Al-Qadim Bard D&D Forgotten Realms Rogue Table Top

Al-Qadim Adventures: The College of Barbers

One of the coolest, to me, kits introduced in Al-Qadim was the Barber. When taken in context, it’s no surprise that the barber is included, really. Not only were they the medical professionals of the age, they were traditionally called barber surgeons, they also carried mystical authority. You see, there was an ancient belief carried by many that evil spirits could enter in through the hair. Thus, the barber was considered holy workers that drove out these evil spirits and prevented their re-entry. They were the spiritual and religious authority of a tribe. As civilization advanced, barbers took on a similar role to what is practiced today, and barbers practiced in the marketplaces where people would debate and gossip.

Al-Qadim seeks to capture all of this with the kit as presented. Traditionally speaking, this is a kit for both rogues and bards. There are aspects of both that present in the kit, as the kit depicts the barber as a crazed spinner of tales and legend, a swindler out for every coin, as well as a true medical expert. The barber also gains proficiency in the barber’s kit and the straight razor. I had originally planned to create this as a bard college, but instead I want to take a shot at presenting something that works for both bard and rogue, relying on bardic inspiration and backstab die as the powering currency.

Barber

The roguish barber is a tradition in the Land of Fate. One or more of them may be found in any bazaar, flashing their blades as well as their wit. Boldly they hawk their abilities and prowess – often while performing said tasks on their customers.

Barbers are cunning, streetwise showmen, gifted with quick wit and a glib tongue. It is said they’ll try to talk you out of more than just your gold; they’ll also try for the pouch that holds it, the belt from which the pouch hangs, and the pants that are held up by the belt.

They have a reputation for being a bit crazed, which helps ensure that their customers hold still for their ministrations. Furthermore, a touch of insanity suggests that barbers know of what they speak when describing genies, their fabulous riches, and other wonders – phenomenon that could certainly leave a person addled.

Bonus Proficiencies

When you choose this college at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with the healing kit and either an instrument, if you are a rogue, or thieves’ tools, if you are a bard.

Close Shave

When attacking with a straight razor (dagger), the barber may choose to re-roll any one attack. The re-roll must occur before being notified if the initial attack successfully hits or not. The second roll must always be used. Once used, this ability may not be used again until after a short or long rest. This rule may be broken by the barber expending one bardic inspiration die or backstab die in order to use this ability again without resting. No more than five total dice may be spent in this manner without taking a short or long rest. Backstab dice expended in this manner return after a short or long rest, while bardic inspiration die return according to how the dice currently recover for the bard.

Barber Surgeon

Barbers must be skilled in practical healing and medicine as part of their trade. Beginning at 3rd level, as an action a barber may expend a charge from a healing kit to allow a creature to expend a hit die to recover hit points, adding the barber’s proficiency bonus to the roll. The barber may opt to expend one bardic inspiration die or backstab die in order to grant an additional d6 to be added to this roll. No more than five total dice may be spent in this manner without taking a short or long rest. Backstab dice expended in this manner return after a short or long rest, while bardic inspiration die return according to how the dice currently recover for the bard.

In addition, the barber may expend a bardic inspiration die or backstab die when attempting any medicine check to add the die to the roll.  Backstab dice expended in this manner return after a short or long rest, while bardic inspiration die return according to how the dice currently recover for the bard.

Endless Tales

Starting at 6th level for bards, and 9th level for rogues, the barber is able to astound and amaze with tales of daring adventure and warnings of fantastic dangers. Of course, sometimes these stories meander and wander without ever seeming to get to the point, but the audience sticks around.

After a successful performance check, the barber may opt to charm those listening to the tale for as long as the barber continues speaking or performing. The barber may expend a bardic inspiration or backstab die in order to change a target’s immunity to charm into the target instead having advantage on a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + CHA modifier + proficiency bonus) to avoid being charmed. Those without immunity to charm do not receive a saving throw. No more than five total dice may be spent in this manner without taking a short or long rest. Backstab dice expended in this manner return after a short or long rest, while bardic inspiration die return according to how the dice currently recover for the bard.

Song of the Marketplace

When the barber reaches 14th level for bards, or 13th level for rogues, the barber has become adept at listening to gossip and finding out things that the barber shouldn’t know. While in a bazaar, marketplace, or other heavily populated area, the barber has advantage on all perception and investigation checks, and may expend a bardic inspiration die or backstab die in order to add a d6 to the check. No more than five total dice may be spent in this manner without taking a short or long rest. Backstab dice expended in this manner return after a short or long rest, while bardic inspiration die return according to how the dice currently recover for the bard.

Additionally, the barber has now heard so many legends and tales of strange and unusual magical items that the barber has gained a small amount of insight in interacting with them. The barber may use a magic item not intended for them but must first expend a bardic inspiration die or backstab die when attempting to activate or use the item. No more than five total dice may be spent in this manner without taking a short or long rest. Backstab dice expended in this manner return after a short or long rest, while bardic inspiration die return according to how the dice currently recover for the bard.

Items that require attunement require the permanent expenditure of a die until the item is not longer attuned. Attuning the item in this manner allows the item to be used as if the barber qualified for the item without needing to further expend any bardic inspiration or backstab die.

Razor Sharp

When a barber reaches 17th level as a rogue, the barber has learned to hone a straight razor to hitherto untold levels of sharpness. The first time in a combat using your straight razor to perform a backstab, the damage die of the backstab increases from a d6 to a d10.

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