SRD Apocrypha: Bardic College of Lore

Our Bukana roleplaying setting is being published using the Open Game License (see below) provided by Wizards of the Coast, makers of the Dungeons & Dragons RPG. This allows us to use the core rules of Fifth Edition (5e) without using any of their settings or brands. Under the license, we are allowed to use those rules that they provide in the System Reference Document. In there are all of the classic “Races” and Classes that players of 5e are all too familiar with. Many of those rules will be reprinted in our core rulebooks after we launch our Kickstarter in 2021. Our rulebooks will have A LOT of new content including forty (yes, 40!) new sub-classes, as well as new rules & modifications. We want to minimize the amount of redundant information between the 5e core and our own rules. However, we also hope that Bukana will bring in new players and those not familiar with the 5e rules, so we do want to provide those folks with the player options that won’t be in our core book, but are relevant to our setting.

See our previous article about the Paladin Oath of Devotion. You may also recognize the Vanara, Gautam from our Bukana Illustrated: Pongo article. Check out the first draft rules for our new Barbarian and Bard Subclasses too.

artwork: Darwind, India

Gautam, Seeker of the Sacred Truth

Gautam had lived quite the unassuming life. Born to a middle-class troupe in a safe suburb of the capital of a small nation near Bhodan. Always curious, he trained as a librarian with the Pahli-Cha Church and became assistant to the chief lorekeeper of a small shrine. He was content.

That all changed when a traveler, wounded and fading, pressed an ancient scroll into his hand. her dying words: “Find the works of the old men” meant nothing to Gautam. Upon deciphering the text, the young Vanara soon found himself immersed in obscure documents and prophecies that spoke of primordial evils set to return to the mortal world. He set out to learn more and now his quest has brought him to the jungles of Bukana.

Bardic College:

College of Lore (Mananalaysay)

Bards of the College of Lore know something about most things, collecting bits of knowledge from sources as diverse as scholarly tomes and peasant tales. The college’s members gather in libraries and sometimes in actual colleges, complete with classrooms and dormitories, to share their lore with one another. They also meet at festivals or affairs of state.

  Bards of the College of Lore are researchers without equal. The indigenous cultures of Bukana rely on a vast oral tradition to preserve their stories and knowledge. However, the foreign religions brought to the islands have established impressive libraries in those barangays that have embraced them, each with an organization dedicated to their upkeep. These bards are almost always associated with an organized religion, or government. Between the relative scarcity of native practitioners and the many burdens of duty these lorekeepers bear, very few enter the adventuring life in Bukana. Prominent colleges that these bards belong to are listed below.

  In the Anggrephon Rajahnate, each Pahli-cha shrine and temple of adequate size houses a collection of documents and masters that pass on their secrets of enlightenment. Numerous colleges are supported by loosely-knit, but dedicated experts. Most of these attendants are lay-people, monks, or wizards. However, those bards tasked with maintenance and preservation of the collections are often members of the College of Lore. 

  In the Amethyst Sultanates, bards of this college are more numerous. Many colleges exist that serve various deities, as well as the staggering legal libraries that the Church maintains. The bards spend countless hours assisting the clerics, monks, and wizards as experts in the courts and Ascension Councils whose mission is to determine whether or not newly encountered deities are, in fact, aspects of the One.

  The last of the Bukanese nations that utilize significant numbers of bards of this college is the Vanuwa Wangdom. Little more than a puppet state of Yudiguo, this tiny nation houses a library within its shadowy Inner City compound. Though small, this archive collects many obscure texts of arcane lore. Access is granted only to members of the Word Ministry and select scholars of approved bardic colleges.

Colleges of Bukana

The Six-Fold Brotherhood is largely composed of monks and clerics of the Path of Sacred Truth who are supported by bards of this college. Its duty is to maintain and catelogue the disparate resources scattered across the many smaller shrines and temples of the Pahli-cha faith in the islands.

  The Barrister University trains and deploys many advocates within the labyrinthine legal courts of the Amethyst Church and Sultanate. Its many bards of the college of lore spend their days and nights poring over obscure legal precedence and relaying their findings to judge tribunals.

The Most Elite Counsel of the Divine Court (or ‘the Counsels’ for short) serve the clerics and magistrates of Vanuwa. In addition to preserving the occult library, these bards act as assistants to the nobles and magistrates of their nation, often swearing oaths of service to their lords.

College of Lore Features

Bonus Proficiencies 

When you join the College of Lore at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with three skills of your choice. 

Cutting Words 

Also at 3rd level, you learn how to use your wit to distract, confuse, and otherwise sap the confidence and competence of others. When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll, you can use your reaction to expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a Bardic Inspiration die and subtracting the number rolled from the creature’s roll. You can choose to use this feature after the creature makes its roll, but before the GM determines whether the attack roll or ability check succeeds or fails, or before the creature deals its damage. The creature is immune if it can’t hear you or if it’s immune to being charmed. 

Additional Magical Secrets 

At 6th level, you learn two spells of your choice from any class. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip. The chosen spells count as bard spells for you but don’t count against the number of bard spells you know. 

Peerless Skill 

Starting at 14th level, when you make an ability check, you can expend one use of Bardic Inspiration. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to your ability check. You can choose to do so after you roll the die for the ability check, but before the GM tells you whether you succeed or fail.

New Feat

Our setting will include new rules for making certain skill checks as Rote.

Expert Researcher

Prerequisite: Bard of the College of Lore. Charisma score of 14 or more.  

  Increase your Intelligence and Wisdom scores by +1 each to a maximum of 20.

  When you have access to a library or collection of texts that the GM determines is of sufficient size and nature, you may make Arcana, History, Investigation, & Religion skill checks as Rote* when researching.

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