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D&D (2024) How should the Shaman be implemented in 1DnD?

This is the next in a series of threads about how to implement certain commonly requested class concepts in 1DnD, in order to see how people want certain class/subclass concepts handled in the new system. I'm focusing on the most suggested and talked about classes first, and maybe I'll move onto some more obscure ones later. (I'm avoiding the swordmage for now as it's guaranteed drama)

The Shaman seems like it's always sat in an odd spot for DnD, and yet despite this it's one I see request the most in threads about new classes. Initially it was essentially a cleric with everything which identified the cleric removed, and some slightly better mobility. Even by 3e it was essentially a nerfed cleric with some druid spells. 4th edition was the first edition which gave them their own proper identity and unique mechanics beyond 'cleric but bad'. Here the class revolved about summoning spirits which buffed allies and provided various effects, and allowed the shaman to use different powers while different spirits were active. In 5e, various aspects of the shaman have appeared with the Nature Domain cleric, Totem Warrior barbarian, and the Shepard druid.

So in 1DnD, how should the concept of a Shaman class be handled? Continue to split it among subclasses, or give it a dedicated class?

Other Threads:

Artificer - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-artificer-be-implemented-in-1dnd.696630/
Blood Hunter - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-blood-hunter-be-implemented-in-1dnd.695012/
Psion/Mystic - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-psion-mystic-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697153/
Summoner/Pet Class - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-a-summoner-pet-class-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697591/
Warlord - https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-should-the-warlord-be-implemented-in-1dnd.697300/

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Seems like a druid subclass to me.

Making use of channel nature to summon spirits.

Not sure what else differentiates it.
Yeah it's one of the concepts to me which seems like a druid subclass. But it's also one which I see most often mentioned in "more classes" threads, so I thought I'd cover it.

I think a lot of the attraction of the shaman is the idea of a nature themed caster that has 0% of its power budget spent on wildshape related stuff.


Call it something other than shaman. Like animist. Shaman has too much cultural appropriation tied to it. Animist is more generic, and covers additional concepts.

I'm biased, because I love the concept, so naturally I'd like to see it done in a way similar to how I've already done it ;)

Sort version, you have a number of spirits (plant, mineral, and animal) that you can bond with. Typically a tattoo or small statuette or figure. You invoke varying levels of powers from that spirit based on your level.

For example:
Passive: Immune to heat exposure and dehydration.
Minor: This power alters the creature touched to have extremely sticky hands and feet, allowing them to climb shear surfaces, including ceilings, without fail at a rate of 30ft per round. Note that it will be exceptionally difficult to use tools or handle objects while this spell is active, and will last for one hour per level, or until the animist cancels it.
Major: Regenerate 1 hp per round, including regenerating lost limbs. Duration 1 turn per level.

Passive: +4 bonus to saving throws when resisting toxic poisons or diseases or spells (like cloudkill or stinking cloud).
Minor: Dispel any toxic area up to a 50ft radius, and nullify any toxic spells such as cloudkill or stinking cloud, and renders the animist immune to stench abilities from monsters. Duration of 1 round per level.
Major: Animist and one target per level is immune to poison, venom, disease, and any toxic magic or supernatural effects that are airborne (such as cloudkill, stinking cloud, or a troglodytes stench). Duration of 1 round per level.

I think it first requires defining what the class even is. The Shaman as described in the OP could easily be called a Necromancer depending on how you frame the mechanics in the fiction, and that to me doesn't make the Shaman all that specific of a trope to want nor need to emulate as a unique class unto itself.

Calling it the Animist as Sacro suggested is better, but then the question becomes how this differentiates mechanically from any garden variety spellcaster, especially your Druids and Clerics, but even as well your Warlocks and Necromancers.

Personally whenever I think of what a Shaman is, I always default to Mumbo Jumbo from the Banjo-Kazooie games. And in that series, Mumbo is a spellcaster, but he primarily focuses on shapeshifting others into various animals and plants, but could also revive the dead and send people back in time.

Now, nearly all of that is already achievable without a specific class to enable it. So if I wanted to go that direction, Id either have to come up with bespoke pathways for the Shaman to have exclusively, or Id have to deny those abilities (by way of spells) to other character types, and ideally Id probably need to do both.

Which overall isn't quite ideal, especially when some of those things might still be appropriate for another class to have access to.

But on the otherhand, in terms of DND specifically, going this route for the Shaman means things like the Polymorph spell can be taken out of Wizard and such, thus helping to balance out those classes.


A suffusion of yellow
Druid makes a pretty good Shaman as is
I suppose you could add a bit more spirit medium divinition

warlock with Spirit guide/Ancestor as Patron also works well


Prince of Dorkness
My daughter loves playing a Shaman in WoW, so I made a class for her in D&D. It is a full-caster with a spell list that is a mashup of Cleric, Druid, and Warlock. They can create totems that can be summoned for various effects, plus a Spirit Form that is basically a dumbed-down version of Wild Shape, but also grants advantage in one skill based on the base animal form. The 3 subclasses are Elemental, Medicine Man, and Voodoo. I even came up with a unique Spellcasting Focus list consisting of Stone Carving, Throwing Bones, Tooth Necklace, and Voodoo Doll.

We're currently in a campaign testing it as well as some other subclasses I created. But it's been slow going since we only play in between sessions of our main campaign with her friend.

Unlike Sacrosanct, I don't have it up on any official websites. I just have it in PDF form.

Laserllama has an AMAZING 5E Shaman Class for free here The Shaman Class by laserllama

I think this amazing class presents an almost perfect shaman, but would need to be updated to 1D&D standards. That means a Channel Spirit feature, the subclasses rearranged, and that's really it. It's a really great class. I heartily recommend to anyone playing 5E, and for any table.

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The name aside -- and the name is a problem -- I think one needs to be very specific about what they think a shaman is.

The World of Warcraft shaman, flavor aside, mechanically is wildly different than any real world traditions of the name. (Even more different than the D&D druid and real life druid are.)

If they're someone who works with the spirit world, 1) you need to graft a spirit world onto D&D, which traditionally hasn't had one, or 2) you need to radically redefine what a "spirit" is, in which case, you could end up reinventing the necromancer (and really make it problematic to call the resulting class a "shaman") or an elementalist.
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