The shaman is slow and weak, but the most powerful unit of Populous. She can destroy a whole village by herself. It’s easy to learn how to use her – but incredibly hard to master. Her main spells against other shamans are blast and lightning.
When a shaman dies, she will reincarnate in her reincarnation site in ~28 seconds if she drowns (only if she actually drowns – not only dies on water), or ~38.75 seconds if it’s any other kind of death.
The Populous world is made out of squares. Every single object is in one square at a time – so is the shaman. Every lightning bolt or blast ever cast only affects one square. A common misconception is that if a lightning is cast directly on a shaman (referred to as shaman clicking), it’ll “follow” her. In reality, there is no such thing; it’ll send the lightning to the square the shaman is on when clicking. If the shaman escapes the square before the lightning hits, then it won’t hit; if she doesn’t, then it’ll hit. It has also been proven that lag cannot interfere with this. Blast follows the enemy shamans if cast directly, though.
Since trees are always in the center of their square, you can mentally align the center of a tree to a shaman to see how centered she is in her square. If she’s centered enough in her square, and you directly cast a lightning on her, she’ll be unable to escape it if you’re close enough to her and the lightning will kill her. (as the distance affects the delay of the lightning)
That’s a more sure-fire way to lightning taking predicting which square the opponent’s shaman will step on out of the equation – but it’s hard to pull off.
The grid cannot be displayed while playing without cheats.
Blast and lightning are the shaman’s most important weapons.
Blast: The most versatile spell. General-purpose, offensive or defensive, scales from no to massive damage. Quickly charged in certain situations, very expensive in others. Sometimes incredibly cost-effective, sometimes not at all. Blast creates a small fire ball of fire. If clicked directly on an unit, the blast will follow it (this is not true of any other spells, especially not lightning!). When directly cast on an unit will cause considerable damage to the target (more so if they fall on lower ground, less so if they fall on higher ground – which depends on the direction the unit is facing when cast on). An indirect blast near a target will do very little damage. An indirect blast which hits right on the target will cause the same damage as a direct blast. Any time a blast hits an unallied unit, they will be sent in the direction they are facing (possibly a bad thing if it’s a shaman facing your base). 5 blasts will take a single wood piece out of a regular or training hut (even if only a single wood piece is taken out it takes a long time to repair it) – VERY useful on training huts. Both direct and indirect blasts can be used to throw units to the water.
Blasts can kill hundreds of units at once if they’re all together. An attack based on blasting braves or trees can range from not at all cost-effective to very cost-effective. Make sure to always be very balanced with such attacks; going into someone’s base mindlessly and trying to blast every single brave or tree is going to result in your loss, but if you use your brain, you can pull it off. With such types of attacks, always consider the hut-men balance: Destroying huts hampers the production of braves, and killing braves hampers the production of mana. As cheap as blast may seem, if you use too many blasts early game, you’ll surely lose. If your shaman is rolling towards water, cast a blast immediately to stop her. If your shaman is dead and your opponent’s shaman is near your reincarnation site, select blast and keep clicking it a small distance away from the reincarnation site several times per second – once your shaman reincarnates, she’ll immediately start moving in that direction, thus dodging an incoming lightning.
Important tricks: Cast blast (several times if the lava is not gone by when she lands) when your shaman is caught on lava to stop her from dying. Cast blast when your shaman is caught in a firestorm to be able to regain control of her. If an enemy shaman blasts you and you blast her right after, she’ll take damage and you won’t if you time it right (it takes training to get the exact timing down, but after you’ll increasingly be able to do it more consistently to the point you easily do it right every time). It’s possible to blast first, wait for them to blast back, and then blast them again – all within a second! If you time it right, they’ll take damage and you won’t!
When there is a group of firewarriors coming to your shaman, what you must do is cast a blast in front of them, move your shaman away from them, cast another blast in front of them, move away, and so on. After 5 blasts, they will all be dead, even if they are somewhat separated, no matter how many they are. When two shamans are in a melee fight with each other, any blasting the other will result in almost no damage being caused by the blast; then the blasted player has an easy opportunity to blast and cause damage, as the shamans will be at a distance. If you want to blast first in such a fight, then hold ctrl while casting blast, cast blast out of range first to make your shaman stop fighting the other shaman temporarily, and then, immediately after, cast blast on the shaman. The melee fight effect is related to the fact that, sometimes, when someone with his shaman selected is repeadetly clicking on someone else’s shaman in order to melee fight them, and then the attacker gets blasted while he keeps clicking, no matter at what distance they are, the blast damage will be reduced to almost zero. (this doesn’t seem to work every time)
A shaman inside a training hut can be killed with one lightning in bird’s eye view (have to adjust camera view and click on the shaman):