5e Kineticist

kineticist2-2Kineticist

His eyes blazing with an inner fire, the halfling walks calmly through the goblin encampment; as goblins all around him spontaneously burst into flame, he thinks of nothing but the feeling of his beloved, dying in his arms, a goblin blade between her ribs.

Even among her own kind, people avoided the old tiefling for the inexplicable things that happened around her: objects never found where they had been set down, passers-by tripping over nothing, windows and doors opening on their own. No one wanted her around, until the bugbears came and she threw them out of town, one at a time, without moving from her chair.

While his family always said that they spoke the language of the rocks in their mountain home the young dwarf was the only one who believed that those stones spoke directly to him, and maybe his family would have believed he’d grow out of playing pretend if he hadn’t warned them about the earthquake and the giant invasion, but they could never doubt him again when the mountain itself rose up to drive the giants away.

A kineticist binds themselves to an element, manipulating one of the fundamental forces of nature with their mind. These abilities are often born of trauma or violence, and nearly ever kineticist tells a story of their first manifestation, and the damage they did before they gained control of their abilities. Some kineticists believe that they are in control their element, while other believe that it controls them. In either case the result is the same: the kineticist shapes a fundamental force of the universe with their thoughts.

Masters of the Elements

Whether they are working with one of the four elements or aether, the ties that bind all things together, kineticists wield one of the five basic building blocks of the universe. Unlike spellcasters, however, they fuel their with their very essence, becoming physically weaker as their powers tax their body. While their abilities are often invisible, a kineticist can release some of their element, to lessen the toll on their body, wreathing themselves in flame or standing amidst a cyclone as their powers are unleashed.

Most kineticists use their powers at a distance, and their ability to remain hidden while they use their powers makes them particularly dangerous at range. Even up close, however, a kineticist can be a frightening and brutal enemy. Because kineticists have a variety of talents available to them, no two kineticists are exactly alike. One might focus their efforts on blasting foes at range, while another might seek out subtle ways of manipulating the world around them.

Powerful Pariahs

Few people feel comfortable around a kineticist for long. Strange events are commonplace: a pyrokineticist might leave occasional burning handprints, or a telekineticist might never look before picking something up – knowing that it will come to her hand. For most people, the casual ways in which a kineticist uses their element for everyday tasks is unnerving. In fact, most kineticists do little to put others at ease, often embodying some aspect of their element: pyrokineticists can be quick to anger, while aerokineticists are often forgetful and distractible. Because of this, when a kineticist does form bonds, they are typically intense and long-lasting.

For some kineticists, the stares and snide remarks of their peers are too much to bear, and they succumb to anger, lashing out at the slightest provocation. Others retreat inside themselves, shutting the rest of the world out until they are forced out of their shells by extreme violence or extreme kindness.

Kineticists have ample reason not to stay in one place, and often drift from town to town. In the process, many take up adventuring. Just as often, however, a kineticist will be forced into an adventuring life by the same traumatic event that unlocks their abilities. Only by mastering those abilities can they put their violent past to rest, and get on with their lives.

Creating a Kineticist

Nearly every kineticist is born in a traumatic event. When making your kineticist, think about what event unlocked their abilities, or how those abilities unlocked if your kineticist was one of the rare few whose origin wasn’t violent. Did your character burn a loved one accidentally or crushed a band of bandits under a rockslide? The kineticist’s first manifestation often hurts loved one and enemy alike, a mistake that can haunt the kineticist for life. How do you feel about that first explosion of power? Maybe your character’s origin is more personal, however: surviving a drowning or a fire can unlock power, as well. How do you feel about your connection to your element? Is your power a gift or a curse? Are you ashamed of your abilities, or do you revel in the ways they set you apart from those around you? You might see this as a spiritual calling, a challenge to master your emotions and thus master your element.

While the element defines the kineticist’s life, there are other choices, as well. Consider what talents will shape your character. Do you want to refine your elemental blast, and become an offensive powerhouse, or do you want to branch out and be more versatile? Your kineticist can cast a few spells, but must draw on their body to do so. How does your kineticist feel about this trade-off? Do you burn your hit points wantonly, sacrificing safety for power, or are you more measured in your approach?

Quick Build

You can make a kineticist quickly by following these suggestions. First, Constitution should be your highest ability score, followed by the score associated with your element. Second, choose the urchin background. Third, choose the reactive blast talent.

Kineticist Table

Class Features

As a kineticist, you gain the following features.

Hit Points
Hit Points: 1d8 per kineticist level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per kineticist level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None

Saving Throws: Constitution, Wisdom
Skills: Choose two skills from Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, and Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • Leather armor and any simple weapon
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
  • an item of personal significance to use as a focus
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Element

At 1st level, an element manifests in the physical world through you, defining the rest of the kineticist’s life. Choose either air (aerokinesis), earth (terrakinesis), fire (pyrokinesis), water (hydrokinesis), or aether (telekinesis). Your choice grants you features at 1st level, and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Mental Casting

At 1st level, you can shape the elemental forces using only your mind. Your talents and spells never require verbal or somatic components. In addition, when a spell calls for a material component that costs less than 5 gp, you can substitute an item with which you have an intense personal connection. The item is not consumed in the casting of the spell.

Psychic Talents

As your connection with the elemental forces of the universe deepens, you gain the ability to shape your powers in new ways. At 1st level, you gain one talent from the list at the end of the class description. As you increase in level, you can choose more talents, as shown in the Talents Known column of the Kineticist table. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the invocations you know and replace it with another talent that you could learn at that level.

Burn

Starting at 2nd level, you can increase effective level of some talents in exchange for taking burn. Every point of burn that you take reduces your hit point total by 1. When you finish a short rest, you regain half of the hit points that you have burned in this way since your last short or long rest. When you finish a long rest, you regain all of the hit points that you have burned. At 2nd level, you can take a maximum of 1 burn per round. This increases to 2 per round at 5th level, and increases by 1 per round every three levels after 5th. Some talents alter your elemental blast; you may active a maximum of two such talents each round, regardless of how many burn you are able to take. You can choose to forego the effects of mental casting to decrease any burn required to activate a single power or talent by 1 (to a minimum of 0). When you use burn in this way, the effect is a clearly visible manifestation of your elements: fire might wreath your head or hands or your skin might turn icy blue, for example.

If your hit point total reaches 0 as a result of taking burn to perform an action, the action happens before you fall unconscious.

Burn Effects

In addition to using burn to power some of your talents, you can take points of burn in order to strengthen your elemental blasts and defenses.

Offensive Burn
When you roll damage for your elemental blast, you can take 1 point of burn to reroll a number of damage dice up to your Constitution modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls.

Defensive Burn
When an enemy hits you while your elemental shield is active, you can take one point of burn as a reaction to force the attacker to take damage equal to the twice your total burn.

Expansive Burn

You can take 2 points of burn to target an additional creature with your elemental blast, or you can take 2 additional points of burn to cause your defensive burn to affect all enemies within 10 feet of you.

Metakinetic Master

When you reach level 18, your ability to recover from your burn increases. When you finish a short rest, you gain all of the hit points that you have lost to burn since your last short or long rest.

Omnikinesis

At level 20, you can take 1 burn to use any talent from your element, or any universal talent, whether you have selected it or not. You must take any additional burn required to use the talent separately.

Elements

78677-177428-debriiAether

While other kineticists control one of the four elements, you possess mastery over aether, the invisible strands that connect all matter. Because aether is lighter than the material around it, you can tug gently on it and move mountains, or use it to crush your foes bodies to powder. Often cerebral in nature, telekineticists usually try to avoid physical violence, and often physical contact, finding material bodies unnecessarily unwieldy. A telekinetic will rarely lift by hand that which can be lifted with their mind.

Telekinteic Reach

At first level, you gain the ability to use the cantrip mage hand as a bonus action. In addition, you gain proficiency with Sleight of Hand. If you possess the extended range universal talent, you can increase the range of mage hand to 100 feet range and increase the rate of movement to 100 feet per round, and if you possess the extreme range universal talent, you can increase the range of mage hand to long range 300 feet and increase the rate of movement to 150 feet per round.

Telekinetic Blast

At 1st level, you can use the power of your mind to hurl nearby objects at your enemies within 30 feet. These objects deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, depending on the type of object you throw. Objects thrown in this way use your Constitution modifier to hit, and deal 1d6 points of damage. You can take a point of burn to throw the objects with more force, dealing 1d12 points of damage, and you can not take burn in this way until you finish a short or long rest.

Telekinetic Shield

At 1st level, when you finish a short or long rest, you gain temporary hit points equal to your kineticist level. If an attack reduces these temporary hit points but does not reduce your regular hit point total, treat the attack as though it missed. In addition, when you finish a short or long rest you can take one point of burn to increase your telekinetic shield’s temporary hit points by an amount equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Telekinesis

When you reach 6th level, your control over the world around you strengthens. You can cast telekinesis. When you make an ability check related to this spell, you can take 1 point of burn to gain advantage on the roll. You can’t use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.

Extra Blast

At 10th level, when you use your elemental blast ability on your action, you can use a bonus action to use your elemental blast again. Any talents applied to your first blast are applied to the second blast, without any additional burn, however, you may not add any new talents to the second blast.

Kinetic Master
At 14th level, as long as your telekinetic shield has a number of hit points equal to your level, you can reduce your telekinetic shield’s hit points to 0 to cast power word kill. You can’t do so again, or regain the effects of your force ward, until you finish a long rest.


Aetheric Talents

If a talent has prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn a talent at the same time you meet its prerequisites.

Erasing Blast
Prerequisites: aether element, 15th level
If you take 4 points of burn before you use your elemental blast, your blast’s damage is doubled on a hit. If you reduce a creature to 0 hp with your elemental blast while it is affected by this talent, its body is crushed into a pile of ashes by the power of your mind.

Foe Throw
Prerequisites: aether element, 7th level
A large or smaller creature within 30 feet of you must succeed at a Dexterity saving throw or be hurled at another target within range. Both targets take damage equal to your elemental blast.

Feel the Air
Prerequisites: aether element, 9th level
Your are surrounded by telekinetic strands of aether. Invisible and hidden creatures within 30 feet of you do not have advantage on attacks against you, and you can not be surprised by creatures within 30 feet of you. 

Force Barrier
Prerequisites: aether element, 13th level
You can cast wall of force around your current space. The barrier lasts until the beginning of your next turn, but you can take 1 burn to extend this duration by 1 round. You can not use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest. 

Deflection
Prerequisites: aether element, 5th level
If you take 1 point of burn, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage until the beginning of your next turn.

Kinetic Cover
Prerequisite: aether, air, or earth element, 3rd level
As a reaction, you cause unattended objects, including rocks and earth, to shield one square, granting creatures in that square total cover from one attack.

Kinetic Healer
Prerequisite aether or air element, 3rd level
As an action, you heal one creature you can touch for an amount equal to your elemental blast’s damage.

Kinetic Shove
Prerequisites: aether, air, earth, or water element, 3rd level
When you hit a creature with your elemental blast, move that creature back 10 feet.

Levitate
Prerequisites: aether, air, or fire element, 9th level
You can take 1 burn to can cast levitate as a mental spell. 

Spell Deflection
Prerequisites: aether element, 11th level
Until your next turn, you have advantage on saving throws against spell effects, and any spell attack made against you is made with disadvantage.

Suffocate
Prerequisites: aether, air or water element, 15th level
Take 3 points of burn. You force the air out of a creature’s lungs, making it impossible for the target to speak, cast spells, or concentrate on existing spells until the beginning of your next turn. On its turn, the target must succeed at a Constitution saving throw to hold its breath or begin suffocating. If the target fails the saving throw, you can take 1 burn on your next turn and spend an action to concentrate on this talent, the creature continues to suffocate on its turn. You can take burn and use your action in this way until you stop concentrating or the creature dies. This talent has no effect on creatures that do not breathe.

Telekinetic Finesse
Prerequisite: aether element
Your mage hand can perform any action that your hands could perform, up to its weight limit, including performing Dexterity-based skill checks. 

Telekinetic Flight
Prerequisites: aether element, 13th level
You can cast fly a mental spell, taking 2 points of burn for each creature that you target with the spell.

Telekinetic Globe
Prerequisites: aether element, 17th level
If you take 10 points of burn, you can cast Otiluke’s resilient sphere as a mental spell. 

Telekinetic Haul
Prerequisites: aether element, 5th level
Your mage hand can lift up to 10 lbs. per kineticist level.

Telekinetic Trip
Prerequisites: aether element, 11th level
When you hit a creature with your elemental blast, if you can take 1 point of burn the creature must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. 

Telekinetic Whirlwind
Prerequisites: aether element, 9th level
You can take 4 burn and apply this talent to your elemental blast to use your blast to make attack rolls against up to five targets within 120 feet, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart.

Touchsight
Prerequisites: aether element, 7th level
When you apply this talent to your elemental blast, and that blast damages a creature, as long as that creature doesn’t use a teleportation effect, you can see that creature at any distance as if using blindsight until the end of your next turn. You can take 1 burn as a bonus action each round to extend the duration of your touchsight for one round.

 


Hacking the Kineticist

When I started working on material for 5e, the kineticist was the first thing I converted, over here. It was based on the warlock, and was pretty rough. I wanted to build a new version, given everything I know, now. This is the first piece of that. In part, this is because Val, one of the NPCs in Iron Gods, is a kineticist (which gives her a direct link to the group’s mentalist, who was feeling pretty disconnected from everyone else). They’re tasked with taking her to Cythrul, in Hajoth Hakaddos, but more on that later.

This is the base class and the telekineticst archetype (or “element”), so that it’s playable right out the can. It’s missing the other elements and the universal talents, but it turns out that this is already 3000 words, or two-to-three times what I usually shoot for, for a blog. As much as I value consistency in these posts, I’m taking the rest of the week off. I mean, 3000 words!

The kineticist is a bit of a cross between the sorcerer and the warlock, and the primary mechanic here is something completely different, that might be completely broken. I like how it mimics the exhaustion that element-wielders suffer from in fiction, though. The classic image of the telekinetic who is using her abilities so much that she starts bleeding from the eyes and passes out is hard to replicate in this game, but I think this does a nice job of simulating it. It’s just a different way to look at resource management, I guess: instead of tracking your spell slots, you’re balancing your desire to have lots of hit points against your desire to cause powerful effects.

The kineticist’s elemental blast damage may be a little low. I’d love to hear what other people think about it, at this stage, knowing that there are universal talents that will add to it. It also doesn’t look as good as it will when I get it all laid out, but I”m pretty happy with it, overall.

With that, I’m off until next Thursday, when I’ll be back with either more kineticist elements, magic item thoughts, or a game write-up.

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3 responses to “5e Kineticist

  1. Pingback: 5e Kineticist: Aerokineticist | Dungeon Hacking

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