Bardic Knowledge
Gear Up
By Erik Olsen

Mundane items are just that: mundane. At the same time, while there's no way to make carrying around 300 feet of rope seem interesting, there's also little that beats having that rope when you're out adventuring and you find that you need it. As a bard and the resident jack-of-all-trades, you need a little of everything. Rather than dwell on the benefits of pitons, I figure I'll just recommend that you throw a dozen of everything in a Heward's handy haversack (check out the Dungeon Master's Guide for that helpful item) and staple it to your character sheet.

Down at the Magic Item Shoppe

When perusing the items available to a bard, several popped to my mind as being useful. A wand of cure light wounds is likely the best 750 gp any character is likely to spend. Beyond that, if you're a sneaky person, you might like the boots of elvenkind and the cloak of elvenkind combo for the +10 bonus on your Move Silently and Hide checks (respectively) at 2,000 gp each. Also popular are the boots of striding and springing, which doubles your speed and adds +10 on Jump checks for 6,000 gp. Bracers of archery grant hit and damage bonuses with bows that you have a proficiency with for 5,100 gp while the cloak of arachnida grants the wearer the ability to spider climb at will, lets anyone wearing it cast web once per day, and is the coolest-looking cloak on the block for the bargain price of 6,000 gp. (And, yes, chances are you'll find that ability to ignore webbing rather useful, too!)

For a lesser-known item with a bard flavor, try the rod of splendor. The rod of splendor grants a +4 enhancement bonus to Charisma just for carrying it around, which is great since most other good Charisma-enhancing items take up a valuable cloak, ring, or glove slot. Once per day, the rod creates for the character the finest clothes and accessories to wear and once per week the rod creates a huge pavilion tent and all the trappings required to entertain up to one hundred people. For 25,000 gp it's a bit of an investment, but if you've got the gold, why not?

Indeed . . . Why Not?

After exploring the existing magic items, a few others suggested themselves to me. You could find that the collar of noise serves a great purpose in those situations where your foe has decided to quiet you down either by silence or with a garrote. Next, the goggles of other's sight is an unusual item that could end up being useful in your game. Then we have the rapier of rapid fire, which, like the bard, is rather versatile and great for those times when you transition from a ranged situation to a melee situation (and vice versa)! Finally, if you want to add a special type of damage to the nonmagic weapon that you're carrying (or even your unarmed strikes), definitely check out the ring of cacophony.

Collar of Noise: Worn as a leather collar (see Song and Silence), the collar of noise provides a +4 armor bonus against garrote attacks, and it is adorned with a silver clasp in the front in the shape of a banshee head. Once per day the wearer may activate the item to negate the effects of a silence spell within a 10-foot radius of the wearer. The banshee head clasp emits a high-pitched screeching sound while this effect is in use; this sound, while annoying, can be spoken over and does not disrupt spells that require a verbal component. The silence is not actually dispelled, but simply held in abeyance by the item's effect. The silence remains in effect outside of the item's 10-foot radius. Once the item moves outside of the area affected by the silence spell, the silence effect is once again active. The item's effect lasts 10 rounds.

Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, joyful noise; Market Price: 1,955 gp; Weight: 3 lbs.

Goggles of Other's Sight: With the goggles of other's sight, you can see the experiences of another who has worn the glasses at some point during that day as if you were looking through their eyes. Once per day and upon activation, choose a 5 minute period of time in the past as well as the target whose viewpoint you wish to experience and you will see that time through the perspective of your chosen target. The target need not have been wearing the wearing the goggles at the time you wish to see, but your chosen target must have worn the goggles themselves at some time within the last 24 hours.

Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance; Market Price: 12,000 gp; Weight: --

Rapier of Rapid Fire: The rapier of rapid fire focuses on the needs of a combatant for whom flexibility is of prime importance. Under normal conditions, this item is a +1 rapier, but with the use of a command word, the item changes itself into a +1 shortbow, or from a +1 shortbow into a +1 rapier.

Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, shrink item; Market Price: 8,330 gp; Weight: 3 lbs. (as rapier), 2 lbs. (as shortbow); Cost to Create: 4,300 gp + 320 XP.

Ring of Cacophony: The ring of cacophony is a simple circle of gold engraved with musical notes around its band. The ring grants any nonmagic weapon (including melee touch attacks and unarmed strikes) wielded by the wearer an additional 1d6 points of sonic damage once per round. It has no effect on magic weapons and it does not make the weapons it affects magic for purposes of damage reduction.

Caster Level: 11th; Prerequisites: Craft Ring, sound burst; Market Price: 12,000 gp; Weight: --

About the Author

Erik Olsen spends time dealing with bards and their accoutrements, and he still hopes you'll be good for goodness sake!

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