Starfarer’s Codex: The Aeoncarnate Base Class
This new base class for SFRPG clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The aeoncarnate base class uses Charisma as its key ability score and gets 6 HP, 6 + Constitution modifier Stamina and 4 + Int skills per level. Proficiency-wise, we get light armor, basic melee weapons, small arms, longarms and grenades. The class gets ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Will-saves.
A key feature from the get-go would be dynamic potential, which nets you 1 point of dynamic potential at the start of each combat round, manifesting as glowing rings that shed light in a 20 ft.-radius, capping at Charisma modifier. This light may not be suppressed, so say goodbye to any chance at Stealth. Loss of consciousness makes you lose the points, and significant risks are required to harness them – yes, that means that a significant enemy or similar hazard is required, which is pretty punitive for a core class feature. Additionally, the ability hasn’t learned from years upon years of arguments on how “at the end of combat/per-encounter”-mechanisms make no sense. Dynamic potential has no duration grounded in a real time frame, and dissipates immediately once combat ceases. So, if that enemy bursts through the door 1 round after the last foe has fallen – tough luck, you’re still restarting at 0. This is really puzzling to me anno 2018.
1st level also increases the DC to feint or demoralize the aeoncarnate by +2, and it yields the first kinetic conversion – the talents of the class. These have saving throw DCs, if appropriate, equal to 10 + class level + Charisma modifier. This is in violation of how save DCs are calculated in SFRPG – I am pretty sure that this ought to be ½ class level instead. Additionally, the ability has a “see page XX”-remnant. At 2nd level, we have an ability that lets you expend 1 point of dynamic potential as a full action, allowing you to move up to your speed and THEN make an attack. Okay. Correct me if I am wrong…but you can do that already. The ability nets you a +1d6 bonus damage that increases to +2d6 at 8th, +4d6 at 14th level. You must have “current dynamic potential equal to the number of times you used this ability in the current combat -1 in order to gain this bonus.” Okay, before or after you have paid the cost? No idea, and the example provided doesn’t specify that either. Also: Another annoying per combat mechanic. Finally, the verbiage makes it sound as though the minimum dynamic potential cap only influences the bonus damage, which makes using it otherwise a trap option. Equalibrium is either a pun or a typo; I’d opt for the former. This ability, gained at 3rd level, nets a +1 insight bonus t Acrobatics, Athletics and Piloting, which increases at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter by +1. 3rd level also nets Weapon Specialization for ALL weapon groups that this class nets you proficiency in.
5th level nets you a +1 insight bonus to all attacks that apply the full action bonus damage, which increases by +1 at 9th level and every 4 levels thereafter. 5th level nets the following ability: “As a move action, you can 1 point of potential.” No, I did not miss anything when copying the text from the pdf. Outside of combat, this dynamic potential lasts for 1 round, and you can use this only 1/day, with additional uses costing 1 Resolve Point. The capstone provides immunity against being moved against your will, and the use of Elastic Reflection sans spending potential. You can also spend 1 Resolve Point at the beginning of the first combat round’s turn to get Charisma modifier dynamic potential. What if you don’t have Elastic Reflection? Not sure.
Now, I did mention the talents, called kinetic conversions, and how the base save DC seems to be wonky. But what do they do? Unless otherwise noted, they’re activated as a standard action, and include flight, a short-range blast wave…and some interesting tricks, like mitigating explode weapons, an energy resistance shield…or just the equivalent of core races’ natural attacks. Environmental protections can be found, as can the per se interesting ability to slow a target down – here, though, you’ll notice a curious lack of ranges for these abilities – even the aforementioned debuff has no range, and there is no default range or metrics to fall back on. This also extends to buffs for allies, which makes this whole section feel woefully rushed.
8th and 16th level provide the two threshold steps, where new kinetic conversions are gained; among the 8th level conversions, we can find barriers that generate dynamic potential, a mechanic’s overload, imposing basically disadvantage on enemies – there are some cool options here, and some do actually specify proper ranges…while others don’t. The 16th level options include temporary elemental immunities, draining batteries for dynamic potential, reviving the recently deceased. Know how rushed this is? There is an ability that causes radiation sickness and uses the save DC of the kinetic conversions instead of the radiation severity level DCs. This wouldn’t be an issue – were it not for the existence of options that protect against radiation up to a certain radiation level. *sigh*
The pdf does state which class features are altered or replaced by archetypes. The class graft can be found in the Star Log.EM-file, linked below on my homepage, and is not included in the pdf.
Editing and formatting are, neither on a formal, nor on a rules-language level, anything near what we usually get from rogue Genius Games, or the author, for that matter. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series. The artwork is cool and kickass. The pdf has one bookmark for the credits, but that’s it.
…I don’t get what happened here. Matt Morris is a veteran, and his designs usually are really solid. He has written quite a lot supplements I really cherish. This, though, feels like a rushed draft that really needed to be sent back to the drawing board. The core mechanics of the class are flawed, and the details, the abilities themselves, sport quite a bunch of oversights and inconsistencies that are thoroughly uncharacteristic. The aeoncarnate is a promising class that almost works as written, that has an intriguing core, but the implementation is flawed, from core components to the details. Try as I might, I can’t rate this higher than 2 stars.
You can get this class here on OBS.
The related class graft can be found here in the Star Log-file!