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Pied Piper

Some bards follow after the original pied piper, a legendary figure who could musically control the minds of small animals. These teachings, often viewed with hostility and suspicion on account of those same legends, are largely passed from master to apprentice, but there are also secretive tomes and hidden notes tucked away. Pied Pipers largely use their music to do good—usually for a price—but are fully capable of turning their swarming minions to destructive ends to right a wrong or seek revenge.

Musical Focus

As your powers stem from a very specific kind of music, you must use an Art Specialty as a spellcasting focus for your bard spells. Additionally, this Art Specialty cannot be visual and can only be voice-based if it involves a tune, such as singing, humming, or whistling.

3rd LevelBonus Proficiencies and Specialties

When you select this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with Animal Handling. If you are already proficient with this skill, you instead gain an expertise die . In addition, you gain additional specialties equal to your proficiency bonus, and you gain another specialty whenever your proficiency bonus increases. These bonus specialties must be in Animal Handling, Performance, or Nature. You also gain proficiency with one wind instrument of your choice.

3rd LevelSwarm Whisperer

Also at 3rd level, your music allows you to control the minds of rats and other Tiny creatures.

As an action, you may expend a use of Bardic Inspiration to begin a performance that compels Tiny creatures to obey you. A swarm of creatures appears within 30 feet in an unoccupied space of your choosing that you can see. This swarm must be CR 1/4 or lower and have the Beast creature type (such as a swarm of bats, rats, or ravens). This CR increases to 1/2 at 6th level and to 1 at 14th level.

At the Narrator’s discretion, the specific kind of beast you can all may vary based on the region of your location. This feature requires concentration like a spell and continues for a number of rounds equal to half your Proficiency bonus or until you stop playing the music, lose concentration, or cast a spell that requires verbal components. This effect also ends if the swarm is reduced to 0 hit points, can’t hear you, or moves more than 60 feet away from you. When this effect ends, the swarm dissipates. You can choose to continue the performance by expend another use of Bardic Inspiration at the start of your turn (no action is required).

The swarm shares your initiative, takes its turns simultaneously with yours, and does not act unless commanded. On your turn you may, as a bonus action, command your swarm to move up to its base movement speed and use its action. This action can only be to Dash or to pick up, move, or drop a single Tiny-sized object it shares space with. If the object is nonmagical, the swarm can also deal damage to it (see below). At 8th level, you can instead direct your swarm to use its action to use the Grapple basic maneuver against a single creature of Medium size or smaller you can see, using your spell save DC in place of its maneuver DC. You must use your bonus action to order the swarm to continue the grapple each turn; otherwise, the creature escapes the grapple. The swarm does not inflict damage on a grappled creature. Your swarm can not use reactions.

Creatures may share space with a swarm that you summon, but they treat the swarm’s area as difficult terrain . In addition, creatures that enter the swarm’s space or begin their turn within it automatically take damage equal to one of its attacks (your choice). This damage still changes if your swarm becomes bloodied . Your swarm does not deal damage to creatures that you do not wish it to.

You may not use this feature in an area with no sound, such as one under the influence of a silence spell.

6th LevelSwarm Savant

At 6th level, your power over beasts grows. When you summon a swarm, you can instead expend 2 uses of Bardic Inspiration to summon two swarms at once. The combined CR of these swarms must be equal to or less than the maximum CR swarm you can summon. These swarms need not be composed of the same creatures as long as both are available at your location. Giving direction to a second swarm in one turn functions like ordering the first swarm, except it requires an action instead of a bonus action. When you spend an action to summon the swarms, you can direct the second swarm as part of that action.

Additionally, your swarm (choose one if you have summoned two swarms) adds half your proficiency bonus to its Armor Class and its maximum hit points increase by a number equal to your bard level. Its attacks also count as magical for the purpose of overcoming damage resistances and immunities .

14th LevelDevourer of Hamlin

At 14th level, you can spend an additional use of Bardic Inspiration and choose either for one of your swarms to be Large size or for both swarms to benefit from the bonuses of your Swarm Savant feature. A Large swarm does not change its stats except for its size, and may grapple or damage no more than one Large creature, two Medium creatures, or four Small creatures at once, even if it shares a space with additional creatures.

Additionally, once per long rest you can expend four uses of Bardic Inspiration to summon up to two commoner mobs. These mobs have the benefits and limitations of the above features, lose their Area Vulnerability trait, and gain resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. You can only use this feature in an area with a large enough number of commoners to create these mobs (minimum 10 commoners each).

Once the duration of this feature ends, the commoners realize they have been magically manipulated and can make a Wisdom (Insight) roll against your bard spell save DC to recognize you as the source of the enchantment. The directives you gave them and the level of losses they took may influence the mobs’ opinion of you; empowering citizens to defend their city or strike down a tyrant may have you hailed a hero, while sending innocents to certain doom or to fight their friends and neighbors will provoke a very different reaction.

Variant Swarms

Depending on your location or preferences, you might find that the swarms listed in the  Monstrous Menagerie and other sources do not cover your needs. Make sure to work with your Narrator to tweak existing stat blocks. This will mainly consist of flavor text, such as using the stats for a swarm of rats for a swarm of squirrels, but may involve adding, removing, or changing a movement speed, damage type, or other trait.