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Thread: Shaman Handbook [Oriental Adventures]

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    Default Re: Shaman Handbook [Oriental Adventures]

    DOMAINS AND SPELLS
    DOMAINS
    Generally speaking, two Shamans' domain choices will be the biggest differences between their casting abilities. Domains are typically where a Shaman stakes out a specialization and grabs the abilities to do it well.

    Oriental Adventures Domains:
    Spoiler
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    Hero (OA):
    Ability: 1/day add Shaman level to an attack.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Divine Favor, L4 Divine Power, L5 Righteous Might, L8 Giant Size, L9 Shapechange
    Comments: All those gamebreaking, persistable and share spell-able gish spells in one handy package.
    Fortune (OA):
    Ability: Reroll 1/day
    Spell Highlights: L4 Freedom of Movement, L6 Mislead, L7 Spell Turning, L8 Surelife.
    Comments: Useful abilities, useful spells past the mid-levels. A solid domain with some decent defensive spells.
    Knowledge (OA):
    Ability: All Knowledge skills class skills, divinations at +1 CL
    Spell Highlights: L2 Detect Thoughts, L9 Foresight
    Comments: The Shaman already has quite a few divinations, so this doesn't add much new to the spell list. What it does add is a more practical use of the Knowledge Devotion feat.
    Travel (OA):
    Ability: Freedom of movement around magic effects.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Fly, L4 Dimension Door, L5 Teleport, L7 Greater Teleport, L8 Phase Door
    Comments: The same as its PHB version, and just as useful – gives almost all the mobility options that most characters need in one bundle. Keep an eye on the Dragon Magazine tweak – Longstrider for Expeditious retreat.
    Trickery (OA)
    Ability: Bluff, Disguise and Hide as class skills
    Spell Highlights: L1 Disguise Self, L2 Invisibility, L3 Nondetection, L4 Confusion, L6 Mislead, L8 Polymorph Any Object, L9 Time Stop
    Comments: Also same as the PHB version and equally useful – lots of utility powers and high-powered high level options.
    Celestial (OA):
    Ability: Rebuke spirits. Done at full class level, so that's nice.
    Spell Highlights: None
    Comments: The spirit control is highly campaign-dependent, and the spell selections are all drawn from the Shaman list. The domain is still useful for drawing the most versatile spells on that list, but it isn't giving the Shaman anything new.
    Grave (OA):
    Ability: Death's crappy death touch power
    Spell Highlights: L1 Ghost Light, L3 Animate Dead, L4 Wall of Bones, L9 Wail of the Banshee
    Comments: Grave domain will make a Shaman into a necromancer on its own, but it won't make the Shaman into a good necromancer. Consider combining Undeath (SpC) and Deathbound (SpC) for better results.
    Metal (OA):
    Ability: Crappy DR power that you'll forget about midway through L1.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Magnetism, L4 Rusting Grasp, L5 Wall of Iron, L6 Blade Barrier, L8 Repel Metal or Stone, L9 Iron Body
    Comments: A good array of useful (though not game-breaking) non-Shaman spells. Iron Scarf wasn't great, but the 3.5 update made it awful for Shamans (attack roll became Int+Base attack).
    Nature (OA):
    Ability: Rebuke plants and animals. Done at full class level.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Elemental Ward, L6 Transport via Plants, L8 Animal Shapes, L9 Shapechange
    Comments: Good bit of utility, spells from outside the Shaman's list. As Animal command becomes less useful, the spell lists good options emerge.
    River (OA):
    Ability: Swim speed
    Spell Highlights: L4 Control Water, L5 Ice Storm, L7 Acid Fog, L8 Horrid Wilting
    Comments: A bit blasty, and many abilities are highly campaign dependent (Water Breathing, Control Water, Master of the Rolling River, Swim speed), but only one spell is drawn from the Shaman's list, and very little about the domain is bad.
    War (OA)
    Ability: Martial Weapon Proficiency and Weapon focus. But limited options.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Divine Power, L6 Blade Barrier, L7 PW:Stun, L8 PW:Blind
    Comments: Has quite a few spells not included in the Shaman spell list, but is worse than Hero in most appreciable ways. Unless going for Ordained Champion or a non-Elf/Outsider archer build, probably not worth dealing with.
    Ancestor (OA):
    Ability: Gain a static but hefty insight bonus to a skill check Cha times/day.
    Spell Highlights: L9 Foresight.
    Comments: Overall, a boring domain with weak low-level spells. Skip it.
    Community (OA):
    Ability: Calm Emotions 1/day and Small Diplomacy bonus.
    Spell Highlights: L6 Heroes' Feast.
    Comments: Community doesn't add much to the Shaman's list. It was largely gutted with the DR#318 update. Spell Compendium's Family domain does about the same thing, but with more nonstandard spells and powers.
    Divination (OA):
    Ability: CL boost on Divinations
    Spell Highlights: L9 Foresight.
    Comments: These are spells you'll use and a CL boost that will be applicable, but most of the domain's benefits are already available to the Shaman. If you want a divining domain, pick Oracle.
    Flame (OA):
    Ability: Grant resistance bonus against fire for a few minutes per day.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Wall of Fire, L6 Fire Seeds, L9 Internal Fire
    Comments: Blasting domain. No spells overlap the Shaman's, but most are mediocre.
    Fury (OA):
    Ability: +4 attack and damage 1/day
    Spell Highlights: L9 Implosion
    Comments: Spells derived from Shaman domain or focused on breaking stuff. Even ignoring the normal hate given to breaking stuff, you could probably do it better with a weapon.
    Guardian (OA):
    Ability: 1/day add Shaman level to a save.
    Spell Highlights: L8 Surelife, L9 Antipathy
    Comments: Few unique powers; the ability is useful, but the Shaman's saves are already pretty reliable. Skip it.
    Healing (OA):
    Ability: Healing spells at +1 CL
    Spell Highlights: None.
    Comments: Weak abilities, no unique powers, further nerfed with DR#318 update (which brought Mass Heal up to 3.5 speed)
    Stone (OA):
    Ability: Grant DR against Stone. The DR isn't bad, but it's incredibly niche.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Stone Shape, L5 Wall of Stone, L7 Statue
    Comments: Spells don't overlap the Shaman's list, but also don't offer anything new.
    Wood (OA):
    Ability: Woodland Stride without the name.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Control Plants, L5 Tree Stride, L8 Animate Plants
    Comments: The Shaman gets jealous of the Plant domain. Still, only one spell shared with the Shaman list. Keep an eye on the Dragon Magazine update (Changestaff for Animate Plants).

    Spell Compendium Domains:
    One of the Shaman's few bits of splatbook support was a Spell Compendium, which adds SpC's Cleric domain options to the Shaman's list (as well as unspecified other spells prospectively addressed at the end of this post).
    Spoiler
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    Spell (SpC)
    Ability: Minor bonus to concentration and spellcraft.
    Spell Highlights: L2 Silence, L3 Anyspell, L6 Anyspell, L7 Limited Wish, L9 Disjunction
    Comments: Amazing domain. Almost everything scales wonderfully and provides considerable utility; even the minor skill boost ability is very useful at low levels. First rate.
    Summoner (SpC)
    Ability: Caster level boost with summons and calling spells
    Spell Highlights: L3 Summon Monster III, L4 Lesser Planar Ally, L5 Summon Monster V, L6 Planar Ally, L7 Summon Monster VII, L8 Greater Planar Ally
    Comments: Fantastic boost in versatility (see here for Summon Monster breakdown), spells you'll use consistently and an ability that's useful for the Shaman's SNA and Spirit Ally spells as well. Excellent domain.
    Time (SpC)
    Ability: Improved Initiative
    Spell Highlights: L3 Haste, L4 Freedom of Movement, L6 Contingency, L8 Foresight, L9 Time Stop
    Comments: Useful ability, powerful spells not found on the Shaman list, excellent domain.
    Celerity (SpC):
    Ability: +10 ft speed.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Blur, L4 Haste, L8 Greater Blink, L9 Timestop
    Comments: Powerful spells not normally available to the Shaman. Plays up Monk aspects.
    Competition (SpC):
    Ability: +1 on opposed checks
    Spell Highlights: L1 Remove Fear, L2 Zeal, L4 Divine Power, L5 Righteous Might, L8 Moment of Prescience, L9 Greater Visage of the Deity.
    Comments: Direct competition with Hero (OA), but less friendly to the Persist tactics that make it work. But a competitive runner-up. Remove Fear is neat for shutting down Dread Witches with Fear suppression rather than immunity.
    Deathbound (SpC):
    Ability: Create 3*CL undead instead of 2*CL
    Spell Highlights: L7 Avasculate L8 Avascular Mass L9 Wail of the Banshee
    Comments: Nice ability when combined with the Undeath domain. High level powers are a good sort of blasting.
    Dragon (SpC):
    Ability: Bluff and Intimidate as class skills.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Magic Fang, L2 Resist Energy, L3 Greater Magic Fang, L4 Voice of the Dragon, L7 Dragon Ally, L8 Mass Suggestion, L9 Dominate Monster
    Comments: The social skills and Voice of the Dragon are good for a party face, and open demoralization tactics. Magic Fang is useful with animal summons. Very useful, but be sure to match it with a domain that provides something besides Enchantments at higher levels.
    Envy (SpC):
    Ability: Bluff is a class skill, +1 CL to ability drain and negative levels
    Spell Highlights: L1 Disguise Self, L2 Ray of Enfeeblement, L4 Vampiric Touch, L6 Magic Jar, L7 Limited Wish, L8 Simulacrum, L9 Wish
    Comments: Some seriously powerful spells – especially at high levels. The CL boost is probably supposed to work on ability penalties, since that's all the domain offers.
    Illusion (SpC):
    Ability: CL boost on Illusions
    Spell Highlights: L1 Silent Image, L2 Minor Image, L3 Displacement, L6 Mislead, L7 Project Image
    Comments: High utility little overlap with Shaman list, but two Phantasmal Killer spells that are almost completely useless. CL boost doesn't do much for the bulk of the Shaman's spells.
    Mysticism (SpC)
    Ability: Add Charisma to saves (again) for a few rounds per day.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Divine Favor, L3 Lesser Visage of the Deity, L5 Righteous Might, L6 Visage of the Deity, L9 Greater Visage of the Deity
    Comments: Excellent Persist fodder. A bit confusing with the Shaman's fluff, but let's ignore that. Beside the upper-mid-level overlap with the Shaman's spell list, it's a compelling choice. Its major downside is that it partially competes, but doesn't compare well, with Hero.
    Oracle (SpC)
    Ability: CL boost on Divinations
    Spell Highlights: L3 Divination, L4 Scrying, L5 Commune, L7 Greater Scrying, L9 Foresight
    Comments: Strong divinations at reduced levels are advantages that you can expect to use daily. Of the Divination domains, this is the best. Notably available from a Divine Oracle dip.
    Portal (SpC)
    Ability: Can search for portals like secret doors.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Dimension Anchor, L4 Dimension Door, L5 Teleport, L6 Banishment, L7 Etherealness, L8 Maze
    Comments: Questionable ability with the Shaman's crappy search skills, but an excellent spell selection that scales well into higher levels.
    Scalykind (SpC)
    Ability: Rebuke reptiles
    Spell Highlights: L1 Magic Fang, L3 Greater Magic Fang, L4 Poison, L5 Animal Growth, L8 Animal Shapes, L9 Shapechange
    Comments: For a weird racial domain, this is a really good option. It's fantastic for animal summoning (where DR/magic is a pain in the ass and Animal Growth dominates), for unarmed combat (where Poison's high DC is handy) and for all the utility Shapechange can provide. Even better if your group isn't hep to any paleontology past about 1910 (treating Dinosaurs as reptiles would be a big help at high levels).
    Wrath (SpC)
    Ability: 1/day tank Wisdom to boost Strength for one fight
    Spell Highlights: L1 Rhino's Rush, L4 Shout, L5 Righteous Might, L6 Song of Dischord,
    Comments: Wrath targets a variety of defenses (AC/HP, Weapons/Reflex, Will/Mind Immunity) and can get good use out of its low-level spell slots (Rhino's rushing is always useful). Not the greatest domain, but a robust baseline to add onto other options.
    Balance (SpC):
    Ability: Wis to AC for a few rounds per day.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Clarity of Mind, L5 Mass Sanctuary, L7 Word of Balance, L8 Protection from Spells
    Comments: Nothing bad here, some handy abilities. The neutral holy word rounds the options out nicely for a neutral Shaman.
    Cavern (SpC):
    Ability: Stonecunning or Stonecunning bonus.
    Spell Highlights: L2 Darkness, L5 Passwall L9 Imprisonment
    Comments: Not much overlap with the Shaman list, some useful utility powers.
    Charm (SpC):
    Ability: Boost Charisma by 4 1/day.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Charm Person, L3 Suggestion, L5 Charm Monster, L9 Dominate Monster
    Comments: Useful ability; Enchantments are a mixed bag – they're very powerful effects and are useful for a variety of purposes, but they're often resisted, they overlap each other and they overlap the Shaman's existing powers.
    Cold (SpC):
    Ability: Turn Fire creatures, Rebuke Cold creatures
    Spell Highlights: L1 Chill Touch L3 Sleet Storm, L4 Ice Storm, L5 Wall of Ice, L9 Obedient Avalanche
    Comments: The power is highly campaign-dependent. The powers make decent battlefield control (already an area where the Shaman's quite capable due to SNA, but they're useful spell selections regardless). Chill Touch is nice at low levels, due to its interactions with unarmed strikes.
    Courage (SpC):
    Ability: Aura of Morale bonus v. Fear.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Remove Fear, L5 Valient Fury,
    Comments: All decent buffs, but a huge amount of investment against one type of attack (which is just negated with a level 1 spell)
    Craft (SpC):
    Ability: Skill Focus (Craft) and CL boost on creation spells
    Spell Highlights: L2 Wood Shape L3 Stone Shape, L5 Wall of Stone, L8 Forcecage
    Comments: Good utility, good Battlefield. Avoid it unless you need the Skill Focus for some reason, but if you do, it's not bad.
    Creation (SpC):
    Ability: CL boost on creation spells
    Spell Highlights: L2 Minor Image, L6 Heroes' Feast, L7 Permanent Image, L9 Pavilion of Grandeur
    Comments: Illusions and Heroes' Feast don't hurt at all. Good for utility and defense
    .
    Darkness (SpC):
    Ability: Blind-Fight
    Spell Highlights: L2 Blindness/Deafness, L3 Blacklight, L4 Armor of Darkness, L5 Darkbolt L6 Prying Eyes
    Comments: Power words lose momentum at high levels, but the lower-level spells are nice, and Blind-fight isn't a rare prerequisite.
    Domination (SpC):
    Ability: Spell Focus (Enchantment)
    Spell Highlights: L1 Command, L3 Suggestion, L4 Dominate Person, L5 Greater Command, L7 Mass Suggestion, L9 Monstrous Thrall.
    Comments: All about enchantments. As mentioned before, that has its own advantages (they're very powerful effects with lots of uses) and disadvantages (common immunities, redundancy with some of the Shaman's existing spell options).
    Drow (SpC):
    Ability: Lightning Reflexes
    Spell Highlights: L2 Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, L3 Suggestion, L6 Greater Dispelling Screen, L8 Greater Planar Ally
    Comments: This one's all over the place. Its specific powers aren't normally available to the Shaman, bu
    t their effects don't differ too much from the standard list.
    Elf (SpC):
    Ability: Point Blank Shot
    Spell Highlights: L9 Antipathy
    Comments: The main draw is the bonus feat, which is more or less necessary to pull Shaman archers together at low levels. The spells aren't stunning, but you can probably find a use for them.
    Family (SpC):
    Ability: 1/day Dodge bonus to self and nearby allies, relies on a decent Charisma mod.
    Spell Highlights: L2 Shield Other, L6 Heroes' Feast, L8 Protection from Spells, L9 Prismatic Sphere
    Comments: Like a more useful Community that doesn't give up the concept.
    Fate (SpC):
    Ability: Uncanny Dodge
    Spell Highlights: L7 Vision, L8 Mind Blank, L9 Foresight
    Comments: Uncanny Dodge is accessible with a level 2 Shaman spell, and the domain's distinct spells don't come online until very high levels. It's not a bad domain (you'll use its Spells and save slots that would otherwise go to Warning), but there are better options.
    Force (SpC):
    Ability: 1/day reroll damage, take better outcome.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Resilient Sphere, L5 Wall of Force, L7 Forcecage, L8 Telekinetic Sphere,
    Comments: Crummy ability, but the Force control powers hit some weaknesses that the Shaman is normally not able to exploit with SNA. Workable domain – especially as a level 11 option.
    Hatred(SpC)
    Ability: Gain small bonus on attacks and defenses against one opponent per day.
    Spell Highlights: L2 Scare, L3 Bestow Curse, L5 Righteous Might, L8 Antipathy, L9 Wail of the Banshee
    Comments: This is a usable domain – almost every spell can see daily use, but nothing here is particularly attractive on its own.
    Hunger(SpC):
    Ability: Natural Bite Attack
    Spell Highlights: L4 Enervation, L8 Bite of the King
    Comments: This is all about the Bite and Enervation spam. Both are useful, but there isn't much versatility here.
    Inquisition (SpC)
    Ability: Large bonus to Dispel
    Spell Highlights: L3 Detect Thoughts, L9 Imprisonment
    Comments: Great granted ability, terrible spell options (most either overlap with Shaman list or are crazy situational, and the effects are redundant).
    Liberation (SpC)
    Ability: If you fail against most mind effects, reroll in the subsequent round.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Freedom of Movement, L8 Mind Blank
    Comments: Most of the spells are pretty situational, but the ability, Freedom of Movement and Mind Blank are useful enough. Pretty average.
    Lust (SpC)
    Ability: 1/day add class level to Charisma for a round.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Charm, L2 Invisibility, L3 Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, L4 Planar Ally
    Comments: The first few levels of spells have some pretty serious utility. By level 11, the domain is still mostly going to be filling up with Invisibilities.
    Mentalism (SpC)
    Ability: Once per day grant a creature a huge resistance bonus on its next will save.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Lesser Confusion, L2 Detect Thoughts, L3 Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, L4 Modify Memory, L7 Antipathy, L8 Mind Blank
    Comments: Some handy divinations, no overlap with Shaman list until the level 9 slot. Everything is generally useful, but not wildly divergent from options already available to the Shaman.
    Metal (SpC)
    Ability: Proficiency and Weapon Focus in a hammer.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Rusting Grasp L5 Wall of Iron, L6 Blade Barrier, L8 Iron Body, L9 Repel Metal or Stone
    Comments: This is a bit more practical than the OA version. A little strange in that it flipped the level 8 and 9 spells – the switch is marginally advantageous, due to save DCs.
    Ocean (SpC)
    Ability: Breathe underwater for a few minutes per day.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Freedom of Movement, L5 Wall of Ice
    Comments: Unsurprisingly, useful for an oceangoing campaign, almost useless for a campaign set on land.
    Pact (SpC)
    Ability: Appraise, Intimidate and Sense Motive as class skills
    Spell Highlights: L1 Command, L4 Stalwart Pact, L6 Zealot Pact, L7 Renewal Pact,
    Comments: Intimidate and Sense Motive are nice on Charisma-heavy builds, allowing Demoralization and better play as the party face. The spells are nice in terms of action economy, but casting all of them daily is going to become a noticeable hit to the Shaman's experience.
    Planning (SpC)
    Ability: Extend Spell
    Spell Highlights: L3 Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, L6 Heroes' Feast, L9 Time Stop
    Comments: The ability is often necessary to pull off an early-game Divine Metamagic, Time Stop is fantastic and while many of the other spells are options that a Shaman will be able to use on a daily basis. So despite the redundancy in the list, Planning is one of the more appealing options.
    Pride (SpC)
    Ability: Reroll any natural 1 on a save.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Heroism, L4 Divine Power, L7 Greater Heroism, L9 Mass Charm Monster
    Comments: Useful built-in power, the spell selection isn't bad (though the level 1 and 2 options fall out of use quickly). Usable.
    Purification (SpC)
    Ability: CL bonus on Abjurations.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Recitation, L7 Righteous Wrath of the Faithful, L9 Greater Visage of the Deity
    Comments: A lot of stinkers, and the good spells persist. That would leave most of the domain spell slots open for something else.
    Slime (SpC)
    Ability: Rebuke Oozes
    Spell Highlights: L1 Grease, L3 Poison, L4 Rusting Grasp, L5 Black Tentacles, L9 Implosion
    Comments: Cool power, great low-level spells. But even Black Tentacles doesn't age well enough to drag up to the level 8 slots. Consider pairing the domain with something that scales well for spell levels 6+.
    Spider (SpC)
    Ability: Rebuke Spiders
    Spell Highlights: L1 Spider Climb, L2 Summon Swarm, L3 Phantom Steed, L4 Giant Vermin
    Comments: Fun ability and very nice low-level powers. High levels don't have as many useful spells, and Giant Vermin takes a while to mature. Not a strong domain, but cool filler – especially in low levels of vermin-friendly campaigns.
    Storm (SpC)
    Ability: Electricity resistance
    Spell Highlights: L2 Gust of Wind, L4 Sleet Storm, L5 Ice Storm, L8 Whirlwind
    Comments: Some nice battlefield control powers. Sleet Storm is especially useful to a Shaman. But nothing game-altering.
    Undeath (SpC)
    Ability: Extra Turning
    Spell Highlights: L2 Desecrate, L3 Animate Dead, L4 Death Ward, L7 Control Undead
    Comments: Useful for the turn undead attempts alone. Also happens to have the key spells for a necromancer wannabe. Probably want to pair it with a domain that has more reliably casted low-level slots
    Windstorm (SpC)
    Ability: Don't mind the rain.
    Spell Highlights: L2 Binding Winds, L4 Ice Storm, L6 Cloudwalkers, L8 Whirlwind, L9 Greater Whirlwind
    Comments: Nice control-oriented powers. Can expect to usefully fill domain slots. The ability is the sort of niche nonsense that most people don't even track. Overall, it's a decent domain.
    Community (SpC):
    Ability: Calm Emotions 1/day, Small Diplomacy boost
    Spell Highlights: L6 Heroes' Feast, L8 Magificent Mansion.
    Comments: Almost identical to the updated OA Community domain. This technically overrides it. The takeaway is the same here – it doesn't add much to the Shaman's list.
    Dream (SpC):
    Ability: Fear Immunity
    Spell Highlights: L1 Sleep, L3 Deep Slumber, L8 Power Word: Stun, L9 Weird
    Comments: Quite a bit of redundancy with the Shaman's default abilities. But the sleep powers/fear immunity are powerful at low levels. Scales very poorly.
    Dwarf (SpC):
    Ability: Great Fortitude
    Spell Highlights: L4 Greater Magic Weapon, L8 Protection from Spells
    Comments: The spells aren't all redundant with the Shaman's list, but they aren't all that powerful. Likewise, the ability is somewhat useful, but it's not great. Skip it – if Fabricate's utility is the appeal, at least Craft (SpC) has those cool fantastic machines.
    Glory (SpC):
    Ability: Turning bonuses
    Spell Highlights: L2 Bless Weapon, L5 Holy Sword
    Comments: Most spells are undead-specific or redundant with the Shaman's list. In an Undead-heavy campaign, you could probably find a use for all the spells. Otherwise, this domain wastes a lot of spells on really half-assed blasting.
    Gluttony (SpC):
    Ability: Enlarge for rounds equal to class level.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Vampiric Touch, L6 Heroes' Fest, L8 Bite of the King
    Comments: The ability doesn't work well with Shamans who would be able to use it effectively. It's interesting for straightclassed unarmed Shamans, but poor overall.
    Gnome (SpC):
    Ability: CL bonus on Illusions
    Spell Highlights: L1 Silent Image, L3 Minor Image, L4 Minor Creation, L8 Irresistible Dance
    Comments: Take Illusion instead.
    Greed (SpC):
    Ability: Minor bonus on Appraise, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand
    Spell Highlights: L2 Entice Gift, L3 Knock, L8 Phantasmal Thief
    Comments: A bit of utility and an interesting enchantment. But you can get either better elsewhere.
    Halfling (SpC):
    Ability: Add Charisma to athletics and stealth rolls for a few minutes each day.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Freedom of Movement, L8 Word of Recall, L9 Foresight
    Comments: Most of the spells are rubbish and the ability isn't great. If you want FoM and Foresight, take Time instead.
    Madness (SpC)
    Ability: Small penalty to Wisdom skills and saves, 1/day boost to Wisdom skills and saves.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Lesser Confusion, L2 Touch of Madness, L4 Confusion, L5 Bolts of Bedevilment, L8 Maddening Scream.
    Comments: These enchantments lack the out-of-combat applicability of Charm, Suggestion and Dominate effects, but share their common immunities. The spells here will be applicable daily, but are unreliable.
    Mind (SpC)
    Ability: Minor bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive
    Spell Highlights: L2 Detect Thoughts, L6 Probe Thoughts, L7 Brain Spider, L8 Mind Blank
    Comments: Mind reading is nice, but making it nearly every spell means losing out on versatility very quickly. Mind blank is nice, but not nice enough to salvage this
    Moon (SpC)
    Ability: Turn Lycanthropes
    Spell Highlights: L1 Faerie Fire, L4 Fear, L8 Animal Shapes,
    Comments: Some unique powers, and a couple that complement the Shaman's weaknesses well. But since most of this mantle is singlemindedly focused on combatting Lycanthropes, in most campaigns, it's going to be more miss than hit.
    Nobility (SpC)
    Ability: Grant allies small morale bonus to just about everything for a few rounds 1/day.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Divine Favor, L5 Greater Command
    Comments: Nothing too compelling. Most of the abilities are already on the Shaman spell list at the appropriate levels.
    Orc (SpC)
    Ability: Crappy smite, only gets attack bonus against dwarves and elves.
    Spell Highlights: L1 Cause Fear, L4 Divine Power, L5 Prying Eyes
    Comments: Up to level 13, this domain's spells are ones you could expect to use daily (though Cause Fear doesn't scale at all), but the upper half of the spell progression tends toward options that are either weak or replicated in the Shaman list. Combined with the ability, it's workable, but notably subpar.
    Pestilence (SpC)
    Ability: Immunity to Diseases
    Spell Highlights: L2 Summon Swarm L4 Poison, L6 Curse of Lycanthropy
    Comments: The spells are regularly usable, but not particularly impressive. The ability is redundant with the Shaman spell list. Skip it.
    Renewal (SpC)
    Ability: 1/day healing from below 0 HP
    Spell Highlights: L1 Charm Person, L6 Heroes' Feast, L8 Polymorph Any Object
    Comments: At low levels, the ability is fantastic and Charm Person is a great power to know. Edging toward mid-levels, it doesn't age so well. Polymorph Any Object salvages Renewal for the endgame, but you'd probably be better off retraining to something better around ECL 5.
    Retribution (SpC)
    Ability: 1/day deal max damage against someone who harmed you.
    Spell Highlights: L6 Banishment, L7 Spell Turning
    Comments: A weak ability and only two good spells doesn't make for an appealing domain. In its favor, Shield of Faith's scaling bonus makes it a decent filler for some of the low-level domain slots (more than a lot of crappy domains), but that just makes the domain usable, not good.
    Rune (SpC)
    Ability: Scribe Scroll
    Spell Highlights: L5 Lesser Planar Binding
    Comments: Scribe Scroll's not a bad ability, but most of the spells are pretty niche, Lesser Planar Binding's nice, but 6 HD at a time aren't going to salvage this.
    Sloth (SpC)
    Ability: No AC penalty while prone.
    Spell Highlights: L3 Deep Slumber L4 Slow L6 Waves of Fatigue L8 Waves of Exhaustion
    Comments: The ability makes me smile, and the low level spells are great. Unfortunately, the domain doesn't scale well at all. Very nice at levels 1-3, not so much later on.
    Suffering (SpC)
    Ability: Minor debuff with a touch attack.
    Spell Highlights: L4 Enervation, L5 Feeblemind
    Comments: Enfeeblement alone isn't going to save this.
    Trade (SpC)
    Ability: Detect Thoughts as a free action
    Spell Highlights: L7 Magnificent Mansion, L8 Mind Blank
    Comments: Cool ability, but not a character-maker. Most of the spells are very weak. The mansion is sweet, but this is not a good domain.
    Tyranny (SpC)
    Ability: Compulsion DC bonus
    Spell Highlights: L1 Command, L4 Fear, L5 Greater Command, L7 Grasping Hand, L8 Mass Charm Monster, L9 Dominate Monster
    Comments: Enchantments are very powerful until immunities become common, but this doesn't get its better enchantments until that point. Grasping Hand has a very low grapple mod, and Fear isn't enough to salvage this.
    Wealth (SpC)
    Ability: Appraise as a class skill, Skill Focus (Appraise)
    Spell Highlights: L1 Alarm, L5 Secret Chest, L9 Antipathy
    Comments: Not a lot going for this one. It has some abilities you can expect to use, but not that you'd get excited to use.


    SPELL SELECTION
    I'm not going to discuss this in full, but I will discuss the spells which are useful to prepare often, as well as the spells which are unique to the Shaman class (or difficult to obtain elsewhere):

    Level 0
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    Cure Minor Wounds – Automatic Stabilization at low levels.
    Detect Magic – Always a good thing to detect. At high levels, it's about as much use as you're going to get from a level 0 slot.
    Read Magic – Increasingly useful at high levels, but you'll rarely need more than 2 prepped at a time.

    Level 1
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    Cure Light Wounds – Not useful to prepare past very low levels, but useful to have on your spell list (Wands of CLW are your friend).
    Detect Chaos/Evil/Good/Law – Utility divination. Works well at higher levels.
    Doom – Useful debuff at low levels, scales poorly.
    Obscuring Mist – Always a solid tactical spell choice, which remains useful at higher levels.
    Protection from Chaos/Evil/Good/Law – Defensive bonuses and mind control prevention.
    Shield of Faith – Nice scaling deflection bonus to AC. Saves a lot of GP.
    Speak with Animals – Shamans don't have the Handle Animal skill, but they primarily summon animals. Consider persisting this.
    Summon Nature's Ally I – Discussed in post #4.
    Trance (OA) – Shaman-only. Persistable. Identify spirits, curses or magical effects within 120 ft. (Spirits are discussed in post #5)
    Weapon Bless (OA) – Shaman/Sohei only: if you can specify an enemy while casting it (10 minute time), the blessed weapon gains a +5 enhancement on its first attack/damage against that enemy. I'm sure you can think of ways to abuse it.

    Level 2
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    Ancestral Vengeance (OA) – Shaman-only. Crappy blasting. Supposed to be decent against undead, but they're technically immune, Pay attention to the 3.5 update (slight damage increase to non-undead, SR:No).
    Augury – Can't go wrong with this divination.
    Bull's Strength – Strength bonus for you and your companion or the party
    Commune with Lesser Spirit (CArc) – The lesser version of this spell is pretty bad. Wait for the greater version for an actually useful divination.
    Create Spring (OA) – Shaman-only. 6 gallons of fresh water per hour permanently squirt from the earth. Not something you'll want to prepare for a dungeon, but definitely a spell you'll be spamming in your off-days. May be a plot-breaker.
    Discern Shapechanger (SpC) – Identifies shape-shifted creatures. Probably not something you'll want to prepare, unless the situation warrants it. Level dropped per 3.5 update.
    Invisibility to Spirits (OA) – Shaman-only. Allies cannot be perceived by Spirits for 10 minutes per level (spirits get saves). Effect ends if anybody affected touches or attacks a spirit (including spells).
    Ghoul Touch – Touch spell, which combines nicely with Unarmed Strike combat, also targets the save neglected by Hold Person/Rebuke.
    Hold Person – Single person save-or-die. The repeated saves, Mind Effect tag and specific creature type are limiting, but it's a game-ender.
    Know Motivation (OA) – Shaman-only. Persistable. Each round, find the driving motive of one creature within 60ft (will negates).
    Protection from Spirits (OA) – Shaman-only. Deflection and resistance bonuses against spirit effects, and prevents spirits from approaching the spell's recipient. For what this means, see the discussion on spirits in post #4.
    Rebuke (OA) – Shaman-only. Will save or stun for 1d4+1 rounds. A strong single-target game-ender without Hold Person's type requirements or Mind Effect tag. Worth preparing regularly at low levels.
    Summon Nature's Ally II – Discussed in post #4.
    Warning (OA) – Shaman/Sohei spell. Grant Uncanny Dodge plus perception bonuses for 10 minutes per level.

    Level 3
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    Bestow Curse – Big penalties, touch range works nicely with Unarmed combat specialists.
    Blindness/Deafness – Spend a standard action for a very good chance of debilitating a target. Better for utility than Ghoul Touch (the competing Fort Save-or-Lose at this level)
    Detect Curse (OA) – Shaman-only. Probably not something you'll use more than once per campaign (if that often). Don't prep it.
    Dispel Magic – Not too flashy, but one of the best spells in the game. Always worth a slot or two (even past its CL cap).
    Invisibility to Enemies (OA) – Shaman-only. A creature cannot be observed by hostile creatures with intelligences over 4. That's cool, but the limitations make it more a utility spell than a tactical option (short-duration, single-target, will saves for all hostiles).
    Levitate – Immunity to non-fliers, plus utility functions.
    Magic Circle against Chaos/Evil/Good/Law – Defensive numeric bonuses, plus mind control immunity for a good duration, also affecting close allies. Worth preparing for a very long time.
    Magic Vestment – Extend this and never have to pay for more than +1 numeric bonus to armor again.
    Mental Strength (OA) – Shaman/Sohei spell. Note: Errata'd down to +4 resistance bonus. Bad duration, bad stacking. Skip it.
    Mental Weakness (OA) – Shaman/Maho-Tsukai spell. Instead of hoping something fails a save so that it's slightly more likely to fail another save, shoot to disable in the first place.
    Possess Animal (OA) – Shaman-only. Temporarily possess an animal. This is pretty strictly limited by range, duration and its specifically animal targets, but it could be a useful utility power.
    Protection from Energy – If you know what element's going to get you, this is a good translation of spell slots to HP.
    Substitution (OA) – Shaman-only. Split damage with an idol of a deity or spirit (which has a material cost). The HP-per-gp value isn't great, so you won't want to use this regularly, but 100 temporary HP that stack with temporary HP are worth the occasional splurge.
    Summon Nature's Ally III – Discussed in post #4.
    Tongues – Shamans often have good Diplomacy and multiple language-dependent effects (enchantments, summons and divinations). It's not the most interesting spell to prep, but not having will hurt in quite a few fairly common situations

    Level 4
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    Air Walk – Flying is good, and this lets someone in the party fly (basically) with a good duration. Prep it.
    Chaos Hammer/Holy Smite/Order's Wrath/Unholy Blight – Against outsiders of the appropriate alignments, they aren't bad blasting spells (they deal a decent amount of damage and the tagalong effects often are a good deal in terms of action economy); against non-outsiders (especially with mixed alignments), they're not so hot.
    Dismissal – Useful for blasting outsiders, until the Outsiders get plane shift. Then it's just inconveniencing.
    Divination – Powerful all-purpose divination. Gives your DM a chance to feel clever.
    Dream Sight (OA) – Shaman-only. Your spirit wanders off incorporeally, using your normal senses. Cannot perform actions other than movement and observation. Your spirit travels 100 ft per round for minutes per level – a good range of very accurate divination.
    Fatigue (OA) – Shaman/Sohei/Maho-Tsukai spell. This level 4 spell was replaced by a cantrip. Make your own conclusions.
    Lesser Spirit Ally (OA) – Discussed in post #4.
    Polymorph – This spell is crazy. You'll want to prepare it. I won't go into details, but these two threads give a pretty good rundown on how shapeshifting powers can be effectively used: Complete Polymorph Thread) and MoMF bible (not Polymorph, but a class using similar mechanics). Keep in mind that it can be shared with the animal companion.
    Reanimation (OA) – Shaman/Wu Jen spell (Shaman has access 6 levels early). Dead creature is brought to limited life for days/level at no XP/gp cost. The creature can't take standard actions, use magic items or cast spells, so this isn't a combat-relevant ability, but it can make an interesting utility power.
    Reincarnate – Raise the dead on a budget. Cheap and available early, but it might **** certain builds up if used on PCs.
    Remove Fatigue (OA) – Shaman/Sohei only. Wasn't this folded into Lesser Restoration? Don't prep it ever.
    Snake Barrier – Shaman-only. Invisible barrier does crappy damage to reptilian creatures passing through. Doesn't affect dragons, per the 3.5 update.
    Spell Immunity – Useful if you know there's a specific hole in your defenses.
    Summon Nature's Ally IV – Discussed in post #4.
    Sustain (OA) – Shaman/Sohei spell. Party can ignore food and drink-based constraints. Pretty niche, but it could be useful.

    Level 5
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    Advice (OA) – Shaman-only mind control ability. Like Suggestion, but with more room to bull****. The one-round casting time makes it a candidate for Rapid Spell.
    Baleful Polymorph – Single-target Fortitude-based "Save or turn into a Toad." Immunity to Polymorph effects isn't common. Added in 3.5 update.
    Blood of Fire (OA) – Shaman/Maho-Tsukai only. Flavorful, but terrible blasting.
    Commune with Greater Spirit (OA) – Shaman/Wu Jen/Niche-Shugenja spell. Play 20 questions with any spirit. Spirits sharing your alignment don’t' get a save. Slight XP cost, but it turns the awful level Lesser version into a powerful divination effect.
    Control Winds – High utility, excellent battlefield control, especially in conjunction with Control Weather.
    Dispel Chaos/Evil/Good/Law – Blast enchantments away or Save-or-Plane Shift for extraplanar creatures of a particular alignment. Or it works as an overpriced, under-durationed Shield of Faith.
    Disrupting Weapon – Common unintelligent undead monsters tend to have high HD, but this can plausibly be useful against intelligent undead – especially if you're cranking CL. Added in 3.5 update.
    Possess (OA) – Shaman-only. Temporarily possess any creature. The 1-round casting time and vulnerability of the caster's body can make it tactically tricky, but it's still both a solid save-or-die and Enchantment-like ability without the Mind Effect tag.
    Raise Dead – Not a spell you'll ever want to prepare, but **** happens.
    Scrying – Spy on things with your brain. Excellent utility.
    Slay Living – Touch attack save-or-die. Works nicely with unarmed combat builds.
    Summon Nature's Ally V – Discussed in post #4.
    True Seeing – Negates the entire school of illusion spells, plus gives the scoop on shapeshifters.

    Level 6
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    Dispel Magic, Greater – Not flashy, but one of the most reliable spell choices in the game. Once Dispel's CL cap renders it useless, you'll almost always want a couple of these.
    Find the Path – Very practical divination. It's all about trivializing dungeons.
    Harm – Serious blasting that works well with unarmed combat. Or Undead-healing, if you're into that.
    Heal – Healing worth casting. If you don't want this every day, it'll be a miracle.
    Plane Shift – Either transportation or Will Save–or-die that plays well with unarmed strikes. Either way, it's worth prepping.
    Spirit Ally (OA) – Discussed in post #4.
    Stoneskin – The duration is good and the gp cost isn't prohibitive at high levels, but you probably won't want to prep it daily – Wands of Lesser Vigor are just cheaper HP recovery than this is prevention.
    Summon Nature's Ally VI – Discussed in post #4.
    Vulnerability (SpC) – Reduce DR. Try to be too well prepared to need it, but know it's there.
    Wind Walk – If you don't have teleport and you have places to be.

    Level 7
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    Blasphemy/Dictum/Holy Word/Word of Chaos – Crank your CL to make bad things happen. These are poster children for broken casters.
    Control Weather – Crazy strategic control. Combines nicely with Control Winds, but requires a bit of forethought.
    Ethereal Jaunt – Stage an ambush,make a getaway, fight ethereal monsters, whatever. Always useful.
    Repulsion – Battlefield control and defense – forbidding enemies from approaching you is almost always good.
    Resurrection – Slightly more versatile Raise Dead. More expensive; don't prep it, but know it's there.
    Scrying, Greater – Spy on people from afar for hours at a time instead of minutes. Also cast some very low-level divinations at them.
    Summon Nature's Ally VII – Discussed in post #4.

    Level 8
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    Antimagic Field – Use it offensively, use it defensively, share it with your companion – if you prepare it, you're sure to find a use.
    Compel (OA) – Permanent alignment reversal. Has a bunch of reliability problems (Will negates, SR: Yes, Mind Effect, Close range, 1 round casting time), but it's a really cool power.
    Dimensional Lock – Useful control power – limit the valid dimensional travel options in a small radius. (Needs to be combined with other BC effects to really shine.) Added in 3.5 update.
    Greater Spirit Ally (OA) – Discussed in Post #4.
    Spell Immunity, Greater – Quick patch for holes in your defenses, good duration, high-level-appropriate effect. Added in 3.5 update.
    Summon Nature's Ally VIII – Discussed in post #4.

    Level 9
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    Astral Projection – In even the least abusive use, this allows you to have adventures without risking your life or gear.
    Gate – No risk, solve any problem/fight. The experience cost is the closest thing it has to a balancing factor.
    Heal, Mass – Essentially reset your party to the start of a fight.
    Miracle – Do anything. Maybe experience cost, maybe not. Prep it.
    Summon Nature's Ally IX – Discussed in post #4.
    True Resurrection – Not a spell slot you're going to want to prepare, but one you'll want to have available.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-10-15 at 12:11 PM.