The kineticist is the odd girl out in Occult Adventures. All the other occult classes are spontaneous spellcasters, but the kineticist isn't a spellcaster. Instead the power of the elements surges through her, and she controls the fundamental building blocks of reality in her own way, using her own body as a conduit to unleash and shape raw bursts of power and to assist her in every aspect of her adventuring career. The kineticist class lets you play characters with strong elemental themes, just like those from all sorts of books, TV shows, movies, and other popular media. She can infuse both form (to change the shape and the delivery mechanism for her blasts) and substance (to add extra effects to her blast), making her blasts an extremely versatile weapon indeed in the hands of an experienced kineticist. The kineticist needs the Constitution to withstand those energies and the Dexterity to shape them, which also makes her an oddity among all the classes in the way she operates. She can use her powers at a baseline all day long, but she can also overclock them, pulling in more energy than her body can normally withstand to gain impressive short-term benefits and the lasting advantages of extra elemental energy coursing through her, but at a great cost to her durability.
In the playtest, I was lucky enough to have the most active playtesters for the kineticist, nearly more feedback than all five of the other classes combined, and I was able to work with those playtesters to refine the kineticist and add more options to open up more possibilities for each element. The final version not only has many more wild talent choices in her pages, she also gains about twice as many wild talents over the course of her career (split out between infusions and utility talents), as well as twice as many base skill points each level (4 instead of 2). This allows the kineticist to branch out and cover more areas instead of being super-specialized like in the playtest. In terms of what else is new, internal buffer grants her an ability to store a very small pool of extra energy to use instead of burning herself, and elemental overflow now provides more benefits than ever before, especially if you wind up taking large amounts of burn and begin taking on more and more elemental aspects within your own body. Infusion specialization now works on both types of infusion, so you don't have to pick between form and substance; whichever kind you use, it's reduced automatically. While the kineticist was always able to gather power in order to reduce the burn cost of her next blast, now she gains improvements at higher levels; a kineticist with the supercharge ability and a round to prepare can reduce the burn cost of her blast by a whopping 5! For reference, especially for those not involved in the playtest, that's enough to both empower the blast and double it, essentially shooting out two blasts for 1.5x damage!
Every single element has gotten something new and cool (and since there are new and cool universal talents that anyone can take, that adds even more options). Here's s little bit for each element (there are more for you to discover on your own!): Aether gains telekinetic invisibility, which lets you use strands of aether to dampen sound and refract light around yourself, potentially fooling sound-based blindsense like the echolocation spell. Air can gain evasion and can even haste the whole party by either spending your turn or taking burn to keep it active. Earth can create deadly areas of difficult terrain that cause reduced blast damage—and special substance effects of course!—to everyone inside everyone (pair with grappling infusion substance to make grasping hands of earth that hold them in place to take damage again and again). Fire can burn away an enemies buffs and has fan of flames, a cone-shaped blast available at 1st-level. Water can summon a tsunami to annihilate entire settlements.
Alright, whew! Too many goodies to describe them all, but let's move on to the archetypes. The kineticist archetypes are pretty high-impact, in that they can strongly alter the kineticist in a way that opens up whole new avenues of play. Much of that is thanks to the playtesters who desired alternate styles of play, allowing me to see what we needed most. In the end, I managed to fit five archetypes in there somehow, enough to cover many of the archetypes that playtesters wanted most of all. The blood kineticist gains mastery of blood and can injure a foe without an attack roll by twisting the blood within their body. Sounds good for a vampire, right? So I'll skip alphabetically to the overwhelming soul, which uses Charisma instead of Constitution and doesn't conflict with the blood kineticist; the overwhelming soul uses mind over matter to avoid burn, gaining some of the benefits of a kineticist who took a lot of burn through sheer focus. Overwhelming soul is perfect for a kineticist face character, or for players who don't want to handle the tactics and economy of burn, like a small group of the playtesters. Next up is elemental annihilator. This archetype is all about killing things with blasts, and she trades out all utility talents for increased combat boosts, free combat feats that ignore prerequisites, and a special form infusion that grants her a versatile stream of mixed melee and ranged attacks. The elemental ascetic combines monastic wisdom with elemental powers, adding elemental damage (and of course, the true power of the archetype: delicious extra substance effects like trip, entangle, stagger, and more) to every punch in his flurry of blows. Finally, the peaceful kinetic chirurgeon is the polar opposite of the elemental annihilator and the perfect archetype for a support healer kineticist, giving up infusions and blast-based metakinesis abilities to gain a large number of paladin mercies (1.5x as many as a paladin gets), metakinesis that affects her kinetic healer (like extra healing, healing that brings back a recently-dead target, and quickened healing), and a double size internal buffer that only works for healing. And remember, this healer heals a lot of hit points each time to a single target. Way more than a cure spell.
I hope you enjoy the kineticist and use her to make all the elemental-focused character builds you've only dreamed about playing until now, based on all sorts of books, TV shows, and movies. It's going to be a (kinetic) blast!