Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Mezo-American adventures in Maztica, the True World.
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Big Mac
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Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:16 am

I just posted a topic called If Maztica was on Krynn, what would be different? where I was talking about what changes would have made Maztica fit into the Dragonlance campaign setting. It got me thinking that there are some areas where Maztica isn't totally integrated into the Forgotten Realms.

One of the areas of the Realms that seems to have been ignored (correct me if I'm wrong) is the Shadow Weave. The Shadow Weave is talked about in core FR products, but it spreads all the way across Realmspace (and is underutilised in the FR subsettings and Realmspace).

So I got wondering who, in Maztica, could gain access to the Shadow Weave and figured that Hishna magic and the Jaguar Knights would be the best fit.

What do you think? Could this be made to work? Could at least one of them be changed to tie into the Shadow Weave?

Would I need to make any other changes to Maztica canon to get the Shadow Weave to tie into one or both of these things? Would anything else (like specific deities or monsters) need to move over to Shadow Weave power in order to comply with this tweak to the canon?
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Re: Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by Jürgen Hubert » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:20 am

A few thoughts:

- I would allow Artisans (plumaweavers and hishnashapers) to learn how to use the Shadow Weave in their crafts without using it exclusively. They make use of magic, but it doesn't become part of them - unlike with Arcane Spellcasters.
- For Jaguar Knights it might be a.more exclusive thing - they are effective pledging fealty to a new deity if they use the Shadow Weave, whether they realize it or not.
- If you assume that Maztican Philosophy is similar to Aztec Philosophy, then they are unlikely to view the Shadow Weave as something "unnatural". Far from it - the universe constantly recreating itself in new forms is what the universe does .
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Re: Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by GMWestermeyer » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:45 pm

I think the Shadow Weave is a foreign element in the Realms, and it never fit properly. I'd not use it at all, or I'd transfer Maztica or a Maztica-like location to a campaign setting the shadow weave is native too, like Birthright or Ebberron (I think? I don't know much of Ebberron).

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Re: Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by Seethyr » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:52 pm

I honestly don’t know the current state of the Shadow Weave in the Realms. I think if it still existed (Shar took a bit of a beating at the end of 3e), I could imagine it interacting with both forms of magic (pluma and hishna) in interesting ways though I’ve always figured those two magics are not in fact connected to the Weave.*

Either way, hishna is really not an evil magic imo. It’s certainly darker and more violent than pluma but I hesitate to call it outright evil (nongood being a better descriptor)



*that’s how I’m trying to explain away that both forms of magic were available on Abeir.
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Re: Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by Big Mac » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:30 am

Jürgen Hubert wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:20 am
A few thoughts:

- I would allow Artisans (plumaweavers and hishnashapers) to learn how to use the Shadow Weave in their crafts without using it exclusively. They make use of magic, but it doesn't become part of them - unlike with Arcane Spellcasters.
That's an interesting idea.

I'm not sure how to balance it out. Mechanically Shadow Weave magic can work normally in dead magic or wild magic areas. But there is usually a drawback to the user. In the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting that drawback is the requirement to take the Shadow Weave Magic feat and loose two points of Wisdom (unless your PC is a worshipper of Shar).

I guess that having some creatures with feathers or claws that are more "in tune with Shadow Magic", would allow for Artisians to substitute special ingredients for this feat. Perhaps creatures that have a connection to the Plane of Shadow (or the Shadowfell if you want to use Maztica in the 4th Edition Era) would be a way to infuse a creature with shadow energy.

Shadow Weave items are also supposed to have drawbacks to users. Pages 57-58 of FRCS has these alterations:
  • Enchantment, Illusion and Necromantic effects (and spells with a "Darkness" descriptor) gain a +1 to save DC targets and +1 bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance.
  • Evocation and Transmutation effects suffer a -1 to save DC targets, -1 penalty on caster checks to overcome spell resistance and have their effective caster level reduced by one (but cost the same as items made at the standard level).
  • It is impossible for Shadow Weave items to create an effect that has a "Light" desciptor/
  • Activating Shadow Weave items via spell completion, spell trigger or command word (without the Shadow Weave Magic feat) causes the user to suffer 1d4 points of temporary Wisdom damage.
  • Activating use-activated Shadow Weave items deals 1 point of temporary Wisdom damage the first time the item is used each day (unless the user has the Shadow Weave Magic feat).
If entire items created by Artisians could either be normal Pluma/Hishna items or "Shadow Pluma"/"Shadow Hishna" items, I think that the drawbacks would just come across as a "sacrifice" for the right to use the item.

If Shadow Magic was even more rare in Maztica, than it was in Faerûn, then it would feel less like something "added into the setting" and more like a lost artisian secret from ancient times.

And if Shar is unknown in Maztica, it might be fun to have her allow Maztican Plumaweavers and Hishnashapers to discover and use Shadow Weave magic, in order to try to get a toe-hold and then a foot-hold on the continent.
Jürgen Hubert wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:20 am
- For Jaguar Knights it might be a.more exclusive thing - they are effective pledging fealty to a new deity if they use the Shadow Weave, whether they realize it or not.
That sounds fun, especially the not realising it thing.

Shar could be hiding her identity and looking for strong Jaguar Knights to seduce with her power source.

The Feast of the Moon is a holy day of Shar that involves a blood sacrifice. Perhaps Shar could encourage individual Jaguar Knights to start to carry out the Feast of the Moon as a magical ritual.
Jürgen Hubert wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:20 am
- If you assume that Maztican Philosophy is similar to Aztec Philosophy, then they are unlikely to view the Shadow Weave as something "unnatural". Far from it - the universe constantly recreating itself in new forms is what the universe does .
Fair enough. The Shadow Weave is there, so it is a natural part of the order of the universe. And Mazticans see the phases of the moon, just as much as Faerûnians, so power associated with the moon being dark could potentially be felt world wide.
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Re: Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by Big Mac » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:17 am

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:45 pm
I think the Shadow Weave is a foreign element in the Realms, and it never fit properly. I'd not use it at all, or I'd transfer Maztica or a Maztica-like location to a campaign setting the shadow weave is native too, like Birthright or Ebberron (I think? I don't know much of Ebberron).
Fair enough, Paul.

Ditching things is a valid way for a GM to deal with something that isn't explained well.

But, I am looking for a way to use Shadow Weave with Maztica...rather than seeking permission to declare the Shadow Weave "bad" and ditch it.

A "Mezoamerican Birthright" area (which could use Azcan stuff from Mystara as well as Maztica stuff from Forgotten Realms) could be a ton of fun. But that idea probably needs it's own topic in the Birthright forum. And my Birthrght-fu is far too weak for me to be much use in a discussion like that. I'd mostly be asking questions.

Eberron sort of has a "everything in D&D is in Eberron, but has a different origin story" rule. So using Mezoamerican stuff (Maztica and Azcan) could work well for one of the regions away from Khorvaire. It might fit OK into Xen'drik, for example. However, it would need an Eberron reboot. The gods in Eberron are non-contactable, so the Maztican/Mezoamerican worship would be blind-faith with zero proof. I also think that the Maztican gods (or Azcan or Mezomarican gods from Legends & Lore) would need to be transposed onto the existing Eberron deities (the older ones) so that you had Eberron natives worshipping their own deities in a Mezoamerican way. Again, I think this would be something best discussed in the Eberron forum.
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Re: Hishna, Jaguar Knights and the Shadow Weave

Post by Jürgen Hubert » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:30 am

Here is an interesting tidbit about Aztec philosophy that may be relevant:

Western (i.e. European) metaphysics tends to see opposites as exclusive. That is, something is either Fire OR water, light OR dark, male OR female.

Aztec philosophy, on the other hand, sees opposites as complementary - each part contains a seed of the other, and both form a unity greater than the sum of their parts (indeed, the opposites cannot exist independently of each other).

When contemplating Maztica, Quotal and Zaltic form such an "inamic" unity (as they are called). They struggle against each other, but they also cannot exist without each other. While the concepts of "Shar" and "Selune" did not exist in Maztica, their eternal struggle would be very familiar to Mazticans...

And the Weave and the Shadow Weave could form another such pairing.
Returned Maztica - a new vision for Maztica in the 5th Edition era of the Forgotten Realms! Learn how the continent has changed after invasions and dragonfire, and take part as the people of Maztica finally take their destinies into their own hands!

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