A while ago I was talking to friend about bards. We got to talking about how it’s a shame that people often think of it as a “fiddle while my friends fight” class when there are some powerful character types that can fall within the class. Here’s one example and how it might work in play.
Siren (Combat Style)
Sirens have honed their voices to be extremely compelling, even mesmerizing. With a few melodic words, they can weaken and bend the minds of their opponents, draining their very will to fight.
Inspirations: The sirens from the Odyssey are the style namers, tough the vocal powers of the Bene Gesserit from the Dune series are a classic science fiction example.
Sirens attack the minds of their foes through speech and song. Such attacks usually radiate out from the siren, though they can also be focused in an arc or even on a single target.
They also tend to gain an increasingly strong grip on the targets mind as these attacks are sustained. Initially, the target may simply be distracted, finding it difficult to complete their tasks. From there they may find their perceptions and actions manipulated, making misstep and possibly confusing friend from foe. In the final stages, the target will forgo other actions to pursue the sirens calls.
However this progression is hardly inevitable. With enough help or if compelled to act against their nature, characters may break out of the grip of the sirens sound. So long as the target has some will remaining, they may struggle against and potentially break free from the siren’s grasp. When that happens, the siren generally has to change tactics as newly freed targets find their minds and hearts hardened against the siren. Entering a state of fighting fury is a common alternate plan, but other options are certainly possible.
A Siren’s best defense is to quell any desire to attack them. In any game with defense pools, this can mean being able to spend defense points to prevent an attack from being attempted. In other games, this may fall on distraction penalties to hit the Siren while they’re using their abilities.