Both of my ongoing campaigns ended within the last few weeks, and we’re a few weeks away from starting the next ones. I don’t have a campaign to work on for what feels like the first time in years. It’s a weird sensation. I don’t think I like it.
But as long as I’m suffering under the burden of free time, I might as well add some of the themes I’ve been kicking around but never got a chance to write.
You base your life around performance. You eat, sleep, and live the show, and nothing thrills you like having an audience in the palm of your hand. Whether your lute gives injured listeners the peace they need in trying times, your caustic oration spurs an army to overthrow their kind if ineffective king, or your dance attracts legions of followers to obey your every whim, you’re only truly happy in the limelight. Other may dismiss you as a distraction at best and a meaningless frivolity at worst, but you know emotions are the strongest forces there are, and you manipulate them at will.
Theme Skills: Diplomacy, Linguistics, Perform (any), Sense Motive
Theme Feats: Endurance, Iron Will, Leadership, Throw Anything, Weapon Finesse
Novice Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 3rd tier.
- One of the entertainer’s rivals is accusing him or her of plagiarism. Worse, it seems like the rival actually is acting first, creating performances the entertainer mimics days later. Whether they are stealing the entertainer’s notes, they are receiving visions from a precognitive muse, or it’s simply dumb luck, the entertainer won’t gain any new fans with this spectre hanging over their head.
- Two or more groups of performers are preparing for a battle of the bands to end their long-standing rivalry once and for all. The competition has been especially heated, including allegations of theft, sabotage, and harassment. If the situation doesn’t improve, the concert is sure to end in violence, and there is a good chance every performer will be either exiled or jailed, to say nothing of what the fans in attendance might do or how this will affect the reputation of performers everywhere.
Expert Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 6th tier.
- The entertainer is beset by their self-proclaimed number-one fan, who has decided to take their adoration of the entertainer to the next level, trailing him or her as some combination of lackey, manager, and worshipper. Their actions cause more harm than good, especially in dangerous situations, and the entertainer has to dissuade the fan without causing harm to them or turning them off completely—the only thing worse than a rabid fan is a rabid detractor.
- A certain city is known for its high number of skilled performers, attracting travelers and tourists the world over. It’s said that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, and performers wear their successes in the city like a badge of honor. Competition for venues, audience, and promotion is furious, but if the entertainer can gain deliver a single truly impressive performance to the jaded locals, he or she can write their own ticket anywhere else.
Advanced Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 9th tier.
- The entertainer is summoned to a royal court on one of the Outer Planes for a private show. The members of the court have a reputation for great power and influence, but also great eccentricity, and they are not willing to let the entertainer leave. This may be the court trying to monopolize the entertainer, they may be auditioning him or her for a position within the court, or the entertainer may be unknowingly preventing a horrible fate with their performance. In any case, it is clear that the consequences for trying to leave will be dire, far-reaching, and immediate.
- There is a legend of a famous piece of performance art: a song that moves all listeners to tears, a joke that could make a statue laugh, or a speech that rouses even the most lethargic soul to action. The entertainer hears of its teacher, a mysterious figure who appears only once a decade, but they will only give it to one person. The danger isn’t just in the race, but in being the winner, as there are many who would rather nobody have the power than let it belong to an enemy.
Legendary Quest: There is a city without emotion. Its leadership outlawed not only emotional displays, but the act of having feelings at all, and they have the magic to enforce it. There is no love for family, no anger at injustice, and no sadness at death. Anything that attempts to evoke emotion is considered a dangerous act of subversiveness. But even worse, since the law was enacted, the city has run alarmingly well, almost free of crime and totally free of unrest. The experiment works so well that the government is looking to expand, covering an entire continent with their magic as a gift to the world. As far as they’re concerned performance isn’t just hurtful, it’s evil, and they’re ready to prove it on a global scale.
Center of Attention (Ex): The more eyes there are on you, the better you perform. You gain a +2 theme bonus to AC and saving throws when you are adjacent to three or more enemies.
Deeper Meaning (Sp): You can cast detect thoughts at will as a spell-like ability, but you can only detect creatures who are performing. The DC for this ability is Charisma-based and its caster level is equal to twice your theme tier. You must be at least 7th tier before selecting this ability.
Derivative (Ex): You have no respect for a performer who only has one trick. When an enemy uses a combat maneuver against you, you gain a bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense. That bonus is equal to twice the number of times you have seen that enemy perform the same combat maneuver during the combat, to a maximum of your theme tier. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the practice makes perfect ability before selecting this ability.
Practice Makes Perfect (Ex): You learn by doing, even in the middle of battle. When you use a combat maneuver during combat, you gain a theme bonus to your combat maneuver check. This bonus is equal to the number of times you have succeeded on that combat maneuver during that combat, to a maximum of half your theme tier.
The Principle is the Same (Ex): A tune is a tune no matter how you create it. Choose one of the following skills: Perform (keyboard instruments), Perform (percussion instruments), Perform (string instruments), Perform (wind instruments). You can use your bonus in that skill in place of your bonus in the other three skills.
The Show Must Go On (Ex): Your dedication to your performance often comes at the expense of your attention later. When you make a saving throw, as an immediate action you can gain a bonus on that saving throw equal to half your theme tier. If you do, you take a penalty equal to your theme tier on the next saving throw you make against a hostile or damaging effect.
This Reminds Me of a Song (Ex): You know a song, story, or joke appropriate to any situation. You can aid another to assist your ally’s skill check from a distance of 30 feet. Your ally must be able to hear you speak to gain this bonus.
Tug Heartstrings (Ex): Your performances hit harder than others’. Whenever you grant a morale bonus, that bonus increases by 1.
Yank Heartstrings (Ex): Add a +2 theme bonus to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against spells you cast with the emotion descriptor. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the tug heartstrings ability before selecting this ability.
Famous (Su): Rumors are growing of your power over your audience. At 4th tier, whenever you or one of your allies gains a morale bonus or penalty, as a free action you can transfer this bonus or penalty to yourself or to another ally. This removes the bonus from one target and gives it to the other. Both targets of this ability must be within 30 feet of you, they must be within 30 feet of each other, and they must be able to hear and understand you. You can use this ability three times per day. In addition, you gain a bonus to any Charisma-based skill checks you make when you are observed by 100 or more people. This bonus is equal to half your theme tier.
Renowned (Su): Even your enemies have to respect your skill. At 7th tier, as a move action three times per day you can transfer a morale bonus or penalty between any two creatures. This removes the bonus or penalty from one target and gives it to the other. Both targets of this ability must be within 30 feet of you, they must be within 30 feet of each other, and they must be able to hear and understand you. Also, your skill bonus from the famous ability doubles when you are observed by 1000 or more people.
Celebrated (Ex): Tales of your skill precede you, even across the planes. At 10th tier, skill checks made to learn about you automatically succeed. Creatures with an Intelligence score of 4 or more have a starting attitude toward you of friendly unless they have a reason to have a different attitude.