Oh yeah, Acrobatics is good, and so is Escape Artist. Always max escape artist! Otherwise when your Freedom of Movement is dispelled and you get grappled, you are VERY dead. (remember, only spells with only verbal components can be cast while grappled, and you have to make a very difficult concentration check.)
I'm a big fan of Contingency: Mirror Image. While it's true you're generally better off with Displacement/Invisibility than boosting AC, it may still be worthwhile to use Mage Armor. You'll probably still get hit on a 2 by the first hit of most things, but there are always minions to worry about, and even the big guys sometimes have iterative/secondary attacks you may be able to defend against.
Opponents with True Seeing are indeed tricky. I recommend Stoneskin and placing your favorite Force effect between you and it.
Also remember that Bear's Endurance and Greater False Life can really boost your longevity, to the tune of 2d10 + 3 per level. False Life even lasts for hours/level.
Depends a lot on your author. Sometimes its deep into the idea that a human is a gnat in the universe or even the whole race means nothing, and others play up the humans are special approach, and others just see humans as a base and every other race as a demi-human. You won't see many were humans are the proud warrior race I'll bet though for example.
Well, the primary feature of humans is typically adaptability. A human character has few preexisting connotations, whereas, say, a dwarf is assumed to be grumpy/greedy/stout/etc.
Basically everyone but humans lives on a planet of hats.
It's doable, but the feat you're looking for is Step Up and its line. Also, you're going to be better off taking the Disruptive line than trying to focus on readied actions. If you do choose to go with readied actions, start thinking up what your condition is going to be, because if it's simply "if they cast a spell I attack" then there's a whole bunch of ways that becomes a wasted action.
A Barbarian with the Superstitious/Witch Hunter/etc. rage powers is probably perfect.
Don't be afraid to get a little more realistic with the traps. If "roll a d20 for perception, roll a d20 for disable device" isn't doing it for you, don't use it. Instead, you could describe the room very carefully, and ask him specifically what he looks at and/or touches; instead of a perception roll simply meaning he finds the trap, give him little tidbits or out-of-place things that he can then use to deduce the location of the trap. Don't show the crusher trap; show the flattened bones.
PS: Know what's fun? Delayed traps. "I disabled it guys, come on in!" (make sure you roll the disable device roll instead of him)
Hey all. I know it's far from optimal, but how would you build and/or flavor a Summoner and Eidolon around the Trample ability? It's pretty fun flavor, and it opens a lot of room for defensive, sensory, and movement evolutions.
Remember, of course, that summoners get Enlarge Person on their spell list, and it does work on their eidolon. So at later levels you could be riding a Gargantuan eidolon as it tramples over the huge monster you're fighting.
PS: Rules check - using Burrow to overrun people in a tunnel is legit, right?
There are few classes/builds for which humans can't work - they are by far the most versatile race. That being said, there are plenty of situations for which other races are superior. For example:
1. Natural Attack melee - not having any NAs puts humans at a big disadvantage here
2. Point Buy Disadvantage - if you're building, say, a stealthy sorcerer, the Halfling's bonuses to Dex AND Cha (and penalty to Str) are better than a human's +2 to one or the other.
3. Stealth builds - the +4 from being small amounts to a free skill focus for stealthy builds. +1 to AC and to-hit ain't shabby either.
4. Senses - if your game is taking place primarily at night or underground, having Darkvision or Low-Light Vision is pretty darn sweet.
5. Exotic Builds - frequently another race has a feature that Humans would have to take a feat for. For example, if you want to use an exotic weapon, well, Half Elves get that for free. So now it's 1 extra skill rank per level vs immunity to sleep, +2 vs enchantments, +2 to Perception, knowledge of the Elven language, and Multitalented or one of its substitutes.
So you see, just because a human CAN do it, doesn't mean a human is BEST for it.
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.
Mobility and Nimble Striker certainly help. Offensive Defense doesn't help until you pick up the 3rd Panther Style feat; otherwise they get to hit you first. However, it's not just the AoOs you're worried about. To effectively use a Panther Style Pounce, you'd need to rush by one or more enemies to attack another. Before your next turn, there's a very good likelihood you're going to be facing a full attack from the target of your pounce and/or an attack from the foe(s) you passed; one or both of those enemies will have flanking. Even Vanishing Trick doesn't help a ton since they'll know what square you're in.
I tried quite hard to figure out a worthwhile Panther Style build, and I could not do it. The closest one was a Titan Mauler Barbarian that could move around, provoking attacks, then do a massive Vital Strike on someone... but even under ideal conditions, he'd be worse off than a Dragon Style/full attacking character.
I think a Dragon Style-using Scout is viable. But charging from one foe to another while using claws... You're just so, so pressed for feats - IUS, Dragon Style, Weapon Focus, Feral Combat Training, Dodge, Mobility, Nimble Striker, and Claw Pounce at a minimum. Granted, a level of unarmed fighter helps a lot, and some of them can be taken with Rogue Talents/Ninja Tricks; as long as you're OK with not getting Claw Pounce until later levels, and abstaining from Panther Style, this should work.
Let's see, what other feats are good...
CR will definitely be iffy for this; it's pretty iffy at higher levels to begin with, and with a Gestalt 2-man party they're not going to be much help at all. Take a look at their abilities, save DCs, etc., and pick some foes that will make a good match.
That being said, here's three things that come to mind in order to make it interesting:
1. Spell Resistance - should make both of their lives a little harder.
2. Minions - having minions will be EXTREMELY important, particularly with a summoner. Any single enemy you can find will either die under a horde of buffed summoned creatures or wipe them out instantly. Pick some minions that will be able to stand up to the summoner's critters for a turn or two, and don't be afraid to bring some more into the fight when you feel like it. (See how they like it!)
3. A loooong adventuring day - These guys will both have a MOUNTAIN of spells and abilities to chuck at enemies they come across. I would highly recommend you pull some sort of gimmick - cursed item, timeless plane, pissed-off deity, whatever - to not let them rest and get their stuff back except once in a blue moon. This will make them actually consider whether they really need to use up that high-level spell or keep a performance going, instead of letting them go nova on everything they come across. (If they're really beat up you can drop them a bone - perhaps the blessing of a friendly demigod can give them half their resources back.)
Remember, a 20th level Wizard/Alchemist will be able to cast Time Stop and drink who-knows-what extracts before the enemies have even gone once, not to mention that his Overland Flight and Greater Mutagen/Cognatogen will last all day by default. Don't be afraid to throw some Dispel Magics at both of them; you probably won't be able to even get close to damaging them otherwise.
I would go for a level of Unarmed Fighter to pick up IUS and Dragon Style, skip the Monk splash, and ignore Panther. It might be different if you were a Barbarian or Paladin, but a Ninja does NOT have the HP to go around provoking extra attacks of opportunity. Also, Dragon Style's charging ability over difficult terrain and through allies is very, very handy; much more so than what Panther Style can offer you.
Also, I had to retire my rogue halfway through our campaign because I made the same mistake you're about to: 10 CON IS NOT ENOUGH! I had 10 con/14 int/14 cha, and the 2 skills/level is not worth the extra HP and Fort save. A 10 con, d8 hit die, light armored character simply cannot stand on the front lines - you'll go down or have to retreat after one or two full attacks. Vanishing Trick helps, but you'll be burning through Ki like no other just to stay out of the way of enemies. Keep in mind that your 3/4 BAB and lack of significant to-hit bonus (favored enemy, smite, rage, mutagen, etc.) mean that you will be hitting less often than your comrades.
It's also worth noting that the ability you're basing this build around, Claw Pounce, won't be available until very high levels with a 3/4 BAB class. By that point, your two natural attacks will pale in comparison to any standard Fighter or Barbarian's full iterative attack. You should strongly consider a full-BAB class if you want to build around Claw Pounce. Barbarian, Ranger, or Paladin would be my choice, perhaps with the Unarmed Fighter splash. Barbarian nets you a bite via Animal Fury and will get you crazy damage without having to set up a sneak attack; Ranger can take the Natural Attack fighting style for some nice bonus feats, get Favored Enemy to help boost damage, and get almost as many skills as ninjas; and Paladin's increased protection and healing will be good for such a reckless fighting style.
Sorry, I don't mean to completely derail your build... but as someone who has a bit of experience with squishy characters and complex builds, you just can't get away with something like this without full BAB and better defenses. A full BAB character with good Str can be pretty effective just be using his class features, wearing decent armor, and swinging a weapon around, but 3/4 BAB/d8 HD characters really need help in both offense and defense in order to keep up. Alchemists and Druids can massively boost Str; Bard, Inquisitor, Oracle, and Magus have access to buffs, spellcasting, and things like Judgment to help them; Monk gets to pretend he has full BAB with flurry. But Ninjas and Rogues have it tough - though they may be amazing skill monkeys, they really need to pull out all the stops and constantly strive for Sneak Attacks just to keep pace. When you start multiclassing with non-full-BAB classes and trying to soak up extra attacks, you'll find you're just not as effective as your teammates, I'm afraid. : /
The way I see it, there are two main branches it could go down:
1) The living dudes were somehow allied with the undead. Disguises, illusions, blackmail, whatever, but they were secretly trying to get close to the PCs to betray them or inform on them. They will show up later to ask the PCs for help "a necromancer fireballed my shed and killed my grandson!" then betray them later. (Make sure you have some very subtle clues so the PCs don't just call it an ass-pull.)
2) The living dudes are against the undead. This makes one wonder why the heck they live on an undead version of Jurassic Park - one option could be that the necromancers in the city somehow have the grandfather's or the grandson's soul hostage, binding them to the island. Maybe they're trapped here via a shipwreck or something - the old man could be a very skilled Fighter or some other class that would allow him to survive, but not give him the means to teleport or construct a ship sufficient to get away.
Recommended plot twists:
It occurred to me, that with Greater Grapple, I can grapple as a move action.
Careful, there - Greater Grapple lets you maintain a grapple as a move action, not start one.
Here's what you do, I think: take the Quick Draw feat and use a Quick Draw Shield. You'll be able to take out or put away the shield as a free action - you can put it away for the grapple checks and take it back out for bashing with! The drawback is that only light shields can be quick draw, but honestly if I were you I would ditch Vital Strike anyway. A heavy spiked shield only gets 1d6 anyway, hardly worth spending all your feats and standard actions boosting.
Speaking of feats, see if your GM will let you take Rapid Grappler from Ultimate Combat. Once you reach BAB +9 you get ANOTHER grapple check as a swift action (as long as you use your move to grapple as well). Body Shield, also from UC, lets you redirect attacks to the one you're grappling as an immediate action, which is awesome. Alternately, Iron Will and Greater Iron Will will almost certainly save your butt someday.
There are some witch-specific magic items in d20pfsrd. Let's just say you might look nice with a corset and a blouse.
PS: That Pearls of Power ruling is whack. For the money you're sinking into those you deserve the spell back. And it says right there in the description "The spell is then prepared again, just as if it had not been cast."
"High enough" is when all your enemies need a 20 to save against them. The question is at what point are your resources better directed elsewhere? You can buy a lot with the thousands it takes to upgrade an Intelligence item. How are your defenses? Is another 5% chance for your enemies to fail their saves worth more than the extra versatility granted by Pearls of Power or other potions/scrolls? Also being a frail caster that has to be within 30 feet of enemies would make me very uneasy without some
Remember, as you level up the difference between the good and poor saves gets bigger and bigger; it's more about having the right spell than having a high DC. If I were you, I would worry more about buffing my own saves/defense and saving up for a Rod of Lesser Quicken than picking up more things to try and tweak my hex DCs a little higher. Something like a Bracelet of Second Chances could easily save your life one day...
Since you're doing a Come and Get Me build, it would be wise to get some defensive abilities in place of the offensive ones you've got there. Max damage is nice and all, but remember - when barbarians go down, they go down HARD.
I'm not a huge fan of Powerful Blow unless you have some way to rage-cycle. I would trade Powerful Blow and Bleeding Blow for Guarded Life and Guarded Life, Greater, and Weapon Focus for Raging Vitality; should help a great deal with survivability. There are some builds out there that grab Endurance and Diehard (typically via a level of Unbreakable fighter) along with the Invulnerable Rager archetype to become damage-absorbing monstrosities. If you're using Reckless Abandon, focusing on DR is probably your best bet. (Have some potions of Blur or Displacement handy for tough fights.)
If you get a Keen falchion, you don't need Improved Critical and can take Greater Sunder instead - might as well if you feel that sundering will be a big part of your game plan.
Hmm... ask your GM what happens if you use your CAGM attack of opportunity to sunder their weapon. "You're gonna hit me with THAT? Good luck!"
Perhaps I'm missing something, but why shields? And why vital strike? This seems like 3 builds mashed into one. If you're going to be a grappler, giving yourself a -4 to your main maneuver is not a good idea, and you can pummel your opponent just fine with your fists or a regular weapon. Free bull rush from Shield Slam also seems antithetical to a grappling build, and Vital Strike doesn't make a lot of sense because most of the time if you only have a standard action available you'll use it to start a grapple.
If you want to take down casters, focus on the Disruptive and Spellbreaker line of feats, and stuff like Stand Still. (Grappling stuff is good too - check out the Unarmed Fighter archetype.) What other reasons did you have for the specific combo of grappling and shield bashing?
PS: Sorry, I don't mean to be mean. Just want to get you a viable build that gets the feel you're going for. : )
Life Oracles are really good, but sadly the Dwarvish -2 to Cha is not going to be helping an oracle.
First, understand that in most cases, you will not be able to heal people faster than enemies can damage them. Strategically speaking, you're almost always better off simply trying to kill the enemy faster.
...That being said, a healer is definitely an option. Here's what I'd do, though: be a cleric of Sarenrae or Pharasma with the Healing domain (plus another domain of your choice). Grab a longspear, give yourself at least 14 dex and 16 str, and take Combat Reflexes as your level 1 feat. Now, you can walk up to your friends to heal and buff, and if anyone tries to come up and attack, you'll get an attack of opportunity. This is called the "reach cleric" strategy.
You'll probably want Power Attack at level 3, but Heavy Armor Proficiency or the Bodyguard/In Harm's Way chain are both viable options. Metamagic or crafting feats are also good, as is Improved Initiative, since you don't get your attacks of opportunity if the enemy moves first. I would advise against Improved Trip, because if your enemy is Large or bigger their CMB will be too high for you, and if they are medium or smaller you can try a trip attempt without provoking anyway.
If you like to cast spells that affect enemies directly, Wisdom is your most important score, because it makes the DCs on your spells higher. Thus, enemies have to roll better on their saves or suffer your spells. However, if you mostly just cast buffs, then strength will be your most important score, since that way you will hit more often and harder, forcing enemies to pay attention to you (and thus not attacking your friends).
Remember: the best way to heal is to stop the damage from happening in the first place. Good luck!
Depends on whether you want to be the party face or the party radar. Archaeologist's Luck is going to be roughly similar to Judgment in terms of buffing, and you get the same amount of skills, as well as boosts to knowledge. Both can make good scouts. So it comes down to two things: Party Face vs Party Radar, and Arcane Casting vs Divine Casting.
Party Face: Bards get high charisma, assorted Performances (or Rogue Talents for the Archaeologist) that can be very useful in certain social situations, and spells like Tap Inner Beauty.
Party Radar: Inquisitors get high wisdom, bonuses to Sense Motive and Survival, Detect Evil/Good/Law/Chaos, and Discern Lies as an immediate action.
Casting: Bards get Grease, the Image line, Haste, Feather Fall, and some of your other favorite arcane spells. Inquisitors get Protection from Evil, Divine Favor, Greater Magic Weapon, and the Litanies, plus assorted minor healing and fear-related stuff. Both get Invisbility, Knock, Heroism, and some other spells.
Really it's up to you. IMO Judgments, Bane, and Teamwork Feats give the combat edge to Inquisitors, but the buffing/trapfinding (archaeologist) Bards get is also potentially very important. Pick the one that fits your playstyle.
I think you're best off thinking about Summoner as a bard that trades out skills and performance for a totally customizable, unique beatstick. Like a bard, you have a d8 hit die, light armor, and 3/4 BAB, which combined with buffs make you a passable combatant; you also don't have quite enough spells/abilities to cast something every turn like a full caster. However, while a bard has lots of out of combat utility and in-combat mostly just buffs everyone, you instead get free access to the build-a-boss workshop. Eidolons can do things that NO PC can do, and with the Evolution Surge line, you can upgrade them for the situation on the fly. The true strength of the Summoner lies in this and his obscene action economy; whereas an Alchemist would have to spend turns buffing himself, your eidolon can fight while you buff.
Master Summoners relegate the Eidolon to being a skill monkey, but give you minute-duration summon spells as a standard action, which is pretty obscene. Personally, I disallow Master Summoners at my table, for two reasons.
In the bestiary, a full grown T-Rex has reach equal to its size, 20 ft. Stands to reason a 10 ft T-Rex would have 10 ft reach. Besides, the general convention on reach is that "tall" creatures get it, whereas "long" creatures do not; and T-Rex is a "tall" creature since it stands upright.
Make sure you're not getting Bodyguard confused with In Harm's Way. And remember that even ACs without armor proficiency can wear Mithril Shirts or Mwk Studded Leather without penalty.
Make sure you talk with your GM about what you want to do with illusions. Some people tend to be more strict on this type of thing.
You will definitely want the feat Effortless Trickery, as I believe it's the only thing in the game that lets you maintain multiple illusions at once. Of course, you have to be a Gnome, but they work pretty darn well with illusions anyway.
Yup. Can't make a 15x15 monster fall down a 10x10 hole. Of course, my favorite combo from that game was using Prismatic Wall against our final evil dragon god BBEG, then Battering Blasting him through it...
Second favorite combo: Summon Monster VII (for a T-Rex), Animal Growth, Quickened Telekinetic Charge.
1. Gnome, almost certainly. With the following exception: since you're already multiclassing Sorc/Oracle, you can choose a Tiefling or Aasimar to get early access to Mystic Theurge. Only recommended if your party has no other casters.
2. Serpentine lets your mind-affecting/language-dependent spells hit animals, magical beasts, and monstrous humanoids, but that's probably more useful for Charm Person than for Color Spray. Arcane is always, always solid. I'm not impeccably familiar with bloodlines so there could be one that affects illusions; there are certainly plenty that affect enchantments.
3. Check the Heavens mystery spells for a few.
4. Your Illusion save DC will be through the roof, but you'll have pretty high DCs for your other spells too. Make sure you can target each save (reflex, fort, and will) with at least one debilitating spell that works against most creatures - for example, Web (reflex), Glitterdust (will), and Blindness/Deafness (fort) makes a pretty good triumvirate at lower levels. You don't want more than ~50% of your spells to be offensive, though; a good buff (like Haste) will always be valuable no matter what opponent you face, and some utility spells (like Fog Cloud) can be invaluable. Spread out your spells and you'll never be useless, because as long as you have spells left, you can keep spamming the one useful one you know for a given situation. (Go go gadget Enervate!)
I endorse this list, except that you may want to consider Toughness at first level instead of Combat Reflexes depending on what kind of enemies you usually face.
The other thing you might want would be the Improved Grapple line of feats. If your GM doesn't want to allow Improved Unarmed Strike, will he let you use a different prereq or just take Improved Grapple?
Oh and the last option you might want to consider is teamwork feats. Replacing Weapon Focus (bite) with, say, Outflank for you and your T-rex could be quite good.
Make sure you use buffs like Strong Jaw to max out vital strike!
Mystic Theurge is dandy at higher levels, particularly if you lack both divine and arcane spellcasting. The problem is that there's going to be quite a while in the mid-levels where you're going to be preeetty useless. (Wizard 3/Cleric 3/Mystic Theurge 1 is not the most powerful 7th level character around.)
If I were you, I would go either Druid, animal-domain Cleric, or summoner Wizard. You definitely need a full caster, preferably one with a big spell list; and you also are going to want another front-line fighter, a role which an Animal Companion fills nicely. (Take Boon Companion for animal domain; see if the Ranger will take it too.)
I would definitely advocate a prepared caster. Being essentially the only caster in the party, you need to have access to any and all spells your group could need to progress. For Druids and Clerics, that's just a matter of praying for it; and if you spend a little GP on scribing spells, a Wizard can almost always have the right spell for the situation.
Considering your teammates are your kids, I think the Wizard would work out quite nicely. Battlefield control wizards (aka "god wizards") function via teamwork - enabling their companions to smack down enemies with maximum efficiency. You'll be able to dismantle enemy's magical defenses, buff your teammates (the Rogue will love Invisibility, I'm sure), and in general help them succeed. Taking Augment and Superior Summoning will help you fill in the gaps in your front line.
A Cleric can do much of the same; however, while most of their buffs tend to be straightforward, the Wizard can open up new tactical possibilities with spells like Enlarge Person and Burrow, and drastically manipulate the battlefield in ways the Cleric can't imitate. On the other hand, Clerics can hold their own in front-line combat, and get much better healing/restorative abilities, including Raise Dead. If you do go Cleric, I would suggest a melee-oriented one; Clerics don't generally have enough good offensive spells to warrant investing in high DCs over high Strength.
Overall, it comes down to you and your kids' playstyle. If you want something more straightforward and smite-y, the Cleric is your man. If you want to get a little tricky with it, go Wizard. Have fun!
Let's say I'm playing a Halfling with 7 str and I get hit by Waves of Exhaustion, giving me a -6 penalty to Str. I now have an effective Str of 1, giving me a Heavy Load carrying capacity of 7-10 lbs. Since I'm small, this goes down to max heavy load of 7.5 lbs.
From the core rules:
A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can move only 5 feet per round (as a full-round action).
From the halfling entry, average weight for a halfling is 35 lbs. This is more than even double my max load, even after shedding all gear.
So am I disabled, as if I had 0 str? Can I move? Can I wield a weapon? Can I cast spells? What happens?
Don't bother with Rich Parents - 900GP is negligible once you get past the first few levels, whereas the bonus from other traits is valuable the entire game. If you don't know what you want, Reactionary (+2 init) and one of the ones that boosts a save are pretty good. There are also plenty to make any skill into a class skill - handy if you want to do Diplomacy instead of Bluff.
As for spells: the important thing is to cover all your bases. You need a spell to hit what Sleep can't; probably something from Evocation or Conjuration. Grease is a popular one thanks to its wide variety of uses; Burning Hands or Magic Missile could be good too, although it sounds like you can leave dealing damage to the melee guys. Speaking of which, a buff like Enlarge Person is nice, because you'll always be able to cast it on one of your allies, no matter what the enemy.
I would advise picking up something with out-of-combat practicality for your third spell when you get it. Charm Person is a classic one for Fey sorcerers, though not 100% necessary since you have the Cha to be a party face anyway. (Just be ready for people to get mad at you for trying to ensorcel them if they make the save!)
As long as you max out Cha, it's pretty hard to screw up a sorcerer too bad. Just try not to have too many overlapping or situational spells and you'll do just fine. Remember, arcane scrolls are typically pretty darn easy to get your hands on, so spells like Knock or Gust of Wind are usually better in scroll form than as a spell known.
Oh yeah, and for feats, Toughness and Improved Initiative are classic. Alternately, Spell Focus: Enchantment would probably be good for your character. Make sure your GM is OK with you being an enchanter, though - Enchantment and Illusion can vary WILDLY in strength depending on what your GM thinks of them.
Ah, pit-focused builds. My personal favorite. A few tips:
1) Spiked Pit is generally the sweet spot in the pit line. Create Pit is pretty shallow & doesn't deal much damage, Acid Pit melts loot, and Hungry Pit is too high-level to metamagic.
2) Try to get your GM to let you use Widen Spell with Pits. Otherwise, you're not doing much against Huge creatures.
3) Protip: casting Pits as a readied action is an awesome tactic. Cast it when they walk up to you, and they have to risk falling in the pit again if they want to hit you.
4) Make sure you have ways to get your opponents into pits if they make the first save. See if you can convince one of your teammates to be good at this. Alternately, Earth Elementals frequently get Bull Rush feats, so they're great summons; you can also look at spells like Hydraulic Push or items like the Ring of the Ram. If you really want to be sadistic, ready a Grease spell for when they've almost climbed out of the Pit... fun times. :P
5) Be wary of your friends when you make pit spells. Telekinetic Charge is a nice option to make sure you don't accidentally screw them over... or if they happen to fall in one of them. (It will happen at some point.)
I believe spellcasting falls under "any ability that requires patience or concentration." Raging and things that require concentration checks don't go so well together. Urban Barbarian could work, though.
Anyway, I'm actually a fan of the Fighter dip. You lose one level of spellcasting, true (make sure you grab Magical Knack to assuage your caster level), and a level of domain abilities. But here's what you get:
-Heavy Armor Proficiency
If you really need a front-liner, it may be worth it, particularly at low levels. It means that you can have, say, Power Attack and Cleave at level 1 using a Greatsword instead of level 5 using a Morningstar. Also, if you want to do anything more complex than swatting things with your mace, you're going to NEED the bonus feats.
It's true that the Crusader archetype can grant Heavy Armor Proficiency, but at the cost of a domain and 1 spell/level. I'd rather have a Fighter splash and be one level of spellcasting down than that.
Some of the Patrons grant good defensive spells. I believe one of them gives you Mirror Image, which is my go-to defensive buff for wizards of all levels.
Failing that, Summon Monster is your friend. Keeping a few meatshields between you and the enemy is a great way to be able to stay within 30 feet without getting charged and crushed.
Are you certain we can't convince you to play Sorcerer? A wizard's primary strength comes from his library of spells - getting only 2 per level (perhaps 3 with the favored class bonus) is going to make you relatively less powerful than any other full caster.
That being said... What level are you going up to? An admixture-school blasetr wizard could be perfect, since you really only need fireball and the metamagic feats. (Find a rod if possible.)
Alternately... Not sure. Probably Conjuration or Transmutation to get the most versatile spells, though.
Thanks, my only concern is the very low damage output, is there a way to mitigate that?
Not really. Check with your DM whether you can wield it two-handed, but the fact of the matter is that a whip is never going to deal as much damage as two-handing a greatsword or falchion. Your best bet is relying on a class bonus, like Sneak Attack, Smite Evil, Favored Enemy, or Bane to grant you damage. (EDIT: Weapon Specialization definitely helps for fighters.) IMO, though, as a whip user you'll probably be focused on combat maneuvers more than anything else.
If all you want is a viable character that happens to use a whip, go Weapon Finesse halfling Bard with the Helpful trait. In combat, you'll be able to grant an ally within 15 feet +4 to attack or AC using Aid Another, as well as boosting all allies with perform and spells. Out of combat, you'll be able to do just about anything, from scout to party face to arcane caster to knowledge machine. Best part? You don't have to invest a single feat. Just make sure you get Improved Unarmed Strike or wear a cestus or something so that you threaten the squares around you and can flank, and remember that your whip attacks will provoke.
Whips tend to be all-or-nothing - as in, invest all your feats in it, or you'll be doing nothing. It can definitely be fun, though, especially if you make your other trait Prehensile Whip. Good luck!
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.
Switch Wis and Str for a melee Cleric - 20 Str will make you one heck of a powerhouse in combat. It will also boost your Swim score, which you should almost certainly max out. I would also stick to Medium or Light armor for a nautical campaign. Keep an eye out for spells that are usually somewhat useless - for example, Lighten Object could become very handy.
Can't believe no one has said this yet: MAX OUT USE MAGIC DEVICE. Unless you're going gestalt with Wizard or Sorcerer, there's a very good chance you will need some Wizard or Cleric-only spells at some point. With a high charisma you should be pretty good at UMD, and with you getting all the cash you should be able to afford plenty of wands and scrolls. Having access to spells like Knock, Fly, Dispel Magic, Teleport, etc. will mean a much smaller chance of you being stumped by some obstacle or another.
Also make sure you have a backup in case you get Feebleminded or blinded or something. This is going to be a very dangerous campaign, as when you go down, it's a TPK.
Vestigial Arm is definitely the way to go to get an extra arm. If you want the archery feats AND the TWF/shield bash feats, you're going to have to go Fighter. The vestigial arm discovery doesn't grant extra attacks, though, so don't be expecting to be able to shield bash & make a full ranged attack in the same turn.
Oh yes, if you're considering archers as well your options go way up. IMO one of the most awe-inspiring gatling guns in the game is the Divine Hunter paladin. As a human you can get Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, and Point Blank Shot at level 1, and when you smite... it just gets pretty insane.
Check it out - smiting point blank level 7 Divine Hunter:
call it 20 dex, 14 str, 14 cha
You get 4 arrows - two from BAB, 1 from rapid shot, and 1 from manyshot, so we're looking at
And each one deals:
Bottom Line: +14/+14/+14/+9 arrows dealing 1d8 + 16 each and ignoring DR against your smite target. If all of them hit, that's about 82 damage total.
Holy DPS, batman!
WARNING: Your GM may get mad at you for dropping the BBEG by yourself in two turns.