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Seems like you might've already made a choice, but I'm going to add in another option here. If you're looking for Knowledge skills and damage dealing, I would personally go Inquisitor. Pick your domain or Inquisition (I'd choose the latter) to fit your style, though my favorites are the social skill ones (Heresy and Conversion).
If you want showy, flashy and entertaining, Dawnflower Dervish Bard. Dawnflower Dervish over Dervish Dancer because while both versions of Performance only affect you, the Dawnflower Dervish doubles the bonuses. Depending on your GMs interpretation of Dervish Dance, there is something a bit tricky you can do, that I feel also fits the flashy, showy side of this, and I've seen in action at my own weekly game. Levels in Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger, using a one handed firearm. Go the TWF route, put the firearm on a weapon cord and fire and drop before continuing to attack with the scimitar. While attacking with the scimitar, your other hand is free, and therefore you should benefit still from Dervish Dance. The amounts you want of either class really are up to you, as you get the Cha to damage ability from Gunslinger at 1st, though if your game goes high enough you really want to get to 10 levels of Bard eventually for swift action Battle Dance.
Not sure why you'd go quad, as to me a tree at best would look like it has two legs. I'd go Biped, and you already get limbs and claws. I'd probably go with Pull and/or Push, definitely Reach, totally Slam, perhaps Tentacle, if you go with Combat Maneuvers then definitely Grab. I'd say Tremorsense for flavor. Also, for a little extra LOTR flavor add Swallow Whole. Oh, and certainly the Large/Huge evolution.
Dwarf Gun Tank Gunslinger
Spend your gold on upgrading your starting firearm (a pistol) to masterwork, a suit of Breastplate, and a Tower Shield, leaves you with 70 gp to play with.
Starting Feat: Steel Soul.
EDIT: Make that 50 gp to start with... spend 20gp on a Dwarven Boulder Helmet.
Now that the Arcanist is coming out, this would be more easily doable without gestalt, but...
Universalist Wizard//Sage Sorcerer. All the arcane spells you could ever want, UMD as a class skill for the spells you want that aren't arcane (and with Pragmatic Activator it goes off Int instead of Cha) and the ability to cast any of them without changing the casting time or level of the spell once/day starting at 3rd level, then once more at 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, and 20th.
Lord Foul II wrote:
Weapon Master Fighter, if you're building to 20 is less necessary but gets Weapon Training faster... Sohei specifically for the ability to flurry with any weapon with which you have weapon training.
Two things, the first closer to your actual request, the second just something I'd love to see your take on.
Challenge The First: Build a Pathfinder Delver. 20th level, 20 point buy, any race, all Paizo Pathfinder material allowed.
Challenge The Second: A Feral Gnasher Goblin Barbarian, that frequently sets himself on fire before grappling foes. May multiclass if desired but the majority of levels should be in Feral Gnasher. Same build rules as above.
There are some good ideas in here, but I wanted to give one as a counter to that. Does it have to be a gnome? The description you gave for why you want to play it would fit the Halfling as well as the Gnome. And the Halfling has the benefit of a fun little archetype in the ARG (if allowed), the Underfoot Adept. Focused on tripping, this little guy eventually can fell giants.
Master of Many Styles Monk 2/Free Hand Fighter 2,3,or 5
Viktor Von Richtenbach
A boasting noble, his power comes from defense and not offense, making him more of an annoyance than a true powerhouse
Human feat: Weapon Finesse
By 10th level you have everything you need from a Dawnflower Dervish Bard, and the Battle Dance works pretty well with Smite Evil on board as well. Something interesting to consider is a Paladin 5(Holy Gun possibly)/Mysterious Stranger 5/Dawnflower Dervish Bard 10 (not necessarily in that order. Gives you a good ranged option and a good melee option, and you can do some fun dual-wielding combos
You definitely want Quick Bull Rush, Pushing Assault... if you want to add a weapon to it, wear spiked armor and take Spiked Destroyer, eventually you might want feats like Spinning Throw and Bull Rush Strike. Now, the next bit of advice I'm going to throw out there isn't optimal, but is certainly thematic. I'd consider the Two-Handed Fighter archetype, and combining Vital Strike with Overhand Chop early on, then once you get more than one attack you'll have Backswing adding some good damage for you.
In a campaign where the party was playing members of a thieves' guild, I played a Dhampir Ninja who took great pains to disguise his true nature, appearing for all intents and purposes as human. I didn't actually disclose the race to the players either, at the time of character creation. The party Bard (sadly our only healer) used a wand of cure light wounds on my character when he went unconscious, killing him in the process. In my opinion this was a risk I took playing that character as I did, and it turned into a running joke in our group.
Master of the Dark Triad wrote:
Knights of the Inner Sea is Paizo, one of their 32 page Player Companion books.
Even better, there is a Druid spell, Carry Companion, from Knights of the Inner Sea. Druid 2, Paladin 2, Ranger 2, Sorcerer/Wizard 2, Witch 2 in fact. It turns any touched animal that has a helpful attitude towards you into a stone figurine, small enough to fit in your hand. The duration is permanent but can be turned back by placing the figurine on the ground, touching it and uttering the command word.
A library, of the most rare and expensive books in the world. We're talking all 1st editions, not to mention copies of things like a Book of Infinite Spells, an Unending Tome, all three Books of the Damned, the Codex of the Infinite Planes, the Chronicle of the Righteous... all trapped and locked away in glass cases and stored in a maze of a library. The dragon himself (or herself) is more than happy to let adventurers INTO the library, but of course this kind of knowledge is not allowed back OUT.
Elf Mindchemist 2/Wizard the rest of the way
Put all puts into Int. Casts off Int, can drink a cognatogen to raise Int even more, can add Int twice to knowledge checks, which he should have ranks in every single one if possible as well as things like spellcraft.
Edit: Not strictly Int based, but make him a Diviner and play up the knowledge aspect even more.
Thematically Roof Runner or Thug would make sense, I think. Thug probably has a better mechanical benefit to be like Batman. Does the character have to be Human? I only ask (and I know this doesn't sound like Batman) because a Halfling can emulate the utility belt easily. Well-Prepared feat is pretty much exactly the utility belt. Only prereq is Halfling, and it lets you make a Sleight of Hand check to have a needed item that you could easily carry on hand. No magic items or very specific items, like no keys for a particular place or the exact documents you need or something. And it gives an option for Survival over Sleight of Hand, which is something to consider.
Just an aside, because this topic interested me enough to read... have they ever weighed in on why the Sorcerer kept 2+Int skill points, or does it come down to having to stick to OGL on certain things? It just seems like a balancing factor for the Oracle is the raised skill points in relation to the Cleric, and the Sorcerer gets far fewer seeing that the Wizard uses Int to cast and gets more from that already.
OT: I think that the points made here are good ones. The Oracle has more variability in their special abilities, and less in their spell selection. I think, from a roleplaying perspective, the Oracle has SO much flavor simply built in. And mechanically, I do believe they are balanced.
This build doesn't have a viable ranged option, and sadly gets shut down by magic later in the game, but the idea is too much fun not to mention.
1st: Agile Maneuvers, Improved Unarmed Strike
Damage estimates vary based on equipment. The rest is self explanatory. Damage comes from sneak attack and a 1d6+2 Composite Shortbow. The extra attacks are for extra sneak attacks while you're hidden in the smoke. Smoke sticks are a good way to go, as is the ever-smoking bottle. Vanishing Trick is both offensive and defensive, but is a good way to disappear, and then drop a smoke stick or bottle to further confuse your enemy.
This doesn't meet the bonus requirements, but it should do fine for the base goals, and as an added bonus, ranged combat is something it does relatively well
Unless you can get access to a source of smoke, early levels aren't as strong. You rely on base weapon damage with a Composite Shortbow, and the occasional snipe attack. As soon as you can afford an eversmoking bottle do so, and then the fun begins, making ranged sneak attacks through the smoke due to Firesight allowing you to see without hindrance.
EDIT: Your Ninja Trick can also be Smoke Bomb, for some added smoke access.
I have another fun build, though its not as powerful as some others. I don't have a full workup, though if asked I might be able to come up with one. The important aspects are:
Go around disguised as an innocent looking human child, use your high charisma and diplomacy your way into the hearts of your foes, right before stabbing them in them.
Unfortunately I don't believe the Catch Off-Guard trick works for those foes, one of the weaknesses of the build. However, as an elf he does have a composite longbow to fall back on as well as the chance of flanking if it does arise. The disarm bonus will come from Dex (I believe that being unarmed and using that arm to disarm should allow Weapon Finesse to apply, if not then finding an opening for Agile Maneuvers is needed. I know all about the high CMDs out there, and I will admit this build has not been field-tested yet.
Flanking is entirely unneeded for this build, as per the request. Catch Off-Guard makes an unarmed opponent (achieved through Disarm) flat-footed when using improvised weapons (durable arrows used as melee weapons)
Level 7... lets see...
Attack bonus (arrow): +7/+7
Ranged is weaker, but still comes out to 1d8+2+4d6 if you can get a sneak attack off via sniping.
While I disagree with some of the assumptions made, I would like to present a character that is both unique and I believe, under the definitions given, "functional".
Put leveling and magic bonuses into Dex.
1st: Combat Expertise
That's as far as I've built it, and the open even levels can be used for anything. To consistently get sneak attack without flank, disarm your opponent of any weapon they're carrying and use a pair of durable arrows (of various special materials) as improvised weapons. Prior to level 3 stay ranged with a longbow.
Can't assume flanking? I've never understood anyone who says both that the rogue is useless, and that you can't assume flanking. Flanking helps everyone hit better, is nearly always a preferable tactic, and should always be possible. You're taking something that any melee build should aspire to and specifically disallowing it to make the rogue look bad.
I can't speak on Second Darkness, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say no, there are no guns in that one. However, to answer your first question, you take the Mysterious Stranger archetype for the Gunslinger and you only need 1 or 2 levels in the class. The rest can be Bard, and you focus on Dex and Charisma.
Cubic Prism wrote:
You could go 1-5 Gunslinger and use a rifle/pistol. You could devote more points into CHA, and pretty much always hit vs. touch ac.
This is a fun way to go, actually. I saw a character in a game I played in that was a Dawnflower Dervish who danced between firing a pistol and dropping it with a weapon cord and using a scimitar. She was a Bard/Gunslinger/Magus, though the player did say he'd drop the Magus if he rebuilt.
Oops, looks like I was ninja'd lol. As for the build, definitely human for flavor. I would consider playing an Oracle. Even though the caster levels don't stack, and you're not much of a primary caster... you're not going to be as a prophet anyway. The Oracle has some very fun abilities, and the idea of someone being born to follow the prophecies is a flavorful and interesting idea that the oracle seems built for.
In particular I would focus on the roleplay aspects of diplomacy used to gather information. Make them seek out the right contacts, and have them get double-crossed by some of those same contacts and have to weasel their way out of a thing or two. A lot of it will be up to your players and how they think, they've got to stay ahead of the enemy and play it like a game of chess.
I like this idea, though I wouldn't give it actual spellcasting. Maybe this could be where a Warlock like flavor comes in, with a ray attack that progressively gets better. Give it rogue skills, good Ref and Will, some built in stealth enablers and go to town. I wouldn't give it actual sneak attack, at least not on top of a magic ray attack that gets up to 10d6.
I'm going to post a build I've always wanted to try, and we'll see how it goes. Yes it multi-classes, but barely enough to be a blip on the radar, and I think it plays like a Rogue throughout.
20 point buy
Halfling Master of Many Styles Monk 2/Rogue 10(I don't think an archetype would make this any better)
Traits: Reactionary (Does any Rogue player NOT take this?)
Monk 1: Crane Style, Stunning Fist, Cautious Fighter, Improved Unarmed Strike
Important equipment: Scimitar, Monk's Robes, anything that helps stealth or perception, or your saves or AC (including boosts to Wisdom and Dex)
Important skills: Stealth, Perception, Perform: Dance (only need the 2 ranks), Acrobatics, the rest are up to you
Speaking of Saves (Without extra equipment)
AC: 17 without equipment, +5 Dodge Bonus when fighting defensively or taking total defense (which you should be doing always) for a typical naked AC of 22, FFAC of 22 or 10(Uncanny Dodge) Touch AC of, you guessed it, 22. Monk's Robes raise those all up by +1, and if you're completely naked you're doing it wrong anyway.
This turned out to be a more defensive build than I originally anticipated as I started writing this, but its one I'd personally love to play. Moving things around so that Two Weapon Fighting can be achieved and you can mix Scimitar and kicks might be fun too, but I'm not sure where I'd place it yet. Also would like to include Improved Initiative, but perhaps a +7 is enough until a spot opens.
EDIT: Changed saves, having forgotten about Halfling save bonuses.
Like everything in D&D/Pathfinder, the game is not played solo, so you have to take the rest of the party into account with any build you play. There are SOME builds that work fine without taking this into consideration, and it has been my personal experience that the Roleplayed personality of those characters tends to reflect that and make them less fun to play with. The Rogue uses the Wizard's intelligence to find out what they're probably going to be up again, relies on the Fighter to give him bonuses to hit and distract the difficult enemies, and otherwise tries to have a tool for every occasion.
The first thing I do making a Rogue is buy anything from the most basic items that seems like it might have a use somewhere down the line. Later in the game, I resort to a Traveler's Any-Tool. Truly, a Rogue's best friend. After that, the Rogue should have one or two (I prefer two) weapons he focuses on, or a double weapon if that's your bag. Beyond those, however, he better have access to some weapons of interesting materials, at least until he's high enough level that at least one of his weapons is a +4.
To all the players I've seen dumping Int on a Rogue: Why? Your own knowledge of a situation shouldn't affect how you go about something in game. If your Rogue doesn't know the answer, he's out of luck. So make him smart enough that he will! I suggest at least a 12-14 here, if you spread your skills out intelligently. Plus, it qualifies you for Combat Expertise, which is considered a feat tax by some, but I've found situations where the party is in a bad spot and the Rogue is enjoying his ability to turtle just a little bit more and avoid those nasty hits. Plus, just look through the lists... there are some fun and promising feats that Combat Expertise is required for.
It is true that some classes can fill a Rogue's role just as well as a Rogue if not perhaps better, but you know what? The Rogue is all about bragging rights! He got the job done, and while he may not have done it with the same flair, the same panache... he wouldn't be screwed in a AMF or zone of Silence, either (At least no more than the purely martial characters in the party).
I know a lot of what I said comes down to money, a finite resource, but, guess what? You're the Rogue! Steal, bribe, cheat, bluff, finagle, and otherwise snatch that money right out of the enemies hands (Or the local townsfolk, or even other party members...). Be a Rogue, do what Rogues do best... improvise!