This work introduces the shaman as a alternative base class. Shamans hold that everything has a spirit and they form connections with these spirits, gaining strength and knowledge from them. In game terms, the shaman is a mystic who might be seen as a variant druid given his closeness to the world around him, but who has spontaneous casting abilities rather than having to prepare spells ahead of time. They are skilled healers and have shapeshifting abilities as well.
There are all the resources you need to create and play a shaman character. The spell-casting ability draws on the divine, based on the druid lists, but a shaman can cast any spell he knows based on a daily level-based allotment of spells. However, they begin play not knowing many spells, and learn new ones slowly as they rise in level. Every so often they are able to exchange a spell for another of the same level but they don't go around collecting new ones as some spell-users are able to do.
Each shaman has a spirit guide who takes the form of an animal and acts as a companion animal. A list of animals is provided, some being a bit more practical than others... I mean, how do you travel around with a carp as a companion? Do you keep him in a bowl? Some of the larger animals might be awkward or unwelcome in an urban setting, although it's likely that the shaman himself won't want to stay there for long.
To get you started, there are three archetypes - the elemental shaman (who connects with the elemental forces of nature in preference to animal and plant spirits), the primal shifter (who concentrates on shape-changing abilities), and the witch doctor (who communicates with the spirits of the dead in order to guide and inform the living). Some new spells and feats are also presented, and there are 'character sheets' to accommodate favoured wild shapes (for shape-shifters) and the spirit guide.
It's an interesting new class and quite distinct from the druid, even given the affinity with nature. Plenty of potential for some fascinating characters, particularly when wilderness adventures and a lot of travelling form part of your game.
[5 of 5 Stars!]