Context: This is our third session, and our party consists of a Drow Druid, a Human Sorceress, a Tiefling Bard (me) and a Grey Elf Druid. Our previous shopping adventures resulted in the Elf Druid picking up a lacey pink parasol, complete with ethereal spider pals. We have just returned to Waterdeep, and are looking around the markets there. Eventually we decide to pop in at an Apothecary shop.
Human Sorceress (OOC): Okay, but is there a fancy apothecary shop, or are they all, like, some run down potion shop?
DM: There is Jim’s Apothecary, and down the street, you see Jimbob’s Fantasical Amazing Apothecary. It is clearly high end.
HS: Let’s go to that one. Jimbob’s Amazingly Fantastical Apothecary.
The party follows. Immediately, the Sorceress takes the shopkeep aside and is looking for something secretive. The DM and player literally leave the room. They return, exchange a potion for a good bit of silver, and the shopkeep finally turns his attention to the rest of us asks if he can help anyone else.
Tiefling Bard: You got any free samples?
The table bursts out laughing. The DM looks surprised.
Elf Druid (OOC): Oh my god…
TB: What? I like free samples.
The shopkeep gives my character a quicksilver worm that dissolves and exudes a flowery fragrance within 30 ft of my character for literally 12 hours. Amazing. He is thrilled!
Drow Druid, who has only just recovered from being black out drunk: You got anything else for free?
Shopkeep, side-eyeing her: You look like you could use this.
He gives her what the DM defines as the “magical equivalent to 5-hour energy” and she gets +1 to initiative in addition to her hangover being removed. The potion is however, ridiculously priced, and our party absolutely learned to ask for free samples everywhere we go now.
Context: We were hiding out in this dead guy’s house trying to figure out what we should do. One of the guys we were fighting claimed he was forced to fight otherwise they’d kill his father. Our swashbuckler went into the kitchen with him to seduce him. The DM and player did a quick private session. We then heard a crash and rushed in to the swashbuckler bleeding and the window broken.
Bard: What in the name of Cayden Cailean happened here?
Swashbuckler: Look, York is a liar and stabbed me. I bet he doesn’t even have a dad!
I took my ADHD meds for the first time this morning. The psychiatrist said they should take an hour to take effect, then let me focus for five hours after that. I took them four hours ago, and in those four hours I have completed a school writing assignment, read a novel for school, and studied some old Japanese vocab. I don’t feel dramatically different, I’m just…. doing stuff. Before noon. Not even the day it’s due.
It’s weird that you can go your whole life trying to cajole yourself into doing things, and then you make a call to an office where somebody has you briefly explain your problems and go through a two-minute symptom checklist, and then you go pick up some tablets at the pharmacy, and then you do things and it doesn’t hurt at all and you don’t feel the need to pace around the room after ten minutes and multiple things are done and you didn’t have to berate yourself once.
It’s weird that this has existed my whole life, and that nobody thought to tell me about it until I got to college and was in danger of being kicked out.
I might be having a really good day anyway. The meds might not work forever. It might be part placebo effect even though this morning I had to psych myself up for ten minutes before taking them because I was so scared that absolutely nothing would happen and maybe that would prove I actually don’t have any problems and have been faking this whole time and am just a horribly weak person who expects all battles to be won without any hardship or difficulty.
It’s not always going to be this easy. I realize that. The old problems can always come back with a vengeance later, and when they do, I can break out my old tools and survive using all the skills and abilities that have gotten me this far.
But it’s easy today. And right now I feel like I can definitely study Japanese for a little bit longer, so that’s what I’m going to do.
My Thesis Film for animation course I attended this year. It’s a short origin story for my roleplaying character, tiefling bard Izku. It was quite a blast working on this project and I hope you will enjoy it.
Music I used are “Teller of Tales” “Riptide” “Double Drift” “DD Groovy” “ Sure You Can” “Crowd Hammer” and “Nonstop” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Special thanks to Mark Ståhle, Sanna Väätänen and Heikki Korva, who all gave me some excellent advice along the way.
At long last we are ready to share One Line with you all.
This is a song about a bard. If you aren’t into epic DnD tales, you can think of it as being about a high-flying person who has it all but the one thing they really wish for. ‘One line’ refers to the fact that they only have one string to their bow - in the case of this particular character, that is their music.
If you do enjoy an epic role-playing story or two then you might like to know that this is a song about a character from a character. The lyrics were written shortly after the demise of my late bard Archer il Viren (who the song refers to) and are from the point of view of my other character Lilta. Archer played electric guitar, in a place where there wasn’t really any such thing as an electric guitar. He used cutting words, glamour and wit to make his way. He made a deep impression on most people. Everyone but one. When you hear the epic guitar solos in One Line, know that Archer is playing to you from beyond the grave. If you listen carefully towards the end you might even hear him sing. Lilta plays bass, and you will hear his mournful solo before the bridge.
The following is a eulogy I wrote in Lilta’s hand. The music he makes at the end would undoubtedly be this song, One Line. Though my voice is a poor conduit, it is Lilta that sings this song of admiration and sadness.
He flew through our lives like a shooting star and was gone. If of anyone, the words ‘live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful memory’ were an apt description, it was Archer il Viren. Though he harassed me, rejected me, scorned me, and tortured me, and then left me this guitar to keep on doing all those things for him after he was gone, I will miss Archer every day that I live. He lived in a blaze of willful thought, ever in battle against his heart. When I first met Archer, he was running away from home. I said to him, ‘What is there at home that has made you leave?’ and he told me, ‘Rais is at home, and I am going to get free of her. I am going to find someone else and go far away with them.’ And then next thing I knew, that someone else turned out to be my girlfriend Yaule, and the two of them disappeared off into the sunset.
You might wonder why I loved Archer, after all that. I can’t explain it. It cannot be understood in words, what that man was. But perhaps it can be explained, as he would have explained it, in music. I think he made himself that way, because music was his soul, and he wanted it to be ours too. Perhaps if we listen hard enough, he will play to us still.
Kilarbi, lend me your soul in this hour, that I might find in my heart music worthy of preserving Archer’s memory.
The “useless bard” meme is so weird to me. In purely game-mechanical terms, the Dungeons & Dragons bard class has ranged from “a solid B tier” to “grotesquely overpowered” throughout the game’s history, but the one thing it’s never been is useless. It’s like its reputation is based on a purely hypothetical version of the class - one that does nothing but stand around singing - that’s never actually existed in any published iteration of the game.
Bard: I roll for deception and then strength
DM: You dont really need deception here but sure I guess
Bard: *gets a 20 on Deception and then gets a 3 for strength* Oh cool, I got twenties for both!
DM: Excuse me? That’s not-
Bard: I never explicitly said WHO I was deceiving
*The ensuing argument lasted way longer than needed*