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When you say "Arcane Gunslinger" how arcane do you need to be?
If you take a race that gets a SLA, like Gnome or Aasimar, you can take the Arcane Strike feat, which lets you add a bonus to your damage rolls and all your shots are treated as being magic. If the mental image of shooting magically charged bullets is what appeals to you, then just go straight gunslinger the rest of the way.
If you want to actually be able to cast spells, then you'll probably need to multiclass or at least dip. Go Mysterious Stranger and a CHA-based casting class (bard, sorcerer, summoner, skald, or bloodrager) so you won't have to worry about your stats.
The ARG has a second Gunslinger archetype, the Buccaneer, that uses CHA instead of WIS for grit, but it also trades away the Quick Clear deed and commits you to Human. Then again, given how many feats you need so early (Rapid Reload, Deadly Aim, Point-Blank Shot) just to wield a gun effectively, Human is already a very effective choice.
As for your spellcasting class, Bloodrager could be a very potent choice, if you're willing to wait until you get 4 levels into it to cast spells. Sorcerer is a good choice too, since that spell list gets you a few firearm-based spells like Jury Rig.
In my experience, you're better off not starting with an alignment and working to justify it, but starting with a character concept, and it gets labeled as Alignment: _E, so be it as long as you can play it properly.
Put another way, why do you want to be evil in the first place? Is it just for novelty's sake? Or do you have some nefarious goal you want to dedicate yourself towards?
I think the most compelling reasons to be an evil character (and for a GM to allow you to be so) is if you want to play a Cleric of an Evil deity. In this case, the GM understands that you're motivated not by a secret desire to backstab your allies, but by a desire to play the class you want to play and cast the spells you want to cast. Just about all the evil deities in the CRB have deep enough portfolios that you could build a cleric of any one of them, and simply focus on the non-evil aspects of that deity.
I'm going to go off the board and say an all-Sorcerer party.
Healing? In a room full of CHA-casters, somebody's going to have a decent UMD score. And if not, Infernal Healing will be okay until somebody learns to summon something that can heal.
Meanwhile, you've got a pretty decent variety of potential builds. One guy can fill the boards with summons, one can load up on transmutation and touch spells and try to go melee, a debuffer Necromancer, an Illusionist or Enchanter to be the "face", and of course an Evoker for when you just need stuff dead.
The only trouble is when you need some niche utility spell that nobody wanted to spend a spell known on. But honestly, most sorcerers are versatile enough that this can be worked around.
So I'm 2-for-2 so far. Nice! Let's see if I can pull off the hat trick.
Greex was one of the bravest warriors of the Mongrelheart tribe. Nobody was half as good in the saddle of a goblin dog as he was. He was so good at riding, he once leapt off of his gobdog onto the back of a human riding a horse, threw the human to the ground, and managed to ride the horse for a few minutes. He honestly thought that if the Mongrelheart tribe ever fell, he'd fall with it, his feet in the stirrups and his hands on his horsechopper. He never could have imagined how it ended up happening.
The raid came in the middle of the night. Greex was dead asleep when the warning horn blew, and by the time he understood what was happening it was too late. The invaders had already snuck past the watch, silently killed almost half the tribe's fighting force, and were now burning down the fortress. Greex stepped out of his tent, armor half-donned, and saw that the stables were already smoldering, and his steed was surely dead.
Greex was afraid, but oddly, he wasn't angry. He'd never seen so much fire in his life. It was beautiful. What goblin wouldn't want this to be his last sight? He was happy that the invaders had at least given his tribe a proper goblin's death. But this wasn't his last sight, nor was it the most beautiful thing he'd see tonight.
In a relatively unburned clearing, he saw his tribe's destroyer in brilliant light. She was shaped like a human woman, but she was no human. She was fire given life. Skin as fair as ashen logs, eyes glowing like embers, a bonfire of hair. She was the fire's source and its soul. She held out a hand and a gout of fire surged forth and consumed one of Greex's tribemates. Greex was ashamed that the gobs he called kin would try to fight such a perfect creature. They ought to be falling to their knees worshiping it!
From behind the goddess, an elf appeared. Greex scowled. The elf fiddled with something in a large satchel, then threw a bottle at another goblin. The bottle exploded in fire, a different color of fire that looked ugly compared to Her Fire. A few humans also appeared. Greex understood now. They were pretenders, disciples of... Her. They were students of Fire, and She was the master. He knew now what he had to do.
There as just enough unburned ground between him and Her for Greex to cautiously approach. He was scared, and his mouth was dry. He expected Her to immolate him as soon as she lay eyes on him, and wasn't sure he didn't want Her to, but She didn't. She stopped, a quizzical look on Her face. Greex was the first goblin who hadn't charged the group, weapon in hand. Greex slowly approached, a look of awe on his face, and She watched him, wondering what he would do. He dropped to his knees in supplication. As a pup, the tribe's old shaman had taught him a few words of the Language of Fire, and now he struggled to recall the words.
"Your fire is beautiful." Greex said, in the clearest Ignan as he could over its roar.
"What?" She asked, half-laughing.
"It's beautiful. You bring so much fire. Thank you." Greex's eyes began to water, from emotion as much as smoke, but he could still see Her smile as he passed out, and he felt a smile of his own spread across his face.
Greex woke up tied to a tree. Her and her followers were standing over him, puzzling. Eventually the elf, in surprisingly fluent Goblin, started asking him questions about who he was, and what he wanted. He answered as best as he could, that he was the best mounted warrior of his tribe and that he loved Fire, like any gob should, and that he saw how much his captors liked it too. He was sad that She wasn't doing the talking, and directed most of his answers at Her. He even tried to answer in Ignan, when he could.
Eventually they let him go, and told him who they were: a band of mercenaries and treasure-hunters. She said her name was Kaedesha, called herself a sorcerer, and an "Ifrit". She spoke of the efreeti, a magical people from the Plane of Fire, to whom she traced her lineage. Greex now understood-- she was no goddess, but a princess of the land of Fire, banished from her homeland and searching for a new land to burn her birthright into. She laughed and asked Greex to join her band.
For years afterwards, Greex followed Kaedesha as faithfully as a knight follows a lord. When Kaedesha complained of the gobdogs' dander, Greex chose instead to break a boar to the saddle. When Kaedesha set her sights on a prize, Greex would ride down any who stood in her way and bask in Her warmth afterwards.
Greex didn't die in his saddle, or in a fire. He died in a temple healer's bed, Her hand in his, as She retold all their tales of bravery and heroics to the clergy, Greex's hand in Hers and a tear in Her eye.
I imagine Greex as an Order of the Lion Cavalier, if that matters. Probably Beast Rider archetype, unless you think goblin dogs and boars are standard choices for a goblin Cavalier.
471) The Holy Texts in Volumes
One shelf of the library is devoted to holy texts. Each book on the shelf is a compilation of the teachings, parables, and doctrine of a different deity in the pantheon, bound in simple leather and with the deity's holy symbol embossed on the cover. A few of the books are dedicated to obscure deities that the PCs may never have even heard of. All the books appear to be part of one work with multiple volumes, but no author or editor is named.
Spending 2d10 minutes consulting the volumes grants the reader a +4 circumstance bonus on any Knowledge: Religion check. This time is reduced to 1d4 minutes if the reader already knows which deity's volume contains the relevant information.
Bhijo was a glutton, even by goblin standards. He ate everything that wasn't nailed down, and he usually ate the nails too. His dream was to eat an entire farm's worth of food in one raid-- the whole crop harvest, every pig, every cow, everything. He knew he could never do it, but some nights he'd have wonderful dreams about it.
One day he discovered a wagonload of watermelons. The farmers driving it were dead-- they'd been pincushioned full of arrows by raiders. The raiders had taken all the stuff THEY thought was valuable, but left the melons and the dead farmers. Bhijo climbed up into the wagon and gorged himself for hours, until his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed from exhaustion.
In his food stupor, he had a vision. Urgathoa, the goddess of gluttony and undeath, came to him and blessed him. She called him her favored disciple, and told Bhijo that his devotion to her sphere had allowed her to send the world a miracle.
When Bhijo awoke, he noticed that the dead farmers were gone. There were tracks leading away from the wagon, and when he followed them he saw the miracle. The farmers, and several other dead humans, and gotten back up and were marching to the nearby human village! Bhijo was amazed at the sight-- dozens and dozens of humans, staggering down the road, their clothes and armor in tatters, showing their gray, bloated meat underneath. Bhijo imagined how tender they must be-- the meat was practically falling off the bone! His appetite came back with a vengeance, and he said a small prayer to Urgathoa, thanking her for this bounty.
By the time the zombies had reached the main gate into the village, Bhijo had eaten nearly all of them. Some humans in heavy armor came out with maces and bashed the remaining zombies into the ground, which Bhijo was thankful for, since he'd been getting too full to chase them down himself. As he gnawed the meat off of the last one, he began to pass out again, but not before he saw the humans with maces look down at him, awestruck. Soon, their faces were replaced by that of Urgathoa appearing to him again.
That was over a century ago, and that village still tells the story of that brave goblin, who sacrificed his life to save them from a horde of zombies only to die of dysentery a few hours later.
How about a feat that grants you an additional 5-ft step during a full attack? Maybe with every iterative attack you get, you also get another extra 5-ft step? Then suddenly "fighting while mobile" starts to look a little more doable, and the mental image of a guy ducking and weaving around enemies and slashing away as he goes can actually be done.
I already mentioned Flying Kick earlier in the thread, but a few other feats that reward monks for charging when they can't flurry would be nice. It'd make their extra speed matter more, and help their to-hit problems when they aren't flurrying.
There's also the fact that Alchemists can get the Bottled Ooze discovery.
They can't control their oozes either, but at least they have the security in knowing that their ooze only last 1 round/caster level. Just throw the vial off of a catwalk or through a window, and the ooze will go after the closer targets before it finds its way to you.
How about a feat chain that makes poisons viable? Maybe Poison Use as a feat, or something that codifies the process of "milking the venom" out of an animal?
Actually, instead of a chain, how about two feats: one for ninjas and alchemists that involves acquiring poison on the cheap and administering it more effectively, and a second one for druids and rangers that involves milking venomous animals and applying it to weapons with a Handle Animal check?
Why a longsword? Are you going to use a shield?
Sword-and-shield fighting is a good basis for TWF if you've got a spiked shield. Fighters make decent TWFers thanks to all the extra feats, Weapon Training, and Weapon Specialization.
If you're not going for a shield, just two-hand the longsword, get Power Attack, and you're pretty much all set. Spend the rest of your feats on whatever looks like fun. Though you should pick up Iron Will as well, and probably Steel Soul since you're a dwarf.
If he's interested in a debuff/SoS caster, a sorcerer would be a good shot. He'd have fewer spells to learn, but the most of them to cast per day.
Color Spray is awesome at low levels, and at 4th level you can trade it out. Grease is useful too. Just about anything in the Illusion, Enchantment, or Necromancy trees would be decent.
If we're talking about the typical "zombie master", then my favorite would probably be an evil cleric or a Bones oracle.
Necromancy in PF, however, has lots of nasty spells that don't involve raising the dead. A sorcerer focused on necromancy Save or Die spells would probably be even more awesome.
The wizard would be more powerful, most likely, but I just don't like prepared spellcasting. Clerics are fun and flavorful enough that I can make an exception.
Skiritz was one of the Swampchaw tribe's "special" ones. For any other gob, it took dry wood scraps and lots of time to start fire. But Skiritz could make fire any time he wanted! He didn't even need dry wood or anything! He got real good at it to. He could snap his fingers and light a torch or a bonfire, or if he really put his back into it he could make a big explosion of fire and burn everything in front of him! One time he saved his whole tribe from a wagonload of books that way. All the Swampchaw's loved having Skiritz along on raids or revels.
One night he got separated from his friends in a heavy thunderstorm. The rain put out the torches faster than even he could light them, so he took shelter in a cave to wait it out. Inside the cave, he heard some voices. They were talking in Humantalk, but Skiritz knew a little of that. He knew they were complaining because they had no fire. Well! Skiritz knew he was about to make some new friends then! Everybody loved Skiritz once he gave them some fire.
He walked right up to his new friends and said "You want fire? Skiritz give you fire!" He snapped his fingers and the pathetic pile of wood scraps his new friends had gathered became a hearty bonfire! It lit up the entire cave, and now Skiritz saw that his new friends were (gasp!) GNOMES?!
But it didn't matter. Skiritz knew everybody loved him when he gave them fire. And he was right! His new gnome friends weren't nearly as bad as the ones that had tried to drive the Swampchaws out of the marsh. They shared their rum with him, and he showed them his "fire-breathing dragon" trick. They told him they were Pathfinders. Skiritz had found all the paths in the marsh, and he knew the other Swampchaws wouldn't like his new friends, so he offered to help them. It turns out that the path they found lead a lot further than just out of the swamp. It led to old ruins, and through human cities, and across an ocean! And always his new friends found plenty of things for Skiritz to set on fire. He got real good at it too! And he met other people-- humans and gnomes and elves-- who could make fire as good as he could. One of them taught him how to conjure a fire with a mind of its own! They called it an "elemental". Skiritz called it Crackly.
Here's a feat I wish existed: either "reverse Power Attack" or "reverse Vital Strike". We've got a feat that trades to-hit for damage and a feat that trades it for AC. Then we've got a feat that trades the rest of your attacks this round for more damage dice, on the assumption that your iteratives probably aren't going to hit. But how about a feat that lets you trade something for an attack bonus?
Maybe it's like Vital Strike: you forfeit the rest of your attacks to line up one good shot and make sure it hits. Or it could be like PA/CE: you take a scaling penalty to something else that round in exchange for a scaling bonus. I don't know how the numbers would shake out, but it would be nice to have something for when you're up against a high AC monster and you just need to land an attack.
Dwarf Wizard Lich
In the dwarven hold of Granite Peak Keep, deep beneath the mountain, there lies the Granite Peak Library. The dwarves there have amassed one of the largest collections of books in the world, with some volumes going all the way back to the Second Era, and Kharazh Lore-Hoard has been the keeper of the library for as long as anyone can remember. Some joke that he's as old as some of his books. They don't know that they're right.
Kharazh had spent nearly all of his original lifespan hoarding books and learning from them, and couldn't bear the thought that his collection had long since surpassed the point where he'd live to read them all. When an adventurer brought in a tome describing the profane rituals of lichdom, Kharazh never had a second thought. His devotion to his library had paid off, and now he would have centuries and centuries to curate it.
Kharazh uses a daily disguise self, coupled with a strong incense and a false beard made from his original beard, to maintain his appearance as it was when he was alive. No longer requiring sleep, he spends all night reading and re-scribing copies of more popular works. He also sells spellcasting services, and uses the money to commission the Pathfinder Society to bring back any old tomes they discover during their travels. Occasionally a Pathfinder notices that Kharazh has an aura of evil, but since he rarely leaves his library, he never commits any evil acts, and most travelers have come to expect dwarves to be surly to outsiders anyway. Kharazh values books more than people and would gladly kill to obtain new books, but has never needed to.
Kharazh's phylactery is a book he keeps in a display case in the back of the library. If asked, he will say the pages are fragile and it can no longer be handled. He will offer the curious a "second edition copy", and then give them a random book. Kharazh is equally protective of every other book in the library, and nobody even suspects he HAS a phylactery, so no further security has been needed.
Here's an idea for a fighter lich-- and how a fighter would come to be a lich.
Human Fighter Lich:
Marskym was a warrior without peer-- a fiend with a blade, and also a fiend. Iiasha was a sorceress as powerful as she was beautiful, and almost as beautiful as she was wicked. Together, the two found kinship in their disdain for petty morality, and each lusted after the other's power and virility. They were a force to be feared, but they'd be even more feared if they had ambition beyond the bedroom.
When age began to creep into Marskym's bones while Iiasha's elven form remained as nubile as ever, the two of them finally realized that their whirlwind romance couldn't last forever. Iiasha couldn't stand to have her favorite succumb to something as banal as time, and Marskym wasn't about to accept his fate, so when Iiasha suggested lichdom as an alternative, Marskym took it.
That was a century ago, and the two of them are still a blight on the landscape. Marskym's love of violence has only been magnified by spite: as an undead creature, Iiasha's carnal delights are forever denied him. Iiasha has since found religion: the temple of Calistria has fueled her spitefulness and malice, and temple prostitutes now fulfill the needs that Marskym's rotted form no longer can.
Marskym's phylactery is a ring that never leaves Iiasha's finger, guarded by a permanent nondetection and all of Iiasha's own various magical defenses. Iiasha playfully calls it her "wedding ring", and to her Marskym is still her favorite, but Marskym himself has come to see it as a symbol of his shackles to a woman he is bound to forever in ways he didn't expect.
As for builds? I'd say Marskym should have a few grapple feats to exploit the lich's paralyzing touch, even if it isn't his Plan A. Plan A is probably a greatsword or falchion, Power Attack, and whatever feats tickle your fancy.
Iiasha, meanwhile, is an elf sorcerer built for necromancy with a little evocation sprinkled in, plus whatever defensive spells she needs to protect herself and Marskym's phylactery from the legions of enemies they've no doubt made. Perhaps also Brew Potion so she can load him up with potions of this and that and let him off the leash for an afternoon.
Is it this Shadow Assassin? I don't know much about this book, but I'll do my best.
Unarmed Strikes count as light weapons, so get Piranha Strike for some extra damage that way. You should also technically qualify for the Daggermaster and Swarm of Blades talents, since you have two fists, even though your GM may not see it that way. (Remember, you have two fists and are therefore "wielding" two light weapons, even if you aren't TWFing. You only take TWF penalties if you try and attack with both fists and get extra off-hand attacks; if you only attack as many times as your BAB allows, you don't take penalties.)
Speaking of TWF, I recommend avoiding that route-- it only pays off if you've got some hefty static bonuses to damage on all attack rolls. Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike) will help more of your punches connect, which means more damage. You'll also want an AoMF at some point of course, unless you're willing to wear a spiked gauntlet or cestus and call that an unarmed strike. (Though I'm guessing the idea is that you kill secretly, and thus don't want to have anything on your person that can be identified as a weapon.)
I would also suggest you get the Accelerated Drinker trait, and carry a few potions of a suitable buff spell. Magic Fang will boost U.S. damage, Enlarge Person gives bigger damage dice and a STR bonus, Bull's Strength is just straight up more strength. If you have enough skill points to keep UMD maxed out, wands are cheaper per charge, so you could instead get a trait that makes UMD a class skill.
I don't know how many, but if you actually had that many, there'd be no way you'd see through them all. Or interact with other things in any way, since you've have a cloud of floating pebbles to reach through every time you wanted to pick something up or touch something.
Also, an ioun stone is about the size of a pebble. At the numbers we're talking about, the cost of that many magic items would be prohibitively expensive. You'd be better off just crafting yourself a custom magic item with a permanent Blur effect.
There was one 3.5 feat I was sorry didn't make it into PF: Flying Kick.
Flying Kick (Combat)
It's a fairly simple feat, but it does a god job of answering the age-old monk question "what do you do when the enemy is too far away to flurry?"
A monk's flurry BAB is is level -2, because it includes TWF penalties. If a monk charges, his BAB is 3/4 his level, AND he gets +2 for charging. Any other bonuses (STR, AoMF, etc.) will apply either way. Thus, the first attack in a flurry doesn't actually become more likely to hit than a charge until level 13. Ergo, monks who are willing to charge what they can't flurry (and you can charge something as close as 10 feet away, which is the minimum distance away an enemy can be and still be out of flurry range) should do pretty good.
I'd even be fine with "ki pool class feature" as an additional prereq, and making them burn a ki point to use it. As cool as it would be to see cavaliers use this to punch people from horseback.
I just finished reading a book called NOS4A2 (I recommend it highly) that makes me think it would be quite interesting to have a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith as your eidolon. You'd need the mount evolution to actually ride in it, and it'd probably only have a single slam attack, but it'd be pretty cool.
Now I sort of wish there was a Summoner archetype where your eidolon is a vehicle...
With that much melee in your group (at least I'm pretty sure at least half of them are melee) you could make a lot of friends by taking Enlarge Person. The guy you target will feel like a badass, and that natural reach and the AoO's it generates are a kind of "battlefield control".
Out of the list you gave though, Silent Image is the one I'd pick. Remember, nobody gets a WIll save UNTIL they "interact" with it. Just make sure you talk that one out with your GM, as has been mentioned.
My biggest problems with the small folk are that they just aren't differentiated enough. Gnomes and Halflings both bet a STR penalty and a CHA bonus. Nothing else about them really suggests that one is better for a certain class than another.
I would've given Halflings a WIS bonus instead of a CHA bonus. Then they'd be the sensible, comtemplative, salt-of-the-earth types who make good clerics, druids, and monks, while gnomes would be the bombastic bards and sorcerers and occasionally the oddly impressionable barbarian.
That's quite odd, since the PRD (and the Core Rulebook I believe) says specifically that "Animal companions with an Intelligence of 3 or higher can select any feat they are physically capable of using. GMs might expand this list to include feats from other sources."
This certainly seems to indicate that animal companions CAN have 3 Int.
Even without an archetype, a Horse makes a solid flanking buddy and you can grant it teamwork feats. If you bump the horse's Int as the first stat you level up, it can then take feats normally and you can give it Butterfly's Sting. Not as effective as dual-wielding kukris, but it gets three natural attacks per round and you're proficient with scythes.
I'm a little nostalgic for the Hexblade from 3.5, warts and all. What would make a PF class feel like a Hexblade for me?
-full BAB, martial proficiency
Of course, the Hexblade had its own issues, but they didn't really bother me that much.
Okay, fine, maybe you'd rather play Buzz Conroy the Summoner and his eidolon, Frankenstein Jr.?
Gotta correct you right back:
I said the horse threatens a wide area even without reach. I'm aware it only threatens adjacent enemies, but it is Large, and therefore its threat radius is 20 feet wide-- its own 10-ft body plus 5 feet on either side. That's only 5 feet shy of your own radius with a reach weapon.
Keeping high-level adventurers from escaping means shutting down any teleportation, flight, or other travel spells they have, and that means anti-magic fields and other ways to disrupt magic.
The Duke, then, should either be a Wizard who can cast such powerful anti-magic, or a pure martial type who can surround himself with these fields and never be bothered by them.
You could always just house rule your own effect, and incorporate it into the decor. Perhaps the Duke's arena grounds are caves full of bats and vermin, whose constant squeaking and foul odors create a distracting effect and force periodic saves vs. sickening, or perhaps there's a nasty storm constantly blowing and so the PCs have to make concentration checks, take Perception penalties, and need to make Survival checks just to know where they're going?
I'm so happy this thread didn't die after all.
S*K*Y*M* appears as a woman of indeterminate age, with a flowing lilac blood-stained dress and impossibly long, straight, black hair. She is commonly depicted with her hair covering her face completely, and her arms and fingers stretched to impossible lengths and segmented in odds ways, as though they had been stretched until the bones snapped and dislocated. She is most often seated, with her dress obscuring the lower half of her body.
In her mortal life, she was an innocent aristocrat's daughter who was kidnapped during a trip through rural lands. Nobody knows what her assailants did to her, but her suffering was so intense that she transcended her mortal body and became a spirit of vengeance. She cursed her assailants, transforming them into her first priests, erasing every thought they'd ever had and replacing it with Her gospel, and sent them to evangelize. Whoever those first priests preached to also found themselves slowly becoming brainwashed into worshiping Her.
Today, villages in the region have taken steps to stamp out the religion, and any record of the young noble girl, such that even her name has been distorted by time. But she still appears to those who have had their stations taken from them by malice, such as fallen paladins or nobles thrown in the dungeon, and it is said that She hears any hateful words spoken in anger as surely as prayers to Her. Some say that Her First Priests still wander the land in undeath, spreading Her Word like a disease across the land.
When I played a cavalier with a lance, I did a lot of damage on charges... but the rest of the time I was basically a mediocre reach build. The cav's challenge discourages you from hopping from one enemy to the another repeatedly, and you can't charge an enemy once you're already adjacent to it. Plus, sometimes you just can't bring your horse along.
A glaive cavalier would be a perfectly solid choice-- he wouldn't get super charges, but he'd be a bit better in all other circumstances, so it'd even out. Plus, this opens up a completely different strategy.
1. With a glaive and a spiked gauntlet, you threaten out to 10 feet.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
I'm pretty sure you can't deal sneak attack damage with Magic Missile, because there's no attack roll and therefore you aren't "aiming" it. Ray of Frost still works though.
Personally, I'd go Cavalier 20/Druid 20, and hope that the GM would let my mount also be my animal companion, so my horse would also make it to Level 40. Now I just need non-metal horse armor!
I don't worry about the genders of deities at all, because I honestly haven't read that much about their backstories or fluff. I prefer to focus on their portfolios and domains, and I let each of my characters determine for themselves what the deity means to them.
Abadar is my personal favorite. My favorite ever divine caster was a LE Inquisitor of Abadar who firmly believed that civilization, and particularly cities, were the key to uplifting mankind and would provide everything a citizen wanted out of life if only they worked real hard and played by the rules. He had vocal disdain for druids, and invited backwoods hermits to rejoin society the way a paladin offers a criminal terms of surrender.
My second favorite was a cleric of Nethys, who was the son of a sorcerer but didn't have the gift. He joined the clergy of Nethys partly out of the hope that he could "redeem" himself and be granted arcane talent, and partly because clerics are taught magic. His relations with his sorcerer father were tense, and everything he did was out of a need to prove his worth, either to his father or to his god, or both.
So no, I don't gravitate to female deities. I don't avoid them, but I usually choose one based on what the character would want.
I would argue for Counterfeit Mage. The Chemist ability gives you a little to enhance splash weapons, but no class ability to create them like the alchemist has, so you're burning through your WBL pretty fast. None of the discoveries it gives access too look worthwhile either.
The Mage meanwhile is a beast at UMD, something rogues already get good mileage out of. Sure, they cost WBL too, but they're a LOT more versatile than "1d6 fire damage".
My old GM used it for a while, but misremembered how it worked from 3.5-- for some reason, he thought it was just "half your total HP".
The result? At level 1, just about EVERY attack that hits becomes "Fort save or die." And at level 2, your odds don't improve all that much.
I know the rule exists to acknowledge that at higher levels, PCs are able to survive things they logically shouldn't, but I'll add my voice to the choir of "don't use this rule".
I definitely like that this is sort of a whole class built around what the Monk of the Empty Hand is trying to do. Although I would hope that at some point, he also gets the ability to straight up pick up his enemies and hurl them at each other. I would treat it as the Enemy Hammer spell, except it's not a spell. Maybe add a CMB roll in there, to acknowledge the existence of creatures too big and tough to just toss around.
Thrill of the Fight is still a little awkward, though. I appreciate that you want to try something new and not base it on fixed rounds, but tying the duration to TempHP is just asking for horribly unpredictable durations. Either the monsters focus on the Brute and burn through his TempHP every round, making it impossible for him to maintain it, or they focus on someone else and the Brute has his bonuses the entire combat, but it doesn't matter because the bonuses are all defensive in nature and nobody's attacking him.
Do temporary hit points from multiple sources stack? If so, how does the Brute know when he loses his bonuses if, say, he drinks a potion of False Life?
The TempHP mechanic is cool, but I'm a little worried at how swingy it is. One good crit and suddenly he's not only at half health, he's just lost a good deal of other bonuses.
I would also give him a few less-wordy options for spending thrill points. Maybe 1 point to gain a bonus on sunder checks/Strength checks to break stuff, like the monk's ability to boost his Acrobatics score?
I'm also pro-spell list, but I sympathize with the OP in that sometimes it seems a tad arbitrary who gets which spells. With Gravity Bow, my biggest gripe isn't that bards don't get it, it's that Sorcerers and Wizards do. A sorcerer or wizard shouldn't be pulling out their crossbow except as a last resort, much less spending spell slots to buff their crossbow damage.
I would be in favor of a general mechanic for learning spells of other classes, so that this theoretical archer bard COULD learn Gravity Bow, if he were to devote additional resources to it and perhaps get it as a higher-level spell. This way, you can indeed go "off the table" if you really want to, but there's still the idea of "this is the kind of things you're good at".
I love Mark Hoover's take on my suggestion, but if that seems deeper than your group is willing to go, it can be much simpler. Let's say your group picks Zon-Kuthon.
The Cleric worships him, sure.
And so on.
I picked five domains at random and this is what I came up with.
15)Iphilihisch, Warden of the Pattern