High end imbalance


Kineticist Class


I think that the capstones could use a bit of tweaking before live release. Some seem to do very powerful things, while others have barely any combat relevance at all.

Looking at the capstone feats for each element. These are at 18 unless otherwise listed.

INFINITE EXPANSE OF BLUEST HEAVEN [three-actions]

10-foot burst, many traits (lots of immunities). Effectively makes enemies flat-footed and fleeing while inside the tiny cylinder. While cool, this seems like it will most often play out as slowed 1.

CROWNED IN TEMPEST’S FURY [two-actions]

This has no listed duration, but I'm assuming it is supposed to be a combat buff lasting 1 minute. Adds a respectable 1d12 electric to elemental blasts and 2d12 kinetic aura.

ASSUME EARTH’S MANTLE (14) [three-actions]

Seems a little odd to me that this will usually make your defense worse, but is also practically an Apex item well before you could normally get one.

REBIRTH IN LIVING STONE [two-actions]

No listed duration, so I'm again going to assume this is supposed to be a 1 minute combat buff. Adds a lot of THP, immunity to critical hits and precision, and increases damage die to d10s or d12s. All solid.

THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN WEEPS [three-actions]

9d10 on a 20-foot burst isn't competing with spells, but there is some chance to up to 20d6 more over a minute. In general, this will do decent but not great damage while controlling the battlefield somewhat.

ALL SHALL END IN FLAMES [three-actions]

This hits a bigger area than The Shattered Mountain Weeps, but it also deals significantly less damage at 7d10. In practice, the former is always better. This is far below what spells deal at this level range, and really is not an effective use of 4 actions. Keep in mind that in the same time, a Wizard could use 2 level 3 fireballs and deal a little more damage. This provides zero benefits other than damage, and bonus: this also hurts you! The phoenix ability is a neat touch, but this needs more time in the kitchen.

IGNITE THE SUN [three-actions]

This ability exists. It is calling Flaming Sphere, and it is available to casters at level 3. Kidding aside, the purpose of this ability seems to be the 1d6 fire damage it adds to Strikes, fire spells, and fire impulses. The laughably ridiculous 4d6 fire damage to orb itself deals at this level just isn't relevant, though it is nice that it grows. I'd prefer this as a 1 minute non-sustained buff without the slightly heightened Flaming Sphere attached to it.

RIDE THE TSUNAMI [three-actions]

This is water's part of the 'do a little damage' big overflow cycle. It does decent damage (8d10) over a decent area (60-foot cone). It doesn't really have any battlefield utility; 10 foot of forced movement has literally never been relevant in any 2E game I've ever played. It is an extraordinarily minor effect; I hope this at least knocks prone on a failure when released.

USURP THE LUNAR REINS [three-actions]

This is incredibly do-nothing in combat. Keep in mind that at level 1, a water kineticist can produce an endless amount of drinkable water using Gather Element. This can create a 20-ft burst of water with literally no listed combat effect, or make a similarly sized bit of water difficult terrain. Even in the extra rare water encounters I've seen, spending 4 actions to make a small cylinder of difficult terrain would not have been relevant of effective. I get that they were mainly aiming to replicate the non-combat features of Control Water, but this seems to be a pretty half-baked execution as a level 18 class feat. I'd prefer largely noncombat feats like these to be skill feats requiring a relevant elemental gate.


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I think the point about wizards throwing level 3 spells out for better results is important. Two level 3 fireballs takes 4 actions, you spend 4 total actions on All Shall End In Flames. Technically, the wizard expended resources. A level 18 wizard does not have a significant opportunity cost to fire off those fireballs, and could probably have just used a scroll of 4th level fireball for 8d6 instead for fewer actions and a relatively small amount of gold at that level.

While these obviously can't stack up to 9th level spells, I'm concerned about them effectively eating up two turns of combat (you'll probably fit a strike or stride in the second round after gathering element again?).

Considering that strong focus spell users at 18 can reload all three points at once (and have possibly extra points once/day from various sources), I think these need to be compared against that. Twice the actions of a focus spell for a fraction of the effect is not great, and the reusability of focus spells means you can't make much of an argument for that limiting the impulses... A sorcerer at 18 can drop three dragon breaths every fight for 17d6 in an AoE each (59.5 damage average each, nearly 180 total). It will take them six actions over three rounds to unload that.

In the same time frame, a kineticist can do two level 18 impulses. Shattered mountain gets 9d10, averaging 49.5 damage each, for a bit under 100 damage (the persistent damage field is nice, but since it ends on reuse...) and using 8 actions instead of 6. You'll probably eat an action or two from stuff in the area while they try to escape, which is nice. This is also the most favorable example - I think this one's possibly close to acceptable if viewed as a one-shot battle opening move, but then... you're stuck without anything nearly comparable for output. Hurtling Rockfall is 33 damage for three actions, for instance.

Now, granted, the action economy improves drastically at 19. But... that's level 19, and it doesn't save the lower level impulses. (Also of note - quickened doesn't stack iirc? So if you already had Haste up this isn't actually helping much at all)

Basically, I think that the real issue here is the action economy? Maybe have a cooldown between overflows (standard 1d4? Something else?) that you can spend actions to circumvent. (Or maybe this is where we make the CON link that's mostly missing from the class)


I think there’s two main problems with a caster style Kineticist one is the action tax almost all the damaging impulse have overwhelm which is effectively a action tax. Now I don’t see that as a major problem except the class also peeks out at master level DC proficiency. I really think the two types of Kineticist builds need a formal division like the warpriest vs the cloister priest. If you gave the melee/ranged attack version medium armor and dropped the DC proficiency to expert while the caster version keeps only light armor and gets legendary DC proficiency I think this would go a long way to balancing the caster version. Tho I do think some of the damages need to be modified

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