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


Advice

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N. Jolly wrote:

At this point I think it might earn green just due to its competition, so I think I'm going to fold to peer pressure and pop it up to green with a new description. I'm not happy that it's green simply due to its competition, but I think it really needs to be emphasized how much better it is than the options it's competing with now.

EDIT: in the same vein, metakineticist is bumped to green, although I'd probably separately rate maximize as red. Also I believe metakineticist din't have it's rating changed after Mark's clarification, which also makes sense to why it was still orange.

I have seen in other guides - and it seems particularly reasonable - to rate something orange/green or green/red and then provide context in the description. I think the convention is helpful when you've got a class where a power may or may not be useful based on very different playstyles (e.g. melee vs. bombs alchemist)

Silver Crusade

Maybe you shouldn't rate basic abilities of the class at all, and just rate the abilities of archetypes by what it's replacing?

Silver Crusade

cavernshark wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:

At this point I think it might earn green just due to its competition, so I think I'm going to fold to peer pressure and pop it up to green with a new description. I'm not happy that it's green simply due to its competition, but I think it really needs to be emphasized how much better it is than the options it's competing with now.

EDIT: in the same vein, metakineticist is bumped to green, although I'd probably separately rate maximize as red. Also I believe metakineticist din't have it's rating changed after Mark's clarification, which also makes sense to why it was still orange.

I have seen in other guides - and it seems particularly reasonable - to rate something orange/green or green/red and then provide context in the description. I think the convention is helpful when you've got a class where a power may or may not be useful based on very different playstyles (e.g. melee vs. bombs alchemist)

Other guides like this alchemist one?

See, I do plan on getting to that eventually, and there's a solid chance I'll be giving the entire talent section another sweep, but realize this is the beginning of a guide that you're seeing being made, and not the full example like that above. There's going to be re-writes and such, and maybe a little more exploration into kinetic blade/elemental annihilator as a fully developed role, so I'm asking that people stay patient.

Alex McGuire wrote:
Maybe you shouldn't rate basic abilities of the class at all, and just rate the abilities of archetypes by what it's replacing?

The reviews for the actual class features are useful as it gives me a chance to also talk about how I feel about each feature aside from just rating it vs. its archetype replacements. It also lets me mention which abilities that people should be trying to use more, and where they can relax on trying to squeeze the value out of something.


Yeah, "This is what it is under normal circumstances, but it becomes *this* rating instead under these conditions" is excellent advice to those reading your guide.

It lets you give both the 'general' issues of the ability but also lets you point out the bits you like about it and how effective they may be when used correctly. This way people can more accurately judge the utility of an ability in regards to how they want to build their character.

Reminds me of the 4e guides, where you'd have powers rated gold (the "you are literally mentally deficient if you do not take this" rating) for some builds, but red for others. Warlocks were a good example, where the pact riders could turn a really unimpressive choice into something spectacular.


Note on Skilled Kineticist: you get a class skill and you add half your level to Perception. (Or anything else on the Kineticist class skill list.) This is not quite as bad as you thought, although the pre-req is a pain.


QuidEst wrote:
Note on Skilled Kineticist: you get a class skill and you add half your level to Perception. (Or anything else on the Kineticist class skill list.) This is not quite as bad as you thought, although the pre-req is a pain.

No, you don't. You get it to "skills your primary element added to your class skills", for example, with Aether: Sleight of Hand and Knowledge (Engineering)


Sphynx wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Note on Skilled Kineticist: you get a class skill and you add half your level to Perception. (Or anything else on the Kineticist class skill list.) This is not quite as bad as you thought, although the pre-req is a pain.
No, you don't. You get it to "skills your primary element added to your class skills", for example, with Aether: Sleight of Hand and Knowledge (Engineering)

Dang it, meant to include "Greater" in there. Yes, the regular one is still weak.


QuidEst wrote:
Sphynx wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Note on Skilled Kineticist: you get a class skill and you add half your level to Perception. (Or anything else on the Kineticist class skill list.) This is not quite as bad as you thought, although the pre-req is a pain.
No, you don't. You get it to "skills your primary element added to your class skills", for example, with Aether: Sleight of Hand and Knowledge (Engineering)
Dang it, meant to include "Greater" in there. Yes, the regular one is still weak.

Thus the question becomes, with only 10 Utility Talents in total, of which most are "powers", is a steroid version of Skill Focus worth 1/5th of them. In theme, perhaps, but this is an optimization guide, with options being everything from a fly speed, to haste, to invisibility, etc, etc... By the time you have "spare" utilities to assign to these talents, you're hopefully not all that worried about skill checks any more.


Sphynx wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Sphynx wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Note on Skilled Kineticist: you get a class skill and you add half your level to Perception. (Or anything else on the Kineticist class skill list.) This is not quite as bad as you thought, although the pre-req is a pain.
No, you don't. You get it to "skills your primary element added to your class skills", for example, with Aether: Sleight of Hand and Knowledge (Engineering)
Dang it, meant to include "Greater" in there. Yes, the regular one is still weak.

Thus the question becomes, with only 10 Utility Talents in total, of which most are "powers", is a steroid version of Skill Focus worth 1/5th of them. In theme, perhaps, but this is an optimization guide, with options being everything from a fly speed, to haste, to invisibility, etc, etc... By the time you have "spare" utilities to assign to these talents, you're hopefully not all that worried about skill checks any more.

True- the guide probably shouldn't list it as making two things class skills, though, since that's much worse.

Silver Crusade

QuidEst wrote:
True- the guide probably shouldn't list it as making two things class skills, though, since that's much worse.

I'll update it in a bit, gotta head out soon, and I've yet to get a music recommendation to listen to while writing, come on people!


Sphynx wrote:
MarcFrey wrote:

Hey Jolly,

I'm loving the discussion happening on this thread so far and happy to see someone making a guide.

I agree with the majority of what you have so far. My only surprise is the rating for internal buffer.

I feel like it should be given more credit. Internal Buffer is pretty much a freebie. Free extra 1-3 burn over your daily max.
If you prep it up the night before...
It can give you 1-3 free burns per day (which don't count against your maximum burn limit).
It also works on utility talents (which you mention).
It allows you to cheat the maximum burn per round 1-3 times a day.

Meanwhile, if you can't prep it up the night before:
It allows you to activate your Defence power in the morning without losing that burn (for those who don't like putting a burn into Kinetic Defence in the mornings)
At higher level it allows you to reach elemental overflow and keep all those burns for the offensive.

Wow, you've even got me thinking it's worth more than listed... good job. :) My only real problem with internal buffer is, I pretty much never have left over burn at the end of a day. Unlike people who are worried about spending burn too early, I use burn regularly and oft run out before I should. :P

Haha!

Glad to hear ;D
This thread is all about discussing the different ways to use abilities so glad I could add something to it :)

Hmm. I can see how that would be troublesome. Depending what type of campaign you play just make sure to fill it whenever there's 'downtime'. Otherwise just start off your day filling it up to get your Elemental overload in right away to maximize your damage :D


5 people marked this as a favorite.
N. Jolly wrote:
I'll update it in a bit, gotta head out soon, and I've yet to get a music recommendation to listen to while writing, come on people!

Something by "Earth Wind & Fire?"

...
I'll let myself out.

Silver Crusade

Stone Dog wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
I'll update it in a bit, gotta head out soon, and I've yet to get a music recommendation to listen to while writing, come on people!

Something by "Earth Wind & Fire?"

...
I'll let myself out.

EVERYONE BOO THIS POSTER!


N. Jolly wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
True- the guide probably shouldn't list it as making two things class skills, though, since that's much worse.
I'll update it in a bit, gotta head out soon, and I've yet to get a music recommendation to listen to while writing, come on people!

Avatar/Korra theme song?

Scarab Sages

Lindsey Stirling's Elements should work.

Dark Archive

N. Jolly wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
I'll update it in a bit, gotta head out soon, and I've yet to get a music recommendation to listen to while writing, come on people!

Something by "Earth Wind & Fire?"

...
I'll let myself out.
EVERYONE BOO THIS POSTER!

Check out 2nite EP by TWRP? Or maybe just Frankenchrist if you want something clasic?


The frost giant's daughter or fire lances of the ancient hyperzyphrians by The Sword


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The Elements Song.

Edit: I just couldn't resist-
I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire.
The Water Song.
Earth Song.
Fly Like an Eagle.
Waterfalls.
In the Air Tonight.
Ring of Fire.


A good song could be Sirona by miracle of sound


This could also work


in the archetype section you mentioned the Elemental Aesthetic, care to tell me more? ;)


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hazrond wrote:
in the archetype section you mentioned the Elemental Aesthetic, care to tell me more? ;)

Boop.


LoneKnave wrote:
This could also work

Earth, wind, fire... air? What even?


Luthorne wrote:
Hazrond wrote:
in the archetype section you mentioned the Elemental Aesthetic, care to tell me more? ;)
Boop.

(Psst, i was pointing out a misspelling)

Silver Crusade

Hazrond wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Hazrond wrote:
in the archetype section you mentioned the Elemental Aesthetic, care to tell me more? ;)
Boop.
(Psst, i was pointing out a misspelling)

Yeah, I was half dead when I wrote that, any misspellings are the fault of said death. Sorry for the lack of work on the guide, had more work than I was expecting today, I'm hoping to get some of the feat section done tomorrow after I get some other stuff written.


Are you planning to add any comments about the Conductive Weapon property and how it acts with Telekinetic blast?

Telekinetic Blast can be used to damage with the thrown weapon instead of blast damage, so with that and a conductive weapon (or enough weapons for Flurry of Blasts, possible a Dagger of Doubling or enough daggers and a Blinkback Belt) you can deal full damage with an energy blast with each flurry. Aether/Air is a good combo for this. I might write up a full build if you are interested.


Mairn wrote:

Are you planning to add any comments about the Conductive Weapon property and how it acts with Telekinetic blast?

Telekinetic Blast can be used to damage with the thrown weapon instead of blast damage, so with that and a conductive weapon (or enough weapons for Flurry of Blasts, possible a Dagger of Doubling or enough daggers and a Blinkback Belt) you can deal full damage with an energy blast with each flurry. Aether/Air is a good combo for this. I might write up a full build if you are interested.

Don't expect this to survive FAQ/Errata.


It took them a year to Errata ACG, I'm not holding my breath.
In the mean time, for a complete guide it should be commented on at the least.


Having read through both the guide and the comments in this thread I have two things to mention at the moment.

The Black Mages, as a playlist. Decent writing background music, some of the songs are much better than others but almost all are worth at least checking.

I upvote Aether defense, because while the regenerating hp is nice, it's the guarantee that you won't be sucking mummy rot or ghoul paralysis through a straw every time they touch you. Because they didnt. They touched your force ward. That rogue with the poison on his dagger? Nope. How about catching on fire because of a burning something or other? I doubt it. Unless it breaks my shell, I'm immune to your status effects. That's the benefit of Aether defense, I'd almost be willing to do this if it *didn't* freely regenerate overy time. Just for having the immunity it's worth the burn and if I need to I can up my offense with burn on an attack and it'll pump up the hp on the defense to make their next attack miss too, if they survive. I literally have a no-touchy bubble, and I love it. People get so wrapped up in the hp numbers (oh its so easy to just keep a wand of clw and chew it like a bone between fights) they forget that it'd take a wand of clw and a cleric with remove curse/poison/disease to fix all the bull I can take in the course of a fight if I don't have this shield up. Things an Aether ignores that other classes fear. Mummies? No problem. Rat swarms? Big deal. Whip of spiders? Yeah right.

I'd emphasize the main feature of that defense, because any noob who reads this guide needs to know this isn't a trap option giving you half the health you stick into it back with a slow regen. It's a very versatile window of invincibility and immunity that shouldn't be overlooked at higher burn concentrations. After all, since pure aether doesnt have any decent composite blasts, what else did you plan to spend your burn on today?

*edit* also someone mentioned not liking air defense at higher levels because it only blocked a few of the many arrows that archers get a round. I'd rather take 60% of the arrows coming at me than 100% of them, regardless of how many that is. In fact, I'd rather take 60% of 100 arrows a round far more than I'd rather take 60% of 3 arrows per round. The more times you try to hit me per round, the harder I beg not to let them all stick. So I value the miss chance more, not less, the better zen archers get.


So I've been browsing for feats that work with the kineticist, and I seem to be just drawing a whole bunch of blanks.

From what i can tell, the best feats I can find are point-blank shot, precise shot, weapon focus(kinetic blast), and for the melee users, weapon finesse. Also, toughness, because burn.

Every other feat seems to either not apply to the kineticist, or is something unrelated to the kineticist's damage output. Just what am I supposed to do with feats for this kind of character?


Deadly Aim works for the physical blasts. Then Point Blank Master maybe?

Dark Archive

Johnny_Devo wrote:

So I've been browsing for feats that work with the kineticist, and I seem to be just drawing a whole bunch of blanks.

From what i can tell, the best feats I can find are point-blank shot, precise shot, weapon focus(kinetic blast), and for the melee users, weapon finesse. Also, toughness, because burn.

Every other feat seems to either not apply to the kineticist, or is something unrelated to the kineticist's damage output. Just what am I supposed to do with feats for this kind of character?

Every build I've created has been VMC for this reason.


Helcack wrote:
Johnny_Devo wrote:

So I've been browsing for feats that work with the kineticist, and I seem to be just drawing a whole bunch of blanks.

From what i can tell, the best feats I can find are point-blank shot, precise shot, weapon focus(kinetic blast), and for the melee users, weapon finesse. Also, toughness, because burn.

Every other feat seems to either not apply to the kineticist, or is something unrelated to the kineticist's damage output. Just what am I supposed to do with feats for this kind of character?

Every build I've created has been VMC for this reason.

Now I'm looking at VMC, and so many options seem to compete with what the kinetecist is trying to do.

What VMC options have you been taking?


Paladin, Barbarian, and.. cleric or oracle, maybe? I don't have my book in front of me, but those might be decent choices.


Sorcerer bloodlines look like they'd be right up the Kinetecist's alley as well.


I looked at barbarian and it almost seemed awesome, but by my reading you won't be able to use any blasts while in a rage, since they're spell-like abilities.

From a cursory(heh) scan I couldn't seem to find anything that stands out to me as nice for the oracle. If only freezing spells was for spells or spell like abilities, but alas.

For paladin, lay on hands is decent, I guess, but everything else seems pretty meh.

Cleric... I don't really have the resources to look into deities, so I can't comment on what might be good here.

Sorcerer is something I wanted to look into, but I noticed that you only gain bloodline powers (and one feat), not any arcana. So you'd have to find powers that specifically work with the kinetecist, which seems a bit less likely.

Maybe I'm being a little too picky, though.


I see kineticists as being in the same boat as barbarians, with a significant number of their feats going towards their extra X feat, namely extra wild talent for kineticists. Even with the level restriction, its very useful. I mean, each element has 3-5 infusions worth taking, plus universal infusions, of which most kineticists will want a few. Theres plenty of nice utility wild talents as well. I don't ever see not having a least one extra wild talent that I wouldn't like having.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Johnny_Devo wrote:

So I've been browsing for feats that work with the kineticist, and I seem to be just drawing a whole bunch of blanks.

From what i can tell, the best feats I can find are point-blank shot, precise shot, weapon focus(kinetic blast), and for the melee users, weapon finesse. Also, toughness, because burn.

Every other feat seems to either not apply to the kineticist, or is something unrelated to the kineticist's damage output. Just what am I supposed to do with feats for this kind of character?

Extra Wild Talent. I'd also consider Improved Critical...sure, it's still not a huge chance of triggering, but that crit damage is delicious. Amusingly, I'm pretty sure the kineticist qualifies for the Blighted Critical line of feats, which could be interesting if they survive the critical hit (presuming they can either cast spells or spell-like abilities, anyways). You could make the argument that Destructive Dispel should work with Unraveling Infusion, I think. Combat Casting, Grappled Caster, Uncanny Concentration, and similar feats might be worth investing in. Quicken Spell-Like Ability isn't going to work with your eldritch blast, but can work with some of your utility talents since their effective level doesn't keep increasing, which might be worth considering...a few quickened slicks could be fun, for example.

And hey, you can always invest in other things, like neat racial feats, the save-boosting feats...weapon focus (eldritch blast)...etc. But mostly Extra Wild Talent.


Tribal Scars is a great feat for low level play, an extra 6 HP and boost to a save, skills or base speed.


My initial interest in the kineticist was purely related to telekinesis. But I think I'm in love.

An ode to Stone Sculptor:

I just love abilities like this. Pathfinder has far too few. At the level you get (6th at the earliest, although I suspect most geokineticists would be taking Earth Glide and wait until 7th with expanded or extra wild talent feat), you can already move the equivalent of 6 yards of concrete per minute. Note the duration is instant... the changes are permanent and AFAIK its not really something you can dispel. Its your permanent mark on the campaign world.

Think of the fun a player can have. They can build awesome stone forts. For free! You can make amazing bolt holes, with nearly undetectable voids in the ground, complete with small air holes and the only access via Earth Glide. For a sandboxy game, or something like Kingmaker AP, it would be amazing. Even in a simple caravan guard job, every night you could probably create a ringwall with less than an hours work. And then in the morning, put it back. In dungeons, you can easily make protected places to take short and long rests.

I'm just geeking out about making little drawings of my PCs hidey holes and party fortress between games. Make your own dungeons! Entire underground cities! The work is crude, but a rough hewn cave should be easy. Load up on craft (sculpture) and knowledge (engineering) and I'll bet any home game GM would let you have free reign. Pit traps, inner wells, secret passages, oh my! Maybe a homebrew utility power "Stone Sculpting Finesse" (or disintegrate equivalent, maybe just shift stone?) to unleash yet more creativity. I guess there is some conservation of mass quibbles that can be made, but let the bean counters eat a mud pie. Made of stone.

Maybe the expert class archer is equally valuable (or greater) in combat, but can the expert literally change the world?


VMC Rogue seems like it could be useful, you get trapfinding, evasion, a couple sneak attack dice (occasional damage boost, nice), and the uncanny dodge and improvved uncanny dodge abilities, overall seems ok

Silver Crusade

Shiroi wrote:

Having read through both the guide and the comments in this thread I have two things to mention at the moment.

The Black Mages, as a playlist. Decent writing background music, some of the songs are much better than others but almost all are worth at least checking.

...

I'd emphasize the main feature of that defense, because any noob who reads this guide needs to know this isn't a trap option giving you half the health you stick into it back with a slow regen. It's a very versatile window of invincibility and immunity that shouldn't be overlooked at higher burn concentrations. After all, since pure aether doesnt have any decent composite blasts, what else did you plan to spend your burn on today?

*edit* also someone mentioned not liking air defense at higher levels because it only blocked a few of the many...

I'll check them out, I've been listening to the Mad World soundtrack recently, totally recommend it.

I'd say if I had a rating for 'valued with burn', aether would be the highest. At default, I'm not in love with it, but with 1-2 points of burn investment, it becomes a lot better. I suppose I could mention that it's also counted as a dodge though, which does make it somewhat better.

Johnny_Devo wrote:

So I've been browsing for feats that work with the kineticist, and I seem to be just drawing a whole bunch of blanks.

From what i can tell, the best feats I can find are point-blank shot, precise shot, weapon focus(kinetic blast), and for the melee users, weapon finesse. Also, toughness, because burn.

Every other feat seems to either not apply to the kineticist, or is something unrelated to the kineticist's damage output. Just what am I supposed to do with feats for this kind of character?

Yeah, feats don't seem like a huge factor for kineticist, especially melee ones, I'm going to do a lot of VMC scouting since your feats aren't exactly the most valuable, although the standard suite of ranged feats are for the most part still golden.

Scarab Sages

Hammer the Gap should be useful to a energy blade/whip build. You are more likely to hit than most who would use the feat thanks to targeting touch AC.


I'm actually waiting with baited breath for the opposite : to VMC into Kineticist from someone else. A fighter that can spontaneously drop even a single target ranged touch attack of half this progression as an at will, gets way more options for a sword and board build to deal with archers and flyers. If they manage to get utility powers like at will mage hand, even better.

Feats don't seem to be an issue with me for this class because there's so many I always want to take with every class but don't have room for. It's rather nice that there's only a few *must have* feats for the kineticist, because it opens up all six saves feats, or to complement the "massive alpha/omega strike" you can pull off with this class, the hero point feats.


Imbicatus wrote:
Hammer the Gap should be useful to a energy blade/whip build. You are more likely to hit than most who would use the feat thanks to targeting touch AC.

I am not sure hammer the gap adds much to a standard Kineticist in melee, you are looking at 2-3 attacks per round at level 8+ when making a full attack... so 3 extra damage a round if your party regularly hastes. But there are enough empty slots in a Kineticist feat build you could afford it at least.


A whip kineticist that takes Whirlwind and uses the talent to increase their size could be stupid fun in the right situation. Whirlwind Kinetic Whip every enemy within your 20 ft reach? Yes please!


Tels wrote:
A whip kineticist that takes Whirlwind and uses the talent to increase their size could be stupid fun in the right situation. Whirlwind Kinetic Whip every enemy within your 20 ft reach? Yes please!

I'm not entirely sure that works. From the last line of whirlwind attack feat: "When you use the Whirlwind Attack feat, you also forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities."

This seems to mean that you'll only be making an attack roll at your BaB, and it almost seems like you can't even use it with a blast.

Scarab Sages

You can absolutely use whirlwind attack with Kinetic Blade/Whip. They are both melee attacks that can be used in a full attack.

A quickened ride the blast + Whirlwind whip seems like a hell of an opener.


Johnny_Devo wrote:
Tels wrote:
A whip kineticist that takes Whirlwind and uses the talent to increase their size could be stupid fun in the right situation. Whirlwind Kinetic Whip every enemy within your 20 ft reach? Yes please!

I'm not entirely sure that works. From the last line of whirlwind attack feat: "When you use the Whirlwind Attack feat, you also forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities."

This seems to mean that you'll only be making an attack roll at your BaB, and it almost seems like you can't even use it with a blast.

Kinetic Whip doesn't give you any extra attacks though, it just gives you a weapon with which you can make the attacks you would normally be capable of.

All Whirlwind does is allow you to make a single attack against any enemy within reach. Kinetic Whip gives you a weapon with reach that also lets you attack adjacent squares (not normally possible). Kinetic Form can increase your size, and which gives you reach as well (stacks with Kinetic Whip). So you now threaten a huge area with Kinetic Whip and if you use Whirldwind Attack, you get to make a single attack against every enemy within reach.

Dark Archive

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For VMC I think Cavalier is actually one of my favourites with either order of the flame(fire builds), order of the eastern star(Earth builds), order of the green(water builds), or order of the hammer(aether builds), and order of the blue rose(air builds)

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