Shaman in PF2?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Just wanted to start discussion on a PF1 class that hasn't seemed to get a lot of attention for PF2: the Shaman. Should it come back as a class? An Archetype? Neither, and it can be covered easily enough with Druid/Primal Witch/Other? Any ideas on how it could be implemented in PF2?

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John R. wrote:
Just wanted to start discussion on a PF1 class that hasn't seemed to get a lot of attention for PF2: the Shaman. Should it come back as a class? An Archetype? Neither, and it can be covered easily enough with Druid/Primal Witch/Other? Any ideas on how it could be implemented in PF2?

I'm betting it will be a class archetype. I'm also betting the Shifter, Psychic, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor will also be class archetypes.

Silver Crusade

Invictus Novo wrote:
John R. wrote:
Just wanted to start discussion on a PF1 class that hasn't seemed to get a lot of attention for PF2: the Shaman. Should it come back as a class? An Archetype? Neither, and it can be covered easily enough with Druid/Primal Witch/Other? Any ideas on how it could be implemented in PF2?
I'm betting it will be a class archetype. I'm also betting the Shifter, Psychic, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor will also be class archetypes.

I REALLY want to see the shifter. Getting the balance right will be difficult but I expect it to actually be a regular archetype that basically gives access to the wild shape feats at a rate worse than a druid but better than a druid archetype.

Of course, before they did a shifter they'd actually have to decide how wild shape interacts with rage, magic items, etc etc (see the dozens of wild shape threads :-(). Many of those issues are currently reasonably moot with druids and druid archetypes. But they'd become pretty crucial with a shifter (however its defined). If it was balanced with one set of assumptions in mind it would be woefully underpowered and/or grossly overpowered at a table with different assumptions


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Personally, I think the Shaman has just enough of a thematic identity that it could come back as a class with some additions/adjustments to separate it from being a witch hybrid. Give it primal spontaneous casting to help avoid stepping into the Druid/Primal Witch niche, double down on the concept of communing with your spirit animal(s), remove hexes entirely, and maybe steal/reflavor some stuff from the Hunter (something like Animal Focus themed as partial possession of spirit animal for animalistic buffs).


John R. wrote:
the Shaman. Should it come back as a class?

Not for me. It was never very unique and in PF2 taking a witch with the oracle archetype looks like it pretty much covers it.

pauljathome wrote:
I REALLY want to see the shifter.

I'd REALLY like it see the class done right after not being impressed with the PF1 version. I'm not sure it can be done n a way I'd like it though with the structure of PF2.

Invictus Novo wrote:
I'm also betting the Shifter, Psychic, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor will also be class archetypes.

Out of those, Psychic is the only one that jump out as a archetype. Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor could be done with multiclassing and/or new class feats. Hunter needs what? Animal Focus feats? Brawler...? It had Martial flexibility but we don't have combat feats anymore, so it's a monk right? Inquisitor? Without teamwork feats, it's what? Judgements? Those could be a set of cleric focus feats/spells.


Shaman is in kind of a weird spot because its themes still aren't really covered but it's mechanics have been almost completely subsumed by the new Witch. It would have to be very different to justify an inclusion in PF2.


graystone wrote:
John R. wrote:
the Shaman. Should it come back as a class?

Not for me. It was never very unique and in PF2 taking a witch with the oracle archetype looks like it pretty much covers it.

pauljathome wrote:
I REALLY want to see the shifter.

I'd REALLY like it see the class done right after not being impressed with the PF1 version. I'm not sure it can be done n a way I'd like it though with the structure of PF2.

Invictus Novo wrote:
I'm also betting the Shifter, Psychic, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor will also be class archetypes.
Out of those, Psychic is the only one that jump out as a archetype. Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor could be done with multiclassing and/or new class feats. Hunter needs what? Animal Focus feats? Brawler...? It had Martial flexibility but we don't have combat feats anymore, so it's a monk right? Inquisitor? Without teamwork feats, it's what? Judgements? Those could be a set of cleric focus feats/spells.

Fighters Flexibility features are pretty similar to the Brawler's Martial Flexibility, if not as fast.


I see the shaman as the wis based pick your tradition class, analogous to the sorcerer and the witch.


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I saw some mention of Shaman a while back, which was that basically if they do it, they'd much rather a totally new interpretation of the class to better capture some of the real-world implications of the word shaman, etc.

Shaman mechanically can be very closely simulated with archetypes, and the themes are better captured by an entirely new take on a Shaman class, is my understanding.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

They can hold off on Shaman until they sort out Witch Hexes and Hex Cantrips. I loved Shaman for these reasons:

1. It was a divine caster that could edit their spell list to a significant degree through wandering spirits and Arcane Enlightenment, giving them flexibility and power while allowing them to wear armor.

2. It had Hexes. Hexes were powerful, fun, all-day tools that I loved having in my toolkit.

3. They were flexible. Being able to switch out hexes, spells, familiar abilities, and class features, they could fill a different niche every day.

(1) Isn't really a thing. Witch Lessons can get you a tiny fraction of the spell list editing I'd like. Casting in armor isn't a problem for anyone anymore. (2) is a bit of a problem. Hexes fall astoundingly short of their PF1 incarnation. If we can get some good buff or utility hex cantrips showing up on the Witch, then we can start thinking about what would be right for the Shaman. As for (3) I'm not 100% sure that day-to-day flexibility shouldn't be another class's schtick, Medium for example.

All in all, I loved Shaman to pieces but Spell List editing and Hexes aren't really there, and are also mechanical considerations rather than lore related. I'd absolutely love to see a new highly flexible, versatile divine caster with a unique list and all-day-utility through something like Hexes, however the name "Shaman" could easily go to another mechanical framework entirely, perhaps one with more focus on doing right by real world Shamanism.


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While bard, cleric, druid, oracle and witch can all be flavored to to simulate a shaman (from a character archetype standpoint), I think there's enough thematic identity to justify it's own class.

Imo, it should probably be a divine caster with pretty solid access to primal and occult spells. Personally, when I think of a shaman, I also I tend to imagine rituals and ceremonies that take time, so I wouldn't mind seeing them be a class with a decent amount of ritual support and 10 minute exploration activities that utilize magic in some way that doesn't eat spell slots. I'd also like to see some abilities that deal with making protective talismans and the like, since this is practically a staple of japanese miko and the like


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Related, from my New Classes thread

Michael Sayre wrote:

The classes I'd most like to see in the future (this is absolutely not a hint or teaser, btw, just the things I personally think would be super cool) :

1) A shaman class. I wouldn't pick up really anything from PF1, though. I'd want to start ground up pulling from real-world lore with an emphasis on the shaman's role as a spirit-speaker in many different real world cultures.

I linked the full post, but that's the shaman specific bit.

Liberty's Edge

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Gimme a good "This is definitely NOT a WoW Shaman" *wink* with totems that project offensive and defensive auras, connections to spirits of nature as a spontaneous primal caster with Melee, Spell, and Minion based Class-Paths and I would be ever so happy.

In many ways, I almost think that the Shaman and the Kinetecist could even be part of the same base class for an "Elemental/Spiritual Primal Hybrid" chassis too but that's probably asking way too much and would water down both concepts greatly.


AnimatedPaper wrote:

Related, from my New Classes thread

Michael Sayre wrote:

The classes I'd most like to see in the future (this is absolutely not a hint or teaser, btw, just the things I personally think would be super cool) :

1) A shaman class. I wouldn't pick up really anything from PF1, though. I'd want to start ground up pulling from real-world lore with an emphasis on the shaman's role as a spirit-speaker in many different real world cultures.

I linked the full post, but that's the shaman specific bit.

Yeah, thats where I'm at. The 1e shaman felt a little... off to me. If I had my way, ot would have a bunch of abilities like Read Omen or Consult the Spirits that really let you tap into the spirit calling without using slots, possibly some summoning support, etc.

I'd want it to feel like a miko in anime, where the powers are exaggerated and dramatized, but still based in irl practices. It's also worth noting that I'd hope you could use the class to make shamans that feel like many different types of shamans from world mythology


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I said it in the New Classes thread, but I would love Michael Sayre's shaman idea. I suspect it would have to be multi-tradition though, since pulling from different real world shamanic traditions means being able to pull off some very different flavors, it'd probably have the side effect of finishing off a trio of multi tradition casters based on the three mental stats, so thats kind of neat.

If not multi-tradition, it would be cool to make it a dedicated Primal Spontaneous caster, the counterpart of the Druid.

I would probably draw either way, on the idea of a Shamanic Trance and spirit possession, to create a caster equivalent of the Barbarian's Rage mechanic, though obviously with very different effects.
_____________________________________________________________________
One extreme idea is to actually have the Shaman be a spontaneous caster or naturally flexible one, that can pick up a variety of trances, each with a small spell list, based off different spirits possessing them, that they can only cast while in that trance.

The spirits wouldn't be exclusive by tradition, so as you picked up trances, you would be building a cross tradition spell list, the advantage of this would be mitigated by both the opportunity cost of this costing class feats to collect trances, and by the action economy cost of having to shift trances to shift between small spell lists. Each trance would have a very restricted set of spells you could cast while it was active, even if they individually cross traditions somewhat (like a fire spirit trance being able to offer you both Flamestrike and Fireball, or something.)

You could have a class path that awards a first level feat, that corresponds to "Initiation Spirits" that fall into different Shamanic Roles, like healing, cursing, and etc, then let the player build out from there, certain spirits could require certain other spirits as a gate. Every spirit you could take could give you a cantrip you can use irrespective of spirit trance.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:

Gimme a good "This is definitely NOT a WoW Shaman" *wink* with totems that project offensive and defensive auras, connections to spirits of nature as a spontaneous primal caster with Melee, Spell, and Minion based Class-Paths and I would be ever so happy.

In many ways, I almost think that the Shaman and the Kinetecist could even be part of the same base class for an "Elemental/Spiritual Primal Hybrid" chassis too but that's probably asking way too much and would water down both concepts greatly.

Honestly the Kineticist made a great WoW shaman for me. Probably the only part of the elementalist flavor I liked. I didn't dislike it, but was pretty indifferent except for the ability to translate my WoW shaman into Pathfinder finally.

How the Shaman gets translated into PF2 depends on how attached we are to spellcasting, I think. If they're more of a hybridized caster like the Magus, then I think you can cram the Shifter, Medium, Shaman, and Synthecist Summoner into a class whose flavor is "binding to a spirit for physical abilities". There could also be a single Binder class and the others be spin off class-archetypes to either that class or other classes with the main "add spirit, get abilities" mechanic worked out in the main class.

But if spellcasting is critical, then I don't know if the Shaman would have enough class features leftover to get those abilities too.

WatersLethe wrote:
As for (3) I'm not 100% sure that day-to-day flexibility shouldn't be another class's schtick, Medium for example.

I'm sometimes curious how the shaman would have looked if they'd had the benefit of having the medium class written first, perhaps even drawing on that class for hybridization instead of either the witch or oracle.

Then again, the medium probably benefitted from the work they put into the daily shuffling of the shaman class.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
The-Magic-Sword wrote:

One extreme idea is to actually have the Shaman be a spontaneous caster or naturally flexible one, that can pick up a variety of trances, each with a small spell list, based off different spirits possessing them, that they can only cast while in that trance.

The spirits wouldn't be exclusive by tradition, so as you picked up trances, you would be building a cross tradition spell list, the advantage of this would be mitigated by both the opportunity cost of this costing class feats to collect trances, and by the action economy cost of having to shift trances to shift between small spell lists. Each trance would have a very restricted set of spells you could cast while it was active, even if they individually cross traditions somewhat (like a fire spirit trance being able to offer you both Flamestrike and Fireball, or something.)

You could have a class path that awards a first level feat, that corresponds to "Initiation Spirits" that fall into different Shamanic Roles, like healing, cursing, and etc, then let the player build out from there, certain spirits could require certain other spirits as a gate. Every spirit you could take could give you a cantrip you can use irrespective of spirit trance.

The theurge mechanic I talked about in that thread might apply well to this. By my reading of the current theurge feats, you'd need to delay getting the 3rd slot by 1 level each, but otherwise it should fit in well enough.

Sovereign Court

I think the shifter might be built as an archetype a bit like how the martial artist archetype does unarmed combat without being a monk, or how the beastmaster does animal companions without being a monk. Emphasis on getting the feats/spells at appropriate levels so they can work, instead of 1/2 speed like multiclassing which kills some of them.


If a shaman class was made, I’d imagine it designed with different paths; each path would connect to a different tradition based on a theme. It’ll probably be similar to the witch or sorcerer in that regard.


Invictus Novo wrote:
I'm also betting the Shifter, Psychic, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor will also be class archetypes.

Since we have the shaman corner pretty well covered, I want to chime in on this.

The bloodrager could easily just be an instinct. Maybe be that provides a Sorcerer dedication and abilities to cast while raging?

I could see a shifter come back expanded beyond the natural and cover body horror and magic as well.

Brawler and Hunter sort of subsumed into other classes already. Monk/Fighter and Summoner respectively.

Inquistor and Psychic have a lot of room to flesh out as a solid class.


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I say we slam the P1e Shaman and Medium together at an alarming speed and see what comes out on the other side.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Even if they don't wind up the same class, they should DEFINETELY be developed together in the same book. Maybe the Shaman is the more caster-ish, and the Medium more martial, but both bleed into each other.

I've been curious if there will be a general "Spirit" book with a bestiary, some lore, more feats and archetypes, LOTS of rituals, the whole thing. These two classes would fit very well I think.


Albatoonoe wrote:
Invictus Novo wrote:
I'm also betting the Shifter, Psychic, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter and Inquisitor will also be class archetypes.

Since we have the shaman corner pretty well covered, I want to chime in on this.

The bloodrager could easily just be an instinct. Maybe be that provides a Sorcerer dedication and abilities to cast while raging?

I could see a shifter come back expanded beyond the natural and cover body horror and magic as well.

Brawler and Hunter sort of subsumed into other classes already. Monk/Fighter and Summoner respectively.

Inquistor and Psychic have a lot of room to flesh out as a solid class.

Tbh, eldritch trickster is a bit of a flop because archetype proficiency scaling doesn't really let you use spell attacks well enough to sneak attack with them, meaning your best bet is save based spells and utility. Scondrel's feint actually lets you nerf reflex saves, which helps you land ref based spells easier, and since ET doesn't really give you anything special, scoundrel is actually a better RT than the actual ET, and any rogue racket can use spells just as well, while also getting a unique racket effect, all at the cost of using their 2nd level class feat on the dedication.

I'm not super keen on making bloodrager the same thing


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Puna'chong wrote:
I say we slam the P1e Shaman and Medium together at an alarming speed and see what comes out on the other side.

Why though? They both use the word 'spirit' in their description but that's about where the similarities end.

I'm having trouble thinking of a pair of classes that have less in common.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

In mechanics, yes, I agree. They're very different classes, and why my initial reaction to Kekeres (I think) suggesting that they be combined was skepticism.

But we now have at least one designer that would be more interested in exploring different mechanics than what was in PF1, so the door is wide open in what we can see.

Looking at just the flavor, you have a caster with a spirit guide/familiar that is also able to form a temporary bond with a local nature spirit. A medium doesn't have a base spirit to bond with, but does form temporary bonds with spirits of the dead (or fiends or kamis). Focusing on that temporary bond and the trance state that is typical of both mediums and shaman in the real world might provide fertile ground for a single class to be built on.

Further, when I wrote my own homebrew medium, I initially did the same tack as the PF1 medium, in that you didn't have a fixed option at first level, but everything spirit related changed up every day. The feedback I got was that it felt kind of bland, and that having a fixed option would help make different mediums feel different from each other. So perhaps the when Paizo does the real version, the PF2 medium might benefit from a spirit guide or some other fixed choice as well. It certainly fits a lot of the stories about mediums (Cyndi Lauper's character in "Vibes" immediately comes to mind).

Edit: I may not have expressed myself clearly, so let me try again.

homebrewery:
The feedback I got for my medium homebrew was that I lacked a class path mechanic, since my initial version had a multiclass dedication feat be your first level "choice", and you were able to switch that out every day. So for the second version I wrote a class path and kicked the flexible dedication feat to 3rd, which honestly made the specific mechanics I was writing smoother anyways.
Paizo will almost certainly have a more compelling version when they write their own Medium, but even so it is also possible they'll get the same feedback. Without actually seeing their version, I can only speculate.

That's why I wrote upthread that perhaps the shifter, synthecist, medium, and shaman might be able to all be variations of a single class. The shifter is the most strained addition, so that might be better off as a class archetype that can use basically all of the same feats, but in flavor actually transforms into a different creature instead of merely taking on the physical/mystical abilities of that creature by forming a temporary bond with a spirit. The other three are more solidly about forming a spirit bond of different durations.


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Squiggit wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:
I say we slam the P1e Shaman and Medium together at an alarming speed and see what comes out on the other side.

Why though? They both use the word 'spirit' in their description but that's about where the similarities end.

I'm having trouble thinking of a pair of classes that have less in common.

I kind of doubt you have trouble thinking of a pair of classes with less in common when Barbarian and Arcanist exist.

But at a superficial level, yes, Shaman and Medium both involve spirit "in their description." Spirits are central to their themes, writ large, and both are described as gaining their powers from spirits.

A layer deeper, both do more than just receive powers from spirits passively, they actively seek them out and request boons or make deals with the spirits. They presumably perform rituals to attract and commune with the sprits and make exchanges, though that's expressed a bit less with the Shaman. The flavor isn't super specific on the Shaman, and the Medium seems to have some Golarion-specific Binder lore created for it (and the first iteration was a spirit for like every Harrow card), so we don't know for sure if they're the same spirits. Shamans have pretty close to a Druid spell list and seemingly associate mostly with nature spirits, while Binders associate with all sorts of different spirits, but I don't think it's a stretch to consider that these things exist simultaneously.

Mechanically, one is a full caster and the other is whatever it wants to be, so they do play differently from one another--though, Medium plays differently from everything until you lock in a spirit for the day, so there's that. But P2e doesn't need to follow P1e mechanical paradigms to the letter (i.e. Shaman doesn't have to be a mashup of Oracle+Witch like it was in the ACG), so what we're left with are how the specific mechanics that made the classes unique might translate over to P2e.

What differentiates a Shaman in P1e from an Oracle or a Witch is that it has "spirit magic" but also, I think most importantly, has the wandering spirit mechanic, which allows the class to swap out abilities by channeling different spirits. However that's translated to P2e, I would think that the mechanical core of a Shaman is that it can swap abilities as it communes with different spirits.

For the Medium, what makes it unique in P1e is that it can change its entire suite of abilities by... channeling different spirits. Thematically its deals are a bit more Faustian, and seem a bit less benevolent than what the Shaman is dealing with, but in the game what you're doing is making a character and then deciding every day what your character's abilities are going to be.

At the core of both Shaman and Medium is the idea that they are making deals with spirits and changing their abilities daily or on the fly. I think when you get down to it, that idea doesn't necessarily need to be two separate classes. Flavor-wise I guess we could retain the Medium's sort of Mythic Archetypes, or the Shaman's nature spirits, but I think you can combine those pretty easily and they're not mutually exclusive. I think one developer was talking about the narrative of a class, and here I'm not sure we have to keep the narratives of the Shaman and Medium apart, necessarily.

Really though I'm not too invested in campaigning for this or whatever, but the incredulity here seems uncharacteristic.

Sovereign Court

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I think PF2 could do Medium much better than PF1 did.

One of the key ideas of the Medium is channeling a particular spirit and for this day being able to play as a member of "that class" matching the spirit. Channel the Marshal, be a martial character for the day. Channel the hierophant, be a divine caster for the day.

PF1 found this pretty hard to do because you lock in a lot of your build at build time - ability scores, feats all lock you into being good at a particular few things. Although a Medium was technically allowed to turn into one of any six people in the morning, in practice it might be only 1-2 of them that you're any good at.

PF2 could do this much better. We have Tight Math™ which means that the numbers you need to be plausible in a particular role at a particular level are quite knowable. You can see this in action with wildshape: you turn into an animal and get combat stats that are pretty spot-on for your level.

This is what I think the medium could do: basically "spirit-shape" to have stats to fulfill the rule of the spirit you're channeling that day. Not more - the people who are experts in that role permanently will be better at it, they're the real specialists. But you can be up to 90% of that and be the dude of a thousand faces, capable of joining any (PFS!) party and picking up the role of whoever is missing in the party.

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