February 3, 2021

Fiddler of the Mad God Redux

Bardic College
Comments from the Finger: "Louder and louder, wilder and wilder, mounted the shrieking and whining of that desperate viol. The player was dripping with an uncanny perspiration and twisted like a monkey, always looking frantically at the curtained window."

College of the Mad God

In the middle of the night, you hear the music. Every time, it begins the same way, rising from a low drone into a deafening cacophony. The noise is maddening. In your waking hours, your fingers learn to imitate this melody and bring others to your level of psychosis.
    Some attribute the dreadful nightmares to a curse or stress, but you know better. You and others like you are called nightly by the beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes, the sounds of a mad god who echoes the pandemonium of the universe, and summons you to do something. You know not what.

Bonus Proficiencies
When you join this college at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in one skill, which is selected for you by the GM. Whenever you finish a long rest, your GM can change this selection.

Cacophony
By 3rd level, the discordant sounds of your instrument can drive others to tears and utter madness. Once on each of your turns, when a creature fails an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw against one of your bard spells or features while you are holding an instrument, you can expend a use of your Bardic Inspiration to play a cacophonous noise. A deafened creature is immune to this effect. Choose one of the following effects:
  • The creature takes psychic damage equal to a roll of your Bardic Inspiration die. 
  • The creature is deafened and cant speak until the end of its next turn. 
  • The creature moves up to 10 feet in a direction you choose. This movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks. 

Frenzied Strings
Starting at 6th level, as an action, you can play a mind-infecting tune for a creature that can hear you within 60 feet. This creature must make a Wisdom saving throw or be frenzied for up to 1 minute. The creature can repeat this saving throw whenever it takes damage, ending the effect on itself on a success.
A frenzied creature loses the ability to distinguish between friend and foe, regarding all creatures it can see as enemies. While frenzied, the creature chooses the targets for its attacks, spells, and ability randomly from among the creatures it can see within range, and it must make an opportunity attack if any creature provokes one. 
Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Mad Melody
Beginning at 14th level, you can use your action to begin playing the accursed melody which haunts your dreams. On each of your subsequent turns, you can use your action to continue the melody. Only creatures you choose within 60 feet of you can hear the melody; all other creatures hear it as discordant noise. Even deafened creatures can hear the haunting melody. 
    When you use your action to play the melody, a creature that can hear the melody must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, it takes psychic damage and suffers an additional effect based on the number of consecutive turns you have been playing the melody, as shown on the Mad Melody table. After four consecutive rounds, or if no creature hears the melody for one round, the melody begins again at the first round.

Mad Melody
RoundPsychic
Damage
Effect
1st4d8The target is deafened.
2nd7d8The target can't speak and has disadvantage on ability checks.
3rd4d8The target is charmed by you until the end of its next turn.
4th9d8


6 comments:

  1. First, let me just say I really like the flavor of the class. Centering one's music around the madness of some insane 'god' is some serious cool.

    Bonus Proficiencies: I dislike this ability for a couple of reasons. First, it seems incongruous with the flavor of the class. I don't know what it says, but it doesn't say "Maddening music". Second, the DM already has a massive amount of fiat power in a game. Giving an ability explicit DM fiat removes player agency and sets a bad precedent. The DM has enough in his toolbox. PC abilities should be about player spotlight.

    An idea that occurs to me right away is repurposing the College of Cantors Song of Divines' damage dealing aspect. It sticks to the theme of the College, and gives a shadow of things to come in the form of Mad Melody - perhaps the earlier version evolves into the latter?

    Cacophony: Does this take any kind of action/reaction? Or is it a freebie? Also, it would synergize well with the above suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regarding the bonus proficiencies: I think the idea behind it is the eldritch-given genius, which is a pretty pervasive theme in The Music of Erich Zann (the story that inspired this subclass, afaik). Although I can see why it can be seen as a bit of an awkward one and I hear that problem with the DM choice.

      I was thinking, maybe it needn't be a skill at all and it can be used to reinforce the quasi-warlock theme instead. So, how about this: instead of skill proficiencies, the PC can recieve warlock cantrips that count as a bard spells for them? And I reckon it could be chosen on finishing a long rest by either the player or the DM, depending on which would be a better design choice.

      Delete
    2. @Jonathan Mullenax:

      I absolutely see what you're saying about the bonus proficiencies. In my mind, a random character aspect is an interesting way of representing the sort of "inspired" madness that this subclass wants to delve into. It doesn't _have_ to be a skill, but given that you have a good number of skill to begin as a bard, this can only be a plus. Replacing it with a more powerful feature probably isn't called for (especially if said feature is a damage option), but perhaps there's a less GM-centric way of handling it.

      To think aloud for a moment: perhaps a proficiency which you randomly change whenever you use it? Feels like that's more cumbersome than useful. Maybe we give out a specific proficiency with stringed instruments? That's sort of wasted if you already took your chosen instrument prof at 1st. What if we grant a minimum roll on Performance checks?

      Cacophony doesn't require an action; it's a pure rider effect.

      Delete
    3. I have a couple of ideas, sticking within the confines of proficiencies.

      1 - An ability that grants proficiency in a skill/language/tool you don't have, lasting until it is no longer needed (basically as long as the story needs you to have it). Not only can the player claim the agency, but the DM can grant it if the player hasn't thought of it.

      2 - When you use a bardic inspiration die to grant a bonus to a an ability check, that check is also made with advantage.

      Delete
  2. I had a conversation with my DM about this, and the solution we settled in was to have me, or whoever the player is, roll on a list of my non-proficient skills every long rest. It still keeps the random aspect of a mad god, while still keeping it in my control somewhat

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello to everyone out here, I am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me … My name is Susan Christian , I live in London, UK. we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do, i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Emu for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Emu casted on him that make him come back to me today, me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Emu for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Emu ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: emutemple@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website https://emutemple.wordpress.com/ fb page Https://web.facebook.com/Emu-Temple-104891335203341 and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

    ReplyDelete