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5E The Spirit Bard, Shepherd Druid, and a full on Shaman class.

Minigiant

Legend
Not to derail other thread, I will create a new one.

After seeing the College of Spirits Bard and the Circle of Shepherds Druid, I think it is high time for a full on "Spirits" class for 5e.

Bolting spirits onto existing full spellcasters with their own other class features really limits what could be done with spirits. Bards, Clerics, Druids,Warlocks, and Wizards already have so much going on with them. There is little design space within any of these classes to power a spirit theme in combat, exploration, social, and roleplay strength.

And besides, having Clerics and Druids represent all religious priests will really dilute the flavor of them if done too long. And it's kinda weird. And enforces too much Eurocentrism that the game already has.

As for what the shaman could do, There are a lot that could be done with spirits. With Channel Divinity, Bardic Inspiration, and Wildshape no longer a concern, a shaman could fully go the companion and guide route. In combat, spirits could fight on their own, support the shaman's attacks, empower the shaman's spells, or heal allies. In exploration, the class would be able control and summon spirits and utilize their skills and movement. And socially, the class would beable to contactand communicate with nearby fey, undead, and other spirits as well as draw on the knowledge of their own spirits.

As characters there would be several ways to go. A PC could be a classical fantasy shaman and be a religious priest. Another could be like a upgraded spirit bard, storing knowledge from contacted spirits. Another PC who just be a warrior haunted by the ghost of their dead ancestors. A shaman could be a chosen of a fallen power too dead to create warlocks but strong enough to bind with a single host. Or maybe the power it's dead but too weak to form a pact not a church and must stay with their follower closely. A wandering youth with strong spiritual awareness passed down in the family's blood hunting their the enemies of their household.

D&D already has many shaman and spiritual classes in its history. It can do a revival if it wishes. And it could sell from some sideline classes like 3e's binder and 4e's seeker.

So what do you think? Should D&D get a full on official spiritual class? Would you want one as a player? DM?
 

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I already use the 5e Bard to make mythologically accurate Shamans.

Just remove the lute.

Done.

Depending on the culture, shamans inspire, scare, heal, intuit knowledge, and so on, even use trickery for the sake of healing, learning, and the spiritual community. Choose the spells appropriate for that culture. For the cultures I look at, the "music" is spontaneous songs or emphatic vivid speech, sometimes satire for a hostile effect, occasionally a drum during a ritual. The Bard seems to work well every time.
 
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Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I don't think we need a full-on Shaman class.

Most versions of it I've seen are Wisdom-based or even Charisma-based primal warlocks, essentially.

What we need a a Primal Spirit Otherworldly Patron, and some invocations that speak to shamanic flavour.

The problem is that Shaman means different things to different people.

It can mean a Nature-deity priest. It can mean a spirit-channeller (medium). It can mean a nature spirit communer/evoker/summoner. It can mean a druid-type character but not from the Celtic world. It can mean a "tribal" or "noncivilised" (aka offensively stereotyped) spiritual leader.

Many of these concepts have shown up in different classes. Totem Warrior & Ancestral Guardian Barbarians, Bards (esp College of Spirits), Nature Domain Cleric, Trickery Domain Cleric, Arcana Domain Cleric, Tempest Domain Cleric, Druids, Monks, Rangers, even Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards can reflect Shamanic roles.

There is plenty of room for additional subclasses to reflect various iterations on the concept from different base-class angles. I could see a Medicine-Man/Wise Woman/White Witch type subclass for Artificers, for example. But a full on class called Shaman is about as culturally insensitive, pigeonholing, and limited as a full on "Warlord" class. There's a reason neither of these two classes returned for 5e (I'm somewhat convinced that Avenger didn't return in-name because 4e PH2 predated 2012's Avengers release, and Invoker didn't return because Warlocks got back their invocations from 3.5e. Meanwhile, all the missing 4e PH1/PH2/PH3 classes have been incorporated in some way as one or more subclasses in 5e (or are being explored as much via Unearthed Arcana). Wardens' main schtick is a 6th-level series of spells that Druids get, while their broad concept was split between Barbarians, Rangers, and the Oath of the Ancients Paladin. Invokers got reincorporated into Clerics, though there's room for a mystic theurge type subclass of Wizard that would feel very invoker-y. Avengers became the Oath of Vengeance Paladin, with some traits ending up with the Monk (Kensei and Sun Soul can both model Avengers brilliantly). Warlords are split between Battle Master & Banneret/Purple Dragon Knight Fighters, plus various approaches to the concept from related classes like Keith Baker's Dirge Singer Bards in Exploring Eberron and the War Domain Cleric. I also like Morgrave Miscellany's Field Marshal Ranger, which takes the concept to the Ranger class, and the Oaths of the Crown, Conquest, and Glory Paladins feel a bit like the Warlord from the Paladin side of things. And the Mastermind Rogue takes a more LazyLord approach. Seeker from PH3 was split between Arcane Archer Fighters and the return to Primal magic Rangers. Runepriests have had a few different attempts at translation: you've got your UA Rune Scribe Prestige Class, you've got the UA Rune Knight Fighter, you've got the Forge Domain Cleric, you've got the Artificer in general (especially the UA Archivist and ExE Forge Adept), and now you've got the Order of Scribes Wizard, too. Ardent, Battlemind, and Psion all showed up as subclasses of UA Mystic; Battlemind was reworked into UA Psi Knight Fighter, while Ardent and Psion seem destined for takes on Psionics like the UA Psionic Soul Sorcerer or whatever replaces it if it was rejected.
 

Tallifer

Hero
The 4E Shaman was wonderful. Interesting and effective Spirit and summoning mechanics. Useful support class which could choose between focusing on healing, debuffing or enabling. Difficult to play, so it made it fun for experienced players; but not so difficult that a newer player could not learn to play it after some initial help.

A 5E Shaman in my opinion has to have interesting Totem and Spirit mechanics, not just a spell list which it mostly shares with Druids and Clerics.
 

If using specific reallife terms from reallife ethnic groups, like "shaman", it needs to be historically and mythologically accurate.

To be fair, I use the term in the anthropological sense, that can apply to other cultures, but I still use the term cautiously and respectfully, and accurately.
 

Minigiant

Legend
The problem is that Shaman means different things to different people.
If using specific reallife terms from reallife ethnic groups, like "shaman", it needs to be historically and mythologically accurate.
The name could be changed.
I only used shaman for the shared understanding of the concept, the name's history in the game and community, and the low amount of all encompassing words for priests of nonEuropean styles.

It could be changed to medium or spiritualist or whatever. But that's another argument and Iknow how this community is about names in the past and present.

Many of these concepts have shown up in different classes. Totem Warrior & Ancestral Guardian Barbarians, Bards (esp College of Spirits), Nature Domain Cleric, Trickery Domain Cleric, Arcana Domain Cleric, Tempest Domain Cleric, Druids, Monks, Rangers, even Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards can reflect Shamanic roles.

There is plenty of room for additional subclasses to reflect various iterations on the concept from different base-class angles. I could see a Medicine-Man/Wise Woman/White Witch type subclass for Artificers, for example. But a full on class called Shaman is about as culturally insensitive, pigeonholing, and limited as a full on "Warlord" class. There's a reason neither of these two classes returned for 5e (I'm somewhat convinced that Avenger didn't return in-name because 4e PH2 predated 2012's Avengers release, and Invoker didn't return because Warlocks got back their invocations from 3.5e. Meanwhile, all the missing 4e PH1/PH2/PH3 classes have been incorporated in some way as one or more subclasses in 5e (or are being explored as much via Unearthed Arcana). Wardens' main schtick is a 6th-level series of spells that Druids get, while their broad concept was split between Barbarians, Rangers, and the Oath of the Ancients Paladin. Invokers got reincorporated into Clerics, though there's room for a mystic theurge type subclass of Wizard that would feel very invoker-y. Avengers became the Oath of Vengeance Paladin, with some traits ending up with the Monk (Kensei and Sun Soul can both model Avengers brilliantly). Warlords are split between Battle Master & Banneret/Purple Dragon Knight Fighters, plus various approaches to the concept from related classes like Keith Baker's Dirge Singer Bards in Exploring Eberron and the War Domain Cleric. I also like Morgrave Miscellany's Field Marshal Ranger, which takes the concept to the Ranger class, and the Oaths of the Crown, Conquest, and Glory Paladins feel a bit like the Warlord from the Paladin side of things. And the Mastermind Rogue takes a more LazyLord approach. Seeker from PH3 was split between Arcane Archer Fighters and the return to Primal magic Rangers. Runepriests have had a few different attempts at translation: you've got your UA Rune Scribe Prestige Class, you've got the UA Rune Knight Fighter, you've got the Forge Domain Cleric, you've got the Artificer in general (especially the UA Archivist and ExE Forge Adept), and now you've got the Order of Scribes Wizard, too. Ardent, Battlemind, and Psion all showed up as subclasses of UA Mystic; Battlemind was reworked into UA Psi Knight Fighter, while Ardent and Psion seem destined for takes on Psionics like the UA Psionic Soul Sorcerer or whatever replaces it if it was rejected.
I was mainly focusing on the spirit theme. Because of how subclasses are structured, there really is not way to full focus on the idea of spirit mastery. The power of the base class crowds out deveelopment. There's little design space.

It's all broken up.

The Anscentral Guardian Barbarian is guarded by spirits
The Shepherd Druid only deals with beast spirits and fey.
The Spirits Bard talks to and call spirits.
The Undead Warlock becomes like a spirit.

It's bits and pieces here and there carved up to different classes like a pizza.
 

I imagine the shaman with a game mechanic as a vestige pact magic, summoning totem spirits, and these giving special powers as monster traits, close to the incarnum soulmelds by the totemist class.
 

I would be very much in favour of a shaman base class. I created a shaman-like character using a celestial warlock chassis, but I felt if fell short of my character concept in a couple of key areas.

* I conceived my character as wise, rather than charismatic;

* Too much emphasis on Eldritch Blast, too little support for my totem animal (Bear).


In addition, if the latest contributions are anything to go by WotC are running out of sensible things to do with subclasses, adding more base classes would be a better way to continue to add new player options.
 

If using specific reallife terms from reallife ethnic groups, like "shaman", it needs to be historically and mythologically accurate.
Xanathar's has a sidebar on this topic about "samurai" and "cavaliers". Short version: it should strive to be respectful, which isn't necessarily the same thing as accurate.
 

Xanathar's has a sidebar on this topic about "samurai" and "cavaliers". Short version: it should strive to be respectful, which isn't necessarily the same thing as accurate.
Arguably, the 5e Samurai is "mythologically accurate", in the sense the designers watched Japanese movies about Samurai, focusing on movies that the Japanese consider classics.

It still makes me cringe, but I agree it passes the litmus test of "respectful".

I assume, knowledgeable Japanese persons vetted the class archetype, for Japanese sensibilities. At least I hope, but also it seems like something WotC is likely to do with regard to a Samurai concept.
 
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With regard to "cavalier".

I mainly know the reallife word as having an ironic meaning:

to have so much respect and confidence in something, that one interacts irreverently and playfully with regard to it.
 

Heh, part of being "respectful" toward a culture, includes making sure the design doesnt suck mechanically. Seriously.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I would be very much in favour of a shaman base class. I created a shaman-like character using a celestial warlock chassis, but I felt if fell short of my character concept in a couple of key areas.

* I conceived my character as wise, rather than charismatic;

* Too much emphasis on Eldritch Blast, too little support for my totem animal (Bear).


In addition, if the latest contributions are anything to go by WotC are running out of sensible things to do with subclasses, adding more base classes would be a better way to continue to add new player options.
Sounds like what you need is for the game to do away with mandatory ability scores attached to classes.

What if there was a Primal Spirit Warlock patron, and you could swap all Warlock instances of Cha for Wis?

I'd wager a guess that most detractors of the Psionic Soul Sorcerer would be satisfied if the same was done for Sorcerers, but swapping for Int.

Alternatively, what's stopping your Warlock from making Wis their second highest stat after Charisma, and investing in some Wisdom-based feats/features like Magic Initiate (Druid)?
 

Alternatively, what's stopping your Warlock from making Wis their second highest stat after Charisma, and investing in some Wisdom-based feats/features like Magic Initiate (Druid)?
That's what I did, but it didn't really give me the character I wanted - you can't play a grumpy curmudgeon with a Charisma of 16, and you can't get away from zapping energy beams from your fingertips without gimping yourself.
 

Xanathar's has a sidebar on this topic about "samurai" and "cavaliers". Short version: it should strive to be respectful, which isn't necessarily the same thing as accurate.
It's a strawman argument anyway - shamanism is one of the most widespread belief systems on the planet, no single culture or ethnicity can lay claim to it.
 

Minigiant

Legend
It's a strawman argument anyway - shamanism is one of the most widespread belief systems on the planet, no single culture or ethnicity can lay claim to it.
It's more that English painted the word shaman on every spiritual priest around the world not from a large organized religion.

In English you are more or less a cleric or a shaman. The Druid of d&d was lucky to escape and that is probably only due to Eurocentrism.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
The word Shaman was originally derived from a Siberian word, and there's some argument that word might be derived from a Sanskrit word. But overall it's being used to described just about any Animist or "Folk" practices.

Ideally Shaman should be the main class, and Druids should be a subclass. With an ability such as "Invoke Spirits" that does something based on subclass such as Wildshape or summons a spirit. But given D&D's legacy it would probably be the Druid that's the main class.
 

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