• Justin Handlin

D&D: Bard College of Percussion

Bard Playing Drums Justin of Crit Academy looking excited

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Bard College of Percussion for Dungeons & Dragons

Best-selling Dmsguild author Chan Lensch joins us to share a bit about his work and talk with us about his passion project the Bard College of Percussion.

The bards of percussion manipulate the emotions of those around them. They are excellent communicators, know the hearts of those around them, and are in tune with their surroundings whether on or off the battlefield.

The bards of the college of percussion are popular in the large armies of nobles and kings, as well as the humble war-bands of barbarian tribes and other savages. This shows that the percussive arts speak to all, regardless of their station and rank.

Oh, did we mention that it comes with a fleshed-out faction? Bonus! There are some pretty cool backgrounds, subclasses and not to mention the great detail on instruments in here. The backgrounds really intrigued me. One thing really caught my eye is in the background. There is street musician, military drummer, but the one I’m most interested in is the shaman. This is the first time we’ve seen a functional mechanical feature for a background (that I can think of). What interested to know what drove this decision. This certainly invites more power to backgrounds, but is that a bad thing? You can decide and share your thoughts during the live show.

Inside this product has packed a lot of awesome into this slamming project.

  • 2 New Bard Colleges

  • 3 Unique Backgrounds

  • 17 Percussion Instruments

  • A Unique Faction: Seekers of Kurtulmak

  • A Lair and Short Adventure

  • 3 NPC Percussionists

  • 12 Original Magical Percussion Instruments

Join us on youtube live as we walk through this fantastic product and the great detail that went into it. If you love bards, this is an absolute must-have supplement!

Related Article: Bard College: War Chanter

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Unearthed Tips and Tricks

Character Concept: (Bard College of Percussion)

Rubblemuck Ug’draang, Kobold Bard

Description: Rubblemuck stands just over three feet tall with robes that are too large for stature. Around his neck is a large necklace with a hand carving of Kurtulmak on it. His long reptilian snout ends with two large broken fangs.

Personality: Rubblemuck is a fanatical supporter of Kurtulmak, and a self-proclaimed prophet. He carries himself as an elite, and expects people to be impressed by him.

History: Rubblemuck is obsessed with his god, Kurtulmak. Rubblemuck left his home in search of a quiet place he could play his drums and worship in solitude. In his travels, he came across a hidden haven to call his new home. As he searched further inside, he came across an incredible find: a huge egg buried within the side of the mountain! Astonished by the spectacle, he surmised that this must be the egg of his god, Kurtulmak. Rubblemuck, proclaiming himself as the chosen prophet of Kurtulmak, convinced a group of foolish kobolds to follow him.

Motivation: His sole interest is completing his task of dig and release Kurtulmak. He has always been a “different” kind of kobold: he does not wish to cause anyone trouble! He only wants to find his god, and is even willing to do favors and pay (in gems) those who help him finish his quest.

Monster Variant: Janahri

Origin: Giant Hyena

Movement: 0 feet.

Damage Vulnerabilities Fire

Damage Resistances bludgeoning

Blindsight 60 feet. (blind beyond this radius)

Poisonous Body. Any creature that touches the janahri or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 3 (1d6) poison damage.

Toxic bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d6) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 minute. At the end of each of the poisoned target’s turns it must repeat the save, taking 3 (1d) poison damage on a failed save, or ending the effect on itself on a successful one.

Toxic Spit. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (4d4) poison damage.

Encounter: A Good Laugh

A local noble Anthony Falker is a man with a love for entertainment. His child-like enthusiasm has been said to be infectious. Anyone who meets with him quickly finds themselves in the throes of laughter. He is quick to throw light-hearted jovial jokes at anyone’s expense, even his own. He believes a good laugh is what the world needs to get through the tough times. Falker has put out job boards seeking any and all who believe they have the talent to put on an evening's event for his young daughter Alyssa for her sweet sixteen party. He has not put out any specific requirements for the performance, just that it be fun, entertaining, and most importantly, a great show for Alyssa and Falker’s guests.

Those who are interested are to report to the Falker estate to showcase their talents. The chosen performers will be awarded a moderate amount of coin, a bag of tricks, and earn the title of “Wonderful Falkers”. Anyone carrying this title gets priority to perform at any establishment within the region under his lordship. Additionally, dining and shelter at the establishment are covered by the big Falker himself.

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Magic Item: Pan of the Void (Bard College of Percussion)

Wondrous Item (handpan), very rare

(requires attunement)

This handpan is black as pitch and has the appearance of an empty void. The circumference of the drum is accented with a deep-purple band. When played, the notes have a perfectly clean pitch accompanied by an eerie, unnaturally rapid vibrato.

The pan has 8 charges. It regains 1d6+2 charges daily at dawn. If you expend the last charge, roll 1 d20. On a 1, the pan loses all its magic and becomes a normal instrument, albeit of superior quality.

While you play it, you can use an action to expend some of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it, using your spell save DC and casting ability: darkness (1 charge), blindness/deafness (1 charges), ray of enfeeblement (1 charge), vampiric touch (2 charges).


This item is cursed by Shar, goddess of darkness, secrets, and lost memories. You feel compelled to forget your past experiences, and also gain the flaw, “It is a relief to forget what happened in the past.”

Every time you play the instrument, the pan of the void attempts to pierce your mind with the horrific forgotten memories of others stored inside. Roll a 1d6; on the result of a 1, you must roll on the Short-Term Madness Table (DMG Chapter 8), and apply that effect. You can’t play the pan until the madness effect is removed.

Dungeon Master Tip: Holy Sites in your Stories and Campaigns

Places of power testify to the glory of bygone eras, hinting at wisdom lost in the ebb and flow of history’s tides. Long after belief and cultures are gone, their great works remain. Leaving a landmark for generations to come.

Such is the allure of a holy site. Those who seek knowledge or a touch of wanderlust, consider pilgrimages to great wonders as part of their education. It is well known that travels to holy or mystical locations can often reveal the untapped potential within those who accept the journey to such sites.

Holy sites are a great way to lean into the lore of particular cultures or deities of your campaign world. This doesn’t have to be a significant event or point of interest the characters visit, though it can be. Instead, consider it more in passing. The characters wander through a town and bump into an NPC on their pilgrimage to the holy site. They could meet on the street, in a temple or even the tavern. Simply learning they are traveling to the “Stone of Tyr” to seek courage before joining into military service or some such. A simple line like this can hook the players who are interested in the lore and allow you to explain to them a bit of the world, through an NPC they took interest in. But, be careful to keep it a conversion and not a lore dump or your player’s eyes will glaze over.

Player Tip: Roleplaying a Scoundrel (Dragon Magazine 386)

A scoundrel is a personality type—a way of playing the character, not a specific class. It’s easy to equate the rogue with the scoundrel instinctively, and indeed the rogue is one of the classes best suited to that archetype—but it’s far from the only one. Bards, warlocks, fighters, and wizards can all make fantastic scoundrels, but you can play any class as such, even if perhaps not as effectively from a mechanics perspective. In the traditional D&D campaign, humans, half-elves, halflings, tieflings, and changelings are most likely to produce scoundrels, but again, such a character can come from any race.

Playing a scoundrel is not an excuse to be disruptive to the campaign, or to be a jerk to your fellow players. Obviously, it can have an impact, just like choosing to play any sort of character has an impact. You’re probably sarcastic, and you might get the party in trouble more often than anyone else by taking unnecessary risks or mouthing off to the wrong nonplayer character. But you should make this behavior an occasional trait, not a defining characteristic. D&D is a cooperative game, and the fact that you’re playing a scoundrel doesn’t alter the cooperative nature of the game. It’s not a license to lie to or betray the other characters, nor to insist that your own social skills influence their behavior.

RPG Phatloot Giveaway: Bard College of Percussion by Chad Lensch

Winner: Gamefreak0155

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