Skald Discussion


Class Discussion

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Paizo Employee Lead Designer

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This thread is for discussing the Skald. It should be used as a central location for feedback on the class as a whole. Discussion on specific topics and rules should receive their own individual thread in this forum.

Keep it civil and polite folks. Remember we are all here to make this book the best it can be.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

**OFFICIAL UPDATES**

The following official updates apply to the Skald.

• The skald should have Perform (sing) as a class skill.

• The reference to the bard spell lists should refer to pages 224–226 in the Core Rulebook.

• We will be discussing whether a barbarian or bloodrager can use her rage or bloodrage abilities under the influence of raging song. For now, they don't.

• We will be discussing revisions to the spell kennings ability to make it simpler to use.

• Allies moving out of range of ragesong (and back in again) is an issue we will discuss.

• We will discuss revisions to the weapon proficiencies to make them more suitable for viking-type characters.

• Clarification: It is not an error that dirge of doom does not list a saving throw, as it is based on the bard ability of that name, which does not allow a saving throw.

• Clarification: Ragesong can still affect a creature if it is fatigued, as the ability lacks the exclusion for fatigued creatures.


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Hi Jason,

I had a question after an initial reading of the Skald. Can someone under the effects of their raging song cast spells? There's some commentary about no actions that require patience or concentration, but spellcasting isn't explicitly mentioned (as I would expect).

Thanks.


I feel this class should really have a d10 for health. It's right in between both classes hit dies and the guide even says it is more durable than a bard. d8 seems too little.


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First impressions from an initial read-through here, but for a class in a support role, they really don't seem to play well with others.

Raging song is a morale bonus, as is a regular rage. While this is appropriate enough in a vacuum, it means a barbarian really does not get any from being in a party with a skald, which thematically just seems like the biggest misstep you could possibly make. Not sure what the fix is for that one in particular, but I think there's something to be said for specifically addressing the point. "Treat this bonus as competence instead of morale for characters already under a rage effect" maybe?

A fair number of other classes are going to be prone to passing on the bonus as well. "Patience or concentration" is open to a lot of interpretation. Works out just fine for a barbarian, where you're most likely just going to be running up and hitting things as hard as you can, but, anyone with any sort of spellcasting is probably going to sit it out. Magi in particular having a hard choice to make. A broad enough reading would say an enraged monk or swashbuckler isn't goingto have the discipline to properly use their abilities either. There's even a question of whether the skald can benefit from his own song, or if the ensuing rage would keep him from concentrating to maintain it. Same goes for bards, although if they can, it's rather interesting that a bard and skald in the same party provide stacking bonuses to hit and damage.

Then of course there's the party wide fatigue when the song ends. Again, as a standard barbarian, not much of an issue. If you're getting forced out of your rage, its because you've exhausted your ability, combat is over, you've been knocked out completely, or you've been specifically targeted with an ability to accomplish it. With a skald, suddenly you're in a situation where nailing one party member with quite a number of different things can potentially inflict a rather nasty condition on anyone. Makes them a very dangerous liability.

Might be worth considering toning down the drawbacks for people benefitting from the song. As is, it seems like a class which really only works if the rest of the party is specifically built around having one, and even then it's a very high-risk situation in some respects.

Grand Lodge

It might sound weird but I think the class should have been a divine spell caster instead of arcane.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I was hoping for more health and a much more martial focused character. I would welcome the removal of spells from this class in exchange for more performance abilities and such.

I second the change to a d10 hit die, perhaps a full bab as well. With the class description I thought of this as a much more martial oriented character.


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This class is a bit...bare. There's not much going on in it.

It gets Bard spells, and two performances. That's about it.

The one saving grace of this one I think is that being able to grant your entire party Greater Beast Totem is pretty amazeballs.


I read this guy's existance, and my first thought was "wait, my Bard-barian from Kingmaker can actually be done efficiently?

My second thought is "Wow, this is a stat intensive class!"

Strength to hit things
Dexterity to offset my restriction to light armor
Constitution cause if I am in melee at all, I better be able to take a hit
Intelligence to make use of those knowledges and other class skills
Charisma so I can cast spells and sing.

only Wisdom can be dumped to any sort of degree (as it is at least offset in a good Will save.

And final thoughts before playtesting: another barbarian alt without the non-lawful restriction?

Grand Lodge

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Illius wrote:

I was hoping for more health and a much more martial focused character. I would welcome the removal of spells from this class in exchange for more performance abilities and such.

I second the change to a d10 hit die, perhaps a full bab as well. With the class description I thought of this as a much more martial oriented character.

I wonder if the folks at Paizo's would consider such a drastic change as dropping spell-casting completely, and making it a full BAB d10HD class. I sort of like the idea, How does everyone else feel?


Mr. Whatever wrote:
I feel this class should really have a d10 for health. It's right in between both classes hit dies and the guide even says it is more durable than a bard. d8 seems too little.

Keep in mind that the rage ability functionally increases them to a d12.


remember that we are also getting archetypes for all these classes. Maybe some archetypes will be even more martial?


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Can they take Masterpieces?


So initially I was all in favor of dropping the spells in favor of more martial prowess, but I think having more spells and less attack than the Blood Rager is important to keep the two distinct.

Maybe give the fatigue to the Skald its self, but mental fatigue? I dunno what that would include but would be interesting. Maybe something like the Skald is fatigued for 1 round per party member affected +1, and it gets more and more efficient, 1 round per party member -1, 1 round for every two party members, and eventually no longer fatigued. I don't know if this is the solution or not though.

Sczarni

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Should Dirge of Doom allow a save against the effect?


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Googleshng has pretty much covered all my thoughts on it. The class is just too dependent on the other characters already being compatible with the rage thing.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For those who wanted inspire courage, you can just get the fearless rage power and give it to your allies.

Shadow Lodge

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As someone who ran a character with the Flagbearer feat, I'm somewhat concerned about the the Raging Song penalty:

"Affected allies are fatigued for 1 round after they’re no longer affected by the song (whether because the skald stops maintaining the song or because they’re no longer in range)."

Given the nature of combat, it is quite possible to fall out of the 30' Raging Song multiple times during a battle (incurring fatigue regularly). I saw allies drift in and out of my flag's radius regularly, so the idea of causing fatigue for doing with Raging Song is pretty frightening.

Might I suggest cribbing a page from the Freebooter archetype, Freebooter's Bane?

"...This ability applies only to allies who can see or hear the freebooter and who are within 30 feet of the freebooter at the time she activates this ability..."

This way you still have the tactical consideration of positioning when triggering the ability but without the Skald constantly handcuffed to maneuvering about the party afterwards.

Liberty's Edge

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Kind of feel like this was fine as an archetype, but hey not everything is made for me. I would have preferred this be more Bard/Rogue than Bard/Barbarian to make a more fleshed out and full Archeologist style class, as these two concepts don't really jibe for me, but again, not every concept needs to be for me.


So, could you give your party damage reduction and a natural armor bonus with the beast totem and damage reduction powers?


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Googleshng wrote:

First impressions from an initial read-through here, but for a class in a support role, they really don't seem to play well with others.

Raging song is a morale bonus, as is a regular rage. While this is appropriate enough in a vacuum, it means a barbarian really does not get any from being in a party with a skald, which thematically just seems like the biggest misstep you could possibly make. Not sure what the fix is for that one in particular, but I think there's something to be said for specifically addressing the point. "Treat this bonus as competence instead of morale for characters already under a rage effect" maybe?

Probably better to just state that any character with the Rage ability from another source activates that ability for the duration of the Skald's song. So a barbarian under the effect of the Skald's song gets their full raging bonus, but isn't using their own pool of rage rounds.


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I'll need to play around to see how the class plays out... but I'm questioning the weapon proficiencies granted again.

Why does the skald get rapier, and whip? I'd swap the rapier straight for cutlass, and see if you can't shoe-horn a battleax proficiency in there instead of the whip?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

I think raging song needs more uses as you level up. 1 round/lvl seems a bit small considering this is really their only performance.

I think a line needs to be put in there that if used on a barbarian they can maintain their rage or enter rage using their modifiers rather than the Skalds and do not need to "pay" for those rounds of rage. I can see a situation where a barbarian and skald start fighting, Skald raging songs so they both go into a rage, the barbarian charges a target 60' feat away, and then spends rage as normal, re-entering the area lets the raging song again maintain his rage.

Also Raging song acts as bardic performance only for limitations? So none of hte feat support would apply? No extra performance? No lingering song? etc...


My android hates the Skald.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

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Skald suffers from an immediately noticable lack of focus. On the one hand it comes from some pretty powerful thematic backgrounds (who doesn't like vikings?) but is plagued by a so-so spell list, light armor restrictions and little to no unique elements to really tie it all together. Unfortunately, if you go too far on the viking theme end you wind up so far up a linnorm that you can't be anything but.

One idea would be to nix spellcasting entirely (bloodrager is enough of a raging spellcaster, do you need to introduce two?), add in medium armor proficiency and perhaps a few more weapons, and grant more unique uses for its raging song ability.

Here's my recommendation:

Chant (Su): At 1st-level a skald gains the ability to invoke supernatural forces through mystical chants performed while they are in the throes of their raging song. Chants are short, intense bursts of sound and other vocalizations designed to add impact and emphasis to a rage song, ultimately taxing the skald to greater lengths and shortening his overall rage singing.

A skald gains one chant at 1st-level and learns an additional chant every other level. Using a chant is a swift action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Each use of a chant reduces the duration of the skald's raging song by 1 round and each chant may only be used once per raging song.

The DC for Chants is 10 + 1/2 akald level + the skald's Charisma modifier.

Rush: One ally affected by your raging song may make an immediate 5-foot step.

Shudder: You create an aura of sound that knocks enemies down. All adjacent creatures to the skald must make a Reflex save or be knocked prone.

Aid: One ally affected by your raging song gains a +2 morale bonus to their next attack roll.

Shatter: With a riotous shout you may make a combat maneuver attempt to sunder the weapon of one opponent within 30 feet. You use your Charisma modifier in place of your Strength modifier for this check and deal damage equal to 1d6 + 1 point per skald level.

Thrust: You create a forceful burst of sound in a 15-foot cone. Creatures caught in this area must make a Fortitude save or be thrown back 5 feet, plus an additional 5 feet for every two points they failed their save by.

Ignite: You speak a word that incited flames, causing an opponent within 30 feet to burst into flames. The target of incite takes 1d6 points of fire damage + 1 point per skald level and catch on fire, taking an additional 1d6 points of fire damage per round for the remainder of the skald's raging song or until they put themselves out. A successful Reflex save halves the damage and negates the burn effect.

Deafen: You cry out a thunderous call that targets one creature within 10 feet. The target of deafen must make a Fortitude save or be deafened for the remainder of the bard's raging song.

Muddle: With a disharmonious cry of noise you threaten to break the mind of a nearby foe. The target of muddle must make a Will save or be confused for 1 round.

_____

This is only a handful of ideas, tooling them out somewhat like witch hexes but with a different "cooldown" and utility. I'd wager coming up with a number of chants wouldn't be that hard. They could also be hardcoded to require specific level requirements like hexes or rage powers if necessary.


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First impression: this class is way too much bard and too little barbarian for it to be a hybrid. Compared to a Bard the only real change is how the song works. If you where to present this as a bar archetype, no one would notice.

Suggestions

Light and medium armor, more weapon proficiencies (if not just full blown martial)

D10 HD

Remove rage song, give actual rage, and rage powers (letting this class use all the barbarian rage powers already printed, but just for him/herself).

Tie their song to their rage, so it can only be done whilst raging. Give allies half benefit rage (+2 str/con -2 ac at 1st, +3 at 11th, +4 at 18th). Remove the when you leave 30 feet you are fatigued part. As someone who has tried sympathetic rage feat, this part is incredibly hard and clunky to deal with.

Add in some bard and barbarian class features to taste, maybe some uncanny dodge and some bardic knowledge. Some additional bard songs might be nice as well.

I know I was expecting the full blown melee/spell-less bard I had been waiting for for quite some time. Even examining this without that bent, its just too close to bard and too far from barbarian.


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Thing here is "why play a Skald when I can play a Savage Skald (bard)?"

What is Skald trying to do?
Is he a buffer? If so, the bard seems to have more versatility.
Is he a caster? The bard spell list says probably not.
Is he the skills guy? Plenty of class skills to be had, but only a measly 4+int to go around.
Is he the melee? Well, if he is, he probably should have just been a barbarian...
What role does he fill?

So far, the ideal Skald party seems to be one consisting of several other non-barbarian melee specialists so they can gain full from the benefits of rage and rage powers. Your cleric is probably going to opt out of the song, as is your arcane caster. So in a party of 4 with someone covering healing, spell combat, skills, and melee only one other person is going to appreciate your song. That is, until you get KOed, choked, silenced, or otherwise shut-up. Then they are fatigued (luckily, only for a singe round).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I don't have much to add, other than this is another class that doesn't really inspire (get it?). I'm not sure how it's that different from a actual bard/barbarian. Yes, it can share (some) rage powers, but it gives up a lot - and the actual rage song benefits aren't numerically that different from inspire courage.

It also seems way to easy to have a skald and a bard in the same party and grant some pretty impressive bonuses to people. As a hybrid class, it shouldn't really stack with one of the classes that it's derived from.

Also, while spell kenning costs two spell slots, it's weird that a skald can effectively cast any spell in the game, when even wizards or clerics can't (and for a wizard to spontaneously cast any arcane spell on the fly like that requires being mythic, while a cleric can at least prepare any cleric spell, but also needs to be mythic to spontaneously do so.) It's very odd that a 6 spell level caster with a martial bent can come up with any spell that exists.


I actually do like this class quite a bit. I believe it captures the flair of what a skald in a Nordic campaign would be: more martial, as only warriors get to Valhalla. I believe that this allows for some differentiation between this class and the skald archetype. It gives rage powers to a bard, who can benefit quite a bit from them. Raging song is nice, because it can give rage to multiple party members with an out for those who still want to cast spells and use skills.

Spell keening is interesting, but I think is ultimately unnecessary. It takes simply too long to cast a spell with this ability, as even a 1st level Bless spell will take a full round to cast and even longer for higher level spells, including truly beneficial spells like Heal. What I would suggest instead of getting any spell from sorcerer/wizard/cleric whenever your fancy strikes, take a page from magician. Make it so that every so often you can add a spell to your spell list from either the sorcerer/wizard or cleric spell list. I would suggest making it the cleric list, so that the spells still fall under the support category for the most part, and the thunder of the magician archetype, which I do like, is not stolen.


In response to Googleshng, the Skald is capable of maintaining their concentration while using Raging Song, as the text says "while under the effects of skald rage, allies (other than the skald) cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any abilities that requires patience or concentration."

I do, however agree, that not allowing this to stack with a Barbarian's Rage ability is a mistake that should be fixed, and that everyone gets fatigued at the end of the spell is rather bad. I agree that the bonuses from Raging Song should count as a different type when interacting with Rage effects. I also believe that each individual person under the effects of Raging Song should be able to end it's affect on them as a free action, which would allow the players to spread out the fatigue, so they won't all be crippled for a round.

Spell keening is rather strong, though it is somewhat balanced by the fact that you can only use it a maximum of three times per day at level 17, and the capstone ability does not remove that limit.

Robert Brookes' idea for a chant ability isn't all that bad, though a version of Raging Song would be good to have in that, and some of the abilities he suggested should get a larger increase with level than he suggested.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I just want to say that I like this a lot better than I thought I would. Spell Kenning as an ability for a master of lore is pretty cool. This and the other abilities really capture a lot of the real life Nordic lore about skalds, though I think if they had some abilities focusing their arcane spells more on runes, wards, and sigils might be more fitting for that flavor than some of the more commonly used bard spells.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Question: When it says "If the skald has a rage power from another source, he (but not his allies) can use those rage powers during a raging song." does that mean the feat Extra Rage Power or something else? So the only rage powers a Skald can have are the 6 from leveling normally?


Singed, the Mad Alchemist wrote:
Question: When it says "If the skald has a rage power from another source, he (but not his allies) can use those rage powers during a raging song." does that mean the feat Extra Rage Power or something else? So the only rage powers a Skald can have are the 6 from leveling normally?

I assume it would be from taking a level of barbarian or something of that nature.


Rorenado wrote:
Singed, the Mad Alchemist wrote:
Question: When it says "If the skald has a rage power from another source, he (but not his allies) can use those rage powers during a raging song." does that mean the feat Extra Rage Power or something else? So the only rage powers a Skald can have are the 6 from leveling normally?
I assume it would be from taking a level of barbarian or something of that nature.

Levels.


Rorenado wrote:


I assume it would be from taking a level of barbarian or something of that nature.

Not possible due to the multiclassing limits.

I guess he could take levels of Viking Fighter though.


or Rage centric Prestige classes like maybe the Rage Prophet


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I believe that a skald's weapon proficiency should be changed from the standard bard list, because weapons like a rapier and whip are not flavorful to the sheer power of that is expected of this class. If you want a whip-wielding bard, play a bard. I think the inclusion of hand axe or even a battleaxe would be an acceptable substitute for a rapier. Instead of a whip, a bola or net may be a more tactical choice, and still be an acceptable substitute for a whip.


Rynjin wrote:
Rorenado wrote:


I assume it would be from taking a level of barbarian or something of that nature.

Not possible due to the multiclassing limits.

I guess he could take levels of Viking Fighter though.

Ah, I missed that note on page 2. I was so excited to get right to the classes that I skipped completely over it. Thanks for letting me know about that.


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This class feels more like a trumped up Bard Archtype than its own class.

Honestly, Inspiring a Rage is just functionally worse than inspire courage for most other party members. I guess if you had a really specific group composition, this might be decent? Even then, a barbarian gets nothing from this, nor does a caster. You create a bubble that makes anyone who leaves 30ft get immediately fatigued.

If the goal is to make a Bard that makes martial classes better... well they already do that. I have no idea what the niche here is. I guess you get a few rage powers, and rage powers are pretty powerful... but it still doesn't add up for me.

I would like to have seen a Skald with a more divine flavor TBH. They just aren't getting much from the Barbarian class at the moment that seems valuable or in keeping with the theme. How did rage become the hallmark of a Skald anyway?


The concept is basically a Battle Poet who drives his allies into a frenzy, more savage and battle hardened than the historical Skald who was a court poet.

It's a good concept though it's going to be more use to a mostly Melee group than it will to one with multiple ranged or caster types.

I like it for the most part but I feel like it's missing some things.

Insults for one.

This version of the Skald feels like he should be a Shouter. Riling up his allies for heroic feats but also laying into his enemies regarding their cowardliness, dishonorable acts and assorted parentage.


Mark Sweetman wrote:

I'll need to play around to see how the class plays out... but I'm questioning the weapon proficiencies granted again.

Why does the skald get rapier, and whip? I'd swap the rapier straight for cutlass, and see if you can't shoe-horn a battleax proficiency in there instead of the whip?

I agree, personally I would switch sap for cutlass and rapier with battleaxe.

The Exchange

Haven't read the other comments yet... but I'm just giving my initial reaction.

Awesome! I've always loved the 'jack of all trades' feel from the bard, but I never really loved many of the performance abilities. I can enjoy the existence of the whole area, the magical singer; but was never my forte.

The Skald on the other hand, being a Viking, brings a quite different picture to mind. I mean sure, you could re-fluff the bard, but the bard performances were not nearly as awesome as just having a.... RAGE SONG!

Watching Viking(the TV show) and hearing all those Sea Shanties in Assassin's Creed 4, the Skald seems perfect(in concept at least, going to need to do some testing to see how it works mechanically).

Edit: Just noticed the weapon proficiencies. Who chose these? Sap and Rapier? Ugh.


Yeah add me into the Weapons need changing wagon. Whips and Rapier just don't feel right for what they are going for here


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Is there any reason that this HAS to be rage?

I mean, what if they still granted rage powers, but did so via inspire courage?

They already get half the rounds of performance per day. They get less versatility since they only have one performance. They get less skill points, they are just too darn narrow.

The problems with Rage: They currently cant help ranged classes, casters or any class that already has a rage (eg barbarian or bloodrager). They aren't helping a finesse character, and are useless to any feint based/performance combat based rogue or rogue-like class. A ranger/druid/hunter who takes the effect suddenly can't control their companion (Handle Animal is Cha based).

So the skald is great for a party of fighters and brawlers?

Rage is awesome for a barbarian, that doesn't mean that it is awesome for everyone else. When did Viking = Rage become the equation? I just don't see it.


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Greylurker wrote:

Insults for one.

This version of the Skald feels like he should be a Shouter. Riling up his allies for heroic feats but also laying into his enemies regarding their cowardliness, dishonorable acts and assorted parentage.

Heck yes! Since the class seems low in features and rather bare bones add flyting. Get some viking rap battle going on to make the skald more flavorful.

I mean who wants to fight the guy with frothing allies who just called dropped the best yo' mamma poem in all of Golarion?

The Exchange

You do make some good points Malkov.

I was just imagining a force of Vikings(mostly fighters) getting bonuses from their buddy reciting war songs... but it does have some issues. The main problem I see is that lack of stacking with Barbarian Rage since they're the same bonus type.

I wonder how things would change if it also added to dexterity, or with a different type of bonus?


Expostfacto wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

Insults for one.

This version of the Skald feels like he should be a Shouter. Riling up his allies for heroic feats but also laying into his enemies regarding their cowardliness, dishonorable acts and assorted parentage.

Heck yes! Since the class seems low in features and rather bare bones add flyting. Get some viking rap battle going on to make the skald more flavorful.

I mean who wants to fight the guy with frothing allies who just called dropped the best yo' mamma poem in all of Golarion?

Yeah, they could easily use Satire or Mockery from the Court Bard archetype for the flyting mechanic. Though, I do believe that they're trying to focus only on a couple of performance abilities, but it could easily replace spell keening, which I believe will be relegated to non-combat spellcasting.


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Virilitas wrote:

You do make some good points Malkov.

I was just imagining a force of Vikings(mostly fighters) getting bonuses from their buddy reciting war songs... but it does have some issues. The main problem I see is that lack of stacking with Barbarian Rage since they're the same bonus type.

I wonder how things would change if it also added to dexterity, or with a different type of bonus?

Well, that is the nice thing about inspire courage. It has the same thematic effect, the bonuses are better and more useful for more classes (adds to caster rays, alchemist bombs, ranged attack etc.) gives bonuses against fear, and all the bonuses are competence bonuses, so a Skald can actually benefit his barbarian buddy!

Add in rage powers to this performance as currently written, and get rid of the fatigue nonsense.

I would also like to see the Skald intimidate enemies by banging on his shield, summoning valkyries to join the battle, singing a rainbow bridge into existence, calling a storm, etc.


Lord_Malkov wrote:
When did Viking = Rage become the equation? I just don't see it.

The idea of berserkergang. Many vikings were believed to have eaten drug laced foods, such as hallucinogenic mushrooms, or drank vast quantities of alcohol before they engaged in raids, and became berserk as a result.


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This one is really half-baked.

*Can fatigued allies be affected? Will they still be fatigued?
*Shouldn't allies with a rage ability of their own use that instead, counting of the Skald's rounds instead of their ownn?
*The weapon proficiencies. You forgot to change them to fit the class. Simple + martial melee is my suggestion.

Dark Archive

Ok so I actually had to look into what a skald historically was for this one :-p

I think I figured what rubbed me wrong on initial impression and looking into it. Its the song part, as far as I can find they were poets and not exactly song writers, so making it raging verse or something might make more sense to me, though I could be wrong I am no scholar of Nordic history after all.

That aside... I think my only problem with it is it doesn't really feel like it is a base class. I get the impression of a bard archetype. Not much separates it from bard other than a type of song a bonus feat, the ability to get other spells, and the capstone.

I think what I was expecting from a bard/barbarian was the raging song, but less focused on spellcasting, and more focused on his own physical strength.

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