I adored the anime Code Geass, which came into the world following the equally narratively powerful Death Note. During this era of anime, we dealt with complex characters who wore false personas in order to achieve their goals and ambitions. The Assassin archetype for the rogue dealt with false identities, the Actor feat was also another portion that dealt with social deception, mimicry, and even manipulation. The Count of Monte Cristo was another archetypal liar who donned a false identity in order for the main protagonist Edmond Dantes to exact his revenge on those who stole his life from him. There are liars and manipulators who seek to achieve great gains with their methods such as Littlefinger from Game of Thrones.
Why do people lie? Is it a thrill or is there a purpose deeply hidden that motivates these characters?
In the end, people lie because they are seeking something. There is a goal, a dream, an ambition that seeks to be fulfilled.
How does deception or magical mental manipulation apply to just the bard? The Enchanter school for Wizards focuses strictly on the ability to charm and cast enchantment spells that alter the very core of their targets. These are one time effects that will eventually wear off, but what if you can manipulate someone in a way that is more lasting? Using mental prowess to alter the flow of events not only for their intended targets but even allies who serve a greater purpose of aiding the character to fulfilling their goals.
A master of deception, charms, words, and hidden psychic abilities: the college of deceit.
College of Deceit
Bonus Proficiencies: Starting at 3rd level, when you join the College of Deceit you gain proficiency with disguise kits and in Deception. If you are already proficient with those skills, choose another skill proficiency for each proficiency you already have.
Alluring Eyes: At 3rd level, your gaze causes creatures to be enamored by you and lose focus. As a bonus action, you can focus your sight on a target within 30 feet make a Wisdom saving throw equal to your Bard’s spellcasting DC. On a failure, the target has disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws on one ability that you declare when using this ability until they leave your line of sight. If used on a non-hostile creature that is friendly towards you, you can instead give the target advantage on ability checks and saving throws on an ability you declare while within your line of sight. You can focus on one creature at a time when using this feature.
Mesmerization: At 6th level, you master means and methods to instill lies into your enemies and allies as truths using powerful psychic bonds.
- Nothing but a mirage. You can falsify the perceptions of the target of your Alluring Eyes, making them misjudge the distance or even presence of an object or creature. You can use your reaction to expend a Bardic Inspiration die, roll the die and subtract a hostile creature’s attack roll or Perception check by the number rolled.
- Face your fears. You create an image of terror that either inspires or frightens your target. As an action, you can expend a Bardic Inspiration die to have a creature that is under your Alluring Eyes are now frightened for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier or if they are a non-hostile creature that is friendly towards you they are no longer frightened.
- Open your mind. You unleash a surge of psionic energy as a feedback through your link with the target of your Alluring Eyes. As an action, you deal 2d4 plus your Charisma modifier in psychic damage to the target and must make a Constitution saving throw or be stunned. When using this feature on a non-hostile creature that is friendly towards you, you can remove the blinded, deafened, charmed, or frightened condition from the target.
- Feel the burn. Your disdain for the target invokes the impression of greater damage and pain, or greater healing when used on allies. As a reaction, you can expend a Bardic Inspiration whenever the target of your Alluring Eyes takes damage from an attack, you roll the die and the target takes additional psychic damage equal to the number rolled. Subsequently, if the target is a non-hostile friendly creature, whenever they receive healing they heal that amount instead.
Mental Potency: Starting at 10th level, whenever you cast a spell that deals psychic damage, you add your Charisma modifier to the damage. Additionally, you gain resistance to psychic damage.
Master of Lies: Starting at 14th level, you have the ultimate liar to the point that even magic can be fooled by you. You can use a passive Deception check (10 + your Deception skill) whenever you make a Charisma check. Additionally, no matter what you say, magic that would determine if you are telling the truth indicates that you are being truthful.
Finally, your Alluring Eyes can now affect a number of targets equal to your Charisma modifier instead of one target, you can only selection one Mesmerization ability to activate per turn.
Author’s Notes: I drafted this class under the premise of a bard who is skilled at lying and ultimately gains near psychic powers while focused on their training. Using their mental might to project states of mind onto enemies is equally as powerful on allies as well. Which is why Mesmerization was a concept that affected allies and enemies based on different circumstances but offered the bard different ways to utilize the Alluring Eyes feature in a variety of unique applications.
When it came time for the capstone ability for this college, I wanted to make it the skills of the Bard in regards to lying be top notch and was reminded of the glibness spell. It dealt with generic Charisma checks, so I tailored it for Deception to be used in general Charisma checks and instead of having a 15 as a replacement, we used a passive Deception score which was 10 plus whatever their Deception skill. Honestly it can be very high due to the fact that if the bard chose Deception as one of its Expertise skills with an 18 Charisma score, would have a +14 Deception skill and ultimately a possible 24 passive Deception check. Granted it fits the theme of a master of lies since whatever they say is ultimately and possibly a lie or misdirection. Bumping the Alluring Eyes feature to affect more targets may seem a bit powerful but it can also target allies not necessarily just enemies plus the bard would have to choose one Mesmerization ability to activate per turn so they cannot just choose two features simultaneously.
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