Shamans are passionate followers of a path that often lies at an oblique angle to the pursuits of other people. While the pursuit of wealth, knowledge, and creature comforts is what drives most people, shamans have an insight into a world where the ambition is to help others, and in doing so, to progress towards a personal state of heightened spiritual awareness. In essence, shamans are people who love people. Shamans are compassionate healers, both in a physical and a spiritual sense. While the focus of most shamans is other people, they also respect nature. Nature provides the tools necessary for shamans to do what they do and shamans aspire for total harmony with the spiritual and physical worlds.

Becoming a Shaman

While most shamans have formal teaching, anyone can encounter the kind of spiritual re-birth that makes a person a shaman. The process of this re-birth is as follows: The Spiritual Awakening, A Search for Answers, The Pursuit of Guidance, The Vision Quest, and The Spiritual Journey. The Spiritual Awakening occurs at a time in the shaman’s life when she realizes that the pursuits of this world are empty, and that there is more to this existence than material needs. Then, the Search for Answers can lead a shaman to the ends of the world or the shaman can encounter the answers she seeks in an instant. Once the shaman has discovered that all beings are more than the sum of their intellect and physical forms, then begins the Pursuit of Guidance. This guidance can come in the form of ancient texts, direct contact with a spirit or deity, and or the teachings of another shaman.

After the shaman has received the proper guidance, she goes on a Vision Quest. A Vision Quest is what opens the shaman’s eyes to the spirit realm; matters of the spirit are seen as clear as matters of the physical world. A vision quest can take the form of fasting, meditation, hallucinogenic drugs, or a combination of any number of techniques for opening the spiritual eyes of the shaman. The process of a spiritual rebirth, up to this point, can take a shaman an entire lifetime. Most people never have a Spiritual Awakening; from the few that do, fewer still ever find the answers they seek.

A true shaman is someone who is on the path of her Spiritual Journey. The Spiritual Journey never comes to an end. Even after death, the shaman’s spirit continues to progress toward perfection.

Role: Shamans can be found anywhere there are other people. Shamans in small villages act as the healer and spiritual leader of the people they serve. Shamans who dwell in larger cities often have regular jobs and pursue matters of the spirit in their dealings with the people they encounter and those with whom they pursue friendships. A shaman is not a job title; rather, it is a description of where the heart lies. Anyone, whose ambition is to help others, and become better at helping others in doing so, can become a shaman.

Abilities: Charisma is the most important ability for the shaman. Not only is a high Charisma score beneficial, but so is control over that Charisma. At times, the shaman needs to sway the emotions of participants and onlookers of certain rituals. At other times, the shaman needs to be a quiet healer. Still at other times, the shaman must use his Charisma to battle spirits and control them. Clearly, the charisma used in these cases is not always the same as the kind of charisma associated with a bard, politician, or used-cart dealer. Rather, it is a measure of leadership, persuasiveness, and personal strength.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gp (average 70gp)

Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Craft (Focus) (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Spirits) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Ritual) (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Survival (Wis).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Shaman
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Communicate with Spirit, See Spirit
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Spirit Companion
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Bonus Feat
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Summon Spirit
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Control Spirit
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Bonus Feat
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Spiritual Significance (self)
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Spirit Heal
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 Bonus Feat
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 Spirit Walk
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 Spiritual Significance (other)
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Bonus Feat
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Spirit Heal, Mass
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9 Tether Spirit
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9 Bonus Feat
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Control Living Spirit
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Break Tether
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Bonus Feat
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Bonus Feat
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Lasting Spiritual Significance

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the shaman.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Shamans are proficient with all simple weapons, light armor, and shields (but not tower shields).

Communicate with Spirit

While anyone can communicate with willing Tethered, Summoned, and Controlled Spirits, only a shaman using the Communicate with Spirit class ability may communicate with a free-roaming spirit. In addition to these statuses, a shaman with this ability can communicate with all types of spirits – living, deceased, and unembodied. The Communicate with Spirit ability also allows a shaman to communicate with spirits on a deeper level. A shaman who is communicating with a spirit through this ability is “in tune” with the spirit; understanding its history, motives, essence, insight, and desires. This ability comes from an awareness of the spiritual realm that a shaman develops and hones through practice, understanding, and experience. Tethered and Summoned spirits are free to choose whether or not to reveal themselves to, or communicate with anyone. If a Tethered or Summoned spirit does not reveal itself, only a shaman using the See Spirit class ability can see it. Even if seen, the spirit is still free to choose not to cooperate with the shaman. If this is the case, the shaman will have to force the spirit to communicate by using the Control Spirit class ability (see below). All spirits are free to choose not to communicate, unless they are controlled and commanded to communicate. Communication with spirits comes in the form of verbal or telepathic communication – depending on what the situation warrants and at the GM’s discretion.

If a spirit is willing to communicate, success is automatic. It gets tricky when a shaman tries to convince an unfriendly or even hostile spirit to communicate. In these cases, the shaman will need to perform a ritual to appease or otherwise influence the spirit to communicate.

To influence a spirit, the shaman must make a Perform (Ritual) check and compare the result to the NPC Attitude Chart as described for the Diplomacy skill. For success, the result must move the spirit to Indifferent status, or better. Unembodied spirits have an Initial Attitude of Indifferent, Deceased spirits go by their attitude towards shamans in life, or even in the afterlife, and spirits associated with a deity go by the deity’s attitude towards shamans or the shaman in question. If the spirit is completely unwilling to deal with the shaman (which is extremely rare), or if the shaman fails his check, the shaman will have to control the spirit in order to gain information. Success for Communicate with Spirit is automatic when used on controlled spirits.

Table: DCs for Communicating with Spirits
DC Description
15 Persuade an indifferent spirit to communicate
15 Persuade an unfriendly spirit to communicate
15 Persuade a spirit associated with a deity that is unfriendly towards shamans to communicate
20 Persuade a hostile spirit to communicate
25 Persuade a spirit associated with a deity that is hostile towards shamans to communicate

See Spirit

This ability allows a shaman to see spirits of all sorts. It is useful for determining if an item is a tether, seeing any spirits controlled by another shaman, or knowing if another being is possessed. A shaman who uses this ability will instantly know the type and status, as well as the nature of any spirits seen. Additionally, if the shaman succeeds at a DC 15 Knowledge (Spirits) roll the shaman may open himself to the free-roaming spirits in the area in order to let the spirits guide the shaman, granting to their next skill check an insight bonus equal to the Charisma modifier of the shaman. Using this ability is a move action.

Spirit Companion

At 2nd level a shaman has formed a bond with the spirit of an animal similar to that available to druids. He may chose an animal from the same list as druids. This spirit animal is a loyal companion that accompanies the shaman on his adventures as appropriate for its kind.

A 2nd-level shaman’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below. As a shaman advances in level, the spirit animal’s power increases as shown on Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics. If a shaman releases his companion from service, he may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of prayer. This ceremony can also replace an spirit companion that has perished.

Bonus Feats

At 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, and 19th level, a shaman gains a bonus feat. At each such opportunity, he can choose a metamagic feat, an item creation feat, or one from the following list:

Alertness, Animal Affinity, Deceitful, Endurance, Diehard, Fleet, Great Fortitude, Improved Great Fortitude, Intimidating Prowess, Iron Will, Improved Iron Will, Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Persuasive, Self-Sufficient, Spell Penetration, or Greater Spell Penetration.

The shaman must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including caster level minimums. These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels.

Summon Spirit

Summoning a spirit takes 10 minutes. During this time the shaman must be free to move about and petition the spirit for its aid. At the end of the summoning ritual, the shaman makes a Perform (Ritual) skill check, with a +1 circumstance bonus for every 10 extra minutes he spends in petition. If he succeeds, the desired spirit shows up. If he fails, nothing happens. If he rolls a 1, something unexpected and unfriendly appears. A spirit summoned by a shaman will remain for 20 minutes unless the shaman controls it within that time (see Control Spirit below).

The DC for summoning different types of spirits varies by circumstance. To summon a spirit, the shaman must make a Perform (Ritual) check and compare the result to the NPC Attitude Chart as described for the Diplomacy skill. For success, the result must move the spirit to “Friendly” status, or better. Unembodied spirits have an Initial Attitude of “Indifferent”, Deceased spirits go by their attitude towards shamans in life, or even in the afterlife, and spirits associated with a deity go by the deity’s attitude towards shamans or the shaman in question.

Table: DCs for Summoning Spirits
DC Circumstance
5 Summon any spirit – shaman doesn’t care what type or status
10 Summon an unembodied spirit of a non-particular spell effect
15 Summon an unembodied spirit of a particular spell effect
20 Summon an unfriendly deceased spirit
25 Summon any type of spirit associated with a deity unfriendly towards shamans
30 Summon any type of spirit associated with a deity hostile towards shamans

Control Spirit

To control a spirit, a shaman must overcome the spirit and bend it to his will. This is accomplished by the spirit and the shaman making opposed checks. The shaman makes a Perform (Ritual) check, and the spirit makes a Charisma ability check, with the highest total winning.

Deceased spirits are treated as having the same Charisma as the highest natural Charisma score they had in life. An unembodied spirit is treated as having the same Charisma as the required caster level for the spell granted by that spirit. Living spirits cannot be controlled. A controlled or tethered spirit can use its power a maximum of once per round. If duplicating a spell effect, casting times still apply.

If the Shaman overcomes the spirit, the spirit is controlled. If the spirit wins, the spirit can leave the area or try to possess the offending Shaman. If the spirit leaves, the shaman cannot attempt to control another spirit for 6 minus Charisma modifier hours. If the spirit tries to possess the Shaman, both the spirit and the shaman must make opposed Charisma ability checks. If the shaman wins, the spirit leaves. If the spirit wins, all of the shaman’s controlled spirits are freed and the spirit possesses the shaman.

A shaman may release controlled spirits at any time, including when battling a spirit trying to possess the shaman. If the possessing spirit is a Deceased Spirit, or an Unembodied Spirit with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher, the spirit might decide it likes having a body, and stick around for a while. An Unembodied Spirit lacking an Intelligence score will most likely get bored soon and leave on its own. Only a shaman of higher level can exorcise the spirit from the shaman’s body. When a shaman is possessed, the spirit controls his body and he is just along for the ride. (In other words, the shaman is now an NPC controlled by the GM.)

Table: Spirit’s Charisma and Spell Level of Equivalent Spell Effects
Spell Level Spirit’s Charisma
1 1
2 3
3 5
4 7
5 9
6 11
7 13
8 15
9 17

Effects of controlling spirits

Controlling a spirit forces it to cooperate if it doesn’t want to communicate, become tethered, or cause supernatural effects. A shaman can control a number of spirits equal to Charisma score of the shaman. A spirit costs one point of Charisma per point of Charisma of the spirit. The shaman gets any spent temporary Charisma points back when the controlled spirit is released.

Example: Kish the shaman has a Charisma of 12, and already controls two spirits with Charisma scores of 3 and 4, respectively – Kish’ can only control a spirit with a Charisma score of 5 or less unless he decides to release one.

Controlled unembodied spirits are not much use for information, but they can perform supernatural acts for the shaman. Controlled spirits only work for the shaman who controls the spirit. What sorts of spells they bestow is dependent upon whether the unembodied spirit is free roaming or associated with a deity. With a successful Knowledge (Spirits) check (DC 15 plus spell level) the shaman can find a spirit with the spell he wants.

Usually, free-roaming spirits provide effects that imitate Arcane Magic and spirits associated with a deity provide effects that imitate Divine Magic in the spheres associated with their deity. In order to control a spirit, a shaman must be at least the minimum required caster level for the spell effects caused by that spirit.

Some deceased spirits can also temporarily grant a particular feat that they were known for in life. This temporary feat will last for 1 round plus the level of the shaman.

Example: Kish the shaman is about to explore a deep dark cave. Knowing that he could lose his light source when in a fight, he decides to summon Hardack the Barbarian, who was known to be able to fight in the dark. The shaman pits his Perform (Ritual) skill against Hardack’s Charisma and succeeds. Hardack then bestows upon Kish the feat for which he was known: Blind Fight, which lasts for 8 rounds. (1 +7, Kish’s level).

Shamans must research and learn of deceased spirits and their tales. In the example above, Kish had learned of Hardack from his father and was therefore able to summon and control him. In a pinch, the shaman can attempt to find a specific spirit with the needed feat. In order to find such a spirit the shaman must succeed at a Knowledge (Spirits) check with a DC of 30. This takes d4+2 rounds.

Shamans may use the Control Spirit class ability to cause supernatural effects or to temporarily gain the use of feats a number of times per day equal to twice the number of levels the character has in the shaman class.

Example: Kish the shaman is 7th level and has under his control Hardack the Barbarian (a spirit that grants him the Blind Fight feat) and a spirit that gives him the calm emotion spell effect. He can use his spirits 14 times per day in any combination. (ie: Hardack seven times and the calm emotion seven times, or Hardack 14 times, etc.)

Table: Spell Level of Equivalent Spirit’s Charisma / Shaman Level Spell Effects
Spell Level Spirit’s Charisma
1 1
2 3
3 5
4 7
5 9
6 11
7 13
8 15
9 17

Spiritual Significance

In order for a shaman to attach something with Spiritual Significance he must infuse an item with a spiritual signature that can be seen from the spirit realm. Usually this comes from attaching the significance of a spiritual quest or a heroic adventure to an item. This is how characters can have nonmagical weapons and armor that bestow seemingly magical properties upon their owners. Items with Spiritual Significance are not magical (unless they are also enchanted); the magical effects come from the owner’s ability to use the item to focus their own energy into effects that simulate magic.

Spiritual Significance (self): This ability enables a shaman to give an item Spiritual Significance. However, there are drawbacks to this ability. This is because characters cannot attach memories to items if they just sit at home counting their gold. A character cannot give an item significance until he goes out and does some adventuring, gaining the experiences and stories necessary to attach significance to the item. The second drawback is that the item can be destroyed or stolen. The experiences associated with an item are personal to the item’s owner; they won’t hold true for a thief who has stolen the item. Likewise, the significance of an item won’t hold true for even an exact duplicate, even if the character is unaware of the replacement.

Spiritual Significance (other): A shaman of the appropriate level can also help others attach significance to their items through the class ability Spiritual Significance (other). The owner of the item pays the cost and this costs the shaman nothing but time – the shaman only pays gold when he attaches significance to his own item. A shaman must advance in levels before he can use this ability for others. This is because a shaman cannot learn to help others if he just concentrates on himself. He must use his experiences to better himself (ie. advance in level), in order to help others. Also, if he lingers, he cannot move forward on his spiritual journey.

Any item can have Spiritual Significance. When the owner holds or uses the item, it bestows the magical effect associated with it. The reason this is spirit magic is because the owner, with the help of a shaman, has bestowed a part of his own spirit into the item. This is our way, as emotional beings, of “putting our emotions in a box”. Spiritual Significance enables a being to focus his energy on a task (e.g. Zarkon the Brave killing trolls with his lucky mace). Spiritual Significance cannot be transferred. An item with Personal Spiritual Significance can be passed down as an heirloom, along with the story(s) of its significance, but this won’t confer the powers (Significance) of the item to the heir(s). In order for the Significance of the item to be transferable, the item must have Lasting Spiritual Significance. The cost in gold is dependent on what effect is going to be released. For spell effects, the cost in materials (incense, herbs, etc.) is 500 gp times the level needed to cast the spell and the spell level can never be greater than 4th. Higher-level spell effects are available with the Tether Spirit ability.

Example: Zarkon the Brave has a lucky mace that he uses to smite trolls. Knowing that this is his lucky mace, he approaches his friend Kish the shaman to have him attach Spiritual Significance. After receiving a modest fee, Kish performs a ritual and attunes Zarkon’s spirit to his mace. Now, whenever Zarkon uses the mace against Trolls, he acts as if he is under the effects of a Bless spell. In addition to Kish’s fee, this costs Zarkon 500 gp. (500 gp times 1, the level needed to cast Bless)

To add a bonus to a weapon costs the bonus desired squared x 1500 gp. Also, these bonuses do not make the item magical in terms of damage resistance, although the weapon functions in all other ways as a magical weapon. (E.g.: Zarkon the Brave wants his lucky mace to be a +2 club. This would cost him 6000 gp, and the mace would grant him a +2 bonus to damage and to hit rolls). Also, the Shaman has to be of a sufficiently advanced level to give a particular bonus. The following chart shows what bonus a shaman can bestow at a given level:

Table: Weapon Bonuses by Shaman Level
Shaman Level Bonus
1-7 None
8-9 +1
10-11 +2
12-13 +3
14-15 +4
16+ +5

Spirit Heal

Spirit Heal allows a shaman to call on the surrounding spirits in order to heal a target. A shaman can heal one target a number of hit points equal to Xd6 where X is equal to the number of levels in the shaman class the character possesses. A shaman can use Spirit Heal a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier +2.

Spirit Walk

Spirit Walk allows a shaman to suppress the tether to his own body. The tether is not broken, just allowed to stretch out in order to allow the spirit of the shaman to leave the immediate vicinity of the body. While the See Spirit class ability allows a shaman to see into the spirit realm, Spirit Walk allows the shaman to see the physical world as though from a different location. The distance the spirit can travel from the body, is limited to 50 yards per level of the shaman. When a shaman is Spirit Walking, the physical world does not appear as clear as when viewed with physical eyes. As in dreams: details, facial features, texts, and often spoken words can be unclear. A shaman is not subject to possession by other spirits during the time his spirit is away from his body, but he is subject to the (mis) use of the Break Tether class ability, by another shaman. Also, for every ten minutes he spends away from his body, there is a cumulative 10% chance that the tether will break on its own. If the tether to the shaman’s body is broken, the body is now subject to possession by spirits. A shaman with a broken tether to his body will need another shaman to summon his spirit and tether his spirit back to his body, as well as exorcise any spirits that have inhabited it.

Spirit Heal, Mass

This functions like Spirit Heal however now the shaman can affect all allies in a 30 foot radius.

Tether Spirit

A tether is like a light seen from the spirit realm. Spirits cannot see the mortal realm clearly, and most of what goes on there is unimportant to them, anyway. A tether attaches an importance to an item or location that is seen by one or more spirits in the spirit realm. In other words, making an item a tether is like giving an item Spiritual Significance for a particular spirit. Spirits bound by a tether are separate entities and are not actually the item in question. The item is not the spirit – the spirit is the spirit. However, the tether can be the item itself. In other words, the item is not distinct from the tether; the item is what the spirit sees and follows. The spirit itself cannot be said to have any physical relation to the tether-item (i.e. above, next to, around, etc.), rather it sees and knows the item for what it is: a tether. Viewed from the spirit realm, the mortal realm is like flipping through a billion television channels at lightning speed; chaotic, uninformative, and rather boring. The tether is like the shaman stopping on one channel and the spirit then watches what goes on. The tether item itself, and what interacts with the item, is what the spirit sees and knows. The spirit dwells in the spirit realm and inhabiting the item itself or viewing it from ten miles away are meaningless concepts to the spirit. An example might be a spirit tethered to a spear. The spirit is aware of the owner of the spear, previous owners, and the entire history of the spear since the spirit was tethered to it. That means the spirit is aware of who the spear has killed, time the spear spends involved in a hunt or centuries piled in a dragon’s treasure horde. The spirit is even aware of intersections with other spirits.

Example: Kish the shaman owns a spear with a tethered unembodied spirit that he calls “Swift”. Swift gives Kish a +1 to hit when he throws the spear at a target. Kish also owns a medallion found in a dungeon. The medallion is a tether to a spirit of Aid, whom Kish calls “First”. First and Swift are aware of each other and can communicate with one another, if they both possess Intelligence, and as long as the medallion and spear share a common link (in this case, Kish).

Unembodied spirits gain 1 point of Intelligence after being tethered for 100 years and rise one point of Intelligence every 50 years thereafter. Deceased spirits have the same Intelligence as the highest Intelligence score they had in life.

Example: First was tethered to the medallion for 987 years before Kish found it in a dungeon. Kish and First (Intelligence 9) can communicate about the history of the medallion and the former priest who owned it. However, Kish just recently tethered Swift, a free-roaming spirit to his spear. Since Swift was a free-roaming spirit before Kish summoned him, and enough time hasn’t passed, Swift has no Intelligence.

If a tether item is broken, and destined to be remade (time is meaningless in the spirit realm), the spirit is still tethered to the pieces and can watch them – even if they are separated by great distances (distance is also meaningless in the spirit realm). During the time the item is dismembered, no one can communicate with the spirit. If the item is destined to not be re-made however, (for instance, if a tether sword was to get melted down) the spirit immediately loses sight of the tether, as the tether is destroyed with the item’s destiny.

An item that is a tether is magical and radiates magic when detect magic is used. A spirit that is tethered can grant its effects a number of times per day equal to the level of the shaman that tethered it in the first place. However, powerful spirits can limit but not increase this amount at the discretion of the GM.

Example: A wish spirit tethered to a lamp can choose to only grant a maximum of three (3) wishes regardless of how powerful the shaman was who tethered it. The final choice of how many times it can be used however, is left up to the Game Master.

What Does a Tether Do For a Spirit?

Shamans, priests, certain heroes, certain buildings, shrines, gardens, certain trees, and certain groves, can all be seen in the spirit realm, but do not have reference to one another. A temple with Spiritual Significance near a garden with similar significance would be separate as seen from the spirit realm. They might as well be miles apart, unless the path connecting them was also significant. For instance, if the path were part of a ritual or a quest, then the temple, path, and garden would be seen as one location, separate from other locations. A tether is the kind of significance that can be seen in the spirit realm infused into an object or location. A tether is neither beneficial nor detrimental to a spirit; it is merely there. It gives it something to “hang on to” as the landscape in the mortal realm appears to shift and move when seen from the spiritual realm (time has no meaning, so what is terra-firma to inhabitants of the physical world, looks like complete chaos to a spirit). Add to this the fact that an item can be carried great distances, and it would be inevitable for a spirit to get “lost” without a tether to follow.

What Can a Tether Do For Me?

If a deceased spirit is tethered, a shaman or deity could have tethered the spirit on purpose. Or the spirit can be tethered simply because of the circumstances surrounding their life or death. A monk who dedicated his whole life to the cultivation of a garden sanctuary might become tethered to that location upon his death and make appearances on occasion healing and bestowing blessings upon visitors to the garden. Alternately, a paladin on a mission of mercy who is waylaid, beaten, robbed, raped, tortured, and murdered by some especially evil bandits, might be tethered to the sword they stole from him and pawned for liquor money. As with controlled deceased spirits, tethered deceased spirits are useful for providing information about their lives, as well as bestowing feats for which they were known in life. Deceased spirits lose contact with the deities they serve and other deceased spirits upon becoming tethered – the item to which they are tethered becoming the sole focus of their existence. Tethered unembodied spirits are useful for providing information about the history of the thing they are tethered to, provided they have been tethered long enough to gain Intelligence. The scope of their knowledge is limited to the thing or place to which they are tethered however. Tethered unembodied spirits also bestow supernatural effects in the same way as controlled unembodied spirits, except they do not first need to be summoned or controlled. Tethered spirits work for anyone who controls the item to which they are tethered, as though the owner were using the Control Spirit shaman class ability. Tethering a spirit who is sent by, or summoned from a deity, without the deity’s permission, is not a wise thing for a shaman to do. The shaman can tether spirits once he has reached the higher stages of his craft. This, of course, follows summoning and controlling a spirit. A spirit that does not wish to be tethered to an item must first be controlled. Once a spirit becomes tethered, it cannot be summoned or controlled by another shaman until the tether is broken – either through the destruction of the item, or the use of the Break Tether special class ability. Tethering a spirit to an item costs the shaman one point of permanent Charisma for every 4 points of Charisma the spirit has (round down, minimum of 1). Deceased spirits are treated as the same Charisma as the highest natural Charisma score they had in life. An unembodied spirit is treated as having the same Charisma as the required caster level for the spell equivalent to the effects caused by that spirit. A shaman must be at least the same level as the required caster level in order to tether the spirit. 0-level spells cost 1 point of permanent Charisma, since a character must be 1st level to cast cantrips or orisons.

Table: Spell Level of Equivalent Spell Effects Spirit’s Charisma
Spell Level Spirit’s Charisma
1 1
2 3
3 5
4 7
5 9
6 11
7 13
8 15
9 17

Example: Kish wants to summon and tether the deceased spirit of Hardack the Barbarian. Hardack had a Charisma of 8 in his prime. After summoning Hardack, Kish realizes that Hardack was never much of a conversationalist (Intelligence of 6). Kish decides the cost (2 permanent Charisma points) is a bit high for the Blind Fight feat. Kish later summons a spirit of Darkvision (a 2nd level Arcane spell). Since a normal wizard must be 3rd level to cast Darkvision, tethering a spirit of Darkvision would only cost Kish 1 point of permanent Charisma – a much more cost-effective way to fight in the dark!

Break Tether

Breaking a tether is an ability that allows a shaman to aid a spirit in its spiritual journey. It doesn’t harm either the spirit or the item or location to which it is tethered. There is no cost to the shaman for performing this ritual, except time – a small price to pay for helping a spirit. To break a tether, the shaman must succeed at a DC 20 Perform (Ritual) check.

Example: After 13 years of adventuring, Kish decides that 1000 years is enough time for First to spend as a medallion. First has an Intelligence of 10 and Kish is sure First is ready to progress and do better things in the spirit realm. Kish performs the ritual and sends First on its way, thanking it for years of faithful service.

Lasting Spiritual Significance

Lasting Spiritual Significance is the sort of significance that extends to include members of a family, a clan, or even an entire society. Examples from our own history include: The Holy Grail (used for good), the Spear of Destiny (used for evil), Buddha’s Alms Bowl (who wouldn’t want that?), etc. Examples of this are also found abundantly in fantasy literature, often in broken swords that bestow nobility once re-made, daggers that are good at killing giant spiders, horns that inspire and rally troops, etc. This is because the members of a specific group of people have bestowed a part of their own spirit into the item. Items with Lasting Spiritual Significance are not magical, unless they are also enchanted.

Example: Barak’s Keel is the keel of the Gnolaum flagship, reportedly fashioned by the God Barak to enable the first Gnolaum to cross the Great Sea. Having it on the flagship makes it unsinkable.

Lasting Spiritual Significance is a high level class ability. A shaman who goes around putting significance into everything he comes across will never advance in his spiritual journey to a level where he can make a lasting mark on the world and society.

The cost for attaching Lasting Spiritual Significance is paid by two groups. First, the people for whom the item will carry Spiritual Significance pay an experience point cost. This is done by taking the total number of people involved in the ritual and dividing it by the total cost in experience, with each person paying their share (round decimals up). The individual cost can be quite small if the item to have Lasting Spiritual Significance is for the members of an entire nation. If the significance is to be passed among members of a family, the original cost is paid when the item is given to the family.

The shaman performing the ritual also pays 1/10 of the experience cost1 for attaching Lasting Spiritual Significance. Shamans who work together to attach Lasting Spiritual Significance can divide the cost in experience points1 by the number of shamans involved. Costs for giving an item Lasting Spiritual Significance are determined in the same manner as the costs for attaching Spiritual Significance, only there are no limits to the spell level or effect. In the case of any Spiritual Significance, a spirit from the spirit realm is not involved; rather the life-force from the shaman, and everyone involved in the ritual gives a portion of their own life force to the item.

1 This game has done away with expending experience points when crafting items. Is this a mistake?


Shamans must keep their bodies pure in order to maintain the kind of spiritual purity that is required to see, communicate with, and control certain forces of the spiritual realm. Therefore, practicing shamans may only eat foods that are rich in “prana”. Prana is the energy that inhabits all living things. It is what enables cells to multiply, seeds to sprout, plants to grow, and animals to live, breathe, digest, and grow. This means that shamans must avoid processed and preserved foods. The longer food sits, aging, brewing, or cooking, the more its prana is diminished. Therefore, shamans must avoid pickled foods, alcohol, cheeses, aged or dried meat, baked goods, and long-cooked foods such as stews and soups. Honey, since animals process it, is neither rich nor lacking in prana; other sweets are to be avoided, since sweetening food involves processing it.

A shaman who consumes food that is processed or preserved, whether intentionally or unknowingly, loses all shaman special class abilities for 24 hours.


Shamans are free to suspend their pursuit of spiritual matters to focus on broadening their knowledge. They can use the shaman Special Class abilities at any time, provided they haven’t abandoned their prana-rich diet. An ex-shaman, who has become impure for more than one month, must go on a Vision Quest. This Vision Quest serves to re-purify the shaman in order to regain the use of shaman Special Class abilities.

Archetypes & Alternate Class Features

When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.

Table: Shaman Archetypes / Alternate Class Features
Archetype / Alternate Class Feature Class Features Changed or Replaced
Class Skills Skill Ranks per Level Weapon & Armor Communicate with Spirit See Spirit Spirit Companion Bonus Feats Summon Spirit Control Spirit Spiritual Significance Spirit Heal Spirit Walk Spirit Heal, Mass Tether Spirit Break Tether Lasting Spiritual Significance
3 6 9 12 15 18 19 Self Other
Rogue Genius Games
Blacksnake C C


Cloakfighter C C


Harrier C C


Physical Exemplar C C


Spellhammer C C


Weapon Champion C C


Youxia C C


X=replaced, (X)=optional replacement, C=changed, 1=archetype package 1, 2=archetype package 2

Types Of Spirits

The type of spirit determines what the spirit knows, what it can do, and how it can interact with people. A spirit can be Unembodied, Living, or Deceased. Unembodied Spirits are NPCs and Living Spirits are played by the GM if the spirit is an NPC, and played by players if the Living Spirit is that of a PC. If a Deceased Spirit was a PC, the player who played the character plays the spirit. If a Deceased Spirit was an NPC, the GM plays the spirit (unless he wants a player to play the spirit).


Unembodied spirits are beings that never occupied a living body. Rather, they are the beings that embody the spirits of nature, spell spirits, elemental spirits, spirits of stone, darkness, or occurrences that cannot be explained through normal, physical means.


Living Spirits are those spirits that are born into a living being. The definition of a living being can include animals or plants, depending on the campaign setting. All Living Spirits are tethered to the body they occupy, and only death can break this tether. More than one spirit can occupy a body, as in the case of possession, and this is also a tether. A shaman with the Break Tether class ability can break the tether of a possessing spirit (see the rules for the Break Tether above).

A description of Living Spirits is included only as a matter of definition. Since shamans cannot break the tether of a Living Spirit (except through killing – which most shamans detest because it upsets the natural progression of that spirit), there is little to be done with Living Spirits, aside from guiding them on their spiritual journey.


A Deceased Spirit is a spirit whose tether to its living body has been broken. Deceased spirits are useful for providing information about their lives and deaths, the deity they serve (if they are affiliated with a deity after death), other deceased spirits (“Oh spirit, tell me how my long-lost husband Claude is doing…”), and other information about the spiritual or divine realms.

Upon the death of a being, all tethers to the body are broken. Possessing spirits become free roaming, and the spirit of the deceased being stays at the location of the bodily remains, and is treated as “summoned” for three days after death. After three days, the spirit of the deceased becomes free roaming or goes to be with a deity if the being was a worthy follower in life.

Spiritual Status

Deceased and Unembodied spirits can be either free roaming, with a deity, summoned, controlled, or tethered. Living spirits cannot be free roaming, with a deity, summoned, or controlled. No spirit can be tethered to more than one item or body; therefore a living spirit, which is tethered to its own body, cannot be tethered to anything except its own body, unless the tether to its body has been broken. (see Tether Spirit above).

Free-roaming spirits have a vague and limited understanding of the happenings of the material and divine realms. The material world is constantly “scrolling” by and direction makes no sense when viewed from the spirit plane. Inhabitants of the material realm might use mountains, buildings, rivers, forests, or cities as reference points. Beings inhabiting the spirit realm don’t see those things in the same way we do; they cannot see a tree, building, rock, person or anything that doesn’t hold Spiritual Significance.

Spirits that are with a deity are aware of major happenings in the divine realm (divine politics, expulsions from paradise, fallen beings, etc.), as well as the spiritual condition of other Unembodied and Deceased followers of the deity they serve.

Spirits that are summoned, controlled, or tethered are aware of what goes on in the immediate surrounding area of the material world, for the duration of those statuses. In the case of the controlled and tethered spirits, this can be a long time. A summoned spirit is aware of happenings in the surrounding area for the duration of the summoning (usually 20 minutes).


Free-roaming, deceased or unembodied spirits, are those with no affiliation to a deity, not controlled by a shaman, or those not attached to a body, or item with a tether.

Associated With A Deity

A deity can send a spirit to a follower to grant them a supernatural effect, or to give or gather information. Spirits sent by a deity are treated as controlled spirits in game terminology; there are no restrictions on how long a spirit sent by a deity will remain with the being or location to where the deity has sent the spirit. If a deceased spirit is with a deity, the deity can allow or disallow a shaman to summon and communicate with the spirit, at the deity’s discretion.

If the deity allows the shaman to summon a deceased spirit, the spirit is still free to decide whether to cooperate with the shaman (unless the deity has sent the spirit specifically to do so).

Spirits and the Undead

Spirits normally detest the undead since their spiritual progress has been stunted. However, the process that creates undead, and the existence of spirits are two separate things and shaman have no special power against the undead.

Sample Spirits

There are five major clans of the Arak in the world, each with their own totem: Dragon, Bear, Stag, Wolf, and Serpent. The shamans of these individual clans have regular contact with individual spirits associated with the major spirit of their totem. These totems themselves are not worshiped, but are rather seen as an example to follow in worshiping their god, known only as the One. As the totems lead complete lives, sleeping, hunting, caring for young, etc., so the Arak see the totems as examples of how to glorify the One in their daily lives. The mere act of living (not merely being alive, but living life) is seen as the highest form of worship – for that is what all things created by the One were created to do.

In imitating their totems, clan shamans have discovered the lesser spirits that aid the totems in their lives. These spirits were also created by the One for the very reason of helping all who needed them, be they Great Animal Spirits, animals themselves, or people. Although a shaman having direct contact with the Great Animal Spirit of a totem is rare, it does happen. Sometimes individuals that have had contact with a Great Animal Spirit have been so moved as to start a new clan. More often, a shaman meets a lesser spirit that knows and aids the Great Animal Spirit of their totem, and the corresponding animals inhabiting the mortal realm.

These lesser spirits vary in intelligence and power. Some spirits are as unique as the Great Animal Spirits themselves, and others are as numerous as the number of animals inhabiting the mortal realm. A particularly powerful and intelligent spirit might only be known by a clan shaman, or perhaps the tribe’s greater warriors, and chiefs may have access to a spirit with moderate power, and many members of a clan might use lesser, and more numerous spirits.

The spirits listed below are those that are tied to particular clans:

Dragon Clan Spirits

Dragon Skin: Medium Spirit Charisma 3

These spirits are tethered to warriors of the dragon clan that fight in a dragon hunt. Small pieces of the dragon’s scales are inserted beneath the warrior’s skin by the shaman and the Dragon Skin spirit is tethered to it. The Dragon Skin is always active (activation is not required) and provides a +5 bonus to AC. Many warriors choose not to wear any armor at all after receiving a Dragon Skin. The Dragon Skin spirit has no intelligence.

Bear Clan Spirits

Slumber: Minor Spirit, Charisma 1, Intelligence 1d2

These spirits are numerous and are usually tethered to members of the Bear Clan, upon coming of age, via tattoo. A Slumber spirit has saved the life of many a hunter caught in a sudden snow flurry, enabling the clan member to find a cave, hollow log, or even a pile of leaves in a pinch, to crawl into and sleep. The Slumber spirit causes the person to fall into a deep slumber, slowing the metabolism and using the body’s resources to keep it alive while the weather is a threat. Mothers with this spirit can curl up with their young who haven’t received their own Slumber spirit and the spirit will protect their young as well. Bears in the wild have this spirit naturally, and it keeps them asleep throughout the winter. However, the Slumber spirit only keeps Bear Clan members asleep long enough for a storm to pass or for temperatures to rise enough to travel. This spirit possesses a minimal amount of intelligence, as it makes decisions concerning the welfare of its companion(s). Although it is intelligent, it does not communicate with anyone, but does provide pleasant dreams to whomever it is working for.

Bear’s Nose: Minor Spirit, Charisma 1

These handy little spirits are tethered to small braids of bear fur, carried by clan members gathering food, or a youngster out on a hunting expedition with his elders. When rubbed on the bridge of the nose, they enable the user to sniff out a nearby berry patch, beehive, nut tree, or other source of sustenance. A Bear’s Nose spirit can be used once per day, and is carried usually in case of emergency or, in the threat of coming back empty-handed. Adult men would never admit to carrying them, as it might be a sign of low confidence in one’s own hunting ability, but many a hunter’s pack has a Bear’s Nose spirit tucked away “just in case”. The Bear’s Nose spirit has no intelligence.

Autumn’s Vigor: Minor Spirit, Charisma 1

These spirits are a bit different from most in that they can be controlled by anyone. While a Bear Clan shaman must summon the Autumn’s Vigor spirit, anyone can then control it. The spirit allows hunters of the bear clan to work from sunrise to sunset, without stopping, for the two weeks prior to the arrival of autumn and the two weeks after. Men controlling this spirit rise at dawn automatically, take up their hunting weapon, and hunt all day; returning home only to drop off the kill and to sleep at sunset. Women with this spirit also rise at dawn and do an incredible list of chores – curing leather and furs, sewing warm garments, cleaning and drying meats, gathering nuts, stocking foods, etc. – all in preparation for the coming winter. Right before the four-week long ordeal, the tribe gathers and all of the shaman perform a ritual while everyone sings and prays – contemplating the way of the bear and preparing their minds and bodies for what must come. The shaman completes the summoning ritual, and the Autumn’s Vigor spirit becomes controlled by anyone whose mind is ready and succeeds at a DC 10 Charisma check. Everyone goes home exhausted, and the time of preparation for winter begins the next day at dawn. While controlling this spirit, a character may move at a hustle for an entire day, and is immune to fatigue. After the four-week time of preparation, the spirit leaves and will no longer be controlled, and the person who had it is fatigued for one week. The Autumn’s Vigor spirit has no intelligence.

Stag Clan Spirits

Mediation: Major Spirit, Charisma 15, Intelligence 10

This major spirit is unique and Stag clan shaman will not tether it. It is summoned in extreme instances where negotiations are necessary to prevent a war or other catastrophe. A shaman with a high enough Charisma score who summons and controls the Mediation spirit has the ability to mediate negotiations with surprising ability. The talent comes from the ability to calm combative negotiators with words, to listen without emotional bias, and to detect lies and ulterior motives. The Mediation spirit grants the use of the calm emotions, detect thoughts, and discern lies spells each once per day, and grants a +4 bonus to the following skills: Diplomacy, Gather Information?, and Sense Motive.

Fleet of Foot: Minor Spirit, Charisma 1

This minor spirit is tethered to a stag hoof worn around the neck or to an anklet of sinew and bone. It allows the user to bound through threatened squares without provoking attacks of opportunity. It does not protect when the wearer leaves a threatened square, nor does it permit attacks during movement (the wearer must make a move and attack or make a full move).

Wolf Clan Spirits

Hunt as Pack: Medium Spirit, Charisma 3

This type of spirit is reserved for the most powerful hunters of the Wolf Clan. Tethered to the remnant of a wolf’s kill, it is used to allow a hunting group to function as a pack mind during the pursuit and kill of game. It functions similarly to the Message spell, but does not allow a verbal message; rather it uses a form of implied communication. Strategy can be conveyed through a subtle hand-wave, a nod, or even a look. When moving in for the kill, the intent is understood as though the hunters are functioning as one. One message per hunt, per hunter can be conveyed in this manner per turn, usually something like “You two circle around through those trees and drive the herd this way, we’ll pick them off as they cross over the stream.” All that is required is that the recipient see the sender at the time the instruction is sent. This spirit is also useful in combat, which is why Wolf Clan members do battle in the same groups in which they hunt.

Wolf Nose: Minor Spirit Charisma 1

These spirits are tethered to a small scrap of treated wolf fur, cut in the shape of a wolf’s head. They allow the user to smell prey while hunting by granting a form of the Survival (Track) feat. Rather than depending on the type of ground to determine the DC, the Wolf Nose spirit depends on the user’s sense of smell to track prey.

Serpent Clan Spirits

Poison Tongue: Minor Spirit Charisma 1

The ritual for tethering this spirit is a painful process that enables the recipient to detect poison as per the spell. A fang from a poisonous snake is used to pierce the subjects tongue, which then never heals so long as the spirit is tethered to the piercing. Some Serpent Clan members with this spirit put rings or posts through the hole. This ability may be used once per day for each level of the shaman who tethered the spirit.

Serpent’s Wile: Medium Spirit Charisma 7

This spirit is tethered to a dried serpent’s tongue and mimics the discern lies spell. The existence of this spirit, and the serpent’s tongue, is kept quiet; usually the shaman alone has it, or he gives it to the clan chief, to be kept in secret. A Serpent’s Wile spirit can be used once per day for each level of the shaman who tethered the spirit.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Shaman Pathfinder Edition Copyright 2009, Rogue Genius Games; Authors: R. Hyrum Savage.

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