Poet

To Medieval Classes

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Geoffrey Chaucer 17th century, artwork is well over 100 years old. anonymous portrait

Geoffrey Chaucer 17th century, artwork is well over 100 years old. anonymous portrait

Ink and Quill

Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002
Pages 65
ISBN none
OGL Section 15 i-q
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Whether singing the praises of a valorous hero or courting the affections of a prospective suitor, the poet’s rhythmic verse entrances her delighted audience. The poet bares her soul in her work, pouring emotions onto the page and into her readers’ hearts.

Poetry distinguishes itself from prose in several diverse ways. Nearly all poems possess a rigid rhyme scheme, an orderly syllabic accent pattern, or a combination of both. Even in the absence of the aforementioned qualities, poetry usually bears more structure than prose, flaunting its musicality rather than its content. Common examples of poetic form include the sonnet, a fourteen to sixteen line poem following a distinct rhyme scheme and syllabic pattern, and the haiku, a shorter five-line poem adhering to a similar set of rules. Poetry disregards prosaic conventions such as sentences and paragraphs, and instead replaces them with lines, (short fragments of verse) and stanzas, (a grouping of lines).

The vast majority of poems fall into two categories, the epic poem and the lyrical poem. Most common in cultures with an established oral tradition, epic poems chronicle the marvellous deeds of a nation’s greatest deities, heroes, and heroines. These poems often echo the sentiments of an entire culture or race, expressing its conscience through poetic imagery. Epic poems, far greater in length than lyrical poems, contain thousands of lines and hundreds of stanzas exalting the legendary feats of its heroic subjects. Because most epic poems originated from the oral tradition, they bear few of the rigid structural qualities inherent in lyrical poetry. Usually endemic to less sophisticated societies, epic poetry emphasizes cultural values, while preserving its history for future generations.

Lyrical poetry, on the other hand, rarely lauds the accomplishments of legendary figures, but instead sings the praises of less virtuous subjects. Whether describing the stages of a glorious sunrise or recounting the first glimpse of the poet’s one true love, lyrical poems accentuate the poet’s emotions rather than societal values. The poet describes a personal journey, not a shared experience.

Because of its much shorter length, lyrical poems follow more poetic conventions than their epic counterparts. Rhyme and meter work in concert, crafting an enchanting melody of words and phrases. Bereft of the repetitive cadence often found in epic poems, lyrical poetry possesses a diverse, harmonious quality unmatched in any other form of written expression.

Because of the tremendous differences between the two styles of poetry, there are two different prestige classes, the warrior poet and the lyrical poet. barbarians, fighters, paladins and rangers usually follow the traditions of the warrior poet, while bards, sorcerers and wizards adhere to the path of the lyrical poet.

Warrior Poet

Through the recitation and recordation of her nation’s historical legacy, the warrior poet inspires patriotic fervor in her listeners, captivating them with sagas of astonishing bravery and legendary combats. Warrior poets devote most of their energies to memorizing and transcribing her culture’s vast collection of epic poems. Although initially preserved by word of mouth, most of the predominant epic poems now appear in popular books, thanks to the tireless efforts of society’s warrior poets. In addition to their fighting skills, warrior poets inspire their allies with immortal tales of valorous deeds and legendary heroes.

Hit Die: d10

Requirements

To qualify to become a warrior poet, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5
Race: Dwarf, elf or human
Concentration : 3 ranks
Knowledge (history): 3 ranks
Knowledge (literature): 3 ranks
Perform (poetry): 5 ranks
Profession (poet): 5 ranks
Other: The character must be literate.

Class Skills

The warrior poet’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Constitution), Gather Information (Charisma), Knowledge (history) (Intelligence), Perform (poetry), Profession (poet), Speak Language (None).

Skills points at each level: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

Class Base Attack Bonus Fort. Ref. Will Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Draft Epic Poem, Masterpiece
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Legendary Foe
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 The Wisdom of Ages
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Call to Battle
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Greater Legendary Foe
6th +6 +5 +2 +2 Heroic Swing
7th +7 +5 +2 +2 Memory Retention
8th +8 +6 +2 +2 Blaze of Glory
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 Greatest Legendary Foe
10th +10 +7 +3 +3 Majestic Death

Class Abilities

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Warrior poets are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all types of armor and shields.

Draft Epic Poem (Ex): A warrior poet may create one epic poem every six months. The poem does not require her undivided attention; however, any absence greater than two weeks increases the time necessary to write the poem by one month or the duration of the absence, whichever is longer. The GM should encourage the player to create a brief story and characters, rewarding the player with a generous circumstance bonus to her Profession (poet) check. When the poem is finished, the player makes a Profession (poet) check. The poet must retain a record of all her epic poems including their titles and the modified Profession (poet) check result, because they affect her heroic swing, blaze of glory and majestic death effects.

Masterpiece (Ex): If the character’s modified Profession (poet) check equals or exceeds 40, the character has written a masterpiece. Because of the public’s familiarity with the work, she adds an additional bonus to all heroic swing, blaze of glory and majestic death checks. (The bonuses are described under the ability’s heading.)

Legendary Foe (Ex): Warrior poets receive a +1 attack bonus against one particular creature selected by the character when she first becomes a warrior poet. This bonus represents her extensive knowledge of the opponent’s weaknesses gained through her recantation of epic battles against the foe. The warrior poet’s foe must be specific, i.e.; she cannot simply select giants as her legendary foe, but must delineate the particular giant species, such as hill giant. This bonus stacks with all bonuses including the ranger’s favored enemy bonus.

Wisdom of Ages (Ex): The warrior poet receives a +5 circumstance bonus to her next Knowledge check, if she possesses any ranks in that field of study. Otherwise, she may make a Knowledge check as if she were trained in that field of study. For example, a warrior poet with four ranks of Knowledge (history) receives a +5 circumstance bonus to her next check, but a warrior poet with no ranks in Knowledge (the planes) may roll a Knowledge check as if she had ranks in the skill, albeit without the +5 circumstance bonus. The warrior poet may utilize this ability a number of times per day equal to her level.

Call to Battle (Su): Once per day, the warrior poet recites inspiring passages from her repertoire of epic poems, inciting her allies to fight with increased fervor. When the poet announces her intentions to activate this ability, she makes a Perform (poetry) check. Her modified result indicates the number of rounds that Call to Battle remains in effect. While under its influence, the warrior poet and any allies listening to her receive temporary hit points equal to the warrior poet’s level. (See the SRD for specifics on adjudicating temporary hit points.) Initiating this ability is a full round action, and it remains in effect until the duration expires, the poet ceases recitation for any reason, or the allies no longer hear the poet, whichever comes first.

Greater Legendary Foe (Ex): The warrior poet’s attack bonus against her selected foe increases to +2.

Heroic Swing (Su): At 6th level, the warrior poet may add an insight bonus equal to her ranks in Profession (poet) to her next attack roll. Using this ability is a standard action requiring her to recite a famous line from one of her poems. If her last poem was a masterpiece, she adds her warrior poet levels to the damage. This ability may be used once per day.

Memory Retention (Su): Whenever the warrior poet encounters a creature requiring a specific means of destruction or unique weaknesses, such as a troll, vampire or ghost, the warrior poet rolls a Profession (poet) skill check. If her check equals or exceeds a modified result of twenty-five, the warrior poet recalls the creature’s vulnerabilities and the method needed to slay it. (The GM should increase the difficulty class substantially for any extremely rare or unique creatures.) The warrior poet may use this ability as a free action a number of times per day equal to her Intelligence modifier.

Blaze of Glory (Su): The warrior poet sacrifices her hit points in order to increase her attack and damage rolls. For every point sacrificed by the warrior poet, she adds a +2 morale bonus to either her next attack or damage roll. She must declare the points’ allocation prior to initiating the attack roll. For instance, the warrior poet sacrifices eight of her hit points. She decides to allocate a +8 bonus to her attack roll and a +8 bonus to her damage roll. Temporary hit points cannot be sacrificed in this manner. Attacking in this manner is a standard action, requiring the warrior poet to recite inspiring passages from her last epic poem.

The warrior poet may sacrifice a number of hit points per round equal to her warrior poet level, and she may sacrifice a number of hit points per day equal to her most recent poem’s modified Profession (poet) check. If her most recent poem is a masterpiece, she may initiate this ability’s usage as a free action.

Greatest Legendary Foe (Ex): The warrior poet’s attack bonus against her selected foe increases to +3.

Majestic Death (Su): Prior to dying in combat, the poet recites lines from her most recent epic poem. Moved by the tragedy, any allies in earshot of the fallen poet receive a +2 morale bonus to all attack and damage rolls as well as gaining a +4 morale bonus to all saving throws against fear. If her last poem was a masterpiece, their morale bonus increases from +2 to +3. The ability remains in effect for the duration of the combat.

Lyrical Poet

Portrait of Lord Byron by Thomas Phillips (1777 - 1845), George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, 1824.

Portrait of Lord Byron by Thomas Phillips (1777 - 1845), George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, 1824.

Developing her craft largely through formal education and experience, lyrical poets flourish in cosmopolitan societies. Usually more schooled than the general populace, lyrical poets hone a number of their prodigious talents, excelling in more than one discipline. After completing their studies, many remain as teachers at their respective universities, although others enter the worlds of politics or business. Glib and inherently witty, lyrical poets ensnare the focus of their captivated audiences with vivid imagery and an addictive, sophisticated rhythm, capturing the imagination of the listener with her melodious descriptive passages.

Hit Die: d6

Requirements

To qualify to become a lyrical poet, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +2
Race: Any humanoid
Bluff: 3 ranks
Concentration : 4 ranks
Knowledge (literature): 4 ranks
Perform (poetry): 4 ranks
Profession (poet): 4 ranks
Spellcraft: 3 ranks
Other: The character must be literate and able to cast 2nd level arcane spells.

Class Skills

The lyrical poet’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Charisma), Concentration (Constitution), Diplomacy (Charisma), Gather Information (Charisma), Knowledge (all) (Intelligence), Listen (Wisdom), Perform (any) (Charisma), Profession (poet) (Wisdom), Sense Motive (Wisdom), Spellcraft (Intelligence) and Spot (Wisdom).

Skill points at each level: 4 + Intelligence modifier.

Class Base Attack Bonus Fort. Ref. Will Special
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Draft Lyrical Poem, Masterpiece, Spells
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Poetic Spell Focus
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Smooth Operator
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Chivalrous Cry
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Mnemonic Enhancement
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Woo Audience
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Word Traps
8th +6 +2 +2 +6 Empowered Imagery
9th +6 +3 +3 +6 Royal Audience
10th +7 +3 +3 +7 Pathos

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Lyrical poets are proficient with all simple weapons as well aslight and medium armor and shields.

Draft Lyrical Poem (Ex): A lyrical poet may create one lyrical poem per month. The poem does not require her undivided attention; however, any absence greater than two weeks increases the time necessary to write the poem by the duration of the absence. The GM should encourage the player to create a title and the poem’s subject, rewarding the player with a generous circumstance bonus to her Profession (poet) check. When the poem is finished, the player makes a Profession (poet) check. The poem generates income equal to half the character’s lyrical poet level multiplied by her Charisma modifier multiplied again by the modified result of her Profession check.

For example, a 1st level poet with a Charisma of 16 writes her first lyrical poem. Because the player created an intriguing subject, the GM gives her a +4 circumstance bonus on her Profession (poet) check. She rolls a “12” adding the +4 circumstance bonus as well as her normal bonus of +12 yielding a net result of 28. She receives 42 gp for her finished product. [1 (her level) x 3 (her Charisma modifier) x 28 (the modified result of her Profession (playwright) check) x ½ = 42]. The poet must retain a record of all her lyrical poems including their titles and the modified Profession (poet) check result, because they affect her woo audience, chivalrous cry, empower imagery and pathos effects.

Masterpiece (Ex): If the character’s modified Profession (poet) check equals or exceeds 40, the character has written a masterpiece. Because of the public’s familiarity with the work, she adds an additional bonus to all woo audience, chivalrous cry, empower imagery and pathos checks. (The bonuses are described under the ability’s heading.) She also receives an additional 50gp for the work.

Spells: Lyrical poets continue to receive additional spells according to their original class. Each lyrical poet level counts as an additional spellcaster level for purposes of determining the character’s daily allotment of spells, number of spells known and the caster level. For example a 5th level wizard/3rd level lyrical poet acts as if she were an 8th level wizard for all spellcasting purposes. If the character is more than one spellcasting class such as a bard/sorcerer, the player selects the class to increase.

Poetic Spell Focus (Su): The lyrical poet selects one school of magic. At no additional cost to the lyrical poet, all spells with a verbal component from the chosen school of magic receive the benefits of the Spell Focus feat. This ability does stack with the normal Spell Focus feat.

Smooth Operator (Ex): At 3rd level, the lyrical poet receives the feat Smooth Operator at no additional cost.

Chivalrous Cry (Su): As a full round action, the lyrical poet recites encouraging words from her most recent poem, enabling her allies to attack with increased ferocity. All allies able to hear and understand the poet receive a morale bonus to damage on their next successful attack equal to her most recent poem’s modified Profession result divided by the number of allies. For example, if her poem had a result of 28, and she has four allies, her four associates receive a +7 morale bonus on their next attack roll or for one round, whichever comes first. If her poem was a masterpiece, her allies receive the morale bonus to their next attack roll as well. The lyrical poet may use this ability once per day.

Mnemonic Enhancement (Su): Because of their ability to formulate rhythmic and syllabic patterns, lyrical poets increase their ability to memorize and know spells. wizards that are also lyrical poets may recall a number of spell levels per day equal to their Intelligence modifier, while bards and sorcerers know an additional number of spell levels.

For instance, a bard with a 19 Intelligence knows four additional spell levels. She may select another 1st and 3rd level spell or any other combination totaling four.

Woo Audience (Su): Through a dramatic recitation of her most recent poem, the lyrical poet soothes her audience’s emotions, especially hostile feelings directed toward her. Once per day, the poet dramatically reads her most recent poem to her audience, potentially influencing anyone able to hear and understand her poem. Beginning the process is a full round action immediately followed by a Perform (poetry) skill check. The modified result determines the number of hit dice affected by the poet, however, it has no effect on any creature with more hit dice than her lyrical poet level. Creatures with the lowest hit dice are affected first. Any targets attempting to harm the lyrical poet must roll a successful Will save, otherwise they find themselves unable to attack her for a number of rounds equal to the poem’s modified Profession (poetry) result. The saving throw’s difficulty class is DC 10 plus ½ her lyrical poet level and her Charisma modifier. Any threatening action against a target by the poet or her associates immediately ends the effect.

For example, Drusella, a 6th level bard and 5th level lyrical poet with a Charisma of 18, attempts to woo an audience of ten 2nd level humans, a 3rd level cleric and a 5th level wizard. She begins by rolling a Perform skill check, yielding a modified result of 25. Drusella’s ability affects twenty-five hit dice of creatures; therefore any of the 2nd level humans that were going to attack her must make a saving throw as well as the 3rd level cleric. However, insufficient hit dice remain to influence the 5th level wizard, because she has already affected twenty-three hit dice of creatures. The saving throw’s difficulty class is sixteen. [10 + 2 (1/2 her poet level rounded down) + 4 (her Charisma modifier) = 16]. Her most recent lyrical poem had a modified Profession check of 26; hence any creature failing its saving throw is affected for twenty-six rounds. If the poem was a masterpiece, the saving throw’s difficulty class increases by one.

Word Traps (Su): A lyrical poet can find traps involving writing as if she were a rogue. If she is already a rogue, she receives an additional +1 competence bonus for every two lyrical poet levels. The ability affects any trap triggered by the reading or speaking of any written word, or where a written word is inherent to the trap’s functioning. This includes spells such as explosive runes and glyph of warding. There are no limitations on its daily usage.

Empower Imagery (Su): Illusion spells with a verbal component receive the benefits of the Empower Spell and Extend Spell feats at no cost to the caster. The poet may use this ability to affect a total spell level equal to her lyrical poet level per day. For instance, a 9th level lyrical poet may affect a 2nd, 3rd and 4th level spell with this ability, or any other combination of spells totaling no higher than nine levels. In addition, the difficulty class against these spells increases by her most recent poem’s modified Profession result divided by twenty. If her last poem was a masterpiece, the difficulty class is increased by +3.

Royal Audience (Ex): At 9th level, the lyrical poet receives invitations to all royal functions in the kingdom where she resides. Furthermore, the nobility commissions all of her future poems, doubling all income generated from the sale of her works.

Pathos (Su): Consumed by powerful emotions, the lyrical poet literally bares her soul, unleashing a potent surge of suppressed rage and melancholy. While reciting the most sorrowful lines from her most recent poem, she purges her tortured spirit, inflicting damage to all living enemies within a twenty-foot radius centered on the poet. The damage is equal to half her most recent poem’s modified Profession result, and all targets receive a Will save ½. The saving throw’s difficulty class is DC 15 + the poet’s Charisma modifier. Use of this power is a full round action, usable once per day. If her most recent poem was a masterpiece, pathos is a standard action.

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