Continuing yesterday’s theme a bit, we turn to class powers only available to those of a specific race. I really believe that choices ought to matter, that any time you’re asked to spend resources, there should be some consequences. Over the history of D&D, there’s been a lot of variance in how important this choice is. In Original D&D, race was also class — you weren’t a Dwarf Fighter, you were a Dwarf, who advanced "as a fighting man" until he hit his (low) level cap. AD&D added the idea race and class were separate picks, and allowed demi-humans (only) to multiclass, but there were a plethora of specific rules and limits, many of which made no sense. (Elves were limited to 11th level as magic-users and only humans could be druids, for example.)Second edition kept this mostly intact but expanded the ranges a bit. And then 3rd edition blew the doors off the whole enterprise with any race, any class, any level.
4e, for the most part, has kept the 3e viewpoint with a few modifications. First, races are now all benefits, no drawbacks — except for small-size races being unable to use decently sized weapons. Second, there are more race-only feats. With the exception of a few paragon paths, though, pretty much every race has access to everything in the books, and there’s not too much to distinguish a dwarf fighter from a human fighter in terms of ability.
Today’s Breakfast Crunch — actually being done at breakfast, go me! — presents Morgarin’s Chants, a selection of unique Bard powers created by the battledrummer Morgarin during long siege of Krumveig Hold by the Glistening Legions of Caranail. The intent is that these powers be freely accessible by any dwarf bard, without additional requirement, but DMs should feel free to make them "lost" powers which must be discovered once more.
Hold Fast To The Stones, My Brothers
You begin this ancient dwarvish anthem, and you know that neither you nor your friends will be forced from their posts.
Bard Utility 10
Daily * Arcane, Zone
Minor Action; Close Burst 3
Effect: The burst creates a zone which lasts until the end of your next turn. Any ally in the zone who is affected by forced movement may move one less square. As an immediate interrupt, they may spend a healing surge to negate all forced movement.
Sustain Move: The zone persists.
Design Notes: Hey, it’s all about holding your ground! So if you want to keep up the benefit, you’ve got to stay put! (Yeah, you can burn a standard action to move and still maintain the zone, I suppose…)
Hammers On The Anvil, Joyous Is The Sound
Dwarf smiths chant this to guide the work of their apprentices and keep up the rhythm of the workplace. You have turned it to other purposes.
Bard Attack 17
Encounter * Arcane, Weapon
Standard Action; Melee Weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Charisma vs. AC
Hit: 2[W]+Charisma modifier damage.
Effect: One ally adjacent to the target may make a basic attack against that target as a free action. If that attack hits, a second adjacent ally may make a basic attack against that target as a free action, and so on, until all adjacent allies have hit or one has missed.
Weapon: Any ally wielding a hammer may add your Charisma modifier to the damage if they hit.
Forge Our Souls More Purely
This is a song sung to the Maker Of All Souls, asking him to cleanse you of all sloth and shirking.
Bard Utility 16
Daily * Arcane, Healing
Standard Action; Close Burst 5
Target: All allies in burst.
Effect: All allies in burst may make a saving throw at +2 against any one condition a save can end. An ally may also spend a healing surge to end all ongoing conditions instantly.
Design Note: It’s interesting to compare this to Chorus of Recovery. Longer range, bonus to save, chance to end all conditions if you want to blow a healing surge… but less useful round-after-round. I think this is a balanced alternative, and, frankly, I like "may expend valuable resource X in exchange for cool benefit Y" mechanics, so you see them a lot in my design. I love offering difficult resource management decisions, especially if the players really don’t know if this is their last fight of the day or if there’s more battles to come.