[Feat] Nordheimir Skald Training


Remus Lupin and I made this feat up for my Lankhmar thread to simulate Fafhrd. I've tweaked it a considerably and made it into its own thread here so we can get faster feedback.

Nordheimir Skald Training: Loremaster
You have been trained in the oral history and sagas of your people by the famed Skalds of Nordheim.

Prerequisite: Must be a Nordheimer, Knowledgeable, Perform (Oratory) 1 rank, 1 rank in any two knowledge skills.

A character with this feat may perform a Lore check to recall obscure or legendary information. A Lore check is made with a bonus equal to his character level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. A successful Lore check will not reveal the powers of a magic item but may give a hint to its general function. A skald may not take 10 or 20 on this check; this sort of knowledge is essentialy random. The GM determines the DC of the Lore check as follows:

DC 10: Common, known by at least a substantial minority of the locals.
DC 20: Uncommon, but available, known by only a few people in the area.
DC 25: Obscure, known by a few, hard to come by.
DC 30: Extremely obscure, known to only a very few, or its significance unknown, or forgotten.

Special: A skald who moves into a new area receives a -10 penalty to Lore checks until he has resided there for a period of thirty days or more. An "area" is defined as 10 mile radius centered on the skald's residence, because most people never travel farther than 10 miles from their birthplace and are thus limited in the knowledge they will be able to impart. A skald who moves into an area he has previously resided in for a period of thirty days or more has this penalty reduced to -5 for the first thirty days of his return as he will already have familiarity with the place and contacts in the area.

If a skald has 5 or more ranks in a Knowledge skill that applies to the subject in question, he gains a +2 bonus on all Lore checks regarding this area of expertise.

Nordheimir Skald Training: Warsinger
You have been trained in the songs of your people by the Skalds of Nordheim.

Prerequisite: Must be a Nordheimer, Nordheimir Skald Training: Loremaster, Knowledgeable, Perform (Oratory) 3 ranks, Perform (Sing) 3 ranks, 2 ranks in any two knowledge skills.

A character with this feat may craft and perform legendary songs. These songs can either be inspiring or intimidating. Characters may perform any type of song they qualify for. You may perform any one of the options this feat bestows once per day. All uses of this feat are considered extraordinary mind-affecting abilities.

Singing or chanting is a free action and does not provoke an attack of opportunity. However, each time the skald is hit while singing or chanting, he must make a Concentration check to continue the song or chant (DC 10 + Damage dealt). Failure means the song or chant ends immediately and any lingering effects end at the end of the round the skald failed his save, unless noted otherwise (for example, if a flat duration is indicated).

Inspire Courage: A skald with three ranks in Perform (Sing) can sing so that all allies within 30 ft. (including the skald) receive a +1 morale bonus to Will saves vs. fear/terror and charm effects, and a +1 morale bonus to hit and damage. This bonus increases to +2 at 10 ranks of Perform (Sing), +3 at 15 ranks, and +4 at 20 ranks.

Inspire Competence: A skald with six or more ranks in Perform (Sing) can cause one ally within 30 ft. (including himself) to gain a +2 morale bonus to one skill check. This bonus stacks with the aid another action. This bonus increases to +3 with 12 ranks in Perform (Sing), and +4 with 18 ranks.

Inspire Emotion: A skald with three or more ranks in Performance (Sing) can move an audience within 30 ft. to joy, lust or tears (skald's choice). The skald uses his Magic Attack Bonus to set the DC of the Will save to resist. If he succeeds, he gains a +2 bonus to his next Bluff (non-combat only), Diplomacy or Gather Information skill check against the targets if made within 24 hours of his performance. This bonus increases to +3 with 6 ranks, and +4 with 12 ranks.

War Chant: A skald with 3 or more ranks in Perform (Sing) can intone a grim, bloody-minded war chant to strike fear into his foes, who will see him as an implacable and deadly foe. He uses his Magic Attack roll to set the DC of the target creatures' Will saves. A war chant causes affected foes to become shaken for five rounds.

War March: A skald with 3 or more ranks in Perform (Sing) can increase the walking, hustling or marching movement of a group of willing allies (including himself) by a number of miles per day equal to his Charisma modifier x2. This bonus does not apply to running or mounted movement.

Special: This feat may be taken up to three times; each time you take it, you may use it an additional time per day.

[2/27/04 EDIT] Broke up into a two feat chain; expanded options for songs/chants.

[2/28/04 EDIT] Added Knowledgeable as prerequisite. Removed Inspire Greatness, Inspire Heroics and Seduce Paramour. Revised Inspire Emotion to apply the bonus to Bluff (non-combat only) and Gather Information in addition to Diplomacy. This allows the skald to manipulate his audience as he sees fit. Bluffing could incorporate seduction, or convincing that the story in the song was true, etc. Now there are only five uses for the feat, which is more manageable.

[EDIT 2/28/04] Added penalties to Lore checks in Loremaster feat under Special. Redefined "synergy" bonus under Special
Awsome concept Iron Chef, but I think it is way over powered for a single feat. At the very least I would break the Lore ability and the Chant ability into two feats. How about something like:

Nordheimir Skald Training: Basic (working title)
You have begun to learn the complex histories and oral tales entrusted to the Skalds of Nordheim and to seek out new tales of your own.

Feats: Knolwedgable
Skills: Perform 1 rank, 1 rank in any two knolwedge skill
Special: Must be Nordheimir

You gain the Lore ability as per Bardic knolwedge blah blah blah...


Nordheimir Skald Training: Advanced (working title)
You have completed your tranning as a Skald and have learned to use your powerful voice and vast knolwedge of the great deeds of past heroes to move men's hearts.

Feats: Nordheimir Skald Traning: Basic, Knolwedgable
Skills: Perform[Oratory] 3 ranks, Perform[Sing] 3 ranks, 2 rank in any two knolwedge skills
Special: must be Nordheimir

You may make an Inspiring performance or an Intimidating performance 1/day blah blah blah...

This feat may be taken more than once (??up to three times??) each time it is taken the character may make one additional Inspire or Intimidate performance per day

Also: having the characters perform check set the DC of the War Chant ability is way too good. That works for the Bard's Facinate ability because if anyone threatens the Facinated creature it breaks the facination. I would suggest something more along the lines of

A DC 10 perform check sets a Will save DC of 10 + Cha mod + (2 for every 5 points by which the perform check beats 10)

So a perform of 10-14 is Dc 10 + Cha mod
a perform of 15-19 is DC 12 + Cha mod
a perform of 20-24 is DC 14 + Cha mod
and so on

Or just have the character make a magic attack roll. One of the perks of every class having a Magic Attack progression!

Still, really great concept. I bet your campagin is getting really intresting!
I have to concur with argo, both about splitting it into separate feats, and about how much fun it must be to play in one of your campaigns, Iron_Chef ;)
Revised the feat as suggested, breaking it into two feets. Expanded the song/chant options. Is it more balanced now?
Here's some fun stuff for Skalds. I'm making up a Vanir Skald (Barbarian/Pirate) and needed some fun stuff for him to say.


To Shadizar a red-haired son
From Vanaheim did come;
His axe held strong and true,
But soft men sought to challenge him,
And from their necks the severed heads
Cursed and died, and flew.

---The Ballad Of The Singing Butcher Of Shadizar

“I have seen the hoar-frost glittering in the sun; I have
heard the wind whispering across the everlasting
snows.” (swiped from Frost Giant's Daughter)

“You are beautiful like dawn running naked on the
snows.” (swiped from Frost Giant's Daughter)

“I have seen much of beauty in this world, but none so
fair as yourself. I shall have to check the temples to see
if one of their goddesses is missing."


“Live today, for tomorrow you may be dead!”

"Men who cannot be killed should be avoided."

“Our desires are quickly spoken but not so easily

"Raise not my wrath if you would keep thy head, knaveling!
We northmen are a vicious, hot-tempered breed. We meet
insolent tongues with cold steel. Best save your jests for one who
will not take your head off at the shoulders when his blood is up."


Come hither, you whoreson dogs; face my axe and

I can’t promise you a clean death, but I can promise
you it will end quickly, and in my favor.

You soft-bred city scum cleave like butter before my

I had hoped for a challenge from hard men with
calloused hands and well-worn hilts; instead I find
myself beset by a gaggle of toothless old hags with
nary an ounce of courage between them!

My last two coppers for a real challenge! This axe
grows thirsty for the blood of warriors, not whelps.

O-ho! A challenge at last! I knew someone like you
was too ugly to die easily.

Finish me if you can, and by Ymir’s frosty breath,
make a good show of it. I’ll not go down quietly when
my brothers watch from Valhalla!

By my father’s blood, you vex me!

For Ymir, For Atali, For Van and Valhalla!

The first man and woman were formed from two
perfect drops of sweat from Ymir’s left armpit; but I
would swear you were born from the bowels of a dog!
Ho-ho! Never before have I seen such ill-breeding in
all my travels. There are many in this world counted
among the ugly, but none so unwholesome as you.
Killing you will be doing the world a favor!

Let the red winds rage! The son of Van is among you!

Run, run from the Red Reaver, ere I cast your soul out
screaming, and use your head for a chamberpot!

Let the hot blood drip black from my crimsoned axe!

I’ll varnish the floor with your brains!

I’ll pile your filthy heads at Ymir’s feet!

When my red heart lies smoking on Ymir’s board, it
shall not be found wanting! Come forward then, and die!

Where are you from then? (...) Say you so? Then the tale is
true: That’s where they raise dogs for men! Have at you!
Geezer said:
Haha, great skald stuff Iron_Chef! :D

You whip up stuff faster than I read the rule book.

Thanks. I am a lean, mean, idea-spewing machine. :wink:

I'm now wondering if maybe it still isn't too powerful, or might not be better off as one of those dreaded Conan prestige classes I'm against... :shock:
Great work, I like most of the changes (especially the names, Loremaster and Warsinger - I can never come up with cool stuff like that). Here are a few more thoughts.

re: NST:Loremaster; I still think that you should include a preq of Feat: Knowledgeable for two reasons.
1) It makes sense that before a character can start pulling information out of thin air that they need to invest themselves in becomming just a little smarter than the average bear.
2) It is important, IMHO, to limit level progression. As you have it now, a Nordheimir who takes levels of barbarian (their favored class) could get both NST feats at first level. If that is your intent then, of course, go ahead. But it seems to me that a skald is supposed to be a special and respected position and to me that says not first level. Now if you use Knowledgeable as a preq then that means our first level Barb can have Knowledgeable and NST:Loremaster and be an "aprentice skald" which seems more fitting to me, but by third level he can easily become a full blow skald, which also seems fitting to me. Of course that means he has spent all his feats thus far on non-combat stuff but, hey thats balance.

Also, considering the sharp divide between cultures in the Hyborean age, I would consider giving a skald who moves into a new region a -5 or so penalty to Lore for the first month or two. Kinda like the way reputation works.

re: NST:Warsinger; I see that you decided to go with a Magic Attack Roll for the Will saves. Yeah, I think that that will be a good thing. Every class has a magic attack so why not use it eh? Also might give a upper level skald a reason to consider multiclassing with Scholar, which could work if he maybe focuses on stuff like warding and divination. Is there much mith about skalds laying curses or being friendly with animals?

As for the abilities. I like Inspire Courage, Competence and Emotion. I also like War Chant and March. I am worried that Inspire Greatness and Heroics are too powerful for a Conan game. There already exists virtually zero effects to buff other people which makes the simple, low powered Inspire Courage practically jaw droppingly powerful simply by default. As a matter of fact, I have made up my mind, Inspire Greatness and Heroics need to go, they are just too out of place in Hyborea. Also Seduce Pararmour does not seem very "skaldic" too me. A skald should have a good Cha to begin with, throw in a few standard perform, diplomacy and bluff checks and he should have no problem with the ladies without needing a special ability.

All in all though this is very good. I like trying to introduce special abilities as feats rather than prestiege classes (which I don't think fit Conan very well either). There will defenatly be some Skalds in any Conan game I run!
:idea: Argo, thanks for the feedback! Very helpful; I knew it still wasn't right, but was too close to the project to be objective. :wink:

Added Knowledgeable as prerequisite. Removed Inspire Greatness, Inspire Heroics and Seduce Paramour. Revised Inspire Emotion to apply the bonus to Bluff (non-combat only) and Gather Information in addition to Diplomacy. This allows the skald to manipulate his audience as he sees fit. Bluffing could incorporate seduction, or convincing that the story in the song was true, etc. Now there are only five uses for the feat, which is more manageable.

Added penalties to Lore checks in Loremaster feat under Special. Redefined "synergy" bonus under Special
Just thinking 'bout Skalds some more, thought I might try building one to see what he looks like.

Race Nordheimer: +2 con, -2 Dex, +1 on wilderness skills, +1 damage w/sword, Wep prof: Broadsword, Wep Familiarity: War Sword

Class Barbarian (favored class)

28 pt buy:
Str: 15
Dex: 12 (14 -2)
Con: 12 (10 +2)
Int: 13
Wis: 10
Cha: 13

At 4th level +1 Con, at 6th level +1 to all

Level 1: Knowledgeable
Favored 1: NST:Loremaster
Level 3: NST:Warsinger
Favored 5: Power Attack
Level 6: Fighting-Madness (or another NST:Warsiger if that is your focus)

So at 3rd level he will look like:
HD 3d10+3 (23); Init +4 (+1 Dex, +3 Reflex); Speed 25 ft; DV (Dodge): 13 (+2 level, +1 Dex); DV (Parry v Meele): 13 (+1 level, +2 Str); DR: 7 (Brigandine +6, steel cap +1); Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+5; Attack: war sword +5 meele (1d12+4) or axe +4 ranged (1d8+2); Full Attack: war sword +5 meele (1d12+4) or axe +4 ranged (1d8+2); Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft; Special Attacks: +1 to damage with any sword; Special Qualities: Lore, Warsinging 1/day, Fearless (+2 Will v Fear), Versatility (-2 penalty), Bite Sword, Crimson Mist, Trap Sense +1; Magic Attack Bonus: +1 (+0 level, +1 Cha); Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +1; Abilities: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 13; Skills: (use bonus points from Int for Knowledge, prioritize class points towards Perform first and then physical skills like climb); Feats: Knowledgeable, NST:Loremaster, NST:Warsinger, Track, Endurance; Possessions: War Sword, 2 Axes, dagger, Brigandine armor, steel cap

And at 6th level:
HD 6d10+12 (47); Init +6 (+1 Dex, +5 Ref); Speed 25ft, DV (Dodge): +5 (+4 level, +1 Dex); DV (Parry): +5 (+2 level, +3 Str); DR: 8 (Brigandine +6, great hlem +2); Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+9; Attack: war sword +10 meele (1d12+5) or axe +7 ranged (1d8+3); Full Attack: war sword +10/+5 meele (1d12+5) or axe +7 ranged (1d8+3); Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft; Special Attacks: +1 dmg with swords; Special Qualities: Lore, Warsinging 1/day, Fearless (+2 Will v Fear), Versatility (-2 penalty), Bite Sword, Crimson Mist, Trap Sense +2, Uncanny Dodge, Mobility; Magic Attack Bonus:+3 (+1 level, +2 Cha); Saves: Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2; Abilities: Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 14; Sills: (continue as before); Feats: Knowledgeable, NST:Loremaste, NST:Warsinger, Power Attack, Fighting Madness, Track, Endurance, Diehard; Possessions: MW War Sword, 2 axes, dagger, brigandine armor, great helm

Looks pretty good to me 8)
Played my Vanir Skald tonight; what a blast! His skald powers weren't overwhelming but gave a slight edge that tipped a few fights in our favor, which is what I envisioned they would do. I only used Inspire Courage (+1). Three feats is a huge penalty to pay for full Skald powers, though I suppose it's balanced as it's the only way to get party buffs in Conan, while being versatile enough to do other cool things out of battle (war march, inspire emotion). I was sorely missing those two extra feats pretty much utterly wasted on Knowledgeable and LoreMaster (at least so far---I flubbed the only Lore check I got to make); they severely hampered my combat ability. I wanted Power Attack and Fighting Madness... :twisted: In the long run, however, it probably works out, as Warsinger gives me so much more versatility and group usefulness, even if I can only use the feat once per day. Deciding when to use it was a major decision; I was glad I always waited to use it as a last resort, and never used it where it would draw undue attention to the group (or me). I never got hit while warsinging, either, but that's pure luck. :D I'm too afraid I'll need it for a fight to use the non-combat applications so far.

The Barbarian Versatility feature came in handy instantly, as I found myself enslaved with an opportunity to escape, so I slammed the slave wagon door into the face of a passing guard as an improvised weapon.
The Pirate's Ferocious Attack was superb, as was To Sail A Road Of Blood & Slaughter. I was a cold-blooded killing machine, putting foes down and then mutilating them beyond recognition with my bardiche. My only problem was fighting heavily armored foes with greatswords... I ended up switching to using a shield and battleaxe to get my Parry up. I got hit less, but did significantly less damage... That extra d10 really helps out.

Anyway, my first time playing Conan was fantastic (though the big battle against near equal numbers of 10 armored opponents got a bit tedious and took over two hours to resolve). I am lucky that my co-GM and I are both clever at making up detailed adventures, so we can trade off and still have fun. I'd done so much GMing lately, I was dying to play!
Glad to hear it went well. Sounds like the game was an awful lot of fun. How are you working the particulars of sharing the GM duties?