Ruins of Adventure
- Races: Dwarf
- Sub-Classes: Bard
- Ability Requirements: Fitness 13
- Alignments: Any
- Starting Cash: By class
- Weapon Slots: By class
- Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
- Required Weapon Proficiencies: none
- Allowed Weapons: Any Bludgeoning weapon, Spears group
- Allowed Armors: Banded Mail or lighter, no shields
- Non-weapon Slots: By class
- Available Categories: By class, plus Craft
- Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Crowd Working, Chanting, Time Sense
- Required Proficiencies: None
- Recommended Proficiencies: Ancient History, Appraising, Armorer, Blacksmithing, Cobbling, Craft Instrument, Drinking, Dwarf History, Dwarf Runes, Engineering, Fasting, Folklore, Gem Cutting, Languages (ancient), Languages (modern), Local History, Metalworking, Mining, Mountaineering, Poetry, Pottery, Signaling, Slow Respiration, Sound Analysis, Stonemasonry, Weaponsmithing.
- Forbidden Proficiencies: none
Overview: Many times have other races attempted to analyze the phenomenal success of the dwarven race; their uncanny ability to survive incredible hardship, their dogged nature, the immense amount of work they perform, and their successful military campaigns. Always the analysis comes up short.
Much of the success of the dwarven race can be attributed to their Chanters. Throughout the ages, these special dwarves have passed along the secrets of their kind. They have learned the many mining, forging, marching, and war chants of their elders. Other races dismiss these chants as simple entertainment, but it is the power of the dwarven Chanter that has built the steel in the dwarven spine. If a skilled Chanter is present, dwarves can mine through solid granite for months without growing bored or lax.
Some chants are purely vocal, but many require the use of a percussion instrument to keep the rhythm steady. Chanters often employ drums, gongs, gourds, and so on.
Description: Chanters look very much like the stereotypical dwarf with long beards, metal jewelry, heavy armor, and heavy blunt weapons. This typical dwarven look is typically augmented by some percussion instrument to aid in their job as timekeepers.
Role-Playing: The secret of chanting has been kept hidden from outsiders. Thus, Chanters are heavily guarded and highly regarded within the dwarven kingdom. Of all dwarven organizations, the Chanter’s College is one of the most powerful. Even kings have been overruled in the past by mighty Chanters threatening to cease their rhythmic songs. Without the Chanters, the dwarven communities would slow to a crawl and their underworld enemies would push them from their homes.
Adventuring Chanters are a great boon to any party and are even more useful in large-scale battles. They are the pace-setters and the very heartbeat of those around them.
- Counter Chant: Like all dwarven demi-bards, dwarven Chanters gain the counter spell ability. In order to counter a spell, a Chanter must voice the proper counter chant. In addition to the typical counter spell ability, Chanters can actually “attack” certain spells. A Chanter can walk up to a wall of force or other ongoing magical effect (assuming he has previously learned the spell), begin counter chanting, and if he succeeds with his “chance to learn spells” roll, he actually cancels the entire spell for a number of rounds equal to his level. If the roll is equal to or less than the dwarf’s level, the cancellation is permanent.
- War Chant: Dwarven war chants are legendary. There is nothing quite so powerful and terrifying as watching a mass of heavily armed and grim-looking dwarves advancing and chanting. Their deep voices, all booming in unison, often destroy enemy morale and put fear into the heart of many a brave foe.
When a Chanter starts a war chant, he can affect up to ten dwarves per level or one non-dwarf per level. To be affected, the recipients must join in the chant (it doesn’t matter if they have ever heard it or not). After 1d10 rounds of chanting, the power of the chant begins to take effect. A chanting band gains a -1 bonus to initiative, a +2 bonus to resist surprise, and a +2 bonus to all morale checks. Those combating a chanting group suffer a +1 initiative penalty and a -2 penalty to all morale checks. The bonuses for a member of the Chanter’s party last for as long as both the individual and the Chanter are chanting; the penalties for the opponents last as long as the Chanter keeps up the chant.
- Timing Chant: The real power of the Chanter is the numerous timing chants he knows. These chants function similarly to war chants in that they take 1d10 rounds to take effect, and last while both the Chanter and affected are chanting. But the results are quite different.
There are four common timing chants: one each for mining, forging, marching, and general labor. The purpose of each chant is to increase productivity, soothe the mind, prevent boredom, stave off sleep, and support resolve. All timing chants must be accompanied by a percussion instrument.
Timing chants by Chanters increase speed or production by 5% per level of the Chanter. Of course, such rapid work does take a physical toll, even if the mind is willing. Each hour that a person works under the effects of a timing chant, he must roll a Fitness check. A failed check results in the loss of 1d4 hit points. This damage is temporary and is recoverable at the rate of 1 point per hour of rest or sleep. Anyone reduced to 0 hit points in this way falls over from exhaustion; death results unless a System Shock roll succeeds.
- Trance: Obviously, if a mining crew’s Chanter falls over from lack of sleep or exhaustion, the timing chant will cease. For this reason, Chanters have learned to place themselves into a self-induced trance. This takes 1d10 turns of uninterrupted meditation, during which the Chanter grumbles the words to some ancient meditative script. Once in a trance state, the Chanter will begin some set activity: chanting, combat, marching, working, studying, etc.
The trance state causes the Chanter to shut down all of his being (mind and body) that is not needed for the activity at hand. An entranced Chanter can maintain this set activity until a predetermined circumstance occurs. For example, the Chanter may have said to himself, “Awake when there are no more goblins on the field of battle,” “Awake when we reach the Kingdom of Thorbardin,” or “Awake after 1,000 strikes of the great drum.”
Trances are not lightly entered, as they are very dangerous to the character. During a trance state, the Chanter does not drink, eat, rest, or sleep. Every time that one of these activities should normally occur, the entranced Chanter must roll a Health check. A failed check results in the loss of hit points: 1d8 for drink, 1d3 for food, 1d4 for rest, and 1d8 for sleep. Furthermore, the only known way to interrupt a trance before the predetermined circumstance occurs is to reduce the Chanter to 0 hit points (i.e., knock him unconscious or kill him).
Damage resulting from food and water deprivation must be healed as if it were combat damage, but damage resulting from lack of rest or sleep is temporary and can be regained at the rate of 1 point per hour of rest or sleep. If reduced to 0 hit points by sleep or rest deprivation, the entranced Chanter falls unconscious; death results unless a System Shock roll succeeds. However, if all damage is a result of food and water deprivation, the Chanter dies regardless.
- Dwarven Chanters do not gain the normal Bard ability to Rally Allies. This talent is replaced by the dwarven war chant.
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