Tuesday, October 4, 2011
A good case in point is Jeff Goelz's "Singing a New Tune," which appeared in issue #56 (December 1981) of Dragon. The article presents a single-class bard for use with AD&D rather than the multi-class monstrosity included at the end of the Players Handbook. At the time, never having read Doug Schwegman's original bard from Strategic Review #6 (February 1976), the idea of a bard that didn't require levels in fighter and thief beforehand was nothing short of revolutionary. In addition, Goelz's bard had a high degree of intellectual coherence. For example, his bard could cast illusionist spells in addition to druid spells, which made sense for a class of wandering performers. However, this new bard's selection of both types of spells was limited to those that made sense for the class. No longer, for example, could bards cast healing spells.
Goelz's bard is probably my favorite version of the class. If I ever decided to include them in my Dwimmermount campaign, I'd be sorely tempted to base them on this one. The PHB bard never made much sense to me and, in any event, they were unduly powerful given the archetype they were supposed to represent. I only ever allowed one PHB bard into my campaign back in the day and it did not end well. Later on, I readily used Goelz's bard and it proved a popular option for many players.