Bards are musicians, poets, tale-tellers, and keepers of lore. They also serve as heralds and diplomats, when necessary; to bring about peace between warring nobles and kings is considered one of the most important endeavors of a Bard. Many Jarls do not consider an important event (such as a wedding) to have occurred unless a Bard witnesses it and composes a poem or song about it.1
A Bard knows at least 350 tales and epics and recite them from memory at any time, the rights and powers of Kings and Jarls (and their genealogies) and many other things. More than just a poet, musician, and storyteller, a Bard is a historian and custodian of customs, culture, and tradition.1
The typical Bard has spent a dozen or more years learning the Oral Traditions of Nygardr and even those of Midgardr (the world that was). A Bard’s word on a historical event, custom, or genealogy is often considered truth – this gives Bards a lot of cultural power and trust.
Music in Nygardr is part of daily life. From working songs, to rowing songs, to drinking songs, to festival tunes, music is integral to the life of Menn. Many villages had an abundance of drums, flutes, and other simple instruments. Among the Jötuns and Dwarves music is almost entirely unheard of. The virtuosity of music performed by Bards and Elves has the power to wonder and fascinate those who hear it. Magical music has the power to inspire or lull to sleep, to invoke emotions from rage to lust to sorrow, and at it’s most powerful, to enthrall the listeners to obey the musicians whims.
If the lore of the Bard grants them power, then their ability to compose verse of Praise or Satire grants them the ability to shape reality. At it’s simplest, a satirical rhyme spread amongst the peoples of a King can destroy his reputation, undermine his alliances, and even affect his health. At it’s most powerful, Poetry can invoke changes in world around the Bard – a lock might spring open or a river may stop flowing.