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Special thanks to the Avalon Arcade for recently introducing me to a chivalrous young bard who honored us with a juggling demonstration and 824 free winning tickets.

1. The need for laughs: this is the root of of the bard complex and goes deep into their formative years when their talents went unrecognized as a child. Somewhere around 10 years old, they realized the best way to get attention was to perform outlandish acts of poetry, magic and cleverness. Various renaissance festivals and school plays reinforced this over the years.

2. Unnecessary Talent: Not every bard is a juggler, minstrel, stilt-walking magician or loud poet. But many of them are. Others express themselves through freestyle rap, playing obscure instruments or by performing absurd acts of physical comedy.

3. Long hair: this is a necessity for every bard. Unless the culture they live in does not permit it – every bard should have long hair. There is nothing romantic or frivolous about short hair, and those defining characteristics give the bard their charm. Long hair is also particularly good for various trans-gender character transformations.

4.¬† All the world is a stage: the bard is funny, endearing, often hilarious. But they don’t know when to stop. Like a train wreck of tragic comedy they will continue juggling the torches until they’ve burned the whole place down.¬† They don’t just want your laughter; they crave your tears.

5. They are indispensable: despite their frivolity, bards make excellent friends. They will entertain you when you are down; reading you sappy poetry and quoting the ancients. They will outwit your enemies with one cunning remark. They will charm their way into all sorts of unusual places. And at the end of your epic journey, after the last battle has been won and you are on the brink of claiming your treasure: a bard will always, always know the magic password.

Addendum: Some bards are not happy. They no longer have the will to live or perform. They live in disguise as retail specialists and hipster baristas or, god forbid, corporate artists. They see the world as a gray and cruel place. They are sad sad clowns who need nurturing from someone  like you. Just remember: bards are not usually motivated by normal things like food, booze and money. They embody the journey of The Fool and seek the realm of magic only. So brush up on your Aleister Crowley and bring it to them. Help a sad clown today.