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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    My Pathfinder campaign setting takes place in a fantasy analogue of colonized North America, but with a larger indigenous population thanks to divine magic being able to help fight off disease. The world is medieval/renaissance (no guns) with a heavy reliance on magic and steam power (which in and of itself relies heavily on magic), and stretches from areas based off of Northern Canada down to analogues of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. What would be useful for this is Native American lore. I have some good sources on this already, so I'm not asking for lore in general. I've got plenty of that. I'm asking for lore that could be used as inspiration for homebrewing adventure hooks, new races or monsters, magical artifacts, new spells, new class archetypes, and the like. If you guys have any Native American lore that could serve as inspiration for making homebrew materiel, I'd love to see it. I'm interested in stuff from any North American tribe. This includes Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and nations such as the Aztec and Maya, as well as the tribes of the United States and Canada that we generally think of as being Native American.
    Last edited by Roxxy; 2011-12-25 at 04:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    In before Maztica? Try to see if you can find 2e Forgotten Realms books set in Maztica, the America-analogue of Toril. Unlike in real life, where disease absolutely devastated the native population, the natives of Maztica have a fighting chance against the Faerunian colonists.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    I've spent what I plan to spend for a good while, so no Maztica. I have a Barnes and Noble gift card, but they won't be carrying a book that old.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    I'm from Thunder Bay, Ontario, which has a wonderful view of a peninsula called the Sleeping Giant, which has some wonderful mythology surrounding it.

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    Wikipedia says it best, and it's what I learned when I was little: there's an Ojibway legend that the giant is Nanabijou (aka Nanabozho), a trickster spirit, who turned to stone when the secret location of a rich silver mine known as Silver Islet was disclosed to white men.

    Read up on Nanabozho here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanabozho
    Last edited by LibraryOgre; 2011-12-28 at 05:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Thanks. I like the idea of that as an adventure hook.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Take a look at the book The Years of Rice and Salt. Among other things it imagines what would happen if the Native American tribes were forced/coerced/convinced to create something resembling a pan-american government to protect themselves from Chinese/Arab encroachment.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    The DND Wendigo (or at least the Pathfinder Wendigo, which I assume to be similar) is interesting, and fits one of the two major views of the Wendigo (handled wonderfully by Algernon Blackwood,) but there's also the bit more primal version. Either humans driven to cannibalism by bad harvests/long winters are open to possession by a Wendigo spirit, or said spirit simply causes cannibalism. Either way, they develop an insatiable appetite for human flesh, become incredibly emaciated, and in some versions, grow in proportion to each meal they eat (so they can never be satisfied).

    Alternatively, though it's a bit far south for you, the Inca Empire (properly Tawantinsuyu or The Four Provinces, since Inca was the name of/word for the ruling family) had this fascinating economic/political system where even after death, the ruling class's mummies would continue to be a major force in society, owning land, receiving tribute, and being spoken for by various representatives. In our world, one practical effect of this was that it drove imperialist expansion, because each new Inca had to establish their own personal source of income through conquest. In a world where mummies can actually walk and talk, it might get even more interesting.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Off the top of my head, look into thunderbirds, totem poles, masks, and lake monsters.
    You could also look up various animals, a lot of them are connected to native American mythology (coyotes and ravens come to mind).

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    One little thing I like was an old Hawaiian story about Pele (it should have an accent somewhere), the goddess of the volcanoes, who would travel around as an ugly old woman asking for help, food, a place to stay, whatever. If people actually helped her, fed her, gave her a bed, she'd reveal herself as this beautiful fiery woman, or protect their house from the next eruption. Moral: Be nice to old ladies if you like not being covered in lava.

    Also.... Native American legends, from what I've read and heard, go less into the whole "Raah, I'm a Big Damn Hero with a Big Damn Sword" aspect and more into the subtle moral messages and explanations for why the world is as it is. That said, there are a few pretty epic weapons, like those of Monster-Slayer and Born-of-Water. Just as often, though, the "epic weapons" are pretty mundane stuff, like a basket or a pillow or something.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    It used to be that there was no large landmass at all. All the land was at the bottom of the sea. Hawk said, "I am the cleverest. I will get us some land." And Hawk dove into the water but could not swim and came back up. Wolf said, "I am the fastest. I will get us some land." And Wolf dove into the water and swam down but grew tired and came back up. Bear said, "I am the strongest. I will get us some land." And Bear dove into the water and swam down but got lost and came back up.

    Turtle said, "I will get us some land." The other animals laugher saying, "You are not fast or clever or strong. You will not succeed." But turtle dove into the water and swam down. He grew tired but kept swimming. The other animals stopped laughing and waited. Hawk yelled to Turtle to keep going. Finally, Turtle reached the bottom and grabbed some land and brought it back up. Inspired by Turtle, all the animals dove for land.

    There are a few versions of this story, some of them similar or related but still very different.
    Last edited by SowZ; 2011-12-26 at 11:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    please make Coyote a quest giver.

    One little thing I like was an old Hawaiian story about Pele (it should have an accent somewhere), the goddess of the volcanoes, who would travel around as an ugly old woman asking for help, food, a place to stay, whatever. If people actually helped her, fed her, gave her a bed, she'd reveal herself as this beautiful fiery woman, or protect their house from the next eruption. Moral: Be nice to old ladies if you like not being covered in lava.

    Also.... Native American legends, from what I've read and heard, go less into the whole "Raah, I'm a Big Damn Hero with a Big Damn Sword" aspect and more into the subtle moral messages and explanations for why the world is as it is. That said, there are a few pretty epic weapons, like those of Monster-Slayer and Born-of-Water. Just as often, though, the "epic weapons" are pretty mundane stuff, like a basket or a pillow or something.
    __________________
    the first bit about Pele would be WONDERFUL plot quest ...thing...Imagine if there was this woman who was the mortal form of this goddess, buried somewhere in a dead volcano. She is its spirit. Necromancer wants to bring her back to life (i say...bonus points if he doesnt know who she is and just wants her back for some reason, possibly obessive love). As per Erfworld, bringing the Volcano (woman) back to life means it erupts.

    So..you know...stop him.

    The second...From my book (something along the lines of "Badasses: heroes gods and monsters") i get the impression Huitzelipoctle was an exception to the second paragraph.
    Last edited by Cerlis; 2011-12-26 at 11:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    One thought that comes to mind is Kokopelli, the Hopi Trickster God/God of Fertility.
    Among the Hopi, Kokopelli carries unborn children on his back and distributes them to women. Kokopelli also presides over the reproduction of game animals and in his domain over agriculture, Kokopelli's flute-playing chases away the winter and brings about spring.
    There are several ways you could incorporate this:
    • An mysterious stranger has been depositing young children on the doorsteps of houses in a region. Who is he, and where are the children coming from?
    • At the beginning of every year, an old, hunched over man travels the land, playing his flute, hearlding the beginning of spring. This year, however, he hasn't come by, and the warmth and rain has not come.
    • The yearly migration of (insert game animal here) has failed to show up, and the population of (insert region here) is starving.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    There was once a mighty demon called Taquitz. He was mostly solitary, but sometimes he would come down from his Smoky mountain to the local tribes and steal the most beautiful women, for them never to return alive. a great chief who had lost his daughters to this beast came to battle, and by their very battle the smokelike demon and the mighty warrior came to reshape the land, with the Chief finally besting the demon through trickery and endurance. When the Chief returned with the demons body, the tribe built a pyre. The chief called for all dry wood to be brought, so the smoke would not rise strong enough to give the demon new life, but a blind woman brought a single green twig. This twig allowed the demon release, but as there was so little substance, he is only there as a voice, striving for revenge against the family of the one who ruined his strength through hints and whispers caught in the smoke of the campfires.

    original legend: Legend of Taquitz

    When I first learned this legend, there was a Taquitz Rock his smoke became that if you touched, a shard of his evil soul will embed itself in you and cause you to do unnatural things. This of course, is another direction to go with this legend. It was a huge boulder, painted on it was the hands and face of the demon.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacAilbert View Post
    I'm asking for lore that could be used as inspiration for homebrewing adventure hooks, new races or monsters, magical artifacts, new spells, new class archetypes, and the like.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Something to remember about NA mythology is that even the evils and tricksters served a purpose in the grand flow of things. This purpose always ended up serving a benefit for everybody in some way, because going with the purpose is to benefit naturally. Doing otherwise collapses eventually, and that collapse helps those who went with the purpose.

    Good example:
    Coyote/Raven may have been arrogant pricks, but in being so their actions always brought benefit to the people, even if totally unintentionally. No matter what they did or were trying, inside or outside the flow, it always ended up benefiting others. Like a curse, almost. That was basically a rule of their stories, even when they tried to cause the end of the world they ended up helping it.

    In many (most? all?) stories, Coyote is the second being to exist, after the Great Spirit/whatever each culture had in its creation mythologies. Order and chaos.


    Culturally, it is also important to remember that the traditional NA mental systems are not the same structure as western society. This has been a recurring issue when they have to deal with US courts of law, as time and space are seen very differently. Their ancestors are seen like close relatives regardless of generations and obscurity.

    Maps have no real purpose in NA culture, as they understand things mainly by experience and oral transmission (ie instead of making a map they would say "we move through X mountain to Y forest before we reach Z plateau," all of which were names that were also descriptives, often based around something they would have known already). Even now many NA members from different tribes have large amounts of difficulty figuring out how to even view a map, let alone read it.

    There is also a deference to the elderly as having priority when speaking, and group discussions are prioritized without interruptions - interrupting is so common in western culture you do not notice it, but is so uncommon if you do it to them a common reaction is for them to just not bother talking because they feel you only want to talk. These are a common issue in classroom integrations, as they expect lots of group participation that doesn't happen and there isn't the 'step forward and volunteer to lead singularly' mentality that is expected in US schools.

    Yes, I am an anthropologist. That describes a generalized mid-SW cultural mentality, but there was virtually no unified NA presence at all until the Europeans appeared, and even then... It was quite the opposite, thousands of distinctive unique tribes that all were culturally seperate from the others. Most of them that still exist aren't legally recognized and are forced to be grouped in with larger tribes, some of whom are ironically their traditional enemies. Or are left to fend for themselves.


    Edit: Also, zombies are traditionally in Hatian Voodoo -- brainwashed people who have "died" (it is supposedly done with secret poisons that put them in a death-like state). The "corpse" is then abducted, and the not-dead person is brainwashed with methods that make them totally obedient, unfocused slaves who work the practitioners fields for the rest of their life. You can blame hollywood movies for making zombies undead.

    I could write endlessly without more specific guidelines.
    Last edited by Mantarni; 2011-12-28 at 04:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksheep View Post
    One thought that comes to mind is Kokopelli, the Hopi Trickster God/God of Fertility.

    There are several ways you could incorporate this:
    • An mysterious stranger has been depositing young children on the doorsteps of houses in a region. Who is he, and where are the children coming from?
    • At the beginning of every year, an old, hunched over man travels the land, playing his flute, hearlding the beginning of spring. This year, however, he hasn't come by, and the warmth and rain has not come.
    • The yearly migration of (insert game animal here) has failed to show up, and the population of (insert region here) is starving.
    [*] When a God pays a visit and several women turn up pregnant afterwards, it's probably best to assume they came out of the sack on his back, for the sake of the marriages.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    joe medicine crow's story

    It turns out that in order to become a Crow War Chief, you need to:

    1: touch a living enemy warrior
    2: take his weapon
    3: steal enemy horses
    4: lead a successful war party

    curiously, you don't actually need to kill anyone, depending on the definition of "successful war party"...

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by cattoy View Post
    joe medicine crow's story

    It turns out that in order to become a Crow War Chief, you need to:

    1: touch a living enemy warrior
    2: take his weapon
    3: steal enemy horses
    4: lead a successful war party

    curiously, you don't actually need to kill anyone, depending on the definition of "successful war party"...
    Old Blind Pete is the wisest man in the village. In his youth he was captured during a raid by the enemy, but escaped by overpowering his guard, taking his weapon, and stealing twenty horses on which he made his escape. However, he suffered a blow to the head and has been unable to see since. No magic can restore his sight. His daughter and her lover, a member of the enemy, wish the historic war to come to an end so they can get married. They been hired you to see to it that Old Blind Pete leads a successful war party with minimal losses on both sides.
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    Rockphed said it well.
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    My favorite was always Raven Steals the Sun.

    In the the old days, when animals talked and walked among the people, there was no sun, or moon or stars, for all the light was hoarded by an old man who lived in the sky. The animals and the people stumbled around in eternal night bumping and banging and bruising themselves on every branch and rock, until at last they decided they could take it no longer. All the animals called a meeting, and it was decided that one of them would go and find some light. Raven, a proud and wily bird with beautiful white feathers, volunteered, as he was always eager for praise and glory. Raven flew and flew and flew, until at last he reached the home of the old man who lived n the sky. Raven flew around and around and around the home, but there was no way in, for the old man treasured his light and guarded it closely. Raven flew to a nearby branch and thought, and watched, until the old man's beautiful daughter came out to drink from the stream that flowed beneath Raven's perch. Quick as thought, Raven transformed himself into a hemlock needle, and fell into the girl's cupped hands. The girl drank up the hemlock needle without noticing, and presently Raven transformed himself into a baby boy. When the old man's daughter gave birth, there was great rejoicing in the house in the sky, and the old man doted on his new grandson. He would give the boy anything he asked for, with the exception of a big bentwood box that sat in one corner. Raven whined and wheedled and begged and bothered and pleaded for the tiniest glimpse inside that big box, until finally the old man relented. He went over to the corner and pulled out the big box, and opened it, and took out smaller box, and opened it, and took out a third box, and opened it. As soon as the old man lifted the lid, Raven transformed back into a bird and snatched away the light and flew away through the smoke hole. As he flew, the smoke of the old man's fire and the heat of the light in his beak scorched his beautiful white feathers black, but he didn't notice. He flew higher and higher, rejoicing in his triumph and the new-found light, and didn't see Eagle flying up behind him. Now Eagle also wanted the glory of being the one to bring light to the world, so he had resolved to steal the light from Raven, and swooped down on him. Raven, startled, dropped the light, and it fell down, down, down and shattered into a thousand pieces. The animals hung the biggest piece in the sky as the sun, and the rest as the moon and stars, and light spread over the world, and all the animals and people rejoiced. Raven did not forget how Eagle attacked him, however, and to this day, ravens will attack any eagle they see.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Thanks, guys. All this stuff is good.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Here is a story we tell around campfires (boy scouts), deals a little with indian lore, more on the humerous side.

    Long ago, when the hawks soared and the mountains roared, before the settlers came there was a clan of Lenapi known as the Bear Clan. The Bear Clan had the finest warrriors of the Lenapi tribe, and lived in the peaks of the Appalachins, near a canyon that is long forgotton now, Avalanche Canyon. One day, the moon rose early in the morning alonside the sun and at the apex of the sun, when the day should have been the brightest, blocked it out. That was the day the Lycanthrope came. For 23 seasons It fought the Bear Clan until it had been pushed out of Avalanche Canyon, its ancestral home. The survivors of the clan founded a new village 3 days journey from the Canyon, most of their strongest warriors were dead, and worse the eldest shaman had not managed to escape in time, and had died in the canyon with the Lycanthrope. Many moons passed, and a sickness descended on the Bear Clan, the new shaman of the tribe could not cure it, but in a vision he saw that they cure could be found in the medicine bag of the elder shaman in the old village in the Avalanche Canyon. The Chief put out a call for every brave warrior who could still fight to go into the canyon to retrieve the medicine bag. Three voluteers stepped up. The young hunter Falling Rocks, his elder brother, an accomplished warrior, Spotted Badger, and the apprentice shaman Shining Deer. Armed with the tribe's most honored weapons, the bow of service, tomohawk of loyalty, and staff of fortune the three set off into the Avalanche Canyon. They reached the old village, and found the body of the elder shaman and the medicine bag. Then as they made camp the lycanthrope came upon them. Shining deer reacted quickly, siezing the tomohawk of loyalty he placed himself between the lycanthrope and his friends, determined to protect them. He managed only to scar the lycanthrope's chest once before being torn to pieces. Shining Deer's death bought enough time for Falling Rocks and Spotted Badger to arm themselves, and the two brothers attacked the Lycanthrope in unison. With one powerful sweep of its arm the Lycanthrope threw Spotted Badger across the camp, the it turned an broke Falling Rock's staff of fortune with a single claw. The beast picked up Falling Rocks and bit him, imparting the Lycanthrope's curse, then cast him aside and turned on Spotted Badger. Spotted Badger prayed to the spirits of the mountains and the trees to guide his shot for he would only get one. then he drew the bow of service and loosed an arrow straight into the lycanthrope's heart. Falling Rocks begged his brother to kill him, that he might not become a monster but Spotted badger would not. Instead he told Falling Rocks to remain in Avalanche Canyon, where he could live without hurting the tribe. And to this day, the Lenape avoid Avalanche canyon, and tell anyone who enters it. "when in Avalanche Canyon, watch out for Falling Rocks".
    Warning!! This poster makes frequent use of Sarcasm, Jokes, and Exaggeration. He intends no offense.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyntonian View Post
    Just as often, though, the "epic weapons" are pretty mundane stuff, like a basket or a pillow or something.
    I remember reading a story where the hero decapitated an invincible evil chieftain with a magic blade of grass! While dressed as a woman.
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Inspirational background music:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5JxJbLfSZ4

    (and other stuff by that artist, ie performances if you youtube for 'nicole' and 'brule')
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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    From what little information I've been able to find, people known as skinwalkers have played a role as bogeymen in certain (western?) Native American societies.

    Skinwalkers - Wikipedia

    Accounts

    I'm afraid I've got nothing more concrete.

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    Default Re: Please bring me all your Native American lore, my friends.

    Well, here's a comprehensive overview of the Navajo monster-killing myth with a lot of good ideas for creatures (especially the Binaye Ahani), magic items, and even traps! I wanted to include elements of it in an article I pitched to Wizards detailing a desert area of the Nentir Vale, but alas, they did not take the article.

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