I have been pondering how, mechanically, to make Pathfinder more friendly to non-combat options. I have a mixed group of players that want different things and the structure of Pathfinder makes it hard even contribute in both combat and noncombat, let alone survive.
There are rules and skills and feats and traits that can be used, but they are decidedly less detailed than the those surrounding the combat side of things. Primarily this is because the combat rules seek to describe a predictable system for handing physical situations and because the consequences for failure in combat are far greater than in a social scenario.
It is hard to, say, pick Skill Focus over Weapon Focus in most Pathfinder games. I am, of course, ignoring either the prerequisite usage of Skill Focus or the cases where the skill is a combat-important one (bards with perform, rogues with bluff, spell casters with spell craft). Instead, assume something like Skill Focus (sense motive) because my character is a detective and I know my GM never uses the bluff skill in combat.
My initial idea is to allow the players a few extra skill points, say 3, plus one profession or craft. These would be usable on anything, but recommended to be used to broaden the character's non-combat usefulness. I'd also allow an extra feat every even level that cannot be a combat feat or used as prerequisites for combat feats. I think it could still be used in combat if it is applicable, such as Skill Focus (bluff) to do misdirection checks.
Does anyone else run house rules to make it easier to have entire sessions without combat? How do you keep the fighter interested and useful in a session where you have to be nice at a formal dinner? Any ideas that you have regarding my proposed changes or different proposals you'd like to suggest? I'm also interested in means of rewards to promote and encourage roleplaying.