Skalds are the archetypal "battle-bards" - warriors who charge into battle chanting hymns or bellowing marching tunes to the rhythm of their swings. They are common among the northern cultures, where the ability to sing or tell a good tale is often second only to one's prowess in battle.

Skalds are often indistinguishable from ordinary warriors, except for maybe a battered (but well-cared-for) instrument strapped to their back. They prefer to sing in battle, as it keeps their hands free to wield their weapon, but many Skalds learn the use of smaller instruments like the flute, drums, or pipes - things that can be easily heard over the din of battle, or used outside of battle to aid in performing songs and stories.

All Skalds have bardic training, obviously, and most undergo martial training as well - fighter/bards are common among the northern cultures, less so elsewhere. Paladin/bards, while rare, can be found among the ranks of church armies; they can combine their divine spells with bardic music to devastating effect. Clerics of war gods sometimes become Skalds, but these are also fairly rare.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a Skald (Skd), the character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +7

Skills: Knowledge (combat and tactics) 6 ranks, Perform (sing or any instrument) 8 ranks

Feats: Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus (any)

Bardic Music: Inspire courage, inspire greatness

Special: Must have participated in (and won) five or more battles comprising at least five combatants on each side.

Class Skills

The Skald's class skills are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana, combat and tactics)(Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points Per Level: 6 + Int modifier

Table 1: The Skald
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Spells Per Day
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic ability, bardic music +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Resonant voice
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Battlefield hymn (extra targets)
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Bardic music +1 level of existing class
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Curse song
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Battlefield hymn (extend)
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Bardic music +1 level of existing class
8th +6 +2 +6 +6 Rapid inspiration
9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Battlefield hymn (empower)
10th +7 +3 +7 +7 Bardic music +1 level of existing class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Skald.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Skalds are proficient with all simple weapons and three martial weapons of their choice. They are proficient in light and medium armor and shields (but not tower shields).

Bardic Ability: The Skald's class levels stack with his levels of bard for purposes of determining total bard level for bardic music effects.

Bardic Music (Su): This is identical to the bard ability of the same name. The Skald can choose from among the following songs, or from any songs on the bard's list. Note: The level listed for prerequisites is effective bard level, not Skald class level.

Deafening Song: A Skald who makes a 29 Perform check can use song or poetics to temporarily deafen all enemies within a 30-foot spread centered on himself. A successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + Skald's class level + Skald's Cha modifier) negates the effect. The deafening effect lasts for as long as the Skald continues the deafening song. He can choose to exclude up to one person/creature per class level from this effect. He can sing, play, or recite a deafening song while taking other mundane actions, but not magical ones (see the bard's inspire courage ability for more details). He can keep up the deafening song for a maximum of 10 rounds. Using the deafening song counts as one of his uses of song or poetics for the day.

Prerequisites: Resonant voice class ability, 14th level.

Reactive Countersong (Su): The Skald can begin a countersong at any time, even when it isn't his turn (much like a wizard who has readied a counterspell action), though he doesn't have to ready an action to do so. He can't use this ability at the same time he is using another bardic music ability, though he could stop the other bardic music ability to begin a reactive countersong.

Prerequisites: Countersong, 12th level.

Rousing Voice (Su): A Skald who makes a DC 24 Perform check can revive a dying comrade within 20 feet by singing to him. He must sing for a full round; on the target's turn on the following round, he is automatically stabilized (0 hit points) and rises the round after that at 1 hit point. If there are multiple comrades below 0 hit points, the Skald can continue to sing, turning his attention to a new target each round. He can keep this up for 1 minute.

For every 10 points by which the Skald exceeds DC 24, the comrade gains an additional 3 hit points upon recovering.

Prerequisite: Inspire courage, 10th level.

Song of Ferocity (Su): A Skald who makes a DC 33 Perform check can incite one or more of his allies into a berserker rage. This ability functions exactly like the barbarian rage on one willing ally within 30 feet, and lasts as long as the Skald continues to sing (the ally must be able to hear the Skald; if it can no longer hear, or the Skald stops singing, the effect ends the next round). Song of ferocity is a sonic mind-affecting affect.

For every 5 points by which the Skald's Perform check exceeds DC 33, he can affect one additional ally.

Prerequisites: Inspire courage, inspire greatness, 16th level.

Spells Per Day: At the indicated levels, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, metamagic feats, etc.), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Skald, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Resonant Voice (Ex): A Skald is trained make his voice carry so that it can be heard over the din of battle. He can be heard twice as far as usual when using a bardic music that employs speech, or when speaking or casting a spell. Any spell or effect that dampens or prevents sound from being heard (silence, etc.) still works normally.

Battlefield Hymn (Ex): A Skald's ability with inspirational bardic music is such that he gains extra benefits when using the inspire courage, inspire greatness, inspire heroics, or inspire valor songs, as noted below.

At 3rd level, the Skald can affect 1 extra target per three class levels (which can be himself or another person).

At 6th level, the amount of time each effect lasts if a person leaves the area of effect is increased to 10 rounds.

At 9th level, the base bonus for saves vs. charm and fear effect (inspire courage), and attacks and damage (inspire greatness, heroics, valor) is doubled to +4.

Curse Song (Ex): At 5th level, a Skald can apply the effects of his battlefield hymns to his enemies – in reverse. That is, any benefits that he would normally give to his allies would become penalties to his foes. These reverse effects are often referred to as inspire fear (reversed courage), weakness (greatness), or cowardice (heroism or valor). He cannot affect allies and enemies at the same time with the same song – when he sings, he must choose which group to affect. All other criteria for the songs remain the same.

Rapid Inspiration (Ex): When employing any inspirational bardic music abilities (inspire courage, greatness, heroics, or valor), the Skald needs to sing for only a standard action before the bonuses take effect, instead of a full round.

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