One of the reasons I suggested the Mnemonic Vestment is so can use your caster level instead of the minimum level to cast the spell. This can make a huge difference on a lot of spells. For example a 9th level caster using a scroll of remove curse rolls 1d20+5 against the caster level of the curse, using the vestments you roll 1d20 +9. Since it acts like you cast the spell it would use your casting stat instead of assuming the minimum, and be able to be modified by metamagic feats or rods.
Depending on what you are looking for I would recommend one of two things. If damage is what you are after go for an oath of vengeance paladin. Pick up power attack and then for extra lay on hands to get you even more smites.
If you want a more defensive paladin go the masochist paladin. Take fey foundling at 1st level and then power attack with your next feat. Pick up greater mercy to heal more with each lay on hands and then extra lay on hands for more healing. You may want to look at the warrior of the holy light archetype for even more lay on hands. You want a moderate AC so people are going to target you, but not so low you get killed outright in the first round. The whole idea is that you take the hit and swift action heal to ignore the damage.
While I love the Zen Archer you have a lot of ranged combat in this group so that would not be adding anything not already being covered.
The Mystic Theurge is only good at high level and they lose higher level spells which means that covering the spell caster role is even tougher.
The Ancient Lorekeeper can learn Wizard spells but learns them at one level higher and they replace the spells of his mystery. This means that at 6th level you can learn a single 1st level wizard spell as a 2nd level oracle spell. You also have to be an elf which does not get a bonus to CHA so you casting stat is going to be lower. As the only real caster in the group this is not a good idea.
The Evangelist Cleric replaces the spells you can spontaneously cast so you need to memorize any cure spells. The lists that it gives are good in a social environment, but not as useful for an adventure as being able to never memorize a cure spell. It also weakens channel energy so you do not even get it till 3rd level. This means the Evangelist Cleric is a horrible healer. Counter spell means that to use it you need to pump ranks into a perform skill. As a cleric you don’t have a lot of skills so this is going to also hurt.
The bard may or not be a good choice it is going to depend on what kind of rogue you have. If he goes for the face role then there is going to be a lot of overlap and unless this is a social heavy campaign that is probably not the best choice. If you do go bard max out UMD .
As mentioned an inquisitor could be a good fit. The big advantage of the inquisitor is they can cover almost any role. Pick a deity with a good melee weapon, or pick a race that gets a good weapon for free.
I would recommend playing a spontaneous caster for greater flexibility. To alleviate the low number of spells know choose a race that gets extra spells as a favored class. Also supplement your spells with items. Wands, scrolls, staffs are all things you should be looking for. If you can pick up a Mnemonic Vestment as soon as you can, so you can reuse scrolls.
Talk to the gunslinger about taking a trait to get stealth as a class skill and play something that has stealth as a class skill. If the whole party is able to use stealth you can avoid a lot of encounters. Remember you get XP for overcoming obstacles not just beating up things.
Keep one thing in mind about sorcerer’s they have a limited number of spells. This means selecting your spells is the single most important thing you will do. For the most part you want to choose spells that will be useful at all levels. Sleep is pretty much useless after the first couple of levels. You can trade out some spells but that is only a limited number of spells. Mage Armor is also going to be of limited use at higher levels. Playing a Drow will help a little as the favored class bonus allows you extra spells known.
Bungle or Lock Gaze will remain useful no matter what level you are. Sow thought would also be a good compulsion spell.
If you want a magical way to get Iron I suggest using a summoning spell of some sort and bargaining with a creature from the elemental plane of earth. Off the top of my head lesser planar ally seems like it would work. This would be considered a nonhazardous task so it would probably be around 50 GP per HD. I would probably say that the payment gets a 1 to 1 trade value for iron. This would mean that lesser planar ally can get you 600 GP or iron for 1100 GP. Normally this is a horrible way to use the spell, but in a truly iron poor area it may be worth it. This could also be used to get any other rare material like adamantine, or mithiral.
There is another combination of classes that would meet your background. A Bard/Oracle combination could be interesting. If you go for the lore mystery and take Lore Keeper and Sidestep you and take Noble Scion or War CHA does most of you work for you. It gives you AC and initiative and knowledge skills.
The idea of a normal to low INT character having sky high knowledge skills is not something you see every day. It would almost be worth dumping INT just for the sheer ridiculousness of it. You can also use feats to pick up more revelations.
For a plot twist the king had a twin brother that assumed his identity. No one except the PC knows the king is dead and the pretender is hunting down the PC to keep the secret safe. Tie the player to the real king’s heirs who are now in danger of being killed off. Now the PC has to go back and save his childhood friend from the danger that he caused.
If you really want to complicate thing have the pretender be some sort of necromancer who kept his abilities hidden. Now that he is king he is a little more open about his abilities which causes the PC to think the pretender is really the old king come back as an undead.
He pretty much lost all credibility with that statement. I am beginning to wonder if he has some personal reason for hating the archeologist archetype. I have rarely seen this level of antagonism shown to any class even a rogue.
The purpose of this thread was not to figure out which class is superior, but rather to see if a particular concept was workable. He does have some valid points that a bard or any class other than a STR based martial class will not be as effective using a two handed power attack build. When people suggested alternatives to it, or ways to improve it all he sees is that it will not be doing the same damage as a barbarian.
The Paladin/Oracle is a good combination. A Paladin with the oath of vengeance combined with a life oracle would do well. Take channel energy as your first revelation and pick up alignment channel to allow you to affect evil outsiders. This will give you more smites and the ability to damage evil outsiders. Play an Angle Blooded Aasimir for the bonus to STR and CHR. Take the favored class bonus to increase your level for channel energy to increase the damage vs. evil outsiders. This also give you all the healing spells you need
Comparing the Archeologist Bard and an Inquisitor is tough because they both have a lot of things going for them. I think that they both come out pretty even on almost everything. It really comes down to how they are built and what you value.
1.Luck vs. Judgments: Luck applies to more things than judgments. But Judgments give you more options so no clear winner
2.Spells: Both have good spell lists with the bard having a broader selection. The Inquisitor on the other hand has a lot of combat focused spells that stack with not only each other but with judgments to make up for it. The inquisitor also has other magical abilities outside spells.
3.Weapons: Here the inquisitor can pull ahead because they have good ranged weapons and if the right deity is chosen a good melee weapon. The fact the bard can get a good weapon by playing a particular race is not a factor because the inquisitor can do the same thing.
4.Skills: Here the bard has archeologist bard has a slight lead because of bardic knowledge. It is not as large as it might seem because the inquisitor can take improved monster lore to catch up. True monster lore only applies to identifying weakness of monsters, but that is probably the most common use. The fact the inquisitor gets two stats one of which is his primary casting stat means that for identifying monsters he has an edge. Inquisitors also get 3 skills they add half their level to vs. two for the bard. If you play a half orc then the inquisitor can actually pull ahead because then he gets his full level to intimidate and to identify monsters. A catfolk bard can beat him because they get their full level to bardic knowledge.
Overall both classes are pretty good and deciding between the two is tough.
Avoid dipping especially for an inquisitor. The inquisitor has a lot of abilities and most of them scale with level so dipping just delays those. If you want a better two handed weapon go with a race that gives proficiency with a weapon. Half Orcs get proficiency with Great Axes, and Falchions. They also have the best favored class bonus for a intimidate based inquisitor. Max out intimidate with and you will have a +17 intimidate at 6th level even with a 10 CHA. Heavy armor is not that important and it causes you to lose Stalwart.
Sir Thugsalot wrote:
First of all an archeologist bard is not really a bard, he is a rogue that works. The name of the class is not important it is what he does that counts. The whole point of any archetype is to fundamentally change the class. Instead of being pissed because the character is not doing what you think a bard should do look at what he can do. All you seem to care about is combat and that is only half of what an archeologist bard brings to the table.
He will have the highest perception roll in the game because he gets half his level as a straight bonus to the skill. The rogue only gets this for spotting traps. He gets Bardic Knowledge so a single point in a knowledge skill gets him a decent roll, and lore master means he can take 20 on a knowledge skill. Archeologist luck also affects skills as do heroism. This means at 10th level he can get at least +5 in every skill in the game even those he is not trained in and can make any skill roll untrained.
Rogue talents means he can get trap spotter at 4th level. Pick up fast stealth as your second rogue talent and you have a scout no one can match. Spells like invisibility and expeditious retreat allow him scout out the area at a full 60’ movement while having a stealth roll no one is going to make.
In combat his spells also make a huge difference. With a DEX based build his AC is not going to be that far behind the fighter, and then he casts displacement for a 50% miss chance. Suddenly it is the fighter who is taking the hits not the bard. He also has much higher touch AC because a lot of his AC comes from DEX. He has Uncanny Dodge so keeps his AC high even when flat footed. He has the best reflex saves in the game and evasion so can totally avoid a lot of damage the fighter is going to have to soak up. With Fate’s Favored and Heroism running his fortitude save is +8 without any other items or spells and that is his lowest save.
You seem to be missing the whole point of playing an archeologist bard. My question to you is would you rather have a rogue or an archeologist bard in the party. If all you wants is to fight than by all means play a fighter, but a party of all fighters is going run into things they cannot deal with. This is where other classes come in.
One good inquisitor feat is improved monster lore. At first level it does not do much, but as you level up it starts to pay off big time. Keep in mind that if you cannot identify the monster you cannot use bane.
I would recommend Cornugun Smash over dazzling display. The problem with dazzling display it is a full round action which means you are not actually hitting anyone. Cornugun Smash on the other hand is a free action for anyone you are attacking using power attack.
If you want to affect a group use the spell Blistering Invective which not only allows you to demoralize everyone within 30’ they take 1-10 points of damage and must save or catch on fire. It is only a second level spell so you can pick it up at 4th level.
The inquisitor is a great class, but does not come into its own until about 5th level.
First of all before you change the rules make sure you understand them. I have seen a lot of GM’s house rules that changed things that did not need to be changed, or worse changed things without thinking things through and made things worse. The best house rules cover things that are unclear or ambiguous.
One area where house rules are good is in defining the campaign. Most of the campaigns I run have a house rule the characters must be good. This is usually because most of my campaigns have the party working for a person or organization that is good. My last campaign had the players working for the eagle knights.
Another area that defines the campaign is in allowable races and classes. Mostly this should be done to make sure the characters are appropriate to the campaign you are running. If there are no guns in your world banning the gunslinger and gun based archetypes makes sense. You have to be careful when doing this to not arbitrarily ban something based on the name or description. I have seen a lot of GM’s bane the ninja because they do not want an Asian themed class. Many classes can be reskined to fit the campaign. A ninja could just as easily be the order of assassins in Alamut. Which would defiantly fit into an Arabian Knights based campaign.
Look at the type of campaign you want to run and figure out what is not going to fit. My basic assumption is anything is allowed I do not specifically ban. For the most part I follow what I ban so if I say there are no guns, the villains will not have guns. Obviously alignment is the exception to the rule.
One of the big advantages of the DEX based builds over the STR based builds is you are actually good at more things. If all you care about is damage a STR based build is going to do a lot more damage in melee combat. Getting 1.5 times your STR and power attack bonus is going to really increase the damage. If you use a high critical range weapon like the elven curve blade you can get some really impressive damage. As an archeologist bard you have a lot of ways to increase your chance to hit so that makes it even sweeter. You may even end up with a better chance to hit than a fighter.
The down side is that you will not be all that good in other things. A DEX based build using dervish dance or an agile weapon will be a lot better at ranged combat than the STR based build. With dervish dance you cannot carry a weapon or shield in the other hand but it does not say you cannot have anything else in the other hand. I don’t see why you could not have a wand in your off hand to use when you are not using your scimitar. As a bard you have proficiency in short bows and should have one as a backup weapon even if you are not going to go for an archer bard.
When it comes to skills the only class skill you have that is STR based is climb. Acrobatics, escape artist, sleight of hand, and stealth are all DEX based. DEX also improves your defenses a lot more than STR does. It gives you not only AC, but touch AC which is hard to come by. It also improves your reflex saves which STR does nothing for.
Don’t waste your rogue talents on getting feats. Use them for things that no other character can do. Trap spotter or fast stealth is a lot more valuable than a +1 to hit.
Have you considered playing an inquisitor instead of a paladin or antipaladin? The do not have any alignment restrictions other than that of their deity. They have a lot more magic ability than a paladin but slightly less martial power. They can go nova a couple of times per day and poor on the damage. They are also allowed to break many of the restrictions of a deities teaching. Being undead may be a little too far for Pharasma, but may work with Iomedea.
Using a weapon two handed only works well if you have a high STR which most bards do not. Using power attack with a low STR does not work especially for a low level bard. Since you will not have heavy armor you will need a good DEX for AC. This also allows you to be decent at archery even if you do not spend any feats. Having the same stat to hit for both melee and ranged as well as AC is a huge advantage.
As far as the long sword being better than a scimitar they are about the same. The long sword does on the average 1 more point of damage, but the scimitar has a better chance to get a critical hit. You can actually use a scimitar two handed, but not when using dervish dance. The increased chance for a critical becomes even more powerful after you get keen, or improved critical.
Cleave sounds like a good idea but after 6th level it is not as good as it looks. A better choice would be to go full sword and board with improved shield bash. With a 30 point buy you can probably afford the DEX for two weapon fighting to really rack up the damage. Keep in mind smite evil works on all your attacks including shield bash. If you can keep the DEX up to go for improved two weapon fighting then that is even better.
It may be overused but if you want damage for an archeologist bard consider going with the Dervish Dance feat. Not the archetype but just the feat. Go half elf for the weapon proficiency and extra rounds of luck and take weapon finesse and dervish dance for your 1st and 3rd level feats. Lingering performance at 5th will effectively triple your rounds of luck. Make sure you have a 13 STR so you can get power attack, and a high DEX and your damage will be fine.
Fates favored is what you want for a trait as it adds +1 to any luck bonus you have. Armor Expert is probably your best second trait.
A lot of people recommend Assamir to get a higher bonus, but to me the half elf is better because you can get dervish dance with one less feat, and you get more rounds of luck. As an archeologist bard you only need enough CHA to cast your spells so you will not have a lot of rounds of luck. Every extra round is worth it.
Make sure you pick up Heroism as your first 2 level spell. It is a morale bonus so it stacks with archeologist luck and last a long time.
A 7 INT is not so low that you will be the target for everything, but it does mean that you will fall for scams more often than a character with a 10 INT. What I look at is the person with the penalty able to make the roll at all. If not then that character will have a few more problems when dealing the situations covered by the skill. In the case of INT the character is going to paying a little more for items once in a while, they will also have trouble reading, and not recognize some things more often than someone with a 10 INT.
I don’t have a set of complicated rules, nor do I make rolls for every situation. What I do is to make sure the character actually is affected by the lower stat. Most of the time this is just a minor incident that does not affect anything important. For example I had one player with a low INT fooled by some fake gems. He was gambling in a tavern so when he won he did not get as much as he thought he did because the person he beat used fake gems. This ended up worth about 10 GP or so, but the character was pissed off when he found out. Note that I said the character the player was fine with this. This usually comes up once or maybe twice in a game session, and only when there is a lot of down time things going on.
I also do not pull any punches on rolls that do affect the game for characters that dump stats. If you dump your WIS and fail the sense motive roll that is not my problem. But here I am not calling for any rolls that the other players do not have to make.
Targeting a character for an encounter is fine as a long as there is a reason for it, and as long as this is done to all players equally. Setting up an encounter to challenge a particular character is perfectly acceptable as long as you do the same for all the characters. If all your encounters are designed to challenge a particular character then you are out of line. The biggest problem with this is that it robs the spotlight from the other players. By concentrating on a single character you have lessened the other characters.
If you have problems with a particular character talk to the player about it. I build very optimized characters and have had many GM’s ask me to tone them down. As long as the GM is upfront about it this does not create a problem. Most of the time all it takes is some minor adjustments. I also offer to help other people with their characters so that the power level is more constant. The only thing that gets annoying is when the GM constantly changes my character. Also if you have someone in your group who is significantly better at optimizing than look over his character at the beginning and look for problems. I would much rather have a concept vetoed at the start of the campaign then after I have spent time building him up. Don’t be afraid to veto a concept if it does not fit your game, but don’t overdo it.
You people do realize that an 8 Int represents average intelligence, right? So someone with a 7 Int is not that much below average.
Average in compared to what? Adventurers are supposed to be a cut above the normal. They are the people who solve the problems that others can’t. And while having a 7 INT is not going to make that much of a difference to a farmer or baker it will make a difference to an adventurer. Like I said if you are going to dump a stat be prepared to live with the consequences. If you dump INT you will have trouble understanding things. If you dump WIS be prepared to get taken advantage of. If you dump CHA be prepared for people to react negatively to you. If you dump STR watch what you carry. If you dump DEX you will be clumsy. If you dump CON well be prepared to die.
Now 7 is not really that low but it still gives a penalty. The reason you get extra points in a point buy is because you are going to have problems with a stat bellow 10. I am not saying that if you have a 7 INT you are too stupid to live, but you are less intelligent than a normal adventurer and should be treated so. This is not a bad thing, and can be a great roleplaying opportunity, but do not expect to ignore it. The same goes for any dump stat.
For the 7 STR wizards I track encumbrance, and yes I do tell them when things are too heavy to pick up. My point on the Appraise check is that the character with a bought down INT is incapable of making the roll unless he puts skill point into it. I don’t do this every time but enough to remind the character they are did dump a stat. If you dump multiple stats it will get worse.
If a players is role playing his dump stat I don’t have to do anything. I had a character that was running a monk with a 7 CHA who played it perfectly. He was arrogant and rude to everyone around him. He actually put a lot of thought into coming up with ways to sound offensive. The first game he went into a bar and almost managed to start a riot by making racist remarks to the humans in the bar. They were looking for information so I had him roll a diplomacy roll, and he rolled a 2.
The correct number of skills is the class + INT modifier, but with a minimum of one. Basic rules of mat still apply so adding a negative number still means subtracting that number. After this is done you add racial and favored class bonuses. This does mean the minimum for a dumb human fighter is 2 (3 with favored class).
The reason not to dump INT for all fighters is that skill ranks are only one thing you get from INT. Some feats require a minimum INT of 13 so if you want any of these feats you do not dump. Also your INT modifier also applies to INT based skills most of which are not class skills for a fighter. As a GM if a player wants to dump a stat I don’t have a problem with that, but I will enforce the penalties.
A character with a 7 INT is going to be ripped off a lot when he goes to purchase items. It takes a DC 20 appraise check to identify the value of a common item. Knowledge’s are also INT based skills and they can only be used trained unless the DC is 10 or lower. For the most part I do not require characters to roll for most of these things, but with a character with a bought down INT I do. So the rogue with a normal INT will pretty much recognize the current symbol of the king, but the 7 INT fighter needs to roll a 12. For the most part if a character has a positive or at least 0 bonus I assume a 10 for unimportant tasks to speed up the game. If the character has a negative modifier I will often roll to see if they succeed. This goes for any dumped stat not just INT.
The name of the class is not important, and should be ignored. You can be a barbarian and be of almost any class. The same is true for any class. What matters are the mechanics and the description. The mechanics of the barbarian class say that they cannot be lawful; this is also backed up by the description.
For some, there is only rage. In the ways of their people, in the fury of their passion, in the howl of battle, conflict is all these brutal souls know. Savages, hired muscle, masters of vicious martial techniques, they are not soldiers or professional warriors—they are the battle possessed, creatures of slaughter and spirits of war. Known as barbarians, these warmongers know little of training, preparation, or the rules of warfare; for them, only the moment exists, with the foes that stand before them and the knowledge that the next moment might hold their death. They possess a sixth sense in regard to danger and the endurance to weather all that might entail. These brutal warriors might rise from all walks of life, both civilized and savage, though whole societies embracing such philosophies roam the wild places of the world. Within barbarians storms the primal spirit of battle, and woe to those who face their rage.
What needs to be asked here is what a barbarian is, and what the player wants out of the class? To me a barbarian is not someone who trained under a master and learned discipline. He is someone who follows his instincts and charges in when maybe he should not. Discipline means you are planning for the future and are willing to sacrifice the moment to achieve victory. This is not living for the moment, and implies a great deal of preparation and planning. This does not sound like it anything like the description of the class. A barbarian is not necessarily a wilderness warrior, although he can be. He is just as likely to come from a civilized society as he is a primitive society.
If all he wants is rage then play a Wild Stalker. To be honest that sounds more what the player is looking for anyways. A disciplined warrior probably also has a decent amount of skills including stealth which a barbarian does not get as a class skill.
A neutral alignment can follow a code or tradition as long as they are not fanatical about it. The neutral character will follow the code or tradition unless there is a good reason to break it. The lawful character will always follow the tradition or code. For example if your religion says you do not work on a certain day the neutral character will generally follow this but if something comes up that needs to be done then he will go ahead and do it. The lawful character under the same circumstance will not work and try and deal with the situation after the holy day.
A barbarian is not something you train to be, it is something you give into. They live for the moment calling on their emotions to fuel their rage. “Known as barbarians, these warmongers know little of training, preparation or the rules of warfare.” This does not mean they have to froth at the mouth, but they are not the type to keep calm under stress.
If all you want is a lawful character who can rage there are other options besides barbarian. The ranger archetype Wild Stalker also gains the rage ability, but at 4th level. You can also be a cleric, or inquisitor of a deity with the rage domain. Neither of these have any restrictions on alignment so being lawful will not matter.
There a lot of way to communicate over long distances. Illusions in the sky can be seen for many miles and could be used as a kind of magical smoke signal. You could use color and light in a sort of Morse code. Even a silent image could work for this.
Magic Mouth can be used to send information that only the person who knows what to do will receive the message. This is great for leaving messages behind or sending hidden messages.
Animal Messenger has duration of 1 day per level, but may not be that reliable.
Scrying can also be used to communicate, but may need both people able to cast the spell to be really effective.
Dream and Minor Dream can also be used but are one way communication.
Sending is another one way communication spell that even works from different planes.
If you make this a physical fight you are limited in when it happens. If it happens too early you will overwhelm the characters, if you wait too long it becomes a minor encounter that is no big deal. Instead of a physical conflict it should be something that can only be won by a specific action that the player needs to perform. Look at the origin of the curse and figure out something from there.
Introduce the devil earlier but limit him. He may be forbidden to harm or interfere with the player until the time for the curse to become active. This way he can be part of the campaign without having to worry about the party being slaughtered. Have him work behind the scene manipulating people and events, but forbidden to directly intervene. If he moves before the time specified he breaks the contract and the player is free. This could also give the player a way out by tricking the devil into attacking him too early. This can also work in favor of the devil by having the devil be immune to attacks of the player or his allies.
To remove the curse should require the play achieve a specific goal. This could be finding a specific magic item like the Holy Grail which has the power to remove the curse. It could also be that the player needs to rectify a situation caused by the original contract. For example let’s say the characters ancestor overthrew the royal line and replaced it with his own. He may need to restore the original royal line to break the curse.
This has a lot of potential and could lead in many different ways. It should also be something that is incorporated into the larger campaign.
My general rule is if you would not discuss the matter in a public place you should not do it in the game. So as long you would feel comfortable taking about the subject in a Starbucks at lunch time you are good to go. There will of course be a lot of innuendo and implying on these subject which is fine.
That being said I think some of the things you did were a little over the top. Just as lawful good does not mean lawful stupid; neither does evil have to be mindless. Killing off slave to get someone to buy more is a really dumb thing to do. You do not destroy valuable merchandise because someone does not want to buy it. If one of the slaves was being troublesome than maybe, but just to kill them for no reason is pointless. Having the villains so obviously evil is a little two dimensional. There is also the fact that most evil people do not consider themselves evil. Keep your villains real and it is more of a moral dilemma.
No offense but this is one of the worst builds I have seen on an inquisitor. Your feats are all over the board. You really need to pick a focus and stick with it. Really the only thing that is going to help is a total rewrite of the character. You could go one of two ways. The first is to focus on melee damage, or you could focus on ranged in either case drop the archetype. All your feats should be changed as none of them are doing you much good.
For melee keep weapon finesse and pick up dervish dance. Take power attack and cornugun smash as your other feats. This allows you to not only do a lot more damage but to also get to use intimidate to demoralize him for free. With the inquisitors intimidate you will almost always succeed so they will be -2 on all attacks, saves and skill rolls.
Since you said you GM is allowing advanced firearms you could drop your domain and go with the black powder inquisition. Change your feats to point blank shot, rapid shot, and rapid reload. For your last feat you could go either armature gunslinger to get a grit pool, or go with improved monster lore. Improved monster lore is an often overlooked feat for inquisitors. It allows you to identify monsters better than a bard. You get the same level bonus as a bard and two stats to add to the roll instead of one. From the looks of it you put a decent amount of skill points into knowledge’s. Improved monster lore would allow you to put a single point in each of them and with your stats end up with a +15 to identify monsters.
For spells change go with the following
Divine Favor gives a luck bonus, Heroism gives a morale bonus and your judgments give a sacred bonus. This means they all stack. Heroism Lasts over an hour and also affects skill including knowledge skills so is well worth taking. Invisibility combined with Expeditious retreat means you will be better at stealth than a rogue. You get a +20 bonus for invisibility, and can affectively move at full speed while still staying hidden. Nondetection also means you do are difficult to locate by magical means which is something the rogue just cannot do.
All of this can be done under the retraining rules in ultimate campaign.
Keep in mind you are not an archer you are a switch hitter. You do not hang back and hide behind other party members you are in the front line. If the rest of the party keeps formation then you will not have a problem. A properly equipped martial class should always have a missile weapon even if they are primarily melee. Spell caster for the most part will also do better at range. If the party uses good tactics they will attack the enemy form range at first, most of the time this will cause the enemy to either flee or to try and close the distance. If they flee then just keep attacking them.
Switch hitters do not really come into their own until around 6thlevel. By this time the other martial classes will also have a multiple attacks. Most of the time it will be in the parties best interest to attack from range when they can. If the other martial characters also have bows the party can just trade shots and probably come out ahead. If you have a reach weapon and combat reflexes you can stop multiple opponents by tripping them. This will allow all the martial characters yourself included to take a five foot step and full attack.
If you are worried about the penalty for shooting into melee take precise shoot instead of the vital strike chain. This will end up netting you a feat because you only need point blank shot and precise shoot. The big problem with vital shot is it only increases your damage by the base damage of the weapon. You do not get all your bonuses which is where most of your damage is coming from.
Quick draw is important for a couple of reasons. One allows you to switch weapons which are the whole idea behind the switch hitter. For example if you have the initiative but the enemy will be on you next turn you fire with the bow and at the end of your turn drop the bow and draw your sword. This allows you you threaten so can make attack of opportunities. At 6th level and above it allows you to always get your full attack even if you do not have a weapon drawn. Once again what makes the switch hitter deadly is he can almost always get a full attack off. You do not move into position unless it is a 5 foot step, you hold your ground and wait for the enemy to come to you.
One thing that works well is to carry a reach weapon in addition to the sword and bow. This way you if you have initiative you can do a full attack with your bow and draw the reach weapon so you can get an attack of opportunity when they move to attack you. After they move within 5 feet drop the reach weapon and attack them with your sword. Take a Guisarme and trip them for your attack of opportunity. This will prevent them from getting within striking range of you. Since they have already moved to attack they would have to use a second move action to get up which provokes an attack of opportunity. If you have combat reflexes you could get a full attack with the bow, a trip attack, another attack of opportunity, and then finally another full attack before they can even swing on you once.
If you are doing a switch hitter you really need quick draw this should be around 5th level, but by 7th level at the latest. I would suggest moving power attack to 1st. Take deadly aim to 3rd, and don’t bother taking toughness. Also you are much better off doing a full attack instead of vital strike. The whole idea behind the switch hitter is you always full attack. If they are at range keep shooting them with arrows, if they get you in melee drop your bow and pull a two handed weapon and attack. This is the reason you need quick draw so you can pull a weapon as a free action.
Spread your skills around instead of maxing out a few. Perception is about the only skill I would max out. For the first few levels pick up class skill but after that you can put some in other skills. You will want to put a few points into climb and swim so that you are not completely unable to perform these skills. Acrobatics may also be worth investing a few points into just so that you can jump onto a low object like a table or a rock if needed. Stealth may also be worth putting a few points into.
Some of the skill checks are not that high, but having huge penalties mean you will need to roll very high to succeed. A knotted rope for example is only a DC 5 climb check. A heal check of 15 will allow you to stabilize a dying character, or stop a bleeding wound. For skills that are opposed rolls don’t worry about keeping up with the specialist just make sure you have a good chance against ordinary people. If your sense motive is higher than the average bluff for NPC you will be fine. By average NPC I mean the normal people on the street, not the charismatic rogue.
20th level paladin (For self-healing, defense, and smite evil)
This gives three spell lists based of off charisma, immunities to a lot of different things, incredible saves, and a good blend of defense and offense.
20th level Zen Archer (Flurry of blows, and Wisdom to AC)
All classes based on Wisdom. Flurry of greater bane (with Gravity Bow).
I don’t think you need to do anything if you keep the paladin. Taking away a class ability without giving something in return is unfair unless this is being done to all classes. As to the paladin being overpowered because of his abilities I also don’t think this is going to be a problem. Most of a paladins abilities are designed to help him against things that are probably not going to be all that common. Smite evil is completely useless if the opponent is not in fact evil. Detect evil only works on characters over 5th level. Divine grace is not that important in a low magic campaign because there are less spell casters to cast spells on him. Looking over the rest of the abilities they also become less relevant in a low magic campaign.
From what you have posted you would probably just be better off not allowing paladins. They really do not fit the campaign that well anyways. You are looking at changing so many aspects of the class that it is no longer a paladin. If I sat down to play a paladin and was told that all my class abilities had be removed or changed I would be a bit upset. Since you do not have clerics, but do have druids a ranger would be the logical choice for a divine warrior. Also a barbarians rage could be considered a god granted ability and they could fill the role of divine warrior.
I doubt they use the Mac address because computers can and often do have more than one Mac address. A lot of the new Ultra books do not even have an Ethernet port built in. The Asus Zen books for example use a USB adapter that can be used in another computer. This would also mean if you replace the network card the software does not work.
An inquisitor fills multiple functions. In combat they are one of the best overall monster hunters in the game. Sure paladins do more damage vs. undead and evil outsiders. Rangers are better vs. their favored enemy but not as good if the enemy is not their favored enemy. No matter what type of creature an inquisitor is fighting he has what he needs. Bane allows him to deal massive damage vs. any type of creature. His Judgments give allows him to have whatever else he needs to deal with the situation.
Out of combat they are divine skill monkeys. One thing they do better than any other class is finding out things. They get a bonus of half their level to three information gathering skills. Add the feat improved monster lore and it gets even worse. An inquisitor has all the skills needed to find and locate the weakness of any creature he is going to be fighting, and this is without magic.
Magic wise the inquisitors spells back up his abilities to uncover secrets and to deal with whatever he goes against. Spells like invisibility, and speak with dead give them access to information that is hard to match. They can further augment their combat abilities with spells if needed with spells like divine favor, and protection from evil. Accesses to healing spells mean they can are one of the most self-reliant classes around. Their limited spell selection means they will probably be using wands and scrolls for healing, but they have that option.
In reality it is easier to say what an inquisitor is not able to do than to list what they can do. Honestly there outside of blasting spells there is really not a whole lot they do not do.
can't play inquisitor or Oracle core class only. And the pally wants to focus more on tanking then healing he chose pally to help the group but I could tell he did not like being the healer at all.
All anyone needs to do to be a healer is to have the right spells on his spell list. This does not require memorizing any healing spells, or spending feats on healing. Why would the paladin object to casting a spell off a scroll, or using a wand when combat is over? Healing is something best done out of combat except in emergency situations.
The sheer number of things that can go wrong mean that you can never have all the spells you may need memorized, so do not even bother. Using scroll, wands and potions to heal is the only sensible solution. The paladin will have lay on hands and mercies so he has some healing built into the class.
Your group already has a healer in the paladin. Healing HP is only a small part of being a healer. Condition removal is important thing. A couple of wands of cure light wounds will usually take care keeping the party at full HP. For condition removal use scrolls and wands instead of memorizing the spells. If you look at the paladins spell list he has a lot of the spells you need for condition removal. He even gets lesser restoration as a first level spell.
That being said a battle cleric is a good choice for any party. Do not worry about focusing on healing because that is will take care of itself. The cleric spell list has all the spells you need for healing so again stock up on scrolls and wands. If you concentrate on buff and utility spells you do not need to max out wisdom. Keep your wisdom high enough to cast your spells and you will be fine.
You could also play an inquisitor, or an oracle of battle. Both those classes when combined with the paladin in the group will be able to handle healing without any trouble.
The best trap finder in the game is the Archeologist Bard. They are actually better at dealing with magical traps because they have access to spells. Detect Magic will allow you to spot magical traps a lot more reliably than just perception. Pilfering Hand allows you to make disable device checks from close range (25’ +5’/per 2 levels); Dispel Magic can be used on magical traps from medium range (100’ +10’ per level). Spells like feather fall, Invisibility, Heroism and Misdirection are things a rogue simply can not compete against.
Archeologist Bards also get rogue talents so you can pick up trap spotter to get automatic checks to spot traps. The Archeologist Bard also gets a bonus on all perception rolls, not just those to find traps.
Heroism is a great spell for a bard to take. Basically a long lasting buff that gives you +2 on almost anything you do. Bards get this as a second level spell which is one level earlier than any other class. As a third level spell it is decent, as a second level spell it is great.
I am not even sure what you are asking. The one ring is an artifact not a race so why would you be using the race builder for this. The changes that it made to the ring bearers are just part of its powers. Besides some minor physical changes the only changes that it seems to make is to stop the wearer from aging while it is worn, and change their alignment to chaotic evil.
Gollum was originally a hobbit and wore the ring long enough for it to totally corrupt him. The books even state that it would affect others differently.
One problem with this party is their spell list is limited. The cleric and oracle share the same spell list. Many of the paladin’s spells are also on the same list. This places a great deal of pressure on the Wizard because he has to provide all of the other spells. This also leads to a situation where the party can be neutralized or greatly weakened by taking out a single party member. Swapping out the oracle for the witch would be a good solution.
The other problem is the complete lack of any type of scouting character. The Barbarian is about the only character that can do any kind of scouting without using spells, and he is not really suited for this. If you are using spells to scout the only one that can do this is the wizard. This again leads to the situation where if the Wizard is taken out the party is greatly weakened.
Not really as much as you think. Both the paladin and Inquisitor have restoration on their spell lists. Most of the other conditions can also be removed by multiple characters. The paladin also has mercies which can cover a lot of conditions. With Ultimate Mercy the paladin can even bring back someone from the dead. You also have the bard who is a charisma based caster with plenty of skill points who has UMD as a class skill. This might be a slight problem at very low levels but once the party is at mid to high level they will be fine.
Healing is something that should generally be done outside of combat not during combat. This is especially true of removing conditions. The best way to do this is through items instead of memorized spells. A properly equipped part will have wands and scrolls for this purpose.
Druid with Animal companion
4 characters able to heal so you do not need a dedicated healer
2 characters able to summon creatures increase the action economy.
2 full spell casters, 2 secondary spell casters, and a minor spell caster
3 characters able to cover social situations.
All knowledge skills are covered so better information on enemies.
3 characters able to scout in some fashion.
4 characters are competent in combat
All characters have good will saves so less likely to have to fight your own party
All roles have more than one character that can cover it so that the party is not crippled if one character goes down.