By Thilo Graf
All right, you know how it goes – the Abandoned Arts’ pdf comes with 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of content for two new bardic archetypes, so what do we get?
Well, the first new archetype would be the Gallivant, who exchanges countersong for the option to fall prone as an immediate action and ignore the AC-penalty of the condition for a round and may also gather crowds. The truly awesome ability, though, would be his juggling, which enables him to have multiple objects drawn and useable at the same time while also allowing him to throw anything as weapons. The mechanic execution of the complex ability is surprisingly sound and well-written, taking e.g. disarm (easier) and sunder (harder) into account. They also get a dodge bonus that, when a foe misses by it, can potentially harm other nearby beings.
The second archetype is the Sophisticate, who gains ride and handle animals as class skills as well as light and medium armor and shield proficiency, In place of spells, these worldly bards gain bonus feats from academic training and their bardic performances count as extraordinary abilities. 6 new performances allow them to counter diplomacy and intimidate checks, help allies see through illusions and aid ALL allies within range with one action. They may also demoralize foes via diplomacy and as a capstone they can destroy reputations with one eloquent speech – all in all, the quintessential renaissance man and a nice, complex archetype that should also find a home in magic-less or low fantasy settings.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t’ notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Arts’ no-frills two-column standard and the pd has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. What can I say about these two archetypes beyond that they’re mechanically smart, interesting, represent iconic types and had me smile from ear to ear? Nothing to complain here and indeed, they ran among the most daring author Daron Woodson has created so far. My final verdict? 5 stars plus Endzeitgeist seal of approval – well done indeed!
Class Acts: Bard Archetypes is available from: