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
• Ability Scores
• Class Features
• Prestige Classes
• Sample Builds
• Spirit Shaman Resources
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.
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 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.
You have 4 skill points per level, what more do you need?
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)
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
You Spirit Guide starts out just as flavor to your character and the Alertness feat, but later on it will boost your power significantly.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This ability will proberly almost never come into use, but when it does, it will be great.
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.
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.