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Mechanically speaking, what exactly does the Kineticist do that warrants such a harsh drawback to balance it out?
From what I've seen in this thread, the class' best trick is spending it's whole life as an elemental (and never dismissing the effect in order to avoid falling uncoscious if the ability is needed again). I don't see any blast-related power that is so good that it would be broken if it didn't cost 2 or 3 points of Burn.
Even Quicken SLA is nothing amazing for the level is comes around...
I don't get the "Burn scales because the benefits scale". That doesn't match any other class feature in the game. The penalty to AC doesn't get bigger wheb Barbarians level up. Nor do Wizards have to spend two spell slots to cast low-level spells just because their Int and CL got higher.
What makes Burn even more frustratingly player-unfriendly is the fact that the price for each ability not only growes higher with character level (unlike literally every other class feature in the game), but also grows steeper and steeper every time yku use the abiility.
FtB is not "rewarding" anyone. It simply compensates for the lack of weapon enhancements. At best, it reduces the unnecessary punishment your character takes for simply using his class features.
And how exactly is the Kineticist a "not resource-management class"? It uses one of the most precious and scarcest resources in the game to fuel everything! If it's supposed to be an "at-will", then make it at-will!
Seriuiusly... Mark mentioned player psychogy and said that people overvalue negatives and that's why so many players dislike Burn... But even assuming that's the case, rather than valid and concrete criticism of the mechanics, why make a game mechanic that discourages players from using their characters' abilities?
Even mlp says thst Burn must be "avoided like the plague". It's not like the Kineticist os doing something so absurdly powerful that it must be "balanced" by suffering incurable damage. Really, what's the point of making a class featuee that must be "avoided like the plague"?
To make things worsr, even non-Burn related features are needlessly complicated and restrictive, like Spark of Life and the Extra Wild Talent feat.
It seems players are so excited with the idea of finally playing an at-will blaster/elementalist that they willing to bear with whatever bad mechanics come attached.
I like the idea of being better at reducing burn. I personally like how Feel the Burn works, I think it could use a higher bonus (+2 per point of Burn would feel more like a bonus rather than a break-even).
That kinda my feel on it... Kineticist currently pays a really high price just to compensate for his lack of enhancement bonuses to accuracy/damage...
If the class got the weapon-equivalent bonus to blasts and then could use Burn to actually excel, rather than just break even, it'd be more fair.
And since I'm already here...
1- Spark of Life should be simplified/buffed. Make it an Summon Monster SLA that only summons elementals and comes at the same levels a Wizard would get access to the appropriate version of the spell.
2- The restrictions to the "Extra Wild Talent" feat are pointless, arbitrary, needlessly complicated and simply not fun. No other "extra class feature" feat has such restrictions. There is literally nor eason for it.
Since Kineticists don't use iteratives... Couldn't they get the ability to reduce Burn by -1 every time they would a new attack? (So -2 at 8th level and -3 at 15th)
And the bonus from FtB should really just be granted to the class without requiring Burn... Then Burn would be a bonus rather than a necessity that unfairly taxes the character.
BTW, Spark of Life should really be buffed and simplified.
Can't it simply work like a Summon Monster SLA that only summons elementals and comes at the appropriate levels, rather than being crappier version that comes at later level...
I doubt summoning a single type of creature will break anything or step on any caster's toes.
Also, every Kineticist should get Kn(Planes) and Kn(Nature) as class skills. Really, this class is a mess in the skill department.
GM Bold Strider wrote:
You sound like a whiny child. You may have a valid opinion but you are just coming across as a whiny child.
Perhaps, but when I start hearing things like "you can choose to ignore your class features" or "you can choose to play a different class" in a freaking playtest, it's difficult not to be frustrated...
"You can play a different class" is, short of personal attacks, literally the least constructive thing to be said in a playtest. The whole point is making the class something you want to play. "You can ignore your class features" isn't much better either, since helping with the design of those feature is the goal of every playtest.
If a class is not suited to your playstyle, don't play it. There are quite a few classes I disagree with and won't play.
Then why don't you stop replying to this thread and be content with whatever comes out? After all, you don't have to play the class...
Just because I think Burn is poorly designed, doesn't mean I don't want to play the class.
You know what? I don't care anymore... I'm not in the mood to repeat the same arguments over and over again just because people want to pretend those issues are not issues at all.
Obviously, those who criticize Burn are not welcome here. I'm getting the impression that anything that is not praise won't be heard... So I'm going to bed before my frustration gets the better of me.
It's up to Mark now
If he decides to listen to those who feel Burn is poorly implemented... Good. We'll have a better designed class.
My humble request is that Mark takes a serious look at the criticism directed at Burn and if he disagrees with them, that it at least doesn't be because of "arguments" such as "you can always choose not to use your class features or play a different class.", since those are not real arguments, just another version of "My way or the highway!"
I'm also free to criticize what I see as poor design and hope it's reworked. In fact, that's the whole point of the playtest.
"You're free not to use Burn" is like saying "You're free not to use your class features". I want to use my class features. Every player does. But this particular class feature is poorly designed. A class feature that players are doing their best to avoid using is a poorly designed class feature.
And I disagree. I think those of us using burn will have much weaker characters than they should have, due to using Burn mechanics as they currently exist.
I am unconvinced that everyone agrees with you on this point.
I doubt everyone agrees with me (or anyone else) on anything... There will always be disagreements.
Here is the problem... Mark knew what Con did when he created the class. If the character having lots of hp is a problem... Then why make it Con based?Is kinda like making Bards based on Cha, then worrying about it being too good on Bluff/Diplomacy and deciding to give the class a penalty to those skills.
That's a bad idea. It's like fighting your own class design. If you don't want a class to have lots of hp, don't make Con-based. If you don't want it to have lots of skill points, don't make it Int based, you don't want it to have great Initiative, don't make it Dex based.
Instead, we get a Con-based class... That is punished for being Con based. But the "balancing" factor that punishes it simply outweighs the benefits... To the point where the Con-based class effectively has less hp than it would have if it were based on another attribute but didn't suffer Burn.
The Kineticist is supposed to be Con-based an be able to deal great amounts of damage with a single standard action... But every thing in the class punishes him for that. You lose hp for using your class features, and you need a move action to lose slightly less hp for using your class features...
And to make it worse, it has pointless restrictions, like the feat that only allows you to grab feats of lower levels. Why does it have that restriction? No other similar feat has anything like that.
IMO, Mark grossly underestimated the drawback of Burn and was too conservative with the power scale of quite a few class abilities, including said feat.
I understand he doesn't want his first official Paizo class to be overpowered, but as it's, I'd say it's barely better than Ninjas, which are quite underpowered themselves, despite having a few nice tricks.
4- Except in the case of composite blasts and metakinesis. And those also stack with whatever else you use.
5- It's still punishing you for the ability to focus on Con. Which makes no sense... If focusing on Con is so powerful, then why make it Con-based in the first place?
7- It doesn't. Those features have drawbacks, but they are very short-lived... Usually only lasting for as long as you use said features. Burn's drawbacks not only are far more serious, they also last all day long and get worse and worse every time you sue your class features..
I'm happy with the mechanics of Burn and FtB , since I'm not like this vocal minority of people who have a psychological problem with sacrificing anything for a by comparison larger benefit.
The problem we have is not about making a sacrifice, but about making a huge sacrifice for benefits that are simply not all that good. That bonus from FtB? All it does is give you the accuracy and damage you lost due to not being able to use magic weapons.
You're not getting a larger benefit, you're catching up to those who didn't have to make the same sacrifice.
In my playtest, I used FtB every day... Because I had to. It's necessary for me to use it, and yet... All it does is put me on par with Ninjas...
The cost of Burns increases one wya or another. It doesn't matter if you have Con 10 or Con 200. It'll cost more to you at 10th level than it cost at 5th, even though it gives you exactly the same benefit. And if you focus on Con, you're not focusing on Dex, so your accuracy suffers. I chose to focus on Con... Then mal told me I should have focused on Dex.
And no matter what... You still lose a huge chunk of your hp just for "privilege" of using your own class features.
Why do you think a class that spends its entire life with its nose stuck in a book only gets 2 skill points/level?
You mean "Just as many as Clerics, Paladins, Fighters, Sorcerers, Summoners, Antipaladins and Warpriests, none of which are Int-focused"? Because, at least according to the ACG's class design guide, Paizo apparently believes every class should have as few skill points as possible.
You also gain the benefits of Burn all day, not just for a single action.
And your hp is still gone all day as well... Meanwhile, the Gunslinger who recovered Grit is just as strong as he was before he spent it all in the first place.
Similarly, a Barbarian who runs out of Rage isn't made weaker than he'd have been if he didn't have Rage at all. At worst, he's fatigued for a couple minutes.
1- Yeah... And then lose the whole benefit of focusing on Con... It's like a Wizard suffering a penalty to skill points to compensate for focusing on Int. Or a Cleric suffering a penalty to Will saves to compensate for focusing on Wis. Or a Bard suffering a penalty to Bluff/Diplomacy to compensate for focusing on Cha. -.-'
2- Then either make all attacks a touch attack or do something for non-touch attacks to not become a waste of time without FtB.
3- And yet, Grit can be easily recovered. Losing all your spells doesn't make you weaker than you'd be if you didn't have spells in the first place. Sames goes for all other class features.
4- Because it doesn't? Avoiding Burn should be something every Kinetics would try to become better at. Why don't they?
5- Yay... You get half the benefit for all those points invested in your attribute... Why should you be punished for being able to focus on Con? If Mark doesn't want the class to have more health, then why even bother making it Con-based? Besides, Burn often leaves the Kineticist with less health than other d8 classes.
It's like your own class features are fighting you and doing what they can to stop you from actually using them...
Burn... The problem with Burn...
1- HP is a very valuable, very scare resource (from level 1, characters can often deal more damage than they can take).
2- Feel The Burn doesn't give you an accuracy advantage. It simply makes you catch up with other medium BAB class (for as long as they don't use their own class features). And this comes at an increasingly high cost. If something is obligatory to make the class function properly (and ftB is), it should harm you for using it.
3- There is a huge difference between "This is a limited resource, I better save for when it's absolutely necessary" and "This is a limited resource, I hoe I never have to use it because it makes me weaker than i was before". Burn is literally the only class feature in Pathfinder that players will do their best to avoid using. If a players doesn't like the idea of using their character's class features, those class features are poorly designed.
4- It makes no sense. The Kineticist never gets better at reducing the cost of burn.
5- You're sacrificing Con for the ability to sue your class features, or, doing the inverse, and sacrificing the ability to use your class features for high Con. Essentially, FtB basically means you got a 5~10 points lower point buy just for the "privilege" of using your class features.
6- Burns becomes more costly as the levels go up. Which the complete opposite of what happens to every other class feature in the game, which get more and more uses as the character levels up.
7- No other class features makes you weaker than you were before using them. Burn is akin to a Wizard losing health to cast spells and taking a penalty to skill points because he's able to focus on Int... Or Fighters suffering a penalty to Str to "compensate" for Weapon Training.
8- "But the percentage of health stays the same" is not a valid point, because percentage of health means absolutely nothing. Only flat numbers matter. It's better to have 50% of 80hp than 100% of 30hp.
9- It exacerbates the problem of Rocket-Tag Combat. "Lose all this health and hope you can one-shot the enemy... Because if it survives, it'll surely one-shot you!"
I mean no disrespect to Mark, but Burn is an awful mechanic.
Yeah... Skald, Hunter and Arcanist would be better off as archetypes or alternate casting system. Warpriest could have been completely removed from the book, or maybe turned into an Inquisitor or Cleric archetype... Sacred Fist is the only good thing in that class. And it could have been an Inquisitor/Cleric archetype as well.
We don't really need 6 new classes every year. We don't even need getting a new class every year... We already have 36 of them. And a few of those are quite unnecessary already.
The whole "paizo owns everything you post" clause kind of puts me off posting my homebrew here.
If that's the problem, just post it in googledoc or something, then provide the link here.
Personally, I doubt I'll ever be a a designer for Pathfinder (or any other game, it's really not in my carrier plan), so I don't really care if Paizo (or anyone else) uses one of my ideas... If I did, I wouldn't be sharing them on the internet.
[I think Burn is fine]
You're oversimplifying my stance.
1~2- Every class uses their features to excel. Kineticists use theirs to be mediocre. And they pay a high price for it. The Inquisitor runs out of Judgement/Bane, he's still as powerful as he'd be without it. The Kineticists runs out of hp... He's weaker than he would be if he didn't have his abilities.
3- "Lasting all day" is proven to not be worth much more than "last every round of combat". e.g.: Rage. And the Kineticist's "bonus" is not really a bonus, it's just the removal of a harsh penalty (not being able to sue weapon enhancements) in exchange for another harsh penalty (lose a considerable chunk of your health).
4- It does matter. That's the whole point. They do not perform all that well, even though they lose one of the most precious resources a character has.
Would you be satisfied if an item existed that granted an enhancement bonus to kinetic blasts? FtB is not classified as an enhancement bonus, so, there's clearly room for that kind of thing.
Yes... Kinda... At least the accuracy would be fine (assuming we get a damage boost), and FtB would actually be a bonus, rather than a necessity.
But Burn would still not be a good mechanic, IMO. It's too harmful. With the proposed item, accuracy wouldn't be much of an issue, but using other abilities would still be too costly.
It really sucks to get a new ability and then think "Well... I really hope I never have to use this one"... It's okay if it's something like healing*, since most characters obviously would want to avoid getting injured, but it's really frustrating when it's an offense/utility tool that I should feel excited about using.
A Paladin's player gets smite and thinks... "Next time we face an evil enemy, I'm going to be awesome!"
Burn mechanics make the class frustrating to build and play. It's like I'm walking on a minefield. While everyone else is doing their best to be awesome, I'm doing my best to not kill myself with my own class features. That hurts balance and enjoyment of the class. I've seen more than a few playtest reports of players refusing to ever use anything that cost them burn. That's not just they saving their powers for the more dangerous enemies, but actually doing their best to avoid using their class features!
And unlike every other class, who can use their abilities more and more often, the Kineticist is penalized more and more for the very same benefit. 1 point of Burn at 20th level hurts more than 1 point of Burn at 5th level. That makes no sense. Why doesn't the Kineticist ever get better at reducing Burn? Why does Burn deal more damage, rather than less?
- - -
* That said, getting healing abilities allows characterto do stuff that gets them harmed with no consequences, so even those have a better "feel" than composite blasts and metakinesis, from a gameplay perspective.
FtB bonuses are applied every single time you gather energy. All day long.
Tsc... Let me rephrase that.
You use FtB. You get the benefit. You lost hp and you got the +X to attack rolls. That effect lasts all day long... Once it reaches +1 for every 3 Kineticist levels, it doesn't increase anymore.
So the +X effect is used once. Its effects last 24h or whatever... But it's still only used once. That one time, you lose hp.
They are only accurate enough when they sacrifice a considerable amount of hp... While every other classes uses their features to excel, Kineticists use theirs to be average.
If something is obligatory to make a class effective, it shouldn't be harmful to the character.
If it isn't obligatory, then the class should be able to function well without it and excel when using it... You know... Like every other class feature out there.
FtB is like making the Monk lose hp every time he uses FoB. Or making a Cleric suffer incurable damage every time they buffed themselves.
Okay! Fine! You win! Kineticists need more damage!
My real problem is with Feel the Burn.
If it's obligatory, then it shouldn't hurt the character. The Rogue is not losing half his life to wield his magic weapon.
If it's optional (and IMO, it should be), then the Kineticist should be able to work without it and excel when using it, which means he needs a boost to accuracy/damage. That's not the case... Without FtB, Kineticists have the accuracy and damage of a Rogue with no magic (or even masterwork) weapon.
Burn is a high price to pay for mediocrity... What other class has to use their best buffs and resources just to be mediocre?
- - -
Here are examples of character who are at least as good as a Fighter...
- A Cleric using his highest level spells and domain powers.
And so on... Do you see the pattern yet? All of those classes use their limited-use class features to excel! Their resources allow them to go above and beyond! And many of those resources are not even all that limited, nor do they make you weaker for using them.
The Kineticist, OTOH, is not only restricted to mediocrity, he is also paying the highest price of them all. A "permanent" loss of hp.
So while those classes lose access to their class features if they use them too much, they at least don't grow weaker than they'd be if they didn't have those features in the first place. The Kineticist does. And not only that, after using Burn once or twice, he becomes so fragile that even a mook can put him down... And unlike Wizards/Sorcerers, he doesn't have a bazillion different spells to boost his defenses... Just some okay-ish powers.
And then we have the fact that losing hp in Pathfinder is particularly dangerous... Rocket-tag is already a known problem in the game, whether people admit or not... A moderately optimized 2-handed Ranger can already one-shot CR-appropriate enemies... And also be one-shot by that same enemy.
How much does Burn exacerbate that problem? Specially if the Kineticist gets a (much needed) damage boost? He can kill the enemy in one round... But a mook can also put him down in the same time.
I don't go looking for Rocket Tag in my games, but it still shows up, because attack/damage outpaces AC/hp, often with little to no effort... And my players are not even particularly good or worried about optimization. Specially when average character level reaches the double digits.
- - -
Other Classes: Use limited resources to excel
Burn is too taxing and too difficult to correctly balance. Losing hp would need more playtest to get it right. And we are not getting more playtest time. It's best to simply let it go.
The Warrior also has full BAB, which means he gets Improved Critical. With Power Attack/Vital Strike, that's +20 (4d6+21/18-20/x2) ... Average DPR is 41.65
The Kineticists would attack with +18 (10d6+14)... Which goes creates an average DPR of... 40.42, which is different from my last calculation (I'm not sure what's the difference. I guess I really do need to sleep), but still lower than the Warrior's average standard action DPR.
And yes... Characters don't need 90% accuracy... But if they are going to lose half their life in incurable damage, they deserve 90% accuracy... Again, Burn is a high price to pay just to achieve mediocrity.
Urgh... Whatever... See you tomorrow... Or later today, I guess... It's past midnight already, after all...
mlp, you keep tempting me to quote... That's evil!
Burn is not a class mechanic, it's a cost. The mechanic is "do this at-will but take this penalty until you get to the point when you can ignore the penalty."
Burn is a mechanic. And it is a class feature. In the same way that Rage is ("Use this ability and get X benefit, but also these penalties").
Except, the Barbarian uses Rage to excel, while Kineticists use FtB to achieve mediocrity. When a Barbarian (or any other class with limited-use class feature) runs out of uses of his class features, he's not suddenly weaker than he'd be if he didn't have those features in the first place... The Kineticist is.
That's the problem with Kineticists, they have to put a lot of effort and sacrifice just to be average...
And I'm still curious about what you think a good hit chance is for same CR enemies ;)
How about the same accuracy as any other medium BAB class using their features? A Cleric who casts Divine Favor is not just at Rogue's level of accuracy. Neither is an Inquisitor who uses Judgement or Bane... Or a Hunter using Animal Focus and the teamwork feats he shares with his animal companion. Much less a Bard with Bardic Performance...
Let's see... A Half-Elf 10th level Kineticist... Focusing on Dex rather than Con...
Human Kineticist 10
Medium humanoid (human)
Init +6; Senses Perception +18
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 10 (+6 dexterity)
hp 113 (10d8+60) (assuming PFS progression... Actual average is 105hp)
Fort +15, Ref +17, Will +11
Speed 30 ft.
Ranged light crossbow +14 (1d8/19-20/×3)
Kineticist Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
Air Blast +15 (5d6+9/20/x2)
Electricity Blast: +15 (5d6/20/x2)
with Feel The Burn (30hp; 26.55% of total hp):
Air Blast +18 (5d6+9/20/x2)
Electricity Blast: +18 (5d6/20/x2)
Str 7, Dex 22, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 7
Base Atk +7; CMB +5; CMD 24
Feats Defensive Combat Training, Iron Will, Point-blank Shot, Precise Shot, Toughness, Weapon Focus (blast)
Skills Fly +19, Knowledge (planes) +11, Perception +18, Stealth +19
Average DPR vs AC 24: 27.5 (including Point-Blank shot)
That's 26% of my HP just to have mediocre accuracy... Let' say I want to use Metakinesis or a composite blast... There goes another 10 or 20hp (8.85% or 17.7%). So... use Burn twice and you now have 63 hp (A Rogue will have at least 83... And the same accuracy and damage).
You lost (at least) 44.25% of your health in exchange for a Rogue's accuracy and the audacity of using your class features twice in the same day... That's a high price for mediocrity...
For a quick comparison, a Hunter with a +3 Greatsword, Vital Strike, Power Attack and Furious Focus has a DPR of 28.80 with his standard action attack... And that's before counting on Animal Companion, Animal Focus, teamwork feats or spells...
A similarly built Warrior has a +20 to hit and average DPR of 41.6 (with just his standard action!). That's more than the Kinetict's DPR would be even if his blasts dealt [10d6+10+Con Modifier] damage! (His DPR would be 35.04, BTW).
Are Kineticists really expected to eal less damage than a Warrior? Does no one really see anything wrong with an obviously combat-focused class having to sacrifice hp just to reach the accuracy of an Expert?
Let me try to put this more clearly... It feels like every single one of the Kineticists class feature is designed to either be underpowered or have a catch. It's almost as if players were expected to pay for the privilege of playing a Kineticist...
Building the character, and even worse, playing the character, feels like walking on a minefield.
I have nothing but respect for Mark, but if the playtest document could talk, that's how I see a conversation going between it and an would-be Kineticist player.
(Forgive me for the tongue-in-cheek tone)
Book: You can use fireball at will!
That's a lot of "You can... But...".
This class is flavorful and has some great ideas in it, but its mechanics are frustrating!
Burn in particular, feels like it's trying to work against you, as if it wanted to punish the player for playing a Kineticist!
Meh... If I won't use it anyway, it doesn't matter what I take... Kinetic Blade was there if I ever felt like playing melee during the playtest... I didn't.
(BTW, I didn't take Air's Reach, but I got Extended Range... Which does basically the same thing).
I think we obviously have different ideas about what is class defining. Don't take more burn than FtB. Extra Burn is bad. Use specializations and move actions to avoid burn. Only blow your load when you know it's the end.
Not Metakinesis... But Burn. Burn is a class-defining feature. And yet, Kineticists spend their whole carriers trying to avoid using it. Or limiting themselves to the class features they had at low levels...
Imagine if the Fighters lost a quarter of their health whenever they used a feat with a requirement of BAB +6. Or if Barbarians lost that a bunch of hp every time they used Rage Powers with prerequisite of Barbarian level 6...
Why is the Kineticist limited to either not using his class features, using only the most basic ones, or losing great amounts of hp for using level-appropriate abilities twice a day?
Keep in mind that FtB took almost 25% of the hp of my [Con 22 + Touchness + FCB] character... How much would it take if I had focused on Dex? Or if I were not a Dwarf? Or if wanted an extra skill point to compensate for my pathetic skills? Or if I used 15pt buy instead of 20?
I pointed this out before, but here it goes again: If a character relies on a power that causes them harm, then they somehow learn a skill to reduce/avoid that harm, they would logically do their best to master that skill... Yet, for some reasons, Kineticis never get better at reducing Burn damage with their Move actions... It only reduces Burn by -1, no matter if the Kineticist it as 5th level or 20th.
I disagree and think it is an issue of perspective. It's not me losing health, it's me just not having FtB's bonus x my level in health to begin with.
That's exactly the same thing, because you do have that health. You lose if if you choose to use your class features... But you have the "option" of no doing it and keeping your health. My character invested a feat and his FCB in increasing hp... And yet, my hp is the same as the Cleric who took the additional skill points.
That's like giving Fighters a penalty to attack/damage to "balance" Weapon Training and then saying "Well, you see... It's not that I lost accuracy, I just didn't have it in the first place"
Then, I can blow my daily wad on the big boss or whatever and pass out wrecking his face. You don't like burn, but it's not objectively bad. It works, you just have to play a certain way around it.
But then you're fighting an uphill battle against your own class features... They penalize your character so heavily, that you completely avoid using them except when you have no alternative or when the day is about to end...
Being penalized for using your own class features is bad design. Specially when they are not even very good to start with. And if they are meant to only be used once per day, then jsut make it a once per day ability.
Rogues have respectable damage, they just lack accuracy when they take penalties (dual wielding, power attack, etc) and expect to hit with iteratives.
They have mediocre accuracy when they do all they can to boost their to-hit... And even then, if the enemy has slightly higher AC, they'll struggle. And this issue grows larger and larger as the levels go up.
Kineticists suffer from the same problem.
If you had done what I suggested with the 20 base dex and kinetic form, you would have had a 7 (bab) + 7 (dex) + 3 (ftb) + 1 (weapon focus) + 2 (items) = +20, which hits the CR 13 blue dragon on an 8. 65% hit rate against a boss specifically chosen to limit your abilities with no allies buffing you is pretty damn good.
True... And I'd have 20~30 less hp. So Burn would became even less of an option. Feel The Burn would have left me with the hp of a 8th level Rogue. :/
If players are afraid to use their own class features, something is very wrong with the class' design.
The accuracy advantage is not needing to hit with anything other than their first, highest, unpenalized attack roll.
Rogues can do it just as well. A Rogue or Ninja with the Scout archetype (or Vanishing Trick) talent can very well spend a move (or swift) action to ensure their next attack is a Sneak Attack.
David knott 242 wrote:
You get the 2nd Skill Focus at 8th level and a 3rd one at 16th level. The general idea here is that if you are already taking Skill Focus at 1st level, why not sign up for the full subscription for free?
Because... Getting +2 vs enchantment, immunity to sleep spells, low-light vision, access to options exclusive to humans or elves, including archetypes and favored class bonus is usually better than getting +1 skill point and 1 or 2 additional Skill Focus feats.
Didn't like the flavor of Kinetic Form... If it's required to make the character effective, then it should be added to the class' base features, rather than requiring a Wild Talent tax.
You didn't take improved crit, either, and that would add good dpr.
Improved Critical requires BAB +8. Kineticists can't take it before 11th level.
Or, with Kinetic Whip focus, Vital Strike is actually pretty nasty.
I wanted a ranged character. If I have to go for melee to be effective with a class whose main focus is attacking with blasts, that class is severely flawed. I only took Kinetic Blade because there wasn't anything interesting left to take.
(And even, then... Kinetic Blade costs burns and is still limited to the accuracy of a Rogue).
EDIT: Claudius' build should list Kinetic Blade, not Whip... Made a mistake when rewriting his character sheet to post it here. (In the hand-written sheet used during the actual playtest game, it's Kinetic Blade).
I can look more in depth later, but I feel like you coupd have dropped some stuff (the weapon for sure, maybe a plus or two from armor) and gotten the +4 belt instead if just +2. But items are my weakest area of optimization.
A belt of +4 Dex/Con costs 40,000gp. I can't afford that at 10th level. I didn't want to use custom items. And I couldn't afford to lose the Con bonus. Burns is too damaging.
As for general strategy, until the boss fight, I would never use any metakinesis other than empower and only that when I have a move action to spare to avoid the burn.
i.e.: Never use my defining class feature... Great... -.-'
I used Metakinesis only when I could spare the move action, and only to check if it could be used effectively. From what I've seen, it can't (Well... "Can't" is hyperbole, but it's too taxing to use. Using anything other than Empower cripples the character).
The Kineticist must either be willing lo lose a sizable chunk of his health (and be unable to heal it) or never use its own class features. That's a poor design option. No offense to Mark, but IMHO, he grossly underestimated the cost of Burn.
If you do all that, your air blasts should have rather respectable hit and damage. It's hard to do the exact calculation on a phone, though. You'd still want more damage, though, that's for sure.
If by respectable you mean "The same as a Rogue", then I suppose you're correct.
I still don't see how the Kineticist has any significant advantage over the Rogue/Ninja when it comes to accuracy/damage. The damage is basically the same, and the accuracy is exactly the same.
Hell! Rogues and Ninjas can even get access to arcane SLA's and then grab arcane strike for another bonus to damage!
I think it would be useful to see your build (and potentially the ninja, but just yours would be immensely helpful). For one, I don't really understand why you put Con above Dex if you were concerned with accuracy and AC. I would personally push for both to stay equal, it possible, with dex getting a slight edge. I feel like you still wouldn't outdo a well played martial since kineticist damage is acknowledged to be weak, but surely you could do better than you did.
(Might include references to Hunter class features because I used it as a template to for my character in HeroLab, since they have the same HD, BAB and saves progression)
I think I might still have the Ninja's build in my PC... I'll check.
EDIT: Couldn't find the Ninja's character sheet. I think it was deleted after I sent it to my friend. (He focused on melee combat, though, but even so, his backup +1 Shortbow had the same to-hit as my Air Blast) :(
EDIT 2: BTW, the reason I pushed for Con was because I wanted to use Burn... Even with Con 22, Toughness and FCB, I still lost 30hp for using Feel The Burn, giving me the same hp as a Cleric or Rogue. AC was not a problem due to my buckler. Focusing on Dex would at best make my to-hit bonus match the Ninja's. That's not exactly impressive...
If Bards lost a quarter of their health whenever they used Bardic Performance, I'd focus Con for all my Bard builds too.
1- Effectively, a Kineticist is no more of a caster than a Ninja or Monk is. They are basically martials with a some supernatural powers sprinkled over it. They don't have the plethora of options a true caster has, in or out of combat.
In fact, Kineticists are pretty close to what Ninjas are... Medium BAB class with poor accuracy, that has a few nice tricks but is overall quite underpowered... One can fly all day, the other can "cast" Greater Invisibility with a swift action... Both are still very limited in what they can do in combat... And Kineticists are also really bad out of combat too.
2- Balancing casters (or any other class, really) by making them easily neutralized to the point where they are incapable of doing anything is not a good idea. That's just boring and frustrating for the guy playing the caster. A much better idea s to make sure spells themselves are well designed and balanced.
Completely negating the main advantage of focusing on Con... If you're going to remove the benefit of a class feature, then why even bother to include it in the first place? Should Paladins have all weak saves to "balance" Divine Grace? Should Rogues suffer a penalty to Into to "balance" their skills? Or maybe Fighters should get medium BAB to "balance" Weapon Training...
It's the accuracy of a Rogue! [Medium BAB + Feel the Burn] gives you exactly the same bonus of [Medium BAB + Magical weapon]. If Rogues have problems hitting stuff (and they do!), then so do Kineticists.
With the difference that the Rogue has the option to Full-Attack if he wants. If he's under effect of lots of buffs, he even has a chance to hit most of this attacks! (And remember... We are comparing to a Rogue here, not an exactly known for being a powerful class, so matching it or being just slightly better it is not a good thing).
Scratch that! Rogues have better accuracy, actually! They often focus on Dex rather than Con!
At 10th level, my Kineticist was being overshadowed by a Ninja!
BAB is a simple solution. It also comes with added hp. Right now, using Metakinesis once or twice a day leaves Kineticists with surprisingly low health... They effectively have no more hp than Clerics, unless they refuse to use their main class feature!
Full BAB would add a couple of points of accuracy to the core blast, but honestly, accuracy is not the issue here, damage is. Accuracy is fine since because they only have to hit once.
I completely disagree... The current version of the Kineticist needs to use Feel The Burn and suffer a considerable amount of non-healable damage (about 25% for my Dwarf with Con 22, Toughness and FCB going to bonus HP) just to compensate for his lack of a magical weapon.
The Kineticist has to lose hp to have the accuracy of a Rogue with a magic weapon (or a Warrior with no magic/masterwork weapon)! And he deals little to no more damage than a Sneak Attack! At 10th level, (5d6 +5 + Con Modifier) is not very different from (1d8 + 5d6 + Weapon Enhancement + Str Modifier)... With the difference that the Rogue doesn't have to cripple himself to add those enhancement bonuses to his to-hit.
Melee options might be too good, but the Kineticist's blasts are pretty bad right now, and unless they can target touch AC, they are mostly a waste of time by 7th level or so... Unless you're facing mooks (in which case they don't need better damage) or enemies with particularly low AC (which shouldn't be the baseline for a combat class!)
Adding mobility, scaling feats and more skill points would help much more, IMO...
As I said many times: Options are the most valuable resource you can have. Not Numbers... OPTIONS. Actual, viable options.
If you're interested, you can read more about my thoughts on the matter here.
Yeah, but size is quicker to look. The GM doesn't have to know the weight limits (I don't)... Or even know that such limits exist! Things get even weirder when we consider stuff like Air Elementals... Or Ghosts!
Just write "The Kineticists can raise medium creatures at 3rd level, at 5th level and every 2 levels thereafter, the maximum size of the creatures increases by 1 category" or something like that and we are good to go.
Weight is the more precise measure, of course, but it's also an annoying thing to keep track of in Pathfinder... Specially stuff that doesn't have its weight written down.
Rogues actually deal decent damage... When they can successfully hit their target, which is where the problem appears.
Kineticists are the same. Except they have to lose hp to get the accuracy acquired by buying a magic weapon. Blast damage is not all that different from Sneak Attack damage... At least not at mid/high levels.
At 10th level, the Kineticist will make a single blast for (5d6+ 5 + Con modifier). Which is not very different from the archer Scout Rogue and his (5d6 + Str Modifier + Weapon Enhancement). With the difference that the Rogue didn't suffer a whole lot of non-healable damage just to use his magic weapon. Using the better Metakinesis is suicidal. The damage adds up too quickly.
Both have the same to-hit. (Medium BAB + Feel the Burn) is exactly the same bonus of (Medium BAB + Magic Weapon). When the Kineticist targets touch AC, he has a huge boon to his accuracy. When he doesn't, he's no more accurate than a Rogue with a magic weapon... If that's the baseline used to adjust non-touch blasts, then they will be a waste of time by mid levels.
The difference is that Rogues can try to full attack if they want. Kineticists are limited to their one blast. And have zero out-of-combat utility. Their mobility options range from amazing to "meh", though.
Keep in mind that a Scout Rogue can use a move action to deal Sneak Attack damage as well... And heavens forbid he be a Scout Ninja with Vanishing Trick/Invisible Blade!
From what you guys have said, melee options are too good, but that doesn't change the fact that ranged blasts are currently really, really bad.
- - -
A separate issue, is that he way Feel The Burns works makes no sense. I'm not completely sure if you can choose to take less damage from Feel the Burn for a lesser benefit, but either way...
1- If you can do it, at 5th level you lose 5hp for a +1 bonus to attack. At 10th level you suffer 10hp for the very same +1 bonus to attack... So the Kineticist grew more powerful and experienced, but somehow became worse at using his abilities... That makes no sense.
2- If you can't do it, then at 5th level you got that +1 from Feel The Burn. At 10th level you get a +3 bonus for a loss of 30hp... But somehow you forgot how to only use a simpler version of the very same power you're using. That doesn't make sense either.
3- The Kineticist learns how to use a move action to lower the damage caused by Burn... A very critical ability that would be a high priority for any character whose powers caused them harm. And yet... The Kineticist never gets any better at it. The move action lowers the Burn by -1, no matter if you're at 5th level or 20th. This makes no sense and basically means that using Metakinesis is pretty close to committing suicide (or at very least, being easily knocked unconscious by a single hit from a mook).
Honestly... Burn is a flavorful mechanic, but it's too damaging to the character. Some sort of resource pool would be a much better idea, IMO. In my playtest game, I tried using Burn just to see how it worked. I decided using Metakinesis was simply not worth it and gave up on it after I got knocked unconscious twice in two encounters...
What's worse is the fact that it becomes more damaging as the character levels up, as if the character were becoming less skilled with each level.
Mark Seifter wrote:
1) Rogue has even more accuracy issues than the kineticist, with no native way to increase accuracy
But Rogues can use magical weapons. Kineticists don't have that option... At least not in this playtest. Feel The Burn merely compensates for the lack of masterwork/enhancement bonuses to accuracy.
Mark Seifter wrote:
2) The rogue is designed to need to hit with iteratives to do the right amount of damage. The blasting kineticist is designed to rely on attacks that are all at full accuracy (as a side note, accuracy boosts would help the melee kineticist the most, since right now, if they want to do a composite, they must hit full AC, meaning the iteratives are very likely to miss, as intended).
A Rogue with a magic weapon has the same accuracy as a Kineticist using a non-touch blast (and using Feel the Burn to lose about 25% of his health in non-healable damage).
So... The Kineticist is basically a Scout Rogue with no iterative attacks. Who burns hp everyday in order to be able to wield a magic weapon.
Is there any reason not to give this class a full BAB and d10 HD? It would barely affect touch blasts and give non-touch ones an actual chance to hit CR-appropriate enemies past level 6. The increase in hp would also really help (I still think Burn is not a good mechanic, but if it has to stay, Kineticist could definitely use some a hp boost).
Mark Seifter wrote:
As an aside, this is why I keep saying that I'm more likely to increase the damage than I am to increase the accuracy. If the accuracy goes up, it breaks the balance between touch and full AC blasts. If the damage goes up in an appropriate ratio, they both get stronger in parallel.
You're overlooking a serious problem here, though, Mark...
Increasing damage doesn't really help if the accuracy is too low. Rogues and Sneak Attack prove that. Besides, missing your single attack for the round is not fun. I'd much rather hit more often and deal less damage than spend 2 rounds achieving nothing and then deal explosive damage on the 3rd round (even more so considering that not only those 2 first rounds are very frustrating, but also the 3rd one might not even be necessary, as you allies will most likely have killed the enemy by then).
If things stay as they are, non-touch blasts will be non-options, only useful against weak enemies (in which case, they don't need the extra damage either) or enemies with particularly low AC (which really shouldn't be used as the baseline for determining the ideal accuracy of a combat-focused class).
How about giving Kineticists an scaling bonus to attack rolls that doesn't affect touch attacks? Or maybe just raise their BAB. The difference in accuracy will be negligible for touch attacks but extremely helpful for non-touch blasts (touch ACs tend to be really, really low... It doesn't matter if you have a +18 or a +2-when the AC you're going for is a 14... Or even a 20).
At very low levels (1~5), accuracy might not be much of a problem... But the gap grows bigger and bigger as the levels go by.
I agree with Zark. Bloat hurts inexperienced players and people focusing on role play far more than it hurts any powergaming munchkin.
I do enjoy creating powerful characters, but not game-breaking ones. Ad I often do adjust my level of optimization to the game I'm in. I know the game well enough to avoid its traps, so the bloat is really annoying, but little more than that... OTOH, some of my friends are new to Pathfinder and get really frustrated once they realized a cool feat is also one they'll rarely if ever use or one that provides a benefit too small to matter.
Right now, I'm playing in a game that uses Rynjin' freeform class building rules, which means players can mix and match class features as they wish.
I could actually have easily built a Full BAB archer Wizard withh all good saves... Instead, my choice is for a TWFing unarmed Barbarian. One that I do want to make powerful, but I'm not worried about high-octane world-shattering shenanigans.
Some of my other characters are:
A dueling Rogue (homebrew Rogue, probably still less powerful than any equally optimized caster)
None of them are extremely powerful... The Archer Cleric is probably the most optimized of them all, and even then, archery is not a great combat style for Clerics.
I can build these characters and make they work because I know the system well enough... But if a new player tries one of them, he could very easily take an awful feat.
Bloat makes character creation more difficult and time-consuming than necessary. It punishes players for trying to break the mold and intimidates new players (yeah, you don't have to use everything... But players will naturally want to explore their options. Having hundreds of crappy options doesn't help. Besides, if a new players joins a game in progress, he'd feel left out if he were the only one restricted to a book or two, and veteran players won't want to lose options they are already using). Every additional option makes the game increasingly difficult to balance, so these options should always be worth the hassle. And of course, we always run the risk of publishing material that in truth removes an option from the table, like Strike Back, which does something that many GMs allowed anyway...
e.g.: Imagine if Paizo publishes a feat named "Tree Climber". It allows you to climb tress. This didn't add anything to the game, if effectively made impossible for characters to climb trees without said feat. Where once they could just try and climb that tree, now they have to spend a very scare resource (feats) to do something they could already do... And even then, climbing trees is usually not that important, so the benefit is minimal.
And of course, increasing page count naturally raises the price of the product. If a book only has 120 pages worth of decent choices (not necessarily high-powered ones, just decent), then that book should only have 120 pages (plus the space needed for credits, art, etc). Having 120 of decent options in a 200 pages book basically means I'm paying money for 80 pages I'll never use. Those 8- extra pages will weight on the price and complexity of the product, both of which can (and do) discourage new players from acquiring it.
Of course, no one uses everything in the game (as I mentioned previously, there are options that I don't use, but do not consider to be Bloat: e.g.: Samurai). But when an option is so weak that it's either never used by anybody (You know what I mean, folks. Don't take it too literally!) or effectively punishes players for taking it (I'm looking at you, Water Skinned!), all it does is harm the game. Overpowered options are just as bad for very similar reasons.
It sad that we won't have a 2nd draft of the class... The Kineticist sure got far more reviewing and analysis than all other playtest classes put together, but OTOH, it seems like it needs more rework than any other of them.
Low accuracy, mediocre damage, little to no out-of-combat utility, scarcity of good wild talents and the necessity to suffer a great deal of non-healable damage just to use class features are pretty serious problems that come together to create super-megazord problem.
(...) If anything I'd say pathfinder has a lot more "timmy abilities" than it does ivory tower design to it.
Yeah, my bad. In my hurry to leave home because I was late, I made a mistake and mixed up the terms. What I meant is that the continued publication of "timmy cards" (i.e.: trap options) unnecessarily hasten the bloat effect that every game with ever-expanding rules suffer...
This is particularly bad with feats, where most options that do not revolve about full-attacking are punished either by being rather ineffective or requiring an unreasonable amount of investment and effort to pull off (e.g.: combat maneuvers).
These "timmy cards" make the books unnecessary bloated and discourage new gamers to try the system. Thus giving me the impression that Paizo is often more worried about being able to advertise "100 new options in this book!" than being able to (truthfully) advertise "20 balanced and well-designed options in this book!".
IMHO, every option should be moderately useful and reward the investment necessary to get it. If something requires 3 feats, than make it worth 3 feats! System Mastery will still matter because all options being balanced doesn't mean all combinations of options are equally effective.
Of course, this might just be me... Maybe I'm mistaken. Hopefully I'm. But still, it's my impression.
captain yesterday wrote:
The problem is with ever-increasingly number of options is threefold:
1- It makes the game increasingly unwelcoming to new players. Having to know 100 options is intimidating enough. Having to learn 5000 of them is basically telling them to not even bother (specially when half those options are traps)... And without new players, the game dies.
2- It makes the game more annoying to use. It's not fun to search through dozens of awful feats such as "Sure Grasp", "Water Skinned" and "Canny Tumble" just to find the few feats, spells and archetypes that are actually worth a damn. I dare say over 50% of the the game's feats/spells/archetypes are so bad, they might as well not be there. Ivory tower design is a great marketing idea for card games, but it's horrible game design, even more so for a cooperative game such as tabletop RPGs (at least for the players).
3- It increases the chance more stuff will break the game, therefore reducing the fun of veteran players. Or at least those who care about balance. If you don't, good for you... But decreasing the fun of players is never a good thing.
Like any other ever-expanding set of rules, Pathfinder will eventually collapse under its own weight. It's a question of "when", not "if". And I believe the adherence to ivory tower design is unnecessarily hastening the process.
Agreed. Let's give it a break so Mark can actually read the posts when he comes back...
For 1d6 + Con? With CL 1? That can't be used with magical weapons?
That really not worth delaying you class progression... You're better off grabbing a crossbow. Or, if you really, really want a ranged attack, a level of a class that gives you proficiency with longbows.