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Shaman Class (5e)
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Shaman Class (5e)

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Between Worlds

"Shamans serve as intermediaries between the mortal world and the realms of spirits, called by the spirits to speak for them among mortals. These spirits come in a variety of forms, ranging from elemental nature spirits to the souls of fallen ancestors, and often take on animalistic shapes. While most shamans revere the spirits for which they speak, they rarely worship them outright. More often, a shaman negotiates with the spirits, being granted power both as a means to fulfill the spirits' needs and as a reward for doing so."

This product contains a new class with six class archetype options. The shaman as presented here is a Charisma-based spellcaster, using a spellcasting mechanic derived from the warlock, that draws power from bargains with spirits. In addition, a supplemental PDF discussing the nature of animism and spirits is included for those who wish to explore the concepts in a bit more depth.

Work on the shaman began in early 2015, and the class went through over sixty-four revisions before being posted on the Dungeon Masters Guild. A great deal of care has been taken to ensure that the mechanics and flavor flow together well, rather than the class simply being another nature-themed spellcaster.

Sources consulted during the writing of this class include Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God and Sir James George Frazer's The Golden Bough. Prior knowledge of Slavic spiritual traditions was also brought to bear when describing the behavior of different spirits.

The cover artwork, by David Revoy, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Text and logos were added, and portions of the original artwork were cropped in order to fit the page.

To make full use of this material, you will need a copy of the Player's Handbook as well as the Elemental Evil Player's Companion. Spells originally introduced in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion are marked with EE in any spell lists.

Changelog

Date Version Notes
1/14/2016 v1.1 Per customer feedback, the number of shamanic invocations gained at 2nd level was reduced from 2 to 1. As was pointed out, the shaman's casting mechanic offers enough versatility when compared to the warlock that some kind of compensation would be appropriate. Keeping the shaman permanently exactly one invocation behind the warlock should hopefully balance the scales while still allowing Gift of Savagery shamans access to the invocations that allow them to remain relevant in melee combat.
1/19/2016 v1.2 Fixed some formatting errors that were introduced in v1.1.
1/20/2016 v1.2 Printable Transferred the material to the Dungeon Masters Guild PDF template to make it more printer-friendly.
1/27/2016 v.1.2.1 Printable Caught a minor error in the multiclassing rules that had base your number of invocations on "either class table" if you were multiclassing with warlock. But, since 1.1, the shaman has had a different number of invocations than the warlock, so that was just silly. It now goes off of your original invocation-granting class.
2/15/2016 v.1.3 & Sv1.0 Added a supplemental document digging a bit deeper into the flavor behind spirits and the nature of animism. Tweaked a few small flavor details in the class PDF to bring it in line with the expanded flavor in the supplement.
2/19/2016 v.1.3.1 Incredibly minor typo fix that I meant to do as a part of v.1.3, but completely forgot about until just now.
2/27/2016 v.1.3.2 More minor typo fixes.
3/7/2016 v.1.4 Changes to Gift of Savagery invocations, adjustments to the spell list, a new reincarnate invocation, and two new cantrips.
3/23/2016 v.1.4.1 Changes to 6th and 7th level spells in order to make Hidden Lore choices more interesting.
4/25/2016 v.1.5.0 Added the new Mask of Elemental Savagery wondrous item and rules for shamans bonding with extant magic items to serve as spirit weapons.
5/16/2016 v.1.5.1 Fixed a minor typo that had major ramifications and added information for the starting wealth option.
10/20/2016 v.1.5.2 Replaced aid with warding bond on the class spell list.
11/2/2016 v.1.5.3 Tweaked the multiclassing rules for Spiritual and Eldritch Invocations.
1/20/2017 v.1.5.4 Soul Reading invocation tweaked to only allow detect thoughts once per rest.
 
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Reviews (17)
Discussions (67)
Customer avatar
Elio R July 02, 2021 9:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
this is the worst class I have ever seen. We perceive the attempt to create something new, but everything seems to be done on the downside, making the class completely unplayable. Gift of Savagery in particular forces you to use all your resources to become, at best, a mediocre melee. The choice not to give features to the spirit weapon is meaningless. Most invocations are completely useless. The lore is very neat but the class is unplayable and frustrating.
Customer avatar
Elio R June 07, 2021 8:33 am UTC
PURCHASER
this class definitely needs an update.
Customer avatar
John S January 24, 2021 2:14 pm UTC
What are the Archetypes?
Customer avatar
Richard T December 10, 2020 5:01 am UTC
PURCHASER
Is there a fantasy grounds version available?
Customer avatar
Paul A September 04, 2020 11:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm bummed that there isn't an invocation that allows the shaman to take on a form of a wolf or similar CR level creature.

Awesome class regardless!!!
Customer avatar
connor F June 10, 2020 11:21 pm UTC
Hi,

We stream D&D on twitch and one of our players are looking to use this class. He has bought a copy of the pdf from you but we wanted to see if we can have your permission to use it on our streams. Its called shades of virtue on twitch. If you would rather reply privately then please feel free to email us at the.shades.of.virtue@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you.
Customer avatar
Karl P May 10, 2020 5:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I wanted to check it out and make a shaman
Customer avatar
Silas H March 09, 2020 3:04 am UTC
PURCHASER
it's a really cool class. feels sorta like a paladin or cleric multiclassed with a warlock using homebrew eldritch invocations, which I'm fine with. honestly, though, i don't see the connection between frazer.
Customer avatar
Paul A September 04, 2020 11:12 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I thought of it more like a druid - warlock hybrid.
Customer avatar
Shane D June 10, 2019 4:50 am UTC
PURCHASER
Please understand I comment here for the sake of new gamers. The reviews and comments for this product, Shaman Class (5E) by Michael Wolf, are somewhat inaccurate. The product is well-written and imaginative. I very much enjoyed the Shaman lore.

But the class is unbalanced. This class adopts abilities from other classes only at earlier levels. Like the ability to hit creatures resistant to non-magic weapons, the shaman can hit them at level 3 (as an option) whereas almost all other classes get that ability at level 6. The Shaman class herein can also Turn Undead at level 1 (also an option) whereas a cleric gets this signature ability at level 2.

Shamans don't get spell slots but an equivalent of spell points. The spell points refresh after a short rest which grants them twice as many spells as other starting casters and by 4th level a shaman can cast as many as 4+ times the amount of spells as any other caster of the same level. And at level 20, the Shaman class can cast a whopping...See more
Customer avatar
Shane D June 10, 2019 5:07 am UTC
PURCHASER
My apologies, a shaman can not cast 8 level 9 spells. However a shaman can cast 16 Hold Monsters per day. Excessive still IMO.
Customer avatar
William P June 10, 2019 11:51 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I mean, so can a warlock. I can't say that's been much of a problem in my games.
Customer avatar
Warren D June 11, 2019 12:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
How? Spirit points are not spell slots. A 1st level spell costs 1 spirit point. A 2nd level spell costs 2 spirit points. A 5th level spell costs 5 spirit points.
Customer avatar
Eric W June 11, 2019 7:15 am UTC
PURCHASER
William is right. Actually, they have less comparable slots than a Warlock at every odd level. For example, at level 5 Warlock has two 3rd level slots that refresh on short rest which is the equivalent of 6 Spirit Points, 1 more then the Shaman gets. This does change at the higher levels but Warlock has other stuff to make up for it. In the majority of games, you would never see the Shaman having more casts than another full caster as I personally have never seen more than 3 short rests [majoprty of times it's 1] in a game session. They have more diversity than a warlock at the expense of fewer invocations. Now I do think this doc needs revisions/ but imo its better than all of the other Shaman classes I have seen.
Customer avatar
Shane D June 17, 2019 6:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
Yes but warlocks only get two cantrips to start. Shamans start with 5 cantrips, a bonus language and a bonus skill as though they are warlock rangers. At third level they can either get the Lucky feat (as Gift of Sight) or get the ability to hit a creature resistant to non-magical weapons (as Gift of Savagery) much earlier than other classes. Those add up to support my claim that this class is unbalanced.

Tho you might not be experiencing any problems at your table, this class steps on other classes in the official books. Which makes those classes not as fun to play and the people playing those classes will feel weak and uncomfortable. This might end in a table full of shamans. This might end in people playing another game.
Customer avatar
Shane D June 17, 2019 6:21 am UTC
PURCHASER
I appreciate what you're saying here, Eric, but I have only seen one other shaman class. Not that I have been looking. I am just countering the long list of praises for this class. Which is a fantastic idea that, Yes, Needs Revision.

In its current state, compared to anything else, I would not allow my players to play this class and I would not ask my DM if I could play this class because I won't expect everyone to start playing overpowered classes like this. Even if it isn't as powerful as other content on the internet, this class is more powerful than any class in the official books.
Customer avatar
Robert W October 06, 2019 4:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I really don't think that this class is overpowered (perhaps with the exception of Speaker of Flames due to being able to spam Fireball). The Shaman is very comparable to a Warlock and generally speaking Warlocks can often be slightly under-powered unless they are spamming the Eldritch Blast + Hex + Agonizing Blast combo (which becomes even worse if Repelling Blast is thrown into the mix). This Shaman doesn't seem to have anything which can be spammed quite like that. Also while the use of spirit points instead of spell slots gives them a bit more versatility compared to the Warlock, they will often be slightly behind the Warlock in terms of raw power eg. lvl 3 when a Warlock has 2 lvl 2 spell slots; equivalent to 4 spirit points, while a Shaman has just 3 spirit points. Also the advantage of the versatility of spell points doesn't really kick in until higher levels when they have more points. There's also very little flexibility in terms of cantrips and spells known/prepared, and the Shaman is permanently 1 Invocation...See more
Customer avatar
Paul A September 04, 2020 11:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Unless this is a type. You get the amount of spells equal to you Charisma modifier, meaning the most amount of spells that you'll have is 5 if you have a 20 CHA. That's not OP, that's under if anything. Half your shaman level + CHA modifier makes more sense.
Customer avatar
Brooke M May 24, 2019 12:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love shamans and this looks like the best 5e version I've seen so far. My only criticism at the moment is that I'm pretty disappointed that it's a Charisma-based caster rather than a Wisdom one. To me, it doesn't make a lot of sense to not be Wisdom and the game already has enough Charisma-based casters. If I ever play this class I think I will personally swap that around.
Customer avatar
Jonathan H April 23, 2019 6:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hey big fan of this class so far but i just had one question about the gift of savagery feature. It says the weappm deals 1d8 damage, does that mean only 1d8 or 1d8+str modifier?
Customer avatar
Jared T February 14, 2019 5:36 pm UTC
Customer avatar
Eric W July 23, 2018 7:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Another thing i noticed. For prepared spells it just states you; "choose a number based on your charisma modifier." Is this intentional? All other full caster classes you get class level + spellcasting ability mod.
Customer avatar
Eric W July 19, 2018 7:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER

Love the class, definitely the most balanced shaman class i've seen. The multiclassing rules for shaman and warlock invocations are still a little hinky though. I think the # known is based off the first class that granted you invocations? If that's the case it's a little unintuitive and encourages warlock 2 first on most/all multi builds. Why not do something like;

" For invocations known add together your warlock levels and half your shaman levels [rounded up], use this total to determine the max and new invocations learned consulting the warlock table. As an example a level 4 warlock/ level 4 shaman would count as a level 6 warlock on the warlock table and you would know 3 invocations. Upon leveling to shaman lv 5 you would learn an additional invocation".

That way you can combine the two different lists but keep the same progression for each class no matter what your 'first' class was.
Customer avatar
Mike O June 12, 2018 9:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
This is one of a handful of well-designed 5e homebrew spellcasting classes I've seen that really seem to be built like core classes while serving their own niche both in function and roleplaying (another like this was a version of the Witch class, I really dig druidlock classes), but I really dislike the limitation of prepared spells locked to Charisma modifier only. Besides the fact that there is no core class that functions like this - even the secondary casters like Paladin & Ranger get more known or prepared spells (with Paladin functioning off of the Charisma modifier + half of class level for prepared spells that would make more sense here) - there is really no reason to limit known/prepared spells so severely when there is already the strict limit on spellcasting from spirit points. It is purely something that limits the player's spell list, making it smaller than EVERY other spellcasting class including the Warlock and even the Paladin and Ranger at higher levels, giving the player less agency in...See more
Customer avatar
Warren D June 12, 2018 11:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The Calling spells you get at each level are also part of your prepared list. So if you have a +4 modifier to Charisma you can prepare four spells as well as the two Calling spells you get from each level.
Customer avatar
Bill C May 07, 2018 8:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is a fantastic player-created class. While mostly a cross between a druid and a warlock, it carries hints from other spell-caster classes as well. Spell points are a useful evolution from spell slots. Obeisances are similar to paladin oaths in that they inform character conduct.

Wolf is strongly influenced by the Elemental Evil Player's Companion (EE), so a lot of those spells make the shaman spell-list. Callings follow an elemental theme, and there are also callings of spirits and of dreams. A step back from that, shamans may stack invocations on a binary of gifts: a savage quasi-barbarian or a slimmer, better diviner (i.e. seer).

The shaman gives a perfect answer to a Viking Age campaign in search of a theme-related spell caster.
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This title was added to our catalog on January 12, 2016.