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I am playing a kineticist. The ability Elemental Overflow states:

Starting at 6th level, whenever she has at least 3 points of burn, the kineticist gains a +2 size bonus to two physical ability scores of her choice.

I'm wondering when that choice of what abilities to affect is made.

Does the character pick once (when the ability is gained at 6th level) that, for instance, she will gain +2 STR / +2 to CON / +0 DEX and stick with that choice? Or may she pick each day, whenever she takes a third point of burn? Or may she choose freely -- deciding to move bonus to +0 STR / +2 CON / +2 DEX because she is about to cross a wobbly bridge, and presumably spending a standard action to make the change?

I'm trying to learn the rules for a kineticist, and I'm hoping someone can help me with this detail.

So imagine: I am a kineticist, and I decide that I need to land a powerful blow, so I spend a move action doing Gather Power -- or perhaps a whole round action in order to gain -2 burn cost for my next turn. Unfortunately for me, the gather power is really showy, so the enemy archer who had a readied action to shoot anyone in my party casting a spell or similar action picks me out and looses an arrow, hitting me.

All right, I still have some chance. I have to make a concentration check, or else I will lose the effect and also take the burn I had planned to avoid. To make the concentration check, I roll a D20 + my Kineticist level. And the DC I need to make-or-exceed is, according to the rules: "DC = 10 + damage taken + effective spell level of her kinetic blast"

OK, I know what 10 is, and I can find out the damage taken, but what do the rules mean by "effective spell level of her kinetic blast"? Does it mean the kinetic blast that I will probably be using later on my standard action (or actually on my next turn)? Because I haven't yet decided WHICH blast to use, and I certainly haven't declared it.[1] Does it mean the blast that I know how to use? Because simple blast HAS no level.

Can someone explain what value I need to use here?


I am creating a kineticist, and starting him at 3rd level. I *really* like the fluff of the Kinetic Blade infusion. Instead of standing back 30 feet or more, I charge right into the middle of the combat (bare-handed), then conjure up a morningstar of earth (or whatever) to deliver my attack. I want to play a character who likes to mix it up -- I like the fluff so much that I'm probably taking this, regardless of the drawbacks.

But oh, the drawbacks. If I am understanding the rules correctly, then this is significantly worse than the simple blast. I have to be in the melee (where I am more easily attacked, and am likely to get pinned down by an opponent). I have to pay a point of burn -- that's a significant amount of damage to me (perhaps half of what I'm doing to my opponent) and it limits me to doing this only a few rounds per day!

At least I've got the benefits. Normally, melee attacks do slightly more damage than ranged... but not this one. I do not get a strength bonus to damage. I DO get to use my strength bonus to hit, but my strength is worse than my dex, so in my case that's actually a penalty. I don't get an advantage against their armor, or even get to change my damage type. If I had multiple attacks, that would be nice: as a kineticist I will first get that at 8th level, and haste spells aren't likely until about that range either. I don't even get attacks of opportunity or provide flanking bonuses to my friends, because it disappears at the end of my turn. I suppose I can get the +2 from doing a charge; that's just about the only thing I could find.

I really want this to be good, but right now it looks like by burning hitpoints I can, for just a few rounds a day, take a to-hit penalty for the right to get up close where the enemy can hit me. Please tell me what I am missing so I can take advantage of this really nice-sounding ability.

For the campaign we're playing in now my wife and I are playing a matched pair of characters. We are twin magical gnomes with different personalities (ying and yang twins: a study in contrasts). She is an evocation-focused wizard: 90% of the time she is casting direct damage spells on the enemy. Fireball, flaming sphere, magic missile: anything to bring down the bad guys.

Meanwhile, I am a Fey Bloodline Sorcerer. In contrast, I have taken NO direct damage spells. From first level I was using Silent Illusion and Grease to confound opponents. I am now 5th level, and have things like Spider Climb and Hideous Laughter.

What I am looking for is suggestions of spells I can take. Because a sorcerer is so limited in spells known, I have to choose wisely. (For instance, I had thought Enlarge Person would be a useful buff for my party members, but turns out they felt the reach and extra damage weren't worth the AC and Dex penalties so I had to swap out that spell.) I am looking for interesting utility spells or effective battlefield control and debuff spells. Both because I'm a "prankster" personality and also because I don't want to steal my sister's shtick, it shouldn't be anything that does direct damage.

Any suggestions for useful (low-level: 1st through 4th level spells) spells that fit this style?