Last Updated: September 27, 2023
Kineticists have remarkably simple ability score needs. Your Key Ability Scores is Constitution, but otherwise your ability scores are entirely up to you. Any race which doesn’t include a Constitution Flaw will work fine, and even then you can use the Alternate Ancestry Boosts.
With no need for weapons or unarmed strikes, Ancestries and Heritages which provide those options are less appealing. Your attacks will come from Elemental Blast and from your various Impulses.
While Kineticists resemble spellcasters in some ways, they aren’t proficient in spellcasting, which limits your options for innate spells. If you consider innate spells, avoid anything that requires an attack roll or a saving throw. Defensive options like Shield and buff/utility options like Guidance are great.
The Kineticist has numerous options for gaining resistances to energy damage types (cold, electricity, fire), to poison damage, and to a few obscure damage options like metal and water. These resistances will often match your level, which exceeds the damage resistances you might get from your Ancestry or Heritage. That said, your access to these resistances is determined in part by your choices within the class, so using your Ancestry and Heritage is a great way to get resistances that you won’t be able to get from your class options.
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RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
Put boosts into Dex/Con/Int and a flaw into Charisma, and you’re ready to go. None of the Heritage options are appealing, so consider a Versatile Heritage. Ancestry Feat options like Protective Subroutine and other options which improve your durability are welcome on a class with 8+ hit points and only light armor.
With a fixed boost in Constitution, you can put your free boost in your choice of Strength or Dexterity, giving you a good basis for many kineticist builds. The Conrasu’s list of feats is very short, so strongly consider a Versatile Ancestry to expand your options. Within the Conrasu’s Ancestry Feats, look for options that improve your durability like Ceremony of Fortification.
A fixed boost in Constitution, heritages which offer resistance to fire or poison, and options like Mountain’s Stoutness to further improve your durability. Altogether, the Dwarf is a good choice for any kineticist built, but they’re especially well-suited to a melee build.
If you’re considering Metal Impulses, Stone Bones synergizes well with Metal Carapace. Stone Bones gives you a 1 in 5 chance to reduce a critical hit to a regular hit, thereby preventing the Impulse from ending early.
A Constitution Flaw is too hard for us to recover from, so take the Alternate Ancestry Boosts option and put your boosts into Dexterity and Constitution. You have a few good heritage options and a few good feat options like Wildborn Magic for and Elf Step, but nothing synergizes especially well with the Kineticist.
No appealing Ancestry Feats.
Similar in many ways to the Elf. The Ancient Memories feat chain offers temporary access to skills, and a few other feats offer some innate spellcasting.
No appealing Ancestry Feats. The Goloma’s signature gimmick is being extra good at Perception, but the Kineticist gets one of the worst perception progressions in the game and doesn’t depend on Wisdom, so the combination simply doesn’t work.
No appealing Ancestry Feats. The Grippli’s biggest gimmick is using their tongue to perform combat maneuvers and deliver touch spells, and the Kineticist does neither. They have a few other interesting feats for things like using nets and jumping, but again, the Kineticist doesn’t get anything from those.
A fixed Constitution increase and Darkvision are a great start, but none of the Hobgoblin’s feats are especially useful for the Kineticist. A Versatile Heritage will help, but at that point just play another Ancestry since so many Versatile Heritages will get you Darkvision.
Two ability boosts, and several feat options to support skills and defenses and to give you innate occult spellcasting which allows you to pick the spells so that you can use them for utilities and buffs. The heritages won’t help much, so consider a Versatile Heritage.
The very last thing that the Kineticist needs is a breath weapon which competes for space with Impulses, so the Kobold’s best options come down to innate spellcasting and a few other odds and ends.
If you’re considering Metal Impulses, Cringe synergizes well with Metal Carapace. Suffering a critical hit will end Metal Carapace, and while Cringe won’t stop that (unless the damage roll is so low that Cringe negates the damage), it will block considerably more damage than Shield Block, which will help you survive until you can get Metal Carapace running again.
A fixed Constitution increase is a great start, and there are a handful of interesting Heritage and feat options, but nothing fantastic.
The Lizardfolk’s ability scores predispose them to a melee build, and heritage options offer fire resistance, a swim speed, or a few other options. Several feats offer access to innate spellcasting, including useful spells like Stoneskin and Freedom of movement. Terrain Advantage can be very effective if you take impulses which can produce difficult terrain, thereby making enemies Off Guard (formerly Flat-Footed).
Two ability boosts. Heritage options include access to poison resistance. Feat options like Hypnotic Lure and Disruptive Stare are easy to fit into any build. There are a few options for innate spellcasting, but they’re not a great fit for the Kineticist.
A fixed Constitution increase is great, but a Dexterity Flaw is hard, so strongly consider the Alternate Ancestry Boosts rule. None of the feats are directly beneficial to the Kineticist, but there are still some options which are generally useful such as additional movement types. Keep in mind that the Poppet comes with fire vulnerability, so look for fire resistance to offset it if possible.
Two ability boosts and Darkvision. The only especially interesting options are Quillcoat Shisk and the related on-hit quill damage feats, and that’s just not enough since you can’t complement them easily with a Versatile Heritage. Adopted Ancestry might be enough.
PF #153 (Rare)
A Constitution Flaw means that we absolutely need the Alternate Ancestry Boosts rule. Bloodhound Shoony (Scent) or Thickcoat Shoony (cold resistance) are both great options. Unfortunately, there are almost no appealing Ancestry Feats.
Take boosts in Dex/Con/Int and a flaw in Strength. None of the Heritage options are especially useful, and the only really appealing feats are the Evanescent Wings chain and Invisible Trickster. Consider a Versatile Heritage to expand your options, but remember that you’re Tiny so a melee build is going to suffer.
Very few feat options, and almost none of them are appealing. Stick to the flight-related feats and consider a Versatile Heritage.
Most of the Vanara’s feats are outright bad. It’s hard to find enough options here to complete a build.
The Vishkanya’s only interesting options involve applying poison to weapons, which just isn’t something that the Kineticist does.
Nothing stunningly powerful, but a few easy go-to options including Darkvision, fire resistance, and flight At high levels. A great choice if your Ancestry is good but just needs a few more feat options.
Very few feat options which appeal to the Kineticist. Preemptive Reconfiguration is really cool, but not good enough to choose your Heritage for just that.
Beastkin is all about turning into a beast and makin unarmed strike, and the Kineticist isn’t interested in either of those. Pack Tactics can be very powerful, but the Kineticist doesn’t support the options that make it abusable (multiple pets), so you’ll need to go outside the class quite a bit to make it worthwhile..
The only appealing feat option here is Arise, Ye Worthy! and one feat just isn’t enough. You do also get some damage resistance as part of the Heritage’s base traits, but it’s rerolled every day so you can’t rely on it.
An easy way to get fire resistance on any Ancestry, but the feat options aren’t fantastic. The most obviously appealing options are once-per-day options that feel redundant with the Kineticist’s Impulses.
Several feat options that work for essentially any build. Earthsense, Shaitan Magic, and One With Earth are all fantastic. Fortify Shield synergizes well with both Metal Carapace and with Hardwood Armor, but remember that it’s only once per day.
No meaningful benefit for taking the Heritage, and no appealing feat options. There is essentially nothing to be gained here.
Elemental Bulwark and Improved Elemental Bulwark are the only appealing options here, but they are a great way to get resistance to multiple damage types.
Some good options including access to poison or electricity resistance, flight via Wings of Air, and Airy Step and Planar Sidestep as defensive options.
Access to several types of damage resistance via Fiendish Resistance, but it doesn’t scale for some reason. Several innate spellcasting options which can work, plus flight via Fiendish Wings.
Really only appealing if you want to play a non-aquatic Ancestry in an aquatic campaign.