Gaming in the ‘Verse: The Bard

MUSIC: Eavesdown Docks by the Bedlam Bards as bed music.

“Gather round friends, as I sing you the tale of Mack-Jaw McKay’s daring raid upon the Alliance during the War of Unification, and how he gave voice to freedom!”
-Mack-Jaw Mckay, Bard of the Black

MUSIC: Fades out.

Out in the lonely Black is a ‘verse filled with harsh environments, ne’er-do-wells, and an oppressive government. From this arises a tradition that is said to originate from Earth-That-Was. Enter the Bard, a vagabond who travels the world of the Rim, making a living through entertainment and fun.

The Bard is a restless soul, never content to stay in one place for too long. They travel the Black, making money at what they love to do so well – perform. Bards have a variety of talents, acting as a jack-of-all trades. Many are musicians, proficient in a variety of instruments. Lute, guitar, harmonica, percussion, and keyboards are amongst the many instruments they know. They are also proficient singers as well. Musical styles are as varied as the culture of the ‘verse, blending styles. Country, rock, Celtic, jazz, and so forth come together to form interesting combinations. Folk music has seen a resurgence, especially among worlds along the Rim. Players would be advised to focus on skills involving entertainment.

MUSIC CLIP: River’s Jig (or other suitable music)

Bards may travel with a crew for a variety of reasons. Some will do so just for the thrill of traveling from world to world. Some like the air of danger that one might find out in the Black. Bards can look for inspiration in the daring tales of a crew, romanticizing their exploits. Some bards may even be legitimate performers who rent out a shuttle on a ship in order to have an air of freedom, yet still receive the benefits of flying with a longer-range ship.

Bards will often convey tales of heroism throughout their travels. The Unification War sprouted many tales on both sides of the line. Some may be localized in nature, as Jayne once found out.

MUSIC CLIP: Hero of Canton (Ballad of Jayne) – First few seconds.

Some Bards gain a sense of adventure singing a song they just know will rile up the wrong audience, such as when a Bard tells the tale of the heroic Browncoats and cowardly Alliance in an Alliance-sympathetic bar.

While a bard may perform mostly in bars and other similar dives, some take a high society approach. A crew with a fancified bard may use the bard as a distraction while they pull a job.

Game masters might introduce a group of traveling bards to their crew. Are the bards friends and just there for entertainment? Is it a front for something more sinister, such as a drug-smuggling ring? Do the heroes need to infiltrate the ship of the bards to retrieve stolen property?

There are many ways to approach the Bard in the ‘verse. This role provides a different sort of hero to play. Stay shiny, and sleep with one eye open.

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