While the Skald wasn't mentioned directly, after mentioning some of the classes that got the most or fewest changes, he mentioned that most of the rest got a "medium" amount of changes. So the Skald probably got a medium amount of changes.
I'm guessing that it's just the case that some of the classes are things Jason personally has spent more time with, so he has more things to say about them.
Is there any particular reason that Squire is substantially more dangerous on the Hunter than on any of the classes that currently qualify for it? I guess you could have the Squire take teamwork feats and then you'd have another person to use them with, but that seems somewhat marginal.
"Better Melee Combatant than the Druid" is actually a fairly tall order; by the time the Hunter is even making iterative attacks, the druid can turn into a giant dinosaur or whatever.
For box-filling reference, the current iconics are
Dwarf Male: Harsk
Elf Male: Damiel
Gnome Male: Balazar
Halfling Male: Lem
Half-Elf Male: Seltyiel
Half-Orc Male: New Warpriest of Gorum
Human Male: Alain, Ezren, Sajan, Nakayo, Valeros
Animal Companions -
Here's some of my notes (which are mostly the same, but as long as I have them) -
- Playtest has gone relatively smoothly. There are some classes that need some work, some classes are going over really well.
Ignoring temporarily the existence of the summoner, because that class breaks all kinds of rules, and working within the context of what the class is and is supposed to be (and not just what the name implies), I think that a good thesis statement for the Hunter is "Class that notably is the best at fighting with an animal companion." That could mean that the animal companion is literally stronger than that of other classes, or it could mean that the hunter has lots of options for boosting it, or it could mean that the hunter gets bonuses themself. The class is already pushing in that direction to some degree; I think it would be cool to push harder. I know that "person who fights with a pet, where the pet is a big big part of the character" is something that a lot of new players want to play. Currently the most direct choice for that setup is a druid, but druids lack weapon proficiencies and have a lot of other stuff going on.
Flammable? You're thinking of HUMAN beards.
Also, while I don't know of any resource that says they can't grow beards, Golarion Dwarf women are depicted without them wherever they've been depicted so far. (Which is not very much.) Dwarves of Golarion talks extensively about beards, but generally phrases things as though women don't have them. There are several dwarven cultures, so it's not impossible that somewhere there are Dwarf women who can and do grow facial hair, but it doesn't seem to be common.
The reason that even asymmetrical teamwork feats aren't split into two is exactly that. Inquisitors, crusaders, and now hunters have mechanics that make everything work much better if even teamwork feats like that are made into a single feat. Unless the intention is to specifically make teamwork feats that work badly for those classes, teamwork feats should not be split across multiple feats for different participants.
This does mean that you have to avoid giving the teamwork feats prereqs that make no sense for some of the participants. Even the game's own writers get confused by this sometimes; Enfilading Fire, for example, is extremely difficult to use except with a ranged crusader or inquisitor, because it otherwise requires a melee ally to have taken Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot, which basically never happens outside of pretty rare niche builds or very advanced builds. The feat's prereqs were either written completely forgetting that the flanker has to have the feat too or it was never meant to not be a real teamwork feat at all, just an inquisitor talent disguised as one.
That's pretty neat. If they don't do that, one idea for an archetype might be a hunter that trades the animal companion for the Summoner's Summon Monster SLA, but for SNA instead, and the archetype is allowed to share teamwork feats and the Animal Focus boosts with anything summoned with SNA.
Absolutely the same, but there's many instances where you need to swim where one round is an acceptable delay, but fifteen minutes without distraction isn't in the cards. For lots of druid utility spells (like Animal Messenger, Speak with Plants, whatever) there's often not any real time crunch, but the specific physical challenges that Animal Focus addresses have that property less of the time. My perspective here is perhaps a bit warped in that the last two times swimming was a real issue for a character I was playing, it's because he got - somewhat unexpectedly - knocked off of a boat, although you could make an argument that I should have seen the second one coming ;). I'm sure there's plenty of circumstances where time's no big deal for swimming, however, and that's certainly a good use case for Touch of the Sea.
Maybe this is dumb, but what do people think about giving the Hunter a spontaneous spell conversion list, like Clerics can spontaneously convert to Cure (or Inflict, if you're a necromancer or you make bad decisions) spells and Druids can convert to SNA?
One of the hallmarks of the Druid list is that it has piles of incredibly situational stuff, but it's not totally wrong to sometimes prepare some of those things if you have some idea that they might be useful, because you can always just make it an SNA spell instead, and SNA has property that it's widely useful in many situations. Similarly, casting cure spells with your slots as a cleric isn't exciting, it's a rare day where nobody gets hurt, so it's always something to do with your slots.
I was thinking that Hunters could have a conversion list that specifically focuses on their animal companions. It might involve creating some new spells, since there aren't interesting and generally applicable spells that benefit animals at every spell level, but it would let rangers prep the more situational druid spells more often without them going to waste so much.
To be fair, unless I KNOW I'm going to be swimming, the odds of me ever preparing Touch of the Sea is basically nil, so it'd be up to me bothering to have a scroll. The swim bonus Animal Focus is always available and always an option. I used Summon Nature's Ally II as the comparison because that's a spell that's actually reasonable to ever prepare. The animal focus bonus doesn't need to be better than the most perfect possible spell for the job if that spell is something nobody ever prepares, but it might be good if it's better than what's available through powerful, flexible spells like SNA.
I think it depends. The fact that the abilities are activated as Swift Actions makes it tempting to save them for combat, and use regular magic as an alternative where possible, since outside of combat the fact that regular magic takes a standard action to use makes less of a difference. For example, if I needed to swim across some rough water (to make up a simple example), I could use either the Animal Focus bonus to swim checks or I could use Summon Nature's Ally II. (Which lasts slightly less time, but the Squid is faster than me; I'm assume that most GMs would rule that the squid, with its mighty swim speed and its 15 Strength, could at least drag me.) The squid is probably more reliable, and the fact that it takes a turn to summon probably doesn't matter (unless I'm actively already drowning and might not get the spell off.) In combat, I could also use either Animal Focus or Summon Nature's Ally II if I need a boost, but Animal Focus is a swift action, which makes it basically free for the class.
I would definitely use the Animal Focus boost for a skill boost if I felt my life (or somebody's life) depended on it either way, regardless of how big they were, so I don't know if it's the size that's making the difference.
I may be able to expand this out further later, but my impressions where this:
- Even when it would have been relevant to do so, it felt hard to justify spending one of just three uses of Animal Focus on a temporary skill bonus. Even if it's not technically true, it felt more correct to use them in combat. (I was at exactly the level where you get to pick two at once.)
I think that the developer note about making the weapon list more appropriate for viking characters is a response to the fact that it was noted early in the thread that the current weapon list is very UN-viking. It's not like they're going to say that Skalds are limited to using exactly +1 Shocking Anarchic Battleaxes, just that they're going to add some proficiencies so that that concept is supported. Right now, the weapon list is pretty unthematic. (It's just the bard weapon list.) Regardless of exactly the extent to which the class is vikingish, "longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip" is a pretty unthematic list of proficiencies for it (aside from the longsword and short sword.)
It was already stated that the Hunter was going to get a nice overhaul, so let's just back off on it. The Arcanist would have been a great candidate for the name "Warlock" however.
I'm guessing that they're avoiding calling any of the new classes "Warlock" for the same reason that they didn't call the Magus that: Confusion with the wildly different 3.5 Warlock class.
As long as Superstition exists, any version of the Skald that can grant rage powers can grant Superstition. I'm honestly sort of okay with that, at least conceptually. There's no rule that says that the Skald isn't allowed to be the best at something, and maybe the thing the Skald is the best at is giving everybody gigantic save bonuses. I haven't played with a Skald that has the ability to give everybody Superstition without also sticking them with unworkably strict rage drawbacks, so I don't really know if it's too powerful, but it might be okay. Probably not, but might be.
If it is too powerful, potential solutions might be
- Have the Skald count as a half-level barbarian for scaling rage power effects (clunky, but it limits the bonus to +4 instead of +7). Heck, under this system, assuming the current rage effects stay more or less the same, then after level 4 the Superstition bonus to Will Saves is irrelevant because you're getting a larger bonus from the song itself.
That's definitely a minimally invasive solution, although I think you'd want to give the Skald a much more aggressive schedule of rage powers if you were doing that. It might also not be the worst to soften some of the drawbacks by default; at the very least, broaden the types of skills you can use. I actually think it's okay if not everybody wants the rage all of the time (before you invest in it), but I don't think it's okay where it is now.
Also, I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but it might be nice if the class had some built-in protections against zero-to-dead. (The interaction that's currently sorta-covered for Barbarians by Raging Vitality.) On one hand, it's less of a big deal for Skalds because their Con bonus isn't as big in the first place, but it's incredibly feel-bad, and it's something that can affect allies too, which feels worse. I can't think of an elegant solution that isn't abusable with ragecycling for temp HP, but I feel like eliminating the unconsciousness buffer isn't the intent of rage-like features. I can see somebody enjoying that style, but it seems like a weird thing to have as intrinsic to a base class.
Having tried higher-level Skaldery, I think that the one part of the Skald that I'd care more about getting preserved through whatever else changes is granting Rage Powers. Tying them to something that actually benefits more classes without the help of Rage Powers would be great, but I definitely want to keep that part.
Fast Healing is fine if it's round-limited, which basically just makes it normal healing, but slow. Even if you were to use all six or so rounds of your rage healing people, that's a lot of healing, but not an unprecedented amount. If you're worried about it then you could just bump it up to a higher level.
On top of just working better with less muss, I think it's actually better, where possible, for things to modify derived statistics than base stats.
I think the reason that people are either shying away from that idea or just saying to flat-out give the skald Inspire Courage is that it's very close to Inspire Courage - which adds directly to hit and damage. While the ability to impart rage powers would still set the Skald apart to some degree, I think that there's some concern about the whole thing ending up too bardlike.
brawlers already count ans fighters and monks for feats, i'd be surprised if they didnt extend this courtesy to the other hybrids.
I think that they might be hesitant to straight-up commit to this because I think that access to those feats is supposed to be one of the perks of going straight fighter, something that's generally not the world's most appealing proposition. Of course, most of the actual feats that require you to have fighter levels are either pretty replaceable or are tossed around pretty liberally regardless (I'm looking at you, Disruptive), but I can definitely see a world where they don't want to give out blanket access to fighter-required feats too often.
The magus is a hybrid between the fighter and the wizard almost exclusively on a thematic level, rather than a mechanical level. It inherits almost nothing at all from the fighter except that its small number of bonus feats can be combat feats, and nothing from the Wizard except being an int-based prepared arcane spellcaster and the ability to snipe some spells from that list. Meanwhile, it has its own spell list and tons of major class features that have nothing to do with anything the fighter or the wizard do natively.
There's a ton of room between "literally nothing but a slightly smoothed out multiclass" and "totally new class that happens to have slight thematic ties to a few existing classes, like the magus."
I'd much rather see the ACG classes be classes that use the idea of a hybrid of two classes as a starting place for doing their own thing than things that are just uninteresting multiclass progressions. I don't think that they need to be as totally novel as the magus (which is a bad example of a ACG-style hybrid anyway, since it inherits no more from what its alleged component classes are than any other new class inherits from other classes), but 30/30/40 is a hundred times more exciting to me than 50/50.
As far as I'm concerned, the big challenge is that the more generic you make the bonuses provided by the song, the more redundant the class becomes with the Bard, but if you don't do something then the class is of limited use to most parties. (Although being able to make even one person sort of a combination Barbarian/WhateverTheyAlreadyAre is kinda cool.)
Basically, there are three desiderata, and I think that it's hard to make them all true at the same time.
1) Skald's song is useful to a wide variety of classes and parties.
(You could also have the Skald have a very bardlike song but undergo a comprehensive redesign to make it different from the bard in other ways, but it's not clear to what extent that's on the table.)
Truesong feels like a reasonable midpoint between 1 and 2, although it's making significant sacrifices on 2 for moderate gains on 1. (Remember that if you pick Int or Wis or something that you remove the Skald itself from the pool of people benefitting from that stat.) You can let people choose the benefit on a person by person basis, (which is big gains one 1), but at that point it starts getting real similar to what a Bard's doing anyway. Making everybody generically more awesome is a fine way to make the class functional, but it also makes it even more bardlike.
There's playtesting in order to get a feel for how classes run in actual play, and there's careful analysis and comparison to known baselines in order to evaluate a class. This isn't either of those things. The abstract idea that a hybrid is intrinsically overpowered isn't really grounded in practice. In fact, it's incredibly far from the case that "you cant give 75% from two classes and make it equal 100% no matter how you slice it you still get 150%." There are LOTS of ways to slice it such that you get way more than or way less than that amount. That's why the Mystic Theurge is so poor; because 75% of a Wizard and 75% of a Cleric (even with some additional stuff thrown in!) is a lot less than 100% of either. Similarly, combinations that cover key weaknesses can make things more than the sum of their parts, but for the most part combining things results in something where the versatility doesn't compensate for the loss of focus.
Theorycraft and playtest align perfectly on the notion that not only are the ACG playtest classes NOT overpowered (although the Arcanist is very good, and might need reeling in), some of them probably could use a little goosing. They're perfectly suitable for use alongside regular classes, because they've been designed that way, and are in no way meaningfully comparable to gestalt.
I appreciate the sentiment behind giving Combat Expertise an Int requirement - it gives the stat some function for a lot of characters for which it'd otherwise be an absolute dump stat - but 13 is pretty high for something that's being used to gate so much interesting stuff. (Also, note that they don't do things like making most of the metamagic feats require a mostly pointless dump feat and 13 Strength, so clearly the goal of stat diversification is only so important). The totally binary nature of 13/not 13 makes it so that instead of making the stat generally something worth considering at different levels, it's just "Am I using a sufficiently crazysauce point buy/rolling scheme that this works, or am I just dumping this anyway?"
I guess you could work around the fact that the feats that rely on it also require 13 Int by making the alt-feats say "This feat counts as Combat Expertise and as having an Int score of at least 13 for the purposes of selecting feats that require Combat Expertise", but that's kind of kludgy.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is going to be stuff in the book that gives existing classes access to some of the new things that the new classes can do. I can easily see a barbarian archetype that simply subs out Rage for Raging Song, full stop. (Okay, and it gets some tweaks to its Rage Power class feature to make it work right with Raging Song.) While anything is possible, such an archetype seems more likely than a decision to rearchitect the Skald into a noncaster with full BAB and d12s.
Holy cow, this is cool, although I'm pretty sure that every arcane spellcaster I've ever played would have gladly traded all of their class features and tons of spells for JUST Spell Tinkerer. Heck, maybe even every CHARACTER. The ability makes it possible to pseudo-permanency things for free during downtime at very low levels.
I understand that giving spellcasters any downtime at all is intrinsically super powerful for them, but I don't know if I like that a day of level 6 Arcanist downtime means that somebody can fly for basically forever with minimal further Arcanist investment. For free. (Nine days to start with, which you can easily extend to forever with a little maintenance.) Or am i missing something?
Atlatl Jones wrote:
Really, that one could probably keep flurry. I was mostly joking about dumping flurry for every archetype because flurry (and pretty much everything based on TWF) is an extremely poor mechanic for representing the vast majority of things it gets attached to. I'm always eager for anything that reduces the gulf between full attacks and not-full-attacks, which make for boring combats where everybody just wants to stand still, and the people who are supposed to be all swift and stuff REALLY just want to stand still. While Flurry isn't as much of a disaster on the Brawler as it is on the Monk (where the difference between a flurry attack and a nonflurry attack is even greater, and the archetype is even less about cornering somebody or having the wizard paralyze them, and then beating the crap out of them - something that's in theme for more brawlers), I'm very disappointed to see Flurry used on another class, and wouldn't be sad at all if every archetype replaced it (or if it just went bye-bye from the Brawler itself, probably shunted off to an archetype.) The devs have made it clear that how a class looks on a page is way more important than how it feels in play when it comes to how allegedly swift fighters operate, but that doesn't mean that I can't hope for archetypes that opt out of that at least a little bit. :)
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I like that fatigue is going away. I don't really like the feeling when abilities cause explicit disadvantages for allies. I'm not saying that that's something that should never happen, it's just weird as the signature ability of a base class.
The reason that Bravery is a fighter feature is that they didn't want to screw with the base table stats of the 3.5 core classes during the transition, but they wanted to do something about the fact that 3.5 fighters are more or less the biggest cowards in the entire edition. (3.5 assigned will saves based on how ~*~*~magical~*~*~ you are, rather than based on how strong-willed the archetype actually is.) The swashbuckler doesn't necessarily have to go down that road again; it has more options.
I do think that it'd be nice if the interaction between Rage Song and Rage (and other rage-like abilities) was a little more positive than it is now. "You can use one some of the time, and the other one the rest of the time" is okay-ish, and genuinely pretty useful at low levels when your rage budget doesn't span the day in a lot of cases, but if there's an inexpensive way to make the Barbarian/Skald combo better while still preserving the focus of the class, I think that'd be cool. (Even if it's just a rage power that lets you change the type of your bonus when you're benefitting from multiple similar effects.)
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Really, they could just reprint the agile enchantment in this book. It would fit the theme of "magic items that support the new classes."
I know that there's already places where the system does this, but I don't like it when a class functioning well in the the fashion that it's presented as working hinges so completely on access to a specific magic item (or a feat in a side book, for that matter). A player with low system mastery who reads the Swashbuckler class sees that it's telling him or her that Dex is the attack stat. If the build that both the fluff and mechanics point towards requires a specific magic weapon to make sense, that's extremely bad in my eyes, even if the weapon is in the same book. If a class's power level swings super hard on access to a particular something, it should just be part of the class. (Which doesn't necessarily mean that I think the class should have Dex to damage; it could be messed around with in other ways.)
I'm particularly interested in brawler archetype ideas. Any ideas?
I was thinking
- Some kind of "suckerpunch" archetype that dumps flurry for bonuses against flat-footed opponents (maybe just a diminished sneak attack progression, maybe something fancier). Maybe also good at attacks of opportunity.
- Something inspired by the Dungeoncrasher ACF from 3.5 that gives you bonuses for slamming people into walls and stuff. Maybe trade flurry for this. Mechanical support for suplexing people though a table, please.
- If we're allowed to get a little silly, maybe a thematic masked wrestler/pro wrestler archetype. Ideally it would trade away flurry for some cool showmanship and secret identity stuff (for the former concept). Maybe play up specific combat maneuvers or combinations of combat maneuvers as your "signature move". Pick Dirty Trick and you can be a heel/rudo!
- Something that lets you trade away something - let's say, for the sake of argument, that that's flurry - in exchange for just being a total boss at one specific combat style (like, the style feats). Sort of like MoMS, but focused especially on one. I'm honestly not sure how you'd pull this off exactly, other than giving early access, which MoMS already does; it seems too complicated for an archetype to define special additional benefits for every style.
- An "old guy with a stick" archetype that gives you some tricks with a quarterstaff. Old guy status optional. (This might make more sense as a monk thing.) Just spitballing, but maybe dump flurry for these benefits.
- The guy who gets you cornered and beats the tar out of you. This is pretty close to the default class, but maybe you could give it some minor bonuses to intimidate or reposition or something. Would probably lose, I dunno, some of the bonus feats or something for this.
If you did take away spellcasting from the class, you could SERIOUSLY crank it up in other areas. While it hasn't gotten as much comment as the rest of the class, the spellcasting is where the class is spending a ton of its power budget, and an enormous amount of the class's power and versatility comes from there. A skald can handle a wand of CLW as well as anybody to handle between-combat healing, and bards get a nice selection of other buffs and utility. While offensive spellcasting isn't really what's great for most bards and skalds (probably) aren't any different, spells like Grease are still powerful. People are focusing on the Skald as the guy who is giving, like, +2 to hit and damage and you get claws or whatever, but he's also the guy chucking out Invisibility and Silence and Haste. (Unfortunately not Allegro, though, unless your DM is generous.) All the sweet stuff bards do with illusions and things? Skald isn't any worse. (Although the Skald has less use for a charisma score that exceeds what's needed to cast spells, so I guess they're a little worse. Bards can make it so that about eighty-seven skills or something are running off of charisma, while Skalds have no use for it outside of spellcasting and the number of rounds of Raging Song you get.)
Axing spellcasting also eliminates the option for Arcane Strike, and while full BAB is obviously way better than Arcane Strike (and Arcane Strike costs a feat), the boost is less significant than it'd seem because you're losing that option.
I don't necessarily think the class should lose spellcasting, but regardless, it'd be a pretty serious overhaul if it were to do that. As with pretty much any class that has it, the Skald's spellcasting is the most potent part of the class. It may not be sexy and new, but at least as of current, it's the biggest thing the class can do (past early levels, of course.)
Yeah, Samurai actually IS an English word. It's the English word for "Samurai". It just happens to be a word that made it into English directly with the same basic meaning and a pronunciation that's only moderately adjusted for English phonology. Kriegspriester isn't the English word for anything, and it's not even a simple compound of English words.
The only name on the list that really feels "off" to me is Hunter. Even in a setting where some class words that in our world don't refer to people with overt supernatural powers (Ranger, Inquisitor, Bard, etc.) refer to people who do have overt supernatural powers, "Hunter" seems like it really undersells just how hugely magical the class is. It's a class that's spending the vast majority of its power budget on spellcasting and whose signature ability aside from that is (Su). I don't think that there's necessarily a better name for the concept - largely because it's a nonresonant pile of nothing that doesn't represent anything from fantasy or a fantasy version of something from another genre, so there's no name for it because it doesn't exist - but I don't like "hunter" for it. If "Bloodrager" represents a softening of their position that base class names have to be one-word real words, I think you could do something with that.
Otherwise - and I know this an archetype name already - "Beastmaster" at least sums up two of the three major aspects of the class and has some ties to the third, while "Hunter" only really hints at the weapon proficiencies and one of the auxiliary abilities.
Skalds unambiguously count as barbarians for the purpose of rage powers, at least when it comes to selecting them - "The skald uses his skald level as his barbarian level for the purpose of selecting rage powers which require a minimum barbarian level" - so at least that's covered. The example given - No Escape - is indeed a bad one, unless the text has a very different understanding of what it means to spend an action to activate something.
EDIT: There's actually very, very few Rage Powers that are usable a limited number of times but that don't require an action to activate. The example should be changed from No Escape to Eater of Magic or Energy Absorption.
EDIT EDIT: Looking through the rage powers carefully again, I think that the Skald's writeup should also detail how Rage Powers that scale with your barbarian level work, like Energy Resistance. The common-sense answer is that they should use the Skald's Skald level as their Barbarian level, and everyone else should use the Skald's Skald level as their Barbarian level (so everyone gets the same bonus, and it's based on the Skald's Skald level), but right now I think that maybe those powers just do nothing by RAW.
EDIT EDIT EDIT: Maybe getting too nitty gritty, but it also wouldn't hurt to clarify how powers that let you spend rounds of rage to do something work. They probably just don't work at all, since the Skald doesn't actually have rounds of rage to spend, but if they're intended to work, that should probably be spelled out.
Archetypes with requirements aren't unheard of (the racial ones being the most prominent example), but if you really didn't want it to have requirements, you could write a bunch of its features in terms of working on creatures N sizes larger than you, which makes it significantly better for small races.
The playtest also still has quite a bit of time left on it (relatively to its total length), and it's not like they're immediately locking everything into place as soon as the playtest period ends. There's time for them to get to stuff, and if they didn't care about feedback or intend to change anything based on it, they wouldn't be doing a playtest (which requires substantial resources) in the first place.
I don't think that having some rage powers that increase the appeal of Raging Song to more classes is too great of a wordcount sink; rage powers are pretty compact. The core rulebook fits about 22 rage powers onto a page, which makes each rage power about a tenth as word-y as, say, a Bloodrager Bloodline, and unlike a Bloodrager bloodline, a Skald-inspired rage power might be conceivably useful for somebody else. (Like a less traditional or multiclassed barbarian.) It's important to be mindful of wordcount, but the reason that the book is going to contain the material it's going to contain in the first place is to help the classes run well, and I think that Rage Powers that make the Rage Song exciting for different classes is actually a relatively efficient way to do that, wordcount-wise.
Similarly, altering the bonuses granted by Raging Song wouldn't increase word count much, if at all; Rage Song already spells out exactly what bonuses it gives you, so it'd just be spelling out different ones instead.
In looking for ways to make the Rage Song more interesting to more parties, I do think it's important to stay on the fact that it's a -Rage- song, and not just a general power-up song, both for flavor and for conceptual distinctness. Rage can take a lot of different forms, but I genuinely don't think it's important for "raging stealth" to be something that's viable.
I'd also rather -not- see things that just make Raging Song more like Inspire Courage. Sure, that's an easy and straightforward way to solve the "most people don't want the default rage effect" issue, but it also makes the Skald reaaaaaly similar to the bard. I'd like it if playing in a party where the Skald is your support and booster class buddy felt different than playing in a party where the Bard is.
After the Mythic Rules, I'm starting to get leery of the Swift action going from being something that is mostly used as a safety net against piling on a ton of effects within a single turn and controlling timing issues to being something that's a valuable resource that you have to carefully track how you're using and think about how you're spending. Different classes and builds are already there to a certain degree, and I think it adds a lot of extra fiddling to the game. That's not to say that individual things can't use swift actions if they need them, I'm just leery of swift actions being something that requires an additional extra layer of decision-making on each turn.
I don't think that full BAB and 6-level spellcasting is intrinsically insane, but it depends on the spell list. The 3.5 Duskblade has full BAB and a weird five-level spellcasting setup and it isn't remotely busted, but it also has a narrow and intentionally limited spell list that contains almost exclusively single-target zaps, short-term combat buffs, and a handful of very light utility spells, like, uh, Rouse, which wakes people up. The few serious spells they get are hard to deploy properly because you're not going to have a wizard's casting stats. They do get spotty utility - they get Dispel Magic, for example - but they're generally pretty innocuous.
I made it one round because I was balancing it against Lesser Elemental Rage, although you're right that if it was being balanced against Elemental Rage (regular version), then all battle would make sense too.
EDIT: The restriction on casting is what I was trying to get around with the "you may cast..." language on the talent itself. It might probably be fine to just let people cast any spell, though, without the restriction.
One of the least invasive things they could do to make the song better for more classes would be to simply introduce new rage powers. It's an extremely light-touch solution and it requires the Skald to spend rage power slots on it, but it would allow a Skald to function in a much wider range of parties. All of the rage powers that exist right now are designed for somebody who hits you in the head with a big weapon, but they don't have to be, especially when you've got base classs that are raging spellcasters now.
For example, consider Rage powers like these:
Linnorm Tempest (Su) - When you cast a spell that deals hit point damage, it deals +1 damage per die rolled. You may cast spells that deal hit point damage while raging even if you wouldn't normally be able to do so.
Mighty Draw (Ex) - Once per rage, you may add your strength bonus to the damage dealt by your ranged attacks for one round.
Heightened Rage (Ex) - If you are under the effect of multiple effects similar to the Barbarian's rage ability - including Ragesong or the rage spell - you may choose to make the bonuses provided by one of those effects a Competence bonus instead of a Morale bonus.
Those might be too good, but they'd allow a Skald to tinker around to customizing rages so that they're actually useful to more party members.
I feel like it's important to distinguish between well-grounded, informed theorycrafting that is careful about the extent of its claims and gut reactions. Gut reactions aren't very useful, and tend to create a lot of noise and echo-chambery-ness. (They're useful for gauging what gut reactions to a class are, I guess, but that's not the primary aim of the playtest, I assume.) When it's done well, theorycrafting can reveal a lot about a class in an accurate and efficient manner. Yes, some assumptions go into theorycrafting, and sometimes those assumptions aren't perfect. Yes, there's a sense in which theorycrafting's objectivity can sometimes fail to capture how things feel (although sometimes it can.)
Theorycrafting and playtesting complement each other. Theorycrafting can let you know which of two highly comparable effects is better much more rapidly and accurately than playtesting will. Playtesting answers questions that are harder to pin down with theorycrafting. Do Brawler players actually mix up with Martial Maneuver feats they use, or do they basically just stick to the same ones for the most part to reduce the cognitive load of the ability? A view of how people are using the mechanics is something that playtesting results are great for.
Theorycrafting vs. Playtesting isn't Philosophy vs. Natural Science. It's using standard measures to decompose a candy bar to determine how many calories the candy bar contains vs. eating a candy bar and trying to figure out if you seem to be getting fatter. (Gut reactions are "That candy bar looks super bad for you!") It's actually important to have both; if a bunch of people are eating lots of candy bars and not getting any fatter, there may be something in what's going on there that needs to be better reflected in the model, but for well-tread ground, theorycrafting done well can provide a quick and accurate picture of where the numbers and incentives shake out.
The thread seems to, in places, be lumping all forms of non-playtest evaluation together, but I don't really think that's reasonable. It's possible to do extremely useful mechanics evaluation if you know what you're doing (especially on a bunch of things that are heavily new configurations of well-understood game elements), and it's also possible to contribute a ton of noise and echo (both positive and negative) with gut reactions to the material, or worse, with reactions to just what other people are saying about the material.
I'm happy to see the rogue get obsoleted for some values of those words, but it's not because I hate the rogue. I like the rogue and I wish it was better. I'd just rather it be obsoleted than for it to drag down every future concept that plays in a similar space because they don't want to obsolete the rogue. If I could manifest Reality Revision, I wouldn't kill the rogue; I'd make it BETTER.
Nobody non-imaginary "hates" the rogue. Some people just recognize that it's significantly below the curve established by the rest of the game. (Note that this is not the same as "useless" or "you can't play the rogue or you will automatically die and fail.")