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Returned Maztica

Itzpapalotl

New member
Hello!

I am a big fan of old Mesoamerican civilizations and I have wanted to make a D&D 5e campaign with this theme (not exactly Maztica) for quite some time. I was totally amazed when I found this thread (together with Maztica Alive material on DMs Guild).

Jürgen, I really like your version of Plumaweavers and Hishnashapers as Artificers and I would like to try them in my campaign. This thread inspired me a lot, especially when I was thinking about how to fit some 5e classes into this setting without having to invent new mechanics. In my campaign, I want to focus on the cultures before "conquest" (at least in the beginning). I, therefore, reimagined monks as specially trained ballgame (ollamaliztli/tlachtli) players. They undergo very strict physical but also mental training since in its ritual aspect the ballgame is seen as the reenactment of the eternal struggle between the forces of life and death (based on the adventures of the Hero Twins in Xibalba from Popol Vuh). Some "monks"/ballgame players focus on the physical part (Way of the Open Hand), however, some try to harness the cosmic powers that are represented in the ritual aspect of the game (Way of the Sun Soul for Thirteen Heavens/Topan and Way of the Long Death/Way of the Shadow for Nine Underworlds/Mictlan/Xibalba). I am thinking very hard how to add Way of the Kensei and Way of the Four Elements, maybe for the Way of the Kensei their ranged kensei weapon could be the rubber ball itself (with some "boomerang" mechanics)...

However, I still miss Jaguar and Eagle Knights. In Maztica Alive!, they were Ranger subclasses, however, I agree with you that they would fit paladin more. In 2e they had limited shapeshifting abilities, I would probably give it to them as a Channel divinity option, however, I still have to think about how to differentiate them and what their roles/specializations should be. Any further thoughts on these topics?
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
Validated User
Sadly, I haven't been able to come up with a good solution for yet, although I agree that shapeshifting will be a key element. But there need to be some further elements that distinguish them, not just "one can shapeshift into an eagle, the other into a jaguar".
 

Littleredfox

Registered User
Validated User
Sadly, I haven't been able to come up with a good solution for yet, although I agree that shapeshifting will be a key element. But there need to be some further elements that distinguish them, not just "one can shapeshift into an eagle, the other into a jaguar".
Based on the patron deities for their relevant daysigns (which the shapeshifting myths are linked to) Jaguar Knights (Tepeyollotl and Tlazolteotl) get Darkness, Stone, Healing and Purification affinities and an association with sacrifice and the greater good, Eagle Knights (Xipe Totec and Huitzilopochtli) get Plant, Weather and Fire Affinities and an association with freedom and equality.

Looks like Jaguar Knights could be Paladins with Darkness and Stone thematics and Eagle Knights Rangers with Storm and Fire thematics.

Plus shapechanging and/or summoning ghost/spirit versions of their Nagual creatures or having animal companions of the relevant species. Though you might expect to see similar for some people who's daysigns are Alligator, Snake, Rabbit, Lizard, Dog, Turkey, Monkey, Vulture or Deer.
Of course if I understand what we know about the historical traditions correctly it was entirely possible for a Jaguar or Eagle Knight to be born on a daysign not corresponding to their order and thus have a Nagual form different to it. I.e. an Eagle Knight born on 1-Ocelotl would be able to summon a spirit Jaguar rather than shapechange into an Eagle. Though since historically main Eagle Knights had previously been Jaguar Knights, you might want to say all Jaguar knights were born on Ocelotl days and all Eagle knights on Cuauhtli days
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
Validated User
These are useful to know, thanks. Though I think I won't use any day sign requirements for jaguar and eagle knights in Maztica. For one, they are already pretty distinct from their real world analogues due to their association with pluma and hishna (and Qotal/Zaltec, to a lesser degree). Instead, anyone can become a jaguar or eagle knight as long as they have the appropriate teachers, physical and mental strength, and sufficient devotion.

Traditionally, jaguar and eagle knights were warrior lodges serving city-states. But in the Godless Times, the situation became more murky - some lodges submitted to their new draconic overlords when their city-states surrendered, while others fled into the wilderness and became guerilla fighters against the dragons and their minions. Some stuck to their old requirements for joining (human males of noble birth), but others opened up their membership due to the needs of their struggles - accepting women and even members of other races, as long as they were willing to fight. And now that the dragon overlords are largely gone, they need to define their new role in the world. Thus, you have the "traditional" lodges who are now under suspicion as collaborators, and the "wild lodges" who are seen as uncouth and "impure".

I think that will provide a lot more interesting role-playing opportunities, as well as allow for jaguar and eagle knight PCs who are much more independent than their old role in the setting would allow.

I probably won't be able to do any design work on these this month, since I am somewhat busy with other projects (including another Maztica-related one), but I will see what I can do in September.

It also makes sense to do these first before finalizing the Artificer designs, since there is supposed to be a new Eberron hardcover coming out later this year - which probably has a new and finalized version of the Artificer base class.
 

dshaffer

Pervy Catgirl Fancier
Validated User
Personally, I'd go with some slight variations of the Totem Warrior. Seems to fit their historical and game MO pretty well as front line combatants, although I realize there's a lot of unwanted baggage with the Barbarian class name.
  • Bonuses with light/no armor but can still use a shield.
  • Principally melee focused.
  • Powers vaguely nagual flavored. (Although you could tailor them to be a bit more obviously divine)
  • Can use this as a basis for other elite units, like the Otomi, with little change, as most of the elite orders tended to fight similarly.
  • Less having to reinvent the wheel.
I'd probably replace the granted rituals to something a bit more fitting, although I'm not sure what at the top of my head. (Or just give them a limited form of Wild Shape if you want to keep the older, Maztica flavored 'turn into jaguar/eagle' abilities). I'd also probably add the ability to replace a previous granted power, so characters could gain the abilities of the new order.
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
Validated User
I really want to make them paladins, though. There should be native options for all the character classes, and eagle and jaguar knights are simply the best fits for paladins.

There was enough arbitrary limitation of native PC options in the original boxed set, so let's please not do that again.
 

Littleredfox

Registered User
Validated User
Instead, anyone can become a jaguar or eagle knight as long as they have the appropriate teachers, physical and mental strength, and sufficient devotion.
One thought here. Aztec teachers in the House of the Youth had to have met a subset of the requirements to be a Jaguar Knight. So Drill Instructor style abilities. i.e. Warlord or Tactical Fighter might have appropriate things.

Another is it might be worth swapping Smite for no penalties to Attack to Subdue and a bonus to sudbue (Subduing when at the Knight's Level in HP rather than 0 perhaps?) Aztec Knights were by definition successful at taking prisoners in combat, since they had to do it to get the title.

Though that should enable Eagle Knights to set lightning to Stun. :)
 

dshaffer

Pervy Catgirl Fancier
Validated User
I really want to make them paladins, though. There should be native options for all the character classes, and eagle and jaguar knights are simply the best fits for paladins.

There was enough arbitrary limitation of native PC options in the original boxed set, so let's please not do that again.
To me, Paladins seem more in line with the more militant warrior priests. They were organized and fought much like the knightly orders did, and had the same rules for advancement. No reason you couldnt have them as both, though. "If you want your Knights to be more along this way of things, pick this path, for a more 'beastly' one go this one"
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
Validated User
To me, Paladins seem more in line with the more militant warrior priests. They were organized and fought much like the knightly orders did, and had the same rules for advancement. No reason you couldnt have them as both, though. "If you want your Knights to be more along this way of things, pick this path, for a more 'beastly' one go this one"
The way I see it, while the eagle and jaguar knights will of course respect the temples and their priesthoods, and give regular sacrifice to the goods (whether of captives taken in war or more symbolic sacrifices), they usually serve the city-state as a whole, or at least its dominant calpulli. This doesn't prevent the temples of maintaining their own dedicated temple warriors who can protect the faith in a more immediate way, The Zealot barbarian would be a good fit for this - and other barbarians can also be explained via the possession/influence of assorted spirits. (Of course, nobody in Maztica is going to call them "barbarians" - that's a label for uncouth foreigners...).
 
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