A bard might be a traveling minstrel, a conniving confidence man, a court jester, or a noble chronicler. One thing is for sure in Golarion - bards know a bit about everything, and have seen things most men only dream of.

Bards count on their reputation to pay their way. The most successful bards are known far and wide, and can count on drinks, meals, or even lodging at the cost of a few performances. As such, most bards prefer to make themselves known, usually by carrying a standard or mark, but sometimes by dressing lavishly or behaving uniquely.

The nature of wanderlust can arise in any being, and so bards can be found anywhere, from anywhere. They never seem to escape their upbringing, and a bard usually has some distinctive trait that belies his or her heritage.


In the major cities of the Inner Sea, bards tend to wear colorful clothing so as to attract attention to their shows. In the world’s wilder regions, performers tend to dress as the common folk do, so as to better blend in if things go sour. Trained performers often wear badges or other signets to mark their tutelage, assuming their schools bear some renown. Some place this mark on their instruments instead.


Humans, elves, gnomes, and halflings seem to have a prediliction for bardic ways. The more single-minded races often find the wandering life more difficult to adhere to.


From the royal dancers of Osirion to the savage skalds of Numeria, bards perform across the face of Golarion. Bards are common in any population center. Absalom, Oppara, Westcrown, and Egorian all have major bardic colleges which teach specific styles and techniques. While the common folk welcome them in almost any taproom, others view them as vagabonds and thieves (a reputation that some have no doubt earned).

Able to ply their trade anywhere, these skilled performers have more freedom than most, but their lives are not without restrictions. The city of Absalom, for example, requires that any performer wishing to earn coin on a stage must be a part of the performer’s guild, leaving only the streets to those without such membership. Many bards of the distant south take on the role of lore keeper, using song and dance to track
the history of their people. Only the nation of Razmiran outlaws performers, preferring instead to preach the litany of its all-consuming faith.


Bards, with their wandering, ostentatious lifestyles tend to worship chaotic or neutral deities. Traveling performers venerate Desna, great artists worship Shelyn, and bardic followers of Calistria are not unheard of. One faith has a special role for bards, and that is the church of Cayden Cailean, which utilizes them to share the teachings of the Placard of Wisdom with drunken revelers the world over. Their abilities to heal, inspire courage and entertain in taverns and inns makes them a small but integral part of the faith.


While most common folk cannot tell the difference between a sorcerer and a wizard, those who can know to respect and even fear those born with a natural arcane talent. Sorcerers in Golarion often trace their heritage to some powerful magical creature, be it a dragon, demon, or even an angel. Other sorcerers develop their gifts absent a special heritage. Whether this is a natural phenomenon or the result of the environment is a matter subject to great debate in the arcane world. Some scholars suggest that such arcane manifestations are growing more and more common, while others vigorously deny the hypothesis.


While the personal look of sorcerers varies wildly, they tend to follow one of two general paths. Those who flaunt their gifts dress in colorful, elaborate guises, hoping to attract attention through more than just their abilities. Others seek to keep their power a secret and dress to blend in with the locals, or at the very least to avoid suspicion.


Sorcerers can be found in nearly every nation on Golarion, although they are most common on the Isle of Hermea, whose draconic lord is said to nurture and foster such abilities. Other areas that have seen a great deal of magic over the years, such as Geb, Nex, Sarkoris, and Varisia, tend to produce more sorcerers than their neighbors.


Cloistered away in ancient libraries, poring through tomes of forgotten lore, wizards are an enigmatic lot. Most folk fear their power but respect them for their knowledge. Wizards on Golarion tend to focus on their studies, traveling from place to place, ever in search of new spells and knowledge to add to their repertoire. Other eschew this route and instead expand their knowledge through research and experimentation, spending countless hours in their laboratories working on new spells, magic items, or theorems. In either case, the pursuit of a goal, be it knowledge, power, or fame, is never far from a wizard’s thoughts.


Many wizards are so driven by their goals that personal appearance is of little concern. After all, when plumbing the depths of the universe, what difference does the cleanliness of your robe make? Others care deeply about their raiment, preferring to dress in a manner befitting their power and prestige, wearing colorful robes decked with gems, precious metals, and magical trinkets.


Wizards are a varied lot and can be found in nearly any community. There are great wizard colleges in Absalom, Cheliax, Geb, Kyonin, Nex, Nidal, Rahadoum, and Varisia, all of which focus on their own individual philosophies.

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