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The Shaman

In a hut of wattle and daub, a small man sits on the ground with his legs crossed and his arms outstretched. A small, crackling fire fills the room with smoke. Small bones, bits of metal, a dead raven, and wooden carvings hang from the ceiling and cast strange shadows upon the wall. The man continues to chant, raising his arms high above his head. One hand grasping a small carved wooden figure. Even late into the night, his ritual continues. Two older tribe members watch on in silence, afraid to make a noise, as he mumbles and seems to disappear within himself.

Finally, the shaman drops his arms and opens his eyes, peering into the souls of the man and woman that sit before him. He calls them by name and utters slowly, “You and I have been selected by the spirits. We must leave before dawn, for we have been chosen to fend off the attack in the North.” He stands up without any further explanation picks up his bag and staff, and starts to walk out of the building into the moonlit night. He looks back at them with a commanding glare for them to follow. The spirits have made their selection, and he knows that they are the only ones prepared to prevent the impending doom. But only with the help of the spirits.

The world is full of sacred creatures, and shamans cherish these spirits. They especially honor the spirits of departed loved ones and members of their tribe.

Nothing really dies, because each spirit lives on in the Spirit World.

By bargaining with living spirits, shamans gain power over the natural world and can tap into Spiritual magic. Shamans live as part of a tribe and share many attributes with other classes: wise and connected to nature as the Druid, adept and crafty like the Ranger, and ferociously primal like a Barbarian. Shamans are the intermediaries between the mortal world and the realm of spirits – the wide encompassing power that is part of every living being, that continues even unto death. This power is a divine essence derived from the spirits and has become part of the world in which we live.

Shamans have gained a spiritual connection with animals, ancestor spirits, supernatural creatures, and all elements of nature. They are in constantly linked with the spirits of the Spirit World. Shamans are obliged and required to offer prayers and services to the spirits in order to receive favors in the form of spells and aide to the natural world. Ancestral spirits request deeds to be completed or wrongs to be avenged, while Nature spirits request help when trouble afflicts the natural world. Great blessings that shamans receive are also a great burden, as a spirits from the Spirit World may use shamans for their own agenda.

Many shamans possess the ability to go directly to the Spirit World fully, leaving their body and entering the supernatural world to search for answers. They acquire knowledge and power by performing rituals that honor their tribe. Shaman provide advice and service to all members of their tribe by warding away bad spirits, and by guarding traditions and hard-earned wisdom.

They offer physical and spiritual healing to members of the tribe.

Creating a Shaman

The shaman lives in between two worlds; a world of spirituality and the natural world. They don’t see the two as being separate, just that others are blind to what they can easily comprehend. They connect with the Spirit World to bring forth great power against the wrong doings in the world. Remember that your character has a close bond to their tribe and to the Spirit World. You have a constant connection to the Spirit World and that place is always on your mind.

Why would you leave your Tribe to become an adventurer? Perhaps you’ve made a bargain to right a wrong, or your tribe has been attacked and you need to find the source. You may have been captured and trying to find your way back to your home after winning your freedom. Perhaps you have been replaced by another shaman and you have to go out into the world as part of your tribe’s custom to learn from the larger world outside of your tribe.

Quick Build

You can make a shaman quickly by following these suggestions. First, put your highest ability score in Wisdom, followed by Constitution and Strength. Second choose the outlander background.

Class Features

As a shaman, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per shaman level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per shaman level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Herbalism kit
Saving Throws: Strength, Wisdom
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a shield or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) two hand axes or (b) any simple weapon
  • An explorer’s pack and spirit totem
Table: The Shaman
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known Spells Known Spell Slots Slot Level
1st +2 Totem Spirit, Natural explorer, Unarmored defense, Spiritual Magic 2
2nd +2 Spirit Sight 2
3rd +2 Shaman Path 2 2 2 1st
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 2 3 2 1st
5th +3 Primal Protector 2 4 2 2nd
6th +3 Path feature 3 5 2 2nd
7th +3 Spiritual Connection 3 6 2 2nd
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 3 7 2 3rd
9th +4 Bounty of Life 3 8 2 3rd
10th +4 Path feature 4 9 2 3rd
11th +4 Spiritual Whisper 4 10 3 4th
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4 10 3 4th
13th +5 Spiritual Whisper 4 11 3 4th
14th +5 Path feature 4 11 3 4th
15th +5 Spiritual Whisper 4 12 3 5th
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 12 3 5th
17th +6 Spiritual Whisper 4 13 4 5th
18th +6 Eternal Favor 4 13 4 5th
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4 14 4 5th
20th +6 Spiritual Warrior 5 15 4 5th

Totem Spirit (1st Level)

Each person has a connection to nature spirit called a Totem Spirit. There are several totem spirits that can be connected to a person: Bear, Buffalo, Coyote, Crow, Eagle, Elk, Fox, Hawk, Owl, Snake, or Wolf.

From birth, a person has one of these totem spirits that helps them on the journey through life until they are allowed to enter the Spirit World after death. A shaman can detect the totem spirit that is connected to each humanoid creature of their tribe.

The shaman also has a totem spirit that they are connected that has been confirmed by the Tribe’s previous shaman. Upon character creation at level 1, choose a totem spirit. A shaman can go down the Path of the Wild at 3rd level to enhance this connection if they choose. Otherwise, the totem spirit will simply be a part of the shaman’s identity and can enrich their character when dealing with nature. The shaman gains advantage on animal handling checks concerning the creature associated with their totem.

As a DM, you should increase opportunities of interaction with the totem type for the shaman player.

Involve the totem creature in thematically-appropriate situations to enrich the story.

Ironwoodskin (1st Level)

While you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Wisdom modifier + your Constitution modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit.

Natural Explorer (1st Level)

You are very familiar with a single natural environment that your Tribe has lived. You are gifted at moving and living in your region because of the time you have spent with nature during your prayers and isolation while communing with the Spirit World. You can choose one type of terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, or swamp. When you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to your favored terrain, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill that you are proficient.

While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
  • Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
  • If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Spiritual Magic (1st Level)

Your magic bestowed on you by natural world’s spirits have given you facility with spells. You may choose two cantrips from the Shaman Spell list. Your spell casting ability is Wisdom.

Cantrips

You know two cantrips of your choice from the Shaman spell list. You learn additional cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Shaman Class table.

Spellslots Table: The Shaman shows how many spell slots you have. The table also shows what the level of those slots are; all of your spell slots are the same level. To cast one of your shaman spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a spell slot. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

For example, when you are 8th level, you have two 3rd-level spell slots. To cast the 1st-level spell charm person, you must spend one of those slots, and you cast it as a 3rd-level spell.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

At 3rd level, you know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the shaman spell list.

The Spells Known column of Table: The Shaman shows when you learn more shaman spells of your choice of 1st level and higher. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what’s shown in the table’s Slot Level column for your level. When you reach 8th level, for example, you learn a new shaman spell, which can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the shaman spells you know and replace it with another spell from the shaman spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability

Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your shaman spells, so you use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a shaman spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use a totem that you have as a spellcasting focus for your shaman spells. It requires a long rest and for you to be in your favored terrain to replace your totem. Your totem that you carry is made by you to resemble the animal of your Totem spirit.

Spirit Sight (2nd Level)

At 2nd level, you gain an uncanny sense of when things nearby aren’t as they should be, giving you an edge when you dodge away from danger.

You have advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that you can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, you can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.

Shaman Path (3rd, 6th, 10th, 14th Levels)

At 3rd level, you choose a path that shapes the nature of your shamanic power. The Paths are detailed at the end of this section. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.

Ability Score Improvement (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th Levels)

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Primal Protector (5th Level)

Beginning at 5th level, you can connect with animal spirits and improve the demeanor of a creature with the beast type that you can see. Using your totem, you can use your action to attempt to make a target creature indifferent about creatures of your choice that it is hostile toward. Each beast creature that can see you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is charmed by you for 1 minute or until it takes damage. While it is charmed by you, it is friendly to you and other creatures you designate. You are able to perform this twice per short or long rest.

Spiritual Connection (7th Level)

By 7th level, your spiritual connection with your Spirit World grows and it blesses you with mental fortitude.

A spiritual aura surrounds you, and grants you and any allies within 10 feet advantage on Constitution and Wisdom saving throws.

Bounty of Life (9th Level)

Beginning at 9th level, you can choose to drain the life force from a creature. When you hit a creature with a melee attack, the target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw versus your spell save DC; on a failed save, you gain temporary hit points equal to the damage caused to the creature. You can use this ability once per round.

Spiritual Whisper (11th, 13th, 15th, and 17th Level)

Beginning at 11th level, you are bestowed a magical secret as if it were a whisper into your mind. Choose one 6th- level spell from the Druid spell list as this whisper.

You can cast your secret spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again. At higher levels, you gain more druid spells of your choice that can be cast in this way: one 7th- level spell at 13th level, one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Spiritual whisper when you finish a long rest.

Eternal Favor (18th Level)

Starting at 18th level, the primal magic that you wield requires you to age very slowly. In order to complete tasks in the natural world, every 10 years that pass, your body ages only 1 year.

Spiritual Warrior (20th Level)

At 20th level, you embody the spiritual power of the world and it infuses you with vigor and insight. Your Wisdom score increases by 4. Your maximum for this score is now 24.

Shaman Paths

There are four different paths that a shaman can choose to take: Path of the Corruptor, Path of the Elements, Path of the Spirit, or Path of the Wild.

Each path has connections to the Spirit World for the shaman.

Path of the Corruptor

The Path of the Corruptor is a path of darkness, and selfishness. Your connection to the Spirit World is only a means to an end, because you want power.

Spreading fear, anger and hatred outside of your tribe with the use of spirits in order to gain that power. You have made dark dealings that will claim your soul in the Spirit World. Shamans that choose this path normally have an Orcish or Goblinoid ancestry, but is not exclusive to those races.

Dark Path (3rd Level)

Your normal totem is replaced by a dark facsimile. It appears in your mind as being corrupted and dripping with foulness. If another Shaman, fey or beast creature is near you (30 feet), it is filled with dread while in your presence. You now take disadvantage when making any animal handling checks, except when dealing with your totem creature.

Your spell list is expanded to include several necromancy spells:

Cantrip: Chill touch
1st level: False life, inflict wounds
2nd level: Blindness/deafness, ray of enfeeblement
3rd level: Bestow curse, speak with dead
4th level: Blight
5th level: Raise dead

Shadow Spirit (6th Level)

You have stumbled upon a companion from the deepest and most foul parts of the Spirit World that you bring back with you during your travels. At this level, a vengeful spirit binds itself to your soul. You have disadvantage on any spell that requires a concentration check due to the shadow spirit’s distracting and unnatural nature. If you take damage from a melee attack, once per turn, your shadow spirit curses the attacker. The attacker gains disadvantage on their next to hit, saving throw, or skill check roll.

Killing Touch (10th Level)

Beginning at 10th level, your shadow has corrupted you further and your body appears to have aged greatly. You gain the ability to touch one living creature and imbue a dark gift as your Action. The creature must make a dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC or suffer a level of exhaustion.

Dark Protector (14th Level)

Starting at 14th level, your shadow spirit emits an aura of repelling dread. Any creature within 30 feet of the shaman feels a slight effect of the aura, but the shaman can amplify this toward one creature that can see the shaman. The target creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC or become frightened. The creature remains frightened while it can see the shaman or is within 60 feet of the shaman. While frightened, the creature must take the Dash action and use its movement to move to spot where it can’t see the shaman, or up to 60 feet away to get away from the aura.

If the creature ends it turn while not within 60 feet of the shaman or able to see him, the creature makes another Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the creature is no longer affected by the aura and is immune to its effect unless it enters the aura again.

Path of the Elements

This path takes you on a journey to the primordial spirits of creation and a connection to the four elemental planes: Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. You continue to have a relation to the Spirit World, but your focus begins to go further back into the beginnings of the universe. You take on the Path of the Elements and they begin to consume your soul. You appear to radiate with an unknown energy as you continue to follow this path.

Scorching Breath (3rd Level)

At the start of this path, you gain resistance to fire damage. You are also able to attack a creature that you can see with an elemental blast of flame as a bonus action. The target must make a Constitution saving throw or suffer 1d8 plus your Wisdom ability score modifier of fire damage.

Underwater Divergence (6th Level)

Beginning at 6th level, you gain resistance to acid damage and the ability to breathe air and water. You are also immune to poison damage and your swim speed is equal to your movement rate.

Spirit of the Sky (10th Level)

Beginning at 10th level, you have a flying speed equal to your current walking speed.

Elemental Infusion (14th Level)

Starting at 14th level, your connection to the elemental planes increases. You can use an action to summon an elemental. You can cast conjure elemental spell once per day without using a spell slot or any components.

The spell does not require concentration, and will not attack you or your companions.

Path of the Spirit

The Path of the Spirit is a path of spiritual awareness and connection to the Spirit World. It is accompanied with a Spiritual Guide, Incorporeal Boons, and Spirit World travel.

Spiritual Guide (3rd Level)

As you connect further with the Spirit World, you are bestowed a spirit guide to help you progress further.

The spirit guide takes on the incorporeal form of your totem spirit.

Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, your Spirit Guide appears by your side. The Spirit Guide is the embodiment of the Spirit World for you. It cannot be seen by anyone else by non-magical means, but it can see and hear others as you would. The Spirit guide communicates and interacts with the shaman as a conscious being.

The spirit guide grants the shaman advantage to initiative rolls, can’t be surprised while conscious, and other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being hidden from you.

Ghost Touch (6th Level)

Beginning at 6th level, any weapon that you touch deals damage normally against any incorporeal creature regardless of its resistance to that damage type. This feature lasts as long as the shaman holds the weapon. The shaman also gains resistance to melee attacks from incorporeal creatures e.g. ghosts, shadows, wraiths, will-o’-wisp, specters.

Spiritual Focus (10th Level)

Beginning at 10th level, you can give the spirit guide the task of concentrating on a spell or spell-like ability that is maintained through concentration. The shaman can act normally while his spirit guide concentrates on the spell. If the shaman casts another spell that requires concentration, then the first spell effect ends and the second spell begins. The shaman can choose the spirit guide to concentrate on any subsequent spells cast.

A spirit guide can concentrate on only one spell at a time.

A spirit guide does not have to make Concentration checks for circumstances such as the shaman taking damage. The spirit guide is not present for anyone to interrupt or otherwise interact. If the shaman falls unconscious or dies, then the spirit guide stops concentrating on the spell, and the spell’s effect ends.

Spirit Journey (14th Level)

Starting at 14th level, a spirit shaman knows how to vanish bodily into the Spirit World. As an Action, a shaman can become incorporeal and move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. He takes 5 (1d10) force damage if he ends his turn inside an object. While incorporeal, the shaman does not invoke attacks of opportunity.

Outside of combat, the shaman can spend time in prayer and meditation to commune directly with other spirits in the Spirit World to attempt receive information concerning their current quest. The shaman can ask three questions that can be answers with a yes or no. While in meditation, the shaman’s soul is in the Spirit World, and cannot communicate with others in the Natural world.

Path of the Wild

The Path of the Wild is a path of nature awareness and connection to the spirits of the Natural World.

The Shaman’s totem spirit becomes stronger for them. Each totem has characteristics that are unique to the creature totem of the Shaman’s choosing.

The totem spirit grants magical gifts to the shaman as they progress in levels. The shaman takes on the embodiment of the totem spirit and becomes closer to their totem by taking on their power with magical benefits according to the following table. The shaman also beings taking on the personality characters of their totem.

Table: Path of the Wild Totem Powers
Totem Power Totem Characteristics 3rd Level 6th Level 10th Level 14th Level
Bear Strength, endurance Might Tough Tooth & Claw Spiritual Resistance
Buffalo Abundance, good fortune Running Ramming Tough Spiritual Resistance
Coyote Humor, trickiness Silent Enhanced Senses Trickery Stealth
Crow Intelligence, resourcefulness Quickness Trickery Enhanced Senses Accelerated Perception
Eagle Perception, illumination Quickness Enhanced Senses Tooth & Claw Brutal Attack
Elk Pride, power, majesty Running Leaping Enhanced Senses Rush
Fox Cleverness, discretion Running Silent Trickery Subterfuge
Hawk Awareness, truth Quickness Enhanced Senses Tooth & Claw Flight
Owl Wisdom, night Quickness Enhanced Senses Silent Tooth & Claw
Snake Power, life force, potency Silent Enhanced Senses Sneak Accelerated Perception
Wolf Loyalty, interdependence Enhanced Senses Tooth & Claw Running Accelerated Perception

Accelerated Perception: You gain extraordinary senses that help you sense creatures. When you attack a creature you can’t see, your inability to see it doesn’t impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it. You are also aware of the location of any invisible creature that is within 30 feet of you, provided that the creature isn’t hidden from you and you aren’t blinded or deafened.

Brutal Attack: Whenever you use the Attack action on your turn, you can then make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action on your turn. Your damage from unarmed attacks increases to d6 slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing damage and is considered magical.

Enhanced Senses: If you are able to hear, you are aware of the location of any hidden or invisible creature within 10 feet of you. You gain advantage on wisdom (perception) ability checks.

Flight: You now have a flying speed equal to your current walking speed due to your Totem Spirit. This ability isn’t constant and can only be used for up to 1 minute per day. Flight can be used again after a long rest.

Leaping: You are able to jump at double the distance due to your Totem power.

Might: You gain spiritual strength and have advantage on strength based ability checks and saving throws. You can perform this twice per day and resets after a long rest.

Quickness: Whenever you use the dash action, you do so without provoking any opportunity attacks. You can also use a dash action during your turn as a bonus action.

Ramming: You gain the ability to knock an opponent prone if you end your movement adjacent to them after moving 10 feet in a straight line. The opponent is knocked prone if they are Large or smaller, and fail a Strength saving throw versus your Strength ability score.

Running: Your walking speed is increased by 10 feet when you aren’t wearing armor, and difficult terrain doesn’t cost you extra movement.

Rush: Your walking speed is increased by 15 feet.

Silent: You have advantage on a Dexterity (Stealth) check if you move no more than half your speed on the same turn.

Spiritual Resistance: You gain resistance to all nonmagical damage.

Stealth: You can use the Hide action as a bonus action on your turn. Also, you can’t be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail.

Subterfuge: Your instinctive alertness lets you dodge out of the way of certain area effects. When you are exposed to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Trickery: Your quick thinking and nimbleness gained from your Totem allows you to move and act with lightning speed. You are able to take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Tooth & Claw: You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for unarmed attacks, and if they hit a creature, the attack causes d4 bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage.

Tough: You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage.

Shaman Spell List

For your convenience, below is a catalog of the Shaman Spell list. Spells with a © next to them require concentration, and the ones with a † symbol are able to be cast with a higher spell slot for added significance:

Cantrips (0 Level)

Guidance ©
Mending
Produce Flame
Resistance ©
Shillelagh

1st Level

Alarm
Charm Person
Create or Destroy Water
Cure Wounds
Detect Magic ©
Detect Poison and Disease ©
Entangle ©
Faerie Fire ©
Fog Cloud © †
Healing Word
Jump
Longstrider
Purify Food and Drink
Speak with Animals
Thunderwave

2nd Level

Animal Messenger
Barkskin ©
Darkvision
Enhance Ability © †
Find Traps
Flame Blade © †
Flaming Sphere © †
Gust of Wind ©
Heat Metal © †
Hold Person © †
Lesser Restoration
Locate Animals or Plants
Locate Object ©
Moonbeam
Pass without Trace ©
Protection from Poison
Silence ©
Spike Growth ©

3rd Level

Call Lightning © †
Conjure Animals © †
Daylight Dispel Magic
Meld into Stone
Nondetection
Plant Growth
Protection from Energy ©
Sleet Storm ©
Speak with Plants
Water Breathing
Water Walk
Wind Wall ©

4th Level

Blight
Confusion © †
Conjure Minor Elementals © †
Conjure Woodland Beings © †
Control Water ©
Dominate Beast © †
Freedom of Movement
Giant Insect ©
Hallucinatory Terrain
Ice Storm
Locate Creature ©
Polymorph ©
Stone Shape
Stoneskin ©
Wall of Fire © †

5th Level

Antilife Shell ©
Awaken
Commune with Nature
Conjure Elemental © †
Contagion
Geas
Greater Restoration
Insect Plague © †
Mass Cure Wounds
Planar Binding
Reincarnate
Scrying ©
Tree Stride ©
Wall of Stone ©

6th Level

Conjure Fey © †
Find the Path ©
Heal
Heroes’ Feast
Move Earth ©
Sunbeam ©
Transport via Plants
Wall of Thorns © †
Wind Walk

7th Level

Fire Storm
Mirage Arcane
Plane Shift
Regenerate
Reverse Gravity ©

8th Level

Animal Shapes ©
Antipathy/sympathy
Control Weather ©
Earthquake ©
Feeblemind
Sunburst

9th Level

Foresight
Shapechange ©
Storm of Vengeance ©
True Resurrection

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Shaman for Fifth Edition 1.0 published by Tribality.com (Innovaworks Inc.); Copyright 2016 Michael Long