Revised Skald Discussion


Class Discussion

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Paizo Employee Lead Designer

This thread is for discussing the REVISED version of 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.

Once you have had a chance to playtest the revised version, please be sure to update your survey results, which can be found HERE

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

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer


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Summary of changes (UNOFFICIAL)

- Skalds gained perform (Sing) as a class skill.
- Skalds are now proficient in all martial weapons.
- Skalds are now proficient in medium armor and can cast in it without penalty.
- Raging song is no longer language-dependant.
- Allies now choose to accept the song on a round-by-round basis, rather than just when they start hearing it.
- Raging song no longer causes fatigue in any way.
- Allies with their own rage or rage-like features can use the bonuses from those if they're higher, but they don't get the other benefits of raging, such as bloodline abilities or rage powers they have.
- Restriction on rage powers chosen is now that they can't be things that require you to use a STANDARD action or to spend rounds of rage. The old restriction prohibited powers that required ANY action to activate.
- Rage Power abilities that can only be used a certain number of times per rage now keep the same limitation, rather than being reduced to one use/rage.
- Spell Kenning can now get Bard spells, not just Cleric and Wizard spells.
- Spell Kenning now only uses one spell slot, not two.
- Casting a spell with Spell Kenning now uses one full round full stop, not one full round per spell level.
- The Skald now gets a (slow) DR progression, which is granted to allies under the influence of Raging Song as well.
- Master Skald (the capstone) received some alterations to remove the effects that are now just baseline.

Things that some people brought up that stayed the same:
- The skald is a 3/4 BAB class.
- The skald's spellcasting is unchanged.
- No new rage powers are included in the playtest (although presumably they still might be in the final product.)
- The restrictions on the sorts of actions you can take while raging remain intact.

SUMMARY OF IN-THREAD CLARIFICATIONS

- The Skald -can- still cast spells and use skills while using Raging song. The text that exempted the skald from the restrictions was dropped accidentally, but should be there.
- The Skald -can- cast skald spells in medium armor without penalty.


Seems like a major change...

Medium armor, all martial weapons. The concept is looking up!!!

@Joyd:

ACG Version 2 wrote:
Like other arcane spellcasters, a skald wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has somatic components.


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I'm going to assume that's a error, left over from the previous playtest, since the sentence before says

"A skald can cast skald spells while wearing light or medium armor and use a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance."

It seems more likely that they forgot to delete "medium or" from the second sentence than that they gave the skald an incompatible armor proficiency AND said that it works for them by mistake.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

A skald can cast without arcane spell failure while wearing light or medium armor. The "Like other spellcasters" sentence should just refer to heavy armor.


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Yes! And now you can pick some of the better Rage Powers! Clarity of Mind for those sissies who don't benefit from Raging all the time.

I'm very satisfied where the Skald is at now.

Kudos on dropping the Language Dependent.


You actually don't even need that. Allies now choose to accept the song on a round-by-round basis, so they can hop out when they want to use a spell or something, then hop back in next round. You basically get a free no-action version of it automatically.

Silver Crusade

Clarification:

Raging Song wrote:
While under the effects of raging song, allies cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills [...] or any ability that requires patience or concentration

This *does* mean no spellcasting, correct? It might be nice to call it out explicitly. It's clear enough to anyone who's played long enough to follow the implication that spellcasting is an "ability that requires patience or concentration", but I've seen enough FAQ threads to know that "clear enough" is never clear enough.

Sczarni

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Is there a reason the Skald only gets certain types of Perform skills as class skills? Adding Sing to the list is nice, but they still don't get one that would work with a warhorn. And if this is a more martially-inclined performer, having them play a string instrument while they try to swing a sword looks awfully strange.

Can a character cast spells while raging? General consensus is that they can't. It certainly seems reasonable for a skald to do his spellcasting before he starts singing, but if he's using the Magus list, most of his spells are going to be the kind of thing you want to cast during combat-- the same time you want Raging Song active.

Further, if the song makes every other character in the group rage (and imparts the same restrictions) then all other "fightcasters" in the group (bards, inquisitors, battle clerics, etc.) have the same dilemma. Letting everybody choose round by round whether the song affects them is a much-needed update, but it still feels like the skald himself is being pulled in two directions. Can the skald himself choose not to be affected and still maintain the song? What if nobody chooses to be affected?

EDIT: Ninja'd pretty darn hard.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Joe M. wrote:
This *does* mean no spellcasting, correct? It might be nice to call it out explicitly. It's clear enough to anyone who's played long enough to follow the implication that spellcasting is an "ability that requires patience or concentration", but I've seen enough FAQ threads to know that "clear enough" is never clear enough.

It's the same language as barbarian rage. If you're using the Advanced Class Guide and you still don't know that spellcasting requires concentration, I can't help ya. :)


Silent Saturn wrote:

Is there a reason the Skald only gets certain types of Perform skills as class skills? Adding Sing to the list is nice, but they still don't get one that would work with a warhorn. And if this is a more martially-inclined performer, having them play a string instrument while they try to swing a sword looks awfully strange.

Can a character cast spells while raging? General consensus is that they can't. It certainly seems reasonable for a skald to do his spellcasting before he starts singing, but if he's using the Magus list, most of his spells are going to be the kind of thing you want to cast during combat-- the same time you want Raging Song active.

Further, if the song makes every other character in the group rage (and imparts the same restrictions) then all other "fightcasters" in the group (bards, inquisitors, battle clerics, etc.) have the same dilemma. Letting everybody choose round by round whether the song affects them is a much-needed update, but it still feels like the skald himself is being pulled in two directions. Can the skald himself choose not to be affected and still maintain the song? What if nobody chooses to be affected?

First question, Solid.

2nd. Nope. He also casts spells from the Bard list, not Magus.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Silent Saturn wrote:
Can the skald himself choose not to be affected and still maintain the song?

The skald can still cast while affected by raging song. It looks like the "other than the skald" language from the text limiting what you can do was accidentally cut when we were synching it up with other text; it was in the first playtest document.

Silver Crusade

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
This *does* mean no spellcasting, correct? It might be nice to call it out explicitly. It's clear enough to anyone who's played long enough to follow the implication that spellcasting is an "ability that requires patience or concentration", but I've seen enough FAQ threads to know that "clear enough" is never clear enough.
It's the same language as barbarian rage. If you're using the Advanced Class Guide and you still don't know that spellcasting requires concentration, I can't help ya. :)

Sure, I guess consistency in language is a good goal. If you changed the language to make it more explicit, the inevitable counter-FAQ threads would spawn: "it's explicit in the Skald, but not in the Barbarian! Therefore I can cast while Barbarian-raging!!!"

:-P


Dramatically improved class. The rage song now has a potential benefit to all characters. (OK, the casters have to be at zero or negative HP to really benefit, but still it is something.) I like how the rage song interacts with the rage ability of other characters. Casting in medium armor helps to set this class apart as being a much more martial class than the bard.


The Skald seems a lot better now - you can wade into melee, though you won't be as good as an actual barbarian, and you can help barbarians use their rage without using their rage per day. This makes you actually useful to barbarians. Fighters can certainly use the bonus to Will saves, and even the Magus might use it occasionally against weaker foes that aren't worth using spells on.

The only question is, does Raging Song count as Barbarian rage or Bloodrage for the purposes of playing a Bloodrager?


Skalds can now swim! Yay!. Not sure why they can still write scrolls, though.

Saturn is right about the warhorn. Horn of Valhalla, anyone? Arguably that's just flavour, of course.

Spell Kenning still doesn't say whether they can write these spells as scrolls (a previous dev post said not).

Bard spells can't be Metamagicked to Silent. Can Skald spells be?

What's the area of effect of Raging Song? Dirge of Doom and most bardic performances are 30', but Fascinate is 90' and Suggestion seems to be as per the spell. So the range of Raging Song is probably 30', but unclear.


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Silent Saturn wrote:
Is there a reason the Skald only gets certain types of Perform skills as class skills? Adding Sing to the list is nice, but they still don't get one that would work with a warhorn. And if this is a more martially-inclined performer, having them play a string instrument while they try to swing a sword looks awfully strange.

It's not strange in the slightest.

Contributor

Initial Impression:

Under Spells, "Bard Spell Lists" shouldn't be plural.

The Skald's Rage song says it counts as a bardic performance for effects that limit bardic performances, but not for the purposes of qualifying for feats, prestige classes, and so forth. That's somewhat disappointing.

Overall, this still isn't a very exciting class, but that's mostly because its true power is limited to buffing allies with Rage Powers. Ultimately, this is a class that I will need to play with more simply because its true power isn't specifically spelled out in the Advanced Class Guide Playtest document like other classes.


Dot

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Personally, I feel as if the Skald needs one of two things to become fully fledged. Either A. Proficiency with all martial weapons or B. D10 Hit dice (The bloodrager gets both, so I figured that the Skald should get at least one). The extra weapon options would allow the Skald to better hold its own on the front line, hitting foes hard with a greatsword or falchion when such things would be preferable to healing (don't forget, this class is half barbarian). With D10 hit dice, the Skald would be able to get up close and personal for an extended period, helping its allies to wear down a difficult swarm of foes without putting itself in a position of immediate peril. Overall, either upgrade would improve the Skald's usability significantly.


Making the Raging Song feature be turn-by-turn based inclusion was a good change. It helps the gish-style characters a lot.

However, there is still no reason a full caster would ever want the bonus, as the extra Str is wasted, the extra Con is wasted at best and a death-sentence at worst, and the penalty to AC is very relevant.

Also, the way the "rage stuff" stacks with other rage classes is really only useful if the other class has already burned through their own rage abilities - I don't see that happening often. And if you can't use your Rage abilities (powers, bloodlines, etc) then there's really no reason not to just use your own rounds.

So, in summation? It's a little better, but I still don't see a reason to pick this over a pure Bard, and just flavor the Bard as a Skald.

Silver Crusade

CoeusFreeze wrote:
Personally, I feel as if the Skald needs one of two things to become fully fledged. Either A. Proficiency with all martial weapons [...]
Revised Playtest Document wrote:
A skald is proficient with all simple and martial weapons.


I will read this one later.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Skald is at a very good spot right now.

Grand Lodge

Still a bit underwhelmed but it is a step in the right direction. I'll go over it more tomorrow.

I could be just tired, but it appears they removed the range limit of rage song too.

Liberty's Edge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
This *does* mean no spellcasting, correct? It might be nice to call it out explicitly. It's clear enough to anyone who's played long enough to follow the implication that spellcasting is an "ability that requires patience or concentration", but I've seen enough FAQ threads to know that "clear enough" is never clear enough.

It's the same language as barbarian rage. If you're using the Advanced Class Guide and you still don't know that spellcasting requires concentration, I can't help ya. :)

It's contradictory wording. You can't unless you can, but you can't except when you can. A specific list of rage spells can be vomitted up to be cast without concentration checks (Bloodrager), same here. Otherwise you are breaking your own rules.

Liberty's Edge

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Why do I think this is a preferred racial class for Goblins?


I think this has the fixes I was expected. Raging song is still wonky, but at least looks usable now.


I'm still holding out for new rage powers that make the song awesome for a wider range of classes. I think that would really make the class sing (no pun intended.) I haven't used it since the update, but I think the chassis looks much stronger now.

Grand Lodge

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I wish they'd have made it a full BAB inspirational (rage song or bardic performance) class without the magic (we have oooooh so many magic using classes already compared to the martials). It would have made it something 'new' rather than a coat of paint and some new tires.

That said, while it still feels like bard archetype, its better. Much more martial and the Rage song mechanics are much improved.

Dark Archive

I'm still not sure what to think of this class. All of the changes seem like they're heading in the right direction, but this class is incredibly difficult to evaluate on paper. I'd love to actually playtest one, but I fear I won't have time before the playtest is over, and I just don't think anyone can really know what to expect with this class without actually playing it a few times.

I do think Scribe Scroll is a weird choice and that Silent Spell would make better sense, especially if it came with the caveat that it could be added without increasing spell level or casting time some number of times per day or more. Aren't skalds going to have a hard time manifesting verbal components while singing?


I still don't get why the receive scribe scroll. It is kind of useless with the limited number of spells know. If it coukld be used with Spell Kenning I would understand it and it would make it really useful.

With BAB 3/4 they really need a bonus feat at level 2. Waiting to level 3 to get power attack is kind of lame and waiting to level 5 to get cleave is even worse.


Benn Roe wrote:
I'm still not sure what to think of this class. All of the changes seem like they're heading in the right direction, but this class is incredibly difficult to evaluate on paper. I'd love to actually playtest one, but I fear I won't have time before the playtest is over, and I just don't think anyone can really know what to expect with this class without actually playing it a few times.

As someone who has played it - the previous version at least - the biggest differences between that and how people seem to be evaluating it on paper are:

- A lot of the class's power budget is invested in spells. I sort of feel like people are forgetting that the class is a six-level spellcaster with an extremely versatile list, even before Spell Kenning.
- Even if just you and one other person are benefiting from Raging Song, it's still pretty good, or at least it feels pretty good. Making a fighter a gestalt fighter/barbarian for a big chunk of the day is sweet.

As far as silent spell goes: I'd be very surprised if the intent isn't that Skalds work like bards, and can cast spells while performing with no additional considerations required.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I LOVE this new version of skald. The proficiencies alone help quite a bit, and Spell Kenning doesn't make me want to cry when trying to read it.

The minor DR it gets and the ability to spread this DR is wonderful. Given the variety of buffs you can find in rage powers, skald should prove to be a good defensive bard-type, helping your AC, DR, saves, etc.

I think the low number of ragesong rounds is still pretty damning. Then again, it might encourage the skald to spend more time in the front lines instead of just buffing, which seems to be a neat balance for the theme of the class.

On that note, since ragesong is supposed to be like bardic performance, does that mean a skald can get masterpieces?

Minor note: Lore Master's text refers to getting the ability at 7th 1/day, then getting it an additional time per day every six levels beyond 5th, to a maximum of three times per day at 17th level, copied straight from bard text.

All in all, great update. I'm actually excited to play one of these now.


I'd still really like to see full BAB. I think it'll be a hard sell, since the other 6/9 classes don't get it, but I think it'd help the skald a lot. If it's going to stay 3/4, I agree it's going to need a bonus feat at 2 to keep it from seriously lagging behind in combat at low levels

Otherwise, I'm really pleased with the changes. This is definitely shaping up to be one of the coolest classes in the ACG.


This feels better overall, and more capable as a combatant, though the raging song still seems only marginally useful (great for a last-ditch effort, for sure, but not something that would get used regularly).


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If I were to play a skald, I would definitely be looking at Leadership down the road for my very own all-signing, all-dancing barbarian horde.


They have addressed the issues with the class, and certainly improved it. However, I feel they didn't really fix anything, just apply a few patches.

The real problem is the harsh restrictions imposed by the Raging Song, severely limiting the class to who its buffs can apply to (and it is very much still a support class, so that matters a lot). Relaxing the restrictions on recipients of the song would go a long way to fixing the Skald, even if it is imposing penalties on skills or requiring concentration checks to cast spells (as long as it is not to severe, at least). Even with that change, it feels to much like a Bard archetype instead of a BardBarian gestalt.

Instead, I would suggest a redesign of the class concept. Reduce the spellcasting to a level 1 to 4 progression (Paladin/Ranger advancement), keeping the Cure line and buffs from the bard, but less focus on enchantment - possibly a new spell list entirely. Increase base attack to full progression and hit dice to d10's. Increase the rounds of use on the Raging Song to 4 + Cha modifier, +2 per level after first. Keep the rage power progression at every three levels, but play around with other abilities to accommodate the loss of spellcasting, keeping them on theme.


Not overly thrilled the Skald is a spellcaster, but that is the direction it's going, so i will add something helpful.

Please tweak it somehow in the budget so this class gets d10 hit dice if you think it's balanced, just to soothe the pro barbarian crowd.


Maybe bonus feat toughness at 2nd or 3rd level if you don't wanna up the hit die?


Benn Roe wrote:
I do think Scribe Scroll is a weird choice and that Silent Spell would make better sense, especially if it came with the caveat that it could be added without increasing spell level or casting time some number of times per day or more. Aren't skalds going to have a hard time manifesting verbal components while singing?

Since the spell-casting is Bard-based, the singing/music IS the "verbal component."

Now, I like your idea, but I'd sub in Still Spell instead of Silent Spell.


Can you take extra performance for ragesong? The number of rounds of performance are pretty abysmal.

I hope that they are able to take performance based feats because the skald will have to get feats of its own in subsequent books, which seems both unlikely and wasteful of page space.


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Yay to better weapons, armors and clarifications! Nay to the concept of Raging Song. Come on, it's not a buff when two thirds of an average group don't want it. Remove that restriction or make it less harsh (and make the buff weaker in return). Or turn it into something like Inspire Courage (albeit weaker). I really, really like the concept. But this single trait makes the class fully unappealing for me.


So as asked - can the Bloodrager cast spells under the influence, so to speak? I mean, they can cast spells under their own rage, so why shouldn't Ranging Song work the same?


Definitely a step in the right direction, but like it's been said above it's not enough yet.

Scribe Scroll still doesn't feel like it fits, neither thematically nor mechanically.

Thematically, Skald's are keepers of lore and knowledge, but it is by oral tradition, not written, that history is kept. A Skald would never write down and read the stories of his parties vast exploits, he would go off on an inspiring bout of storytelling, embellishing in the details and hyping up his buddies. If he pulled out a scroll and started reading it, he would be laughed out of the tavern, as no self respecting lore keeper would let themselves be seen needing to read the story of their exploits. Scribe Scroll thematically just doesn't fit with this concept, even if a Skald occasionally would jot down notes to help remember events. A Skald has the same bardic knowledge and lore mastery as a Bard, and like the Bard this is due to memory and knowledge of things, not having pages upon pages to read from.

Mechanically, the Skald's limited spells known make Scribe Scroll not all that useful, unlike a Wizard or Cleric who can potentially scribe any spell on their spell list. At level 1, a Skald can write 6 scrolls. That's it. Not hugely useful. Even at level 20, a Skald can only write 40 different scrolls, and only 5 5th and 6th level scrolls, and 6 of 4th level and lower. A wizard or cleric can easily scribe 40+ different scrolls by level 5, since they can have access to every 0th through 3rd level spell. Scribe Scroll mechanically is wasted on spontaneous casters due to their limited spells known. Even if Spell Kenning worked with Scribe Scroll, it's only one 0th to 2nd level spell scroll PER DAY at level 5, which again isn't all that useful.

I think that Scribe Scroll should be replaced with a different bonus feat, or should allow for a selection of different feats. A feat like Combat Casting would be highly useful to a Skald, as he'll likely be fighting on the front lines and need that extra boost to help with casting. Extra Performance/Rage or Lingering Performance (assuming that these feats interact with ragesong like bardic performance) would also be incredibly useful due to the horrendously low amount of rounds of ragesong a Skald receives. Dazzling Display is also a nice feat for a Skald who's up in the front lines and both inspiring his enemies and demoralizing his foes (granted Dirge of Doom also does this, but why would you ever use up your precious rounds of ragesong on Dirge when you could be granting rage and DR?). Scribe Scroll just doesn't feel right, (as does Dirge of Doom, though having it as an alternative to adding rage powers to rage song would be pretty cool).


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RJGrady wrote:
If I were to play a skald, I would definitely be looking at Leadership down the road for my very own all-signing, all-dancing barbarian horde.

So is your rage-song a mime?

"Behold the awful horror of the dreadmime! Hear….No... Wait." [Cough.]

"See the awesome ragemime turning barbarians into dancers!"

EIther that or your barbarians are deaf…

[Sorry, couldn't help myself. It's late here…]


I really like the theme of this class,the problem is that Savage Skald already does most of what this class gets. Inspire Courage provides equal to better offensive boosts with no downsides. After playing a game with a skald in the party, not many of them accepted the ragesong, leaving it much less useful than inspire courage.

That leaves the Skald with DR, spell Kenning, and Rage Powers.

The DR is pathetic. I get it you are trying to make the class feel more "Barbarian-ish" but a useless DR does not really help.

Spell kenning is actually useful now! Skalds are now the kings and queens of limited utility spells that provide an Auto-win in certain very specific situations. Actually, now that I look at it I like the class a lot more if I think of this ability at the defining point of the class.

Rage Powers: These getting passed out to everybody is what really makes this class pop in my mind, other classes can replicate most of the other things this class can do, but nothing else can grant the entire party rage powers. Several of the totem lines seem amazing for this (Spirit and Beast jump out at me).

Overall I do like the class, but only group-wide rage powers and spell kenning feel new and different. This still feels like a bard archetype and not a new class. That being said it is an archetype I'll have a lot of fun playing.


Agreed that Scribe Scroll makes no sense.

Then again, some of the biggest issues coming up in this playtest have been thematic ones.


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To be fair about the DR, even Core Barb DR is pathetic and near-useless. So anything less is going to be even worse than pathetic. :P


Making changes to our playtest characters. My wife, who played our Skald had the following notes:

-Excited for the weapon and armor proficiencies.
-Scribe Scroll still feels weird.
-Thankful for the clarification on which rage powers are available, and which can be applied during Raging Song.
-It still feels like a Bard variant, and not it's own class - although the weapon/armor proficiencies, and Skill points have done a lot to change that. Will report more after we see it in playtest.
-She felt that the capstone, while nice, didn't feel on par with other capstones.
-One thing she noticed was that Bards actually got a lot of versatility within their music (Inspire Courage, Inspire Competence, Fascinate, etc.) while the Skald just gets Raging Song. Granted, Inspire Competence and Fascinate were used outside of combat, if at all, and really paled in comparison with Inspire Courage. She felt that also including some other benefits for the Skald outside of combat would be useful/appropriate. Her suggestions:

-Song of Strength: By spending a standard (or full-round) action and a round of Raging Song, the Skald can inspire an ally to tremendous strength. The targeted ally can add half the Skald's class level to a single Strength check, or Strength-based Skill check (minimum 1). She envisioned the Skald psyching up the Brawler to be able to bend the bars/lift the gate that would have otherwise been impossible.
-Song of the Swift March: By spending a minute and (x) rounds of Raging Song, the Skald can inspire haste in overland travel. Any allies within earshot of the Skald can increase their overland speed.
-Song of Epic Heroism (capstone): Any ally affected by her Raging Song gains the benefit of the Diehard feat, and can make an extra attack when making a full attack at their highest Base Attack Bonus, as if affected by the Haste spell.

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