Hello everyone, and welcome to another fantastic edition of Best in Class, where we provide you with new class features and archetypes each and every week. It’s Viking Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, a weeklong celebration of Vikings. As it happens, we have a new book out, Ancient Warriors: the Vikings, which conveniently ties into our theme week here. What better way to kick off Viking Week than to scope out our new book devoted to everyone’s favorite Norse warrior culture? As it happens, Ancient Warriors: Vikings actually contains a whole lot of class-related options: with 3 new prestige classes devoted to 3 iconic Viking warriors, and new archetypes for a wide variety of your favorite Pathfinder classes, the whole thing serves as one epic Best in Class article with a much tighter focus (and a whole lot of extra bells and whistles you only get in our for-pay products).
If you’re still reading this and you haven’t picked up a copy yet… what are you waiting for!? It’s on sale right now for a very reasonable price, and the article will still be here when you get back.
So now that you have your copy of Ancient Warriors: Vikings, you might be wondering just what we could possibly have left in terms of new class-related material to bring you about Vikings. Well, hold on to your hats, because we’re going to talk about a very important Viking archetype which did not make it in to the book.
New Bard Archetype
The viking skald is a poet of highest skill and honor, required not only to compose epic poems, but also to record the history of great deeds and incorporate them into his compositions. While he is an entertainer, often in high demand as a court bard, he focuses less on entertaining large groups and more on the deeds of a single great hero. Because a skald must record the deeds of great warriors and kings, he often is forced to face battles and worse in service of his craft, and he knows that though the pen may be mightier than the sword, it’s unlikely to protect you in the heat of battle, and won’t earn you a trip to Valhalla in the afterlife.
Skaldic Form (Ex): A viking skald focuses on complex biographical poetic form describing the accounts and deeds of a single champion. While these poetic verses can be less profound to a wide audience, the subjects of these tales find them incredibly inspiring and can be spurred to even greater heights by the viking skald’s performance. At 1st level, whenever the viking skald uses bardic performance to inspire courage, he may choose to affect only a single target; if he does, that character gains twice the ordinary bonus granted by the viking skald’s inspire courage ability.
At 6th level this ability improves, allowing the viking skald to apply this ability to his inspire competence bardic performance ability, provided that the target has at least 1 rank in the skill which the Viking skald is granting a bonus to.
At 12th level this ability improves further, allowing the viking skald to apply this ability to his inspire greatness bardic performance ability, and at 18th level, he can apply this ability to his greater heroics bardic performance ability.
This ability replaces the countersong, fascinate, suggestion, soothing performance, and mass suggestion class features.
Versatile Weapon Training (Ex): A viking skald’s hazardous occupation causes him to value martial prowess more than most bards. At 2nd level, the viking skald may choose a single weapon and gain the appropriate Weapon Proficiency feat as a bonus feat to become proficient with it. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, he may choose another weapon with which to become proficient.
This ability replaces the versatile performance class feature.
Weapon Expertise (Ex): Through a combination of hard work and poetic study, the viking skald becomes an expert in the use of a single weapon of his choice. At 2nd level, the viking skald gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat for any weapon with which he is proficient.
This ability replaces the well-versed class feature.
Warrior Poet (Ex): Spending all his time either around viking warriors or composing complex poems about their skills and deeds has made the viking skald a true expert on the warrior’s craft, capable of not only understanding the warrior trade on a theoretical level but also able to understand those skills on a practical basis. Beginning at 10th level, the viking skald counts as a fighter of ½ his bard level for the purposes of qualifying for feats.
This ability replaces the jack of all trades class feature.