The third character I put together for this stage in Pathfinder - I've always wanted to play a 'bardbarian' so Skald really appealed to me. It's really a 5th player character class, sadly, and wouldn't work with the other characters in the group, as the inspiring song ability wouldn't assist them, as they all rely on skills based on dex/int/cha. A group with traditional, strength-based fighters would probably benefit from a skald, though.
I found the name using the website 'Behind the Name', a site I've used a lot over the years for name inspiration in fiction as well as gaming. It means 'Wolf' and I thought it sounded pretty. 'Astriddottir' is using a matronymic surname in the Icelandic style and means 'Astrid's Daughter'; she could also be Ylva Hinrikdottir. 'Astrid' came because I've always liked the name; 'Hinrik', 'Sverrir' and 'Dag' all came from going through the website - 'Tarrah' and 'Darrik' are made up because they sound kinda orc-ish.
I really wanted to play an elder half-orc sister to another player, but in the end it didn't fit with anyone else's concept, so I added the idea to Ylva with her sister Tarrah, whom I picture more as a barbarian than skald.
Ylva Astriddottir – Neutral Good Human(Ulfen) Skald (level 10)
Abilities: Str18, Dex13, Con15, Int18, Wis15, Cha18
Skill ranks: Acrobatics 3; Appraise 3; Handle Animal 2; Knowledge (arcana) 5, (dungeoneering) 5, (geography) 7, (history) 8, (local) 7, (nature) 7, (nobles) 6, (planes) 2, (religion) 6; Perception 7; Perform (sing) 10, (strings) 10; Spellcraft 5; Survival 7
Feats: Arcane Armour Training + Mastery, Arcane Blast, Fast Learner, Skald’s Vigour + Greater (fast healing equal to strength boost providing by raging song whilst maintaining song – greater extends this to allies)
Traits: Lunar Birth (+1 trait bonus on saves vs spells cast by humans); Poverty Stricken (+1 to survival checks, survival a class skill); Resilient (+1 fortitude)
Drawbacks: Family Ties (if a family member requests something you are unable to fulfil, -2 to Wis/Cha based checks until fulfilled or DC20 will save – taken daily – is passed).
Rage Powers: Elemental Rage (lesser); Unexpected Strike; Auspicious Mark
Versatile Performances: Singing (substitute sing for bluff/sense motive); String Instruments (substitute string instruments for bluff/diplomacy)
Masterpieces: Vindictive Solitude (replaces level 4 spell slot; acts like the spell Call Lightning Storm); Life Budding in Salted Earth (replaces level 3 spell slot; gives fast healing 1 to allies within 30 feet); Lullaby of Ember the Ancient (level 3 spell slot; acts as spell Deep Slumber but affects a designated target)
Spells: Level 0 – Clandestine Conversation; Cleanse of Alcohol; Disorienting Quake; Know Direction; Prestidigitation; Quill
Level 1 – Aspect of the Nightingale; Heightened Awareness; Remove Fear; Restful Sleep; Secret Speech
Level 2 – Blood Biography; Calm Emotions; Clear Moderate Wounds; Heroism; Investigative Mind
Level 3 – Cure Serious Wounds; Dispel Magic
Level 4 – Truespeak
Weapons: Ylva’s Bardiche: +1 flaming, frost, furious bardiche (I wanted flaming burst & icy burst, but couldn’t afford it)
Armour: Hero’s Hauberk (+1 adamantine chain shirt – the adamantine DR stacks with any other DR; sings along to a raging song and gains light fortification; sings along to bardic performances and gives +1 luck bonus on ability & skill checks and penalties applied to various roles are reduced by 1 per role)
Magic Gear: Amulet of Natural Armour +1, Handy Haversack, Perfect Tuning Fork (can begin a bardic performance as a swift rather than standard action when held), Ring of Protection +2
Mundane Gear: Basic Maps, Bedroll, Belt Pouch, Flint & Steel, Guide to Flora/Fauna, Ink, Pen, Journal, Utility Knife, Mess Kit, Mirror, Lyre, Rope, Waterskin x2
Appearance: Late teens, with white-blonde hair, bright blue eyes and weather-beaten yet fair skin. She’s tall and broad, muscular with the kind of build that gets described as ‘strapping’ in young men. She tends to carry her polearm strapped across her back; in the north she wears furs and other warm items, further south her clothes get closer to the ‘chainmail bikini’ trope, though still remaining warrior-like.
Ylva is her father’s first child and her mother’s second. She has two younger brothers, Sverrir and Dag, and an elder half-sister, half-orc Tarrah Darrikdottir.
Astrid Bearsinger left her homestead and went wandering as a young adult. She met and fell in love with Darrik Rustthrasher, a young and fairly lowly orc from a tribe to the north of her home. She returned with him and bore him a daughter, Tarrah, but ultimately couldn’t tolerate the conditions of the orc camp. She returned home, where she met and married Ylva’s father, Hunrik.
Tarrah remained with her father but never felt as though she fit very well into his society – hard as she worked, she was never as strong or as fierce as those around her. She spent a couple of months every year with her mother’s family, where the young Ylva idolised her brave big sister, so when Darrik died in a raid she decided to move permanently down to the pinkies. She soon found she didn’t fit in as well here as she’d thought, either. Lonely, she set out on her own and soon built up a reputation as a warrior for hire. Little Ylva loved it whenever she came back to town, always with some gift for her younger siblings and full of tales of the exciting places she had been. As soon as Ylva was old enough, she began to pester to join her sister and, after a few years of travelling, had developed a reputation of her own.
Besides her idolisation of Tarrah, Ylva helped raise Sverrir and Dag so is very protective of them. The siblings are close and she would do anything for them.
Ylva’s home is filled with the love of singing, history and skill at arms. Ylva has done her best to balance these, practicing as hard with her lyre as her bardiche and spending hours learning and reciting the histories and sagas. The competitive environment has suited her and instilled in her a love of learning and intense curiosity that further feeds her wanderlust. She is a bit of a show-off, liking to drop obscure facts into conversation.
She’s very competitive and will always rise to a challenge. Smart, strong and talented, she’s usually the victor but is as magnanimous in defeat as in victory.