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Old 11-19-2022, 11:26 AM   #1
restlessgriffin
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Default Song of Command & instruments

In Adventurers p. 17, the Speaking from Experience quotes Jag as saying roughly he can us Song of Command instead of mind control spells, as it is better since it doesn't exhaust him or require gestures and incantations. He says all thats needed is a "few casual notes" from his tin whistle!

Question: How is that possible? Song of Command, p 18 says victory means victim obeys verbal commands in any language he knows as long as you play without interruption. How do you play a tin whistle and give verbal commands. Song of Command seems incompatible with Jags bardic instrument of choice! Can you speak while playing a tin whistle?

BTW, does Song of Command allow giving orders to an entire group at once? To me it seems RAW don't allow this. Now if the do, then I need to re-evaluate my view on Bards being relatively weak and problematic to play.

Note: Song of Terror seems to be problematic as it impacts your party members also unless they're deaf, wear earplugs or all have Unfazeable advantage. I guess high levels of Fearlessness works too.
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Old 11-19-2022, 04:58 PM   #2
sjmdw45
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
Question: How is that possible? Song of Command, p 18 says victory means victim obeys verbal commands in any language he knows as long as you play without interruption. How do you play a tin whistle and give verbal commands. Song of Command seems incompatible with Jags bardic instrument of choice! Can you speak while playing a tin whistle?
Adventurers page 112, "Woodwind. Bamboo flute, tin whistle, or similar. You cannot speak while playing. Two-handed. $40, 1 lb."

I would say no, Jag cannot do what he claims to be able to do. He must sing.

Quote:
BTW, does Song of Command allow giving orders to an entire group at once? To me it seems RAW don't allow this. Now if the do, then I need to re-evaluate my view on Bards being relatively weak and problematic to play.
Song of Command is clearly intended to work on groups per the clause "-1 per slave already under your control (you can add one new victim to the song per turn);". I see nothing in Song of Command that suggests to me that you cannot control groups by issuing verbal commands to the group, e.g. "arrest that man!" In fact, controlling groups would be fairly useless if you could not command them as groups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
Note: Song of Terror seems to be problematic as it impacts your party members also unless they're deaf, wear earplugs or all have Unfazeable advantage. I guess high levels of Fearlessness works too.
You can also cast Bravery on your whole party for 1 hour for 2 FP, if you first squeeze everybody into the same hex. Note that Bards can learn Bravery. This is much, much better than high levels of Fearlessness because Fearlessness still fails on a roll of 14+ (per Exploits page 10).

It's possible that Resist Sound might also work against Song of Terror--check with your GM.

Pro tip: an elven bard can learn Concussion, and if you precast Resist Sound on everybody in the party then Concussion becomes a fantastic spell, not just for the Bard but for any Wizards in the party too. This nicely covers a Bardic weakness, namely the issue of what to do in a dungeon crawl when fighting Unfazeable monsters immune to mind control? Hurling AoE grenades for HT-3 stun that friendlies are immune to is one great answer; to a lesser extent casting strategic Magery 0 spells like Haste and Darkness is also a good use of time. (Wading into melee or firing a bow is also an option against weak foes but it's nice to have better options.)

Note also that Bardic Songs do not take penalties from spells "on", so in some ways bards are even better at buffing than wizards and clerics are. Even with six or seven spells on and effective spell skill of only 9, a bard can still Mind Control or Rapier Wit at full skill, whereas a wizard's Charm spell would be very anemic at skill 9.

Last edited by sjmdw45; 11-19-2022 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 11-20-2022, 11:13 AM   #3
restlessgriffin
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
Adventurers page 112, "Woodwind. Bamboo flute, tin whistle, or similar. You cannot speak while playing. Two-handed. $40, 1 lb."

I would say no, Jag cannot do what he claims to be able to do. He must sing.
That's unfortunate as it really limits the viability of many instruments. I'd really like to see greater variety and really liked that Jag didn't just use the traditional lute. This also means no mute Bards. No pied piper style Bards. What a shame. Disappointing.

I'd also love to see magic users that can spell cast using dance. I'd want to fit them under the Bard template.

Quote:
Song of Command is clearly intended to work on groups per the clause "-1 per slave already under your control (you can add one new victim to the song per turn);". I see nothing in Song of Command that suggests to me that you cannot control groups by issuing verbal commands to the group, e.g. "arrest that man!" In fact, controlling groups would be fairly useless if you could not command them as groups.
While that's the way I'd like it to be, I don't think that is according to RAW. The modifiers seems to imply you need to do targets one at a time. The main text also seems to indicate this. "You can control the mind of someone" (singular). ... "you can add one new victim to the song per turn".

Personally, I'd prefer being able to act on an entire group. Say there are 10 enemies, you chose to target 5 of them to limit the negative modifiers. You go into Song of Command and order them to "drop your weapons". So the Bard is at -5 (-1 for each targeted enemy). Any of them that fail the quick contest will drop their weapons. Bardic Talent provides a bonus to the Bard.

RAW seems to indicate you could only order on person and then one other each turn with cumulative -1 for each person still under control. So if you ordered " drop your weapon and leave it on the ground" that could be done one at a time.


Quote:
can also cast Bravery on your whole party for 1 hour for 2 FP, if you first squeeze everybody into the same hex. Note that Bards can learn Bravery. This is much, much better than high levels of Fearlessness because Fearlessness still fails on a roll of 14+ (per Exploits page 10).
I did not think Bards could learn Bravery as I did see any reference to Bard in the spell. Hopefully you are correct and I'm misinterpreting that. BTW, It would also help with Druid since I would like them to have dull access to all Elemental spells, not just ones listing druidic.

It's possible that Resist Sound might also work against Song of Terror--check with your GM.

Quote:
Pro tip: an elven bard can learn Concussion, and if you precast Resist Sound on everybody in the party then Concussion becomes a fantastic spell, not just for the Bard but for any Wizards in the party too. This nicely covers a Bardic weakness, namely the issue of what to do in a dungeon crawl when fighting Unfazeable monsters immune to mind control? Hurling AoE grenades for HT-3 stun that friendlies are immune to is one great answer; to a lesser extent casting strategic Magery 0 spells like Haste and Darkness is also a good use of time. (Wading into melee or firing a bow is also an option against weak foes but it's nice to have better options.)
Concussion still causes damage.. The sound component only impacts stun effect. However, I see your point on using the spell vs Unfazable opponents. I'll make a note on that. Thanks.

Note also that Bardic Songs do not take penalties from spells "on", so in some ways bards are even better at buffing than wizards and clerics are. Even with six or seven spells on and effective spell skill of only 9, a bard can still Mind Control or Rapier Wit at full skill, whereas a wizard's Charm spell would be very anemic at skill 9.[/QUOTE]

Noted.
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Old 11-20-2022, 11:53 AM   #4
sjmdw45
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
While that's the way I'd like it to be, I don't think that is according to RAW. The modifiers seems to imply you need to do targets one at a time. The main text also seems to indicate this. "You can control the mind of someone" (singular). ... "you can add one new victim to the song per turn".

Personally, I'd prefer being able to act on an entire group. Say there are 10 enemies, you chose to target 5 of them to limit the negative modifiers. You go into Song of Command and order them to "drop your weapons". So the Bard is at -5 (-1 for each targeted enemy). Any of them that fail the quick contest will drop their weapons. Bardic Talent provides a bonus to the Bard.
You add them individually to the song, but once they're added you just give them verbal commands, no extra contests required (unless you order them to do something against their values). If you have six guards under your control and you want them to arrest somebody, I see no indication that you'd need to say, "Bob, arrest that man. Sam, arrest that man. Pete, arrest that man..."

Quote:
RAW seems to indicate you could only order on person and then one other each turn with cumulative -1 for each person still under control. So if you ordered " drop your weapon and leave it on the ground" that could be done one at a time.
You take control of Bob, Sam, Pete, etc. one at a time but after that they obey your verbal orders until you lose control.

Quote:
I did not think Bards could learn Bravery as I did see any reference to Bard in the spell. Hopefully you are correct and I'm misinterpreting that.
Bardic Talent lets you learn Sense Foes, which lets you learn Sense Emotions, which allows Fear, which allows (wizardly) Bravery.

Quote:
BTW, It would also help with Druid since I would like them to have dull access to all Elemental spells, not just ones listing druidic.
The list of druid spells on Spells page 7 is complete, but of course as GM you can tinker with it.

Quote:
Concussion still causes damage..
Yeah but it's negligible: d6/(3*distance from concussion). Just chuck it a few yards away and damage even to DR 0 delvers will be zero.

Basically there's no point in using Concussion for damage except maybe against Diffuse foes like toxifiers. It's mostly a stunning spell.
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Old 11-20-2022, 01:37 PM   #5
restlessgriffin
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
You add them individually to the song, but once they're added you just give them verbal commands, no extra contests required (unless you order them to do something against their values). If you have six guards under your control and you want them to arrest somebody, I see no indication that you'd need to say, "Bob, arrest that man. Sam, arrest that man. Pete, arrest that man..."
In some ways thats worse. So if I want those 6 guards to drop their weapons. I need to add them one by one at -1 per enemy. And only AFTER adding the last one I can give the order. Fine once control is established on all of them. Bad otherwise. So it takes around 7-8 seconds to take over 6 guards and order them all to drop there weapons. In the meantime any of them free from control can attack you. I'm not clear on what cations those you have control of can take.

Quote:
You take control of Bob, Sam, Pete, etc. one at a time but after that they obey your verbal orders until you lose control.
So basically, you've gotta wait 7-8 seconds before saying "arrest that man". Better hope the guy being arrested is clueless, otherwise he can just runaway.

Again it would be much better if this were an AoE capability that could be used simultaneously on multiple targets to start.


Quote:
Bardic Talent lets you learn Sense Foes, which lets you learn Sense Emotions, which allows Fear, which allows (wizardly) Bravery.
Any Kromm or PtB ruling on that. I see prereq Wizardly: Magery 1, but no mention of Bardic anything so I don't think Bards are allowed the Bravery spell. Honestly, I'd prefer it be allowed to Bards. Bravery as you point out is great to use before Song of Terror. I just don't think its allowed per RAW.

Quote:
The list of druid spells on Spells page 7 is complete, but of course as GM you can tinker with it.
Yup. Fairly disappointing.
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Old 11-20-2022, 03:19 PM   #6
Mr_Sandman
 
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Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
Any Kromm or PtB ruling on that. I see prereq Wizardly: Magery 1, but no mention of Bardic anything so I don't think Bards are allowed the Bravery spell. Honestly, I'd prefer it be allowed to Bards. Bravery as you point out is great to use before Song of Terror. I just don't think its allowed per RAW.
The "Bardic" Spells box on p. 7 of spells makes it clear that Bards can cast wizardly spells in the the Communication and Empathy, Knowledge, Mind Control, and Sound colleges, and Bardic Talent replaces Magery.
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Old 11-21-2022, 08:53 AM   #7
sjmdw45
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
In some ways thats worse. So if I want those 6 guards to drop their weapons. I need to add them one by one at -1 per enemy. And only AFTER adding the last one I can give the order. Fine once control is established on all of them. Bad otherwise. So it takes around 7-8 seconds to take over 6 guards and order them all to drop there weapons. In the meantime any of them free from control can attack you. I'm not clear on what cations those you have control of can take.
You can start giving orders on round 1, after you take control of the first guard. Of course, that might give the game away to the other guards. If you wait until round 8ish when you control all of them, there might not be anything which makes the uncontrolled guards realize they need to attack you. It's a tough decision, but you don't have to wait.

Quote:
So basically, you've gotta wait 7-8 seconds before saying "arrest that man". Better hope the guy being arrested is clueless, otherwise he can just runaway.
You can take control of one of the guards and tell him to "arrest that man" in only one second. But if you took control of a whole squad of guards ten minutes ago, you can tell them all to "arrest that man!" right now.

Edit: or you could take control of the guy you want arrested and make him wait patiently until the guards arrest him.

Quote:
Again it would be much better if this were an AoE capability that could be used simultaneously on multiple targets to start.
Yes, it would be better, and more expensive. As GM you can of course tinker to your heart's delight, but making Song of Command into an AoE should probably boost its cost to 80+ points at least.

Quote:
Any Kromm or PtB ruling on that. I see prereq Wizardly: Magery 1, but no mention of Bardic anything so I don't think Bards are allowed the Bravery spell. Honestly, I'd prefer it be allowed to Bards. Bravery as you point out is great to use before Song of Terror. I just don't think its allowed per RAW.
I don't see any "Magery 1" requirement. Where are you getting that? In my books Bravery says Prerequisites: Clerical: PI 1. Wizardly: Fear.

Then Fear says Prerequisites: Wizardly: Sense Emotion.

Then Sense Emotion says Prerequisites: Wizardly: Sense Foes.

Then Sense Foes says Prerequisites: Wizardly: Magery 0 or Bardic Talent.

Where do you see Magery 1?

P.S. Also, from Spells page 7:

“Bardic” Spells
Bards cast wizardly spells. For the most part, these work normally:
• Prerequisite spells are unchanged.
• Energy Reserve (Magical) can be tapped for energy.
• Mana is required to cast, and has its usual effects.
There are a few differences, though:
• Bardic Talent (Adventurers, p. 17) replaces Magery. The same
level is needed as a prerequisite, and it gives a permanent bonus to
spells, but it can’t sense magic items or mana levels.
• Bards are limited to the Communication and Empathy, Knowledge, Mind Control, and Sound colleges.
• Bards must sing to cast, even from scrolls.

Last edited by sjmdw45; 11-21-2022 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 11-26-2022, 11:40 AM   #8
restlessgriffin
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
You can start giving orders on round 1, after you take control of the first guard. Of course, that might give the game away to the other guards. If you wait until round 8ish when you control all of them, there might not be anything which makes the uncontrolled guards realize they need to attack you. It's a tough decision, but you don't have to wait.
Not really a tough decision since once you issue the order to one guard the other guards (some or most of them) almost certainly become aware! "Why is he giving a guard orders? Arrest him!"


Quote:
Edit: or you could take control of the guy you want arrested and make him wait patiently until the guards arrest him.
Yes, if there's only a single target that may work. Much harder if there are multiple people you want arrested.

Quote:
Yes, it would be better, and more expensive. As GM you can of course tinker to your heart's delight, but making Song of Command into an AoE should probably boost its cost to 80+ points at least.
For now I'm sticking with RAW, although I'm also willing to use things from Gaming Ballistics Nordlander saga. After that I may go with some stuff from GURPS Dungeon Fantasy as long as it isn't specifically noted to conflict with DFRPG.


Quote:
I don't see any "Magery 1" requirement. Where are you getting that? In my books Bravery says Prerequisites: Clerical: PI 1. Wizardly: Fear.
Then ... Prerequisites: Wizardly: Sense Emotion. Then ... Prerequisites: Wizardly: Sense Foes. Then ... Prerequisites: Wizardly: Magery 0 or Bardic Talent.
Correction noted, thanks for the clarification.

Quote:
Where do you see Magery 1?
Misreading PDF, scrolled above a break point. Looking at something from previous section.

Quote:
P.S. Also, from Spells page 7:

“Bardic” Spells
Bards cast wizardly spells. For the most part, these work normally:
...
There are a few differences, though:
• Bardic Talent (Adventurers, p. 17) replaces Magery. The same
level is needed as a prerequisite, and it gives a permanent bonus to
spells, but it can’t sense magic items or mana levels.
• Bards are limited to the Communication and Empathy, Knowledge, Mind Control, and Sound colleges.
• Bards must sing to cast, even from scrolls.
Noted, there are a few cases where they specically state a level of Bardic Talent, usuallly along with something else. I'll need to review those carefully.

I'm really not sure why someone would chose to play a Bard over a Wizard. However, the earlier tip you provided on Bravery does make Song of Terror much more appealing. Any other good synergies you can point out that helps Bards be more useful?

BTW, I find it really odd that Bards don't get to use Illusions. That's one that I'd think Bards should definitely have if for nothing other than enhancing entertainment. There's a GURPS adventure in GURPS Adventures that has a bard as an NPC and he uses illusions. It just seems natural. Also would make it more attractive to play a Bard.
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:12 PM   #9
sjmdw45
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
I'm really not sure why someone would chose to play a Bard over a Wizard. However, the earlier tip you provided on Bravery does make Song of Terror much more appealing. Any other good synergies you can point out that helps Bards be more useful?
Well, there's Song of Humiliation for stunning, and Song of Command has a much longer range than Regular spells like Charm do (at 100 yards Song of Command is at -10 whereas Charm is at -100), and is feasible to use on large creatures like SM +4 giants and dragons. And the penalty for spells "on" doesn't apply to bard song. Overall, if you're into mind control, Bard is good. They're pretty decent at mind-reading and psychic interrogation too.

Other than that, Bards are good for dealing with people. In my mind, the thing that makes you want to play a bard isn't wanting to be a wizard--it's wanting to be a dilettante rug merchant or noble fop, who turns out to be surprisingly useful anyway. Elven Bards are far and away the best bards because of the extra spell access (Complex Illusion, as you say, seems natural for a bard) and also the extra Attractiveness and skills like Camouflage.

Anyway, for me this means that I would prioritize 20 points in Wealthy for a bard--bard is the only profession besides Thief that can be Wealthy without Exceptional Training, and wealth makes a good backup for lots of party roles. E.g. with your starting $5000 you can buy the party better armor, crossbow slings, plenty of caltrops, an Orichalcum knife for the party swashbuckler (allowing close combat parries of slams from strong monsters without breaking the weapon), and maybe some scrolls of Bless and Major Healing so you can protect the cleric (who can't Bless herself, and has difficulty healing herself). Furthermore, getting to sell loot for 80% to 100% of full value (depending on rolls) means you can keep supplying these party needs over time, which is why the Bard feels to me like a merchant, or a Shadowrun "fixer" if you put it that way. The fact that the fixer can come along on missions and do psychic interrogations, mind control, and Concussion blasts (plus buffs like Invisibility, either via Magery 0 or via a $80 spell scroll) is definitely a bonus, but if you weren't into the "fixer" role you might be ultimately decide to play a wizard instead.

So that's my take on it. Play a bard when you are in the mood to be Silk from David Edding's Belgariad more than JRR Tolkien's Legolas or Gandalf. It helps if the table is using character stables so you're not locked into one PC forever.
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Old 11-26-2022, 08:48 PM   #10
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: Song of Command & instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by restlessgriffin View Post
In Adventurers p. 17, the Speaking from Experience quotes Jag as saying roughly he can us Song of Command instead of mind control spells, as it is better since it doesn't exhaust him or require gestures and incantations. He says all thats needed is a "few casual notes" from his tin whistle!

Question: How is that possible? Song of Command, p 18 says victory means victim obeys verbal commands in any language he knows as long as you play without interruption. How do you play a tin whistle and give verbal commands. Song of Command seems incompatible with Jags bardic instrument of choice! Can you speak while playing a tin whistle?
At our table we've always ruled that bards with wind instruments can play with brief pauses to sing commands. We interpret the "without interruption" to mean that the bard is engaged in the musical casting with their full attention.
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