So, Flailsnails is heavily OSR and "Retroclones", and there is a bit of a distaste of the bard of later editions as the "Combat Lutist". But I like con-men in adventuring parties. So here is my take on an OSR Bard for your favourite retroclone.
Prime Requisite: CHA
Hit Dice: As Thieves
Maximum Level: None
Level Progression: As Thieves
Tricksters, Charlatans, Jesters and Skalds. These are the drifting vagrants who seek adventure along the path of least resistance. They may have reputations as entertainers for sure, but only because a vagrant with a guitar gets a free meal rather than a night in the brig. They ply many trades, but are masters of none, staying only long enough to pull their next con. Maybe tomorrow they will want to settle down, but until tomorrow they will just keep moving on.
Being a shifty type with needs somewhat greater than the law will usually allow, Bards have the following thief skills as if a thief of their level: Pick Pockets, Climb Walls, and Hear Noise.
This also involves bards needing a bit of strength of arms. Bards may wear armour up to chain (if armour restrictions are in place) and have no weapon restrictions.
Being wanderers and explorers, Bards are often also exposed to ancient magics (or more often lonely wizards who aren't too picky about an apprentice, and often wind up missing several valuable artifacts.) Bards may cast spells as a magic user half their level (round down). Bards begin play with read magic but no other spells, and never gain spells through research or leveling. Bards may only gain new spells through adventuring or as gifts.
Finally Bards like to talk tall. This gives bards a chance to know relevant tall tales about any crumbling ruin, dungeon, magic item or monsters equal to a roll of their level or less on a d20. This also makes the stories a bard tells of his own exploits (and those of his friends) that much more impressive. All adventurers earn 10% additional experience when adventuring or carousing with a bard.
The Labourers Under the Volcano
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