I agree with what Lilith's said. It takes experimentation. I would add-- If you want to find things to fool around with-- I've heard scanning in b&w or grayscale instead of color can be useful if you're having problems isolating the background. I generally have to redo the picture entirely on computer, but a well-scanned sketch can have nice qualities.
As an extremely too-detailed set of instructions, here's how I used to do it, and some from other people I've talked to: (Assuming you're using photoshop)
First, you have to make sure the original drawing is really dark: as in it has a lot of contrast, because if you scan a light pencil drawing there's really nothing you can do besides draw over it in a digital program. It would really help if the picture has very consistent values with regards to line thickness, weight, and texture, because that is very hard to fix in Photoshop.
Second, scan at high resolution, and clean it up: Crop any edges that are strangely dark-- this will definitely happen if you're scanning a notebook-- then either magic wand out the paper texture or just rip it out with the Polygon Lasso if you have time. Do some brightness/contrast, but usually I auto-contrast it first just to get a feeling of how dark the computer thinks it should be.
Third, (if it still looks rough) just pop a photoshop filter (Easy way: "Filter" -> "Filter Gallery...') on it: Do something light with small brush strokes just to smooth out the rough edges you don't want to deal with. It's easy to overdo photoshop filters, but usually I've found people actually tend to be to timid about it. So just mess with it for about 15-30 minutes and then put your stamp on it and send it off.
TLDR: I don't know a lot about scanning techniques, --and I also don't know how much you already know about cleaning up sketches-- but when I was figuring it out, there were not a lot of options that were both fast and elegant. Basically, you just have to find some way of saving the qualities that get lost in the scanning process. At the very least, though, you should definitely scan at high resolution and do some sort of color/contrast/brightness adjustment.
If it's a spot illo, make sure to pull the picture to a new layer so any deleted areas end up transparent instead of white.
Was that helpful? Probably too long, but I just thought I'd give you a detailed starting point in case you wanted it.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Oh man, missed that one! That is nicely specific. Haha, that's like when I misread a spell's casting time as 10 minutes instead of a standard.
In advance-- sorry for nitpicking! This doesn't really have anything to do with the "drinking does not fail your save" point, but more freedom of information and making saves.
I've actually encountered the potions situation, and I would agree, but your example encounters another problem. I haven't read the potion rules in a long time, but I don't think a character gets to know what the effect is until it's applied to them, right? If I am making a save, do I know what failing the save will do before I fail the save? It's just an order thing:
or... (your example)
I would think that someone should not have knowledge of an effect until the effect is applied to them. It sort of opens up some weird loopholes involving someone being poisoned at a banquet and knowing it even if they make their save (rather than rotten food?), or if you're diseased, you would know it in advance, that kind of thing.
If my npc handed someone a potion of poison and told them it was cure serious wounds, I wouldn't let them make a save until they took the first hit and realized what it was. Though... if it was an ingested poison rather than a Potion of Poison, they would be like, "why didn't I get any hit points?" and then ten minutes later yell, "BETRAYAL," and not really have any reason to fail their save voluntarily. (Can you normal-poison potions of cure light? Then they won't even know anything's wrong!) So, I guess it's better just to give them a potion of Hold Person, then stab them in the throat.
Maybe they'd figure it out because Cure X has a will save and Poison has a fort save... I guess I could make them fail the save even before they knew what save they were rolling?
Despite the public information problems, I actually think maybe they should get a save, considering the variety of awful things that can be put into a potion. Accidentally giving an unconscious character a potion of Death Knell would suck under my interpretation.
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
OH YES. I have seen about 2 movies on this whole thread, and most of them by accident. Since I'm going to watch them anyway, I might as well talk aboot it.
Yeah the melting got me pretty good. But I shall never be as traumatized as I was when I saw gremlins-- I slept in my parent's room for like a year, and I was still afraid they would roll out and leave me a pile of bones hahaha.
Also I hated pools because I thought they would close over and release sharks - James Bond!
Well, I believe he is pointing to big stories happening, and taking part in epic battles and world-altering events. He's just said there's a large-scale plot coming, and they're already doing multi-part PSS in a campaign structure. They're not fan-driven, but the authors do have some freedom in designing their own content.
On the other hand, nothing prevents you from submitting to Pathfinder Society and finding out if Josh likes your ideas. Personally, I don't think I'd have more say in a fan-driven system than an official Paizo PSS or module series, if that's the issue. They also wouldn't down the hall from the development team.
I'm not sure if a third-party can use Golarion or not (I suspect not?), but a 3rd party company could make their own adventures and publish them per OGL. If you seem to think there's an audience, I say go for it. (am I wrong? Is that not allowed? I've seen 3rd parties publish Pathfinder rules content, for sure)
It's funny that I've had the exact opposite happen. I had a Paladin who insisted he had to kill an ogre slave (he was such a nice ogre, though!) once because he was inherently evil. To let him go would cause the Paladin to be responsible for any innocent deaths the ogre caused upon his release. The other members argued that the ogre hadn't done anything evil of his own accord and had committed no crimes.
It started to drag out the session, so eventually the DM just had him roll religion or sense motive to see if he'd be breaking/going against his paladin oath and the got the answer that he would not be. He did insist that the ogre be locked in a cell when we left, poor ogre :(
Seems to me that paladins are often not the victims, and are fully capable of causing enough problems on their own, haha.
Yes, I had to do all my blog entries with my nonsense art, haha. I have also been developing an appreciation for the amount of time Crystal puts into her blogs (it's a lot more than I put in, I think, but with expertise comes expediency).
I shall miss you, too, strange forum wisps. The weirdest thing about the forums is when you hit those two arguing people who have the same icon. In this specific case I was extremely confused about why this person was so inconsistent with their side-taking, and then I noticed their names were different.
But yes, Wes saves all the art for himself so you'll love him more.
Yeah, I had a conversation with Intern Matt last monday that went something like...
Yes, Intern Matt sold you out for... well, actual money. Alternately, he can't enter the building when nobody else is there, but I say it's for lack of effort. I think we do both get internship obituary blog slots if we want, but competition is tight, despite what these fellows say. Sean K Reynolds threatens to paint our eyeballs while we sleep if we don't let him do blog entries every once in a while. It's true.
Well, Animated Objects have hardness and CP? A CR11 animated ship can be adamantine for 6CP (20 hardness and 8 NA or so) which is probably worth the bump. I haven't looked it up, but I remember hardness being similar to or better than DR, which is what other constructs have. Regardless, DR 20 is a lot.
In retrospect, I am not claiming that a wooden ship turned adamantine could float.
EDIT: Also, use the more specific rules. Making animated objects is a guide in its entry in the Bestiary, so you probably don't want to build them with the general rules.
...but it did also lower their damage dice. A regular shadow does d6 STR damage on an attack vs. the young doing a d4 though.
AHH, yes that actually seems to make quite a bit of difference. Although, I have never rolled above a 3 on a Shadow's STR dmg... GAH.
James Jacobs wrote:
Basically, the concept of the simple templates are so new that there were some complications when you use the rebuild rules.
Cool, cool. Good to know. I thought perhaps it was just an oversight, but the quickbuild rules make it rather appropriate. In that case, I shouldn't lower its attack die or anything, or rather--- do stat mods intelligently.
Thrax will come back after them. He is going to have them followed and I will have him attack when they are vulnerable and don't expect it. My group loves to hate my NPCs.
Classy! And oh, what style! I think that was well handled. I think it was a good play not to allow the Eidolon into the ring during the legal match-- its summon time is also a problem. Yeah, I probably would have had Thrax start tagging people in the other cage as soon as he dropped Rhali, but my players complain about what real enemies do if a boss leaves someone dying and doesn't finish them. Your players were hopefully more forgiving.
Plus, GMs LOVE recurring villains.
I'm leaving Thrax as a Wizard because he's super classy, and I didn't think the Eidolon would have a good place in the arena, AND I'm lazy. But I think it is a GREAT place to playtest him. +1 sir, and +1.
So I scanned out a script of the play for each of my players,(which I think was pretty necessary) and we had one of the best sessions ever. It starts pretty dangerous, and I had to help them through the trial of passion(?) with Millech, but they did alright and it was super close: someone would have died but for a slight rules slip.
Trial==awesome in my experience. Dangerous. Ridiculous. And everyone loves Calseinica. I was on the fence, but some people really like to get into it. You sort of have to be a little hammy yourself, but it works out.
We rushed the party a bit, and it turned out sort of mediocre... if your players don't like heavy roleplaying, talking, partying, etc., I'd probably recommend turning it into a bunch of social skill checks or something. As for exploring the mansion... some of the stuff is pretty necessary for them (a certain wand) to survive later, but it's just too big to draw out every empty room (which I did, and they hated me). Just make sure you tell them it's Council of Thieves for a reason, and they should have a good Perception person.
After that, the Knot is actually pretty cool. There's just millions of diseases that keep you from resting (my players have 3 diseases each). And the stat damage balances out the cure wands they'll probably have. As a whole, I think it's pretty well-designed from a balance standpoint, and I actually enjoyed using the "free agent" in the complex to my own design. She was pretty fun.
Since you have 7, I'd drop in an extra monster or advance something in each encounter.
Biggest thing to take away is that the play itself was basically the most fun I've ever had playing D&D as a DM or a player. </2c>
Yeah, so I was just reading my way through What Lies in Dust in preparation for some bushwhacking, and I came across an encounter that was:
A certain encounter in part 4:
1 Shadow (CR 3)
3 Shadows with the Young template (CR 2 ea.)
[[It seems like the hp decrease is a mis-rule since they don't get hp off CON]]
So I grab my bestiary, look up Young (-1CR)... it's -4 STR, -4 CON, -2 NAC, +4 DEX, and a size decrease. That's all good, but shadows don't have STR, CON, NAC, and I don't think you can trip them or anything, so the size decrease doesn't penalize them.
In short, a shadow gets get +3 to hit (+1 size, +2 DEX), +3 AC (same), and +2 init. And their CR decreases by 1.
Well. The good fix is to use the quick rules as it was intended (-2 attack, -2 hp/HD, +2 init & dex skills). The bad fix (which I'm going to do) is to up the CR by 1 and make it a nasty DEVIL-shadow. I'm pretty much not worried about my players taking on the devil shadow because there's a harder encounter in sixfold trial which involved many more shadows in their case.
I'm sort of posting this as a "myfix" and I'm sort of posting this because I often (very often) misread rules. Is there something I'm missing about this? As far as I remember, shadows get CHA to hp, and DEX to hit, so all Young does is make them more effective and give less xp.
EDIT: should this go on the rules board instead?
Viletta Vadim wrote:
I sorta like this in at least one respect: the afflicted baker turns into a weretiger during the full moon and savages a whole building, waking up in a pile of blood in the morning.
As for the stat mods, yeah... they get messed up for PCs, but for NPCs they'll always be appropriate as long as they're fighting in their most powerful form-- hence the stat bonuses.
Basically, if you throw werebear on a lvl 1 pc he's going to be a CR5 bear for the first 4 levels, and just kill everything unfairly, since bear is his best form. He's also a lvl 1 character with 5 or 10 silver DR, despite his 15 hitpoints... that would bump him to 3 or 4CR in my book, needless to say that he can also be a BEAR at first level and just kill everything. and rage. AND move fast.
If i was to balance it, I would give him DR 5/silver, stat mods, and +1 CR and never let him turn into a FULL bear. And anybody's who's heard his name on the lips of a dying comrade will start buying up silver like crazy.
Ah, good point. I'm certainly not complaining. You are right, I should be aware of rules changes--
Mad Beetle wrote:
You are aware that the Tarrasque isn't the hardest thing to FIGHT in the bestiary, right? Pit fiend is nasty, Balor is nastier, and Great Wyrms are REALLY not cool.
I mean, you can't technically kill the Tarrasque, but that Eidolon is not going to kill a Balor, (much less a 30HD Red Dragon) with a simple combat trick and some natural armor.
But I don't think anybody's mentioned that the tarrasque can shoot spines into the Summoner and kill HIM, instead, right? He has to be within 100ft.
NAh, nah. That seems like a very good question. However, my personal feeling from the wording "aspect of the same creature" means it keeps its inherent bonuses. Maybe not the same, but aspect of the same... seems good nuff. That said, I haven't looked it up specifically.
I would like to point out that this Eidolon isn't actually that optimized. First of all, it doesn't have the +13 or so AC from a 2 pt evo of armor proficiency, which would save it a lot of NA evolutions. You had to spend a ton of evolutions to get int 13... I think trip is hardly the way to go. 10+ tentacles with improved natural weapon and maybe a dimension door SLA to get out of his stomach is probably better. Quad-wielding Huge bastard swords? good, also. Freedom of movement gets around the grapple, anyway, right? Can get that as SLA or have the summoner cast it (haven't checked his list).
Either way, Tarrasque is not the best test for an optimized Eidolon since the tarrasque does only one thing. Any reasonable group and player can minmax on the Tarrasque. I would be surprised if the Eidolon could become immune to everything a Great Gold Wyrm could do... Most outsiders also have spell-likes and the Eidolon's saves don't get super amazing (especially ref.) (balor would dominate, right? DC 33? Can an eidolon hit that?)
Hmmm... Eidolon with antimagic aura SLA... tons of tentacles... I would probably HR or ban summoner if I saw that happen in my game. (eidolons can exist in antimagic fields... I'm pretty sure...)
Yeah imagine the summoner and eidolon summoner... You can keep the summons around for min/lvl and heal them without wasting resources, too.
I mean, besides that, I agree the healing isn't great, but it's supposed to have utility purpose, not a main function. And it's actually quite good at early levels.
If you take both of the healing hexes, I think you're doing OK. Similar to Bard level of healing, at least. It should also allow you to craft potions/wands, which is actually the main part of healing. In combat, you just need the odd spell to keep you up, and it will do that, too.
I was going to stop at one, but then I thought up something ridiculous-- THE SPAWNER... Lvl 13 Eidolon. This serpent-like creature pairs with its master to destroy their enemies under their innumerable summons...
Lvl 13 Summoner’s Eidolon
Medium Outsider (Serpentine Eidolon)
Feats Combat Casting, Quicken Spell-like (Summon Monster VI), Quicken Spell-like (Summon Monster V), Spell Focus (conjuration), Augment Summoning, Combat Casting, Toughness
(alternately, you could do Summon Swarm, which would be awesome for a pestilence Eidolon)
Basically he floods the board with d4+d3+1 medium elementals on the first turn if he thinks it's serious business, plopping them around the Summoner so the Summoner can get his own summons off. YEAH. Yeah... Um... It's FUNNY. maybe.
I'm still not sure if you can take Quicken Spell-like with the Eidolon, but he is 12HD at this point.
kaa from jungle book! Cuz I wanted to do a charming snakey charmy pet. I was debating between Swallow Whole and Constrict, but Constrict seemed cooler; he can always eat them after they're dead...
Hmm... fascinate might be better, too...
Lvl 8 Summoner’s Eidolon
Large Outsider (Serpentine Eidolon)
Feats Ability Focus (Charm Person), Improved Natural Attack (Bite), Spell Focus (Enchantment), Greater Spell Focus (Enchantment)
"We're friends, right? Come here and hug me..."
Rogues dress pretty distinctively. Nobody else uses light weapons for fun, and nobody else wears leather armor besides bard (and rarely are there ever 2 bards in the same room). There are rare occurrences where there's a surprise, but that happens to every class. He is still a full-BAB, full-proficiency melee character with 1/2 fighter feats when not challenging, which is enough to take a rogue to town face-to-face. In situations where he can't use challenge, he is not gimped; in fact, I doubt he'd use it except when he saw someone big & individual, and even then he doesn't have to use it until right before he strikes.
So, for some reason, in your examples, the Cavalier always mysteriously uses his Challenge before he's adjacent. I don't think he'd use it before he even got to his Challenge Target. You're hypothesizing that he'd have to walk through X rogues to get to his target, but why would he? He wouldn't use it until he was past them. He also can't identify Goblins as sneaky targets? Or tiefling guys in leather as rogues? I think that's a bit of a stretch. I also don't think you're properly considering his AC with shield and heavy armor-- maybe even a random oath bonus.
It just seems completely ludicrous unfair, and unbalanced to inhibit such a huge penalty on the cavalier! and don't get me started on how easy it is for an Assassin to kill a cavalier!
If an assassin were to try to take him, I don't think he'd have used his challenge. He'd probably be asleep, or flat-footed, and yes, it would be bloody for both sides (because if he didn't die, he'd challenge the assassin and there would be a slugfest). Although saying a clever assassin could take a cavalier is like saying a Water Elemental could take a rogue. DR + precision immune++
I really just think you should have someone playtest it along side a class with a similar ability, like a barbarian. Hopefully, you'll find it isn't a huge drawback, and the barbarian will probably take more damage, overall (no heavy armor, no shield, -2 AC). The Cavalier even avoids this penalty to the target of his ability, which is probably the largest and most dangerous enemy in the room. It's possible that this player might find himself unable to avoid the drawbacks of his ability, but I don't know.
In conclusion, player control of ability + high AC to avoid + melee effectiveness, even without challenge, means it's probably fine. There are rare situations where he may have lots of trouble by being reckless, but every class has that.
2. ShadowCon ++ because it makes you not-sad for Sorcerer spell choice. And that really strange illusionist prestige class that could get you %120 real shadow summoning.....
1. Gaseous form for #1 escape spell, and the reason the boss drilled peepholes in his walls. Although the slime-form one was sweet, too. He slid along the wall into a hallway with 5 doors and we couldn't figure out where he went because none of them were opened, haha. He went under the cracks :(
Except when they're the main villain in the campaign! I sort of like that one, actually, because they're naturally just mean and horrible.
Like the... Oh wait. STAR TREK SPOILER.
The Romulans in the new Star Trek!
Seems pretty clear to me, while in a challenge the cavalier is flanked regardless of abilities. when out of a challenge he can make use of improved uncanny dodge.
This wasn't a satisfactory ruling to me, so I reread it, and it specifically mentions imp. uncanny dodge as something that doesn't help. Sooo... I guess that solves that.
Yeah, I prefer that, too. It does need some extra damage to keep up, regardless of Mount status. If they treat their mount like an animal companion, I'd hate to keep having small tunnels in places so mounts couldn't get through.
*WARNING* Council of Thieves Spoilers Follow
Yes, it's true that a den of thieves would be a problem area for him, but he just doesn't have to turn it on, in that case. That's under player control. An ability that is as good as the paladin smite/encounter should be limited by a large drawback. Rogues have to flank, he gets flanked. Seems reasonable, given the similar damage bonuses and the fact that he has bigger HD and more armor (and a mount).
That said, I don't really like way the ability fits within the class, but I think the drawback is well-deserved, if not large enough.
Enchanter Tom wrote:
Sure, at like Lvl 7, but that's not completely true. Against certain enemies, that's not really true, either. But yeah, the 15k you lose on adamantine is going to get you 1AC at higher levels maybe, which is worth 3DR for adamantine.
Although, I don't really get what your argument is. Do you not like DR in general? That 15k is well-spent on DR if it only gets you 1 AC. If we're saying DR in general sucks, that's probably not true.
Is DR not worth AC for certain costs at certain levels? Of course.
Is the Resolute good because it stacks? Yes, if you're buying DR in addition, it's good.
Is Resolute competitive for a lvl 2 Order slot? I definitely think so.
Would Resolute still be good if it was DR? Yes.
Would it be too good if it was DR? Possibly, when compared to other lvl 2 abilities. You can also buy that pretty easily when it starts scaling well, but it frees up resources for other things and it's not necessarily easy to get 5DR/- for a lot of groups.
Basically that sums up the argument that's taken place here. AND THIS THREAD HAS BEEN STAINED WITH ITS BLOOD. (nonlethal, though)
Enchanter Tom wrote:
I find that pretending to take the higher road is often the last resort of those who know that their argument cannot withstand scrutiny.
Ahh... must resist... argument...Lvl 2 WBL = 1k and you can't even get fake DR 1/- for that. I'm pretty sure it's competitive for the slot. Especially since CLW is fickle at low levels.
EDIT: ACtually, wait, that makes your argument better. The better point is that at 20th level you use adamantine toilet paper, so the extra 5 on top is nice.
Hmm... So, we're going to disagree. That's pretty much it. Right now the Cavalier is most flavorful with his oath/Order, and if he's a Dragon he's going to be in his rights to just be arrogant, get in your face, and beat you up. A Lion might be more knightly about it, but I wouldn't think to see an Order of the Shield cavalier get super reckless and getting tons of bonus damage.
So, I do see martial focus as more of a Fighter thing. A Fighter would do the gladiator no-nonsense "shut up while I beat you up" type challenge. A Cavalier could be like "My fellows, I call out that beast and if it doesn't face me you will know it for a coward." Then again, there are greedy cavaliers who Challenge a rogue because they don't think he's up for it.
I agree that it's not target-based, but it's pretty much what people think about it. And I don't really see murals being painted of an angel Challenging a slime to noble combat. Maybe if the slime was like rearing up like a giant wave... ROOAR and it swallows the Osirion army! OK YOU WIN
ANyway. I don't see the Xd6 being really in tune with the Cavalier, is all. It doesn't represent the range of duel-type fancy challenging I think should be happening. So the knight calls out a barbarian... the barbarian goes nuts, but then the knight does way more damage? nahh... don't like that, do I. Like, something rather thoughtful should be happening, something more noble, as it were. Granting flanking and doing 7d6 extra damage isn't really noble, is it? Seems rather savage and reckless, and some of the Orders support that, and some really don't. In fact, it encourages people to intrude on your duel-- which I think is counter-productive to the idea of a Challenge.
If you challenge someone, they should feel like a punk if they back down. That should be humiliating for anything with an int score, but it's more like... anything with an int score would back away from the Frenzied Cavalier and his 7d6 of vengeance and let his dudes mob him. Sure, sure goblins do that anyway, but an Orc should take that guy up on it, and there is absolutely no incentive for that until lvl 12.
So DR is inevitably better than fake DR, with the caveat that fake DR stacks.
1. The first comparison would be, fake DR + admantine vs. Real DR + adamantine, which is flawed because the adamantine doesn't stack and he would take that 15k gp in +2/3AC extra from magic bonuses. Difference? Possibly, depends on the monster.
2. The second comparison would be between that and another lvl 2 ability, with its best competition in the category being an extra oath from Sword at +1 or the +CHA competence bonus from Lion. The extra oath is probably better than DR 1 at lvl 2, but they don't scale equally, either.
+4AC with an improved extra Protection oath might make up the difference between the 3 fake DR at lvl 10, but that's not really within the mathematical realm I want to go, accounting for average monster tohit, average monster damage, and average monster attacks at that specific level.
Regardless, you have proven it is a competitive ability worth the slot, and I agree with that, for sure. While I want to have input, the farthest I want to get into this argument is that Resolute is competitive, but I don't think it is too good.
As for the lvl 15 abilities, I think they should really be lvl 20. Also, they vary wildly in their strength. My rough feelings on the Orders:
Cockatrice is an odd one. His Challenge ability is very good but perhaps not flavorful, his aid bonus I don't see happening much, and tactics could potentially be useful in rare instances.
Dragon is sorta cool, I see problems activating his Challenge with not enough benefit. I see problems getting Steal the Glory to ever trigger (because the likelyhood of being adjacent to an enemy an ally threatens, given your challenge ability, is very low. That ally critting him, also low. That ally not killing him with a crit, even lower) Steal the Glory and his Challenge ability are directly at odds with each other. I like the "I get crazy" lvl 15 ability, but the fact that you don't use Charisma for anything until then is somewhat counterproductive.
Lion is generally balanced with a decent lvl 15. However, I really think that Shield of the Liege fits way better under Shield, and the Protect the Meek fits way better with the Lion "protecting its' pride" through sheer aggression.
Shield is the weirdest but sorta fun. His challenge ability isn't going to happen often, if at all. Resolute is interesting, sort of like a half-DR type situation, but not super-crazy. Stem the Tide is interesting, given Protect the Meek, but otherwise... sorta mediocre. Protect the Meek: See lion.
Sword, pretty solid. By My Honor is appropriate and interesting. I haven't really crunched the number on Mount Mastery, but at a glance it only seems to be just like +10 dmg max on a charge, which isn't that broken at all, considering Act as One. Knight's challenge, also appropriate, I like how it not only gives an improved challenge, but also gives an extra use of challenge for the combat, if something rough pops up.
Same here, but yes, "ilike" on the change from bonus dice. Unconditional bonus dice make it look like some sort of damage spike ability. Duels are slow affairs, right?
Mind-affecting seems, at first, reasonable, but gimpy. He should be able to heroically call out something like a zombie giant or a rampaging Gargantuan bug, but consider a slime for a moment...?
I am just not sure if that's heroic, but such things are the edge cases with adventurers. In general, maybe the important part is that the challenge appears heroic to us, rather than the enemy.
With your variety of concepts, I rather disagree.
Cavaliers can represent knights errant, traditional court nobles, sheriffs, wild knights of the forest who ride on wolves and have an inflated sense of honor, Dragonriders, maybe even extremely disciplined pirate water-cavalry (kraken-rider?). Anybody with discipline and an animal.
Okay so it's not as diverse as the core classes you mentioned, but some of the core classes are amazingly restrictive, too. Bard, perhaps? Paladin? Any bard I can think of doesn't have anything to do with combat or is an army/king's herald.
It could potentially be a prestige class, but a better idea is probably expanding its role to accomodate other mounted cultures, like horse-archers or chariots (hmm... sometimes my ideas are bad), and perhaps centralizing its abilities to work around honor and discipline. Fighters cover all sorts of combat-related classes, but there's nothing that specifically covers codes of discipline, because paladin is only LG and is very much divine oriented.
Cavaliers can be any alignment, but only the greed oath is something I would consider evil/neutral. Would it help if they came up with oaths that better represented all alignments? Oath of Recklessness? Oath of Brutality? Oath of Destruction? Oath of Excess? It does seem like those don't fit the current Cavalier, but would that make you more satisfied about its role in class concepts? They would then be Warriors who focus on the mindset of battle, disciplining a single aspect of their battlefield desires, instead of all its weapons and tactics?
Don't get me wrong, I agree there should be some sort of penalty for the cavaliers focused/shortsightedness towards a single opponent I just strongly feel that using the Flanking condition is far to dangerous...
So, for all that the Cavalier Challenge is... the fact that it gives so much base damage seems abusable, and there are direct solutions for its other problems. Cavalier/barb? How does Challenge interact with Improved Uncanny Dodge? OK no I'm not flanked but I'm flanked...? The answer to that isn't clear. The problem is that Challenge encourages dual-wielding. Because nothing screams horse-charging valiant than going up to a monster, flanking it with your large Wolf and making a dual wielding full attack for 5 attacks that deal d8+10+5d6 each (with the Wolf making a full attack later)
Basically you're taking a situation where the monsters abuse the Cavalier's Challenge. Taking the opposite situation where the Cavalier abuses the Challenge... it seems quite a bit more dangerous with much fewer drawbacks. Say he sees the filthy shadowy creatures and decides he should call one of their cowardly hides out, and challenges one of the rogues, which is the right play, and then does a full attack with two shortswords while flanking (maybe his dog is flanking, perhaps takes an aoo from a rogue, but whatever)
Favor is in the Cavalier's court on that one, especially since he gets bonus Xd6 in addition to having all those extras. If it's a risk to activate, it's a risk, but I can't see how Challenge is underpowered. Rage is a risk to activate, but we don't say barbarian is underpowered. Given that Challenge does more damage than rage, I would say it's fine if it has more of a drawback.
So, knights are pretty cool ++ for a lot of people (me included), I don't have a problem there. I think your gripe is rather similar to my gripe in that it is a class that seems to have too many deals going at once and ends up pulled into a strange place.
He is simultaneously the front line mounted charger, the protector of innocents, the inspiring noble leading his allies into battle, and the well-trained master of battle forms and tactics. All this has to somehow translate into AC, +attack, +damage, and other things. Some of it makes sense as a challenge, some as oaths, vows, some as ridiculous extra action attacks (Act as One, we need to have a talk, sir, you've been giving the barbarian free charges that I don't feel he needs), but in the end it seems as if he's just pirating the other classes and taking what he likes.
I guess people generally think druid/paladin/bard/fighter for companion/challenge/banner/feats. Is it that the abilities attributed to other classes outshine his charging abilities, his oaths, and his vows? When not riding horse, he does turn into a druid fighter beater.
I see these comments, and I think that perhaps one ability needs to take the center and tie everything in (like rage does). Challenge seems the best candidate, would that somewhat assuage your feelings on the horse-mounted pirate? Or do you want to see an inspiring tactical leader that gives extra actions and orders, via Protect the Meek, but more a neutered Act as One? (I think those abilities in particular give me the chills with game balance, but if that's his shtick, then it could be integrated.)