Introducing The Bard College of Glamour In Xanathar's Guide To Everything
Todd Kenreck: The Bard College of Glamour is for the rock stars of the D&D multiverse. They have strong connections to the Feywild and they inspire devotion in their fans. I talked to Jeremy Crawford about this new subclass in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Jeremy Crawford: The College of Glamour was a subclass that in our brainstorming came up partly inspired by a Bard that was in my previous D&D campaign. Michelle Carter, one of our editors played a Bard in my campaign whose father had been whisked away to the Feywild and was raised there. Throughout the entire campaign, we described her Bard’s magic as being suffused with the power of the Fey, so I thought, “What if we made a whole college about this that … a college of Bardic magic that would not only be used by people in the mortal world but would also basically be the college that would be engaged in by Bards in the Feywild?” Thus, the College of Glamour was born.
Also, aesthetically, Mike and I early on talked about essentially having figures like Freddie Mercury in mind, so this Bard, it was just crazily fabulous and beguiling and again, like we do with all of the subclasses, we wanted it to feel different from the Bards in the player’s handbook. Player’s handbook, we have the College of Valor which is very much about sort of waiting into battle and inspiring one’s companions, very much kind of a sculled in historical sense. We have then the Lore Bard which is much more about knowing all these great stories and manipulating other people’s minds and emotions, a Bard who could be seen as almost a bit of an intellectual but also is sort of a trickster. It’s kind of open-ended enough that you can push that Bard in either direction.
We felt there was a place for a Bard that instead was all about the beguiling magic of the Feywild and so the College of Glamour play testers really liked it and we refined it to really just enhance what they liked about it and that is this Bard who is able to beguile people using their class features and not just using spells, a Bard who once they’re high enough level, can make it difficult for people to even attack them because essentially, the people have become their fans because again, full disclosure, in addition to being inspired by stories of Fey creatures and their beguiling abilities, we were also again inspired by the idea of the College of Glamour sort of being a pop star and so there’s a little thread in some of the class features of basically people becoming the College of Glamour’s, that Bard’s fans. We’re going to do what you say. We’re not going to hurt you.
This is the Bard who is just unbelievably fabulous and as we say in the book, a Bard who could be pushed in a heroic or villainous direction. On one hand, you can imagine members of this college bringing great delight to people, the Bard who brightens the dreary lives of peasants wherever the Bard goes, who has just wondrous, colorful magic who soothes their broken hearts, who brings this music that’s so beautiful, it just pierces them and they cry tears of happiness, but you can also imagine a member of this college who is manipulating people, getting them to do what he or she wants and could be a bit of a terror. In this, this Bard is very much an appropriate sort of representative of the Feywild itself, a beauty that is a double-edged sword that can cut in your favor or it can cut against you.
This Bard is an interesting contrast and a very intentional contrast with the Circle of Dreams in the Druid where there, we leaned into kind of how the beauty of the Feywild can soothe and protect. Here, we're leaning into the fact that that beauty can be perilous and you don't always know if it's on your side and but also with this subclass, whatever way that blade of beauty is cutting, it must always be fabulous. It's funny. The College of Glamour is actually one of the earliest subclasses we talked about including when we were coming up with the whole set of subclasses for the Unearthed Arcana series just because for some reason, it just tickled me and Mike. We're like, “We definitely want to do this. We hope play testers like it,” and thank goodness they did and now, it's in the book.
A member of the College of Glamour can acquire their abilities in a variety of different ways and we always like to leave it pretty open-ended for our players to decide exactly how they became a member of their subclass in terms of their story for why. We give suggestions, so one way that a member of the College of Glamour might have become a member is by being from the Feywild. Perhaps, you were whisked away as a baby and you actually grew up in that Fey realm and because of that, you are now suffused with this strange magic and it alters what you can do as a Bard.
You can easily imagine though another member of this college who may be studied under a Fey being, perhaps found a glade in a forest somewhere and heard a dryad singing and became her student and a result of her tutelage, became a member of the College of Glamour. I think there could be a lot of actually really great stories not only for this subclass but for many of the subclasses in the book for how did you become a member of the subclass. It's particularly easier to do that when you're in a class that does not get its subclass at first level because some classes, right as when you pick the class, you pick subclass. Often, your story for a class like that for why you are a member of a subclass is kind of inextricably entwined with why you became a member of the class itself.
In contrast, when you're a member of a class where you pick your subclass at second or third level, that little time delay then gives you a chance story-wise to think more specifically and why am I a member of this subclass and not another and how is that related to my character’s past, how is that related to where my character is going down the line in the campaign, how am I informed the story the DM wants to tell with me about my character because I know a lot of DMs like to sprinkle in things in a campaign tied in with each character story. I know it's something I do as a DM. I always try to have something in the campaign for every character at the table that relates to their background, someone who’s important to them in the past might have to do with their subclass.
Again, I think the College of Glamour in particular is very rich in terms of coming up with characters stories. Again, it could have been a dryad you studied under. It could have been a satyr. You heard of satyrs beguiling pipes and then wanted to know, “Well, how can I be as beguiling as this strange being?” Again, the College of Glamour gives you a chance to play a character who is a bit like a satyr in terms of entrancing people with performance.
Todd Kenreck: The Bard College of Glamour is part of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. You can purchase that book on dndbeyond.com by clicking on the link in this video description. I'm Todd Kenreck. Thanks for watching.