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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Sovereign Court

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Rathendar wrote:
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!

That's out- (puts sunglasses on) Rageous.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
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.

I personally have Adblock Plus disabled on a few websites such as youtube because I would like to give the website owner some ad revenue. For instance, Crunchyroll, and some youtubers really do deserve that little ad revenue check they get.


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.

... You mean the Thundercaller Archetype, complete with an Incite Rage ability and the ability to call down Thunder every round for a bardic performance?

I want to know what exactly the Skald means for the Bard class. Flavor aside, what's going to make one pick Bard over Skald? Obviously the Skald is going to have better melee abilities, but how much better and what is lost to compensate?

More importantly, can the two classes make a decent ensemble for multiclassing?


"Paw your way"? is that a subtle hint to the hunter being next week? The Skald sounds pretty good, I doubt I will ever play one but who knows.

Designer

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Kyrrion wrote:
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.

... You mean the Thundercaller Archetype, complete with an Incite Rage ability and the ability to call down Thunder every round for a bardic performance?

I want to know what exactly the Skald means for the Bard class. Flavor aside, what's going to make one pick Bard over Skald? Obviously the Skald is going to have better melee abilities, but how much better and what is lost to compensate?

More importantly, can the two classes make a decent ensemble for multiclassing?

Bard still has his niche, for certain. For one thing, it's easy to underestimate the sheer Power of Math that inspire courage grants, but that brave little song is really amazing, and it continues to be amazing.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Kyrrion wrote:
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.

... You mean the Thundercaller Archetype, complete with an Incite Rage ability and the ability to call down Thunder every round for a bardic performance?

I want to know what exactly the Skald means for the Bard class. Flavor aside, what's going to make one pick Bard over Skald? Obviously the Skald is going to have better melee abilities, but how much better and what is lost to compensate?

More importantly, can the two classes make a decent ensemble for multiclassing?

Bard still has his niche, for certain. For one thing, it's easy to underestimate the sheer Power of Math that inspire courage grants, but that brave little song is really amazing, and it continues to be amazing.

While I do whole heartedly agree that Inspire Courage is probably one of the most powerful effects out there, I don't think we should exactly discount the fact that the preview mentioned a few casting-oriented characters were jumping on the good ol' rage-wagon.

Idk, my impression on this is "Bard +". Obviously I can't say for certain due to lack of information and a first impression (or maybe it's just cause I like Skalds more in general lol).


Wonder how the einherjar song works with Harmonic Spell


deuxhero wrote:
Wonder how the einherjar song works with Harmonic Spell

I can see the possibility of the wording of the feat potentially indicating that it saves you 1 round each time, since it says "one of your rounds". Can't say for certain though.

Dark Archive

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As the lead singer of DYRE WÜLF, Absolom's greatest Adamantine Metal band, I think I might have some retraining to do while I settle into my new headquarters in demon skull mountain. Rock on!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Kyrrion wrote:
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.

... You mean the Thundercaller Archetype, complete with an Incite Rage ability and the ability to call down Thunder every round for a bardic performance?

I want to know what exactly the Skald means for the Bard class. Flavor aside, what's going to make one pick Bard over Skald? Obviously the Skald is going to have better melee abilities, but how much better and what is lost to compensate?

More importantly, can the two classes make a decent ensemble for multiclassing?

Bard still has his niche, for certain. For one thing, it's easy to underestimate the sheer Power of Math that inspire courage grants, but that brave little song is really amazing, and it continues to be amazing.

A Bard+Skald party combo with a Battle Cleric and Wizard/Sorceror would be a scary group.

Designer

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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Kyrrion wrote:
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.

... You mean the Thundercaller Archetype, complete with an Incite Rage ability and the ability to call down Thunder every round for a bardic performance?

I want to know what exactly the Skald means for the Bard class. Flavor aside, what's going to make one pick Bard over Skald? Obviously the Skald is going to have better melee abilities, but how much better and what is lost to compensate?

More importantly, can the two classes make a decent ensemble for multiclassing?

Bard still has his niche, for certain. For one thing, it's easy to underestimate the sheer Power of Math that inspire courage grants, but that brave little song is really amazing, and it continues to be amazing.
A Bard+Skald party combo with a Battle Cleric and Wizard/Sorceror would be a scary group.

Between the bard, the skald, and especially spell kenning, I'd say turn in that wizard/sorcerer and replace with one extremely conflicted paladin who is unable to deny the rage within her. I can't imagine the universe surviving for long after an Aura of Justice, Inspire Courage, Raging Song combo.


I'll admit I was kinda of meh on the Skald during playtest...and really I am still meh. It is not a bad class...though I think it would have been better handled by archetypes....I just think other concepts were much more needed for the concept of the book than this one.

Of course reading the final version of the class might just knock my socks off.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I count myself as one not really interested in the skald - looks like I may start to turn the other way.

Bear-bards and curses! \nn/


3 people 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.

Actually, they don't.

Since there are no facing rules, everyone is always looking at all directions at all times. This means they are actually looking to the explosion, no matter what way they are walking (or how slowly they are doing it). :P

But, hey! If it makes you feel better, they are also looking away from it, so there is that. ;)


Insain Dragoon wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Kyrrion wrote:
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.

... You mean the Thundercaller Archetype, complete with an Incite Rage ability and the ability to call down Thunder every round for a bardic performance?

I want to know what exactly the Skald means for the Bard class. Flavor aside, what's going to make one pick Bard over Skald? Obviously the Skald is going to have better melee abilities, but how much better and what is lost to compensate?

More importantly, can the two classes make a decent ensemble for multiclassing?

Bard still has his niche, for certain. For one thing, it's easy to underestimate the sheer Power of Math that inspire courage grants, but that brave little song is really amazing, and it continues to be amazing.
A Bard+Skald party combo with a Battle Cleric and Wizard/Sorceror would be a scary group.

Sounds cool, but not so if I have my guess.

The Bard can't accept the Skalds song since the bard wants to use his Inspire Courage (performance) and might want to cast spells, and the Wizard/Sorcerer won't accept the song since he cast spells and the Cleric only accept it when he isn’t casting spells.

If there is a dex to damage feat in the book, this class is even more problematic. Why would dex characters such as Swashbucklers or rogues accept the song? Casters will turn down the song, Bards and stealth characters will turn it down. Archers won't benefit from it until they get an adaptive bow, etc.

This class is not for me. The Bard was a rush job and building a new class on class that still got some wonky mechanics is a challenge. Sad that we have no news on Versatile performance being fixed.

Well, there are a lot of other classes in the book that seems cool so the Skald being a disappointment isn’t much of a problem.

Perhaps some of the Skald archetypes will be more to my liking. At least they sound very cool, perhaps thanks to Marks excellent writing. Sign me up for those that want Mark to keep on writing the Previews :)

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Kudaku wrote:
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...

Shaman.

I tend to take some the trickiest classes to design. Its also why I usually end up with the dragons in Bestiaries. I am a glutton for punishment that way. Unfortunately this time around, I also ended up with the classes that were the hardest to balance.

That said, I dont want to derail this thread... so, moving on.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer


Shaman.
I have high hopes Jason, high hopes. :)

Shadow Lodge

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This is what comes to mind when I think about the skald

Týr


At first I thought the Skald was going to be a very one trick pony thing existing only to dole out select rage powers (pounce, come and get me, etc) so im interested in seeing how it ends up. I really hope the hunter preview is the next as that was probably the class I was most interested in but also most disappointed in from the playtest.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Skalds and Shadows: the theme of Skalds everywhere.


Insain Dragoon wrote:


A Bard+Skald party combo

That's exactly what I thought when I read the preview.

Apart from that I'm really looking forward to what I can do with the skald and amplified rage.

As an addition: Any chance we get a hint at how the final version calculates raging song rounds/day? One complaint I remember from the playtest was that he didn't have enough. And now that we seem to be looking at powers that cost multiple rounds to maintain...


can't wait to see what the complete version of the Skald can do


This is a class I'm kinda meh on.

But, then, I was meh on the sorcerer until I saw what Paizo did with it.

So, the final write-up will determine my position.


That herald of the horn would be interesting as a demoniac of Baphomet, considering the obedience.

Actually, Skalds leading warrior bands of demon-worshipping barbarians and serving as pseudo-priests who emphasize the chaos that's found in rage are an interesting idea in general.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Just in time to join my Head Lopper Bloodrager in blazing a trail of rage and ruin across the Worldwound!


Cant wait to see the final version of Spell Kenning.


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\m/ (>o<) \m/


Not to belittle any of the amazing talent on the Paizo team already... but could the special author for the Skald be Patrick Rothfuss maybe? Kvothe has had some black out moments when seeking the name of the wind... just saying.


Cool, I've been wanting to see the brawler design since seeing her in the back of the extra blurry ACG iconics lineup pic.

Skald as a class seems pretty cool. Never did like bards much, except for the odd dervish dancer, so seeing skalds raging around and bashing in heads while singing a dirge of war should be a good change to the bard who hides in the back and strums a lute.


*makes a note to play a skald named Lord Kickass IV*


Going by the pronoun in the ACG play test, the brawler is indeed female:

Male
Bloodrager
Investigator
Skald
Slayer
Warpriest

Female
Arcanist
Brawler
Hunter
Shaman
swashbuckler

That lines up perfectly with the blog entries we've had so far.


Unless the Brawler and Slayer got gender-swapped after the playtest. In the blurry lineup, Slayer and Brawler both look a little androgynous... were I a wagering man though, I would put money on the iconics matching the gender of the playtest class entries.


scary party:

Oracle of metal
Bard
Skald
Human Sorcerer w the Imperious Bloodline...

Just saying..


Uncommoner wrote:
*makes a note to play a skald named Lord Kickass IV*

what happened to Lord Kickass 1-3?

Editor-in-Chief

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Advanced Class Guide Preview Schedule Update!
Everything is normal and is going smoothly.

Look forward to the Meet the Iconics story for the iconic skald tomorrow.

Next week, we might be previewing the brawler... or the shaman... or something else. Who knows? Certainly no one here has said.

There's nothing else to see here. Carry on.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Advanced Class Guide Preview Schedule Update!

Everything is normal and is going smoothly.

Look forward to the Meet the Iconics story for the iconic skald tomorrow.

Next week, we might be previewing the brawler... or the shaman... or something else. Who knows? Certainly no one here has said.

There's nothing else to see here. Carry on.

Considering you had the Brawler ready to go in case the Meet the Iconics Skald delayed, I'd wager the Brawler is next.

I'm keeping an eye on youuuu.


Screams Jack Black.
his band and that game.


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My skald will use a wand of blistering invective as a microphone.


NO!!!!! I WANT THE BRAWLER NAOW!!!!


Chaotic Fighter wrote:
NO!!!!! I WANT THE BRAWLER NAOW!!!!

Id rather have the Shaman....just sayin....

Dark Archive

Yeah was kind of hoping for the brawler Iconic more to be honest


Okay, the Skald is every bit as heavy metal as I hoped it would be. I'm going to have to beg my fellow players to put together a team I can make an ax bass Skald for.

Question though: Does the Skald function with the Barbarian? If I recall correctly a Barb had to pick between the benefits of Raging Song and Rage. That seems very, very wrong to me. It would be great if the Barb at least got the benefits of rage powers from both sources.

Silver Crusade

Just out of curiosity... was Roland an inspiration for the Herald of the Horn archetype? Because for some reason when I see that, he's the first character that comes to mind, specifically because of his olifant horn. I could totally see him as a Lawful Good skald, though I admit it has been some time since I've read the Song of Roland.


Arachnofiend wrote:

Okay, the Skald is every bit as heavy metal as I hoped it would be. I'm going to have to beg my fellow players to put together a team I can make an ax bass Skald for.

Question though: Does the Skald function with the Barbarian? If I recall correctly a Barb had to pick between the benefits of Raging Song and Rage. That seems very, very wrong to me. It would be great if the Barb at least got the benefits of rage powers from both sources.

I believe the general compromise was that you could use your rage when the Skald is doing his, essentially getting free rounds of it though that becomes far less useful later on. Dunno what the final product will have on that.


Arachnofiend wrote:

Okay, the Skald is every bit as heavy metal as I hoped it would be. I'm going to have to beg my fellow players to put together a team I can make an ax bass Skald for.

Question though: Does the Skald function with the Barbarian? If I recall correctly a Barb had to pick between the benefits of Raging Song and Rage. That seems very, very wrong to me. It would be great if the Barb at least got the benefits of rage powers from both sources.

Yeah, I was wondering about that as well.

Scavion wrote:
I believe the general compromise was that you could use your rage when the Skald is doing his, essentially getting free rounds of it though that becomes far less useful later on. Dunno what the final product will have on that.

Hmm... It still seems like there is very little synergy between the classes, unless the Barbarian can use his own Rage Powers while buffed by Skalds.

BTW, how many Rage Powers can a Skald know/grant to his allies?


He gains one at 6th and every three levels afterward, not counting if he takes Extra Rage Power.

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