I wanted to play a bard, but personally lack any musical talent. While it's not vital to actually sing in real life, it got me thinking that there should be a College that focuses more on the spoken word rather than some sort of musical instrument. To that end, I did see the "College of Eloquence" in Tasha's, but that also didn't sit right. I wanted someone more akin to a stand-up comedian. They are used to things being thrown at them, liked and unliked at the same time, and bring levity to even the darkest of times.
So I created a College of Comedy Bard. I have only started the play testing so it might be a little rough. I'll also be adding one or more non-musical musical instruments to work as a spellcasting focus, like a megaphone. But that's not part of the scope of this question.
Here is the feature set I created:
College of Comedy
When you choose this college at 3rd level, you gain the Vicious Mockery cantrip if you don't already know it. If Vicious Mockery is a Bardic Known Cantrip, you may learn another bard cantrip instead. This cantrip doesn't count against the number of bard cantrips you know.
One of the core features is an enhancement to Vicious Mockery (VM), so I need to make sure the character has the spell. But I don't want to punish the player by making them wait until 3rd level to get the Cantrip. I think this is a good compromise so that if the player chose VM at 1st level, they can now get a different Cantrip instead; net result the same as having waited. I also included a clause that you had to have learned the Cantrip from being a Bard, so gaining the spell via feats like Magic Initiate or Spell Sniper do not allow the player to swap around spells.
Have you heard the one about...
You automatically learn Tasha's Hideous Laughter spell, and it doesn't count against the number of Spells Known.
The other mainstay of the bard. Tasha's Hideous Laughter (THL) will get a power-up in a future feature. All this does is add another "Domain" spell.
You can cast Vicious Mockery as a Bonus Action.
Just a simple but handy update. VM is going to be a mainstay of the Comedy Bard. It will compete with Bardic Inspiration (BI) for Bonus Action so I don't see anything game breaking about this enhancement. Since this is a Cantrip it can be cast in the same round as other spells, but it's power is minimal. I equate it on par with choosing two-handed fighting.
Laughter is contagious
When you use a spell slot to cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter, you can use a Bardic Inspiration to twin the spell. The second target must be within 5' of the original target, and the each target is considered independent in terms of saving throw, spell ending, and so on. You cannot combine this feature with any other feature, effect, or magic item that would twin or duplicate the spell.
I think I need to improve the wording, but the gist is there. There are a lot of limiters to this to keep it from being over powering. One, they must use a spell slot, so this cannot be from a Ring of Spell Storing, or anything that would would let them cast the spell for free. Two, it uses a BI to keep the spamming to a minimum. Lastly, it clearly points out that this cannot be twinned again in any way. I want to prevent the argument of a Sorcerer/Bard casting THL, and since it only effect one target, using a Sorcerer Point to twin it to effect two targets, and then using BI to twin it again to effect four targets. Since this is already a Concentration spell, the character should never be able to effect more than two creatures at the same time.
Can't stop me
You can still cast spells with verbal components inside the effect of a Silence spell or spell-like effect.
This is probably the most controversial feature, and I'm willing to substitute it out. The theory is that no matter what is thrown at the bard, they just won't shut up.
The alternate would be something akin to the second feature of a Necklace of Adaptation; advantage on saving throws on gases and vapors. Too many nights in a smoke-filled room makes their lungs stronger kind of vibe. I think that since this scenario is very situational it can have a little more "umph". You're not going to go against spellcasters with silence, or be attacked by gases on a regular basis.
You're killing it
For the initial casting, and each subsequent round you concentrate on Tasha's Hideous Laughter, the target(s) take your spellcasting ability modifier (minimum of 1) in psychic damage. This damage does not trigger a saving throw to break the spell.
A power up of THL. It just adds a little on-going damage to a Concentration spell that normally would discourage causing damage. Something akin to Hunger of Hadar. I played around with half proficiency bonus, full proficiency bonus, and ability modifier - Ability modifier won out.
Your Countercharm feature gains the following benefits:
- You can also suppress any effect causing a friendly creature to be charmed or frightened. When this performance ends, any suppressed effect resumes, provided that its duration has not expired in the meantime.
- You can choose one hostile creature in the same 30 foot radius. This creature must make a Charisma saving throw against your spell casting DC or become indifferent about creatures of your choice that it is hostile toward. This indifference ends if the target is attacked or harmed by a spell or if it witnesses any of its friends being harmed. When the performance ends, the creature becomes hostile again, unless the DM rules otherwise.
Basically, the Countercharm feature now includes some benefits of the Calm Emotions spell: suppression of charm and frightened, and the ability to calm one creature. This will only work for the round that Bard uses the feature.
My initial concern was that this feature does not require Concentration, whereas the spell does. The alternate to this would just give the Calm Emotions spell as a once-per-long-rest spell that doesn't use a spell slot.
Laughter is the best medicine
When you use a spell slot to cast a spell that heals, each target also heals the Bard's proficiency bonus in addition to any other bonus.
Bard's get access to most all of the standard healing spells so I figured it would be a good match. When called upon to be support/healer, this would make the target feel just a little bit better. At this late stage of the game, an extra 5-6 hp should not swing the scales too far, but can be just the boost to keep someone standing.
I'm on a roll
When you successfully inspire someone, you can't help but spread laughter. When a creature within 60 feet of you adds one of your Bardic Inspiration dice to its ability check, attack roll, or saving throw and the roll succeeds, you can use your reaction to inspire a different creature (other than yourself) that can hear you within 60 feet of you, giving it a Bardic Inspiration die without expending any of your Bardic Inspiration uses.
You can use this reaction a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
This is verbatim of the Eloquence Bard's Infectious Inspiration.
Let me know if this is a reasonably playable sub-class.