[RPG] What to optimize a Skald for in such a party


Our party

I have formed a party to play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play with. It contains 7 players, including me.

  • Me, a Conjuration School Savant Arcanist. I've just hit level 2 and am allowed my last respec.
  • My friend, another Conjuration School Savant Arcanist, however, they might respec because it was a bit hard for them.
  • A party face Sorcerer with Charm Person and Color Spray (it was the player's choice to play with this spell set).
  • A Summoner with Augment Summoning and Cha 20, generally focusing on actually summoning stuff.
  • A blaster, see this question to learn about their build.
  • An Inspired Blade/Empiricist X. The build is not set in stone yet, but it will most likely be a generalist doing some damage, and a second party face.
  • A Skald, about whom I am currently asking.

An eighth player has recently joined us, but they will play different characters depending on their mood, they are an active PFS player.

The Skald's player desires

The Skald's player clearly wants to:

  1. Be a Skald, as they love the theme.
  2. Deal damage using a bow.

Current experience of the said player

The said player has only played two sessions now, and has never played Pathfinder or any other tabletop RPG before.

Which combat and non-combat roles can their character take?

Basically, I ask for the list of options trimmed to things possible in such a party.

Dealing damage

While the character will deal some damage using a bow, it will eat a significant amount of their wealth and feats. Due to no Ranger bonus feats and medium BAB, the character will not be able to keep up with other classes.

Bardic knowledge

This seems nice, and might actually help a lot. However, a Skald cannot afford to have an Intelligence score above 12, maybe 14, because they need Dexterity, Strength, and Charisma a lot, and they cannot dump Constitution (brings HP) or Wisdom (garners Will save). At the same time, an ability to roll ALL Knowledges is nice. I might ask the Skald player to roll the first so they have more chances to succeed before the Int-based casters bring their rolls.

Lore Master

Well, kicks in really late. Still, it's something helpful.

Raging Song

A really cool buff… but almost nobody needs Strength in our party, and almost everybody wants to remain concentrated. The Investigator will use a Dex-based build, and hence won't care about Strength. Essentially, only Summoner's units will like this buff. I have not learned much about the Rage Powers yet, but I doubt that more than a couple of people will benefit from them.

Versatile Performance

Well, allows to be another party face. But the Skald cannot afford a full focus on the Face stat, so they will fall behind the Investigator and the Sorcerer. Anyway, since the Discipline of our players is not very good, another person at least semi-capable of being a party face should be nice.

Spell Kenning

Nice and cool, but only one per day, and the Skald is kind of short on spell slots, and falls behind Arcanists, and the Arcanists can Quick Study… BTW, how can one even optimize for Spell Kenning?

Current build (subject to changes)


Half-Elf. Player's choice, this is not to be changed. Arcane Training as an alternative racial trait (it's the only thing for which we can trade Multitalented (2nd Favored Class) without trading something else too.


Skald (Fated Champion). We lose practically nothing, but get the ability to cast lots of Divination spells with a discount and a bonus to Initiative.

Ability scores

STR: 14

DEX: 16 (14+2 for being a Half-Elf)

CON: 12

INT: 12

WIS: 11

CHA: 14


Shelyn. The best Deific Obedience, access to Persuasive Performer. Alternatively, worship Irori and get a bonus to all Knowledge checks, but be a worse Party Face.


  1. Perform (Sing)
  2. Knowledge (History)
  3. Knowledge (Local)
  4. Knowledge (Planes)
  5. Knowledge (Religion)
  6. Use Magic Device
  7. Perception

Might sound sub-optimal, but I actually had to choose the skills in a hurry, as I owed a build to the Skald player and had to go already.


Reactionary, Talented (Sing). Yes, the choice of the second Trait was almost random.


Here is a list of feats that I have found to be fitting this concept.

Archery feats

Well, easy. Being an archer consumes lots of feats in Pathfinder.
1. Point-Blank Shot. This feat was the one chosen for the said character.
2. Precise Shot
3. Rapid Shot
4. Deadly Aim
5. Arcane Strike
6. Manyshot
7. Deadly Aim

I don't know which of those to take, as a Skald cannot take all of them.

Other cool feats I've found

  1. Improved Initiative — obvious.
  2. Skald's Vigor — fast healing.
  3. Greater Skald's Vigor — fast healing for everyone.
  4. Persuasive Performer — choose Sing, still use it for Diplomacy, get a +2 bonus. Even with a rather low Charisma, this build can accumulate a lot of bonuses to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Sense Motive.
  5. Deific Obedience. +4 to Perform, which turns out to be +4 to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Sense Motive.
  6. Battle Cry +1 to Attack Rolls, +4 to saves against Fear, and ability to reroll one save.

My actual question

What is it a good idea to optimize in such a party so that the Skald's player doesn't feel useless? Is the way I have currently chosen a potentially good way?

Best Answer

Well, you seem to have already narrowed it down yourself. To say it clearly...

Your party already fill most of the roles you need to have
You have two faces, damages (the blaster), more damage and some tanking (summoners).

What I don't see (though it may be present, just not pointed out in the question) is some skill monkey, heal and support.

In this list, a Skald with low Int won't be a skill monkey, but your player can effectively be decent in the remaining spots. Bards are excellent supports and can handle some healing. The avantage here is your summoner will make its invocation do the tanking, allowing your healer to be less focused on that role. (Namely, you don't need a cleric like some groups crave for).

Making him go Librarian is a good option in this case, but it could be double edged, from a playing point of view. Your character will be useful (lots of players underestimate the importance of knowledge checks) but your player might not feel the same.

Some players enjoy lore and reading the bestiary over and over, and as a player that fall in this category, I love to play knowledge character. I'm not often restricted by my character knowledge on topics and the GM fills in the blank when I'm the one lacking.

But if your player do not care about lore, or is hesitant as a new player (I've seen it happens), he/she might block when the time to share knowledge will come. Moreover, just repeating what the GM just said can seems pretty pointless after a while.

I'd follow your build (but pick Irori instead of Shelyn, since being the 3rd face is really redundant) and spew knowledges around. Being able to try all knowledge checks is invaluable and if Skald have the same kind of bonus than Bards (can't remember at the moment), investing only a few points could go a long way.

Then, does your player wants to deal a lot of damages using a bow, or just use a bow? If it is the former, go for a classic archery build centered on what the player likes to do and your party dynamic (who goes where and what is useful for a ranged character).

But I'd suggest to focus your spellcasting on healing. First, you don't seem to have that in excess. Second, it's easier to heal people than to kill things, and it is just as useful. You already have supporting abilities as a Skald, put a few common buffs in your spell list and you should be good to go. (Select according to what your party lacks). So Skald's Vigor (normal and greater) and Battle Cry are great options, if you want that player to feel useful and actually bring something to the group.