View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Shaman Class (PEACH)

2017-12-17, 06:43 PM
I always enjoyed the idea of the Shaman class. Essentially a caster who buffs his allies and does elemental damage. While the Druid does this to an extent. I just feel like it is too naturey (sp?). It doesn't really capture that elemental vibe. Now I liked the idea the WoW had with shamans using totem to give out buffs and what not and the classes I found online just felt like reskins of the druid to an extent. Hopefully my attempt at this isn't a complete train wreck.

My main goal was to build a class with an unique mechanic (totem summoning), and with each subclass having a distinct focus (buffing, damaging, and healing.) For the most part it looks (to me at least) balanced, but this is my first attempt at such a project. I am also pretty sure the spell list is too large.

Any comments, criticisms, or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Various Changes in class features

2017-12-18, 12:14 AM
Let me start off by saying I do like the concept for this class. It definitely tries to fill a mechanical niche that isn't currently present in the game. That being said, the power curve for this class is all over the place. There are a number of abilities that are far too strong for when they are given, and others that seem far too weak for when the class learns them.:

Base class:
-Why does the class gain access to longswords and shortswords? This isn't really a big power spike it just doesn't seem to fit with the idea of the class.
-Why does the class gain 3 skill proficiencies instead of the usual 2? This doesn't appear to be going along the route of an expert-type class like the rogue or the bard, so it seems like a random place to insert power.

-speak with elements: no complaints. This is thematically appropriate and situationally useful
-Elemental sense: How does this ability help the shaman at level 1? I understand why this is thematically appropriate, but for a beginning adventurer, this really doesn't help. I would personally give this to the shaman at a later level, and replace it with something more useful on a regular basis. Also try to make the wording less vague. Does it give the exact location or a direction? How is the strength of a detected being communicated?

-spellcasting: This seems fine
-Totem summoner: I would personally give this to the shaman at lvl 1, instead of here. As it stands, the shaman at level 1 has nothing to offer to the table really beyond learning primordial. Then at level 2 they get both their spellcasting and their primary class feature. So giving this to them earlier would give more reason to play the class. I will go more in-depth on totems further down

-elemental resistance:This. Is. Busted. This is far too powerful for a 3rd level ability, and I would hesitate to offer it to a class at any level. For point of reference: protection from energy is a 3rd level spell. So you have essentially given this class 5 permanent 3rd level spells at 3rd level, before casters even learn 3rd level spells. I would personally make this ability function like elemental strike, where the character has to choose 1 and can change it with a short or long rest.
-Elemental strike: zero issues with this. Just clarify your language so that people know for sure you choose one of the listed energy types, rather than dealing all of them (I thought that when I first read the ability)

-totemic summoner: I'll go into detail on this with the totems
-totem improvement: I would change this to match the type of resistance you choose with the elemental resistance ability, rather than the type of elemental strike. Otherwise you would need to be dealing the same type of damage that your enemy is likely resistant or immune to for your party to benefit.

-improved elemental strike:This is not a 15th level ability, it is far too weak. All this does is increase the average damage of your regular attack by 1. If you want to enhance the attack, I would increase the die to a d10 or even a d12, or give a limited-use strike ability. Another option would be to change the resistance from elemental resistance into immunity, if you wanted to improve defensive rather than offensive abilities.

-Totem improvement: I'll go into this with all the totems
-shaman ultimate: This doesn't need to be written with the main class, since it's a subclass ability


-Additional totems: No real issues here.
-Retribution of the ancients: With how difficult it is to destroy totems, this ability will likely never see any real use
-Blessing of the ancients: When you already have a totem that provides decent healing, this ability is something of an overkill. Maybe have it give a temporary buff of some kind (advantage on your next saving throw as an example) rather than straight up healing you.
-Totem mastery: No problems with this by itself. You will have to consider the possible combinations of totems when designing them however.
-Forsight of the ancients: This ability seems out of place for the shaman class. Since you already have resistance to elemental damage built into the character, why give them evasion? Allowing them to gain temporary immunity to a type of elemental damage would probably be more fitting.
-speaker for the dead: There are two disparate parts to this ability that don't really mesh well. First: you regain a use of your totem summoning if you have none. This is fine, though probably not worthy of a 20th level ability, but it doesn't really fit with the second part of now being able to summon 3 totems at a time. I already mentioned how the force damage on destruction is likely not going to play into the game much. I would either have the ability allow the character to summon 3 totems at a time OR give them 2 uses of their totem summon if they start an encounter with none, but not both.

Path of the storm:
-strength of the storm: non-issue
-Initiate of the elements: This has the potential to massively spike out of control. I would personally change this to giving the character the ability to re-roll any 1's on damage dice of that type. Still increases the overall damage, but it doesn't have the same snowball capability. You probably wouldn't need to limit how often it could be done per day either
-Elemental totem: I don't have an issue with the idea of this totem. Regular 2d8 damage is too much for a level 2 ability though. I would have it start at d8 and then have it increase with level. Also do you choose the damage type with every attack, or is it set when you summon the totem?
-Elemental focus:I would have this target one enemy instead of all enemies within, then give the shaman the ability to change which one with a bonus action. Disadvantage on saving throws is powerful. If you want a massive aura like that, it needs to be a higher level than 6th.
-Adept of the elements: With the changes to initiate of the elements, this would need to be something completely new
-Empowered elemental totem: zero issues with this
-Master of the elements: Same as adept of the elements. As it is, this is kind of boring capstone

Path of the naturalist:
-Woodland knowledge: zero issues here
-Nature's bounty: I am confused as to why this is necessary. The class already has access to the healing totem, and you gave this subclass sole access to the cure wounds spell. Between those two, they already have plenty of healing. Even discounting that, the possible healing of this is way too strong. There needs to be a limit on how many dice you can spend at once, and definitely a reduction in how many dice there are. Just consider that when you first get this ability, you have 6d6 healing capability. At 10th level, you have 30d6. That is far beyond what any other class can offer. Look at the paladin's lay on hands for an example. Also, what is the range on this? A ranged heal is much stronger than a touch heal.
-Spirit link totem: By itself I don't see much use for this totem. It makes the job of anyone trying to heal harder, as the damage is more spread out. With later class abilities, this totem changes from confusing to a nightmare (see below)
-Nature's flow: The amount of extra healing power this gives is insane. Even if you're the only healer, this can double or even triple the amount of hit points you restore with a single cure wounds spell. You could change this to have the healing evenly divided, but then it just exists to solve the problem created by the spirit link totem.
-Feedback: Too strong in my opinion. If you want this kind of ability, I would give a flat damage value for the totem, rather than half the dealt damage. Something like d10 plus your wisdom modifier would probably be appropriate.
-Improved nature's bounty... At 20th level this gives you 80d6 healing available that you can spend in whatever increments you wish. For comparison: the best possible single-target heal currently in the game is heal cast using a 9th level spell slot. That heals a flat 100 hit points. For a 9th level spell slot. If you spend just half of your dice on a single heal, that averages out to 140 hit points. And your maximum is 240. I'm fairly certain your intent here was to make a free heal to top individual characters off, but that is not how it will be used. Once again, I would look at the paladin's lay on hands for an example of something like this.
-Nature's feast: Assuming there is a limit on dice spent, this is fairly benign. Otherwise it exasperates an already massive problem. (Average healing for half your dice now becomes 180)
-Nature's protection: This is an extremely powerful ability, and it conflicts with a class feature from the base class. This needs to be a specified damage type of some sort, or even a couple.
-Nature's wrath: This is actually underpowered. 50 HP at level 20 is not actually that much without resistances or a high AC. So against a creature of the appropriate challenge, you would probably enter this form, and then stay in it for maybe a round, at best. If an enemy can't do that, the extra healing is good, but not incredible. You are restoring an average of 11 or 12 hit points per round (assuming a wisdom of 20) which isn't a lot against a foe of the appropriate level.

TOTEMS: First off, question about the totems themselves. Are these supposed to be destructible, or not? As it stands, they have stats that would indicate that enemies can destroy them, but doing so is almost impossible. Disadvantage on attack rolls plus resistance or immunity to every damage type in the game means that an enemy attacking one of these things would probably be more beneficial to the party than them attacking anyone else. Personally, I would just make the totems a spiritual entity that can't be destroyed. It simplifies a lot of things.

-Progression: The progression of the totem's radius seems fine, but also not very exciting. What I think is more concerning is recharge mechanic and uses. For the first 10 levels of the class, your totems recharge on a long rest. Since you can only summon totems a number of times per day equal to your wisdom modifier, that probably equate to at best 3 or 4 totems per day at early levels (more likely 3). If this is supposed to be the main feature of the class, the player shouldn't feel like they need to question using a totem in most battles. It also creates a MASSIVE power spike at level 11 when you can suddenly start using a totem pretty much every battle with no issue. Personally, I would have them recharge on a short rest from the very start. The change from an action to a bonus action is a cool advancement, but I would put that at 11th level rather than 7th.

-Individual totems: Since there isn't any kind of level restriction on when you can learn totems, all of them have to be considered as a possible level 1 ability. And since they are the main class feature, they also need to be usable at high levels. Looking through these, the power level is all over the place:

Base totems:
-Eagle's fury: This is, by a country mile, the strongest of the base totems. At early levels, this doubles the entire party's damage potential. That already makes it strong, but at higher levels it becomes extremely problematic. For classes that already get the extra attack ability, this makes them even more potent by essentially giving them something that only the champion fighter normally gets. And for classes that DON'T normally get the extra attack ability, this is even more of a problem. A number of those classes, such as a rogue, warlock, or cleric, are balanced around the fact that they don't get the extra attack ability. Freely giving this out to all of them is dangerous for game balance. More importantly for your shaman, they have to ask themselves "Is there any totem I would rather use than this one?" and the answer a lot of the time will be "no."

-Stone's fortitude totem: This totem is all right. You might need to change it to one attack per round, rather than per enemy, if you still want it available at level 1.

-Embrace of the shadow's totem: This totem is far too weak in comparison to the others. This will never see play in its current state, as bane is just a weak spell.

-Spring totem: This is the other problematic base totem. At level 1 it is way too strong, but unlike eagle's fury, it doesn't scale nearly as well. At early levels, this totem lets you out-heal any other class with healing capabilities. For comparison: a 2nd level full caster can cast cure light wounds 3 times over the course of the day, assuming they don't cast ANY other first level spells. Since this lasts for a minute, that is 10 rounds where you get a free, only slightly weaker heal. At higher levels it ends up being an okay option. I would change its initial effect so that at level 1 it heals equal to your wis mod, instead of d6+wis mod. That still gives a decent heal over the course of multiple rounds, but it doesn't render your tank invincible. Then at 5th level increase it to d6+wis, then as you have in the effect currently. You may even want to increase the die size to a d8 or d10 at higher levels to make it more useful.

Seer totems:
-ley line: This is the equivalent of the abjuration wizard's 14th level ability, except it applies to all creatures in the radius. Way too powerful for any level really in its current state.
-spirits totem: Same issue as the shadow totem. This is not really that useful by comparison.
-jungle totem: I like this one, interesting use and scales well.
-Totem of confusion: This one is also fairly useful, and has a good power level. You might want to change the name though, since there is a confusion spell in the game that is nothing like this.
-Rabbit's totem: The problem with this is that it is the exact equivalent of the rogue's 2nd level ability. It isn't necessarily too powerful, but it will probably make anyone who is playing a rogue unhappy, since they get no benefit from it and the entire party gets their second level ability. I would personally change this to ONE of those three actions as the benefit. Maybe it expands as you level.
-Elemental wrath totem: No issues with this one

In general for totems, I think you need to decide what the general power level of totems should be. As I've detailed above, some of them are way too strong while some are so weak no one would ever use them. As a general rule of thumb, whenever you want to introduce an effect, try looking for a class feature or spell that is similar, and see what level characters can use it. That should give you an idea of how powerful it is and when a character should have access to it.

Overall, I think the class just has an inconsistent power level. I think what you should do is compare what you want your class abilities to do to existing class abilities and try to find where they would fit level-wise.

2017-12-18, 11:26 AM
I appreciate you reading through this. After reading what you wrote and doing my 5 or 6th read over, I see now what you mean about the power inconsistencies. Guess that's what happens when you finalize your idea during the end of a 24hr work day.