This option, presented in Races of Stone, allows a gnome who takes bard levels to swap out certain bard abilities for other abilities.
A gnome bard who takes this level learns two 0-level cantrips of their choice, plus dancing lights, ghost sound, and prestidigitation.
A gnome bard who takes this level does not learn countersong. Instead, if they 3 or more ranks in Perform, they can use their bardic performance to counter magical effects that cause fear. Each round that the gnome bard wants to use this ability, they must make a Perform check. Any ally within 30 ft. of the bard (including the bard) that makes a save against a fear effect can use the Perform check in place of the saving throw if the Perform check is higher. A creature already under the effect of a fear effect can make a new saving throw against the effect each round it hears the bard perform, but it can only use the Perform check as the save result. The ability has no effect against effects that don't allow saves. A bard can keep a single use of this ability going for up to 10 rounds.
A gnome bard who takes this level does not learn Inspire Competence. Instead, if they have 6 or more ranks in Perform, they can use their performance to help their party resist mind control and illusions. An ally within 30 feet who can hear the performance gains a +2 circumstance bonus on saving throws against illusions and mind-affecting effects. The bonus lasts for as long as the performance lasts, and for 5 rounds thereafter.
A gnome bard who takes this level does not learn the power of Suggestion. Instead, if they have 9 or more ranks in Perform, they can use their performance to unsettle and unnerve their enemies. Enemy creatures within 30 ft. of the gnome bard who can hear the performance must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 bard's level + bard's Charisma modifier) or be shaken. If someone fails the save and remains within the range of the effect for 3 consectuve rounds, they become frightened instead of shaken. The effect can last for as long as the bard performs, plus 1 round after they stop. The effect also ends if the target moves out of range.
Phantasmal songs do not stack with each other (two songs won't make the fear any worse), but they can stack with other effects that induce fear, such as the cause fear spell. The phantasmal song is an illusion (phantasm), mind-affecting fear effect.
Secrets of Bardic TrickeryEdit
A gnome bard who takes this level does not learn a new 4th-level spell. From now on, their spells known of 4th level is one less than that of other bards. Instead, they add the following spells to their list of spells known:
- 1st-level: color spray
- 2nd-level: touch of idiocy
- 4th-level: phantasmal killer