College of Misery (5A)

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This is an original Bard college for 5A.

Bards of the College of Misery rarely go to a musical school to learn their trade. Often they are self-taught by life’s many embarrassments and injuries, travel with learned and cruel folk, or are simply belligerent drunks with greater wit than wisdom. These adventurers are all invective and sass. Yet there is power in critique—enough to change the world just as certainly as singing, painting, and sculpture.


When you join the College of Misery at 3rd level, you learn how to heckle people, hurling insults and abuse with casual flair. As a bonus action you may begin heckling a creature by expending 1 use of your Bardic Inspiration. The creature is allowed a Wisdom saving throw against your spell DC to ignore the effect. When you initially use Heckle, the creature loses concentration if it is concentrating on a spell. During the duration, it has disadvantage on Charisma checks and on any attack that does not target you. Any creature attempting a saving throw against one of the target's spells have advantage. This lasts for up to 1 minute. The target is allowed another saving throw to end the effect at the end of each of its turns.


Also at 3rd level, you learn the vicious mockery cantrip, or if you already possess it you may learn any other cantrip from the bard list. This additional cantrip does not count against your number of bard cantrips known. Your use of the vicious mockery cantrip improves, dealing damage even on a successful saving throw.


Starting at 6th level your capacity to disrupt the target of your abuse expands into full blown polemics. As a ritual that must be performed in a public space shared by at least 20 local individuals, you can ridicule a creature that may or may not be present, sneering and telling ugly tales about it, snide insults, and bald faced lies. Performing this ritual requires one keg of ale, wine, or spirits (which may be purchased at the start of the ritual) and takes 15 minutes. You can perform several rituals in succession to affect multiple targets. At the end of the ritual, your polemics spread across the community over the next 6 hours (usually overnight) and the creature has disadvantage on Charisma checks made within that community for the next week.

Absolute Contempt

Beginning at 14th level your heckle is so thorough a victim is forced to constantly think about it. A heckled creature is unable to maintain concentration for the duration of your Heckle and suffers disadvantage on all attack rolls, even against you.

Editor's Notes

This subclass just barely passed muster.