I'm yet to think of a character where Reactionary isn't the superior mechanical option.
The other trait I usually take makes a social skill I want to use into a class skill.
In terms of raw power I like:
Lessons of Chaldira (reroll 1 failed save/day)
glory of the old (+1 saves vs. Spells/SLA/poison)
Tusked is just stupid good. (I admit I banned taking this in conjunction with adopted in my home game.)
Magical Lineage/Wayang Spellhunter can work well for a spellcaster with a go to spell.
I personally think the wealth gained from Hedge Magician can be quite significant as well.
I also like getting Acrobats/Perception/Diplomacy as a class skill if its not going to be based on my class.
I try to resist urge to add reactionary to every character.
Magical Lineage can make wonders to casters focused on particular spell. I'd love to play magic missile-specialist one day... Toppling magic missile as a 1st level... Yummy.
The ones that apply to my character's background.
Sheesh, they aren't there for min-maxing.
You know, I understand words you have written but they do not form meanigful sentences together...
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Ease of Faith (diplomacy as class skill)
Tomb Raider/Eyes and Ears of Abadar (perception as class skill)
For fighters: Defender of the Society
Magical Lineage, Wayang Spell Hunter
Lessons of Chaldira
Glory of Old
Magus: Shocking Grasp
Magical Lineage(reduces Meta Feats by 1 LVL) and in Carrion Crown Inspired by greatness (casts select spell at +1 caster lvl). Allowing you to cast shocking grasp as a lvl 1 spell with a higher caster lvl and meta feat with no hold backs. Pretty powerful! Around lvl's 5-9 when you can use a lvl 1 spell with Intensified and do 6-10D6 and compete with fireball(lvl 3 spell) how can you not be excited?
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Lessons of Chaldira: Save reroll 1/day
Defensive Strategist: You're not flatfooted at the start of a fight.
Accelerated Drinker: Drink as a move action if you have the potion in hand at start of turn.
Blade of Mercy: Do nonlethal damage with any slashing weapon w/o penalty and get +1 damage on it.
Opportunistic Gambler: Morale bonuses last 1d4 extra rounds.
Magical Lineage: Reduce metamagic costs on one spell by 1.
Wisdom in the Flesh: Pick one str, dex, or con (there are none) based skill. It's now a class skill AND wis-based!
Glory of Old: +1 on saves vs. spells, Sp, and Su.
Defender of the Society: +1 AC if you stick to medium/heavy armor.
Honeyed Words: +1 DC on numerous calming effects including Slumber hex...
Magical Knack: +2 CL up to HD. Good for multiclassers or Paladins or Rangers.
Strength of the Sun: +1 on all cha-based checks during daytime.
Hedge Magician: Crafting items costs 5% less.
Armor Expert: For the specific case of having only Light armor prof., this + Mithral breastplate is just as good as having medium armor prof. :p
Any trait that gives perception or UMD as a class skill.
I generally prefer traits that give powerful and unique options that are either hard or impossible to come by with feats. A lot of the best traits other than the class skill ones are religion traits...
|Grizzly the Archer|
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For my archer bard, I took Hunter's Eye. It's an Andoran faction trait in PFS that gives long bow proficiency and eliminates the range penalty for the first range increment.
While Reactionary and its equivalents are good for certain character types, I see way too many people taking that and Improved Initiative for characters that don't need to go first. High initiative is most important for spellcasters with area spells, so they can buff the group or bomb the enemies before everyone starts getting mixed together. Taking init boosters with a non-spellcasting class just gets in the way of your party's spellcasters. Besides, Reactionary is a combat trait, so melee characters especially have other options in that category that they should probably take instead.
That said, Reactionary, Focused Mind, and Magical Lineage seem to be my go to traits for spellcasters.
But my barbarian doesn't have any extra init bonus. Instead, I just gave him diplomacy as a class skill from a Shadow Lodge trait whose name I don't remember right now.
Rogues, especially archer rogues (if any still exist...) also heavily value going first.
But yes, I agree. For everyone else, it's kind of a waste. You want to hold back till the caster opens up the combat with an area spell, and while getting that first turn (even if only to delay) so that you're no longer flatfooted may be a concern for some, Defensive Strategist can cover that for you 100% reliably.
Yeah, there are so few rogues around here that I forgot that flatfooted = free sneak attack. So init is important for them, too. But I have a friend who took Reactionary and Improved Init with a fighter. It just means he's the first one to get in the enemies's faces and get the snot beat out of him. And he sometimes delays to let the spellcasters get their area stuff off, anyway. There's just no point in bothering with high init as a non-rogue melee type.
Hunter's Eye is in the Guide to Organized Play. It's an Andoran faction trait, so Pathfinder Society only.
|Aelryinth RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16|
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my list of generally useful traits
Indomitable Faith. +1 to will saves
Observant; Perception is a class skill with a +1 trait bonus
Focused Mind; concentration bonuses are hard to get
Resilient; +1 to fort saves
Reactionary; +2 to initiative gives you a higher chance of going before the enemy.
River Rat; a must have for knifemaster builds
Mizu Ki Hikari Rebel; a must have for unarmed monks
Ease of Faith; Diplomacy bonus
Magical Knack; a must have for paladins and rangers as well as for multiclass casters
Fast Drinker; a reason to use those crappy potions
Armor Expert, Wear a mithril breastplate without a need for proficiency
Dangerously curious, UMD bonuses.
other notable mentions
that one trait that gives you proficiency with a single tian weapon of your choice. agile wakazashi is good for a duelist.
any trait that gives acrobatics as a class skill
the pre errata version of heirloom weapon that gave a masterwork weapon that offered free proficiency and +1 to hit with that weapon. the benefits looked really good on paper to most people, which lead to an unneccessary nerf. the trait only applied it's advantages with one specific weapon that could be lost, stolen, sundered or rendered irrelevent by the circumstances.