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Old Screeds

Review 3: 2E Liontaur Bards [1 April 05] Review of a Second Edition Wemic Bard Character.

Last week I wrote about liontaur bards in the Third Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Well, just over a month ago, my online friend Jason asked me to look over his Second Edition wemic bard. I've ignored him horribly, but I hope to make amends by talking about his character. Plus it fits in the liontaur bard theme from last week.

Jason has put his character online, as well as other info about his Triathan campaign. He used my variant rules for Second Edition Wemic Bards in creating his character.

Gosh, I've been focused on the third edition of the game for so long, it is hard to wrap my head around the old rules! I hardly remember creating my variant. But I have to say, Jason has done a great job making a character, named Chorr’khragh, with those old rules. Let me comment on a few high points.

I like the layout of the character sheet -- everything is easy to find at a glance. The same format is used for the other characters in the game. Interesting that there are three women among the eight players, one a centaur ranger. I'm looking forward to seeing more content added by Jason as the campaign progresses.

But back to Chorr’khragh. I especially love the bard's instrument -- claves. For those who never heard of these, the Wikipedia entry is a start, and for pictures, check out this page. These are perfect for a wemic bard. They seem primitive, unlike, say, a mandolin. They are portable, perfect for adventuring. They leave the mouth free for singing or spell casting. Unlike, say, a horn, claves do require two hands, so you have to put down your shield to use them.

I also really like the description of the character (click on the name, in green, to see that). Jason takes a couple of my ideas, like beads braided into the mane, and really expands upon them. Chorr’khragh's appearance is meticulously detailed -- no surprise from a writer.

I also like Chorr’khragh's history and background, which Jason sent me via e-mail but has not put online yet. The wemic was sent by the leader of his pride to seek military aid; that could lead Chorr’khragh to bring his party to the wemic lands, just in time for the bard to learn wemic bardic magic from his old teachers (2E bards are unable to cast spells until they reach second level).

Let me pick a few nits, despite being poorly served by my execrable memory and lack of access to the Second Edition rules. But with only a 10 Strength, Chorr’khragh won't be able to carry a lot. It might be a good idea to detail his carrying capacity and the weight of his gear. The combat section mentions Great Club, but I don't see that on the inventory. Also, don't first level bards get a certain number of points to devote to "thief" skills? Maybe 30? I'm not seeing that on the sheet. I'm also not seeing Move Silently listed among the skills, although it is mentioned under Dexterity. These are just nits, though, and easily remedied, if I'm even remembering the rules correctly.

One final suggestion, since I am naturally full of myself. But since the character uses my variant 2E wemic bard rules, how's about a link back to that page on my site -- just for ease of reference, of course! :-)

Overall, a very fine job. Hey, this is sounding like a review! Well, then ...

Review: Like I said, a fine job. Rules mastery seems quite competent. Description is definitely superlative. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the wemic after he gains a few levels. Add the history I know Jason is working on, and we'll be looking at a great character. Until then, I rate Chorr’khragh at three paws and a pounce. Nice job, Jason!

Explanation of ratings:

  • One Paw: Broken, badly flawed, may damage your game. Discard.
  • Two Paws: Flawed but not dangerous. May have a good idea or two. Not worth buying or downloading.
  • Three Paws: Excellent ideas despite slight flaws. Good value.
  • Four Paws: Essential and recommended. Seek this out. Use it!
  • With a Lick: Slight or inconsequential feline/wemic content.
  • With a Pounce: Significant feline/wemic content.

Feedback! In early April, Jason sent me a review of my review of his character! And -- wowsy -- he had some great points to make. Thanks, Jason!

Most interestingly, Jason asks what other instruments would suit a traditional wemic bard. Well, brass instruments are right out, since wemics have not mastered metallurgy. Horns made from horn would be fine. Also flutes and recorders carved from bone and wood. Drums are also a good choice, along with unusual percussion instruments like Jason's suggestion of the claves. How about string instruments? I'm just not sure they could be made without metal tools. And of course, voices are the finest wemic instruments.

More info [12 July 05] Jason has pointed me at a game log of the first adventure of his wemic bard character. But how odd! The links to his PC sheet and campaign info (above) are broken. Huh. I'll have to have a word with that fellow.

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