Thor, The Mighty!
The self-proclaimed protector of Earth, the Thor from Marvel Comics is supposedly the same Thor from Norse mythology (which is only fair, given that Norse myth was the free idea bucket where huge swaths of the comic came from). Featured in comic books for years, the thunder god's debut on the big screen in his own franchise as well as in the movie The Avengers has put him squarely in the public light again. For those who want to bring some of the Asgardian prince's rough humor to their Pathfinder games (along with his hard-hitting hammer), it can be done. It might take a few levels and some very careful building, but it can be done.
For those looking for the rest of the Avengers, along with my Gotham Knights and Game of Thrones character builds, check out the Character Conversions page on my blog Improved Initiative!
Also if you ever wondered why so many superheroes and supervillains dress like refugees from a circus, well, the answer might surprise you.
Thor fills many roles on any team, and traits can help give him just the right boost to perform at his peak.
Some good traits include indomitable faith (+1 to will saves, which is always useful), battlefield caster ( provides a +1 to concentration checks while casting in battle, and a +1 AC bonus against readied actions), and courageous (+2 to will saves against fear effects).
There are other useful traits as well, depending on what your starting attributes are and where your low stats ended up. Reactionary (+2 bonus to initiative checks) can be a good way to make up for a low dexterity when combat is joined, and vengeful (+1 bonus to attacks against enemies that have struck the character) is a useful and thematic fit.
The class that best fits Thor is the cleric, perhaps with a level of two of fighter (which can be slightly balanced by the trait magical knack; giving you a +2 to your caster level up to your total character level). An argument can be made for an oracle of battle, or even for a rage prophet, but this guide uses cleric as the base. Clerics gain proficiency in medium armor, and proficiency in the deity's favored weapon.
Players have several choices at this point. For those who want to play a straight cleric they can follow Torag to gain warhammer proficiency, and take the protectionand good domains. The other option is to take 1-2 levels of a class that grants martial weapon proficiency (fighter works best, but barbarian, ranger, etc. are also applicable), or to use a feat to gain proficiency with the warhammer, and then choose Gozreh as a patron. This gives you access to more weather and lightning related powers, and is the recommended path.
Domains and Spells
For this build the Air Domain (Core Rule Book, 41) and the Weather Domain (Core Rule Book 48) make a solid base. The Storm Burst power of weather allows for a ranged attack that imposes a -2 on foes and deals nonlethal damage at the same time, while air allows players to shoot arcs of lightning while gaining resistance to electricity. These domains also grant access to thematically appropriate domain spells, such as obscuring mist (don't knock it, battlefield manipulation is a total game changer), call lightning, air walk and other helpful spells.
As to Thor's more "regular" spells, most of those will focus on buffing and protection. Spells like shield of faith (Core Rule Book 342) will never go out of style, whileentropic shield (Core Rule Book 279) helps protect against long-range baddies. For those who want to bring the pain though, spells like magic weapon (Core Rule Book310) are old standbys, but they can only do so much. Spells like instrument of agony(Ultimate Combat 232) , which provides a +2 to intimidate checks while the weapon is held and whose energy may be discharged on a successful hit nauseating a creature for 1d4+1 rounds on a failed save, or leaving it sickened on a successful save, will be lower-level bread and butter. Also, don't forget the sheer usefulness of spells like shatter (Core Rule Book 341). Higher level spells like deadly juggernaut(Ultimate Combat 226 and 227), greater magic weapon (Core Rule Book 310), and others will give Thor serious advantage against any foe. Higher levels are when direct damage dealing spells, such as flame strike (Core Rule Book 283).
While Thor is looked at mostly as a combat character, he is no dummy when it comes to the knowledge of the nine worlds (as evidenced by him explaining the cosmos to one of the smartest physicists on Earth like it was nothing). An investment in knowledge (religion) and knowledge (planes) fits the character, while knowledge (arcana) is also a good idea. Sense Motive is also a solid choice (Thor did grow up with one of the greatest liars in the Marvel universe, after all), as is Spellcraft. Diplomacy can be useful, but those who want to play a brasher, more aggressive Thor might want to invest in Intimidate (and possibly consider a trait like bully, which provides a +1 on intimidate checks and makes it a permanent class skill for the character).
Feats must be chosen with care since clerics don't get many of them. A player who wants to show that Thor is possessed of more-than-human durability might want to invest his or her starting feats in endurance and diehard (Core Rule Book 122). Players who want to be more proficient with combat early on can take weapon focus (Core Rule Book 136), and to do more damage they might also want to invest in power attack(Core Rule Book 131) along with furious focus (Advanced Player's Guide), to get all of the damage on that first swing without taking any of the negatives. Quickened spell (Core Rule Book 132) is also a good option, because Thor shouldn't be sitting out rounds and buffing when there's battle to be joined.
To better represent Thor's sheer destructive strength some players might want to invest in the sunder feat tree. This includes improved sunder and greater sunder (Core Rule Book 125 and 126 and 128). This can be useful when it comes time to smash through an opponent's armor, or to destroy an weapon that cannot be allowed to continue doing harm to the party.
This is where most of the thunder god really starts coming together. With items likecelestial plate (Ultimate Equipment), Thor can fly in what is technically medium armor that provides a bonus equivalent to full plate. Cloaks and rings that increase his AC and saving throws are paramount, as is a belt of giant strength or belt of physical perfection (Core Rule Book). A glove of storing (Ultimate Equipment) is also useful for making sure that Thor is never without his hammer.
Speaking of his hammer, Mjolnir is one of his most signature pieces of equipment. It's also nearly impossible to build, short of convincing a DM to let you have theHammer of Thunderbolts (Ultimate Equipment), but relic weapons tend to be off limits to most characters. Considered one of the greatest treasures of the Norse gods, it's important to start in the right place when making one for your Thor.
A good base for Mjolnir is an adamantine warhammer. Once a player has the gold to get it enchanted though, that is when things get interesting. Ideally Mjolnir would be a +5 Shocking Burst, Thundering, Throwing, Returning, Spell Storing Giant and Aberration Bane (Thor fought outsiders from all over the nine realms) adamantine warhammer, but obviously players can't have all of that. That's why it's important to choose your enchantments carefully.
If a player is satisfied with lightning from spells, then spell storing and bane might be enough. If a player wants to bring the thunder, shocking burst and thundering are options as well. Thundering isn't a great investment mechanically, since the warhammer has such a terrible critical hit range, but it is appropriate for the character and theme.
Final Tips and Story Suggestions
It's important to remember that this is just one suggested build to bring the thunder god to your Pathfinder game. Players are free to take what they like, and to mix and match it with other ideas they believe work better. That said, there are a few alternatives worth mentioning here.
Take a look at alternate channeling (Ultimate Magic 28-31). Both the air and weather variants provide thematically appropriate and situationally useful benefits. While the cleric heals less with variant channeling, and deals less damage overall, the useful effects of the alternative channel shouldn't be ignored.
Also, some players may feel that Thor isn't served by neutral good. For a chaotic good build that focuses on combat prowess, Gorum is a good choice for domains and flavor. If a DM is willing for the purposes of the game, it may be possible to create Odin as a custom god.
Lastly, know what you want before you even start. The chief cause of getting to level 5 or 10 and realizing that your character has become irrelevant tends to be a hodgepodge character build without a solid, specific end goal in mind. Maybe things happen during the campaign to alter your direction, or to make you change your end goal, but it's still best to have a destination in mind before setting off on your role playing journey. Especially with a character who can be made so many different ways.