Hello everyone, and welcome to another great edition of Best in Class, where we bring you new and exciting class options and archetypes. Around a week ago (that’s six weeks ago by the time you’re reading this), I was rolling up a bard for a new campaign, and while I ended up being fairly satisfied with the base class for this particular game, it has gotten me thinking a lot about bards. As a result, I’ll be treating you to a new bard archetype today! So let’s not waste any more time, and instead get to the new bard archetype.
New Bard Archetype
Jesters are master entertainers and professional fools, often employed by royalty and wealthy nobles. They focus less on lore and inspiring epics and more on beguiling and entertaining their audience.
Captivating Display (Su): A jester can use his bardic performance to create a lively and entertaining spectacle which demands the attention of his foes. To be affected, a creature must be able to see and hear the jester and be within 30 feet of him. An affected creature cannot help but be distracted by the jester’s wild display and suffers a -1 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, and also on all Perception checks which do not include the jester. At 5th level, and every 6 levels thereafter, this penalty increases by an additional -1, to a maximum of -4 at 16th level. This ability may use either visual or auditory components. This is a mind-affecting effect. This ability replaces inspire courage.
Comedic Versatility (Ex): A jester can accomplish things through comedy and parody that many would think impossible. Beginning at 2nd level, the jester can use his bonus for Perform (comedy) in place of his bonus in any of the following skills, albeit at a -5 penalty: Acrobatics, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Fly, Handle Animal, Intimidate, and Sense Motive. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, this penalty is reduced by 1, to a minimum of -1 at 18th level. This ability replaces versatile performance.
Daze (Su): A jester can single out a single member of his audience during a performance, catching him off-guard and dazing him. Beginning at 5th level, the jester gains the ability to daze a single creature for one round, provided that creature has already been fascinated by the jester or is under the effect of the jester’s captivating display ability. Using this ability does not disrupt the performance, but does require a standard action in addition to the free action made to maintain the performance. A creature affected by this ability is allowed a Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ the jester’s bard level + the jester’s Charisma bonus) to resist the effect. The jester can use this ability once per day at 5th level, and gains an additional daily use every 6 levels beyond 5th, to a maximum of 3 uses per day at 17th level This is a mind-affecting effect. This ability replaces lore master.
Inspire Laughter (Su): A jester can use his bardic performance to cause a single target to become so consumed with laughter that he cannot act normally. Beginning at 9th level, the jester can focus his performance on a single target that can see and hear him. The target must succeed on a Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ the jester’s bard level + the jester’s Charisma bonus) each round the performance persists or suffer a percent chance to spend the round doing nothing but laughing hysterically. This percent chance is equal to 5% per bard level the jester possess. This ability replaces inspire greatness.
Inspire Madness (Su): A jester can use his bardic performance to cause a single target to go mad. Beginning at 15th level, the jester can use his bardic performance to affect a single creature who can see and hear him with inspire madness. The target must succeed on a Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ the jester’s bard level + the jester’s Charisma bonus) or become confused for the duration of the performance and for 1d4 rounds thereafter. A target that successfully saves cannot be affected by this ability again for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting effect. This ability replaces inspire heroics.