View Full Version : The Shugenja

2006-12-03, 08:29 PM
What does everybody think of the Shugenja base class from Complete Divine?
I don't think I've seen it mentioned in any threads here, so I was just curious.

2006-12-03, 09:09 PM
Personally I like it, it does a decent job of capturing the stereotypical 'elementalist' mage and in my campaign thats what they are called. The sense elements ability in particular seems both useful and flavorful.

As for the reason it's not mentioned much here, I think alot of people dislike the asian theme that comes with it. That and the fact that while it can do multiple things depending on element chosen(heal, illusions, buff, damage, etc.) other classes are better at it. With those two factors working against it I don't find it hard to believe many people would pass over it with an uninterested 'meh'.

2006-12-03, 09:26 PM
Personally I do find the shujenja pretty 'meh' to be honest.

This is not so much because of the asian theme, as it's actual lack of theme. It's got the elemental thing going on but it doesn't do anything to make it stand out against say a cleric with elemental domains, or a druid.

Sure it gets a mixed bag of spells, but they're still the same spells that the other classes get, and the shugenja doesn't actually DO much with them. The spontaneous spellcasting doesn't seem very special after you've just seen the favored soul, and while they get elemental themed spells it just means they're limited, not interesting.

The wujen is an example of that style done right. A different spellcaster who is actually different. They get a whole new bunch of spells on their spell list that other casters can't, several of which serve to reinforce their themes and the way they're different from the other spellcasters (I especially like the scarf and needle spells).

And honestly, just looking at the shujenja, I'm not impressed with the class. It's got a poor number of known spells, poor spell list selection (it's probably the most limited of the full casters), bad combat ability (only slightly above a sorcerer, below everything else with a d6 HD), and only a single class ability (Sure, it's kind of interesting, but you can only go so far with it.). It's just, when faced with it you have to ask yourself "why don't I take another spellcaster and give him an accent?"

2006-12-03, 09:31 PM
Most people looking at this class will say one or both of two things:

1) Clerics do it better.

2) Isn't this one of those classes that anime fanboys play?

The first is true, but it is also true for a lot of classes and frankly I think flavor tumps mechanics within bounds of reason- i.e. if you're playing an asian character or a character in an asian setting, it makes perfect sense to give them an appropriate class, as long as that class is not particularly underpowered/sucky (see: CW Samurai). As for the rampant "omg its asian so its anime" attitude, my only response is to sigh and wonder why, if anything inspired by another country's culture is automatically fanboyish, are the masses of american D&D players not considered fanboys for playing a game that's based on european history and culture.

Griping aside, the class isn't bad by any means- you're basically a sorcerer with divine magic. You're encouraged not to wear armor, but you can and it doesn't affect your spellcasting at all, and the elemental abilities are useful. What's really interesting is the extreme variance of the spell list- direct damage, buffing, healing, and utility all in the same class. You could make a pretty effective build with it. But the class does have a very asian feel to it, so you probably wouldn't use it outside of an asian campaign, which means that the use you'll get out of it will be extremely limited. *shrug*

2006-12-03, 11:49 PM
They are there for OA campaigns where there are no other healers. I've played one. Less than spectacular is how I'd sum it up. Of course the benefit of being Noble and Wealthy was interesting. However, once again let me state it was meh, but the differences of being a meh made it interesting and worthwhile, but I wouldn't be one again.

2006-12-04, 12:41 AM
I personally don't think shugenja are a good fit for Completele divine. They where designed for a campaign setting where they would likely be the only caster in the part, as sorcerers(one of the few other casters in Rokugan) was extreamly rare in civilized society.

There advantage is the do a little of everything, and have great flavor, their disadvantage is that a cleric or druid can do anything they can do better.

Besides, what stops you from playing an asian themed cleric or druid?

2006-12-04, 01:14 AM
The wujen is an example of that style done right. A different spellcaster who is actually different. They get a whole new bunch of spells on their spell list that other casters can't, several of which serve to reinforce their themes and the way they're different from the other spellcasters (I especially like the scarf and needle spells).

The thing is, when the Wu Jen was created (for oriental adventures I'm assuming), the wu jen list was really just the sorcerer/wizard list of the book, since they got rid of wizards. In the spell section, it started by saying the sorcerers (and wizards if the DM modified the setting) could select wu jen spells. So it really annoys me that the wu jen, which was just supposed to be the asian wizard, suddenly has a bunch of unique spells for no good reason. Now if the shugenja got those, it would make sense, the but the shugenja has to live with the same old cleric/wiz/sorc/druid spells as everyone else.

Now, I think the main benefit of the shugenja is that it's a divine spontaneous caster with no MAD. It also happens to go better with sorcerer for MT, though you lose more levels than normal (thus making the sub-optimal MT sub-optimal-er-est.

2006-12-04, 02:57 AM
Iím testing one out now, while I havenít managed to get very far with him yet, Iím interested to see how he stacks up to a cleric. Iím also planning on using it in an Oriental adventures campaign (one of these days). I see nothing particularly wrong with the class, but it doesnít seem to be as uber as a cleric or druid, as a result itís probably balanced well. I like Asian settings and its good to have an Asian styled divine caster at my fingertips ready for use. As opposed to me having to dig out the oriental adventures book and update a crap load of stuff or spend months homebrewing classes. Itís probably best when put in a campaign where there isnít a lot of competition for a healer class.

I agree with a lot of the griping going on in this thread concerning fanboys and the hate they get (usually with good reason), its also a bit unfair to assume that its all just there to cater to the fanboys.

2006-12-04, 03:05 AM
The Shugenja is for Rokugan. In Rokugan, your choices for casters are pretty much Shugenja or Sorcerer, and being a sorcerer pretty much means you get hunted down for being maho tsukai. It's just meant to be a generalist spontaneous caster. It fits with the Rokugan setting because it's an integral parts of it, but not so much in other campaign settings.

2007-04-16, 12:17 AM
*Melas Casts "Animate Dead" on the thread*

Hi; long time OOTS reader, first time poster.

Anyway I have been playing a Shugenja (earth focus) in a rather large campaign; I like it, and it works. Admitidly the class as I play it is something of a nich, and in many situations a cleric might do better.

Allow me to explain my situation: The DM has decided that we are going to play a military campaign for about 8 people (some of which show up more reularly than others); the twist is that he didn't want us interacting during character creation. I know my groups natural character preferances preatty well, and knew that we would be shy on spell casters. I was right.

We ended up with: a ninja (almost never there), a scout, a Crusader, a bard, a rouge, a dragon Shaman, and a Factotum (and me, a Shugenja). That leaves only two spell casters (I count the factotum and the bard as one combined) to cover the needs of what amounts to two parties. Without too much modesty, I think I can safely say that my Shugenja, with healing, biffing, and some direct damage spells is the party MVC. I don't do the first or the second thing as well as a cleric, and I can only do some fire and electrical damage but what I do have is in high demand.