Rogue Eidolon wrote:
The problem is that much of the damage is back-loaded, but as you say, if you front-load the class it becomes an immediate dip class. The best I've been able to come up with is moving Precise Strike to level 1, provide X bonus damage at first level and then stagger the extra damage to be every Y levels. Alternatively, grant a stat other than Strength to damage rolls at level one and cut the Precise Strike bonus in half.
I'd rather spend a Standard action for a guaranteed setup over a move action with a chance to fail, speaking personally.
I am totally making Michael Weston from Burn Notice
With a girlfriend who's a bomb-tossing alchemist?
And if we're going to suggest themes for archetypes, I would really love an archetype that either nets the Investigator some minor spell-casting or gives a spell-caster some of the Investigator abilities. Bringing in Dresden would be amazing.
Stephen, would you be so kind as to confirm whether a ranged Studied Combat option will be available or not? I'm looking at a bunch of potential builds, but right now I'm basically defaulting to a Strength-based combatant at first level that picks up feasts in preparation for later-levels.
So far, here's what I've found:
1) For melee builds, races that can net you extra weapon proficiencies are going to be very tempting. Picking up a Great Sword and combining Mutagents, Extracts and Studied Combat winds up being very powerful.
2) Kirin Style is going to a recommended feat chain for this class, there's just not getting around that. Personally, I'm perfectly fine with this idea.
3) This class is over-flowing with Skill points and skill bonuses. It could honestly work just fine with only 4 skills/level considering that every player will boost up Intelligence.
4) Charisma is a no-brainer as a dump stat. I can even justify dumping the stat for RP purposes by going with a character concept like N from Death Note.
While damage starts off kinda slow, it can ramp up quickly in the mid levels. Look at this level 4 human build:
Str: 18, Dex: 14, Con: 12, Int: 16, Wis: 10, Cha: 7
Assuming I have my +1 Rapier, I attack with +8 1d6+5 18-20x2. Power attacking that's +7 1d6+7. If I prep two extracts of Bull's Strength and a Strength Mutagen, that becomes +9 1d6+9 for three combats each day. I can use Studied Combat to boost that attack bonus up to +11 by spending a move action as well. The added 1d6 damage from a Studied Strike is just gravy at this point, and I would be happy with it even being delayed for a level or two.
Ya the first two levels kinda sucked, but that could be fixed easily by moving Studied Combat (but not Studied Strike) to level 3 and bumping the first Talent gained to level 2.
I'm really tempted to play this build with a Half-Elf, letting me pick up a nice 2-Handed weapon to boost those damage bonuses even higher. I'll be lagging behind a Fighter or a Barbarian in damage, but I'll be just as accurate as they are. Picking up Kirin Style & Kirin Strike at the mid levels will also be amazing, as the feats will provide both a significant damage increase that is both mechanically and thematically appropriate for the class.
And if I'm given a ranged option for Studied Strike I can have even more fun with Focused Shot, Kirin Strike and a Composite bow.
A move action to activate Studied Combat at level 4, coupled with the ability lasting for a number of rounds equal to your Int is a significant improvement to the ability. To be honest, my early level play-tests have felt kind of awkward, as I've been trying to manipulate enemies into provoking an AoO on the round after I initially activate Studied Combat.
I just really hope either a talent or an archetype is provided that will allow me to fight at range, as I already have a character with this concept in mind.
I'd like to ask a question, why do talents come online at level 3 instead of 2? This only nets you 1 less Talent than a Rogue would have and getting both a talent and a feat at the same time just kind feels wrong. I'm used to getting to pick something cool every level, instead of two things every other level.
Nope, not an endorsement at all. I had to go invisible and prebuff using an elf only extract to do so. With some pretty nice buffs it took 4 rounds to down a CR-1 critter with all the rolls going my way. With more normal rolls I probably would have taken more damage forcing the use of my second Blend extract so I could hide and heal.
I also found Studied Strike to be minimally useful at this level. It might as well last Int rounds per level with the current mechanics. Then again, I don't think damage is where the class should be toned down. Scale back the freebie Inspiration bonuses instead.
So in the first round I created an Elven Investigator loosely modeled after a couple of big game hunters from the late 1800's who eventually became big-game hunters. I fought with a longbow, using my many skills & extracts to become an expert tracker and hunter. My big damage came from using Blend extracts to let me stealth and get in that one large ranged sneak attack. The specific game play mechanic I was using was spend turn A to set up an attack, use turn B to land a sizeable blow. Overall I was going for an educated gentleman who enjoyed the thrill of a hunt and had the guts to wait for that one perfect shot.
So obviously I have a problem with the Studied Combat & Studied Strike abilities =P. I do like the core concept of the mechanic though, taking a turn to set up a single significant attack on the next turn is a fun idea. It just seems more like a sniper's ability rather than something you'd be doing in the midst of melee combat.
So let's ignore that build for now, and give my gentleman a +1 Rapier instead. If I'm mixing it up in melee (and not adding Dex to damage) then I need to spread my stats among at least 4 attributes. As an Elf I can go with Str: 14, Dex: 16, Con: 12, Int: 17, Wis: 10 and Cha: 8 at first level. Not a bad stat spread if I go with finesse fighting. Let's fast forward to level 4 and bump up my Int, as Studied Combat would only give me a bonus on Attacks of Opportunity otherwise.
At level 4 I'm dealing 1d6+3 damage with a +7 attack bonus. Wearing a chain shirt, I have 17 AC. With how this class is built using Combat Expertise is actually a decent idea so let's assume I picked the feat up at level 3. I've also got 31 HP as I've put my favored class bonus into HP at each level.
Let's say I've managed to insult a centaur and he has demanded satisfaction. I am now engaged in a fight with a CR 3 enemy =).
Seven Rounds of Combat:
I manage to win initiative and immediately down a Blend Extract and use Stealth to quickly duck behind a card and hide. I know I need some time to prepare if I'm going to win this fight. With blend I have a +12 to Stealth, but I really need a couple of rounds to prepare so I spend a point of Inspiration to boost my roll. I'm pretty lucky, rolling a 17 on my stealth check and a 5 on the bonus roll for a total of 34. The centaur moves forward to where I just stood, knowing that the cart is the closest place I could be hiding, so I give him a +2 circumstance bonus on his Perception check. He'd still need a natural 20 to spot me though, and he only rolls a 14.
So, as level 4 Investigator I was able to solo a CR3 Centaur with minimal danger. I used an extract to go stealthy and hide for a few rounds of buffing. The centaur got in a couple of hits, but by using an Extract to debuff him I significantly reduced his odds of hitting me. I was fairly lucky with my attack rolls, rolling over 10 on each attack. This combat could have ended on the same round had I ignored Studied Strike and instead used Inspiration to boost my attack rolls twice.
Studied Strike could be more useful at higher levels, but as a once per target per 24 hours ability it really isn't all that good in combat. I think that at level 5 taking Quick Study would almost be mandatory. Since my base damage is so low, even after pumping it up with extracts, I really don't see a problem with providing a bonus of half my level for rounds equal to my Int bonus.
To be frank, I'm still disappointed in this class. The class doesn't at all feel like a mix of two classes, it's a Gunslinger with the mechanics rewritten to work with melee weapons. That's not really a solvable problem, as the core Fighter abilities either already exist within the Gunslinger class or just don't work with the base concept of a Swashbuckler. I know it's probably far too late for this to happen, but I want to repeat my opinion that the Swashbuckler would be better served as a Gunslinger/Bard combination.
Now to get into specific points:
1) The revised version of the class is an improvement from the previous version, so that's a success. My opinion is that it just isn't a particularly good class. Sorry if that seems overly harsh.
2) Swashbuckler Finesse has been significantly improved. As other's have stated, the Combat Expertise provision needs to include all feats that use Combat Expertise as a prerequisite.
3) Slashing Grace is a very weak feat on the whole, since it still requires a Strength focused build if you want to actually hit anything with the chosen weapon. It is also competing directly with Dervish Dance and fails to compare. I understand the reluctance to add Dex to damage mechanics, but that ship has already sailed. I'm also seconding the opinion that feat taxes aren't fun.
4) Charmed Life is actually a rather nice mechanic and helps offset the inclination to dump Charisma. The class needs more charisma-based mechanics like this one.
5) Opportune Parry & Riposte are better, but still not great. The main problem is the Immediate action use of Riposte competes with the Swift Action use of Precise Strike. In that competition, Precise Strike will win out once after a few levels. I kinda wish the abilities from the Duelist PRC would just get ported over directly.
6) I'm not a fan of most of the deeds. Many are boring copies of Gunslinger deeds, and fact that they can't be performed at range does weaken them mechanically. The Evasive deed really needs to be spread out across multiple levels. If it started at level 4 or 5 it would make the Swashbuckler less tempting to use simply as a dip-class. I'm disappointed in the lack of cinematic action/mobility deeds. I'd also think some charisma/wit/banter based deeds would be an obvious choice.
On the whole, the fighter isn't represented well by this class but I think it's the wrong parent class to use anyway. The class still doesn't have any true flexibility in base builds and will require pretty powerful archetypes to give you any real options. I also don't think the class does a good job at representing the character archetype it is meant to model. This was the class I was most excited to see rules for, and it has wound up being one of my bottom three.
I haven't been following this thread, so forgive me if I go over some points others have already brought up. I'm working on a play test right now and wanted to give some of my initial feedback on the Shaman.
To start off, I really like the mechanics. I find the combination of a Primary and Secondary spirit interesting and I like the flexibility of swapping out the second spirit each day. It keeps the class versatile and and lets you adapt to changing campaigns. I also like getting the Druid spell list over the Cleric spell list. It's a very versatile group of spells to have access to.
I did find the class mechanics somewhat confusing on the first read through. You really need to keep looking at the class tables as you're reading over the abilities. I also wonder why the class doesn't get a Hex at first level. With just 2 first level spells a Shaman doesn't have a lot that it can do that first level. I also really hope that Extra Hex is available to the class.
The class is really really MAD, which is a problem for low-point buy. This is actually where being a full caster is a little worrisome, as you'll eventually need at least 19 Wisdom and can't really dump Intelligence or Charisma with a caster build. I found that melee builds either need to choose to either Dervish Dance or go with a Strength Build with Heavy Armor.
I really would like 2 or 3 more Spirits available. We have ten total, which would be a nice start if the four elemental spirits weren't so similar to one another. Personally I'd add Ancestors, Occult and Time as they'd help flesh out your options a bit more. Ancestors and Occult in particular are mysteries that involve communication with spirits.
For the most part I think the class is really well put together. I have some specific quibbles with individual spirits, but I'll wait for the revised play test before I go into those.
Since the devs are thinking along the lines of providing Weapon Finesse or a similar ability at first level, the To-Hit problems the class had at first level have been taken care of.
I agree that the damage output of the class is ok at mid and high levels. It's not all that high when compared to some classes and builds but if you use a buckler it winds up being pretty good for a "Sword & Board" build.
Damage at low levels is still really really low though. The class needs some method of gaining damage aside from a Str Modifier, or players are going to prioritize strength over dexterity. The class doesn't provide enough additional features to justify playing it as anything other than a damage dealer with some tanking potential.
I have a few suggestions. The first is to push Precise Strike to first level, possibly moving Parry & Riposte to level 3. Instead of providing your level as bonus damage, provide a flat number that increases at intervals. This could even out to the same bonuses, but it's a bit more front loaded now.
Another reasonable alternative is write a new version of the Piranha Strike feat. Make it work with any finessed weapon rather than light weapons only so that the feat is a bit more useful to the Swashbuckler as well as other builds. Most people house rule the feat to work this way anyway.
Finally, I have a rather extreme idea. The more I've thought about things, the less I like the fact that the class is a combination of both Fighter and Gunslinger. Overall, there's a lack of mechanics that integrate any kind of witty banter or morale boosts. What if the class were instead a combination of Bard and Gunslinger? Panache could become a kind of combined Performance & Grid mechanic, working as a halfway point inbetween. You could also add some fun deeds that work with Perform: Oratory, Perform: Act and Perform: Comedy. Some of the abilities could be damage boosts.
How much damage and durability are you willing to spend for these options. How many HP per level? How much lost damage per round? How low of a Will save? Ultimately, in order to fill the fighter role, the swashbuckler needs to be good at killing enemies while not being killed for as long as possible. Of the deeds that I would want to use on a regular basis, how many would I be willing to give up for a couple HP / level and a few points of damage on every swing? And when I can take one feat (Extra Panache) so that I don't have to give them up, why would I make the sacrifice? 7 CHA is the best way, mechanically, to build a swashbuckler, and I hate it.
If your only concern is damage, then I agree with you. Dump Charisma in the same way that many Gunslingers dump Wisdom. I've been running some play tests on my own, and personally I'm finding that the Swashbuckler is about on par with either an Aldori Swordlord build or a Fighter Duelist build. It is strictly inferior to some builds I've made with the Ninja class or a Bard (Dervish Dancer) build.
I'm basing my opinions with a mindset that a Swashbuckler isn't going to use his entire package of abilities and rather will specialize on a few of them, basically being a fighter with fewer feats but some extra additional abilities. The main problem I keep running into is that existing builds will perform many of these tasks better.
I'll have breakdowns later, but basically the Swashbuckler doesn't really become effective until after level 5 or so. This is the point when Precise Strike damage starts to become noticeable and when you'll have been able to pick up combo of feats every Swashbuckler is going to want to grab. I see this as a problem as it makes for a very boring early game coupled with rather boring and predictable builds. It's a problem ranged builds also have, but without the benefits for extra protect and ease of combat.
Kairos Dawnfury wrote:
The problem with this plan is that the class has Deeds you'd actually want to use on a regular basis. Many commentators are planning on going with moderate to high amounts of Charisma AND picking up an "Extra Panache" feat. If you dump Charisma you're deciding on not using your deeds until the middle levels, when most builds will be able to afford picking up Extra Panache multiple times.
I would say they should not cost both 2 Panache and 2 Attacks of Opportunity. I'd be fine with either of those costs being reduced by 1, though I would recommend that the Riposte Deed should come at a later level. If the 2 AoO cost is retained, then Combat Reflexes should be baked into the class at some point.
Here are my initial thoughts, hopefully I'll get to play test this soon to provide some in-game experience.
1) The core class features are too restrictive. The deeds restrict your combat to style to fighting with a single weapon and also dictate a number of the feats you're going to pick up. While archetypes might open this up, I think that from a design standpoint this looks more like an Alternate class rather than a full Base class.
2) While I enjoy the Gunslinger class and have played one on many occasions, I have several problems with the Grit/Panache mechanic. My Gunslingers usually ignore wisdom and just become fighters with alternate abilites (until level 11, when I gain a Signature Deed). While the Swashbuckler deeds are significantly better than the Gunslinger ones, I expect this will result is most Swashbuckler builds picking up the Extra Panache feat. I also see some potential balance issues with the Signature Deed feat and Swashbuckler deeds.
3) As others have stated, Swashbuckler Finesse should be clarified or rewritten. It should either be an ability that expands your weapon selection or should just grant you the Weapon Finesse feat at first level. I'm of the mindset that if every build for a class requires a particular feat, that feat should be baked into the class itself.
4) I don't understand why the class doesn't get to add their Dexterity modifier or possibly their Charisma Modifier to damage, especially when the class is based on Gunslingers. I'm already tired of the number of Dervish Dance builds I see in play, I don't want to see Swashbucklers defaulting to the build.
5) While I'm ok with the class having only a single good save, I do foresee quite a lot of Swashbuckler dipping into Paladin for Cha to saves. Just a thought.
I'm gonna sit and digest this a bit more. I'll have a break down of the deeds later.
When I used the feat I created a detailed background history for my character and his family and wove in some tragic events, giving my GM several story hooks he could work off of. So now I don't actually have a clue who my nemesis is, but have been picking up clues as the game has progressed. Not knowing specifically who my target is going to be has kept things really interesting.
My gaming group is playing with the Ultimate Campaign rules in our latest homebrew games and I'm actually playing with a Story Feat myself. So here's my 2 cents:
1) Has anyone had experience with them, and if so, how was it?
My GM was able to work in the nemesis angle right from the start of the game. I don't know the person's identity yet, but I do have some clues that keep me very motivated to progress down the main story line.
2) We are playing Reign of Winter, will they improve the campaign?
3) How are they, as far as power level goes?
4) From a purely mechanical standpoint, which one is the strongest?
Dynasty Founder grants you Followers (but not Cohorts) at level 3 and eventually control over a Settlement.
If you allow the creation of custom spells, Eldritch Researcher is another way to reduce Metamagic costs and boost your caster level.
Halfling Cavalier (Emissary, Honor Guard, Beast Rider) - Designed somewhat tanky
Feats: Mounted Combat (Free), Ride-by-Attack
You get to charge around dealing high damage right at first level. Your AC is high and can go higher if you like. You get some nice tanking abilities as you level up. And with the Beast Rider archetype you can start riding a velociraptor at level 7, netting you Pounce. Have fun.
Honestly, since you're still new to the system, I would talk to your GM about just switching over to a regular magus with no archetypes. You can be really powerful and will have a ton of fun without adding more complications to your build.
I also have to recommend against going Dragon Disciple with a Magus starting point. You aren't gaining anything useful out of that kind of build.
Trap Finding isn't a necessity. Just be a bit more paranoid when you're in dungeons and an Inquisitor would work well as your trap master/skill monkey. It would also have the advantage of being very effective in melee.
Bards can be a lot of fun, and with the right archetypes can be pretty nasty as a melee character. My Dawnflower Dervish bard was pretty devastating.
I'd recommend one of those two with the parameter's you've given.
Well, sure if the encounters are separated by extended periods of time. If encounters are one after another I would call BS, personally. That's a pretty blatant rules violation on the part of your GMs.
So I have some thoughts on your proposed build. First off, you can't take Power Attack at first level, it has a BAB +1 requirement. You'll have to wait till third level. I would probably take Arcane Strike at first level, it is very useful for getting extra damage early on.
Lunge could be taken at level 9, unless you take a wizard dip prior to that level in which case you have to wait till level 11. If you're going to wait until after level 9 for the dip, I probably just wouldn't. You'll be better off with some wands or potions for those utility spells.
I'm playing a Bladebound Kensai with a Str build at the moment, though he is just level 2. I loaded up with a couple of Potions of Mage Armor for our first mission and picked up the Windy Escape spell (10 DR as an immediate action). Those combined effects were critical to my early survival, and between my arcane pool enhancement bonuses and arcane striking I did plenty of damage with my Katana.
Could you get the Ogre Mage Paladin or the Hound Archon Battle Oracle to work with you some? A Rogue or Ninja is highly dependent on the party working together. In my games I work hard to try to set up flanking opportunities, and you have 3 other melee players that should be helping to setup opportunities.
Don't expect to just stand in one spot and get constant Sneak Attacks though. You'll probably need to move around constantly and won't have opportunities for a Sneak Attack at every level.
If you really want to go ranged though, and with your HP that might be the best idea, you kinda have to pick up PBS and Precise Shot before anything else. I would go with a Long Bow over Shuriken. Shuriken count as Ammo, so they become really expensive to enchant. The tiny ranged increment keeps you close enough to melee to offset any advantages to survivability you would gain with a ranged approach.
Here's an idea for you to try. Use your 3 feats and a Combat Trick to pick up Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim and Focused Shot and just ditch melee fighting entirely. Pick up a Composite Longbow and the Sniper Goggles, upgrading to the Greater Sniper Goggles ASAP. Since at this level you can only reliably fire off 1 ranged Sneak Attack per round you really want to just Maximize that damage.
You'll get to add +5 damage from Strength, +3 from Int and +4 from Deadly Aim on top of the bow damage and sneak attack damage. A total of 1D8 + 3D6 + 12 at far range, or 1D8 + 3D6 + 19 when the target is within 30 feet. You can still do a full round of attacks if you can maneuver to a protected spot, just sacrificing the damage from Focused Shot.
Use Vanishing Trick if you need to get out of danger, generally right after you fire off a shot, and then move away. Don't be afraid to use your SLA Invisibility to set up a good opportunity for a shot. At level 10 grab Invisible Blade and you'll get to stay invisible for the entire combat. Until then you'll have to hold back and play it safe.
I'm going to second the Offensive Defense trick, that'll be really good for you. With your build I also wouldn't worry too much about ranged SAs, you should just use those as an opening move if you are moving around Invisibly already. Which you should be since you have Invisibility as an at will SLA. If you really want to go this route you'll need to pick up Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot at the least, and spend a good deal of cash on some Sniping Goggles.
I have to ask, do you have some decent flanking buddies? While you can expect to take the occasional hit, and these hits will hurt you with your low HP, you shouldn't be drawing all the hits. Especially with all the invisibility options available to you.
Offensive Defense and Befuddling Strike will work wonders at reducing the chance for somebody that you've Sneak Attacked to hit you. You should strive to be Invisible before combat starts, so you don't draw immediate notice. If you're getting hurt go Invisible and bug out. You shouldn't be getting one shot at this level aside from the occasional lucky crit. With your high Int you may also want to look at Combat Expertise (though many people on the forums seem to hate it).
Since you haven't taken the Discovery yet, I'd recommend Extra Discovery so you can grab Explosive Missile. Turn an arrow into a bomb and fire it, dealing the arrow damage along with your bomb damage. Good for one shot that does nice damage (and still gives you splash damage).
The Trickery Domain grants you the Copy Cat ability, which functions as the Mirror Image spell with the condition that you can only have 1 Image active.
Depending on how Witches affect which class a Spell Like ability counts as coming from, Augury granted by the Fate Inquisition would be either Divine or Arcane. At the moment it defaults to Divine.
There is also the Quinggong Monk, which can pick up Scorching Ray at level 4.
So I'm late to the party, but I'm wondering if anybody has worked out how the Base classes affect whether a SLA is arcane or divine? This is based on the rules located here.
It seems to me that the logic is:
1) Arcane classes take precedence over Divine.
With this being the case, would the following be logical?
A monster’s spell-like abilities are presumed to be the sorcerer/wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a sorcerer/wizard spell, then default to witch, cleric/oracle, druid, bard/summoner/magus, inquisitor, paladin, and ranger, in that order.
I always assume maximum madness until indicated otherwise =P.
Somebody mentioned that a Witch wouldn't get Restoration spells, but you actually can with the Healing patron. Lesser Restoration at level 4, Restoration at level 8 and Greater Restoration at level 14.
Hedge Witch (Witch). Provides good crowd control (prevent damage), you can prepare useful spells and spontaneously swap them for healing spells at needs. High Int for plenty of skill points. And with high Int you can take a fun trait that lets you use Int for UMD checks.
A bard could work out pretty well. Fascinate at level 1 gives you a mesmerizing kind of ability. At level 6 you can use Suggestion to give orders. Use Oratory as your performance type. You can role play Inspire Courage as giving out tactical orders / advice. You get some buffing & enchanting spells to round out your abilities. You also get the benefit of being a skill monkey.
The Turn Resistance helps you out as you'll probably have a couple of Undead with you. The Negative Energy Channel DC boost helps out allies really, since it won't be worthwhile for you to multi-class two casters.
Now, if you can get an Undead Lord Cleric and an Antipaladin in your party, then you're in business.
Go Elf Wizard (Spellslinger) 1, Oracle (Ancient Lorekeeper) X.
This will let you choose words from the Wizard list for your bonus spells gained and gets around the problem of no words being listed for your Mystery. Make sure you grab some fire words, these will be important.
You will want the Trait Magical Knack, so that your Oracle Caster level is even with your character caster level. This is important as it will allow you to qualify for Glorious Heat at level 5, letting you heal an ally and provide a minor buff every time you deal fire damage.
Pick up the Cure Spells and always Boost them (the spell level doesn't seem to be increased by a Boost). You'll be able to heal at range with these spells or damage Undead. Your Fire spells will deal damage and provide a little less healing. Later on you can combine the fire words with debuff words.
The downside is that you'll be a little behind on spell levels and your first couple of levels will be a bit rough.
Another option is to see if your GM will let you use the Word Casting rule system. While it's a bad option for most spell casters it is actually pretty powerful for an evoker. In your case it'll grant extra versatility.
If your game has a lot of down time you can also use the spell-crafting rules to create your own spells.
Synthesist Summoner! You'll probably annoy the crap out of the GM since you'll be negating the purpose of the low point buy though =P
Seriously, I'd try to avoid any builds that are overly MAD. Barbarian would be a good option. Ranger is a great option if you want to fight with a Bow. Gunslinger wouldn't be a bad option either.
It sounds like you just want to avoid saying out loud "guys there's been some accusations of possible cheating, please roll your dice on the table in front of everybody".
In that case, how often has rolling behind a book or on the edge of the table resulted in dice falling on the floor? How often has combat been slowed down a bit (for any reason). My guess is that both those situations occur at least once a session.
Put a small tray or box in the middle of the table and ask your players to roll their dice in it. Tell them you're trying to speed up combat a bit as you feel the pace of the game is starting to slow a bit.
Another good idea is to get a decent die-roller app, load it up on an Ipad and put that on the table. That'll actually speed up combat quite a bit in addition to being an unimpeachable source for a roll.
Also @Kydeem, you've got a major cheater there. You probably should talk to your GM about a rule specifying which die equates to which roll.
Anything really, the point of the Witch is to weaken the enemies so that your allies can perform better.
Might I suggest using the Gravewalker archetype? You'll be able to control a 15-16 hit die minion as a class ability, can use spells to create additional undead and get a 55 foot aura that boosts your Undead minion's channel energy resistance while boosting any negative energy channeling. You'll also get to land touch spells on any targets within that aura with a Voodoo doll.
This way you can fight with a bunch of Undead minions. If you still want a living ally for the big baddie then toss in an Antipaladin or Evil Cleric.
A Magus/Wizard pair would work rather nicely. You could even justify the diminished spell-casting of a Bladebound / Kensai build with this kind of build. Especially since at level 6 you could take the Broad Study arcana allowing you to spell-strike your Wizard spells. Go with a Dervish build so you just have to pump up your Dex & Int for high AC and good offensive capabilities.
Go for a Two-Handed Fighter. You get bonuses to Sunder attempts, double your Str Mod added to damage rolls and if you make it to level 15 you get doubled bonuses from Power Attacks. Pick up a Greatsword and have fun.
Question: Would the GM allow the player to pick a Variant Ability if playing a Tiefling, or would the player be subject to the D100 roll?
Go with an Oni Spawn Tiefling with the following stats:
During tough fights use your SLA Alter Self to add another +2 to Strength.
Feats are as follows:
Favored class bonus into HP if you're in a real meat grinder.
Buy the following items: +1 Full Plate, +1 Greatsword, Cloak of Resistance +1.
You'll have AC of 21, 31 HP, +6 Fort, +3 Ref, +3 Will a +10 attack bonus with your Greatsword and a +11 CMB when Sundering.
A single-attack, using Power Attack will deal 2D6 + 13 damage with no penalty to attack rolls. Is that enough damage?
Lipstitch! Mostly because I used it as a GM on some party members and had fun watching their horrified expressions as a described the effects of the spell. =D
None of the players had encountered the spell before either, so we had a fun quick session of questions. Can I talk? No but you can make a kind of muffled scream loud enough for everybody to hear. Um... I can't cast any of my spells, can I remove the bindings? Sure you can either cut them out or with a strength check you can just burst the bonds (at which point everybody winced).
It's a great spell to toss at the casters in your party!
It depends entirely on the types of monsters you expect to face. To be honest, all of those traits are highly situational, but you may face off against enough aquatic enemies in a pirate campaign for the trade to be worthwhile.
Now, if you're going to be facing off against a bunch of orc-pirate crews then I wouldn't make the trade =)