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Court Poet

Court Poet CR 4

Source NPC Codex pg. 28
XP 1,200
Human bard 5
LE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +5


AC 12, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 armor, +1 deflection)
hp 31 (5d8+5)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +5; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependent, and sonic


Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk dagger +3 (1d4–1/19–20)
Ranged mwk dagger +4 (1d4–1/19–20)
Special Attacks bardic performance 16 rounds/day (countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence +2, inspire courage +2)
Bard Spells Known (CL 5th; concentration +9)
2nd (3/day)—detect thoughts (DC 16), invisibility, misdirection
1st (5/day)—alarm, charm person (DC 16), comprehend languages, undetectable alignment
0 (at will)—detect magic, ghost sound (DC 14), light, mage hand, open/close, resistance


During Combat The bard controls and confuses attackers with spells, leading combat by turning invisible and using detect thoughts to gain a better understanding of the enemy. She uses charm person to draw opponents to her side.


Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 18
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 13
Feats Arcane Strike, Great Fortitude, Skill Focus (Bluff), Spell Focus (enchantment)
Skills Bluff +15, Diplomacy +12, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (history, local, nobility) +12, Knowledge (planes) +8, Knowledge (religion) +9, Perception +5, Perform (oratory) +12, Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +6
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven
SQ bardic knowledge +2, lore master 1/day, versatile performance (oratory)
Combat Gear potions of cure light wounds (2), potion of eagle’s splendor; Other Gear masterwork dagger, bracers of armor +1, ring of protection +1, 50 gp

Court poets swirl from influential person to influential person in noble courts, attempting to gain favor through stirring verse and manipulative deeds. They can secretly direct realms with their words.

Eksel Mertand

Eksel is the voice in the lord’s ear. She attempts to lead the nation with her advice and influence, digging her claws into every aspect of court intrigue as deeply as she can. Her enemies become the enemies of the state, and those she despises risk execution or imprisonment. Eksel sometimes makes gloating visits to those she has imprisoned to remind them who is more powerful.

Discovered in a local tavern and favored by the previous king for her grandiose storytelling style and world-spanning collection of fables and anecdotes, Eksel began her life in politics. After that king’s passing and the prince’s ascension to the throne, Eksel remained at the new king’s side. Close in age and sharing similar tastes for drinking and carousing, Eksel and the prince grew fond of each other. The bard is now firmly entrenched in the court and enjoys all of its prestige and financial splendor.

Many nobles enjoy Eksel’s skills at oration, but secretly bear grudges against the lowborn woman. They are jealous of her relationship with the king, and complain among each other how her advice constantly trumps theirs. Any moves against Eksel draw great displeasure from the king, sometimes resulting in embarrassing punishments.

Eksel boasts a robust collection of jewelry and clothing. She constantly carries around a quill for taking notes on her enemies, and chews on it while she’s plotting.

Combat Encounters: A careful schemer, Eksel is rarely encountered alone. She travels with a retinue of her lord’s soldiers, supporting them in combat until discretion becomes the only avenue of survival. Then she attempts to flee or, if that’s not an option, to negotiate the terms of her release.

Roleplaying Suggestions: Quick of wit and possessed of extreme cunning, Eksel might appear quiet and observant when first encountered. She sizes up her potential enemies and allies silently—and everyone is a potential enemy or ally—always looking for personal weaknesses to exploit or talents to manipulate in the service of her master.