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In Paizo's Occult Adventures, the Kineticist class, with a Water Elemental Focus, gets this ability:

Basic Hydrokinesis

Element(s) water; Type utility (Sp); Level 1; Burn 0

You can create water as the cantrip create water, purify water as if using purify food and drink, and dry wet creatures and objects as if using prestidigitation. While you cannot lift water into the air using this ability, you can create mild currents in a body of water by concentrating. These currents are strong enough to run a water mill as if the mill were being turned manually by a creature with a Strength score equal to your Constitution score.

I've done research and discussed with my DM about the part about "mild currents", "water mill", and "turned manually" parts and we can't reach a consensus on how it works. Especially underwater.

Basically, how do you define a Mild current? and how is it even applicable in game?

Edit: Clarification. If possible I kinda would like RPG Stack Exchange consensus on how powerful the mild current would be. (Honestly I just wanted to know if it could make me swim faster in an underwater setting. or maybe make my enemies swim slower.)

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It makes a mild current.

This is applicable in game because the game simulates a fictional world. So a current would be useful for the same things a current is useful for in real life. Just because it doesn't "do 1d6 points of damage" doesn't mean you can't find a use for it.

Examples:

  1. Push a model boat across a pond, maybe with a fantasy-bomb on it. Or secret message to the princess.
  2. Stir a fountain you've found in a dungeon to see if that reveals an invisible creature or object hiding in the still water, a fresco under the sand, et cetera.
  3. Rustle the jimmies of any critter hiding in that pond or riverbank. Could annoy a crocodile out of hiding.
  4. Turn a water mill, or water wheel, or whatnot wherever one can be found. Though the current is "mild" in that it's not a rushing torrent, if it's the equivalent of a STR 18 character (assuming you have CON 18) cranking a water wheel it's probably pretty vigorous, which helps adjudicate the uses above. (Imagine similarly that you had a STR 18 person with a paddle stir the fountain - that's how much force you can put into it, so yeah sand on top of a fresco would get shifted around.) There are many uses for water wheels, you might want to make one at a relevant point in the game.

These are the kinds of utility powers that you and the GM actively look to find a use for. And they'll come. In our game we had a gnome oracle with the "moonlight bridge" utility power - we used that thing 20 ways from Sunday. It was way more valuable than him being able to lightning bolt or something lame like that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ well yes this makes sense, but my DM is a bit of a numbers guy. he can't seem to agree upon whether it's actually usable until it has some quantitative effect. we looked for the average speed of a "mild current" and came up with squat. we looked for a quantifiable effect of and any sort of power estimation for the turning of the water wheel and nothing. \$\endgroup\$ – TabulaFulgenti Mar 21 '17 at 5:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Get a better GM? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Mar 21 '17 at 12:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk: hey now. he's perfectly fine as a dm. he's our group's resident rules lawyer so I understand his stance. (I just don't agree with his currently standing decision that the mild current will do absolutely nothing gameplay-wise save from turning a waterwheel.) \$\endgroup\$ – TabulaFulgenti Mar 22 '17 at 2:23
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The ability could possibly move things in the water. If we look at the Aquatic Terrain rules, we have the following:

Accordingly, these rules simply divide aquatic terrain into two categories: flowing water (such as streams and rivers) and non-flowing water (such as lakes and oceans).

Flowing Water: Large, placid rivers move at only a few miles per hour, so they function as still water for most purposes. But some rivers and streams are swifter; anything floating in them moves downstream at a speed of 10 to 40 feet per round. The fastest rapids send swimmers bobbing downstream at 60 to 90 feet per round. Fast rivers are always at least rough water (Swim DC 15), and whitewater rapids are stormy water (Swim DC 20). If a character is in moving water, move her downstream the indicated distance at the end of her turn. A character trying to maintain her position relative to the riverbank can spend some or all of her turn swimming upstream.

The ability could be also used to move water vehicles, like a Rowboat or Sailing Ship. Just not really fast.

Rafts, barges, keelboats, and rowboats are most often used on lakes and rivers. If going downstream, add the speed of the current (typically 3 miles / hour) to the speed of the vehicle. In addition to 10 hours of being rowed, the vehicle can also float an additional 14 hours, if someone can guide it, adding an additional 42 miles to the daily distance traveled. These vehicles can’t be rowed against any significant current, but they can be pulled upstream by draft animals on the shores.

The ability can also be used to help a River Druid that happens to be on still water.

At 2nd level, a river druid gains a bonus on initiative checks and Acrobatics, Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, Survival, and Swim checks equal to 1/2 her druid level when she is in, on, or adjacent to flowing water. Additionally, she cannot be tracked in such environments.

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In your response to mxyzplk's answer, you said that your DM is a numbers guy. So, in addition to what mxyzplk said:

Figure that the current can push things with enough surface area. A rock won't likely get pushed but a boat or floating person would. A good rule of thumb is that if it can float or maintain neutral buoyancy in the water, you can push it.

This is all house rule that fits the rules as stated. So, using the casters CON as STR (per the spell description):

  • A light load moves at 30' per turn.
  • A medium load moves at 20' per turn
  • A heavy load moves at 10' per turn
  • Up to lift limit moves at 5' per turn

Note that since the current is not strong or wide, any swimming creature or self moving object can easily resist or exit the current.

That should give enough reasonable crunch for your GM without making the spell more useful than its level.

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