Path of the Bard: ADCC Thief Skill Set

In my previous Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics (ADCC) post, I looked at a simple method for adding warrior subclasses to the rules. This led to some discussion on G+ of doing the same for the other classes. There’s some obvious room with the demihumans to do so, though it should probably be limited so humans remain unique in their variety. Personally, I feel that wizards are already strongly distinguished by patrons (and potentially the Arcane Affinity spell). Clerics are obviously distinguished by alignment (which I previously expanded upon), but I can imagine a scenario where clerics could be further distinguished by deity or type of service.

Thieves are also distinguished by alignment in the rules as written, though I believe it makes more sense to allow a thief to simply choose a path at 1st level. This effectively creates three thief subclasses in the rules and also provides a straightforward manner for adding more — new paths. Along those lines, I present a first crack at a new thief skill set, the Path of the Bard.

Bards have 13 skills like other thieves, but they are not the exact same skills. From the standard thief lists, bards retain Backstab, Cast Spell from Scroll, Disguise Self, Forge Documents, Handle Poison, Hide in Shadows, Pick Pockets, Read Languages, and Sneak Silently. In addition they have four new skills: Distract, Esoteric Knowledge, Inspire, and Persuade. These skills are detailed below along with the bard’s overall skill progression. Again, this is simply a skill path that a thief may choose, and all other class abilities of the thief remain unchanged. FYI, the article “My Thief, My Way” by Colin Chapman in Crawl! #6 made putting this together much easier.

Distract (Per): Whether it’s taunting a foe to lower their defense, keeping guards talking while the not-so-stealthy party members sneak past, or enrapturing a crowd while a partner robs them blind, bards excel at directing an audience’s attention.

In combat, a bard can attempt to distract an opponent while an ally attacks. The opponent must make a Will save versus the result of the bard’s Distract check; failure means that the next person to attack the foe in the same round gains +1 to hit and increases the crit range by 1 (i.e., 19-20 for most characters, 18-20 or better for warriors). If the next ally to attack is a thief, they may make a backstab attack, but do not gain the additional +1 to hit. If the opponent acts before the ally’s attack, the foe will focus their actions on the bard.

Outside of combat, the wariness of the target determines the DC to keep their attention.

DC 5 – Audience member watching a performance

DC 10 – Typical passerby or tavern patron

DC 15+ – Suspicious commoner or typical guard

Esoteric Knowledge (Int): The weird fantasy world of DCC is rife with bizarre beasts and ancient artifacts. Bards have a great memory for rumors and lore, becoming storehouses of questionable wisdom as they travel the world.

DC 10 – Know 1d4 rumors about a famous NPC or semi-natural beast; identify history and powers of artifacts of great renown

DC 15 – Know 1d3 rumors about a notable NPC, legendary unique monster, or non-unique monster; identify history and powers of lesser items

DC 20 – Know 1d2 rumors about a minor NPC or less-known unique monster; identify history and powers of obscure items

Inspire (Per): Even in the midst of battle, bards sing songs of heroic deeds, recite rousing speeches, or just plain cajole and con those around them. The bard’s Inspire bonus is added to any morale checks made by henchmen within ear-shot.

Persuade (Per): When a bard focuses their honeyed words on a single person, the effect can be quite compelling. After the bard spends a turn chatting up the target, the bard makes a DC 15 Persuade check. The target also makes a Will save. If the bard’s roll is higher than both the DC and the Will save, the target is affected per the Charm Person spell, result 14-17.

In addition, when another PC is under the influence of mind-affecting magic, the bard’s words can help break the spell. The bard makes a Persuade check while trying to reach the ally through the haze of magic; if the Persuade roll beats the save DC for the spell, the affected character gets to make an immediate additional save. The bard can keep trying this every round until the ally successfully saves or the spellcaster makes the bard shut up.

Skill

Bonus (Path of the Bard)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Backstab

+0

+1

+2

+3

+4

+5

+6

+7

+8

+9

Distract‡

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+11

+12

+13

+14

+15

Disguise Self‡

+1

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+10

+11

+12

+13

Esoteric Knowledge†

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+11

+12

+13

+14

+15

Forge Documents*

+1

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+10

+11

+12

+13

Handle Poison

+0

+1

+2

+3

+4

+5

+6

+7

+8

+9

Hide in Shadows*

+0

+0

+1

+2

+3

+4

+5

+6

+7

+8

Inspire‡

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+11

+12

+13

+14

+15

Persuade‡

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+11

+12

+13

+14

+15

Pick Pockets*

+1

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+10

+11

+12

+13

Read Languages†

+1

+3

+5

+7

+8

+9

+10

+11

+12

+13

Sneak Silently*

+0

+0

+1

+2

+3

+4

+5

+6

+7

+8

Cast Spell from Scroll†

d12

d12

d14

d14

d16

d16

d20

d20

d20

d20

  • *The thief’s Agi mod, if any, applies
  • †The thief’s Int mod, if any applies
  • ‡The thief’s Per mod, if any, applies
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3 Responses to Path of the Bard: ADCC Thief Skill Set

  1. Matt January 31, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    I love it. Appreciate the penn and teller pic also…

  2. Graham February 23, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Thanks John, I really appreciate you covering this skill set as well.

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