COLLEGE OF SATIRE*
Bards of the College of Satire are called jesters. They use lowbrow stories, daring acrobatics, and cutting jokes to entertain audiences, ranging from the crowds in a rundown dockside pub to the nobles of a king’s royal court. Where other bards seek forgotten lore or tales of epic bravery, jesters ferret out embarrassing and hilarious stories of all kinds. Whether telling the ribald tale of a brawny stable hand’s affair with an aged duchess or a mocking satire of a paladin of Helm’s cloying innocence, a jester never lets taste, social decorum, or shame get in the way of a good laugh.
While jesters are masters of puns, jokes, and verbal barbs, they are much more than just comic relief. They are expected to mock and provoke, taking advantage of how even the most powerful folk are expected by tradition to endure a jester’s barbs with good humor. This expectation allows a jester to serve as a critic or a voice of reason when others are too intimidated to speak the truth.
For the duchess with a taste for strapping young laborers, such tales might serve to warn the targets of her affections and force her to change her ways for lack of willing partners. Striking back at the jester only ruins her already damaged reputation, and might provide the best evidence that the jester’s satires have hit their mark. But if she is kind and generous to her conquests, the jokes and stories cast her as a kind of folk hero, while drawing even more potential partners to her.
Jesters are loyal to only one cause: the pursuit and propagation of the truth. They use their comedy and innocuous appearance to break down social barriers and expose corruption, incompetence, and stupidity among the rich and powerful. Whether revealing a con artist’s treachery or exposing a baron’s plans for war as driven by greed and bloodlust, a jester serves as the conscience of a realm.
Jesters adventure to safeguard the common folk and to undermine the plans of the rich, powerful, and arrogant. Their magic bolsters allies’ spirits while casting doubt into foes’ minds. Among bards, jesters are unmatched acrobats, and their ability to tumble, dodge, leap, and climb makes them slippery opponents in battle.
When you join the College of Satire at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with thieves’ tools. You also gain proficiency in Sleight of Hand and one additional skill of your choice. If you are already proficient with thieves’ tools or in Sleight of Hand, choose another skill proficiency for each proficiency you already have.
At 3rd level, you master a variety of acrobatic techniques that allow you to evade danger. As a bonus action, you can tumble. When you tumble, you gain the following benefits for the rest of your turn:
- You gain the benefits of taking the Dash and Disengage actions.
- You gain a climbing speed equal to your current speed.
- You take half damage from falling.
At 6th level, your ability to gather stories and lore gains a supernatural edge. You can cast detect thoughts up to a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain any expended uses of this ability after completing a long rest.
If a creature resists your attempt to probe deeper and succeeds at its saving throw against your detect thoughts, it immediately suffers an embarrassing social gaffe. It might loudly pass gas, unleash a thunderous burp, trip and fall, or be compelled to tell a tasteless joke.
Jesters seem to have a knack for pulling themselves out of tight situations, transforming what looks like sure failure into an embarrassing but effective success. At 14th level, you can expend one use of Bardic Inspiration after you fail an ability check, fail a saving throw, or miss with an attack roll. Roll a Bardic Inspiration die and add the number rolled to your attack, saving throw, or ability check, using the new result in place of the failed one.
If using this ability grants you a success on the attack, saving throw, or ability check, note the number you rolled on the Bardic Inspiration die. The DM can then apply that result as a penalty to an attack or check you make, and you cannot use this ability again until you suffer this drawback. When the DM invokes this penalty, describe an embarrassing gaffe or mistake you make as part of the affected die roll.
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