Very long, rambly musings about the Bard below.
I’m a bit confused about the Bard discussion in the latest Discern Realities podcast episode. Maybe I’m misunderstanding or reading a different copy of the character sheet? Or maybe I’m just a complete noob (have yet to play DW and am relatively inexperienced in tabletop RPGs)?
They talked a lot about not being fans of how the Bard uses Arcane Art in the middle of battle, as though she could just pick up her instrument, play some sick jams, and then enemies would fall down from how awesome her tunes are, or laser beams would shoot from the strings, or something else ridiculous and tone-jarring [this is not literally what they said, I’m just paraphrasing].
While I was listening, I was trying to think of ways to explain in the narrative how exactly the Bard’s music can hurt enemies, but then I went back and read the actual move.
From what I understand, there’s nothing about the Arcane Art move itself that is causes direct damage. It says specifically to choose an ALLY, and then choose buffs that can help the ally. You can give damage buffs to a player, should they choose to attack, but the music doesn’t actually hurt anyone.
Were they talking about how Bards work in other systems or in tabletop RPGs in general? Or is it common for Bard players to argue that the move DOES do damage? Has anyone played DW where laser beams shooting out of lutes is a normal, accepted thing?
It really seems to me that AA should primarily be used in the way that Jason described: outside of combat. And thus the Bard should actually be doing (at least some) H&S during a fight with a sword or a bow or some other physical weapon, not dancing around with a pan flute. EDIT Further discussion has convinced me that AA is definitely allowed during combat.
…And now I’m reading further and see that at level 2 you can pick the Metal Hurlant move and all of a sudden it’s just like “yeah, you totally melt the enemies’ faces off with a righteous solo”, (probably only as long as you can DD from enemy attacks). Is this what they meant when they were talking about how ridiculous the Bard can seem?
IDK. I feel like that mechanic could still be explained in the narrative. Maybe the instrument is enchanted/possessed? Maybe the Bard is (secretly) descended from, possessed by, or enchanted by a Siren or Banshee-type spirit/creature? Maybe the magic that the Bard knows is a particular ‘brand’ of magic, different from the magic a Wizard or Druid might know, one that hinges specifically on music, in the same way a Druid or Ranger’s magic would hinge on the connection to nature? I’m recalling now the series of Young Adult novels by Tamora Pierce called the Circle of Magic, about a group of teens whose magical abilities manifest in ‘abnormal’ ways (i.e.: through sewing, the weather, metal-working, and plants).
It’s likely my feelings on the Bard will change once I get to play as one or see one in action. These are just my thoughts as a very new DW enthusiast.
If you’ve read this far, thanks! You da real MVP.