Grease. It's the word.
No, seriously, you get the 10 ft square of difficult terrain, you have a chance to knock them prone, it ignores SR, lasts for at least 10 rounds, has a chance to prevent movement COMPLETELY, and if they do successfully move, they provoke an AoO, which, coincidentally,they are flat-footed to (as they are using acrobatics when moving through grease). It's the cheapest spell to get (barring cantrips), ANY arcane caster can use it, and even if it doesn't work...it still works :)
I was under the impression that to attempt a trip, you use a d20 + your CMB. And that's all. All of those other bonuses get factored into your CMB for that particular roll. Just like an attack (as a combat maneuver IS an attack). You determine your "attack bonus" via BAB + Str + any other relevant bonuses. For CMB it's a bit more complex, as there are typically more bonuses to be had, but the end result is the same. Roll a d20 and add ONE number to it. Determine that number based on BAB, Attribute, morale, luck, etc. bonuses, but determine that number only ONCE for any given roll.
But maybe I have it wrong. Personally I'd love to see it stack. My whip-wielding whirlwind-attacking lore warden will be all over it.
From what I can gather as to the "are attribute bonuses typed" question, they are NOT typed bonuses. HOWEVER, since one attribute can only be factored into a given roll once, there is no functional difference between typed and untyped, merely semantic, and even then it's irrelevant.
How are they untyped bonuses? Maybe I've missed a ruling/clarification or something?
Yeah, an official ruling is hard to come by. When they mark "No response required" you'll never hear from them. At all. Ever.
I'm pretty sure that the reason that they've marked it as "No response required" is that they view it as using the same variable twice in the equation. Str + Dex + whatever else = cool groovy deal. Dex + Dex + whatever = wrongbadfun in their eyes.
I'm presuming that the disparity here is that the Dragonhide Special Material is NOT an "Always Available" option (unlike Mithral, Adamantine, +1 weapons and armor, etc.)
However, just like anything else that is not "Always Available," a high enough fame score would allow you the option to purchase that particular item. e.g. a +2 chain shirt (4,250 gp) is not available to purchase until you have a fame score of 18 (5,000 gp cap)
Your 43 fame caps your purchases at 31,000 gp. So, you could (theoretically) purchase a +5 dragonhide breastplate (25,500 gp) if you so desired.
Whip is the answer to everything a large character could ever want. Don't worry about the penalties for attacking as a large creature. Turn them into a benefit by targeting CMD. Trips, disarms, even grapples with appropriate feats are all good things. The best part: your free weapon focus feat gives a +1 to all of these maneuvers.
Also, please tell me that this large race is humanoid and can benefit from enlarge person. That would just be bananas.
"Rebuild rules" is basically the shorthand for the Society's allowance of modifying an existing character (linked to a specific PFS number, such as 45632-3, meaning that this is the third character for the particular roleplayer with assignation 45632) BEFORE they ever play a scenario at lv.2 or higher.
Basically, you can say "This is my first PFS scenario with (this number) character. He's an elven wizard allied with the Andoran faction." You play the scenario. You now have 1 XP for that character number.
Next scenario, you say, "That was fun, but I didn't like memorizing spells a certain number of times per day. Oh, and I want a bonus feat. This character is now a human sorcerer." You play the scenario. Now that character number has 2 XP.
For your third scenario, you say "Wow, he really got hosed by all of those melee attackers last time. Now he'll be a Sword and Board fighter Tiefling with Armor of the Pit for his 1st level feat and power attack, Qadiran faction." You play the scenario. Now the character associated with that number has 3 XP.
Whatever he is for his FOURTH scenario, That is what he shall ALWAYS be from now on, set in stone, written in the wind. However, UNTIL he actually plays that scenario as a lv.2 or higher character, you can still change him in most any way. You can trade back in equipment, change their race, class, stats, etc. The only thing there's no take-backsies on is expenditure of Prestige Points. Once you've spent the 2 PP on a wand of cure light (almost everybody does), you will ALWAYS have that (until it runs out of charges). That Masterwork cold iron longsword that you bought can be traded in for equal value in GP. That Masterwork Composite longbow that I recommended upthread that was purchased with PP? It's yours forever, can't be traded in. Period.
Basically it's a nice way to try out various classes and see how they perform. If you didn't like the way it played, you can rebuild the character as something else. Of course, many people have a character concept that they want to play that doesn't really take off until 2nd level, so they'll just play as a fighter to have good HP and AC at level 1, then switch over to the character that they want to play, because it sucks when your character is no good at anything and will die easily.
For PFS my standard "Get me to lv.2" build is somewhat similar:
Human Cleric of Erastil 1
Feats: Toughness and Fey Foundling.
Skills: Perception and Diplomacy
Traits: reactionary and whatever else I feel like.
Domains: Animal (Feather) and Plant (Growth).
Equipment: Scale mail, Morning star, Buckler, asst. adventuring gear
He's got 19 AC, 16 CMD, Saves of 4/3/3, and channels energy 4/day that heals me 1d6+2 each. When wands of CLW are used, he gets back 1d8+3.
After his first scenario, he'll blow 2 PP on a Mwk Composite Longbow +3 to have a VERY decent ranged attack to supplement his more than adequate physical prowess.
For tactics, he will usually cast either Divine Favor or Shield of Faith and wade into battle. If things get hairy, he'll swift action Enlarge Person and 2-hand his morning star, or attempt a Combat Maneuver against heavily armored foes. Once he's got a bow, he'll either use that for 1 round, dropping it to pull his morning star, or, if the enemy closes, 5-ft back, shoot, free action drop the bow, move action pull the morning star.
He's not totally amazing at anything, but competent at most things, and will almost always live to tell the tale.
Once he hits lv.2, I would use the rebuild rules to Start Over with my first level in something really nice and martial, like Urban Barbarian of Freebooter Ranger to get the good HP, swap out my feats for Power Attack and whatever else (maybe keep toughness), and swap my stats to:
depending on how much I felt like I needed more melee capacity/skill points/social skills/channeling.
@ Lance Ashcroft
After doing some reverse engineering on your stat spread, I gather that you are playing a human or one of the half- races. I'm also thinking that your Str score is 11 only for the carrying capacity?
If you are looking to play a Dervish Dancing Magus, I might recommend taking just 1 level dip in Bard with the Dawnflower Dervish (or Dervish of Dawn on the pfsrd) archetype. I'd also recommend playing an Elf for the excellent Spire Defender archetype, or playing whatever race as a Kensai (Tiefling is a perennial favorite). Basically this eliminates your need for the Weapon Finesse feat completely, AND you don't have to burn your lv.3 feat on Dervish Dance. Focus on Dex with Con and Int as secondaries, and put 2 (and only 2) points into charisma. Strength is fairly unimportant, so you can dump it a little bit, especially if you play a Kensai. Wis is also not nearly as important, as you'll get a +2 to your will save from the Bard level.
Stat suggestion, Elf racial modifiers included:
For Traits, many people advise Magical Lineage (Shocking Grasp), but for this build Magical KNACK is better, because you can always take Wayang Spellhunter (Shocking Grasp), which is effectively the exact same as Magical Lineage. The other nice bit about Magical Knack is that you can actually dip another class for 1 level and still retain full caster level as a Magus. Again, many people advise a 1 level dip in Sorcerer (with the Crossblooded archetype Orc/Blue Dragon), so as to get +2 damage per die with you shocking grasp. However, I prefer to go for a 1 level dip in Wizard (Evoker: Admixture). This has 3 benefits over the Sorcerer: 1) you get a +2 bump to your will save (always nice), 2) when you run across enemies with electricity resistance, you can give them the finger, and spontaneously change the damage type to another element, and 3) Free Spell Focus feat. Take this in Evocation, and you qualify for taking Spell Specialization immediately.
You will almost certainly want to have Intensify Spell, likely as your 3rd level feat. I know, that sounds WAY too early, but if you take Spell Specialization at lv.5, you will IMMEDIATELY get use out of it.
Since the OP hasn't posted since Tuesday, I'm fairly sure that the original issue is resolved. This back and forth about PFS and intelligence being a factor for tactics, while entertaining, really has no bearing on the OP's post. I've read the entire thread a few times now, and I'm still not sure whether it was a PFS scenario or not (probably not, but it might be), Don't know the total number of javelins thrown by the trogs (seems like 1/trog, but it may have been more), and I still have no idea what the PCs were doing (waiting for a charge that never came, I guess). Without the OP giving a detailed breakdown of those specific points, all of this is mere speculation.
I'm currently running a similar character in PFS, although not a kensai. If you're looking to wear actual armor, the Darkleaf Cloth +1 studded leather is a VERY reasonable choice (1765 GP, always available). The only drawback is the 5% ASF, but, really, that kind of equates to "Don't roll a 1." For about half of your PFS career, your concentration checks to cast defensively (even with that trait AND combat casting) will pose more of a threat to successful casting.
For the bard spells, I highly recommend Comprehend Languages. There are SO many different languages in PFS, you'll never speak ALL of them. But you can certainly READ them with this spell. I've also found Grease to be a fantastic spell. Even if they don't make their save (DC 12, they'll have decent odds), they are still stuck in the puddle, so it denies 5-ft steps and charges, if they DO move, they are flat footed while doing so (you're welcome, rogues), and there is always a chance that they'll fail their acrobatics check and fall down/be stuck anyway.
Since it's a homebrew, you might have tougher access to wands, so you might consider prepping a Shield spell or two, especially if you are concerned about running into more incorporeal undead, as Shield still adds its bonus against incorporeal touch attacks (but not regular touch attacks). I presume that your barbarian level is of the Urban archetype, right?
Do you have an agile ECB? It seems like it would be just a tad early to have a +2 equivalent weapon already, so I'm guessing that you have just enough str. to get power attack (maybe a 13-14?), so your regular damage is 1d10+7 tops, right? You probably want to pick up some pearls of power (lv.1) and just keep spamming shocking grasp (or corrosive touch, if your GM throws electric resistance at you, or whatever).
Also, consider using a one-handed finesse weapon (or a scimitar, unless Dervish Dance seems too cheesy), so that you can spell combat with Magic Missile. At this low level, it's only 2d4+2, but it is guaranteed damage, incorporiality be damned.
I would probably prep
Hopefully that should cover most situations, and if you can pick up wands, absolutely do so for Shield and maybe Magic Missile, then prep more Shocking Grasps, and maybe a Snowball for the BBEG and/or Grease.
I'm with y'all on the quiver-full-of-javelins idea. That actually makes pretty decent sense. However, that's not what I understood to be happening. If my understanding was correct, it's a bit of a head scratcher. If not, it's still a tad confusing, as I still don't know what the PCs were doing for those first 3+ rounds.
So, I think that I've got the gist of what the enemies were doing:
I understand that they did not just move their speed again (or charge) to avoid the AoOs of PCs with reach weapons. However, from the above turn sequence, at the end of turn 6, they are within reach of the PCs reach weapons, and thus can be attacked BEFORE the final 5-ft step. They may have avoided the AoOs, but they still ate the same number of attacks, so the net gain was what again?
Also, what were the PCs doing for 6 rounds. Standing there, waiting for the bus? What does the sorcerer DO? Heck, just picking up the javelins that just got thrown at you and returning fire is better than nothing.
Always keep a burning hands available. Swarms are really nasty when you don't have area attacks. They're still nasty even when you're prepped.
Snowball is a decently powerful spell that doesn't require a melee attack. Granted, you will want to have combat be melee-heavy, but that typically means that your opponents should favor ranged. Sure, you'll carry a bow, but 3d6 damage and staggered will hurt a ranged character.
Color spray can still be effective, if your INT is high.
Grease is always effective.
Of course, having just one of each of these spells means that you don't have any space for shocking grasps, so....
Is this for PFS or a home game?
What kind of Magus do you have? Dervish dancer, Str-based, whip magus, hexcrafter, etc.?
Seriously, if the conditions for sneak attack are met, the attack is BY DEFAULT a sneak attack. It's like point blank shot. Is the target within 30 feet? If so, you get an extra point of damage on ranged attacks. There is no question about "Can a raging barbarian make a point plank shot?" Or a precise shot for that matter. It's "always on."
From the sneak attack text:
It doesn't say "when the rogue makes a sneak attack" or any other qualifier. The rogue doesn't have to do ANYTHING special. It is a REGULAR ATTACK that the rogue makes. If the DEFENDER'S condition (i.e. flanked or denied dex) is appropriate, sneak attack DAMAGE occurs. It's not "the rogue may make a sneak attack when..." It's "The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. "
In regards to the "3 out of 5 PFS GMs agree..." comment, I was under the impression that to GM a PFS scenario, the only requirement is to have a valid PFS number. Ergo, You are as much a PFS GM as are they.
Also, there are only a few conditions that I'm aware of for NOT being able to sneak attack (when an enemy IS denied dex or is flanked): 1)You cannot see the foe clearly enough, 2)You cannot reach a vital spot on the foe, and 3) the foe has concealment. It seems to me that sneak attack is NOT a special, better type attack, but rather a lessened defense on the part of the foe. In other words, it's not an active ability, it's passive. You can't even choose to turn it on or off. It isn't even a typed ability (such as ex or su). It just happens.
Additionally, the argument of "not being able to concentrate on striking a particular vital spot," or whatever, is just plain nonsense. The character is ALWAYS striking for a vital spot. The only time a PC is NOT trying to strike the vitals is when the try to perform non-lethal damage. That incurs a penalty because it requires careful attention. Yet I'm pretty sure that you can still do non-lethal when raging...But that's a different can of worms altogether.
@ Pyramid Explorer
So, how do you handle taking 10 on Climb and Swim checks? Any climbing of 30 ft. or more carries a similar (or higher) risk, and ANY swim check carries the threat of DEATH. This is exactly the situation for which "take 10" is intended. The "significant threat" that you talk about is in the "take 20" rules directly underneath, and is covered by the line about "when... the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure..."
For Thor, I think that I have a far-out idea. Dwarf Magus7/PaladinX.
The Magus levels will give him all of the good Electricity spells, and he can give his Dwarven Thrower Shocking Burst, while wearing up to medium armor. The Paladin levels will increase his (already very good) saves, give him that self-righteous Divine Powerhouse feel, allow him to have a divine bond (with Mjolnir the Dwarven Thrower, of course) and get him access to Heavy Armor, so he can wear Mithral Full plate and cast his shocking grasps with no ASF.
I recently saw something that makes me consider playing a ninja again: a 1 level dip in Oracle with the Waves mystery can get water sight, allowing them to see through mist. They can also grab the obscuring mist spell (and/or a wand of such). Any creature more than 5 ft away has total concealment, as per the spell, BUT, you can specifically see through mist, therefore YOU have concealment, while THEY don't. This seems like a great set up for full attacking with sneak attack shuriken.
Actually, a Str- based Kensai is not a bad option. They don't have QUITE the AC of Dex- based, but they come close. I would start as a Human with the Dual Talent alt. racial trait, getting +2 to Str and Int.
Example 20 pt. build:
Str 18, 10 pts. (16+2)
The best reason to go Str- based, in my opinion, is to get access to the Falcata. Sure, it's 19-20 crit range isn't quite as good as the 18-20, but when you do crit (still fairly frequently), you'll do an extra 1d8+7 or so, 2d6+8 enlarged.
Another good reason to go Str- based is that you now have 2 feats more to spend. Feel that your AC isn't where it should be? Take Dodge. Want a bit more damage? Hello power attack/arcane strike. Your AC is only 2 less than your dervish counterpart, you're hitting with a bigger weapon, and it's much easier to increase your damage output.
I second the recommendation of actually wearing armor. 5% ASF is no big deal, you'll have higher odds of failing a concentration check for casting defensively.
For your question about arcana, it's a bit tricky, as you get your first arcana at 6, and your second at 12. I suppose that you could take the extra arcana feat at 9, but I would think that critical focus would be better. The Arcane Accuracy arcana is still solid, but I would save it for super tough fights, as it eats AP like crazy.
I would recommend focusing more on the martial side of things, using magic to supplement your combat prowess. Of course, the low level buffs should come from wands. For Feats, it looks like you'll get 5 to chose from. I highly recommend Arcane Strike, as you will be doing lots of full attacks, not too many swift actions, and it grants an untyped damage bonus that multiplies on a crit. Same thing for Weapon Specialization. Since you will be enlarged (at least, I would be), I would take Combat Reflexes. As a frontliner, as has been stated, Toughness is a decent choice. Intensify Spell is worthwhile, I guess, or Rime Spell, if you prefer Frostbite as a spell. Of course, all of this is a matter of taste, and if something else better suits your needs/wants, then that should be given preference. None of these feats will make or break your character.
Even though this is a total thread necro, it's relevant to me, as I'm currently playing a Hobgoblin Rogue/Magus. It's totally not optimized, but it is pretty sweet flavor. My build:
Stats were rolled, so no real min-maxing, but I feel that this is at least similar to how most dex magi are built.
Feats: Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus: Rapier (I found a keen rapier), Dodge, and Combat Expertise. I'm thinking that I'll take Gang Up next level, so that I will almost always count as flanking (we've got a melee druid, summoner wizard, and 2 rangers with pets)
Why this is better than straight rogue: I get TWF for free (essentially), plus spellcasting ability, a nice little enhancement bonus from arcane pool, better saves, and a couple of neat tricks from my arcanas.
Why this is better than straight magus: Tons of skill points, more class skills, Sneak attack, evasion, and a nice bonus to reflex saves.
Why Arcane Trickster appeals to me: After 6 levels of Magus, I don't really get any super cool benefits. Knowledge pool is nice, but certainly not necessary, medium and heavier armors will not be utilized by me, the couple of extra feats aren't really that big a deal, etc. The thing that does hurt is the lack of access to higher-level arcanas, but there has to be SOME sacrifice. The only real appeal of more rogue levels would be the skill points, some decent rogue talents, and improved evasion. Well, as an int-based character, I'm not hurting for skills, the rogue talents are cool/neat/whatever, but not necessary, and I'm REALLY not worried about improved evasion (because I'll probably make my save anyway). Instead, I'll take AT, get full progression on sneak attack and spellcasting. I'll get some cool abilities (Not flanked? Not flat-footed? Whatever, I sneak attack anyway!), and not miss out on all that much. Sounds like a winner to me.
Yes, combat maneuvers will still put the hurt on him. His CMD is likely OK but not great. All of the standard defensive buffs are AC boosters or mirror image, so his CMD will likely be fairly static. Sunder and Disarm are very effective, as is grapple. Tripping is decent, but easier to deal with.
You could have a caster throw Snowballs at him. Staggered will negate a lot of utility.
Oh, mithral absolutely. 5% ASF is no big deal (Don't roll a 1, right?), and shield spikes are the way to go. I was thinking of getting the Bashing enchant on it as well, giving 3d6 damage when enlarged. It's certainly not optimal, but it seems like it would be lots of fun.
As Darkflame points out, the Weapon Focus: anything feat is also not eligible for the same reason as power attack. Similarly, the weapon proficiency feats are out. The list boils down to:
Toughness - You jump from 17 Hp to 20 HP. At level 4+, you gain 1 HP per level. This is never a bad feat. It's also usually not the best feat.
Extra Arcane Pool - You have 2 extra pool points. You already have 6. Why do you need 8 right now? If you plan on REALLY spamming arcane accuracy, then ok...but I personally think that the Wand wielder arcana with a wand of True Strike is better than Arcane Accuracy on most days. I only use Arcane Accuracy when I'm having trouble hitting. You know what adds more to your attack roll? True Strike.
Arcane Strike - you get a scaling untyped damage bonus on virtually all of your attacks that you can use all day every day. This is a great feat.
Improved Initiative - bumps your init. from 3 to 7. Going first is great. Going last means that your tanks have already bottled the enemy, and your wizard or bard has pre-buffed. I personally don't see TOO much usefulness from this feat for your character. If you were a High-dex, reactionary Bard, then sure. This feat most likely will not change your initiative order that significantly.
Combat Casting - a +4 on concentration checks. As a melee combatant that casts spells, you will be doing this all the time. Even the lowest level spells (e.g. arcane mark) have a DC 15 to cast defensively. you've got a +5 to cast defensively right now at lv. 2. This feat means that you cast successfully ~75% of the time, as opposed to ~50%. That seems really handy to me. Granted, by level 6, you'd have ~80% chance to cast defensively anyway. However, with this feat, it becomes automatic. You literally can't fail.
I vote for 3 of the points to be spent on str, granting a 14, and the other 2 into dex (which you can boost to 16 at level 4), making you a decent melee/ranged switch hitter. Perhaps instead of the traditional bow and buckler/longsword, you could use a reach weapon two handed and throw javelins (short range, but very cheap and automatically use your str. mod). Of course, you could totally pull off a whip paladin too...Your toon's name IS Belmont, right?...
Seriously though, dipping 2 levels in Paladin is a fantastic thing to do in your position. Getting a bigger hit die, some swift action healing, additional weapon/armor profs, and the all-important save bumps will be fantastic.
I'm guessing that your current saves are +0/+4/+0, right? 2 levels of paladin bumps those to +6/+7/+6, which is very respectable.
Just a few points...
For starters, Magical Knack is one of the few ILLEGAL traits in PFS. Sucks, but there it is.
2nd, the barbarian rage power that grants claws is Beast Totem (lesser). If you have one totem, you CANNOT have another, so getting Fiend Totem (lesser) is not an option at this point. (BOO! HISS!)
On the plus side, Dragon Disciple is a phenomenally powerful prestige class with paltry prerequisites. As such, I think that your idea to go with a minimal caster level is just fine.
However, as has been previously mentioned, while ASF sucks, so does getting hit. Perhaps a spontaneous casting class that doesn't suffer from ASF would be a decent choice...like, maybe....a bard...no, wait, hear me out!
A bard can do INCREDIBLE things for you. For one, it can let you lower your int ALL the way to 7. You'll still get 4 skill points! Also, you get inspire courage (which is fantastic). Sure, it's only a few times per day (like five or six...), BUT you can take the feat Lingering Performance, which essentially triples your daily uses. That means that at the start of virtually EVERY combat (in PFS) you can use it, and it will last for three rounds (hopefully the vast majority of the fight). Light armor prof. and shield prof. are also very nice, as is the whip proficiency. Not necessarily a selling point, but nice. Also, there are quite a few archetypes that offer very decent variations (I'm looking at you, Arcane Duelist).
That's all well and good, right? but maybe not enough? Tell you what, let's take a look at that 4 level barbarian chassis. From it you get: medium armor and shield profs., the rage ability (the selling point), a d12 hit die (the best there is), martial weapon prof., and access to the rage powers. If you're going with the Invulnerable Rager archetype, you even get a small amount of DR- (very nice indeed!)
Now, we get to look at an alternative to the barbarian: The Ranger. Now, compared to the barbarian, we'll get a bonus to skills (2 more points per level), better reflex saves, the same armor and weapon prof., and a very similar, yet distinctly different version of the beast totem (lesser) rage power: Aspect of the Beast as a bonus feat. That is, you get PERMANENT claws. Forget about rounds per day nonsense. Speaking of an all-day-every-day ability, the Freebooter archetype gets everyone within 30 feet an UNTYPED +1 on attack and damage rolls against a single target (i.e. the one that you want to hit...)
So, the side by side comparison is fairly equal, with some slight benefits going to the ranger, and some to the barbarian. Now, picking just one will be good...but really, there is very little reason NOT to get the best of both worlds. 2 levels of Ranger gets you pretty much ALL of the goodies, and 2 levels of Barbarian delivers the goods as well.
Once you've got a level of Bard and a level of Ranger, you spend the first round of combat "Roaring" at the enemy, granting your entire party a +2 to attack and damage rolls (inspire courage and freebooter's bane), you can wear light armor (you'll eventually buy mithral breastplate, AKA the best armor ever), wield whichever weapon you like (I favor a whip and a maw of big sharp pointy teeth for the first levels, until you have claws) With a shield (buckler) and you've got loads of skill points and a great draconic feel.
Your point buy is decent, but if you end up going ranger and/or bard, you could drop your Int a point or two in favor of Wisdom, as your will saves are pretty poor.
I'll suggest that you do the best of both worlds... Go with the Dervish Magus...for 6 (or 7) levels. Switch into Cleric for 3 more, and finish with MT 10. The Broad Study Magus arcana will let you use your cleric spells for spell combat & spellstrike, you'll be able to cast in armor (light or medium), you'll still get your max level spells as a Magus, AND have 7th level Cleric spells, etc.
Bard is a really cool one, as it gets you Inspire Courage, potentially a free feat (arcane strike, always nice), a boatload of skills, especially ones that you wouldn't otherwise have in class, bonuses to knowledge, and my favorite, whip proficiency, and the ability to use your (albeit limited) spells in armor. However, the Massive damage bump in damage from shocking grasp is very powerful. VERY powerful.
So, basically, for potency, Sorc is the way to go.
I think that Pendagast is referring to my suggestion of dumping the feat chain, not that you were necessarily planning on doing that. Although, I'm not sure what he plans on advising with this skirnir magus build. The only things that I can see as beneficial are:
However, you can spellstrike at lv.2, which is plenty soon enough, you can cast the Shield spell (from a wand, from your 2nd session on), and a Toothy half orc threatens with his bite, does the same damage as a shield, but can apply 1.5x his str. bonus to damage rolls.
I'm not really sure what the benefit of the skirnir magus is. I'm totally with you on utilizing spell combat as soon as possible, and with the wand wielder arcana, which it seems like your are in favor of taking (I know I am!), you can pretty much spell combat every round at 3rd level and beyond.
The reason that I suggest dumping the feat chain is that the deadly whip can do lethal damage to anyone, regardless of Armor bonus, natural armor, etc. (this is the weapon enchant that you found, right?)
The things that the whip mastery chain get you are:
So, yes, the whip mastery chain does do a few things for you, besides dealing lethal damage. However, one of the things that it does is pretty much negated by the fact that the whip has reach, and the other is just as easily achieved with a casting of Enlarge Person and an alternate racial feature (one that I highly advocate). That leaves only the lethal damage part of it, which the deadly property deals with.
Don't get me wrong, the whip mastery chain was conceived, at least AFAIK, with this specific purpose in mind, however, you could easily spend your feats to give FAR more versatility (intensify spell, rime spell, extra traits, arcane strike, etc.)
Of course, this IS your build, and we on the boards only offer commentary, advice, and suggestions. The final choice is yours, and the only wrong choice you can make is the one that you don't have fun with.
Just my 2 cp here, but...
Don't even worry about that amulet of natural armor. By the time it's a fiscally responsible purchase, you can just use the Qingong swap to get Barkskin, which will last for a minimum of 40 minutes, so you'll probably only use it twice or so per day.
Dipping just one level of Inquisitor can really help, as you can just take the Conversion Inquisition, thus using WIS for the majority of your CHA-based skill checks (unfortunately, NOT UMD, but all of the really useful others).
Honestly, the Dwarf that Stream posted earlier is incredibly solid. Especially if you take the Steel Soul feat and the Glory of Old race trait. Saves will never be a problem for that character.
His only line of note was "It's a trap!"
I just meant that the arcana isn't really helpful at all, thus it is a trap arcana.
I really can't blame you on the familiar. If you're looking for something straightforward, familiar isn't going to be for you.
As far as dropping STR and Raising INT, my question is "Why?"
Before you get going on the maneuver mastery arcana, though, I recommend being very hesitant on that. Over the course of your PFS career, you will only be netting a +3 on that particular type of maneuver. It's really a very small gain, when you consider that the wand wielder arcana lets you use a wand of true strike (thus saving your precious shocking grasps, etc.), which grants a +20 bonus. This also kind of applies to the combat expertise/trip chain of feats as well. I mean, every little bit helps, but...a +20 blows them all out of the water.
The spell blending arcana is actually pretty decent, depending on how cheesy you find arcane mark to be. If you're cool with being a magical whip-wielding Zorro, that's cool and the gang. However, if you're of the school of thought that it's kind of lame/cheesy/whatever, take a look at the cantrip "touch of fatigue". It grants you that same touch attack, but you get a cool little rider to boot. Since it's a cantrip, you could also pick up the resistance cantrip (since spell blending gets you 2 for 1 if they are both below your highest spell level), which really isn't bad, as it saves you a cloak slot (there are quite a few cool ones) and 1000 gp.
The Ghost Strike arcana is a pretty cool one. I can definitely get behind that.
I am a little confused, however by the combat reflexes feat. It will only get you 1 additional attack of opportunity, and if you do something like, say, have Enlarge Person cast on you (another fantastic choice for a wand), you won't be able to get any benefit at all from the feat, as your DEX bonus will be +0. You may be better off taking more feats that will up your damage or attack bonus, or, just taking extra arcana, so you can really use your pool points for arcane accuracy without worrying about having some left for the next fight.
Also, upon inspection of your proposed build of a few hours ago, your choice of arcanas seems sub-optimal (and in one case illegal).
Arcane Accuracy is nice, but it's much better when you have a higher INT score. I'm sure that you're thinking "but my 16 INT is pretty darn good!", and, for PFS, it is, however, trading the racial +2 from INT to STR means that you ALWAYS have +1 attack and damage, and when you use the Accuracy arcana, you'll still have the same total bonus. However, blowing a point of your limited pool for 1 round of attacks at +2 just isn't worth it (at lv.3 anyway.) Perhaps once you have a +int headband or are casting fox's cunning, it will be far more effective (as say a lv. 6 arcana, or from taking the Extra Arcana feat at 5 or 7).
The Spell Shield arcana is total Admiral Akbar material. Why blow a precious pool point, and an immediate action (read: swift action next turn) to get a measly +int as a SHIELD bonus for 1 ROUND? Just snag a wand of shield for 2 PP, and have a +4 shield bonus (that's better than a regular shield, btw) for EVERY BATTLE.
The Reflection Arcana is pretty hot, I will admit. However, it will never be seen in PFS play, as it's got a lv. 15 pre-req.
Instead, you might look at just getting a familiar, using the wand wielder arcana, maybe prescient attack, spell blending is always a nice option, and accurate strike can be REALLY nasty, especially when facing a flat footed foe.