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 A bard as the main character in a Novel?

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The Red Walker Posted - 20 Mar 2011 : 22:41:28
Would you like to see a new novel centered around a bard as the main character?

I think it's long overdue myself. Their have been a few, but it seems like it's been awhile. I'm a huge fan of music and bard craft , I loved what Elaine did with bards in the past and think Some of the new authors could do them justice as well. Erik Scott de Bie with his musical influence to his characters(ie many have real world"soundtracks" and Rosemary Jones wiher the way she communicates humor come to mind among others.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Dennis Posted - 03 Apr 2011 : 06:18:53

Alystra, you might want to read The Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn. One of the main characters, Collan, is a gifted Bard.
Alystra Illianniis Posted - 26 Mar 2011 : 03:14:01
And speaking of spellsingers- Has anyone else read the Wizard in Rhyme series? Not a bard, exactly, but I figure any spellcaster that uses lines from Shakespeare or Greensleeves to cast spells qualifies! And some of those spells were pretty amusing!
The Red Walker Posted - 26 Mar 2011 : 02:52:51
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker

quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

As for bards in general, I haven't had a very high opinion of that profession to be honest. Maybe this is a skewed opinion since I've always considered them sub-par on the mechanics side but there have been some great novels with them in it such as Elaine's novels (which I've greatly enjoyed).


For what it's worth, I think the thing that makes people complain about the bard-mechanics - it's meant to be play the second fiddle in the party on all tasks except possibly social ones - is exactly what makes them an excellent group of characters for fiction. A bard can be basically anything. You can have your Scarlet Pimpernel-type, mixing daring escapes while spewing bon mots (see a certain Danilo Thann); or you can have an old academic advisor to the king who knows the laws and customs of the realms off by heart; there's your warrior-poets (e. g. Cyrano de Bergerac as portrayed in the play and movie); or why not someone specialising in the magic of song, such as a D&D spell-singer.



Another type would be the scholar/adventurer, the Indianna Jones type who occasionally hangs up his tweed jacket and gets out the fedora and bullship. Bronwyn in Thornhold was a bard build along these lines. So is Azariah.


With a dash of Spellsinger for spice?



Nope, sorry. No Spellsinger.



No worries, I'm not disappointed...I'm just fishin'
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 19:46:11
quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker

quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

As for bards in general, I haven't had a very high opinion of that profession to be honest. Maybe this is a skewed opinion since I've always considered them sub-par on the mechanics side but there have been some great novels with them in it such as Elaine's novels (which I've greatly enjoyed).


For what it's worth, I think the thing that makes people complain about the bard-mechanics - it's meant to be play the second fiddle in the party on all tasks except possibly social ones - is exactly what makes them an excellent group of characters for fiction. A bard can be basically anything. You can have your Scarlet Pimpernel-type, mixing daring escapes while spewing bon mots (see a certain Danilo Thann); or you can have an old academic advisor to the king who knows the laws and customs of the realms off by heart; there's your warrior-poets (e. g. Cyrano de Bergerac as portrayed in the play and movie); or why not someone specialising in the magic of song, such as a D&D spell-singer.



Another type would be the scholar/adventurer, the Indianna Jones type who occasionally hangs up his tweed jacket and gets out the fedora and bullship. Bronwyn in Thornhold was a bard build along these lines. So is Azariah.


With a dash of Spellsinger for spice?



Nope, sorry. No Spellsinger.
The Red Walker Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 18:42:05
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

As for bards in general, I haven't had a very high opinion of that profession to be honest. Maybe this is a skewed opinion since I've always considered them sub-par on the mechanics side but there have been some great novels with them in it such as Elaine's novels (which I've greatly enjoyed).


For what it's worth, I think the thing that makes people complain about the bard-mechanics - it's meant to be play the second fiddle in the party on all tasks except possibly social ones - is exactly what makes them an excellent group of characters for fiction. A bard can be basically anything. You can have your Scarlet Pimpernel-type, mixing daring escapes while spewing bon mots (see a certain Danilo Thann); or you can have an old academic advisor to the king who knows the laws and customs of the realms off by heart; there's your warrior-poets (e. g. Cyrano de Bergerac as portrayed in the play and movie); or why not someone specialising in the magic of song, such as a D&D spell-singer.



Another type would be the scholar/adventurer, the Indianna Jones type who occasionally hangs up his tweed jacket and gets out the fedora and bullship. Bronwyn in Thornhold was a bard build along these lines. So is Azariah.


With a dash of Spellsinger for spice?
The Red Walker Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 18:37:30
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker
I remember that Arilyn saw its hilt and thought was Halruuan. And very old.

I would be very interested to know whatever happened to that blade!



There's a short story in there somewhere. What do you think? Something amusing (a mock-battle-gone-wrong in the dormitory of a barding academy entitled "Cantata for Sword and Chamber Pot Ensemble") or something poignant ("Swan Song")?



Sounds like the start of an interesting anthology!
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 16:21:28
quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

As for bards in general, I haven't had a very high opinion of that profession to be honest. Maybe this is a skewed opinion since I've always considered them sub-par on the mechanics side but there have been some great novels with them in it such as Elaine's novels (which I've greatly enjoyed).


For what it's worth, I think the thing that makes people complain about the bard-mechanics - it's meant to be play the second fiddle in the party on all tasks except possibly social ones - is exactly what makes them an excellent group of characters for fiction. A bard can be basically anything. You can have your Scarlet Pimpernel-type, mixing daring escapes while spewing bon mots (see a certain Danilo Thann); or you can have an old academic advisor to the king who knows the laws and customs of the realms off by heart; there's your warrior-poets (e. g. Cyrano de Bergerac as portrayed in the play and movie); or why not someone specialising in the magic of song, such as a D&D spell-singer.



Another type would be the scholar/adventurer, the Indianna Jones type who occasionally hangs up his tweed jacket and gets out the fedora and bullship. Bronwyn in Thornhold was a bard build along these lines. So is Azariah.
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 16:19:25
quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker
I remember that Arilyn saw its hilt and thought was Halruuan. And very old.

I would be very interested to know whatever happened to that blade!



There's a short story in there somewhere. What do you think? Something amusing (a mock-battle-gone-wrong in the dormitory of a barding academy entitled "Cantata for Sword and Chamber Pot Ensemble") or something poignant ("Swan Song")?



I'd vote for the amusing one. It feels like it's been a while. Of course, I haven't quite had time to read the one in Wayfinder #4 yet (trying to write one or three pieces for the next issue myself at the moment).



The Wayfinder story is a grim little piece. There are two ways of looking at what occurred. It's not entirely clear whether the villain was responsible for the Bad Thing that happened, or whether he merely bet on it happening to manipulate a situation to his advantage.

I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the story.

Oh, by the way--Paizo bought the rights to the story after the fact, and eventually it will be posted on the Paizo website as part of their weekly web fiction program.
Kajehase Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 16:15:15
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

As for bards in general, I haven't had a very high opinion of that profession to be honest. Maybe this is a skewed opinion since I've always considered them sub-par on the mechanics side but there have been some great novels with them in it such as Elaine's novels (which I've greatly enjoyed).


For what it's worth, I think the thing that makes people complain about the bard-mechanics - it's meant to be play the second fiddle in the party on all tasks except possibly social ones - is exactly what makes them an excellent group of characters for fiction. A bard can be basically anything. You can have your Scarlet Pimpernel-type, mixing daring escapes while spewing bon mots (see a certain Danilo Thann); or you can have an old academic advisor to the king who knows the laws and customs of the realms off by heart; there's your warrior-poets (e. g. Cyrano de Bergerac as portrayed in the play and movie); or why not someone specialising in the magic of song, such as a D&D spell-singer.
Kajehase Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 16:07:26
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker
I remember that Arilyn saw its hilt and thought was Halruuan. And very old.

I would be very interested to know whatever happened to that blade!



There's a short story in there somewhere. What do you think? Something amusing (a mock-battle-gone-wrong in the dormitory of a barding academy entitled "Cantata for Sword and Chamber Pot Ensemble") or something poignant ("Swan Song")?



I'd vote for the amusing one. It feels like it's been a while. Of course, I haven't quite had time to read the one in Wayfinder #4 yet (trying to write one or three pieces for the next issue myself at the moment).
Diffan Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 14:21:27
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

Bardblade, huh? that polymorphs into a musical instrument? Good stuff. Just what my Satyr needs. I always thought it somewhat ridiculous for an adventurer bard to be hauling around his instruments into battle.



Like the bard character in the Darkwalker on Moonshae book? There was a bard that used a lute (I think) and a bow that was very inspiring indeed.

As for bards in general, I haven't had a very high opinion of that profession to be honest. Maybe this is a skewed opinion since I've always considered them sub-par on the mechanics side but there have been some great novels with them in it such as Elaine's novels (which I've greatly enjoyed).

There was a short story in the Realms of War anthology that featured a character named Bareris (Byers mentioned him a few pages ago) and that really inspired me to actually make up a bard character. He didn't seem the happy-go-lucky sort that many bards appear to be but a warrior of some great skill that infuses his attacks with magic and song. Something I can definitly get behind (and the short story Second Chance is a great read too, thanks Richard).

So I'd definitly like to see more bards be the main role or be a major character in additional Realms novels.
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 12:56:36
quote:
Originally posted by Arik

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" is a very old expression, discussed in some depth here.



"Architecture" is better than "color." Thanks for the attribution link.
Ayrik Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 12:18:38
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" is a very old expression, discussed in some depth here.

[Edit: FWIW, I am a moderately skilled musician, with a smattering of proper musical instruction, and I almost exclusively play by ear. Extracting melodies from musical notation is, for me, a bit of an ordeal. Physics and computer code are easy.]
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 12:12:03
quote:
Originally posted by Joran Nobleheart

I'd read such a book, provided it was written by the immense talents of Mrs. Elaine Cunningham, whom I greatly admire and think of as the best author in the Realms. It was actually her book, Elfshadow, that taught me the wonders of the Realms aside from a place for my characters in 2E D&D to be from. She brought the Realms to life for me, and showed me a wide world of fantastic adventures in the pages of her books. Danilo remains one of my favorite characters, along with how she portrays the Blackstaff, as well as Arilyn and Elaith. Even her villains keep me coming back for more, to be honest. And now that I've gone far off topic (), I'll state again, yes, if the book is written by someone of her great skill and wit that truly shows how much fun a bard can truly be.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to get my copy of Elfshadow back out now and go visit some friends of mine in those pages.



Thanks for the kind words, Jorun.

Now I feel DOUBLY guilty for the exasperated, soap-box tone of my post above.

I love bards. But to be fair, they are difficult for ANYONE to write. I once heard a great description of the process, something along the lines of "Writing about music is like dancing about color." (Wish I could attribute that, but forgot where I read it.) Writing about music, at best, reminds the reader of something they've heard. If your musical vocabulary differs from your readers', it's that much more difficult.
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 11:57:41
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Does that mean I should scrap my short story that has a bard wielding a combination mace/bagpipes? It reaches a crescendo in battle...



If the bagpipes spew Mace, then you've got a winner.

Also, pleased make the bagpipe's bag out of a banshee's lung. Let the enemy hear the song of their death, and tremble.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 11:53:02
Does that mean I should scrap my short story that has a bard wielding a combination mace/bagpipes? It reaches a crescendo in battle...
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 11:42:43
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

The flute-handled sword was from WotSQ. Halisstra takes it from a surface elf Eilistraeen, Feliane maybe? It's been some time since I read that.



You've got to wonder what the heck that flute was made of. The modern concert flute is an incredible delicate instrument. My younger son played flute for a while, and it seemed that not a month went by without taking it to the shop to be straightened or have dents smoothed out and keys realligned.

The flute's forerunners--recorders, fipple flutes, flageolets, whistles--are also delicate. We're talking about a thin, hollow tube here. Why would anyone want a sword with a hollow grip? Seriously, imagine holding a sword with a hollow grip. Move it around a little to test the balance. Yeah. I thought so.

And how, I wonder, would anyone PLAY the sword-flute? If it's a transvere flute, holding it horizontally would be quite a trick, what with a couple of pounds of steel weighing down one end.

Okay, this is the Realms. You can just say "It's magic!" and end the discussion. But if you're going to use enough layers of magic to harden a hollow handle, balance an unbalanced weapon, and enspell the thing to play on its own, c'mon--a FLUTE? A singing sword can at least exhort people to deeds of heroism, or, properly subverted, distract them with bawdy ditties. For that matter, the amount of magic needed to make a flute-handled sword worth half a damn could be better spent adding pragmatic magical properties to it.

One of the things I love about Patrick Rothfuss's books is that when it comes to music, he KNOWS WHAT THE HELL HE'S TALKING ABOUT. I don't know how many times references I've come across in the Realms about a sound "reaching a crescendo" (crescendo is the process of getting louder, not the end goal) or a melody "so complicated" that only Storm Silverhand and a 10-year-old harp prodigy could play it.

DING. Wrong. A melody is played one frickin' note at a time. Any competent musician can, with practice, master that. Especially on a harp, in which all the strings have a fixed pitch. If the melody required subtle pitch variations--half and quarter pitches, say, in a musical system that included far more notes than western music allows--then yeah, intonation would be tricky. But the harp is ALREADY TUNED. You just need to pluck the strings, one at a time. Please tell me how this is "complicated."

Rothfuss, on the other hand, describes a piece for lute and voice. The lute part has two lines playing in counterpoint, with the primary voice providing another line of counterpoint. The secondary voice not only adds a fourth line of counterpoint, it's sung in a different meter. Now THIS is a legitamitely complicated piece of music. Either Rothfuss has a good understanding of music, or he makes sure those sections are thoroughly vetted by someone who does.

There are people currently working in the Realms who could pull this off. Rosemary Jones is a music and theatre critic. I recall reading that Eric's wife is working on a master's degree in musicology. I don't call myself a musician these days, but I do have an undergraduate degree in music and I have played, with varying degrees of proficiency, several instruments, including lute, harp, and Renaissance flutes--instruments very like those you'll find in the Realms. Or at least run bard-centered work past a free-lance editor whose musical understanding does not begin and end with how to turn on a car radio.

This is not to say that people who aren't musicians can't write a good book about bards. Research is a wonderful thing. It doesn't take much to check a term you're not quite sure about, or pick up a phone. Chances are you know someone one who knows what you need to know.

Joran Nobleheart Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 10:55:16
I'd read such a book, provided it was written by the immense talents of Mrs. Elaine Cunningham, whom I greatly admire and think of as the best author in the Realms. It was actually her book, Elfshadow, that taught me the wonders of the Realms aside from a place for my characters in 2E D&D to be from. She brought the Realms to life for me, and showed me a wide world of fantastic adventures in the pages of her books. Danilo remains one of my favorite characters, along with how she portrays the Blackstaff, as well as Arilyn and Elaith. Even her villains keep me coming back for more, to be honest. And now that I've gone far off topic (), I'll state again, yes, if the book is written by someone of her great skill and wit that truly shows how much fun a bard can truly be.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to get my copy of Elfshadow back out now and go visit some friends of mine in those pages.
ElaineCunningham Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 10:53:41
quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker
I remember that Arilyn saw its hilt and thought was Halruuan. And very old.

I would be very interested to know whatever happened to that blade!



There's a short story in there somewhere. What do you think? Something amusing (a mock-battle-gone-wrong in the dormitory of a barding academy entitled "Cantata for Sword and Chamber Pot Ensemble") or something poignant ("Swan Song")?
The Sage Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 04:55:09
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Really? I could swear I remember the scene where he first enchanted it to sing! Cause he later used it against a harpy in the same book, and thought it was funny when everyone looked at him when they heard it. I do remember him teaching it new songs, however.



Nope, it already sung when he bought it. He didn't like it's singing voice, though, and I seem to recall him dropping the sword the first time it sang. He then used a spell that he originally came up with for adding songs to a magical music box -- he used that on the sword, started singing to it, and eventually it joined in.

That's if I'm remembering it all correctly, of course.

That sounds about right.
Alystra Illianniis Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 04:38:25
THAT, I DO recall, LOL!!!
The Red Walker Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 04:29:13
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Hmm. I didn't remember it already singing. Then again, it's been several years since I read it.



The best part was when fighting the harpies, he gave the sword to Elaith and it started singing the song about the knight who got hid wish of "wielding a more impressive lance".....
Ayrik Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 04:20:53
I am apparently much behind on my reading of bards in the Realms.
Alystra Illianniis Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 04:18:58
Hmm. I didn't remember it already singing. Then again, it's been several years since I read it.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Mar 2011 : 04:09:24
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Really? I could swear I remember the scene where he first enchanted it to sing! Cause he later used it against a harpy in the same book, and thought it was funny when everyone looked at him when they heard it. I do remember him teaching it new songs, however.



Nope, it already sung when he bought it. He didn't like it's singing voice, though, and I seem to recall him dropping the sword the first time it sang. He then used a spell that he originally came up with for adding songs to a magical music box -- he used that on the sword, started singing to it, and eventually it joined in.

That's if I'm remembering it all correctly, of course.

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