can sing forth songs of legend to affect their audience in a powerful manner that can be beneficial or harmful. And finally, the traditional Djeirani art of Weaving is used to conjure items of light to pin a target down.

Bards first came to the spotlight of wider Sapience during the events of the Grand Tragedie in the month of Lleian, 501 MA. Ostensibly, the play was put on as an offering to Nalibhtavi, the Replete in an attempt to entertain and please the hedonist Goddess. In reality, the drama was the front for a spectacle assassination, masterminded by the Bard Teclah Neri against the two Ash'aji noblemen invited to act the lead roles. Hoping to create her best performance, she instead horribly miscalculated the reaction of the Elder Goddess. Rather than being pleased at the bloodshed, She grew outraged at the desecration of theater. In Her final acts of existence, the Full One slaughtered almost every single of the Djeirani Bards.

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We'll have a bunch more of these snippets for you to feast on as we approach the release ready state!

I'm going to keep this thread locked so we can keep adding to it more easily, but I'll create a separate thread for comments and reactions.


  • IctinusIctinus Producer Administrator, Immortal
    And continuing our teaser series, today's helping is HELP WEAVING!

    The art of Weaving is a crude but powerful technique, allowing the Bard to create and shape light, often into physical form. Whether it is used to conjure items on demand to debilitate a target, or create facsimiles of objects to use as props, it is a versatile skill well-suited to both theatrics and assassination.

    Its ancient roots have a long, storied history in Djeirani culture, having existed since the first days of the underground race itself. Legend states that the Djeirani people were once spiders of Azdun - remnants of the Dark Empire - before being changed by the Lady Chakrasul, and the first hints of Weaving came from that ancestral form. As the spiders spun their large webs within the vast underground, they would imbue light along their strands, creating a luminous trap to enthrall and ensnare their prey. Though the Djeirani lost the ability to produce and spin silk in their modern forms, the art of drawing upon this light remained.

    Today, there exist many forms of Weaving within the Undercity. Some are used to create the orbs of light that illuminate the vast cavern, while others might be familiar to adventurers in mention of Zaili and the net of revelation. The Bards have adapted the art of Weaving to their own needs, creating something distinct from these other forms. Some scholars have drawn links between Weaving and the skill of Enchantment, suspecting the two to have related histories, though this theory has yet to be proven.

    Weaving can be identified by the trailing light following the caster's free hand during the spellcasting process, as they draw upon the ambient spirit around them. This is then spun into illusory objects, strands of illuminated thread taking simple forms that can be controlled freely by the Bard.

    Experts in the craft are capable of creating far more complex objects, such as blades or collars. However, this masterwork is extremely taxing, requiring significantly more sources of conjured light to enact while causing the caster severe magical fatigue. The most elaborate Weaving spectacles often require multiple stages to complete, necessitating bigger sources to be created in preparation for a final, grand conjuration.

    This magical fatigue or "dithering" can be mitigated through the use of onyx. Weavers commonly choose to wear bracelets and jewellery with gems of that black stone in order to gird themselves against exhaustion and carry out their works for more prolonged periods. In mythology, the Black Rose of Djeir is a powerful artifact of onyx, gifted to the city by Chakrasul at its founding. Said to be only useable by the bloodline of the Empress, the Black Rose allows her to spin powerful feats in order to protect her underground empire.
  • RazmaelRazmael Administrator, Immortal
    And here is the final skillset of the Bards, HELP SONGCALLING:

    There is no weapon more powerful to a bard than their voice, this simple fact is embodied within the art of Songcalling. From the drunk fool to the shining diva, anybody is capable of singing, but only a bard is able to empower a song to transform the mundane into the mystical.

    Yet it is no simple composition a bard will call upon; each storied song belongs to an illustrious collection known to the Theater of Shadows as The Eminent Ensemble. Most songs in the Ensemble share a common characteristic: they are memorable songs that have had a deep impact on many people. Indeed, most are ancient songs borne from legend and myth that have become widespread across the continent. Not every song that fits this description meets the criteria to join the Ensemble, and the phenomena remains beyond the understanding of the Theater even today.

    It is only these songs of the Ensemble that a bard is capable of empowering. By using their soul as a catalyst, they cause a reverberation in their voice that entwines with a song's tune and heightens it to magical levels that can affect their audience. Through these songs, a proficient bard can even manipulate the emotions of an audience to their own end.

    Many of the Ensemble's songs are known by different names, and even lyrics, in several corners of the continent but all versions of a song share the same tune and overall theme. It is these two facts that remain most important for the song, for a strong tune will easily evoke the memory one has of their own version of a song. Master bards are capable of utilising this effect to make a song their own, often changing the lyrics to a song to put their own creative flair upon it.

    Taking this concept to its highest level, a bard is able to imbue a portion of their own soul into an instrument, allowing them to sing one song while playing a second.
  • IctinusIctinus Producer Administrator, Immortal
    edited April 2022
    Today's teaser shows off the GOSSIPMONGER ability from Performance!

    Syntax: GOSSIP
    GOSSIP SPREAD (text)

    A bard is ever-attuned to the local gossip, and when handled right it can be a weapon as deadly as any other. Through the careful sifting of gossip, bards learned the movements of the great houses of Djeir, and with a word or two in the right ear, they would draw their targets into the open.

    You must be at least slightly tipsy in order to loosen your silver tongue, both allowing you to pick up gossip with more clarity than other people, and spread new gossip. Gossip spread in this way will be local to the current area, and last a lot shorter than natural gossip. Gossip can only be spread once every hour - any shorter than that and you risk being outed as the source.

    Note that the [Gossip]: line is an admin alert which I included to show off the area limitation!
  • IctinusIctinus Producer Administrator, Immortal
    Another teaser for you, this time confirming @Iesid 's speculations with the FACSIMILE ability:

    (As always, names, usages, everything is subject to change prior to release).

    Dithering effect: 1

    Conjure forth ordinary everyday objects. They can be a few things of choice, and will decay in a short amount of time.

    Cup, chair, table, cane, rock, chest, soapbox, sword, pole, springboard, ladder, barrel, or fence.

  • IctinusIctinus Producer Administrator, Immortal
    And for your enjoyment today I have a combat relevant ability: SWINDLE from Weaving!

    Dithering effect: 5
    Requires a Globe upon the opponent.

    By weaving light to penetrate your opponent's defences, you may steal one of them for your own benefit. The defence is chosen at random from those currently active on the target, and will expire after a set amount of time.

    What is a globe, you ask? Wait and see!

  • IctinusIctinus Producer Administrator, Immortal
    Back to flavourful (mostly) abilities today, with PERFORMANCE UNWIND:

    Syntax: UNWIND

    While at a public tavern, pub, or inn that serves alcohol, you can choose to unwind there, refreshing your endurance and willpower somewhat. You will also become slightly tipsy, but such is the price to pay for comfort.

    There is a somewhat long cooldown before you may unwind once more after using this ability.

This discussion has been closed.