Saturday, August 1, 2015

Some BX Bardic Considerations Day 3:
The Jeff Goelz Bard

On Day 1 of these BX bardic considerations, I took a look at the original bard created by Doug Schwegman in The Strategic Review Vol. 2, No. 1 (that became the foundation for the AD&D bard that appears in an altered form in the 1e PHB). On Day 2, I took a look at the possibility of a harpist class as Steve Marsh's answer to the AD&D bard (though the conclusion of that post remains incomplete). Today, I'm taking a look at the bard as envisioned by Jeff Goelz in Dragon magazine #56.
"In planning a revision of the the bard class, a path could have been chosen toward one of the two possible extremes: either to rework the material in the Players Handbook without altering any of the basic structure underlying the class, or to literally start from scratch and design an entire new class, perhaps having only its name and a few of the most basic characteristics in common with the official version. In the end, the path chosen lies between the extremes but ends up closer to the second one than the first."

From "Singing a New Tune," Dragon #56 (December 1981)
So where does Goelz find his bardic inspiration? From the celtic bard, particularly Evangeline Walton’s of the Welsh Mabinogion tetralogy (which gives it a particularly illusionist bent). Goelz also points out that the Welsh would never see the bard as a thieving type, especially (as he points out) given the connotations associated with "Welshing" on a bet, and the British propensity to think of the Welsh as thieves.

So what we have in Goelz's bard is a quintessential entertainer—a musician, charmer, inspirer, and loremaster, capable of both illusionist and druid spells.

In reviewing this version of the bard, it seemed only right to create a BX/LL version of it as well (in addition to the BX/LL version I created based on Schwegman's original). I have done that, with some tweaks to fall in line with the other version. The Schwegman-inspired version I'm calling "The Bard (Version I)," and it can be used with or without the LL AEC rules (without, the bard has MU spells; with, the bard has druid spells). The Goelz-inspired version requires use of the LL AEC rules (at least for spells, since it uses both illusionist and druid spells). I'm still thinking through my vision of the Marsh-inspired harpist class (which will likely require an entire set of spells created specifically for it). The first two should be appearing on the blog early in this coming week. If I'm lucky, the harpist (or some form of it) will come later in the week, or the beginning of the week following.


  1. I really enjoy this version of the bard, but a huge problem with the class and something I'm interested to see how you address is how "busy" the Bard is. There's a lot going on in this incarnation of the class and that can be difficult to streamline in Labyrinth Lord - especially without the AEC.

    1. This version will definitely require the AEC, but mainly just for spell descriptions. As for how busy it is, it will be posted to the blog this coming week, and I welcome input/thoughts/suggestions at that point.

  2. Looking forward to the final results. I started playing in 2e. So that's my only in game experience with the class.