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Advanced Class Guide Preview: Shaman

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For many years now, roleplaying games have used the term shaman to mean a lot of different things. Most often, the term is used to describe the spiritual leader of a primitive people or tribe. The shaman would commune with the spirits to beseech them for aid or guidance. The only problem with this was that it did not closely match any of the classes we have in the game. Until now.

In the early days of the Advanced Class Guide, the shaman joined the list of classes that would appear in the book. It seemed like a no-brainer, a hole in our assortment of fantasy concepts that needed to be filled. As with the other classes, figuring out which two classes the shaman would draw from turned out to be the tricky part. The shaman wanted a connection to the divine, a connection to nature, and a connection to some of the more dark aspects of magic. Although we finally settled on pulling mechanics and concepts from the oracle and the witch, the druid was also a very strong contender for adding parts to the class.


Illustration by Subroto Bhaumik

The first draft of the shaman gave us a class that had hexes like a witch and a new concept called spirits. These work a lot like oracle mysteries, but they are a little more limited. This is made up for by the fact that at higher levels you can commune with a second spirit each day. While the first is set when you take your first level of shaman, the second is “wandering”, meaning that you can change it each day when you prepare your spells. So while your primary spirit helps define your character and its personality, the second can become a sort of “flavor of the day”, giving you a choice of mechanical options and a way for you to shift your personality too!

The playtest told us a lot about the shaman. While the first draft of the class used the cleric spell list, we tried something radically different with the second draft, giving it an expanded version of the druid spell list. Neither quite met the needs of the class, which is why in the final version, you will find that the shaman has its own unique spell list. While much of this list is drawn from the cleric and the witch spell lists, there are a number of formerly druid-only spells finding their way into the shaman’s arsenal.

There are a number of other exciting changes for the final version of the shaman as well. We upped the number of hexes received to one every two levels, with the wandering hexes taking the place of the normal hex at 6th and 14th levels. To give you a wider breadth of options to choose from, the shaman now also includes a list of hexes available to all shaman’s regardless of their chosen spirit. While many of these will be familiar, there are a few new ones in here specifically tied to the shaman’s theme. Take a look.

Fury (Su): The shaman incites a creature within 30 feet into a primal fury. The target receives a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and a +2 resistance bonus on saving throws against fear for a number of rounds equal to the shaman’s Wisdom modifier. At 8th and 16th level, these bonuses increase by 1. Once a creature has benefited from the fury hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours.

Shapeshift (Su): The shaman transforms herself into another form for a number of minutes per day equal to her level, as alter self. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-minute increments. Changing form (including changing back) is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. At 8th level, this ability works as beast shape I. At 12th level, this ability works as beast shape II. At 16th level, this ability works as beast shape III. At 20th level, this ability works as beast shape IV.

Of course, you will also find a number of fun new archetypes to play when creating a shaman character. There is the animist, who can communicate with the hostile spirits causing her allies discomfort and cause them to depart. You could play a possessed shaman, who allows the spirits to inhabit her body and can draw upon their knowledge. There is the spirit warden, who battles against undead spirits, using channel energy to send them to their final rest. Finally, there is the witch doctor, who can heal creatures like a cleric and can counter spells with a hex ability!

Well, that about wraps it up for the shaman. Next week, we will be previewing the last of the 10 new classes in the Advanced Class Guide, the hunter!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Shaman Subroto Bhaumik
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Really want to get a look at that spell list...

Also, confirmed you can now play a Brawler Brawler or a Witch Doctor Witch Doctor thanks to dipping archetypes and ACG classes :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've been wanting to play a possessed shaman ever since reading Gregory Keyes' Waterborn books.

For Shapeshift, since it's not called wild shape like the druid ability, does that mean it wouldn't interact with the Wild armor special property?


With oracle mysteries, witch hexes, cleric spells, and "Shapeshift" (which we all know is a lesser wild shape), the shaman is nearly a fusion between four classes.

Glad that hex selection is getting expanded, it seemed like what shaman needed the most.

Can't wait for the Iconic reveal on Thursday!

Marathon Voter 2014

24 people marked this as a favorite.

nerf windfury totem


JoelF847 wrote:

I've been wanting to play a possessed shaman ever since reading Gregory Keyes' Waterborn books.

For Shapeshift, since it's not called wild shape like the druid ability, does that mean it wouldn't interact with the Wild armor special property?

Not rules as written, man.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sweet, now I can have friends on the Other Side!

I'm liking the idea of 'vanilla hexes'. Makes the shaman feel more diverse (beyond the floating hexes, of course).

Dark Archive

The witch doctor sounds intriguing.

Amid complaints it was too weak, it was actually the only class I thought I would want to play. Saw some.good mechanics in others but they were nit my style. The ear priest was my style but the mechanics were too weak. Only the shaman had both a set of machanics and style I felt would work well enough together for me to justify playing.


Not a class I was particularly interested in and this didn't change anything. That's not a bad thing though, it's just a class for a different kind of player than I am.

Kinda funny how Paizo is saving the Hunter for last, though... The class that many felt was uninspired and had no real niche in the game is the big finale before the book launches? I wonder if they made the sweeping changes necessary for it to be worth it.

Marathon Voter 2013

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Raymond Lambert wrote:
The ear priest was my style but the mechanics were too weak.

Ear priest is OP.

But seriously, I don't recall comments saying the shaman was too weak. I recall there being some about how bipolar the powerlevel was between Mysteries, but not that it was too weak over all.

This is definitely higher up on my list of classes I'm excited for!


Arachnofiend wrote:

Not a class I was particularly interested in and this didn't change anything. That's not a bad thing though, it's just a class for a different kind of player than I am.

Kinda funny how Paizo is saving the Hunter for last, though... The class that many felt was uninspired and had no real niche in the game is the big finale before the book launches? I wonder if they made the sweeping changes necessary for it to be worth it.

Man I hope so. I went from stoked for hunter to "ugh hunter". I'd really love to get the class I envisioned originally.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DeciusNero wrote:
Sweet, now I can have friends on the Other Side!

You will like the animist I suspect. That archetype is doing some unusual things.

Shadow Lodge

1) Has the MADness of the Shaman been toned down?

2) Previously, you had full access to ALL the other spirits via your wandering spirit. Is there a limiter in place now? (I'm blanking out if this has been discussed before.)

3) Purely selfish question--Does the Shaman use Summon Monster or Summon Nature's Ally?


This is one of the classes I'm most excieted for (along with bloodrager and warpriest). Cannot wait for the ACG so I can take a peek at the classes in their offical form.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've been waiting for a spiritual shaman class since I played a shaman in 4ed. So happy to finally have one :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:
DeciusNero wrote:
Sweet, now I can have friends on the Other Side!
You will like the animist I suspect. That archetype is doing some unusual things.

Sounds great! The witch doctor sounds like a treat, too. Especially since a member in our group likes healers, but wants more options than clerics or life oracles.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, given the setting I run, this class will probably see so much usage. Between Vodou, Shinto, Nagualism, and Santeria, I can use all of the archetypes presented here.

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Da witch doctor sound like a good choice, mon.

For Vol'jin, brudda!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Yay! My personal favorite new class is getting the spotlight this week!


Finally, my favourite and most expected class gets previewed!

Those archetypes sound amazing, and I like the Shapeshift Hex, great for playing a druid-lite.

The iconic for this class is going to be amazing. Still hoping for female dwarf!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TerminalArtiste wrote:


The iconic for this class is going to be amazing. Still hoping for female dwarf!

Looking at the blurry pic from another thread, the shaman seems to be a female dwarf.

I'm betting the Hunter is a female elf.


so does the shaman still completely miss the point of being part witch? i ask because the playtest version is more a druid+oracle, despite calling their revelations 'hexes'.

you know, like the part-gunslinger class (swashbuckler) can only use guns with a specific archetype, again missing the point. or the brawler wielding shields but not being able to defend themselves with them.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

A Shaman class and a Shaman archetype called the Witch Doctor that is really good at healing - sounds like great great ideas!

Sorry, couldn't resist ;)

In all seriousness, this sounds like a fun and interesting class. All in all, I am really excited to get my hands on this book!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
AndIMustMask wrote:
you know, like the part-gunslinger class (swashbuckler) can only use guns with a specific archetype, again missing the point. or the brawler wielding shields but not being able to defend themselves with them.

The Swashbuckler wasn't half-Gunslinger because she used guns, she was half-Gunslinger because she had a a grit pool. The hybrid was in the mechanics, not the flavor.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's another full caster. I don't see how it's gonna be underpowered in any way and we don't know the spell list so I can't call it more OP than a Cleric or Wizard yet.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think I have my cleric-replacement now...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This preview gives me great joy. It shows how wonderful Paizo is at listening to feedback and incorporating the community into the development of their products. I see a lot of the concerns I had coming out of the playtests have been fixed. I'm curious do they still have a spirit familiar?

I also hold out hope for an archetype with only Wandering Spirits for a really good pantheistic Shaman or Shinto Priest.


I very excited!

I can easily see this being my favorite new class depending on the spell list and how many skills it gets per level.

edit:
Well I guess it is hard to say if it is gonna be my favorite class with all thouse cool new classes, the Swashbuckler, bloodrager, Slayer, Arcanist and especially the Investigator all seem awesome.

So far my favorites are Investigator, Arcanist and Shaman.

Even if it only gets 2 skills per level this is probably gonna be one of the top classes of all time for me.

AWESOME!

Marathon Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
AndIMustMask wrote:


you know, like the part-gunslinger class (swashbuckler) can only use guns with a specific archetype, again missing the point.

Actually, the point of being half gunslinger was for the grit mechanic. This is a blend of the mechanics. Not for the sharp points fired at high velocities.


Necromancer wrote:
I think I have my cleric-replacement now...

it actually fit's better for barbarian cultures to have a shaman over an actual cleric


Blackvial wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
I think I have my cleric-replacement now...
it actually fit's better for barbarian cultures to have a shaman over an actual cleric

Or druid, for that matter.


Necromancer wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
I think I have my cleric-replacement now...
it actually fit's better for barbarian cultures to have a shaman over an actual cleric
Or druid, for that matter.

really depends on the tribe

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sounds a lot more interesting now then it was in the playtests.


Blackvial wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
I think I have my cleric-replacement now...
it actually fit's better for barbarian cultures to have a shaman over an actual cleric
Or druid, for that matter.
really depends on the tribe

Good point. I wonder if anyone's made a list of Golarion barbarian tribes...


Necromancer wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
I think I have my cleric-replacement now...
it actually fit's better for barbarian cultures to have a shaman over an actual cleric
Or druid, for that matter.
really depends on the tribe
Good point. I wonder if anyone's made a list of Golarion barbarian tribes...

that would be for a different thread


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm still a cleric fanboy, but... this is interesting. Gonna depend on that spell list, for sure.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That shaman is totally about to tip over.

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Sweet.

Now I can build my Baron Samedi bad juju man.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Yay! My personal favorite new class is getting the spotlight this week!

It was mine too!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Captain K. wrote:

Sweet.

Now I can build my Baron Samedi bad juju man.

Hope you can swallow that Cha penalty.


Having seen a few posts floating about mentioning how some of the ACG classes are more like X class than one pf the ones they were supposed to be drawn from, I feel it might be prudent to acknowledge that some, Shaman being an especially relevant mention, had inspiration in multiple classes, but the original premise of the book was half and half classes not classes that are third or forth breeds.


The Red Mage wrote:
That shaman is totally about to tip over.

the proportions DO seem a tad off to me (she seems to be comprised almost solely of thigh and neck), but hey, it's better than anything i could draw in it's place.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
The Red Mage wrote:
That shaman is totally about to tip over.

maybe she's a little tipsy?


On first glimpse of the article, it looks like one of the issues regarding the Shaman has been addressed. The Hexes. Granted, it looks like the preview has new hexes for the Nature spirit. This makes sense to me, and it shows that the design began to drift away from modelling 95% of the hexes after Oracle Mysteries. This is very good.

In both playtest versions, I recall that only the Heavens spirit had a truly unique Hex. I remember it being so good that everyone wanted to use that spirit just for it. Perfect floater spirit for when you didn't know what was going on.

Just a quick question though: Do they still have Spirit Magic? I liked the concept of it, so I have to ask if it was kept in the final build or if changes are on the way for it.

Edit: Almost forgot the biggest question of all. Did this get the Warpriest bonus of Charisma not being tied to the class abilities at all, or are we still MAD as hell?

Dark Archive Star Voter 2013

Oh I do look forward to playing one of these in the future

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

+10,000 on that art btw. The non sexualized, barbaric clad older female is a great illustration, and gives us another non-noble older female image.

Star Voter 2014

Does the shaman get a hex that lets her stretch her neck? Because her neck is as tall as her head in that image.

Star Voter 2013

Looks like she and Seoni shop at the same "sleeves without elbows and cool widget-sticks" store.

-TimD

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Blackvial wrote:
The Red Mage wrote:
That shaman is totally about to tip over.
maybe she's a little tipsy?

Ba dum tish!

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Of all the ACG classes, this was and still is the only one i feel is truly unique and not something that could simply be achieved through an archetype. Will probably be my first class to play after the release.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ba Dum Tish wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
The Red Mage wrote:
That shaman is totally about to tip over.
maybe she's a little tipsy?
Ba dum tish!

thank you sir i did not know that existed

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