Star Log.EM: Zodiac Solarian Revelations (SFRPG)
This installment of the Star Logs.EM-series clocks in at 8 pages,1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, know how the solarian’s powers are drawn from the stars? Yeah, you indubitably are familiar with the flavor of the class…so it’s…kinda weird how the abilities don’t actually tie in with, you know, the stars, right?
Enter this pdf! To explain this: let’s take a look at “Akyrea, the Noble” – a photon revelation, this one lets you target 1 + photon attunement points targets within 30 ft. to dazzle them for one round AND make the target take a -2 penalty to the next attack roll against an ally of your choice, or a -2 AC penalty versus the next attack against it. Basically, a variant of covering/harrying fire that doesn’t stack with it, but feels right. A Fort-save negates them, but here’s what sets this apart. This is not just an ability. Ähem. *
“Akyrea was a vain kitsune who boasted of her nine, resplendent tails.
According to legend, the god Azan grew tired of her bluster, and placed
her among the heavens where she could no longer garner for the attention
of his subjects. To his dismay, Akyrea transformed into a constellation so
she might dazzle mortals for all time.”
And suddenly, a per se nice ability has what was sorely missing from many a Starfinder ability: A mythological underpinning. A context. A solarian screaming “Akyrea shall blind you! Or “Akyrea guide my allies!” is intrinsically more awesome than just rattling off mechanical benefits. There is a graviton revelation based on the scholar that developed the Xa-Osoro-system’s first thrusters. “Bloodstar, the Fiend” lets you generate a gravity field that penalizes Strength for carrying capacity – and here would be a good note to state that, mechanically, attunement really matters here. The more attunement points you have, the more effective many of these are. This makes the whole attunement engine run more strategically and helps make the material within stronger.
What about inhaling and absorbing nearby poison effects that, if you succeed, can be converted into a line of plasma? Heck yeah, and guess what? The persistence of plasma points to unleash these scaling lines are dependent on your attunement for duration. This is mechanically complex, slots seamlessly into the solarian engine AND it has flavor, tying it to the legendary Celestion Star Dragon. Come on! (And yes, fyi – radiation, toxic atmosphere etc. are all covered. No cheesing here.)
Adding a conservative steal to attacks, making weapons behave as thrown weaponry…and what about a dazzling anti-laser shield that may actually be a nasty surprise for targets that would end e.g. an invisibility on you (Nitpick: spell reference not italicized)? Natural weapons that are made from stellar matter, in a nod towards Rovagu…wait, Rovathun, the Beast? Yep. What about a photon attunement tailored after a famous seeress, which allows you to reduce photon attunement as a reaction to get to roll twice and take the better result, or impose rolling twice and taking the worse result on an enemy? What about tapping into the powers of Valkrona, the angel, to imbue your vehicle with photon energy, increasing its speed – or, for starships, their mobility? Badass solarian pilot? Check. There also is a vacuum channel, and a temporary Hit Point grant, that taps into mighty Yggdrasil itself. And guess what? No, the latter can’t be cheesed.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with nice artworks by Jacob Blackmon. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.
What happens when Alexander Augunas and David N. Ross join forces? Awesome, that’s what! This pdf remedied something that I didn’t notice I was missing in SFRPG – it adds some mythweaving to class abilities. As much as I like my precise and very tech-like aesthetics in how clinical and precise rules-language in SFRPG works, I never realized how much context like these little paragraphs within actually adds to the game, particularly for a class like the solarian. Beyond being mechanically interesting and tapping seamlessly into the core attunement engine, the revelations herein ooze style, context and flair. They are more than numbers, clinical debuffs or buffs or damage. They have character and identity, and that makes them intrinsically more compelling. When I do get to play as a player (I mostly GM), I tend to be quite the power-gamer, but much like many power-gamers I know, sometimes an ability just fits too well into a vision you have, and you take it for the fluff. I know I do that. Well, here, we have the best of both worlds: Mechanically relevant and distinct ability that also ooze flavor, that can inspire warcries, concepts and builds. I love this little pdf. It ups the game for what small class-rules expansions can bring to the table. 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation.
You can reward this pdf for having both compelling lore AND neat rules by getting it here on OBS!