Author Topic: [3.5] Shaman (base class) - a vestige-based spellcaster  (Read 4500 times)

Offline Prime32

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My attempt at that "vestige-based spellcaster" that was being talked about.


An ancient type of spellcaster, born in a time when arcane knowledge was scarce and the gods weak or distant, shamans are those who have learned to speak with the spirits around them and draw on their power. High-level shamans can even travel to the realm of spirits in person. While they have abilities in common with druids and can be mistaken for them, shamans bargain with "unnatural" entities as often as the spirits of animals and plants.

As a shaman you can gain powers for almost any situation by channeling the right spirits, but they are not as strong as those available to a cleric or binder.
Abilities: Charisma is the most important ability score to a shaman, since it determines his ability to cast spells and turn undead. Dexterity is useful since he cannot cast spells while wearing armor. Wisdom can improve the duration of his Trance, while Strength may be useful for a shaman who plans to channel combat-related spirits frequently.
Races: Among the common races, humans, halflings and gnomes produce the most shamans. Goblinoids and giants also maintain strong shamanic traditions.
Alignment: Shamans can be of any alignment. However, since the work of a shaman involves communing with entities of wildly varying moralities, characters of "extreme" alignments (Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil, Chaotic Evil) rarely learn their ways.
Starting Gold: As barbarian.
Starting Age: As barbarian.

HD: d8

Class Skills (2+Int): Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes), Listen, Profession, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival

BABFortRefWillSpecialSpells per day
1.+0+2+0+2Soul binding, Spells, Turn and rebuke undead     3-------
2.+1+3+0+3Domain binding40------
3.+2+4+1+3Vestige focus +141------
4.+3+4+1+4Improved expel 1/day51------
6.+4+5+2+5Soul binding (true)621-----
7.+5+5+2+5Bonus feat631-----
8.+6+6+2+6Improved expel 2/day6320----
9.+6+6+3+6Vestige focus +26421----
10.+7+7+3+7Soul binding (2 vestiges)6431----
11.+8+7+3+7Improved Trance65320---
12.+9+8+4+8Improved expel 3/day65421---
13.+9+8+4+8Bonus feat66432---
14.+10+9+4+9Watchful spirit665320--
15.+11+9+5+9Vestige focus +3665431--
16.+12+10+5+10Improved expel 4/day666432--
17.+12+10+5+10Greater Trance6665420-
18.+13+11+6+11Soul binding (3 vestiges)6665431-
19.+14+11+6+11Bonus feat6666532-
20.+15+12+6+12Improved expel 5/day66665420
(click to show/hide)

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A shaman is proficient with simple weapons and light armor, but not with shields.

Soul Binding: A shaman receives Bind Vestige and Expel Vestige as bonus feats at 1st level. His effective binder level for the Bind Vestige feat is equal to half his shaman level (minimum 1). From 6th level on he instead gains soul binding as a binder of half his shaman level. He may bind two vestiges at 10th level and three vestiges at 18th level.

Spells: A shaman casts arcane spells based on Charisma and drawn from the shaman list (see below). His spells per day are given on the table above. The shaman has knowledge of all spells on his class list and can use a spell slot to cast any spell of the appropriate level, similar to a warmage.

Turn and Rebuke Undead (Su): A shaman can turn and rebuke undead as a cleric of his shaman level. He chooses whether to turn or rebuke whenever he uses this ability, but both effects draw from a single pool of daily uses.

Domain Binding: Starting at 2nd level, a shaman can bind a cleric domain as if it were a 1st-level vestige. While so bound, he gains the granted ability of the domain (using his shaman level in place of cleric level, where appropriate), and adds the domain's spells to his spells known. If you would bind a domain which adds class skills, you are instead treated as if you had a number of ranks in those skills equal to your class level (or your normal rank, whichever is higher).
While a spell or ability the shaman has used from a domain vestige is still in effect, the shaman can only bind that domain; if he can bind multiple vestiges simultaneously then only one slot is affected (unless he has abilities from multiple domains in effect). This does not apply to spells with Instantaneous or Permanent durations.

Vestige Focus (Ex): At 3rd level, the saving DCs of the shaman's vestige abilities (including domain spells) increase by 1. This bonus increases by an additional +1 at every sixth level thereafter.

Improved Expel (Su): Once per day per four class levels, a shaman can expel a vestige as a full-round action. This does not count against his daily use of the Expel Vestige feat, and instead of the normal penalties it inflicts a cumulative -4 penalty on binding checks for the rest of the day. Instead of his own vestiges he may attempt to expel a vestige from another creature with a melee touch attack, in which case they are entitled to a Will save (DC = 10 + half his binder level + his Cha modifier) to resist.

Trance (Su): At 5th level, a shaman can enter a trance as a move action, gaining benefits similar to a barbarian rage for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier +3. In this state he gains a +2 bonus to all ability scores, his caster level rises by 1, and the recharge time for his vestiges' supernatural abilities is reduced to 4 rounds, but he takes a -2 penalty to AC. These bonuses are sacred bonuses for a good shaman and profane bonuses for an evil shaman (a neutral shaman may pick either). In addition, he gains any subtypes matching the domains he has bound (Good grants the [good] subtype, Demonic grants the [tanari'i] subtype, Dragon grants the [dragonblood] subtype, etc.). Suppressing a vestige's sign or influence during a trance is impossible - in fact the former becomes more prominent, inflicting a -5 penalty on checks to conceal it.

At 11th level while in a trance he gains a +4 bonus to all ability scores, his caster level rises by 2, and he must wait only 3 rounds after using one of his vestige's supernatural abilities before using it again.

At 17th level while in a trance he gains a +6 bonus to all ability scores, his caster level rises by 3, and he must wait only 2 rounds after using one of his vestige's supernatural abilities before using it again.

Each round he remains in the trance he takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage and must spend at least a standard action casting a shaman spell or using a vestige's supernatural ability - if he cannot then the trance ends immediately. After his trance ends, the shaman takes a -4 penalty to Charisma for 1 hour. He cannot gain benefits from his vestiges or enter a trance during this time.

Bonus feat: At 7th level and every 6th level thereafter, you receive a bonus feat from the list available to binders.

Watchful Spirit (Su): At 14th level, when a shaman makes an initiative roll he may roll twice and take the better of the two results. He may use this ability once per day. If he already possesses this class feature he gains an additional daily use.

"Don't listen to Old Man Girr. He get crazy sometimes."
-Old Man Girr, shaman

In civilised regions, where devotion to a single divine figure is the norm, shamans' utilitarian approach to religion can draw reactions varying from exasperation to extermination. In more primitive areas, shamans typically hold positions of respect or leadership in their village. Shamans among races strongly devoted to a deity (such as orcs) have more mixed reactions, with strong shamans being viewed as heretical but too useful and too dangerous to kill.
Daily Life: A typical day for your class
Notables: Old Man Girr (N venerable human shaman 7/loremaster 2), as chronicler and intermediary to the spirits for his village, has protected its past and future for as long as anyone can remember. His age, however, is finally catching up with him, and he wants to find a successor before his time is up. With no one of much talent in the nearby area, messengers have been sent far and wide seeking one who hears the voices of the land.
Organizations: Shamans are small in number, with little in common besides their skills, and thus rarely see any reason to gather in great numbers. Most shaman organisations are actually extended families who have passed down their skills for generations, along with the occasional lone guru who forms a "shaman school".

NPC Reaction
People who have not encountered them before generally treat shamans as clerics or druids. People from regions where shamans are well-known will assume a shaman to be an important person, and may feel respect or jealousy because of this.

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« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 08:00:09 AM by Prime32 »

Offline Prime32

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0-Level Shaman Spells (Cantrips)
  • Dancing Lights: Creates torches or other lights.
  • Detect Poison: Detects poison in one creature or small object.
  • Detect Magic: Detects spells and magic items within 60 ft.
  • Guidance: +1 on one attack roll, saving throw, or skill check.
  • Know Direction: You discern north.
  • Lullaby: Makes subject drowsy; -5 on Spot and Listen checks, -2 on Will saves against sleep.
  • Mending: Makes minor repairs on an object.
  • Read Magic: Read scrolls and spellbooks.
1st-level Shaman Spells
  • Alarm: Wards an area for 2 hours/level.
  • Beget BogunSpC: You create a Tiny nature servant.
  • Beseech Spirits*: Bestow a minor blessing or curse on an area or person.
  • Deathwatch: Reveals how near death subjects within 30 ft. are.
  • Detect Chaos/Evil/Good/Law: Reveals creatures, spells, or objects of selected alignment.
  • Detect Undead: Reveals undead within 60 ft.
  • Omen of PerilSpC: You know how dangerous the future will be.
  • Protection from Chaos/Evil/Good/Law: +2 to AC and saves, counter mind control, hedge out elementals and outsiders.
  • Resist Planar AlignmentSpC: Subject can resist penalties for being of an opposed alignment on an aligned Outer Plane.
  • Speak with Animals: You can communicate with animals.
  • Unseen Servant: Invisible force obeys your commands.
2nd-level Shaman Spells
  • Animal Messenger: Sends a Tiny animal to a specific place.
  • Augury: Learns whether an action will be good or bad.
  • Avoid Planar EffectsSpC: Provides temporary protection against overtly damaging planar traits.
  • Heroism: Gives +2 on attack rolls, saves, skill checks.
  • Magic Circle against Chaos/Evil/Good/Law: As protection spells, but 10-ft. radius and 10 min./level.
  • See Invisibility: Reveals invisible creatures or objects.
3rd-level Shaman Spells
  • Arcane Sight: Magical auras become visible to you.
  • Attune FormSpC: Grant creature temporary protection against overtly damaging planar traits.
  • Clairaudience/Clairvoyance: Hear or see at a distance for 1 min./level.
  • Gentle Repose: Preserves one corpse.
  • Speak with Plants: You can talk to normal plants and plant creatures.
  • Vestige Possession*: Channel one of your vestiges into another creature.
4th-level Shaman Spells
  • Dimensional Anchor: Bars extradimensional movement.
  • Dismissal: Forces a creature to return to native plane.
  • Globe of Invulnerability, Lesser: Stops 1st- through 3rd-level spell effects.
  • Make ManifestSpC: You cause a creature on a coexistent plane to appear on your plane.
  • Planar ToleranceSpC: Provides long-term protection against overtly damaging planar traits.
  • Remove Curse: Frees object or person from curse.
  • Scrying: Spies on subject from a distance.
5th-level Shaman Spells
  • Contact Other Plane: Lets you ask question of extraplanar entity.
  • Dream: Sends message to anyone sleeping.
  • Hallow: Designates location as holy.
  • Break Enchantment: Frees subjects from enchantments, alterations, curses, and petrification.
  • Mordenkainenís Faithful Hound: Phantom dog can guard, attack.
  • Mordenkainenís Private Sanctum: Prevents anyone from viewing or scrying an area for 24 hours.
  • Planar Binding, Lesser: Traps extraplanar creature of 6 HD or less until it performs a task.
  • Plane Shift: As many as eight subjects travel to another plane.
  • Unhallow: Designates location as holy.
6th-level Shaman Spells
  • Antimagic Field: Negates magic within 10 ft.
  • Banishment: Banishes 2 HD/level of extraplanar creatures.
  • Find the Path: Shows most direct way to a location.
  • Forbiddance: Blocks planar travel, damages creatures of different alignment.
  • Globe of Invulnerability: As lesser globe of invulnerability, plus 4th-level spell effects.
  • Legend Lore: Lets you learn tales about a person, place, or thing.
  • Make Manifest, MassSpC: As make manifest but affecting all creatures in the area.
  • Planar Binding: As lesser planar binding, but up to 12 HD.
  • Stone Tell: Talk to natural or worked stone.
  • True Seeing: Lets you see all things as they really are.
7th-level Shaman Spells
  • Arcane Sight, Greater: As arcane sight, but also reveals magic effects on creatures and objects.
  • Dimensional Lock: Teleportation and interplanar travel blocked for one day/level.
  • Planar BubbleSpC: Create bubble around creature that emulates its native planar environment.
  • Plane Shift, GreaterSpC: Plane shift accurately to your desired destination.
  • Repulsion: Creatures canít approach you.
  • Scrying, Greater: As scrying, but faster and longer.
  • Vestige Possession, Mass*: As vestige possession but affecting multiple creatures.
  • Vision: As legend lore, but quicker and strenuous.

Beseech Spirits
Level: Shaman 1
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: 1 mile/caster level
Target: 1 settlement or creature
Duration: 24 hours
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No
Calling on the spirits around you, you make a request based on one domain to which you are bound. This request cannot include any mechanical effects, but can increase or reduce the frequency of certain events happening to/in the target of the spell. For instance, casting this spell while bound to the Destruction domain would allow you to increase or reduce the frequency of accidents within an area, while the Plant domain could affect crop yields. You cannot make more than one request of the same domain within 24 hours.
If multiple shamans attempt to create contradictory effects then each makes a binding check - the shaman with the highest check is succeessful.

The size of the settlement you may affect depends on your caster level:
7th-9thSmall town
10th-12thLarge town
13th-15thSmall city
16th-18thLarge city
You may treat a district of a large settlement as a smaller settlement.

Material Component: A piece of the settlement or creature to be targeted.
Vestige Possession
Level: Shaman 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Touch
Target: Creature touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: No

You transfer one vestige to which you are bound into another creature. You lose all benefits of the vestige during this time, but it still counts against the number of vestiges you can bind (until the pact expires). The target of the spell may only be bound to one vestige in this manner at once.
The subject of the spell effectively binds the vestige as a binder of half his character level, and must make an immediate binding check to determine whether it is a good or bad pact. If bound to a domain vestige, he adds the spells of that domain to his spell list (up to the highest level of shaman spells you can cast) - if he is a prepared caster and prepares a domain spell then this is considered a spell still in effect for determining whether he can be bound to other vestiges.
Vestige Possession, Mass
Level: Shaman 7
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart

This spell functions like vestige possession, except that it affects multiple creatures. As long as the spell remains in effect on one creature, the vestige counts against those to which you are bound.


Mantle Binding [Psionic]
Prerequisites: Domain Binding
Benefit: You may bind a psionic mantle as if it were a 1st-level vestige. While so bound, you gain the granted ability of the mantle, and may manifest one of its powers by expending a shaman spell slot of a level equal to half the pp cost or higher, including augments (treat 0-level spells as 1/2-level spells for this purpose). The manifester level for these powers is equal to your caster level.
Special: A shaman may select this feat as a bonus feat.

Devoted Domain Binding
Prerequisites: Domain Binding
Benefit: While bound to a domain, you gain the appropriate Devotion feat as a bonus feat. If the chosen domain does not have an associated Devotion feat, choose the closest equivalent (eg. the Celerity domain would grant Travel Devotion).
Special: A shaman may select this feat as a bonus feat.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 09:44:57 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Prime32

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Bumping this. What level do you think would be appropriate for a shaman spell which binds one of your vestiges to someone else?

Offline sirpercival

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Make versions at a few levels, granting some number of supernatural abilities less than the maximum until the highest level.
I am the assassin of productivity

(member in good standing of the troll-feeders guild)

It's begun ó my things have overgrown the previous sig.

Offline Prime32

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Was also considering some spells which bestow a boon on an entire settlement based on the vestige you have bound, mostly fluff (like "accidents are rarer and fish are more plentiful") but maybe some minor buffs as well. Though casting it could grant a circumstance bonus to Diplomacy. Maybe an lv7 spell which is a giant hallow.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 09:56:34 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Garryl

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Bumping this. What level do you think would be appropriate for a shaman spell which binds one of your vestiges to someone else?

Apparently I thought it was okay around 7th class level when I did something like this with psionics. Never finished the system so I can't say if it was right or not.

Offline Volfogg

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I rather like this class! Very well thought out and the abilities work very well together (I really like the concept of binding domains ... kudos for a rather slick and well thought out power), however. The only gripe that I have with it is the trance ability. Receiving a bonus to all stats seems to me a tad to good. Although, I can see that you are balancing it versus the constant damage the ability inflicts, as well as the requirement of having to cast a spell, or use a supernatural ability.

With a little bit of playtesting I might add this class to my campaign ... if you don't mind.


Offline Prime32

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Considering an ACF:

Quote from: Paladin
Base Attack Bonus: A paladin has full BAB.

Turn or Rebuke Undead (Su): A paladin must choose a single one of these abilities based on his alignment, as a cleric.

Devotion: Instead of having the ability to bind himself to any vestige, a paladin chooses one vestige to which he is bound at all times. When he gains the ability to bind multiple vestiges at once he must choose one fixed vestige for each slot. He does not gain the Expel Vestige feat at 1st level, nor does he gain the Improved Expel class feature. The paladin may change one of his bound vestiges whenever he gains a character level.

Smite (Su): 1/day a paladin can attempt to smite with one normal attack. He adds his Charisma bonus (if any) to the attack roll and his class level to the damage roll. If attacking a creature which would be considered an enemy of one or more of his bound domains/vestiges (eg. evil creatures for the Good domain), he instead adds double his class level to the damage roll. At 4th level, and at every four levels thereafter, the paladin may smite one additional time per day.

Bonus feat: The paladin's bonus feats are chosen from the fighter list rather than the binder list.

Offline bhu

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I'm liking this idea so far  :clap

Offline Havok4

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You might want to make up your own binding progression as half binder level seems odd. Maybe make it reduced EBL for purposes of selecting higher level vestiges only, for all other purposes it should be full EBL.