Kineticist Tank VMC?


Advice


I know VMC is a little more useful for Kineticists because of their short list of "required" feats, so I was wondering: what VMCs would be suggested for an Earth/Water/Aether tank Kineticist?


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VMC Barbarian gives Rage. The Con would grant a temporary damage increase and an increase in the amount of Burn you could take to increase the effectiveness of your Defense, but you'd suffer for it once the Rage wore off. If you could get your GM to count it as Unchained Rage, that would be a little bit better. You would gain temp HP instead of Con, but use Kinetic Blade and Whip with a damage bonus. You would get a bonus to Will saves either way.

VMC was a good idea the writers had that has more flavor than useful mechanics. There's really not a lot of useful in it, unfortunately, for the wide majority of builds, including a Kineticist tank.

Just my opinion though.


The 10 feats I had lined up were:

Fight On
Ironhide
Dodge
Bolstered Resilience
Medium Armor Proficiency
Weapon Finesse
Piranha Strike
Combat Reflexes
Point Blank Shot
Precise Shot

Getting Toughness free from a Dwarf alternate feature.

I'm considering swapping Ironhide, Dodge, or Medium Armor Proficiency for Iron Will and maybe swapping Piranha Strike for Weapon Focus or Improved Precise Shot.

I was considering swapping 5 feats (probably 2-3 defensive and 2-3 offensive) for VMC if I could get some decent tankiness out of one of the options. Didn't see anything that jumped out at me when I reviewed it, but figured I would still ask in case I missed something.


Fight On will need GM permission to work when reduced to your nonlethal threshold rather than 0, so it would be a good thing to trade out. Enhancement Transmutation Wizard with a Protector Familiar would give you an extra boost to your hp and save you money on your physical stat belt.

Scarab Sages

Sorcerer is a good VMC. Getting access to bloodlines can help you out, and while you could just take eldritch heritage, you won't usually have the CHA for that unless you are an underwhelming soul.


That's a good point about Fight On. I thought there was a way to activate it, even when not reduced to 0, but I see now that it's only meant to be used when reduced into negative HP.

I will take a look at the Transmutation Wizard VMC.

What bloodlines would be suggested if I went Sorcerer VMC? Any that are especially tanky?


Sorcerer has very little for tanky bloodlines. Ghoul and Pestilence give scaling natural armor bonuses, but not much else.


There are some good defensive Cleric Domains and Oracle Revelations.
Rogue is pretty back-ended for defensive abilities, but you will eventually have Evasion and Imp Uncanny Dodge.


Not a fan of Pestilence at all. Ghoul isn't bad, with the resistance, AC, haste, and fast healing, but not great either, and not very flavor-fitting.

There's a 3rd party one that seems fitting: Stone Bloodline

It fits the flavor of the character (Dwarven earth Kineticist), gives a built-in enhanced sling, AC, Fort, and Con bonus. 15th level power is wasted though. Bonus feat could be armor prof. I might consider doing the VMC if my GM lets me use that bloodline, but otherwise, I think I would stick with the feats I had in mind.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
RaizielDragon wrote:

Not a fan of Pestilence at all. Ghoul isn't bad, with the resistance, AC, haste, and fast healing, but not great either, and not very flavor-fitting.

There's a 3rd party one that seems fitting: Stone Bloodline

It fits the flavor of the character (Dwarven earth Kineticist), gives a built-in enhanced sling, AC, Fort, and Con bonus. 15th level power is wasted though. Bonus feat could be armor prof. I might consider doing the VMC if my GM lets me use that bloodline, but otherwise, I think I would stick with the feats I had in mind.

On the 15th level power, you might see if he will let you use it with the Spark of Life talent, since it works as a summon monster spell.

Scarab Sages

There are some bloodlines you are overlooking.

Nanite is incredibly tanky, with the ability to self heal when heavily damaged, negate crits, and nanite surge. The ability to poison your weapons with a decent poison is gravy.

Then there is Serpentine. It has natural armor bonuses, and a familiar, which can be very taking with half a kinectists HP and the mauler archetype.


If your GM will let you take a wildblooded bloodline, you can get a scaling bonus to CON with sorcerer VMC. That comes online late-ish, though.


I think draconic gives a better scaling bonus, though. Both it and serpentine give a handy backup melee option, though I like the serpentine one a bit more.

The pit-touched version of the abyssal bloodline is also great - it trades hellfire for a scaling bonus to constitution. You are a kineticist - more constitution is always great.

There are a few other interesting options. How is your dexterity? The Rogue VMC brings some nice survivability options in evasion, uncanny dodge and the like, and as far as I am aware single target blasts can get the extra damage from sneak attack. However, you only get the defensive bonuses later on.


VMC Wizard. Get a Protector familiar to effectively increase your HP by 50%, and AC by 2, in addition to having an extra pair of eyes and ears that might fly and/or have darkvision or blindsense. Pick either Foresight or Teleportation for your school. Foresight for high initiative and pre-rolls for attacks or saves, Teleportation for swift action teleports.


I did consider trying to talk them into allowing it to work with Spark of Life, though I hadn't planned on taking Spark of Life, so it's kind of moot. If they allowed it, I might try and make room for it. The only slots I had open for utility powers were the level 6 and level 20 powers.

For the other bloodlines mentioned, I feel like I'd rather just take the feats instead of VMC, if I can't take the Stone one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CalethosVB wrote:

VMC Barbarian gives Rage. The Con would grant a temporary damage increase and an increase in the amount of Burn you could take to increase the effectiveness of your Defense, but you'd suffer for it once the Rage wore off. If you could get your GM to count it as Unchained Rage, that would be a little bit better. You would gain temp HP instead of Con, but use Kinetic Blade and Whip with a damage bonus. You would get a bonus to Will saves either way.

VMC was a good idea the writers had that has more flavor than useful mechanics. There's really not a lot of useful in it, unfortunately, for the wide majority of builds, including a Kineticist tank.

Just my opinion though.

I don't think that would work as there blast are spell-like abilities, and most likely can't be used when raging.


Another idea might be Cavalier VMC. It doesn't look that appetizing at first, but some of the Order abilities (Order of the Guard, Order of the Tome) give defensive bonuses during a challenge.

As an Earth/Water/Aether kineticist, you're already getting DR, temporary HP, and an AC boost. The defenses you can still work on are touch AC and saves. So, what do you want to focus on to become more tanky? Lots of sorcerer bloodlines and cleric domains grant resistances and immunities, which can help you against spells. Rogue VMC, while not my cup of tea, will make your reflex saves more effective and help you against sneak attacks. Monk gives you a little touch AC at very high levels (but a one-level dip in sacred fist warpriest is probably a better choice for that kind of thing).


Thanks. I will look into those.

That's kind of what I'm looking for; suggestions for VMCs that maybe don't immediately look tanky, because they're buried in sub-options. We talked about Bloodlines a lot, and a few Wizard schools, but there could be something like a Cleric domain, Cavalier order, Magus arcana, Oracle revelation, etc. that might also be fitting. I don't know much about any of those classes, as I typically only use martials like Brawlers, Barbarians, Fighters, sometimes Alchemists focused on Mutagen. Kineticist is new for me as well, but I've read pretty deep into them (kind of need to in order to understand them properly), but I was wondering if there might be something worthwhile buried in one of the options of one of the VMCs.

Scarab Sages

Another use for your feats to make youself tanky is to take Endurance, Diehard, and the Stalwart line. The DR from stalwart & improved stalwart specifically stacks with DR from class features, so it will combine with earth's defense talent.


I was tempted to do the Stalwart line, but decided against it because it's so feat intensive. It's 3 just to get Stalwart, and to really get good use, you kind of need Combat Expertise as well. And then you might as well take Improved Stalwart at that point. The accuracy loss from Combat Expertise is non-optimal for Kineticists I think. Granted, they don't need a lot of accuracy since they don't use iteratives, but they put all their damage potential into one shot, so it sucks when that shot misses, so I think accuracy penalties are not desirable. I'm even reconsidering Piranha Strike.

That being said, I was shown that Fight On isn't as useful because of Burn, so that's at least one feat opened up, and I could potentially pass up on Dodge, Ironhide, and/or Medium Armor Proficiency if the Stalwart line was considered more useful than the 3 points of AC those three feats would give me.


RaizielDragon wrote:

I was tempted to do the Stalwart line, but decided against it because it's so feat intensive. It's 3 just to get Stalwart, and to really get good use, you kind of need Combat Expertise as well. And then you might as well take Improved Stalwart at that point. The accuracy loss from Combat Expertise is non-optimal for Kineticists I think. Granted, they don't need a lot of accuracy since they don't use iteratives, but they put all their damage potential into one shot, so it sucks when that shot misses, so I think accuracy penalties are not desirable. I'm even reconsidering Piranha Strike.

That being said, I was shown that Fight On isn't as useful because of Burn, so that's at least one feat opened up, and I could potentially pass up on Dodge, Ironhide, and/or Medium Armor Proficiency if the Stalwart line was considered more useful than the 3 points of AC those three feats would give me.

If you are going Dwarf or Half-Orc, maybe you could try aiming for a one level UnMonk dip while combining Crane Style + Stalwart for being a defensive behemoth? There is a trait in the Weapon's Master Handbook that increases dodge AC when fighting defensively by +1 (Aldori Caution), so something like;

L1B: Stunning Fist, Improved Unarmed Strike, Endurance, Dodge
L1: Crane Style
L3: Diehard
L5: Stalwart
L7: Crane Wing
L11: Crane Riposte
L15: Improved Stalwart

With 3 ranks in Acrobatics, I believe you should be sitting at DR 7 / Adamantine for a -2 to your attack rolls at level 5 while fighting defensively. If you pay the burn, that should be DR 9 / Adamantine.

At level 11 the penalty to attack rolls is merely a -1, and finally at L15, you're sitting at something like DR 17 / Adamantine or DR 24 / Adamantine with burn.

How 'bout that?


I was trying to avoid dipping if at all possible. Unbreakable Fighter to get Endurance and Diehard (and Medium/Heavy Armor Proficiency) was an option I looked into, but at least with the route you suggested, I don't take as big an attack penalty.

Not sure either route is better than the one I had in mind though.

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