Of Music & Magic: Bard Archetype for Fantasy AGE

Coming from Pathfinder, one of the things I really appreciated was being able to play the character I wanted starting at 1st level. Specializations certainly do a lot to flesh out different character concepts but its simplicity does not lend itself well to certain archetypes. The bard has been kind of a joke around roleplaying tables for a while, but it is nonetheless a staple in fantasy.

So taking a lesson from Paizo and decided to take a shot at making a bard as an archetype, a sub-class of an existing class. The Rogue’s focus on offense did not fit with the often supportive role of the Bard, which is why it uses the Mage as its base. Some guidelines I laid out for archetypes going forward are as follows:

  • Define primary abilities, secondary abilities, starting health, and weapon groups.
  • All new class powers should be a replacement and be roughly balanced with what is being lost.
  • Archetypes should not gain specializations, since they represent a very specific character concept. Either give the archetype something every time they would normally gain a specialization talent or something akin to ‘Class Cross-Training.’

BARD (Mage Archetype)

Primary Abilities: Accuracy, Communication, Dexterity, and Intelligence

Secondary Abilities: Constitution, Fighting, Perception, Strength, and Willpower

Starting Health: 25 + Constitution + 1d6

Weapon Groups: Bows, Brawling, Light Blades, and Staves.


Bard Song: You are able to work your magic through your music. You use the Activate action to begin your Bard Song mode. You reduce the magic point cost of spells by 1 and are treated as having an arcane device for the purposes of casting spells. Ending Bard Song is a free action.

Lastly you can use your Communication ability to calculate your Spellpower instead of your Willpower, whichever is greater.

This replaces Arcane Device.

Class Cross-Training: You are also treated as a Rogue for taking talents. However, you are unable to take a specialization. Instead, you become a Novice in a new talent or gain a degree in one you already have.

Magic Training: Same as a Mage, but you are limited to choosing between Air, Divination, Fate, Healing, Heroic, Power, or Shadow Arcana.

Magic Points: You start with a number of magic points equal to 5 + Communication + 1d6. You spend magic points when you cast spells. You regain them through rest and meditation. You gain more magic points as you rise in level. From levels 2 to 10, you gain Communication + 1d6 magic points whenever you gain a new level. From levels 11 to 20, you gain only your Communication in MPs because increasing your power at higher levels is not as easy.

Performer’s Tumble: You can prepare yourself to dodge an attack. You use a Ready action and can select one attack roll against you until your next turn that must succeed an opposed test vs. your Dexterity (Acrobatics) in order to hit.

wpid-frans-hals-the-lute-playing-foolThis replaces Arcane Blast.

Starting Talents: You start as a Novice in Music.

This replaces Starting Talents.


Song of Valor: Allies with 12 yards of you gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls while Bard Song is active.


Song of Friendship: You and your allies gain a +1 bonus to Communication (Etiquette, Investigation, Persuasion, and Seduction) tests while Bard Song is active.

This replaces Spell Blast.


Song of Captivation: Once per round while Bard Song is active, you can attempt to captivate one enemy within 16 yards that can see and hear you. This is an opposed test of your Communication (Performance) vs. the target’s Willpower (Self-Discipline). If you win, the target can take no actions on his or her next turn.

This replaces Big Blast.


Song of Returned Heroes: Once per day while Bard Song is active, you can make a TN 17 Communication (Performance) ability test for every unconscious ally within 10 yards. If you succeed, your ally gains health equal to the Stunt Die + your Communication.

This replaces Power Blast.


Stunt Bonus: Casting spells becomes natural to you and expends less of your magical energy. When casting a spell, you can perform the Skillful Casting stunt for 1 SP instead of the usual 2.

This replaces Stunt Bonus.

I hope to add this to the Fantasy AGE Wiki. Check it out for more Fantasy AGE content.

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