Realsorceror’s Guide to the Battle Herald
Last Update: 4/15/15 - added Pathfinder Unchained options to the Multiclassing section
Go team! You are the Battle Herald; You are here to make moving cinematic movie speeches and give out little patriot flags and high-fives. You are a booster and you like making everyone else look good and do what they do even better.
A lot of how you play your Herald is determined by those first few levels you take before entering the class. But before we discuss that, let’s take a look at what Battle Herald has to offer so we can keep that in mind when determining base classes and what kind of character you’re aiming for. Remember that although a Herald is strongest in a party that relies on physical attacks, almost any group can benefit from having one around if you tailor your choices accordingly.
This guide follows the usual color-code that such guides commonly employ.
Purple - Why aren’t you already taking this?
Blue - Often your best option and highly recommended.
Green - Above average and usually your second best choice.
Yellow - It’s alright if you’re getting it for free. Otherwise not so much.
Red - This is pretty bad. Avoid it if at all possible.
Pink - Don’t ever take this. For the most part I won’t even mention most options that are this bad except for the sake of completeness.
Inspiring Command (Ex) This is the BH’s primary ability that functions exactly like Bardic Performance and stacks with levels of any class that grants Inspire Courage for determining the total bonus. Rounds of Bardic Performance can be used on Inspiring Commands, but rounds of Inspiring Command can only be used to Inspire Courage or use the Herald’s own abilities. Normally Commands and Performances cannot be maintained at the same time unless you can finagle an effect like Lingering Performance (which you should be doing).
Battle Magic: Use this out of combat on yourself or ally to add extra duration to a buff or in combat for that extra umph on a spell. Downgrade to Orange if you don’t have casters in your party or you didn’t go 4 levels of Bard.
None Shall Fall: The 1d6 hit points will stabilize a dying character and might push them back to consciousness. And the free save against poison is nice all on it’s own.
Rally: Terrible. You have so many other abilities that grant bonuses against fear that is just redundant.
Reveille: If you have a Barbarian in your party, granting a save against fatigue is good times. And the ability to auto-wake sleeping party members is nice in an ambush.
Sound the Charge: This should be one of your first Commands you learn, especially if you have a melee focused group. While it doesn’t stack with Inspire Courage, the bonus on charging means you’ll want to open combat with this most of the time.
Teamwork: The whole party increases the success of the Aid Another action and increases the bonus it grants. Yes, you are all about that life. Especially good with other stacking bonuses to Aid Another, such as Order of the Dragon.
Improved Leadership (Ex) If your game allows Leadership, this bonus is fantastic since the Herald can make even weak followers very powerful. Otherwise this is useless.
Voice of Authority (Ex) A small bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate can’t hurt. The second ability makes it easier for allies to hear you over other loud noises, such as fighting. I’ve never had a GM require a check for this but I suppose it’s nice if it did become an issue.
Easy March (Ex) Another ability that I’ve never had come up in a game which would be more useful for weak followers than for other PC’s.
Inspire Greatness (Ex) Just like the Bard ability. This is gained at the same level and improves at the same rate as a full Bard, which is great.
Banner (Ex) This ability is gained at a very late level but does stack with any Cavalier levels you have. The situational bonus to attacks while charging should also stack with Inspire Courage and bonus on saves against fear is on all the time.
Teamwork Feat As with the Tactician ability this grants another Teamwork Feat, except this one can be granted as a Move Action instead of a Standard.
Demanding Challenge (Ex) You gain this ability at the same level as a standard Cavalier; late. It’s a nice addition but you only have 1 or 2 Challenges per day whereas a straight Cavalier would have 4 or 5.
Persistent Command (Ex) Although this only triggers when you’re in trouble, it allows you to keep maintaining your Commands after you would normally be unable to do so, up to a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier. It even works when you’re dead!
Inspire Last Stand (Ex) I can’t see this being used too often at the level it’s gained, but it’s a free command in addition to the standard one you learn. And even granting someone the Deihard feat for a round would auto-stabilize a dying character.
Complex Commands (Ex) Maintain two different Inspiring Commands and a Bardic Performance? Three effects at once?! This is better than many 20th level capstones except you’re getting it at 15th level.
For the most part your ability array should be closer to your Cavalier side than your Bard side. This is a class with full BAB, a d10 hit dice, and close or medium range auras that require you to be within a move action of wherever the fighting is happening. Focus on Strength, Constitution, and Charisma, with Dexterity being secondary and Wisdom and Intelligence being tertiary. Depending on the makeup of your party you may favor ranged attacks over melee, but you’ll still want to stay within that first range increment.
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Class Features: Challenge and Inspire Courage
Skills: 5 ranks in Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perform (Oratory); 2 ranks in Profession (soldier)
These requirements mean you’re going to need 5 levels of other classes before becoming a Battle Herald. Battle Herald is essentially a fusion prestige class that melds two classes together, much like the Rage Prophet. As such the number of ways to qualify are intentionally limited.
Fortunately the skill requirements are all things you’re likely going to want anyway for this type of role, meaning the most important decision you need to make is whether to have 4 levels in your Challenge class or your Inspire Courage class.
While there is really only one class that grants the Challenge ability, you still have a lot of decisions to make with it thanks to archtypes. If you want to begin the game as a frontline melee character, gain early Order benefits, or have a stronger Mount, you should consider investing in this class and dipping into the other.
Cavalier (1-4 levels)
Vanilla Cavalier is neither a good nor bad choice and you’re going to need at least a level of it no matter what. Even if you prefer to focus on Bard this is at least a huge boost to your equipment proficiencies and survivability. If you stick with Cavalier a lot of it’s usefulness will be determined by which Order you choose.
Order of the Cockatrice - The small boost to damage on a Challenge isn’t much but what you’d really be taking this order for is Dazzling Display. This could potentially apply the Shaken debuff to all foes within 30ft. This is especially good if other party members have powers that trigger off of this debuff.
Order of the Dragon - If you intend to take 4 Cavalier levels this is actually a strong choice. The circumstance bonus from the Challenge stacks with Inspire Courage. And since you want to be close to allies you are often in position to Aid Another.
Order of the Lion - The dodge bonus to AC stacks with everything. The competence bonus against Fear effects also stacks with the moral bonus against fear from Inspire Courage and your Banner. A very strong choice.
Order of the Shield - The best reason to take this Order doesn’t come until 8th level and by then you don’t want to still be in this class. Not great.
Order of the Star - If you have a strong Charisma score and decided to take Evangelist Cleric you may consider taking 2 levels, but really you’d be better off with more levels of Cleric.
Order of the Sword - With all the moral bonuses you’re going to be throwing around the ones granted by this order will probably be overlapped early on.
Beast Rider - This could make your mount a little more durable and make it viable longer than the standard mount. If you intend to go with 4 levels of Cavalier and take Boon Companion this option isn’t bad.
Daring Champion - An archtype that pairs well with Exemplar Brawler (see the next section) because of similar armor restrictions, the Daring Champion trades mounted combat for Swashbuckler panache abilities. Additionally, you get to circumvent the Int requirement for feats by using your better Charisma bonus.
Emissary - You lose Tactician in exchange for more mobility and mounted abilities. Taking Fleet and being able to move in medium armor is nice and will let you maneuver alongside your fellow combatants, but the main reason to do that was Tactician.
Esquire - This opens up a lot of interesting options for you. Your mount and mounted class features are replaced by a cohort that can hold your banner for you and gains your teamwork feats and challenge bonuses. This frees up your hands for other weapons and tasks and lets you position your flag separately from yourself. And because your buddy advances as a cohort and not a special mount it should continue to gain levels even when you leave Cavalier.
Standard Bearer - Yes. What was a lackluster archtype before suddenly becomes much more appealing. Because you aren’t likely to ever take more than 4 levels, the vanilla Cavalier would lose out on the Banner ability until much later. Standard Bearer fixes that by moving the Mount ability (which you don’t really want) to 5th level (which you aren’t going to take). This is also the best 1 level dip option if you’d prefer 4 levels of Bard.
Strategist - Unless your party has other members with mounts or animals, take Strategist for the more useful Drill Instructor ability if you intend go 4th level Cavalier. Strategist can also be paired with Standard Bearer.
Samurai - Strictly speaking, this is a worse option than Cavalier. You want to be a team player and losing Tactician to the self-only Resolve ability isn’t great. While it’s nice that Resolve can refresh off of your Challenge ability, you will likely only ever have 2 uses of Challenge.
Swordsaint - This Samurai archtype replaces your mounted class features with more melee focused abilities, which can make it slightly better. The trouble is that these abilities scale with your Samurai level and you are a multiclass character.
Way of the Warrior - The DR only works against the target of your Challenge and won’t ever improve. You will only have a single use of Honor In All Things. Skip it.
Ronin - Slightly better than the above since the abilities function all the time
Now here’s where things get even more interesting. In addition to the many Bard archtypes there are actually several completely different classes that can grant Inspire Courage, which could make for some very different Battle Heralds.
Bard (1-4 levels)
The advantages of going 4 levels of Bard are many, including having 2nd level spells, more skill points, and upgrading your Inspire Courage to +2 as soon as you enter Battle Herald. Here is a brief overview on the available archtypes. Those that lose Inspire Courage will not be covered, including; Archaeologist, Archivist, Celebrity, Court Bard, Daredevil, Detective, Magician, Sandman, Street Performer
Animal Speaker - Not especially useful to you.
Arcane Duelist - Rallying Cry is a welcome addition to your abilities and gaining Arcane Strike and Combat Casting for free is icing on the cake. These all replace abilities that you wouldn’t normally use or that won’t scale into your Herald career.
Demagogue - Gain your Inspire Courage five levels late? How about no.
Dervish Dancer - Normally this is a great archtype, but not for Mr Teamwork. If your party does not have a lot of other weapon-based characters and you need to be frontline melee upgrade this archtype to Blue. Or just take more Cavalier instead.
Dirge Bard - Nothing special unless you expect to deal with a lot of undead or similar monsters.
Geisha - Lose your ability to cast in any kind of armor and gain nothing useful.
Savage Skald - Inspiring Blow is a pretty small bonus that would end your better performances.
Sea Singer - The usefulness of this archtype will be based on the campaign. If you are commanding a ship up this to Green. Even if the campaign will never even look at water many of the bonuses can still be used.
Songhealer - With as few caster levels as you have you’d be better off with Versatile Performer.
Sound Striker - You won’t get much damage out of this ability but you might use it more often than Inspire Competence.
Brawler (Exemplar) (1-5 levels)
One of the few new class archtypes to qualify (sadly the Skald never gets Inspire Courage) the Exemplar Brawler has the benefit of having the same full BAB and d10 hit points as your Cavalier side. While you likely might not ever use the unarmed bonuses the numerous combat feats you receive can just as easily be used with your lance or spear. Brawler also relaxes the Int requirement on important feats like Combat Expertise, allowing you to dump a stat. You may consider pairing this with the Daring Champion archtype for Cavalier.
Cleric (Evangelist) (1-4 levels)
This is an interesting build with better spellcasting upfront and the ability to cast in Heavy armor without penalty. You may actually consider taking that 5th level of Cleric at some point for 3rd level spells. Wisdom isn’t normally an important stat for Heralds but you’ll need at least the minimum required to cast your spells. Any domain with a strong 1st level power that doesn't need a high Cleric level is a good choice.
Animal - The companion gained at 4th level could stack with the Cavalier's Mount, but you aren't really going into Herald for a strong mount.
Community - Automatically remove fatigue, shaken, and sickened with a touch.
Nobility - While Inspiring Words won’t be as good as your other buffs but it does affect skill checks and ability checks. If you actually make it to 8th level of Cleric you’ll gain Leadership. Some GM’s might be okay with this at the late level it comes in. All the domain spells are nice for what you’re doing. And you can’t argue with the flavor.
Travel - Another great choice with strong increases to your battlefield positioning. If you decide to get that 5th level of Cleric you’ll gain Fly as a domain spell. Very cool.
War - While it makes perfect sense from a flavor perspective, the ability really isn’t useful and all of the domain spells are already normal Cleric spells.
Monk (Sensei) (1-4 levels)
This is also an option, though it carries with it the usual multiple ability dependance. You won’t get all of your Monk bonuses when wearing armor or wielding a longspear, but at least you’ll have a fighting chance if you’re caught without your equipment. And since you have no arcane spell failure there’s no need to invest feats or wealth in casting. Battle Herald doesn't require a high Charisma score but some Cavalier Orders do, so if you go this route just make Cavalier a 1 level dip.
Pathfinder Chronicler (3 levels +5 other)
Technically this works, but this is a really late entry into the prestige class. Definitely the worst option which goes back to that 'big pile of mismatched class features' problem. Not something to consider unless you are starting at high level, and then you should really just be playing a normal Herald build so you can have all the good features already.
There is not a lot of room to fool around with class levels until after you’ve completed Battle Herald, but there are a few noteworthy level dips. At bare minimum you want to have 1 level in your Challenge class and 1 level in your Inspire Courage class. After that you may consider some full base attack bonus classes in order to still qualify for Herald as soon as possible.
Barbarian (1-3 levels)
Vanilla Barbarian may not be the best option for a quick dip and doesn’t really fit the character archtype in a thematic sense. There are some interesting teamwork options for Orcs that are also synergistic with Barbarian, so if you’re playing a savage Herald this could work.
Bard (Variant) (7-8 levels)
If you are using the multiclassing variant from Pathfinder Unchained, you could choose Bard as your secondary class and Cavalier as your primary class. You’ll gain your Bardic Performance ability at 7th level, which will make it tempting to wait for your 8th level Cavalier ability before entering Herald.
Cavalier (Variant) (6 levels)
If you are using the multiclassing variant from Pathfinder Unchained, you could choose Cavalier as your secondary class without ever needing to leave Bard or Cleric (evangelist). In my opinion this is a superior option to the reverse as you’ll have more spellcasting, more skill points, and qualify a level earlier.
Fighter (1-3 levels)
As feat hungry as you are a quick dip into the class that is made of feats can really go a long way. If you have specific things you want to accomplish, take one or two levels of Fighter. Heavily armored Heralds may consider taking a 3rd level to reduce armor penalties.
Dragoon - Even a one level dip nets you two mounted feats and depending on how you interpret the Banner ability Dragoon levels may stack with your Cavalier levels. Unfortunately you won’t have enough levels to devote to get the great lance abilities but you may consider returning to Dragoon after you’ve completed Herald to pickup the ability to attack adjacent foes with a lance.
Tactician - You’ll miss out on one feat in exchange for more skill points but you’ll be able to grab at least one teamwork feat and a small boost to Initiative. Unfortunately you’ll miss out on the actual Tactician ability. You might consider taking this at later levels for more uses of Tactician.
Phalanx Soldier - You’ll have just enough levels to be able to wield a polearm or spear in one hand while
Polearm Fighter - This is one of the earliest and only ways to be able to attack adjacent foes with a polearm (Dragoon only allows lances and doesn’t gain that skill till later). Unfortunately you take a penalty on the attack roll but you know how to buff that away. If you dip into Fighter this is one of your best options.
Gunslinger (1-3 levels)
If you’re looking to roll with ranged combat over melee, you might take a moment to become proficient with firearms and gain a few of the basic abilities. Guns represent the strongest one-handed option for a ranged character with your needs. Be sure to pickup Gunslinger Initiative if you make it to 3rd level.
Ranger (1-3 levels)
As with Fighter, Ranger can help pick up an extra feat you may need for combat. It also has much better skill points than any other full BAB class. If you have a good idea of what type of enemies you’ll fighting and what type of terrain you’ll be fighting them in this is usually a superior option to Fighter.
Guide - Both this archtype and the one below have an aura that could easily stack with your other abilities as it grants a bonus on Initiative and common skill checks. Unfortunately it’s just outside the tight confines of your build. This option really isn’t worth it unless you know exactly what type of terrain most of the campaign will take place in.
Warden - As above, but even more terrain focused. Both of these are really too niche to be useful unless you come across the perfect campaign, and then you should probably just focus on Ranger instead of Herald.
Paladin (1-3 levels)
Almost any high-Charisma character can benefit from a few levels of Paladin, and you are no exception. Battle Herald and Cavalier exude knightly flavor and it’s very easy to justify multiclassing. At most you can take 3 levels which net you the amazing Divine Grace, Aura of Courage, Lay on Hands (with a single Mercy), and a single use of Smite Evil. If you are especially martial focused you may consider going back into Paladin after you’ve finished Herald.
Antipaladin - If you didn’t go the Lawful Good route you can still take advantage of the Charisma bonus to saves. Unfortunately the other abilities don’t synergize quite as well unless you have allies who work around fear effects. In most cases it’s better to stick with Bard or Cavalier.
Holy Tactician - With 3 levels you essentially get another use of Tactician and a bonus Teamwork feat. Your Smite now affects all evil targets and buffs all non-evil allies within 30 ft. And you still get your Charisma to saves. Fantastic!
Shining Knight - Your mount gains the benefit of your Divine Grace bonus. If you’re a mounted Herald this is a strong contender with Cavalier levels.
Sword of Valor - Add your Charisma modifier to Initiative instead of saves and spend uses of Smite Evil or Mercy to be able to act in a surprise round. Good stuff.
If the campaign actually goes all the way and you complete the Battle Herald prestige class, it’s almost always in your best interest to return to the class you were focusing on before becoming a Herald and continue that progression until 20th level. For example, If you only took one level of your Inspire Courage class, get back into Cavalier so you can have Greater Tactician as your capstone ability. If you did the reverse and only took one level of Cavalier it’s best to return to your Inspire Courage class so you can be at least 9th level in it before you max out. This is especially important to the Evangelist Cleric who will just be getting 5th level spells.
Dragon Disciple (1-5 levels)
A healthy increase to your Strength and Natural Armor along with Blindsense, a handful of feats and other abilities, and an increase to your Bard caster level. What more could you ask for? This won’t increase any of your teamwork abilities but it’s not a bad choice.
Eldritch Knight (1-5 levels)
You certainly qualify but this prestige class is really aimed at Wizards and Fighters, two class that don’t really rely on class features. Bards and Cavaliers both rely heavily on class features and level based abilities.
If your GM is running a mythic game or allows mythic content, get into the Marshal path as soon as possible to greatly expand your team-buffing capabilities.
Pathfinder Chronicler (1-5 levels)
Whereas it was not a good idea to take this when first entering Herald, if you wanted to take it after the fact it’s somewhat more appealing at this point. With the huge number of skill points and the ability to have others activate your Bardic Performance for you, this can be a big boost to your versatility and buffing potential late in the game.
When choosing feats for your Herald, remember to stay focused on your concept and role. With the number of conflicting class features and abilities you have it’s easy to try and do too many things at once in an already feat-hungry build.
Teamwork Feats - At minimum you will gain at least two Teamwork feats for free, one from Cavalier and one from Battle Herald, plus an additional feat if you reach 9th level of Cavalier. Of course there is nothing stopping you from spending regular feat slots on these except that you can’t grant them to allies and they would also need to take the feat. The value of these feats is boosted if you have a mount, familiar, or cohort which you can tailor to match your build. Their value also changes depending on if your party prefers to flank or stick together.
Cavalry Formation - If you have at least two mounted character in the party this will save you a lot of headaches with trying to maneuver Large sized creatures around the battlefield. Definitely take this as one of your two teamwork feats necessary to qualify for Coordinated Charge.
Coordinated Charge - If you played your cards right you should receive your Battle Herald teamwork feat at 11th level and just meet the requirements for this. If you have one or more mounted characters in the party the power of this feat increases exponentially.
Escape Route - Prevents attacks of opportunity for moving through squares adjacent to allies. If you can share this with your mount you suddenly cover a much larger area that your allies can safely maneuver through.
Outflank - Normally you can’t pick this up as a 1st level Cavalier, but if you take your Bard levels beforehand you’ll meet the BAB requirement. Outflank increases flanking bonuses to +4. If you don’t pick it up then you may still consider it later on.
Paired Opportunist - You can land attacks of opportunity more accurately and more often.
Precise Strike - If you didn’t completely dump Dexterity this is one of the most solid choices to take as your first teamwork feat. An extra 1d6 damage while flanking stays useful for a long time.
Shake it Off - While your team may want to flank more often than be adjacent, if you have a mount or familiar they will almost always be sharing your space, thus passively granting you both the bonus. And if another party member is adjacent they are already getting a +2 for two allies.
Arcane Armor Proficiency - Not the most ideal solution, but this can help offset things if you intend to wear medium or heavy armor until you can afford Mithril.
Arcane Strike - Yep, you qualify. Another boost to damage never hurts, though later on you’ll be needing those Swift Actions.
Boon Companion - If you still want a decent Mount but you don’t meet the requirements for Horse Master, this feat is a must. It only nets you four levels for your Mount, though.
Craft Magic Arms & Armor - While you will need magical weapons and armor and there are a number of enhancements that boost your abilities, this feat is harder to justify than the broad and versatile feat below.
Craft Wonderous Item - Aside from magic armor, the single largest subset of magic items that will boost your build are wonderous items. You’ll qualify for this even if you just took 1 level of Bard and the Magical Knack trait. If you can find some way to work this into an already feat starved build you can significantly increase your wealth and get those special items sooner or even craft items for other party members. If your party has a primary spellcaster they should be taking this instead of you.
Deadly Aim - The Power Attack of ranged folks. If melee isn’t your thing this feat is practically mandatory, even moreseo because the penalties are meaningless to you.
Eldritch Heritage/Improved/Greater - Because of the steep feat investment you’ll want to carefully consider if this is right for your build, especially since some abilities are redundant or just won’t synergize well. With the prerequisite of Skill Focus you may want to skip this option unless you’re playing a Human or Half-Elf.
Arcane Bloodline - While the rest of the abilities aren’t useful to you, picking up a Familiar with two feats isn’t bad. And if your Familiar takes the Valet archtype, suddenly it’s your teamwork buddy. Not only will it share all teamwork feats you know, but it can hand out Aid Another bonuses almost as well as you can.
Abyssal Bloodline - Having a bonus to knowledge (Planes) won’t do anything for you, but the claw attack will level with you as a secondary weapon and you can gain electric and poison resistance and eventually an inherent bonus to Strength at later levels.
Destined Bloodline - Focusing on knowledge (History) is at least flavorful and the 1st level power can make a powerful addition to your buffing abilities. It grants a large insight bonus for 1 round on most rolls, which is a type that none of your other class features provide.
Draconic Bloodline - Skill Focus (Perception) is already good by itself and this is a no brainer if you intend to go into Dragon Disciple later. The claws make a great fallback weapon if you’re disarmed and the natural armor and energy resistance will bolster your defense. The capstone here is a natural flight speed, something you normally can’t get as a Herald.
Imperious Bloodline - The Improved and Greater feats work great for you, unfortunately it takes two feats that do nothing for you to get there. However, if someone else in your party (such as your cohort) has this bloodline they gain increased benefit from your morale and competence bonuses.
Orc Bloodline - Like the Abyssal bloodline, this feat chain is a very strong choice. The first is a touch that grants an ally a large morale bonus on most rolls, the second is a natural armor bonus and immunity to fear, and the final is a choice of either an inherent bonus to Strength or the ability to grow to Large size.
Extra Performance - If you have a low ability modifier or find yourself low on rounds of Performance, an additional 6 rounds can’t hurt early on. It’s best to retrain it later if possible.
Flagbearer - While this does have a Charisma requirement it can potentially be taken right out the gate. Wielding is slightly more restrictive than your Banner, but the same flags can be used for both abilities. While your Inspire Courage will overlap some of it, this is a passive bonus that is on all the time. Upgrade to Blue if you can snag a Banner of the Ancient Kings (see Equipment).
Gang Up - This allows you to gain flanking bonuses much more often. Combine it with the Outflank and Precise Strike Teamwork feats and reap the rewards.
Horse Master - You’ll need to be a 4th level Cavalier with the Expert Trainer ability, but damn this is a good feat. This will keep your Mount on it’s normal progression throughout your career.
Improved Initiative - While most people want to go first, this is especially important to you since you’ll want to have your allies buffed before they begin their turns. And Dexterity may not be an important stat to you depending on your build.
Leadership - Yes, this is good for anyone, but it’s extra special to you. Unlike most everyone else, you don’t want this for the cohort. You want it for the followers. You can turn a dozen weak 1st level warriors into killing machines in no time. If your GM (understandably) doesn’t want to deal with all the peons see if he’ll let you leave them at home to meet the prerequisites for the Stronghold feat (see below).
Lingering Performance - Take this by 5th level or bust. This is one of the earlier ways to let Inspiring Command stack with Bardic Performance, if only for 2 rounds.
Noble Scion - If Dexterity was a dump stat, choosing Scion of War will allow you to use your Charisma instead of your Dexterity for Initiative checks. In most cases Improved Initiative is the better option if you have to choose between the two.
Power Attack - You were going to take this anyway, but with all the bonuses to attack rolls you can grant the penalty from Power Attack should be totally negated. On top of that many Herald builds will be wielding a two-handed weapon all the time.
Recruits - A strong option for you and an alternative to Leadership that your GM may find more palatable. Instead of dozens of followers and a strong cohort, Recruits provides you with multiple weaker cohorts. The catch is that you can only have one with you at a time and can only rotate them when you are in a major town.
Team Up - This takes some feat investment, but if your party has a high-AC opponent surrounded you can all grant eachother bonuses to hit as Move actions while attacking with your Standard. Works nicely in conjunction with the Teamwork Inspiring Command.
Stronghold (Story) - The base bonus is nice since you can use it in the same round you begin another buff and has the same radius as your other abilities. If by some miracle you can meet the story requirements, the range exceeds any other radius you have.
Helpful (Combat) - Add another +1 on Aid Another bonuses. See a pattern here?
Magical Knack (Magic) - You’re going to lose caster levels no matter what so anything you can do to make up for that is fantastic.
Natural Born Leader (Social) - Not completely necessary, but if you are allowed to take Leadership this adds another +1 to your score.
Reactionary (Combat) - Dat +2 trait bonus to Initiative. It’s good for everyone, but especially good for someone who wants to start combat by buffing their allies.
When choosing weapons you need to consider your flags and banners. In most cases you’re either going to want a one-handed weapon while holding the flag in your off-hand or a two-handed weapon that the flag can be mounted to. The standard Cavalier Banner can be worn on your back but others must be held to gain any benefit. This makes polearms a strong candidate for melee weapon and one-handed guns or crossbows the more ideal ranged weapon.
There are numerous polearms that could potentially be used as a mount for your regalia, but several of them are limited to just poles, longspears, or lances. Talk to your GM to see if other polearms can also qualify, allowing you to gain access to options such as weapons that deal bludgeoning or slashing damage or have other qualities like Trip or Disarm.
Bow, Composite - You’ll want at least one ranged weapon even if you’re melee focused and all Herald builds will have respectable Strength or Dexterity, or at least average in both. As noted above the major drawback here is that these are two handed weapons that can’t be used while holding a banner.
Crossbows - You won’t get your Strength to damage like a normal bow or be hitting touch AC like a gun, making crossbows the inferior third option. The only draw here is perhaps the one-handed or Light crossbow which can be easily fired and dropped before switching to your melee weapon.
Firearms - You likely won’t be proficient with guns but this is evened out by their ability to hit touch AC and the numerous ways you have to boost attack rolls. If you’re in a setting where guns are common, however, these become Martial Weapons.
Lance - If you’re a Herald focusing on mounted combat, this will likely be your prefered weapon over the Longspear for the increase in damage ability to wield it one-handed while mounted. While amazing Banner of Ancient Kings only allows longspears and poles, most other flags and banners can be used in tandem with a lance.
Longspear - For many Battle Heralds this will be your weapon of choice. It doubles as pole for just about every possible banner or flag in the game, including feats and magic items. The excellent reach is paired with the inability to attack adjacent opponents. You can avoid this by attacking while mounted, keeping an ally between you and the enemy (all while granting them your adjacent buffs), or dancing back every round with a 5-foot step.
There are several magic items (especially flags) to consider when arming yourself.
Balanced (weapon) - Add your weapon’s enhancement bonus on top of your other Aid Another bonuses when assisting on an attack roll. When you go back and see how many potential bonuses you get to Aid Another this starts to get pretty massive.
Balanced (armor) - As above, but works when granting an ally a bonus to AC. Your AC boosting abilities are more limited than your attack boosters, so this can help shore up that weakness.
Banner of the Ancient Kings - This thing is beautiful. While it pretty much limits your choice of weapon to longspear and requires two hands to hold, you gain massive benefits. On top of that it can also qualify as your Cavalier Banner as well.
Champion’s Banner - Increases your effective Cavalier level by 4 when determining the bonuses of your Challenge. The usefulness of this item will really depend on your Order.
Commander’s Banner - Gives you another use of Tactician, increases the range of Tactician from 30ft to 60ft, and adds another 2 rounds to it’s duration. This is the flag for you unless you would gain more use out of the Ancient Kings Banner above.
Courageous (weapon) - Add half of the weapon’s enhancement bonus on top of any moral bonuses you receive. Why yes, that sounds like an excellent idea.
Horsemaster’s Saddle - Your mount gains the benefits of all of your teamwork feats. That alone makes it worth getting and it also provides you with a +5 on ride checks and your mount with a +5 on Acrobatics checks.
Lance Feather Token - Didn’t bring a lance today? That’s fine, you’ve got a spare in your pocket. If you aren’t focusing on lances or mounted combat this is a cheap and easy way to still get the huge damage bonus when the situation arises.
Lance of Jousting - While you won’t really get to use it very often, if it does come into play you’re almost guaranteed to knock down a mounted foe as the check is nearly impossible to make. The weapon is only about twice as much as a normal +1 weapon, so if you know you’ll be facing mounted opponents it’s worth looking at.
Lord’s Banner - There are several flavors of these, but in my opinion none of them really eclipse your other options and they are all ridiculously expensive. I would suggest spending your money elsewhere unless one of these really catches your eye.
Crusader - You might consider this if you have a Cleric in the party and/or are up against a lot of evil outsiders or undead. It’s the priciest of them all.
Swiftness - You can already do all of these things. The potential range is massive, though. Unless you’re commanding an actual army skip this.
Terror - Shaken is nice debuff and lower level foes might become panicked. If this were cheaper it might be a good option.
Victory - Except for the small bonus to skill checks you can already do all of these things better.
Mithril (armor) - A mithril breastplate counts as Light armor, allowing you to cast your Bard spells without issue. Heavier armor will have all of it’s penalties reduced. This a great option even if you don’t care about your spells, because you do care about mobility.
Rallying (armor) - This normally grants a +4 bonus on saves against fear, but increases to +6 if you have any other abilities that grant bonuses on fear saves (you have like a dozen). If fear is proving to be a problem and you have 5,000gp to spend, do it.
There are already several guides on spells important to Bards and Clerics, but I will list a few noteworthy spells here.
Shield the Banner - This is a great way to protect your flag, boosting it’s durability and making it so anyone who isn’t loyal to you must Will save to try and touch or attack it. The only drawback is that it isn’t on your spell list unless you’re a Cleric.
A Battle Herald combines two classes known for throwing around bonuses to allies and adds a number of it’s own abilities into the mix. As such there is a great deal of potential confusion as to how far each aura reaches and just what type of action it takes to set each one up. For ease of reference similair feats mentioned in this guide are also included. The remaining Inspiring Commands are not shown here because their benefits shouldn’t overlap with those listed here.
+1 attack & damage
+1 vs charm & fear
+1 at 5th, 11th, 17th
+1 Fort, +2 hit dice
+1 attack & damage
+1 vs charm & fear
x2 bonus w/ BoAK
x2 radius w/ C’s Banner
Sound the Charge
+1 attack & damage
+5 ft. speed on charge
+1 every 3 levels of BH
+1 attack on charge
+2 vs fear
+1 every 5 levels
+1 AC or +1 save
x2 bonus w/ story
*Move action at 7th level Bard or Swift action at 5th level Battle Herald
**Move action at 6th level Battle Herald or Swift action at 9th level Cavalier
***Doubles to 120f ft. with completion of story requirement.