Help me with a Bard?

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So here is the Nut Shell, a few players of mine wanted a more combat gameing session. So They began as slaves in an areana. I began with 3 players, A Druid, Warlock (Complete Arcane) and one Evil Bard. This is all a 3.5 game but I believe the issue is more universal.

After a few combats with undead, elementals, and other non-humanoid creatures the Bard took charge and engenered an escape plan. 
(no problems)

Now that the Evil Bard has reached level 6 and gained access to Suggestion he has decided to use within his Bardic Music Ability of Fascinate, Suggestion and the bonuses of his Bluf, Diplomacy Skills to full effect: For reference here is the Bulk of Suggestion:

     You influence the actions of the target creature by suggesting a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two). The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the activity sound reasonable. Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell.

     The suggested course of activity can continue for the entire duration. If the suggested activity can be completed in a shorter time, the spell ends when the subject finishes what it was asked to do. You can instead specify conditions that will trigger a special activity during the duration. If the condition is not met before the spell duration expires, the activity is not performed.


He has decided he wants to Long Term goal to basically Pied Piper Style snag a few people from Villages over time creating a loyal and Fanatical Army of followers, eventually over taking towns, Cities, Kingdoms, and Countries.

I tried to explain that such actions would have concquences and if it was in fact as easy as he thought that one diplomatic Bard would be ruller of All by now.


He is dead set in the belief that his character is Useless as a Bard there is no point in being Evil, all Mind Controlling and Influencing effects are useless. I am out of ideas.


If I allow him to have his "Followers" either from Music or Skills the other two players will not have fun and I believe the Group would eventually Die due to unwanted attention from higher ups so to speak.


I checked into the posts about Charm/Dominate Issues and Guidebook to evil, and even pointed them out to the Player to no avail.

Can someone help me?

What can I do with a character who not only uses Charm, Suggestion, Fasinate, Dominate but also Bluff, Diplomacy?

This issue doesn't sound universal in the least. Also, if your Bard wants to have deluded followers, try the Leadership feat. Sounds like that'll give him exactly what he's looking for.

You also don't have to make it easy. This sounds like a long term goal, which means he has about 15 levels ahead of him to continue his escapades and could easily be the force behind a small kingdom in a level or 5, then slowly growing to be the true ruler of more and more land. 
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With respect to the Diplomacy and Bluff questions, look to the Epic DCs for those skills.  Using Bluff to attempt to mimic a suggestion has a increases the check DC by 50, and has a duration of only 10 minutes.  Using Diplomacy to take an NPC's attitude from "Helpful" to "Fanatic" requires a a DC 50 check.

As for the spells, note their durations and enforce them.  Also enforce the spells/day limitations that the bard will be acting under.

However, it also seems like you are having a problem with the player himself being dissatisfied with being told "no" about his plan to be evil and take over the world.  The fact that he is upset that the basic premise of his character will not work is understandable.  Given this fact, I think it would be reasonable to allow him to make a different character with a more realistic premise.
My Mistake I ment the issue of Charm, Dominate, Diplomacy Ect. to be present if different versions.

sure it is a bit of a long term goal but he has the potential to start now at level 6. the other two players already feel left behind and if he takes leadership and can / Will bring every single one into combat buffed with Bardic Songs how is that any fun for the other players or me the DM?

consider the use of Diplomacy easily turning normal townspeople into Helpfull is only a 30 DC Diplomacy Check. Factor in Bluff and Suggestion and it is not out of bounds to consider going Higher especially with Suggestion is easily changes the Scope of what is a Reasonable Request.

So A Helpfull Villager who owns the Mill after some skill work it is not unreasonable to ask that he set aside his mill work and persue his lifelong dream of IDK (Everyone has one) sets aside his role as a miller and leaves the Mill to the Bard. and so on and so forth.

The Bard laid out plans to completly destabalise an entire section of a kingdom is just a few weeks. with his Character goal to do so and ignore all the Adventure hooks and plots laid out before him.

How do I keep the balance?
Ensure all the players have fun?
     Note- even before reaching level 6 it was difficult to keep the two other players intrested due to the bards influence.
How do I allow the Player to play a Bard without resulting in TPK, ending the Game, (Bard rules the Country now what) Kills off the other players as he has suggested to them.

EDIT: As for Bluff even not using the Skill to reproduce a Suggestion simply to Bluff someone
A successful Bluff check indicates that the target reacts as you wish, at least for a short time (usually 1 round or less) or believes something that you want it to believe. Bluff, however, is not a suggestion spell.

Add in Diplomacy even to go from Helpfull to Fanatic as if helpfull was not bad enough is a 50 check a bard with high charasma ranks in Diplomacy Synergy Bonus even a 50 is not unthinkable.

I am not trying to shoot holes in peoples advise I do Apprichiate it, I just dont think it is going to be that simple, having had what amounts to a talk about it with the player every gaming session, I am looking for something to convince him.
Huh...this sounds like a troublesome character concept, and it seems that this player with this character will not happy unless he is going after his own goals.  Of course you'll have to work it out with the player out of game - I know that hasn't worked so far, but it really is the only option, other than finding a new player.  If you can't agree out of game, then in game solutions will never really work.  Remember the game is about a party, not a single character..."a cooperative game cannot survive an uncooperative player".

My Ideas for Possible solution/compromise:
You said the players are currently slaves in an arena, and have no choice but to work together to survive, right?  They are either just now trying to escape, or have just recently escaped?
I'd probably ask the player what motivation this bard will have to stay with the party once they are free.  If the bard would rather do his own thing than be part of the plot/quest/goals of the rest of the group...then he ceases to be part of the party, and only people who are part of the party are PCs.  People outside the party are NPCs, because the game is about the party, their story, and their adventures. 

Maybe a solution could involve the player making a new character and the bard leaving to pursue his own goals, to return later as a BBEG? He sounds like he'd make a wonderful BBEG (a charismatic manipulator, equal parts inspiration and deception, who back-stabs his way to the top and surrounds himself with a cult of deluded fanatics - a classic dictator), and its possible the player would be happy to see his old character in that position of power and influence, even if his new character will be working to bring him down.  If so, that's a great solution. 

But if a character wants to stay in the game he needs to find a reason to be part of the group and pursue their goals, not just his own, because the game is about the party- the group.  IMHO, planning to build your own power and then kill off the party when they've served their purpose is not the behavior of a PC.  A character that behaves that way is a subversive villain, an enemy of the party rather than a member of it, and should be controlled by the DM, not one of the players. 

I'd suggest:

1) Talk to the player about how "central" he want this plot development to be. Personally, I'd only be OK to have this as a sideline thing - i.e. something cool about the character concept, not the purpose of any adventure I was running.

1 extra) In fact talk to *all* the players about this plot line. It impacts their game as much as yours. You might find they want to rein him in morethan you do.

2) Although you are encouraged to "Say yes. . ." to player input, you are under not under obligation as DM to run the precise power fantasy scenario that this player wants as the main adventure. In fact, unless the other players want to play their part as side-kicks for the next X levels, then you absolutely should not. Even if they do, you need to look aftrr your own fun as well, and spend your time preparing a game you want to DM.

3) If the Bard wants an in-game benefit to having followers that he has charmed, beyond specific monsters/NPCs he charms duing the adventure, then he should take the Leadership feat to represent that. Nothing prevents you and him agreeing that the NPC followers he gets from that feat aren't under some kind of hypnotoad effect, and that could in fact be highly entertaining provided it was kept in its place and didn't take over the game.

4) If you and the Bard's player cannot agree some direction that involves you both enjoying your parts as DM and players (i.e. they all enjoy playing, you enjoy writing the adventure and running it), then negotiate hard for the best solution. Provided you can all be mature about it, it should not be a big deal if you end the campaign with a brief narration of how the Bard becomes an evil mastermind, or if the Bard goes off to be the next Big Bad Guy, or even if you all agree to do something other than D&D.

I'm having trouble seeing how the bard intends to pull all of this off: Is his plan basically to walk into every tavern he finds, pop glibness, proclaim a Bluff that everyone in the room wants to submit to his will, and then use Bardic Music-powered suggestions to convince those who don't get their minds hacked by the screwed up synergies of glibness? That's rather simple to deal with: Bluff is not a personality rewriting button, and no Bluff can ever succeed if it would cause a permanent change in someone's outlook or would otherwise defy plausibility. The same applies to Diplomacy: While it can be used to change someone's opinion of you, it cannot be used to change their fundamental nature. Lord Diablo von Hellguy might come to regard a particularly well-spoken and charismatic paladin as his best friend, but he's also not going to stop kidnapping and sacrificing virgins to summon up his dread god from the Far Realm because of it either. To use your example of a miller: Even with a Helpful attitude and convincing him to follow his dream, it's entirely unreasonable to ask for the deed to the mill: It represents much of the miller's capital, and it certainly won't be going anywhere while he's away. Now then, it might be reasonable to try and convince the miller to either let the bard run the place while he's gone or bring the bard in as a partner to make sure the front doors stay open for business: But this pins real responsibility upon the bard, and should he not do his job, the miller will in due course return and be thoroughly pissed. (His life's dream, it turns out, was to be a future level-appropriate encounter for the party.)

At any rate, charms and compulsions require an immense amount of maturity from both sides of the table: It's fairly evident that the player in question really doesn't have what's required. There're really two pieces of advice I can offer. The first is, above all else, to keep him roleplaying: If he wants to be an evil puppeteer, force him to detail exactly what he's doing at each step of the way. If he can't, then it's best for him to reroll, because it's not worth your or the group's time when his puppeteering consists of stating that he's creating a thrall and then rolling some dice. The second for the world to take note of what he's doing and respond accordingly: If he goes around mindhacking people and generally making waves in every town he's in, fairly soon he won't be welcome in civilized areas and/or will have pissed off someone with enough money to place a rather sizable bounty on his head. When that starts happening, then hopefully Kestralb's suggestion would make narrative sense and provide a bit of a twist.
The suggestion as you rightly stated goes:-

You influence the actions of the target creature by suggesting a course  of activity (limited to a sentence or two). The suggestion must be  worded in such a manner as to make the activity sound reasonable. Asking  the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the  effect of the spell.

Following someone to help move their horses or get out of paying for stabling is reasonable, becoming his stooge is not realistic, no matter how good a liar the charater is. Epic level checks sound like a reasonable suggestion. He might be able to get himself a couple of loyal (but hopeless) goons low level (1-5), improve to maybe a trained warrior at mid levels(6-10) and a serious henchman at high levels (11-18) but overall the leadership feat is what he needs to take to get a hoard of loyal groupees.

     The suggested course of activity can continue for the entire duration.  If the suggested activity can be completed in a shorter time, the spell  ends when the subject finishes what it was asked to do. You can instead  specify conditions that will trigger a special activity during the  duration. If the condition is not met before the spell duration expires,  the activity is not performed.

I cannot see a reasonable action to be 'follow me forever', this is not what the spell is designed for, it also lasts for only 1 hour per level so a single person would follow him for 6 hours at 6th level then walk away confused. Not the hoard pied piper idea he had in mind I suspect. At sixth level he can perform the suggestion 6 times a day so he can keep one person under his control for a whole day and a second person for 12 hours if you accept the 'follow me forever' command in the suggestion.
However really his powers are to do the Jedi Mind trick on major players in the campaign and come up with things like "My lord surely my group and I would be better protectors of the princess instead of your inept guards" and then capture her for a randsom (being evil).

  How 'bout the proxy method? He controls the leader of a cult,posing as his entertainer.The Derro for example would make for a good start. Or a religious leader whose been dismissed from his order.
  Start him off being the power behind the power, but on a small scale then have him build on that.
So here is the Nut Shell,...


He is dead set in the belief that his character is Useless as a Bard there is no point in being Evil, all Mind Controlling and Influencing effects are useless. I am out of ideas.


Then he should play something else, and maybe find another group to play in. While I'm normally all for players being creative and contributing ideas to the campaign and all, if the attitude is "if I don't get exactly what I want, no matter how overpowered and game-(and rule-)breaking it is, then my character is useless and not worth playing," then I just can't summon up much sympathy (of course, I can rarely summon up much sympathy for Evil characters in general, but that's a different matter).
If for some reason you want to accomodate him on some level, then his attitude also has to allow compromise, otherwise he's just being a jerk. There are lots and lots of ways a Bard setting out to recruit a following can be melded into some very interesting plot points and situations; trying to rustle up an army of mindless minions with a few parlor tricks and minor magic doesn't cut it - that's how you end up with a violent, tragic version of "The Music Man," where the crowd eventually figures out what you're up to and lynches you.

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