Shaman (character class)

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In role-playing games, a Shaman is a character class that is generally portrayed as using spirit-based magical abilities that involve healing and enhancing the combat abilities of fellow players, and damaging and diminishing the combat abilities of enemies. A Shaman generally wears mid-level or chainmail armor, and wields spears and clubs.

Age of Conan[edit]

In Age of Conan, the Bear Shaman is one of the three Priest archetypes, and, unlike other healing classes, it also comes with good offensive abilities based on melee and melee enhancement. One can select a combination of feats for the character from the following trees: "General" (common for the Priest archetype), "Wrath", and "Spirits". Only a Cimmerian or Khitan may learn the ways of the Bear Shaman. The Shaman can wear light, medium, or cloth armor (as opposed to heavy) and wields two-handed blunt (and ranged) weapons, but may not use shields.[1]

Avalon: The Legend Lives[edit]

Avalon features a voodoo priest class known as the Seer. Seers combine the abilities of Mysticism (fashioning waxen images of other players in the style of voodoo dolls allowing great manipulation), Fatalism (a series of curses and blessings such as insanity, pessimism, slothfulness and parasitism), and Farsight (use of the seeing stones for world-ranging manipulation and effect). Late in their careers, Seers are able to choose specialisms between the Oracle (living among the ethereal winds, the advanced farsight/telepath/spying domain) and the True Mystic (building affinities with players and transforming them into doppelganger effigies).


Diablo 3 features a witch doctor character class reminiscent of the Diablo II necromancer, but with skills more traditionally associated with shamanism and voodoo culture. The witch doctor has the ability to summon monsters, cast curses, harvest souls, and hurl poisons and explosives at his enemies. Blizzard has stated[citation needed] that the witch doctor is not another version of the necromancer and that they may incorporate the necromancer in a future expansion. To power spells the witch doctor uses mana, which regenerates slowly.

d20 System[edit]

The d20 System is an open source role playing game system. As such, various sources have created versions of Shaman and Shaman-like classes:

A Shaman' class was specified in "The Shaman's Handbook" in 2002,[2] "The Hamlet of Thumble" in 2003,[3] "The Shaman" prior to March 2006,[4] and "The Lost Classes Codex" in 2006.[5]

The Fairy Witch and Were-Shaman classes, as well as The Hexmaster, Spirit Warrior and Witch Doctor prestige classes, were specified in "The Enduring: Witches and Shamans" in 2007.[6]

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

In the various versions of the Dungeons & Dragons games, there have been several versions of Shaman character classes.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (or AD&D) introduced the "Shaman" supplement (TSR 9507) in 1995.[7][8]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition (sometimes referred to as AD&D2 or 2nd Ed) rulebooks eventually included the Shaman class. Details are provided in the following sourcebooks: Faith and Avatars, Shaman, and The Complete Barbarian’s Handbook.

Dungeons & Dragons v.3 (also known as the Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons) rulebooks included the following Shaman classes:

Green Ronin Publishing released a 3.0 Shaman in The Shaman Handbook as part of their Master Class series. They cast divine spells spontaneously, like a sorcerer. The book also contains a number of Prestige Classes.

Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 (also known as Revised 3rd Edition or D&D3.5) rulebooks included the following Shaman classes:

  • Dragon Shaman - introduced in the Player's Handbook II. Open to all races, the Dragon Shaman is primarily a physical combatant who gains dragon-like powers from the particular type (color) of dragon he aligns with and develops an affinity for. This character may employ medium armor, and gains some spell-like abilities.[15]
  • Shaman - introduced in the Oriental Adventures sourcebook. Shamans are divine spellcasters who draw their spells from the spirit world.[15]
  • Spirit Shaman - introduced in the Complete Divine sourcebook. Spirit Shamans are similar to druids in that they use the druidic spell list, but they cast spells spontaneously like a Sorcerer. Spirit Shamans have their own spirit guide and possess special abilities that affect spirits (such as incorporeal undead, fey, and elementals). Unlike Sorcerers, Spirit Shamans may change their spell selection whenever they meditate to regain their daily allotment of spells.[15]
  • Totemist - introduced in the Magic of Incarnum sourcebook. Totemists revere magical beasts, such as worgs and unicorns, whom they see as the most powerful forces of nature. They shape incarnum, the material of souls, to make magical items based around magical beasts, such as Displacer Mantles. Totemist is the favored class of Dusklings.[15]

UKG Publishing released a 3.5 Shaman in The Enduring: Witches & Shaman in June 2007. It uses the same advancement and spellcasting progression as a druid, but (instead of wildshape) gains lycanthropic abilities as it progresses, becoming a were-shaman (a natural lycanthrope) at upper levels.

The Shaman [16][17] is among the classes included in the 4th edition Player's Handbook 2 (March 2009).[18] The Shaman class has the Primal power source and the Leader role, and has a clear link with the primal spirits of the earth; most of her powers call upon or otherwise make use of spirits. Continuing with this spiritual link, all Shamans receive a Spirit Companion—the class is distinctive for being the only Fourth Edition class to have a companion as a standard feature. While it may have any appearance the player wishes, the flavor and artwork included in the book depict it as an animal spirit, and the provided Shaman builds are named after possible appearances (Panther and Bear). Many of the Shaman's powers use the Spirit keyword, meaning they use the spirit as their origin point and derive line of sight and effect from it; these are flavored as the Shaman commanding the spirit to attack her enemies. The Shaman can even use opportunity actions to attack enemies moving past the spirit, giving it the mechanical feeling of an ally actively engaged in combat. Along with damage, Shaman attacks carry some type of rider effect that either benefit allies or harm enemies next to the companion spirit, such as temporary hit points or a bonus to attack rolls. Additionally, allies next to the spirit can gain additional hit points when the Shaman uses her healing abilities. This allows the Shaman to use the spirit as a mobile source of aid, able to be moved to where it is most useful. Since she must consider the positioning of two entities rather than one, and is able to use both ranged and melee attacks from two sources, the Shaman is a complex Leader class to play.[19]


In EverQuest, the Shaman class - like the Druid and Cleric classes - is of the Priest or Healer archetype. Like the Druid, the Shaman has many secondary utility abilities at the cost of not healing as well as the Cleric. These abilities include "debuffing" (diminishing) the offense of an opponent by slowing or decreasing its attack rate, attack rating and spell resistance, as well as "buffing" (enhancing) allies by speeding up or increasing their attack rate, attack rating and spell resistance. The EverQuest Shaman would be considered neither "good" nor "evil" in overall lore.

The Shaman class is only available to those races which are tribal, or closer to nature than to technology. Originally restricted to the races of Barbarian, Ogre and Troll, players were given the option of playing additional Shaman-capable races in the following expansions: Iksar (lizard people) with "Ruins of Kunark"; Vah Shir (cat people) with "Shadows of Luclin"; and Froglok (frog people) with "Legacy of Ykesha". The Shaman wears chainmail or scalemail, primarily wields blunt or piercing weapons, and may use shields.[20]

EverQuest II[edit]

In EverQuest II, Shaman actually describes two Priest classes - Mystics and Defilers. Mystic wards, abilities and spells are more defensively oriented, and their lore is generally good (vs evil). Defiler wards, abilities and spells are more offensively oriented, and their lore is generally evil (vs good). EverQuest II does not limit classes to certain races, so any of the 19 races can become a Shaman.Both Mystics and Defilers wear chainmail or scalemail, wield blunt or piercing weapons, and may use small shields.[21]

Fire Emblem[edit]

In Fire Emblem, the Shaman class is an unpromoted unit who specialises in the dark arts and tends to be the slowest but strongest magic class in the games. They're the rarest non-character specific class and upon promotion they become either Druids or Summoners.

Guild Wars[edit]

A living conduit to the Spirit world, the Ritualist profession is thematically identical to the Shaman character class.


In Rift, the Shaman is one of eight classes of the Cleric (healer) calling (archetype). The Shaman class has emphasis on dealing damage by magic and melee, at the expense of lesser defenses and healing ability (when compared to other Cleric classes).[22][23] The Shaman may wear chainmail or leather, wield blunt weapons, and use shields.


In Vanguard, the Shaman is of the Priest or Healer archetype, chooses one of three patron spirits: Tuurgin the Bear grants abilities based on physical strength and robustness; Rakurr the Wolf grants abilities based on stealth and speed; Hayatet the Phoenix grants abilities based on mana (magic) and fire. This choice determines which spells and abilities will be available as the character advances, as well as which statistics will be considered most important.

Shaman may be Goblin, Lesser Giant, Mordebi (a Human variety), Orc, Varanjar (a Human variety), Varanthari (a Human variety), Vulmane (wolf people) or Wood Elf.

The Shaman wears "medium" armor (versus light or heavy), wields blunt or piercing weapons, and may use shields.[24][25]

World of Warcraft[edit]

In World of Warcraft, the Shaman is a versatile class. A Shaman can specialize in the Elemental (ranged spell damage), Enhancement (melee damage) or Restoration (healing) specializations. A shaman has the ability to imbue their weapons with the elements (to provide increased damage or buffs to themselves) and uses elemental totems to provide benefits to allies (or diminish opponents' abilities) within a certain range. Shamans also have the ability to resurrect other players and are the only class capable of self-resurrection.[26]

Originally restricted to the Horde races of Orc, Tauren, and Troll. In The Burning Crusade, players were given the option of creating an Alliance shaman with the Draenei race. With the announced release of World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm new Shaman races will be Dwarf for the Alliance and Goblin for the Horde. Mists of Pandaria, released in 2012, introduced the new 'Pandaren' race; Pandaren have the option of joining either the Horde or the Alliance and have Shaman among their possible class choices.

The Shaman wears only cloth or leather armor until level 40, at which time mail armor may also be equipped. Shamans may wield a one-handed or two-handed mace, staff, one-handed or two-handed axe, dagger, or fist weapon; and may use a shield. Speccing into enhancement grants a shaman the ability to dual wield (formerly a talent in the enhancement tree) and use a weapon in their offhand instead of a shield.[27][28]


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  2. ^ "Shaman's Handbook, The (2002) ::Pen & Paper RPG Database". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  3. ^ "The Hamlet of Thumble - RPG Reviews". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  4. ^ " - OtherWorld Creations - The Shaman". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  5. ^ " - LPJ Design - Lost Classes Codex". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  6. ^ " - UKG Publishing - The Enduring: Witches and Shamans". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) Accessories - Wayne's World of Books". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  8. ^ " - Wizards of the Coast - Shaman". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
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  10. ^ "GAZ12 - The Golden Khan of Ethengar". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  11. ^ "Gazetteers = Dungeons & Dragons". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  12. ^ "GAZ13 - The Shadow Elves". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  13. ^ "Product List of TSR Mystara Material". Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  14. ^ "Atruaghin Clans GAZ14 TSR 9306 D&D Gazetteer". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  15. ^ a b c d " - Consolidated Lists - Character Class Index". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  16. ^ 4th Edition Excerpts: Warlord
  17. ^ Wizards Community - View Single Post - The one and only "Ask the Realms authors/designers thread" 3
  18. ^
  19. ^ Review: 4e Shaman Preview[dead link]
  20. ^ "EverQuest MMORPG". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  21. ^ "EverQuest II MMORPG". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  22. ^ "RIFT - Cleric". Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  23. ^ "RIFT - Shaman". Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  24. ^ "Vanguard Shaman". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  25. ^ "Vanguard at Ten Ton Hammer". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ " -> Info -> Classes -> Shaman". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  28. ^ "World of Warcraft - Shaman Guide". Retrieved 2008-06-07.