Songs of the Bards

Songs of the Bards

“The worthy GM never purposely kills players’ PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own.” -Gary Gygax

Dungeon Crawl Classics death mechanic is harsh. Characters will die. I have no desire to soften the blow as I am interested in how it plays out (for science!). I do however want to reward characters that have managed to stay alive throughout the campaign. To do this I have created “The Songs of the Bards” system.

We can, for the most part, assume that PCs make way to a town after completing an adventure. One of the key locations that most towns feature is a tavern, which is almost always a destination for a PC while in said town. One can also assume that almost every tavern in a quasi-feudalistic society will have a bard. These musicians most often sing tales of heroic deeds and the sagas of adventurers. The more dangers sung about the more popular the song. The more popular the song is the more popular the adventurer becomes and presumably the more the bard is tipped.

So, in game when a PC completes a quest he/she shall at some point stop into a tavern or feast hall. The PC will then encounter a noisy bard who will want to know all about their recent deeds. The bard, being an excellent judge of the truth, will write a ballad about the PC. The ballad will be spread from town to town, bard to bard, increasing the fame of the PC. When the PC next enters a tavern the bard will take notice and sing the PC’s ballad. The town will know of the PC’s deeds and he/she will benefit from this by spreading renown or fear. Also the bard will be tipped and he/she will be inclined to share a portion of that tip with the PC.

Every time a PC completes a quest he/she shall have a Bard Song written about their deeds. The Songs will vary in level based on the difficulty of the quest (level 1 dungeon completion will earn a level 1 Bard Song). The benefits will be as follows:

Title: (Song Level)(Character’s Name)(Description of Deed)
Social Bonus: Personality Modifier for skill checks while in town based on level.
Shop Discount: % based on level.
Tip Out: GP dice roll based on level.

Low level example after a level 0 dungeon is completed:

Rhyme of Shamus’s Journey into the Portal
Social Bonus: +1
Shop Discount: 5% off
Tip out: d10 +5 GP

These songs will stack on top of other earned songs and give bonuses every time a PC goes into town as long as he/she lives. If a player misses a game night but the PC is NPCed no song will be earned. New characters joining the campaign will not have had any song written about them regardless of level.

The bard

Songs of the Bards

Crawl Masters Boomstickash