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

DoctorDogGirl

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The thing about Blades not getting a 'single attack or damage bonus' is approximately as true as Darth Vader betraying and killing Luke's father, according to Obi Wan. What they get is a lower penalty (for called shots, and in particular for two weapon fighting with their 'handle weapon' thing), which is still a sort of bonus. Albeit if someone just wants to beat up things they could certainly top it with a vanilla fighter, and without dumping all those points in Charisma :)
Excellent point, maybe they're less crap than I thought.

Still poseurs, though.

Yeah, the bit about armor just had me staring at the paragraph for a few moments. They're more interested in quality and appearance than protection? Doesn't armor quality relate to protection? And can Gallants automatically detect magical armor on sight?
Yeah, that's really poorly worded. How about, "Will wear pretty armor over worn out and must spend 10% more to get the best appearing equipment."
 

Five Eyes

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The Gallant is one of the high points of 2nd edition class design, matched only perhaps by the sha'ir.

In the more "urban-centered" or "social" campaigns that became the norm over the course of 2e, they're devastatingly functional - capable of holding their own in combat against low-level foes, with good social abilities, some thief skills, spellcasting, and a built-in adventure hook generator (their code requires them to wander around getting mixed up in stuff and fritter away their money - they're perfect PCs!) Their death-defying save ability is also just a great boon to a player character. The fact that they're basically Sir Philip Sidney or medieval rockstars is just icing on the cake.

(Incidentally, Bard THAC0 with the +2 attack bonus is enough for a Gallant to be competitive with a Fighter for the first four to six levels of play. Apparently joie de vivre is an acceptable substitute for extensive experience in battle!)

Excellent point, maybe they're less crap than I thought.

Still poseurs, though.
The Thespian jumped the Blade and took one of his class abilities, which is quite unfair as the Thespian's already got a really good class ability.

Also, never ever Offensive Spin, it's just terrible.
 
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Crowqueen

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Translation: Blades are not COOL, WHY DO YOU WANT TO PLAY ONE EXCEPT IRONICALLY!?
Because they are badass in Baldur's Gate II. Seriously, most of the time I play it, I play as a Blade, mainly for the spinning sword move.

Then again I also use CTRL-Y in the cheat console to dispatch enemies, so maybe I am just taking the spirit of the class to heart.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
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Better give your Blade an item that grants Freedom of Movement; then you can move while doing the spinning move mow down enemies.
 

pdwmartin

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Subscribed :)

This thread has encouraged me to add a Bard NPC to my current 2e game, as a potential henchman. Not sure if I wiil choose a kit for them, though.
 

Crowqueen

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Better give your Blade an item that grants Freedom of Movement; then you can move while doing the spinning move mow down enemies.
Been a long time since I last played (I still had my Windows Me computer) but there were two options - one a more powerful but static ability, and one less powerful but mobile.
 

DoctorDogGirl

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Remember what I said about Bards being every movie character?

Herald
Specialty: Linguist/Orator.
Qualifications: Standard ability scores. Demihumans can become Heralds of up to
6th level.
Introduction: Hello, my name is Bard, James Bard, and I'm a Herald working for
His Majesty, the king.
James Bond theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye8KvYKn9-0

In actuality, it's more the Scarlet Pimpernel, which makes it more fun.

BTW--I love how Demihumans can have spies but they suck.

My duties are of the utmost importance to the king and to the continued vitality of the kingdom, for I am secretly in charge of the King's private men-at-arms and personal bodyguards. If the king's life is in danger, I am responsible for ensuring his safety.
Of course, this makes the Herald a bit difficult to incorporate into some campaigns. For example, Dragonlance is an anarchic land of peasants with only one military dictatorship (Solamnia) and some backward Demihuman monarchies--so I'm not sure who, exactly, the Herald would serve there. In fact, this more or less restricts Heralds to Amn and Corymr in the Realms. This was BEFORE Points of Light, too.

My public image is one of party-goer, ladies' man, and general royal busybody. I frequent all the best parties in town. The king often ensures that I am invited. At these functions, I meet important people and use my fantastic communication skills and intellect to uncover potential plots against the throne.
The fantastic communications skills element is somewhat debatable but the "Find Rumors" power is pretty useful.

When I'm not partying, the public finds me at the castle gate. When a party comes to the castle, I use my knowledge to identify their Herald or banner and call out their name, such as: "Duke Amenga and entourage from Castle Peledge." This is a useful service, but my real purpose is to identify these visitors, assess their potential threat to the king, and act accordingly.
N ow known as the Heraldry skill--also known as the Heraldy Proficiency back then.

Enough talk, I must be off to chat with that strange-looking man entering the gates over there.
Evil suspicious foreigners! Oh wait, that is James Bond. At least the literary one.

Description: Heralds make their living by uncovering hidden truths. If a royal family has a closely guarded secret, a Herald will undoubtedly discover it. In the struggle for land and power among kingdoms, the Herald is a key force. A good Herald knows who is plotting against his king and why.

Heralds are confident and well-versed in matters of social etiquette. They often gather their information at royal events, such as balls and other celebrations. They are often mistaken for nobility; thus, they can easily make their way past guards. Heralds dress in the latest and most expensive fashions of the day. They prefer silk and bright colors. Members of the opposite sex are often attracted to Heralds by their self-confident manner and slight arrogance.

One thing is certain, Heralds are some of the most competent communicators around. They can speak dozens of languages, understand sophisticated words, locate a person's home village by his dialect, and can read almost everything they get their hands on.
I highlight this part because virtually all the Proficiencies not related to setting up camp in the woods were related to court etiquette. I find it amusing that, due to the way said abilities are set up, the Herald has to get all of them as a bonus to get any use out of them. Next, I bring this up because hobnobbing at noble parties would probably NEED you to be some form of nobility or representative of the King since impersonating one tends to get you hanged in most campaigns.

Role: There are two types of Heralds. One travels from place to place, relating current events across the land. They sell their tales of travel and the news they learn to those who will listen. Most medieval commoners cannot read or write, so it is up to such Heralds to relate local events.
I.e. "Why did we choose this title for this Kit despite it being manifestly not what Heralds do.

The other type of Herald secretly serves a king. It is the royal Herald's duty to uncover plots against the king and royal family. The royal Herald is quick witted and fast talking. Heralds of this stature often have a reputation that precedes them. They are recognized and feared by their foes. Thus, they must occasionally deal with assassination attempts at inconvenient times (for instance, a delayed blast fireball under the bed). Royal courts often employ them to preside over jousting tournaments, announce the arrival of important foreign envoys, and for personal counsel.
Sadly, this isn't an ability which would do much good in Cormyr since the War Wizards handle all of this and the "trusted agent of the King" bit isn't really the case in well-detailed monarchies. Then again, Khelben needed Danilo Thann to do all of his dirty work so what do I know?

Heralds turn to the adventuring life for several reasons. Primary among them are the fantastic stories that can be related from such ventures. "News" has a very broad meaning in the campaign world, and tales of a daring band of heroes braving unknown horrors not only qualifies, but often draws a larger crowd than local gossip.
Also, adventurers do all of the King's dirty work in every reality.

The royal Herald might be sent by his king on an undercover fact-finding mission-for instance, to investigate a rumor that Zhentil Keep is secretly funding an orc uprising in the south. Often, a Herald's communication skills will prove invaluable on such quests.
As a seasoned 2nd Edition Realms player, if Zhentil Keep isn't funding an orc uprising (or distributing plague-covered blankets or planning to overthrow the king) they haven't heard of it yet.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonuses: Etiquette, Heraldry, Local History, Reading/Writing. Suggested: Languages (ancient or modern), Musical Instrument (horn family). At least half of a Herald's nonweapon proficiencies must be spent in learning languages.
Which renders one of their class abilities useless. The horn family bit is a nod to real-life heralds but rather out-of-place here.

Identify Rumors: Heralds are always aware of their surroundings and have picked up the skills necessary to stay atop local events. Any time rumors are generated for player characters, Heralds learn twice as many as a normal character. Heralds are also able to determine the validity of a rumor. A Charisma check is rolled; if it succeeds, the Herald knows whether the rumor is true or false. Even if a rumor table isn't included in a given adventure, the Dungeon Master should make up at least one rumor per three levels of the Herald and inform him of the rumors at the adventure's onset.
Which means Heralds don't need barkeeps to get all their information like most adventurers.

Local Lore: After snooping about an inhabited area, a Herald is able to learn who the important people are, what most of the buildings are used for, the quality of certain establishments, etc. It takes a Herald one day per 1,000 inhabitants to gain a good information base. Of course, a Herald could concentrate on a specific quarter of town or neighborhood and accomplish the task much faster.
This is also a useful ability.

Basal Communication: As stated above, Heralds are master linguists. In fact, they can often communicate with races that are of low Intelligence or better and have a spoken language, even if the Herald does not speak that language. The Herald incorporates bits and pieces of fundamental root languages, certain universal gestures, and common expressions to get his meaning across. For the Herald to perform such difficult communication, the "listener" must be within ten feet, clearly visible, and there must be no distractions (including combat).

Success is determined by succeeding with a read languages roll (even though the communication is rarely in written form). A separate roll is needed to send or receive ideas. Thus, it is possible for a Herald to understand a being, but be unable to communicate his own ideas (or vice versa).
Given the low level of Read Languages, especially for Demihuman Heralds, this would mean a lot of Heralds speeches come off as-- "ooo eeeh ooo aah ahh ting tang walla walla bing-bang." You'd think the ability to speak the language would be important when sending a Herald on an important mission.

Persuade Crowd: A Herald can affect the mood of a crowd by telling them true (or slightly altered) local rumors and news. The Herald must be able to speak the crowd's language to use this ability. To determine a crowd's mood or opinion on a given topic, use Table 59 in the DMG .
The Herald has the power of Fox News!
 
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Crowqueen

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A Herald could plausibly serve a community. They don't have to be involved with a monarchy; for example, a city state's rulership would need such minons. Solamnia is also pretty much touted by TOTL in the gazetteer as the starting area, being closely-detailed in a way which suggests to me that it's meant to be the origin of most human characters. One could similarly be a herald of Waterdeep, or of the elven city-state of Evereska. I suspect the fluff in there is just an example, and the word 'king' could be substituted with 'ruler' for a more republican flavour.

Mind you, the Dragonlance class system is structured such that kits make less sense in the game than they do in other. In fact one can see classes such as Wizard of High Sorcery and Knight of Solamnia as kits in themselves, just coming hardwired onto custom classes (both WoHS and KoS were prestige classes in 3.5e, which make a lot more sense given how a wizard or knight begins as a 1st level character). I think the 2e class system was inadequate to deal with Dragonlance's more flexible character stories (for example, I am planning a Pathfinder game with variant characters taking the place of the canonical Heroes; I would like the cleric character to be multi-classing in than have empty levels prior to meeting Elistan).

The rest of the critique stands :).
 
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