Oh, and I forgot to mention: I really loved the look of the Hovels, too. (Quest 44 was just awesome in general. )
OK, I've been thinking on it, and here's what I've found:
*Barbarian ACs in general have Shield abilities that are of VERY limited usefulness. These range from mild chance of failure (both Ravage and Spellblade are useful enough unless there's a problem with elements) to "only works once per battle" (War Cry and, to an extent, Marking the Favored, though the latter is MUCH more accommodating since a hit is included with it) to downright dangerous (Blood Ritual, I'm looking at you).
*Of the Shield rolls of Cleric ACs, Blood Ritual is absolutely the least helpful; Roots of Life and Magical Vortex heal the whole party, Magical Vortex and Hex cause harm to the enemy, and Roots of Life and Guardian Angel help protect the party from negative effects (and Guardian Angel protects the party from regular damage, too). Blood Ritual harms ONE enemy for a small amount of damage, and heals exactly ONE member of the party, plus it has limitations that render it extremely dangerous in extremely common situations (poison and undead). By far the worst Shield.
*Shamans don't have anything unique going for them ASIDE from the Shield roll: Meditate is a common Miss roll among Cleric classes and isn't overly useful anyway (as opposed to, say, Counter or Aim or Steal), Extra Critical Hit is common to pretty much all of the Barbarian ACs (as is Natural Respite), and none of the other rolls are anything special.
*The entire point of a Barbarian is to hit hard. Shamans don't; even taking Extra Critical Hit into account, Sages hit harder and are generally more functional than Shamans thanks to elemental advantages and a better Shield. At the same time, they fail as a healing class thanks to the Blood Ritual issue.
*Natural Respite is rather unhelpful to a Shaman, since it doesn't replenish Ether and, if the Shaman is following a more Clerical strategy, they shouldn't be taking too much damage anyway. (Yes, Meditate should theoretically help this, but realistically it doesn't ever seem to kick in when it should and is thematically inappropriate to the hard-hitting Barbarian nature of a Shaman anyway.)
My suggestions for Shaman:
*Allow Natural Respite to restore Ether, and retool Meditate into some sort of offensive ability. (Pros: the class will feel MUCH more fitting for a Barbarian, the benefeits MIGHT outweigh the cons of Blood Ritual as-is; Cons: this might OP Battle Mage, Blood Ritual would still be a major turn-off for potential Shamans)
*Re-tool Blood Ritual to have some sort of area-of-effect on enemies. (Pros: again, more Barbarian-like, damage output mostly outweighs the risk to party; Cons: while this balances the poison disadvantage, it makes the issue with undead worse, in a big way)
*Simply make Blood Ritual completely ineffective on undead. (Pros: least amount of change to the class as-is, preserving the flavor while at the same time making the class viable for players again. Cons: Blood Ritual is still the worst of the Cleric AC Shield rolls, Meditate is still somewhat contrary to the idea of a Barbarian.)
*Re-tool Blood Ritual in some other way (my mind keeps coming up with the idea of TRANSFERRING all effects, but I can't figure out why, perhaps I'm too tired right now )
*some combination of the above.
My advice to Haldor:
Weigh the benefeits of the roleplaying of Shaman against the disadvantages of the class mechanics. Sage is the next-best fit for Haldor, both role-playing wise and mechanically (and it somewhat fits the outfit you showed me), but Shaman Haldor will always have a special place in my heart.
Question is weather or not a Paladin's Guardian Angel protects against an ally trying to perform a Blood ritual which will actually harm a party member.
Yes, but it's still transferring health. Health damages undead. Or at least, that's how I see it. (And if Blood Ritual really is intended to increase the health of the undead enemy, why on earth did Sandy do that? That would make the whole "undead clause" completely useless except to screw over the party... )
In any case, I'd think that Guardian Angel would indeed protect from Blood Ritual damage.
EDIT: To clarify, the "poison clause" is a limitation--it fits thematically, and I like the idea of some drawback to the class, but only if there's enough advantages to warrant it. Right now, Shaman doesn't have enough advantages, and Blood Ritual has too many drawbacks. Also, added another suggestion to ways that Shaman can be tweaked.
Edited by Flipz, 19 November 2012 - 08:43 AM.