If you've got a party Rogue, they can do very well with Unchained and Small size. An UnRogue with Power Attack and Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Elven Curve Blade or Duelling Sword is a respectable damage-dealer, and should have passable AC too.
If you've got a Gnome Fighter trying to go the high strength route with low point buy, that's just not going to work. Change plan, reroll or accept that they're not going to be effective.
Is Weapon Focus a prereq feat? If it's not then there are far better ways to use the feat. Avoiding it could get you Rapid Shot or Deadly Aim earlier. Considering Boon Companion at 5 would also be a good idea.
You could alternatively pick up Power Attack to combine with Quick Draw for Switch-Hitter potential. Not optimal compared to a dedicated archer but very flexible.
Personally I think Investigators (particularly Strength-based Empiricists with the Student of Philosophy trait) are great all-rounders. They do take a while to get up and running, struggling with combat before getting Studied Combat & Quick Study, but do well beyond early levels.
Studied Combat, Mutagen and Infusions make them solid in combat.
8+Int skillpoints, Empiricist, Student of Philosophy and Inspiration mean they can cover Face, Knowledge and Scouting duties effectively. You might have to compromise on exactly what you want to specialise in, but not by too much. A wide range of Infusions just add to your Skillmonkey/Face ability.
They're also passable at condition removal and out-of-combat healing. Think of them as a Swiss Army Knife - not the perfect tool for one specific task, but a decent-to-good tool for many tasks.
If this is Kingmaker, don't underestimate the narrative power of non-character resources.
Do you have access to Ultimate Campaign and the teams mechanic? For a couple of thousand gold investment you can purchase yourself a small army or research/support staff independent of your kingdom role. This is unlikely to help in combat, but can let you influence campaign narrative in interesting ways.
Similarly, do you have access to construct crafting? Gargantuan Animated objects cost around 7-8k each to craft depending on the object you're animating. Considering this is a 10HD Construct who can have multiple attacks, hardness 10 and fly that's dirt cheap. Stick two of those on guard duty around a city and many foes will think twice.
And never forget vanity. Have you got a boat? No? How do you hold a banquet/party while travelling then? What about your lavishly appointed cabin? Keelboats are 3k from Ultimate Equipment and should work just fine on most rivers. But you're a Wizard and could just make the damn thing fly anyway.
Go Ned Stark. Look them in the eye, tell them they're going to be executed and ask if they have any last words for their loved ones. Behead them lawfully in front of witnesses, dispose of the body in accordance with local custom. Send a messenger to the family with their last words.
If your character is a Paladin and needs to execute someone who has committed evil acts it shouldn't be "fun". It's a duty, demanded by local law or your God. If it's for giggles then you're not really a Paladin to start with!
A Steelblood Bloodrager (+/- Primalist) with the Arcane bloodline is very hard to kill. You've got normal AC in addition to layers of miss chance from Blur or Displacement (and Mirror Image or similar with Greater Bloodrage). I'm not sure I'd be willing to give up casting to get Untouchable Rager personally.
On its own Summoning is decent:
It has duration to keep being useful the entire combat.
Summons can contribute damage most turns unless killed.
If enemies Attack Summons you don't need to waste healing resources.
By putting more bodies on the field you can limit enemy movement and provide Flanking.
Summon lists are flexible, so you could summon Dire Bats to act as temporary flying mounts or elementals to exploit damage weaknesses/immunity, or something to beat alignment DR.
If you build toward summoning it becomes nasty. Sacred Summons means your summon can attack the same turn you cast it, as it's not a full-round action. Augment Summoning makes your critters hit more reliably and harder. Superior Summoning means you get more critters. And all these feats are multiplative - each one you add makes the others more powerful. If you have other buffs available (Inspire Courage, Raging Song, Haste etc) it only gets better.
Previous editions allowed you to stack Toughness because it was a flat +HP and didn't scale with level. Pathfinder changed this so that now it scales, but removed the "you can take this feat multiple times" part. I would say no, you can't stack it but you still get a much better deal than older editions.
I can't see a platypus specifically on the Animal Companion list. You could "re-skin" an existing companion easily though. The Giant Toad has a land and swim speed as well as poison (which kind of works as platypus are the only venomous mammal), and the Snapping turtle could work as a poison-free alternative. Use the stat block for a Toad/Turtle and just call it a Platypus.
Forrest Gump seems like a slightly dim, kind man, blessed and cursed by luck and possessed of a simple charm. So intelligence as a dump stat, okay wisdom (homespun, derived from stories and life experience), and decent charisma.
As for class, an Archeologist Bard with Fate's Favored works in terms of luck, but doesn't capture the rest of the character. A Ranger, perhaps Guide archetype, could evoke his athleticism, military background and bond with his teammates.
Horses can travel in a variety of terrains, but often run into some difficulty in forests, brush, caves or any tight or overgrown space. In dense terrain it is reasonable to say riding is not possible, but a horse could be led. If your players are having to clear vegetation with machetes to carve a path (pretty realistic in jungle environments) then making a horse-sized hole will take longer too. Horses are likely to struggle on very steep or mountainous terrain too. Let's not even discuss the problem of cliffs or ladders in a low-magic (or low level) setting.
From a mounted combat perspective, discuss limitations with the player. If they're riding a large-sized horse then they won't be mounted in most dungeons, and charge lanes will probably be an issue. For an outdoor campaign like Kingmaker this might not be a problem, but if you're doing an urban, underground or dungeon-centric adventure then a Horse is a logistical problem.
I've often thought of witches as having quite a lot of non-traditional learning or education. They might know the history, folklore and herbalism of their tribe along with a lot of gestures or incantations with ritual significance. The Patron provides the power or spark to turn those from ritual to reality.
As for the familiar, it's a bit more vague. In some cases perhaps the familiar is almost a friend or pet, but it could also be a intelligent and alien presence that shares visions of a troubling power. A witch could be legitimately afraid of their familiar, especially if their Patron was fickle or unknowable.
I have a witch I'd quite like to play but haven't had the opportunity yet:
"A shepherd, he lived in the hills with his flock and his dogs. When he travelled to towns and herding stations he spoke with the old shepherds and wise people of the hills, sharing gossip and old stories. Alone for long periods, he knew which mushrooms were safe to eat, how to birth a lamb how to set a broken bone for a long hobble home. He listened to the wise women and cunning men and learned their words of power, but the spirits never answered when he called.
As he drove his flock toward one village there was a great roar. Rounding the brow of the hill he saw a rockslide where huts once stood. Rushing down he offered what help he could, but his bonesetting and bandaging could do little for the wounded. Desperate and tearful, he mumbled the words of a healing charm over a dying man.
The man died, but he felt a presecence and turned. Sitting alert at his left side was a large, shaggy sheepdog. The same one who drowned in the floods last year. A chill ran through him. It cocked it's head and looked at his hands. He didn't understand how, but he knew the old words would work now.
A dozen or more now live because of the power he gained, crying in the rubble. When he was finished the village headman came to him, and the survivors made a wary circle. They knew his dog, and knew it had died. He saved many but he was not a shepherd any more. The headman gave him a bag of supplies, and a frightened bow, and told him that he could not stay.
The dog followed him as he walked along the track. It's loping stride kept up as he tried to walk away."
Evangelists are great, they fill the support/buffer niche perfectly, but they are pretty bad at Channeling.
Personally I don't see the point of Channeling - it targets undead creatures strongest save and the damage falls off pretty quickly, even with the heavy feat investment needed. But if Channeling is what the OP wants then Evangelist isn't going to deliver it.
I was expecting this to be similar to a something I read a while back about the Hat of Disguise. Dress up your biggest, crudest, most stereotypical Barbarian as a Wizard, Princess, Scribe etc. Put them in the middle of the party to "protect" them.
Enemies attack, rushing for the squishy Wizard! Surprise, the "Wizard" is a Barbarian! Cue Benny Hill music and chaos.
Pure Archers are "more optimal" than Switch Hitters, but both are valid. Switch Hitters occupy a nice narrative space too. Lots of martial heroes in myth and popular culture are skilled with both Sword and Bow.
As a first character they're close to perfect. They teach new players about melee, ranged, skills, pets and casting. One they learn and choose what they like they can specialise appropriately.
Generally the Archery feats for Switch Hitters are something like Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Deadly Aim, Manyshot and Improved Precise Shot. Getting things like Manyshot and Improved Precise as bonus feats without needing huge Dex and Point Blank Shot is why it's an efficient build.
At level 7+ you can start picking up Improved Critical and other goodies to make melee nastier.
Boon Companion is pretty much a feat tax, in the same vein as Natural Spell for Druids. You need a good reason not to take it.
Eldritch Scoundrel Unchained Rogue power attacking with an Elven Curve Blade. Sneak Attack is a cherry on top, but even when denied you're still doing solid damage.
Eldritch Scoundrel gets you casting, as noted. 13 Strength is enough to qualify for Power Attack, Unchained Rogue gets Rogue Finesse and 1.5x-Dex-to-damage using finesseable 2-handers. Casting mitigates a lot of Rogue weaknesses, such as Blade Tutor's Spirit helping with Power Attack to-hit penalties.
This isn't a particularly Feat-intensive build, so you have plenty left over to shore up weaknesses or diversify.
The exact appearance of casting is subject to table variation. You must "speak in a strong voice" for verbal components, make a precise gesture with one hand for somatic, be holding any focus and any material component is annihilated. It is also obvious to those around you that a spell is being cast, but the exact nature of this is not specified as far as I recall.
So casting Wish could be the following:
Sounds like Switch-Hitter is the way to go then. Here is a liite suggested reading - Treantmonk's Guide to Rangers. It's a little out-of-date but still pretty relevant. The main change would be considering Boon Companion as a near-mandatory level 5 feat.
In terms of traits, you can't go wrong with Initiave boosts, Will save increases and additional class skills/Trapfinding to round out the Ranger's skillset.
Some high-level spells might actually not look impressive. Reality-bending is what Wizards do but it doesn't need shouting, flashing lights, explosions or indeed much action to function. Your Wizard could be sitting in a comfy chair, wearing a bathrobe and drinking a cup of tea while achieving their aims.
Consider Wish. "By simply speaking aloud, you can alter reality to better suit you." Now, because said Wizard has crazily high intelligence and presumably decent planning skills changing a single variable can overthrow nations, thwart demonic invasions or cause a perfect little cafe/bookshop to open up down the street. All of that can occur "off-camera" while reality looks for its underwear and wonders what it was drinking last night.
Raise Dead is pretty predictable. Reincarnate is not. You could replace Raise Dead and Resurrection with Reincarnate in class spell lists. You can get your character back, but you might need to find a new mini...
It might be worth keeping more "usual" methods of raising the dead open via quests (as mentioned above), but remove the no-risk, low-cost options.
As Wonderstell says, Rangers can be a wide variety of things. It's worth discussing playstyle with your player. That said, here are a couple of general suggestions:
1) Archery is a strong option, and Rangers can excel at it. Picking up the Archery style and a filling in the gaps with regular feats will make a powerful, straightforward character.
2) "Switch hitting" is a slightly suboptimal but thematically strong option. Taking Power Attack at level 1, using a 2-handed weapon for melee and investing in Archery style for ranged gives you a pretty flexible character.
3) Sword-and-shield builds work quite well for Rangers too. They can use Sword and shield style bonus feats to get early access to some goodies and avoid feat prerequisites.
In terms of Archetypes, Urban Ranger is a solid Rogue replacement. Unarchetyped Ranger is solid and doesn't need much fiddling with. Trapper and Skirmisher trade out spells if your player doesn't want magic.
It's worth considering Boon Companion as level 5 feat, as it turns Animal Companions from weak to full-progression.
You could consider a Ranger with companion bond instead of the more common animal companion. In the worldwound I would guess you'll face a ton of Demons so Favored Enemy (Evil Outsider) would be a pretty nice thing to share around the party. Rangers tend to have decent skills too. It's not as Marshal-orientated but could work, Rangers are badass.
Rogues are a common topic of discussion on these boards specifically because they are a classic class that has been pushed out of its niche. When I played AD&D you straight-up needed a rogue because no-one else could handle traps, and those could be lethal. In Pathfinder traps are rarer and less lethal.
Pathfinder has changed the game without changing the Rogue much from 3.5 D&D. The skill system was reformed, making it easier for other classes to be good at skills. Lots of other classes got a significant boost to their combat prowess and versatility (Bard, Ranger, Barbarian etc).
Pathfinder also introduced Archetypes and other classes that did similar things to the Rogue, but either had lots of other options or were just better. There are options very like a rogue in theme, but mechanically superior. Archeologist Bards, Urban Rangers, Investigators and others are all similarly flavored to a classic Rogue. Each can do what a Rogue does in terms of skills but with better saves, casting, combat advantages etc.
You don't need to accept that the class on your character sheet is how you must play the character. Barbarians don't need to be crude brutes, Paladins don't need to be killjoys and anyone with an appropriate skillset can be a "thief".
Just adding weight to the entire "Attractiveness is completely unrelated to Constitution" argument. Standards of beauty vary widely. At various points very pale, thin people have been acclaimed as beauty - waif-like, or etherially beautiful. These people would have terrible Con scores. Similarly, modern supermodels are likely to have average Con.
On the other end of the spectrum, as has been asserted, robust and vigorous people are at times seen as the epitope of attractiveness. However many people (of any gender) who would have ridiculously high Constitution scores - Endurance athletes, Rugby players, Polar explorers or Mountaineers - are often not conventionally attractive.
Charisma is defined as the Stat that governs attractiveness. But this is a necessarily simplification for game reasons. Constitution seems entirely unrelated to attractiveness in any example given so far.
If you really want a nation/global level threat then maybe only the ripple effect of his plans hits the PCs. Maybe he's busy creating an economic Monopoly on magic in order to power his larger plans. Sorry PCs, but all magic shop and spellcasting services are currently unavailable. Please try again later (and expect a global price hike).
If he's really a megalomaniac then his plans should be on a scale that reflects this. Perhaps he's strongarmed his way onto the city council, and still needs funds to complete his doomsday project. Emergency property tax! The PCs need to pay up or lose their Guildhall/homes/Inn etc.
Mystic Madness wrote:
That being said, such a build is really beyond the scope of what I am trying to do here, which Is create a character that can buff sort of like a bard, serve well as a divine caster, and personally perform reasonably well in melee when required. The summoning is designed to help kind of like a buff, maybe to create a flanker for the fighter, not necessarily as a primary combatant.
If this is your stated aim then an Evangelist Cleric with the Heroism domain, Armor Expert trait to permit a Mithral Breastplate and built as a Reach Cleric using a Longspear is pretty much the best fit. It's already been suggested, and with good reason. You buff amazingly, summon well and fight/cast/heal competently. There are more powerful individual builds but in terms of team support few can touch this.
It might be worth pointing out the difficulties in hatching and raising a Roc. Eggs need to be kept warm, as well as intact. Keep them at room temperature or below and all you've got is omlette ingredients.
Once they've stolen it, do they have:
And that's just to get it to hatch. A Roc is going to take years to reach maturity. Have they arranged a barn or aviary to keep and raise it? Where are they getting enough meat for a medium/large/huge/gargantuan carnivore? Who is mad enough to care for this partly-tamed beast while they're off adventuring?
Personally I love the idea, and that they're trying to pull it off. But even Fantasy has harsh realities!
If you're going Oracle then consider either the Dual Cursed or Spirit Guide Archetypes. Dual Cursed gives some very potent reroll-based powers than make it effective in a support role. Spirit Guide overcomes a big part of the spontaneous caster weakness due to Spirit spells being changeable every day - you gain flexibility.
The biggest difference between Clerics and Oracles is that Clerics are consummate generalists while Oracles are specialists. Clerics get their whole spell list and 2 sets of domain spells. A Support Cleric can still choose to summon when selecting spells, while a Battle Cleric can opt to heal. Oracles are more limited to their specialty, but often better at that one role than a Cleric would be.
For being solo caster in a group, I'm not not sure I'd choose Bard. Sorry, because they're awesome. But sometimes other needs come first.
In some ways it depends on your stats. A 25+ point-buy (or high rolled) favors Shaman a lot. It lets you abuse the MAD Arcane Enlightenment human/half-human type that gets absurd spell access from Druid, Cleric & Wizard lists. Look at the human FCB and Arcane Enlightenment Hex. Exploit both. With good mental stats a Shaman is a Swiss army knife caster - they have a tool for any problem. Perhaps not the optimal one, but it should more-or-less work.
Lower point buy makes either Witch or Evangelist Cleric more attractive. Witches can mono-stat INT to an extent, while Evangelist Clerics get by regardless as long as they have enough WIS to cast their max spell level. Witches do the entire "Theurge" thing but do miss out on key Arcane Spells. Evangelists get Bard performances and the entire Cleric list. Pick your favored approach and roll with it.
You can be sole "caster" as a Bard but it will be hard. You get minimal condition removal, so you'll have to UMD and have scrolls/wands. Lacking full-caster Battlefield Control might hurt more though.
There's no mention of cooperative crafting in the OP's post. The question was about a Witch with Scribe Scroll transcribing from a Wizard's Spellbook. You can buy or loot Spellbooks as well as borrow them.
But really, why cooperatively craft a scroll from a Wizard's Spellbook? Wizards get Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat at level 1, and only a couple of sub-par Archetypes trade that out. Or you're playing PFS in which case crafting is off the table anyway. If you're in a position to cooperative craft a scroll from their spellbook, said Wizard could just do it for you.
Here's the feat text:
"You can create magic scrolls.
Prerequisite: Caster level 1st.
Benefit: You can create a scroll of any spell that you know. Scribing a scroll takes 2 hours if its base price is 250 gp or less, otherwise scribing a scroll takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. To scribe a scroll, you must use up raw materials costing half of this base price."
Bolded the relevant part. You must know the spell, not just be copying it from another source.
It does very much depend on the rest of the team, as Targutai says. Skalds can be great in some martial-heavy parties, but awful in those with melee casters. Similarly a Bard or Evangelist Cleric might be less useful if your main damage dealers are blaster casters instead of physical melee/archers.
Also - define "support" and what sort of play style you want. Do you want to buff, heal, be a second-line melee/tank, be the skills guy etc?
In general, unarchetyped Bards or Evangelist Clerics (especially Heroism subdomain) make great support characters while still being able to do other useful and flexible things. Bards are more skills & face, Clerics more healing, condition removal and spell utility.
Witches have alternative approaches to support, as their spell lists lack some of the really good buffs but many Hexes are very useful. If you have a Cleric or Bard already then Witch could be a minimal-overlap option. Spirit Guide or Dual Cursed Life Oracle with Beacon of Hope is another interesting & different support character. The Witch and Dual Cursed Oracle can leverage rerolls to great effect both offensively and defensively.
Well, the group looks physical-damage heavy and doesn't have anything that looks like a Battlefield control or Arcane caster character.
I'd recommend a Bard here. No archetype, just straight Bard with no dips or shenanigans. Either go high-Charisma and use control spells or high-Strength with a Longspear +/- Flagbearer & Banner of Ancient Kings. The Charisma-type has higher save DCs for spells, the Strength-type is more a buffer/second-line melee/AoO fisher.
Honestly, a number of 6/9 casters could work equally well. Skalds could be very good with this setup.
Oratory & Comedy with versatile performance make for a great wisecracking hero. Just make sure you use a well-placed pun, put-down or witticism whenever you land a solid hit in combat.
And yes, Bards are far better conmen than Rogues. Though one of the new Eldritch Scoundrel archetype Rogues exploiting some illusion or enchantment spells might make it close.
Indeed. The "for personal gain or no reason at all" means that even someone who believes the deaths are for a just cause doesn't qualify.
Let's hypothetically say a state executioner believes that the justice system is usually right, that people sentenced to death deserve to die, and that someone needs to do the job. So being state executioner is actually a Lawful moral choice, not purely for personal gain.
If they don't care about the courts being correct and are indifferent to whether the death penalty is appropriate or just, and are only in it for the money then they're a sociopath. At best.
For the noncombatant angle, let's go by the Geneva convention. It's either an enemy combatant who has been disabled/incapacitated/captured, a designated nonviolent military medic or chaplain, or civilians "not taking a direct part in hostilities". Noncombatant is used as a synonym for "persons taking no active part in hostilities". A bit of Googling reveals no consideration that a sleeping (and probably dangerous) enemy soldier is a noncombatant.
The key words in the feat are "slay at least 50 intelligent noncombatants for either your own personal gain or for no reason at all". That's evil, and no amount of "what if you were paid by an infallible diviner to utilitarian ends?" can justify it. Deliberately killing sentient beings who do not pose a threat to you for fun or profit is bad. The intent is the important part really. No "greater good" is allowed.
However you can qualify for the feat using a background and avoid this.
You can even complete the feat using "lesser of two evils" arguments.
But this is corner case, tenuous, why-don't-you-just-take-skill-focus-instead hypothetical. It's an evil feat. Tell your player. Reach a compromise.
The intelligent noncombatants bit makes it pretty universally evil. The feat specifically calls out that it cannot be handwaved as for a "greater good" - it's either for killing for fun or because it benefits the character selfishly. This is a feat for mass murderers.
*Edit* I just re-read it. I can't find the backgrounds on d20pfsrd. I guess it would be possible to qualify for the feat using one of them (if it's not puppy-kickingly evil) and not be evil. The completion prereq is that you kill 200 intelligent noncombatants and then either someone who tries to "bring you to justice" or usurp your power.
There is possibly a slim way this could be not-completely evil:
1) Qualify using a non-evil background
These are the only circumstances I can think of that are non-evil. And they're bloody tenuous.
You could always use it as a distraction. Pretend you're a Wizard, always consult your spellbook while casting and let people know the spell book is the source of all your power. Get a pet cat and say it's your familiar.
At some point, hopefully your GM will have some foe go to great lengths to steal the spellbook. If this happens, laugh maniacally and deliver exposition before exacting revenge.
22gp per day? That's pretty damned good, Chemlak! Thanks for adding it all up. That's 8k per year, or just under 2 years until you've fully repaid the initial investment and everything on top is profit. Because there's basically no upkeep if your character supervises the operation personally.
If you've got a campaign where downtime is likely to be measured in months to years, the UC rules actually seem to be more-or-less cost neutral. Having a small settlement (and dozens of employees) on your payroll gives you a lot of narrative power too.
If you're able to able to generate capital (and thus halve the price of rooms and teams) then a 4-5k investment will get you something like 50 Cavalry and 50 Elite Archers, along with the bureaucrats, laborers and craftsmen needed to run this small army. With a permissive GM and a bit of time and money you can be a warlord.
Starting by buying a Waterfront or Stockyard (both able to make decent amounts of Goods and Labour) should make your 20k investment go further - similar to investing in crafting feats.
Were you planning on a single big building, or more or a village/complex? Because 20k gold will go a very long way once you've got an initial building churning out capital at half price.
Let's plan a simple complex, suitable for a Cayden-worshipping Ranger. All listed prices are UC example buildings, and can be halved if you earn the capital instead of just buying them:
All the above (going for the more expensive Barracks instead of Guildhall) costs a total of 15k. At full list price, not including any discounts. Leaving 5k left over to hire employees, start a mercenary company, throw a massive drunken party, or whatever you choose.
The Ultimate Campaign downtime rules area probably the most applicable rules I can think of for what you want. They tend to be unwieldy though, and profits aren't quick - IIRC you'll get an effective return of about 10% per year. In real life this would be good, in-game it's slow but consistent. There's a lot of spreadsheet management too.
The advantage of the Ultimate Campaign rules is that once you've got a business earning capital it becomes a lot easier and cheaper to expand that business, or start another business, or recruit henchmen etc. Something like a Dock (which can produce Labour, Influence or Goods) provides a solid foundation for a business empire.