Ifrits are creautres with strong ties to the plane of fire, and because of that, fire spellcasters and classes that can make good use of fire are good choices. There are lots of ways to make use of this fire affinity, and we’ll be exploring those now.
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom. These bonuses obviously lend well to ranged builds and spontaneous casters. Prepared divine casters take the Wisdom penalty badly, of course.
Type: Ifrits are ousiders with the native subtype, which means they can’t be affected by spells and effects that target humanoids, such as enlarge person and charm person, so this is a double-edged sword.
Size: Ifrits are the same size as humans.
Speed: Ifrits move at the same speed as humans.
Energy Resistance: Fire resistance 5 will come in handy, especially given that fire is the most common energy damage out there. It also means that if you’re a spellcaster and plan to use fire on others, you can afford to be hit by your own spells once in a while.
Spell-like Ability: Burning hands once a day is a decent option, but I personally think that the Efreeti Magic alternate racial trait will come in more useful.
Fire Affinity: This is an obvious choice for an ifrit Sorcerer, since it gives you an effective +2 to your Charisma for Sorcerer abilities (it’s blue for them). However, this is also useful for divine casters who can choose a Cleric domain, as it boosts your caster level for domain powers of the Fire domain (so it’s green for any class that can choose a domain). For all non-casters, you should be choosing one of the alternate racial traits that replaces this, instead.
Darkvision: I like darkvision, as I’m sure you know by now. It will come in handy for almost any character at some point in their adventuring career.
Alternate Racial Traits:
Desert Mirage (Fire Affinity): This option is fairly weak, because the bonuses it gives are very situational. However, if you’re a non-spellcaster, it’s still better than no bonus at all.
Efreeti Magic (Spell-like Ability): I love this option. It’s definitely better than the standard spell-like ability of burning hands, because it allows you to choose to cast either enlarge person or reduce person once per day, and can even affect other ifrit as if they were humanoids!
Fire in the Blood (Fire Affinity): This is a fun option, since it stacks with an ifrit’s innate fire resistance. Essentially, if your ifrit gets hit by fire damage of 5 or less, there’s a net gain of 2 hit points! This is probably the best option to replace Fire Affinity with for a non-spellcaster.
Fire Insight (Fire Affinity): I really like this ability for a Summoner or Oracle, since they can’t make use of Fire Affinity as-is. Sadly, there are no creatures with the fire subtype on the summon monster I list when it would be the most helpful to have extra rounds of summoning, but as soon as you hit summon monster II you can start summoning Small fire elementals.
Fire-Starter (Fire Affinity): This option is great for an Alchemist, since they can make use of it right from level 1 using flasks of alchemist’s fire. Later on, any spell that has a chance of setting your target on fire will be giving you this mini-bonus.
Forge-Hardened (Spell-like Ability): This option is not worth losing a spell-like ability for, no matter what your plans are. Ignore it.
Hypnotic (Fire Affinity): This is an excellent option for Bards, since an ifrit can force an enemy to reroll on its save against his fascinate bardic performance. For most other casters, I think Fire Insight is a better option.
Wildfire Heart (Energy Resistance): This is the equivalent of the Improved Initiative feat, and stacks with it, which is HUGE. I suggest this option for a Rogue or Ninja, who have a great need to go before enemies at the start of combat. I wouldn’t say it’s strictly better than the fire resistance, though.
Alchemist: A bomb-focused Alchemist is a solid choice for an ifrit, and the Fire-Starter alternate racial trait is a clear winner here. You’ll definitely want to pick up the Explosive Bomb discovery to allow your bombs to set enemies on fire. You also get a great racial favored class option, giving you +1 per 2 levels to your bomb damage!
Barbarian: Without a bonus to Strength or Constiution, an ifrit isn’t going to make an optimal Barbarian. If you do decide to go down this road, though, definitely take the Fire in the Blood alternate racial trait, since it’s very flavorful and will synergize well with your fire resistance.
Bard: Ifrits make seriously excellent Bards thanks to the Dexterity and Charisma bonuses. It’s sad that Fire Affinity doesn’t do anything for a Bard, but the Hypnotic alternate racial trait will come in handy, so I recommend that. The racial favored class option is seriously awesome, since it allows you to use your fascinate bardic performance, which you’re already getting a bonus toward with Hypnotic, on more creatures at once!
Cavalier [Samurai]: I have trouble imagining an ifrit Cavalier, but Samurai works pretty well as a mounted archer thanks to the Dexterity bonus. Overall, though, there are much better options for an ifrit.
Cleric: Divine spellcasters (other than Oracles) take a hit from the Wisdom penalty, but that is at least partially made up by some of the other racial traits. Fire Affinity is a good boost for a Cleric, provided you choose the Fire domain (why wouldn’t you!?) and I’d suggest taking the Ash subdomain because the Wall of Ashes domain power is really excellent, and can be combined with the Firesight feat.
Druid: This is exactly like the Cleric, as it takes a hit from the Wisdom penalty, and you’ll definitely want the Fire (Ash) subdomain and the Firesight feat.
Fighter: There’s nothing saying that you can’t make an excellent ranged Fighter with an ifrit, though there isn’t much other than a Dexterity bonus going for you.
Gunslinger: You can be a great Gunslinger if you pick the Mysterious Stranger archetype to make use of your Charisma bonus, though you'll want to upgrade your gun ASAP with the Reliable property since you lose Quick Clear. The favored class option is nice, boosting your initiative checks when using the gunslinger initiative deed.
Inquisitor: Unlike the other prepared divine casters, an ifrit can make an excellent Inquisitor because of the racial archetype available, the Immolator. This archetype includes an ability that gives you an additional +1 caster level for Fire domain powers, so you’ll definitley want to keep the Fire Affinity ability to stack with that. I suggest making a ranged build with this archetype and taking the Firesight feat and the Ash subdomain to be able to fire right through your walls of ash! The favored class option is not very useful, so I’d take a skill or hit point instead.
Magus: Nothing is really going for or against you when it comes to being an ifrit Magus, so this is a fine option but definitely not optimal.
Monk: With a Wisdom penalty, Monk isn’t a great option for an ifrit, and there are no racial traits that help with this, so I’d just say look elsewhere.
Oracle: This is a great class option for an ifrit, thanks to the Charisma bonus and the excellent Fire Insight racial trait. But even better, the favored class option lets you treat your class level as higher than it actually is for one revelation. If you choose the Flame mystery (and who wouldn’t, honestly) I recommend using it on the Form of Flames revelation. However, I would like to point you to the Dark Tapestry mystery and its Many Forms revelation, as it will let you turn into some pretty fun creatures way earlier than you’d normally be able to.
Paladin [Antipaladin]: An ifrit can make an excellent ranged Paladin thanks to the Dexterity and Charisma bonuses. Obviously the Divine Hunter and Holy Gun archetypes match that idea well. Technically, the Antipaladin can’t choose either of those archetypes (though I’d recommend talking to your GM about putting together an Antipaladin version of one of them if you really want to go down that route), so I can’t really recommend Antipaladin as an optimal choice.
Ranger: A ranged Ranger build is an excellent choice for an ifrit, and as with the other ranged options I’ve suggested here, the Firesight feat is an amazing option. Sadly, you won’t get access to the Ash subdomain, so you’ll have to rely on smokesticks or other casters in your party to make smokescreens for you. As with all other races that don’t get a Wisdom boost, I’d also suggest considering the Skirmisher archetype, allowing you to replace weak spells with much more interesting tricks.
Rogue [Ninja]: Ifrits were born to be Rogues and Ninjas, as their efreeti heritage makes them excellent silent killers or acrobatic combatants. I definitely recommend the Fire in the Blood racial trait here, since you’re going to be taking half damage from most fire-based attacks thanks to Improved Evasion, and you may as well heal a few points each time that happens. I would also recommend trading out the fire resistance for Wildfire Heart, which is the equivalent of a stacking Improved Initiative feat. Finally, the Scorching Weapons line of feats is an excellent choice to add an extra few points of fire damage to your weapons and eventually have a fiery aura surround you with Blazing Aura. The favored class option isn’t very exciting, and I would stick with a skill point per level if I were you.
Sorcerer: An efreeti Sorcerer is a flaming ball of awesome, thanks to great synergy between her racial abilities and the powers of her bloodline. Obviously you’ll want to have the Elemental (fire) bloodline to get the 2-point Charisma boost from Fire Affinity (though I would suggest talking to your GM about getting the same bonus from the Efreeti bloodline, because it would make even more sense). Because your bloodline will give you resistance to fire, you should definitely trade out your racial resistance for Wildfire Heart, gaining +4 to initiative. Your favored class bonus is one of the best in the game, letting you treat your level as if it were higher for one of your bloodline powers. It’s important to note, though, that you can’t actually choose this favored class option until you can use the power you want to apply it to, so that makes it a little less useful. I suppose the most useful option is the Elemental Resistance power, which will let you have resistance 20 to fire at 7th level instead of 9th. An efreeti Sorcerer also gains access to a racial archetype, the WIshcrafter, but honestly it’s just too strange to be worth it, and its effects are usually going to be completely up to the GM.
Summoner: Summoner is also an excellent option for an ifrit, thanks to the Charisma bonus. The Fire Insight racial ability will be helpful (although TECHNICALLY it doesn’t apply to your summon monster spell-like abilities because they aren’t spells, any reasonable GM should allow it to apply). A Synthesist will find the Blazing Aura feat to be well-spent, and Firesight will probably come in handy as well.
Witch and Wizard: I’m lumping these two together once more because there’s nothing that specifically helps or hinders either one of them, really. Either could benefit from the Fire Insight or Hypnotic racial traits, and the Firesight feat is a great option as well.
Alternate Favored Class Options:
Alchemist: Boosting your bomb damage is an excellent favored class option, so this one is a no-brainer to me.
Bard: Given the Hypnotic racial trait, I’m going to score this one pretty well even though it only works on spells and abilities that cause one specific condition. The fascinate bardic performance will be used a LOT by your character because of this.
Cleric: This one just isn’t worth losing a hit point each level for, as Knowledge (planes) doesn’t come up THAT often in most campaigns, and this bonus only works for Outsiders from the plane of fire anyway.
Gunslinger: Any boost to Initiative is an excellent option, so I definitely recommend this one.
Inquisitor: Like the Cleric option, I just can’t see this coming up much. How often do you really think you’ll be trying to Intimidate beings from the plane of fire?
Oracle: This is an amazing favored class option, as Oracle revelations are diverse and in some cases very powerful. There are only a handful of races that get this alternate favored class option, and you should absolutely make use of it!
Rogue: If this was a straight bonus to Acrobatics, I’d be all for it, but Jump checks and Intimidate checks aren’t what you need bonuses to. Take the skill point instead.
Sorcerer: I really wish the bloodline powers for the Elemental (fire) bloodline were more exciting, but it’s always good to be treated as a higher level for an ability, so this is a decent option.
Immolator (Inquisitor): I absolutely love the Immolator because of its synergy with the Fire Affinity racial trait. You get a TWO LEVEL bonus on your effective level for your Fire domain powers, and that’s pretty amazing. Definitely take the Ash subdomain for the Wall of Ashes power, because even though this one doesn’t get better with higher caster level, it will combine amazingly with the Firesight feat, letting you shoot flaming arrows directly through a wall of ash at your flat-footed enemies! You might want to pick up a few levels of Rogue at some point just to get some sneak attack damage to combine with this, as well.
Wishcrafter (Sorcerer): This archetype... as fun and flavorful as it is... just isn’t worth your time. You give up on several Bloodline feats and your Bloodline Arcana to get an awkward +1 boost to your caster level when someone has wished for the effects of a spell. Essentially this means that your party members are just going to be shouting wishes at you all the time to get you a +1 boost to caster level on their buffs, and this just makes for bad roleplaying in my opinion. Later on you get the ability to twist others’ wishes to your own gain, but it’s still way too situational.
Blazing Aura: I love this feat, though it takes some time and investment to get to it. You get to activate, as a free action, an aura that deals 1d6 points of fire damage to anyone adjacent to you, and you can do this essentially every single round of combat, unless you need to use your swift action on something other than Scorching Weapons. This is a great option for a Rogue or Ninja who can use Acrobatics to position herself in the midst of enemies and hit them with damage every round.
Blistering Feint: Feinting is a suboptimal use of your action economy, and getting a +2 to your feint checks when using flaming weapons doesn’t change that. Focus on tripping or any other combat maneuver instead.
Elemental Jaunt: This feat is an option for all four elemental races, and it’s fun if not overly exciting. You get to travel to or from (but not both!) the elemental plane that your race is attuned to once per day. I’d say this is a decent roleplaying option for non-spellcasters, but otherwise not really worth your investment of a feat.
Firesight: For any ranged build, but especially a Rogue or Ninja, this is really incredible. Just put up some type of smokescreen and you can suddenly see enemies that can’t see you, making them flat-footed to every one of your attacks and letting you deal precision damage to them if you have it. In addition, you are completely immune to the dazzled condition! This is an excellent feat, and if you plan to shoot things, you’ll want it.
Inner Flame: This feat requires Scorching Weapons first, but it’s definitely worth the investment for most martial classes, since it gives you a free flaming property to up to two weapons simply by using a swift action every round. The wording is strange for the grappling part of the feat, but I THINK that you still have to have a weapon in your hand to use it, since Scorching Weapons requires a manufactured weapon, so unarmed grapplers aren’t going to get any use out of it. Overall, though, this is a decent option for any martial character (especially ranged Rogues with Firesight!)
Scorching Weapons: A simple 1 point of fire damage to your weapons by spending a swift action every round seems weak, but this feat opens up doors to Inner Flame and Blazing Aura, both of which are excellent feats. The bonus against fire and light-based spells is not amazing but serves to make this feat slightly less painful as a feat tax.