Paladin/Life Oracle is a good melee while healing, get paladin 2 or 4ish, then rest oracle. Life link group, lay hands as needed, there is a seperate post a while back about it, flue is kicking my butt or I would link it.
For range I like clerics with domain to get a animal companion and shoot things with a bow, heal and channel in down time.
Dang buggy site, any way. Shaman at 15+ is not going to shake the world like a true wizard, sorry but they cant base the perfect list to stop anything, be anywhere or topple any government with 24 hour notice. Wizard can damn well break the game unless they play nice when ran by a good arcane player.
Shaman is a nice jack of many trades, master of none.
Shadowcaster with the shadow themed feats would do this very well, with a high int you can be good with any skills regardless of stat bonuses. That and I personally feel that arcane spells would trump Bard spells for utility of doing said thievery type actions, without the SLA errata I don't like the wasted caster levels of the trickster.
I make a good 20 ish "events" that don't have a set location but slot them into the map as the players find them. What they find is based on what would be fun for them to find, for them or me. If they search for and plan it firms out more, if they just March along it is more random.
I try to get a few scenarios that allow each character to shine. I also try to balance the rp vs combat based on party's likes and what fits in the world and their location.
This gives the illusion of choice but if I need them to get somewhere they will get there.
With stuff already posted I know this might not be allowed, but after playing a Mindchemist/Vivisectionist alchemist one one side with conjuration(teleport) wizard on the other was a sight to behold. Cognatogen to boost int, extracts for heals and non-wizard spells. Trap Finder trait for the magical traps. Shift was great for thievery and battle field movement/escape.
It can lead to more power but normally it is not more powerful than two characters. What it does is keep people from having to play two personalitys at the same time when role playing.
Edit: beware of mythic tho, it can greatly screw with things, although mythic can do that to single class characters too
After running that AP twice, and before playing it past its end, I can not stress enough if it is played as written a full wizard is so key. As far as your bard, as others have said, concentrate on 1 aspect of it, be it spells, bow or melee. Then past 12 most combat is rocket tag (ie who goes first wins), so being excellent in that 1 area helps you contribute reliably.
AA is a trap for bards IMO.
Need does matter, but it is not the only thing that does. Another thing is being able to fully understand something to want it. How many know how a true motor works, never mind trying to dream that up.
Religion was a true force against progression in the dark ages here, in a medieval setting why would that not be the case. The other thing about tech is it equalizes many more things then fantasy does. Would those in power want to give that up?
At that power preventing rocket tag can be troublesome. Actually regular characters and mythic is normally rocket tag from what I have seen past lvl 10ish.
I did something like this in a Way of the Wicked campaign. Over half the campaign I had the running the gauntlet effect, only resting after 10+ encounters.
Only hiccup I noticed DM'n something like this was CHA using class's got a little OP, the sorcerer in the group literally only cared about that one stat.
If the holy "scourge" learns of them it may be a short life, anything that hunts undead can really hurt.
Negative channeling can also be a tad better for undead as it heals friends/hurts enemies.
I would say that as a vet of both army combat engineer and navy nuclear engineer. I have been inoculated for every occasion on earth, can reliably hit targets at 300 yards and know alot about modern tactics, survival, and physics. May be a rare combo tho.
For gear a sniper rifle with sound supression, ammo, a modern sled or wagon to mount to a bike, 3 to 5 small light handguns as they wear out some and can break. If portal was big enough scratch bike and just a horse for me and 2 pack horses. Injures from combat can be lanced, so pills for infection is all.
As others have said tho, if no people to cone with, I would be leary at best, as I sleep and pathfinder is built for a party.
Books are fine but they don't last in weather long, study before you go, but 90% of the us understands more of physics, applied that is then any pathfinder person.
Redo the whole campaign, one living pc would be destroyed by Thorn imo. One living is not a knot. If they are greener then tell them it's a rewind back to leaving thorns villa and they are a different knot, change enough to keep them guessing and rp thorn telling them precisely what wend wrong and what will happen to them if they fail. That is not a beginner AP imo as they can not make many mistakes without the campaign failing.
Good luck, wish ya the best, was a blast for me to gm.
Hmm, if the caster or specifically wizard plays nice and makes the group shine and only blows out the stops to stop the tpk why mess with anything.
This is a group game,level headed adults at the table wI'll matter more for everyone having their time to shine more then monkeying around with point buys.
It has been stated that t1 and t2's get more out of class abilities then stats and this is true, but to antagonize the t1 and t2 players out of the gate seems like it could backfire. YMMV
Lawful can also mean a code of ethics, not just follow laws.
For instance Boshido is
Nothing in it says follow rules others have made, just follow my rules.
Well the Evangelist will only do negative energy channel, where as the Fiendish Vessel heals evil and harms neutral/good in the same channel. For a undead/summon cleric I truly recommend the fiendish vessel. Also an imp latter brings many possibilities both with UMD or the channel starting point. The domain choice is not as fun, but what you get in return is well worth it IMO. YMMV
For me it is simple as this. If you say your character can do something please for the love of god stat it so it can, or be the fop that fails. Back story and fluff that does not impact actions is totally up to the players in my games, but the fighter that studied in a wizard tower hurts my head with 2 skill points and no studious aspects.
I have ran many games in many states, and to me there is no badwrongfun if people are having fun. But it is a group play and having fluff that others can relate to and understand really keeps the shenanigans out of the game.
If 3rd party is welcome then a Vitalist with someone who can channel can be effective in combat healing, channel 5d6 to 6 people, and take that 5d6x6 or 30d6 to one person or may spread as you see fit point by point. And that's from a Collective (100ft+10ft/lvl) range. But I may be biased after having one in my game, totally amazing healers/buffers.
Pure pazio, other then pitch healing, and then it is still risky, rocket tag is better. It has been better since 3.0, and the heal spell is the only thing that can arguably make that different.
I don't know why cannon law says healers must have armor other then the days of first and second edition when being squishy was a wizards role. I think I remember an interview I read that Gygax mentioned about healing needs armor to be in the combat to heal. Mind you much of the game has really changed since those days.
Still say fiendish vessel is op, a healer that heals evil, damages good is key, as in evil parties some may be positive/alive and some negative/undead. I will state for the last time this AP needs a balanced group more then any other I have run. Nothing but the party should be trusted, get your players to realize it. Unless you have a much larger group then normal you will run into issues if anything from a tactical group is missing.
This campaign has a lot of stated goals that are X, Your players are then challenged on how to do so. It also stymied a group that was more used to railroading. My second group did amazingly well.
On player balance, I can not stress enough that they need to talk about what they are playing and compliment each other. They will be wanted for much of the campaign with little help, so having someone to do traps, heal, make knowledge checks, etc etc is vitally important.
Also try to get someone to be a cleric/anti-paladin/etc of asmodeus to help motivate the group to follow at times. I did use liberal use off the contract in book one to bring unease to any talk dissension. Fiendish Vessel (Cleric) is utterly amazing for this AP with the ability to heal evil and harm good regardless if positive or negative energy is normally used to heal.
The group I ran that finished this was a Fiendish Vessel of asmodeus, Anti-paladin of asmodeus, Rogue 1/Wizard X that did god wizard role, last but not even close to least was a Juju oracle undead making to the absurd.
They forced through very stealth objectives and secretly did some that were supposed to be upfront war, stay nimble my friend as they can really throw you for a loop. On the vampire or lich, I can only suggest they all do it, or none as it brings disadvantages to when or where they can be, if it is not every one it can cause strife.
Latter in the AP combat can really slow down with all their friends, be prepared or story the mass combats.
I personally strongly disagree that a summoner and his pet trump a well played druid with pet. Druids have a ton of spells to truly buff up his AC, summoner has a few. That and the druid is a full 9th caster, the summoner is a semi 9th caster, even by spells per day I prefer the druid.
Most of the OP Eidolon builds I have seen have been breaking more then one rule or another. I stand by the thing takes a rules lawyer to interpret well.
Not saying the summoner is weak, far from it, but bashing the druid is not true to my mind. YMMV
My guess, per dev's saying they don't like complicated math during combat that rage will change to be a bit easier for non-math types to handle. That there is a need for this makes me sad, but that is another discussion.
Summoner will be less munchkin-able and more standard options. I can see the need, if you don't have the average player read the summoner 2 to 5 times to get how they work it is easy to build a broken eidolon.
Hope they adjust master summoner and synthesist as they sound fun but bring a whole new level of problems.
But this is just my opinion, take it for what you will.
Give them wizard spells to 6th level or such. Seriously unless you do something like that vivisectionist's, investigators, and bards will make more use of them then a rogue.
And with spells we have truestrike, blur, etc etc to make them a little less squishy and better able to hit and do that SA.
EDIT: added a word for clarity
I had a evil wizard in a campaign back in 3.0 that in his back story has a very powerful Devil shrouded in shadows tell him that he would be destroyed in no uncertain terms if he did not keep these 4 others alive no matter what. That NE wizard would do whatever his black heart wanted to others behind the scenes. He was a truly trustworthy sage to the group. I think only one other character ever even suspected he was evil, but we had a great GM for that campaign and most of the evil I recall had to be with killing threats prematurely to the 4 he must keep alive.
He was not willy nilly evil, he was a plotter, schemer and coldly logical. The true catch IMO is having a really good reason your black hearted villan wants to play nice with others. Her was just as interested in most adventure hooks as the party if even more, as long as he saw a reason, even far reaching reason to do so.
I find the the vivisectionist alchemist with trap breaker added in. The Cognatogen if you take it, and Mutagen will add flexibility. You get the same sneak attack, some healing, I found it just plain better then a rogue when I personally played a Arcane trickster.
If your DM is lenient you could try to get the feat from undefeatable and then rogue is flat better.
Prerequisites: 3 ranks in Spellcraft and Stealth, rogue level 1st, arcane spellcaster level 1st
EDIT: Either way, with Skill Focus Perception traps wont be much of an issue no matter how many rogue levels you pick, and I would make int as main stat, dex next, per a normal wiz, melee you will be damn squishy, and range will give you more options. YMMV
It really depends, but in all 3 of my campaigns another 9th caster, especially arcane is the one who does the best against BBEG casters. The buffs they have stop a lot of enemy spells, and they have the tools to wreck the enemy. Now I have so few single BBEG's the archwizard almost always has a tough melee or 4 to let the melee play with.
Just think of all the tricks you casters have done to keep melee away or survive almost anything. As I said tho, YMMV.
Fire resistance is the most common by over double of the next, same goes for fire immunity. One trick ponies can be shut down. Would highly advise that you have at least a second trick as Mergy has suggested. For builds like this i really prefer the elven archtype that gets a free spell each level cherry picked from sorc/wiz lists. This would allow fireball, but also cone of cold, magic missle, and acid arrow. However I don't know your campaign or GM, YMMV