Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Mayan Warrior in the Itza RPG

Creating the Mayan warrior for Itza (Mayan RPG) has been quite a challenge. One that has required a complete rewrite of the combat rules to allow for a fast paced and challenging encounter for characters with primitive weapons, scant armor and the goal to capture, not kill, the enemy.

Not only is combat different than the more familiar armored combat of most RPGs, the goal of combat is different. Getting the opponent to surrender and taking prisoners were a common goal in combat, as human sacrifice was a key element in their culture.

Itza uses a combat mechanism that:
  • Has no fixed amount of attacks per round. These depend on the character's ability scores and the players strategy. Will the player be more aggressive and attack more than defend or fallback to a defensive stance waiting to wear out the opponent?
  • Hit points are fixed for life and handled in a way that allows characters(and opponents) to be incapacitated and subdued in combat due to wounds. Thus allowing for the so valued prisoners.
  • The attack roll has been remade to allow survival based on skill, not armor. Armor helps, no doubt about that, but your character is not defenseless if dressed only with a loin cloth. More so, less armor grants the character more actions per round, granting the player more options in the round to round tactics of combat.

The warrior's weapons

The Mayans and Aztecs lacked iron and thus their weapons were made of wood and stone. No less lethal though, they require a different damage and armor mechanism to fully exploit their lethal power in combat. The image above shows the Aztec weapons, which were very similar to Mayan ones.

1 - Club - clubs were either just wood poles or were tipped with big round rocks for an extra punch.
2 - Axe - made with stone, usually a large piece of obsidian.
3 - Bow and arrow, arrows were made with obsidian tips. I'm not aware of any composite type of bow. Mesoamerica lacked horses so the mounted archer was nonexistent in these cultures.
4 - Macahuitl, the sword was made of a thick wood piece with obsidian blades on its edges. A great weapon to cut and pummel with. If in doubt check this video out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKfuEUisyk0
5 - Spear with obsidian blades at the end
6 - Armor consisted mainly of shields, although the more prominent warriors may have used padding. Padding though presented a risk in the intense heat and humidity of the Yucatan peninsula.
7 - Atlatl - The atlatl was a shaft that allowed the warrior to project a spear like object with greater velocity towards it's target. The weapon itself, the spear, was an obsidian tipped pole.

Image source

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