What Magical Tradition will the Kineticist have in P2?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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This started a comment on the Dark Archives thread, but I wanted to put it out here for a chance at a more robust discussion without derailing the product thread.

Someone brought up the idea of the Kineticist as a class archetype.

wegrata wrote:
Anyone else half expecting to see kineticist as a class archetype for psychic? Burn for brain drain, primal for occult, different amps?

I responded:

Kelseus wrote:

I don't think the kineticist would even be occult in P2.

It's almost all manipulation of matter, so primal or arcane (really just to cover the force damage stuff). What part of mind or spirit is involved in shooting fireballs from your eyes?

And then another response:

Keftiu wrote:
I don’t really think Kineticists have a tradition at all - their blasts are sort of a distinct thing from spellcasting, and I think it would be quite the surprise if they have a traditional spell list at all whenever they come over to 2e.

My personal position is that it will definitely have a tradition, as all magical abilities have one. I could be like the wizard, where all kineticists are primal only. Or similar to sorcerer/witch where depending on they subclass or ability you select, that determines your tradition. Or even like a Monk, where you get to decide occult or divine, and it doesn't really make a difference mechanically.

As for the tradition itself, I stick to my prior position that Kineticist is most likely to be a Primal tradition caster, even if they don't get access to the Primal spell list. All fo the original Kineticists except force were elemental damage, which is solidly in Primal territory. The only reason I'm not stronger on Primal only is the force kineticist, force spells being generally absent from Primal list. Maybe it could be Water/fire/earth/etc are primal OR you can be Arcane if you go force only.

So I open the question to the floor: Once the Kineticist is brought to P2, what magical tradition do you think it will have, if any?


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I don't see why kineticists would have a tradition when they have no spells. I'm certain kineticists would have a unique action which blasts and that can be modified through various abilities and feats. In 1e they didn't work through cantrips, spell slots or anything of the sort, I don't see why it would be the case here. It seems far simpler to just make their blast a unique action which gets modified. From what I understand of the lore they don't cast spells at all so even focus spells don't seem to fit


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AestheticDialectic wrote:
I don't see why kineticists would have a tradition when they have no spells. I'm certain kineticists would have a unique action which blasts and that can be modified through various abilities and feats. In 1e they didn't work through cantrips, spell slots or anything of the sort, I don't see why it would be the case here. It seems far simpler to just make their blast a unique action which gets modified. From what I understand of the lore they don't cast spells at all so even focus spells don't seem to fit

Idk, monks have traditions for their focus spells, and I don't see why they wouldn't also use the focus mechanic for the kinetisist, it's a great way for handling abilities that they want to be usable every encounter, but not be spammable

Liberty's Edge

I think it would be simpler for Kineticist to use spells of some kind rather than have a system of magic but not magic.

Those spells should be of primal and arcane traditions for those dealing with the tangible vs occult and divine for those dealing with the intangible.

Liberty's Edge

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I would think they'd primarily work through focus cantrips, like the Bard and Witch have for their composition and hex cantrips, with focus spells to add infusions (or whatever they end up calling the ability that puts a little extra on the blast). Those still have a tradition, though, and primal is probably the best fit for the Kineticist.


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keftiu wrote:
Kineticists aren’t casting spells, so I don’t see them having one; you might as well as what Tradition the more magical-seeming Monk stances are.

Some of them do, actually. Even disregarding the focus spell stances Alchemic_Genius mentioned, Stoked Flame and Reflecting Ripple stances also have either divine or occult.

That said, I think Kineticists will be tied to either primal or arcane. If the abilities of elementals like Magma Dragons have the primal trait on any of their abilities, I don't see why our PC channelers of the planes wouldn't also have a tradition.


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Kineticists should be primal. That sounds, I would like to see them primarily use special unarmed attacks, like Foxfire. Maybe focus points for special things beyond the norm, but there should be a solid suite of at will.

Liberty's Edge

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I think that like the Monk, their powers are going to be given an either/or option but instead of Divine/Occult, they'll be directed to choose between Arcane and Primal, both of which make plenty of narrative sense to me to be how they channel their powers.


Albatoonoe wrote:
Kineticists should be primal. That sounds, I would like to see them primarily use special unarmed attacks, like Foxfire. Maybe focus points for special things beyond the norm, but there should be a solid suite of at will.

I could see them having arcane or primal as a choice to mirror the monk. And yes please special unarmed. If they get tied to spell attacks or spell DCs they'll be DoA.

Liberty's Edge

I had not previously realized that the Monk deals with the intangible (the Spiritual essence that Occult and Divine share).

It feels weird but not completely out of place.


Mark me down for the choice of primal or arcane.


If they go with Primal, I really don't want to end up with more Druid flavor to it. Keep the Carrie vibes. I'd appreciate it being Occult (or choice between the two), but I can understand that being a stretch for the respective lores.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

They *might* be able to skate by without having a tradition, but I don't see a reason why they shouldn't get one just for rules consistency. Even if they have no spells whatsoever (as is Just and Right) they could still be aligned with a tradition.

I agree with Primal and Arcane. Primal would be the "channeling elemental power instinctively" and Arcane would be "using your brain muscle to manipulate the elements"


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love and much prefer the idea of them being primal. Just primal.

I wouldn't overly mind there being an arcane choice too, but it wouldn't be my first preference. Kinetic screams primal so much louder than arcane.

I can't imagine having magical effects with no tradition tied to them. I feel that eould just lead to unnecessary and confusing new subsystems that will require the player to jump through all sorts of hoops. Keep it simple I say.


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I think it would be less of a "you cast Primal Spells from the Primal Spell List" and more of a "all of your kineticist abilities have the Primal trait".

The Animal Instinct Barbarian's rage action has the Primal trait, as does the Animal Skin barbarian feat, but neither are spells. So does the Giant Stature feat. Dragon Instinct has the Arcane trait.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kelseus wrote:

I think it would be less of a "you cast Primal Spells from the Primal Spell List" and more of a "all of your kineticist abilities have the Primal trait".

The Animal Instinct Barbarian's rage action has the Primal train, as does the Animal Skin barbarian feat, but neither are spells. So does the Giant Statute feat. Dragon Instinct has the Arcane trait.

This. I imagine them having a lot of focus spells and innate spells that are integrated into a martial framework.


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If I had a say about how are they going to be, I would say primal tradition, martial focused, with focus cantrips for the attacks, focus spells for the infusions and stances to alter the attacks. I really want to see a class focused on stance swapping (or at least one where it is a viable option).

Something like infusions giving you things like temporary health on your next strike, augmented damage, debuffs or some sort of AoE and stances giving tradeoffs like doing more damage but receiving recoil damage or limiting strikes to melee but dealing damage when you get hit.

If they end up being focus cantrip/spell based, I hope they do the same thing they did for Oracle in giving them focus spell regen as a class feature.

In the same vein, if they go for stances I would really love to see something that helps them out with their action economy. If not we will end up with another Monk situation where swapping stances is heavily disincentivised until really high levels after you pay for it with tons of feats.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Primal only kineticist walls off a lot of their weirder options from PF1 and I'd be really disappointed to see it go in that direction. So I hope there's at least some flexibility there


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Primal only kineticist walls off a lot of their weirder options from PF1 and I'd be really disappointed to see it go in that direction. So I hope there's at least some flexibility there

Like what? You basically had the elements, void (essentially darkness and shadow), wood (as in plants), and healing.

That's all primal. The only thing that seems remotely arcane is aether/force, and you can practically roll that into the air/wind element since it was mostly just moving objects.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Primal only kineticist walls off a lot of their weirder options from PF1 and I'd be really disappointed to see it go in that direction. So I hope there's at least some flexibility there

Like what? You basically had the elements, void (essentially darkness and shadow), wood (as in plants), and healing.

That's all primal. The only thing that seems remotely arcane is aether/force, and you can practically roll that into the air/wind element since it was mostly just moving objects.

Yeah primal pretty much covers everything, and even the aether/force could be put there as is not unheard of classes cheating their way into stuff that their tradition don't have (druid being able to pick some illusion goods, storm oracle getting air/water focus spells, fey summoner getting some schools of arcane and so on).


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I would prefer the Kineticist to not have a magical tradition at all.


Hoping it was clear from my other post but I agree with primal. I had that listed as part of my idea for the archetype.

The low level spell slots seem to cover utility and the primal list has the spells that match the old abilities from pf1.


Ravingdork wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Primal only kineticist walls off a lot of their weirder options from PF1 and I'd be really disappointed to see it go in that direction. So I hope there's at least some flexibility there

Like what? You basically had the elements, void (essentially darkness and shadow), wood (as in plants), and healing.

That's all primal. The only thing that seems remotely arcane is aether/force, and you can practically roll that into the air/wind element since it was mostly just moving objects.

When I made my post about it being a class archetype for psychic, I was leaving aether as part is psychic, as it already had the telekinesis vibe.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Like what?

Aether, telekinesis is almost entirely arcane and occult. There's really nothing from it in Primal.

Void, primal has very few negative effects, only a couple darkness/shadow effects and none of the gravity manipulating effects.

It also future-proofs Paizo from adding any future kineticist affinities that aren't within Primal's fairly narrow wheelhouse.


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Perhaps the Kineticist's element will determine what magical tradition its abilities are, like the supernatural Barbarian instincts or Summoner Eidolons. A pyrokineticist would be connected to the Plane of Fire, so their abilities would be Primal, while a Telekineticist would be connected to the Etherial Plane, so their abilities would be Arcane, and so on and so forth.


Most probably Primal, I guess.

Whatever tradition they'd get, I only want to see CON to hit(/damage) with no penalties unlike PF1; CON is already penalized for having no related out-of-combat skills at all, so...


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If we must invoke the magical traditions for the Kineticist, I would prefer to come to it by way of the essences. Here's my pitch for that-

The Kineticist manipulates external matter/life/spirit/mind by putting strain on its own life/spirit/mind/material. These two can't match up or be opposites. Whatever combination you end up with is your magical tradition, but at no point should you be doing traditional magic.


Does what tradition it is matter all that much if they aren't actually ever casting spells?


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keftiu wrote:
Does what tradition it is matter all that much if they aren't actually ever casting spells?

The Thaumaturge doesn't cast spells at all, and yet all of their supernaturally-flavored feats had a tradition assigned to them. It looks like all magical abilities in Golarion are associated with one of the four traditions. That's just how magic stuff works.


Of all the things people have discussions about when it comes to kineticist, I'm baffled how much this topic comes up. Whether it's primal or arcane or either has pretty much no mechanical or flavor value. I'd be way more interested in hearing about all the unique pieces of the class, from blasts themselves, to wild talents, to infusions, etc.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Even Barbarians have magical traditions attached to Rage.


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Also, yes, it does matter. There are some items and effects, like the robe of the archmagi, that care specifically about traditions.

Liberty's Edge

Any magical effect deals with either the tangible (Material) or the intangible (Spiritual) and relies on a reasoned approach (Mental) or an instinctual approach (Vital). So it always has 2 not-opposite Essences, and thus corresponds to a Tradition.

Essences were introduced in PF2 precisely for this.


I would prefer no tradition but would hope that Kineticist get occult as a call back to its occult and psychic origins if forced to get one. Specially given how Occult is the most liberal of the traditions. It would also tie in nicely with the fact that Kineticist do not draw power directly from the elemental, first world, and shadow planes but from the ethereal plane (the very definition of "ephemeral").

But seeing how many people want primal I would settle for the choice of occult or primal (similar to monk), do not tie it to the element please. I do not see at all how they would be arcane. Yes, arcane has a lot of force effects, but the theme just does not work. Not to mention occult has just as many force effects while having a more fitting theme in general.

* P.S. Aether is the name for what happens when you mix random/untyped elemental energy with the ethereal plane. Void is random/untyped elemental with negative/shadow plane. Wood is random/untyped elemental with First World. The 4 basic would be the corresponding typed elemental + ethereal plane.


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Traditions also interact with multiclassing archetypes and innate spells so it is not just flavor.


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Ignis Fatuus wrote:
Traditions also interact with multiclassing archetypes and innate spells so it is not just flavor.

For multiclassing, yes - but as far as I can tell, innate spells automatically use your highest spellcasting proficiency, whatever it is.


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As a reminder for some folks, in 1e the telekineticist wielded aether, which was told to be the, 'rare element formed of the Ethereal plane where it touches the Elemental planes'. Now, I can't say I was originally very thrilled with the niche explanation for aether, but the fact remains that even if they were a part of the 'Occult classes' Kineticists never really been occult in the 2e sense of the word. Pretty much all their abilities are based on channeling elements (Primal or Arcane) or have justifications for how they cheat other energies out of elemental powers that run back to 1e even before we had a concept of bending traditions.

The only other association the kineticist has with the other 'Occult classes' is that its wild talents didn't use traditional spellcasting gestures, only because spell-like abilities didn't have components in 1e. They're a fine candidate for psychic casting unless especially leaning into the Avatar inspiration (and let's be clear, I'd love it both ways) but them being Primal (or Arcane) most naturally fits the lore of the game world, even including all the stanger elements from 1e.

That said I would absolutely be fine with a kineticist whose tradition depends upon and or dictates which combinations of elements available to them, though ideally we'd see wide enough categories that you don't often get locked off from two elements you want to work together because they share no mutual tradition. Even assuming you're limited to picking one tradition--it doesn't seem as though Thaumaturge will be.

Also for what it's worth, there is actually a category for magical powers which do not cleave to a specific tradition, namely 'magical'. Of course, generally that trait is reserved for things like magic items which don't do very much beyond just be magical, or whose function isn't tied to only one or two traditions. It exists, even if it almost never applies to class abilities.


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I have to say the one thing from the PF1 Kineticist I am happiest to see go is that the 1e kineticist was optimally someone with 2 and eventually 3 different elements, so as to get around resistances. You couldn't just be the "I throw fire around" person.

But PF2 consciously avoided ubiquitous resistances/immunities (instead emphasizing weaknesses to encourage diversity of damage types). So the "I throw fire around" character is rarely at a huge disadvantage. So I'm not sure the "I can do aether and earth" concept needs to stick around. There can and should be ways to expand your elements, but those should be thematic pairs and not mix-and-matches. Like how in Avatar, most earthbenders can learn to metalbend; but Bolin can't because he can instead lavabend.

So I don't know if we need to figure out "how do we combine Aether with other stuff that is completely unlike it."


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From a mechanical standpoint, the tradition assigned determines what skill is used to Identify the ability. There are also (rarely) some abilities that provide a bonus to saves or ac v. only one type of tradition (see Rakshasa's save bonus v. Divine).


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I have to say the one thing from the PF1 Kineticist I am happiest to see go is that the 1e kineticist was optimally someone with 2 and eventually 3 different elements, so as to get around resistances. You couldn't just be the "I throw fire around" person.

But PF2 consciously avoided ubiquitous resistances/immunities (instead emphasizing weaknesses to encourage diversity of damage types). So the "I throw fire around" character is rarely at a huge disadvantage. So I'm not sure the "I can do aether and earth" concept needs to stick around. There can and should be ways to expand your elements, but those should be thematic pairs and not mix-and-matches. Like how in Avatar, most earthbenders can learn to metalbend; but Bolin can't because he can instead lavabend.

So I don't know if we need to figure out "how do we combine Aether with other stuff that is completely unlike it."

I disagree since being able to mix and match the utility talents and infusions was a key parts of the class. Also what does aether have to do with anything? The composite blast for aether were just aetheric boost (bonus to other blasts) and force blast (lower damage but it was force so it bypassed most resistances).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I have to say the one thing from the PF1 Kineticist I am happiest to see go is that the 1e kineticist was optimally someone with 2 and eventually 3 different elements, so as to get around resistances. You couldn't just be the "I throw fire around" person.

I mean, you could. Ignoring resistances was a fairly early access kineticist talent, and there was even a selective ability to bypass immunity. Pure flame was, in fact, a pretty solid build because of its raw blasting potential.

Quote:
There can and should be ways to expand your elements, but those should be thematic pairs and not mix-and-matches.

Any pair can be thematic, depending on how you frame it. The power to decide that should be in the hands of the player and GM working together, not pre-ordained by Paizo.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
Ignis Fatuus wrote:
Traditions also interact with multiclassing archetypes and innate spells so it is not just flavor.
For multiclassing, yes - but as far as I can tell, innate spells automatically use your highest spellcasting proficiency, whatever it is.

Keying off charisma I think. That's why I don't build into innate casting unless it's on a charisma class


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly, I think that the most intuitive route is to make them Primal, in terms of the 'designated tradition' for their non-spells-- literally shaping the elements.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Arcane is my preference. Ethereal plane is Mind essence (and so occult or arcane) and of course all but the Aethereal element is Matter.

I could see Arcane as the base but options to open up to other traditions based on your element. There were definitely bits that could conceivably attach to any of the four traditions.


I think straight Primal fits the best for an element tossing madman in the vein of AtlA and X-Men/Hero Aca, but Arcane could work, maybe... My main issue with that is the little treatises we got in SoM describing how the different traditions feel to their casters, and Primal lines up best with the flavor of the Kine, so I'm a little hesitant to pick something else. Primal also has the Vital essence, which is what the Positive and Negative planes are in sync with, which we know the 1e Kine got in the form of Wood and Void element options. Primal just has the biggest overlap in the mechanical underpinnings we have going from 1e to 2e in regards to how magic actually works.


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Honestly, I think the real answer here is for Paizo to potentially reevaluate how it values pick-your-tradition situations. It may not even matter for kineticist if they don't end up casting spells-by-way-of-slots. Either way: It seems like everyone's got their own ideas for which traditions make the most sense.

Sooo... My suggestions:
Aether - Arcane (Occult?)
Void - Occult (Divine?)
Conventional Elements + Wood - Primal
Blood/Dark Elementalist - Occult
Hypothetical Positive Energy - Divine (Occult?)

I love the traditions but I'd rather they be "the-current-understanding-of-the-universe" with some fuzzy borders rather than "this-is-physics" with harder lines.


Please no pick-a-list Kineticist.


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Temperans wrote:
Please no pick-a-list Kineticist.

Why not? What exactly is the harm? They're not going to be tied to the specific spell lists anyway.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Please no pick-a-list Kineticist.
Why not? What exactly is the harm? They're not going to be tied to the specific spell lists anyway.

Pick a list would presumably only limit the class if it had spell slots. As a spotless blaster it should be fine. It would also have the benefit of opening them wider to multiclassing.

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