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Perhaps you could use... a caster?
Be a Qinggong Drunken Master, get your Con up to 18, take the Fast Drinker feat, and start turning alcohol into an unlimited supply of Scorching Ray, Dragon's Breath, Spit Venom, or flurry of blows.
Okay, so your DPS isn't all that great, but nobody expects the Blaster Monk!
(Adding someone whose primary gig is to get drunk and spit fire/acid/etc. may or may not make your adventures very, very interesting.)
Haha, as long as you're enjoying it, it's fine. Hmm... Beast Eye definitely seems like it should work, as should the hex Hag's Eye. (Although, Arcane Eye says "it sees exactly as you would see if you were there," so maybe not.) Since Remove Blindness doesn't require a CL check or anything, a scroll of it should be perfectly effective. Both of those take a standard action (at least), so hopefully your GM considers that a sufficient nerf that he won't start crippling you another way.
You also might consider prepping more area-of-effect spells like Cloudkill, Confusion, Waves of Fatigue, or Black Tentacles; summon spells like Summon Monster V; or buffs like Heroism or Death Ward. With a bit of support from your party and familiar, all of them should be reasonably effective even while blind.
Hi Xuru, congrats on making your first character. I would also put in a recommendation for a strength-based ninja or rogue. To build an effective two-weapon-fighting build, your character needs:
Unfortunately, ninjas and rogues typically only have the second item there, in the form of sneak attack; even then, you won't always have sneak attack, and some enemies are immune to it. Compare to what you need to be effective as a two-handed weapon user:
It frees up a lot of feats and ninja talents, too. Your Dex won't be quite as high, but honestly you won't really miss a +1 or +2 on your skills that much compared to being MUCH more effective in combat. (You get a lot more bang for your buck when you use Ki to get an extra attack, and for your first 7 levels you're just as effective whether you get a standard action or a full attack, compared to TWF where you NEED full attacks or your feats are useless.)
Oh yeah, and if you go Ninja, Vanishing Trick is really, really, really good. Smoking/Choke bomb is a lot of fun, too. Remember that you can still find and disable most traps with nothing but Perception and Disable Device.
The Image line of spells is often used to quite comedic effect. We once had to cover up our murder of an innkeeper quite rapidly, so we shoved the body under the bed, crouched in the corner, and used Silent Image to make a clean new rug, bedsheets, and an illusory wastepaper basket & lamp to cover myself (a gnome) and our rogue (an elf). The sheriff poked his head in... then kept moving. ;D
Oh, and Telekinetic Charge is a fun one, too. Just make sure there isn't a cliff beneath the flying target you're flinging your barbarian at...
Hmm... I wouldn't worry about balance too much, as it's usually easy enough to cover whatever skills you need with proper tinkering. What seems to be key here is minimizing complexity - you want your family to be focused on learning the system as a whole, not puzzling over how stuff like Spell Combat works.
To that end, I would suggest using the following classes if possible, as they tend towards lower complexity.
In my experience, these are the easiest classes to simply pick up and play. None of them require tracking spells known, like Wizard, Witch, or Alchemist; none of them rely heavily on an animal companion or other cohort, like Druid, Hunter, or Summoner; and none require system mastery like Brawler or Magus.
Good luck! We'll be able to help you better once you talk to your family and get a sense of what they want to play.
Hey all you shamans out there! Tired of scrambling through the PFSRD on your phone trying to figure out what you want your wandering hex to be? Print this out and worry no more!
The Seer's Catalog is a printable compilation of all the shaman's spirits and hexes. While some of the spirit animals, true spirit abilities, and manifestations had to be excluded for page length reasons, this has everything you need to leverage Wandering Spirit to the utmost.
I've got one for the Shaman: The Seer's Catalog. It's a list of all the spirits, including spirit spells, spirit hexes, and regular and greater spirit abilities. Should be handy for anyone who wants to get good use out of Wandering Spirit. Printable!
Also includes a list of the feats available to Shamans that boost hexes, the list of standard Shaman hexes, and links to/names of the standard Witch hexes. Had to cut out some of the Spirit Animal abilities and whatnot to save space, though.
Redward, out of curiosity, what do you do with Evolved Summoned Monster? One of the guys in my group told our Wizard he should take it, but then no one saw an application for it that was worth a feat.
Anything you need! It lets you pick a new evolution every time you cast Summon Monster. That means Climb or Swim for dealing with non-flat encounters, Scent for invisible foes, Resistance for things with energy attacks, Push for shoving things into hazards (great if you like Create Pit!)... the list goes on.
Plus, if you take it twice, you can pick any TWO 1-point evolutions, which opens up things like giving an Ankylosaurus Claws and Pounce for massive damage, or Push and Reach for keeping things away from you, or even just Mount so you can officially ride a dinosaur into combat.
Bonus points for making ridiculous things, like Lantern Archons with tentacles.
Fey Blood is good if you can create difficult terrain; your team can charge, but the enemy can't. Infernal is an easy way to get flaming weapons for everyone, plus resistance to fire and poison (both of which are fairly common) at level 6.
Alternately, swift foot makes everyone a little faster. Renewed Vitality and Renewed Life let your team shrug off ability damage and negative levels, respectively. And grabbing Bestial Climber or Bestial Swimmer could be extremely useful in certain campaigns.
I see the flavor coming across nicely with a Synthesist Summoner. You could fluff your eidolon as various suits of armor, and using Lesser Evolution Surge you could change its abilities at will. Add evolutions like Improved Natural Armor, Flight, and Energy Immunity, and combined with your spellcasting, you could be a pretty kickass warrior.
This is very solid advice! This will give you a durable paladin that's pretty potent in any melee battle. I have some other suggestions that are a little more specialized, but you might find pretty fun.
Good luck! Please don't just be lawful stupid mcburlyguy unless that's actually the character you want to play - there are many, many ways to RP a Paladin, even with the same stats and feats. Check to see if your GM will let you be the paladin of a chaotic god like Cayden Cailean, or a neutral one like Gozreh - though even between the paladins of Erastil, Sarenrae, and Iomedae there would be big differences.
Well, that is 500gp a pop... The thing is, though, blasting is best done on a crowd, and I find it's pretty rare that you fight A WHOLE BUNCH of dudes with Spell Resistance. Usually it's just the one dragon or something, and you're often better off buffing your friends anyway because the enemy's saves are monstrously high.
As soon as I saw the elemental bloodline can get you a constant (while raging) 60 foot flight speed, I was hooked.
Now I want to make a Halfling bloodrager that wears Mistmail, can electrify his attacks, and has Flyby Attack, so that by 9th level he can literally just be a stormcloud that flies down to smack/zap people.
Hey all. In case you missed it, ACG graced us with this amazing feat:
Evolved Summon Monster:
Evolved Summoned Monster
The creatures you summon have evolved to have even
Prerequisites: Augmented Summoning, Spell Focus
Benefit: Each time you cast a summon monster spell, you
Just for reference, here are all the things you can now trick your favorite summoned critter out with (one evolution per feat!):
So what are you going to be summoning in the near future?
PS: I can hear Treantmonk's mind exploding from here. :p
Remember that the Arcanist has archetypes that open up a full bloodline or a full arcane school at the cost of a couple exploits, which each open up a huge host of potential builds. Plus, you can also take the exploit that grants you a minimal school/bloodline ability to mix and match! No more Wizard 19/Crossblooded Sorcerer 1, no sir.
I think the tricky thing about the Arcanist is that from a flavor perspective it's so close to wizard and sorcerer, so unlike many of the other new classes there aren't a lot of new ideas that immediately spring to mind. Still, I'm really looking forward to playing one! I love versatility, and with the Arcanist's spellcasting mechanism and the Quick Study exploit, you can have access to all of your spells in all of your slots at all times. Heck yeah!
You should be a Sharkanist! It's part Shaman, Part Arcanist part SHARK!
Just take the polymorph-boosting archetype, cast Fly, and cast Beast Shape: Shark! Turn your teammates into sharks too for a SHARKNADO ATTACK! Why isn't everyone playing an Arcanist yet?!
I would go with Toughness and Scribe Scroll. Melee druids tend to have low AC until they can afford Wild armor, and with a d8 hit die you need all the HP you can get if you're a front-liner. Scribe Scroll is really, really nice to have as a prepared caster with access to TONS of utility spells; when I was playing my druid, it allowed me to use my spell slots on buffs and whatnot while still having emergency Fog Clouds and Stone Calls when I needed them. (and Speak with Animals, and Delay Poison, and Spider Climb, and Gust of Wind, and...)
Oh, and fyi, Weapon Focus has a +1 BAB requirement, so you can't grab it at 1st level.
Haven't read the whole thread, but using ctrl+f no one seems to have mentioned one of my favorite traits for Halflings:
With this, as long as you can hit a 10, you can dole out +4s to your allies! As a bard, you can even do it from 15 ft away with a whip.
If you get the Gloves of Arcane Striking, your Aid Another bonus even scales with your Arcane Strike bonus.
And if you don't have anything else to do with your feats, you can get Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard to give +4 (or more) AC to those adjacent to you.
Now go and be a team player!
Yeah, if you look on the animal companion list, they have little superscript numbers that indicate which ACs are available to various classes.
For an Archer ranger, you probably want a nice sturdy companion that can keep enemies off your back in combat. The Wolf trip is typically nice, but since prone foes are actually harder to hit with ranged attacks, I'd probably stay away from it in this case.
If you're OK with a large companion, I would go Camel - they have a huge Con, a no-save sickening touch attack, and being able to move and full attack at range is pretty darn sweet.
If it's indoors and large companions won't fit, Badger could actually be a nice fit. The starting strength isn't super great but he can Rage as a Barbarian and has burrow, climb, and scent, plus a nice high Con so he won't go down quick.
Summoner has always struck me as one of the most open-ended classes in Pathfinder - it essentially gives you a blank canvas when it comes to making your eidolon.
We've all seen plenty of variations on the pouncing animal, the dragon wannabe, and the hulking bodyguard. What eidolons have you seen or imagined that don't look like anything you might find in the bestiary?
Bonus points if the summoner's flavor meshes well, and if the pair manage to be both interesting and effective.
Code of Conduct wrote:
Coming in charging the wyvern to drop it to unconscious is one thing - if you believe wyverns are duplicitous and waiting for a chance to attack, rendering it helpless is a perfectly legitimate route of action. But Coup De Grace after his friends stabilized him? There are ONLY two reasons I could think of that would justify that:
Otherwise, that counts pretty clearly as "denying a sentient creature of liberty." His friends clearly thought it could be taught and reasoned with, but before even hearing their arguments he killed the wyvern in a blood rage. That's an act befitting a Barbarian, NOT a Paladin.
Again, the key thing to look at here is not that he attacked while his friends were negotiating, but that he killed a helpless creature that possibly could have been reasoned with. Without an extremely compelling reason otherwise, I would say he falls; "It attacked us" is NOT good enough in this scenario.
I think this guy would do better as an assistant to the BBEG than as the BBEG himself. The issue is action economy - sure, the boss can use up all his actions to shut down 1 or even 2 of the party's casters, but then the rest of the party will just kill off his minions and then kill him. You're better off making Mr. Dispel the second-in-command, and let him lock down the casters (even if not quite as effectively as the BBEG would - but that's fine, you don't want them to totally suck). This forces the melee types to choose between killing the boss without magic support, or targeting the anticaster and thus maybe letting the BBEG run up to and murder the casters.
Note that the above is also a common thematic scenario: kings almost always have wizards around to protect them from magic/scry on their enemies, and sorcerous cultists have a habit of summoning demons more powerful than themselves. Variants on those two scenarios are limitless.
Also, be very careful with this type of thing - if you've ever played Magic, you should know why blue counterspell decks are reviled by most casual players. Wizards did a study - apparently, it's more fun to play a creature and have it blown up than have the casting countered in the first place, even if the end outcome is the same.
Blasters can certainly be competent damage dealers - when it comes to dealing with large amounts of mooks, there's no one that can beat them. (As long as you don't run out of spells!) But here's the main issue, I think: for most martials, dealing damage is what they do. If you're a barbarian, chances are you want to run up and smash things for massive damage. With a blaster caster, they'll go down in half the time, but still be at full damage-dealing capacity for that time; with a battlefield control caster, they'll be partially disabled or singled out while you wallop them. Both are legitimate ways of dealing with enemies; however, if I'm playing a fighter, I like to fight! I'd just as soon not have the combat be over in 2 rounds, AND have to focus more on defense since the enemies are dealing relatively more damage.
Another thing to consider is that it's a caster's responsibility to make sure your teammates can successfully deal damage to tricky enemies. If they're invisible, you need to cast Glitterdust or Invisibility Purge; until you do, your teammates are effectively helpless. If they're flying, and your archer can't take care of it, it's up to you to Dispel their flight magic or Air Walk your teammates. True, you could simply blast the enemy... but then your team is just sitting around twiddling their thumbs, and if you go down before the foe is dead they could be in serious trouble.
TL,DR: Blasting is fine, but there are many things only casters can do. Don't neglect those responsibilities in order to blast!
PS: Remember also that bosses usually come with high saves and sometimes spell resistance to boot. Make sure you keep Enervate or something similar in your back pocket, or cast some good buffs so the martials can take care of it. These will be far more helpful than ineffectually pew-pewing at the boss while it slaughters your frontliners.
Oh yeah, if you're using Permanency it's dandy. Protip, though, don't do it if it would bring your Str down to 6 or less - we had a halfling shuriken-based ninja that I permanently shrunk in a high-level game, and he got one-shot KOd by Waves of Exhaustion. And then since he was invisible and tiny we couldn't find him until after the combat ended. : /
I would also highly recommend a permanent See Invisibility. It doesn't come up often, but when an invisible foe pops up you really don't want to have to waste a turn casting it. Your party needs that Glitterdust NOW!
Ebony Fly Figurine of Wondrous Power - 10,000GP
The Pale King wrote:
If I was to go Battle/Metal Oracle what weapon would you guys recommend focusing on?
First off, you definitely want to wield your weapon two-handed - sword and board gives up a lot of offense for a little defense. Greatswords are the best early on, but as your static bonuses start to eclipse the damage from your dice, you'd be best off with an 18-20 crit weapon, of which the Falchion has the best damage dice. Improved Critical or the Keen enchantment then gives you a 15-20 weapon - you'll get a critical threat on almost a third of your attacks!
That being said, there are plenty of other interesting weapons out there, particularly if you go Half-Elf to pick up a free exotic weapon proficiency.
-Reach weapons like the Lucerne Hammer or Bardiche are excellent for controlling the battlefield, particularly with Enlarge Person from the Battle mystery. (And combined with Combat Reflexes.)
-If you're considering adding tripping to your repertoire (likely via the battle revelation), you may want a Guisarme or Halberd - being able to trip people with an AoO before they get to you is very, very nice. You don't need a weapon with the Trip property to trip things, but occasionally dropping your weapon by accident is not a good thing.
-There are also some just plain awesome weapons like the Ripsaw Glaive. You really can't beat chopping zombies in half with what amounts to a chainsaw on a stick.
Remember, in the end being happy with your character is the most important thing - if running into combat with a Gnomish Battle Ladder is more fun to you than critting things left and right with a falchion, then go for it!
I think the Invulnerable Rager is perfect. In fact, here's what I would do: grab a reach weapon and Combat Reflexes. The sword & board fighter will probably take Shield Slam, so you should convince him to take Greater Bull Rush. Then whenever he slams someone, you get a free attack of opportunity!
In fact... if you convince the Sorcerer to buff you with Enlarge Person (maybe buy him a wand of it), and then grab the Toppling Spell metamagic, things could get almost comedically awesome. Just wear some armor spikes or something and you can get free attacks on anyone within 20 feet of you that stands up. (Any poor guy that gets knocked down in front of the Rogue or Fighter will probably take two attacks of opportunity at +4 each. Ouch.)
The fighter goes a long way to help out your front line, but he can really only affect the enemies right next to him. I think having a Barbarian that can take center stage and make a giant Ring of Pain for any mooks that try to approach the casters would help a lot more than having another ranged DPR character. Plus, with your sky-high Strength mod and 2-handed power attacking, you can expect to easily put out 1.5x the damage of the fighter, and be much better at making non-full round attacks.
PS: Later, you can grab Come and Get Me, which incidentally goes great with Invulnerable Rager.
See, and that's where Superior Summoning is really good. There's nothing like a herd of Lantern Archons pinging them and curing you guys to annoy the bejeezus out of an opponent. Hell, summon enough and you can get them to Voltron it up. If your DM ever loosens up on source material, you may want to look at the Sacred Summons feat.
BTW, make sure you grab a weapon cord, so you can drop your sword to cast and pick it up as a swift action.
Ah, that does limit your options. In that case, I would just go with a nice generalist array:
Take medium armor, pick up a shield & scimitar. At low levels you'll have enough AC and HP to be a front-liner - you can whack low-AC mooks and Aid Another/flank with your pals on tougher things. You'll also have enough strength to make touch attacks pretty well without the need for Weapon Finesse. As a human with 12 int, you'll be able to keep 3 or 4 skills maxed and afford ranks in a few others; your Cha and skills make you a passable diplomat if you so choose. I wouldn't bother with Power Attack - leave the damage-dealing to the muscleheads, and focus on hitting enemies and supporting allies.
As you level up, you can step towards the back and focus on casting and summoning. By high levels, your high-powered, multiple-creature summons will fill up the battlefield, and your Persistent debuffs will take out tough enemies. You will be the backbone of the party - whether they need more muscle, protection/restoration from nasty enemy abilities, a utility spell to achieve a key objective, or the elimination of a key target via magic, you'll be able to help. That's the beauty of the Cleric - they are one of the best generalists in the game, and a godsend (literally) for a small party.
If you pick up Augment Summoning, it's worth it to get Superior Summoning. It sucks bigtime to try to summon multiple things off of a lower list... and get 1. With Superior Summoning, you can get up to 4 in one go! And let me tell you, my wizard's favorite combination of spells at high levels was SMVIII for multiple Tyrannosaurs, Animal Growth one, and quickened Haste. Good times.
If you're going Dervish Dance, you really, really don't need Strength - especially since your dex will probably be high enough to warrant light armor. (You can give your bedroll and whatnot to the strong guys to carry, too.) I would use this stat array:
If you think you're going to be attacking more often than you'll be casting spells with saves, you can put the racial bonus into Dex instead; depends on your party.
Remember that with the domain spells, you DON'T get to spam them - if they're not on your list, you get at most the one domain slot; you can't prepare them in regular slots.
As for feats - well, you'll need Weapon Finesse and Dervish Dance. Some other favorites:
I wouldn't worry about Selective Channel or Combat Casting - the former has a stiff Cha requirement (and you shouldn't really be channeling in combat anyway), and for any case in which you'd use the latter, you'll probably want to be attacking instead.
Traits - Reactionary for +2 initiative is always good. You can use the other to shore up a poor save if you want.
Hey all! If you were going to be playing a character solely at level 1 - that is, just playing him at level 1 for 1 or 2 sessions - what would you play? What are some fun builds that are effective right at level 1?
15 point buy, no stats below a 9 before racial bonuses, average starting GP according to class.
My first thought is a Don Quixote-style Cavalier...
It might help if you told us more about the background/personality of your character. Still, in a vacuum, here are some ideas in keeping with Dave Justus' limitations.
1. The Hula Hole-Maker - a hula hoop, rimmed with spikes. As you hula, it loads a spike in one motion from a quiver on your belt, picks up speed as it swings around you, and lets go to hit an enemy. This also means that your firing routine is literally hip thrusting.
2. The Organ Grinder - a music box with attached crank. Each full rotation brings back and then releases an internal mechanism, loading and firing your choice of projectile. (Perhaps vinyl records, or little jingle bells.)
Of course, simply reskinning it as a crossbow, slingshot, sling, shotgun, etc. is possible as well, but as long as you're in a fantasy setting you might as well have a totally ridiculous weapon.
I'll second this. Focus your stats and feats on combat - skill ranks, class skill bonuses, and items are plenty for social skills. Also consider that in a 6-man group - particularly with two other high-Cha classes - you're best off focusing on one or two skills. Unless you're a caster trying to boost your casting stat into the stratosphere, skill ranks are usually the deciding factor at higher levels.
If one of those is Intimidate, you'd be a fool not to take the Thug archetype - it's one of the very, very few ways to make the Intimidate skill actually worthwhile in combat. A thug build with high-Str, Power Attack, and Cornugon Smash would be pretty effective in AND out of combat.
Also, having played a Rogue as my first character, I think high-Str is the way to go. You don't need Dex as much as you think. Str builds get much higher damage with much less effort, and are almost as good at stealth and whatnot.
Suggested point buy:
PS: If you don't need trapfinding and don't want an archetype like Thug that replaces it, I'd go ninja instead of rogue. Invisibility is just too, too good for a sneak-attack based class.
EDIT: As for interesting builds, I've always wanted to try building around Butterfly Sting. Just remember that no matter how big your crit range, you need to actually confirm it, and that the other guy needs to hit the same enemy again immediately. Still... feeding crits to a Barbarian with a x4 weapon is definitely devastating. Alternately, perhaps a Dazzling Display build?
Hah! That's hilarious. How did the final reveal go?
Although, I could totally envision a final showdown of the PCs against the mother (read in the voice of Archer): "Mother, why did you turn yourself into a demon?" "Because you always... wanted to be... a hero..." *dies* "Motherrrrrr!"
Lyra Amary wrote:
I always found that sundering was pointless.
No, no, you've got it backwards - it's the WEAPONS that become pointless./rimshot
EDIT: When it comes to rust monsters, I think the threat of a rust monster is what's important. Ideally, they should panic a bit and have to reassess their strategy - not actually have their gear destroyed. A barbarian that would charge headlong into a den of devils would hesitate if the path was guarded by rust monsters... which means the party can either find a long-range way to deal with the monsters, or take [insert alternate perilous path of DM's choice].
Of course, the PCs may be able to turn that to their advantage. Bandits giving you trouble? Minor Image a few rust monsters heading their way...
Well, it's pretty much like throwing a Rust Monster at the party - something you do every once in a while just to keep them on their toes. Nothing will send a party into berserker mode like "those guys are trying to BREAK OUR STUFF!"
Use it sparingly, of course. A good time is when the party would be scared for another reason BESIDES "I'm going to have to spend GP to repair this/buy a new one." Case in point: Everybody just bought fancy new silver weapons to use against the vampire lord? Yeah, guess who taught his undead minions how to sunder.
Kazumetsa Raijin wrote:
Personally, I'd recommend a (insert weird race) Qinggong Monk.
Ah, but here's the thing about the Qinggong: you need a decent degree of system mastery/play experience in order to tell which abilities are worth keeping, which SLAs are worth spending Ki on, etc.
I wouldn't worry too much about 1 and 2. After the first few levels, you should have more than enough rounds of Rage per day... and of course, if you have a really long adventuring day, you can just keep your rage stored up for tough situations. Barbarians have enough hit points that they generally don't need heavy armor. And you don't have to pick Superstition as a rage power. Diehard is really, really good for Barbarians, but you can also just take Raging Vitality and be fine.
OP, here's why I would pick Barbarian if I were you: simply put, it's really, really hard to make an ineffective Barbarian. Just give yourself a high Strength and a high Con and take the feats Power Attack and Raging Vitality... and then you can do anything you want. Take feats and rage powers you find interesting and fun and just have a good time raging and beating the ever-loving sh*t out of any monsters foolish enough to stand in your way.
Unless you're playing a pretty high-powered campaign, you should be beefy enough to go toe-to-toe with most monsters. There's a tendency in Pathfinder for people to boost their AC as high as possible with armor, shields, etc... and then find monsters ignoring the tin-can fighter/paladin they can't scratch in order to rip a few hunks out of the lightly-armored Rogue or Wizard. Well, Barbarians don't have that problem - if the monster bites a chunk out of you, you just bite a bigger chunk back out of it. Repeat until one of you (read: the monster) dies. This makes for some pretty visceral, high-octane combat.
Barbarian is also pretty low-upkeep. You don't have to remember what bonuses you have against which creatures or which feats apply to which weapons - just keep one separate character sheet with your raging stats and a rage counter, and that's all the bookkeeping you'll have to do.
You also have a decent number of skill ranks to play around with, and remember that you can use your 2 traits to make almost any skill a class skill, which gives you great freedom in character creation. If you wanted, you could make your Barbarian a proper English gentleman with the World Traveler trait and a decent charisma to make him an excellent diplomat... who goes into a crazed bloodlust murder spree whenever anyone insults the queen. Anything goes!
Most efficient use? Get Improved Share Spells and cast it on both of you!
Really, it depends on how you use your actions. Casting it on yourself will do more damage if you then proceed to attack every turn; but if you think you'll be casting spells or summoning more than once or twice, you're better off casting it on your companion.
I think Bard or Lore Warden Fighter is your best bet. Bards are, IIRC, the only class that gets whip proficiency for free, but the BAB and feat requirements for whips are so severe that you're practically forced to go fighter if you want to use a whip AND have stuff like Power Attack or Improved Trip/Improved Disarm. Here are the whip feats you'll be wanting:
Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Whip)
Weapon Focus (Whip)
Whip Mastery (Combat)
Prerequisite: Weapon Focus (whip), base attack bonus +2.
Benefit: You no longer provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking with a whip. You can deal lethal damage with a whip, although you can still deal nonlethal damage when you want. Further, you can deal damage with a whip despite a creature’s armor bonus or natural armor bonus.
Improved Whip Mastery (Combat)
Benefit: While wielding a whip, you threaten the area of your natural reach plus 5 feet. You can also use a whip to grasp an unattended Small or Tiny object within your whip’s reach and pull that object into your square. To do so, you must hit AC 10 with a melee touch attack. Further, you can use the whip to grasp onto an object within your whip’s reach, using 5 feet of your whip as if it were a grappling hook, allowing you to use the rest of your whip to swing on like a rope. As a free action, you can release the object your whip is grasping, but you cannot use the whip to attack while the whip is grasping an object.
Greater Whip Mastery (Combat)
Prerequisite: Improved Whip Mastery, Weapon Focus (whip), Whip Mastery, base attack bonus +8.
Benefit: You are so quick with your whip that you never drop it due to a failed disarm or trip combat maneuver attempt. Further, you gain the ability to grapple using your whip. To do so, use the normal grapple rules with the following changes. [omitted]
One word: characters. As the GM, you're not just the narrator - you're an actor. Skyrim has beautiful visuals and fluid combat, but there's one thing it lacks: personal interactions with NPCs. If your PCs' interactions with NPC are limited to "oh no my *blank* is missing, please fight the bad guys to get it back" then they might as well be playing Skyrim and crushing the same old draugr in the same old dungeon. In your case, it doesn't matter what the quest is, or whether it's optional or "mandatory"; it's why they're doing it that's important.
Get your PCs involved! Give them reasons to care about the NPCs and what happens to them. I don't know Reign of Winter so I can't give you specific advice, but you need to get PCs invested in the results of their adventures for reasons besides loot and XP. This will probably mean spending time with NPCs and getting to know them, which in turn means you need to be able to craft and portray likeable, interesting NPCs. There's a massive difference between a dragon attacking a village you stopped at for a day, and a dragon attacking the village you grew up in, where you learned to fight, where you attended weddings and funerals and births and baptisms. (Protip: referencing your PCs' unique backstories is a great way to get them emotionally attached to proceedings.)
Remember, your greatest strength over a game like Skyrim is that you are constantly developing your story. In Skyrim, everything an NPC can do or say is programmed into the game; all their stories and emotions are simple and preset. You are not limited in this fashion. PCs staying at the inn? Make up a backstory for the bartender. Give him some personality. Maybe he recognizes them when they return from adventuring. Let them slowly change from a couple of random adventurers to his regulars. Want to take it a step further? Don't just change his relationship with the PCs, change him. Make dynamic characters that grow and mature over time, and in response to their circumstances and interactions. Maybe the dragon attacks the village, but the bartender survives - and is completely changed by the experience, from a warm-hearted grump to a steely-eyed, cynical man, bent on revenge. Maybe it turns out he used to be a fighter, and he dusts off the magic sword hanging off the bar and travels with the PCs to wreak his vengeance on the beast that stole his home and the lives of his friends and family. NOW how do the PCs feel about going off to kill the dragon?
You have the freedom to turn any NPC into anyone you want. Don't let that go to waste.
Well, you really, really need to either a) kill it in one turn, or b) hide yourself really really really well, because if the dragon knows where you are at the start of its turn you're pretty dead. Note of course that elder dragons know Dispel Magic and See Invisibility, and have blindsense 60 ft and possibly even Discern Location as a SLA.
So how do you incapacitate/kill a Great Wyrm red dragon in one round? Keep in mind its got SR 33, immunity to fire, paralysis, and sleep,
So that's the weak point: Dexterity. A creature with 0 dexterity is incapable of moving, which means no spells with somatic components. That still leaves an extremely dangerous dragon with spells like Greater Shout and breath weapons, but it should be easy enough to handle after that.
Here are spells that might help (remember Exhaustion gives -6 to dex):
As YIDM suggested, one Maximized, Empowered Calcific Touch should do it... as long as you can overcome the dragon's SR. An Elf with Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration gets a +6, and if you prepare a Piercing Maximized Empowered Calcific Touch, you'll get another +5, which should give you good odds.
Of course, keep in mind that dragons know Contingency, and could very easily have a Contingency to Teleport somewhere if they are disabled/KOd. In which case you better finish it off quick, or leave the material plane and don't come back.
1) Dialogue and Characters
2) Dramatic Tension & Pacing
Wouldn't that lead to the class being pretty MAD? I guess if I only have to focus on str and int it wouldn't be too bad. Also, our gm uses the 4d6 system instead of a point buy for whatever reason, so I guess it would really just be up to luck.
A little, but since alchemists can only wear light armor you probably wanted Dex anyway. And of course Str was going to be a want for you, and Int is your casting stat. (It's unfortunate that the Str mutagen decreases your Int by 2 (so 1 lower on your bombs' DC & damage), but +4 to str & +2 AC is a pretty good trade off.) You'll be OK with 12 con if you take the Spontaneous Healing alchemist discovery - it's basically a souped-up Toughness. (Toughness gets you 1hp/level, Spontaneous Healing gets you 2.5.) If things get rough you can also retreat and start bombing, and you have spells like Shield, Displacement, and Greater Invis available.
Of course, if you go Archer/Bomber, you only need Dex and Int (and can prepare Dex mutagens instead of Str). There's also a discovery, Explosive Missile, that lets you basically strap a bomb to an arrow. So with a 6th level Grenadier Alchemist, you can move, spend a swift action to add an alchemical item, like an Acid Flask, Smokestick, or Thunderstone, to your arrow; then as a standard load a bomb and fire it. Pretty sweet huh?
One of my characters died to the oh-so-fearsome Hodag in book 2, several levels below access to Raise Dead or Reincarnation. I wanted them to have the option of reviving him, so I told them that a powerful caster had set up shop in a yet-unexplored hex.
This guy turned out to be a 20th level Mystic Theurge known as Magician Humphrey (bonus points to those who get the reference). They got to fight up a winding tower full of monsters and traps and topped by a young giant and lastly answer a riddle from old Humphrey himself, ostensibly to make sure they weren't so dumb as to get themselves killed twice, before he revived their companion.
Of course, if they were to do it again, the tower would be considerably more tricky to climb...
And if anyone asks why one of the most powerful casters in the universe spends his spare time adopting giants and making level-appropriate challenges for random guys? Why, because messing with adventurers is fun, of course!
And before I punch the party, another option that occurred to me is a magic item that lets me cast silence on myself. Then party casters can't cast until I've got a 20' head start, and I have to ring for other situations, too.
You're really trying to get the party to hate you, huh? Trust me - as much as everyone hates the rogue that steals from the party because "it's what my character would do," the barbarian that Silences the casters would get it 100x worse. DO NOT SCREW WITH YOUR PARTY MEMBERS!
If you really, really believe that the casters are depriving you of all your fun, you need to either
I can't say it enough times: Do. Not. Screw. With. Your. Party. Members. You do NOT want to be "that guy." Anyone that pulled something like what you're talking about in one of my games would probably not get invited back to play again.