Blood. Blood and teeth and scales and death. These are the marks of the most famous apex predator in the oceans: the shark. Today’s archetype reveres these powerful predators as their totem animal.
So surely these druids revere them for their bloodthirstiness and mastery of their domain, right? Not necessarily, as it happens. While western culture tends to demonize them as deadly predators and maneaters, sharks are actually less likely to attack people than one might think. In fact, death by lightning strike is more likely than a shark attack.
In truth, sharks, while an apex predator in their environment, are often shy creatures, more likely to retreat from a creature that attacks them. Most attacks occurring due to hunger and an honest mistakes on the shark’s part, and many more minor bites occur due to their mouth being their only way to examine something that is unfamiliar to them.
In Hawaii, sharks are revered not only for their power and deadliness, but also for their association with death and life, and an attributed sense of honor as noted by the principle shark god forbidding the eating of humans in their mythos.
All in all, these druids can draw upon both the deadly hunger and the powerful swimming abilities of these piscine predators.
Naturally, these druids must take a shark for their animal companion, or else the Animal, Death, War, or Water domains.
Their ability to communicate with animals on an empathic level is enhanced when dealing with fish, granting them an advantage in aquatic realms.
Like other animal shamans, these mystics can partially transform themselves, emulating the gills and swimming speed, underwater sense of smell, powerful jaws, and even the tough, toothlike scales of a shark, protecting them and scratching at the flesh of those that grapple them.
The summoned sharks and rays of these druids are exceptionally tough, and can be weakened or strengthened to use at higher and lower levels of summoning spells, giving them a range across all of the summoning spells. In addition, they also add stingrays and manta rays to their summoning list for free.
Furthermore, their shark forms while wildshaping are enhanced, while their other forms are less perfected.
Finally, this archetype provides a list of bonus feats, including those that increase their speed and reflexes, master of the water and ability to survive along, and even to tear into their foes, causing them to bleed profusely.
There are many fun ways to bring a druid into your aquatic/pirate-themed game, but this one is great if you’re looking for a more melee-themed druid capable of tearing foes apart in the water. Especially clever shark shamans will prepare control water and use it to flood shorelines when fighting on a beach or other watery location, allowing their companion shark or themselves in shark form to travel further on land than normal.
Much like the serpent shaman, these druids have a choice of educating others about their fanged totem animal, or to embrace the fear and devour those who oppose them. They are certainly equipped to do the latter. Additionally, you might take inspiration from Hawaii’s culture and spiritualism, and develop a character who embodies those traits.
The party rescues a woman seemingly being sacrificed to sharks only to find that she is a shark shaman about to call her first animal companion. She and the rest of her tribe are less than pleased by their foreign interference and if things are not set right, they’ll need to go further to resupply their ship, a grim prospect considering how low their stores have gotten.
The fiendish sharks of the River Styx are immune to the effects of that foul water, and in some places, lesser demons, daemons, and devils increase their own power by forming a bond with them, commanding them to drag foes into the depths, where the water take hold with whatever the foul effects of that tributary have, such a memory loss, immolation, and so on.
Terrestrial races are not the only ones to create sentient constructs, and the Tikans, carved with exotic faces from stone taken from the depths or shoreline cliffs, serve as powerful seafloor-striding defenders of locathah homes. Some, however, seek out a life of their own, like Busha, whose carved form represents the power of the sharks he has learned to conjure from across the oceans, tearing into his foes.