D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
The Black Bards are a group of evil bards who work to spread lies, disinformation, and propaganda...for a price. Nothing pleases a Black Bard more than taking a tale, and twisting it so that lies become truth, and truth becomes lies.
The Black Bards are relatively carefree in life, caring little for law and order. They love to spread lies, and seeing what effects can come from them. Whether it is something small, such as discrediting a local constable, to spreading disinformation on larger organizations such as the Knights of Solamnia, the Black Bards enjoy the thrill of the Great Game, as they call it.
The Black Bards will work for nearly anyone for the right price. While they will take a job against a former employer, they are not stupid enough to cross the likes of the Dark Knights or the Holy Order of Hiddukel.
The Black Bards favor the god Hiddukel, giving praise to the god of lies before undertaking any job. They are not deeply religious, but figure it is best to stay on the good side of the Prince of Lies so that he doesn't feel that the Black Bards are stepping on his territory.
The Black Bards appear to outsiders to be a normal traveling troupe of bards. They will put on performances, traveling from town to town, and are known for their gothic costumes (hence their name).
The Black Bards are made up of performers and stagehands primarily, though they also include criers who travel ahead to make towns aware of the coming of the Black Bards. This optimizes turnout. Barkers sell tickets and serve as narrators.
Areas of Influence
The Black Bards work towards the northwest of Ansalon, including the lands of Solamnia, Neraka, and Ergoth. They will travel elsewhere as needed, though these areas are what they call "home."
The Black Bards follow the troupemaster, who heads up all general functions of the troupe and oversees performances, as well as finding jobs and collecting payment.
The Black Bards are on retainer from the Dark Knights, who know all too well the power of propaganda. The Black Bards have sewn dissent against the Knights of Solamnia, and always portrayed the Dark Knights as the champions of order.
The Holy Order of Hiddukel also serves as allies with the Black Bards. Whenever the Black Bards are near a temple of Hiddukel, they will take the opportunity to stop and make an offering to the Prince of Lies.
Anyone who wishes to hire the Black Bards, and can afford their price, can count themselves as allies of the Black Bards.
The Black Bards have accumulated a number of enemies over the years, most notably the Holy Order of Branchala. Clerics of Branchala and bards serve to refute the lies of the Black Bards and to set the truth straight.
The Black Bards have made enemies with the Knights of Solamnia as well by telling the "true tale" of Rennard the Oathbreaker, and of Huma's "betrayal." With so many bards in their ranks, the Legion of Steel has also taken note of the Black Bards, seeking to bring this renegade band of bards to justice.
Joining the Black Bards
Joining the Black Bards requires an audition. The audition consists of two parts. The first part is performance. The second part revolves around spinning a lie and causing some sort of havoc with it. How this is done is up to the troupemaster and differs from performer to performer. Stage hands are usually hired at Ruby's discretion.
Costs and Benefits of Membership
One of the costs of membership is taking on a nomadic lifestyle. Each performer is responsible for his or her costume as well. In return, the performers and stage hands are paid a ripe sum from any and all jobs undertaken as well as from performances. They also can work on pilfering along the way, though any Black Bard caught doing so will be eliminated.
All members of the Black Bards have levels in either master or bard, though many multiclass as well.
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