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Author Topic: D20 Shaman Homebrew  (Read 3479 times)

Sojourner Judas

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D20 Shaman Homebrew
« on: March 07, 2006, 02:12:02 PM »
Just something I fished out of the google cache of Nothingland that I wanted to revisit. I'm still working on tweaking this, and I've added to it since reposting it at Nut Test and Limperland. This site seemed like fertile ground for criticism and revamping it, so I think any future development I do on it will be here. Comments, suggestions, and criticisms are welcome!

The homebrew system is thusly: at the beginning of the day a shaman petitions the animal spirits for his spells. He may petition as many spirits as he dares, but must make a roll each time he petitions one. The first spirit petitioned takes a Fortitude save, difficulty 10. Each subsequent spirit is another Fortitude save, modified by the cumulative ratings of all prior spirits.

For example if he starts by petitioning a spirit rated at 5, his next save is at difficulty 15. If he makes that and the spirit he petitioned was rated 3, his next roll to petition a spirit would be difficulty 18, and so forth. If a roll is failed, no further spirits may be petitioned.

Spirits carry their own requirements, both in petitioning and in how the shaman carries himself during the day. For example, the pantheon of spirits I've come up with so far:

Beetle
Rank: 1
Spells Beetle grants two levels of spells.
Domains: Beetle's spells must be picked from the Earth and Death domains, and shamans walking with Beetle gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Beetle requires a burnt offering of simple grubs found under rocks to petition him. He will not walk with Spider or Sparrow.

Dragonfly
Rank: 1
Spells: Dragonfly grants two levels of spells.
Domains: Dragonfly's spells must be picked from the Air and Travel domains, and shamans walking with Dragonfly gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Dragonfly demands a libation of swamp water, which must be gathered the morning of the petition. Dragonfly will not walk with Toad or Trout.

Sparrow
Rank: 1
Spells: Sparrow grants two levels of spells.
Domains: Sparrow's spells must be picked from the Animal and Plant domains, and shamans walking with Sparrow gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Sparrow asks an offering of earthworms, which the petitioner must consume live. Sparrow will not walk with Cat or Squirrel.

Rat
Rank: 2
Spells: Rat grants five levels of spells.
Domains: Rat's spells must be picked from the Luck and Trickery domains, and shamans walking with Rat gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Rat requires petitioners to rub themselves in strong-smelling garbage. The petitioner may not bathe for the duration of the day. He will not walk with Snake or Owl.

Spider
Rank: 2
Spells: Spider grants five levels of spells.
Domains: Spider's spells must be picked from the Destruction and Knowledge domains, and shamans walking with Spider gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Spider asks that those that walk with her find an intact spider web, and weave it carefully into their hair, where it must remain for the day. Spider will not walk with Hornet or Mantis.

Snake
Rank: 2
Spells: Snake grants five levels of spells.
Domains: Snake's spells must be picked from the Sun and Law domains, and shamans walking with Snake gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Snake requires petitioners to carry one of his children with them during the day. It may be a harmless snake, but it must be kept and protected the entire day. Snake will not walk with Eagle or Mongoose.

Bear
Rank: 5
Spells: Bear grants ten levels of spells.
Domains: Bear's spells must be picked from the Healing and Strength domains, and shamans walking with Bear gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Bear requires an offering of salmon and honey worth no less than ten silver pieces, which the shaman must consume on the spot. He will not walk with Coyote or Raven.

Owl
Rank: 5
Spells: Owl grants ten levels of spells.
Domains: Owl's spells must be picked from the Good and Protection domains, and shamans walking with Owl gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Owl asks that those who walk with him petition the night before, when they offer him a freshly killed rat and a bauble worth no less than five silver for his nest. The rat must be healthy, with no sign of disease or filth. Owl will not walk with Cat or Cuckoo.

Coyote
Rank: 5
Spells: Coyote grants ten levels of spells.
Domains: Coyote's spells must be picked from the Chaos and Magic domains, and shamans walking with Coyote gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Those that walk with Coyote are compulsive liars, even to those they consider friends. There is no predictable fashion to who they lie to and when; they might be truthful one moment and deceitful the next, and the difference is rarely obvious. Such is Coyote's whim. Coyote will not walk with Wolf or Eagle.

The number of spell levels granted by each spirit is kept in seperate pools, which are spent after petitioning the spirit. Thus, two spell levels may be spent as either two first-level spells, or one second-level spell, within the domains the spirit grants.

The spells per day progression ramps up naturally with levels as the shaman gains better fortitude saves, while still providing a random element that could give a lucky shaman extra spells in a certain day.

I was also thinking on potentially retooling this ruleset as a Voodoo class for d20 Modern. Here's a shot at some Loa (Voodoo gods) for this purpose:

Ayizan
Rank: 1
Spells: Ayizan grants two levels of spells.
Domains: Ayizan's spells must be picked from the Death and Protection domains, and Houngan ridden by Ayizan gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Aziyan is summoned by tossing a handfull of coins into a fountain. Houngan ridden by Aziyan are forbidden from consuming alcohol.

Maman Brigitte
Rank: 2
Spells: Brigitte grants five levels of spells.
Domains: Brigitte's spells must be picked from the Death and Protection domains, and Houngan ridden by Brigitte gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Brigitte's favor is gained by sacrificing a black rooster in a cemetary. Those ridden by Brigitte speak colorfully, their language laden with obscenities. They are forbidden from ever desecrating a grave marked by a cross.

Erzulie
Rank: 2
Spells: Erzulie grants five levels of spells.
Domains: Erzulie's spells must be picked from the Water and Luck domains, and Houngan ridden by Erzulie gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: A Houngan ridden by Erzulie must wear three wedding rings, obtained by whatever means neccessary. They must also perfume themselves. They almost always dress in finery.

Papa Ghede
Rank: 5
Spells: Ghede grants ten levels of spells.
Domains: Ghede's spells must be picked from the Death and Trickery domains, and Houngan ridden by Ghede gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Ghede's favor is gained by draining a bottle of liquor at a crossroads at midnight. The bottle does not need to be full, and Ghede is more likely to show kindness on those brave enough to drink the cheap rotgut he himself enjoys. Those ridden by Ghede always wear black, frequently with a tattered top-hat. They chain-smoke the entire time they are ridden, and are fond of cigars. A houngan ridden by Ghede will rarely pass up an opportunity for a lewd comment.

Ogoun
Rank: 5
Spells: Ogoun grants ten levels of spells.
Domains: Ogoun's spells must be picked from the Strength and War domains, and Houngan ridden by Ogoun gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Ogoun is summoned by a Houngan being buried up to his neck, to await the favor of the Loa of war and iron. When Ogoun rides the Houngan, he gains the strenght to burst from the ground. Those ridden by Ogoun may never turn down a fight.

Shangó
Rank: 5
Spells: Shangó grants ten levels of spells.
Domains: Shang's spells must be picked from the Law and Weather domains, and Houngan ridden by Shangó gain the granted powers of these domains.
Restrictions: Shangó is summoned with a sacrifice of a ram just before a thunderhead breaks. Those ridden by Shangó cannot bear the sight of cheating or lying, and when witnessing it deal with it harshly.
 

el-remmen

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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2006, 03:32:25 PM »
Nice work.  I may steal some of this. :D
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Sojourner Judas

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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2006, 03:54:09 PM »
Quote from: the ultimate nullifier
Nice work.  I may steal some of this. :D
I'm going to try to write up a d20 Modern Advanced Class to go along with it if I find the time tonight.
 

Sojourner Judas

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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2006, 07:27:34 PM »
The Shaman
The fastest path into this advanced class is from the Dedicated hero basic class, though other paths are possible. A high Charisma score is necessary to ensure the ability to cast spells.

Requirements
To qualify to become an Shaman, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
Skills: Knowledge (theology and philosophy) 6 ranks, Listen 6 ranks, Survival 6 ranks.

Class Information
The following information pertains to the Shaman advanced class.

Hit Die
Shamans gain 1d6 hit points per level. The character’s Constitution modifier applies.

Action Points
Shamans gain a number of action points equal to 6 plus one-half their character level, rounded down, every time they advance a level in this class.

Class Skills
The Shaman's class skills are as follows: Concentration (Con), Craft (chemical, pharmaceutical, visual arts) (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (art, behavioral sciences, earth and life sciences, theology and philosophy) (Int), Perform (act, dance, sing, stand-up) (Cha), Profession (Wis), Read/Write Language (none), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (none), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Treat Injury (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 5 + Intelligence modifier.
Code: [Select]
Table: The Shaman
Level   BAB    Fort     Ref    Will     Special                                 Def     Rep
1st     +0      +2      +1      +1      Arcane skills, Petition                 +1      +2
2nd     +1      +3      +2      +2      Bonecasting 1/day                       +1      +2
3rd     +1      +3      +2      +2      Bonus feat                              +2      +2
4th     +2      +4      +2      +2      Wise Ways 1/day                         +2      +3
5th     +2      +4      +3      +3      Spirit Eyes 1/day                       +3      +3
6th     +3      +5      +3      +3      Bonus feat                              +3      +3
7th     +3      +5      +4      +4      Witchwalking 1/day                      +4      +4
8th     +4      +6      +4      +4      Bonecasting 2/day, Wise Ways 2/day      +4      +4
9th     +4      +6      +4      +4      Bonus feat                              +5      +4
10th    +5      +7      +5      +5      Spirit Eyes 2/day, Witchwalking 2/day   +5      +5

Class Features
The following features pertain to the Shaman advanced class.
 
Arcane Skills
At 1st level, the Shaman gains the Arcane Skills feat, granting access to the following skills: Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, and the arcane functions of Concentration and Craft (chemical).

Petition
A shaman petitions various native spirits in order to gain the spells which he casts. Some spirits have a specific time or place in which they wish to be petitioned. He may petition as many spirits as he dares, but must make a roll each time he petitions one. The first spirit petitioned takes a Fortitude save, difficulty 10. Each subsequent spirit is another Fortitude save, modified by the cumulative ratings of all prior spirits. A shaman may divest himself of a spirit to lower the penalty on his Fortitude save with a successful Will save. Once a spirit leaves a shaman he loses the spells and abilities it granted. No spirit may be kept for more than 24 hours consecutively.

Bonecasting (Su)
The character may cast Augury as a spell-like ability.

Wise Ways (Su)
The character may cast Discern Lies as a spell-like ability.

Spirit Eyes (Su)
The character may cast True Seeing as a spell-like ability.

Witchwalking (Su)
The character may cast Scrying as a spell-like ability.
 

Sojourner Judas

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D20 Shaman Homebrew
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 12:21:27 AM »
Not really pleased with the d20 Modern version, but I'm not as familiar with d20 Modern. So, I buckled down and wrote it up as a D&D base class, and I think I'm more pleased with it now. I think the level-based abilities give it a bit more punch that make up for the class's relative weakness in spellcasting.

Shaman
Alignment
Shamans come from a wide variety of cultures with a diverse array of customs and taboos. They may be of any alignment.

Hit Die
d8.

Class Skills
The shaman's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at 1st Level
(4 + Int modifier) ×4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level
4 + Int modifier.

Code: [Select]
[I]Table: The Shaman[/I]
[B]Level   BAB        Fort     Ref    Will Special[/B]
1st     +0          +2      +0      +2      Petition, Ghost Sight
2nd     +1          +3      +0      +3      Invisible Wind
3rd     +2          +3      +1      +3      Dismiss
4th     +3          +4      +1      +4      Bonecasting (1/day)
5th     +3          +4      +1      +4      Windtalking (1/day)
6th     +4          +5      +2      +5      Bonecasting (3/day)
7th     +5          +5      +2      +5      Greater Bonecasting
8th +6/+1       +6      +2      +6      Windtalking (3/day)
9th +6/+1       +6      +3      +6      Spirit Pact (1/day)
10th +7/+2       +7      +3      +7      Parliament of Rooks (1/day)
11th +8/+3       +7      +3      +7      Spirit Pact (3/day)
12th +9/+4       +8      +4      +8      Spirit Oath
13th +9/+4       +8      +4      +8      Hungry Wind (1/day)
14th +10/+5      +9      +4      +9      Storm Drums (1/day)
15th +11/+6/+1   +9      +5      +9      Hungry Wind (3/day)
16th +12/+7/+2   +10     +5      +10     Storm Drums (3/day)
17th +12/+7/+2   +10     +5      +10
18th +13/+8/+3   +11     +6      +11     Grandmother Spider (1/day)
19th +14/+9/+4   +11     +6      +11
20th +15/+10/+5  +12     +6      +12     Witchwalking (1/day)
Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Shaman.

Petition (Ex)
A shaman petitions various native spirits in order to gain the spells which he casts. Some spirits have a specific time or place in which they wish to be petitioned. He may petition as many spirits as he dares, but must make a roll each time he petitions one. The first spirit petitioned takes a Fortitude save, difficulty 10. Each subsequent spirit is another Fortitude save, modified by the cumulative ratings of all prior spirits. The shaman may attempt this at any point at which conditions permit the proper ceremony to be performed for a given spirit, but after the fist failed Fortitude save he may not make any more attempts until he Dismisses at least one of the spirits inhabiting him, or 24 hours have passed. No spirits may be kept longer than 24 hours.

Ghost Sight (Ex)
At any time which he is not in combat, a shaman may make a Spot check at DC 15 and see into the Ethereal anywhere he has line-of-sight.

Invisible Wind (Ex)
The shaman's sense of the Ethereal is honed. When engaging Ghost Sight he may apply the Track feat to Ethereal beings. In addition, while engaging Ghost Sight he may detect if he is being scried upon by making a second Spot check at a DC of 10 plus the scrier's casting level.

Dismiss (Ex)
The shaman may divest himself of one of the spirits inhabiting him. This is accomplished by making a Will save at a DC of 15 plus the spirit's level. If a shaman Dismisses a spirit before the spirit has been inside him a full 24 hours, the spirit is offended and cannot be called again until 24 hours have passed.

Bonecasting (Su)
The shaman prepares a special set of burnished and intricately carved bones. By casting these bones onto the ground, he may ask for guidance from the spirits and divine their advice by the position the bones land in. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Augury spell.

Windtalking (Su)
The shaman whispers a short message into a leaf, which he then folds up and burns, scattering its ashes into the wind. This message is then delivered to a recipient of his choosing. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Sending spell.

Greater Bonecasting (Su)
The shaman has gained greater skill at reading the bones. All attempts at Bonecasting are now treated as per the Divination spell.

Spirit Pact (Su)
By summoning spirits to sanctify an agreement, the shaman ensures that supernatural consequences will be enacted should that agreement be broken. Typically an animal sacrifice is required, as well as a mingling of both parties blood in a candle flame. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Mark of Justice spell. However unlike Mark of Justice, both parties are bound to the contract and if either breaches it they will suffer the effects of the spell.

Parliament of Rooks (Su)
When greater answers are needed, often a casting of the bones is inadequate. It is on these occasions that a shaman summons the Parliament of Rooks. After the proper offerings are made, a flock of the black birds descends to land in a circle around the shaman. They are then able to answer a series of yes or no questions for the shaman. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Commune spell. Unlike Commune the rooks must answer truthfully, but they cannot elaborate in cases where a yes or no answer would be unclear. The birds do not actually speak to the shaman, but instead indicate their answers by piling pebbles to the shaman's left or right.

Spirit Oath (Su)
As the shaman's standing and renown in the spirit world increases, contracts sanctified by him bear more weight. Any Spirit Pacts enacted by the shaman now bear the force of a Geas.

Hungry Wind (Su)
The shaman spits angry curses into the wind, calling a swarm of ravenous lesser spirits to buffet his enemies. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Insect Plague spell.

Storm Drums (Su)
The shaman crafts a pair of ominously painted animal hide drums. When the spirits favor him, he may beat upon the drums and call to the stormclouds. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Control Weather spell.

Grandmother Spider (Su)
Grandmother Spider knows all that passes through her web, and is never caught by surprise. The shaman calls upon her blessing, and she warns him of danger. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Foresight spell.

Witchwalking (Su)
With careful preparation the shaman brews a potent mixture of hallucinogenic plants. When imbibed, the shaman and his companions may travel on vision quests to vistas unimagined by most mortals. This is treated as a spell-like ability, and is represented by the Astral Projection spell.
 

SpikeyFreak

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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 05:46:27 PM »
I like it Sojudas.

It adds an interesting mechanic for spell selection.

--Reading Spikey
 

Vermicious Knid

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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2006, 07:06:35 PM »
What happens on a failed petition save?
 

Sojourner Judas

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 07:13:08 PM »
Quote from: Vermicious Knid
What happens on a failed petition save?
Stated not-so-clearly in some of the earlier iterations, but the D&D Base Class lays it out as:
Quote
The shaman may attempt this at any point at which conditions permit the proper ceremony to be performed for a given spirit, but after the fist failed Fortitude save he may not make any more attempts until he Dismisses at least one of the spirits inhabiting him, or 24 hours have passed.
 

el-remmen

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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 07:20:50 PM »
I am not sure if I am missing something, but what are the benefits of the petitioned spirits?  What do you get?

And what kind of spell progression do they use?
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Sojourner Judas

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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 07:26:06 PM »
Quote from: the ultimate nullifier
I am not sure if I am missing something, but what are the benefits of the petitioned spirits?  What do you get?

And what kind of spell progression do they use?
A petitioned spirit gives you access to two clerical domains, with the granted powers of each. It also gives you a variable number of spell levels, which must be spent within the domains the spirit provides. Thus a spirit that gives you 5 spell levels of Water and Law would let you spend those levels on 5 level 1 spells, 2 level 2 spells and a level 1 spell, one level 5 spell, or any combination thereof so long as it adds up to 5. To even be able to get a big whizbang spell you're going to need to petition a spirit that gives you enough levels to use it. Spell progression is handled by the fact that you can manage what order you summon the spirits in, and you can try to dismiss them if you need to shuffle things up. Dismissal is risky though because some spirits you can't afford to piss off because you might need them soon. Also, your Fortitude save bonus ramps up pretty directly, so as you level up you'll be able to succeed better at Petition rolls and thus cram more spirits into your body. Fortitude is used for Petitioning because it's a physical strain on your body to force it to accept spirits. Dismissal is a Will save because it's you using your resolve to force a spirit out of your body before its time is up.
 

el-remmen

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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2006, 07:47:10 PM »
Oh, i see you are adapting an existing class so the rest of the info is elsewhere - thus my confusion.  I was wondering how you determine the strength (spell levels) and attribues of the spirits.
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Sojourner Judas

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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2006, 07:56:58 PM »
Quote from: the ultimate nullifier
Oh, i see you are adapting an existing class so the rest of the info is elsewhere - thus my confusion.  I was wondering how you determine the strength (spell levels) and attribues of the spirits.
The spirits I have listed are the three tiers I was able to make the numbers work best for. The main difference between spirits of the same level is fluff and what they require of you if you summon them. Rank 1 spirits always give two levels, so you're going to be nickle-and-diming it with them. Rank 2 are the most bang-for-your-buck as they ramp up the Petition DC the least for the amount of spells they grant. Still, the most you could get out of them is a level 5 spell. Rank 5 spirits grant the mos spells, but they're harder to summon because often they require a sacrifice. It's all just rule of thumb so far, and I may yet revise what I have here and stratify them more clearly.
 

el-remmen

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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2006, 08:00:02 PM »
Quote from: Sojourner Judas
The spirits I have listed are the three tiers I was able to make the numbers work best for. The main difference between spirits of the same level is fluff and what they require of you if you summon them. Rank 1 spirits always give two levels, so you're going to be nickle-and-diming it with them. Rank 2 are the most bang-for-your-buck as they ramp up the Petition DC the least for the amount of spells they grant. Still, the most you could get out of them is a level 5 spell. Rank 5 spirits grant the mos spells, but they're harder to summon because often they require a sacrifice. It's all just rule of thumb so far, and I may yet revise what I have here and stratify them more clearly.


I'm such a dumbass.  I totally forgot about your very first post and kept clicking to these more recent posts.  It is all clear now. . . D'oh!

Thanks.  I will probably be using this for my witch/warlock class with some flavor and individual powers/skill changes.

I like it a lot.  I like taking existing things (like domains) and using them in a different way. I tried that with my various priesthoods, using the turning mechanic for a bunch of stuff and using the effective cleric level (based on the turn check) to determine either duration or intensity of the effect, depending on what it was.
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el-remmen

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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2006, 04:34:40 PM »
Question:

Based on this:
Quote from: SoJu

The homebrew system is thusly: at the beginning of the day a shaman petitions the animal spirits for his spells. He may petition as many spirits as he dares, but must make a roll each time he petitions one. The first spirit petitioned takes a Fortitude save, difficulty 10. Each subsequent spirit is another Fortitude save, modified by the cumulative ratings of all prior spirits.

For example if he starts by petitioning a spirit rated at 5, his next save is at difficulty 15. If he makes that and the spirit he petitioned was rated 3, his next roll to petition a spirit would be difficulty 18, and so forth. If a roll is failed, no further spirits may be petitioned.


If you were going to make it a Diplomacy check (and make diplomacy a class skill for them) by what factor would you raise the base to determine the DC.

OR

Would a CHA-based Will save represent that better?
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el-remmen

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D20 Shaman Homebrew
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2006, 04:41:17 PM »
Also, what would be the best way to come up with a guideline by class level of how many levels of spells you should aim for to be "average" (i.e. have a good chance of succeeding).

I'm just afraid that the learning curve of balancing it mathwise might be too much for some players.

It seems to me it would make sense to start with higher ranked spirits and then petition decreasingly ranked ones until you are done.
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"Just because you're buff, don't play tough, 'cause I'll reverse the Earth and turn your flesh back to dust. . ."