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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another installment of Iconic Design!
The end of First-Party support for Pathfinder’s 1st Edition is almost upon us. We haven’t had a new hardcover rule book since Planar Adventures almost two years ago, and May 2019 marks the end of Paizo’s Pathfinder Player Companion line. Before you know it, BOOM. Pathfinder 1st Edition’s official support will be… over.
So, what about yours truly? It’s common knowledge that I’m a Paizo freelancer. What’s my last big hoorah for the system? Well, in addition to my first-ever backmatter article coming out in April’s installment of the Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path (Last Watch), Paizo Developers Eleanor Ferron and the network’s own Luis Loza were kind enough to give me a small section in March 2019’s Player Companion, the penultimate Heroes of Golarion. I got to write two full pages of kineticist talents themed around Tian Xia, and was super grateful that they allowed me to contribute several “racial wild talents” to the project, themed around Tian Xia. It was an idea I had always wanted to do, but never got to. (That happens a lot when you’re a freelancer / publisher.) So I am going to spend the next few Iconic Designs building kineticists with each of these wild talents. To start, we’ll look at a kitsune build utilizing nine-tailed kineticist! Let’s go!
Any information important to understanding the build goes here.
- Race: Kitsune
- Favored Class Bonus: Gain 1/6 of a new Magical Tail feat.
- Class: Kinecticist 12
- Feats: Magical Tail (1st), Weapon Finesse (3rd), Magical Tail (5th), Magical Tail (6th; Bonus); Magical Tail (7th), Extra Wild Talent: torrent (9th), Magical Tail (11th) Magical Tail (12th; Bonus)
- Class Features: burn, elemental overflow +4, gather power, infusion specialization 3, internal buffer 2, kinetic blast, metakinesis, supercharge
- Elemental Focus: fire (1st), air (7th)
- Infusions: kinetic blade (1st), burning infusion (3rd), penetrating infusion (5th), kinetic whip (9th), torrent (9th; Bonus), blade whirlwind (11th)
- Defense: searing flesh (2nd)
- Metakinesis: Empower (5th), Maximize (9th)
- Utility: nine-tailed kineticist (2nd), foxfire (4th), fire’s fury (6th), elemental whispers (8th), wings of air (10th), aerial evasion (12th)
- Magical Tail Spell-Like Abilities: disguise self (2 tails), charm person (3 tails), misdirection (4 tails), invisibility (5 tails), suggestion (6 tails), displacement (7 tails)
Playing the Build
So, before we get too deep into this build it would help to define what the wild talent that I’m basing this build around does. Let’s pause a moment and check it out:
Element universal; Type utility (sp); Level 3; Burn 0; Prerequisites kitsune
You can cast a spell-like ability granted to you by any Magical Tail feat you have by accepting 1 point of burn, even if you have no daily uses of that spell-like ability remaining. You must be able to use wild talents of a level equal to the number of extra tails required to use a spell-like ability granted by a Magical Tail feat to use this ability to cast that spell-like ability (for example, you would need to be 15th level and able to use 8th-level wild talents to use this talent to cast the dominate person spell-like ability granted by Magical Tail). In addition, you can learn a Magical Tail feat that you qualify for in place of gaining a new infusion or utility wild talent.
Right off the bat, this utility wild talent sets up some of the guiding rules I followed when making this build: You don’t need more than one Magical Tail beat before 4th level, and starting at 4th level, you don’t need to have Magical Tail more often than once every 2 kineticist levels. Any beyond that and your nine-tailed kineticist utility talent doesn’t actually work with Magical Tail. So while we COULD triage and have all the tails by, like 6th level if we wanted to, you would end up with only one infusion (your 1st-level infusion) and one utility wild talent (nine-tailed kineticist), and a smattering of 2/day spell-like abilities. Basically, every feat, infusion, and wild talent you would normally get would go into Magical Tail instead. I guess having dominate person at level 6 (3 levels before the wizard and 4 before the sorcerer) is neat, but you lose a LOT of the class to get to that point and it doesn’t change the fact that nine-tailed kineticist doesn’t let you have more uses of that spell. If you want to be a fire-slinging nine-tailed kyubi as early as possible, however, it works.
Now, one thing that I particularly enjoy doing with my kineticist builds is picking Weapon Finesse and kinetic blade. My reason is pretty simple—it handedly replaces Precise Shot in a kineticist’s build. Why? If your target isn’t in melee, fire away! If they are in melee, you can run up and beat them up with kinetic blade, which often results in you dealing more damage then if you had simply shot once and left it at that. Now, as for my other infusions, burning infusion is great because you get extra accuracy versus foes that are on fire. For beating fire resistance, nothing’s better than penetrating infusion—even better, it applies to electricity blasts, which we build into at 7th level by picking expanded element: air. The reason I recommend expanding into another element is twofold. In Japanese folklore, kitsune are associated both with faerie fire (hence the foxfire talents I’m taking) and with lightning strikes, so air / fire is super thematic for the build. More importantly, however, fire and air both don’t have many “mandatory” talents that you feel like you need to take (unlike, say, aether), so the combo ends up working well. Better still, not many creatures have full immunity to both fire AND air. Resistances to both? Sure. But immunity to both is uncommon.
With this dipping, I recommend grabbing some of the REALLY useful air abilities, like the ability to exchange burn for evasion or get a constant fly speed. (Wings of Air is so much better than flame jet that it isn’t funny.) These aside, you’re mostly picking up Magical Tail feat and some cool utility for your kinetic blade.
Overall this is a fun, thematic build that makes better use of kitsune folklore than many of the other builds that you see out there. This is a kineticist who has a clear role in a party alongside some helpful magical abilities that they can use with a surprising amount of freedom thanks to nine-tailed kineticist. As I mentioned before I’m going to be delving into some other kineticist concepts using wild talents that I wrote in Heroes of Golarion, so stay tuned for that!
Additionally, I’m announcing that I’m putting Guidance on the shelf for now. While it was great as a player optimization article, I feel like I have less and less to say about GMing because my Network compatriots have SO MUCH great advice on the topic of GMing. I don’t feel Guidance is as important right now, although I might end up reviving it when PF2 comes out as a Player Guidance article. In the mean time, I want to start a new column on a topic that NONE of us talks much about—homebrew and freelancing. As a result, next week’s article is going to be the first Installment of Homebrewer’s Bastion, a new article column that I am pioneering to try and help everyone looking for advice regarding the creation and pitching of content to publishers! Hope to see you there!
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.
How did you manage Wings of Air without either of the prerequisites?