5e Athasian Bard

Here is base class for the Athasian Bard. I decided to make a base class, since the 5e bard class doesn’t fit the Dark Sun setting as a caster, doesn’t really make sense to convert to a manifester, and the Rogue Assassin archetype covers everything that Athasian Bards were known for - poisons, infiltration, and assassination.

This class cores out and reinvents the bard. It keeps some familiar features - Expertise, Jack of All Trades, and Bardic Inspiration. The class is a half-caster base, but substitutes a pure psionic framework for the Vancian system. No reason for half measures when inventing something whole cloth. The basic framework totals all spell levels, and then manifesting spells costs power points equal to the spell level, with some exceptions.

A few notes on the design, if it doesn’t seem to make sense:

  • Poisoner is a class feature. It uses Poison Spray as a base, but scales and improves with level. The Athasian bard is also proficient with a poisoner’s kit, so they can make normal poisons if they have the cp. This feature integrates it into the class structure, so it’s easier to balance and ensure its availability.
  • Since the original Bard is a full caster, several class features give the Athasian Bard access to powers at a lower cost than normal. There are two lower-level generic features that give a Bard a signature power that they can manifest for half the spell’s level, rounded up. While this may seem overpowered at first, a default bard would be able to cast those spells at the same level a similar number of times per day (not counting psionic flexibility), so it evens out.
    Other class features are designed as replacements for spells of the appropriate level, especially at higher levels.
  • Archetypes are much more integral to the Athasian Bard than for many other classes. Since the Athasian bard won’t have the spells a default bard does, these replace both the spell casting feature at some levels, and give normal bonuses for an archetype, particularly at 3rd, 9th,13th, and 17th levels. Since archetypes are meant to focus on a specific ability or theme of the Athasian Bard, this gives some extra flexibility to the class without departing from the class’ status as a half-caster that just doesn’t have the breadth of choice that a full caster has in selecting their abilities. There are four archetypes included.

Also, the class hasn’t been tested. I’ve done my best to balance it, but play testing is the only real way to be sure. Feedback is appreciated.