Building a Shaman for PFS


Advice


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I've been mulling an idea for a Dwarven Shaman for a while now and was hoping I could get some feedback here as I have very little experience with full casters. As this is for PFS I want to have all my bases covered.

1. Offense. Will be relying solely on hexes and spells here. Heavens mystery gets me Color Spray at level 1 of which I'll get a wand after my first adventure. Level 2 I'll pick up Slumber. As backup options I've got Sleep, Bless and entangle early on. Friend to Animals would add some nice versatility later on either via wandering hex or spirit talker.
2. Defense. Looking to tank as hard as I can. Breastplate + Heavy Darkwood shield gives me AC 19 before level 2. Level 2 brings barkskin to the party, heavy Armor proficiency is a definite option. As a Dwarf Saves will be pretty solid and I might invest in Steel Soul and or Glory of Old.
3. Skills. Currently the biggest weakness. The speaker of the past Archetype would really help here as it adds a ton of useful skills. Access to Lore mystery would help with knowledges as would Breadth of Experience as well as traits such as Wisdom in the flesh.

As to stats I was looking at the following:

STR 8 (-2) DEX 14 (5) CON 14 (2) INT 12 (2) WIS 20 (17) CHA 5 (-4)

Being a Dwarf lets me get away with dumping STR and still wear medium armor. Dumping CHA hurts a lot as I loose my spirit ability and suck at any social interactions. However it allows me to get a 20 Wisdom which benefits me in many ways. However it might be too greedy.

Feats? In no particular order Imp Initative, Additional Traits, Steel Soul, Heavy Armor proficiency, spirit talker, extra hex.

Do people think this will work?

The Exchange

I think 8 str is pushing it a bit..breastplate and shield, possibly going into full plate. I know dwarves never have their speed modified by armor or encumbrance, but mind you, that might just make the gm say, its so heavy you can't carry it, dwarf or not (your max heavy weight is 80 lbs, a breastplate is 25-30 lbs, a heavy wooden shield, 10 lbs, full plate 50 lbs). Note that dwarf never stops you from gaining acp due to heavy load, so once you hit above 50 lbs, your max dex bonus drops to 1, which kinda of negates the use of starting with 14 dex. Also, the ant haul spell is not on shaman spell list, so you can't cheat using it.

Why not, instead of a dwarf, go for half orc, sacred tattoo, taking fates favored as trait to increase sacred tattoo bonus to a +2. Don't dump str, 18 in casting stat is enough even when play pure casters unless there is a very pressing reason (ie heavens oracle awesome display).Use the half orc fcb for shamans to pick up ant haul from cleric list and you can run around in full plate without any gm turning an eye. If they ask, tell them, I got ant haul.

But that route, you weren't meant to be a knowledge monkey. Oh well, some things have gotta give sometimes, you can't get everything.


If he buys a masterwork backpack and grab Muscle of the Society trait and encumbrance won't be a problem. He can carry up to 115 pounds with effective strength=11.

I'd be interested to see your full build/plan. I think your idea sounds pretty darn solid for low level PFS (and later you're a full caster, so you win anyway), but I'm not totally familiar with Shamans yet.


Yeah I was thinking about how to modify carrying capacity. And there'S also muleback cords. Essentially I don't really need a weapon either so that's some help. Not dumping STR is also an option but don't really see the guy hitting things.

Ditching the 20 WIS is a definite option it would allow me to put an 8 into CHA and Raising INT to 14, somehow I don't see that being worthwhile.I was thinking it would be pretty important as I want to be using slumber Hex as well as Color Spray for the first few levels.


Eh, I sport 7 strength with dwarves all the time. With the masterwork backpack its 80 lb carrying capacity. I've never come close to hitting that with the characters I rock it on so I wouldn't worry about it myself. Here's the Dwarf shaman I recently made for PFS:

Dwarf Shaman:

Dwarf Shaman
S. 7
D. 14
C. 16
I. 11
W. 20
C. 5

1)
Spirit: Heaven
2) Hex: Evil Eye
3) Extra Hex: Chant
4) Hex: Misfortune
Wandering Spirit: Water or Flames Mostly(Water+ don't breathe air gives awesome affect with like stinking cloud)
5) Extra Hex: Sleep
6) Wandering Hex: Heavens Leap or Other
7)
8) Hex: Fortune
9)
10) Hex
11)

I went with evil eye first, because the Shaman's evil eye is not mind effecting (unlike the witches) making it the best debuff, especially since it sticks even on a successful save. Next is Chant and Misfortune and then rounded out with sleep.

You can obviously switch up the wandering spirit, but I plan on mostly using fire or water, for the see through fog ability. At level 8 you don't have to breathe anymore, so you can drop a stinking cloud and blast from impunity from within your death cloud no ones going to want to enter. Good stuff.

Having played a witch and a lot of full casters I really think your better off with the 20 Wisdom, and I wouldn't drop it. Especially since as a dwarf you can dump strength because of slow and steady.

For spells I was going to focus on battlefield control mostly, as you have debuffs covered through hexes.

I'd skip the wand of color spray. DC 11 is too low, and it won't scale well. Once a day color spray is pretty good.

I wasn't actually planning on tanking hard as your build said, so if you do that get combat casting at level 1, and probably drop one of your traits into one of the that gives +2 to concentration checks. Your other trait should be glory of old, outside of half orc+fortunes favored probably the strongest trait in the game.

I had highly considered Speaker of the Past as well, but ultimately decided against it. The spells it adds to your list are not on your spontaneous slots, but your standard list. I really didn't see myself memorizing any of them for PFS. Additionally, some of heavens spontaneous slots are bleh, so having another spirit gives more flexibility there. Lastly, the good powers for a non-martial shaman don't start until level 7, which you get revelations at 4, 6 and 12(ie. retirement). I'd rather have more spell flexibility, and see through fog. I also like the flexibility of rebuilding parts of my pc every game to try something new.

Its not a bad archetype though, and I thought about it for a long time but in the end decided it wasn't worth it. Maybe it will be for you though.


Thanks for the input. That looks very similar to what I had planned. I was more intent on Misfortune and chant as hexes. Maybe there is something I'm missing about Evil Eye but it seems like such a weak debuff (-2) to spend a standard action on. Misfortune just does so much more and slumber well it's slumber...

Nice to see you also decided to ditch Charisma. Tribute to the s*~~yness that are the Spirit abilities I guess.

I wasn't aware that wands of color spray have such a crappy DC. Mark those of the list then and buy a few scrolls just in case.

I wasn't planning on picking up combat casting or similar stuff at all as I was hoping that by pumping my AC high enough I could largely ignore AoO. Not sure if that is really feasible however.

The main thing I wanted from speaker for the past is the class skills. There are two discoveries worth my time in ancestor or time. The one that lets you reroll knowledges with a bonus equal to Wisdom (should be really strong for PFS) and the one that lets you roll twice for init and allows for always acting in the suprise round. My thinking was that after dumping CHA wandering spirits are less powerful but I only had an eye on the level 1 abilities. I will have to give it some thought and see what I want to spend feats and traits on...


Is it worth going Human instead of Dwarf for the FCB?

Quote:

Shaman: Add one spell from the cleric spell list that isn’t

on the shaman spell list to the list of spells the shaman
knows. This spell must be at least 1 level below the highest
spell level the shaman can cast.

8/14/12/12/20/7

You have 30' move and +4 AC with Lamellar (Leather) Armor and <38 lb load. 20' move with <76 lb load.


Alex Mack wrote:
Maybe there is something I'm missing about Evil Eye but it seems like such a weak debuff (-2) to spend a standard action on. Misfortune just does so much more and slumber well it's slumber...

Yeah Misfortune is great, but its a hit or miss debuff. My witch only had misfortune as her first hex (wanted to be able to hit undead and other mindless), and once you hit or miss you have nothing left. If its a single enemy encounter (which is super common in PFS) then you have nothing left to give.

Evil eye hits for one round even on a successful save (and then cackle) and lasts forever on a failed, and you can really stack on debuffs, which is great for the BBEG's.

Slumber has a lot of things immune to it, and tables tend to hate you, which is why I pick it up last. I have only once seen someone happy that they played with a slumber witch, and that was because the BBEG was going to TPK them. Usually its a straight miserable experience at the table, both as a GM and a Player. I like to play things where I enhance the tables play experience rather than wreck it as much as possible(I don't always succeed though;)


El_Jefe wrote:

Is it worth going Human instead of Dwarf for the FCB?

Quote:

Shaman: Add one spell from the cleric spell list that isn’t

on the shaman spell list to the list of spells the shaman
knows. This spell must be at least 1 level below the highest
spell level the shaman can cast.

8/14/12/12/20/7

You have 30' move and +4 AC with Lamellar (Leather) Armor and <38 lb load. 20' move with <76 lb load.

Yes, that Favored class bonus is hands down one of the best things the Shaman class has going for it (provided you don't run afoul the Spells Known FAQ...), since it lets you cherry pick the best Cleric spells to fill out your otherwise rather incomplete looking list. Spirit Talker at 7th is a must.


Anzyr wrote:
El_Jefe wrote:

Is it worth going Human instead of Dwarf for the FCB?

Quote:

Shaman: Add one spell from the cleric spell list that isn’t

on the shaman spell list to the list of spells the shaman
knows. This spell must be at least 1 level below the highest
spell level the shaman can cast.

8/14/12/12/20/7

You have 30' move and +4 AC with Lamellar (Leather) Armor and <38 lb load. 20' move with <76 lb load.

Yes, that Favored class bonus is hands down one of the best things the Shaman class has going for it (provided you don't run afoul the Spells Known FAQ...), since it lets you cherry pick the best Cleric spells to fill out your otherwise rather incomplete looking list. Spirit Talker at 7th is a must.

Spirit Talker is already marked down as my level 7 feat. The huamn FCB is awesome, but without the FCB Dwarf beats human hands down. The main reason I wanted to build a Dwarf is that I wanted to build a Dwarf and this seemed like one of the few classes/builds where I felt like Dwarf was not second fiddle as the bonus to CON is nothing to scoff at either.

Hmm never considered slumber might draw aggro from friend and foe:).Oh well I'll have to find out for myself then. Maybe use it sparingly and do things like bless my allies and heal them after they shook their pointy sticks.


I don't see the value in heavy armor due to the trade-off in spell failure.
Under a bleeding Sun you are missing your 1st level feat that cant be Extra Hex as you don't have Hex yet.
I think the wisdom at 20 is ok as that's your primary for your Hex DCs. DC 16 at second level is pretty sweet.

Grand Lodge

Since you're a dwarf looking at Slumber Hex and bumping DC, you should consider Honeyed Words.

http://www.archivesofnethys.com/TraitDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Honeyed%20Words


Heimdall666 wrote:

I don't see the value in heavy armor due to the trade-off in spell failure.

Under a bleeding Sun you are missing your 1st level feat that cant be Extra Hex as you don't have Hex yet.
I think the wisdom at 20 is ok as that's your primary for your Hex DCs. DC 16 at second level is pretty sweet.

Shaman's have no spell failure to worry about as they are divine casters. You are correct though that they do not qualify for Extra Hex yet though.


Heimdall666 wrote:

I don't see the value in heavy armor due to the trade-off in spell failure.

Under a bleeding Sun you are missing your 1st level feat that cant be Extra Hex as you don't have Hex yet.
I think the wisdom at 20 is ok as that's your primary for your Hex DCs. DC 16 at second level is pretty sweet.

My first level feat is blank because I haven't figured out what to pick there. Maybe Improved Initiative.

Wow, spirit talker is amazing! That is now on my list as my 7th level feat! I probably need to take that on my witch too.

OH MAN! Witches get snowball too! Now I can actually use the abusive water spells cause prone hex that got totally nerfed for the shaman by the change in spell list! Nice!


Wow honeyed words is pretty nice...prolly worth it for slumber all alone. Also you get stuff like charm on your spelllist so it might have more uses.

Sadly extra hex can't be taken at level 1 the best options seem to be heavy armor/imp initative/additional traits or Steel Soul.


Dang honeyed words looks pretty good, there are no good ways to increase hex DCs other than stat increases. Yeah, I missed the heavy armor/divine caster thing on regular shamans, I have an Unsworn with a Lore spirit casting wizard spells, so I would eat the miscast percentage. I went with improved initiative, and picked an initiative spirit animal/wandering plus traits.


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Heimdall666 wrote:
Dang honeyed words looks pretty good, there are no good ways to increase hex DCs other than stat increases. Yeah, I missed the heavy armor/divine caster thing on regular shamans, I have an Unsworn with a Lore spirit casting wizard spells, so I would eat the miscast percentage. I went with improved initiative, and picked an initiative spirit animal/wandering plus traits.

Actually Arcane Enlightenment turns the spells you add off the Sorcerer/Wizard list into Divine spells so there is no miscast to worry about. The fact the Shaman turns Arcane spells into same level divine spells also had the side effect of making my favorite Sorcerer Archetype Razmiran Priest stronger, as now you only need a 6th level slot to free cast your Shaman Divine Scroll of Permanency. Winning!

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