I’m new to using Kineticist, but why does every guide for Kineticist I see say to avoid weapons and dump Strength?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Conductive weapon enchantment lets you add the Kinetic Blast as a rider effect once per turn. With Energize Weapon wild talent along with a typical ranged build’s feat list, you end up dealing far more damage than not using a weapon. Kineticists barely have any feats they need to get, and barely have any magic items they need as well, so it’s not like they can’t do this.

Which brings me to my next point: why do all these guides say to dump Str when you need Str for the Conductive Composite Bow you’ll be getting? I could understand if you used guns instead, since they don’t use Str, but otherwise, there is no reason to dump Str.

Am I missing something here?

Dark Archive

Because it's significantly better to hit touch AC on a non full BAB class than to try and hit a much higher number (regular ac)

Let's say youre 3rd level and have 20 dex let's ad point blank shot and weapon focus even. If an opponent has full plate and tower shield would you rather hit the 24 AC or the 11 touch AC?

Bow has +9 to hit a 24.
Range touch has a +9 to hit an 11.

Bow has a 75% chance to miss (needs a 15 or better) while the touch attack has 5% failure (can only miss on a 1).

Sovereign Court

You also probably need to pay the burn twice for any Conductive use. And since you are most likely full-attacking you aren't gathering power.

Also point buy is typically the norm, so 2 stats are easier to keep up than 3.


Conductive only works on energy blasts, which are touch attacks by default, and the number of weapons which attack touch AC is small.

So for the most part it's:
- Does not work for physical blasts
- Causes an accuracy penalty for energy blasts
- Is not workable from level 1

Plus if you're a kineticist who wants to fight in melee, you are probably covered by weapon finesse+kinetic blade/whip.


Name Violation wrote:
Bow has a 75% chance to miss (needs a 15 or better) while the touch attack has 5% failure (can only miss on a 1).

15 or higher is a 70% chance to miss (It doesn't change your point though, 5% miss chance is still way better than 70% miss chance).


Name Violation wrote:

Because it's significantly better to hit touch AC on a non full BAB class than to try and hit a much higher number (regular ac)

Let's say youre 3rd level and have 20 dex let's ad point blank shot and weapon focus even. If an opponent has full plate and tower shield would you rather hit the 24 AC or the 11 touch AC?

Bow has +9 to hit a 24.
Range touch has a +9 to hit an 11.

Bow has a 75% chance to miss (needs a 15 or better) while the touch attack has 5% failure (can only miss on a 1).

So much wrong with this. I don’t want to do the full math (as I’ll have to create a character to go along with this to get the idea of the numbers being used), but here is what you messed up.

1: You almost will never face a CR 6 at level 3. Books say not to go above APL +3, CR 6 only has an average AC of 19, and if you have a CR 6, that means it is 4 (or 5) against 1, which just ends up overwhelming the monster, and thus the GM will have wasted their time. Adding minions will increase the CR of the total encounter above 6, so don’t try that argument.

2: A +1 Conductive Bow has a +10 to hit in your example.

3: How the f+~! is a level 3 affording a 8,300 ish gp weapon when they only have 3,000 gp to spend?

4: Average damage per round doesn’t only care about the average to hit, otherwise Power Attack would always be a bad thing unless it doesn’t lower your chance to hit. You have to multiply the average to hit with the average damage of the weapon to get the average damage per round. Actually a little more complicated when you factor in criticals. And since a Bow Kineticist has WAY more hits, they would also have to add together the average damage per round of each attack to get the true average damage per round.

5: I guarentee you when you factor in the Energize Weapon Wild Talent with a minimum +1 Conductive Composite Bow Kineticist build, complete with the proper feats, that it will outpace a Kineticist and their one (later 2 with Quicken Metakinesis) blasts. But again, I don’t want to waste time making a character for this.


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It's possible to make a kinetic knight with plenty of strength (and also possible to make them dex-only), but a normal kineticist will want to use dex for ranged attacks, and dex with weapon finesse if they dabble in melee. Conductive is a nice trick but it takes an expensive magic weapon and with zero bonus feats (not even bow proficiency) it takes a while for archery to come on line too.

Edit: a L3 party with optimised characters and/or good teamwork can totally handle CR 6s. With minions even. Whatever Paizo adventures may tell you, APL+3 is not a big deal.


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I suggest you only give the guides a passing nod for the information they provide and keep in mind that most of them rate abilities based on optimal efficiency. You can deviate quite a bit from what the guides suggest and have a very successful character. The game is meant to be played around a 5 on a 1 to 10 scale, and most guides try to get you to 8+. Now, that is just my personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

Play a strength based Kineticist if you want. You'll be fine.


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Most of the guides have a bit of an overemphasis on using dexterity for everything, when a str based build will often perform just as well and use less resources.


Deathless One is correct for the most part, but it also depends on your gaming group. If your team optimizes the GM needs to optimize in return to keep things interesting. Outside of PFS and APs, the game should feel the same difficulty regardless of PC optimization. If a campaign is meant to be hard, the GM should take the time and effort to work around any kind of opitmization/shenanigans to make it work. Sometimes its harder to compensate for a clueless party than a prepared party though, again it depends on the campaign.

Within these groups, however, the players should be equally optimized/unoptimized. Problems occur and bad feelings happen within a group when one person shows up with a really cool Strength Kineticist and the others all build maximally optimal stuff like AM BARBARIANS riding Synthasist Summoners.

Before you commit 5-10 points of your stat buy to strength (which reduces your ability to have other higher stats) to deal extra damage only once you have a conductive weapon you are stuck with at best lets say 2d6+4 as a Tengu and for 1 burn PER TURN you can have an extra d6 of energy damage. At level 1, thats not bad but you're basically a fighter who can hurl energy bolts as their ranged weapon. By level 3 you are competing with either 2d6+2+Con or 2d6+1/2 Con and touch AC. You're not even better in melee than these folks because they could take Kinetic Blade and Weapon Finesse.

You'd be better off being a Telekineticist and hurling a conductive weapon with telekinetic blast. That way you still use Dex to hit, Con for damage, the weapon damage, and can then channel basic kinetic blasts through the thrown weapon. As your options for composite blast damage as a Telekineticist are poor until you get your second expanded element at 15, this is a decent way to boost your low damage. Worth noting that if you want to be able to swing the weapon normally you need to downgrade to a finesseable weapon. Once again Tengu come out on top with the Estoc at 2d4, while everyone else gets their choice of weapons that deal 1d6 points of damage. Worth noting, the Kinetic Blade description specifically notes that it works with the Telekinetic Blast so you can get this damage boost both in melee and range.

Total damage (Earliest you can pick up a conductive weapon is 5, 6 is more likely. I'm going to use 7th level to compare composite blasts.

COmposite Blast at level 7:
- Physical 8d6+8+Con = average of 36 + Con
- Energy 8d6 + 1/2 Con = 28 + 1/2 Con
BURN = 2

Conductive Telekineticist
- Tengu: 2d4+4d6+5+2x Con = 24 + 2x Con
- Everyone Else: 1d6+4d6+5+2x Con = 22.5 + 2x Con
Burn = 0

Our damage is only 13.5 behind a physical composite blast without expending any of our daily resources. I am fairly sure that you would need to pay 2x the burn to channel an ability through the Conductive weapon BUT as we are using a Simple Blast to deliver the conductive charge we can just slap the additional effects we want onto the regular blast. Bowling works quite nicely, Many Throw could be debated with your GM, etc

Only problem with this is that we need to pull back our item and we can't use Telekinetic Boomerrang since we want to loosen our grip. Since we rely on our CON we can't cripple ourselves with a blinkback belt so we need to make our weapon either a returning weapon which limits our options or a called weapon which consumes our swift action but prevents people from stealing it. This does work with Kinetic Blade, so we could just melee with it.

Oh, we also need to make sure that our weapon doesn't explode from taking the same amount of damage it would normally deal when thrown, so we need to make sure our weapon can soak 1d6+Enhancement+Con. The weapon shouldn't take additional damage from its properties like flaming or conductive, but you might get some table variation there. I didn't factor in deadly Aim with my quick damage numbers up front but you've got an extra 4 to 8 damage in there which is okay but less good when you only make 1 attack per round. You pretty much need an adamantine weapon though, because of critical hits. A steel weapon breaks most of the time on a successful crit (12 Hardness and 20 HP means you break the steel mace if you crit for more than 22 total damage). Adamantine helps by pushing that limit up to 23ish HP and 22 hardness, giving you an allowance of 32 damage from a single crit before your weapon gains the broken condition.

I am not sure, but its possible that the Telekinetic Blast being carried through the Conductive Weapon gains the weapon's critical range. I believe the multiplier would still be 2x. The question is whether this counts as bonus damage dice, in which case there is no critical multipler, or whether it works more like Spell Strike as you are channeling an ability with an independent attack roll that can crit on its own.


Here's my version with actual examples. At level 6 perhaps since that's D&D/PFs sweet spot and since it's actually possible to afford a +1 conductive bow then.

Elf kineticist 6
Str 14, Dex 19, Con 12 (14), Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10 (20-point buy)
Feats: point blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot
Infusions: energize weapon, kinetic blade, weighing infusion
Wild talents: basic chaokinesis, kinetic awe, eyes of the void, gravity control
+1 conductive composite (+2 Str) bow
- PBS, rapid shot, energize weapon: Attack +8/+8, Damage 1d8+4+1d6 negative energy, one hit adds 3d6+1 negative energy.
Other gear: belt of mighty constitution +2

Halfling kineticist 6
Str 7, Dex 20 (22), Con 16 (18), Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10 (20-point buy)
Feats: point blank shot, precise shot, weapon finesse
Infusions: extended range, kinetic blade, weighing infusion
Wild talents: basic chaokinesis, kinetic awe, eyes of the void, gravity control
Negative blast w/gather power & empower, PBS: +12 touch, Damage (3d6+3)*1.5
Other gear: belt of physical might (dex, con) +2, a light crossbow for undead enemies.

Ignoring crits to keep the math sane.
Enemy 1 (cave giant)
The elf has a 50% chance of a hit with each shot, which means a 75% chance of landing at least one hit which can trigger conductive. DPR = 2*0.5*12+0.75*11.5 = 20.625
The halfling has a 95% chance of a hit. DPR = 0.95*13.5*1.5 = 19.2375
Enemy 2 (dark naga, unbuffed)
The elf has a 35% chance of a hit with each shot, which means a 57.75% chance of landing at least one hit which can trigger conductive. DPR = 2*0.35*12+0.5775*11.5 = 15.04125
The halfling has a 90% chance of a hit. DPR = 0.9*13.5*1.5 = 18.225

The difference here isn't huge but the higher the AC the more it goes to the halfling. With haste and a kinetic blade in melee the halfling is going to be much better than the elf; against targets immune to negative energy the elf wins by a mile.


Did you add the bonuses from elemental overflow?


Melkiador wrote:
Did you add the bonuses from elemental overflow?

I’d like to know this too. The Elf gets +1/4 favored class bonus to the Elemental Overflow bonuses, while the Halfling doesn’t.

Also here is how you do criticals.

x=the amount of numbers that hit the AC without being a critical threat.
y=the amount of numbers that hit AC while being a critical threat.
z=the amount of numbers that don’t hit AC.
n=the critical multiplier.

(x/20)+((y/20)*z/20)+(((y/20)*[(x+y)/20])*n)

This is the average to hit multiplier for when you factor in criticals for everything that can critical. The average to hit for everything that can’t critical is as follows.

(x+y)/20

That is the average to hit for non critical damage.

Then just do the multiplication with average damage, adding the results of the critical potential damage and non critical potential damage together, then adding the results of each attack in the round, and you are good to go.


I figure she only chose elf for the proficiencies and tried to make it more generic so no FCB. But elemental overflow is mostly assumed to always be on and at full.

Edit: also, you can’t start taking that FCB till level 3, so it won’t kick in til level 7.


I guess the biggest point is that the damage totals being thrown around are already so high that an extra 1-6 damage isn’t going to make much of a difference.

The accuracy is usually way more important.


I'm iffy about maxing burn for elemental overflow. Do that literally, say with the elf above taking the +2 size bonus to dex & con so she can take 6 burn, and she ends up with effectively 5 hp for first level + 1d8-3 hp per level (2 in PFS) thereafter. 15 hp is not enough at 6th level. And she has no ablity to take further burn if she ever wants/needs to. It'd push accuracy and damage up (+3 attack on the blast or +1 attack with the bow, & +4 damage on the blast) but the cost is unreasonable.

I could rework the figures above (3 burn for the elf, 6 for the halfling?) but I'm not sure it's necessary. The general picture seems clear, i.e. a conductive bow is certainly competitive but not so awesome it has to be the default.


I see a few things:
- The Kineticist... doesn't rely on Strength... at all... Constitution is the key ability, and Dexterity makes Kinetic Blasts easier to it. You do have 3/4 BAB and Blasts are ranged attacks, some being touch.

- Kinetic Blade and Kinetic Whip are often a Kineticist's melee weapons of choice, dealing Blast damage in addition of taking advantage of iterative attacks, which the regular ranged Blasts don't (you cannot fire 3 fully-charged Blasts if you have +11 BAB). The catch is that your Strength bonus doesn't apply to damage, and you can Finesse them. Since Dexterity helps you with ranged attacks, you can transfer that to your melee ones. That would have been a different story if Physical blasts relied on Strength instead of Dexterity.

- Gather Power requires you to "not hold anything in your hands". That includes weapons, and there are not many abilities that allows you to Gather Power with one hand while holding a spear in the other.

- The only thing I could see Strength being used is if you want to focus on unarmed strikes and the Kinetic Fist infusions, as this one deals elemental damage, not replacing it. However, unarmed strikes don't come with scalable damage for the Kineticist... and it demands a lot of feats to optimize this build, such as TWF. Finally, unarmed strikes can be Finessed, leading to not having Strength being an issue.

- That being said, Strength shouldn't be ditched because of the class. You're going to cry if you need to Climb, Swim, Resist a Maneuver, Carrying stuff, Breaking a Door and so on. Constitution is your Key ability, as I said, and Dexterity being the second, but that's for your class features.

- Another thing to consider is that your Blast isn't going to help you everytime. That Red Dragon is going to laugh at you if you pick Fire. It's the same with Physical Blasts being resisted by creatures with damage reduction. Furthermore, Blasts, Blades and Whips cannot be enhanced like weapons. We don't have a rod that can be enchanted like a weapon, but that can apply these enhancements to Blasts, including enhancement bonuses. Finally, weapons can help if you don't want to Burn or in specific situations, such as the Wizard resisting an element due to a spell or item.


avr wrote:

I'm iffy about maxing burn for elemental overflow. Do that literally, say with the elf above taking the +2 size bonus to dex & con so she can take 6 burn, and she ends up with effectively 5 hp for first level + 1d8-3 hp per level (2 in PFS) thereafter. 15 hp is not enough at 6th level. And she has no ablity to take further burn if she ever wants/needs to. It'd push accuracy and damage up (+3 attack on the blast or +1 attack with the bow, & +4 damage on the blast) but the cost is unreasonable.

I could rework the figures above (3 burn for the elf, 6 for the halfling?) but I'm not sure it's necessary. The general picture seems clear, i.e. a conductive bow is certainly competitive but not so awesome it has to be the default.

Why’d you even use elf? You could achieve the same thing, except with a higher con, using human, and making the bonus feat Martial Weapon Proficiency (Composite Longbow).

This would increase the hp, and increase the damage on the Kinetic Blast (albeit only by 1 point).

EDIT: Oh, and it would give one instance of an Extra Wild Talent feat, due to FCB.


Also, change Gravity Control and Eyes of the Void to Elemental Whispers and Greater Elemental Whispers, and change the element to water with the Cold Blast, and you now have a +1 competence bonus to attack and damage rolls from having a Water Wysp Familiar.

Oh, and change Weighing Infusion to Entangling Infusion, obviously, as well as the basic talent to the water one.

Finally, did you factor in the Entangled condition to the average damage per round for the later rounds?


I’m pretty sure the intent was to get as generic as possible. And have the two builds be as close to each other as possible. Though using a halfling for one may not be a fair comparison since it has a +1 to hit from being small. It would maybe be a better comparison if they were both the same race, like half-elf.

Silver Crusade

If you're starting at lvl 1, like most campaigns, you're not going to be able to afford a conductive bow for quite a while. There's also several APs where you don't have reliable access to magic shops for considerable periods of time.


Melkiador wrote:
I’m pretty sure the intent was to get as generic as possible. And have the two builds be as close to each other as possible. Though using a halfling for one may not be a fair comparison since it has a +1 to hit from being small. It would maybe be a better comparison if they were both the same race, like half-elf.

Which is a bad comparison, because the two builds want different things. It’d be like if I tried to make a Wizard build as similiar to a Sorcerer build as possible, then declared that the Sorcerer was better, even though the Wizard build wasn’t a proper Wizard build due to trying to emulate a Sorcerer instead of building a Wizard.

You see what I mean? You should not be making a bow Kineticist build the same way you make a regular Kineticist build.

Also, the damage per round goes up for the bow build if the entangled condition lands, while it either doesn’t go up for the blast build, or only goes up by a little, due to the fact that in the first example, they hit on everything but a 1, and the second, they hit on everything but a 1 or a 2.

So, as I see it, this is actually being artificially skewed in favor of the blast build, even though this should easily be better for the bow build.

Also, I feel like 7th level should have been used instead, because at that level, Energize Weapon deals another 1d6 damage for each attack.


You seem to be capable of making your own comparison, if you want. Part of the problem with making them is that they don’t really prove much because we all build in different ways and have different standards.


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Reksaw, if you think a fairer comparison is a human bow kineticist 7 to a halfling kineticist 7 sure, I can do that - be warned the changes may not all be to your liking. In particular the halfling will get the option of a physical blast at 7 (conductive requires a touch attack so can't go that way), and becomes an absolute demon in melee with the risky striker feat.

If you'd rather make your own version of the bow kineticist we could agree some ground rules and try that out. PM me if you want to talk about that.

Believe it or not I wasn't trying to kneecap the bow kineticist and was rather trying to set up comparisons from a similar level of optimisation.

Sovereign Court

I would think that 8 would be better for the bow version since that is BAB 6.


avr wrote:

Reksaw, if you think a fairer comparison is a human bow kineticist 7 to a halfling kineticist 7 sure, I can do that - be warned the changes may not all be to your liking. In particular the halfling will get the option of a physical blast at 7 (conductive requires a touch attack so can't go that way), and becomes an absolute demon in melee with the risky striker feat.

If you'd rather make your own version of the bow kineticist we could agree some ground rules and try that out. PM me if you want to talk about that.

Believe it or not I wasn't trying to kneecap the bow kineticist and was rather trying to set up comparisons from a similar level of optimisation.

I have to be honest, I’ll have to wait at least a week on that. Sometime this week I’m suppose to expect the apartment owner to have a pest remover spray for insects, which will take hours according to my mom who has been through that here before, and then I’ll have to deal with a funeral this week as well, and several other days of visiting family since most of them are normally in a different state.

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