The Spirit Shaman Handbook

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IMAGE(http://www.tnielsen.com/artists/nielsen/art/tneternalwitness.jpg)
A Spirit Shaman communing with the spirit of the earth

The Spirit Shaman Handbook



Introduction
The Spirit Shaman is a base class from Complete Divine. If you are looking for a mystical figure with powers that derive from the world of spirits, this is the class for you!
It comes equiped with 20 levels of divine spellcasting, many special abilities that are both offensive and defensive, and loads of mysticism. This Handbook will look into optimizing its strengths and working around its weaknesses.

Thanks to PhoenixInferno for inspiration on the format, to DavidWL for his guide to increasing your spell list and builds, to Yue Ryong for his Epic Spirit Shaman work and Quippish and Ed-Zero for looking through the tons of books for concentration spells.

Also thanks to camirblu for keeping the thread alive!


Table of contents

• Introduction
• Ability Scores
• Class Features
• Spellcasting
• Races
• Feats
• Prestige Classes
• Sample Builds
• Spirit Shaman Resources



Ability Scores

Strength:
A Spirit Shaman can be a formidable combatant against Spirits. And with the Druid spell selection, no short of a mediocre damage dealer by herself. If you want to add to melee power, Strength becomes important, BUT Strength is in no way an ability score you need to have high.

Dexterity:
You only have access to light armor, and alot of your offensive spells rely on Dexterity, so make sure you remember that when you create your Spirit Shaman.

Constitution:
Constitution is an important ability score, no matter what kind of Spirit Shaman you are. Medium HD and poor armor proficiencies will hurt you, if you ignore you Constitution.

Intiligence:
You have 4 skill points per level, what more do you need?

Wisdom:
You must still retain a little Wisdom to be able to cast your spells, and bonus spells derives from Wisdom aswell, so no slacking here. (or dumb it completely, see Dynamic Priest feat below)

Charisma:
When you play a Spirit Shaman it is very important to have a high Charisma, it is the backbone of your abilities and spellcasting. Therefore is this the most important ability score. It is also very easy to qualify for certain prestige classes that boost your Charisma dependency/power aswell, so stock up on Potions of Eagles Splender and Cloaks of Charisma.


Ability Score Destribution:
Heres how I would buy my ability scores.

15 Points (Low-powered Campaign)
Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 12 and Cha 13 (What cruel DM would ever makes this kind of campaign?)

22 Points (Challenging Campaign)
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12 and Cha 15

28 Points (Tougher Campaign)
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14 and Cha 16

32 Points (High-powered Campaign)
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14 and Cha 16

35 Points (You average Optimized Campain)
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14 and Cha 17



Class Features

Spirit Guide:
You Spirit Guide starts out just as flavor to your character and the Alertness feat, but later on it will boost your power significantly.

Wild Empathy:
Because you use Charisma (moslty) for your spellcasting, you will often have the best Wild Empathy in the game. In certain cases it might come in very handy, so don't hesitate to try your luck on wild boars.

Chastise Spirits:
You will come to love this ability, even if it only affects Spirits. Its like a nice 30ft Burst damage spell, although its a Supernatural Ability which doesnt provoke attacks of oppertunity. Since and as your Charisma rises so does the power of your Chastise Spirits ability and your uses per day.
In a Campaign where you will encounter Spirits on a daily basis, it is recommendable to take Ability Focus in this ability (But generally its powerful enough as it is).

Detect Spirits:
Could come in handy at times, finding incorporeal Spirits just became alot easier.

Blessing of the Spirits:
A nice defensive ability that qualifies you for certain prestige classes. Remember to have this active 24/7, you have nothing to lose.

Follow the Guide:
Slippery Mind, basically, well, a lifesaver at times. It sure is one of the quickest ways to get it, not counting Paladin Variants ofcourse.

Ghost Warrior:
Notice how this ability works against ALL incorporeal creatures. For any ghostbuster this ability is just awsome!
6th level is also an ok exit point if you want to become a Warrior Spirit Shaman.

Warding of Spirits:
This ability is almost only useful for fulfilling prestige class requirements.

Spirit Form:
While its pretty cool and handy to have this ability, and at an early level, its just not that uber(TM RT). Notice how this ability sucks if you are a melee Spirit Shaman since you lose all strength mod.

Guide Magic:
Having your Spirit Guide "Concentrate" for you is awsome!!! This is one of the best Spirit Shaman abilities, and a major spellcasting boon. A list of "Concentration" spells can be found in the Spellcasting chapter.

Recall Spirit:
This is one hell of an ability, sure it only works once a week, but its free to use and your raised friend loses nothing.
Save 5.000 gp next time someone in the party dies? Count me in!
Also, 11th level is a good drop off point if you wish to smack a prestige class on your character.

Excorsism:
This ability will proberly almost never come into use, but when it does, it will be great.

Weaken Spirits:
At 16th level you will have lots of Chastise Spirit attempts per day. If you encounter a badass Spirit, I reccomend you start of by Weakening it for as many rounds as possible so the rest of the part can have their way with your Spirit opponent. The next rounds you will be able to blast it with your normal Chastise Spirits, or boost party members or whatever, and when your Weapon Spirit ability runs out, smack em with another one. Rinse, repeat. This ability will come in handy many many times, there are plenty of anoying highlevel monsters and templates that can give you targets for this ability.
This is also a good exit point if you want to try some prestige class levels.

Spirit Journey:
Bah, your Mage has this ability, hell, your Rogue proberly has it aswell. Handy, but nothing to jump about.

Favored of the Spirits:
Do it! 1000 xp is nothing when it saves your life. And it might turn out that saving your life will actually mean the survival of the whole party.

Spirit who Walks:
Remembered to dip? I hope so. Theres not much to gain from this last level.



Exit Point Summery
So, if we look back we can safely say that there are some good exit point levels in the Spirit Shaman. Those levels are:

6th level: Here we have Ghost Warrior, saves go up and so does bab.
7th level: 4th level spells, Warding of the Spirits? Good exit point.
11th level: Recall Spirit. Thumbs up!
16th level: Another highlight in the Spirit Shaman class.
19th level: Favored of the Spirits.

IMAGE(http://www.tnielsen.com/artists/nielsen/art/tnsacredground.jpg)
A Spirit Shaman in the process of retrieving his spells for the day



Spellcasting

Retrieving Spells
A Spirit Shaman has a very unique of casting spells. It has access to all Druid spells, but only a certain amount of them can be retrieved per day. It is therefore a very good idea to make certain "lists" of spells for certain situations. This will optimize your powers, its much like how the Wizard works, just a little bit more "free".

Some ideas could be a "Dungeoncrawl List", "Downtime List", "Wilderness List", "List vs Plants", "Buff List", "Blast List" etc.

The List tactic is good for structuring your spells and focusing your strength. But sometimes a Spirit Shaman will have to fill the role in the group as primary caster. In such cases you will have to mix your Lists.
A good overall spell choice for this is Dispel Magic and Greater Dispel Magic. These spells should go well with all your List spells, except for the Downtime List maybe.

Remember that you apply metamagic feats to your retrieved spells before hand and cast them normally! this makes the Spirit Shaman one of the strongest metamagic synergy classes in the game.

Concentration Spells
At 10th level the Spirit Shaman has the ability to let his Spirit Guide concentrate for him when dealing with spells with the "concentration" duration.

Consider taking the skill trick Swift Concentraion and the feat Extraordinary Concentration aswell. Concentrating on 4 spells at one time can be very freaking handy!

Heres a list of spells that you can abuse:
Books checked so far
PHB
Complete Divine
Complete Arcane
Stormwrack
Sandstorm
Frostburn
Tome of Magic
Spell Compendium
Magic of Faerun
Dragon Magic - nothing
Complete Mage - Nothing
Faiths of Eberron - nothing
Magic of Eberron - Nothing
Races of Eberron - nothing
Sharn: City of Towers - nothing
Eberron campaign setting - nothing
Book of Exalted Deeds - nothing
Book of Vile Darkness - nothing
Complete Adventurer - nothing
Complete Warrior - nothing
Draconomicon - nothing
Ghostwalk - nothing
heroes of battle - nothing
heroes of horror - nothing
hordes of the abyss - nothing
libris mortis - nothing
lords of madness - nothing
manual of the planes - nothing
magic of incarnum - nothing
miniatures handbook - nothing
oriental adventures - nothing
players guide to faerun
PHBII - nothing
races of destiny - nothing
races of the dragon - nothing
races of stone - nothing
races of the wild - nothing
Savage Species - Nothing
Lords of Darkness - nothing
Lost Empires of Faerun - nothing
races of faerun - nothing
serpent kingdoms - nothing
unapproachable east - nothing
underdark - nothing


Players Handbook Spells
Orizons: Detect Magic
1st: Detect Animals and Plants, Detect Snares and Pits
2nd: Animal Trance, Summon Swarm
5th: Fire Wall
9th: Storm of Vengeance (Max 10 rounds)

Complete Divine Spells
5th: Binding Winds
8th: Storm of Elemental Fury (Max 4 rounds though)

Complete Arcane Spells
1st: Animate Wood (Max 1 round per level)
9th: Summon Elemental Monolith (Max 1 round per level)

Frostburn Spells
5th: Wall of Coldfire

Magic of Faerun
0th: Detect Crossroads (Up to 10 minutes per level)
2nd: Share Husk

Players Guide to Faerun
???st: Wall of Sand

Sandstorm Spells
1st: Locate Water (Up tp 10 minutes/level)

Spell Compendium
1st: Animate Fire, Animate Water, Animate Wood, Enrage Animal
2nd: Binding Winds
4th: Summon Elementite Swarm
5th: Wall of Sand
6th: Summon Greater Elemental
8th: Phantom Wolf
9th: Phantom Bear, Summon Elemental Monolith, Tsunami

Tome of Magic
5th: Spurn the Supernatural

Some or all of these spells should be on your "lists" in order to fully optimize your Spirit Shaman after 10th level. Summon Elemental Monolith is said to be very worth your while!!!
And remember, you can concentrate on a spell while you Spirit Guid is, this way you could have two Elemental Monolith running around. I reccomend not using this trick to much, although the Spirit Shaman has many spell slots, they are not unlimited.

Persistent Divine Metamagic Spell List
The right prestige class setups open up for Divine Metamagic for the Spirit Shaman (see the Builds section). A common choice for Divine Metamagic is Persistent ofcourse.
Heres some suggestions on good spell to Persitify:

Complete Divine
5th: Vigor Greater
6th: Vigorous Circle

Other Noteworthy Spells
Since the Spirit Shaman uses the Druid spell list, I reccomend that you check A Man In Black's Revived Reccomenden Spells for Druids before you begin with your Retrieve Lists. Make sure to read the Druid Spell Combos aswell.
Below are some noteworthy spells that they missed in the Druid Handbook:

1st level:
Snakes Swiftness (Spell Compendium)

2nd level:
Splinter Bolt (Link)

IMAGE(http://www.tnielsen.com/artists/nielsen/art/tnundo.jpg)
A Spirit Shaman, of a more exotic race, chastising spirits



Races
Obviously the races that are best Spirit Shamans are the ones that boost its prime scores and synergize with its abilities. Heres a list:

+0 Level Adjustment Races

Dwarf, Gold, Dream (Forgotten Realms CS, Races of Stone) LA +0
Gold Dwarf is a good race, it is strong and reliable. But not the great blaster though. Dream Dwarf is both flavor wise and ability wise a great choice for a Spirit Shaman, they can become deadly ghostbusters!

Halfling, Lightfoot, Strongheart, Ghostwise (Players Handbook) LA +0
With their size and bonus to dexterity, halflings make great Spirit Shamans. Also, the Strongheart variant from Forgotten Realms works out fine aswell. And come to think about it the Ghostwise halflings from the same book would be nice aswell.

Feytouched (HERE) LA +0
Great score bonues, great flavor and nice bonues on saves versus mindaffecting effects. I'd take it over many other races.

Human (Players Handbook) LA +0
An extra feat and extra skills saves a character with bad scores, it could also help out on the requirements for prestige classes and weird feat combos.

Illumian (Races of Destiny) LA +0
Obviously, the Krau Illumian is a good choice, bonues caster levels are always good to have. And there is properly more reasons aswell.

The Naenhoon is also a good choice, makes for a great Persistent Divine Metamgic Spirit Shaman. Look below in the builds section.

Killorn (Races of the Wild)
If you wan't to make good use of the MAgic of the Land feat, this race works wonders for your Knowledge (Nature) checks.

Lesser Aasimar (Players Guide to Faerun) LA +0
The easy way of boosting two of your primary scores.

Raptoran (Races of Wild) LA +0
The Raptoran is also a good choice, with its natural flight, you wil be able to bomb you enemies with splinter bolts and flame strikes from a far.

Level Adjustment +1 Races

Aasimar (Monster Manual I) LA +1
If you are able to buy back its LA, then this race is worth your money.

Catfolk (Races of Wild) LA +1
If you can buy back your LA, then Catfolk is a great race. +4 dex and +2 cha? Whats not to like.

Gnome, Chaos (Players Handbook, Races of Stone) LA+1
A normal Gnomes is an ok choice of race, but the Chaos Gnome is far better.
With a boost to 3 of your primary scores, the Chaos Gnome is one hell of a choice. Just make sure to buy back that LA at early levels.

Hobgoblin (Monster Manual I) LA +1
For a more combat oriented Spirit Shaman, this is a good choice. Remember to buy off that LA.

Uldra (Frostburn) LA +1
Good ability boosts, fey race already. These fellas fit both flavor and mechanic wise. Not good for melee combat though.



Feats
For the most part the Spirit Shaman works wonders with most metamagic feats. With your offensive spells you take offensive metamagic feats like Empower Spell, Energy Substitution and Twin Spell. With your buffs you take Twin Spell or Extend for eksample. This is really up to you, and depends on your style of play.
Also, make sure to keep those prestige classes in mind when you pick your feats. Track is a good one here, it opens up for Witch Hunter, which is a great boon!
Heres some other ideas:

Augment Healing (Complete Divine)
The Spirit Shaman can be an effective healer aswell, so its no waste to take this fella.

Dynamic Priest (Legends of the Twins: Dragonlance)
Feeling low on Wisdom? Begin play with this feat and remove the need for Wisdom all together. Yes sir, this feat makes you single score dependent again!

Education (various campaign settings)
There are to many Knowledge skills that the Spirit Shaman hasn't have as class skills. This feat, or simular ones, will help with requirements for prestige classes.

Extra Spell (Complete Arcana)
Mixed with Guide Magic and you can make some deadly combos! See the Spellcasting part of this handbook for more information on concentration spells.
(The Sage has ruled that Extra Spell only adds spells from your spell list. This renders the feat useless for the Spirit Shaman. Many has found this ruling dumb and don't follow it, me included. I suggest you speak with your DM before using Extra Spell in your game.)

Extraordinary Concentration (Complete Adventurer)
Combining Guide Magic, Swift Concentraion (Complete Scoundrel) skill trick and this feat and you can concentrate on 4 Tsunamies. Neet eh?

Inscribe Rune (Players Guide to Faerun)
A simular choice to the Scribe Scroll feat, see below. Also opens up for the Runecaster prestige class.

Magic of the Land (Races of Wild)
For an Utility Shaman or a Healer Shaman this feat can be quite handy. Stabilizing allies with long range spells like entangle can be a life saver!

Scribe Scroll (Players Handbook)
Because the Spirit Shaman has so few spell to chose from per day, Scribe Scroll can be a great boon to your spell casting versality.

Spontainous Healer/Summoner (Complete Divine)
You will always have a small amount of Wisdom, no matter how you build your Spirit Shaman. And with one or both of these feats, you could effectivly add a number of spells to your Retrieve list equal to you Wisdom modifier.

Zen Archery (Complete Warrior)
If Dex is low, Zen is the way to go.



Prestige Classes
Many of these prestige classes requires Knowledge ranks on Spirit Shaman cross class skills, in many casses Education would help out.

Ardent Dilettante (Planar Handbook)
This class has near-full spell progression (-1 level) and is fairly easy to qualify for, though perhaps not all the way through its levels, but not impossible (requirements for the class build as you progress, but start out very simple). It focuses on the sensations and experience of life...

Contemplative (Complete Divine)
If you have the Education feat already, why not dip this class for a bonus Domain? If its worth it to take Education to get a new Domain is arguable.

Divine Disciple (Players Guide to Faerun)
Here you will get som solid abilities aswell as a bonus Domain.

Elemental Archon (Faith and Pantheons)
This has mostly full spell progression, and ties the sham towards a specific element...they even get their own pet mephit! With the elemental-style race suggested above, this could be fun.

Grey Hand Enforcer (FR: Waterdeep, City of Splendors)
For your genuine combat Spirit Shaman this is a great choice. DR/-, SR and a mild smite ability mixed with full bab. Not bad. Might wanna mix with Stormlord, look below.

Hathran (Players Guide to Faerun)
Are you sick an tired of only having access to the spells you have retrieve for the day? Cheer up, because the Hathran gives you access to all spells known with its SpRashemi Spirit Magic ability. Ofcourse, it only works within the bounderies of Rashemen, bit a prober Wind Walk or Tree Stride spell could take your there fast.

Holt Warden (Complete Champion)
Very low requirements (3rd level spells and 2 class skills), a reliable package of class abilities (mass heal for free once a day) the Holt Warden is a good PrC for those Shamans who want to push for a druid/shaman mix. The best part is, the 10th level ability (+8 to Bluff/Sense Motive/Intimidate a lone creature for a day) is entirely disposeable, so a Shaman 11/HWarden 9 build is completely feasible.

Human Paragon (Unearthed Arcana)
Are you human? Then take this prestige class. Why? Because you gain access to all Knowledge skills!!!

Master of Radiance (Libris Mortis)
If you are willing to sacrifice a caster level, this class is much superior to Sacred Excorcist (see below) if you want to get Turn Undead. Turn Undead + Divine Metamagic = Cheeze power!

Moonspeaker (Races of Eberron)
If you should ever find yourself playing a Shifter Spirit Shaman you need to tag Education on your character and enter Moonspeaker! The flavor is great and the class abilities compliment both your race and your Spirit Shaman levels.

Mystic Wanderer (Magic of Faerun)
Charisma bonus to AC and easy requirements? Hook me up! This is also best for dipping IMO.

Prestige Paladin (Unearthed Arcana)
Again, Divine Grace, immunity to fear, Turn Undead and other goodies. Great for some dipping!

Ruathar (Races of the Wild)
One of the easiest ways to get a magic item and near agelessness is through this class. The requirements are easy and flavor is great. Seen from a optimization perspective the sinlge most powerful thing about the Ruathar is its access to the Knowledge (Religion) skill, which lets you qualify for other prestige classes without the need of the Education feat.
But remember, it might hurt you Chastise Spirit ability.

Sacred Exorcist (Complete Divine)
It opens up fro turn undead, and therefor Divine Metamagic, and then up for Persistent Divine Metamagic. Woohoo!

Seeker of the Misty Isle (Complete Divine)
Travel Domain with easy requirements? Sign me up!

Stormlord (Complete Divine)
Has some great flavor and you can imbue your spear with powerful enchantments. Mix with Grey Hand Enforcer isnt a bad choice since they share some of the same requirements.

Walker in the Waste (Samdstorm)
Walker in the Waste not only has a lot of strong abilities in itself, but has great charisma synergy with the Spirit Shaman. It also adds spells and alot of other goodies. If you plan on being a Walker in the Waste, the Spirit Shaman is proberly the best setup for this. See build below.

Witch Hunter (Oriental Adventures)
For the combat Spirit Shaman, this prestige class is great for a 1 to 4 level dip. Notice its Knowledge Requirements, have to think about that from early levels.

Windwalker (Faiths and Pantheons)
Just one hell of a combo. Good reflex and good bab synergyzes great with the Spirit Shaman!

IMAGE(http://www.tnielsen.com/artists/nielsen/art/tnforceofwill.jpg)
A Spirit Shaman blaster can be very dangerous



Sample Builds
Heres is a small compilation of premade builds for your entertainment.

Lilt's Wind Shaman (by Lilt)
Spirit Shaman 11/ Windwalker 9

Persistent Spirit Healer of Pelor
Spirit Shaman 11/ Contemplative 1/ Sacred Exorcist 1/ Prestige Paladin 2/ Radiant Servant of Pelor 5

The NPC Spirit Shaman Experience
Spirit Shaman 20/ Hierophant 1
Some thoughts on spell choices and tactics.

Storm Shaman (By risner)
Spirit Shaman 11/ Stormlord 8/ Contemplative 1

Shaman of Bharrai (By Khazra Reborn)
Spirit Shaman 7/ Human Paragon 3/ Sentinel of Bharrai 10

Spirit Shaman of Eternity (By DavidWL)
Illumian (Naenhoon) Spirit Shamen 5/Hathran 6/Sovereign Speaker 5/Ruathar 1/Sacred Exorcist 1/Contemplative 2

Spirit Shaper (By risner)
Human Spirit Shaman 5 /Beastmaster 1 /Lion Talisid 10 /Master Many Forms 2 /Ruathar 1 /Contemplative 1

Shamanic Abolisher (By Bukowski)
Spirit Shaman 13/Abolisher 5/Beastmaster 1/Mystic Wanderer 1

Shaman of the Waste (By DavidWL)
Spirit Shaman 5/Walker in the Waste 10/Contemplative 1/Sacred Exorcist 1/Prestige Paladin 3

Landforged Shaman (By Arz)
Spirit Shaman 15/ Landforged Walker 5

Spirit Shaman Healbot (By [email]pmurray@bigpond.com[/email])
Aasimar 1/ Spirit Shaman 18/ Cleric 1

Spirit Shaman Resources
Here you can find varies resources that might help you Spirit Shaman on her/his way to success.

Epic Spirit Shaman
Yue Ryongs great work on making the Spirit Shaman playable through epic levels.

Good ways to dramatically increase the Spirit Shamans spell list
DavidWL's wonderful 3 step program on how to increase the Spirit Shamans spell list.

Thoughts on Nightmare Spinner, Ghostwalk, Oriental Adventures and other stuff.
Camirblu talks indepth about how the Spirit Shaman, with a little houseruling, can benefit from a wide variety of prestige classes and feats to not only make it stronger but also give it alot of flavor. If your DM is up for some tweaking then you should definatly read this article.

Spirit Shaman Spell Research: A flavoured House Rule dish served by pmurray@bigpond.com
We wanted some colour text for our Spirit Shaman to acquire Spell Compendium spells. This is based on the research rules for wizards, but I halved the cost because I can't imagine druidic spell research as costing as much as renting a lab. I also reduced the time (and made it random), because it's not a matter of inventing something completely new, but of finding someone who already knows it. - [email]pmurray@bigpond.com[/email]
Ok, beta version done.

ENJOY! :D
I'm not sure what there is to add really... Spirit Shaman 20 is a valid build considering the powerful effects granted at higher levels.

Making builds using spirit shaman is more complex. The extra abilities aren't really dip-able. Well, I suppose they are, but how far do you go? 4 levels give you immunity to charms/compulsions, 6 levels make all of your weapons and armor ghost-touch, 9 levels let you turn incorporeal sometimes, 10 levels let you use your spirit guide to concentrate on something, 11 levels if you want the extremely useful ability of un-killing an ally, and 19 levels if you want the extremely useful ability to contingently heal yourself when you would otherwise be healed.

Personally I think that 11 levels are pretty-much optimal. Who wouldn't want soemone around who can bring you back from the dead without loss of level around? That leaves you with little room to optimise in, however.

Perhaps consider:
Human Spirit Shaman 11/Wind Walker 9
BAB 17, Nice other abilities but the feat requirements are ugly with no fighter or ranger levels to soak them up. Other PrCs to consider mixing in there are Divine Disciple and Seeker of the Misty Isle. Wind Walker is in Faiths and Pantheons.

Spirit Shaman is definately interesting as it gains spells at the faster Cleric/Wizard rate whilst being able to spontaneously cast.
You know, this really makes me think Spirit Shaman is a well-designed class; wanting 20 levels--or even 11--of a base class is something that doesn't happen that often. Clerics and druids, sure (well, clerics have nothing-lost PrCs like Radiant Servant), but the Fighter? Other than Snow's Chain Gun Tripper, very few builds are good as Fighter 20 (and even that one is better as, oh, Monk 2/Fighter10/Psychic Warrior 8, say). Swashbuckler isn't bad as Swash 20 with the Wounding and Weakening Critical abilities, if you fight a lot of fleshy things, but mostly it's used for a three-level dip for Insightful Strike. Rogue? PrCs. Paladin? Waaaaay PrCs. And so on and so forth.
For a spirit shaman, the contemplative requirements aren't exactly easy. I wouldn't say they're hard, but without knowledge (religion) on their skill list it will require either a feat (Education, somewhat lacking in flavor for a spirit shaman) or going into an appropriate prestige class.

It's a fun class though all around. MAD tends to be a bit of a problem, particularly if you're going with a combatant (melee or ranged), but it isn't insurmountable, particularly with the number of spells per day Spirit Shamans get.
I've never really looked at the Spirit Shaman as a class, but the publication of a handbook has piqued my interest. I will take a look at it some more.

And I notice the format of your handbook has a passing resemblance to another recently published handbook I like yours better actually, I will edit the HoM Handbook to look a little bit more like yours. A comment - if you can link your Table of Contents, that might be cool.
Featwise, spontaneous summoner (CD 85) pretty much gets you nine more spells known, which is worth it. I'm found of summoning large constricters and casting animal growth on them.
@ Lilt: The thing with the multiclassing is that its prime score is Charisma, and smite me if you will, but I just cant pass over Divine Grace like abilities. :D
Also, consider your windwalker add'ed as a sample build. :D

@ LogicNinja: I agree, its not as bad as it looks, even with the little MAD it has.

@ Balthanon: Hmm, maybe the contempaltive thing isnt that easy, il take a look at it.


@ PhoenixInferno: Genius minds thin alike... or something. :D No, to behonest, I ripped your format. I looked through some of the other handbooks, but the HoM just looked juicier than the others.

@ alcibyades: I look into that.

Thanks for all the comments. Il find some time to edit the Handbook tomorrow. Now its friday and I need to smite some spirits in the streets of Copenhagen.

If you know what I mean when I say spirits...

I mean booze. :D
Slightly off topic, but where is the image in the first post from? It sort of looks like WoTC, but sort of doesn't.
Spontaneous summoner is definately a good one, alcybyades, as is spontaneous healer.

Divine Grace is nice for charisma symergy, but there are few ways you can get it without losing caster levels.
Divine Grace is nice for charisma symergy, but there are few ways you can get it without losing caster levels.

The best I can think of is Eldeen Ranger 3, but you need a 1-level dip into Ranger to meet the prereqs.
Divine Grace is nice for charisma symergy, but there are few ways you can get it without losing caster levels.

Master of the Yuirwood gets it at level 9, which is pretty late.
Master of the Yuirwood gets it at level 9, which is pretty late.

Master of the Yuirwood is very easy for a spirit shaman to qualify for though, since they essentially get Alertness as a bonus feat and both skill requirements are class skills.

A Spirit Shaman 11/Master of the Yuirwood 9 would get most of the key abilities of both classes, leave most of their feats open, and have a fair amount and selection of skills throughout their career. Base attack bonus and saves would suffer slightly versus a straight spirit shaman, but not by a considerable amount. All told, that's not a bad combination at all.
I personally am of the opinion that a spirit shaman can function concentrating mostly on wisdom instead of charisma, basically switch the cha and wis numbers in your suggested numbers. This gives you a bit less use on your abilities but if you stick with spells without saves, particularly summon spells you can summon entire armys multiple times a day
I haven't lost my mind I've simply misplaced it
One of the best things about the spirit shaman in my opinion is the care they took to integrate it into the game. Where healer, shaman (OA), and other classes suffer over time because they are primary spellcasters with fixed spell lists, the spirit shaman has access to a spell list that expands as the game expands. Where they could have defined spirits with a list of appropriate creatures, instead they associated it with creature types.

What's more, they did it all without really stepping on any toes for the existing classes. As a result I think it will have much greater longevity than many of the other new base (spellcasting ;)) classes that have come out.
One of the best things about the spirit shaman in my opinion is the care they took to integrate it into the game. Where healer, shaman (OA), and other classes suffer over time because they are primary spellcasters with fixed spell lists, the spirit shaman has access to a spell list that expands as the game expands. Where they could have defined spirits with a list of appropriate creatures, instead they associated it with creature types.

What's more, they did it all without really stepping on any toes for the existing classes. As a result I think it will have much greater longevity than many of the other new base spellcaster classses that have come out.

Swashbucker, Scout and Ninja do not have spell lists to expand, thus can keep up with the Spirit Shaman in terms of growth. The Favored Soul is also well designed in the sense that they use the Cleric spell list instead of a separate spell list.

I think the widening of spell lists is a major reason that the core spellcasting classes maintain popularity (including secondary casters like Assassins, Bards, Paladins and Rangers).
That's what I meant to imply. (Rather unpolished post actually, I also had a typo I missed in the last sentence.)

All told, they're doing a better job in general with new base classes I think. Though there are a few gems among the older set, such as the marshal, and there are a few, i.e. samurai, new ones that don't quite live up to it.

This is getting a bit off topic though, so I'll stop now.
Just went through Spell Compendium, the below spells all have concentration durations.

Animate Fire Drd1
Animate Water Drd1
Animate Wood Drd1
Binding Winds Drd2
Enrage Animal Drd1
Phantom Bear Drd9
Phantom Wolf Drd8
Summon Elemental Monolith Drd9
Summon Elementite Swarm Drd4
Summon Greater Elemental Drd6
Tsunami Drd9
Wall of Sand Drd5

Summon Greater Elemental looks especially nice.
Thank you Quippish! That looks great!

With this concentration ability the Spirit Shaman can actually have some kind of "Companion" like a druid or a ranger. It can also be used simular to the the PErsistent Divine Metamagic (not nearly as strong), but hey, 24 hour spells is great anyways!

And last but not least, the Spirit Shaman can be a "Spontainius Healer" aswell, smack a few cure spells into you "lists" here and there, and you will be able to help your self and allies without any worries.

Anyways, I have takin you suggestions into account, and the main posts are now updated.

Cheers.
Persistent Spirit Healer of Pelor
Spirit Shaman 11/ Contemplative 1/ Sacred Exorcist 1/ Prestige Paladin 2/ Radiant Servant of Pelor 5

1: Spirit Shaman 1 Education
2: Spirit Shaman 2
3: Spirit Shaman 3 Mounted Combat
4: Spirit Shaman 4
5: Spirit Shaman 5
6: Spirit Shaman 6 Extend Spell
7: Spirit Shaman 7
8: Spirit Shaman 8
9: Spirit Shaman 9 Persistent Spell
10: Spirit Shaman 10
11: Spirit Shaman 11 Recall Spirit
12: Contemplative 1 Extra Spell (Dispel Evil), Bonus Domain (Sun)
13: Sacred Exorcist 1 Turn Undead
14: Prestige Paladin 1
15: Prestige Paladin 2 Extra Turning, Divine Grace
16: Radiant Servant of Pelor 1 Superduper Turning Abilities
17: Radiant Servant of Pelor 2
18: Radiant Servant of Pelor 3 Divine Metamagic (Persistent)
19: Radiant Servant of Pelor 4
20: Radiant Servant of Pelor 5

Bab +13
Caster level 19
Lots of Turn Undead, Divine Grace, Divine Metamagic Cheese aswell as Guide Magic. Also many less uber abilities like Divine Grace, Special Mount, Divine Health, Recall Spirit etc. etc.

Here is a variant pointed out by DavidWL that doesn't require Education feat:
Spirit Shamen 11/Ruathar 2/contemplative 1/Sacred Exorcist 1/Prestige Paladin 2/Radiant Servant 3
Ohhh how we love the Ruathar Knowledge (Religion) access.
Sent a 21st level Spirit Shaman 20/Hierophant 1 as my party as part of a CR25 encounter in an evil epic one-off. Domain from contemplative was Inquisition, Hierophant ability was Divine Reach.

He was a member of a 4-person team sent to delay the party, which also consisted of a Half-Dragon Half-Ogre Mineral Warrior FB, an arcane hierophant polymorphed into a black ethergaunt, and a Teflammar Shadowlord. The battle took place atop the highest mountain in Faerun (which I decided was in the mountains of the vilhon reach) I think he probably fared best until he was 'killed' for the third time (contingent heal, favoured of the spirits, then death), taken below 100HP, then PWKed. Yes, I know that protection against death magic is possible but they were fairly poor, needing to spend all of their money on AC and stat boosters so they had OK ACs and OK save DCs. They also only had NPC money, meaning about 30% of what a PC of the equivalent level would have. The spells I found the most use (some are specific to this type of encounter) were:

3rd:
Dispel Magic
Rings of Freedom of Movement only have a caster level of 7, meaning this did come in handy.

5th:
Rejuvenation Cocoon
Best done whilst airborne and carried somehow. Without a full attack, opponents aren't going to be able to deal the nessecary 210 points of damage easily (without crits or sneak-attack).

6th:
Greater Dispelling
Not used to dispell the spells of my enemies, but to suppress magic items. This was really useful for getting rid of rings of evasion, rings of freedom of movement, robes of eyes, and other things which made other special attacks ineffective.

7th:
Heal
Never hurts to have it, unless you're fighting undead in which case it hurts them. Sadly my player who was gonna play a Necromancer/Yathrinshee changed to some other arcane/divine combo at the last minute, but the spell was still my most useful 7th level one.

8th:
Frostfell
Perhaps too awesome... Sadly all of the PCs had ridiculous saves, so they weren't changed into ice, but 20d6 ice damage never hurt anyone.

9th:
Summon Elemental Monolith
Air worked fairly well, although in retrospect I shoudl have gone with earth. My three castings of this spell probably used-up more of the enemy resources (banishments, miracles to emulate banishments, ETC) than any other castings of spells.

If there's one thing I learnt from that combat then it's that suppressing magic items is easy and often a better course of action than attacking as long as there are other characters around able to take advantage of the situation. Quickened Suppress Magic (MoI) is a good use of a 6th level sorc/wiz slot too.

Another thing that I learnt is that Spirit Shamans are powerful as DM pawns. they have the ability to cast a large number of very damaging spells a number of times and can alter or maintain their strategies how they see fit.
Uldra (Frostburn) LA +1
-2 STR
+2 CON
+2 WIS
Small Fey 20' move

Beastmaster is nice, Druid Animal Companion like level 4 Druid
(Spirit Shaman 19/Beastmaster 1)

I also like Storm Lord (Spirit Shaman 11/Stormlord 8/Contemplative 1)
Stormlord gives you K. Religion for Contemplative with Glove of Taarnahm the
Vigilant to throw Spears (two hand melee weapon) and have them return to your hand without "Throwning and Returning" on each weapon.
You have these added to each weapon:
Throwning/Returning (glove)
Shock (1d6 electricity)
Thundering (2d8 sonic on crit x3, 3d8 sonic on crit x4 if you can get x4)
Shocking (2d10 electric on crit x3, 3d10 electric on crit x4)

Use Zen Archery to use WIS instead of DEX for ranged attacks.

So if you had a Spear +5 and WIS 20:

Normal attack BAB+5:
1d8+ 1d6 (electric)+ 5+ STR modifier

Crit (X3) attack BAB+5:
1d8+ 1d6 (electric)+ 5+ STR modifier+ 2d8 (Sonic)+ 2d10 (Electric)

Crit (X4) attack BAB+5
1d8+ 1d6 (electric)+ 5+ STR modifier+ 3d8 (Sonic)+ 3d10 (Electric)
Whats the best spell to presist on the SS list if you get acess through sacred exorcist? i was thinking bite of the werebear and natures avatar to get something the persistant clerics cant?
Whats the best spell to presist on the SS list if you get acess through sacred exorcist? i was thinking bite of the werebear and natures avatar to get something the persistant clerics cant?

I must confess I am not the biggest Persistent Optimizer. Il look into it, make some suggestions, maybe a list aswell.
You have any other suggestions Khazra?
persistant Vigorous circle allows you to give fast healing 3 to 1 person per 2 levels all day long.

dependent on your DM you might be able to use the spirit guide to concentrate on your call lighting spells letting you have two active and pulling down at a time.
Add to the prestige class list the Hierophant (to me looks solid, but you need to invest 15 ranks in religion as a Knowledge skill) and the Master of Radiance(lose one spellcaster lever,gain turn undead and several SLAs) from Libris Mortis. Here's a link to the excerpt:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20041001a&page=2

by the way the web enhancement of CD contained two interestind classes: the Master of Shrouds(summon incorporeal undead) and the moon guardian(good lycantrophe caster).

Also check the druid handbooks. Good ideas the SS might be able to apply. I recall in one mentioning to summon a unicorn to heal the party trough Summon Nature's Ally rather than
using a slot of the same level. This is quite useful considering the number of spells of the SS.
master of radieance is Bleh..and by defalt the SS dosent get Knowledge religon as a class skill so he will not get to Hirophant in the first 20 levels...not that thats a problem..infact the hirophant is actualy best taken at epic levels or atleast after you get access to 9th level spells because it dosent continue your spell advancement but it dose grant incrased caster level.

(personaly I think archmage and Hirophant should be allowed to go past 5th level in epic level range but gaining new powers at a reduced speed. most of the time when you have a prestige class thats short its not suppose to be a focuse for your character...but with these two it seems like a wizard who becomes a archmage thinks of themself as a archmage not a wizard and should be able to continue to take levels of it. the only reason archmage has so few levels is because the entry requirements would make it imposible to take 10 levels before 20th.)
at one point I was planning on playing a Spirit shaman and after asking I was told there would be down time for item creation so seeing how there are alot of great druid spells but you get so few per day I wrote up the following feat choices.

Human:Scribe Scroll (for makeing scrolls of rarely needed but usefull spells)
1st leve: Augmented healing (at the time I was the only healer for the game)
3ed level: Spontainus Summoner (basicly adds 9 free spells known per day)
6th level: spontanus Healer (thats the earliest you can qualify and its 9 more possibles)
9th level: whatever caught my eye or I though I needed mabye spell focuse or something
12th level: craft staff (build a staff with a few key spells I may need that I want to use my caster level for)
after that whatevever I needed to be a better caster
persistant Vigorous circle allows you to give fast healing 3 to 1 person per 2 levels all day long.

dependent on your DM you might be able to use the spirit guide to concentrate on your call lighting spells letting you have two active and pulling down at a time.

Consider Vigorous Circle added to the Persistent Metamagic Spirit Shaman Spell List.

Unfortunatly, Call Lightening doesn't require concentration. And I am not sure which spell would work side by side, you see most spells just overlap, taking the strongest one. Hmm, I guess Summon Elemental Monolith would work, mwahahaha!
Add to the prestige class list the Hierophant (to me looks solid, but you need to invest 15 ranks in religion as a Knowledge skill) and the Master of Radiance(lose one spellcaster lever,gain turn undead and several SLAs) from Libris Mortis. Here's a link to the excerpt:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20041001a&page=2

Good catch on the Master of Radiance, it is much easier to qualify for that prestige class than the Sacred Excorcist! Great catch! You lose a casterlevel, sure, but you dont have to spend a million crossclass skills on Knowledge Planes and Knowledge Religion that you would normally need.

I think to that the Hierophant is a Epic prestige class. But it can be very very good. It is the Hierophant for gods sake. ;)

by the way the web enhancement of CD contained two interestind classes: the Master of Shrouds(summon incorporeal undead) and the moon guardian(good lycantrophe caster).

Both prestige classes lose to many caster levels, and Moon Guardian is very specific. Master of Shrouds was a great prestige class once, now its nerfed to half caster level progression, making it not worthwhile.

Also check the druid handbooks. Good ideas the SS might be able to apply. I recall in one mentioning to summon a unicorn to heal the party trough Summon Nature's Ally rather than
using a slot of the same level. This is quite useful considering the number of spells of the SS.

Yes, maybe I should drop a link to the Druid handbook. It sure has some dirty tricks.
at one point I was planning on playing a Spirit shaman and after asking I was told there would be down time for item creation so seeing how there are alot of great druid spells but you get so few per day I wrote up the following feat choices.

Human:Scribe Scroll (for makeing scrolls of rarely needed but usefull spells)
1st leve: Augmented healing (at the time I was the only healer for the game)
3ed level: Spontainus Summoner (basicly adds 9 free spells known per day)
6th level: spontanus Healer (thats the earliest you can qualify and its 9 more possibles)
9th level: whatever caught my eye or I though I needed mabye spell focuse or something
12th level: craft staff (build a staff with a few key spells I may need that I want to use my caster level for)
after that whatevever I needed to be a better caster

I can understand a Wizard having Scribe Scroll, few spells per day and an immense list to select from. The Spirit Shaman on the other hand dont have thses problems. He only has the Druid spell list to chose from and he is very flexible with his casting.
Spontainous Summoner/Healer gives you some extra spells known per day, but its limited to you Wisdom modifier. If you play a Spirit Shaman with high Wisdom, these feats will definatly be worthwhile. Especially when you advance to the level where you can summon a Unicorn. (mmm Heal)
Sure Craft Staff could be useful if you have alot of down time, I would rather spend that time on Craft Wonderous Item, that feat is so broad, and works from low levels to high levels with scaling power that matches you character.
spirit shaman1/human paragon3/spirit shaman2-7/sentinel of bharri10
who doesnt want to wildshape into a direbear :P Does anyone know of a better way to get the skill requirements then human paragon?

Which divine prc is it that gets cha to AC? Ive got a feeling its seeker of the misty isle or maybe even divine oracle but am unsureas i donthave my books at school. However,im fairly sure that those prcs are easily acessible.

Edit>crystal keep answered my question about skills. The ruathar gives full caster levels, knowledge (all) and can be enetered by 6th level. What a great prc!
Mystic Wanderer gets Cha to AC.

Ruathar and Human Paragon eh? Sounds like excelent choices to improved caster levels while getting access to new skills. Ofcourse you lose out on some of the SS goodies, but then again, if you are only interested in its spellcasting system then they llok good.

Consider them added.
I need to find the favoured soul hanbook to suggest them there aswell ;)
Yep, Mystic Wanderer and With Hunter are two great dips for a Favored *shivers* Soul.
Here are some more spells that use Concentration:

Detect Crossroads (MoF)
Snare Husk (MoF)

They're Forgotten Realms, I will look for more spells later.
Thanks Ed-Zero!!!

Im busy at the moment, but im looking to do a update on the entire thread, now with PHB 2 out and all, so suggestions are more than welcome!
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