I really wish the Kineticist was not so squishy.


Kineticist Class


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So the thing that really drew me to the class in Pathfinder 1st edition was the Elemental Defense. Where you could, with some elements and taking the "Expanded Defense" wild talent end up with a character who walks away from breakfast with DR, a regenerating temp HP pool, and a 20% miss chance from ranged attacks that would last all day with no upkeep. Moreover due to a quirk in the system there was nothing you needed to spend money on for offense except your Dex/Con belt, so you could put all the rest of your money into defense so you were often ahead of other characters on things like upgrading rings of protection and amulets of natural armor. So you could have a PF1 kineticist that was an incredibly tanky character who would wade into the fray to stand and bang in melee. I liked this kind of character a lot.

Contrast the playtest Kineticist:
- d8 Hit Die, but even if you start with 18 Con (and you're the only person who can do this) you have as much HP as the Ranger or Fighter who started with 14 Con or the Barbarian who started with 12. Since Con doesn't do anything for you except HP, fort saves, and class DC this is pretty underwhelming. If you push your Con all the way it goes to 22 and then get the Apex item you will have as much HP as the Barbarian who stopped at 16.
- You have the same armor proficiencies as a rogue, which is generally understood to be the squishiest martial.
- Your saves are L/M/E which is okay.
- Your defensive talents are temporary and require regular activation. Spike Skin is even awkward with its 10 minute duration that increases when you get hit but has an hour cooldown, since you want to time it based on "how much do you think you're going to get hit in the next 10 minutes" and "do I have an hour free afterwards".

If you wanted to be a Str-based kineticist (which is a thing that's possible and that's very cool) you're best off taking armor proficiency as a general feat, then by the time you get to 13th level get your dex to 16 then retrain out of the feat.

It's even worse when you look at talents like "Assume Earth's Mantle" (which is an incredibly cool mental image) and you notice that it actually decreases both your armor class and your two worst saves compared to the armor you should own at 14th level.

I just want to do okay damage, hit people with rocks so they fall down, and be incredibly tough.


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If the power of impulses and overflow remains roughly the same as the playtest, I would like to see 10 hit points as well. And medium armor. If the end result of its blasting is significantly better, 8 hit points is appropriate if it's in line with what other blasters could output.


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It really is bizarre to me that a class can have Con as their key ability but get stuck with a d8 hit die. If they want to convey that it's a tough class, they should just give it a d10 and make the key ability Dex or Str based on if you want to be melee or ranged.

Also, if we have the ability to make weapons out of our chosen element, why don't we get a similar choice for armor? Why is the Shield stand-in restricted to Earth? I understand Assume Earth's Mantle exists, but having a much lower level feat that grants essentially light armor to air, medium to water and fire, and heavy to earth would still be on brand I feel.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

They really need to add "Elemental Defense" back in so it gives the feeling back.


Of they could add Con mod to ac instead of dexterity as a choice. That would open up build diversity and help with the mad issue


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Martialmasters wrote:
Of they could add Con mod to ac instead of dexterity as a choice. That would open up build diversity and help with the mad issue

PF2 is really allergic to stat substitutions. The only place we've seen it, I believe, is in Devise a Stratagem and that takes an action and might just tell you "don't bother attacking that guy."


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Of they could add Con mod to ac instead of dexterity as a choice. That would open up build diversity and help with the mad issue
PF2 is really allergic to stat substitutions. The only place we've seen it, I believe, is in Devise a Stratagem and that takes an action and might just tell you "don't bother attacking that guy."

No it isn't. We have cha to damage. Dexterity to damage. Wisdom to damage. Intelligence to damage. Intelligence to hit on martial attacks.

It's much more specific in this edition. But I see a lot of people asking for con to damage Wich I view as boring and doesn't address their level 1 build diversity issues. But con to ac does


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The casting stats to damage don't really count, those are for cantrips.

DEX to damage for Thief was missed though.


Martialmasters wrote:
Of they could add Con mod to ac instead of dexterity as a choice. That would open up build diversity and help with the mad issue

Imagine if you could choose between Str, Dex and Con as Key Ability Score and you could use Con mod to AC?

Str: Melee attack build, Leverage Athletics and wear heavy armor or somekind of Dwarven Mountain Stance like impulse. Or they could level up Con and use it for AC as secondary.

Dex: Ranged blaster using attack rolls. Use Dex instead and focus on making Dex skills better and better Reflex. The straight forward pew pew build.

Con: Worse at skills and attack rolls but Tankier. Better at using saves instead of attack rolls to make up for it. Can use Con for AC. Have best fortitude in the game too!

Lots of legit design space to play here.


TheWayofPie wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Of they could add Con mod to ac instead of dexterity as a choice. That would open up build diversity and help with the mad issue

Imagine if you could choose between Str, Dex and Con as Key Ability Score and you could use Con mod to AC?

Str: Melee attack build, Leverage Athletics and wear heavy armor or somekind of Dwarven Mountain Stance like impulse. Or they could level up Con and use it for AC as secondary.

Dex: Ranged blaster using attack rolls. Use Dex instead and focus on making Dex skills better and better Reflex. The straight forward pew pew build.

Con: Worse at skills and attack rolls but Tankier. Better at using saves instead of attack rolls to make up for it. Can use Con for AC. Have best fortitude in the game too!

Lots of legit design space to play here.

I don't see the point in making str/Dex key ability options beyond people being mad that they are a single point behind at some levels .

With just con mod to ac as an option you fix the level 1 build diversity issues where if you go strength you can opt to go con mod to ac and go unarmored. You start with less ac than a standard martial but you don't hurt your con mod for class DCs and hp. It levels itself out relatively quickly as well

Dex can go light armor and keep Dex to ac. They will be ahead in ac but lag behind in raw damage.

Both get to keep con high.

Current issue at level 1 if you go strength you need to decide if you want absolutely terrible ac and likely die. Or tank your constitution and deny yourself use of half the classes potential abilities.

Con mod to damage. Something I've seen a lot. Doesn't address any of this. And actually makes some new features introduced with this class nonsensical such as the brutal trait


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Martialmasters wrote:


Current issue at level 1 if you go strength you need to decide if you want absolutely terrible ac and likely die. Or tank your constitution and deny yourself use of half the classes potential abilities.

or the class can just get medium armor, and this issue is fixed. Con to damage could work in addition to str to damage if thats the classes only damage boost to normal blasts. otherwise it is probably too much


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The build diversity problem is that if you're starting with a Con of 18 and a Str of 16 (not that weird considering normal level 1 stat spread for Inventors/Investigators/Thaumaturges) then you want to get Medium Armor Proficiency ASAP. Since then you can max your AC with a Breastplate and a 12 dex, and you have until level 13 to get 16 dex.

So either you take the Versatile Human heritage and start with the armor proficiency general feat, or you hope to survive long enough to get it if you don't want to be a versatile human.


Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


Current issue at level 1 if you go strength you need to decide if you want absolutely terrible ac and likely die. Or tank your constitution and deny yourself use of half the classes potential abilities.

or the class can just get medium armor, and this issue is fixed. Con to damage could work in addition to str to damage if thats the classes only damage boost to normal blasts. otherwise it is probably too much

That sounds too much to me I'll admit. Medium armor is an option sure. I don't know where they'd pull from for that budget though.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

The build diversity problem is that if you're starting with a Con of 18 and a Str of 16 (not that weird considering normal level 1 stat spread for Inventors/Investigators/Thaumaturges) then you want to get Medium Armor Proficiency ASAP. Since then you can max your AC with a Breastplate and a 12 dex, and you have until level 13 to get 16 dex.

So either you take the Versatile Human heritage and start with the armor proficiency general feat, or you hope to survive long enough to get it if you don't want to be a versatile human.

Wich is a really terrible spot to be in. That's poor design imo. "Hope you survive this level lol"


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

They wouldn't need to. Strength kineticist is undertuned and needs the option. Just give it to them.


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"Pick a specific heritage or have 2 bad levels" is a thing that should be fixed, but probably isn't that hard of a fix.

But what we're really talking about here is being 2 AC behind for 2 levels (particularly given that you can be a ranged striker). I don't think even if you solved it, taking everything else into account the Kineticist is sturdy enough to play the way I'd like to be able to play it.

I'm more annoyed that the first order optimal strategy for a strength build is to take a feat then retrain out of it after 10th level. Taking a feat with the intention of retraining out of it at a specific point is the sort of thing you want to avoid making attractive.


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Martialmasters wrote:
Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


Current issue at level 1 if you go strength you need to decide if you want absolutely terrible ac and likely die. Or tank your constitution and deny yourself use of half the classes potential abilities.

or the class can just get medium armor, and this issue is fixed. Con to damage could work in addition to str to damage if thats the classes only damage boost to normal blasts. otherwise it is probably too much
That sounds too much to me I'll admit. Medium armor is an option sure. I don't know where they'd pull from for that budget though.

Remember how in the errata that gave alchemists medium armor, they nerfed other aspects of the class to balance it. No wait, they just gave it medium armor becouse str alchemists where already much weaker than dex alchemists, and medium armor isn't really any stronger than light armor, and just enables you to use str instead of dex more easily.


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I don’t know why the playtest is at this level of having issues such as Strength being a trap. Its such a no brainer to ad medium armor or a stance to fix it that it distracts from other things.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

"Pick a specific heritage or have 2 bad levels" is a thing that should be fixed, but probably isn't that hard of a fix.

But what we're really talking about here is being 2 AC behind for 2 levels (particularly given that you can be a ranged striker). I don't think even if you solved it, taking everything else into account the Kineticist is sturdy enough to play the way I'd like to be able to play it.

The way you like maybe. What about ways that are clearly intended but multiple elements of its design but is a big trap unless you meta game and make it to level 2 where you are forced a feat tax.

You shouldn't be forced to burn skill or general feats to enable a playstyle that already has much support for the class already and is just missing something for that beginning levels.

Imo at least.


Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


Current issue at level 1 if you go strength you need to decide if you want absolutely terrible ac and likely die. Or tank your constitution and deny yourself use of half the classes potential abilities.

or the class can just get medium armor, and this issue is fixed. Con to damage could work in addition to str to damage if thats the classes only damage boost to normal blasts. otherwise it is probably too much
That sounds too much to me I'll admit. Medium armor is an option sure. I don't know where they'd pull from for that budget though.
Remember how in the errata that gave alchemists medium armor, they nerfed other aspects of the class to balance it. No wait, they just gave it medium armor becouse str alchemists where already much weaker than dex alchemists, and medium armor isn't really any stronger than light armor, and just enables you to use str instead of dex more easily.

I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.


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Martialmasters wrote:


I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.

I will point out, medium armor is almost certainly less disrupted than using con for Ac, which is what you are suggesting. So, what should Paizo remove to add con for AC?


Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.

I will point out, medium armor is almost certainly less disrupted than using con for Ac, which is what you are suggesting. So, what should Paizo remove to add con for AC?

You lose Dex to ac. It's a swap. Not a combine.

I'm not against medium armor as an option btw. I just don't know where they'd pull from if they decided that was needed.


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Martialmasters wrote:
Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.

I will point out, medium armor is almost certainly less disrupted than using con for Ac, which is what you are suggesting. So, what should Paizo remove to add con for AC?

You lose Dex to ac. It's a swap. Not a combine.

I'm not against medium armor as an option btw. I just don't know where they'd pull from if they decided that was needed.

Where from this concept of a budget that you keep referring to would they pull to apply your 'Con to X Stat' idea?

Furthermore, I think even having a concept of a budget on what a kineticist can or can't do is a bad idea this early into the playtest. We shouldn't set hard barriers on what the class can and can't be based on what is clearly in need of fine tuning.


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Martialmasters wrote:
Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.

I will point out, medium armor is almost certainly less disrupted than using con for Ac, which is what you are suggesting. So, what should Paizo remove to add con for AC?

You lose Dex to ac. It's a swap. Not a combine.

I'm not against medium armor as an option btw. I just don't know where they'd pull from if they decided that was needed.

You realize that medium armor is also a swap, not a combine? you get the same AC as light armor, but you swap dex for str. and again, if they do decide that con to ac is what they need, where should they pull from? If medium armor is so costly, surely only needing dex for reflex saves, something only available to heavy armor would also have a similar cost.


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Instead of giving it more armor, why not go in the other direction and design it like the Monks?

Leave the heavily armored playstyle for specific builds (Metal and Earth, maybe even with Wood) and give the class better Unarmored Proficiency or give it special elemental armors based on their class choices. For example, enhancing whatever armor they wear with their elements, thus allowing the change from Dex to Con for their armor (while elements that encourage Dex-playstyles gained another benefit).

It seems like light/unarmored defense is the way to go in terms of flavor.

Elements already look like Stances (although you have more incentive to switch, unlike Monks), I don't think borrowing more from them would be bad for the Kineticist.


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IMO, the Kineticist needs to be be able to be sturdier than "gets 5+runes bonus to AC from stat+item bonus" would let it be since that's just the normal thing non-heavy armor wearers have. Since even if you get that, you're still pretty squishy, whether you're Str-based or Dex-based, as it's proficiencies that make you better or worse at AC and yours are not great.

Like it's not hard to maximize AC for all 20 levels with a dex build or a str build. You're still not someone who is going to be wholly comfortable in melee range. Con to AC is sort of a non sequitur here, since they're never going to let people add two different stats to something in PF2 (like the PF1 monk did with Wis and Dex).

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I commented in another thread an alternative idea over AC and to make use of that CON attribute.

How about renewing Temporary HP every time you gather an element? Something like your CON modifier times half your level (rounded up). Would also make the class feel tougher and more sturdy


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Is there a feat to get temp HP when you gather an element? That seems like something that could help with this and also would fit other feats at...I think level 8 generally.


Invictus Fatum wrote:

I commented in another thread an alternative idea over AC and to make use of that CON attribute.

How about renewing Temporary HP every time you gather an element? Something like your CON modifier times half your level (rounded up). Would also make the class feel tougher and more sturdy

That could work, and would make gather element feel less like a action tax. its basically this 8th level feat https://2e.aonprd.com/Feats.aspx?ID=153 with the benefit gather element currently has.


AnonMD wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Pronate11 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:


I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.

I will point out, medium armor is almost certainly less disrupted than using con for Ac, which is what you are suggesting. So, what should Paizo remove to add con for AC?

You lose Dex to ac. It's a swap. Not a combine.

I'm not against medium armor as an option btw. I just don't know where they'd pull from if they decided that was needed.

Where from this concept of a budget that you keep referring to would they pull to apply your 'Con to X Stat' idea?

Furthermore, I think even having a concept of a budget on what a kineticist can or can't do is a bad idea this early into the playtest. We shouldn't set hard barriers on what the class can and can't be based on what is clearly in need of fine tuning.

Everything in this game has a budget. Everything. Even damage die and weapon traits.

And technically even the act of suggesting fixes or changes is not what good feedback is. It's merely stating what you are trying to do and how the class makes you feel when you try to do it. According to analogues I've read going over the subject of game feedback at least. Granted this was mostly for fighting games.


I would like to see two things.

First, a class archetype (Kinetic Knight) that prevented ranged elemental blasts (and maybe impulses) in exchange for medium/heavy armor proficiency. If possible, I'd like for such a class to also count as having a hand free for impulses if they were wielding an elemental weapon in one hand and a shield in the other.

Second, baseline benefits to each element when that element is gathered. IE:

  • Air - Status bonus to Speed + Message spell
  • Earth - Stone Shield
  • Fire - Damage to next enemy that touches you in melee
  • Water - Swim Speed + Status Bonus to AC


  • Restricting armor usage to only 3 elements is quite literally the worst.

    Just because you cannot imagine a fire kineticist in medium armor does not mean it should not be an option.


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    Defensive bonuses that are triggered by gathering an element or active passively while an element is gathered is absolutely something I will spend feats on. Or even something analogous to Raging Vigor or Vivacious Bravado.

    Like I am considering "gather->stone shield->ranged blast" as a normal combat loop, which isn't especially exciting.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    I feel like Status bonus to Speed for Air is wasted. So many Air abilities/auras already provide a Status bonus to Speed.


    Getting rewarded only by gathering an element basically only rewards overflow character builds. Dunno if I like that. Or the other kineticists just get kinda cheesy and start dropping elements like a weapon. It should support both build options imo.

    But against the idea of tying benefits to gather element's though


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Well if the "reward" is constant the entire time you have that element gathered then it doesn't reward overflow character builds anymore than say an Elemental Blast focused character.


    Ryuujin-sama wrote:
    Well if the "reward" is constant the entire time you have that element gathered then it doesn't reward overflow character builds anymore than say an Elemental Blast focused character.

    Almost like it needs something similar to panache for the concept. Or Magus cascade stance.


    I think the important thing you want to avoid is having to spend a bunch of actions once combat starts in order to turn your defenses on. Like the PF1 approach was just "they're on all day once you activate them" works great but if they don't want to do that something that is triggered by something else you're already going to be doing and is thematic is a good approach.

    Like "Stone Shield and block constantly, just repairing your shield by regathering" is reasonably sturdy, but this is going to eat all your actions- you're just going to make regular blasts and not move so most of your other feats are irrelevant.


    Ryuujin-sama wrote:
    I feel like Status bonus to Speed for Air is wasted. So many Air abilities/auras already provide a Status bonus to Speed.

    This is assuming a rewrite of the class where there wouldn't be conflict and the 'Gather Elements' ability has a function beyond switching elements or recovering from Overflow.

    If you wanted 1E crossover however you could alternatively give air concealment (with the standard 'cannot hide' rider).


    Martialmasters wrote:

    Getting rewarded only by gathering an element basically only rewards overflow character builds. Dunno if I like that. Or the other kineticists just get kinda cheesy and start dropping elements like a weapon. It should support both build options imo.

    But against the idea of tying benefits to gather element's though

    It also benefits dual and universal blasters that use cycle elements a lot.

    Plus these effects are generally half level plus Constitution modifier. So they're not completely useless if you dump Constitution they're just not as good.


    So if I'm a level 19 geokineticist build for maximum defense ideally I'll start combat with Stone Skin active and an element gathered.
    Then Round 1 activate "Rebirth in Living Stone", use the quickened action to gather again, then activate stone shield.

    Round 2 is: Re-gather in case I blocked (free from Rebirth in Living Stone), activate Stone Shield, then I have two actions left to hurt somebody or move maybe.

    I am very sturdy at this point, but keeping my defenses up is occupying all of my resources.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Gathered Element "constant" benefit ideas. As these ideas might be a bit powerful for free they might require a feat at like 6th or 8th level.

    Air: While you have Air gathered you are constantly benefiting from a Circumstance bonus to Speed (possibly scaling 5ft every 5 or so levels?), and you have Cover vs ranged attacks. If you have the Fair Winds Impulse you are constantly under its effect and it doesn't count against your one aura at a time, the status bonus from Fair Winds Impulse for yourself is doubled to +10 ft, and your Cover against ranged attacks improves to Greater Cover vs ranged attacks.

    Earth: While you have Earth gathered you are constantly under the effect of Stone Shield with the Raise a Shield action you benefit from Stone Shield constantly while you have Earth gathered. If you use the Shield Block reaction you do not lose your gathered Earth and your Stone Shield reforms at the end of that creature's turn. IF you have taken the Stone Shield Impulse your Stone Shield from gathering Earth increases its Hardness as normal for Stone Shield and you gain a free Reaction at the start of your turn that can only be used for Stone Shield's Shield Block reaction.

    Fire: While you have Fire gathered you have an aura of Flame, this aura is normally 10ft but is increased by Shape Aura like Kinetic Auras and does not count against your single Kinetic Aura active at a time. Normally this aura deals 1d6 fire damage increasing by 1d6 fire damage every 5 levels. A creature takes this damage when it first enters your aura in a turn, or when it starts its turn in the aura. If you have the Desert Shimmer Impulse the two auras merge, still not counting against your limit of one Kinetic Aura at a time. The new Aura of Shimmering Flame now deals 1d6+1 Fire damage as of level 4, scaling by 1d6+1 every 3 levels. If you also have Shape Aura you can now allow your allies to ignore Concealment from your Aura of Shimmering Flame, in addition to ignoring the condition yourself, and using Shape Aura to not deal damage to your allies does not remove concealment from them. (Just in case using Shape Aura to not deal damage to an ally in Desert Shimmer also prevents them from being concealed by the aura.)

    Water: While you have Water gathered you have an aura of difficult terrain for your enemies around you, this aura is normally 10ft but is increased by Shape Aura like Kinetic Auras and does not count against your single Kinetic Aura active at a time. If you have Sea Glass Guardian it merges with your slowing water aura, constantly active while you have Water gathered and not counting against your one Kinetic Aura active at a time. The combined aura now counts as greater difficult terrain for enemies. In addition you gain the Attack of Opportunity reaction and this reaction can be used as a melee Water Blast against any triggering target within your aura as your Sea Glass Guardian lashes out for you.


    Temperans wrote:

    Restricting armor usage to only 3 elements is quite literally the worst.

    Just because you cannot imagine a fire kineticist in medium armor does not mean it should not be an option.

    My point is that going with heavier armor seems like a good direction for an opt-in playstyle instead of just giving the class better armor proficiency all around and basically making every Kineticist that wants good armor bonuses to inevitably go with heavier armor, which may not fit their intended theme and flavor.

    Having heavier armor as opt in gives players the best of both worlds. Also, if you wanted to use fire and wear heavy armor, you could simple choose Dual or Universal Gate, no big deal.


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    Lightning Raven wrote:
    Temperans wrote:

    Restricting armor usage to only 3 elements is quite literally the worst.

    Just because you cannot imagine a fire kineticist in medium armor does not mean it should not be an option.

    My point is that going with heavier armor seems like a good direction for an opt-in playstyle instead of just giving the class better armor proficiency all around and basically making every Kineticist that wants good armor bonuses to inevitably go with heavier armor, which may not fit their intended theme and flavor.

    Having heavier armor as opt in gives players the best of both worlds. Also, if you wanted to use fire and wear heavy armor, you could simple choose Dual or Universal Gate, no big deal.

    Making heavy armor and shields maybe.

    But they really should have medium armor without having to spend feats.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
    Martialmasters wrote:


    I will not operate under this assumption unless informed by a dev. As it's more an exception to the rule.

    Not really. Most playtest classes are slightly under budgeted, probably so they specifically have room for small additions like that.

    I can’t think of a class that didn’t get that level of boost. Even the witch got focus cantrips in addition to a level 1 focus spell.


    I wouldn't say a little under budgeted but a lot, but that is more debatable since some people really seem to like underpowered abilities.


    It's also likely that when they make a class have a non Str/Dex ability score as their key attribute which still needs Str/Dex that they intentionally leave off the thing that the key attribute contributes to the class. Like I clearly remember building Investigators to playtest that left Int at 12 since Wis was better for you since so much of your stuff keyed on perception.

    Has anybody built a 12 Con Kineticist? I might have to test that one.


    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    It's also likely that when they make a class have a non Str/Dex ability score as their key attribute which still needs Str/Dex that they intentionally leave off the thing that the key attribute contributes to the class. Like I clearly remember building Investigators to playtest that left Int at 12 since Wis was better for you since so much of your stuff keyed on perception.

    Has anybody built a 12 Con Kineticist? I might have to test that one.

    I could see that working if there was more of a focus on it's attacks. All the good abilities that improve your basic blasts are higher level. You could pick just utility and aura abilities and be ok I guess but you would be stuck with chain blast and maelstrom blast later on.

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