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What are Mysteries?
No one remembers where the mysteries come from. They seem timeless, products of a forgotten past that had mastered music beyond the understanding of the present day.
Each mystery contains within it four songs; one for each of the great elements that make up the world. These songs combine magic and music in ways that seem impossible to those without sufficient knowledge. Within each mystery the songs build one upon the other – it is not possible to learn the second song without mastering the first.
Each mystery focuses on a single instrument or mode of performance. The patterns of power inherit in the mystery cannot be performed in another way; they must be expressed though a particular medium. Attempting to perform a mystery in a different method (say jesting with a harp) results in automatic failure.
How do you learn a Mystery?
Learning a mystery requires that the bard find a teacher. That teacher must be willing to pass on the secrets that he knows, and will often demand that the student perform a task to prove his worth.
Mechanically the bard must select the mystery he wishes to learn as a Feat. Each mystery counts as a separate feat. The bard may select as many mysteries as he chooses, so long as he expends a feat on each of them.
The bard’s Perform skill rank determines the number of songs within the mystery that the bard can use.
1st Song – Perform Rank 3
2nd Song – Perform Rank 6
3rd Song – Perform Rank 9
4th Song – Perform Rank 12
Note that the bard must have the mode of the Learn Mystery feat among his modes of performance in his Perform skill. In other words, the bard cannot select Learn Mystery (storytelling) if he does not have Perform (storytelling).
The only exception to this general rule is the Mystery of Song. Its first song is available at Perform rank 9, the 2nd at Perform rank 12, the 3rd at Perform rank 15 and the last at Perform rank 18.
How do you use a Mystery?
Each use of a mystery counts as one of the bard’s bardic music attempts per day. The effects generated by the mysteries are bardic music in their purest and truest sense.
Anytime that a bardic mystery allows for a saving throw the DC of the save is equal to the bard’s Perform skill check. This DC can be modified by feats or special circumstances.
Mysteries of music cannot affect a deaf creature. Any spell that creates silence can disrupt the performance of a mystery.
Unless otherwise stated invoking a mystery is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The effect of the mystery continues for as long as the bard continues his performance. Unless otherwise noted sustaining a mystery is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
When someone enters the area of effect of an active mystery, that mystery does not affect him until a full round has passed. Exceptions to this rule are noted in the mystery descriptions.
Most mysteries are mind-affecting abilities and therefore cannot affect constructs, undead and other such things. The few exceptions to this rule are noted in the mystery description.
Unless stated otherwise mysteries are spell like abilities.
Rules Summary: Mysteries of Music
1. Characters with the bardic music ability may select a specific Learn Mystery feat
2. The character’s perform skill rank governs the number of songs available from a specific mystery
3. The character must choose a Mystery mode for a mode of performance included in his Perform skill
4. Using and sustaining a mystery counts as a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity
5. The bard’s Perform skill check determines the DC to resist the mystery
6. Deaf or silenced creatures cannot be affected by a mystery
7. Mysteries are (unless otherwise noted) mind-influencing effects
Long Term Play
Many mysteries last for ‘as long as the bard continues playing’. This gives bards the ability to create long-term bonuses, or inflict long-term penalties, at the cost of actions.
The bard’s ability to maintain these bonuses can run up against the limits of human endurance. Every hour that the bard plays he must make a Concentration skill check with a DC equal to 4 multiplied by the number of hours he has played. For example, if a bard has played for 5 hours the DC of his Concentration skill check is 20.
The Mysteries of Music
The following mysteries of music are explained in greater detail in the remainder of this chapter:
† Acting – hiding and projecting emotions
† Bells - pure notes that cause discomfort in impure beings
† Chant (Epic) – chants of lore and ancient legend that inspire and protect
† Chant (High) – chants that open access to heaven and hell
† Chant (Musical) – simple chants that anyone can join the bard in and gain benefits
† Chants (Martial) – chants that set the pace of work and battle
† Court Dance – dance that is about flirtation and manipulation
† Drum – rhythms that effect earth and stone
† Flute – sounds that effect wind and weather
† Great Drum – sounds that reach into the spirit world
† Great Harp – music that soothes and calms
† Harp – music that effects the undead
† Horn – notes that convey information, meaning and need
† Jesting – confusion and distraction
† Lute – songs to charm and control animals
† Mandolin – songs that breed romance
† Panpipe – songs control other people
† Storytelling – reading and controlling an audience
Cultural Instruments and Situations
Many mysteries cover a general type of instrument. Examples of this kind of general mystery include the bell, drum and flute. These mysteries function equally well with any of the myriad of forms these primary instruments take though out the world.
When deciding which mystery a specific instrument uses the following rules of thumb apply:
1. Drums of all kinds may use the mystery of either the drum or great drum
2. Most wind instruments use the mystery of either the flute or the horn
3. Most string instruments use the mystery of either the lute or the mandolin
4. Any string instrument with a large number of strings can use the mystery of the harp
Each specific instrument can manifest a single mystery. For example a mid-sized drum cannot manifest both the mystery of the drum and the mystery of the great drum.
When in doubt the Games Master may choose to allow or disallow the use of any mystery with a given instrument. Alternately the Games Master may allow the character to adapt a mystery to a specific instrument by changing one or more of the special abilities.
When using a performance related mystery like court dance or jesting in an unfamiliar social setting the character suffers a –2 circumstance penalty to his rolls. The character can negate this penalty by spending one day and making a Diplomacy skill check (DC 15). If he succeeds he learns enough about local customs to adapt his usual modes of expression.
Mysteries of Music (Cultural)
† Bagpipes – wailing music beloved by the fey folk
† Chant (Black) – chants that call up infernal powers
† Dwarven Chant – chants invoking the chthonic powers
† Elvish Song – songs of lore and wisdom
† Folk Dance – dances insuring fertility and growth
† Gnomish Punning – complex word games and riddles that confuse and delight
† Halfling Acrobatics – complex tricks of hand and body that trick the eye
† Jew’s Harp – lively music that gathers and holds attention
† Musical Bow – music that focuses the energy of nature
† Orcish Drums – simple rhythms that enflame the soul
† Qin – music that focuses the mind on the task at hand
† Ritual Dance – dances that focus arcane energies
† Tambura – droning music that bolsters and supports other musicians
† Zither – sacred music that bridges the gap between the mundane and the divine
Each mystery entry takes the following format:
Mode of Mystery
Description: A short description of this mode of performance
Mystery Name (Perform Rank): Mystery name gives the common name of the bardic music ability.cPerform rank is the unmodified rank in the Perform skill required to invoke the song.
Special: Any special rules that govern the use of the mystery are included here.