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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>D&D 3rd Edition>Class Conversions>Bards
FROM: D&D 3rd Edition
TO: HERO System 5th Edition
Sample Bard: Goblin Warchanter from Pathfinder #1
Bards make their way via their social skills and well rounded capabilities. Part rogue, part armsman, part spellcaster, part scholar, part entertainer, and all adventurer the Bard is a jack of all trades. Often underestimated, and frequently innovative the Bard is a fantastic profession for those seeking high adventure. Ideal for the player that can't quite make up their mind what they want to play, or the player that like to have a trick for every occasion, few parties would turn away a Bard seeking to join their company.
In the HERO System, a Bard would be well advised to put almost all of his points into increasing their skills and maintaining a well balanced array of capabilities. While raising their ability to cast ever higher level Spells a Bard should also spend a few Points to keep their competitiveness with a weapon or their usefulness as a Rogue in trim.
Bard Class Ability Considerations
Bards are storehouses of trivia, repositories of minutia. During the course of their training, studies, and travels they collect vast amount of random information which may one day prove to be of interest. This is a very open ended ability with some far reaching ramifications.
Skills And Enhancers
The obvious approach to handling this is for a Bard Character to have a lot of applicable Knowledge, Area Knowledge, City Knowledge, and Cultural Knowledge Skills. However even using the Scholar and Traveler Skill Enhancers to reduce costs this can be quite expensive, and there is no guarantee that a particular Bard will have exactly the Skill they need in any particular situation.
3 Scholar Skill Enhancer
3 Traveler Skill Enhancer
24 24 Points worth of KS, CuK, AK, and / or  CK Skills in any combination
Total Real Cost: 30 Points
Retrocognitive Clairsentience
A more extreme method of modeling this ability is using Retrocognitive Clairsentience tied to a Power Skill (INT): Bardic Knowledge.
With this Power construct, the Bard gets one check per topic to see if he has read, heard tale of, or otherwise collected a tidbit relative to the topic at hand, suffering penalties relative to how long ago the topic would have been of note, and also at the GM's discretion for the obscurity of the data.
If the Bard makes the check he does know about the topic in question; however the Bard can never know anything about the topic which was not at some point promulgated in either writing or rumor. Thus the Bard can never "happen to know" facts which were never recorded or told, secrets known only to a few, or the outcome of things with no survivors to tell the tale.
Know It All: Retrocognitive Clairsentience (Mental Group), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (60 Active Points); Retrocognition Only (-1), Only What May Theoretically Be Publicly Known (-1/2), One try per topic (-1/2), Instant (-1/2), Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points -1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4)
Power Skill (INT): Bardic Knowledge +2
Total Real Cost: 27 Points
EXAMPLE: Orelius the Bard has the Know It All ability and PowS (INT): Bardic Knowledge 17-. The proper line of succession of the Grand Duchy of Tarkhov has become a point of concern after Orelius and his companions stumble across what may be clues indicating that the current Grand Duke is actually a usurper who stole his throne 30 years past. All eyes turn to the enigmatic Orelius, trusting his oft-proved habit of knowing the inside scoop no matter how erudite the concern.
The GM rules that this information is about 30 years out of date, and though the information was once publicly known, the Grand Duke has taken steps to suppress the information, produced documents forwarding his own claim, and so forth. The GM adjudicates a stiff -2 for the 30 year gap and -4 for the obscurity of the facts for a total of a -6 penalty. On an 11 or less Orelius will dredge up some relevant information on the topic; on a 12 or more he's never heard anything of note regarding the matter.
Bards have a number of Arcane and unusual abilities expressed via their music, poetry, and oratory. Some of the most common include the ability to inspire others to bravery and greatness, to fascinate, to counter Magic based on sound, and even to get others to do as they wish.
Many of the recommended abilities presented by this conversion resource assume that a Bard Character has a "Performance" Power Skill that represents their general ability to use their Bardic Abilities.
If your Bard does not use this Skill then you will need to refactor the costs of abilities that rely on it.
Power Skill (PRE): Performance + 1
Real Cost: 5 Points
Inspire Courage, Fascinate, Suggestion, and Inspire Competence
In the HERO System, almost all of these things can actually be handled simply with the Presence Attack Rules. I recommend the following Power construct to handle Inspire Courage, Fascinate, Suggestion, and Inspire Competence. As the Bard grows in Power, increase the amount of extra PRE.
Bardic Performance: +15 PRE (15 Active Points); Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points Power Skill (PRE): Performance; -1/4)
Real Cost: 12 Points
Bards have the ability to nullify effects based on sound. To model this Countersong ability, a Suppress is recommended.
Countersong: Suppress 1d6, any SONIC power one at a time (+1/4), Personal Immunity (+1/4), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), AOE (4" Radius; +1) (15 Active Points); Requires A Skill Roll (Power Skill (PRE): Performance; -1/2), No Range (-1/2), Concentration, throughout (1/2 DCV; -1/2), Incantations (throughout; -1/2)
Total Real Cost: 5 Points per 1d6
Inspire Greatness
A Bard has the ability to rally their allies to great feats and accomplishments. To model Inspire Greatness an AoE Succor is recommended.
Inspire Greatness: Succor 1d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Area Of Effect (2" Radius; +1), Selective (+1/4), all Primary Characteristics simultaneously (+2) (24 Active Points); Concentration, Must Concentrate throughout use of Constant Power (1/2 DCV; -1/2), Incantations (Requires Incantations throughout; -1/2), Requires A Power Skill (PRE): Performance Roll (-1/2)
Total Real Cost: 10 Points per 1d6
A player may consider starting their Character off with a Multipower of Bardic Performance abilities, and then increase the effects in potency over time as they advance and gain experience.
Starting Bardic Performance MPP: MP, 30-point reserve, (30 Active Points)
All slots Requires A Skill Roll (Active Point penalty to Skill Roll is -1 per 20 Active Points Power Skill (PRE): Performance; -1/4)
Real Cost: 24 Points
Bardic Presence Ultraslot: +30 PRE; Requires A Skill Roll (Power Skill (PRE): Performance; -1/2)
Real Cost: +2 Points
Countersong Ultraslot: Suppress 2d6, any Sonic power one at a time (+1/4), Personal Immunity (+1/4), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Area Of Effect (2" Radius; +1) (30 Active Points); Requires A Skill Roll (Power Skill (PRE): Performance; -1/2), No Range (-1/2), Concentration, throughout (1/2 DCV; -1/2), Incantations (throughout; -1/2)
Real Cost: +1 Points
Inspire Greatness Ultraslot: Succor 1d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), all Primary Characteristics simultaneously (+2), Area Of Effect (64" Radius; +2 1/4), Selective (+1/4) (30 Active Points); Concentration, Must Concentrate throughout use of Constant Power (1/2 DCV; -1/2), Incantations (Requires Incantations throughout; -1/2), Requires A Power Skill (PRE): Performance Roll (-1/2)
Real Cost: +1 Points
Sample Bardic Spells may be found here.
The ability to cast Spells is one of a Bard's primary Class Abilities. Several means for modeling this are available in the HERO System. In general just about any Magic System can be used as the basis for Bardic spell casting. 
The provided Package Deals for bards showcase several variant ways to do Bardic Spellcasters. If you are aiming for a close conversion from D&D 3e, you probably want to use one of the "Spontaneous Spellcaster" Composite Packages. The three "Prepared Spellcaster" Composite Packages provide the means to make a Bard that casts Spells more like a D&D Wizard or even a Druid (the Animi option).
The Stregari and Sortilege Packages diverge more strongly away from a D&D style Bard. Stregari is more like witchcraft, while Sortilege is a Magic System based entirely around Magic associated with Interaction Skills and is much more extreme in its "bardic" approach.
A link is also provided to the Troubadour Magic System which is based around Magical Effects tied to specific instruments rather than the casting of Spells. This is an extremely "bardic" approach to Magic, but as it diverges heavily from D&D norms your GM may not be willing to entertain the notion as part of their conversion effort.
Bard Package Deals
The Sorcerer Magic System is useful for making a D&D 3e style Bard.
The Sortilege and Stregari Magic Systems provide interesting options for Bardic characters.
Presented below are an assortment of Basic Packages, Extension Packages, and Composite Packages for your use.
Rapscallion Savant Showman Jack of All Trades
Stregaran (Spontaneous) Stregaran (Gestalt) Stregaran (Prepared)
Sortiligist (Spontaneous) Sortiligist (Gestalt) Sortiligist (Prepared)
Sorcerer Savant Wizard Prodigal Animi Dedicated Gambling Verbal Sparring
Street Finances Guildmember Mounted Fighting Combat Casting Self Defense
Loremastery Linguist Begging Blather Command
Performer (Spontaneous) Bard (Spontaneous) Bardic Savant (Spontaneous)
Bard (Prepared) Know It All (Prepared) Bard (Animi) (Nature Magic)
Bard (Spontaneous) Bard (Gestalt) Bard (Prepared)
Young Sortispexus Rising Star Lorespeaker Cozener Bard (Skalding)
The Troubadour Magic System provides an interesting variant approach to Magic based on musical instruments.