Skald

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Version 0.15: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Formidable warriors in their own rights, Skalds practice a form of augmenting battle magic that is either chanted or sung. Unique to the highlands in which they originate, these spells and formulae are second nature: they can either inspire greatness in themselves and their allies, or fear in the hearts of their enemies.

Skald are warriors who use Charms magic to bolster their fighting skills. Because heavy armor hinders spellcasting, many of them prefer lighter armor than more traditional Fighters.

Contents

Preferred Races

High Elf, Halfling, Centaur, Merfolk, Draconian, and Vampire are the recommended races if you pick a Skald Background.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Starting Skills

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Skald adds 3 to your starting Strength, 5 to your starting Intelligence and 4 to your starting Dexterity.

Strategy

Although useful, the spells in your starting book should be used with care. Infusion is an excellent spell for taking out early unarmoured threats such as adders, gnolls, and ogres quickly, but don't expect it to have much effect against armoured opponents. Shroud of Golubria is a useful defensive spell to keep up whenever you enter into dangerous melee, but be careful not to overuse Infusion and find yourself suddenly out of MP. Song of Slaying can add significant bonuses to your combat performance, but be aware that it's a very loud spell; you'll be generating enough noise that enemy reinforcements will be likely to show up from unexplored parts of the floor.

Once it becomes available, Spectral Weapon gives an immense boost to your attack power, nearly doubling your damage output. This is particularly useful for polearms-wielders; you can keep the vulnerable spectral weapon safely behind you while you both get to attack. Regeneration is also tremendously useful; faster HP regeneration greatly increases your survival rate and is absolutely worth using if you aren't worshiping a good god.

Merfolk are a very strong species to play as a skald. They have excellent aptitudes for play as a nimble, lightly armoured spear-fighter, letting them cast all starting spells with ease and make the most of Spectral Weapon. High elves and vampires also work well in this role, given their solid aptitudes; high elves can branch into more spellcasting-heavy gameplay, while vampires tend toward sneaky stealth play supplemented by magically enhanced melee. Solid god selections include Okawaru (simple, straightforward combat boosts that require minimal Invocations training, and the weapon and armour gifts are always appreciated), Fedhas (wandering mushrooms are very powerful, rain is more useful to merfolk) or Kiku (allows you to branch into Necromancy, particularly useful to vampires for blood on demand). The only gods not recommended are Trog (if you want to play a magic-free character, there are much better choices than skald) and the Shining One (forbids Regeneration and works badly with Spectral Weapon).

Keep an eye out for books with further Charms spells, as there are several extremely useful low-level ones available. Repel Missiles and Swiftness are both tremendously helpful if you don't mind dabbling in Air Magic. Freezing Aura, Fire Brand, or other temporary weapon brand spells will magnify your damage in a much more useful and cost-effective way than Infusion (though they do stack if you feel like burning all your MP to help something die just a little faster). Ozocubu's Armour is excellent, especially for merfolk as they can boost their Ice Magic quickly, possibly unlocking useful attack magic in the process. In the mid-game, consider getting Haste online as quickly as possible; it may burn through your food supply a bit, but it's one of the best spells in the game and one of the main attractions of the Charms school of magic.

History

Prior to 0.14, skalds started with 20 gold.

Prior to 0.13, skalds started with +0 weapons, a book of War Chants, and couldn't select falchions.

Prior to 0.9, skalds were known as crusaders.

Prior to 0.8, crusaders used the Enchantments school of magic.

Backgrounds
Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterAssassin
Zealots BerserkerAbyssal KnightChaos Knight
Warrior-mages SkaldEnchanterTransmuterArcane MarksmanWarper
Mages WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistVenom Mage
Adventurers ArtificerWanderer