Mastering the Elements: N. Jolly's guide to the Pathfinder Kineticist


Advice

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Tels wrote:
ASharkInAPanzerNamedShark wrote:

-snip- [/URL]

Not exactly a fan of your changes to Burn, Gather Energy and Overflow to be honest. Burn and Gather Energy are both straight power boosts and removes any hint of risk/reward from the class at all. Overflow is just straight up worse than it currently is and adds way too much extra verbiage for, essentially, no reason.

I went through and made Elemental Overflow more similar to the original, but changed the wording on the second part of the ability to be less math-intensive. Instead of having to recalculate your ability scores when you get a constitution or dexterity bonus, you gain a flat bonus to the stuff that those ability scores affected.


Im also dropping the thread for the unchained Kineticist off right here so that this thread doesn't get off topic. http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2u0fp?Unchained-Kineticist#1

I can't format anything as I'm on a very weak mobile phone and have very limited access to an actual desktop computer. But the link is still there I guess. Have fun


ASharkInAPanzerNamedShark wrote:

Im also dropping the thread for the unchained Kineticist off right here so that this thread doesn't get off topic. Unchained Kineticist

I can't format anything as I'm on a very weak mobile phone and have very limited access to an actual desktop computer. But the link is still there I guess. Have fun

Linked it for you.


Thanks tels. I can't edit on the phone I have.


So I've read through this whole guide, and I've got one question thats reaaaaaally been bugging me:

Does Gold count as a prerequisite for crafting? If so, Kinetic Crafter might need some errata.

Silver Crusade

AnonMD wrote:

So I've read through this whole guide, and I've got one question thats reaaaaaally been bugging me:

Does Gold count as a prerequisite for crafting? If so, Kinetic Crafter might need some errata.

Well you can boost the crafting DC by 5 to be able to craft things, but it's something I'll look at since it's in a product which I wrote (always nice being the author).


AnonMD wrote:

So I've read through this whole guide, and I've got one question thats reaaaaaally been bugging me:

Does Gold count as a prerequisite for crafting? If so, Kinetic Crafter might need some errata.

This should go in the 3rd party version of this thread, but in general prerequisites are things that cannot be taken away from you (skill ranks, attributes, feats) and not things that come and go like gold and other materials.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
This should go in the 3rd party version of this thread, but in general prerequisites are things that cannot be taken away from you (skill ranks, attributes, feats) and not things that come and go like gold and other materials.

Oh, whoops, didn't realize there was one.


Mark Seifter wrote:
DrakeRoberts wrote:
Hey, Mark! I was just wondering if Elemental Whispers (Wild Talent) counts as a familiar for being able to apply archetypes to your elemental buddy. Also, can said buddy use skills (well, non-physical skills) or take mental actions when not manifested, or do you need to manifest it for it to actually be an entity capable of actions (such as making knowledge or perception checks)?

There's never going to be an official ruling due to the fact that the whole "familiar archetypes" concept only excepts in PComps, so RPG line books like Horror Adventures can't reference them. There's some weird things about trying to apply them to variant familiars overall (since they aren't classes so might have weird things that conflict with each other like hypothetical figment and elemental whispers), but if someone wanted to do so with elemental whispers in my game, as long as the two didn't alter the same familiar abilities (elemental whispers text, if we read through it, removes speak with animals of its kind and makes adjustments to Alertness) or introduce another conflict (like figment above, though it already doesn't work due to speak with animals of its kind), it should be OK.

Presumably it can take mental actions in your head, such as Knowledge checks, but it can only communicate empathically at first.

Based on this, what familiar archtypes are left available?


Jonas Seaborn wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
DrakeRoberts wrote:
Hey, Mark! I was just wondering if Elemental Whispers (Wild Talent) counts as a familiar for being able to apply archetypes to your elemental buddy. Also, can said buddy use skills (well, non-physical skills) or take mental actions when not manifested, or do you need to manifest it for it to actually be an entity capable of actions (such as making knowledge or perception checks)?

There's never going to be an official ruling due to the fact that the whole "familiar archetypes" concept only excepts in PComps, so RPG line books like Horror Adventures can't reference them. There's some weird things about trying to apply them to variant familiars overall (since they aren't classes so might have weird things that conflict with each other like hypothetical figment and elemental whispers), but if someone wanted to do so with elemental whispers in my game, as long as the two didn't alter the same familiar abilities (elemental whispers text, if we read through it, removes speak with animals of its kind and makes adjustments to Alertness) or introduce another conflict (like figment above, though it already doesn't work due to speak with animals of its kind), it should be OK.

Presumably it can take mental actions in your head, such as Knowledge checks, but it can only communicate empathically at first.

Based on this, what familiar archtypes are left available?

Possibly only Emissary and Sage, from Familiar Folio, between that book and Animal Archive


One thing that's been bugging me; what happens to the kineticist when their element isn't present? It mentions drawing power from the Elemental Plane, but what does a geokineticist do when there's no earth?


they draw rock from the elemental plane of rock, just like fire is pulling from the plane of fire. AKA, they effectively create their element and their creation exists just long enough to do the thing.


Chess Pwn wrote:
they draw rock from the elemental plane of rock, just like fire is pulling from the plane of fire. AKA, they effectively create their element and their creation exists just long enough to do the thing.

Cool, thanks for the quick reply. Do you have the source for that by chance? I'll probably be asked at some point

Paizo Employee Designer

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Dirk Greenlees wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
they draw rock from the elemental plane of rock, just like fire is pulling from the plane of fire. AKA, they effectively create their element and their creation exists just long enough to do the thing.
Cool, thanks for the quick reply. Do you have the source for that by chance? I'll probably be asked at some point

How about me? Hopefully that carries enough weight for you. ;) Also you can use Material Plane rock from nearby if you visually prefer to do so, your choice.

For context in case it's necessary, I designed the class.


I hope you didn't design the archetypes too. I mean, it's cool if you did and all, but I'd like an archetype I'd actually use that is Paizo published(though N. Jolly's are amazing).


Mark Seifter wrote:
Dirk Greenlees wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
they draw rock from the elemental plane of rock, just like fire is pulling from the plane of fire. AKA, they effectively create their element and their creation exists just long enough to do the thing.
Cool, thanks for the quick reply. Do you have the source for that by chance? I'll probably be asked at some point

How about me? Hopefully that carries enough weight for you. ;) Also you can use Material Plane rock from nearby if you visually prefer to do so, your choice.

For context in case it's necessary, I designed the class.

No, that's perfect, I was reading your FAQ answers earlier haha. Thanks a ton.


Must say, that was a pleasant surprise for my first time posting on the forum. You guys rock


Azten wrote:
I hope you didn't design the archetypes too. I mean, it's cool if you did and all, but I'd like an archetype I'd actually use that is Paizo published(though N. Jolly's are amazing).

I think the problem is that the class abilities are so finely interwoven to work together for the class as a whole to work as it does in its well balanced state that any archetype that fiddles with those abilities disrupts that balance and are therefore underwhelming compared to the base class.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Texas Snyper wrote:
Azten wrote:
I hope you didn't design the archetypes too. I mean, it's cool if you did and all, but I'd like an archetype I'd actually use that is Paizo published(though N. Jolly's are amazing).
I think the problem is that the class abilities are so finely interwoven to work together for the class as a whole to work as it does in its well balanced state that any archetype that fiddles with those abilities disrupts that balance and are therefore underwhelming compared to the base class.

This is often the case, and it's a much better situation than the other possibility which is an archetype that you would always take because it's a strict upgrade (gunslinger suffered from that one and some of the issues people have with the class stemmed from its archetypes and not the base class). That said, I think blood kineticist and elemental purist are both pretty good (witha shoutout to the freelancer and developer on purist for both having cool stuff and also not invalidating mono-element non-purists, which most ways to write a mono-element archetype would do), and while annihilator isn't my personal playstyle, it can lead to a brutal switch-hitter.


Texas Snyper wrote:


I think the problem is that the class abilities are so finely interwoven to work together for the class as a whole to work as it does in its well balanced state that any archetype that fiddles with those abilities disrupts that balance and are therefore underwhelming compared to the base class.

That accounts for some of it, I think. Plus I think there's been a general trend toward erring on the side of caution with archetype design lately.

But then there's stuff like the blood kineticist's fort negates sickened for 3 burn at level 9 and elemental annhiliators actually doing less damage with their signature ability for half the game and the entirety of the overwhelming soul, pyschokineticist and dark elementalist that just leave me scratching my head.

Silver Crusade

Texas Snyper wrote:
Azten wrote:
I hope you didn't design the archetypes too. I mean, it's cool if you did and all, but I'd like an archetype I'd actually use that is Paizo published(though N. Jolly's are amazing).
I think the problem is that the class abilities are so finely interwoven to work together for the class as a whole to work as it does in its well balanced state that any archetype that fiddles with those abilities disrupts that balance and are therefore underwhelming compared to the base class.

There's a ton of moving parts in this class, and I've seen a lot of design for archetypes suffer in this class from not really recognizing how best to alter it. It takes a lot of insight to actually make something that's along the same power level, but I think that's something I've managed to do with this class, and I'm glad my efforts have been appreciated.

I've been lucky enough to work with publishers who have let me do my own thing, and that's lead to some straight up awesome archetypes like Dimensional Ripper and Corpse Puppeteer.


Not to mention the lovely Dragon Pact Kineticist that can make Kinetic Fist, you know, worth it.


Dragon Pact Kineticist?


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Considering the kineticist is one those classes that has built in archetypes(like sorcerers, oracles, bloodragers, etc.) they do not need archetypes, they need more elements and wild talents.


Dragon78 wrote:
Considering the kineticist is one those classes that has built in archetypes(like sorcerers, oracles, bloodragers, etc.) they do not need archetypes, they need more elements and wild talents.

Well, I don't think they need more elements unless Paizo is going to devote whole books to the Kineticist (or you're going to go the third party route that does that). As it stands, the "new elements" not in Occult Adventures are woefully under-supported. More wild talents would be greatly appreciated, but it's probably difficult to justify a lot of column inches to Kineticist stuff because it applies to precisely one class, unlike feats or spells or equipment that potentially apply to many classes.

Right now, the thing I'd most appreciate is "more items, magic or otherwise, that actually apply to a kineticist" since as it stands right now, playing one is an exercise in "hocking everything you find to buy defensive items and stat boosters."


Chess Pwn wrote:
Dragon Pact Kineticist?

Kineticists of Porphyra II.


oh 3pp :(

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Considering the kineticist is one those classes that has built in archetypes(like sorcerers, oracles, bloodragers, etc.) they do not need archetypes, they need more elements and wild talents.

Well, I don't think they need more elements unless Paizo is going to devote whole books to the Kineticist (or you're going to go the third party route that does that). As it stands, the "new elements" not in Occult Adventures are woefully under-supported. More wild talents would be greatly appreciated, but it's probably difficult to justify a lot of column inches to Kineticist stuff because it applies to precisely one class, unlike feats or spells or equipment that potentially apply to many classes.

Right now, the thing I'd most appreciate is "more items, magic or otherwise, that actually apply to a kineticist" since as it stands right now, playing one is an exercise in "hocking everything you find to buy defensive items and stat boosters."

As far as 1p goes, the number one thing the kineticist needs is more wild talents. We need enough talents on wood and void to make them viable as primary elements, and we need enough talents for the 5 primary elements so there's actual decisions at each level rather than just 'pick the obvious and/or only choice at each level' so that the class feels like it has real options rather than what it feels like now, which is that each option is chosen for you. Only Aether and Earth feel like they have real choice, and even that's only by a slim margin.

I'd probably say items is the next largest concern for them, since the class could use more individual item support. Just some general purpose items that support themes and ideas would do wonders for making the class feel better.

New elements is a distant third, especially if we don't solve the first problem of lacking wild talents, since seeing as the last two new elements we received have very large problems (wood not even really having a basic talent and void only having one bad 1st level talent), we're just going to have more problems with choices that don't matter.

Chess Pwn wrote:
oh 3pp :(

If you're not playing in PFS, it's worth checking out, and I'm not just saying that since I'm the handsome and heroic writer of it.


yeah, but all I play now is PFS since all those players have home games that are in the middle of and have been playing for a year already so not looking for new players.

Paizo Employee Designer

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I agree with N. Jolly that we need more wild talents for existing elements the most, especially wood and void, by an order of magnitude more than the other things. Fortunately, the prospects look quite good for a product soonish that provides this, not to the crazy extent that I would go if unleashed to make a kineticist-only book that wouldn't sell our usual numbers due to the limited audience but would make me happy, but still to an amount where I could actually feel the options opening up while writing them in my gut (I'm weird and sometimes design things cause me to feel things in my gut, like when a rule is super messed up and too strong or doesn't actually work, I get a mild physical pang while reading it, or when it's really opens up new stuff, it feels good).


What 1P needs now, more than anything, is a book dedicated to the Kineticist only. New feats, wild talents, items and the like. The feats don't have to be specific to the Kineticist, but at least relevant to her. Same with items and the like. Unfortunately, I highly doubt Paizo would ever publish such a book, because it's not general enough. If they keep going through with the current model, then she'll only get a handful of talents introduced per year.

If the Kinetcist is ever really going to thrive with options, compared to other classes, it must get a stand-alone book to itself. You simply can't expect to introduce a few talents per book, per year, and think people will be happy with it. It simply won't work, the class will stagnate due to a lack of choices.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
I agree with N. Jolly that we need more wild talents for existing elements the most, especially wood and void, by an order of magnitude more than the other things. Fortunately, the prospects look quite good for a product soonish that provides this, not to the crazy extent that I would go if unleashed to make a kineticist-only book that wouldn't sell our usual numbers due to the limited audience but would make me happy, but still to an amount where I could actually feel the options opening up while writing them in my gut (I'm weird and sometimes design things cause me to feel things in my gut, like when a rule is super messed up and too strong or doesn't actually work, I get a mild physical pang while reading it, or when it's really opens up new stuff, it feels good).

...tease!


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I agree with N. Jolly that we need more wild talents for existing elements the most, especially wood and void, by an order of magnitude more than the other things. Fortunately, the prospects look quite good for a product soonish that provides this, not to the crazy extent that I would go if unleashed to make a kineticist-only book that wouldn't sell our usual numbers due to the limited audience but would make me happy, but still to an amount where I could actually feel the options opening up while writing them in my gut (I'm weird and sometimes design things cause me to feel things in my gut, like when a rule is super messed up and too strong or doesn't actually work, I get a mild physical pang while reading it, or when it's really opens up new stuff, it feels good).

While I'm happy to hear you'll be working on this, can you PLEASE get N. Jolly to help write some of this? He's kind of redefined the class through 3pp products and a lot of what he's written has been amazing. I don't think I'm alone in believing that he'd be a huge asset in helping expand the first party options for this class.


Elegant Egotist wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I agree with N. Jolly that we need more wild talents for existing elements the most, especially wood and void, by an order of magnitude more than the other things. Fortunately, the prospects look quite good for a product soonish that provides this, not to the crazy extent that I would go if unleashed to make a kineticist-only book that wouldn't sell our usual numbers due to the limited audience but would make me happy, but still to an amount where I could actually feel the options opening up while writing them in my gut (I'm weird and sometimes design things cause me to feel things in my gut, like when a rule is super messed up and too strong or doesn't actually work, I get a mild physical pang while reading it, or when it's really opens up new stuff, it feels good).
While I'm happy to hear you'll be working on this, can you PLEASE get N. Jolly to help write some of this? He's kind of redefined the class through 3pp products and a lot of what he's written has been amazing. I don't think I'm alone in believing that he'd be a huge asset in helping expand the first party options for this class.

Well, what do you think happened to cause N. Jolly to not have time to write guides? <_< ... >_> JK, I have no idea why. I just found it to be an interesting coincidence.


So, anyone know what product Mark is hinting at up there? I have seriously scaled back on my hard copies of books lately but this sounds like one worth checking out...


I agree that wild talents are what is needed most for the class. But I still really, really want to see a positive energy based element one day.

Silver Crusade

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Chess Pwn wrote:
Elegant Egotist wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I agree with N. Jolly that we need more wild talents for existing elements the most, especially wood and void, by an order of magnitude more than the other things. Fortunately, the prospects look quite good for a product soonish that provides this, not to the crazy extent that I would go if unleashed to make a kineticist-only book that wouldn't sell our usual numbers due to the limited audience but would make me happy, but still to an amount where I could actually feel the options opening up while writing them in my gut (I'm weird and sometimes design things cause me to feel things in my gut, like when a rule is super messed up and too strong or doesn't actually work, I get a mild physical pang while reading it, or when it's really opens up new stuff, it feels good).
While I'm happy to hear you'll be working on this, can you PLEASE get N. Jolly to help write some of this? He's kind of redefined the class through 3pp products and a lot of what he's written has been amazing. I don't think I'm alone in believing that he'd be a huge asset in helping expand the first party options for this class.
Well, what do you think happened to cause N. Jolly to not have time to write guides? <_< ... >_> JK, I have no idea why. I just found it to be an interesting coincidence.

You sound kinda bummed about that; I will admit I do wish I had time left to continue doing guides; but life gets in the way. Especially when that life is doing my own content for other publishers.

I will admit I wouldn't turn down the chance to do some 1p work for the kineticist, as I'd like to think I know the class pretty well.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Texas Snyper wrote:
Azten wrote:
I hope you didn't design the archetypes too. I mean, it's cool if you did and all, but I'd like an archetype I'd actually use that is Paizo published(though N. Jolly's are amazing).
I think the problem is that the class abilities are so finely interwoven to work together for the class as a whole to work as it does in its well balanced state that any archetype that fiddles with those abilities disrupts that balance and are therefore underwhelming compared to the base class.
This is often the case, and it's a much better situation than the other possibility which is an archetype that you would always take because it's a strict upgrade (gunslinger suffered from that one and some of the issues people have with the class stemmed from its archetypes and not the base class). That said, I think blood kineticist and elemental purist are both pretty good (witha shoutout to the freelancer and developer on purist for both having cool stuff and also not invalidating mono-element non-purists, which most ways to write a mono-element archetype would do), and while annihilator isn't my personal playstyle, it can lead to a brutal switch-hitter.

I actually have PFS characters in every archetype except Overwhelming Soul and Chirurgeon (and the evil archetype one, and the Purist, since they're not legal >_< ) and they all work quite well actually. I rather enjoy most of the Kineticist archetypes because they pose real questions in how do I balance out losing A to gain B. Unlike many many other archetypes which are like, well I was never going to use A anyway so choosing B is pretty obvious. See Mark's quip on gunslingers :P

The surprising (or perhaps not-so-surprising) thing about most of them is that they all tend to do massive amounts of damage, sometimes more than what their non-archetyped counterparts deal, and the different feel to each of them make playing them feel like quite a unique experience.

Also, for the record I now have 12 active PFS kineticists :P


Elegant Egotist wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I agree with N. Jolly that we need more wild talents for existing elements the most, especially wood and void, by an order of magnitude more than the other things. Fortunately, the prospects look quite good for a product soonish that provides this, not to the crazy extent that I would go if unleashed to make a kineticist-only book that wouldn't sell our usual numbers due to the limited audience but would make me happy, but still to an amount where I could actually feel the options opening up while writing them in my gut (I'm weird and sometimes design things cause me to feel things in my gut, like when a rule is super messed up and too strong or doesn't actually work, I get a mild physical pang while reading it, or when it's really opens up new stuff, it feels good).
While I'm happy to hear you'll be working on this, can you PLEASE get N. Jolly to help write some of this? He's kind of redefined the class through 3pp products and a lot of what he's written has been amazing. I don't think I'm alone in believing that he'd be a huge asset in helping expand the first party options for this class.

I whole heartedly agree and think a PDF would be much better in this case than a physical book. It can be updated and expanded very easily without worrying about selling all the previous editions first(which, while I understand why that is Paizo's policy, is still bad. Please start putting errata out when it happens so we don't have our toys ripped away after growing to love them. Again.)


First off I would like to thank N Jolly for this guide helping me to figure out how in the heck this class actually works.

Second, I would like to rant about the Elemental Annihilator. I started to really wonder about how it scaled in comparison, so I fell down the rabbit hole of taking each feat line and using this handy PF damage calculator to see how they did.

longness:
I went with level 6, 9, and 11 because the EA is clearly doing nothing before level 6 when it gets flurry, 11 is a big breakpoint for the class, and 9 is an overflow upgrade in the middle. Using the dex/con stats for figuring things as 20/20, 24/24, and 26/28 because they seem like something doable with overflow if you are a hobgoblin with a huge belt. Also went with max overflow bonus to help to hit.

Anyways, the feat chains for reference (every kineticist gets finesse at level 1, right?):
TWF: TWF the feat, power attack, w.focus, L9: ITWF, w.spec, L11: rend, double slice.
2Handing: PA, WF, furious focus, L9: WS, ?, L11: Imp. crit, ?
Archery: PBS, rapid shot, deadly aim, L9: WF, WS, L11: IC, precise shot
I sort of have archery a pass on perfect conditions for better damage, and couldn't actually remember 2hander feats that would help at higher levels. Non-EA-stuff just got WF/PBS.

If I got everything right, though there's even more tiny floating bonuses that change than in most classes so I'm not 100% sure, the damage per round would look something like this:

Level 6:
TWF: 20.69
2H: 24.81
Arch: 28.17
Empowered simple blast: 22.05
Kinetic blade: 13.60
Empowered KB: 16.91 (1 burn)

Level 9:
TWF: 42.00
2H: 41.50
Arch: 49.51
ESB: 38.22
KB: 38.72
EKB: 50.53 (1 burn)
Composite: 49.59 (1 burn)

Level 11:
TWF: 75.33 <--Rend adds way more than you'd guess
2H: 65.84
Arch: 75.49
ESB: 44.39 <--Obselete, just for reference
Comp: 68.04
KB: 54.81
EKB: 75.36 (1 burn)
EComp: 93.56 (1 burn)
CompKB: 95.92 (2 burn)

Archery feats obviously take home the gold here, and haste would add around 15 damage to the EA. But you're really only doing a few more points of damage. Devastating Infusion goes out of its way to make it clear you can never in any way make it do more base damage, you're wielding a heavy mace forever and ever. So while the damage looks like a sorta ok but not amazing increase, you have to take into account that all the extra damage is coming from feats chains and full attacks. So you gave up all your class abilities and features to fight like a martial and get chained into the martial feat chains and you're still going to do less damage than a real martial because you can't take things like manyshot or use magic weapons. Two-handed takes a real hit from not being able to even use a d12 weapon (and me not remembering any more relevant feats for it). And because of all this it's also not really a good switch-hitter anymore: since all your damage is coming from feats trying to switch hit will drop your damage by around a third, making just regular blasting better than DI for whichever you're not specialized into.

You can never fly or earth glide or do anything cool. You gave up the ability to cast haste on yourself, and now you actually want to be hasted. You have to put all your feats into fighting style feat chains. You gave up everything interesting about the class to be a martial with less damage, and only slightly more damage than a normal kineticist blasting with no infusions. Arrrgh. This whole archetype is secretly a massive trap that drops you into a garbage chute.

For reference if a level 11 airbender manages to hit 4 people with an empowered chain lighting blast (0 burn with gather by the time you can even get chain) the damage will be spread out, but they'll do around 156 damage each round.

TL;DR: I'd argue that the EA archetype should be rated Red(*), and Devastating Infusion should probably be Orange(**) itself. :(

Also for people making unchained kineticists, looking at the numbers I would humbly suggest that you could just let Kinetic Blade/Whip use the Elemental Overflow damage bonus to do simple blast damage normally. It would make one less thing to recalculate and I don't think it would actually put KB ahead of your standard blasting curve except at level 9.


@Blind Monkey, there are two things you're not taking into account here. The first is that the archetype doesn't disallow you from using standard blasts like any other kineticist. With Weapon Specialization they're even (slightly) stronger than normal. Early on, you lose most of your infusions but you keep the one you get from Expanded Element (assuming you expand your primary which, why wouldn't you anyway) and you keep the ones from level 11+. So with your example for a chain blast at level 11... EAs can do that too. Plus wreck things in melee with all of their fancy feats. Plus you get extended/extreme range for free, so might as well use 'em.

The second thing you're downplaying is the usefulness of some of the defenses. A standard fighter gets a lot of fancy stuff regarding their armor and weapons, but free HP or free DR or free AC or a constant miss chance vs projectiles is huge.

Alternatively, you can combine EA with Overwhelming Soul, since very little an EA does burns anyway (except that lovely level 20 blast). Your stats will be slightly lower, but in return you gain more flexibility with racial choices (halflings being a personal favorite, but Kitsune or Ifrit work just as well) and you can max out your UMD to give yourself some magical flexibility. Might as well stock up on scrolls and wands anyway with all of that spare cash you have from not needing to buy magic weapons :P

The last thing I want to mention is that EA makes it a bit easier to go into Combat Maneuver feat chains that are usually very difficult to access with a kineticist. Since Weapon Finesse lets you use Sunder, Trip, and Disarm with your Dex, you can do Combat Expertise -> Trip/Disarm or Power Attack -> Sunder for some kinetic shenanigans. It's unlikely to do more damage than a typical build but it brings some utility and can be pretty fun.

Oh yeah one last thing (I promise), you can't actually use 2-Handed Fighting with Weapon Finesse so your calculations for the 2-Handed EA would be quite a bit different. All things considered, I still think it's the weakest option of the three so I don't think it's too important anyway.


That's all totally true Renkosuke and you can definitely build a functional EA and do cool things with it and there are interesting build options for it.

But ultimately from a purely balance based perspective Blind Monkey is right, Elemental Annihilator is an archetype that trades utility for damage and then fails to actually do meaningfully more damage for the majority of the game. Which is super duper awful.


Renkosuke wrote:
Oh yeah one last thing (I promise), you can't actually use 2-Handed Fighting with Weapon Finesse so your calculations for the 2-Handed EA would be quite a bit different. All things...

Source?


You can absolutely use Weapon Finesse with two-handed weapons. How do you think the elven curve blade came to be?

Now, if you're referring to the EA's Devastating Infusion, that's technically true because you'd have to manifest the one-handed version to two-hand the DI, which would preclude you from using Weapon Finesse.


Renkosuke wrote:
Early on, you lose most of your infusions but you keep the one you get from Expanded Element (assuming you expand your primary which, why wouldn't you anyway) and you keep the ones from level 11+

This is incorrect.

Elemental Annihilator wrote:
An elemental annihilator can never gain utility wild talents.

Even if you would otherwise gain a utility talent, you simply can't because the EA is forbidden from ever getting one.


While I agree that it probably doesn't do "meaningfully" more damage than a standard kineticist build, I do think that at most levels (levels 3 - 5 being the exception) it does do consistently more damage than a standard Kineticist. The problem is mostly that you can't build a damage class (ie: Kineticist) and then give it an archetype that just does more damage, since you're going to ruin the overall balance of the game. The way I look at Elemental Annihilator is more of "we do damage even more reliably than normal kineticists" as opposed to "we just do more damage". Cue in the insanely high attack values and virtual inability to actually burn (allowing/forcing you to spend it all on defense).

It is somewhat upsetting that you can't use certain elements with it... it would have been nice to at least make it turn fire blasts into a physical blast that deals fire damage, for example, (like swinging around a battle poi!) but I can see how that may have been a nightmare to balance so I can't fault them (too much) for making it as it is now. Adding in an option to use composite blasts would have been great too (for example, reducing or negating their cost when used with devastating/flurry). Alas, there is no use crying over non-existent milk.

In the end though, personally-speaking, and also from a balance perspective, the Elemental Annihilator still seems to function at a more-or-less equal level to other classes of its type, so I am reasonably satisfied with it. It's no bloodrager, zen archer, or gunslinger, but we don't need more of those anyway :P (plus the online PFS group complains enough about my kineticists already)

Edits!
@miscdebris: Aside from what I would consider obvious you-can-only-1-hand-a-light-weapon, it-has-to-be-at-least-a-1-handed-weapon-in-order-to-2-hand-it argument, Mark Seifter mentioned it in the Ask Mark Seifter Stuff thread a while back. I'm too lazy to pull up the exact post but you can look at my list of posts since I was the one who asked the question, and search from there (my post list isn't long so this shouldn't be incredibly hard).

@Ashram: You are correct, but I am of course talking about Devastating Infusion and even if you manifest a rapier, none of its qualities apply as per Kinetic Blade.

@Tels: I was not referring to Utility Talents, I know you can't use those. I specifically called out infusions. The EA archetype eats up all of your infusions from levels 1-9, but not the "free" one you can gain if you expand your primary element at level 7, and from level 11+ it doesn't consume any of them. The archetype doesn't disallow you from choosing infusions (or else it literally wouldn't work at all) so you could, for example, take something like Impale or Foe Throw at level 7.


You can't 2H a light weapon but you can 2H a 1H weapon for any 2H bonuses like power attack, etc. Kinetic blade specifically calls out that you can create a 1H OR light weapon for use, which allows for STR and DEX focused builds.


Right, but that eliminates weapon finesse from the table, which means you'd have to move around the feats a bit.

Talking about feats, I believe you missed one feat in the 7-9 feat range Monkey, from my calculations you should have 4 at level 6, 7 at level 9, and 9 at level 11.


Renkosuke wrote:
The problem is mostly that you can't build a damage class (ie: Kineticist) and then give it an archetype that just does more damage, since you're going to ruin the overall balance of the game.

Well that's the really damning thing. The baseline kineticist isn't really a damage class. It certainly doesn't do bad damage, but it struggles to complete with traditionally DPR focused builds outside specific breakpoints(like 3-5 which is pretty huge for the kineticist and does a good job demonstrating the problems with linear damage scaling).

Now theoretically it does this because it has all this extra utility and versatility thrown into its chassis via wild talents. The Annihilator then throws all of that and doesn't actually get any better at fighting.

Ultimately the value of every archetype boils down to what you get for what you give. The annihilator gives up a lot of utility and never gains access to some of the Kinetiicst's best tools... and yet for the majority of a typical campaign there's a really compelling case to be made that you get literally or at least virtually nothing in return.


Renkosuke wrote:

Right, but that eliminates weapon finesse from the table, which means you'd have to move around the feats a bit.

Talking about feats, I believe you missed one feat in the 7-9 feat range Monkey, from my calculations you should have 4 at level 6, 7 at level 9, and 9 at level 11.

If you mean 2h eliminates weapon finesse, no it doesn't. Weapon finesse can absolutely be used with 2h weapons, look at the elven curved blade or the elven branched spear. Or any weapon with an effortless lace.

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