On the Shoulders of Heroes
The bardic tradition is ancient and deeply rooted on the continent. The ability to tell stories and sing songs of great heroes, thereby helping to preserve them for future generations, is generally deemed very important. Bards have accompanied some of the greatest heroes on their journeys, and as a result have become great heroes themselves.
Bards go along with adventurers to hear stories, meet legends and write songs. Their broad training provides them with a great number of useful skills, as well as the ability to raise the spirits of their companions with music and limited magical powers. No group of heroes has ever turned down the help of a travelling bard. Whether they are researching the stuff of legends while they explore places of antiquity or entertaining a lord in his hall, the live of a bard is never dull.
Charisma, the strength of personality, determines how effective a bard is at performing and whether he is skilled in magic. Intelligence is a key factor in many of the bardic skills. Dexterity helps keep a bard out of harm’s way as well as increase the Bards’ talent in a fair number of skills.
Bards are traditional wanders and explorers and many of them tend towards a chaotic disposition. Although rare, lawful bards do exist; these individuals are often drawn into the service of a jarl as either court adviser, researcher or entertainer.
Often bards turn to a god to keep them safe on their journeys. A favorite is Ilmarinen, the dwarven god of creation. Bards tend to over-empathize his creativeness and claim he might be a bard himself. Evil bards turn towards Hiisi, the trickster god, or Loviathar for her cold beauty. These bards might use their influence to corrupt the heart of their victims.
Becoming a Bard
Being chosen to become a bard is considered a great honor among humans. Master bards travel the land looking for apprentices who might be up to the task. They tend to pick them out at festivals or at clan gatherings. These youngsters are often faced with the difficult decision of leaving behind their former life for a life on the road. Masters test their apprentice thoroughly and teach them for at least seven years before sending them off on their own path. There are but very few that become self-taught bards as it requires great finesse and skill.
Their nomadic culture and creativity makes gnolls rank among the finest bards. Elves, half-elves and halflings, with their somewhat adventurous spirits, often seek to become bards.
A bard makes a fine spokesman and support character in a group of heroes. Bards tend to have knowledge on many different subjects and a wide range of skills and abilities, making them an excellent addition to any party of adventurers.