|Kurald Galain RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32|
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I liked the idea of being a gish in full Hellknight armor (with the benefits Hellknights get from it), but perhaps it is not to be.
You can certainly play a gish in heavy armor, I would just not recommend the Signifer prestige class for that.
Also, Hellknight Leather (and Hellknight Half-plate) is "hellknight armor", too.
The description for Hellknights states they wear plate as a matter of pride, and that Hellknight leather is for sailors. A Hellknight gish wouldn't be wearing leather.
Is a straight magus the best way to build a great gish, or are there better alternatives out there?
It's hard to compete with Spell Combat; its action economy advantage makes the Magus a natural "best" at most kinds of gish. Of course, it depends on what exactly you want from your gish, and at what level :)
Magus is for using offensive (touch) spells in combat, especially damaging ones.
While that's certainly a good tactic for the Magus, it is a common misconception that it's the only thing a Magus is good at. The Magus spell list also has good crowd control, solid defensive buffs, and unmatched mobility for a melee character.