Not sure if I'm misunderstanding something, but... This impulse is three actions. You can apparently target a lot more (potentially) than three enemies with this thing, but that's not what's bothering me. It's that the last sentence says "Each attack counts toward your multiple attack penalty, but you don’t increase your penalty until you have made all your attacks." So okay, you don't both with MAP until all your attacks are done. However, since it's a three action activity, once all your attacks are done, so is your turn — and your MAP resets. Or does it? I couldn't find anything in the CRB saying whether MAP resets at the end of your turn (don't see how it can be any earlier), or at the beginning of your next turn (can't be any later than this). So when does it reset? I've always thought end of your turn, but maybe I'm wrong. Anybody got a clear reference?
Edit: I did find this: "There are many ways to reduce this penalty, and it resets at the end of your turn." -- CRB, page 11. So it seems I've answered my own question, except... why is the description of Maelstrom Blast worded as it is, if the MAP never takes effect?
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This is standard wording and is likely there for instances that you are given extra actions.
Like haste. If you were hasted and you made a basic strike. It would be at maximum map penalty after using this move.
Your map starts over at a new round.
Reactions also are not subjected to map. Though the class itself has none.
Elemental Weapon with either a Haste effect or a Speed rune can give you a fourth Action to Strike with, where that would matter. As would dual-classing Kineticist and Summoner, and using Maelstrom Blast as part of Act Together. Possibly other stuff too, though those are the two that come to mind. It's also good Futureproofing.
EDIT: Though since Maelstrom is Overflow and you can never gain more than 1 action for being Quickened, the Haste/Speed effect is more for "the entire Maelstrom Blast is at 2nd MAP" than "An attack after blasting is at 3rd MAP".
Yeah for some reason the possibility of a fourth action didn't occur to me. Though... Ah, there it is. Final Gate makes you permanently quickened, but you can only use the fourth action to Gather an element. Which is not subject to MAP.
@MartialMasters: Kineticist has the following reactions available: Deconstruct Element (10th level feat), Air Cushion (Air 1st level feat), Deflecting Wave (Water 1st level feat). Granted not many and none of them are attacks, but still...
Final Gate makes you permanently quickened, but you can only use the fourth action to Gather an element. Which is not subject to MAP.
Haste isn't rare, and the CRB says:
If you become quickened from multiple sources, you can use the extra action you’ve been granted for any single action allowed by any of the effects that made you quickened
Still Maelstrom blast has overflow, so you wouldn't be able to use elemental blast with it afterwards, but elemental blasts aren't strikes so you can't use them with haste. Still, you could maelstrom blast then kick somebody while hasted which would be a bad idea because of MAP.
So I think this is just standard language for "you attack a bunch of people, but MAP doesn't apply to these attacks" ability.