May I ask what your priority is on the flavour versus pragmatism scale?
What I mean is this: When I'm in a pragmatic mood, I like to play wizards because they're versatile, and I'm addicted to versatility.
But flavour is important to me as well. I always start with characterisation when I devise a character. So when I am in a stubborn mood, I tend to create sorcerers, because they're just so much cooler than wizards even though they lack flexibility.
So what I am asking is whether you look first for pragmatic characters who can get the job done (the job usually including winning at hard combats) and then look for the better written characters, or if you look first for the better written characters and only then pick out which ones are pragmatically made?
Do you care much about characters that are "well balanced" and can perform in more than one role, or do you instead prefer pinnacles of the class, who excel at one thing and are fairly poor at other roles?
I ask that question because I once lost out on an application to an adventure path starting at level 1 to a wizard with 20 intelligence. My own submission was a wizard with a mere 16 intelligence, but he had 14 strength, so he could have held the line in combat.
I'm a big fan of versatility, so I tend to strongly favor well balanced.
Where can one get the information needed to generate a short-term goal like "clearing the Thorn River of bandits"? I'm afraid I have no idea where the Thorn River is.