Pathfinder lead designer Logan Bonner says the 2e Kineticist, starring class of this summer’s Rage of Elements sourcebook, might just be the “longest class” Paizo has ever created in terms of content. Despite this, Bonner also tells Wargamer that “it’s going to be really easy to figure out how to build this character”, with recent playtest feedback creating a Kineticist that’s “easier to understand and play”.
When the Pathfinder Rage of Elements sourcebook was first announced in 2022, a Kineticist playtest was released to preview its content. The 2e Kineticist has since then undergone a round of player feedback and playtest analysis, but there’s still plenty to learn about the class before Rage of Elements drops this summer.
When asked how the class has developed since receiving playtest feedback, Bonner tells Wargamer “there have been some pretty massive changes to it”. “One of the big changes is in the playtest version, you choose whether you have a single, one-element gate, a dual gate for two elements, or a universal gate for all elements. We switched that to something more like 1e, where you start with one or two elements, and then you choose to expand at later levels or get better at one of your existing elements.”
“Unlike 1e, it’s not mandatory”, Bonner adds. “If you just want to be a water Kineticist, you can keep getting better at water over time.” “You can super-specialise, and you’ll get a bunch more unique special abilities than you would have in the playtest.”
Another detail Bonner highlights is the different combinations of elemental impulses. “A lot of detail came in, like expanding the metal and wood elements that weren’t in the playtest, and adding hybrid elements.” He says these ‘hybrid elements’ allow the Kineticist’s impulses to combine, for example by creating steam elements from fire and water. “We’ve got one of those for each element combination now”, he adds.
Bonner tells Wargamer this stream of element combinations helped make the Kineticist into “the longest class we’ve produced”. “It needed all that space to have room to include everything and feel complete”, he says. “We had to very carefully balance each of those [element combinations] to make sure it doesn’t go off the rails really quickly”.
It sounds like there was even more content Paizo could have added to the Kineticist, but Bonner says those ideas were a “secondary priority”. “The amount of stuff we have for each element means we couldn’t add that much more stuff to [the class]”, he tells Wargamer.
One low-priority idea that does get some spotlight time is non-combat uses of the Kineticist’s powers. “For example, there’s a wood impulse you can use outside of combat to make a cosy cabin spell”, Bonner says. It’s apparently an “alternative” use of the impulse, which “you can do if you spend more time using the impulse”.
All this adds up to a pretty beefy character class. However, Bonner tells Wargamer, “the main change overall is we wanted it to be easier to understand and play”. One example he gives is elemental blasters, which “we’ve changed to be more like the other impulses, where you use your Constitution, which is much easier to figure out”.
“We wanted the Kineticist to do one thing very well”, he says. “It’s going to be really easy to figure out how to build this character.” “There’s a lot of variety in it with which impulses you choose, but there’s a lot less busy work to make that character happen in the final version”, he adds.
For more info on the planes you’ll find in Rage of Elements, we’ve got an exclusive preview of the new Rage of Elements planes, and that last plane sounds very ‘heavy metal’ indeed. We also know that new Rage of Elements Geniekin options are coming. You can catch all the info on Paizo’s big summer book in our full Pathfinder Rage of Elements preview.