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Kinetic Knight with Shroud of Water, is it worth it?


Rules Questions


I am trying to figure out the cost to benefit of a water based Kinetic Knight's defensive talent.

The original talent, Shroud Of Water:

You surround yourself with a shroud of water, ice, or both that protects you from harm. The shroud can either cover your body, functioning as armor, or float around you and block attacks, functioning as a shield. It grants either a +4 armor bonus to AC or a +2 shield bonus to AC, and you can change the type of bonus as a standard action. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 kineticist levels you possess beyond 2nd. By accepting 1 point of burn, You can increase the bonus by 1 until the next time your burn is removed. You can increase the bonus multiple times in this way, but it can’t be increased by more than 50% of its starting value.

When you change the shroud to grant a shield bonus, any bonus in excess of this limit doesn’t apply, but it remains if you change the shroud’s bonus type again. Whenever you accept burn while using a water wild talent, the water coalescing around you allows your shroud to grant both the armor bonus and the shield bonus for 1 round. You can dismiss or restore this effect as an immediate action.

Kinetic Knight Modifies this talent:

A kinetic knight gains the elemental defense ability at 4th level, rather than 2nd, and its benefits apply only while she is wearing heavy armor and wielding an attuned shield. If the kinetic knight selects the expanded defense talent, its benefits also apply only under these conditions. If she has the shroud of water defense wild talent, whenever its bonus would be increased by accepting burn, she instead increases the enhancement bonus of her armor or attuned shield by an equal amount (to a maximum of +5).

So to start with, the Shroud of Water is somewhat redundant with the Kinetic Knight requiring the use of heavy armor and a shield to even gain the talent's benefit. So it takes a point of Burn to activate an ability that does nothing on its own. But you can take additional Burn to power up the talent and gain an enhancement bonus to your shield or armor. the amount you can boost the bonus by is linked back to your level and favors armor over shield since the armor has a higher cap.

So:

The armor starts at 4 (meaning enhancement caps at +2) and the shield starts at 2 (meaning the cap is +1)

The armor can go up to +3 at level 10 and the shield can get to +2

Finally at level 18 you can enhance armor up to +4 and a shield to +3

These are subject to the normal restrictions of a hard cap of +5 to either item, right?

What i am seeing is a diminished return where a character, barring weird prisoner or social encounter situations, doesn't need their defensive talent by the time they can get a decent bonus out of it. There is a small window of levels where you get a few extra points out of it but otherwise would probably be better off with the extra HP and general buffer of unspent Burn.

Am i missing something or does the water knight loose out on the archetype compared to other elements that get about the same AC plus Temp HP, DR or some other bonus?


I think you've got the gist of it. Shroud of Water is kind of sub-par to start with, and for a Kinetic Knight it is basically useless.
When I played a Aquakineticist I got my GMs permission to purchase a custom magic item that occupied my wrist slot and gave my shroud of water an enhancement bonus when I used it to create a Shield. But that requires a permissive GM, and for PFS that's right out.


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This is probably another side effect of my comparative unfamiliarity with the class's complex math, combined with Mr. Seifter's concerns about the potential for overwhelmingly high AC values. I just knew that I had to make sure a hydrokinetic knight got something, rather than an AC bonus that didn't stack at all.

In retrospect, if I had another shot at it, I would probably have the burn cost of shield attunement automatically count towards improving the knight's primary defense talent. I didn't properly comprehend the lessened utility gather power would have for a kinetic knight, so the cost-benefit of attunement is less than favorable.


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I still think its a fantastic archetype and love how active you are on the forums talking about design and clarifications so thank you for all of that :)

I had a concept put together for a melee water user before and was just looking over how it would adapt to the dedicated melee archetype. I think if i go for water i would use a standard kineticist instead and try to leverage more mobility out of it though.

Shadow Lodge

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As someone who mostly plays home games with relatively permissive GMs, I also appreciate the unofficial commentary. I will probably use your idea for handling the Shroud of Water if I run a game for a hydrokinetic knight.


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I feel like the fact that the Kinetic Knight needs to put a burn into attuning their shield (though I do like the proposed house rule), effectively makes the knight need to invest less burn at breakfast in order to top off elemental overflow (as the KK will want to full attack at higher levels, any accuracy boost you can get is especially important).

The burn thresholds for "maximum benefit for overflow" are pretty reasonable (3, 5, 7 at levels 6, 11, 16) then "you don't get a lot from investing in your defense" isn't that much of an issue until well after you've had the opportunity to expand into another element and perhaps gain another defense. At level 11 a Hydrokinetic Knight might have picked up either Kinetic Form or Shimmering Mirage as utility talents that help in melee and cost burn for an all-day effect. Honestly I might be thinking Shimmering Mirage is so strong on a melee combatant it might be the best reason to go water.

I might consider allowing the Kinetic Knight hydrokineticist to invest burn into both their shield and their armor at the same time. That seems reasonable.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I might consider allowing the Kinetic Knight hydrokineticist to invest burn into both their shield and their armor at the same time. That seems reasonable.

This is a very good idea, actually. ^_^


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Isabelle Lee wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I might consider allowing the Kinetic Knight hydrokineticist to invest burn into both their shield and their armor at the same time. That seems reasonable.
This is a very good idea, actually. ^_^

Can I just take a minute and say I really like the archetype? I'm definitely going to be using your clarifications for it. It's my third fave archetype in the game (right behind Twilight Sage Arcanist and Dark Elementalist Kineticist). I'm in the process of building a Aether Kinetic Knight in black armor with a focus on Telekinetic Maneuvers (Grapple focus) and Suffocate.... This archetype makes me happy ^_^.


Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I might consider allowing the Kinetic Knight hydrokineticist to invest burn into both their shield and their armor at the same time. That seems reasonable.
This is a very good idea, actually. ^_^
Can I just take a minute and say I really like the archetype? I'm definitely going to be using your clarifications for it. It's my third fave archetype in the game (right behind Twilight Sage Arcanist and Dark Elementalist Kineticist). I'm in the process of building a Aether Kinetic Knight in black armor with a focus on Telekinetic Maneuvers (Grapple focus) and Suffocate.... This archetype makes me happy ^_^.

That was my first thought for the archetype as well, an Aether knight who uses a mundane short spear to devastating effect. I am still toying with the notion too but its a serious choice between Aether and Earth for my next character.


I actually think the Shroud of Water is one of the best for Kinetic Knight. The ability increases the enhancement bonus on the armor or shield, which is fantastic. Get +1 Mirrored armor, and then accepts a couple of extra burn to get it to +3 Mirrored armor. Now you have +2 more AC than normal and +3 AC against ray spells for the low cost of 4000gp + masterwork armor costs and you even have 3 burn for elemental overflow.

You can actually choose to have armor abilities and get the most out of the enhancement bonus. The ability becomes even more valuable as you level as enhancement bonuses start to cost more. Level 10 could easily own a +3 or +4 armor and the same for a shield. So for funsies, we can look at full plate for the Knight and a Heavy Shield

+2 Mirrored Full Plate = +11 AC (Cost 9000+ gp)
+1 Arrow Deflection Heavy Shield = +3 AC (Cost 9000+ gp)

Accept 4 points of burn for the day and now you have:

+5 Mirrored Full Plate = +14 AC (Worth 36000+ gp)
+1 (or +3 if spent burn on water talent that round) Arrow Deflection Heavy Shield = +3 AC (or +5 AC) (Worth either 9000+ gp or 25,000+ gp)

I'd like to remind us that we are only level 10, and that's a lot of value for not a lot of harm. I think being able to both increase an items bonus and add armor abilities is a solid choice.


Link2000 wrote:

I actually think the Shroud of Water is one of the best for Kinetic Knight. The ability increases the enhancement bonus on the armor or shield, which is fantastic. Get +1 Mirrored armor, and then accepts a couple of extra burn to get it to +3 Mirrored armor. Now you have +2 more AC than normal and +3 AC against ray spells for the low cost of 4000gp + masterwork armor costs and you even have 3 burn for elemental overflow.

You can actually choose to have armor abilities and get the most out of the enhancement bonus. The ability becomes even more valuable as you level as enhancement bonuses start to cost more. Level 10 could easily own a +3 or +4 armor and the same for a shield. So for funsies, we can look at full plate for the Knight and a Heavy Shield

+2 Mirrored Full Plate = +11 AC (Cost 9000+ gp)
+1 Arrow Deflection Heavy Shield = +3 AC (Cost 9000+ gp)

Accept 4 points of burn for the day and now you have:

+5 Mirrored Full Plate = +14 AC (Worth 36000+ gp)
+1 (or +3 if spent burn on water talent that round) Arrow Deflection Heavy Shield = +3 AC (or +5 AC) (Worth either 9000+ gp or 25,000+ gp)

I'd like to remind us that we are only level 10, and that's a lot of value for not a lot of harm. I think being able to both increase an items bonus and add armor abilities is a solid choice.

I see the same costs and benefits though and dont think its that great for what you get. Since you arent dropping anything on weapons you have a lot more gold per level to invest in the much cheaper armor and shield enchantments. By level 10 instead of investing ~18,000 in a weapon you can put another 9,000 toward your shield and armor each. you could have them both at +4 and still have half your WBL left over for the rest of your gear. Be generous and say you spent +1 worth of each item on non static bonuses, you still need to take 1 burn to turn on your defense and them another 2-3 points to get up to +3 extra on your armor. That is a 40 HP cost for +3 AC that is going to get worse as you level. Somewhere between levels 11-12 you should have both your shield and armor at +5 already, possibly with additional non static bonuses in addition to that and then you cant use your elemental defense anymore. It have a niche value for a few levels where it can net you an extra 1-3 AC, between levels 4-10. A better build idea i suppose would be to just not invest in armor enchantments past a +1 or +2 and use the freed up wealth for other items but in either scenario i think the water knight is behind the ability curve of the other elements who can invest just as fast in enhancement bonuses plus their full elemental defenses on top of that. Freeing up the magic weapon costs by itself gives every Kineticist a leg up on the rest of their magic gear anyways since it is such a huge money sink compared to any of the other big 6. i am not really convinced that the water knight getting to save on armor enchants would let them get an extra +1 to heir rings, cloak and amulet over what other knights could afford since the cost growth between a 2 to 3 or a 3 to 4 is so large...


The burn here is essentially negligible because by level 10 a kineticist is going to want at least 3 points of burn for size bonuses and elemental overflow.

According the chart, a 10th level character should have roughly 62000 gold worth of gear.

------------------
A fighter (with shield) would roughly spend 1/3 to 1/2 of that on armor (and armor boosting items), 1/4 to 1/3 on weapons and the rest on other items and gear.

Armor: +1 Amulet = 2000, +2 Ring = 8000, +3 Armor roughly = 9400, +3 Shield rougly = 9200 (Average AC = 30ish depending on armor, DEX, and enhancements)

Total: 28600

Weapon: +3 Weapon roughly = 18350

Magic Items: About 15000 worth (+3 cloak and a +2 belt?)

--------------------
A regular hyrdokineticist would roughly spend 1/3 to 1/2 on armor with no shield because gather power (I have a hydrokineticist, so I know I would), spend minimal on weapons (something to provoke with like spiked gauntlets or something), and the rest on other items and gear.

Armor: +2 Amulet = 8000, +2 Ring = 8000, +3 Armor roughly = 9200, +6 Shield = 3 burn from shroud (Average AC = 30ish as well depending on armor, DEX, and enhancements)

Total: 25200 and 3 burn (Now they have +2 size bonus on CON and DEX with a +3 attack bonus and +6 damage bonus for blasts)

Weapons: Maybe 2350 for a +1 something?

Magic Items: 34000 worth roughly (+4 cloak and a +4 Belt?)

---------------------
A hydrokinetic knight would spend similar to a fighter in terms of armor, but would likely convert the money over to armor as well, maybe convert it to more items. Whatever floats their boat.

Armor: +2 Amulet = 8000, +2 Ring = 8000, +6 Armor roughly = 9400 and 3 burn, +3 Shield rougly = 9200 (Average AC = 35ish depending on armor, DEX, and enhancements)

Total: 34600 and 3 Burn (more overflow)

Weapon: Probably none as kinetic whip is available now.

Magic items: About 27000 worth (+4 Cloak and +2 belt, or a +3 Cloak and a +4 belt?)

----------------------
All I'm saying is that Shroud of Water is not a "bad" choice for a Kinetic Knight, and that it is actually quite good compared to a Fighter or a Kineticist of equal level.


Link2000 wrote:

... ---------------------

A hydrokinetic knight would spend similar to a fighter in terms of armor, but would likely convert the money over to armor as well, maybe convert it to more items. Whatever floats their boat.

Armor: +2 Amulet = 8000, +2 Ring = 8000, +6 Armor roughly = 9400 and 3 burn, +3 Shield rougly = 9200 (Average AC = 35ish depending on armor, DEX, and enhancements)

Total: 34600 and 3 Burn (more overflow)

Weapon: Probably none as kinetic whip is available now.

Magic items: About 27000 worth (+4 Cloak and +2 belt, or a +3 Cloak and a +4 belt?)

----------------------
All I'm saying is that Shroud of Water is not a "bad" choice for a Kinetic Knight, and that it is actually quite good compared to a Fighter or a Kineticist of equal level.

But compared to other Kinetic Knights is where i am comparing it too, not to other classes that dont have any elemental defenses.

For 3 burn the Hydroknight gains 2 AC and saves 14,000 (The difference between a +3 and a +4 armor and shield)

While a Geoknight loses out on 14,000 to make up the same AC, they get DR 6/Adamantine to make up for it. In both cases the knights are ahead on the strength of their magic items over other classes by virtue of not having to buy magic weapons but the Geoknight has an advantage over the Hydroknight that is pretty significant.

That is the value between defensive talents i am looking at. And the Hydroknight losses their edge over time as the cost difference gets to the point where any other Kknight can buy up to the +5 limit on their defenses and get the other items they need plus still have relevant elemental defensive talents as well while the Hydroknight only ever gets value out of saving some money on lower enchantment armor, which to me comes across as a minor boon at lower levels. Basically due to Kknights not needing to keep up on magic weapon costs they all save enough WBL to keep their other items above their level average, a Hydroknight gets a small boost to this advantage but that is really what their defensive talent comes down to, a price reduction on enchantment.

So Shroud of Water is a good ability on its own that puts you ahead of the WBL on a class that can already effectively break WBL but it doesnt win out in comparison to Aether or Earth or even Air who gets a significant miss chance, something amazing when mixed with a high AC. Compare it to Flesh of wood who gets a full 3 AC for the same 3 Burn and also gets to save money on not needing an amulet, i would put Shroud of Water just a little below Flesh of Wood, ie near the bottom of the scale for elemental defenses on Kknights.


Torbyne wrote:

But compared to other Kinetic Knights is where i am comparing it too, not to other classes that dont have any elemental defenses.

For 3 burn the Hydroknight gains 2 AC and saves 14,000 (The difference between a +3 and a +4 armor and shield)

While a Geoknight loses out on 14,000 to make up the same AC, they get DR 6/Adamantine to make up for it. In both cases the knights are ahead on the strength of their magic items over other classes by virtue of not having to buy magic weapons but the Geoknight has an advantage over the Hydroknight that is pretty significant.

That is the value between defensive talents i am looking at. And the Hydroknight losses their edge over time as the cost difference gets to the point where any other Kknight can buy up to the +5 limit on their defenses and get the other items they need plus still have relevant elemental defensive talents as well while the Hydroknight only ever gets value out of saving some money on lower enchantment armor, which to me comes across as a minor boon at lower levels. Basically due to Kknights not needing to keep up on magic weapon costs they all save enough WBL to keep their other items above their level average, a Hydroknight gets a small boost to this...

I think our numbers are different on this one. Although I do recognize a Geokineticist's and Aetherkineticist's Defense Talent (which have always been good), what I'm saying is that the Geokineticist can purchase a +3 or +4 armor (or equivalent), the Hydrokineticist can purchase the same +3 or +4 armor (or equivalent) and add +3 more enhancement on top of that (a 27,000-40,000 gold value). I cannot scoff at that and say that it's a "weak" option.

You think I'm looking at saving money on armor, when I am not. I'm talking about buying the same crap and getting more bang for the buck. That Geokineticist is likely buying a +4 Armor and +4 Shield to get the bonus to AC, where the Hydrokineticist is buying a +1 Deathless Light Foritification Mirrored Armor and still has a +4 Enhancement bonus to AC from the armor as well as a +2 Arrow Deflecting (which will become a +4 Arrow Deflecting for a round if burn from a water talent is applied).

Anyways, that's all I have on that matter.

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