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Advanced Class Guide Preview: Skald

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The savage warrior whose warcries and fury inspire his allies to great deeds. The respected keeper of epics and histories of a bloody and glorious past. Even before the Advanced Class Guide, the skald lurked in our collective fantasies, though he often manifested in different ways. A multiclass character here, an archetype there. But there was never really a dedicated class that captured the fury and power of the skald, until now. The skald was an easy fit for Golarion. I mean, we have the Ulfen, whose very language is called Skald, and there's plenty of other cultures where it's easy to see these fearsome and mighty battle leaders replacing the more refined and classical bard of the Lem variety.


Illustration by Ramon Puasa Jr

So the first playtest version unleashed the skald to all of you (and me!) to test out in your games. Right from the start, the skald was able to cast bard spells, wield any weapon he wants, and inspire a barbarian rage in his allies, even giving them the exciting boost of all the skald's rage powers. Visions of entire parties surrounded by spirit totems or clawed and pouncing soared through our collective heads, and the playtest began! But right away, all the playtesters started running into the same problem—the number of characters who desired the rage's advantages enough to be willing to risk the fatigue at the end were often too few, especially compared to how many could benefit from the bard. Not only the spellcasters, who couldn't cast their spells, were balking at the invitation to a rage-filled bloodbath. The archers, who needed adaptive bows to gain anything from the Strength but feared the -3 penalty to hit they would take from fatigue, were also quick to pass.

So the skald went back to the forge and began hammering himself a new set of tools while singing epics sadly to himself. And he emerged for round 2 of the playtest with a shiny new way to give out rage. Now party members could accept the rage on a round by round basis, with no commitment to staying enraged the entire song and without the fear of fatigue when the rage ends. Suddenly, the siren's call of fury became too much, and there were tales of archers (and even occasionally primary spellcasters eager for the rage powers' benefits) accepting the skald's offer to lose themselves to their primal instincts for a while. But still, the playtesters forged onward, providing feedback on the versatility of the skald and asking for more variety in the skald's song choices.

And the final version delivers! When it comes to both performances and skills, he is more versatile than ever before. He has three new song choices, the most metal of which is clearly his 14th level song of the fallen. You see, the trouble with being the support character is that sometimes the bad guys decide to kill your allies and you don't really have anyone to support. Too often inconvenienced by the deaths of his comrades, the skald has come up with a workaround, powered by the sheer fury of his raging song. He can revive any number of allies with this song, though if he's keeping the entire alive as deathless einherjar, he's going to run out of rounds of performance fairly quickly (since it costs a number of rounds of performance equal to the number of revived allies). And the allies are staggered, so they're not at their peak performance—but hey, it's a better way of killing time than waiting in line in the Boneyard!

But that's not the end of the skald's drum solo! Have you ever thought that it wasn't fair how linnorms have death curses but not your character. I mean, you put lots of time into building that character. That darn NPC deserves to suffer for killing Lord Kickass III. With the new skald rage powers (which anyone with rage powers can select), you too can bestow a horrific death curse on your enemies.

And there's archetypes too. The fated champion stares down the future without fear for what it might hold, with fate-twisting powers and supernatural insights. The herald of the horn forms an arcane bond with a horn (potentially an enormous horn nearly as big as his own body, according to the art). He doesn't compose elaborate kennings; he blows that sucker and crazy things happen! The spell warrior sends his rage into your weapon instead of your head, and his very spells are a weapon with which to do battle with those of enemy spellcasters. And the totemic skald channels the power of a totem animal into himself and his allies; you want to put the "bear" in ber-serker? Play this guy!

So to recap: If bards are your classical virtuosos who channel the tales of the mythical Orpheus, skalds are their metal cousins who channel the tales of poets with attitudes more like the Norse Bragi, who threatens to decapitate people who insult his courage. If that's what you've been waiting for since forever, once you get your hands on the book, roar in visceral triumph as you paw your way immediately to page 49 and feast upon the skald in all his glory.

Mark Seifter
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ramon Puasa Jr Skald
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6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I hope you introduce an entirely different kind of "axe" for this class. And if not, why not?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

That horn looks like it should come with a trolley cart!

This sounds like a fun class, the Death Curse strikes me as something that would potentially be hilarious on an NPC miniboss with a bunch of minions to buff.

You get a death curse! And you get a death curse! And you get a death curse! Everyone gets a death curse!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

So metal...

Osirion

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That artwork... That horn is clearly not issuing music. that's smoke. Mystical blue Smoke.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.

dear mark seifter

<3

that is all


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is this the feeling you people call joy!?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This will be great for my Iron Maiden themed party.


Hurrah for archetype previews!


And just like that I wanna plat a Skald for the first time ever.


10 people marked this as a favorite.

You can't kill the metal; The metal will strike you down with a vicious blow -Tenacious D


Well this class is on my to play list. Tied with Bloodrager.

Andoran

12 people marked this as a favorite.

I like to think the Skald language started as a secret language like Druidic, but the skald speakers kept telling everyone about it.


What kind of penalty does a character take for playing an over sized instrument? There must be a jotungrip archetype for Skalds or something...

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kudaku wrote:

That horn looks like it should come with a trolley cart!

This sounds like a fun class, the Death Curse strikes me as something that would potentially be hilarious on an NPC miniboss with a bunch of minions to buff.

You get a death curse! And you get a death curse! And you get a death curse! Everyone gets a death curse!

You mean this?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think that the most interesting like was that, "Anyone with rage powers can select skald rage powers."

I wonder if that means that Barbarians / Fighter (Vikings) / Ranger (Wild Stalkers) can select these new skald powers?

I also wonder if this applies to Slayer Talents. Giving the rogue the ability to reselect trapfinding as a rogue talent after he has traded it away for an archetype would be AMAZING.


Genius!


EvilPaladin wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
You get a death curse! And you get a death curse! And you get a death curse! Everyone gets a death curse!
You mean this?

I was thinking something like this, actually. :)

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I haven't had any interest in this class until now. Now I am getting lots of ideas! I want a Cayden archetype that involves drinking songs ;-)


Yes this looks cool and sounds cool. I am curious as to how the final version looks compared to the bard, as the playtest version seemed much more like a bard archetype than a full-fledged class.
However, new songs and ways to use rage powers sound wonderful.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really like the idea of player characters having death curses like some monsters do.

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

"... singing epics sadly to himself...."

I read that and was like, "Aww, I wanna give him a hug now!"

Then I read the rest...

I wanna play a Skald now. Like, really badly.

Andoran

I already wanted to play a Skald (ever since I heard they got Versatile Performance)...but this sounds awesome, and certainly adds some fuel to the fire.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is actually my least interested class. Just not for me.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So was there a dedicated goal to make Skalds and Bloodragers as Metal as possible? Cuase, Bravo Zulu, lets go bite some bat heads. (bonus points if there is a bat themed magic item that restores rounds of rage/performance in the book, either as an amulet or as a consumable)


6 people marked this as a favorite.

You know, when I first saw Skald in the playtest I was on the fence about it. Then I stumbled across Sovngarde Song by Miracle of Sound lastweek. After listening to that Skaldic theme song I'm fully on board the Skald hypetrain.

I wonder if I can convince my PF group to go balls to the wall with the party in our next campaign. I really want to see a party with a Skald, Bloodrager, Rage Prophet Oracle, Anger/Rage Inquisitor, Ragechemist, and a Barbarian/Viking/Wild Stalker.


Oh yes, this pleases me greatly.


13 people marked this as a favorite.

A Skald, a Barbarian, and a Bloodrager walk into a bar.....

They walk out of a ruined building that collapses behind them.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Before this, I had a Kuthite arcane duelist bard as my metalhead character. Now, I'm tempted to bring in a skald who prays to Gorum, the most literally metal deity in the he pantheon!


Skald just went from low on my interest list...to right up there!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

What would the most metal party be?

Skald, (abyssal/infernal) bloodrager, slayer, warpriest of gorum?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Skald on Vocals, Abyssal Bloodrager on Percussion, Warpriest of Gorum on Bass, Infernal Sorcerer on guitar. (Oracle of the heavens as an alternate vocalist/pianist)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Love it!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
zergtitan wrote:

A Skald, a Barbarian, and a Bloodrager walk into a bar.....

They walk out of a ruined building that collapses behind them.

Or it collapses around them...and then they walk out.


Finally, a bard to play Thunderstruck by AC/DC on the bagpipes, cello, or whatever. Skald, the Metal Bard!! Only class I want to play more at the moment is the Warpriest.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kudaku wrote:
EvilPaladin wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
You get a death curse! And you get a death curse! And you get a death curse! Everyone gets a death curse!
You mean this?
I was thinking something like this, actually. :)

Bees?

EDIT

Leo_Negri wrote:
Finally, a bard to play Thunderstruck by AC/DC on the bagpipes, cello, or whatever. Skald, the Metal Bard!! Only class I want to play more at the moment is the Warpriest.

Like this?


Azten wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
EvilPaladin wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
You get a death curse! And you get a death curse! And you get a death curse! Everyone gets a death curse!
You mean this?
I was thinking something like this, actually. :)

Bees?

EDIT

Leo_Negri wrote:
Finally, a bard to play Thunderstruck by AC/DC on the bagpipes, cello, or whatever. Skald, the Metal Bard!! Only class I want to play more at the moment is the Warpriest.
Like this?

More like this. http://youtu.be/9YdkolAEHj4?t=1m42s

Couldn't figure out the link thing.

Qadira

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Can we just have Mark write all the stuff for the blog post from now on?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Cool. Still probably won't play one, but this is one I'd pick over a Bard if I were ever inclined to play one.

Though depending on how the Herald of the Horn turns out I may need to get all over that. Can I make people's heads explode with the power of WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM?


Himokl wrote:
Can we just have Mark write all the stuff for the blog post from now on?

No need for that, Jason's just (intentionally?) pulled the short straw by writing up the blog posts for the most controversial classes.

What was the third class Jason was working on again? Arcanist, Warpriest and...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
zergtitan wrote:

A Skald, a Barbarian, and a Bloodrager walk into a bar.....

They walk out of a ruined building that collapses behind them.

What? They don't walk away in a slow-motion stride without looking back as it explodes in Michael Bay worthy pyrotechnics behind them?


Rathendar wrote:
zergtitan wrote:

A Skald, a Barbarian, and a Bloodrager walk into a bar.....

They walk out of a ruined building that collapses behind them.

What? They don't walk away in a slow-motion stride without looking back as it explodes in Michael Bay worthy pyrotechnics behind them?

Of course they do.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I want to squeal and wave my hands excitedly, but that isn't exactly appropriate. So instead, I'm going to blast a Slayer album and break out some celebratory headbanging.


It sounds like a lot of fun to play! Although I'll admit that once again the archetypes are doing more for me than the base class. Woops.

And did someone say new rage powers? Colour me intrigued!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rynjin wrote:
Rathendar wrote:
zergtitan wrote:

A Skald, a Barbarian, and a Bloodrager walk into a bar.....

They walk out of a ruined building that collapses behind them.

What? They don't walk away in a slow-motion stride without looking back as it explodes in Michael Bay worthy pyrotechnics behind them?
Of course they do.

The advertisement YouTube played had a ton of explosions in it...


People still get advertisements on Youtube?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:
Rathendar wrote:
zergtitan wrote:

A Skald, a Barbarian, and a Bloodrager walk into a bar.....

They walk out of a ruined building that collapses behind them.

What? They don't walk away in a slow-motion stride without looking back as it explodes in Michael Bay worthy pyrotechnics behind them?
Of course they do.

That is Exactly what i meant!


Rynjin wrote:
People still get advertisements on Youtube?

I wouldn't have believed it until now.

Andoran

Serghar Cromwell wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
People still get advertisements on Youtube?
I wouldn't have believed it until now.

Some poor benighted souls lack Adblock Plus or similar programs. Hard to believe, I know, but true nonetheless.

Paizo Employee Designer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Himokl wrote:
Can we just have Mark write all the stuff for the blog post from now on?

Shhh--you'll give them ideas!

:looks around suspiciously:

Phew, OK everyone's out of the office now. I'm safe for another week!

More seriously though, I can't give you the full behind-the-scenes perspective for each class like the class's designer can. Enthusiasm? That I have!

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