This is part 4 of 4 in our Bardcore Magic series.
Bards have quite the reputation as charmers within D&D and other TTRPGs, especially when it comes to putting their natural charisma to use. They are performers, master orators and storytellers, magicians and musicians, polymaths and jacks & jills of all trades. There are so many things that they can do. The question is…
What does a bard WANT to do?
With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to decide - much like the average adventurer looking at a menu. We might be able to select an option, but sometimes we need to put that menu down and ask instead - what am I HUNGRY for?
The curiosity for what you desire (want and hunger) is what will lead you on the path to pleasure. If you want to know what brings a bard’s magic to life - the answer is pleasure.
Pleasure is what they bring to a party. Bards bring song, dance, poetry, revelry, surrender, joy, grief, laughter, art, beauty, pain, wisdom, insight, storytelling, rest, secrets, and magic to those in their party.
Bards show us the LIFE of the party. (A side dish of drunken revelry might just be that bit of hedonistic indulgence just beyond the pleasure.)
By creating from their sources of pleasure, they teach others how to do the same.
Roleplaying as a bard is an invitation for you too to connect to your pleasure. This is not impulsive self-indulgence, this is deep, powerful, and restorative pleasure. No cheap thrills, just sheer magic.
Here’s a starting point if you want to connect more deeply with your pleasure, whether you’re playing a bard or not:
Brainstorm what brings you pleasure and leave no small joy unturned. Consider these categories:
Your body - what senses or sensations bring you pleasure? What kinds of movement or touch? How about scents, foods, or visuals?
Your curiosity - what hobbies or activities peak your interest? Where do you aim for mastery? What do you study or try to learn?
Your relationships - who or what do you take care of? What pleasure do your friendships, family, or romances bring? Where do you find community or mentorship?
Your expression - when do you feel connected to yourself and others? How do you express yourself? When do you feel like you can let go and surrender?
Remember or define a peak experience. Go back to a day where you felt immense pleasure or a sense of peace or fulfillment. What was that day or experience like? If you could have the perfect work day or weekend, what would that look like? What would you do?
Dare to define that outlandish pleasure. What is the thing that feels anxious to ask for? What are you curious about that might bring you pleasure?
From there, it’s time to make the time to connect with those sources of pleasure. Find ways to incorporate them in your day and use them as the SOURCE of your magic, not just a reward for getting the work done.
You deserve pleasure first.
Before you know it, when others start to see you modeling what it is like to live for pleasure first, they will first be enchanted and the curious - how are you doing that?
By pursuing your pleasure, that’s how you free others to be able to do the same. And when all fails, and those sources of pleasure feel like they may be out of reach, remember that your pleasure already exists around you waiting for you to discover it again. Speak the words the bard taught you and bring it to life.
When you’re connecting with pleasure, look for what makes YOU feel alive.
And when in doubt, be bold and seduce the dragon.
Because THAT’S a story a bard will love to tell over and over again.
You can’t miss if you follow your bliss!
Autumn & Jerod