how do you role-play bard songs in combat?

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My group puts a lot of emphasis on describing our actions in combat. Typically, the DM will say the degree of damage done, but it's up to the player to say "I put my hands on the goblin's foreheads before incinerating them with a pale blue flame."

My problem with Bard songs is that a round is supposed to represent around 6 seconds. It seems unrealistically ADD to sing a different song every turn.

How would you describe the results of using Bard song powers like slayer song "you sing a song of war that diminishes your foe's defenses with each blow you strike" and warsong strike "you sing a song of war and victory, invigorating your allies as they press the attack?"

Once I played as a bard and saw the same kind of problem, I ended up coming up with a few 3,4 poem-like lines, not actually singing them, but saying as poems
Our (changling) bard is a mime.  He makes all sorts of rude gesters for vicious mockery.  And the does the box thing when he protects allies.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Since the flavor text is really just a suggestion of how the power is represented, different bards may not actually sing.

Maybe your bard shouts words of encouragement to allies or mocking taunts.

Maybe he uses animal noises; roaring like a lion to frighten enemies or hearten allies.

Maybe he sings one long song throughout the encounter. The passages of the song determine the effect. On the rounds where he's not using his bardic powers, he's still singing, but he's at a part of the song where it doesn't affect the flow of battle. In fact, as a part of this suggestion, ask your DM if you can play music during battle to represent your character's in-game songs.

  I've always seen it as basically just singing random stuff during battle, one long song or epic poem for the whole fight or maybe just bits and pieces of songs and poems sung/recited inbetween shouting encouraging words... The effects that your singing has from action to action is dependent on your will - you change them according to your needs.
(It's actually something you do sometimes in acting classes - they have you take something ordinary like reading aloud the ingredient list on a soda bottle and attempt to put emotion into it so that it seems like you're saying something dramatic and important, or read a monologue in a particular way, then read the exact same piece again, but in a different way that totally changes the feeling of it... Remind me to sing you my heavy metal spoken-word version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow sometime, lol.)
As the saying goes, sometimes it's not what you say, but how you say it.


Show

I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

My problem with Bard songs is that a round is supposed to represent around 6 seconds. It seems unrealistically ADD to sing a different song every turn.

How would you describe the results of using Bard song powers like slayer song "you sing a song of war that diminishes your foe's defenses with each blow you strike" and warsong strike "you sing a song of war and victory, invigorating your allies as they press the attack?"




I do this with my bard's Cannon of Avoidance. I don't remember the flavor text offhand, but it's a song to bolster their defenses, and it's a sustain minor. So I generally pick a song and sing one verse each time I sustain it. Usually it's something like Eye of the Tiger or Back in Black, something upbeat.

I've also done this with my Song of Rest during a marathon session where we went through lots of encounters in one day. I picked an Irish folk song and sang one verse each time. That worked well, because folk songs usually tell a story, and Irish folk songs are funny, especially the bawdy ones. The rest of the group didn't want to take a long rest because they wanted to hear the rest of the song.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science... -Einstein
You could always model it after Kiss Saves Christmas.
My Char-Op Contribution: The Bard Taxi / Little Red Corvette
Were I to ever play a bard, I'd probably have the magic make music, rather than the other way around.  Cast a spell like everybody else, but as part of the spell going off, there's a few notes of a fanfare or a dirge or whatever may be appropriate emanating from my wand or sword.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Our party's bard is an insult comic.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
I prefer to think of a bard casting his spells more in the manner of the Celtic 'bardic declamation' or Hebrew 'cantillation' rather than what we modern Westerners would call 'singing'.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

Should do inuit throat singing.
If I could do it, I so totally would. In fact I would make a bard solely for the purpose *of* doing it.
It's spelled Corellon Larethian, not Correlon, Correllon, Correlllon, Corellion, Correlian or any other way of getting it wrong. I'm a total grognard and I still play 4E.
Should do inuit throat singing.


But wouldn't that require two bards?

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

Should do inuit throat singing.

I've had a bard that does it, he learned it from a barbarian tribe.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Should do inuit throat singing.


But wouldn't that require two bards?



Like anyone's ever not played a split personality bard.
Like anyone's ever not played a split personality bard.


'Split personality' is one thing. Two separate sets of lungs/diaphragm/vocal cords/lips is quite another...

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

Like anyone's ever not played a split personality bard.


'Split personality' is one thing. Two separate sets of lungs/diaphragm/vocal cords/lips is quite another...

I don't see why you couldn't play one that way.

two-headed-girl.jpg

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Like anyone's ever not played a split personality bard.


'Split personality' is one thing. Two separate sets of lungs/diaphragm/vocal cords/lips is quite another...

I don't see why you couldn't play one that way.



You've added something to my nightmares. Good work.
Photobucket
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Like anyone's ever not played a split personality bard.


'Split personality' is one thing. Two separate sets of lungs/diaphragm/vocal cords/lips is quite another...

I don't see why you couldn't play one that way.





I saw a documentary on the girls in that picture once; two people . . . one body. Disturbing.

Sorry for thread hijack.
If I ever were to really sing my bard's songs, I would probably pick a non-Western style to emulate, to maintain verisimilitude between my RL bad singing and my bard's singing, which sounds bad to rest of the party but is mysteriously effective in combat. If you're going to sing badly, you might as well pick something that the rest of the group wouldn't appreciate even if you sang it well. That way, they can't call you on it.

One of my favorite bard ideas is a hobgoblin with a dance-heavy fighting style, influenced by Rajput martial arts. (Youtube the Deadliest Warrior episode.) He or she may or may not sing in combat, but I see no reason to punish my fellow players that way.
I just sing in the same style you think of bards singing, but using the lyrics of whatever song pops into my head... sometimes lady gaga or brittney spears even lol.
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
With my bard I say that he sings a song during a fight and does his attacks to the rhythm of the song, which usually consists of bubblegum and/or sleazy lyrics.  Sometimes I will flavour my attacks by saying that he does a scissor-kick or guitar spin or some other cheesy stage move to hit the enemies.  My bard is a hair metal musician and he is unable to write a song with serious subject matter.  I play him in an online game so I don't have to sing to the other people.
"My mind is a far deadlier weapon than some ill-crafted bit of iron." -Some Int 8 guy who called himself a battlemind
I've recently created a male Tiefling wand-wielding Bard who refers to himself as The Conductor. He doesn't sing, he doesn't dance. He conducts with his wand, and as he does so, music begins to play.
Zyr'iel Statblock
AC: 32 HP: 89/89 Fort: 23 Surges: 7/7 Reflex: 33 Surge Value: 22 Will: 27 Initiative: +14 AP 1/1 Passive Perception/Insight: 17/17 Senses: Darkvision Languages: Common, Giant
I like the idea of having the different songs to just be different verses of the same song.  You can just RP it as changing the tempo or words but it still being the same song.

In my last campaign we had a Wizard that flavored his spells such that one would lead into the next.  Such as an Ice storm that would collapse at the start of his turn then shoot a blast at a foe.  Instead of the storm dissipating then him shooting a blast.
I just sing in the same style you think of bards singing, but using the lyrics of whatever song pops into my head... sometimes lady gaga or brittney spears even lol.


 
"Make a Bluff check."
"Can't read my poker face ..." *d20*
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
My bard draws on the ultimate cosmic power of sarcasm.

Vicious Mockery - deal damage and debuff your foe with an unimpressed clap, an eye roll, or a sarcastic remark!

Staggering note - the thunderous report of your facepalm, or the sheer shame of being so derided presses your foe back while stirring your allies to attack.

Guiding strike - You call that armor?  Hey guys, take a look at this guy's "armor."

The "Satire" line of spells all lend itself to this sort of thing.  "Shouts" are just that.
Like anyone's ever not played a split personality bard.



'Split personality' is one thing. Two separate sets of lungs/diaphragm/vocal cords/lips is quite another...


That's where the magic comes in?
I've recently created a male Tiefling wand-wielding Bard who refers to himself as The Conductor. He doesn't sing, he doesn't dance. He conducts with his wand, and as he does so, music begins to play.


You WIN Sir.