Sunday, November 29, 2020


Some people are content with playing as a single musician; a bard, a chanter, a vielleur, &c. Not you, however. You're an entire band.

Idea shamelessly stolen from deus ex parabola and Walfalcon, mechanics mostly from Skerples' Many Goblins, Lexi's Bard, and Xenophon's Chanter.

By Leonid Afremov

You get +2 HP for each Jazz Ensemble template you have.

Start with: far too many trumpets, saxophones, pianos, trombones, clarinets, banjos, and basses, sharp suits for every band member, at least one drum set

Skills: street smarts, musical history, freestyle performing

A: Shared Totals, Musical Talent, +1 MD
B: Magic of Music, +1 Soloist, +1 MD
C: +1 Song, +1 Soloist, +1 MD
D: +1 Song, +1 Soloist, +1 MD

Shared Totals: The Jazz Ensemble share HP, as though a single character. Every point of damage causes a single band member to die in a background sort of way, likely with a musical goodbye. Area-of-effect attacks, abilities, and traps only affect them once. Save-or-Die effects instead cause a loss of 1 HP. Most single-target spells (as well as mutations) instead effect all band members. Together, you only consume the ration of one person.

If the Ensemble gets brought to 0 HP, they lie about, wounded, moaning, and unwilling to do anything until healed. If hit below 0 HP, they all die, save soloists.

The Ensemble has 5 total inventory slots. They can carry more, but only temporarily. Instruments and armour do not occupy inventory slots. If you need to determine just how many members the Ensemble currently has, roll 1d12+6. This number can change across rounds, turns, or encounters. Whenever possible, they occupy 20' square, spreading themselves as needed. They're rarely keen to do work, but count as 10 workers for the first hour of labour, 5 beyond that, and stop after the third.

Musical Talent: You're a very good bunch of performers. Songs you play are likely to catch people's attention, with a [templates]-in-6 chance of a group forming around you in a crowded space. The Ensemble has a pool of Music Dice, equal to [templates] plus one. You can spend one  while playing a mundane song to evoke a powerful but nonspecific emotion in your listeners — amorous, but not towards specific people; very sad, but not suicidal.

Magic of Music: You can cast spells by spending MD and performing music, as the Chanter's Spellcasting feature and a character of one level lower. Most of them take place over a duration, and you can only maintain one Song at a time. You learn spells and suffer Mishaps the same way.

Soloists: Some members have made a name for themselves. Once each encounter, for one round, they can do something different from the rest of the Ensemble. At the end of that round, they rejoin the rest. Give them a name and a snappy description. If the Ensemble dies, each Soloist becomes a level 1 character with 2 HP and the A template of another musical class of your choosing. If they come across more musicians they could potentially convince to join their band, they form a new level 2 Ensemble. Only one Soloist survives the process.

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