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I'm considering having my Viking take the "Divine Source" ability next time he gains a Mythic Tier. It might not be as powerful in game terms as being able to charge through allies or even just gaining another +2 Str, but the idea of my PC being a viable target of worship sort of amuses me since he's well known for bragging and would probably start telling people he's a god.
The fact that the party and their allies include multiple divine casters who would never consider converting to his worship (and in fact think he's kind of a bozo) would be extra roleplaying gravy. I'm not quite sure what his portfolio would be, perhaps demigod of drinking, boasting, and threatening?
I sometimes make old PCs available as deities such as a drunken monk who invented pizza with psychedelic cheese and used his monk's spade as the pizza peel (that stick with a flat end you use to move pizza. Sorry, that's kind of all I have...
I'm currently playing a Viking PC in a game set on Mystara, where the typical Norse pantheon is active. I think that probably makes it a little easier to roleplay since I know more about Norse myths than say myths about Gorum.
If discussing potential shortcomings in RPG products is considered "disrespectful" it seems like that might make it tough for the folks writing them to get honest and potentially useful feedback.
Anyhow, the Misfortune hex affects one enemy, allows a saving throw. Unlike Evil Eye it doesn't do anything if the enemy makes the save, and even if they fail you'd have to spend a Move action each round to extend the duration with Cackle. Unless I'm mistaken the 3pp Combat Precognition ability affects everybody attacking you, allows no saving throw, and lasts for multiple rounds (at least if you have a Wisdom bonus) without any further actions on your part. I think that the 3pp ability sounds better than Misfortune in terms of defending attacks on AC.
I feel like Mirror Image might be a more fitting example. Usually it costs a standard action to deploy, but the Magus can pop it out quickly with Spell Combat. Of course that means that the Magus isn't casting some other spell, but if you're focused on defense then Mirror Image can be pretty powerful (especially if you already have a high AC)
I'd normally think of the SoL effects as the "head shots" since they're a one hit win while stuff like damage slowly wears you down. DM Blake makes a good case for that reversed analogy though. Sometimes my own PCs end up focusing on defense so much that the DM or other players might accuse them of being boring (like Floyd Mayweather some might say)
When playing a Fighter I sometimes feel like Will saves are low blows though. Sure, I can take steps to mitigate the risk like wearing a cup and a +5 cloak of resistance, but when I get hit by a SoL I sometimes have to take a rest whether I want it or not, and it is often more than 5 minutes. If the party isn't well prepared with spells like Protection from Evil those sorts of issues can go on for hours. I think debuffs are better "body blows" for both the PCs and the DM, and I tend to focus on those a lot especially as a PC since I think they're not only more fun than "rocket tag" but also perhaps a little more reliable in the long run.
Simple stuff like intimidation can take offense down a notch. If the DM uses ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, lots of poison, etc that can drain the party's coffers kind of like buying saving throw boosts. If it is clear that the PCs are going to get hit with this stuff fairly consistently they'll often start buying the counters. Going back to the original topic of the thread for a moment I'll nominate True Strike as a great spell to use against players from time to time, especially if the attack it boosts carries a nasty effect like negative levels, a powerful Poison, etc.
Back to the low blows analogy, I didn't mean to say powers which remove a player's control should never be used. Some boxers like Bernard Hopkins would probably consider low blows to be "part of boxing" and something that can be used from time to time to gain an advantage, kind of like holding. If you keep fouling repeatedly in boxing the ref might step in and take a point or even eventually disqualify you though, sort of like if you keep on taking away the player's control he might eventually complain or give up.
A big part of the discussion in this thread is how a DM can challenge characters despite high AC. Saying that you want the players to have effective characters isn't a very good excuse unless there's evidence that having a high AC means a character can't be effective in other ways, something which clearly isn't true. Punishing the other players instead of the one with the high AC also seems pretty backwards to me.
I'm not aware of any builds which can't do anything besides "stand there and not be hit", but I suspect that you also might not enjoy playing a character who is very hard to hit but also very good at hitting back with weapons, spells, or other powers. As I'd mentioned before, many people seem to equate taking lots of damage with having fun. I guess it is some kind of thrill seeking.
I get my enjoyment of the game primarily out of roleplaying, talking in funny voices, and figuring stuff out, so "close calls" to maintain excitement aren't something I need a lot of. They also seem to come up on their own over the course of a campaign without anybody really forcing it. To me it sounds like maybe you're just projecting what you like onto what the players should like.
Anyhow, isn't arbitrarily boosting monster attack bonuses kind of like DMing in "god mode"?
I'd say it should work, and I wouldn't expect too much controversy since your blocking the attack with your weapon. I've seen greater doubts when my PC tries to block a touch attack with Crane Wing since people reason that the monster is still coming into contact with him. The fact that shields don't count against touch attacks strikes me as pretty weird. I mean, incorporeal creatures could reach right through them, but it seems like a shield should be able to obstruct a caster with a held charge...oh well...
Pounce is available at 6th level, but Rake doesn't show up until 8th. Dire Tiger is indeed a fine shape for these sorts of shenanigans. You also get Grab at 8th level, which is why I mentioned picking up Greater Grapple around 9th if possible. In the level 4-5 range I guess a Cheetah with 3 attacks and a free Trip might not be bad if you want a cat theme all along.
If a rational enemy is clearly outclassed and has a viable escape option I'll usually use it unless it seems against the enemy's nature or personality. For instance, demons can teleport, but they might fail to retreat due to their murderous rage.
Another option perhaps less used is villains who die but then come back anyhow whether by getting raised or becoming undead. The players get the satisfaction of defeating the foe and perhaps a bit of a surprise when he or she returns, perhaps as part of a deadly ambush.
Escaped enemies can also act against the party in subtler ways by telling other villains the party's strengths, weaknesses, whereabouts, etc. Stuff like this can make running down that last goblin a little more interesting.
If what you're saying is that strawman argument regarding Pathfinder should be called a Straw Golem Argument since Pathfinder has golems and Paizo uses one as their logo then I guess that's not a completely unreasonable suggestion. I can see how you might find that wordplay amusing. Something I find amusing and perhaps more relevant to the discussion of Wizards vs Rogues is Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit.
Why wouldn't you want to join the Donner party? Aren't you hungry for adventure?
If you're thirsty instead our Rise of the Runelords party included several PCs from a clan of gnomes named the Rockbottoms who ran a brewery in Sandpoint. My Cleric was the Fighter's uncle, but since I didn't have a name on my sheet by the time the first session started he got stuck being called "Uncle Buck". He was an older adventurer who got drained down to 1st level by undead. He was also our original "brewmaster" and made a lot of potions generally referred to as "magic beer" (we had some special house rules where drinking his potions required a Fort save to not start getting drunk)
Later on when the Cleric died he was replaced with a gnome Alchemist named Cousin Larry who took over the role of brewmaster and added a distillery. We also ended up with a gnome Sorcerer from the Rockbottom clan who fought (though not very well) with the same silver shovel he used for the malt and hops. I can't recall that gnome's name at the moment, but he and Cousin Larry somehow managed to survive the rest of the campaign and retire back in Sandpoint, where the Rockbottom Brewery stands to this day. Grab a flagon and head for Rockbottom!
The discussion of gaining various bonuses to Stealth for having cover is kind of interesting. The fact that you get a -20 on your Perception check to notice an invisible Ninja sneaking into your camp with a running chainsaw seems pretty weird to me, so I've been thinking about house rules to let the Perception skill be used to hear creatures without seeing them (and perhaps see them without hearing them though situations where you'd have a penalty to hear but not see might not come up as often)
I disagree with thorin001's statement that, "Critical fumbles are never a viable variant". Everybody I play with uses the Fumble Deck, and most of them love it. It probably helps that we also use Hero Points and you can spend a point to make a card go away. Honestly we get far more complaints about the Critical Hit deck since there's one guy who rolls lots of crits and has an uncanny ability to draw the "normal damage" cards.
That said, I think that expanding the fumble range when there's cover would be a bad idea. I suppose that a DM who wants to really stress the value of cover could have attacks which miss due to cover target the cover instead. Too much of this might get people thinking about where all the other arrows which miss end up though. We already track where misses end up for bombs, but I'm not sure how many groups would want to do it for arrows and bullets too.
If you think the DM was wrong in your RAW debate I think that getting a FAQ to clarify the RAW situation would be more helpful than making a "revenge" PC to somehow "prove" to the DM that you really aren't a munchkin since you could have done something much worse but clearly RAW (and you might only find that the DM disagrees with your interpretation of RAW again)
I think that a bullet list of important things to know about the room might be pretty helpful. It would also be nice if the electronic versions of adventures had clickable links to referenced material.
I also miss the way some old school adventures would include a lot of illustrations of rooms, puzzles, monsters, etc. I guess that the expectation levels for artwork have increased a lot since the days of black and white illustrations by Erol Otus, and I understand that adding several pages of full color glossy pictures to a book would probably raise the price. Maybe stuff like this could be available as a web bonus though.
We’ve got an ongoing “Goblin Game” which is currently at 12th level. It included both “We Be Goblins” and “We Be Goblins Too”, but by the time “We Be Goblins Free” came out our PCs had gained too many levels for the DM to feel like ramping the challenge up to our CR range. The DM demanded that all PCs must be goblins and banned Good alignments.
The party is basically a bunch of CE psychopaths with my NE character acting as the “voice of reason” though that pretty much just consists of trying to convince them that we’ll be able to cause even more terror and mayhem in the long run if we have a Plan. With 12 Int my goblins thinks he’s an absolute genius, so the more complicated and ridiculous the Plan is the better. One of my favorites involved using severed giant frog feet to make fake “boggard” footprints around a raided gnome village. It also involved giant frog heads on sticks and actually helped instigate a gnome vs boggard war (weakening both sides as a prelude to a goblin takeover).
Soon we’ll be building siege engines such as zombie throwers and maybe some “skele-bombs” with bloody skeleton shrapnel which reforms into undead monsters behind enemy lines. We're pretty skilled at Craft (Alchemy), and thanks to Background Skills my PC is getting good at Knowledge (Engineering) too.
One odd situation where a group insisted on rolling was the 3d4 which an old group of mine insisted every male PC must roll during character creation. I always thought that the practice was intensely silly, but I also happened to roll pretty well. One PC who rolled an 11 took Craft Rod later in his career and titled himself “The Lord of Rodly Might”. All of the magic rods he crafted were 11 inches long. Another guy rolled a 3 for his half-orc Barbarian and endured a little ridicule from time to time. The 3d4 roll wasn't my "innovation", but it became somewhat of a tradition for a while. I think Small PCs got 2d4 instead.
On a different note, if a player insists on playing a Human who is small enough to fit into the Small size category I wonder how many DMs would adjust the character's size to Small and how many would say that the PC remains Medium despite the description. I guess the field could be further divided into DMs who would adjust physical ability scores and those who wouldn't.
@blackbloodtroll - Even if you rolled over and over you'd never end up skinny or fat since you always get the same height to weight ratio.
We once assembled an all Bard 9th level party to play a module based on the Gamers movies. I can’t recall if we finished the module, but we each had different archetypes, some of which offered different or stacking bonuses. I forget my PC’s archetype at the moment, but it involved pranks and tricks. He also had Intensified Spell and a trait to apply it to Thundering Drums for free, and the results were pretty impressive (at least in a game full of 9th level Bards)
We’ve got an ongoing “Goblin Game” which is currently at 12th level. It included both “We Be Goblins” and “We Be Goblins Too”, but by the time “We Be Goblins Free” came out our PCs had gained too many levels for the DM to feel like ramping the challenge up to our CR range. We’ve been on various homebrew adventures which have included:
Whether or not martials need better things I think that casters could stand a few nerfs. For instance, the "encounter-deciding spell" which Casual Viking mentioned is something which I find kind of boring and sometimes dispiriting.
The Witch (or whoever) uses an SoL spell or power. Then the DM rolls a d20 and either the enemy is effectively vanquished or nothing at all happens. The caster either robs me of the fun of fighting the enemy or fails to provide any meaningful support as I fight the enemy with one less PC making a meaningful contribution. Sometimes SoL spam ensues and it is a race to see which competing track (HP Damage vs SoL). I think it would be great if more spells and powers had their results averaged towards the center with successful saves often still imposing some negatives and failed saves not necessarily taking the foe out of the fight (at least not for long)
Obviously that would be a downgrade to the power of casters, and I suppose some people might object that a Fighter who gets off a full attack could still "easily" take an enemy out in one round, but defenses against that are certainly possible, and it isn't like casters don't have damage dealing options too (summoning in particular)
I think I've probably played more levels as a Bard than any other class, but I haven't found my recent excursion into Fighter and Barbarian particularly unrewarding (other than the low Will of one of my 3 PCs getting hit repeatedly). As I recall, Bards don't have a built in method to fly either. My last one rode a Sylvan Sorcerer's animal companion (which often had Overland Flight on it). He was pretty decent with a bow too almost by accident (Inspire Courage + Good Hope helps a lot)
A Fighter is generally expected to have gear. Most of them wouldn't function very well without armor and a weapon. I'm sure there are certain Fighter builds which would work well naked, but I don't think that's the base assumption.
There are at least two Fighter archetypes I can think of which offer options for flight without magical gear, but I think it is for the best that those options are contained within archetypes rather than bundled into the base class where they might force players who don't really want magical or quasi-magical (alchemy, ki powers, etc) flight for their PCs. I think that adulterating the Fighter’s “fighter-ness” with mysterious flying and leaping abilities would be a greater affront than allowing the Fighter to be a physical combatant who might need to use equipment to deal with certain problems.
Deciding that options which exist via feats or equipment aren't valid would limit a lot of characters. I guess those limitations could come into play against a player's will in certain games where the DM is very tightfisted with treasure and the PCs don't work together (or perhaps don't include any casters), but I hope that those games are either few and far between or a mutually agreed upon exercise in "gritty low magic adventuring" (or something along those lines)
I think that a team game could certainly include a conversation like:
Fighter: "Witch, cast Fly on me right now so I can go attack the Erinyes in melee!"
Witch: "Give me 375gp and I'll make you a potion of Fly so I don't have to waste my actions in combat. Why don't you just shoot her with your bow?"
Fighter: "I didn't buy a bow..."
Witch: "You have that bow from the last Erinyes we killed, use that!"
Fighter: "That only does 1d8+6 damage since the devil is immune to the fire. Chances are that I'll do no damage at all."
Witch: "Use Deadly Aim!"
Fighter: "I didn't take it. I had to focus solely on achieving the highest DPR possibly under ideal conditions and therefore have no backup plan."
Witch: "Fine, I'll summon a monster to kill the darned thing. It attacks about as well as you do anyhow. Are you happy? Are you happy that you made me show you how useless you are?"
Fighter: "Can I ride on the summoned monster?"
Witch: "Sure, can you make a Ride check?"
Fighter: "No, I spent all my skill ranks on Knowledge (Dungeoneering) so you wouldn't have to."
Witch: "Oh to Hell with it. Ice Tomb! Haha! I win!"
DM: "Does the ice break when the Erinyes falls to the ground?"
Witch: "Nobody knows..."
@Scavion - I really wish that harpoons worked more like I'd expect them to. The idea that you'd need to score a crit to get your harpoon to stick in a whale seems pretty odd and disappointing to me. I actually wrote up some harpooning house rules for a whaling session a while back where the party had to hunt down a Great White Whale to help a ghostly captain's spirit rest (we aren't fans of whale hunting in real life, but it seemed appropriate to the adventure)
@DrDeth - I basically agree with much of what you said, but I'd honestly like to know more about why people feel martial classes aren't satisfactory outside of combat. It seems to me like anybody can put some ranks into social skills and participate in roleplaying, and that's how most of the out of combat time in my groups is spent. Maybe other people have some different experiences which can help me understand the problem though.
I’ve long meant to play a PC called “El Flamingo” based loosely on “Zorro the Gay Blade” along with some confusion between flamingo and flamenco. The time has just never been quite right. One DM in particularly asked me to never play a PC with the original Crane Wing feat, and I respected that wish. The recent changes to Master of Many Styles seem to ensure that the “Flamingo Kick” counterattack (with Snake Fang) isn’t likely to make an appearance any time soon.
Regarding the Demon Mother’s Mask, my goblin PC loves the idea of it and sometimes dreams about making an army of animal headed goblins who ride to attack Sandpoint on a bunch of goblin headed animals. Having convinced some human sailors to become cannibals for the glory of Venklevore he also hopes to have them help create “man-pigs and pig-men” for the glory of Lamashtu and in the process make humanity into swine in a rather literal sense.
If you want to go over the edge into something really weird you could consider the various ways in which ghouls might amuse themselves with paralyzed prey or even allies who like the idea of being helpless.
@Anius - From a power perspective it is difficult for me to imagine a Vivisectionist who is more disruptive than a regular Alchemist with Fast + Force Bombs. From a roleplaying perspective I could certainly imagine that a Vivisectionist who takes the Dr. Moreau theme to extremes might not fit into some non-Evil games very well as a PC.
If you enjoy using plastic dinosaurs as minis or the idea of it then I suggest that you visit your local dollar store. The toy section will probably have various dinosaurs, insects, and other "critters", some of which will likely be sized appropriately to be monsters in your games. I've even found unusual stuff like dinosaur skeletons.
Often the toys are in garish colors like bright yellow or green, fluorescent pink, etc, but the underlying sculpts are frequently pretty good. If you have even modest painting skills you can end up with several table quality minis for a dollar. You can also find a lot of sub-dollar minis online from lines like Dreamblade, Mage Knight, and Horror Clix. I'm usually happiest showing off the minis I got dirt cheap.
During Saturday's game one of the players was spending a lot of time sorting pawns into alphabetical order. It looked like a nuisance. Then again, finding the right minis is sometimes a nuisance too. Perhaps I'll get some stackable cabinets with small, removable drawers and put monsters with a certain theme in each drawer (fishmen, mushrooms, orcs, drow, etc)
It was definitely a potential nerf for PCs like my girlfriend's Orc (not half-orc) who had a 5 Int and an 18 or 20 Con. I guess I should have been more specific.
Anyhow, the fact that the intended nerf was actually a buff for half-orcs since they don't get the orcish -2 Int only makes the errata look even clumsier in my opinion.
There's more encouragement to stick with MoMS now than there was before, but after playing around with theoretical builds a little I think that bailing out after the 2 level dip still looks pretty appealing. Maybe removing the prereqs besides Monk level for feats in the wildcard slots would be enough to tempt more folks to stick with MoMS levels though. I haven't thought of any particularly overpowered combos that it would allow yet since it isn't like there would be early entry - maybe you'd save a feat or two and some skill ranks though for styles like Boar and Snake you really need the skill ranks to get the most out of the style...doesn't seem too extreme to me...
Anyhow, those are just some thoughts. I'm personally not a foe of multiclassing and don't see why sticking with a single class should always need to be better than mixing several together. Delaying too many of the benefits of a class or archetype until high levels would punish everybody, not just level dippers. Once you've got 4-6 levels into a class that seems like a pretty significant investment to me though. I wouldn't consider Gunslinger 5 and then finishing off with other levels to be plundering Gunslinger any more than I would Paladin 4 with Oath of Vengeance and then other levels to be plundering Paladin. I suppose you could push out the big Smite Evil power from Oath of Vengeance a few levels to stop us dippers, but then the "real" Paladins would suffer too.
As far as Mutagens go it could be tough to beat Mutation Warrior 4 as a buff and bonus feat package, and it doesn't even stop you from participating in the extremely popular Barbarian 2 or 4 programs. I guess that multiclassing flexibility is one of the strengths of martial classes (or perhaps one of the weaknesses depending on how you feel about it)
Making it difficult to identify a creature which has a disease sounds pretty weird.
Fighter: "Hey, is that a dog?"
I was greatly pleased to see the change to double-barreled muskets and even more pleased to see the FAQ clarifying that it applies to other double-barreled guns. This is an issue I’d been discussing on the boards for a long while now.
Litany of Righteousness seems like another good change to me though honestly I would have rather seen it nerfed to just grant bonus damage or only do double damage on the first hit.
I have mixed feelings about the latest update to Crane Wing. It is tough to compare and contrast it with the previous version since I can’t seem to find a copy of that. Anyhow, it seems to me that simply allowing you to apply a +4 dodge bonus to your AC once per round after you are hit would have been more flexible and easier to use during play than giving you a +4 bonus which disappears when you’re hit by 4 or less. That ship has probably sailed, but I do hope that the Combat Trick for Crane Wing gets updated at least via FAQ.
Overall this errata had some good changes and helps to improve my faith in the Pathfinder system. Some folks have brought up the idea that the game might lose players because of rules updates, but the game also might keep players because of rules updates.
I have a lingering distaste for disguised or poorly described monsters after playing with a DM who often refused to describe most monsters beyond something like "He's a big guy" or "It is kind of hairy". It seemed like he was afraid that if he admitted the "big guy" had blue skin one of the players might guess it was a Frost Giant and try using a fire spell.
Whether or not it would be reasonable to try using fire against blue stuff and cold against red stuff is probably a matter of opinion. Fighting sparsely described monsters represented by plastic soldiers isn't great fuel for the imagination though. That's a shame since the DM's story and descriptions of roleplaying encounters were usually detailed and interesting.
Regarding Knowledge skills, there aren't very good guidelines on what information hitting a certain DC should entitle you to. I've always thought it would be nice if the CR of the monster or NPC were part of the information you got for succeeding on a Knowledge check. CR is probably the single most important thing you could know when deciding whether or not to fight something.
Regarding Wrath's suggestion #3, giving the player trouble for selecting an animal companion which might be (just might be) cold blooded seems borderline cruel.
If you really want to be cruel you could also use the "DM controls animal companions" ruling to make the stegosaurus a net liability in combat, constantly lumbering into squares which other PCs were hoping to occupy, cutting off charge lanes, and generally getting itself in trouble. Some people would say that's going too far. Others might say it is what the player gets for having the audacity to select the animal companion class feature and then also present the DM with an Armor Class which is difficult to hit.
How dare that PC or his animal companion try to survive by being hard to hit? Kill them! Kill them now! Send in the low level Kobold Sorcerers with Magic Missiles and Acid Splash! Slay the high AC blasphemers! Using advanced tactics like actually wearing armor to raise your AC is a min/max offense against fun gaming. Make them pay!
(The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily serious)
Regarding the issue of losing data between sessions, I highly recommend using computerized character sheets but printing them out so you can track stuff like HP, potions, spells per day, etc on the paper version. I usually print out sheets and use them repeatedly for about a level. I'm sure somebody could probably design a decent touch screen sheet for iPad, but paper and pencil seems less likely to have problems with things getting accidentally selected or deselected.
I agree with chaoseffect that letting people know the enemy's AC can be helpful. Even if you don't pre-roll people won't have to keep asking, "Does a 37 hit?" Another thing which the DM can help control is the difficulty of the encounters. If they're too tough it can really slow things down. Not only will each fight last longer, but the players are likely to become stressed. This can make them dawdle over decisions which seem important to the survival of their PCs. It can also cause people to go searching through their options, which can be particularly impactful in the case of certain casters.
I'm not saying that every encounter should be a mook stomping festival, but having more reasonable encounters should tend to lead to quicker play. Just last night we had to spend a fair amount of time cajoling one of the players into participating in a big fight since he felt his PC was in danger and he wasn't sure if he could contribute effectively (at least I figure that's what was going on). That one fight took almost half the session and seemed to put the player in a bad mood.
Conversely, some folks say that they don't have as much fun if their characters aren't seriously threatened. I find that even CR = APL encounters tend to produce some scary moments over time though if the DM plays the monsters as at least somewhat tactically astute.
Somewhere in the gaming Multiverse...
Player 1: "I cast Bull's Strength!"
I really like that movie. As for the bows, I'd think that increased range and decreased accuracy would make sense given that they're basically being used like small siege weapons. If it were a Large longbow it would do 2d6 damage and get a -2 to hit.
I'd suggest making this weapon even slower to reload. Shooting it once per round with Rapid Reload or once per two rounds without it would seem reasonable to me. Otherwise you'll have people with Rapid Reload doing a full attack with Rapid Shot and Manyshot using the footbow (likely while being hauled around on a cart or a Floating Disk - perhaps even just scuttling around prone with a Weasel Belt)
If you wanted to mess around with the Strength bonus I'd suggest that rather than using 1.5 times the user's Str mod you could just allow folks to use a bow with a Str mod higher than the user's by a point or two. Making the footbow an Exotic weapon might help explain why only specially trained soldiers from some particular province/race/etc generally use it.
One problem with Gwen's stance is that it seems to assume DMs would allow you to move your animal companion into flank before the "Flank" trick was introduced. That wasn't always the case. Some DMs may have insisted that animal companions always move to the closest square and attack. Others might have ruled that the animal can flank if it is a type of animal which the DM imagines flanking a lot in nature, commonly something like a wolf. Some DMs might not imagine raptor dinosaurs, lions, hyenas, or apes flanking whereas some of their players might.
Of course there were also DMs who would let you move your animal companion to where you wanted and have it do whatever you wanted without any concern about tricks, ranks in Handle Animal, etc. There were probably even some who said something like, "Well, there isn't a trick for it, so use Push Animal and see if you succeed."
Having a Flank trick to help everybody agree that the animal in question can be ordered to flank seems like a decent idea to me. I'm not sure why the trick specifies that the animal must take AoOs though. That seems kind of punitive and denies options like Spring Attack (sorry, your animal wouldn't suffer an AoO, so it can't move into flank after all?) and possibly even the use of the Acrobatics skill, which I think is on the list of skills animal companions can take and use.
I doubt that Sansa or Theon would be well represented as Barbarians. If she were even a 1st level Sorcerer they could have used Feather Fall though. It could be useful for the Wall up at Castle Black too, but despite fighting like a Wizard poor Sam has no spells - at least not yet...
(somewhere in my imagination)
I could see a place for low, mid, and high level builds depending on the role the character is meant to play in a particular campaign. Maybe a 15th level version of Bronn who could kill all of Ramsay Bolton's dogs while dressed in his underwear and wielding a ball peen hammer as an improvised weapon really wouldn't be a great fit for the books or the HBO show, but a 6th level version of the Mountain who just barely scares the PCs when they're low level might not be a great fit for "scariest swordsman in the kingdom" in a lot of campaigns either, especially if the DM has some sort of climactic faceoff against the Mountain planned for levels 10+
As an aside, I guess 6th level is probably about the highest level where jumping off a cliff or jumping out of an airplane would be more likely than not to kill a raging Unchained Barbarian. By 10th level most martial PCs would probably survive such a jump and a lot of them literally couldn't be killed by it without DM fiat or the rarely used "massive damage" rule (which would probably create a 5% chance of dying). I'm not sure whether this could be better used as an argument that 6th level represents the upper bounds of reality or that the falling rules are a little silly.
We used to have a great pamphlet with alternate rules for lava. It had a page or two of fluff and then a rules section which said something like, "If you fall into lava you're dead." I'd expect those alternate rules might likely apply in a game system seeking to closely emulate ASOIF, but the base Pathfinder rules aren't such a system.
Unless your DM is some kind of magical trap pervert you shouldn't really need a Rogue or other PC with the Trapfinding ability. That said, I agree with those who have said you can FIND magical traps just fine using Perception. Many people have a misconception that you need Trapfinding to find magical traps, but it is actually just required to disable them.
Using summoned monsters to set off traps can work well, but it can be tough to get low level monsters who can understand a language to take commands such as "Open that door". The mite from SNA I can work well for this, and the fact that they're Evil and annoying little buggers makes ordering them to go get blown up a little more fun.
If a little Evil doesn't bother you then you could have a crew of undead "doormen" (perhaps with fancy uniforms) to not only set off traps but enhance the party's action economy. Bloody skeletons can set off traps, get blown up, and then return to service in about an hour. Unlike many low level summoned monsters, they can also obey simple verbal commands.
I can't quite understand the situation you're describing. If you want a cohort who will stay in the background I think that a Bard would be ideal, but if you really need the cohort at 3rd level I guess that won't work.
That being the case you could consider a "bodyguard" cohort with the Bodyguard feat. A halfling with the Helpful trait could be very good at this. There are also some feats which allow halflings to share other AC bonuses with allies.
Excluding situations involving small children, I'm not entirely sure why character concepts which offend people's sense of social justice or perhaps are simply too racy or cruel should certainly be excluded but those which offend people's "sense of seriousness" or "sense of theme" certainly shouldn't be. Obviously there's a matter of degrees there, but to claim one type of preference is completely sacrosanct while others are to be summarily dismissed seems a little inconsiderate to me.
I think that the most important factor in determining what sorts of PCs and equipment are appropriate is the preferences of the group you're playing with. Since the DM is generally making a significant investment of effort and possibly money to run the game his or her preferences should be very important too. The individual player's preference matters, but I don't feel that it should trump other concerns, especially at the expense of making other players unhappy or uncomfortable. If you want to play a purple space bunny named Sir Humpsalot that might be fun for some groups and too silly for others. A few might say it would be fine if you rename him to Sir Hopsalot. If the renamed PC starts going up to female NPCs and saying, "Hey baby, wanna hop?" some players might find it funny while some might find it exasperating or perhaps even offensive (I've never met such easily offended folks, but maybe you're playing with little kids or somebody very sensitive)
Meanwhile some other groups would have no problem with an animated object sex toy as a PC's familiar but might not like it if another PC is a Witch who wants to torture and eat children (though that's not at all inconsistent with the rules material for the class). I can understand how violently homophobic PCs might not be fun to have around for most groups, but whether or not a Viking calling a male spellcaster "girly man" (like Hanz and Franz) is over the top offensive might be a matter of taste (and the fact that the PC in question is portrayed as being kind of an idiot may or may not be a sufficient mitigating factor)
Stuff like this can extend to the DM's side of the table as well. Certainly there were rapists in history, and presumably there are rapists in Golarion, but some tables might be uncomfortable with rape. If you're playing with a traumatized recent rape victim then having an NPC try to rape his or her PC probably wouldn't be a great move. At another table a male PC getting raped to death by monkeys (actually bar i'gura) is a treasured comedic memory though.
I always feel like these threads might be attempts to gather info on all the most broken feats to build some kind of super PC. Divine Protection seems awfully strong, but it might be interesting to see it as a free feat for everybody without the prereqs. It would certainly discourage dumping Charisma. Oracles can already get Divine Protection, and Paladins just get +1, so I guess Sorcerers would benefit most. Everybody who chose 12 Cha instead of 7 Cha would get a little boost too though, and PCs in general might be a wittier and more charming bunch.
This thread has inspired a lot of thoughts for me, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to argue through them. Instead I'll comment that I'm not sure if anybody has brought up Gannibal yet. Abram Petrovich Gannibal was a black kid kidnapped from Russia and given to Peter the Great as a gift. He was also famous poet Alexander Pushkin's great-grandfather, and during his life he rose to high rank in the Russian military and became a noble. After running across his story I thought that it could make a great movie. Unfortunately I'm not in the business of making movies, so I guess I'll just have to hope.
To be fair, more than a few DMs fiddle with the encounters in APs like RotRL to make them deadlier since they feel that the group needs more challenge. Sometimes DMs alter the encounters to account for larger parties, and that too can create deaths when more powerful or numerous monsters happen to concentrate their attacks on a particular PC. Other times a player (usually me in our groups) will make a PC who focuses "too much" on AC or other defenses and this "forces" the DM to kill other PCs "by accident".
I think that the best time to rest isn't when you’re out of resources but when you have enough resources left for at least one more good fight. Similarly, if the dungeon seems like it is too dangerous to rest in you should probably think about finding a way back out before you're completely exhausted and or surrounded by foes.
I also think that maybe too few casters consider the wisdom of buying or crafting scrolls and wands. Using them might not be as exciting as casting your highest level spells, but it sure beats standing around shooting a light crossbow for 1d8.
I never said we don't have to be adjacent, just that, "There's nothing about being adjacent to each other which prevents us from using Reach weapons". Since that apparently wasn't clear enough, what I meant is that if we're standing adjacent to each other to qualify for the benefit of Amplified Rage we can still use Reach weapons. We could also qualify for the benefit of Amplified Rage by flanking a common enemy (with or without Reach weapons) rather than being adjacent, but I don't think we concentrate on flanking enough to make Outflank better than Amplified Rage for us, and staying adjacent to each other is probably easier for us to control than keeping a foe in flank anyhow.
Honestly even the bit about Amplified Rage preventing us from charging seems a little suspect to me since in fact we could still charge, and the second orc charging into an adjacent position would even still get a +2 to hit and +3 to damage boost on his or her attack. Even halved that's still a pretty decent bonus, and the PCs in question don't charge a lot anyhow. Of course if they did there's another teamwork feat which could help with that.