It’s playtest time again, and this week Paizo started up the test for the latest Starfinder class – the Evolutionist. This new class is all about transformation and becoming more than the simple mortal form you are born with. The Evolutionist is focused on either Str or Dex as the primary stat, and their abilities are mostly directed to combat and physical endeavors. They aren’t a caster or a skill monkey. Let’s take a look.
First off, you get adaptive strike. This is your natural weapon, whether that is cyber-claws, a gland that spews fire, or an eldritch bond to the elemental plane of ice that lets you form a frost blade. Much like the Solarian and Vanguard, this ability scales with level and you gain abilities that expand its capabilities as you level. A solid ability, and one that frees up valuable credits you would otherwise have to spend on weapons as you adventure. Fulcrum, which you gain at level 2, lets you attach weapon fusions to it.
Continuing the similarities to Solarian and Vanguard, you also get a point system that builds in combat, this time known as Evolution Points. These aren’t tied to any specific action (unlike the other two classes) and simply grow the longer combat goes on, unlocking abilities and allowing you to spend them as you need them. Many of your class powers are tied to EP, so you’ll be using them a lot.
While not explicitly tied to the augment system, the four Niches available at level 1 are all tied to different forms of augmentation: Eldritch for magitech augments, Mechanized for cybernetic, Sepulchral for necrografts, and Vital for biotech and species grafts. You never need purchase these augments for your Evolutionist, and you can even mix and match, but you get a discount on the price of augments tied to your Niche.
In addition to Niches, you also gain Evolutionist Adaptations, which are your way to further customize your growing space monster. These allow you to, well, adapt, to a changing battlefield and get the most from your adaptive strike, as well expand your senses and modes of movement, becoming better in every way.
To round things out, you gain a special strike that lets you steal some evolutionary potential from foes, and a Focus at level 7 that further customizes your character. I expect these options will be expanded in the finished form.
My over all impression of the class is positive. They are markedly different from the other primary combatant classes (Soldier, Solarian, Vanguard) and fill a specific power narrative that forms a definite part of SciFantasy. I’m eager to see the fully fleshed out version, and in the meantime will be trying out the class a bit to see how well I can make a cybernetic combat beast or space vampire. The playtest runs until September 24th so don’t miss your opportunity to try them out!
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