From the DM's perspective, here's how gestalt pans out.
The "normal" approach to creating a situation or encounter is to say, "Will this kill the PCs?" or "Will everyone get a chance to shine?"
That is boring and irritating.
My approach is closer to an amalgam of, "That's cool," and, "They'll think of something."
Gestalt helps with the, "They'll think of something," part tremendously by giving the PCs a much broader breadth of abilities to be clever with without making them much more powerful than they were before; it's generally building power out rather than up. The dragon that was a threat to the standard party before is still quite dangerous to the gestalt party, but the gestalt party has a breadth of abilities to draw on that makes things far more interesting. You do not get the same breadth of ability out of non-gestalt multiclassing.
Also, it's a lot easier to work with gestalt. An elf Ranger8/Arcane Archer2//Wizard10 is far simpler for the iconic elf archer/mage and truer to concept than an elf Ranger1/Wizard5/Eldritch Knight3/Arcane Archer2 (which doesn't really come together until level 11, where you can be the warrior/mage and get the Arcane Archer's signature ability, and shall always be a mess).
Do we need to read up on these separate books to have a hold of the two feats you are talking about, Katina, to effectively establish a character like we are talking about within your game?
Leadership is core, and the followers you get from it won't be adventuring with you, so they're no big deal. Landlord basically means you have a large supply of money that can only be spent on a stronghold of some sort. You don't need to know anything about it to make your character, just know they've got a swanky pad.
So: L10 Gestalt. Landholder + Leadership. Some third-party sources allowed? Starting Money & Attribute generation?
Standard wealth by level for level 10, 36-point buy. Max HP at all levels. I'm happy to allow a lot of third-party sources by default, but it may need some review. (I like the Secrets of Pact Magic material, but there's a no-save daze ray in there that's in dire need of revision. Though it is rather appropriate, here; it's a laser that renders the subject so aroused that it can't properly defend itself.)
Level adjustments and hit die only apply to one side of the gestalt, and I'd be happy to work with you on a simple LA0 version of some creatures that are just too prohibitively costly with regards to HD/LA (like, say, nymph or succubus). Even just stripping down a drow to LA0 would be no big deal.
Some third-party stuff that I have and am willing to allow:
Book of Erotic Fantasy
Book of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (link here
; it's a free homebrew compilation. We'll be using the sex rules from there, if and when there's any need or desire to use them.)
Nymphology (though the previous two are of much higher taste, which is saying something considering BoUCK is a poorly edited hodgepodge of mediocre homebrew)
Secrets of Pact Magic and related web supplements (I don't have Villains of Pact Magic beyond the web previews, so unless you can get me a pdf, that's likely out)
Complete Guide to * (Though those are more of a DM resource. Vampires and fey and such come with a prohibitive amount of baggage for a PC.)
Slayer's Guide to * (Again, more of a DM resource, but there it is.)
Advanced Player's Guide (Paizo's released some solid material. *Huggles
The old Swords & Sorcery Ravenloft Campaign Setting (The Hypnosis skill is fun~ Oh, by the way, anything you can use can be used against you.)
Also, ignore class skills. I despise them with a passion. Everything's a class skill for every class. (And as a consolation, Factotum goes up to 8+ skill points.)
As a houserule, death is pretty much entirely off the table unless you want to off the character or as a result of some ridiculously reckless actions (which I will warn you about first; if you charge an elder dragon solo while at 1 HP, I'll ask if you're sure and establish this as something that can get you killed off for real). Instead, you're more likely to be captured or some such, which is more genre appropriate anyways. Don't expect to win every single time, but a TPK isn't the end for anyone unless you want it to be.
I love gestalt, but I'm hemming and hawing at how tedious it is to build a monster character. So I'm just going to Knight/Paladin or Knight/Fighter it. I know, I know. I suck compared to everyone else.
Please, at least pick classes that provide some variety of abilities, or at least work well. Maybe Knight/Bard? I'm more than happy to shove alignment restrictions out an airlock.
But do keep in mind, Tome of Battle is going to be very much the standard for melee. Conventional melee sans magic is pretty much doomed.
Now, then. Setting. I have my own loosely defined setting, and if there are no objections, I'd like to use it here. The only real compilation is in one of my old game ads
. Only the Setting tab is relevant, but the "Who am I?" tab says a lot about how I DM; ignore the houserules, they don't apply to this game. Yes, I stole a ton of them from TGT.
Short version? There is one continent. It's basically a big ring of land around a large central sea. Beyond that is the ocean, which is one giant, godlike, murderous elemental that kills anyone who tries to cross, so this one continent is the extent of the known world. (Since this isn't E6 and more powerful magics are available, I'm adding the detail that the giant water elemental outright ate the rest of the world, and only one continent is left.)
There are six nations, which you really don't need to know much about, with huge expanses of no-man's-land between them, riddled with monsters and arcane disasters and all that rot making the land less-than-desirable and nigh incapable of supporting more than small villages and sometimes city-states. You're starting in that wasteland, where you can be attacked by evil monsters and may have to clear lands of portals to Hell in order to make it usable.
Y'all don't need to know a whole lot about the setting (y'all're starting out in the heart of Nowhere), so don't feel to obligated to look far beyond the primer and some skimming, but the cosmology is probably not what you're used to in a D&D setting, so that's worth a look.