Hmmm, I asked you not be so insulting, so you decided to be moreso!
Guess I'm a douche ;)
I guess picking options in the game means you are a douche.
Only when those game options are known to be broken and douchey.
Also, I enjoyed you absolving the developers of responsibility by stating that they can just say "Why change the rules? You are just a jerk for picking that option!"
No absolution is given. I said that is what they would say, I never said it was good that they'd say it.
I am not absolving errors, simply being realistic about what will be fixed. I think large amounts of the game are problematic. They do not care. It is unrealistic of me to expect them to change, and it is ridiculous of me to specifically play using problematic options in problematic ways and ruin other people's time just because they have not/will not change those problematic things.
Usually, I prefer my developers to take responsibility for the balance in their games
And I'd prefer to be a millionaire. They are not going to fix Simulacrum just because you keep creating wish factories in your home game and ruining the fun of everyone else in your group. They are aware of the Snowcone Wish Factory--they have made no changes. This is fact, not forgiveness.
You are aware of the Snowcone Wish Factory and know it is problematic. Hey, maybe don't do it! If you know about it, know it is problematic, and do it anyway, guess who now also becomes a problem?
Prince of Knives wrote:
I wanna clear something up real quick - this is not necessarily how tiers work.
And I want to clear up real quick that Pathfinder tiers and 3.5 tiers are not the same.
For one, Paragon Surge makes spontaneous casters equal to prepared casters in options, so that divide is irrelevant now.
Also, I was talking about tiers in a very general sense, using my own stance, which is loosely:
9th level casters and Master Summoners > Summoners > Other 6th level casters > 4th level casters > Barbarians > Full BAB classes without spells > Monks/Rogues
NPC classes don't matter in it at all.
So, if you compare Hunters to the game in general, they are one of the weakest 6th level casters, but they're still 6th level casters, so they're better than rogues and fighters and whatnot. But if you compare them to Druids, they gain practically nothing in exchange for losing Wild Shape and 3 levels of spells, so they are terrible overall.
24 Damage for a high level anything is always going to be disappointing. The ability is weak. Period.
I'm not saying that is not what the developers want--they might--all I'm saying is that it will make zero players happy except possibly for those who hate Bards and never want them to deal threatening levels of damage.
Weird Words need to deal better damage than an average bard's turn could deal without expending resources (arrows don't count) or else the archetype is a trap and would do better to simply not exist at all.
Quantum Steve wrote:
By your interpretation Summon Monster lasts only 4 rounds, from immediately before your action on round 2, to immediately before your action on turn 6.
No, by me miss counting it lasts 4 rounds. Just before round 7 then, I guess is right.
I see what you did there.
But Call Lightning still lets you call a bolt immediately before your turn on 2, and then during your turn on 2. It's not changed by my miscounting another spell's rounds.
Quantum Steve wrote:
So, why does the Clairvoyance last the full 5 minutes, 50 rounds (101-150 inclusive), but the Summon Monster only lasts 4 rounds (2-5 inclusive)?
Summon Monster lasts 5 rounds, from immediately before my action on round 2, to immediately before my action on turn 6. It includes 5 actions--one immediately upon completion of the spell, and once each on turn 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The same is true of Call Lightning. If I use every available standard action to call lightning with Caster Level 5, I get one immediately before my action on turn 2, and then once each on my turns 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Quantum Steve wrote:
What about Sleep at lvl 1? When does your opponent wake up?
It lasts from immediately before my action on turn 2 to immediately before my action on turn 3.
Quantum Steve wrote:
No, obviously :P
If I began casting Clairvoyance on round 1, it would complete immediately before my action on turn 101. If it lasted 5 minutes, it would go until turn 150 and end immediately before my turn 151.
Just to clarify, if I cast a Summon Monster with a caster level of 5 on turn 1, it triggers/gets to act immediately before my action on round 2, then on each of my actions in round 2, 3, 4, and 5. It would then disappear/desummon immediately before my action on round 6.
The text I see on the srd is:
"A broken soul can make a touch attack to cause hideous, painful wounds to rip open in the target's body. This touch deals 2d6 points of slashing damage and 1d6 points of Dexterity damage, and causes the touched creature to fall prone in a fit of convulsions and be dazed for 1d4 rounds. A successful Fortitude save negates the Dexterity damage and the convulsive fit."
So, convulsions are just a flavorful descriptor for being prone and dazed.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
mpl, and how is that approach different than my default "get together and talk this out, find a compromise or look for a different group" advice?
Because your solution gives neither validation nor support--the person leaves your comment unsatisfied and the thing is, nobody is going to see a forum message saying, "Why not try talking to the group about it?" and think, "Oh man, why didn't I think of that?" Who posts here before they consider alternatives like talking? Wouldn't talking to the group be everyone's first idea? I'm pretty sure if they're here complaining, they're after something else.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
First, using the word "douche" here was just for fun--it's always for fun. It's a funny word and I'm rarely serious about much of anything.
Second, I don't see what's wrong with deconstructing the motivations and histories of people you'll never meet in order to vent private frustrations. Isn't venting private frustrations something positive?
What I'm saying is two things:
1) There's context to consider as to who is actually being more unreasonable.
2) No matter who is wrong, the complaining player generally just wants some validation and sympathy and nothing more. They're not really looking for advice--they don't really want to find solutions. They just want to be told their complaints are heard and they are not alone. Once they have it, they just go back to the same group and have absolutely no issues from then on.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I don't think talking with the group about the issue is ever bad advice. But that doesn't mean the complaining player is wrong.
And telling them their group is full of douches is absolutely not the same as telling them to tell their group that they are all douches.
Sometimes, people are upset about something in game and they come and complain. They like the validation they feel when the forum tells them its not their fault and the group was being unfair, etc. Then, they are satisfied and go back to the same group and have fun again with no further issues.
But if you tell them that they're the wrong ones and they need to adjust their attitude, they're going to get defensive and feel worse about the whole thing, making them more likely to cause more problems and escalate things until it really is a "get out of the group" situation.
The vast majority of people that complain just want sympathy and validation, not solutions, and if they receive it, the problem usually ends right then and there.
It is very rare that I see homebrew spells that aren't stupid and broken.
However, these all seem fine to me. I don't even think the auto-stabilization needs to come out. It's so minor, and frankly, the spell needs it since it's giving up half the Strength bonus and 10x the duration of Bull's Strength.
Teeth of the Wind seems a little underpowered, honestly. By dealing Slashing Damage, it becomes susceptible to DR, which is a major concern and very common once 4th level spells come into play. Caster level + Casting Stat also makes for a fairly anemic CMB for Bullrushing. It fits the general formula that most spells have, sure, but as anyone who ever actually tried playing a character with magical lineage for toppling magic missiles will tell you, it's just not high enough to beat CMDs with the way they scale.
Alexander Riggs wrote:
The only thing that really bothers me is the maximum damage on teeth of the wind. 15d6 is a lot for a 4th-level spell, and will let 15th-level casters who have it spam a lot of damage.
15d6 is the standard cap for 4th level spells. Look at Dragon Breath for confirmation. Plus, as I said, the Slashing damage is weak.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Isn't always siding with the group over the individual just as bad as always siding with the individual over the group? Do you not think context comes into this at all?
I never absolved the developers in this matter. However, if you know a certain option will break the game and you do it anyway, you are being a douche because the very best reason you could have to actually do it is to prove some kind of weird point to the developers.
There's no benefit to actually doing it (unless you want to ruin the game, which is kind of douchey, isn't it?).
Quadratic magic is B.S. But it's in the game. So, assuming you are playing it anyway, the options are:
One of those choices makes you a douche.
I think a lot more things would be "fixed" if players were not against changes.
And I think you need to read more of the developers posts if you think that. The Snowcone Wish Factory would not get fixed because the developers would just look disapprovingly and say, "Come on guys, really? Don't be a douche."
I prefer a game where I can pick simulacrum and use it
You totally can! But you're a douche if you use it in a way that breaks the game (like making a wish factory).
Because the game has design flaws in it, you can follow all the rules and still be a douche, because some of the rules are bad.
Spiderman has always been my favorite super hero, and I was severely disappointed by Tobey Maguire's portrayal.
I thought Amazing Spiderman fixed the franchise--I liked everything about it except for the interminably long "let's line the cranes up" sequence and the Lizard's bizarre looking face.
The key for me, I think is that, well, as another said, Peter Parker was kind of a dick and he should be. He's always been a smart-ass. It's the reason I like Raphael to best of the ninja turtles, too. He beats up the bad guys while unleashing taunting one-liners--he's supposed to be like that, and Tobey Maguire never captured that aspect of the character.
Nothing about this trailer was especially exciting to me. Electro was never really a villain I cared about, but frankly, I'd be excited about this sequel no matter what they do with it.
I agree, it depends on the circumstances.
"Nobody likes how I am ten times stronger than them! It's not my fault that they can't powergame!"
No, that guy is a douche.
"Nobody likes how I am ten times stronger than them, even though I offered to help them build their characters and have curtailed my power to a significant degree and focus mostly on buffing them so they can function competently against basic threats."
In that case, the group is douchey, not the player.
Animals with one big attack are just about the only characters for which Vital Strike is worthwhile.
Improved Natural Attack and Vital Strike will be excellent for what you're doing. I still generally think pouncing with 3+ attacks is better than one big attack with Vital Strike, but with Strong Jaw and Animal Growth, it will still be quite vicious.
It depends on what you're comparing it to.
The Arcanist and Shaman have 9th level spells, so they are tier 1. The Hunter and Warpriest have 6th levels, so they are tier 2, etc. The Investigator is clearly a replacement rogue and is better than a rogue, but it's obviously not top tier, etc.
However, when you compare them to classes in the same situation, yes, they're all weak except the Arcanist.
The Hunter offers nothing that a Druid can't get except teamwork feats (and they lose too much to pay for that gain). The Warpriest is a Cleric with more feats, which are, clearly not worth losing spells. The Brawler is worse at fighting unarmed than a Fighter.
The Skald is a great example of this phenomenon, actually, as they are an awful class, but they still have 6th level spells, so they're still better than, say, a Fighter, Monk, or Rogue.
No, you know what, it's not just the Arcanist. The Investigator is better than the Rogue and about equal to the Alchemist. The Shaman is pretty equal to the Cleric I think, so they're not exactly underpowered either. But the other 7, yeah, are on the weaker side of the classes you should compare them to.
The Snowcone Wish Factory is the worst.
RAGELANCEPOUNCE is as bad as the Hulking Hurler thing.
Master Summoners are pretty ridiculous.
As "savvy" as the developers have been, they left quadratic magic, so basically anything with 9th level spells can break the campaign if the player both knows what they're doing and is a douche.
This is telling. I don't think the 1 Round cast time changes the duration of a spell in any way, whereas you seem to think it does. I don't understand why you run it that way, but I do think you're right that we won't otherwise agree here.
Yes. It acts immediately upon completion of the spell, and on your turn.
Any other interpretation makes standard action summoning pointless (unless you're desperate to move more than 5').
They act 10 times. Immediately upon finishing the casting, then on each of the next 9 rounds (rounds 2-10).
So if I summon a creature using Summon Monster I, it disappears as soon as it appears? It disappears before turn 2 even starts so it can't even make a single attack?
If you are Caster Level 1 and you cast Summon Monster 1, they appear immediately before your turn on round 2, they get their actions as normal, then they disappear before your action.
PS - Summon Monster 1 is not a very good spell.
D'oh! Brain fart.
Ok, so then how are you counting duration rounds wrong, then? You are not counting round 1 until the round after the spell is cast--why? Round one of any spell effect is the round in which it is cast.
Let's use real initiative counts here, ok? Let's say the Druid has an initiative of 20. I'll refer to rounds as A, B, C, etc. So, round 1 is 20A, round 2 is 20B, etc.
If you cast a spell on 20A, round 1 of the effect lasts from 20A-20B, yes? So, when you cast Call Lightning, round 1 is from 20A-20B. The first lightning drops immediately before 20B, and then 20B begins round 2.
Spell-durations don't begin while you're casting the spell, so I don't see any way the text can possibly refer to the round of casting.
Spell durations start when the spell is cast. The spell is cast and completed in round 1, immediately before round 2 starts.
Besides, if it worked that way, why would the text even say "each round after the first"? It would have been easier (and less confusing) to simply say "each round".
No, because then people would be saying, why does it say each round? Can I call a bolt in the first round? Do I actually have a standard action available? What if I cast a quickened Call Lightning? Can I call one on the first round?
It's clarifying text, it's not portraying some secret meaning about when you can drop bolts.
Huh? I'm not removing magic items because of the Arcanist.
I remove magic items because I hate magic items in my game. My problem is that if they balance the Arcanist around using Consume Items to keep their AR up, they'll be really boring in my game since they won't have any AR.
I am fully aware of how powerful full casters are, so I have plenty of things in place in my game to prevent that. Spellcasters have never taken over my games, and actually, it's never really come up because the vast majority of my players avoid prepared casters like the plague (because Vancian Magic is tedious and unfun).
I just don't want the Arcanist, a class I think is cool in concept, to be balanced around eating items.
I don't agree with you, but since you say it's clear, then tell me, what is the casting stat in question?
Yeah, well, it sounds better when I say it :P
Yes, I play without magic items--is it really weird for me to not want an ability requiring magic items in the game?
How do people see discussions like this and still think WBL is a good thing in any way? I am even more convicted in my "no magic items at all" stance.
That said, once again, I need to advocate for the removal of Consume Items as a balance point, because my players will never get to do it.
I think the danger of making the Hunter spontaneous is that it would make a class designed to fight in tandem with their companion into a class that casts spells in combat.
See, prepared casting is far friendlier to utility, non-combat situations, and the Druid list is especially well suited to that kind of strategy. They can just buff up and ignore spells otherwise during a fight (which also allows them not to prioritize Wisdom so much and focus instead on fighting stats). Spontaneous casting, though, is notoriously poor when it comes to utility and non-combat magic, but generally is more flexible during open combat.
I'm not sure the hunter should really be throwing Entangles and Calling Lightning rather than shooting a bow or swinging a scythe.
One thing to change: Rage Song is a buff only a tiny fraction of likely allies would ever want and actively penalizes 90% of potential party mates in return
One thing NOT to change: I'm not impressed enough with anything yet (note, I love the new Arcanist, but the survey is about the first iteration where it was boring)
Favorite Class: The only one that I would ever even consider playing is Investigator, and I still probably wouldn't at that.
Least Favorite Class: Skald, though Warpriest and Hunter are both made obsolete by their parent class.
Technically, as a supernatural ability (and not a spell), the DC of the power should be 10 + 1/2 level + Charisma. It does not matter that Druids can cast spells and do so with Wisdom, because the default casting stat for (Sp) and (Su) abilities is Charisma unless otherwise noted, and it's not otherwise noted.
This is obviously stupid and wrong and I doubt anyone would actually follow those rules, but the question does sort of break down at this point since you can't ask "what is the rule?" anymore, you have to ask, "how would you rule it?"
To that, I'd rule that it would mimic the creature/ability in question. If the snake's venom says the DC is Constitution based, then it'd be 10 + 1/2 level + Constitution. If that elephant's trample says it's Strength based, then it'd be 10 + 1/2 level + Strength.
I can't totally fault someone for ruling it'd be 10 + mimicked spell level + Wisdom, but because it is (Su) rather than (Sp), if they were not going to follow my advice, I'd prefer if it was at least 10 + 1/2 level + Wisdom.
Guy Kilmore wrote:
It is easier to immerse in the setting but the FATE feedback loop literally makes it impossible to immerse in your character since FATE points are a completely out-of-character resource with no association whatsoever to the game world.
It is easier to feel like you're in a pulpy adventure game or in the Dresden Universe, but you can't feel like Harry Dresden or The Shadow or Indiana Jones because you are too busy directly manipulating the story about those characters instead of just being those characters.
GMing is easier when the PC's choices matter. However, when a player directly manipulates the world without using their character as an intermediary, character immersion (again, not setting immersion) dies.
Again, not a bad thing for everything, but nearly the worst thing for me.
Let me say if it has to be as weak as Scorching Ray, then I'd rather it inflict a status than bother trying to deal damage.
Otherwise, I'd rather they just remove the archetype entirely--I'd prefer that to leaving a trap option lying around where people who think fighting with sound is cool (like me) might fall.
I have to say, of those games on your list, I've played most of them and dislike them to various extents.
The best one you've listed is Shadowrun (assuming 4e--don't play the previous editions, because the rules are disaster, though I'm sure people prefer the fluff).
I hate FATE with a burning passion--it is the enemy of character immersion. The whole system is specifically designed to create a feedback loop and influence you, the player to manipulate your character in a specific fashion. It's a disassociative paradise. Yes, I realize people like that kind of gaming and that's ok. But I hate it.
In fact, most of the games on your list (except Shadowrun and the few I haven't played) are like that, so I'm guessing you might just like games of that nature. If that's the case, then yeah, play any and all FATE games you can find (spirit of the century, for example), maybe take a look at Dogs in the Vineyard, and definitely consider Leverage the RPG.
Otherwise, my favorite RPGs are Savage Worlds and the World of Darkness games. Both "old" and "new" World of Darkness lines as well as White Wolf's other games like Exalted and Adventure are very well done--my personal preference is for new WoD and Adventure). Savage Worlds and WoD both of course have their flaws (Savage Worlds is great for action, kind of blah for everything else, while WoD is completely amazing until combat starts and then it's boring and over in one round more often than not).
Otherwise, Legend of the Five Rings and Shadowrun 4e would probably be next on my list. The One Ring is a great system, but I don't feel anything for Tolkein, so I thought it was too steeped in the lore for my tastes. I absolutely loathe d% and d100 based systems, but Unknown Armies is good enough to almost be worth it. I hate it, but everyone seems to cream themselves for Eclipse Phase.
I think that'd be "ok."
Personally, I'd prefer if they could just Inspire Courage while they rage and add Rage Powers to Inspire Courage--well, actually, I'd prefer if they were the spell-less, Full-BAB, Bardic-Music using class I think many people wanted (Spell Kenning is awesome, though, and could maybe be a performance that lets them trade performance rounds to get the effects of spells), but I guess that's neither here nor their.
I don't know, even though Warpriest and Hunter are currently just inferior versions of the Cleric and Druid respectively, they're at least playable and useful in a party (even though they'd be more useful as their parent class)--but the Skald just strikes me as such an incomplete and useless class. I can't ever see it coming up except as an NPC (though it is kind of dangerous as an NPC, for sure).
There has never been a spontaneous caster of the druid spell list in all of 3rd edition D&D (and Pathfinder too, obviously) as far as I know.
The 3.5 Spirit Shaman had "prepared spontaneous casting" just like the Arcanist (and is probably the prototype for that class's casting) using the Druid list.
It is not well known, but I quite liked them.
Weird question: male gamers role-playing female characters...how do you handle speaking "in character?"
Uh, the same way GMs everywhere talk in character as female NPCs?
You just talk.
I might put a little different inflection in my voice (but then I do that for every unique character), but that's about it.
You don't have to do a female voice because, actually, the more female the voice is, the closer you're going to get to an uncanny valley moment. When you just talk, suspension of disbelief fills in the gap in much the same way that PCs can believe you're a lizardfolk, an ogre, or a demon.
I was including other people's games that I've PCed in there, actually, since I don't use monster manual stuff straight up anyway (so I've never used by the book Ghouls). Ghouls (without class levels) seem like such a non-threat, I'm shocked to see them responsible for so much chaos and death.
And while my games are, indeed, heavily houseruled, they are not done so in a way that would affect their ability to fight ghouls--my main change removes magic items and "one bad roll and you lose" abilities. Ghouls are a low level threat that involves neither.
Not only should level 4 melee types have a save in the +6 realm (making it extremely likely for them to succeed) on, what is it, DC 11 or 12 saves, but ghouls have such low attack bonuses that they'll have a hard time landing hits to trigger the saves in the first place. Their AC is also really low (again, going off memory, but I want to say in the 12-13 range), so they're easy to hit, and with such low HP, they are easily one-shottable by just about anyone with a two-handed weapon and power attack (i.e. everyone fighting in melee that isn't using natural attacks).
I think the way you really messed up is that you can move through the spaces of helpless enemies, so once the Inquisitor was paralyzed, the ghouls should have just walked through him and surrounded them.
And if you had a Druid, they should have just run, leaving an Entangle or something like that behind.
I also have to admit, ghouls have such tiny ACs, HP, and save DCs, I've never had PCs have any kind of trouble with them. I've never had anyone get paralyzed and only very rarely has a ghoul ever survived a round of getting attacked, especially by level 4 PCs.
To be fair, unless I KNOW I'm going to be swimming, the odds of me ever preparing Touch of the Sea is basically nil, so it'd be up to me bothering to have a scroll.
I have literally never filled all of my spell slots in the morning as a prepared caster. I always leave at least one, usually two (once I have a bunch) open for later. Then I'm just 15 minutes from the utility spell I need.
Wow, thanks for eating my response, internet. That was one I was typing little by little over several hours, too.
/Sigh. Well, the gist of it is this:
No, I don't prepare much--in non-3rd edition D&D/Pathfinder games, I actually do zero prep. But I do think about society and culture and ecology before things show up. Mkenner was actually pretty dead on how I work, except for the last part where he worries about the balance of encounters, since I don't think in terms of "encounters" at all.
As for that wizard example, Adamantine Dragon, I would say that I would have let them die. It was not just your mistake that would have TPKed them, it was also their choice. You specifically said they could talk their way through it or fight for it, and obviously, they chose fight. That is their choice and fixing the encounter diminishes the agency of their choice to fight rather than talk. Personally, I consider fights to be an absolute last resort, and those that choose them willingly are either foolish or lazy (since they didn't bother coming up with an alternative).
I don't try to challenge players, I just try to create a world they can interact with that has as much fidelity as possible. They make the encounters. As I said, if they walk in on Goblins having a feast, they will face a lot of goblins and it will probably be too hard. If they scout and pick them off one by one as they go hunting/to the bathroom/on patrols, it will probably be "too easy." This is not a problem for me.
In fact, I find that a lot of GMs don't realize: the actual challenge of an encounter means very little compared to the perceived challenge. I find Ogres, being large and scary monsters to always elicit deference, even by higher level PCs. If the PCs find a dragon that has been built up in the world as terrifying, powerful, and dangerous, but they kill it in one or two rounds, I find that they are not going to think, "well that was easy--what a let down!" No, they're going to think, "Holy crap! Thank goodness we defeated him so quickly or who knows what crazy stuff he could have done to us!"
So, yeah, challenge is just not a concern for me.
My favorite character died because the DM did not design the encounter properly and refused to change it as he was too hidebound and stubborn, not to mention he thinks he is the GawdDM and thus he’s never wrong.
I guess I avoid this because I never "design" encounters :)
But once again, I will point out that I "play fair" by removing all the "one bad roll and you lose" junk in the game designed to eat your wealth, and as a result, despite not allowing resurrection, I've had zero PC death in 20 years of GMing D&D of various editions.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
To be honest, I'm actually rather fond of not killing PCs, but making them suffer in other ways instead. For some campaigns, my rule is that if you 'die' then you won't actually die, you'll just have some very bad things happen to you. Like surviving because you sold your soul to a devil, the dragon spares your character and puts him under a geas, etc. I like to give players who are invested in their characters some way to keep playing their characters if at all possible, but they don't get out of death with no consequences.
Now, please don't take my words to mean you're badwrong or anything, but I can't imagine a thing I'd enjoy less in a roleplaying game. I would much rather have a character die than suffer some permanent debilitating effect I can't shake, especially something like selling my soul to a devil or getting a hostile gaeas put on me. That's 10 times worse than just making a new character. If I have really grown to love a character, I'd much rather have them die than compromised.
The whole point of this shaman, as I understand it, is to meld the concept of the divine caster with the idea of a supernatural familiar that grants spells.
If that's the concept, then I'll pass. I considered the familiar to be the most extraneous and pointless part of the class and one I had zero interest in.
"I get my magic from spirits!"
It's not an accurate picture of Native American magic and religion.
Do you know what is also not an accurate picture of Amerindian magic and religion? Calling their religion Shamanism, because it's not--it's offensive to a great many of those practicing their traditional religions, because it's shoehorning their unique culture into, well, a white man's box. We've talked about this though, and I just don't think it has anything at all to do with a fantasy Shaman, nor should it.
I really can't imagine what shamanism has to do with a bunch of plant spells like entangle and goodberry.
I can't really imagine what real world druids have to do with those things either. Or what real world clerics have to do with, well, magic at all.
I just can't connect real world stuff with classes in game--it doesn't work and shouldn't work. Fantasy clerics have magical healing and smiting. Fantasy druids have shapeshifting and nature magic. They just do. Fantasy Shamanism involves spirits and elemental and nature magic. The original modern pop-culture Shaman is, at least in part, from Everquest and specialized in animal-based buffs (spirit of the wolf) and DoTs (damage over time spells, especially diseases, poisons, and swarms of bugs) with a side of elemental direct damage spells. That's where a lot of people are coming from.
I can't see ever using Animal Focus for skills unless it was basically a automatic success.
For example, why would I get a bonus to Swim when I have access to a level 1 spell that can let me get a swim speed (touch of the sea)?
For that matter, why would I play a Hunter over a Druid and trade the ability to Wildshape into flying, climbing, swimming creatures for hours at a time for the ability to get a very short duration skill bonus?