[Where I read] The Complete Bard's Handbook and The Complete Thief's Handbook

My LR of Tales of the Lance was inspired by a discussion of fantasy writers having no sense of scale from that thread too.
I confess, my version of worlds is always larger than depicted in games. My version of Ravenloft is actually the size of Europe and equally inhabited, for instance. Ansalom also was as large as Australia (oddly existing in roughly the same geographical spot because I felt that "everything is Europe and American was boring--plus its bottom was frozen over).

In retrospect, I guess this could be used as a performing priestess or magical girl theme. As wildly out of place in AD&D as that is. Its strength ultimately lies as a catchall circus performer with animal taming, magical special effects, and the freakshow potential of Psionics. Thus mechanically, I think this kit fills an entertainment niche that the minstrels and casanovas don't, and that the knife jugglers, jesters, and acrobats only specialize within.
Also, to be silly, you could also do the Exotic Dancer Kit seriously with this one. Insane as it is to suggest to players you wanted to be one.

To be fair, they've got gnomish invention pinned down there. There are some great and fabulously elaborate rules in the 3.5e Dragonlance race book which might adapt well for the Professor if you wanted something more sophisticated.
That's a very good point.

The Ent said:
Oh but they do - illusion magic.
Other than that they were pretty much just smaller Dwarves with a different personality (having much the same bonuses in 1e and 2e - attack bonuses vs humanoids, AC bonus vs giants, etc). But, illusion magic - only Gnomes and Humans could be Illusionists (and in 2e in particular, the +1 Intelligence bonus made Gnome Illusionists fairly badass, actually. A Wizard with 19 Intelligence was nothing to sneeze at, even if Illusionist might not have been the most powerful Specialty Wizard out there (allthough moreso than Necromancer, Abjurer and Diviner I'd say ^_^). Of course in 1e level limits meant Gnomes wouldn't be very powerful at all, but well. Illusionist/Thief and Fighter/Illusionist are/were fairly badass combinations! Imagine a Gnome Fighter/Illusionist with Improved Invisibility and/or Blur and/or Mirror Image and/or...etc. (I'm fairly sure a Gnome Fighter/Illusionist with Improved Invisibility etc could take on a tribe of Ogres on his own, even mid-level. They won't hit anything!)

That said more could definitely have been made outta that.
I have nothing against illusion magic and Jonoid Coincrawler in KODT, showed how hilarious broken illusions could be. "You see a massive dragon in the dungeon and it offers to serve as a bank for your possessions." Also, the fact I couldn't have been one of the first people to exploit that illusions could mimic ALL sensations to create PAIN in your foes.

Bwhahahahaha.

The only question is when a gnome did this, did you automatically disbelieve?

The Ent said:
I liked that class myself, it seems pretty badass in a way allthough most of its stuff boils down to "talks to animals" and "throws rocks at people" with a side order of "random nature magic" (why, WHY is *Entangle* the final spell ability learnt!? At that high level it's hardly even useful anymore except against the sort of opposition the Whistler'd take down in a couple rounds with rocks anyway!). I mean the rock throwing ability is actually good, darts were *great* weapons in 2e, *especially* against Wizards and Clerics (all it takes is *one* hit to destroy concentration, remember! And no Concentration skill!), so the Whistler is basically "the dude that ruins the spellcaster's day".

I'd probably tone the eco-hippie stuff down a notch or a million though. Halflings are down-to-earth farmers, they don't have a problem butchering, or killing predators. Well the way I see them anyway. They need their sausages and meat pies. I mean a vegetarian Halfling!? No way, man. No way. It's like a Dwarf who shaves or an Elf who thinks being an Elf isn't awesome.
Yeah, one of the first things I do is give the Whistler Entangle at a much lower level.

Speaking of which, I actually did incorporate the fact that elves had wildly different views of being "at one with nature" than halflings. Halflings believed very strongly in domestication of animals and rural farmland, while elves found the complete absence of wild things in their territories rather unsettling. There was a kingdom in David Eddings "Belgariad series" that consisted more or less of nothing but Kansas-like fields and ranches. I adapted that for the Realms--other kingdoms would defend it due to its incredibly cheap prices and forgiveness of debts.

Hehehehe.

Table 31 is, of course, the table for Thief followers.

The Illusive table gets you Shepard and a handful of misfit NPCs.
Thanks for the clarification!

It's a pokeball for instruments!

"Pikalute, I choose you!"
I used to keep my players in a pokeball but they all died horribly of starvation when I forgot about them--it's now haunted.
 
Usha Majere was an amazing heroine but, sadly, because she was FEMALE she was treated like garbage throughout her trilogy and ended up the almost-sex slave of the EVIL Irda's warlord.
Point of information: Linsha Majere, Usha's daughter. I always liked her, although she seemed to get better treatment from Steve Miller's game work and writing than from Mary Herbert's novels. But I only read the first volume of the Linsha Trilogy; the end of the War of Souls left me burnt out on DL. (What they did with Soth was the scenario I'd called out as the worst-case scenario a year in advance. I can document this. :) )
 
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Crowqueen

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Regarding the scale factor: much of the fantasy world stuff out of there is done on American scale, which is completely alien to me as a Briton. It's not really germane to this thread, but briefly, Ansalon is a little alien in that regard because it is slightly less huge than Faerun.
 

CaliberX

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I LOVE the Whistler. When I heard you were doing the Complete Bard's, that's the kit my mind instantly flashed too. Admittedly, the flavor does suffer somewhat heavily from the "we're backporting modern day relationships with nature to a much more agrarian society" issue we've already touched on a bit, but still, it's just so fun. Give him some slightly more sensible relationship with nature and he's pretty solid.

I wish he wasn't still tied up with 2e's odd instence that dwarves and halflings were walking little piles of anti-magic though. I'd love it if Whistlers really were the halfling wizards, a proto-sorcerer, summoning up magic with a tune on their lips and a whistle in their heart. Would be better for their odd assortment of nature spells to be gained supernatural abilities versus mysteriously granted clerical spells as well, but again, 2e.

While trying to find the Whistler image I remember from the book, I stumbled over this! :cool:
 

DarkMoc

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Regarding the scale factor: much of the fantasy world stuff out of there is done on American scale, which is completely alien to me as a Briton. It's not really germane to this thread, but briefly, Ansalon is a little alien in that regard because it is slightly less huge than Faerun.
Yes, the scales are quite different. The driving distance from Miami to Jacksonville is about 20 kilometers more than the distance from London to Edinburgh, while Key West to Pensacola (pretty much the two significant towns in Florida furthest from each other) is around 350 kilometers more than Plymouth to Aberdeen. Florida by itself is about 30% larger by land area than England, or about 2/3 the size of Britain. Until I realized that, I had never figured out why it was so easy in British history for people to blunder into each other, because my sense of scale was much different.
 

Thanos6

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Whenever I think of "the Whistler," I ALWAYS flashback to the old-time radio character (no, I'm not that old ;)).

And America/Britain reminds me of something I read somewhere, possibly something Stephen Fry said. Paraphrasing, "Americans are always overwhelmed by Britain's depth of history, Britons are always overwhelmed by America's breadth of geography."
 

Crowqueen

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Yes, the scales are quite different. The driving distance from Miami to Jacksonville is about 20 kilometers more than the distance from London to Edinburgh, while Key West to Pensacola (pretty much the two significant towns in Florida furthest from each other) is around 350 kilometers more than Plymouth to Aberdeen. Florida by itself is about 30% larger by land area than England, or about 2/3 the size of Britain. Until I realized that, I had never figured out why it was so easy in British history for people to blunder into each other, because my sense of scale was much different.
In reverse, you don't need to tell me how overawed I was as a 10-year-old by the size of Florida. We only went as far north as Orlando, but driving there from Miami was comparable to driving from London to see my northern relatives.

It was also quite surprising that Mariposa was the closest we could stay to Yosemite, but between that and the park gates and visitor centre was 40 miles of ...very little. By the time we got to Texas 18 months ago, three hours between Houston (well, Katy) and San Antonio was a short trip (though long because my iPod headphone jack got dented when I slung a suitcase on top of it. It's a testament to the iPod's robustness that it wasn't obvious that it had even been damaged, and a testament to my addiction to music that I got withdrawal symptoms on that journey from having to read instead of listen to music and look out the window.

I'm assuming your sentence should be '350 kilometers, more than...' That comma makes a difference... Then again, we're talking about American distances. Anything could be correct.

[/tangent]

DDG - you forgot the songs!
 
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Taarkoth

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I never got the Bard's Handbook as I remember nothing in it really interested me, but this WIR has been nifty. Really looking forward to Thieves, as that was one of my favorites of the Handbooks.

Honestly, I think they're overselling "Poseur Cavalier" as you could be a Gallant Musketeer, Pirate, or any number of other roles as long as they get you into the bed...I mean arms... of your beloved.
Objection! Wesley was a) far to competent a warrior to be a bard, even a gallant one, and b) couldn't have been a gallant anyways as he was pretty solely dedicated to Buttercup which would have broken the gallant's code. The weakest I could buy him as would as be a very experienced thief with the swashbuckler kit.

PRAISE THIRD EDITION! THERE IS NO OTHER!
NEVAHR! *clutches his B/X books*

I'm not sure about some of these. The Legionaire, for example, doesn't strike me as particularly Bardic at all. Also, the difference between a Scop and a Rustic and a Historical Bard seems to be all different words for saying, "Bard exactly as it is in the Player's Handbook." The Dervish, however, seems like an excellent class I'm sorry we've missed and I really regret we didn't get the Sleuth.
If they had actually written the Blade as a bardic assassin and dropped the, oh, most of the other kits and replaced them with the Dervish, Muse, Entrancer, and Sleuth I might actually have picked up this book. Because those sounded a lot more interesting than what was actually in here.

Dwarvish James Bond is crying in a corner, he really is.
This and previous comments about how races with level limits below ten suck at those classes forgets how low level in general pre-3.x D&D Land was. Maybe because 2e had gotten rid of level titles maybe? Most novel characters for instance are not the 15+ level monsters 3e statted them as. They'd actually be around 4th to 6th level. As for 9th level characters sucking? 9th level is powerful enough to carve your own kingdom out of the monster-haunted wilderness, teleport, conjure forth elementals, and raise the dead.

Wow, that's convoluted. Also, I wasn't aware Halflings were unmagical. It's been awhile but you'd think I'd remember that.
Tolkien.

Okay, this is the class which inspired me to want to do a book. It is a perfect example of why the brown-leather books occasionally approached greatness--because they're so damned WEIRD. There's a picture which accompanies this describing of someone shooting a bullet or something at the Halfling and he has whistled up an energy shield. Who came up with this? Why do Halflings, of all classes, whistle? Why does it give them superpowers?
Note to the authors of The Complete Bard's Handbook: Tom Bombadil was not a Hobbit.

Seriously. They actually wrote this. Halflings have WHISTLING DRUIDS.
Again, Bombadil was not a Hobbit.

Nature and whistling! Because!
Bombadil.

Like all halflings, Whistlers love missile weapons,
Wait, what?
Extrapolation from throwing below.

Warhammers
Hold up, again, what?
I got nothin'.

All halflings are skilled at pitching rocks
....

Huh?
Tolkien.

This reminds me of how, on Star Trek: Enterprise, they said that hunting had ceased because HUNTERS ARE EVIL.

I presume, like most adventurers, they will still KILL PEOPLE, right?
Yes but people aren't animals, so it's perfectly okay! In fact, if Lawful Good wasn't just another name for Chaotic Evil it'd be that. But because Lawful Good is that, instead people-killing is True Neutral. :D /sarc
This sort of nonsense is why some people honestly believe in things like the Voluntary Human Extinction movement.

Ferrets and Foxes, who EAT other animals. As mentioned with the Meistersingers.
As Futurama has informed us, all predators actually eat tofu.

No, I'm pretty sure that would be a Thief not a bard. Actually, in Robin Hood's case, I'm pretty sure that would be a dual-classed Ranger/Thief. Except, wait, Dual classing sucks. What *IS* Robin Hood?
Dual-classing doesn't suck. It's actually more powerful than multi-classing.

Robin Hood was a fighter with the Forester secondary skill, or the Hunting and Survival non-weapon proficiencies.

Not because Bard's Colleges actually TEACH stuff and it's their function to pass along knowledge rather than simply make money--no, it's because they're clique-ish. I bet they have fraternities too.
This is something they brought forward from 1e bards which no longer makes any damn sense as 2e bards are COMPLETELY different.

Colleges serve as a form of specialty inn-members come and stay for a while, then move on.
Okay, I call BS on that one.
The bardic colleges were a series of schools bards attended in a specific order as they leveled, with the whole thing being very serious and taking multiple levels to graduate from each. In other words, see my above reply.

The functions of a college are determined by the current members. Most meetings are called on an informal basis; those who show up partake in the discussion, practice, or seminar. Such meetings can evolve into a regular event (for a short while), fragment into smaller groups, or simply end in lieu of more exciting events.
I'm not sure what this even means.
See above.

There's some rules for the original 1E Bard but that's it.
Even as overpowered as the 1e bard was, I liked the flavour of the class a lot more than the 2e and later versions, which always felt more... spoony.

ONTO THIEVES!
Woohoo!
 

DarkMoc

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In reverse, you don't need to tell me how overawed I was as a 10-year-old by the size of Florida. We only went as far north as Orlando, but driving there from Miami was comparable to driving from London to see my northern relatives.
Oh, yes. I used to live in Orlando. I'm about an hour southeast of there now, and it's still a three hour trip to travel to Miami.

I'm assuming your sentence should be '350 kilometers, more than...' That comma makes a difference... Then again, we're talking about American distances. Anything could be correct.
No, no comma. Aberdeen to Plymouth is 932 kilometers. Key West to Pensacola is 1,341. I actually did my maths wrong, and it's 409 kilometers more. :D

[/tangent]

Taarkoth said:
Objection! Wesley was a) far to competent a warrior to be a bard, even a gallant one, and b) couldn't have been a gallant anyways as he was pretty solely dedicated to Buttercup which would have broken the gallant's code. The weakest I could buy him as would as be a very experienced thief with the swashbuckler kit.
He's obviously a custom class with a d12 hit die, combat bonuses based on intelligence, and a swashbuckling skill that boosts armor class when not wearing armor.

Even as overpowered as the 1e bard was,
All I can say is it never affected my games because nobody ever qualified for the class. On 4d6 drop lowest, 0.15% of characters would have the stats to become a bard (1 out of 685). On 3d6 straight, it was .0017% of characters (1 out of 58,000). And that assumed they survived being a fighter and then dual classing into thief.

Depending on how you read the Gygaxian prose about bardic requirements, the earliest a PC could be a bard would be as F5/T5/Brd1, with only 5d10 hit dice at 11th level. The latest potential bard would be F7/T9/Brd1, a 17th-level character with 7d10+2d6 hit dice.
 
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