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Cannon Golem

The Shaman's page

951 posts. Alias of Boyan Penev.


1 to 50 of 951 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

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 :) .

I agree, the special martial maneuvers of the monk are best represented by some supernatural abilities imo, and a point-based casting system makes more sense as the typical D&D magic "slot based" one. I'd say psionics (as "ki magic") works well flavorwise too.

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.

Wouldn't a grapple attack, rather than a grapple attempt or check, only apply to the cases where you are using the grapple in order to do damage, however?

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.

I would have gone with a LN or LG fighter - you do not need to have an oath as a class feature to keep your word, and samurai get several features I am not sure fit that well - but it can certainly work. Good job on your effort!

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.

Yeah, he is a great inspiration. I am not very familiar with the Marvel Comics universe, but I have heard some of Captain America's incarnations were quite good too.

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Protection from Evil: several great buffs versus a lot of the possible opponents:
- you are now immune to any mental control, charm, command etc from a NPC of evil alignment. Fighters are generally extremely susceptible to mind control. Now you are not. This alone is huge, especially later on.
- a summoned evil creature cannot touch you physically so most evil summons are next to useless against you.
- deflection bonus to AC and resistance bonus to saves vs all evil creatures - meh later on, but quite valuable at low levels.

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?

Oncoming_Storm wrote:


So my current GM is convinced Paladins can't commit unlawful acts. (He's a bit inexperienced with Pathfinder but is a well meaning and nice guy all around.) How do I convince him that my grumpy old Paladin can break the rules once in awhile?

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.

jasin wrote:
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?

3.5 had the archivist, a base class that had clerical spells that it could cast without a direct link to a deity, learning them as sort of rituals. This could work well for an Arodenite, if your DM allows it. A certain type of witch could also work, as would of course an oracle.

What sort of patron concept do you aim for, OP? I can see quite a few of the existing patrons being an ok fit for a psychopomp, so I am curious why you do not find them good in your case. Off the top of my head:

- Ancestors - communicate with the spirit of your forefathers and tap into their might.
- Boundaries
- death (sort of obvious)
- occult (pretty much everything except snake staff can be seen to do with spirits or ghosts)
- peace (death is often associated with calmness)
- spirits

I would take one of those and possibly check with my DM to substitute a spell or two that really clash with my concept. I guess the question is, what do you expect the psychopomp to be/do?

Well, Rome wasn´t built in a day. I reckon it may be a long plan, just like her conversion of him (or does she simply not care about "converting" as long as she´s having fun)?

I too am curious, for fairness' sake, if the OP is tracking the chance the PALADIN ends up the one "corrupting" the antipaladin and causing her to fall from "grace."

I've had this thing about the Claymore witches being elan psychic warriors/slayers. The not-quite human elan race works quite well with their subtle inhumanity, PsyWarriors are fairly good at flashy, supernatural combat, and slayers are good at sensing and killing a specific sort of enemy.

bdk86 wrote:

I'm talking as part of the Core Challenge, that is, not Core Campaign itself.

Aren't the rules that you need to stick by the core book?

Barbarian, bloodrager, and battle oracles are all at least useful in melee, although in somewhat different ways. The bloodrager may not be quite as durable as a barbarian, but some of the bloodrage buffs are pretty damn good as well.

Well, if you want to have an impact with people, high charisma is generally better. You don't have to be pretty or polite to be charismatic, you have to be memorable. The sort of larger-than life berserker who can make big men blanch, children cry and run and wild dogs whimper with a look? S/he has high charisma.

Intimidating prowess is fun imo, and I'm also a fan of cornugon smash, which allows you to intimidate people as a free action when you hit them with a power attack - which you will probably be doing quite often :)

BigP4nda wrote:

This is because you use the rogue class to build a ninja, which is wrong. A rogue is NOT a ninja. rogues don't sneak around in the shadows finding targets to prey on with silent kills.
A rogue is the embodiment of a charming party-goer who has a dark side. Rogues rely on bluffing their way out of tough situations, not outright assassinating any who look at them funny.

A class is almost never defined by a single lifestyle, especially a class as generic by the rogue :) Going simply by class abilities and stat priorization, the difference between the two is next to none. Some Rogues don´t sneak around in shadows, some do. And just because the iconic ninja aren´t particularly talkative doesn´t mean none of them are - they have the same skills and skill points as rogue, and tend to generally have pretty decent charisma scores. Sure, rogues have more social-fu in their talents, but they are just one of several options the class gets - and on the other hand, ninja have access to rogue talents by taking them as ninja tricks.

Ah, I see. In that case, Dorf Barbarian. Hmm, should I get a mohawk?

The racial class is interesting, but I really wish there were more options to trade it without trading the skill focus. Anyway, that doesn't really matter for a core character...

The classes can mesh well enough. Just how much you want to mesh the classes depends on you - imo either could be a dip, a few paladin levels give you proficiencies, smite and divine grace, a few bard levels get you a slew of abilities and versatile performance for skill check substitution (and paladins are really skill-starved). Perform Oratory for example can be awesome for a paladin who likes to go ham (which, come on, is pretty much iconic paladin behavior. You can also use it to pick up a few potentially useful skills paladins don't normally have access to, like intimidate. Also, remember the half-elf skill focus? It works really well if you have a signature perform skill you are using with versatile performance - such as if you only dip bard and it's your only versatile performance skill.

By the way, were traits considered core?

How should your birthday be formatted? I tried several possibilities and got blank fields after destiny, race or class.

Is the soft rule something you set for yourself or something the challenge set for you? I'm generally not too fond of multiclassing, but it could work. Only I'd suggest a two-hander instead of a shield in the off-hand - if you are multiclassing with a full BAB class it should not be too hard to be a secondary combatant anyway. Something like a glaive could be interesting, and you can tie it conceptually with the character being a fan of Shelyn (who happens to have paladins and love bards*).

*Well, she loves most anybody, being the goddess of love and all, but she reallly has a thing for bards.

Dustyboy wrote:

are there any rules based around actual cross breeding in race and the restrictions of such, or is it just common expectation that only humans can cross

The rules don't say much about it, interbreeding is probably not something the designers wanted to touch too closely. I imagine a lot of things either wouldn't work at all or wouldn't work right (by which I mean not producing a viable progeny able to reproduce) - unless, of course, magic comes into play. If Shelyn decides to bless the couple with a child or the friendly neighborhood uber-wizard busts out that wish scroll, then race, genetics or even gender can fall on their backs and roll over.

N. Jolly wrote:
You're running the game, you could always just say "But THESE devils are vulnerable to fire". Hell, have someone else take fire too if you're going that round, as energy resistance only reduces x damage a round.

Are you sure about that last bit? It is a per attack thing unless it got errata'd and the srd is behind. [url=]Source[url].

I'd say even in Cheliax mortals and the like heavily outnumber outsiders, so it's not like a blaster would be useless, but a few minor adjustments can work here. For example, you could base something off the ork sorcerer class bonus, except for instead of +1 damage to fire spells it could be ignoring 1 point of energy resistances per level (or 2 if it is a single element, since that is less valuable than a flat +1 to damage vs everything).

Also, a blaster sorcerer will probably have 1-2 blaster spells known per level. They will most likely have other spells in their arsenal too - remind the player of this if s/he tends to go overboard in their spell selection.

I just noticed that the tea ceremony is simply an additional option for performance and a geisha bard is fully capable of using the same performance in the usual way. I am still not sold on how it is implemented, though.

MadE wrote:

A while ago, he let one of us make a wish... A member wanted to become a full blood werewolf... He got his wish, but it set the rest of us back 3 levels and quite a few sessions of work. We pretty much went back in time with no memory of what had happened...

That sounds like someone who enjoys, not to put it too bluntly, messing with the party. In which case, don't worry, a monk's immunity do disease will NOT stop him making stuff up on the fly (I don't imagine you got a save to not lose those levels?) if he wants to, hmm, have a joke on your expense.

By the rules, the monk's immunity to disease is a pretty hard nut to crack. Even with baleful polymorph you have to fail both the fortitude and the will save to lose your extraordinary abilities, and monks tends to have a pretty darn good will save. All of this matters exactly 0 if the DM decides he has to do it to your character and rules be damned, though.

Xia Lee's Angels, coming soon to a theater near you :P .

In that case, though, the "activation" period of the performance should be shorter, maybe a minute. Spending 10 minutes for a 10 minutes bonus is just a clunky mechanic imo. It cold be hilarious - like the geisha performing the ceremony in a swiftly moving carriage carrying several heavily armed warriors to the battlefield - but as a modus operandi of an entire archetype it strains credibility. Purely from a logical perspective, in a culture refined to the point where you can take 10 minutes for a cup of tea, you will probably take a lot more than that for a ceremonial duel, state negotiations and the like.

Hmm, I consider the geisha archetype to be a dedicated non-combatant, but in that niche it strikes me as a pretty decent one. The only thing holding it back is the low duration (or high preparation time) of the tea ceremony. If it was either 1 hour or 10 minutes/level, it would be a pretty solid pre-engagement buffs. The rest are quite solid, possibly great, for a non-combat bard:

- proficiencies: you get a big hit but as noted, you do not expect to see combat. You are a courtier, not a warrior.

- geisha knowledge: you don't absorb a lot of lore about everything, but get impressive bonuses to several skills you will use a lot. 1/2 your level to diplomacy makes you pretty awesome at diplomancing or rumormongering, and you also get your bonus to a single perform check - which, with versatile performer, means two other useful abilities. Oh, and you can use your very high calligraphy instead of spellcraft to craft scrolls to give your friends who DO go out in the dungeons, forests, and so on while you are scheming how to take the thro.. I mean practicing with your lute. You have your core knowledge (nobility) there as well. Sure, I'd love it to contain linguistics as well so you can fake the imperial seal, but it is quite decent for the role as it is.

Craft scroll: I admit, it isn't quite as good as it would be for a prepared caster or if you were planning to go out and about much, but for a NPC it is a great way to stock up on useful tricks for the day they do need to go all out or, much more likely, some of their friends need some bardic mojo in a can.

So granted, it's mostly a NPC archetype, but it can be pretty decent in a GoT-esque intrigue setting. And for a NPC, it has a pretty solid niche as a courtier or a diva - sort of like a court bard, but retaining the core "buff" abilities of the bard instead of the court bard's debuffs, and keeping some of the lore/jack of all trades focus. Giving a bardic knowledge bonus to a perform skill and extending its uses with versatile performer is a big thing for a socialite bard imo.

Its issues as I see them are:

- Tea ceremony has a bad preparation to active time ratio. If it required less time or was active more time it would get a lot more use. Extending its duration with 10 extra minutes per level or 1/2 level would definitely be a plus imo - 10 minutes preparation for 10 minutes bonus is quite clunky and unsuitable.

- The geisha retains some bard ceremonies that are atypical for a non-combat bard and that other socialite bards trade off: dirge of doom and especially frightening tune. For a an infiltrator or an agent these can be useful, but I doubt most characters going for this archetype would want to scare people that often. Then again, it is one of the geisha's ways to get unwanted people away from her/him. Still, more subtle tricks would definitely work.

- Craft (calligraphy)'s uses are very niche outside of substituting it for spellcraft for a scroll's creation (and a lot of other craft skills can be used for item creation as well). The DM should consider its uses for part of what linguistics covers, such as understanding obscure forms of a language you know and the ability create/detect forgeries for the type of documents where calligraphy would be used. It is still far from a common skill, but it will be valuable to the right characters.

So overall, if you want a non-combat NPC bard the geisha is a solid archetype imo. It competes with the definitely good court bard and a few other archetypes such as the negotiator, but I can definitely see it work. If you want an adventurous version that is closer to the typical way D&D parties run, the Lotus Geisha is probably better, but it will be a different kind of character.

Has anyone tried out eldritch heritage on half-elf or humans (with the skill focus trait) ninjas? I think some of them can be quite nice, such as the serpentine bloodline for a more social, high-charisma ninja characters.

Required skill: Diplomacy. As a ninja, are a skill monkey, and eldritch heritage requires good charisma - so diplomacy is a skill you'd probably max anyway. Now you are even better at both having people do what you want and tell you what you want to know.

Eldritch heritage : Serpent's Fang. This is pure gold imo. As a rogue-like character you rely on sneak attack for damage, and this is an extra sneak attack on top of either your two-handed or two-weapon combo at no penalty for the main attacks. As an extra rider, it packs a scaling constitution poison. It is limited in rounds, but still scary good.

Improved eldritch heritage A: Serpentfriend. Okay, this has two parts. First, you speak with any reptiles at will, which is situational, but valuable (I've seen worse feats). Second, you get a viper familiar. Well it's more limited than what you get from arcane (so it can't use wands and is not always socially acceptable to have around) but it's still a familiar with all the skill ranks you as a skill monkey have - so rerolls on a lot of skills and a useful scout. Second, it's a free alertness for if around and a free +3 to bluff on top of your already good social abilities to turn you into a certified smooth criminal. Oh, and you can (subject to DM approval) milk it for free, if not THAT powerful, venom - and with poison use you can't poison yourself doing so. Definitely worth a feat imo.
The envenomed bloodline version trades this for being able to envenom a weapon several times per day with a poison using your charisma for the DC. Not that good imo, but still interesting.

Improved eldritch heritage B: Serpentskin. A natural armor bonus, bonus vs poisons (hey, you do have a weak fortitude save) and a bonus to escape artist checks in case you want them. At lvl 15 and 19 (if you get that far), the bonuses improve. This one is a bit weaker than the former two imo, but still good enough to merit a feat.

There are other interesting bloodline options imo such as draconic (probably linnorn as energy ray is more useful than claws on a ninja imo), harrowed, orc and a few others, as well as of course the arcane or shadow that the guide already mentioned. Half-elf ninjas with EH can be quite fun imo and I'm sad I have never had the occasion to play one in a face-to-face campaign.

Matt2VK wrote:
Is there a Bard type that gives access to a familiar?

The Sea Singer gets a monkey or parrot. There was a 3.5 feat that gave any arcane caster a familiar but you'd need to check with the GM on it. Actually, arcane heritage (arcane bloodline) can also work, but you'd need a skill focus first.

Basically, if you go bombs (and there are other options, such as sneak attack), you can do a fair bit of area damage,possibly buffed with status effects or the right kind of elemental damage, that is very hard to block - spell resistance doesn't apply, you hit the relatively low touch AC, and eventually an alchemist could go completely crazy, throwing several bombs per round. With a prepared mutagen and lots of buff "spells" you are ok in combat even apart from that. Basically, a bomb alchemist is an okayish fighter with a special trick that can be very nasty in some encounters where enemies are grouped together. If the enemies cluster some distance away you blast, if they get up close and in your face you stab, and you are ok with both overall.

"Going nova" is a term for when a character can output huge amounts of damage (for that level) over a round or so, but can't do it more than once or a few times per day. An alchemist with the discovery that lets them do full attack with bombs (usually with two-weapon fighting) can definitely do that.

Personally, I am a fan of the archetype that trades bombs for sneak attack damage. Alchemists don't have great weapon proficiencies, but when most of your damage comes from sneak attacks and static bonuses, daggers are a perfectly fine weapon.

One other thing an alchemist is is a secondary skill specialist. They seem like they only have 4 base skill points per level, but they tend to have high intelligence and a good class skill list, so they are an ok substitution for a rogue or a "smart guy/girl" that helps the party know what's happening.

As for the negatives, well, at the end of the day you have the attack progression or armor of a bard. If you are caught unprepared, or your potions have run out, you aren't all that. If you go for bombs, they are a finite resource - especially early on. An alchemist out of tricks isn't all that useful, so you need to get a feeling for resource management - neither hoarding power when it is needed nor wasting it uselessly.

Conceptually, it is iffy at best, but I'd have to say - FE human is almost always a safe pick, and depending on the campaign elves or orcs may also be good choices. So from a game balance perspective, it works okay.

Feel free to have an archetype ability as the "default" option, like what the guide or the slayer get, but don't be surprised if every ranger picks FE (humanoids) if given half the choice.

No, it is specifically mentioned to be the wasp as the wasp, unlike the bee, does not die when it stings and it is not a "domesticated" animal like the bee. Much of the difference is symbolic, but this is a religion - symbols matter :) .

The Beastmaster archetype eventually gets full animal companion progression, too. I still think Boon Companion is the best option, though.

I think Skull'n'Shackles had it mentioned that it is very low on guns by default and by intention - guns are supposed to be a guarded secret weapon of, well, certain powerful groups and people. If your DM is okay with introducing more treasure like that, a gunslinger is ok. A ranger or hurler is fine, though with a bard and a druid I might be tempted to go full melee and show those average BAB scrubs how a real warrior gets things done with a barbarian or a battlerager.

An Alchemist - perhaps with a Master Chymist for a bit more melee focus - is also an option, and can imo be fun. Both the regular alchemists and vivisectionists can find their combat style to be quite handy - bombs are nasty on a ship, and there will be plenty of ways to make your sneak attack stick. I'd say an alchemist/master chymist is a solid frontliner with a pretty dangerous ranged attacks when s/he has to.

If you fight mounted and use the horse for more than just a transport animal between fights, then yes, it might take some doing to be good at it while in armor and shield heavy enough to wear you down anyway. If you want a cheap combat pet, a guard dog may be an easier alternative.

Look at it this way - like several other combat styles, mounted combat might take some preparation or experience to be good at, and if you lack these you should try to take it easy on yourself. First, medium encumberment is not fun to begin with - if you walk around wearing iron, it helps to have the figure for it. Second, picture yourself riding a horse while using one hand for a shield in combat. It probably doesn't look like it's going to be easy to begin with, is it? Make it easy on yourself and put the shield in the saddlebags until you are sure you need a it, which would coincidentally most likely put you back into light load. When the going could get tough, take out shield, dismount, kick ass. If someone feels tempted to steal your stuff, well, that's when your equine ally gets to pull her or his weight.

Long story short, mounted combat is a schtick just like any other style, and it will take some effort. If you want to be able to do something early on without making a big investment, you might want to make it easy on yourself and make it as simple as you can for yourself.

Basically, for a bard you want to take a tiefling variant that does not get a charisma penalty, ideally one that actually gives you a bonus.

Bards are described as jacks of all trade, but spreading yourself too thin can you be unsatisfying. I'd suggest becoming very good at one or two things, with a couple of other things your character is ok at. That will determine your bard archetype (if you want to get one), feats, skills, spell selection and so on. For example, if you want someone to schmooze the pants of a nun, go for high charisma, traits or feats to boost DCs, possibly an archetype that gets you bonuses to, say, diplomacy For a versatile "skill monkey" bard you'd likely want something that keeps versatile performance or at least gives you a good substitute to much-used skills. A martial artist would likely pick a fitting archetype and prioritize physical attributes. It could even be thematic - if you want to go for a "dis" rap bard, you'd go for an archetype that lets you debuff or damage an enemy with your performance, like the court bard or the soundstriker.

For a new player, btw, I'd recommend not going for something like a demon lord worshipper. Evil characters in general don't work well in a team for new players, and demon lords don't even quite have the power of the major evil deity cults.

An archery ranger is okay, but they work better with a two-hander for a backup weapon imo as it is less feat intensive and archers usually have some strength bonus anyway for the mighty bows. Zen monks are also very good archers, but their lvl 1 isn't all that good - still, if she wants to try it, a zen archer substituting some monk powers via the qinggong archetype is a good base for a very cool pseudomystic character.

I'm also a fan of archer bards, and while they take a while to become good archers, they are all-around handy guys and girls to have around, especially with so many strength-based beatsticks. Going either full support or full blaster is imo not the best route for sorcerers - the more versatile their spell selection is, the better. Some blasting or at least ranged control is always good to have, and another possible support character - bard, alchemist (with infusion) or even summoner or witch are all good options, leaving the sorcerer free to let loose and fry.

Hmm, now I wonder what perform skill a court or soundstriker bard should use for a diss rap at an ogre... I imagine either oratory or comedy. Not quite as easy as a witch cackle, but definitely worth it is you have the time and inclination to RP it right.

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