Subclass Review: Bard College of Percussion (Chad M. Lensch): 5 Stars
The bards of percussion manipulate the emotions of those around them. They are excellent communicators, know the hearts of those around them, and are in tune with their surroundings whether on or off the battlefield.
The Bard College of Percussion is an product containing two new percussion-based archetypes for bards as well as backgrounds, and other tools for DMs. It is created by experienced percussionist Chad M. Lensch, and as such contains a lot of real world flavor and experience in every page of this product. While there’s a bit more fluff to the product than I would prefer, nearly every page of this book is packed with fun, quality content that is perfect for any bard lover.
Subclasses. Both the subclasses, the pitched and non-pitched percussion, serve similar support roles but accomplish them in different ways. While the pitched-percussion subclass focuses more on healing, with a little bit of damage at higher levels, the non-pitched-percussion focuses on helping allies maneuver and striking fear in the hearts of the enemy. Both are well balanced and have a significant amount of flavor and employ relatively common mechanics to grant a unique yet easy to use subclass option.
Backgrounds. The three backgrounds included are pretty generic as far as proficiencies and equipment (as backgrounds should be), but where they really shine is the diverse features they impart. Whether it’s making money, influencing a ranking officer, or even using the scrying spell without a spell slot (once per long rest), these background flavors bring both extreme flavor and balanced utility to any character who uses them.
Faction. One thing at which author Chad M. Lensch excels is integrating factions into most of his products. The Kurtulmak, a level 2 faction/adventure full of kobolds, is no exception. A relatively light-hearted one-shot of an adventure, the Seekers of Kurtulmak is excellently designed and seamlessly showcases the other elements of the product. It should be fun for everyone at the table and is easily incorporated into a larger campaign or changed so it is slightly more serious.
NPCs. Three great NPC’s come with this product–a kobold, a multi-classed wood elf, and an octopod, which brilliantly draws from one of the author’s previous products. These NPCs range in CR from 2-6, and come with background, roleplaying suggestions, and even plot hooks. Aside from (or maybe because of) the DM’s inability to imitate having eight arms, these NPCs should be fun for the whole table and their personality and mechanics really bring the college of percussion to life.
Magic Items. The product is rounded out by about a dozen magical percussion items ranging in rarity from uncommon to legendary and with various mechanics that make them effective for almost any type and style of campaign. My favorite, by far, is the talking drum with the quirky, sentient personality of it’s previous gnome owner. Many of the more unique items come with backstory, as well. Lots of flavor here to round out the mechanics!
Instruments. In an attempt to find something that didn’t quite work in a product that is nearly perfect, I must point out the four pages of percussion instruments that one can buy in your campaign world. Complete with a picture, price and weight, these are variations of the drums your character could buy. They’re cool… but it’s nearly all fluff and of no mechanical significance. Still, many people (rightly) take a more-than-utilitarian outlook on the products they buy, so if you like a bit of “purely for flavor” content, this shouldn’t bother you at all.
The Bard College of Percussion is rated 5 stars and is Highly Recommended for anyone who wants more bardic options, either player or NPC, at their table. With well designed archetypes, magic items, NPCs and more, there’s something here for everyone. You can pick it up by clicking the picture below.