praise singers ... Brave Sir Robin's bard. Xena's sidekick Gabrielle was a bard, and it's hard to think of the roles being reversed, isn't it?
The bard, then, can be seen as a luxurious accessory for a pretty accomplished party of adventurers. Wages for a bard are a base 100$ (gp) a month, with an additional 50$ for each bonus point the bard's Charisma and Intelligence scores give. What do you get for all this? Well ...
- The bard can sing in a wilderness or dungeon camp. This increases the natural healing rate by 1 for characters 2nd level or higher. (I houserule that you only heal 1 hp/night in camp, but 1 hp/level/night in a safe location such as an inn).
- The bard with exceptional Charisma, can sing and play at any time to give all other hirelings and henchmen a Morale bonus on 2d6 equal to Charisma bonus; if no bonus, a bard's playing still negates 1 point of any morale penalties in effect.
- Some bardic traditions instead give enemies a like Morale penalty. These are the ones that come equipped with bagpipes.
- The bard can create a spectacle of entertainment as the party enters or wanders around a settlement. This creates a certain notoriety, both for good and bad: urban encounters are twice as likely to happen, and the party is twice as likely to come to the attention of local authorities. This also gives +1 to reaction rolls in situations where a song is appropriate and the audience is receptive to the bard's style, but -2 if the style is disliked. Finding out the king's tastes is very important.
- The bard can sometimes act as a sage on matters of history and legend for the cultural tradition he or she knows. This translates to a 50% chance of answering a general question in that field of history or legend, 20% of answering a specific question and 5% of answering an exacting question, plus 5% per bonus point in Intelligence the bard has. Chances are cut by 1/5 for a cultural tradition that only borders on the one the bard knows.
- If using the carousing rules, the bard increases by a factor of 1.5 the amount of money that can be converted to experience, as people flock to the party trail.