Been looking at the cardinal archetype for the first time and its interesting. What I'm trying to figure out is what domains stand out as good or great for the archetype. To me some truly great ones are not so good with the archetype; such as heroism because of the weak BAB. War, tactics, and demon all follow the same logic. Madness seems great still but not as good. The list could go on. Anyone got practical experience with this particular issue to offer?
Hard to say. My first response is to drop the Cardinal Archetype and instead look at the Herald Caller instead. It sort of does everything the Cardinal does, but better and more. However, if you are set on Cardinal, I DO NOT want this to come off as "play this instead, because your idea sucks". I only mean you might like the other option better, (but that also depends a bit on what you want from the concept, which I don't know).
For Cardinal, I'd think something like Charm, Knowledge, Nobility, any of the Alignment Domains that are pertinent, or Trickery would really stand out, assuming you want a Cardinal that's somewhat based on a real worldiesque religious-political leader type. Chaos, Liberation, and Travel are literally the best Domains in the game, while Protection's Defense Subdomain is pretty great also, (moreso for a Cleric without shields).
Herald Caller is a lot more open, but it really depends on just what you want to do with the build. More info?
I created a PFS LN cardinal cleric of Baalzebul (aka Baal aka Hadad) who is a cardinal. I took the undead subdomain. I am basically going to max charisma and any spells will be buff spells so it doesn't matter what their DC is.
Why I chose cardinal:
* Skills per level!
* Bluff and intimidate to class skills. This really helps a charisma based character.
* Undead subdomain because I am a negative energy channeler.
* All of the things a cardinal gives up don't really matter to me. I just need to max charisma first, then constitution, and make sure wisdom is enough to cast spells at my level, and I don't really care about anything else.