Character Classes


If a cleric's basic creed is that the handiwork of the deities is everywhere, a shaman's simple assertion is that the deities themselves are everywhere. Shamans are intermediaries between the mortal world and the realm of spirits - the vast multitude of living beings that infuse the entire world with divine essence. Shamans play a vital role in the world of Oriental Adventures - communicating with ancestor spirits, demons, nature spirits, and the most powerful of spirits, who might be considered deities. The shaman offers sacrifices, prayers, and services to the spirits, and in return gains the favor of patron spirits who bestow spells and other magical abilities upon him. With the exception of certain Lion clan "spirit talkers" of the Kitsu family, shamans are not found in Rokugan; shugenjas fill this role instead.

Shamans often go on adventures not because of any desire of their own, but as a direct result of their unique relationship with the spirit world. Ancestor spirits often have their own agendas - deeds left undone or wrongs unavenged - and call on their shaman descendants to carry them out. Peasants and nobles alike often summon shamans if evil spirits or undead monsters cause trouble. Even nature spirits, normally unconcerned with the affairs of humanity, might request assistance from a shaman if an evil influence (such as a bajang or buso) troubles the natural world. Shamans who traffic with evil spirits are often driven to commit heinous deeds. Shamans are both blessed and burdened by their gifts, and may sometimes feel like pawns in the games and machinations of the spirit world.

Shamans use divine magic, much like the clerics of the Player's Handbook. In addition to healing, shaman spells naturally include means of contacting and communicating with spirits, winning favors from them, or warding against their influence. Shaman spells are also more strongly oriented toward nature than cleric spells. A shaman's spells are granted by spirits rather than deities.

Shamans have some power over undead, but not as great as clerics have. Nor are they as fearsome in combat as clerics, although they learn unarmed combat techniques as they advance in level.

Most shamans are of good alignment, cooperating with kindly ancestor spirits and opposing evil spirits and undead. A few shamans, however, side with the evil spirits, using the power the spirits bestow to increase their own power in the world.

Individuals are often drawn to the shaman class because they possess a natural gift for dealing with spirits, rather than the other way around. As with sorcerers, this gift typically manifests at puberty, though sometimes even young children display an unusual ability to see and communicate with spirits. The transition from a gifted child or young adult to a powerful shaman, however, is not easy. Typically, a shaman-to-be spends months in the wilderness, fasting and communing with the spirits, until finding two spirits to serve as patrons in a formal and ritualized relationship. These two spirits grant the character his first spells, at which point he truly becomes a shaman.

Shamans are typically found among all the races, although their approach to the spirits may vary. Most shamans are human, because the human race is less in tune with the spirit world and therefore most in need of intermediaries who can communicate with spirits. Hengeyokai and spirit folk consider themselves spirits, and sometimes see little need to venerate the spirits. Hengeyokai shamans, who are quite rare, form partnerships with spirits based more on equal respect than on service and veneration. Spirit folk shamans are somewhat more common, and revere both human ancestors and nature spirits. Vanaras are quite commonly shamans, because they hold the spirit world in great respect. Nezumi and korobokuru shamans are rare, but quite similar to human shamans in their practices.

While no adventurer will begrudge a shaman's power to heal and otherwise help an adventuring party, most adventurers view shamans with at least a hint of fear, awe, or wonder. A shaman's powers are otherworldly, and the spirits that grant those powers often manifest in ways that make mundane-minded fighters and rogues more than a little uncomfortable. The shaman occupies a unique and sometimes dangerous position on the border between the spirit world and the mortal world, and many characters find that position unnerving. For their part, shamans tend to look kindly on members of most other classes, humbly offering their powers for the good of the party as a whole.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills

The shaman's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge(arcana) (Int), Knowledge(religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Shaman

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Unarmed
Spells per Day2
0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Domains, unarmed strike, animal companion 1d6 3 1+1
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Spirit sight 1d6 4 2+1
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Turn or rebuke undead 1d6 4 2+1 1+1
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Bonus feat 1d6 5 3+1 2+1
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Spirits' favor 1d6 5 3+1 2+1 1+1
6th +4 +5 +2 +5   1d8 5 3+1 3+1 2+1
7th +5 +5 +2 +5   1d8 6 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Bonus feat 1d8 6 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6   1d8 6 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7   1d8 6 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 Third domain 1d8 6 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Bonus feat 1d10 6 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8   1d10 6 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9   1d10 6 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9   1d10 6 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Bonus feat 1d10 6 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10   1d10 6 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11   2d6 6 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11   2d6 6 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Bonus feat 2d6 6 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+2 4+1 4+1 4+1 4+1
1 The value shown is for Medium shamans. See Table: Small or Large Shaman Unarmed Damage for Small or Large shamans.
2 In addition to the stated number of spells per day for 1st- through 9th-level spells, a shaman gets a domain spell for each spell level, starting at 1st. The "+1" and "+2" in the entries on this table represents that spell. Domain spells are in addition to any bonus spells the shaman may receive for having a high Wisdom score.
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the shaman.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shamans are proficient with all simple weapons and with light armor. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, Swim, and Tumble.

Spells: A shaman casts divine spells according to Table: The Shaman. A shaman may prepare and cast any spell on the shaman spell list, provided he can cast spells of that level. (Alignment restrictions mean that casting some spells may have unpleasant consequences.) Shaman bonus spells are based on Wisdom, and the Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a shaman's spell is 10 + the spell's level + the shaman's Wisdom modifier.

Shamans do not acquire their spells from books or scrolls, nor prepare them through study. Instead, they meditate or pray for their spells, receiving them as gifts from the many spirits (nature spirits, animal spirits, ancestor spirits, and others) with whom the shaman deals. Each shaman must choose a time at which he must spend an hour each day in quiet conversation with the spirits to regain his daily allotment of spells (typically, this hour is at dawn or noon for good shamans and at dusk or midnight for evil ones). Time spent resting has no effect on whether a shaman can prepare spells.

In addition to his standard spells, a shaman gets one domain spell of each spell level, starting at 1st. When a shaman prepares a domain spell, it must come from one of his two domains (see below for details).

Spirits, Domains, and Domain Spells: Choose two domains for your shaman. Each domain represents an individual spirit with which you have a special relationship - a spirit of the dead (usually one of your ancestors), an animal spirit, or a nature spirit. Each spirit gives you access to a domain spell at each spell level, from 1st on up, as well as a granted power. Your shaman gets the granted powers of both domains you select. With access to two domain spells at a given spell level, a shaman prepares one or the other each day. If a domain spell is not on the Shaman Spells list, a shaman can only prepare it in his domain slot. Domain spells and granted powers are given in Shaman Domains.

When a shaman reaches 11th level, he can choose a third domain, and gains access to the spells and granted power of this domain. Each day, he can prepare two domain spells of certain spell levels, as shown on Table: The Shaman.

Spontaneous Casting: Good shamans can channel stored spell energy into healing spells that they haven't prepared ahead of time. The shaman can "lose" a prepared spell in order to cast any cure spell of the same level or lower (a cure spell is any spell with "cure" in its name). For example, a good shaman who has prepared bless (a 1st-level spell) may lose bless in order to cast cure light wounds (also a 1st-level spell). Good shamans can cast cure spells in this way because they are especially proficient at wielding positive energy.

An evil shaman, on the other hand, can't convert prepared spells to cure spells but can convert them to inflict spells (an inflict spell is one with "inflict" in the title). Such shamans are especially proficient at wielding negative energy.

A neutral shaman can convert spells either to cure spells or to inflict spells (player's choice), depending on whether the shaman is more proficient at wielding positive or negative energy. Once the player makes this choice, it cannot be reversed. This choice also determines whether the neutral shaman turns or rebukes undead (see below).

A shaman can't use spontaneous casting to convert domain spells into cure or inflict spells. These spells arise from the particular powers of the shaman's chosen spirits, not divine energy in general.

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: A shaman can't cast spells of an alignment opposed to his own. A good shaman cannot cast evil spells, and vice versa. Spells associated with the alignments of chaos, evil, good, and law are identified as such on the "School, Subschool and Descriptors" line of the spell description.

Unarmed Strike (Ex): Like monks, shamans are trained to fight unarmed. At 1st level, a shaman gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. Also, like a monk, a shaman deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown on Table: The Shaman. The unarmed damage on Table: The Shaman is for Medium shamans. A Small shaman deals less damage than the amount given there with her unarmed attacks, while a Large shaman deals more damage; see Table: Small or Large Shaman Unarmed Damage.

Table: Small and Large Shaman Unarmed Damage

Level Damage
(Small Shaman)
(Large Shaman)
1st-5th 1d4 1d8
6th-11th 1d6 1d10
12th-17th 1d8 2d6
18th-20th 1d10 2d8

Animal Companion (Ex): Like a druid, a shaman may begin play with an animal companion selected from the following list: badger, camel, dire rat, dog, riding dog, eagle, hawk, horse (light or heavy), owl, pony, snake (Small or Medium viper), or wolf. If the campaign takes place wholly or partly in an aquatic environment, the following creatures are also available: crocodile, porpoise, Medium shark, and squid. This animal is a loyal companion that accompanies the shaman on his adventures as appropriate for its kind.

A 1st-level shaman's companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted in the Druid's Animal Companion sidebar, using the shaman levels as druid levels. As a shaman advances in level, the animal's power increases as shown on the table. If a shaman releases his companion from service, he may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of prayer. This ceremony can also replace an animal companion that has perished.

A shaman of 4th level or higher may select from alternative lists of animals (same as the druid). Should he select an animal companion from one of these alternative lists, the creature gains abilities as if the character's effective druid level were lower than it actually is. Subtract the value indicated in the appropriate list header from the character's effective druid level and compare the result with the druid level entry on the table to determine the animal companion's powers. (If this adjustment would reduce the druid's effective level to 0 or lower, he can't have that animal as a companion.)

Spirit Sight (Su): A shaman of 2nd level and above can see ethereal creatures (including spirits) as easily as he sees material creatures and objects. The shaman can easily distinguish between ethereal creatures and material ones, because ethereal creatures appear translucent and indistinct.

Turn or Rebuke Undead (Su): When a shaman reaches 3rd level, he gains the supernatural ability to turn or rebuke undead. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to three plus his Charisma modifier. He turns undead as a cleric of two levels lower would. Neutral shamans must choose to either turn or rebuke undead (see Spontaneous Casting above).

As a feat, a shaman may take Extra Turning. This feat allows the shaman to turn undead four more times per day than normal. A shaman can take this feat multiple times, gaining four extra daily turning attempts each time.

Bonus Feat: At 4th level and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th), a shaman gains a bonus martial arts feat. The shaman must choose these feats from the following list: Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Falling Star Strike, Freezing the Lifeblood, Great Ki Shout, Iron Will, Ki Shout, Pain Touch, Stunning Fist, Unbalancing Strike. The shaman must meet all the normal prerequisites for the feats he selects.

Spirits' Favor (Su): A shaman of 5th level or higher applies his Charisma modifier (if positive) as a bonus on all saving throws.