6) Craft healing items, as soon as you can with the following combinations.
Greenwarish + Sweet Pollen = Potent Greenwarish
Harspud Juice + Large Nut = Balmy Perfume
Harspud Milk + Small Nut = Cloudwine
Potent Greewarish + Cloudwine = Matured Greenwarish
Harspud Sauce + Large Nut = Balmy Incense (improved variation of Balmy Perfume)
When you reach Gran Soren, crafting Potent Greenwarish won't be necessary since they can be purchased inexpensively. But until then, Potent Greenwarish is a much improved health restoration item than the regular old Greenwarish. Crafting Cloudwine isn't laborious either, since Harspud Milk and Small Nuts are rather common drops, so always be on the lookout to craft Matured Greenwarish. In fact, you should be able to scrounge all the items you need for Matured Greenwarish within the opening town of Cassardis.
You might be wondering why Balmy items, which heal the entire party, are important at all since you can always revive pawns. The trouble is that whenever you or your pawns are hit, their maximum HP lowers and cannot be recovered unless you rest at an inn... or have a Balmy item. (Still not sure why you can't why you can't just order your pawn to eat some Greenwarish.)
Having to walk all the way back to a town inn (or worse, use an extremely expensive Ferrystone) just to heal is a tremendous hassle, so Balmy items are the best way to recover your party. This is particularly essential if you're on a lengthy quest or in a fight against a boss or mini-boss, as you don't want to waste any extra time in battle having to revive your pawns because their maximum health is drained. As such, I recommend giving your main pawn some curatives as well, particularly some Balmy items for good measure.
7) Focus on augments and stunning/knockdown abilities.
When you first have the option of learning new abilities at an inn or rest stop, first look at those that round out your offenses. You can only take six offensive abilities at a time, so always look at attacks that stun or knockdown enemies like Tusk Toss, Compass Slash, and Comestion. Anything that leaves enemies writhing on the floor or helpless in the air is a fantastic attack that sets up some free shots.
Knockdown attacks won't work on bosses as much, but many of them can be knocked down by grabbing onto their legs or other weak spots. Of course, let go of the boss if they try to throw you off to prevent a lot of damage; besides, you need to recover your stamina.
Beyond the six offensive abilities, however, augments are your next best bet mainly for their cross-class compatability. Any augments you earn in one vocation can be used in another. Some notable augments are Sinew (max weight, Fighter), Fortitude (reduced damage, Mystic Knight), Bastion (reduced damage, Warrior), Awareness (reduced magical damage, Sorcerer), and Regeneration (HP regen, Magic Archer).
All of these augments except for Regeneration are accessible at the early ranks of each vocation, so you can easily switch to another vocation, obtain the augment, and switch back. This also means, if the game's replay value isn't already incredible, that after you've maxed out the skills and abilities of one vocation, there's plenty to learn in others.
8) Enhance weapons; armor, minimally.
The first time you can upgrade equipment is the peddler at the encampment, but if you happen to miss him, you can do so at the blacksmith in Gran Soren. While you'll be rotating weapons and armor on a regular basis throughout your journey, the added strength of an enhanced weapon is well worth the expense, up to the third level if you have the necessary items.
The cost of getting one additional strength or defense point by enhancement is much cheaper than buying equipment with better stats... though you'll likely buy them anyway. For that reason, armor should be enhanced to at least the first level because it's extremely cost-effective, but since there are so many pieces of armor, it's not usually to your long-term benefit to upgrade any pieces to the third level unless you plan on sticking with them.
That is, you'll have to weigh whether the expense of gold and items is worth the upgrade; you don't want to waste too much coin on something that's going to replaced anyway. Also, once you gain access to the next tier of equipment, the asking price for better weapons and armor jumps exponentially. You'll need as much coin as you can muster.
9) Keep weight as low as possible.
Your weight capacity, determined by the weight of your character, affects the walking speed of your character. Sure, this leads to more travel time, but it also means that you're slower when reaching enemies and aiding pawns who are down.
While lightweight characters have much better stamina regeneration, they don't have the strength to carry a heavy load. To be exact, small characters can cary 40kg, medium characters can carry 65kg, and large characters can carry up to 100kg. Moreover, encumbrance works on a sliding scale, slowing you down as your load increases, so maintaining your agility means keeping yourself as light as possible at all times.
This means handing items over to your main pawn whenever you feel your load is becoming heavier than you want. Also don't worry about giving items to your hired pawns, as whenever they leave your party, any items they've grabbed on your behalf will be immediately transferred to your warehouse. That said, whenever you stop by an inn, go ahead and deposit materials, weapons, and excess curatives (the hardest of all items to let go) into your storage.
10) Keep a well-balanced party, two mages recommended.
As any fantasy RPG with a party system, it's beneficial to have a balanced party with warriors, rogues, and mages. A healing mage is a must, which will likely be the role of a pawn since it's not the most active nor the wisest role for the player. The second party member should be either a fighter of some variety to take the attention off the mages or a mage focused on long-range firepower (Comestion is particularly nasty, Halidom cures debilitation, and Anodyne heals HP).
The third party member is up to your discretion (everything is, really). I don't particularly think rogues are necessary, since their attacks don't normally stun, their hit points are lower than fighters, and their long-range attacks usually can't compare to a mage's. A rogue is really meant to be a class controlled by the player anyway, with the ability to aim at weak sections of a boss and inflict a high dps (damage per second). Controlled by the AI, the rogue is not nearly as powerful.
That said, there's little reason why you need to stick with a set party. Your two hired pawns can change at any time and the vocation of your main pawn can be changed as well, though it's better to keep your main pawn sticking to one build. That will make sure that your main pawn is chosen by others, which will get you the most rift crystals.
(On that note, shameless plug: If you're in need of an awesome warrior, my Gamertag is Draqq.)
***Bonus Tip: Don't take the escort missions in Gran Soren's inn until you're absolutely sure. You can also cancel them at the board if you find them out of your league.