There exists a continent on the scale of Eurasia, which spreads from tropical regions to polar. It has the full range of biomes that we find on Earth. On this continent, there are many varied wild beasts. All animals that are extant in the present day Americas may be found there, as well as all recently extinct animals on this list.

On this continent, there is only one type of 'magic,' and that is blood magic. A blood shaman gains his power by killing a beast and drinking the blood from his still beating heart. The animal must be killed with a sigil-blade called a blood knife, made from a special stone. This 'knife' can in fact be of any size, formed into a sword or a spear.

Once a blood shaman ritualistically kills a beast, he gains the power of the animal. Any strength, senses, or abilities of that creature can be utilized by the shaman; but there is no shape-shifting involved. Here are some examples and limitations.

  • Strength is gained by motion: If a shaman kills a bear, his punch will hit as hard as a bear's. If a shaman kills an alligator, his punch will hit as hard as an alligators (i.e. not that impressive). He will have an unbelievable bite force, but that may be hard to weaponize given the limitations of human teeth.

  • The shaman must have the 'parts' to gain the ability: A shaman who kills a deer can run 40 mph; a shaman who kills an eagle cannot fly, because he does not have wings. Similarly, a shaman who kills crocodile can't swim any faster, since a crocodile swims with its tail. But a shaman who kills a sea lion can, because a sea lion's flippers are just feet.

  • 'Passive' abilities count: A shaman who kills a bison can stand, naked, in a blizzard for hours without trouble. A shaman who kills a camel can do without water for weeks. A shaman who kills a jaguar can move silently. Passive abilities don't depend on body part; you don't need a hump to go without water, or fur to withstand the cold.

  • The animal's final state is important: A wounded or trapped animal will not pass any of its powers on. This is important, since you cannot trap a beast in a pit, then kill it to claim its powers. The first strike on a healthy animal must be done with the blood knife or the blood magic will not succeed.

  • The abilities lose scale with the size of the animal: A 150 lb shaman that kills a 150 lb deer gains all of its speed and agility. A 150 lb shaman that kills a 15 lb rabbit gains at best 1/10 of its speed and agility. This doesn't work scaling up; a 150 lb shaman that kills a 15000 lb mammoth still gains only 100% of its abilities. It is considered shameful for a blood shaman to take the (meagre) powers of an animal much smaller than a human.

  • You only get the maximum of all animals you've killed: Killing two deer doesn't increase your speed twice. Killing a deer then a cougar only lets you take the best of either of their speed and agility.

Problem statement

Training to be a Blood Shaman is arduous. First you must master the spiritual powers needed to perform the rituals; then you must master the physical powers needed to kill your first beast. To ensure that this path is attainable, there is a standardized path of beasts you kill in a certain order as you ascend in skill at blood magic. What is this path?


  • Remember, there is no trapping or pre-wounding the animal. The first wound of the beast must be done with the blood knife, or the blood magic will fail.

  • The starting point is a plain old human with a knife/sword/spear, albeit one in fine physical condition. The ending point is the mighty mammoth. Few, if any, blood mages have ever attained its power.

  • The blood shaman must be expected to have at least even odds to kill each creature with only his blood knife. For example, if the last step was killing a cougar, it would be reasonable for the next step to be a horse, since cougars can kill and eat horses. If the last step was a deer, it would not be reasonable for the next step to be a bear, unless some special tactics were involved.

  • Biome is no limitation on order of animals. Tropical and arctic animals can be mixed in any order. Blood shaman are expected to span the continent in their lifelong quest.

  • The correct answer will get from human to mammoth in the fewest steps while never requiring the shaman to undergo unreasonable odds to kill another beast. A good answer will use the special abilities of one animal to tackle the next one in order.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – James Feb 7 '18 at 15:18

12 Answers 12


Do start small

Killing rats or rabbits may be dishonorable for a full grown, ready-for-the-title shaman. But it may be part of the training for young, unprepared shamans.

This is important, because once they are ready for their first real challenge, they may have heightened senses. Killing a house cat will not grant you much in strength nor speed, but you will have improved hearing and smell senses, however small the improvements may be.

Though, if the first kill ever to grant powers should already be done when the person is already a proper shaman, this section should be disregarded.

Start with a predator

One could think that game would be an ideal first choice. After all, humanity has been hunting game from the start.

But game tends to run away. And the usual method of game hunting without traps is either with bows and arrows, or with many spears. Making a lot of ritual weapons and throwing them around while trying to one-hit-kill game is wasteful.

The perfect starter is the alligator:

Pros: slow (easy to hit), heavy (grants full power), will provide ability to hold breath for much longer than a human can withstand (good for stealth, damp breathing sounds), ability to stand still like a rock for hours (also good for stealth). Great if you are doing your hunting on swamps, marsh or mangrove.

Cons: not much in speed nor damage capacity, practically a lost battle if you can't lure them out of the water.

Next, develop your stamina

Once you have offed a gator, you can hunt big game. You will be able to hunt like a giant mantis. Cover yourself in mud for camouflage, then wait by where game goes to drink water. Use your ability to hold breath and stand still, and wait for your prey to get close.

Now remember, you killed an alligator before. Gators can perform quick bursts of speed, so use that skill. When a bison or buffalo comes near you, be fast and one-two-THREE-DEATH it with a stab to the jugular. The rest of the herd will run to the hills.

You now have even more stamina and raw strength, and a lethal kick if you need one.

You need some speed too

You are almost ready to tackle the mammoth. Just need to take a detour first. Kill a wild horse. Seriously. You have the stamina to chase one - it may be faster than you - and you want that speed - but you should be able to track and pursue, with your buffalo/bison stamina. If you think a tired horse is no source of power, let it rest and ambush.

Now the final leg

Offed the horse? Cool. Now, to kill the mammoth:

  • Make sure to reshape your weapon into a giant spear (or acquire a new one in that shape);
  • Find a mammoth;
  • Point and run as fast as you can.

With the force of a bison and the speed of a horse, the spear will enter the mammoth like an arrow piercing a naked human. It will probably break, along with some of your own bones when you collide with your victim. But then again, you can't make an omelet without some exposed fractures. Enjoy your mammoth heart.

That doesn't have to be the end of it

You could try croaking some other critters for additional powers. I'll leave the methods of killing to the reader's imagination from here on.

  • Great white deaths: who cares that human teeth are hard to weaponize, when your bite can break the hardest branches and turtle shells as though they were cookies?

  • Sperm whales: hold your breath for up to 90 minutes! Stun your prey by busting their eardrums with 170 decibel shouts (200 underwater)!

  • Anacondas: eat as much as you can fit in your stomach then rest (but not sleep nor hibernate) for 2 to 8 weeks. Not very adventurous, but nice if you need to save energy for a long time and you can only have one large meal.

  • Goats: American alpine goats may weight as much as an adult human (75kg). Goats have a sense of balance much more refined than that of humans, which helps to keep one's footing in all situations, as well climbing steep surfaces or perilous terrain.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, in particular for making me realize that ranged weapons are impractical, because if the animal escapes with your blood knife in it there goes all your powers for good. $\endgroup$ – Random Feb 1 '18 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ But then again, you can't make an omelet without some exposed fractures. Ah, yeah, I remember how my mother would always tell me that... $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Feb 1 '18 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Votbear I actually intend for the knife to be used as a thrown spear in certain circumstances. It is a risk reward thing. If you succeed and kill this bison and recover your spear then you become a very powerful shaman. If you fail, the bison runs off with your spear, and you can never find it, you're just a normal guy again. The reward may be worth the risk. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 1 '18 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Note: Alligators are capable of short bursts of speed that can exceed 30 miles per hour and the two spots where it's skin is soft enough to cut with a knife are it's belly and it's mouth (from inside) $\endgroup$ – jean Feb 1 '18 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ To add to the anaconda example, or any large constrictor, you will be able to squeeze so hard that you can kill from internal bleeding and shattered bones, and survive even with a severed spinal cord. Killing a snake like a viper will enable you to strike and recoil back to your original position in a fraction of a second, making your punches and kicks so fast that they’re nearly invisible to regular people. Very useful I would say. $\endgroup$ – Nick Feb 2 '18 at 18:49

Obviously, you kill another blood shaman and gain 100% of his abilities.

Befriend a shaman as his "pupil", wait till he trusts you then, when his back is turned, ... WHACK!

Not very honorable but, hey... fast tracked.

You never said blood shamans can't get the power inherited by blood shamans.

If domesticated animals are allowed start with a dog, maybe dogs bred just for this purpose. You would gain

  • enhanced sense of smell
  • enhanced sense of hearing
  • endurance, some dogs have high endurance
  • a craving for milkbones

Of course that brings up issues where you could have a whole host of domesticated animals that grain all kinds of base abilities. Hunting hawks, etc..

Here fido, good boy ... WHACK!

where do you draw the line at "caged"

I would start by using the biggest weapon mother nature has given man, intelligence.

Man is capable of understanding the behaviour of other animals. So for example you could start putting food out for deer. Get them used to that, slowly get them used to being fed. Get closer and closer until ... WHACK!

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    $\begingroup$ Well, now I'm saying it. You can't get blood shaman powers from another blood shaman. Killing a domesticated dog would also be dishonorable; it really doesn't fit the bill for an epic and arduous quest. Also, you haven't answered the question, a correct answer will be a list of beasts to conquer in order. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 1 '18 at 4:47
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    $\begingroup$ I was afraid you would say that, but, I think the actual, line of animals is largely opinion based, anyone could argue you cant kill X animal with Y animals powers... But I do know you could acclimate certain animals to your presence, gain their trust and then ... WHACK! $\endgroup$ – ArtisticPhoenix Feb 1 '18 at 4:50
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    $\begingroup$ I think I recently read that raising and then sacrificing dog used to be a part of warrior initiation. So the first animal(s) in the chain probably would be domesticated. Cats and snakes were used for rodent control and would make reasonable "spirit guardians" as well. Similarly a tribe that herds a specific animal would probably start with that since it would be most important to them. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Feb 1 '18 at 6:24
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    $\begingroup$ So that's why the Rule of Two was implemented. $\endgroup$ – Alice Feb 1 '18 at 8:31
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    $\begingroup$ @kingledion It's your world and it's your rules, but power theft by assassination brings some interesting plot lines to develop. Every good story needs a charismatic evil guy... (+1) $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Feb 1 '18 at 9:13

Start on the beaches

You want a seal.

  • Approximately human sized
  • Not particularly agile on land so easy to hunt
  • Have the ability to swim quickly and remain underwater for long periods
  • Survive in both very cold water and very cold air comfortably

You're now all set to hunt a crocodile, or hunt like a crocodile. I would advise hunting a crocodile, wait on the bottom of the river and attack from below.

  • Survive up to a year without eating
  • Impersonate a floating log (it could be useful, you never know!)
  • Digest anything, no matter how rotten, without adverse effect

Now you're really hunting like a crocodile, lying in ambush in the river waiting for the migratory herds.

You may be considering the speed of a pronghorn at this point, but they're too small, the reason you want a deer species is the ability to pronk, this will save you from needing to hunt a big cat for its leap. You might as well go for bison for brute strength (try not to get caught under a stampeding herd) and a horse for speed (possibly before the bison so you can run away in time).

You now need the stealth of the cats, you get to take your pick here but they're all dangerous. The first thing to do is make sure you're hunting him, not the other way round. Cougar and jaguar are both quite big enough to get their full abilities, they're also quite big enough to eat you as a snack. Given you have the abilities of the crocodilians, you're primary prey for a jaguar whose way of saying hi is a crushing bite to the back of the skull. You have the strength to take them on head on, the speed to outrun them, the reflexes to evade if you spot them, the sense of smell and hearing from a lot of prey animals, but they're ambush hunters. The best way to deal with the cats will be out in the open, the endurance hunt. Listen for the alarm calls of the prey around and start your hunt. It doesn't matter which of the cats you go for this way but you have to keep your target running, preferably out into the open.

Once you have your big cat, you're all set.

  • You have the speed and endurance of the hunters and prey of the open plains
  • The patience and digestion of the crocodile
  • The stealth of the cats
  • The cold tolerance of the seal
  • The swimming of the seal
  • The breath control of the seal and crocodile
  • The strength of any of the above
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    $\begingroup$ Remember, the list of animals is current and recently extinct American ones. So, no wildebeest, antelope, wild dog, tiger, lion, etc. You can use the American equivalents of those, though. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 1 '18 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion, oh that's me not paying attention. Unfortunately I don't know enough about the behaviours of the American equivalents. I know there's nothing equivalent to the wild dog for example, wolves just don't have that stamina. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Feb 1 '18 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ "their primary tactic is to run their prey to exhaustion...not to be turned down in the long run" intentional or not, I appreciate this pun $\endgroup$ – SnoringFrog Feb 1 '18 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @SnoringFrog, I'm afraid it'll have to go for not being North American $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Feb 2 '18 at 8:34

Take advantage of terrain

You have to take what you can get for your first kill, since humans are not super competitive in hand to hand combat against a lot of beasts. So a great way to get your first kill, but add useful skills is to tackle a creature out of its primary environment. That means, ambushing and killing an alligator or crocodile on land. With your blood knife fashioned into a spear, kill an alligator from above, attacking out of a tree.

With the crocodillian slain, you will gain the ability to wait motionless for hours or days, and the quick powerful lunge necessary to tackle flightier prey.

Get some stamina

With some serious aquatic ambush skills, you can now try to tackle a creature that you would never hope to outrun. We are not looking for burst speed so much as long distance stamina. Popular Mechanics suggest that pronghorn, camels, and ostriches have very high stamina. Pronghorn are around in this continent. Camels might be a tough kill at this point due to their size, but there are lots of smaller camelids such as guanaco, vicuna, and two extinct llama species. Finally, there are no ostriches, but there are rhea. These max out at about 40 kg today, but if they were a bit larger in the past, they would be a valid animal to kill for stamina.

Ambush one of these creatures in a water hole, kill it will a quick burst of speed and powerful thrust of the blood knife.

Run something to death

We don't have a lot of strength and power yet, but we have the tools to get it. Many large herbivores have as their natural reaction to run away. But we can now outrun them over long distances, no matter how fast they are. We will simply run them to death.

The target animal should be one that can killed after being worn down tired. A bison is probably still too large to risk tackling, but a horse, musk-ox or elk might be the right size, or possibly one of the extinct musk-ox like bovids. Another option for a more jungled chase is a large tapir, but chasing though water might not play to our strengths.

Get the ability to leap attack

Hunting a predator is hard, because ultimately, they will turn and attack you. While a spear is a useful weapon, so are teeth and claws. To overpower a predator, you really need to be stronger and tougher than them.

Now that we have killed a horse or elk, we can match a big cat strength for strength, and hopefully, with our spear, prevail. Hunt down and challenge a cougar, jaguar, or maybe Homotherium.

Use your leap attack to gain great strength

Now that you can ambush and make a jumping attack at a truly powerful beast. To tackle something much stronger, by yourself, you will have to leap on their back, and try to damage them sufficiently in the first blow to even the fight. With the leap of a jaguar and the strength and mass of an ox, you can tackle a short faced bear, a ton and a half ancient bison, or a giant sloth.

Almost there

The gap to the Colombian Mammoth is still an order of magnitude at this point. The previous animals were in the 1 ton range; a Columbian mammoth is more like 10 tons. To bridge the gap, we'll have to use the only animals left: Mastodons, Megatherium, and Eremotherium in the 3-5 ton range.


The standard order for a blood shaman is

  • Alligator
  • Rhea
  • Horse
  • Jaguar
  • Short-faced Bear
  • Megatherium ground sloth
  • Mighty mammoth
  • $\begingroup$ I think you can short circuit this somewhat. The first step as stated in the question is a human in peak physical fitness; it should be noted that such a human is already adapted to persistence hunting so there should be no need to follow your first few steps at all. As noted in the linked article, human persistence hunters are able to hunt even very fast animals, up to the cheetah -- which unfortunately doesn't exist in your target environment, but it's close relative the cougar does, and is actually as fast or faster than a horse. $\endgroup$ – Jules Feb 1 '18 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Jules The problem with hunting a cougar is that it won't run from you. It will turn and attack if you chase it, you need the strength to tackle it. Regarding a horse, I doubt a human could chase down a horse; not because the human can't outrun it over the long run, but because the human isn't fast enough to keep in sight of the horse. You can't run marathon speed while also following tracks, so you need short term and long term speed in order to run a horse to death. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 1 '18 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ Persistence hunting doesn't require constant eye contact, tracking is also used when sight is lost. Humans aren't fast runners in the grand scheme of things, but we have stamina. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Feb 2 '18 at 8:14

Sometimes on WorldBuilding, the best answer is one which challenges the assumptions of the author.

There is no best path

To ensure that this path is attainable, there is a standardized path of beasts you kill in a certain order as you ascend in skill at blood magic. What is this path?

Why must there be a standardized path of beasts? You call these individuals "shamans," which are traditionally a class of individuals whose training is distinctly personal. You are using blood, which is also deemed distinctly personal. Why would one's training follow a min/maxed regimen devoid of any personality? Do these shaman care about nothing beyond raw power? If so, I may recommend changing their name to something more proper. "Death knight" has a good ring to it.

Once it's personal, a lot of the rules become less essential. You don't need as many honor rules, because each shaman will be concerned with their own. You don't need to worry as much about the trapping or poisoning rules because something so intimately personal as selecting an animal implies that if the shaman cannot still the creature's heart with just his gaze, he isn't one enough with the animal to merge with it anyway. Surely merging is a frighting thing which could backfire if an untrained civilian grabbed a blood knife and tried to hack the head off a cat, dog, or horse in the name of power.

Those with the spirit of the Mastodon in them must make a journey. They must find their way to the point where they can truly be one with the Mastodon, as equals, without losing their way to the cat spirits or the gazelle spirits. Or perhaps they find that their spirit was not that of the Mastodon. Perhaps they find that their spirit is something more subtle. More uniquely their own.

  • $\begingroup$ Nah... you can always expect people to game the system. And when they do, they will find the best "builds". After some time you will have two or three competing paths, and one will be producing more successful shamans than the others. Before you know shamans are learning their stuff at college - with curriculums that go like alligator 101, which is a prerequisite to bison 201 and gazelle 202 - and writing articles on Instructables. The most famous ones will sell autobiographies detailing their career step by step within the process. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Feb 1 '18 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Renan So what's the min/maxed path within American culture? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Feb 1 '18 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Renan Think about the answer to that question. If it's hard to find a minmaxed path through culture, perhaps limit it just to college. What's the best degree? Is it English Literature? Science? Mathematics? Let's take Mathematics. What's the best subfield? Group Theory? Abstract Algebra? Cryptography? How many thousands of "best paths" are there through college alone? Do I get a masters or a PhD? And that doesn't even take account for the argument that Life is not a Journey, which the shamans certainly understand. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Feb 1 '18 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ Even in the military, with their inherent need for min/maxed approaches, there are at least dozens of paths, and I like to think there's a whole lot more than that. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Feb 1 '18 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ I was thinking more along the lines of shamanism being a very specialized job like being a medic or an electric engineer. There are well defined paths for those. I also saw the question as the path to the mammoth - I see the extras in my answer as possible minors, or you could major in great white shark or anaconda if you like. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Feb 1 '18 at 19:24

You all are picking boring animals. Let's go look at the extinct list!

I'd start with a glyptodont. It's basically a giant armadillo. It's strong but slow, and a quick shaman with a knife should be able to get past its armor without trouble.

Now that you are invulnerable from the neck down, it's time for some strength. Bears are the obvious choice, but I think that they are probably outmatched by the 1,000 kg giant ground sloth.

Now it's time to get some speed and endurance. Here the pronghorn is probably your best bet, if you can catch one. Sneaking up on one in the open plains where they live might be difficult, though, so you might turn instead to the majestic moose, which can clock in at 35 mph for over 500 m are excellent swimmers and can kick in every direction.

For stealth and a wicked pouncing leap it's time to go jaguar hunting.

And now you're ready to face your mammoth!

  • $\begingroup$ Is that the order you are supposed to kill the creatures in? $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 2 '18 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion that was the intent $\endgroup$ – Arcanist Lupus Feb 2 '18 at 14:32

Step 1:
You want to start out easy, so finding tigers, crocodiles, rhinos, etc would not be a good idea.

The best animal to start out with would be a sea turtle. Sea turtles are powerful swimmers, can see underwater, and have very powerful lungs. Furthermore, they are very vulnerable when they are on land, and they are not very dangerous. So wait for a turtle to come ashore during breeding season and you can easily kill it.

Step 2:
Find a water-hole or river. All animals need water, so all you have to do is wait for some animal, like a moose, to approach. Then you can ambush it, and kill it with your turtle powers. An powerful animal like a moose would be the best.

Step 3:
Practice on an African elephant. Before you go kill your Colombian Mammoth, first find an African elephant. Your moose powers, turtle powers, and intelligence, killing an African elephant shouldn't be too hard.
This step is important for 2 reasons. You get to practice on something smaller and you gain the strength of an elephant.

Step 4:
The final step would be to kill the mammoth. With your incredible elephant strength, it should be a piece of cake. Attach your knife to a stick, so that it becomes an ax. Run up to the mammoth and smash your ax/knife into its skull to kill it.

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    $\begingroup$ OP said that New World animals are available. Elephants are native to the Old World. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Feb 1 '18 at 10:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Renan - true, but mastadon are available and are in most respects pretty similar to elephants. $\endgroup$ – Jules Feb 1 '18 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Jules good point. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Feb 1 '18 at 18:58
  • Start with a beached whale: unless it still counts as trapped when the animal did it to itself. Although it might take a long time to cut through all that blubber.

  • if the above counts as trapping the animal, then maybe start with a pilot whale. (See method here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling_in_the_Faroe_Islands#Elements_of_the_hunt) Powers gained: technically, whales swim with their tails, but they can also hold their breaths for a very long time and hear sounds as low frequency as 10 Hz and can dive deep.

  • a frog: children can catch frogs so shamans should be able too. (But wear gloves in case the frog is poisonous.) It might be small, so the shaman would gain no awesome jumping powers but might be able to breathe through his skin. And possibly catch flies with his tongue.

  • barn cat: you can't say those are domesticated, exactly. And seeing in the dark and hearing mice moving in the walls would be kind of cool.

  • mice: to gain an enhanced sense of hearing and smell.

  • snake: to be able to swallow large objects and possibly "see" heat signatures. (unlikely as they have a different organ for it that humans don't possess).

  • an octopus: "Octopuses and other coleoid cephalopods are capable of greater RNA editing (which involves changes to the nucleic acid sequence of the primary transcript of RNA molecules) than any other organisms." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus#RNA_editing Actually, I can't tell you concrete example for which this would be good but it does sound cool. Also, the shaman might gain a better sense of direction and spatial problem solving skills.

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    $\begingroup$ For frogs, a poison dart frog would allow the shaman to secrete poison from his skin, probably one of the better abilities you can get from something so small. If the frog's poison if potent enough, it might still be useful even after the scaling issues. $\endgroup$ – SnoringFrog Feb 1 '18 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ @SnoringFrog PoisonDartFrog Blood Shaman: "My abilities are so cool, I don't understand why no one wants to go on a date with me anymore!" $\endgroup$ – Real Subtle Feb 2 '18 at 7:08

Two steps

Kill a panther. You said that this would give you magical silent-walking abilities. Killing a panther with a spear should be fairly easy for somebody who knows how to use the weapon. If you are worried that you'll die to the panther, you were never meant to be a blood shaman anyway, but you can make it less risky by simply going in a large group, this should prevent the animal from thinking you're an easy snack, making you the aggressor.

Find a sleeping mammoth and a safe spot to hide from an angry mammoth. Jam your spear through one of its eyes, get out before it realizes what is going on. See if it dies from bleeding. If not, repeat for the other eye once it passes out again.

Now kill your blind mammoth in whatever fashion you deem best, if being stabbed through the eyes twice wasn't enough to kill it.

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    $\begingroup$ Killing a panther with a spear should be fairly easy for somebody who knows how to use the weapon. Citation needed. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 1 '18 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ I am upvoting this because if you did kill a panther the stealth approach might just work, but... You need to work on that panther stuff. Maybe kill some animals before you get to it? Because I've seen brazillian panthers (jaguars), and from all the anedoctal stuff I've seen, they are more dangerous than tigers or lions even though they are smaller. Those beasts can mimic bird calls and will do so while hunting to distract and confuse their prey. Chances are it is hunting you when you think you are hunting it. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Feb 1 '18 at 15:06

Start with the Mammoth

Ancient humans routinely killed Mammoths as a source of food / clothing / housing. They normally hunted in packs and used all types of trickery (nets, pit traps, chasing the animal to die of exhaustion ... etc). However, I am fairly confident that a well prepared blood shaman could kill one on there own without having to resort to traps.

Start by crafting a blood-stone spear lashed to a solid oak staff using a type of cloth. Cultivate some Wolfsbane and poison the cloth of the spear with the wolfsbane mash. Sneak up on the Mammoth and stab it in the neck.

... although you might want to start by killing a Starfish or a large lizard so you could regrow limbs (just in case).

Alternatively you could kill a puffer fish first... a puffer fish has enough poison to kill 30x humans so even with 1/10th of its ability you would still have more than enough tetrodotoxin to kill most animals.

  • $\begingroup$ Killing light animals gives you only a fraction of their power based on weight ratios. A 75kg shaman that kills a 1kg starfish will be able to regrow 1/75 of a lost limb. $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Feb 1 '18 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ well, would it regrow 1/75th of the limb or regrow at 1/75th of the speed? $\endgroup$ – CaffeineAddiction Feb 1 '18 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ I am very confident that a single human with a spear cannot kill a mammoth. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 1 '18 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ @kingledion I feel you under-estimate the power of neuro-toxins $\endgroup$ – CaffeineAddiction Feb 1 '18 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ So what you are saying is that physical brute force strength is transferred, holding breath is transferred, super eye sight is transferred ... but poison which is part of nature ... breaks all the things. Your story Your rules ... but imo, massive plot hole. $\endgroup$ – CaffeineAddiction Feb 1 '18 at 17:25

Simply put, my list is roughly three to five species long:

  1. Small predator/large prey: Doe, for example.
    • Lone wolves would be useful, but the payoff would be smaller, due to the disparity in size. On the plus side, getting one to attack you would be as simple as bleeding, or wandering too close.
    • For prey, you might want to choose a doe, but you could choose a stag, as their antlers and speed come at a disadvantage, given the ingenuity of man.
  2. Large prey/large predator: A bear, or more specifically, a kodiak (their among the largest/strongest bear species in the world).
    • With the speed and stamina of a doe, you could outmatch a bear in speed, which gives you some room with regards to the obvious deficit in strength. This should help with maneuvering in and out of the bear's range (small arms and all).
    • If you went for the small predator - which is undeniably harder, seeing as smaller predators run in packs - you'll have to go after large prey now.
  3. Larger predator/largest prey: Mammoth, to be precise.
    • With the speed of a large prey animal, the strength of a large predator and the mind of a human, you could overwhelm a mammoth. We can't trap or restrain the animal, but we can corral, correct? If so, the best option would be to force it into a choke point and force it to charge at you. With the strength of a bear condensed to a point, moving at the speed of a deer, it should be possible to pierce the skin and muscles of a mammoth to get to the heart.

Now, I'll give you some honorable mentions.

  1. Jungle cats/large cats.
    • On top of being extremely fast, most big cats have impeccable balance, excellent hearing, smell and eyesight. Bears have good senses, but many of the animals in this category are a step or two above. It can only help your cause.
  2. Smaller aquatic mammals would be great. You could hold your breath for an hour plus.
  3. Predatory birds could be helpful, with regards to eyesight.
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, Avarice Wildman! If you have a moment, please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. You may also find Worldbuilding Meta and The Sandbox useful. Here is a meta post on the culture and style of Worldbuilding.SE, just to help you understand our scope and methods, and how we do things here. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Feb 5 '19 at 3:59

I see a loophole here, and it's a big one. Literally, these guys outnumber humans 200 million to one. Arthropods. In other words, your more clever blood shamans can gain the power of insects by forming a needle of the bloodstone and killing them en masse with that. Yes, it will take a while, because you only gain a sliver of power from each insect, but it's worth it!

Take the Indomitable Ironclad Beetle. Its shell is so tough that in order to break it and therefore harm it, you have to expose it to 160 Newtons. For a frame of reference, getting run over on a concrete road subjects such a beetle to 150 Newtons. And after that, it's perfectly fine!

Mantis shrimp are similarly game-changing. Some mantis shrimp are "smashers," which have bludgeoning appendages that can accelerate at a speed of over 50 mph! The blow from these appendages delivers a force of over 1,500 Newtons, a force 2.5 thousand times its own weight. According to factanimal.com, "if a human could do that they’d be able to punch through steel."

Even worse, the punch is so fast that it creates a cavitation bubble (ie. superheated bubble with a corresponding flash of light). Note superheated-this attack will generate temperatures of 4,400 c (almost as hot as the sun) in the surrounding air, and when that bubble collapses, the result is a powerful shockwave that can stun, kill, or dismember the target even if the attack missed!

A Tiger Beetle is just as dangerous-the fastest of them runs at 5mph, which doesn't sound impressive until one finds out that means it covers 120x its own length in a second, and by comparison, Usain Bolt covers 5x his body length (height) in a second and would have to run at 480 mph to cover the same distance relative to his height! Granted, tiger beetles can only see a blur at that speed, but it doesn't matter because they're so dang fast they can afford to stop and reorient themselves.

Granted, since this happens because their eyes can't gather enough light to form an image, one may be able to overcome that through a bat or whale's sonar abilities. Anyway, a Blood Shaman with the three abilities should be able to take over and rule the continent with those three abilities alone, but if he wants to play it safe he can claim a queen bee or ant's pheromone control ability first and then take over by virtue of biological mind control.

Forget the mammoth, it's the little guys who you really want.


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