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    Default Dragn Shaman Totems

    I'm looking at what totem to take and I got a little curious about the possibility of converting a Dragon Turtle into one. To my surprise, when comparing the statistics of a Gold Dragon Totem to the MM Gold Dragon entry, they don't have Heal listed anywhere in their skill section, yet the Totem has it listed! Furthermore, their Diplomacy is a +30 while their bluff is a mere +13, yet the totem has Bluff and Diplomacy is no where to be found.


    So what I'm wondering is: Who the frakking blazes worked on Dragon Shaman Totems so I can slap 'em with the fail stick??

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Dragon Shaman in general is kind of fail.
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Dragon Shaman in general is kind of fail.
    This is not true at all. Dragon Shamans are amazing for people who want to contribute with as little input as possible.

    Player: 'Fire auras on. I'm taking a nap so my character just takes total defence.'
    DM: 'Ok, enemies burn when they attack and you stand around doing nothing. Got it.'
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    The Gold Dragon totem is the worst of all the totems, with no clear role and rather bad abilities and fire breath of all things. The others are a little better.

    True enough though, the Dragon Shaman is on the weak side. But it can function well enough in a group that isn't mostly high-op or with mid-op T1/T2 casters.
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by the Blue Morpho View Post
    I'm looking at what totem to take and I got a little curious about the possibility of converting a Dragon Turtle into one. To my surprise, when comparing the statistics of a Gold Dragon Totem to the MM Gold Dragon entry, they don't have Heal listed anywhere in their skill section, yet the Totem has it listed! Furthermore, their Diplomacy is a +30 while their bluff is a mere +13, yet the totem has Bluff and Diplomacy is no where to be found.


    So what I'm wondering is: Who the frakking blazes worked on Dragon Shaman Totems so I can slap 'em with the fail stick??
    What are you talking about? At the bottom of their entry, there's this gem;

    Quote Originally Posted by d20 SRD
    Skills

    Disguise, Heal, and Swim are considered class skills for gold dragons.
    I actually quite like the Dragon Shaman for his intended role - party support. On of my favorite characters evre was my gestalt Dragon Shaman//Bard.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Sadly, the Dragon Shaman isn't as OP as the Dragonfire Adept that has just a tad bit more of a 'dragon' feel then the Shaman. Its probably because of this that there are several fixes/edits to that particular class, almost as many as Paladins and Monks.

    Doesn't list Dragon Turtles, but here is a list of alternate totems I like to look at assuming that the Dm allows it. Personal favorite is the Shadow dragon for a very sneaky DS, granted its breath weapon isn't very effective against undead always enjoy it.
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    The Gold Dragon totem is the worst of all the totems, with no clear role and rather bad abilities and fire breath of all things. The others are a little better.

    True enough though, the Dragon Shaman is on the weak side. But it can function well enough in a group that isn't mostly high-op or with mid-op T1/T2 casters.
    Well, it can tag along and be of minor use for sure, but from what I've seen in games with the class, it doesn't quite pull its weight even among a party of T4s. It's just a healer class that offers some mild extra support. 'Mild' describes every effect of the DS on a battle, by the way.
    • Chameleon Base Class [3.5]/[PF]: A versatile, morphic class that mimics one basic party role (warrior, caster, sneak, etc) at a time. If you find yourself getting bored of any class you play too long, the Chameleon is for you!
    • Warlock Power Sources [3.5]: Making Hellfire Warlock part of the base class and providing other similar options for Warlocks whose powers don't come from devils.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    The only OP totem I've seen is the Shadow Dragon one, but thats non-standard.
    You can turn some of them into a Tracker or use Intimidate, but there are far better ways of doing this.
    A one level dip has some merit, but its hard to justify going further.
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    I actually quite like the Dragon Shaman for his intended role - party support. On of my favorite characters evre was my gestalt Dragon Shaman//Bard.
    +1. Though I actually played a Dragon Shaman // Crusader, which makes for an awesome support tank/mini-healer.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    I don't know why I thought it was good at the time, but while using a Dragon Shaman fix that gave them Full BaB, slightly better auras/healing capabilities, and natural weapons I enjoyed playing Dragon Shaman//Dragonfire Adept. The real dragon player >:D
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    The only OP totem I've seen is the Shadow Dragon one, but thats non-standard.
    You can turn some of them into a Tracker or use Intimidate, but there are far better ways of doing this.
    A one level dip has some merit, but its hard to justify going further.
    There is a Shadow Dragon totem?

    Where can these non-standard totems be found?
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    There is a Shadow Dragon totem?

    Where can these non-standard totems be found?
    Dragon Magazine 191 in this case. See Igneel's list (though I have come across this else where).
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    I personally love Dragon Shamans. They're weaker than a lot of classes, yeah, but still a lot of fun with lots of potential. A lo of people compare it to Dragonfire Adept to point out how weak it is, but that's... flawed. It would be like comparing Bard to Warlock or Sorcerer because their all arcane and saying Bard can't blast. Just because both classes are dragon-based and have breath weapons doesn't mean they should be judged the same. Dragon Shamans are actually a really fun, balanced, slightly underpowered support class that has delusions of tank.

    Dragon Shaman is a largely support role, much like a bard. It gets auras, a heal mechanic that can remove status effects, and a few perks like a variable skill list with free Skill Focuses. It has a good hit die, two good saves, and has only one or two necessary stats (Con and Cha). They get a breath weapon and other non-attack-roll options for combat, meaning they can largely ignore their medium BAB. They get a super-power like waterbreathing or spider climb dependent on their totem which they can eventually share with teammates.
    Does that mean it's a very powerful class? No. It gets wings at level 19. That's enough reason to question its power. It also only has medium armor and simple weapon proficiency when the book itself says it's meant to be a 'melee combatant' class. Its auras are decent as is, but really would need to scale better or be based of Cha to be really good. It has 3 variable class skills based on your totem, yet it only has 2+int points per level and no Int synergy.

    I'm running a campaign right now and have both a Dragon Shaman and a Dragonfire Adept playing. The Dragon Shaman dipped two levels of Paladin (giving full armor, martial proficiency, strong BAB, Detect Good, Smite 1/day, Lay on Hands, and Divine Grace), and he largely plays as a support role, buffing teammates and tripping enemies before using his breath weapon. The Dragonfire Adept plays as a debuffer (Entangling Exhalation Slow Breath) and blaster.

    Granted, this still leaves a big power difference. Dragon Shaman is probably hovering somewhere in Tier 4 territory, while Dragonfire Adept is between 3 and high 4 in my opinion. I told the Dragon Shaman to gain wings that progress like a Dragonborn's, using his DS class level instead of his hit die, and to increase the natural armor bonus by 1. I considered upping his skill points to 4+int, but we already have one and a half skill monkeys in the party.

    Dragon Shaman has flaws to be sure, but it's a solid tier 4 support. It works really well with a little cross-classing / dipping, and it lends extremely well to tiny homebrew tweaks.
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidghoul View Post
    ... a variable skill list ...
    I hope you are using the term variable loosely. Unless you're in a campaign that allows the homebrewed Dragon Totems you're practically forced to take Bluff as a class skill or have one or two meh skills that have nothing to do with what the class is about.

    I get the skills from the totems have something to do with those Dragons always having them as class skills, but using that makes no sense for class design, especially given the flavor of the class is about emulating a dragon-- which means seen behavior, not mysterious intrinsic traits. A gold is *known* to be friendly, perceptive, and a healer-- not liars.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidghoul View Post
    ... it [Dragon Shaman] lends extremely well to tiny homebrew tweaks.
    I agree. I like making Marshal Major Auras available and allowing the Shamanic Invocation variant to be taken multiple times (only for auras obtained after 5th level of course).

    I also toyed with a homebrew variant to replace commune with dragon spirit with choosing one of any, but the highest tier, of Dragonfire Adept breath effects.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    some classes are better suited for flavor then for power play. I think a Dragon Shaman is one of those classes.

    Currently I'm playing one (brass totem) with a dip in barb and sorc, aiming for Dragon Disciple (IIRC, the prestige class in DMG 3.5) and having a ton of fun of playing.

    For those interested: the Dragon Shaman Handbook

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    I guess the only way Im getting Diplomacy as a class skill without going for a ****ty breath weapon is via a Factotum dip combined with Able Learner.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by the Blue Morpho View Post
    I guess the only way Im getting Diplomacy as a class skill without going for a ****ty breath weapon is via a Factotum dip combined with Able Learner.
    The List has you covered. Martial Study (White Raven) is your best choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Frankly, a Wizard can suck even more than a Fighter could ever dream of sucking. A Fighter can stab himself to death, but only a Wizard could Plane Shift to some horrible far realm to be tortured for an eternity of insanity.


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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    ..Martial Study (White Raven) is your best choice.
    It is the best choice. Unless your DM hisses at the ToB like a vampire to a crucifix.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    I played a refluffed white dragon shaman (gm let me trade icewalking for waterbreathing) in a fairly low op group, and had a good time with it, but I didn't contribute much but tracking, healing and sarcasm. Hiding behind the monk with my longspear worked out pretty well. Most of what I did could be replicated self resetting trap of lesser vigor and a blood hound, but hey we all have our problems. I ended up dying by attacking what was supposed to be a background fight between a demon and an angel (I attacked the demon, chaotic evil alignment not withstanding).
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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidghoul View Post
    *snip*
    This is why I just compare dragon shamans to silverbrow bards with Drgonfire Inspiration, maybe dragonborn on top for extra dragon abilities.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    snipI actually quite like the Dragon Shaman for his intended role - party support. On of my favorite characters evre was my gestalt Dragon Shaman//Bard.
    me too, i played an exalted bard//marshall 1/dragons shaman, with healing hymn acf, SotH acf, WoC etc.

    nedless to say it was party support galore

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    I completely and massively love the Dragon Shaman on a conceptual level, but I did find them a bit weak mechanics-wise. In particular, Dragon Shaman Level 2 seems to be the most boring class level in the entire game; you don't gain anything but a Skill Focus. I also got annoyed when I originally concepted my Dragon Shaman around the idea of her healing abilities, then looked again and noticed that Touch of Vitality doesn't come online until level 6. (With this particular character I decided it was okay; she's a bit not right in the head, so I just said that she thinks she can heal people with a touch and it isn't actually true just yet.)

    I definitely agree that Gold Dragon shamans should get Diplomacy and not Bluff; they may have avoided this out of fear that it would make the character too similar to a Paladin (even though for Gold Dragons that's 100% appropriate). And them having fire breath is correct, since the gold dragon is able to breathe fire, even if it's not as much inclined to as an Evil dragon would be.

    Personally I would veto a dragon turtle totem, since they aren't True Dragons. The difference is massive: True Dragons are the only creatures in the game which grow more powerful over time without having to earn XP, which is exactly why the dragon shaman fluff says that they're obsessed with power as an end unto itself - power is literally what being a true dragon is. Making the class a bit weak may have been intentional, as it means they have to concentrate on earning power through other ways (wealth, statecraft, guile, intimidation, treachery), making them into classic megalomaniacal arch-villain (or Well-Intentioned Extremist) material. The shaman himself might not be very powerful, but if he raises a massive army and stands within aura range of them at all times, using extremely intelligent tactics to compensate for the limits of his build - that's what I imagine them being like. If they were already as mechanically powerful as a dragon, they'd have nothing to aspire to, and an ambitious, scheming attitude is a big part of their appeal flavorwise.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    I completely and massively love the Dragon Shaman on a conceptual level, but I did find them a bit weak mechanics-wise. In particular, Dragon Shaman Level 2 seems to be the most boring class level in the entire game; you don't gain anything but a Skill Focus. I also got annoyed when I originally concepted my Dragon Shaman around the idea of her healing abilities, then looked again and noticed that Touch of Vitality doesn't come online until level 6. (With this particular character I decided it was okay; she's a bit not right in the head, so I just said that she thinks she can heal people with a touch and it isn't actually true just yet.)

    I definitely agree that Gold Dragon shamans should get Diplomacy and not Bluff; they may have avoided this out of fear that it would make the character too similar to a Paladin (even though for Gold Dragons that's 100% appropriate). And them having fire breath is correct, since the gold dragon is able to breathe fire, even if it's not as much inclined to as an Evil dragon would be.

    Personally I would veto a dragon turtle totem, since they aren't True Dragons. The difference is massive: True Dragons are the only creatures in the game which grow more powerful over time without having to earn XP, which is exactly why the dragon shaman fluff says that they're obsessed with power as an end unto itself - power is literally what being a true dragon is. Making the class a bit weak may have been intentional, as it means they have to concentrate on earning power through other ways (wealth, statecraft, guile, intimidation, treachery), making them into classic megalomaniacal arch-villain (or Well-Intentioned Extremist) material. The shaman himself might not be very powerful, but if he raises a massive army and stands within aura range of them at all times, using extremely intelligent tactics to compensate for the limits of his build - that's what I imagine them being like. If they were already as mechanically powerful as a dragon, they'd have nothing to aspire to, and an ambitious, scheming attitude is a big part of their appeal flavorwise.

    Where I agree with your overall point, I have to respectfully disagree with the idea that Dragon Shaman are power hungry schemers. Their alignment is left open because they, like other classes that are allowed any alignment, have a multitude of reasons for adventuring or training in the DS way. Could be inborn talent. Could be A respect for the totem dragon or servitude. Could be Whatever the DM and Player decide.

    Not all Dragons are about their horde of GP and not all Dragon Shaman are about circumventing natural limitation.

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    Default Re: Dragn Shaman Totems

    I may be misremembering the fluff, but I recall it being fairly strong on this point. Even Good DSes are likely to be megalomaniacal and overconfident; they cling to principles which say some possible paths to power aren't worth the price, but that's only likely to make them work even harder within these self-imposed limitations to maximize their potential. They simply believe that winning friends and public confidence by displaying nobility is a more efficient way to dominate their personal reality than being feared and hated. Machiavelli spoke extensively on the usefulness of both pleasant tactics and underhanded ones, you may recall; power isn't inherently evil, it's what you do to get it, keep it, and use it which determines your Alignment, and it's very possible to be utterly draconian (pun intended) while still fulfilling all the stipulations of a Good alignment in both letter and spirit - you choose acceptible targets for destructive displays, then parlay them into actions which benefit the people you consider worthy of protection, and work to build up that community to be the most vital and prosperous, not by crushing all potential rivals but simply by out-competing them, without having to resort to nasty tactics. A lot of the classic Evil tricks are rather self-destructive, after all; Good is largely about having the confidence to trust in yourself and others, rather than feeling that others are as untrustworthy as yourself.

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