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Skip Navigation LinksContent>Magic>Magic Systems>Validus Familiaritas>Totemic Shamanism>Totemic Shaman
Totemic Shaman
Validus Familiaritas

Totemic Shamanism

Totemic Shamanism System Totemic Shaman Totemic Shamanism Variations
Totems & Gifts Totemic Shaman Package Deals  
Sample Totemic Shaman: Ul-Nar
Sample Totemic Shaman: Shal-Nam
Totemic Shaman (toe-TEM-ick SHAH-man), or more typically just Shaman, tend to be from more rustic lands where people are still in touch with the natural world. Many come from cultures considered "barbaric" by other civilizations, but some are from rich cultures that have a strong sense of spiritualism.
Regardless of their precise origin, Totemic Shaman are almost universally skilled survivors, and they can also be fearsome warriors, scouts, trackers, and spies. Their ways may seem savage, but they are effective nonetheless.
A player can expect their Totemic Shaman to start off strong, but their powerbase does not extend upwards, only outwards. They can get more abilities, but they are all of roughly the same strength. However, these abilities are extremely inexpensive cost wise and a Totemic Shaman can have a modest complement of Magical abilities and still have points for other capabilities.
Means to Power
Totemic Shaman believe that animal Totems have mystical properties and can be used to work Magic by those with the proper training or talent. By attuning themselves the Totemic Shaman gain archetypical abilities associated with various animal Totems. This is a form of Divine Nature Magic; it can be either inherent or learned as preferred by individual GM's.
Totemic Shaman work Magic via Totemic Gifts as described in the Totemic Shamanism System document.
Totemic Gifts and related powers such as Multiform to change into one or more of the animal types represented by their Totems, and Animal Companions are a Totemic Shaman's primary abilities, and the true determiner of how powerful and capable an individual Totemic Shaman is within the context of their Magic System.
However Totemic Shamanism mixes well with other Professional pursuits by design and individual Totemic Shaman are encouraged to take as many or as few Totem Familiarities as they prefer and can afford, unless a GM is placing some arbitrary minimum or maximum limits within their campaign.
What exactly indicates "Master" Totemic Shaman status might vary from setting to setting, or even from region to region within the same setting, and Totemic Shamanism is difficult to measure in terms of simple points to begin with.
However, as a rule of thumb a character that has a Totem Lore Skill of at least 15- and has spent at least 75 points on Totemic Shamanism (split in any fashion between Totem Familiarities, Animal Followers, Multiform, Totem Armor, and other Special Powers), and has at least one full Totem can be considered to be a "Master" Totemic Shaman.
By default Totemic Shaman may not have Endurance Reserves for use with their Totem Gift. Individual GM's might waive this restriction, but should note that the impact of Endurance costs for their abilities is intended to be the primary control factor of the Magic System; allowing Totemic Shaman to circumvent this check will result in the Magic System being significantly more powerful due to the frequency and volume of individual Power activations.
As noted in the Totemic Shamanism System, Totemic Shaman can wear cloth, leather, hide, and fur Armor by default and since their Magic System affords few opportunities for mystical protection most probably should wear some or have an alternative means of damage mitigation such as Combat Luck and / or high DCV, or taking advantage of the ability to make Totem Armor as discussed in the System document.
Many Totemic Shaman take the Mage Sight Talent as described in Fantasy HERO for 5th Edition at least at the five (5) point level, or some equivalent ability to make it easier for them to sense and interact with Magic. However this isn't required; it is simply a convenience.
Totemic Shaman may take Life Support (Longevity) at up to the ~200 year level, unless the GM prefers to disallow this.
Working with Magic marks Totemic Shaman in subtle ways, and they have a recognizable aura that is detectable by those with appropriate senses. Totemic Shaman should take the following Disadvantage.
DF: Totemic Shaman (Not Concealable; Always Noticed and Causes Major Reaction; Detectable Only By Unusual Senses; Not Distinctive In Some Cultures)
Disadvantage Value: -5 points
Learning Powers
To Learn a Totemic Gift, a Totemic Shaman must have a character point to spend on the familiarity for that Totemic Gift and must spend a number of hours equal to the Active Points of the Totemic Gift in fasting and uninterrupted meditation. At the end of this period of meditation, the Totemic Shaman makes a Totem Lore Skill Roll at a penalty of -1 penalty per 10 Active Points of the Totemic Gift in question, plus an additional -2 penalty if the Totemic Shaman does not already have a Totemic Gift from that same Totem.
If the Totem Lore Skill roll is successful, the Totemic Shaman may add that Totemic Gift to their character sheet; if it is failed they may not try to learn that Totemic Gift again until their Totem Lore Skill roll is at least one higher than it currently is.
To learn an Advanced Gift, the Shaman must already have the Basic version of the same Gift for the same Totem. Thus for a Totemic Shaman to learn Advanced Toughness from the Bear Totem, they must already have the Basic Toughness Gift from the Bear Totem.
A Totemic Shaman may take twice as long in meditation to learn a Gift, with each doubling of time resulting in a cumulative +1 bonus to the roll.
Creating New Powers
Totemic Shamanism is a closed system of Magic and practitioners lack the ability to create new Powers for no Disadvantage points.