The attitude in my post was meant to be taken as humorous endorsement on how nice those options are, rather than some kind of tyranny. My fault.
Anyhow, even besides any kind of stat-dumping or whatever, Prophetic Armor (even if taken later on, without DEX dumping) is just crazy good. Assuming that by higher level CHA is at least 24 and DEX was no more than 14, Prophetic Armor is effectively one feat for a +5 to AC and Reflex saves.
Similarly, by higher level Irrepressible (say with 24CHA and 12WIS) is going to be a whopping +6 to Charm/Compulsion saves, where Indomitable is always just a +1 to all Will saves.
Recluse's Stride and pet-positioning tactics could be very interesting with Amateur Swashbuckler: Dodging Panache and a Blue Scarf Swordmaster's Flair. Turn a morningstar or shortspear into a reach weapon and dance around with CHA-to-AC non-provoking repositioning steps while casting spells. Of course, you can't double the CHA AC with Prophetic Armor, sadly.
For that matter, one level of Inspired Blade would open up Deeds and Fencing Grace for powerful DEX/CHA focus with a reach rapier (again, Blue Scarf); Muse-Touched Aasimar for +DEX/CHA. Cast spells most rounds while using DEX-based reach rapier and things like Parry/Riposte and Dodging Panache alongside your wolf to play vicious reach, flank and AoO games.
Going Lunar and ignoring Prophetic Armor is just, as the kids used to say, 'wack'.
An Angel-Blooded Oracle with +2 STR and +2 CHA and a wolf is a natural beat-down machine *and* caster.
Take the feat Noble Scion: of War (CHA instead of DEX to initiative rolls) and the trait Irrepressible (CHA instead of WIS to important Will saves) along with Prophetic Armor (CHA instead of DEX to AC/Reflex), and you can create a monster hybrid STR/CHA character basically unaffected by dumping DEX/WIS - and unlike most dumping, dropping DEX/WIS while still being effective at their aspects is awesome RP. If the focus is totally casting, you can still run longspear-and-wolf reach weapon power - Tandem Trip Wolf and Paired Opportunists plus spells = deathmachine.
An old (here updated) Paladin tank-ish concept of mine went like this:
Unchained Scaled Fist Monk 1 and Paladin of Sarenrae, focus on DEX and CHA. Go DEX scimitar with Dervish Dance. Sarenrae Paladin may take Crusader's Flurry at level 5, which means Unchained Flurry of Blows with a Dervish Dance Scimitar. You gain your stacked DEX and CHA to AC with no armor on, which is just awesome from both a mechanical and roleplay perspective.
If you take Unsanctioned Knowledge, you can pick up Mirror Image and Displacement, which is just crazy good for a 'tank'. Also some other really cool options...
On the 'defend the party' angle, there's Swordmaster's Flair: Blue Scarf with Amateur Swashbuckler: Dodging Panache - gain a Panache pool and then use CHA and Panache to dodge and dance around the battlefield with a reach scimitar. Oh, and Cornugon Stun with Scaled Fist Monk/ Paladin of Sarenrae/ Crusader's Flurry allows for CHA-based Stunning Fist attacks with scimitar.
This original concept turned out pretty fun-time in the days before there was Scaled Fist Unchained Monk. With that option on the table...
Why Monk? Why not just Crusader's Flurry? also, why you always want to dump charisma?
Crusader's Flurry requires Channel Energy and Flurry of Blows, so I don't know how you'd take it without a level of Monk or Sacred Fist and a class that grants Channel Energy. And while Crusader's Flurry is cool for allowing flurry with favored weapons, you can just flurry with a Monk sword and save 1-2 feats if it matters.
As far as CHA dumping goes... well, you're right really. It's not needed. People seem to do it all the time in PFS especially, but 18/18 isn't much different from 17/17 and not dumping - it means 18/18 or 20/18 by level 8. To each their own.
Prophetic Armor from Lunar Oracle is one of the three Ability-score-substituting Oracle wonders. Besides CHA to Dodge AC, there's the feat Noble Scion: of War, which is CHA to initiative, and the trait Irrepressible, which is CHA to the most important Will saves. Mithral medium armor and a high CHA with Prophetic Armor is exceptional AC.
As far as Cleric with Animal Domain goes, Separatist (I know, I repeat myself) allows customization of secondary Domains. And Cleric with one level dip has the same spell level as Oracle. Combat Teamwork Feats with a pet are pretty awesome - Tandem Trip, Coordinated Maneuver, Paired Opportunists, and the wolf pet gets free trips. Lots to think about. A dip in Monk makes Vicious Stomp easy, and that's awesome with Paired Opportunists and a wolf.
There are plenty of ways to make trip and combat maneuvers very powerful within PFS levels, and a maneuver-specialized build should still be effective at combat if tripping doesn't work.
Multiclassing and/or magic is probably the best option overall for monstrous CMB/trip with all the tricks available for beefing up size and CMB. Getting swift-action tripping is also possible through some spells.
The only requirement for a Separatist Cleric's second Domain is that it's not on their deity's list. And the Animal and Terrain Domains section specifically says at the bottom that other classes may take them.
The build "comes online" as a hybrid combat/caster Cleric from the start; you can cast spells and/or attack with Divine Favor just fine at level 1. The tripping stuff builds up to Greater Trip at 8, which isn't that different from any other martial with a trip build getting trip AoOs at 6. You can use Aspect and trip before that, of course. Heroism isn't needed to be effective, it's just very useful when CMD is going up at the higher end of PFS.
Most builds that do something crazy like swift-action AoO trip or throwing Dazing fireballs take a while to get there, but they still work fine before that as typical fighters or casters.
Speaking of builds that "come online" at middle PFS levels, you could also run a hybrid full caster with Dimensional Dervish - there are ways to get a Cleric or Shaman using Dimensional Dervish by level 7/8 with PFS Retraining rules.
The point of that particular concept is that with swift action tripping and strong split Ability scores, you can act like a full caster if you want and still move around tripping things *at the same time*. Having strong spellcasting ability, strong melee ability with very strong tripping, and a swift-trip ability which lets you use both at the same time is the exact opposite of a "one-trick pony".
The Strategy ability of the Order of the Dragon is incredibly strong tactics when used as a readied action. "When X happens, everyone can move as an immediate action". "When that mage casts a spell, the front line immediately moves up to him just before he starts casting". "When that giant moves on a party member, that party member immediately moves away, and the front line immediately moves up to full attack positions". Talk about taking charge...
Oh, and the Constable Cavalier is awesome team leadership in place of a horse, if not doing the finesse thing with Daring Champion.
Archaeologist Bard is a good option for limited Bard levels, since Archaeologist's Luck is easier to use than Bardic Performance.
However, Wizard and Sorcerer can work fine with just Arcane Armor Training and a mithral kikko armor and mithral buckler (you can use a bow and buckler without penalty, and hold the bow in the buckler hand to cast spells). Arcane Armor Training uses a swift action, but I don't think that will matter in this case.
The advantage of Wizard or Sorcerer is that you get more spell power sooner, and some of their class abilities are really useful. The Foresight Subschool of the Divination School for Wizard would be great for an Arcane Archer, even with just one Wizard level.
A couple notes on Arcane Archer from Ranger - Point Blank Master allows shooting at a target right in front of you without provoking attacks. Assuming that you use Ranger Combat Style: Archery, it's available at Ranger level 6. It's not necessary, but unless a Ranger is built to use backup melee weapons, it's pretty useful.
Choosing spellcaster type and spells is complicated. Make sure to understand how the casting class works, such as what Ability Score it will require to cast spells, and whether armor is a problem. Arcane Armor Training and getting mithral armor helps with spell failure, and the headband items that improve Ability scores help that problem. Low casting power means that spells for self-improvement or utility make more sense than spells for attacking things - Heroism will always work fine on yourself, but Hold Person at low power will rarely hold a strong enemy.
It's not at all 'practically false' for characters who can't wear armor, and I don't know what other characters it would really apply to. A character with a 6-point Monk AC bonus pays the exact same for "armor enhancement" as a character wearing a breastplate, with the same end result in AC. Of course, plenty of spells or abilities provide nice magical armor effects for free anyways.
There's a reason I said "most defining features", and not "everything".
Cleric/Monk1 gets the most important bonus attack, WIS AC, Stunning Fist, and Monk IUS (though unarmed is typically very inferior with one Monk level). Then beyond that, they get the whole enormous range of Cleric options, including a whole pile of direct and indirect buffing/debuffing spells and abilities. Normal Cleric buffs are very strong, but the list of options also includes things like Rage (Rage Domain or Anger Inquisition), Heroism/Greater (Heroism Domain), and Inspire Courage (Evangelist Cleric). Also, Dimension Door (Travel Domain) and Dimensional Dervish is a possibility long before Pummeling Style. Or instead of pseudo-pounce, they could make do with Spell Perfection Quickened Harm and one execution strike. Cleric/Monk rewards system mastery.
Create a Separatist Cleric with the Heroism and Wolf Domains, filling Domain slots from 3 up with Aspect of the Wolf - a cheap lesser Extend rod means plenty of pre-buffed min/day. Specialize in tripping with Dirty Fighting, Fury's Fall and Greater Trip, with Aspect of the Wolf granting +4 to STR and DEX (so +4 to tripping with Fury's Fall) and allowing you to trip as a swift action. Swift action tripping and then Greater Trip at level 8 means you can trip -> AoO with a swift action even on a round where you cast a spell and moved. And of course, it means you can start a full attack with a swift trip strike too. Between Aspect Fury's Fall, Divine Favor/Power and Heroism buffing and the usual trip stuff like the CMB gauntlets you should have an absolutely brutal trip ability.
Cleric spellcasting should remain pretty solid if splitting stats with a double race bonus. With Aspect's dual enhancement bonuses, you could potentially put an Elven curved blade to great use - 14,15/17,14,10,15/17,7 on a Plumekith Aasimar, maybe, where you end up finessing a curved blade with 18STR/22DEX. But there are plenty of options with STR or DEX that still keep WIS decent. Heroism offers a power that adds level to CHA checks, so even with low CHA you can actually Excel at CHA checks by higher levels.
One level of a martial class is pretty painless on a Cleric if it should prove useful.
Feats are manageable even with tripping, since you get Improved Trip free with Wolf Domain and Combat Reflexes isn't vital. A Fighter dip helps both proficiencies and feats if needed.
The best thing about Oracle (in my opinion) are the Revelations that let you sub CHA for DEX. Lore, Nature, Lunar are all very cool themes with great powers, and each lets you sub your casting stat for DEX when it comes to Dodge bonus. Instant frontline caster stuff. Throw in the feat Noble Scion: of War and the trait Irrepressible and your initiative and Compulsion Will Save are also based on CHA. Use a Dual Talent Human or Aasimar and you're a hybrid monster.
Halcyon Druid with a level of Anger Id Rager Urban Bloodrager, wielding a Furious scythe and using stoneplate (with Longstrider). Dual Talent Human: 15/17, 14, 14, 10, 15/17, 7. Traits: Magical Knack, Wayang Spellhunter: Dazzling Blade.
Take Dazzling Blade, Sense Vitals, and Heroism as bonus arcane spells. In combat you buff with Sense Vitals and then slap swift-action blind on targets with Persistent Dazzling Blade. Then you start harvesting chunks of enemy with Sneak Attack Anger Bloodrage Furious scythe strikes. With level 9 Sense Vitals, a +4STR belt, and a +2 Furious scythe, you can deal almost 40 damage per hit (and instakill on scythe crits). With stoneplate and Barkskin you've got great AC. And you've still got access to good Druid spellcasting as an option too, even if your spellslots are mostly blinding and buffing.
Unsanctioned Knowledge can be pretty cool. It takes 13 INT, but that's not too tough at higher levels unless you dumped INT. Heroism, Good Hope, or Dance of a Hundred Cuts are all nice morale buffs. Mirror Image and Displacement are pretty fantastic. Dimension Door opens up Dimensional Dervish if you can use Retraining rules for the feats.
Another option would be to multiclass into powerful options, but that depends a lot on build details. One level of Celestial Bloodline Bloodrager and one Extra Rage grants plenty of holy Rage with a Furious weapon. Three levels of Horizon Walker opens up Dimensional Dervish. Two levels of Ninja opens up a CHA-based Ki Pool and Extra Ki, granting extra Ki attacks (works just fine with greatword) and possibly Shadow Clone.
Bracers of Armor don't cost any more than enchanting armor, though nothing but light armor can carry Brawling anyhow.
Unchained Monk multiclassed with Cleric might give Warpriest a strong challenge, since Monk/Cleric has some very powerful synergy options. A Monk/Cleric1 can pick up strong Domain options, Guided Hand, and/or Crusader's Flurry. A Cleric/Monk1 is a full spellcaster with most of the Unchained Monk's defining combat features. Even a Cleric dipping enough Unchained Monk to get a Ki Pool will end up a 9th level caster.
With all its faults, Kingmaker is pretty great. I created a solo character with Empyreal Sorcerer/ Traditional Monk 1/ Eldritch Knight (after a lot of restarts) because of 3 things:
1. Empyreal Sorcerer uses WIS. WIS = Perception, Will Save. I don't think I need to explain that choice further on a solo creature.
2. Flurry works with anything in Kingmaker (bug?). Rumor has it that some of the best weapons are bastard swords of extreme prejudice, and I really like the bastard sword skins. So I went Flurry of Blows with bastard sword in anticipation of Briar Blade or Armagh's sword.
3. As far as buffing goes playing solo Kingmaker: Greater Invisibility -> Sense Vitals -> Haste -> ExTErmINaTE!
A thing to note about Dragon Disciple: how powerful DD levels are depends on how powerful their spellcasting is. A Dragon Disciple level that grants levels of full casting class is very strong. A Dragon Disciple level that grants 4-level casting is... not so strong. I'm not saying using DD to advance other casting classes is wrong - just that full casting levels are top-shelf stuff. Ever consider Monstrous Physique II: Calikang?
The weirdest and maybe strongest Dragon Disciple uses Ley-Line Guardian Witch with Strength Patron. You get Divine Favor and maybe Divine Power as a Witch spell on top of DD buffs. Divine Favor/Power, Fate's Favored, Heroism and +4 STR from DD is a reaping machine. Especially at higher levels when you can "pounce" with Dimensional Dervish or Quickened Storm Step.
Generally, martial class 1/ Sorcerer 4/ Dragon Disciple 4 makes the most sense by far. Martial 4/ Sorcerer 1 loses a level and a half of spellcasting for 1 BAB difference. At level 9, that's the difference between having a strong serving of level 3 spells - like Haste and Heroism just to name the obvious ones - and just barely breaking into level 2. Of course, there might be some special reason to go more than martial 1, but it better be a very good one.
One strong single martial option is Barbarian/Bloodrage 1 - taking Extra Rage once already means around 12 rounds per day, so with one level you've got the main benefit of being a Rage class - including Furious weapons. Bloodrager can take Mad Magic to cast spells while raging, though for many builds that's not really that important. Once you get into melee and turn Rage on, you probably aren't going to be casting spells unless using some special trick.
Another very strong option is Scaled Fist Monk 1. CHA to AC and free Dodge, Unchained Flurry of Blows with a temple sword or 9-ring sword on two hands. It's hard to beat bonus two-handed attacks and using your casting stat for AC. Dual Talent Human to stack ability scores and you can easily have 26STR/24CHA by level 12 with items.
Snakebite Striker Brawler 1 and Accomplished Sneak Attacker grants 2d6 Sneak Attack, which is strong with spell tricks.
Speaking of spell tricks, the spell Dazzling Blade is amazing on a melee caster - swift-action casting, free-action blind. It's a level 1 spell, perfect for Metamagic trait manipulation and Persistent spell. Crossing the buff spell Sense Vitals with Dazzling Blade is truly brutal. Of course, to use Dazzling Blade well takes a decent CHA and spell slots to burn on Persistent. But aggressive swift-blinding at the right moment is fantastic.
To be fair, it's based on DEX bonus, so if you want a ridiculous amount of AoO's you need big DEX. What's really crazy is Fortuitous weapon. I think multiple AoO's has a place, but perhaps with a cap. And maybe let characters break the cap through dual-wielding or other multiple-weapon situations. Fortuitous should have been a property that allowed a second AoO with a weapon that didn't make the first AoO.
My biggest problem I am having is that in a group of 3 my barbarian seemed to fit his role quite well, and being a group of 3 each person needs to be very self-sufficient as well as extremely efficient on a round by round basis as to keep the tide of battle turned towards our favor. I am having trouble not making the same nearly the exact same character.
The issue is that you're struggling to make a powerful, self-sufficient melee character who isn't a hulking Barbarian? Barbarians are great, but they're far from the only way to build a powerful and reliable melee character. A million other options exist to do that, and many are much stronger in various ways - defenses, initiative, abilities, even potentially damage.
Original monks have a table telling you what their penalties are.
The Monk table is based on the fact that Flurry of Blows states "...taking a -2 penalty, as if using Two-Weapon Fighting Feat". Which is actually very screwed up, since technically you should have a -4 from TWF by default - typically a Monk doesn't even have an offhand weapon, let alone a light one.
Brawler's Flurry is also screwed up, since the text seems to think Two-Weapon Fighting gives you the extra attack. And technically, without an offhand to even be light, Brawler's Flurry should be all -4s.
So... people have to use their judgement.
A melee/debuff magic/weapon character might work very well for a small group. Like a Cleric/Monk or Warpriest who mostly melees, but uses spells and powers like Aura of Doom, Archon's Aura, Aura of Chaos or Touch of Madness to cripple enemies while fighting.
Or maybe a "spellsword" type character specialized in combining Sneak Attack damage with Dazzling Blade and other ways to roll opposition. You can build a very strong trip-based spell-warrior out of nasty debuffs and the Knowledge is Power Arcane Discovery.
For straight melee, a cold, calculating Weapon Master with some Rogue or Ninja levels can be very lethal while playing very differently than a Barbarian.
For major uniqueness points, you can use 4 levels of Druid and Shaping Focus to build a warrior who lives in medium elemental form - a character shifted into an Elemental form can still take humanoid shape, speak, and wield weapons. So you can be an earth elemental earthbreaker juggernaut, or a flying air elemental blade-storm.
If you're using Brawler's Flurry to make all attacks with one weapon, then there is no 'offhand' weapon. An offhand weapon is defined by being a second weapon you're wielding to gain extra attacks.
Original Monks use Flurry "as if using Two-Weapon Fighting", but I've never seen anyone suggest that a Monk takes a -4 if their flurry involves a non-light weapon. I don't see why Brawler would operate any differently.
I hate that attack is either based purely on strength, or purely on dexterity with contrived feats. A character with 20STR/3DEX is more accurate than a character with 18STR/18DEX. Or for that matter, a "DEX build" character with 20DEX/3STR does more damage than one with 18DEX/18STR. It's absolutely ludicrous.
One incredibly simple solution: AB = STR + DEX, and maybe slightly change base AC. Done. In that world, a player can choose where a character lies on the STR-DEX continuum, with every point between them being a trade-off. Average strength and high dexterity becomes as valid a build as it should be - while making a weapon-wielder with the STR of a small animal is as stupid as it deserves to be.
A Scaled Fist/ Sorcerer/ Dragon Disciple with Imperious + Draconic Crossblooded could make a pretty great "sea king", using the spell Contagious Zeal with Encouraging Spell and their Imperious ability. This would make Contagious Zeal a +3 to attack and damage for others and +4 to themselves. This plus Dragon Disciple and Scaled Fist 1 with a Monk sword would be a monster in combat when not casting spells, and CHA AC plus Draconic AC plus Mage Armor becomes strong defense.
And of course, Draconic grants bonus damage.
Maybe with Prestigious Spellcaster to hold on to more casting power with Disciple...
You might want to go Guided Hand if you're trying to melee with those stats.
One option would be to use something like Separatist Cleric of Nethys (for Madness on Nethys), Guided Hand: Quarterstaff, and then take one Unchained Monk level. WIS to AC, attack, spellcasting and powers, and unchained Flurry of Blows to massively improve melee. Magic Vestment can enhance clothing.
Depending on deity and build, you could also consider using Guided Hand and Crusader's Flurry. Crusader Cleric grants free Focus, so you can have the whole mix working by 5.
The "Grace" feats severely restrict combat style. Agile weapons cost attack and/or damage and DR break, and relying on a weapon property to not suck is a gamble (and kind of sad). A 3-level Rogue dip is a massive expense, and out of the question for many builds. If a build *can* take a major dip, there may be better options than Rogue.
By the time a Fighter can afford Gloves of Dueling, Trained Grace is probably a +4 damage bonus. It's a +6 bonus on a level 15 Weapon Master. Even on a multiclass build with only Weapon Master 4, it's eventually worth +3 to damage.
Trained Grace isn't *always* the best option, but there are plenty of cases where it is.
Ranger has the Guide Ranger Archetype, which basically throws out Favored Enemy for Smite Whatever (Ranger's Focus). Ranger's Focus has limited uses/day, but is twice as strong as Favored Enemy - personally, I would take x/day destroy the boss over Study, but both are good stuff. For TWF style, Ranger's Focus is just... so great. And at higher levels, I think Inspired Moment has to be one of the best combat abilities in the whole damn system, hands down - "hey, have a free move action to pounce for two rounds!". Skirmisher Ranger (works with Guide) replaces spellcasting with Hunter's Tricks, which are really fantastic too, if you want to switch-out spellcasting. I've been 'around' as it were, and Guide/Skirmisher Ranger is maybe my favorite martial.
Quick shout-out to Shaman/Monk1, Enemies' Bane is just stupidly good. Close to Inquisitor, but with 9-level casting, Flurry of Blows, and Crusader's Flurry.
Sacred Fist is a powerful class for using Flurry of Blows with a two-handed weapon, but it's ironically lousy with unarmed strike - especially compared to Warpriest.
Warpriest spellcasting is typically pretty "selfish" and focused on buffing. But you *can* create an effective Sacred Fist or Warpriest with high WIS and spells like Archon's Aura and Aura of Doom to debuff the battlefield.
Edit: Sacred Fist with high WIS is also very good with Channel Energy, Channel Smite and Variant Channeling. And can use one-class Crusader's Flurry.
So for instance, a Sacred Fist of Magdh could pick up Crusader's Flurry with a scythe, and use Negative Energy Luck Channel with Channel Smite to slap targets with a nasty penalty to all d20 rolls before going scythe-flurry on them. Combo that with maybe Persistent Archon's Aura or Persistent Aura of Doom, and you've got a debuff-and-destroy monster.
It looks pretty good; I gotta say though, you're pretty close to being able to do the Transmutation School thing where 15DEX plus the +2DEX you get from Transmutation at Wizard 5 eventually lets you go Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and probably Double Slice. I crunch numbers when bored, and TWF war axe and shield ain't bad at all. Thinking about it, Core Eldritch Knight really has a whole lot of feats to use (since feat options are really limited with core), and with feats you can both gain a shield bonus and get two decent bonus attacks with a spiked light shield with feats to spare.
Now, if you decide to go two-hander and rely on Arcane Armor Training for AC, then swing away. A reach polearm would be a great possibility; most reach polearms are just big long "axes" anyhow, and reach polearms mean bonus attacks of opportunity even if you're casting spells on your turn. Move up almost to frontline to tempt enemies, cast spell, whack enemies who approach you. The Shield spell is pretty good Shield AC without a shield, but of course that comes back to the question of what you can have running when combat starts.
As far as abilities go, I'll note that +1 hp per level = Toughness. +1 attack and +2-3 damage because you have more STR is equal to two feats at least.
As far as Sorcerer and Dragon Disciple goes, it's not as bad for a Dwarf as it may at first seem. Dragon Disciple grants +4 STR and +3 AC in 4 levels, which is great for taking pressure off physical ability score needs.
In ability score terms, starting with 16STR, 12DEX, 12/14CON, 10INT, 7/9WIS, 16\14CHA, and putting the points at 4 and 8 into CHA, you would still end up with 20STR, 16 in your casting stat, and the same AC as if you had 18DEX by Dragon Disciple 4. At that point you can go Eldritch Knight. You would be very hard pressed to get a Wizard/EK up to 20STR and 16INT that easily.
Come to think of it, you could use a shield and Two-Weapon Fighting. 15DEX and the +2 you can get from Transmuter gives enough DEX for proper dual wield. Go 16STR (+6 from levels and belt), 15DEX (+2 from Transmuter), 12/14CON, 15INT, 7/9WIS, 8\6CHA. Then you can wield a war axe and light shield with pretty good power, and you have good shield and DEX AC.
There are problems for an EK with a shield. Heavy Shield and weapon blocks spellcasting, so you're stuck needing to draw/sheathe your weapon to go between fighting and casting. Quick Draw helps. Light shield or buckler doesn't block casting since you can hold the weapon in your shield hand for a moment.
But the biggest concern with a shield is that your damage is probably going to be pretty weak if you aren't serious about improving it. If you use a shield, you're going to want to be very aggressive - Good STR, Arcane Strike, Weapon Specialization at 9, Power Attack.
For a shield-using Dwarf EK, I'd do something like 16STR, 14DEX, 12/14CON, 15INT, 8/10WIS, 8\6CHA, put points into STR at 4 and 8, and get a +4STR belt. You've got a bunch of shield AC to shore up defense, so you can focus on being quite good at beating things with an axe. With Heroism and Haste, solid one-handed damage can do just fine.
Edit: Armor Training is a big question-mark. Eventually getting Quicken Spell can be very useful, but it eats high-level spell slots and comes quite late for a core EK - you need to be level 13 even just to burn one precious level 6 spell slot for a Quickened Scorching Ray.
Very well, I'll rephrase: "The closest thing to an official answer about how Ascetic Style was *intended* to work...".
Saying Ascetic Style isn't a mess is a bit disingenuous. "Effects that augment" is notoriously bad wording for obvious reasons. A permissive reading of feat 1 makes whole sections of later feats pointless. That's clearly a mess.
Striking the second clause from Ascetic Style instantly resolves and clarifies the feat chain, leaves it running as the auther intended, and still allows almost all uses. So it's an easy, attractive option for clarifying the situation. I'd consider it the best option for resolving disputes about it, but others may have more appetite for 'legal' battles than I do these days.
Eldritch Knight basically "breaks even" with full BAB, since they lose 3 BAB getting to EK levels but gain 2 attack from Heroism (which lasts long enough to be pretty much "always on") and they usually pay 1 less Power Attack penalty. However, martials typically get more than just full BAB...
The biggest question is what kind of buffing you can easily use. Heroism should usually be fine - with a cheap Extend Metamagic Rod, it lasts hours. If your GM/party makes it fairly easy to do things like cast Mirror Image when you know a fight is coming soon-ish or cast Haste as you move into battle, great. If you have to start tough fights without anything set up yet, you're going to need to worry a lot more.
If I *had* to go core Dwarf Eldritch Knight, I'd go Barbarian 1 with some Extra Rage. You don't need to be able to cast spells and fight at the same time; you Rage when you're done casting spells and getting into melee. The last thing a melee character wants to do is pick fights that they're really bad at finishing.
Alternatively, core Eldritch Knight works very nicely with Weapon Finesse, Power Attack and elven curved blade. Dwarves have no more STR bonus than DEX bonus, which is to say they get neither. Transmuter works well with Finesse and curved blade; you get a DEX bonus item for attack, and put the Transmuter bonus into STR. You can still even take Barbarian 1 for the bonus damage; the AC penalty is then offset by higher DEX.
Note that the Transmutation ability score bonus is an Enhancement. It won't stack with items or most spells. So beyond very early levels, it's not very effective to be using it on STR. An Eldritch Knight with Transmutation eventually gets a +2. Personally I would redo those ability scores to something that suits a Wizard/melee; you're talking about cracking skulls and "offense is the best defense", but you've got weak attack and damage as well as weak defense.
Ditching Illusion means no Mirror Image, no Displacement, no Greater Invisibility... it's not just ditching "sneaking". You *can* go that way, but creating a melee Wizard while ditching really good Wizard defensive spells doesn't sound like a great plan. Mirror Image is arguably the best reason to go Core Eldritch Knight.
If you want a spells-and-melee Core Dwarf, a fighting/casting Cleric would be an awful lot easier to pull off. Just saying.
Sure. If you want to use Mythic Vital Strike on a Fighter, I'd also get Greater Trip and Felling Smash. Then you can bash things with Mythic Vital Strike and then knock them down and hit them again.
I don't know how complicated you want to make your build, but there's a million cool things you can do with multiclassing Fighter.
You can make a strong two-handed Fighter with DEX too, if you want.
You can't use Slashing Grace with two weapons, sadly. But Ranger Combat Style means you don't need to have high DEX to use TWF anyways.
Instead of two Finesse Wakizashi, consider going strength and using a one-handed sword in one hand and a cestus or spiked gauntlet in the other hand. When using TWF, you attack with the sword and the hand-weapon. But any time you aren't using a TWF full attack, you grip the sword in two hands. Changing grip is a free action, so you get to switch between two-handed and TWF for attacks, which is very strong.
Note that Slayer Study Target is supposed to use a swift action as you go up levels. If you use Mythic Feint, you can't use Study Target unless you use it as a move action. But using Study as a move action ruins your combat for a round.
Mythic Vital Strike is extremely good, you might want to use that one instead with normal feint.
If looking at Cleric options, note that Separatist Cleric allows you a free Domain pick regardless of what deity you choose. Very useful for customizing abilities. For a melee Cleric there's always the option of Crusader's Flurry if you want something like a Magdh Cleric using a scythe for Flurry of Blows.
For Hexes, Martial 1/ Strength Patron Witch 4/ Evangelist also works as a combat Witch who basically has 3/4BAB, great combat buffs, and full Witch spellcasting and Hexes -2 levels.
Shaman is probably the strongest option for hexes, since they have full divine casting, hexes as class features, and also powerful combat options. Shaman with one level of Monk is particularly strong. As far as Shaman combat goes, Battle Spirit is just ridiculously good - check Enemies' Bane.
A Cleric with Chaos\Protean can be an exceptionally nasty debuff-and-melee swordsman - Chaos\Protean is one of the most hilariously "misfortunate" domains. Touch of Chaos is an exceptionally strong "curse" that can be delivered through a Conductive weapon or through Domain Strike, and Aura of Chaos is just... a circus of WTF.
A Cleric of Hei-Feng with one level of Unchained Monk can use Guided Hand to focus their build, with attack, AC, spell DC, Domain Power DC and Stunning Fist DC all based on WIS. They can inflict Touch of Chaos, Stunning Fist and Instrument of Agony through their sword attacks for brutal melee debuffing, and can use Aura of Chaos and Aura of Doom to completely screw with enemies just by being nearby. They've got strong AC without armor, and use Flurry of Blows two-handed with a 9-ring sword.
I'm sure there are other great "Chaos Blade" Cleric options as well.
I didn't say it was official.
Ascetic Style is a mess, and there's no official clarification.
The only words from anyone even remotely relevant come unofficially from the guy who wrote it. People can do what they want with that when trying to interpret how it works. Rules lawyers can, as always, petition for things they want to work to work, or petition to stop things from working that they feel are wrong. PFS just banned it, which is both sensible and a shame, since they could have just cut 'effects' and preserved a cool (on theory) style chain.
Edit: Personally, as a player wanting to use it, I would simply accept the more restricted version with the knowledge that Ascetic Form would pretty much guarantee that I got what I wanted anyhow. I don't really see any reason to insist on the 'effects' clause unless someone is looking to really cheese things, but maybe I'm wrong.
The actual writer for Ascetic Style has said that it should probably just be revised in the same way that they revised FCT; the closest thing to an official answer is to read Ascetic Style as: "While using the selected natural weapon, you can apply the effects of feats that have Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite."
However, Ascetic Form is much more clear about allowing things to work with it.