Please make the Kineticist's mastery of an element feel more holistic.


Kineticist Class


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In Pathfinder 1st edition the class worked via "your kinetic blast simply got more powerful as you leveled up and you got better at manipulating your element." You could put riders on your kinetic blasts that still felt like "your basic blast" (e.g. "now it pushes people away and does damage".) When you gained defensive talents they always had some effect, but they had more effect if you powered them up. We're not going to replace the sheer mathiness of the first edition Kineticist, but I think this feel is missing and it's something we could replicate.

In the playtest your kinetic blast gets better when you buy better handwraps, and through the same weapon specialization everybody gets. Your defensive effects only go into effect when you spend the actions to activate them (and there's a lot of things to activate.) Your mastery of your ability to "throw boulders" or "create earthquakes" doesn't in any way indicate that you are better at basic earth blasts. Your impulses that you don't activate in a given situation don't apply in any way at all.

I'm wondering if we couldn't instead do something like when you learn a defensive/utility impulse you get a weak passive effect which expands to a more useful effect when you spend actions to activate it. Like "Geological Attunement" could give you imprecise tremorsense of 5' when you learn it, which then extends to aura range and creates difficult terrain when you activate it. Learning Fair Winds could give you a +5' speed modifier always, which expands to the aura that helps your party and creates difficult terrain when you activate it. If you learn Wings of Air you never suffer fall damage while conscious, but if you activate it you can fly. Learning Spike Skin gives you a small amount of DR passively, and a larger amount and the thorns damage if you activate it. Just minor stuff like this that makes it feel like you have gained mastery through greater understanding of your elements even when you're not using every trick in your arsenal.

Offensive Impulses could do something like add traits or riders to your basic blast so you appreciate having learned them even if you can't fit them in because, for example, you can't fit in "2-3 actions+gather" in a given scenario. If you learned Rolling Boulder, for example, you could add shove to your melee blasts. This is hypothetically bookkeeping, but since you're using the same blasts for your entire career it's just a thing you can write down on your character sheet.

Not all of these sorts of things need to be available immediately when you take the impulse, but the Level(+n) or Level(x) systems can be used for more interesting things than "more damage". So you can represent "have gained mastery" via "you have a passive minor effect because you've learned this and you've grown accustomed to manipulating this element in this way."

After all, the greatest single influences on this class were Avatars: TLA and LoK, and in that Aang is generally floating off the ground and Toph always has her tremorsense active.

The TL:DR here is "please make impulses do something just because you've learned how to do that, even when you haven't activated them."


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This sort of system could also be used to make specialists better at using their specific blast than generalists, particularly if some of the offensive impulses fix potential issues with an elements basic blast (e.g. air's damage or earth's range). It really does seem like "pure pyrokineticists should be better at fire blasts than universal gate kineticists who have gathered fire" and I think this could be a reasonably granular and balanced way to express this.

Liberty's Edge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
In the playtest your kinetic blast gets better when you buy better handwraps, and through the same weapon specialization everybody gets.

Slight nit-pick and/or correction to make here.

Depending on how you interpret "additional damage" this is a VERY real possibility that your Blasts are NOT improved in any way by Weapon Specialization because Weapon Spec is "Additional Damage" and is NOT a Bonus.

There have been many questions raised over the last few years where appeals for clarification have been made to ask if "Additional damage" is considered a Bonus to damage and as far as I'm aware no such clarification has ever been made.


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It's pretty clearly RAI that the level 7 and 15 weapon specialization class features are intended to work for you, so that just seems like the wording should need cleaning up. Since the point of the class is "hit people with fire or rocks or rocks that are on fire" not "use a bow". They simply shouldn't give you class features that do not interact correctly with what you're supposed to be doing.

Alternatively, if they don't give the Kineticist those class features at those levels (because they don't work and aren't supposed to), there needs to be something that makes your blast better other than gear. "I went shopping" is the least satisfying way to illustrate how someone who has an internal gate to an elemental plane became better at hitting people with rocks.


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I 100% agree that the class is missing a lot of modularity that made the original fun.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

also please just.... scale elemental adept better? Its a cool ability but never being able to interact with more than a bulk at a time, and at most moving your one bulk of element 1 foot per round just like... makes me feel like a worst elementalist than if i didnt have this ability at all


Themetricsystem wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
In the playtest your kinetic blast gets better when you buy better handwraps, and through the same weapon specialization everybody gets.

Slight nit-pick and/or correction to make here.

Depending on how you interpret "additional damage" this is a VERY real possibility that your Blasts are NOT improved in any way by Weapon Specialization because Weapon Spec is "Additional Damage" and is NOT a Bonus.

There have been many questions raised over the last few years where appeals for clarification have been made to ask if "Additional damage" is considered a Bonus to damage and as far as I'm aware no such clarification has ever been made.

Elemental Blast specifically says it gets the bonus from weapon specialization.

Quote:

If you have

weapon specialization, the blast gains extra damage as if
it were an unarmed attack.

Liberty's Edge

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Wow holy cow, how did I miss that?!

I'll go find my glasses once I get this egg of my face.


I like this idea. More support for your main weapon is good.

Grand Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

In Pathfinder 1st edition the class worked via "your kinetic blast simply got more powerful as you leveled up and you got better at manipulating your element." You could put riders on your kinetic blasts that still felt like "your basic blast" (e.g. "now it pushes people away and does damage".) When you gained defensive talents they always had some effect, but they had more effect if you powered them up. We're not going to replace the sheer mathiness of the first edition Kineticist, but I think this feel is missing and it's something we could replicate.

In the playtest your kinetic blast gets better when you buy better handwraps, and through the same weapon specialization everybody gets. Your defensive effects only go into effect when you spend the actions to activate them (and there's a lot of things to activate.) Your mastery of your ability to "throw boulders" or "create earthquakes" doesn't in any way indicate that you are better at basic earth blasts. Your impulses that you don't activate in a given situation don't apply in any way at all.

I'm wondering if we couldn't instead do something like when you learn a defensive/utility impulse you get a weak passive effect which expands to a more useful effect when you spend actions to activate it. Like "Geological Attunement" could give you imprecise tremorsense of 5' when you learn it, which then extends to aura range and creates difficult terrain when you activate it. Learning Fair Winds could give you a +5' speed modifier always, which expands to the aura that helps your party and creates difficult terrain when you activate it. If you learn Wings of Air you never suffer fall damage while conscious, but if you activate it you can fly. Learning Spike Skin gives you a small amount of DR passively, and a larger amount and the thorns damage if you activate it. Just minor stuff like this that makes it feel like you have gained mastery through greater understanding of your elements even when you're not using every trick in your arsenal....

I made something similar a few years back. A homebrew class. It had a pretty long list of something like you are describing.

This document has it. Just open it, ctrl+f Patron's Gifts. Arguably, this is for 1st edition. Mening it would be stupid strong, but I assume that's something you had in mind?

Another thought, an element couls give you auto pilot scaling of specific skills. Like the Acrobat dedication does.

Air - Acrobatics
Earth - Survival
Fire - Intimidation
Water - No idea
Metal - Athletics
Wood - Nature

Something like that.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I do like PossibleCabbage's idea presented here.

Also NotEspi that could work. 1e Kineticist did have a Wild Talent that gave a scaling bonus to one or two skills based on Element. An Element could totally auto scale a skill, at least for Dedicated. There is the question of how it would work for Dual or Universalist.


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I actually really like this idea as well. The concept of using passive+active feats to slowly customize your character/blast fits really well into the kineticist fantasy (at least it does for me). I can see this also helping to smooth out the inherent imbalance in the basic elemental blasts, since you could now just set them all as d6 + 1 trait (or whatever other baseline seems appropriate) then use feats to slowly improve or expand them. This would also help prevent other classes from poaching kinetic blasts once the multiclass archetype comes out, since presumably kinetic blast would be one of its key features and any other martial picking it up would automatically be more skilled in it (because of the +1 stat difference) (they could still poach the blasts ofc, but now the kineticist at least gets extra bits and bobs added on from all their feats).

This would require a pretty big overhaul of basically all of the feats, but they probably need it anyway.


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I notice that the 1st level impulses have a lot of cool utility to them (whispering on the wind, creating rock ladders, etc.), and they are the only levels to have 4 impulses. It feels like the higher-level impulses (which are 2 choices instead of 4) are missing the flavourful choices because Paizo wants us to focus on the meat-and-potato combat options that will define the class. Hopefully, Paizo is only withholding the cool higher-level utilities from the playtest.


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Spitballing here, and not expecting it to even really be considered, but maybe it could also be interesting to have a table of passive effects for each element which you gain the more investment into an element you have? Like an effect for having 1 feat for an element, then an effect for having 3 feats, then 5, etc.

So if you specialize you get two passive effects for that element right off the bat. Using OP's example, say you went earth: at level 1 you also get tremorsense 5' if your element is gathered and a +1 bonus against attempts to move you. Or maybe you have 10 water feats and now you always count as having your element gathered as long as you're standing in terrain with water in it, and you have a swim speed, breath underwater, etc. etc.

Universalist is tricky. Maybe it just has its own set of scaling abilities regardless of element, plus the more minor ones you'd end up with.

But I do like the idea that a higher level Kineticist is sort of floating by virtue of being a master of air, or becomes naturally implacable and attuned to the ground around them just because they're a master of earth. It'd also probably save some feat space for the more passive abilities that are flavorful but not necessarily more attractive than a combat feat, and you'd end up with Kineticists playing very differently without much more than the odd small bonus here and there.


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One thought I had it that it seems probable that they will have to change "property runes on handwraps apply to kinetic blasts" since things like the Greater Flaming Rune (Item 15) would otherwise be something literally every pyrokineticist buys, because of course you're going to be willing to spend 6500 gold to completely ignore fire resistance when the damage you do is fire damage and the thing you're most worried about is fighting things that you can't hurt with fire.

If we take away "what you get from property runes" from the Kinetic Blast, but add "things roughly comparable to property runes" to "passive effects from having learned an offensive impulse" we wouldn't necessarily make the Kineticist more powerful.

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