Keep in mind that Slippery Sheet also makes it extremely easy to force things prone:
Uneven ground is an area unsteady enough that you need to Balance (see Acrobatics) or risk falling prone and possibly injuring yourself, depending on the specifics of the uneven ground. You are flat-footed on uneven ground. Each time you are hit by an attack or fail a save on uneven ground, you must succeed at a Reflex save (with the same DC as the Acrobatics check to Balance) or fall prone.
It doesn't do great damage (it basically doesn't do any at all), but even a creature with Acrobatics will have a hard time making 3+ saves. Compare this to fire's Solar Detonation.
Slippery Sheets does 4d4 damage compared to Solar Detonation's 3d10, but Solar Detonation is gifted the incapacitation trait. If the ratio of successes against at +1 target is 25/50/20/5, then Slippery Sheets would deal 4.5 damage and Solar Detonation would deal 6.2.
But these are both utility spells. And Slippery Sheets can waste actions far more reliably than Solar Detonation. It provides its benefit 100% of the time, whereas incapacitation means Solar Detonation may very rarely work on the targets you want it to.
Dubious Scholar wrote:
And the last part for water.
I'm surprised to hear you relatively okay with fire, but antagonistic against better fire.
And that's what water is, for the most part. Better fire. I rest my case on Blazing Wave vs. Tidal Hands.
Tidal Hands is level 1 rather than 4, an arguably better damage type, and far more flexible in its area. This pattern repeats with Winter's Clutch and Slippery Sheet.
Water gets more, better, earlier. They have a joke of a level 18 feat, but they will do dramatically more damage as-written throughout the course of a campaign. And I don't know about you, but I've found far use for waterbreathing then torches throughout my 2E campaigns.
There is a lot about burn here on the forums, and I wanted to use this as a jumping off point for discussion.
I want to put this out in front. I dislike Burn. I dislike it mechanically in 2E, and I absolutely disagreed with its implementation in 1E. I think it was overly complex, tried to solve the wrong problems, and didn't succeed at its own goals.
For those not familiar with burn, I won't dilute this post too much to 1E's implementation. Burn was the cost you paid when you used most 1E kineticist abilities. You paid modular amounts of burn to use these abilities, and each point represented taking nonlethal damage equal to your character level in a way that wouldn't heal until you rested. Burn is mentioned 53 times in the Archives of Nethys front page for the class, and is notoriously complex. I recommend reading what others have already stated about it.
Anyway, let's talk about one 2E and burn. I've seen two simple suggestions for Burn in 2E:
There is a very simple mechanical problem with either of these in the context of 2E: ancestry HP. A level 1 character can take up to 22 instances of either type of Burn, while that same character at level 2 would only be able to take 17. This number will keep going down.
The second mechanical problem is that 2E is designed around easy access to out of combat healing. In the vast majority of fights, the party is assumed to be at full HP. This negates the danger of taking damage, but makes losing maximum Hit Points much more serious.
The third mechanical issue is less pressing. Nonlethal damage works completely differently. In 1E, it was tracked separately and gave you a cushion of "I'll go down, but I'll just pass out." In 2E, the nonlethal trait does nothing unless it is the last bit of damage you take before going to 0 HP.
These mechanical issues make it very easy to undershoot or overshoot a HP based cost in this system, or to have a cost gets worse as a player levels.
Anyway, I think there are some key questions that need to be asked of any proposal to add Burn back in as a core feature for the kineticist:
To be clear, I would rather see Burn left out entirely than to see it poorly thrown in. And I mostly see it as a justification for keeping Constitution as the main stat and bumping the damage numbers/action economy across the board, which I don't feel answer any of the questions above.
For reference, here is how my systems tried to answer these questions. I'll note that my goal was to appease both camps: people who wanted burn as a power-fantasy, and people that just wanted cool elemental shenanigans and big HP pool. I'll note that my first version is an almost identical chassis to what the 2E version ended up as, so it is much more comparable.
When I made my first kineticist homebrew, these were major issues that came up in playtesting. My solution wasn't elegant. You would ramp up from unburned, to burning, to blazing, to overcharged. These states dealt damage equal to 1/2/3 + your level, and that damage couldn't be healed unless you had been unburned for 10 minutes.
This meant that a level 1 character could be overcharged for up to 5 rounds, while a level 20 character could be overcharged for 13 rounds. The conditions themselves gave varying bonuses; overcharged gain +3 damage per damage dice on your kinetic blast, a +2 status bonus to your kineticist class DC, and a +2 status bonus to your element's skills.
My subclasses were based around embracing or avoiding Burn: Cautious Disciple kineticists could easily reduced their state to unburned and gain temporary hit points while reckless disciple kineticists could overcharge themselves and skip the turn by turn ramping.
I think that the current playtests subclasses (the gate types) are more flavorful and less mechanically tricky to balance.
My second version was almost completely different from the playtest, and less well received. It was just a spellcaster that used a much simpler version of burned with no internal benefit, and that version was very close to the burned X = drained X implementation.
There are points to be made about simplicity, but this didn't play all that well and didn't have much internal logic behind it.
its fine for either, not that many enemies have attack of opportunity, and when they do you can easily just blast from 20ft+
Until you face a Lesser Death and you cry when you see its version of an AAO:
Lurking Death (teleportation); Trigger A creature within 60 feet makes a ranged attack or uses an action that has the concentrate, manipulate, or move trait. Effect The lesser death teleports to a square adjacent to the triggering creature and makes a melee Strike against it. If the Strike hits, the lesser death disrupts the triggering action.
This may have come up in a Level 16 playtest I did that resulted in a party wipe...
The following is a log of three combats starring the same characters: an azarketi intimidation sword/board fighter, a thief rogue, an elf sorcerer using a bow and cantrips, and a dedicated gate human fire kineticist (Con>Dex) taking the following feats:
1 Burning Jet
The combats were randomly generated through a utility I developed. All encounters took place in a 20x20 room with two ledges for cover on the opposite side of the room, and 3 columns granting total cover on each side of the room.
Enemies were randomly generated from a select pool, with only 1 enemy type per level. IE, all enemies at -3 to the party would be the same creature. Legal enemies including heavily featured undead, demons, and evil NPCs (this tool was developed for random encounters for 2E WOTR conversion). The enemies were also randomly placed in the room.
Each character was built to level 20, and provided reasonable gear at each level. The majority of the gold went to the Fighter, simply because they had more combat relevant needs. All rolls were prerolled in bulk.
An overall conclusion: the martial characters and the cantrip+bow using sorcerer (no spell slots or focus points consumed) significantly out-performed the kineticist in the encounters at 1, 6, and 10. The kineticist had some awkward turns, didn't do amazing damage even with the best combination, and accidentally BBQed the fighter. The Elf Sorcerer had greater control over their damage using Scatter Scree and Electric Arc, and a better array of damage types.
Level 1 Moderate Encounter (all weapons drawn at start of combat)
Total damage: AF 18, ES 9, HR 8, HK 8
Level 6 Moderate Encounter (all main weapons drawn at start of combat)
HR Strides, Strikes x2 (1H, 1M) for 11 damage
Total Damage: HF 77, HR 61, HK 22, ES 0
Level 10 Moderate Encounter (no weapons drawn at start of combat)
Total Damage: ES 181, HK 132, HR 89, AF 86
For basic blasts without feats, they are basically magical stances with a melee and ranged component.
I just want to point out that the option to take stance feats that modify the blast would be an interesting thematic addition to the class, and another action economy saver that could be tied to Gather Power.
Where should the expectation on damage be is my wonder.
I think that elemental blasts should be on-par with Thaumaturge or Inventor Strikes, regular impulses should be equivalent to cantrips, and big overflow impulses (3-action) should fall just shy of the best two-action focus spells.
It doesn't have to all of these at once, but they all need to be possible.
I don't think they were implying that this was feat actually. Could be, but could also be a baseline ability.
I think that in general, I am okay with 3-action overflow abilities matching focus spells or being around 1d6 behind. So if a 9th level dragon's breath does 17d6 (60) and a 9th level fireball does 18d6 (63) I'd like to see an 18th level, 3-action overflow deal between 16d6 (56) and 17d6 (60).
This is a pretty large difference from what we actually see. The Shattered Mountain Weeps is the top with 9d10 (50), while All Shall End in Flames is at the end with 7d10 (39). We'd need something between 10d10 and 11d10 to reach that level.
At level 1, the comparison that fits best would be Spray of Stars, at least from what I've found. That's 1d4 over a 15ft cone. Kineticist actually overperforms here with Aerial Boomerang or Tidal Hands, but scales up to better focus spells.
Fixed, thank you. This was an assumption on my part; if you use even an elemental weapon when you use an overflow impulse why wouldn't you use up the much more dramatic displays around you? Not particularly intuitive.
If it does work, there are some very weird interactions like persistent bludgeoning damage. Also Elemental Weapon doesn't say a level one weapon, if you can take later and gain a much higher level bomb.
This would also arguably let you create common magical weapons at any level, not just the level you are at. For instance, a Major Buzzsaw Axe, which is a "one-handed simple or martial weapon" that is "common" despite being level 20.
This should almost certainly be a level 1, one-handed, simple or martial, common, non-consumable, melee weapon.
I'd also like to have the hand wielding it count as a free-hand for impulses because as written a kinetic loses the ability to use a Shield when they make an elemental weapon. It seems to me that the type of kineticist that would go to town with a created weapon would be more likely, not less, to want a shield.
This is almost exactly how I differentiated the elements. I just didn't do it with numbers.
Dedicated = damage focus. They get a subordinate action to blast when they Gather Elements. If they wanted to be a turret, they could go Gather + Strike + 2-action overflow impulse every turn.
Dual = On demand variety, wielding both elements at once. Frankly speaking, I don't have a problem with them having full access to both elements or having hybrid abilities but the purpose here was not to write the treatise on how to make hybrid abilities.
Universal = versatility and utility focus.
Keep in mind that this solution is not at all about addressing numerical discrepancies across classes or 100% nailing down the differences between gate subclasses inside kineticist.
This is about primarily about making kineticist less clunky to play, and integrating CON in an intuitive way as a secondary objective.
I don't think being derailed by a single move action is a healthy place to be. One of the absolute best features of 2E is the freedom the unbounded 3-action system gives it. Being unable to move, Raise a Shield, Demoralize, cast a cantrip from a multiclass archetype, &c. from the massive list of actions and activities is a bad thing.
I think there is a very simple solution to this, and a less simple but more flavorful solution. The simple solution is to let the kineticist Stride at half their Speed when Gathering Elements (going up to their Speed at some point).
The more flavorful solution is to let different elements or gate types do different things, in the same way Gunslingers reload differently.
I think the core system of this class that should not go away is the Gather Power > Impulse system. I am not opposed to this system at all, and I think Gather Power is leaps and bounds more flavorful and interesting than it was in the past edition.
However, two issues make the class clunky because of the playtest iteration of Gather Power: overflow actions, and elemental blasts being an impulse. A lesser issue I will also talk about is the lack of CON integration into the chassis.
As written, there are no 1-action overflow impulses. This means that each and every overflow action takes up at least a full turn's worth of actions. This leads to somewhat odd turn management for the many damaging overflow impulses that take 4 actions, but could also lead to turret gameplay if there is a good 2 action overflow impulse to spam.
Overflow impulses are also pretty uniquely crippling. I would invite the comparison to Swashbuckler's panache. When a Swashbuckler loses panache with a finisher, they lose vivacious speed and the bonus to their panache-related actions. A kineticist that used an overflow impulse can't attack with elemental blast, use any impulse, or even swing with their prebuilt elemental weapon until they Gather Power again.
Elemental Blasts being an impulse has two major downsides. First, as mentioned they don't play nicely with overflow impulses at all. One could even consider them diametrically opposed, favoring either kineticists that go all-in on elemental blast with STR/DEX or kineticists that eschew blasting to max their CON and use impulses with DCs.
Second, elemental blasts trigger AAOs because as impulses they have the manipulate trait. This is absolutely fine for ranged blasts, but melee blasts become far less viable compared to elemental weapon or other martial counterparts. There is no feat to help prevent this.
Treat overflow like panache: a feature you have to earn that activates your class features and can be cashed in for big rewards (overflow impulses).
I think it is pretty clear what needs to happen. Both panache and overflow require an action to activate as-is; overflow just needs to have a skill check. I don't think that this is too much rolling; it is the same gameplay loop that a Swashbuckler has already.
So what skill check? This is how you address the lack of CON integration. Assign skills to each element, being pretty heavy on Acrobatics and Athletics. Then make the skill check use either Nature or any of the associated elements skills using the CON rather than whatever the skill would normally roll. I would also recommend a feat letting you use CON for untrained actions using your element's skill(s), per the GM's discretion.
That check would yield the following results:
Critical Success You gain the normal and greater benefits from the gathered element until the next of your next turn. You may use an action with the overflow trait before the end of your next turn.
Go nuts on what you think normal or greater benefits might be.
I think there is a lot of room here, and that this is somewhat intuitive. Under this system, you still need to have the right element gathered to use an impulse of that element but you need 'overflowing' elements to use an overflow impulse, which takes you back down to 'normal' for that element. I am also fond of making elemental blasts their own type of Strike, rather than an impulse.
Finally, you can tie this all back into the gate subclass the kineticist chose at character creation. I would do this similar to how the Gunslinger's Way differentiated how each subclass interacted with reload. Here is an example of how that could be accomplished:
This proposal isn't giving dedicated blast an action economy boost over dual/dedicated gate, it is giving all three a gunslinger deed equivalent and making the dedicated gate the 'deed' that is associated with elemental blast.
For a comparison, Dual might get Gather Power + Stride, and Universalist Gather + Ready Aid.
Keep in mind that Water reads as significantly better than the other elements. For instance, Tidal Surge is equivalent, but better, to what Fire gets as its 4th level cone in Blazing Wave.
I suspect that this is not an accident. Having a range of power levels for elements is a useful tool for a playtest. Aquakineticists seem to be the high water mark this time around. They get more versatile impulses, earlier, and often just deal more damage (such as getting 1d8 blasts). At a guess, fire is the roughest.
I don't think we want a situation where dedicated gate kineticists have a mathematical (damage/accuracy) advantage over dual/universalist gate kineticists. That leads to a mechanically 'correct' version of the class; there is a reason why specialist wizards don't get a damage bump over universalists.
Something like Stoke the Elements can be that, but worse. Not only can it imbalance the subclasses, hiding it in a feat benefits system mastery in a way not really found in 2E.
As an alternative to a direct damage increase, I think it would be interesting if each gate got some form of Gather Elements action economy booster and Dedicated Gate's was something like Gather + Blast. This would slightly slant it towards damage, but would also free up actions to do other things like move or Raise a Shield.
Later on, I wouldn't mind if a dedicated gate kineticist got access to a feat that let them keep up 2 kinetic auras at a time with some sort of condition. Perhaps a lingering aura feat that let them keep an aura active with a Fortitude save.
I was thinking of how Sickened/Frightened work and how negative levels worked. That said, I don't think you should discount con checks; these effects often lead to cascade failures. Fortitude saves are very often tied to diseases, poisons, and sickened conditions.
I feel like Status bonus to Speed for Air is wasted. So many Air abilities/auras already provide a Status bonus to Speed.
This is assuming a rewrite of the class where there wouldn't be conflict and the 'Gather Elements' ability has a function beyond switching elements or recovering from Overflow.
If you wanted 1E crossover however you could alternatively give air concealment (with the standard 'cannot hide' rider).
Drained is ludicrously worse than Burn. Keep in mind that it cannot be easily healed, unlike most status conditions, and by default is reduced by 1 at a day's rest.
Many people are complaining about being 1 point behind in attacks for a majority of levels. Drained puts you as 1 point behind in everything. It isn't something to casually throw out.
I don't dislike adding CON damage based on a roll or action, but drained 1 is way to prohibitive as a condition.
I would like to see two things.
First, a class archetype (Kinetic Knight) that prevented ranged elemental blasts (and maybe impulses) in exchange for medium/heavy armor proficiency. If possible, I'd like for such a class to also count as having a hand free for impulses if they were wielding an elemental weapon in one hand and a shield in the other.
Second, baseline benefits to each element when that element is gathered. IE:
I think Fury is an exception to how they've done subclasses, rather than the rule. Almost all subclasses get a lot more focus and love.
I feel like too many impulses were upgraded to 3-actions simply because at level 19 the class can Gather Element as a free action, and at level 20 there is a feat to reduce 3-action impulses to 2-actions.
This can leave the class very clunky to play for the majority of the game. 3-action spells and abilities are relatively rare for reason, reserved for either flurries of martial actions (often including movement) or spells that affect the battlefield.
I think the class would feel much better without balancing around those late-game action economy bonuses.
I also think that it is a bit of a bummer that you can't Elemental Blast after using an Overflow impulse. It makes more sense to me that you'd need to 'rev the engine' to cast a big overflow spell, rather than killing the engine when you cast one and needing to restart it.
In that sense, Gather Power would empower you till the end of your next turn, but you wouldn't need to reuse it again in combat unless you wanted to rev the engine again or switch elements. You could still use elemental blast of that element, or other impulses.
I am looking at a Strike, something literally every single character can access. If I wanted to be really discourteous, I would have pointed out that the air blast is also significantly weaker than an Elf Wizard with a longbow.
Same accuracy at 1 attack, -1 at 2, -2 at 3. But deals 4.5 damage instead of 2.5 and has deadly d10. That is 8.475 per round when attacking three times, compared to the air blast's 3.125.
Simply put, virtually no option in this game is as meaningless as a 1d4 dice attack with no damage boosts. And yet, it is entirely possible to make an dedicated gate air kineticist with that as your only damaging option.
I won't deny that Aerial Boomerang is the intended low level damage option over Air Blast, but my point is that it isn't really accurate to say that Air Blast can stand still and attack a bunch and get anything done at all. Keep in mind, they keep that damage unchanged up till +1 Striking Runes at level 4.
Air and fire can do this from range and be more accurate than any martial except a flurry ranger or a fighter.
Air basically doesn't have an elemental blast. I can't overstate just how piddly 1d4 physical damage is, even with ranged agile.
Take an Acolyte of Nethys, the first level 1 creature alphabetically. An aerokineticist will deal on average 2.5 damage at ranged, and will hit on a 9, a 13, and a 17. That means the they will deal:
That's 6 rounds to kill a level 1 creature at level one, doing nothing at all but blasting. In comparison, here is a Giant Instinct Barbarian with a Greatsword, using Rage, Sudden Charge, then Stride + Strikex2. They hit on an 8, then a 13 for 16.5 damage.
This gets catastrophically worse against creatures with any amount of resistances, which is not uncommon. It would take an unfathomable amount of time for an air kineticist to deal with a Vampire Bat Swarm with its elemental blast at level 1.
The capstone blasts that take 4 actions aren't particularly competitive at fodder killing, and that isn't even a niche in this game. No group struggles with fodder.
They deal on average around 8d10 in a 20-foot burst (16 squares), for 44 damage. Keep in mind, Electric Arc can be cast twice for the same number of actions, is 50 damage to two targets, and can be cast at a higher DC.
For a huge percentage of the game's encounters, it will be better to use a scaling cantrip than the obvious big blast skills. Many encounters will not have 4+ enemies within 16 squares.
Fire is particularly terrible. They have the following damaging abilities:
It is very clear that none of these except Blazing Wave is anything close to reasonably damaging. It seems the intended way to play is to stack up Ignite the Sun, Furnace Form, AND Kindle Inner Flame to boost your teammates damage while throwing out 1 decent damage Elemental Blast per turn, but the action economy doesn't really work well for that.
The base Inventor can add up to 9 + 1d6 damage to their strikes, and use a bigger dice. The base Thaumaturge can add up to 12 damage. The base kineticist can add 0, and might be locked into 1d6 or 1d4 agile attacks.
If I'm using a normal weapon and an agile weapon, I can attack for 1d8, and then at 1d6 without needed an action to Interact to change my attack.
If I'm a dual-gate kineticist, I need to Gather Element after attacking with a non-agile blast to get the benefit of agile. Which defeats the point: getting both a decent damage hit and a likely to connect smaller hit.
The Wuxia theming for the elemental abilities; much better than the plethora of feats named after spells in 1E. As a secondary, the base of elemental stances and starting off with 1/2/6 elements seems very solid to me conceptually.
Initial positive perceptions of the classes theme, feats, and abilities
The ability to do minor manipulations even at level 1 is core to the theme, and this does that better than 1E.
Some of the earlier feats seem pretty close to releasing to print: all the universal level 1 feats, clean as air, wings of air, geologic attunement, stone shield, eternal torch, deflecting wave, tidal hands.
Gather Power and Extract Element seem to do appropriate things with understandable text.
Balance of the class as a whole. For example:
Are the feats appropriate/fun
Earth and Air seem to have pretty lock-in identities as a control/melee and utility elements respectfully.
Aura Shaping and many of the auras seem to be unique and potentially quite powerful.
Are perceived weaknesses appropriate for the class? IE you wouldn't complain that a Wizard is physically fragile
Least favorite part of class
Simply put, the damage numbers. This is the lowest damaging class in the game, below even alchemist. Like the alchemist, investigator, and thaumaturge this class is locked into a lower hit range for its attacks and into 1H weapons. These classes get significant tradeoffs for their lower hit range and weaker weapons.
The alchemist gets persistent and splash damage and now has the the bomb variety to target pretty much any weakness. The investigator can predict critical hits, occasionally swing with Intelligence, and has the fairly large damage boost of studied target. The Thaumaturge has very high damage boosts from weaknesses, and useful effects from implements.
The kineticist gets nothing for its day to day attacks. It cannot easily target weaknesses, even as universal gate, and there is nothing in its base kit that really incentivizes the player to use elemental blasts at all except the requirement of having hands free.
A dedicated gate aerokineticist is particularly in the rough. Nothing in this game is currently locked into 1d4 damage attacks. Elemental Weapon is arguably mandatory for air kineticists just to get a proper 1d8 weapon in their hands, and that still is just getting to the point before where other classes add Rage, Exploit Weakness, Studied Strike, Sneak Attack, or action economy.
The other issue is that it seems most of the damage is locked behind system knowledge and picking the right feats. This goes against 2E philosophy, which puts scaling in the base class and variety in the feats. It seems to me that the damage of a kineticist that takes the best impulses will be much better than the kineticist that doesn't.
Initial negative perceptions of the classes on theme, feats and abilities
It doesn't appear to me the theme of 'wracked by elemental planes' is evident beyond needing CON as a nerf to the main attribute. I'd like to see something add CON to damage, even if isn't always active. For instance, making the first Elemental Blast after Gathering Power gain that damage.
There are a lot of feats that don't really improve the combat capability of the class, either because they aren't oriented to do so or because they are too weak. A short list: Voice of Elements, Blast Barrage, Command Elemental, Whisper on the Wind, Wiles on the Wind, Stepping Stone, Igneogenesis, Eternal Torch, Crawling Fire, Usurp the Lunar Reins. I'd like a second-pass looking at the weak ones, and perhaps making the others skill feats that require the ability to channel an element.
Adapt Element is interesting, but takes entirely too much bookspace for what it does. This is particularly true of its higher level variants. I'd again recommend making these optional skill feats.
Extract Element works fine, for fire. The other 3 (and likely 5) elements are too focused on Bludgeoning or Slashing damage, and will face more enemies resistant to their damage without having an elemental trait. There are 59 creatures with the fire trait, many of which are dragons. There are 28 air creatures, 52 earth (many without resistances to B), and 42 water by my count.
Specific Imbalances of the class. For example:
Are there aspects that would be used excessively?
As written, water is a bit better as a ranged blaster than its counterparts. It gets access to better AoE impulses, and has two decent damage kinetic auras. Tidal Hands is just a better Burning Hands in bludgeoning, while all the other elements struggle to hit cantrip damage.
Chain Blasts and Aura Shaping are both significantly above the average feat for the class, which may say more about the other feats than either of those. Wings of Air is pretty above average for movement skills, effectively giving permanent flight at 8 instead of 17. Speaking of, it is unclear how multiclassing will work for abilities that get stronger by level and all classes could get this at 16.
Gather Amalgamation + Elemental Immunity is immunity to 4 elements, and it isn't fully clear what that means. Even more confusing with wood/metal thrown in.
Assume Earth's Mantle arguably stacks with Apex items that boost strength, as one is an item bonus and the other is untyped. I doubt that the intention is for kineticists to reach 24 strength.
Aura Shaping and Winter's Clutch creates an up to 30-foot damage field dealing your level in cold damage to any creature forced to enter that field by your movement. This is substantially stronger than most of the overflow + three action feats.
Crowned in tempest's Fury doesn't have a duration.
What is too underpowered? Overpowered?
The elements are not balanced. Almost every water skill does more damage than every at-level fire skill. Air's damage is handicapped by effectively not having an elemental blast. Earth has a higher potential in melee.
I think that Stoke the Elements is a limiting factor to the damage. My guess is that they didn't want fireball level scaling damage with an additional +2 to +10 added in.
I hope that Stoke is taken out after the playtest, because the next turn clause is a bit clunky and because it may be a big balancing factor.
I'd also like to see a Psychic rework of the impulses. Ideally, I'd like to see some sort of big Amp effect on the major damaging impulses usable once per combat or round.
Something like "if you haven't used an impulse since the last time you used Gather Power, your elemental blast is stoked and deals additional damage equal to your constitution modifier."
Plus feats for other effects, and different effects baseline for impulses. Like how the psychic cantrips became fun nova options and modified at-will options, I hope to see impulses undergo the same treatment.
I don't think anybody uses a d4 weapon for damage except with damage boosters, but that's what air is expected to do.
Air seems to be about spamming Aerial Boomerang at early levels, to be honest, with Cycling Blast at level 6 to toss in a weak blast. A potential 4d4 in a 60-foot line with 'full' scaling (DC 17) is much better than a piddly 1d4 agile blast. Also scales up every two levels, which not everything does for kineticist.
At level 1 with Flexible Blast it is at best +6 elemental blast 1d8+3 in melee, and +6 elemental blast 1d8 at ranged. It isn't longsword damage at ranged. It's longword damage in melee, and longbow damage at ranged, with worse action economy (for example, no easy way to attack a second time with agile at early levels with 2 actions).
I think that the capstones could use a bit of tweaking before live release. Some seem to do very powerful things, while others have barely any combat relevance at all.
Looking at the capstone feats for each element. These are at 18 unless otherwise listed.
INFINITE EXPANSE OF BLUEST HEAVEN [three-actions]
10-foot burst, many traits (lots of immunities). Effectively makes enemies flat-footed and fleeing while inside the tiny cylinder. While cool, this seems like it will most often play out as slowed 1.
CROWNED IN TEMPEST’S FURY [two-actions]
This has no listed duration, but I'm assuming it is supposed to be a combat buff lasting 1 minute. Adds a respectable 1d12 electric to elemental blasts and 2d12 kinetic aura.
ASSUME EARTH’S MANTLE (14) [three-actions]
Seems a little odd to me that this will usually make your defense worse, but is also practically an Apex item well before you could normally get one.
REBIRTH IN LIVING STONE [two-actions]
No listed duration, so I'm again going to assume this is supposed to be a 1 minute combat buff. Adds a lot of THP, immunity to critical hits and precision, and increases damage die to d10s or d12s. All solid.
THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN WEEPS [three-actions]
9d10 on a 20-foot burst isn't competing with spells, but there is some chance to up to 20d6 more over a minute. In general, this will do decent but not great damage while controlling the battlefield somewhat.
ALL SHALL END IN FLAMES [three-actions]
This hits a bigger area than The Shattered Mountain Weeps, but it also deals significantly less damage at 7d10. In practice, the former is always better. This is far below what spells deal at this level range, and really is not an effective use of 4 actions. Keep in mind that in the same time, a Wizard could use 2 level 3 fireballs and deal a little more damage. This provides zero benefits other than damage, and bonus: this also hurts you! The phoenix ability is a neat touch, but this needs more time in the kitchen.
IGNITE THE SUN [three-actions]
This ability exists. It is calling Flaming Sphere, and it is available to casters at level 3. Kidding aside, the purpose of this ability seems to be the 1d6 fire damage it adds to Strikes, fire spells, and fire impulses. The laughably ridiculous 4d6 fire damage to orb itself deals at this level just isn't relevant, though it is nice that it grows. I'd prefer this as a 1 minute non-sustained buff without the slightly heightened Flaming Sphere attached to it.
RIDE THE TSUNAMI [three-actions]
This is water's part of the 'do a little damage' big overflow cycle. It does decent damage (8d10) over a decent area (60-foot cone). It doesn't really have any battlefield utility; 10 foot of forced movement has literally never been relevant in any 2E game I've ever played. It is an extraordinarily minor effect; I hope this at least knocks prone on a failure when released.
USURP THE LUNAR REINS [three-actions]
This is incredibly do-nothing in combat. Keep in mind that at level 1, a water kineticist can produce an endless amount of drinkable water using Gather Element. This can create a 20-ft burst of water with literally no listed combat effect, or make a similarly sized bit of water difficult terrain. Even in the extra rare water encounters I've seen, spending 4 actions to make a small cylinder of difficult terrain would not have been relevant of effective. I get that they were mainly aiming to replicate the non-combat features of Control Water, but this seems to be a pretty half-baked execution as a level 18 class feat. I'd prefer largely noncombat feats like these to be skill feats requiring a relevant elemental gate.
Yes, but once you get those feats it is almost always terrible to use Elemental Blast itself. It is not at all comparable to any martial's attack; it is both less accurate and less damaging. For the first 6 levels of the game Elemental Blast caps out at "deals the same damage as a Sorcerer with a longsword and strength as a secondary stat".
It gets one generally better than martial feat in Cycle Blasts, one equivalent but weaker due to dice/action economy feat in Maelstrom Blast, and two level 18 element specific feats that passively raise the damage up to more respectable levels. Before level 10, I don't think there's an argument that a kineticist using Elemental Blast as their primary thing is going to be competing in the martial olympics in any way.
This will put kineticists attacks at:
It seems the general approach will typically put kineticists behind in attacks by -1.
Kineticist damage, on the other hand, scales more poorly. Kineticists will have the same lack of a full STR modifier to their damage, but will also be using lower dice with worse action economy, bonuses to damage, and traits.
For example, most martials using 1H weapons either have a Double Slice equivalent, a Sneak attack equivalent, or a flat damage buff (3+). Elemental Blast is probably roughly at -4 to damage compared to most alternatives at level 1, with that gap increasing with weapon dice stacking.
This seems to be an 'poor chassis, good options' approach. Attacking with Elemental Blast is not designed to be competitive by itself, and is not equivalent to any martial using their basic class features.
Meanwhile, you have the extraordinarily action-efficient Chain Blast and early access to relatively decent AoE to compensate.
Well, I agree it's kind of weird that Constitution isn't widely used in the class, just class DC from what I could see, not counting the "basic" uses. But I liked the level 3 Extract Element skill, if I understand correctly you steal the element of an elemental target, and it deals damage, but the interesting thing is that you can now use the target's element to overcome your immunity? Like I caught fire from a red dragon, and now he is no longer immune to my fire attacks, and still loses 1 in AC? That's it? So he and a Thaumaturge in the party are the terror of elemental creatures lol!
That's basically true, but keep in mind that there are no bludgeoning or slashing elementals. This isn't quite as impressive for air, earth, or water.
It does seem that versatile cold or electric should be added to air and water. That said, I'm somewhat skeptical that Elemental Blast is intended to be their core weapon. It certainly isn't scaled that way. It seems that on-demand impulses are supposed to be the main damage, outside of outliers like Chain Blasts.
At level 5, martials will go from 18 to 19 in their primary attack stat but will go +2 off promoting to expert. Kineticist will go from 16 to 18 in their primary attack stat. It seems like they want kineticists to be at -1 to attacks from 1-4, and don't want them to go +0 from 5-10.
Not sure the payoff is worth it, at least for elemental blasts. It seems to be the cost for having access to Aerial Boomerang, Flame Eruption, and Tidal Hands, giving semi-reliable AOE damage at also -1 DC.
Some basic notes:
Con / 8 HP
Each element gets a lot of specific feats. Some highlights:
Air - Invisibility, wall of wind, 8th level fly
To me, there seem to be some pretty big imbalances in later feats and some damage wonkiness. There are a few efficient actions in there, but the baseline damage and accuracy seems to be really low, at a maximum STR/DEX of 16 to start and only 1H weapon scaling.
Alright, I'll try to update these by end of the week. As far as some balancing:
1. Hellflame; I will change this to 3d6 fire with a 1d6 evil rider. The intention was to land roughly around Scorching Rays, but slightly better against good enemies.
That's an utterly incredible job. I love the low level options here, and 21+ levels are done really well. There are a lot of typos, though. I can try to list them, if you'd like, here or in PMs.
Absolutely. Feel free to list any typos here, I'll try to address them as soon as possible.
This was a one-man job, and one of the unfortunate side effects is not being able to recognize typos; after the 50th time you've read the same sentence, the mind tends to just skip over it and send what it wants to read instead.
I've finally released my hopefully final version of a mythic system for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. This product is an evolution of the Mythic Advancement PDF I created a while back, but its not a just rebranding.
I am confident that this product (and some additional resources I will link below) is all any player or GM will need to run mythic content in their games.
What is mythic content? Mythic content is material intended to provide an alternate and additional path for character advancement. Pathfinder 1st Edition created the mythic system somewhat as a replacement for D&D 3.5's Epic Leveling system, which also provided another route of character progression.
This book draws on both of those sources, as well as Owlcat Games's Wrath of the Righteous, which converted the 1E Adventure Path of the same name which a much changed mythic system.
The book creates epic leveling progressions for each currently existing class. It also gives tools every table and resource they need to create campaigns for such characters, including expanding treasure, monster, NPC, and hazard creation tables. Running alternate or variant systems and worried about the ramifications? Each and every one is discussed.
It also gives spellcasters a vast array of new options for their old spells, letting them heighten their spells past level 10 for additional effects.
But this biggest thing I've added for both epic characters and characters playing in 'normal' level ranges is an entirely new system: mythic archetypes.
Like normal archetypes, these allow you to take archetype feats with your class feats after taking the dedication. These run alongside the normal archetype system, representing the source of power your character draws from; taking a mythic archetype does not like you out of taking an archetype or vice versa. There is even a mythic free archetype system.
The 36 new mythic archetypes represent a massive range of potential sources of power. For those not content to simply play 'like' a lich or a dragon, many archetypes even include a high level feat that will allow a player to permanently transform into the source of their power.
For those that liked the mythic paths of 1st Edition, I have also converted each of them to this new system, potentially letting 1st Edition characters with mythic paths be converted to 2nd Edition. I've even added in new archetypes for Primal and Occult spellcasters in the same style as the Archmage and Heirophant. Note that the Champion path became the Martial Master mythic archetype, due to the Champion and its multiclass archetype already existing in 2E.
This book also has many landscapes, character arts, and portraits made by me using secret and arcane techniques to overcome my total lack of artistic talent.
Finally, I'd like to link some very helpful resources I've co-opted, knowing that whatever I made would not be nearly as good.
If either of these content creators wants me to take these down, I will.
Second edition of Mythic Rules coming soon (revised to massively increase low-level options), looking for last minute feedback. AMA!
Functionally, there is no difference between the two of you mythic heighten them. This has worked in tests because of the opportunity cost.
Mythic heightening works like a metamagic. By using it, you are foregoing your third action (most of the time) and you aren't adding any other metamagic to the spell. A fourth level fireball can do 8d6 damage with metamagic, or 8d6 with a Shield cantrip or Stride, or 10d6 with mythic heighten. A low level fireball isn't going to be as useful or safe, even if they function the same way when going all out.
As far as why this is necessary, spell casters are going to be facing things +1 higher than normal, without access to either the additional spell slots or the higher level spells they normally would have against said opponents. Mythic heightening in this way extends their day and their peak so that they can maintain effectiveness.
Second edition of Mythic Rules coming soon (revised to massively increase low-level options), looking for last minute feedback. AMA!
Here is how the spellcasting chassis for archetypes work:
Each spellcasting archetype gets the initial and basic spellcasting benefits with the dedication. They have feats for expert, master, and legendary spellcasting benefits. The last is not unique to mythic archetypes, and is intended for epic play (it is a level 22 feat that adds a 9th and 10th level spell slot, with the caveat that a character can only gain one additional 10th level slot through feats).
Each mythic casting archetype also allows casters to mythic heighten spells when they take the dedication. This is a special use of the Surge ability. It is slightly different from the original way I handled this. Cantrips, focus spells, and 10th level spells are always mythic heightened once you have the ability. There are also feats to mythic heighten spells from items and ancestry feats as well.
Finally, whenever you mythic heighten a spell cast from your spell slots, you give up one of your highest level spell slots instead of the slot you cast the spell from. For example, if a 7th level Wizard mythic heightened fireball, it would heighten to 5th level and they would have to give up one of their 4th level spell slots. They can still cast their 3rd level fireball from its original spell slot later; they can even mythic heighten it. They had used all of their 4th level spell slots instead, they could choose to lose their prepared fireball spell slot or another 3rd level spell slot, as that is the highest they have left.
There is an exception for 10th level spells, which are never 'used up' in this way.
Anyway, a lot of the power and 'mythicness' of the spellcasting archetypes will be contained in the mythic feats that they allow you to access and the unique feats for their archetype. For instance, Archmage allows you to take feats that accomplish the following:
One feat at relatively high level in the Archmage class is Spell Storm, a three-action activity that can only be used once per hour. Immediately after using this activity, you can spend up to 6 actions to use the Cast a Spell activity. However, each spell you cast must have a different name. After using this ability, you are stunned 2 and cannot use Surge for one minute.
As another example, the Lich can get feats that allow them to have fly as a constant spell. They also get the mythic feat True Necromancy, which lets them cast create undead without needing secondary casters and with a casting time of only 1 minute; this feat also allows undead to be assigned to troops and commanded as a troop minion.
Second edition of Mythic Rules coming soon (revised to massively increase low-level options), looking for last minute feedback. AMA!
This sounds incredibly good. I already liked the previous iteration of your Mythic rules, as well as your Kineticist homebrew; this seems like an all-around improvement. I'm mostly interested in Elemental. Will it have options for both casters and martials, and will it have para-elemental options like lightning and ice?
Currently I do not have para-elemental options. The elemental archetype is on the martial spectrum, but I think most of the archetypes will have appeals to both martials and casters.
Because it is on the martial spectrum, it will give 4 Hit Points per feat, advance a single skill to expert, and give a level 1 or 2 fighter Feat. It will also modify Surge, however, and both martials and casters will benefit from this. Their Surge has the passive effect of increasing elemental damage after using Surge, and gives the option to change the traits and damage types of abilities you control.
For instance, you could convert Fireball into an Electric Air trait spell that deals electricity damage (which is passively increased by the other effect). Or into an Earth trait spell that does bludgeoning damage.
It also has a feat that allows you to easily travel between the Material Plane and a plane corresponding to your element; this also gives you access to the four elemental languages and a circumstance bonus to Intimidation or Diplomacy check against creatures with the elemental trait.
It also has three focus spells: Elemental Blast (which can be used to heal you or creatures of the appropriate elemental trait), Elemental Cascade, and Elemental Landscape.