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 Concept to 5e Pluma & Hishna as Pact Magic

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sleyvas Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 18:07:48
I have a germ of an idea, and I want to write out the general concept while its in my head, and see about some feedback. Hit me with your thoughts, and don't worry, my feelings don't get hurt.

First, for those unaware of the ideas of pluma and hishna, back in 2e they were basically something like crafting skills that turned into basically something like divine spell slots for working things out of feathers/bird parts (pluma) or pretty much any other animal part (hishna). So, using pluma craft, you could "weave" some feathers to basically make a flying carpet type magic item. Using hishna, you could enchant a weapon to be encoated with venom, etc... These "magics" came from the gods and were delivered to mortals as secrets they could learn, but they weren't clerical spells per se. I believe back in 2e it was actually the rogue who could I think take a kit that gave them pluma or hishna crafting abilities.

Seethyr's tried to adapt some spells to be pluma/hishna spells for 5e, and he's got some dm's guild products out. I haven't actually run them, so I'm going to go back and reread some of them. However, I know some of what he's done is make it like a wizard's arcane school choice, etc.... I'm actually going to take a look at that.

However, I was thinking that perhaps this should be something like "pact magic" given more modern concepts. The person doesn't have to worship the gods in question, but perhaps the rituals themselves involve some kind of "sacrifice" or "devotion" that somewhat simulates a "pact" with a being (which may be Zaltec or Qotal, but could be other gods as well, like beast lords, Ubtao, Ulutiu, Uthgar, etc...).

Also, while most people hear "pact magic" and think warlock... I'm not thinking to limit it to that. For instance, a variant similar to eldritch knight for warriors, arcane trickster for rogues, an extra variant for rangers to get a few extra "pact magic" spell slots, clerics, druids, etc... might all have some kind of option. There might even be an artificer option that learns both pluma and hishna.

What got me thinking about this was the idea of having what I've been calling "anchorome hybsil".... which will be their faerunian nickname and they call themselves anikiwah.. So, I didn't want this race to ever lose their antlers. But then I thought, what if they have knowledge of hishna, and one of the lowest level hishna ability they have is "shed antlers" and it allows them to shed their current antlers and grow a new set over a few hours. I thought that then they might actually perform some carving on their own antlers, giving up pain in the process, to instill some "power" in the antlers. I also figured they might be able to use this same process on reindeer to take their current antlers and use them. They may even be able to use said same magic on creatures that normally don't shed their antlers (like bison or longhorn steers), just for raw materials.

Similarly, I figured other creatures might have similar spells of pluma and hishna that are particularly useful to their race (i.e. aarakocra that can deplume themselves and grow new feathers, yuan-ti that can pull out their own fangs and grow new ones, minotaurs/yak men/ibixians that can do things with their horns, gnolls that can use their own claws or fangs and regrow them, etc....). Thus, we might see these magics as much more useful to bestial humanoid races.

At the same time, in all this, I'd like for it to be more than just "hey, you have this pact magic spell slot". It should relate back to crafting... either a crafting skill like alchemy... or maybe give a tool proficiency (hishnashaping)... Maybe there's a feat that gives access to all spells of pluma or hishna crafting.

Oh, and just because its playing in my head, and not sure if Seethyr's made a spell for this concept yet.... for hishna... fang arrows, claw arrows, or horn arrows (basically turn some fangs or claws into arrowheads and attach to shafts or shape some pieces of antler into arrowheads.... this magic hardening them so they're fully functional, and maybe even with some kind of bonus).

Again, the concept isn't exactly concrete in my head. I'm even playing with the idea that certain races may get a pact magic spell slot, or maybe the aforementioned feat concept (and maybe the feat provides a pact magic spell slot). If any of my rambling here put some idea in your head, let it out, as that's the point.
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cpthero2 Posted - 22 Nov 2020 : 05:28:17
Acolyte Compaste,

haha...I am afraid I don't even know who you are referring too in this case. Who's skill will standout?

Best regards,

Compaste Posted - 09 Nov 2020 : 05:13:26
I am sure your skill will standout!
cpthero2 Posted - 06 Nov 2020 : 07:02:13
Great Reader sleyvas,

I think the concept of this in Maztica is awesome. So, as requested, I am just throwing darts here. That being said...

This is a perfect opportunity for exploration and for you to both improv and crunch it. You could have the character go on a hunt/search/calling, whatever you want to call it, for the "right" materials. They don't always have to be consistent. They could be predicated upon the commitment, dedication, etc. to the items being sought, the ritual performed, and other mitigating variables such as sacrifices, or whatever. The meat and potatoes of it though is that they have to RP the process when they seek out Shaman Steve or Suzy and get insightful, divine, mystical, etc. guidance on what to seek out. That way you don't have to keep a tome of all the ingredients, etc. You could just make it different every time, for every character.

Just throwing darts at the wall at this point.

Best regards,

sleyvas Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 22:24:36
ok, taking a stab at the concept. How about this

True World Craft Magic (feat)

You have learned to channel the limited power of the gods or other beings into crafted talismans which draw upon the nature of animals, monsters, and magical beasts. Plumaweavers create objects which are instilled with magic using intricately woven feathers, generally channeling the powers of light, life, beauty, and hope. Hishnashapers create objects which are instilled with the magic of claw, fang, and venom, generally channeling the powers of savagery, deception, poison, disease, and fear. For instance, the character might create a helmet of feathers (plumaweaver) or a skull (hishnashaper) in order to cast speak with animals.
Endowing these magic items requires a certain amount of devotion to a higher power, and possibly even some form of sacrifice to said power. In many ways this resembles worship, but is essentially the formation of a pact for power with this higher power. The gods most well known for this are Qotal (for plumaweavers) and Zaltec (for hishnashapers), but these crafts are known throughout Maztica, Lopango, Anchorome, and even Katashaka from other entities. For instance, many of the deities of the metahel channel the power of hishna, while the minnenewah are known to call upon the spirits of thunderbird and great raven for the power of pluma. The exact entities do not matter except for roleplaying purposes, and a crafter may actually offer devotions to multiple entities in the creation of talismans.

Prerequisites: You must have proficiency with weaver's tools for plumaweaver, or leatherworker's tools and/or poisoner's kit for hishnashaper

When you gain this feat, you must choose to specialize in either plumaweaving or hishnashaping. This feat can be taken multiple times to gain access to both magical crafting skills. This increases both the spells known and the number of spell slots.

When you gain this feat, you gain a single pact magic spell slot known as a “true world crafts pact magic spell slot”. The level of this spell slot equals the character level divided by 4, rounded up (becoming 2nd level at 5th character level, 3rd level at 9th character level, 4th level at 13th character level, and 5th level at 17th character level). This slot can be used to cast spells known as noted below only, and only if the character has a talisman on hand for the casting of said spell (see below). The spellcasting ability score for use with this spell slot is wisdom based. This spell slot can be renewed after a short or long rest is completed assuming you have access to the toolkit which was used to gain access to this feat, so that minor repairs can be performed on the talisman used previously.

When you gain this feat, you gain knowledge of 1 spell per character level of the type known as pluma or hishna (matching the specialization chosen) or a spell from the true world artisan class spell list which has neither tag (such as animal friendship, color spray, false life, etc...). These spells are discussed in the DM's Guild offering of TWC1 the Maztica Campaign Guide, but additional spells can be found in similar products (such as TWM2 Feathers and Fangs, a book of spells for the true world; MZA5 the Ruins of Olbi). Your spells known cannot be of a level higher than you can cast using the true world crafts pact magic spell slot mentioned earlier. When you gain knowledge of a spell, you should define what type of item is used to cast this spell and assume that this item has been crafted by you (for instance, the use of color spray may be accomplished with a fan made of colorful feathers by a plumaweaver, but a hishnashaper may accomplish the same effect using several stitched together chameleon skins). The exact form of this talisman is not extremely important and meant more for roleplaying purposes, but players should be aware of their existence just in case they might end up lost or destroyed. Casting spells using the “true world crafts pact magic spell slot” is impossible without them.

When you cast a spell using a talisman, a craft check should be made to determine if the talisman survived the use. The DC of this check is equal to 8 + level of the spell, and is a check made using one of the tool kits used to gain this feat as decided by the DM. If a talisman fails this check, it is unusable until it can be repaired, and thus the spell becomes no longer available to you until the talisman is available again. Repairing a talisman takes a week per spell level, and the cost is negligible for spells up to 3rd level. Reparing a talisman of higher level costs 100 gp, as rarer materials are required to be gathered. Talismans do not take up magic item slots.
sleyvas Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 18:59:51
Oh, I should add, some of the ideas above, Seethyr kind of has, but they're very Maztica specific. For instance, the idea of a ranger that has some pluma or hishna, he has the eagle and jaguar knights. However, if I wanted to have a less specific concept, such that it could work whether the person is a "deer centaur" who is a ranger turning antlers into shaped bows, arrows, etc... or a yuan-ti pulling out his own fangs and using them as venomous darts/daggers... or a centaur who simply has learned to fight with enchanted antler staves instead of being some "cat skin" wearing person.

And Wooly, yeah, I'm definitely toying with the idea of somehow tying in crafting skills like alchemy, but also concepts like weaving would work for plumacraft. The alchemist is an artificer choice now in 5e, and I was playing with the idea of a new artificer choice that's basically a "true world artisan". Seethyr made a separate class for this that I'm seeing in his Maztica work, but it might work better if its tied to artificer for build purposes. It can essentially become any kind of crafter who is crafting things out of leather, claws, feathers, fangs, etc... versus brewing potions (alchemist), making mechanical constructs (battlesmith), or using smokepowder weapons (artillerist)... so maybe its someone taking the tentacles from a displacer beast and attaching them to a their armor, or removing the feathers from a dead aarakocra and making a winged cloak for themselves to fly, etc...

Perhaps one concept with all of this would be to tie each plumacraft or hishnacraft "spell" to a type of knowledge or tool proficiency and give some ability to enhance the effect by making good skill checks. Maybe make it simpler by tying pluma to specifically weaving and hishna to leatherworking.

Maybe if they take a feat like "hishnacrafting", they can stay whatever class they are and have some ability to cast a limited number of hishna spells (as in they know the spells and get a pact magic slot that goes up with character level). That way we're not having different class options all over the place and just a single set of rules. It would also be relatively rare since a lot of people don't take feats in 5e, so these crafters are still interesting. Some might think this is too powerful for a feat in 5e though.

Anyway, just trying to spam through some options for ways to make this something wherein we can have anyone able to add this ability to an existing character class more as a little flavor/bonus, but also have some other folks who may make it a specialty.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Nov 2020 : 18:24:04
You could base it on alchemy. Get the right ingredients and ritual/process, boom, you've got a magic item/potion.

Not sure if alchemist is a D&D class or only a Pathfinder thing, but it's one of the first things that comes to mind.

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