Creating Character: Sylamn, The Demogogue

This is the third character I’m writing an article on, and it has been surprisingly fun to do, so I’m likely to keep doing these! This guy is going to be super fun when I get to him!

Sylumn occurred to me as I was reading through the PHB one day, trying to figure out what I would like to play for each Class. While I’ve played a number of them – and one day I’d like to get to each of them in turn, I’d not really read through the 5th edition bard to my liking. I’d read the Xanathars options – Whispers, Swords and Glamour, but hadn’t really found anything that really got its hooks into me, so I figured that I’d start looking at the base class in the PHB to see what they had going for them. 

Neither Lore College or Valor College really struck me immediately, but I did start to get a tickle in the back of my head when I read the Magical Secrets ability. 

Magical Secrets allows you, with no restrictions, to pick two spells from any class and add them to your Spells known at level 10. These spells can be from the same class or from different ones. 

This really had me going. I was looking at the College of Swords just to see if I could make a bard I wanted to play, but this took a totally different turn, and looking at the College of Lore, I could get two more Magical Secrets at 6th level if I went that direction. It was interesting! Instead of a combat Bard, maybe I could try something else, take it in a different direction. I would have to do a bunch of research. So, I got digging into the spells in both Xanathars and the PHB, looking for the best spells to abuse. 

The first direction I took was looking for spells that took only a bonus action to cast so that I could both do my action and utilize spells that I had pilfered from other classes. This is what I found. 

You’ll notice that many of them are paladin spells or holy-concept spells. Divine Favor, 7 different Smite Spells, and both Healing Words. This started to solidify a concept in my head, that of a preacher, a bard who used his oration and sermons, his knowledge of divine power and his complete mastery of his belief in his god to aid his companions and to disrupt his opponents. He would be the fiery orator of damnation, hellfire, salvation, and compassion. 

This lead to me start peeking through the spells to find ones that are mostly Verbal and Somatic based, spells that he could be imagined as preaching instead of specifically casting. A few notable spells popped out to me. Healing Word, Suggestion, Compulsion, Vicious Mockery, Counterspell. Something here was coming together in a great way. 

I’d looked at some spells, but I also had to flavor the class abilities of the the bard as well.

Bardic Inspiration? That one is easy – I tell them a proverb or Psalm about a time when a major hero of the religion did such a thing, and that they too could achieve such greatness. Song of Rest was a piece of cake as well, I simply preached to them a sermon of rest and peace, one which ended in the completion of all goals and the story of overcoming all things with my gods help. Counter charm was extremely easy, as I would just yell oratory at the demonic being attempting to charm me and my companions and tell them why They have no power over me and my friends. 

Man, this class conversion to a preacher was going much better than I assumed.  In my eyes, he was a preacher dressed in bright leathers or maybe no armor, who would preach the entire time as he walked through the battlefield as if he had no cares. He would reach out and cure people with his touch, chastize enemies with Vicious Mockeries, and, if it was needed, he would bring the power and might of his god down on the head of the enemies, smiting them with his staff. It is going to be a glorious build!

Lastly, I wanted to get a few more cleric spells early on to make him feel even more priestly, so I think I would take the Feat Magic Initiate at fourth level to get access just a bit earlier, nabbing me either Cleric or Druid spells to work with. I would very likely go with Cleric if I can get a 14 or higher Wisdom. With that all out of the way, its time to start building. 

I love the idea that, at the start of combat I cast Heroism (concentration) and Sanctuary (bonus action) and then, for the rest of the time I can concentrate on Heroism, and Cast Healing Words and Cure Wounds along with Spare the Dying if needed. Its a great “Battle Healer” vibe. 

At 6th Level – Due to the needs of the character to function right, I decided this time to parse out the start of the character at 6.  I also included some of my favorite Magical Secret spells at higher levels. 

Sylumn the Demagogue 
Race: Half Elf
Highest Stat: Charisma 
Second Highest Stat: Constitution
Background: Cloistered Scholar, Sage, or Acolyte
No armor: As a Demagogue, he believes in the power of his god to protect him and have him avoid death. Additionally, it makes him just that much more into the role. 
Weapons: Large Staff
Skills: This build gives you a ton of skills between Cloistered Scholar, College of Lore and basic Bard, which is pretty great. Arcana, History, and Religion fall perfectly within his expected set. Insight, Medicine and Perception are also great skills and I chose performance and persuasion to make those times he is performing a sermon to be that much more believable. He’s not deceiving anyone, and he isn’t intimidating anyone, he just truly believes in the power of his god. 
Bardic College: College of Lore The access to early spells from different classes really matters to this concept, so lore was really the only true option. It also has Cutting Words, which is a great demagogue ability 
Fourth Level Feat: Magic Initiate. I really like the concept of grabbing Spare the Dying, Word of Radiance, and Sanctuary. If my Wisdom is high enough, having people have to make saves just to attack me until I do something offensive is really, really powerful for the build.  
Magical Secrets: These are the spells I would take with Magical Secrets abilities: 
Level 6: Searing Smite, Mass Healing Word Searing Smite is a great combat spell that benefits from higher spell slots being burned for it, and Mass healing word just fits the character so well. 
Level 10: Banish, Counterspell Banish is an amazing verbal only spell that really sells the power of an orator and preacher being able to wholly and completely remove a creature from existence, and counterspell is a really flavorful method of using the gods’ power to quash magic intended to do harm to the faithful. 
Level 14: Divine Word, Heal: Both of these spells represent nearly the pinnacle of power for a divine orator, it’s really a simple choice. 
Level 18: Mass Heal, Power Word Pain. Honestly, you’d choose to take Wish if you had it available and are working towards the most powerful character possible, but words and heals are where this character is headed, so why not take it through to the finish? 

Honestly, I think taking a whole bunch of smites would work out just fine if you wanted a more combat oriented orator, bonking the heads of the enemy and smiting them, and I can get behind that. This one though, I think of him more as a bash real good as a last resort type of character. 

Last, I’d like to just share the bard spells I’d take granted from my class, though they are by no means the best, they are ones that really highlight the character of the character. I’ve not separated these out by when I would take them, simply that I would. 
0 – Vicious Mockery, Friends, Message, Light
1- Healing Word, Heroism, Dissonant Whispers, Cure Wounds, Charm Person
2: Suggestion, Hold Person
3: Fear, Dispel Magic
4: Compulsion, Confusion
5: Mass Cure Wounds, Dominate Person, Hold Monster, Teleport
6: Mass Suggestion
7: Ressurection, Modify Memory
8: Power Word Stun, Dominate Monster
9: Power Word Heal, Power Word Kill

At this point, you should be able to build a pretty solid character from here, and you understand where I am going with it. I hope you enjoyed this look into how I made this character, and what I do in order to cement the concept. The Half Orc Warlock or the shapeshifting Sorcerer is up next!

Until next time!