[RPG] What are the ‘civilian’ jobs of shamans


In the Shadowrun setting, I find it hard to envision what a shaman does all day. What do shamans do for a living if they are not shadowrunners or security personnel of one sort or another (be it for a tribe, or gang, or whatever)?

In tribal societies shamans had or have ceremonial and political roles that don't translate well into a fractured (post-)industrial society. 9-5 jobs can be ruled out for many shamans for philosophical reasons. Healer or entertainer (can be done with magic in SR) are not compatible with all totems. Neither is life as a squatter on the street (some totems are associated with cleanliness, and a life as a thief and grifter may not be ethically acceptable). What does a non-shadowrunning shaman do to earn his bread; does his or her command of spells and spirits come into play here?

The background of this question is twofold: How do I make a character (or antagonist) who is actually the result of a biography, and not of optimization towards a shadowrunning career? And how does day to day life in the 2070s actually work for some of its inhabitants; can I use this to add texture?

Best Answer

The question is a bit broad and rather subjective, but I think it's a good one, nonetheless. There are as many answers as shamans, though: it depends on the person and their circumstances as much as on their totem.

Here, let me present a few examples I'd consider stereotypical (though YMMV, wildly, of course.)

First of all, imo, practically any shaman can be, you know, a shaman. :) A spiritual leader like a priest, for a group of people willingly associating with the totem and with the belief system and mythology the totem is a part of.


Bear: She's a pro trainer in a gym or a health club in the suburbs. She can show you how to get stronger (like her), and she can fix you up quick if you get hurt.

Cat: She's an independent coach who helps you get on with your life and land on your feet when in trouble. Or she's a private investigator. Or an independent reporter (with her exclusive, highly popular online channel about business, health, celebrities, art, fashion, cooking, whatever.)

Coyote: He's a con man. Some companies might think he's working for them as a salesperson. Big mistake.

Dog: He's a janitor at a local school. Or works in a kindergarten.

Eagle: She's an environmental activist working as a lone agent for a large organization. A ranger, perhaps?

Gator: He's an officer, or overseer working for a wastewater treatment company. Or perhaps even its CEO.

Lion: He's also a CEO, probably of a startup (developing games and/or surveillance software), that will be worth zillions in a few years.

Owl: She works as a flight instructor, specialized in night flights. (Day flight training is handled by her companion, with whom they have a small company.)

Raccoon: He's an art buyer, traveling the world, hunting for the most exquisite pieces to buy. Or to, you know, acquire. Somehow. Anyhow.

Rat: I know it's a stereotype, but if anyone, she's a squatter.

Raven: Just like Coyote, she's a con artist, working rural areas under the guise of a salesperson for a firm providing exclusive funerary services.

Snake: She's a traveling advisor / internal affairs inspector / lawyer for a megacorporation.

Wolf: He's a lumberjack. Or a farmer. And he's not alone.

Well, that's my take on most likely shaman professions / occupations. But, remember, it all depends on who they are and where they're coming from. :)

And, of course, spells and spirits and magical stuff do come into play in most of these cases, should they be needed and useful.