Guidance – Getting the Gaang Back Together 3: The Blue Spirit

Welcome to Iconic Design, Private Sanctuary’s source for innovative and evocative character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a build for Prince Zuko, the Fire Price, from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Ah, the final member of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s cast of main characters. (Well, other then the Avatar himself, but the kineticist is NOT designed to let you play the Avatar. Not yet, anyway.)

Zuko is a bit more interesting than Katara or Toph in that he has displayed a much wider array of skills and abilities, and therefore he has a lot more for us to play with in terms of his build. So let’s do it, shall we?

Build Concept

Let’s talk about Zuko’s build.

  • Human: All of the characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender are human, so this is obvious.
  • Kineticist (Fire): He’s a fire bender. This makes sense.
  • Fighter: Here’s a bit of a shocker! One of the common critiques of Zuko by other firebenders is that he’s “weaker,” than his sister. But he’s also shown to be a competent swordplayer, so we’re going to grab him a fighter level for a bonus feat and fun shennanigins. Hopefully.
  • Variant Multiclass (Rogue): I like Zuko as a variant multiclass rogue; it gives him some neat tricks and abilities, and its another way we can further divide him from other benders (especially his sister). And besides, kineticists don’t REALLY need feats, so this is an easy pick.

So, multiclass kineticist, eh? Not the most optimal of builds, but we might be able to make it work.

Book 1: Water (1–7)

  • Classes: kineticist 6 / fighter 1
  • Variant Multiclass: rogue
  • Feats: Toughness (Bonus), Two-Weapon Fighting (1st), Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Weapon Focus (shortsword) (5th)
  • Abilities: burn, elemental defense, elemental focus (fire), elemental overflow +2, gather power, infusion specialization 1, infusions, internal buffer 1, kinetic blast, metakinesis (empower), utility wild talent
  • Variant Multiclass Abilities: trapfinding (3rd), sneak attack +1d6 (7th)
  • Blast Wild Talents: fire blast (1st)
  • Defense Wild Talents: searing flesh (2nd)
  • Infusions: burning infusion (1st), fan of flames (3rd), kinetic blade (5th)
  • Utility Wild Talents: basic pyrokinesis (1st), cold adaptation (2nd), searing flame (4th), smoke storm (6th)

Alright, so let’s take a look at what Zuko gets, shall we?

First, let me say that fire has some AWESOME infusions, specifically 1st-level infusions. Few other elements have good options unique to their element early on infusion wise (which is why many need to resort to universal talents). Fire also has some incredibly thematic talents too; cold adaptation, for example, is literally taken from the Avatar TV series itself, where it is a MAJOR plot point for one of the episodes. (I’m not telling which!) That being said, fire also has some talents that are no-brainer choices; a perfect example is searing flame, which allows fire kineticists to burn away fire resistance. Considering how common fire resistance is, this is a MUST for all fire kineticists, Zuko or no Zuko.

So let’s talk about his not-kineticist stuff, shall we? Picking up Weapon Finesse via our fighter level lets Zuko use Dex to hit not only with his shortswords, but his kinetic blast as well. (At 3rd level, we’re going kinetic blade to represent Zuko’s small, fiery fist-blasts.) Because of how kinetic blade works, Zuko can also get an extra attack when using Kinetic Blade with Two-Weapon Fighting, which is pretty neat. I thought about going unchained rogue, but I think that in the long run, variant multiclassing is better for Zuko (his abilities grow substantially; you’ll see) and swashbuckler wouldn’t let you use Weapon Finesse with kinetic blade, so fighter it was. Hey now, an extra BAB never hurt any build, right?

So all that aside, there’s nothing too special with Zuko. Yet. Let’s move on and check in at the mid levels!

Book 2: Earth (8 –14)

  • Classes: kineticist 13 / fighter 1
  • Variant Multiclass: rogue
  • Feats: Toughness (Bonus), Two-Weapon Fighting (1st), Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Weapon Focus: shortsword (5th), Extra Wild Talent: fire sculptor (9th), Extra Wild Talent: flash infusion (13th)
  • Abilities: burn, elemental defense, elemental focus (fire), elemental overflow +4, expanded element (air), gather power, infusion specialization 3, infusions, internal buffer 2, kinetic blast, metakinesis (empower, maximize, quicken), supercharge, utility wild talent
  • Variant Multiclass Abilities: trapfinding (3rd), sneak attack +2d6 (7th), evasion (11th)
  • Blast Wild Talents: fire blast (1st), electricity blast (7th)
  • Composite Blast: plasma blast (7th)
  • Defense Wild Talents: searing flesh (2nd)
  • Infusions: burning infusion (1st), fan of flames (3rd), kinetic blade (5th), kinetic whip (9th), torrent (11th), flash infusion (Bonus) brilliant infusion (13th)
  • Utility Wild Talents: basic pyrokinesis (1st), cold adaptation (2nd), searing flame (4th), smoke storm (6th), basic aerokinesis (7th), firesight (8th), fire sculptor (Bonus), fire’s fury (10th), celerity (12th)

In Avatar, the power to create electric blasts is associated with firebending, so Zuko NEEDS to pick fire as his expanded element. His variant multiclass powers come together nicely, giving him another sneak attack die and evasion, and he gets some neat infusions and wild talents, such as the ability to blast people at reach with kinetic whip and the ability to haste himself (or others) practically whenever he wants. That power is especially nice combined with the fact that Zuko can TWF with his kinetic whip, allowing him to strike an impressive number of times per round. I also picked up firesight on Zuko because I love the smoke storm / firesight trick; make it hard for an enemy to see you, then strike them while they’re vulnerable. (This is especially powerful in conjunction with kinetic whip, which will allow you to keep enough distance from your enemies that they won’t even be able to see you.)

Fire’s fury is sort of a damage-dealing must-have that I’ve simply put off for too long in this build; sorry old friend! Overall, Zuko’s looking pretty nasty (as long as he can bypass fire resistance, that is), so let’s move on to the end game and wrap him up.

Book 3: Fire (15+)

  • Classes: kineticist 19 / fighter 1
  • Variant Multiclass: rogue
  • Feats: Toughness (Bonus), Two-Weapon Fighting (1st), Weapon Finesse (Bonus), Weapon Focus: shortsword (5th), Extra Wild Talent: fire sculptor (9th), Extra Wild Talent: flash infusion (13th), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (17th)
  • Abilities: burn, composite specialization, elemental defense, elemental focus (fire), elemental overflow +6, expanded element (air, fire), gather power, infusion specialization 5, infusions, internal buffer 3, kinetic blast, metakinesis (empower, maximize, quicken, twice), metakinetic master, supercharge, utility wild talent
  • Variant Multiclass Abilities: trapfinding (3rd), sneak attack +4d6 (7th), evasion (11th), uncanny dodge (15th), improved uncanny dodge (19th)
  • Blast Wild Talents: fire blast (1st), electricity blast (7th)
  • Composite Blast: plasma blast (7th)
  • Defense Wild Talents: searing flesh (2nd)
  • Infusions: burning infusion (1st), fan of flames (3rd), kinetic blade (5th), kinetic whip (9th), torrent (11th), flash infusion (Bonus) brilliant infusion (13th), explosion (15th), wall (17th), pure-flame infusion (19th)
  • Utility Wild Talents: basic pyrokinesis (1st), cold adaptation (2nd), searing flame (4th), smoke storm (6th), basic aerokinesis (7th), firesight (8th), fire sculptor (Bonus), fire’s fury (10th), celerity (12th), fire shield (14th), ride the blast (16th), reverse shift (18th)

I really like the imagery of ride the blast, which is why I keep picking it for these Avatar builds (reverse shift too). I saved pure-flame infusion for last because it felt like a fitting capstone for Zuko, and both wall and explosion were just TOO cool not to take sooner than it. Other then that, there aren’t any surprises here. More attacks with Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (yeah, it’ll never hit, but all of Zuko’s blasts are touch attacks), and both uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge via multiclass rogue abilities. In all, Zuko is a super agile fighter who is decent enough with a sword, but truly shines when he gets to embrace his birthright and burn everything with his awesome firepower!

So, with that I’ve got all the major Avatar characters done. What do you guys think? Should I do more Avatar characters? (*eyes Azula*) Or maybe I should take a break from the kineticist…. Leave your answers below, and I’ll see you next week for another new article here, at the Know Direction Network! Take care.

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

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3 Comments

  1. “Should I do more Avatar characters? (*eyes Azula*) Or maybe I should take a break from the kineticist…. ” both of course! do sokka or ty lee 🙂

  2. A Mark Reply to A

    If you’re looking for a departure from the Avatar theme, I’d love to see WWE’s wrestling zombie, The Undertaker, statted out for roleplay. Even if it’s not a grapple-focused build I’d be interested to see a hulking martial character who still displays a strong affinity for necromancy.

  3. Azula or Sokka would be cool to see, if you kept going with Avatar characters. However, one idea I’d really like to see is for you to do a build for the master of martial arts himself…Bruce Lee.

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