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NPC's should use the standard array (equivalent to 15 pt buy without as much flexibility) and NPC wealth expenditure rules (link). If they use the heroic array (equivalent to 20 point buy without as much flexibility) it would be alter the challenge, and if they exceed NPC wealth for their level and type (heroic or base) it will also alter the challenge.
Above is a link to the rules for creating an NPC. If you want something balanced according to the base rules for the game then I suggest following the guidelines. There are special dispensations for fast/slow xp progresson and high/low fantasy games (20 pt buy is high fantasy and 10 pt buy is low fantasy). If you want to just eyeball it and balance according to your own party, then we need to know the makeup and abilities of your party to be able to provide useful feedback.
" the bonded creature gains 5 points to spend on selecting what spells the item can cast"
The text does not state that you must spend these points immediately. For example, you could save those 5 points until the next time you take it and then have 10 points to spend on getting Cone of Cold 3/day (spell chosen for example not inherent uberness of spell). Alternatively, you could purchase Crushing Hand 1/day. Alternatively, you could save 4 times and get Crushing Hand 3/day.
However, the rules text does not allow you to "upgrade" an option that has already been purchased. If your player wants to get the 3/day, then they will need to wait until after they have saved the appropriate number of points.
If the dragon don't fireball, you must...allow your expectations of what is possible to extend beyond the limitations of our physical world. Let me clarify with an example. I saw a movie where martial artists ran across a lake and then jumped to the top of a tree. Too bad it would be highly improbable (impossible IMO) for anyone to be able to do it.
Snark aside, these arguments for restricting abilities (you can't do cool_thing_x, because of real_world_example_y) in a fantasy game are only hurting player options. If a dragon can fly (which numerous discussions involving legitimate analysis have proven impossible) because of "innate magic", why can't Joe have some "innate magic" that lets him exceed physical limits. Not everyone of the arcane bloodline becomes a sorcerer. In a world where magic is so common, I find it difficult to believe anyone could have avoided any ancestry to someone with magical talents.
Also, a deity did it.
Abraham spalding wrote:
@ Armor Of course in the long term it is better than both bracers and mage armor, but it wasn't supposed to pass it early on. It doesn't stack with bracers in the same way bracers don't stack with armor -- that problem is already has its solution built into bracers, and very importantly, it scales off of class level not caster level, so you won't get the full benefit if you go into dragon disciple as it isn't a bloodline ability that would be increased (part of the reason we call them mutations is to make them not part of the standard bloodline ability package). You can already get that +14 natural armor bonus with a +6 armor bonus (bracers, or the enchanted armored skirt/ceremonial robes) or higher (mithral chain shirt for example). What this saves you is gold, but it saves it at the high cost of a class feature. Armor bonuses are a dime a dozen, especially without the problems of encumbrance. The encumbrance factor and the fact that armor bonuses don't stack, the fact that it scales but slowly means it is a trade off but one that does pay in late game (though not too much).
Ok, my concern was that it was a bit too much for an arcana, but I think that I am in the minority here. It won't change anything other than freeing up some gold for gish-types, and that isn't a type typically discussed when bringing up balance concerns.
Abraham spalding wrote:
@ font of ki The of font of ki was to provide some ki abilities (and ki) without it actually being something scaled to an ability. I would rather reduce the power of the font of ki, than introduce an one off mechanic to have it hit another bloodline power. The over all idea was that if you multiclassed into something with a ki pool you would gain something for your trouble (the concentration check and caster level choices as well as a few ki points... about as many as a feat) without giving the sorcerer the full range of choices other classes get. I really don't like the idea of the wisdom to ac choice. That matches the monk's abilities but not ki abilities.
Perhaps restrict the options to concentration, movement, and caster level? With the severe limitations per day, we could probably allow all of these options to be used at 1st level (I have been considering the Arcanist abilities here). How about revise to the following.
Font of Ki:
Available to: Destined, Arcane, Oni, Starsoul, Impossible, Rakshasa
Benefit: Through a natural gift of your bloodline you have learned to draw from a font of power that typically requires dedicated training and study. You gain a Ki pool of 1 point. This pool increases by 1 at 3rd level and again every three levels after 3rd. As a swift action, you may spend 1 point of ki to increase your movement speed by 20 ft for 1 round, gain a +2 bonus on concentration checks when you cast a spell defensively, or increase your caster level by 1 for 1 round.
Abraham spalding wrote:
At +2 going up to + 8 armor bonus even if you have natural armor you aren't actually going to get anywhere abusive. After all with the original you are still better off with mage armor until level 6. Also it's not a big deal since even by +8 you aren't that much over bracers of armor and the armored shell isn't enchantable. Indeed you are actually at a worse spot since you are slowed down by the armor. I agree with the 1/4 hp though -- that part is a solid idea.
This armor is superior to just bracers of armor as it stacks with the special abilities granted by bracers of armor, and it surpasses mage armor in both iterations. It also grants the ability to negate a critical hit at cost of your armor bonus which is a pretty even trade off. If the ability is allowed to stack with natural armor bonuses you could get up to a +14 natural armor bonus (+1 feat, +4 bloodline, +4 dragon disciple, and +5 amulet) in addition to the +8 from the shell. That allows a 32 AC just from these two sources, and with other sources you could easily break 40 AC (+5 ring, +1 ioun stone, +1 dodge, 2+ dex mod). This armor bonus scales better than bracers of armor and does not cost any gold. It would also stack with dips into classes that grant WIS bonus to AC with the current wording.
All that said, I am fine with letting it stack with natural if it is expressly not allowed to stack with any other armor/armor special abilities from other sources and it should top out at +6 AC (to avoid replacing a magic item with something free).
Abraham spalding wrote:
Font of Ki has the unusual (for these abilities) fact that it isn't constant to hurt it -- I don't think it needs to pull off the 3rd level ability as well. However I like the rest of the changes on it.
How about we add WIS to AC, change the pool to 3+WIS, and trade out the third level bloodline power. This makes the sorcerer a bit more MAD granting a nice (always active) defensive boost, and trades what is generally a passive defensive boost for an active defensive/utility boost.
Abraham spalding wrote:
Wrathful energy is weird on the defense bonus -- I think you meant for it to be a penalty.
You are right. Disrupt defenses should read as follows.
Disrupt defenses: You afflict the creature with a temporary shell of warped energy. This effect grants the creature a -2 penalty to armor bonus for 1 round per 2 hitpoints expended.
I am adding two new mutations inspired from Positive Energy Conduit and the not yet defined Negative Energy Conduit. I am a bit unsure how to write up the "Available to" since each of these covers both positive and negative energy which would require separate lists. It would be easier if positive and negative energy were split, but would also double a lot of word count needlessly.
Wrathful Energy Conduit:
Available to: ...
Benefit: Your body is a raw conduit to the positive or negative energy plane. If you are a conduit to the negative energy plane, you are affected by positive and negative energy as though you were undead. Every round you are infused with raw power from your plane, gaining 1 temporary hitpoint. These temporary hitpoints stack to a maximum equal to your level. As a melee touch attack, you may discharge your entire current buildup of energy (minimum 1 temporary hitpoint) to harm or debilitate creatures damaged by your energy type. You may choose one of the following effects.
*Disrupt Power: You use the raw power of your energy to disrupt the offensive capability of the creature. This effect grants the creature a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls for 1 round per 2 temporary hitpoints expended.
*Disrupt defenses: You afflict the creature with a temporary shell of warped energy. This effect grants the creature a +2 sacred or profane armor bonus for 1 round per 2 hitpoints expended.
This ability also replaces the 1st level bloodline power.
Protective Energy Conduit:
Available to: ...
Benefit: Your body is a raw conduit to either the positive or negative energy plane. If you are a conduit to the negative energy plane, you are affected by positive and negative energy as though you were undead. Every round you are infused with raw power from your plane, gaining 1 temporary hitpoint. These temporary hitpoints stack to a maximum equal to your level. As a melee touch attack, you may discharge your entire current buildup of energy (minimum 1 temporary hitpoint) to bolster other creatures healed by your energy type. You may choose one of the following effects.
*Infuse Power: You infuse the raw power of your energy into the creature granting improved combat ability. This effect grants the creature a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls for 1 round per 2 temporary hitpoints expended.
*Bolster defenses: You bolster the creatures defenses granting a temporary shield of raw energy. This effect grants the creature a +2 sacred or profane armor bonus for 1 round per 2 hitpoints expended.
This ability also replaces the 1st level bloodline power.
I really like Unstable Mutation. I think it deserves some flavor text at the beginning. Something like "Your natural form is a fluid thing constantly evolving." Before introducing the ability to select your evolution, you could add "Over time as your evolutions become more severe you begin to gain a measure of control." I also added a few bloodlines to the list.
Available to: Aberrant, Abyssal, Accursed, Daemon, Dreamspun, Protean
Benefit: Your natural form is a fluid thing constantly evolving. You gain 1 evolution point to spend on a 1 point evolution from the eidolon abilities list. All evolution abilities randomly change every morning when you ready your spells. Over time your evolutions become more severe, but you begin to gain a measure of control At level 9, you also gain a random evolution from the 2 point evolution list. You now choose which 1 point evolution you benefit from each morning. At level 18 you gain a random evolution from the 3 point evolution list and you may now choose which 2 point evolution you benefit from each morning.
For Font of Ki, I added some flavor text and a few additional bloodlines to the list. I felt this ability gave some very interesting abilities and warranted giving up a bloodline power. The caster level increase was bumped up a few levels, but I also increased the movement speed at this level.
Font of Ki:
Available to: Destined, Arcane, Oni, Starsoul, Impossible, Rakshasa
Benefit: Through a natural gift of your bloodline you have learned to draw from a font of power that typically requires dedicated training and study. You gain a Ki pool of 1 point. This pool increases by 1 at level 3 and every three levels there after. At level 1, you may as a swift action spend ki to increase your movement speed by 10 ft for 1 round or to gain a +2 bonus on concentration checks when you cast a spell defensively. At level 6, you may spend ki as a swift action to grant yourself a +4 dodge bonus to armor for 1 round. At 10th level, you may spend ki to increase your caster level by 1 for 1 round, and your speed increases by 20 feet when you spend ki to increase your movement speed. This ability also replaces your 3rd level bloodline power.
Again, I added some flavor text to Dimensional Phasing. I also reworked things a bit. This ability felt too much like gaining a 4th level spell for free that could potentially be used multiples timer per combat and at least once every combat. Outside of combat scenarios, the ability is essentially unlimited use.
Available to: Arcane, Dreamspun, Fey, Shadow
Benefit: You have always seen the weakness in the boundaries of dimensions. As a standard action, you may briefly slip through these boundaries teleporting 5 ft per sorcerer level this is treated for all purposes except distance traveled as casting dimension door using your sorcerer level as your caster level. Once you use this ability, you may not use it again for 2d4 rounds. At level 7, using this ability becomes a move action.
This ability could be a bit abusable to get a significant armor bonus. Especially considering the natural armor bonuses from draconic bloodline and dragon disciple. I would alter it to start at 6 ac and not stack with natural armor bonus. I also dropped the hp to 1/4 your total to bring it more in line with magic armor and the armor is treated as magic at 4th level. I would also note that this would synergize well with a bracers of armor with armor special qualities. Finally, I removed the shatter damage and added a sentence indicating how you can regain your shell.
Abraham spalding wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Last one for tonight. I simplified this ability quite a bit. Gaze attacks (especially one that stacks with itself) are very powerful and dangerous. I encourage those not familiar with gaze attacks to read over the rules (gaze attack rules). Especially consider the section about affecting your allies (and barmaids and shopkeepers and your employer...)
This mutation was inspired by the Warped Lungs mutation above.
Abraham spalding wrote:
I reworked these as separate abilities and reworked the abilities slightly.
Abraham spalding wrote:
I like the idea though I think your suggestions are a little over the mark in terms of balance. It would be easier to replace the bloodline in total and produce something that is internally balanced. By trying to replace the arcana for several bloodlines it becomes more difficult to balance. You need to consider what the arcana the player is giving up has and then what synergy your proposed arcana has with the remainder of the bloodline. For several, I noted abilities that seem more appropriate as separate bloodline power (e.g., the scaling save for Positive Energy Conduit). Below are some suggested revisions to bring down the power level of these arcana.
Positive Energy Conduit
Elemental Energy Conduit (formerly Savage Form)
I might have to spend some time homebrewing a few variants of the core bloodlines. The premise will be an archetype (similar to wildblooded) that swaps bloodline powers, arcana, etc. for more thematic abilities. Thematic will be interpreted separately for each class, but will absolutely not include a "claws" bloodline power. I am thinking either "Sage Blood" or "Pure Blood" for the archetype name.
As a GM, I would give them Dragon Disciple on a RAI basis, but probably not the Robe.
The Bloodrager requires you to have the same bloodline if you gain another bloodline.
"If the bloodrager takes levels in another class that grants a bloodline, the bloodlines must be the same type, even if that means that the bloodline of one of the classes must change." source
The real rub is that RAW the dragon disciple grants sorcerer bloodline, but many would expect (and prefer) it to continue the bloodrager bloodline.
After looking over the BloodRager bloodlines and considering the Sorcerer bloodlines, I am left with a bit of an odd recurring thought. This is an issue that has nagged me for a long time now.
Both bloodline sets have a number of melee options, but these are powerful options for only one class. For example, the draconic bloodline grants claws for both classes, but the sorcerer can't really leverage this power.
I would rather have seen the sorcerer bloodlines grant bonuses based on other aspects of their progenitor. For example, dragons are shrewd clever and masters of the arcane in their own rights. Perhaps the draconic bloodline could grant bonuses to knowledges (or even additional skill points only used for knowledges).
I know this is more than a bit late (CRB released in 2009), but seeing the BloodRager bloodlines has really driven this issue to a head for me.
There is a good bit of discussion here about the eidelon. The rules are complex with enough corner cases and overruling enough general rules that many manage to build invalid eidelons without noticing (or in hopes the DM won't notice). Also, a properly built eidelon can be better than a cohort and leadership is easily the least balanced feat in the game.
However, my primary concern with this class is the difficulty of it in actual play. There is a lot of bookkeeping with the eidelon AND the purpose of the class is to summon additional PC controller creatures which can slow play to a crawl. I could easily have 8-10 creatures to control every turn in any given combat. The skewed action economy breaks things as well as causing the summoners turn to typically take much longer than other players. An inexperienced player should simply not play the class as choosing summoned creatures, choosing actions for all controlled creatures, and managing all statistics (e.g., hitpoints) for all controlled creatures is simply overwhelming.
I would prefer to see the class get some streamlined rules for play. Simplify the eidelon to something closer to the animal companion. Limit controlled creatures. Perhaps remove summon from the spell list. Revise the synthesist summoner to something closer to wildshape or just give the synthesist summoner evolution points.
Once these are addressed, then we can discuss balance concerns. I feel simplifying the eidelon (and synthesist) and limiting action economy through reduced summons will help a lot.
Blood Arcanist (draconic bloodline) 10, Dragon Disciple 10, Wizard 20.
I am a man turned dragon. I have immortality and a knowledge of the arcane that is simply beyond mortal understanding. Also, I hang out in an extra-dimensional dragon lair styled wizard tower (tower on the inside dragon lair on the outside) with a library the size of a small country and comfy chairs.
Alternatively, I have a homebrew caster-focused variant of Dragon Disciple (Dragon Sage) that I would rather use. It gets full casting progression and some interesting spell abilities tied to bloodline spells along with an expended set of bloodline spells. Also gains mental ability increases instead of physical.
Check the CRB towards the end (start at the back). You are looking for crafting magic items. Alternatively, check here.
Now you should be able to get a feel for what sort of price jump to make when increasing the caster level. You will notice that under the "Spell Effect" section in "Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values". Every single option is multiplied by the caster level (as well as spell level and some base cost). This implies that you should divide out the current caster level and then multiply in the new caster level.
15*(35,000 gp/8) = 65,265 gp
Also, whenever you are pricing custom magic items consider these words of wisdom from the same webpage linked above.
"Not all items adhere to these formulas. First and foremost, these few formulas aren't enough to truly gauge the exact differences between items. The price of a magic item may be modified based on its actual worth. The formulas only provide a starting point."
"Punch" is not a weapon. It is actually not a game term, to my knowledge it has never been formally defined in rules text. Unarmed Strike is a weapon which could include a kick thus not requiring your hands to even be free when delivering an unarmed "punch" with Pummeling Strike. Cestus, spiked gauntlet, and the others suggested by several posters are all defined weapons. The text for this feat does not mention any specific weapon or set of weapons (e.g., close weapon group) as defined in game terms. The clause "in a single punch" could be replaced with "in a single burst" and have the same meaning to many of those reading the text. If the author intended this to be limited to a specific set of weapons, many of us expect them to list the restrictive set of weapons.
No-one here can claim the author did or did not intend for the feat to be restricted to certain weapons, and this is because the text of the feat does not clearly spell out this intent. Thus, we are asking for clarification.
Insain Dragoon wrote:
However, he is technically correct, the best kind of correct.
Insain Dragoon wrote:
Come on people...How am I supposed to fit two more feats into my TWF, dual-Falcata wielding, Oath of Vengeance Paladin's build without bonus feats! No BBEG lives past the first round ever again!
Seriously though, this feat line looks a bit on the broken end. Consider the kukri wielding TWF's. Large crit range, many opportunities to crit, any single crit makes the whole sequence of attacks a crit.
Don't base balance decisions on 20th level:
How about if we swap the weapon to Falcata and consider a 20th level fighter. Our fighter has 9 attacks(speed weapon full twf chain), 30% chance to crit per attack, a x4 crit multiplier, and only needs one attack in the entire sequence to crit. Make the fighter mythic and that is a x5 crit multiplier.
I am expecting clarification on what weapons can be used with this feat. Either only unarmed or only the close weapon group is what I expect.
I'm not sure why people want a cleric that doesn't wear armor to have AC boosting abilities. The point is to be less of a melee combatant and more of a caster right? An armor-less cleric should defend herself the same way any other caster would (don't stand where they can hit you).
I was considering buying the ACG, but a book that have side to side divene protection with canny tumble is at least dubious. Somebody please start giving good news about the book.
The book provides 10 new base classes.
Intended only for humour.:
Including such surprisingly interesting options as:
Most of the new classes I am excited about playing (Arcanist, BloodRager, Warpriest, Shaman, Investigator, Slayer), and the rest I would consider for the right character idea (unlike, for example, the summoner). Also, the book provides new abilities and archetypes for existing classes, new feats, new spells, and new items (might be wrong on the items).
Finally and perhaps most importantly, A Tale of Two Covers.
*pulls pin from word-grenade**drops word-grenade in conversation*
[music]Cools guys don't look at explosions...[/music]
[jk]Keeps people from having to dip two levels in Paladin. /shrug[/jk]
Actually, I don't really like any of the "replace X stat mod with Y stat mod" abilities and feats (though I admit some are needed in the current system). I would prefer for some flexibility as part of the core system (e.g., finesse weapons can use either STR or DEX) as opposed to the constant barrage of replacements in an attempt to help out MAD classes and corner cases. If you make enough exceptions to the base rules, someone will find a way to leverage the exception in a way it was not intended to be used. Better to build a more flexible base system with a set of fundamental design rules.
The alignment in parentheses after each race is the predominant (but not restrictive) alignment for those races.
Core 5: Elf(CG), Dwarf(LG), Human(none), Orc(CN), Goblin(NE)
These cover basic fantasy character races and provide good, bad, and indifferent tendencies (all without including a certain subterranean race that feel a lot like variant-elf). I would be in favor of having only these 5 to start then expand to include more specifically flavored race options.
If forced to choose 7, I would also include: Aasimar(NG), Tiefling(N)
These options push toward a more planar setting and could probably be replaced with more generic races.
No half races:
I am not a big fan of the half races and would rather do without them. They seem to encourage the forcible insemination of an unwilling partner in the characters background (which is a theme I'd rather discourage). They are also defined by mixing their two progenitor races which leaves them without a unique identity (especially Half-Elves).
As expansions, I think the monster races (especially natural lycanthropes), the elemental-touched races, and more plane-touched are very interesting options for more specific campaigns. Some would also probably like android races and arcane-touched races as well.
If you could choose only 8 Pathfinder classes to keep, what 8 Would they be and why?
First off, all of this is my personal opinion and has no effect on your ability to play and enjoy your preferred classes. Now let's get to the why of it all!
I chose these classes, because they all lend toward a variety of interesting options for characters. I was surprised that I ended up with 4 divine casters (I prefer arcane characters).
The Sorcerer, Wizard, and Arcanist overlap too much to have all three. The Arcanist feels like the middle point and probably the most interesting to play.
We need to have that "fueled by battle rage" type and the Bloodrager is more interesting to me than the Barbarian (but I favor arcane typically, ymmv).
An amazingly versatile class that can easily fit any role for any party in any setting. This guy can be a true master switch hitter and even switch role character. Change out your judgements and get +dmg, +hit, +AC, +whatever_I_need_right_now! Good spell selection and interesting class options with enough skill ranks to potentially have RP skills.
Skill monkey, alchemical dabbler, skilled strategist, competent combatant. This class fills in some needed roles RP-wise and has enough going to be a strong option for the roles it fills mechanics-wise.
I went back and forth a bit on this and the Cleric. I am not a fan of the curses (too many are either pointless or overpowered). However, I think the Mystery and Bloodline class features are more interesting than the Domain and School class features. Also, spontaneous casting is typically better for newer players (and well-liked by many veteran players). Overall, I feel the Oracle package was better than the Cleric package. Though I will add that I have played even numbers of Oracles and Clerics.
I have always felt the Druid was a weak base class in terms of RP versatility. The Druid features heavily favor a few options and leave many out. The various Shaman archetypes have tried to fix this, but fall a bit short of the goal. The Shaman class feels like a much stronger class in terms of RP versatility and competitive in terms of power balance.
Fighting guy with flavor. I would add a weaponmaster archetype, but this is my preference of the various fighting guy options. He makes a great combatant, can have...you know...skills, has plenty of feat options through rogue talents and ranger feats.
More divine caster than the Paladin, more a champion for your (non-LG) deity than a Paladin, more versatile in viable weapon options than anyone. Great spell selection with the ability to really use these spells in melee while still being the frontliner. The various blessings are just icing on my favorite divine class. In summary, I like this class a lot!
I was wondering if the draconic bloodrager bloodline is increased by the Dragon Disciple Blood of Dragons ability. RAW it seems that it does not since the ability references sorcerer levels. However, I believe it was mentioned during the playtest that items, feats, and abilities that affect a parent class's ability (bloodrager has barbarian and sorcerer as parent classes) would also affect the ACG class's abilities of the same name (bloodline in this case). This would mean it might be intended to also affect the Bloodrager despite the restrictive wording of the original ability (which would make a very interesting prestige class option).
Though I am primarily asking for a general ruling, I am also interested in the PFS ruling as well.
Just thought I would throw out there for those claiming larger numbers of dice will be more difficult. All you have to do to eliminate unwanted dice is pair two dice with the same result as (d1-d2) which gives 0, then multiply this 0 to all of the dice you don't need. So, (d1-d2)*(d3+d4+...dn).
For those who are worried about finding a matching pair of dice: If you roll 7 d6, at least two must result in the same value. This means at 7 ranks you are guaranteed to be able to produce a 0. Once you reach 10+ ranks, you will have a 0 and plenty of dice left over to get the number you want. At 20 ranks, it is probably an infinitely small chance, if not outright impossible, to not be able to make any of the given numbers.
Dragon Disciple gets +2 that is "gained as if through level advancement."
EDIT: Also, mythic rules grant stat increases for leveling (+2 at every even tier for a total of +10 possible) and for one of the universal path abilties available at 3rd tier (+2 to one stat).
EDIT 2: So, I see the following available:
40 TOTAL (20th level w/o mythic tiers):
18 base ability
+2 racial (human, elf, half-elf, half-orc, and others I'm sure)
+6 enhancement (headband typically)
+5 inherent (wish or tome)
+2 profane (questionable deal with succubus...at least you'll die with a smile?)
+2 dragon disciple
52 TOTAL (20th level with 10 mythic tiers):
<same as above>
+10 mythic tiers
+2 universal path ability
The lich has several options.
There are surely other methods, but these are probably the most common routes. The melee touch attack should cover most needs. Consumables or limited wish or even wish should cover more dire circumstance. If the lich is planning to do any serious campaigning for evil then she will likely find an evil or neutral divine caster who can use negative energy to heal her. Alternatively, she could just set up a contingency that plane shift's her to the plane of negative energy and chill in the constant healing until she is ready to go back to campaigning for her own evil ends.
The damage is probably competitive. Rogue with twf is getting two hits at 1d6+str+1d6(sneak) with a -2 att. A barbarian with a greatsword is getting 2d6+1.5xstr+3(power attack) with a -1 to att. It is also worth noting your rogue probably has a +1-2 str bonus and the barbarian is going to have a +5-6 str bonus (when raging). Thus your rogue gets on average 16-18 dmg per full attack and the barbarian gets on average 17-19 dmg per full attack. The barbarian also does not need to flank, can move and still get his 1 attack per round, has an attack bonus higher than your rogue (higher modifier from his ranging str and power attack is -1 vs -2 for twf), and he will deal more damage on an AOO. A fighter is getting the same damage as the barbarian minus the 2 points of raging str. A ranger is the same as a fighter with regards to dmg, at this level, except against his favored enemy when he is closer to the barbarian.
The rogue has competitive damage at this level, but will soon get eclipsed by most classes and their damage is reliant on a situational ability (sneak attack) that requires strategic movement to get in place as well as requiring cooperative allies.
I like the idea of a force mage. Not sure what class I would go with, but at low levels toppling magic missile is my signature spell.
I suggest Human Evocation Wizard. I also made a quick list of spells which have force effects.
List of Force Spells:
cantrip - scoop
1st - magic missile, shield, floating disk, mage armor, shock shield
2nd - cushioning bands, admonishing ray
3rd - ablative barrier, force anchor, battering blast, chain of perdition, force punch, tiny hut, twilight knife
4th - resilient sphere
5th - interposing hand, wall of force
6th - symbol of sealing, forceful hand, leashed shackles
7th - forcecage, grasping hand, mage's sword
8th - clenched fist, telekinetic sphere
9th - mage's excellent enclosure, crushing hand
*Bolded spells are choices I suggest.
If you want to be particularly blasty then being an orc bloodline varisian tatoo sorcerer(choose evocation) would also strongly benefit you. You could also add crossblooded with draconic or elemental to up one particular element. You would also want the standard feats and traits that any blaster would want. Switching from standard evocation to admixture also gives you a lot of versatility. There is really not going to be much variety among blasters.
I am also fond of the fighter 1/wizard 5/eldritch knight. I prefer to select scorching ray as my weapon of choice and put all fighter feats toward rays (weapon focus(ray), etc.). However, the rogue 3/wizard 3/arcane trickster will out damage the eldritch knight, and you could use one level of assassin to gain entry to arcane trickster a level early.
The Double Crossbow gets to at best 2 bolts per round fired as the same action. This might be nice for a Vital Strike build, but is otherwise very lackluster for the feat investment.
Perhaps a unique magic crossbow which can be used as a swift action to split a bolt into two bolts on the next attack. The two bolts are treated as though fired separately during the same action. The crossbow would need to have a pretty significant cost associated to warrant the ability (along the lines of adding the speed weapon quality). The weapon would make mid to high level crossbowman on par with longbow wielders and slightly behind composite-longbow wielders.
I think a Human Urban Ranger with the archery combat style (better feat options than crossbow style imo) follower of Abadar (favored weapon is light crossbow) would be a fun character and competent combatant.
STR 12 (12 base)
DEX 16 (14 base +2 racial)
CON 14 (14 base)
INT 14 (13 base + 1 level)
WIS 13 (13 base)
CHA 12 (12 base)
1: Point Blank Shot
1: Precise Shot
2: Rapid Reload
3: Rapid Shot
5: Deadly Aim
6: Improved Precise Shot
7: Clustered Shots
9: Weapon Focus(light crossbow)
10: Point Blank Master
By 5th level, the difference between the crossbow and the composite longbow is STR bonus to damage and rapid reload instead of manyshot. While this makes the crossbow strictly inferior in damage potential, the crossbowman is slightly less MAD by needing only DEX instead of DEX and STR. You also have the option to fire one-handed which the longbow wielder lacks. All in all, if you want the best damage potential it is the composite longbow (gaining a boost to all dmg rolls and an effective extra attack worth of dmg from manyshot), but the crossbow is a viable ranged weapon (munchkins need not apply).
I think the crossbow could be fixed by houseruling manyshot to work for crossbows as well. For those who are stuck to a strictly realistic world (with magic and dragons of course) then add a new type of crossbow which can be fitted with two bolts. The new crossbow would require special training to use in this manner (i.e., manyshot). This would significantly reduce the difference in damage potential between the weapon types. The major difference between the weapons would be the 1-2 feats depending on which crossbow and how you get reduced load time.
I am also in favor of ruling that all bows and crossbows add the user's DEX bonus to damage. Composite bows would replace DEX with STR making them a good choice for switch hitters and as a backup ranged weapon for STR-based classes. I would also be fine with banning Clustered Shots, but now I'm getting off topic.
Summon the creature using a line of effect which extends above the wall.
I am fine with using the raw that the hole must be at least 1 square foot, and the wall of force must be continuous and unbroken. However, you could still leave a hole in the roof of your dome. The hole would just need to be larger than I had expected.
Wall of Force is a wall with no roof. As such, the line of effect merely extends over the wall and to the target (like an archer would shoot over the wall). If the caster is making a dome, then the caster simply needs to leave a small opening (1-2 inches is more than enough) in the dome for creating line of effect. Since spells are magically guided it really doesn't matter where the hole is located.
For a blaster, I would recommend tattooed sorcerer, crossblooded draconic/orc or draconic/elemental bloodline, and the following feats.
Spells to use with spell specialization
I also really enjoy the various hand spells (interposing hand etc). Which are fairly high level spells, but very fun and classic evocation.
EDIT: Also, don't forget to really plunder the evocation spell list. There are some gems in there like telekinetic charge which are really great spells and not just direct-damage. The illusion line is great, but you would want your feats will vary if you really want to rely on those illusions (they kinda suck if your opponent notices the illusion part).
I have run some high level games and a campaign with 6 players (not both at same time).
For higher level games, I try to make sure that I am very familiar with the monster's abilities. Playing the monster to its strength can often be the difference between challenging and trivial. You can also stagger the flood of enemies allowing the players to pick off a few before the next set. This reduces the number of active combatants at any given time and keeps the party engaged (challenged).
For a group of 6, I found that the biggest difference was the amount of damage that the group produced. I increased the HP of every creature by 50-100% and things leveled out a bit. With an extra 2 characters hitting the enemies they were just dying too quickly.
In general, I expect combats to last 3-4 rounds. I have had a combat that lasted 30+ rounds (it was intended to last the entire session and ended a major portion of a campaign) and combats which lasted one PC's action. Typically, the goal is to catch the party off guard and/or not let them prepare. A pre-buffed party initiating combat will typically win swiftly (i.e., one round give or take a surprise round).
Prestige classes based around the sorcerer bloodlines like Dragon Disciple is in PFRPG (as opposed to the 3.5 version which was based on becoming a half-dragon through class levels).
I have started making several homebrew options built on a few of the bloodline options I find more personally interesting. Most of these classes focus on providing full caster level in addition to unique abilities.
I don't see why a ray being a sacred weapon is an issue. Best case, you have a higher die roll on a cantrip. This would be a concern if the warpriest was able to stack other damage bonuses on the ray. The best ray builds I have been able seen are still along the lines of expected damage from a similar level fighter (at best) and typically require using non-cantrip spells to be comparable. These builds require levels in casting classes and prestige classes to get the bonus dmg. Thus the warpriest levels get slacked off and the sacred weapon damage boost makes little difference if any. The spell must have a die less than the warpriest sacred weapon die to get any benefit. There are very few ray spells which benefit would from this ability, and those that do are going to fall short on damage comparably without picking up other damage bonuses.
A 20th level warpriest choosing to cast a 2d8 dmg cantrip is not really a concern. Similarly, a 1st level warpriest choosing to cast a 1d6 dmg cantrip is not an issue.
Save or Die effects I use extremely sparingly and only at high enough level resurrection is possible. Once spells like breath of life come online this is acceptable for me, but only occasionally.
It is never ok to use a single spell which could potentially kill more than 2 players outright (e.g., circle of death).
Also, anti-magic field, mage's dysjunction, wish, and similar spells that can remove the players equipment and/or abilities en masse even temporarily are not acceptable. This problem is exacerbated at higher levels. Consider a 20th level fighter who enters an antimagic field and loses all magic enhancements to armor and weapons, ring, amulet, headband, belt, cloak, boots, and any ioun stones. This could result in a -5 att/dmg, -18 ac, -5 all saves, and losing many other bonuses such as various armor and weapon abilities. The single casting has just destroyed the fighter and meanwhile the opposing side may have giants, dragons, or any other of a long list of magic free creatures that can walk over and rip the fighter to shreds. A spellcaster loses nearly all spells; non-spellcasting classes lose access to SU abilities and SLAs (e.g., totem rage powers). These abilities can end encounters just as easily as save or die, but the players get to watch their carefully crafted characters get ripped apart.
Shenanigans that can take a character out of the campaign exist and are sometimes mentioned as great tactics for PCs. One odd example is plane shift on a fighter to a random location on a random plane. The party is so unlikely to find him that you would essentially need divine intervention to reasonably explain it. The character has basically been targeted by a save or die effect which removes any chance of resurrection.
Finally, I am ok with mind control effects, but long term control effects should be something the players are aware of as a possibility and given time to prepare defenses against. As an example, I ran Castle Ravenloft recently and made it plain that he could control people and the players were aware of the general setting before starting the game. At no point was I concerned about using his mind controlling ability and probably should have made more use of it in key situations.
In summary, I think the biggest concern here is to make sure whatever you use the players feel that they had a chance to win and weren't reliant on a single roll of the dice to determine win/loss or blindsided by uncounterable abilities/effects. Dice add variability to the game and help keep players engaged, but seeing a Paladin with a will save higher than the DC of a death spell fail due to rolling a 1 is possible but not acceptable (imo). The DM is there to make the game fun as much as enforce rules. The toughest issue I have faced as a DM is making encounters that feel like the players could have died at any point, but not actually ending the campaign.
Typically, an ability which is a single roll or no roll (e.g., anti-magic field) to determine the outcome of the encounter (and especially campaign ending) even for one or two characters should be used sparingly or not at all. If the players have been given ample opportunity to prepare to defend against a tactic (e.g., the vampire ruling these lands is known to be able to control others minds) then the tactic is reasonable even if the players fail to prepare. Not wearing armor to fight an ogre doesn't make fighting ogres unreasonable.