Thalaine's page

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The problem in PF2 is that it is too easy to get access to full plate. If it was impossible for your medium armour wearing class to get access to scaling full plate use I think you would see a lot more deversity in builds. As it is being strength for the extra damage, gaining +1 AC and still having a +3 to reflex against most reflex saves for 1 class feat is hard to pass up.

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I don't suppose we can expect another yearly update Tarondor? It would be interesting to hear what you think of everything that has come out this year for wizards.

Might be worth putting the level of the item into the document so that people can easily see when they are able to make them.

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Ok so I think it is important to start by taking a step back and asking what is the underlying purpose of this class. For me it feels like Kineticist is the inverse of Magus. Where Magus takes a spellcaster and gives them the single target ability of a martial character, the Kineticist takes the idea that many martial characters never run out resources and applies it to what is essentially spellcasting.

What this means is that ultimately we want a character who can keep doing the same thing over and over again and not run out of resources.

If this is the case then the way the class is currently structured gives the wrong impression. Currently as you read the class the first character defining feature you get is Elemental Blast however I don't think that is where the power of the class should be as then it just becomes another single target martial character.

Suggestion 1) Give the class a base short range AOE with power similar to electric arc including CON to damage.

Suggestion 2) Things that would usually be 2 action spells (like the above) should be 1 action casts for Kineticists as they need to Gather Elements.

Suggestion 3) Reward players for having a elemental gathered when they end their turn. This might be in the form of a reaction, a buff that activates when the end their turn etc. etc.

The combination of these three suggestions means that a Kineticist can do 1.5 times the damage of a caster who only cast cantrips if they go all out and don't have to move (1 turn gather AOE gather then AOE gather AOE). Or alternatively they can AOE once and then spend the 3rd action moving or Elemental Blasting. But either way they have options.

Suggestion 4) Change gathering elements into essentially monk stances. So while you have X element gathered you can make the following strikes. Then gathering an element can provoke but if you do get stuck in melee you can attack without provoking further.

Suggestion 5) Give a small status bonus to these strikes (say half CON round up or just a straight +2 like Thaumaturge gets)

These two mean that you are ok at single target attacks but not great due to not having an 18 stat and only getting a small bonus to damage on essentially 1 handed weapon damage. It also opens up the possibility of gaining different strikes through feats which seems like an elegant way to do it.

Suggestion 6) Just accept that this character casts spells even though they don't have spell slots. Make them trained in Primal spell DC's have their "spells" go up in power based on spell level etc. etc. People are used to this system and it isn't worth the extra work to avoid just using it.

Suggestion 7) I think that the downside of being a Kineticist is that elemental power wants to achieve equilibrium and that once you use an overflow power that affects anything other than yourself or your immediate surroundings it quickly dissipates. So self buffs and aura's last as usual but debuffs and party buffs and the like only last at most to the start of your next turn. This gives a clear separation between what spells can do and what Kineticists can do.

Curious what other people think.

Let us also remember that this conversation has come up again because of psychics who can't use Shadow Signet on Amped cantrips and have less uses of true strike than any other caster with it on their list (less spells plus spontaneous casters can't charge up staves).

So we have a class in which a lot of their options involve spell attack rolls and they are least able to negate this disadvantages.

We can hope that the designers agree and add something to Treasure Vault. But it does seem unlikely. Unfortunately I expect that what is going to happen is that people will get frustrated with the Psychic class and it will go towards the bottom of the list of classes and just be a really great class to multiclass into.

YuriP wrote:
Thalaine wrote:
I'm not sure that is true for Psychic (admittedly this is all theorycrafting). The Psychic class is a mess. It reads like a blaster class with unleash psyche but struggles to support that because of a serious reduction in spells per day compared to other casters, access to the occult list which is very limited on spells that work with unleash, and a reliance on spell attack rolls.

You probably is overrating the spellslots. Have more spellslots is way more useful outside encounters or to heal and for utilities and in more rare cases to debuff (but to debuff a player have to pay attention to it's action economy and AoE in order to see if it will be really effective). But for offensive purpose the spellslots are basically 2-5 per day abilities that requires your top level spellslot if you want that your spell can be effective, specially for incapacitant spells.

So IMO the trade of some spellslots in order to gain better cantrips, amps, more focus points with full refocus and unleash is a good trade. Psychic still have enough spellslot to cover mostly situations that requires more flexibility at same time it have a better offensive capacity. The only problem is the amp restriction to Shadow Signet but the item still can be useful for situations where the psychic cant amp and is suffering stupefied penalty.

You're kidding right? Anytime after say 5th level spell slots are king. There is a reason why Sorcerer, Wizard and Cleric are considered strong classes and it is because they all get bonus spell slots. To compete with those classes you need strong cantrip and/or focus powers. Bard is a good example of that where it trades 1 less spell a level compared to a sorcerer for very strong AOE buff/debuffs.

Compare a Bard with a Infinite Eye Psychic. Now this is a little unfair because Bard is considered one of the strongest if not strongest class in the game but they both do a similar thing in buffing the party. Inspire Courage versus Glimpse Weakness plus Amped Guidance do similar things and if the rest of the class chaise was similar I would be pretty happy but Psychic also gives up a spell a level. In exchange for this they gain an extra focus point, the ability to regain 2 focus points at a time, and a burst dps mode (unleash psyche) which is hard to use because standard dps Occult cantrips are spell attacks and lots of the best occult damaging spells have durations so don't qualify.

I am having a hard time coming up with a build that isn't stronger as either a Bard or Occult/Arcane/Primal-Sorcerer maybe dipping Psychic for a cantrip or two.

Ched Greyfell wrote:

I hate this whole thing of comparing classes' usefulness in the game based off of DPR.

People have been saying wizards are underpowered. Yet, they can transport their allies across hundreds of miles. Put up a wall of stone. Haste their fighter.
All these things.
DPR isn't everything in a game. I'm super excited to try a psychic. I didn't even one time look at it and compare it to a martial's attack progression.

Do you realise this is exactly my point? PF2 is pretty good about avoiding trap options. If you choose a class and choose options that make sense your character will work and you will be reasonably competitive with other players at your table.

I'm not sure that is true for Psychic (admittedly this is all theorycrafting). The Psychic class is a mess. It reads like a blaster class with unleash psyche but struggles to support that because of a serious reduction in spells per day compared to other casters, access to the occult list which is very limited on spells that work with unleash, and a reliance on spell attack rolls.

A lot of people are saying that casters are fine and I agree. I really enjoy playing casters but like most people I do so by avoiding taking spells with attack rolls. My belief is that giving casters access to permanent item bonuses to attack would improve the balance between spells with attack rolls and spells with saving throws while not seriously affecting the balance between casters and martial characters.

Let us get back on topic

So let us compare a 7th level Distant Grasp Psychic who has got Electric Arc as an occult cantrip (human or racial plus ancestral mind)

Assume a 2 round fight versus 2 level 7 monsters with Moderate AC and Moderate Saves (AC 24, +15 to Saves)

If the Psychic goes Electric Arc (4d4 +4) Unleash Psyche Electric Arc (4d4 + 4 + 8) they do
Round 1: 10.5 per target = 21
Round 2: 16.5 per target = 33

Total: 27 per target = 54

If the Psychic goes Telekinetic Projectile (4d6 + 4) Unleash Psyche Telekinetic Projectile (7d6 + 4 + 8) they do
Round 1: 12.6 damage
Round 2: 25.55 damage

Total 38.15

If the Psychic had a +1 to hit with Spell Attacks it would be
Round 1: 14.4
Round 2: 29.2

Total 43.6

If the Psychic did half damage on a miss but not a critical miss it would be
Round 1: 15.75
Round 2: 31.94

Total: 47.69

So as it currently stands a single target Psychic does about 70% of the damage a multi attacking Psychic does with the expenditure of a Focus point. If Casters could get Item bonuses to Spell Attacks it would be 80% which seems about right since single target is more useful. Half damage on miss is about 88% and is probably too much on the high side.

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Unicore wrote:
Thalaine wrote:
Unicore wrote:
It is a pretty big stretch to say half of psychic cantrips are spell attack roll spells. There are 2 conscious minds that give you any spell attack roll spells.

Uh, 4 of the 6 Conscious Minds have spell attack rolls

The Distant Grasp - Telekinetic Projectile and Dancing Blade
The Infinite Eye - None
The Oscillating Wave - Produce Flame and Ray of Frost
The Silent Whisper - None
The Tangible Dream - Imaginary Weapon
The Unbound Step - Phase Bolt

Sorry I forgot phase bolt, a spell that ignores cover, and imaginary weapon, a D8+spell casting mod cantrip that heightens every level and is very high damage. Spectral hand is a great spell for the tangible dream psychic

Ah yes, a 2nd level spell that lasts 1 minute and costs 2 actions and does no damage. That is what is needed to make Psychic’s competitive.

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Unicore wrote:
It is a pretty big stretch to say half of psychic cantrips are spell attack roll spells. There are 2 conscious minds that give you any spell attack roll spells.

Uh, 4 of the 6 Conscious Minds have spell attack rolls

The Distant Grasp - Telekinetic Projectile and Dancing Blade
The Infinite Eye - None
The Oscillating Wave - Produce Flame and Ray of Frost
The Silent Whisper - None
The Tangible Dream - Imaginary Weapon
The Unbound Step - Phase Bolt

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So one of the things that we have all been dancing around but not actually discussing is number of encounters per day and length of encounters.

I think we would all agree that if you only have one fight a day that spell casters have a significant advantage. They also have esentially a set number of rounds at a given loadout at which they can do cool stuff after which they are significantly restricted in what they are able to do.

Equally if you had 20 encounters in a day martial characters would have a big advantage. Also for most martial characters the length of a fight doesn't make much difference as they don't have many encounter based powers (rage going away after 1 minute being one of many exceptions).

Somewhere in the middle are classes that rely on focus points like the Psychic. They like having lots of encounters a day but they don't like encounters going long as they quickly drop off in power level as they run out of focus points.

It feels like a lot of discussion is focused on the first few fights of the day where a caster has access to true strike and not a lot of focus on the later fights where those resources are gone.

Psychic reads like a class that should be good at having lots of fights a day. Unfortunately because of the math in PF2 that isn't really true unless you choose options that don't rely on Spell Attacks.

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I don't think doing typed damage is an advantage sure you get some monsters with vulnerabilities but you also get more monsters with resistences not to mention complete immunity.

The basic problem with damaging cantrips is that electric arc is good and everything else is incredibly situational.

That wouldn't be a problem except that half the casters don't get electric arc and psychic gives up a spell a level in order to get better cantrips only for most of those cantrips to be worse than electric arc because of the math in the system.

One of the big advantages of PF2E is that there are almost no trap builds (alchemist aside). If you don't theorycraft and just choose abilities that sound fun you will do fine. Spell Attacks are a trap they are just straight up worse than save spells and you shouldn't pick them unless you have a plan for hitting with them (true strike etc.). That isn't a good place to be.

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So, for me the big problem with Psychic is that a significant number of the cantrips it gets access to use Spell Attack Rolls. Unfortunately, this is an area where the PF2 rule system has some serious flaws.

Here is the traditional attack progression for most martial classes

Trained -> Expert at 5 -> Master at 13

Here is the Spell attack progression for primary casters

Trained -> Expert at 7 -> Master at 15 -> Legendary at 19

So already we have 4 levels when martial characters are better and 2 where casters are better. However we also have item bonuses.


Non magic -> +1 at 2 -> +2 at 10 -> +3 at 16

No bonuses -> Shadow Signet ( at 10

The ring doesn't work with Amped cantrips (because it is a metamagic free action).

If we ignore the ring then the Martial is ahead by the following

Equal -> +1 at 2 -> +3 at 5 -> +1 at 7 -> +2 at 10 -> +4 at 13 -> +2 at 15 -> +3 at 16 -> +1 at 19

Now these are not completely comparable since cantrips take 2 actions but also do scaling damage etc. etc. But there isn't a good reason in my opinion as to why it should work like this especially since Psychic has a focus on Spell Attack Rolls.

* As much as I would like a more unified progression for all classes that seems highly unlike to happen in PF2E.
* You could also make all spell attack rolls target Reflex. We already have abilities that do things like this (Intimidate for example) so it isn't unreasonable. Shadow Signet would even still be useful (changing it to target fort instead).
* Spell attack rolls could do half damage on a miss. This would make it in line with save spells and would balance the less chance of hitting with more reliable damage.
* Create a new item that just gave an item bonus to spell attacks. Don't let it affect spell DC's or damage and put it at the same level as weapon runes (plus remove Shadow Signet).

What are people's thoughts?

From what I can see it is impossible for say a skeleton to get advanced undead benefits. So, despite all skeleton monsters having darkvision you can't have a PC skeleton with darkvision without using a hybrid heritage. Am I missing anything?

What do people think is a reasonable solution? Skeleton seems like a reasonably strong Ancestry (apart from the RP problems in some games) so I am not sure just giving them advanced undead benefits is the answer considering that it takes undead archetypes two generally subpar feats to get that. But equally not letting them get advanced undead benefits seems unreasonable. I was thinking that they get it once they have selected two skeleton ancestry feats is probably reasonable, but I would be interested to hear people's opinion.

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I think we should be clear that you can get full sneak attack on cantrips or focus spells relatively easily (Rogue into Eldritch Archer or Beast Gunner) (you would have to first multiclass into the appropriate class to get a focus spell). Both require range attacks which makes getting flat-footed a bit more difficult, but it doesn't require dual class to do it.

However, I think people also need to realise that ignoring fortune/misfortune effects making two attacks at the same attack bonus is exactly equivalent to making one attack and using it for both attack rolls. So, if you are ok with getting sneak attack when someone gets to make two attacks at the same bonus then you should be ok with someone getting sneak attack on two separate instances of damage using the same roll.

It should be noted that getting a fortune effect on a 3 action attack is tricky.

All in all, given that this combo requires a specific rogue feat, an Archetype, attacking with a ranged weapon plus your opponent being flat-footed and then hitting with a 3 action attack. Eh go for it.

Gunslingers should get a bonus for using guns. If Kickback weapons give a circumstance bonus to damage then all weapons with that trait become pretty crap.

However untyped bonuses are pretty uncommon outside of class features. Honestly the best solution is to make Singular Expertise untyped and Kickback a circumstance bonus like Forceful.