Kineticist Full Attacking Touch AC for 175.5 Damage At Level 9?


Rules Questions


I know nothing about Kineticists other than I've heard they have a pretty high power floor (meaning it's near impossible to make a truly bad one). The campaign I'm running is mostly CRB/APG/ACG but I said, sure, we can try it when a player asked if he could play one.

Then he started talking about doing 175.5 damage as a full attack against touch AC at level 9.

That's enough to kill many/most CR12 monsters in one round effectively guaranteed (only misses on a one).

Is he misunderstanding some rules, are my expectations skewed, or is something else going on?


If taking burn, the kineticist can be pretty bursty. At level 9, you can maximize a blast allowing it to do max damage with every hit, but that will cost you 2 burn a pop. And if using kinetic blade, you could attack with your blast twice as a full attack action. If you can get haste, then it’d be 3 attacks.

Make sure that your player isn’t using over their burn limit in a round. At level 9, you can only choose to take 3 burn in a given round. There are ways around some of these costs, but they all limit you in other ways.


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This is quite possible for a fire/fire kineticist.

At level 9, the simple fire blast will do 5d6 + 1/2 con fire damage. The composite blue flame blast roughly doubles to 106 + 1/2 con fire damage.

Unlike a ranged blast, a kinetic blade can be used for iterative attacks, and by level 8, the kineticist can ignore up to 2 points of infusion burn, so the 1-point blade is effectively free. Their BAB is also 6 right now.

So far we have a 10d6 (or 35) + 1/2 con melee attack, with the same as an iterative. Let's call it 36 damage for simplicity at this point.

By having 3 or more burn at level 9, the kineticist will have +3 to their kinetic blast attack rolls, and double that (+6) to damage rolls. There's a cheap 1-burn fire infusion that can add another +3 to this, which still doesn't increase the actual burn due to their 2 points of free infusions.

So now we have a 45 fire damage strike. The composite blast is 2 burn, and empowering the blast is another 1 burn, for 3, which they can accept. This can raise their burn from 0 to the previously-mentioned 3 and apply to the blast that does it. so that's 45 * 1.5 for 67.5 fire damage per an attack.

With haste applied, you get 3 attacks, all against touch AC because that's how blue flame rolls, each at 67.5 damage, for 202.5 total fire damage. If anything, your friend low-balled it, seems they started on 39 base damage.


An important thing to remember is that the kineticist can't do this all day. Eating 3 burn is a pretty big deal, especially if you already started the day with 3 burn for the elemental overflow bonus. You can only willingly take 3+ConMod burn per day.

A second important thing to remember is that fire immunity is surprisingly common.

Sovereign Court

Artificial 20 wrote:
By having 3 or more burn at level 9, the kineticist will have +3 to their kinetic blast attack rolls, and double that (+6) to damage rolls. There's a cheap 1-burn fire infusion that can add another +3 to this, which still doesn't increase the actual burn due to their 2 points of free infusions.

Kinetic Blade doesn't add the damage from Elemental Overflow, so this doesn't apply.

Artificial 20 wrote:

So now we have a 45 36 fire damage strike. The composite blast is 2 burn, and empowering the blast is another 1 burn, for 3, which they can accept. This can raise their burn from 0 to the previously-mentioned 3 and apply to the blast that does it. so that's 45 36 * 1.5 for 67.5 54 fire damage per an attack.

With haste applied, you get 3 attacks, all against touch AC because that's how blue flame rolls, each at 67.5 54 damage, for 202.5 162 total fire damage. If anything, your friend low-balled it, knows their way around the rules and seems they started on 39 base damage.

Or perhaps it was 10d6 +4 with some of the +4 being from 1/2 con and maybe favored class(half-orc), that diadem magic item, or Fire's Fury. Likely, its Fire's Fury for +3 and a con of 14-17 for another +1.

Probably the biggest question is making sure that they are taking 27 non-healable damage to do this trick, that they are actually using Kinetic Blade and not throwing it at ranged (without the kinetic blade upgrades) and that Fire(or whatever type) Resist applies to each attack. Also we're assuming Haste, so if that's not the case, let us know. Without Haste, the example damage goes down to 108 at the cost of 27 to self. Or 72 all day no self-harm.


Melkiador wrote:
An important thing to remember is that the kineticist can't do this all day.

Well, a long adventuring day would be six equal CR encounters, right? That's the equivalent of a CR 14 encounter in terms of total XP to shuffle around.

Two CR 12 encounters is equivalent to a CR 14 encounter. So if you can auto delete (AC doesn't matter, saves don't matter) most CR 12 encounters then you'd only need to do so twice a day.

Of course, a CR12 encounter is supposed to crush a level 9 PC as well so there's another issue.

For the sake of this discussion, I'll mention I redid monster creation to more accurately reflect actual CR values...it just turns out that better defenses mean nothing if they can just be ignored with no save touch attacks.

Melkiador wrote:
A second important thing to remember is that fire immunity is surprisingly common.

That seems cold comfort to NPC antagonists and other non-fire immune foes.

Firebug wrote:
Also we're assuming Haste, so if that's not the case, let us know. Without Haste, the example damage goes down to 108 at the cost of 27 to self. Or 72 all day no self-harm.

I'm guessing Haste is involved, yes, otherwise you wouldn't get a 0.5 result.


AC can still matter. There are plenty of high CR monsters with decent touch AC. And one of those kinetic blade iterative attacks will be at -5 to hit. And of course, there's always the natural 1, so it's not as if hitting is ever guaranteed. And the more attacks you make, the more likely that one of them will miss.

If it is fire, then there's also a 4th level spell to become immune, Flaming Aura.


Firebug wrote:
Artificial 20 wrote:
By having 3 or more burn at level 9, the kineticist will have +3 to their kinetic blast attack rolls, and double that (+6) to damage rolls. There's a cheap 1-burn fire infusion that can add another +3 to this, which still doesn't increase the actual burn due to their 2 points of free infusions.
Kinetic Blade doesn't add the damage from Elemental Overflow, so this doesn't apply.

Ah thank you, I always seem to have a blind spot there.

That tones it down a bit to 36 * 1.5 per blow. Fire's Fury was the other talent I mentioned, though it's a utility talent, which has no burn cost at all, one more small mistake. As you say, that tallies to 39 * 1.5, or 58.5 damage. Haste for 3 hits multiplies that to 175.5 bang on the nose.

This is a lot of damage. I think there are only 3 composite blasts that do this much damage against touch AC, that being blue flame (fire/fire), and both the positive admixture and negative admixture blasts.

This is, to my knowledge, the best and flagship path of raw numeric damage open to a kineticist. It can be tuned a little higher, as Firebug exampled well, but that would build on this foundation. It's not available to every kineticist, only ones who take the correct elements, and all 3 blasts have a damage type that can be hard to apply consistently (fire, half positive, and half negative energy respectively). This is small comfort to those who get run over by it as was said, but it's very much the peak, not the mean.


The protection from energy (fire) spell also negates it, fire resistance 20+ & miss chances (or mirror image) reduce the damage a lot, and pure pyrokineticists may go down hard and fast since their class provides little defence; active defences work on them.

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