A Bard's Life: A Morrowind Mod

A Bard's Life: A Morrowind Mod

The Story

The first draft

Where do I even begin? I started this mod at least 10 years ago!
I had been playing a lot of Baldur's Gate 2 and the bard is one of my favourite class, naturally, I wished I could BE a bard in Morrowind as well.
Yes, there is a bard class in Morrowind but gameplay-wise, it's nothing like being a bard: you can't even hold a lute for crying out loud!
I didn't decide to make a mod right away, I looked at existing mods on PES and found a couple of things, IllTempered's complete lute mod was very promising: I could hold a lute and play songs and Bethesda's official plugin as also a good start.
However, there is a lot more to being a bard: music should be your way of life, so I started brainstorming on what is a bard's life.
Play music in taverns to make a living, reasonably easy to do: I'd have to expand The Entertainers ( I found the money you got was decidedly not enough to make a living and a drink on the house is the least the publican can do.)
Play music in battle to strike fear in your enemies hearts?... I could do that if I modified IllTempered's mod to add a spell effect.
Not that easy actually, I soon realised that equipping a music sheet to play a song and "cast"a spell was very, very tedious. I decided then that having the music sheet in your inventory would add the song/spell to your repertoire, allowing to switch them like a would a normal spell.
Still not that easy! For each song, I soon discovered I would need a couple of scripts to add/remove the spells.
And this is where I should have stopped. But no. The modder's curse kicked in...

The first released version

I thought, quite logically I might add, that if my bard was to be anything like in D&D, I would need companions.
Irullan (yes, a Dune reference) was born. Now I cannot write fancy scripts so I had to make a her a companion especially good if you are a bard. The first thing I did was to make her keep track of how often I had played music, then I decided she should have a few camping tools and I really wanted her to have some sort of progression (much like Constance.
Speaking of progression, surely a bard's song would grow more powerful as she gains experience? Ok, let's have 4 different lutes, each of them making the existing songs more powerful! Number of script per song? 3. Eaaasy!
Wait, I gain fame and I still have to reply on tips to make a living? No way, I should have my own establishment.
Next up: The Jolly Troubadour!
For the inn, I wanted from the start to have quests to embellish it (much like TheWayfarer's Rest.
As you can imagine this took quite a while and I juggled quite a bit with scripts and dialogues --> make many mistakes that took forever to hunt and fix.

The second released version

There was only one thing missing from my mod, it was class packages.
Inspired by Song and Silence a Baldur's Gate mod, I decided that choosing a type of bard would influence the songs you play and the performances you give.
It doesn't look like much but considering how there was alreasdy some much in terms of scripts and dialogues, it was like carefully weaving yarn a kitten has played with.
A new feature is the gondola ride, courtesy of Abot

That's it!...hm...?

Believe it or not, I've only recently played A Bard's Life, sure I had play-tested it but it's nothing compared to the actual thing.
There are a few bugs that need fixing, too many songs I never used, balancing to be done...
On the back burner for now.

The Mod

Here on the Nexus

This mod covers many aspects of being a Bard in Morrowind.

As a bard, you may do the following:

  • Look like a bard holding a lute or carrying one on you back.(the lute auto-sheathes)
  • Play 40 different tunes because you like music.
  • Perform in inns to earn gold and based on your skill, get food and lodging as well.
  • You can sing and play the lute, play the drums, dance, juggle or tell jokes. How successful you are is dependent on your skills and attributes. (Largely inspired from the official Bethesda plugin The Entertainers)
  • Collect music sheets which in turn, teach you a spellsong.
    Spellsongs are only available when you have the corresponding music sheet and a lute equipped.
    They never fail and only cost half of the mana of their spell counterparts but will not improve you magic skills (Alteration, Restoration, etc)
    Spellsongs will help your companions, cripple you enemies, some of them will also affect the player.
    Bards in inns will teach you a song (for a fee, for helping them, for free)
    Manors have music books, keep you eyes peeled for them
    Hostile bards: in caves, dungeons, stronghold. Kill them and get the spellsong.
    Leveled lists: tiny chance of finding a spellsong in crates and chests
  • Compose your own songs: As you get experience, you make create new Spellsongs using blank music sheets, a quill and an inkwell.
    There are 10 new spellsongs
  • Collect playing lutes: Each Spellsong will become more efficient if played with better playing lutes.
    They are displayed in various inns. If you fulfill the level requirement,
    the bard experience requirement and a small quest, the lutes will be
  • Sing powerful songs. These cost no magicka at all and do not require a lute. They can however be used only once a day.
    You need to acquire songbooks to unlock those powers.(there is a total of 5 Songbooks)
  • Open you own inn and gradually add new features to see new customers flock.
    The more features you build, the more customers will appear.
    The private quarters have ample themed storage, an alchemy lab, a scripted mannequin, a bathroom and space to display your instruments.
    The basement has even more storage and hutches to display all glasses, cups, bottles and plates of the game.
    Some patrons have quests
    Monthly profits increase as you improve your inn.
    Collect and display instruments in your private quarters.
    Traders and pawnbrokers sometimes sell them.
    Leveled list: sometimes found in crates and chests.
    Talk to fellow bard to find out where you can buy a dozen new instruments.
  • Meet your fans: as you gain popularity and expand your inn, Npcs will recognise you and give you small gifts.

Class packages

While all these features are open to any bards, spells, songs and performances vary depending on the bard package you choose.
5 new classes have also been created but they are optional and independent of the package you choose.

  • The Bard: the versatile performer
    Bards are loremasters and storytellers. They crave adventure for the wisdom and insight to be gained, and must depend on spellsongs, potions, and enchantment to preserve themselves from the perils of their educational experiences.The Bard travels the land with his companions. Well versed in music and lore, he makes a living playing his lute in taverns. Even though he is lacking in combat skills, his music can strengthen companions or weaken enemies.
    Choosing this class will make gameplay more challenging, a couple of companions is highly recommended)
    Can learn all 40 spellsongs
    Can use all the lutes
    Songbook of the Bard
    Performance: play lute (based on personality, agility and speechcraft)
  • The Skald: The support package.
    The Skald is a bard that goes to battle to support his companions. He is hardy and wears heavier armour than most bards. When forced into combat, he prefers the spear. Like all bards, he is a fine speaker and relies on potions and to some extent, enchanted items.
    Can learn 20 Spellsongs, a lot of them will buff companions.
    Can use all the lutes
    Songbook of the Bard + Songbook of the Skald
    Performance: play lute + play the drums (Speed, Agilty, bonus with more drums in your inventory)
  • The Diresinger: The master of debilitating songs
    The Diresinger is a bard that specialises in crippling and controlling his enemies. When he fights alone, he'll weaken his enemies with a songs and finish them with daggers or bows, though he will prefer to send companions or even minions. Like all bards, speechcraft and alchemy are part of his arsenal.
    Can learn 20 Spellsongs, most of them will cripple opponents.
    Can use all the lutes
    Songbook of the Bard + Songbook of the Diresinger
    Performance: play the lute and sing, and even then, sad and depressing songs.
  • The Shadowdancer: The loner bard
    The shadowdancer is the bard most suited for solo adventures as he specialises in songs that will improve himself. He relies on potions and magic items for support. Travelling often alone, he is a proficient armourer and dabbles in Mysticism.
    Can learn 20 Spellsongs, a lot of them make adventuring solo easier
    Can use all the lutes
    Songbook of the Bard + Songbook of the Shadowdancer
    Performance: play the lute and sing, dance (acrobatics and athletics)
  • The Jester: jack-of-all-trades, master of none
    The Jester is often underestrimated. While his talents allow him to make a living performing in inns, he knows more songs than any other bards. The Jester relies on tricks and deception and is the most proficient spellcaster of all the bards.
    Can learn all 40 spellsongs
    Cannot use the most advanced lute
    All Songbooks
    Performances: Play the lute and sing, juggle (agility), tell jokes (personality, speechcraft)


Oh, and there is a companion, Irullan, who will be able to do more for the player as time goes by.

  • She has the standard companion features (Grumpy companion script)
  • She gets in and out of her armour if you ask her
  • She sets up camp (a scripted tent with bedrolls) or gives you the camping gear.
  • She has additional (NoM) camping gear and food
  • She gives the player a pipe to smoke
  • She honestly tells the player about his bardic talents.
    She scouts the area (detect creatures) and draw a map of the region.
    She picks up ingredients as you travel across regions.
    She has additional role-playing dialogue option
    She will wait for you at an inn if she gets lost

Birthsign and classes

A new star sign, The Wanderer
Those born under the sign of the Wanderer are gifted with greater endurance and a better understanding of the world thanks to their many travels.
There are classes for each packages but you DO NOT need to pick one to play the mod.

To get started...

Look for a notice on the door of inns in large cities.
Find a lute, any lute from the vanilla game will do.
Talk to a fellow bard for advice on how to play the lute OR talk to a publican to skip the quest where you learn how to play the lute and start making some gold. Be advised that your wages will start at a lower rate if you choose this option. Either way, your lute will be exchanged for a playing lute and your first music sheet.
Look for Irullan, a scout in a Tomb near Seyda Neen. After a short quest, she will join you.