One of my friends asked me about the Magus class today, and how I thought it compares to the other classes. My gut response was that while I love the concept for the class, but I'm not really comfortable with the mechanics themselves. I don't want to say it's broken or overpowered, but I do smell a faint hint of cheese whenever somebody talks about playing one.
I like the magus... unlike just about all of the hybrid classes, it introduces some mechanical complexity without seeming like it's fitting a square peg in a round hole. If the magus has a weakness/pain in the ass mechanic, it's concentration checks. You're stuck either five-foot-stepping a lot (which kind of ruins the immersion of a sword/spell two-weapon fighter) and/or you're losing a lot of spells (even if you've taken Combat Casting and a +2 concentration trait).
I think that the magus suffers from (as most classes do) poorly designed archetypes.
Take the Staff Magus... even if you take Weapon Specialization at 1st level (as the free Quarterstaff Master feat allows you to), you're still always going to be lagging behind a Magus with a longsword both on your damage die and particularly on critical range (not to mention armour). The Staff Magus is good flavour, but seeing as how a quarterstaff is a double weapon, the archetype would have been better to throw in Two-Weapon Fighting for free too, for when you're not using Spell Combat. Basically Staff Magus is a throwaway if you consider it for optimization rather than flavour.
Also consider the Card Caster (which can be combined with the Staff Magus for a ton of flavour). Phenomenally cool idea, but phenomenally broken because the archetype fails to specify that thrown ranged weapons can be used for Spell Combat, which means the default of melee only applies. So you can use Spellstrike with thrown ranged, but you miss out on the second attack... meaning you might as well be a wizard. If you're going to be a magus focused on 1d4 thrown weapons, you don't want to be gimped by losing out on Spell Combat. Not to mention that since cards are ammunition, when using your arcane pool to give the cards something like Flaming, it's going to cost you 2 points, unless you want to spend 2000gp enchanting each Harrow deck. (You can evolve into a thrown returning dagger or somesuch, but you lose some of the essential flavour.)
I was all set to do a Card Caster/Staff Magus Dark Archive character, but lack of Spell Combat with thrown cards kind of killed the idea for me. :-( I was going to be Dex-based with Acrobatics (and Reckless trait) to stay out of melee, and the Staff Magus was going to facilitate that by forcing me to stay with light armour but compensating by giving the quarterstaff AC bonus at 7th level.
Wondering if there's third printing of RotR coming? It's great they're doing a OP season with it, but from what I've read I'm not too excited about buying a base set that's known to be filled with so many errors that there's a whole errata deck that's officially produced... perhaps a third printing with updated rules and so forth (tiers, etc) would be a good idea.
So the Arcane Training alternate racial trait states: "They can use spell trigger and spell completion items for their favored class as if one level higher (or as a 1st-level character if they have no levels in that class)."
I'm trying to figure out if this is as good as it sounds... does that mean that if my character bought a wand of Mage Armour, for instance, that each use would operate at a caster level of 2, giving it a two hour duration rather than one? And for instance, that a scroll of burning hands would do 2d4 damage rather than 1d4?
I dunno, I consider "Here, take this Feat to gain a +1 to hit with a single type of weapon" fairly underwhelming.
It's not only underwhelming (Hit stuff 5% more often... With a single type of weapon... Yay?), but also incredibly boring.
The only reason to take this feat is if it's a prerequisite for something else... And that is a horrible reason to take a feat.
I almost never take Weapon Focus unless I have to. Homebrew-wise I've been thinking of non disruptive ways to merge it with another feat because locking yourself into one weapon has to have way more benefits than just a +1 bonus.
Even if Weapon Focus just added +1 to CMD when using that weapon, it would be much better. +1 with one weapon is pretty boring and limited to spend a whole feat on, it's more of a trait.
Even better would be if it scaled a bit... say an additional +1 at 5/10/15/20. Or perhaps do that for fighters and +1 at 10/20 for others.
I like familiars, as they're useful as scouts and also add flavour.
What I do with my familiars is take the Valet archetype for them. You give up Alertness (which only works when touching the familiar anyway), but your familiar picks up the ability to use Prestidigitation, which adds a lot of flexibility. I also give my familiars the Spell Sponge feat, which doubles duration of spells cast on them.
As to which... a cat is a good generic, and boosts your stealth if Illusion is an opposition school for you (since you won't have invisibility). Rabbits give a good initiative bonus, Ravens fly and talk... lots of different options to boost the flavour of a build.
Bonded items are interesting, but in Pathfinder Society there's no crafting so that takes away some of their utility, plus there's a significant downside if it's lost/stolen/sundered whereas if something happens to the familiar it just affects the role-playing utility.