In the case of dwarven thematics, I'd personally be more interested in going with firearms over a crossbow. You're losing static damage bonuses from strength anyways, might as well go for hitting touch AC. Fits perfectly well with a dwarf, too, though some of that may be a bias from being a former WoW player.
You still have to take Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery, otherwise it's a full-round action that provokes to reload the repeater after 5 shots. With full BAB iteratives and Rapid Shot, you'll go through that magazine quickly.
Also, crossbows don't qualify for Manyshot, putting another dent in the comparable strength of crossbow vs longbow.
A scryer Wizards 'Send Senses' ability is a Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (a 3rd level spell) SLA, counting as 'being able to cast third level arcane spells' to qualify for Eldritch Knight. So a fighter 1/scryer 1 could go into EK at level 3, then by level 7 have the BAB prerequisites to enter Arcane Archer. Take it for 8 levels, then finish off with 5 more levels of EK. At the end, you'll have the BAB of a 19th level fighter and the spellcasting of a 16th level Wizard.
Use your eidolon as a mount/scout, or both. A halfling/gnome summoner with a trait for Stealth as a class skill and the Skilled evolution for Stealth/Perception on an eidolon used as a mount would make a pretty efficient scouting team.
Focus on taking Skilled (incredibly efficient evolution) and things like various enhanced senses (Scent + Skilled in Survival will put even the ranger to shame with tracking).
Remember that the god itself doesn't have to be LG, so you can also worship a NG god. Sarenrae is a pretty open goddess that can have her worship and handled in a lot of ways. You can also look into the various Empyreal Lords. Neshen is the LG god of penitence, repentance, and suffering. Ragathiel is the god of chivalry, duty, and vengeance. Vildeis is the god of devotion, sacrifice, and scars.
Also, the idea of a tiefling directly worshipping an angel is an amusing one, especially as demon-spawn tieflings are the best of the breed for paladins.
When I think Trench Fighter, especially given where it was published, I think of a guy with leather trenchcoat and a Mosin-Nagant with a bayonet.
Also, the archetype makes mention of machine guns, which is presumably something they statted out in the same AP issue that the archetype was published in, but I haven't seen the stat block pop up on d20pfsrd yet. What are the mechanical aspects of a machine gun? If it lets you fire off more rounds a turn or something similar, it could be absolutely brutal to build around.
You could get creative and run an Elf with Kirin Style to add 2x Int to the attack as well. A 2 level dip into Alchemist (Grenadier, Vivisectionist) will net you Mutagen and the ability to infuse your shots with an alchemical item. A Hybridization Funnel with alchemists fire and an acid flask would add 2d6+ Int mod x2 in damage, with a likely 1d6 Sneak Attack since the foe won't see you coming.
So, in theory, you could get gun damage +3d6+ 2x Dex +4x Int in a single shot at 1600 feet vs touch AC.
If you can delay it a level, pick up Weapon Finesse at level 2 with the rogue trick, taking TWF as your first level feat. You'll likely want to dual wield wakizashis.
Rich Parents is a waste of a trait. Go with Augmented Disguise or Keeper of the Veil instead.
Invisibility from Magical Tail isn't really worth it when you have Vanishing Trick. Definitely not worth taking the feat 4 times to reach (you have to gain the abilities in order, can't pick and choose). The Disguise Self option isn't terrible, since it last the full 10 min/level, as opposed to the 1 min/level of Sudden Disguise. I'd still take Sudden Disguise, since Swift Kitsune Shapeshifter + Sudden Disguise means you could duck around a corner and become a completely different person.
Taking Realistic Likeness means you'll rarely be in your normal form, so you won't get much from the natural attacks.
Off the top of my head, a human Unbreakable Fighter with Racial Heritage (Orc) for the Deathless Initiate feat chain and the Heart of the Wilderness trait would be pretty damn hard to kill, though much of that is in the form of mechanics to let you deal with harsh saving throws and negative HP.
There's also a Synthesist Summoner who builds like a tank. High AC, high all around stats, extra HP buffer, and evolutions to give things like flight and damage reduction.
Another option is Invisibility and stealth. Just sneak into position and SURPRISE YOU'RE DEAD.
Your parties caster should be dropping Haste ASAP, which helps speed you up for getting into position. Even if you don't get a full attack the first turn, you're still going to be an utter terror. Move into a flank first turn, fighter trips, setting off a series of AoOs.
Seize the Moment and Outflank should both trigger. Outflank says 'the enemy provokes an AoO', seize the moment says 'you may take an AoO'. Since they're separate triggers, it can also be argued that Paired Opportunists triggers twice, despite the statement on Paired Opportunists of a creature only provoking one AoO per action, since there was only one provoke, with the other being a 'freebie' and thus a different trigger.
The -2 penalty isn't that big of a deal considering the +6 he's getting to hit from flanking + the menacing weapon, and the fact that most of his attacks are AoOs which gain an additional +7 to hit from Paired Opportunists + Steadfast Pike.
The best way to get them into place at the start of a fight is getting the party wizard to use Telekinetic Charge, with a second one quickened via rod, to place the pair in flanking so they can full attack on the first turn. Telekinesis would also work in a pinch, as would Dimension Door or a mount.
Here's the dynamic duo, 25 point buy, at level 12. The rogue takes his favored class bonus of 1/6th of a rogue talent, the fighter takes HP. The Swashbuckler archetype gives kukri proficiency and lets you take Combat Trick twice.
Grimm, human Rogue (Swashbuckler) 12
Equipment: Belt of Incredible Dexterity +6, +1 Agile Menacing Kukri x2
Reaper, human Fighter (Polearm Master) 12
Str 25 (16+2+3+4)
Equipment: Belt of Physical Might +4, +3 Guisarme
When they're flanking with each other, made easier by Flexible Flanker (so they can stand diagonal from each other and still flank), their attack bonuses go up by +6, with an additional +4 on AoOs. I'm too lazy and bad at math to run a full sim, but assuming both get a full attack with only one crit trigger, you're looking at
2d4+27 (x3) + 1d4+10+6d6 (x4) from the full attacks, with the one rogue crit triggering 6d4+81 damage from Butterfly Sting, which triggers another 2d4+12d6+20 from Outflank and Seize the Moment, which triggers another 3d4+6d6+37 from Paired Opportunists. The fighter crit allows him a free trip, which if successful triggers another 3d4+6d6+37 damage from the provoked AoOs.
Total average damage per round: 482. This gets a lot higher with external buffs (Haste, Heroism, Inspire Courage, etc). That's THREE TIMES the HP of a CR 12 red dragon. With a little party support, in a single round, they could kill a CR 20 Red Dragon Wyrm.
Interestingly, it seems that Seize the Moment + Outflank would allow TWO AoOs per crit, causing two triggers of Paired Opportunists.
It's pretty feat intensive, but holy crap if it isn't efficient. Make the rogue a knife master for d8 sneak attack dice with his kukris and take the Opportunist advanced talent to set off the chain when you need to. Clever use of Unwitting Ally + Gang Up also make establishing a flank easier.
You can use Gang Up to count as flanking while adjacent with some clever positioning. Also, if you make the fighter a Polearm Master, then the Flexible Flanker ability lets him treat his position as an adjacent square for purposes of flanking. Use a glaive for an x3 crit multiplier, and use trips and Broken Wing Gambit as further ways to trigger AoOs.
:D I aim to please.
Really, though, the combination is utterly absurd. Combat would go like:
Get into a flank. Rogue full attacks, and if he scores a critical threat (on 15-20), the fighter gets an automatic x4 crit. The crit then triggers Outflank, giving the rogue an AoO, which triggers Paired Opportunist, giving the fighter an AoO. If the rogue crits on that AoO, rinse and repeat until you're out of AoOs, you don't crit threat, or whatever you're fighting is paste.
Alchemist would give you gun-related extracts, mutagens, self-healing, skills, and bombs as an option to AoE packs of enemies, while still targeting touch AC and synergizing with your ranged combat feats. The Grenadier archetype lets you attach alchemical items to your bullets as well. Bombs also give options for some battlefield control. Not quite combat maneuvers, but still helpful.
For a completely different approach with gunslinger/alchemist, a Gunslinger (Pistolero)/Alchemist (Vivisectionist) would be absolutely brutal at close range, stacking Up Close and Deadly with Sneak Attack, especially once you get Signature Deed. The Vestigial Arm discovery also lets you reload your pistols, meaning you can dual wield them.
If you can convince your GM to let it work with firearms, a Zen Archer/Gunslinger would be frightening. Flurry of bullets, with high saves, mobility, and extra utility out of a high Wisdom score.
You could attempt the same persuasion with the Archer archetype for fighter to work with guns. Otherwise, just go with Weapon Master fighter focusing on rifles.
Probably half-elf, slap your free Skill Focus into Perception.
Gunslinger (Musket Master) 5/ Fighter (Trench Fighter) 5
The idea being to jack as many bonuses to hit and damage as you can, with iterative attacks being less of a concern (though Rapid Shot is still nice). If there was a Furious Focus equivalent feat for Deadly Aim (talk to your GM?) then it would be a must have.
Important magic items to pick up would be a Distance rifle with a Far-Reaching Sight, as high a +Dexterity belt as you can pick up, and Gloves of Dueling. Given WBL at level 10, you could get a +4 Belt of Dexterity, Gloves of Dueling, a +2 Distance Rifle with the sight, with 4k left over for something else (magic armor and a Cloak of Resistance, or magical ammo).
Your bonus to hit at maximum range (1600 feet) would be 10 BAB + 7 Dex + 3 Weapon Training +2 enhancement + 1 Weapon Focus - 3 Deadly Aim - 10 range penalty, for a net +10 to hit vs touch AC.
Damage would be 1d10+14 Dex (2x)+6 Deadly Aim +3 Weapon Training +2 Weapon Specialization +2 enhancement, for 1d10+27 damage per shot at 1600 feet away. Not enough to one shot most bad guys, but enough to hurt like hell.
Improved Precise Shot and Pinpoint Targeting in a few levels is also excellent, letting you negate some of the penalties.
Of course, you don't have to fight from max possible range, or focus all on one shot. In the middle of a fight, you can still fire off your 3 iteratives for a hefty chunk of damage per shot with obscene accuracy.
I had an idea that might be interesting. Musket Master + Trench Fighter, focusing on rifles. Grab a Far-Reaching Sight and a Distance weapon, stack a bunch of static bonuses (Deadly Aim, enhancement, Weapon Training, etc), perhaps UMD some form of scrying, and spend full round actions sniping bad guys from a mile away.
Because Pathfinder obviously needs a Spec Ops sniper PC to make ranged combat even more broken ;)
A Pistolero 5/Alchemist 2/Urban Barbarian 3/Trench Fighter 10 dual wielding pistols would be able to fire off an absurd number of shots per round, adding 2x Dex to damage for each of them, on top of enhancement and Weapon Training bonuses, using the Vestigial Arm discovery to reload your pistols, and stacking Rage + Mutagen for +8 on Dex.
My question is; does the Gunslinger's Gun Training class feature stack with the Trench Fighter archetypes Trench Warfare? Specifically, the +Dex to damage.
The abilities are worded very similarly, but have different names and are thus different abilities. Would a Gunslinger 5/Trench Fighter 3 who'd chosen pistols as his weapon of choice get 2x Dex to damage rolls with pistols?
As long as you've hit level 5 and got the relevant Gun Training to add +Dex to damage with your favored weapon, then your best bet is likely going into Fighter, with the Trench Fighter archetype. As they're different abilities with different names, Gun Training and Trench Warfare might stack, adding 2x Dex to damage rolls, on top of the damage from Deadly Aim, Weapon Specialization, and fighter Weapon Training, adding up to an absurd amount of damage per shot.
Sort of off the wall here, but might I suggest looking into the Tactician class?
It has a lot of interesting abilities involving directing allies and gaining bonuses against designated targets or using special tactics. He even gets the ability to share a teamwork feat he knows with a designated ally as a FREE action once per ROUND, allowing you to set up some coordinated tactics.
The psionics angle takes some getting used to, but the class as a whole is an extremely potent warlord sort of character.
The downside to natural weapons is the fact that you're using the Archery style feats to pick up your core 'switch hitter' abilities while ignoring prerequisites.
If you want to use natural weapons instead of a two hander, go with a race with inherent natural weapons (changeling, tiefling, tengu, catfolk, toothy half-orc).
An Oni-spawn tiefling urban ranger with the Claw racial trait isn't half bad. +2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Cha. +2 Disguise, +2 Intimidate. Useful abilities for a more 'infiltration' sort of ranger, which fits for an urban setting.
AC becomes less relevant when you blast through the bad guys more often. Remember, Smite also boosts your AC vs your Smite target, which helps. LoH isn't something you use every time you get damaged, it's to help keep you alive and out of range of being one shotted. Out of combat healing with things like a Wand of Cure Light Wounds is often the most efficient option.
Remember, you don't HAVE to do it. It just gives you another option for what to do with unused LoHs.
I honestly wouldn't bother using any of the feats. Paladins are feat starved as it is. If you're going with a bruiser sort of build, just put your feats into damage and let your innate resilience and some good full plate be all you need for survival. Remember, dead bad guys do no damage.
If you're going with an Aasimar, just go with Angelkin. +2 Str, +2 Cha, no stat penalties.
Oath of Vengeance is good, not only for the ability to convert LoH to smites, but for the more efficient eventual 'Alpha Strike' ability of Powerful Justice. Giving your other melee bruisers the ability to add your level to damage for every attack is HUGE, especially with something like a flurrying monk or TWF rogue.
Channel Energy is a much, much less efficient use of your LoH resources than an extra smite, so you're not really losing much.
Use a greatsword/falchion and a longbow at level 1. Upgrade to a +4 rating composite longbow ASAP.
2: Rapid Shot (bonus)
Pretty simple build, very versatile.
Step 1: Convince your DM to let you play one. Congratulations! You now have an optimized character.
Seriously, though. The whole Synthesist thing is about jacking up your stats and giving you abilities you could never have gained before. The really cheesy tactics involved taking a venerable character and tanking all of their physical stats to jack up the mental stats, then just use the physical stats of the eidolon. Build like a melee bruiser, likely with a lot of natural attacks. High Strength, Power Attack, beat things in the face.
I will always strongly advocate Treantmonks Switch Hitter ranger style. It has high hit dice, full BAB progression, good proficiencies, two good saves, 6+int skill points with one of the better skill lists. An extremely versatile character. With that point buy, I'd go with
Human Urban Ranger
Feats: Quick Draw, Power Attack
If you get max starting gold, you'll have 600g total starting funds. Exactly nough for a +4 rating composite longbow, hide armor, a rangers kit, a falchion, and 20 arrows.
The idea here is to do ranged and melee combat equally well. At level 1, you have a strong ranged attack on distant foes, and when they close to melee, drop the bow, quick draw the falchion, and go to town as a melee bruiser.
At level 2, select Archery as your fighting style and take Rapid Shot. You can now do 2d8+8 damage a round to distant foes, or 2d4+6 to foes in melee.
Feat progression would be
1: Power Attack, Quick Draw
Melee bruisers tend to be pretty easy to build featwise. Just use your normal feats (with the exception of one for Deadly Aim) to select melee feats, and take the archery bonus feats. As a full BAB class, your ranged attacks will be accurate enough, especially with favored enemy in play, and then you can go to being a melee beatstick.
I personally had a lot of fun in CoT as a Rakshasa-blooded Tiefling Sandman bard taking Arcane Heritage for the Rakshasa bloodline. Ridiculously high Disguise checks with some subtle magic will get you anywhere. Not so much on combat abilities, but CoT has a lot of elements of espionage and intrigue, which the Sandman bard does quite wonderfully.
At level 3, my bard had a +34 to Disguise with Alter Self + Disguise Self, with a really high Bluff check and the ability to read thoughts. At higher levels, the modifiers get absurd enough that you could convince the local population that you were the Queen herself.
A Fighter/Zen Archer monk would be the unrivaled king of ranged combat, with a lot of scouting skills and high mobility.
A half-orc fighter/rogue using Surprise Follow Through and the Cleave feats would be an absolute monster at multiple target combat, as well as being able to annihilate single targets with a two-handed weapon and a flanking buddy.
A barbarian/cavalier would be an absurdly good mounted character, with high durability and scouting and social skills.
A paladin/monk would have ridiculous saves and mobility, and things like Crusaders Flurry and Adept Champion would boost damage/control potential.
A monk/unarmed fighter would be rolling in feats to make him an absolute monster at combat maneuvers and ass kicking.
A small sized paladin/summoner would have high saves, high AC, a highly customizable mount, armored casting, and access to some of the best buff spells.
Take a page from the "Juju" oracle mystery. Undead aren't actually undead, they're remains animated by spirits with an alignment that matches the caster. The 'Create Undead' spells lose the evil descriptor (unless the caster is evil, of course).
You still have to make them okay with using human remains, but it isn't an inherently 'evil' act.
Fire is the number one most common (and most commonly resisted) elemental damage in the game. Since it's only 1d6 damage, even resist 5 fire really puts a damper on its usefulness. Nothing has resistance to Holy damage. Sure, you'll face Neutral foes, but they're just as likely to have fire resistance as the bad guys. Go with Holy, more likely to be useful.
The biggest downside to ranged rogue/ninja is the difficulty in getting sneak attack dice, since SA is pretty much the one thing that keeps their damage competitive. The best ways to ensure sneak attack for a ranged rogue is to go down the Dazzling Display/Break Guard route, which is best done with some cooperative character building with your party martial sort.
Ninjas have the advantage of being able to use Ki for an extra attack, ensuring those times when they do get sneak attack that they make the most of it. Though picking up all of the requisite Archery feats, on top of the Dazzling Display/Shatter Defenses line, is a really steep investment for a feat starved class. A standard rogue often uses rogue talents to supplement the lack of feats, but ninja tricks are often better than rogue talents, so the opportunity cost is higher.
Once you get access to Invisible Blade, things get a lot easier as you have reliable access to Greater Invisibility. I'm postponing Deadly Aim because sneak attack rewards iterative attacks, so Rapid Shot/Manyshot are a higher priority. Ninjas also lack in attack bonuses, so you need all the accuracy you can get.
That said, a build could look something like (on a painfully low point build)
Consider taking traits to improve your painfully weak will save. You might also drop Int to 8 to bump Wis to 12, with a net Wis of 10.
1: Point Blank shot
By this point, assuming a starting Dex of 18, level bumps to Dex, a +4 Dex item, Point Blank Shot range, and a +3 Shortbow, your attack routine using a Ki point and Deadly Aim would be 16/16/16/11, firing a total of 5 arrows, 4 of which trigger SA (Manyshot only triggers precision damage once) for 5d6 (arrows)+50 (static bonuses)+24d6 (SA). Not bad, especially as your accuracy improves against flat-footed opponents or opponents who can't see you because of Greater Invisibility.
So, I'm about to start a Council of Thieves game and have elected to play a fetchling ninja, as there is some interesting mechanical and flavor aspects to such. I figure him to be a sort of 'shadow assassin', doing the dirty work of the rebellion.
My problem is, I can't really figure out how I want to build him. Ostensibly, the same way you'd build a normal rogue, but that seems a bit boring. I'd like to play up his shadow ties, but I'm not necessarily sure how to go about it. Moonlight Stalker chain? Gloom Strike? Though feat intensive builds aren't a rogues best friend.
25 point buy, two traits, all available Paizo material (no third party). Here's what I was thinking. I might be able to convince my GM to allow some of the more thematically appropriate traits available to tieflings (like Shadow Stabber).
Traits: Shadow Stabber, Conspiracy Hunter
Level 1: Weapon Finesse
This character is set up to do solo work. The idea being to get the drop on opponents in total darkness (likely through a magic item if needed) and assassinate them. With low-light vision, darkvision, Stealth, the Shadow Walk SLA, and Vanishing Trick, I should be able to get anywhere to take out a target.