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Totemic Shaman

Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos. Acting as moderators among earth, fire, water, and air, shaman summon totems that focus the elements to support the shaman’s allies or punish those who threaten them.

Adventure: Most Shamans are a reclusive breed, and therefore have little need to adventure. They do, however, live out a nomadic existence, as their spiritual journey often takes a lifetime. The most accomplished Shamans who stand the test of time and nature return to their cities as an old man, to relegate their wisdom to the young. Before this time, however, Shamans travel the world high and low, and adventure on account of personal intuition. They may join a party that they feel allows them to commit to the Journey.

Characteristics: Even when in a party, shamans tend to distance themselves from other members in order to contemplate their life-long quandary in silence and isolation. When others talk and drink together, he observes the stars, the winds, and the movement of animals, the waves of the water, the sway of the grass, the weave of life itself. Shamans, despite the augurious nature of their craft, are often powerful of build, as their craft requires them to be exceptionally healthy. This health, they say, is required for the Journey. When the party enters a conformation of civilized society, the shaman usually takes the rear in contemplative silence.

Alignment: At one side, the shaman’s life is one of commitment, devotion and sacrifice. At the other, he requires the conviction to maintain personal standards, the intuition to read omens in all facets of nature and the inclination to follow his own personal Journey. They then must possess either ethical extreme in equal measure in order to gain his superhuman link with life itself.

Religion: Wise shamans know more than anybody else that life itself is one large journey, and they devote all of their life to what they call ‘The Journey’. This Journey is to understand, but they know that understanding is much more than seeing. This Journey never ends, and it takes a lifetime for most shamans to understand this and what is truly important, to learn the ways of the Four Winds and to understand what is truly worth protecting. They do not value material wealth, but they do not look down upon taking what is rightfully theirs, if all expenses are incurred in favor of means that allow them to better pursue the Journey. The most important thing, however, that for all intents and purposes he regards life and nature as sacred. Although some Shamans make their journey at the behest of a deity, a devotion is not always necessary. Shamans can treat nature itself as a deity. Though no living creature can impart divine spells, nature itself, being such a massive formation of spiritual energy, can.

Background: Shaman are spiritual visionaries of tribes and clans. These gifted warriors can see into the world of spirits and communicate with creatures invisible to the eyes of normal beings. They are beset by visions of the future and use their sight to guide their people through troubled times. Although shaman may seem wise and serene at first, they are formidable foes; when angered, their wrath is as fierce as nature own. In almost any case, a Shaman’s background can be traced to a tribe or otherwise primitive society.

Races: Iconic as they are to primitive societies, very few members of a race known to have a sophisticated civilization ever become shamans. Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes and Halflings very rarely become shamans. Humans and half-elves that hail from primitive lands however regularly become shamans. Shamans are however really prominent character choices between the creatures known for their savagery. Half-Orcs, Orcs, Ogres, Minotaurs, Trolls and other such creatures often become shamans.

Other Classes: If there is any class that Shamans are likely to get along with well, it’s the Druid as they very often share the same personal conviction towards nature and things assorted. As they share the Barbarian’s more primitive origins as well as their illiteracy, shamans are favorable towards them as well. To most other classes however, the shaman is reasonably straight-forward. They do not share the intellectual upbringing of Wizards, nor do they understand the need for deception and sophistry that marks the specialization of Rogues.

Role: The shaman is not very adept at combat, but depends on his great health in order to last the fight. He gladly protects those that are more frail, and is at the forefront not to deliver killing strokes, but to heal and support the front with buffing and calling

Game Rule Information

Shamans have the following game statistics:

Abilities: The most important abilities for a shaman are Wisdom and Constitution, as the former allows him to cast spells, and the latter gives him good health and allows him to cast them without suffering ill consequences.

Alignment: NG, N, NE

Hit Point per Level: 8 + Con modifier

Class skills: Concentration(Con), Craft(Int), Diplomacy(Cha), Handle Animal(Cha), Heal(Wis), Knowledge Nature(Int), Listen(Wis), Profession(Wis), Ride(Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot(Wis), Survival(Wis), Swim(Str)
Skill Point at 1 Level: (4 +Int modifier) x 4
Skill Point at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features:

All of the following are class features of the shaman.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shamans are proficient with all simple weapons, with their staff and with light armor. They are however not proficient with any form of shield.

Spells: A shaman casts spells which are drawn primarily from the shaman spell list. A shaman however need not prepare any spell in advance. Once a shaman has learned the spell, he may cast it without preparing it. To learn or cast a spell, a shaman must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the spell level. Also, to cast a spell without incurring physical harm, a shaman must have a Constitution score of at least 10 + the spell level. A shaman that does not have a sufficient Constitution score takes 1d6 backlash damage per spell level and must furthermore succeed in a Concentration check to see if the spell functions correctly at all. This damage cannot be prevented in any magical or nonmagical way.
Like other spellcasters, a shaman may only cast only a certain number of spells of each level per day. His daily allotment is given on Table: The Shaman. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score. A shaman may know any number of spells, although keeping track of too many will present its own predicaments and ‘learning’ shaman spells is a time consuming task. He does not need to prepare his spells and may call upon any spell he is imparted with as many times as he has spell slots of a sufficiently high level.

Gaining Spells and the Shaman’s Staff: Like a wizard carries her spellbook, so carries a shaman his staff. It is his staff through which he channels the rapturous and often dangerous divine energies required for his spells. A staff is considered as a simple weapon made out of wood, bone or any other material that occurs in nature. For a medium creature, a Shaman’s Staff is considered to be a six to seven feet long, straight object with the same martial qualities as a quarterstaff. Through the hands of a shaman, and his spiritual devotion, his staff possesses powerful currents of divine energy.
The staff is the means by which the shaman inscribes the spells that he learns, and like a spellbook has pages, a staff has inches. Five feet of a staff belonging to a medium creature can be used to inscribe spells. A 1st level shaman is imparted with all 0-level spells and a number of 1st level spells equal to his Wisdom modifier, and need not inscribe those. Five feet in this case equals 60 inches of staff that can be utilized for the inscription of spells, where the inscription of a spell costs one inch per level of the spell. For shamans of other sizes, the units of staff that can be inscribed with spells is also always 60.
At every level that the shaman gets access to a new level of spells above 1st, he gains a free spell of that level, which he does not need to inscribe on his staff (at 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th and 15th level respectively). One level after each of these levels, he may inscribe a second free spell of a level he can cast on his staff (at 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th and 16th level respectively). For any other spell that the shaman wants to gain, he will need to undergo a ritual called Spell Investiture.

Staff Totem: As a shaman’s power increases, so do the effects that are associated with his staff. It is called the Primal Spirit, that which flows through him and from on grants him bonuses on certain actions corresponding with the bonus of the Staff Totem special feature. This bonus is +1 for every four levels. This Staff Totem bonus applies to the following:

  • Free Metamagic: The shaman gains a number of free metamagic uses equal to twice his Staff Totem bonus per day. When the shaman casts a spell, he may choose to apply a metamagic feat of his choice to the spell, without having to give up a higher level spell slot: the shaman expends a free metamagic use. A shaman may use his free metamagic levels in conjunction with any metamagic feat that he knows. Note that Maximise and Quicken costs 2 uses. Available metamagics: Empower, Enlarge, Extend, Heighten, Maximize (2 uses), Quicken (2 uses), Silent, Still, Widen
  • Active Totems: The shaman can have active totems equal to the shaman’s Staff Totem bonus.
  • Enhancement (Su): The shaman’s staff functions as a quarterstaff in battle and gains an enhancement bonus equal to the shaman’s Staff Totem bonus.
  • Nature’s Guard (Su): The shaman’s staff can be used for defense as well. When fighting defensively or using total defense, the Shaman gains an additional deflection bonus to AC equal to his Staff Totem bonus.
  • Staff Alignment: Any creature that does not share the Shaman’s moral alignment (good, neutral or evil), gains a number of negative levels equal to his Staff Totem bonus if it tries to hold the staff. These negative levels remain as long as the staff is on the creature’s person and disappear only when the staff is discarded.
  • Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate checks gain a bonus equal to the shaman’s Staff Totem Bonus when he is dealing with fey and other sentient creatures of nature, provided of course that he is wielding the staff.

Bonus Languages: A shaman bonus languages options include Sylvan, the language of woodland creatures and Primal, the language of elementals.

Charms (Ex): At 5th level shamans gains the ability to prepare small charms. These charms grants a small, but permanent bonus while worn openly. E.g. the shaman can prepare a Longstrider Charm which will grant a movement bonus effect to the character wearing it.

Elemental Spirit Guide (Ex): A shaman has an unusual connection to a certain elemental, usually from birth. It is this particular element that, according to beliefs, guides him on his path on the Journey. The element must be selected from the following: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Positive or Negative.

Elemental Resistance (Ex): A shaman bond with her chosen element grants a resistance to damaging effects from that element. This resistance increases as the bond grows.

Nature Sense (Ex): A shaman gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks.

Primal Empathy (Ex): A shaman can improve the attitude of an elemental. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. The shaman rolls 1d20 and adds his shaman level and his Charisma modifier to determine the primal empathy check result.
The typical starting attitude of primals are usually unfriendly.

Woodland Stride: Starting at 3rd level, a shaman may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at his normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. However, thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion still affect him.

Totems (Ex): Shamans have the ability to prepare totems instead of a spell slot. These totems is functions like a physical manifestation of a spell. E.g. the shaman can prepare a Sacred Grounds Totem which will grant a Prayer like effect around the totem. A shaman can only have a limited number of totems active at the time.

Trackless Step: Starting at 5th level, a shaman leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. He may choose to leave a trail if so desired.

Starting Age: Complex

The Shaman

Level Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st Elemental Spirit Guide, Nature Sense, Staff Totem bonus+1 1 - - - - - - - -
2nd Primal Empathy 2 - - - - - - - -
3rd Woodland Stride 2 1 - - - - - - -
4th Elemental Resistance (25%) 3 2 - - - - - - -
5th Create Charms, Trackless Step, Staff Totem bonus+2 3 2 1 - - - - - -
6th Special 3 3 2 - - - - - -
7th 4 3 2 1 - - - - -
8th Elemental Resistance (50%) 4 3 3 2 - - - - -
9th Staff Totem bonus+3 4 4 3 2 1 - - - -
10th 4 4 3 3 2 - - - -
11th 5 4 4 3 2 1 - - -
12th Elemental Resistance (75%) 5 4 4 3 3 2 - - -
13th Staff Totem bonus+4 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 - -
14th 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 - -
15th 5 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 -
16th Elemental Resistance (100%) 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 -
17th Staff Totem bonus+5 5 5 5 5 4 4 3 2 1
18th 5 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 2
19th 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 3 3
20th 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4


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