Provocation (also called Provo) is a skill which allows characters to play music which angers creatures into fighting each other. It is the bread and meat of bards, being an excellent means of making gold and harvesting resources such as leather and feathers. No need to use tons of reagents or wear out weapons in PvM; make monsters do all the work for you! Like all bard skills, Musicianship is a requirement for the use of Provocation. Musicianship is a measure of your basic ability to play an instrument effectively; if you cannot play an instrument well, you cannot play a tune of Provocation on it. Using the Provocation skill will bring up a target cursor which you use to target one creature. Then a second target cursor appears which you use to target a second creature. The two creatures must each be within ten tiles of the bard, though not necessarily within ten tiles of each other. If they are too far away from each other, you will get an automatic failure result. Both target creatures must also have the bard in their direct line-of-sight, though they do not have to have line-of-sight on each other. If the two creatures are close enough to each other, the bard is in sight, and you successfully pass the skill checks, the two creatures will immediately attack each other. There are some rules which apply to provoked monsters which bards must be aware of in order to be safe and successful. First, a successful Provocation attempt will enrage creatures into attacking each other for at least thirty seconds. During that time a bard can run anywhere or even recall away without breaking the Provocation. After thirty seconds has passed however, it is required that the bard be (and remain) within ten tiles and direct line-of-sight of the two creatures or the Provocation will end. Some evenly matched creatures may take a very long time to kill each other on their own; in these cases it may be wise for bards to either Provoke them on each other again to reset the thirty second timer or to use spells or other means of damaging the provoked creatures in order to 'help them along'. While under the effects of Provocation, creatures can be attacked freely as they will not change targets. When a bard successfully provokes two creatures, he will be considered an aggressor so it is wise to tab out of combat before approaching them. Very rarely a provoked monster will turn and take a single swing at an aggressor other than its primary target, which can be potentially disastrous in the wrong situation. If tabbed out of combat, a bard can walk safely right between two provoked creatures and loot a corpse right at their feet. Using Provocation calls for a Musicianship check first, which is an exact % of the character's skill (i.e. At 55 Musicianship, you have a 55% chance of success). If passed, a check of your Provocation skill is required. The barding skill of all monster types can be found in the Renaissance compendium here - http://www.uorenaissance.com/info/?page=g_bestiary . The number shown for each monster is the skill required for the bard to have a 50% chance of success. Some monsters have barding difficulties above 100, which indicates that even GM bards will have only very slight chances of success against them.The formula for a Provocation skill check is the average of the two barding difficulties of the Provocation targets versus the bard's skill. For example, Dragons havea barding difficulty of 112, so provoking two dragons against each other would require a skill of 112 for a 50% chance of success. With a regular instrument, a GM bard would have roughly a 45% chance of successfully provoking them [112(dragon difficulty)x 2(to reach 100% figure)/ 100(bard's skill) = .4464 = 44.64%]. There are several ways to increase the success probability of a Provocation attempt. Using an exceptional player-made instrument grants characters a 10% bonus to bard abilities (+10 or 110 skill at GM Provo). There are also Slayer instruments which are exceptionally powerful against certain creatures and provide a 20% skill bonus to bards when used properly. A GM bard using a harp of Demon Dismissal against Demons would have an effective skill of 120. You should be aware that every Slayer instrument has both a target group and an opposing group and if used against an opposing creature the bard suffers a -20% reduction in skill. Finally, the Discordance skill reduces the abilities of creatures including their barding difficulties at a percentage equal to the bard's skill divided by 5. Therefore at GM skill in Discordance a creature is weakened by 20%, which would reduce the barding difficulty of a creature at 100 down to 80. When used in combination, these skill boosts allow bards a reasonable chance of tackling some of the strongest monsters in Sosaria. Since Provocation is difficulty-based, raising the skill is best acheived by finding different locations to provoke ever stronger monsters against each other. If you do not choose Provocation as a starting skill, then at least buy it from an NPC (Bard Guildmasters will train it highest; one can be found in the city of Vesper). Buy as many instruments as you can carry from an NPC tinker and proceed to the Moonglow Zoo to start training. You will need to find two creatures in cages opposite each other in order to train properly so that they don't kill each other. You'll also need two creatures that cannot move out of your line of sight or they'll no longer be useful to you. Try out different targets until you find two that you can keep provoking on each other over and over. As long as you don't get the response 'You have no chance of provoking....' then you will start gaining skill. If it becomes too easy for you to provoke a certain monster, you'll need to switch targets. Eventually you want to be provoking the troll against the hapry and ratman, which will bring you to a skill level in the low 70's. At that point, it would be a great idea to hop a boat to Wyvern Island in the Lost Lands where you can provoke Wyverns against each other from the safety of the water. In fact, you can provoke a Wyvern on the north part of the isle against one on the south over and over as long as you like since they can see but not reach each other. This may be able to raise you all the way to GM skill but if you find it is going too slowly for your liking as you get into the 90's, move to the area surrounding Terathan Keep or the lowest level of Dungeon Despise for quicker gains. There are several spots in these places where you can manuever Ophidian Knight-Errants or Ogre Lords into blocked positions and then start provoking them against each other repeatedly. Of course you don't absolutely need GM Provocation in order to succeed at it, so if you get tired of the grind just go out into the world and start raising the skill while you play! It's a whole lot more fun that way and it might give you more of a feeling of accomplishment as well, not to mention that you'll earn gold while you improve your skill. Remember that all instruments, even newbie ones, will eventually break so always make sure you have at least one spare on hand at all times. There is no difference in the chances of success between the basic instrument types, so unless you're role-playing carry tambourines whenever possible as they are the lightest. Provocation works in many character builds such as the Provo/Tamer who won't even have to heal his dragons as they rip apart provoked monsters, the Provo/Mage who will summon Blade Spirits and Energy Vortexes to finish off tougher provoked prey, and the Provo/Swordsman who can beat down provoked creatures and also defend himself capably in PvP if the need arises. Play around with it, find out what works best for you, and have fun!