D&D 5E Could the Sorcerer get a Shaman subclass


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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I ask because

1) D&D Sorcerers were represented by the Shaman class in MtG

2) it's an popular archetype that is seen as insuffienty represented in the game, and this would allow for a very distinct kind of Shaman that doesn't step too much on the Druids feet.
Please, yes!

I remember playing NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer and using the Spirit Shaman class, which was the druidic equivalent to the sorcerer (arcane) and the favored soul (divine). I'd love a sorcerer who can swap its spells with the druid's spells list and focus on ''spirits'' (in 3.5 spirits were generally elementals, undead or fey).
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
On the one hand I feel like making it a Sorcerer Subclass would work fine... but on the other...

Shaman contains just -oodles- of concept. From spirit-speakers to runecasters to tribal priests.

I feel like it could use it's own class with subclasses, rather than just being one Shaman Aspect tied to the Sorcerer Chassis.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
On the one hand I feel like making it a Sorcerer Subclass would work fine... but on the other...

Shaman contains just -oodles- of concept. From spirit-speakers to runecasters to tribal priests.

I feel like it could use it's own class with subclasses, rather than just being one Shaman Aspect tied to the Sorcerer Chassis.
The theme of spirit is really badly covered in 5e. I think they could go the ''psionic'' way and make a spirit themed archetype for a few class to cover some of the trope you mentioned.

A spirit domain for cleric, a Spirit bound origin for sorcerer and maybe a Pact of Spirits for the warlock could go well with the most recent Bard archetype from VRGtR and the Spirit Barbarian.
 

Shaman's large enough it could be its own thing easily

You could get one working from the Sorcerer, certainly, but it could be expanded into its whole thing as while it touches on a lot of concepts, it doesn't fit into any of them easily
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I ask because

1) D&D Sorcerers were represented by the Shaman class in MtG

2) it's an popular archetype that is seen as insuffienty represented in the game, and this would allow for a very distinct kind of Shaman that doesn't step too much on the Druids feet.
I wouldn't read too much into the MtG label of "Shaman," thst basically just means "Red Mana caster" now. Alternatively, I'd day that the divine Sorcer could already themed that way. I'd think a Warlock of "the Spirits" would make a lot of sense, or an Artificer who focuses on talismans.
 

No. Shaman should be a druid. Shamans commune with nature spirits and are often known to shapeshift into animal form. That's a druid. In fact, in the real world shapeshifting is far more strongly associated with shamanism than with druidism.

And yet D&D Sorcerers in MtG were Shamans, which will likely hold true for CL: BfBG. I still don't get why beyond the fact that Shaman's are primary red caster class, Pyromancers are Shamans (but I think in one of the Planeshift articles they were a Sorcerer subclasses so it's like one if the few MtG shamans types along with Dreamshaper, Flamespeaker, and the ones in Strixhaven that feel more like Sorcerers then Elemental focused Druids).
 

I think if I was building a Sorcerer subclass, I'd give it many of the summon spirit x spells, which it can use extend spell metamagic.


There is unofficially is one in a sense, as the Pyromancer in MtG Planeshift articles are Shamans of Kaladesh, but they fit D&D Sorcerers more then they do with many other MtG shamans. Chandra is the key example of a Pyromancer, burn with the magic, like Sorcerer, but considered a Shaman. Yet Nessa is also a Shaman, but is more like a none shapeshifting Druid then Sorcerer.

I think Shaman's have the LEAST cohesive identity of any MtG class creature type.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sorcerers powers come from within. Shaman's I associate with spirit quests and spirit animals, and with power outside that they control. There's no thematic overlap for me with Shaman as a Sorcerer subclass.
Check out the Hungarian Taltos. Is a shaman that is chosen at birth by the spirits or gods, often with a physical sign of being chosen, like a sixth finger, or being born with a caul.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
And yet D&D Sorcerers in MtG were Shamans, which will likely hold true for CL: BfBG. I still don't get why beyond the fact that Shaman's are primary red caster class, Pyromancers are Shamans (but I think in one of the Planeshift articles they were a Sorcerer subclasses so it's like one if the few MtG shamans types along with Dreamshaper, Flamespeaker, and the ones in Strixhaven that feel more like Sorcerers then Elemental focused Druids).
It's just because Shamans are the Red caster, and they decided that Sorcerers are Red.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
From the subclass perspective it could work as the internal multiclass sorcerer/druid... just like the divine soul is the sorcerer/cleric internal multiclass. Looking at it that way, there's no reason why there couldn't be a sorcerer that has druidic flavor. However, mechanically... if the shaman's focus is meant to be working with spirits, I don't think the sorcerer's really lend themselves to it. The main focus of sorcery is internal magical power and manipulating that magic in different ways via metamagic. And I don't personally see a correlation between metamagic and working with spirits. The best you'd get out of it would be flavoring the metamagic as saying that spirits are what are causing it-- spirits split the spells in half, spirits make the spells quiet, spirits increase the size, range, or damage. But I don't think anyone is looking for a merely fluff handwave when they say they want a shaman class to work with primal spirits.

At least with the druid class, you have a mechanic that would allow for the change and refluff of actual physical spirits to manifest... wildshaping. We already see this in existing druid subclasses where rather than shapeshifting into animals the wildshape usage instead creates an aura of spores around you, or you take on a starry form, or summon a wildfire spirit. So like with the Wildfire subclass, working with spirits has already been unlocked. So going further with it for a spirit shaman subclass would very much be more doable than I think a sorcerer would.
 
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Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
If I were to make a Shaman Class, how would I do it...

Well. First things first they'd need to be casters. Primal casters, specifically. But would they be full casters...?

The Warlock Chassis could be a really interesting way to differentiate the Shaman and Druid class while retaining "Full Caster" ability and also free up a whole bunch of design space across the class, what with room for Pact Boons and Invocations on the Warlock shifted to something new for the Shaman...

They'll absolutely need to be Ritual Casters. Whether it's true Tungus Shaman, Native American Medicine Men, or anyone in the vast regions between tribal religious and mystical authorities almost invariably perform or head up the larger scale (I.E. not personal or private) rituals on behalf of a group.

Shaman are often depicted using only simple weapons. Ceremonial Daggers, Spears, Staves, but also the occasional hand-axe. So simple weapon proficiency makes good sense. Though maybe even make it a taboo for them to use more complex weapons. Not "Metal" like a Druid, but Martial. It's not that they -can't- gain proficiency, but maybe breaking taboos means you can't advance as a Shaman 'til you perform a cleansing ritual? Still "Level Up" your proficiency and HD but gain no class abilities.

Subclasses to cover the broad-strokes of Shamanistic beliefs. Spirit-Speakers, Medicine Men, Runecasters, and yeah at least one Shapeshifter. But to get away from "They're just Druids" we could keep their shapeshifting on a more "Human" grade, where they're acting more like Lycanthropes than beasts. Half-Human Half-Jaguar. Or a human-like Crow. Could tap into Barbarian a bit and assign them Totems with similar shapechanging functions.

Invocations would work just fine in the design space, even with the same name. Just change the availability to get away from Fey/Demons/Old Gods and more towards Nature, Spirits, and specifically Elemental interaction. Like calling up tiny elemental spirits to do various stunts. Air Elementals that lift you into the air, Earth elementals that grant you extra durability or fortitude. Things like that.

And then reclassify "Pact Boons" as something closer to "Shamanistic Tools". So you could have Instrument Shaman using music to provide bonuses to allies or debuff enemies, Headdress Shaman who dance and cry out to intimidate enemies or direct allies like a 4e Warlord, and Warrior Shaman who get to improve Spears and Daggers in some way or another and take to melee, themselves.

Do it in Level Up rather than standard 5e and you get even more design space since the Invocations are broken out a bit and players gain social/exploration stuff outright.

Could be fun.

I would like to note, however, this important aspect: While there are stories of Shaman being shapechangers throughout various cultures they are typically -antagonistic- in that aspect. Or, at least, untrustworthy. It's only really in the Malay and Polynesian traditions that transforming into a full-on animal is considered an outright positive. Many other cultures use shapeshifting shaman as a cautionary tale.
 


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