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Keeper of Songs

The Quintessential Elf

Author Alejandro Melchor
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2002

Keepers of songs have an important role in elven society as the guardians of tradition. Much more than bards, the keepers of songs learn the ballads and anecdotes that give strength and meaning to elven culture, travelling from settlement to settlement keeping the stories fresh. Their knowledge of custom and precedent also has these minstrels functioning as judges, whether they hold the office or not. A community will ask a keeper to pass judgement based on what stories tell about the situation at hand, trusting that he can dredge up the most obscure detail to deal with anything. An elder songkeeper trains new members of this class, taking from one to half-a-dozen apprentices at the same time. The selection process is informal, with young aspirants approaching the keeper and asking for the chance to learn, with acceptance or rejection coming apparently out of whim.

Bards fit naturally as keepers of song, but given the elven love for music, dance and stories, many other classes seek to add levels as songkeepers to spice up their abilities. Spellcasters are well-served by the songkeeper’s ability to weave magic into song, with sorcerers and wizards benefited by the chance to acquire knowledge through the legendry the keeper tends to pick up along the way, and clerics and druids become closer to the people and woodland creatures they deal with as part of their tasks. Most keepers of songs travel through lands settled by high elves, but grey elves have developed their own musical lore with a more refined ear. Songkeepers among the wood and wild elves tend to be a village’s storytellers and advisors to the chieftain. Sea elves have many songkeepers as well, competing with mermaids for infamy among sailors, and drow sing their stories in deep, disturbing voices.

As Non-Player Characters, it is easier to find a keeper of songs on the road than as part of a community, but he will become notorious as he tells his stories or weaves an illusion to make a point.

Hit Die: d6


Race: Elf or half-elf.
Spellcasting: Ability to cast 2nd level spells (either divine or arcane).
Skills: Knowledge (history) 5 ranks, Perform (sing) 8 ranks.

Class Skills

The keeper of songs’ class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Charisma), Climb (Strength), Concentration (Constitution), Craft (Intelligence), Decipher Script (Intelligence, exclusive skill), Diplomacy (Charisma), Gather Information (Charisma), Hide (Dexterity), Intuit Direction (Wisdom), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Intelligence), Listen (Wisdom), Move Silently (Dexterity), Perform (Charisma), Profession (Wisdom), Scry (Intelligence, exclusive skill), Sense Motive (Wisdom), Speak Language (Intelligence), Spellcraft (Intelligence), Swim (Strength) and Use Magic Device (Charisma, exclusive skill).
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Intelligence modifier

The Keeper of Songs
LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialSpells per day
1+0+0+0+2Treesong, tradition lore+1 level of existing class
2+1+0+0+3Spellchanting+1 level of existing class
3+1+1+1+3Ancient music+1 level of existing class
4+2+1+1+4Commanding voice+1 level of existing class
5+2+1+1+4Judgement of the forefathers+1 level of existing class

Class Features

  • Armour and Weapon Proficiency: Keepers of songs are proficient with all simple weapons. They are proficient with light armour but not with shields. Note that armour check penalties for armour heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armour, equipment, or loot carried.
  • Spells: At every level, the keeper of songs gains additional spell slots as if he had gained a level in the spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. However, he does not gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained with level advancement (hit points, feats, special abilities, etc.) beyond an effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a speaker, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.
  • Tradition Lore: A songkeeper may make a special tradition lore check with a bonus equal to his level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information about local notable peole, legendary items, or noteworthy places. This check is similar to bardic knowledge and stacks with levels of bard, if the knowledge sought deals with elven lore. Tradition lore does not apply to knowledge outside this field.
  • Treesong (Su): Once per day per songkeeper level, the character can put all his feeling behind an elven song. The haunting words make full use of the elven language, conveying two meanings at once: allies gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and saving throws while enemies must roll a Will save (DC set by a Perform check) or suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls and saving throws. This ability is considered a bardic music song, and the character can stack his bard levels when determining uses per day.
  • Spellchanting (Ex): The songkeeper can weave his spells into any song he sings. He must succeed at a Perform check (DC 15 + spell level) to correctly time the spell’s words with the music’s tempo, thus dispensing with somatic components but taking an extra partial action to cast (1-action casting time becomes a full-round action, and a full-round duration takes a partial action from the next turn). The real advantage of spellchanting is that the songkeeper adds his Charisma modifier to the spell’s DC. If his original spellcasting class relies on Charisma (like sorcerer and bard), it means that he effectively adds his modifier twice while spellchanting.
  • Ancient Music (Sp): The character can sing the most ancient legends in elven lore and summon the shades of ancestral elven warriors to help him. The warriors are ghostlike images wielding a wide variety of melee weapons, enveloped in mist and all singing the song with the character. The number of warriors equals three per songkeeper class level. The warriors attack all enemies inside a 60-feet radius area centred around the songkeeper, dealing a total of 1d6 points of damage per warrior. The character assigns how much damage each creature inside the area receives before the targets roll a Reflex save (DC 10 + songkeeper level + Charisma modifier) to halve it. The warriors remain for as long as the character sings, and each round he can reassign the damage inflicted to each creature that remains inside the area as long as the total is the same rolled for the first round. Targets can keep rolling their Reflex saves normally. The warriors are chaotic good in alignment (drow songkeepers summon neutral evil warriors), and thus affected by spells like protection from good, and dictum. If the warriors are targeted by spells such as banishment or dismissal, they use the songkeeper’s Will save bonus to resist. Being incorporeal, force barriers such as mage armour or Wall of Force affect them normally. The songkeeper may use this ability only once per week, and suffers 1-2 points of temporary Constitution damage when he stops singing and the warriors disappear.
  • Commanding Voice (Sp): By putting the weight of his knowledge behind his voice, the songkeeper may issue elaborate commands that others must obey. This ability works like the suggestion spell, except that the songkeeper can negate the +2 bonus to save against Enchantment effects that other elves enjoy, as he draws the power from elven law and tradition. The DC to resist is equal to 10 + songkeeper level + Charisma modifier, and the character can use this ability once per day.
  • Judgement of the Forefathers (Su): The songkeeper can recite the tenets of elven tradition as challenges to enemies, keeping them at bay. The character can project the power of his voice up to 30 feet away from him, affecting one creature per songkeeper level plus his Charisma modifier. This ability targets the creatures with the fewest HD first, and all affected must succeed at a Will save (DC equal to songkeeper’s Perform check) or be forced to stay away for as long as the character keeps reciting. The keeper of songs decides which creatures he wishes to affect. This ability is a mind-affecting, compulsion effect. The songkeeper suffers 1-2 points of temporary Wisdom damage when he stops reciting and the effect lifts.
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