Shamanism: A guide..

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Shamanism: A guide..

Post by Aadaria-Ioanna on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:19 am



Introduction



Greetings, fellow player, who has stumbled upon this guide either due to despair or curiosity related to the one of the most mystic classes in Warcraft, Shamans. Before you go on, you would possibly want to make sure that it is indeed your wish to know more about these spiritually chosen individuals, or perhaps have your character to attain the role of one.

So you have decided to give it a shot. Then it would be really graceless of me to not to welcome you to the glamarous world of the spirits and the Shamans.

Now it is safe for you to know that what you are going to experience in a matter of seconds, is not consisting of a huge wall of text or any sorts of complexity by neither linguistic nor coherential means, for the purpose of possessing the capability to solve the issues regarding the lack of clarity and ambiguity revolving around adressing each and every player.






About Shamanism



Shamanism comprises a range of beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spiritual world. Shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the natural world and spirit worlds. They can treat ailments and illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit enables the physical body to undergo balance and wholeness. The shaman is capable of entering supernatural realms or dimensions in order to obtain answers to the problems of their community. The shaman is physically present in the natural world, but at the same time enters into another dimension, enabling for the travel of the soul. The shaman has many travels in this other dimension. Some travels may be to bring guidance to misguided souls, to separate evil spirits from the Human souls, or to alleviate the soul of all elements enacting upon it to cause the illness. The shaman only affects the spiritual world, which in turn affects the natural world. The result is that the shaman has brought balance to a soul and this will result in creating balance for the soul. The creation of balance results in the elimination of the ailment, thus restored health for the body.

_____________________________________________________
A grain of sand leaves an invisible trace upon the face of a rock, a million grains of sand and thousands of years reduce a mountain to nothing. So shall every good deed count towards the Greater Good.


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Re: Shamanism: A guide..

Post by Aadaria-Ioanna on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:19 am


Roles of a Shaman



The shaman's social role may be defined by a set of connected behaviors, rights and obligations as conceptualized by actors in a social situation and the expected behavior in a given individual within their cultural social status and social position. Shamans are called upon by a higher power and are not self-chosen. Individuals who are called upon experience an illness of some sort over a prolonged period of time. This illness will prompt the individual to seek out spiritual guidance and other shaman healers. Such illnesses are usually not curable by normal means. The role of the shaman is to be a healer of the spirit world, chosen to bring spiritual balance and health for the people. The shaman heals through spiritual means that consequently affects the natural world by bringing about restored health.

The shaman may serve the healer's role in shamanic societies; shamans gain knowledge and the power to heal by entering into the spiritual world or dimension. Often the shaman has, or acquires many spiritual guides in the spirit world; these are often spiritual guides whose sole purpose is to guide and direct the shaman in his/her travels. These spirtual guides are always present within the shaman and do not enter only when the shaman is in a trance. The spiritual guides energizes the shaman, enabling him/her to enter into the spiritual dimension. The shaman heals within the spirutal dimension by creating balance and restoring all elements to their properties, thus bringing the soul back from wherever it has traveled. The result is the creation of balance in the natural world and restored health for the individual. The shaman also acts as destroyer in order to destroy the excess of negative energies that enables the soul to travel astray or pollutes the soul. This occurs as a result of the shaman's willingness to create balance and to bring about goodness for the individual.

Shaman act as "mediators" in their culture. The shaman is seen as communicating with the spirits on behalf of the community, including the spirits of the deceased. The shaman is a messenger between the natural world and the spiritual dimension. He/she enables for the passing of information between the living and the deceased in order to alleviate unrest, unsettled issues, and to deliver monetary gifts back to the spiritual dimension. The mediator function of the shaman may be illustrated well by some of the shaman's objects and symbols; such as animal totems: The animals which are multi-habitant; being able to live in two habitats such as both water and land. In that respect, they have a relation to the shamans who are able to be present in both the spiritual and the material planes, as a referance to Axis Mundi.

Shamans perform a variety of functions depending upon their respective cultures: healing; leading a sacrifice; preserving the tradition by storytelling and chantful songs; fortune-telling; acting as a psychopomp. The functions of a shaman may include either guiding to their proper abode the souls of the dead and curing of ailments. The ailments may be either purely physical afflictions—such as disease, which may be cured by flattering, threatening, or wrestling the disease-spirit, and which may be completed by displaying some supposedly extracted token of the disease-spirit aiming to impress the disease-spirit that it has been, or is in the process of being, defeated, so that it will retreat and stay out of the patient's body, or else mental afflictions—such as persistent terror, which may be likewise cured by similar methods.





Philosophy of a Shaman



All shamans gain their power from the Elemental Spirits, so most shamanistic philosophies are the same no matter which race practices it. Access to the power of the shaman is borrowed, rather than taken. Unlike the rigid disciplines of the Holy Light which bends the power of the Light to its user through spells, shaman practitioners refer to the act of using their magic as calls, not spells. The power imparted by the elements to the shaman has a wide berth, and encompasses many fOrces. A shaman can diagnose and cure ailments, harness the power of the elements to defeat their opponents, and enhance the natural power of themselves and other. And these abilities are but a mere fraction of the ability of a shaman. By traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with the spirits, shaman have gained access to divination, dream interpretation, astral projection, control over the weather, and a near innumerable list of abilities.

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by the invisible force of spirits that affect the living in a very strong and meaningful way. Shamanism can therefore be seen as the practical application of the concepts of Animism through specialized knowledge and abilities. Shamanism is not, however, organized into full-time rituals or spiritual association as priests are. There exists a very distinct chasm between a Priest serving the Earthmother, and a Shaman of the Earthmother.

The shamans call upon the Elements in their magic. There are five elements, or Spirits: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and the Wilds. At their simplest, the elements may cause an earthquake, summon a storm, conjure fire or finding water. As their most complex, the elements are the very world we live in.

The Spirit of the Wilds is the most complex and least understood of the elements. This element is tied to life and the living things that grow when the other four elements are in harmony. The Wilds is rarely used by shaman, and lies more in the domain of the druid. It is invoked by the shaman only during the ritual of Ancestral Spirit, a call so powerful it can rewind the mortal coil, bringing life to the dead, and binding the spirit of a being back into their corporeal shell.

*Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and the society
*The shaman can communicate with the spirit world
*Spirits can be good or evil
*The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits
*The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on "vision quests"
*The shaman's spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers
*The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message
an evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message
*bearers
*The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination

_____________________________________________________
A grain of sand leaves an invisible trace upon the face of a rock, a million grains of sand and thousands of years reduce a mountain to nothing. So shall every good deed count towards the Greater Good.


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Re: Shamanism: A guide..

Post by Aadaria-Ioanna on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:20 am


History of Shamanism


Shamanism has existed since the sapient races first discovered the power of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. On Draenor, now shattered Outland, the Orcs were shamanistic; on Azeroth, Trolls and Tauren were shamanistic. Though shamanism on Azeroth flourished and still continues to, shamanism on Draenor was all but extinct by the time of the great crossing of the Horde into Azeroth via the Dark Portal. The greatest and yet some of the most vilified Orcs were once shaman; Zuluhed the Whacked, Ner'zhul, and even Gul'dan were all previously shaman. However, Kil'jaeden, current lord over the Burning Legion, distorted the shaman's connection with their spirits in the sacred mountain of Oshu'gun, himself taking on the form of the shaman's ancestors to convince the shaman (who held much political sway in the Orcish culture) that the Draenei were the enemy. The ensuing massacres upon several Draenei hunting parties offended the spirits, who eventually denied the shaman their powers.

Cut off from their elemental powers, the former shamans turned to the more efficient and masterful powers of the Burning Legion, becoming Warlocks. Though many tried to hang onto their roots, it was impossible. Even Drek'Thar was sucked into the dark magics, though he later repented and to this day has never forgiven himself for the acceptance of the demonic corruption that plagues himself and the Orc race to this day. Ner'zhul was the warlock who created the portals from Draenor to many other worlds. The many portals ripped Draenor apart creating the ravaged land of Outland. He repented but was dragged back into the fold by Kil'jaeden who promised him an endless existence of suffering and pain if he did not serve the Legion. Ner'zhul accepted this second chance at serving the Legion and was changed into the mighty being the Lich King and currently inhabits the body of Arthas Menethil his first and most powerful of the second generation of Death knights.

Shamanism in the Orcs was all but extinct until Thrall, the son of the deceased Durotan and future chieftain of the Frostwolf clan, grabbed hold of the reins of Warchief of the New Horde ushering in a new generation of shamanism, breaking the crippling lethargy of the captive Orcs and outlawing the dark magic of the Burning Legion. At the time of the internment camps, a shaman was a derogatory term for someone who told fantastical and unbelievable stories. Shamanism is now at its peak though, as the New Horde itself is led by a shaman of great power in the new Orcish kingdom of Durotar.






Comparison with Druidism


There are two very distinct belief systems which stem from the worship of nature; Druidism and Shamanism. While different in their effectuation, both belief systems share with each other their most basic concepts of Animism, Ancestor Worship, and Spirit Guidance. Though both druidism and shamanism seem to be separated by a very fine line, the means by which they reach their ends can be classified in a fairly straightforward manner. Druids worship the spirits through plants, animals, and the fundamental spirit of the wilds. Conversely, shamans worship the spirits through the four fundamental elements of earth, fire, wind, and water.

This essential spark of life is looked upon as a divine fOrce, one more fundamental than the Holy Light worshiped by the Humans. The Orcs, Tauren, Night Elves, Trolls, and Draenei commune with the spirit world in search of knowledge, guidance, and power. Though these races do not discount the Humans' study and worship of the Light, they maintain the Light is merely the emergent characteristic of the interconnectivity of the spirit world, not a single person's connection with the universe. The belief that the paladin is a direct agent of the Light is a dismissal of the concept that each shaman is but a mere conduit through which the powers of the spirits flow. Truly, in their rush to embrace the Light, the Humans missed the very point of its existence.

The druids live a very spiritual life: firstly acknowledging and honoring each spirit as an individual life; secondly honoring the goddess Elune (known to the Tauren as Mu'sha), the only true deity on Azeroth. The druids seek guidance — or interference from the spirits, asking the small spirits for small tasks and entreating Elune or one of the other wise and powerful spirits of the forests for more significant tasks. They see their forests as havens for living spirits, and as such are bound to defend them. It has become the highest priority for the Druid's Cenarion Circle to heal the corruption of their precious forests caused by the demonic and undead invasion of the Third War. As the spirits have served them for thousands of years, the druids seek to give back to the spirits by healing the very living woods.

This close proximity to nature imbues the druid directly with the power of the spirits, allowing them to harness the power of nature, and assume the form of the animals they worship. Because of this direct power infusion, the druids can be seen as the purer parent of the Humans' paladin. Unlike the traditional paladin, however, druids still view themselves as servants of the divine, rather than agents.
Shamanism

The shaman however, do not worship plant life and nature as the druids do. Instead, they honor the spirits of their own ancestors and the elemental forces. The shaman are not themselves imbued with the ascendency of the spirits, rather they harness it through ceremonial totems. They carve these totems to represent the spirits and animals from which they draw power, and it is within these totems that the true potency of a shaman lies.

Tauren knows their own lineage - some spanning more than ten generations - and has been able to recite it since they were a calf. By learning the great tales of their ancestry, the Tauren will connect to one or two of their forefathers with whom they identify. Their lives therefore, become homages to their ancestors, and all through their life, the living Tauren will seek guidance from and serve in the name of the spirit of that forbearer and the Earth Mother.

Orcs have less dedication to their lineage, and focus more on the raw elements for their power. This can be attributed to the severing of the shamanistic line on Draenor in favor of foul demonic magic. The Burning Legion lured them from the powers of nature, and fOrced them into an ethnic cleansing against the Draenei. This action so upset the spirits of Oshu'gun, that they severed their connections with the Orcs, stripping them of their shamanistic powers. Now, having recently shaken off their demonic yoke, the Orcs have engaged in a process of rediscovering their old traditions under the guidance of their Warchief Thrall and the Tauren race. The Orcs have traded dark unions for vision quests, summoning rituals with prayer, and defiled citadels for sweat lodges.

Much like the rebirth in Orcish culture, the Darkspear Tribe has found a savior in Thrall and the practices of shamanism. The old ways of voodoo hexes, cannibalism, and non-animal sacrifice are being replaced by a more divine set of beliefs. No longer do these Trolls feast upon the corpses of their fallen as the undead do. However, they do still practice voodoo and they taught Hex to their allies. They have brought out a different elemental totem, as well as teaching Orcs and Tauren more about restoration and regeneration. They are finding, under the guidance of the older shamanistic races, more civilized ways to appease their bloodthirsty ancestry. As the Orcs found guidance towards the divine from the Tauren, so now do the Trolls find their path through the Orcs.

_____________________________________________________
A grain of sand leaves an invisible trace upon the face of a rock, a million grains of sand and thousands of years reduce a mountain to nothing. So shall every good deed count towards the Greater Good.


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Re: Shamanism: A guide..

Post by Aadaria-Ioanna on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:21 am


About Animism


Animism teaches that all creatures and some objects have souls or spirits. Orcs and Tauren believe that plant-spirits, nature-spirits and earth-spirits exist, and that everyone must treat these spirits with respect.

One who denies the reality of nature spirits severs her connection with the earth. She becomes lost and confused, spiritually adrift in the world. The return to Animism inspired revolutionary thoughts among some Orcs. During their corruptipn, the Orcs lived as base creatures; destructive and bloodthirsty. The civilized races of the Alliance looked down on the Orcs, believing them to be primitive and savage. Now the Orcs compare their reclaimed traditions with those of the Alliance and judge themselves spiritually superior. It is now the Alliance that seems primitive and uncivilized to the Orcs; the Alliance holds fast to their complicated and sterile philosophies and denies the simple, vital truth of Animism. Some Orcs sneer at the Alliance, some pity them, and some care nothing for this dichotomy, while only a few respect some selective individuals for a paticular act of theirs. Taurens practice Animism by revering a spirit they call the Earth Mother. The Earth Mother represents all the animistic fOrces of nature. River-spirits, sea-spirits, tree-spirits, rock-spirits and animal spirits all reflect one facet of the Earth Mother. Orcs have a less organized philosophy; they see all spirits as individuals connected in a greater whole, like members of a great clan.

Some scholars view voodoo as a type of Animism, and to an extent that theory is true. The Trolls' religion of voodoo takes a decidedly different bent than the shamanistic beliefs of the Orcs and Tauren, though.





About Ancestor Worship

Ancestor Worship is one of the faiths in Azeroth and one of the main tenets of shamanism, along with Animism and Spirit Guidance.

Ancestor Worship entails more than a simple veneration of the dead. While almost all races respect and memorialize their ancestors in some way, the Orcs and Tauren believe that their forebears possess powers that their living offspring can channel. A Tauren does not merely remember her ancestors; she speaks to them and draws power from them. A Tauren’s ancestors watch over her and sometimes guide her through visitations and dreams.

Every Tauren learns rituals and chants designed to connect them to their ancestors. A Tauren shaman, however, can call on tribal spirits to infuse him with wisdom and strength. Although Tauren society is no longer nomadic, their rituals and traditions developed long ago, and thus were heavily influenced by the nomadic way of life that the Tauren followed up until recently, when they joined the Horde and made Mulgore their home. For example, when the Tauren were nomadic, they could not always visit the graves of their ancestors when they wished to show honor. Many rituals require a Tauren to carve wooden figures and then burn these carvings with fragrant grasses and herbs to honor his ancestors. Tauren now have a permanent home in Mulgore, but since marauding Centaurs keep them away from many areas, they still cannot visit the graves of their ancestors. Thus, they have no reason to change these rituals.

Orcs leave more concrete reminders of their ancestors. They carve memorials to the fallen dead and place stones around permanent campsites. Nomadic Orcs and Tauren both conduct group rituals; these rituals involve storytelling, chanting and feasting that lasts all night. Orc death rituals vary in form, but most possess common traits. Any Orcs present when an Orc dies roar as loudly as possible, to alert the deceased’s ancestors that they must come and escort a new spirit to the spirit world. If an Orc falls in battle, his companions wait until after the battle ends to roar. This prevents the death roar from being lost in the sounds of battle. Orcs value honor. Should an Orc die with an unfulfilled duty, his close friends and relatives take it upon themselves to complete the duty and allow the fallen Orc’s spirit to enter the afterlife without a blemish. The deceased’s closest friend or relative sometimes takes one of the corpse’s fangs as a memento and a token to use in shaman rituals to summon a particular spirit. During group rituals to honor the dead, Orcs adorn their tribal costumes or weapons with the fangs of their fallen friends and family. Tauren prefer to bury their dead, but after the advent of the Scourge and the Forsaken, more tribes are cremating their dead to avoid the possibility of undeath.

A shaman who practices Ancestor Worship can gain access to the ancestor domain.

When a Tauren plans a ritual to honor his ancestors, he carves a number of wooden idols to burn during the ritual. Each Tauren’s choice of carvings reflects his values and history, making each set of carvings highly personalized. However, certain themes repeat over time, and most Tauren understand the following symbols. Miniature wooden Tauren represent a person’s ancestors. Tauren symbolize themselves with a 6-inch kneeling figure to display their reverence for their ancestors.

A Tauren might not carve every single individual in her lineage, but instead carve representative figures, such as the following:

*An elderly male and female represent ancestors who died of old age.
*A pregnant female and a male hunter represent ancestors who died in the prime of life.
*A child and infant represent ancestors who died in childhood and before birth. Additional carvings represent the values a Tauren’s family possesses.
*A tree with a knot of strong roots symbolizes the importance of family, a root system that supports the Tauren today.
*Birds, commonly owls or eagles, represent the wisdom passed on from generation to generation.
*Predatory animals, such as lions, indicate the value of physical strength and heredity.
*The kodo, the most sacred animal of all, symbolizes the bond between the Tauren and the Earth *Mother. Tauren also use elemental symbols in their rituals.
*Carvings of flames or coals represent energy and combat, and Tauren often add these carvings to honor warrior ancestors.
*Water symbolizes spirituality and wisdom; Tauren use carvings of still water to honor ancestors noted for their wisdom, and carvings of flowing water to honor the shamans.
*Earth symbolizes a love of the land and physical strength, and Tauren add earth carvings to rituals to honor druids and powerful hunters.
*Air carvings, often shown as clouds, wavy lines, or blowing leaves, represent exploration and adaptability, and Tauren use air carvings to honor hunters, scouts and children.

_____________________________________________________
A grain of sand leaves an invisible trace upon the face of a rock, a million grains of sand and thousands of years reduce a mountain to nothing. So shall every good deed count towards the Greater Good.


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Re: Shamanism: A guide..

Post by Aadaria-Ioanna on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:22 am


About Spiritguidance



Spirit Guidance is a philosophical branch of shamanism as it is a technique used by those who practice Ancestor Worship and Animism. The Tauren in particular utilize Spirit Guidance, both in their everyday lives and in times of upheaval. Members of a shamanistic tribe can learn to call on the power of their ancestors and nature to grant them strength and knowledge. Several abilities known as Speaker of the Fang, Speaker of the Hoof, Speaker of the Seed, Speaker of the Sky and Speaker of the Earth Mother reflect this ability. Some powerful shaman learn to communicate directly with ancestral spirits, but most are born with the touch. These individuals channel tribal spirits frequently and sometimes unwillingly. They struggle to interpret the words of the ancients and serve as a bridge between the dead and the living. Shamans who communicate with the ancestral spirits often become Spirit Walkers.

The vision quest represents a tribe member’s passage from one stage to another, such as from youth to maturity or from maiden to mother. Shaman typically undergo several vision quests throughout their careers, each one unlocking hidden knowledge within their souls. To venture on a vision quest, the seeker leaves her tribe behind and finds a natural area that feels quiet and sacred to her. The seeker leaves all trappings of civilization behind, including weapons and clothes, taking only a waterskin with her. The tribe’s shaman provides the vision speaker with a bundle of herbs to eat in the sacred area. These herbs facilitate the vision quest. Only a trained shaman may set a seeker on her vision quest. A vision quest lasts two to four days. Traditionally, the quest begins with a powerful urge to leave the sacred area. The seeker must then resist this temptation and remain in the place she chose. Most seekers remind themselves of the sacred task they perform and soothe themselves with knowledge that they can survive a few days alone. Once the urge to leave passes, the seeker feels a sense of buoyancy. She seems to float out of her body and see the land spread out beneath her. She examines her body and, in doing so, comes to understand her soul. Each physical feature reminds the vision seeker of past experiences, her ancestors or her race. She meditates on these things until she feels at peace with herself.

At the apex of the vision quest, a spirit animal comes to the seeker. The animal represents the seeker’s spirit; fierce warriors may see a bear, while timid herbalists may see a rabbit. The seeker feels an instant bond with the animal. In rare cases, the spirit animal may lead the seeker away from the sacred area to a place of great power. This sometimes happens to seekers who later become a shaman. In the place of power, the seeker undergoes an additional test, such as a test of combat against a wild animal or a test of skill where she must heal a wounded creature or retrieve an object from a dangerous natural location. Upon completing her vision quest, a seeker usually takes some small item from the sacred area, such as a rock or a bit of animal fur, and keeps it as a reminder of her quest. A seeker who fails to complete her test may try again when she and her shaman feel ready.







Practitisioners

a. Farseers:

The far seers are an elite group of ancient Orcs who represent the pinnacle of shamanistic power. These powerful shamans, who preside over matters mystical for the Horde, are counted amongst Thrall's closest advisors and are constantly in tune with the workings and maneuverings of the Horde. Far seers are not only tied to the elements of the earth and sky, but are also adept at foretelling the future. Their wisdom is outshined only by their courage and ferocity in combat. When the enemies of the horde advance, the far seers mount their loyal dire wolves and wade into battle wielding all the elemental powers of their shamanistic birthright.

Far seers are adept at seeing places and events that are distant in both space and time, allowing them to foretell the future to a degree. Many say that they are the pinnacle of shamanistic development. The far seer is an Orc tradition, but they sometimes train members of their allied races in its ways, especially Tauren. These shaman are wise and often old. Most shaman of this type do not actually earn the title "far seer" until late in their lives, but they must begin training at an early age.

Far seers are some of the most respected shaman in the Horde. Most of them ride great white wolves to battle some say this practice is in homage of the Frostwolf clan, of which Thrall was the chieftain before he united the Horde. The Orc far seer is the most respected of shaman. He is not a dedicated battlefield mage; however, the guidance provided by his visionary powers can prove to be more valuable than a dozen skilled warriors. In combat, a far seer prefers to sit back and summon spirits to do his bidding, but if he's pressed into melee, he can be a formidable adversary.

In addition to being the warchief, Thrall is also an accomplished and practicing far seer. He was trained by the ancient far seer Drek'Thar.

b. Spiritwalkers:

Spiritwalkers have a powerful connection with Tauren ancestral heritage. Capable of channeling ancient Tauren heroes, these champions of the spirit are valued in Tauren society for the wisdom and history they carry within them. Tauren also fear the Spiritwalker as a potent sign of the coming age; while many of this powerful race look upon the Spiritwalker with some apprehension, the Spiritwalkers still receive respect from their brethren. Tauren ancestors dwell deep within the Emerald Dream. The energies of that plane change the Spiritwalkers pelt to pure white over time (though some are born with white pelts, destined to walk the path of spirit). A spirit walker's ancient eyes shine with the light of a thousand souls. His body is a vessel, a conduit from the land of the dead to the land of the living. Through him rushes the power and the knowledge of his tribal ancestors, a rush that both intoxicates and disorients. The spirit walker wields the power of countless minds if he proves strong enough to bear the weight of so many souls.

Tauren and Orcs revere spirit walkers, but also fear them. The spirit walker lives only partially in the mortal world. His mind roams freely and countless personalities invade his memories and his thoughts. When speaking to a spirit walker, one can never be entirely certain that only the spirit walker replies. He speaks with the voices of the ancients. Elderly spirit walkers sometimes lose all memories of their original selves, slipping from one spirit to the next without warning or control. But in his prime, a spirit walker displays strength and knowledge greater than the most experienced shaman.

Most spirit walkers learn of their unique natures during puberty. The young spirit walker experiences intense dreams over the course of a month. In each dream he seems to live someone else's lifean ancestor he recognizes, or a stranger from long ago. The young spirit walker is confused and disoriented upon awakening, unable to decide if he is now awake or if the other life was his real one, and this life but a dream. A shaman can guide the spirit walker through this transition, but spirit walkers apart from their communities do not understand what is happening to them. This leads to fear, even panic, and sometimes a deep distaste for the calling imposed on him. Such spirit walkers may never resign themselves fully to their path after having been so traumatized by their awakening. Not all spirit walkers realize their purpose in youth. Some live normal lives until one night the dreams begin. Even elderly Tauren have been known to develop spirit walker powers, sometimes only days before death.

The stress of handling so many spirits turns a spirit walker's pelt or hair snow white over the years. Some tribes consider a Tauren born with a white pelt to be destined to become a spirit walker. Such children sometimes refuse their destiny, but almost all give in eventually. Fevered lucid dreams fill their nights, and their days seem still to be half-dreams as they remember places they've never been or recognize people they've never seen. Only shaman training affords control over these visitations; spirit walkers who resist training often descend into madness. Recently, spirit walkers have appeared in ever-growing numbers. Many see this trend as an ill omen of a coming age.

A spirit walker feels an almost zealous loyalty toward his community. The spirits of countless loyal ancestors fill his mind, impressing the need to serve the tribe on their host. Despite this devotion, a spirit walker can feel set apart from his tribemates. He sees a friend not only as his friend, but as the child of a slain warrior spirit, as the grandchild of an elderly spirit, as the sibling of a mournful child spirit. This makes personal relationships complicated and difficult. A spirit walker is a loner who sits apart from the others but defends them fanatically in times of trouble. The rest of the tribe senses the conflict within a spirit walker. Members of the tribe treat their spirit walker with respect and deference, but resist forming close relationships with him to avoid further complicating his life. Spirit walkers rarely establish families. They live apart from the tribe they devote themselves to forever.

Sometimes a spirit walker needs time apart from his tribe. He embarks on a solitary journey to find a measure of inner strength. These adventures refresh the spirit walker. Sometimes the spirit walker joins with other adventurers, out of desire for companionship separate from the tangle of bloodlines in his mind. Sometimes a spirit walker has a particular purpose; his calling means he has access to information about hidden treasures, lost items, and ancient tombs to explore. Researching these memories often leads him to valuable items and information that helps the tribe.

Shamanistic training is required for a spirit walker to unlock his power. Shaman/warriors and shaman/hunters are not uncommon, as many spirit walkers live ordinary lives before they receive their calling. Tauren spirit walkers favor the Tauren totem weapons of their tribe, while Orcs favor claws of attack.

The defense of the Tauren people is one of the Spiritwalker's tasks. The Spiritwalker channels the collective warrior soul of the Tauren people. He can call upon this spirit for martial guidance. By performing the chant of ages, the Spiritwalker can call upon the knowledge of all the Tauren who have passed on to the Emerald Dream.

The Spiritwalker's soul shares a deep bond with the Emerald Dream. He can summon forth an animal spirit companion from the Emerald Dream. Killing the spirit companion on the mortal plane sends it back to the Emerald Dream.

The Spiritwalker can step partially into the Emerald Dream, becoming immaterial for a short time. The Spiritwalker still occupies his place on the Material Plane, but has shifted to his "Ethereal Form", and can only affect the physical world with spellcasting while so shifted. Only the highly skilled Spiritwalker can ethereally shift others.

Only Tauren became spirit walkers in the past. With the Horde's revitalized interest in shamanism, however, Orcs have taken an interest in studying the path of the spirit walker. The Orcs lost much of their history when they left Draenor and now struggle to retrieve the knowledge. Some see spirit walking as the best way to uncover the lost rituals of the past.

c. Spirit Champions:

A spirit champion is a mighty warrior who embraces the spirits, to assist him in his battles. He strengthens his spiritual connection until he can feel the spirits flowing within his body and thoughts, strengthening his arms and quickening his mind. Whispered fragments impart insight into battle as ancestors speak of ways to overcome all foes. The spirit champion ceases to fight for his own reasons; he battles to honor the spirits and to further their wishes. Often these wishes coincide with his own, but occasionally the spirit champion embarks on a path for reasons that are unclear to him. He does so faithfully, trusting in the spirits to point him in the right direction.

The spirit champion is a deadly melee combatant. His spiritual nature strengthens his mind in ways that most warriors ignore. Insight grants him speed and accuracy, and he can call upon native spirits to lend him aid. He is a contemplative warrior, likely to meditate through the dawn before silently lifting his sword or totem and walking calmly into battle.

Spirit champions rely on the spirits to protect them, through insight and wisdom as well as direct intervention. To wear heavy armor is to insult them. They focus on the mind, and with their focus they can transcend physical limitations. The spirits protect the spirit champion, providing him with instinctual insights to avoid blows. He swings his weapon up and steps to the side, not really knowing why, and an instant later he parries a blow from an unseen source. Ancestral spirits whisper in the spirit champion’s mind. Since the spirit champion is a being of combat, many of these ancestors are mighty warriors, perhaps spirit champions in their day. They speak of maneuvers and tactics, of feints and cleaving blows, and their whispers bypass the normal means of understanding and bleed into the spirit champion’s subconscious mind.

Spirit champions meditate, especially before battle. They prefer quiet places of natural beauty, such as mountaintops and forest glades, but they can meditate anywhere as long as they are undisturbed. They use this time to renew their bonds with the spirits and focus themselves on the tasks that lie ahead. The spirit champion’s mind is at peace and is difficult to disturb. A skilled spirit champion can request certain spirits to enter his weapon and lend their fury to his strikes. The experienced spirit champions can contact the spirits and ask a question of them. The spirits usually answer, but often do so in cryptic ways meant to improve the spirit champion or reveal to him something about himself.

A highly skilled spirit champion has such an understanding of the spirits, and has established such a strong relationship with them, that he has both the ability and the permission to join them to a small degree. The spirit champion can turn himself and everything he carries incorporeal. He remains incorporeal until he chooses to end this effect or a amount of time that depends on the spirit champions skill.

Since the Orcs' rediscovery of their spiritual heritage, their mindsets have changed. Shaman appear and commune with spirits and with their ancestors. The Orcs' relationship with the Tauren further broadens and strengthens their new faith, and with it comes new psychology. No longer are Orcs bloodthirsty crazies; they are an ancient and noble people, bound by honor and ties to their allies. This societal revolution sweeps up all Orcs in its flow. Some Orcs combine this new understanding with their warlike natures and become spirit champions.

Many Tauren also take up the mantle of the spirit champion. Indeed, the Tauren legacy of spirit champions extends back millennia. It was they who helped the Orcs discover this path. Most Tauren spirit champions call themselves followers of the totem. Orcs and Tauren sometimes teach the secrets of the spirit champions to their allies, but the class is rare among other races. A few half-Orcs, half-ogres, and jungle Trolls become spirit champions. Forsaken and forest Trolls favor their own dark faiths and care not for the spirits. Spirit champions in the Alliance are unknown. Most spirit champions are Orcs or Tauren. All current spirit champions are members of the Horde. The Alliance has different values, and even spirit champions who might break with the Horde do not defect to the Alliance.

d. Plagueshifters:


Few forces have devastated the world as badly as plague. Though magic is partially to blame as well, the Plaguelands of Lordaeron are a testament to the ravages that disease can bring to the world. While other people perpetually bemoan their dead and portray themselves as the sole victims of the pestilence of the age, the stoic races of the Horde soldier on, accepting life's misfortunes without feeling a need to complain. Unlike others, the wise races of the Horde realized that the plague must be fought intelligently and skillfully, through knowledge and not with wild sword strokes. After long and careful deliberation the Horde formed a new order of druids, the Plagueshifters, who were charged with reclaiming the Plaguelands and other stricken areas for the Horde.

Plagueshifters fill a specialized role, one typically taken by Tauren druids, who are willing to leave Kalimdor and walk in far lands. To become a Plagueshifter, one must risk exposure to the deadliest diseases and poisons, and learn to master them. It's a dangerous profession, but just as the mastery of sharp steel has its rewards, so too does the victory over the most insidious enemies of the natural world.

The Plagueshifter’s body and mind are strong enough to resist the effects of poison, disease and similar effects. The Plagueshifter can recognize any natural or magical disease. The Plagueshifter’s mystical forces protect her not only against disease, but also against the creatures that carry them.

The Plagueshifter can enchant four stones and place them in a square to protect an area from harm. All vermin are unable to enter or exit the area, likewise natural diseases are also barred. All diseased creatures within the area do not spread their illness, nor do they suffer the disease’s effects. The effects last for as long as the Plagueshifter cares to leave the stones in place, other effects and creatures cannot move them.

Plagueshifters are capable of summoning creatures to their aid. They can summon strange creatures called white hounds, that can understand the Plagueshifter's speech and obey to the best of their ability. White hounds can cure by touch, and their bite releases divine magic.

They are also able to summon water elementals. The elemental must stay in fresh water, and cannot venture far from where it was summoned. All waters near the elemental are made free from corruption and disease and are drinkable, even the polluted filth of the Eastern Plaguelands is cleansed. The elemental remains until the Plagueshifter dismisses it. The water can be polluted again.

The Plagueshifter may plant a magical garden that yields an incredible bounty of fruits, grain and nuts. Even normally carnivorous creatures may eat from this garden and be content. Regardless of pestilence, blight or frost, the harvest cannot be diminished. However, fire (or flooding with befouled water) destroys the garden.

The Plagueshifter can use purify food and drink as a spell-like ability at will. The Plagueshifter can touch a living creature and infect it with a short duration, low-grade fever that puts it into a berserker state.

Most Plagueshifters are members of the Horde, typically Orc shaman who live near the Plaguelands and Tauren druids who traveled to Lordaeron and trained themselves to battle the Scourge. They're a relatively recent addition to the Horde's druidic orders, so their influence has not been felt in the world, and the Scourge and the Forsaken haven't taken any notice of them - yet. As it is a horde-conceived notion, all current Plagueshifters are members of the Horde.

The most important part of this guide; Never forget that the above are the properties of a standard, perfect Shaman. Also keep in mind that none of the characters possess the obligation to have a personality fitting this guide's teachings perfectly. A character's personality is what makes it unique. It would be wise to develop the character through his own, unique personality while considering the above and shaping his behaviours respectively, as well as bending the examplatory shamanic traits to fit the character's personality up to a reasonable extent.


_____________________________________________________
A grain of sand leaves an invisible trace upon the face of a rock, a million grains of sand and thousands of years reduce a mountain to nothing. So shall every good deed count towards the Greater Good.


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