Mythological Figures: Coyote (5E)
  • Mythological Figures: Coyote (5E)


    One of the requests in Mythological Figures was for Coyote and that one took me a little while of sifting to figure out. Tricksters hold a special place in my heart, but how could we encapsulate so ephemeral and powerful a spirit as his in a mere statblock?

    I posit that while I’m sure it could be done, it should not be done, and while this is definitely not a forum for me to make homebrew class archetypes that seemed the right route for Coyote. I can certainly see him (or perhaps Anansi or Loki) being a major actor in a variety of campaigns, likely by influencing a lesser creature—like an adventurer—so in lieu of the usual NPC this week Mythological Figures features a new warlock patron!






    Coyote (Trickster Warlock Patron)
    As one of the most widespread and powerful spirits in many Native American cultures Coyote is an entity that embodies several themes. Two are more common than the rest: he is a teacher and a trickster. When he comes across a clever believer or an intelligent creature with a fateful soul, sometimes he entreats them with a bargain. In exchange for performing a few occasional, minor, inconsequential deeds on his behalf Coyote offers knowledge and power, teasing the secrets of existence for ever greater feats of service.

    Spiritual Service
    In order to gain Coyote’s favor you must regularly perform tasks on his behalf. Sometimes you will be made to undertake a quest or go out of your way to fulfill your end of the bargain but usually your powerful benefactor only requires you to do minor, innocuous things that are curious and seemingly unimportant. Unless noted otherwise, should you fail to perform all of your tasks at least once between one sunrise and the next you lose the features granted by this patron until the next sunset after you have fulfilled your duties to Coyote. Choose one task at 1st level and one additional task every time your proficiency bonus increases.

    • Sit or sleep only while facing a certain direction.
    • Make a daily offering worth 1 silver or more (such as handcrafted items or food).
    • Help a creature of prey escape a predator without doing any harm.
    • Drop 1 silver (or a token worth 1 silver) into each body of water or waterway you come across.
    • Trick a companion without doing any harm.
    • Abandon a useful item or weapon you own in a random location in the wilderness (once per week).
    • Build a shelter or dig a pit large enough for a Medium-sized creature to squeeze into.
    • Move something owned by another creature (or preferably a sleeping creature) to a place nearby and then abandon it.

    At the GM’s discretion, other tasks sourced from stories about Coyote (or another trickster god) may be appropriate.

    Pact of the Chain. Your familiar always appears to be a coyote but uses the statistics for a different creature (roll 1d4 when summoned: 1—imp, 2—pseudodragon, 3—quasit, 4—sprite). When it leaves your notice and you aren’t paying attention to it, your familiar plays tricks on your and your companions.

    Pact of the Blade.
    The weapon granted by Coyote always appears blunted and worn. Though it seems like it will break when used, it is just as sturdy as the day it was made.

    Pact of the Tome.
    Your Book of Shadows is a worn and weathered collection of parchment or long leather scroll. To the eyes of all but the most keen it appears to be worthless, the writings and drawings within completely unintelligible.

    Trickster Patron Expanded Spells

    Spell Level
    1st color spray, silent image
    2nd arcanist's magic aura, magic mouth
    3rd clairvoyance, nondetection
    4th arcane eye, divination
    5th commune with nature, mislead

    Bonus Cantrips & Bonus Proficiency
    At 1st level, you gain proficiency in Deception or Perception, and you learn one of the following cantrips: druidcraft, prestidigitation, or thaumaturgy.

    Trickster’s Mind
    At 1st level, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed. When you successfully resist being charmed, until you act otherwise the creature that would have charmed you believes it has done so.

    Gifted Storyteller
    At 6th level, no matter what you say, magic that would determine if you are telling the truth cannot tell whether or not you are lying. In addition, when you make a Charisma (Deception or Persuasion) check, you can replace the number you roll with 8 + your proficiency bonus. You must finish a short or long rest before you can use this feature again.

    Master Trickster
    At 10th level, you cannot be charmed. You can still trick creatures into believing you have been charmed. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against fear. When you successfully resist being frightened, until you act otherwise the creature that would have frightened you believes it has done so.

    Friend of Coyote
    Beginning at 14th level, you can cast glibness. After you cast the spell with this feature, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest.


    Edit: Modified Pact of the Blade and Pact of the Chain features as per EN-Worlder Jonathan Alvear's solid suggestions.
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Yaarel -
      The web comic, Gunnerkrigg Court, has alot of fun with Coyote.

      In the context, he personifies the mysteries of nature versus the rationality of science − but both are important and in need of balancing, somewhat like yang and yin.




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    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      ! For a minute I was like "Ack!" because we stage the post here before Morrus moves it over to the columns.

      That is a dope Coyote. Whatcha think of the archetype? Too little? Asks too much? Any suggestions for other tasks a Coyote warlock should do?
    1. Yaarel -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      ! For a minute I was like "Ack!" because we stage the post here before Morrus moves it over to the columns.

      That is a dope Coyote. Whatcha think of the archetype? Too little? Asks too much? Any suggestions for other tasks a Coyote warlock should do?
      Regarding the approach your Original Post takes to represent Coyote, I thought dealing with an animal spirit as a *spirit* that influences, rather than a creature to combat, was a good way to handle the concept in D&D. I like it. It might work for other animistic figures as well. The OP focuses on how the warlock class interacts with the animal spirit. I am curious about how other kinds of heroes can.
    1. paladinn's Avatar
      paladinn -
      Umm.. this seems really out of place here. Maybe should have gone on the forums, in a workshop or some such?

      This is for writeups of actual characters, not for class archetypes. At least IMO.
    1. Rhineglade's Avatar
      Rhineglade -
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      Always like the simplistic art for the Coyote in the original Deities & Demigods
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
      Umm.. this seems really out of place here. Maybe should have gone on the forums, in a workshop or some such?

      This is for writeups of actual characters, not for class archetypes. At least IMO.
      Agreed! However I love tricksters and fulfilling requests, so I took a swing at it because it really felt like the right approach for an ephemeral entity of Native American myth (which is largely more nebulous in the confines of storytelling than the Greek epics or what have you). Sorry to disappoint. :/ What build were you expecting to see? Arcane trickster rogue?
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rhineglade View Post
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      Always like the simplistic art for the Coyote in the original Deities & Demigods
      I spent about 2 hours looking for something like that which I could confirm was in the public domain. Do you have an original source for this? If so I'll switch around the graphic later today (because you are right, it is definitely cooler and more appropriate than what I worked up in its stead).
    1. Jonathan Alvear's Avatar
      Jonathan Alvear -
      The Pact of the Chain and Pact of the Blade constraints are far too limiting. Forcing a Chainlock to only have a coyote familiar takes away a lot of the utility, for instance. Having the stats of one of the four special familiars but having the appearance of a coyote would be much fairer.

      Similarly, being limited to only a dagger or a shortbow would make being a Trickster Bladelock even more of a weaker option than usual. As we all know, Hexblade Bladelocks are most mechanically sound Bladelocks. Limiting Trickster Bladelocks this way makes them the weakest. Again, the shoddy appearance fluff could be translated to any weapon a Bladelock can summon. Being stuck with only a 1d4 melee or a 1d6 ranged option is just poor design.
    1. paladinn's Avatar
      paladinn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      Agreed! However I love tricksters and fulfilling requests, so I took a swing at it because it really felt like the right approach for an ephemeral entity of Native American myth (which is largely more nebulous in the confines of storytelling than the Greek epics or what have you). Sorry to disappoint. :/
      I guess while Morris is away...
    1. Rhineglade's Avatar
      Rhineglade -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      I spent about 2 hours looking for something like that which I could confirm was in the public domain. Do you have an original source for this? If so I'll switch around the graphic later today (because you are right, it is definitely cooler and more appropriate than what I worked up in its stead).
      I am not sure if it is considered open content. In fact, I highly doubt that it is. I just post it as a private citizen. The image was found on deviant art. Here is the link: https://bharune.deviantart.com/art/N...esign-85232991

      But the artist admits they are NOT the original artist but rather also copied it from the original art in the Deities & Demigods book from TSR. I am unsure of the original artist.
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      so in lieu of the usual NPC this week Mythological Figures features a new warlock patron!
      I was not expecting that, I figured it'd be a stat block of some Dieties & Demigods sort.

      A much better idea, I like it.

      Spiritual Service
      Choose one task at 1st level and one additional task every time your proficiency bonus increases.

      • Sit or sleep only while facing a certain direction.
      • Make a daily offering worth 1 silver or more (such as handcrafted items or food).
      • Help a creature of prey escape a predator without doing any harm.
      • Drop 1 silver (or a token worth 1 silver) into each body of water or waterway you come across.
      • Trick a companion without doing any harm.
      • Abandon a useful item or weapon you own in a random location in the wilderness (once per week).
      • Build a shelter or dig a pit large enough for a Medium-sized creature to squeeze into.
      • Move something owned by another creature (or preferably a sleeping creature) to a place nearby and then abandon it.
      Things like this have always been problematic in D&D. They shouldn't be approached as a limitation, per se, and as RP opportunities, would be as well left to the player to do when he happens to think of something cool.
      But, I do like the last few, because they don't seem pointless or devotional or inconvenient for it's own sake, but rather might actually factor is as part of some elaborate scam of Coyote's.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Alvear View Post
      The Pact of the Chain and Pact of the Blade constraints are far too limiting. Forcing a Chainlock to only have a coyote familiar takes away a lot of the utility, for instance. Having the stats of one of the four special familiars but having the appearance of a coyote would be much fairer.

      Similarly, being limited to only a dagger or a shortbow would make being a Trickster Bladelock even more of a weaker option than usual. As we all know, Hexblade Bladelocks are most mechanically sound Bladelocks. Limiting Trickster Bladelocks this way makes them the weakest. Again, the shoddy appearance fluff could be translated to any weapon a Bladelock can summon. Being stuck with only a 1d4 melee or a 1d6 ranged option is just poor design.
      Solid suggestions! Implemented above.
    1. Yaarel -
      Here is a public domain picture of a reallife coyote. When I think of the trickster archetype and look at the expression on this animals face, I get the connection. I see how the ‘presence’ of this animal encourages trickery.

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    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
      Here is a public domain picture of a reallife coyote. When I think of the trickster archetype and look at the expression on this animals face, I get the connection. I see how the ‘presence’ of this animal encourages trickery.
      Point well taken. Added that one on there and gave the title a little something extra to match.

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    1. barasawa -
      There are many stories about Coyote helping mankind, even when the others would not. From the tribal stories I've heard, there is more veneration of Coyote in the west than the east, but that just could be bad luck from only having heard about 30 stories.

      Some of the things he's credited with:
      Stealing fire to give to mankind (Some tribes say Raven did it, others say it was Coyote)
      Creating the tides, teaching mankind how to find food, and giving them fingers. (All part of one great trick)
      Created the Grand Canyon (By tricking Grandfather Bear and having a good chase)
      Making armpits stink (So not all his tricks are altruistic, but he did help the guy catch fish)

      There are a lot more, but it's been many years since I've been to the camp or attended a powwow so I've kind of forgotten most of them, but I've always enjoyed the stories of Coyote, no matter which tribe was telling it.

      Also, though I can't remember any details clearly enough to post them, I do remember that the tricks he plays on his enemies are positively vengeance incarnate. It's a whole new level of pranking. Very skilled at taking advantage of enemies weaknesses and natures. King Midas getting screwed by his greed by giving him the golden touch was amateur hour.
    1. StormFont's Avatar
      StormFont -
      This is extraordinarily weak. There's nothing that would make me want to take it. No warlock ever would want to cast these spells. Most magic users never want to cast these spells.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by StormFont View Post
      This is extraordinarily weak. There's nothing that would make me want to take it. No warlock ever would want to cast these spells. Most magic users never want to cast these spells.
      This is definitely for warlocks that want to dip their toes into diplomancy but not for everyone. What would you do to improve it? Are there more appropriate spells to choose, or perhaps Anansi/Loki would grant other ones?
    1. StormFont's Avatar
      StormFont -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      This is definitely for warlocks that want to dip their toes into diplomancy but not for everyone. What would you do to improve it? Are there more appropriate spells to choose, or perhaps Anansi/Loki would grant other ones?
      Spells that do something for battle, surely. Perhaps illusion or escape spells. For a warlock to take a spell, it's gotta either scale or be almost always relevant. Those up there are some of the most situational spells in D&D. Only Color Spray is good for battle and it scales terribly.

      Warlocks are pretty much always good at diplomacy. They have charisma focus and their goal is pumping it high as soon as possible. Anyway, even intrigue-focused subclasses like Glamor and Whispers Bard and Inquisitive and Mastermind Rogue have something for combat.

      Advantage against charm effects is literally weaker than the elf racial feature. You should just give immunity up front. And advantage against fear is the halfling racial feature. Just give immunity.

      So those are the only combat buffs in there, anti-charm and anti-fear. Pretending you're charmed or frightened while you're not has no benefit. If you act like it, isn't it as good as someone having charmed you anyway? And if you don't, that little extra feature does nothing. Anyone can pretend to be charmed or frightened anyway, all they need is a perform check. From what I see, the charm and fear spells don't even tell you whether the effect succeeded or failed.

      A much more fitting effect would be turning the effect back on the caster, though Archfey already has something like that. Maybe you could broaden the scale of conditions it'd work against. Advantage in mental saves in general would be fitting.

      How about instead of diplomancer, you have it play tricks on the enemy?

      About the level 6 feature, rolling an 11 isn't a very impressive thing to do once per rest. Rogues can auto-succeed on things by level 11. And Glibness is nice and all but it still doesn't help in combat. It also renders the level 6 feature irrelevant.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by StormFont View Post
      Spells that do something for battle, surely. Perhaps illusion or escape spells. For a warlock to take a spell, it's gotta either scale or be almost always relevant. Those up there are some of the most situational spells in D&D. Only Color Spray is good for battle and it scales terribly.

      Warlocks are pretty much always good at diplomacy. They have charisma focus and their goal is pumping it high as soon as possible. Anyway, even intrigue-focused subclasses like Glamor and Whispers Bard and Inquisitive and Mastermind Rogue have something for combat.

      Advantage against charm effects is literally weaker than the elf racial feature. You should just give immunity up front. And advantage against fear is the halfling racial feature. Just give immunity.

      So those are the only combat buffs in there, anti-charm and anti-fear. Pretending you're charmed or frightened while you're not has no benefit. If you act like it, isn't it as good as someone having charmed you anyway? And if you don't, that little extra feature does nothing. Anyone can pretend to be charmed or frightened anyway, all they need is a perform check. From what I see, the charm and fear spells don't even tell you whether the effect succeeded or failed.

      A much more fitting effect would be turning the effect back on the caster, though Archfey already has something like that. Maybe you could broaden the scale of conditions it'd work against. Advantage in mental saves in general would be fitting.

      How about instead of diplomancer, you have it play tricks on the enemy?

      About the level 6 feature, rolling an 11 isn't a very impressive thing to do once per rest. Rogues can auto-succeed on things by level 11. And Glibness is nice and all but it still doesn't help in combat. It also renders the level 6 feature irrelevant.
      Hrm. I'm not sure you've ever been with a proper diplomancer, but as far as tactical action drama you're right and this will definitely not be as exciting as the other warlock patrons. So let's start with the spells! These are still generally in the vein of trickery I think, although I wouldn't count out access to some of the original list (very specifically on a short rest recharging basis--it isn't the same as having more oomph in battle, but it's lateral power that could definitely be very dangerous in the right hands).

      1st faerie fire, silent image
      2nd arcanist's magic aura, blur
      3rd bestow curse, clairvoyance
      4th conjure woodland beings, polymorph
      5th conjure elemental, mislead

      I'm not sure if they've addressed it on Sage Advice but most spells that inflict a charm or fear effect are concentration. On that basis I think you'd have to know whether or not your magic has effected a creature. Maybe not so for things with passive fear auras and what have you? Point taken though so let's wrap them into one.
      Trickster’s Mind
      At 1st level, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened. When you successfully resist one of these conditions, until you act otherwise the creature that would have charmed or frightened you believes it has done so.

      Gifted Storyteller can do with some love too--let's say more uses. I like it and the ability to avoid magical compulsion to tell the truth is really important for an archetype about trickery.
      Gifted Storyteller
      At 6th level, no matter what you say, magic that would determine if you are telling the truth cannot tell whether or not you are lying. In addition, when you make a Charisma (Deception or Persuasion) check, you can replace the number you roll with 8 + your proficiency bonus. Once you have used this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use this feature again.

      I'm going to leave glibness as is too for the same reasons, but that leaves 10th level just hanging around. How about this? I can see it being pretty powerful but an opponent will need to be pretty dumb to keep failing at it (the Tarrasque would probably smack itself a few times before figuring it out).

      Clever Steps
      At 10th level, you can cause a creature taking a wild swing at you to connect with another enemy or even themselves. Once per turn, when you would be hit by an opportunity attack you can force the attacker to make an Intelligence saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, the creature's opportunity attack targets itself or an adjacent creature of your choice, and the creature has advantage on its attack roll. On a successful save, the creature has disadvantage on its opportunity attack against you.

      Thanks for posting!
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