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


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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Man, I loved my Vanilla Ele Shaman. 100% I would bet that is what most think of when they here Shaman in gaming circles.
I refer you to the screaming matches that are the threads about witches in D&D for examples of how people have wildly different visions of character concepts and will see everyone else dead if they put forward an alternative vision.

I think if one dropped in a WoW shaman (and I love my vulpera elemental shaman, myself) into D&D, plenty of people would go ballistic.
 

Scribe

Legend
I refer you to the screaming matches that are the threads about witches in D&D for examples of how people have wildly different visions of character concepts and will see everyone else dead if they put forward an alternative vision.

I think if one dropped in a WoW shaman (and I love my vulpera elemental shaman, myself) into D&D, plenty of people would go ballistic.

Yeah well....at this point I'm pretty convinced of where the issue is. ;)
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
I refer you to the screaming matches that are the threads about witches in D&D for examples of how people have wildly different visions of character concepts and will see everyone else dead if they put forward an alternative vision.
Honestly, I don't reckon it'd be as bad as witch simply due to the fact there's a wider idea that's sort of taken place. As compared to witch which, even in D&D, had like.... What, four versions back in Dragon?

Shaman was basically a hybrid monk/druid in 3E, semi-druid in 4E, and a worse cleric in 1E, but there's the throughput there of 'druid-y'
 

For what it is worth, the Bard class is the most accurate class to describe reallife shamanists.

Maybe a Bard subclass can reuse the music abilities for various "pets".

Maybe call the subclass a "Mediator". The idea is, the Mediator is community leader who helps sort out conflicts between the members of the community. Notably, this community includes nature beings as well as Humanoids and other creatures of the community.

When the nature beings are helping the Mediator out, they are simply being neighborly. Like other members of the community, the nature beings appreciate the Mediator sorting out various problems, and are happy to do favors in return.

Charisma, including persuasion and negotiation, is an important aspect of the shamanist concept.
Looking up on the Bard's irl history, it makes sense why they originally were linked to druids in early editions.
 

This scholarly technical term "shamanism" is a really important word, and there isnt an other word for it. It is difficult to discontinue its use and still communicate clearly.

Academia is rife with examples of terminology long abandoned when they developed pejorative or distasteful meanings in plain language. Psychology, anthropology, and sociology have many examples of that happening. It's a natural result of plain language taking precedence over jargon. It's simply how language works.

Further, the fact that a term is important to scholarly works does not imply that its important or even relevant to TTRPGs. This is not a scholarly pursuit.

Maybe it helps to refer to a "shaman" in the scholarly sense as a "shamanic" or a "shamanist". At least there is some signal, that these shamanists are not the same thing as the original shamans.

I just don't see why you'd want to tie the class to the term at all, especially when past depictions of the class have been used to depict "primitive" religions or cultures pretty specifically.
 

MGibster

Legend
I refer you to the screaming matches that are the threads about witches in D&D for examples of how people have wildly different visions of character concepts and will see everyone else dead if they put forward an alternative vision.

I think if one dropped in a WoW shaman (and I love my vulpera elemental shaman, myself) into D&D, plenty of people would go ballistic.
The Warlock as presented in the PHB is pretty close to the European idea of a witch circa 1450 CE. i.e. A person who gains magical powers by making a pact with a supernatural entity. As far as D&D players going ballistic, well, that's just par for the course, right? Someone is going to be unhappy no matter what.

Personally, I prefer to think of pretty much every class being a unique D&Dism. I don't really care if it doesn't map exactly to a real world counterpart.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Academia is rife with examples of terminology long abandoned when they developed pejorative or distasteful meanings in plain language. Psychology, anthropology, and sociology have many examples of that happening. It's a natural result of plain language taking precedence over jargon. It's simply how language works.

Further, the fact that a term is important to scholarly works does not imply that its important or even relevant to TTRPGs. This is not a scholarly pursuit.



I just don't see why you'd want to tie the class to the term at all, especially when past depictions of the class have been used to depict "primitive" religions or cultures pretty specifically.
I agree with your comments, especially because D&D traditions transmit pejorative descriptions relating to "primitive". This problematic entangles much of D&D, from the term "primitive" itself, to terms like "shaman", "witch doctor", "tribe", "chief", "barbarian", and so on.

RPG games generally, including WoW, do well to avoid misusing and misrepresenting reallife cultural terms. For better or worse, the D&D communities tend include educated people who tend to be knowledgeable about such things. If D&D abuses ANY cultural term, it is likely that someone somewhere will understand what the problem is and speak out.

By the way I meant scholars should use the term "shamanist", rather "shaman", at least to help disambiguate from the indigenous shaman.
 

By the way I meant scholars should use the term "shamanist", rather "shaman", at least to help disambiguate from the indigenous shaman.

Right, I understood that. I just think it's the worst of both worlds. You're going through all the effort to change the term, but you're not actually disassociating from the old term.

I mean, do you think "Indianistic" is an improvement that would satisfy Native Americans?
 

WanderingMystic

Adventurer
Honestly, I don't reckon it'd be as bad as witch simply due to the fact there's a wider idea that's sort of taken place. As compared to witch which, even in D&D, had like.... What, four versions back in Dragon?

Shaman was basically a hybrid monk/druid in 3E, semi-druid in 4E, and a worse cleric in 1E, but there's the throughput there of 'druid-y'
So shaman was an option in 2nd Ed as well and it is closest to what I think people talk about when they talk about a shaman class where they got the ability to summon forth different spirits that gave them either new spell lists or a unique ability when ever they were summoned.

I really liked a 3rd Ed 3pp shaman where you got a rather tiny spell list but as you grew in levels you picked up more spirits who gave you access to a new list of spells and a new channel divinity option.

Imagine a class that looked like the 5e cleric but you could only ever prepair a number of spells equal to half your level but every three levels you got a new set of granted domain spells and an new channel divinity option by bonding with a new spirit.
 

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