Instruments With Bards (Them Were The Days ... :) )

It was rarely played by my group (I don’t recall ever in fact) as it was an “evil” class only (in my campaign). (Along with the assassin class - yes that existed too!) And as my own group only ever player “good” alignment, then it never fitted in.

And actually, you are touching upon a very interesting subject now … after all, what makes you think playing a rogue is any better than playing a thief … or any PC that is otherwise playing an “evil” alignment? Where do you draw the line?

Actually the Thief class wasn’t evil. That was the Assassin class which was a sub class of thief. 2e completely got rid of the Assassin class when it came out.

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You are correct - Although I (as DM) stated the “thief” was also only “evil” in my campaign too. :slight_smile: I have updated my post to make this clearer. :slight_smile:

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Warcraft isn’t even as old as Niverwinter Nights 1.


Well a Rogue isn’t necessarily a thief, they can be lawful. When I first played NWN2, I thought the Rogue was just that, a thief, but now, I see that the Rogue is pretty much what you want him to be when it comes to skill. They don’t absorb damage like tanks, cast powerful spells like primary spellcasters, heal like healers, or know the hows about nature like hermits. But they know how to hit where it hurts and how to fill the gaps in the party when it’s not about combat, or even help out in combat in clever ways. They’re basically the resourceful class, moreso than Bards, who limit their resourcefulness with their magic.

Thieves are just thieves, chaotic people. Not necessarily evil, but that’s all there is to it… I think.

Warcraft 1 came out in 1994. NWN1 came out in 2002.

I’ll give you a chance to revise your statement.

I have to disagree with you here … unless you have no moral standing with respect to the act of theft?

What you call “chaotic”, I very much call “evil”. Describing “theft” as an amoral act and without action on the conscience is evil by definition.

And this is why the whole debate surrounding good/evil and the alignments becomes fascinating. For one needs to examine their own beliefs in real life to fully appreciate what they define as “evil”.

While it is (I suppose) a relative easy concept to interpret such actions as you do in a game, I find it hard (edit: impossible) to justify such when using the language you do … i.e. A “thief” is a person who “steals” and stealing is an evil act … unless your world redefines everything we currently know and understand … and then the world would become somewhat meaningless … and moving out of the realm of a “fantasy game” with any real substance … and into some “mad” place, where axioms mean nothing.

EDIT: And no circumstances can be argued to say theft can ever be considered a “good” thing. Even if you are starving, you cannot justify theft, but you may be able to argue a case for “righteous war” … or “righteous anger”, which may rebalance the actions of those that have food … who (hopefully if of good alignment), would freely give you said food required.

There is so much more that could be said here …

Warcraft v D&D(NWN): I think the main argument is that Warcraft came from (out of or after) a D&D environment, as did many later RPG’s. i.e. NWN is synonymous with D&D, which is older than Warcraft, which was a later game.

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OK, I have recoded the bard songs to work as follows when “wielding” instruments, with the following understanding:-

  1. An instrument’s value determines a base bonus figure, which the bonuses are calculated from. All bonuses use this figure, and I have removed any reliance on “level” as (a) this is already used in some of the songs and (b) I felt the difference was too great and imbalanced the song effect.

  2. Different songs require ownership of one of the three instruments currently available: drum, flute or lute (or any variant name thereof). Here follows a list of the instruments and how they affect the various songs. Currently, only the Haven Song can use any instrument, and all others require a specific instrument to gain the associated bonuses.

  3. The player PC need only have an instrument equipped and the code then automatically searches for the best appropriate valued instrument to allocate the bonus. If no instrument is equipped, then no bonuses are applied, and a reminder is given about the benefits of wielding an instrument. i.e. A player does not need to switch instruments if they have one equipped already and carry the one they need. It’s equipping is assumed.

  4. There are currently three values of instrument available per instrument:- 0-2500 will give a + 1 bonus variable, 2501-4500 will give a + 2 bonus variable, and > 4500 will give a + 3 bonus variable. (i.e. In the values below change a 1 value to 2 or 3 for the more expensive instruments where appropriate … or double/triple the value.):


  1. Song of Courage : + 1 ATT + 1 DAM
  2. Inspire Defence : + 1 AC
  3. Inspire Jarring : Penalties + 2 Disc + 1 Conc
  4. Inspire Toughness : + 1 Saves
  5. Inspire Legion : + 1 DAM + 2 RNDs Duration
  6. Inspire Heroics : + 1 AC + 1 Saves HP Boost
  7. Haven Song: + 2 Sanc Boost + 2 RNDs Duration (*)

(*) Any instrument does this.


  1. Inspire Competence: + 1 Skills
  2. Inspire Slowing : + 1 Will DC + 5% Slow
  3. Cloud Mind Song : + 2 DC + 2 RNDs Duration
  4. Fascinate Song: + 2 DC + 2 RNDs Duration
  5. Haven Song: + 2 Sanc Boost + 2 RNDs Duration (*)

(*) Any instrument does this.


  1. Inspire Regeneration: + 1 HP Regeneration
  2. Ironskin Chant: + 1 Damage Reduction + 2 RNDs
  3. Countersong: + 2 Spell Resist + 2 RNDs
  4. Song of Freedom: + 2 Level Boost. Large Radius.
  5. Haven Song: + 2 Sanc Boost + 2 RNDs Duration (*)

(*) Any instrument does this.

Cheers, Lance.

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joins the feeling old crowd with memories of a bard class that you had to get levels in a bunch of other classes to even start using

Once upon a time, there was no PnP gaming. It was just called gaming.


I remember filling up my MG Midget with spare change I had found.


For all those reminiscing …

Try telling the youngsters … Tis true … :slight_smile:


every so often, when someone got that way, I used to summarize that skit w/

“We used to live in cornflakes box …”

then walk away

They didn’t get it.


You had a cornflakes box! Luxury!


Paradise !!!



I always had this feeling that instruments were supposed to be of some use for the bard, instead of just making money.

In the OC IIRC, you can find 2 drums by the time you reach Neverwinter City. Both can be sold for alot.

About the only time the instruments come into play is the theater in Blacklake district. And thats only for lute. But the script check is broken so you always end up getting a loan lute, even if you have picked up others.


Evil is harming others and having no regard to their feelings, doing it all out of malice rather than a sense of justice or duty. Chaotic is going against order and laws, listening to your whims. How far you listen to them depends on your other alignment. If you’re Chaotic Good, you listen to them only up until they start hurting people. If you’re Chaotic Neutral, you listen to them most of the time but not when they go too crazy and you hurt people for no reason. If you’re Chaotic Evil, you literally do whatever you want, whenever you want, completely disregarding everyone’s lives around you. You basically wanna watch the world burn.

Theft is chaotic in nature because not every thief has malice in their intent. Most are simply greedy and steal from those with quite a bit of money. Sure, they don’t think of the financial situation of the one they’re robbing, but they don’t wanna hurt them. They just want the money. Give a thief two options to take the same amount of money with the only difference being one results in hurting a poor man and his family and the other hurting no one ever, and I guarantee you most thieves would pick the latter.

And starvation doesn’t justify theft? Really? So a person should just die instead of stealing to survive? That’s a very bleak point of view, and very wrong. You’re basically saying Wolf and Dory and all the Neverwinteran waifs shouldn’t steal and should instead take from the trash and if they find nothing, they should just die. Stealing may be bad, but this is even worse.

Not every bad action is evil. There’s a fine line between Chaotic and Evil. If that weren’t the case, the world would truly be just black and white.

Hopefully, with some of the alterations I have now added, it gives players with a bard PC an incentive to own and equip said instruments for the benefits they bestow upon them.

Other than that, I agree that there would otherwise appear little use for them. Maybe it was another one of those aspects that were going to be worked on in more detail, but ran out of time?


No, that is not the definition of evil. Here is the Oxford English dictionary definition:

1 extremely wicked and immoral. embodying or associated with the forces of the devil. harmful or tending to harm.
2 extremely unpleasant: an evil smell.
n noun great wickedness and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. something harmful or undesirable: social evils.

You will note the association with “morality”. It is not about feelings, but about what is or is not a moral act. Taking candy from a baby may hurt its feelings, but is the morally right thing to do.

Furthermore, by what standard are you judging your “sense of justice”? Where does your “sense of justice” come from? Think long and hard about that, because it is important. After all, unless you have a faith, there is no warrant to hold to any sense of justice, because that phrase is meaningless, unless you have a faith by which it is justified.

I will comment on the noun usage later in this post when it is in respect to “depravity” and a “supernatural force”.

In gaming terms, this is a reasonable assumption. However, there is a caveat, which MUST be included, and that is when you talk about “law”. After all, if a person does NOT listen to or obey a morally good law, then they are no longer chaotic (as you define it), but “evil”, because they oppose that which is “good”. i.e. You CANNOT separate “law” from being either a “good” or “evil” force in and of itself. Otherwise, you come to the erroneous conclusion that you have, in that one can simply call themselves “chaotic” rather than the truth, which is “evil”.

This makes no sense logically. How can any PC with any “good” characteristic “allow” any action that is against “evil”. As I said above, you cannot try to define an evil act as chaotic, just to justify yourself or your own actions. The same rule applies, by what standard do you “judge”? What is the line that another person has crossed? You cannot have degrees of “chaotic”, because at some point, one chaotic person would “upset” another “chaotic” person, which, according to your own definition should refer to them as “evil”.

You are missing something very obvious: This character your portray has a “greedy and selfish heart”, who thinks of nothing but themselves, and what they can gain from the money rather than the person who rightfully has it. You are trying to justify an evil act of theft, to come about finances in an unlawful (according to a good and right law) way. And how can you say, “They don’t want to hurt them”? How unthoughtful is that?

Again, you are starting from the wrong premise, because you do not have a moral framework in place. First, a morally good society will not let its people go hungry. If there is hunger that is leading to theft, then look at the problem more closely, and you will most likely find a corrupt and immoral society based upon “evil” laws. For instance, if I was to find myself destitute in this country (UK), I can approach my neighbour and ask for help, and they would give it (mostly). The general society would not see me starve!

Importantly, if I (as a person) started to want more than what was being given, due to a covetous heart (another evil), then I (as the evil coveting person) may end up “thieving” other items (including money from others) simply because I wanted more! That is the act of an “evil” heart and NOT a “chaotic” one. I can assure you that the person doing the stealing knows what they are doing.

If I did find myself in such a position (and within an evil moral based society), then I would not steal, but would try to form a group that held morally good laws and enforce them by that same law. The point is, no-one should use an evil to justify a means. And here is the main crux of the argument: That “good law” has to have come from outside of my own thinking … which comes from a matter of faith in our world. i.e. I am NOT doing what I want to do (in my own eyes), but following a good law because it is good and for everyone’s benefit.

What is your premise for such a statement? By definition, if you mean “bad” to mean “evil”, but are using wordplay to justify an evil act, then you are wrong. However, if by “bad” you mean something that comes to pass that does not appear “good” to somebody, then I agree. But, by “bad”, I certainly do NOT mean “evil”.

There is no fine line between “chaotic” and “evil”, you simply do not use the terms correctly. I know a number of people who are quite chaotic in their thinking (and I look at you here too), but that does not make you “evil” in the sense we have been speaking here … However, there is a sense in which things are very black and white, and that there is very much a right (good) way and very much a wrong (evil) way. The problem is, people are too proud to recognise that they often do things the “wrong” way, because if they did, then they would see that they are evil in their thinking as much as the next man.

So, how can we know what is good and what is evil? Here are some pointers …

23-5 : 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

20-3 : 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

20-21 : 2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

20-30 : 12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

And for a deeper reading regarding the “problem of evil”, read here:-

Here is a snippet from the above link (but there are much better points made in the link itself): -

Many anti-theists have tried to find one. For instance, Immanuel Kant proposed his “categorical imperative.” According to Kant, an act is morally right only if a person is willing to make that act a universal law. In other words, suppose that I want to steal my neighbor’s baseball card collection. I can determine whether this act is moral by asking myself whether I would be willing to abide by the principle that everyone should be allowed to steal his neighbor’s baseball card collection. Because moral and social chaos would follow if this principle were universally adopted, my act cannot be universalized and is therefore immoral.

I have started a new post here: Alignment Talk if you would like to discuss this further.

Ok, I stand corrected on the age of Warcraft. DnD is still 20 years older than Warcraft, since that it was first published in 1974. Also the act of picking a lock by definition makes you a thief if you do not have the permission of the owner of said lock. Even if the owner is no longer alive. Thus the term grave robber.


Here is something you may want to check on. Adam Miller did a mod called Lute Hero and also one called Dark Waters 3 that implemented Bard instruments.