A Solarian harnesses the powers of the stars themselves. Light. Heat. Gravity. All are at a Solarian’s command.
Got another Starfinder Class Preview for you today. We have a look at the Solarian. This is the one I’ve been waiting for–it’s the one that hits all the right weak spots. I’ve heard them described as space paladins–which is not too far off. Comparisons to Jedi are also fair. After all, these are mystic warriors who want to be a part of the cycle of the stars:
The stars guide the planets with gravity, create life with light and heat, and utterly consume worlds in supernovas and black holes. You understand that these acts of creation and destruction are not opposites, but rather two parts of a natural, dualistic cycle. You seek to be an agent of that cycle, an enlightened warrior with the ability to manipulate the forces of the stars themselves. Constantly accompanied by a mote of fundamental energy or entropy, you can shape this essence in combat to create weapons and armor of gleaming stellar light or pure, devouring darkness. Whether you apprenticed in a temple or came to your powers through personal revelation, you recognize yourself as part of an ancient tradition—a force of preservation and annihilation.
They’re the cosmic aspect of the game. Where classes like the Soldier or the Operative are all about the action, or the Mystic (or even the Technomancer) are all about the expression of a fundamental force–Solarians tap into some real high-concept stuff and help ground this game in its setting. Solarians are dependent on the game happening between stars, and are dependent on the game understanding the life cycles of stars, planets, and other real-world phenomena. Without the reality of black holes and supernova and the interpretation of those phenomena into a mythic, heroic expression we don’t get any of the cool powers.
And that’s what makes them so interesting. That’s what lets you explore these big cosmic themes. Those big moments and cool gameplay mechanics are earned. Solarians help bring out the parts of the game that lend themselves to the mystic, trippy visuals of the last ten minutes of 2001, or the last ten minutes of Contact, or–man what is it with these movies and the last ten minutes just getting weird and metaphoric?
At any rate, that’s what makes this class so exciting. They open up a side of worldbuilding/roleplaying that you don’t get to play around with too often. They make it important that this game is set in space–and like actual space full of planets and stars and asteroids–but they take that setting and imbue it with a flavor all its own. Because now it’s not just going from world to world–there’s a tide of energy and entropy between them that makes them feel more wondrous. To me, the Solarian is an expression of that ‘something’ you search for when you gaze up at the stars at night, or listen to one of those cool Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson speeches set to some moving classical music–it’s feeling like you’re a part of the cosmos. Part of this vast, almost incomprehensible thing which we’re all in. This class takes those big fundamental, distant things and makes them personal. A part of the class. A part of the game. A part of you. And to see that crop up in an RPG is incredible to me. I can’t wait to play around with this archetype. I think this is one for all of us who’ve ever looked up and dreamt about soaring the cosmic ocean. Or hearing the beating heart of a star.
Also it helps that you get some cool powers. Like, I guess the class is fun to play, what with its full BAB progression, proficency in basic and advanced melee weapons and small arms and light armor. And it unlocks some cool abilities, I guess. if you’re into that.
Also at 1st level, a solarian gains a solar manifestation, and access to stellar modes. The solar manifestation is a physical representation of the solarian’s stellar powers. When not in use, it is a mote of energy slightly smaller than a fist that glows with light (or is the black of perfect darkness) and hovers near the solarian’s head. When activated, the mote becomes either a solar weapon (which is treated as an advanced melee weapon, deals damage that increases as the solarian gains levels, and can be further augmented through the addition of solarian weapon crystals), or solar armor (which enwraps and protects the solarian, augmenting the AC bonus of any light armor the solarian wears and at higher levels giving cold or fire resistance).
Stellar modes are forms of attunement the solarian can focus on in combat. Each round in a fight, the solarian can remain unattuned, or increase either photon attunement or graviton attunement, depending on whether the solarian wishes to draw on the stellar powers of light and heat and life-giving energy, or darkness and gravity and all things being bound together. Every solarian has access to both photon and graviton powers (and gains more via stellar revelations as he gains levels), and can use either even regardless of attunement—though many powers gain additional effects if the solarian is attuned to their power source. For example, a solarian with the 6th-level corona photon power gains cold resistance, and deals fire damage to any adjacent foe that strikes the solarian with a melee weapon. However, if the solarian is photon attuned, the corona also causes any creature that begins its turn adjacent to the solarian to automatically take some fire damage. While some stellar revelations can only target creatures once a day, or only under specific situations, in general there’s no limit to how often a solarian can use the powers tied to their stellar modes.
After 3 rounds of attunement to exclusively photon or graviton powers, a solarian can reach full attunement, which grants access to zenith powers. Each solarian begins play with two zenith powers: black hole, which draws a foe closer to you, and supernova, which does fire damage to everyone within 10 feet of you. Using a zenith power causes you to be unattuned afterwards, so zenith powers can be used at most once every few rounds. However, in general there’s no other limitation to how often a solarian can use these powers in combat—if a fight lasts long enough to keep cycling through zenith powers, the solarian is free to do so.
Joking aside, these abilities sound radical. The attunement part of this is the most interesting–here’s a class that changes and that relies on you to build up a sort of momentum over the course of a fight, culminating in a big burst after 3 rounds of attunement. Now, this is just a preview–but I kind of hope that the effects of your powers wax and wane with your attunement. It makes the class dynamic and sets up this compelling rhythm or flow that seems like it’ll keep fights engaging.
And it’s not just the big zenith powers–but your Solarian gains other abilities, called “revelations” which are either photon or graviton oriented–and these increase in power as you level up and play more towards light or gravity. Energy or entropy. Though I’d be interested to see if there’s some kind of ‘both in balance’ type powers as well.
At any rate, this class looks amazing, and I love it both for its playstyle and the narrative possibilities it opens up. Your mileage may vary of course, nevertheless, I hope you enjoy. And as always, please stay tuned for more RPG news, views, and brews.
Although, I don’t think we have any actual brews. So maybe just the first two. Hey, what do you think of the Solarian? How do you feel about Starfinder in general? Too much Pathfinder, not enough space? More Goblins? I wanna know, so drop a comment.