Skald spell selection for support (Level 1)


Advice


I am building a Skald for an upcoming game and I intend him to serve as a support role. As of right now, the other party roles are not known and my assumption is that we'll have a decently melee oriented party. If not, my choice of class will change to better serve the group.

As of right now, I plan on using a longspear as my main weapon until something better comes along. I will have close range options but those are not important to the question here.

What sort of spells would you recommend for a 1st level skald to know so that he can provide optimal support to his allies? I will start off with a few scrolls of cure light wounds, so knowing that spell isn't quite important (or get a wand if the group wants to invest early on with wealth traits).

Right now, I've picked up Vanish and Deja Vu. I am considering Enlarge Person in place of Vanish. Other suggestions?

Please, do not hyperlink me towards a guide. I am more interested in personal experiences and what you have seen/used that worked well. Thank you


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would go for CLW anyway. Biggest reason, if someone goes down you want to move to them and heal to stabilize. If you have to pull out a wand or a scroll, that will take at least a move action meaning unless they are within 5 feet it will take you 2 rounds.

Grease isn't primarily a support spell, but it is so awesome you take it anyway. And if a friend it grappled it is great support.

Solid Note has all kinds of utility uses.

Deja Vu wouldn't be my first choice. First off, it is more control then support, second I'd rather go with Hideous Laughter if I wanted to have a control spell.


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I have to echo Dave here. My first two would be CLW and grease. Vanish isn't very useful at level 1 because the duration is so short, though it definitely worth picking up later. Hidieous laughter is a great save or suck spell you get early access to, so it's worth considering.

I also like saving finale which is a great support spell. You don't have a lot of rounds for your song at level 1 though and unless you are an urban skald the casters won't want to accept your song usually, so I don't think it's a level 1 pick.


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I forgot to point out what cantrips I'd take!

Open/Close: Sometimes it's nice to not have to put someone at the door
Dancing Lights: You can do two things with this and most casters can cast light, pick the more mobile version.
Daze: Depends on your playstyle, but this works for quite a while. if you'r a caster focused character this is good, switch it out later when it's gone stale
Detect Magic: Everyone probably has this, but you should probably have it too, it's just so good.
Message: Probably not on anyone's priority list, but nice for at least 1 person to have.

Silver Crusade

I further what Dave and Baggageboy already said. A wand requires a move action to ready. Thus, it's not possible to draw a wand, move to a dying ally, and heal all in one round. In this [common] situation you really want to have the Real Thing. Use the wand whenever time is not a factor.

Likewise, Grease is so terrific that you should take it anyway. Grease gives you some Battlefield Control power (as does your longspear), which is a good thing to have in any Support character. One aspect of Support is Healing, and the most efficient way to heal is to prevent the damage. Battlefield Control is all about preventing incoming damage.

Sovereign Court

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Spring-loaded Wrist Sheaths are 5 gp and make it a swift action to draw the wand.
I like Remove Fear, Liberating Command, or Saving Finale (especially if you have lingering song or the community minded trait).


Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Still taking more if there is interest.

As for the wand issue, I can see everyone's point. I will be investing money into a spring-loaded wrist sheath. It is a little known (I assume) or used item from Adventurer's Armory. It will allow me to use a swift action to get the wand out.

After reviewing all the comments, I believe that I will pick up Grease and Enlarge Person as my starting 1st level spells. Baggageboy gave some good recommendations for cantrips, and they match my own choices, except for Daze. I chose Summon Instrument instead, as I will be using (small) drums and those can be targeted.

Grease because it is a great spell. Enlarge person will give me even more reach if I need it (my Dex isn't that great anyway) and can be used on an ally, depending on situation.


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Magda Luckbender wrote:
One aspect of Support is Healing, and the most efficient way to heal is to prevent the damage. Battlefield Control is all about preventing incoming damage.

I disagree with this. Control is control, and support is support. Support is about maximizing your strikers ability to do damage. Healing is only support to the extent of preventing your strikers from hitting zero (condition removal is another aspect of support, but that is a different subject.)

At the end of the day, every aspect of a well oil team is focused on giving the most and receiving the least damage. Strikers do it by delivering damage, knowing that a downed foe won't hurt anyone (that doesn't make them either control or support). Support does it by making sure the strikers can do that job at maximum efficiency (usually via buffs and condition removal/prevention, preventing the 'dead' condition is a part of that) and control does it in the various ways of preventing the enemies attacks. If the support guy spends his turn doing control, he isn't doing his job.

The skald of course, especially at lower levels, is going to primarily do this by giving everyone some sweet rage. For the vast majority of fights, this will be all that they need to do and they will probably switch to performing as a striker (since they are a very martially focused class as well) so until they get to 7th level and can give rage and cast a spell in the same turn, they are probably just doing that. Their 1st level spells therefore don't really need to focus on their 'main job' and can be used for other things.

Of course sometimes things aren't going to line up as planned, and a grease will be too good to pass up. It is an awesome spell, and remains useful even at high levels which is why I recommend it. I wouldn't expect to use it in most combats though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How are you getting access to enlarge person? It isn't a skald (bard) spell.

It is a great choice for a support character if you can get it. Ideally it is used before combat starts as it is a full round casting time spell.

Grand Lodge

Wand acn be drawn like weapons as part of a move. That seem to have been missed.


Dave Justus wrote:
How are you getting access to enlarge person? It isn't a skald (bard) spell.

Is it not? *scans list* Well, I'll be ... I don't see it. Dang. So, it'll be either Liberating Command or Saving Finale. I'll have to decide based on the group preference.

Grandlounge wrote:
Wand acn be drawn like weapons as part of a move. That seem to have been missed.

Not that I am aware of. Quickdraw specifically excludes wands, scrolls, alchemical items and drawing a weapon as part of a move requires at least +1 BAB, which a level 1 skald does not have. Do you have a link to that info?


Whatever the action required to draw a wand, at level 1 it is not wise to rely on an item few can afford for emergency healing. Taking CLW as a spell is just good sense. You don't have stabilize as a spell, so when a character is lying on the ground bleeding out CLW is the bard's(skald's) lowest level spell that can solve the problem. Character die frequently at level 1. All it takes is a bad dice roll to kill even a tough character. Having to draw an item makes it more dangerous to keep your friend from dying.

Drawing a stowed item provokes, even with a speedsheath. You don't want to have to consider provoking any more attacks than necessary when administering life saving healing.

Sovereign Court

baggageboy wrote:
Drawing a stowed item provokes, even with a speedsheath. You don't want to have to consider provoking any more attacks than necessary when administering life saving healing.
Funny, in the description of drawing a weapon it specifically calls out that drawing a wand is like drawing a weapon. So unless it is in your backpack or "otherwise out of reach" it will not provoke and you can combine it with a move action.
Draw or sheath a weapon wrote:

Draw or sheathe a weapon: Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires a move action. This action also applies to weapon-like objects carried in easy reach, such as wands. If your weapon or weapon-like object is stored in a pack or otherwise out of easy reach, treat this action as retrieving a stored item.

If you have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you may draw a weapon as a free action combined with a regular move. If you have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, you can draw two light or one-handed weapons in the time it would normally take you to draw one.

Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

Since it is in a speed sheath or what everyone else was referring to as the wrist sheath(spring loaded) (actually different items) it should not be 'retrieving

a stored item' so the "normal" that the sheaths refer to for wands should be 'not provoking.' Now, if you had a scroll in the sheath it would provoke, which is probably why the items are worded the way they are.


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Both items say you provoke. They are effectively a "stowed" area.

You can draw a wand as weaponlike item as you've pointed out though. However for a level 1 skald/bard that isn't of much help.

Edit: I should clarify. The spring loaded wrist sheath says it functions as a wrist sheath, which says retrieving the items provokes.

Sovereign Court

baggageboy wrote:

Both items say you provoke. They are effectively a "stowed" area.

You can draw a wand as weaponlike item as you've pointed out though. However for a level 1 skald/bard that isn't of much help.

Both items do not say they provoke. Both actually say:

Speed Sheath: "provoking attacks of opportunity as normal for retrieving an item"
Wrist Sheath: "provoking attacks of opportunity as normal"
Now my argument is that neither of those are "retrieving a stored item" action so falls under the "drawing or sheathing" action for weapons and "manipulate an item" action for non-weapons. Normally drawing a weapon doesn't provoke, so the "as normal" is not provoking. But if you were to draw a non-weapon-like from the sheath(which it gives an example of), it would provoke, as the normal case is that drawing that type of object provokes.
I can see how you are reading it as always provoking, but in that case, do you have it provoke for a weapon as well? It seems strange to me because then the standard version of wrist sheath wouldn't be useful at all. You can just have a weapon in a regular sheath described as being on the forearm and draw as a move action anyway or just on a bandoleer and never provoke.

It is interesting to look at the differences between the items. Wrist Sheath (and spring loaded) can hold up to 5 arrows, but the Speed Sheath can only contain 1. Wrist Sheath can be hidden and gives a bonus to hide the weapons, Speed Sheath doesn't. Speed Sheath is more expensive. Presumably the standard Wrist Sheath is a normal action to sheath the weapon, because only the spring-loaded version calls out that its a full-round due to the extra effort of setting the springs.


Yeah, this is all a moot point. The spring-loaded wrist sheath is 5gp, easily affordable, and swift actions are not going to provoke unless they explicitly state it. That is how our table handles that issue. Let’s not turn this thread into a rules argument.


Fair, and if that's how your table handles it then you're all good there. Just one last point. The benefit of a normal wrist sheath is that it increases the DC to notice you've got a weapon hidden there. Spring loaded sheathes provide that and the swift action retrieval, Speedsheaths only the action improvement. That, in my opinion, is why the designers consider it a stowed area. All of that said I do for myself think it's dumb that they made it the way they did (bandolier too for that matter).

Anyways, carry on. DeathlessOne, have you decided on a second spell since enlarge person is a no go? Do you have any more info you'd like to share? Attribute values as well as playstyle all help to inform what are "good" spells.


A minor side note, since skalds are proficient with martial weapons you have better options than a long spear available.

Silver Crusade

Java Man wrote:
A minor side note, since skalds are proficient with martial weapons you have better options than a long spear available.

True, but only slightly. The difference is about 2 hp average damage per hit.

The Pathfinder Item I'd like to see, but have not seen, is a take down 8' longspear that breaks down into three sections of 3' each. I know of no historical accounts of such a thing, although it may have been done for 16' pikes. We usually solve this problem by either ignoring it ("of course you can keep an 8' longspear in your backpack! Why not?") or with magic. There really ought to be a non-magical solution, though.

Re. the quickdraw sheath for a wand, it works but I'd still rather have 'the real deal'.


Java Man wrote:
A minor side note, since skalds are proficient with martial weapons you have better options than a long spear available.

Aye, except I am taking an archetype that trades that away Belkzen War Drummer. I know I didn't mention it earlier but it wasn't necessary as I was only seeking input on the spells. I will be using a clubs/greatclubs as well. It's not optimal but I'm not trying to be in that area.

baggageboy wrote:
Anyways, carry on. DeathlessOne, have you decided on a second spell since enlarge person is a no go? Do you have any more info you'd like to share? Attribute values as well as playstyle all help to inform what are "good" spells.

I settled on Saving Finale, for now. As for attributes: Str: 15, Dex: 12, Con: 13, Int: 12, Wis: 10, Cha: 14. 15 point buy is restrictive and I severely dislike having negative modifiers. As for my play style, I thrive in the jack-of-all-trades position and gravitate to support roles. I prefer to use spells that don't require a saving throw because I don't trust the dice. The only time I want my character in the spotlight is when he is saving someone else's life.

This is the first time I'll be playing a Skald, but I have seen them at my table, and I've used one against the party. Several, in fact. This one, though, is going to be doing something VERY interesting if we have someone that likes to summon things in the group. Won't spoil it here, but if we don't get one, I'll just pick the "other" path I'm thinking about.


Ok, sounds good. Skald it a tough sell with only a 15pt buy, coudos for doing it anyway, I love the skald class. With only 2 slots and only what, 5 rounds of song? with standard action activation you'll probably be saving this for the "boss fight" of each day. Given how prolonged fights tend to be at low level I'm not sure saving finale is the best choice, but it is definitely going to be a good spell in the long run.

Silver Crusade

I always take CLW when it's available.

Grand Lodge

The drawing as a move action is still an important rule your not going only ever have two wands and your play past level (though technically you can where infinite wrist sheath.

Think about it this way if you moving to heal someone. What do you do if you used saving finale in the last round and you don't have an immediate action?

What if you have any number of immediate or swift action items you want to use that turn.

Also, as fire bug pointed out no aoo.


baggageboy wrote:
Ok, sounds good. Skald it a tough sell with only a 15pt buy, coudos for doing it anyway, I love the skald class. With only 2 slots and only what, 5 rounds of song? with standard action activation you'll probably be saving this for the "boss fight" of each day. Given how prolonged fights tend to be at low level I'm not sure saving finale is the best choice, but it is definitely going to be a good spell in the long run.

Depending on party composition, Lingering Song or community-minded (or both) is going to be in play. And changing the spell is still an option, however saving for a boss fight is the smart thing to do. I really don't plan on using spells or song on normal encounters, not yet.

Grandlouge wrote:

The drawing as a move action is still an important rule your not going only ever have two wands and your play past level (though technically you can where infinite wrist sheath.

Think about it this way if you moving to heal someone. What do you do if you used saving finale in the last round and you don't have an immediate action?

What if you have any number of immediate or swift action items you want to use that turn.

Thats a lot of what if's that can't really be answered until they come up, not truly. We can wrack our brains until they bleed trying to foresee every scenario. Only answer I have is "choose the best option at the moment". And "make sure someone else can heal as a backup".

Grand Lodge

What ifs:
Pathfinder is a game of 'what ifs' (want if you die, see a ghost, encounter Dr, get poisoned or diseased). Once you have 1 bab it is better for classes with swift actions abilities to keep a wand in their belt not in there wrist sheaths. A wand like expeditious retreat is undeniably better in a worst Sheath. You set up the best options for the moment.

Action economy is the centre of the game.

Other good spells to get when you can are expeditions retreat, moment of greatness (best on a wand) and comprehend lanmguage.


Community minded and lingering song both ae great ways to extend your song's effects, but I don't think you can use saving finale during the extended time if you aren't actually using your song. Still good to have either way.

Grand Lodge

Both are good baggageboy is correct about not being able to use finale spell. Community mind has the beifit for other casters that only the morale bonuses carry forward so casters can have some short them hp and will (either when you start your song or if they go unconscious) without losing there ability to cast spells.


Thanks for all the advice, folks. I settled for Cure Light Wounds and Grease. I'll must likely trade out Cure Light Wounds once we get a wand. The GM said that I could get Enlarge Persn later, should I research it. I'll post here again if I need further recommendations.


Hmm. Thus particular Skald is sounding familiar. He wouldn't happen to also be a Variant Multiclass Bard, hang out with a blind Wizard, and wear an eyepatch now would he?


Heh .... I would not rule that out as a possibility. :)

Silver Crusade

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@OP: Perhaps track how [in]frequently it matters that you have Cure Light Wounds as a spell, versus just a wand. If it hasn't mattered for several levels then it probably doesn't matter. If you note instances when it does matter then you also have an answer.


Thanks for the tip. I should know by level 5 if I will keep Cure Light Wounds. That is the first (legal) chance I would get to trade it out.


I am currently at a lvl 3 skald/1 bloodrager. My level 1 spells are currently cure light wounds, expeditious retreat, heightened awareness and saving finale. IMO a cure spell is always nice to have on hand in case someone REALLY needs that heal.. Since you have martial weapons the bardiche is a nice weapon to have.


ekibus wrote:
I am currently at a lvl 3 skald/1 bloodrager. My level 1 spells are currently cure light wounds, expeditious retreat, heightened awareness and saving finale. IMO a cure spell is always nice to have on hand in case someone REALLY needs that heal.. Since you have martial weapons the bardiche is a nice weapon to have.

Im actually playing a Belkzen wardrummer/sunsinger, so the only martial weapon I have access to is the great club. I'm using a longspear instead. I may take the Weapon Adept feat in order to get trip on my weapon later on.

I have a plan later on for healing (comes online at level 4) and then I get channel energy (plus take extra channel) for some emergency healing options at level 5. But that's just thinking ahead. Right now, we've got to survive.

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