Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bardic College: College of the Dirgesinger [ROUGH DRAFT]

After that last bardic college, I figured I'd try another one. It's good to up the bard content of this blog, y'know?

The dirgesinger is an old 3.5 favorite, coming from the pages of Libris Mortis as a bard-focused prestige class, and generally being the way to capture a necromantic bard. The concept of a bard playing music compelling enough to raise the dead was always cool to me, and I felt 5e needed a better way to capture that than playing a Lore bard with heavy refluffing.

Also of note: this is the first project in a long while to end up with only two pages. I've been trying to make the abilities I write more concise and less long-winded, and this seems like a step in the right direction.


  • Death-themed cantrips and spells, high on flavor and low on complication. 
  • Cast sorrowful songs and funeral dirges, making your enemies weep and bring voice to the dead.
  • Stave of death with your music, by serenading death itself!
  • I'm not sure where the power balance on Sorrowsong is. If anything, it could be too weak, because I tend to keep rough drafts conservative on ability strength.
  • Death's Defiance seems at odds with the fact that this class option gets spare the dying, but I'm feeling that it makes for a more tactical and thematic bard experience, to give the bard multiple options to address the would-be death of a comrade. 
  • I don't know why, but I keep writing halflings in really depressing situations for the intro paragraphs. It works so well, I just can't help myself. 


  1. Really nice. I've been looking for a gothic bard archetype for a while and this came perfectly.
    Just a suggestion, but maybe Sorrowsong could give the affected creature disadvantage on Charisma and Wisdom checks and Saving Throws or/and on its first attack, just so it could give a little more juice to the ability

    1. Giving Sorrowsong the ability to add an inspiration die to aa attack or take a die away from a saving throw, whichever happens first, seems like a really good way to buff the ability.

      I probably wouldn't even limit the types of saves. It's harder to make ANY type of save when you're sad.

  2. Macabre Melodies:
    -I think this feature is fine, if not a bit weak. If you look at the lore bard or valor bard they receive 3 proficiencies each(3 skills and martial weapons, medium armor, shields respectively). So i would like to at least see three cantrips. I don't know what could be added as their are no other necromancy cantrips, but i feel something extra might be a good idea.

    -I have an issue with this feature. It feels a bit wired to use it i think. As you can target any creature you could cause an ooze or animated armor to feel sad. Their are a lot of things that would not be able to feel sadness, and using this feature on such a creatures makes no sense. I also feel that giving extra damage to the target is a bit odd. So i might suggest you change the effect of it, as well as having it not effect oozes and constructs at least as they are the worst offenders of strange feeling i have about using it.

    Grim Requiem:
    -This feature i think is balanced and a strong edition. It gives you 3 spells compared to the lore bards 2, but you are limited to only necromancy spells. Giving the ability to cast speak with dead for free is not that big of a deal as it can make for some cool moments, and is a utility feature and not a combat feature. Their is a slight chance it is a bit to powerful, but if i would change anything it would be adding a limit to how many times you can cast speak with dead as a ritual per long or short rest.

    Death's Defiance:
    -This feature is really useful and powerful, but in line with the other bard archetypes. I think the only change that might make sense is increasing the range to 60 feet, as this is the range of the other bardic inspiration features in the game.

    1. >Macabre Melodies

      I'm thinking of expanding it to "choose two of three cantrips," with the third being Thaumaturgy. You'll have the opportunity to get the unchosen cantrip later.


      The line about charm-immune creatures not being effected should cover your animated armors and oozes. "This ability does not affect creatures immune to charm" is handy, because anything lacking a mind or with a supernatural control of its own mind is immune to charm, and that's exactly the set I'd like to exclude from Sorrowsong.

      >Grim Requiem

      Thanks for your thoughts. I kind of feel that the dirgesinger's party will be the limiting factor on how much Speak With Dead gets used. After about the second or third 10-minute song sung to talk to a dead guy, most parties will just up and drag the bard along with them.

      >Death's Defiance

      Nice catch, will definitely change that.

    2. Totally forgot about the immune to charms thing.