Playtest Report

Evolutionist Class

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Overall, I did not enjoy playing the class. Adaptive Strike is really cool, but the class felt largely boring during combat and ineffective out of combat. The class also fails to meet the expectation of being an adaptive combatant and fails to live up to the thematic of playing a shapeshifter.

- Adaptive Strike is pretty cool, customizable, and does satisfying damage.

- Dexterity-based evolutionist using a melee adaptive strike is frustratingly not viable due to lack of the ability to give it the operative ability.

- Evolution Track and EP were easier to manage than expected. However, I felt like the buffs were mostly inconsequential and unsatisfying.

- I felt like I had very few tactical options. My only option was pretty much just run at an enemy and adaptive strike them to death.

- I did not feel like a shapeshifter or a fighter that was shifting to the needs of the battle. Few tactical options to adapt to fights.

- Transformation abilities don't really feel like transformation abilities as they don't help you disguise or change forms.

- Felt almost completely useless out of combat, including during a martial non-combat challenge due to being unable to generate EP.

Character Creation Experience:
I built two 4th level evolutionists: a Strength-based evolutionist with a melee physical adaptive strike and a Dexterity-based evolutionist with a ranged energy adaptive strike. The statistics for each are below.

human (gravity dweller with dusk sight) evolutionist 4
Str 20, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8
melee adaptive strike with slashing damage
vital niche
Feats Heavy Armor Proficiency, Weapon Focus (basic melee), Cleave
Adaptations Distant Strike, Versatile Strike
Gear returning spear, heavy armor
Augmentations Personal Upgrade, Advanced Morphic Skin, Wildwise, Gill Sheath

human evolutionist 4
Str 12, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
ranged adaptive strike with electricity damage
eldritch niche
Feats Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Focus (small arms), Weapon Specialization (advanced melee)
Adaptations Distant Strike, Versatile Strike
Gear light armor, student plasma ribbon
Augmentations Personal Upgrade, Basic Morphic Skin, Force Soles Mk 1

I made the following notes as I built these characters:

- There's no way to make adaptive strike into an operative weapon. While it's probably best to prevent multiclass operatives, it does hinder concepts as it makes Dexterity-based melee evolutionists non-viable.

- Because of the above, lack of heavy armor proficiency, and weapon specialization's bonus, playing a Dexterity-based evolutionist with a physical ranged strike feels like the optimal choice.

- The fact that adaptive strike doesn't use up a hand is actually pretty powerful and makes it easy to create a switch-hit build.

- The poor proficiencies forced me to use up feats for weapon or armor proficiency. It felt a little annoying and strange there's no heavy armor proficiency given that many evolutionists will want to build a Strength-based melee fighter.

- Distant Strike and Versatile Strike feel like the best 2nd level adaptations. Other adaptations don't add much in the way of tactical options. These two adaptations do enhance your tactical options by augmenting adaptive strike, which so much of the class's power rests within.

- I had little in the way of skills due to the class's lack of skill support and dire need for a good attack roll.

- No meaningful transformation abilities on a class about transformation. Would be cool if you actually transformed yourself into a new form when you manifest your adaptive strike given that the adaptive strike requires changing yourself in a visually obvious way. Giving an alternate form would have granted the class some much needed out-of-combat usefulness.

I playtested in a SFS scenario. I went with my melee vital evolutionist because there were no spellcasters in the party for me to use eldritch niche's spell weaving ability. I took the following notes.

- The Evolution Track ended up being much more fluid than I thought. In several fights, I was able to max out the track in most fights. However..

- Most of the Evolution Track buffs felt inconsequential. I only really cared about the +10-foot speed buff and the damage bonus for maxing out EP at level 5.

- Because this was a quest series, I was liberal with spending Resolve for extra EP.

- I rarely spent EP. I only spent it on Distant Strike, the vital niche's stamina heal, and occasionally the boost to base attack bonus.

- I felt like I had little to no tactical options in each fight. My only options involved mainly running at enemies and slashing them. Aside from base attack bonus boost and Distant Strike, most of the ways to spend EP were not useful to me.

- The two soldiers in the party were much better combatants than me due to the variety of weapons, gear, and combat abilities they had.
- The character felt largely useless and ineffective in non-combat encounters, including a starship combat.

- I also felt ineffective during a martial non-combat encounter. We had a non-combat encounter where we had to make attack rolls. However, I was unable to boost my base attack bonus because it was technically not a combat encounter and therefore I was unable to gain EP.

- The 3 EP drawback became relevant during a combat encounter I was trying to resolve peacefully. I tried to ignore an NPC that was scared and just trying to defend themselves from my murderhobo allies. Unfortunately, when my EP reached 3, they attacked me and I pretty much had no choice but to maul them to near death.

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