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Aidyn Newman
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Hello again!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I was away at Gen Con in Indianapolis, and was very busy when I got back. Now that I have some free time on my hands again, it's custom class time.

In case you haven't noticed my previous threads, I am in the process of making a custom campaign for Descent 2nd edition, complete with four new classes. Here's my third class. You can find my previous two classes, the Shadowdancer and the Illusionist, by clicking on the links in my profile.

My Healer class is the Shaman. Like the Spiritspeaker, the Shaman uses spirits to support his or her allies, and is split pretty evenly between healing and offense. Unlike the Spiritspeaker, however, the Shaman does this through the use of Totems. Totems give the Shaman a great amount of power, but only within a limited range. With superior zone control, the Shaman can effectively lock down areas of the battlefield and exert his influence over them.



The Illusionist's main ability is Totem Spirit, which allows the Shaman to create a totem, represented by a hero token. These totems have a number of simple rules not listed on the Totem Spirit card (for the sake of saving space).

Totems do not block line or sight or movement, and a totem may occupy the same space as a monster or a hero. Totems have a base range of two - anytime a Shaman card refers to your "totem's range", count the number of spaces from the space the totem occupies to determine whether the monster or hero is within range of the Shaman's totem. At first, the Shaman may only have one totem active. The Shaman may destroy a totem during her turn for any reason (such as to place a new one). Totems cannot move, nor can they be forced to move by any means. Totems may be attacked and are destroyed and removed from the board if they receive any amount of damage.

Totems do very little at first, providing all heroes within its range a simple +1 to their defense. However, nearly all of the Shaman's other abilities only function within range of their totems, so Shamans must be careful to place their Totems in the best available location. Since summoning a totem requires an action, Shamans should try to re-summon their totem as infrequently as possible, instead relying on good totem placement to always be useful.



(Artwork pending)

The Shaman's starting equipment is his or her ancestor's cudgel, a simple club with limited utility. The Shaman also starts with a Fetish that increases his damage dealing capabilities anytime he attacks a monster within range of his totems. Together, this makes the Shaman an average damage dealer, but also allows the Shaman to use almost any item he or she wants and still be capable.





Almost of the Shaman's skills require the presence of a nearby totem to work. Much like the Disciple's Prayer of Healing, Spirit's Caress heals an ally. While Spirit's Caress have much better range than the Disciple's healing, it requires a nearby totem, limited the Shaman's healing capability when a totem is not nearby. Font of Energy eschews healing in favor of recovering an ally's fatigue. Finally, Totem's Wrath is similar to the Spiritspeaker's Shared Pain, only it affects all monsters within range of your totems, rather than all monsters in the same group.





The Shaman may also take skills that make her totems stronger and more useful, by increasing their range with Guidance, their resilience with Ancient Power, or the Shaman's ability to place them effectively with Ancestral Will. Some of these skills also allow the Shaman to place additional totems by spending extra fatigue.




The Shaman can also use Totem's Call to teleport to one of her totems, destroying it in the process. Finally, by calling on all of her ancestor's powers, the Shaman can use Stormdance to deal damage to all monsters within her totem's range, and heal all allies within her totem's range. This ultimate move is difficult to set up, but very powerful when pulled off correctly.

Let me know what you guys think! I've only done some preliminary playtesting with this class, but as per usual I tried to play it on the safe side. As the Overlord, try to draw heroes and monsters away from the Shaman's totems, as she increases in power significantly when they're nearby. Don't be afraid to use weaker monsters to destroy a totem, as it may disrupt the Shaman's plans entirely.

I may eventually add some new items to the shop deck that are Shaman-oriented, like I did with the Shadowdancer.
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R N
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It seems like you should make a familiar card for the totems to help keep track of its special rules.
The totem should start with 1HP rather than having a special rule about attacking them.
Do multiple totems stack their bonuses?
Is it intended that the defense bonus can be defeated by pierce?

I'm not sure that I like having to use an action to place a totem, many times the heroes will move out of range of the totem on the next turn so you may get very limited use out of them.

Font of Energy
This one seems terrible because it costs 1 fatigue to maybe remove up to 2 fatigue from another hero. 25% of the time you've just wasted fatigue for nothing, 75% of the time you've just transfered one fatigue from your target to yourself, 25% of the time you have a net gain. I would never take this skill.

Totem's Call
There are currently no rules for dropping items, I would consider removing that part of the ability.

Overall I like the idea a lot!
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Scott Yost
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Powers are cool. Definitely get the 4e flavor and I like the concept of area control in the game. A little worried that this class is very vulnerable to encounter design - in a race it seems like you'd have even more trouble than the necromancer does. They would struggle in any map where the players need to be on the move, and that seems to be the common encounter design.

I would clarify that stormdance is checked per-target, not per-totem+per-target. (meaning you don't triple strike an enemy that is within range of all totems)
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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It's too bad there are no good Print-on-demand services for these sized cards!

-shnar
 
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Aidyn Newman
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Good questions! I'm happy to answer them. laugh

slacks wrote:
It seems like you should make a familiar card for the totems to help keep track of its special rules.


I thought about it, but I think the rules are simple enough that it shouldn't be much of an issue. I also don't want people thinking Totems *are* familiars and can be activated in the same way, because they're not, and they can't.

slacks wrote:
The totem should start with 1HP rather than having a special rule about attacking them.


Yeah, probably.

slacks wrote:
Do multiple totems stack their bonuses?


No, if you have 2+ totems that overlap, their bonuses do not stack.

slacks wrote:
Is it intended that the defense bonus can be defeated by pierce?


Yep!

slacks wrote:
I'm not sure that I like having to use an action to place a totem, many times the heroes will move out of range of the totem on the next turn so you may get very limited use out of them.


That's one of the issues Shamans have to manage. Totems can be incredibly powerful when used correctly. They can provide more encompassing defense than Stoneskin, they can heal at a much better range than Prayer of Healing, etc. However, they become useless if they're not placed in the right spot. Good Shamans will learn to communicate well with their allies to find the best spot to place their totems. It does become easier as they level up and get access to more totems or more range.

slacks wrote:
Font of Energy
This one seems terrible because it costs 1 fatigue to maybe remove up to 2 fatigue from another hero. 25% of the time you've just wasted fatigue for nothing, 75% of the time you've just transfered one fatigue from your target to yourself, 25% of the time you have a net gain. I would never take this skill.


Interestingly, this is one of the skills I was worried about being too powerful. Often as a hero I find that the party has one or two players who are fully fatigued very often and need their fatigue much more than other players. This ability allows the Shaman to heal fatigue when people really need it. If a lot of people agree with you I may look into it some more and change it, but I'm not sure. (By the way, your formula adds up to 125% cool)

slacks wrote:
Totem's Call
There are currently no rules for dropping items, I would consider removing that part of the ability.


Not dropping items, but dropping objectives, and actually, the wording is taken directly from the Heroic Feat of Master Thorin, whose ability allows him to teleport anywhere in his line of sight. The reason why you have to keep this wording is to prevent the Shaman from completely breaking certain scenarios. Consider a scenario where the heroes have to escape with a specific objective. The Shaman could place his totem at the entrance, get the object, then simply teleport across the map and saunter away. Master Thorin has this wording for the same reason.

Yostage wrote:
Powers are cool. Definitely get the 4e flavor and I like the concept of area control in the game. A little worried that this class is very vulnerable to encounter design - in a race it seems like you'd have even more trouble than the necromancer does. They would struggle in any map where the players need to be on the move, and that seems to be the common encounter design.

I would clarify that stormdance is checked per-target, not per-totem+per-target. (meaning you don't triple strike an enemy that is within range of all totems)


Thanks! Yeah, the 4E influence is definitely there. I agree that the Shaman is somewhat vulnerable to encounter design, in that they will be much better at hold-your-ground kind of encounters. They do have a few powers that are useful in race-style scenarios, however, such as Totem's Call and Ancestral Will.

You're right about the clarification on totem range. Totems' effects never stack, and the same goes for the damage from Stormdance and Totem's Wrath.

shnar wrote:
It's too bad there are no good Print-on-demand services for these sized cards!


Agreed! Trust me, I've looked into it. surprise
 
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(Chuck Singer)
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I really like this class set. Here are some initial thoughts:

1) You really move around a lot and spending an action to summon a totem really plays agains the class strengths. The Fatigue cost should be enough limit how often the totems are summoned. If all you do is move-summon every turn, then it just wouldn't be much fun.

2) I really thought there would be some skill that inflicted disease in some way, being Shaman and all.

3) Font of Energy, I think, is really strong. A lot of times another Hero needing that one or two extra fatigue is the difference in a scenario. I would add that if you rolled no Fatigue, then you get your 1 Fatigue cost back.

4) Totem's Call would be really cool if you could have any Hero be summoned to the place of the Totem. As it stands, the Shaman has no way to support the Heroes by getting rid of conditions, but summoning an Immobolized hero into attack range would be a really nifty benefit.
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Aidyn Newman
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Thank you very much for your comments and insight!

Chuck Singer wrote:
1) You really move around a lot and spending an action to summon a totem really plays agains the class strengths. The Fatigue cost should be enough limit how often the totems are summoned. If all you do is move-summon every turn, then it just wouldn't be much fun.


I originally had it cost fatigue and not an action, but I found that Shamans were re-summoning their totems more often than I liked. My intention for the class was to give them very good zone control, but really force them to choose the best location for their totems. Making them cost an action really did this for me. I also think, if you take Totem Spirit by itself, that one fatigue for +1 defense to (most likely) the whole party is probably too powerful. I'd like more people to try the class out though, and if people agree with you, I might revert it back.

Chuck Singer wrote:
2) I really thought there would be some skill that inflicted disease in some way, being Shaman and all.


You know, I thought about adding Disease, but I actually withheld it because I plan on incorporating it into another Class concept I have.

Chuck Singer wrote:
3) Font of Energy, I think, is really strong. A lot of times another Hero needing that one or two extra fatigue is the difference in a scenario. I would add that if you rolled no Fatigue, then you get your 1 Fatigue cost back.


I also think it's quite strong, and I think the 2 experience makes up for its strength. I actually really like your amendment to it, though, and in fact I plan on adding that in via errata. Thanks!

Chuck Singer wrote:
4) Totem's Call would be really cool if you could have any Hero be summoned to the place of the Totem. As it stands, the Shaman has no way to support the Heroes by getting rid of conditions, but summoning an Immobolized hero into attack range would be a really nifty benefit.


Actually, you know, that's not a bad idea. Let's see what the general consensus is on the usefulness of Totem's Call, because that would be a nice way to make the skill more powerful without breaking it.
 
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Thanks for the quick reply.

Re:Font of Energy
My math was (obviously) wrong 25% of the time you get no surges, 50% of the time you get one and 25% of the time you get two. If you got your fatigue back when the ability doesn't work, then I think it would be a good choice. I might also consider using the ability if I could siphon other people's fatigue. Then the shaman could be a sort of fatigue middle man.

I haven't playtested this class, but generally I find that everyone uses up their fatigue to move around (at least) and resting is not a good option most of the time. I suppose the Shaman could rest and then use the ability as is to keep the other heroes from having to rest too...

Re: Totem's Call
I don't have the conversion kit, so I was not familiar with this wording. I read "objectives" as "objects," oops.

I think this card is strong as is since it lets the Shaman jump past blocking monsters (there is no LOS requirement on placing a totem). Once you get multiple totems you could drop one at the entrance in many encounters and force the OL to destroy it or give you a lot of cheap movement.

Teleporting others seems rather strong since you could use it to teleport heroes from anywhere to anywhere within 3 spaces of the Shaman for one action and 2 fatigue once per turn. The party could then split up and get insane amounts of movement for that without the OL having the chance to destroy the totem (which would normally put a limit on this skill's usefulness).

At the very least you'd have to limit the ability to somehow only work on other player controlled heroes (not NPC's).
 
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David Morgan
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Moving other heros could be a bad idea. In the "cardinals plight" Koth is said to count as hero so in theory once the door is open he could be teleported straight to a totem placed at the entrance saving around 4 turns of movement.
 
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Aidyn Newman
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DaveMorgan wrote:
Moving other heros could be a bad idea. In the "cardinals plight" Koth is said to count as hero so in theory once the door is open he could be teleported straight to a totem placed at the entrance saving around 4 turns of movement.


True story.
 
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Jeremy Bauerle
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I thank you for creating these classes, and I hope to playtest them soon (to offer helpful feedback), but I really don't like the class name 'Shaman' when 'Spiritspeaker' already exists. A shaman is a spiritspeaker, right?

I know this suggestion is a little trite, but it's what immediately hit me.

Maybe consider 'Totemic' as the class name (though that seems a little trite too).

Thanks
 
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Aidyn Newman
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jeremyedwardbauerle wrote:
I thank you for creating these classes, and I hope to playtest them soon (to offer helpful feedback), but I really don't like the class name 'Shaman' when 'Spiritspeaker' already exists. A shaman is a spiritspeaker, right?

I know this suggestion is a little trite, but it's what immediately hit me.

Maybe consider 'Totemic' as the class name (though that seems a little trite too).

Thanks


You know, I was actually really hesitant to make the class in the first place for this exact reason. I spent a fair amount of time thinking of variant themes for the class and looking at the thesaurus for a different name. But then I thought, "eh, who cares, as long as it's fun to play", and worked more on the mechanics of the class. The more I did that, the less I cared that the classes overlapped. laugh
 
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Triu Greykith
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jeremyedwardbauerle wrote:
I thank you for creating these classes, and I hope to playtest them soon (to offer helpful feedback), but I really don't like the class name 'Shaman' when 'Spiritspeaker' already exists. A shaman is a spiritspeaker, right?

I know this suggestion is a little trite, but it's what immediately hit me.

Maybe consider 'Totemic' as the class name (though that seems a little trite too).

Thanks

Totemic is an adjective, not a noun. Totemancer? Bannerman? Artificer? Tribalist? Pole dancer?

sauron

Synonyms: witch doctor, healer, soothsayer, medium, elder, druid, magician
 
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Jeremy Bauerle
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Triu wrote:

Totemic is an adjective, not a noun. Totemancer? Bannerman? Artificer? Tribalist? Pole dancer?

sauron

Synonyms: witch doctor, healer, soothsayer, medium, elder, druid, magician


Yeah... 'Totemic' is an adjective, but English is a pretty flexible language: We use nouns as adjectives and we use adjectives as nouns. However, if we need to slap a noun after it, how about 'Totemic Sage', 'Totemic Elder', or even 'Totemic Shaman'. Basically, I thought 'Totemic' was more direct and more evocative (though it's definitely less evocative than 'Pole Dancer').

Also, I think the only reason people associate totems with shamanism is because of World of Warcraft.

 
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Adny Riik
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totems wrath: if this attack delas at least 1 (wound), all enemies suffer 1 (wound) (unless it is not tied to the attack actualy dealing any damage, in which case the clause about attack damage is irelevant)
fetish deals the damage regardless of the attack success. if it has to add 1 (wound) to the attack, you need to word it like the thieve's throwing knives
stormdance is too overwpovered. consider break the rune costs 4 fatique, cannot be afected by blast and damages even heroes. Also, the healing by range can go up to 10, while all the healing skills are limited to max 3. (plus, it need a clause about rolling defense dice separatley)
 
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Aidyn Newman
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Adny wrote:
totems wrath: if this attack delas at least 1 (wound), all enemies suffer 1 (wound) (unless it is not tied to the attack actualy dealing any damage, in which case the clause about attack damage is irelevant)
fetish deals the damage regardless of the attack success. if it has to add 1 (wound) to the attack, you need to word it like the thieve's throwing knives
stormdance is too overwpovered. consider break the rune costs 4 fatique, cannot be afected by blast and damages even heroes. Also, the healing by range can go up to 10, while all the healing skills are limited to max 3. (plus, it need a clause about rolling defense dice separatley)


You're right about the wording for Totem's Wrath and Fetish, I'll go about changing those.

As for Stormdance, it's only particularly powerful if you can manage to set in up in such a way that it hits all of the monsters and heals all of the heroes. Getting this to work is actually a lot tougher than it sounds. This is why its abilities are so high. That being said, I agree that it might heal for a bit too much at the moment. I may consider changing its healing to 1/2 range. Thanks!
 
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Aidyn Newman
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Hey, everyone.

I've made a quick fix to Totem's Wrath and Fetish, as previously mentioned.





Please play with these versions from now on, instead.
 
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Hun
Malaysia
Petaling Jaya
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I'm always a fan of your classes. Any chance of seeing the images of the items for the shaman and reaver class? by the way, great classes and looking forward to seeing more from you.
 
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Morthai Saichor
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Vienna
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my projects: The Silken Threads Descent Campaign; Dawn of Civilization Mod
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I was looking for ideas for additions of a custom healer and mage for zerrian's vassal module and yours looked the most promising one, so i revisited your Skills, wordings and a bit of the balance factor, and here are my suggestions:









 
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