Shamans are nomadic spellcasters. The first appearance of a shaman happens in The Balborite Curse.
The nomadic tribes of the Death Sands have mageborns like other groups of humans, but they train quite differently. Their mages become shamans. Shamans have their own rites that are largely kept secret from outsiders. Female nomads that are mageborn can choose to train and become medicine women. The males and females do not mix and do not train together.
Shamans and medicine women do not live among the people of the tribes they were born to, nor do they offer their allegiance to any tribal leader. They live apart from each tribe, yet are welcomed equally as a brother or sister when they come to visit. They play many important roles, such as healing, officiating ceremonies, counseling, storytelling, and assisting or protecting the people they meet. In return for their services, they are offered food and/or temporary shelter until it is time for them to leave. Many Shamans have the ability to speak to animals and some even speak dragon-tongue, a rare gift for non-riders. They also have a gift for crafting various enchanted items, a skill that is a relatively uncommon outside of the nomads.
Unlike other nomads, shamans and medicine women do not marry or raise families. They do pair with other nomads to bear children, so that the line of spellcasters can continue, but they do not raise their own children, mageborn or not. Sometimes, they do apprentice their children later in life. Shamans are always trained by other shamans; likewise, medicine women are trained only by other medicine women.
All spellcasters in the desert are part of the same lineage. The first mageborn was an elfling named Rai'mani, the daughter of a nomadic woman and the elf prince. All twenty-three of her children had mageborn powers to some degree. Every shaman and medicine women can trace their bloodline back to her, making all of them kin to some extent. This means they are all descended from elvish royalty as well, due to Rai'mani being a daughter of the elf prince.