My first instinct in games like Shadowrun is generally to jump at a Charisma-based spellcasting class when I see one. And the Shaman meant that I saw one. So I rolled a Shaman. Unfortunately, after a few hours of gameplay, I've become frustrated at what seem to be a lack of offensive options from Shamanic magic. All I've been able to get from my Charisma skils are some buffs and debuffs (Haste is awesome, Slow is okay, Eagle totem rules), and a rather underwhelming wall spell.

I've had to invest a fair number of points into Quickness/Shotguns in order to feel like I'm holding my own in Combat, outside of buffing the NPC companion I've got with me every two or three rounds. Do I just need to stick with it a bit longer to get a hold of some offensive options from Shamanic magic? Or am I stuck investing in either Mage spells or a Weapon if I want to be able to do something in combat besides buffing an NPC?

  • Having not played this game, but having played a lot of traditional tabletop Shadowrun: do you not have elementals available in this game?!
    – Shinrai
    Aug 8, 2013 at 2:42
  • @shinrai reading tooltips gives me the impression that such things are available, but I've no clue how to use them/where to get one. Aug 8, 2013 at 2:46
  • You can definitely summon elementals, but I've never managed to figure out how. No matter what elemental I equip on my Shaman, it always showed up red when I try to use it. Also, aren't the various wall spells under the shaman/charisma casting category? You can put up walls and NPCs are typically stupid enough to walk through them and take damage.
    – l I
    Aug 8, 2013 at 18:39

3 Answers 3


The main role of the Shaman is Healing and Summoning. Most Shamanic spells do not deal damage directly, but only buff and debuff. To get an offensive magic user, you need to use the Mage class (or invest in Willpower).

The main way the Shaman does damage is by using his Summon. Each spirit can be assigned up to 4 AP at the beginning of their turn; some have attacks that are quite devastating and drain AP from enemies. There are two ways you can summon.

  • First, as the previous answer pointed out, you can call spirits from Summoning points available from time to time on the battlefield (at Summon skill 5 you can call 2 spirits from each point instead of 1).
  • The second way is using Fetishes that can be bought from shops (or picked up) and equipped on your character.

So, for your Shaman to be effective in combat, you might want to consider the following:

  • Increase your Charisma, Summoning and Spirit Control (the last skill reduces the chance that the summon escapes or turns hostile).
  • Invest in Conjuring , at least to the point you can get Haste 4.
  • Buy Fetishes that you can afford and use, gradually upgrade them as you level. I don't remember if they are actually "consumed" after each use. Will need to check again on that. If fetishes are consumed, you will need to balance carefully between how much damage you want to do and how much money you want to spend in each mission.
  • Quickness and Ranged Attack are useful before you can properly use summon, and they are also needed near the endgame. There are a few missions near the end that will be very difficult if you can't use a gun properly. Also, get a Mage with Aim spell with you for those.

If you click a skull icon can that appear over some environment objects in combat, you'll summon a spirit you can control, provided you have the appropriate skill. You'll also need to buy fetishes and have them in your active inventory (items you can use in combat).

I haven't played a Shaman myself, so I'm not sure whether they're spent on summoning, and when you get the earliest opportunity to acquire them. As a Decker with points in Drone Control, I had to play a couple of missions before I got my first Drone, so I would assume Shamans have to, as well.

And of course, there's nothing stopping you from investing in other attributes and learning regular spellcasting, swinging something heavy, shooting a rifle, or even drone control or decking.

  • 4
    ohh... you have to click on a skull to summon a spirit in combat. No wonder why you can't just use them randomly.
    – l I
    Aug 12, 2013 at 2:13

I would say: Avoid 'Conjuring' and put all those points + all you might have invested into guns into the spellcasting skill. That way you can shoot the same powerbolt or manabolt I to III which mages use. If you play without the legal firearms script (if LoneStar does not attack anybody with more than a pistol) you can play with a firearm of your gusto just the same.

Unfair Disadvantage is: Mages start with several spells and the "weapon-bolt", while the Shaman starts only with one Totem power. Two, if you raise Spirit Summoning to 3 and select your totem.

Alternately: Use Spirit Summoning & Control plus a gun of your choice. In 'Dead Man Switch' Shotgun is the wisest choice, as the need for a Weapon Permit is absent, and the bug-bane-gun needed in the final is a shotgun.

There are playing styles which may make reducing Essence to 5 by using helpful cyberware an option. My Shaman used the improved Eyes plus Datajack to use Smartguns, resulting in 1 point of Essence lost. This is optional for the build which excludes spellcasting & conjuring.

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