One of the distinctive features of the Bard patch is the option of casting enchantment spells as songs, performed on a musical instrument. The musical versions of the spells have some advantages and disadvantages over their regular versions. The patch gives several roles this ability, but the Bard excels at it. This feature has been carried over into some of the variants that include the Bard role.
For an explanation of the role by the patch author, see here.
For a discussion of the role, see here.
The Bard's distinctive advantage is mastery of a skill called Musicalize Spell, which gives the character the ability to perform magical songs. For the most part this is just a special way of casting enchantment spells, by (a)pplying a musical instrument instead of using the spell menu (though there is one song, "Inspire Courage", which is unlike any regular enchantment spell). For roles who can reach at least Basic in the skill, this will bring up a menu with the option of casting a spell in addition to the existing options of improvising or playing a series of notes.
Spells performed as songs have two advantages over spells cast in the usual way. First, songs require no energy to perform, and second, songs affect all monsters in an area, instead of all monsters in a specified direction. However, the advantages of using songs are balanced by several disadvantages:
- The performer must have an appropriate musical instrument. For every magical song, there are two instruments that can be used: one that is "preferred" and less likely to be resisted by monsters, and an alternative that can be used if the preferred instrument is unavailable, but with a lower chance of success.
- The performer must have learned the spell corresponding to the song being used.
- Songs take several turns to perform, and can be interrupted.
- The effects of spells cast as songs tend to be less powerful than their regular forms. For example, the Lullaby song, if successful, puts monsters to sleep for a shorter period of time than the sleep spell.
- At Unskilled or Basic, songs affect pets as well as hostile monsters, though the effects on pets are milder. At Skilled or Expert, tame creatures are not affected—except by "Inspire Courage", which only affects pets.
Chart of songs:
|Song||Description||Spell||Preferred Instrument||Alternative Instrument||Duration|
|Lullaby||Puts enemies to sleep||sleep||wooden harp||wooden flute||4 turns|
|Cacophony||Confuses enemies||confuse monster||leather drum||tooled horn||5 turns|
|Drowsiness||Slows enemies||slow monster||wooden flute||wooden harp||5 turns|
|Despair||Causes enemies to flee||cause fear||tooled horn||leather drum||6 turns|
|Friendship||Temporarily tames monsters||charm monster||wooden harp||wooden flute||6 turns|
|Inspire Courage||Increases the damage done by pets||cause fear||bugle||leather drum||6 turns|
Note that "Inspire Courage" does not mimic an existing enchantment spell; however, the character still needs to know a specific spell (cause fear) in order to use it.
In the patch, Monks and Priests can advance the Musicalize Spell skill to Basic, while Tourists can advance it to Skilled.
Bards start with Basic skill in Musicalize Spell and bare hands.
In Slash'EM Extended, the Bard can reach expert in all of the skills above (except Musicalize Spell, which is not incorporated), plus unicorn horn and firearms. Escape spells are replaced by body spells, as in SLASH'EM.
In SLASHTHEM, escape spells are replaced by body spells; otherwise, the maximum skill levels are the same as in the patch. This variant includes the Musicalize Spell feature (as "Music"), starting in version 0.8.
- Slash'EM Extended tech.c line 185, 2545
- Slash'EM Extended tech.c line 226
- SLASHTHEM tech.c line 148
- Wooden harp or wooden flute (with a 50% chance of each)
- +1 leather cloak
- 3 apples
- 3 oranges
- 2-10 potions of booze
- A tin whistle (85% chance) or a bell (15% chance)
- A +1 silver dagger (SLASHTHEM)
From the start of the game, the Bard can recognize all musical instruments, including the magical ones.
In Slash'EM Extended, Bards can recognize the spellbooks for all enchantment spells, but do not start with the books or know the spells. Thanks to their wealth of adventuring lore, they start the game with the knowledge of several randomly selected items.
In dNetHack, Troubadours' lore also includes knowledge of several basic wards: Circle of Acheron, Hamsa, Elder Sign, Elder Elemental Eye, Sign of the Scion Queen Mother, Cartouche of the Cat Lord, the Wings of Garuda, and the Toustefna and Dreprun staves.
- XL 1-2: Bard
- XL 3-5: Lyrist
- XL 6-9: Sonneteer
- XL 10-13: Jongleur
- XL 14-17: Troubadour
- XL 18-21: Minstrel
- XL 22-25: Lorist
- XL 26-29: Well-known Bard
- XL 30: Master Bard
The quest sees the Bard traveling to the island of Anthemoessa to fight the siren Aglaope for the Lyre of Orpheus.
In Slash'EM Extended, the Bard uses the pantheon from the defunct Gnome role:
- Lawful: Garl Glittergold
- Neutral: Flandal Steelskin
- Chaotic: Urdlen
In SLASHTHEM, the Bard's pantheon combines music-related gods from Greek and Roman mythology:
- Lawful: Minerva
- Neutral: Apollo
- Chaotic: Linus
The dNetHack Troubadour's pantheon is Greek, perhaps Thracian (Thrace was the home of Orpheus):
- Lawful: Apollon
- Neutral: Pan
- Chaotic: Dionysus
The Bard is inspired in large part by the bard character class in Dungeons & Dragons, and similar characters.
The quest and mythos also draw on Greek mythology, including the myth of Orpheus.
- Slash'EM Extended role.c line 297
- SLASHTHEM role.c line 147
- Slash'EM Extended u_init.c line 5381
- dNetHack role.c line 450
- dNetHack u_init.c line 1613