The shugenja is an alternate class for the sorcerer with access to cleric and druid spells, combining the offense of an arcanist, the nature control of the druid, and the inspiration of cleric magic. With its complex way of learning spells and versatile spell list, the shugenja is a difficult class to play, requiring a great deal of system mastery.
This is a sorcerer archetype.
Hit Die: d6.
A class inspired by the mythologies of Asian cultures, the shugenja is a spellcaster who casts spells by attuning himself to the spirits and primal energies around him and focusing such energy through his body to produce magical effects. A development of animism, the shugenja combines animism, religion, philosophy, and arcana.
The shugenja is an educated class and begins in the oldest age bracket for starting age.
Religion: Shugenjas strive to encompass the entirety of spiritual understanding. They study the ways of the spirits, youkai, ancestors, philosophers, elements, and deities and incorporate all of this into their spiritual journey. Some shugenja serve a patron deity, but this is a minority, and the dedication to a patron is much less than that of a typical cleric; it is common for a shugenja to change patrons when changing temple or order.
Races: Most shugenja are human, they need a combination of open-mindedness and devotion not often found in non-human races. Halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs practice shugendo, but most other humanoids are too close to spirits themselves to make good shugenja.
Abilities: Charisma determines how powerful a spell a shugenja can cast, how many spells the shugenja can cast per day, and how hard those spells are to resist. Charisma is also helpful in securing the cooperation of youkai. A good Intelligence gives a shugenja helpful skills and improve lore and calligraphic abilities, but is not strictly necessary.
Shugenja have the following game statistics.
Hit Die: d6.
The shugenja’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
| Base Attack
|Special||Spells per Day||Spells Known|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Cantrips and orisons, ofudas, personal and youkai spells||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||4+4||2+2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
All of the following are class features of the shugenja.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shugenjas are proficient with all simple weapons and with the short sword (and wakizashi if using eastern weapons). They are not proficient with any type of armor or shields. Armor interferes with a shugenja's movements, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.
A shugenja casts arcane spells. They draw upon two distinct sources of power and have two different spell lists. They have personal spells drawn from the cleric spell list and spirit spells drawn from the druid or sorcerer/wizard spell lists. To learn or cast a spell, a shugenja must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a shugenja’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the shugenja’s Charisma modifier.
Shugenja meditate for their spells. A shugenja must be well rested (8 hours of rest) and spend 15 minutes in quiet contemplation to regain his daily allotment of spell slots. Like other spellcasters, a shugenja can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Shugenja. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level. Youkai spells and personal spells share a common pool of spell slots. The shugenja can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time.
Shugenjas do not have spellbooks, but they write their spells on ofudas. An ofuda is normally a strip of paper or cloth with calligraphic script on it, but in a pinch any readable script is acceptable, including hastily scratched coal marks on a wall, letters scratched in blood on the shugenja's own body, or glowing symbols in the air written using prestidigitation. A shugenja is normally assumed to have prepared ofudas for all his spells (at no cost) during the spell preparation process—creating one on the fly is a move action requiring Craft (Calligraphy) check with a DC of 10 + spell level.
Using an ofuda is a somatic component. An ofuda can substitute for a material component (as long as that component is free). Simply writing the name of the spell or of a material component on an ofuda allows the shugenja to substitute the ofuda for the actual material component.
Personal and Youkai Spells
Shugenja learn spells from their experiences in the world, but also from free or enshrined spirit creatures known as youkai. To reflect this, a shugenja has two sets of spells - one selection picked from the cleric spell list that is a result of his personal power, and another taken from the druid or sorcerer/wizard spell list reflecting power lent him by youkai. This is the meaning of the X+X notation in the Spells Known section of Table: Shugenja. These are called personal and youkai spells, respectively. Each pool of spells is potentially equally large, but while personal (cleric) spells are learned automatically, youkai spells have to be learned as a part of the shugenja's travels and adventures.
All spells on the cleric, druid, and sorcerer/wizard spell lists are considered to be on the shugenja's spell list. This is significant in regard to spell trigger and spell completion items and makes a huge selection of such items available to the shugenja.
A shugenja picks any personal (cleric) spells desired when advancing in level. At each new shugenja level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Shugenja. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a shugenja knows is not affected by his Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Shugenja are fixed.) It is common to pick generic cleric spells of high utility as personal spells, using youkai spells give the shugenja flair.
Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered shugenja level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a shugenja can choose to learn a new personal spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the shugenja loses the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell's level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. A shugenja may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.
Shugenja also posses the capacity to learn a number of youkai spells equal to the number of personal spells he knows. Youkai spells are picked form the druid or sorcerer/wizard spell lists, and acquiring them requires the cooperation of animals or supernatural creatures, as outlined below.
To learn a youkai (druid or sorcerer/wizard) spell, the shugenja must be in the presence of an unresisting creature of the appropriate type—this can be either a cooperative creature, one affected by binding, a summoned or called creature under friendly control, or one rendered unable to resist by other means such as by being unconscious or paralyzed or even a creature killed or destroyed within the last minute. The challenge rating of the creature must be twice as high as the level of spell to be learned. The creature intuitively understands what the shugenja is trying to do, and while spell learning has no immediate cost to the creature, most creatures do not lightly share their powers with a passing shugenja. The exception is that creatures with a subtype such as "[Water]") gladly teach spells of a matching subtype or descriptor—such as (Water) or (cold). These spells are often taught for free as a means of spreading the influence of the creature's power source in the world. Otherwise creatures will generally demand some test, trial, or price to help. Social skills can be a great asset in this; a creature that is made friendly will generally teach spells for only a nominal fee or service and a helpful one will teach spells for free. An creature of Intelligence 4 or less will teach spells to any shugenja who it allows to touch it or who it has been ordered to cooperate with. A summoned, helpless, or dead creature has no say in the matter.
|Youkai spells from creatures, by school or class
||Spell schools by creature type
The second column is the first column sorted by creature type - it contains the same information, presented differently.
Dragons are special in this regard, a dragon can teach a spell of any school. Animals and humanoids without racial hit dice (like player races) do not teach spells to shugenja. Nor do eidolons, familiars, or animal companions.
Example: Mariko bargains with an efreet. This is an "outsider (extraplanar, fire)" with a challenge rating of 8. Since the efteet is an outsider, it teaches conjuration spells and because of it's fire subtype it teaches fire spells. Mariko can learn any number of conjuration school spell of 4th level or lower at a cost. The efreet is eager to spread spells of the [Fire] subtype and will teach those for free.
Once the cooperation of the creature is secured, learning the spell is a fairly simple procedure and only takes a full-round action. One youkai can teach multiple spells to one or more shugenja, each taking one full-round action to learn. There is still a strict limit on the number of youkai spells a shugenja can know of each level - the same as the shugenja's limit on personal spells. Replacing an old spell is simply a matter of letting it go as you learn a new one - you get to pick which of the old spells to forget.
The shugenja must have heard of a spell to be able to learn it. Shugenja are assumed to know of most spells, but for uncommon or esoteric spells, the GM may require a Knowledge (Arcana) Check DC 5 + 5 per spell level. Some spells might be judged so secret that no roll is allowed, but this should only happen in special cases, such as when a new spell has recently been created in great secrecy. A shugenja automatically knows of any spell he has seen the effects of, even if he doesn't know its name.
Cantrips and Orisons
Shugenja learn a number of cantrips and orisons, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Shugenja under “Spells Known.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again. Like spells of higher level, shugenja can learn both personal (orison) and youkai (cantrip or orison) spells of level zero. A youkai of any challenge rating can teach a cantrip.
Youkai Lore (Ex)
The shugenja has devoted his life to study of the youkai, and knows intricate details of their abilities and habits. Add half your shugenja level to any Knowledge check to recall pertinent information about a youkai. If this roll succeeds, the shugenja knows how to behave to influence the youkai and gains the same bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Sense Motive check against that youkai within the next 24 hours. This is in addition to the normal information gained on a successful knowledge check.
Detect Youkai (Sp)
A 3rd level shugenja perceives nearby youkai. At will, the shugenja can use detect youkai as a spell-like ability. It functions just like detect undead, except it detects youkai. A shugenja can, as a move action, concentrate on a single item or individual within 60 feet and determine if it is a youkai or has been in contact with youkai, learning the strength of its aura as if having studied it for 3 rounds. While focusing on one individual or object, the shugenja does not detect youkai in any other object or individual within range.
At 5th level the shugenja learns to exorcise at will. This is a full-round action with a range of 30 ft. Many creatures are aware of this range limitation and will try to avoid getting caught near the shugenja. Exorcism has the effect of sessile spirit, except that a possessing creature is immediately expelled and cannot possess another creature for 1 hour. The save DC of sessile spirit is to 10 + ½ the shugenja's level + his Charisma modifier.
Bind Youkai (Sp)
A 9th level shugenja shaman can attempt to seal a youkai once per day at level nine, plus one time per day for every three additional shugenja levels. This works like the binding spell, with a save DC of 10 + half the shugenja’s level + shugenja’s Charisma modifier. It can only affect youkai. A shaman or shugenja with this ability can aid another's binding attempt and adds one-third their level to user’s level for the purpose of the ability. As long as any shaman or shugenja holds a ceremony at the binding spot or object before the current binding ends, the effect is extended automatically if the new duration extends longer than the old one. Often, a shrine is built at the spot of an important binding, and shamans, shugenja, and passers-by alike perform services there to placate the youkai and renew the binding.
Spirit Destination (Sp)
At 15th level a shugenja using plane shift arrives within one to six miles of his final destination. The shugenja needs to know plane shift as either a personal or youkai spell to use this ability.
Higher Loyalty (Su)
At 20th level a shugenja learns the mental discipline to overcome adversity. A shugenja of this level under a lasting power or spell gets a saving throw at the end of each of his turns to throw that effect off. If a save is normally allowed, repeat the inital save. If no save is normally allowed, higher loyalty allows a Will save with a DC of 10 + ½ the enemy's hit dice + the enemy's Charisma modifier.
Favored Class Bonuses
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever he gains a level of shugenja, the following races have the option of choosing an alternate bonus depending on their race. An shugenja can take a favored class bonus that applies to a class ability he does not have yet, gaining the bonus as soon as he gains the class feature.
- Dwarf Add +½ to acid and earth spell or spell-like ability damage.
- Elf Select one animal or magical beast you can summon using a spell. When you cast a summoning spell with a casting time of one round to summon this specific kind of creature, the spell has a casting time of one standard action.
- Gnome Add one spirit spell known of a level the shugenja can cast from the druid or sorcerer spell list and the illusion school. This spell can never be changed.
- Half-Elf Add +1/2 to the shugenja's youkai lore bonus.
- Halfling Add +1/2 to the Perception and Stealth skill bonus of to all creatures the shugenja summons.
- Half-Orc Add +½ point of fire damage to spells that deal fire damage cast by the shugenja.
- Human Add one spirit spell known of a level the shugenja from the cleric, druid or sorcerer spell list. This spell must be one spell level lower than the highest level spell the shugenja can cast and can never be changed.
- Aasimar Add +¼ to the shugenja’s caster level when casting spells with the good descriptor.
- Catfolk Select 1/4 type of creature. The shugenja gains the scent ability against this type of creature.
- Changeling As gnome except the spell must be of the transmutation school instead of the illusion school.
- Dhampir As gnome except the spell must be of the necromancy school instead of the illusion school.
- Drow As gnome except the spell must have the curse, evil, or pain descriptor instead of the illusion school.
- Duergar Add +½ damage of any acid and earth spells or spell-like abilities.
- Fetchling Add +½ to either cold or electricity resistance (to a maximum increase of 10).
- Gillman As gnome except the spell must have the water descriptor instead of the illusion school.
- Goblin As gnome except the spell must have the fire descriptor instead of the illusion school.
- Hobgoblin When casting shugenja spells with the fear descriptor, add +1/3 to the effective caster level of the spell, but only to determine the spell’s duration.
- Ifrit Select one creature of the fire subtype you can summon using a spell. When you cast a summoning spell with a casting time of one round to summon this specific kind of creature, the spell has a casting time of one standard action.
- Kitsune Add +¼ to the DC of enchantment spells.
- Kobold Choose acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage. Add +½ point of the chosen energy damage to spells that deal the chosen energy damage.
- Lapith As gnome except the spell must be of the transmutation school instead of the illusion school
- Merfolk Add +½ to the shugenja’s caster level when determining the range of any spells with the water descriptor.
- Orc Add +½ point of fire damage to spells cast that deal fire damage.
- Oread As ifrit, except earth subtype.
- Piper Gain the ability to add metamagic to spells without increasing casting time ⅓ times/day.
- Ratfolk Add 2 feet to the range of the detect youkai ability. This range increase is rounded down to the next lowest multiple of 5 ft.
- Samsaran Add one personal spell known of a level the shugenja can cast from the cleric spell list. This spell can never be changed.
- Sylph As ifrit, except air subtype.
- Tengu Gain 1/4 combat feat. This feat is only usable with weapons from the list in the tengu's swordtrained ability.
- Thiefling Add +¼ to the shugenja’s caster level when casting spells with the evil descriptor.
- Undine As ifrit, except water subtype.
- Wayang Add +½ point of damage to any illusion spells of the shadow subschool cast by the shugenja.
Druid Spell List Additions
Level 4 scent of sight.
Level 6 x-ray eyes.
Level 7 true seeing.
Level 8 teleport beacon.
The shugenja is an complex class to play. With its extremely wide selection of spells, the player needs an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the spell lists in the game. The GM is encouraged to give the shugenja some lassitude in finding creatures to teach him spells to make a satisfying story.
Spirit magic is magic learned from and empowered by spirits, little gods that exist everywhere, mystic energies that can be communed with to work magic. A spirit magician learns to see and commune with spirits and to use their gifts. This is based on a belief called animism and is inherently divine magic, but can be combined with other magic traditions. On its own, it is sometimes called primal magic. Spirit magicians and occult casters share an interest in spirits, but occultists focus on spirits of the dead while spirit magicians commune mostly with spirits of nature.
A series of articles will present three classes grounded in animism, the animist, shugenja, and wu-jen. These classes share a similar animistic view of the world, and are collectively called spirit magicians. Each class uses spirit magic differently, but they all gain power from spirits to work magic. Spirit magicians are no meek clerics who offer worship. A spirit can be bribed and persuaded by offers of service and loyalty, but it can also be coerced or defeated in combat to bind it into service.
Animism is the belief that inside all things are spirits, and these spirits can be befriended, cajoled, or browbeat into cooperation. This belief is common in tribal cultures that live close to nature. Often looked down upon in the west, animism has been suppressed by monotheistic religions but often survives in splinter groups or mixed into the practice of other faiths. Asian cultures tend to be more accepting of faith in spirits, allowing animism to develop more specialized forms, such as that of the shugenja and wu-jen. Druidism can be seen as a variant of animism. The most well-known animist religion today is Shinto, but Taoism and Vodou also has significant animist elements. Feel free to use spirit magic in any campaign, animism exists in innumerable forms all over the world.
Spirit magic is magic empowered by the spirits and spirit magicians live on the border between the world of folk and the many worlds of the spirits. Those who use spirit magic are here collectively called spirit magicians. Most spirit magicians live in two societies at once, the society of folk and the society of spirits. They help and protect their allies in both groups, counting on their assistance in return. When the threat of planar incursion looms, most spirit magicians are staunch defenders of planar boundaries. Good spirit magicians help folk and spirits live together. Their traditional duties are both to facilitate contact with spirits and to delineate a border between the mystical and the mundane. While rarely lawful the way civilized people see things, they help maintain the world order by guarding the border between the domains of folk, the dead, nature, and monsters. Some spirit magicians side entirely with one side, exploiting spirits for benefit of folk or the other way around, while a few are renegades who use both folk and spirits strictly for their own benefit. Powerful spirit magicians explore the planes to find power, wisdom, and solutions to problems. They often bring others along as guards, assistants, or to provide them with spiritual education.
Most of the spirits spirit magicians interact with are imperceptible to everyone else. Spirit magicians see spirits where others find only dead matter or impersonal magical energies. Wizards and clerics often claim these spirits do not exist, as they cannot be observed. This is laughable to spirit magicians, who see their powers as proof of the power of spirits. This creates some bad will between spirit magicians and followers of more structured traditions of magic.
What is a Spirit?
Spirits come in four forms; objects, mundane creatures, youkai, and immaterial spirits. Objects are dormant spirits. They take no action until awakened by magic. Spells like animate object can turn an object into a youkai. Mundane Creatures are spirits that have taken a living, physical form, but that have very little inherent magic. This includes all animals and humanoids. Mundane creatures can awaken their spirit natures to work magic, but unless they change their very nature they are not youkai. Youkai are spirits that can interact with mundane creatures, such as ghosts, as well as spirits that have materialized or taken possession of a mundane object or creature to become a magical creature. Most monsters are youkai. Immaterial Spirits are spells and supernatural abilities. Spirit magic is the work of immaterial spirits allied to or bound by a magician. Youkai and some mundane creatures can manipulate immaterial spirits, and the immaterial spirits in turn can manipulate all other kinds of spirits.
Note that there are no clear lines between these classifications, and combinations are common. A magic item is an object tied to an immaterial spirit. A summoned creature is an immaterial spirit that has taken the form of a youkai. Spellcasters are usually a mundane creatures, but can cajole immaterial spirits to work for them.
Spirit magicians regard most monsters as spirits, and may have abilities gives them power over a wide range of supernatural creatures. To avoid confusion, these rules call creatures imbued with spirit powers youkai, which is Japanese for monster. To a spirit magician an earth elemental is an awakened earth spirit—a youkai—while a rock is an earth spirit at rest—an object. They are both the same, just that one is active and awake while the other is dormant. This confounds and annoys those who try to rationally classify what is supernatural and what is mundane. Nevertheless, for rules purposes, we need to know exactly what a youkai is, as many of the animists' and shugenja's abilities only work on youkai. For purposes of the these abilities, youkai includes all of the following creatures:
- All aberrations
- Constructs except the clockwork and robot subtypes
- All dragons
- All fey
- All magical beasts
- All monstrous humanoids
- Humanoids of the giant or shapechanger subtypes
- All outsiders
- All creatures of the Plant type (not normal plants)
- All undead
- Creatures created by spells, such as animate object.
- Creatures summoned by spells, such as summon nature's ally.
- Creatures in astral, ethereal, or incorporeal form, or who are possessing another creature or object, such as by the magic jar spell.
Spirit magicians see elementals and fey as youkai of nature and undead as youkai of the dead. Magical beasts, constructs, plants, giants, monstrous humanoids, and aberrations are either youkai-possessed or youkai bound in corporeal form. Most spirit magicians consider youkai to be unruly but lovable rascals. While youkai have a definite place in the world order, their place is in the wilds, on other planes, and in shrines—not roaming wild in the lands of folk. Youkai that cause trouble are often bound and enshrined, placated by treating them as little gods.
In cultures where animists and shugenja are common, it is normal practice to enshrine youkai. This practice is also known as binding or sealing the youkai, and is done using the Bind Youkai ability. Coercion is acceptable, and it is common practice to defeat a hostile youkai in combat in order to bind it. A youkai bound by this ability is automatically stabilized and heals damage normally while bound.
Being enshrined is restful and comfortable to the youkai, and those with knowledge of animists are generally willing to bargain about being enshrined under the right conditions. If the conditions made in a negotiated binding are broken, the youkai is freed. As long as binding is used again before the current binding ends, the effect is automatically extended for the duration of the new binding.
An enshrined youkai is not hidden away. Rather it is made into the focal point of a shrine or temple, venerated, and thus kept placated. Whole religious orders can be dedicated to keeping a powerful youkai sealed. Shugenja seek out such shrines because they can learn spells from them, but shrine guardians usually demand some kind of service or offering from a strange shugenja before they let them into the presence of the youkai. A normal cost is the same as that for casting a spell of the level the youkai can teach.
Spirit magicians are often good summoners because of their close tie to the spirits. A summoned creature is an immaterial spirit that takes on a physical form and is always considered a youkai, even if the summoned creature is an animal. To reflect the the close ties to the spirits, the Summon Quick Ally feat allows druids and other spirit magicians to summon creatures more quickly.
Summon Quick Ally (General)
|Fey||Resist nature's lure|
|Humanoid||A thousand faces|
|Magical Beast||Beast shape III|
|Outsider||Elemental body III|
|Vermin||Wild empathy usable with vermin|
Prerequisite: Ability to cast summon nature's ally, animist class feature or a another class feature, see table.
Benefit: Choose one creature type from Table: Quick Allies that you fulfill the prerequisite for. When you cast a summon nature's ally spell to summon a creature of this type, the casting time of the spell becomes 1 standard action. This does not work on creatures that have a template.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time, select a different type of creature.
Experienced Shugenja and Youkai Spells
When generating a shugenja of higher than than 1st level, the character is assumed to have a previous career behind him, and has learned some youkai spells. In general, all youkai spells the shugenja had at the level before the current level can be considered to be known, the 'spells known' taken up by spells of the player's choice. The shugenja thus starts with a few open youkai spell slots, but the majority of them are already filled.
- Maven a shugenja archetype similar to wizard
- Animate Dead
- Overcoming Arcane Spell Failure
- Polymorph Guide - Wild Shape Guide useful to all polymorphers.
- Polyharmony Guide - Futher polymoph guidance.
- Shadow Conjuration - Shadow Evocation
- Summoning guide
- Summon Monster
- Touch Spells, Spellstrike, and Spell Combat
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