Illustration by Mikael Leger
Of all the Starfinder classes, the solarian is the one hardest to explain in 10 words or less. It is a new class, and a new concept, unique to Starfinder though clearly inspired by various iconic science-fantasy tropes. It can be described as a kind of supernatural philosopher-warrior, with a focus on the stellar powers of light and gravity, but that doesn't give a very good idea of what the class can actually do. For starters, let's take a look at what the Starfinder Core Rulebook has to say about the solarian.
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.
The cycle that empowers and guides solarians is a philosophy that came to the Pact Worlds on the Idari, along with the tradition of the solarians themselves. Even now, nearly a century after the kasatha worldship's arrival in system, solarians are more commonly kasatha than any other race (though certainly there are other solarian traditions, as they can even be found in systems with no contact with Kasath).
The solarian has a full base attack bonus, good Fortitude and Will saves bonuses, 4 skill points per level, and 10 fixed class skills. At 1st level, a solarian gains the skill adept ability, which represents training gained in the process that led to a character becoming a solarian and which grants two more class skills of the player's choice. A solarian has proficiency with light armor, and proficiency and eventually specialization with small arms and basic and advanced melee weapons.
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.
While the choice of solar armor or solar weapon and selection of different stellar revelations are the primary customization options for a solarian, they have a few other minor abilities at well. At 3rd level a solarian gains sidereal influence, which allows the solarian to meditate to gain bonuses to photon- and graviton-related skills. At 7th level, a solarian gains flashing strikes, which allows them to make a full attack entirely with melee weapons at a reduced attack penalty, and at 13th level a solarian's onslaught allows their full attack to be three attacks rather than the normal two (though all three attacks are at a slightly higher penalty). At 20th level, a solarian gains full attunement in a stellar mode more quickly, can switch from one full attunement to another, and even spend 1 Resolve to immediately become fully attuned.
Given the importance of stellar modes and stellar revelations, here are two sample revelations.
Blazing Orbit (Su) [6th level photon revelation] As a move action, you can move up to your speed, gaining concealment against any attack made against you during the move, and you can leave a trail of flames in every square you pass through. The flames last for 1 round and deal 2d6 fire damage to anyone who moves into them. You can't move through another creature's space during this movement. If you use blazing orbit again, any flames you previously created with it go out. The damage from the flames increases by 1d6 at 8th level and every 2 levels thereafter.
When you are attuned or fully attuned, any creature damaged by the flames also gains the burning condition (1d6 fire damage; see page 273).
Crush (Su) [6th level graviton revelation] As a standard action, you can increase the effects of gravity on the internal organs or workings of a target within 30 feet, causing it to have difficulty maintaining its normal functionality. The target must succeed at a Fortitude save or become staggered for 1 round. This revelation also affects constructs. You can maintain this effect as a move action each round, but the target can attempt a new saving throw each round to end the effect. Once a creature succeeds at this save or the effect ends, you can't target that creature with crush again for 24 hours.
When you are attuned or fully attuned, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to also stun the target for 1 round. Maintaining crush on subsequent rounds extends the staggered effect, but not the stunned effect.
Owen KC Stephens