Shamans are very primitive practitioners of magic who are unable to use spells and cantrips. They receive their ability to affect the world magically through reaching altered states of consciousness, either through the use of pain, fasting, drugs, extraordinary physical preparation or long meditation, interacting with the world's wild magic, the transcendental energies that continuously exist in every part of the world even though they may not be tapped by a traditional spellcaster.

The practice requires the employment of a drum, feather, rattle, gong or pipe, as well as a brief period of dancing or singing (no less than 10 rounds, or two minutes), following an hour of meditation. Throughout this, the shaman must have an intoxication level equivalent to smashed (which can be managed through altering the state of consciousness, as described above). Once these requirements are met, the shaman is then able to bring certain benefits upon the environment:

  • the fertility of a woman can be assured for a period of one day - if copulation occurs during that time, the woman has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant.
  • the effects of a curse can be lifted for the space of one week, regardless of the nature or origin of the curse.
  • the damage effects of an injury (not the ordinary loss of hit points) can be completely healed.
  • the soul of an animal can be 'released' so that a large game animal will present itself within close range of a hunter, who may then kill the animal knowing that the animal's spirit is no longer incorporated in its body, which cannot now feel pain. This helps in times of ready food being greatly needed.
  • knowledge can be gained regarding the background and lineage of a person, helping to identify who is the rightful son of a chieftain or who is truly a member of the clan's tribe.

These benefits are gained by the shaman traversing into the spirit world (either the ethereal or the astral planes), encountering spirits there who can affect these changes. The shaman cannot cause these things to happen without help from the spirits.

A shaman can bring about these effects only one time per week. Each time the magic is used, the shaman will suffer a 10-60% loss in hit points.

Often the shaman is so affected by the transformative process that he or she must be led to the place where the wild magic can be invoked by shamanism.


Shrines

Shamanism does recognize any form of group worship; however, there are places that each tribe recognizes as a place of great occultism. Typically, every member of a tribe will voyage to these places at least once in their lives.

The sites themselves are very crude. Primitive shamanism does not allow for the creation of permanent markers, cairns or carved stone (which requires masonry). However, cave painting - where art is preserved from the elements - or dry deserts where dyes applied to exposed rock does not weather away, enable primitive persons to experience something very special. If they perform the rituals that a shaman would, without the training of a shaman, they can yet have one shamanistic experience for one time in their lives. This ability does not include the creation of tokens, however.

Therefore, they will travel hundreds, even thousands of miles, to have this experience once, to then share the tale and the moment with their families, clans and tribes forever after.


Tokens

Shamans are also able to make tokens, very simple artistic items that produce temporary results. It will take a week for a shaman to make a token, typically an image that corresponds to the culture that the shaman inhabits. These tokens will give the character one of the following benefits:

  • +2 saving throw against a specific form of creature or when acting in a space no larger than a 100 combat hexes.
  • +3 to hit against a named, known creature, usually when using a specific weapon (often the shape of the token), for three full rounds.
  • +1 morale for up to 30 friends and allies, for one day.
  • +1 level for the weakest person in a party, for one day.

Each token, however, typically requires the sacrifice of a healthy animal or of a humanoid enemy, which can be costly both to the welfare of the clan or tribe and to the general dissatisfaction of outsiders. Tokens are therefore a rare item, created only in times of great need.

Shamans are common only among tech level 5 cultures and regions.

See Animism, Mantraism and Religion.