The Rockstar

Long ago, in the desolate Halls of Legends, a thriving warrior-cult practiced symbolic plays and rituals to satiate their rebellious spirits and the spirits of anyone who wanted to watch. They sang songs of bittersweet social revolution, composed painful melodies for the lost loves of their lives, and danced with all the passion of their generation. Driven by nothing other than their countercultural ideas and free spirits, they led a revolution that promised social change.

They took up arms, rocked out, and clashed with the forces of order for the freedom of the human spirit. Though their hearts swelled and their steel was strong, they were defeated by The Man and repressed for generations. They practiced in secret and played the mournful melodies of their glory days - passing their ideas and symphonies to the next generation.

This new generation did not live in fear and soon exposed themselves as the true inheritors of the rock-and-roll souls of their predecessors. Part warrior, part musician, and all revolutionary, these “rockstars” became more and more literal in their ritual performances. Armed with weapon-instruments and the supernatural strength their passion grants them, rockstars are regional icons who rock as hard on the battlefield as they do in concert.

Hit Dice: d10.

Role: The rockstar is always center stage. He is the headliner, not some lame opening act, and fights on the front line. While he is primarily skilled at melee combat, he can also create damaging solos and rock-outs that cause sonic damage in a large radius.

Alignment: Any chaotic

Rockstars are countercultural icons, and as such, they openly rebel against any sort of authority. Non-chaotic rockstars can no longer progress in the rockstar class but retain all class features with the exception of their message class feature. Additionally, rockstars can be good or evil aligned; although, most tend to be either chaotic neutral or chaotic good. Evil rockstars are in it only for themselves and generally have depraved natures; they try to hide from the public eye.

Relationship With Bards: Bards and rockstars both utilize the magic of music to one degree or another. The primary difference between the two of them is their implementation of it. While they both draw their source of power from the same place, they could not be more different. Bards use spellcraft, performance of music, and their jack-of-all-trades nature to help augment a group, while a rockstar does the opposite. Rockstars are devoid of spells, care a great deal more about themselves than their allies (at least mechanically), are almost a purely martial class, and have very few skills. The relationship between bards and rockstars can be described as similar to the relationship between wizards and magi but with an even wider gap that separates them. The rockstar can be counted as a bard alternate with GM approval, depending on the setting.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less and an instrument (not instrument weapon) of his choice.

Class Skills: The rockstar’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Disguise (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), and Sense Motive (Wis).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Table: The Rockstar
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +0 +0 +2 Genre, instruments, message, rock-out (1d6)
2nd +2 +0 +0 +3 Idol, sonic shield
3rd +3 +1 +1 +3 Solo (1d8), songs
4th +4 +1 +1 +4 Performance persona (1/day), stylistic choice
5th +5 +1 +1 +4 Accompaniment, message
6th +6/+1 +2 +2 +5 Art of rock +1
7th +7/+2 +2 +2 +5 Power solo
8th +8/+3 +2 +2 +6 Performance persona (2/day), stylistic choice
9th +9/+4 +3 +3 +6 Shred
10th +10/+5 +3 +3 +7 Art of rock +2
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +3 +7 Can’t stop the music
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +4 +8 Performance persona (3/day), stylistic choice
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +4 +8 Pump up the volume (rock-out)
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +4 +9 Art of rock +3
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +5 +9 Pump up the volume (solo)
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +10 Performance persona (4/day), stylistic choice
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Certified platinum
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Art of rock +4
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Sonic symphony
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Performance persona (5/day), stylistic choice, the show must go on

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies

The rockstar is proficient with all simple weapons and all instruments, as well as light armor but not shields.

Instruments (Ex)

Thanks to the special training the rockstar has, he may treat an instrument as a martial weapon, rather than an exotic weapon, with the following profile:

Table: Instruments
Weapon Cost Dmg (S) Dmg (M) Critical Range Weight Damage Type Special Weapon Type
Drumstick, pair* 56 gp 1d2 1d4 19-20 x2 - 1 lb. P Instrument Light
Guitar (“The Axe”) 10 gp 1d6 1d8 19-20 x2 - 7 lbs. B or S Instrument 2 Hands
Keytar 25 gp 1d6 1d8 19-20 x2 - 7 lbs. S Instrument 2 Hands
Mic & Cord 50 gp 1d4 1d6 x2 - 3 lbs. B Instrument, reach, trip, grapple 2 Hands
Saxophone 20 gp 1d8 1d10 x2 - 6** lbs. B Instrument 1 Hand
Violin Bow 15 gp 1d4 1d6 19-20 x2 - 1 lbs. P or S Instrument 1 Hand
Shield Cost Shield Bonus Maximum Dex Bonus Armor Check Penalty Arcane Spell Failure Chance Weight Special
Violin 15 gp +1 - -1 5% 5 lbs. Instrument

* These two drumsticks are spike tipped. When used as a pair, the penalty for dual wielding them is reduced by -2 (minimum 0). A wearable drum is provided with this to allow for use with the rockstar class features.
** This is an average. Alto can weigh 3-4; tenor can weigh as much as 8; and a bari can weight up to 15.

Message

Everyone has a message they want people to heed. Some have shallow messages, like the pop star who encourages everyone to party or the rapper who tells people to objectify women and glamorize violence. Others have deeper messages, like a glam rockstar bringing attention to the struggle of his generation or an Irish singer-songwriter who shines light on the history of her people though tragic folk ballads. When the rockstar rocks out or does a solo, it projects his thoughts and emotions into the minds of creatures affected by the rockstar’s rock-out and solo class feature.

At 1st level, this effect is purely superficial. At 5th level, the message causes a creature, the first time in a 24 hour period that takes damage from a rock-out or solo attack, to make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 rockstar level + Charisma modifier) or be overcome with the emotions of the message.

At 1st level, the rockstar should select the most fitting emotion that ties with his message. Once the choice is made, it applies to all rock-out and solo attacks and cannot be changed. He must choose the following list of emotions:

  • Joy/Happiness/Hope: The creature’s attitude towards the rockstar is improved by one step.
  • Sorrow/Sadness/Bitterness: The creature takes -4 penalty on Will saves for the next 1d4 rounds.
  • Intimidation/Anger/Rage: The creature is shaken for 1d4 rounds.

Genre (Ex)

Every musician has a specialty that he is passionate about. This becomes the rockstar’s genre. The rockstar must pick or develop a rock genre at 1st level. Depending on what genre a rockstar chooses, he can use his Perform skill in place of a single other skill. While it is up to the player to select his genre and the associated skill (For example: the death metal genre and the Intimidate skill) there are a few guidelines. The skill must be a rockstar class skill, cannot be Knowledge (local), and the player must be able to rationalize his choice to his GM. The possibilities are endless, so long as the genre has heart and is in tune with the rockstar’s message. Some examples include glam rock, folk rock, pop rock, blues rock, British rock, arena rock, punk rock, death metal, hard rock, alternative rock, etc. The rockstar can even develop his own rock genre that is tailored to the campaign setting or his race. Some examples might include Elven soul funk or Gnomish polka metal, psychedelic gargoyle pop, Dwarven axe ska, and even Halfling battle ballards.

Rock-Out (Su)

At 1st level, the rockstar can rock-out on his instrument as a standard action to deal sonic damage to all enemies around him. This deals 1d6 sonic damage + 1/2 rockstar level to all enemies within 30 feet. Using rock-out does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Creatures take half damage if they can make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 rockstar level + Dexterity modifier).

Idol (Ex)

By 2nd level, the fame and fortune of the rockstar is on the rise. When he saunters around town, his talent proceeds him. If he makes a Perform check (DC 15), the rockstar gains a bonus on Charisma based skill checks when interacting with people he meets who hear him and are aware of his fame. This circumstance bonus to the skill check is equal to 1/2 the rockstar’s level. The chance of someone knowing the rockstar is listed on the accompanying chart. Being recognized has its drawbacks, particularly if the rockstar is infamous. Checks by anyone made to identify the rockstar with Knowledge (local) gains a +4 bonus.

Table: Idol Rockstar
Level % Chance of Being Recognized
1-5th 10%
6-10th 25%
11-15th 50%
16-19th 75%
20th 100%

Sonic Shield (Su)

When an opponent targets the rockstar of at least 2nd level with a melee or ranged attack, the rockstar can spend an immediate action to make a Perform check. The rockstar can use the result as his AC or touch AC against the targeted attack. The rockstar must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. The rockstar must be wielding an instrument to perform this ability.

Solo (Su)

At 3rd level, the rockstar can perform a wicked solo on his instrument as a full round action to deal sonic damage to all enemies around him. This deals 1d8 sonic damage + 1/2 rockstar level to all enemies within 30 feet. Performing a solo does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Creatures take half damage if they can make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 rockstar level + Dexterity modifier).

Songs (Su)

At 3rd level, the rockstar can string combinations of rock-out and solo attacks together to make a song. When the rockstar of 3rd level or above makes a rock-out or solo attack, he must describe the lyrical accompaniment he will provide in one of 3 ways: as a chorus, a verse, or an instrumental (where he lets his instrument do the talking).

  • Chorus: The centers of the song. (Rock-out only)
  • Verse: The varying parts of the song. (Rock-out only)
  • Instrumental: A part of the song where there are no vocals. (Rock-out or solo)

Depending on what the rockstar used during his previous rock-out or solo attack (during the same combat), he gains a bonus effect on the next rock-out or solo attack. A rockstar who performs the same kind of playing style (chorus, verse, or instrumental) as he did the previous time does not gain any additional bonus (example: a rock-out chorus to a rock-out chorus).

  • Chorus to Verse: The rockstar may roll the damage for his rock-out twice and select which he wants to take.
  • Chorus to Instrumental: The radius of this solo or rock-out is increased by +10 feet.
  • Verse to Chorus: The damage dice for the rock-out is increased to 1d8 rather than 1d6.
  • Verse to Instrumental: The rockstar may roll the damage for his rock-out/solo twice and select which he wants to take.
  • Instrumental to Chorus: A single creature, as defined by the rockstar, is subject to a bullrush attempt. The creature may be of any size (it is not limited to creatures up to one size category larger). The rockstar makes a CMB check, as if he were making a normal bullrush attempt, and this bullrush does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
  • Instrumental to Verse: The radius of this rock-out is increased by +10 feet.

Performance Persona (Su)

At 4th level, the rockstar is able to solidify a persona, related to his music, who is larger than life. This alternate persona is a form he can adopt at a standard action and dismiss just as quickly. While in his performance persona, he gains a morale bonus on all Perform checks equal to 1/2 his rockstar level. This persona is generally represented by an alternate style of voice, lavish or even flamboyant attire (which changes as part of the transformation), and even drastic personality changes. These physical changes are superficial and do not provide any mechanical benefit. Some kind of superficial transitory effect generally accompanies the transformation (a bolt of lighting, a brilliant light with a guitar riff, etc.).

The rockstar can remain in his rockstar persona for as long as he wishes; however, after a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier of being in his persona, he must make a Fortitude check (DC 10 + rockstar level) or be forced to revert to his normal form. Every time he makes a successful Fortitude save, the DC increases by +2. The rockstar may only transform once per day at 4th level. At 8th level and every 4 levels thereafter, he gains one additional use per day.

Stylistic Choice

At 4th level, the rockstar’s unique and individual talent starts to emerge and begins to influence the way he both plays and fights. To represent this, he may select one of the following stylistic choices. At 8th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the rockstar selects an additional stylistic choice.

Amplifier

When using the Whirlwind Attack feat with an instrument, the rockstar may perform a rock-out as a free action that deals damage only to creatures who were successfully struck by the whirlwind attack.

Background Music

Music played by the rockstar does not impose a penalty to his Stealth checks because the music seems to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Guards may be alerted to the presence of music but not of the rockstar’s location.

Crowd Pleaser

When the rockstar uses his solo class feature, he makes any creature struck by it vulnerable to attacks from allies until the start of his next turn. Allies who attack any such creature gain a +2 morale bonus to hit and a +4 morale bonus on rolls to confirm critical hits against it. The rockstar himself does not benefit from this.

Dance

The rockstar incorporates dance and physical movement into his act. This grants him a +10 foot bonus to his move speed and a +2 bonus on Acrobatics checks.

Gimmick

The rockstar’s persona has a gimmick. For a number of times per day equal to the rockstar’s Charisma modifier, the persona may cast a spell, 2nd level or lower, from either the bard or sorcerer/wizard spell list as a spell-like ability using his full rockstar level as caster level. The rockstar may only do this while in his Performance Persona.

Hardcore

The rockstar adds +1 to all damage dealt with his rock-out and solo class features.

Intensity

When wielding an instrument that the rockstar has chosen for his Art of Rock class feature, he deals an extra 1d6 worth of the same damage type his rock-out class feature does on a critical hit. This extra damage is not multiplied.

Larger Than Life

The rockstar can cause himself to grow one size category larger when he transforms into his Performance Persona. This functions as enlarge person and persists for as long as his Performance Persona is being used. He may chose to not add this effect when he transforms and may dismiss it as a swift action. If dismissed, the rockstar may only regain this by expending another use of his Performance Persona class feature.

Quick Fingers

The DC to avoid damage from the rockstar’s rock-out and solo class features is increased by +2. If the rockstar is at least 10th level, this increases the DC by +4 instead.

Stage Presence

The rockstar gains an aura linked to his genre or message. This either grants all allies within 10 feet of the rockstar a +2 bonus on Will saves or all enemies within 20 feet a -2 penalty on Will saves. Once the choice has been made, it cannot be changed. The nature of the aura is determined by the player, but he should attempt to align it with his message and/or genre.

Strumming

The rockstar can make a single rock-out attack as a swift action against a single creature. Unlike his normal rock-out attack feature, strumming does not add 1/2 the rockstar’s class level to the damage dealt and attacks only a single creature rather than a radius.

Wide Range

The rockstar may select a second weapon type with the instrument special feature and apply his bonus from the Art of Rock class feature to it. The rockstar must be at least 6th level to select this stylistic choice.

Accompaniment (Su)

At 5th level, when the rockstar uses his rock-out class feature, sounds of others jam along with the rockstar’s tune. These eternal sounds match his instrument as long as he continues to play. If a harmony or multiple vocals are required, they are provided. This increases the range of the rock-out class features by +10 feet. As an example, while the rockstar shreds on his guitar and sings, he can have a bass and drums back him up; or if he plays his mournful jazz saxaphone, he can have a matching classic piano back him up.

Art of Rock (Ex)

Starting at 6th level, the rockstar selects a single weapon type with the instrument special feature. Whenever he attacks with a weapon from his chosen type, he gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. Every 4 levels thereafter (10th, 14th, and 18th), the bonus increase by +1 to a maximum of +4 at 18th level.

Power Solo (Su)

At 7th level, when the rockstar performs a solo, it becomes so powerful that it can shatter stone and break hearts. The damage for the solo class feature is increased to 2d6 rather than 1d8.

Shred (Su)

At 9th level, when performing a solo or rock-out, the rockstar may choose to use an alternative damage type. He may choose acid, cold, electricity, or fire as his alternative to sonic.The rockstar must select only one, and it must thematically fit his genre and/or message. Once this selection has been made it cannot be changed. However, on a turn by turn basis, he may chose between sonic and the new damage type he gains from this class feature.

As an example, a death metal guitarist who growls about the destruction of societal norms might pick fire or acid; meanwhile, a jazz maven who blasts bittersweet melodies could chose cold. Ultimately, this change is determined by the player, but he should attempt to align it with his message and/or genre and have a rationale ready.

Can’t Stop the Music

At 11th level, the rockstar’s message is so potent that any attempts to hinder it fail. The rockstar may rock-out or perform a solo even in locations that would not normally allow him to do so. This includes underwater, in an area of silence, the vacuum of space, or even an antimagic field. This does not give him the ability to otherwise survive in said area. However, in an area of magical silence or an antimagic field (or similar effect), the rockstar’s rock-out or solo deals minimum damage.

Pump Up the Volume

At 13th level, the rockstar can chose to deal high average damage (4 + 1/2 rockstar level) for his rock-out attack rather than rolling the dice (typically 1d6 + 1/2 rockstar level). Additionally, at 15th level, the rockstar can do this with his solo ability (8* + 1/2 rockstar level). He always has the option to chose to roll his damage if he wishes, but once the dice has been rolled, he may not use this ability until the start of his next turn.

* This number is modified by the rockstar’s power solo class feature.

Certified Platinum

At 17th level, the rockstar’s rock-out and solo class features have their radii increased by +20 feet. For rock-out, this stacks with the accompaniment class feature.

Sonic Symphony

At 19th level, the rockstar’s sonic shield can be activated as a free action.

The Show Must Go On (Ex)

At 20th level, the rockstar’s martial training is able to augment his strange presence. While in his performance persona, he can continue to play any instrument he has chosen for his art of rock class features, even under circumstances that would not allow him to do so. He ignores any armor check penalties to his Perform skill, can play while blinded at no penalty, can play his instrument as normal even if it is broken, can play while unconscious (nonetheless, he ceases to play when dead), can play without the typically associated body part with no penalty (example: no penalty if he was missing an arm or he could play with his teeth with no penalty), is not at risk of taking damage while disabled if the action he takes is playing his instrument, suffers no penalties to his Perform skill while entangled or fatigued/exhausted or shaken or sickened, and never drops his instrument while panicked or stunned. This does not allow him to make attacks or anything other than produce music. (For example, this does not allow him to use his rock-out and solo class features.)


Where Does This Class Fit In?

The rockstar class clearly does not fit in the traditional Tolkien fantasy game. It is designed for a game where music has a strong presence and is an almost magical aspect beyond simple spellwork. This class draws much from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and even ‘90s music mythology, the covers of rock albums, and the personas of performers. Some inspirations for this class include Dazzler (Marvel Comics), Midvalley the Hornfreak (Trigun), Basara Nekki (Macross 7), Haruko (FLCL), Mariachi (Once Upon A Time In Mexico), KISS (Gene Simmon’s bass in particular), Noise Marines (Warhammer 40k), I-No (Guilty Gear), Motochika Chosokabe (Samurai Warriors), Eddie (Brutal Legend), Bluegrass (SilverHawks), Rojuro “Rose” Otoribashi (Bleach), and Johnny Guitar (Marvel Comics).

See the Legal & OGL page. Any material NOT covered by the Open Game License Version 1.0a is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.