By: Jeff Sparks
Minstrel, harpist, storyteller, bard, skald: they are all aspects of the same group of people which make their way in the world by the telling of tales and the singing of songs. Rare is the camp or village where a skald is unwelcome. The arrival of a skald is a treat for most and a few songs at the tavern (or around the campfire) will often earn him supper and a bunk. Among the tribes, their skalds sing and play to inspire the warriors in battle.
A surprising number of these entertainers can be found away from the safety of towns and settlements. Many are simply traveling from one place to the next in pursuit of their trade; others are looking for a new tale to tell. Often skalds will travel with adventurers in the hopes of composing a saga about great deeds and mighty battles. Sometimes the skald finds himself more than just an observer of events!
Master bards who train young skalds make sure that anyone who has completed their apprenticeship with them has learned at least a modicum of defense. A stout jerkin of leather and a well-balanced blade; these are as much a part of the skald's repertoire as his harp or voice.
Certain words and sound patterns have power in them and, if used properly, produce magical effects. Skalds learn some of these "Spellsongs" in their training. The more powerful ones are learned as the skald's ability advances. NOTE: Skalds must be able to at least sing (in a clear voice) or play their instrument in order to cast spells.
Prime Requisite: Dexterity & Charisma (both 13+ for XP bonus)
Requirements: Minimum Strength of 9
The class features of the Skalds are:
- Fight as Thief of the same level.
- Save as Magic User of the same level.
- Use the same weapons as Thieves.
- Can only wear light armor (padded, leather & studded leather).
- Use the Elf/Magic User spell list.
- Skalds cannot use scrolls or other magic items exclusive to Magic-Users or elves.
- Skalds' spell books are actually songbooks.
*CON bonus/penalty no longer applies
Skald Thief Abilities
Bardic Immunity: Skalds have another advantage while traveling. In many places - and sometimes even among the barbarian tribes - the skald's "harp" acts as a badge of safe conduct. It is widely regarded by many as bad luck to kill a skald. If he does not act in an openly hostile manner, he may often win his way through unfriendly territory with a song or two, though the skald's safe conduct may or may not convey to any of his companions! If he has a musical instrument visibly carried, a skald gains +1 v. monster reactions when dealing with intelligent humanoids as long as he or his companions do not attack. This bonus increases to +2 at 4th level, +3 at 8th, and +4 at 12th.
Legend Lore: Skalds also pick up information in their travels and many old songs hold clues to ancient secrets. Whether it is an ancient saga or overheard gossip in a tavern, skalds can be great gatherers and sources of information. There is a base 12% chance that a skald will have heard a rumor or piece of information about a creature, person, place or thing. This chance increases 3% per level after 1st.
Inspire Courage: A skald's music can inspire his companions during a fight. 2/day, for each round a skald sings or plays to inspire, his allies gain +1 to hit and Morale (up to 3 rounds). This increases to +2 (for up to 4 rounds) at 4th level. and +3 (for up to 6 rounds) at 8th level. The skald cannot fight or cast spells while "inspiring."
Taunt: The skald can choose to "taunt" his foes. Instead of his side gaining a bonus, the skald's foes must Save v. Spell or receive a -1 to hit and Morale for 1d3 rounds. This increases to -2 (for 1d4 rounds) at 4th level and -3 (for 1d6 rounds) at 8th level. The same restrictions apply to taunting as to inspiring (no fighting or casting). This is a non-magical ability.
Copyright © 2005 Jeff Sparks
Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007