Bards are some of my favorite characters. I love their do-anything attitudes, plus I like that a bard is a warrior (sort of), a street thief (sort of), a spell-slinger (sort of), a great artist (most definitely), and a true scholar (oh yes). However, most people who don’t like bards get frustrated because they don’t focus on anything and thus tend to be bad (at least comparatively) at just about everything. For players who wanted to be a warrior, street thief, or spell-slinger, the solution is obvious: be a fighter, rogue, or wizard instead. But what about characters who just want to dance (or sing, or orate, or whatever)? Enter the showstopper, a performance-based bard who forgoes scholarly knowledge in order to absolutely blow everyone’s mind with performance.
New Bard Archetype
Part virtuoso, part magician, part thespian, the showstopper is the ultimate performer. He goes well outside of the normal realms of possibility to provide the best possible performance. This has the effect of making the showstopper not only a true master of the performing arts, but also allows him to enhance his already potent bardic performance abilities.
A showstopper is less skilled than a typical bard. A showstopper’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
The following are class features of the showstopper.
Stage Weapons (Ex): A showstopper is well-versed in flashy weapons of the stage, but not skilled with weapons uncommon to performance. Beginning at 1st level, he suffers a -1 penalty to all attack rolls with ranged weapons, as well as any weapon which deals bludgeoning damage.
Street Magic (Sp): A showstopper is an expert in casting showy spells, but is less familiar with other forms of magic. Beginning at 1st level, he treats his caster level as being 1 higher than it actually is for the purposes of illusion spells he casts, as well as spells he casts with the sonic descriptor, but he treats his caster level as being one lower than it actually is for the purposes of all other spells. This ability has no effect on spells cast from scrolls, wands, staves, or other magic items.
Master Performer (Ex): A showstopper is an expert at all forms of performance. At 1st level, he gains a bonus on all Perform skill checks equal to 1/2 his bard level, rounded down. Additionally, he gains twice the normal bonus to Perform checks when using a masterwork instrument or a magical instrument that provides a bonus to Perform checks.
This ability replaces the bardic knowledge class feature.
Inspirational Performance (Ex): A showstopper is able to inspire others, bolstering their hearts and spirits with an exceptional performance. Beginning at 2nd level, a showstopper may choose to initiate a bardic performance as a full-round action instead of normal type of action it would require. If he does, he may make a special Perform check (DC 20). If he succeeds on this check, any morale bonuses granted by his bardic performance are increased by +2. Beginning at 7th level, he may initiate a performance in this way as a standard action. Beginning at 13th level, he can initiate a performance in this way as a move action. If he fails this check, the performance occurs as normal with no additional bonus.
This ability replaces the versatile performer class feature.
Masterful Performance (Ex): A showstopper is capable of performing a truly expert performance, delivering it with such precision and mastery that lesser performers could never hope to compare. Beginning at 5th level, while using a bardic performance that grants a morale bonus to one or more characters, a showstopper can make a special Perform check (DC 25) as a full-round action. If this check is successful, the competence bonus granted by the showstopper’s bardic performance is increased by +1. This increase lasts for as long as the bardic performance continues to grant the morale bonus. At 7th level, he may make this Perform check as a standard action, and at 13th level, he can make the Perform check as a move action. At 11th level, the amount by which the morale bonus is increased becomes +2. Failure on the Perform check means that the bardic performance’s morale bonus is unaltered.
This ability replaces the lore master class feature.
Stop the Show (Ex): The height of the showstopper’s talent allows him to use his truly masterful performances in order to strike the emotions of other creatures so that they have extreme difficulty resisting his performances. Beginning at 10th level, whenever a showstopper starts a bardic performance, he may choose to do so as a full-round action, instead of the normal type of action required to do so. If he does, he may make a Perform check (DC 30). Success on this check indicates that the saving throw DC of the bardic performance is increased by +2. Failure on this Perform check indicates that the saving throw DC of the bardic performance is unaltered.
This ability replaces the jack of all trades class feature.