Just finished my second Spiritualist playtest. 3rd level. Thoughts:
1) We were in a dungeon with no slashing damage. At low levels, this meant my phantom was basically immune to everything the dungeon could throw at it. DR 5/slashing is really too good for 1st level, but pointless at 20th level.
Suggestion: The DR should be set to half the phantom's HD.
2) I did no "Spiritualizing". In other words, the class didn't play like an "occult" class should play. I just swung my polearm, and had my phantom pip down enemies a little bit at a time while tanking through their 1d6 piercing damage attacks. Spells cast: CLW x2, Shield x2. This play experience was no different from that of a hunter or druid. The only special class ability I used was an edge case both where my phantom was not out on the battlefield *and* I failed a will save. So I used my daily ability to avoid being confused for one round. /shrug.
Suggestion: More flavorful abilities! I think it would be pretty neat if spiritualists, at 1st level, could speak with recently deceased enemies. You know all those times you mean to question a bad guy but accidentally kill them all? Having a spiritualist would let you question them anyway. Maybe have it only work within a minute of death, and require a diplomacy check to get them to talk. Being able to innately talk to ghosts and haunts would be pretty cool, too.
3) Scouting. Ectoplasmic phantom form is my favorite thing about the class. Makes scouting fun, and opens up lots of options in combat for flanking, or getting around bottlenecks. Please don't remove phase lurch! It's the best thing the class has going for it. As with last time, clarification of if it can bypass ghost touch or force effects would be nice.
Suggestion: Honestly? Phantoms don't need an incorporeal option. It complicates the class, and doesn't really do anything (except maybe a too-powerful scout, according to some people). Either remove it, or make it a higher level option (8th?), at which point in time monsters will have all sorts of magical attacks that can harm incorporeal anyway.
4) Damage output: Still abysmal.
5) Armor class: Identical to eidolons, which is really too high when combined with mage armor and the shield spells. 25 AC is really high for 3rd level.
Suggestion: It's not fun for a DM to miss a phantom with every attack, and it's not fun for a player to do 4.55 DPR with a pet in a pet class at 3rd level. Drop a bit of defense, and boost a little bit of offense.
There really isn't one. Ectoplasmic form makes for a great scout anyway, and you won't get stuck with a pet unable to attack.
It's also a little more fair to the DM, since ectoplasmic form is easier to spot and attack.
In any event, gloves of reconaissance (super cheap magic item - http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/e-g/glove s-of-reconnaissance) do a far better job anyway, since they don't risk alerting the monsters and aggroing an entire dungeon.
I'm sorry to say but I am really truly not a fan of the spiritualist getting an incorporeal spirit at level 1. The ability is really over powered.
It's only an issue because most monsters aren't going to be able to damage them at that level. At higher levels, the spirit on his own could easily get spotted and destroyed by magic-using enemies, and then you're a pet class without a pet for 24 hours.
There's no real point to it at first level, anyway. They can't even deliver touch spells until 3rd level, and so literally have no role in combat as an incorporeal entity.
Were you remembering the tether limitations? The phantom shouldn't be able to get much more than a room or two ahead of you in a dungeon.
When I was using it to scout, I just kept it in ectoplasmic form, and had it stick its head through each door and report what is on the other side. While powerful, this is an ability that can be done by any class willing to invest in some cheap gloves (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/e-g/glov es-of-reconnaissance)
I just played a level 2 spiritualist in PFS today.
1) It's a summoner that has cure spells instead of infernal healing. Cure spells: good. Worth not being a summoner? No. You could do a point-by-point comparison between summoner and the spiritualist, and the spiritualist turns up short. Summoners get free summon spells - spiritualists get two skill focuses which may or may not even matter to you. And their spell list is completely inferior, except for the aforementioned healing.
2) The phantom sucks in combat. No two ways about it. It's useful as a scout (ectoplasm mode rocks!), but +5/+5 to hit, 1d4+1 (I have a small one, a medium one would be +4/+4 for 1d6+1) damage is just "wizard's familiar" level of damage. This is supposed to be a pet class, but the pet just feels like an afterthought. There's no real customization, like with an eidolon. Some high level special abilities look kind of neat, but they are far too back-loaded to interest me, since PFS play ends at 12th level.
3) All this is not to say I want to see another summoner class. I think the summoner is too powerful. But if you're just printing another summoner that sucks in a point-by-point comparison, then the class hasn't found a niche.
4) They are zero stat dependent, which is maybe good, maybe bad. I realized that other than a 14 wisdom to be able to cast spells, you can put your stat points wherever you want. Since there's no feats for the class, I just took EWP: Fauchard, a 16 Str, and went around beating on things like a bad fighter, while my spirit companion scouted for us. This felt all right, overall, power-wise, but not fitting the flavor of the class. It was far better to hit for 1d10+5 damage than any of my spell options.
5) Incoporeal mode on the phantom is currently broken. (Broken as in "not really functioning" rather than "too powerful.) Since they can't attack in incorporeal mode, and can't even fly until 11th level, all they are is a slightly upscale version of mage hand. While they can theoretically deliver touch spells, the spiritualist *doesn't have any touch spells worth casting*. Where is Chill Touch? Frigid Touch? All they get are inflict spells, which are pointless since they get so few spells per day, and retarded (as in slowed) access to higher level spells. 1d8+3, save for half, at 3rd level is far worse than 1d10+5 (fauchard) and +4/+4 1d6+1 (pet damage). And their spell list in general is pretty meh.
6) There's repeated mention of "appropriate appendages", but all phantoms have to be humanoid-shaped. This is probably due to just copy/pasting the summoner, which can have eidolons with hooves and whatnot.
7) There probably should be some glue rules in place that allow mechanics for eidolons to work with phantoms, so you don't need to reprint Rejuvenate Eidolon and whatnot, or existing feats.
8) DR and hardness makes phantoms sad.
9) Calm Spirits should probably be granted much earlier, since haunts make their appearances more often in low level adventures.
10) The stat array of a quadruped eidolon is: 14/14/13/7/10/11. The starting array of a phantom is 12/14/13/7/10/13. (Most eidolons will really have a 16 starting str instead of a 14, too.) So they're already starting at a deficit in combat abilities. (Since they don't actually use charisma for anything, their 13 Cha is pointless.)
11) Eidolons get 3 evolution points at first level. Phantoms get something resembling three evolution points, but they're fixed, and suboptimal. So instead of an 18 strength biped eidolon with a bite and two claws for +5/+5/+5 1d6+4/1d4+4/1d4+4 damage (10.25 DPR) at 1st level, we have an Anger phantom at +3/+3 for 1d8+2 damage (5.2 DPR). Exact same defenses. This is why they feel weak - even the best offensive phantom deals *half* the damage of a first level eidolon. And phantoms don't really get any better - they never pick up additional attacks. Eidolons end up growing tentacles, horns, and additional limbs every level, and eventually grow in size permanently, whereas only Anger gets to grow in size, and only once per day.
12) Phase lurch needs to clarify if it can pass through things like ghost touch nets, walls of force, and the like.
13) I don't think I'd ever use the bonded manifestations, ever. A standard action to gain a +4 shield bonus to AC? I'd rather pull my wand of Shield and cast it, and not losing my pet to do so. Ghost touch might be nice, but it's not worth using a standard action to recall a pet, and a standard action to activate - and it's still probably not worth it. Ectoplasmic tentacles have the same stats as your pet, so it's pointless, except in some edge situations like a really crowded corridor. Flight and incorporeality are really nice, but at level 18 you should have flight anyway, and a spectral shroud isn't expensive.
14) Spiritual interference and greater spiritual interference are awesome, and far better than the bonded manifestations.
15) The level 7 auras seem to be the primary reason to use a phantom, but some of them are bookkeeping nightmares, like hateful aura and jealous combatant. Imagine a bunch of monsters full attacking the spiritualist at 7th level and having to roll 20 saves to take 3 damage, save for 1.
Summary: I'm not feeling the class. Its class abilities are worse than the summoner's, its best combat pet is half as effective as the summoner's, and its spell list is worse as well. While I absolutely do not want another summoner (since it's too powerful), a new class that is inferior on all fronts will not inspire people to really get into it. The phantom makes for a great scout, but there's a lot of classes that can scout really well, without losing class abilities to do so.
Suggestion: Boost the phantom's base combat ability at least a little bit. Drop the DR 5/slashing (which never gets better anyway) and improve their to-hit one way or another. Give them chill touch, frigid touch, vampiric touch, and maybe other touch spells so that incorporeal mode has some point. Let incorporeal mode fly from the start - it makes no sense to be able to pass through matter at will but not be able to fly. Instead of flight at 11th, it should be able to attack in incorporeal mode for half damage, and ectoplasmic mode should gain flight. (Slimer could pass through walls, but he could also fly.) Rework the spell list a bit. Give it a limited class resource like the summoner gets with its summon SLA, based on Wisdom, so you don't have Spiritualists tanking wisdom.
Wilder suggestion: Make the auras permanent, weaker, scaling, and give them out at first level instead. So it doesn't matter that they deal no damage - the party wants the anger spirit out for his +1 to hit aura. Maybe even allow it when partially manifested!
Giving it at first level isn't that problematical - unlike a fighter, dipping into Kineticist for one level really doesn't buy you anything. The infusions don't stack with class abilities from any other class, and the 1st level utility powers are all pretty weak (for example, the best option for Water is a down-powered version of grease). Fighters, by contrast, can be dipped into by any melee class that needs a fast feat or two and/or proficiencies.
I only suggested the notion because at 1st level, you're literally a one-trick pony if you take an infusion as your first level Wild Talent. Which is incredibly boring to play. And you can't even take feats, like most classes can, to boost your options. Improved Trip, Rapid Shot, etc. - none of those options work with the Kineticists' abilities.
I just finished reading through the whole thread after I made my post, (so I wouldn't be influenced by the thoughts of others). The best idea I saw in the whole thread would be to give elemental manipulation to all the kineticists for free. Maybe at 2nd level give all of them kinetic barrier, at 4th their respective move element (a 5' cube of material per round, or a dust cloud for Air), at 6th control water/pyrotechnics/etc, 8th elemental resistance, something like that.
In other words, I think they should have more options in combat than hitting one button called "BLAST" over and over. Being able to dynamically throw up weak barriers or occlude squares of terrain would be pretty simple to implement, really neat, and lead to interesting combat options for them.
Actually, all Kineticist go DEX instead of STR from level 1. If you're going to go Melee, you pick up Combat Casting instead of Point Blank, and Weapon Finesse instead of Precise shot.
Fair enough, though you wouldn't be able to use non-light one-handed melee weapons created through kinetic blade. (Which doesn't seem to have any game impact right now, but I imagine might change when they rewrite the power, as seems inevitable).
I've been spending a lot of time with the kineticist these last couple days, here's my general thoughts:
1) I think the overall writeup should be re-jiggered to make it easier to understand. I had to read through everything several times to get a grasp on what was going on.
For example, the first thing you read about composite blasts is the Composite Specialization ability in the class description - at which point you have no idea what it is or what it means. So you flip to the section on Composite blasts, and see that they look like wild talents, even though they're not, but ones that require you to have multiple elements. But how do I get multiple elements? Is that a class ability? So you flip back to the front. Nope. Then you read through all the wild talents, and discover Expanded Element. Only after reading through the whole description of Expanded Element do you learn how you get Composite Blasts, and therefore what Composite Specialization is useful for.
There's a bunch of things like this.
2) It's too much a one-trick pony at low levels. You only have a single simple blast until 7th level when pretty much everyone would take a second element. This means that until 7th level, if you're a pyro, you have absolutely nothing you can do if you encounter a monster with fire resistance, or something like a golem. Your whole class is disabled. Wizards and sorcerers don't have this problem - they can cast a glitterdust, or choose a different element or whatever. I think at a minimum, all kineticists should get one physical and one elemental simple blast so they can't be easily hard countered, or maybe make expanded element available at 1st level, but not able to take cross-element wild talents until 7th level.
My humble suggestion would be to start with one free infusion and one free utility ability.
3) I'm making a kineticist in PFS solely for kinetic healing. They'll make better spot healers than clerics (1d6+5 healing at first level, much better than 1d8+1 from CLW) - not saying that's a bad thing, clerics are better at mass healing, and kineticists take burn if they can't spend a move action to gather power. It should also probably say if the range on it is melee touch, since "with a touch" could mean either melee touch or ranged touch.
4) Kinetic Blade/Fist/Whip right now are traps. You'll provoke AOOs every time you use them, and since your blasts scale in power as fast as you gain bonuses to concentration checks, you'll never be able to tap the rolls to cast defensively. They also don't seem to be the basis for a build until at least 5th level (when you can reduce form infusion burn cost by 1), and really not until 8th level (when you get a second attack from BAB). This is a problem since you have to pick your stats at 1st level - if you go high STR to be a melee kineticist, you're going to suck compared to a DEX kineticist until 8th level. If you go DEX kineticist, you're going to suck compared to a STR kineticist after 8th level (since ranged kineticists get no means to full attack). And STR kineticists only get STR to hit - they still use CON to damage. Going STR/DEX/CON is too multiple attribute dependent.
5) It should be clarified if "accepting burn" can be reduced by infusion specialization or gathering energy, or if that means you voluntarily accept burn.
6) I've been eyeballing the various saves-negates infusions, and can't say I'd ever take them. Burning infusion looks super good (boosting your damage effectively from 1d6+2 to 2d6+2), but adding a reflex negates onto the whole thing means that you'll have (let's say) a 50/50 chance of dealing no damage, and a 50/50 chance of dealing 63% more damage, meaning the infusion leads to a net loss in damage per round. If the "reflex negates" is for just the bonus effect, it *really needs to say that clearly* after the section header on infusions.
7) Pressurized blast and pushing infusion shouldn't cap at just 5' of forced movement.
8) There's a few area effect abilities that deal half damage with another half damage with a reflex save (Cyclone, Spray, Torrent). That's pretty terrible. A 10th level wizard deals 10d6 (35 damage, save for half) with a 40' diameter fireball, but a hydrokineticist with cold blast will deal (5d6+2)/2 - 10 damage (save for half) in a 30' cone, while accepting 0 to 3 burn. While it is true the hydrokineticist can do this all day long (if he can negate the burn) while the wizard is spending resources, 10 damage save for half is just abysmal damage for a 10th level character.
While on that note, AOE options are pretty bad overall, and shouldn't pyrokineticists get earlier access to AOE effects? Fire has to wait until 16th level to be able to "fireball", but Air gets it at 10th (along with chain lightning), Earth and Water can do line attacks starting at 6th, and Aether gets a double attack at 6th as well.
9) And yeah, Fire seems to be totally shafted. It has the worst simple blasts (and the worst composite blast - the only one with SR!), doesn't get AOE attacks until 16th level, and has to spend two wild talents and waste move actions every round to semi-replicate the ability to fly which Air gets at 6th level. Most people would intuitively think that Fire would be the best element if you wanted to blow stuff up, but they're really the worst at it. There is only one fire infusion below 16th level!
10) The composite blasts are all the same, as far as I can tell. You could replace them all with "burn 2; do both blast damages; SR No (unless you're fire)". I think there's a real opportunity there to do interesting things. Thunderstorm Blast could deafen! Mud blast could blind for a round, and so forth.
Personally, I'm only interested in aether or water kineticists, since they're the only ones who get Kinetic Healing. Since all of the aether utility options seem to involve a very long chain of wild talents to be able to pick locks and move statues around with your mind (notable exception - telekinetic maneuver is awesome), and lose all the fire/air/earth/water options, I'll probably go water. Slick will provide good utility at low levels, and give my PFS character something to do other than blasting every round.
I'm working on a Pummeling Charge build right now that should do rather obscene amounts of damage, using Sohei and a Keen Fauchard, for an 83% chance of a crit chance each round, resulting in around 300 damage on a charge at 8th level, if all six attacks hit.
Past 8th, I'm looking into Spirited Charge to double the damage output, but it's so feat heavy I'd probably dip fighter 4 to get it and weapon spec.
You touch the eyes and with a rushing sensation are sucked bodily inside.
You find yourself standing in a bright green meadow. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and the crash of arms sounds from nearby. Looking to your right, you see hundreds of knights, gaily dressed in polished plate mail and colorful tabards engaging in a grand melee. They seem to be swinging full force at each other with metal swords and maces, but when one takes a blow that should sever an arm or neck, the victim merely crumples to the ground, helpless.
After several minutes, only two competitors remain. One is an old man in robes wielding a shield-staff in one hand, and sword in the other, the other is a giant of a knight in full plate, wielding a massive greatsword. Despite the size of the sword, he maneuvers it with the deftness of a rapier, and puts forth a terrifying combination of blows at the old man, who does his best to parry, block, duck, and roll out of the way of the attacks that look like they could split him in half.
The old man finally manages to maneuver behind the giant, and trips him with his staff. The giant plants his sword in the ground to steady himself, and without looking, kicks the old man directly in the jaw, knocking him out.
A whistle blasts across the field, and the fallen knights return to consciousness. The old man rises, rubbing his jaw, and slaps the giant on the back. "Well done, Sir Gregor! The souls are yours!" Reaching into his robes, the old man pulls forth a crystal vial containing faintly glowing orbs drifting inside. The knights burst into applause, though with some jealousy, and begin talking amongst one another. They do not seem to notice your presence yet.
To your left, there is what appears to be a merchant's row set up for the tournament. Several of the vendors whistle to get your attention, and beckon you over. They present to you a bewildering variety of arms, armor and magic items, all for sale to you at reasonable rates, for very small pieces of your soul.
Doing some math, you realize that they're valuing your soul as worth 20,000gp, and can acquire basically any item in the game for a commensurate percentage of your soul. A +1 weapon (2,000gp) would require 10% of your soul, for example.
Vetinari 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23 recognizes it as something called a "demilich", the faded remnant of a powerful undead wizard. While not as dangerous as a lich, it is still rumored to be extremely powerful.
It regards you all with its amethyst eyes, and says nothing, simply hovering there above the table.
>Is there anything else nearby of note?
Many more of the crafting stations. It appears this place could host several hundred artisans all working at once, but the place has fallen into disrepair and many of the stations are covered in thick dust. 3d20 ⇒ (18, 6, 11) = 35 Perhaps decades of dust.
As you are looking around, the skull slowly starts rising up off of the table, rotates slowly around, and turns to face you all.
You follow the needle swarm as it slides along the ground, moving at speed.
It approaches a large golden table (as in a large table, made completely of solid gold - Marcus appraises its value somewhere in the millions of gp). It is holding only a single item - a human skull, whose eye sockets and teeth have been filled with precious gems. The needles pour into the mouth of the skull and vanish.
The creature dissolves into a pile of metal needles and reforms around Edmond. "Lord Illance is leading a charge against the demons of the Underdark. I MUST GET BACK. I will meet you here again in an hour of your time."
He dissolves into a pile of needles again, which rustle along the ground to a far corner in the room.
The entity hisses at you, and needles pierce you from all directions.
You take 2d6 ⇒ (5, 5) = 10 damage, and Fort Save: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21 are not nauseated.
It releases you suddenly, reforming five feet away, and bows to you. "My apologies. You are real. You are looking for Hocuba Illance? He is busy right now."
The entity looks around. "Oh dear. What year is it? Have we fallen behind? Could you be a dear and finish this wand for me? I absolutely *must* get back."
The creature immediately dissolves into a pile of needles, which reforms around you with shocking speed. The needles don't hurt, but you are surrounded by a cloud of them.
"Are you real? Or is this another gambit by Mycofarox?"
The hissing comes from around you, seemingly from the vibrations of the needles themselves.
Walking over, you see a strange sight. A human-like figure, made of what appears to be made of nothing but *needles* glued together, is rotating a long wooden stave on a lathe, shaving it down to size. It doesn't seem to be paying much attention to its work, as it is mumbling to itself under its breath. When the stave breaks from being whittled down too far, it simply tosses it aside and begins turning another piece.
I think someone was playing Math Dice (google it), and made a feat based on it.
I hate this feat for several reasons (even though I love Math Dice):
1) Paizo has done an admirable job up until now not passing out free metamagic levels. You could use a trait to knock one level off one spell, but that was it. 3.5 became stupidly broken in large part due to all the free metamagic WOTC pumped out.
This feat will unlock all those horrors that we thought safely put away.
2) It gives out two free feats. In addition to completely breaking the power curve of the game. It's a feat that gives more feats than its cost!
3) It will slow the game down to a crawl. My 16th level wizard is probably going to have to take this, but throwing out 16d6 every time he casts a spell is just going to take forever, and there won't be any uncertainly about him succeeding - with that many dice, I don't think it's possible to fail.
If I had to house rule it, I would say: 1) You don't need to use all the dice (to speed things up) and 2) You have 30 seconds to make the math work. GO.
Heading down the stairs, you see another one of those scrolls pinned to the wall, this one demanding that the mysterious entity keep the area clear of vermin, and dry.
Reaching the bottom, you find yourself in a large, open basement area. It's not easy to see through, though, as it is packed wall to wall with crafting stations and teleportation circles jam packed with raw and partially-finished items. It looks like this crafting area would be capable of outfitting the entire army, and from what you understand of the situation, they were.
The lack of craftsmen here makes it even more disturbing, as does the layer of dust covering everything.
Edmond running away from the golems: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (19) + 0 = 19
Golems running after Edmond: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
You all make it inside and slam the door shut right before the golems hit the door at full speed.
Strength check: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Amazingly enough, the door holds.
You wait to hear the golems breaking through the door, but after a tense moment 3d20 ⇒ (11, 16, 20) = 47, Marcus hears them slowly start backing away from the door and returning to the hedge maze.
Looking around, you find yourself in a large atrium. Two wide staircases lead both up and down, and the room you are in 3d20 ⇒ (10, 16, 4) = 30 is full of what Havelock recognizes as supplies for crafting magic items. Everything from alembics and glass piping for alchemy, to rare wood for staves, to types of metal and chemicals you have never seen outside of a book. All of it is still in a raw, unprocessed form.
Poking around further, it appears there are teleportation circles on the ground, and the crafting supplies are stacked neatly next to each one. 3d20 ⇒ (3, 20, 9) = 32 Havelock also notices strange circular footprints in the dust here.
Havelock Strength Check: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (19) - 1 = 18
Marcus Assist: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (15) - 2 = 13
The two very lightweight men run at full speed and bounce off the front door. Looking back, Edmond sees the first of the golems tear around the exit to the hedge, arm held high light a giant club.
With a faint click, the door slowly swings open.
>>I ask everyone if they think we're ready to proceed and make a knowledge arcana check on the golems.
You've never seen golems like this before. They seem to be more advanced than anything you've heard of, even though the patina of grime on them makes it clear they have been exposed to the elements for decades. While they patrol a regular route, you see their eyes moving from side to side, and realize they are actually intelligent constructs... if nothing else, you'd swear they were Gondsmen from the Isle of Lantan, except they bear none of the holy symbols of Gond they typically have emblazoned all over them, and they're three times the size.
(Gondsman illustration: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090324181938/forgottenrealms/images/3/ 36/Techsmith.jpg, which I incidentally almost bought the original art for at Gencon last year, from Wayne Reynolds.)
You head into the maze. The branches of the maze reach out for you a bit omininously, but there's still plenty of room in the center of the pathways to avoid them.
Stealth Rolls: 3d20 ⇒ (1, 6, 20) = 27 ... oof.
Just as you turn the final bend and are walking to the front door, Edmond kicks a metal rod lying on the front lawn, spinning it smashing into a water fountain.
With a roar, the golems hear you, and begin racing through the maze to reach you at the front door!