Inspire Courage

Hi –

My first ACKS game is a hexcrawl play-by-forum game ( that we’re all enjoying a lot. One of our PCs is a bard, who decided to sing a song to inspire courage before the first fracas. The description of inspire courage says:

By reciting heroic lays and epic poems, bards can inspire
courage. Inspiring courage requires a few moments of oration
before a battle (one round), and grants the bard’s allies within
a 50’ radius a +1 bonus to attack throws, damage rolls, morale
rolls (for monsters or NPCs allied with the bard), and saving
throws against magical fear. The bonus lasts for 10 minutes (1
turn). A bard can inspire courage in any given character once
per day per class level. (Even the most inspiring epic gets old if
you hear it twice in the same day.) A bard cannot inspire courage
on characters who are already engaged in combat.

and I’m hung up on the “grants the bard’s allies” part. As written, I take this to mean that only the bard’s allies, and not the bard himself, gain the benefit. Is that the case?

An official ruling would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you

That is correct, yes.

Thank you, sir!


If I could ask a follow up question… what is the exact meaning of “engaged in combat”?

Does inspire courage work if the PC’s win initiative on the first round of an encounter with a hostile enemy?

Or must it be used before a potentially hostile encounter occurs?


Two easy options (no idea which on Alex uses!):

  1. Someone who is “engaged” by an opponent (i.e. in close combat, must use defensive movement, etc.).
  2. Anyone and everyone involved in a combat situation at all.

I’d probably use the first, stricter definition. Even using that one, though, Inspire Courage seems like something to use before getting in a fight; fortunately, the duration is long enough (10 minutes, or 60 rounds) to last through any combat. It’s not really a dungeon thing, it seems to me - I’d probably give opponents a chance to Hear Noise check if someone starts reciting behind a closed door as they prepare to burst in…

I use it as #1 - “engaged” in melee.

I assumed that the attack and bonus applied only to “normal” melee and missile attacks, not to magical attacks - but this isn’t explicitly stated in the ability description.

What’s your interpretation - could you “inspire” a mage’s spells?