I'm making a Dragon Disciple for our Wrath of the Righteous run (starting tonight). Always wanted to try one, and they can be built well for both melee combat, blasting and both.
I will go for the melee option since I've already played several blasters. A lot of mythic abilities interact well with the DD, I think. Especially Shapeshifting Mastery which can help your BAB stay competitive in Dragon Form even if you focus on sorceror levels.
I don't think blasting is necessarily a bad option either, since many Mythic Spells/powers eventually give you options to bypass energy resistance, spell resistance or both. And the Elemental Bond power can seriously buff your CL with fire spells if you go that route.
Mythic Vital Strike is ridiculously powerful, though. Especially since every mythic character gets Amazing Initiative. You get to multiply all static bonuses to Vital Strike making it the actual near-equivalent of a full-attack - and you can do it twice per round if you burn mythic power.
Scrolls can also be used even if you don't know the spell, as long as you can decipher them with Read Magic or Spellcraft. They do have a caster level requirement (but it only requires a fairly easy check to overcome), unlike wands.
But yeah, your GM is wrong.
"Activation: Wands use the spell trigger activation method..."
"Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it's even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can't actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity."
The important bit is "whose class can cast the spell" - so it must be on the class list, but you don't have to know it. The Paladin example really underlines that - he can use wands even before he can cast spells AT ALL :-)
Note that it doesn't say it "works like the spell Teleportation". There's therefore no reason to assume it has similar limitations.
Compare to a Conjuration wizard's Dimensional Slide which specifically says it works like Dimension Door (and is thus subject to the same limitations).
I think it's intended. Otherwise Forbid Action, Greater would be in every way worse than Command, Greater (though admittedly that's already true of regular Forbid Action).
There are a lot of powers that completely lock things down which allow a save each round, but FA is a "soft" lockdown (often leaving enemies room to either flee or use ranged attacks) so I think it makes sense that it offers less saves.
A ranger (of all classes!) with the Guide archetype can potentially cast 3 spell in one turn under his own power, since he has a power that grants him an extra swift action.
And as has been mentioned, anyone can pull off extra actions teamed up with a friendly Pathfinder Chronicler or Bard (Heroic Finale).
As Slim said, it's not possible.
Balance-wise there might not be too many issues with houseruling trading standard for swift, but move for swift would clearly be unbalanced in some cases (like spells or other offensive powers with swift action activation time which you could suddenly throw twice as many times in a round).
Yeah, put me in the "it's great fun!" pool. Much more interesting than just being stunned or paralyzed, you actually get to play your character being evil (or at least being counterproductive in some way - sometimes smart opponents don't directly order you to attack your teammates because they know that will grant a second save.)
Certainly not "bad form" - but of course there's a good reason most players fear dominate spells, as they can turn the tables of combat faster than many other things.
I agree that it's very strange that Wind shamans don't get flight. They should get some kind of flight hex - it's very odd that Wind oracles are by far the best fliers of all the Mysteries while Wind shamans don't get flight until Winds of Vengeance at level 18.
I disagree about the utility of Windsight - my Wind Oracle has used that a ton of times, though it is usually better for seeing than listening - very nice for peeking around corners in dungeons to check for guards and the like, or for viewing an outside area from above to look for landmarks.
There's something seriously odd about bloodline spells. Why are they delayed so much, couldn't they at least show up when you get that level of spells? As it is now a lot of them will be near-useless by the time you get them.
Cause Fear at level 7? - good luck finding anything it works on at that point. Similar issue with Deep Slumber at level 13.
Lightning Bolt at level 13, 3 levels after it has reached its damage cap?
This might be extended to the fact that the Bloodrager uses magus spells in the first place - many of the blasting spells are at or near their damage caps by the time you can get them, and any save DCs will be abysmal with only 4 spell levels. There's a reason the paladin and ranger lists are tailor-made to those classes and predominantly feature buff and utility spells. The magus list just doesn't really seem like a very good fit for the bloodrager mechanically - I guess in practice only the buffs will end up seeing any use.
I'll second Bard's Escape. Note that its primary use is rather "rearrange the battlefield". With a snap of your fingers you'll have every frontliner in flanking and full-attacking position and every caster and archer well out of range of enemies. It really is amazing.
Yeah, it depends a lot on what exactly you want your druid to do, but since it sounds like summoning and fighting in wild shape are at the top of the list Saurian is certainly one of the better options. Menhir is probably more suited for the more spellcasting-focused druid.
What Scythia said.
As for which is better, they are both pretty solid. They get some nice abilities without losing all that much, which is a winning formula for an archetype.
It's a matter of preference - Menhir gives you a lot of nice abilities (CL boost, more teleportation power and an amazing escape ability at level 13), whereas Saurian shaman is mainly notable for letting you summon some of the most powerful creatures in the game with a standard action (which is big deal). Instant T-rex!
This thread considered the issue and had a developer response: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2kc70?Grappling-VS-Gaseous-Form
Relevant quote from SKR in the linked the thread:
"You can't grapple a gaseous creature, that's obvious and we shouldn't need to state that in the rules. If a gaseous creature can slip through any crack because it's gaseous, it can easily slip through the gaps between your fingers or arms."
+1 to the "your Con is way too low" statement. On paper it might feel like you don't need the Con when you intend to stand in the back, but in practice it's usually impossible to completely avoid being hit (and smart enemies specifically target the caster who heals and buffs in the background). I think any character should have at least 10 Con, probably more. It really doesn't make a good dump stat.
I probably wouldn't be comfortable with such a low Dex either, but that's less crucial than Con for a druid and wild shape can provide some compensation later.
I'd recommend taking some points away from Cha, a stat you pump heavily but don't really gain much from. Then you can boost Con (and maybe Dex).
The first chapter of Serpent's Skull is also quite unusual. The players are stranded on a remote island far from civilization and have to work out how to get away from it while exploring and dealing with the hostile environment and (later on) hostile inhabitants.
Incarnate (good)//Empyreal Sorceror
A nice combo for both fluff and power. Wisdom-dependency for both classes - incarnate helps compensate for the weak defenses of the sorceror while sorceror spells compensate for the (relatively) weaker offense of the incarnate. And fluffwise it makes excellent sense to wield the magic of the angels while channeling good souls for defense and other powers.
But as others have said, incarnum classes combo pretty well with almost everything.
- It's YOUR world. Even if you run a published module within a published world, don't stress too much about getting things "right", as long as you try to be consistent. That encounter Paizo designed which you think makes no sense whatsoever? Skip it! Those 5 doors in the castle that has absolutely nothing of interest behind them - feel free to cut some of them out. Running a published module is not an exam you need to get right - you can use as much or as little as you like.
- The players should get the glory. Resist the urge to DMPC, resist the temptation to have awesome NPCs that do awesome things that the party could have been doing. One of my biggest mistakes as a new GM was a DMPC I almost railroaded into the party, whom they absolutely needed to accomplish their goal. A bad decision in all ways. Especially since one of the players came up with an awesome solution himself, but I still ruled that it wouldn't work without my guy. Horrible GMing, really.
Yeah, it's an extremely poor option for Monk unless you start at a very high level - which is really stupid because it seems to be designed for them fluff-wise.
Maybe your Monk could squeeze in 3 levels of Horizon walker, that seems to be the fastest way for a non-spellcaster to access the feat chain. Then you can start taking them at 9th level rather than 13th. Thus getting Dervish at 13 (still pretty late, but it's hard to do better).
(I'm not 100% sure about the current stand on the RAW for Dimension Door as a spell-like ability and its ability to qualify, but most GMs I've heard of seem to allow it. )
Most witch hexes are SU and thus not subject to spell resistance, so they should work fine.
And don't worry too much about the CR 11 thing, your PCs aren't supposed to face the thing in a straight-up fight at any point.
There's also a wand of acid arrow (SR:No) in the module which saw a lot of use against the various flesh golem enemies when we played it (and again when I GM'ed it).
Beyond the first few levels, there's really no reason why all your standard arrows shouldn't be cold iron AND silver-blanched. The cost is negligible for the benefits. Who needs knowledge checks? Just hit them with everything at once.
It is also useful to carry some adamantium arrows (once again weapon blanch is significantly cheaper) and blunt arrows in case you run into something particulary tough or resistant to piercing. Slashing is the only really hard DR to overcome with a bow.
EDIT: Scratch that, completely managed to overlook your second post.
If you can get access to some of the polymorph spells that boost strength without losing spellcasting (monstrous physique, etc) that might still help a little with chance to hit. The main problem is lack of iterative attacks, that's really hard to compensate for.
Eldritch Knight can work, it's just suboptimal for a witch because it hurts hex progression.
Try looking at the Sensei archetype for the Monk. Combined with Quingong that could work pretty well for the "wise jedi master". Sensei also has good synergy with Quingong because you can pretty much pump Wisdom to the exclusion of most other stats thanks to their ability to use Wis for attacks. And the good Wis will make your powers harder to resist and give you more uses per day.
It also gets Diplomacy as a bonus class skill, so that works for your concept too :-)
Rise of the Runelords is pretty easy to run, that was the first "canned" adventure I tried as a new GM and it went well.
I have not played Kingmaker, but from what I've heard it is a lot more "sandbox" than most adventures, which might not be ideal for a beginner GM because there can be a lot to keep track of and it is even harder than usual to predict what the players will do. But I'm just guessing here, I haven't played or GM'ed it :-)
For reference purposes I find it easiest to use a laptop with access to the PFSRD for rule references (A Gm screen is probably even better, but I don't know much about those). I also like to have the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary in physical form just in case. I also strongly recommend a physical copy of the adventure path module, it's much more convenient than pdfs in my experience.
For getting players I'd generally suggest starting at your workplace or school, depending on life situation. Then seek out those with a general interest in fantasy and/or games. It's usually much easier to find someone with experience playing D&D-style videogames, and in my experience they are often eager to try out the other thing too (I know I was). My current group consists mostly of newbies (well, perhaps they aren't really anymore since we've played quite a bit) whom I convinced to try out PnP, most of them found at my university.
Quingong Monk could indeed fit the superhero-concept. Works fine on its own, could also be combined with another monk archetype that fits the fluff (Monk of the Four Winds if you want elemental powers, perhaps. They also get time-manipulation later on, very superhero).
When I think superhero in PF I usually think of the Sorceror class. Their bloodlines are usually themed around a particular set of powers and abilities - and combined with appropriate spell selection it really is a "make-a-superhero"-kit with amazing flexibility. You did say you wanted to avoid traditional magic, but I think most spells could be fit into a superhero theme and sorceror magic IS innate powers in the fluff as well.
Alchemist could certainly work as well, for a hulk-type hero or a technomancer with bombs.
Jedi is harder to work with - it would be easier if you could say exactly what aspects of the jedi you want. A lightsaber? Telekinetic powers?
A ninja or rogue might also work as a jedi - especially the ninja gets a lot of quite supernatural stuff with their powers.
Protection domain is not really worth it since it won't stack with your Cloak of Resistance. It can be ok for a full cleric to save a slot and some money for the cloak, but for a 1 level dip it is probably not worth it- and you'll be short enough on caster levels as it is.
I think a simple Sorcadin would work better (Paladin 2/Sorceror 18). You'll still have amazing saves and your casting won't be entirely crippled. That's assuming you want an actually playable build and not simply to theorycraft insanely high saves :-)
Wind is also a pretty amazing mystery for "rogue" oracles. Lots of powers that deal with infiltration and escape, and a useful list of bonus skills.
Invisibility: For obvious reasons. The ability to divide up the duration is both good and bad - used wisely it amounts to more uses per day, but for extended use you can quickly end up burning through it all. Being SU gives it some good advantages compared to the spell since it a) doesn't provoke (useful for making an escape from melee range of something big and scary) and b) doesn't have verbal components, making it extra useful for the stealthy type.
Wings of Air: It's flight! It's incredibly fast and with good maneuverability! It's a swift action to activate! It's a supernatural ability!
Gaseous Form: The ultimate in infiltration and escape abilities. When you don't have the time or the ability to pick a lock, the ability to simply whoosh through the keyhole is invaluable. You can even bring your party along, giving this power a solid advantage when compared to the spell. It's been useful countless times in our Skulls and Shackles campaign (lots of breaking and entering)
Wind Sight: Clairvoyance with both sight and sound. Great for scouting your burglary sites before entering. Much faster to use than the spell, and the ability to divide up the rounds means a lot of uses per day if you time it carefully.
Air Barrier: A bit lackluster at early levels, but for a skillful character it can be nice for avoiding those pesky armor check penalties. Also becomes AMAZING at level 13.
The only real downside to Wind is that the spell list is rather lackluster. Most of the spells do the same thing in slightly different ways, though the power to lock down ranged attackers completely with control winds can certainly come in handy.
He was a watchpost on a trading ship when he spotted the storm. For some reason he felt drawn to it and fascinated by it, and thus he deliberately neglected to warn the rest of the crew that they were about to sail into it.
He was picked up by the strong winds and tossed about in the fury of the elements, but somehow he felt both safe and invigorated. He eventually lost consciousness, but woke up safe and unharmed on a beach hundreds of miles from the storm. Since then he discovered that he was able to call up the winds to do his bidding and perform other miracles.
The rest of the crew were killed in the storm, however - he can still hear their voices in the night sometimes, and ghostly sailors frequently appear at the edge of his vision, looking at him with their judgmental eyes (Haunted curse).
Raise Dead costs you half your prepared spells/spell slots for the day when you are raised (50% chance to lose each). Doesn't come up too often since the time of raising is usually after the day of adventuring is done, but it can be extremely crippling if it occurs in the middle of a long dungeon-crawl.
There are plenty of PF videos on YouTube. This series tries to do a basic introduction to pretty much everything Pathfinder. I have only watched a few parts of it, but they seem pretty popular and very detailed:
Enduring Armor from Archmage might be useful if you have a mythically high Dex, since it gives you a permanent, scaling armor bonus with no dex cap and no armor check penalty. Armor Master from Champion does the same thing, basically - and is probably more efficient early on.
Divine Guardian from Hierophant lets you summon increasingly powerful creatures - could be useful for creating more flanking buddies early and for generally tearing everything apart later. A little expensive to use, mythic power-wise (since you'll almost always want to burn two uses each time).
TO elaborate on what Master of the Dark Triad said, people recommend Oracle because of the new kobold-only feat that specifically allows an oracle to qualify for DD using its divine spellcasting. So it's not a case of collective misunderstanding of rules, it is an actual option :-)
You're not going to do as much damage as a paladin - especially not in Carrion Crown (I assume you play that, judging by your traits), which is pretty much the paladin's wonderland (almost all of the opposition is evil-aligned).
As others have said, you really do need to get Bane to work to do damage, it's one of the cornerstone abilities of the inquisitor. Get some knowledge skills - and make sure the rest of the party have some too. That Alchemist should be helping you identify monsters for bane, he's got skill points and int to spare. Bana damage will really add up once you get several attacks.
We had a dwarven inquisitor in our Carrion Crown campaign, and while he didn't do as much damage as the paladin or the barbarian, he certainly pulled his weight in combat and had useful spells and abilities to supplement us. His domain powers really came in handy a lot, for example. Remember that you have those skills and spells in addition to your martial powers - you might feel overshadowed by a character that's all about damage, but you can do a lot of other useful stuff.
He could simply be very condescending towards humans - view them as stupid, primitive and violent, but still believe he has a responsibility to protect them because they're too dumb to do it themselves. So he would behave like an arrogant jerk a lot of the time, but still ultimately work for their safety.
And of course he might eventually overcome his bias. I played an elf who was convinced all humans were stupid, but eventually become friends with a human wizard who managed to convince him that humans were not all idiots (though he continued to maintain that most of them were!).
I agree that summoner is probably too complicated for a new players - it has both spells and a very complicated, customizable eidolon to deal with.
I second your own idea of just giving her a unicorn, fitting it into her backstory somehow. It probably won't be broken if she just wants it for fluff reasons.
Sylvan sorceror with unicorn as a custom animal companion could also work - while it might not strictly fit the rules, Sylvan + unicorn at least makes a lot of thematic sense. And sorceror is a pretty good class for beginners (if they get a little help with spell selection - but your wife was already planning on doing that, it seems).
Without feat retraining it's pretty hard to get Dervish before level 11.
A Travel domain cleric coupled with Loremaster can get it at lvl 9, but that requires an unrealistically high Int. There might be ways to qualify even earlier with Loremaster, but I haven't thought of any.
A witch or wizard going into EK can also get it at 9, but that requires a generous reading of Samsaran and (ab)use of the Summoner spell list.
I agree with the rest of you that Horizon Walker or synthesist seem to be the best options, since they qualify reasonably early and have the class chassis to take full advantage of the free full attacks. Theologian travel domain cleric with a melee focus could also work pretty well.
Get Lingering Performance. Now you have triple luck rounds. Every archaeologist should get that feat.
Fate's Favored is an extremely powerful trait when combined with Luck.
For the melee damage part, I guess a simple Dervish Dance build could work pretty well for someone with Evasion and light armor.
I don't see why they wouldn't stay as they are.
The rules only call out A) standard action spells and B) spells that take longer than that. So there's no reason to think that spells with shorter casting times would be affected, as far as I can see.
I've played a haunted oracle who was haunted by his old crew, whose death he was responsible for. Our GM would often let some of my crewmembers talk to me, comment on my actions in various ways. Sometimes he also used it to hand out warnings, like if we were heading into a more than usually difficult encounter: "You're in way over your head, I hope you know that. You're all going to get killed!"
But never anything mechanical, I agree. The Haunted curse is annoying enough with its existing penalties, especially at low levels.
I play a wind oracle right now (started at lvl 1, currently 14) and I haven't really bothered much with armor. At early levels I used a mithril chain shirt (no check penalty), which meant I could delay taking the actual armor revelation. I picked up Air Barrier when it was a +8 bonus, giving me a handy buff to my AC, but the real gem is of course the 50% miss chance for all ranged attacks at level 13 (which has saved my life several times already).
The other revelations from Wind - particularly invisibility and wings - make it quite easy to avoid relying much on armor. From level 3 onwards I was almost always either flying, invisible or both in most encounters. Works very well for a buffer/healer-role.
It's pretty ok. You have a ton of skill points as a wizard, you can afford to invest full ranks in one or more of the face skills. Whether they are class skill is not a huge deal anyway, you don't have to spend traits or feats for that if you don't want to.