The people sheltering in this place were huddled together against the darkness outside. The wind moaned through the eaves, but even over the wind they could hear the distant, bellowed orders of warriors on the march, and battle cries being shouted. They were drawing closer. The people clutched their farming tools and old, ill-cared-for weapons, looking for strength in the steel, but finding none.
It was why they had come to this church... for they knew the god who was worshiped here. And while almost none of them had come here of their own free will, in their hour of need, they sought the guidance and protection of Charne.
The figure that stepped onto the dais silenced the whispers. It was a man, a cloak of thick fur draped over his shoulders so that he looked like some sort of hunting beast. His face was striped with red, and the muscles of his chest and arms flexed as he looked out over the crowd. These people were his friends and neighbors, but as they looked up at his flashing eyes, the man they knew as Daevric was gone. There was only the priest of the god of war.
"You come here, to this hallowed ground, in your time of need," he said. He didn't raise his voice, but it carried to every corner of the space. It broke over them like a tidal wave, washing away fear and doubt. "My god does not begrudge you this. Do you come for a sword when you need to plant grain? Do you come for a sword when your wife is ill, or you have needs to build a fence? Do you?"
There were choruses of "No," from those who were gathered. Each came with more strength, and greater surety. The figure on the dais bared his teeth, and began to stalk back and forth, his eyes sweeping those before him.
"Nay! You reach for a sword when a foe comes to your gates," he said, his voice raising as he swept them along with him. "You reach for a sword when blood needs to be spilled! When a crop of death needs to be sown! And now is such a time, brothers and sisters!"
The ring of steel filled the room as he drew his blade. It gleamed in the candle light, and as he raised it, the others raised their weapons with him. They shouted out cries, their fear replaced with the gleam of wrath. His manic grin that would have frightened them mere moments ago was now a comfort.
"Fill your hands and your hearts my friends!" he howled. "Drink deep of Charne's chalice, and you shall know no fear!"
The Gods Work in Mysterious Ways
Gods are beings of terrible power, but they are so far removed from humanity that they often work through their chosen agents to affect the material world. And while we often think of clerics, and even oracles as their agents, the gods may reach out to all sorts of people... including bards.
A bard's magic may feel like it's divinely inspired to those who listen to them. Courage flowing from a sermon, healing coming from a whispered prayer and a touch of the fingers, and fear being banished with a shouted psalm. Preaching is a performance, and a bard's charisma can suck people into the frenzy of faith. It's even possible that certain faiths may recruit those who have shown talent, helping them develop their skills, and putting them to use in the name of the church.
This concept is similar to The Sacred Sorcerer, as these bards may feel themselves divinely inspired in the same way a sorcerer may believe their bloodline is tied to a particular god, or a particular faith. For those playing Pathfinder's first edition, you can take this concept a step further by playing a Faith Singer, which gives you some of the abilities of a cleric to mesh with your remaining bardic powers.
For those who enjoyed the opening story, consider checking out some other, divine aspects of my Sundara: Dawn of a New Age fantasy TTRPG setting where said story is based!
- Gods of Sundara: The rules and setup for the gods of this setting, along with a sample of 10 gods to form a starting pantheon. Consider getting your copy for either Pathfinder Classic, or Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.
Additionally, if you're looking for more tips on playing unique and interesting bards, check out my 5 Tips For Playing Better Bards as well!
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That's all for this week's Unusual Character Concepts post!
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