Me and my group are looking to start a full Adventure Path in the near future, and the current likely outcome is that I'll be DMing Skull & Shackles.
One of my players has a great idea in mind - a Seascarred island native, casting spells through a stolen gun and taking up piracy to revenge himself on the Chelaxian navy. Plan is to take Spellslinger as a 1-level dip, then focus on a more suitable class for the theme.
At first we figured either Magus (the seascarred fluff seems to like them) or Bloodrager, but the Scarred Witch Doctor archetype also has bags of flavour (and Con as a primary stat just seems like fun for a huge musket-wielding manshark).
None of us are particularly adept at character building however, so we're unsure which would be the best choice. Personally I think I'd lean towards Magus (with Eldritch Archer), but does anybody have any advice?
First of all, the Scarred Witch Doctor was nerfed long time ago. It doesn't use Con as casting stat anymore.
The archetype is useless if you don't have spells to cast. So Bloodrager is out of table. Also, Bloodrager is a Str/Cha class, which are Wizard dump stats.
I suggest you to stick to Wizard for 5 levels, take a level in a class with martial weapon proficiency and enter the Eldritch Knight PrC. For the dip, consider Magus Eldritch Archer or Gunslinger Musket Master.
Keep in mind that the only way to make iterative attack with a musket is through 3 levels of Gunslinger Musket Master. In fact the musket needs a full round to reload. With the Rapid Reload feat you step down to a Standard, and with Paper Cartridges it becomes a Move action. The Musket Master lets you reload it as a one handed weapon (Standard -> Move -> Free) as a deed. Otherwise you must use a pistol (with Rapid Reload and Paper Cartridges) and reskin it as a musket.
I should probably point out that this isn't for Pathfinder Society, so using pre-nerf versions isn't a problem. If it's gonna break my game I'll avoid it, but I'm not too worried about that one. Thanks for pointing it out though, I had no idea that had been changed.
Wizard isn't exactly evocative of a tribal shaman figure, unfortunately. But I've been under the impression that the conventional wisdom is that spellslinger is a really good dip, followed by another spellcasting class?
Classes are just bundles of rules. Wizards can be as tribal as Barbarians, it's the roleplay that defines this, not the rules. There are also some feats that can help with that, like the Inscribe Tattoo craft feat.
I don't like the Spellslinger archetype in first place, so I don't know if it is a "good" dip. I know thought that the Wizard is a really strong class, so if you ask me a good fullcasting class to be added to a Spellslinger Wizard, I'll say you Spellslinger Wizard. I think that the best option here is one level dip in Gunslinger/Magus and then Eldritch Knight. It's really a good PrC for such builds (full bab, d10, bonus feats and 9/10 caster level increase).
Just remember the limitations on the musket.
First of all, I HIGHLY recommend the dip in Gunslinger. If your gun breakes, you can't risk an explosion, so you need the rapid repair deed. In theory, another dip in Sorcerer would be perfect, because it would add monstrous amount of damage through the Orc/Draconic bloodline. If the gun was not mandatory, you could have done a nice ray master using the Tattooed Sorcerer archetype.
Second, any full caster NEEDS Spell Perfection. This means also 3 metamagic feats to fulfill the requirements. As a ray specialist, you will probably want to deal A LOT of damage. The best spells for this purpose are Contagious Flame (from now on CF) and Disintegrate. The second one is the best one in terms of damage (can reach 50d6!). Unfortunately, it's a transmutation spell, so the feats we are going to take (which rely on a specific school) will not be very useful through your career (there are not so much offensive transmutation spells). For this reason I'm only considering CF and Evocation school, but you can instead use Disintegrate and Transmutation. Metamagic feats will be: Intensify Spell, Maximize Spell and Quicken Spell.
Third, use a pistol. Without Rapid Reload you could eventually reload as a move action (using Paper Cartridges), and if you realize that you are using the gun more than you expected (even if I doubt), just take Rapid Reload too.
The build would be:
1 Wizard (Spellslinger) / 1 Gunslinger / 4 Wizard (Spellslinger)/ 10 Eldritch Knight
If the game start at 2nd level instead of 1st, take instead the Gunslinger level at 1st level, and then take the 5 Wizard levels.
Traits: Magical Lineage (CF) OR Magical Knack to make up for the 2 CL loss. In that case, choose a 5th level spell to be your perfect spell, because you can't Quicken a 6th level spell without Magical Lineage. I'll consider you took Magical Lineage. For the second trait, pick any one.
1 Spell Focus (Evocation)
1B Mage Tattoo (Evocation) [you get a tattoo, cool!]
3 Spell Specialization
5 Spell Penetration or Deadly Aim
5W Inscribe Tattoo [you can create magic tattoos, cool!]
6EK Point Blank Shot or Rapid Reload (Pistol)
7 Piercing Spell for CF / Intensify Spell for Disintegrate
9 Maximize Spell
10EK Improved Critical (Ray) or Point Blank Shot
11 Greater Spell Specialization
13 Quicken Spell
14EK Critical Focus or Rapid Shot
15 Spell Perfection (CF)
So, what happens? At low levels you use both spells and gun. Use paper cartridges as soon as possible. After low levels you'll be using almost only your spells. In slots where appears an "or" consider the former feats for a more casting-oriented build, or the latter ones for a more martial-oriented build.
Now, the tricky part: Spell Specialization. This pumps up your CL of 2 for a single spell that you can change every time you get a new spell level. When you only have 1st level spells, apply it to Burning Hands, when you get 2nd level spells, apply to Scorching Ray or Fire Breath, and so on. At 6th level spell, apply it to CF. When you reach CL 19 on CF, apply Spell Specialization on other spells. Now you can shoot 2 CF per round, one Quickened and the other Piercing+Maximized, both as 6th level spells.
Wow, that's really helpful. Thankyou! Only other thing I'd ask on that front is spell schools - if memory serves, spellslinger requires you burn two of them. Any suggestions on which ones?
As to the orc/draconic sorcerer dip, it's possible I could suggest dropping the gun to him - it loses a bit of theme, but could still be cool. Might have to re-flavour the bloodlines, though.
Gray Warden is giving lots of good advice, the only points I'd like to add concern the pros and cons of the Spellslinger archetype.
What exactly does your player want from his character?
If he mostly wants to be a wizard, and needs to be the primary arcane spellcaster, then he's better off not being a spellslinger at all - Gray's build will still work (with a bit of tweaking) - whilst having a gun to shoot anyway. A spellslinger is markedly weaker than a normal wizard: admixture evokers will do more damage whilst still getting a much wider variety of spells due to only having 2 opposition schools. No cantrips, no school specialist spell slots, no arcane bind, etc.
If he's going to be a secondary arcane caster, and wants to fire his gun as much as possible, then taking 5 levels of gunslinger followed by 5 levels of spellslinger (or even normal wizard) and then eldritch knight works very well.
Using the class as a dip, and taking the rest of his levels in witch doctor, or sorceror also works, but at a cost of spellcasting levels.
For all of these, it's worth your while looking at the optional guild rules called Esoteric Training and Eclectic Training so you can decide if you want to use them.