I still think far and away the best thing that could happen to this class would be that the spirits selected would have a more dramatic impact on the spell list, as Nighttree first suggested. Even if it didn't increase the hexes gained, perhaps just have access to more spirits that do nothing but provide a chunk of spells (perhaps a school.) While it may be more limiting than just giving the full cleric list, I think it would provide a fun level of customization.
This is in part what I see as lacking.
Aside from a lack of specifically, and IMO critical abilities that represent a shaman...there is still very little tie between what spells a shaman can cast, and the spirits he chooses to ally with.
OOOhh....and that's one I have not seen....THANKS
OK..ok...consider me checked :)
I just get frustrated by all the "oath breaker" witch crap that get's tossed about ;)
Actually...I would be really keen to see your sources on this. Everything I'm finding either doesn't mention it at all, or says this has been debunked. If it warlock-as-oath-breaker was debunked, I would expect to find more people saying so. Weird.
Actually....so would I.
Let me see what I can find as far as links....
Like most academic stuff, it's not something you can just "look up" on the internet :)
I think you could do the idea justice a number of ways....binder being one of them, although I always found it hard to like the vestiges...not the idea of vestiges...just the execution.
The Shaman class obviously has great potential...
A Bard archytype that focused on spirits....
The summoner can also work if you flavor it the right way.
The term Warlock is a Scottish Gaelic term, but of obvious Germanic/Scandinavian origin.
NO WHERE...in extant lore is it used to describe an "oath breaker"...not once...zip....nill...
The first person to theorize that it was related to the term wærloga was Tolkien...who although a skilled linguist for his day, was hardly infallible, and had only limited knowledge of the languages involved to draw from.
He placed it in a dictionary reference he was contracted to do (Oxford if memory serves)
American Neo-paganism picked up the idea in the early eighties, and has hammered it into peoples heads on the internet ever since.
Modern linguist have based on it's actual usage in all extant lore, found another Germanic/Scandinavian term that DOES match language drift..AND it's usage...VarYlokker....which translates as "spirit chanter".
Actually it worries me....I think the class has a long way to go, much more than a spell list fix.I think there are thematic issues that really need to be addressed....and the Shaman and the Arcanist are really the only two classes I'm interested in...
Guess I'll be patient and see what happens...I generally have liked everything they have done in the past.
ROFLMAO....I hadn't considered leaving offerings out for them....where would be an appropriate place to leave such offerings ?
Severed Ronin wrote:
I just honestly can't think of something better than Warlock to describe the character despite the fact that little of the word itself has to do with the Barbarian side of things. I just think it sounds better than Bloodrager.
I haven't really looked at that class much.....does it call and control spirits ?If not, then it really does not fit the meaning of the word warlock.
Calling poop "candy" sounds better....but it's not what it is :)
If they where to use the name Warlock for any of the classes, the Shaman actually fit's its meaning (Spirit chanter)best.
However it is specifically a Scottish Gaelic term, and I suspect they would rather use a more generic term for the class....although the use of shaman is technically culturally specific as well....
What a mess we have made of words since the internet :(
doc the grey wrote:
I think I'm with what people have said before in that the biggest problem with the shaman right now is that it hasn't really defined itself in terms of what it brings to the table that I as a player cannot get from other classes. As it stands I remember seeing this class prior to release and thinking it sounded like a niche I was already filling with the witch, oracle, druid, various cleric builds, and even the adept when I needed an NPC one. After the launch the description gave me this awesome image of a unique shinto priest style class focused on dealing with spirits and as people have talked this interesting caster who has less power of their own and more are acting as the vessel for the powerful spirits that they commune with. Unfortunately as of right now though, the class still feels too much like an oracle and as such still feels like it hasn't stepped up to that image the playtest has presented us with.
After posting last night...it occured to me that Dragonlance had done a shaman PrC that I actually liked very much...so I dug the old books out.
As I was looking it over...I realized the current shaman has almost nothing in the way of class abilities that distinguish it from an oracle.
I would rather dump the familiar, and gain something like "Spirit sight"
I'd like to see them be able to count weapons wielded, unarmed attacks, and armor as "ghost touch".
Abilities to get information from the past from the spirits of place.
Currently, there are archytypes for the core and advanced classes that feel more "shamaney" than this class.
I'm not sure what you mean by "free" spontaneous casting. As in they can trade out any prepared spell slot for a spell from a spirit list, or they can cast spells from the spirit list without limitation? Because the latter is problematic for what I would hope are obvious reasons. The former is still a pretty huge advantage that would put them far-and-away above a cleric in terms of flexibility and power. Basically, imagine a cleric that can switch any spell slot for a domain spell and gets to change one of its domains every day, then also gets oracle revelations on top of it, all in exchange for channel energy, unless they decide they need it that day and take the life spirit, in which case they get all of that stuff in exchange for nothing.
What I meant is that they can spontaneously cast spirit spells, as Clerics spontaneously cast cure spells, or Druids spontaneously cast summons spells.
Is that more flexable than the cleric or druid ?.....sure, they will have 2 spells at each level instead of one spell of each level they can cast spontaneously.
Is that "broken"?....I don't think it's broken at all....I don't think it's even "over powered".
However we have always allowed clerics to spontaneously cast domain spells rather than cure/inflict.
For years the only setting I played in was Dragonlance, a setting where it was the "norm" for clerics to spontaneously cast their domain spells.
If a cleric of a fire god wants to blow all of his prepared 4th level spells casting a fire spell...more power to him.
With the arcanist in the same book, I'm really keen on the idea of hybrid casting. The idea of preparing spells so that they are "in hand" but then casting them spontaneously seems very appropriate for their source, and it would be much easier to integrate with their spirit magic.
That's what occurred to me last night as well.
Although I don't want to see the shaman have a spell book, I very much would like to see it's spell casting more tied to the spirits it bonds with.
I tried a spontaneous version...building spells known soley from spirit spell lists...but it didn't really fly.
I like the idea of using the hybrid casting of the Arcanist.
If they choose to stick with standard cleric style prepared casting...I think they should switch up "Spirit magic" to allow free spontaneous casting of spells from their spirit allies lists....not just one slot of each level per day.
Something that occured to me while playing around with the class last night...was the "flavor" of the hexes.
What about having the spirit provide a few options for hexes(ie: something that harms or repulses) and a few blessings (ie: something that buff's the shaman or his allies)....maybe the wording is throwing people off ?
Virgil Firecask wrote:
I think everyone understands that...although I for one would like to see a bit heavier nod than often occurs in RPG's.
For me a big part of this is creating a class that add's something NEW to the options available.
The Arcanist revision did a great job of moving that hybrid in a new and exciting direction....I want to see the same kind of thing with the Shaman (those are the only two of the classes I'm really that interested in).
If I wanted a character that summons elementals, makes plant's grow, and talks to animals, well then I can play a Druid...
Not because it's a "historically accurate" image of a Drui....it's not even close to the reality....however it's an established trope, and it's great fun.
Shamanism is about working with spirits...not just immaterial beings, but ALL spirit. That's something that has not been the focus of a class to date (closest being the Binder, which was something of a disappointment)....that's the direction I would like to see the shaman go.
I understand that many people have a fluffy pop-culture understanding of what the term "shaman" means....that doesn't mean I want to see a class the reinforces that image.
If that's the direction it goes, well then I just loose all interest.
To clarify, there are modern druid revivalists, but they don't represent a direct continuation of the ancient religion. I intended no disrespect to anyone who identifies as a neo-druid of any sort. Carry on.
LOL...I'd be more likely to take offense at being called a "neo-druid" ...of any sort.But don't fret friend...no offense taken :)
I for one find it exhausting to be PC all the time.
Druids have already had their name appropriated for nature-magic guys. At least they don't have a living religious tradition to insult, their practices having largely died out, apart from whatever got absorbed into the folk religion of the British Isles.
Not so ;)
But I agree with what you are trying to say.
That's the beauty of it.....they already provide spells with each spirit...chosen from all available spell lists.
This would allow each shaman to build a spell list based on the spirits they chose to bond with.
It would depend on how his progression went in regards to how many spirits he could bond with...I'm actually going to play around with that tonight and see what would happen.
But based on one spell of each level, per spirit...you can actually build up a pretty good number of spells known (actually faster than a Sorcerer of equal level).
Yeah, I'm just having a lot of trouble treating undead and outsiders as "spirits." I accept they need Protection from Evil, Augury, Spiritual Weapon, etc. but I think undead and outsiders are kind of as opposite to spirits as one could get.
Outsiders in particular are the very definition of spirits...beings not composed of, or within the normal stream of mortal existence.
Take the Kami for example...they are a perfect example of "spirits".
By the same token, undead are the "dark" side of the same concept, either spirits that have stuck around to seek revenge, or simply refused to give up their mortal existence.
In Arabic cultures..Jinn (genie types) are all considered spirits, and they are again...outsiders as far as "game mechanics" are concerned.
I think you have been given a rather "shoe box" impression of what constitutes "spirit", and as a result it's hard for you to see anything outside of that as fitting thematically.
EDIT: Didn't mean for that to come across harsh...if it did, my apologies ;)
VERY close to what I have been thinking...I don't really want to see a spellbook...most cultures with specalists that fall into the "shaman" category are oral cultures.
But if the shaman was required to make a "spirit vessel" for each of his spirits...that would be very cool in my opinion.
It could be as simple as the skull or even the tooth of an ancestor or animal that he carries....THEN you have shaman flavor.
I have no problem with them being Charisma based...it fit's both in regards to being able to charm the spirits into assisting them, as well as they way they can effect living mortals.
If the spirit defines the spells known...it kind of renders the whole argument of which spell list to use, or the hassle of creating a large spell list unique to the shaman...a small selection of thematically tied spells for each spirit would provide the entire spell list.
I for one am not looking for a "spontaneous Druid"...in fact that would more or less make me loose complete interest in the class.
I do however think that a spontaneous casting mechanic would work well for the Shaman.
He would gain "spell known" from the spirits bonded to him.
Want more of a new age "animal totem" feel...pick the nature spirit.
For this to work the number of spirits a shaman could bond with each day would need to be increased, probably to around 5 by 20th level...but again that fit's the definition of what a shaman is.
I would rather do away with the fixed spirit at first level, and see an increase in how many spirits he can call to his aid on any given day increase as he gains levels.
As much of the conflict here seems to be based on "feel"....I have been going through my books that discuss the topic (academic books...not pop culture/RPG books) looking for points that I feel the current class is missing the mark.
I'm tossing them up here hoping that they will stimulate ideas.
The cultural specialist that we collectively refer to as "shamans" have several aspects in common regardless of culture, and that I feel are almost completely missing from the class, and I would like to see represented in some manner.
A) Other than knowledge, wisdom, and skills, a shamans only real power is in communicating with, and convincing spirits to act on his behalf. It is the spirits themselves that (using game mechanics) "cast" the spells, heal people, find lost objects, spy on other clans/tribes, and produce the other effects....not the shaman.
B) A shamans relative power is judged on the number of spirits who are generally willing to aid him.
C) In most cultures, shamans "house" these spirits in objects that they then carry with them, or wear on their person (arcane bonded objects ?), these objects act as the conduit to communicate with the spirit, are often given names, "fed" with offerings, etc..etc..
Sarvei taeno wrote:
I've been playing around with different ideas....
That way you get a variety of spells available depending on what spirit is currently bonded with the Shaman.
I would rather see the 1st level spirit just be a wondering spirit, with the ability to bond with an increasing number of spirits at the same time, increase as the Shaman gains levels (like up to four or five spirits by 20th level).
Increase the number of Hexes and boons that they can choose from these bound spirits...
I have no interest in the famaliar whatsoever (shrugs).
doc the grey wrote:
I have been wondering that as well....it certainly would cover many of the points people seem to be looking for, without running the risk of the Shaman simply turning out to be a Druid with a smaller animal companion.
I don't want specific entities, I want "spirits." I want them to be a general concept of spirits as non-physical, non-game forces of nature in the material plane.
As someone who follows a tradition that is considered to have many "shamanistic" elements.....I can assure you that spirits are rather specific....and only sometimes are "non-physical".
I guess I would rather see them as game forces...otherwise, they are irrelevant.
A Shaman is someone who "should" be able to screw with spirits...otherwise there is no point in the class concept in the first place.
Consider a contemporary example...
A few months ago a white "spirit moose" was killed by three hunters here in America...who then proudly displayed it's hide on the net.
The local native tribe was outraged by both the death of a sacred spirit (rightfully so IMO), and the blatant pride these hunters showed at killing a sacred animal.
I don't know of any culture that holds to your perception of "spirit".
Spirits do not contain enough room for the basic effects that Shaman's should be able to accomplish, notable elemental and weather control (like frostbite/frostfall/flaming sphere/call lightning). I think the Shaman should be a fundamentally more aggressive spellcaster than...
See above...from a folk lore standpoint...that's simply not true.
I don't agree with that, but it also doesn't really matter. We're talking about feel, and those don't feel like spirits to me--it feels like you're broadening the feel of spirits way too much.
I'm using the traditional definition that all cultures I have researched use (all European, Native American,and many Asian cultures) :)
That's kind of the point of a "no game" translation. I don't want the spirits to have a game mechanic beyond giving me spells. I want them to exist in some ephemeral, non-interactive state like deities do.
So it sounds more like you want Vestiges ?
Interesting links that most people no longer think about....
The "dead" bring storms and cold with them (which is why our traditional "horror" movies always feature storms, cold, and lightning)....It's also why the winter months are associated with the dead....and interestingly when "ghost hunters" see a big spike in activity.
The land wights (fey) can both blast the grain, and turn animals violent, as well as take the form of animals.
So spirits like "ancestors" could easily grant cold or electric based spells.....
Fey spirits could both cause growth, and blight plant-life.
Actual folk lore accounts for just about any combination you could think of ;)
OK...so how many of those are not already available to Clerics ?Or...how many could be assigned to "spirits" ?
I see something like Planar Ally, however, to have absolutely nothing to do with spirits, but rather to be interacting with a literal creature from another plane.
Which by most cultures definition is a spirit...In most cultures, spirit does not strictly imply non material...it implies non-mortal.
I also think people are looking at "spirits" as outsiders, incorporeal undead, and other monsters, whereas I'm looking at "spirits" as concepts with no game-translation. They have no stat-blocks and are not "creatures," they are background entities.
Outsiders, Fey, Undead, etc...are by most cultures definition..."spirits".A "no game" translation....doesn't easily fit into a game mechanic in the first place ;)
I think that is where the bigger problem lays.The current "hexes" feel like replicas of the Oracle mysteries.
The hexes need to be re-focused along the lines of more traditional abilities linked to the different cultural specialists collectively referred to as "shamans".
They need to focus on dealing with the different kinds of beings referred to as "spirits", breaking or counter acting existing Witch hexes, and protecting allies (as opposed to de-buffing enemies).
THEN you have a Shaman.
Already Cleric spells....
What is the Cleric list MISSING ???
The strongest argument I remember from upthread was that some of the elemental spirit hexes (I seem to remember Crashing Waves) required the ability to deal elemental damage to function, which the Cleric list doesn't really get. I'd say that's a problem with the spirit (it should either come packaged with everything it needs to work, or remove those hexes in place of something that works), but some people felt otherwise.
Perhaps it's the hexes that are to "shoe horned" into elemental ideas ???
I know that when I read through the different spirits available...I didn't see a single one other than lore that I would consider taking.
I was waiting for Ancestors, outsider themed, and fey themed spirits :P
As an aside....if they ditched the familiar...which I hope they do....
Hrothgar The Spirit Caller wrote:
OK...so to be fair, let's try for something productive from this starting point....
What is the Cleric spell list lacking...that you feel the Shaman spell list needs ???
I can see maybe adding some of the "curse" descriptor spells...
I have admittedly been focusing more on the Arcanist thread....
What exactly was the argument for not using the Cleric spell list again ???
It's chalk full of spells dealing with undead and outsiders...which are two of the main categories of beings that all cultures view as "spirits".
It has healing spells.
It has spells for dealing with "evil" spell effects...(possession, compulsion,curses, etc...etc...)
About the only thing it may not address well (I have to take a look at it again to be sure) is land wights or "nature spirits".
So what's the issue ???
I'm more concerned with the spell list...and the more I think on it, the more I'm convinced that the Druid list doesn't cut it.
I'm almost inclined to think the Cleric spell list is the better route to take...but with some additions.
As am I.I think the exploits pool mechanic is fine as it is.
You get 1+1/2 your level per day generated naturally.
If you want to pump it to the full capacity of three times your level...you have to REALLY work at it over many rounds....most often spending points as you go.
Hrothgar The Spirit Caller wrote:
The celtic druids (Which are really just the tribe's shamen) wore the same armor their bretheren wore in battle.
Not specifically correct....Although specialists that practiced skills modern folk would term as "shamanic" where part of the Druid (plu) cast, just as the Bards where....not all, or even the majority of the cast practiced those skills.
They had specific sub-titles (again like Bard) to designate specific area's of focus and skill.
Hrothgar The Spirit Caller wrote:
As much as I hate the use of the term "shaman", because it bring a lot of misinformation to peoples minds...as a generic term, it's the best name I can think of.
Having said that, I would rather see the class go in a more "folk lore" based direction. Leave communing with animals and nature to the Druid class.
Base the class strongly on gaining aid from helpful spirits, and fighting/repelling harmful spirits.
This would include Outsiders, undead, Fey, un-bodied (incorporeal) beings, and possibly even some magical beasts.
Also many cultural specialists of this kind focused strongly on combating witches and "evil" magic for the clan/tribe...African "Witch Doctors", Hungarian Taltos, etc...etc...
It probably does require a specialized list the more I think on it...
And the rest of the class is pretty good as is in my opinion.