Source Core Rulebook
The Quintessential Bard
Author Shannon Kalvar
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2003
The art of making instruments that express the soul and emotion of the player remains an elusive one. The craftsmen create such instruments may only produce a few in a lifetime; each one suited for a particular artist. Most such items are beautiful and functional in the hands of any player. A standard masterwork instrument provides a +2 circumstance bonus to Perform checks made using that instrument. These rare instruments are typically made for one bard and passed on to another, or made by a craftsman who has not studied the bard’s personal style.
If the bard wishes to spend more time with the craftsman he can create a masterwork instrument that more accurately suits his needs. The construction of these instruments can take weeks, or even months. In return for his investment the bard receives an exquisite instrument built especially for him.
The only limit to how many features a craftsman can put into an instrument is his own skill and the coin the bard wishes to expend. These features work for the bard who commissioned the instrument, or for a bard who can duplicate the owner’s unique style by making a Perform check (DC 35).
The effect that a craftsman can build into an instrument include:
- Beautiful: The instrument possesses the fine lines of a masterpiece. It is obviously very valuable, although it may or may not be richly ornamented. Wood instruments are made of the finest woods. Those with metal fittings use gold or silver alloys in their construction. A beautiful instrument adds an extra +2 bonus to the player’s Perform check for purposes of determining how much income he earns that day.
- Expressive: An expressive instrument has subtle adjustments that make it perfect for shaping sound to match the bard’s innermost feelings. When using such an instrument the bard gains an extra +2 bonus to his Perform skill check when using a mystery that creates an emotional effect.
- Pure: Pure instruments produce absolutely perfect music. Their sound has an almost ethereal quality, as if the instrument were an ideal rather than a real thing. Using a pure instrument increases the DC of sonic and language dependent spells cast by the bard by +1.
- Resonant: A resonant instrument is build so that it can continue to produce sound after the bard has finished playing. Mastering the use of a resonant instrument is tricky, but once mastered these instruments assist the bard by continuing to sing on their own for a full round after the bard finishes his song. This enables the bard to take other actions, or even start a new song if he wishes, while the first song continues to play.
- Rich: Rich instruments have a variety of subtle ranges and tones, allowing the performer to put impressive nuances into his music. A rich instrument allows the bard to add an extra +2 (for a total of +4) when he is assists another musician.