|Revolving Door Alternate|
Need some help on a direction here. Guy wants a fighter. However, he doesn't want it to be the 'same' all through its career. Meaning not just always full-attack-with-X getting gradually improving attack bonus and damage bonus. He wants to learn to do new things with the weapon(s).
So he's thinking things like spiked chain, flails, meteor hammer, etc... So he can have reach, trip, grapple, distracting, performance, and/or whatever. So what weapon(s) and combination of abilities seem most interesting and useful to you?Any other ideas I can pass along?
Those features mostly want a bunch of feats dedicated to them to stay relevant. For new things as he goes up levels it might be better to look at advanced weapon training and advanced armor training options, and to dedicate some feats to those. There are some other options accessed by 1-2 feats too - combat reflexes + bodyguard, quillbreaker, lunge, maybe owl style and a feat or two along that line.
So yeah, go with a Fighter. Depending on the campaign either start with mounted combat, or a different specialty. Maybe specialize a little in doing spears so he can do mounted lance, longspear for reach and javalins for ranged attacks. So at mid levels he is a competent reach fighter but also has feats for mounted combat and carries throwing weapons. Sticking with a single weapon group will let you go deep into advanced weapon training which offers a lot of diversity.
I like Grappling. I like Attacks of Opportunity. I like Split Blade Swords. I like multiclassing extensively, but I also like those Advanced Fighter Class Abilities, so tough call.
I've made dozens of martial-gishy builds that do lots of different things in combat. I'd like more of a sense from you about what your guy wants before throwing out all my ideas here.
I believe Gloomblade is what he's looking for. At every fight he can choose what weapon to use: you want reach? you get reach; you want range? you get range.
A step further would be to get Improvisational Focus Combat and go with improvised weapons. Now, you are not limited to manufactured weapons anymore, but you can literally summon anything that you can wield as a weapon. You need a chair to sit because you are tired? you get a chair. And then you can use that chair to bash people on the head.
Add Dirty Fighting and you can do any combat maneuver without causing AoO, as long as there is someone else flanking with you.
No one in the party is going on the front-line with you? Pick also the Eldritch Guardian archetype. Now you have a familiar (Mauler or Small-sized) that can flank with you whenever you want.
To summarise: you are completely free to trip, disarm, grapple, do any combat maneuver you want, and use anything you want, in or outside of fights.
I'd suggest you look into feat tax home rules to help characters like this.
A fighter with Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple and Iron Will, as an example, is capable of quite a few things and feels fairly well-rounded to me.
She has some kind of polearm that lets her control the field, trip opponents and still remains offensively viable. She wears some spikey armor and wrestles with opponents that get within her reach or that are too dangerous to leave running around. She's got a decent Will save. And she's only lvl4.
Later on she could invest in some archery feats, Cleave, Combat Expertise into actually tripping or disarming, maybe bullrush. She's got a lot of room to grow.
Eldrich Guardian stack with Mutation Warrior, and Martial Master.
This gives you two bodies with shared feats, opening you to every possible combat maneuver, and teamwork feat combo in the game. Add flight, healing and mutagen for variety. If you want, play a half-elf with arcane training wizard for scroll (lvl 1) and wand use and a reinforced will save.