Celebrating Native American Heritage Month 2023

Friday, November 17, 2023

Koonííni'ííni, Pathfinders and Starfinders!
November is recognized in the United States of America as Native American Heritage Month—a celebration of the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and our contributions to art, culture, environmental conservation, and more! This year’s theme is Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity—showcasing the wide diversity of indigenous cultures and ways of life.

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we’ve reached out to some of our Native contributors, who have built items inspired by their cultures!

Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity : 2023 National Native American Heritage Month

David N. Ross

I write for Pathfinder, Starfinder, and sometimes other games, and am a whiz a converting between systems. When I’m not working on freelance for various clients, I am developing a storytelling card game with my husband. You can find me on Twitter @DavidRossWorlds Bluesky @davidnross and via other contact options on my linktree: https://linktr.ee/davidnross

My mother’s family has always kept at least one dreamcatcher, a traditional Anishinaabe ward against bad dreams. It’s true that nightmares have always been fortuitously rare for me at least, especially since my grandma gave me one of my own. It certainly doesn’t hurt that mine reminds me every day I see it of family even when I am far away.

Dreamcatcher — Item 6
Magical
Price 180 gp
Usage affixed to a structure, tent, or tree; Bulk L

This willow hoop is strung with a web of plant fibers and fragrant sweetgrass and adorned with beads. The dreamcatcher automatically attempts to counteract any spell or magical effect that would force a sleeping creature within 10 feet of it to attempt a saving throw (counteract DC 20, counteract level of 3). An effect counteracted by the dreamcatcher creates a minor decoration representing it to appear in the dreamcatcher’s web, wobbling occasionally like a fly in a spiderweb, that vanishes when exposed to sunlight. A creature adjacent to the dreamcatcher can study such a decoration to attempt to Identify the Magic that triggered its creation. The dreamcatcher only triggers once per night.


Mahpiya

Bannock holds a special place on the prairies as a symbol of our adaptability and resilience. We were introduced to the food through the fur trade, and it stuck with us as we were forced into the reservation system, turning government rations into nourishment for our people. The process of making bannock itself is the process of learning our history. I carry memories of listening to my mothers, my grandmothers, and the other elders in my life (pidamayeye, Kokum Brenda and Grandma Bear) as we cooked together, shared food, and shared stories, both of our own lives and the lives of those who came before. Through food we remember our past, and the stories that guided us through it.

You can find me slowly trying to figure out bluesky @Mahpiya. Just don’t ask me for the recipe, it’s a family secret.

Bannock of Echoing Wisdom — Item 3
Alchemical, Consumable
Price 10 gp
Usage held in 1 hand; Bulk L
Activate 10 minutes (manipulate)

Cooked over a campfire and dipped into wozapi, bannock of echoing wisdom instills you with voices of the past, allowing you to recount any story you’re heard.

After eating the bannock, your mind is filled with the images, words, body language, and cadence of a story you have previously heard, allowing you to recount the story effortlessly with perfect memory. You gain a +1 item bonus to Performance checks to recount this story and a +1 item bonus to Recall Knowledge about subjects discussed within the story. These bonuses last 24 hours or until you make your next daily preparations, whichever comes first.


Marlowe Miller

Nawwih! The sun-blessed corn pounder is based on one of my favorite and most memorable Caddo stories, "The Young Man and the Cannibals." In it, a young man is trying to find his brothers and finds they've been eaten by a family of cannibals. The young man is saved by an unseen, unknown force (later revealed to be the Sun) from death by long-nosed iron mask and told to run, take a corn pounder from an old woman cannibal, and kill the cannibal family. I love this story because of the iconic symbols of the corn pounder and the long-nosed iron mask, and how it speaks to the running theme in our cultural hero stories of taking leaps of faith and persevering even in the direst of situations.

I'm a pretty solid social media hermit, but I can be found on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter @diwasti_ or on bluesky @diwasti.bsky.social. Alternatively, I can be emailed directly at genesysfrog@gmail.com!

Sun-Blessed Corn Pounder — Item 5
Uncommon, Magical
Price 150 gp
Usage held in 2 hands; Bulk 2

Nine rings line the haft of this mighty wooden corn pounder (a +1 striking greatclub), topped by a broad head with sun symbols burned into the surface. The narrow end is worn smooth from years of use. A very long time ago, this corn pounder was used to slay cannibalistic undead in an act of desperate survival by a young man, and the nine rings represent the nine brothers killed by the cannibalistic undead. While wielding the sun-blessed corn pounder, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to attacks against undead creatures.

Activate—Beseech the Sun [free-action] (concentrate, fire, light) Frequency once per day; Trigger You critically succeed at a Strike against an enemy; Effect You call upon divine powers to aid you in your time of need. Searing sunlight erupts from the broad head of the sub-blessedcorn pounder. After the normal effects of the critical hit, the target must attempt a DC 21 Fortitude save.

Failure The target is stupefied 1 until the end of the target’s next turn.

Critical Failure The target is stupefied 1 until the end of your next turn, and you deal an additional 1d4 fire damage to your next damage roll against that creature before the end of your next turn.


Shay Snow

Not many Caddo recipes have survived to the current day, so the few recipes I have access to, I treasure. Caddo fish relish is a recipe I remember my aunties and Yeye preparing in large batches before canning it in mason jars and storing it away to eat with pretty much anything. It’s spicy and briny and we’ve always joked could be used as a weapon in a pinch! Some Caddo language learning time: this relish is made with daháw (onion), hasahk’uh ch’ántinu’ (unripe green tomato), and kah’án:k’as (spicy pepper)!

Fish Relish — Item 1+
Acid, Alchemical, Bomb, Consumable, Splash
Usage held in 1 hand; Bulk L
Activate [one-action] Strike

This canning jar is secured with a screw top metal lid and filled to the brim with a chopped mixture of onions, green unripe tomatoes, various hot peppers, and plenty of spices and vinegar to ensure a spicy, pickled mix perfect for eating with freshwater fish. In a pinch, the relish can additionally be used as an offensive bomb that will also perfectly complement an unconscious enemy.

Type mild; Level 1; Price 4 gp
The mild fish relish bomb deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage, plus 1d4 persistent acid damage and 1 acid splash damage.

Type spicy; Level 3; Price 10 gp
You gain a +1 item bonus to attack rolls. The spicy fish relish bomb deals 2d4 bludgeoning damage, plus 2d4 persistent acid damage and 2 acid splash damage.

Type well-preserved; Level 11; Price 250 gp
You gain a +2 item bonus to attack rolls. The well-preserved fish relish bomb deals 3d4 bludgeoning damage, plus 3d4 persistent acid damage and 3 acid splash damage.


Rue Dickey (they/he/xe)

Hey all! Rue here again, still a proud Indiginerd and the Marketing & Media Specialist here at Paizo! One of the joys of my experience as a game designer is getting to see my cultures brought to the table in a variety of systems and settings. Finally, the stories that we were punished for singing can be told to new generations.

The ghost dance was part of a resurgence of Arapaho culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and remains a cultural tradition and festival for North and South Arapaho peoples. Through the ghost dance, we reconnect with our ancestors, as well as send our energy forward to future generations, so that our knowledge can be shared, along with our triumph and sorrow. An act of protest at its inception, the ghost dance remains a symbol of Arapaho culture’s resilience. As the sun sets only to rise again, we too shall continue to rise.

Ghost Dance Dress — Item 5
Invested, Magical
Price 125 gp
Usage worn; Bulk L

This flowing dress is fringed in ribbons with beads and feathers woven in. Delicate hand-embroidery, beadwork, and dyeing turns this garment into a moving representation of the cycles of life and death, rain and drought, growth and burning. The ghost dance dressconnects the living and the dead. You gain a +1 item bonus to Diplomacy checks against spirits.

Activate—Ghost Dance [one-action] (concentrate) Frequency once per hour; Effect The rhythm of your ancestors’ feet upon the ground spurs you on, giving you a +1 circumstance bonus to your next melee Strike before the end of your turn.

Activate—Wind Cry [two-actions] (manipulate) Frequency once per day; Effect The wind whips up around you, whispering and shrieking of the shadows that have passed here. The ghost dance dress casts fear with a DC of 21.


Thank you so much to our contributors for sharing these snippets of their culture with us (and giving us more items for our game tables).

Rue Dickey (they/he/xe)
Marketing & Media Specialist
Arapaho Nation

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Paizo
Grand Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

HUZZAH!
... I cried reading all this! I love these items. Q_Q

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Specialist

8 people marked this as a favorite.

These are always my favorite blogs to wrangle and this one is particularly special ^.^


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What a beautiful post, with amazing stories written by amazing people. <3


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you all so much for your work, your stories, and these stellar items!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for your stories and for the wonderful items!

The diversity of different cultures here is simply wonderful.

An entire setting book covering cultures of indigenous peoples and their cultures translated to the world of Lost Omens would be pretty cool.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
MadamReshi wrote:
An entire setting book covering cultures of indigenous peoples and their cultures translated to the world of Lost Omens would be pretty cool.

I'm glad to see the momentum building for an Arcadia book eventually, and the recent PFS offerings there have been a delight. Fingers crossed!

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder LO Special Edition, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Fantastic post; delightful.

I enjoyed gaining a peak at each of your cultures through your stories and items.

Thank you for sharing these with us.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing these stories, and incredible items. I'm sure many will find a place in my home game :)

Liberty's Edge

Thank you for your hard work and sharing your stories. I would love to see these items and more make it into a future publication about the continent that the people of Avistan and Garund call Arcadia. (Ironically, Arcadia is the name of a town near Pasadena where one of my GMs live.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you, all. What a wonderful gift you have provided us, sharing your personal cultural insights, plus providing an interesting item for us to adopt. Much appreciated.

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