Bardic Lore

The Magic of Art

She wandered the streets all night, taking in the sight of the midnight sky. The smells and sounds of the city were familiar and though many were unpleasant, filled her with a strange nostalgia for each moment that came and went. She caught herself wanting to journey back to the bakery with that honey butter she enjoyed not hours before. It was a longing for better times that had no business being there.
She stopped for a moment, felt a tug of sorts to a nearby alleyway, and followed it. She walked along the cobblestone streets to find a woman sitting in the alleyway with her daughter.
She couldn't have been older than 12, but she clung to a stuffed bear like her life depended on it. Serenity took an easy step and overheard the mother's words.
"Come now, it's only a toy, darling. Put it back, you're much too old for such things".
the girl sobbed and the mother's frustrations cause the bard to speak.
"May I try?"
the mother looked angry at first but recognized serenity in an instant. "The Ivyhollow Legacy, Serenity herself slumming it down here?" She said in shock, "of course, of course, give it a go I've been trying for ages."
the mother stepped off and went into the nearby house as Serenity knelt down beside the crying girl. She was upset, but there was a strange power in this bear, and she felt it as she attuned herself to its arcane power...
by Matthew Stewart
Many regard bards as users of the arcane, but bards will be quick to correct any misconceptions around that fact. The powers used by the bards are magical in nature, but only to a certain degree. Their powers come from a concept, a philosophy of their organization: Bardic Lore.
Bardic Lore is the term bards use to define the magical potential in their art. All forms of art fall under the category, from painting and writing to dancing and storytelling. Some spells come from specific colleges that offer to teach it and studied the art of that college after becoming an alumnus of the university.

A bard taps into their arcane talent by utilizing their creativity, the collective cultural identity of the world as well as their own and this power is often enhanced by an audience, including the bard themselves. They learn basic arcane principles of tapping and channeling neutral energy within themselves and pour it using their chosen mediums. Bards tend to be very fond of alchemy and enchantment as well as these genres of magic anyone can perform. Though it's hard to perfect.

Darset's triad

Darset's triad is a form of categorizing artistic elements and their arcane qualities as it relates to Bardic Lore. Darset categorized Bardic Lore into three spheres: linguistic, visual, and harmonic. These three spheres are studied in depth by all bards in the freeholds and Estoya, though many prefer or focus on a single sphere.

Linguistic Lore

Linguistic lore is the study of Bardic lore in language. Darset believed that language was the fundamental basis for the magic behind bardic lore. One must be able to ascribe meaning to something to understand it and feel it. That meaning is the fundamental element of Bardic Lore and how it works. While the principle applies to all magic, it is in bardic lore that the combination of symbolic and intended meaning actively causes the arcane effect. For a bard, simply reciting a phrase from a book held in high esteem by the bard can yield an effect. On rare occasions, what is specifically said means nothing, the emotion behind it is what causes the effect, though this is for exceptionally emotionally aware bards. Those whose emotions are less severe or heavily controlled by the bard usually cannot rely on the emotion and have specific phrases they rely on. Linguistic bards focus on the art of language. Writers, poets, actors, con artists, singers, and even diplomats and public speakers are seen often among bards, but also dancers and prostitutes as body language is also a potential for linguistic lore.

Visual Lore

Darset was a painter himself, preferring watercolor to other mediums. He found that when one would express themselves in words, visual art often filled the void. Symbolic meaning can often be expressed through sight. Every religion has a series of symbols, royal houses have sigils, and even nations have symbols. Visual artists such as painters and dancers use their art to achieve their effect. These effects are usually ritualistic in nature, though some abilities are more immediate such as the use of Eidolons and summoning. Visual bards tend to focus on the aesthetic of their environment more than any other kind of bard. They are most known for their elaborate displays of arcane power. It should be said that each poet laureate of Estoya has been a visual bard. These bards tend to be masters of illusion, enchantment, and conjuration. They breathe life into their ethereal constructs and while often times these brilliant displays are harmless, one should never assume so at first glance. A bard’s illusion can easily cause harm if the bard wills it so.

Harmonic Lore

Harmonic bards use music and melody to project their lore. They play their instruments with extraordinary skill and the effect project from the resonating waves. Musicians are the most common harmonic bard, but there are other melodies in the world that most never hear. Many harmonic bards seek to reveal the melodic way the world around them works. They set a beat, maybe with a drum or simply by tapping their side. Some just count each beat out loud, other can be perfectly silent and when attune themselves to the beat of the earth the world around them seems to fall in line with their tune. Bards focused on the harmonic lore are rare. Many bards are musically inclined, but it takes a special ear to experience the art of existence itself and an equally special talent to use it.

What it is...

Bardic lore represents the collective knowledge of the bard in question. Myths, legends, songs, poems, etc. all have an inherent power a bard can attune to. The more a bard knows the more powerful they are. They gather stories and command attention as no one else can. This charisma is part of their power and artistic talent blended with their art form and varied bag of tricks are all part of what makes a bard, a bard.

The real secret of Bardic Lore, however, is their affinity for Attunement.

Mages have been made jealous of the attunement capabilities of bards. Their romantic notions and connection to art make it easy. Bards are normally very empathetic and this assists in the attunement process. Their empathy can even tap into the very fabric of an entire culture. Synchronize is the usual form of attunement that bards use.

A bard can tap into anything from their environment to a small object, allowing them to pull magical energy and channel it with their art. They can pull information from it as well without needing language, many murders have been solved from a careless criminal due to leaving behind a calling card. A student who cannot properly grasp this aspect of bardic lore is never admitted into the university, as the many jobs bards often do are too dangerous without the skill.

What it is not...

A better way of looking at bardic lore is to see how it differs from other prominent magical systems. Mages study magic focusing on the mind and efficient calculation, druids connect with magic and strive to achieve a sense of balance, usually giving as much as they take and never seeking the power within themselves. The miracles used by members of the clergy are driven by faith.

A Bard feels magic and can actually attune themselves to it. They feel a pulse in the world that echoes the thoughts of all things living or dead or that which has no life at all.
Bards feel the magic around something so deeply that they can tap into it and do extraordinary things without locking themselves away in a tower with massive texts or praying to a God for power. A bards outlook on life varies from one to another, but the college a bard is a member of often reflects their personalities and what they care about most.

by natoyan-pyo

by Vasylina Holodilina

The Triad And The University

The triad does not classify types of bards, rather it exists as a reference point. A three-part spectrum that all bards appear on. A bard who is focused on one is not beholden to it, nor are they restrained by it. The triad is a way of discussing different ways in which bardic lore exists. As such, the university is divided into three schools named after the trial, and every college is divided into them.

A Worldwide Profession

Other cultures use different elements and names for bards and the powers they have, but bards are found all over the world. The principles of applying magic to art are not specific to Estoya. In Dis ,for example, bards are often found telling epic tales of battles fought long ago. In Lartasia, the bards often reinvent instruments just to discover new sounds and painters make a living off of their paintings. These painting often appear to move.
Metaphysical, Arcane

Tools of the Trade

The bards use many tools to accomplish their tasks regardless of where they are. These tools come in many forms, as the bards gather elements of many traditions and cultures. Their are a few however that only bards find the most useful. Every bard has a medium, the means with which they channel their art and by proxy, their power. Instruments of all kinds, quill and ink, and paint brushes are all included.


A memento is an object with a deep past, while not inherently enchanted, a memento will gain a similar effect over a long period of time...unless you're a bard. Bards can sometimes be seen digging in boxes of junk, tossing things to the side recklessly in search of whatever they think they have found.

A memento is a bard's favorite kind of treasure. From a young girl's doll, thrown out when she reaches adulthood to the stick used to play a certain sport by some long lost culture, An enchanted item that oftentimes is only enchanted for them.

while mementos that are aged well can be used by anyone capable of basic arcane Attunement, bards can utilize those enchantments upon possession of the item. When attuned by a bard, the bard will learn its history.

All the little secrets whispered in the ear of that doll by a child, then a teenager, and finally, the parting words before being tucked away with a final hug, are now for the bard to learn and feel. This experience empowers a bard and the stories they learn they use to enhance their lore, oftentimes gaining new abilities.

...She spoke softly to the girl. "What's her name, love?"
"Margarite, please don't take her from me!"
"Now I'd never part a child from her protector." Serenity said, already receiving the mix of images as she shook the bear's hands. "Nice to meet you." She whispered slowly. "You're bear is quite the fighter."
"Well, for the last eight years, " she began, urgency building in her voice, "she's been protecting you from monsters." She finished in a matter of fact tone. The girl looked at her as if she was an idiot, but the look on Serenity's face was no joking matter. She saw the creatures, creeping to the girl's bedside to be greeted by the odd image of a bear with a tiny brass sword. The look on her face was serious and mixed with a sense of fear.
"Don't you dare give that bear up, not to anyone. Watch."
She snapped her finger and a wave of purple and green light emitted from it, casting over the bear.
"Ah, well, Margarite is tired and weakened, hurt..."
Serenity said, lifting the bear's arm to reveal a small tear. The girl looked confused as Serenity stood up.
"Allright bear, I hear you." The bear leaped from the girls lap and the girl screamed, it looked at her apologetically and pulled out A small wooden sword. Serenity followed the bear as it walked.
"Let's kill some monsters."

Articles under Bardic Lore

Cover image: by Concept 4


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Dec 7, 2018 06:50 by Tikal

Well for one this is a very in-depth article. I like that it seems to chronicle all the major points of a bard. I did have some issues though.   An article of this length reaaaaally needs formatting to help break up the text. More so than just paragraphs. Either with the use of columns or some headers. Or pictures to punctuate what's going. A quote works as well.   Now I don't know what the setting of your world is, but I feel like the article makes some assumptions of me the reader. Such as the magic tools. What is a basic magical tool? What are those like?   So is Bardic magic on par with whatever magic Mages do? Are songs like spells in your world? Is it through a natural ability? As in you can only be a bard if you have a natural affinity for feeling magic

Dec 7, 2018 13:00 by R. Dylon Elder

Won't thanks for commenting, and i agree with formatting. It's an RPG setting, dark fantasy, and I haven't placed any links in It yet so I agree, definitely assumes to much without a means of fixing it. Now it does say that bards cannot be admitted if they can't attune properly. So yes a bard that cannot feel that magic isn't a bard.

Dec 7, 2018 09:11

Some formatting would really help make this more digestible for a reader. The quotes work well, as to images. Considering moving some ancillary information onto the sidepanel, too :)   Some notes:   ".It was clear he was working on something and felt as though he had failed." - Got an extra dot there in the beginning   "Bards tend to be very fond of alchemy and enchantment as well as these genres of magic anyone can perform. , though it's hard to perfect. " - A rogue , has appeared between these sentences! I assume perform was not supposed to have a period?   "Darset believed that language was the fundamental basis for the magic behind bardic lore." - This is interesting, because wasn't his initial discovery of bardic magic entirely from a musical instrument?   "Q bard who is focused on one is not beholden to it nor are they restrained by it." This sentence and the one before it are a little confusing, I'm not sure I understand the Q bard who is focused bit of it. :)   "When attuned by a bard, the bard will learn its history." - What is attuned? I don't recall seeing it prior and you drop it in with no explanation. Tell us more! We want to know :D     Keep on Embering! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 7, 2018 13:07 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooo nice catch, ill have to clarify that, the instrument was the discovery, this information appeared well after that event as he developed the triad, music is in the harmonic sphere but the language is the basis of cardiac lore due to the fact that language establishes meaning and is the primary way we communicate. Visual art fills gaps, giving meaning when words cant. Music is the language of the world in a sense. I'll have to expound on it for sure and thanks for all the help on this one. I know it was...dense.

Dec 7, 2018 11:10 by Dejers Garth

Seeing that my fellow commenters have already touched on the formatting, I won't.   I liked the concept! Cool idea, making bardic designs more diverse and intriguing. WHY DOES THE FIRST STORY END BEFORE THINGS HAPPEN?!?!? They have cool basics in there and really give a solid dichotomy between them and other magic users. Less controlling the magic and more letting the magic out through them, almost a sorcerer way of seeing the magic.   Really cool article, thanks for sharing! :D

Dec 7, 2018 13:45 by R. Dylon Elder

Formatting ia...horrendous I know lol thanks for your comment, I'm glad u like the idea. The reason the story ends as it starts picking up is because that's a link to another article that tells you who darset is. And that dichotomy is exactly what I was wanting so thanks so much

Dec 7, 2018 14:14 by Dejers Garth

Hah! I totally missed the link there! Good placement, but maybe see about making it more obvious it's a link. :D

Dec 7, 2018 14:36 by R. Dylon Elder

Noted and thank you. I'll change the words a bit to specify lol. Thanks for the comments and I'll give you a critique in return presently.

May 7, 2019 06:48

Very in depth and a beautiful read. I was quite inspired by this. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

May 7, 2019 14:25 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks for the follow and comment man. I appreciate it. my bards are quite Special to me XD. I'm glad you enjoyed then and I'm flattered that you found inspiration from it. The arcane genres ( my term for schools of magic) are another great source of inspiration should ever you need it. They are kind of my pride and joy lol I love making magic systems.

May 7, 2019 14:52

That's definitely two things I intend to tackle, which is the bard college and institutions for magic, and with how varied they can be, it looks like I have my work cut out for me. Fortunately, articles like this help get the mental gears turning.

May 7, 2019 18:21 by R. Dylon Elder

It can be daunting but when you get started I'm sure you'll be able to flow through it pretty quick be sure to send some my way I'd love to read it magic systems are some of my favorite to read!!

May 7, 2019 19:25

Well, at the risk of sounding "self promoty" I encourage you to check out the world of Ayn in my profile. It's -definitely- a work in progress and only has basic formatting, but it's a labor of love and being worked on every day (I actually stopped writing an article to reply to this). I'm certainly open to feedback and opinions.

May 7, 2019 20:29 by R. Dylon Elder

I'd be happy to man. all you ever gotta do is ask. Don't worry about being too self promotional. were app here to be noticed you know :) you followed expedition demeter and while I do encourage you take a gender and tell me what u think, if fantasy gers too stale I do have a modern horror urban fantasy setting you can check out as well for something more fresh. It's called the web. No obligations at all my friend. I'll be looking here at your world in just a few and if you send me the article your working on to look at, id be happy to see as well. keep up the awesome work!

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