Storm King's Thunder
College of Fochlucan
The original College of Fochlucan once stood on the northeastern edge of Silverymoon. Many years after it closed its doors, the site was reopened as Ultrumm's Music Conservatory. The conservatory later moved to Southbank, and the House of the Harp occupied the college's original location under the guidance of Master Bard Fore!! "Flamebeard" Luekuan, who sought to revive the ancient traditions and teachings of Fochlucan.
Years of cultivation and support from Silverymoon, as well as the Harpers, yielded a faculty able to revive the college, and the House of the Harp adopted the Fochlucan name once again. Most of its bards study and practice the methods of the College of Lore, as described in the Bard College class feature in the Player's Handbook. The College of Fochlucan is naturally allied with the Harpers, although its master bards are careful to stress that its mission is separate from that of the Harpers.
College of New Olamn
Housed in two Cliffride villas overlooking the sea near Waterdeep, the College of New Olamn is a prestigious bardic college established in the Year of the Staff (1366 DR) by wealthy Waterdhavian patrons and named for the old College of Ollamh. Students of the college undergo training in their chosen instruments, along with rigorous practice in memorization and the study of
ancient songs, sagas, and history. Most bards of New Olamn belong to the College of Lore, as described in the Bard College class feature in the Player's Handbook. The Cliffride, a gravel path up Mount Waterdeep's northern spur, is used to bring goods to the college, but most visitors and students use the Mount Melody Walk- a tunnel through the mountain itself-to reach it. The tunnel regularly resounds with music, thanks to the Neverending String of Pearls, an ongoing concert where bardic students perform in a small alcove in the tunnel, which carries and echoes their music.
College of the Herald
Based at the great lore-house of Herald's Holdfast, northwest of Silverymoon, the College of the Herald is dedicated to the preservation of ancient history and legends. The Heralds are charged with collecting and organizing bodies of lore, which they make available to all of good and peaceful intent. Established by the Harper Aliost Oskrunnar in 922 DR, the Heralds are allies of the Harpers but remain neutral in most conflicts, dedicated to preserving knowledge above all else. The College of the Herald is less concerned with musical performance (although it contains a considerable library of songs) and more with history, heraldry, and folklore, making it a key center of learning for bards of the College of Lore, as described in the Bard College class feature in the Player's Handbook.
In addition to the common musical instruments listed in chapter 5, "Equipment," of the Player's Handbook, bards in the Realms play the following instruments:
Birdpipes: Pan pipes or satyr pipes, also known as the shalm, these are sacred to Lliira and popular with wood elf and wild elf bards.
Glaur: Short, curved horns like a cornucopia. Played with valves, glaur sound like trumpets, while those without valves, known as gloon, have a more mournful sound.
Hand Drum: A double-headed skin drum fitted with handles along its side.
Longhorn: A Faerilnian flute of sophisticated make, found only in areas with skilled artisans, as in great cities or elven enclaves.
Shawm: A double-reed instrument similar to an oboe or a bassoon, popular with gnomes, who have developed some bellows-powered versions.
Songhorn: A recorder, a simple type of flute, usually carved from wood.
Tantan: A tambourine, a popular instrument with halflings and humans south of the Dalelands.
Thelarr: Also known as a whistlecane, a simple and easy-to-make wind instrument cut from a reed. They are so simple, in fact, that skilled bards frequently make and give them away to children-to the parents' delight or regret.
Tocken: A hanging set of carved oval bells, usually played with a pair of light wooden hammers (or open handed). They are most common in underground cultures, where the resonant tones can carry.
Wargong: A metal gong, traditionally made from a shield, particularly the shield of an enemy. Both goblins and dwarves make and play wargongs, their sound echoing through tunnels in the Underdark.
Yarting: A southern instrument from Arnn and Calimshan that is a Faerilnian analog to the guitar.
Numerous variations have spread across the continent.
Zulkoon: A complex pump organ that originated with the zulkirs of Thay, who use it in the casting of their spells. It is considered to have a dramatic, but sinister, sound.