Hello! I’m working on the background for my Bard character, which also to some extent describes and fleshes out not just my character, but also how “show business” operates in my D&D world (subject to final approval by our dm of course). I’m looking for people’s input in fleshing out my idea, and ANY help is appreciated!
Essentially, show business in the world is very competitive/cutthroat, with performers having to deal with other performers (both “real” bards and regular performers) using various tactics, magical and otherwise, to get ahead and/or to sabotage others. For example, my bard (more of an actor/standup type of bard instead of dancing or musical) is young, not in a college yet, and pretty naturally talented, thus getting both the attention, and envy, of other performers who feel threatened by him.
I’m envisioning my character to have dealt with (and/or to deal with in the future) things like other performers doing things like using their connections, lies, gossip, etc., to make it difficult to get gigs, but then DURING my performance, bards using various cantrips or spells to distract me, make me look bad, or perhaps even using spells on the audience to try to change if they like my act or not.
Long story short, essentially my character recently humiliated a rather well-known performer mid-performance after finding out that this guy screwed my character over, and decides that, while he is going to try to join the College of Lore for protection and to, as the PHB says, “expose corruption,” he has also decided that he is tired of this type of “paying dues,” and is going to both defend himself and fight back against performers who mess with him.
This is my first time playing D&D, and while I’ve done a lot of research, I don’t have the playing experience and I want to make sure that I do things in line with how this game works, that I don’t make any incorrect assumptions or decisions regarding how certain spells work, etc., and I want to do this in a way that doesn’t make things overly complicated or confusing for me, the DM, and the other players. Therefore:
Lore-wise, (and not that there’s a right answer to this stuff, I’m just asking for your input from your experience or creativity) what overall/general laws, common practices, or cultural aspects govern how things like this type of stuff would be handled in D&D? For example, there has to be some sort of limit on this kind of behavior, otherwise there’s the potential for every bard’s performance to turn into full-out battle, and I don’t want that. Do these various cities and villages have police that deal with magical crimes, or is that left to the Colleges (and/or the innkeepers and nobles who book and house the performers)?
What kind of spells would work/not work for various forms of “magical heckling?” (For example, one idea that came to mind would be Bard A, sitting in Bard B’s audience, using the Message cantrip to distract Bard B while Bard B is onstage. Is that still in line with how Message works, or is it generally assumed that Message only works if the 2 people know and/or aren’t hostile toward each other? In other words, is the above situation possible, or would Bard B be unaffected and wouldn’t hear Bard A as he doesn’t know or isn’t friends with Bard B?)
What would be some good spells/cantrips, both bard and non-bard, to have my character seek to acquire to prevent/protect himself and/or the audience from being affected by his enemies’ magic? Obviously things like counterspell, suggestion, etc., but what about random spells used perhaps differently than normally intended? Could I use Leomund’s Tiny Hut onstage, choose no color for the outside and thus prevent any spells from anyone outside it to affect me but still allow me to perform? What about non-bard spells/cantrips that could be acquired via Magical Secrets?
Since one of the challenges I’m setting up for myself includes the possibility of others making it hard for me to get gigs, could I/should I make any changes to the “By Popular Demand” feature that would acknowledge I may not “always find a place to perform,” but I could get something else that could help me?
On the off-chance anyone has played or DM'd any games that dealt with a scenario similar to this (even as vaguely similar as just a character dealing with competition from other people in the same class/profession), do you have any tips?
Any questions, concerns, recommendations, etc. about my idea?