College of Negotiation - A Bard subclass
Bards. When they aren’t trying to fuck someone, they are hurling insults at the nearest bad guy. But what if the Bard broke free of the murder-hobo thought process that most players have and tried to work out their differences with the monsters? You don’t always need to be hitting things. Sometimes words can be more powerful than the sword.
The College of Negotiation was the result of a request I got from one of our patrons (Thanks Stonie!). His son was trying to come up with a class or subclass that would focus on talking before trying to murder his foes. This doesn’t mean he was looking for a pacifist class, just one that would try to talk things through before crushing their skulls with his mace. I get that D&D in a combat based game and players like to hit things and roll dice, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be gained by trying to talk to your potential foe first. Maybe you will get some valuable information about what lies ahead, or they could try to pay you off so you won’t kill them. I know you can just take the money off their dead bodies, but burning those spell slots could prove costly if you run into a horde of kobolds before you take a long rest.
A good negotiator relies on his ability to calm and soothe the person, usually through speaking to them and through body language. Charisma is the key stat for a negotiator, so bard was the obvious choice. Many of the bard’s existing abilities lend themselves to being able to have an effect on an angry person or creature, whether through words or song. Sometimes those words talk the angry individual off the ledge, other times they influence them to the extent that they realize that maybe fighting isn’t the best idea.
So let’s dive into the College of Negotiation Bard and see how words can tame even the most savage beast.
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If you’re going to try and negotiate with someone, it helps if they can understand you. Furthermore, you can set someone at ease right away of you can talk to them in their native language. So it made sense to have the Bard learn three additional languages right off the bat at 3rd level. This gives the bard the ability to speak common and at least 4 additional languages. That’s pretty impressive, since after four years of high school Spanish, all I can remember is “Donde esta la biblioteca”, and I really don’t give a shit where the library is.
Also at third level, your confidence and natural eloquence when you speak can reduce the effectiveness of you opponents attacks. Using an action, the Bard can expend one use of their Bardic Inspiration to see if they can enthrall their foes with his or her charming voice. In fact, you’re words are so sweet sounding the the ears, you can use this ability on multiple creatures, based on your Charisma modifier.
If your opponent(s) succumb to your eloquence, you get to roll that lovely bardic inspiration die and subtract your roll from their attack roll. Even better, when you reach 6th level, you can use your bardic inspiration on your opponents next attack, saving roll or ability check. Your choice, and with your inspiration now a d8, your silky smooth voice is even more enthralling.
Keep Them Laughing
You’re a funny guy. People think you’re hilarious. They howl in delight at your silly antics. People around you laugh so hard at your biting satire, that tears come to their eyes. Part story teller, part jester, you’ve become a master at making people laugh.
At 6th level you can use your biting humor to stop your foes in their tracks, incapacitating them for at least a round. Having to make a wisdom save against your spell DC, they better hope they are tuning in to the rest of the world around them, or they will become overwhelmed with laughter.
I just watched the first three seasons of Lucifer on Netflix. One of my favorite parts of the show is when Lucifer uses his ability to make his quarry confess to him their deepest, darkest desires. You can tell the the show runners have a great time with this, as some of the answers are hysterical.
At 14th level, you can spend 1 minute to weave a story of great interest and power to any humanoid within 30 feet of you. They have to hear you and see you which goes without saying, but you know us players. We try to get away with everything.
At the end of your performance or speech, they must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your Bard Spell DC or become charmed and will be willing to reveal their greatest desires and secrets. The poor sap now thinks that you are his closest and most trusted friend, and will be extremely amiable to your suggestions and commands. You can’t make them go against their moral values (alignment based) and you can’t have them do something that would get them killed (no jumping off a cliff orders folks), but otherwise they will think all your ideas are great ones and follow them.
So charmed by you, this effect lasts 8 hours! You can’t attack them or other friends they might have, or the charm will be broken. At the end of the 8 hours, the creature will not realize they were charmed and will try to figure out what the hell just happened. Don’t laugh too hard at them.
So there it is…the College of Negotiation. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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