So I had some energy to work on the bard today ~ this is a long, long struggle that does not feel like it is going to end. However, I did fill out some important points and make some important pages, including copying some material from the blog and making it official on the wiki. For anyone interested, I include pages on Art vs. Product, Sukha, Upeksa, Making Art (needs much more work), Criticism & Composition, Tutoring, Conducting and Audition.
It is this last I want to talk about. It was the first I started on today and it started off the rest of the work. The idea came to me just recently, with the idea that a "college" could be a resource for a player character, but one that could only be accessed through the character having a specific kind of knowledge and only by the character applying for access. In terms of the bard character, the main resource I'd expect a player to access would be to give modifiers to the creation of making art and towards improving the quality of the bard's performance. Basically, drop by the university, let a few weeks of game time pass, take a few courses, then head off to the next adventure.
This is the kind of thing that could be done in fifteen minutes of a campaign. All too often, I find that players treat time similarly to the way they do in real life. I very rarely have players who realize that they can, if they want, simply decide it is four or five months later, enabling them to spend a winter in a state of half-slumber until the spring arrives, or take part in farming to raise food for a half-years' campaigning, or some other reason that simply calls out for the party to sit and LEARN for a time.
This seems anathema to most party thinking, however. They seem to think that I'm going to run the three months of the dead of winter as though it is happening in actual time. I don't know if its because other DMs do this, or players cannot reconcile the movement of time without relating to it as though the time is really passing. I don't know what is wrong with players thinking, "We spend the next three years tilling our land, building up our homestead, getting to know the neighbors, finding out how the world works in this corner of the globe and generally relaxing, perhaps getting married and raising a few kids before heading off. But there must be something wrong with that, because players don't do it.
All the same, I'd like to extend the college idea to other classes. A cleric may have access to a seminary or a monastery, a fighter to a military academy, a mage or illusionist to a magic academy, a thief or assassin to a guild of sorts (or some equivalent I haven't considered yet) and a monk to yet a different monastery or perhaps an ashram.
The benefits could be legion. As yet, I'm sure I haven't conceived of most of them, yet. Still, perhaps this is the way to have access to spells such as resurrection or remove curse, to the restoration of spent magic items, to trusted sources of information, to small improvements in the character's sage abilities or status . . . in all, each of these resources could insist upon a yearly stipend that would, in turn, provide unlimited access to various benefits, even though these benefits would be geographical in nature and tend to tie a player down to a specific region. As it says in the description I gave for Audition, the player could have access to only ONE seminary, college, academy or conservatory.
Some might dispute the phrase, ". . . all colleges throughout the game world will be informed of the acceptance." But why not? I conceive of a magic book that would exist in every such institution, that would define membership by requiring individuals to sign in upon arrival. The book might betray a non-member, or it may transfer knowledge of the membership to every other similar book in the world, all of which are interconnected by design.
Therefore, we may have access to a wonderful conservatory in Edinburgh, but right now we happen to be in Egypt and it hasn't been much use for a while. Still, one day when we get a chance we'll be going back there ~ and when we do, we'll have a lot of questions to settle. Perhaps we may even spend a few months getting them settled.