Skills are lacking, but not compensated for elsewhere


Kineticist Class

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Ok, so we've talked a lot about damage and how we are lacking right now. However I want to talk about skills. The Kineticist seems to be the worst class out of combat and in combat that requires skill checks (i.e. disable the crazy trap or magic thing).

Given the KAS is CON and that doesn't have any skill attached we are already less skilled than any other class (no 18 on a skill ability). Then we have only 3 skills + INT modifier which is kinda standard, except the Kineticist is MAD for physical skills (CON for class DC, Str for damage and hit, Dex for AC) and a negative for Wisdom is a bad idea (will saves can be nasty). That leaves Cha and Int as the likely low skills. Therefore it is likely to only have 2 or 3 skills total, and none of them at your best stat.

So, the result is a class that contributes a lot less in skill challenges of any sort. At least the Fighter and Barbarian get really good use out of Athletica AND they contribute considerably more damage than the Kineticist.

So, I would love to see something either akin to the Thaumatuge special Lore (in concept, not that elaborate) or I'd like the power budget of the class to take into consideration this significant (in my opinion) deficit of the class design.


this is a pretty good idea imo


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

We had an air and earth Kineticist with us for an extended chase encounter leading into a fight with a creature at least 2 or 3 levels ahead of us that also had an equal level minion.

We were level 11. The Kineticist never had to use a skill to accomplish a success on any of the challenges. Between flying and flinging, the character had so much to offer, I am not even sure what other abilities they could have used.

The Player's regular character in this campaign, a champion, would have struggled to keep up with the speed, and been able to help with diplomacy in maybe one of 10 challenges.

I do think that a whole lot of the Kineticists exploration and downtime utility is tied to very nebulous class features that do not fit into PF2 generally very structured, and skill focused system for down time and exploration. They mimic such narrative abilities as was common in older versions of the game, but I don't think that is really a good thing, especially because things like illusions, social encounters, and conjuration/creation powers have been so narratively restrained.

If the class releases without a lot more guidance about using elements to solve narrative problems, it is going to lead to a lot of GM/player bickering.

I think that is a solvable issue though. I will be curious to see if they lean into connecting them to skills, (like they did with Igneogensis) or away from it (like they did with the adapt element chain of class features).


CON is one of the best stats of the game and one that you would increase anyways regardless of class...

But anyway, I guess that could the area of concern of Adapt Element that could have more out of combat utility, making it emulate some cantrips or skills actions that makes thematic sense.

Like instead of Whisper of the wind being a feat, could just be a default option of Adapt Element of Air, a wood adapt element could have some minor healing to emulate treat wounds and so on.


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I consider Con to be the weakest stat in the game, and one you increase out of obligation (because you want to not-die) not because of anything the stat actually does.

Like that alternate ability score variant in the GMG that eliminates Con (by rolling it into Strength) seems eminently reasonable.


Invictus Fatum wrote:

Ok, so we've talked a lot about damage and how we are lacking right now. However I want to talk about skills. The Kineticist seems to be the worst class out of combat and in combat that requires skill checks (i.e. disable the crazy trap or magic thing).

Given the KAS is CON and that doesn't have any skill attached we are already less skilled than any other class (no 18 on a skill ability). Then we have only 3 skills + INT modifier which is kinda standard, except the Kineticist is MAD for physical skills (CON for class DC, Str for damage and hit, Dex for AC) and a negative for Wisdom is a bad idea (will saves can be nasty). That leaves Cha and Int as the likely low skills. Therefore it is likely to only have 2 or 3 skills total, and none of them at your best stat.

So, the result is a class that contributes a lot less in skill challenges of any sort. At least the Fighter and Barbarian get really good use out of Athletica AND they contribute considerably more damage than the Kineticist.

So, I would love to see something either akin to the Thaumatuge special Lore (in concept, not that elaborate) or I'd like the power budget of the class to take into consideration this significant (in my opinion) deficit of the class design.

It's a fair observation. Due to KAS the class ends up having several MAD problems. But I can't see a very thematic solution to solve this.

Maybe simply provide 2 more additional skills making the class more jack of all trades due to the fact that the class doesn't need to focus as much on combat proficiencies as it uses more innate abilities giving the character more time to study, but without focusing too much in anything is what makes the most sense to me.
But if anyone has a better idea on how to make the class more skillful without it being forced please let me know.


You could be trained in a skill based on your element, with dual and universal picking from their options. Maybe dedicated gets two idk how to balance that part


The thematic solution is to get 2 skills that fit thematically trained (I don't think anyone would complain about that). Then a 1st level class feat or just added by default that those two skills auto upgrade up to master or legendary.

That would be about the same as additional lore.

Maybe one of the skills can be Lore: Chosen Elements. As kineticist should be really good at things about their element.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I was going to suggest each element could have an action or two it could roll using nature instead of the baseline skill, like maybe earth could let you use nature to trip... but then i realized that is just making the class even more mad, because now you would want to focus wis to be good at your special elemental skill actions


Kekkres wrote:
I was going to suggest each element could have an action or two it could roll using nature instead of the baseline skill, like maybe earth could let you use nature to trip... but then i realized that is just making the class even more mad, because now you would want to focus wis to be good at your special elemental skill actions

You could juat make them use Con instead of Str/Dex for those rolls.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do miss the unique class skills each element got in 1e, it really helped differentiate the elements from each other.

I could easily see:

Air: Acrobatics
Earth: Athletics
Fire: Intimidation
Metal: Craft
Water: Medicine
Wood: Survival

Dedicated Gate: One skill that progresses to Master.

Dual Gate: Two skills that progress to Expert

Universal Gate: Gain "trained" in one of the above skills each day based on daily preparations.

I think there's some wiggle room about the specifics here, but I think it would allow kineticists some non-combat encounter spotlight time.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

A lack of a starting 18 is a little annoying, but it's still just a conditional +1. On top of that the kineticist is one of the least MAD classes in the game (pretty much right up there with thieves and druids), which gives you more flexibility in finding extra attributes to invest in for skills.

I like the idea of giving them an extra trained skill based on their gate or starting element, but I'm not sure free skill increases necessarily fits the kineticist framework all that well.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I consider Con to be the weakest stat in the game, and one you increase out of obligation (because you want to not-die) not because of anything the stat actually does.

Do you maybe mean most boring? Weak and Obligatory to invest in seem contradictory. Weak to me would imply leaving it at 10 does very little to hamper your ability to function.


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I believe they are using "weak" to mean "versatile", similar to how some people see Int as "weak" because its only use out side of KAS for casters is a few extra trained skills.

Mandatory is that even though Con as a stat is "weak" (few uses) its straight up mandatory (HP and Fort saves). Contrast it with Int were some buffer Wizard/Witch don't even care they they dumped it.


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Con is a weak stat since investing in it is a purely passive thing. You have more HP and better fort saves and that's it, and these are both purely reactive things. It keeps you in the game but does nothing else.

If Constitution were removed from the game entirely I"m not sure anyone would notice.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Con is a weak stat since investing in it is a purely passive thing. You have more HP and better fort saves and that's it, and these are both purely reactive things. It keeps you in the game but does nothing else.

If Constitution were removed from the game entirely I"m not sure anyone would notice.

I get what you're saying. Every stat can be "built" for except for constitution. Although, you could argue that having a big health pool is part of how fighters and barbarians are built. I know you're a big proponent of the alternative ability score rule. The kineticist could turn strength into the one stat to rule them all. Strength to melee, strength to ranged, strength to hp, and strength to DC. Lol.


The one thing the Kineticist gets out of Constitution as a Key Ability Score is "you can have better fortitude saves than anybody else." In terms of the other thing that Con does, HP, you will be able to match a Barbarian who starts with a Con of 12 or a Fighter who starts at 14.

If you upgrade Con to Max and get the Apex item for it that will leave you at 24 which gives you as much HP as the Barbarian who upgraded their Con to 18, which is just a normal thing almost every Barbarian does to pass Fort saves.


Yeah, it's been said a bunch, but this doesn't really feel like a CON class right now without a burn mechanic. If there's no burn, then maybe KAS should be STR/DEX, or maybe WIS? A WIS martial would be cool (not counting Rogue's "any KAS you want", it's the one stat no martial keys off of currently)


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I do miss the unique class skills each element got in 1e, it really helped differentiate the elements from each other.

I could easily see:

Air: Acrobatics
Earth: Athletics
Fire: Intimidation
Metal: Craft
Water: Medicine
Wood: Survival

Dedicated Gate: One skill that progresses to Master.

Dual Gate: Two skills that progress to Expert

Universal Gate: Gain "trained" in one of the above skills each day based on daily preparations.

I think there's some wiggle room about the specifics here, but I think it would allow kineticists some non-combat encounter spotlight time.

I like DM_aka_Dudemeister's list. However, I see the lack of a key ability modifier on skills as primarily a 1st-level problem. If a character desperately needs a skill for utility, such as Medicine for Treat Wounds, then the character can improve proficiency using the standard skill increases at odd levels. But 1st-level characters rely more on ability scores than on training.

So what if the feature gave a better ability-score bonus rather than a better proficiency?

Elemental Aptitude
Your inner gate gifts you with an inner aptitude. Choose one skill from the table below associated with an element you can channel. You can use your Constitution modifier instead of the usual ability modifier on skill checks using this skill. The skill counts as Constitution-based when you use the Constitution modifier.

Air: Acrobatics(Dex), Religion(Wis)
Earth: Athletics(Str), Society(Int)
Fire: Intimidation(Cha), Occultism(Int)
Metal: Craft(Int), Performance(Cha)
Water: Medicine(Wis), Diplomacy(Cha)
Wood: Survival(Wis), Stealth(Dex)

You become trained in the chosen skill. If you are already trained in that skill, then you become trained in another skill.

I doubled the skills in the list, making sure each element could replace two different ability scores with Constitution, because a single ability score could be the kineticist's second highest score.

Thus an earth kineticist with good Strength but poor Intelligence could still know his or her place in Society and master its intricacies. A water kineticist devoted to Wisdom and Medicine as a healer could have a good bedside manner from Diplomacy. An air kineticist based on the Air Nation from Avatar: The Last Airbender could be practice an ascetic Religion.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am wary of the balance implications of ability score substitution in all things.

It's starting to sound more and more to me like people want everything to run off Constitution. Would it not be simpler and more balanced to just not have the KAS be Constitution in the first place?


Ravingdork wrote:

I am wary of the balance implications of ability score substitution in all things.

It's starting to sound more and more to me like people want everything to run off Constitution. Would it not be simpler and more balanced to just not have the KAS be Constitution in the first place?

Yes, ability score substitution and ability score manipulation are techniques that risk imbalance and could open holes in the rules.

But playing it safe in inventing a new class is dull. Creating a PF2 kineticist has three purposes:
1) Let people who liked the PF1 kineticist play the class in PF2, too.
2) Let people who liked the benders in the Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra TV shows have a cless that lets them mimic an elemental bender.
3) Explore new design space.

Constitution was the key ability in the PF1 kineticist. And a Constitution-based class is new design space in PF2. Backing away from Constitution as a key ability would be disappointing.

I would prefer some freshly-designed Constitution based non-elemental actions for the kineticist rather than letting the kineticist use their Constitution score in actions already claimed by other ability scores. But the kineticist's class feats are going to be used for elemental manipulation (AKA bending). We would need skill feats and skill actions that use Constitution to properly fill out the kineticist class. And inventing new skills is even more drastic than applying Constitution to an existing skill.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Right now, the playtest features a lot of narrative driving class features that are interesting, but a little confusing about how to arbitrate in play. I would love for the nature skill to see more use in this class and be tied to using elements to accomplish tasks beyond attacking. Trying to tie the class to a whole bunch of skill usage will make it too MAD and complicated, but giving the class a reason to focus on Nature as a skill feels like a good way to address the lack of skill based interactions with the class.

Like using 2 actions to adapt element fire to intimidate with the nature skill could be pretty cool.

Sczarni

The Kineticist has multiple abilities for dealing with Elementals, like speaking their languages and making an impression with Diplomacy.

So I gave my playtest character Additional Lore (Elemental Lore) to help identify them easier. My Int wasn't great, but Expert Proficiency at Level 3, combined with a presumptive lowering of DCs to Recall Knowledge, meant that I was better off using it over Nature.

According to archivesofnethys, only 7% of creatures have the Elemental Trait.

Maybe just offer Kineticists Additional Lore (Elemental Lore) as a bonus feat?

Scarab Sages

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Ravingdork wrote:

I am wary of the balance implications of ability score substitution in all things.

It's starting to sound more and more to me like people want everything to run off Constitution. Would it not be simpler and more balanced to just not have the KAS be Constitution in the first place?

A different KAS has been a common suggestion, it just doesn't seem to be doing enough.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Unicore wrote:

Right now, the playtest features a lot of narrative driving class features that are interesting, but a little confusing about how to arbitrate in play. I would love for the nature skill to see more use in this class and be tied to using elements to accomplish tasks beyond attacking. Trying to tie the class to a whole bunch of skill usage will make it too MAD and complicated, but giving the class a reason to focus on Nature as a skill feels like a good way to address the lack of skill based interactions with the class.

Like using 2 actions to adapt element fire to intimidate with the nature skill could be pretty cool.

Agreed. They have the standard amount of skill points; I would prefer more ways to use Nature instead of additional skills.

Taking a quick glance over the nature skill feats, I notice none, not even Consult the Spirits, gives you any particular influence over Elementals (though I suppose Train Animal might sort of do so). Seems like a pretty good gap for this book in particular to address, and giving this class early or free access to potential skill feats might work as well.

Let me train a Cinder Rat to dance on command!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Right now, the playtest features a lot of narrative driving class features that are interesting, but a little confusing about how to arbitrate in play. I would love for the nature skill to see more use in this class and be tied to using elements to accomplish tasks beyond attacking. Trying to tie the class to a whole bunch of skill usage will make it too MAD and complicated, but giving the class a reason to focus on Nature as a skill feels like a good way to address the lack of skill based interactions with the class.

Like using 2 actions to adapt element fire to intimidate with the nature skill could be pretty cool.

Agreed. They have the standard amount of skill points; I would prefer more ways to use Nature instead of additional skills.

Taking a quick glance over the nature skill feats, I notice none, not even Consult the Spirits, gives you any particular influence over Elementals (though I suppose Train Animal might sort of do so). Seems like a pretty good gap for this book in particular to address, and giving this class early or free access to potential skill feats might work as well.

Let me train a Cinder Rat to dance on command!

It is also entirely possible that we get a bunch of new elemental related skill feats that Kineticists are going to solve some of these issues in Rage of Elements, but obviously, we can't playtest assuming that will be true.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Very true! I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I'm simply hopeful that this book does give Nature and Arcane elemental related skill feats (I'd be surprised if they don't, but I've been surprised before).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Me too! I think that would be awesome.


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Ravingdork wrote:

I am wary of the balance implications of ability score substitution in all things.

It's starting to sound more and more to me like people want everything to run off Constitution. Would it not be simpler and more balanced to just not have the KAS be Constitution in the first place?

This is the same problem the playtests for the Investigator/Inventor/Thaumaturge had- "Why would I invest in Int/Int/Cha since they just do the things they do for everybody else?" I distinctly remember making a playtest Investigator with 10 Int and putting everything in Dex and Wis because everything ran on perception.

The specific point with the Kineticist is that since Constitution does nothing actively under normal conditions, there should be special attention paid to "what does it do for this class" since the whole concept of the Kineticist hinges on "having an internal gate to the elemental plane is stressful on your body." The limitation on how much magic you can throw around isn't about an external resource like spell slots, it's about how much you can tolerate.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It just feels like skill usage is the wrong place to add more Constitution to the class.

Specifically, skills are things you train at and develop skill around, not just endure.


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I think the Kineticist being bad (well average) at skills is acceptable provided their out of combat utility from their impulses is sufficient to make them seem like a meaningful contributor. Like "how do we cross this chasm" or "how do we all get in top of that" or "how do we get through that" seem like things the Kineticist should be able to handle by "making a bridge" or "giving everybody flight" or "tunneling through".


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

And then you have Fire who could .... provide the Light Cantrip for their allies? Eventually there is Wandering Smoke to maybe slip through a tight space but that seems less likely to be picked up than flight, burrowing, swim speed and breathe underwater or even stepping stones to get across water/chasms.

The final version will hopefully have more utility support for Fire, and really all the elements but especially Fire. Though having more skills would be nice.


The clever trick for Fire is using their endless supply of Continual Flame in conjunction with the higher level "teleport to any open flame" impulse. Just pass out flames to the party. Chuck a flaming rock across an open pit (didn't make it? Try again with another pebble nearby), etc.


Ryuujin-sama wrote:

And then you have Fire who could .... provide the Light Cantrip for their allies? Eventually there is Wandering Smoke to maybe slip through a tight space but that seems less likely to be picked up than flight, burrowing, swim speed and breathe underwater or even stepping stones to get across water/chasms.

The final version will hopefully have more utility support for Fire, and really all the elements but especially Fire. Though having more skills would be nice.

Fire is "must go faster".


Guntermench wrote:
Ryuujin-sama wrote:

And then you have Fire who could .... provide the Light Cantrip for their allies? Eventually there is Wandering Smoke to maybe slip through a tight space but that seems less likely to be picked up than flight, burrowing, swim speed and breathe underwater or even stepping stones to get across water/chasms.

The final version will hopefully have more utility support for Fire, and really all the elements but especially Fire. Though having more skills would be nice.

Fire is "must go faster".

LOL somes like an episode of the flash, where the answer to everything is 'going faster'. ;)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Desert Shimmer is pretty decent utility. Imposing even a DC 5 flat check on all strikes is pretty useful, and the ability to hide yourself in your own aura has possibilities.

But yeah, other than that. Though I'm reminded of the Jason Mendoza line from The Good Place: "But I'm telling you, Molotov cocktails work. Anytime I had a problem and I threw a Molotov cocktail, boom! Right away, I had a different problem."

I had intended my playtest skeleton to be LN, but he's clearly a chaos gremlin.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Desert Shimmer is pretty decent utility. Imposing even a DC 5 flat check on all strikes is pretty useful, and the ability to hide yourself in your own aura has possibilities.

The best part of this aura IMO is "You ignore concealment caused by heat shimmers".

It's a pretty rare to see an area blindness/concealment effect that ignores the caster, also the additional damage isn't a bad thing too.
But as all other offensive auras. It's really works only after Aura Shaping or will get in the way of your allies too.


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YuriP wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Desert Shimmer is pretty decent utility. Imposing even a DC 5 flat check on all strikes is pretty useful, and the ability to hide yourself in your own aura has possibilities.

The best part of this aura IMO is "You ignore concealment caused by heat shimmers".

It's a pretty rare to see an area blindness/concealment effect that ignores the caster, also the additional damage isn't a bad thing too.
But as all other offensive auras. It's really works only after Aura Shaping or will get in the way of your allies too.

But once you get Aura Shaping your allies get to ignore the concealment and damage, so now it's just a 20' field of concealment for the whole party with no drawbacks.


Aura Shaping is one of the best feats IMO. Almost must have feat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Desert Shimmer, at least once you have Aura Shaping, can be useful battle utility. But Fire doesn't really have out of combat utility. Though yeah if I went Dedicated Fire I would definitely be handing out permanent fires to the party, up to level in party members at least.

Also man Desert Shimmer deals so little damage. I totally expected Fire to have the highest damage aura. That said I have seen people claim Winter is crazy high damage, or absolutely pathetic damage that isn't worth using the aura. Youtube/Twitch reactions can be rather varied. Some have even viewed Water as the worst or second worst element, where on here a lot of people view Water as the strongest followed by Earth or Air.

Also speaking of combat utility and auras. A party of Lizardfolk with Terrain Advantage and one Air Kineticist with Fair Winds and Shape Aura to make a decent size aura of enemy only difficult terrain that also makes any non Lizardfolk enemies in the aura flat footed against the Lizardfolk party.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think each element having an associated skill that you become trained in would help the skill side of the kineticist. Maybe they could get a +1 for that skill while they have the Element Gathered.

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