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New Paths: Expanded Shaman (Pathfinder RPG) $3.99
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2012 10:46:13

This pdf is 16 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's check this out!

The Shaman class, first premiered in KQ, finally gets its new path treatment after its predecessor, the spell-less ranger, has met with much critical acclaim -so, can the shaman stand up to it?

First, what is the Shaman? Basically, the class offers d8, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort and will-saves, proficiency in light and medium armor and shields, but only non-metal ones and full spontaneous spellcasting from the druid's spell-list. Similar to the orcale, the shaman thus trades in variety for spontaneous flexibility. But is the class more than a spontaneous druid? Yes, he is! Shamans choose an animal spirit guide, essentially a nature spirit taking the form of an animal and improving over the levels, gaining up to 16 HD, (improved) evasion, the powers to share spells , become invisible and even incorporeal at higher levels. A total of 16 different sample spirit guide base-statistics are provided, ranging from obvious choices like the bird of prey to wolves, bisons and even manta rays, carps and stags, though honestly, I did miss e.g. the classic turtle. The spirit guides also grant the shamans a limited array of bonus spells Shamans also get the equivalent of talents and may chose one at 1st, 3rd and every 4 levels after that one of them. A total of 12 different so-called Totem-secrets are provided, ranging from mundane speaking with animals to the ability to divine the future with entrails, gain bonuses by watching birds and carving marks in the dirt/stone to warning spirits and ones that can block incoming attacks and even unleash a tempest of damaging spirits. They can also enter a trance that prohibits them from taking actions for a couple of rounds, but enables them to gain a massive 20 bonus to an int-based check.

Basics like the woodland stride, wildshape etc. can also be learned by the shaman and they may also perform a spirit dance that enhances their magic for a short period of time after concluding their dance. The pdf also includes archetypes for the shaman, first of which would then be the elemental shaman, who can instead of animal spirit guides choose from one of 4 elementals and gets elemental wild shaping and improved elemental spells. The second archetype would then be the primal shifter, who only gets spellcasting up to 6th level and according to a new table, but can compensate this drawback by enhanced wildshifting and the option to utilize the primal dances to further enhance his melee capabilities with natural weapons. The final new archetype would then be the witch doctor, who is essentially a healer that is not as apt in wildshaping, but gets all the healing capabilities you could ask for.

The pdf also provides 3 new spells: Elemental blasts can do elemental damage (surprise), while rain of fangs does exactly as the spell promises and hails deadly fangs on enemies. Shamans may also transfix people in fascinating rivers of beautiful moonlight. The 4 feats grant extra wildshaping, an improved healer's touch and the options to shorten spirit dances and prolong their effects. The bonus supplemental content is awesome: We get a one-page wildshape char-sheet and a one-page spirit guide char-sheet - both are clearly designed, easy to use and printer-friendly b/w - kudos for going the extra mile!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column, full color standard and we get awesome pieces of original full color artworks, which is cool indeed.

EDIT: Bookmarks have been added.

I liked the shaman when it premiered in Kobold Quarterly and I like its new path treatment, that much to start: Honestly, we've been waiting for so long for a spontaneous class with access to the druid's spell-list and the shaman is a nice, balanced class that has some iconic talents and the dance-ability rocks. However, it took me some time to realize why the class didn't elicit that much excitement from me: The answer is simple - It takes a lot of druidic abilities, instead of focusing on the new ones. I would have loved to see more talents, spirit guides and spirit dance effects and perhaps rather an archetype that makes the class a spontaneous druid - you know, the make the classes identity feel more unique. As written, I consider it a good class, but one that could easily have become a truly unique and stellar one. Mind you, this is nitpicking at a high level. EDIT: With the added bookmarks, I'll update my review by 0.5 stars, for a final verdict of 4.5 stars on the shaman.

Endzeitgeist out.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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New Paths: Expanded Shaman (Pathfinder RPG)
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