Skalds are poets, historians, and keepers of lore who use their gifts for oration and song to inspire allies into a frenzied rage. They balance a violent spirit with the veneer of civilization, recording events such as heroic battles and the deeds of great leaders, enhancing these stories in the retelling to earn bloodier victories in combat. A skald’s poetry is nuanced and often has multiple overlapping meanings, and he applies similar talents to emulate magic from other spellcasters.
Role: A skald inspires his allies, and often presses forward to fight enemies in melee. Outside of combat, he’s useful as a healer and scholar, less versatile but more durable than a bard.
Hit Die: d8.
Starting Wealth: 3d6 × 10 gp (average 105 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The skald’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (oratory, percussion, sing, string, winderrata) (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
The following are the class features of the skald.
A skald is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and shields (except tower shields). A skald can cast skald spells while wearing light or medium armor and even using a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. This does not affect the arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes. Like other arcane spellcasters, a skald wearing heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has somatic components.
Skalds learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Skald Spells Known. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.
A skald casts arcane spells drawn from the bard spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. Every skald spell has a verbal component—these verbal components can take the form of song, recitation, or even non-verbal music like percussion. To learn or cast a spell, a skald must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against a skald’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the skald’s Charisma modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a skald can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Skald. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.
The skald’s selection of spells is limited. A skald begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of the skald’s choice. At each new skald level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Skald Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a skald knows isn’t affected by his Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Skald Spells Known are fixed.
At 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter, a skald can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the skald loses the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least 1 level lower than the highest-level skald spell the skald can cast. A skald may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.
A skald need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.
A skald is trained to use music, oration, and similar performances to inspire his allies to feats of strength and ferocity. At 1st level, a skald can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. For each level thereafter, he can use raging song for 2 additional rounds per day.
Starting a raging song is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. A raging song cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the skald is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action each round to maintain it. A raging song counts as the bard’s bardic performance special ability for any effect that affects bardic performances. A skald may learn bard masterpieces.
A raging song has audible components, but not visual components. Affected allies must be able to hear the skald for the song to have any effect. A deaf skald has a 20% chance to fail when attempting to use a raging song. If he fails this check, the attempt still counts against his daily limit. Deaf creatures are immune to raging songs.
If a raging song affects allies, when the skald begins a raging song and at the start of each ally’s turn in which they can hear the raging song, the skald’s allies must decide whether to accept or refuse its effects. This is not an action. Unconscious allies automatically accept the song. If accepted, the raging song’s effects last for that ally’s turn or until the song ends, whichever comes first.
Inspired Rage (Su) At 1st level, affected allies gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution and a +1 morale bonus on Will saving throws, but also take a –1 penalty to AC. While under the effects of inspired rage, allies other than the skald cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the song’s bonuses on Will saves increase by 1; the penalty to AC doesn’t change. At 8th and 16th levels, the song’s bonuses to Strength and Constitution increase by 2. (Unlike the barbarian’s rage ability, those affected are not fatigued after the song ends.) If an ally has her own rage class ability (such as barbarian’s rage, bloodrager’s bloodrage, or skald’s inspired rage), she may use the Strength, Constitution, and Will saving throw bonuses, as well as AC penalties, based on her own ability and level instead of those from the skald (still suffering no fatigue afterward). However, inspired rage does not allow the ally to activate abilities dependent on other rage class abilities, such as rage powers, blood casting, or bloodrager bloodlines; the ally must activate her own rage class ability in order to use these features.
Song of Marching (Su) At 3rd level, a skald can use raging song to inspire his allies to move faster without suffering from fatigue. By expending 1 round of raging song, the skald invigorates allies within 60 feet, who may hustle for the next hour; this movement counts as a walk (not a hustle) for the purpose of accruing nonlethal damage and fatigue. The skald must continue to perform the song for the remainder of the hour, otherwise its effects end, but only 1 round of raging song is expended for that hour.
Song of Strength (Su) At 6th level, a skald can use raging song to inspire his allies to superhuman feats of strength. Once each round while the skald uses this performance, allies within 60 feet who can hear the skald may add 1/2 the skald’s level to a Strength check or Strength-based skill check.
Dirge of Doom (Su) At 10th level, a skald can create a sense of growing dread in his enemies, causing them to become shaken. This only affects enemies that are within 30 feet and able to hear the skald’s performance. The effect persists for as long as the enemy is within 30 feet and the skald continues his performance. This cannot cause a creature to become frightened or panicked, even if the targets are already shaken from another effect. This is a sonic mind-affecting fear effect, and relies on audible components.
Song of the Fallen (Su) At 14th level, a skald can temporarily revive dead allies to continue fighting, with the same limitations as raise dead. The skald selects a dead ally within 60 feet and expends 1 round of raging song to bring that ally back to life. The revived ally is alive but staggered. Each round, the skald may expend another 1 round of raging song to keep that ally alive for another round. The ally automatically dies if the skald ends this performance or is interrupted. The skald may revive multiple allies with this ability (either at the same time or over successive rounds) but must expend 1 round of raging song per revived ally per round to maintain the effect.
Sagas Sagas are specialized applications of a skald’s raging song ability, functioning much like bardic masterpieces but are available only to skalds. Sagas are never purely artistic constructs; they are designed to preserve lore or commemorate historical figures, and are usually based in fact. Sagas therefore require ranks in Knowledge (history) as a prerequisite, as well. Bards can learn sagas, using their bardic performance ability instead of raging song.
At 1st level, a skald gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.
Can a skald use Perform (wind) as a versatile performance? Should it be a class skill?
Yes, the skald should have Perform (wind) as a class skill, and they should be able to use it as a versatile performance for Diplomacy and Handle Animal. This will be reflected in future errata.
[Errata] At 2nd level, a skald can choose one type of Perform skill associated with the skald class. He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in the associated skills listed below. When substituting in this way, the skald uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of the associated skill’s bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill. At 7th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the bard can select an additional type of Perform to substitute.
The types of Perform and their associated skills are: Oratory (Diplomacy, Sense Motive), Percussion (Handle Animal, Intimidate), Sing (Bluff, Sense Motive), String (Bluff, Diplomacy), and Wind (Diplomacy, Handle Animal).
Beginning at 6th level, instead of selecting an additional skill with versatile performance, a skald can choose an advanced versatile performance for one Perform skill he previously selected with versatile performance. Some advanced versatile performance options can be selected only if the skald meets the option’s prerequisites.
A skald with an archetype that replaces versatile performance cannot select advanced versatile performance options.
Expanded Versatility (Ex): The skaldchooses one Perform skill that he has already selected with versatile performance. He adds one of the following skills to the list of skills that are associated with the chosen Perform skill for the purpose of the versatile performance ability: Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Sense Motive, or Use Magic Device. This option can be selected multiple times, but no skill can be associated with the same Perform skill more than once.
Martial Performance (Ex): The skald chooses one weapon belonging to a fighter weapon group that is associated with a Perform skill he has selected with versatile performance (see below). He gains proficiency with this weapon. If the skald is already proficient with this weapon or later becomes proficient with it, he gains Weapon Focus with that weapon as a bonus feat instead. In addition, the bard’s effective fighter level is equal to 1/2 his skald level for the purpose of qualifying for feats that specifically select weapons from those Perform skills’ associated fighter weapon groups. The types of Perform skills and their associated fighter weapon groups are: Act (close, double), Comedy (flails, thrown), Dance (monk, spears), Keyboard Instruments (hammers, siege engines), Oratory (heavy blades, light blades), Percussion (close, hammers), Sing (close, natural), String (axes, bows), and Wind (monk, thrown).
Masterpiece: The skald gains a bardic masterpiece, as if he were giving up a feat to learn it. He must meet the masterpiece’s prerequisites, and the masterpiece must list ranks in a Perform skill that the skald has chosen with versatile performance as a prerequisite. This option can be selected multiple times.
At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, a skald learns a rage power that affects the skald and any allies under the influence of his inspired rage. This cannot be a rage power that requires the creature to spend a standard action or rounds of rage to activate it. For example, the skald cannot choose terrifying howl (which requires a standard action to activate), but can choose knockback (which is made in place of a melee attack).
Unless otherwise noted, a skald cannot select an individual rage power more than once.
When starting an inspired rage, the skald chooses which rage powers (if any) to add to the song, and all affected allies gain the benefit of these rage powers, using the skald’s level as their effective barbarian level. The skald uses his skald level as his barbarian level for the purpose of selecting rage powers that require a minimum barbarian level. If the rage power’s effects depend on the skald’s ability modifier (such as lesser spirit totem), affected allies use the skald’s ability modifier instead of their own for the purposes of this effect.
If a rage power requires another rage power (such as disruptive, which requires superstition), the skald cannot grant that rage power to allies unless he can also grant that power’s prerequisite. He may add multiple rage powers to an inspired rage at the same time using this ability (such as granting superstition and disruptive simultaneously).
If a rage power can only be used a certain number of times per day or per rage (such as renewed vigor), each ally affected by the inspired rage song is subject to that limit (with once per rage abilities limited to once per inspired rage).
If the skald has rage powers from another source, he (but not his allies) can use those rage powers during an inspired rage. He cannot select a duplicate rage power, unless that rage power can be taken multiple times.
If the skald has the ability to rage from another source, he can use his skald rage powers during that rage as well.
At 4th level, a skald gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does he lose his Dex bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if he is immobilized. A skald with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him.
At 5th level, a skald is learned in the magic of other spellcasters, and can use his own magic to duplicate those classes’ spells. Once per day, a skald can cast any spell on the bard, cleric, or sorcerer/wizard spell list as if it were one of his skald spells known, expending a skald spell slot of the same spell level to cast the desired spell. Casting a spell with spell kenning always has a minimum casting time of 1 full round, regardless of the casting time of the spell.
At 11th level, a skald can use this ability twice per day. At 17th level, he can use this ability three times per day.
At 7th level, the skald becomes a master of many different types of lore, and can choose to take 10 on any Knowledge skill check that he has ranks in. Once per day, the skald can take 20 on any Knowledge skill check as a standard action, instead of spending the normal time taking 20 requires. He can use this ability to take 20 on a Knowledge skill check twice per day at 13th level and three times per day 19th level.
At 8th level and higher, a skald can no longer be flanked. This defense denies enemies the ability to sneak attack the skald by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more levels in a class that grants sneak attack than the target has skald levels.
At 9th level, a skald gains damage reduction. Subtract 1 from the damage the skald takes each time he is dealt damage from a weapon or a natural attack. At 14th and 19th levels, this damage reduction increases by 1. Damage Reduction can reduce damage to 0, but not below 0. Additionally, the skald grants this DR to all allies affected by his inspired rage.
At 20th level, a skald’s inspired rage no longer gives allies a penalty to AC, nor limits what skills or abilities they can use. Allies with rage class abilities may use features dependent on those abilities without restriction, such as a barbarian’s rage powers and a bloodrager’s blood casting and bloodline abilities. Finally, when making a full attack, affected allies may make an additional attack each round (as if using a haste effect).
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have skalds as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
|Dwarf||Reduce the arcane spell failure chance for casting skald spells when wearing heavy armor by 1%. Once the total reduction reaches 10%, the skald also receives Heavy Armor Proficiency (if the skald does not already possess it).||ACG|
|Elf||Increase the bonus granted by the well-versed class feature by ¼ (maximum +8).||ACG|
|Gnome||Add a +1 bonus on concentration checks when casting skald spells.||ACG|
|Half-Elf||Increase the skald’s total number of raging song rounds per day by 1.||ACG|
|Half-Orc||Increase the skald’s total number of raging song rounds per day by 1.||ACG|
|Halfling||Choose a weapon from the following list: dagger, sling, or any weapon with the word “halfling” in its name. Add a +½ bonus on critical hit confirmation rolls with that weapon (maximum bonus +4). This bonus doesn’t stack with those gained through Critical Focus and similar effects.||ACG|
|Human||Add one spell from the skald’s spell list to the skald’s known spells. This spell must be at least 1 spell level below the highest level the skald can cast.||ACG|
|3rd Party Publishers|
|Jon Brazer Enterprises|
|Android||The skald can use spell keening +1/6 additional times per day.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
Where bards inspire, skalds provoke. While the majority of skalds use their songs to drive their allies into a frenzy of rage, the rage powers they employ vary from tribe to tribe and skald to skald. Other skalds use their songs and magic to call warriors of the great beyond, or to take on aspects of the wild.
|Archetype / Alternate Class Feature||Class Features Changed or Replaced|
|Class Skills||Weapon & Armor||Bardic Knowledge||Cantrips||Spells||Scribe Scroll||Versatile Performance||Raging song||Well-Versed||Rage Power||Uncanny Dodge||Spell Kenning||Lore Master||Improved Uncanny Dodge||DR||Master Skald|
|2||7||12||17||Inspired Rage||Song of Marching||Song of Strength||Dirge of Doom||Song of the Fallen||3||6||9||12||15||18|
|Herald of The Horn||X||X|
|3rd Party Publishers|
|Ascension Games, LLC
|Flaming Crab Games|
Archetypes & Other Class Options
- Ascension Games, LLC - Skald Archetypes
- Flaming Crab Games - Skald Archetypes
- Paizo, Inc. - Skald Archetypes
- Skald Sagas