• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[D&D3.5] Tell me of the Spirit Shaman (Comp. Divine)

Geburah

Brickotherapist
Validated User
I was leafing through my brother's copy of the Complete Divine the other day, prior to taking part in another D&D3.5 game, and stumbled on the Spirit Shaman.

Now, for some strange reason, shaman characters have always interested me, but I've never really found a good (read playable, fun, worthwhile in the long term) shaman class in D&D3.X. The D&D3 version, from OA, had all these weird martial arts abilities tacked on and didn't really appeal to me...

From a quick read through, I have serious reservations about the Spirit Shaman. My concerns are mainly regarding the very limited spell selection on any given day and powers that are very "spirit" (i.e. Fey, Etheral, Incorporeal Undead and a few others) focused, which means that if your DM doesn't play up these monsters, you might be rather useless.

So, Wizards hasn't yet done a "Spirit Shaman with Class" article: can anyone edumacate me on how how it plays? Any other good shaman classes out there that could fit into a 3.0 or 3.5 game, with or without an alternate magic system? Any house rules?
 
Last edited:

The Scribbler

A Flash of Hope
Validated User
Kalamar's Player's Guide had a decent Shaman.

Hrmm... as for the CD version I'll take a look when I get home, but you'll likely get a better answer before then.
 

Braugi

Retired User
I came up with my own shaman class, but its sort of tied into my setting...essentially, Shamen are 'preists/clerics' of the greater fae. They are thus given very little restriction on what spells they can learn...and they can learn from the Bard, Paladin, Ranger, Druid, Wizard, or Cleric lists, and they are taught these spells by their patron, and use them at their patron's sufferance, so no spells in opposition to the greater fae's alignment or ideology are allowed.

They get a 1d6 HD and BAB as per the wizard.

Here's the catch: They only know as many spells as the sorcerer and only cast as many per day as the wizard, and yes, they must prepare them in advance. The only difference is, at each spell level, they can choose a 'primary' spell which can always be aborted to (like a cleric's healing spell). There are a few other drawbacks, but I don't have my complete writeup on hand.

In actual play, it actually seems to balance out nicely with wizards, sorcerers, druids, and clerics...

[edit]it should be noted that if they learn a spell off the cleric list, it is a wisdom based spell...off the Bard list, its charisma, off the wizard list Int, etc, so if they want to be pulling from many different spell lists, they need to have relatively high stats across the board.
 

Geburah

Brickotherapist
Validated User
The Scribbler said:
Kalamar's Player's Guide had a decent Shaman.
What makes it decent? Interesting and thematically appropriate powers? A nice spell list? A variant magic system? I crave details... Is it usable in the core D&D3.5 framework?

Braugi said:
I came up with my own shaman class, but its sort of tied into my setting...essentially, Shamen are 'preists/clerics' of the greater fae.
Sounds like fun, although not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not sure I'd want the fae to be involved too much - in fact, that's another reason I'm not so hot on the Spirit Shaman who gets turned into a spirit (Fey) at 20th level. Doesn't seem quite right, for some reason... It's just a mechanics thing to grant the Shaman DR5/cold iron, but somehow it rubs me wrong.

Plus, I must admit I do like my characters to be a little bit more combat capable than the Wizard.
 

Braugi

Retired User
Geburah said:
What makes it decent? Interesting and thematically appropriate powers? A nice spell list? A variant magic system? I crave details... Is it usable in the core D&D3.5 framework?

Sounds like fun, although not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not sure I'd want the fae to be involved too much - in fact, that's another reason I'm not so hot on the Spirit Shaman who gets turned into a spirit (Fey) at 20th level. Doesn't seem quite right, for some reason... It's just a mechanics thing to grant the Shaman DR5/cold iron, but somehow it rubs me wrong.

Plus, I must admit I do like my characters to be a little bit more combat capable than the Wizard.
You can always rewrite the fluff around it or something if the mechanics work for you. In any case, it had a lot more survivability than the wizard, larger hit dice do that...but its all good. I was going for sort of a standard tribal shaman/medicine man type feel, being granted powers from 'spirits'...thats kind of what a shaman is to me in any case.

Good luck at finding what you're looking for.
 

Lord Minx

Active member
Validated User
Man, an interesting, animistic shaman-type character class for d20 would be very nifty. But like the OP, I've yet to find one I really like. (But then I have Heroquest for my shamanic fix... :D)

M
 

The Scribbler

A Flash of Hope
Validated User
Geburah said:
What makes it decent? Interesting and thematically appropriate powers? A nice spell list? A variant magic system? I crave details... Is it usable in the core D&D3.5 framework?
1) It was balanced enough, and fit the setting.
2) They got bonuses to stats/abilities based on a totem chosen when the first level is taken, and were able to make small tokens that help (a very little bit) on saves/etc. as long as certain conditions (set by the maker) are met.
3) Their spell list was based off the Cleric list, but I can't remember what changes there were.
4) No variant system (aside from the additions I mentioned).
5) I think it does.
 

Rasmus Wagner

New member
Banned
Geburah said:
From a quick read through, I have serious reservations about the Spirit Shaman. My concerns are mainly regarding the very limited spell selection on any given day and powers that are very "spirit" (i.e. Fey, Etheral, Incorporeal Undead and a few others) focused, which means that if your DM doesn't play up these monsters, you might be rather useless.
tEH SuXXors. Extend the definition of "spirit" to "outsiders, and anything conjured with a Summoning (but not Calling) spell". Then you'll be in business.
 

Geburah

Brickotherapist
Validated User
Rasmus Wagner said:
tEH SuXXors. Extend the definition of "spirit" to "outsiders, and anything conjured with a Summoning (but not Calling) spell". Then you'll be in business.
I don't remember the exact list... Maybe Outsiders were included. Anybody got the book handy?

Actually, I may have overstated my case against the Spirit Shaman. It does have some of the features I'd like to see in a Shaman class: decent BAB and hit points; decents skills and skill points; the Fetch (spirit companion or whatever it's called), although I don't recall seeing any option for it to materialise or fight for you; the Spirit Sight and Protection against Spirits powers; Exorcism. You can go etheral (or is it insubtantial?), IIRC, but there is no special provision for Astral Travel or trances, which seem almost essential to the concept, for me at least. I'm also a little bit disappointed the Totem doesn't give any mechanical benefits...

Also, I'm glad they didn't go and add taboos... It's a "feature" that often gets added to Shaman-type classes, but I've never really enjoyed the idea of often abitrary limits to your character "just because". If anything, I prefer to chose (or not) to roleplay such limits.

My big concern is the very strong limits set on spells known per day. Even at 9th level, you can still select only 3 spells to cast from (can be changed every day, chosen from the Druid list) for each spell level up to 7th, and only two and one for 8th and 9th (IIRC). That's pretty harsh, especially as the character would probably be the main healer and would therefore have to dedicate some of these scarce slots to healing spells.

Anyway, does somebody have actual play experience for Spirit Shamans? I'd love to hear how they perform in play.
 

Ben Brown

Crime-Fighting Gorilla
Validated User
Geburah said:
Anyway, does somebody have actual play experience for Spirit Shamans? I'd love to hear how they perform in play.

I've only gotten to 2nd level playing one, so I can't tell about all the goodies.

One thing: they use the druid spell list, but don't have some of the druid features that this meshes with (e.g. the pet-buff spells don't do much). This won't generally be a problem, but the spell versatility isn't as big as it might be.
 
Top Bottom