14 thoughts on “The Bard’s Arcane Art: What do you do on a 6-”

  1. Me too. I hate the kinds of moves, that can be triggered “out of nothing” (in safe hideout for example). Like Arcane Art or Spout Lore.

    (sry for my english, not my native language)

  2. Take advantage of the fact that they are deliberately calling attention to themselves. And when in doubt, the best thing you can do is take a second, let an evil smile grow on your face, and say, “so it works. What do you do?” (And then make a move offscreen)

  3. With the bard thing you could have it threaten the bard’s reputation as a performer.  Maybe her voice cracked and word might get around.  If they don’t contain it they could be laughed out of every public space for a while.  Not all dangers are life threatening.  Threaten something else that they care about.

  4. This particular incident happened at the end of a fight, after they had captured the last combatant. It didn’t make much sense to say “Suddenly Ogres!” or something. It just seems difficult to manage good failure results.

  5. Yeah, then maybe Giovanni’s second idea makes sense.  Or give them -1 forward because something just felt off with that performance.  She develops a nodule on her vocal fold, goes hoarse for a bit, or breaks a string and takes -1 until it is fixed.  It would be good to have a database of failures for reference

  6. Perhaps the failure causes the enemy combatant’s bonds to break or loosen, or distracts the party enough that he can make a run for it, or brings him to consciousness feeling renewed and ready to fight again. 

    Some other concrete examples on an Arcane Arts failure:

    It affects an unintended target – “It looks like the magic is misdirected and the Ogre’s wounds are starting to close, roll 1d8 healing for him.”

    The effect is reversed – “Your misplayed horn distracts Mouse, the thief, he takes -1d4 forward to damage”

    It works, but has unintended consequences – “Bob the fighter takes +1d4 forward to damage as your music ignites his blade, although you also ignite his hands, roll 1d4 damage.”

    Temporary penalty – “Your fingers get monetarily caught in strings of your lute causing intense pain, take -1 forward.”

    Ongoing penalty – “Your break a string on your lute, take -1 ongoing to Arcane Arts until you have a few minutes to fix it.”

    Put someone in a spot – “Reverberations from your drum knock Stella the Wizard off her feet and her wand goes skittering across the floor.”

    Reveal an Unwelcome Truth – “The sound of your performance echoes loudly through the mines.  You don’t think it’s denziens will soon forget the sound of your voice.” or “There is a thundering crack from the ceiling in response to the reverberations of your mandolin, you are not sure how much more the roof can take before it caves in.”

    Use up their resources – “The high pitched squeal of your flute causes the vial with the potion of healing in your back pack to shatter.”

  7. How do you -1 a comment? Bards are awesome, Matt Horam! Awesome.

    As for the question, two things come to mind. First, if there is absolutely positively nothing that can happen as a result of a miss, why even roll? Just let it happen.

    However, you are dealing with magic, which should always be dangerous. Something should happen, even if it happens off screen (like advancing a Front).

  8. Mike Wice “This particular incident happened at the end of a fight, after they had captured the last combatant”

    Expanding on the first example Robert Finamore gave:

    GM: Bard, your performance is so riveting that no one in your party notices the guy you tied up slipping free of his bonds and bolting into the woods. Your music is awfully memorable; which enemy from your past are you now VERY worried will hear you’re back in the area, and why? What gruesome things will this person do to you and your friends if they find you? What happened the last time you met?

    Now you have a new Danger to threaten them with, the party learns something new and important about the world, there’s a plot hook just begging to be explored (and a notable enemy to be overcome, and maybe even a memorable treasure to be looted), and best of all: the rest of the party probably won’t be very happy with the Bard bringing trouble down on them.

  9. Thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions.

    Matt Horam LOL their enemies are working on the first item on the list now.

    Traveling Haberdasher Excellent example. Thanks.

    I am currently working on a big list of failures for spells and other things like this. Once I have finished I will share it with the Tavern. I have a thread on spell failures floating around somewhere too if you want to check it out.

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