Iconic Design — Bladed Bird Kineticist

Welcome to Iconic Design! Where I start your week off right with an exciting character build for the Pathfinder or Starfinder Roleplaying Game! I’m Alexander Augunas, the Everyman Gamer, and today I’m continuing my series on Kineticists of Tian Xia with a Tengu Kineticist. This build uses the Tengu Blade Lore ultility talent that I designed for Pathfinder Play Companion: Heroes of Golarion. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it, shall we?


  • Race: Tengu.
    • Favored Class Bonus: 12/6 of a new Extra Wild Talent feat.
  • Class: kineticist (kinetic knight) 12
  • Feats: Weapon Finesse (1st), Two-Weapon Fighting (3rd), Improved Shield Bash (5th), Extra Wild Talent (Favored Class; 6th), Two-Weapon Feint (7th), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (9th), Improved Trip (11th), Extra Wild Talent (Favored Class; 12th)
  • Class Features: burn, elemental bastion, elemental overflow +4, gather power, greater resolve, infusion specialization 3, internal buffer 2, resolve 5/day, kinetic warrior
    • Elemental Focus: water (1st), earth (7th)
    • Infusions: kinetic blade (1st), blade rush (3rd), kinetic whip (5th), pushing infusion (Bonus; 6th), blade whirlwind (9th), whip hurricane (11th), bowling (Bonus; 12th)
    • Defense: shroud of water (1st), flesh of stone (10th)
    • Utility: slick (2nd), kinetic healer, (4th), tengu blade lore (6th), veil of mists (8th), expanded defense (10th), kinetic revivification (12th)

Playing the Build

I’m actually decently excited about this build! The basic idea is that you’re a tengu that forms a weapon from ice that uses a light shield in the off-hand. The kinetic knight archetype is the ultimate build for kinetic blade users (provided Medium Armor and a Shield is your thing), and this build uses both to the extreme. Here’s the basic rundown (NOTE: remember that the kinetic knight’s kinetic warrior class feature counts as Combat Expertise and uses Con for Int for feats that need Combat Expertise).

  • You should probably pick ice blast as your first blast. Being able to hit touch AC with your kinetic blade is extremely useful for a build that uses Two-Weapon Fighting.
  • Tengu Blade Lore allows you to add several weapon properties to your kinetic blade. Your choices are blocking, brace, deadly, disarm, distracting, sunder, or trip. Of those, blocking won’t stack with your shield (which you need to wield in order to benefit from your elemental defenses), deadly is situational, and trip’s benefit is … unusual? Trip doesn’t give a bonus to trip attempts, so I guess it lets you dismiss your kinetic blast to avoid being counter tripped which is again, situational. Since the build specifically has you wait until you have kinetic whip to take this talent, your best bet is either distracting or sundering, because as a kinetic knight your kinetic whip automatically gains disarm and trip (though admittedly adding disarm or trip can be useful if you simply want to attack with your blade, and considering that using kinetic blade costs you no burn because you’re a kinetic knight that’s a legit tactic).
  • Your elemental bastion ability basically allows your shroud of water to grant your armor or shield an enhancement bonus to its AC. It’s useful and helpful, and still allows shimmering mirage to active (which gives you a 20% miss chance as if from concealment).
  • You can be a decent off-healer with kinetic healer and kinetic revivification. The latter is basically breath of life, so super helpful!
  • The way its written, bowling is a substance infusion that stacks with kinetic blade / whip hurricane. If you are willing to pay the burn, you could theoretically strike everyone within a 10 foot reach with a disarm attempt with whip hurricane while also using bowling infusion to trip all those targets. Your Improved Trip and disarm weapon property would give you an extra +2 to both combat maneuver attempts.
  • You have resolve like a samurai, so you can shrug off a bunch of conditions.

Basically, this water / earth kineticist build is a hyper-controlling build that can be used to deal good damage or knock everybody prone whilst taking their weapons. I think its a legit strategy to swap Improved Trip and Two-Weapon Feint for Improved Disarm and Greater Disarm if you want them, so you can send everyone’s weapons flying around the battlefield. Or you could swap those feats for Combat Reflexes and Vicious Stomp to make the tripping even nastier. (If you went this route, you could either purchase a deep red sphere ioun stone to get the feat for 8,00 gold or you could take the claws racial trait for tengu, which gives you two claw attacks and allows you to count as if you had Improved Unarmed Strike for feat prerequisites). The disadvantage (perhaps advantage?) of going the trip route is that you wouldn’t need tengu blade lore at all. A great utility power to take instead is waterdancer, which gives you a swim speed.

This build is a little bit wonky in that it has a lot of things it can do, and its up to you the player to decide how to do them. Being able to leave everyone prone on the ground with no weapon as a full-round action has the potential to be very strong, and unlike fighter builds with similar tricks this doesn’t sacrifice any of the kineticist potent damage to do so (unless you count giving up metakinesis). Next week I’m going to do a Dev Pit article on character roles and how that can make or break your game’s design! After that I’m going to be continuing my kineticists of Tian Xia series; I still have samsarans and wayangs left. Which do you want to see next? Leave a comment below or hop onto our Discord channel and tell me there. I’m looking forward to it.

This is Alexander Augunas, the Everyman Gamer, signing out!

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 Alexs Twitter, @AlJAug.

Creative Commons Credit: Kenku Illusionist by  ThemeFinland

Alex Augunas

Alexander "Alex" Augunas is an author and behavioral health worker living outside of Philadelphia in the United States. He has contributed to gaming products published by Paizo, Inc, Kobold Press, Legendary Games, Raging Swan Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Steve Jackson Games, as well as the owner and publisher of Everybody Games (formerly Everyman Gaming). At the Know Direction Network, he is the author of Guidance and a co-host on Know Direction: Beyond. You can see Alex's exploits at http://www.everybodygames.net, or support him personally on Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/eversagarpg.

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