Hello! I have an idea for a character for my friend's gestalt campaign, but I can't figure out the best way to go about it.
We're playing a gestalt campaign and I'd like to play a character who specializes combat with a flying mount.
Of the options I've looked at are:
Ranger (sable company marine)
Summoner (flying eidolon)
What I'm not sure is how best to put those together with something that will bring out the best in the combination. I considered hunter for the teamwork, paladin, cavalier... but I just don't know. I think I would prefer a charging-lance-based melee combat style, but I'm not totally against ranged combat.
So, yeah. Ideas?
You want a class that gives mounted combat benefits without an actual mount (since that would be redundant).
Ranger//Monk(Sohei) works quite well. You get mounted combat bonus feats, initiative bonuses, ki powers that you can share with your mount through the monastic mount ability, and at 6th level when you get weapon training you can flurry with a lance. Also all good saves and ability score synergy (physical stats and Wis).
Barbarian has some great rage powers for mounted combat - Ferocious Mount and Greater Ferocious Mount. Pounce (from Beast Totem) is also famously effective with a mounted charger build (though you only get extra lance damage on the first attack - see FAQ). It works with either Summoner or Ranger, though you'd need Moment of Clarity to cast spells in a rage.
The Cavalier's mount is redundant, but I like Summoner//Musketeer - you give up your mount for a firearm but keep your charging abilities. You can use the firearm as a backup or primary weapon. Even better, it stacks with Gendarme if you want to trade tactician for more bonus feats.
Fighter//Summoner is also a decent combination, since it gives you a lot of feats and weapon training in addition to full BAB. Consider Roughrider or Dragoon archetype. I wouldn't bother with Fighter//Ranger since the latter gives you both feats (with Mounted Combat Style) and BAB.
Summoner//Paladin is a good combination in general, with full BAB, good charisma synergy, and a lot of support abilities. However it's not going to add a lot to your mount without shining knight, which also requires you to pick a redundant mount for your divine bond.
Don't bother with Hunter - all its abilities apply to your Hunter companion, which won't be your flying mount. It's also MAD with Summoner (Cha and Wis) and has too many redundancies with Ranger.
EDIT: Just checked out dragonrider and I think it would work well with Barbarian, Musketeer, and maybe Sohei depending on your stats.
You're welcome! I love gestalt - hope you have fun.
Fighter is surprisingly good in gestalt, given how many people find it underwhelming in normal play. Its base combat competence and passive benefits complement a lot of classes, and your second class can patch up fighter weaknesses like out of combat competence. I don't think it's as good with summoner as with some other classes (like bard, which gives the combo all good saves and lots of skills) but you still get good Fort and Will saves, a lot of buff/support spells*, and the flying mount you're after, and you will be competent fighting alongside or mounted on your eidolon.
*You get some debuffs/control spells too, but many of them require a higher Cha for potency and you probably will want to focus on your physical stats for this build.
Halfling Beastmaster ranger//Warpriest
Something fun about swift action buffs to put more oomph behind you hit. The bonus feats will make sure you have everything you need. Not to mention sacred weapon making up size difference...and lead blades...omg.
Mounted combat>ride by attack>spirited charge>power attack all by level 3. Ride a cheap ass gecko for the first few levels then get a roc or dire bat if you wish to take to the air. Tho a scroll of airwalk makes a gecko crazy good.
Later feats to grab will be: wheeling charge, risky striker, horn of the criosphinx, improved critical, and mounted skirmisher, big game hunter.
But you can accomplish those fairly easily. Keep share spell for buffing your ride as well as yourself. Helps you keep it alive.
Oh and make sure you roll halfling. Fun times to be had being a little guy who can beat down armies of giants.
I'd forgotten the roc was an option - and one available to the non-primal Hunter. That makes Barbarian//Hunter a ridiculously good combo. Maybe TOO good depending on what the rest of the table is playing. Full BAB, d12 HD, 6 skills/level, not too MAD, buffs through animal focus and spells, and you and your mount can use teamwork feats, rage, and rage powers together. No strong Will save but you'll have a decent Wis and can take Superstition if you want it. If you want to be super crazy and are patient you can be a half-orc and take Amplified Rage to share with your mount - the drawback is being unable to ride a roc until level 7 (when it becomes large).
Fruian Thistlefoot's Ranger//warpriest is another good idea, especially if you're otherwise shy on divine casting. Like Fighter//Summoner, warpriest doesn't have much to specifically enhance the mount but the overall package is arguably better. Bonus feats, stat synergy, all good saves, skills, healing, and buffs (the fact that the Ranger doesn't use a lot of swift actions is a bonus). Sacred Weapon damage won't beat the lance's base damage for a while, though - and note that it is adjusted down by size. The combination works for the Sable Company Marine as well as Beastmaster - the hippogriff is probably more powerful until level 7 but the roc is superior once it gets large.
One thing about riding a flying mount to keep in mind (particularly a Roc) is when you are in a location where you don't have much room to maneuver (such as caves or a dungeon) you might not be able to take advantage of your mounted abilities.
I made a halfling dragoon fighter//hunter with the Undersized Mount feat who rides a small hawk. With the racer animal companion archetype and the spirit's gift feat, his flight speed can be as much as 100' and, since he's small he should be capable in most underground adventures. To be fair, the only time I've played him so far was in the open attacking pirates, but still :)