Two bards face off in front of a screaming audience, ready to prove who is the best musician in the land. Melodies flow and cutting lyrics fly as the bards battle for superiority.
These Dungeons & Dragons 5e homebrew rules are another way to resolve battles of the bands, singing competitions, and other musical contests where players are competing for the love of an audience or judges.
Music Battle rules
Music battles are resolved with Cool Points instead of Hit Points. Attacks are rolled against your Ego, otherwise known as Armor Class. Attacks or spells that would normally deal damage reduce cool points instead.
Music battles end when a musician or band reduces their opponent to 0 cool points. Or you may decide to play for a predetermined number of rounds. Whoever has the most remaining cool points at the end of the competition wins.
Bardic Inspiration and other modifiers can be applied as usual.
Cool Points: 1d8 (or 5) + your Charisma modifier per bard level.
Ego (Armor Class): 10 + your Charisma modifier.
Music Battle Actions
Music Attack: Melee or Ranged attacks are made with musical instruments or vocals instead of weapons. Successful attacks reduce your opponent’s cool points.
- Music attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier.
- Music damage = 1d8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier.
Magic Flourish: You use spell slots to take or restore cool points or to boost your ego (armor class). Use one first level spell slot and choose a flourish:
- Attack: You magically enhance a cutting lyric or riff against your opponent. They must make a Charisma saving throw. Your opponent loses 1d8 cool points on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC.
At Higher Levels. When you cast a magic flourish using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the initial damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.
- Buff: You enhance a performance with magic harmonies, pyrotechnics, or other special effects. You or a creature of your choice regains cool points equal to 1d8 + your Charisma modifier.
At Higher Levels. When you cast a magic flourish using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the buff increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.
- Ego Shield: You magically boost your ego (AC) to defend yourself. Until the start of your next turn, you have a +5 bonus to your AC.
Music Faceoff: You challenge an opponent directly. Roll a Performance check against your opponent’s Performance or Charisma. Whoever rolls higher gains 2d8 cool points and their opponent loses an equal number of cool points.
Simplified Music Battles
For faster musical contests being decided by judges or an audience, do the following.
- Have each PC in the band make a Performance check. Add the rolls and divide the total by the number of band members for an average.
- Roll a Performance check for each member of the rival band. Add the rolls and divide the total by the number of band members for an average.
- The band with the highest Performance check average wins.
This Dungeon Masters resource will be included in Bard Hard, a Dungeons and Dragons 5e adventure for high level bards. Follow Arcadian Media for more free D&D 5e resources.
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