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My player Story created a playtest kineticist to insert into my PF2-converted Ironfang Invasion campaign. I usually write characters in a stat-block format, but he writes in a different style.
* Level: 15
* Class: Kineticist
* Ancestry: Kitsune
* Background: Courier (Int & Dex)
* Size: Medium
* Speed: 30 (25 + 5 from Fleet)
* Alignment: Neutral Good
* Gender: Male
* Deity: Ragathiel
* Age: 20
* Languages: Common, Varisian, Sylvan, Goblin
* Hit Points (HP): 203
8 from kitsune, (8 + CON) per level [8+(8+5)*15]
* Proficiency: 0 U / 17 T / 19 E / 21 M / 23 L
* Armor Class (AC): 33
[10 + 4 (DEX) + 19 (Expert) + (XXX: 1 from Leather Armor not included?)]
Expert in Unarmored Defense and Light Armor
* Fortitude: +28 (Legendary)
Success becomes a Critical Success (7th - Juggernaut)
* Reflex: +25 (Master)
Success becomes a Critical Success (11th - Evasion)
* Will: +21 (Expert - 3rd)
* Perception +21 (Expert - 9th - Alertness)
* Kineticist Class DC: Expert (9th - Elemental Expertise)
Ability Scores (Stats):
* STR 18 (+4) [10 + + 1st + 5th + 10th + 15th]
* DEX 18 (+4) [10 + Courier-Free + 1st + 5th + 10th ]
* CON 20 (+5) [10 + Kitsune-Free + Kineticist + 1st + 5th + 10th + 15th]
* INT 16 (+3) [10 + Courier-D/I + 1st + 5th ]
* WIS 14 (+2) [10 + 10th + 15th]
* CHA 16 (+3) [10 + Kitsune-Cha + 15th]
Acrobatics +21 Trained (Level 11)
Athletics +21 Trained (Starting #1)
Deception +20 Trained (Ancestry Feat)
Diplomacy +24 Master (Ancestry Feat + Level 5 + Level 9)
Lore: Tamran +20 Trained (Courier)
Lore: Kitsune +20 Trained (Ancestry Feat)
Nature +19 Trained (Kineticist)
Performance +20 Trained (Starting #2)
Religion +19 Trained (Starting #3)
Society +26 Legendary (Courier + Level 3 + Level 7 + Level 15)
Stealth +25 Master (Starting #4 + Extra 5)
Thievery +21 Trained (Starting #5)
* Unarmed attacks and simple weapons - Master (13th blast mastery)
* Greater Weapon Specialization: You deal 2 additional damage with weapons &
unarmed attacks in which you're an expert. This damage increases to 6 if
master, and 8 if legendary.
Kineticist Feats 1 (air), 1 (water), 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Improved Elemental Flexibility:
Free 8th and 14th level impulses each day at prep
1/air - whisper on the wind
1/water - water dance
1/any - winter's clutch
2 - tidal hands
4 - flinging updraft
6 - clear as air
8 - aura shaping
10 - chain blasts
12 - rapid reattunement
14 - ferocious cyclone
flex/8 - cycling blast / torrent in the blood / wings of air
flex/14 - drowning sphere / circulate qi / glacial prison / flowing kinetics
Skill Feats: 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 [seven in all]
2 Courtly Graces
4 Connections [expert Society]
6 Fascinating Performance
12 Cat Fall?
14 Hobnobber (trained Diplomacy)
10 Evangelize (req master diplomacy)
8 Eye for Numbers
* Initial proficiencies:
- Trained in Perception
- Expert in Fortitude
- Expert in Reflex
- Trained in Will
- Trained in Nature
- Trained in 3+INT additional skills [so 3+2 at level 1 = 5]
- Trained in simple weapons
- Trained in unarmed attacks
- Trained in light armor
- Trained in unarmored defense
- Trained in kineticist class DC
* Inner Gate: Dual Gate
- 1st-level Air Impulse: Whisper on the Wind (Air)
- 1st-level Water Impulse: Water Dance (Water)
* Kineticist Feat: Winter's Clutch (Water)
* Adapt Elementâ—†â—†
* Glean Contents Feat [Courier background]
* Heritage: Celestial Envoy Kitsune
* Ancestry Feat: Kitsune Lore
(trained in Diplomacy, Deception, Kitsune Lore)
* Kineticist Feat: Tidal Hands (Water)
* Skill Feat: Courtly Graces
* Elemental Resistance
* Extract Elementâ—†
* Iron Will [better saves]
* General Feat: Fleet
* Skill Increase: Society
* Kineticist Feat: Flinging Updraft (Air)
* Skill Feat: Connections
* Ability boosts
- INT increased by 1 so extra skill increase: Stealth to Expert
* Critical Element
* Skill Increase: Diplomacy to Expert
* Ancestry Feat: Myriad Forms (Earthly Wilds Kitsune)
* Kineticist Feat: Clear as Air (Air)
* Skill Feat: Fascinating Performance
* Adapt Terrain
* Blast Expertise
* Juggernaut [better saves]
* Weapon Specialization [better attacks]
* Skill Increase (can do Master): Society
* General Feat: Incredible Initiative
* Kineticist Feat: Aura Shaping
* Skill Feat: Eye for Numbers
* Alertness, elemental expertise, elemental flexibility,
* Ancestry Feat: Hybrid Form
* Skill Increase (can do Master): Diplomacy
* Ability boosts
* Kineticist Feat: Chain Blastsâ—†â—†
* Skill Feat: Evangelize
* Evasion [better saves]
* General Feat: Pick up the Pace
* Pure Adaptation [extends Adapt Element]
* Skill Increase (can do Master): Acrobatics to Trained
* Kineticist Feat: Rapid Reattunement
* Skill Feat: Cat Fall
* Ancestry Feat: Fox Trick
* Blast Mastery [better attacks]
* Light Armor Expertise
* Skill Increase (can do Master): Stealth to Master
* Kineticist Feat: Ferocious Cyclone
* Skill Feat: Hobnobber
* Ability boosts
* General Feat: Caravan Leader
* Greater Juggernaut [better saves]
* Greater Weapon Specialization [better attacks]
* Improved Elemental Flexibility
* Skill Increase (can do Legendary): Society
* Gather Elementâ—†
[Conjuration Kineticist Manipulate Primal]
* Elemental Blastâ—†
[Evocation Impulse Kineticist Primal]
Air: 1d4 S
melee: agile air finesse reach versatile B
range: agile air range 120 feet, versatile B
Water: 1d8 B
melee: sweep, water
range: range 30 feet, water
- Critical Element
- Air: Stray gales move the target 5 ft in direction of choice. Forced.
- Water: Splash damage equal to number of weapon damage dice.
* Chain Blastsâ—†â—†
* Adapt Elementâ—†â—†
[Concentrate Evocation Kineticist Manipulate Primal]
Requires hand free
also add Purify (any element) from 11th
* Extract Elementâ—†
[Kineticist Manipulate Primal Transmutation]
* Change Shapeâ—†
True form, Human/Varisian form, or Fox (1st-level pest form)
* (Reaction) Invoke Celestial Privilege [from Celest. Envoy Heritage]
* Low-Light Vision
* Elemental Resistance
[Resist 15 to element you currently have gathered]
14th: 1 - Magic Leather Armor +2 Greater Resilient Glamered? or just exp. clothes for -1 AC and no shenanigans.
12th: 1 - Handwraps +2GS
* Handwraps of Mighty Blows (+2 Greater Striking, Frost, Thundering)
* +1 Explorer's Clothing or Leather Armor? Runes?
* 2x Healing Potion (Moderate)?
* Adventurer's Pack
* Thieves' Tools
* Bag of Holding (Type I)
Mathmuse note: Story did not know the rules for treasure for higher-level new characters. I directed him to Table 10-10: Character Wealth and he will have complete gear on Collin next game session.
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Collin's family comes from the Kitsune caravans in Varisia, having traded between Magnimar and Korvosa, but having ticked off the wrong people, had to leave the area. They travelled east through Bloodsworn Vale, arriving in Nirmathis. Looking to find a new place to settle, trade, and raise a family, they opted for the largest city, travelling all the way to the capital of Tamran. They eventually found work helping facilitate trade across Lake Encarthan, where the Molthune naval blockades are no small issue, relying on clever tricks and ruses to smuggle things in and out.
Collin grew up in Tamran, having only heard stories of his family's former life in Varisia and the places there. Although he's mainly accustomed to city life, his family thought it wouldn't be a proper upbringing unless they took him travelling through the countryside, to see life beyond the city, how to survive in the countryside, what life is like in smaller villages...and perhaps learning trade?
Collin is more philosophical than religious. However, he is fascinated by Ragathiel, Empyrian Lord of Vengeance, who has a cult in Magnimar. His dual nature as a Kitsune resonated with Ragathiel's dual nature, who despite his conflicted origin overcame it and found a way to do good, seek justice, and avenge those whom it had failed. His beliefs are largely lawful, but with chaotic trickster in your blood, and living in a fiercly independent land, there's always some play there.
One of his favorite curiosities is comparing the systems of government between Nirmathis, where there's largely nothing centralized at all, to the stories he heard of Varisia's city states model, and what he's heard of Molthune, where everything is extremely structured, with strict class divides and a huge focus on organized military.
<something about his air-bending awakening, which happened first>
He awakened his second power, water-bending, when a young child had fallen into a river and nearly drowning. Imagining he could perhaps cause a gust of wind to cause a wave to wash her back to shore, he was instead surprised when he created a wave in the water itself, keeping her afloat and safely back to shore.
Having discovered the ability to become invisible via his Air magic, charisma, training in society, the basics of trade, a Varisian-human appearance, connections in Tamran, and no love for the Molthune, Collin eventually decided to try his hand at espionage, travelling to Molthune for a time to listen, eavesdrop, and perhaps learn what the Molthune military were planning. While he wasn't caught, he didn't enjoy the stress of having to fake an identity and spend time in a foreign land where he could be found out and detained.
He recently returned to Greenglade to share his intelligence report, where he heard stories about some Hobgoblin problems to the west. He then went home to Tamran to see his family, and decide whether to return to Molthune or find new work. Refugees rescued from slavery in Phaendar and sent downriver to Tamran to spreading more news about the Ironfang Legion and about the Chernasardo Rangers who had rescued them. The tale seemed distant and outlandish to the Tamran residents.
During his visit, two stone towers appeared at Tamran's docks and the Ironfang kidnapped citizens and stole supplies. This angered Collin, who now had proof that the hobgoblin story was no tale. He decided to head west along the Marideth River, and see what was going on for himself, determined to discover the truth behind these strange towers, or at least bring a more detailed report back to Tamran.
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Friday, August 12, game session
The PF2-converted Ironfang Invasion campaign was at the beginning of Prisoners of the Blight. The story jumps from talking to Karburtin Lightbrand in the dwarven Sky Citadel Kraggodan to approaching the blighted area of Fangwood 125 miles north of Kraggodan. My players did not want the jump. As they traveled northward from Kraggodan, they attacked Ironfang bases and freed human war captives. The August 12 session began with them at the abandoned fishing village Polebridge, the nearest village to their secret base at Misthome, with about a dozen human refugees and talking to five goblins from Misthome who were supposed to guide the refugees from there. They also had a blight spriggan priestess of Cyth-V'Sug and five blight-infected humans that they had picked up on a side adventure in the Gloaming wood. And they were expecting their old comrade in war time oracle Amelia, to arrive soon with a delivery from the city of Longshadow.
And along came Collin, because Polebridge was on the main road from Tamran to Longshadow. Collin was in human form, since he usually keeps his kitsune ancestry a secret.
The main party face, Sam, was still dealing with the refugees, who did not like the idea of living with goblins in the Misthome caves. Besides, the Misthome goblins had brought the three baby velociraptors that Sam had hatched and he was distracted by them.
So the other party face, harmlessly cute vine leshy sorcerer Gold-Flame Honeysuckle Vine, ran over to approaching Collin to talk. The conversation was tentative, since Collin did not know what to make of these weird strangers, until Sam wandered over. Sam, Stormdancer, and Zinfandel had been the party members directly liberating the captives from Phaendar and putting them on boats to Tamran, so Collin had heard the names of those three supposed Chenasardo Rangers.
Sam was a living lie detector and used Biographical Eye to percieve Collin's backstory. Collin's player misunderstood that it is opposed by a fixed Will DC and made a Will save roll, <19>+21 = 40, rather than giving Will DC 31. However, Sam's Society check was a natural 20, <20>+28 = 48, so Sam beat that critically, too. Thus, the party knew for sure that Collin was ally material.
Then Amelia arrived with a Wand of Remove Curse, a planar tuning fork, and a bottle of greater antiplague. She offered to escort the refugees the 70 miles back to Longshadow. Worrying that a lone protector, even an 8th-level time oracle, would not be enough to keep them safe, the party talked three of the Misthome goblins into accompanying them. The other two goblins took the baby velociraptors back to Misthome.
Once the others left, Collin reverted to kitsune form, because Sam had deduced it anyway. Honey, who loves furry creatures, had to pet him.
Honey conjured up 11 heightened phantom steeds for fast travel, because the higher-level primal travel spells can't handle large groups. The party had 7 permanent members, Collin, the priestess Azure, and five blight-infected humans for a total of 14, but Tikti and Stormdancer had their animal companion mounts and Ren'zar-jo had a monk's incredible speed. Collin had the Caravan Leader general feat, which we figured out would let the party travel extra fast for an hour for an additional 5 miles, enough to reach Fort Trevalay rather than camp in the forest for the night. This is an option opened up by the Kineticist class, because Caravan Leader requires Constitution 18 and Kineticists are a high-Constitution class.
Four hours later the party's route to Fort Trevalay took them past Malignant Nolly, an encounter that they had missed in the 2nd module Fangs of War. I bumped up Nolly from a CR 6 to a level 8, but that still left her an insignificant combat challenge. Nevertheless, as a blighted fey she fit the theme of Prisoners of the Blight. Nolly still used a dead Chernasardo Ranger as bait for her trap, but because the encounter was 2 months late she no longer had a fresh body. She used her illusion magic, secretly sustained through the Silent Spell ability I added, to make a 2-month-dead body seem recently killed. And since Rot Grubs are not yet in Pathfinder 2nd Edition and too icky to port myself, she used Malyass Root Paste instead.
Zinfandel examined the body and its tracks without touching it, and saw that it had been dragged to the road from the forest. Sam Seeked the forest with his arcane senses and located an invisible fey. He spoke to her and presuaded her to talk.
A 14-member mounted force with people dressed as Chernasardo Rangers who could spot her seemed too dangerous to ambush. Nolly flew out, still invisible, and began spinning damage control. She lied that she was trying to trap Ironfang soldiers. The lie did not fool the party.
She turned visible and showed the truth. She was sick with darkblight--for the 14th time. Usually she left the blight area, mixed up moderate antiplague (I gave her Alchemical Crafting), and drank it every day until she recovered. This time it had not worked and she was in 3rd-stage darkblight, so she wanted fresh ingredients off of intelligent creatures to mix up stronger antiplague.
Azure suggested that Nolly get the other half of darkblight, the curse that kept the blight from killing people but turned them into fungal creatures instead. (I changed darkblight in converting it to PF2 by splitting the disease from the curse, because the party had no access to Remove Curse until Amelia carried a Wand of Remove Curse to them.) Azure offered to cast the curse, like she had done for the 5 blight-infected humans.
Nolly went on a tirade that she rejected a curse and transformation that would make her subject to the condescending snobs of the Accressiel Court.
Honey considered offering her the greater antiplague, but Collin had another idea. He had the Torrent in the Blood healing, impulse, necromany, positive, primal, and water Kineticist feat 8. Its 30-foot cone of cleansing water heals and permits a fresh save against one poison or disease infliction. Nolly drank her moderate antiplague and Collin positioned himself so that the Torrent in the Blood cone also hit three infected humans. The curse prevented the humans from saving again, but Nolly rolled a critical success and dropped down to 1st-stage blight.
She begged Collin to do it again, but he had a 10-minute cooldown. Sam and Honey used the time for Diplomacy checks to Gather Information from Nolly about the blight area and to persuade her to pay for the healing with a 35gp moderate Bottled Lightning. The other party members took the time to dig a grave for the body.
The 2nd Torrent in the Blood finished healing Nolly. She flew off happy. Sam's player remarked that Sam had qualms about letting an evil character (they learned that Nolly was a thief, swindler, and murderer) go scot free, but Nolly reminded the rogue Sam of himself.
The party reached Fort Trevalay where Ibzairiak, Jang, and Ruanni waited. The party had negotiated with the black dragon Ibzauriak rather than fighting him at the end of Fangs of War. They believed he would give them solid information on the blight area where his beloved Naphexi lived.
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Story was clever to find Caravan Leader, a Constitution-based feat for Collin. Constitution is the least versatile ability score, because it is not associated with any skill. Constitution is worse off than Strength, which has only the Athletics skill for its utility. Usually a 1st-level character will be good at a skill based on the key ability of their class, such as strength fighters being good at Athletics and druids being good at Nature. But kineticist lacks a native skill for their key ability.
Torrent in the Blood is a powerful ability for quickly removing poisons and diseases. For some combat poisons, the effect happens in rounds, so the 10-minute cooldown gives only one chance against them. Diseases tend to be slower. The party fought a Nuckelavee at 9th level, and Mortasheen disease that it inflicted had a one-day period between stages. The party ended up taking a day off for an 8-hour Treat Disease activity aided by antiplague elixirs. A 5th-level cleric would likely need to wait for morning prayers to prepare Remove Disease, or prepare two in case of a bad roll. A water Kineticist could treat it in less than an hour, even with a bad roll. The time difference is extreme. Yet increasing the cooldown to more than 10 minutes would have interfered with the party's social interaction with Nolly and their travel to Fort Trevalay.
On the other hand, between the Nuckelavee at 9th level and the darkblight at 15th level, the party encountered no diseases. Torrent in nthe Blood might be powerful against diseases because the payoff occurs so rarely. Poisons mostly deal damage or wore off quickly, so Torrent in the Blood would have been helpful but not powerful.
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Friday, August 19, game session
I had planned a combat to test the kineticists combat abilities in this game session, but my players were preoccupied with saving lives and never reached combat.
The party had just reached Fort Trevalay at the end of last week's session. The fort was under control of the adult black Ibzairiak, whom the party had persuaded to break ties with the Ironfang Legion. The fort had a tiny staff of hobgoblins and humans who felt that the fort was a save haven from the war.
The blight spriggan priestess Azure was scared of the dragon, not realizing that at 13th level she was twice as strong as an adult black dragon. The party offered gifts to Ibzairiak, a RIng of Wizardry (Type I) and a greater Backfire Mantle that had been gathering dust at the bottom of their bag of holding. The mantle was mostly for the hobgoblin druid Jang, Ibzairiak's loyal minion.
Ibzairiak assumed the party had arrived to help him battle the chimera Kallikros, who claimed territory south of Fort Trevalay (Fangs of War, page 13). He declined their aid, for he would gather greater glory in defeating the chimera alone. The party explained their mission to guide Azure and five blight-infected humans to the Blight Area of the Fangwood. The dragon wished them well and told them what kind of gifts his beloved dragon lady Naphexi, Duchess of Rot, would appreciate.
The druid Jang was more helpful, bedding them down in an unused barracks except that Azure and the infected humans were more comfortable in the repurposed armory where Jang was experimenting with varieties of mold. Jang explained the dangers of entering the depths of the blight. Flying into the blight, teleporting into the blight, casting plant-manipulation spells on blighted plants, or pushing through the underbrush all risked catching blight. And the depths were under a regional blight curse, so the blight could not be cured while there. She avoided entering the blight herself. The first visit on which she had accompanied Izbairiak to the outskirts of the blight, she had stayed with the elf witch Kusana, who inhabited an old inn beside a runestone. But Jang found Kusana to be very creepy, so on later visits she stayed at the quickling village. The quicklings are nasty tricksters who rely on their 100-foot speed to avoid retribution, but once Jang had caught one in an entangle spell and kicked him in the face, the quicklings learned respect for her. The village was not in good shape right now, because the blightguard had driven a gargantuan bandersnatch through it. She also warned the party to never call Gendowyn the former queen. The loyalists to current queen Arlantia called Gendowyn the Pretender.
Deception-master Sam tried to lure Azure away from the infected humans so that Stormdancer, Honey, and Collin could attempt to cure the humans of their affliction. He first offered to show Azure the kelpies in the river, rolled Deception 34 versus Azure's Sense Motive DC 36, so failed. Then he arranged for Ren'zar-jo and himself to give a performance to Ibzairiak and Jang and invited Azure along so that she could smooze with the dragon boyfriend of the Duchess of Rot. That Diplomacy check succeeded, and both Sam and Ren rolled well on their Performance checks to draw out the entertainment to last over an hour.
Stormdancer had a cleric multiclass to use the Wand of Remove Curse but could not cast 4th-level divine spells herself. She was the only divine caster in the 7-member party (8 with Collin), unless we count Azure, for whom curing disease was anathema against her god Cyth-V'Sug. I set the level of the blight curse to 7th level, DC 23, so that removing the curse would be possible with the 4th-level Remove Curse in a default wand, but would require rolling a 33 for a critical success. Stormdancer rolled a 27, spent a hero point to reroll, and then rolled a natural 20. The human named Javid had the curse removed, and became suffering painfully from the blight disease alone (recall that I split the curse and disease into two separate afflictions to aid the party in handling the curse.)
Honey began the one-hour treatment of the blight disease on Javid using Legendary Medic. However, she did not mind kineticist Collin splashing them every ten minutes with Torrent in the Blood. All six attempts with Torrent in the Blood failed--we have discovered its limitation in curing disease. Javid was a Farmer NPC with Fort +7. Hitting DC 25 with a +7 requires rolling 18 or better, only a 15% chance. On the other hand, Legendary Medic uses Honey's own Medicine skill, which is legendary in proficiency. So Honey cured Javid.
Azure returned and the party could not hide Javid from her for long. Sam told Azure that Javid had taken the invitation to go see the kelpies, and the kelpie's fey water magic had cured him. Really, kelpies have no healing magic. Sam rolled Deception at 42 so Azure believed it,
In the meanwhile, the party crafters Zinfandel and Tikti were at Fort Trevalay's forge transferring a flaming rune from Zinfandel's old bow to her new bow.
The next morning, the party decided--with hints from the GM who had searched Archives of Nethys for suitable magic items--that a Mirror of Sleeping Vigil would be a suitable gift for Duchess Naphexi. Stormdancer cast a 6th-level Tree Stride to go shopping by herself, with all the party funds of 1475 gp, at Longshadow 50 miles away. Since the mirror was only 7th level, the shops at Longshadow had one. Stormdancer also found 5 vials of moderate antiplague and two scrolls of Remove Curse. The wand that Amelia had delivered had been the only Wand or Remove Curse in the city.
Stormdancer's return to the party was another test of Collin's kineticist abilities. The party had left Fort Trevalay heading north already. (Javid remained at the fort.) Stormdancer returned to the fort an hour or two later, retrieved her flying mount Roxie, and flew after the party. She had to find the party on the forest path. Collin would regularly use his Whisper on the Wind impulse, range 1 mile, to try to contact Stormdancer once she was in range. I made Collin make a survival roll to try to contact Stormdancer at the right time. Untrained in Survival, he failed. But Ren'zar-jo made his Survival check and nudged Collin into sending the message at the right time with a reasonable description of the clearing they were passing through. Then Stormdancer had to spot the clearing with a Perception check.
Despite the early start, the party wanted to avoid reaching the Blight until they had another night to try to cure other infected humans. I told them to check the map of Nirmathas from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of Conflict. They spotted Fort Ozem west of the Blight and headed there. The druids in Fort Ozem regularly checked on the spread of the blight and the status of the runestones.
While Azure was distracted by talking with the druids about the history of the blight, the party sneaked off with the infected humans. Stormdancer rolled well with the wand and two scrolls of Remove Curse, aided by a Religion check from Collin. I ruled that Honey could combine Ward Medic with Legendary Medic to treat the disease on all three at once. However, they managed to roll well during Collin's repeated Torrent in the Blood, which can splash multiple people, and all were cleansed of blight by the fourth torrent.
This left one infected human, a 3rd-level hunter named Natty, who had the most advanced case of blight and would need two successful Torrents in the Blood to recover. She decided to run away. She would convert into a mindless Fungal Shambler if her disease progressed to its last stage away from a blighted area, but the Fort Ozem rangers knew of patches of blight were she could hide out. Natty left with a ranger.
Sam spun a story to Azure that Natty had raided a secret storeroom in Fort Ozem and found ancient, irreplaceable potions of Cure Blight. She stole them, cured herself and the others, and ran away. A ranger is hunting her down for her crime. Azure blamed the pixie Nolly, whose relcutance to accept Arlantia's Blessing had turned the humans against the fungal life. She asked a favor from Sam. Would he tell the leadership at the Blight that the five infected humans had been killed by wildlife, such as the chimera, rather than cured? The truth would be too embarrassing.
The three cured humans will stay at Fort Ozem until the rangers have time to escort them to a town.
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This time we see that Whisper on the Wind can be used as a utility spell, guiding separated people to the same spot due its range of one mile on a 15th-level kineticist. Yet before 15th level, Whisper on the Wind is exactly like the Message cantrip, except for not requiring line of sight. Other classes typically get 2 cantrips for a class feat, such as a rogue's Minor Magic feat 2 and the general spellcaster Cantrip Expansion feat 2. Those are feat 2, but the difference between feat 1 and feat 2 ought not be half as many cantrips that cannot be swapped out. What change would make this worthwhile at low levels? Perhaps a synergy with Create a Diversion? Or maybe talk to multiple people?
Also, the 1-mile range on Whisper on the Wind uses spell heightening notation, but since it is a feat rather than a spell, the notation is out of place.
Distracting Whisper on the Wind [one-action] Feat 1
Air, Auditory, Illusion, Impulse, Kineticist, Linguistic, Primal
Though you speak in a gentle whisper, a soft wind carries your words far away. This has the effect of a 1st-level message spell up to 100 feet. If you start your message with the target's name or other clear identifier such as "Guard at the Gate," you and the target don't need to see each other nor have a line of effect. At 5th level the range increases to 500 feet and at 15th level to 1 mile. You may attempt a Create a Distraction action on the target via this message.
Friday, August 26, game session (writeup delayed due to illness)
This game session had the combat that I intended for August 19, but two rounds of combat left the battle unfinished.
The party left Fort Ozem in the morning. The Blighted Area was only 12 miles away, sorcerer Honey conjured six 4tgh- and 5th-level Phantom Steeds for the journey, and kineticist Collin used his Caravan Leader feat to hustle, so they arrived quite early.
The 5th module described the first encounter, A. THE RUNESTONE (CR 15), as taking place in a hundred-foot-wide clearing around the runestone against the blood hag witch Kusana and her two fen maulers. I couldn't figure out why Kusana, a behind-the-scenes manipulator from the 3rd module, would hang around a clearing, so I put the runestone on the map of a country inn. And I gave her two Elemental Infernos for pets rather than porting the fen maulers to PF2 rules.
Elven innheeper-witch Kusana was talking to four guests--two Tian Xian women and their shadow giant bodyguards--outside the inn when the party rode up. Kusana covered up the scars on her arm and leg with clothing, so I added owlbear claw marks visible on her face. Honey, the legendary medic, saw that the recent scars were odd, more like repairs than healing, but did not deduce that Kusana was a blood hag wearing the skin of an elf. Sam introduced himself and explained that he hear she knew a safe path into the Blighted Area. She invited them inside, since her guests were about to have breakfast served by her quickling staff.
Sam engaged Kusana in conversation to learn her backstory with Biographical Eye but rolled a natural 4 on the d20, so he did not penetrate her disguise either. The player did notice the clues I gave about her activities in Longshadow, and Sam in side conversation with the Shadow Giants told them that joining the new monster nation would be a bad idea. Collin talked with the Tian Xian women and figured out that they were also not human, instead, they were Jorogumo.
Kusana noticed the elf ranger Zinfandel belatedly enter the inn (gnome rogue Binny remained hidden outside, due to an absent player), and invited the elf with beautiful skin upstairs to her room to sample fine wine. Anti-social (refuses to train in Society, even) Zinfandel refused the invitation, so Kusana fetched the wine from upstairs to share with the entire party in wine glasses fetched by her quicklings. Zinfandel, the son of winemakers, scented the wine and rolled a natural 20 on Perception to notice the sleeping potion in it. He hinted to the party about it. Collin gathered water element in hand saying that he had Adapt Element magic to properly cool the wine, while Collin's player asked me about whether the Purify from 11th-level Pure Adaption could remove the sleeping potion.
I did not bother figuring out whether Adapt Elements to Purify would convert wine to water, because Kusana noticed the covert message. She abandoned trickery and declared a fight. She sent a servant to fetch her elementals from the stable and offered a reward to the Joromugo and Shadow Giants if they helped her destroy the party while leaving the skin of the elf unmarked. Sam suggested that they take the fight outside, in order to begin his initiative on a Deception roll. Kusana agreed. We rolled for initiative.
The Joromugo named Orb went first, but used her turn to negotiate the deal with Kusana since combat had not officially started yet.
Zinfandel was second, and was fooled by Sam's suggestion to go outside, so he went outside and then shot Kusana through the doorway. His critical hit lit Kusana on fire. Champion Tikti moved where she could defend party members.
Kusana was 4th, but could not risk area-of-effect spells while her tentative allies were mixed in with party members. I had ported her as s divine witch for Remove Curse and Remove Disease against the blight, but that left her short on combat magic. She cast [url="https://2e.aonprd.com/Spells.aspx?ID=1125"\Sign of Conviction[/url] both for defense and for evil damage that would not hurt her allies. Only half the party had good alignment, so the results were modest.
The monk Ren'zar-jo attacked the giant Phob with a Tiger Claw flurry of blows. One hit for 28 damage. Stormdancer cast 6th-level Chain Lightning, hitting every opponent in the inn. Full damage was 48, though some foes saved for half damage. Phob struck back at Ren with her spiked chain but Ren dodged.
The spriggan priestess Azure turned out to be a monk rather than a cleric and attacked Phob with a flurry of blows, too. The party was surprised. They assumed that as an evil NPC she would sit out the battle. But Kusana had mentioned that she was healing people of blight, which Azure viewed as an offense against Cyth-V'Sug.
Rogue/sorcerer Sam cast Dragon Claws, slashed the giant Foam in a surprise attack and had a critical sneak attack hit for 60 damage and double debiliation for slowing Foam and removing his reactions. Then Sam hid under an table that overlapped his square. Foam's turn followed. The giant dropped his spiked chain, picked up the table over Sam, and smashed it down on top of the rogue for only 26 damage, but removing his hiding spot.
Outside, Kusana's elemental infernos left the inn's stable. They moved adjacent to Zinfandel, but they had no orders to attack yet.
Collin, our playtest kineticist, already had water gathered. He used Chain Blasts against Kusana, Orb, Glass, Foam, and Phob. However, he rolled a natural 2 for a total of 27 that missed the joromugo Orb, so the chain should have stopped there. Instead, he kept the chain going after the miss. Mistakes are easy with new abilities. The damage was 22, miss, 21, 42(crit), and 24.
Then he used Cycling Blast to do another Elemental Blast on Orb and gather Air, in a single action, for 21 more damage to Kusana.
Fey-blooded sorcerer Honey cast 8th-level Uncontrollable Dance on Kusana. She rolled a nat 3 for Fort save 26, a critical failure. And only 13th level against an 8th-level spell, so the Incapacitation trait did not lessen it. Kusana was stuck dancing for her entire turn.
The joromugo Glass grew spider legs from her back and bit Sam for 28 damage. Sam saved against the venom. Back at the top of the initative round, Orb also grew spider legs but missed both bites against well-defended champion Tikti. Kitsune Collin said, "Shapeshifters. Ugh," while grinning mischeviously.
Zinfandel shoots Kusana, this time using the ability of her magic bow to create explosive arrows. The player checked with Collin's player and Tikti's player, because Collin and Tikti's velociraptor companion were both in range of the explosion. They argreed and both made their saves: Collin had evasion and Liklik critically saved. Kusana and both joromugo were caught in the explosion, Kusana made her Reflex save for half damage. Zinfandel followed up with Hunt Prey on Kusana and a second but non-explosive bow shot.
Tikti attacked Phob and commanded Liklik to attack Orb. Liklik missed.
Kusana, stuck uncontrollably dancing, danced to the stairway and halfway up it. She could not interrupt her dance to command her elementals, so they never joined combat. Nor did the persistant fire go out.
Ren'zar-jo followed Kusana up the stairs and hit he with 35 nonlethal damage.
Stormdancer cast Chain Lightning again, with time with full damage at 49. Kusana took half damage but nevetheless collapsed unconscious, still on fire. The joromugos and giants took full damage.
Phob missed Tikti twice. Rather than making a third Strike, she ran over to the stairway.
Azure attacked Orb who succeeded in a save against darkblight.
Sam attacked Foam, who went down. Sam ran across the room to flank the giant Phob between him and Ren'zar-jo, but took an attack of opportunity from Phob. That would have been 53 damage, but Tikti used Hero's Sacrifice to absorb the damage herself (Sam was out of reach of her champion's reaction).
Shadow giant Foam died on his turn.
Collin's player asked if he could enclose both jorogumos in a 10-foot-wide line from where he stood. Lines like that are new. He could have, but would have included Sam in the line. Instead Collin Strode to get both jormugos alone in line and used Ferocious Cyclone for full 39 damage against them. Glass saved, Orb failed and was pushed. Ferocious Cyclone has overflow, so he expended his air element.
I don't remember what Honey did. She has no die roll on record in Roll20.
Finally, Glass bit Collin for 30 damage, but Tikti prevented some of it with Liberating Step. Collin's player remarked, "If Collin could have gathered water after the Ferocious Cyclone, he would have gained the Deflecting Wave reaction, which I flex-slotted for this session to add defense. it only works against acid, bludgeoning, fire, or slashing, so would not have helped with the piercing...but would have given Resist 15 against the acid portion of the damage. that said, at AC 34 and full HP, I decided to take a gamble and see just how squishy he is, while having it available in case he was squishier than I thought)(actually Resist 30, wow)" Except that the joromugo's extra damage is poison not acid.
Friday, September 2, game session
Rogue Binny's player returned this week and rolled high on Binny's initiative. We claimed that Binny was outside when combat started inside the Runehouse Inn. She chose to remain outside, communicating with the elementals through gestures and getting some elementary ideas across.
Jorogumo Orb was next, biting Azure, who saved against the poison. Orb's claw attack failed. She moved to flank Sam for Phob.
Ranger Zinfandel shot arrows at the shadow giant Phob, critically missing with a nat 1 on the first shot and dealing a total of 43 damage with the next two shots. Champion Tikti moved up to Orb, missed her with a sword attack, and raised her shield. Her velociraptor Liklik attacked Phob and also missed.
Kusana, unconscious and on fire, died to the flames.
Ren'zar-jo attacked Phob with his tiger claws and took her down with 69 damage. Stormdancer used her Tempest Surge focus spell on Orb and took her down with 65 damage. Azure flurried Glass for 49 damage. Glass made her saves against darkblight. Sam moved to flank Glass opposite Azure, rolled poorly and hit only once thanks to the -2 to AC, for 30 damage. His double debilitation removed Glass's reactions and reduced her speed by 10 feet.
Collin gathered water element and made two Elemental Blasts against Glass. Both missed. He had declared the first blast as a Cycling Blast, and I asked him why. Collin's player Story realized that Collin had no reason to switch elements--water dealt more damage--so he changed his mind and made both regular water blasts.
Honey's player asked whether Azure, a blight spriggan, was a plant. She was considering Horrid Wilting against Glass and accidentally hitting Azure, too. She did not trust Azure (Chaotic Evil and served Cyth-V'Sug) and Horrid Wilting deals double damage to plants. But Azure was a fungus creature rather than a plant creature, and regular Horrid Wilting might not take her out despite the damage from Glass. Instead, Honey hit Glass for 25 cold damage from Ray of Frost.
Jorogumo Glass bit Azure for 29 damage. Azure saved against the venom. Glass clawed Azure for 21 more damage. Then Glass moved toward the exit, but she was slowed due to Sam's debiliation and did not reach it.
But that put her near the doorway for Zinfandel to shoot her from outside. After Hunt Prey, Zinfandel rolled two natural 1s, alas. Tikti moved to Glass, stabbed twice, and missed twice. Her velociraptor finished off unconscious Phob. Ren'zar-jo moved to Glass for a flurry of blows with tiger claws, two hits for 59 slashing damage. Glass went down.
The battle was over. Sam went outside to communicate to the inferno elementals with his Legendary Linguist feat. Honey talked to the quicklings who worked in the inn and had been hiding in a storeroom during the battle. The rest of the party searched the bodies.
The quicklings had been working off debts owed to Kusana and were happy to now be debt-free. They looted the silverware--one almost stole Foam's purse but Stormdancer caught her--and left for home. Only the quickling Wendel remained, because he had been working for Kusana in advance for her to cast a divination spell so that he could find his lost sister Meril.
The inferno elementals decided that they were free to return to the Elemental Plane of Fire, as soon as they found a way there. They had originally been summoned by Kusana's daughter Navah, so Sam gave them directions to Longshadow where they could ask for Navah. Sam planned to send a dream message to Longshadow officials with his greater Pendant of the Occult explaining the elementals before they arrived there,
The party looted the magic weapons off of the bodies of Kusana and the shadow giants. The jorogumos used natural weapons only, so they just had fine clothers and pocket change. I got a little silly with the treasure in Kusana's room. I decided that she had magic items that reflected luxury and theft: good-quality manacles, Decanter of Endless Water, Earthsight Box, Extraction Cauldron, Primeval Mistletoe, and Waffle Iron (Mithral). They had to roll Crafting or Arcana to identify the Earthsight Box and the mithral Waffle Iron. Strangely, Honey's player guessed out-of-character the purpose of the Earthsight Box from the description alone, so kudos to the developer who wrote that description. They were disappointed in the 60-foot range, because they had hoped to use its modeling of the terrain as a map.
The mithral waffle iron really confused them, until Story (Collin and Ren'zar-jo's player) read the description after identifying it. Mithral is non-stick?! But it is still so expensive to use it in cookware! Nevertheless, they could not resist gathering waffle ingredients and syrup from the kitchen of the inn and making waffles for lunch. Zindfandel rolled 38 on his trained Cooking Lore, so the waffles were absolutely delicious.
That gave me an idea. I told them that the waffles were so delicious that Azure was having a religious revelation. They could make a Religion check to try to convert her away from Cyth-V'Sug.
Story had given Collin the Evangelize feat at 10th level, though he could not remember why. I let Collin roll on Diplomacy for Evangelize, while Stormdancer aided with Religion. The total came out to 43 versus Azure's Will DC 33.
The players also had a discussion about which god they were evangelizing for. Binny's player searched the internet and found a comment in the >>Ask *James Jacobs* ALL your Questions Here!<< thread about the god of waffles. Zinfandel's player suggested Cayden Cailean because Zinfandel worshipped Cayden Cailean and the Green Faith.
Azure had been following visions sent by darkblight queen Arlantia that she had to worship Cyth V'Sug or die of the blight. She worshipped out of fear and had been living in a blight region in the Gloaming Woods in southern Nirmathas for ten years because of this. She had not had food this delicious since she was a gnome swindler before her infection. She would never taste food this good again if she continued to follow Cyth-V'Sug. Her faith broke. She asked the party if they had any way to protect her from the blight, because she wanted to escape Cyth-V'Sug.
The party went through the curse removal with the Wand of Curse Removal and cleansing disease via Collin's Torrent in the Blood. Azure was momentarily suspicious about whether that wand had any role in her human followers being cured, but disnissed the idea because four humans had been cured in one day and wands were once-a-day items.
Collin had chosen Deflecting Wave with his Elemental Flexibility that morning, so he had to use Improved Elemental Flexibility to change back to Torrent in the Blood. Some good rolls in the Torrent in the Blood washed the blight out of Azure's body, but she remained in spriggan form.
Er, except Sam's player asked which spriggan form, since she knew that spriggans had two forms. I explained that Azure was not a Pathfinder spriggan. I had called her a blight spriggan because I had used an image named Azure Blight Spriggan to create her token for Roll20. I dropped the name "blight spriggan" for her. Without the blight, she had become a fungal nymph. The party had no way to return her to her original gnome species.
Sam warned Azure that she might be highly susceptible to re-infection by darkblight, so should avoid following the party into the Blighted Area. Azure decided to go to Longshadow. She had met theb messenger Amelia from Longshadow in the company of the party, so she could get Amelia to vouch that she was not a monster. Azure left, ending that subplot from the Glaoming Woods.
Collin offered to use Pure Adaption to remove the sleep potion from Kusana's drugged wine so that they could enjoy it, too. But we decided that that would purify the wine into water, so it was pointless. The uses of Pure Adaption seem very limited. The examples given in the ability, "For instance you can remove pollutants from air or water or expel plants from soil," are also useless when limited to 1 Bulk of air, water, or soil as required in the paragraph beforehand.
The party found no maps of the Blighted Area in Kusana's belongings, but Wendel offered to guide them in. He and his sister had often searched the abandoned old palace there for bits of treasure, so he could guide them that far. First, they had to pass a gargantuan sundew plant. Quickling Wendel recommended running very fast.
We moved to the map D, The Blighted Depths, from page 14 of Prisoners of the Blight. That map was labeled "1 square = 30 feet," so I had magnified it six-fold to fit it onto a 5-foot grid on Roll20. And the tablet of Tikti's player choked on the oversized map. We ended the session for the night so that I could cut the map into manageable pieces for next Friday's game.
Collin will remain in the party until we have a good reason for the character to leave the story. Given that the party is at the beginning of Prisoners of the Blight Collin might remain with them for the entire module. Story is willing to keep running him. This would give more playtest data about the kineticist. However, playtest forums become locked, so I might have no place to post it.
The obvious comparison from the battle in Runehouse Inn is that druid Stormdancer cast Chain Lightning and kineticist Collin used Chain Blasts. Those two multi-target attacks have a lot of similarities: the both chain from one target to another limited by distance, they both cost two actions, and the chain could break on a bad roll. Both become available near the same level, for Chain Lightning is a 6th-level spell that 11th-level primal spellcasters can learn and Chain Blast is a 10th-level class feat.
The differences are:
a) Chain Lightning deals 8d12 electricity damage on a failed basic Reflex save. 8d12 averages to 52. Chain Blast deals the damage from an E;emental Blast. For Collin, who wore +2 Greater Striking, Frost, Thundering Handwraps of Mighty Blows using a water blast, that was 3d8+4 bludgeoning damage plus 1d6 cold damage plus 1d6 sonic damage. That averages to 24.5, about half the damage of Chain Lightning.
b) The chain in Chain Lightning breaks if a target critically saves at the Reflex throw. The chain in Chain Blast breaks if on a regular miss with an Elemental Blast strike roll. That is 50% more likely.
c) Chain Lightning is a spell. IT costs a 6th-level spell slot and will trigger an attack of opportunity. Chain Blast is an impulse activity. It requires a gathered element not a spell slot nor a focus point. It does trigger an attack of opportunity because it is a ranged Strike. However, at 15th level Stormdancer's 6th level spell slots were minor compared to his 7th- and 8th-level spell slots. We could compare an 11th-level primal caster to an 11th-level kineticist, where the 6th-level slots are a major cost, but then the kineticist would have less impressive Handwraps of Mighty Blows, so the difference in damage would be greater.
Thus, Chain Blast is far below Chain Lightning in usefulness, dealing only about a quarter the total damage. Stormdancer is my party's specialist in area damage and Chain lightning is her goto spell for when the party is mixed with the enemy, so she had it prepared twice (and a third time in a higher slot) and was willing to use it. That is the gold standard and Chain Blast does not have to live up to that. On the other hand, the most skilled benders in Avatar: The Last Airbender did pull off a lot of area attacks. A kineticist modeled after them should be close to the gold standard.
Is the Chain Blast feat worth taking? Let me do the math.
Let D be the damage from an elemental blast. If the kineticist had a 60% chance of hitting with an elemental blast, 50% regular hits and 10% critical hits, the average damage from a first elemental blast would be (0.7)×D. For a non-agile earth or water blast, the second blast has 30% chance of a regular hit and a 5% chance of a critical hit, for (0.4)×D. The two attacks would take two actions and deal (1.1)×D damage. For agile air or fire blasts, that would be (1.15)×D instead.
With Chain Blast, the first Strike in the chain deals (0.7)×D. The chain continues on a hot (60% chance) for another (0.7)×D, we have to include the probability of the chain continuing, so on average that second Strike deals (0.6)(0.7)×D. Each step has another (0.6) multiplied to it. Assuming 5 targets, that is (1 + 0.6 + 0.6^2 + 0.6^3 + 0.6^4)(0.7)×D = (1.61)×D. With only 4 targets that would be (1.52)×D, with only three targets that would be (1.37)×D, and with only two targets that would be (1.12)×D. Compared to the two separate agile Elemental Blasts, Chain Blast would be 40% better against 5 targets, 32% better against 4 targets, 19% better against 3 targets, and 3% worse against 2 targets. 19% better is worthwhile.
If the odds of hitting a target were 50% instead, 45% regular hits plus 5% critical hits, then two separate non-agile Elemental Blasts would deal an expected (0.85)×D and two separate agile Elemental Blasts would deal an expected (0.9)×D. With Chain Blast the expected damage against 5 targets would be (1+0.5+0.5^2+0.5*3+0.5^4)(0.55)×D = (1.07)×D, against 4 targets would be (1.03)×D, against 3 targets would be (0.96)×D, and against 2 targets would be (0.82)×D. Compared to the two separate agile Elemental Blasts, Chain Blast would be 19% better against 5 targets, 14%% better against 4 targets, 7% better against 3 targets, and 9% worse against 2 targets. If all targets were that hard to hit, Chain Blast would be a specialized feat for campaigns against enemy mobs of 5 or more.
I also have a stylistic qualm against Chain Blast. I visualize it as Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender levitating a blob of water against enemy after enemy. Why would a miss end the chain? The blob of water is more likely to disperse on a hit. For the Chain Lightning spell, we assume that the critical save by a target disrupts the spell, but for Chain Blast we have control of an element rather than a spell--that is why it uses attack rolls rather than saving throws. Thus, I ponder a hit-based limit on the chain rather than a miss-based limit.
CHAIN BLAST COUNTDOWN [Two Actions or Three Actions], Feat 10
The elemental matter in your blast continues to fly onward, aimed at target after target. Make a ranged Strike with Elemental Blast within the blast's first range increment. Then attempt a new ranged Strike with Elemental Blast from the first target against a second target creature within the first range increment of the first target, with the multiple attack penalty increasing as usual. You can keep chaining the blast in this way up a maximum of five total blasts. You can't target the same creature more than once per use of Chain Blast Countdown. The chain ends after two hits for a two-action Chain Blast Countdown or three hits for a three-action Chain Blast Countdown.
For a two-action Chain Blast Countdown with an agile Elemental Blast with a 50% chance of hitting, the damage against 5 targets is (1.18)×D, against 4 targets is (1.10)×D, against 3 targets is (1.00)×D, and against 2 targets is (0.9)×D. Compared to two separate agile Elemental Blasts, it is 31% better against 5 targets, 22% better against 4 targets, 11% better against 3 targets, and the same against 2 targets. For a 60% chance of hitting, the damage becomes (1.52)×D for 5 targets (32% better), (1.42)×D for 4 targets (23% better), (1.27)×D for 3 targets (10% better), and the same for 2 targets. These numbers are more consistent across different chances of hitting.
I said "ranged Strike with Elemental Blast" in Chain Blast Countdown because I prefer to think of an element blast as a weapon with which the kineticist can make a melee or ranged Strike rather than as a special action that includes a Strike as a subordinate action. I object to the characterization of Elemental Blast as making an attack with a non-weapon that uses the runes for an unarmed attack but really isn't an unarmed attack. That kind of fence-sitting creates conflicts inside the rules. I will have more to say about this later after I take the time to read other people's threads on the same issue. My illness last week put me behind in my research.
Story and I made more mistakes in understanding the abilities of a kinteticist than usual for a new class. For example, back in comment #6 on August 23, I misinterpreted the "Level (8th) The range is 1 mile," on Whisper in the Wind to mean 8tyh spell level rather than 8th character level. Due to being busy in early August with math education and church activities and sick in late August, I had not made a comprehensive reading of the Kineticist Playtest document and had not read the paragraph split between pages 5 and 6 that described the Level notation. Instead, I had read the Message spell referenced in Whisper in the Wind and assumed that "Level (8th) The range is 1 mile," was just like the "Heightened(3rd) The spell's range increases to 500 feet," in Message.
But most people can't absorb all the details via comprehensive readings anyway. That is a skill I acquired from many years of reading mathematics publications. Others are having trouble:
You only need to gather an element a second time if you use an Impulse with the Overflow trait. Also gather element doesn't have a duration so it's analogous to drawing a weapon out of combat.
If you're expecting trouble you gather your element and hold it as long as necessary and when combat starts you can use as many non-overflow Impulses as you want immediately.
I think there needs to be a sidebar spelling this out because multiple people have missed this.
Yeah, the playtest kineticist seems designed to be almost unable to multiclass. Put something about that in the survey because it stands out to me.
Even without that, balancing impulses and feats can be tricky.
Kineticist reminds me of the Pathfinder 1st Edition Vigilante class. I had converfed the rogue Mockery in Palace of the Fallen Stars to vigilante, because he was a vigilante, and made vigilante Silkrose as an exercise and inserted her into The Divinity Drive as an NPC, so I have some experience with the class. The PF1 vigilante has talents, essentially class feats, that mimic features of other classes. But by mimicking the features rather than copying the features, they end up incompatible with general feats that usually work with those features, including some rogue talents that the vigilante has a talent to borrow. The PF1 Oracle is built similarly with the revelations from its mysteries, but the mysteries make the oracle a specialist, so I had let cause to try to add general feats.
In PF2, the problem with the kineticist class re-inventing the wheel with an Elemental Blast that serves the role of a Strike but isn't a Strike and impulses that serve the role of a spell while not being spells is that they do not piggyback on the rules that the players already understand. The whole magically spell-like but not a spell explanation sounds like a game of pretend:
Impulses are magical, but they aren't spells. However, abilities that restrict you from casting spells (such as being polymorphed into a battle form) or protect against spells (suc as globe of invulnerability) or a creature's bpnus to saves against spells) also apply to impulses....
The kineticist survey asked,9. The kineticist was designed to work primarily like a martial character, to give it a distinct theme different from spellcasters and to avoid some complex spellcasting rules. Do you prefer this, or a structure more like existing spellcasters?
I like the style of the kineticist: the attacks with blasts, the shaping of elements, the magic without spell slots. But explaining everything as impulses is a handicap rather than an advantage.
siegfriedliner brings up many problems with Elemental Blasts being Impulses rather than Strikes in Main Issues with kinetic blasts. I put my suggestion there.
As for the spell-like impulses, why aren't they spells? The structure of feats that grant spells has been awkward in the rulebooks, where they give the spell itself in another chapter, such as a Champion's Litany against Wrath.
Litany Against Wrath Feat 6Champion
Prerequisites devotion spells; tenets of good
You excoriate a foe for its wrath against goodly creatures. You can cast the litany against wrath devotion spell. Increase the number of Focus Points in your focus pool by 1.
But the kineticist impulse spells don't have to be published that way. They could be mixed in with the kineticist feats, with the rule that whenever a kineticist can take an impulse feat, the character can learn an impulse spell instead, where the feat level of the spell is listed after the spell level. The Impulse trait would stop non-kineticists from casting the spell.
AERIAL BOOMERANG Cantrip 1 (Feat 1)
Air, Evocation, Impulse, Kineticist, Overflow
Cast [Two Actions] overflow, somatic
Area See description
Saving Throw basic Reflex
A blade of shearing wind races away from you in a 60-foot line. Each creature in the area takes 2d4 slashing damage. In the final square of the line, the boomerang whirls in place. And creature that ends its turn in the square has to save against the boomerang.
At the start of your next turn, the boomerang returns in a line for its square to your current square, with the same effect as the initial line. If the boomerang doesn't have line of effect to you at the time, it disperses instead.
Heighten (+1) The damage increases by 1d4.
I dropped the description "with a basic Reflex save against your class DC" from the Kineticist Playtest document because it becomes a basic Reflex save against the spell DC, which will be the same as the kineticist's class DC. The "Level (+2)" converted to "Heighten (+1)," which has the same effect, but for some other impulses might move the level-up from an even level to an odd level. I threw "overflow" in as a spell component to keep the tradition of two components for a two-action spell. But the big advantage is that the spell description format is familiar.
11. The playtest kineticist uses gathering an element to determine which impulses they can use. This is to reduce long-term tracking, to take advantage of the 2nd Edition action economy, and to make them play differently from spellcasters. The 1st Edition kineticist took points of burn to fuel many of their talents, allowing for bigger effects or long-lasting ones at the cost of reducing the kineticist's maximum Hit Points for the rest of the day. Which do you prefer?
I never played a Pathfinder 1st Edition kineticist, so I have no nostalgia for burn. On the other hand, a stress mechanic fits the kineticist's key ability score, Constitution.
From the thread Constitution:
Either CON needs an actual mechanic to interact with, or the class needs dex/str key ability.
The kineticist needs Constitution to serve as more than a bonus to class DC. Constitution represents the endurance and fortitude of a character, so solutions such as CON to damage don't make sense. Burn gives something for a kineticist to resist, but perhaps the resistance can be made automatic for simpler play.
I imaging that the gathered element becomes less harmful and more convenient the higher the Constitution of the kineticist.
Constitution 10 Burn
Gathering ELement requires two free hands, though the element will be held in just one. The element goes inert at the end of the turn, no longer useable as a gathered element. Using an impulse with overflow deals 1d4 energy damage to you, of a type associated with the element: sonic for air, acid for earth, fire for fire, and cold for water. This damage cannot be prevented.
Constitution 12 Sharp
Gathering Element requires only one free hand. The element goes inert or disappears, you choice, at the end of the turn. Using an impulse with overflow deals 1d4 energy damage to you, of the types descibed above, but the damage can be prevented with effects such as a Ring of Energy Resistance.
Constitution 14 Brief
The element goes inert or disappears at the end of the turn after it was gathered. Using an impulse with overflow deals 1d4-1 energy damage to you, of the types descibed above.
Constitution 16 Safe
The element can be held for one minute, after which it goes inert or disappears. Using an impulse with overflow does not deal damage to you.
Constitution 18 Ready
The element can be held for 10 minutes, after which it goes inert or disappears. If the party is on alert with weapons drawn, you can begin encounter mode with the element already gathered in hand.
Constitution 20 Dancing
The element can be held for 1 hour, after which it goes inert or disappears. In one Activation(interact) action, you can send the element dancing around you no longer in hand, like a dancing weapon, but still use it as if it were in hand. You can begin encounter mode with the element already gathered in hand or dancing about you.
Constitution 22 Hands Free
The element can be held indefinitely, so long as you are conscious. You no longer need a free hand to Gather Element; instead, you can have it appear dancing.
This way, a player who wants a burn kineticist can select Constitution 14. A player who hates the action tax of the initial Gather Elements can select Constitution 18. A kineticist who regularly boosts Constitution can have the perk of freeing up their hand.
This way, a player who wants a burn kineticist can select Constitution 14. A player who hates the action tax of the initial Gather Elements can select Constitution 18. A kineticist who regularly boosts Constitution can have the perk of freeing up their hand.
I sort of see the idea, but it wouldn't actually work like that. In particular, no one who actually cares about the Class DC is going to take it down to 14 regardless... and as it is, elemental blast isn't enough to carry the class by itself.
The constitution thing sounds interesring but feels clunky.
May I suggest something like:
To use overflow abilities you must take damage equal to its overflow cost. This damage cannot be resisted, except by gathering power.
Gather Power (1-3 actions), reduce the damage you take from the next overflow ability by your Con times the amount of actions spent. If you spent two or more actions the effect lasts until the end of the next turn.
Then a feature that reduces overflow cost by your level or half your level (which archetyped characters wouldn't get).
This makes it so Paizo can put a cost into overflow proportional to the effect of the feat. Does what you figured of high level not needing to gather, and keeps the high action cost that Paizo and anti-burn people seem to not mind.
I emailed the following to my Pathfinder players today:
Our regularly scheduled game session meets today, Friday, September 9, at 6pm EDT and 3pm PDT. The party continues into the Blighted Area. Your guide Wendel warns that the first hazard on the safe path will be a Giant Sundew, unless you bump into a wandering Fungal Shambler.
I have a request for Story. The Kineticist public playtest is officially over, but Collin will remain with the party until he decided to leave. That probably means he will be a party member all the way through the module, and we are only on page 13 out of 50. Thus, we should try out houserules for the kineticist to get Collin to function smoothly. I have two in mind.
First, Elemental Blast is described as a spell-like action called an impulse. Attacking with Elemental Blast contains a strike, just like Flurry of Blows contains two Strikes, but it is not a Strike. And impulses trigger attacks of opportunity, because they are like spells. Even a melee blast will trigger an attack of opportunity. It also cannot be used as an extra action granted by haste. To fix that, I want to redefine Elemental Blast as a weapon that can make Strikes, no longer an impulse. The essence of the change is that wherever the Kineticist rules say "Elemental Blast" the text changes to "Strike with an elemental blast," but of course rules need details, which I posted at https://paizo.com/threads/rzs43o7d?Main-Issues-with-kinetic-blasts#5
Second, I am curious about burn. Burn was a mechanic on the PF1 kineticist (https://www.aonprd.com/ClassDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Kineticist), where overexerting their elemental powers could hurt them. Since my goal is to beef up the PF2 kineticist, this houserule will add optional burn, greater efficiency for a cost. Whenever Collin uses an impulse with overflow, instead of losing his gathered element and having to regather, he may chose to hold onto the element and risk burn. He will make a basic Fortitude save against DC 36 (i.e roll an 8 or higher), Burn damage is 23 sonic damage for an air impulse and 23 cold damage for a water impulse. Collin's Elemental Resistance ability does not prevent that damage, but other methods of prevention, such as a Resist Energy spell, will work. Collin's Juggernaut ability, which makes a success on a Fortitude save a critical success, still applies, so he will take zero damage on a regular success. On a natural 1, he will have a critical failure for 46 energy damage.
And to test mitigation, Collin can have a Major Ring of Energy Resistance (https://2e.aonprd.com/Equipment.aspx?ID=455) for free. That will prevent 15 damage from one pre-selected kind of energy. Does Collin want resist cold or resist sonic? A ring of energy resistance against cold could be a family heirloom from when the family crossed the northern ice cap from Tian Xia, upgraded later to greater and then major.
The DC 36 and 23 damage are the 15th-level values. For other levels the DC is from Table 10-5: DCs by Level on page 503 of the Core Rulebook with the +2 Hard adjustment, and Damage is 1.5*level, rounded up. I decided on a fixed amount of damage for simplicity. My theorycrafting intention is to make Constitution more important for kineticists by giving them a frequent Fortitude saving throw.
Erin Schram, crazy mathy GM
Friday, September 9, game session
The party continued into the blighted area, guided by Wendel. Most of the party rode the Phantom Steeds that Honey had conjured for their travels from Fort Ozem that morning. Stormdancer rode his roc Roxie, but was careful to fly low, because the sky contained a layer of deadly darkblight spores.
The module's next encounter was against a Giant Sundew and six advanced Will'o'wisps. I ported the PF1 Giant Sundew to PF2 as a creature 14 with an additional ranged attack, "Ranged [One Action] acid flick +29 (range 20 feet) 1d4 acid." For the advanced will'o'wisps, I considered using Dread Wisps native to the darklands, but I spotted the Air trait on the Voidglutton and decided that an encounter with an air creature would be make the playtest of an air-and-water kineticist more interesting.
And I sliced Section D1, Blighted Clearing, off of oversized map D for the encounter. The Giant Sundew would be on the path to the clearing. But the path varied from 15 feet to 20 feet wide, and the sundew had only a 10-foot reach with its sticky tendrils. I put a Heartrot Tree on the other size of the path just past the sundew, to create a narrower gauntlet. In porting the Heartrot Tree to PF2 as another creature 14, I started with a Drakauthix, gave it the Heartrot's disease ability, added darkblight as the final stage of the disease, and removed the flying ability for, "Speed 5 feet, movement not impaired by forest."
The party was forewarned by Wendel about the immobile Giant Sundew, so they approached cautiously and spotted the other mobile creatures. The sundew and the heartrot tree were in a slow-motion battle, with the sundew throwing acid at the heartrot and the heartrot regenerating.
Vine leshy Honey tried her speak to plants with the sundew. Last week the player had asked me whether a sundew counted as a climbing plant, because Honey could speak to vines and climbing plants. I researched on Wikipedia and learned that some related species were climbing via sticky tendrils, but the sundew itself was not a climbing plant. I declared that Honey could apply her plant magic to communicate, but would need to make Society checks to handle a language difference. Legendary Linguist Sam offered to aid. Sam rolled a natural 20, but Honey rolled a natural 1. Honey's player spent a hero point for a reroll and rolled another natural 1. They declared that communication was impossible.
The heartrot tree ignored this attempt at communication because the party was at the imprecise edge of its sporesight ability. The voidgluttons were quietly feasting on the heartrot tree's minor distress in battle and also unconcerned.
The party held a war council on how to proceed. Wendel, typically for a quickling, recommended running or riding past very quickly. However, the party liked the sundew, an uninfected plant boldly surviving surrounded by blight. They decided to kill the heartrot tree for it. The voidgluttons were more of a problem. Sam failed his Recall Knowledge (Occultism) check to identify them, but other PCs less skilled in Occultism rolled better. They learned of standard will'o'wisp abilities and of the voidglutton's immunity to magic. I had thought that kineticist versus voidglutton would be interesting due to their air nature, but really it was the antimagic aspect that made it playtest material. This was like Golems and elemental impulses.
I ruled that fundamental weapon runes--potency and striking--would work against the voidgluttons but the flaming runes would not. Sam could damage them with Telekinetic Projectile but the magical aiming would not work against them, so he would have to roll a Dexterity-based ranged attack against them as if they were invisible. AS for the kineticist Collin, we had switched to houserules that elemental blasts were Strikes, so they were elemental rather than magical. Impulses, on the other hand, were all magical. Collin's player and I talked about Extract Element, the reason I had selected air-based voidgluttons, and concluded that due to the Transmutation trait on Extract Element, it would not work against the voidgluttons.
The loophole in the voidgluttons' antimagic, "A voidglutton is immune to all spells except faerie fire, glitterdust, magic missile, maze, and spells with the light trait," was not discussed because it had not come up in Recall Knowledge. However, note that if a creature had a similar wording about some element, such as "... and spells with the fire trait," an impulse is not a spell and could not take advantage of the loophole for certain spells.
Since the party had two archers and a monk, they decided to let them take out the voidgluttons while the spellcasters and kineticist focussed on the heartrot tree. However, the rogue archer Binny, master of Precise Debilitation to make foes flat-footed, rolled low in initiative. Sam decided to take the initiative in making a target flat-footed. He rode his phantom steed to the nearest voidgluttion, used his shortsword for Scoundrel-racket feint, critically succeeded to make that voidglutton flat-footed to everyone, and rode on past the voidgluttons. The ranger archer Zinfandel shot the flat-footed voidglutton for 33 damage, slightly low due to the suppression of the flaming ability on the shots.
Sorcerer Honey cast Searing Light at the heartrot tree and missed. The voidgluttons frightfully exclaimed in Aklo, "Hey, that spell could hurt us." Honey speaks Aklo.
Monk Ren'zar-jo ran to the voidgluttons, but since he started from the back, did not have enough actions left for an attack. Druid Stormdancer cast Tempest Surge focus spell on the heartrot tree for 41 damage.
A voidglutton cast darkness. Some other voidgluttons took time to Strike at Ren'zar-jo with their claws, missed, and hid in the darkness. That made little difference to the archery of gnome rogue Binny, because she has darkvision and I forgot that voidgluttons cast greater darkness rather than regular darkness.
The heartrot tree moved toward Ren'zar-jo and made a Strike. It would have hit and possibly infected Ren'zar-jo except the monk used Prevailing Position to dodge the blow.
Then kineticist Collin showed his stuff. He Gathered Air and used Ferocious Cyclone against the heartrot tree. The heartrot tree rolled a natural 2 and critically failed the Reflex save to take 80 damage and be thrown backwards against two voidgluttons hiding in the darkness. Furthermore, Collin used my experimental houserule to risk burn rather than lose the gathered element. He failed the fortitude save, so took 23 sonic damage, reduced to 7 sonic damage due to his Ring of Sonic Energy Resistance (Collin had chosen the sonic ring because he already wore an Energy Robe against Cold).
The wind from the Ferocious Cyclone also rendered the heartrot tree blind as it blew away the spores for the tree's sporesight. I had 10-foot-range sporesight return on its turn.
The next voidglutton fled in fear of enemies that threw light and trees around. The 8th-level voidglutton realized it was outclassed by a 15th-level party. (Afterwards, each party member earned only 2 xp for each voidglutton.)
The champion Tikti sat out the offense due to her lack of good ranged attacks, instead remaining ready with her champion reactions to protect the closer party members. Her player posted popcorn emojis. NPC Wendel watched in awe. He had missed the battle inside the Runehouse Inn.
Back to Sam, who tried a real stab with the shortsword and missed. He rode on, but ended up within reach of the sundew. The sundew decided (via a Wisdom check) to continue throwing acid at the proven dangerous heartrot tree instead of attacking the tasty morsel.
Honey told Zinfandel to delay until after her spell, and then she hit the one of the glowing voidgluttons that failed its Stealth check in the darkness with [url="https://2e.aonprd.com/Spells.aspx?ID=269"]Searing Light.[\url] In addition to damaging the voidglutton, it counteracted the darkness so that Zinfandel had a clear shot against all the voidgluttons. The flat-footed one dropped unconscious. Ren'zar-jo entered Stoken Flames stance and beat up on another voidglutton. The light-damaged voidgluttons fled, though it paused to feed on the dying agony of their fallen companion before doing so. The mindless heartrot tree beat the fallen voidglutton, the only creature within reach and its limited sporesight, to death.
Stormdancer moved forward to get the heartrot tree within reach of a Polar Ray. He missed with the ray. Binny shot more voldgluttons.
Stormdancer and Sam and their mounts were on the line between Collin and the heartrot tree, so Collin did not repeat the Ferocious Cyclone, Instead, he used Flinging Updraft to move them 30 feet closer to the party. We had some ambiguity about the impulse, because it was written for moving one creature with a 10th-level upgrade to move up to five creatures. Do the creatures move individually or do they move as a fixed unit? We decided on individual paths for the four creatures, because the bends in the path would have required dropping some in the deadly brambles beside the path if moved without changing their relative positions. Then Collin missed with an Elemental Blast at the heartrot tree.
Two voidgluttons had cast darkness again, with the heartrot tree caught in both circles. Honey cast Searing Light again, aimed at the tree, counteracted both darknesses, but missed the tree. Zinfandel then shot the voidgluttons.
Ren'zar-jo moved to the heartrot tree, flurried it for 57 damage, and then Strode toward the party with his enhanced speed. The Strikes should have dealt 15 more damage, because the tree had Weakness 15 slashing to represent its rotting nature, but I failed to recognize a Flashing Sparks unarmed attack as slashing damage and the players didn't know about the weakness. Ren's player belatedly realized that Ren'zar-jo had just dragged his bare claws across a darkblight-infected tree; fortunately, the tree infects only with its own attacks.
Stormdancer cast another Tempest Surge focus spell on the heartrot tree for 61 damage. The last surviving voidgluttons fled. Binny, catching the tree flatfooted because its sporesight did not reach to her, dealt 46 damage to it in a critical sneak attack, dropping it to dying 2. She shot and critically hit again, but only reduced it to dying 3 due to its regeneration.
The tree regenerated to dying 2. Collin had no idea what to do with air or water to end the regeneration. Tikti thought that fire was worth a try. She pulled out a lesser alchemist's fire, Strode toward the tree, and Struck with it. The persistent fire finished off the tree.
The party passed the Giant Sundew quickly and advanced to the clearing. I ended the session for the night.