Up front, the greatest difficulty stems from two facts:
- Dual-wielding is extremely feat-intensive.
- Throwing is extremely feat-intensive.
On the one hand, every challenge is an opportunity etc. etc.—this also means that there are a lot of ways improve with feats. But it’s going to be really hard to do that while getting spells.
At a bare minimum, Quick Draw and Two-Weapon Fighting are required. Without those, you cannot (meaningfully) fight with two chakrams. Because Quick Draw (stupidly) requires BAB +1, you’ll need to start off in a full-BAB class. But even then, you don’t actually see much in the way of a benefit for dual chakrams until you get Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. And later on, DR often makes Clustered Shots another requirement. And that’s just to hit things; dealing damage still isn’t covered.
The other difficulty—sort of—is that the chakram is not really the weapon you think it is, at least in Pathfinder. Under Pathfinder rules, it is not “a boomerang shuriken,” it’s just another thrown weapon. This almost kinda-sorta doesn’t matter, though, because of course this character will want to use a blinkback belt. Every thrown-weapon character ever should be using a blinkback belt.
More importantly, Pathfinder fails to define if the chakram is a light weapon or a one-handed weapon. It is in both the light blade and heavy blade weapon groups, which doesn’t tell us a whole lot (for that matter, there are “light blades” that aren’t light weapons, even the two-handed bayonet is in “light blades”). It’s also in the thrown weapon group, which ironically has a higher percentage of light weapons than the light blades group, but it’s still not 100%. Its damage is high-ish for a light weapon, but its weight is low-ish for a one-handed weapon. At least one third-party publisher seems to have assumed it was one-handed, since they wrote a fighter archetype that gets to treat it as light
instead of getting armor training 1. Ultimately, this is a question of ruling—you seem pretty comfortable with the idea that it’s light (given you seem to have assumed it would just work), but it’s worth pointing out (if nothing else for the sake of other readers who might want to give a dual-chakram character a try but have a less permissive GM). If the chakram is a one-handed weapon, dual-wielding it is not going to work. There are technically feats that overcome the problems (or the chakram dervish archetype), but per the above, you won’t have feats to spare taking them.
Anyway, where I’m going with this is that you do have other options for weapons that are very similar to the chakram, but maybe don’t have these problems. The shurikens you mentioned, for example, count as ammunition, which means you can skip Quick Draw and the blinkback belt if you want. Better, the starknife is an oversized shuriken that is explicitly a light weapon, and is the favored weapon of Desna—which is important because Desna’s divine fighting technique allows you to use Charisma for attack and damage with starknives. That’s a big deal for someone considering sorcery. For my money, the description of the starknife sounds a whole lot more like the thing being thrown in your second image.
If D&D 3.5e items and feats are allowed, the Talenta or Xen’drik boomerang are worth a look because of the incredible Boomerang Ricochet and Boomerang Daze feats.
Because of the need for Quick Draw, your first level has to be in a full-BAB class, or a class that grants Quick Draw as a bonus feat ignoring prerequisites. There’s just no getting around this.
Far Strike Monk (ideally unchained and with scaled fist)
The far strike archetype for the monk gets Quick Draw and another bonus feat at 1st. Not even fighter can match that. Plus you kinda-sorta get Two-Weapon Fighting, since flurry of blows is “as if using two-weapon fighting” despite not actually using two weapons.
The problem with flurry is, one, it’s not actually using two weapons which isn’t quite what the player wanted, and two, it prevents the use of Rapid Shot and you can’t just take Improved Two-Weapon Fighting or Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, you need more monk levels. For these reasons, the player may still want to take Two-Weapon Fighting normally, and forget about flurry of blows. But even if that’s the case, flurry of blows can be a stand-in replacement while getting the feats together, which is great.
If you use the monk unchained, which you absolutely should, you also get +1 BAB, which is a big help even though you don’t strictly need it for Quick Draw anymore. Technically, far strike was written for the chained monk, but the only changes you’d need to make are:
- move invisible blade to 4th (when the monk unchained gets still mind)
- move the ki pool improvement to 3rd (when the monk unchainedgets ki pool)
- make trick throw a ki power requiring 8th level (as diamond body is) instead of replacing diamond body
Along similar lines, far strike is almost compatible with the scaled fist archetype (which works for all monks, chained or unchained). The only incompatibility is that both add new bonus feat options, and both replace still mind. It would be balanced to just add both sets of bonus feat options, and allow a far strike scaled fist to just choose which still mind replacement, invisible blade and draconic mettle, they want. This is important because the scaled fist is Charisma-based.
A far strike, scaled fist, monk unchained is definitely the best 1st level this character could ask for. It comes with 2-3 relevant bonus feats, Cha-to-AC, and +1 BAB.
Every character ever who is looking at having high Charisma should consider two levels of paladin. Divine grace is that good. It does nothing for your feat situation, and it’s not really worth the lost spellcasting, but it is just phenomenal. Smite is somewhat wasted when you have Densa’s divine fighting technique, though.
Since it’s only one level, and helps so much with feats, I think monk is better here.
After 1st level, there are more options available because Quick Draw isn’t such a centralizing need.
More monk unchained
Monk unchained is not a terrible class. Advancing in that class will enable more attacks if the character sticks with flurry of blows, and the qinggong ki power allows for some spell-like abilities. The ki pool and ki strike abilities also enable some magic weapon enhancement.
Even if you’ve already got Quick Draw, 2 levels of paladin have to be considered. Divine grace is that good, and it lets you reach arcane archer that much quicker. It’s not really worth lost spellcasting but it does a lot to support the character being who they want to be.
This is what she wants, and scaled fist provides some synergy. Empyreal if we went with non-scaled-fist monk and no paladin levels.
As mentioned in the question, arcane archer is probably the right direction to take this, as long as we ignore the bit where it’s specifically about archery and arrows. The Weapon Focus requirement hurts—a lot—but at least you don’t need to be an elf like in 3.5e.
However, you should really be aiming to maximize your sorcerer spellcasting. You do not want to take more monk levels to qualify for arcane archer, and you do not want to lose more spellcasting at arcane archer 5th and 9th—nothing the class offers from 5th to 9th is worth that.
Instead, if monk proficiencies are ruled “good enough” to qualify, eldritch knight is the way to go. You can qualify as a monk 1st/sorcerer 6th, with BAB +4, and then get to BAB +6 for arcane archer in two more levels instead of four, and then go back to eldritch knight after arcane archer 4th (seeker arrow isn’t terribly good but it’s better than the “nothing” eldritch knight gets).
You would also qualify for eldritch knight for real if you took paladin levels, but the paladin levels also make eldritch knight a lot less valuable. A monk unchained 1st/paladin 2nd/sorcerer 6th already has the BAB +6 that an arcane archer needs, and is way behind on spellcasting.
To deal with the somatic gestures issue, simply leverage the fact that Quick Draw and thrown weapons means you don’t need to have a weapon in-hand until you actually go to throw it. Leaving one in-hand so you’re armed (can make attacks of opportunity etc) and having the other hand only draw a weapon as you’re about to throw it makes this the best of both worlds.
The warpriest has an obvious problem in that it is Wisdom-based off of the cleric spell list. But it also gets the ability to imbue their weapon with magic from sacred weapon, and also the ability to cast spells with their hands full, which would be very nice for most dual-wielders but not so much when you’re throwing them. And you can trade a blessing for a divine fighting technique, ignoring requirements, so you can get Desna’s technique without actually necessarily worshipping Desna if you wanted. The class also gets a few bonus feats, though probably fewer than you’d like, and medium BAB which is better than a sorcerer but poor considering that you want to use two-weapon fighting and Rapid Shot. Ultimately, though, few classes are going to check as many boxes.
There are no official archetypes that do so, but swapping a warpriest to use Charisma and then use the sor/wiz spell list would be balanced—well, actually, it would be a nerf. I might buy that, all else equal, the sor/wiz spell list is superior to the cleric’s, but when you factor in the warpriest’s key ability to quicken self-buffs, the cleric spell list is the one you want to have. Still, there’s some synergy there with the ability to more-easily use Charisma with starknives. Combining Cha-based, sor/wiz spell list, and replacing fervor with something like imbue arrow would actually probably be a pretty good class...
D&D 3.5e material
The Talenta or Xen’drik boomerang from Eberron Campaign Setting are worthy of consideration for non-Desna builds, since they are necessary for the incredible Boomerang Ricochet and Boomerang Daze feats.
The gloves of the balanced hand from Magic Item Compendium grants Two-Weapon Fighting, or if you already have it, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. This is a great deal.
Also from Magic Item Compendium are rules for adding “generic” bonuses, like enhancement bonuses to ability scores or resistance bonuses to saves, to other items without costing extra. Normally combining items makes the cheaper part cost 50% extra, but Magic Item Compendium waives that for several types of items. This is a very good rule, and strongly recommended.
You could consider Paizo’s own sha’ir, found in Dragon Compendium (before Pathfinder, Paizo published “official” D&D 3.5e material in Dragon magazine under license from Wizards of the Coast, and Dragon Compendium is a compilation of some of the stuff from those magazines). This is a base class with Charisma-based spellcasting from the sor/wiz list (plus several domains, which it casts as divine spells oddly enough) that isn’t delayed at 3rd like a sorcerer’s is. On the other hand, it’s got a weird and awkward spellcasting mechanic—you have to send your familiar to retrieve spells, which takes anywhere from a few rounds to a several minutes, and then you have to cast that spell within a few hours. It’s “worth it” in that you effectively save a level of spellcasting progression, but it’s a hassle. (Frankly, I recommend you just nix that missed level altogether—for everyone but the arcanist.)
Carmendine Monk (Knights of Valor) or Kung-Fu Genius (Dragon vol. 319) allow for an Intelligence-based monk, which could open up arcanist as an option. Arcanist is very strong—much stronger than sorcerer, and that’s saying something—but I don’t know if it’s worth it when your feats are so tight.
Along similar lines, Ascetic Mage from Complete Adventurer swaps Wis to AC to Cha to AC. Useful, if scaled fist didn’t work out.
Serenity from Dragon Compendium allows a paladin to use Wisdom instead of Charisma, which is incredible—frankly, it might be too good (witness 2×Wisdom to Will saves). Still, a great fit if scaled fist doesn’t work out or if you wind up going with warpriest.
Dead Eye, also from Dragon Compendium, allows you to add Dexterity to damage with ranged attacks. Nearly must-have for non-Desna builds.
One exception to that could be Zen Archery from Complete Warrior, which allows Wis-to-attack for ranged attacks. Great for Serenity and/or non-scaled-fist monk and/or warpriest builds. There’s no great option for Wis-to-damage, though, so it’s not as good.
Some of the best reasons to skip Desna’s divine fighting technique are Boomerang Daze and Boomerang Ricochet from Races of Eberron. Ricochet allows every attack to bounce to a second target (though they have to be adjacent to the first, which is a shame), while Daze forces a DC 10 + damage dealt Fort save against being dazed (read: not getting a turn!) for a round. Seriously, Boomerang Daze is one of the very, very few actions you can take that’s better than casting a spell. It may well be too good; you may not want to add it to your game.
Remember that the maximum skill rank in 3.5e was your level + 3 (instead of the +3 bonus that class skills get in Pathfinder), so all of the skill requirements for 3.5e prestige classes should be reduced by 3. That matters a lot for many of the suggestions here.
There are a number of monk-focused prestige classes, including the divine-spellcasting sacred fist and the arcane-spellcasting enlightened fist, but the ones that progress flurry of blows (the monk thing we’re interested in) aren’t the ones that progress spellcasting.
There are also other better-BAB prestige classes in 3.5e. The best of them, abjurant champion, awkwardly doesn’t offer a lot here, at least on its own. It’s five levels of full spellcasting and full BAB, but since it requires BAB +5 it doesn’t help us enter arcane archer as much as eldritch knight does. It basically amounts to “keep another level of spellcasting” with the trade-off “delay imbue arrows by another level.” Which is a great trade... after you’re already high enough level to have imbue arrows either way. Not so much at 7th level.
If you take paladin levels, though, it looks better, since instead of delaying imbue arrows it actually accelerates them. You can qualify at monk unchained 1st/paladin 2nd/sorcerer 4th, and then get imbue arrows one level later instead of two you’d need without abjurant champion. Still, after 16th level you’d run out of obvious levels to take.
Another super-popular gish prestige class, the jade phoenix mage from Tome of Battle, is awkward for ranged combat because it revolves around the “sublime maneuvers” found in that book and they’re almost-all melee-only. Plus it really wants you to take yet another dip, in one of the base classes from that book (probably crusader). It’s hard to justify here.
The swiftblade gets full BAB, and though it misses a lot of spellcasting, it gets good features for them. Problems are that it requires the awful Dodge and Mobility feats, and it does get Spring Attack and improvements to it among its class features, which you can’t really use. Still, a great class. Harder to use when you’re already missing 1-4 spellcasting levels on monk, paladin, and/or arcane archer levels, though.
Unseen seer from Complete Mage gets ¾ BAB, rather than full BAB, but it’s easy to enter and gets full spellcasting. Also a lot of skill points, if you care about that. It can help enter abjurant champion or arcane archer, and it can be a thing to do after those classes without burning another spellcasting level on eldritch knight.
To go in a different direction, “When using little thrown weapons (darts, shuriken, and daggers; the DM may allow other weapons),” the master thrower from Complete Warrior gets to double the number of attacks they make. They also get Quick Draw as a bonus feat, though that’s painful since you cannot possibly get it that way before 6th since master thrower requires BAB +5. Still, for a paladin/monk unchained build, a level of master thrower is almost unbeatable.
Finally, sublime chord from Complete Arcane is bard-ish, but much more magical than the bard is—it’s kind of like a bard and sorcerer combined. More importantly, it “resets” your spellcasting progression, getting 4th- and 5th-level spells at 11th and getting up to 9th-level spells by 19th. It requires a ton of skill ranks, 3rd-level arcane spells, and bardic music. We can fairly-easily work those into one of the above builds, though, since the unseen seer gets great skills, sha’ir gets to 3rd-level spells faster than sorcerer, and Champions of Valor has a variant paladin that gets inspire courage instead of detect evil.
I mean, you’re very likely to be SAD, and you desperately need feats. Human can give you +2 Cha and a feat; very, very few races can compete with that.
Since we are looking at sorcerer, though, it is worth mentioning that half-elves can do stupidly-powerful things with that class.
With starknives and Desna’s divine fighting technique, Dex 13 for Point-Blank Shot, Con 14 or higher, and then the highest Charisma you can get while maintaining those. Ignore Strength, Intelligence, and Wisdom entirely.
Note that Dex 13 means you do not qualify for Two-Weapon Fighting (req. Dex 15), much less the Improved (17) or Greater (19) versions. Luckily, as long as we include a level of monk, flurry of blows can be much the same thing until we can get our hands on a +2 and/or +4 enhancement bonus to Dexterity, to allow us to reach those.
Without Desna’s divine fighting technique, you’ll need a lot more Dex. This will come at a heavy cost to Charisma, which sucks, which is why you should go with Desna’s divine fighting technique. And you’ll still need those enhancement bonuses—more, if anything—because you’ll need it to hit things. Con 14 is still a minimum.
There are two major build options, in my mind, the “simple” focusing on monk, paladin, and/or warpriest, and the “complicated,” which is trying to work in sorcery and imbue arrows. Each has many, many variations.
Note that imbue arrows happens at arcane archer 2nd, and arcane archer requires BAB +6. That combination of facts means that the very earliest it’s available is 8th, and getting any kind of halfway-decent spellcasting is going to push it out to more like the 10th to 12th range. If your game is “stabilizing” at 8th level, you probably want to just go with one of the “simple” builds, because “simple” also means “assembles all the parts earlier.” At 8th level, most of the complicated builds are still qualifying for stuff.
Very simple, but not a lot of spellcasting, certainly no imbue arrows. If allowed, a 1-level dip of master thrower at 6th is amazing if you’re willing to use shurikens.
Paladin 2nd/monk 18th
Also very simple, still lacks much in the way of the spellcasting. Still, the addition of divine grace makes this a big step up from the previous. Again, if allowed, a 1-level dip of master thrower at 6th is amazing if you’re willing to use shurikens.
Only acceptable when starting at 3rd or higher, because otherwise you can’t have Quick Draw and so cannot throw two chakram or starknives. Even then, painful lack of bonus feats, and of course, still no imbue arrows. Could still dip master thrower, but at 8th due to BAB requirements—losing a spellcasting level is painful, but doubling your attacks is amazing.
Paladin 2nd/warpriest 18th
With the Serenity feat from D&D 3.5e, or with some homebrew Cha-based warpriest archetype. Of the simple builds, probably the best. Still probably worth a dip in master thrower, now at 7th.
Monk 1st/paladin 2nd/warpriest 17th
Just for more bonus feats, really. Note that the unarmored AC bonus doesn’t work with sacred armor, which is awkward. If available, master thrower would happen here at 7th, too.
Paladin 2nd/sorcerer 6th/eldritch knight 1st/arcane archer 4th/eldritch knight +7
Simple, ish, at least for the “complicated” builds, but no imbue arrows until 12th level, which is incredibly painful. Also almost completely without bonus feats, which we really really want. Does manage BAB +16 and 9th-level spells—at 20th level. Much harder to add master thrower—it costs you the eventual 9th-level spells, for example. Could save a spellcasting level by using abjurant champion instead of eldritch knight, but it requires Combat Casting and would leave you with few good options after 17th.
Monk unchained 1st/sorcerer 6th/eldritch knight 2nd/arcane archer 4th/eldritch knight +7
Imbue arrows slightly earlier, at 11th. Still painful. Get several relevant bonus feats up front, which is nice, and BAB is slightly better, but no divine grace is a shame.
Monk unchained 1st/paladin 2nd/sorcerer 6th/arcane archer 4th
Divine grace and bonus feats. Unfortunately, arcane archer doesn’t happen any earlier, and since we haven’t gotten eldritch knight 1st out of the way, switching to it now means 9th-level spells won’t happen even at 20th. If we avoid that, and just go with sorcerer, we end up with vastly lower BAB (+12 at 20th).
Monk unchained 1st/paladin 2nd/sorcerer 4th/abjurant champion 1st/arcane archer 4th
As the above, except we require Combat Casting and in exchange get imbue arrows a level earlier at 10th, and have a better answer for what to do with our levels until 17th—and at that point, we’ve got just enough BAB that even sorcerer levels are enough to hit BAB +16.
Monk unchained 1st/paladin 2nd/sorcerer 2nd/unseen seer 3rd/arcane archer 4th
Same as the above, except we use 3 levels of unseen seer instead of 2 sorcerer levels and the 1st level of abjurant champion. We get into arcane archer at the same level, but don’t need Combat Casting, which is very nice. We still probably want abjurant champion eventually, because after 19th level we have run out of unseen seer with “just” +15 BAB. Taking all 5 levels of abjurant champion and leaving unseen seer at 6th gets us BAB +17. But still, opening up flexibility on when to take Combat Casting is very nice.
Monk unchained 1st/harmonious knight 2nd/sha’ir 2nd/unseen seer 3rd/arcane archer 1st/eldritch knight 1st/sublime chord 1st
This is basically the “have your cake and eat it, too” build. By 10th level, we have bardic music from the harmonious knight paladin, 3rd-level spells from 5 effective levels of sha’ir, and great skills thanks to three levels of unseen seer. That’s enough to reach sublime chord and “reset” our spellcasting: we’ve already taken arcane archer 1st and eldritch knight 1st, so we can trivially just take 3 more levels of arcane archer and 7 more levels of eldritch knight, and wind up with full sublime chord spellcasting on top of a phenomenal BAB of +18. We also still have the monk bonus feats, divine grace, and just a tiny bit of music because why not?
Honestly, this one’s probably too much; sublime chord allows for some pretty strong cheese. It’s pricey to get in but the results are incredible.
In almost all cases, Quick Draw, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Point-blank Shot, Precise Shot, and Rapid Shot are near-mandatory. Eventually you’ll want Clustered Shots too. For best results, you’ll also need Divine Fighting Technique so you can be Cha-SAD, unless you’re a warpriest. Even if you don’t take that, you’ll just want Dead Eye and/or Zen Archery instead, if possible.
In the monk-heavy builds, you can skip a lot of feats, since you can use flurry of blows instead of two-weapon fighting, and far strike’s flurry of blows prevents the use of Rapid Shot. You can even skip Quick Draw if you go with shurikens instead of chakrams, though a Charisma-focused scaled fist build will prefer Desna’s divine fighting technique with starknives, particularly since far strike gets Quick Draw for free. You’ll still want Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, and (eventually) Clustered Shots.
For the others, you can still use flurry of blows instead of Two-Weapon Fighting, but since it doesn’t upgrade, you’re looking at a tradeoff: Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, and Rapid Shot would get you 3 more attacks, but cost you 4 more feats. That’s not a bad trade, necessarily, but only if you can swing the feats.
Blinkback belt is mandatory. Don’t throw weapons without it.
A cloak of resistance, as large as one can afford, is mandatory for everyone. Don’t adventure at all (past like 3rd level) without it.
An enhancement bonus to Charisma, particularly for builds with Desna’s divine fighting technique, is the only item that might potentially be worth holding off on upgrading your cloak of resistance. Charisma is very important.
An enhancement bonus to Constitution is a good idea. Note that Pathfinder has rules for adding such a thing to a blinkback belt, or to putting it on a non-belt, but those rules charge an extra premium: that makes those rules awful. D&D 3.5e’s Magic Item Compendium waives the premium for “generic” bonuses like enhancements to ability scores, and I cannot overstate how strongly I recommend that rule. Just make a blinkback belt of mighty constitution cost the same as (blinkback belt cost) + (belt of mighty constitution cost).
Along similar lines, enhancement bonuses to Dexterity are also crucial if you do not use Desna’s divine fighting technique, or if (as I recommend) you do use it but also start with just Dex 13. A +2 brings that to Dex 15 for Two-Weapon Fighting, +4 gets Dex 17 for Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, and +6 gets Dex 19 for Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (which is a questionable feat really) and Improved Precise Shot (which is much better, but still not mandatory).
Gloves of the balanced hand let you buy a potentially-crucial feat—that’s nice. You can even get it prior to getting the Dex to take Two-Weapon Fighting, though at that point flurry of blows is just as good. You can’t get Greater Two-Weapon Fighting this way, but that is the least-valuable feat in the line. Quick Draw, Two-Weapon Fighting, and then the ranged-attack feats, with gloves of the balanced hand for Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, is probably the best approach to keeping your feat needs reasonable while still actually getting these extra attacks. It also limits how much Dex you need to get on a Charisma build, though Improved Precise Shot may be worth the +6 at very-high levels.