How is the Kineticist?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So, I'v seen a bunch of people saying the Kineticist is way OP, And I have seen a lot more people say the Kineticist is way under powerd and cant keep up with any other damage dealer in damage even when spread across a whole day, But the class looks intresting...

So, How is the Kineticist? What can it do? Can it keep up with damage? Is it realy strong or realy weak or in the middle?


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My personal opinion: if the Kineticist is under-performing at damage in your game, either it was poorly built (or mismanaged), or your game is already operating well above the intended expectations of the system (ie, if you make a mockery of the CR system, pay attention here). I am NOT saying you are playing wrong if that is true, just a suggestion to reassess your measuring stick.

The class is very interesting, and is usually a go-to for me when I want to play a ranged character that is not an archer, or pick up a magical ranged ability. I do not find the burn system overly complicated (or at all) though some people have some initial trouble with it.

The choice of elements really determines what you are going to be able to do. Some favor support over utility over damage.


The kineticist is about as baseline as you can get and it doesn't deviate much from that. If your party are uber-optimizers, then it will be comparatively weak. If your party are under-opimizers then it will be comparatively strong.

This is usually referred to as having a high floor and low ceiling. Some classes can be really strong or really weak depending on how you build them. But a kineticist is about the same no matter what you do to it.


The element chosen can make a big difference on the class's power, utility, and overall effective usefulness.


I should have mentioned some ways kineticist are better than average.

1) Amazing switch hitter. You can gather power and blast from range, then when they close to melee with you, you can break out the kinetic blade.

2) Swarms. I've had so many parties torn up by swarms. The kineticist is automatically good against them and will often have an infusion to do even better.

3) Melee damage. Kinetic Blade lets you take advantage of haste and iterative attacks while still getting the high blast damage on each swing.


It takes almost no optimisation to make a sorcerer whose top 2 spell levels outdo a ranged kinetic blast, or an archer ranger whose bow likewise wins. Their utility depends on using the same few tricks repeatedly which in turn depends on a GM who cooperates with that. And it's possible to drop below their optimisation 'floor' by not understanding their mechanics.

On the plus side they've got a great image to work with and if there's no blaster sorcerer or archer ranger to compare to then the comparison doesn't happen.


avr wrote:
It takes almost no optimisation to make a sorcerer whose top 2 spell levels outdo a ranged kinetic blast

I'm curious what you consider "almost no optimization". Are we talking crossblooded with blood havoc and magical lineage with wayang spell hunter? Because that's starting to get pretty darn optimized and pulling from multiple rules sources.

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or an archer ranger whose bow likewise wins.

This one is more problematic. Archery is amazing and the main options for it are in the CRB.

Silver Crusade

A high level kinecist is capable of one-shotting a boss with a critical hit.


Melkiador wrote:
avr wrote:
It takes almost no optimisation to make a sorcerer whose top 2 spell levels outdo a ranged kinetic blast
I'm curious what you consider "almost no optimization". Are we talking crossblooded with blood havoc and magical lineage with wayang spell hunter? Because that's starting to get pretty darn optimized and pulling from multiple rules sources.

No, I was thinking a sorcerer with at least one attack spell per spell level, a single bloodline which gives +1 damage per die and the 1st level bloodline mutation which adds another, and no metamagic or relevant traits whatsoever. It makes for an easier comparison taking out the options as well.


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Quote:
How is the Kineticist?

It certainly has potential.


I only played on using in the Kingmaker game by Owlsight, but it was a lot of fun there. There ability to use different form of attacks, from rays to blasts to line and cones as well as a kinetic blade gives you a lot of options, eventually.

Sacrificing hp to do more damage (burn) might be one of those things that works a lot better in a video game then a standard RPG though, what with the GM playing opponents smart.

Silver Crusade

By my calculation, a 16th lvl kineticist can deal about 130 damage with an empowered physical composite blast, plus around another 58 average with a quickened, empowered physical kinetic blast, all for no net burn (Supercharge and Infusion Specialization 4). Attack bonus is around +19 vs AC (before any spell boosts).

Is a sorcerer really matching that?

I don't pretend to be an optimization expert, so maybe I'm missing something.


It's also possible to exceed the kineticist's optimisation ceiling if you don't read their rules carefully. Metakinesis is not reduced by infusion specialization, only by gather power/supercharge, and that only reduces once per round. Your idea there PCScipio costs (1 + 1 + 3 - 3) = 2 burn.

Against average CR 16 AC that hits on a ~12+ (mean is AC 31.3), so you'll do a little under half the given damage on average over time. About 85.

A sorcerer could throw a cosmic ray and a cold ice strike (6th level spells; they have up to 8th level slots), and with the orc bloodline and blood havoc and a couple of +1 CL items or feats that's a mean 99 damage with cosmic ray, 82.5 with cold ice strike. Cosmic ray targets touch AC, with a +12 or so that's a 95% hit rate; cold ice strike with a reflex save DC of ~26 will do half damage about 35% of the time, full 65%. Spell resistance will apply for about 75% of enemies and will stop the damage about 40% of the time assuming spell penetration, which a 16th level blaster should have. That's about 113 damage if you work it all out.


PCScipio wrote:
a quickened, empowered physical kinetic blast, all for no net burn (Supercharge and Infusion Specialization 4).

Can't use infusion specialization to defray the cost of metakinesis, unfortunately- you have to gather power for that. So quickening always incurs burn.

To the OP, the kineticist is a class with a very high optimization floor (if you make the obvious good choices, you will have an effective character) with a very low optimization ceiling (there's nothing you can do to make the class as absurdly powerful as others could be.) As a result people tend to think the kineticist is too strong in low optimization games and too weak in very high optimization games.


Archers run out arrows, casters run out of spells, but kineticist never run out of their blast.

Silver Crusade

avr wrote:
It's also possible to exceed the kineticist's optimisation ceiling if you don't read their rules carefully. Metakinesis is not reduced by infusion specialization, only by gather power/supercharge, and that only reduces once per round. Your idea there PCScipio costs (1 + 1 + 3 - 3) = 2 burn.

The rules aren't really that clear on burn calculation (so much do that my GM has ruled the opposite way on metakinesis). You may well be right. I've searched for a definitive answer, and not found it.


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Infusion Specialization (Ex): At 5th level, whenever a kineticist uses one or more infusions with a blast, she reduces the combined burn cost of the infusions by 1. This can’t reduce the total cost of the infusions used below 0. She reduces the burn cost by 1 additional point at 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 20th levels.

Metakinesis is a separate class feature to infusions. The rules really are that clear.


avr wrote:
Against average CR 16 AC that hits on a ~12+ (mean is AC 31.3), so you'll do a little under half the given damage on average over time. About 85.

That seems low for level 16.

12 BAB
+5 elemental overflow
+3 overflow size dex
+3 dex belt
=+23
That already has you hitting on a 8 to 9. And you should really have a starting +3 to +5 dex bonus from level 1. You may use your leveling bonuses to increase dex to give another +2 dex bonus. If you’re getting any outside bonuses, like from a bard song, then you’ll probably have to roll a 1 to miss by level 16. I can think of lots of other really basic ways to increase your attack bonus too. There are really too many ways to mention here.

The real reason that you’ll want to stack attack modifiers past the hit cap is for the iterative attacks of kinetic blade-type infusions. But all of that dex bonus will also pump up the DCs of your form infusions. And give you a nice AC, initiative and reflex save.

At level 16, you’ll also have 3 elemental picks, meaning that you have a good chance of being able to target touch AC against a lot of enemies. Or use physical attacks against those who are immune to your element or magic.

Silver Crusade

Elemental Overflow to hit bonus — I knew I was forgetting something!


PCScipio wrote:
Elemental Overflow to hit bonus — I knew I was forgetting something!
Then, did you apply the damage from elemental overflow?
Quote:
She also receives a bonus on damage rolls with her kinetic blast equal to double the bonus on attack rolls.

That'd be an expected +10 damage per blast at level 16. Sadly, this damage doesn’t apply to kinetic blade.

I didn’t mention this earlier because it’s getting into heavier optimization, but by that level you should probably also have an overflowing rod to add +1 to attack and +2 to damage. Gloves of storing are great for keeping your hands free until you actually need to use the rod.


The Kineticist seems like a realy cool and fun class, Thanks for all the replies!


Level 16 is a pretty good breakpoint for the kineticist though, because you get composite specialization. Supercharge also lets you reduce burn by 2 when gathering power. So, you can combine composite with empowered every round.

For physical that’s
16d6*1.5+16+10 overflow+con bonus.
Average
110+con

For energy it’s
16d6*1.5+10+.5con
Average
94+.5 con

That’s not amazing, but it’s something they can do every round. And it can benefit from 4 burn worth of infusions freely with infusion specialization. And if it crits it will one shot most creatures. But if you want to compare the max damage of a sorcerer, you need to account for the fact that they are burning resources of spells, so the kineticist should be burning resources of burn.

Where it really stands out is when forms of damage reduction come into play. The sorcerer isn’t going to have many big damage spells that ignore spell resistance and many sorcerers are locked to being good at one element, that a creature could be immune to. And even if a creature has something big like DR 20, that’s still 96+con damage per hit.


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Everyone is talking about the class's damage when it is it's utility ability that really make it fun for me. Not only a at will blast power but at will(and always active) invisibility, flight, haste, air bubble/life bubble, warp wood, plant growth, telekinesis, stone shape, control water, gravity control, creating elementals, etc..


I was trying to leave open options that are locked to an element, and almost all utility is tied to the element. By later levels you could have 3 unique main elements, but most people seem to stay in the same element for 2 of those 3 choices. Also, it’s not like the sorcerer doesn’t have utility too.


Sorcerers also get scrolls and wands. Kineticists have to rely on UMD. While that is a class skill, they have no other real use for Charisma. Or Intelligence, so their 4 skill points per level may not stretch that far.


Re kinetic blasting all day; if you're using burn-free options then the sorcerer can do the same or better for 10-20 rounds per day. Which is generally more than enough.

Re utility; wild talents are mostly equivalent to spells a sorcerer gets 4 levels earlier. Sometimes 6. There are a scant handful of cases where the kineticist has something special, mostly in the aether element which is worse at blasting.

Silver Crusade

Geokineticist can get at-will Earth Glide, and Tremorsense.


It's fine. I don't like it, but it works. They work really well out of the box, but with limited benefit from feats, and poor interaction with multiclassing, they end up being really boring to build and equipment for them is very limited.

The class is also written in an overly complicated way, trading benefits back and forth over a fairly obvious baseline rather than just giving you the baseline. The class is very close to being a full BAB 1d6HD character, but it splits the benefits of that BAB over a bunch of abilities and it overstocks the HP by making Con a primary stat and giving the class 1d8, then draining that back down with expected expenditure of burn to hit your base output.

I recommend them to players who don't like making characters and have trouble remembering what their spells do. You end up with a caster who blows things up and has some limited utility abilities and most of the books are useless to you. Tables who consider them overpowered also have frequent issues with gunslingers.


Yeah, I would have liked a pool of points(Con Mod + 1/2LV) to use your burn cost abilities instead of the burn mechanic. When you spent half your "burn" points then elemental overflow is activated, when your points are at 0 then you get a greater elemental overflow boost.


Where the kineticist really shines is in cases where you have pretty much all day to work on some task before a deadline.

Like if the army is going to start the siege tomorrow, the 10th level geokineticist with shift earth and stone sculptor can throw up some daunting earthworks. Few classes have as much "singlehandedly dissuade entire armies" potential.

To borrow a turn of phrase from PF2, you're behind the sorcerer or whomever in encounter mode, but you're way ahead at something you can do in exploration or downtime mode.


If you want to be cheesy, at level 16 the telekineticist has many throw. Now many throw's wording is already vague about targeting the same target multiple times, but we know from Mark Seifter that it's intended to be one target per use. But... against large+ enemies there is a way around that limit.

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Total Concealment: If you have line of effect to a target but not line of sight, he is considered to have total concealment from you. You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies. A successful attack into a square occupied by an enemy with total concealment has a 50% miss chance (instead of the normal 20% miss chance for an opponent with concealment).

Just close your eyes right before attacking and attack into every square the creature occupies. A large creature occupies a 2x2x2=8 number of squares. A huge creature occupies a 3x3x3=27 number of squares. Even if half of the many throw attacks are missing from concealment, the total damage is still going to be pretty insane.


Anyone have a favorite element? Least favorite element?

My favorite is Aether.

I don't have a least favorite element, though I do think that most of the elements needed more love...especially wood and void.


I enjoy the Wood element most of all. Aether is a close second.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've played aether and wood (kinetic Knight). That's also my answer. Aether is awesome and wood has almost no good utility talents.

Other elements look solid if the AP or GM is not blocking you out with immunities.

Grand Lodge

I have an earth kineticist who just hit level 12 in PFS, and he is one of my favorite characters. Decent amount of utility, decent damage, virtually indestructible, lots of fun. Sure, there are plenty of builds that can do more damage, or have more utility, but unless you are playing with a bunch of heavy minmaxers, the kineticist performs just fine.


Question:

If an NPC readies an attack against either
a: a kinetic blade or
b: devestating insusion

And hits- does the Kineticist then have to make a concentration check or lose the attack?

While a kinetic blade doesn't incur an AoO by itself, it is still a spell like ability.

Thoughts?


I don't see why you couldn't do that. It seems an extremely specific thing to do and, generally, a waste of an entire turn.

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