Hishnashapers lived solitary lives as hermits. They often lived alone near a village. They did not live with their families as was custom in Maztica, and rarely married. They were known to harass and bully the residents of nearby villages, and were not trusted because of their inclination to back-stab others. However, because potential threats to a village usually avoided hishnashapers, the presence of a hishashaper was tolerated by the villagers for the protection they inadvertently offered.
Despite their monastic existence, hishnashapers held an important role in Maztica. Hishnashapers were wielders of hishna magic, one of the few magical powers used in war in Maztica. Hishnashapers were nearly always of a chaotic evil alignment.
Hishnashapers were proficient in the use of knives made from obsidian. Spears and blunt weapons were the weapons most hishnashapers learned how to use. They were also proficient in animal lore, training animals, and tracking.
Hishnashapers were experts in hishna magic, also know as talonmagic. Hishna was bestowed by Zaltec, the Bringer of War and Eater of Hearts. Hishnashapers learned new spells as they practiced their art, but advancing in skill levels was a slow process. Hishnashapers were often human although halflings in Far Payit were known to become hishnashapers as well.