Erik Mona wrote:
It's not just planar politics but also the concepts of philosophy, morality, ethics, and virtue as tangible forces that drive the multiverse and form the quintessence of the planes and the extraplanar creatures that reside there. Plus, it's super cool to say you're channeling "good" through your sword or getting hit with "chaos energy." It also removes hooks for gameplay and takes away something from the game.
However, I'd be totally OK if alignment was replaced with an analogous system that uses an expansive selection of specific aspects/ideals instead of a restrictive, finite list of dispositions. Maybe even use domains or something of the likes of Stormlight Archive? It would be really cool, open a huge range of options and concepts, and would work well with the trait system.
I just don't want a mechanic that's adding value to the game/lore taken away and replaced with nothing.
It's great if your character needs three good ability scores and your ancestry only gets two boosts.
I'm extremely unhappy with the changes to Optional Flaws.
The two-boosts rule is great, but the change to Optional Flaws is a huge, unnecessary nerf to MAD characters, especially ancestries that only have two boosts. It also hurts build expression and is generally less fun. Much more fun to get that extra boost to my kitsune at the cost of making her less strong and more derpy.
There's a nasty trend where a class or ancestry releases with few options and feats and then rarely gets any support afterward.
On top of it, I'm not a fan of the mini adventures that appear in Book of the Dead and Dark Archive. They don't even use the books' content and game mechanics. Book of the Dead had tons of neat new undead monsters, and the adventure is mostly just run-of-the-mill zombies and skeletons.
The core of fighting as a martial spellcaster is Striking and using a non-attack spell.
The kineticist feels like it wants to be a martial spellcaster with impulse feats instead of spells. However, it doesn't have the options and numbers to make this work. I feel so much could be fixed if the kineticist got offensive impulses with a similar power/effect as an offensive cantrip and have overflow be an optional buff.
When playing the kineticist, I kept wishing I had scattered scree or electric arc that did fire damage, instead of Flame Eruption.
Overall, I did not enjoy playing this class, despite liking its general direction and structure.
The kineticist feels like it wants to be akin to a non-spell martial caster, but lacks the numbers, options, and action economy to pull this off. I felt mediocre at Striking because of the slower attack proficiency, key ability score, inability to two-hand or dual-wield Elemental Blasts. I felt bad at blasting because I don't have offensive cantrips and the blast impulses deal weak damage. And I felt bad at combining Strikes with blasts because offensive impulses essentially cost 3 actions due to Overflow. Contrast with other martial spellcasters, who typically Strike and then cast a non-attack cantrip.
1. I played an 11th level Strength-based melee kineticist with the fire dedicated gate. I played through the monk monastery dungeon in the first Ruby Phoenix AP volume alongside martial spellcasters.
2. Combat felt surprisingly dull. I spent all my feats on offense, and I still felt like I had few tactical options. Every fight just boiled down to spamming Elemental Blast.
3. The overflow offensive impulses never felt worthwhile. I would rather have electric arc or scatter scree than any of these impulses, and their secondary effects either felt too niche or too ineffective for the action economy cost. I wish there were tactical options with overflow, like an innate ability to boost an Elemental Blast. Or perhaps that offensive impulses have the overflow trait as an option, like how the inventor has the option to add unstable to Megavolt.
4. Impulse rules are annoying and cripple melee builds because all impulses have the manipulate trait and provoke reactions. Lack of medium armor proficiency also hurts melee builds as well.
5. Gather Element is really cool, but the class doesn't really use this ability other than as a punishment for overflow impulses, dropping the element, or using different elements.
6. Build versatility feels a little lacking for what I expected out of the class, but I think some quality of life changes for melee builds and maybe more Elemental Blast options would fix this.
7. I'm happy the CON is still the class's key score, but the "straining yourself to channel the elements" aspect of the class is completely missing. There's also a weird issue where the class punishes melee builds and encourages you to fight from afar while you have an absurd amount of Hit Points. It ends up making ranged builds feel way too safe, and you don't have the option of reducing your Hit Points with lower CON because you need it for your DCs.
ABOUT THE PLAYTESTER:
I've been playing Pathfinder since 2012, and I'm a Pathfinder Infinite author.
The kineticist was my favorite class in PF1E, second only to the magus. I absolutely loved the flavor and versatility of the 1st Edition incarnation as all four of my kineticists in PFS had completely different play styles. My kineticists in 1st Edition included:
1. A kitsune telekineticist who pilfered things with her mind and telekinetic blasted people with clusters of cards and dice
Thus, I must concede that my expectations have been colored by my experiences playing a 1E kineticist as well as my experience playing many martial casters (magi and summoners) in 2E.
I tried several combinations of character concepts, but ultimately decided to use Elemental Weapon to recreate my kinetic knight from 1st Edition. The following are notes I wrote as I tried to create my character.
- Elemental Weapon feels mandatory to play a melee kineticist. All impulses have the manipulate trait, which means melee Elemental Blasts provoke Attacks of Opportunity.
- In my initial impressions, the greatest perk of Elemental Blast is that it can be used as both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon. However, the issue with the manipulate trait in impulses severely undermines this perk. While Elemental Weapon avoids this, it also takes away the ability to switch-hit.
- Can't use Elemental Blasts with Striking feats, but generally feels like a fair trade.
- Wanted to use Elemental Weapon to create a katana. Got worried as this class can't use martial weapons, but thankfully it's simple weapon proficiency.
- Why doesnt' the class have proficiency in medium armor? This is supposed to be a martial class, and it doesn't have Dex as its key ability score. Yet another punch in the face for melee kineticists.
- I had to spend a general feat on medium armor. Every melee kineticist would probably be forced to take Sentinel.
- What do you use your off-hand for? A shield?
- I'm struggling to find any blast impulses I like. Flame Eruption is the basic one, but it only deals 4d6 at 11th level. Even for an AoE cantrip, that's low. Its secondary effects feel mostly useless as it only affects a single square and most enemies won't care about the weak damage. It seems only useful for blocking a door, but this niche usefulness is not worth the loss in damage and losing your element.
- The other blasts I'm having similar feelings. At this point, I'd rather have a cantrip like scatter scree or electric arc. Sure, they don't affect as many enemies as Blazing Wave, but the damage is higher, more reliable, and they don't cost me an extra action.
- Really like the utility impulses.
- There's an Elemental Weapon feat. Would have been cool if we could get an Elemental Armor feat, too. Would suit earth element very well.
- Why are there so few feats that use Elemental Blast? It's a core feature of the class.
- Don't really need much equipment other than armor and handwraps
- None of the feats for Dedicated Gate seem attractive, which is annoying as Dedicated Gate has the least versatility out of the three options.
- Considered Stoke Element but the bonus doesn't feel worth the action cost. One action is not worth a +3 damage on my next Elemental Blast. If it dealt +2 per weapon die, then it would be useful and reasonable given that this is a 6th level feat and Elemental Blasts deal as much damage as a one-handed weapon. It might be useful for AoE impulses, but those already have a crippling action cost.
- I'm glad Con is a key score, but it seems to run counter to the entire playstyle of the class. The class encourages you to fight from afar and punishes you for being in close range due to impulses having the manipulate trait. There's no class features that necessitate Con other than just class DCs. So the extra HP feels pointless at best and makes the class feel too "safe" at worst.
- Very few skills. This class doesn't get as many trained skills as most other classes.
- I really, really wish each element got more than one option for Elemental Blast.
- I miss Interweave Composite Blast from 1st Edition. It was a niche feat, but I had a ton of fun with it when a friend and I played twins that combined their blasts. I'm not sure how it would be implemented in this class. Maybe sacrifice a Gathered Element as a reaction to buff an ally's spell/impulse?
Lv 01: Str 16; Dex 14; Con 16; Wis 12; Cha 10
140 HP; AC 29
Perception +18 (T)
Acrobatics +19 (E)
01 Elemental Weapon, Burning Jet, Flame Eruption, Eternal Torch
I played through the monk monestary dungeon in the first volume of the Ruby Phoenix AP. I played along side a magus with similar statistics. The following are notes I wrote about the experience.
- Off to a bad start. Struggling to deal any damage to the spiders in A1, but I did have some pretty bad luck.
- Switch-hitting the spiders useful when they kept climbing up and down their webs
- AoEs not useful except for clearing webs
- Got restrained but thankfully escaped. Made me realize that getting grabbed is really *really* bad for this class as almost everything they do has the manipulate trait.
- Tried different combinations of actions, but the best seemed to just spam Elemental Blast.
- Tried the combination of Striking and then using Blazing Wave. The cost of having to Gather my Element on the following turn just didn't seem worth it. The damage is ineffectual. The magus is doing a lot more damage even though they're just Spellstriking with cantrips and recharging.
- Had nothing to deal with the ghosts in A3. Not enough burst to punch through their resistances. Ineffectual the whole fight.
- We had to flee from the haunts. None of us had the right skills to deal with them.
- Halfway through the dungeon, this class just feels really, really dull in combat. I took all combat feats, but every time it's my turn, none of my options feel viable. I took Bon Mot for flavor, but even that wasn't an option for most enemies. So I just ended up Elemental Blasting every turn. Maneuvering around with Flame Jet was probably the most interesting part of fighting. This is a huge contrast with the 1st Edition kineticist where you usually had multiple infusions that either pushed enemies or knocked them prone.
- Chain Blast was nice against multiple enemies. Elemental Barrage is not bad either, but I'm definitely feeling the sting at having a weaker attack roll than the magus.
- I'm super happy Water Dance is a feat. The action economy is awkward, but this impulse means I can recreate my merfolk hydrokineticist, which was one of my favorite characters to play in 1st Edition. It would be cool if there was a feat that lets you use a Swim speed as a land speed.
- Where's kinetic healer? That was such an iconic ability in 1st Edition. Some of the elements have healing abilities, but water is surprisingly one of the worst at them. Why is air the best at healing?
- One thing I liked about the elements in 1st Edition was that they each had their own niches and play styles. While it's cool that each element has its own Elemental Blast statistics, I'm not needing a coherent theme with any of the elements.
- I miss the straining aspect of the original kineticist; the flavor of straining one's body to channel the raw power of the elements. Odd that it's missing given that this is a Con-based class.
- I love Adapt Element and the utility abilities that kineticists get as they level up. Not only does it fill the same role as utility cantrips, but also it's a major flavor enabler. Avoids the trap of the Evolutionist playtest class in Starfinder, which was a shapeshifting class that had no innate way to alter their appearance.
- Fire is the only energy Elemental Blast? No electricity or cold damage? Not even an ice blast with the water element?
It's great you're promoting products for this program! Lots of great stuff on it.
However, I must admit I'm hesitating to publish under Pathfinder Infinite due to the exclusivity agreement. The agreement mostly makes sense and is a fair trade-off for the ability to utilize Paizo IP. However the fact that it also applies to setting neutral content gives me pause and raises a lot of questions about whether or not I would be able to re-publish portions of non-IP OGL rules content. For example, if I published a feat in a product under Pathfinder Infinite, would I be barred from publishing the same feat in a non-Infinite OGL product?
It also doesn't help that the Pathfinder Infinite site does not actually show the policy agreement. I spent over an hour trying to find it on the site. It only shows a small FAQ that interprets the agreement, but doesn't let me read the agreement for myself.
You are responsible for my favorite Pathfinder classes and content of both editions. I have a close friend who feels the same way as we frequently nerd out about the many cool concepts your work has enabled.
I still have a fond memory of Pathfinder 2E's Gen Con launch. When my dimwitted barbarian dwarf "punched the universe back together" and caused such an uproar of laughter at the table that you strode over and said "I was about to ask if you guys were having fun, but..."
I'm excited for the awesome stuff you're working on for Battlezoo, and I can't wait to see what you will surprise us with next!
The most painful thing about the delay in sanctioning Guns & Gear and Grand Bazaar is NOT the wait to use the content in PFS.
It's the uncertainty.
There's so much awesome stuff in these books that it hurts to temper my excitement lest I grow attached to particular options and face a crushing disappointment if it gets banned or locked behind a boon.
I've run into an issue with the wand implement, aside from it feeling a little underwhelming as it provides little more benefit than a cantrip.
It doesn't mesh with the rest of the class's class features at all.
1. Requiring two-actions is understandable, but it exacerbates the class's action economy issues. Much of your action economy is already spent on Find Flaws and Esoteric Antithesis. Your implement's main ability clutters your action economy even further.
2. It doesn't synergize very well with Find Flaws because you cannot change its energy type until later levels.
3. It doesn't synergize with any of your other class features because they all rely on Strikes. The playstyle of the character revolves around Strikes. Esoteric Antithesis only works with Strikes. Relying on a saving throw is helpful to avoid MAP, but the implement doesn't work well with fighting with both the weapon and wand due to the above action economy issues.
It would have been cool if the wand implement allowed you to wield a wand as a special weapon that you can Strike with. Maybe it could allow you to shoot bolts of energy based on the traits of the wand? Or maybe you could conjure an energy blade out of the wand and wield it like a
Basically, "slotted caster" doesn't get to count as "interesting" anymore, any more than a martial-standard set of proficiencies does. If anything, going from 2 slots to 3 or 4 makes them less interesting, not more. At least "you have the same levels of spell slots, but fewer" is something a bit different. Trying to figure out how to leverage this more limited resource pool is a somewhat different and therefore interesting challenge. The only real issue is that they need to give it more beef on the other side to balance things out and make the tradeoff worth it.
I've had this issue with almost all spellcasters in 2E and in Starfinder as well. Most of them don't have any interesting or unique class features beyond just casting spells. Most of them are just a focus spell, one circumstantial ability, and spellcasting. There are exceptions, of course.
I'm not opposed to the notion of it being a Charisma-based class, but as is, Charisma as a key ability score actively works against the class from a mechanical, practical, and conceptional standpoint. The entire class focuses on using magical skills, which are all Intelligence- or Wisdom-based, and you will be bad at them because you're spread too thin among ability scores. The class's themes don't really fit with Charisma-based skills unless you make a character that poses as a fraudulent spellcaster. And even if you do utilize Charisma-based skills, they will eat up your trained skill budget because your Intelligence is low and you only get two free trained skills from your class.
I keep running into the same issue when I build and play a character with this class.
I need a high Charisma because it's my key ability score and my main class feature uses it.
I need a high Strength and/or high Dexterity because I am a combat class with class features revolving around Striking enemies.
I need a good Constitution because I'm a combat class that only gets 8 hit points per level.
Because I need these three or four ability scores, it means my Wisdom and Intelligence will be low. However, most of what my class does revolves around using Wisdom-based and Intelligence-based skills. I can only use Charisma on these skills when I Find Flaws. Outside of magic skills (all Intelligence- and Wisdom-based skills), I won't have many skills because my Intelligence will be low.
As a consequence of all this, the class forces me to invest in skills I'm not good at while also hindering me from using skills I would be good at. I feel it when I play, too. Outside of combat, I feel useless because I'm bad or mediocre at almost all my skills. And I'm bad or mediocre at these skills because I'm a Charisma-based martial class with a role revolving around Wisdom-based and Intelligence-based skills.
Yes, I understand they cannot discuss details. And I don't think they should. But it is frustrating nonetheless.
Addresses two of three of my main concerns to some degree, concerning harassment and cleanliness. However the wages vs cost of living is yet to be addressed. And of course for the moment these are just words. We will be watching to see that actions follow.
I believe Mark explained this on his twitter that even those high on the totem pole are underpaid. Oregan also has a high cost of living.