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Shaman Archetype

Magic is who we are.

A shaman understands magic as an expression of the spiritual world.

Game Play

Make sure you cast your armor and combat sense spells! You have sustaining foci that have been bonded to support those spells. Any sustained spells that aren't supported by your sustaining foci will cause penalties to any actions you take.

Stunbolt is your standard attack spell, but only works against living opponents. If you have 12 total dice to resist drain (set your spell pool to 5 drain, plus your 7 willpower), you have a 96% chance to take no damage from spell drain when casting stunbolt at force 6 and deadly damage level.

Your Levitation spell lets you auto-succeed at any climbing or swimming test.

Improved Invisibility can be seen through by ultrasound, which many corporate guards will have. Magically active types can always see you with astral perception. Any guard that spots somebody using invisibility will assume that they are up to no good and react appropriately.

The Stealth spell will block ultrasound (thus, pairs well with Improved Invisibility), and can also be used to hide the sound of your shotgun.

Your shotgun provides you with a ranged option, and can be used against opposing spellcasters while your own spell pool is fully allocated to spell defense. It can also be used to destroy locked doors.

NOTE: you can TOGGLE PASSIVE to avoid automatically drawing and attacking after casting a spell, but note that this also prevents you from initiating combat with commands like KILL until you toggle it again. You can also TOGGLE AUTOKILL, so that you don't auto-attack enemies that you've successfully knocked unconscious with stunbolt, though you will still draw your weapon (assuming you have a readied sheath/holster).

Key Features

Sorcery is by far the most flexible skill in Shadowrun. While many spells are NERP, sorcery can be used to attack enemies, to buff yourself (and allies), and to otherwise adjust non-technological TNs to your benefit. Shamans are the strongest spellcasters in the game, as they get bonus dice to spellcasting in certain categories (depending on their totem) and are able to design, learn, and cast spells up to force 12. However, unlike a hermetic mage, a shaman is limited to one spirit at a time, and their spirits do not have the extremely powerful ability to sustain spells like the hermetic mage's elementals.

In direct comparison with the pre-generated street mage, this archetype starts with 2 more casting dice for combat/detection spells and one more willpower for drain resistance, but has one less spell pool die and does not have a trauma damper to directly offset drain.

The bayonet on the shaman's shotgun allows it to be used as a polearm with reach 2, providing superior defense against melee opponents while spellcasting, shooting, and/or giving orders to your spirit.


Initiations to increase your magic rating are expensive, so one of your early priorities should be to look for an instructor to raise your negotiation skill. Your charisma affects both the karma cost to increase your negotiation skill (as well as etiquettes) and also your ability to resist spirit summoning drain, so raising your charisma may be a higher priority.

Buff spells, and the sustaining foci to sustain them without penalties, are significant boosts to a shaman's effectiveness. In particular, an increase willpower spell directly adds to drain resistance dice, and so allows some spell pool dice to be re-allocated to casting for greater spellcasting success. In addition, buffs like increase body and increase quickness are how a shaman keeps up with street samurai in survivability. Note that most sustaining foci are force 3 or less, with only a couple force 4 foci available in awkward wear locations, so it's not necessary to learn these spells at greater force. Special mention to Increase Reflexes +3, which works just fine at force 1.

Your magic rating has a significant effect on the difficulty of designing higher force spells, so consider carefully whether cyberware/bioware implants are worth the loss of magic. In addition, your essence impacts the effectiveness of casting your heal spell on yourself, so bioware will tend to be more favorable than cyberware.

Look for power, spell category, and specific spell foci to amplify your spellcasting strengths. If you choose against cyberware/bioware, look for more sustaining foci so that you can use more buffs to make up for it.


The pre-built archetypes were designed using the standard custom character creation rules, with the intent of providing generalist builds that are fully functional immediately out of character generation. There is a trade off in that such builds are less efficient in the use of their chargen points and resources. For this reason, as well as to improve the new player experience, they have been permitted up to 20k additional nuyen in their build, plus a free electronics kit, pocket secretary, phone, subsidy card, ammunition, and 2 points of brawling skill (not listed below). The street mage and shaman also have their foci already bonded.

The Shaman archetype was built using the priority system:

A magic (shaman)
B attributes (27)
C resources (90k nuyen)
D metatype (Dwarf)
E skills (27)


  +2 dice to combat spells
  +2 dice to detection spells
  +2 dice to forest spirits


Body          5
Quickness     6
Strength      3
Charisma      5
Intelligence  5
Willpower     7


Pole Arms         3
Shotguns          5
Negotiation       3
Conjuring         6
Sorcery           6
Street Etiquette  3
Driving Trucks    1


Stunbolt              6
Heal                  5
Improved Invisibility 6
Stealth               1
Levitate              1
Armor                 3
Combat Sense          3


About:      a black trench coat (4b/2i)
Body:       an armor vest (2b/1i)
Underneath: form-fitting body armor III (4b/1i)
Arms:       a pair of forearm guards (+0b/+1i)
Under Arm:  a leather rifle strap
Wrist       an orichalcum bracelet (r3 sustaining focus, armor)
Wrist       an orichalcum bracelet (r3 sustaining focus, combat sense)
Waist       a black leather duty belt
Legs        a pair of black BDU pants
Ankle       an ash leaf anklet (r1 sustaining focus, stealth)
Feet        a pair of black combat boots


a Remington 990 (shotgun)
  top: a top-mounted laser sight
  underside: a bayonet


a DocWagon basic modulator
shamanarch.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/21 15:57 by