Terrakineticist is really great!!


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

Silver Crusade

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I didn't get the ultimate wilderness, because I found bad stuff on the shifter. But...

Now I found the terrakineticist! What an awesome archetype!!!

I have a (soon to be) level 10 gnome telekineticist (with aero second) and he's definitely going to be retrained to terrakineticist as soon as the current adventure ends.

He's also going to let grow his blue hair, smoke the blossoms of five fingered plants and say stuff like:

"I used to enforce my positivity and will upon my surroundings. It made me such an awfully controlling person! Now I've learned to accept what is around me, and welcome those naturally appearing elements into my body and mind. I'm so much more at peace, now. It's like I'm truly in the here and now for the first time!"

I can't wait to play his new him!

But, now that this archetype has come out... Would anyone ever seriously play another sort of kineticist?
A kinetic knight, maybe. But if you're not a minion of RAW, those archetypes are even compatible!


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I feel like there are more awesome archetypes in Ultimate Wilderness than there were in Ultimate Intrigue (which had one new class, that was great) or Horror Adventures (which had no new classes.) But people seem to be more down on UW than they are those books because of the Shifter; so I guess the lesson is - be like horror adventures, and don't add classes. If you're picking up UW for the first time, maybe skip to chapter 2- you'll probably have like nine new characters you want to play by the end.

As for "would anybody ever play another sort of kineticist", I absolutely would. The terrakineticist does give up ever being able to have multiple elements at once, which is big. If you're say, building a kineticist as a tank (very doable) you want something like "two defensive talents at the same time".

TBH, the Kineticist I want to play most from Ultimate Wilderness is the Leshykineticist, but I have no idea how to make mono-wood good.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Terrakineticist is awesome.

People might want a specific elemental theme, of course. My character has air for a focus on silence and suffocation, branching into earth for resilience. Water's trickster characteristics aren't a good fit for her, even in her sea-based campaign.

But if you like variety, or want a flexible character, it really is hard to pass up this archetype.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I got UW for Christmas, and still reading through it. There's some fun material in there, for sure! (Not all of it, but no book ever does!)


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Viondar wrote:
Would anyone ever seriously play another sort of kineticist?

Consistent control over what their character can do and the ability to mix elements.

Although I do think this archetype is a rare example of modern pathfinder archetype that is actually really interesting. The best thing about it is can give you access to highly situational powers that you normally would never pick for fear of being stuck with powers that are useless 90% of the time.


this is an interesting archetype, but it's not one I'm likely to take. I like kineticists because they have a suite of powers that they can reliably use all day long. Not a lot of tricks, but they are good tricks.

Shadow Lodge

I am also excited by the Terrakineticist because my group tends to play longer-duration games, which means I play a relatively small number of characters over time. This archetype would give me a chance to try out a bunch of different kineticist abilities, when otherwise I am highly unlikely to make my way through six different elements.

Combining elements is a missed opportunity, though. I've got a storm-themed water/air kineticist I'd also like to play - was going to eventually get both thunderstorm and blizzard composites.

And as you mentioned the Kinetic Knight is also an excellent archetype that can't be combined with Terrakineticist unless your GM is permissive. I wouldn't even say that refusing to combine them means you are a "minion of RAW" since getting the free melee infusions means you have more room to get flexible substance infusions - possibly a greater benefit to the Terrakineticist than was intended. Of course, without combining elements you also get a smaller pool of substance infusions to pick from, and the lack of ranged blasts might be a bigger liability for a Terrakineticist since odds are good that at least one of your elemental "modes" has a really nice AOE you'd be giving up. I'd have to look at some builds to see how it pans out.


Viondar wrote:
But, now that this archetype has come out... Would anyone ever seriously play another sort of kineticist?

Me. I find that tying my abilities to something I have limited control over [the terrain I'm in] to be unexciting. Seriously, your powers can flip in an instant at the whim of the DM.

I'm in a basement [Aether/urban] and move 5' into a tunnel [earth/underground] that leads into a sewer in 15' [Water]. Switching 3 times in a single round and you've done nothing special. Moving 5' might mean you're AC drops and you lose your fire resist vs some fire elementals because you moved too far from some water and instead have some protection from missiles.

If I played this archetype, I'd have to have the DM mark each square of the map to let me know what element/terrain it was.

Shadow Lodge

As a GM, I don't think I'd design situations where the element changes that quickly. Either the basement should also be considered "underground," or the tunnel shouldn't be underground because at 5 feet it's not really differentiated from the basement. Honestly I'd probably just call the whole thing "urban" unless it's a heck of a sewer.

But yes, having the GM indicate borders between elements does seem reasonable if the element will change during a single encounter. Which introduces interesting tactical potential if used judiciously...


Weirdo wrote:
As a GM, I don't think I'd design situations where the element changes that quickly.

LOL I wasn't thinking of a 'made by design' map but an actual AP/module I was on not long ago that had that exact setup. I recall because the ranger that was tracking ended up with 3 different bonuses in a round and we debated on how to rule it [we went with the lowest bonus].

Weirdo wrote:
But yes, having the GM indicate borders between elements does seem reasonable if the element will change during a single encounter.

Agreed but i wouldn't expect the 'average' Dm to map it out and that's the rub: For me to enjoy it, I'd want to find and exploit those various elements to customize my strategy, but doing that over 'everything on this map is underground' is asking for a LOT of extra work just for that character concept. Being a single element for large swathes of the game wouldn't make for a fun terrakineticist IMO.


For a "terrain-dependent archetype" from Ultimate Wilderness that might be easier to work with, the Geomancer Occultist is worth considering. Instead of all of your powers depending on the terrain, you just have one implement (taking the place of one of your normal implements at 1st level) that is "the land around you." Since you're a spontaneous caster, with very limited spell choices going underground and suddenly having Darkvision on your list or going to the ocean and suddenly having Water Breathing on your list is pretty handy (since you almost certainly wouldn't choose those spells normally.)

Plus, it stacks with the Panoply Savant if you want to build a "full BAB Warrior of Nature" that has absolutely nothing to do with shapesifting.


I'm REALLY interested by the strength kineticist(can't remember the name, life stealer?) this means kineticists can now be made with ANY stat.

The drawing from nature bit seems interesting, and strength opens up some extra options.


MageHunter wrote:

I'm REALLY interested by the strength kineticist(can't remember the name, life stealer?) this means kineticists can now be made with ANY stat.

The drawing from nature bit seems interesting, and strength opens up some extra options.

Blighted Defiler. And it's an absolutely wonderful villain archtype (I already have a bad guy slotted for it). The biggest problem with it is that it really requires you have a roving lifestyle on the simple merit you blight 250m x level per iteration of steal life meaning you're going to murder a lot of plants and little bunnies to hit you secondary Overflow caps.


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Any idea about how does it interact with Greater elemental whispers (Horror Adventures pg. 57)?

"You gain your choice of a wysp or Small elemental of your primary element as an improved familiar, without needing to meet any of the usual prerequisites for gaining such a familiar."

Does the familiar chance subtype along with its master's element?

Is the familiar fixed to the element of the day it was summoned for the first time?

Scarab Sages

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The reason people don't get excited about Terrakineticist is because, in a fair number of situations, it actively nerfs you.

Odds are, if you're attuned to an environment, the beings of that environment are specifically adapated to resist it. Out in the tundra? Your cold blasts will likely be meeting a lot of cold resistance. Volcano or Plane of Fire? Fire resist and immunity for days.

It's a really cool archetype, but requires careful playing around to be effective in any situation.


Davor wrote:

The reason people don't get excited about Terrakineticist is because, in a fair number of situations, it actively nerfs you.

Odds are, if you're attuned to an environment, the beings of that environment are specifically adapated to resist it. Out in the tundra? Your cold blasts will likely be meeting a lot of cold resistance. Volcano or Plane of Fire? Fire resist and immunity for days.

It's a really cool archetype, but requires careful playing around to be effective in any situation.

That's surely true for energy blasts, but not for physical ones. The only element to draw the short stick in this situation is fire, but it is the only one that can work around resistances. With careful planning, it can only suffer against non fire-subtype enemies with a natural immunity to fire.


Yeah, at level 7 and beyond you have a physical blast for every environment except fire, so as long as you stay out of the elemental plane of fire (deserts shouldn't be full of fire immunes) you should be okay.


It's a very different concept to the un-archetyped kineticist though isn't it? More of a chameleon-type, or a Shadowrun shaman (1st-3rd ed.) than the embodiment of an element that is the base kineticist. It suits a different character concept.

I like the idea, with the possibility of ducking into a park, or into a clearing in a forest to change elements, but from what I remember of SR, GMs could be very conservative/reluctant about allowing you to change domains that way.


I mean, the Terrakineticist isn't any more work for the GM than "managing favored terrain if there's a ranger in the party" since they use the same categories.

Plus it's "whatever terrain you're in currently" not "whatever terrain you do your morning ritual in" so "ducking into the park" isn't really that abusable, since you'll stop being wood-aligned when you leave the park. You could try to bait someone into attacking you in whatever terrain is favorable, but rangers have been doing this sort of thing since the CRB.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, the Terrakineticist isn't any more work for the GM than "managing favored terrain if there's a ranger in the party" since they use the same categories.

There are 2 BIG differences between the ranger and the Terrakineticist. For rangers, they can explicitly have their terrains fall into multiple categories. This makes saying 'it's all underground' more feasible.

Secondly, terrain doesn't switch the majority of abilities just mostly the amount of bonuses. You pick popular ones and you might never find yourself in a place that doesn't match one of your terrains.

So I'll stick with me thinking that it's be a LOT more work for the DM.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Yeah, at level 7 and beyond you have a physical blast for every environment except fire, so as long as you stay out of the elemental plane of fire (deserts shouldn't be full of fire immunes) you should be okay.

I find that my games tend to end in the low double digits, so spending the majority of my time with only a single simple blast is an issue.

Shadow Lodge

As a GM I don't think it would be that much more work to keep track of. I make on the fly changes to the map all the time, so it's not difficult to draw out a border between two terrain types if it's relevant to the encounter.

But I can see the concern that it's a huge chunk of your character's mechanics to leave up to how the GM feels like handling terrain.

Note: "In areas that might count as multiple types of terrain, the GM decides which element predominates." This is nice for me as a home GM making off the cuff rulings with players I have a good gaming relationship with. I could see it causing some issues with consistency in PFS.

graystone wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
As a GM, I don't think I'd design situations where the element changes that quickly.
LOL I wasn't thinking of a 'made by design' map but an actual AP/module I was on not long ago that had that exact setup. I recall because the ranger that was tracking ended up with 3 different bonuses in a round and we debated on how to rule it [we went with the lowest bonus].

I'm not saying I wouldn't have a 5 foot tunnel connecting a basement to a sewer. I'm saying that I wouldn't make the basement and the tunnel different types of terrain, any more than having a few trees in my backyard turns it into a forest. If the basement is considered urban terrain despite being below ground level, then the tunnel can also be urban terrain. If we want slightly more changes in terrain type then you're in underground terrain as soon as you hit basement.

graystone wrote:
Agreed but i wouldn't expect the 'average' Dm to map it out and that's the rub: For me to enjoy it, I'd want to find and exploit those various elements to customize my strategy, but doing that over 'everything on this map is underground' is asking for a LOT of extra work just for that character concept. Being a single element for large swathes of the game wouldn't make for a fun terrakineticist IMO.

For me, being able to change terrain types during an encounter would be a bonus and not the main draw of the class. I'd be content with switching terrain types at least every few sessions, and since I play with a consistent group it's not hard to talk to the GM about whether that will be the case. My first Pathfinder campaign would have been great for a Terrakineticist - a very exploration based campaign with a good mix of plains or mountains (air), forest or jungle (wood), and arctic or water, some desert (fire) and underground (earth), and a light sprinkling of urban (aether). Contrast a current campaign which so far has been about 75% urban, 15% water, 10% other; but we knew that up front.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
For a "terrain-dependent archetype" from Ultimate Wilderness that might be easier to work with, the Geomancer Occultist is worth considering. Instead of all of your powers depending on the terrain, you just have one implement (taking the place of one of your normal implements at 1st level) that is "the land around you." Since you're a spontaneous caster, with very limited spell choices going underground and suddenly having Darkvision on your list or going to the ocean and suddenly having Water Breathing on your list is pretty handy (since you almost certainly wouldn't choose those spells normally.)

I do also like the Geomancer, but it doesn't have that sense of exploring a good chunk of the class options that Terrakineticist does. (Fortunately, the Siksworn Occultist does make it easier for me to explore a big chunk of the Occultist's options in the form of implement schools, albeit only for a "caster occultist" general build.)

Silver Crusade

Wow! Really love the discussion going on!

Cool to see how more people are excited about the archetype.

You're right, of course, there are various reasons not to want this archetype. But if, like me, you're in a level 1-20 campaign with various terrains, it's really a breeze to be able to use everything the kineticist has to offer (barring element mixture), instead of having to choose one to three elements. I'd love to be able to suddenly earthglide or have greensight, instead of always going for my invisibility at will and lugging 900(0) pound things around the world. That's fun, don't get me wrong, but it's infinitely more fun being a telekineticist in an urban setting, than anywhere else! :D

I do lament the inclusion of the void element. The negative energy plane, outer space, and perhaps the shadow plane, or affiliated locations should have their own element. But such an addition is easily houseruled.

Anyway. Congrats Paizo on making an archetype that's cool enough to want to retrain a 2 years old character into!! It's really great!


Weirdo wrote:
I'm not saying I wouldn't have a 5 foot tunnel connecting a basement to a sewer. I'm saying that I wouldn't make the basement and the tunnel different types of terrain, any more than having a few trees in my backyard turns it into a forest. If the basement is considered urban terrain despite being below ground level, then the tunnel can also be urban terrain.

We ruled that urban was intentionally created 'man made' structures, so that included the basement. The 5' tunnel was dug out by a creature and we put natural/animal/monster made as underground. Water was simply any space that has 50% or more water on it. The ranger only had urban and water, so even if we'd made everything underground in addition to its other terrain it still would have ended up with different bonuses.

Weirdo wrote:
For me, being able to change terrain types during an encounter would be a bonus and not the main draw of the class. I'd be content with switching terrain types at least every few sessions, and since I play with a consistent group it's not hard to talk to the GM about whether that will be the case.

I'd be less content with a single element over multiple sessions. I'd want to pick more niche abilities as I'm not stuck with them long term so in fact being stuck with an individual set for an extended period of time would be unfun IMO.

consistent group: Something I don't have. For something like a home game, terrain can be ironed out easily. It's less easy with an online game with a new DM using premade maps... Which is while I prefer terrain rules like the first part of my post, I understand when the DM prefers making whole maps same terrain.


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graystone wrote:

There are 2 BIG differences between the ranger and the Terrakineticist. For rangers, they can explicitly have their terrains fall into multiple categories. This makes saying 'it's all underground' more feasible.

Secondly, terrain doesn't switch the majority of abilities just mostly the amount of bonuses. You pick popular ones and you might never find yourself in a place that doesn't match one of your terrains.

Well, "the player changes all of her abilities" isn't work for the GM, it's work for the player. It's basically "make seven character sheets, and ask the GM which one you should be using right now" every time you go to a new place. Telling the player which one to use is exactly as much work as managing a Ranger since you just say "oh, it's Urban" and the player puts that sheet on top.

graystone wrote:
I find that my games tend to end in the low double digits, so spending the majority of my time with only a single simple blast is an issue.

But every kineticist has just one blast for their first six levels. If you're really worried about cold immune creatures showing up at level 4, just pick the water blast instead of the cold one.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Viondar wrote:

Wow! Really love the discussion going on!

Cool to see how more people are excited about the archetype.

You're right, of course, there are various reasons not to want this archetype. But if, like me, you're in a level 1-20 campaign with various terrains, it's really a breeze to be able to use everything the kineticist has to offer (barring element mixture), instead of having to choose one to three elements. I'd love to be able to suddenly earthglide or have greensight, instead of always going for my invisibility at will and lugging 900(0) pound things around the world. That's fun, don't get me wrong, but it's infinitely more fun being a telekineticist in an urban setting, than anywhere else! :D

I do lament the inclusion of the void element. The negative energy plane, outer space, and perhaps the shadow plane, or affiliated locations should have their own element. But such an addition is easily houseruled.

Anyway. Congrats Paizo on making an archetype that's cool enough to want to retrain a 2 years old character into!! It's really great!

The archetype is set up to use the void element. They couldn’t list it directly because it’s not in a hardcover book, but they said that games using additional elements can include them in the terrain lists.

Silver Crusade

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I can imagine how it might be too much to provide full support for all the soft cover booklets. But to ignore the rules in it even when they contain the last puzzle piece to what you're writing is kind of a weird policy.

But, weird or not, if that's their policy, I'll guess we'll have to houserule it :D

I do wonder about the greater elemental whispers wild talent. Although it's easy to think of just having 6 different familiars... I guess that's the answer. Unless it's supposed to be a single familiar with 6 forms...?


It's just a rule they have for hardcover books that they don't reference things in softcovers. They have to provide little superscripts to indicate that what they're referring to is in the Advanced Players Guide, or Bestiary 6, or whatever. So this would get silly if you had to do this for all 112 or so player companions.

Plus, the people who write the RPG line books aren't generally the people who write the player companions, and stuff from player companions generally gets an additional editorial pass when it gets reprinted in a hardcover, leading to many perceived "nerfs."

The plus side is though, that since the Terrakineticist explicitly allows for "any new elements" if you're using any of the third party kineticist elements, it's easy to add those too. For GMs I would just recommend following the player's advice as to "which element should apply in this situation" assuming they can come up with a reasonable justification.

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