A Kineticist's searing flesh ability states the following

Weapons that strike you also take this damage, though the damage is unlikely to penetrate the weapon’s hardness. By accepting 1 point of burn, you can increase this damage by 1 point per 4 kineticist levels you possess until the next time your burn is removed. You can increase the damage in this way up to seven times.

This means that, say by level 12, and by having 7 points of burn you will do 24 damage to a weapon when it hits you. However, this seems to be pointless, as that means that against a measly +1, it will do 0 damage. Is this really the intended effect? Why is this included as part of the ability if it cannot actually damage weapons even less than appropriately leveled at max power?

Or does this imply that the damage is just straight applied vs the weapon without reducing the elemental damage and just must bypass hardness? This seems more inline with balance. a +5 weapon, which is appropriate for martials at that level has 15-20 hardness, and ~60 hp. meaning that damaging it with this ability would do 4-9 damage, and it would have to hit you 4-8 times to gain the broken condition. Which still seems a little fast. but considering your spending 84 hp to sustain, seems relativly balanced as your not likely to survive 4-8 hits from a level appropriate weapon without some other form of defence.

How does this ability actually work against weapons? Is that entire clause pointless or is it actually possible to have it be semi-relevant?


1 Answer 1


Searing Flesh does exactly what you say it does. Even the ability calls out that "the damage is unlikely to penetrate the weapon’s hardness."

However, if you are that heavily invested in it, you can cause significant damage to weapons, especially flimsy ones. Damaging objects indicates that hafted weapons and wooden shields are base hardness 5 and most other weapons are base hardness 10, so, even assuming half damage as indicated in the same section, these would quickly burn away if not magical. In this way, it becomes a great deterrent against lower leveled/less affluent opponents.

A +1 enhancement only adds 2 Hardness, meaning 7 or 12. A +1 sword would be unaffected by your Searing Flesh, but hafted and wooden weapons would be taking 5 damage per strike and would likely be Damaged after 2 hits and Destroyed after about 3-4 hits.

This is clearly not intended to be "the benefit" of Searing Flesh and is more there to pad the ability. It's worth asking your GM to keep track of, but not enough reason to invest in the ability itself. Below is a chart of expected damage to soft/hard targets at various levels. For simplicity, I assume enhancement bonus is used in full (it usually isn't) based on the Automatic Bonus Progression tables* and the Kineticist Con is 20. Obviously, increasing your Con beyond 20 is entirely possible and would result in more damage per Burn accumulated, making 20 Con kind of "the line" between this ability affecting weapons or not..

Level Damage Enhancement Soft Damage (5+2/+1) Hard damage (10+2/+1)
2-3 8 (4) 0 0 0
4-7 8 (4) 1 0 0
8 16 (8) 1 1 0
9-11 16 (8) 2 0 0
12-13 24 (12) 2 3 0
14 24 (12) 3 1 0
15 24 (12) 4 0 0
16 32 (16) 4 3 0
17-19 32 (16) 5 1 0
20 40 (20) 5 5 0

*ABP probably isn't the best scale for comparing enhancement bonus at various levels, but it is the first thing that comes to mind that is easy to reference.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your damage scaling is a bit off. its 1 every 4, min 1. so it doesnt increase to 2 till level 8. Also weapons can go up to +10 cant they? or is a +1/flaming weapon still only a +1 for determining hardness? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Dec 22, 2020 at 3:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, a +1 flaming is a +1 weapon with the flaming property, not a +2 for hardness/hp. I believe that's asked elsewhere here. Good catch on the chart \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Dec 22, 2020 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Answered here \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Dec 22, 2020 at 15:10

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