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The Kineticist has a number of abilities that require them to accept Burn to activate. Sometimes a specific value is specified ("By accepting 1 point of burn" in Metakinesis) and sometimes it is not ("Whenever you accept burn" in Shroud of Water).

The Kineticist also gets some features to reduce Burn costs, sometimes to a total cost of zero.

If the Burn cost is reduced (to zero), does this still qualify as accepting Burn?

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No, you may not "accept" zero burn

Accepting burn means you must accept to take Burn to activate/use that ability. There are many abilities that reduce Burn cost, and taking those mean that your character is not "accepting" the Burn.

This has been clarified by Mark Seifter (Designer) a few times, but never made it to a FAQ, for some weird reason, as seen here (and confirmed again here):

If the Kineticist accepts burn, does that activate everthing that feeds off of it? such as the bonus to hit and damage from Feel the Burn and the damage dice from the fire skin effect? And by accepting burn that means not using things like gather power to defray it?

If you wind up with burn for any reason, you get elemental overflow (feel the burn) bonuses. However, more or less everything else in the class that asks you to accept burn is in the form of "accept burn to get benefit X from me." So if you accept burn for your fire skin, you get more fire skin (and having it also triggers elemental overflow), and if you accept burn for a giant blast you get a giant blast (and also elemental overflow). You are correct that defraying burn does not count as accepting it.

There is one exception to this, the Internal Buffer ability, as clarified by Mark Seifter again:

Many of the kineticist powers specify that it will do something extra if you "accept burn". My question is, given that as you level, there are more options to reduce /get rid of burn, would that still count? So, celerity says if you accept burn, Haste lasts 1 Rd /kineticist level. If I use my buffer to reduce the burn by 1, would the effect still take place?

Paying out of your buffer still gets you the effect you want, though it doesn't increase your elemental overflow (overflow requires you to actually have burn).

Keep in mind that there are no abilities that help you reduce the burn cost from defense or wild talents (that I know of), so the only way to reduce the burn cost of a wild talent to 0 and still benefit from the effects of Shroud of Water would be using the Internal Buffer, as the ability says:

Whenever you accept burn while using a water wild talent

If you search through the wild talents, and they all have a similar wording, and thus should work the same way.

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The answer seems to be no, a cost of 0 Burn is not accepting burn for the purpose of other abilities.

The Kineticist's writing seems, at first, to be a little all over the board, but the important part is this:

Describing Burn as "accepted" is written in direct relation to the rules for taking nonlethal damage associated with it. All other parts refer to Burn Cost not Burn "accepted". Therefore, it seems that reducing Burn Cost to 0 means that you've used that Kineticist ability and not "accepted" any Burn.

This is further supported by a couple points (from a design standpoint):

  • If you are reducing Burn Cost to not have the penalties, you are not "accepting" Burn.
  • Abilities that require that you "accept" Burn usually give you some kind of benefit for the cost. Receiving the benefit without the cost seems contrary to the intent.

And from a lore standpoint:

  • Accepting Burn is described as exerting your inner reserves to expend energy, whereas reducing Burn cost largely involves drawing energy from your environment or another source.
  • Abilities that require that you "accept" Burn are usually described as your energy overflowing from your exertions, which would not happen if you did not expend your own energy.
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Generally, I’d say that it depends, given that “Accept Burn” is used in two different ways by the Rule Book.

For the purposes of abilities that grant a bonus for that round you accepted burn, or which grant lasting bonuses if you have burn, such as Elemental Defense or Elemental Overflow, I would say no. You are not truly “accepting” burn, rather you’ve mitigated it. Flavor wise, these abilities surging is tied to your body taking the energy into itself and becoming one with it; doing so is inherently damaging however, which is where the negative side effects come in, and why burn can’t be removed through magical healing.

However, you should still be able to “accept burn” in the way that you can enhance a Utility Talent or Infusion by accepting additional burn. Flavor-wise your still channeling the additional energy to enhance the ability, but you’re being cautious not to become one with it, not to let it affect you.

So You can accept burn for immediate benefit to the specific ability, but doing so does not enhance or activate the benefits of other abilities which are affected by you total burn.

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