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New Bard Kit Idea/Request: Chanter

Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
Having played Pillars of Eternity extensively over the last couple of years, the Chanter is my favourite class (especially for solo play) and I was thinking about how to create this kit for BG.

I have zero modding skills so just wanted to flesh out the idea and concept and maybe some kindly soul can tell us how difficult it would be to create this kit (or maybe even create it!)

Concept


The Chanter is the PoE equivalent of a bard. S/he is meant to be a support character but in gameplay terms is brilliant solo as well (because of ability to chant at same time as doing other actions, summons, and the overpowered “Dragon Thrashed” chant, which stacks with itself and does a huge amount of AoE damage).

In terms of porting the kit to BG, I would go back to the design principle and make the Chanter a support class. The Chanter would be a Bard kit (chants activated through Bard Song) with a mixture of summoning and AoE capability.

Mechanics


Class: Bard (uses Bard tables for XP, THAC0, HD, saving throws, weapon proficiencies etc)

Disadvantages: (1) Cannot cast spells (but can use scrolls & wands) (2) No HLAs (3) Minimal/zero pickpocketing ability (e.g. could just use Skald Pickpocket table) (4) Normal bard song replaced with unique Chanter version

Advantages: (1) Unique bard song which increases in power every 4 levels (2) Special set of spells which are each gained 1/day as the Chanter progresses in levels (these are cast from the “Special Abilities” button rather than Spells). The spells are a mixture of summoning, AoE crowd control and AoE damage (the selected spells are similar thematically or in ability to the kind of stuff the Chanter can do in PoE)

Unique Bard Song


The “chant” is activated through the Bard Song button and functions in the same way as the traditional Bard song (i.e. allies have to be within a certain radius to gain the benefit, the chant stops if the Chanter takes any other action such as using an ability, and the effect of the chant wear off after a few seconds if the Chanter stops singing). EDIT: actually I cannot remember if Bard song has a fixed radius or unlimited range. If unlimited, we need to change this to a radius to prevent this becoming too-powerful! Something like 10’-20’ would be ideal.

The effect of the normal Bard song is replaced by the following effects, which begin at level 1 and improve every 4 levels thereafter (level 5, 9, 13 etc). NB: these effects are cumulative (so a 5th level chant includes the effects of Bless and Armour of Faith, a 37th level chant would include all the effects below).

Level 1: Bless
Level 5: Armour of Faith
Level 9: Chant
Level 13: Protection from Evil
Level 17: Death Ward
Level 21: Free Action
Level 25: Chaotic Commands
Level 29: Defensive Harmony
Level 33: Haste
Level 37: Regeneration

The chants up to level 16 are minor / useful buffs that are in-line with the effects of a normal Bard song or possibly a bit weaker. The chants from level 17-28 add powerful defensive immunities. The chants from level 29 onwards are majorly powerful, but remember these are effectively replacements of HLAs.

Spells


The Chanter has no spellbook and no traditional spellcasting ability. Instead the Chanter gains the following spells which are cast as special abilities, each usable 1/day. The list is fixed, the Chanter does not get to choose spells.

At level 3 and every 4th level thereafter (7, 11, 15 etc) the Chanter gains a summoning spell.

At every even level the Chanter gains a crowd control or damaging spell. These spells are all AoE spells (not individual target).

Summoning Spells


Level 3: Monster Summoning I
Level 7: Monster Summoning II
Level 11: Monster Summoning III
Level 15: Spider Spawn
Level 19: Animate Dead
Level 23: Aerial Servant
Level 27: Mordenkainen’s Sword
Level 31: Elemental Summoning
Level 35: Summon Deva
Level 39: Summon Planetar

AoE Spells


Level 2: Glitterdust
Level 4: Stinking Cloud
Level 6: Slow
Level 8: Ice Storm
Level 10: Greater Malison
Level 12: Emotion: Hopelessness
Level 14: Cloudkill
Level 16: Chaos
Level 18: Sunfire
Level 20: Death Spell
Level 22: Death Fog
Level 24: Prismatic Spray
Level 26: Sunray
Level 28: Sphere of Chaos
Level 30: Incendiary Cloud
Level 32: Symbol: Stun
Level 34: Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting
Level 36: Wail of the Banshee
Level 38: Storm of Vengeance
Level 40: Dragon’s Breath

Kit Comparison


Compared to other bards and bard kits, the Chanter has the following strengths and weaknesses.

Pro


· Much stronger bard song at higher levels
· Gains spells not normally castable by bards (at higher levels in lieu of HLAs)
· Can cast spells in armour (since cast from special abilities rather than spells)

Con


· Fixed list of spells – no choice and cannot cast same spell multiple times
· Fewer spells per day
· No defensive spells, no buffing spells, no debuffing spells
· No HLAs
· Low Pickpocket ability / no benefits from other Bard kits

Gameplay


The Chanter would become the ultimate support character (similar to Skald in role, but with significantly different effects). Ideally you would position the Chanter as close as possible to your other characters to gain the effect from the chant. The main focus would be singing, with the odd ability interspersed as need arises before resuming the chant.

The big weakness of the Chanter is vulnerability. The Chanter has no spells that are used for self-defence: no Invisibility, Mirror Image, Stoneskin, Protection from Magical Weapons etc. A targetable Chanter is therefore a vulnerable / (dead with SCS!) target. You could try to get around this by keeping the Chanter invisible as much as possible, but Remove Magic will always be a concern (especially as you want the Chanter close to your other characters), several enemy types can see through invisibility, and the Chanter has to become visible to use any of his/her spells.

The Chanter is a hybrid Bard/Mage/Cleric. The majority of the chant effects are Cleric spells and the spell list is a mixture of Mage and Cleric spells (mainly Mage). The Chanter has a stock of summoning, crowd control and damaging spells to bolster the party, so is quite strong offensively if not singing. It is defensively that the Chanter is lacking.

Despite cannibalising Mage and Cleric roles, the Chanter would not replace either. Mages would still be needed for debuffing and tanking-through-spells. Clerics would be freed from buffing the party to concentrate on healing or offensive action.

The great benefit of the Chanter is (at high levels) to remove the tedium of casting the same buffs over and over again on every party member and then having to rest once you run out of spells. The Chanter has an unlimited stock of buffs – you just start singing. And then you can watch as combat develops for an opportunity for the Chanter to deploy some of his offensive spells to turn the tide. But in the meantime, better keep your Chanter safe…

Welcome any thoughts or feedback.

Comments

  • SamAxeSamAxe Member Posts: 5
    My view - This seems insanely OP. It's a better Skald (And Skalds were already good).

    My suggestion? Have the Chanter Song do a few buffs, not an on demand 10 magic buff. Bless is a set 6 round priest spell so having that "on demand" is VERY nice. Maybe same with Chant (and have it do that AOE debuff Chant does to enemies). A few other strong buffs would be nice but not every 4 levels. Probably keep Death Ward. Maybe Chaotic Commands. Final level could be Regeneration?

    Definitely no Free Action (it's a good spell but it prevents Haste which is why most people don't even bother upgrading FoA +4 into it's final form). Likewise Haste wouldn't be a good effect to have unless Improved Haste and normal Haste won't override each other. AOE Improved Haste would be just too OP

    Maybe a few Summon spells. Nothing a 6th level mage can't cast (So no Mordy Swords etc).
    I dunno about the AOE Spells. Seems definitely strong to get all of the HLA AOE spells though.

    The No HLA thing and then getting both Cleric and Mage HLA spells seems almost like a strength

    It's a cool idea but the concept of just an improved Skald (at the cost of a few spellslots scaling up to the 6th level) just seems to make Skald worthless. Losing traps/Use Any Item is a definite good design strategy though since losing those abilities is painful.

    Jaheiras_Witness
  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
    Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it. You’ve raised some points I hadn’t considered such as Chant affecting enemies as well as party (not my intention), conflict between free action and haste rendering haste worthless. I’ve also realised Armour of Faith scales with level, which is also not intention, I was looking at fixed effects.

    In EE bard song breaks invisibility which is good for balance of this kit, it makes the Chanter even more vulnerable so there is a big tradeoff between the benefit of the song and the Chanter being targeted.

    In terms of balance of the song, I actually disagree that it makes Skald worthless. If you compare proposed Chanter song with Skald song side-by-side, the Skald song is far stronger levels 1-12, Chanter is better levels 13-14, Skald is stronger again levels 15-20, equal 21-24 and then Chanter takes over from level 25.

    What it has made me realise is the Chanter song is too similar to Skald in terms of affecting THAC0, AC, some immunities etc. No point creating a kit which is too similar to an existing kit. So I will have a rethink and try to differentiate.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,456
    edited August 2018
    The chanter in PoE takes three combat rounds to activate three chants, at a rate of one chant per round, and by the third round, the first chant is already expired. So, there will only ever be two chant buffs active at once. She can only cast a chanter spell after three chants have been activated, and cannot cast another spell until after another three chants. (At least that's how it works at levels 1-5).

    That keeps chanter abilities from being OP in PoE, although some would argue chanters are still OP despite the restrictions.

    Chanters in PoE can fight while chanting, and they can wear heavy armor, making them pretty decent tanks. They are very close to being the FMT's of PoE. That's probably why you find your chanter so good for soloing.

    I agree with @SamAxe that the version you're proposing for BG seems too strong for BG, if all those song bonuses are going to stack. I think it would be more balanced if your chanter had to choose specific songs with a specific set of bonuses, the way the IWD bards do.

    It would also be very helpful if there were a way in the engine to have the chanter cast spells as a sorcerer. That way, the chanter would have to choose certain spells at the expense of others, the way a PoE chanter has to.

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