Before I go into the bard, I want to talk briefly about about song magic and the Bard (And, since it is my blog, I get to talk about what I want). Most of these stock/classes for Torchbearer are based on prominent NPCs of that stock, often from Breath of the Wild. For example, the Gerudo were based on Ganondorf, Twinrova, and Urbosa, all of which had some combination of martial and magical might, and the forthcoming Sheikah are based on Sheik (an arch-typical example despite being a Hylian) and the various incarnations of Impa. For the Rito, my choice of iconic Rito (while there are several other named Rito in the games they appear in) were Medli, Revali, and Kass. Medli and Kass were both musicians and although Revali was not, I figured I could take the bardic theme and incorporate a few bits of archery into it.
My initial draft of the Rito Bard just took certain Zelda songs, made them level up abilities, and called it a day. This isn’t a terrible idea, and ultimately is basically what this draft of the Bard does. I hope that this produces a character that kind of gets the feeling of some of the musical songs found throughout the series… for the Bard. Still, I felt like these magical songs should be something anyone can use, and could be given out like a magic item in loot, like how songs could be rewards for quests in some of the games. But I wanted a system that:
- Felt right and Zelda-like and fit with the lore
- Felt right with the torchbearer limited resource/inventory economy
- Did not make the Bard feel redundant when anyone could do their main thing
Ultimately, the best I was able to come up with was to leave the Bard mostly as is (although I decided to throw in a lot more song abilities and let the bard choose to mix it up), and to just give out magical instruments that have a singly or limited amount of songs available to them (ideally not from the Bard’s ability list). Treating them as you would any magic item or wand. Maybe that’s the ideal solution after all, but I’ll keep thinking on it. Ideally I would like a unified mechanic, so we’ll see if I ever revisit this later. As no matter what I do that’ll involve changes to the Rito class, if I come up with something cool that satisfies points 1 and 2, but not really point 3, I’ll also consider reworking the Rio concept into something else entirely. For now though, I believe I have something that works and is a playable, fun class.
Musical Instruments are described in full in Middarmark, but they are pack 3 or carried/2. A GM may rule that a particular instrument is larger/smaller at their own discretion, but is not obligated to just because you say your Bard plays the triangle. Due to their lack of lips, Rito Bards generally can’t make use of smaller, breath powered instruments.
The Rito are a flying species, meaning they can attack obstacles in a way many other adventures can not (at least, not without the aid of magic). Their flight is subject to the following restrictions:
- Flying Requires use of both arms, a Rito can not fly if one or both of their arms is injured, restrained, or otherwise damaged or missing, they can not carry anything in their hands that requires both hands to carry.
- A Rito can not fly while wearing armor, a backpack, or carrying anything exceptionally heavy (GM’s discretion, but normal adventuring gear shouldn’t be a problem)
- When in doubt about what is “Exceptionally Heavy”, the GM can also call for a health or laborer test. Help is allowed on these tests (per normal rules) but the help must be described in a way that reasonably would help a flying
- Rito require a large open space to fly, typically this is not available underground, however, at their discretion, the GM may rule that certain large chambers have sufficient space.
- A Rito may not hover*, or fly directly upwards, but may, with room to fully extend its wings, land and descend vertically. A Rito that is caught by surprise by a fall can not use its ability to fly to catch itself unless it has an appropriate instinct or the fall is greater than 50 feet.
*Yes, they hover in a few in-game cut-scenes, in the Zelda games, but I am going to chalk that up to due to the nature of user-advancable text boxes and technical limitations, if it still bugs you, just blame the weight of all the adventuring gear the PC is likely carrying.
The Rito are a flying, bird like, humanoid race that tend to make their home on high cliffs and mountains. Some theories state that they are related to the Zora, but if there was a divergence between the two races it is lost to history. The Rito are a social people, often living in large villages and generally being welcoming of any of those who can reach their remote perches. Despite their arms/wings seeming to be far too small for a bird of their size and weight, Rito are actually powerful fliers, and experts in reading the wind currents and updrafts.
Like the birds they resemble, many Rito are capable singers, and Rito Bards are respected all over Hyrule. Due to a lack of lips and the fact that Rito performances often are composed of singing with a musical accompaniment, Rito rarely use wind instruments, preferring string, drums and other hand powered devices. Rito Bards will often accompany adventurers as an attempt to live out the adventures contained in the songs they sing, inspiration for songs of their own, or perhaps because their music career just isn’t paying the bills.
|Rito Bard Class Overview||Rito Bard Starting Options|
|Eagle-Eyed||Rito have the sharp eyes of a bird of prey, and can make out details from great distances away. On the other hand, their night vision isn’t very good, and sometimes they are so detail oriented they can’t see the forest through the trees.|
|Raw Abilities||Will 5, Health 3||Wises||Choice one of Wind-wise or Legend-wise, take a second wise of your choice|
|Skills||Orator 4, Loremaster 3, Fighter 2, Pathfinder 2, Persuader 2, Scholar 2||Starting Weapon/Armor||Choose a Bow or Dagger|
|Starting Trait||Eagle Eyed||Racial Benefit||Flight, see above|
Write Nature: Rito on your character sheet. Your descriptors are Scavenging, Soaring and Singing. Rito characters have a base Nature of 3. Answer the following questions to determine your final starting Nature score, and possibly some traits.
Goron Nature Questions
When looking for food, will you take advantage of another’s kill, or do you insist on getting your own food?
- If you’ll take whatever you can get, increase your nature by one.
- If you insist on being self-reliant, you may replace or increase your home trait with Adventurous or Honorable
When confronted, do you take to the skies and flee, or do you stand your ground and fight?
- If you take to the skies, increase your starting nature by one and decrease your starting Fighter skill by one.
- If you stand and fight, your nature and fighter remain unchanged.
Do you sing the songs of your people that tell how the world was before the calamity, or do you dismiss such things as frivolous nostalgia?
- If you sing the songs, increase nature by one.
- If you don’t see the need for such thing, you may replace or increase your home trait with Bitter or Quiet.
Rito Bard Level Benefits
When Rito Bards gain a level, they may choose between a special level benefit and gaining a song ability. Rito Bards can only pick up to one song ability per level, but may pick any of them that they meet the listed minimum level for. See below the level benefits for a full listing of Song abilities. They do not start with any Song Abilities and can not gain one at level 10.
Rito Bard :You can wear leather or chainmail armor, you cannot use a shield or wear a helmet. You can wield Bows, Crossbows, Daggers, Polearms, and Spears.
Rito Archery: You may carry and fire a bow while flying.
Deep Mind: As the level 3 Skald Ability
Armored Avian: You may fly while wearing chainmail or leather armor, but not plate, even if you have the ability to wear it.
Death From Above: In Flee, Kill, Drive Off, and Capture conflicts where you have room to fly, gain +2D to maneuver actions (in addition to any weapon bonuses)
Roadie: As the Level 5 Warrior Henchman ability.
Heard it on the Wind: As the level 7 Thief Ear to the Ground ability
A Little Bird Told Me…: You may now have up to six wises. Choose and gain an additional wise immediately, and gain all further wises up to your maximum of six during the winter phase as per the normal rules.
Stuff of Legends: Choose Will, Oratory, or Fighter, the chosen ability now has a cap of 7, you may advance it from 6 to 7 with seven successful and six failed tests.
Heroic Ability: Choose Oratory, Fighter, or Loremaster, tests with that skill/ability now succeed on 3-6.
Ruler of the Air: Increase Might by 1 in general (from 3 to 4) and an additional one when engaging in any physical conflict in which you can fly.
Unless specified otherwise, all Song Abilities:
- Require the Bard to be playing his musical instrument to activate
- Cannot be performed stealthily or quietly
- Do not take a turn or check, unless it is allowing oratory to be used in place of another skill when that skill WOULD require a turn or check.
- Any Song that functions as a Spell or Prayer uses Oratory instead of Arcanist or Ritualist
- Further the Bard does not require a holy symbol to use any song that functions as a prayer.
- Any Ability that has no minimum level listed can be taken at any level.
The Rito Bard can choose from the following list:
- Ballad of the Goddess: Grants you and your allies +1 Might when fighting demons and creatures corrupted by the Calamity. If your hands are occupied by playing this song in a conflict, you may defend and maneuver (but not attack or feint) without penalty for being disarmed. (Minimum Level 6)
- Ballad of the Wind Fish: Brings an end to all illusions, lies, and dreams. By spending a turn playing this song, you may roll your oratory to dispel any illusion in the area or to awaken a victim of magically induced sleep, the obstacle is equal to the successes used to create the effect (or a vs test against the creator’s spellcasting skill or nature is if that is not specified). Failure incurs a twist or condition as normal. If the bard is trying to dispel illusions when there are none present, no roll is made, the turn is still spent, but the Bard is aware of the results.
- Bolero of Fire:Once per phase, you can light a fire even in damp conditions, without a test.
- Epona’s Song: Music soothes the savage beast, this song allows the Bard to use Oratory in place of peasant when dealing with domesticated animals. Against wild, mundane beasts, the Bard can spend a turn and make an Oratory vs test against that creature (or the highest of a group of creatures with the others helping) nature rating, success indicates the wild creatures are calmed and will not attack unless provoked, failure indicates a twist or condition as normal. This ability does nothing on magical beasts or animals corrupted by the Calamity.
- Goron’s Lullaby: Once per adventure, the Bard may use the first circle Cleric prayer Hands of the Lords of Entropy, against Gorons, this attack grains +2D (Minimum Level 4)
- Lokomo Song: Calls forth the ancient Spirit Tracks. When played on a long journey over rough terrain double your movement speed, up to your normal speed along a road. Further, while playing this song you may act as though you had an appropriate wise for navigating rough terrain (to either help or to bolster your own tests by spending rewards)
- Nocturne of Shadow: As long as you are performing this song, no one outside your group can see any light sources you or your companions carry. Further, no one outside your group can hear this song. This does not make you invisible, prevent any other noise or provide any protection against creatures that can see in darkness, or shadow you from light from any other source besides your group’s, but does prevent them from spotting your light from a distance. If you stop your performance even for a moment (to use your hands if playing an instrument, or to speak if singing with Songbird, or to use another song ability), the light sources become visible until your resume.
- Prelude of Light: Once per adventure the Bard can use the first Circle cleric Prayer, Blessings of the Lords of Light and Darkness, but only to create light, not to create Darkness. (Minimum Level 4)
- Saria’s Song: This song is a duet, although the second party does not need to be a Bard to play their part. When the Bard plays this song with another person, the two people involved can then play their part of the duet to communicate with the other regardless of distance. The Bard can only have one partner for this song at a given time, but may chance that partner by spending a check during the camp phase or as personal business in the town phase, provided their new partner is in camp/town with them.
- Songbird: Songbird is not a song ability in its own right, but may be chosen in place of a song ability or level benefit at 5th level or later, but the Bard has focused their mystical training into their own body, their singing voice counts as an instrument for all song abilities. (Minimum Level: 5)
- Song of Healing: A Rito Bard knows songs that can ease even the weariest of souls, once per camp or town phase the Bard can grant an ally a free recovery test for the afraid or angry condition. The test must otherwise abide by standard recovery rules
- Song of Soaring: Once per adventure, can use the Magician Spell, Lightness of being. Helpful for your flightless friends (minimum level 3)
- Song of Storms: In the land of Hyrule, there are songs that can control the winds and the rains. Once per adventure, the Rito Bard can substitute any described weather with season-appropriate weather of the Bard’s choosing. If you are using special weather rules, this lasts until the next time weather would be determined, otherwise, it lasts until the end of the next camp phase. This ability requires an instrument.
- Sun’s Song: The Sun’s Song functions as the Cleric’s Fury of the Lords of Life and Death prayer
- Wind’s Requiem: Allows you to control the direction of the wind. While not powerful enough to control the weather, this song provides a +1D bonus to sailing tests, tests involving flying, and any other situations the GM deems appropriate
Current PaDC score: 16/31, Full disclosure, I got this out at 12:15ish on the 17th and just backdated it a bit so it looks right on my calendar. But given I mentioned in my first post about the challenge I would cut myself some slack with my deadlines, so I’m gonna count it for Tuesday. The point is to write something every day, and the fact that I got really into doing the song abilities and spent longer than I really needed to making them is not something I am going to hold against that goal. Up to you if you think I am a filthy cheater or not!
Image from Wikimedia commons: link