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another one to consider: sohei monk.
take the nature soul and animal ally feats for an appropriate mount (hint: one with pounce), then boon companion to match it's advancement to yours.
a reason for this:
mounted skirmisher at level 1-2? you betcha.
there's lots of 'theurge-lite' classes if you wanna play a similar character without the heartbreak. arcane sorcerer bloodline (either from the class itself, eldritch heritage, or variant multiclassing), ancient lorekeeper (lore) oracle, mgaambyan arcanist PrC, healing witch, razmiran priest, etc. all fill similar roles of grabbing bits from the other half of the magical equation.
i'll also note that oddly enough, the elven lorekeeper oracle can actually be a nerf to your bonus spells from your mystery, since it locks you out of the 9th level spell at 18 (instead getting an 8th-level spell of your choice that you cast with a 9th level slot, and has +1 CL/DCs to match, and makes a cantrip a 1st-level spell, which is silly)
especially for mysteries like time or lore, which get some pretty great bonus spells already (and the always wonderful Time Stop for both)
fighter gives weapon training as you advance, magus gives you great stuff, wizards' schools are super duper fantastic (conjuration[teleportation] and divination[foresight] are my usual go-to's), bard/inquisitor/alchemist makes you more skillmonkey/combat utility, barbarian gives combat stuff (rage), monk opens the sap master line very painlessly, oracle revalations or sorcerer bloodlines (shadow is great) can open a lot of doors for folks, etc
taloskane makes a great point for the magus.
especially now that the unchained rogue can slap on with one sneak attack:
and even more stat damage if they dip 3 in shadowdancer for the free shadow flank-buddy (or a venomous animal companion with the animal ally feat line)... it's a neat gimmick build to consider
well, with early entry and other stuff back in the day, it got to be a relatively painless process to take it (and eldritch knight, and arcane trickster, and arcane archer, all of which were freaking GARBAGE outside of a few corner cases before then, since paizo has made it apparent that they hate multiclassing, and PrCs by extension).
it was a good time for those prestige classes. they got to see the sun for the first time since this version's creation. and then they decided 'too many people are playing aasimar (in PFS) because we cannot into racial balance, let's take the SLA thing back' and tossed them all back into the bin.
(do I sound bitter? I am.)
if your GM allows the esoteric training/mage academy fame options, you can get 9th level casting on both sides with a wizard 6/cleric 4/MT 10 (getting +3 to cleric and +1 to wizard casting advancement, or inverting this as clr 6/wiz 4/MT 10, capping at effective level 17/17)
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if your GM allows the old early entry methods, you could, say, play a wizard to 5, dip 1 in cleric (with something like the trickery domain or fate inquisition), and then carry on into mystic theurge from there--basically 'trading down' to a sorcerer's advancement, but getting boatloads of divine spells in exchange.
or similarly, you could choose a race with a proper arcane SLA (drow-blooded half-elf is nice, but there's aasimar and a few others floating about as well), go cleric 5, and dip 1 into wizard (or empyreal sorcerer if you want stat synergy) before continuing into MT. effectively going for oracle advancement with arcane spells tacked on.
or REALLY go for early entry (into MT at 4 instead of 6) with an arcane SLA race and a proper domain choice and going wiz 2/clr 1/MT or clr 2/wiz 1/MT.
there's a guide on the advice boards specifically dedicated to early-entry methods when it was still a thing you could do, give it a read, you'll be surprised what options there are.
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anyway, going 5/1/MT keeps a rather nice advancement (instead of going 3/3/MT and ending up largely mediocre in both fields until 12-14th level), and can still hit 9th level casting on both sides eventually with esoteric training on a plain wiz/clr, or 9/8 with a clr/sorc or wiz/ora, or 8/8 on a sorc/ora.
going 5 in a class also lets you actually pick up some of it's useful abilities (wizard bonus feats/school abilities, oracle revelations, better channel energy for cleric, bloodline abilities on sorc), instead of just being a casting battery for MT
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while not useful for early-entry, there's those Obedience classes that grant powers AND advance a previous classes abilities (at a 1-level setback), and one that advances your casting types as well, if memory serves.
might be worth looking at for the abilities even with the hit to advancement.
urban barbarian outright replaces the entire skill list, iirc.
still mad that they threw mystic theurge/arcane trickster/EK/arcane archer right back into the bin after giving everyone hope with the early-entry thing.
VMC can be sort of helpful, but it still hurts my heart.
well, unless you're a fighter--then you get to swing your stick at people!
but i digress! personally i keep the character sheets largely off-the-table for post-15 campaigns--most of the party will have passive scores to shrug off most mundane stuff and can generally do as they please (since by that level they're all fairly widely heard of and respected or feared).
if it gets down to SRS BSNS then the fights are large, over the top, and generally befitting people of their power (or i throw a piddly issue at them as a curveball--if they nip it in the bud, great! if they dont, then that's a bigger bad i get to introduce later), but most of the time they're either managing their lands/titles/various allegiances made over their adventures, or dealing with (either diplomatically or sword-in-face-atically) something far too big an issue for their minions/contacts/neighboring kingdoms to deal with, or traveling to one of those two.
I agree it has slots, which is why I said belt maybe, I went by the verminous idea as well, but it seems to have no eyes, which rules out eyes (uses blindsight) so an eye slot doesn't make sense. hence why I said a belt. I also stated it can use 1.5x hd in ioun stones which can be a nice benefit. a Familiar uses its Master's Level as HD number for effects related to HD which thi would be. a Level 7 Wizard with this familiar would have up to 10 ioun stones active at once.
but with an eye slot you can make 'the goggles, they do nothing!' jokes.
eyyy, i recognize that reference.
shame fate/apocrypha will never exist (though i hear the light novel's pretty baller). siegfried and dracula broing it up is great.
read brewer's guide to undeath (search the advice forums here). read it. seriously. it will save everyone in your game a huge headache (including yourself).
-dont dress the part: people are naturally more suspicious (and more likely to smite) of the obsidian-clad skullplate guy than they are the portly merchant-looking man with a walking stick.
-always have desecrate, either by spell or by voidstick. it's too good to pass up, especially at such a low price.
-dont get anything intelligent or that creates spawn: both can spiral horribly out of control and enjoy biting you in the ass.
-dont openly state you're a necromancer. you'll be torched and pitchforked out of every town you come across, and every holy man is going to be breathing down you neck.
-if you have to reveal yourself, do so grandly, and have loads of good PR backing you up--have your minions do large-scale menial/dangerous labor, such as mining ore, tilling fields, basic construction, etc. to help the general populace.
-small gestures to show your 'not a villain' stripes can do wonders: things like giving your servants last rites/burials when you dispose of them, using speak with dead to ask permission/forgiveness for borrowing their dead body to aid your quest, sending small reparations (anonymously) to the still-living families of your servants, sticking to largely non-human corpses (animals, monsters, etc. have some nice stuff and dont ping as evil to some folks as a human skeleton army would). having them [what minions arent in extradimensional storage or locked in your carriage] treated respectfully is a nice idea as well--keeping them clothed/masked/perfumed can help keep people from noticing them and siccing the local clergy on you.
TWF penalties are killer, especially with no accuracy booster (unlike literally every class not named monk).
to shore up your saves:
-(will/fort) theres lots of traits that give a +1 bonus to one or the other.
'nother historical fun fact: the dark ages weren't really all that horrible--well, for a chunk of europe it certainly was, but lots of other places in the world were having periods of advancement and prosperity 'round that time.
also, kiting him/moving more than 10ft a round is an easy way to ruin his 'kill them dead' potential, since he'd have to chase (move action), get one hit (standard). (and then be visible till his next round, because stealthing should be for a move action not anytime he ever moves)
seriously though, what's possessed you to allow stealthing on a 5 foot step?
then he can take the proficiency feat or dip like everyone else?
Silke doesn't care about aoe, very high reflex save and evasion. What he dies from stealth us pick a target and kill it dead with the target functionally being able to do nothing.
again, i'm surprised the enemy isnt just mauling his teammates while he's playing mr. invisible. or that they arent just flagrantly buffing in his face because he cant AoO their spellcasts without breaking invisibility and getting ganked by the other enemies.
i have to ask: what exactly is he doign with that stealth that's so powerful? i mean sure he's hiding from them, but what does that do for him? with him not receiving any attention, that's more pointy bits aimed at the rest of the party (and he can't AoO them because that'd break stealth). I haven't found anything saying in the stealth skill that lets you hit flat-footed or something if you're successfully stealthed. is he just using it to not get targeted? AoE's should fix that right quick (avoid 'save for half' ones)
also, i'm pretty sure 'as part of a move' for stealth was meant as 'as part of a move [action]', not literally any time you move your mini. unless there's been an faq on the subject in favor of it, it sounds like you're letting him abuse something he shouldn't.
it was a straight copy+paste from a notepad document i was hacking it together in, and im not sure what google docs has done this last month or so, but now i literally cannot open any docs (it loads for ~30 seconds, then gives a constantly-refreshing popup that it failed to load the doc, despite the doc BEING FULLY LOADED BEHIND IT), so editing it requires me to do so on my phone of all things (and good luck doing anything fiddly on that).
the lack of shields was on purpose, actually--gotta keep that free hand for casting (i suppose you could use a buckler, but a mithral one already has no penalties for non-proficiency...). i was considering changing the ward power to a shield bonus instead of deflection (gives it a better niche stacking-wise, lets you use a ring of protection, etc.)
i'm only barely starting to get into 3pp stuff, but i'm really liking path of war and spheres of power (and the classes and such that they introduce). havent gotten into psionics (i've heard good things aobut dreamscarred press' take on the subject) or other races yet, so watching this thread carefully.
some manner of lessening/avoiding arcane spell failure in armor (conditional or otherwise) seems another must. magus-style scaling might be cool, or something like the hellknight signifier's arcane armor expertise and signifier armor training abilities.
as would be some method to make use of your spellcasting and your attacking (since with only 4th level spells at best, your plain attacks will usually outclass your spells very quickly otherwise). spell storing (rune magic?) or something like spellstrike might be fitting to push that angle.
you could consider things like:
edit - the more i think about a runic magic style the more i like it--inscribing your armor to harmonize it with your magic (and thus reduce ASF while wearing your now-bonded armor), storing spells in your weapon to cast like a staff or placing runes onto the weapon to buff it (a la paladin bonded weapon or the magus' arcane pool abilities), prepping your spells as combat forms/stances/wicked dance moves, etc.
edit x2 combo: i think i'll throw together a writeup/draft with stuff like this.
rage powers aren't available unless yo're playing a specific archetype and trading away your (fantastic depending on bloodline choice) class abilities for them.
that sounds remarkably similar to the bloodrager:-full bab: check
-full CL, gains casting at 4th, maxes at level 4 spells: check
-gets a free level <2 spell on rage eventually, great buff spells (and its offensive spells are trash compared to just attacking)
-casting in medium: check (while raging), but they don't really need heavy armor
-self-enchancing: half-check (bloodrage boosts strength, which affects hit/damage, and can get always-on arcane strike with two feats, and you have a nice selection of buffing spells to pump your AC if you want--though why you would need more than arcane bloodline's free haste+blur+form of the giant/dragon/transformation is beyond me)
i'm just gonna point out that something presenting a problem in [paizo's houserule bonanza] shouldn't direct the entire system.
it's why crane wing was nerfed (and not the master of many styles archetype that was the root of the problem), largely because it appears they cannot into unique encounter design for the most part.
(and that since PFS is so regulated, the GMs running it there arent really allowed to adjust encounters accordingly when a player comes to the table with Murdermachine Barbarian #43859 or God Wizard #18402573372 or Pouncing Full-Immunity HalfElf Summoner #594028--they can only cry that something is overpowered on the forums and pray for an adjustment in the [houserules], but i digress)
Ms. Pleiades wrote:
sacred fist warpriest over regular unarmed monk seems a pretty straight upgrade (or at least simpler for a player to understand/use)
@OP: less than the warpriest
edit - that is to say, very few regardless--inquisitor is a divine bard, warpriest is a divine magus, and oracle is a divine sorcerer (though some folks seem to think cleric/paladin are the end-all be-all and the other are superfluous in one manner or another, but i digress)
honestly im quite liking the spread for the arcane and divine classes (though i'd like to see a divine arcanist) if you discount the 'nature' divine casters (ranger/druid/etc). paizo just needs to work on the martial side.
the d8 would set it apart form the other fullbab martials (like the barbarian), but it presents the problem of MAD the monk had pre-unchained--and even the unchained monk didnt really address it: you NEED con, or you're going to get KO'd pretty easily until you can get your AC up to par (i.e. when your dex+wis+monk AC bonus+bracers+barkskin tax+ring catch up to everyone else's dex+armor+armor enhance+neck+ring).
relying on mage armor via wand to patch that isnt feasible till level 2-3, and unless your wizard has nothing better to spend his spells on (he always will) you're not begging a casting off of him (and pearls are more expensive than wands, so that option's off the table too), and you are required almost by law to pay the class ability tax for barkskin to cover the neck slot loss.
TL;DR - the lower HD does little besides promote MAD for the class, since you have to juggle str/dex/con/wis hardcore with all of your 'not allowed's and class ability taxes (this isnt a new problem, but it's still a major one).
@rynjin: looked at the doc, here's various comments/suggestions/complaints. take with a handful of salt because i am sleepdeprived
-bonus feat options seem pretty great, though i assume there'll be some feats that will be iffy or awkward to grab due to the rate of monk bonus feats vs their bab/skill entry requirements. haven't tested it yet, so cant say for sure.
-small spelling error on page 3 where it says 'stunning fit'
-still not okay with monk's unarmed strikes being limited to only hands/feet/knees/elbows--there are plenty or martial arts styles that use their wrists/shins, hips, and more for striking. i've already noted earlier that style strikes limiting what's supposed to be The Most flexible Weapon Bar None (literally your whole body) opens a lot of bad doors for more monk nerfs.
-small spelling error on page 5 of 'his_ki_pool'
-liking the ki pool expansion
-i'm curious as to why you dont have ki strike as a scaling enhancement bonus, since it grants the same effects and alleviates the whole AoMF issue a lot (still need it for things like frost/fire/etc)
-tongue of sun and moon's earlier access makes it kind of possibly a decent thing now instead of a novelty!
-between flawless mind and a clear spindle stone, i must reiterate my complaints about diamond mind's uselessness.
-quivering palm doesnt mention what type of action or how/when it can be used, only 'once per day'. can you aply it in the same circumstance as a stunning fist attack, or...?
-perfect self has always bothered me--welcome to level 20: none of your buffs work anymore because you're not humanoid! and as an outsider it's harder/impossible to resurrect you if you die! haha, suck it monks!
1) requires dipping, which as we all know paizo considers a mortal sin worthy of public flogging for being a filthy roll-player
2) good point. lets you pick up dragon style at 2nd as well.
oh? what means of dex-to-hit/damage do they get that arent feat or money-intensive?
because otherwise they still need str/dex/con/wis, which is just as MAD as they were before. monks could get pounce by level 2 via MoMS/pummeling charge--or still at a decent pace with it vanilla. pounce (while fantastic) isn't an all's forgiven thing.
there's been no change to it's equipment woes for unarmed combat/armor/magical item slots, in fact they have MORE worries not that they need to juggle getting ki-cost-reduction items to stop from hemorrhaging their small pool in a short time.