Bards of Wolfstone

A good mixture of flavor and rules, Bards of Wolfstone furnishes a little over a half-page of story, a half-page of background information, and a couple pages for character-building advice, new spells, and some feats. It's tied to an older article, which I approve of because I wouldn't mind seeing a more strongly defined setting. The concept is a bard that is able to commune with spirits, specifically the spirits of dead warriors that the bard can call forth or bind to her allies in order to improve their combat prowess. I've built a few skald-type bards in the past, so this is relevant to my interests.

I'm not sure if the new spells require that you have be a bard with access to primal magic: they say bard, but they have both the Arcane and Primal keywords. Also, the article gives you some advice on multiclassing or going the hybrid route, but nothing specifically states that you have to. The new spells are all encounter powers that range from levels 3-23--so there's something for each tier--and they all hinge around conjuring spirits to spur your allies on, defend them, or lock your enemies down. Their abridged effects are as follows:

  • Rally the Spectral Host: Double-weapon damage, and you generate an aura that gives all allies a power bonus to attack and damage rolls.
  • Wrath of Wolfstone: Double-weapon damage (melee or ranged), and you conjure a spirit that deals automatic cold damage and slides enemies that end their turn next to it. Good for a small measure of control, but since the enemy can do whatever they want before the damage-and-slide, it's kind of limited, especially against anything with cold resistance.
  • Spectral Vanguard: This one does triple-weapon damage, generates a sizable aura that grants your allies a power bonus to defenses, and lets you slide enemies that end their turn in the aura. The size makes it very likely that your allies will benefit from this, and you'll probably catch a few enemies in it as well.
  • White Wolves: This close blast creatures deals weapon-based damage, and creates a zone that deals cold dmaage and immobilizes enemies that end their turn there. The area of effect is nice, and it only hits enemies, but immobilization isn't often terribly useful.

There's also three feats, as well:

  • Battle Cadence: When you use majestic word, you can slide the target further and give them a damage bonus for a turn. Very nice.
  • Wild Virtue: You get to shift whenever you use your Bardic Virtue. Also very nice.
  • Words of Wrath: You get a feat bonus to Intimidate, and can use words of friendship to boost it instead of Diplomacy. Thematic, if nothing else.
Really, the only thing this article was missing was a paragon path, but then there are several well-suited for it as is. Much of the content is thematically appropriate for the melee-oriented bard, though two of the feats are handy for most bards.

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