So here is version 2 of my Skald playbook.

So here is version 2 of my Skald playbook.

So here is version 2 of my Skald playbook. It’s a barbarian/bard hybrid, or a fighty-er and bawdier version of a bard.

In version 2 I added names, looks, bonds, I’ve updated Gear options (adding a precise 2 handed sword), and edited some advanced moves: Solid Note, Party Animal (thanks David Guyll), Blistering Invective, and Legend Lore (which needed a buff since rolling a 12+ on a move based off a stat you’re likely going to have a +0 in was weak).

I would still love to hear feedback on any moves you like or don’t like and any suggestions you have to improve current moves.

8 thoughts on “So here is version 2 of my Skald playbook.”

  1. My only crit is that too many moves just boil down to mechanics. A plus 1 here or there, or a plus damage.

    You should try and make more of these in line with the fiction first approach.

  2. Jay Vee It looks like half of my moves boil down to mechanics and half are more fiction based. Quickly perusing the core playbooks that’s true of just about every class except the druid (the ranger and thief are also a little under 50% and the fighter and paladin a little above).

    This was intentional on my part, as I assume it was intentional by Sage and Adam. Some people like +1’s and extra damage, some people like moves they can use creatively. There is some of each.  You could level this class the whole way to 10 and get all fiction based moves or all mechanics moves. Also the fiction first moves really eat up page space, sometimes it’s nice to have a one line +1 to armor move just to save space.

    That said, are there any of the mechanic moves you particularly dislike, and do you have any ideas of more fiction-y moves to replace them? I know +1 armor moves aren’t exactly sexy, but most fighting classes have one.

  3. Well, the preponderance of plain +1s is a weakness in the core books too. In general, purely mechanical moves are boring. The idea of fiction first is that what’s happening in the scene is more important than numbers, which is why it’s a little strange to me when you say things like

    “Also the fiction first moves really eat up page space, sometimes it’s nice to have a one line +1 to armor move just to save space.”

    In terms of how this game works and generally shakes out in play, that’s like saying a Fighter shouldn’t have a weapon because it takes up too much space, mechanics are only a third of what a character should be, at most.

    All of your moves should impact the fiction in some way, maybe they have some mechanics in support of that fiction, maybe not, but the fiction is always the first part you should think of. A one line +1 to armor doesn’t tell us anything, and it becomes a boring non-choice between “Do I choose something that makes me better at my main action but does nothing otherwise, or do I choose this other thing that’s really cool?”

    Whereas a one line move telling us X happens, has told us that this happens regardless of a dice roll, maybe your character is just that damn good, maybe they’re blessed by gods, but a fictional move without mechanics is still always going to be better than a mechanical move with no fiction.

    As for what I would do instead for this playbook:


    This is a great move! I love the way it leads to interesting questions which leads to interesting outcomes in the game. My issue with this move is that it doesn’t seem to fit the theme of your Skald (which is supposed to be a Bard/Barbarian mashup)

    This move would fit right at home on a Wizard, or Cleric

    Raging Song (Cha)

    Maybe something like this fits the warrior-poet vibe a little better?

    Song of Blood (Cha)

    When you raise your voice and sing out the war chants of your people, choose an ally, or yourself, and an effect:

    • Take half damage from the next three attacks

    • Strike fear into the hearts of your enemy

    • Cannot be trapped, tied down, or ensnared

    • Burst through doors and barricades

    Then roll+Cha. On a 10+ Choose a second ally to gain the same benefit. On a 7-9, your song still works but you draw unwanted attention or the recipient’s reckless behavior puts them in a spot, GM’s choice.

    Skaldic Lore

    This is just a renamed Bardic Lore, is this really necessary? Does it fit with your barbarian/bard idea? Do barbarian bards know any details about spells and magicks, the grand history of the world, or the planar spheres? Or are a lot of these too ‘civilized’? It’s like the Scribe move above, it stands out as not fitting very well. Here’s what I’d do.

    Nomad’s Lore

    When you Discern Realities about a situation that:

    • Can potentially erupt in violence; Ask “Which is my strongest enemy right now?”

    • Can lead to an interesting story; Ask “Who or what should I pay attention to?”

    • Involves strange magic; Ask “What is the source of this magic?”

    You can ask the applicable question for free on top of any normal Discern Realities questions, the GM will answer truthfully. The GM may then ask you what tale, song, or legend you heard that information in.


    This one is interesting, I see a lot of your moves reference drinking, why is that? Either way, I would replace this one with Party Animal as a starting move but change it like this:

    Party Animal

    A Skald does not need to return triumphant to make the Carouse move. You always take +1 to your roll, but things will always get out of hand.

    Coincidentally, any or all of these should also save a lot of page space.

    Here’s a link to a post from Sage’s blog outlining exactly what I’m talking about when I say that the mechanics are, at best, only a third of what a character actually is:

    I hope my critiques help.

  4. Jay Vee To call the +1’s in the core book a weakness is sort of like saying that there is only one right way to play. Some people like those sort of moves, I imagine they speak to the optimizers I have one player at my table who only chooses those kinds of moves, and two others who do some of each. I think Sage and Adam included them in their classes for good reason and 50/50 is a good enough balance. I want the players to have fun first, fiction is a close second.

    As far as space is concerned, fitting 20ish moves on one page is tough. Cuts had to be made. However the place to do that is not in the beginning moves. That first page is the time to be lavish, since you have more space to work with and those are your class hallmarks. I would be very hesitant to make even one starting move that is just an addition to a basic move like discern realities(in all of the core class starting moves this only happens once with the Barbarian).


    There is more to the skald than just bard/barbarian, that was simply a shorthand for some of what you can expect. As a writer of tales and poetry I’m fine with the scribe move being included in the class, and I’m glad you liked it

    Raging Song

    I’m pretty set on Raging song being in the format it’s in. The core of it is that it gives better buffs than Arcane Art, but the rage comes at a cost so there is a disadvantage even on a 10+. Other than that it’s based very much on Arcane Art which I think is a pretty solid move; I just wanted to make it more combat oriented. I do agree that the effects I’ve chosen could be better though, especially the last one of the three. I’ve been toying around with less mechanical buffs/debuffs but haven’t come up with anything I love yet.

    Skaldic Lore is mostly a reprint of Bardic Lore. I liked that move when I played a bard, and it’s pretty iconic of being bardy. I did remove grand history of the world and planar spheres from the list if you noticed, and replaced them with something I thought was more appropriate to the Skald. I’m open to more substitutions on the list as well, or perhaps a new list entirely, but it’s too good a move for generating excitement and player interest to throw away.

    Brewer is the move I know is the most problematic. I realize the heavy focus on drinking is not for everyone. I just pictured a big rowdy guy hanging out in taverns a lot may want to get his drink on. Brewer is obviously patterned after the thief poisoner move, but I wanted to keep going with the buffing at a cost aspect of the skald. If I replace this I will need a whole new avenue of move types to replace one of the bigger moves that has several sort of related advanced moves. I’m torn, because I can’t think of a cool move to replace this, and party animal isn’t quite enough to be a starting move.

    That was a lot of text. I appreciate that you took the time to read my playbook and offer feedback, it was extremely helpful.

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