Where are the rules for how bards fight other bards, dispelling and counter-spelling each other's Bardic Performance?

For example: The PCs enter into a chamber filled with opposing NPCs. Each side has a L4 Bard.

Paul the PC bard starts to sing to Inspire Courage using Bardic Performance. Nancy the NPC Bard could also Inspire Courage in her side. Could she instead use her Bardic Performance ability to dispel Paul's effect? If so, how is her chance of success calculated?

For Bardic Performance Countersong it says:

Countersong does not work on effects that don’t allow saves.

Could Nancy simply drown out Paul's singing and cancel his Bardic Performance with hers? Where are the rules that govern how that would work?

How do countersongs of a bard work in detail? seems to go into how great Countersong is when used defensively against something that requires a save. Inspire Courage does not ask for a save.


1 Answer 1


Non-save based Bardic Performances cannot be countered by Countersong

Countersong is rather specific in what it does; it allows people that are (specifically) "affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack" (either already ongoing or used while the song is in effect) to use the Bard's Perform skill instead of their regular save. That's all it does, that's why (as you quote in your question) "Countersong does not work on effects that don’t allow saves".

Bardic Performances are either Supernatural or Spell-Like Abilities, and are thus magical in nature (as per the rules on Special Abilities). As per the generic Bardic Performance rules, audio-based Bardic Songs are language dependent. Those, then, are language-based magical attacks, when used offensively, and classify for Countersong - but only if the Bardic Performance used allows for a save, because Countersong only works on effects that have a save.

(Some Bardic Performances use visual effects - those are never affected by Countersong).

Many Bardic Performance applications, including Inspire Courage, do not allow for a save (since they're buffs) and thus Countersong simply doesn't apply.

Your linked question applies to using Countersong to counter save-based attacks, and thus doesn't apply here. (Note that you can counter more than just Bardic Performance - in fact, most useful Countersongs will be against other types of effects).


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