Sunday, May 26, 2013

Skinned princess

They who owned nothing had a fame of valor that preceded them. Thus, small as their numbers were the chief Coxco asked for their help before warring with the Xochimilcans. They, all of them, offered to serve the chief. Great gain was to be made, as to them failure was not something they could conceive as an outcome of war.

They who had nothing were so committed in the battle that soon they captured twenty prisoners. Quickly, they cut off an ear off each prisoner as the best way to recognize their valor in combat. Never had they done something like that, but it was clear mark on their war treasures. It was to them the rightful thing to do.

On the following day, chief Coxco, still celebrating his victory, found them empty handed and was quick to reproach them. He questioned if they had even dared to enter battle and fight for him. His comments and scorn were of the most humiliating sort. Then, just as Coxco finished talking, he was asked by them why the prisoners lacked an ear. While Coxco was still dumbfound and looking for an answer, those who owned nothing produced a bag with the ears of the captured warriors. Proving, beyond doubt, it was their valor who brought in the twenty prisoners Coxco was so proud of.

So concerned was Coxco to make peace, and amend his words with these brave warriors that he promised anything they asked for to remedy his injury to their honor.Their leader, the high priest of those who owned nothing asked for Coxco's daughter in payment. In his words "she would mark the beginning of the most respected lineage their people had ever known".

Coxco, thinking he was turning his daughter to marriage as his priest queen, quickly handed over her hand and made preparations for a wedding. Little did he know that she was to be sacrificed to Coatlicue, her heart carved out her chest while she looked onto the eyes of the high priest, then disemboweled, beheaded and skinned. Her skin would then be turned into a tunic for the high priest who would in turn make his people, those who owned nothing, into the most respected and powerful tribe in the region. The priest dressed in the maiden's skin would begin the rise to power of the Aztec, and turn them into supreme lords of the land.

Los Aztecas, Manuel Yáñez Solana, Edimat Libros

Image source

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Itza - prehispanic RPG

If you like long lived characters, gaining XP, growing your character's skills adventure after adventure, don't read any further. On the other hand if you're the type that believes that five minutes of glory is better than a life time of anonymity, then read on, this game is for you.

Itza is a prehispanic RPG in a Mayan-Aztec setting. It is a fast paced and brutal world were life is worth little and service to the gods is of uttermost importance in everyone's life. All classes are war like classes, war is after all a holy endeavor undertaken to please the gods. Even scribes and priests have powers that would turn the stomach of the weak at heart upside down. Blood is the currency of the land and one's life is the purse for such currency to be traded with. Your blood is of great value to the gods if you should fall prisoner to an opposing tribe.

There are various character classes in Itza; warriors and the elite jaguar warriors, priests and shamans, scribes, witches and hunters. You character will have an animal spirit akin to a totem called his wayob. Through training your character will be able to gain more powers from the wayob, and in time and should your character survive, he would be able to control such creatures and even become one.

There is no iron or steel. Hit points are fixed for life and survival depends on speed and cunning rather than big weapons and armor. The gods mark your path day by day. Powers will rise and wane depending on the influence of gods and animals on the current day and week. Ritual and tribute to the gods is an everyday aspect of your character's life.

Your characters will have more power and strength than the average 1st level character you might be used to, but will that be enough to ensure survival? Put your cunning and skill to play and make good use of these skills to outwit and outmaneuver the fate the gods have set for you and mark your own path in the world of Itza.

I'll be hosting a round of games during L.U.G. CON on June. Join the community to stay up to date with this and other great games that will be run that weekend.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Beware the crossroads tonight

Your party sets off today on 1 - Deer (Mazatl) on the Aztec 260 day calendar tonalpohualli.

It marks the beginning of a good 13 day trecena for hunting. It will favor those skilled in stalking, tracking and backtracking. It is unfortunately also a day that faces west and as a first name day with such an orientation it opens the doors to the Cihuateteo, vampire like creatures who stalk the crossroads at night searching for victims.

What will your party be on this day that favors hunting? Will you be the hunter or the hunted? Will you dare journey out on your adventure? Risking a random encounter with one or more cihauteteo? Or will you wait in town for a more favorable day, like tomorrow 2 - Rabbit, to venture on your journey.

Cihuateteo are the spirits of noble women who died during child birth. As such they are honored as warriors and escort the sun from noon to sunset. After sun set on this day they are free to wander the roads and encounter unwary travelers at the crossroads. They are vicious wailing spirits who cry for their lost life and children. Is your party prepared to face their banshee like wails and sharp claws? Will you defeat them or fall victim to their sharp teeth and insatiable appetite?

It is best you pack some xucuichtlamatzoalli or tamales for the road and have them ready to offer as food. Maybe a generous enough offer will make your party a less interesting target for their appetite.

Cihuateteos roam the crossroads on all first westward name days  : 1 - deer, 1 - rain, 1 - monkey, 1 - house and 1 - eagle). On our calendar 1 - deer was April 27. The next day to allow cihuateteos free access to our world is June 18 on 1 - rain. It will be a trecena (13 day) period favored by Tlaloc, god or rain. It will be a time of hardship with either too much water or too little. Prefer solitude over companionship and don't rely on others as support from others is doubtful during this period.

Tlaloc, the rain god

Tlaloc at the entrance of the anthropology museum in Mexico City

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Images :

Bibliographical reference

Tamales and recipe

Aztec glyph and dates