Oriental Adventures campaigns set in Rokugan usually forbid creatures from taking levels in the cleric class, and the cleric class is "usually not available [in Oriental Adventures campaigns set elsewhere like Mahasarpa], but check with your Dungeon Master." Instead, "[s]hamans are the Oriental Adventures version of clerics" (Oriental Adventures 32).

The shaman (Oriental Adventures 22-24) picks two domains at level 1 and a third domain at level 11. The class's Spirits, Domains, and Domain Spells class feature calls these domains only domains, but, later, several unique domains—like Ancestor, Fury, Hero, and Meditation (OA 86, 87, and 87, and the Oriental Adventures Web enhancement "The Mahasarpa Campaign" 8, respectively)—are listed under the heading Shaman Domains.

Are these shaman domains just like cleric domains but under the heading Shaman Domains because there are typically no clerics in an Oriental Adventures campaign, or are the shaman domains an exhaustive, all-inclusive list of the domains available to a shaman, completely different from domains under the heading Cleric Domains (like those on Player's Handbook 185-9)? That is, specifically,…

  • Can a shaman pick domains from the list of cleric domains instead of picking from among just the domains listed under Shaman Domains?
  • As per the Player's Handbook, can a cleric that's "not devoted to a particular deity… select… domains [that] represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities" (32) from among domains listed under the heading Shaman Domains?

Answers relying on experience and careful reading are fine, but I'd like answers to make a good faith attempt at determining the before delving into speculation or explaining house rules.

Note: The domains Hero and Meditation, for example, include interesting spells that are otherwise unavailable to the typical cleric, like, respectively, giant size and that art thou. The article "Oriental Adventures: Eastern Flavor" (the ersatz 3.5 revision for Oriental Adventures from Dragon #310 32-48) updates only the shaman's unarmed strike damage so that it improves as the shaman advances in levels (yay?) and the shaman's list of martial arts feats; with that in mind, I don't think this question needs the tag despite Oriental Adventures having been published during that era.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe you answered this in your first sentence. "check with your dungeon master" is a pretty succinct answer to your question, as it's up to your DMs discretion as to whether or not they would allow you to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sandwich That's fair, I guess, but I'm hoping there's something I'm missing that provides an answer beyond Ask the DM. That is, I know the game's nearly five years out of print, but I suspect that more has been written about it than any other role-playing game, and that it's been studied harder than any other RPG. Someone besides me might've noticed this and figured it out, or, at least can, from experience, explain why allowing interchangeable domains is bad or good. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22, 2017 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think allowing it would be particularly Gamebreaking, but I'd still say you should probably run it by your GM first. Haha. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


Best I could find, an official source differentiates between Cleric and Shaman domains quite explicitly. This has precedence in the system where draconic invocations and eldritch invocations are (also) explicitly not interchangeable, even though they are mechanically identical. Or, more commonly, Druid vs Cleric spell lists.

Considering the fact that Shamans get more domain spell slots, there is also a definite balance concern for allowing certain Cleric domains on the Shaman.

  • \$\begingroup\$ ...Beg to differ that they differentiate 'quite explicitly': "Also, consider using the cleric domains presented in this book as shaman domains." @ 'Shaman (Oriental Adventures)'. Great find though, I just disagree as to the interp. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Chemus
    Apr 26, 2017 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chemus The fact that it needs to be called out as a possible options rather than being assumed implies the assumed state is that you would not use them that way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Apr 26, 2017 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough; I'd assumed that it was mentioned merely because Shamans aren't core. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chemus
    Apr 26, 2017 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chemus But if we went by the "A domain is a domain" interpretation, that wouldn't be necessary anyway. It wouldn't change their spell lists or options in any way to call it out, unlike other examples on the page. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Apr 26, 2017 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but that entire section is how to make the SpC work for non core casters. The fact that for shamans, they say 'pick and choose spells, but consider just blanket allowing all the domains here (which is almost all domains IIRC)' suggests that they consider the domains to be equivalent and interchangeable. The power levels appear to be similar. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chemus
    Apr 26, 2017 at 15:04

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