Making a Skald without spells


Homebrew and House Rules


I'm running a low-level, low-magic homebrew game and I am in need of advice on how to tweak a Skald class to being more focused on the fighting and inciting rage in his allies at the cost of casting.

I want to make a Borderlands style bandit leader for my PCs to fight in an upcoming session as part of them having to take on a bandit encampment.

I don't want a spellcaster leader (low magic game and avoiding arcane casting) but rather a big hulking brute that works his men into a frenzy to up the danger and excitement a little.

The listed archetypes on the SRD don't seem to fit this flavour. Any quick fix? Take off the spells and up the BAB? Bonus feat? Rage power?

PCs are rather strong level 2s. Any help and suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks.


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It is probably easier to start with the Barbarian and design a new archetype that incorporates the Skald features you like.

Especially since you are probably just trying to fit Raging Song and maybe versatile performance in (maybe well versed), as the barabarian has the other stuff mostly. Don't forget to switch a class skill list as well.

Scarab Sages

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Remove spells, increase to full BAB and a d10 hit die. As long as it's a NPC, that's quick and dirty enough to work without worrying too much about balance over the course of 20 levels.


What I might suggest is that you give him a spell progression similar to the Paladin and lower his will saves by half in exchange for the full BAB. That being said, if he is high enough level to use spells, let him use spells, but don't describe them as spells during play. Just limit the spells to those that a crazy buff leader could duplicate without magic.

Things like Cause Fear, Compel Hostility, Blurred Movement, Invigorate, Moment of Greatness etc. All of these spells could be described as the leader shouting something to inspire his men or demoralize his enemies. Just give your players the opportunity to identify what he is trying to do so they can still interrupt but use sense motive instead of spellcraft as the skill they use.

If they see he is trying to inspire everyone, maybe an arrow or attack to interrupt his words of inspiration, or his display to intimidate.

If you see where I am going with this. It's all in how you describe and play it.


Well, he's 3/4 BAB. 3/4 BAB without spells is flurry of blows, sneak attack. Sneak attack die at 1st and every three levels after? Basically when there'd be another spell level. Or trade spells for BAB, yeah.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Take a normal Skald and use all your 'known spell' slots to learn bardic masterpieces instead. Voila, Skald without spells.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I also agree that this is super simple to do as the GM. Give him full BAB, more hit points, and maybe some free rage powers. Maybe a dip into Barbarian so his Inspired Rage is even stronger.


You could do something similar to the Investigator. The Sleuth Archetype gives up alchemy (their spellcasting) for the Luck pool. It might not be a completely even trade but it is certainly useful.


Ka_the_Great wrote:

I'm running a low-level, low-magic homebrew game and I am in need of advice on how to tweak a Skald class to being more focused on the fighting and inciting rage in his allies at the cost of casting.

I want to make a Borderlands style bandit leader for my PCs to fight in an upcoming session as part of them having to take on a bandit encampment.

I don't want a spellcaster leader (low magic game and avoiding arcane casting) but rather a big hulking brute that works his men into a frenzy to up the danger and excitement a little.

The listed archetypes on the SRD don't seem to fit this flavour. Any quick fix? Take off the spells and up the BAB? Bonus feat? Rage power?

PCs are rather strong level 2s. Any help and suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks.

I don't think the full BAB is enough - I'd drop the spells, raise BAB to full, give him the d10 HD and increase the bonus on his Raging Song to a +4 / +6 / +8 progression.

That might seem like a lot at first, but he's really only gaining +1 BAB every four levels, +1 hit point per level and a +2 total bonus to Raging Song, something that would happen anyway if he were inspiring someone with Barbarian levels already. All that doesn't even begin to come close to the abilities he'd have as a caster, especially with Spell Kenning. If you think you still need a little more 'umph' behind it, at 11th level and as a replacement for the Spell Kenning class feature, allow weapons wielded by those under the effects of Raging Song to benefit from the Bloodsong magic weapon ability (see here).

Don't forget to take advantage of the feat Skald's Vigor.

Grand Lodge

What about using Path of War? In the Path of War Expanded playtest there's a bard archetype that trades spells for maneuvers. You easily take that template and apply it to Skald.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Take a normal Skald and use all your 'known spell' slots to learn bardic masterpieces instead. Voila, Skald without spells.

This is the most logical solution.

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