I was going to have an awesome post full of deep, thought-provoking insight and intriguing suggestions. However, I recently purchased Dragon Age: Origins and therefore have not been doing much of anything except playing that game. So here's some half-baked ideas that I've tossed together as I rush off to work:
Prerequisites: Bard, Virtue of Cunning class feature, 11th level
Benefit: When you miss with an arcane attack power with the healing key word and that power has no effect on a miss, you or an ally within range of your Virtue of Cunning regains hit points equal to your Intelligence modifier. This hit point gain cannot be increased by any means.
Prerequisites: Bard, Virtue of Valor class feature, 11th level
Benefit: When you miss with an arcane attack power with the healing keyword and that power has no effect on a miss, you or an ally within range of your Virtue of Valor gains temporary hit points equal to your Consitution modifier.
Prerequisites: Bard, Virtue of Prescience class Feature, 11th level
Benefit: When you miss with an arcane attack power with the healing keyword and that power has no effect on a miss, you or an ally within range of your Virtue of Prescience gains a bonus to all defenses equal to your Wisdom modifier until the end of your next turn.
I built these off the paragon feat created by Logan Bonner in his Class Acts article in Dragon Magazine on clerics. I felt like clerics, of all classes were the least needful in terms of needing that little bit of extra healing, and bards seemed a lot higher up on that list. Of course, then I figured I'd flavor them out for each bard build, since making it Intelligence-driven would be useless for Valor and Prescience bards. Anyhow, I am also toying with making it a touch more powerful (they are paragon feats after all) and making it a substitution for the Virtue power usually allowed (like sliding your ally when an enemy misses them). I limited the Virtue of Cunning feat because of the obvious synergy with the Summer Rhymer paragon path that would have your typical Cunning bard healing an ally for 8-12 hit points on a miss when a hit might have been less healing. Of course, if it were a substitution for the use of the Virtue power for the round, I might be a bit more inclined to allow for modifiers, but ultimately I think you run the risk of a paragon bard missing with a power that grants 10 hit points on a hit including the bonus for the Summer Rhymer paragon path granting 3-4 from the Intelligence modifier, +5-6 for the Summer Rhymer paragon path, +3-4 for a healer's brooch... suddenly that miss is more beneficial than a hit. I think I'll leave it limited, but won't make it mutually exclusive with the Virtue power.
That's all for this week. Hopefully I'll break that video game's vampiric hold on my soul and get something decent out next week. But in the meantime: if you liked Baldur's Gate and felt the original was in many ways the pinnacle of Bioware's RPG craft, you should check out Dragon Age: Origins. I avoid talking about video games on this blog, since it's a bit off topic, but since Green Ronin Publishing is making a PnP RPG of the game, I feel like I can at least mention it. Usually, I'm not a big fan of Green Ronin, but the backstory of this game is so good, I might have to check it out.