To your first 3 big questions: #1 The Skill Focus(concentration) is in there as most casters in mechs will have to make concetration checks for the mech's movement to successfully cast theirs spells (DC10+spell lvl for vigorous motion, DC15+spell lvl for violent motion).
Ah, I see. I'd recommend changing that to a "# ranks" requirement for Concentration, rather than making it a feat slot. Skill-based feats are good requirements, but I'd try to use them mostly for specialist classes, while this feels more like a hybrid class.
#2 This class is oriented for elves from the elven mech kingdom. The vast majority of their mechs (lancer, rodwalker, etc) have spell trigger items (wands typically) that require an arcane caster to use but are 1 or 2 man mechs. They do get access to some feats that enhance their ability with wands in their bonus feats selection.
Okay, I can see where you're going with that. I personally see more potential in giving bonuses to mech-mounted magic items as either a class feature or a requirement, since that seems to be a big part of the class itself. If you list it in the bonus feats, you run the risk of people avoiding that part of the class entirely, and simply focusing on the mech aspect.
The skills I set are oriented based on the background of the elven mech kingdoms and the descriptions of their tactics & mechs. Almost all of their mechs are animated, making mechcraft much less important for them, and hide was added as they are described as using hit & run tactics. As animated mechs don't produce big clouds of smoke or lots of noise they can successfully hide especially from other mechs, especially if they have some of the feats on the bonus list.
If you're expecting mech mages to pilot mechs, that's fine. The problem I can see is that, as it was written previously, mech mages would most likely be secondary gunners or something, rather than the primary pilot. Thus, they couldn't use Hide to conceal the mech, since they weren't piloting. I agree that having mech mages not have Craft (Mechcraft) makes sense.
Spot was added mostly just as a general purpose skill useful in and out of the mech.
With 4+Int skills per level, a mech mage with 16 Int could get max ranks in every class skill except for Spot and Craft. I'd suggest that you add Move Silently to the list, and either remove Spot or add Listen. If you're going to put in sensory skills, putting in both would seem to make more sense.
I couldn't really think of a good pinnacle abilty for tenth lvl but if you have a suggestion?
Sure. They're supposed to be masters of hit-and-run and hiding, right? Give them the ability to use a number of spell levels equal to those that would effect the mech they're piloting, and instantly make a Hide check, as if they had made a Bluff check and succeeded in distracting their enemy. Of course, then you might have to add the abililty that gives the capacity to use skills while in a mech to the prerequisites, or build it into the class, but that's not too bad.
Also the last five lvls still give you a 2/3rds spell progression+higher lvl of imp combine, while giving you a maximum MAB. For those who want a more of a combination of the the 2 class types rather than just dipping into 1 or the other this is fairly nice.
Yeah, looking back on that . . . It seems like you're arguing towards making a prestige class that combines both, takes the best of both classes, and doesn't throw in a lot of disadvantages. Now would be a great time to start a trend of throwing in 3/4 MAB progressions, making it better than alternating levels in mech jockey and wizard, but not as good as straight jockey. The spell progression could go to one every other level, and then you could increase the bonus feats (something I think needs a little beefing up as it stands). Or not. I like that idea, but then my likes and dislikes don't dictate the perfect class.
I am think of limiting the channel ability to the pilot only, as that was basically my intent, I just didn't put it in. To be more clear on the delivery you can deliver just the touch spell, which hits on touch AC but ONLY delivers the spell effect, or you can combine it with and unarmed attack, hitting at the normal AC, but dealing unarmed damage in addition to the spell effect.
Thanks for clearing that up. Limiting to the mech mage having to be the primary pilot is a nice way to solve the problems with that, particularly because you can't have pilots rotating in and out during battle. I assume you're not allowing them to deliver with weapons for balance reasons?
I limited the Combine Spell effect for the simple fact that as far as I know, there are no elven mechs (except the 1 city mech) larger than collossal 2 and for larger mechs they could still combine with other casters or cast in sequence over several rounds. If you reread the combine spell description is says:
If spells are cast simultaneously (by multiple spellcasters) or in immediate succession (by one caster), One aspect of the spell's range, target, or duration doubles for each spell cast.
So yes, 2 mech mages could do it in a single round. Or a single caster expending 4 castings over 2 rounds.
Limiting the Imp. Combine Spell effect could work, but I'd suggest some explanation of why it doesn't increase faster in the description text. As for the question, my question was if multiple mech mages could cast multiple spells in one round (due to Imp. Combine Spell), and still combine them with other mages, or whether Imp. Combine Spell only works for a single mech mage at a time. If you allow multiple mech mages to cast multiple spells in a single round with each other, then suddenly the ability becomes extremely useful. After all, where you previously needed a whole group of wizards, now two mech mages can do the same thing in the same time.
Actually Mechdancer is on the feat list, but I didn't feel that a class designed to be outside the Irontooth Clans (who already get most of the pilot prestige classes) should have feats that require clan membership. I am thinking of adding more mech feats but I think I provided a fair variety. None fo the feats themselves are elf specific although some do come from other books (Steam Warriors, Complete Arcane).
Right, sorry about missing Mech Dancer. I think more mech feats would be good, and you could get around the Irontooth Clan stuff by writing your own feats. You're right that pilot prestige classes outside the Irontooth is a bit under-represented sometimes.
No other prestige classes immediately in the pipeline but I do have some ne weapon ideas I may post.
Great, post them too! I don't have a group, so I'm a bit bored right now. More DragonMech material is a good way to keep myself occupied.