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Bardic music is one of my favorite abilities, but the rules on what is and isn't bardic music and what stacks versus what doesn't can be frustratingly vague. Did you know that it's not actually specified that you can't play/sing/chant multiple bardic musics at once? The Combined Song ability of War Chanters does imply this limitation, though this ability could be interpreted as simply improving the action economy of playing multiple songs. At least in this case it's pretty widely accepted (and relatively intuitive) that the Rules as Intended are you can only do one song at once without an ability that says otherwise (barring possible exceptions caused by vague wording, like Haunting Melody)

But there's a similar problem with the prestige class Dragonsong Lyrist. The ability this class revolves around is Greater Dragonsong:

Greater Dragonsong (Su): Once per day per class level, a dragonsong lyrist can use song or poetics to invoke the power of dragonsong. Invoking dragonsong requires a standard action. In the case of effects that require a saving throw, the DC is equal to 10 + lyrist' class level + lyrist's Cha modifier. The bonus from the Dragonsong feat also applies to this save DC. In cases where the character continues a greater dragonsong effect over the course of multiple rounds (such as song of strength), the dragonsong lyrist can fight while using greater dragonsong but cannot cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by command word (such as wands). Maintaining a greater dragonsong effect does not require concentration. A deaf dragonsong lyrist has a 20% chance to fail when using greater dragonsong. If she fails, the attempt still counts against her daily limit.

It's clearly not bardic music, and no rules are given regarding overlap... so does that mean you can sing multiple greater dragonsongs at once? How about overlapping with regular bardic music? Does the RAI precedent of bardic music apply here?

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The answer for greater dragonsong is no. Greater dragonsong only has 5 possible songs, of them only song of strength can be maintained, which is described as "the duration of the lyrist’s performance and for 5 rounds thereafter." Since you need a performance to invoke a Greater dragonsong, then obviously you must end your previous one to do so.

The other options occur when you invoke them and do not say that you get multiple effects when you keep them going for multiple duration lengths. Song of compulsion is a single suggestion, not one that lasts only as long as you perform or a suggestion every round. Song of flight gives a number of characters flight for a few minutes, it doesn't refresh the buffs continuously, you cannot use it to fly for 5 hours during the performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Song of fear does not actually give you frightful presence for the duration of your performance nor does being shaken abruptly end after you stop; it ends after 2d6 rounds. And you can't use song of healing over multiple hours to heal your group multiple times. If you could do any of those, it would be written to imply that you could.

Now as for the hypothetical of "what if there were 2 dragonsongs with durations" or whether you can stack it with bardic music then it would depend on whether the 2nd use counts as "fighting" as greater dragonsong does not say you can act normally, but that you can fight, and fight carries its own definition that's partially up to DM interpretation but definitely forbids fascinate among others.

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There's a couple of ways to look at this problem:

First is how this would work in the real-world. So, let's look at the assumption behind the one-song-at-a-time logic: the basic idea that you're only one person, so you can only sing one song at once. Seems legit... but even ignoring the idea of both singing and dancing (for instance), why can't a song be about multiple things? I can think of several off the top of my head that would simultaneously inspire allies of the singer while demoralizing their enemies (We Will Rock You by Queen, for instance). And that's just in English; throw in draconic language and literal dragon magic and all bets are off: there's no way of knowing (barring a translation I'm unaware of) how Draconic works as a language, so there's no way of ruling out that it's possible to, for instance, sing multiple lyrics as part of one intertwined song (and honestly that seems like a really cool idea).

RAW, there are clearly no restrictions on singing multiple songs at once or on interference with bardic music.

RAI is difficult to interpret at the best of times, but I do think it's a valid (though not definitive) answer to assume it works the same way as bardic music does. So no having two greater dragonsongs at once by the same person, though I'd argue that even with this interpretation greater dragonsong is separate from and therefore can be combined with bardic music.

From the game-balance perspective, this could be strong. I don't think it's game-breaking, though; only two of the five songs can be maintained indefinitely, none is overwhelmingly powerful on its own, there's no fantastic synergy, and with only five uses per day there's only so many shenanigans a player can get up to. That said... it's still pretty strong to be able to activate a new song without interrupting the old one. I could definitely see a DM ruling against this for game-balance reasons.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wasn't sure whether to include this as part of the question or not, ended up posting it as an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Poetically Psychotic Jan 15 '19 at 2:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Invoking takes a standard action, this two cannot be invoked simultaneously. However if the durations overlap, then nothing prevents that. Some might cite the same source, same effect passage to further adjudicate if there is any stacking or not. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jan 16 '19 at 12:21

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