Shamans and Witch Doctors

Amongst the clergy in the priesthoods of most of the goblinoid pantheons are both shamans and witch doctors. There are a number of different versions of shamans available to players and DMs to use; the most prominent being the Shaman kit for clerics in the Complete Book of Humanoids and the Shaman class in Player’s Option: Spells & Magic/Faiths & Avatars. However, the only option for Witch Doctors is the kit in the Complete Book of Humanoids. One thing I’m going to do is create a class, similar to the S&M/F&A shaman class, as another option. Basically, this would be used in games that prefer the more detailed and powerful shaman to the earlier kit. Purely optional, of course, so DMs can allow either one, or both (perhaps as a greater/lesser witch doctor or something, so some faiths or tribes would have one or the other).

I haven’t worked out the details, but I’m thinking that the witch doctors would have most of the details of the Shaman, but with wizard spell access instead of spirit access. Alternately, I may allow SOME spirit access as well as wizard spell access, as witch doctors are supposed to be pretty similar to shamans. I’m interested in hearing what other people think.

5 Responses to Shamans and Witch Doctors

  1. This is a great site with a lot of great stuff, and thanks for sharing!

    I have an old Gamescience book called The Fantasy Gamer’s Compendium which has write-ups for Shamen and witchdoctors. I also have a book called The Compleat Spellcaster which has the same. I never found either too appropriate for my games, but then I never had anyone who wanted to play either class/kit.

    I’ve no way to PDF them or anything, but you are welcome to contact me and we can Skype/AIM/whatever if you’d like to check them out.


  2. Barastir says:

    Have you ever developed this class? This would be a nice NPC option, which would give my players some trouble… ;)

    • AuldDragon says:

      I have a draft of it, based on the description in The North boxed set from the Forgotten Realms. It’s pretty simple and I haven’t really thought it out entirely. The North basically makes it out to be a Spells & Magic Shaman with access to one school of wizardly magic, gaining it at half the rate of a normal wizard.

      • Barastir says:

        What about a list of non-human powers that have witch doctors, and the wizard school they access?

        • AuldDragon says:

          I think my 2nd Edition race spreadsheet lists those who can be witch doctors based on PHBR10, DMGR4, and the Monstrous Compendium entries. I haven’t gotten around to doing much with customizing shamans and witch doctors for the various deities, although some should be pretty obvious/easy (Yurtrus gaining access to Necromancy, Maglubiyet gaining access to elemental fire, etc.).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *