If you are starting low level, it should be no problem to play an elf wizard. The class is simple at low levels and she can pick it up as you level. The great thing with starting new folks off as wizards is that you can set them up as an apprentice to a person or institution that controls how broad a spell selection they have. A mentor who knows what the apprentice is likely to need and teaches them spells to meet those needs is a boon at early levels. It also makes finding a spell book with new, unapproved spells a huge deal. Best of all, it can be an in-game RP thing instead of a mechanical, " here are the spells you can choose from" experience, which is where some new folks get overwhelmed.
The only problem with low-level wizards is having interesting things to do when the spells run out. In my games, new wizards start with a staff of minor arcana because it is supposed to be a right of passage symbol.
I think it might be best to not over think it. I think the stereotypical pirate is chaotic evil. They don't give a damn about the law and take what they want. They can have a code that makes them look loyal to their crew out of self interest. A hero of Besmara doesn't have to be a raving lunatic or an obvious monster. They might just be a mercenary pirate captain with some Greyjoy-esque sacrifices to the sea.
If you are comfortable with the rule in the beginner box, then there is no need to rush to something more complex. I drop any rules that slow down the fun when playing with my kids. Have them read the rules and they can help decide what to keep.
I ran Dragon's Demand with my kids and they liked that a lot. I had them make summoners so they had a party of four. The adventure has a great starting town with a map and good npcs. I picked up the deck for it as well so they had some visuals and prop pieces to hang on to. I recommend starting there.
I would pick up the core rules and bestiary for sure. Most adventures don't include stats for things that are not unique to them. The core rules will set you up for when they are ready for more complexity.
Two options for you to consider. A Gravewalker witch can do necromancy/enchantment well. You voodoo doll enemies and deliver touch attacks at 20 ft. Lots of versatility. Or you could summon undead instead of creating them. Go summoner with an eidolon with the undead evolution. Take sf necromancy and skeletal summons to call the undead.
Here is my opinion, for what it's worth.
I think that, when you take inspire courage away from a bard to focus on his own melee ability, there are better class options. Inspiring your group is the main ability the bard brings to a group (unless they are the better rogue option). That's why people cheer when one person shows up with a bard, because you are going to make them awesome. I wouldn't get rid of it, personally. If it is just you and one other melee and the rest are casters, maybe it makes sense at higher level play but, at 1st level through mid-levels, it helps those casters have crossbow options when their small load of spells are spent. Those actions add up until the casters start taking care of you in later levels.
Arcane duelist and savage skald could be built for melee and support. Half Orc savage skald power attacking with a falchion in melee, inspiring his comrades, extra buffing on crits, and making the other melee guy rage at critical fights could be fun. Cha can be lower with the half Orc racial option for +1 round of performance per level.
Another option might be arcane duelist 3 / order of the cockatrice cavalier 2 then into battle herald. Then you really inspire the group, debuff the enemy, and have a better bab progression. Plus you are laying tactician down with your other melee buddy.
Your instincts are good. The archetype is a trap. Lots of potential but just doesn't add up. You are much better off playing a standard witch and using the hex and spell to do fun stuff but not make a build around it. There are a few threads with some builds that might interest you. Just do a search for them.
Cleric is probably the best option. I would choose one that will fit the style of the group over optimization. If they are to be a sneaky, cunning group, give them a sneaky, cunning cleric. Maybe a cleric of Calistria with the knowledge and trickery domains or a Besmara worshiper who can sneak around with them.
Other options, what about an alchemist built to supply them with potions, lob bombs, and make ranged attacks? Or a witch to get a blend of arcane and healing? An Orc scarred witch doctor would be a tough debuffer in the motley crew. Those are both more complex to run though.
Make the NYC a kitsune, just so you can say, " a monkey, a raven, and a fox walk into a bar..."
You can use the environment to challenge him. Create a battle ground where he has to use skills to get into position (the key to making the game fun for any skilled class). Rooftop battles, on docks or ships, put him on the run so he has to escape capture, these are all fun and, if you have enough encounters worked in, he has to manage his ki use. Lots of quick single enemy encounters in succession.
As far as challenging enemies. Anyone with uncanny dodge or good grappling ability will be a good surprise. A rival ninja clan would get you familiar with good tactics to use, and maybe they are now led by a necromancer and they are are skeletons, zombies, and ghouls which all require different tactics.
I kind of want to try the gillman eldritch raider/scout archetype with the secondary arcane magic stuff. Con and cha bonus and you can tailor your concept in a big way with your spell selection. It's not a pretty face, but you could try the skulking slayer/scout build to rush in and KO things with a big stick. From your party mix, it looks like you and the eidolon hitting the front line so I would lean towards the tough-guy rogue over the wiry dex builds.
Sounds like you know what you want, so my advice would be to just build it and post it here for feedback.
My thoughts are that you won't have enough feats to pull everything that you've mentioned together. The penalty to str means you are looking at dervish dance or sinking a good bit of your 25 points into str? If you go ninja, then a big ki pool with vanishing trick should handle combat and you get all of the stealthy-bits. There is a good ninja guide in the Advice sections of the boards that will help you there.
Rather than the feats for the spells you want, you could just go bard and get them at first level. Take the dervish archetype that gives you dervish dance and flavor it to fit your story. This also gives you more enchantment spells to take advantage of your racial dc boost.
It depends on the focus of the cavalier. If you will be able to stay mounted, Sword is good. If you are the party leader, Dragon will make everyone better. Cockatrice makes a good glory hound. Shield makes a "tanky" character that encourages enemies to focus on them and then mitigates their damage. There are also some great orders by Super Genius games.
You get your number of spells per day from your int and class level. In order to prepare your spells, you have to commune with your familiar. You don't know your spells on your own and if you lose your familiar, you can't prepare spells until you get a new one.
Wizards write spells in their book and have to study the ones they want to prepare each day. Same idea, lose your spell book and you can't prepare them the next day.
The thing of it is that it has to be evocative enough that, ideally, in one word you know what the class is about.
For the warpriest, I like Exemplar or Incarnate with the flavor that their powers come from their zealous emulation of their deity. I like the sound of "Exemplar of Abadar" or "Gorum Incarnate". But Templar or Crusader probably work best in that they evoke the image of someone who goes to war for their faith.
For bloodrager, I think Fury is evocative of the class. If a player says, " I'm playing an Elemental Fury," I think people can guess how that character is going to play.
How about Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger? Fits with the race's abilities well and fills the ranged role nicely in the party. Shooting from darkness would be a good musket master sniper or a V for Vendetta pistolero.
I like a Haunted Ancestor Oracle with the curse and revelations being the result of the shadow plane poking through near you.
Or a range and intimidate-focused Inquisitor, despite the hit to wisdom. Fill in whatever is needed. Pair teamwork feats with the cav so he gets the bonus more often.
Depending on your creativity and your gm, a sorcerer focusing on illusion (with the fetchling alternate trait) can be a terrible thing.
I spent some time with the new swashbuckler rules today and came to the same conclusions that I see others have posted regarding the interplay of dervish dance and the class. It will be a huge blunder, in my opinion, if the most effective weapon for a swashbuckler isn't a rapier/cutlass.
I agree with Malachi that a swashbuckler weapon group is an excellent option that would allow for future feats to key off of the group. This would also focus the base class so that it represents the iconic light blade-wielding combatant. From that base, archetypes can tease out variations with other weapons, florentine-style, sword and pistol, etc.
Dex bonus to damage for this weapon group does square the class up with str fighters and I could see removing Nimble to compensate for the increase to ac and reflex that the focus on dex brings.
Aside from this, I am really happy with this version of the class.
I could see poison use working if there were some poisons that had more interesting effects. I would love to see some poisons that give some conditions, vs. ability damage, used by this class. They could mimic the dirty trick mechanic but last Int mod rounds, save DC based off Int. or just use the Alchemical Weapon ability from the Grenadier archetype.
What about a Drunken Master Sensei? Uses wisdom for combat so older is better. Wanders around the battlefield, drinking saki and spouting off about how poor his allies form is and what they should do to improve it (providing them with bard song bonuses). Occasionally, he says, "no! No! No! Hit him here...like this!" And does his monk damage+drunken strength or stunning fist.
You can get most of the +/- to hit and AC debuff effects by flanking or aid another actions and just fluffing the RP. On that thought, you could do this concept with a slightly different bend. The old guard who has spent his whole life protecting people who do their best to get themselves killed. Chastises everyone as suicidal fools, but can't help but step in and stop the blows that would take them down. Go honor guard cavalier, order of the dragon and throw out +4 aid another actions or intercepts with the Bodyguard feat. Spend time complaining about being sick of fighting and just absentmindedly turn blows away that would kill your party. Then, when you finally snap, you issue your challenge and show what kind of swordsman you were in your youth.
Fighter with the archer archetype will get you enough feats for all of the tricks at the earliest levels. I think it is the strongest non-zen archer option. It could get boring though since they just do the one thing really well. Maybe spend some of those feats on things that will be interesting out of combat. Fast learner, improvisation get you in the skill game if you fancy that.
Here are a few different flavors:
Half Orc scout skulking slayer rogue with sap adept, sap master charges in for 6d8+12 sneak attack damage which could very well one-shot KO someone. Then vanish with the ninja trick and position yourself to do it again.
Your signature weapon is trap-setting as a trapper ranger and your animal companion helps in the hunt. Breeds paranoia.
You are the hunter with all of the cool toys. A grenadier alchemist using tanglefoot bombs as cone area attacks and lots of alchemical goodies before hulking out to clean up.
A huntmaster cavalier, order of the cockatrice with a hound. You intimidate everyone and then take them down.
Swashbuckler scout rogue archetype to take scimitar (nod to the halfling horn blade of old)
Each level, your dashing fighting style evolves and by 4th level (with an 18 dex) your combat-relavent schtick could look like this:
From there, you could go two weapon or power attack or the halfling trait/feats that boost crits. Pretty low combat feat investment and you can grab additional combat feats as rogue talents thanks to swashbuckler. I would grab power attack for some scaling damage bonus as you level.
You will do the damage I would expect from a secondary melee character and feel pretty good about often hitting, often sneak attacking, and often critting.
You are asking for a lot out of a limited palette. I think you have to go bard and fluff the dragon aspects until dragon disciple at 6th level. Otherwise, you are a paladin/sorcerer with either no armor or spell failure woes. Bard isn't a bad gig to fluff. Be a lightly armored knight with sword and shield. Lots of skills and knowledge are racial memories of your draconic heritage. performance abilities are moments of dragon awe showing through. Choose spells that fit the concept and can be made dragon-ish.
If you want to max melee damage, grab a two-hander from deity favored weapon or ancestral arms, pump str, and pick power attack at 3rd level. Choose spells as if you were a battle cleric, buff up and go to town. Your stats seem fine for this, though some folks will suggest dumping a stat, I don't usually go that route as a personal choice. You can make good use of your teamwork feats up on the frontline with the fighter-type. If they take a good teamwork feat, you can both get the benefit and you can always change out when you are not partnering with them. If you want your inquisition to boost social, I prefer heresy to conversion. For melee, I like persistence for step up.
For a switch build, boost dex, go Sarenrae, weapon finesse at 1, dervish dance at 3rd.
Aside from the advice already given, I would decide what profession your character is since that will be his face to the world, likely something social like a low-level city official, entertainer, criminal, scholar, etc. Make it something that would be helpful to have as part of the group.
Choose traits to get the skills to round out your profession. Choose human with Fast Learner and Improvisation feats at first level and go dex 14, int 14, cha 14. Put your +2 wherever makes sense for your profession and I wouldn't dump any stat. You will get a hit point and at least 6 skill points per level. With this build, you are a remarkable individual who seems to be good at everything they do, someone who leads a charmed life maybe. You can be the face of the group or the sage or the scout or the burglar. You should always have something you can do to help a given situation.
Then, on top of this, you are a sorcerer who uses magic to enhance his other gifts.
Everyone you meet is your tool to achieve some end, now or later. An anti paladin is a hammer who feels best hammering things. Help them hammer exactly what you want them to and everyone wins.
Don't expect others to be you, they can't possibly hope to live up to that. They will likely work towards some petty evils without focus and you should let them so long as it serves your ends.
The foundation of society is not the illusion of good and evil, but the structure of masters and servants. Being a master, support the structures of other masters, after all, one day you may take their place and you want a well run ship.
Don't try to be evil, just be you. You will be nice to common people. You will strike deals with masters of varying moral outlooks. You will be trustworthy and loyal. All of these things are tools to manifest your destiny, just like public displays of your displeasure, sending in the hounds of war, and twisting the words of a poorly conceived agreement.
Never forget that you are right. A divinity speaks through you because he knows you are right. Not everyoneis cut out to be a master and they know it. Be bold and act. Every bold focused action is the hammer shaping your destiny.
Nice write up! I think you have done the hard work of considering motivations, history, and relationship with his god. The first thing I think is supremely calm and understated. The kind of calm that comes from such thorough confidence that he is in control of a given situation that there is no reason not to be at ease. You are the rock that the waves of lessers break themselves against. Not only are you just that good at everything you do, but you are also secure in the knowledge that you will stop at nothing to get what you want. You are an agent of order in that you make the rules that bring order... Your order. No need to try to be evil. You simply pursue your own ends without regard for anything but those ends.
You can be delightful, sincere, and charming when you are getting what you want or in pursuit of what you want. You just get what you want at whatever cost by whatever means. You might prefer means that are socially acceptable, if time and your mood allows, but sometimes you might prefer to be very direct and cut through pretense that there might be some other way than your way.
And woe to those that are present when you lose control, when you legitimately think that you might not get what you want. Then, you quickly and violently put things right. No fuss. Still calm, but vicious to the extreme.
Maybe examine several characters played by Gary Oldman.
Inquisitors are great for the investigating and monster hunting of CC. What if you were striving for your own redemption from your heritage and were an inquisitor of Sarenrae? You get scimitar and with your dex could go dervish dance for decent melee capability. Maybe Toughness to increase survivability.
If the alternate bloodlines are allowed, maybe your moroi father was a great vampire warlord and you serve Gorum, quietly stirring up conflicts to lead to glorious battle. Or you view undead as the unvanquished, mockeries of the glorious deaths all warriors deserve, and you seek to put them down. Two-handed sword str build with persistence inquisition.
Maybe you are a different kind of hunter, an Order of the Cockatrice Huntmaster Cavalier with a huge black hound. Str and intimidate build to use your heritage to scare the crap out of people before a fight.
Focusing too much on ranged combat with this character seems like a mistake, unless I am not seeing something. Your free blind-fighting feat is for melee so it seems like you would want to be anti-range/caster focused. Use obscuring mist to shut down anyone not involved in the main melee (keeping it away from your melee folks). Then, you swoop in and maul them with your concealment advantage. You are the scout of the group. Aware of hidden enemies through blindsense and hidden through the night domain. I would play to those strengths rather than staying away from the melee.
Melee cleric of Iomedae (tactics, heroism), Besmara (tactics, deception), Or Sarenrae (heroism, fire) all give good sword and board weapon options and nice domain abilities for melee concepts. For heavier armor melee characters who utilize Cha, I like the Noble Scion feat choice that lets you use cha for initiative if you aren't building a dervish build.
I think you have the right of it. If you just want to pick up the pole arm and smack someone with the haft, it's improvised and hits like a club. If you want to be trained to use the business end and get the versatility of any descriptors the weapon has (other than bludgeon) it is a feat and still not easy.
I guess the question is, can you make improvised attacks with the haft of a polearm, take the penalty, and not take the polearm master feat or take Catch off guard and do so without penalty. Either option would be fine at my table, but someone else might have a different insight.
Dreadful Carnage and a high intimidate To demoralize everyone in 30 ft radius whenever one dies. Breath weapons. Magic missiles that target the character despite his horde. The Control Summoned Creature spell.
Can he communicate with them? Seems like they could get into trouble after the attacking the enemy is done without direction. Make sure you are designing for the action economy in your encounters so they aren't rolling over everything.