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Actually, epic needs to start at level 19 if casters are going to progress usefully. Prepared full casters should get 10th level slots at level 19 and spontaneous full casters at 20 and medium casters should get 7th level slots at level 19 that can be used for metamagic. The progression is obvious, but the end is cut off at high level.
If you don't allow casters to get higher slots their save DCs won't keep up and the caster-martial disparity will eventually invert. You probably need to also forgo the increased casting time for spontaneous casters when using only heighten metamagic.
You might also need to allow Loremaster and similar casting progressing prestige classes to have medium BAB if entered using a divine or 6 level casting class to allow them to progress their casting without dropping to wizard BAB.
Forget C. J. Cherryth. It works in a book and it would work on the big screen, but there is no way in hell you want to use it for a game.
For a game you *really* want FTL sensors. Otherwise you'd need at least two maps: one updated in real time for the GM and one updated when the light arrives for the players (assuming there's only one playership, if there are multiple you need to also isolate the players from each other). Additionally, the GM probably needs a map like the player for each NPC ship so he can determine what information the captains should have and avoid metagaming. I wouldn't even think of running space combat with sensor lag without a custom virtual tabletop that implements it.
And that's without relativistic effects. In that setting ships move fast enough that time dilation matters. That means that they don't get rounds at the same rates. I wouldn't touch that even with a custom virtual tabletop. Just no. If I could post images there's be an animated of a badger running off a cliff with a flashing NOPE caption. Relativity and games do not mix. Keep everything that gets to take actions slow enough for Newton and keep realspace FTL out of your setting.
If you're starting from Pathfinder in Space you already have hyperspace. It's called the Shadow Plane. Distances are compressed in the shadow plane. You also have the Ethereal Plane, which RAW permits FTL, but if you made teleportation light speed it would only effect Interplanetary Teleport, which doesn't come up very much in the fantasy game.
If I'm remembering one Golarion novel that features shadow planar travel correctly there are hints that the distortion of the Shadow Plane is greater in empty lands, so in space it should be even greater, all so the compression rate should be high enough to be useful in space. Note that the spell is really stupidly written, giving a speed and saying you "move normally" instead of giving a multiplier to overland movement rates so you'll have to makes something up.
All the implementations in AD&D needed serious cleaning up, but having something like this is critical to making weapons and armor make sense. Without it weapons and armor are reduced to just numbers.
I know. You were using 10 as a baseline and I'm suggesting you should use 11 or 12 as a baseline unless you have some build in mind that wants power attack but doesn't want to wear armor. Bedroll, food, water, rope, rapier, chain shirt, all the other s&~! you can get into trouble for not having: it adds up. A melee combatant other than a monk is going to have trouble staying in light load at 10 strength and even 11 doesn't leave a comfortable amount of slack.
No spell that just does what anyone can do is broken. Multiple targets and area of effect are of limited value in practical encounters and 1d6/level is no threat to the dominance of archery. Similarly, skill replacing spells (unless they do what the skill can't) just mean that you can build a party that doesn't have a rogue and that's a good thing. If Aram Zey's Focus is broken then so is the rogue.
The third category of spells that are never broken are spells that compensate for stuff that isn't fun and shouldn't have been in the game in the first place. Disease is never fun. Poison is okay, but lingering effects aren't (so the old style HP poison is fine, but the current implementation isn't). Stuff like negative levels and stat damage/drain/penalty that requires you to refigure your character sheet isn't fun, though clear penalties like shaken or sickened are fine. (Stat buffs aren't as bad because you don't lose access to stuff so you only have to refigure the bonuses, not worry about your feats or such.) Any spell that just takes something that should not be in the game back out can only be a good thing. The restoration and remove families are only bad in that the things they deal with shouldn't exist.
The broken spells are the ones that do the otherwise impossible. Invisibility does what stealth can't. Fly does what jump and climb can't. Charm and Dominate do what diplomacy, bluff, and intimidate can't. Teleport does what walking can't. Summon Monster and Planar Binding do what no non-caster can.
Its more likely 2 or even 1. Basic adventuring kit is heavy and starving to death or dieing of exposure before you scrape up enough cash for a handy haversack is embarrassing.
Ranger can fit your character. Just take freebooter or guide and favored terrains urban and subterranean in whichever order fits your concept better and you basically get slightly more martial rogue fluff. Coming after 8 levels of straight rogue it won't change your concept at all.
The Weapon Types, General Data, and "To Hit" Adjustments table from page 38 of the AD&D Players Handbook.
This is what made different armor and weapon types actually different rather than a mindless progression on the armor side and a a situation where there are only a handful of optimal weapons that have the best crit lines for a given handedness and reach and nothing else matters.
Any build that isn't accurate enough that power attack (or piranha strike for dex builds) is beneficial against any reasonable opponent isn't accurate enough to be worth having around if non-touch melee attacks are its primary contribution to combat. The only exceptions I can think of are magi and even then power attack and a long duration buff like heroism should be their plan for when burning a spell every round is wasteful. Even the most combat capable rogue builds other than those engaging in touch attack shenanigans use a two handed weapon (or one handed weapon in two hands) and power attack.
TWF is pretty much never a good idea. It suffers the restrictive feat load of archery with none of the benefits.
Power attack is, though, a horrible feat for sorcerers and whoever put it on the bloodline bonus feat lists should be ashamed of himself.
Hello all. I have an 8th level rogue that's getting set to level and I was hoping for some advice on what to do... just some ideas in general. I am open to anything. I kind of toyed with the idea of going after levels in bard or fighter. But I don't know if that will do more harm than good really.
Bard mixes really poorly with rogue. The best thing you can do if you can't do a rebuild is to start taking full BAB levels. Ranger will reduce your skill points the least or Slayer will retain some sneak attack. You're not set up with the right rogue talents to get one of the worthwhile advanced talents so there's no reason to take a ninth rogue level.
You really shouldn't be lower level than the other characters, though. Unlike in 3.5 the XP curve doesn't self correct disparate levels so new PCs should always be introduced at the same level as the rest of the party and characters that miss sessions should be given catch up XP. Or XP should be ignored and checkpoint or fiat leveling used.
79. Have an NPC comment that it is the local custom for nobles to settle matters of honor by playing Russian Roulette with a deck of many things. Grin and slap a tarot deck down. For the rest of the time in town roll percentile dice periodically. When they leave town look disappointed and say that they missed out on an interesting encounter.
I'm going to denote class A with template B as A>B
I wouldn't use any of those templates except monk and paladin on something that is already mostly class levels. The usual suspects are workable, though not getting the full BAB HD you would with a proper gestalt hurts the paladin. The casters are all depressingly bad at spells, given only enough for one fight a day as befits a monster.
These boost a casting stat and a combat stat and have AC and smite respectively progressing at full level=HD.
I'm going to say dervish dancing goblin Evangelist Cleric of Sarenrae with the monk template.
B. A. Robards-Debardot wrote:
Broad head arrows are a perfectly mundane historical thing. Even crescent arrows are not a rarity, though no one is really sure what the heck they were for.
The really absurd think, though, is that blunts in PF do full damage. That's just ridiculous. If they were that good no one would use pointed arrows because blunts are easier to recover. In reality they're just for birding.
This. Dual wielding or thrown weapon enhancement prices should not be used as standards because they're strictly inferior to two handed weapons or bows.
You save a tiny bit on masterwork, but you lose your glove slot and unlike the AMF you don't free up your hand in the process because you need a weapon to use it. It's actually worse than the closest parallel of stacking an enhancement to armor with an enhancement to shield in different slots because those stack fully but this will always have at least +1 overlap with a magic weapon.
I don't think it really works out like that.
A casting druid benefits a lot from monk. Monk gives the best defensive improvement, but does little for offense. A casting druid doesn't really care about wildshape except as another way to boost AC and mobility. A caster druid benefits from monk in pretty much the same way as that one wisdom casting variant sorcerer bloodline: passively.
A shaping focused druid doesn't get much from monk. Tetori has its good points, but what a combat shaper really wants is full BAB and bonus feats. Fighter is probably your best bet, though for pounce/rake focused builds cavalier also has value.
Monk does well from druid, but it's thematically quite dubious. Monk meshes better with cleric or warpriest or inquisitor or that one variant sorcerer bloodline and great as wildshape is it's not that much better to have wildshape and a poorly fitting spell list than to have a well fitting spell list but no wild shape. Druid just doesn't have the same quality of buffing. Barkskin and greater magic weapon are nice, but barkskin is available anyways as a quiggong power so you're left comparing GMF and wildshape against more versatile and thematically suitable spell lists.
If we're getting to silly fake spells have a few (as far as I know) originals:
Otto's Irresistable Danes (Because, really, what is the use of summoning barbarians that speak a language no one within planar travel of any common RPG setting uses?)
Tensor's Transubstantiation (Causes a communion wafer to take on the essence of Tensor. This has no mechanical effect and since Tensor is not the messiah is not a valid sacrament.)
Otiluke's Resilient Spear (Because the weapon creation spells are always of dubious value, particularly since wizards aren't proficient and sorcerers have limited spells known.)
Leomund's Public Chest (Every caster of this spell accesses the same small extradimensional space. Unsurprisingly, people used it as a waste bin until it was full.)
Melf's Base Arrow (A full level above acid arrow for the ability to work on oozes is not worth it.)
Bigby's [adjective] Foot (Has no benefits over the hand spell line, but the somatic component requires dancing and wiggling your toes.)
Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Loiterer (Summon an extraplanar being that doesn't do anything but stand around and isn't even decorative.)
Mordekainen's Faithful Hand (As Faithful Hound, but it produces something like Thing from the Addams Family. The disembodied hand cannot readily make loud noises or fight.)
Leomund's Insecure Shelter (Conjures a temporary gazebo, which provides limited protection from the weather and none at all from nonflying enemies.)
Protection from Nonmagical Eros (Target cannot be seduced except using magic. A favorite of overprotective fathers, but quite useless to adventurers.)
Inset Prague (A sphere of terrain many miles across is transposed with the capitol of the Czech Republic. This is more trouble than it's worth.)
Summon Münster (As Inset Prague, but the city of Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia. Still more trouble than it's worth.)
Tensor's Fleeting Disk (A cantrip version of Floating Disk with a one round duration.)
Geb's Hummer (Conjures a Sport Utility Vehicle. Does not include fuel.)
Gorum's Armoire (The targeted wardrobe or credenza sprouts thousands of tiny iron spikes like porcupine quills.)
Rovagug's Furry (Conjures a Tarrasque cosplayer.)
Sine of the Dawnflower (Provides the sine of the angle between the sun and vertical.)
Waiters of Lamashtu (Similar to Unseen Servant, Mass, but a lot creepier.)
Kane's Army (Summons the Brotherhood of Nod. All of it. This is far more trouble than it's worth.)
Aram Zey's Ficus (Conjures a medium potted plant within close range. It's situationally useful for triggering pressure plates, but most people use the more versatile summon monster.)
Your players cannot go into detail because they aren't there. They can't tell what is or is not suspicious. They can't see where there isn't dust that there should be or where there's dirt that there shouldn't be or where the paint texture changes or any of the sundry cues that real people get in real rooms. Your descriptions aren't detailed enough. If they were detailed enough no one would be able to hold them in mind well enough to act on them. And searching a room would be a four hour session all on its own. That's the whole point of the perception skill.
Int mainly reflects memory and concentration. Wis mainly reflects how aware of things you are as it covers will saves, perception, and sense motive. Charisma gets reasoning ability under diplomacy and creativity under bluff.
Your character may be quite intelligent if his charisma is also decent, but probably has a learning disability. Something like ADHD or mild dyslexia (only severe dyslexia prevents literacy, but mild dyslexia reduces reading speed and could explain the poor knowledge skills and reduced skill points) or he just has a brain like a sieve.
It's just fine. The animal companion is overrated. It progresses at slower than equal HD of an already poor quality type. At level 8 it will have a paltry 4 BAB and seven D8 hit dice. That's like about like a level 8 commoner with good con. You wouldn't consider leaving behind a commoner that you would have to equip out of your own budget a great loss and you shouldn't consider trading away the pet a deal killer either.
Even as a melee build you're a battlefield control archetype, you just work by making otherwise harmless vision control spells scary when you're inside them. Also consider keeping Fireflash prepared to punish enemies who refuse to be split up.
Notable shapes are dire hyena (10' reach on a large animal) and quetzalcoatlus (huge flying animal with the usual 15' reach) in addition to the usual allosaurus (huge pouncer with 15' reach) and dienonychus (medium pouncer with grasping claws that should be able to manipulate the environment better than a leopard; Also adorable as ****). Get saddles for any forms you intend to use frequently that are ridable because you're an important source of air mobility and having a friend with a longspear or other polearm on your back is a good way to be sure you won't get caught in the open alone if you get too caught up in pouncing.
Review the rules for cover, concealment, and high ground. You will tend to be a lot larger than everyone else, which effects how they act as cover for and against you, and you'll frequently be getting with concealment from your fog spells. High ground will come up whenever you shape as a flier.
An agender adventurer is pretty much indistinguishable from a gendered adventurer who can keep it in his or her pants. This should include, at least, paladins, clerics of the more staid deities, and the more monkish monks.
Accordingly, it should be impossible to determine the gender identities of Seelah, Sajan, and possibly Kyra until they retire. Well, okay. Sajan doesn't wear a shirt so he probably isn't transgender, but he could be asexual and nobody would know.
Personally, I'd call any front line caster a gish, which keeps the cleric on the table. Keeping the cleric on the table really helps. It means having remove blindness/deafness, remove disease, and remove curse at level 5 instead of level 7 and restoration at level 7 instead of level 10. Most of the CRs for the monsters that make those necessary are based on the cleric schedule.
That leaves two cases: the GM does not use condition inflicting or stat draining opponents until the spells are available on the warpriest schedule, or we're drowning in cleric scrolls.
In the first case the alchemist list has the condition removers for everything except death on his list, but can't use scrolls. In this case skalds stack nicely with bards, though the bard can't get the benefits from the skald himself and should probably be a relatively casty build. Magus is out because they aren't compatible with skalds. Bard/Skald/Alchemist/Summoner looks strong but cheesy.
In the second case there is no substitute for a warpriest. No other 6 level caster can use scrolls of remove blindness/deafness natively. Warpriests don't play nicely with skalds so they're out. That, in turn, means magus is in. Bards are still bards and bards are what make medium BAB classes hit like full martials. I'm inclined to say a warpriest, magus, and two bards to stretch the performance rounds and compensate for the extreme novainess of the magus. I'd say arcane duelist for the second bard, but otherwise no archetypes needed.
Really, so you're going to cast PFE on every single peasant in your kingdom at least three times an hour (at CL 20)?
You don't think it might not be more practical to just outlaw charm person and charm monster?
Barbarians are not a very good fit for a steppe nomad. The best fit for that would be luring cavalier or sohei monk. It's a very horse-centric lifestyle and has no thematic connection with rage.
Sohei does well with any wisdom caster. A druid not using wildshape is still very strong for a gestalt component and brings a mount while also being the most "barbaric" divine caster. Shaman is also a good thematic fit but your GM may believe that hybrid classes should be restricted from gestalt for the same reason hybrid prestige classes are under the 3.5 gestalt rules.
Luring Cavalier probably wants to pair with a divine class. Druid, Shaman, and Oracle are better thematic fits than cleric. A druid would want to take a domain in this case because the cavalier side already brings the horse.
Also, going high cheese like barbarian/SWD may increase the chance your GM gives up on gestalt as a bad job.
Not the whole problem. You still have a spell that can be used to suborn witnesses, incite rebellions, and commit fraud. What government, even one composed of wizards, is going to allow a spell like this to remain in circulation?
Yup, they are NEVER useful. Not that spy-archetype rogue that my friend plays in PFS that regularly gets self-perpetuating bluff up to 40 at level 4. Nope, he hasn't saved the party's butt ever. Or that pirate/scout in my skull and shackles game who can charge in any line she wants for sneak attack damage. Never useful ever, nope.
SPAM is useful too. It has decent protein content. It's just not pleasant.
Okay, good. Good to know that my utility wizard is pointless and hasn't saved the party's butt on numerous occasions because he's smart and preps the spells he needs ahead of time, like hold undead, or heroism, or whathaveyou. Weird, I thought that existed, and that I DIDN'T blow through all my spells every day so that the extra-spell a day thing would have been nice, but not required. Good thing you set me strait (eyeroll)
Sure, he's a wizard. He'd be even better as a specialist, though. As long as you're only preparing one opposed school spell per level you'd have at least as many spells and usually more. Taking a big focus school like conjuration and opposing small schools like necromancy and redundancy filled schools like enchantment is cheap and you can still prepare hold undead and heroism and come ahead at every other spell level.
Your swashbuckler was almost certainly illegal at low levels. Adventuring kit is heavy. Even 11 strength is low for a light armor character and that's just two buy points from qualifying for power attack.
Your tengu slayer should have power attack. Lots of things are immune to sneak attack. Lots of things that aren't immune to sneak attack will have feint DCs that you won't always hit. Nothing is immune to power attack. If he also cheated on the encumbrance rules and lacked strength he should have had piranha strike, which is power attack by another name.
Your tank slayer should have power attack. He really should have power attack. Really. Even if you never intend to use power attack this character should have it. Power attack is a prerequisite for improved bull rush. You're sabotaging the reliability of your main tactic by not taking the improved maneuver feats.
5) Yes, rogues are terrible and you should not play them. Playing rogues is like buying SPAM for immediate use when premium sirloin is on sale cheaper per pound. You should stop making yourself miserable. I would use the term pointlessly stubborn rather than stupid, though.
4) All wizards are not equal. They're all wizards, but they're not equal. Universalists are the least equal. Except the archetypes that get no specialization school while eating three opposition schools to be able to do something pointless like use a firearm. Still, playing a universalist or necromancer or abjurer is playing under a handicap and people don't search the internet for advice forums to learn how to build weaker characters.
3) If power attack is not your best feat choice you do not have enough accuracy to be worthwhile in melee. Your two weapon fighting rogue example is not proof that you are right about power attack being bad. It's proof that you're wrong about rogues not being bad. Also, two weapon fighting is penalizing your accuracy for far less gain than power attack. Yes, even on a rogue.
2) If a specialist can grapple and pin dragons but a generalist cannot how is specialization not being rewarded? You get to grapple and pin dragons. If you dabble in grapple a bit without heavy specialization you can't grapple dragons or giants or outsiders or elementals or magical beasts or really anyone except classed humanoids and have pretty much wasted any investment you put into grappling. If you heavily specialize you can grapple anything except incorporeals and there's almost nothing a martial can do to not be weak against incorporeals. Similarly, you can sink everything into archery and if it doesn't work there's no generalist martial build that could do better. Casters are even more pushed towards specialization because they're flat out generalist plus: if you sink everything into having the best fireball you can have you've lost nothing from the effectiveness of your cloud kill. The trick is to specialize in something that works. Like grappling or archery and not like tripping or disarming.
Also, your dwarf barbarian will do just fine with a bow against a wizard. Wizards have a very tough time getting AC so they tend to rely on miss chance illusions that don't care what your to hit bonus is. NPC wizards are particularly unlikely to have a magic haramaki and darkwood buckler. Or he could not rage until he's had the needed spells cast on him. That's also a good option.
1) You know, I once had a chess teacher tell me that one should "never ever move a pawn ever." It wasn't meant literally, though I remember encountering a chess program in the early nineties where the AI actually did futz around with knights until you stuck something in the sixth rank. Never healing is like that. It is never desirable to have to heal. If you have to heal the first thing to do is ask yourself if you really have to heal. The second thing to do is ask yourself if you're just enabling bad play because maybe everyone would be better off if mister Jenkins learns when not to charge as a consequence of having to keep rolling up new characters until he does so. If you need an entire character dedicated to healing someone is screwing up really badly.
Had the skald blown his wad on a cure moderate (that should not have been on his spells known list) and the witch also done so (that she should not have had prepared) you would have eaten an attack of opportunity standing up and been down again. You were probably in this situation in the first place because your party didn't respect point 2.
Dragon Style alone is beating rage. That leaves weapon training and weapon specialization to compare against witch hunter. Even without gloves of dueling the fighter druid is going to come out ahead. There's a delay caused by stunning fist's high BAB prerequisite, but the barbarian will take a while to get his rage rounds up as well. Whatever level barbarians normally stop worrying about them the druidarian will have to wait another 4.
The barbarian has better defenses when raging, but I said the fighter was better offensively. I think you're better off without superstition and therefore witch hunter, though. You have the druid levels propping up your will save and the size penalties will make your reflex hopeless no matter what you do. Better to be able to accept friendly spells, especially since the non-superstitious barbarian still gets +2 to will saves while raging that superstition would overlap. I agree the DR is very nice, though.
Fighter's better offensively. You can use the fighter only feat martial versatility to apply feral combat training to all attacks and feral combat training applies anything that boosts unarmed strike to your natural attacks. Once you have 26 polymorphed strength dragon style is better than rage and at 30 it's better than greater rage. It's not like you need to get pounce from rage powers. You have to be human, but polymorphs throw away the best things about nonhumans anyways.
They lack fortitude. It's the save for ghoul paralysis, disease (that often comes on melee attacks), poison (that is also usually on melee attacks), and permanent negative levels (usually from melee touch attacks). Clerics have it.
The main difference between Divine and Arcane full-casters is that Arcane Casters have a much-wider and superior list of spells, while Divine Casters have a decent BAB & Hit Dice, but both categories are more potent than all other classes at the end of the day regardless (with the exception of maybe the Summoner, who is a half-full-caster in its own right).
That may be true of the druid and shaman, but the cleric has always been the dumping ground for spells to fix other peoples' problems. Every time the original developers came up with a new idea for a way to make the party miserable they gave the cleric a way to reverse it. Those all make the cleric weaker, not stronger. More of their resources have to be devoted to being the first aid kit and less to being an adventurer in their own right. Mid-day preparation into open slots has done a lot to fix the bloated spell list, but for the oracle it's every bit as bad as it's ever been.
The other big difference is that the arcane list was written with the understanding that not every wizard would learn every spell. The cleric list was written with the understanding that every cleric would learn every spell. The cleric is the game's backstop. It's okay to throw permanent negative effects at the party because there's always a cleric to clear them up the next day if not earlier, but having all the tools spread among so many different spells leaves the oracle unable to fill a cleric's shoes. They may be powerful, but they're unfit for any purpose.
They make questionable front liners because of their poor fortitude save. They fine as long as you're only facing HP damage or will saves, but that's not filling the role.
They make terrible healers. They can do HP damage maybe better than the cleric, but a monkey with maxed UMD can do HP damage adequately most of the time. Dealing with other kinds of damage and permanent debilitation requires the spells known they don't have.
They make lousy archers for lack of feats or big per attack bonuses and lousy blasters because they lack blasts that don't hit fire resistance.
They make lousy anvils. They have summon monster so they can do it, but in the most boring and table unfriendly way possible. One mystery spell per spell level can't make up for the dullness of the cleric list.
They make lousy skill monkeys at 4+int on a class with a primary stat other than int.
Oracles are like one of those flashy sports cars with no back seat and a boot the size of a wellington. You struggle to carry groceries, can't carry more than one passenger, can't carry groceries and a passenger at the same time, and get lousy gas mileage. They're powerful, but a sedan or van or wagon of pickup/ute is able to actually fill the purposes for which people own motor vehicles. An oracle is the class you tack on when you already have all the roles filled.
I'd say oracle if you hadn't said PFS. With three to five of them the spells known problems are a lot less gnarly and they have enough skill points to spread the important stuff around and some of the mysteries are okay anvils, but since you said PFS they're not planned to fit together perfectly so cleric is the only option. Only clerics have been given all the tools for recovering from sadistic legacy crap like mummy rot and permanent blindness and level drain.
The lack of a cleric is occasionally disastrous. Will you face mummies or shadows or specters or necromancers or poisoners? Only the cleric can easily have all the tools in his toolkit on the CR schedule. Blame Arneson and Gygax for their sadistic bestiary and the people at WotC who didn't clear it out when they cleaned house for Third Edition.
The dominance of spellcasters in the responses just makes me want to go with either the lore warden or the cavalier, out of purse spite for the dominance of spellcasters in the game. :)
If you intend to ask for advice and then do the opposite you should clearly play a rogue. Or a non-quiggong vow of poverty monk.
Underpowered? Perhaps not, but the oracle is not fit for a purpose, which is even worse.
The oracle lacks the spell access required of a real healer. The cleric list is full of spells that have both narrow application and no substitute. The oracle simply doesn't have enough spells known to get remove blindness/deafness and remove disease and remove curse and neutralize poison and restoration and breath of life and raise dead and so on and so forth.
The oracle lacks a front liner's traditional fortitude. It was a problem oft brought up in the swashbuckler playtest and it's a problem here. There was a fix feat published recently, but it's generally considered unacceptably strong. Clerics have the saves to handle contact poisons and contact paralysis and such out of the box. Considering that most healing spells are touch spells this makes oracles mostly unfit for any healing role not so all encompassing as to justify a life link build. Few people want to either be or carry a pure healbot.
The oracle lacks flexibility. You must roleplay a curse or disability. The whole class is built for Tiresias (but can't actually do Tiresias because there's no actual blindness curse and Tiresias), but most oracles and prophets are not Tiresias and most people who are lame or unavoidably lapse into esoteric languages under stress or can't see anything more than thirty feet away bow to the inevitable and stay home. And there's no reason that lame people who want to adventure should be divine casters either. As well as being unfit for playing most oracles it's also unfit for playing someone based on eg. Timur the Lame.
Yes, unless something else filled the same role.
Iteratives stretch the relevance of AC. Without iteratives, someone who attacks at +35 does not care about AC less than 17. With iteratives their second attack can be influenced by AC as low as 12 and their third by AC as low as 7. A wizard might have 14 dex and mage armor for 16 AC. Without iteratives they're wasting a slot.
There are other ways to stretch out the relevance of AC, but a lot of them aren't backwards compatible with 3.5 content, which was a primary design goal of PF. If PF couldn't use 3.5 content enough people would have missed that for the system to flop.
Le Petite Mort wrote:
I don't think James Bond really qualifies. At least not in the novels. He's not a huge melee threat. There are a couple stories in which gunplay is important, but The Man with the Golden Gun is the only novel where it matters that he's exceptional rather than any old medium BAB character with a modern firearm, and it's kind of an informed ability. There's a short story in which he acts as a counter-sniper, but that's minor enough to ignore in a game conversion and the only real indication he should be full BAB.
Most of the time James Bond is just a stealth and social guy. Under common firearm rules he's probably doable as a rogue. Under Golarion firearm rules I'd go Steel Hound investigator.
Not sure what you're talking about, though the name doesn't inspire confidence in the sanity of the protagonist. But the existence of reasonable characters that aren't widely pursued isn't going to make up for the class attracting people who want an excuse to play crazy.
The iconic bloodrager has uncontrolled murderous rages that leave no memories. That's too good an excuse for antisocial gaming to go unused.
The OP seems to be complaining about a barbarian leeroy jenkinsing, but there are a lot of gamers who play barbarians who don't froth at the mouth because barbarians in classic fantasy literature weren't berserkers. The bloodrager doesn't have that so it's likely to develop the same sort of horrible reputation as kender.
I think the real default skill guy in PF is the bard. The default divine caster is still the cleric because the cleric list sucks with the limited spells known of a spontaneous caster and the druid list has important spells like restoration missing. The default arcane caster is up in the air a bit, but is probably one of the ones using the sorc/wiz list. It doesn't matter who the default martial is because he's not going to do anything.
So we have a bard, a cleric, and let's say a sorcerer because that's the worst case arcane caster. A fighter's will and reflex saves at level 10 are +3 for class and probably +3 for a cloak and likely another +1 from a headband and probably +0 or +1 from base stats and +2 from iron will. At level 20 naked he has +6 from class and probably +2 or +3 from base stats including a manual +2 for iron will. That's not a big difference between the weak saves of an ungeared level 20 fighter and the weak saves of the fighters the party would normally face fully geared.
So the bard uses dirge of doom and the fighter's save drops to +8 or +9. The cleric's wisdom may be as low as 13 base +4 headband if she's a beatstick build. Plane Shift is DC 18. >50% chance of failure without iron will. Since, as has been pointed out above, you don't know the DC when you choose to use greater iron will you will probably use it up because the DC for a caster cleric could be as high as 24 (20 starting stat +2 for leveling up, a +4 headband, and spell focus conjuration with a 5th level spell). Do you really want to know what the sorcerer will follow up with? Could be hold monster. Could be persistent slow. Could be magic jar. Could be dominate person. Most offensive will save spells can wreck a fighter if they land. Or the sorcerer could just cast enervation before the cleric goes in for plane shift. The bard only used a move action so he could land a 4th level spell as well if built as an offensive caster.
I'm seeing at least an even chance of a CR 18 (A single level 20 NPC is CR 19 with -1 for inadequate gear) character losing to a CR 13 party (3 level 10s with PC wealth) with the fight decided in the first round.
The barbarian is usually fine. It's the sorcerers that need leashes. They run off without armor and with d6 HD.
Sorcerer may attract its share of yahoos. It's perhaps not as famed for it as rogue because there weren't funky bloodlines in 3.5, but I've read at least one berserk hostage incinerating sorcerer horror story.
I suspect bloodragers are going to be a problem too. The iconic's story is the story of someone that no sane person should be willing to spend time around and there's no Fahfrd/Conan/Beowulf stuff to pull them to character (as opposed to mechanical) archetypes that aren't complete nutters. Still, if a problem player rolls up a bloodrager he's probably going to just kill his character, not ruin the game for everyone.
Bloody special snowflake fluff
Anecdotal evidence suggests that rogues go off the reservation worse than barbarians. When a barbarian decides to ignore the plan all you have to do is not charge in after him and let him roll up another character. When a rogue wants to cause trouble it usually involves theft and may result in someone being kicked out of the group or the group disintegrating entirely. I've never heard of a barbarian causing stuff like that. Sorcerers, yes, but not barbarians. They may sometimes be as dumb as a box of rocks, but they're usually as uncomplicated and therefore uncomplicating as samurai or monks.
As long as you don't abuse non-key class levels adding class levels to a bestiary creature won't add more to its difficulty than adding the same number of class levels to a human cohort. Barbarian is a key class for riding dogs so there's no issue at all.
Monstrous cohorts are almost always absurdly weak for their leadership value unless they're a low leadership value creature brought up with class levels.
Frostbite is probably not worth the actions unless it's a rider on a real attack. It only really gets good with relatively large numbers of natural attacks or unarmed strikes. A magus can do that with polymorph spells at high levels. A druid can do it at low-mid levels. A samsaran sacred fist warpriest can also pull it off at mid levels, but without pounce.
A hunter, unless there's a wildshaping archetype I don't recall, isn't going to get much out of it.
Rogues fail at devouring civilizations. You need a Master Summoner or an Archer Paladin for that...
Rogues may not devour civilizations, but arguments about rogues get pretty nasty.
On building a balanced group: working out just what works and why you may have been doing it all along.
No, that cleric is fine because cleric is a noncombat role. A cleric's role is, after each battle, return the party as much as practical to the status quo ante. Her job is to have open slots into which she can prepare remove disease and remove curse if your fighter failed a fortitude save fighting a CR 5 mummy at level 5. It's an indispensable role in some games, but it has nothing to do with the forge model of combat. Because of the delay on spontaneous caster spell access, their lack of spells known, and the absence or delay of some of the condition removal spells on all the other full divine lists the role is pretty much synonymous with cleric.
Similarly, in some kinds of games "person who learns teleport and greater teleport" is an important noncombat role that is almost synonymous with full arcane caster, but has nothing to do with the forge model of combat.
You talk about heavy shields when comparing bard AC to magus AC. Bards, other than arcane duelists, cannot use heavy shields without sacrificing their ability to cast spells with somatic components. Only light shields and bucklers can be used for the free action grip shuffle. Bards can use shields a lot earlier than magi can use heavy armor, but they don't want to use heavy shields.
In your brief discussion of teamwork feats you focus exclusively on those used in combat, which suck. Even the ones you approve of are kind of situational. The three I'd look at are Lookout, Shake it Off, and Stealth Synergy. Lookout provides more actions in the surprise round. Shake it Off provides saves. Stealth Synergy makes stealth more effective rather than less the more people participating, which makes whole party stealth practical and solves the isolated rogue problem. Lookout and Stealth Synergy combined give a party a lot of front loaded extra actions to buff and set up the battlefield with.
You rate Heroic Finale high for being an extra action, but Jester's Jaunt low. Jester's Jaunt is a second move action out of turn from a lower level slot that doesn't end your performance. I'm biased against offensive enchantments, but I'd consider it somewhere between a third and fifth choice for its level depending on what the other casters in the party were doing and if pages of spell knowledge were available.
If you're doing stealth, Zone of Silence is very good because it lasts an hour/level and allows you to cast spells without breaking stealth. It interferes with sonic spells, but language dependent spells and audible performances can be applied over the message cantrip or ventriloquism if that doesn't provide enough targets for you. It also no sells tremmorsense and all examples I'm aware of of Ex blindsight and blindsense since they're sonar based. Obviously as a very long duration spell it's good for a page of spell knowledge, but if those aren't on the table it's likely worth knowing.
Speaking of pages of spell knowledge, some commentary on which spells are best used from a page might be useful.