Homebrew review: The Evolutionist
When I first started looking into homebrew I had the great fortune to come across a few classes that opened my eyes to what was really possible when you let players become creators. I found new purpose in creating content and really accepting that some of the best stuff for my game can come from regular people with a passion. That inspiration took me to where I am now and it will guide me even further still. One of the classes that inspired me so dramatically is the Evolutionist by the amazingly talented Draken.
The Evolutionist is a class that can really do it all. A lot of classes make that boast, we hear "Jack of all trades" pretty often, but make no mistake this isn't a class that does everything, it's a class that can do anything. The idea is that you build your class as you level up, choosing new abilities that augment and define your capabilities letting you upgrade virtually any aspect of your character.
Normally at the beginning I like to discuss the basic framework for the class, but with this class even the most basic chassis is subject to change. while the class appears to sport the worst attack bonus, and all low saving throws it can take abilities called mutations to improve those aspects. That's right, it can actually raise its Base attack bonus, complete with extra iterative attacks and increase its base saves. To complete the customization framework the Evolutionist can pick any 10 skills to serve as class skills, allowing you to fill any sort of role you need.
The core ability of the class is without a doubt the mutations. Despite the name these are not necessarily obvious extra features, though some certainly are. A mutation is a permanent ability or bonus gained by the evolutionist and it can cover a massive range. Anything from claws, to feats, to special abilities, types of movement, breath weapons, resistances, and a huge host of other traits. The multitude of abilities and combinations is truly amazingand you get a plethora of them, though with so many options it always leaves you wanting more. In keeping with the theme of the class it also gains abilities called teratomorphs which represent a huge leap forward in evolution and cover things like gaining a new size or shape to ones overall body allowing even more customization of form. At tenth level the class introduces an important decision, the ability to gain a mutant ascendancy. Effectively its a chance to change your very creature type, becoming dragon, giant, aberration, fey, monstrous humanoid, or staying a humanoid. Each one influences your abilities and alters the 20th level capstone ability to really make you feel like you've become that type of creature. If that were the end of it I would consider this a great class and be very satisfied, but there's a whole lot more.
I'm not sure if I've seen any class with as much support as this one. To start with, if you happen to be an evolutionist of one of the types not mentioned above (or just take a feat for it) You get access to a list of new mutations, new teratomorphs, new ascendency abilities, and even a new capstone based on that type. there's a list for constructs, for undead, for outsiders, for aberrations, elementals, for plants, and even for being an ancient abomination. And each one is packed with unique special abilities that enhance the feeling of being that type of creature. But that's not all! As I alluded to there are new feats made by the creator specifically for this class that offer even more customization, depth, and breadth of abilities. Oh, and just in case you really really need even more there are more than a dozen prestige classes built off of this class. Only half of them were made by Draken, the others were created by fans so inspired that they had to make some homebrew for this homebrew.
The flavour and feeling of this class is as versatile as its abilities. One could play as a righteous hero with superhuman strength and skill, an eldritch monster, a warforged cyborg, the perfect human, a psychic ettin, or anyhting else you could desire and no two evolutionists need be alike.
This class was designed as a 3.5 class and as such there are a few abilities that will need a small ammount of adjusting for pathfinder but it's certainly nothing that isn't managable and it's definitely worth the effort.
In case it's not readily apparent I'm a huge fan of this class. The customization, the feeling of walking down a path of perfection or monstrosity, the tremendous amount of content, it's all solid gold and I'm clearly not the only one who thinks so. This class comes in at the top of my bucket list and I cannot recommend it enough for your next game.