Everyman Options: Shaman Spirits
This Everyman options book clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Now, on the 16 pages within this pdf, we will find a grand total of 16 new shaman spirits – one on each page, with every single page chock-full with crunch, so what exactly do we find?
Well, as the pdf acknowledges, shaman spirits are, design-paradigm-wise, modeled after mysteries, with hexes sprinkled in. As such, the pdf does contain a few shaman spirits that are based on previous design paradigms. To note one theme that really fits the concept: Everyman Gaming’s mysteries of the season, penned originally by Margherita Tramontano, feature among the spirits. So, if you’re looking for a way to make e.g. a spring-themed or autumn-themed shaman, you’ll find the like within. Spring, for example, lets you curse targets temporarily (permanently at 17th level) with youth – here, we have some nice synergy with Childhood Adventures, just fyi. The animal featured here would be a pup that can execute Childhood Adventures’ decry psychological maneuver as a move action, with the spirit ability providing limit use fast healing-granting and thawing weaponry. The greater and true spirit abilities allow for the creation of zones of temporary spring and the animation of plants
There also is a hex that nets you the spontaneous summon nature’s ally conversion of druids (spell reference is not italicized), poach some druid spells for your spell-list, gain a better goodberry (again, italicization missing), ward targets with sunlight – some neat ideas here. Surprising here would be how far the spirit is removed from the mystery. In spite of being based upon it, it is surprisingly distinct. This design paradigm also applies to the other seasonal spirits: For summer, we have, for example, a heatsstroke hex that adds fatigue to fire and light spells. Alas, not all hexes are perfect here: The solar halo, for example, has a cool idea: Shed light and negate negative energy damage/negative levels – nice, right? Thing is, negating these discharges the halo, and it then deals damage…but alas, it is not noted whether the damage applies to those buffed by the halo, or to the originator of the negative energy effect. Nourishment (and temporary disease/poison immunity) via sunbathing, short-range blinding at-range dirty trick…some cool ideas here. Spirit abilities include a fire damage touch and the option to generate lush midsummer night’s dreams.
Autumn lets shamans create nourishing meals, create an entangling overgrowth hedge maze (yes, it can be harvested!), a briefly staggering gaze attack with limited daily uses, warding targets versus the winter’s encroaching…and in a nice note here, the potent touch has a slightly stricter limitation to make up for its power. The greater spirit power lets you generate a cool slashing(piercing hurricane of leaves, and the true spirit ability nets a modified slumber/hibernate – neato. The capstone ability lets you, in addition to some defensive abilities, plant a seed on a deceased target, which may grow into a young version when tended properly – evocative indeed. As far as winter is concerned, we can find adaption to the frigid cold, snowsight, the option to generate scaling icicle armor, call forth ice elementals, etc. Spirit animals gain +10 to Stealth in cold environment as well as cold immunity and fire vulnerability, and we once more get an elemental touch, as well as the option alternatively use these to add a special ability to the weapon, though this one is unlocked at higher levels. A blizzard armor and the high-level option to use ice tomb and the like are nice, as the capstone nets some nice ice-apotheosis and resistance/immunity-ignoring tricks.
On the distinctly fantastic level, there would be the dragon spirit, which makes use of the Eldritch Heritage mini-feat tree and sensibly scaling draconic senses as well as a Dazzling Display variant that can be executed quicker, representing draconic presence. Nice: The spirit animal has a slightly draconic theme and reveals itself as a draconic being upon taking Improved Familiar – I like this mini narrative angle implied here. The spirit abilities are interesting in that they synergize with the choices made via Eldritch Heritage , while the higher-powered abilities make use of a variant of form of the dragon in the scaly and scaling glory of these spells. The breath weapon, if any, is delimited with a cooldown at the capstone as part of a draconic apotheosis. I would also count the shadow spirit among the distinctly fantastic ones.
This brings me to an aesthetic nitpick that haunts several spirits within: There are quite a few instances where editing has not caught errant references to the oracle class instead of the shaman class, which is both a bit puzzling and uncommon for Everyman Gaming. Shadow, unsurprisingly, focuses on shadow spells and allows for some poaching of sorc/wizard spells from the shadow subschool, increases of reality and the ability to steal light from an area to modify the illumination levels. The spirit animal is, unsurprisingly, stealthier than usual, and creatures summoned may replace the celestial or fiendish templates with the shadow creature template. I did enjoy the high-level option for a non-undead variant of shadow projection, and the capstone makes the shaman a truly fearsome foe in darkness.
While we’re on the subject matter of dark themes: The first spirit herein is actually one of apocalypse, which nets once more a better Dazzling Display. Beyond that, adding free bull rushes to atk roll based critical hits with spells, better overrunning and a defensive fire shield that also consumes the shaman make for flavorful tricks. Particularly the latter struck me as a sensible modification that fit the theme evoked. The spirit animal gets to choose energy resistance and build on that or exhibit multiple energy resistances over the levels, adding a bit of a survivor theme here. Speaking of which: The spirit animal can assume a really weird hybrid form here, which thankfully is held in check by a hard limit of natural attacks it can potentially execute each round. This is important, since, at higher levels, the shaman may merge with the spirit animal, forming a potent, yet sensible kind of gestalt entity. The capstone nets the option to add curses to critical hits and enhances your negative levels-causing tricks. Nice one.
The third obviously rather dark spirit within this pdf would be the Dark Tapestry: Here, we have a hex that can inflict charm person or hypnotism (not properly italicized) that later also includes suggestion et al. Limited per day random thought theft accompanied by untyped damage, short-range confusion, touch-based disfiguring touch (which improves at higher levels)…some solid ideas here. The spirit animal gets an evolution point, and the spirit powers include calling the cold of the void, growing blackened wings that allow for speedy travel and phantasmal killer. While certainly not necessarily associated with the outer gods, no less catastrophic would be volcanoes…and as such, it makes sense that we get a shaman spirit associated with them. This one can have fire spells make targets catch flames, nets a defensive cloud of ashes…and in an interesting angle, targets set ablaze may be targeted with touch spells sans touching them! This one is precisely codified, limited and amazing, adding a bit of tactics via hexes bestowed. A pyroclastic variant of hydraulic push may also be found. I am a bit weary of having the spirit animal deal +1d6 fire damage as soon as 1st level. Considering how potent these already are, I think this should have some sort of limit imposed upon them. The spirit abilities allow for the walking over magma or the assuming of magma elemental form via a variant of elemental body. We get the expected apotheosis capstone here.
While we are on the subject matter of practices that have been popularized into a dubious manner that is connotated with nasty things: There is a juju-spirit, whose hexes allow for Skeleton Summoner tricks, false life and a hex-based anatomy doll that can be used to inflict dirty tricks upon the target. As a minor nitpick: While I do get how making the spirit animal shadowy is nice, and while the base ability is indeed fashioned on the familiar, referencing by class feature name would have been more elegant. On the cool side: The spirit animal may merge with the shaman as though it was a tumor familiar, and animating bodies and undead control complement a rather nice undead-centric shaman that includes assuming the form of a shadowy, incorporeal snake and the capstone ability to trap souls.
On the more light-hearted side, there is an inebriation spirit that lets you change water spells into alcoholic beverages, potentially inebriating targets. Really cool from a mechanical angle: There is a hex that allows nearby allies to consume alcohol; if they do, the shaman may use spells and hexes to affect them as an immediate action. This has stringent limitations in place to avoid abuse, so yeah – kudos indeed! Scaling condition suppression and a variety of the slumber hex are part of the deal. Self-only vigor at will and ex nihilo alcohol creation will make these fellows much sought after at parties. (This will, probably, make these fellows enemies of most brewers, but that as an aside…). The spirit’s greater power allows for the distillation of spells into draughts, which is pretty potent. While we’re on the subject matter of potentially cosmopolitan spirits: There is an intrigue spirit included in the pdf, which grants Hidden Spell, provides for disguise self (which later may be maintained even while asleep), detect desires and add Bluff and Disguise as class skills. Poison use is also available. The spirit animal gets a higher Charisma score, and the spirit powers allow for limited halving damage, sharing the half with the attacker. Rumormongering and adding a magical tracer of sorts to targets make this one unconventional in a good way.
The pdf also includes the transmogrification spirit, which allows for the taking of hunter aspects, enhanced natural weapons, improving the shapeshift hex to duplicate polymorph effects (with appropriate limitations), get a hybrid shapechange…you get the idea. The spirit animal gets an evolution point, and the higher level powers allow for baleful polymorph and the shifting of allies, with the capstone providing a modified forced reincarnation. The quintessence spirit is amazing and mechanically the most complex of the options within, gaining an aetheric reservoir that interacts in unique ways with the hexes: Wisdom +1/2 class level points allow for limited kinetic blasting and telekinesis-themed maneuvering. An invisibility variety and the like complement easily one of my favorite spirits within.
There are more spirits within that tap into classic concepts we’d associate with shamanistic practices: There is a lunar and solar spirit, with the former. The lunar spirit includes supernatural perceptiveness, with higher levels including options to concentrate true seeing as long as lunar light shines on it. A limited use blinding and untyped damage causing moon beam is also part of the hex-array available. The spirit animal gets DR 5/silver, with the abilities enhancing cure/inflict spells, a shapeshift hex/monstrous physique synergy and animal companion form for the spirit animal. The solar spirit nets Dodge and later, Wind/Lightning Stance, assume temporary light-form (which may blind foes), fire a cone of flames, unleash searing short-range solar winds…you get the idea. The spirit animal gets see in darkness, and an ability to dimension door between lit areas – basically an inverse shadow jump, if you will.
Editing and formatting are actually on a rules-language level better than on a formal level – something one rarely gets to see. The rules, as a whole, are tight and while I have slight trepidations against a few options herein, these are few and far in between. On a formal level, the pdf is less refined than I am accustomed to see by Everyman Gaming. There are quite a few instances of copy-paste remnants, missed italicizations, etc. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and is really neat, with a starry border and dreamcatchers on the sides. The pdf does manage to cram a ton of text into its pages. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and sports nice full-color artworks.
Alexander Augunas and Margherita Tramontano provide a massive expansion for the often neglected shaman class here. Considering how few books offer something for the shaman, that alone should suffice for fans of the class. Indeed, there are quite a few spirits herein that do really interesting things with the base chassis of the class, making the spirit choice matter more. I also applaud that even spirits clearly modeled after mysteries et al tend to have their pieces of content properly realigned/expanded and modified, though the number of class-reference remnants to the oracle class is galling, to say the least. As a whole, I consider this supplement to be a good book with a few rough edges here and there, though also one that is marred by the editing glitches. As such, I feel I can’t round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.
You can get these shaman spirits here on OBS!