Theifs Bards and Rogus
This is an Excert from the Players Handbook.
Rogues are people who feel that the world (and everyone it) somehow owes them a living. They get by day by day, living in the highest style they can afford and doing as little work as possible. The less they have to toil and struggle like everyone else (while maintaining a comfortable standard of living), the better off they think they are. While this attitude is neither evil nor cruel, it does not foster a good reputation. Many a rogue has a questionable past or a shady background he'd prefer was left uninvestigated.
Rogues combine a few of the qualities of the other character classes. They are allowed to use a wide variety of magical items, weapons, and armor.
Rogues have some special abilities that are unique to their group. All rogues tend to be adept at languages and thus, have a percentage chance to read strange writings they come across. All are skilled in climbing and clinging to small cracks and outcroppings--even more skilled than the hardy men of the mountains. They are alert and attentive, hearing things that others would miss. Finally, they are dexterous (and just a little bit light-fingered), able to perform tricks and filch small items with varying degrees of success.
Rogues have a number of special abilities, such as picking pockets and detecting noise, for which they are given a percentage chance of success (this chance depends on the class, level, Dexterity score, and race of the rogue). When a rogue tries to use a special ability, a percentile dice roll determines whether the attempt succeeds or fails. If the dice roll is equal to or less than the special ability score, the attempt succeeds. Otherwise, it fails.
All rogues use Table 25 to determine their advancement in levels as they gain experience points.
All rogues gain one six-sided Hit Die (1d6) per level from 1st through 10th. After 10th level, rogues earn 2 hit points per level and no longer receive additional hit point bonuses for high Constitution scores.
Rogue Experience Levels
Level Thief/Bard Hit Dice (d6)
1 0 1
2 1,250 2
3 2,500 3
4 5,000 4
5 10,000 5
6 20,000 6
7 40,000 7
8 70,000 8
9 110,000 9
10 160,000 10
11 220,000 10+2
12 440,000 10+4
13 660,000 10+6
14 880,000 10+8
15 1,100,000 10+10
16 1,320,000 10+12
17 1,540,000 10+14
18 1,760,000 10+16
19 1,980,000 10+18
20 2,200,000 10+20
Ability Requirement: Dexterity 9
Prime Requisite: Dexterity
Races Allowed: All
Thieves come in all sizes and shapes, ready to live off the fat of the land by the easiest means possible. In some ways they are the epitome of roguishness.
The profession of thief is not honorable, yet it is not entirely dishonorable, either. Many famous folk heroes have been more than a little larcenous -- Reynard the Fox, Robin Goodfellow, and Ali Baba are but a few. At his best, the thief is a romantic hero fired by noble purpose but a little wanting in strength of character. Such a person may truly strive for good but continually run afoul of temptation.
The thief's prime requisite is Dexterity; a character must have a minimum score of 9 to qualify for the class. While high numbers in other scores (particularly Intelligence) are desirable, they are not necessary. The thief can have any alignment except lawful good. Many are at least partially neutral.
A thief with a Dexterity score of 16 or more gains a 10% bonus to the experience points he earns.
Thieves have a limited selection of weapons. Most of their time is spent practicing thieving skills. The allowed weapons are club, dagger, dart, hand crossbow, knife, lasso, short bow, sling, broad sword, long sword, short sword, and staff. A thief can wear leather, studded leather, padded leather, or elven chain armor. When wearing any allowed armor other than leather, the thief's abilities are penalized (see Table 29).
To determine the initial value of each skill, start with the base scores listed on Table 26. To these base scores, add (or subtract) any appropriate modifiers for race, Dexterity, and armor worn (given on Tables 27, 28 and 29, respectively).
The scores arrived at in the preceding paragraph do not reflect the effort a thief has spent honing his skills. To simulate this extra training, all thieves at 1st level receive 60 discretionary percentage points that they can add to their base scores. No more than 30 points can be assigned to any single skill. Other than this restriction, the player can distribute the points however he wants.
Each time the thief rises a level in experience, the player receives another 30 points to distribute. No more than 15 points per level can be assigned to a single skill, and no skill can be raised above 95 percent, including all adjustments for Dexterity, race, and armor. As an option, the DM can rule that some portion of the points earned must be applied to skills used during the course of the adventure.
Thieving Skill Base Scores
Skill Base Score
Pick Pockets 15%
Open Locks 10%
Find/Remove Traps 5%
Move Silently 10%
Hide in Shadows 5%
Detect Noise 15%
Climb Walls 60%
Read Languages 0%
In addition to the base percentages listed above, demihuman characters and characters with high or low Dexterity scores have adjustments to their base numbers. Some characters may find that, after adjustments, they have negative scores. In this case, the character must spend points raising his skill percentage to at least 1% before he can use the skill. (Some races just aren't very good at certain things!)
A thief character uses the "No Armor" column if wearing bracers of defense or a cloak without large or heavy protective clothing.
Thieving Skill Racial Adjustments
Skill Dwarf Elf Gnome Half-elf Halfling
Pick Pockets -- +5% -- +10% +5%
Open Locks +10% -5% +5% -- +5%
Find/Remove Traps +15% -- +10% -- +5%
Move Silently -- +5% +5% -- +10%
Hide in Shadows -- +10% +5% +5% +15%
Detect Noise -- +5% +10% -- +5%
Climb Walls -10% -- -15% -- -15%
Read Languages -5% -- -- -- -5%
Thieving Skill Dexterity Adjustments
Pick Open Find/ Move Hide in
Dexterity Pockets Locks Remove Traps Silently Shadows
9 -15% -10% -10% -20% -10%
10 -10% -5% -10% -15% -5%
11 -5% -- -5% -10% --
12 -- -- -- -5% --
13-15 -- -- -- -- --
16 -- +5% -- -- --
17 +5% +10% -- +5% +5%
18 +10% +15% +5% +10% +10%
19 +15% +20% +10% +15% +15%
Thieving Skill Armor Adjustments
Padded, Hide or Chain mail*
Skill No Armor Elven Chain Studded Leather or Ring Mail*
Pick Pockets +5% -20% -30% -25%
Open Locks -- -5% -10% -10%
Find/Remove Traps -- -5% -10% -10%
Move Silently +10% -10% -20% -15%
Hide in Shadows +5% -10% -20% -15%
Detect Noise -- -5% -10% -5%
Climb Walls +10% -20% -30% -25%
Read Languages -- -- -- --
* Only Bards can wear ring mail or non-elven mail while using thief skills..
Pick Pockets: The thief uses this skill when filching small items from other peoples' pockets, sleeves, girdles, packs, etc., when palming items (such as keys), and when performing simple sleight of hand.
A failed attempt means the thief did not get an item, but it does not mean that his attempt was detected. To determine whether the victim noticed the thief's indiscretion, subtract three times the victim's level from 100. If the thief's pick pockets roll was equal to or greater than this number, the attempt is detected. A 0th-level victim, for example, notices the attempt only if the roll was 00 (100), while a 13th-level character notices the attempt on a dice roll of 61 or more. In some cases, the attempt may succeed and be noticed at the same time.
If the DM wishes, he can rule that a thief of higher level than his victim is less likely to be caught pilfering. The chance that the victim notices the attempt can be modified by subtracting the victim's level from the thief's level, and then adding this number to the percentage chance the thief is detected. For example, Ragnar, a 15th-level thief, tries to pick the pocket of Horace, a 9th-level fighter. Normally, Ragnar would be detected if his pick pockets roll was 73 or more (100-[3×9]=73). Using this optional system, since Ragnar is six levels higher than Horace, this number is increased by six to 79 (73+6=79). This option only applies if the thief is higher level than his victim.
A thief can try to pick someone's pocket as many times as he wants. Neither failure nor success prevents additional attempts, but getting caught might!
Open Locks: A thief can try to pick padlocks, finesse combination locks (if they exist), and solve puzzle locks (locks with sliding panels, hidden releases, and concealed keyholes). Picking a padlock requires tools. Using typical thief's tools grants normal chances for success. Using improvised tools (a bit of wire, a thin dirk, a stick, etc.) imposes a penalty on the character's chance for success. The DM sets the penalty based on the situation; penalties can range from -5 for an improvised but suitable tool, to -60 for an awkward and unsuitable item (like a stick). The amount of time required to pick a lock is 1d10 rounds. A thief can try to pick a particular lock only once per experience level. If the attempt fails, the lock is simply too difficult for the character until he learns more about picking locks (goes up a level).
Find/Remove Traps: The thief is trained to find small traps and alarms. These include poisoned needles, spring blades, deadly gases, and warning bells. This skill is not effective for finding deadfall ceilings, crushing walls, or other large, mechanical traps.
To find the trap, the thief must be able to touch and inspect the trapped object. Normally, the DM rolls the dice to determine whether the thief finds a trap. If the DM says, "You didn't find any traps," it's up to the player to decide whether that means there are no traps or there are traps but the thief didn't see them. If the thief finds a trap, he knows its general principle but not its exact nature. A thief can check an item for traps once per experience level. Searching for a trap takes 1d10 rounds.
Once a trap is found, the thief can try to remove it or disarm it. This also requires 1d10 rounds. If the dice roll indicates success, the trap is disarmed. If the dice roll indicates failure, the trap is beyond the thief's current skill. He can try disarming the trap again when he advances to the next experience level. If the dice roll is 96-100, the thief accidentally triggers the trap and suffers the consequences. Sometimes (usually because his percentages are low) a thief will deliberately spring a trap rather than have unpleasant side effects if the trap doesn't work quite the way the thief thought, and he triggers it while standing in the wrong place.
This skill is far less useful when dealing with magical or invisible traps. Thieves can attempt to remove these traps, but their chances of success are half their normal percentages.
Move Silently: A thief can try to move silently at any time simply by announcing that he intends to do so. While moving silently, the thief's movement rate is reduced to 1/3 normal. The DM rolls percentile dice to determine whether the thief is moving silently; the thief always thinks he is being quiet. Successful silent movement improves the thief's chance to surprise a victim, avoid discovery, or move into position to stab an enemy in the back. Obviously, a thief moving silently but in plain view of his enemies is wasting his time.
Hide in Shadows: A thief can try to disappear into shadows or any other type of concealment -- bushes, curtains, crannies, etc. A thief can hide this way only when no one is looking at him; he remains hidden only as long as he remains virtually motionless. (The thief can make small, slow, careful movements: draw a weapon, uncork a potion, etc.) A thief can never become hidden while a guard is watching him, no matter what his dice roll is--his position is obvious to the guard. However, trying to hide from a creature that is locked in battle with another is possible, as the enemy's attention is fixed elsewhere. The DM rolls the dice and keeps the result secret, but the thief always thinks he is hidden.
Hiding in shadows cannot be done in total darkness, since the talent lies in fooling the eye as much as in finding real concealment (camouflage, as it were). However, hidden characters are equally concealed to those with or without infravision. Spells, magical items, and special abilities that reveal invisible objects can reveal the location of a hidden thief.
Detect Noise: A good thief pays attention to every detail, no matter how small, including faint sounds that most others miss. His ability to hear tiny sounds (behind heavy doors, down long hallways, etc.) is much better than the ordinary person's. Listening is not automatic; the thief must stand still and concentrate on what he's hearing for one round. He must have silence in his immediate surroundings and must remove his helmet or hat. Sounds filtering through doors or other barriers are unclear at best.
Climb Walls: Although everyone can climb rocky cliffs and steep slopes, the thief is far superior to others in this ability. Not only does he have a better climbing percentage than other characters, he can also climb most surfaces without tools, ropes, or devices. Only the thief can climb smooth and very smooth surfaces without climbing gear. Of course, the thief is very limited in his actions while climbing--he is unable to fight or effectively defend himself.
Read Languages: Out of necessity, thieves tend to learn odd bits of information. Among these is the ability to read various languages, particularly as they apply to treasure maps, deeds, secret notes, and the like. At 4th level, the thief has enough exposure to languages that he has a chance to read most nonmagical writing. This ability naturally improves with more experience. However, your DM can rule that some languages (those the thief has never encountered) are indecipherable to the thief.
The die roll to read a language must be made every time the character tries to read a document (not just once per language). A successful die roll means the thief puzzled out the meaning of the writing. His understanding of the document is roughly equal to his percentage chance for success: a 20% chance means that, if the thief understands it at all, he gets about 20% of the meaning. A different document in the same language requires another die roll (it probably contains different words). It isn't necessary to keep notes about what languages the thief has read in the past, since each document is handled individually.
Only one die roll can be made for any particular document at a given experience level. If the die roll fails, the thief can try again after gaining a new experience level.
If the character knows how to read a given language because he spent a proficiency slot on it, this die roll is unnecessary for documents in that language.
Thieves have other abilities not listed on Table 26:
Backstab: Thieves are weak in toe-to-toe hacking matches, but they are masters of the knife in the back. When attacking someone by surprise and from behind, a thief can improve his chance to successfully hit (+4 modifier for rear attack and negate the target's shield and Dexterity bonuses) and greatly increase the amount of damage his blow causes.
To use this ability, the thief must be behind his victim and the victim must be unaware that the thief intends to attack him. If an enemy sees the thief, hears him approach from a blind side, or is warned by another, he is not caught unaware, and the backstab is handled like a normal attack (although bonuses for a rear attack still apply). Opponents in battle will often notice a thief trying to maneuver behind them--the first rule of fighting is to never turn your back on an enemy! However, someone who isn't expecting to be attacked (a friend or ally, perhaps) can be caught unaware even if he knows the thief is behind him.
The multiplier given in Table 30 applies to the amount of damage before modifiers for Strength or weapon bonuses are added. The weapon's standard damage is multiplied by the value given in Table 30. Then Strength and magical weapon bonuses are added.
Backstabbing does have limitations. First, the damage multiplier applies only to the first attack made by the thief, even if multiple attacks are possible. Once a blow is struck, the initial surprise effect is lost. Second, the thief cannot use it on every creature. The victim must be generally humanoid. Part of the skill comes from knowing just where to strike. A thief could backstab an ogre, but he wouldn't be able to do the same to a beholder. The victim must also have a definable back (which leaves out most slimes, jellies, oozes, and the like). Finally, the thief has to be able to reach a significant target area. To backstab a giant, the thief would have to be standing on a ledge or window balcony. Backstabbing him in the ankle just isn't going to be as effective.
Backstab Damage Multipliers
Thief's Level Damage Multiplier
The ogre marches down the hallway, peering into the gloom ahead. He fails to notice the shadowy form of Ragnar the thief hidden in an alcove. Slipping into the hallway, Ragnar creeps up behind the monster. As he sets himself to strike a mortal blow, his foot scrapes across the stone. The hairy ears of the ogre perk up. The beast whirls around, ruining Ragnar's chance for a backstab and what remains of his day. If Ragnar had made a successful roll to move silently, he could have attacked the ogre with a +4 bonus on his chance to hit and inflicted five times his normal damage (since he is 15th level).
Thieves' Cant: Thieves' cant is a special form of communication known by all thieves and their associates. It is not a distinct language; it consists of slang words and implied meanings that can be worked into any language. The vocabulary of thieves' cant limits its use to discussing things that interest thieves: stolen loot, easy marks, breaking and entering, mugging, confidence games, and the like. It is not a language, however. Two thieves cannot communicate via thieves' cant unless they know a common language. The cant is useful, however, for identifying fellow cads and bounders by slipping a few tidbits of lingo into a normal conversation.
The concept of thieves' cant is historical (the cant probably is still used today in one form or another), although in the AD&D game it has an ahistorically broad base. A few hours of research at a large library should turn up actual examples of old thieves' cant for those who want to learn more about the subject.
Use Scrolls: At 10th level, a thief gains a limited ability to use magical and priest scrolls. A thief's understanding of magical writings is far from complete, however. The thief has a 25% chance to read the scroll incorrectly and reverse the spell's effect. This sort of malfunction is almost always detrimental to the thief and his party. It could be as simple as accidentally casting the reverse of the given spell or as complex as a foul-up on a fireball scroll, causing the ball of flame to be centered on the thief instead of its intended target. The exact effect is up to the DM (this is the sort of thing DMs enjoy, so expect the unexpected).
Thieves do not build castles or fortresses in the usual sense. Instead, they favor small, fortified dwellings, especially if the true purpose of the buildings can easily be disguised. A thief might, for example, construct a well-protected den in a large city behind the facade of a seedy tavern or old warehouse. Naturally, the true nature of the place will be a closely guarded secret! Thieves almost always build their strongholds in or near cities, since that is where they ply their trades most lucratively.
This, of course, assumes that the thief is interested in operating a band of thieves out of his stronghold. Not all thieves have larceny in their hearts, however. If a character devoted his life to those aspects of thieving that focus on scouting, stealth, and the intricacies of locks and traps, he could build an entirely different sort of stronghold--one filled with the unusual and intriguing objects he has collected during his adventurous life. Like any thief's home, it should blend in with its surroundings; after all, a scout never advertises his whereabouts. It might be a formidable maze of rooms, secret passages, sliding panels, and mysterious paraphernalia from across the world.
Once a thief reaches 10th level, his reputation is such that he can attract followers -- either a gang of scoundrels and scalawags or a group of scouts eager to learn from a reputed master. The thief attracts 4d6 of these fellows. They are generally loyal to him, but a wise thief is always suspicious of his comrades. Table 31 can be used to determine the type and level of followers, or the DM can choose followers appropriate to his campaign.
Roll Follower Range
01-03 Dwarf fighter/thief 1-4
04-08 Dwarf thief 1-6
09-13 Elf thief 1-6
14-15 Elf thief/fighter/mage 1-3
16-18 Elf thief/mage 1-4
19-24 Gnome thief 1-6
25-27 Gnome thief/fighter 1-4
28-30 Gnome thief/illusionist 1-4
31-35 Half-elf thief 1-6
36-38 Half-elf thief/fighter 1-4
39-41 Half-elf thief/fighter/mage 1-3
42-46 Halfling thief 1-8
47-50 Halfling thief/fighter 1-6
51-98 Human thief 1-8
99 Human dual-class thief/? 1-8/1-4
00 Other (DM selection) --
Thieves tend to be very jealous of their territory. If more than one thief starts a gang in the same area, the result is usually a war. The feud continues until one side or the other is totally eliminated or forced to move its operation elsewhere.
Ability Requirements: Dexterity 12
Prime Requisite: Dexterity, Charisma
Races Allowed: Human, Half-elf
The bard is an optional character class that can be used if your DM allows. He makes his way in life by his charm, talent, and wit. A good bard should be glib of tongue, light of heart, and fleet of foot (when all else fails).
In precise historical terms, the title "bard" applies only to certain groups of Celtic poets who sang the history of their tribes in long, recitative poems. These bards, found mainly in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, filled many important roles in their society. They were storehouses of tribal history, reporters of news, messengers, and even ambassadors to other tribes. However, in the AD&D game, the bard is a more generalized character. Historical and legendary examples of the type include Alan-a-Dale, Will Scarlet, Amergin, and even Homer. Indeed, every culture has its storyteller or poet, whether he is called bard, skald, fili, jongleur, or something else.
To become a bard, a character must have a Dexterity of 12 or more, an Intelligence of 13 or more, and a Charisma of 15 or more. The prime requisites are Dexterity and Charisma. A bard can be lawful, neutral or chaotic, good or evil, but must always be partially neutral. Only by retaining some amount of detachment can he successfully fulfill his role as a bard.
A bard, by his nature, tends to learn many different skills. He is a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. Although he fights as a rogue, he can use any weapon. He can wear any armor up to, and including, chain mail, but he cannot use a shield.
All bards are proficient singers, chanters, or vocalists and can play a musical instrument of the player's choice (preferably one that is portable). Additional instruments can be learned if the optional proficiency rules are used -- the bard can learn two instruments for every proficiency slot spent.
In his travels, a bard also manages to learn a few wizard spells. Like a wizard, a bard's Intelligence determines the number of spells he can know and the chance to know any given spell. These he keeps in his spell book, abiding by all the restrictions on memorization and spell use that bind a wizard, especially in the prohibition of armor. Hence, a bard will tend to use his spells more to entertain and impress than to fight. Table 32 lists the number of spells a bard can cast at each level.
Since bards are dabblers rather than full-time wizards, their spells tend to be gained by serendipity and happenstance. In no case can a bard choose to specialize in a school of magic. Beginning bards do not have a selection of spells. A 2nd-level bard begins with one to four spells, chosen either randomly or by the DM. (An Intelligence check must still be made to see if the bard can learn a given spell.) The bard is not guaranteed to know read magic, as this is not needed to read the writings in a spell book. The bard can add new spells to his spell book as he finds them, but he does not automatically gain additional spells as he advances in level. All spells beyond those he starts with must be found during the course of adventuring. The bard's casting level is equal to his current level.
BARD SPELL PROGRESSION
Bard Spell Level
Level 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 -- -- -- -- -- --
2 1 -- -- -- -- --
3 2 -- -- -- -- --
4 2 1 -- -- -- --
5 3 1 -- -- -- --
6 3 2 -- -- -- --
7 3 2 1 -- -- --
8 3 3 1 -- -- --
9 3 3 2 -- -- --
10 3 3 2 1 -- --
11 3 3 3 1 -- --
12 3 3 3 2 -- --
13 3 3 3 2 1 --
14 3 3 3 3 1 --
15 3 3 3 3 2 --
16 4 3 3 3 2 1
17 4 4 3 3 3 1
18 4 4 4 3 3 2
19 4 4 4 4 3 2
20 4 4 4 4 4 3
Combat and spells, however, are not the main strength of the bard. His expertise is in dealing and communicating with others. To this end, the bard has a number of special powers. The base percentage for each power is listed on Table 33. This base percentage must be adjusted for the race and Dexterity of the bard as given in the Thief description. After all adjustments are made, the player must distribute (however he chooses) 20 additional percentage points to the various special abilities. Thereafter, each time the character advances a level, he receives an additional 15 points to distribute.
Climb Detect Pick Read
Walls Noise Pockets Languages
50% 20% 10% 5%
Bard abilities are subject to modifiers for situation and armor as per the thief.
Climb Walls enables the bard to climb near sheer surfaces without the aid of tools, just like the thief.
Detect Noise improves the bard's chances of hearing and interpreting sounds. He may be able to overhear parts of a conversation on the other side of a door or pick up the sound of something stalking the party. To use the ability, the bard must stand unhelmeted and concentrate for one round (one minute). During this time, all other party members must remain silent. The DM secretly makes the check and informs the player of the result.
Pick Pockets enables the bard not only to filch small purses, wallets, keys, and the like, but also to perform small feats of sleight-of-hand (useful for entertaining a crowd). Complete details on pickpocketing (and your character's chances of getting caught) can be found in the Thief description.
Read Languages is an important ability, since words are the meat and drink of bards. They have some ability to read documents written in languages they do not know, relying on words and phrases they have picked up in their studies and travels. The Read Languages column in Table 33 gives the base percentage chance to puzzle out a foreign tongue. It also represents the degree of comprehension the bard has if he is successful. The DM can rule that a language is too rare or unfamiliar, especially if it has never been previously encountered by the bard, effectively foiling his attempts to translate it. At the other extreme, the bard need not make the dice roll for any language he is proficient in. Success is assumed to be automatic in such cases.
The bard can also influence reactions of groups of NPCs. When performing before a group that is not attacking (and not intending to attack in just seconds), the bard can try to alter the mood of the listeners. He can try to soften their mood or make it uglier. The method can be whatever is most suitable to the situation at the moment -- a fiery speech, collection of jokes, a sad tale, a fine tune played on a fiddle, a haunting lute melody, or a heroic song from the old homeland. Everyone in the group listening must roll a saving throw vs. paralyzation (if the crowd is large, make saving throws for groups of people using average hit dice). The die roll is modified by -1 for every three experience levels of the bard (round fractions down). If the saving throw fails, the group's reaction can be shifted one level (see the Reactions section in the DMG), toward either the friendly or hostile end of the scale, at the player's option. Those who make a successful saving throw have their reaction shifted one level toward the opposite end of the scale.
Cwell the Fine has been captured by a group of bandits and hauled into their camp. Although they are not planning to kill him on the spot, any fool can plainly see that his future may be depressingly short. In desperation, Cwell begins spinning a comic tale about Duke Dunderhead and his blundering knights. It has always been a hit with the peasants, and he figures it's worth a try here. Most of the bandits have 1 Hit Die, but the few higher level leaders raise the average level to 3. Cwell is only 2nd level so he gains no modifier. A saving throw is rolled and the group fails (Cwell succeeds!). The ruffians find his tale amusing. The player shifts their reaction from hostile to neutral. The bandits decide not to kill Cwell but to keep him around, under guard, to entertain them. If the bandits' saving throw had succeeded, the bandits would have been offended by the story (perhaps some of them served under Duke Dunderhead!), and their reaction would have shifted from hostile to violent. They probably would have roasted Cwell immediately.
This ability cannot affect people in the midst of battle; it is effective only when the audience has time to listen. If Cwell tried telling his tale while the bandits were attacking his group, the bandits would have quickly decided that Cwell was a fool and carried on with their business. Furthermore, the form of entertainment used must be appropriate to the audience. Cwell might be able to calm (or enrage) a bear with music, but he won't have much luck telling jokes to orcs unless he speaks their language.
The music, poetry, and stories of the bard can also be inspirational, rallying friends and allies. If the exact nature of an impending threat is known, the bard can heroically inspire his companions (immortalizing them in word and song), granting a +1 bonus to attack rolls, or a +1 bonus to saving throws, or a +2 bonus to morale (particularly useful in large battles) to those involved in melee. The bard must spend at least three full rounds singing or reciting before the battle begins. This affects those within a range of 10 feet per experience level of the bard.
The effect lasts one round per level. Once the effect wears off, it can't be renewed if the recipients are still in battle. However, troops who have withdrawn from combat can be reinspired by the bard's words. A troop of soldiers, inspired by Cwell, could charge into battle. After fighting a fierce fight, they retreat and the enemy does not pursue. Cwell, seeing them crestfallen and dispirited, once again rouses their will to fight. Reinvigorated, they charge back into battle with renewed spirit.
Bards are also able to counter the effects of songs and poetry used as magical attacks. Characters within 30 feet of the bard are immune to the attack as long as the bard sings a counter song (or recites a poem, etc.). While doing this, the bard can perform no other action except a slow walk. Furthermore, if he is struck or fails a saving throw, his effort is ruined. Success is checked by having the bard make a saving throw vs. spell. Success blocks the attack, failure means the attack has its normal effect (everyone affected rolls saving throws, normal damage is inflicted, etc.). The bard can use this ability once per encounter or battle. This power does not affect verbal spell components or command words; it is effective against spells that involve explanations, commands, or suggestions.
Finally, bards learn a little bit of everything in their studies and travels. Thus, all bards can read and write their native tongue (if a written language exists) and all know local history (without cost if the optional proficiency rules are used). Furthermore, bards have a 5% chance per experience level to identify the general purpose and function of any magical item. The bard need not handle the item but must examine it closely. Even if successful, the exact function of the item is not revealed, only its general nature.
Since Cwell the Fine is 2nd level, he has a 10% chance to know something about a magical sword +1. If he succeeds, he knows whether the sword is cursed and whether it has an alignment ("This sword was used by the evil warrior Lurdas. I wouldn't touch it if I were you!"). This ability does not enable him to identify the sword's exact properties, only its history and background. He has no idea of its bonuses or penalties or any special magical powers, except as can be inferred from the histories.
Being something of a warrior, a bard can build a stronghold and attract followers upon reaching 9th level. The bard attracts 10d6 0th-level soldiers into his service. They arrive over a period of time, but they are not automatically replaced if lost in battle. Of course, a bard can build a stronghold any time, but no followers arrive until he reaches 9th level.
Upon reaching 10th level, a bard can attempt to use magical devices of written nature--scrolls, books, etc. However, his understanding of magic is imperfect (although better than that of a thief), so there is a 15% chance that any written item he uses is read incorrectly. When this happens, the magical power works the opposite of what is intended, generally to the detriment of the bard or his friends. The DM will tell you what happens to your character, based on the situation and particular magical item. The result may be unpleasant, deadly, or embarrassing. (Deciding these things is part of the DM's fun!)
Multi-Class and Dual-Class Characters
A multi-class character improves in two or more classes simultaneously. His experience is divided equally between each class. The available class combinations vary according to race. The character can use the abilities of both classes at any time, with only a few restrictions. Only demihumans can be multi-class characters.
A dual-class character is one who starts with a single class, advances to moderate level, and then changes to a second character class and starts over again. The character retains the benefits and abilities of the first class but never again earns experience for using them. There are some limitations on combining the abilities of the two classes but, as long as minimum ability and alignment requirements are met, there are no restrictions on the possible character class combinations. Only humans can be dual-class characters.
All of the standard demihuman races are listed here, along with their allowable multi-class combinations. Note that the character class names (not group names) are used below.
Cleric/Illusionist * or Druid
As stated earlier in their description, specialist wizards cannot be multi-class (gnome illusionists are the single exception to this rule). The required devotion to their single field prevents specialist wizards from applying themselves to other classes. Priests of a specific mythos might be allowed as a multi-class option; this will depend on the nature of the mythos as determined by the DM.