Patterer (bard)

Some people just seem to have a golden voice. When they talk, people hang on their words. Although most bards use music as the focus of their magic, patterers can cast spells through the subtler art of tall tales, rhetoric, and balderdash. Who can blame the patterers for taking advantage of their gift? Known as the “haristocracy of the streets,” the patterers are a common fixture in London, selling their stories of lust, ruin, and revenge. Some hook you in with the beginning of a dreadful “true story” about a woman on the verge of ruin, and then offer to sell you a paper containing the whole story. Some tell “true stories” of their own tragic ruin, and then, after much insistence on your part, humbly accept the kind gift you offer, “so long as you understand that it’s only a loan until my dear uncle returns from India.” Some even compose or perform songs, and will sell you the sheet music for a very reasonable price.
Adventures: Patterers are born adventurers. Even ordinary street patterers are travelers, as it is easy to wear out an audience with a limited repertoire. Most patterers take up adventuring largely for the money, though of course some individuals might have nobler motives. Patterers who take up a life of adventure after working the streets might have to learn songs of courage and inspiration to replace their usual repertoire of blood and debauchery, but the skill is the same.

Alignment: The life of the patterer is incompatible with a lawful alignment. One must be ready to take advantage of any opportunity, manipulate any audience, sing any slanderous song as if it’s the gospel truth.
Religion: Patterers tend to be areligious. Their primary interest in religion is making fun of whatever religion their audience disapproves of. Some patterers specialize in displaying an air of piety, but as a rule satire and ridicule bring in the best money.
Sex: The classic patterer is male, but that just means that women can practice the art with less suspicion. Women tend to specialize in “true tales” of their own downfall, while men generally do best by selling other people’s tragedies.
Background: The patterers’ gift often runs in families, and the skills are passed down from father to son. Patterers have probably spent time working the streets before taking up adventuring. Sometimes, when someone from the middle or upper class who has the gift loses their means of support, they discover that the patterers’ art can allow them to run a particularly believable scam, because their education and manners make others more likely to trust them and take them seriously.
Races: Patterers of other races are not uncommon in London, since patterers spend a lot of time traveling. Halfling patterers are generally quite successful, in part because halflings are a curiosity in London. Dwarven patterers are admired for their enthusiastic retellings of violent encounters. Elves and gnomes bring exotic tales and songs from the East. Non-human landed races can all depend on a comfortable living with moving tales of their conversion to Anglicanism.
Other Classes: Patterers have much in common with rogues, but they tend to get along with people of all types. They seem to have a song to suit every taste, from the pugilist to the votary, and a patterer always sings your favorite song as if it’s his favorite as well.

Patterers have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Charisma determines how powerful a spell a patterer can cast, how many spells the patterer can cast per day, and how hard those spells are to resist. To cast a spell, a patterer must have a Charisma score of 10 + the spell’s level + the patterer’s Charisma modifier. Charisma, Dexterity, and Intelligence are important for many of the patterer’s skills.
Alignment: Any nonlawful
Hit Die: d6

Class Skills

The Patterer’s class skills are Alchemy, Appraise, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Inuendo, Intimidate, Intuit Direction, Knowledge, Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Pick Pocket, Profession, Scry, Sense Motive, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Spot, Tumble, and Use Magic Device.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Patterer:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A patterer is proficient with all simple weapons and small firearms. Additionally, a patterer is proficient with one of the following: a lance, sap, short sword, longsword, rapier, scimitar, longspear, longbow, or whip. Patterers are proficient with light armor, and can choose whether they begin with medium armor or the feat skill focus: perform. Like any other arcane spellcaster a patterer can cast spells while wearing armor or using a shield but suffers a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component.

Spells: A patterer casts arcane spells from the patterer spell list below (which is slightly different from the bard spell list). The patterer’s spells per day and spells known follow the same progression as the bard, according to Tables 3-4 and 3-5 in the Player’s Handbook. He casts these spells without needing to memorize them beforehand or keep a spellbook. All patterer spells have a verbal component, but unlike other types of magic, the patterer’s magic is not intrinsically obvious, so an observer will not know that a spell is being cast unless other factors make it apparent. Patterers receive bonus spells for high Charisma, and to cast a spell a patterer must have a Charisma score at least equal to 10 + the level of the spell. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a patterer’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the patterer’s Charisma modifier.

Running Patter: Once per day per level, a patterer can use his talents to produce magical effects on those around him. While a traditional bard has a talent for building up his allies, the patterer specializes in tearing down his enemies.

Ridicule: A patterer with 3 or more ranks in Perform can demoralize his enemies by belittling them in songs or tales. To be affected, the enemies must have an Intelligence of at least 3, and must be able to hear the patterer perform for one full round, though they need not understand the language, since any competent patterer knows that disdain is a universal language. The effect lasts as long as the patterer performs, and for 5 rounds after he stops performing. While ridiculing, the patterer can fight but cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by magic word (such as wands). Affected enemies receive a -2 penalty to Will saves, and a -1 morale penalty to attack and weapon damage rolls. Ridicule is a supernatural, mind-affecting ability.

Bamboozle: A patterer with 3 or more ranks in Perform can prove exceptionally convincing. He may decide at the beginning of a conversation or recital to bamboozle his audience into believing almost anything. He rolls a Perform check, and can divide the outcome any way he chooses between bonuses to his Bluff, Disguise, or Forgery skills or spell resistance against any divination or zone of truth spell. The effect only lasts three rounds after the patterer stops talking. His audience might or might not reevaluate his lies at that point. Bamboozle is a supernatural ability.

Fascinate: See Bard: Fascinate.

Shatter Confidence: A patterer with 6 or more ranks in Perform can use his patter to destroy another’s self-confidence. His target must be able to hear the patterer and be within 30 feet. The patterer can either use insults or employ such complex lingo that the target feels completely outclassed. The target suffers a -5 penalty on one skill of the patterer’s choice. The effect lasts for ten minutes times the patterer’s Perform skill roll.

Belittle Greatness: A patterer with 9 or more ranks in Perform can humiliate his opponents to such a degree that they lose access to their class features or feats. He could cut off a barbarian’s ability to go into a frenzy or a votary’s ability to turn undead; he could limit a rogue’s sneak attack damage or a pugilist’s extra unarmed damage, to name just a few examples.

If he attacks a spellcaster’s ability to cast, he can either take away one spell slot or one specific spell. He gets no special insight as to what features an opponent has access to, so he must make his best guess. If he chooses to take away one 5th level spell slot, but that opponent had no more 5th level spell slots, the power is wasted.

If he attacks a feature that improves at different levels (such as a rogue’s sneak attack), he does not take away all levels at once. He might guess (or learn the hard way) that the rogue can do an extra 4d6 damage, so he would start by taking that feature away. The rogue could then do only 3d6 damage with a sneak attack. The patterer could choose to take the 3d6 level away with another application of this running patter.

If he attacks a feature that can be used more often at increasing levels (such as a barbarian’s rage), he takes away all slots with one application of running patter. The only exception is spells, as described above.

This power cannot negate a feature that is already begun, such as a druid who is already shapeshifted or a spell that is in the process of being cast. It can, however, prevent further activation of the feature.

For every three ranks in Perform above 9, a patterer can use this power against one additional feature in the same turn, counting as a single use of running patter. While belittling, the patterer can fight but cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by magic word (such as wands). The effect lasts as long as the running patter is maintained, plus one turn per the patterer’s level after he stops.

Patterer Tales: A patterer picks up a lot of crazy stories while wandering the land and conferring with other patterers. A patterer may make a special patterer tales check with a bonus equal to his level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. This check will not reveal the powers of a magic item but may give a hint as to its general function. The patterer may not take 10 or take 20 on this check; this sort of knowledge is essentially random. The DM will determine the Difficulty Class of the check by referring to the table below.

DC Type of Knowledge Examples
10 Lurid or Horrifying In her youth, Lady Moorebridge was seduced by a necromancer. She strangled the illigitimate child at birth, and the father reanimated it.
20 Scandalous The rector is secretly a votary of Dionysius.
25 Typical Colonel Winston is courting a Daughter of Repentance.
30 Boring Professor Ashmore has the best collection in Britain of treatises on magical theory from 12th century Spain.


A patterer who becomes lawful loses heart for the game. He can no longer progess as a patterer or use his running patter ability, but maintains his spells and other class features.

Dancing Lights
Detect Magic
Ghost Sound
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Read Magic

Animate Rope
Cause Fear
Change Self
Charm Person
Comprehend Languages
Cure Light Wounds
Detect Secret Doors
Disguise Self
Expeditious Retreat
Jack of Trades (S&S)
Lesser Confusion
Mage Armor
Protection from Chaos/Evil/Good/Law
Silent Image
Summon Monster I
Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
Udetectable Alignment

Alter Self
Animal Messenger
Animal Trance
Calm Emotions
Cart (S&S)
Cat’s Grace
Cure Moderate Wounds
Daze Monster
Detect Chaos/Evil/Good/Law
Detect Thoughts
Eagle’s Splendour
Eyes of the Investigator
Hypnotic Pattern
Locate Object
Magic Mouth
Minor Image
Mirror Image
Obscure Object
Project Image
Sound Burst
Summon Monster II
Whispering Wind

Bestow Curse
Charm Monster
Coins of Communication (S&S)
Crushing Despair
Cure Serious Wounds
Dagger of Nightmares (S&S)
Deep Slumber
Dispel Magic
Greater Magic Weapon
Illusory Script
Invisibility Sphere
Leomund’s Tiny Hut
Lesser Geas
Major Image
Phantom Steed
Remove Disease
Sculpt Sound
Secret Page
Summon Monster III

Cure Critical Wounds
Detect Scrying
Dimension Door
Dominate Person
Hallucinatory Terrain
Improved Invisibility
Legend Lore
Leomund’s Secure Shelter
Locate Creature
Minor Creation
Modify Memory
Phantasmal Killer
Power Song: Laughter
Rainbow Pattern
Summon Monster IV
Zone of Silence

Greater Dispelling
Mind Fog
Major Creation
Mirage Arcana
Persistent Image
Power Song: Sleep
Summon Monster V

Animate Objects
Control Weather
Find the Path
Greater Scrying
Heroes’ Feast
Mass Suggestion
Otto’s Irresistable Dance
Permanent Image
Programmed Image
Summon Monster VI

Patterer (bard)

Victoriana Striga