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It is core enough that there is content in the PHB that augments it. Look at the rogue advanced talent skill mastery.
You do not have to have it in your game if you do not want it, but that is your house rule, not the Pathfinder rules. IMO it serves to help things run smoother when there is no big fight or distraction by ensuring characters can actually perform skills they are trained in and handle everyday tasks. This saves them a fair bit of frustration.
Azure Falcon wrote:
So one of my players wants to cast Wish, but you need a 25,000 Gold diamond. How big is this thing?
I agree with Jeraa, it depends on the gem. I would say that it depends on how well the gem is cut. You can consider it a ceremonial offering for the spell. The size of the gem itself isn't as important as it being properly prepared. A smaller stone that is flawlessly cut and worked on is actually better than a raw gem of ten times the size, exactly because it was prepared just right.
In the game, this means your character have several options - either look up a master jeweller, or make a visit to a huge trading metropolis (i.e. the City of Brass) or even to the sort of place where huge uncut diamonds can be found (i.e. the elemental plane of Earth). Basically, you can make a whole sidequest out of it. If it is done right, it would be the kind of detail players will remember fondly (hey, remember that time you won a heart-sized diamond for armwrestling an efreet?).
Of course, if one of the players just happens to have a fair few ranks in craft (gemcutting) or the like, well, time to give them something for it. In that case, your work essentially goes to improving the gem and making it more suitable for the spell. It isn't just the cut, it could be fancy stuff like inscribing runes on the gemstone, putting it in a mithral frame, and all that.
Oriental music works quite well for oracles imo, especially the more chillout-oriented tracks. Wizards are quite hard to pin down as the different schools have different themes, but I tend to see them as somewhat... jazzy.
I would go with traditional heavy metal for fighters and some of their subtypes. I am tempted to go with blues for rogues and investigators, especially the urban ones.
A follower of Zon-Kuthon can definitely be an interesting pick here. After all, ZK´s dogma can be read as growth and strength through suffering, and how better to improve the soul of a fallen nation and its decadent people than through the crucible of a vicious civil war? After all, what does not kill you, makes you stronger. And really, the Chelish and their Asmodean elite have long had it coming, all the more so as they have, in their arrogance, claimed they knew all about strength, pain, or devotion. They will have to learn what those words really mean - and perhaps Cheliax will become great again.
Though to be quite honest I´m most tempted to play a Calistrian follower in this path. So much mischief to be done, so many wrongs to avenge... and really, where but in Cheliax can you find such delicious decadence as a backdrop of your work?
I would actually put stealing from the party as chaotic, alignment-wise, but it is a really, really unpleasant move to the rest of the players and may well ruin the party and the game for you as players. Pocketing a trinket or two may be ok if the DM and the other players are okay, but actually making a significant difference in what each player earns is a dick move, whatever the alignment of the character.
Joynt Jezebel wrote:
I´d treat it as a specific subset of art - sculpture, painting, etc. It may occasionally be an indicator of the alignment of the artist, especially due to its function (as it tends to glorify or espouce values or situations, rather than warn against them).
Now, if you want to check what skills bards can emulate with perform (sexual), then I´d really discuss that with the DM first :) .
Yeah, disable device does not sound like a big issue there. Actually, I'd say the urban ranger is a pretty good trapsmith, even though favored community is not quite a good as the usual favored terrain imo.
Also, I can't help but be a little picky with some of the arguments the OP was giving. "Someone who can deal with locks, mundane traps, and such would probably be a good idea...Having someone, at some point, able to deal with magical traps might be a good idea." Ehm, the party has that, it's the urban ranger, unless s/he decides to NOT boost perception and disable device on a ranger archetype with trapfinding (or tends to be missing most sessions and they need a fallback option). There would be quite a few toes being stepped on in this party. As for locked chests and explosive runes, the sorcerer is in fact quite capable of handling these - there are spells like knock and dispel magic, for starters.
Overall, I'd say be willing to play ball if the group sounds fun, but don't play pure rogue unless you want to. Personally, I think they should be quite able to handle trapfinding with their current crew (although I'd trade a line or two with the ranger player since that's the character that should be the trap expert imo), and it is the face department where they need more help. My first pick would be a bard with ranks in stealth, DD and perception, even though inspiring competence in the ranger may be the more optimal way to do it. You can back up the primary trapsmith and scout, and you are a natural face, especially as the additional versatile performances start coming online.
I was checking through some feats mentioned on the forums and I came across "Horn of the Cryosphinx". Now, being able to add twice rather than 1.5 times the strength bonus to damage on a two-handed weapon sounds nice in certain cases, but then I saw this:
"A monk can use this feat as long as he is wielding a two-handed weapon or both his hands are empty."
So, two questions. First, if a monk has both hands empty, s/he is probably fighting unarmed, and the fists are counted as light weapons iirc. So what does HotC do in that case?
Second, if a monk is using a two-handed monk weapon (i.e. seven-brached sword or even a staff), does s/he get any benefit from the feat if s/he flurries with it? I think in a flurry the monk only gets the standard one-time bonus from high strength despite effectively using the two-weapon fighting rules. Or am I wrong here and a monk flurrying with, say, a seven-branched sword makes all flurry attacks with 1.5x the strength bonus to damage, 2x with this feat?
Ah, I thought they were taking the fighter dervish archetype. 2 Bards can definitely help in the skills department. Yes, a dedicated range character can do more when it comes to ranged combat, but it should be possible to get a smattering of spells to either fight from a range or be able to negate a ranged advantage (i.e. invisibility sphere, fickle winds, etc). In that case, my main advice would be for someone to get the trapfinding trait and to put some ranks in old languages and a few atypical knowledges like history. It may come in handy with how many ruins you can expect to delve in.
I would agree with Ithnaar, it would really be helpful to have some rogue-ish skills. It might be an interesting twist to have one of the twins be more of the "light" one, and the other more of a "shadow" one in their abilities - one brash and direct, the other subtle and careful. How about making the second a bard, for example with the dawnflower dervish archetype if you want to keep the theme? Bards have plenty of skill points, and with versatile performance (which this archetype, unlike the other dervish bard, keeps) are some of the best skill characters in the setting. Vanilla bards and other archetypes also work - you don't have to have a similarly named archetype to take the dervish dance feat, after all! This rounds up the party, and a natural lore master as the bard helps you gather all matters of clues and investigations. Aasimars work pretty well with bards, and their special favourite class bonus is awesome - +1/4 to the bonuses of one bardic performance per level. If you go with the regular bard, the group will love you. If you go with a dervish bard (performances are self-only but twice as powerful), well, your fighter may struggle to keep up with you in a fight.
The concept works very well with some other classes, too - investigators, alchemists, inquisitors, rogues or ninjas (reflavor as a more magical rogue archetype) are also great. They can all fight okayish, and help fill a useful niche in such a campaign.
Okay, back to bards - as you may guess I really like the idea of a bard in this party and role - here are some suggestions about bards and handy archetypes. Overall, consider the vanilla bard first. You keep the awesome versatile performance, which mean several of your perform skills can "double" as two other skills each (which is why bards are likely the best skill characters in the game, maybe except for investigators) and bardic knowledge and its related tricks are handy when you are in the archeology business. The spells are good, the overall class is damn handy (and the bits you don't like can be traded away through an archetype). Just mind the fortitude save, and be sure to pick a well-scaling performance for the aasimar favored class bonus. As for the rest:
- Archeologist: perform becomes self-only (though the party has plenty of buff spells), but you pick up a lot of rogue tricks. When it comes to excavating ruins in Osirion, almost no one does it better.
- Archivist: you lose inspire courage, but get a defensive buff "performance" against creatures you identify and their abilities. I don't want to spoil things but seriously, what are the odds of you NOT coming across tons of undead/outsiders/other monsters with nasty abilities in a path like this? You also lose versatile performance with its social buffs and some of the other "party tricks", but your lore mastery and knowledge are buffed and you can confuse people with your edumication verbousnessitude.
- Daredevil: I am normally not a fan due to losing inspire courage, but when it comes to exploration, traps or the like this is actually solid. The other features are also good for that kind of campaign.
- Dervish Dancer / Dervish of Dawn - I mentioned them already. Both lose lore master/bardic knowledge and one essentially loses versatile performance, but when it comes to cutting things in tiny pieces with style, they are golden. Praise the sun and pass the tulwar!
- Detective: another tomb explorer ace. Instead of inspire courage, you get an hour-long party exploration buff for 3 rounds of performance and some Poirot tricks later on. While you lose some of the more obscure bardic knowledge buffs or some of the social tricks, you get access to more divinations, trapfinding and further bonuses to perception. Possibly the best trapsmith of all bards.
- Dirge bard: considering the importance of death in pseudo-egyptian societies and how much time you can expect to spend in tombs, dirge bards can be surprisingly effective. They are experts on things ancient and dead, and don't scare easily. The loss of versatile performance hurts, but some free necromancy spells and more ways to identify/affect undead are an okay trade in such a campaign. You lose loremaster to be even better at scaring things, but keep the base bardic knowledge.
- Duettist: the loss of bardic knowledge hurts, but you are a skill monkey with a familiar - has access to all your skill ranks, who uses your versatile performance, can perform instead of you or boost your performance (and eventually you can have 2 active performances at once). It may not be related to this path like some of the others, but for a skill monkey character you are still very, very good.
- Flame Dancer - not a huge change mechanically, but thematically appropriate - you lose some minor abilities and become better in dealing with fire and heat. It's not like you are somewhere hot, right?
- Sandman - a more discrete bard/rogue that can steal spells, open locks and remove traps. Not quite as knowledgeable or social, but quite "shadowy" if you want to try the duality siblings as I suggested.
One more thing, regarding the group lacking a ranged threat. Dawnflower dervishes lose none of the base fighter's ranged potential, and if anything they tend to have high dexterity. Just because you are not a specialist does not mean you cannot - and should not - pick a composite bow, put your second weapon training there and perhaps add a few feats. Almost all the archetype's abilities are also good for archers, and this character can essentially be a switch hitter, except with scimitar (or falchion) as a melee weapon.
I'm much more focused on defense than offense. I knew about the swashbuckler, I just hadn't played one. Is there any feats to really ramp up combat expertise or something?
Some, but it is actually easier to boost fighting defensively. The Crane Style feat can be pretty good for defensive warrior fighting with a free hand, even after Crane Wing got nerfed. Duelists eventually get a big further AC bonus when fighting defensively, but their damage output is somewhat low. The PrC is not so much low but it comes online later than, say, a core duelist.
Daring champion is a pretty good duelist base if you do not want spells. You can definitely do it with other classes, including fighter, but the DC has several good abilities that are thematic and work well with one another. I agree with Petty Alchemy on the order too - in general, several orders work for a daring champion, but the Cockatrice is best at being a dominant duelist and belittling your foes.
Other honorable mentions:
Arcane duelist bard
Bards and the like are nice and a bard may actually be my top choice for the position, but I think a paladin can also fit the trope very well, especially if s/he's from one of the more pacifistic orders. They are very charismatic, tend to at least have the option to be cultured and diplomatic, and via smite and possibly weapon bond can go to town with anything on hand. Plus, when it comes to loyalty, honor and service to a good cause, it's pretty hard to top a paladin.
The main problem is the low number of skill points per level, which do not work very well if you want to make a character that is hypercompetent at everything. This is where multiclassing can work, I guess, or it could be that the character is still learning the ropes when it comes to butlering :) .
- Ninja: while not quite as good in the ass-kicking department as, say, a cavalier or paladin, such a character is incredibly good at everything requiring some finesse.
- Swashbuckler: got style, will kick ass. Perfectly capable of handling armored louts one minute, then leading a cultured discussion the next - all the time, armed with nothing more than a tuxedo, a (sword) cane and an unmatched wit. The flying blade is also worth considering for a character who looks even more discrete and uses daggers rather than larger weapons.
- Investigator: A good butler knows where everything and everyone is and how everything works, and the investigator is hard to beat at that. With the expanded inspiration and underground inspiration, you add free dice to most non-combat rolls you care to make, and with studied combat and combat inspiration, you are far from a slouch in a fight either. Then, there's the alchemy, which makes you better at all those things. No one - barring alchemists and witches, but they are frankly no good for cultured occasions - makes as good a tea as an investigator. Both the empiricist and the mastermind are good archetypes for the role.
"He REALLY sold it......smashing the bad guy's skull on the ground until it was ground hamburger, smearing his blood all over himself, beheading what was left of his melon and swinging it wildly at us telling us to back away"
I'd call this a loss of control more than anything else. Presuming the bad guy had not surrendered, it was a fight to the death, and these can get pretty brutal. The beheading and the rest was a loss of control and possibly a chaotic act, but barring a history of previous offenses I am not sure this merits an immediate fall. It could also be a roleplay of a momentary loss of control to darker powers, with the "telling us to back away" being an attempt by the paladin self to protect his/her associates . I imagine the patron deity has the right of choice in this moment. Given the circumstances, an option to retrain the character is in order (I would actually consider pushing for a warpriest or an inquisitor as well).
The racial change thing, though... unless it was previously discussed or at least mentioned to the player, this can be a bit too intrusive.
I imagine most dwarves actually leave close to the surface and have farming outposts around. Underground, they get by on mushrooms, specialized flora/fauna (both domesticated and caught) and trade. Divine casters can provide food and water, druids and rangers take care of lifestock or their by-products... Few humanoids are as capable at tending to, say, beehives - especially of the underground variety - as dwarven druids and experts. That resistance to poison comes in handy at times :) .
There are times when darker deeds are necessary, such as banditry and raiding. There may even be times when... other meat is eaten. However, this happens much more often among the races further down below - deep gnomes, drow, and worse.
The idea of a paladin and the Shelynite dogma and, well, mechanical benefits would make me want to try a zone control tank, using the glaive to prevent people from reaching you or your allies, probably with combat reflexes and feats that prevent a target from moving on a successful AoO. Half-elf paladins can also consider multiclassing into bards - no, I'm not quite kidding. No one goes ham quite like a bardadin, and being able to sway the hearts and minds of everyone fits the archetype of a Shelynite paladin to a T. From a mechanical perspective, a dip in bard gets you several useful abilities and a great way to expand on your skill selection through versatile performance, while a dip in paladin in an overall bard build gives a bit more toughness, smite and divine grace to a combat-oriented bard such as an arcane duelist.
By the way, my first idea of a Shelynite inquisitor is a sanctified James/Jane Bond. Some inquisitor archetypes and inquisitions help with that, such as the infiltrator (though losing stern gaze hurts, you become great at undercover work) or the conversion, reformation or redemption inquisition. All your peers can make people quiver with a look, but you are one of Shelyn's own smooth operators - sometimes it is fitting to show some taste and grace.
Overall, when it comes to roleplaying I'd say think out of the box and keep an eye on diplomancing the pants of everything that you should not 100% kill. Many games have a whole lot of encounters that can be resolved peacefully - with a kind word or a hard glare, especially if the kind word is accompanied by just a bit of guile (or a whole lot if you are an inquisitor). That may require some cooperation with the DM, btw - the concept really depends on how gritty the DM wants the game to get, i.e. if villains or at least their minions can be converted or if they will just ignore your diplomacy check result of 40 because they are evil and will try to screw you over, or if you get docked XP because of NOT killing the minions or, for that matter, the boss herself. It is good if the DM keeps in mind that a mid-to high level social character can be persuasive to the degree only legendary and mythical figures can be. There will be times when you need to destroy your enemy in order to achieve peace, but you believe these times are indeed quite rare - and strive to ensure just that.
Swashbucklers lose a bunch of bonuses if they start wielding a one-handed weapon in two hands--for example, Precise Strike goes away.
I don't think it does, actually. Here is what I am going by:
"At 3rd level, while she has at least 1 panache point, a swashbuckler gains the ability to strike precisely with a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon (though not natural weapon attacks), adding her swashbuckler level to the damage dealt. To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler"
So, what are the requirements for precise strike:
- use a light or one-handed piercing melee weapon
This would imply that attacking a one-handed piercing melee weapon such as a trident (or another one-handed weapon allowed by slashing grace etc) held in both hands is okay, as it is the size class and type of the weapon that is important. Incidentally, the rules would allow using the off hand for unarmed attacks as well, and I was hoping to try out a crane style monk/swashbuckler or monk/fighter before Crane Wing was nerfed :) .
Let me know if I am missing a FAQ ruling on that, but to the best of my knowledge the above is a fully legitimate interpretation.
@Loneknave: my bad for not seeing the Daring champion gets to keep precise strike, that makes it a lot better than I originally thought.
I'd probably consider getting power attack and maybe some way to boost the weak saves, either by feats or traits. Sure, you have charmed life, but I'm not sure that will be enough all the time. IIRC there is no problem for a swashbuckler to use a one-handed weapon with both hands, right?
Strange, though, when I was reading the daring champion I was fairly underwhelmed. Having to rely on challenges for the extra damage and losing weapon training (and its respective boosts from gloves of dueling) seemed quite tricky to me. Apart from having a different strong save, they seemed more different in whether you want a bit more personal power vs a bit more teamwork-related abilities.
I have only played a flame oracle for a while, so I would not claim to have some great wisdom :) . As I see it, unless you are aiming for something incredibly optimized, you can try pretty much any mystery and curse that fits your concept, and in particular the kind of fiendish blood your character has. Pretty much any mystery has enough good choices to last you through the adventure.
If you want to get a mystery that will fit the "dark and evil" stereotype easily (so you can deconstruct it with roleplaying) bones, flame, outer rifts, dark tapestry, juju or occult are the easy choices. Really, though, it's all about flavor and how you describe it. Think woods and life are cutesy and friendly? Shub-Niggurath from the Cthulhu mythos is all about darkened woods, dark, twisted fecundity and the birthing of things any sane soul would flee away from in horror. Maybe your mystery fits your infernal parent, making you sort of a sorcerer in that regard - i.e. the spawn of a demon prince from the Black Ice Peak might be a natural candidate for a somewhat "reskinned" version of the water mystery. Or perhaps your character was somehow touched by something divine (as in, a deity, not necessarily a good one - but who's going to tell Sarenrae she can't for some odd reason give a spark of power to the child of a daemon?), and the Mystery matches it, whether your character like it or not.
For a curse, tongues would imo be the most fitting - i.e. your character may be speaking in abyssal when pushed. Others can also work. It really is all about reflavoring. Lame? You have one goat leg and one normal one, good luck running on that. Deaf? Oh, you wish you were deaf - it's just that you hear things from someplace else. Or maybe you did, before maiming yourself so you don't have to endure it anymore. Haunted? Anything from almost-immaterial imps growing stronger near you and tormenting you from a curse carried through the bloodline to bind those who would not serve your parent's dark master - thankfully weakened somewhat from your diluted blood.
In terms of build, just focus on a role and aim to be good in it. Decide if you want to be a warrior or a caster first, and plan accordingly. Half-fiends get a lot of stat boosts - just be careful in case your DM adjusts your level down, which to be honest might not be undeserved with all the bonuses you get (another reason to consider tiefling first), as that hurts, especially for casters. There are some good guides out there, and check some of the newer discussions - that's how I found out about gems such as the divine protection feat (divine grace for oracles, warpriests etc).
I think it depends on just how the DM flavors it. If it is something you animate from your shadow, that happens to have the stats of a certain undead (but is actually not one), it could fly - if it is essentially an undead being you command, it could be an issue.In that case, consider talking with your gm about trading it for another feature, perhaps sneak attack dice?
I'm generally not too sold on fireballs on clerics. It sort of helps with the idea of punishment from above, but you already have some stuff for that. If you want to, eh, okay...
I would probably go for a Roaming Exorcist - the archetype looks quite cool if you don't mind being in light armor, and exorcism and travel seems a good fit for a cleric of a (near-dead) sun god, with nobility and sun as my domains of choice. Fire is certainly an option, but I think Sun is closer to the theme, and having both together somewhat ignores all other aspects of Ra. The evangelist also works well thematically, the rest are imo a bit too specialized for the state of the cult. You can do it, but imo it feels a bit more forced.
I don't really see it as a bang for the bug issue, all of them deliver a good bang, it's what sort you want to get. For me, the evangelist is probably one of the more solid picks since it gets the pretty versatile bardic performance. Mind you, comparing heroism to scaling inspire courage is pretty one-sided in favor of the inspire courage. The Evangelist gets a mass version heroism beyond the normal slots, and shortly after other clerics canget it via glory domain, s/he gets to "cast" it as a move action, then move or cast something else in the same turn - a huge bonus. There are also a lot of other useful bardic abilities. The price is not very high - the channel ability gets somewhat reduced, but that is still way better than the ecclesitheurge, who flat out loses it. If you do go for the ecclesitheurge, mind you, your AC and proficiencies will suffer pretty badly, so unless you have a conceptual reason or want to play a pseudo-wizard rather than a "warrior priest", I'd probably not bother. Basically, I see it this way - if you do not want to give up the cleric's traditional niche and are really fond of a certain domain and signature domain spells, go theologian, if you want to be a capable social character and buffer - go evangelist.
Hm, I was just about to offer the oracle as an interesting alternative class, and I see at the end you already made a character :) The idea about a half-fiend touched by the divine, unholy, or just supernatural has merit imo. Some of the curses and mysteries can fit quite well - for example, the tongues curse can be a great thematic fit for a half-outsider oracle, and many outsiders have a theme that can be represented as a mystery. The planar tie also explains being able to use "divine" magic without a direct link to a deity.
Well, if you are in Golarion you must be aware of just how legendary drow are (and that their appearance puts most of the elven secret forces on "OH S**T" level of alert). Any adventure that is far enough from Kyonin could work. Actually, the weirder the place or adventure, the better - I think an unusual AP like Iron Gods or the Baba Yaga one could gel pretty well with a band of new to the surface drow, perhaps with minor adaptations of the plot hooks :) .
A question, wouldn't a psychic warrior or soulknife archetype work better? Soulknives have the whole "have a personal uberweapon" schtick and one of their archetypes has limited manifesting for jedi force powers, while psychic warriors have a more balanced force powers/martial approach, and some of their paths work quite well for an unarmored/lightly armored character (ascetic/mindknight, for example). The traceur can be an impressively mobile opponent if you don't mind giving up your armor proficiency (which for this concept would not be a huge issue), and for higher-level games, the meditant archetype may be especially useful, as it can flurry with monk weapons.
Cavalier-Bards can probably work well enough - personally, from your description I do not imagine this person being charismatic enough to work as a bard or skald (he sounded borderline antisocial), but anywho. Most cavaliers are mounted specialists, though, so for conceptual reasons I am a bit more leaning towards the fighter.
From a conceptual standpoint, I would probably go skald, either straight or with a pinch of multiclassing. Yes, there is a bit of a detriment to your party buff, but it fits the sort of character. Besides, sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.
In general, for archers the two-handed weapon is an easier route because it requires less feat investment to become effective. Essentially, power attack alone makes you not a pushover in melee (even most dedicated archers would have something like 14+ strength due to the damage bonuses from a composite bow). You can do more, but you don't have to. Two-weapon fighting may need a bit more feats to be properly useful, and archery can be pretty feat-intensive if you want to be a master of it.
Well, the paladin definitely isn´t nearly as good against non-evil enemies. Just how the ranger wasn´t so hot versus non-FEs before instant enemy came around.
Mind you, against non-evils the paladin has some fluff uses. Members of an order with such demanding - and kept - requirements can safely be expected to have an impeccable reputation, which the paladin player can leverage if the DM is not a sticker for his/her tragic story not being interrupted. It won´t wholly make up for the story denying you the use of your major offensive class feature, but it is something.
By the book you need to be the one making the successful grapple check to deal the extra damage. As it is stated that this is extra damage, I would argue that it is done on top of the regular damage you do when you use a grapple attack to do damage, which already includes the strength bonus.
Since it does not explicitly say that you do damage to an enemy when they grapple you - which for example some spells, abilties etc do - I think that by RaW it does not. It would not be a bad houserule, but be prepared for anyone to start putting spikes on their armors :).
I could see something like that being a backstory element to explain the draconic bloodline - perhaps being a product of an experiment or ritual to graft a soul onto a newborn, or something along those lines. In-game, however, I am not sure there is any power in the book with this exact effect, and definitely not at this level.
One way I could see it happening - and that WILL require a bit of DM handwaving - is using an intermediary. There is an evil outsider called a soul eater that can absorb the soul of a creature it killed, and it is not outside the ability of a lvl 6 group to defeat. Now, if this creature is killed close to its victim and within a minute of the victim's death, the soul is released and the victim is restored to life (although unconscious). This would indicate that if a soul eater is somehow able to kill a dragon and the party defeats it soon enough, it just may be possible to somehow "take" the not yet digested soul. Of course, that is a rather unlikely sequence of events unless one consciously organizes it.
And yes, if it should ever need repeating, destroying the soul of a sentient item for power is about as evil as evil gets. I am not sure you can think of a more complete violation of another than that.
Worth it? I am not sure it is the most optimal path, but I can definitely see it not working out. Also, how for the love of Cthulhu do you not do a lot more static damage at level 10? Power attack? Enhancements? That is, of course, before your mount starts chiping in. You do lose out a on a bit of damage (- 1-3 damage from the strength penalty and lower damage dice), but even with spirited charge will not cause a massive difference.
So where are the pluses? Well, first, you get +1 to attack and AC due to being small, and a mount removes one of the big penalties of most small races - the land speed. So while your damage might be a tad less, you get better defense and accuracy. Your mount also does not block movement the way a large mount would.
Personally, I think mounted archery works even better for a small mounted paladin, but I think melee can also work. Sure, other builds may do more damage, but do not forget the extra utility and defense a paladin brings. Everyone nearby gets a big bonus to charm and fear resistance - you are flat-out immune. You heal and remove some nasty conditions, and have a smattering of spells to boot. A paladin may be a beatstick, but s/he is not just a beatstick.
Protection from Evil: several great buffs versus a lot of the possible opponents:
Does PFS allow an alignment shift as part of the backstory? A monk does not lose any features if they change alignment, and they can then
Personally, I am not in favor of alignment restrictions for any classes except where their alignment/beliefs have to do with their power source - i.e. clerics or paladins, where your mojo relies on someone up/down there liking you. If you can have the inner discipline to learn mastery of arms like a fighter or of magic like a wizard no matter your views on society and ethics, you can probably learn a monk's techniques.
Well, I am not sure spears this size would count as short spears, but sadly pathfinder seems to not favor wielding regular spears (as opposed to long spears) one-handed. Technically, hoplite spears tended to be larger than what we would consider shortspears, so I do not see it as breaking the theme. If you want to be true to the theme, I'd say go with the phalanx fighter
If you want some utility feats, have you thought about using maneuvers such as dirty trick to debuff the enemy?
Remember, paladins by the PF definition should not consciously do evil, but would only fall from chaotic acts if they are massive enough to warrant an alignment shift - which is to say, a pretty huge life change, like, say, rejecting the order or country you previously served. I think you can make the case that should the rules go against what a paladin thinks is good, it is the rules that should bend. Society needs rules, but they are made to guide and protect people. This is why rules are valuable - because they serve people, not the other way around. If they do not, well, change the rules.
Also, which rules, exactly? Lawful characters have a code, but it isn't always society's code. Lawful does not even mean law-abiding - take Vito Corleone from the Godfather, he is very honorable and with strict views about what is right and what is wrong. A paladin in Cheliax or Nidal may well have to break the local laws, because they conflict with what s/he fervently believes to be right. On Golarion, there are actual gods whose rules and decrees a paladin has to oppose.
Well, if I had all those answers, I wouldn't have to play the character, right? :)
It is your character, at the end of the day, so you get to answer that. I am just saying that you do not have to be irked at all other gods to be an Arodenite. Just how much cleric you want in your priest is up to you - anything from a witch or oracle to bard to rogue or fighter is an option.
BTW, do not underestimate the power of a bard when it comes to public speaking and almost-divine evangelism (or, for that matter, teamplay and improvisation - there is even a bard/cavalier PrC). There's a reason quite a few Golarion cults love those crazy spoonies.
Hm, Golarion deities at least acknowledge each other, so this can be assumed to extend to their cults. Many instances in the setting describe cults of different deities interacting on non-hostile terms - which would be pretty hard if all of them believed the gods of the others are not worthy of veneration. In many ways, religion in most parts of Golarion seems to follow a local pantheon where different gods are venerated and held as patrons of different groups or philosophies, and being a representative and speaker of one does not imply rejection of another (in most cases).
In the above case, worship of Aroden may be not so much out of spite towards all other deities or rejection of what all deities stand for (which I would consider akin to atheism) but because the character espouces the Arodenite dogma as life philosophy, a positive rather than a negative reason. I do not think this would make this character an atheist - his/her is simply a faith in a philosophy and concept that is valid even without the miracles and trappings most other religions have access to. It is one thing to not venerate them yourself, it is another to deny their power and worthiness in general. On the other hand, would it really make you a priest, if you actually believe Aroden is dead, or are you simply a religious scholar or philosopher?