2021. április 17., szombat

Science fantasy Harpist class

The science fantasy Harpist class is a character type for OD&D/BX/whathaveyouish games. It is based on the lyrists and bards from pulp fiction, who can manipulate emotions or matter with their music. See, for example, one of the protagonists in "The Jewels of Bas" by Leigh Brackett (I wrote about it in this post), and other appearances of lyres in Brackett's sword & planet fiction. I was also influenced by the description of the "Pipes of Killorn" in "Swordsman of Lost Terra" by Poul Anderson

“It was like the snarling music of any bagpipe, and yet there was more in it. There was a boiling tide of horror riding the notes, men's hearts faltered and weakness turned their muscles watery. Higher rose the music, and stronger and louder, screaming in the dales, and before men's eyes the world grew unreal, shivering beneath them, the rocks faded to mist and the trees groaned and the sky shook. They fell toward the ground, holding their ears, half blind with unreasoning fear and with the pain of the giant hand that gripped their bones and shook them, shook them.” (Poul Anderson, “Swordsman of Lost Terra”, Planet Stories, Nov. 1951)

So basically it's a D&D bard, but with science fantasy flavor for the powers.



 

 

 

Saving Throw vs.

Powers / day

Lvl

Exp

HD

Poison

Wands

Paralysis

Breath

Spells

1

2

3

1

0

1

13

14

13

15

13

1

 

 

2

1,500

1+1

12

14

12

14

12

2

 

 

3

3,000

2

12

14

12

14

12

2

1

 

4

6,000

2+2

11

11

11

13

11

2

2

 

5

12,000

3+1

11

11

11

13

11

2

2

1

6

25,000

4

10

11

10

12

10

3

2

1

 

 

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

1

Charm Person

Deflect Missiles, 10’

Charm Monster

2

Comprehend Languages

Deflect Rays

Confusion

3

Deflect Missiles

Enthrall

Destabilize Matter

4

Identify

Forget

Disrupt Force Field

5

Message

Hidden Message

Heroic Frequency

6

Radionics

Hold Person

Radionics, Group Therapy

7

Sleep

Silence, 15’

Suggestion

8

Ventriloquism

Siren Song

Warm Earth Music for Plants

 

See the full post for the Descriptions of powers:

Deflect Missiles

Level: 1

Range: Self

Duration: 1 round/level

An aura of sub-sonic vibrations changes the trajectory of missiles targeted at the harpist, giving a -4 penalty to all ranged attacks against them.

The harpist, unless surprised, can attempt to use this power to deflect a missile just fired at them. In this case, the penalty is only -2, and the aura cannot be maintained for the rest of the round(s).

 

Deflect Missiles, 10’

Level: 2

Range: Self

Duration: 1 round/level

As Deflect Missiles, but applies to a 10’ sphere around the harpist. Missiles originating from outside the sphere take a -4 penalty to hit targets inside the sphere.

The harpist, unless surprised, can attempt to use this power to deflect a missile just fired at them. In this case, the penalty is only -2, and the aura cannot be maintained for the rest of the round(s).

 

Deflect Rays

Level: 2

Range: Self

Duration: 1 round/level

An aura of sub-sonic vibrations changes the trajectory of rays targeted at the harpist, giving them a +4 bonus to all saves vs. Wands and Rays and other such perils.

The harpist, unless surprised, can attempt to use this power to deflect a ray just fired at them. In this case, the bonus to the save is only +2, and the aura cannot be maintained for the rest of the round(s).

 

Destabilize Matter

Level: 3

Range: 60’

Duration: 1 round/level

These eerie vibrations destabilize the coherence of matter. The harpist can affect a 1’x1’x1’ cube of matter (which can be a segment of a larger object), changing its natural aspects for the duration of the song. The exact change is up to the harpist and the Referee. Metal or stone can become passable or transparent; liquid can suddenly boil or freeze; a reflective surface can become opaque; and so forth. The matter reverts to its original state, as applicable (for example, if a steel door was molten, it solidifies in its molten shape; however, if it was made passable for solid bodies, it regains its initial shape and solidity).

 

Disrupt Force Field

Level: 3

Range: 30’

Duration: 1 round/level

The harpist evokes certain overtones that cause a disturbance in a force field's unity. This can be used to disable a shield, lower an energy wall or the like.

The harpist must roll under or equal to their level on a six-sided die. A negative modifier may apply if the field is highly stable [-1] or utilizes arcane pre-human technology [-2]. The harpist can maintain this effect for as many rounds as their level. After that, the force field returns to its previous state.

 

Heroic Frequency

Level: 3

Range: 30’

Duration: 1 round/level

Heroic sagas and epic tales make up the bulk of the harpist’s non-magical repertoire. Through secret studies master musician have managed to break down the epics into their base components, which, some say, are not just musical notes, but the very resonance of the souls of the great men and women of yore. These frequencies can be used to imbue a creature with heroic powers: while the song is played, the target creature can make one melee attack per every opponent already engaged with them. Each attack must be made against a different foe.

After the power’s end, the creature is left with a sense of deep melancholy.

 

Hidden Message

Level: 2

Range: 30’

Duration: 1 round

The harpist weaves a subliminal message into their song, which is understood only by a designated individual or group (a number of sentient creatures up to the harpist's level). Any message that would take more than 6 seconds to speak risks detection (1-in-6 base chance; 3-in-6 or more for psions).

 

Radionics

Level: 1

Range: 10’

Duration: 1 hour/level

The harpist utilizes complex sonic frequencies to reverse the flow of negative energies, countering pain, trauma, malady, ailments. At the end of the first hour, the target creature heals 1 hit point; 2 hit points at the end of the second hour, 3 hit points at the end of the third hour, and so on. The harpist can play the composition for as many hours as their level (uninterrupted playing counts as a single use of this power). If several harpists playing this composition in unison, their healing force is summed up; however, the process can only go on for as long as the lowest level participant’s limit.

 

Radionics, Group Therapy

Level: 3

Range: 60’

Duration: 1 hour/level

Same as Radionics, but a number of creatures equal to the harpist’s level can be affected at the same time. Several harpists playing this composition in unison increase the number of people affected, but not the amount healed. The process can only go on for as long as the lowest level participant’s limit.

 

Siren Song

Level: 2

Range: 60’ + 10’ x level

Duration: 1 round/level

The intricate interplay of chords and melodies stimulate the pleasure center of the listeners’ brain. All human-like creatures in range who fail their save shamble towards the origin of the luring frequency in a dreamlike trance: they cannot act unless action is needed to reach the source (like climbing over a fence or opening a door), don’t notice environmental perils (like pits or fire). Once they reach the source, they just stand and listen. They “snap out” of this state if the song ends, or if they take damage.

 

Ventriloquism

Level: 1

Range: 60’ + 10’ x level

Duration: 1 round/level

A trick as old as time. The harpist “throws” their voice, making it issue from another place in range. Creature who hear it are allowed a save to see through the rouse.

 

Warm Earth Music for Plants

Level: 3

Range: 120’

Duration: Permanent

It is well-known that organic matter reacts to music! And certain vibrations can hasten the growth of plants. This spell causes vegetation in a 10’ per level radius area to suddenly grow to its maximum natural size, or even slightly bigger, as if nurtured over a long time in the best possible conditions. They flower and may even bring fruit; their branches form a terrain that is hard to pass through.


2 megjegyzés:

  1. This is a really effective reimagining of the class for science fantasy. I'd like to think Harpists would seek out the sort of instruments Jack Vance describes in "The Moon Moth."

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    1. Thanks!!!! <3

      And thanks for the recommendation, I haven't read that one yet! I do have some ideas for "Harpist artifacts", like the Pipes of Killorn I quoted above, or some of the D&D staples, like Drums of Panic :)

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