Guide to the Bardic Arts This guide will cover the following aspects of barding: I. Bardic skills in general II. Training suggestions III. How to profit from your skills as a minstrel I. Bardic skills in general As you know, there are four skills related to barding on this shard: Musicianship, Discordance, Peacemaking, and Provocation. Musicianship is checked on every attempt to Discord, Peacemake, or Provoke a monster. Your chance of passing this check is simply equal to your skill; at a Musicianship skill of 63.4, you have a 63.4% chance of passing the skill check. If you pass the check, your attempt to Discord/Peacemake/Provoke will continue and whichever of those you're trying to use will checked. At that state, however, a complex calculation occurs that compares your skill and your instrument to the Barding Difficulty of the monster you've targeted. Aside: Barding Difficulty is listed in the Bestiary for all animals and monsters. This is a rough number; in fact, the actual barding difficulty varies a bit by the precise stats/skills of the individual monster of the type you're targeting. (You can see this exact number at GM Animal Lore by using that skill in-game). If your Peace/Provoke/Disco skill is the same as the barding difficulty listed for the monster or animal, you have a 50% chance of success. If your skill is 25.0 or more lower than that value, you have a 0% chance for success. And if your skill is 25.0 or more above that value, you have a 100% chance of success. As with all skills in the game, if you have a 0% chance of success or a 100% chance of success, you will not be able to gain skill. So it is important to find monsters at an appropriate training level for you. Finally, there is one last chance to succeed at Provoking/Peacemaking/Discording your target, if the target has a barding difficulty > 100. If you have Grandmastery in Musicianship and the relevant skill, you will have a 5% chance upon failure to "barely" succeed at barding your target. You get another 5% bons from GM Discordance. (Note that this means this chance is 10% for trying to Discord an animal at GM Music & Disco with no other skills needed). This bonus is necessary as there are many monsters (bosses for example) for whom you will never succeed at barding from the first check, because your barding skill will always be more than 25 points below their Barding Difficulty. So what do the skills do? Peacemaking can briefly stop all combat in an area if you target yourself with the skill. If targeting a monster, you can get them to stop aggressing whatever they're currently fighting for a bit longer period. Provocation will require two targets, and if successful they will fight each other. And Discordance lops off 20% of the stats and skills of its target while it is in effect. II. Training suggestions Because Musicianship is always checked first, and if you fail it you have no chance at using, and raising, the actual barding skill you're attempting, it is generally wisest to get Musicianship up to 90-100 before even attempting to raise one of the other skills. To do this, simply buy a couple dozen of your favorite instrument, and make a macro that uses that instrument type over and over by double-clicking it. There is no skill delay check here, so you don't even need a pause in your macro. It should look something like this: Use item by type (drum) ...with the Loop checkbox checked. Peacemaking is the next easiest skill to train. Simply activate it and target yourself to attempt to briefly stop all aggression in the area. You can GM the skill this way. Provocation is a bit harder than Peacemaking since it requires targets of an appropriate difficulty. The best place to train Provocation up to around 75 is the Moonglow Zoo. Simply target the Frost Troll in one cage, and any monster in another cage as the second target. After 75, you have two choices for best gains: Pirate Sailors in Occlo, or Ogre Lords in Wrong. Why not Wyverns at Wyvern Isle? Well, they have a lower difficulty than the Pirate Sailor or the Ogre Lord. And, because GM instruments (which people commonly use for training due to their increased durability) give you a higher effective skill, you actually can reach a point with Wyverns in which you stop gaining because you have a 100% chance of success thanks to your GM instrument. For Discordance, gaining skill is a bit trickier. Again, you need to be mindful of the Barding Difficulty of your target. In this case though, you benefit from the fact that Discordance is not an "aggressive" action. So you can Discord a friendly monster without being attacked. The difficulty arises in that the Discordance effect will last until you leave the Line of Sight of the monster for 16 seconds or more. And you cannot further gain Discordance skill by using that skill on a monster already being discorded. Wodan recommends this macro to be the most efficient: Code: !Loop Assistant.Macros.DoubleClickTypeAction|3741|True2 Assistant.Macros.UseSkillAction|15 Assistant.Macros.WaitForTargetAction|3 Assistant.Macros.AbsoluteTargetAction|0|0|434080|4509|1390|23|55 Assistant.Macros.PauseAction|00:00:15 Assistant.Macros.SpeechAction|0|52|3|ENU|2|16|7|GUARDS Assistant.Macros.IfAction|4|0|you attempt to disrupt Assistant.Macros.ElseAction Assistant.Macros.UseSkillAction|21 Assistant.Macros.PauseAction|00:00:17 Assistant.Macros.EndIfAction Even more sophisticated is to have multiple targets you can cycle through. This allows you to Discord each of them in turn, and when they're all under the effects, Hiding for 16 seconds ends the effect on all of them at once and you can begin again. Here is some detail I how I did this: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1646&start=15#p17085 And here is the Ogre Lord method: III. How to profit from your skills as a minstrel In most games, Bards play a supporting role to a party. This can certainly be done in UO as well. Among a swarm of monsters, Provocation can be best to eliminate monsters two at a time, keeping them occupied. Discordance can make very powerful enemies (bosses, etc.) have significantly lowered skills and stats. This is not terribly helpful for things like HP and Strength - 2,000 is still more than enough! - but for skills like Wrestling, it reduces their chance to hit your party and increases your party's chance to hit them. Finally, Peacemaking can also be used, either on the area to allow a moment to escape, or on a target to keep them from damaging party members for a bit. However, Bards can also serve as an individual income source. As a supporting skill, Discordance or Peacemaking can allow your weapon skills, magery, or pets, to have an easier time killing monsters. Provocation is valuable by itself, allowing you to use monsters' strengths against them. To attain the highest income rate possible, it's best to choose monsters that have a lot of offense but not too much defense. This will generally be monsters that can either poison other monsters, or can cast spells on them, effectively "mana dumping" each other. Dragons, Drakes, Titans, Cyclops, Liches, Lich Lords, Terathans, and Ophidians, are all effective income sources for a bard.