How to play a Shaman ?

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So im looking to join a new game starting up and wanted to try something a little differant. Shaman caught my eye as its a party support Leader who isnt a form of Cleric or a Paladin without Holy Powers.

Im just a little curious though and require info from someone whos played one.  What are you actualy supposed to do during combat?

I get you summon a spirit companion and it moves on your turn but am I supposed to stand there and command it like im some kinda Pokemaster or move around like a headless chicken across the  maps avoiding combat while I direct my pet?

Im very confused.
The basic idea behind the Shaman is that you can deliver attacks/buffs/healing through either your Spirit Companion or yourself, increasing your battlefield range and versatility.  Whether you command it or not depends on your selection of powers and the situation: do you want to be a puppetmaster?  Select nothing but Spirit Companion keyword powers.  Do you want to do it all yourself?  Avoid the SC powers except the mandatory ones.  The key is to check the keywords of the Shaman Powers to determine which ones your Spirit Companion does and which ones you do.

Roleplaying is for roleplaying.  The rules are for the game.

So im looking to join a new game starting up and wanted to try something a little differant. Shaman caught my eye as its a party support Leader who isnt a form of Cleric or a Paladin without Holy Powers.

Yes, 4e is good about offering alternatives to divine healers.

Im just a little curious though and require info from someone whos played one.  What are you actualy supposed to do during combat?

I made one but never actually played it.

I get you summon a spirit companion and it moves on your turn but am I supposed to stand there and command it like im some kinda Pokemaster or move around like a headless chicken across the  maps avoiding combat while I direct my pet?

Your spirit companion is an important part of your character, but you have some control over how important.

In terms of healing, you'll want to have your spirit adjacent to someone other than the main target of the healing, in order to deliver the bonus HP. So, keep an eye on that.

Shamans can use weapons, but I don't think there's any reason to. They can have good HP, but might not have very good AC, so you might want to avoid direct combat.

You'll have at least one At-Will attack with the Spirit keyword, that utilizes your spirit. You get to choose one other At-Will attack (two others, if you're human) and not all of these have the Spirit keyword, so if you wanted more direct influence in an encounter, you could focus more on these. I believe there are also encounter and daily powers that don't use the Spirit keyword. Be aware that even powers without the Spirit keyword might directly involve the spirit in some way.

You'll also have an At-Will that deals with creatures moving away from your spirit without shifting. This lets you act a little bit like a defender, except that you can also defend yourself. You'll also have a boon which involves proximity of creatures and allies to the spirit.

So, yes, placement and movement of the spirit is important, but that's not all a shaman does.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I also dont get what stops something from killing your spirit, 10hp+1/2 your level seems pretty weak.

Some of the spirits have effects that greatly hinder the enemies around them like the World Speaker does.  What stops them from focus firing on your spirit?

(Our DM matches difficulty to the characters, no team of charops against a couple normal guys in our games)

The Protector and World Speaker spirit attract me since I like very heavy support type characters (Who needs weapons when you wield other party members) 
I also dont get what stops something from killing your spirit, 10hp+1/2 your level seems pretty weak.

It's not. Most creatures will have a hard time achieving that. You'll probably only have to worry about creatures specifically built for damage, and those a few levels higher than the party. And even then, whatever damage the creature did turns into 5+1/2 your level against you. If you saved an ally the enemy's damage, that's significant.

Some of the spirits have effects that greatly hinder the enemies around them like the World Speaker does.  What stops them from focus firing on your spirit?

Nothing, but the spirit doesn't have hit points. It's only destroyed if one single ranged or melee (not close or area) attack does 10+1/2 your level damage. Focusing on it makes it more likely that they'll hit that amount with an attack, but it's no guarantee. When my player had a shaman, it was almost never worth it for me to attack the spirit. Newer monsters might put out more damage, but I bet it's still not generally a good use of an attack to hit the spirit.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Im having difficulty interpreting that.

Is it 10+1/2 level total damage in one attack or accumulated damage?  It didnt seem clear enough to me. 
It's 10+1/2 level total damage in one attack.  So if an attack does less damage than that to the SC, the SC just laughs it off.

Also keep in mind that a spirit companion cannot even be targeted by Area and Close attacks and can only be targeted by Melee and Ranged attacks.  There's half the attacks right there that your SC is COMPLETELY IMMUNE TO.

Believe me, my wife plays a Shaman and her SC is damn hard to kill.  And when a monster does take the time to attempt to kill it and succeeds, her Shaman only takes a small amount of damage and BAM, the SC is right back there almost immediately because it's trivially easy to re-summon it on her next turn.  Monsters rapidly figure out it simply not worth their time to attack the SC, unless the monsters are dumb, dumb, dumb.

The SC is great for traffic control, has standard damage attacks, and can help with handing out scads of extra hp (real and temp) by being adjacent to allies when she uses a healing power.

Then you can get powers where you get TWO Spirit Companions at once ... or increase their size, or all sorts of other fun.  That's just the beginning.   

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Generally shamans try to stay in the back lines while dropping the spirit either on the front lines next to enemies and allies or try to drop it in the back lines next to enemy, but it depends on the build.

The shaman has one good melee at will and a few good close powers, but for the most part you will either be using ranged powers that originate from you or melee/close powers that originate from the spirit.

A lot of the best shaman powers are attack enabling.  Eagle shamans are really good at Ranged Basic Attack enabling and Spirit Infusion is the best at will enabling power in the game and they have several good encounter and daily enabling powers as well.

The other thing about attacking the spirit is that it even if the DM hits it and destroys it and you take damage, it doesn't get effected by status conditions so its better that the DM attacks it since it can't be dazed, blinded, proned, etc. while you and your allies would be effected by those if they got hit.

A well played shaman presents the DM with hard choices of moving away from the spirit and potentially taking damage (animist/stalker/bear), an RBA from your ally (eagle), or getting its movement stopped & potenitally slowed (worldspeaker); trying to shift/charge, which doesn't always work depending on what powers you have; or wasting his monsters attacks trying to destroy it, which does less damage to you and won't have any status effects.

There is a rule FAQ and a handbook for shamans in my signature.  Shaman is not for everyone, but its definitely one of the most interesting classes they came up with in 4E.
Thanks for the information im starting to get a better picture of it.
No has a gameplay video or maybe a podcast featuring a Shaman by any chance?
 
I mostly wanted to say that I thought your imagery of a Shaman running around like a Pokemaster pretty funny.

Judging from the skills being described, I'm getting the vibe of a priest-like character with a familiar. It also sounds somewhat like a 3.5 hexblade variant with a dark companion.

Shamans are seen as important spiritual advisors and "soul-doctors" amongst the tribal peoples who have them. Traditionally, a major belief is animism (that everything, even that piece of gravel in your shoe, has a 'soul'. And sickness of the body is a sickness of the soul, and only the shaman can heal such. So they were like priests, doctors, dentists, excorsists, psychiatrists, midwives (although I hope you're not helping to deliver a baby mid-combat), and many other roles all rolled up into one, the most important being advisor to the tribal leader(s).

How this works in game mechanics for 4e, I'm not sure, but I'm (hoping) it's similar enough to broadly say that charging in wildly is probably not going to be as effective for the Shaman as using your Spirit Companion to distract/delay/hinder enemies, using your spells to curse enemies or heal/buff/aid allies, and summon/command 'spirits', which is either just fluff for any other spells that ruin the enemies condition that you might use ... blindness/deafness/ray of enfeeblement/ touch of fatigue or actually summoning spells(I'm assuming here that the Shaman is a spell user, otherwise, i dunno).




A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
So im looking to join a new game starting up and wanted to try something a little differant. Shaman caught my eye as its a party support Leader who isnt a form of Cleric or a Paladin without Holy Powers.

Im just a little curious though and require info from someone whos played one.  What are you actualy supposed to do during combat?

I get you summon a spirit companion and it moves on your turn but am I supposed to stand there and command it like im some kinda Pokemaster or move around like a headless chicken across the  maps avoiding combat while I direct my pet?

Im very confused.

Depends how you want to play. The shaman in my group does just stand there and direct her spirit companion like a pokemaster. She prefers to hide around corners and let the spirit companion do all the heavy lifting so to speak.
So im looking to join a new game starting up and wanted to try something a little differant. Shaman caught my eye as its a party support Leader who isnt a form of Cleric or a Paladin without Holy Powers.

Im just a little curious though and require info from someone whos played one.  What are you actualy supposed to do during combat?

I get you summon a spirit companion and it moves on your turn but am I supposed to stand there and command it like im some kinda Pokemaster or move around like a headless chicken across the  maps avoiding combat while I direct my pet?

Im very confused.

Depends how you want to play. The shaman in my group does just stand there and direct her spirit companion like a pokemaster. She prefers to hide around corners and let the spirit companion do all the heavy lifting so to speak.



Seems like it, I talked to a guy who plays a Shade Shaman who just stays in stealth and directs his spirit companion from what he told me.