First, I'll preface with the fact that I've not played a pen&paper game since some 2nd Ed Planescape games in the late '90s, so while I've studied the rules, I have no practical experience with either Pathfinder or the 3.5ed rules.
To get on to the questions, here's a bit about the party makeup and the goals of the character:
Campaign is Council of Thieves, so it's an urban setting. Three-person party. Other two players are going to be:
A) Strong, tanky front-line damage type (probably barb, maybe fighter)
B) Perceptive damage-dealing type (ranger or rogue)
Since we're a three-person group, I have a somewhat diverse set of character requirements:
Out of combat:
* Face of the Party
* Knowledge/Lore person
* At least middling level of survivability (since we're a 3 man team taking some hits may be unavoidable)
* Whatever utility/buffs/debuffs/support I can provide without failing at any of the other roles.
Given those requirements, the Oracle and Bard stuck out as classes that could be made to work, as they're both primary CHA casters, which meshes with the Face of the Party role.
Regardless of where I put my other levels, I was planning on doing the first level as a Haunted Oracle of Lore; taking Sidestep Secret would let me dump DEX heavily without taking a penalty to AC/Reflex saves (I'd take a hit on Init/CMD/ranged attacks, but I can live with those). I would use a feat to also take Focused Trance at level 1. Plus (as I understand spell trigger mechanics) having one level of Oracle would let me use any cleric/oracle spell wand of any level without a UMD check?
My real question is where I go from there. Would I be better off sticking with Oracle all the way, go Oracle but dipping a few levels in Bard, or go straight Bard after the first level? I've heard that straight up hit point healing is often more wand-based than spell-slot based. Either Oracle or Bard would fit well with the character theme/backstory I have developed.
Only allowed sources of spells and such are CRB, APG, plus the campaign setting.
Planned starting stats (after a 20 point buy, Middle Aged bonuses/penalties, and +2 human spent on cha). Int is maybe a bit higher than needed, but I figure I need a lot of skill points to make this all work:
Str 14(+2) Dex 6 (-2) Con 14 (+2) Int 16 (+3) Wis 8 (-1) Cha 18 (+4)