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One of my players is playing a geisha but doesn’t like the bard/ninja hybrid idea and wanted something more song/dance-focused.  Taking inspiration from Everquest (the example she gave in fact) here is the Geiko college of bards. Will need extensive playtesting as it seems very powerful to me on paper.

Bardic College

At 3rd level, a bard gains the Bardic College feature. Here is an Oriental Adventure option for that feature: the College of Geiko.


College of the Geiko
Geiko are female entertainers, trained from a very young age to be hostesses in noble establishments, performing arts such as music, dance, games, and conversation.

Restriction: Females Only Only females can be geiko. The geiko fills a particular niche in Oriental society and culture.

In addition to the bard spell list, geiko may also choose any of the unique spells from the wu-jen spell list ignoring any elemental restrictions.

3rd-level College of Geiko feature

You are proficient with the war fan.

3rd-level College of Geiko feature

You replace your bardic inspiration with this class ability.  Each time you would get an increase in your bardic inspiration die you also pick a song. You can only maintain one song at a time initially.

As an action, you sing a song of magic. So long as you maintain the song the effects trigger at the start of your turn. All songs have common traits. You must be able to be heard for the song to take effect, each has an effective range of 30 feet, and you use the numeric value of your bardic inspiration die for each song’s variable component – denoted as 1dBD. For example, a 6th level bard would use a d8. The benefits of the song are calculated at the start of your turn.

For example, your allied kensai could start 20 feet from you gain the benefits of Whistling Warsong and then move another 30 feet. They would lose the benefit of the song if they were not within range at the start of your next turn.

When picking a song, you have the option of permanently converting it into a dance. This means allies and enemies will need to see you to gain the effects of your dance.

You maintain a song as if it were a concentration spell, however, you can use your Performance skill for your saving throw instead of your Constitution saving throw:

  • Hymn of Restoration. The geiko can perform a song of healing, each ally who hears the song regains 1dBD + CHA modifier hit points. If the target is at full hit points it gains this as temporary hit points.
  • Fujin’s Speed. While singing this song the party are as swift as horses adding a maximised 1dBD additional feet to their speed.
  • Song of Clarity. All spellcasting allies can cast an additional cantrip. The spell level option increases by 1 each time your bardic inspiration die increases.
  • Chords of Dissonance. All enemies who can hear your singing take 1dBD in thunder damage.
  • Battle Hymn. All allies who can hear your singing gain a modified boon (+1dBD) which they can use at any time during this encounter so long as you maintain the song.
  • Hachiman’s Whistling Warsong. An ancient war song that speeds your attacks and raises your armour class and strength. All allies within range gain the follow benefits but gain a level of exhaustion at the end of the song:
    • Advantage on Strength checks – ability checks, saving throws, skill checks.
    • Speed is doubled,
    • It gains a +2 bonus to AC,
    • It has advantage on Dexterity saving throws,
    • and it gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.

At higher levels. From level 10 the target is no longer exhausted but the target can’t move or take actions until after its next turn, as a wave of lethargy sweeps over it. At 15th level all side effects are removed.

  • Tsuki-Yomi’s Lucid Lullaby. A quiet lullaby that causes your target to fall into an enchanted sleep. Works as the 1st level sleep spell except instead of hit points being affected it is hit dice. The maximum hit die die that can be affected is determined by your dbD.  For example, a 6th level gieko could only affect medium or smaller creatures (d8, d6 and d4), she could not enchant a giant which uses d10s. Creatures with Legendary Resistance or Legendary Actions are immune to this song.
  • Izanaga’s Disenchanting Melody. A melody that strips the magical effects from everyone in your group. Each ally may repeat a saving throw against an ongoing effect – positive or negative.

You may decide from round to round if you are affected by your songs or not you may also swap songs at the start of your turn. If you do this your song persists until the end of your current turn.

Design Note: The original idea was to have the songs ramp up slower than this – 1 per round. But since 5e combats tend to be done by round 3 I decided to not worry about realism (“how many songs can you start singing in 6 seconds?”) and aired on the side of from loading actions as opposed to consistently not getting to that third song because combat is over.

6th-level College of Geiko feature

You can now use your Bonus action to maintain a song and use your Action to start a second song. You may also make a DC 15 Performance check on the second round of  singing to take a normal Action.  If you fail this check you cannot take another action. On a critical failure one of your songs fades and stops taking effect at the end of this round. Take note that you can no long use the Cast A Spell action as all your spells are songs now and adhere to the rules of your other songs.

Design Note: After some play testing what ended up happening is the geiko had nothing to do from round 3.  This allows the PC to have a chance to do something in addition to their singing but there is a risk they may stuff up their current songs. 

6th-level College of Geiko feature

Your memorised spells have a verbal component only. You may also sing memorised spells into existence as separate song options (DM’s discretion how this works, but as a rule of thumb the spell’s effects should last until the song ends. If it is a spell that does damage that damage should be split over time. For example, the damage of a fireball would be split over 3 rounds).

The effects of your songs now also continue until the end of your next round if they are interrupted for any reason.

14th-level College of Geiko feature

You can now maintain 3 songs – 1 from a Bonus action and 2 as part of your Action. You can also weave a single memorised spell effect into your songs as a free action (DM’s discretion). You may also make a DC 20 Performance check on the second round of singing to take a normal Action.  If you fail the check you cannot take another Action. On a critical failure one of your songs fades and stops taking effect at the end of your next round.

14th-level College of Geiko feature

All your songs now have a new option – the Finale! You may choose to end the effects of a song at anytime and gain one of the following effects, but that song then becomes unavailable until you take a long rest:

  • The effect of your song is maximised.
  • The effect of your song is doubled.
  • You may use more than 1 dBD as part of the song’s variable up to your maximum number of available bardic inspiration.  


Other Changes to the Bard Class:

Remove Font of Inspiration.

Replace Superior Inspiration with the following:

At 20th level, you may weave a second memorised spell into your songs. This replaces the standard bard ability of the same name.

30 gp, 1d6 piercing, 1 lb, finesse, light
This weapon appears to the untrained eye as nothing more than a beautifully crafted hand fan. In fact, the vanes of the fan are crafted from steel, and the tips are needle-sharp; very suitable for stabbing, and often used by geiko who operate as spies. A character proficient in the war fan – like a geiko – may try and deceive her opponent as to the deadliness of the weapon. When the fan is first brought into melee, the geiko may attempt a Deception check against an opponent’s Insight check. If the geiko wins the contest, she gains advantage to the attack roll for her first round’s attack(s).


Posted in 5e, Adventurer's Vault, Class, Dungeons & Dragons, Oriental Adventures, The Ninth World


  1. solomani

    By way of example, a typical combat for a geiko would look like this:

    Round 1. Use your Action to sing a song (song1).

    Round 2. Use your bonus action to maintain song1, and use your action to start song2. You may also make a DC 15 Performance check to take a normal Action [From 6th Level].

    Round 3. Use your Action to start a third song (song3). Maintaining all three songs consumes your Bonus action and Action each round. You may also make a DC 20 Performance check to take a normal Action [From 14th Level].

    The Geiko is not singing 3 songs simultaneously she is singing a new song made from those three songs (“weaving”) to gain the effects.

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