Theory of Bardic Magic (book)

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The Theory of Bardic Magic

 by Kortny Horselord

The Bard guild is one of the oldest and newest guilds that grace the Realms. In its midst it hides teachers, singers, performers, and fighters, making it one of the most diverse collections of people around. In the following pages I will try to describe the theory behind what is bardic magic and how it works.

Magic is around us in many forms, such as the War Mage and his familiar as they walk by. It is in the Empath as she stops to heal a wound at her side. It is in the Moon Mage who is fashioning a gate from the magic of the moons and also in the Rangers, Paladins, Clerics, and the few Necromancers who walk the realms.

Let us pause a minute to examine the more common sources of magic and how the people who use it get the desired effect. The Cleric, whose power comes from his god, taps into that power with his prayers and rituals, and then focuses it with his will. The paladin, whose power also comes from his god, uses a combination of will and honor to focus his magic, and the kind Empaths, who can sense life in all things around them, then directs it to heal themselves and others. It is seen in the Ranger who also can tap into the forces of nature and beseech its help, the Moon Mage who can take the stellar forces and bend them to perform the tasks he needs, and the Warrior mage who takes hold of the five elements and twists them into his spells.

The question arises which of these magic's is the Bard's magic most like. The answer is none. A War Mage and a Bard share the same power source of elemental magic, but that is where their magic stops being alike. The War Mage draws the elements and forces those into his spells such at lighten bolt and swirling winds. The Bard draws on that source of magic but doesn't actually form that magic into physical manifestations. For example you will never see a bard direct fire with his magic, if the Bard does they are using a magical device or a scroll.

Many people who are impressed by large amounts of power focused at a single point see Bardic magic as weak. This is not true, more to the fact it is extremely powerful but diffused over a larger area. When a Bard starts to play "Hodierna's Lilt" that bard gives vitality to ALL the people in the sound of his/her voice. A bard playing Drums of the Snake will be able to help a Ranger climb, a locksmith pick a chest, and an Empath foraging for herbs all at the same time.

As we discussed before, most other types of magic use the will to bend the magic into a spell. A Bard's magic does not work that way though. A Bard's magic is due to "Resonance". Every thing in the world is linked to a certain sound. A high pitch note in a song can shatter crystal. A large thunderclap makes the shutters and doors rattle. A loud noise in snow areas can trigger an avalanche. Everything in the world is tied to sound. Even in the folk of the realms this is true, some sounds make us want to cry. Some make us think of happy times. Many believe (myself included) that the right sound could split the world.

During the time of repression by the Dragon Priests, we lost much of our magic and lore. Currently we only have twelve enchantes that we can use, though many are doing research and trying to contact other bards for lost lore. Hopefully, in the future more enchantes will be brought to light.

Hodierna's Lilt is an enchante that restores vitality and some also say fatigue. When a bard plays this enchante he/she reaches out and resonates with the life force in those around him/her. This resonance causes the life force to draw more to itself and thus the person listening is infused with this powerful force.

Faenella's Grace is an enchante that is really not magic so much as a cadence of speaking that allows the listener to remember what was said more easily. But there is a little magic that is used as the voice reaches tones and sounds that causes the student to relax and brings a clarity to the mind of the listener.

Eye of Kertigen is a little different in that when you first learn it, the enchante makes you more aware of what is going on around you. Eventually, when you reach a certain skill level in magic and your Guild Leader is confident in your abilities, he/she will show you a trick that will allow you to see into the shadows and also to see people who are invisible. This enchante fills the area with your song and makes you aware of people who are trying to hide. Most invisibility spells just bend light, which will fool the naked eye, but is not a defense against a probing sound. A note though, this enchante can be circumvented if the person is well-skilled and finds a good enough hiding place. So the enchante is not fool proof.

Rage of the Clans is the next enchante, and this one takes a chanted song and resonates against the rage in a person causing them to strike harder. Also there is a sub harmony to this enchante that actually helps you keep your balance better.

Redeemer's Pride takes a person's courage and fortifies it against unnatural fear.

Drums of the Snake is a popular enchante which heightens the senses, allowing you to see, hear, and feel more keenly. The end result is that skills that rely heavily on these abilities are increased.

Albreda's Balm is the opposite of Rage of the Clans. It reaches out to those you focus on and tries to resonate feelings of calmness and tranquillity. Some creatures do not have enough memories left of a time without strife for the music to resonate with. These creatures will be unaffected or maybe even enraged by the feelings that touch on their mind and leave unknown longings.

Meraud's Blessing is an enchante that effects all types of magic around the Bard, allowing that magic to be easier manipulated and possessed.

Nexus draws more magic into an area. It is interesting to note that this enchante will increase the magic available for all but Moon Mages. The elemental magic will increase the most.

Ellie's Cry is listed as an enchante but I am not sure it should be. There are two theories about how this enchante came into being. The first and less accepted is that it is not really an aspect of our magic but a gift from one of the gods for some service done. The second, and more widely accepted, is that even a ghostly bard can use his magic to call others. This idea has some weight in that ghosts are able to speak and thus project sound. Take note that since you are dead you are not able to use elemental magic that surrounds you, so you will be using your own life force to project the Cry. This is an enchante best used sparingly.

Demrris' Resolve, shown to us by the Prydaen, is one step towards reclaiming our ability to create and control illusion. This enchante seeks to burrow deep into minds of those who you concentrate on, sensing their fears. It then shapes an illusion of images and sounds that play on those fears. This enchante can be dangerous when tried on stronger minds and cause damage to yourself. This enchante is also physically draining and some testing should be made to see when it is prudent to use. Some creatures are immune to the effects.

Naming of Tears uses sound to fill the area around you, allowing you to sense movement and attacks before you see them. As a result it will allow you to defend better and is particularly effective against multiple opponents. Also by changing the pitch of the song you can make others in your group more aware of the battle going on around them. This enchante requires much concentration and effort so it may tire out the singing bard depending on his/her skills.

As the Bards regain lost skills and develop new ones, we will learn more about how our magic interacts with those around us and the world at large. The magic of our guild is unique and special so never under estimate the power of a bard in full song. Always remember that the true magic of a bard is in the ability to make a child smile, the rest is just how we survive in this dangerous world.