Dealing with high AC enemies as kineticist


Advice


I have a DM that makes homebrew stuff and likes to make characters as if they were a PC and then have them be enemies. He can make some pretty well optimized characters and some have very high AC.

I am looking at making a geokineticist, but I feel that I'd be pretty useless against uber high AC characters. I'm talking low 30s at level 5. Geokineticist, far as I can tell, has no way of dealing with enemies with AC that high. There's spindle and mobile blast, but it won't be too long before enemies will be flying.

Making enemies this way is against the norm, I know, but I'm not looking to bug the GM about changing. I'm just looking for ideas on how I could get around this problem. If not, no huge deal, I can always make an ice kineticist as it's my second choice, but wanting some input from anyone with experience.

Grand Lodge

Wall, Spindle, and Fragmentaion infusions can all get around AC...then pick an energy based element at level 7 so you can target touch AC.

If you are playing a home game, ask the GM if you can use 3rd party materials, there are a couple really good 3rd party books that really help the kineticist out.

Silver Crusade

If it's an option, being a goblin would help: small and +4 dex. Otherwise, I would suggest something like a halfling. As Slyme says, an energy blast is the best bet.


Yeah I think I'll have to go an element that targets touch. It's too bad, kind of wanted to go pure earth.

And yeah I'm already planning on playing a small race with as much dex as I can, even a wysp familiar to boost to hit further. Still not close to enough though


I mean, I don't play at your table but is AC 30-33 at level 5 really a common occurrence for you? That's going to be crippling vs any martial character that isn't near bleeding edge optimized and thus not a huge concern unless your GM really doesn't like you.


It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens. Also like to do arena fights against pcs and some are very well optimized to the sameish point

Grand Lodge

low 30's at level 5 is quite ridiculous. I'm curious to know how that particular NPC did that.

Paizo Employee Designer

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AC 33 at level 5 is certainly possible to build, but it's 15 points higher than the expected and suggested opponent AC for level 5 (which is 18). It's actually the expected AC for a level 18 monster! That means if you have a reasonable chance of hitting that number, if you fight pretty much anything in the Bestiary, you're going to blow its AC out of the water. Touch AC or just using a no-AC shape are the best option for dealing with something so non-standard. Otherwise you either need a group heavily dedicated to increasing accuracy together (things like inspire courage and good hope, for a start), or, as Slyme suggested, there are a number of 3rd party products that have options that will make you significantly above expectations which could help you with your opposition that is significantly above expectations (but it might cause you to blow through everything else, so be careful!)


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that kind of ac is what youd get fighting a plate wwearing, tower shield wearing fighter type. Even maximized for AC my armor master fighter was at 36 at level 5... his weakness? He hits like garbage. Sure you might need a 20 to hit him, but his return should be pretty crappy too, sometimes its a war of attrition, however, there are lots of ways to 'penalize' this. YOU might not be able to, but what about the rest of the group? Glitterdust to blind, slow, ray of exhaustion/enfeeblement would make them most likely unable to carry their stuff... Alchemist fires/acid/ice/lightning in a bottle type stuff hitd touch ac, etc. sometimes you need to modify your fighting style.

I get it , it sucks when you cant do your job, like hit the enemy, but sometimes them the breaks. My group is currently playing iron gods, and no one in a group does heavy damage, so these hardness 10/dr 10 enemies seemed at first, unstoppable, until we began to just start grappling things. As soon as we realized we could grab them, and pin them for coup de grace, things changed very quickly. Increasing your to hit, is the first though, but I urge you to look outside the box...


I know it's a little unusual, not the norm for the game. I'm not complaining about the rules/balance of the game nor am I complaining about my gm. I was just hoping there was a work around for the character I was thinking of making, that's all.

Part of what draws me to the kineticist is the all day blasting, not really being able to be disarmed, the versatility. I prefer being a somewhat weaker class that can always contribute than being a class that nukes a limited amount of times per day or is heavily specialized in a certain way.

That being said a lot of the time, just for fun, we do arena fights like I've said. Sometimes it's against characters the gm's made, other times it's against each other. In a lot of these cases I can't rely on party backup to help deal.

I'm for sure going to avoid any third party stuff. Even if it's fairly balanced, if I do end up doing well I'll always have that nagging thought that I'm not using official material. I actually limit myself to using only pfs legal stuff as using anything else makes me feel like I'm using unfair options.

Again I don't mean to make this sound like a complaint thread. Just wondering if anyone who'd played a pure earth build had experience with super high AC and had any neat tactics I hadn't thought of. But I'm perfectly fine going water kineticist, I've been torn between the two for a while now.


you can weapon focus kinetic blast for a +1 lol

Paizo Employee Designer

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Gaulin wrote:

I'm not complaining about the rules/balance of the game

Again I don't mean to make this sound like a complaint thread. Just wondering if anyone who'd played a pure earth build had experience with super high AC and had any neat tactics I hadn't thought of. But I'm perfectly fine going water kineticist, I've been torn between the two for a while now.

That is nice of you, and it's great to see a thread here that's so civil and non-accusatory in nature; my thanks! In this particular case, though, we actually do shoulder some of the blame, for making a system where it's not unreasonable that sometimes custom-built characters have 15 higher AC than the expectations but most opponents meet expectations. That means that even if you do find something to increase accuracy, since a d20 only has a 19-point range, you'll have to choose between being able to hit those fluke high ACs and auto-succeeding on everything else or not being able to hit the fluke high ACs and playing reasonably with most monsters. If the AC was consistently high, that's one thing, and if it's consistently not, it's another, but having spreads so large show up within the same game means it's impossible not to have a bad situation on one side or the other.

And I certainly have no beef against above-expectations games. In my PF1 home game, that's what we play too! In that case, we pretty consistently have numbers above expectations (not 15 higher, usually, but higher), so the players know they'll need that higher accuracy (or AC, or saves, etc), and they bring bards, teamwork feats, and so on.


I suppose there's a lot of different ways of looking at balance, but you can't please everyone. I know some people love that there's so much variation between builds, and hey love that they can make a super armored tank that can almost never be hit. They really know their stuff and love to push things to he limit (though I'm sure not as mush as you and your friends). Teamwork is something we should work on more but I like self reliance personally and having that time to shine on your own. Makes things very exciting.

I do wonder if mobile blast can fly. It says it's created in a five foot square and that it can be moved 30ft, but no specifications beyond that. It would be pretty cool to be able to force movement/dex saves on opponents, as a lot of Uber high armored foes probably don't have evasion.


...kineticist is pretty much one of the best classes for dealing with high AC enemies without just avoiding their AC altogether (touch AC, AoE stuff that just does saves instead).

This is because it does all of its damage in a single attack that is at its highest BAB, rather than having damage spread across attacks with ever decreasing chances to hit. Particularly when it is this way at level 5 (when the difference in BAB is not that important).

If you can't hit AC with a kineticist, then you are playing a game where you are just hoping for a natural 20 every attack just to get off damage. Really, the thing kineticists should be struggling against are miss chances (such as concealment).

Really, I don't know what you can do. If your GM throws this mess at level 5, then I doubt there would be much hope even if you switched to a save based blast build- the GM probably stacked the enemies' saves too.

Scarab Sages

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] we actually do shoulder some of the blame,[/quote wrote:

It makes me sad that this is the viewpoint. This range of options, the ability for a character to be truly exceptional at their area of focus, is what I value most from pathfinder. It adds real versatility to encounters, and really adds to the pool of character options. I remain brokenhearted that paizo won't continue releasing 1st edition content :/


lemeres wrote:

...kineticist is pretty much one of the best classes for dealing with high AC enemies without just avoiding their AC altogether (touch AC, AoE stuff that just does saves instead).

This is because it does all of its damage in a single attack that is at its highest BAB, rather than having damage spread across attacks with ever decreasing chances to hit. Particularly when it is this way at level 5 (when the difference in BAB is not that important).

If you can't hit AC with a kineticist, then you are playing a game where you are just hoping for a natural 20 every attack just to get off damage. Really, the thing kineticists should be struggling against are miss chances (such as concealment).

Really, I don't know what you can do. If your GM throws this mess at level 5, then I doubt there would be much hope even if you switched to a save based blast build- the GM probably stacked the enemies' saves too.

It's not like he's pulling it out of his bum, he's making fully legal characters. It's just that they're not monsters or things PCs are really meant to fight, they're the same builds that players could make. I'm not sure what he saves look like but I don't think they're insane. The character is simply built to be high ac above all else.

Grand Lodge

Then you shouldn't have much to worry about. Use utility talents and other tools while the wizard who bypasses the creature's AC eviscerates it.

If you're only occasionally fighting creatures with super high AC then let the alchemist, wizard, kineticist (with a touch blast), or some other character with ways around it do the work for that fight. If it's a common occurrence and you feel like you are being left out of the fight or are just a meatbag to soak up hits more often than not, then that's a problem you should address with the GM.

Having a high AC character every now and then isn't a problem, just like how having a character with super high saving throws on occasion isn't a problem for a (blaster) wizard- some enemies are just better suited to be fought in other ways.


Yeah I get that. The point of this thread was more in the hopes of getting advice on ways to play around high ac. I get that there's no such thing as a character who can deal with any situation, but the more situations that a character can be prepared for, the better. And this is a team game, meant to be played tactically and with different members patching up weaknesses. But I like to build characters that are more prepared for multiple situations, though there are of course going to be weaknesses.

So I think going water is the way to go. Having strong physical blasts and energy will let me have a bit of both worlds, and there are more reflex saving infusions and even a couple forts in there too. Not to mention some touch ac.


So long as the GM is giving you all of the gear that comes from his NPCs things should work out. After all, most of a players defense comes from his gear, not class abilities. And PCs usually have gear far beyond what any boss monster would be equipped with, so enemies built like players should have obscene amounts of wealth compared to CR.

If you want a little boost to hit, pick up a ranged weapon you can use with the conductive special ability. That will let you get a normal attack with the weapon that you can throw your basic blast on top of.

If you have a lot of cash, you could even try using a conductive firearm. Pay for a +1 conductive Air Repeater (8,000gp + 600gp + 300gp) and now you have a 6 shot firearm with a 1 misfire and you hit touch out to 50'. Later add reliable, seeking and training:Rapid Fire to improve your use. Seeking is especially good if the GM likes concealment and other miss chances (Mirror Image).

If you want to make this even more disgusting combine it with a Goz Mask and a Saltspray Ring. Now if your opponent can't see through fog/mist they get no dex bonus to AC too. And you should fully expect monsters to grapple you and beat you to death since they can only see you from 5' away.


what about the blood kineticist? If they got blood, you hit, period, sure the dmage is a bit nerfed, but its a guarantee at least...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you have a ranged attack, worship Erastil and use a Helm of the Stag Lord. Makes your target flat-footed to your next ranged attack three times per day. It is not an insta-win but it should help


Haha Meirril I love that concept! Thematically I don't think it's what I'm looking for but that's absolutely the type of outside the box thinking I was hoping to see. I had no idea about the conductive weapon property. Thank you!

Evilserran it's funny you should say that, blood kineticist is absolutely another option I was looking at. It's near guaranteed damage is something that interests me very much. It's one of the builds I keep going back to to see if I can make it work. It does give up a lot of options, but wrack, blood throw, and gut wrenching infusion are all super good features. I'm also a huge fan of the capstone. Just so hard to give up so many infusions and utilities for it, but I still might make one.

The Raven Black, that is also kinda neat. Part of the reason I like kineticists so much personally is the all day blasting, but it is nice to be able to hit flat footed a few times.


If you’re having trouble with high-AC enemies, I’d recommend looking at the mobile blast infusion. You deal less damage, but it’s basically an auto-hit ability for any kineticist who takes it.

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