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Orpheus (father of songs)

Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Orpheus on His Lyre
Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Orpheus on His Lyre

Orpheus is considered one of the worlds chief poets and musicians and the perfector of the lyre. He can charm the wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance, even arrest the course of rivers. As one of the pioneers of civilization, he is said to have taught mankind the arts of medicine, writing and agriculture. Orpheus was an augur and seer; practiced magical arts, especially astrology; founded or rendered accessible many important cults, such as those of Apollo and Dionysus; instituted mystic rites both public and private; and prescribed initiatory and purificatory rituals.

  • Alias: Orpheus the Bard,
  • Gender: Male,
  • Race: Human,
  • Occupation: Musician, Poet, Seeker of Lost Love,
  • Religion: Devotee of Apollo and the Muses,
  • Allies: The Muses, Apollo, Nymphs, Eurydice, Hercules
  • Enemies: The Furies, Hades,
  • Abode/Base of Operations: Thracian Mountains, Underworld,
  • Nationality: Thracian,
  • Languages: Common, Thracian, Ancient Greek,
  • Alignment: Chaotic Good,
  • Affiliation(s): The Argonauts,The Cult of Apollo, The Bardic College,
  • Significant Others: Eurydice (wife, deceased)

Orpheus was the son of Oeagrus, king of Thrace, Orpheus was born in Mount Helicon at Livithra, his mother was Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. Orpheus learned music from Apollo, who gave him his own lyre (made by Hermes out of a turtle shell) as a gift.

The Argonautic expedition

He joined the expedition of the Argonauts. Chiron had warned Argonaut leader Jason that only with the aid of Orpheus would they be able to navigate past the Sirens unscathed. The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and played irresistibly beautiful songs that enticed sailors and their ships to the islands’ craggy shoals. Once shipwrecked on the rocks, the sailors were destroyed by the Sirens. However, when Orpheus heard the Sirens, he drew his lyre and played music more beautiful than that of the Sirens, thus drowning out their alluring but deadly song.

Kratzenstein orpheus

Death of Eurydice

The most famous story in which he figures is that of his wife Eurydice. While fleeing from Aristaeus (son of Apollo), she strode on a serpent and was bitten, which brought her to her death. Distraught, Orpheus played such sad songs and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept and gave him advice.

Orpheus went down to the lower world and by his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth. But the condition was attached that he should walk in front of her and not look back until he had reached the upper world. In his anxiety he broke his promise, and Eurydice vanished again from his sight.

Death of Orpheus

Orpheus at the end of his life disdained the worship of all gods save Apollo. One early morning he went to the oracle of Dionysus at Perperikon to salute his god at dawn, but was torn to death by Thracian Maenads for not honoring his previous patron, Dionysus.

The Thracian Maenads, Dionysus‘ followers, angry for having been spurned by Orpheus, first threw sticks and stones at him as he played, but his music was so beautiful even the rocks and branches refused to hit him. Enraged, the Maenads tore him to pieces during the frenzy of their Bacchic orgies.

His head and lyre, still singing mournful songs, floated down the swift Hebrus to the Mediterranean shore. There, the winds and waves carried them on to the Lesbos shore, where the inhabitants buried his head and a shrine was built in his honour near Antissa; there his oracle prophesied, until it was silenced by Apollo. The lyre was carried to heaven by the Muses, and was placed among the stars. The Muses also gathered up the fragments of his body and buried them at Leibethra below Mount Olympus, where the nightingales sang over his grave. His soul returned to the underworld, where he was re-united at last with his beloved Eurydice.

Used with permissiom from Paolo

As seen in Paolo’s thread at Dicefreaks

Bard 34
DvR0 (hero-deity)
Medium humanoid
Hit Dice34d6+ 68 (221 hp)
Initiative+3 (+3 Dexterity)
Speed30 feet
AC13 (+3 Dexterity), touch 13, flat-footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple+22/24
Attack+ 25 Dagger (1d4 + 3, 19-20×2) melee, or + 25 shortbow (1d6, x3) ranged
Full Attack+ 25/20/15 Dagger (1d4 + 3, 19-20×2) melee, or +25/20/15 shortbow (1d6, x3) ranged, or spell +24 melee touch, or +25 ranged touch
Space/Reach5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft
Fascinate, Mass suggestion, suggestion,
Bardic knowledge, Bardic music, Divine bloodline, Divine fascinate, Countersong, Inspire competence, Inspire courage, Inspire greatness, Inspire heroics, Song of freedom
SavesFort +15, Ref +21, Will +19
AbilitiesStrength 14, Dexterity 17, Constitution 15, Intelligence 18, Wisdom 11, Charisma 34
SkillsAppraise+14, Balance +10, Bluff +22, Climb+7, Concentration +22, Craft (Musical instrument)+16, Decipher script +19, Diplomacy +42, Disguise +17, Escape artist +7, Gather Information +22, Hide +7, Jump +7, Knowledge (arcana)+24, Knowledge (geography)+14, Knowledge (nature) +24, Knowledge (nobility and royalty)+19, Knowledge (religion)+29, Knowledge (the Planes) +29, Listen +5, Move Silently +7, Perform (singing) +62, Perform (string instruments)+49, Sense motive +8, Sleight of hand +7, Spellcraft (Charisma based) +42, Swim +7, Use Magic device +22
FeatsCraft wondrous item, Dodge, Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend spell, Heighten Spell, Improved Counterspell, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Perform, singing), Spell Penetration
Epic Inspiration, Epic Skill Focus (Perform, singing), Inspire Excellence, Lasting Inspiration, Music Of The Gods, Ranged Inspiration, Reactive Countersong
Climate/TerrainAncient Greece or in Hades
OrganizationSolitary, or with 1d8 followers, or with Argonauts
Challenge Rating38
Treasuresee possessions
Alignmentchaotic good

Bardic knowledge: Orpheus’s bardic knowledge check is at +36

Bardic music: Orpheus may use his bardic music ability 34 times per day to produce one of the bardic powers (countersong, inspire competence, courage, greatness or heroics, fascinate, suggest, mass suggest or song of freedom).

Countersong: Orpheus can use his singing (or playing instrument as a second option, if he can’t sing) to counter magical effects that depend on sound (but not spells that simply have verbal components). Each round of the countersong, he makes a Perform check. Any creature within 30 feet of him (including himself) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use Orpheus’ Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher.

If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a non instantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use Orpheus’ Perform check result for the save. Countersong has no effect against effects that don’t allow saves. Orpheus may keep up the countersong for 10 rounds

Divine blood: immune to polymorphing, petrification or any form-altering attack, energy drain, ability drain and ability damage; +10 vs poison, Paralysis, death effects, disintegration; +5 vs binding, soul bind, Temporal Stasis, Trap the Soul; Spell Resistance 25

Divine fascinate: given his lineage, Orpheus may use the ‘Music Of The Gods’ epic feat against those normally immune to mind-affecting effects without allowing them the usual +10 bonus on will save.

Fascinate: Orpheus can use his singing (or playing instrument as a second option, if he can’t sing) to cause up to twelve creatures to become fascinated with him. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90 feet, able to see and hear him, and able to pay attention to him. Orpheus must also be able to see the creatures. The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working. To use the ability, Orpheus makes a Perform check. His check result is the DC for each affected creature’s Will save against the effect. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, he cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours.

If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to Orpheus, taking no other actions, for as long as he continues to sing and concentrate (up to a maximum of 34 rounds). While fascinated, a target takes a -4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen and Spot checks. Any potential threat requires Orpheus to make another Perform check and allows the creature a new saving throw against a DC equal to the new Perform check result.

Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect. Fascinate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.

Inspire competence: Orpheus can use his oratory to help an ally succeed at a task. The ally must be within 30 feet and able to see and hear him. Orpheus must also be able to see the ally. The ally gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as he or she continues to hear him. Certain uses of this ability are infeasible. The effect lasts as long as Orpheus concentrates, up to a maximum of 2 minutes. Orpheus can’t inspire competence in himself. Inspire competence is a mind-affecting ability

Inspire courage: Orpheus can use his singing to inspire courage in his allies (including himself ), up to six targets, bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear Orpheus singing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears Orpheus and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally receives a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +4 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.

Inspire greatness: Orpheus can use his singing to inspire greatness in himself or up to nine willing allies within 30 feet, granting him or her extra fighting capability. To inspire greatness, a he must sing and an ally must hear him sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears Orpheus sing and for 5 rounds thereafter.

A creature inspired with greatness gains 2 bonus Hit Dice (d10s), the commensurate number of temporary hit points (apply the target’s Constitution modifier, if any, to these bonus Hit Dice), a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls, and a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves. The bonus Hit Dice count as regular Hit Dice for determining the effect of spells that are Hit Dice dependant. Inspire greatness is a mind-affecting ability.

Inspire heroics: Orpheus can use his singing to inspire tremendous heroism in himself or up to seven willing allies within 30 feet. To inspire heroics, he must sing and an ally must hear him sing for a full round. A creature so inspired gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws and a +4 Dodge bonus to AC. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears Orpheus sing and for up to 5 rounds thereafter. Inspire heroics is a mind-affecting ability.

Mass suggestion: This ability functions like suggestion, below, except that Orpheus can make the suggestion simultaneously to any number of creatures that he has already fascinated (see above). Mass suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language-dependent ability.

Song of freedom: Orpheus can use his singing to create an effect equivalent to the Break enchantment spell (34 caster level). Using this ability requires 1 minute of uninterrupted Concentration and music, and it functions on a single target within 30 feet. Orpheus can’t use song of freedom on himself.

Suggestion: Orpheus can make a suggestion (as the spell) to a creature that he has already fascinated (see above). Using this ability does not break his Concentration on the fascinate effect, nor does it allow a second saving throw against the fascinate effect.

Making a suggestion doesn’t count against Orpheus’ daily limit on bardic music performances. A Will saving throw (DC 39) negates the effect. This ability affects only a single creature. suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language dependent ability.

Possessions +1 silver ghost touch Dagger

Magic Lyre

A gift from Apollo, this lyre adds +10 to a bard’s performance check (not accounted for in the stats above) and adds +2 to DC ST against a bard’s spell.

bard spells know (0-6): 6/5/5/5/5/5/4;

bard spells/day(0-6): 4/7/7/7/7/6/6 Caster level 34°. Save DC: 22 + spell level

epic spells/day: 2. Spellcraft +42.

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