The secrets of the spirit world unveiled for the first time!
There is a world unseen by mortals, a world filled with invisible beings that whisper words unheard by all—all but the shaman. The shaman alone knows how to listen for the spirits, and the shaman alone knows their secrets.
This 96-page AD&D game accessory introduces three new priest classes with unique powers and exciting potential. More subtle and versatile than clerics and wizards, shamans tap the energies of the mysterious spirit world, using their extraordinary abilities to further their personal goals, as well as the agendas of their unseen spirit patrons. Shaman offers complete information on these new classes, tips for incorporating them into established campaigns, new skills, new spells, and a detailed look at the unseen world of spirits.
Shaman, by Kevin Hassall, was a book about spellcasters who interact with the spirit world. It was published in December 1995.
Another Role Aids Refugeee. Shaman is a close match to its predecessor Chronomancer (1995). As is detailed in Chronomancer's history, both books were originally intended for publication by Mayfair Games as part of the Role Aids line. However, following a lawsuit by TSR, Mayfair sold their Role Aids line to TSR, which included the unpublished books Chronomancer and Shaman. Some rumors suggest that there may have been more, but if so TSR never developed them; Shaman was the second and last Role Aids refugee.
About Schools of Magic. Like its predecessor, Shaman is a book about a particular school of magic; they might have been intended to expand upon Mayfair's Archmagic (1993) box.
At TSR, Shaman was one of several new schools of magic published during the 2e era. The biggest releases were the two Mayfair books and DMGR7: The Complete Book of Necromancers (1995), all published over the course of the same year.
A History of Shamans. In D&D's earliest days, shamans were too far apart from the western European tradition that underlay the game to get any attention. Thus, it fell to other publishers to offer the first adaptations of shamans and spirits for the roleplaying world. Phoenix Games published The Book of Shamans (1978) very early on, introducing American Indian shamans to the D&D game. Meanwhile RuneQuest (1978) made shamanism and spirits important to the game from the very start.
TSR began to talk about shamans in the late 80s. R.A. Salvatore includes a shaman of the Uthgardt tribe in his novel Streams of Silver (1988). More notably, humanoid shamans for AD&D appeared in Dragon #141 (January 1989). Basic D&D got complete shaman rules in GAZ12: The Golden Khan of Ethengar (1989); of course, it makes sense that full shaman rules showed up in Basic D&D first because Mystara was then expanding to include cultures other than the traditional western culture of AD&D.
Shamans proliferated in second edition AD&D. Complete classes appeared in PHBR14: The Complete Barbarian's Handbook (1995), Faiths and Avatars (1996), and Player's Option: Spells & Magic (1996), although none of those rulesets were as extensive as those in Shaman. Shaman kits appeared in PHBR10: The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993) and Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales (1994). These titles brought the official shaman count in 2e to six (!), not even including the sha'ir of Al-Qadim, another class that interacts with spirits.
Shamans have received even more attention in more recent editions of the game, showing its growth from its roots in western European history and mythology. An Asian-influenced shaman appeared in Oriental Adventures (2001) for 3e; he was followed by a dragon shaman and a totemist. Meanwhile third-party d20 publishers put out books like The Shaman's Handbook (2002), from Green Ronin Publishing, and Shamans: The Call of the Wild (2002), from Mongoose Publishing.
However, D&D shamans really hit the big time in 4e, when they appeared as a core class in Player's Handbook 2 (2009).
Expanding the Outer Planes. Shaman includes a spirit world, but places it in a rather unique place within the multiverse that's largely inaccessible. The specific secrets of this spirit world are a bit of a spoiler, so they're left to the book itself.
Monsters of Note. Shaman includes a plethora of spirit creatures for use with AD&D.
About the Creators. Hassall wrote mainly for White Wolf's Ars Magica and Mayfair Games' Role Aids line. Shaman was his last major work in the roleplaying industry.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.