Dragons Conquer America: Core Book

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Table of contents :
The new worlD
The lanD
The peoplE
The spirit worlD
AnahuaC
The nahua worlD
Anahuac CulturE
ReligioN
Anahuac tribeS
The aztecA
The azteca tributarieS
The tlaxcaltecA
The tzintzuntzani empirE
Chichimeca tribeS
Main settlementS
Sixth sun armY
MayaaB
The snake kingdomS
Mayaab culturE
ReligioN
The mayaab stateS
Mayaab tribeS
The yokot’aN
The itzÁ
The k’iché peopleS
The ch’oL
Other tribeS
Main settlementS
The four regionS
The inca domaiN
Inca culturE
ReligioN
Four regions tribeS
The qusqU
Subject peopleS
Border tribeS
Four regions settlementS
The old worlD
The old worlD
European culturE
ReligioN
Factions and forceS
Of heroeS
CampaigN
One-shot adventurE
Character advancemenT
MovemenT
Health and damagE
Skills and focuS
Common talentS
StatuS
TraitS
Classes
AristocraT
SagE
ChasquI
CourtesaN
Temple guarD
Teotl priesT
Virgin of the suN
CuahchiC
Eagle warrioR
Jaguar warrioR
PochtecA
Beast lorD
ShamaN
Tomb raideR
Sun paladiN
HeadhunteR
Christian missionarY
ConquistadoR
Dragon rideR
HidalgO
InquisitoR
Fayomi ramireZ
Aritz álavA
QuetzatentlI
Crazy b’aK
Steel & stonE
QuauholollI
MacuahuitL
SwordS
SpearS
Knives and daggerS
AxeS
WarhammerS
BowS
CrossbowS
ArquebuS
PistolS
AhtlatL
JaveliN
SlinG
BlowgunS
ArmourS
ShieldS
DrugS
MiscelaneouS
Religion & magiC
SpiriT
Corruption
Rituals
Spells
Nahualotl schooL
Tonalli schooL
Titici schooL
Xihuitl schooL
Illusion schooL
Tlachixqui schooL
Tsantsa schooL
Necrophagic schooL
Tlatlacatecolotl schooL
Tlahuilpochtli schooL
New world charm schooL
Tlachichina schooL
Auianime schooL
Shadows schooL
Priesthood scriptureS
Patmos scriptureS
Seven seals scriptureS
Old testament scriptureS
Enemies & allieS
European
New worlD
BeastS
AtlachaneH
TeomichiN
Drowned maN
Xolomichin
Cipactli
Tlacoatl dragon
MiquimeH
Miquimeh zombiE
NahuaL
Miquimeh ChampioN
Miquimeh wizard
Miquimeh mummY
IlhuicatL
Spectre
Tzitzimimeh warrioR
TeotototL
CihuateotL
Mixcoatl dragoN
TlatlameH
Fire zombiE
Fire beasT
Tlatlameh lorD
Flaming snake
Xiuhcoatl dragon
Other monsterS
Obsidian jaguar
ChanekeH
ApemaN
AhuizotL
Itztlicoatl nagA
OgrE
Tlahuilpochtli haG
Shapeshifter cuetlaquetzaL
Possessed onE
GolemS
MermaidS
Earth dragonS
Nahual dragoN
Army dragonS
Mediterranean dragoN
Iberian dragoN
Of stories untolD
Night of terrorS
Fight for the lanD
Path of the seekerS
Culture clasH
Daring explorerS
SacrificE
Precious packagE
TyrantS
Fight thy tyranT
Creating a tyranT
The regioN
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1

2

PR O D UC E R S Jon Egia

Helio de Grado

G A ME D E S I G N E R & A RT D I R E C T OR Carlos G.Q.

WR I T E R

J. C. Alvarez

G A ME C O N S U LTAN T Mauricio Gómez Alonso

C O PY E D I T O RS Tonya Blust

Neil Amswych Eric Wyman

G R APH I C D E SIG N E R Aleksandra Bilic

LIFE BRIN G ERS

Leon Tukker

MAP ARTIS T

Remi Fayomi

Milan Nikolic

Brian Hooper

Alejandro Olmedo

Aritz Alava

Kostya Chernianu

Stephany Jaiquel Baron

Jason Hyde

Renju MV

Laura Calvo Llorente

Marcin Basta

Aritz Álava

Peter Kim

Raymond Blair

Alexander Petrakov

Boyd Stephenson

Lucas Parolin

Chiffre Indigo

Gal Or

Wojciech Filimonowicz

Nikola Matkovic

Zac Calderone

LE AD AR TIST

Antonio J. Manzanedo

COV E R ARTIST

Antonio J. Manzanedo

AR TISTS

Zabi Hassan Rado Javor Sebastian Luca

C LASSI C ARTI STS

Filippo Vanzo

SPEC I AL T HA N K S

Andrea Maurizio Medici

Emmanuel Leutze

Cass Rea

George Pricopegalan

Oscar Pereira da Silva

Paul Smith

Marco Brunelleschi

John Everett Millais

Douglas Jessup

Greg Rutkowski

Gyula Benczúr

Adrian Bettridge-Wiese

Vukasin Bagic

Dia Lacina

3

IndeX The new worlD 

6

The land  The people  The spirit world 

10 15 17

AnahuaC  24 The nahua world  26 Anahuac Culture  27 Religion32 ANAHUAC TRIBES  34 The azteca  35 The azteca tributariea  38 The tlaxcalteca  40 The tzintzuntzani empire 41 Chichimeca tribes  42 MAIN SETTLEMENTS  44 SIXTH SUN ARMY 48 MayaaB  51 The snake kingdoms  52 Mayaab culture  53 Religion59 The mayaab s tates  62 MAYAAB TRIBES  62 The yokot’an 65 The itzá  66 The k’iché pe oples  66 The ch’ol  68 Other tribes  70 MAIN SETTLEMENTS  72 The four regionS 

76

The inca domain  78 Inca culture  80 Religion85 FOUR REGIONS TRIBES  87 The qusqu  88 Subject peoples  90 Border tribes  92 FOUR REGIONS SETTLEMENTS 94 The old worlD 

96

The old world  98 European culture  100 Religion105 Factions and forces  106 4

The ruleS 

108

GAME OVERVIEW  110 Storytelling & Role Playing  110 Actions  110 The golden rule  110 Resolution Mechanics  111 Formatting  111 THE GAMING TOOLS  112 This book  112 The character and GM sheets  112 The playing cards  112 The dice  114 TIME 115 Sessions 115 Scenes  115 Rounds  115 Turns  115 ACTIONS  116 Counteractions 117 Collaborative Actions  117 Action Value  118 Attacking 119 Formations  119 CONF RONTATIONS 120 Resolving a Confrontation 120 CHECKS 122 Resolving a Check  123 Check difficulty  123 Repeating failed Checks  123 Distinguishing a Check from a Confrontation 124 Fear  124 CONS EQUENCES 126 Positive consequences  126 Negative consequences  126 Jokers 127 DRAWING CARDS  128 Beginning of a Scene  128 Playing with the suit  128 Proficiency  129 Running out of cards  129 Fatigue  129 Actions during a Round  130

ROUNDS  130 Drawing weapons  130 Ready & Spent characters 131 Steps of a Round  131 Ambushes 131 TIME-SENSITIVE EVENTS  132 Resolving a TSE  132 TSE difficulty  132 ABILITY EFFECTS  133 Permanent 133 Action as an ability  133 Reaction 133 Instant 133 Any character vs any other character  133 Stacking abilities  133 Ability list  134 Armour Soft/Hard  134 Concussive  134 Piercing  134 Secondary weapon 134 Discard X  134 Corruption X  134 Fatigable  134 Electrical X  135 Venomous X  135 Stun135 Fire 135 Fear  135 Blindness  135 Knock down 135 Magical  135 Reload 135 Slow reload  135 X ammo  135 Radius X  135 Spiritual  135 Hemorrhage X  135 Flames X  135 Paralysis  135 Fast draw  135 Addictive (X)  135

Of heroeS 

136

Campaign139 One-shot adventure  143 Character advancement  144 Movement  145 Health and damage  146 Skills and focus  148 Common talents  151 Status  156 Traits  159 CLASSES  161 Aristocrat  162 Sage  164 Chasqui  166 Courtesan168 Temple guard  170 Teotl priest  172 Virgin of the sun 174 Cuahchic  176 Eagle warrior  178 Jaguar warrior  180 Pochteca  182 Beast lord  184 Shaman186 Tomb raider  188 Sun paladin 190 Headhunter 192 Christian missionary  194 Conquistador  196 Dragon rider  198 Hidalgo  200 Inquisitor 202 PREGEN CHARACTERS  204 Fayomi Ramirez  204 Aritz Álava  205 Quetzatentli 206 Crazy B’ak  207 Steel & stonE 

216

Quauhololli 221 Macuahuitl 222 Swords  224 Spears  226 Knives and daggers  228 Axes  230 Warhammers  231 Bows  232 Crossbows  233 Arquebus  234 Pistols  235

Ahtlatl  236 Ja velin 238 Sling  238 Blowguns  239 Armours  240 Shields 244 Drugs  246 Miscelaneous  248 Religion & magiC 

250

SPIRIT 252 Corruption 252 Rituals 254 Spells  255 Nahualotl school  258 Tonalli school  260 Titici school  262 Xihuitl school  263 Illusion school  264 Tlachixqui school  266 Tsantsa school  268 Necrophagic school  269 Tlatlacatecolotl school  270 Tlahuilpochtli school  272 New world charm school 274 Tlachichina school  276 Auianime school  278 Shadows school  279 Priesthood scriptures  280 Patmos scriptures  282 Seven seals scriptures  284 Old testament scriptures  286 Enemies & allieS 

288

EUROPEAN  294 NEW WORLD  302 BEASTS  316 ATLACHANEH  324 Teomichin325 Drowned man 326 Xolomichin328 Cipactli  329 Tlacoatl dragon 330 MIQUIMEH  332 Miquimeh zombie  333 Nahual 334 Miquimeh champion 335 Miquimeh wizard  336

Miquimeh mummy  338 ILHUICATL  340 Spectre  341 Tzitzimimeh warrior  342 Teotototl  344 Cihuateotl 346 Mixcoatl dragon 350 TLATLAMEH 352 Fire zombie  353 Fire beast  354 Tlatlameh lord  355 Flaming snake  356 Xiuhcoatl dragon 358 OTHER MONSTERS  360 Obsidian jaguar  361 Chanekeh362 Apeman363 Ahuizotl 364 Itztlicoatl naga  366 Ogre  368 Tlahuilpochtli hag  370 Shapeshifter cuetlaquetzal  372 Possessed one  374 Golems 376 Mermaids 381 Earth dragons  382 Nahual dragon 386 ARMY DRAGONS  388 Mediterranean dragon 388 Iberian dragon 392 Of stories untolD 

394

Night of terrors  397 Fight for the land  398 Path of the seekers  401 Culture clash 402 Daring explorers  403 Sacrifice 405 Precious package  406 TYRANTS  409 Fight thy tyrant  410 Creating a tyrant  413 The region 415

5

D

R AG O N S C O N Q U E R A ME RI C A is a game of histori-

cal fantasy based on the times of the European invasion of America in the 16th century. The game setting, while based on historical fact, is rife with fantastic elements, including powerful magic, mystic forces, and mythical creatures such as fairies and dragons. The story is mostly fictional, but accurately introduces events that took place during the Mesoamerican War of Conquest, as well as the historical nations and characters at their centre.

Magic Magic is real in this world, and the history we know, while mostly unchanged, has been subtly influenced or altered by sorcerous forces. Ancestral air and thunder spirits accompanied the Aryan invasion of the Tamil at the dawn of history, giving rise to the Vedic legends. Bearded, human-faced dragons oversaw the building of the first pyramids at Sumer and Egypt. The Age of Philosophy of the postAtlantean world gave rise to mighty priest-wizards, remembered as gods and demigods in the records of the Fall of Troy and the Rise of Rome. The descendants of these Roman wizards established the Catholic Council that still rules the world, inspired by the wisdom of the Prophets of the Middle East. Faerie kingdoms allied with the warlord Artus, giving him a magic sword and the title of Faerie King, to expel the Romans from Brittany. Norse elves spurred and accompanied Leif Eriksson’s expedition to Vinland, while the Keltic elf rogue Robin of the Hood led a resistance that forced the British Kings to sign the Carta Magna that would eventually lead to the return of democracy. Thus, today’s world is shaped by the historical presence of wizards and spirits, which have walked handin-hand with humanity, sometimes more noticeably and sometimes from the shadows – but always there.

Religion Magic is inextricably linked to faith; what one believes in determines one’s access to the Spirit World. Those who worship, study or understand this all-powerful force are capable of superhuman feats, understood by others as magic spells or divine miracles. The greatest of these priests and wizards are so powerful in their worship that they become worshipped in turn, becoming the legendary heroes of myth and even the deities of polytheistic pantheons. Catholics, who deny any divinity other than God’s, worship these individuals as Saints. 6

Dragons Dragons have been a part of the Catholic world for more than a thousand years, ever since Saint Sabra tamed and converted the legendary Wyrm of Silene in the fourth century AD. From that moment on, the European dragons that would otherwise have been massacred by human knights and soldiers became instead a valuable resource of human armies. For the last millennium, warfare has been shaped by the presence of dragon riders, and their use has allowed European kingdoms to secure lasting power over their lands. The most famous examples were the Crusades, where Richard the Lionheart’s Catholic dragons defeated Saladin’s djinn army and sacked the Holy City; the legendary battle where St. Joan of Arc and her Holy Dragon defeated Richard’s descendants, thus ending the so-called Hundred Years’ War; and the liberation of Castile from Moorish forces, at the hands of the freedom force led by Jimena Díaz de Vivar, still remembered as La Saida Campeadora – the most famous dragon rider in history. Now, however, as every army and kingdom owns a mandatory dragon force of roughly equal power, European forces have come to a stalemate. Unable to expand into each other’s borders, they have turned to new routes for trade and conquest, taking their dragons to previously uncharted lands. Twenty years ago, Christopher Columbus found such a land – a whole New World, it seemed, waiting to be discovered in the middle of the Western Sea. European Kingdoms were quick to send their own ships and dragons to the new territories, looking for new lands to expand into and riches to exploit. But this land is, of course, inhabited. And Here, too, Be Dragons. New World dragons differ from their European counterparts in their sleeker, larger bodies, their lack of lower limbs and the beautiful plumage that adorns their scales. The most important difference, however, is that these dragons have never been converted to any religion or allegiance. They are free and wise, and have many natural abilities that humans would call sorcery – and indeed humans could only imitate by limited prayers and crude spells. Many of these dragons can even take on human form and, of course, only allow themselves to be mounted by those they choose. It goes without saying that these dragons do not serve their human neighbours; in fact, humans often revere them as divine beings. In return, dragons take care of them, as a shepherd takes care of his flock; thus, New World natives have no dragon armies, but are under dragon

D r a g o n s c o n q u e r a m e r i c a c o r e b o o k

protection, and their gods won’t take kindly to a swarm of lesser lizards invading their land. However, even if the Catholic dragons of European armies are generally less powerful than their New World counterparts, they are far more numerous and better organized. God only knows what will happen when both forces collide – and which side He will favour.

The Setting It is the year 1512 of the Christian Era, and Chicome Tecpatl (7 knife) of the Mexica Calendar Cycle. There are dark clouds on the horizon. Columbus died a few years ago, forgotten after making his famous discovery of the West Indies – or the New World, as most people call this unexplored land since they learned it is not another side of Asia as previously thought, but instead a whole new continent. As European governments decide what to do with the new lands and their potential riches, their first settlers, armed with transoceanic ships, guns – and dragons – have struggled to conquer the New World’s easternmost islands for almost twenty years now. The Hispaniola outposts, long established as the beachhead of European power in the New World, have already determined there is a larger continent to the West, and sailed its coasts – but so far no major mainland expedition has managed to overcome its warlike tribes and treacherous terrain. Beyond these unwelcoming coasts, still unknown, lies the Valley of Anahuac, home to the Excan Tlahtoloyan – the Triple Alliance of the Aztec peoples. It is one of the oldest and best organised empires the world has ever known, encompassing hundreds of city-states, all of which pay tribute to the mightiest civilization in the planet: the Mexica of Tenochtitlan. For nearly a hundred years, the Mexica have ruled over the land of the Fifth Sun unchallenged, striking fear in the hearts of their enemies thanks to the divine power of their priests and the help of their mixcoatl dragon allies, which terrorise and astonish the peoples under Mexica domain. This is all about to change.

T H E S P AN I S H E XPE DITION FORC E Diego Velázquez De Cuéllar, recently appointed by Columbus’ heirs to conquer the island region known as Cuba, is establishing a European power from which future expeditions may eventually sail to invade and conquer the mainland. Along with Velázquez come a number of adventurous, power-hungry soldier-nobles, or hidalgos, with an

eye on the New World’s riches, and a strategic mind that, unlike the shortsighted Spanish monarchs, nearly matches their ambition. Among these brash hidalgos there’s one man, one Hernando Cortés, who came with Velázquez as his clerk and treasurer, and who is slowly climbing the ladder of Cuba’s precarious European government. Today, this Cortés is but one of many would-be conquerors; but he has positioned himself to eventually become the most influential of Spanish settlers, and launch the most influential invasion of human history.

TH E AZTEC ATL TRI PLE ALLI ANC E Meanwhile, the Excan Tlahtoloyan – the Triple Alliance – of the Anahuac has received vague, remote reports of hair-faced men from the Eastern Sea, and their conquest of island peoples. So far, these reports seem to be mostly unfounded tall tales, but there’s a feeling of dread in the air. There’s an old prophecy that claims the Lords of Tollan shall return to the Anahuac from the Eastern Sea. While it’s but a superstition that the Mexica have furthered to cement their claim to power for decades, it could be used against them if these mysterious invaders ever make landfall. Also, a number of strange omens and dreams have visited the priests and kings of the Triple Alliance. Motecuzoma of the Mexica, the mightiest ruler in the continent, is worried about the people’s loyalty, and has endeavoured to dismiss such omens and warnings, but the supernatural evidence is mounting: a terrible danger is coming, and the Triple Alliance should prepare against it. The other leaders of the Triple Alliance – Nezahualpilli of Texcoco and Tetlepanquetzal of Tlacopan – are far more concerned than Motecuzoma, but their spies and messengers have gathered no conclusive evidence of an invasion. Could it really be a hoax? Nezahualpilli, in particular, has dreamed of a dark threat from the East, but Motecuzoma mocked and dismissed his concerns. No surprise, as Nezahualpilli will soon die of old age, leaving the throne of Tetzcoco to one of two unready, rivaling princes. He knows that Motecuzoma will move in to manipulate whichever prince is chosen. There are also scores of vassal states currently suffering under the Excan Tlahtoloyan; if the invaders turned out hostile, many of these oppressed peoples would gladly side with them against the Azteca allies. Dark times are coming indeed. The first outside invading force the Azteca have known will soon arrive to their world, and future human history depends on the outcome of that first contact.

7

The new worlD

8

the new wor ld

9

TLACAELLI’S LAST THOUGHTS I had visions. Visions of a world of tamed spirits, where dragons became small, spirits became grey and frail, where mortals cut off their ties to the spirit world. And then I awoke. In the real world, spirits and ancient powers haven’t left us. True civilisation is entwined with the primal, with the spirit. In the real world, the shadows of the First Sun still linger, and short-lived humans share the world with its original rulers, who rightfully refuse to let it go. In the real world, the Great Dragons have not dwindled; they have not bowed to mortals or returned to the stars. They have not been hunted. In the real world, the Great Dragons live among us; a remnant of the Age Before Mortals. They lord over us and demand our worship. In return, they share their power, their wisdom. It was the dragon lineages, through mighty Quetzalcoatl himself, which begat the Great Lords of ages past, when their sacred kin took human form and married mortals. The mighty scions of such unions became the lords and founders of Aztlan, of Tollan, of Teotihuacan. These half-dragon mortals, or Coatlaca, were the first and wisest of humankind. But the lineages have faded now. Nobody knows why. Sages debate that perhaps we have been too submissive to the dragons, and this has diluted our bloodlines; others argue that, on the contrary, we haven’t pleased our dragon masters well, and thus their power leaves our ruling houses. We do not know. The fact remains that no Great Dragon Lords are currently in power anywhere in the Excan Tlahtoloyan, anywhere in the Azteca world. Perhaps this is what my dream portends, what my visions warned me of. Perhaps such a thing happened when Teotihuacan fell, when Mayapan fell. Perhaps this is what caused the decline of our great forebears; perhaps humans fell out of favour with their dragon protectors, or we became too weak in their eyes. Perhaps the decline of the Great Coatlaca Lords is a sign that our civilisation, too, is nearing collapse. The last true Coatlacatl Lord of the Anahuac, mighty Nezahualcoyotl of Tetzcoco, passed away a full thirteen years ago. He left a wise and good ruler, his noble son Nezahualpilli, in his stead; but Nezahualpilli has not shown the signs, he is not marked; he does not 10

possess the blood of immortals. When he leaves this world, it shall be as a mere mortal, and mere mortals shall be his heirs, to squabble over the succession of a mortal realm. If Tetzcoco falls, the Excan Tlahtoloyan shall fall with it. We must take control of their nation swiftly, subtly, as soon as Nezahualpilli passes, as soon as power changes hands. We must, perhaps, hasten that passing. I may well be the last living bearer of Coatlacatl blood, although I have never been a lady ruler myself. The Mexica don’t allow female tlatoani. But they know. All the Mexica know it was me; me, the advisor to Four Generations of Mexica Lords, who truly ruled their nation – not my brother Ilhuicamina, not Axayacatl or Tizoc after him, but me. All of them I counselled, all of them I guided from behind the throne. It was my idea to create the Excan Tlahtoloyan, the Triple Alliance that rules our land; it was my arm that crushed the Tlatelolca and the Tepaneca; it was my hand that led Ahuizotl’s recent victories over the Cuexteca, the Tlaxcalteca, the Zapoteca; the conquest of every nation within sight of our lands. And when I die, the Dragon Blood, the lineage of Aztlan, will die with me. My people will be alone, mere mortals in a world ruled by greater powers than us. That is why I made the pact. That is why I sacrificed my soul, to protect the Anahuac in the absence of Coatlaca rulers. The ancestors shall be my people’s chief protectors, our chief allies. They shall bless and protect the Mexica if the Great Dragons fail us, as they shall – as surely as they failed the Tolteca and the Mokaya before us. We turned our backs from the Dragons, and embraced our own mortal bloodlines, our human ancestry; we now revere our dead warlords instead of the Coatlaca lineages. I made sure of it; I dedicated the temple of Mexi Huitzliopochtli myself. I made sure of it before I died. I also erased all the records, burned all the books, of all nations, of all the great lords that came before the Triple Alliance. No memory of the Coatlaca lines shall remain. I shall snatch all tradition and power from the hands of the ancient dragon lineages, and return it to the hands of the Mexica, of our people. We shall continue to bow to the Dragons, we shall pay sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl and the Lords of Aztlan;

the new wor ld

but our ancestors, our true Patron Saints, shall be mortal as we are – human blood, spilled by human hands. We shall worship our own force of arms, we shall extol the spirit of our warlord forebear Mexi Huitzilopochtli, who was as human as we are. We shall spit in the face of immortality; we shall revere our own blood and our own death. Sacrifice shall be the holiest of practices. Some priests called me a madwoman, before I ordered them silenced too. Some thought it was heresy to cut my dragon-priestess bonds, to turn away from tradition, to deliver our people’s fate to a pact with the underworld. Some foretold doom, a great curse, a defeat like no defeat has befallen any nation before, because of my sacrilege. Let me bear the curse and the blame, then. When the Mexica are judged, let it be me, and me alone, who the ancestors finger as the architect of our ruin. Or our salvation. For this, I fear, is the only chance. This is the only way that we Mexica may perhaps outlive a schism with the Great Dragons. Now, we pay homage to mortal blood, to ourselves. Thus, I can die, I can rest easy. I willingly give my soul to the spirit world, knowing that for my deeds my people shall endure. After this, let me become a dark spirit if indeed that is my fate; let me spend eternity as a shadow lurking above the Mexica’s destinies, a black wind blowing at the back of our nation.

11

D

R AG O N S C O N Q U E R A M E RI C A takes place in the

land we now know as the American continent, around the time when European and Native American cultures first became aware of each other. This unprecedented clash between such disparate, foreign cultures, is the central subject of DCA, the element that sets it apart from other RPG settings, and the narrative spark that ignites its stories and adventures. European invaders regarded their arrival to the Western Continent as the discovery of a New World, with strange peoples, customs and landscapes; for their part, the natives had never seen or imagined anything like these metal-clad, gun-wielding aliens. Never in history had two peoples with such different backgrounds and contexts met with such violent force. The action focuses on the Western Continent, particularly the area that Nahuatl peoples knew as Anahuac and known as Mesoamerica by present day historians, a vast expanse of valleys, deserts, steppes and jungles, spanning the area that today lies between the Rio Grande and the Isthmus of Panama. Most DCA adventures take place in this region, although we have included a chapter about the far-southern Inca culture, to give players and GMs a glimpse into one of the myriad other environments and societies that the continent housed prior to European invasion. Even the relatively narrow area of the Anahuac held scores of different peoples and nations, most of which didn’t even call it ‘Anahuac’. Every tribe had its own name for the world and its inhabitants, in its own language; the region’s ethnic and social diversity was roughly equivalent to that of contemporary Europe. When put together, the few reliable historic pieces about this lost world suggest an intriguing picture,

Is this America? Despite the name of the game, nobody knows the words ‘America’ or ‘Mesoamerica’ in DCA. The natives of the continent call it by several names, ‘The Anahuac’ being the most common in Nahua and Nahua-controlled states; Europeans know it only as ‘The New World’. ‘New Spain’ won’t enter common usage for decades yet – and perhaps never, as the campaign allows the possibility that Spaniards will lose the War of Conquest – and ‘West Indies’ is somewhat less common since Europeans discovered that Columbus was mistaken, and this land wasn’t another side of Asia as formerly believed. The correct name to refer to the continent is Anahuac (meaning ‘Land Surrounded by Sea’ or ‘where the Nahua are’) in Nahua regions, Mayaab (meaning ‘land of the few’) in Mayapan and its surrounding territories, and New World in European-controlled regions. However, no people in the Western Continent identify themselves as citizens of the ‘Anahuac’ or ‘New World’, instead referring to their homeland by the name of their specific people or city-state. which in turn makes for a fresh campaign setting, with unexplored mythologies, novel philosophies and unfamiliar narrative tropes. This chapter describes, in broad strokes, what we know about the culture, geography and society of New World cultures, and how these qualities translate to a game world.

The lanD

T

H E L AN D TH A T Europeans have dubbed ‘The New

World’ is a massive continent, containing every ecosystem, weather, climate and terrain imaginable.

It is also a land ruled by spirits and primal monsters, where human civilisations have never rebelled or taken arms against the supernatural, living instead by the same rules as unbridled nature itself. In fact, most civilised states in the New World were founded, or at least influenced, by the same primal monsters that created nature. Foremost among these

12

are dragons, who had a big part in creating humans, or at least leading them from their primitive lands to their current great states. Dragons invented civilisation, and taught it to mortals – including writing, arts and, of course, dragon worship.

Territories The New World boasts a staggering ecosystem diversity, from mountains, hills and plateaus to grasslands, steppes and deserts; from lush coasts to wide rivers

the new wor ld

and thick jungles. The DCA setting divides these territories in three major zones of influence: The Anahuac proper is the part of the continent inhabited by those that do call it ‘Anahuac’, including the many Nahua peoples and their tributaries. It is a well settled and civilised region, comprised mostly of hills, plains and valleys. There, hundreds of different citystates struggle, make war and establish alliances for control of the territory. Anahuac states enforce their power by a combination of military and religious might, and can summon the aid of nature spirits, ancestor saints and dragon lords, who protect Nahua cities and terrorise their enemies. The largest of these states, the Excan Tlahtoloyan, is an alliance of the three major Nahua nations – the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, the Acolhua of Tetzcoco, and the Tepaneca of Tlacopan. The Triple Alliance is the supreme power in the Anahuac, having forced its embassies, advisors and military outposts on most other tribes of the region. Detailed information on the Anahuac region can be found in Chapter II. The Northern Deserts are mostly wild, barren country, inhabited only by savage nomadic tribes, which the Nahua know collectively as ‘Chichimeca’. These northern barbarians hunt and forage for a living, roaming the deserts guided and followed by their animal spirits. So-called Chichimeca peoples include the reclusive Naayerit, the wise and holistic Xi’ui, the proud and fierce Yoeme, and the savage Red Eagles, whose raider nomads have kept the Mexica north border busy for centuries. All Northern tribes practice nahualotl magic and know the paths to the Spirit World, but they don’t worship dragons or practice ritual sacrifice – other than to eat the souls of their fallen enemies. Some of the Northern peoples are described in Chapter II of this book. Future DCA products will present further information about this region. The Mayaab, a region spanning coasts, steppes and jungles, rich in volcanic activity, is home to dozens of different tribes and cultures, all descending from ancient kingdoms whose ruined remains gather moss in the jungles and forgotten fields. Like the Anahuac, this region is civilised and organised, but its city-states are somewhat more isolated and independent of each other. Mayaab tribes include the Mayapan remnant – seventeen city states that share a single language and economic system, but are otherwise independent from each other – as well as the ancient and wise Itzá peo-

ple, the mysterious and holistic Ch’ol, the rival states of the K’iche and Kaq’chikel, and other, lesser tribes with long pasts and complex cultures. All these nations worship dragons, which they call Chaak’an, and offer them tribute and sacrifice in exchange for their protection and wisdom. Chapter III deals with the civilisations and states of the Mayaab. The Four Regions, or Tahuantin Suyu, are a vast federation of diverse tribes and states, located beyond an impassable mountain range far to the South; these lands have no contact with either Anahuac or European peoples. The Four Regions proper are under the control of the Inca lords, an ancient caste of mighty, heavenblessed individuals, who oversee their territories with a mix of wisdom, magic and military might. Other peoples living near the Four Regions include the civilised Chimu, the wise and skilful Muisca, who adorn themselves with gold, and the cryptic Pukina of the high mountains. Each state of the Four Regions has a single Huaca, or guardian ancestor; these patron saints belong exclusively to the people they protect. Dragons largely ignore and are ignored by mortals in the Four Regions, who have never needed or attempted a large-scale pact with the Spirit World - save for the Inca lineages, who claim their power directly from Heaven Spirits. The Four Regions are expanded on in Chapter IV of this book. The Eastern Coast runs from the European colonies of Cuba and the Caribbean to the unexplored jungles to the south of the continental coastline. This region is the domain of several hunter-gatherer peoples, cruel, loving, naked and unpredictable as the wilds, speaking to animals and plants as easily as to each other. These peoples include the hostile Arawak, the fierce Kalina and the easy-going Taino, whose island domains are already under European control. They all revere nature spirits, but fear dragons too much to make any kind of pact with them. Some of these cultures are described in Chapters IV and V of this book. Future DCA products will present further information about this region.

City-States New World civilisations don’t organise themselves around nations or states, but smaller-scale, centralised urban centres or tribal clusters. These social units most resemble a foreigner’s notion of a ‘city-state’, where a single town manages the economy, defence and welfare of various tributaries, without assuming a 13

common national identity (a non-existent concept in the New World). Such City-States are, by necessity, multi-ethnic, and tend to worship very diverse spirits, or even speak diverse languages, besides the ‘general tongue’ of the senior civilisation that manages the government centre. Virtually all native societies identify themselves as members of these city-states, known by many different names across the continent, such as altepetl in the Anahuac, kuchkabal in certain parts of the Mayaab, and Yacta or Huamani in the Four Regions.

WH AT I S A C I TY- STATE ? At its core, a native city-state is a gathering of clans or tribes in a single site, under a single (hereditary or elected) ruler. All peoples and tribes under the ruler pay for their membership in the city-state with work – be it farming, building, going to war or being sacrificed in religious rites. A city-state consumes the resources of the land surrounding it, and it demands more work and more resources the larger it grows. This has caused the fall of hundreds of city-states across history, when they grow too large for their environment, but most commonly it leads to war with neighbouring city-states. When a city-state wages war against another, the winner usually allows the loser to keep its lands and sovereignty, demanding only a percentage of their work and production to help sustain the larger state. To enforce this rule, the dominant town places stewards, ambassadors and military garrisons in the subject town, or marries its noble offspring to those of its tributaries.

A LL I ANC E S Sometimes, two or more city-states will enter a longterm alliance, pooling their resources as equals to defend themselves against larger states, or sharing tribute from lesser ones. These alliances, or federations, closely resemble modern republics, in that their rulers are all equals among themselves, and are regarded as ‘speakers’, or representatives of their respective peoples. All city-states belonging to such an alliance keep their own territories, languages and rulers, but adopt a ‘general’ language and a common barter system in addition to their own. These federations are the closest thing the Anahuac has to ‘countries’, except that they impose no single culture, national identity or authority figure on their members.

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LI MI TS OF C I TY-STATES Even the relatively closed and stable units of citystates are subject to widespread growth and decline. Factors like intermarriage, migration or war can completely change the size and composition of a city-state from one season to the next. Often, a city-state that wins a war against a lesser state will disband and disappear anyway, despite the added resources and traffic of the tributary state, or even because of it. The tribes of a city-state may also be abandon it to join its more prosperous neighbours, or to found a new city-state of their own. This may cause the fall of a city-state unable to hold the newcomers, or the rise of a new state that will subjugate its neighbours or cause them to disappear in turn. In short, many are the reasons by which a city-state may rise, change or disappear, and the political landscape of the New World is anything but stable.

Government The government system of the New World follows two parallel paths. On one hand, every state revolves around a single authority figure with absolute power; on the other hand, it works for the needs of various free and sovereign peoples with their own leaders, cultures and needs. This results in a tiered, symmetric power scale. A single family and their clan leader join a larger tribe with its own leader. In turn, that leader joins a larger cluster or tribes, or city-state with its own monarch, which may or may not join a larger alliance or federation, where every single leader must fulfil the needs of those under their rule; and may require the next-highest hierarchy to fulfil theirs.

TH EOC RAC Y Religion is very important in native governments, and all monarchs need to legitimise their claim to power through the favour of the Spirit World. A priest caste accompanies the ruler of every New World state, charged with speaking to the ancestors and patron saints in behalf of all their people. The priest caste makes sure that the city’s saints or dragons are kept happy and cooperate with their mortal subjects. As native cultures make no distinction between spiritual and worldly rule, priests and wizards can, and do, take part in state affairs. High priests usually serve as a monarch’s counsellors, and often take decisions in their name. Sometimes, the priest and ruling castes are conflated, with the monarch being ordained as a high priest as well.

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ME R I T O C R ACY V S N OBILITY Although there is a noble caste, and high positions of government tend to be hereditary, it is possible for a peasant to advance in the social ladder solely by their merits; a great soldier can become a general, or a family head a tax collector, then be appointed as a government official and then a high advisor, eligible to marry their offspring into a noble family. It is not uncommon to hear stories of slaves marrying monarchs and having children that go on to rule the state. By the same token, rulers are subject to the disapproval of the people, and may be removed from their charge if they prove incompetent.

Some city-states have stricter rules, with a greater distance between nobles and peasants, or sterner locks on the positions to which a commoner may advance; but in general, every New World state gives personal merit almost the same weight as noble blood.

TI TLES AND POSI TI ONS I N TH E N E W WORLD Besides the ruling rank, where the greater leader commands the lesser one from monarch to family head, a city-state needs other public offices to function properly. Below the supreme leader of a state, there are officials assigned to various affairs such as military defence and tax collections. Most native governments follow some variation of this hierarchy:

RANK

FUNCTION

ANAHUAC

MAYAAB

FOUR REGIONS

Supreme Monarch

Manage a multi-state federation

Huey tlatoani

Halach Winic

Sapa Inca

Monarch

Represent the people of a state

Tlatoani

Ahau

Inca

Advisor

Rule and take decisions in the monarch’s stead when necessary

Cuauhtlatoani

Itz’at

Incap Rantin

Council

Advise the monarch in their respective areas of expertise

-

-

-

High priest

Speak with and transmit the will of the Spirit World

Cihuacoatl

Ah Kin May

Huiyac Umu

Head of taxes

Oversee tax collectors across the state

Petlalcalcatl

Lakam

Curaca

Head of military

Oversee the state’s generals and armies

Tlacochcalcatl

Nacom

Tocoyricoc

Priest caste

Practice masses, rites and sacrifices to appease the Spirit World

Tlamacazque

Ah kin

Panaca

General

Lead armies in attack and defence

Tlacatecatl

Sahal

Apucuna

Tax collector

Collect taxes from tributaries or protected tribes

Calpixque

Tupil

Curaca

Steward

Rule a subject territory in the name of the state

Teuctli

Batab

Camayuc

Peasant

Give their workforce to the state

Macehual

Yalba winic

Mit’a

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Economy

TH E TRI BUTE SYSTEM

Native peoples have no universal currency, but instead use complex barter systems where most goods are assigned specific values, standardised across a city’s tributaries, which allow fair trade throughout the state. Although the barter items used and the value of goods within a single state are more-or-less normalised, they may vary greatly between cultures. Cross-cultural trade must follow the assigned values of the state where the exchange is conducted on, or else agreed upon during barter. Ideally, a state’s tax officials oversee all trade within its subject cities, to make sure the exchange is acceptable – and that the central state gets their share. European invaders, lacking many of the locals’ common barter items, melt native gold and silver into ingots, which they then value according to their own system.

Tribute and taxation are the foundation of the native economic system. A state can only be as powerful and prosperous as its production, and the exchange of goods defines the relative power of a state – between any two New World states, the one who pays is the subjugated one, and the one getting paid the stronger. The amount of tribute received is also used as a common measure of a state’s given power, and tribute shares are the basic negotiation terms in any diplomatic meeting. Understandably, tax collectors are among the most important social classes in the New World, with every civilisation having a well-established tax collector caste, regarded with the same respect and fear accorded to region leaders.

BARTER UNI TS Although no native culture uses formal currency, their barter system is advanced enough for certain items to count as a type of coin. The following are some of the most common barter units and trade items among New World states, with their respective values:

ROUGH WORTH IN CACAU BEANS

UNIT

DESCRIPTION

Cacau

Cocoa beans, basic barter unit

Quachtli

Cotton blanket, value according to length

Tzitzilhuitl

Duck or quetzal feather with gold dust inside the stem

Copper slice

Arrow-shaped, small copper piece

Cacau sack

Large cacau bag for wholesale trade

Spanish silver peso

Basic European coin

150

Spanish ducado

European gold coin

300

Slave

Includes war prisoners, indebted workers or one’s own family

1 50 to 300 15 10 to 150 24000

100 to 1000

Money while playing These conversions are a reference for those players interested in the prehispanic cultures and for those who enjoy micromanaging. Unless you truly want to use these, in the game everything is given a cost in Gold - it is assumed that wherever you go, you can exchange some of your properties for equally valuable properties used for bartering in the area. Therefore, players do not have to deal with different currencies if they do not want to. 16

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The peoplE

I

T G O E S WI THO U T saying that

New World peoples are very different to Europeans, both in culture and appearance. By the same token, and despite their great cultural diversity, all native peoples have some common traits, mostly inherited from shared ancestors or ancient civilisations such as Teotihuacan, which spread their customs across the continent.

Character New World peoples tend to be proud, stoic and fearless. They enjoy dark humour, bitter meals and a good scare, which is rarer for them than for more timid peoples. That’s why most local legends are disturbing ghost stories, or at least involve a couple of gory deaths. A foreigner may perceive New World natives as callous or insensitive, but they, like everybody else, enjoy feasts, song and revelry, and strive to work hard and to belong to their community. It’s just that their world is less comfortable, its disturbing aspects less disguised, than in other lands. Pain is a constant companion to New World peoples, and it is present in their everyday life, from body piercings to ritual bloodletting, from physical exertion to minor punishment. New World natives are very familiar with their own blood and pain, and they’re trained to expect death from a very young age. It’s no surprise, then, that they can perform endurance feats that would astonish a foreigner, like walking hundreds of miles while hauling a heavy load; or traversing the distance between two cities at a non-stop running pace.

This is not because they are physically or athletically superior; it’s because they, quite simply, disregard pain. And they continue to do so, without complaints, until their death, which they rarely fear. This is the greatest virtue of the native character – their utter lack of fear. It’s not that they are particularly brave or bold; they aren’t known for taking unnecessary risks or boast daring feats. Rather, it’s a quiet, stern acceptance of anything that comes their way, even death. The ideal New World citizen stands unfazed in the face of the worst loss and the greatest horror. If the New World peoples have a cultural flaw, it is arrogance. They tend to pride themselves in their stoicism and fearlessness, in their disdain of death and in their perceived perfection. Even their diplomacy and etiquette – full of excessive, almost sarcastic compliments – is designed to put them morally and culturally above others, be they foreigners, neighbours, or even members of their own family.

Appearance New World peoples are relatively short and stocky when compared with other nations. Their skin tones range from tan to ruddy, and their hair is invariably black. They have little or no body hair, with males growing no more than a sparse goatee. Most native peoples dress lightly, with plain loincloths or cotton tunics, and leather sandals to protect their feet – although going barefoot is also very common. They like body adornments, from earrings and piercings to bracelets and

necklaces. They tend to keep their torso and limbs naked, but they also wear loose cloaks and wraps in cooler seasons. They sometimes paint their bodies with coloured mud or blood, both as a ritual and as simple fashion. Face paint, and minor body modification such as tattoos, ear extensions or nose rings, are marks of beauty and nobility. Priests and very devout citizens sport many scars from their selflaceration rituals, and one can often distinguish a priest or priestess by their mangled ears or noses. Dress colour is also a mark of social class; wealthier citizens dye their clothes with bright inks, while commoners can seldom afford anything but white.

Relations New World peoples have no concept of courtly love. They understand, and give great importance to, sexual attraction, but it’s highly regulated by moral standards; ‘impure’ forms of love – which vary from one tribe to the other, but in general include any excess in pleasurable activities – are frowned upon and chastised. Most marriages are arranged, and ‘choosing the one you love’ is regarded as a selfish fancy. Married couples are expected to grow to love each other, and to remain dedicated to the family’s wellbeing for life. But even when two people fall in love, they are expected to behave with loyalty and respect, not to shower each other with trite pet names. Shows of affection are disgusting.

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By the same token, family members are not expected to develop attachments beyond duty and cooperation; it’s not uncommon for parents to sell their children as slaves or servants, often with the hope of giving them a better life at a richer household, but also as punishment for disobedience, or simply to get by during a bad season.

Social Roles One’s station in life is very important in native societies. A father must perform as a father, a child as a child, a farmer as a farmer, a priest as a priest and a lord as a lord. These roles are not unchangeable or written in stone, as most New World nations allow for high social mobility, but while a person is in a place, they must behave according to that place.

S OC I AL C L AS SE S All New World societies have a Noble Caste, which includes the lord and his tributary lords, if any; a Priest Caste, comprised of nobles who dedicate themselves to channelling the Spirit World; a Military Caste, which includes career soldiers, but not conscripted militia; and a Commoner Caste, which sustains the state through its hard work. Commoners are assigned a craft by their family, or the needs of their community, and they are expected to practice it for the betterment of their people, be it farming, weaving, painting or whatever.

S LAV E R Y Slaves exist in all New World societies; they are not considered their master’s full property, but they are unpaid servants, working off a debt, or the cost of their very lives, to maybe gain their freedom. Most slaves come from the ranks of war prisoners, remiss debtors and 18

criminals, but misbehaving children may also be sold by their parents. In any case, slaves are usually well-treated.

Culture Native peoples are respectful and proud of their culture to a fault. They understand their way of life is the best possible, and they appreciate how everything works as it should because of their higher understanding and devotion. Every native citizen is loyal to the city-state that embraced their family or tribe, and willing to lay down their lives for their adopted social structure. If a clan moves from one city-state to another, their loyalty will change to their new society. The interaction between mortals and the Spirit World is the axis around which native culture revolves; the spirits, the immaterial, move the artists and architects the same way they inspire priests. The rules that make families and states work in harmony mirror the Spirit World’s sacred order. Native cultural expressions constantly reference the Spirit World’s influence in human lives.

TOLTEC ATL, CHICH I MEC ATL New World peoples come in two kinds. First, there are the citizens of the scattered, centralised states that dot the landscape; they live by arts, crafts and science, under an organised political and economic system. Then, there are nomadic hunter-gatherers of the lands between these states; they survive by their aptitude and endurance, guided by hunting ancestors and nature spirits. Anahuac peoples are very aware of the division between these two, which they call Toltecatl (crafty) and Chichimecatl (barbaric).

For civilised peoples, Toltecatl is a superior status, and the inevitable next step of social evolution. Some chichimecatl nomads aspire to become civilised and live comfortably in large cities, but others disdain civilisation, and see the toltecatl/ chichimecatl division as a fallacy to justify the lie of living by arbitrary, pretentious rules. TOLTECATL Toltecatl peoples distinguish themselves mostly by their sedentarism. They build temples instead of carrying their idols with them, make large irrigation networks to sustain complex farming systems, and erect great pyramids to express their elevated state. They exalt the value of crafts such as building, music and poetry; the ideal citizen is expected to display artistic sensitivity and appreciate spiritual and intellectual pursuits. They encourage exaggerated, affected enjoyment of arts and poetry, and use over-the-top expressions and terms to convey their ‘higher’ emotions, just as they minimise and repress their basic feelings such as hunger, pain and fear. CHICHIMECATL Nomads don’t believe in unnecessary things. They carry the bare minimum, live by the bare minimum and worry only about the next season. Conversely, they endure as much as needed; endurance is the only true requirement to survive. Although they respect the Spirit World the same as their civilised kin, nomadic religion is simple, and it suffices with crude, travel-sized idols of their ancestor guardians, and ornaments representing their nahual spirits. Their spirits demand no sacrifice; there’s no time for sacrificial rites when your people risk death by hunting for food or searching for shelter.

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The spirit worlD

B

E Y O N D ALL C I T I E S and human settlements, be-

yond the most remote tribes, but also close enough to all of them as to be in the same place, there is a larger, older world, that answers to no mortal master. The peoples of the New World, just like every other civilisation in history, have always known that the world is divided in two. There is the mortal world, the visible world, which the Mexica call Tlalticpac; and then there’s the Spirit World – a realm beyond the physical, that mirrors our world but exists outside our sight. Mortals can travel to the Spirit World and back if they know the right spells – or the right paths. There are many hidden routes between the two worlds, and one can use them by knowing their location, or by stumbling onto them by chance. Once mortals die, however, their Spirit matter is free from physical constraints, and remains in the Spirit World thereafter. Just like the mortal realm, the Spirit World is divided in four quadrants. Here they are called the North, West, East and South; in the Spirit World they are the realm of Death, the realm of Heaven, the realm of Fire and the realm of Water, respectively. The manner of a person’s death marks the realm they travel to – and stay in – for eternity.

The four worldS All human civilisations recognise the Spirit World is divided in four realms. Ancient Sumerians understood them as Heaven, the Ground, the Abyss and the Coast respectively; Atlantean sages called them Air, Earth, Fire and Water; the Cherubim dragons of Abrahamic religions guarded four quadrants with Four Angelic Hosts. Native cultures identify these four realms with the cardinal directions. For them, sacred worlds are not places, but paths; one finds a spiritual region not by reaching it but by moving towards it. Facing one of the cardinal directions, one is already ‘in’ the corresponding spiritual quadrant. Each cardinal direction corresponds to a specific realm of the Spirit World. The fifth ‘direction’, the centre, corresponds to the mortal realm, and to one’s current position; thus, humans cannot ever leave it. That’s why magical means, or paths, are required to enter the Spirit World.

Each realm of the Spirit World has a different name, population and landscape, related to the spiritual forces that govern it.

NORTH : MI C TLAN The Realm of Death, Mictlan, is where most people go after death. Greeks called it Hades; Christians identify it as Purgatory. Mictlan is a bleak underworld of caverns and darkness, where walking skeletons lead dull afterlives, yearning for their lost enthusiasm and the forgotten zest of life. The world of Death is inhabited by the undead of all kinds, from shambling lifeless corpses to bored skeletons, from formless shadows to wily shapeshifting vampires; in time, a few of these undead spirits acquire greater mystical powers, and they become priests or lords of the underworld. Mictlan is also frequented by nahual spirit animals, who can naturally cross the boundaries between the realm of Death and the mortal world.

WEST: I LH UI C ATL The Realm of Heaven, also known as the Thirteen Blessed Realms, is Ilhuicatl, the home of everything elevated, bright and glorious. Mortals who die with honour – as a warrior in battle or a woman in childbirth, for example – or by worthy sacrifice, may move to the Ilhuicatl after passing to the Realm of Death, or even skip Mictlan completely and go straight to Heaven. The Ilhuicatl is home to dragons and beautiful creatures of the clouds and sky, but also to floating undead and winged skeletons of the night. Most of the dead that go to Ilhuicatl join the armies of the Tzitzimimeh, the Cihuateteo or another heavenly host, or else enter the service of a dragon or spirit as messenger souls. Ilhuicatl is known for its great dragon abodes; there are four hundred dragon houses in the Northern Sky, and another four hundred in the South. These dragon houses can be seen on clear nights as the stars of heaven. Christians identify Ilhuicatl as the House of God, and see all its creatures, even those with monstrous features, as His angelic manifestations.

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EA S T : T L AT L AY AN The Realm of Fire, sacrifice and punishment is Tlatlayan. The Norse knew it as Muspelheim, the ancient Jews as Gehenna, but it is better known as Hell – especially to Christians, who associate it with absolute evil. While the Spirit World doesn’t make a true distinction between good or evil – or rather, every spirit realm has its ‘good’ and ‘evil’ aspects – Tlatlayan is doubtlessly a place of torture and sacrifice, home to terrible dragons and demons of flame. Those souls unfortunate enough to go to Tlatlayan after death – Native peoples dead by certain ritual sacrifice, or Christian individuals who died cursed or in sin – spend eternity burning. When in Tlatlayan, it is common to see the floating, disembodied limbs and hearts of those that were thrown to the fire in pieces.

S OUT H : T L ALOCAN Tlalocan, the Realm of Water, is arguably the largest of the Four Worlds, as it represents the Primal Abyss, the Great Flood that existed before creation. Christianity, which has somewhat neglected its existence, knows it only as the Great Water that encircles Earth and the Firmament. Tlalocan means ‘below the Earth’, meaning the Great Water exists below every other world, even Mictlan, and its depths extend endlessly. Its mightiest dweller is the Storm Dragon Tlaloc, which ancient Babylonians called Tiamat. Most inhabitants of Tlalocan are fish-shaped spirits, flying dragons and mighty drowned corpses or ancient saints, with jewelled vestments and weapons.

ENTERI NG TH E SPI RI T WORLD The New World is still in a primal state, in which human thought has not yet replaced spiritual power; thus, the Spirit World is more accessible here than in other regions of Earth. There are many magical and natural ways to cross between the mortal and Spirit World; few people know them, however, and most mortals who enter the Spirit World in life do it by accident. MAGIC Several spells and incantations allow the user to move from the physical realm to the Spirit World. Most of these spells are forbidden to Christian characters, but a few may be used by anybody. SPIRIT PATHS The mortal realm has many natural roads into the Spirit World, known as Spirit Paths. These resemble areas of normal, natural terrain, until a mortal has traversed them long enough – usually for several hours – at which point the environment changes and the traveller realises he has shifted into the other world. The closer the bond is between a Spirit Path and the Spirit World, the less time it requires to lead the traveller between realms. The physical nature of Spirit Paths is always related to the Spirit Realm they lead to. A deep, sacred lake may lead into Tlalocan; a dark cave may be an entrance into Mictlan; a great bonfire may be a portal to Tlatlayan. A path to Ilhuicatl, the hardest Spirit Realm to reach, may be hidden as a trail up a mountain or a jump off a cliff. Most Spirit Paths require the traveller to take a specific action or be in a specific situation besides entering them. They might have to get truly lost inside the cave, drown in the water, leap off the precipice or burn themselves in the fire. A simple ritual or spending of Spirit may be enough. It is up to the GM to create interesting paths into the Spirit World, and the requirements to traverse them.

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God and the saintS Europeans and Natives have diametrically opposed views about divinity, saints and the dwellers of the Spirit World. Europeans think that Native saints are a pagan pantheon of lesser gods or demons, while Natives believe Europeans to be a kind of demons or spirits themselves. In fact, they are both wrong.

T E O T L O R GO D The universal divine spirit, which all religions recognise as the unified source of all magic and power, has very different faces for Native and European cultures. Natives barely recognise this force – which they call Teotl – as they understand it’s an essential part of creation, one that requires no more special attention than the act of breathing. Teotl is the lifeforce of the cosmos, and the source of every living thing an idea; all objects, thoughts and creatures are shapes of Teotl. Christians call it God, and see it as an almighty, discerning and all-wise entity, often with the face of a human – the well-known concept of ‘God the Father’, a wise old man with a triangular halo – and keep Him in mind all the time, worshipping Him as the supreme being in the universe, worthy of the greatest devotion, and claiming He guides their every act. In the DCA setting, Teotl and God the Father are the same thing – the fundamental cosmic force; the source of magic and life itself.

S AI NT S AN D PAN THE ON S All religions recognise at least some kind of saints, angels or lesser gods as aspects of the supreme divine force. In Christianity, saints and angels are superior beings, which, like God the Father, demand utmost homage and veneration. For the natives, spirits are companions and service providers, which must be compensated or bribed into cooperation through sacrifice. Rather than a well-defined pantheon or deities or saintly hierarchy, natives have hundreds of patron saints and ancestors; every city-state, and in some regions every clan or building, has its own guardian spirit. These spirits are worshipped not as higher beings, but as part of the community – as its supernatural citizens, so to speak – and given tribute as payment for their job of providing spiritual protection. Of course, some saints are mightier than others, depending on how many families, tribes or city-states call upon them for protection. The greatest saints are worshipped throughout the Western Continent, and known by many names among its people.

Since every culture has their own protectors, the saints and spirits of DCA are described in their region’s respective chapters.

DragonS Dragons were the first intelligent creatures in creation, and the first to use magic, which they taught to mortals at the dawn of time. They are the strongest denizens of the Spirit World, but they are physical creatures, and can freely travel to the mortal realm. In Europe, where the Spirit World is slowly losing contact with the mortal realm, dragons have become full-time residents of the physical world. Both the Western and Eastern continents have feathered, snake-like dragons, as well as four-legged, lizard-like dragons, both winged and wingless. Feathered dragons tend to be larger, wiser and mightier than four-legged dragons, except for the oldest specimens.

NEW WORLD DRAGONS Although the Western Continent has all kinds of dragons, the great feathered serpents - known generically as mixcoatl - are more common here than in Europe. Mixcoatl don’t fly by physical means, but by magically manipulating the weather; they all have great wisdom and knowledge, and it is told that they helped create mortal peoples at the dawn of time. Quetzalcoatl, also known as Qucumatz or Kukulcan among in the Mayaab, is the lord of all dragons. He is an incalculably ancient flying serpent, who lives high in the skies of the Spirit World. His mighty breath, known as ehecatl by the Mexica and Hurakan by the Maya, is a great gale or hurricane, and is so powerful that mortals worship it independently as wind itself. There are other famous dragons, such as Tlaloc, whose breath is rain and thunder, and Xipe Totec, called the Skinned Saint because he used to wear a human hide to pass as a mortal; Cihuacoatl of the Earth, the mother of all dragons; Mixcoatl of the Clouds, Cihuacoatl’s husband; and Cipactli or Imix Há, the crocodile-like, primal dragon, who sprang out of nothing before there was a world, and who slept for so long that the continent itself grew on its back. Even the lesser spawn of Cipactli are earth dragons so huge that they can level cities by rolling in their sleep.

C H RI STI AN DRAGONS European dragons are also known as Christian dragons, since most of them converted to Christianity after Saint Sabine tamed the Wyrm of Silene a thousand years ago. 21

Four-legged, winged dragon varieties are more common in Europe than in the New World, although there are some great flying serpents as well, and many lesser variations in between, such as the many-headed hydra and chimera of the Mediterranean. European dragons tend to lack the wisdom and magic skill of their Western counterparts, but are far more numerous. The first European dragons were seen as angels or manifestations of God’s power. Their Middle-Eastern kin, such as sphinxes and shedu, have human faces, and were worshipped by ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as divine beings. After the rise of the Catholic church, dragons were marked as creatures of Satan, savagely hunted by knights. This would have led to the extinction of European dragons, save for the conversion of the Silene Dragon, which started the tradition of dragon riders that has shaped European warfare since then. Legend still tells of Queen Gwynedd’s red dragon, and its great battle against the white dragon of Queen Rowen over the skies of Britain; as well as the heroic dragon mounts of la Mia Saida and Saint Joan of Arc.

D R AGO NS AN D M ORTALS Dragons have been closely linked to human existence ever since mortals appeared in the world. Dragons most likely took part in the creation of humanity, as suggested by the myths of various peoples from the Anahuac, China, Australia and the Middle East. In the Nahuatl and K’iché versions of the story, the four previous ages of the World, also known as the Four Suns, consisted of a struggle, or contest, between the mightiest dragons and the mightiest mortal wizards, to see whose version of creation would beat the others. The Fifth Sun, the current world, is under the joint protection of Quetzalcoatl, the noble King of Dragons, and Tezcatlipoca, the shady First Wizard. At some time between the origin of humankind and the current states of the New World, feathered serpents tested civilisation by taking on human form and living among mortals. These disguised dragons founded, ruled and inspired dozens of human states, before leaving the mortal world again. Although dragons have left the mortal realm since, their blessed reigns gave rise to dragon worship, which continues to this day in most New World cities. In the New World, most city-states are under the protection of at least one great dragon, who flies down to the city about once a month to preside a great ceremony where mortals feed it with precious metals, blood and living captives. Then, the dragon retires back to its abode in the Spirit World.

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In Europe, dragons are the elite flying mounts of every army, led into battle by the brave, famed all-female dragon rider units. The few dragons who did not swear fealty to humans and their Christian God were all but decimated by knight hunters, often aided by christian dragons. Today, European dragons have renounced the role of humanity’s superiors or enemies, and are content to serve as allies and war mounts, inspired by their faith in the Christian God.

DRAGONS AND WOMEN Nobody knows why. Some say it goes back to Eve, who seduced the Dragon of Eden into giving up the secret of wisdom. Perhaps it goes back to Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl; when the First Wizard created men and the Dragon Lord made women. Perhaps it began even earlier, with Cipactli/ Tiamat, the Primal Dragon, and the First Female creature in the world. Whatever the case, human females have always enjoyed power over dragons, from the dawn of history to this day. The Great Sumerian Dragon died seeking entrance to the temple of Ishtar; bearded lamassu dragons protected the sanctuaries of Akkadian women from impure men. Greek hydras and Roman chimeras kidnapped virgins to live in their caves. Witches and nuns the world over visited dragons to share riddles, thoughts and secret rituals. In the Anahuac and Mayaab, the Great Serpents spoke only to female priestesses. Coatlicue and Coyolxauhqui feuded for the love of a Mixcoatl. When Georgios of Cappadocia rode into Silene to rescue the virgin Sabine from the Wyrm, she interceded in the dragon’s name, sparing it the knight’s blade and turning it to Christianity. Afterwards, all Christian dragons and their progeny would only allow females to ride them. In the New World, priestesses with the task of summoning, feeding, and talking to a city’s dragon protector bear the title of Cihuacoatl, like the Dragon Mother, and they alone can speak with dragons and wield some of a Mixcoatl’s magical powers.

C OATLAC A LI NEAGES As the oldest dragons can speak and even weave powerful magic, some of them can also take human form. There was a time when such human-shaped dragons walked among mortals, and even mated with humans to produce blessed, wise and long-lived offspring. As European dragons obey their riders out of loyalty and love, so New World dragons took human form to marry mortals and produce ruling dynasties. Most of the civilised states in the history of the Western Continent have been built on the power and wisdom of dragon-born rulers; most of these states

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have now been abandoned, as their dragon patrons abandoned the mortal world. At first, dragons personally ruled the states they protected; then, when they outlived their loved ones - particularly when the human partner was a mortal woman - the dragon slowly lost interest in mortal affairs, eventually leaving its subjects to return to the Spirit World. But even then, dragons left their offspring, known as Coatlaca in the Anahuac, to rule in their place. Coatlaca are children of the unions between mortals and shapeshifted dragons, and they often become great heroes, state rulers or high priests. Coatlaca are long-lived, magically-blessed humans, who excel in all areas thanks to the power of their dragon blood. They have no “draconic” traits or appearance, but they age almost twice as slow as normal humans, and some of them have lived for hundreds of years. The Nahuatl and Maya peoples are very aware of the influence of dragons in their great civilisations, but dragon blood may have entered some European lineages through dragons such as Fafnir of the North, who took the form of a giant to seduce the warrior Brynhild; some of Quetzalcoatl’s descendants who sailed to and from ancient Atlantis; or the offspring of Great Set, who mated with Egyptian priestesses at the dawn of history. Perhaps the great Myrdin the Magician was not the child of a demon, but of Britain’s Red Dragon itself, as some sources suggest. The Catholic world denies this possibility, and dragon-blooded heroes are not named or acknowledged in any European legend. Today, it has been centuries since shapeshifted dragons last walked the mortal world, and their lineages are dwindling, Coatlaca blood weakened with every passing generation. The current lords of the Mexica and other Nahua peoples, even though they descend from Coatlaca lords, were born mere mortals; the lineages disappeared from Mayaab civilisations centuries earlier, and if they ever existed in Europe there is no trace of them now. Very few states have Coatlaca rulers or heroes in this age, and some states, like the Mexica, who depended on dragon-blood validation to sustain kingship rights, have begun shifting their worship from dragons to human ancestors. This may be the end of the Dragon Age, and the start of an era where humans shall rule all other creatures - dragons included.

HI S T O R Y The history of dragons and mortals is as long as both species have existed in the world. Every culture has its own version of the details, but every myth and every legend comes down to the same thing: it has always been about dragons and people.

CREATION MYTHS According to several accounts of creation across the world, one great dragon was among the spirits that gathered to give birth to mortals. When the other spirits had created life, animals and plants, a dragon came in and gave humans language and discernment, and so began recorded history. After helping create humans, the dragon sought the First Female to teach her magic arts. This spurred the first humans to leave the primal garden and spread across the world. The story is still retold in the Biblical tale of Eve and the Snake, and the Mexica legend of Cipactonal and Oxomoco, the first human couple who learned magic at the sacred site of Tamoanchan. The other spirits argued with the dragon about giving magic and knowledge to mortals, and some accounts recorded dragons as enemies of creation, because of their ‘mistake’ of giving discernment to humans, who were imperfect. Nahua myths tell of the competition between Tezcatlipoca, the First Wizard, and Quetzalcoatl, the King of Dragons; every time either of them created a world, the other brought it down with his magic and replaced the old Sun with a new one. The current world, the Nahui Ollin, is the Fifth Sun, and all the peoples of the Anahuac know it could end at any moment, at the whim of dragons, wizards, or other equally fickle and dangerous spirits. The tale of the Five suns may be a myth, or an exaggeration of the truth – but both Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl do exist; and both are very much active and meddling in the affairs of today’s mortals. THE ANCIENT PEOPLES During the first few millennia, human tribes spread across the world, establishing the blessed sites that would come to be regarded as the cradle of civilisation. Some of these peoples rejected dragon influence, swayed by the angry spirits that wanted to keep humans docile and away from magic. Others worshipped dragons and invited them to lead their tribes. This was the beginning of dragon lineages, when dragons took human form and bred ruling lineages among mortals. Legends of these primal times speak of ‘dragon people’ or ‘snake people’, sometimes portrayed as enemies of humanity, and sometimes as humanity’s forebears, but always involved in the appearance of great kingdoms and great cultures. It was in this era that Atlantis rose in the Sea that now bears its name. This was the golden age of Kandamu and Gondwana, of Agharta and Thule, and all the lost tribes of ancient legend. 23

Irate about the knowledge and power that mortals had achieved, the spirits drowned the world in a great deluge that sunk most of these golden civilisations, and thus ended the previous Sun, or era of the world. The current era began when spirits led the few mortal survivors to populate the Earth again, starting from the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. There, the survivors retook dragon worship through Great Set, the Tlacoatl Dragon of the Nile, and soon dragon motifs appeared in Mesopotamia and Babylon. Then, the Aryan tribes crashed down from the Northeast, killing both dragons and their ‘dragon people’, after which they established a domain across Europe, where dragons were condemned as devilish creatures. This gave rise to the archaic Indo-European civilisations, and to millennia of bloodthirsty dragon hunts. Across the ocean, Quetzalcoatl himself led the survivors of Atlantis to erect the civilisations of Aztlan, Tollan and the Sian Kaan dragon kingdom. This was another Golden Age of human achievement, with Greece, Rome and Egypt flourishing on one side of the Atlantic, while the Azteca and Ka’an peoples reached the peak of their civilisations on the other side. Then, one day, the dragon lords abandoned humanity. The true reason remains unknown. A commonly accepted explanation is that dragons fell in love with mortals - especially mortal women, who had power over them since the First Female - and grew disinterested with humanity after their human loved ones died of old age. Alternative stories suggest that the other Spirits never gave up on their war against dragon worship, and sowed discord between dragons and mortals, or hunted down dragon cults as the Aryans had done before. According to legend, Tezcatlipoca tricked Quetzalcoatl into leaving the mortal world. Christian tales suggest that it was the birth of Jesus Christ which frightened dragons and scared them back to the Spirit World. Whatever the reason, with the disappearance of dragons, the Great Ancient cultures of the Fifth Sun disappeared all of a sudden, all at the same time, and dragon blood diluted from human lineages. THE SECOND DRAGON AGE The return of dragons to the Spirit World led to the era we know today as the Middle Ages, when humans forgot the great advances of their predecessors, and turned to war, conquest and isolation.

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Western peoples turned to human sacrifice to lure Mixcoatl dragons back to Earth, and thus dragon worship continued, although dragons themselves remained in the Spirit World most of the time, and dragon-blooded lineages continued to weaken in the absence of their forefathers. The league of Mayapan, the greatest descendant of the great Siaan Kaan culture, fell to squabbling independent states, and the mighty Mexica, with their Triple Alliance, rose around Tetzcoco Lake, and extended their domain all across the Anahuac. Meanwhile, Christian knights hunted the few European dragons who remained, now mere mindless beasts, almost to the point of extinction. This changed when Saint Sabine of Silene began turning dragons to the Christian faith; soon, all post-Roman states began adding dragon fleets to their military power. Christian dragon riders sacked Jerusalem in the Crusades, and they threw the Moors out of Spain. Dragon rider armies clashed over the skies of France in the Hundred Years’ war, where more dragons died than in any other single conflict, either human or dragon. Then, Christopher Columbus convinced the Kings of Castille of financing his trip west, and the rest, as they say, is history. TODAY Before the arrival of Europeans to the New World, both Europe and the Western Continent had reached a kind of dynamic balance, where kingdoms pushed each other for control of the land, but remained more or less stable. The witch Tlacaelli, the last dragon-blooded Mexica ruler, has died, and among her last edicts decreed an end to dragon worship. Now, instead of dragon protection, Mexica cities would turn to their ancestors, the spirits of the underworld. Thus, she hoped to ensure the Mexica ruling caste survived the fall of dragonblooded lineages. The Mexica have slowly turned away from dragon worship, their effigies gradually replaced with shrines to the saints and ancestors of mortal humans. The dragons have not punished humans in return, as many of Tlacaelli’s detractors expected; but they have removed their protection from some of the offending cities, and some even stopped coming for their sacrifice, which is now given to dead warlords and saints. The greatest of these saints is Huitzilopochtli, the Left-handed Hummingbird, who in life was known as Mexi, founder of the Mexica tribe. Some suspect the hand of Tezcatlipoca, the ancient trickster and rival of Quetzalcoatl, in this. He has al-

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ways been there, biding his time to strike the final blow against dragons and their influence on mortal affairs. But Tezcatlipoca is, as always, two steps ahead of everybody else. Nobody knows this, save for Tezcatlipoca and the highest Mexica nobility – and perhaps even they have forgotten it by now – but Tlacaelli’s religious reform came with a mighty price. To ensure that the ancestors would repay the Mexica’s new worship, she made a dark Pact with the forces of the Underworld, trading all the souls of all Mexica peoples to the spirits of the underworld, in exchange for maintaining the hold of the Triple Alliance in the Anahuac. Tlacaelli demanded the Mexica Saints and ancestors served her people in life; in return, every sacrifice the Mexica performed from that moment, the soul of every dead citizen of the Triple Alliance, would serve the ancestors and join their files in death. In this way Tlacaelli guaranteed the protection of her people, as every dead Mexica would only become another ancestor to protect the living ones and strengthen the State. But there was something Tlacaelli didn’t count on when making the pact – the consequences of her own death. By joining the underworld denizens upon death, Tlacaelli’s own spirit became bound by the Pact, and by becoming a servant of the ancestors she freed them of any obligation. They could do whatever they wanted now. Some denizens of the Spirit World have freely upheld The Pact, understanding it serves both the living and the dead; but others have seen Tlacaelli’s death as a loophole allowing them to cross into, and raid, the mortal world. These treacherous spirits have formed an army to invade the land of the living. They call themselves the Nahui Miquiztli, the Sixth Sun Army, and intend to bring about the end of human life and restart the cycle.

ters, who lead the heavenly armies of the night against mortal cities. To secure a foothold in the mortal world, these armies often conquer a mortal city not to destroy it, but to put an undead lord at its throne; these undead tyrants go on to use mortals as their slaves and followers to attack other, nearby cities. So far, the incursions of these conquered cities, and other Sixth Sun hordes, have been no more than a nuisance for the Triple Alliance; but they will soon become a serious threat to the Azteca and the lives of every citizen of the Anahuac. The Nahui Miquiztli army follows no pact and obeys no master. Of course, not all denizens of the Spirit World have joined this cursed army; some Cihuateteo high priestesses, and even some Tzitzimimeh warbands, have risen to fight the Nahui Miquiztli in the Spirit World. Sometimes, these ‘good’ forces recruit mortal warriors to help the battle against the dark army. And thus, the battle rages on to this day. But soon, new players will enter the game; a new, unexpected force will crash into the battlefield, throwing both sides into disarray. Spanish colonies flourish in Cuba and other islands, and Amerigo Vespucci’s discovery of a whole continent beyond them, have turned all of Europe’s attention Westward. For them, it’s a race for conquest now. European dragons fly over the territories of the ancient mixcoatl, which might finally bring the feathered serpents out of retirement. Among humans, the states under Mexica oppression have been ready to revolt for a hundred years; anything may ignite a civil war that brings the Aztecatl Triple Alliance down in flames. What will happen now, only Tezcatlipoca knows. And he smiles behind the Smoky Mirror.

Since the formation of the Nahui Miquiztli, creatures that had become extinct in the mortal world have started appeared again; Quinametzin ogres wander the countryside slaughtering families and stealing cattle, and malformed, gigantic beasts like horned jaguars or winged apes can be seen fighting each other in the mists. Worse still, creatures that were forbidden to enter the mortal world, like the undead denizens of Tlalocan or Mictlan, now dare make incursions into human lands, carrying their victims kicking and screaming into the realm of the dead. But the most fearsome and numerous elements of the Nahui Miquiztli are the Tzitzimimeh, the flying demons of the stars, and their terrible Cihuateteo mas-

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AnahuaC

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W E A R E P A R T of the world in motion, the double world, the two-world.

We are dual as well, we are two as well. We are the inner, we are the outer. We are the Chichimeca that became Tolteca, the barbarians that built civilisation; we are the nomads that settled. We are the struggle, we are the killing; we are the flower, we are the song. We are dead since the day we are born; we are born 400 times before we die. We are solid flesh, we are fluid blood. We give to the Saints, we homage the Saints; they are us. This is what we are, this is what the world is, how the world is what we are.

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N AH UAC I S T H E original Nahuatl name for the

great continent that Europeans call The New World. It means ‘amid the waters’, perhaps referring to the Western and Eastern Seas, but also to the waters surrounding the Island of Tenochtitlan, the greatest city in the world and capital of the Anahuac. The name could also mean ‘the place where the Nahua are’; there are many other tribes in the region, which give it many other names, but the Nahua and their related lineages are the dominant force in the land, and most other tribes have adopted part of their language and customs, including the name ‘Anahuac’. This is the land where Dragons Conquer America takes place. For the invaders it is a New World indeed, in many respects the same as the European hills and valleys they left behind, but also an alien land, home to unknown peoples and unknown forces. For the natives, the Anahuac, from steppe to jungle, from lake to volcano, is the whole world, and their ancestral home. Just like other parts of the world, the Anahuac houses uncounted nations, as different among themselves as they are to the invading Europeans. As said, Nahua tribes are the dominant force, particularly in the central part of the continent – the Anahuac proper – but also holding several domains and settlements in other regions. This section refers to the part of the Anahuac that is inhabited and ruled by the Nahua and their closest neighbours.

The nahua worlD Nahua tribes started out as steppe barbarians from the north of the continent, but they gradually overtook the ruins of other, older civilisations to the South of their lands, becoming civilised, ‘Toltecatl’, themselves. The Nahua fought off many of the spirits and ghosts that owned these ruins, but also came to worship many others, in return for protection and permission to settle in their ancestral homes. Thus, most Nahua cities are either imitations of ancient peoples’ ruins, or outright built over them, just as the Nahua civilisation either conquered and drove off the owners of these lands, or else turned to worship their ancestor spirits. The Nahua don’t know who the ancestral natives of the Anahuac were, but they have given their own names to their greatest tribes – for example the Olmeca, ‘people of the sap trees’, or the Tolteca, simply ‘the civilised ones’. Moreover, some of the oldest cities, such as great Cuicuilco and Teotihuacan, were built not by humans, but Saints from the Spirit World. All these ancient tribes, however, had one common trait – they worshipped dragons. Their rulers were long-lived immortals whose lineages had mixed with that of the mixcoatl dragons themselves; this halfdragon, half-human blessed lineage is known to the Nahua as Coatlaca, and it seemed to be long gone when they took over the ancestor cities. Soon after, just as the Nahua were settling on their new homes and unearthing their secrets, the dragons came back, asking for the new tenants’ tribute or devotion. They mixed with humans again, reinstating

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the line of Coatlaca half-dragon rulers, and today most Nahua cities have a dragon protector alongside, or instead, the nation’s original patron saints.

tribes that used to live in these regions have either become extinct or fallen under the Anahuac’s cultural and political rule.

The Nahua aren’t a single nation but many, and they often wage war upon each other. Thus, every great city is at war with its neighbours, until it absorbs them or puts its own rulers on their thrones; this is how Nahua politics have worked for centuries now.

Nahua tribes are stronger and more numerous the closest they live to Tetzcoco lake, site of the Aztec Triple Alliance, and both the geographical and political centre of the Anahuac. This immense lake is home to three different nations – the three mightiest Nahua states – and all trade, all wars, all knowledge in The Anahuac, go to or from its shores.

Spiritual Rule A nation’s patron saints often go to war alongside their worshippers; it is not uncommon to see a manifestation of Huitzilopochtli leading Mexica armies, or an avatar of Tezcatlipoca whispering confusion in the enemy camp. Thus, nations with the same patron saint rarely fight among themselves, and instead the weaker state joins the stronger as a tributary. That’s why religious doctrine is so important to Nahua warfare. Dragons, however, take no part in these conflicts. They impart their wisdom and some of their power to the peoples under their protection, and defend their city when summoned - and given proper tribute - to do so, but they don’t fight each other – not over mortal affairs, at least. To date, the Nahua World remains a region of feudal City-States, where each nation has its own great metropolis, its own dragon and its own patron saints, and fights the other nations for control of the land. For the Nahua, Saints and dragons are the paramount authority. They revere their respective city’s rulers – be they Coatlaca-born or normal humans, nobles or priests –, but only because these rulers are their contact with the Spirit World. A city’s patron saints are the final decision-makers in its government, advising the rulers and priests, leading their people into war and making demands from the citizens. Sacrifice, tribute and the associated cultural practices are simply the Nahua’s way of paying their taxes – of complying with authority.

The Anahuac Territory The Anahuac proper, that is, the land strictly under Nahua domain, includes the central plains and steppes of the continent, plus many of its Southern jungles and Northern deserts. The Anahuac borders the Mayab realms on the Southeast, the Tzintzuntzani Empire on the West, and the untamed domains of the Nahua’s barbarous forebears, the Chichimeca tribes, to the North; everywhere else, the only borders of the Anahuac are the Eastern and Western Seas. The many non-Nahua

Anahuac CulturE All nations of the Anahuac share common cultural traits, inherited from their Teotihuaca and Tolteca forebears. These include pyramid building, ritual sacrifices to a pantheon of patron saints, and – in most cases – dragon worship. However, there are less known aspects of Anahuac culture that need explanation to play a character raised in these societies. The following cultural traits extend to many nonNahua tribes, but mostly describe the civilisations descending from Toltecatl cultures, including the Azteca peoples and most of their tributaries.

Philosophy Anahuac culture has a single, overriding principle: Devotion. The Anahuac stereotype, their cultural ideal, is the will to fully give oneself to one’s calpolli, clan and religious faith. The average Anahuac citizen acknowledges and respects the Spirit World and its orderly relation to the physical one. They have no doubts or questions about the nature of the universe: the cosmic order is clear, nature works a certain way, the Spirits work a certain way, and mortals are expected to behave in a certain way to fit that order. An Anahuac character is expected to cast aside any kind of personal need or desire at a moment’s notice, from enduring cold, hunger or fatigue, to giving up one’s loved ones or personal freedom, or even gladly maim or kill himself, to fulfil his obligation to the world. For Anahuac peoples, self-sacrifice is a virtue, and self-sacrifice in the name of the law, of the many, of spiritual order, is the greatest goal one can aspire to. 29

However, and contrary to most other societies, very few Anahuac societies are taught blind devotion to kings and nobles. Although most of their nobility titles are hereditary, most Anahuac people believe in meritocracy; A ruler will be expected to answer to his people, and to step down if he isn’t fit to rule. The authority of kings and priests does not reside on their status, but on their job as spokesmen of the Spirit World. It’s these spirits that the Anahuac citizens obey, with the ruler caste working only as their intermediaries. In fact, Anahuac peoples don’t see religion as a distinct philosophy; they understand no separation between a religious and secular worldview. The Spirit World is a part of their culture, their society, their law and their bureaucracy; it governs their medical practice, their science and their arts. It accompanies their everyday thoughts and all aspects of their social organisation. All Anahuac citizens can, and do, use magic powers, curses and blessings as part of their daily life; some spells, like Nonotza blessings, and some rituals such as self-bleeding or eating the dead, are available to most people to employ as a basic magic tool for mundane tasks. The priest and noble castes have access to mightier spells, such as weather summoning or curing disease.

■ A city ruler must serve as the speaker for the will of his people. ■ A city’s priests must serve as the voice of the spirits and a channel of communication between a city’s patron saints and its people, including the ruler. ■ A city’s advisor must serve as the executive arm of the ruler’s judgement, helping organise the many levels of government and social hierarchies. ■ A city’s council must serve the city itself, overseeing its welfare and making sure its needs are taken care of. ■ A city’s military society must serve the safety of the people and increase the might of the state. ■ A city’s soldiers must serve their people, giving their lives for them. ■ A city’s teachers must serve their students and turn them into good citizens. ■ A city’s farmers must serve to feed the people. ■ The heads of a calpolli or neighbourhood must serve as the voice of their neighbours and present their concerns to higher authorities.

Society

■ The heads of a family must serve the safety and upkeep of that family, and they must follow the will of the Spirits as communicated by the city rulers.

Anahuac societies are highly stratified, and they organise themselves around complex class systems that define everyone’s place in the world.

■ The elders of a family must serve as guidance and advisors for the family head, sharing their experience and helping the education of the younger.

These class systems distinguish the rich from the poor, but also women from men, the elderly from the young, soldiers from farmers, high priests from healers, and so on. Everyone has a station in life, and fulfilling it is one’s duty in the cosmic order, not just what one does for a living.

■ The children of a family must serve their parents and teachers, and follow the law as taught by their elders.

HIER AR C H Y Social classes and ranks define Anahuac society, but they don’t establish a chain of command, but an agreement of responsibilities. One’s rank in the hierarchy does not define who is one’s boss, but what are one’s tasks in the larger picture. Thus, priests are above generals, but this doesn’t mean priests can order generals about; it means that a priest’s tasks, to which he must be fully devoted as a servant is to a master, take precedence. Under this hierarchy system, and in rough order of importance, these are the social roles of most Anahuac societies.

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■ The slaves of a family must serve their masters until their debt is paid.

In this social order, only children are treated as true inferiors to their elders, seen as their parents’ possessions under they come of age, and expected to obey without question. Every other position in the hierarchy must only obey its own duties, and they are often interchangeable, as personal merit can move any citizen from one role to another. Although the Azteca don’t see an individual’s place in this hierarchy as a divinely appointed right or destiny, they know the hierarchy itself answers to the requirements of the Spirit World, and respect it as a single ideal, even if a single individual may advance or step down freely between its ranks. In the Anahuac, a strict hierarchy does not mean an oppressive society; the most devout peasant is regard-

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ed as a free citizen, and the mightiest tlatoani is a servant to the community. The only exceptions are slaves, criminals and prisoners of war – and these three social ranks are often similar and share the same status and living conditions. However, even slaves and prisoners may be promoted to free citizens once they, or their people, pay their debt – be it to a master or to society. When such a debt must be paid with sacrifice, even death, the average Anahuac citizen will face it dutifully, for it means a chance to atone for past sins and become a proud part of the cosmic order once again.

T H E R UL E O F LAW

nomic and judicial affairs. Depending on the city, there may be more than one noble assigned to each of these roles, or a single noble overseeing two or more areas. Then come the nobles representing the lesser, tributary towns or settlements under the main city-state. Nahua peoples refer to these nobles as teteuctin (singular teuctli), meaning ‘lord’, and usually represent a single ethnicity or tribe. After the teuctli come the calpolli heads or local chiefs. These aren’t considered of noble birth, but they speak in the name of all the families under their jurisdiction.

All Anahuac societies are ruled by a single, mostly hereditary – but sometimes elected – monarch. Nahua tribes call these rulers tlatoque, ‘speakers’, meaning they represent the will and interests of all subjects in their city-state. The singular form of tlatoque is tlatoani. Some tlatoque, particularly those belonging to weaker or isolated states, exert absolute and unchallenged power, sharing their rule with nobody save their advisors and priests, who must ultimately submit to the tlatoani’s decisions anyway. However, most tlatoque form confederations, or alliances, with the tlatoque of neighbouring city-states, and thus form a kind of republic government, where every tlatoani speaks for their people and make joint decisions for the good of the commonwealth. These federations result in the strongest and largest states in the Anahuac, and their tlatoque curb each other’s power as much as they add to it. Most tlatoque have a high advisor, or cuauhtlatoani, in charge of overseeing provincial or local affairs. The Mexica call this advisor cihuacoatl, in honour of their witch-priestess Tlacaelli. The cuauhtlatoani or cihuacoatl is the highest executive power in the city-state, and the enforcer of the tlatoani’s will. After the tlatoani and his high advisor come the priest caste. Each temple has its own hierarchy, with the patron saint or dragon’s senior priest overseeing all lesser priests at that temple, and in turn answering to the city’s single high priest. A city’s high priest can, and does, give advice in military or economic matters. Regardless of the state’s size or power, the tlatoani, high advisor and high priest are the supreme authorities of a city, regarded as spokesmen for the saints and the will of the Spirit World, and everybody else must defer to their judgement. After these supreme rulers come the city’s high council of nobles, which may be simply the tlatoani’s closest relatives, or democratically-elected officials in charge of specific roles. These roles are usually military, eco-

MI LI TARY ORGANI SATI ON The armies of the Anahuac are not organised by rank, but by experience. Fresh troops and young trainees are the bottom-tier of the army, taking their orders from advanced students and military instructors. Then come conscripted civilians, who make up the bulk of the army and take orders only from their more experienced peers – that is, civilians that have survived several wars. In these cases, experience is measured by the number of enemies a soldier has captured or defeated in battle. Above these are military societies, comprised only of full-time, career soldiers. These form the elite units of an army, and, like the lesser troops, follow the command of their most experienced members. In Aztecatl societies, the leaders of these units are the fabled eagle and jaguar knights, who besides their martial training practice nahualotl magic. The single leader of a city’s military society, known to the Nahua as Tlaccatecatl, oversees all three tiers of the army, including the cadets and civilian militia. The tlaccatecatl answers only to the city’s military advisor. Some larger cities, like Tenochtitlan, have several military societies, divided among tasks such as foreign campaigns, city defence or palace guard. Mexica palace guards, also known as cuahchiqueh, are superhumanly trained elite soldiers, universally acknowledged as the world’s deadliest warriors. 31

Language There are over a thousand distinct languages in the Anahuac area, as each city-state and every tribe have their own dialect. To facilitate communication, the Azteca have imposed the Nahuatl tongue on all their conquered areas. All Anahuac peoples, including the enemies of the Azteca, speak at least a bit of Nahuatl; even those Chichimeca that the Azteca have never conquered communicate with each other in Nahuatl, as many of their tribal languages are mutually unintelligible.

Only the Tzintzuntzani refuse to speak Nahuatl, and teach their P’orhé language to all their subjects, regardless of their origin.

LIST OF ANAH UAC LAN G UAGES Besides the separate dialects of every town and every city, the Anahuac has a few major, common languages, spoken across certain regions or tribal federations. The following list features the most widespread languages of the Anahuac area.

LANGUAGE

SPEAKERS

Nahuatl

Aztecatl federation, Acolhua, Mexica, Hnanhu. Tepaneca, Tlaxcalteca, Caxcán, Tecuexe, Guamare Federation, all Chichimeca peoples, all Azteca tributaries

Nahuatl Pronunciation Like most languages spoken before the modern alphabet, Nahuatl isn’t exactly pronounced as written. If you want to use the correct Nahua pronunciation, follow these rules: ■ All vocals are mono-tonal; AH, EH, IH, OH, UH instead of A, E, I, O, U. ■ All words are accented in the second-to-last syllable. ■ CH is pronounced as a hard ‘sh’, as in ‘ratchet’.

Cahita

Yoeme peoples

Did’zé

Zapoteca/ Bini’zá, Nhu’sahui

Dza´ha

Nhu´sahui, Zapoteca/ Bini´zá

Guamare

Guamare Federation, Red Eagle peoples

Hnanhu

Otomi/ Hnanhu, Nhumu, Xi’ui

Naayerit

Naayerit, Caxcán, Tecuexe, Northwestern Chichimeca

O´dam

O´dam federation, Northwestern Chichimeca

O’deput

Zooc, Ayuuk, Tutunacu

■ Z is pronounced ‘s’ as in ‘stop’.

P’orhé

Tzintzuntzani / Huacuse’echa people, P’urhépecha subjects

■ TL is pronounced ‘tt’ when it ends a word.

Te’enek

Te’enek/ Cuextecatl, Northeastern Chichimeca, Tutunacu

Tutunacu

Tutunacu, Ayuuk, Zooc

Uza

Central Chichimeca peoples

Yok’atan

Chontal/ Yokat’an, Ayuuk, Zooc

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■ H, when not a part of CH, UH or HU, represents a brief stop between syllables. ■ QU is pronounced KU, except in QUE and QUI, where it’s pronounced K. ■ UH and HU are pronounced W, as in ‘wait’. ■ UC and CU are pronounced K with a syllable stop.

■ X is pronounced as a light ‘sh’.

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Nahuatl Names Nahuatl names are descriptive, such as ‘strong arm’ or ‘diving eagle’, and often poetic, such as ‘stone flower’ or ‘voice of the wind’. Place names follow the same custom, adding the affix -co (‘next to, in’), -tlan (‘site of’) or -an (‘place of’), to the descriptive term. Nahuatl naming customs have no preconceptions about assigning male or female names; it is not rare for a man to be called ‘beautiful flower’ or a woman to be called ‘strong beast’.

The following are some words typically used in Nahuatl names, with their meaning in English, so players and GMs can come up with their own personal and place names. For example, the name Xochitl means ‘ flower’; the name Cueponixochitl means ‘ blossoming flower’; by the same token, Coyotl means ‘wolf ’; the name Tizcoyotl means ‘white wolf ’; and Coyoacan is a place name meaning ‘where there are wolves’.

ENGLISH

NAHUATL

ENGLISH

NAHUATL

ENGLISH

NAHUATL

Ancient

Huehue

Dancing

Itotiani

Moving

Ollin

Angry

Cualani

Dark

Yohua

Night

Yohuan

Arrow

Mitl

Death

Miquiztli

Owl

Tecolotl

Artist

Ihcuilo

Dragon

Coatl

Passing

Quizah

Ashes

Nextli

Eagle

Cuauhtli

Penitent

Nezahualli

Bearer

Mamatl

Earth

Tlalli

Rain

Quiahuitl

Beast

Tecuanitl

Enduring

Manic

Red

Tlapalli

Beautiful

Xochic

Feather

Ihuitl

Rising

Ehua

Bird

Tototl

Fire

Tlatlatl

Screaming

Oyohualli

Black

Tlilli

Flower

Xochitl

Shining

Tona

Blade

Itztli

Flying

Patlani

Sky

Ilhuicatl

Blood

Eztli

Following

Tocatl

Smoke

Poctli

Blossoming

Cueponi

Honoured

Tzin

Star

Citlalli

Born

Tlacati

Hunting

Matla

Stone

Tetl

Brave

Tlacauh

Jaguar

Ocelotl

Sun

Tonatiuh

Breaker

Xaxamacatl

Knowing

Mati

Truth

Nelli

Burning

Tlatla

Laughing

Huetzca

Water

Atla

Cloud

Mixtli

Light

Tlahui

White

Tizatl

Cold

Cehua

Magic

Teotl

Within

Itic

Corn

Elotl

Metal

Tepoztli

Wolf

Coyotl 33

ReligioN As previously explained, Anahuac cultures make no distinction between religion and society, between belief and truth, or between patron saints and government. The simple fact of life is that the Spirit World rules the Mortal World. Anahuac peoples have no concept of ‘God’ as other cultures understand it. For them, the Spirit World is part of the natural order, and they learned to understand it just as they learned math or medicine.

Teotl and Matter The basic essence of the cosmos is Teotl, that which is unexplained, unseen and untouchable. Teotl isn’t an entity, but a force; a divine force of magic and enchantment, but as real as heat and cold, as pain and blood. By Teotl, the universe, or matter, came to be. Teotl is the will and matter is the shape; Teotl is the creative impulse and matter is the finished artwork. Mortals cannot perceive Teotl; as solid matter, all they can know are its solid results, the product of Teotl – the sky, the sun, the storm, people, rocks and living beings. All of these are the physical aspects of Teotl. Sacrifice, even human sacrifice, is as necessary to the balance between the Spirit and Mortal Worlds as rain is necessary for crops and kindling for fire. As Teotl provides solid matter with life, solid beings must provide Teotl with life to maintain reality and cosmic order. All Anahuac tribes know that the world was created by a council of dragons and ancestor spirits, who made several attempts to create humans throughout several ages, or suns; sometimes collaborating, others competing against each other. However, these dragons and spirits were also created out of teotl, and their spiritual essences are also aspects of the Great Hidden Force.

Tlatlayan, the realm of fire, the home of victims and the quartered dead. Moving and facing North, one moves towards tumn, death, wisdom, wind and memory. This is direction where things end. Its colour is black. In Spirit World, North is Mictlan, the Underworld, home of the wandering dead.

authe the the

Moving and facing West, one finds winter, order, science, rain, the sky and organised life. Civilisation moves West, which is white. In the Spirit World, West is Ilhuicatl, or Heaven, home of those that die with honour and sacrifice. Moving and facing East, one finds life, spring, earth, flowers, exertion and struggle. It is the direction of birth, and its colour is yellow. In the Spirit World, East is Tlalocan, the endless sea, home of the drowned and dead children. The centre is always where one is, where human life is happening right now, and is always the mortal world, also known as Tlacticpac.

Dragons and Spirits The first creator beings sprung out of Teotl on their own, as they were manifestation of its basic forces. These beings were the ancestor saints of the sky, the sea and the storm. Although humans revere these spirits in humanoid shapes, and they are certainly capable of looking human, they don’t exist in the mortal world, and thus have no physical form. Even if one met an ancestor spirit in person, one would only be seeing its aspect, the disguise of its true essence. When mortals achieve great deeds and die, their spirits become ancestors too, and become aspects of the cosmic force themselves, revered as teotl saints.

The Four Directions

The following are the mightiest, best known or most worshipped dragons and saints of the Anahuac.

The four directions represent the four aspects of teotl; cosmic order is movement, and teotl is defined by the path one takes, not the place one is in. That is why directions, always relative to one’s current position, or centre, are the core of teotl and its power.

QUETZALC OATL

Moving and facing East, one finds summer, fire, strength, all-consuming power and violent change. The colour of East is red. In the Spirit World, East is 34

The first child of Mixcoatl and Cihuacoatl, the mother and father of all dragon, Quetzalcoatl is the largest and mightiest of feathered serpents, and the first dragon that tried to create life. He is a benign force of peace and wisdom, and never asks for tribute or sacrifice, although he is happy to see mortals give their blood to the Spirit World.

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Quetzalcoatl has been alive for several millennia, and he has known and seen every mortal civilisation to arise and fall. He even contributed to some of these civilisations, taking human form and becoming a ruler or advisor to the ancient states of the world. Quetzalcoatl was the first dragon to love a mortal woman, and his offspring began the Coatlaca lineage of long-lived dragon-blessed humans that ruled over all the greatest societies of ancient times. Many believe that it was because of Quetzalcoatl’s love for mortal women that dragons attach themselves, and listen, to human females. Quetzalcoatl is so mighty and sacred that his breath himself, called Ehecatl, the wind, is revered as an aspect of his power.

HU I T Z I L O PO CHTLI Also known as Mexi, the Lefthanded Hummingbird ascended to the Spirit World during his tribe’s pilgrimage from fabled Aztlan to the lands of Anahuac. He was born Mexi, a dragonblooded descendant of the Dragon Mother herself, and he killed his dragon half-sister when he was still very young, also fighting off other dragons that challenged his inheritance. Then he went on to become the teuctli of the common folk in the great city of Aztlan, later leading a revolt against the Lords of the City and taking his people South to establish their own state in the blessed lands. Mexi died mid-trip, but his people immediately made an effigy of him and began worshipping him as a saint. Thus he accompanied the Mexica to the end of the road, led them to build Great Tenochtitlan, and has overseen their ascent to the dominant people of all The Anahuac.

Huitzilopochtli remains the Mexica’s principal saint, and their patron of war, hope and victory.

TLAL OC Also known as the Rain-giver, or the Lord of Monsters, Taloc is an immense and powerful feathered serpent, the lord of all Tlacoatl water dragons. He is larger and fiercer than Quetzalcoatl, and even in human form he retains the bestial features of a dragon. When his brother Quetzalcoatl created new life or new worlds, Tlaloc tested their mettle by sending mighty storms and thunder. Tlaloc’s own creations include all the fierce creatures such as the jaguar, and the marine beasts that guard the great sea against those that look for his hidden abode in Tlalocan.

XIU HTEC UH TLI The Old Saint, the Fire Wizard, the Dragon Tamer; Xiuhtecuhtli was among the first humans, perhaps the first human, that ascended to the spirit world, and as such he is revered as a patron of time, cycles and the afterlife. In life, Xiuhtecuhtli was a great fire wizard, and Xiuhcoatl dragons spoke to him as a friend. He called on the first Xiuhcoatl fire serpent and shaped it into a spear, which he later gifted to Huitzilopochtli as tribute to his power – and testament of his own might.

TE Z CATLI POC A Nobody knows if Tezcatlipoca, the First Wizard, was once a mortal, the first human to ever learn magic, or he is an ancestor spirit from the primal era, from before humans existed. He may well be the single oldest being in creation. Nobody knows much about Tezcatlipoca, to tell the truth. Even his name, ‘smoky mirror’, means an

opaque reflection, a hidden revelation. Tezcatlipoca is also known as the One that is Two, the Giver that Takes, the Enemy of Both Sides, and many other titles that attest to his ambiguity. After the creation of the First Sun, Tezcatlipoca took an active hand in creation, or rather, in unmaking the creations of other spirits. His most famous exploits are his encounters with Quetzalcoatl, sometimes cooperating with the Feathered One, sometimes in open opposition, when they created new worlds by destroying each other’s previous creation. This competition between both spirits brought about the cosmic eras known as the Five Suns, and cost Tezcatlipoca his left foot when Cipactli, the Primal Dragon, bit it off while Tezcatlipoca lured it to a trap to craft the world out of its body. Today, Tezcatlipoca still lives in his hidden abode in the Spirit World, from which he watches, and subtly influences, the affairs of mortals. Sometimes he appears to humans in person, giving them advice and riddles to help or hamper their endeavours. His favoured forms are unassuming crooked old men, strange wizards, nahualotl jaguars, or clouds of smoke. Tezcatlipoca is the moon and the night, but he was also the sun a couple of times in past worlds. He is both life and death; the enemy creator, the mischievous lord, the knower of magic, mystery and secrets, and a source of great lies and great truths. He has always enjoyed the fear and devotion of mortals, and he always shall; but of course, he has never needed or cared about it, for, out of all creatures in the universe, he alone understands Teotl fully, and he alone knows what is to come.

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Anahuac tribeS N

ATI V E S OF T H E Anahuac include, first and fore-

most, the various Nahua states, both the more civilised ones, which own the mightiest cities in the middle of the continent, and those more barbaric, which struggle for control of the untamed Chichimeca North. Then come the Nahua’s conquered tributaries, including the warlike Hnanhu and Teenek to the Northeast, the peaceful Botuná and Tutunacu to the East, the mystic Zooc and Nhu’sahui to the Southeast, and the Great Bini’zá culture of the South. The Chichimeca barbarians of the northern steppes, while Nahua-related, have a wide diversity of laws, cultures and technological levels, but they all refuse to acknowledge outside control of any kind. There are many different Chichimeca nations, but the largest are the well-organised Guamare confederation, the ferocious and bloodthirsty Red Eagle tribes, and the insightful Xi’ui peoples.

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Other than the Nahua world, the largest independent non-Nahua nation in the Anahuac is the Tzintzuntzani Empire, where the ancient lineages of dragon-kings still rule the land, and which has resisted Nahua domination for half a millennium. The following are the most important tribes of the Anahuac territory.

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The aztecA

T

H E AZTE C A A RE in fact three separate tribes –

the Mexica, the Acolhua and the Tepaneca –, whose Triple Alliance rules the Anahuac from the Great Lake of Tetzcoco. Of these three tribes, the Mexica, the Alliance’s leaders, are the mightiest in politics and warfare; the Acolhua are the most pious, and the wisest in magic and arts. The Tepaneca, meanwhile, have the greatest skill in agriculture, medicine and the natural world. When this text mentions the ‘Azteca’ it refers to all its separate members as a unit. A civilised, theocratic people, the Azteca have conquered most neighbouring lands and rule their vassal states through military might and political intervention. Azteca are the supreme power in the Anahuac, and all other tribes pay them some form of tribute, or a kind of grudging respect at any rate. This means that most Anahuac tribes have adopted at least some aspects of Azteca culture and law. In roleplaying terms, an Aztecatl character is the ‘average’ human archetype – the standard that all other native and foreign civilisations are measured against. Azteca city-states, or altepetl, are large urban centres formed by calpolli – neighbourhoods ruled by clan leaders and family heads – that obey the central government of an appointed monarch, or tlatoani, and a priest caste, who operate from large pyramid temples. Azteca urban centres grow around these pyramids, whose rulers take all surrounding calpolli under their protection. The Azteca do not call themselves such; they refer to their peoples only as Mexica, Acolhua or Tepaneca, and many even use their local names – Tenochca, Tlatelolca or Chalca, for example – instead. Of these, the Tenochca Mexica are the most powerful and numerous.

The Triple Alliance The massive Aztecatl State is the triple alliance between the Mexica, Acolhua and Tepanec peoples; its official name is the Aztecatl Excan Tlahtoloyan – the Rule of the Three Aztecatl States. The name Azteca refers to Aztlan, the ancient city that the Mexica tribe came from in their early origin, but no single nation bears or uses that name. The Aztecatl Alliance controls the lives and policies of hundreds of smaller states, cities and tribes across

the Anahuac; many of these tribes openly resist this control, but they have no power to truly oppose the Alliance. Although the Excan Tlahtoloyan is supposed to be an alliance between equals, the Mexica are its undisputed senior partners, well on their way to become the supreme – and only – power of the land. Thus, when most people refer to the Alliance – from within or from outside – they think of the Mexica, and it’s them that other tribes associate with their oppression. The rulers of the Triple Alliance bear the title of tlatoani, which means ‘speaker’, signifying they are the voice of their people in government affairs.

The Mexica The mightiest nation of the Anahuac and undisputed masters of the land, the greatest of all Nahua tribes, the Mexica were also the latest to arrive. The Mexica were followers of the warleader Mexi during the exodus that brought the Nahua from the North; they were the last Nahua people to arrive at Tetzcoco lake, and thus found all the ancient ruins resettled and all good lands already taken. Under the guidance of their ancestors Mexi, however, the Mexica thrived, first serving as mercenaries to the other Nahua tribes, then establishing their own conquering armies, which they used to make and break alliances, helping the other altepetl city states against each other, until they had become the mightiest of all. The Mexica’s first and most important altepetl was Tenochtitlan, first a precarious settlement on the marshlands, and now the greatest metropolis of the Anahuac and capital of the known world.

H UI TZI LOPOC H TLI The Mexica’s main teotl saint is Huitzilopochtli, the patron of war and struggle. In life, Huitzilopochtli was Mexi the left-handed, or the Hummingbird, a gifted warlord that single-handedly led the Mexica from wandering underdogs to masters of the world, first as a flesh-and-blood chieftain and later as a spirit presence through the voice of Mexica priests.

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There’s no doubt for anybody that the Mexica owe their ascent to Huitzilopochtli’s influence and advice, and they pay him the according reverence, with his name and effigy on every major temple of Tenochtitlan, including their Sun Pyramid. Most of the human sacrifices conducted by the Mexica – which means most of the human sacrifices in the Anahuac – are dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.

Motecuzoma cannot claim Coatlacatl dragon blood as did his uncle and predecessor, the Great Conqueror Ahuitzotl, so it’s in his best interest to cement his power and authority as thoroughly and strongly as he can. Thus, he has issued bills that forbid commoners from accessing charges and offices that were previously meritocratic, and from entering certain buildings and areas that are now reserved for the nobility.

T LAC AE L L I , T HE CIHU ACOATL

Many people, particularly merchants and farmers, oppose Motecuzoma’s reforms, but he has already begun assassinating the nobles and advisors that stand in his way.

The most illustrious Mexica leader in recent memory, and perhaps in all history, is Tlacaelli, advisor to the last four Mexica rulers and spokeswoman of Huitzilopochtli. This shrewd witch-priestess was behind the crown succession of the Mexica through four generations, engineering from backstage the military campaigns and political reforms that gave the Mexica and their Triple Alliance absolute control of the Anahuac. Tlacaelli was the daughter of Mexica king Huitzilihuitl, a full-blooded Coatlacatl descendant of dragons, and naturally gifted for the office of dragon priestess. As a princess, she supported the rebellion that gave rise to the Triple Alliance, leading to her uncle Izcoatl becoming Tlatoani of the Mexica. She then created the office of Cihuacoatl, requiring all Mexica tlatoani to have a dragon priestess as advisor, and became the power behind the throne for four generations of Mexica rulers. Tlacaelli developed not only the military tactics that allowed her people to conquer the world, but also the internal political schemes that gave the Mexica supreme control over the Triple Alliance itself. She achieved such glory and power in her position that all dragon priestesses are still known as Cihuacoatl in her honour. Ironically, Tlacaelli rejected her dragon priestess background, and she worked all her life to downplay dragon worship, establishing Huitzilopochtli as the only true patron of the Mexica civilisation. Tlacaelli died twenty years ago, leaving the mightiest state the world has known as her legacy. Her watch over the Mexica has not ended, however, as Mexica priests often call on her from beyond the grave, and Tlacaelli’s undead shade still advises her people from the Spirit World.

MOTE C U Z O MA Motecuzoma the Xocoyotzin (‘The Younger’), the recently-crowned tlatoani of Tenochtitlan, and thus lord of the Mexica and the Triple Alliance, is a pragmatic diplomat and statesman, who intends to reinstate full hereditary rule to replace meritocracy. 38

The Acolhua The first Nahua tribe to reach the Anahuac, the Acolhua were led from the North by Xolotl, the dogdragon, younger brother of Quetzalcoatl, who took human form to become chief of the Acolhua and start their ruling dynasty. When the Acolhua reached the Great Lake where they eventually settled, they mixed with the local Hnanhu tribes, and this Hnanhu-Nahua-dragonblooded lineage conquered all other local peoples, establishing the ancestral city of Coatlinchan, and later their greatest metropolis, Tetzcoco, in the Eastern shores of the lake that now bears the city’s name. After many conflicts with neighbouring Nahua states, the Acolhua rose to power by their alliance with the Mexica, which gave birth to The Triple Alliance and cemented the supremacy of both tribes for a century – and into the present day. The Acolhua are the second-strongest members of the Triple Alliance, but their ruling house has dwindled, and many fear they shall become a puppet state of the Mexica once their lord, Nezahualpilli, dies.

AC OLH UA DRAGONS The Acolhua practice dragon worship. They sacrifice to Tlacoatl dragons, including Tlaloc himself, who visits Coatlinchan annually for a great tribute. The Acolhua also revere the ancestor dragon-dog Xolotl, who protects Tetzcoco as a patron saint, defending the city personally – something that other dragons rarely do.

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G R E AT N E Z A HU ALCOY OTL There is another, very important figure in Acolhua legend. Although there are no temples or sacrificial rituals dedicated to his name, the Acolhua accord him at least as much respect as the dragons and Saints. He is Great Nezahualcoyotl, ‘the Penitent Wolf’, the previous tlatoani of Tetzcoco and champion of the Acolhua. A full-blooded Coatlacatl (dragon-descended) lord, Nezahualcoyotl excelled in all areas from warfare to poetry, from athletics to philosophy, displaying superhuman performance in every field. Exiled from his own land after his father died fighting the Tepaneca, Nezahualcoyotl came back and rallied all Nahua tribes against Tepaneca usurpers, which led straight to the formation of the Triple Alliance that currently rules The Anahuac. After sacrificing the son of his father’s killer with his bare hands, Nezahualcoyotl took the throne of Tetzcoco, single-handedly rewrote the legal system, and surrounded himself with the wisest tlamatinime, or sages, of the Nahua world. Nezahualcoyotl and his tlamatinime elite rebuilt Tetzcoco with gardens, waterways and fortifications; he also redesigned his own palace and erected the Empty Temple, where nothing is worshipped or sacrificed, and only reverence of the Teotl itself is allowed. In war, Nezahualcoyotl liked to march on the front lines and look enemies in the eye before striking the death blow. He wrote hundreds of poems and essays on the nature of the world, and fathered more than a hundred children, four of which he killed without hesitation when they broke the laws he had written for the people. Nezahualcoyotl remains a paragon of virtue and rulership across the Anahuac, from the Acolhua to the Mexica, and even among non-Nahua tribes or enemy states like Tlaxcallan, who despise the Triple Alliance yet revere him. When Nezahualcoyotl died, a little over three decades back, the whole Anahuac mourned, and he’s still regarded as the Greatest Tlatoani who Ever Lived.

NE Z AH U AL PI LLI The Son of Nezahualcoyotl, last of a fading Coatlaca lineage and current lord of Tetzcoco, Nezahualpilli is a haughty and aristocratic noble, very aware of his father’s legend and the responsibility it entails. Like his illustrious sire, Nezahualpilli has exalted Tetzcoca culture and science, and has invited sages, seers and scholars from all over the Anahuac to take residence in his court.

Nezahualpilli is also known for his lifelong struggle to keep his realm independent from the machinations of the Mexica, Tetzcoco’s so-called allies. Nezahualpilli is a wise and just tlatoani, but he knows the blood of the Coatlaca is thin in him, and he worries about his people’s future once either of his children, the hotheaded Ixtlixóchitl or the timid Cacamac, inherit the throne.

The Tepaneca Tepaneca peoples came to the Anahuac just after the Acolhua, and they were only allowed to settle after asking for the blessing of Xolotl and his followers. But they spread quick, and soon became a force to be reckoned with. Barely a hundred years ago, the Tepaneca were the mightiest nation of the Anahuac, with their city of Azcapotzalco demanding tribute from every altepetl around Lake Tetzcoco. But when the lord of Atzcapotzalco died, internecine strife among his children divided the Tepaneca nation, and Maxtla the usurper, the new tlatoani, found himself facing a force of Mexica, Acolhua and fellow Tepaneca, all rallied by Nezahualcoyotl of Tetzcoco against him. When the Mexica and Acolhua wiped out Azcapotzalco and annexed it, the surviving Tepaneca were forced into the nascent Triple Alliance as its junior partners, moving their seat of rule to Tlacopan, a weaker state that is now under de facto Mexica control. Having all but adopted Mexica culture, the Tepaneca also worship dragons and patron saints. Their city of Tlacopan is currently under the protection of a mighty Mixcoatl dragon they call Ehecatl, in honour of Quetzalcoatl’s windy breath.

TOTOQUI H UATZI N TH E SEC OND The ruler of the subject state of Tlacopan, Totoquihuatzin is the last of a succession of lesser nobles that cling to a lost bloodline as their culture is slowly absorbed by the Mexica. Although he is a loyal vassal of the Alliance’s senior partners, his family remembers that they used to rule over both Mexica and Acolhua before the Triple Alliance was founded. Despite his people’s status as tributary lessers in a supposed alliance of equals, Totoquihuatzin retains the pride of exiled nobility, and conducts himself with impeccable etiquette and diplomacy. 39

The azteca tributarieS

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H E TR I PLE AL L I A N C E has conquered or annexed

scores of nations across the Anahuac, both Nahua and non-Nahua. Regardless of their previous culture, all these nations have more-or-less adopted Azteca culture and customs, particularly in religious and economic terms; some of them have entirely replaced their culture with that of the Azteca, even adopting Nahua names for their cities and their own people. Those that didn’t perform ritual sacrifice are now required to do it, and those that already did, now do it for the Mexica dragons and Saints. The following are the Triple Alliance’s most important tributaries.

The Hnanhu The Hnanhu were the most numerous tribe in the Anahuac before the arrival of the Nahua; they led simple lives in the fields and valleys, summoning nature spirits that taught them to seed, harvest, build and craft the best weapons of the Anahuac. As the great civilisations of old built their cities and interbred with dragons, the Hnanhu were already there, roaming the fields, trading and harvesting, keeping a low profile and a tranquil outlook. When the Nahua nations came, they drove out the Hnanhu, who either submitted to the Triple Alliance or fled to the wilds, to continue their simple lives out of sight of the Mexica and their allies. The Hnanhu and their mountain kin, the Nhumu, serve the Mexica as mercenaries and blacksmiths. The Nahua call the Hnanhu Otomi, and greatly respect their skill in warfare and weaponry, even naming their elite combat units Otomi warriors in their honour.

The Bini’zá and Nhu’sahui The Mexica’s most recent conquest, the Bini’zá and their neighbours, the Nhu’sahui, submitted to the Triple Alliance barely a couple of years ago, accepting subservience after a long war during which the Mexica were unable to conquer their lands. The Bini’zá ruler, Gzio’pi, resisted Mexica attacks for nearly a decade, until the Mexica tlatoani offered his daughter’s hand to him. This sealed the peace between both nations, and a tenuous control of the Mexica over Bini’zá lands. 40

The Bini’zá, which the Nahua call Zapoteca, ‘people of the dark fruit’, had a great civilisation, millennia before the Nahua came down from the plains, and were among the first nations to consort with Mixcoatl dragons, which they called Beenda’zá. These mimixcoa taught the Bini’zá to write – they were the first mortal people to learn words and magic from dragons – and established one of the first Coatlacatl lineages among the ancient Bini’zá’s first rulers. The Bini’zá are at least as bloodthirsty as the Mexica, but they sacrifice only to dragons and the Nature Spirits. The main protector of the Bini’zá is Gzio, an old and gigantic Tlacoatl dragon; their ruler, Gzio’pi, is his long-removed Coatlacatl descendant. The Nhu’sahui, not as old and not as warlike as their Bini’zá neighbours and allies, were nonetheless a great and widespread civilisation dating back to ancient times. The Nhu’sahui, known in Nahuatl as Mixteca, ‘people from the heights’, also revered Nature Spirits and Mixcoatl dragons, which also taught them writing, weather magic and goldcraft. Even today, the Nhu’sahui are the best jewellers in the Anahuac.

The Te’enek Although the Te’enek are brave warrior tribes that live among the Chichimeca in the North, they are not related to any Chichimeca people, but are a different nation altogether. They build pyramid temples and metal tools, and the Mexica have had a very hard time conquering them; many Te’enek tribes and settlements still resist Azteca control. However, many more have fallen to the rule of the Triple Alliance, accepting Nahua languages and the Nahua-given ethnic name of Cuexteca. The Te’enek/ Cuexteca worship Mixcoatl dragons; their protector is Great Xiuhcoatl of the Turquoise scales, thus called to distinguish him from the Xiuhcoatl that protects the Mexica city of Tenochtitlan. Despite their warlike nature, the Te’enek aren’t as bloodthirsty as either the Nahua or the Chichimeca, and they didn’t offer human sacrifice to Xiuhcoatl until the Mexica conquered them.

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The Tutunacu The Tutunacu, another non-Nahua nation that existed long before the Nahua came, have ruled the East Coast, known as Totonacapan, for a thousand years. The Triple Alliance only annexed the Tutunacu a few decades back, when the Mexica managed to build several military outposts in their lands. Even so, Totonacapan has many cities, densely populated, and maintaining control has been hard for the Mexica, who must constantly send reinforcements to enforce their rule. Like other nations of Eastern Anahuac, the Tutunacu didn’t practice human sacrifice until the Mexica came; they, however, have always worshipped dragons. Their protectors are rain-giving tlacoatl dragons, and of course Tlaloc himself, which the Tutunacu call Aktziní.

The Zooc and Ayuuk The allied and neighbouring nations of the Zooc and Ayuuk haven’t been fully conquered by the Mexica, but it’s only a matter of time before they fall to the Triple Alliance’s might. Both peoples descend from the Mokaya (today called Olmeca) ancestral dwellers of the Southeastern Anahuac. The Zooc were made tributaries a decade ago, although many of their settlements still resist Mexica domain; the Ayuuk have resisted unconquered for centuries, and they remain independent from both the Mexica of the West and the Yokot’an on the East. Both peoples worship and sacrifice to tlacoatl storm dragons, the greatest of which, known as Poh’iní, protects the unconquered Ayuuk capital of Anyuk Ohm. 41

The tlaxcaltecA

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H E TL AXC ALL A N T L A H T O L O Y A N , or Federation

of Tlaxcallan States, is a young Nahua state, composed of several smaller city-states that have allied to resist Mexica/ Azteca dominance. The Tlaxcallan Tlahtoloyan rules itself by a Council of Speakers, where the Lord Representatives of each city-state meet to decide political affairs together. The strongest of these City-States, known as The Nanahualtepemeh, the ‘Four States’, see themselves as a counterbalance to the Azteca Three-State hegemony, and have authority over all other cities in the federation. Tepeticpac is the oldest and most traditionalistic of the Four States, located in an idyllic valley of rivers and hills bordering the Azteca province of Tetzcoco. Ocotelulco is the largest and most populated of the Four States, and its leader, Maxixcatzin, is the Senior Speaker of the Tlaxcallan Tlahtoloyan. Tizatlan is the strongest of the Four States, and the Federation’s weapon arm. It’s the Tizateca army, with its brave leaders the Two Xicotencatls, which has repeatedly driven the Azteca back from Tlaxcallan borders. Quiahuiztlan, the last and youngest of the Four States, has tried to secede from the Federation a couple of times, but fear of the Mexica keeps it loyal and in line. Quiahuiztlan shouldn’t be confused with the Tutunacu city of the same name, located hundreds of miles to the East.

Tlaxcalteca Culture The Tepeticpaca, Ocotelulca, Tizateca and Quiahuizteca are all Nahua, having taken over the local Hnanhu peoples during the Nahua expansion. They have great cities, tall temples and a complex social structure, with significant advances in math, medicine and architecture. Like other Nahua nations, Tlaxcalteca peoples give sacrifice to their ancestor spirits. Their main patron saint is Camaxtli the Hunter, the great ancestral chieftain that led their people away from the Northern Wastes two centuries ago. Since Camaxtli himself was dragon-blooded, like many Nahua chieftains of his time, Tlaxcalteca peoples also practice dragon worship;

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their cities don’t have dragon protectors, but they have built a large temple in Cuaitlapanca Hill, overseen by priests of Tlaloc, where tlacoatl dragons make monthly visits to receive tribute and watch over the populace. The Four States are also known for their cuisine. Their tlaxcalli flat corn cakes are a source of such cultural pride that the Federation named itself after them, and renamed the Cuaitlapanca, the Hill where they first settled, as Tlaxcallan, to denote they had arrived.

Tlaxcalteca Politics While its actual rulers are Maxixcatzin of Ocotelulco and the military father-and-son duo of the Xicotencatls in Tizatlan, the Federation is a mostly democratic society, where the representatives of every state have a right to speak and be heard. The governments of the Four States are not hereditary but meritocratic, although the four ruling dynasties have managed to retain power by giving ‘merit’ to their descendants and relatives. Regardless, and despite its occasional internecine clashes, the Tlaxcallan Tlahtoloyan is a stable, steadfast entity, which has managed to resist Azteca control since its foundation, a little over a century ago. To the West, the Federation territories are protected by the Three Sacred Mountains known as Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl and Matlalcueitl; to the East, they have built an immense stone wall to protect their territory, which they oversee from their fortified Citadel of Cacaxtla. Thus, they have resisted Azteca advances to this day. Instead of pushing in an all-out attack to conquer the Federation, the Mexica have opted to surround their territory and submit the Tlaxcalteca to a Flower War Regime, where ‘friendly’ battles force the losing side to give slaves and tribute to the winners. This measure has turned the Tlaxcalteca into de facto Azteca tributaries, prisoners in their own territory, despite never having yielded to the Mexica.

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The tzintzuntzani empirE

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H E N TH E R E A RE the Tzintzuntzani.

Without a doubt and by far the mightiest nonNahua nation in the Anahuac, the Tzintzuntzani dominate the Anahuac Northwest, between Azteca and Chichimeca lands, and constitute an impassable block for Azteca expansion westward. Of all the Mexica’s neighbours, alliances or rivalries, tributary systems or utter subjugations, the Tzintzuntzani are the ones that the Mexica have never managed to win a war against or take a single town from. The Tzintzuntzani Empire belongs to the Huacuse’echa – known to the Nahua as Michuaca –, a tribe unrelated to any Nahua or Chichimeca peoples. Despite its great power and culture, the Tzintzuntzani Empire takes virtually no part in Anahuac politics, except to contain Mexica incursions to the East and Chichimeca border struggles to the North. Even though it shares a border with half the nations in The Anahuac, what goes on inside the Tzintzuntzani Empire remains unknown to even their closest neighbours. Save for the few that have acquired, or the many that have been on the receiving end of, one of their magic metal weapons, the Huacuse’echa and their culture remain as alien and remote as if they lived on another continent.

The Huacuse’echa The Huacuse’echa, or eagle folk, claim their ancestors came from the Spirit World, from the Wind and the Water itself, to establish a domain in mortal lands. This spiritual heritage would explain the unassailable might of the Tzintzuntzani, but if you ask any Mexica, they’ll confirm the Huacuse’echa can bleed, and squeal when skinned alive just like everyone else. Regardless of their origin, when the Huacuse’echa came to The Anahuac, they settled on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro, where they rallied all native peoples under a single nation, becoming the dominant people of an empire. All Tzintzuntzani leaders nowadays are Huacuse’echa, and the other tribes of the zone have come to be known collectively as P’urep’echa, or common folk.

defend the land. People of many nations have accepted these terms and joined the mysterious Tzintzuntzani civilisation, leaving their old nationalities – usually Hnanhu, Nahua or Tecuexe – to become P’urep’echa.

The Rule The Huacuse’echa worship the great elemental dragons of the Four Spirit Worlds, which they call Tire’peme. All Worlds – the Four Directions and the Mortal World – have their own Tire’peme guardian. Curica’hueri, the Father of all Tire’peme, and the Huacuse’echa name for the original Mixcoatl dragon, is the greatest spirit the Huacuse’echa pray and sacrifice to. Huacuse’echa sacrificial rites are very similar to those of the Mexica, although they aren’t as frequent and remain mostly limited to war prisoners and enemies of the State, whose heads are displayed as a warning after their bodies have been fed to dragons. The founder of the Huacuse’echa clan was Tariacuri, a Tire’peme dragon in human form – perhaps Quetzalcoatl himself – whose lineage rules the Empire to this day. Under Tariacuri, the Huacuse’echa learned to write, build, sail and farm; they also learned the art of forging weapons of the sacred metal tiamu, though it isn’t known if Tariacuri taught the Huacuse’echa that, or if they brought the secret from their alleged ancestral home. Tariacuri built the cities of Patzcuaro and Tzintzuntzan for his people to live in, and so they could rule all neighbouring nations from there. After he left the world, the capital was moved to Tzintzuntzan, which gave the Empire its current name. Before he returned to the Spirit World, Tariacuri was known as the Ire’echa, or ‘leader of all the lands’, and all his descendants have borne that title afterward. The current Ire’echa of the Tzintzuntzani Empire is Tzitzi Pandaquare, an ancient dragon-blooded conqueror with decades of victories to his name. He is very old now, and soon to be succeeded by his son Tzan Cua.

The Huacuse’echa have welcomed people from all ethnicities to their Empire, on the condition that they must live as P’urep’echa subjects and give their lives to

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Chichimeca tribeS

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O TH E N OR TH of The Anahuac lies a vast expanse

of desert and steppe, ill-suited for settlement and downright deadly at some places. The only peoples living in this arid land are the hardy, ferocious peoples that the Nahua know collectively as Chichimeca – ‘barbarians’. In truth, the term ‘Chichimeca’ encompasses hundreds of different tribes, often unrelated to each other. The Nahua themselves, the founders of the Triple Alliance and the Anahuac, are descendants of some of these tribes, which came down from the deserts and took over the ancient cities of older nations. Although ‘Chichimeca’ means ‘barbarian’ in the Nahua tongue, these nations have varying degrees of civilisation, from truly barbaric raiders to enlightened pyramid builders, from peaceful hunter-gatherers to well organised, mighty armies. The following are the largest or more powerful ‘Chichimeca’ tribes.

Caxcán and Tecuexe The Caxcán-Tecuexe rivalry is one of the oldest feuds in the Anahuac. Two civilised, feudal confederations of city-states, the Caxcán and Tecuexe started rising armies and states in emulation of Azteca cultures, and constantly test them against each other in an endless struggle for control of their patch of terrain, carved out between the borders of the Tzintzuntzani State and the Northwest Chichimeca territories. Both the Caxcán and Tecuexe have Nahuatl blood, and their tongues and cultures resemble those of the Anahuac peoples. They have fewer cities and are more nomadic than the Mexica or Acolhua, but they remain better organised and more sedentary than most other ‘Chichimeca’ nations. Like most Chichimeca peoples, the Caxcán and Tecuexe revere nature spirits more than dragons or patron saints. The Caxcán and Tecuexe barely concern themselves with the Anahuac, focused as they are on keeping their lands from each other, while expanding as much as they can - which is not that much - into the borders of the Tzintzuntzani and Chichimeca. Theirs is a conflicting region of constant clashes and ever-shifting borders,

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where the political landscape changes almost daily, depending on who conquered whose city.

The Guamare Federation This alliance of Chichimeca tribes, called after their leaders the Guamare people, came about when four neighbouring nations joined to resist Azteca domination. Members of the federation include the Guamare proper, a large and well organised nomadic tribe, itself comprising many lesser, roughly related tribes; some Hacuse’echa wanderers, self-exiled from the mighty Tzintzuntzani Empire to the South, to seek independence in the no-man’s land of the Northern wastes; and even a few Red Eagle tribes, who lay down their warlike traditions to better defend their territory against the Azteca. All members of the Guamare Federation are nomadic hunter-gatherers, with inferior weaponry and warfare to the Mexica, but are organised enough to stave off Triple Alliance incursions into their lands. The Guamare and their allies worship only nature spirits; they don’t practice human sacrifice, but they do eat their defeated enemies to absorb their strength, like many other northern tribes. Besides their sheer ferocity, the main reason why the Guamare federation has kept the mightier Azteca at bay are their well-timed war councils, where they agree on military strategies before marching to battle.

The Red Eagle Tribes The most fearsome of Chichimeca tribes is the Quauhchichitl, ‘Red Eagle’, branch. The Mexica came up with the ‘Red Eagle’ nickname in honour of the blood-red paint the Quauhchichitl people smear on their bodies before a battle, giving them a savage and frightening appearance. The Quauhchichitl, however, don’t refer to themselves by a single term, but by the name of their respective tribe, such as ‘high leapers’ or ‘skull tossers’. Many of them have gladly adopted the ‘Red Eagle’ nickname, the better to frighten the Mexica with. When not at war with other tribes or among themselves, Red Eagles are stoic, insightful nomads, who

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worship nature spirits and expand their minds with sacred herbs. They practice Nahualotl magic, and most Red Eagle warriors employ the powers of a spirit animal in battle. In battle, Red Eagles are merciless cannibals, who torture their enemies before killing and eating them; understandably, dying at their hands has become a widespread fear among Azteca armies. This alone would keep the Azteca out of their lands, but Red Eagle nations are also very numerous, perhaps more than any other Chichimeca branch, and their country is a nearly impassable, rocky expanse, almost as harsh and unforgiving as its people.

The Northeastern Tribes The tribes of the Northeast Coast, which include the Xi’ui and the many nations of Tam’holipa, resemble other Chichimeca in that they are fierce, nomadic and animistic. These tribes, however, tend to be less bloodthirsty and more pious than Guamares or Red Eagles, or even the Azteca themselves, perhaps because of their vicinity to the enlightened Te’enek peoples, which are also warlike but not bloodthirsty. The most relevant common trait of the Northeast Tribes is their close link to nature spirits, which they revere almost fanatically, and have granted them great blessings and magics to defend their lands. The Azteca are currently conducting a campaign to conquer the Xi’ui, but have trouble overcoming their mighty spiritual defences, which come from the land itself. The Tam’holipa remain out of reach, unknown and unconquered. 45

Main settlementS T

H E E XC AN TL A H T O L O Y A N has the most, and the

mightiest, city-states in the Anahuac, from their many altepetl surrounding Lake Tetzcoco, to the ruined cities they have overtaken and the sprawling nations they have conquered in every land around them. Like all city states across the world, the altepemeh of the Anahuac have a limited lifespan; after a few centuries, even those that survive wars and revolutions often become overcrowded or abandoned due to famine, disease or weather changes. Many of the great capitols of olden times are now little more than road stops, and the greatest cities of the modern era used to be tributaries of cities that seemed somewhat larger a couple of centuries ago. The following are some of the most important settlements of the Nahua world at the height of the Triple Alliance, during the reign of Motecuzoma the Xocoyotzin.

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Great Tenochtitlan The largest city of the Anahuac, and perhaps the world, Tenochtitlan is the capital of the Mexica civilisation and the power centre of the Aztecatl Triple Alliance. Famously built over a lake, Tenochtitlan is, to all intents and purposes, an artificial island, built by Mexica priests in ancient times with the help of water spirits. With raised causeways connecting it to the mainland and surrounded by floating chinampa farming rafts, Tenochtitlan is regarded as a magical place by locals and visitors alike. The city consists of a central plaza, with five pyramid temples dedicated to the city’s patron saints, surrounded by four quarters, representing the Four Directions of the world. The names of the Four Quarters are Cuepopan, Aztacalco, Moyotla and Zoquiapan. Each of these quarters is subdivided in 20 calpolli neighbour-

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hoods, under the control of the city’s foremost peasant families. Some of these calpolli rest on solid ground, but a few are fully floating settlements. The North half of the island of Tenochtitlan is the city of Tlatelolco, formerly a separate altepetl, but forcefully annexed to Tenochtitlan as a ‘fifth quarter’ in recent times. Tlatelolco retains its own tlatoani, who functions mostly as a puppet of Tenochca rulers, and enjoys a modicum of independence, as all Mexica commerce, and with it that of the entire Aztecatl State, depends on Tlatelolco’s trade routes, and its legendary tianquiztli marketplace.

Tetzcoco The second-greatest city of the Aztecatl State, Tetzcoco is the capital of the Acolhua people and of the cities under their domain. A large and beautiful metropolis, with great white temples, lavish palaces, animal sanctuaries and a citysized botanical garden, Tetzcoco looks like a classical city of the ancient world, complete with strolling sages and poets meditating on human virtues and spiritual matters. These sages, or tlamatinime, have given Tetzcoco a reputation for being the most cultured and advanced city of the Anahuac. Tetzcoco is also known for its waterways – massive aqueducts that maintain the city’s water supply, its fountains and public baths – and its beautiful dragon and animal statues.

C I TY PATRONS C I T Y PAT R O N S Tenochtitlan’s main patron saint is Huitzilopochtli, the ancestor chieftain that led the Mexica out of the Northern wastelands. The city’s Great Temple hosts monthly sacrificial rites dedicated to him. Along with Huitzilopochtli, Tenochtitlan pays tribute to an ancestor wizard the Mexica call Xiuhtecuhtli. In life, this wizard was the first mortal to command dragons, and he gave Huitzilopochtli his dragon-spear, the thunder serpent Xiuhcoatl. The city also enjoys the protection of three mixcoatl dragons and one tlacoatl dragon, who, despite the elevation of Huitzilopochtli to city protector, still claim tribute from the Mexica, and guard the city in the name of their lords, Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc respectively. The four quarters of Tenochtitlan also have a ‘protector godmother’ each, watching over them as a local patron saint. The four godmothers of Tenochtitlan are the Great Grandmother, the Saint of medicine and herbs; Chicomecoatl, the dragon-blooded Saint of agriculture and motherhood; Flower Princess, Saint of beauty, love and parties (her brother, Flower Prince, is also given tribute and sacrifice at some dates); and Cihuacoatl, the Mother of Dragons, who doesn’t watch over Tenochtitlan herself but sends female mimixcoa to receive the sacrifices in her stead. Tlatelolco has its own tlacoatl dragon guardian, which the locals call Tlaloc, even though they know he is only an envoy of Tlaloc himself. This dragon has protected Tlatelolco exclusively since the town’s founding, and he continues to do so in return for a steady diet of sickly or disabled Tlatelolca children.

The protector of Tetzcoco is Xolotl, the dragon-dog, a small but wise mixcoatl, half-brother to Quetzalcoatl and founder of the Acolhua ruling line. Contrary to other dragons, Xolotl has often marched into battle with the Tetzcoca, gladly helping his children conquer or pacify other territories. Tetzcoco also enjoys the patronage of Tlaloc, the supreme lord of rain dragons himself, who protects all the Acolhua settlements. Although Tlaloc’s personal protection is reserved for the ancestral city of Coatlinchan, he has assigned his four mightiest tlacoatl to guard Tetzcoco, who guard the city in exchange for the sacrifice of animals, war prisoners and convicted criminals.

Cholollan The oldest city of the Anahuac, and the only one that has never been abandoned, defeated or rebuilt, Cholollan, ‘the safe place’, is the spiritual backbone that supports the Nahua culture and identity. Built by dragons during the early days of the Fifth Sun, Cholollan has never belonged to a single nation, but always served as a shared trade and religious centre for every Nahua state, regardless of wars of alliances, and a common neutral ground where all citizens of every nation are welcome, from the moment mortals first walked the World to the present day. Cholollan is, and always has been, a mostly religious centre, ruled by a rotating theocracy or, in its darkest eras, by devout warlords. The city boasts 360 temples, one for every day of the tonalpohualli, and for every known patron saint of every nation in The Anahuac.

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Cholollan’s Great Pyramid, the Tlachihualtepetl, is the largest temple ever built. Originally erected by Quetzalcoatl himself when he made the Fifth Sun, it was enlarged and expanded on by later Coatlacatl priests and rulers of every nation, from the ancient Mokaya to the Tolteca, from the Spirit Lords of Teotihuacan to modern Mexica architects. The ancient Azure Order, a sect of high priests and dragon priestesses, and likely the first such cult in the World, has guarded Cholollan and its temples uninterruptedly for millennia, anointing and blessing the tlatoani of every great state since before humans walked in two legs.

C I T Y PAT R O N S Cholollan is the only place in the mortal world under the personal protection of Quetzalcoatl, the Lord of Dragons – which explains how the city has never been defeated or destroyed. Furthermore, Cholollan is a refuge for other patron saints, particularly those that have been forgotten by mortals, or whose peoples have died or disbanded; these saints retire to Cholollan and join the host of lesser spirits that keep a constant vigil over the site. Only Tezcatlipoca, the immortal wizard, has no temple in Cholollan, and he has vowed never to set foot in the sacred city, except to, one day, watch it fall to war and flame.

Cempoallan Cempoallan, the City of the Many Waters, was not built by the Nahua but by the ancient Tolteca, a dragon-ruled tribe that built the greatest cities of the early Fifth Sun. When the Tolteca declined, the Tutunacu natives of the area took over many of their power centres, including Cempoallan. The

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Tutunacu copied and used the knowledge of the Tolteca, rebuilding Cempoallan into an architectural wonder, full of palaces, temples, arches, gardens and waterways. Cempoallan acquired such prominence that the ancient Tutunacu made it their capital. Arguably the greatest city outside of Mexica territory, Cempoallan nonetheless fell under Mexica control when its Tutunacu masters yielded to the Azteca Alliance. When the Mexica took over the city, even they were impressed with the city’s channels, fountains and aqueducts, which inspired its current name, meaning ‘Twenty Waterways’ in Nahuatl. Despite Mexica domination, Cempoallan remains the hub of Tutunacu power, and the foremost civilisation centre in the Eastern Anahuac. Chicomecoatl, lord of the Tutunacu Nation, has his palace in Cempoallan, from which he rules all Tutunacu towns. Besides the Tutunacu, Cempoallan is home to dozens of other tribes, including, but not limited to, Mexica invaders and Bini’zá peoples.

CITY PATRONS The Tutunacu worship three major deities, all of them nature spirits. Tutunacu ancestors revered Old Thunder, the Spirit of Storm; the northern city of Papantla worships the Earth Mother; Cempoallan is dedicated to the greatest of these deities - The Spirit of the Sun itself, ancestral protector of dozens of cities and nations across the continent. The Sun, like other nature deities, rejects human sacrifice, accepting only animals and foodstuffs; but there are many temples in Cempoallan dedicated to Mexica saints, which do demand human sacrifice from the subjugated Tutunacu population.

Tzintzuntzan Tzintzuntzan, also known as the House of Hummingbirds, is the capital of the mysterious Empire of the same name, located to the unexplored West of Nahua lands. It used to be a ceremonial centre, built mostly for religious pilgrimages and dragon worship; it only became the political centre of the former Huacuse’echa empire a few decades back, when the heirs of the dragon hero Tariacuri moved the Huacuse’echa seat of power from Pátzcuaro, the older, declining capital of their empire. Tariacuri had ordered the empire to centre on Pátzcuaro for all time, but by the time of his death Tzintzuntzan had grown as large as all other Huacuse’echa cities put together, and most lesser tribes in the area were its tributaries. It seemed only natural to make it the ruling seat of the empire, now known as Tzintzuntzani in its honour. The reason for Tzintzuntzan’s fame is its ceremonial centre, the Tariarán. Thousands of people pilgrim to its five round pyramids daily, to offer worship to the Great Dragons of the Four Directions and Curica’hueri, their Father. Aging Tzitzi Pandaquare, Great ire’echa of the Tzintzuntzani empire, Coatlacatl lord of the Huacuse’echa peoples, and greatgrandchild of the founder hero Tariacuri, has his throne in Tzintzuntzan.

C I TY PATRONS Tzintzuntzan is dedicated to the Four Tire’peme dragons, the lords of the Four Directions and guardians of the Four Paths to the Spirit World. However, the city’s main protector is Curica’hueri, the Father of all Dragons, who the Mexica call Mixcoatl. Every year, Curica’hueri visits the city

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in human form, surrounded by a cloud of hummingbird messengers. This has led many peasants in both Mexica and Tzintzuntzani lands to believe there is a relationship between Curica’hueri and Huitzilopochtli, the Mexica’s hummingbird Saint of warfare - if only that they are rivals and opposites.

TOLL AN

Sacred Ruins

When the Seven Nahua tribes fled the domain of the Ancient Azteca and migrated from the Northern wastes to the Anahuac, Tollan and its secrets were the prize they sought.

Besides its living cities, the Nahua world has several ruined sites of great importance, which it hasn’t fully abandoned. Modern peoples still maintain and watch over these ruins, often for spiritual reasons, but also to exploit their resources or dig for their lost treasures.

T E O T I H UAC A N This ancient city is where the Old Saints gathered and built the first civilisation during the Fourth Sun. Its ruins survived into our era, and the new human race settled them, guided by their own patron saints. Teotihuacan still ruled over The Anahuac a thousand years ago, and the knowledge of writing, architecture, warfare and writing spread from there to every other tribe and nation. Eventually, the people of Teotihuacan went to populate other places, taking their culture and science everywhere they went, and leaving their city behind as a testament that the Saints had once been in the world. The Spirit-men of Teotihuacan went on to build Cholollan, Aztlan and Tollan; they founded the great cities of the Bini´zá and Mokayá, of the Nhu’sahui and Tutunacu, of the Chontal and the Itzá, and of every great following civilisation. The ruins of Teotihuacan, located to the Northeast of Lake Tetzcoco, are still a sacred place for the Azteca, who watch the site and keep a shrine to the Old Saints there.

The ancestral home of the Tolteca, descendants of the Spiritlords of Teotihuacan, Tollan is the cradle of civilisation as we know it today. The current known methods of currency, architecture, mathematics and medicine were developed in sacred Tollan.

However, it was this very Nahua migration which ended the golden age of Tollan, as the cultured, enlightened polity could not sustain a wave of nomadic settlers, and the great metropolis fell shortly after the Nahua came to occupy it. After taking the remains of Toltecatl culture with them, the Nahua continued their travels, eventually settling around Tetzcoco lake and founding the states that would become the Triple Alliance; states modelled after the culture and splendour of Tollan. The original Tollan site was lost and forgotten, as the wastelands surrounding it filled with spirits and magical creatures. Worse still, the Nahui Miquiztli, the army of the underworld, settled there recently, establishing it as their first base in the mortal world, and now Tollan has risen again as a dark shadow of its glorious past.

JAG UAR MOUNTAI N The most important non-Nahua ruins of the Anahuac are the remains of Dani Baán, the ancient capital of the Bini’zá or Zapoteca, at the fabled site of Jaguar Mountain. Known to Nahua peoples as the Zapotecatl Mictlan, this city was built before the fall of Teotihuacan, at a time when dragons still took

human form mortals.

and

mated

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Dani Baán ruled over the Southeast Anahuac for a thousand years, during which it rivalled Teotihuacan itself in importance. After its power declined and the Bini’zá built other cities in other lands, Jaguar Mountain became a haunted, magical place, where spirits and ghosts cross the world boundaries to sing to a lost empire’s memory. These Jaguar Mountain ruins have become known as the Zapotecatl Mictlan, an eerie necropolis that travellers avoid, but the Bini’zá revere. The Dani Beedze, an ancestral order of priests dating back centuries, have watched over the site for millennia. However, the Dani Beedze have recently turned dark and corrupt, worshipping underworld spirits and heralding the arrival of an Army of the Dead. This seems to indicate that the Nahui Miquiztli, the Sixth Sun Army, has taken over the ruins of Jaguar Mountain.

AZTLAN The primal origin of the Nahua tribes, semi-mythical Aztlan was the site of the first Aztecatl civilisation at the dawn of the Fifth Sun. According to legend, all Nahua peoples came from the lands surrounding Aztlan, and shook off the yoke of their Azteca masters to journey south until they found the Anahuac to settle in. The original Azteca people fell centuries ago, but time and again the Mexica have sought the fabled site of their forebears. The ruins remain unrecovered; they may not even exist anymore - but the mystery remains. What became of the original Azteca? Where is their glorious capital? If Aztlan is still there somewhere, it surely has answers and secrets still unknown.

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Sixth sun armY T

H E R E I S AN O T H E R power in the Anahuac, slowly

and stealthily rising among the long-established powers in the region; not a nation of mortals, but an army of invading spirits. Known only as the Nahui Miquiztli, or the Sixth Sun, this force seeks to settle and conquer mortal lands, slaughtering or enslaving all humans and claiming the mortal world as their domain. The Nahui Miquiztli are a coalition of the spirits of Mexica ancestors, formerly bound to serve the Nahua peoples in return for sacrifices, and mostly kept in check through the power and vigilance of the witchpriestess Tlacaelli. Once Tlacaelli passed away, these spirits declared themselves free of their bond, and turned on their mortal allies, daring to cross the border of the Spirit World and invade the lands of Anahuac. The first rebellious spirits dared only a few isolated incursions. They went on to form larger, bolder warbands; then, they came in hordes that claimed the ruined cities of ancient mortal peoples as their domain. Now, the Sixth Sun Army is a vast, organised force, which keeps slowly expanding and threatening every nation on the Anahuac.

Nahui Miquiztli Hierarchy The following is a rough classification of the Sixth Sun Army, according to its members and their ranks.

FOO T S O L D I E RS The bulk of the Nahui Miquiztli is made up of malcontent spirits from Mictlan, most of them dead Nahua ancestors. They are armed, walking corpses, with no other goal than taking back the lands of the living for their own.

S PE C I AL T R O OPS The next rank in the hierarchy are the undead troops from all Spirit Worlds, including drowned infantry from Tlalocan, firecasters from Tlatlayan and flying tzitzimimeh hordes from Ilhuicatl. These troops are also very numerous, although not as common as the Mictlan foot soldiers, and distinguish themselves by a few minor special abilities, such as elemental attacks or the ability to fly. 50

ELI TE SOLDI ERS The knights and captains of the Nahui Miquiztli include Cihuateotl hunters, Mictlan priests and wizards, and the stronger of special troops - drowned, burning or shambling corpses. These high units often lead troops of lesser soldiers, but there are also a few eliteonly squads, deployed for specific operations such as spearheading a charge, disabling the enemy’s resources or taking out their leaders.

C OMMANDERS The generals and commanders of the Sixth Sun Army, in charge of leading city sieges and raiding hordes, are the oldest or most powerful undead, such as highranked Cihuateteo and High Priests of the Spirit World. These commanders appear only when a full Sixth Sun host or a larger force is engaged, and their mere presence often causes enemies to surrender or disband in terror. Sixth Sun commanders also serve as stewards of conquered cities; they don’t have the title of lords, but they oversee the lands taken from mortals in the name of the Nahui Miquiztli when the Sixth Sun lords are absent.

TH E NI NE DARK SAI NTS The supreme leaders of the Sixth Sun army are its darkest and oldest spirits, also known as the Nine Dark Saints. They are nine nameless archwizards from Mictlan, mighty enough to bend the forces of nature itself, and driven to bring the mortal world under their heel. The greatest of the Nine Dark Saints is Hueyohuapilli, the Dark Prince of the Underworld. Not a dead ancestor, but a pure Mictlan-born spirit of death, Hueyohuapilli claims to be the son of Mictlantecuhtli One-Death, the Lord of Mictlan himself. Hueyohuapilli is a master of politics and diplomacy, and it was his idea to reinterpret Tlacaelli’s pact to allow the Nahui Miquiztli to cross into the mortal world. The other Eight Saints are Mictlancolli, the Great General and ruler of the conquered territories of Tollan; Huenahualotl, Master of Black Magic and Lord of the Sixth Mictlan in Bini’zá lands; Coateotl, the

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Dead Dragon, the Dark Mixcoatl of Chaos; Micteyaotl, the Black Knight of Death, wielder of the Mace that Kills; Nenhuecihuatl, spirit of a coatlaca queen, and Mistress of Misfortune; Tlazolteotl, the Saint of vice and sickness, mightier than Hueyohuapilli himself; Mictemic, the Spirit of Nightmares and terror, and Tonehuizteuctli, the Lord of Torment, younger brother of Hueyohuapilli. The Nine Dark Saints should not be confused with the mightier Nine Lords of Mictlan, masters of the underworld. The Nine Dark Saints believe themselves to be avatars, or representatives, of the Nine Lords, but the Nine Lords have nothing to do with the Sixth Sun army, and are content with watching it from their thrones in Mictlan, neither supporting nor condemning its actions. Each of the Nine Dark Saints commands a separate host of the Sixth Sun Army, but they rarely take active part in battle, as mortal armies are not worth their time or effort, although any one of the Nine is more than a match for a city’s patron saint or even a Mixcoatl dragon. Most of the Nine Dark Saints oversee the whole Nahui Miquiztli from their strongholds in the Spirit World, but some of them have taken possession of a conquered city and lead their forces from the mortal realm.

Nahui Miquiztli Territories The Sixth Sun army has not yet taken any major human city, as they wanted to gain a foothold on mortal lands before declaring open war against the Excan Tlahtoloyan or the other powers of the mortal world. Up until now, the Nahui Miquiztli have contented themselves with claiming and fortifying ancient ruins, from which they terrorise neighbouring towns. They have conquered several such ruins, however, and their territory is now as large as that of a small nation; the time is ripe to make their first offensive against the larger mortal cities of the Anahuac, and the dreaded onslaught could happen any day now.

T O L L AN The cradle of Anahuac civilisation, the great metropolis of Tollan, founded by the Spirits or their descendants, and last site of Quetzalcoatl’s rule when he lived as a mortal lord of humans, was an enchanted, untouched ruined site for centuries, settled only by small priestly orders and travelling supplicants. That lasted until last year, when the Nahui Miquiztli took over it and established their base of operations

there. The site of Tollan is now home to dark clouds and dark things, and the Lords of the Nahui Miquiztli have established themselves as rulers of the surrounding human towns. Mexica presence in the Tollan area was always limited, as they paid superstitious reverence to the land of their Tolteca forebears, and it had been regarded as a haunted country for five hundred years. Now, there is an actual dark force growing there, forcing Motecuzoma and his generals to man the ancient garrisons and rekindle the forgotten signal fires. Soon, there will be a war in the haunted wastes, and the powers of Tollan and Tenochtitlan shall clash.

TH E LANDS OF SORC ERY Between Tollan and Tenochtitlan there is an expanse of badlands, marshes and moors, inhabited by wandering spirits and marauding beasts. The Mexica know this region as Teotlalpan, the Lands of Sorcery. Teotlalpan has always been a conduit between the Mortal and Spirit Worlds, and it was probably the path through which the Sixth Sun Army first poured into the Anahuac. Now, with the dark lords settled at Tollan, the Lands of Sorcery are abuzz with ghosts and demons, ready to follow the spirit hosts to raid the mortal world. The cities closest to the Teotlalpan – Atotonilco, Axocopan, Cuauhtitlan, Xilotepec and Xocotitlan – chose not to resist against the Nahui Miquiztli, and they’re now tributaries to the dark lords at Tollan. All these cities have welcomed Sixth Sun ambassadors and stewards, effectively turning their allegiance to the Nahui Miquiztli. Despite being inhabited by living humans, these cities are now considered a part of the Sixth Sun army.

TH E SI XTH MI C TLAN Once the Sixth Sun established a power base to the North of the Anahuac, they turned their sights to the South, claiming the ancient ruins of the first Bini’zá city, known to the Mexica as the Zapotecatl Mictlan, at Jaguar Mountain. The lords of Nahui Miquiztli renamed the city as the Sixth Mictlan, intending to make it their power centre in the Mortal World. The Ruins of Jaguar Mountain had always been known as a pathway to the Underworld, and the Bini’zá priests of the sacred Dani Beedze order maintained a close watch over the site. Now, the Dani Beedze have somehow been corrupted, swayed by the dark power of the Sixth Sun, and now they are the first human religious order to worship the Nahui Miquiztli.

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MayaaB

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T H E R E A R E M O N S T E R S , shadows, hidden in the stone. Dragons be-

hind the thunder, cackling spirits stalking the wind. There are jaguars and monkeys roaring among the tree leaves. Paint yourself with this. Ink your skin with blackest night, drape your body with ghosts. Clasp the horror around your neck, weave a necklace from the cries of witches. Wield the lightning in your hands and wear the jaguar in your face. Don’t hide, don’t run, don’t fight back. Take the raging torrent in your arms and let it become your blood, your water, let it run across the river in your back. Plant the skull of the lord of death, grow a tree from it, eat from its fruit. Make a spear from the arms of the giants. Wear dragon feathers and the smell of death. And sing now, dance now; for you are become God.

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H E R E G I O N T H A T the Yokot’an know as the

Mayaab, the land of the few, is a part of the Western Continent, which Nahuatl invaders call ‘the Anahuac’, and European invaders call ‘the New World’. For the many Mayaab nations, the continent is just kaab, ‘the world’, but their identity, their nationality, belongs to their own regions and domains, and they call their land K’iché, Ch’ol or Itzá, depending on the name of their respective peoples. Ma ya’ab, the name used by the numerous and widespread Yokot’an peoples, is the name by which foreigners such as the Azteca know this region, and the closest to the term by which we know its nations now: the Maya civilisation. It is a vast, diverse world; a mosaic of ecosystems, terrain types, nations and cultures, related only by vicinity and a few common languages. Like Anahuac peoples, nations of the Mayaab were inspired by the cultural achievements of ancient Tollan and Teotihuacan, the ancestral centres of New World culture. From such contact the Mayaab peoples developed their own religion, crafts and pyramid temples. However, never in the Mayaab has a single tribe or culture risen to dominate all others; when a single citystate starts conquering its neighbours, it eventually meets the borders of equals, which resist advance or push back, after which the city-state weakens or disbands. Even the League of Mayapan, a massive federation of dozens of states, ended up collapsing under its own weight, and disbanded into several minor regions after the Tutul Xiu rebellion, just under a century ago. The reason for this is quite simple, as European invaders are about to discover the hard way. The people of Mayaab never submit.

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The snake kingdomS The Mayaab is just one of the many regions that, in ancient times, was known as the ‘Snake Kingdoms’, as their rulers, a network of Coatlaca half-dragon lineages, fancied themselves dragon people, or the equals of dragons. These Coatlaca rulers were known as Kaan Maak, and they worshipped feathered serpents as Chaa’kaan. In the beginning, the lands were wild and unfarmed; great monsters roamed the world freely, and humans survived as they could in nomadic tribes, adapted to subsist in their respective patch of wilderness, be it swamps, mountains, grasslands or jungles. Then, messengers and explorers from the ancient peoples – the Tolteca, the Bini’zá, the Mokayá –, led by dragon priests, came to the wilderness, and taught magic and dragon knowledge to the tribes. Thus, the people of the Mayaab and its surroundings erected their first cities, and they took Kaan Maak rulers and revered Chaa’kaan dragons. It was the dawn of the Snake Kingdoms. Many true Chaa’kaan dragons in human form ruled the first Snake Kingdoms, including Great Quetzalcoatl himself, or at least one of his kin, who came with the first dragon priests and builders, becoming the Dragon Father that natives knew as Kukul Kaan, and teaching them the secrets of the ancient peoples.

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Ever since Chaa’kaan dragons and priests founded the first Kaan Maak ruling houses of the Snake Kingdoms, every city-state has been independent of the others. No single nation or tribe around the Mayaab gained widespread prominence, save to conquer a relatively limited region, which then made war against neighbouring regions but never annexed enough territories to become a large domain, as some Anahuac nations did. Some city-states demanded tribute from others, or established alliances to defeat larger domains, but still the balance of forces has prevented a single national identity from arising in the region for two millennia. In time, as in other regions of the continent, Kaan Maak lineages dwindled and disappeared, and Mayaab lords have mostly been mortal humans for the last 500 years – with the occasional exception. The ruling lineages came to be known as K’uhul Ahau, ‘divine lords’, as mortal lords turned to claim divine status instead of dragon ancestry. However, dragons still watch over the region, blessing their children with power and magic knowledge from the Spirit World. And so, from the Snake Kingdoms to date, the Mayaab region is home to dozens of different city-states and language groups, none of which remains larger or more widespread than the others for more than a few decades. But all these city-states are ruled by K’uhul Ahau lords, descendants of the Kaan Maak, and all worship Chaa’kaan dragons and nature spirits in great pyramid temples.

Dragon Ancestors After two thousand years of intermixing dragon lineages, human alliances, wars, migrations, and the rise and fall of countless states, the Patron Saints of the Mayaab peoples have become a jumble of dragons, immortal ancestors, kaan maak lords, and their spouses, sisters, brothers, children and cousins. The line dividing draconic nature from human traits blurs and shifts, and the guardian of a city may be a dragon, a human ancestor with draconic features, a human-faced dragon, a hybrid spirit, or be one thing and become another after a few generations. Some ancestors gave birth to several city-states, some of which remember them in their dragon forms, and other in their human forms. But all of them demand and receive sacrifice, and all of them give their subjects great magic in return. Strangely, even with such a complex network of patron saints, Mayaab religion has remained far more constant than that of the Anahuac, and nearly every state has worshipped the same unbroken line of patron saints since its foundation, from the Snake Kingdoms to the current era.

Mayaab regions The Mayaab proper is a vast zone of swamps and grassland, home to hundreds of city-states of various cultural groups, mostly the Yokot’an and Itzá peoples, well-known for their building skill and magical knowledge. Further south the jungles begin; this region has no unified name, but it belongs to the Ch’ol and Lakan Tum peoples, descendants of the first Snake Kingdoms. Beyond this enchanted patch of resettled ruins and wild jungle, lie the forested highlands of the K’iché and Kak’chikel, ancestral allies and rivals that evolved apart from Mayaab peoples. Peoples of these regions don’t call their lands Mayaab, but instead give them the names of their own people – the Ch’ol, the Lakam Tun, the K’iché. And they refuse, now and always, to adopt the name or language of another people. Some ally with others to thwart a larger enemy, which may give birth to empires and federations – but sooner than later the states separate again, to form new alliances with former enemies, wage new wars against former allies, and return to their states when it’s all over.

Mayaab culturE Despite their independence and diversity, Mayaab peoples share many cultural traits, learned from their common ancestors and dragon founders. The wildly different terrains of the region – wooded highlands, jungles, grasslands, swamps – gave a final shape to their customs, but they all came from the same source. The following sections contain some guidelines to understand, and play, a character raised in the Mayaab region.

Philosophy Most nations of the Mayaab descend from the Snake Kingdoms, founded by the Kaan people of Tollan and Teotihuacan. To establish their dominion over the tribes of the region, the Kaan Maak lords taught them a strict, divisive philosophy, based on suhuy ah, the Kaan Maak concept of purity, or rather ‘preservation of superiority’.

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Culturally, Mayaab peoples are strong believers in castes and innate superiority. Their religious beliefs, magic rituals, political structures and social customs all derive from the idea that some people are undeniably better than others. This superiority, however, rests not in an individual’s ethnicity or wealth, but in their family relations – more specifically, their family relations to the Spirit World. For Mayaab peoples, the spirit and mortal worlds are one and the same thing, and they alter each other as the wind influences the sea, animals influence plants or humans influence nature. This duality of the world is expressed in two terms: K’uyel, what is subtle, ethereal and timeless, and Baal kah, what is solid, crude, perishable. Work, crafts, colours, food and sex are Baal Kah, and exist in the mortal world; knowledge, science, beauty and thought are K’uyel, and belong to the Spirit World. Since K’uyel is unattainable through physical senses, Mayaab thought assumes that Baal Kah is the ‘skin’, the physical barrier, that contains and prevents access to it. Thus, things that allow humans to glimpse K’uyel through the physical realm, such as aesthetic beauty, arts or sciences, are considered ‘completing arts’, or things that ‘lead to’ completion – that is, contact between Baal Kah and K’uyel. Since they all offer a physical glimpse into the nonphysical world, a descendant of spirits, a priest, a scientist and a beautiful person are regarded as better, greater and more complete than those that are ‘only mortal’. Therefore, in Mayaab states, to be a noble is to be real, to be an ‘actual’ individual; meanwhile, a commoner is a lesser, incomplete being; ‘one of many’, a ‘bee’ in a hive of irrelevant cyphers. Yet, while each commoner may be irrelevant individually, as a collective unit they are the most important element of society; the mob, the hive of ‘bees’, is the engine of civilisation, the arm that turns the K’uyel thoughts and inspirations of the upper classes into solid Baal Kah matter. This elitist outlook is as natural and automatic for Mayaab peoples as the cycles of day and night; very few question it, and most yalba winicob, or commoners, accept their ‘inferiority’ as irrefutable fact. Thus, the essential duality of Mayaab thought translates into their society, as collectivist ideals coexist with the starkest elitism and classism. All commoners believe there are special, superior people with the right to rule over them because they’re better, and that’s all right and that’s how the universe works; simultaneously, there’s no higher ideal for them than belonging to

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the larger group, to be one with one’s community. This apparent contradiction has successfully fuelled stable states and legendary cultures throughout the Mayaab across millennia.

LOVE AND BEAUTY Since social classes are not mobile in Mayaab societies, and sciences are also Suhuy Ah knowledge, restricted to the elite, the best way a yalba winic can become ‘higher’ or ‘superior’ is to become more beautiful. As a result, aesthetic concerns that other cultures would deem ‘shallow’ have become virtues and high aspirations for Mayaab peoples. Personal grooming, attire and aesthetic body modification are as admirable and respected as bravery, loyalty and sacrifice. Even in those states where beauty standards are also restricted to the upper classes, commoners have invented discreet ways to modify their children’s bodies, such as using hanging stones to make them cross-eyed or heavy headdresses that flatten their skulls – both marks of beauty in Mayaab society. Most Mayaab societies lack a concept of romantic love. Marriages are social arrangements that always involve third-party interests. However, the worth placed on beauty and sex has led to many a story of smitten lovers that defied the law out of their mutual desire. These stories, while always presenting love as a forbidden thing, are quite popular, so they would seem to reflect at least a bit of the people’s secret aspirations. There is no taboo on sex in Mayaab societies, and purely sexual acts – specifically unrelated to love or marriage – are commonplace and accepted, culturally and in practice. Homosexual relations are normal, and even encouraged in certain situations – for example, among same-sex soldiers. Having multiple sexual partners is a virtuous practice, and not considered to interfere with, or affect, a marriage agreement.

Society Like other New World societies, peoples of the Mayaab and surrounding regions function by a strict class system, with every person knowing their role from birth and sticking to it. The laws of the Spirit World and their symbolism, including especially the significance of the Four Cardinal Directions and the spirits assigned to every day and time cycle, are the basis to the social roles, customs, religion, seasons and rituals of Mayaab societies.

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HI E R AR C H Y No New World society is egalitarian; however, most native cultures allow for a small degree of class mobility, where a commoner can, at least in theory, become a lesser noble or high official through their own merits or hard work. Mayaab societies, however, are far more restricted. High-ranking citizens are usually related to each other, and privileged families retain their power by mixing and working only with their close kin. This is a deep-rooted concept in Mayaab nobility, known as Suhuy ah, ‘purity’. To be a noble or achieve an official position, the aspirant must pass a Suhuy ah test, where they demonstrate their lineage by knowing certain customs and etiquette, naming their ancestors, and speaking in the Suhuy ah language, taught only to Mayaab nobility. A character marked as Suhuy ah can only marry and associate with other similarly marked individuals. Through Suhuy ah, Mayaab noble houses have justified their rule, maintained tribal identity and kept their hegemony for centuries. The following are the ranks of Mayaab social hierarchy: The ruler of a city-state is an Ahau, or lord. The Ahau must prove Suhuy Ah and rule their city-state. This involves leading the workforce to needed tasks, from buildings to war, and representing the people before other Ahau rulers. At times, several city-states will pay homage or tribute to a single, larger city-state. In this case, all the involved cities form a province, or Kuch Kabal. The greatest Ahau of a Kuch Kabal is known as the Halach Winic, or ‘True Person’. A Halach Winic must be of proven Kuhul Ahau ancestry, and he must rule over all the Ahau in his domain. Some tribes use the terms ‘Ahau’ and ‘Halach Winic’ interchangeably. The city priests, or Ah Kin cob, speak with the ancestors and mediate between the people and the Spirit World. They also apply Suhuy Ah tests to determine the nobility of aspirant rulers and officials. Ix Ah Kaanob, or dragon priestesses, are charged with summoning Chaa’kaan dragons and providing them with sacrifice. The city nobles or Almeheno’ob, all proven through Suhuy Ah tests, advise the lord in religious, civil, military and agricultural matters. The ruler of a local tribe or smaller town, subject to the neighbouring Ahau, is a Batab. They require no Suhuy Ah test, but they usually come from among an

Ahau’s close relatives. A Batab’s responsibility is to lead the workforce of their Batabil, or community. Local officials take charge of civil tasks in the city or community, and their roles and responsibilities vary depending on the local needs and products. Their titles tend to be colourful terms such as ‘Lord of the Sacred Fire’, ‘Master of Blood’ or ‘Giver of Jade Roots’. Military officials protect the people and lead them into war under the direct orders of the Almeheno’ob. War officers and generals are known as Sahal, while local police and city guards are known as Tupil. The lowest and most numerous rank of Mayaab society are the Yalba Winicob, or ‘small people’. They represent the most important resource of a Mayaab state, as they can be summoned and directed to fulfil the rulers’ decisions and community needs. Slaves are not considered part of Mayaab society; as in other New World civilisations, they come almost exclusively from the ranks of criminals and war prisoners, although a family head can also sell their children into slavery if needed. Mayaab hierarchy rests on the concept that commoners are a workforce, or resource, and rulers direct that resource to work on what benefits the community. Thus, the lord, nobles or city officials may decide the city needs new trade roads, but it’s the commoners, the Yalba Winicob, which make it happen. The people may want to build a new tilling field, but it’s only through the ruler’s command that they will organise together, to do it as a single will. It is a Sahal that wins a war, but it’s the soldiers that fight it.

TH E RULE OF LAW Mayaab societies are monarchies, rather than bureaucracies. A single ruler holds the authority and the fates of all citizens under their rule, and they also name priests, government officials and local batab lords, usually from among their own family. Claiming descent from divine Spirit World lineages, or ancient kaan maak dragon lords, is enough to legitimise the monarch’s absolute power. A batabil – a city, settlement or town ruled by a Batab lord – is the smallest validated unit of a Mayaab state. It consists of a group of clans, or family clusters, which are only acknowledged by the state if they belong to a batabil, and thus subject themselves to the batab’s authority. All the batabilob of a region answer to the largest city and its Ahau, which is in turn charged with ruling over the local batab lords.

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When several city-states rally under a single, larger city-state, the state is known as a Kuch Kabal, ‘province’, and its rulers are all subject to a single lord, or Halach Winic. The plural of kuch kabal is kuchkabalob. HALACH WINIC, AHAU AND BATAB Most Mayan citizens never meet their Ahau or Halach Winic, even from a distance; their local Batab handles all affairs and rulings, occasionally travelling to the big city to meet with other batabob and their Ahau. Even the peoples living in the same city as their Ahau or Halach Winic see them but rarely, as they almost never leave their palaces. Many regions lack a Halach Winic, and their many Ahau live in a perpetual power struggle against each other. Some regions don’t even have an Ahau, leaving the batab lords free to rule their towns as they see fit. 0 Conversely, some kuchkabalob are so large, their city-states so complex, that a single city-state can have many Ahau, each charged with a separate quarter of the subject kuch kabal. As it has been said, however, these larger federations rarely last long in the Mayaab, and they tend to disband into smaller kuchkabalob after a few decades. Whether a regional authority figure is a halach winic or an ahau, and what are the criteria to decide, varies from tribe to tribe and from region to region. However, the batab is always there, ruling the people up close at their own town. As the monarch is the state’s supreme authority, the batab is the absolute ruler of the batabil, and has the last word in matters of law.

COMMONER SOCIETY The concept of common people as a single unit is essential to Mayaab hierarchy and society. Yalba winicob, ‘small men’, are the workers and living tools carrying out the lords’ will, and as such they make up the backbone of the state. A single commoner may be ‘inferior’, but the collective entity of people is the most valuable resource of the state, as necessary and respected as the ‘superior’ nobles that lead it.

Military Organisation Mayaab armies are simple and straightforward. A single Sahal officer commands the entire militia of their respective Batabil, settlement or neighbourhood, and in turn answers directly to the respective batab or ahau. Some settlements have no Sahal, or give the Sahal title directly to their Batab, who leads them without middlemen. When a Mayaab state goes to war, the Sahalob of each city or batabil gather under the banner of their ahau; if the state is larger, many ahau will march to war with their respective batabob, which in turn will take their sahalob with them. Social authority and military command go hand in hand in almost every Mayaab state, and most nobles are also the best warriors of their respective society.

CIVIL RULE Not all cities have civil authorities. Some batabil, especially the smallest ones, leave all city or neighbourhood management to the local Batab. Specific civil offices appear only when a city or borough is complex enough to require them. The most common such positions are the Lakam, or head of taxes, charged with managing all tribute coming from subjects and tributaries, and the Tupil, or law enforcers. Tupilob are tasked with upholding the law in their jurisdiction, but also with collecting local taxes and tributes, whether the region has a Lakam or not. Less common civil officials include those in charge of irrigation, food stores or roads; these officials don’t need to prove suhuy ah purity, but in practice are often the close kin of local nobles. Each city gives different names to these offices, with such poetic connotations as ‘Master of the Blood Curtain’, or ‘Keeper of the Jade Spear’.

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Language Most languages of the Mayaab region come from a common branch, derived from the tongues of the preKaan Maak natives of the area. There are some cases where the languages of different nations are mutually intelligible. There is no single ‘common tongue’ of the Mayaab, but most Mayaab peoples, particularly those of the Seventeen Sates, know the Yokot’an tongue or one of its close variants. Even so, Yokot’an speakers may have trouble communicating with other people in K’ichéspeaking areas.

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LI S T O F M AYAAB LAN G U AG E S The following are the most commonly-spoken languages of the Mayaab. A few of them are similar enough to be intelligible, but most are not. The list also shows which peoples are most likely to know or understand speakers of the specific language. The ‘Tribes’ section in page 62 describes most of the peoples mentioned in this list. Peoples listed in bold indicate the corresponding language is their native tongue. The Suhuy Ah tongue is a secret dialect taught only to members of Mayaab nobility, particularly in the Seventeen States. Teaching the language to a commoner is treason, punishable by death.

LANGUAGE

SPEAKERS

Yokot’án

Yokot’an, Mayaab1, Ch’ol, Chiapa, Itzá, Natives2, Te’enek3

Itzá

Itzá, Mayaab1, Natives2, Yokot’an

Ch’ol

Ch’ol, Ch’olti, Chiapa, Lenca, Mam, Mayaab1, Pipil, Yokot’an

Chiapa

Chiapa, Ch’ol, Mam, Yokot’an

Q’anjobal

Natives2, Mam, Ch’ol, Chiapa, K’iché

Mam

Mam, Ch’ol, K’iché

K’iché

K’iché, Ch’ol, Chiapa, Lenca, Itzá, Natives2, Pipil, Mam, Xinka

Lenca

Lenca, Ch’ol, Chiapa, K’iché, Pipil, Xinka

Nahuatl

Pipil, Tutul Xiu, Chiapa, K’iché, Mayaab1, Te’enek3, Xinka, Yokot’an

Xinka

Xinka, Chiapa, K’iché, Lenca, Natives2

Te’enek

Te’enek3, Yokot’an, Natives

Suhuy Ah

Mayaab1 (restricted to nobility)

Mayaab Pronunciation In case your group is interested in the correct pronunciation of Mayan languages, you can use the following guidelines: ■ Vocals are single-tone: AH, EH, EE, OH, OO, not A, E, I, O, U. These tones also apply to Ay, Ey, Oy, and Uy, which are pronounced EYE, AYE, OY and OOEY. ■ CH is pronounced TCH. Thus, ‘Chan’ is pronounced TCHAN. ■ An apostrophe after a letter (B’, K’) is a short pause between syllables. ‘Ch’en’ is pronounced tch EN. ■ TZ is pronounced TS; thus, ‘tz’ak’ is pronounced ts AK. ■ Pronounce X as SH; ‘yax’ is pronounced YAHSH. ■ All Mayaab words are accented in the last syllable; ‘kelem’ is kehLEHM, ‘payil’ is pahYEEL; ‘yax mutul’ is YAHSH mooTOOL. ■ B at the end of a word is almost mute. Pronounce ‘wayob’ as huaYOH.

1 Includes any of the Seventeen States. 2 Refers to the hundreds of unlisted tribes that populated the region before the coming of the Kaan Maak civilisation. 3 The Te’enek tribe lives in the Anahuac region, under the Cuextecatl name

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MA YAAB N AM E S All Mayaab names are symbolic, comprised of two elements such as ‘jade wind’ or ‘jaguar paw’. Names with more than two elements are rare, but they exist. It’s common for one of the two elements to be a number, resulting in names such as ‘nine-thunder’ or ‘five-

corn’. Members of the nobility add their title to their name; for example, ‘B’aakul Ahau Bolon Balam’ means ‘Nine Jaguar, Lord of B’aakul’. The following are some common words used in Mayaab nomenclature, arranged by their English meaning, to help GMs and players come with their own character and place names.

ENGLISH

MAYAAB

ENGLISH

MAYAAB

ENGLISH

MAYAAB

One

Hun

Cloud

Muyal

Mist

Mayuy

Two

Kah

Dancing

Ak’ta

Mountain

Witz

Three

Ox

Dart

Hul

Mouth

Chi’

Four

Chan

Dawn

Ahal

Omen

Mut

Five

Hoh

Death

Cham

Owl

Kuh

Six

Wak

Dragon

Kaan

Pure

Suhuy

Seven

Wuk ub

Drum

Chun k’ul

Quetzal

K’uk

Eight

Waxak

Enchanted

Itz

Rain

Chac

Nine

Bolon

Eye

Ich

Rainbow

Chel

Ten

Lahun

Flower

Hanab

Resplendent

Sak

Ant

Say

Fox

Ch’amak

Root

Wi

Armadillo

Ib’ach

Guide

Payil

Sacred

K’uhul

Ascending

T’ab

Hawk

Ih

Shield

Pakal

Ashen

Kob

Heart

Ki

Singing

K’ayom

Ball

Ol

Honey

Chab

Smoke

Butz’

Beautiful

Pitzil

Hunter

Ah Chih

Split

Hatz’

Beloved

Huntan

Iguana

Itzam

Stone

Tun

Bird

Chik

Jaguar

B’alam

Strong

Kelem

Boar

Chitam

Lineage

Olom

Sun

K’in

Born of

Siy

Lizard

Ayin

Thunder

Chahuk

Claw

Ich Ak

Mask

K’oh

Water

Hah

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ReligioN The faith of Mayaab peoples is still a mostly local affair. Every city has its own patron saint and protector spirits, often chosen among its people’s tribal ancestors and, in rare cases, local nature spirits. When a great hero dies, or a city’s spirit guardian – such as a dragon – returns to their supernatural dwelling, citizens may pray to them to protect the city from the Spirit World. A spirit thus worshipped joins the city’s patron saints, and they provide protection to its walls and spells to its priests, in exchange for tribute in the form of precious items, food, or the blood of sacrifice victims. Only the greatest, strongest spirits receive worship in more than one city; these are often saints that founded many tribes, or whose descendants conquered many cities. These great, Mayaab-spanning saints include Kukul Kaan, the Dragon Father, founder of all Kaan Maak lineages; Tohil, the founder of the K’iché tribe; and the Nine Lords of Death, spirit rulers of the Underworld, whom Mayaab peoples – like their Anahuac counterparts – worship out of caution and fear, rather than devotion. All Mayaab cities and batabil have at least one patron saint, but they may have many more, including the protectors of each neighbourhood, clan, house or family. Most ahau and halach winic lords become a city’s patron saints after they die, and the burial places of Mayaab nobility often double as temples, where the city worships its dead rulers and high priests.

The Four Directions Mayaab peoples worship the Four Directions just like Anahuac peoples, and they also give them a meaning based on moving towards, not location. They know the same four Spirit Worlds – fire, water, heaven and underworld – but Mayaab and Anahuac peoples assign different colours and Spirit Worlds to each direction. In Mayaab religion, East means appearing, dawning, coming out, starting a journey; West means arriving, ending, going in, returning home. North is the zenith, the highest point, being at one’s most active, and South represents the lowest point, being asleep, underground, at home. For Mayaab peoples, the Spirit World is the Sun. The Yokot’an word for ‘Sun’ also means ‘Eye of the Four places’, meaning that one can glimpse the four aspects of the Spirit World through the Sun and its movement. At dawn, we see East and the red Spirit World of fire; at midday, we see North and the white Spirit World of heaven; at dusk, we see West and the yellow Spirit World of death; at night, we don’t see the Spirit World, as the Sun rests in the black Spirit World of water and deepest sleep, below the mortal world. Thus, for Mayaab peoples, ‘North’ is synonymous with ‘up’ and ‘South’ with ‘down’. Mammals, four-legged walkers, are sacred to the East; reptiles and amphibians, which crawl, are sacred to the West. Birds are sacred to the North above, and fish are sacred to the South below. This dictates a patron saint’s preferred sacrifices, a hunter’s ritual methods, and a wizard’s animal spirit forms. As flying reptiles that control water and breathe fire, dragons are sacred to all four directions. 61

Mayaab cultures believe the centre corresponds to stillness, solid matter, and the mortal world. Its sacred creatures are humans, and its colour is blue and green (Mayaab peoples assume they are two shades of the same hue). When performing human sacrifice, Mayaab priests paint the victims blue, indicating their blessed status.

Destiny on the Stars As Mayaab peoples don’t see the four directions as parts of a map, but as a combination of direction and movement, they have mastered reading the pattern and trajectory of stars. They have created a calendar that tracks and matches the movement of heavenly bodies with events in the mortal world, and they can magically predict events by comparing the rotation of Earth with that of the firmament. When a person is born, the position of the stars and the sun, combined with the calendar date, may predict the person’s future, personality and favoured spirits. Thus, it is very important to have a priest watch one’s soul closely at birth.

T HE S AC R E D COU N T

■ Ak’b’al: The underworld, the house of night and darkness, the First Wizard ■ K’an: Corn, plenty and agriculture; reaping the fruits of effort ■ Chaa’Kaan: Feathered dragons, Heaven ■ Kimi: Death, corpses and the

end of things.

■ Manik: The deer, hunting. ■ Lamat: Movement, rabbits, the Morning Star ■ Muluk: Fish, the ocean and the Spirit World of Water ■ Ok: Dogs, guides and travelling

safely through danger

■ Chuen: The monkey, craftsmanship and arts ■ Eb’: Nature, grass, rains and weather ■ B’en: Growth, maturity and multiplication, of seeds or mortals ■ Ix:

The pregnancy

jaguar,

predators,

■ Men: The eagle, wisdom, flying; also day of the Moon ■ K’ib’: Carrion birds, insects and wayward souls

The most important calendar of Mayaab nations, and in fact the basis for most of their divination, celestial and elemental magic since the Snake Kingdoms era, is the Sacred Count, which records each day’s spiritual meaning by the position of the stars and the Spirit World forces most active at the moment.

■ Kab’an: Earthquakes, massive force and seasonal change

The Sacred Count has twenty day names, each of which has a different supernatural symbolism.

Each of the twenty day names repeats thirteen times, for a cycle of 260 total days. Each combination of day name and number (i.e. 13 Eb’, 7 Chuen and so on) yields a different mystic meaning, which modifies the lives, fortunes and rituals of every living being in the Mayaab.

■ Imix: The world, the earth, the great dragons that sleep underground ■ Ik’: Force, the wind and violence

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■ Etz’nab’: The knife, obsidian and sacrifice ■ Kawak: Storm dragons, thunder

and lightning; the Spirit World of Fire ■ Ahau: Day of the Sun, rulers and twins

TH E SEASONAL C O UN T This is the Maayaab nations’ mundane, 360-day calendar. It consists of eighteen months of 20 days each, which follow natural cycles and overlap with the sacred day names of the Sacred Count. The Seasonal/ Sacred Count combination of each day yields very specific, accurate readings of what the Spirit World has in store for mortals on a daily basis. For example, the Symbol of a seasonal year’s first day will influence the fortunes and forces of the entire year. When a person is born, the position of the stars and the sun, combined with the Seasonal/ Sacred Count date, may predict the person’s future, personality and favoured spirits. Thus, it is very important to have a priest watch one’s soul closely at birth.

TH E NI GH T LORDS Finally, there is the Lords of the Night count, which assigns a name, corresponding to one of the Nine Rulers of the Underworld, to every night of the year. Besides the symbology of the Sacred and Seasonal Count, the ruler of a day’s specific night will also influence human affairs and spellcasting.

Dragons & Ancestors Most patron saints are ancestral heroes and historical figures, who now watch over mortals from the Spirit World. Some of these saints are dragons that didn’t die, but instead returned to the Spirit World – some did die, too – and they may be worshipped in their mortal or dragon form. This causes many dragon ancestors to be confused, or combined, with other saints. In short, it’s very hard to determine whether the dragon or saint that protects one city is the same that protects another.

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T H E B O L O N CHAM E H LORDS

GREAT ANC ESTORS

The Nine Lords of the Underworld, known as the Bolon Chameh, have some worship in every Mayaab city, from the Seventeen States to the K’iché. Some tribes see them as demons or evil spirits, and some as great forefathers, but they are always there, waiting for mortals to die and join their endless nation.

The most famous and revered ancestor in the Mayaab is Itzam Na, the First Priest of the Mayaab and founder of the Itzá tribe. A semi-immortal water wizard, Itzam Na created the island of Nohpetén for the Itzá to live in, and he ruled the site of Chichén Itzá during his last years on the mortal world. Itzam Na was, like Kukul Kaan, a dragon in human form; he, however, was not a Chaa’kaan, but a land-bound, wingless dragon – hence his name of Itzam, ‘iguana’.

The names of the Bolom Chameh are also their numbers; One Death, Two Death and so on. The most popular are One Death (Hun Chameh) and Seven Death (Vukub Chameh), because in life they were the twin brothers Hun Hunapu and Vukub Hunapu, inventors of architecture, agriculture and warfare. Nine Death (Bolon Chameh) is worshipped as the patron saint of death in many Mayaab and Anahuac tribes.

K U K U L KAAN AN D THE DR AG ON S The Great Ancestor, the Dragon Father of all Mayaab tribes, Kukul Kaan created people out of corn at the dawn of the Fourth Sun, and he’s been the patron saint of most Mayaab cities since humanity began. Most people assume Kukul Kaan is the human shape of Quetzalcoatl, but he may also be another dragon, who went East to create Mayaab civilization while his relative created Tollan and Aztlan. Tohil, the patron ancestor of the K’iché tribe, used to ride a dragon that he also called Kuk Umatz. This Kuk Umatz has two heads, and when she rode him, he used one head to fly East and another to fly West. The Bakabob are four gigantic Chaa’kaan dragons that control rain and weather over the Mayaab region. The Chaakob answer directly to Kukul Kaan, who assigned each of them to a different Spirit World and one of the Four Directions. If a Bakab dies, Kukul Kaan immediately assigns a replacement, chosen from the largest, mightiest chaa’kaan dragons in heaven. K’awil is the largest and most brutal Chaa’kaan in creation, even stronger than Kukul Kaan himself, but not as wise or powerful. As the breath of Kukul Kaan receives its own worship as a separate spirit of wind, the breath of K’awil is the lightning itself. When K’awil takes human form, he looks like a crooked old wizard that loves to stomp the ground and laugh maniacally as storms sweep the land. Another worshipped dragon is Zipac Na, a monstrous Cipactli that sleeps under the Mayaab. Many tribes sacrifice to Zipac Na in hopes of keeping him dormant and satisfied, as he could crack the continent in two in a fit of hunger.

Another legendary ancestor was Ix Chel, the Rainbow Woman, the Great Grandmother. In life she was a way witch, with the ability to become a spirit jaguar. She gave birth to thousands of animal spirits, and thus became the patron saint of childbirth. K’inich Ahau, Lord of the Bright Eyes, founded many of the Yokot’an tribes that would become the Seventeen States of Mayapan. He and Yum Kaax, patron saint of the hunt, are the two most popular and revered ancestors in the Mayaab Kuchkabalob. Finally, there’s Ek Chuah, the Immortal Wizard, the Man of the Road, and perhaps one of the many identities of Tezcaltipoca. Nobody knows the origin of Ek chuah or his motives, but he likes to meddle in mortal affairs and can still be seen walking the Mayaab from time to time. Ek Chuah likes to appear to mortals as an unassuming old man, who curses or rewards travellers depending on their virtue or his mood. Many tribes worship him as the patron of trade and wealth.

K’I C H É SAI NTS K’iché tribes have their own list of ancestors, whose worship has spread throughout their domain, including Kak’chikel, Mam, Ch’ol and Xinka lands. The greatest of K’iché Saints is Tohil, the Great Ancestor and founder of their tribe. She is patron of the Sun and Daylight, and every city in the K’iché region has a temple dedicated to her. Tohil and her siblings, Hakawitz the Mountain Man and Awilitz the Moon Woman, gave birth to all K’iché lineages, and they star in many a heroic legend of daring deeds. The K’iché also worship Ix Mukané, the first woman, and her husband Ix Piakok, for having invented food to give other humans after their creation. They live in the Spirit World as guardians of the Endless Garden, where corn and flowers always grow. The monkey twins Hun Batz and Hun Chuen, two animal spirits that were among the first way wizards in the world and invented arts, crafts and music, enjoy widespread worship as patrons of civilisation.

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Mayaab tribeS T

H E V AR I O US T RI BE S and peoples of the Mayaab

have resisted conquest or assimilation much better than their Anahuac counterparts, and most cultures have remained unchanged since the age of the Snake Kingdoms. There are several major tribes, occupying more-orless defined regions where all city-states belong to a similar ethnicity. The following are the most important or widespread tribes in the Mayaab region, but it bears repeating that none of them is a single political force, being instead distributed among dozens, or hundreds, of independent city-states.

The mayaab stateS The largest and most populated territory in the Mayaab are the Seventeen States, or Mayaab Kuchkabalob. As its name indicates, this area consists of seventeen large Kuch Kabalob, or complex states, each belonging to a different tribe and under the rule of its own halach winic. The Seventeen States are also known as the Mayapan Remnant, as they once formed the mighty League of Mayapan, an alliance of city-states that ruled the entire region. After the fall of the league, it broke into independent states, which often trade and cooperate, but also make war with each other.

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The Seventeen Peoples Although the Mayaab Kuchkabalob are often referred to as the same region, they are separate states, and the members of each Kuch Kabal identify themselves strictly by the name of their tribe, or their senior city-state.

T UT U L XI U The Tutul Xiu were a tribe of immigrants from sacred Tollan itself, led by the priest-king Kukul Kaan. They conquered the blessed city of Uxmal in a single night, and quickly gained supremacy over all surrounding tribes. The Tutul Xiu were the last tribe to arrive to the Mayaab territory, but the first to achieve supremacy thanks to their powerful kaan maak priest-lords, descendants of Kukul Kaan himself. The Tutul Xiu founded the alliance of states known as the League of Mayapan, which gathered most Mayaab states under a single power for centuries. They also were the ones that caused the League’s final collapse, because of their internal power struggles and their rivalry with the Cocom tribe.

COCOM A branch of the Itzá tribe, the Cocom were the second-largest power of the League of Mayapan, and the founders of the City-State of Mayapan itself. Their supremacy rested in their great military and political ability; their Itzá rivals were forced to accept an alliance just to avoid Cocom conquest. In the end, the Cocom were almost wiped out after their botched uprising against the Tutul Xiu, which led to the fall of the League. Today, only one major lineage of Cocom peoples survive, in the city of Tibolom. Their Kuch Kabal, a small region to the North of Tutul Xiu, isn’t even named Cocom anymore, but Sotutah, meaning ‘turning waters’. The people of Sotutah remain proud warriors, and skilled hunters and woodsmen.

A H C ANU L The Ah Canul region is a mix of all the Western tribes that remained headless after the dissolution of the Mayapan League. They come from several ethnicities, including the original Ah Canul natives, Nahua immigrants and peoples from the Southern jungles. They serve as mercenaries and protectors to other nations, and everyone fears and respects their Nine Lords, the Batabob of Ah Canul.

C AL O T MU L The city-state of Calotmul, populated by a prominent, separatist Tutul Xiu clan, is so powerful that it oper-

ates as an independent Kuch Kabal by itself, and its ahau receives full halach winic treatment and tribute from the Kupul cities that surround it. Nobody remembers whether the lords of Calotmul broke allegiance with the Tutul Xiu, or they became separated after the fall of Mayapan, with the Kupul territory appearing between Calotmul and the rest of Tutul Xiu. Regardless, the clan still gets the respect and regard due a larger, independent state.

C H AAK KAAN This tribe, named after the native dragon, is a scaled reflection of the seventeen states: It consists of several cities whose Ahau lords struggle against each other for dominion of the Kuch Kabal. As a result, they don’t have a halach winic, or a single capital city. They live among a mix of modern cities and ancient Itzá ruins.

C H AKAN PUTUM This was a Yokot’an tribe that joined the Mayapan League when the Itzá abandoned the area centuries ago. When the League dissolved, the Yokot’an kept the Chakan Putum territory and the tribal name that came with it. They are unpretentious, blunt people, and their neighbours often look down on them. However, the Chakan Putum are a large tribe, and a force to be reckoned with.

C H EL The Chel peoples, another Itzá offspring, appeared when an important Itzá priestess married into lesser nobility a couple centuries back. They are a spiritual and haughty nation, rivals of the Cocom, who harass the Chel southern border with patrols and blockades. Meanwhile, the Chel prevent the Cocom from expanding north. The Chel Kuch Kabal is also known as Ah Kin Chel, ‘priest’s sceptre’, because of the tribe’s religious origin.

C H ’I KI N C H EL The Eastern Chel are a more down-to-earth and pragmatic tribe than their Ah Kin Chel relatives, although they are equally proud and refined. Ch’ikin Chel cities work like trade consortiums, trying to out-produce and out-sell each other; their territory, a vast tract of beaches and marshland, is a plentiful source of salt, and the Ch’ikin Chel capital of Chauac Ha is one of the most important trade centres in the world.

EKAB The Ekab tribes come from several backgrounds, including Itzá, Cocom and Putum. They don’t have a single halach winic, but rather several competing bata-

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bob. Their largest settlement is the city-state of Zamá, but they are also known for their sacred isle of Cuzaam Lumil, which women from all the continent visit every season to pray to the Saint Mother Ix Chel.

K A AN PE C H The Kaan Pech region, named after the city-state that rules it and the dynasty that rules the city, used to be home to several glorious city-states centuries ago, at the time of the Snake Kingdoms. After the fall of Mayapan, the Pech tribe took over the ruins of these cities, intent on building a new dragon-blooded dynasty. They chose the name Kaan Pech, ‘Snake of the Pech’, honouring their ambition to become a new Snake Kingdom in the modern era.

K EH P E C H The Keh Pech region is home to two tribes – the Keh (Deer People) and Pech (Tick People) – that joined forces after the fall of Mayapan. The joint Keh-Pech took over Mutul, a ruined Itzá city, making it into the capital of a new state, under a single halach winic that belongs to both clans.

K OC H W A The Koch Wa are independent and belligerent, resisting every attempt to conquer or unite them under any single rule. Their capital, Ho Otzuc, needs to assert its power constantly against lesser cities that, while they can’t compete with its power, keep challenging it out of sheer stubbornness. The Koch Wa region is a jungle with relatively few cities, but each of them is a match for a military force twice its size.

K U PU L The Kupul tribe is one of the most numerous and influential of the Seventeen States, formed of what perhaps was the largest Itzá clan in the Mayapan League. Their ancient site of Chichén Itzá, once a capital of the Snake Kingdoms, is still the most sacred and popular centre of the entire Mayaab region. Their capital, Ek Balam, is a rebuilt metropolis from the Snake Kingdoms as well. The Kupul themselves are as mighty as they are civilised; if another alliance like the Mayapan League ever rises, the Kupul are among the most likely to become its leaders.

LUWI T The Luwit people descend from Nahua immigrants. They rule the twin cities of Ho’kabah and Homun in the Ho’kabah Kuch Kabal, but their domain includes people (and cities) of the Cocom, Pech, Chaakaan and many other, lesser tribes.

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PUTUM The Putum are an ancient offshoot of the Yokot’an peoples from the southwest. They were among the first peoples to settle in the Mayaab, in the region they called Chaak Tem’al. The Putum were barely affected by the rise and fall of the Mayapan League, and Chaak Tem’al has remained mostly stable since the time of the Snake Kingdoms. It is even rumoured that some Putum lords display Kaan Maak dragon-born traits; however, the Putum remain a relatively lesser power, despite their ethnic diversity and strong cities.

TATSEH The Tatseh tribe is the less powerful of the Mayaab, and their Kuch Kabal, a small region carved out of the Ekab and Ch’ikin Chel borders, one of the smallest. They have no halach winic, but their batabob answer to Nahua Chan, the Ahau of Chan Tzonot.

WAYMI L The endless swampland that comprises the territory of Waymil peoples is almost uninhabited, but that same difficult terrain keeps other regions off their borders. A vast wilderness with only a few isolated cities, Waymil doesn’t even work as a Kuch Kabal, with almost no communication between its towns or batabob.

The League of Mayapan The Seventeen States are all that remains of the League of Mayapan, the largest state ever to rise in the Mayaab. This was an alliance of more than twenty separate nations, brought together by Kukul Kaan himself in times of the Snake Kingdoms. It all started centuries ago, when Kukul Kaan, lord of the Tutul Xiu, gathered the rival lords of Chichén Itzá, Mayapan and Uxmal, and made them swear and alliance. The ensuing League of Mayapan united the Itzá and Cocom, which had always been enemies, and gave the Tutul Xiu an elder status before both tribes. Thousands upon thousands of people came from other lands, tribes and realms to join and submit to the League, and for two hundred years it stood unchallenged as the supreme power of the Mayaab. The League’s long decline began when Kukul Kaan’s blood and power dwindled from mortal lineages, and many of the great cities began quarrelling with each other; the people migrated to new territories, and some regions lost all trade and contact with the others. Only the core of the League – the cities of Chichén Itzá, Mayapan and Uxmal, and the batabilob under their di-

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rect rule – kept functioning as a unit, but they also plotted and schemed against each other. Eventually the Cocom attacked the Tutul Xiu again, which led to the Tutul Xiu wiping them out and disbanding the League. However, the lost glory of Mayapan is still fresh in the memories of the League’s former members, and each of the Seventeen States prides itself on having belonged to it. All halach winicob in the Mayaab claim their right to rule through the lineages of Mayapan.

The yokot’aN Mayaab peoples see the Yokot’an as a lesser tribe, a rustic neighbor with no great dynasties or glorious past. But in truth, the Yokot’an are a very ancient and wise people, and it’s likely that the Mayaab tribes themselves descend ultimately from them. The Yokot’an themselves are descendants of the Mokayá, the last people of the Fourth Sun; a civilisation that predates Aztlan, Tollan and the Snake Kingdoms. The Mokayá had the first dragon-blooded lineage in world history, but they worshipped nahual creatures, and their kings and priests could take the shape of spirit animals.

Yokot’an city-states, built mostly from wood and bricks, are small in comparison with Mayaab civilisations; their biggest cities are ruins from Ch’ol peoples, who used to rule over the Yokot’an in the Snake Kingdoms era. Yokot’an batabob have little contact among themselves, save for small-scale trade and minor skirmishes.

Tabscoob The greatest Ahau of the Yokot’an is Tabscoob, lord of the city-state of Putum Chan (not to be confused with the Mayaab state of Chan Putum, also populated by Yokot’an peoples). His people dominate the Tabscoob river, the largest waterway of Yokot’an lands, named after his clan. Tabscoob and Putum Chan are the principal force stopping the advance of Nahua peoples into Yokot’an territories. The Nahua tribe of Xicalanco keeps making incursions into Putum Chan, and Tabscoob’s armies always turn them back with extreme prejudice. The Xicalanca-Putum border incursions are the closest the Yokot’an have to an ongoing conflict, and it may escalate into a real war soon.

The Mokayá disappeared with the Great Flood that ended the Fourth Sun, and they left their place as the cradle of civilisation to the Bini’zá, and to Quetzalcoatl’s dragon peoples from Atlantis and Tollan. After their decline, the Mokayá returned to a nomadic, primitive lifestyle, and in time developed into new tribes and new nations. Three modern peoples claim descent from these nations – the Ayuuk and Zooc in the Anahuac, and the Yokot’an in the Mayaab. The Yokot’an territory is a tropical wilderness full of hills, plains, marshes, mangroves and jungles; cities are few and far between, and always located close to rivers and lakes. Many Yokot’an cities depend on the coming and going of seasonal floods. Some Yokot’an tribes have clashed with Mexica armies, and paid tribute to their Triple Alliance; save these and other minor border scuffles, other nations leave the Yokot’an mostly alone. Their territory is large and their cities few, so there’s very little military conflict – although the Yokot’an are quite fierce, even bloodthirsty, in battle.

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The itzÁ

knowledge and technology in the Mayaab. Their fallen capital of Chichén Itzá is still revered and visited by all other tribes in the region, which regard it as a holy site, regardless of their allegiance or enmity with the Itzá themselves.

The main native people of the Mayaab and its surroundings are the Itzá, the ‘water wizards’. This tribe originated in Lake Petén Itzá, the Island of Magic Waters, during the Snake Kingdoms Era, and were the first to receive the dragon-born lords and wizards from Tollan and Teotihuacan.

This doesn’t mean the Itzá are peaceful; quite the opposite. As most Mayaab peoples, the Itzá will accept anything before submission or absorption into another culture, and they will inflict terrible punishment and torture on those that break their laws or threaten their sovereignty.

The Itzá are wise and civilised, and they still remember all the teachings of their Kaan Maak founders, including advanced mathematics, architecture and astronomy. Their first great city was Mutul, to the North of Lake Petén Itzá, and from there they expanded in all directions, settling at the holy site of Chichén Itzá, probably the most important metropolis ever built in the Mayaab. From this great city-state, the Itzá built roads to every other city in the land, and they demanded tribute from all peoples from the Yokat’an to the K’iché, from the Ch’ol to the Nahua. Eventually the Cocom, a splinter from their own tribe, allied with Putum peoples from the Southwest, turned against the lords of Chichén Itzá and expelled the Itzá dragon lords from the capital and other cities. This forced the Itzá to live as nomads in the jungles for a while, until they founded new city-states and new alliances. It was these reborn Itzá that made peace with the Cocom at the bequest of the Tutul Xiu invaders from the West, who claimed direct heritage from Tollan, and brought Itzá lands an alliance, and an era of peace, with the League of Mayapan. After the League collapsed, the Itzá returned to Petén Itzá lake, where their original capital always waited, and from there have expanded again, establishing domains and ruling lineages in Ch’ol, K’ekchi and Yokot’an lands.

The Itzá Today Modern Itzá peoples are one of the most powerful and widespread peoples of Mayaab lands, with citystates and ahau lords in every territory, although they have no true dominion over any other tribe. Their territory reaches Yokot’an lands in the West, and Ch’ol and K’ekchi lands in the South. To the North and East, the Itzá dominion merges into the Seventeen States of the Mayapan remnant, many of which have Itzá lords and halach winicob. Cities under Itzá rule are prosperous and enlightened, as the Itzá own and share the most advanced 68

Kan Ek The ruler of Nohpetén, the Itzá central city-state, is referred to as Ahau Kan Ek, as they all descend from the ancestral Kaan and Ek ruling lineages. Some ahau and halach winic lords from other Itzá city-states also adopt the Kan Ek title, even if they are not related to the Nohpetén ruling house. A good example is Kan Ek Paxbolon Nachan, the Itzá ruler of a city-state in Yokat’an territory, and one of the mightiest warlords of the region. Although dragon and spirit blood have long faded from Mayaab lineages, a Kan Ek is still regarded as a divine being, and ascribed a spiritual nature. All Kan Ek lords are full-blooded mortals, save for a few isolated cases of dragon-born children, but they do wield great magic power; only a mighty sorcerer, versed in the movement of the stars and the will of the Spirit World, can occupy the office of Kan Ek.

The k’iché peopleS Far to the South of the Mayaab, beyond the lands of the Ch’ol and the Chiapa, there is another great realm, also founded by the Snake Lords of the West, that nonetheless remained apart from Mayaab wars and politics. These are the K’iché, the Lords of the Southern Mountains, and their tributaries. The original K’iché natives were nomadic mountain peoples; they lived as hunter-gatherers, with no need for large states or cities, for a thousand years. Then, three hundred years ago, at the twilight of the Snake Kingdoms era, the Seven Ancestors arrived. The greatest of these Ancestors, lord Tohil, claimed to come from

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Heaven itself, and his companions were all of dragon blood lineages. In truth, the Seven Ancestors were Kaan Maak lords from Tollan and other sacred cities, and they founded the K’iché states that endure to this day, along with their ruling dynasties. Under the rule of the Seven Ancestors and their descendants, the K’iché moved on to conquer the other highland peoples, and they built many great city-states in the style of the Tollan dragon lords. When the dragon lineages dwindled, as was the case in all other kaan maak and coatlaca states, K’iché lords squabbled among themselves, and the Iokab, the warrior clan, rebelled against the Nima ruling clan. The Nima in turn imposed a harsher domain over the other Six clans, particularly their Kak’chikel neighbours, which became a vassal state of the K’iché. After the death of Kuk Umatz, the last Kaan Maak lord of the K’iché, his mortal son Ki q’ab was unable to maintain unity of the State, and his nobles rose against him, which led to a revolt of the Kak’chikel state, the closest ally of the K’iché. Ki q’ab died 40 years ago, leaving behind a splintered state, which remains at war with its former allies to the East, and losing its Western tributaries to Mexica incursions. Recently, Motecuzoma of the Mexica sent emissaries to Q’umarkah, the K’iché capital, and two daughters to marry the city ruler, Wukub Noh. After this, Q’umarkah has become subject to the Mexica state, and its power over K’iché territory is at its lowest point.

The K’iché The term K’iché, once used to name the natives of the region, is now applied to the ruling clan of the K’iché state, as well as its direct vassals. This ruling house includes the ancestral Nima, Iokab and Tamub clans, who took over vast territories and claimed them as new states, but they did not interbreed with the true K’iché locals. Regardless, people of these three clans retain control of all the region and its ruling houses, and they have seized the K’iché name for themselves. Today, the K’iché state rules over all the Southern highlands, save for the territories of their former allies, the Mam and Kak’chikel, founded by the same ancestors, but now enemies of K’iché hegemony. The K’iché capital is Q’umarkah, founded by Kuk Umatz, a direct descendant of Kukul Kaan of Tollan, and now under the rule of his mortal grandson Wukub Noh.

Even in the decline of their ruling houses, the K’iché still revere Tohil and Kuk Umatz as their Patron Saints, divine protectors of their whole state.

The Kak’chikel The second largest power of the Southern Highlands, and once the greatest vassal of the K’iché rulers, are the Kak’chikel, a splinter from the K’iché founders that has grown in power after its secession from the K’iché State. The main city-state of the Kak’chikel is Ixim Che, also known simply as ‘The Great City’. Kak’chikel rulers belong to four clans, established after their families were ennobled for their military service to the K’iché. In fact, this act was the reason for the jealousy and ensuing rebellion of the K’iché nobles, which eventually ended the alliance between K’iché and Kak’chikel. The four clans that resulted from that schism are the Xahil, the Tzotzil, the Tukuche and the Ajabal. In theory, Ixim Che is ruled by a council of four city lords, or ahpo, one from each clan; in practice, its main ruler is Hu’niq, the Tzotzil ahpo. The Kak’chikel are not vassals to any realm, but they maintain trade and relations with the Aztecatl Triple Alliance. The Nahua ambassador Huitzitzilin resides currently in Ixim Che, and he has warned the Kak’chikel about the sighting of bearded-face strangers in the Eastern Seas. Like Mayaab tribes, the Kak’chikel don’t form a single State, but instead own several semi-independent provinces, each under the rule of a principal city. The largest offspring of the Kak’chikel is the Akuhul Winac tribe, which has developed its own language and culture at the sites of Och’al Kab’awil and Saqik Ahol.

The Mam The Mam are the only independent people descending from the true natives of the Southern Highlands. Although they are mostly subject to K’iché lords, they have built several great cities – inspired by K’iché culture and knowledge, but with ruling houses of their own blood. The greatest of these cities is the double site of Xinabahul and Zac Uleu, built by the Kaan Maak lords of Teotihuacan. Although Xinabahul and Zac Uleu have been K’iché tributaries for centuries, the metropolis retains its own Mam lords and culture.

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AKAB The great prestige and relative independence of the Mam peoples is due mostly to the lords of the Akab dynasty, which descend from the Spirit Lords of Teotihuacan, and which, while not being a true kaan maak lineage, display superhuman bravery and strength in politics, magic and battle. The current lord of Zac Uleu and Xinabahul, known simply as Great Akab, has managed to maintain alliances with all nearby peoples, earning the respect and deference of the K’iché, Kak’chikel, and even the Azteca.

The ch’oL Far from the Mayaab States, South of the Itzá domain in the Lake of Petén, between the lands of the Yokot’an and the K’iché, there’s a vast, mist-filled wilderness, where spirits and monsters still rule the world, and mortal settlements hide from each other. This is the land of the Ch’ol, the fierce ones, the hardworking ones, the true ones. Ch’ol people have been a part of the land ever since the world was created, and they never have built an empire; they, however, have always been used for the purposes of the empires around them. Their lands are a buffer territory between the Northern Itzá domains and the Southern K’iché states, and all these dominions demand tribute and territory from the Ch’ol. Sometimes they succeed, and some Itzá or Putum warlord takes thousands of Ch’ol people under their protection; sometimes they fail, and they get lost in the mists looking for the Ch’ol, who are always hidden behind the next swamp, over the next hill. Sometimes these would-be conquerors find the Ch’ol waiting in ambush, and then they die a bloody death for their trouble. The Ch’ol are the least civilised of Mayaab peoples, having never known a dragon-blooded chieftain or a high priest. Instead, they live close to the trees and the mists, building small towns that don’t disturb the spirits, and 70

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allow the wild beasts to lower their guard just enough to be hunted. They are more sedentary than nomadic, though, and prefer farming to hunting and gathering; they are also smart enough to prefer small chiefs to great lords. Yet, that very lack of political identity has left the Ch’ol unprotected against the expansionism of surrounding states, and while most Ch’ol peoples have managed to remain independent, and even stop incursions into their lands, by hiding among their misted hills and jungles, many borderland Ch’ol tribes are subject to a Mayaab or K’iché domain.

Manche The Manche are the largest and most civilised of Ch’ol tribes. Manche means ‘those that make things’ in the Ch’ol language, as attested by their skilled toolcraft and architecture. Their largest town is also called Manche, as well as the ruling family to which its Batab chieftains belong. The Manche Ch’ol have no Ahau or higher lords, nor roads between their cities. Manche towns take up most of the Southern and Eastern territory of the Ch’ol region, bordering the Ch’olti and Xinca lands outside of the Mayaab. They have the largest trade network of all Ch’ol tribes, from their cities in the deep jungle to the sea settlements of the Seventeen States. The Manche Ch’ol trade vanilla and cacau seeds, which grow easily in their jungle and not so much in the open wetlands of other tribes. Vassal Manche tribes give these rare resources as tribute; free ones trade them for salt, metals and other goods. Some Itzá and Yokot’an warlords have chosen to leave a Manche community alone when they could have conquered it, only because it’s a better trade policy to have free neighbours that produce vanilla and cacau, rather than spending their own resources to harvest it and enslave the farmers.

around their wildlands. The Lakam Tun live in semipermanent villages along the rivers and islands of the deepest jungles; their largest town, also called Lakam Tun, lies hidden in a secret island, surrounded by a lake, that none of their enemies have ever found, protected by the tribe’s ancestor spirits. The Lakam Tun worship the Sak Balhan, the white jaguar, and many other nahual protectors; their leaders can talk to beasts and hear advice directly from the Spirit World. Like the wilderness around them, the Lakam Tun are fierce, furtive and merciless.

Ch’olti The Ch’olti are the original Ch’ol peoples, and they were one of the most important cultures of the Snake Kingdoms era. Their capital of Ox Witic, founded by the farthest-reaching Kaan Maak from Tollan, was the largest city of the Southern highlands a thousand years ago. Ox Witic fell, defeated by rival kaan maak citystates, long before the dragon lineages dwindled; now, the descendants of its people, the Ch’olti, have established a federation of mountain villages around the ancient site, which they still treat as a ceremonial centre. The Ch’olti are civilised, peaceful and organised, but they have a numerous and brave militia. Their Batab lords, although they are little more than village chiefs today, proudly retain the names of the ruling families from the Ox Witic era. Although they live in privileged lands, abundant in water and resources, they abandoned their conquering ambitions long ago. Today, they are content with living a quiet life around their ancient ruins, worshipping their glorious kaan maak ancestors.

Despite their sedentary customs and occasional disposition to pay tribute to some foreign lord, the Manche, like other Ch’ol tribes, are ferociously independent, and will resist any threat to their lands to the last standing citizen.

Lakam Tun Of all Mayaab-descended tribes, the Lakam Tun Ch’ol, the people of the jungle, are the closest to the primal world and the times before civilisation. They have existed for centuries, always just outside the range of all the states and empires that have risen and fallen 71

Other tribeS Some of the tribes surrounding the Mayaab are not related to its peoples in any way. These ‘foreign’ tribes, while they reside in close vicinity to Mayaab neighbours, come from other lands and cultures, far removed in either time or distance. Their relationships with Mayaab peoples shift between indifference, diplomacy and hostility, depending on who has the larger army or the best trade at any given time.

The Mankeme The Mankeme people, the Children of the Moon, are immigrants from the far Southeast, a long way from the Mayaab, beyond the Ch’olti hills and the Xinca valleys. Gigantic naked warriors, wielders of fearsome weapons and wearers of terrifying adornments, they took over the ancient ruins that the Mokayá had left between Ch’ol, Zooc and Nahua lands. The Mankeme settled in the valleys around the ruins, conquering the neighbouring Zooc and Ayuuk peoples, and even ‘stealing’ tributary towns from the Azteca peoples. Their greatest city, a resettled Mokayá ruin they call Napiniacá, has resisted attacks from Zooc, Ayuuk and Azteca peoples for decades. The Mankeme revere their ancestors, which live within natural forces such as the Sun and Moon. Their Saint Mother is the Moon Spirit Chia, their tribe’s first witch. They also worship their ancient lord Nandiumé, who led them to the valleys and founded Napiniacá for his people. Mankeme sages and priests maintain their people originally came from far north, and their conquest of Napiniacá is only the first step in a long journey back home. Some Nahua scholars believe the Mankeme may be the fabled, original inhabitants of Cholollan, the Sacred City built by Quetzalcoatl at the dawn of the First Sun, and thus a dragon-blooded people, which would explain their great size and uncanny success. Thus, Nahua peoples officially know the Mankeme as Cholulteca. Whatever the truth, the Mankeme are doubtlessly a blessed tribe, who have managed to build a small empire despite their reduced numbers and recent arrival. Some Nahua refer to the Mankeme as Chiapaneca, ‘people of the Chili lands’, a nickname that most Mankeme accept gladly, as it reminds them of their Mother Chia. 72

Despite being surrounded by hostile nations, the Mankeme remain unbeaten, and even claim tribute from some nearby cities. Tough isolated, they are the mightiest tribe of their region, and only their relatively primitive knowledge has prevented them from expanding further.

The Lenca The largest nation of the Southeast passes, the Lenca have claimed the continent beyond the Mayaab and its nations. Few other peoples have conquered or travelled the lands beyond the Lenca domain, and it’s likely that few will. The Lenca are a civilised and widespread people, owning great cities and provinces in the Southeast passes that join the Northern Continent with the South. The Lenca have dominated their lands for several millennia, having learned building and crafts from Kaan Maak lords during the Snake Kingdoms era. After the decline of Kaan Maak rulers, the Lenca developed their own, independent culture and nations. Lenca nations are best defined as federations, where several tribes join forces under the rule of a single council of chieftains. There are several Lenca federations, each consisting of hundreds of cities and villages. Lenca chieftains, like Mayaab lords, have hereditary titles, and treat commoners as manpower. Lenca federations raid each other for slaves and resources, and the region is in a permanent state of war. The strongest Lenca province is Piraera, the ‘Misty Hills’, and its chieftains the most warlike. The Piraera nation has stopped Mayaab, K’iché and Azteca advances into the Southern Continent for many centuries.

The Pipil The self-named Pipil (Nahuatl for ‘Noble’) are a Nahua tribe that arrived to Xinka territory at the height of the Snake Kingdoms era. They, like all other forefathers of the Kaan Maak lineages, descended from Tolteca dragon lords. The Pipil tribes conquered vast areas from the coasts of the Xinka, Lenca and other, further tribes that are now forgotten to Maya or Nahua history. After establishing their power in the Xinka region and subjugating some of its tribes, many Pipil sailed even further South, and settled the Southern Continent, beyond even Lenca lands. It is not known where these Pipil arrived or how their domains fared there, but they managed to bypass Lenca territory by skimming their coasts in long ships. The best-known

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Pipil-Xinka domain, South of the K’iché and Mayaab, belongs to those Pipil that stayed behind, and developed an advanced culture there. Like other Anahuac nations, the Pipil are civilised, arrogant and expansionist. They trade extensively with the K’iché peoples, with which they share many religious, cultural and architectural traits, besides their own Tolteca background. Their largest city-state is Cozcatlan, founded by Kukul Kaan himself or one of his near descendants. This great capital claims tribute from several settlements, both Pipil and Xinka.

The Xinka The Xinka are an isolated jungle tribe, located along the Coast to the South of K’iché lands. Weaker than their K’iché, Ayuuk or Pipil neighbours, most Xinka settlements pay tribute to one of these peoples. However, there are many independent Xinka territories, and Atik Ipak, the largest Xinka settlement, remains self-governed. The Xinka excel at woodcraft, hunting and fishery. They employ poisoned arrows and blowguns in combat, like the southernmost tribes of the continent; they are unrelated to all other peoples, however, and probably inhabited their lands since before the Fifth Sun. Pipil invaders in the region treat all Xinka as their vassals, although they haven’t fully conquered the Xinka territory.

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Main settlementS T

H E FO LL O WI N G A RE some of the most iampor-

tant city-states in the Mayaab at the time of the Seventeen States, when there isn’t any unifying power over the region’s many nations. Some cities are mightier and have more tributaries than others, but currently no single city-state is important enough to be considered significantly greater than the others.

Nevertheless, the cities in this list stand out as cultural, religious or political centres, either as well-populated hubs or as great ruins of the ancient past.

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Chichén Itzá The great city of Chichén Itzá is perhaps the most important Mayaab city of all time, founded by the Great Ancestors of Tollan at the height of the Snake Kingdoms Era. Every tribe in the Mayaab visited, settled and worshipped at Chichén Itzá, the undisputed centre of Mayaab culture for the last thousand years. The city was built by the Seven Great Rulers, the first dragon lords that arrived with Kukul Kaan from the Seven Sacred Cities of Anahuac. They named it the Seven Gates, as they intended to create an eternal empire that spread outward from the site. For the first two centuries, the City of the Seven Gates was the centre of the Snake Kingdoms, its priests and soldiers con-

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Chichén Itzá was still a major site, and many people wanted to live near its ruins, which the League restored as a religious centre that remains active and revered today.

C I TY PATRONS The Patron Saint of Chichén Itzá is Itzam Na, the wingless dragon, the Lizard Lord; thus called because he was the only non-winged dragon among the Seven Founders of the Snake Kingdoms. It was thanks to Itzam Na that the Itzá became the greatest civilisation of their time, and Chichén Itzá became the greatest city of the Mayaab. Itzam Na is the city’s patron of magic, medicine, culture and civilisation, and he still oversees the city, and all Itzá settlements, from his sanctum in the Spirit World.

Mayapan The great metropolis of Mayapan was founded by the Itzá Cocom branch when most of the tribe overtook Chichén Itzá. The Cocom wanted to build a city that rivalled Chichén Itzá in power, size and outreach; they took some old settlements in the area and joined them into a single great city, with aqueducts, vast farming fields and a temple to Kukul Kaan, who personally chose the Cocom to settle and flourish at Mayapan. quering or uniting all other nations under the Banner of the Seven Gates and spreading the worship of Kaan Maak lords. People throughout the Mayaab came to pay their respects to the Seven Dragon Lords and sacrifice at the Seven Sacred Wells located around the city. In time, the Itzá of Nohpetén, favoured children of Itzam Na, the wingless dragon, became the majority population, and they renamed the city as Chichén Itzá, ‘Wells of the Itzá’. The Itzá secured the city’s place as the political and cultural hub of the Snake Kingdoms. The supremacy of Chichén Itzá continued for three hundred years, until Hunac Kel of Mayapan gave himself up for sacrifice at the Seventh Well and survived, thus claiming rulership of the city. Chichén Itzá fell in turmoil, with many of the priests and commoners claiming it was a sign from the gods, and others refusing Hunac Kel’s claims as preposterous. In the end, Mayapan made war against Chichén Itzá and won, as many other states took Hunac Kel’s side. After the war, Chichén Itzá lost power and relevance, and its former masters joined the League of Mayapan, which, albeit relatively short-lived, was the largest single state to appear in the Mayaab. But even in decline,

In time, Mayapan established so many trade routes with such varied and distant nations that its political network far exceeded that of Chichén Itzá, and the city became the capital of the Mayaab. The Cocom invaded Chichén Itzá, banishing the Itzá to the jungles for decades. Then, the Tutul Xiu arrived from the West, with orders from Kukul Kaan to pacify the region. The Tutul Xiu held council with the lords of the Itzá and Cocom, and the three nations convened on forming an alliance. This is the era known as the League of Mayapan, when Itzá, Cocom and Tutul Xiu joined as a single federation that took full control over the whole Mayaab, and the golden age of Mayapan supremacy. The League – and the splendour of Mayapan – ended when the Cocom rose against the Tutul Xiu, and in retaliation the Tutul Xiu rebelled against Mayapan’s rule and decimated the Cocom, which had to relocate to Sotutah. Now, inhabited only by some Tutul Xiu garrisons and a few surrounding towns, Mayapan stands as a monument to the brevity of peace, and to how friendship between mortals is always a transient thing.

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C I T Y PAT R O N S

CITY PATRONS

The patron saint of Mayapan is still Kukul Kaan, although nobody worships at his temple anymore. He intended Mayapan to fulfil the dream of unity between peoples that Chichén Itzá, his City of the Seven Gates, failed to achieve. This second failure has soured Kukul Kaan from intervening in mortal affairs, but he keeps a melancholy vigil over the abandoned site, if only to reflect on what could have been.

The Patron Saint of Q’umarkah is Kuk Umatz, the Feathered Snake of the K’iché. The people worship Kuk Umatz both as the Great Dragon Ancestor that founded their lineage, and as his descendant, the great lord that led them to supremacy of the Mountain Realms a hundred years ago, and who was also called Kuk Umatz.

Q’umarkah The great capital of the K’iché region, Q’umarkah used to be a glorious metropolis, but it has begun a steady decline ever since the nobles’ rebellion and the secession of the Kak’chikel tribe. Lord Kuk Umatz, a descendant of Kukul Kaan himself, founded the city centuries after the beginning of K’iché domination, as the site was better suited for defence than the K’iché’s previous capital, Pis Machí. Q’umarkah was the third city to be instituted as capital of the K’iché, but as previous capitals were not abandoned but given to loyal stewards, the power of the K’iché only grew with every site they moved to. Q’umarkah, their last capital, has seen the greatest power of the K’iché, and now witnessed their first decline, as the nation has fallen to squabbling among nobles and is currently losing many of its lands and tributaries to their former allies and now enemies, the Kak’chikel. Nonetheless, Q’umarkah remains the largest and most populated city, and the K’iché the strongest unified power, around the Mayaab area.

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Noh Petén Noh Petén is the capital of the Itzá, the greatest of Mayaab tribes, and has been since the dawn of humanity. The first settlers of the area were primitive priests and wizards, who learned to speak with the water beasts and spirits surrounding the island they called Petén Itzá, ‘island of the water wizards’. The first towns of the Itzá were in the island, and the site of what is now Noh Petén has always been the site of at least one Itzá town. The city as it stands today was founded when the Itzá were defeated and exiled from the Mayapan League, being forced to return to their Southern lands. They resettled their ancestral island and the glory of Noj Petén returned. Today, Noj Petén is one of the greatest cities in the Mayaab area, ruled by powerful weather wizards that subjugate and rule lesser tribes by their impressive magic ability. The rulers of Noj Petén, the Kan Ek’ tribe, are a long-lived elite dynasty of Itzá nobles with a strong water magic tradition. There are Noj Petén tributaries everywhere in the Mayaab, from Yokot’an lands to K’ak’chikel cities.

CITY PATRONS Noh Petén is under the tutelage of several patron saints, including the Kan Ek’ ancestors and Chaak, the Spirit of Rain. There are tem-

ples to Itzam Na, but he is regarded mostly as a ‘dead saint’, whose time and power is mourned, but gone.

Sacred Ruins There are hundreds of ruined cities in the Mayaab, some discovered and occupied by modern peoples, some hidden and forgotten beneath remote jungle canopies. These ruins are the remains of the Snake Kingdoms that once dominated the region, and still hide untold secrets, powers and artifacts of the forefathers of civilisation. Most Snake Kingdom ruins distinguish themselves by their unusual communicating roads - the sak be, or white paths. The Kaan Maak lords built these Sak Be paths, elevated platforms of white stone, as a way to travel between cities, unhindered by the hard jungle terrain. In time, Sak be paths became a mark of distinction for a city, and many Mayaab states still use them, or their remains, if not for travel, at least to boast a glorious link to the Snake Kingdoms era.

OX TE TUUN, TH E S N A K E KI NGDOM The greatest city and capital of the Snake Kingdoms was Ox Te Tuun, home of the first Kaan Maak lords, and where the Lords of Teotihuacan first arrived to the Mayaab region. At its height, more than twenty cities made up the political area of Ox Te Tuun, from which all the known Kaan Maak dynasties and its descendants spread across the world. The rulers of Ox Te Tuun all held the title of Kuhul Kaan Ahau, or Blessed Snake Lord, and they were pure Kaan Maak descendants of the Great Dragons. Their rule was the first Snake Kingdom, and the only one to be officially known as such. All cities from the jungle to the plains, from the mountains to the

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beach, bore the glyph of the snake indicating their allegiance to the Snake Kingdom.

the League of Mayapan, the city lost its magic, and became a mortal site just like any other.

The Snake Kingdom fell at the same time as the dragon bloodlines began to fail, and its ruling house collapsed when it began giving birth to mere mortals. The deposed dynasties went on to found new city-states to the North and South of the Mayaab, and Ox Te Tuun was forgotten by the world, its ruins surrounded by small tribes that didn’t know, or else didn’t care, about the site’s glorious past.

After the fall of the League, the Tutul Xiu spread across the Mayaab, and Uxmal declined further. To date it remains a relatively lesser city, with fewer settlers every year, as goblins are rumoured to haunt the streets at night, harassing mortals out of Uxmal so they can take the city back to the Spirit World.

Y AX M UT U L The great city of Yax Mutul was Ox Te Tuun’s main rival for supreme dominance in the Snake Kingdoms era. Although Yax Mutul didn’t boast the title ‘Snake Kingdom’, the Spirit Lords of Teotihuacan took over it shortly after the foundation of Ox Te Tuun, at the onset of the Snake Kingdoms era. Yax Mutul became a large, powerful metropolis, more than capable of challenging Ox Te Tuun for the title of THE Snake Kingdom. When scholars and historians mention the Snake Kingdoms, whether they know it or not, they’re talking about Ox Te Tuun and Yax Mutul. Each of the two cities used neighbouring city-states as weapons in a strategic board, where the winner would be the one that controlled more allies in the region. The conflict ended in a stalemate, when both Yax Mutul and Ox Te Tuun fell as their ruling dynasties lost their dragon blood and the people’s obedience. The ruins of Yax Mutul became overgrown with vines and trees, and after a few centuries were utterly lost. To date, very few have dared try, and even fewer succeeded, at finding the lost site of Yax Mutul, where the legacy of the Snake Kingdoms still waits, hidden under a thousand years of jungle.

UXM AL The mysterious city of Uxmal was not built by mortals, but by goblin wizards from the jungle, who wanted to create a great city to receive the lords of Tollan and Teotihuacan. The goblins erected Uxmal in a single night, and they gifted it to the Kaan Maak lords when they passed that way. The lords of Tollan accepted the city, and this was the origin of the Tutul Xiu people, who spread throughout the Mayaab maintaining the Nahua tongue of their ancestors. At its height, Uxmal was a city paved with shining jade, and every building glowed with a supernatural green halo that left no doubt as to the city’s magical nature. Centuries later, when the dragon dynasties disappeared and the mortal lords of the Tutul Xiu joined

LAKAM H A Lakam Ha was among the foremost Snake Kingdoms of antiquity. Founded more than one thousand years ago by the Quetzal Jaguar lineage of Kaan Maak rulers, Lakam Ha came to prominence by its splendour and riches, although it lost many battles against mighty Ox Te Tuun. Lakam Ha is mostly known for having been the site of the greatest Ahau of the Kaan Maak era - the dragonborn lord K’inich Janaab B’akal. During the reign of B’akal, which began when he was a child and lasted for the rest of his long life, Lakam Ha overcame its many defeats at the hands of its neighbours, eventually becoming so great as to eclipse Yax Mutul at its height. After the decline of Kaan Maak dynasties, Lakam Ha was gradually abandoned and the area depopulated, until it became overgrown with vines as jungle, like other great cities of the era.

OX WI TI C This site was a famed power centre of the Southeastern Ch’ol jungles at the time of the Snake Kingdoms. It was a stable, hegemonic state, from which the ancestors of the Ch’olti people ruled through long-lived dragonborn dynasties. Founded by the living ancestors of Teotihuacan, Ox Witic was always an enchanted and powerful place, with strange magical contraptions and buildings that seemed otherworldly to the people under the city’s rule. Despite its magical power, Ox Witic fell to the military strength of its more warlike neighbours, but its ruins retained much of their ancient power. The site of Ox Witic is still a magical place and a well-known path to the Spirit World, where strange spirits and demons recreate the ancient splendour of the fallen kingdom with the ghosts of the city’s great Kaan Maak lords. The site continued to be inhabited, and to receive pilgrimages, long after its decline seven hundred years ago, and even today there are several towns and farms surrounding the ruins, which remain a testament to the glorious past of the Ch’olti. 77

The four regionS 78

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T H E W O R L D I S a weaving, a pattern of vivid colours and complex de-

sign. The strands of creation intertwine from lake to mountain, from heaven to farm. We are the strands, we are the figures in the weave, and we are the weavers. We speak through the strands, through the lines, the knots in the thread, the colour patterns. The weaving speaks, and we speak through the weaving. We read its meaning as we trace the design. The world itself is a pattern, an arrangement. Things are perishable; rocks break down into dust, water goes up in smoke, people become bone which becomes dirt; but the world endures. The threads go old and get replaced; the Pattern remains. We die, but we remain.

T

H E S TATE K N O W N as the Four Regions, or

Tawantin Suyu, is the largest hegemonic empire in the continent. This massive federation functions under the rule of the almighty Inca dynasty, the Children of the Sun, and the most powerful priests in the world today. The Inca lords oversee the Four Regions from their golden citadel of Qusqu; there, they hold the fates of hundreds of different peoples and nations between the Southwestern Sea and the Antikuna Range, through their widespread network of subtle cultural penetration and the sheer power of their divine heritage. They are the unchallenged owners of the whole land.

The inca domaiN The Inca dynasty descends from Heaven spirits, or such is their – so far uncontested – claim. Their founder, the Sunchild Manqu Qapaq, led his people to build the citadel of Qusqu after his Holy Family came down from the Spirit World. From Qusqu, the Inca caste spread across the lands, taking their sacred word to every nation and people, and turning them over to worship of the Inca lords. Most people acquiesced to the Inca lords’ peaceful offer of annexation; those that didn’t were swiftly made an example of. Thus, the power of Qusqu grew and expanded, making tributaries of every land they visited.

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The Inca are not invaders or conquerors; they simply teach their ways to the other tribes, ensuring others perpetuate their culture and worship their leaders as living deities. They have little need of enforcing their rule, contenting themselves with sending priests or officials to share Inca culture in tributary lands. Even when they have needed to crush their opposition through military means, the Inca prefer not to interfere with the subjugated people, letting them conduct their business as they wish – so long as they acknowledge and worship the Inca as their divine masters. Wherever the Inca impose their domain, they abolish currency and trade. The Tawantin Suyu government manages all goods and services through their local offices, and the only tribute that Inca subjects are expected to provide is their worship and manpower. It’s an endless cycle of exchange, where the Inca provide the prosperity and the people provide the work.

The Inca The Inca caste, the lords of Qusqu and rulers of the Four Regions, are not a people or nation; at least not anymore. Once their power grew beyond Qusqu, the Inca became the symbol, the set of customs and tenets, that shapes the Four Regions civilisation. The Inca are the banner that leads the nations, the mind that designs the pattern. The actual citizens of the Tawantin Suyu come from the most numerous and diverse ethnic backgrounds imaginable, having only one thing in common – the culture of the Sun Children. The Inca themselves are halfway between a ruling caste and an upper class; all supreme rulers of the Four Regions and their provinces are part of the same family, which is all that’s left from the blessed tribe that founded Qusqu.

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Every Inca lord is a powerful Saint, wielder of divine abilities matching that of the mightiest spirits from Heaven. The Inca allege this power comes from their divine blood, and they use it to cement their claim over other nations. Of course, even among the Inca there are power ranks, and many lords of the dynasty are barely stronger than the average wizard or priest, while the weakest are simple mortals in all but name. In any case, most Inca priest-lords can control the weather and astronomical events to some degree, and their very presence commands a modicum of awe and majesty. It’s safe to assume that the spirits of Heaven itself respect and cooperate with the Inca lords as near-equals.

The Great Antikuna The Inca domain grew and spread around the Antikuna, the greatest mountain range in the world. Thus, the massive presence of the Antikuna has shaped the Tawantin Suyu and its civilisation at all levels. Impassable peaks between regions gave birth to isolationist cultures; deadly temperatures and unthinkable heights bred a tough, stoic people; snowy mountain landscapes encouraged a quiet, reflective philosophy. All these traits, unique to the Four Regions, came not from the Inca, their laws, their customs or their divine ancestors, but from the mountains themselves, and the Antikuna are as much the masters and protagonists of the Four Regions as the Inca lords themselves.

The Four Regions The Four Regions, or Suyu, that give their name to the Federation were established when Qusqu subjugated the surrounding lands, their sizes and borders arranged according to the peoples that inhabited them. Each of the Four Regions is under the rule of an Apu Inca, or prince; a child or descendant of the Sapa Inca, the supreme ruler at Qusqu. The Region is divided in dozens of Wamani Provinces, usually determined by the tribes or nations that live in them. Each Wamani is under the rule of a Toqricoc warlord, who answers to the Apu Inca of their respective region. Each Suyu Region houses a different group of nations, with different languages and varying degrees of adaptation to Qusqu culture. Sometimes, the Four Regions clash with one another, but such conflicts are rare and quick to die, giving way to the much stronger and widespread loyalty to the crown of Qusqu.

C H I NC H AY SUYU The greatest and most glorious of the Four Regions, the Chinchay Suyu, birthplace of the Supreme Inca, is the second largest region of the Tawantin Suyu. The Chinchay Suyu gets its name from the Chinchay tribe, the Wildcat People, a seafaring nation that accepted Inca domination peacefully and now manages the most important trade routes of the Four Regions. They are the foreign face of the Tawantin Suyu, and its trading ships are the first thing that outsiders see when reaching the Four Regions from the North. Together with the Antisuyu, the Chinchay Suyu conforms the Hanan, or ‘modern’, half of the Four Regions, the one associated with the Hanan Inca dynasty, who are the current rulers of Qusqu. The Chinchay Suyu also houses the Kitu people, whose capital of the same name is the region’s political centre, and the glorious Chimú nation of Chan Chan, which practiced Sun worship long before the lords of Qusqu conquered them. Now, both nations are happy subjects of the Inca, and proudly carry and contribute to the prestige and glory of the Four Regions, especially the Chinchay Suyu. Kitu, capital of the Chinchay Suyu, is the secondgreatest city of the Four Regions after Qusqu, and it was there that Huayna Qapaq, the current Lord of the Inca, was born, when his blessed father Tupac Yupanki had just conquered the Kitu people. Because of this, the Chinchay Suyu is not only the jewel of the crown of the Four Regions, but the Inca lord’s favoured region in all respects.

ANTI SUYU A small but populous region to the East of Qusqu, the Antisuyu is home to the High Aymará nation, the Mountain People, and serves as the Four Regions’ Eastern border with the untamed jungles beyond the Antikuna range. The name Antisuyu derives from the Antikuna, the sacred mountain range that touches all the Four Regions and has shaped all the tribes and cultures around it. The Antikuna are the greatest mountains in the world, and they take up virtually all the territory of the Antisuyu region. The Chinchay Suyu and Antisuyu form the Hanan, or ‘modern’, half of the Four Regions, associated with the currently reigning Hanan Inca dynasty. The High Aymará mountain folk are the staunchest allies of the Qusqu hegemony, and they were subjects of the Inca even before the founding of the Four 81

Regions. There are many other tribes in the Antikuna mountains, and the jungle on their far side, which accept the rule of Tawantin Suyu at various degrees, with the most rebellious killing Qusqu envoys on sight. The Inca lords have attempted a few incursions against the most warlike tribes in the jungles beyond the Antikuna, without success. Today, the Antisuyu remains the Eastern limit of Inca expansion, as it has for centuries.

QU L L A S U Y U The Qulla Suyu, the southern counterpart to the northern Chinchay Suyu, and the largest of the Four Regions, is home to the Southern Aymará and Qichua nations, as well as many nomadic tribes from the plains and rivers. Although the Qulla Suyu population is sparse and spread out, its area takes up the full Southern half of the Tawantin Suyu, being almost as large as the other three regions combined. The Qulla and Kuntisuyu are known together as the Hurin, or ‘older’ half of the Four Regions, associated with the ancient and traditionalistic founders of the Inca dynasty. The greatest concentration of people in the Qulla Suyu occurs around Lake Titicaca, one of the most important sites of the Four Regions. The nations around the lake resemble other great federations such as the Azteca in Lake Tetzcoco and the Itzá in the Petén region, with independent lakeshore city-states that share a single culture and language. The Inca call these nations Qulla, which gave birth to the name Qulla Suyu. They, however, call themselves Aymará, ‘people that own the land together’. The Aymará submitted to the Inca with little resistance, and allowed their passage far beyond their lands, letting the Inca expand the Qulla Suyu hundreds of miles to the South, all the way to the Maulewu River. The Qulla Suyu also houses the ruins of Tiwanacu, the ancient city of the Great Ancestors, built by the Spirits when they first landed on the mortal world during the previous age of the world. It was the people of ancient Tiwanacu which millennia later would spread out as the Inca caste, and have now returned to rule its lands as part of the Inca domain.

KUNTISUYU The smallest and weakest of the Four Regions is the Kuntisuyu, a coastal territory containing the lands of dozens of different nations, including the Chanca, the Western Quichua, the Wanca and the Lower Aymará. With the Qulla Suyu, the Kuntisuyu belongs to the Hurin half of the Four Regions, the ‘older’ domain of the ancient dynasty that founded the Inca lineages. 82

When the Inca lord Pachacutec established Qusqu domination over the conquered territories of the Nazca Quichua, he ordered the region populated with subjects from every corner of the land, which began the division of the Qusqu civilisation in four great quarters. Today, the Kuntisuyu remains a cosmopolitan, populous and active region, despite its size.

Inca culturE Despite its size and power, the Four Regions territory is not a single or homogeneous nation. The only common trait that unites the hundreds of different nations under the Four Regions banner is the loyalty and observance to the culture and customs of the Qusqu nation. And even the Qusqu have mixed with other nations for centuries, and those that observe the laws of the Inca today are not the same that did it a thousand years ago, when the ancestors of Manqu Qapaq founded the Inca lineage. Thus, the only true, unchanging identity shared by all Tawantin Suyu tribes is the pattern of Inca Culture. This pattern, however, has varying degrees of strength and presence among all nations of the Four Regions, and while many peoples have all but become cultural extensions of Qusqu, for many others it boils down to using certain textile products and worshipping certain idols in addition to the local, often wildly different, customs. No single “Four Regions culture” can be said to exist, save for the worship of the Inca themselves.

Not a State but an Estate The lords of Qusqu, don’t see themselves as an ethnicity or people, but as a privileged, aristocratic family. For the Inca, expansionism is not a political act, but an assertion of their spiritual superiority. Rather than taking over other nations, they invite the people of these nations to accept the Inca as superior beings, and thus become blessed by association. Thus, Inca Culture is not a state, but rather an estate; a rich hacienda with a kind landlord, conscious of class difference but magnanimous with the servants. For the Inca, the world is their property, and the people on it are their retinue. Thus, they don’t meddle with the identity, customs or society of other nations; they only

the four r egions

expect to be acknowledged as masters of the house, which means everyone works for them. As a result, the Four Regions lack most of the concepts usually associated with a unified national identity, such as a common architecture, language or barter system; in fact, there is no currency in the Tawantin Suyu, and the few coin-using states have gradually changed their system when their neighbours stopped using it as well. Four Regions subjects are expected to fulfil two duties: To worship the Inca, which isn’t hard to enforce as the Inca are divine beings for all intents and purposes; and to work for the Inca, which includes going to war and taking part in massive engineering projects in the name of one’s corresponding Suyu. This is what Inca culture boils down to. That’s it. There are also some widespread traits from the Qusqu that have naturally caught on across the Four Regions, such as the use of quipu counting threads and Qusqustyle textile patterns, and the lingua franca of the Tawantin Suyu – the runa simi, or Peasant Tongue – which the Inca teach their subjects not out of a sense of common identity, but for the purely practical purpose of communicating with each other. Other than these few cultural traits, which are not enforced, and the subject duties of work and worship, which are enforced, every nation in the Tawantin Suyu retains its own customs, style, religion, and even laws.

Society The Four Regions are mostly peaceful and unconcerned, if only because they tend to be isolated from most of their neighbours. There are of course great

differences between the societies of each region, and from one city to the other, but the rule of Qusqu and the prosperity it has brought, along with a lack of economic concerns and a reduction of military conflict, has shifted the outlook of most Four Regions people towards a kind of laidback contentment.

forbidden to marry or reproduce, and in some places to even interact, with those of another class.

M IT’ A

This simple organisation works surprisingly well, and it allows even the lowliest peasant to enjoy luxury goods and services, albeit regulated by the government, despite the Four Regions’ marked class separation.

The most obvious consequence of a lack of national identity, but also the most impressive trait of the Four Regions federation, is the fact that it works without any form of currency.

Government hierarchy and official positions are much more regimented and complex than social classes, with every ruler being responsible of a specific number of rulers below them.

Although barter is common and encouraged, most trade in the Tawantin Suyu takes the shape of mandatory public service; other goods and services are freely exchanged among peasants across the Four Regions, but such trade plays no part whatsoever in the federation’s official economic system.

At the top of the Four Regions hierarchy is the Sapa Inca, the ‘actual Inca’ that rules the city-state of Qusqu. The Sapa Inca is a very powerful being, with the blood of Heaven spirits, and it is their worship that sustains the State.

The only trade that the lords of Qusqu endorse and oversee is the peasants’ duty of working for the Four Regions. In exchange, the rulers of each town or city ensure that the people receive the basic needs for their sustenance – food, housing and dress. This system is known as mit’a, or ‘work shift’. Government officials are mit’a overseers, tax collectors are mit’a recruiters, and peasants performing mandatory public service are ‘paying their mit’a’.

SOCIAL RANKS Social classes depend on a person’s tasks. The common people with mit’a duties, or taxpayers, are one social class. Government officials in charge of overseeing taxpayers are another. The highest class are the rulers of every city or wamani province, all belonging to the Inca caste and related to each other. Members of one class are

Then, each of the Four Suyu has its own Inca, known as Apu Inca, or ‘Inca prince’. Each of the four Apu is the maximum authority of their respective region, and they answer only to the Sapa Inca. Below the Apu Inca are the Toqricokuna of each Wamani, or province, corresponding to the separate nations inside each region. Usually, each toqricoc warlord is charged with a single tribe or nation, but some larger nations may be spread across several wamani provinces, and thus under the rule of more than one toqricoc. Toqricokuna are warlords, expected to lead their people into battle. All the apukuna and toqricokuna belong to the Inca caste and are related, at least remotely, to the lords of Qusqu. Below each toqricoc warlord are the curacakuna, the only non-Inca rulers allowed in the Four Regions. A curaca is the overseer of a single town or city, or a set group of peasant workers. The curaca is ul-

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timately responsible for enforcing mit’a compliance and providing basic needs to the population. A curaca always comes from their own people’s noble class, rules according to their people’s laws and customs, and handles local affairs as they see fit. His duty towards the Four Regions goes no further than ensuring mit’a workers do their part and remain happy. The power of a curaca depends on the number of workers in their jurisdiction, that is, their city’s inhabitants. A more populous nation makes its leader a more powerful and influential curaca. Then, there are peasants with important duties, such as the yanakuna, attendants and retainers to the nobility of qusqu and the wamani provinces, expected to cut off all ties to their families, and they come to belong to a whole new social class. Another kind of peasant officials are camayukuna, bureaucrats charged with assisting government functions, from public works to record-keeping, in a single city. Finally, ‘taxpayer’ peasants, the mit’ayukuna or mit’a workers, are the most important, but least powerful class of the Four Regions. Every mit’ayuq clan or community, known as an ayllu, has a single leader, a ‘family head’, expected to answer for their behaviour, and to speak for them before their corresponding curaca or camayuq. The ayllu, or extended family, is the most basic form of organisation in the Four Regions; several ayllu make up a town, several towns make up a wamani, and several wamani form one of the Suyu – the Four Regions.

MUM MI E S Unlike most other cultures in the world, the Qusqu and their subject peoples give mummies, the dead ancestors of a family, their 84

own social class. In some nations, mummies even live as family members all year. The family feeds the mummy on special occasions, and they reverently bring it along when they change residence. A mummy is treated and regarded as a living, present clan member, and even honoured for their advice. The mummy serves as a conduit for the dead person’s spirit, who may then continue to talk to their descendants and contribute to clan decisions. Noble mummies take part in government councils, receive daily ritual meals and receive ancestor worship; some have grown powerful in the Spirit World, becoming revered Saints across the Four Regions.

M ITMAQ The Mitmaq practice is a mix of social class, social experiment and government policy, exclusive to Four Regions society. When the lords of a Wamani province feel their province lacks adequate workers, or that their citizens are too unruly to keep under control, they may request Mitmaq – that is, the transfer of loyal citizens from other nations, or regions, to their province. Mitmaq-displaced families are forced to resettle, and basically shift their livelihood from their homeland, into a new city or province, so that their mit’a workers can help with a specific project or that their presence will reduce specific social problems such as unrest or depopulation. Citizens thus displaced are known as mitmaq ayuk, or ‘transported ones’, and required to distinguish themselves from local citizens to facilitate census. Inca and toqricoc rulers across the Four Regions are fond of solving social issues through mitmaq, which has the added benefit of integrating different populations under a single social rule.

TH E TH REE SUGGESTI ONS The Four Regions have no single set of laws; every wamani rules itself by the law and customs of its own nation. However, the Qusqu government provides its subjects with three suggestions (which merit a death penalty on those that don’t follow them); the closest the Tawantin Suyu has to a code of law. The Three Suggestions are: ■ Ama sua – don’t steal ■ Ama llulla – don’t lie ■ Ama qella – don’t be lazy

The Three Suggestions basically mean that, regardless of your local laws, the Qusqu government sees stealing, cheating or skipping on work as a capital crime, punishable by death or mutilation.

Language There are hundreds of varying, related and unrelated languages in the Four Regions, but the Qusqu have taught their subjects a common dialect, known as the runa simi, or peasant tongue. The runa simi is the shared tongue of all the Four Regions, and most of its subjects speak it in addition to their native languages, a few of which – particularly in the Qulla Suyu, around the Lake Titicaca area – are closely related to runa simi anyway. The Qusqu have another, secret tongue, restricted to the Inca nobility and their yana attendants, known as the Qapaq simi; only the Inca caste are allowed to teach this language, and only yana servants and other Inca are allowed to learn it.

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LI S T O F F O UR RE G ION S LAN G U AGES All Four Regions subjects are assumed to know the runa simi, but this list also includes some of the most common languages of local tribes. Some of these languages are very similar to runa simi or to one another, while others are completely unintelligible. The ‘Tribes’ section in page 87 describes most of the peoples mentioned in this list.

Runa Simi pronunciation Runa Simi has no written version, so there is no way to write it ‘correctly’. However, you can speak it correctly if you follow these guidelines:

LANGUAGE

SPEAKERS

Runa Simi

Qusqu

Qapaq Simi

Qusqu (restricted to nobility)

Aymará

Aymará

Kichwa

Kichwa

Wanca

Wanca

Chanka

Chanka

■ Pronounce LL as a hard J; KOOjah SOOyoo.

Qingnam

Chimú

Chinchay

Chinchay

■ Pronounce CH as a hard SH; shinSHAY.

Asháninka

Asháninka

Mapudungun

Mapuche 1

Lenca

Lenca 2

Muysc cubun

Muysca 2

■ Vowels are monotonal; AH, EH, EE, OH, OO, not A, E, I, O, U. ■ HU and W are interchangeable, and they’re always pronounced W: TaWANtin SOOyoo. ■ Q and K are interchangeable, and always pronounced K; KApak SEEmee.

1

■ Pronounce Ñ as NH or a french GN; POOygnOO. ■ Pronounce R as a French R or a hard H; HHOOna SEEmee.

1 This nation borders the Four Regions but doesn’t fully belong to them. 2 Neighbouring Northern nations, unrelated to the Four Regions.

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F OU R R E GI O NS N AM E S Names in Qusqu culture are adjective and descriptive, such as ‘he who steps lightly’ or ‘she who wants a fight’. With the expansion of Runa Simi to all nations in the Four Regions, these naming customs spread as well. ENGLISH

RUNA SIMI

ENGLISH

The following are some of the most common words used in Runa Simi names, listed by their English meaning, to help you and your group choose names for characters and places.

RUNA SIMI

ENGLISH

RUNA SIMI

Angry

Piñasqa

Firefly

Tutakuru

Path

Ñan

Arrow

Chuki

Fist

Saqma

Patient

Muchuq

Autumn

Chirawa

Flying

P’awaq

Proud

Qusisca

Bane

Soq Ana

Gold

Qori

Pure

Ch’uya

Bear

Ukuku

Great

Hatun

Rain

Para

Bird

Wallpa

Guardian

Qahuac

Rising

Hatariq

Bleeder

Yawarchaq

Handsome

K’acha

Runner

Pawaq

Brave

Sinchi

Healer

Hanpiq

Seeker

Masqaq

Breaker

Ch’eqtaq

Heart

Sonqo

Shining

K’anchaq

Bright

Illachiq

Jaguar

Uturuqu

Singer

Takiq

Cherished

Muchayasqa

Justice

Qusqachay

Small

Huch uy

Chosen

Aqllasqa

Leaf

Rap’i

Snake

Machaqway

Condor

Quntur

Life

Kawsay

Snow

Rití

Crimson

Sansi

Light

K’ancha

Spring

Tarpuy pacha

Darkness

Tutayaq

Lightning

Illapá

Stone

Rumi

Dragon

Amaru

Long

Suni

Summer

Poqoy

Dusk

Inti hayquy

Lover

Munaq

Tree

Mallki

Earthquake

Pachaquyuy

Marked

Sanan pasca

Walker

Pureq

Eater

Mikuuq

Mighty

Atipaq

Wealthy

Qolqeyoc

Elegant

Qachay

Mirror

Lirpu

Whispering

Chiwi wiwiq

Ember

Sansa

Mist

P’uyu

Wildcat

Chinchay

Enemy

Awka

Moon

Qilla

Wise

Hamut’aru

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ReligioN The Qusqu are the only people in the continent that worship Gods in the same sense as the Old World understands them: timeless creator entities, corresponding to cosmic nature rather than heroic legend. However, the Four Regions also worship semi-divine saints and ancestors, like other New World tribes. Every city and family in the Tawantin Suyu has a protector saint, usually a mummy or other deceased ancestor. These spirits protect the community in exchange for modest food offerings and reverence. But above all stands worship of the Inca themselves, whose rule rests squarely on their divine status. All Four Regions people are required to worship and acknowledge the Inca as their supreme beings, which makes them ‘living ancestors’; Saints that you can see and listen to – or, if you can’t, at least you know they’re out there somewhere, stepping on the same ground as you, and ready to send soldiers to your house at a moment’s notice, if given cause. Virtually no people in the Four Regions worship dragons, although they acknowledge their great power. Given the Inca’s peerless divine might, dragons haven’t seen necessary to meddle in their subjects’ affairs – or perhaps someone above them ordered it so.

Inca worship The figure of the semi-immortal Inca lords is the core and basis of Four Regions religion, to the point that most foreigners know the Four Regions simply as ‘the Inca civilisation’. The Inca of each Suyu and the Sapa Inca have statues and shrines in most towns of the Tawantin Suyu, and all citizens know they owe their loyalty and livelihood to those remote, yet near, halfdivine rulers. Inca lords more than earn their role as divine beings, as their power often rivals that of the Saints themselves. They claim direct descent from heavenly spirits through their founders, the Ayar siblings, children of the Creator God Wiracocha. As legend has it, the Ayar clan descended to the mortal world to found a lineage that would rule humans in Wiracocha’s name; the greatest of them, Ayar Manqu, later known as Manqu Qapaq (‘Lord Manqu’), was the first Inca. All the Inca that have ruled the Qusqu, and now the entire Four Regions, are his direct descendants.

The Gods Although the Inca lords are the embodiment of Four Regions religion, they are only supreme because they enjoy the endorsement of an even greater being – the supreme creator god, Wiracocha. All peoples that worship the Inca are required to also revere the Gods that put them there, especially Wiracocha, the One God, and Inti, the Sun; and anyway, most Four Regions nations already worshipped these gods before the Inca came. The Pachamama, goddess and embodiment of the mortal world, is the people’s favourite deity across the Four Regions.

WI RAC OC H A This is the name that the Inca gave to the almighty spirit behind magic and the universe. It’s Wiracocha’s tears that form the rain, his fists that bring thunder and his breath that brings life to all beings. He came from the primal sea before there was a world, and he ordered the Saints and Spirits to create the world. According to the Inca, the Four Suns of ancient times came and went under orders from Wiracocha, and even Tezcatlipoca may be nothing but one of Wiracocha’s many aspects. Some Mayaab tribes, like the K’iché, know Wiracocha as Tepeu, and admit he had ‘a hand’ in helping Kukul Kaan create the world. For the Inca, all dragons, all spirits and all forces of nature are simple servants of Wiracocha’s will, and extensions of Wiracocha’s being. Manqu Qapaq and the Ayar siblings, children of Wiracocha, were the only survivors of the last sun, the spirits sent by Wiracocha to repopulate the Earth after the last Sun was destroyed in the flood. Wiracocha’s greatest temples and effigies are in Qusqu and those cities where the Inca have a direct presence, as he is considered the patron of their lineage itself.

I NTI Wiracocha’s oldest son is Inti, the Sun – more specifically, the current Sun of Creation, the Fifth Sun – who lights the world and travels from East to West under Wiracocha’s orders. Since Wiracocha used Inti’s light to bring the Inca ancestors to the mortal world, they all call themselves ‘sun children’, as their essence contains the heavenly light of Inti. All cities in the Tawantin Suyu honour Inti in their imagery, art and architecture.

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MA M A Q I L L A Mother moon, the sister and wife of Inti, was also commanded to light the world, and it was her womb that carried the Ayar siblings before sending them down to the mortal world. She created all beauty, all mystery and all love, also under Wiracocha’s orders. There are few idols or depictions of Mama Qilla, but her temples are popular with women of all nations and social classes.

PA C H AM AMA Pachamama is the World – in fact the creator of the Mortal World itself – and the mother of all living things. As Inti and Mama Qilla gave birth to the Ayar spirit people and the Inca, thus Pachamama gave birth to mortal humans – along with birds, trees, flowers and beasts, all from seeds that Wiracocha planted in her. Mama Qilla’s children may be the favoured of Wiracocha, but it is Pachamama that He loves the most.

Heaven Magic For the Qusqu, there is only one afterworld, and that is Heaven. Inti, Mama Qilla and the Ayar people of legend all came from Heaven; all revered ancestors go there when they die, and they talk to mortals from there. All Inca priestly magic comes from Heaven and its forces, and it manifests into heavenly effects, related to the weather, sky, stars and light.

The Qusqu acknowledge the existence of the other underworlds, but actively avoid them, asking their subjects not to burn or drown sacrifice victims, as they risk ‘not going to Heaven’. The ‘other’ Spirit Worlds are there all right, but it’s better not to interact with them. Wizards that engage in magic coming from the worlds of Fire, Water or Death are considered heathen and evil. It goes without saying that all Inca inherit their power from Heaven. 88

The Huakas Spirits of things and places, from nature spirits to ancestor saints, are known collectively as Huakas, and are the specific protectors of every city, tribe and landmark across the Four Regions. The huaka of a flower is small and ephemeral, but the huaka of a mountain is great and ancient. The ancestor of a small family is a weak huaka, but the ancestor of an Inca dynasty is as mighty as a Saint. Although all Four Regions subjects are required to worship the Inca and their gods, each nation is allowed their own saints, ancestors and huakas.

Sacrifice Peoples of the Four Regions practice human sacrifice, although not as widely or regularly as those of other cultures. Human sacrifices are usually children, chosen for their beauty or purity, and only given in special occasions, such as a natural disaster or the death of a Sapa Inca. The spirits require these sacrifices to refresh their ranks after the momentous event – which may have been anything from a drought or famine to an earthquake or volcanic eruption – which usually shakes the Spirit World as strongly as it did the mortal.

The order of Aqlla priests, also known as Virgins of the Sun, recruit beautiful boys and girls from local families, and take them to spend the rest of their lives in ‘sacrifice to the spirits’, isolated in temples where they receive instruction on ‘marrying the spirits’. When they come of age, a select few Aqlla apprentices are chosen as human sacrifice and given to the Gods, the Inca or Huaka Spirits.

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Four regions tribeS T

H E FO UR RE G I O N S may be the most ethnically

diverse state in the world. Hundreds of different tribes and nations live under the rule of the Inca lords, mixing their languages and customs with those imposed by the Qusqu. There are no ‘independent states’ in the Four Regions. While most tribes are allowed a certain degree of selfrule, they all belong to Qusqu and the Tawantin Suyu, and must obey the ultimate will of the Inca living Saints. They, however, retain their names and identities, and many nations under the Qusqu, like the Aymará and Chimú, are visibly mightier than others.

Outside the Four Regions themselves, the Asháninka and Mapuche tribes have always resisted, and continue to resist, Qusqu domination. Some of their towns have fallen to the Four Regions, but most still defend their borders against annexation. Further north, the Lenca and Muysca are the closest independent states the Four Regions have encountered, although their trade and contact with these nations is sparse and limited. The following are the most important tribes in and around the Four Regions.

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The qusqU

T

H E M I G H TI E S T N A T I O N of the Tawantin Suyu,

the Qusqu started out as the Puqina, a small tribe from the Lake Titicaca cluster. After a war with Aymará tribes, the Puqina were forced to migrate North, but the blessed Ayar clan, spirit people from Heaven, accompanied the tribe and became their leaders. Under the rule of Ayar Manco, the First Inca, the Puqina built the holy city of Qusqu, which from that day became the capital of their civilisation and the name of their tribe. From Qusqu, they began a slow but steady expansion, absorbing first the weaker neighbours, then defeating and conquering stronger states; not as much by force of arms as by conversion to their way of life and Inca worship. In time, the Qusqu had subjugated most of the surrounding towns and become a force to rival even the Aymará of the Titicaca. Thus, the Puqina tribe ended, and the Reign of Qusqu began. The Qusqu are civilised, lawful and proud. They fanatically worship the Inca, and all Inca today and their families are of Qusqu blood. It was the Qusqu that first practiced the mit’a work tax, mitmaq mandatory resettlement, and the worship of the Inca as living Saints. It was them that developed math and astronomy, complex weaving and dyeing techniques, qipu knotted cords for counting, and the rites to communicate with ancestors’ mummies. They taught all this to the tribes they encountered, and most of them joined the Qusqu freely, recognising them as a superior civilisation – or bowing to the superior power of Inca demigods.

The Inca Lords Of course, regardless of their scientific and cultural advances, there’s no doubt that the power and superiority of the Qusqu people are mostly due to the Inca. The undisputed Lords of Qusqu and the Four Regions for the last half millennium, the Inca caste are the result of breeding between Qusqu chieftains and the Ayar clan from the Spirit World. The individuals born of this union are half-spirits with incredible divine power and the ability to command loyalty on sight. There have been two dynasties of Inca lords; the Hurin, or ‘old dynasty’, ruled the nation of Qusqu from the time of Manqu Qapaq to the Qusqu civil war 200 years ago. Then, another faction of Inca descendants, headed by the Inca known only as Roca, deposed the usurper Qispe Yupanki and instated the new Inca line90

age – the Hanan, or ‘current’ dynasty. It was the Hanan that, rewarded by Wiracocha Himself, consolidated the supreme power of the Qusqu and established the Four Regions Federation. The Inca cannot marry with non-Inca or non-Qusqu, and even some Inca whose spirit blood or Qusqu lineages became too thin have been banned from further procreation.

H UAYNA QAP AQ The current Sapa Inca, True Sovereign, Firstborn of the Sun, Great Lord of Qusqu, Living Deity of the Land, and supreme ruler of the Four Regions, is Huayna Qapaq, a mighty monarch that has expanded the conquered area of the Four Regions by ordering the invasion of the southern territories all the way to the Maulewu river. Like all Sapa Inca before him, Huayna Qapaq is blessed with great power over the sky, weather and celestial bodies, as those that challenged him have been terrified to attest. Huayna’s illustrious grandfather, Inca Pachacutiq the World-Turner, was the founder and engineer of the Tawantin Suyu itself, and the mightiest Sapa Inca in recent memory. Huayna Qapaq inherited the throne from his father, Tupac Yupanki, when he was still a boy, but soon earned respect as a wise and assertive leader. A true and loyal scion of the Qusqu dynasty, Huayna Qapaq nonetheless holds a dear place in his heart for the Wamani of Kitu, in the Chinchay Suyu. Some say he was in fact born in Kitu, during his father’s conquests, and in any event Kitu was the site of Huayna’s own greatest victories against Kitu rebels. Huayna rebuilt Kitu, turning it into the second capital of the Tawantin Suyu, and spends most of his time there. Although the whole Four Regions worship him as supreme deity, Huayna’s greatest temples and statues of Huayna stand in Kitu.

TH E C OURT OF TH E I NC A Inca rulers receive advice and assistance from a circle of chosen individuals, all of Inca blood. These high nobles all reside in Qusqu, and most were born there, although they represent all the peoples and provinces in the Tawantin Suyu. First is the Coya, or Mama Coya, the Wife of the Inca and mother of his offspring. Some Coyaka have been mightier than their husbands, taking the title of Inca

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for themselves; in any event, their authority and privilege is considered as high as that of the Inca, even if they don’t always hold ultimate decisive power. Then come the Inkap Rantin, the advisor of the Inca, empowered to succeed him in case of death without issue, and the Willaq Umu, the high priest or priestess in charge of conducting worship of the Inca and the Gods, as well as communing with spirits and ancestors. After this comes the council, a circle of Inca nobles that represent the four quarters of Qusqu, the Four Regions, and the Two dynasties (hanan and hurin). They speak for their respective peoples and argue for their interests before and after every decision by the Inca. All these nobles are of Inca blood, which means they are half-spirit Qusqu people. The Apu Inca, Toqricoc warlords and generals of the Four Regions all answer to this council. The Mallki, or Inca mummies, vessels of the Inca’s glorious ancestors, sometimes take part in the council, giving priceless advice from beyond the grave.

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Subject peopleS

A

S P R E V I O US L Y S A I D, there are hundreds of dif-

ferent tribes and cultures under the banner of the Four Regions. Many are mightier than the Qusqu themselves, even though they have submitted to the Inca; a few have no more than one city, or lack cities at all. Most have retained their customs and identity, but a few have all but lost their culture, dispersing into the other peoples of the Four Regions. The following are the largest and most important tribes living under Qusqu domination in the Tawantin Suyu.

The Aymará The only true rivals of the Qusqu for supreme power inside the Four Regions, Aymará peoples own a territory that spans the entire Antikuna range, including most neighbouring valleys and the sacred Lake Titicaca, origin of civilisation. The Aymará were the main political force in the Antikuna before the rise of Qusqu, but their tribes were so diverse and independent that they failed to present unified resistance to Inca subjugation. Now, that same diversity has become the greatest strength of the Aymará, as their people and its customs are present in every province, every army, every community, every resettled mitmaq group, across the Four Regions. There are very few areas in the Tawantin Suyu that don’t have an Aymará ayllu or town, and while it remains virtually impossible for them to join forces into a single state, the Qusqu still need a titanic effort to keep them segregated. Should the Aymará nation wake as one, they would become not a threat, but the certain end of the Four Regions State. And the Inca know it. The Aymará still have seven powerful city-states around Lake Titicaca, at the core of the Qulla Suyu. These city-states trade and war among themselves as they have for centuries, heedless of large-scale Tawantin Suyu politics. The Qusqu have mitmaq-resettled many populations from these city-states, in order to erode the tribe’s unity and presence in a single place, but Lake Titicaca remains the centre of Aymará culture despite it all.

T HE S AC R E D LE AF Aymará mountain peoples were the first to discover and use sacred coca leaves as an alchemical ingredient 92

in countless recipes for invigorating potions, magic rituals, drinks and foodstuffs. Sacred coca gives humans increased mental and physical abilities, including the power to endure the extreme cold and harsh terrain of the Antikuna mountains, and the Aymará have exported it to all corners of the Four Regions, with even Inca lords using coca as a staple of their rites.

The Chinchay Also known as Wildcat people and Raft people, the Chinchay are expert seafaring traders with contacts and trade routes from The Four Regions to Lenca lands to the North. The Chinchay were well-known and wellliked by most nations of the Western Sea centuries before the rise of the Four Regions, and they remained so after the rise of Qusqu, granted permission to maintain their free trade even with tribes outside Inca jurisdiction. The Chinchay live in the Chincha Islands in the Western Sea, from which they conduct trade of seashells, one of the most sought-after trade items in the Four Regions. They control a fleet of thousands of trading rafts, using sails – an almost unknown technology in the continent – to cover a greater territory. Thanks to their trading activities and their grip on most seashell sources, the Chinchay are in good terms with all coastal nations within five hundred kilometres of their islands, including both friends and enemies of the Tawantin Suyu. Due to their diplomacy and economic power, the Chinchay province enjoys several privileges from the Four Regions government, and its Toqricoc warlord is one of the most respected after the Inca themselves. They worship the Stars of Heaven and animal spirits, being as powerful in the spirit realm as they are in commerce. Most Chinchay priests are jaguar or ocelot nahual wizards.

The Chimú The greatest nation Chinchay Suyu, and

of the North valleys of the one of the most glorious

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cultures of the Four Regions area, the Chimú of Chan Chan, the Thunder worshippers, were on their way to becoming the dominant power in the North when the Qusqu conquered them. The Chimú are the only tribe to ever present serious resistance to the power of Qusqu, and only yielded to Four Regions annexation after witnessing the power of the Inca conquerors firsthand. The Chimú were pioneers in water engineering, advanced jewellery and economic organisation. They already had a mighty and organised tributary bureaucracy before they even met the Qusqu; their Great Lord Minchan Qaman almost stopped Qusqu advances, until the Inca themselves appeared and took his soul prisoner to the Holy City, where it remains today, speaking for His people, now subject to Qusqu rule. The Gods of the Chimú are Mama Qilla, the Moon, and the Spirits of Thunder; after their defeat by Qusqu forces, the Chimú grudgingly accepted Inca worship but only as a secondary faith, and to this day Chimú has smaller temples for Inti and the Inca than those for the Moon. The capital of the Chimú State is the great city of Chan Chan, smaller than Qusqu but larger than all others. When the Qusqu arrived, all the tribes of the Northern Valleys were giving tribute to Chan Chan; some still do, although all Northern nations have become tributary Wamani of the Chinchay Suyu.

The Chanka A widespread, civilised people from the North coast, the Chanka are among the best artisans, weavers and fisherpeople in the Four Regions. They have built many great cities around pyramid temples and palaces, but their peaceful artisan culture fell quickly, first to the Chimú, then to the Qusqu.

ed from the Aymará and the Qulla, within sight of the Antikuna and the ruins of Tiwanaku, lies a vast, hidden valley. This is the valley of the Hatunmayu, the largest river of the Antikuna region, and the most fertile land known to humans. In this paradise valley, where all crops grow as if by magic, in undreamed numbers and sizes, the tribe of the Wanka built their towns, with prosperous peoples and prosperous chieftains that loved the land and were loved by it. The Wanka lived under the shadow of all the great conquering states around their land, trading first with the ancient state of Tiwanaku, centuries later with the Titicaca tribes, and even with the savage Asháninka of the Eastern woodlands. The Wanka were taught to worship their very land, and to understand that they would become nature spirits in death. They revere their ancestors as tree, river, lake and mountain spirits, and don’t concern themselves with heaven but with the living world. When the Qusqu armies came down to the Hatunmayu valley, they gave the Wanka the option of a peaceful annexation to the Four Regions, but the Wanka defied these ornery foreigners, and fought back, convinced that their blessed valley would protect them. However, the Qusqu were far stronger, and the Hatunmayu fell under Inca control, becoming another Wamani province in the Tawantin Suyu. The lands of the Hatunmayu became farmland for the Qusqu, and the Wanka peoples segregated and spread across the Four Regions. However, the Qusqu remain respectful of the Hatunmayu, and have deployed a mighty army to safeguard the blessed valley and remain watchful of its ancient spirits, which now and then curse the Qusqu for taking the Wanka from their land.

When the Chimú fell into Four Regions control, The Chanka accepted Qusqu domination with no resistance, and happily contribute their excellent crafts and wide trade network to the Tawantin Suyu, in many ways a gentler master than the harsh Chimú tributary system.u

The Wanka Halfway between the deep lands and the coast, between the lands of the Chimú and the Qusqu, protect-

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Border tribeS

B

E I T AS respectful neighbours or feuding bor-

der warbands, the Four Regions maintain contact with several independent nations, which have resisted annexation to the Tawantin Suyu to several degrees. The following are the most significant tribes at the borders of the Tawantin Suyu, some of which are in the process of resisting Qusqu power, while others remain unconquerable.

The Asháninka This brave jungle tribe, related to the Taíno of the Eastern islands and the Lokono of the Great Wilds, is the greatest thorn in the side of the Four Regions State, which knows them only as the ‘Eastern people’. It’s thanks to Asháninka resistance that the Qusqu haven’t been able to expand Eastward beyond the impassable Antikuna wall; even though some Asháninka tribes have fallen to Qusqu rule, most of the nation remains up in arms against the Tawantin Suyu, which sends expedition after expedition to their jungles, only to never be heard from again. The Asháninka are the beloved children of their land, and all nature spirits help them and grant them strength. The Asháninka don’t see their relationship with nature spirits as worship, but more as a mutually convenient exchange, where the Spirit World provides the power and mortals provide protection of natural sanctuaries. Tribal protectors of the Asháninka include jaguar spirits, monkey spirits and tree spirits, but in truth every natural thing, from rocks and vines to dragons, is a part of the sacred, cooperative environment that protects the Asháninka in return for their respect and care. The Asháninka like to go naked, save for grisly adornments taken from their prey; they use bronze-edged weapons or poisoned missiles in their raids against invaders – or each other. Since they believe in sharing everything with the natural world, they don’t fight for resources; only for tribal rivalry – or freedom. To be and remain free is the Asháninka’s core virtue and main goal, and they are capable of unspeakable cruelty against those that would threaten that goal, dressing themselves in the bones, skins and body parts of fallen enemies – after skinning or eating them alive. The Asháninka don’t know how to fight in the open, but they have mastered guerrilla and ambush tactics – as 94

the mighty Qusqu armies could attest if they ever lived to tell the tale.

The Mapuche A nomadic people from the plains, the Mapuche are a vast tribe, with towns and clans scattered across the continent, but their concentration to the far South of the Four Regions was the first to encounter a large, expansionist state, when the Qusqu tried to settle their lands. The Mapuche breed native animals, dress in leathers and practice short-term farming, with most of their lives taking place in temporary encampments. There are skilled hunted-gatherers, and fierce warriors if given cause. They have a tense border relationship with the Four Regions, as the Qusqu have established several military outpost near their campsites, and subjugated some of the northmost, more isolated Mapuche clans. Mapuche peoples worship their ancestors, the Old Couple and the Young Couple, who survived the Great Deluge of the previous Sun and founded humanity. They acknowledge the Spirit World, particularly nature spirits, and train Machi witches to interpret their messages and summon their power to benefit the tribe. All Mapuche clans are part of a larger tribe under the rule of a single chieftain, but tribes have never organised into larger entities, as the Mapuche didn’t even consider this possible until they encountered the Qusqu. Now, the threat of the Four Regions has the Southern Mapuche, particularly those living near the Maulewu river, thinking about establishing a large, multi-tribe federation, to resist the advancement of the Tawantin Suyu.

The Muysca Located halfway between the lands of the Lenca and the Antikuna range, the great Muysca nation has little contact with either – or with any other major nation in the continent. A long-lived civilisation of great priests and exquisite artisans, the Muysca may be the richest nation in the world – and not know it. The Muysca have virtually no contact with the Four Regions, but they are closer to the Tawantin Suyu than to any other larger State described in this book, and thus are included in this chapter, although their civ-

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ilisation developed in isolation from the Azteca, the Snake Kingdoms or the Four Regions. Muysca peoples are an alliance of states where no chief has supremacy over any other; all Muysca tribes respect their mutual borders, although they war among themselves when there are no foreign threats. The Muysca territory is a small highlands expanse, connected to the northern end of the Antikuna mountains, blessed with fertile farming valleys and bountiful salt mines. This has allowed all Muysca nations to prosper and grow without need for inner conflict.

THE RITE OF MNYÁ For the Muysca, magic itself, the energy that powers the world, is represented by mnyá, which in the mortal world takes the form of gold and the color yellow. Muysca lords and priests dress themselves in garments of mnyá, and decorate their cities with golden adornments. The initiation rite for Muysca rulers involves donning golden attire and jewellery, taking several gold offerings into a sacred lake, and throwing them under the water as a sacrifice for Chiminigawa.

The main Muysca nations are Bacatá and Hunza. Zipa Nymy Cuyne, lord of Bacatá, is a proud warlord that ambitions the lands of Hunza, but has turned his attention to stopping invader tribes from the Eastern jungles. Zoque Qymuyn Chatoca, lord of Hunza, has sought alliances with these same tribes, hoping to keep Bacatá at bay. There are other Muysca lords, such as Suwamuch and Tundama, but none of them pays tribute to any other. Muysca rulers conduct themselves as supreme beings, not divine like the Inca lords, but far above common humanity. Peasants are forbidden from looking upon nobles, who have complete rights over the lives of their subjects. Muysca peoples have very strict moral standards, and any kind of vice or deviation, in character or conduct, is punished by death and humiliation - which for the Muysca is often worse.

MU Y S C A F AITH All Muysca rulers are great priests, with power over the heavens and elements. They worship a Supreme God that they call Chiminigawa, which may be Teotl itself, or just another name for Wiracocha or Tezcatlipoca. The common ancestor of the Muysca people is Bahué, a great priestess known for their dozens of children. She gave birth to so many people that it’s assumed all Muysca nations descend from the offspring of Bahué. During the previous sun, before the Great Flood, the Muysca learned civilisation, building and language from a mysterious priest that arrived alone, riding a llama, from the Eastern plains. This priest called himself Bojica, and was most likely a dragon in human form. Under the law of Bojica, the Muysca people left savagery behind and built farms, cities, temples and culture. When Bojica returned whence he had come, the Muysca fell back into sin, and most died in the Great Flood that drowned the failed Sun. The few Muysca that survived became the Ancestor Saints of the modern Muysca tribes, and founders of the five Great Muysca Nations of today. 95

Four regions settlementS D

UE TO TH E I R rugged, inhospitable mountain ter-

rain, the Four Regions lack the impressive urban expansion of the Mayaab or the Anahuac, and their larger cities are relatively small when compared to those of equally advanced states. They are still great urban centres, though, with great temples, breathtaking palaces, gilded sculptures, and colourful banners flapping to the wind.

Qusqu The capital of Qusqu is the administrative and geographic centre of the Four Regions, which the Inca lords traced and established from the location of their great city. Originally a small fortress belonging to a lesser people, the citadel that would become Qusqu was known as Saqsaq Huaman, the Falcon Rock. The fortress overlooked the towns and farms below it, and here the First

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Inca led their people, instructing them to build Qusqu at the site, under the watch of Saqsaq Huaman. Thus, with human labour and heavenly vision, the greatest city of the Four Regions rose from the mountain stone. Qusqu is an architectural marvel, with many-tiered streets, connected by staircases and platforms, surrounded with beautiful stone arches, and pennants of such dyes and embroidery as no other nation has ever seen. The symbols and golden idols of Inti and Wiracocha adorn every street and plaza, as well as effigies of the ancient Inca lords. Like the Tawantin Suyu, Qusqu is split in Four Quarters, an upper Hurin neighbourhood corresponding to the Chinchay Suyu and Antisuyu, and a lower Hanan neighbourhood, corresponding to the Kuntisuyu and Qulla Suyu. Each quarter is only accessible from the road leading to the corresponding region of the State, and the city functions as the checkpoint for all travel between regions. Each of the Four Quarters houses the Apu Inca of the corresponding region, and a retinue of

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nobles assigned to represent the Wamani provincial lords. To have the right to live in Qusqu, an Inca must own inhabited lands in the Tawantin Suyu, and any noble that doesn’t rule their own province must conquer one, thus adding territory to the Qusqu domain, to earn a place inside the city. The city’s greatest landmark is the Palace of the Inca, built by the heavenly Ayar dynasty, centuries ago, to house their descendants for all time. It has dozens of living quarters for the Sapa Inca, his Coya, his many concubines, the priest caste, the Council of Nobles and the Mummy Ancestors, not counting servant and guard rooms. Very few citizens of the Tawantin Suyu are blessed to see the Palace of the Inca, and those that do remember it for the rest of their lives.

MAC H U P I Q C HU The Palace of Machu Piqchu is the greatest example of the divine-inspired architecture of the Qusqu. Built by inca Pachaquteq the World-Turner, the founder of the Four Regions State, Machu Piqchu is the largest, most beautiful and most exclusive site in the Tawantin Suyu. It exists solely for the Inca caste to have a dwelling separate from the peasants, a paradise of gilded walls and magic tapestries, accessible only to those of true Inca blood. For generations, the Inca lords of the Four Regions have used Machu Piqchu for their vacations, feasts and high councils; other than these occasional visits, the only permanent dwellers of Machu Picchu are a special order of yanakuna servants, reared from childhood to serve at the Blessed Citadel and never leave it. Other servants are added to tend to the temples and chambers when nobles are expected to visit, but otherwise the Blessed Citadel remains remote, mythical and unreachable.

Kitu The capital of the nation of the same name, the city of Kitu fell to Qusqu invaders in the time of Tupac Inca Yupanqi; his son and current Sapa Inca, Huayna Qapaq, rebuilt the city and made it even greater, with great temples, observatories and magic schools. Kitu lies under the shadow of two active volcanos, and its inhabitants have needed to relocate several times, but they always return and rebuild if necessary. Thus was the tradition in times of Kitu supremacy, and so it remains under Qusqu rule. Formerly, the Kitu people ruled a vast expanse of hills and valleys, where they resisted Qusqu control for decades; their city of Kitu was their mightiest stronghold, which changed hands between the Kitu and Qusqu

during the many years of the protracted conquest war between both peoples. Eventually, Tupac Yupanqi, and later his son, Huayna, conquered all Kitu cities, but they spared their capital out of respect, making it into the second greatest city of the Four Regions.

Chan Chan The capital of the Chimú people, and former power centre of the Northern Valleys, is Chan Chan, the City of Light. From here, the Chimú held the largest domain before the rise of Qusqu, and all the Northern Valleys paid tribute to Chan Chan. Chan Chan is a very large city, with several pyramid complexes, plazas and citadels, where the nobles dwell and handle state affairs according to their station. Taking the city was a long, arduous fight for the Qusqu invaders. The city of Chan Chan has always been under the protection of heavenly Solar Spirits, who protect the Chimú leaders and help them in battle. When the Inca came, they fought the Solar Spirits one on one, until the guardians of Chan Chan yielded to the higher authority of the Children of Inti. The Solar Spirits still dwell in the city, now bound to the will of the Inca, but still loyal to their Chimú worshippers, and Chan Chan remains a site of great magic power. When Chan Chan fell, its lord, Minchan Qaman, gave himself in sacrifice to the Inca, who took his soul prisoner and bound it to Qusqu, from which he rules Chan Chan as a spirit, through messages to his priests.

The Ruins of Tiwanaku The ancient city of Tiwanaku, near the shores of Lake Titicaca, used to be the capital of a civilisation from the previous Sun, which ruled all neighbouring tribes in peace. All nations visited and paid tribute to Tiwanaku, whose great lords shared their great technology, mafic secrets and architectural knowledge with everyone. It was Tiwanaku which first taught worship of the Sun, the Moon and the Pachamama, and the Spirits of Heaven gave it their blessing and protection. In time, however, Tiwanaku fell to the envy of their neighbours, and the many tribes that lived in it dispersed across the land. The lords of Tiwanaku became the Puqina nomads, the tribe that eventually became the Inca dynasty when the Ayar spirits of heaven sought them to bring them back to glory. They don’t remember Tiwanaku, however – their present domain has ten times the greatness than even Tiwanaku had achieved.

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T O M E , M E N of God! By my faith, never have mine eyes set sight on such

plentiful lands! On and to glory, and let the Holy Virgin be my witness – that we shall carry the Word to the ends of the Earth or die trying! My sword and Saint Sabra! Vows to damn it all, has it all ended now? No, by the beard of my grandmother and the tree that bore the wood for the shaft of our banner! Lo, for it is just beginning! Let the Holy Light mark our path to Hell and back, and those that fall behind be cursed! Spain and the Crown! Oh, so blessed are we! On to wonder! On to triumph! And should the hosts of damnation stand against us and strive to thwart our duty, then, to whomever God gives it, may Saint Peter bless it! Nothing left but to scuffle!

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TR AN G E R S FR O M U N K N O W N lands, invaders from an expanding Empire, and venturing landlords out for personal gain at any cost, the first colonists from Europe arrived shortly after Columbus’ discovery of the so-called Caribbean islands twenty years ago. They have enslaved the locals, secured a foothold of strategic routes and resource extraction, and established their domain over the continent’s Eastern Sea, before the mainland nations began noticing their presence.

Now, European explorers have realised that there is a whole continent to the West of their colonies, and that it isn’t another side of Asia as previously thought. Some of them have requested grants from the Spanish Crown, asking to explore and settle this new continent in the name of the Catholic Kings – but they are still cautious. They cannot imagine what, or who, awaits in these lands. Island natives fell easily to the invaders’ dragons, Catholic miracles and superior resources – but a new continent is another story. If the European kingdoms grant permission to invade and exploit the Western continent, it may be the match that will light a powder keg of unprecedented war, conquest and culture clash. The New World has its own delicate balance of power, politics and shifting borders, and European colonists are a wildcard that may bring it all crashing around everyone’s heads. European colonists come mostly from the Spanish Empire, as the Kings of Castile were the first to believe and invest in Columbus’ expedition and the colonies established after it; but there are also colonists from other nations such as Portugal and Venice – and more European nations have become interested in the potential riches of unconquered land.

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The old worlD The most important trait that invaders are bringing to the New World is their fully alien culture, with languages, politics, diseases and technologies that are all but unknown to local standards. The numbers, organisation and cultural progress of local nations may be more than a match for European forces, but the sheer difference between both worlds is itself a crucial factor, one that will throw all involved parties into disarray. Where local nations are holistic, disciplined believers of spiritual superiority, proud of their caste differences, and worship mighty spirits, dragons and ancestors, the invaders espouse materialistic philosophies, use dragons and lesser animals used as mounts, noisy technology, and worship no ancestors but a God they cannot see, paint or name. New World natives have a hard time understanding that Europeans give such a fanatically high value to simple minerals, such as gold, and have such unfathomable morals as to reject ritual sacrifice and the eating of human flesh, while accepting disrespectful manners, foul smells and the humiliation of spirits and beasts. Be as it may, the invaders have become a kind of independent nation; cut off from the society, culture, and the very terrain of their homeland, they have become a part of this New World – one where they shall always remain strangers.

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Europe Europe, the land these colonists come from, is a realm of superstition, religious wars, and perennial conflict between humanity and everything else – from animals to spirit beings, to the environment itself. For millennia, humanity prospered between the cracks of the spirit kingdoms, when faeries, giants and other so-called supernatural peoples settled and ruled the mortal world. Many tribes were vassals to monsters, to whom they sacrificed their children. Those that fought back could sometimes wrest their land from the spirit world’s control, or else burned in dragon breath. And then there were those few, forgotten peoples, that made peace with the Spirit World, and lived decent lives in harmony with spirits that helped their crops and cured their illnesses. Then came the rise of Rome, which invaded and conquered most of the spirit-settled lands, and Europe became a land of humans. Many mortals did not like this new order, and some peoples at the edges of civilization speak of how they were better off when they were only one other species among many. Many blame the bad crops and the evil masters on the Roman Empire, or its successor – the Empire of God, or of his son Jesus Christ. After Rome fell, madness covered Europe for a while – the old spirits came back, creatures thought dead resurfaced, and nothing was normal anymore. The only thing left from the greatest Empire of men, the Christian faith, prospered against all odds, for many did not want to share the Earth. But it wasn’t until Saint Sabra that Christianity managed to gain back the reins of the continent. Dragons, once the worst enemies of civilisation, were now its mightiest weapon. Today, Christianity seems unstoppable in its advance, and it is hunger. The discovery of the New World is a call it cannot refuse, and through the Catholic Monarchs of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon it aims to convert a whole continent – the biggest challenge any religion had undertaken to date. But while the Kings and Queens of the largest European kingdoms turn their attention to a new continent, their own realm remains unsettled. The old faiths won’t die off easily, the giants will fight for each mountain, some dragons remain untamed, the forests are still dangerous, and the Devil lurks waiting…

The Spanish Crown The Spanish Crown, a joint nation born out of the alliance of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, is the main force behind the colonisation of the New World. Looking for resources to sustain their new and expanding monarchy, the Catholic Kings funded the first expeditions, first in search of new, exclusive trade routes, now in a mad scramble to be the first to claim the unknown continent their explorers just discovered. Born out of centuries of conflict with the Moorish Muslim invaders, the Spanish Crown is a nation based on religious unity, even more than language or territory. In fact, the Spanish Crown is still most commonly referred to as ‘the Catholic Monarchy’, and one of its first edicts was to demand that non-Catholics convert or leave the kingdom. This disbanded the Jew and Muslim communities in the realm, and strengthened the hegemony of Christianity, not only under the Spanish Crown, but in all of Europe. The Crown’s next goal is to convert all the peoples of the new continent, creating a world of Christians, where the light of One Faith rules both sides of the Atlantic Sea. Most of the colonists in the New World – and the ones that dubbed it ‘New World’, after discovering it was not another part of Asia as originally believed – are subjects of the Spanish Crown and speak Castilian, with a few exceptions that come from Portugal, Genoa or other kingdoms. Of course, the Spanish Crown has its own troubles back home, as other ruling houses, particularly the kingdoms of France and Portugal, compete against them for royal succession, land and resources. Europe remains fragmented, and the Spanish Crown is still far from achieving the unity it boasts officially, as kingdoms like Navarra remain independent – and, in practice, defiant.

TH E I MMORTAL C ATH OLI C MONA RC HS Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragon, joint rulers of the Catholic Monarchy, remain vital, young and active in government affairs, although they should both be pushing sixtyby now. The bishops of the Spanish Crown claim the monarchs’ longevity and good health are gifts of Heaven to the defenders of the True Faith – but rumour tells otherwise. Some talk of a mighty discovery in the New World, a fountain of eternal youth whose waters have the property to rejuvenate a worthy soul. It is said that, every year, the largest Castilian ship travels to the New World with a sizeable escort and comes back almost empty, bringing but a tiny flask of the magi101

cal water to the King and Queen. Another rumour tells of a secret deal between the Catholic Monarchs and a cabal of vampires, the same that oversaw the rise of the Christian Faith a thousand years ago. Whatever the truth, the extended reign of Isabel and Fernando has provided their kingdoms with a rare stability. It is well-known, nonetheless, that those with longer lives tend to think more on the future than the present, and spend more time plotting than hunting – which means a big war may be coming in the heart of Europe.

Pagan Domains T HE F AI R Y ARM IE S King Arthur, Enemy of God, Lord of the Faerie, Champion of the Druids, was thought to be dead. However, rumours and legends say otherwise - many claim that the attacks on British Churches up North are his doing. They say he launches raids from the magical land of Avalon and rides side by side with faerie warriors and other monsters. For many, he is a villain; for others, a hero. Not everyone is happy with the new world order set by Kings and Churches. And while the British Throne is busy trying to compete with the Catholic Monarchs in colonising the New World, it seems they have a revolt in their midst. English kings are not afraid, as Arthur and his allies were defeated once; God stood true, and there is no reason for that to change. Or is there?

V A M P I R E L O RDS In Eastern Europe, the Vampire lords rule over mankind. Although this is well known by the Church, they pretend to ignore the vampires’ true nature, because it is only the reign of terror of these creatures that keeps the Muslim kingdoms at bay and out of Europe. The Vampires know they are protected by this situation and they prosper. Some are said to be even be better rulers to people than human kings were, while others are only known for their thirst of blood and power. Some vampire lords are known for their desire to become Christian, and the Church fears the day they won’t be able to say no if they want to keep their religious control of the Old Continent.

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TH E NORTH In the lands of the Norse, some kingdoms have sworn allegiance to giants and become their servants in exchange for their help expelling the Christ and his Roman priests from their ancient lands. Their religion, although dwarfed and mauled by the death of most of its priests at the hands of Catholic armies, is still alive in the forests and the mountains where the Christian faith does not dare enter, in fear of the giants and other creatures of the Devil. A few greedy lords of the North have embraced Christ, to maintain their power and independence from both the giants and the Christian kingdoms. The fight rages strong, and many Crusades have been led by valiant dragon riders to vanquish the old faith from the land. Rome may very well someday prevail, but at what cost?

European culturE After the rise, fall and rebirth of the Empire of Mortals in Europe, first with Rome and now with Christianity, two traits have come to define European culture: ambition and human supremacy. First, Europeans value material benefit, expansion, wealth and conquest, be it of land, social status or personal success. Second, they have sworn eternal war against the Spirit World, bravely resisting the power of spirit creatures, denying all spiritual faiths, and hunting down those cultures, witches and priests that seek to contact or befriend the Spirit World. Even the Europeans’ spiritual faith is designed to invalidate the Spirit World – contradictory as this may seem – claiming that God and Heaven only concern and belong to humans and their souls, with all other beings, natural and supernatural, classified as lesser, if not outright evil, creatures. Another contradiction is that, while all Europeans strive for a life of wealth and privilege, they honestly value hard work and individual effort. The same man that expects to one day become pampered and rich, is willing to give every inch of his strength and toil to achieve that expectation. Europeans are not afraid of getting dirty, bloody or into dangerous situations, being in fact fond of throwing their lives away on a whim, like facing impossible odds for little chance of gain, or duelling to the death for a slight offence.

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Virtue and Penance Since it embraces material wellbeing and rejects the Spirit World, European culture has become one of solid things, solid ambitions and hard truths. For Europeans, what matters is how much one owns and how much one enjoys it. Funnily enough, their culture also espouses a very abstract religion, without idols, magic displays or solid proof of anything, where all rewards are unattainable until after one dies. The average European believes in Heaven as an ideal that will only come after death, and simultaneously will spend his life looking for tangible pleasures and security, even if it sometimes contradicts or threatens his spiritual standing. Thus, European religions have come to equate penance with virtue, and pleasure with vice, as the people strive for mundane rewards while faith teaches that such rewards are impure. Even the image of their foremost religious figure, Jesus Christ, the earthly avatar of their One God, is associated, most of all, with poverty, torture and sacrifice – while His priests swim in gold, privilege and political favours.

Kings and Emperors Although it remains fragmented among dozens of small states, Europe is a monarchy through and through. The smallest nation boasts a king, and the largest kingdoms became such by absorbing smaller ones by force, or through a myriad of diplomatic tactics. The result is a network of petty wars, intrigues, politics, assassinations and arranged marriages that decide which family controls which land – with bloody feuds erupting even, or most commonly, among the children of a single family. One power that all ruling houses must obey equally is that of the Catholic Church, known officially as the Holy Roman Empire, under the rule of a Pope that oversees Christian faith throughout all kingdoms. The Pope is an incredibly powerful Christian priest, with the power to bless or curse entire armies or dynastic lines. While officially holding no political influence in mundane matters, the Pope can, and glad103

T H E O R IG IN OF THE DR AG ON R IDE R S The town had a small lake with a plague-bearing dragon living in it and poisoning the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene fed it two sheep every day. When they ran out of sheep, they started feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king’s daughter. The king, in his grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver, and half of his kingdom, if his daughter was spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. By chance, Saint George rode past the lake. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the lake while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon’s neck. When he did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become Christians and be baptised. Fifteen thousand men, including the king of Silene, converted to Christianity. When George was about to kill the creature as promised, the king’s daughter stood on his way and said that if the dragon were to consent and become Christian as well, he should pardon its life as well. George was thunderstruck, but he agreed. The dragon converted out of love for the king’s daughter, rather than love of its own life. Thus, the dragon became Silene’s protector and the first of the dragons to protect the Christian faith. It fell in battle many years later, against the heretics in Palestine; the king’s daughter died riding it. Her name now immortal, she is remembered as the first dragon rider, venerated by all women who followed her steps and rode the dragon’s progeny for the greater glory of Christ: Saint Sabra, the first of her kin.

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ly does, place or remove kings through his support or disapproval. Thus, adherence to Christian faith has become one of the mightiest tools in the European political landscape. The strongest families currently in power in Europe are the Habsburgs, which control the ruling houses of most kingdoms through their influence on the Holy Roman Empire, particularly in Northern Europe; the Trastámaras, which rule Castile, Aragon, Barcelona, Navarre, Naples, and now the burgeoning Spanish Empire; the Valoises, which rule France, Orléans, Anjou and Burgundy; and the Tudors, a smaller but defiant house that maintains an iron grip on the British islands, and is often at odds with the Holy Church itself.

Pride and Prejudice Finally, if there is one common trait that unites all European nations, is that they do not wish to be united. All European peoples are chauvinistic to a fault, convinced of their own superiority and the weakness of their neighbours. The French know the French are the best at everything, the British know the British are peerless, the Venetians know that Venice is the greatest country of all, and so on. “Europe is the land of God, but my land is His favourite”, seems to be the slogan of every European country. By the same token, every European kingdom has associated stereotypes by which other nations know and mock them – French are puffy dandies, Austrians have a collective pole up their asses, Venetians are street scoundrels, Britons are hot-blooded boors, and so on. Although all Europeans will half-jokingly deride and compete against each other over everything and for any reason, they will always agree on one thing: that non-Christians are universally, vastly and doubtlessly inferior. For the traditional Catholic Church, the supremacy of humans specifically applies to Christian humans, and many Europeans regard peoples of other faiths or nations as subhuman beings, to the point of debating whether they have souls.

Dragon Riders The Catholic Church sees most dragons as evil snakes of Satan, but the progeny of Saint Sabra’s dragon followed Christ, like he did. Now, most kingdoms of Europe have a small group of dragons who serve their King and God – and sometimes use these dragons to fight among themselves, as different kings have different perspectives about what God wants. Muslim kingdoms have dragons of their own, which Catholics consider just as

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evil as Satan’s – or worse. It is said that the Chinese Emperor is a dragon himself. There are many breeds of European dragons. The bloodline of Sabra’s dragon produces the largest specimens, as big as the largest ships, their wings larger than sails. They are fire breathers, and among the strongest creatures on Earth. However, they cannot fly for long, let alone cross the ocean to the New World. There are very few of these dragons: the Spanish Empire has three of them, France has five, Austria has four, and it is uncertain how many the Crusader orders have. They are widely regarded to be as smart as a person, and they can talk. They are so large that two dozen rider nuns are required to ride one of them. Blue dragons are the most common European beasts, several times bigger than a horse. They usually carry a single nun rider, or a couple of novices. They can’t breathe fire, but they are quite brave, and may fly for kilometres at a time. They are smarter than a horse or a dog, but they can’t talk. Each great kingdom usually has a few hundred of these dragons. These two breeds are the best know, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, of less common species, coming in all sizes and with all kinds of abilities. Dragons have one thing in common. If tamed, they will only follow orders from a female human – never a male. It is not clear why, but the fact has changed the way society treats women in some ways, mostly in that they may now serve in the military and gain ranks within it, as they are needed to control dragon armies. For some farmer folk, it only means that, besides marrying off their daughters or sending them away to be nuns, they can also send them to the military, while still discriminating them in most other ways. If dragons were wildly common, a large percentage of women could be trained to be their riders, and this would create a change in the balance of power, which would then change the roles of all women, even those who would never become riders. This is what the Dragon Breeders Society intents, for example. But for now, women in Europe, save for noblewomen and dragon riders, remain in most aspects of life second-rate citizens, despite advances towards a different view. European dragons were the first to be tamed, but they were not the first to be part of civilization; before Saint Sabra, human societies had established other arrangements with dragonkin: For many civilizations, dragons were divine beings, worthy of worship. Some kingdoms were directly under dragon rule, others accepted dragon protection in exchange for food, and so on.

Christian dragons are not the only tamed ones, either. Soon after Saint Sabra’s dragon, the Muslim kingdoms learned from their opponents, and did the same with the few dragons that still lived in their lands.

Language Europe is home to countless tribes, each with its own language or dialect. Although Latin remains as a shared language across Christendom, it’s only taught to academics and nobility; most still need to learn at least one foreign language to communicate between Kingdoms.

LI ST OF EUROPEAN LANGUAGES Most Europeans in Dragons Conquer America come from the Spanish Empire, and thus speak Castilian, the lingua franca of their federation, or other Spanish language such as Catalan and/ or Aragonese. Most Spanish languages are mutually intelligible with Castilian, but many aren’t, and European characters in DCA tend to be multilingual. LANGUAGE

SPEAKERS

Castilian

Castilian Spanish

Aragonese

Aragonese Spanish

Andalusi

Andalusian Spanish, Arab Spanish, Jewish Spanish

Basque

Basque

Catalan

Catalan

Galego

Galician, Portuguese

Latin

Roman

Taino

Lucairi Natives

Darija

Arab

English

English

French

French

Tuscan

Tuscan, Corsican, Florentine

Veneto

Venetian

Zeneize

Genoese

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C A S T I L I AN N AM E S Personal and family names in Castilian culture were already very developed by the time of their arrival to the New World. Most family names relate to an ancestor’s trade or place of origin, but many also include the affix -ez, meaning ‘descendant of’; thus, Gómez means ‘descendant of Gomar’, López means ‘descendant of Lope’, and so on. ‘De’ before a last name means ‘of’, indicating the character uses his family’s place of origin as a last name.

FEMALE NAMES

FEMALE NAMES

MALE NAMES

Many Castilian characters add a second last name, so as to include their mother’s or other ancestors’ family name. Sometimes both last names are separated by an ‘y’, meaning ‘and’. For example, ‘Pérez y Díaz’, or ‘De Avila y Gutiérrez’. Spanish Nobles, gentry and merchants often include the title ‘Don’ or ‘Doña’ before their name, as a mark of class and respect. The following are some of the most common names and family names used in Castilian Spanish, to help you and your group choose names for characters and places. MALE NAMES

SURNAMES

SURNAMES

Águeda

Juana

Agustín

Jaime

de Aguilar

González

Ana

Juliana

Alonso

Jerónimo

de Alvarado

Gutiérrez

Andrea

Leonor

Álvaro

Juan

de Espinosa

Hernández

Angela

Lucia

Andrés

Lope

de Herrera

Jiménez

Antona

Luisa

Antonio

Lorenzo

de la Cruz

Juárez

Antonia

Magdalena

Baltasar

Lucas

de la Fuente

López

Barbola

Margarita

Bartolomé

Luis

de León

Martín

Beatriz

María

Carlos

Manuel

de Medina

Martínez

Catalina

Mariana

Cristóbal

Marcos

de Mendoza

Méndez

Clara

Marina

Diego

Martín

de Montoya

Muñoz

Constanza

Mayor

Esteban

Mateo

de Ribera

Núñez

Cristina

Melchora

Felipe

Matías

de Rojas

Ortiz

Damiana

Mencía

Francisco

Miguel

de Salazar

Pérez

Elvira

Olalla

Gabriel

Nicolás

de Torres

Ramos

Floriana

Quiteria

Gaspar

Pedro

de Trujillo

Rodríguez

Francisca

Sancha

Gonzalo

Rodrigo

del Valle

Ruiz

Inés

Susana

Gregorio

Santiago

Díaz

Sánchez

Isabel

Teresa

Hernán

Sebastián

García

Suárez

Jerónima

Úrsula

Hernando

Tomás

Gómez

Vázquez

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ReligioN Officially, the only universal agreement between European cultures is their adoption of the Christian Church, based on the words of the ancient priest Yeshua of Nazareth, which modern Europeans know as Iesus Christus, about the One God. The ‘God’ figure of Christianity embodies totality, like the Nahua concept of teotl, but Europeans represent it as an entity with a face, a name and human features. God is an almighty, allwise and all-knowing entity, architect of the entire Universe, mightier than any force and greater than any deity. Even the major non-Christian faiths, like Judaism and Islamism, recognise and revere the same One God as the Supreme Creator of all that exists, and reject any other divine figure or entity. Virtually no European has any doubt that God exists, and that He rules all human actions, their thoughts and destiny. Christus, or Jesus Christ, was a Jewish priest in the Roman-controlled land of Canaan, four centuries before Saint George and Saint Sabra lived. He preached austerity, humility, low-profile devotion, forgiveness and peace, even among enemies; such teachings were seen as radical and even dangerous, and the Roman Empire persecuted Christian sects as radicals, their members banished or executed, until the times of Saint Sabra. After the taming of the Dragon of Silene, the Catholic Church rose in Rome, adopted Jesus’ doctrine and acknowledged him as the true Son of God, presumably because Christian dragons were becoming a useful war tool, or else because a cabal of mighty priests, or even a dragon in human form, instigated Christian worship from behind the scenes. Whatever the reason, Catholic Christianity spread like wildfire, and became the only official religion of every European Kingdom, a situation that has lasted more than a thousand years. This new era of single-religion rule returned mortals to supremacy in the continent, gave rise to the longest stable kingdoms in human history, established a common set of laws, a common language – Latin – and a single purpose for millions of Europeans, whose lives, thoughts and freedom still depend on a small citadel in Rome – Vatican City, house of the Pope and Capital of Christianism.

Catholic miracles, not magic Europeans don’t see their rituals as ‘magic’. In fact, Catholicism condemns all forms of wizardry and contact with spirits, having relegated all non-mortal creatures to the status of devils, demons or monsters. Only God Himself can grant spells to European priests, and they are not called spells but miracles. Other than the One God and His True Son and founder of his Church, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Pantheon is composed only of Saints – Christian priests or martyrs whose deeds merit worship, as determined by the Catholic Church’s official judgement. Thus, Catholicism is monotheistic, although it allows saint worship; it prosecutes wizardry, although it allows magic miracles inspired directly by God; and it denies any political power, despite having the mightiest monarchies of the world wrapped around its finger.

Satan’s darkness The Enemy, the Adversary, the Devil, the Deceiver. Satan is always lurking and waiting, for he is nothing if not patient and cunning. Those who use the power of miracles are his favourite targets, as they welcome power, and only the most knowledgeable can tell when it comes from Darkness instead of Light. Nobody knows who or what Satan is. He may be a servant of God that fell from grace, as the Catholic Church claims. He may be an old spirit, who remembers a time before the Age of Mortals, and wishes to take revenge on humans for their rise to power. He may be a mischievous, dark side of God Himself. Whatever his nature, he has made his business to thwart and corrupt Christian priests across the world, and across the centuries. Although the Church denies it, there is a shadow, a taint, spreading across its structure – even its highest, most righteous ranks. Numerous religious orders fall to the Darkness and need to be purged. Entire towns are possessed by demons and must be exterminated before they complete their invocation rites. The number of bishops, nobles, and powerful folk who worship Satan in secret is unknown, and it falls to Rome alone to uncover and purge them at once.

Lands of Gaia In the deep countryside throughout the European continent, traditions are hard to change, and Christian rites are mixed with older beliefs.

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Farmers protect their local witches, satyrs, spirits and faerie, hiding them from the priests; while they all pray to the Holy Mother of Christ, they never forget to make a small sacrifice to the creatures of the old Gods either. To many, these beings are the greater danger to Christianity. Everyone agrees that untamed dragons are vermin, but the Ladies of the Fields and their fellow supernatural creatures seem to offer more than the Church to the simple folk who, in their ignorance, are willing to risk their entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven for a rich harvest.

Factions and forceS

The Indies Officially under Spanish rule, but actually handled by entrepreneurs and native-exploiting encomendados, ‘the Indies’ is the official name given to a long string of settlements located throughout the Continent’s Eastern Sea, and under complete European control. The first of these settlements, San Salvador, was founded by Columbus himself upon finding the land he believed to be East Asia. Now, twenty years later, hundreds of other Spanish adventurers have settled the surrounding islands in the name of Spain. The Governor of the Indies is Columbus’ son Diego, although he rules more for his personal friends and allies than for royal interests, which puts him at odds with official crown envoys because of his ambition over the islands, which he believes his by right.

Hispaniola

As said, most European colonists to the New World come from the Spanish Empire, that is, the Crown of Castile and Aragón. However, there are many sailors, adventurers and explorers from other nations, and even those belonging to the Spanish Crown tend to have their own agenda, independent from their Kingdom’s goals.

This was the first native island to become fully conquered by Europeans, who manage it under the encomienda plantation system, having enslaved its Lucairi inhabitants to exploit their resources for the Spanish crown. Currently, there are dozens of independent haciendas in the island, and at least three Spanish dragons that patrol its skies, keeping the natives in check.

There are two classes of Europeans in the New World: duly-appointed representatives, which manage affairs in an official capacity and are expected to report back to the Spanish crown, and independent prospectors and landowners, which receive grants from the crown to venture and invest in settling and conquest. Independent colonists are subject to the authority of official representatives, but often ignore it, as the colonies still have very little enforcing power.

The island was formerly known as Ayiti, and housed five different nations of Lucairi natives. These nations fell to the rapacious invasion of European conquerors looking to seize the New World’s riches, and the island, now christened Hispaniola, became the power centre of European domination in the new colonies.

There is a significant native population in European colonies, mostly belonging to the Taino/ Lucairi tribes, which inhabited the islands before the arrival of Columbus. Lucairi people – which most Europeans still refer to as indios, even though they have learned the New World is not India as previously thought – are under obligation to serve as manual labour for the colonists, which have setup encomiendas, that is, settlements and plantations where a handful of Europeans manage the workforce of hundreds of indios.

C URSE OF TH E ORI SH A

The following are the most important political factions within the European Colonies in the New World.

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Santo Domingo, Diego Columbus’ fortress and the capital of the Indies, is located at Hispaniola, overseeing the island’s Southeastern coast. As the natives of Hispaniola became exhausted and depressed by enslavement, Europeans brought hundreds of African slaves to help exploit local resources – which caused some ancient African curses to spread silently through the island, affecting Europeans and natives alike. The first reports of walking undead have caused some landlords and their servants to leave plantations deserted, waiting for Christian inquisitors to cleanse the scourge. But the African Orisha spirits have just begun to weave their magic among the local population, and the struggle promises to be long and savage.

the old wor ld

Cuba

Lucairi Peoples

Cuba, also known as Isla Juana in the name of Prince Juan of Asturias, is the largest island in the so-called Indies, with a dense native population that Europeans have not yet fully conquered. Baracoa, the first permanent European settlement in Cuba, has become the spearhead of a slow but steady effort to conquer the island, under the command of governor Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, a weathered Castilian Hidalgo and a favourite of viceroy Diego Columbus. Although the Lucairi people of Cuba remain belligerent, it’s only a matter of time before the entire island falls under Spanish rule.

The Lucairi, which Europeans know as indios, or taino, as per the native ruling class, were the former inhabitants of the so-called Indies – the island chain to the East of the New World.

HE R N AN D O CORTÉ S There is one man. He is a smart, enterprising hidalgo, who distinguished himself in the first raids against the indios under Diego Velázquez’ command. His name is Hernando Cortés, and already Velázquez is caught between admiration and unease. The young hidalgo is as resourceful as he is brave, and the governor is torn between giving him a more advanced position to make better use of his talents, or do away with him altogether, before his considerable wits turn to dangerous ambition.

The Lucairi were peaceful and easy-going people, with a lenient government and a good relationship to nature spirits. When the first European invaders arrived, the Lucairi welcomed them with amused curiosity, but Columbus and his successors betrayed their trust, enslaving them and taking their lords and wizards by surprise. The Lucairi were decimated, their nation all but wiped out, in less than a decade. Even the gentle nature spírits that guarded the Lucairi islands fell, routed or dispelled before Christian miracles. To date, most native tribes of the islands have been forced into servitude at European haciendas and settlements.

TH E RULE

For now, Cortés seems content with the reward of getting his own land and slaves, but Velázquez cannot shake the feeling that the young captain may yet be the cause of the expedition’s glory - or its utter ruin.

The Lucairi had a simple class division – everyone was naboria, that is, common people, save the taino, who were their ruling and priest caste. Taino priests could speak to the wind and waves, but their guardian spirits fell to the might of Christian magic, and most Lucairi or Taino wizards have all but lost their powers, save for the most belligerent chieftain in the few remaining native rebel sites.

Other Settlements

Kalina

There are a few other, smaller European settlements, at the islands known as San Juan and New Sevilla, all under the control of governors that Columbus placed there during his later voyages. These are also a part of the Indies, although they remain somewhat isolated from the stronger European presence at Hispaniola.

The Lucairi have a long-standing feud with the Kalina, a fierce and territorial tribe from the southern mainland. The Kalina have long battled the Lucairi for control of their territory, and managed to oust the Lucairi from their southernmost islands.

Finally, a couple of European colonies managed to reach the continental mainland, to the South of Hispaniola. The settlers there have not dared enter or contact the native Lenca territories, but have managed to subsist by bringing Lucairi and African slaves to man the plantations. These settlements, the first European outposts in the mainland, are little more than trading ports and resupply stations, but have proven there is a new continent to the southwest of the Indies, and confirmed the New World was not Asia after all.

The Kalina have a cruel, bloodthirsty religion, where all spirits and supernatural forces are monsters, and all mortals can do is appease or oppose them. The best Kalina warriors and priests have mastered the art of becoming as cruel and relentless as nature demons, to face them on even terms. Kalina peoples are almost unknown to European colonists, which call them Caribes. The few, bloody encounters with these violent natives have made it clear to Europeans that the Kalina ask for no quarter, take no prisoners and play no games. For their part, the Kalina see Europeans as sea demons, and treat them as such.

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Game overvieW D

R AG O N S C O N Q U E R A ME RI C A

uses a unique roleplaying system called the RPC Engine, or RolePlaying Cards Engine (ironically enough, it can use six sided dice too, but we’ll get into that later). Due to the amount of cards used in each deck in this iteration of the system, DCA’s system is called RPCE25.

This system is different from others you may have used before, and as such it may prove a bit tricky to wrap your head around it when you first get started. We assure you that once you get the hang of it, it is a very rewarding system, and it can give you a very satisfying degree of control over the stories you create and the actions of your characters. To ease your introduction into this system, below you will find a quick overview of the key rules. This overview is by no means exhaustive and probably won’t allow you to get a game going just by reading it; however, it should give you a basic understanding of how everything fits together when you delve deeper into the actual rules.

Storytelling & Role Playing Dragons Conquer America is, at its core, a traditional roleplaying game. This means that every rule in this book has but one purpose; to empower the creation of your own roleplaying stories populated with your own unique characters, in a world that you construct as you play.

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The golden rule If at any point during a session the Game Master deems it necessary to bend, adapt, change, or otherwise ignore any of the rules described in this book in the interest of the narrative, players must respect their GM’s decision. It is only before starting a campaign, or after a session is ended, that players are encouraged to discuss as a group what kind of adventures they would like to play, as well as how the rules in this book should be used to ensure the most fun for everybody.

Because of this, the most important aspects of these rules focus on actions, i.e., the things that characters do, how to resolve those things, and what consequences may arise from the success or failure of those things. The RPCE25 resolution system is based around each player having their own hand of playing cards (or pool of six sided dice) to represent their character’s stamina. Due to the way this system works (you need to decide when is the best time to play each of these cards if you are to succeed) the gameplay is more strategic than just rolling dice to ascertain the results of a random encounter. However, you shouldn’t think about this as “meta-gaming”, or playing a game inside of a game. Instead, the RPCE25 system models

decisions we all make in our everyday life such as making a conscious effort to avoid getting tired, deciding to go all out to ensure success, or anything in between.

Actions Actions, or “the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim” if you are a dictionary fiend, are at the core of the gameplay of Dragons Conquer America. Performing actions, or more appropriately, trying to perform them, propels the story forward. Walking, eating, drinking, fighting, shoplifting, casting a spell, jumping over a cliff… there are as many actions as verbs are in a language. Depending on the kind of action a character is trying to perform, and on whether or not the action faces any opposition; the GM will use a different resolution mechanic to determine the outcome of the action. If the player is trying to perform an action that is not feasible (“I want to fly to Jupiter!”), the GM should just politely ignore the request. If the player is trying to perform a feasible action, the GM has several tools to determine what happens next available at her disposal: Mundane actions such as walking or breathing should be automatically successful and the GM should allow them to be performed without question. The same goes for actions that are a little bit more difficult but do not find any opposition

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(“We need to climb over that cliff, I’ll go first.”); these should also be automatically successful in the majority of situations. What this means is that, if your character is at all capable of doing it, in DCA you will always climb up all cliffs and open all the treasure chests you come across. It may take you a very long time or require a lot of effort, but it will eventually get done and it will not require any check, confrontation, card play, or die roll of any kind. However, many a times characters need to get difficult things done quickly. They may be fleeing from a dangerous foe, an avalanche may be falling upon them, or something of similarly tragic consequences may be about to happen, in which case the GM will use a Time Sensitive Event or TSE (page 132) to represent the situation. Other times, they may have to face other people, monsters, spirits, dragons… in which case the GM will use non-player characters or NPCs to face the player characters. Such situations are resolved using Confrontations (page 120). Confrontations depart from the usual action resolution mechanics found in other games in that they always are two way streets: they are not just used to determine the success or failure of a character, but instead they determine who succeeds and who fails in a bout against a Non-Player Character (NPC) or Time Sensitive Event (TSE). This is because characters have a chance to react to what’s happening to and around them using Counteractions such as dodging incoming arrows, attacking their enemies back, take shelter to avoid the avalanche, get to the top before the cliff starts falling down, or anything they can think of to avoid whatever is about to happen to them; which usually means that failing at somebody gives their opponents the chance to succeed at what they were trying to accomplish. Other times, the GM may want to hide some pieces of information from the players (“The cliff wall has quite a few cracks and it may fall off if someone tries to climb it, I wonder whether the character will notice it before starting the final climb”). In such situations, the GM can use a Check (page 122) to determine whether a character acquires some piece of information or suffers the consequences of not knowing it. Checks depart from TSEs in that characters don’t necessarily know whether or not they succeeded at them, and are a very good tool for the GM to keep them on their toes. And last but not least, when some or all of these situations happen in a moment in which the timing of who does what first is important, the GM should start a

Round (page 130), which will help the group determine the order in which each character can act.

Resolution Mechanics All the resolution mechanics listed above (Checks and Confrontations) have the aim of determining whether a character is successful or not and to what degree, as well as any unpredicted consequences that may arise (page 126). To do so, players will have to look at their character sheet, play cards (or roll dice!) from their hand or deck depending on the situation, and look at the values and suits of the cards they played. In general, high values will help them succeed, whereas low values and appropriate suits will allow them to draw new cards to stay fresh (page 128). To learn how to resolve Confrontations you can go to page 120 and to learn how to resolve Checks you can go to page 122.

Formatting Core rules and setting are written in the same format as this paragraph. These sections contain the most fundamental part of this rulebook. Think of these rules as the backbone of the RPC engine: without a thorough understanding of them, you won’t be able to play DCA. Additional or optional rules, as well as more advanced rules, are presented in this format. We recommend that you ignore them at first, and begin to add them in as you become more comfortable with the core rules, and you should pick and choose those rules that make the most sense for your group and your particular campaign - you don’t need to use them all.

In grey background you’ll find rules that require special attention or that you shouldn’t forget about when glancing at the page.

Throughout the rules you will find many examples of the rules in action. These are formatted in italics to help you navigate the book more easily. Lastly, you will find many sections of green text similar to this one. They contain tips, tricks and recommendations that will probably help you understand the original purpose of the rules, as well as give you ideas of how to actually put the rules to good use in your games. 113

CONFLICT

The gaming toolS B

S O C I AL

E F O RE Y O U G E T started with Dragons

Conquer America you’ll want to gather a few materials and familiarise yourself with them, such as this book, character sheets, and a choice of playing cards or six sided dice. Yes, you’ve read correctly: this game can be played with either cards or dice. It is possible for different people in the same group to use either, or to change their choice of gaming tool at the start of a session with the approval of the GM.

This book EX P L O R AT I O N

D I V I NE

JOKER

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The first and most important material you need to play DCA is this book, be it in its digital or physical edition. In it, you can find not only the rules (page 108), characters (page 136), and gear (page 216), but also a detailed description of the game’s setting (page 6) and a host of advice to build your own stories and campaigns (page 394). This book is rife with examples, tips and tricks you can use to enhance your gaming sessions.

The character and GM sheets As in most RPGs, in DCA players roleplay a character, and they use a character sheet to describe them. Character sheets contain a character’s skills, traits, talents, gear, and just about everything else that can be written down about a character. You can find the character creation rules on page 136 and a blank character sheet you can photocopy for your personal use on page 422.

Unlike in other RPGs, in DCA the game master also uses a sheet of her own. In the GM sheet, she can keep track of each character’s traits, be them positive or negative, as well as the corruption they may have accumulated during their use of magical abilities and any notes she may feel are relevant for the good development of her story.

The playing cards The playing cards are one of the two tools players can use to determine the outcome of their actions. These cards are played each time characters face any kind of difficulties to add their value to the character’s action value, and their suit may provide a small boon.

DC A DEC KS To play DCA with cards, you need either custom DCA cards or regular poker decks. To use a regular poker deck, you just need to take into account the following: Remove all cards except the aces, which will have a value of one; cards numbered two through six; and one of the jokers. Then, apply the following conversion to the suits: Spades means Conflict, Hearts means Social, Clubs means Exploration, and Diamonds means Divine. You need one deck per player (including the GM) and you should avoid mixing cards with each other’s decks. This will give everyone at the table even odds. If you don’t have enough decks for that, you can shuffle as many decks as you have and construct a common deck for everybody; or use one deck for the GM and an-

the rules

other for the players (the deck for the players should be composed of at least as many decks as half the number of players).

T H E V AL UE S The values of the playing cards in DCA range from one (ace) to six, except for the Joker which has no value and instead affects the Consequences of the action (see page 126).

THE SUITS DCA cards have four suits: Conflict, Exploration, Social, and Divine. A card of any suit can be played for any kind of action, but the clever use of the playing card suits and values will allow characters to conserve their energies (see Drawing Cards on page 128 for more details). ■ Conflict relates to fighting, chases, duels, etc. ■ Exploration relates to investigating, finding clues, climbing, swimming, following tracks, stepping into the unknown, etc. ■ Social relates to talking, convincing, commanding, diplomacy, lying, etc. ■ Divine relates to any kind of action that involves the use of magic, regardless of the type of action (conflict, exploration, or social). Notable exceptions are encounters against magical creatures and the use of magical gear, unless those are performed using magic.

T H E H AND OF CAR DS In DCA, all players except the GM have a hand of cards. A player’s hand of cards represents their character’s stamina, how much fuel they have left in the tank, how capable they are of performing great efforts and impressive feats. The maximum stamina characters can have is represented by their maximum hand of cards, which is determined by their age. If at any point anyone draws more than their maximum, they must discard down to their maximum Characters can only muster the strength they have, and thus players can only play cards from their hand unless specifically instructed otherwise by another rule. When a player plays a card, he can choose which one from his hand.

of the deck is drawn, the discard pile must be shuffled to set up a fresh deck. For the same reason, players cannot look at other players’ hand of cards, nor tell each other the values of the cards in their hands. They are however free to discuss how tired they feel day based on their hand of cards without mentioning specific values. E.g. “I am feeling strong today”, “I could keep doing this all day long”, “I don’t think I can survive another encounter”, or “I feel like I should crawl to a corner and make myself into a tiny, tiny ball until danger has passed”. Lastly, cards cannot be played, discarded, or drawn at will. Players must always follow the rules to play, discard, and draw cards at all times.

PLAYI NG C ARDS When characters enter a confrontation, i.e., some kind of bout against a non-player character (NPC) or time sensitive event (TSE), they will play cards. Player characters must always play cards from their hands, whereas NPCs and TSEs (i.e., the GM) must play from the top of the GM’s deck.

DI SC ARDI NG C ARDS Cards are discarded to activate certain abilities, resolve Checks, and other effects as instructed by the rules. When a card is discarded, it is moved directly to the discard pile without being played. As a general rule, discarded cards must come from a player character’s hand. However, certain effects and abilities may instruct players otherwise, or give them the choice to discard a card from the top of the deck as well. If a card is discarded from a PC’s hand, he can choose which card to discard unless instructed otherwise. Non-player characters can not discard cards. Instead, they suffer as many disadvantages towards their next confrontation as cards they had to discard. Time sensitive events can not discard cards.

Stamina is tricky to measure, so players can not look into the deck or the discard pile, nor shuffle or mix previously used cards into the deck. Whenever a card is used, it is placed in the discard pile. When the last card

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The dice

CONFLICT

While this rulebook is written assuming you will use cards as your gaming tool of choice, this iteration of the RPC Engine can be played using six sided dice (D6) in five different colours, one for each suit plus another for the jokers. Playing with dice follows the same rules as playing with cards, with the notable exception of one extra step during the resolution of confrontations (see page 120). To interpret this rulebook correctly, you only need to keep in mind the following tips: ■ Play a card = roll a die

S O C I AL

■ Draw a card = draw a die from the reserve

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TH E DI C E RESERVE The dice that are not in any player’s pool are kept in the dice reserve, similarly to what happens with the cards that are in a deck rather than in the hand of a player. However, you only need one dice reserve and it is shared among all players who are using dice.

To play DCA with dice, you need either custom DCA dice or regular D6 in five colours. To use regular D6, you just need to take into account the following:

Whenever a die is discarded or rolled and resolved, it is put back in the reserve; and whenever a die must be drawn, it is taken from the reserve.

For every three or less players using dice, you need one set of twenty five dice, six in each of four colours plus another to represent the joker in a different colour. It is best if the dice are of the same size and texture and cannot be distinguished by touch. We recommend the following suit equivalence: red for Conflict, green for Exploration, white for Social, yellow for Magic, and black for the jokers. Lastly, you will need some kind of opaque container that doesn’t allow you to see the dice when you draw them, such as a drawstring bag or something similar, to build your dice reserve.

THE POOL OF DICE

J O KE R

■ After you roll a die and resolve it, put it back in the dice reserve.

DCA DICE

■ Deck of cards = dice reserve

D I V I NE

■ Each time you are instructed to play a card, choose a die from your pool and roll it.

The dice reserve should be put in a place easily accessible to all the players but that somehow doesn’t let them see the dice themselves, such as an opaque bag that prevents players from knowing which die they are drawing.

■ Hand of cards = dice pool

EX P L O R AT I O N

■ Each time you are instructed to draw a card to your hand, draw a die from the reserve and add it to your dice pool.

Similarly to the way card players use hands of cards, dice players use an individual pool of dice each. To play with dice instead of cards, you just need to follow these simple rules:

The main difference between playing with cards and playing with dice is that with cards you know the value of what you are playing beforehand, whereas with dice you have to roll it at that moment and see. During confrontations, this is balanced out with the dice-only step that allows you to flip one of your dice (see page 121).

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TimE D

UR I N G A G A ME , time is struc-

tured in four different kinds of time periods, namely Sessions, Scenes, Rounds, and Turns.

Sessions A session is the allocated time frame for playing the game during a day in real life. E.g. that Sunday afternoon when you all have agreed to meet and play. Certain events and abilities have a duration determined by a Session. This assumes most Sessions will represent relatively short in-game periods without long time lapses. If a Session is very long (e.g. you play for 6 hours) or a Session develops during a lot of in-game time (e.g. the players go through a desert for one month, but this only takes you a few minutes or an hour to play), the GM might decide that a Session has ended at any time for game purposes, and start a new Session right away on the same day.

Scenes At the beginning of each scene, all players except the GM draw cards from the deck until they each reach their maximum hand size. A scene is a sequence of events during which the GM narrates what the characters encounter and what happens to them. During a scene, characters are constantly performing actions, with little to no rest periods in between, often within the same location. A player’s hand of cards represents their PC’s stamina, so PCs with a full hand are fresh and

eager, while PCs with very few or no cards in their hands are exhausted and probably demoralised. When characters take a break long enough to restore their energy, it usually means they have reached the end of the scene, and their respective players will have a chance to redraw back to their maximum hand size. There is no set duration or type of event that unequivocally determines the end of a scene, and it is up to the GM to determine when a scene ends. Making scenes longer (more challenging) or shorter (easier) is a great way for the GM to adjust the difficulty of the game. E.g. The player characters plan to enter a temple in the city of Tenochtitlan. They wait for nightfall to avoid the crowds, silently enter the building, and search for the treasures inside. They encounter two temple guards, and after fighting them off, they get the gold and make a run for it. This sequence of events can be played out as a single scene, or be broken down by the GM into several scenes. For example entering the temple without being seen could be one scene, fighting the guards another scene, and escaping to safety could be the final scene. Actions performed during a scene can be resolved in two ways: ■ If an action does not trigger a Round or it is not confronted, it is considered an unconfronted action, and it is successful by default. When performing unconfronted actions, the mood around the table

should be relaxed and conversational. The GM must ensure that all players enjoy a similar amount of time in the spotlight, and allow everyone to describe what their characters do during that period. ■ If there is some kind of in-game conflict — such as a fight, an argument, a chase, or any other type of fast paced or competitive situation during which some characters try to outperform others — then it is time for a Round, which sets the order in which characters can declare actions, or use counteractions to avoid the actions of their opponents.

Rounds Rounds are short outbursts of action in which characters try to outperform others and rush to complete their objectives as best they can in the shortest amount of time. These will be explained in more detail later, and constitute the main mechanical part of the RPC Engine along with the confrontations that happen within them.

Turns Turns are instants during which one character attempts to do something and those affected by him attempt to prevent it or do something that allows them to stop him. Usually each character will only be able to participate in one Turn of their own (or even none!) each Round, but they may be able to take part in several of their opponent’s Turns during the same Round if they are affected by them. 117

ActionS A

C TIONS A R E A C TIVE, conscious activities that

span during a short period of time (a turn); such as attacking, running, talking, dodging, bartering, etc. Anything and everything a character performs actively is an action. In DCA, actions are performed using a Skill value and focus that represent the character’s knowledge in that area. Many actions, either because they are mundane such as eating or because they do not find any opposition such as stabbing a sleeping character, are successful by default and you won’t need to do anything else other than declaring you do it to actually get it done. However, there are many things that can go wrong when attempting an action, and the GM must use the following criteria to regulate what the player characters can and can’t do and to what degree of success: 1. If an action targets or directly affects another character who is aware of the action, that character can choose to perform a counteraction against it, which triggers a confrontation (see page 120). E.g. Amoxtli wants to shoot an arrow at a nearby giant bat. However, the giant bat is close enough and it will try to charge and attack Amoxtli. The outcome of such a bout will be resolved with a confrontation.

During a conflict all enemies are considered aware of actions by the player characters who have been discovered, and therefore they can counteract whatever they do against them.

2. If an action is something that the character could eventually get done if he had enough time or if he had as many tries as he needed, BUT he has a limited time or aims to do it right on the first attempt, the GM can declare a time sensitive event (TSE) (see page 132), wich triggers a confrontation (see page 120). E.g. Fernando wants to climb up into an Inca fortress. He’s a decent climber, which means he would be very likely to get there eventually, but he needs to do it quickly, there’s only a few hours of darkness left and 118

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the guards could see him once the dawn breaks, and he needs to be very careful not to make any noise, or he could risk getting detected. Therefore, the GM declares Fernando must overcome a TSE to achieve his objective in time and without making any noise. 3. If an action is considered impossible to perform in the current situation regardless of the amount of time, effort, will, or desire to do so by the GM, she can cancel the action entirely, and the character may suffer the effects of attempting something impossible. The GM’s judgment and dissuasive power must lead the gameplay forward, and the player should be reminded that off-limits actions can break the gameplay. E.g. Isabel is running from a flock of aggressive birds and jumps down a huge cliff. Landing safely without magical aid is simply impossible, and thus she will suffer damage or even die.

Counteractions Counteractions are actions performed in response to another action with the aim of avoiding its effects or causing it to fail entirely. A counteraction can only be declared by a character after being targeted or affected in any way by the action of another character, and must always have the aim of avoiding the effects of the original action or preventing it completely. Additionally, a counteraction can only affect the character whose action it is trying to avoid or prevent. Examples of causing an action to fail are shooting back at somebody, blinding somebody trying to grapple you, affecting

their senses in an incapacitating way, causing them to trip... Examples of avoiding the effects of an action are diving behind cover, dodging a sword swing, outrunning an opponent trying to chase you down... The only real differences between an action and a counteraction are that counteractions can only be declared as a reaction to an action, and the rule that counteractions can only affect one character - the character whose action they are trying to avoid or prevent. This means that counteractions can not trigger additional counteractions, or be confronted in any other way. If, by any reason, a character ever performs a counteraction that would normally target or affect several characters, it will only affect the character whose action it is trying to avoid or prevent instead. However, for all other intents and purposes counteractions are regular actions and follow the rules of regular actions, which means their effects will be resolved normally if they are successful, causing damage, allowing a character to move, or giving them a chance to convince somebody of something just as if it was a normal action. Actions that deal damage are valid counteractions against other attacks, and if they are successful they are resolved as if the character was attacked first, but managed to avoid their opponent’s attack and hit them instead. Characters can confront any number of actions that target or directly affect them during each Round. However, performing one or more counteractions causes a character to become Spent and forfeit their turn if they have not taken it yet.

Collaborative Actions A collaborative action is a single action performed by more than one character. To perform a collaborative action, all participating players play as a single character, using the Sill value and focus of one of the participating characters. They gain one advantage for each participating character after the first, and they can play cards from any of the participating characters’ hands. Keep in mind that a collaborative action must always be a single action. Somebody kicking a door in so their friend can shoot inside is not a collaborative action, but a well timed chain of events, and if the characters attempting such a feat don’t manage their initiative order correctly, they may not be able to achieve their goal. To determine whether or not something can be considered a collaborative action, look at the most immediate goal of the actions. In the previous example, there are two immediate goals: opening the door and shooting an arrow inside. On the other hand, if two characters try to hold a door closed to prevent a giant creature from getting to them, or try to lift their wounded buddy up to get him to safety, they share a common immediate goal and thus can perform a collaborative action.

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Action Value The action value is a numerical value used to determine the outcome of a character’s action during a confrontation. There are three things that can modify the value of an action: The Skill value, the cards played thanks to the Skill focus, and the Advantages or Disadvantages assigned to the action.

S K I L L V AL UE The Skill value is the initial action value of that character during a confrontation in which he uses that skill.

SKILL FOCUS The Skill focus is the number of cards a character can play during a confrontation in which he uses that skill. The values of the cards a character plays during a confrontation are added to his Skill value and other modifiers to determine the final action value of the character. Just remember: ■ Player characters must play cards from their hand. ■ The GM (playing as a non-player character or a time sensitive event) must play cards from the top of her deck.

A D V AN T AGE S AN D DISADV AN TAGES The Advantages and Disadvantages are all other factors that could affect the outcome of an action, such as positioning, the use of proper (or improper!) equipment, consistent and believable roleplaying, carefully chosen words, favorable (or unfavorable!) weather… They can affect PCs, NPCs, TSEs, and Checks, and they must be ultimately granted or approved by the GM. Advantages (also represented by a “+” symbol) represent having a form of upper hand over an opponent and each adds three points to the character’s initial action value. Disadvantages (also represented by a “-” symbol) represent difficulties or hindrances a character can suffer when trying to perform an action and each subtracts three points from the character’s initial action value.

it is the job of the GM to determine how and when to grant advantages or disadvantages to characters. Some advantageous situations: Standing over a wall to fence off some assaulters. Being undetected to catch someone by surprise. Having longer legs in a race. Using all the right words and ideas in a diplomatic speech. Knowing secret details about someone’s life to convince them you can speak to their ancestors. Some disadvantageous situations: Shooting at something that is partially covered or obscured. Fighting while being restrained. Exploring in the dark. Trying to impress someone while wearing ragged or cheap clothes. Not knowing the same language when trying to communicate with others.

EXH AUSTI ON Although characters can only perform one action during their turn, it is possible that they end up performing several counteractions during a single Round if they are targeted by the actions of other characters. To represent the extra effort required to face many challenges in such a short span of time, each time a character uses a Skill he has already used during the same Round he suffers one additional disadvantage. This effect stacks, so the third time they use the same Skill during a Round they will suffer two disadvantages, the fourth time three disadvantages, and so on.

Keep in mind the initial action value of a character can be negative after considering all disadvantages!

NPC’S EXHAUSTION

Both can be gained through equipment, talents, other abilities that grant them, or through role-playing the situation. A character can gain advantages from several sources at the same time or even several advantages from the same source if the benefit such a source provides is very strong. There are many possibilities, and

NPCs do not have as many separate Skills as PCs, so it remains to the best judgement of the GM when and how to apply the Exhaustion rule to them. Our recommendation is to apply Exhaustion each additional time the NPC does the same kind of thing, such as attacking more than once, dodging more than once, and so on.

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Sometimes, there will be situations that could grant a character an advantage or grant their opponent a disadvantage (e.g., you can argue that standing behind cover gives you an advantage to dodge, and that it gives your opponent a disadvantage to hit you). Since the effect is the same either way, it is important to avoid duplicating the impact of these situations in the outcome of the action, and thus consider only the advantage or only the disadvantage if they come from the same or a very similar source. When performing an action, do not simply state what it is that you intend to do. Instead, explain how you do it and why in order to gain advantages through role-playing. Look for the best way to perform that action, taking into consideration your surroundings and being creative and fun — make it easy for the GM to grant you that valuable advantage!

Attacking Successful attack actions deal as much damage as specified in the description of the weapon used to attack. Attacks without a weapon deal one damage. If you want to learn more about damage and how to resist it, go to page 146. Additionally, sometimes characters may suffer serious injuries, which you can find on page 146. If you are using the rules for gear deterioration, you have additional options. Go to page 220 to learn more about gear deterioration. Note that attacking represents in a single rule everything that goes on when performing an attack without getting into the detail of how it is performed. An attack can therefore be narrated as a single strike, a combination of slashes, a feint and an unexpected sword thrust, or anything else you can come up with. However, the way you narrate an attack does not determine what the attack does. What actually determines what the attack does are the rules for attacking and the rules of the weapon used in the attack, and therefore saying: “I attack the giant snake with a swing to cut off his head” only represents your intention, not what actually happens if you are successful: if you only deal 3 damage but the giant snake has 10 health, you won’t have cut off its head.

Formations When a few characters are grouped together during an encounter, there is a good chance they may be able to help each other overcome whatever problem comes their way. These kind of situations can be resolved using the Formation rules. A Formation is automatically formed when, at any time, two or more allied characters are side by side. Characters who are riding the same small vehicle or beast are likely to be part of the same Formation as well, and if you happen to be playing with miniatures, this happens when the miniatures are in adjacent squares or when their bases are in contact. Characters leave their Formation when they move more than 2.5 metres away from it, cease to be in normal health state, or are attacked from their sides or back. This may result in smaller Formations appearing on either side of the character who left the original Formation if there are enough characters to create such Formations. While in a Formation, any of its members acting with the same Initiative can move simultaneously (either with the short movement characters can perform in addition to their action, or with a running action). Additionally, Formations can trigger abilities from other sources, such as talents or weapons.

What narrating can do, if players describe something in a way that is smart, cool and ingenious, is grant advantages as determined by the GM. It is highly recommended for both the players and the GM to use this as much as they please, as it encourages players to stay involved in the game and can be very rewarding for everyone.

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ConfrontationS C

ON FR ON TATI O N S A RE T H E main tool of the RPC

Engine to determine the success or failure of a character’s actions. Whenever a character attempts to perform an action and another character tries to avoid its effects, or he is forced by the circumstances to do it quickly and efficiently, there will be a confrontation to determine the outcome of the situation. During a Confrontation, the parties involved will compare their skill values, add some modifiers and play cards to add their values to their respective skills and modifiers, and generally the character with the highest total will succeed and others will fail. A confrontation usually involves either two characters or one character and a time sensitive event, and thus it will only involve one action and its respective counteraction. However, there are situations when an action affects more than one character, such as a cannon shot or an avalanche falling upon a group of people, and in those situations all characters affected may end up involved in the ensuing confrontation. For the purpose of clarifying the following explanation, we will call the character performing the action that triggers a confrontation the triggering character, and we will call his action the triggering action.

Resolving a Confrontation To resolve a confrontation, players must always follow the same steps: 1. The triggering character declares an action (the triggering action) and explains which Skill he will use (subject to the approval of the GM), as well as its target or targets if there are any. 2. The GM decides whether or not the action will be confronted by a Time Sensitive Event (TSE) and declares its difficulty as well as its nature and the consequences of failing against it. 3. Any characters affected by the triggering action and who are aware of it now have a chance to declare counteractions and explain which Skill

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they will use (the validity of the counteractions and the skill to be used are subject to the GM’s approval). Counteractions cannot target or affect characters other than the triggering character. However, they can be just as effective as actions. Countering an attack with a successful attack of your own deals the same amount of damage as attacking during your turn.

4. Determine the advantages and/or disadvantages and their sources. Players may describe their plans, and any reasons why they think they deserve advantages or their opponents deserve disadvantages. Then, the GM decides who gains advantages or disadvantages and why. During a confrontation against more than one character, some of the characters involved in the confrontation may have advantages or disadvantages against certain characters but not against others. In that case, calculate the advantages against each character separately and determine the action values, winners, and consequences of each pair of confronted action values separately. Remember: due to Exhaustion (see page 118), characters suffer a disadvantage every time they use again a Skill they have already used during the current Round.

5. At this point, players have the chance to play cards from their hand to increase their respective action values. The player with the currently lowest action value must decide to either play a card or pass. Once a character passes or reaches the limit of cards they can play during a confrontation (their Skill Focus), they can not play any more cards and are not considered when determining the player with the currently lowest action value during this step. If there is more than one character with the lowest action value, all the characters tied for the lowest action value play their cards face down and reveal them simultaneously (or roll their dice at the same time). In order to keep gameplay streamlined, it is important that each participant of a confrontation says the current value of their action out loud each time they play a new card. This way, nobody is forced to calculate the value of the action of their opponent every time he plays a card.

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O NL Y W H EN PLAYIN G W ITH DI C E Once per confrontation, after rolling a die, you can flip it to show its opposite side (turning a result of one into a six, a result of two into a five, a result of three into a four, and vice versa). If you do, consider only the final die result for all purposes, such as applying Proficiency or calculating the player with the currently lowest action value. 6. Step five is repeated until no players can play any more cards. 7. Determine the success or failure of the triggering action and all its counteractions. The triggering action is successful if its value is equal or higher than the action value of all counteractions that could make it fail, and each counteraction with an action value higher than the triggering action is successful as well. The triggering action fails if any counteraction that can make it fail (as opposed to simply avoid its effects) succeeds, and each counteraction with an action value equal or lower than the triggering action also fails. Even if the triggering action is successful, some counteractions may succeed and manage to avoid its effects for the characters that performed them. Only the characters who failed their counteractions and those who didn’t perform a counteraction at all should suffer the effects of a successful action!

E.g. Aapo cuts down the end of the rope-made bridge he just crossed while being chased by a conquistador and a crossbowman. They try to confront it by running back to the other side. In the ensuing confrontation, the crossbowman achieves the highest action value, followed by Aapo, while the conquistador has the lowest action value. The crossbowman manages to jump out of the bridge before it falls down, but the conquistador falls down to his death. Had the crossbowman chosen to shoot at Aapo, he could have damaged Aapo and caused his action to fail. The bridge would have remained intact and the conquistador would still be alive! 8. Apply the consequences of successful actions and counteractions.

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CheckS C

H E C KS AR E T H E resolution tool of choice for sit-

uations that involve some degree of secrecy that the openness of a confrontation result wouldn’t allow, as well as those that would not cause a character to get tired but still require a method to determine their outcome. During a Check, the GM will secretly choose a check difficulty and tell the player which skill will be checked. The player will then discard one or more cards from his deck, and depending on the total value he achieves he will succeed or fail. The GM will then narrate the result as she sees fit, which means the player may never know whether he succeeded or failed. A check does not require intent and it is not an action. It can be performed at any time the GM deems it necessary, and as many times as she deems it necessary. Checks do not cause characters to become Spent, and they do not represent any passing of time. Oftentimes, checks will come up in response to characters attempting things such as searching, walking through dangerous places, or performing rituals; however, the GM does not need to tell players why are they checking nor whether or not they succeeded, and they may very well never discover what the check is about. There are many situations that can call for a check, but most can be grouped in four simple categories. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should give GMs a good idea of when it is appropriate to use a Check as opposed to triggering a Confrontation.

■ A check must be performed when a character should not be aware of what could potentially happen should he succeed (or fail!). A good example is when the GM wants to figure out whether or not she should disclose some information to a character or not.

E.g. Hernando, a Catholic priest, is walking into an ancient Maya temple. Will he sense the dark magic pouring through the old stones before going inside? ■ A check must be performed when a character should not be aware of whether he did something correctly or failed. Some good examples are social interactions with hidden intentions, or exploring the unknown (you won’t miss what you never knew was there in the first place!).

E.g. Cualanimitl, a mexica explorer, is talking to the village elder about a hidden treasure, which he assures was stolen many years ago by an enemy tribe. Will she detect the lie in his facial expression, or will she be fooled by the old man and search for the other tribe later in her adventures? ■ A check must be performed when a character shouldn’t get tired (i.e., shee his hand of cards reduced) after doing something. Some good examples are searching attempts or attempting to stay hidden.

E.g. Cetetl , a maya merchant, suspects the temple guards will talk about their schedule at some point. He is trying to eavesdrop their conversation without anybody noticing. Will he drop by at the right time, hearing the words loudly enough without arising any suspicions? ■ A check must be performed whenever a specific rule calls for it. A good example is attempting to Transcend after performing a certain ritual.

E.g. María Isabel has saved a fellow Christian from dying at the hands of an evil ghost. She feels she deserves a reward for Protecting the faithful, so she attempts to Transcend. Will she get additional spirit or fall to corruption due to her hubris?

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Resolving a Check To resolve a check, players must follow these steps: 1. The GM requests a character or group of characters to perform a check, or a character declares he wants to perform a check and the check is approved by the GM.

lurking and to go another way as it is very likely she could bump into an evil spirit nearby. If she fails, the GM could tell her she hears a strange noise, but she shrugs it off to some bird landing a bit too roughly on a tree branch. Either way, she shouldn’t be too sure of whether or not she’s passed or failed the check!

2. The GM secretly determines the difficulty of the check in secret, taking into consideration the nature of the situation that called for the check. 3. The GM determines the advantages and/or disadvantages the character may suffer. If the player should not be aware of them, the GM should secretly modify the difficulty of the check accordingly. Otherwise, she can let the player know the positive or negative modifier that will apply to his skill value. 4. The GM tells the character which skill he’ll be using depending on the nature of the situation that called for the check. 5. The player draws as many cards from the top of the deck as his Skill focus. Then he adds the value of the highest card to his Skill value and discards all cards. PCs are allowed to draw and discard cards one by one and stop before reaching their limit if they want (this might happen if they draw a high enough card first and don’t want to risk discarding other high cards). Remember a check does not count as performing an action, it does not cause exhaustion, and it does not cause the PC to become Spent.

6. If the final value reached by the player is equal to or higher than the check’s difficulty, he succeeds. Otherwise, he fails. 7. Lastly, the GM narrates the results of the check. She does not have to reveal whether or not it is successful, just what happens after; which means she is free to mislead the characters into believing something that is false if they failed the check. E.g. Maria Isabel is making her way through a dense jungle. Unbeknownst to her there is a dangerous spirit lurking in the vicinity of a particularly ancient tree. The GM asks Maria Isabel to check Survival without telling her why. She suspects something is up, of course (who wouldn’t after a few hours of trekking through a dense jungle without much complications and a suspiciously silent environment?) If she passes the check, the GM will advise her she has felt a dark energy

Check difficulty The difficulty of a check is its numerical value. Check difficulties are indicated by a pair of values X(Y). X indicates the starting value, whereas Y indicates the number of cards played from the GM’s deck. To calculate the final value of the check difficulty, add the value of the highest card played by the check to its starting value and discard the rest of the cards making sure nobody sees them. There are three general check difficulties: easy, which has a difficulty of 3(1); normal, with a difficulty of 6(1); and hard, with a difficulty of 9(1). In some scenarios the player characters will be checking against an NPC, in which case the check difficulty will have a starting value equal to the NPC’s skill value, and play as many cards as the NPC’s skill focus. Lastly, in some situations the player characters will be instructed to check by a specific rule or ability, in which case they will use the difficulty described in that rule or ability.

Repeating failed Checks Failed checks must not be repeated unless the circumstances have changed drastically. E.g. Aapo has failed to detect any danger at the end of the temple’s main tunnel. Unless he uses a spell to help him, throws a lit torch down the corridor, or manages to significantly change the circumstances, he can’t check again for the same thing.

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Distinguishing a Check from a Confrontation It is possible that, depending on circumstantial information, the same situation could very well be resolved as a check or a confrontation. When that happens, it is always up to the GM to decide which of the two resolution tools will be used to determine what happens. The best way to decide between the two is look at who is involved in the situation and to what extent they are or should be aware of all the details surrounding it. If all parties involved are aware of what is happening and they are actively attempting to do something about it, then it is more appropriate to use a Confrontation. On the other hand, when the GM does not want to reveal the nature of what is about to happen to the character involved in the situation, it is probably best to use a Check instead. Additionally, when the GM believes the situation could be resolved without exhausting the PCs involved in it, it can also be resolved with a Check (remember that a PC’s hand of cards represents their stamina). E.g. Cetetl is travelling through a remote area near the Caribbean coast, and little does he know there is a group of Spanish explorers who have prepared an ambush ahead. In this situation, the GM should use a check, because Cetetl shouldn’t suspect what is waiting for him should he fail. If the GM were to rule a confrontation instead, she’ d need to declare which NPC will confront Cetetl, and even if he fails he will get to know there is at least an NPC waiting for him further down the road. On the other hand, if the roles are reversed and this time it is Cetetl who is setting up an ambush to catch a group of Spanish explorers by surprise, the GM can very well rule to use a confrontation using Cetetl’s Stealth, because he is definitely aware of what is happening, and what is more, you could argue that trying to hide is something you do actively, whereas discovering an ambush by chance is something that either happens or doesn’t but does not necessarily require a conscious effort.

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Fear Many a times throughout their adventures, characters may find creatures, places, or situations that are frightening or even terrifying. Sometimes they will brave dangers like the valiant adventurers they are, but other times they may fall prey to their base instincts and be forced to run away. These situations can be resolved using Fear checks. Fear checks are performed at the end of each Round in which characters were exposed to something that caused Fear, or when the GM deems the circumstances of the encounter appropriate to justify a Fear check, and can be affected by advantages or disadvantages as usual. Some examples of things that can give advantages or disadvantages in a Fear check are numerical superiority or inferiority, the tides of battle (is your side winning or losing?), creatures that cause more than one Fear (each additional fear gives one disadvantage), or other situations as deemed appropriate by the GM (you may gain advantages if you fight to save your loved one, whereas you may suffer disadvantages if you know enemy reinforcements are about to arrive!). Fear checks are 6(1) Discipline checks. A success will mean the character’s resolve is more than enough to get him through the situation, whereas a failure will mean the character loses control and must do anything in his power to get to safety as quickly as possible. The GM will then gain complete control of the PC’s actions until they reach somewhere safe or pull themselves together.

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ConsequenceS S

attempt to perform actions and participate in confrontations they will succeed, and other times they will fail. However, not all successes nor failures are equal. There will be times when characters will manage to achieve outstanding results, and others when they fail miserably. These situations are represented by consequences, which can be either positive or negative depending on the final action values of each action and its respective counteractions. O M E TI M E S ,

WHEN

C H A RA C T E RS

In some cases, an action will be affected by positive and negative consequences simultaneously. These do not cancel each other out, simply resolve the effects of all consequences accordingly and narrate the corresponding outcome.

Positive consequences Actions and counteractions gain one positive consequence for every six extra points above the action they are confronting. Additionally, they can gain positive consequences by discarding a joker, when instructed by an ability or effect, or when the GM deems it appropriate if they are unconfronted actions or actions that are successful by default and thus do not have an action value. Players are encouraged to come up with positive consequences for their own actions, but they will only be applied if they are approved by the GM. If they can’t come to an agreement with the GM or they can’t come up with reasonable or interesting positive consequences, the GM will determine what happens. Below you can find a few examples of positive consequences that you can use (you can only choose each effect once unless specified otherwise): ■ Double the effects of something with a numerical effect, such as dealing damage or gaining spirit (only after applying all other modifiers, such as subtracting Armour). This consequence can be chosen more than once. ■ Ignore the Armour of your target. ■ Cause as much deterioration as the base damage of your weapon to an opponent’s piece of gear, or cause a deterioration effect to an NPC. 128

■ Ignore the the deterioration your gear would suffer as the result of your action. ■ If you cause an injury to another character, choose where. ■ Send your opponent’s weapon flying off their hand during an attack. ■ Manage to cause damage to an opponent while you dodge their attack. ■ Cause your opponent to trip and fall down while you dodge or attempt to outrun them. ■ Receive a small present from a character with whom you where negotiating or bartering. ■ Get somebody else to fall for you so they go out of their way to help you. ■ Find a useful, unexpected thing while you were searching for something else.

Negative consequences Actions and counteractions gain one negative consequence when they are successful by two or less points. Additionally, they suffer one negative consequence when an opponent discards a joker to cause it, when an ability or effect determines it, or when the GM deeps it appropriate to fit the story. Just as with positive consequences, players are encouraged to come up with negative consequences for the confrontations they are involved in, although the GM is encouraged to determine their own to ensure they fit the story and make sense in the context of what is happening. Below you can find a few examples of negative consequences an action could suffer (you can only choose each effect once): ■ The gear you were using to perform the action suffers one or two points of deterioration.

the rules

■ Your attack deals only half the usual damage. ■ The gear you were using loses a special effect (e.g., piercing or concussive) for the duration of this action. ■ Your weapon gets stuck in your opponent’s shield, and neither can be used until you spend an action to separate them. ■ Your target manages to move behind cover after being hit. ■ You run out of arrows, bolts, darts, or shots. ■ You trip and fall while you were running away or dodging. ■ You accidentally kill somebody you were just trying to intimidate. ■ While you try to convey a lie, you convince your target but somebody else in the scene catches on the lie. ■ Your opponent does not become Spent for the round.

Jokers Joker cards do not have a numerical value attached to them, so they can’t be played following the normal rules to play cards. Instead, they can be used in two separate instances as follows: The first is during a confrontation. After calculating the outcome of the confrontation but before resolving it, any of the characters involved in it can discard a joker card to add one positive consequence to their action or counteraction, or to add a negative consequence to the action or counteraction of their opponent. Additionally, they can discard a joker card to ignore the effects of one negative consequence. The second is whenever a joker card is randomly played from the top of any deck at any point. In such case, whoever played it gains the effects described above, then discards the joker, and plays a new card from the top of the deck. In either case, joker cards do not count towards the maximum number of cards that can be played per action, and players can play as many jokers per confrontation as they want. If the last card in your hand is a Joker, you won’t be able to play it until the end of a confrontation, before its outcome is determined.

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Drawing cardS T

H R O UG H O UT T H E C O U RS E of a DCA session, play-

ers will have a hand of cards that represents the stamina of their respective characters. We have already covered how to play and discard those cards when the characters perform actions and attempt all kinds of feats, and in this section we will cover how to recover those cards, which happens when characters have a chance to rest or manage their energies efficiently. There are a few different mechanics to draw cards, as well as two common guidelines that must always be followed: If a situation triggers several drawing cards mechanics simultaneously, the player must choose one to apply and ignore the rest; and NPCs never draw cards, as they do not have a hand of cards.

Beginning of a Scene At the beginning of each scene, PCs are well rested and have had a chance to catch their breath after having gone through all kinds of hardship in the previous scene. Whenever a new scene starts, they keep their current hand of cards and draw back up to their maximum hand size.

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E.g. Achcauhtli is a local hunter who’s met a group of Spanish folk who have disembarked near his village. After exchanging a few words, they have decided not to kill each other and go on a hunt together, but they are attacked by a daunting jaguar. After they manage to defeat it, they make camp and plot what they will do next. They take shifts to guard the camp through the night, and when everybody wakes up in the morning, they are ready to start exploring the surrounding jungle. They will start a new scene, so all of them will draw back up to their maximum hand size.

Playing with the suit When a PC plays a card whose suits matches the type of action he is performing, he is acting efficiently, managing to conserve his energies and stay fresh to perform other actions later on. In such case, he can immediately draw a new card from the deck to his hand. E.g. Achcauhtli suspects these Spaniards are up to no good, and is trying convince them to go in a different direction, as he does not want them to reach his village. He confronts their leader, trying to deceive him. During the ensuing confrontation, he plays a 5 Social, which allows him to draw a new card from the deck.

the rules

AFFINITY All PCs have Affinity to one of the four types of actions represented by the card suits, which represents the actions that the character feels more comfortable doing. When he plays a card whose suit matches the type of action he is performing AND his Affinity, he draws two cards instead of one and keeps one of them in his hand. The other card must be either put back on top of the deck or discarded. E.g. Unfortunately, Achcauhtli’s affinity is Exploration, which suits his role as a hunter very well, but in this case does nothing for him. If his affinity was Social instead, he could have drawn two cards instead of one and chosen which one to keep and which one to leave back on top of the deck or discard.

Proficiency When a PC plays a card with a value equal to or less than his Skill focus, it represents a fairly small effort for him, which means he won’t get exhausted. Consequently, when that happens he can immediately draw a new card from the deck. E.g. Achcauhtli’s Charisma focus is two, which means he can play two cards in a confrontation in which he is using his Charisma. He has already played a 5, which added to his Charisma value of 5 equals a total action value of 10. The Spanish leader has a total action value of 11 after having played all his cards, so Achcauhtli decides to play another card to beat him, a 2 Exploration. In this case, the suit does nothing for him, but the value is just equal to his Charisma focus, so he gets to draw another card and succeeds in convincing the Spanish marauders to go another way.

Running out of cards When a PC runs out of cards, he spends but a moment to catch a breather, and may find he still have one last bit of strength in him. When that happens, he can draw a card from the deck. However, if that happens during a confrontation, he still needs to catch his breath, which means that card cannot be played until the confrontation is resolved. E.g. Later in his adventure, Achcauhtli has found himself in a tight spot. After sending the Spanish marauders away, they realised they had been fooled and came back, finding him while he was stalking some prey. He managed to defeat two of them in combat and flee

away, but in the process, he’s run out of cards. Now an arquebusier has reloaded his gun and is shooting at him. He decides to v and plays his last card, which allows him to draw another one right away. However, he can’t use it to increase the action value of his dodge action, and must accept whatever happens in that confrontation as the result of growing more and more tired of fighting and running around.

Fatigue The life of an explorer is not without risks and sacrifices, and it won’t be rare for characters to live through all kinds of hardships. Sometimes, they may endure such hardships like the extraordinary resilient people they may be, but other times tiredness will catch up to them and they may experience the negative effects of such a state. All of it can be represented with Fatigue checks. Whenever a character suffers adversities such as spending several days without food, water or enough rest, running from a restless hunting party, hiking at high altitudes, being inadequately dressed for the environment where they are, or carrying too much gear (more than a single gear sheet, for example!) the GM can ask him to perform a Fatigue check. Additionally, certain abilities, spells or gear can cause Fatigue checks or even cause Fatigue without the need for a check. Fatigue checks are Survival or Athletic checks, as chosen by the character affected. A success will mean the character endures the adversities he is suffering without any consequences, whereas a failure will result in the character suffering one Fatigue. Each instance of Fatigue suffered by a PC reduces his maximum hand size by one, and if it is reduced to 0 or below, he dies. If an NPC suffers Fatigue, they are exhausted for as long as they have any Fatigue.

REC OVERI NG FATI GUE Characters recover one Fatigue each day they spend resting while in normal health state, provided they are not still suffering from whatever caused them to be fatigued in the first place (e.g. if they suffered Fatigue due to lack of food, they must have food to recover from their Fatigue).

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RoundS R

O UN D S AR E SH O RT outbursts of action in which

characters try to outperform others and rush to complete their objectives as best they can in the shortest amount of time. They are the RPC Engine’s mechanic to establish the order of play of the characters trying to outperform each other. During a Round, characters take turns to perform one action each from higher to lower Initiative. Performing actions can trigger confrontations, usually when the action targets another character. These confrontations must be fully resolved before resuming the Round.

An important aspect of Rounds is becoming Spent. If a character takes part in a counteraction before their turn, they’ll become Spent and lose their turn that Round. It’s worth remembering that attacking back is a possible counteraction, which means that even though you lose your turn when you do so, you still get your chance to do something useful just as everyone else. You may not get to choose your target, but you can surely try and take down whoever messes with you! E.g. The party enters an ancient Mayan tomb, feeling relaxed after having avoided the trap in the entrance. After some time traversing abandoned corridors, they are surprised by the soldier mummies guarding the inner chamber. Before anyone performs any actions, a Round begins. The Round will establish the order in which the mummies and the PCs will act, and serve as a frame for the ensuing Confrontations that will determine what happens next. All timed actions during a conflict must be declared and resolved within the context of a Round, and declarations made before a Round begins are not valid. E.g. In the previous example, Mark, who is playing Jose, a Catholic priest, declares he runs away as soon as the GM says the mummies awake. The GM must stop Mark on his tracks though: Jose’s action must be declared and performed during his turn in the ensuing Round, which could very well mean that a mummy attacks him before he gets the chance to run away. Of course, he may be fast enough and get to run away before the mummies can react, but that will be determined by their respective Initiative values, not by who said what first. 132

In either case, and depending on who gets to act first, Jose is not bound to run away during his turn just because he said so intuitively before the Round started. He may get a different idea after determining who’s going to act first, or even be forced by the circumstances to do something else after he is caught up in the ensuing conflict.

Actions during a Round During Rounds, actions should only need one verb to be described. If the word “and” is included to link two or more verbs, the character is probably trying to perform two or more actions linked to each other, and he will probably need several turns to be able to do that. Here is a basic template to describe actions: “I [verb] [preposition if needed] [target]” E.g. I attack the guard. I move behind cover. I dodge towards the door. To keep the game realistic and organic, characters are allowed to move up to 2.5 metres (~8 ft) while performing an action. E.g. I enter the room and attack the guard. I jump on my horse and gallop away.

Drawing weapons Use the following rule to represent the time it takes to actually draw swords from their scabbards, pick up bows from shoulders and load them with arrows, etc. During the first Round of an encounter, characters can not use weapons they didn’t already have in their hands unless those weapons have the quick draw characteristic. Additionally, all characters gain: REACTION: After performing an action, draw a piece of gear you were carrying.

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Ready & Spent characters During a Round characters can be either Ready or Spent. Ready characters have yet to act, whereas Spent characters have already done something and won’t be able to do anything that are not counteractions. At the beginning of a Round, all characters involved in the situation are Ready. As the Round progresses, characters will become Spent if they meet one or more of the following conditions: ■ They perform an action during their turn. ■ They perform a counteraction outside of their turn. ■ They suffer an effect that causes them to be Spent.

Steps of a Round Once the GM has explained the conflict or situation that has originated the Round, it is time to determine who gets to act first and what happens next. To do so, follow the steps detailed below: During a Round, Ready characters take turns performing one action each. After every character has become Spent, the Round ends. If the conflict is still ongoing, a new Round begins.

1. Determine the order in which all the characters involved in the situation will act, from highest to lowest Initiative value. In case of a tie, PCs always go before NPCs. In case of a tie between PCs, they must come to an agreement or tell their actions in secret to the GM, who will then determine who gets to act first. In case of a tie between NPCs, the GM decides who goes first.

2. Before declaring any actions, PCs can choose to Rush. Following the Initiative order, each player can discard one card from his hand and add its value to his Initiative. This can change the order established in the previous step. NPCs cannot rush. Remember: Discarding a card does not trigger card drawing mechanics.

3. Then, the Ready character with the highest modified Initiative value gets to choose to either perform an action (which will cause him to become Spent for the rest of the round) or wait. 4. If the character performs an action, resolve it, using a Confrontation if any affected characters choose to perform counteractions or the GM declares a TSE. If the action does not trigger a confrontation, it is considered an unconfronted action and therefore successful with one positive consequence.

5. If he waits, the next Ready character will have the same choice, and he will get to decide again after the action of the next Ready character have been resolved. Characters can wait several times, letting any number of characters go first. Other Ready characters may choose to wait as well; and if all characters choose to wait, the last one left must perform an action, and then all others following the original Initiative order.

6. After resolving a character’s action, repeat the previous three steps until there are no more Ready characters. Then, end the Round, and if the conflict is still ongoing, begin a new one.

Ambushes There will be times when the characters’ encounters with others will catch one of the sides by surprise. Maybe the PCs set up an ambush to catch an enemy patrol by surprise, maybe they are traversing a dangerous part of the jungle and their foes await for them in camouflage, or maybe the customs and habits displayed at a party they are attending aren’t at all what they expected. While an exhaustive list of rules to represent all of these situations would be too long to be useful or too short to be comprehensive enough, here are a few ideas you can use to rule how ambushes work: In a combat, the ambushed characters are caught without their weapons drawn and can’t attack during the first round; the marching column of soldiers is caught in disarray and can’t enter a Formation in the first round; the group is surprised and must perform a Fear check at the end of the first round; characters have been caught with their guards down and they suffer one disadvantage towards any actions during the first round; in a social situation somebody’s ideas and arguments are so well constructed that others are caught scrambling for an answer and can’t attempt to lie during the rest of the conversation… The possibilities are truly endless, and the most important thing is to try and keep the story coherent, interesting, and above all, fun for everyone involved.

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Time-sensitive eventS (tse) T

I M E - S E N S I TI V E E V E N T S ( T S E S ) are the tool of

the RPC Engine to represent problems or obstacles that originate from the nature of the situation or environment in which a character is involved, rather than the actions of other characters. There is a wide range of events and things that can generate a TSE, such an avalanche falling down a mountain, or a trap going off. Many times, the actions needed to overcome such a situation are things the characters can potentially do successfully without much hassle, but being forced to perform them quickly or under high pressure to get them right on the first attempt makes them more difficult, and other times they simply represent tasks that are inherently difficult. The possibilities are endless, and it is the job of the GM to determine when such obstacles are serious enough to use a TSE to represent them, and to determine the difficulty of such a TSE. E.g. Pachacuti is trekking through the mountains with enough supplies for one month. The GM tells her it would take a skilled trekker two weeks to travel this route, but her Survival 3 means she is only an average traveller, so it will take her about one month. She can decide to spend a whole month and make it to the other side without a hitch, or push her limits and try to find shortcuts, walk faster, and generally trek harder. If she decides to go at a regular pace, she can just do it without using any resolution mechanics. However, if she decides to travel faster, the GM should use a TSE to confront her. If she succeeds against it, she will complete her journey in two weeks; but if she fails, she may end up being delayed by more than a month, get lost, or even worse as determined by the GM.

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Resolving a TSE TSEs are resolved using a Confrontation, following the usual steps. They will play card as a character confronting the action of the triggering character would, and these cards will come from the top of the GM’s deck. TSEs do not have Skill values or focus. Instead, they have a difficulty value.

TSE difficulty The difficulty of a TSE is its numerical value. TSE difficulties are indicated by a single value that will tell you how many cards that TSE plays during a confrontation. To calculate the final difficulty value of the TSE, simply resolve the confrontation as you would if it was a character, and add together the value of the cards played by the TSE. If the confronting character achieves an equal or higher result, he’s overcome the TSE, and if he doesn’t he will suffer the consequences of failing his action as determined by the GM. If it is not specified anywhere else, it is the job of the GM to determine the TSE difficulty (i.e., how many cards the TSE plays). We recommend the same number of cards as the PC for minor challenges, one card more than the PC for moderate challenges, two more for difficult challenges and three more for very difficult or epic challenges. If you consider a TSE easy enough to overcome that it should play fewer cards than the PCs, simply let them perform the action without a confrontation.

The most important thing to keep in mind is the benefit of the story though. The GM should think of ways to move the story forward should the PCs fail to overcome a TSE, as well as come up with interesting things that could happen afterwards should they succed in their attempt.

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Ability effectS M

AN Y O F T H E special abilities found in different

parts of this book, such as the gear chapter, the non-player characters chapter, or the character creation chapter, have different keywords that are used to determine how their in-game effects are resolved. You can use the definitions below to help you understand how they work during gameplay:

Permanent

place right before the event that triggered them. Keep in mind each Instant can only be triggered once by the same trigger and character, unless it is specified otherwise.

Any character vs any other character

Permanent abilities are always in effect, and they always trigger when they are applicable. Their use is not optional, and they must be applied if at all possible. All abilities are Permanent by default unless specified otherwise.

Some abilities specify that they can affect any character, which means the character using them can choose any character including himself to be affected by the ability. On the other hand, others specify they can affect any other character, which means the character using them can choose any character other than himself to be affected by the ability.

Action as an ability

Stacking abilities

Some abilities have the keyword Action. They require the character to dedicate an action to use them. The Skill that should be used varies for each specific ability.

Only abilities that specify it can be stacked. Otherwise, characters cannot be affected by the same ability more than once from the same trigger (the trigger is whatever initiates the ability. Sometimes it will be an action, other times it will be a situation, the beginning of a Round, or anything else as specified in the description of the relevant ability).

Reaction Reactions are additional effects to the event that triggers them, and they take place an instant after their trigger (there is no time to perform actions between a trigger and all of its reactions). Several reactions may be triggered simultaneously, and the GM decides in which order they occur. Keep in mind each reaction can only be triggered once by the same trigger and character, unless it is specified otherwise. Most reactions only take place if the character who has the ability wants to use it. However, some reactions are Forced Reactions, and must be resolved every time they are triggered even if the character does not want to use them. Others are Unique Reactions, and cancel all other reactions after the same trigger. A reaction can be both forced and unique at the same time.

Instant Effects with the keyword instant can be used at any time, even outside the character’s turn. They take 135

Ability lisT Characters can gain or use abilities from Talents, spells, equipment, etc. This is a list of all the common abilities in the game. Equipment abilities must be used each time that piece of gear is used, unless otherwise specified. E.g. If a sword has Venomous 2, you must trigger it after dealing any amount of damage. Abilities linked to weapons or attacks are of two kinds. Either they always have an effect if the attack is successful, or they have an effect only if the attack deals any amount of damage (above 0, that is). E.g. A weapon with the ability Fire deals two damage to an NPC with two Armour, which reduces the attack’s damage to 0. Therefore, the NPC is unharmed but is still affected by Fire because this ability does not require the attack to deal damage, only to hit. Additionally, certain abilities have an X in their name. This usually stands for a number depending on the specific ability. E.g. Some characters have the ability Flames X; some will have Flames 1 while others will have Flames 2, Flames 3, etc.

Armour Soft/Hard Armour can be of two types: Soft or Hard. Both types reduce the damage you take from each source by its respective value. However, Soft Armour can be cancelled by more effects. E.g. A character with two Soft Armour and one Hard Armour takes four points of damage from an attack. Therefore, he suffers only one damage. If the attack had Piercing, it would cancel the Soft Armour and deal three damage instead.

Concussive When calculating whether an attack with this weapon causes injuries or deterioration, ignore the damage reduction that Armour provides (the damage is still reduced for damage dealing purposes).

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E.g. You are attacked with a Concussive weapon that deals four damage. You have two Armour and therefore take only two damage. You have a Threshold of two; therefore, you would normally not suffer an injury from this attack. However, because it was Concussive, you will suffer one.

Piercing It ignores Soft Armour. E.g. A character with two Soft Armour and one Hard Armour takes four points of damage from an attack. Therefore, the character would normally suffer only one damage. If the attack had Piercing, it would cancel the Soft Armour and deal three damage instead.

Secondary weapon While wielding this in your non-dominant hand simultaneously with another weapon, if you deal damage, deal it with both weapons. Armour and other effects apply to each of these weapons independently E.g. if you successfully attack with a primary weapon that deals three damage and with a secondary weapon that deals two damage against a target with one Armour, you’ ll deal two damage from your primary weapon and one damage from your secondary weapon. If you were to ignore Armour or double your damage, you would do it to only one of the weapons.

Discard X After dealing any amount of damage, the target discards X cards from his hand. If the target is an NPC, he will suffer Exhaustion for his next action instead.

Corruption X After dealing any amount of damage, the target suffers X Corruption.

Fatigable When you carry this item, suffer Fatigue.

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Electrical X

Knock down

Hemorrhage X

Characters who are successfully attacked by this will suffer Flames X unless they are wearing steel Armour, in which case this attack ignores their Armour and deals additional damage equal to the target’s Armour from steel-made gear.

Characters successfully attacked by this will suffer one disadvantage towards all physical actions and won’t be able to run until they spend one action to stand up.

After dealing any amount of damage, the target gains X Hemorrhage. It stacks. FORCED REACTION: During the maintenance phase, if you have any Hemorrhage, suffer as much unpreventable damage as your Hemorrhage.

Venomous X After dealing any amount of damage, the target gains X Venom. It stacks. FORCED REACTION: After a round ends, if you have more Venom than your Athletic Focus, the poison affects you. Each poison has a unique effect and stacks separately from other types of poisons.

Stun After suffering this, a character loses his next turn and suffers one disadvantage towards any confrontations until the end of the Round.

Fire Characters successfully attacked by this will suffer an instance of Fear, which stacks. Additionally, certain enemies might suffer special effects from this ability.

Fear Characters successfully attacked by this will suffer an instance of Fear. It stacks.

Blindness A blinded character will be unable to see anything farther than 5 metres away until the end of the Scene. This may make it impossible for the character to act or react against certain actions, and it grants disadvantages towards others, as determined by the GM.

Magical This has the keyword ‘magical’ (certain abilities require this keyword to work).

Reload After shooting this, it can no longer be used until a character spends an action reloading it.

Slow reload After shooting this, it can no longer be used until a character spends two actions reloading it.

X ammo

A successful first aid action will stop this effect for as long as the character stays still, while a successful surgery action will remove all the Hemorrhage.

Flames X Characters successfully attacked by this suffer X Flames. It stacks. FORCED REACTION: At the end of the Round, suffer one unpreventable damage and gain one stack of Flames. You and your allies in the Melee range can perform an action to reduce your Flames by as many stacks as their Athletic Focus.

Paralysis

Certain weapons or characters will specify the number of times they can use a specific ranged weapon.

A paralyzed character will be unable to perform any actions until the end of the Scene.

Radius X

Fast draw

The effect targets everything in an X meter radius from the chosen point of impact. This ability can be used only if you are the triggering character.

INSTANT: Drop what you were holding in either of your hands to draw this weapon.

Spiritual This is considered to have the keyword ‘magical’. It ignores the abilities of non-magical gear. E.g. a Spiritual sword ignores the armour of a nonmagical suit of armour.

Addictive (X) After consuming this, perform an X Discipline Check. Suffer one disadvantage each time you had already consumed this on the same day. If you fail, gain the “addicted (bad)” trait for that drug. If you already had it, discard a card from the top of the deck. If it is a one, you overdose and suffer a head injury.

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T H E P L A Y E R S W H O are not the GM play the protagonists of the story.

They are in charge of playing the role of their characters: performing their dialogue, making the decisions their characters would make, and using the relevant mechanics of the game to determine whether their characters will rise victoriously or fail miserably.

E

AC H PL AY E R C O N T RO L S a single character and de-

velops who that person is and what that person’s motivations are — what are the character’s dreams and struggles? The more compelling a character is, the more rewarding the experience of playing that character will be. The GM should encourage the other players to talk about the backstories of their characters and how they imagine them. Together, they can become an amazing group of characters who live great adventures.

LEVEL

Character creation is a necessary step for playing the game. The more thought you put into it, the more likely you’ll enjoy playing that character. DCA has two different character creation formats: playing a campaign or playing a one-shot adventure. All players should use the same format to play together. Each format is thought to represent the requirements of different types of game styles and time limitations. The steps to creating a character are in an order that is supposed to help you design your character. However you don’t actually have to follow that order. You can choose your Culture last or come up with your character’s concept after you choose all your abilities.

I NI TI ATI VE H EALTH Write down your Health in the heart, your Threshold in the icon opposite to it, and take note of the damage you have suffer in the circle next to the heart.

S KI L L S Write down the Skill value in the large circular spaces. Keep track of your Skills’ Focuses by blacking out the card spaces underneath the Skills’ names. Denote your Primary Skills by blacking out the small circular spaces next to the Skill values. Write down your Skills’ Talents on the space to the right of the Skill’s name.

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Whenever you suffer an injury, take note of it in the corresponding space next to the body part. Keep track of your Fatigue in the diamond shaped space.

I NJURI ES Some Skills suffer a disadvantage per injury in their corresponding body part. E.g. If a character suffers an injury to either of his arms, he’ll suffer one disadvantage towards Melee, Shooting and Crafting.

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CampaigN Use this to create a character to play a full-length campaign if you plan to play the same characters throughout several Sessions. Creating a cool character for a campaign is an important step, as you might be playing the same character for months or years! When you plan a campaign, you should spend the first Session together coming up with the concepts for your characters and the main arc of the story you’ll be playing. Creating a character in this manner can take from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how familiar you are with the rules and how much back and forth there is within your group when you’re establishing the aspects of the game that each of you will cover. To create a character for a campaign, follow these steps:

Starting an adventure A character begins a Campaign at Level 2 and with all the Skill Focuses at 1. The character will level up as he accomplishes the key plot elements of the Campaign’s story. A Level 2 character is not a common person, but rather is someone capable of heroic deeds and who is bound to greatness. However, the character is still a hero starting out, someone who perhaps has already participated in some adventures and battles and has some experience in the World, but whose best adventures are yet to come.

Background The things that determine where you come from will determine who you can become. Every character belongs to a nation or tribe and has some type of roots, a native language and culture, a religion, a status, etc. A character’s background is a complex thing. Many won’t fit into some of the requirements of this step, and that is fine. Discuss with your GM why your character does not follow your culture’s religion (perhaps he converted to another religion after talking with a priest), or any other anomaly, and create the character you want to play.

CLAS S Read about the Classes and how they will affect your character’s development in page 161.

Your Class will play the greatest role in defining your character’s development, as it gives you access to unique and focused Talents. Also, your Class might request that you belong to a specific Culture and Status. Bear in mind that your Culture will determine much of your roleplaying. Therefore, you might need to make a call between the Culture that attracts you the most and the Class you want to play. When you choose a Class, you gain certain modifiers, access to unique Talents, and, in some cases, certain Traits. Write them down on your character sheet. If you do not want to go over all the Classes and, instead, want to play as soon as possible, the following are recommended:

CLASSLESS You can choose to make up a Class of your own. The Classes that this book presents tend to be extraordinary. Therefore, if you want to play a more normal person, you can decide to create any kind of profession in your Class (e.g., Regular Soldier, Laborer, Artisan, Sailor, etc). This is recommended for beginning players who might be overwhelmed by all the options, players who don’t want to define their characters so early on, or players who simply want to start playing as soon as possible. A character with a made-up Class during character creation gains: Set your Skill values to: ■ Any two Skills: 5 ■ Any other one Skill: 4 ■ Any other three Skills: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0

Choose 5 Skills to make them your primaries. Then, later, that character can gain access to one of the listed Classes during the campaign if the story being told allows for it to happen and if he complies with all of the Class’s requirements.

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■ For an action-oriented adventure: Conquistador, Tomb Raider, Jaguar or Eagle Warrior, and Priest from either religion (if you choose a native Priest, you might want to exchange the Conquistador or the Jaguar/Eagle Warrior for a Temple Guard; and if you choose a Christian Priest, you want the Tomb Raider to be European so he can also benefit from his miracles). ■ For a socially oriented adventure: Sage, Pochteca, Aristocrat or Hidalgo, and Courtesan (you can exchange the Sage for a Tomb Raider for extra sneakiness).

C UL T U R E Read or browse the setting section of this book to find out about the different cultures of the New World and the European invaders. Choose one that you find interesting and that fits the idea of your character. You can find common names for each of these cultures in their respective sections in the book.

You will know the main language of your Culture, in addition to any local languages or dialects from your local region or tribe. To be able to speak more languages, you must purchase the Knowledge Talent language expert.

R EL I GI O N The divine is real, overwhelmingly so. People believe in greater and supernatural forces, and so does your character. In the Religion section of this book, you can read about the beliefs of each religion, the steps to perform the different Rituals, and the power of a religion’s magic. ■ If you choose a New World culture, your religion will be New World. ■ If you choose a European culture, your religion will

be Christian.

COMMON SPELLS While most people cannot use it at all in their daily lives, some (those of stronger character and destined to greatness) can channel it. These players’ characters know the common Spells of their religions. Write them down on your character sheet: ■ Catholic characters know the Pater Noster and Ave Maria. ■ Native characters know the Nonotza Blessing and Penance.

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RITUAL After choosing a religion, choose one Ritual. Performing your Ritual will provide you with Spirit, which you can use to perform Spells. ■ Christian characters should choose from among the following Rituals: Fighting Heresy, Protecting the Faithful, Praying, and Vows. ■ New World characters should choose from among the following Rituals: Sacrifice, Endurance, Bloodletting, and Drug Ceremony. If your character is not magic-focused, you can wait and choose your Ritual later. At any time during a Session, you can claim that you have found a calling, a Saint to follow, or any other religious argument. From that moment on, you’ll have that Ritual.

AGE The older you are, the more experience you have. However, you’ll also suffer the effects of aging. Choose an age between these three: ■ Young: You are between 16 and 25 years old. You gain 50 experience points. Your maximum hand of cards is 8. ■ Adult: You are between 26 and 40 years old. You gain 70 experience points. Your maximum hand of cards is 7. ■ Elder: You are over 40 years old. You gain 100 experience points. Your maximum hand of cards is 6.

STATUS Most societies have a strong hierarchy that defines who a person is and what you can do from the day that person is are born. Choose a Status from among these three: ■ Slave: Gain 20 experience points. As a slave, you’ll belong to someone else and you won’t have many rights (and those that you do have will likely be violated). ■ Peasant: You belong with the common folk. ■ Noble: Pay 30 experience points. You belong to a noble house; your blood is the blood of kings, dukes, or lords. You have a comfortable life without having to work for it and you are allowed into places no peasant would ever be. Read more about the relevance of a character’s Status and how it will affect gameplay on page 156. Playing slaves greatly complicates the gameplay; for your first campaign, it is recommended that you play a group of peasants and as few nobles as possible.

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Note that certain Classes require a specific Status; alternatively, this requirement can be circumvented with the Profession Talent Meritorious.

T R AI T S Traits define your character’s personality. Not only will they help you come up with concrete information about your character and how he should be roleplayed, but they will also have uses during gameplay as a justification for your character’s actions or even as something that forces you to act in character even if it goes against your better judgement. During character creation, each PC must take at least one Background Trait and one Personality Trait, and can take up to a maximum of 5 Traits of both types in total. Good Personality Traits cost 10 experience points, Neutral ones are free, and Bad Personality Traits give you 10 points. Additionally, you can choose to play with the Prejudiced Trait if the whole party agrees on using this optional mechanic. Read about character Traits and the optional Prejudiced mechanic in page 159.

AFFINITY Choose one of the four suits as your Affinity: Conflict, Exploration, Social, or Divine. Your Affinity should be what you do best and what you’ll perform the most. It represents the type of actions you feel more comfortable performing. Read about Affinity in page 129.

Competences Every character will improve after every Session of play. This is represented in the form of experience points, which can be spent to increase certain existing competences or even gain new ones. Your competences will determine what you are good at, what you are mediocre at, and what you are bad at. While your background sets your character apart on a personal level, your abilities are what make your gameplay unique and an asset to the party. You’ll be part of a team of players. Therefore, it is important that each character play a different role that will allow your party to face any challenge and have its own chances to shine.

LEVEL Your level determines how powerful you are and will help the GM decide how to prepare encounters. Set your character’s level to 2. This indicates that your character is already heroic and somehow outstanding from the common people (who would be level 1), but still has a long way to go.

H EALTH & TH RESH OLD Your health determines how much damage you can take before you are taken down, either bleeding out or traumatised. Your Threshold determines how often you will be injured after taking damage. ■ Set your Health at 3. You can increase your Health up to 9. Each point increase costs 7 experience points. ■ Set your Threshold at 1. Certain Talents allow you to increase your Threshold.

I NI TI ATI VE Your Initiative will determine when you’ll take your turn during a Round. If you have low Initiative, you are easily pinned down. If you have high Initiative, you can choose your targets and even get out of trouble before it begins. ■ Set your Initiative at 3. You can increase your Initiative up to 9. Each point increase costs 7 experience points.

SKI LLS Your Skills determine what you can do and how good you are at it. The initial value of your Skills is determined by your Class. You can raise a Skill up to 7 (or up to 9, if it is the primary Skill of your Class). Each time you increase a Skill, you pay 7 experience points. You can increase your Skills as much as you want during character creation, except for any Skills that start at 0. While playing your campaign, you can raise any number of Skills by one point each per session. Keep in mind that you gain more or less money depending on your Profession Skill.

FOC US Your Skills’ Focuses determine the number of cards you can play from your hand every time you use them. Set all your Focuses at 1. You can increase your Focus up to your level (as you level up, you’ll be able to increase them further), but your non-primary Skill Focuses are limited to 3 even if your level is higher. 143

Raising a Focus to 2 costs 10 experience points; to 3 costs 20 experience points; and to 4 costs 30 experience points. Having a high Focus is very important and will give you more choices. It is highly recommended that during character creation you increase your Focus of what will be your two or three main Skills. If your campaign will have combat, even if your own character is not combat-focused, you will probably need one Skill to help you survive, such as Athletic to dodge, or Stealth to avoid entering the combat to begin with.

T A L E NT S

GO BAC K OVER YOUR C H ARAC TE R After going over all of the steps to create your character, it is recommended to go over it again and make sure everything fits with what you want for your character. If it doesn’t, don’t worry and change it. Now you are ready to play. You’ll have a character willing to take on whatever adventures the GM has prepared for you.

Talents are specialized or unique abilities that relate to a specific Skill. You start with no Talents. You have access to the specific talents from your Class and to all of the common talents (Find them in page 151). Each Talent costs 10 experience points, unless the Talent itself specifies a different cost. You can purchase as many Talents for a given Skill as that Skill’s Focus. If at any time you have the maximum of Talents you can have of a specific Skill, you are still allowed to gain new ones, but they’ll replace older ones and you won’t recover any experience points from it. Remember that there is a Talent for literacy. It was very common in this age to be illiterate, don’t take it for granted. Only characters who gain this Knowledge Talent can read and write.

S PI R I T Gain as much Spirit as your Rites. After you have completed your character creation, before you start the first Scene of a new Campaign, you can choose to Transcend. See the Magic section of this book to learn more about how to use Spirit and how to earn more. TIP: Transcending is only recommended to characters with high Rites.

EQU I PME N T You can purchase gear before you begin playing taking into consideration how much gold you have from your Status and your Talents: ■ Slave: 20 times your Profession Skill. ■ Peasant: 100 times your Profession Skill. ■ Noble: 300 times your Profession Skill. The GM can limit the type and amount of gear you begin with if it is necessary for the story or it makes no sense for you to obtain it taking into consideration your character’s backstory. 144

Advanced characters If you are a veteran of DCA, you don’t have a lot of time and cannot play a very long campaign, or you simply want to play a story with characters who are already powerful and capable heroes or villains, you can all agree with the GM to play a campaign with higher level characters. This must be discussed by the group and the GM will have the final say on what to do. All of the characters will benefit from having a higher level. Choose between the following: ■ Character level 3, double the money, and an additional 100 experience points. ■ Character level 4, four times the money, and

an additional 200 experience points.

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One-shot adventurE Use this to create a character for a one-shot adventure. This is a fast, easy and convenient way to create an interesting character who is already slightly powerful. This is recommended when you don’t have much time to play, you are unlikely to continue playing with the same group (e.g. if you are playing in a convention or you want to try out playing a different Class from your usual choice in your DCA campaigns), or if for any other reason you won’t play more than one or two Sessions with the same character. Creating a character in this manner shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. To create a character for a one-shot adventure, follow these steps: ■ Set your Level at a value determined by the GM: 3 to play a normal adventure or 4 to play an epic adventure. ■ Come up with a concept or story for your character

(Culture, religion, age, etc, these won’t have effect on the character creation other than limiting your Class options). ■ Depending on your religion choose a Ritual and

write down the Common Spells you know:

■ For european characters: Christian Priest, or Hidalgo.

Conquistador,

■ Choose a card suit to be your Affinity. ■ Set your Health at 7 and your Initiative at 5 OR set your Health at 5 and your Initiative at 7 if you are level 3, if you are level 4, afterwards add +2 to one and +1 to the other. ■ Gain 10 points among your Skills if you are level 3, or 20 points if you are level 4 (ignoring experience points cost). ■ Gain 10 points among your Focuses if you are level 3, or 20 points if you are level 4 (ignoring experience points cost). ■ Gain as much Spirit as your Rites. After you have completed your character creation, before you start the first Scene of the adventure, you can choose to Transcend. ■ The GM decides what gear to give to each player, each character’s loadout should roughly cost the same but there is no limit to how much.

■ Christian characters should choose between the following Rituals: Fighting heresy, Conversion, Protecting the faithful, Praying, and Vows. They know the Common Spells Pater Noster and Ave Maria. ■ New World characters should choose between the following Rituals: Sacrifice, Endurance, Bloodletting, Praying, and Drug Ceremony. They know the Common Spells Nonotza Blessing and Penance. ■ Come up with at least one background Trait and one personality Trait, you can come up with additional Traits up to a maximum of 5. If you are playing with the optional Prejudice mechanic, also gain the Prejudiced Trait. ■ Choose a Class and gain all of your Class’s Talents (ignoring costs and other requirements) - If any Talents could be gained more than once, gain them twice. If you do not want to go over all of the Classes and get to play as soon as possible, it is recommended: ■ For New World characters: Native Priest, Tomb raider, or Aristocrat.

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Character advancemenT During gameplay, characters will learn and change. The story will shape their personalities, and their actions will teach them new Skills or improve those they already had. Experience points are used to advance the characters: improving their capacities, gaining new ones, etc.

Level The characters’ level is used to balance the number and strength of the NPCs the party will face during each encounter. It also limits the number of Talents you can have per Skill and the value of your Skill Focuses. A character’s level increases by one for every 100 experience points over the experience granted during character creation.

Gaining experience during a session It is recommended that the GM grant 10 experience points to each player per session. If the session was very uneventful, the CM can grant fewer experience points, while if it was very challenging, the GM can grant more.

Gaining experience during downtime Depending on your campaign, you might play sessions that take place continuously and in a short period of time (think of shows like “24”), or you might have long dead periods, saying something like “after two months of travelling through the steamy jungles, you arrive at your destination” (think of stories that take years to resolve, such as “Game of Thrones”). Regardless of the reason, you might find that your characters experience a lot of downtime. This does not mean they aren’t doing anything; they can still gain experience points during this time. However, to gain experience during downtime, they must be training or furthering themselves in some way. In this case, the GM can determine that you learn something and give you as many experience points as she finds reasonable (depending on the time spent and what you spent it on). At the end of the downtime period, characters have a chance to spend their experience points.

Fast campaign Gaining 10 experience points per session is meant to give you a sense of progression while maintaining a certain realism about how much you can learn and progress in a short period of time. It will take you about 20 sessions to make your character very powerful. You might not have that much time to play a campaign; therefore, you can all agree to play a fast campaign, in which characters receive more experience per session than usual. (Alternatively, or in addition to this, you can begin the campaign with advance characters.) It is up to the GM to determine the number of experience points to grant per session.

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MovemenT The movement mechanic focuses on encounters, as it is irrelevant while walking through a market or exploring an empty ruin. Movement in DCA can be represented abstractly or measured precisely. To measure precise movement, it is recommended that you use miniatures along with a grid or ruler; otherwise, it is recommended that you use abstract movement, which allows for more flexibility.

Abstract movement Abstract movement is meant to be used in a narrative-focused playstyle, concerned more with streamlining the action than with realism (e.g. think of movies in which the distances between the protagonists and their adversaries seem to increase or decrease depending on what the script requires). To use this style, the GM should describe the location of the encounter in detail. It is very important that she set up a few milestones (e.g. a tree fallen in the middle of the road, the river a few steps away from the road, etc.) that the players can use as opportunities to put their plans together. During their turn, each character can move a little bit to slightly adjust their position (e.g. if they were around a corner, they could lean out to take a shot with their bow, or they could jump over a short wall and crouch to avoid becoming the target of archers, etc.) or use their action to run and reach a milestone or another character (or at least approach it if they are too far to reach it in a single round).

During their turn, each character can move 2.5 metres while performing any other action, in addition to crouching, dropping down to the floor, or standing up. If they wish to move farther, they must spend their action to move up to ten metres.

GRI D You can use a hex or square grid. In a square grid, you can move diagonally only once every three spaces. Each space on the grid represents 2.5 metres (~8 feet). This is not the most realistic conversion, but it is the most comfortable to use on a tabletop. When you perform a non-running action, you can move up to one space (i.e. you can move 2.5 metres every time you perform an action). When you run, you can move three spaces with regular success, and five with critical success.

RULER When using a ruler, consider that one metre in-game is considered one centimetre (~2.5 metres are considered one inch).

This style will sometimes benefit the PCs, allowing them to reach an opponent simply because this fits the story. Other times, it will be to their detriment, as NPCs may benefit from this as well. While playing like this, it is very likely that each person will have their own image of how everything is placed. This requires trust between the players and the GM, flexibility in terms of what might happen in the story and to the characters, and creativity to make the game interesting.

Measured movement Measured movement is meant for complex encounters or when you want to focus on combat gameplay. This allows you to accurately calculate what you can and cannot reach.

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Health and damagE Health states

Damage

Depending on the amount of damage a character has suffered, a character can be in one of three different health states, or even dead.

To keep track of the damage a character has suffered, mark the corresponding space in the relevant character sheet or use suitable tokens or counters.

NOR M AL

DEALI NG DAMAGE

A character’s health state is normal as long as he has more health than damage.

Each weapon deals the amount of damage specified in its description. When attacking without weapons, characters deal one point of damage.

When a character has at least as much damage as his health, his state becomes Bleeding Out, unless the character who damaged him last wishes to knock him out, in which case the character becomes Traumatised. The GM can determine that certain attacks (e.g. arrows, fire, etc.) cannot traumatise even if intended.

B LE E D I N G O UT A Bleeding Out character cannot act, but he could possibly speak as the GM deems fit. Additionally, when a character becomes Bleeding Out, he suffers one instance of hemorrhage. A Bleeding Out character will die at the end of the Scene if they have not received first aid or surgery. If that character is not back in a Normal health state by the end of the next Scene, they automatically die. NPCs generally ignore characters that are Bleeding Out until they have taken care of all other threats.

T R AU MAT I S E D The character is unconscious and will not regain consciousness until he receives medical attention and recovers enough health to be in the Normal health state.

D EA D A character who dies is removed from the game. If that character was a PC, the player who played him should create a new character and discuss with the GM how that new character will join the party to continue playing. It is recommended that this new character be made with as much experience as the recently deceased character. A character can also die of starvation, drowning, excessive mutilation, etc. The effects of these possibilities are left for the GM to determine.

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Remember: When performing an unarmed attack your Reach is 0.

ARMOUR Some pieces of equipment and other effects provide their users with an armour value. Whenever the character is about to receive damage from an external source, prevent as much damage as the armour value. Then, if you are using the gear deterioration advanced rules, convert it into deterioration for the armour. Remember that forged gear will halve (rounded up) the deterioration it suffers.

UNPREVENTABLE DAMAGE Unpreventable damage cannot be reduced, cancelled, or prevented in any way.

TH RESH OLD AND I NJURI ES Any time a character suffers damage, he might also suffer an injury. An injury represents a hindrance of some kind. A character suffers one injury when the amount of damage suffered from a single source is higher than his Threshold. Additionally, other rules could cause injuries. Characters can be injured any number of times in the body, but only once in each arm or leg, or in the head. If they are injured a second time in the same limb, the limb is severed. If they are injured a second time in the head, they are Traumatised. It will seem strange that some types of attacks – such as being hit with a mace – result in a severed limb; such cases should be explained by the GM as she sees fit, bearing in mind that the attack itself does not need to totally severe a limb. Instead, the limb could be left in such a poor state that to save the character’s life, a doctor must amputate it.

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Unless specified by the injury’s reason, the GM determines the location of the injury. She can either choose the location or determine it randomly by discarding a card from the top of the deck: 1 head, 2 torso, 3 right arm, 4 left arm, 5 right leg, or 6 left leg. Most Skills relate to the legs, arms, or head. Characters suffer one disadvantage when using a Skill related to an injured body part. Torso injuries do not affect any Skills, but they will make the healing process more difficult, as happens with any other injury. INJURIES AND SKILLS ■ Arm injuries affect Melee, Shooting, and Crafting. ■ Leg injuries affect Athletic, Stealth, and

Riding.

■ Head injuries affect Charisma, Knowledge,

Rites, Survival, Medical, and Perception.

E.g. Both of Paula’s arms are injured. She suffers two disadvantages with respect to all Skills relating to her arms: Shooting, Melee, and Crafting. NPC INJURIES NPCs can have only generic injuries. Each injury gives them one disadvantage with respect to their Competent Skill. SEVERED LIMBS When a character loses a limb, they suffer a shortterm effect and a long-term effect. ■ The short-term effect is that they suffer one in-

stance of Hemorrhage.

■ The long-term effect is that their limb will always be considered injured. It cannot be healed, and it can no longer be selected to be injured or severed again.

Healing damage NA T UR AL R EST

that their natural rest recovery has been delayed by as much as the GM sees fit.

MEDI C AL AC TI ONS Characters can use their Medical Skill to heal themselves or other players. Wounds confront Medical actions as if they were an NPC with a Skill value equal to the amount of damage the character has suffered and a Focus equal to the number of Injuries a character has. Additionally, certain situational effects might give disadvantages to the medic, as determined by the GM. Here are some examples: ■ The character performing the action does not have the appropriate gear. ■ The character is performing the action on himself. ■ There are two types of Medical actions:

FIRST AID ACTION (Medical): Choose a willing or defenseless target to physically aid his wounds. If successful, this will stop the patient from dying due to Bleeding Out and will remove all hemorrhages. A failed first aid action causes one additional hemorrhage. SURGERY A surgery action takes as many hours to complete as the number of cards played by the wound. If successful, it has the effect of a first aid action. Additionally, it removes all the damage on the character. The character performing the surgery action can forfeit any number of injured limbs on the patient. If this happens, the injuries on those limbs do not count in calculations of the number of cards the wound plays.

H EAL VENOM Healing venom requires an antidote or a healing action with a spell that established that it does not require an antidote. This works as a first aid action, but instead of being confronted by a Skill value equal to the amount of damage the character has suffered, it has a Skill value equal to the amount of stacks of that venom the character has suffered. If successful, it removes all the venom stacks from the character and their effect.

While in a normal health state, one health point can be recovered for each good night’s rest of in-game time; and one injury of your choice can be recovered for each week of in-game time. If the characters are being chased, are crossing the ocean during a storm, or are suffering from any other disturbances, they might find 149

Skills and focuS Every player character has 15 Skill values and 15 Focuses with the same name. Therefore, there is a Melee Skill value as well as a Melee Focus. The Skill value determines the starting action value of an action, while the Focus determines the number of cards a character can play. All actions use one Skill or another. The GM will tell you which Skill you will be using if it is not obvious. She will also assign advantages and disadvantages to those taking part in the confrontation as she sees fit to represent the quirks of this particular situation. If an action cannot relate to any Skills in the following list, you can still try to perform the action with a Skill of zero and a Focus equal to your Level.

Melee You use Melee when attacking with close-quarters combat weapons or when attacking with your body or improvised weapons.

Shooting You use Shooting with ranged weapons or while throwing improvised objects.

Crafting You use Crafting when repairing things or creating primitive items.

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Athletic

Survival

You use Athletic when performing physical activities that involve physical strength, speed, or endurance, such as running, climbing, swimming, etc.

You use Survival to find things like food or resources in hostile environments, to orient yourself in a new location, or to do things to survive, such as building a shelter, knowing what to do when a hurricane comes, or knowing what type of food is edible.

Stealth You use Stealth when you are trying to move or act without being noticed.

Medical You use Medical to care for wounds. You can read about how Medical is used and how it affects the patient on page 147.

perception

Riding You use Riding when you are trying to sit on or control the movement of an animal or other means of transportation.

Charisma

You use Perception when trying to detect something, such as if someone is lying to you or if a beast is hiding in the shadows.

Discipline You use Discipline when you are testing your self-control and capacity to keep calm in dangerous situations.

You use Charisma when performing social interactions.

Tolerance

Knowledge

You use Tolerance when trying to control your Prejudices.

You use Knowledge when trying to recollect your memory about any type of information.

Profession

Rites You use Rites to use Spells and for religion and Checks related to magic.

You use Profession to represent your ability in an area of knowledge or craft and your Status and prestige among people with the same or a related profession.

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Advanced actions When you want to perform an action, simply describe it in as much detail as necessary (Remember that great ideas should be rewarded with advantages, so it’s good to be creative). By abstracting concepts to advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to play out just about every possible situation.

possible pre-established actions. Additionally, you can come up with your own uses of the Skill based on its description. These uses could have special effects, as determined by the GM (It is recommended to use the flexible advantages rules).

However, to those groups looking for a more crunchy experience, as well as those groups having trouble coming up with ways to solve certain situations, some Skills are presented with several advanced actions that describe in detail how to solve some of the most commonly required non-regular actions.

Perform an attack and discard a card to deal extra damage equal to half your Athletics Focus (rounded up). However, if you lose the confrontation, you will suffer one additional negative consequence.

These are not required to play the game, and many groups will never use them. Therefore, learning them is not necessary to play the game. It is up to each group, with the final vote belonging to the GM, to decide if any number of these options will be used in your campaigns. It is possible that in a very combat-focused adventure, you will feel that the use of the advanced actions of Shooting and Melee adds a nice layer of strategy that does not get in the way of your gameplay, while ignoring other possible advanced rules. Or, if you play an adventure in which you are lost in the jungle for weeks on end, perhaps you’ll need more ideas to get the best out of your Survival Skill. In that case, you’ll use its advanced actions instead.

MELEE The most common action you can perform with Melee is to attack, but there are a few other

STRONG ATTACK

DEFENSIVE STANCE Use this only as a counteraction against a Melee attack, gaining one advantage. If you are successful, you won’t deal damage, but neither will your opponent. OUTMANEUVER Use this as an attack that will provide you with one additional positive consequence if successful. However, you won’t deal any damage. TARGET A PIECE OF GEAR When a character chooses to deal deterioration, he’ll deal as much deterioration as the damage he could have dealt. If the attack was against a PC, he can choose to inflict the deterioration onto any of the PC’s items. If the attack is against an NPC with a deterioration track, it will be resolved as normal. NPCs without a deterioration track cannot be affected by this.

GRAPPLE This is an unarmed attack (remember that unarmed attacks have Reach 0) or an attack with a weapon with the keyword “Grapple”. If successful, you grapple your opponent. Grappling is an ongoing effect that the grappler can maintain for as long as he desires, until he suffers damage, or until he is grappled himself. ■ While grappling, a character cannot run or attack characters other than the grappled character. ■ While grappled, a character automatically drops whatever he was holding. The character is then forced to move with the grappler. He suffers one disadvantage towards all actions, and as the triggering character he can try to deal damage or grapple only the character grappling him. ■ For characters grappling each other, the advantage is in Reach 1.

SH OOTI NG AIM As your target, choose a character in your sight or in a small area, like a door or window. Until you perform an action, you gain two reactions, of which you can use only one: REACTION: As soon as your target begins to perform an action, or someone enters the area you targeted, stop their activation to perform a Shooting action. Then resume their activation. REACTION: If you shoot your target or someone in the area you targeted, gain one advantage.

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S U R V I VAL OBTAINING RESOURCES Obtaining resources is a Check you can perform to obtain free resources from your surroundings. To perform this check, you should be able to freely move around nature (this cannot be done in an urban setting). This check takes eight hours and should be done in daylight (or you’ll suffer a disadvantage). If you are successful, you will obtain one resource for which you were searching. For every good consequence, you can either obtain an additional resource or cut the time required for the check in half. E.g. If you obtain three good consequences while obtaining wood, you could obtain two wood in two hours. The difficulty of the check depends on the resource for which you are looking. Additionally, some resources can be obtained only in specific locations. ■ Forestry (difficulty: 0(1)). ■ Stone (difficulty: 3(1)). ■ Animal (difficulty: 6(1)). You’ll suffer one disadvantage if you do not have any ranged weapons, or two if you don’t have any weapons at all. ■ Obsidian (difficulty: 6(1)). Must be done near a volcano. ■ Metal (difficulty: 9(1)). Must

be done in a mine or mountain.

■ Steel and gunpowder cannot

be obtained from nature and must be purchased or crafted. You do not need to specify exactly what each resource is. Therefore, you can hunt and gain two animal resources, and a week later spend one of those resources to create a poison (so you probably

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hunted a snake) and another one to make a leather shield (indicating that you probably also hunted a deer or something similar).

PR OFESSI ON RESOURCEFUL “Of course I brought that with me; who do you think I am?” You can claim that you own or carry certain tools, documents, or other things related to your Class. E.g. If you are a Tomb Raider, you can claim that of course you have torches; if you are a Sage, you probably have some of that necessary but rare ingredient in one of your multiple pockets. If you are a Concubine, you most certainly brought along make-up, oils, and perfume. To do this, characters must use their Profession as the key element of their argument. The GM can veto any claims that seem to be beyond the game’s scope or ask the player to revise them. If the argument is valid, the GM can still request an easy check (6) from the player. If they win, they must explain how that story detail is different and how that affects the characters. Once a character fails the check, they cannot try to declare the same story details again, even if they come up with a different explanation for them. EDUCATED “...I know how this works.” You can claim that you know how something related to your Class works, or how it should behave. E.g. If you are a Temple Priest entering a temple for the first time, you can claim that it has been built in the same fashion as

the temple in which you used to work and, therefore, that you know the overall distribution of rooms and such. If you are an Aristocrat, you can claim that you know how to behave in society and that you know the quirks of the local king; therefore, the GM should tell you about it or let you come up with it. To do this, characters must use their Professions as the key elements of their arguments. The GM can veto any claims that seem to be beyond the game’s scope or they can ask the player to revise them. If the argument is valid, the GM can still request a normal check (9) from the player. If the player wins, they must explain how that story detail is different and how that affects the characters. Once a character fails the check, they cannot try to declare the same story details again, even if they come up with a different explanation for them. CONTACTS “Oh, I know this guy.” You can claim to know someone in the area related to your Class or your Status. To do this, characters must use their Professions as the key elements of their argument. The GM can veto any claims that seem to be beyond the scope of the game or she can ask the player to revise them. If the argument is valid, the GM can still request a hard check (12) from the player. If the player wins, they must explain how that story detail is different, and how that affects the characters. Once a character fails the check, they cannot try to declare the same story details again, even if they come up with a different explanation for them.

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Common talentS Athletic

AC TOR

PO W E R F UL

Gain one advantage when pretending to be someone else in a convincing manner and avoiding discovery.

Your threshold is increased by one. Additionally, when attacking unarmed, deal one additional damage.

GOOD C OMMUNI C ATOR

REACTION: After declaring a running action, add your Athletics Focus in metres to the distance you move (if you are playing with a grid, every 2 points of Focus adds one space of movement).

Even if you cannot speak another person’s language you can more or less make yourself understood if what you are trying to get accross is not very complicated, as determined by the GM. Additionally, you can use sign language to transmit complex ideas to other characters who also possess this talent as long as they can see you.

FAS T R E C O VE RY

LI KABLE

FAS T

REACTION: After a Round ends, if you have 3 or fewer cards in your hand, draw a card.

S T R O NG Reduce by one your Encumbrance.

C H AR GE REACTION: After a running action that takes you within Melee reach of an opponent, you can immediately perform a Melee action and if successful you will deal one additional damage.

Charisma C H AR M E R This talent can be gained several times, each time you gain it choose one culture (e.g. mexica, tlaxcala, totonac, spanish, portuguese, etc). For as long as they can see and hear you. gain one advantage towards social interactions with characters from that culture.

I NT I M I D AT I NG PR E SE N CE If you are in a situation of being a threat to another character, you’ll gain one advantage towards convincing him to do something. However, they will do so unwillingly. As soon as they feel they are out of your reach, they will stop obeying you and do what they can to escape from you. Later on, if they find a way to punish you, they might do so happily.

Other characters gain one advantage towards their Tolerance about you. It is also more likely that if you infringe some social tabus from the people you are interacting with they’ll let it slid, they will be more understanding of your differences.

Crafting GUNSMI TH You can craft objects that require you to be a gunsmith.

BOWYER You can craft objects that require you to be a bowyer.

ARTI SAN You can craft objects that require you to be an artisan.

MAKE DO Gain one advantage when creating primitive gear, and when putting together simple tools, refuges, or other surivival times. For such things, you are more likely to find adequate materials, or make up alternatives for those missing on the spot.

SPEC I ALI ST ( X) You can gain this Talent several times. Choose a type of gear (Mace, sword, armour, shield, etc). Gain one advantage when crafting it.

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Discipline

Medical

OV E R I T

C ALM P ULSE

Your threshold is increased by one.

V ET E R AN ( X) When you choose this Talent select between the four suits. You gain one advantage towards Discipline checks provoked from a source related to that suit. INSTANT: While in a Formation, ignore an instance of Fear. Limited once per Round.

PR I O R I T I E S You choose where you suffer your Injuries.

S HI E L D WAL L While wielding a shield, you do not become Spent after using the defensive stance action. REACTION: After an adjacent member of your Formation is the target of an attack, he can benefit from the Protection of your shield. This effect stacks with any Protection he may gain from his own shield. It stacks.

Ignore your injuries when performing Medical actions.

EMPATH Y REACTION: After declaring a Medical action, draw two cards. If they are not used, discard them at the end of the action.

WOUND C ONTROL If you are not traumatised, you do not suffer damage at the end of a Round for being Bleeding out.

MEDI C AL SC I ENC E Gain one advantage when treating non-magical health effects, such as venoms.

PALLI ATI VE OI NTMENT

Knowledge

Spend one animal resource to perform a normal Medical check (difficulty: 6(1)). If you are successful, you create an ointment which you can place in a character’s Injury. That character can ignore the disadvantage from that Injury until the end of the Session.

LI T E R AT E

LAST RESORT

5 experience points. It does not occupy a Talent slot. You know how to read and write in all the languages you know.

REACTION: Use this after declaring a Melee action but before any cards are played for it. The winner of this confrontation gains a positive consequence.

LA N GUAGE S E XPE R T

Melee

You know as many additional languages to your native tongue as your Knowledge Focus.

HIDD E N T AL E N T (X) Choose one non-primary Skill. Increasing that Skill costs you only 5 experience points and increasing its Focus costs you 5 less experience points.

S PE C I AL I S AT I ON (X) You can gain this Talent several times. Choose a concrete area of knowledge (e.g. geography, zoology, astronomy, literature, history, mythology, etc). You gain one advantage when checking if you can recall something about it.

A PTI T U D E For an additional 10 experience points, gain a Talent from another Skill.

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FEI NT When you use outmaneuver, gain an additional advantage.

MARTI AL ARTI ST You can consider your Melee unarmed attacks to have one additional Reach.

OPP ORTUNI TY ATTAC K REACTION: When a character in your Melee range makes a movement, pause his turn to perform an attack against him and then continue with that character’s turn. You will not become Spent because of this attack. Limited to once per Round.

STRONG H I TTER You deal one Injury for every time the amount of damage you deal is higher than your opponent’s Threshold

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(e.g. You deal 6 damage to an opponent with Threshold 2, he’ll suffer 3 injuries)

Perception ALERT Gain one advantage towards perceiving hidden characters.

EA GL E Y E Do not suffer disadvantages for searching in the distance.

I NV E S T I GAT OR Gain one advantage towards searching for clues, finding objects or realising something is out of place.

J UD GE O F C H ARACTE R Gain one advantage towards discovering the true intentions or motives behind someone’s actions or words.

NA T UR E You can gain this Talent several times. Choose a type of location (e.g. jungle, mountain, plains, urban, etc). You gain one advantage when using Perception in that area.

While designing your character’s concept let the GM know you want to choose this Trait. Together you should come up with who this group is, how they know of you and why are you respected among them. Consider that this group of people owns you a favour at all times. Additionally, you gain one advantage towards all your social interactions with them. While this group of people won’t go too much out of their way to help you, they will treat you with respect as if you were one of them (e.g. they’ll let you travel with them, spend time in their properties, and while you are among them they’ll treat you as an equal). While they won’t betray their duties to aid you, they will protect you or hide you if you are in danger from a common enemy or rival. They will always be happy to talk to you, and keep you up to date with what’s important to them - but it’s unlikely that they’ll reveal their secrets to you. GM USE ONLY: From time to time, the group of people who respect you or look up on you, will request that you live up to their expectations (E.g. if you are famous among the jaguar warriors for your skill capturing captives and hunting jaguars, they might ask you to capture one or two captives in the next battle or hunt down a jaguar in a hunt). If they were not overstepping their boundaries nor making unrealistic demands and you refuse to help, you’ll lose this Trait.”

Profession

ALLI ED ( X)

ME R I T O R I O U S

You are considered a friend (or at least respected) by someone powerful and important who is willing to help you when possible.

12 experience points. You can choose an Order normally only available to character of a different Status, Nation or Religion than yourself if it is approved by the GM.

MAS C O T You gain a small non-combatant animal as a mascot; such as an eagle, a non-venenous snake, a mouse, a small monkey. Your mascot will always be with you for as long as you feed it and treat it well. It will follow all of your orders.

R E N O WN ( X) You are famous among a certain group of people, for your deeds, your blood or any other reason, this people hold you in great esteem. E.g. A tribe, a religious order, a force within an army such as the jaguar warriors, etc.

E.g. The leader of a tribe, a high priest in the main temple of Tenochtitlan, a powerful shaman, a captain among the Conquistadores, a bishop, etc. While designing your character’s concept let the GM know you want to choose this Trait. Together you should come up with who this allied NPC is, how you know each other and why does he feel obliged to you. Consider that this person owns you a favour at all times. Additionally, you gain one advantage towards all your social interactions with this character. This character will always try to help you when possible (e.g. he’ll always welcome you at his home, he’ll lend you money if you pay back in a more or less constant manner, he’ll forward you to his contacts if you need something specific, etc). But, he won’t be able to help if what you ask is too much or somehow endangers his livelihood, or other people close to him (e.g. He won’t create a diplomatic conflict for you, nor give 155

you more than what’s logical to give to a close friend). If you push this character too much, the GM might decide that he breaks his ties with you and you’ll lose this Trait. It what you did was outrageous, he who was your Allied will now consider himself your Rival - you’ll gain the Rival Trait (without gaining any experience points from it). GM USE ONLY: From time to time, an allied that has already helped you during the campaign (never help given previous to the campaign, such as what’s written in the character’s concept) will request your help in a similar manner - it is consider that he has the Allied Trait and you are his allied. If he was not overstepping his boundaries and you refuse to help, you’ll lose this Trait.”

A V O C AT I O N ( X) You can gain this Talent several times. Choose an art, a specialized craft, a skill that does not fit in with any othe existing ones (e.g. playing a musical instrument, singing, being a chef, writing poetry, playing cards, etc). You can use your Profession when you use it.

RANK Only for noble characters. Increase your Rank by one.

Riding MOU NT E D C H ARG E REACTION: At any point of your beast’s movement perform an attack with one advantage and dealing one additional damage, and then resume your beast’s movement.

MOU NT E D S H O OTE R You no longer suffer one disadvantage when Shooting while mounted.

MOU NT E D W ARRIOR INSTANT: If you are aware of an action against your mount while you are mounted on it, you can choose to become the target instead.

WEL L T R AI NE D You can gain this Talent multiple times, each time choosing a different Skill. If you have a mount for over one month, it will gain an advantage towards one Skill of your choice.

MOU NT E D E N DU R AN CE If you have a mount for over one month, increase its movement by 5 meters. Additionally, you can cause it 156

an Injury to increase its movement by 5 meters or ignore an instance of Fatigue until the end of the Scene; but if you do that, the beast will have to perform a check with his Competent Skill against your Riding, if successful, it will throw you down and ran away.

Rites MAGI C P ERC EP TI ON Gain one hidden advantage when trying to detect or perceive something that is being aided or hidden by magic. E.g. To find something that is hidden by a magical illusion, to realise someone is under the effects of a demon (tainted, possessed, etc), to realise that an object hides a powerful curse, etc.”

RI TUAL Choose an additional Ritual that you can perform.

RELI GI OUS KNOWLEDGE You gain an advantage when using Rites to recall religious and mythical information, and to identify objects of power and discover spirits.

SPELL EXPERTI SE When you choose this Talent, choose a Spell that you know. It will always cost you one point less of Spirit to cast that Spell from now on (down to a minimum of one).

MAGI C AL LEGAC Y All the Spells that last until you are no longer on normal health state or dead will continue to have effect even after that occurs. After that, another character can perform a Ceremony around or inside whatever is affected by your spell in which he performs a Rites check against your Rites. If successful, the spell is dispelled; otherwise it continues and he gains one Corruption.

Shooting AN EYE FOR WEAKNESS REACTION: After you declare a Shooting action against a Spent character, gain one advantage.

LONG SH OT You can declare a target up to twice your weapon’s range suffering one disadvantage.

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PO I N T B L ANK During your turn, In addition to your action, you can perform a shooting action with a pistol.

PR E C I S E REACTION: After gaining a good consequence with a ranged weapon, apply an additional good consequence other than doubling damage or ignoring armour. Limited to once per action.

FAS T R E L O ADE R REACTION: After spending an action to reload a weapon, discard a card from the top of the deck, if it is a 3+ the weapon is now fully reloaded.

al information about the animals you find: their mood, strengths, and weaknesses.

NEVER GI VE UP REACTION: After performing a Survival action or check, suffer Fatigue to turn a failure to a success (negative and positive consequences still apply as usual).

GATH ERER Gain one advantage when obtaining forestry, stone or obsidian. If you succeed, gain a good consequence.

H UNTER

Stealth

Gain one advantage when obtaining animal resources, or double the time you spend on the hunt to obtain a second advantage. If you succeed, gain a good consequence.

LI GH T F E E T

Tolerance

You gain one advantage when trying to move in silence as long as your Armour value is no higher than 1.

UNI VERSALI ST

FUR T I VE N E SS (X) You can gain this Talent several times. Choose a type of location (e.g. jungle, mountain, plains, urban, etc). You gain one advantage when using Stealth in that area.

S L E I GH T O F HAN D Gain one advantage towards manipulation of small objects for the purpose of misdirection or concealment. This also helps if trying to steal something small without being detected.

C O VE R Y O U R TR ACKS Characters suffer one disadvantage when trying to track you down after you have left, or they are looking for clues and proof of you being somewhere. Hidden blade REACTION: After performing an attack while undetected, gain one positive consequence.

You have great tolerance for other cultures and races and you no longer need to check about it.

FEMI NI ST You have great tolerance for other genders and you no longer need to check about it.

I NC LUSI VI ST You have great tolerance for other religions and you no longer need to check about it.

OPEN MI NDED You have great tolerance for other things not specify in the other Tolerance Talents and you no longer need to check about it.

PI OUS Because of your deminor others see you under an understanding light. For as long as you don’t behave as a bigot nor you are confrontational, others gain one advantage towards their Tolerance checks about you.

Survival A D APT AT I O N ACTION: Discard up to 4 cards from your hand and then draw one less card than the number you discarded.

A N I MAL KE N Gain one advantage towards interactions with animals, feral or tamed. You can ask the GM for addition157

StatuS Your Status covers your living expenses, such as food and housing. You do not need to keep track of general expenses, and the GM does not need to make up the prices for everyday stuff. E.g. A Commoner Spaniard cannot pay for a trip to the New World unless he has joined a settler crew or army. To get there, he’ ll probably need to sell himself as an indentured servant, while a Noble character can pay to be taken there and given a room in the ship.

Every month that your master fails to comply with this expenditure, you will suffer Fatigue from which you cannot recover until your master makes this expenditure (if you somehow have your own savings, you can pay for yourself). This represents the fact that you are not able to pay for a roof over your head, for food, or for medicine to maintain your health. Additionally, you must always show deference and respect to non-slave characters. Otherwise, you might face legal punishment.

Money is used to purchase gear. You can consider money as savings. It is possible that you will be involved in so many adventures and earn so much money that you’ll amass a fortune yet still be a lowly Commoner.

If you choose to become a Slave during character creation, discuss the details with the GM and take note of the agreement on your character sheet. You should decide who your owner is (it can be an NPC or another player).

Slave

BEC OMI NG A SLAVE OR GAI NI NG Y O UR FREEDOM

■ If you choose Slave as your Status during character creation, gain 20 experience points.

During a Session, a character can become a Slave or, conversely, gain his freedom if he was one. It all depends on the story. You might become a Slave if you break the law and are caught, and if a court determines that your punishment is slavery. You might also become a Slave if a rival nation captures you. Depending on who you are, you’ll receive one role or another. If you are a bloodied warrior, you won’t be used as a house slave.

■ Starting money: 20 times your Profession. ■ Monthly allowance: None.

You belong to another person. Not only that, but to most people you are no more than a living object or capable animal. The law is the strictest when it comes to your Status, and if you don’t behave as your master tells you, you will be punished. If you run away, you’ll be hunted down, tortured, marked, and returned to your master, or even killed. It is your master’s duty to cover your basic needs. He must spend 15 Gold per month to do so. You do not need to keep track of the cost of the food you eat or the rent you pay, but you do not get much more than a couple meals per day and (sometimes) a roof over your head. In exchange for this meager reward, you are required to work at all times and to do as you are told. Throughout the month, without having to keep tabs on your expenditures, you can: ■ Buy a sleeping place in a room for slaves, a barn, or a similar place, or you can be given a shed on your master’s property. ■ Eat one or two daily meals consisting of food that

you prepare yourself or that is from the leftovers of others. ■ In general, maintain a normal slave standard of living for the age. 158

Because Slave owners don’t really think of their Slaves as people, they won’t normally give them freedom from the kindness of their hearts. However, you can earn your freedom by paying for it if you manage to save money from tips, do something heroic that greatly helps your owner, or gain your owner’s favour in some other way.

Commoner ■ If you choose Commoner as your Status during character creation, you pay 0 experience points. ■ Starting money: 100 times your Profession. ■ Monthly allowance: None. ■ You can own one Slave if you buy or somehow gain him.

As a Commoner, you must work to survive. You can do this by having a regular job or a job somehow related to your Class (e.g. as a Sage you could be a trans-

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lator or an accountant, or as a Conquistador you could be a guide or a guard). You must work at this job for a minimum of 40 hours per week. Alternatively, you can spend 25 Gold per month to maintain your Status.

Profession Focus. You determine their jobs, such as becoming your bodyguard. This does not cost you money; your Status pays for it, as well as for their living needs, just like any other regular job.

For every month that you fail to comply with either requirement, you will suffer Fatigue from which you cannot recover until you do comply with the requirements. This represents the fact that you cannot pay for a roof over your head, food, or medicine to maintain your health. If things go very badly, you can sell yourself as an indentured Slave for a time.

■ When you create a Noble character, you’ll start the game with as many Favour points as your Profession. Write them down in the notes section of your character sheet. In principle and with few exceptions, non-Noble characters cannot have favours. Therefore, in terms of favours, Nobles cannot be in debt to Commoners.

Your job, or 20 Gold, covers your basic monthly needs. You do not need to keep track of the cost of the food you eat or the rent you pay. However, the conditions in which you live are poor and your life is mostly about survival. Throughout the month, without having to keep tabs on your expenditures, you can: ■ Buy a sleeping place in a common room every night or rent a small and simple one-room house. ■ Eat three daily meals consisting of food you prepare yourself or purchase from low-end establishments. ■ Purchase the minimum required materials to maintain your equipment (e.g. oils, rope, ammunition for your ranged weapons, etc.). ■ In general, maintain a normal Commoner standard

of living for the age.

Additionally, you must always show deference and respect to characters of Noble Status or you might face legal punishment.

BEING RICH Alternatively, you can spend 100 Gold per month to have the living standards of a Noble. This does not give you access to the reputation and other privileges of the Nobility. Additionally, when you are rich, you can own any number of slaves.

Noble ■ If you choose Noble as your Status during character creation, you pay 30 experience points. ■ Starting money: 300 times your Profession. ■ Monthly allowance: 20 times your Profession, plus

all of your needs are covered.

■ You are a rank 1 Noble by default (uou can increase this with Talents and through gameplay in exceptional circumstances). ■ You can employ and own as many other non-Noble characters (including player characters) as your

Nobles don’t have to work. As a Noble, your Status is affected only by some kind of catastrophe that affects your livelihood or assets, if you somehow fall off with the rest of the Nobility of your culture, or if some other kind of unforeseen disaster occurs. Your Status covers all your necessities (this can represent the fact that they are paid off by your family’s wealth, your businesses, or your properties). Throughout the month, without having to keep tabs on your expenditures, you can: ■ Live in a grand mansion or small palace belonging to your family. ■ Rent very good and fancy accommodations. ■ Afford the most luxurious clothing and food. ■ Use any kind of transportation. ■ Attend exclusive parties and celebrations. ■ In general, maintain a normal Noble standard of living for the age. TIP: If you want to have a group of characters who do not care about having to work regular jobs to maintain themselves, it is recommended that one of the members of the party be a Noble who employs or owns the rest, so adventuring itself can be considered their job.

FAVOURS The Nobility deal in favours. Every time a Noble helps another Noble, they will gain a favour that can later be spent to request something (e.g. political support, access to places otherwise closed to you, or an introduction and a good word to an acquaintance) of those indebted to them. Favours owed or debted always relate to specific Nobles. E.g. If you have five favours, you might have: “Own Favour 3 (Don Mateo de Rias y Carlota), Favour 1 (Doña Marina Salvador Escudero), and Favour 1 (Chief Kukulkan of the Achi). Debt Favour 2 (Doña Julieta Almeida).” 159

During character creation, you do not yet have to come up with who owes you a favour and how much. Simply write down the number of favours owed to you in general. During the game, you can, at any time, come up with an NPC. You can describe this NPC broadly and establish how much they owe you. The fact that you know this person must make sense in terms of your backstory (e.g. you cannot say you know the chief of a Mayan village you just discovered and knew nothing about), as determined by the GM. From that moment on, the NPC is part of the world of your adventure and you can request things from him or her. The GM should play the character by taking your description into consideration, but she can decide against any or all details.

You can request that a favour be repaid at any time. To do so, perform a confrontation using Charisma or Profession (depending on how you roleplay it) against the person who owes you the favour. Requesting a favour is an extremely broad subject and is not comprehensibly recorded in the rules. You and the GM should use the very flexible advantages rules to represent the different nuances. Here are some examples of things that should grant advantages or disadvantages towards an action: Gain one advantage for every point by which you outrank the person, or one disadvantage for every point by which the person outranks you. Spend additional favour points to gain that many advantages. The nature of the request: Something very simple (as in “ invite me to this formal ceremony”) might grant you an advantage, while the opposite can grant one or more disadvantages (if you requested an introduction to Montezuma himself). Whether the other person likes or dislikes you. The way you roleplay and present your request (especially if you make the person believe you are almost doing them a favour). 160

Some possible positive consequences are: The Noble feels your request has been a minor one in comparison and that they are still indebted to you, albeit to a lesser degree than before. If time was an issue, the Noble wastes no time making it happen As part of your conversation, you learn a valuable piece of information that might play a key role in your current mission. You fall into the good graces of the Noble, who might consider you a friend from now on. Some possible negative consequences are: The Noble feels wronged by your request. If you are successful, they will comply with it out of professional courtesy, but as far as they are concerned, your dealings are over. If you are successful, the Noble will do as you ask, but on their terms. They may take longer than you would like, gain you the audience you asked for but forget to put in a good word for you, etc. Someone else learns of your request and the nature of your endeavor and tries to beat you to it. During your meeting, you reveal information that you wanted to keep secret. If you fail, the Noble feels have overstepped your bounds in your request and throws you out. It’s worth noting that while Nobles of a higher station may help you achieve political goals, the support of lesser Nobles is unlikely to help you ascend the ranks of the Nobility. However, lesser Nobles are likely to comply with unpleasant or demanding requests. Meanwhile, greater Nobles are very unlikely to go out of their way to help you unless the debt they owe you is of a personal nature.

GAINING OR OWING FAVOURS Other Nobles might fall into your debt if you do things for them, but you can also fall into their debt. It is up to the GM to determine how much favour each act creates. It should usually be just one, but doing something extremely honourable or of immense value to the other person might make it two or three points. Because of its nature, Favour will represent extremely different things in each situation. The possibilities are limitless. The GM has complete control over how to use this rule, and can sometimes even break the rules. If she decides it fits the story, it is possible for nonNobles to gain favours or owe favours to other characters, or for certain favours to not be free-form and to be represented in a specific promise E.g. next time you need a place of refuge, you can hide in my palace for as long as necessary.

RANKS ■ Rank 1 Nobles are the lowest Nobility. Perhaps you are the son of a recognised bastard from a good family, or your family is no longer relevant in society. Your rank won’t get you far among Nobles. ■ Rank 2-3 Nobles are of lesser Nobility. You are well-established in your small community. You might have control over some lands or businesses. ■ Rank 4-5 Nobles are of high Nobility. You are part of one of the most important families in society or are the head of a smaller one. ■ Rank 6 Nobles belong to the family of a King or Emperor. In the case of a minor nation, it can be the King itself. ■ Rank 7 Nobles are Kings or Emperors.

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TraitS The Traits of a character relate to who the character is. They are a very narrative-based mechanic which can be used loosely and adapted to your own play style and story. Traits are used by both the GM and the players to develop the PC’s behaviour. Players can use them to help narrate their characters or improve their actions, while the GM can use them to force the players’ hands and make them behave in a certain way. Both the GM and the player must keep track of the PCs’ Traits – the GM in her GM sheet, and the players in their character sheets. During character creation, each PC must take at least one Background Trait and one Personality Trait. Players can take up to a maximum of five Traits of both types in total. Additionally, you can choose to play with the Prejudiced Trait if the entire party agrees on using that optional mechanic.

Background Traits Background Traits tell something about who you used to be before the adventure began. They relate to your origins and backstory. A Background Trait can be anything you have lived through that says something important about you. You should develop it with the help of the GM, who must also agree to it. E.g. Your Background Trait could be that you are married to someone, that you have a child, that you owe money to someone, that you hold a grudge, that someone wants to get revenge against you,

that you have been disinherited, etc. A Background Trait can be as elaborate as you want, and your Background Traits can even be related to each other. You might have a child called Citlalli who is nine years old and whom European slavers have taken from you. You are searching for her and will take out anyone who gets in your way. (You have the Background Traits “child” and “revenge against slavers”).

Personality Traits Personality Traits define your character’s personality. Personality Traits can be positive, neutral, or negative. Personality Traits are one-word adjectives or simple sentences that describe something about a character’s personality. They are open to interpretation by both the players and the GM. It is important to talk about how to interpret them during character creation, so that it can be determined whether they are good, neutral, or bad. While some are obvious, when writing them down it is recommended that, next to the Trait, you state (good), (neutral), or (bad) in brackets. This is especially important for Traits that you come up with yourself.

G OOD P ERSONALI TY TR AI TS A good Personality Trait costs 10 experience points and cannot be used by the GM to force you to act in a certain way (this means you have that part of your personality under control and can keep a cool head and adapt). The players can use it to develop a narrative around their characters.

E.g. If imminent danger is ahead and the party is unsure about how to proceed, players can take a look at their Personality Traits. If one of them is brave, that player will know that it makes sense for his character to step forwards and lead the party into the unknown. They can also be used when describing an action to gain advantages. E.g. If your character has the Personality Trait “ beautiful”, when attempting to convince an NPC of something, you can say that you are using your physical appeal to make the other character more open to your suggestions. If the other character is interested in you, this could grant you an advantage.

BAD PERSONALI TY TRAI TS A bad Personality Trait grants you 10 experience points and can (and should) be used by the GM to force you to act according to your personality. The player might not want to comply and can claim that their character is trying to resist their urges. To do so, the player can perform a normal Discipline check (difficulty: 6(1)). If successful, they won’t have to comply with the GM’s request. E.g. A character with the “coward” Personality Trait is in front of a cavalry charge of Spanish conquistadors. The GM says that the PC should act like a coward and make a run for it, leaving their friends behind. The player then claims he will try to control his cowardliness and stay. The PC 161

performs a normal Discipline check (+3). If he succeeds, he stays. If he fail, he’ ll lose control and the GM decides what the character does to get out of harm’s way. Depending on the circumstances, the PC might suffer disadvantages or gain advantages in regards to the Discipline check. E.g. In the previous example, being part of a large force on a hilltop could give one advantage to the PC, while being alone could give a disadvantage. A bad Personality Trait removes your control over the character; it is not something that is morally wrong. Therefore, being compassionate, in love, charitable, etc. are considered bad traits.

NEUT R AL P E RSON ALITY T R AI T S A neutral Personality Trait is free and can be used as both a good or bad Trait. E.g. If you are indomitable, you might gain one advantage to resist being influenced by others. However, you also might not listen to good advice from your friends.

G A I N I N G O R LOSIN G PERS O NAL I T Y TR AITS Characters can gain or lose Personality Traits if they become part of that character’s normal behaviour, if they lose the drive to behave that way, or if they overcome their shortcomings. The GM alone decides on any changes to the PC’s Personality Traits. To truly lose a trait, a character must have repeatedly succeeded in checks to act against them and roleplayed to avoid being that way.

Prejudiced Trait Characters with the Prejudiced Trait is negatively biased against every character who differs from them in matters of race, nation, gender, religion, and status. This trait sometimes extends to ideologies within those parameters.

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The Prejudiced Trait is an important part of who a character is and may play a pivotal role in his story. More often than not, prejudice is an inner obstacle in the character’s adventure, making them act to satisfy their personal bias rather than do what is best in any given situation. However, sometimes a prejudice can prove useful, as it might allow the character to bond with similarly minded individuals.

The GM should use the Prejudiced Trait to force you to act according to your personality’s shortcomings. The player might not want to comply and might claim that his character is trying to resist his urges by performing a Tolerance check, which is easier or harder depending on the circumstances. ■ If successful, the character can swallow their bias. If not successful, the player is forced to act upon their beliefs, even if those beliefs are wrong or go against the player’s actual needs. ■ A failure will cause you to show your prejudice in a passive-aggressive way. You are more likely to offend, lie, and boycott any social interaction with them; you’ll be happy to denounce them, exaggerate their weaknesses and flaws, etc. ■ A negative consequence will cause you

to completely lose control of yourself and act like a madman. You will go out of your way to act against them, physically attack them, plot against them, etc. Your actions can be as crazy as throwing stuff at them during peace negotiations or attacking them, even if they are stronger than you or in a better position. A character can act upon their prejudices at any time (how tastefully or gracefully they do it will be part of the group’s discussion on how comfortable you are with it). Generally, the player won’t want to act upon their prejudices, as this usually means getting into trouble or earning the resentment of the other characters.

Please keep in mind that a character does not have to be happy with their own prejudices; many prejudiced people are not and they fight a constant battle against their inner demons.

E.g. Marco grew up in a society in which same-sex love is a sin and a crime. With no one to offer him an alternative perspective, this is the truth in his mind. As a teenager, Fernando, his best friend, was accused of being a homosexual. Marco knew it was true. He broke all ties with Fernando, joining the other kids who mocked and bullied him. Fernando took it all in, and when he turned 15 he boarded a ship heading to the Americas. Ten years later, Marco also went to try his luck in the New World. Now that he’s here, he cannot stop thinking of his childhood friend. Although he still believes Fernando to be a sinner, he feels terrible about it. He hopes to find Fernando and make peace with him.

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Classes ■ Your Class is the most important aspect of your character. It will provide you with unique Talents and gear. ■ Here is a short overview of each Class: ■ Aristocrat: You have access to large sums of money and to important people. You are charismatic and powerful. ■ Sage: You are a scholar in many fields. You can create complex and powerful gear and you can perform magic. ■ Chasqui: You are an athlete. You have complete control over your body and your physical discipline is unparalleled. Not only that, you are a master of magic illusions. ■ Courtesan: You are capable of convincing people about almost anything. Your cunning can turn enemies into allies and your seduction magic can give you control over people. ■ Temple Guard: You are linked to another charac-

ter and are capable of incredible feats to defend him. You are the worst enemy of spellcasters, as you can deplete their Spirit reserves. However, you are an allied spellcaster’s best friend, as you can aid them in their invocations. ■ Teotl Priest: You are a spellcaster first and foremost. No other New World class knows as much magic as you do, and you have many tools to obtain Spirit to cast it. ■ Virgin of the Sun: You have been chosen to die, but for as long as you live you are miraculously lucky and powerful. You are also a source of inspiration for those around you.

■ Pochteca: You are a resourceful merchant and spy – a master of illusion magic. ■ Beast Lord: You have control over beasts and animals. You can ride powerful creatures that will give their lives for you. ■ Shaman: You are a spellcaster who specialises in potions and your connection with nature. ■ Tomb Raider: You are a master of the magic of darkness, capable of becoming shadows and entering the most impenetrable of fortresses – and, of course, old abandoned temples. ■ Sun Paladin: You are a knight in shining golden armour. The sun empowers you and your magical gear. For as long as you are in the light, you are almost invincible. ■ Headhunter: You are a necromancer, capable of enslaving your dead enemies. ■ Christian Missionary: You are a Christian spellcaster with a focus on conversion and control. ■ Conquistador: You a mixture of a soldier with lots of tricks up your sleeve and an explorer with a keen sense of direction. ■ Dragon Rider: You are the rider and master of a mighty dragon. ■ Hidalgo: You are a duelist and a leader of men. Your abilities empower your allies and make you a deadly one-on-one fighter. ■ Inquisitor: You are a spellcaster slayer of evil and heretics. You are almost impossible to lie to and you can use Evil’s power against itself.

■ Cuahchic: You must choose a partner who is also a Cuahchic. Both of you will be completely in tune and will behave as a single being with two bodies. ■ Eagle Warrior: You are a ranger, a scout, and a were-eagle. ■ Jaguar Warrior: You are the most aggressive and dangerous melee fighter in the New World and you are a were-jaguar.

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AristocraT I N T H E A N I M A L kingdom are animals that crawl in the mud, animals

that hide in caves or constantly run for their lives. Then there are animals that hunt the rest. And then there is you. Just a tiny step down the ladder from the gods, their loving hand resting on your shoulder, approvingly. This world is yours by divine right and you’ll do as you please with it. Feast, rejoice, and laugh because you have been chosen. Your blood is regal.

Y

OU H AV E W H A T your serv-

ants – ahem, your fellow adventurers – need. You can get into places where no commoner is allowed. You have contacts in the highest spheres and people respect you if they appreciate their lives. To be honest, everything is about you.

PALAC E P ALATE Athletic. Ignore as many stacks of each poison as your Athletic Focus

ACCE SS

■ Charisma and Profession: 5

Charisma. You know the right people in all the right places. For a modest sum, you can gain access to most places, such as balls and other social events and gain an audience with people that should be out of your reach. When trying to use a favour to get access to a place or person, gain one advantage.

■ Tolerance: 4

DE BT OF GRATI TUDE

Any noble character from any culture can be an Aristocrat. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to:

■ Melee

or Shooting, Knowledge, and Rites if from the New World or Riding if European: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2

Charisma. Can only be gained during character creation. Does not take up Talent slot. Gain additional favour points equal to your Profession.

■ Any other three Skills: 1

E N COURAGE

■ The last three Skills: 0

Charisma. INSTANT: Spend one Spirit to allow all of your allies who can either see you or hear you and up to 10 meters away to draw one card. Limited to once per Round.

■ Your Charisma, and three Shooting, Riding.

primary Skills are Profession, Tolerance of the following: Melee, Knowledge, Rites, and

■ Your nobility rank is 2.

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class Talents

IN FORMATI ON Charisma. You know the power of information and how to get it. For a modest sum you can find out

the latest rumors and secrets in the court before anyone else does. Additionally, some nobles may come to you looking to trade valuable information for favours. When trying to use a favour to get information, gain one advantage.

NOBLES DONT WORK Charisma. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Profession Talent slot.

ON ME Charisma. REACTION: After being the target of an action, choose another member of your Formation who can reach the triggering character, he can confront the action (in your stead or in addition to you).

SI LVER TONGUE Charisma. Gain one advantage towards charisma checks and actions when trying to persuade, charm, entertain or somehow please those you are talking to.

DON’T ASK TWI C E Profession. Gain one advantage when asking a lower ranking character to pay a favour he owns you.

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HI GH N O B I L ITY Profession. Can only be gained during character creation. Can be chosen several times and only take up one Talent slot. Increase your rank by one.

I MPO R T AN T Profession. Your name carries weight and authority beyond that of your rank. Maybe you are a lesser member of a royal house, or you have made a name for yourself in battle. Whatever the reason is, you have the respect of the nobility of your nation. When trying to use a favour of someone of your nation, gain one advantage.

H OME You own a large selfsustainable property with servants to care for it while you are away. When you are in there, you and your friends recover injuries and fatigue at double the usual rate.

I NC O M E Profession. You receive a monthly income that depends on your nobility rank: Rank 1: 200, rank 2: 500, rank 3: 1,000, rank 4: 2,000; rank 5: 5,000, rank 6: 10,000.

I NT I M I D AT E SE R V AN TS Profession. This Talent does not occupy a Talent slot. Gain one advantage when intimidating and forcing servants (yours or from others) and slaves to do what you want. 

S E R V ANT Profession. You can gain this Talent several times, only the first instant will occupy a Talent slot. You gain a Servant. Each additional time you gain this Talent it will double in cost and your Servant will gain one level, up to level 3.

T AL K N O T W OR K Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Charisma Talent slot.

B O R N O N T HE SHADDLE Riding. Only for European characters. Gain one advantage when handling your horse and do not suffer disadvantages when Shooting while galloping.

NE C R O P H AG IC M AG IC Rites. Only for New World characters. You know all the spells of the Necrophagic magic school. Manners Tolerance Gain two advantages towards Tolerance and one towards Perception when treating with characters of equal or higher rank than you.

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SagE Y O U A R E A knowledgeable erudite. You study old texts and experiment

with new formulas. The world moves on the backs of your inventions and discoveries. The only reason the ape-like human species now lives in palaces and soars the seas is men and women akin to you.

‘What is this?’ I asked, pointing at a glowing sphere on a pedestal. ‘A question’, Magnalucius replied. ‘I have never learned what it is for, who made it, or how it functions – if it has any function at all. If anything, it’s a reminder’. ‘Of what?’ ‘I found it along with the notes of the sage Mordanozzi, who went insane trying to make it work. Seems there was a fable, a folktale if you wish, about it. Legend has it that Sabazios the Great owned this sphere for fifty years before he gave up and threw it down a cliff, unable to even fathom how to study it’. I chortled. Magnalucius went on. ‘As the story goes, the sphere landed, unharmed, in a valley at the bottom of the cliff. There, a kid, a shepherd, picked it up’. ‘Don’t tell me the boy learned to use it’. ‘He didn’t even try. He just kept it as a bauble and went home’. ‘And?’ ‘And they say that boy wrote a poem. And whoever read that poem, cried’. ‘I don’t get it’. ‘That is the point’, Magnalucius said. ‘That is why I keep this glowing sphere’. Then he fell silent and said no more that night. 166

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O U C AN H E L P the party identify information

from another creature of the same type, obtain an additional one.

found in old temples or magic items, create potions and drugs to magnify the characters’ abilities.

KNOWLEDGEABLE

Any character from any culture can be a Sage. If you choose this Class during character creation:

Knowledge. Halve the cost (rounded down) of increasing your Knowledge Skill and Focus.

■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Crafting and Knowledge: 5 ■ Rites: 4 ■ Charisma, Medical and Perception: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Crafting, Knowledge, Rites, Charisma, and three of the following: Perception, Tolerance, Medical, and Profession. ■ You must purchase the Knowledge Talent ‘Literate’.

class Talents B L AC K S M I T H Crafting. Only for European characters. You can craft objects that require you to be a blacksmith. While using a forge, you can spend one iron and perform a normal check (difficulty: 9), if successful, after 8 hours, you produce one steel.

C H E MI S T Craftin. You can craft objects that require you to be a chemist.

EN C H AN T M EN T E XPE RTISE Crafting. Reduce by one the Spirit cost of casting a spell from the New World enchantment school.

GUNSMITH

I NQUI SI TI VE MI ND Perception. The GM should give you an additional clue when investigating scripts or mechanisms. If it comes down to a check, gain one advantage.

TUTOR Profession. REACTION: After a Session ends, choose another character to gain two additional experience points.

I NSC RI PTI ON Rites. Perform a Ceremony to inscribe any spell you know on a scroll or any other suitable surface by spending its Spirit cost. Any character can trigger the spell contained on it by paying one Spirit and performing a rites action confronted by as many cards as the Spirit cost of the spell. If he fails the confrontation, the character will take as much Corruption as the Spirit cost of the spell. Then, whether the spell succeeds or fails, the inscription will banish and become unusable.

MAGI C KNOWLEDGE Rites. 20 experience points. Learn any one Magic school from your religion.

NEW WORLD ENC H ANTMENTS M A G I C Rites. 30 experience points. Only for New World characters. You know all the spells from the New World enchantments School.

TRAVELLED Tolerance. Halve the cost (rounded down) of increasing your Tolerance Skill and Focus.

Crafting. Only for European characters. You can craft objects that require you to be a gunsmith. Gain one advantage when crafting ammunition for gunpowder weapons and ignore the Jammed deterioration effect.  Any character who has obtained his gunpowder from you also gains this until he runs out.

B E AS T KN O WLE DG E Knowledge. After exploring and experimenting with a creature, take note you have gained knowledge about that type of creature. Every time you obtain resources

I MPROVI NG TOOLS After crafting a piece of gear, give it one magic level.

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ChasquI Y O U C A N N O T T I R E . You are a force of nature with a will stronger than

diamonds. Your feet subdue the roads, your lungs overcome the highest mountaintops, your song conquers men, and your magic bends reality. You are the veins of an empire, and the blood and heart that keeps it alive. You know the secrets that would tumble monarchs. Without you, everything would stop.

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NON-NOBLE C HA R A C TER from Anahuac, Mayaab or Inca culture can be a Chasqui. If you choose this Class during character creation gain: NY

■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Athletic and Survival: 5 ■ Charisma: 4 ■ Perception, Knowledge, and Profession: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Athletic, Survival, Charisma, Profession, and two of the following: Knowledge, Discipline, Melee or Shooting, Tolerance, and Stealth.

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Class talents

MESSAGES FROM TH E PAST

A L W AY S M O V IN G

Knowledge. Gain one advantage when performing a Knowledge check to see if you know any information about the Four Regions.

Athletic. Your first Athletic action per Round does not make you Spent (therefore during your turn you could perform an Athletic action besides your regular action, or confront an action with Athletic and then still take your regular turn).

BINDWEED Athletic. You can use Athletic to perform grappling actions.

BREEZE Athletic. REACTION: As a good consequence of a successful Athletic action, look at as many cards from the top of your deck as your Athletic Focus, take one to your hand, and the rest divide them as you wish between back on top of the deck or in the discard pile.

FAS T R E C O VE RY Athletic. REACTION: After a Scene begins, if you are well feed and you are not sleep depraved, lose one Fatigue.

UN T O UC H ABLE Athletic. You do not gain Exhaustion from using Athletic.

WI ND F I L L E D FE E T Athletic. Gain one advantage towards all your running actions. Additionally, for as long as you can remain awake you can run - you never need to confront a TSE to see if you have enough energies to keep on moving.

KI NGSPOKEN MEMORI ES Perception. You always remember everything you have paid attention to. You might ask the GM to remind you of any information given to you.

QUI C K Perception. Your Initiative maximum is 10, and it costs you only 5 points to increase your Initiative.

LI FE ON TH E ROAD Profession. Halve the cost (rounded down) of increasing your Survival Skill and Focus.

RUNNER Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Athletic Talent slot.

SURVI VALI ST Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Survival Talent slot.

I LLUSI ON MAGI C Rites. 25 experience points. You know all the spells from the Illusion School.

SLI NG MASTER Shooting. REACTION: While performing an action with a sling, when playing a card, play it upside down and consider it to have the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

S O N G O F T H E LON E LY PATH Charisma. Gain one advantage to win over characters who are impressed by a haunting voice and skill in song.

S E C R E T W O RDS, SACR E D W OR DS Discipline. Gain one advantage towards being able to keep a secret from anyone even if they are seducing or torturing you.

S T AND PR O U D Discipline. REACTION: After taking an Injury, turn it into an instance of Fatigue instead.

C H ASQUI SANDALS Gain one advantage when trying to move Stealthily.

PUTUTU All loyal subjects of the inca who see this object will host you and your companions as their honoured guest. They will also do whatever they can you are in trouble and require to hide or to borrow gear.

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CourtesaN T H E B R A V E S T O F warriors, the most cunning of spies, the most righteous leaders… they all forget who they are when they are around you. After all, humans are just animals, with animal instincts and desires. What they truly desire above all, above power and prestige and being feared, is you. Everything else, they do to impress you. Let them think it does.

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S A C OUR TESA N, you are capable of making peo-

ple do and think as you please. They’ll tell you their secrets and they’ll fall in love with you. Powerful enemies that would require several soldiers to take down will willingly become your puppets. Any character from any Anahuac, Mayaab or Inca culture can be a Courtesan. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■

Charisma and Tolerance: 5



Perception: 4

Rites, Profession, and Discipline: 3

■ ■

Any other three Skills: 2



Any other three Skills: 1



The last three Skills: 0

■ Your primary Skills are Charisma, Tolerance,

Perception, Stealth and two of the following: Rites, Profession, and Discipline.

class Talents BED ARTS Charisma. You are a master in the arts of lovemaking and you can read your partner’s desires (even those hidden deep in their souls) allowing you to get

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ahead of their needs. Those who make love to you are drawn back to you like flies to honey. They gain the trait: “Overwhelming desire (bad)” for you.

EN C O U R AGE Charisma. INSTANT: Spend one Spirit to allow all of your allies who can either see you or hear you and up to 10 meters away to draw one card. Limited to once per Round.

MAKE U P ARTIST Charisma. If you have access to good quality cosmetics and spend a couple of hours getting ready, you gain the Beautiful trait until the end of the day. If you already had it, it becomes twice as powerful. Bare in mind that some barbarous people might actually find cosmetics repellent and this could have the opposite effect on them.

R E AD T H E R O OM Charisma. Whenever you are in the middle of a congregation and something is about to change in the general mood (maybe a guard is coming from among the crowd towards you, someone just entered the room who was not invited, etc), the GM should warn you and give you a general idea of what is going to happen. This should provide you with one or two turns to act before anything happens.

WO R D S O F HON E Y, LIPS OF V I L E Charisma. After interacting with a character who could be romantically attracted to you, perform a Charisma check against him suffering three disadvantages. If you are successful, he gains the trait “in love (bad)” with you. You can gain advantages towards this check from:

■ Roleplaying the scene very well (getting other players or the GM to blush is a good indicative). ■ You have the trait beautiful. ■ He has the trait overwhelming desire for you. ■ Spending

time with throughout several days.

him

You can suffer disadvantages towards this check from: ■ Roleplaying awkwardly. 

the

scene

■ You have the trait ugly and/or he has the trait severe. ■ He is prejudiced against you. ■ If he sees that your behaviour is erratic and/or suspects you. ■ If he is already in love with

someone else.

If you fail with a negative consequence, you should be the one falling in love.

CHE MI ST Crafting. You can craft objects that require you to be a chemist.

A CO URT’S PALATE Profession. Gain one advantage when checking to resist a potion that would curse you.

A REP UTATI ON Profession. Let the GM know you want to choose this Talent. Together you should come up with to what type of reputation you have and where. People know you for this and respect or look down on you respectively for this reason.  Your reputation can give you access to places or people; you can use it as part of a conversation to make yourself known, etc.

SE RVANT Profession. You can gain this Talent several times, only the first

instant will occupy a Talent slot. You gain a Servant. Each additional time you gain this Talent it will double in cost and your Servant will gain one level, up to level 3.

TH E JOB Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Charisma Talent slot.

TH E P RI C E Profession. Characters who have the “in love (bad)” “overwhelming desire (bad)” towards you will own you one favour. Each time you comply with their desires and requests, they’ll own you a new one (unless the request has no real value as determined by the GM).

AUI ANI ME MAGIC Rites. 20 experience points. You know all the spells from the Auianime School.    

PRETEND Tolerance. Gain one advantage towards Tolerance.

H I GH QUALI TY C OSMETI C S You always carry with you high quality cosmetics. You can spend one forestry and one stone resources to craft new ones.

WONDERFUL CL O THI NG While wearing this clothes you cannot wear armour and you’ll gain one advantage towards social interactions with character who could be sexually attracted to you. if you exploit it during your interactions. You can spend one forestry, one stone and one animal resources to craft new ones.

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Temple guarD Y O U A R E T H E protector of the Gods, of the Saints, and of your people’s

way of life. You are the defender of something greater than the lives of kings and cities whole. You are the defender of belief. You have a purpose that is not of this world, vaster than existence.

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S A TE M P L E Guard, you have a special synergy

with spellcasters of your religion; the Gods reward you and protect you from evil.

Any character from any Anahuac, Mayaab or Inca culture can be a Temple Guard. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Melee and Rites: 5 ■ Discipline: 4 ■ Athletics, Knowledge, and Profession: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0

C ODEX READER Knowledge. You can read codexes. The GM should give you an additional clue than usual when investigating codexes or other native writings. If it comes down to a check, gain one advantage.

EXP ERTI SE Melee . When you choose this Talent, select between: Mace, shield, and spear. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

PROTEC TOR

Profession and two of the following: Athletics, Shooting, Knowledge, and Perception.

Melee . INSTANT: If you are aware of an action against another character up to 5 meters away from you, you can become the target instead. If you did this to protect your protegee (see Ward), gain one Spirit.

class talents

UNBREAKABLE DEFENSE

PA I N S U PPR E SSION

Melee . When you use the defensive stance action, you don’t gain exhaustion and you may still benefit from positive consequences.

■ Your primary Skills are Melee, Rites, Discipline,

Discipline. Increases your threshold by one. REACTION: After you receive an Injury, discard a card to ignore its effects until the end of the Scene.

WARD Discipline. When you gain this Talent, choose a character to be your protegee. You will be his ward until he dies. After he dies, you can select a new protegee. You cannot personally kill your protegee even if he attacks you. While your protegee is alive and under attack, you can ignore one of your Injuries and you will have an advantage towards Discipline.

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TH E STI NK OF C ORRUPTI ON Perception. ACTION (Perception): Select a character in your sight up to 5 meters away. Then, perform a hard Perception check (+6). If you are successful, the GM should tell you if that character has Corruption or not (if you fail, she can tell you whatever she wants, lying or not), and if there are any illusions affecting him. Limit once per character per Session.

PROTEC TI VE TATTOOS Profession. You do not suffer Corruption from using gear that deals Corruption to the wielder.

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D I VI N E AF F IN ITY Rites. Gain Affinity to the Divine Suit.

MAGI C C ANALIZ E R Rites. REACTION: After a spell is declared up to 10 meters away from you and within your sight or you or your protegee were its target, spend any amount of Spirit up to your Level to either increase or decrease the target spell’s cost by that amount (to a minimum of 0). If you increase its cost, the Spellcaster can spend the additional cost or the spell is dispelled (and the Spirit used to cast it spent); if you decrease it, the Spellcaster regains that amount of Spirit. Limited to once per Round.

MO R N I N G PRAYE R Rites. REACTION: After a Session begins, discard X cards to gain X+1 Spirit. X must be at least one.

NE C R O P H AG IC M AG IC Rites. You know all the spells of the Necrophagic  School.

T H E S AC R I F ICIAL CE RE M ON Y Rites. If you take part of a sacrificial ceremony (you don’t have to do the killing yourself, but aid the priests as they require: Such as bringing in the victims, keeping the crowd and the victims at bay) it is considered that you have fulfilled the Sacrifice ritual (even if it is not your ritual).

T E M P L E G U AR D ARM OU R You gain the temple guard’s armour.

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Teotl priesT L A N D A N D A I R . Sun and moon. Mountains and lakes. Men and women.

This world and the spirit world. Things exist in pairs. Everything is defined by what it is not, and you are the bridge between them. Your realm is the space between things, the place of understanding. You translate and interpret, you define what is reason, what is just and what is honourable. You are meaning.

Y

OU C AN TAP into the supernatural and use magic

to protect, curse, change, or adapt reality to what it ought to be. Your party can count on you to push through what seemed impossible. Any character from any Anahuac, Mayaab or Inca culture can be a Teotl Priest. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Rites and Knowledge: 5 ■ Charisma: 4 ■ Crafting, Profession, and Medical: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2

SC H OOL OF SP ELLS Rites. This Talent can be gained several times. The first time you choose this Talent it costs 20 experience points, every time after that 30 experience points.  Each time you choose this Talent, select one of the following magic schools and you’ll know all the spells from that school: New World enchantments, Tlahuilpochtli, Nahualotl, Titici, Necrophagic (only 10 experience points), Tlachixqui, Xihuitl, and Tlatlacatecolotl.

C REATE DRUGS

■ Any other three Skills: 1

Crafting. You can craft objects that require you to be an alchemist.

■ The last three Skills: 0

C ODEX READER

■ Your primary Skills are Rites, Knowledge, Charisma, Profession and two of the following: Tolerance, Discipline, Crafting, and Medical. ■ You must purchase the Knowledge Talent ‘Literate’.

class talents T HE O R D E R ’ S RITU AL Profession. Choose an additional ritual.

T HE S AC R E D RITU AL OF SACRIFICE Profession. Gain the Sacrifice ritual, or if you already had it, gain any other ritual available to your religion. When you perform a sacrifice with all the required elements to make it an important religious event you gain one advantage to Transcend. Afterwards the sacrificed characters cannot be the target of magic from charac-

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ters other than yourself (certain spells can use dead characters or target them).

Knowledge. You can read codexes. The GM should give you an additional clue than usual when investigating codexes or other native writings. If it comes down to a check, gain one advantage.

RELI GI OUS KNOWLEDGE Knowledge. Gain one advantage when performing Knowledge checks about New World religions myths, scriptures, history, etc.

RELI GI OUS WI SE Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Rites Talent slot.

GODLY I C ON REACTION: After you suffer Corruption, reduce it by one. Limited to once per Scene.

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Are we Here? That is the true question, the only question worth asking in this world. For the divine is here and not here, both present and hidden, and our souls are both manifest and secret, both mysterious and revealed. Our bodies are here, but are we our bodies? Are we our incorporeal, wandering souls? We are both and none, for only what is neither can be either and only what is none can be one. So I ask you again. Are we Here? Once in a dream I met the Spirit Lizard. It crossed my path, it wiggled its tongue at me. I hailed it, but it didn’t answer. Instead, it shed its skin and asked: ‘Did you hail me?’ ‘Yes’, I said. ‘I hailed you, though I did not know it was you under that skin’. Then it shed its skin again. Again, it asked, ‘Did you hail me?’ ‘Yes’, I said again, ‘I hailed you, though I did not know it was you under this skin and the previous one’. Then it shed its skin again; it repeated its question. I repeated my answer. Thirteen times the Spirit Lizard molted its skin, thirteen times I said, ‘Yes, it was you I hailed’. When the thirteenth skin was shed, there was nothing, nobody beneath. No lizard, no spirit came out of it. Then the Lizard Spirit spoke inside of me. It spoke from within; it spoke with my heart’s voice. ‘Was it me you hailed?’ it asked one last time. ‘Yes’, I answered, ‘ it was you, though I didn’t know it was you beneath those skins’. Then I saw the truth. When I awoke, I had been marked. I had the tattoos of the Spirit Lizard. They were not in my visible skin, this dry skin I shall shed when I die. They were within. They are not visible, for they are marked upon my soul. That day, I summoned the Great Snake to the Temple of Tlazolteotl. That day, I became holy. That day, I was Here. And that is the answer to the question.

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Virgin of the suN E V E R Y O N E B O R N I S to die, yet not all deads are the same. Some are

chosen, and theirs is the price for the world to continue spinning, for the sun to rise each morning, and for the lease that humans have on this land. How a single life can accomplish so much is a miracle. How a single dead can have such power is the greatest of honours. And we give it willingly, for you.

A

NY YOUNG C HA R A C TER from any Anahuac, Mayaab or Inca culture can be a Virgin of the Sun. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Rites and Charisma: 5 ■ Discipline: 4 ■ Knowledge, Profession, and Tolerance: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Rites, Charisma, Discipline, Profession, and two of the following: Knowledge, Tolerance, and Medical. ■ Gain the personality trait “Wants to be Sacrificed (bad)”, gain 10 experience points from it. ■ Gain the ability Holy sacrifice, FORCED REACTION: After being sacrificed, all the characters who gained Spirit from sacrificing you discard a card and gain that much additional Spirit.

Blessed be the garden of my heart, for it shall sprout the flowers of song and fruit. Blessed be the vestments on my skin. Blessed be the precious stones that shall pour from my limbs. Blessed be my life, which spins with the heavens. Blessed be my death, for I shall live forever.

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class talents T E O T L ’ S V O ICE Charisma. REACTION: After declaring a social action, spend any amount of Spirit up to your Rites Focus to gain that many advantages to affect (convince, scare, seduce, etc) those New World characters listening to you. Limited to once per Session.

HO N O UR T H ROU G H SACR IFICE Discipline. REACTION: After you are successful at a Discipline check; all of your New World allies gain one advantage towards their Discipline checks provoked by the same source until the end of the Scene or until you fail a similar check.

SPI RI T DREAM Rites. ACTION: Spend 1 Spirit after performing a Drug ritual. You’ll fall asleep and you’ll travel to the spirit world where your ancestors will whisper to you about the future and your destiny.  Perform a hard Rites check (difficulty: 9(1)). If you are successful, you interpret some of it, gain the Foreordination ability. FOREORDINATION

PR O F E S S I O N W ISE

ACTION: Request the GM’s advice about a choice you have to make or a course of action you should take. The GM should give you solid advice, even if that means revealing to you something you shouldn’t be able to know (such as letting you know you are being betrayed or deceived, or that there is danger ahead and what type).

Knowledge. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Profession Talent slot.

Foreordination can only be used once until you perform the Spirit Dreams again.

MAGI C W I S E

If you have Corruption when you use Foreordination, the GM must tell you a lie instead without you knowing.”

Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Rites Talent slot.

TEOTL’S MANTLE

T H E B L E S S E D ON E

Rites. You have one Magic Resistance. You have an additional Magic Resistance towards New World magic.

Profession. REACTION: After you gain Spirit, look top card from the deck, if it is a 4 or higher put it in your hand, otherwise discard it and gain one additional Spirit.

T H E C H O S E N ON E Profession. REACTION: After being the target of an action that could also target an allied character, spend one Spirit and that character will become the target instead.

TEOTL’S P OWER Rites. REACTION: After the beginning of a Session gain as many Spells as your Rites Focus from any of the New World schools (they can be from different schools) until the end of the Session.

GODLY P ATI ENT Tolerance. Gain an advantage towards Tolerance.1

T H E L U C KY ON E Profession. REACTION: After playing all the cards for an action or check, discard any card from your hand of the action or check’s suit and gain the effects of playing a Joker.

D I VI N E AF F IN ITY Rites. Gain Affinity to the Divine suit.

D I VI N E B L O OD Rites. Gain the Bloodletting ritual. If you already had it, gain any other ritual available to your religion.  When you Transcend, the GM must let you know the check’s result. REACTION: After gaining a positive consequence when Transcending from a Bloodletting ritual, spend it to cancel the Injury you were to suffer.

SAC RI FI C I AL DEC ORATI ONS For as long as you wear this you can reduce the Spirit cost of the Spells you throw by one. But everyone will know you are a Virgin of the Sun (or Teotl bearer) and will act accordingly (if you are not in the nun’s house or accompanied by a normal escort they’ll believe you have escaped and call the guards on you, or do something about it themselves).

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CuahchiC S H E L O O K S , A N D therefore you see. She listens, and therefore you hear. She hunts, and therefore you eat. She runs, and therefore you move. You are a being with two souls, or a soul with two bodies – this is not known. What is known is when you die, you’ll be reunited in the spirit world as one who is two, as two who are one.

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NY NOBLE C HA R A C TER from any Anahuac cul-

ture can be a Cuahchic. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Melee and Discipline: 5 ■ Profession: 4 ■ Athletic, Stealth, and Survival: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three

Skills: 0

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■ Your primary Skills are Melee, Discipline, Profession, and three of the following: Athletic, Stealth, Survival, Shooting, Medical, and Tolerance. ■ When you gain this Class, choose another character with this Class who also chooses you. He is now your partner. If your Cuahchic partner dies, you can spend 5 Spirit in a Ceremony to join up with another one after one month of mourning.

Class talents HE L P I NG H A N D Athletic. REACTION: While you are in a Formation with your partner, after he plays all the cards for an action or check, discard any card from your hand of the action or check’s suit and grant him the effects of playing a Joker. Limited to once per Scene.

T H E F E W F O R THE M AN Y Athletic. REACTION: While you are in a Formation with your partner, after he suffers an injury, you suffer it instead in a body part of your choice.

K N O W N O F E AR Discipline. REACTION: After gaining Fear, discard the top card from the deck, if it is a 4 or higher, cancel it.

S T AND Y O U R G R OU N D Discipline. While in combat, you can repeat a failed Fear check. Limit once per Round.

T O GE T H E R STR ON G Discipline. While you are in a Formation with your partner increase your Threshold by one.

D E AD L Y C H ORE OG R APHY Melee . REACTION: While in a Formation with your Cuahchic part-

ner, when you attack a character, if before the end of the Round your Cuahchic partner attacks the same character, he gains one advantage (This can be combined with the second effect of Synchronized).

E XPERTI SE Melee . When you choose this Talent, select between: Maze, knife, axe or spear. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

SYN C H RONI ZED Melee . REACTION: While in a Formation with your Cuahchic partner, after your partner is the target of an action, choose one: ■ Become the sole target of the triggering action (never against radius attacks). ■ Join the confrontation with a viable counteraction. Additionally, if one of you is successful, the other will be also successful with the same level of success regardless of his actual result.

STAND WH ERE H E FELL Profession. REACTION: After your partner becomes bleeding out, traumatised or dead, for the remainder of the Scene you are immune to Fear checks, you cause Fear and ignore the effects of an injury of your choice. But, you cannot leave the area without his body,  until he has received a burial ceremony. 

SYN ERGY Profession. You and your partner must gain this simultaneously. Afterwards, if you are playing with individual decks, it is recommended that you mix yours with your Cuahchic partner’s deck. 

You and your Cuahchic partner can show your hands of cards to each other. INSTANT: Spend one Spirit to give and/or receive as many cards from your Cuahchic partner as your Rites Focus.

LI KE BLOOD Rites. You and your partner must gain this simultaneously. You and your partner can read each other’s mind if you are up to 20 meters away. This allows you to engage in off-game conversation that can then be used in-game, without being consider unwanted metagaming.

NEC ROP H AGI C M A G I C Rites. You know all the spells of the Necrophagic School.

SOULBOND “This is an object given to you by your partner made from parts of his body (hair, nails, blood, skin, even meat). He’ll suffer a torso injury when he makes it. You’ll always know the direction and approximated distance to your partner and you’ll know his mood. Additionally, if your partner dies you gain the following ability to be used only once. UNIQUE REACTION: After your turn begins, invoke a Ghost that appears next to you and will help you until the end of the Scene; consider him a friendly NPC. He’ll have the stats of your former partner and he’ll cause Fear and will be immune to nonmagical attacks. If a player present played your dead partner, you can ask him to play him instead.”

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Eagle warrioR R I S E . Y O U A R E an eagle warrior. A mighty sky warrior, a supernatu-

ral champion, a chosen leader of men. Your Tonal is clear. You have the soul of the hunter without a hunter, the animal that flies above all others. They’ll never see you coming.

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N Y N O B L E C H A RA C T E R from any Anahuac cul-

ture can be an Eagle Warrior. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Shooting or Melee and Perception: 5 ■ Stealth: 4 ■ Athletics, Survival, Rites, and Discipline: 3 ■ Any other two Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1

advantage when performing a Knowledge check to determine its weaknesses, behaviour, mood, etc and to gain one advantage the first time you attack it.

AERI AL DANC ER Melee. REACTION: After you win a Melee confrontation, you gain an additional positive consequence. This positive consequence cannot deal additional damage or ignore armour. Aerial danger will not work while in a Formation.

SPEAR EXPERTI SE

■ Your primary Skills are Shooting or Melee, Perception, Stealth, Athletics and two of the following: Shooting, Melee, Survival, Discipline, and Profession.

Melee . When you choose this Talent, you gain expertise with spears. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

■ When you discover your Tonal animal it must be an eagle.

The path of the spear Melee When you use spears, your attacks benefit from all of your Shooting Talents.

■ The last three Skills: 0

class Talents UNTO UC H AB L E Athletic. REACTION: After taking damage from a character suffering a negative consequence, cancel the negative consequence to reduce the damage by your Athletic Focus. Untouchable will not work while wearing heavy armour.

V ITAL I T Y Athletics. You ignore the first instance of Exhaustion you suffer every Round.

HU N T E R Knowledge. Choose as many creature types as your Knowledge Focus (when your Focus increases, gain a new one). When facing that type of creature, gain one 180

PI ERC I NG SI GH T Perception. REACTION: After performing a Perception check to find a hidden character or object, perform it again. Limit once per check.

PAC K LEADER Profession. Gain one advantage when convincing soldiers of your nation and of lower rank to follow your orders.

FAST WI NGS Rites. While you are flying with the Spell Eagle Token, you can perform one free movement action per Round.

WERE-EAGLE Rites. You know the Eagle token spell of the Nahualotl School, which only costs you one Spirit, and the Tonalli Summoning of the Tonalli School.

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NE C R O P H AG IC MAGI C Rites. You know all the spells of the Necrophagic School.

D E AD L Y AC C U RACY Shooting. Your ranged attacks ignore one armour of any kind. This increases by one for every positive consequence you gain, besides the effects of those consequences.

D E AT H F R O M AB OV E Shooting. Gain one advantage towards Shooting actions if your target is in a lower position than yours.

EX PE R T I S E Shooting. When you choose this Talent, select between: Bow, sling and throwing weapon. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

HA I L O F S T ON E S Shooting. REACTION: After performing a Shooting action with a sling, perform another one (remember that you’ll suffer Exhaustion).

HO O K E D D AR TS Shooting. REACTION: After damaging a character with an Atlatl, he’ll suffer one disadvantage towards all of his Athletic and Stealth actions until he spends one action to remove the dart.

S T E AL T H S HOT Shooting. Shooting a non-Gunpowder weapon does not reveal your location to your enemies (and revealing your location cannot be chosen as a bad consequence of the action), unless there is only one possible hiding place.

EA GL E L AN DIN G Survival. REACTION: Spend one Spirit to avoid taking damage from a fall, regardless of the height.

E AGL E W AR RIOR ARM OU R You gain the eagle’s armour.

I am cuauhyaotl. My sight flies over the battlefield. My wings carry my heart. I am cuauhyaotl. I wear the garments of the sky lord. I sing my call to the river reeds. I am cuauhyaotl. I bleed on the land from the spears of clouds. I am cuauhyaotl.

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Jaguar warrioR M E N H A V E M A N Y different kings and lord, but

the jungle has only one: the jaguar, the mightiest and most gracious of the animal kingdom. The bravest of men trembles when they hear it roar. When they hear you roar.

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NY NOBLE C HA R A C TER from any Anahuac cul-

ture can be a Jaguar Warrior. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Melee and Athletics: 5 ■ Discipline: 4

■ Stealth, Rites, Survival and Perception: 3 ■ Any other two Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Melee, Athletics, Discipline, Perception and two of the following: Survival, Rites, Survival, and Profession. ■ When you discover your Tonal animal it must be a jaguar.

When our militia scattered like ants before the enemy, we called the jaguar warrior to stop the enemy. When our rank soldiers fell like reeds to the wind, we called the jaguar warrior to kill the wind. When our officers didn’t know what to do, we called the jaguar warrior to do what was needed. When our lord faltered and bent the knee, we called the jaguar warrior to capture their lord and bring their flag. When our priests forgot the Saints, we called the jaguar warrior to drag the Saints screaming into battle.

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class talents

RELENTLESS AGRESSI ON

HE AVY H I T TE R

Melee . REACTION: After ending an attack, discard a card to perform an additional attack ignoring Exhaustion. 

Athletic. REACTION: After you declare a Melee attack with a double-handed weapon, your opponent is not longer part of any Formation until he moves away from you.

I NN AT E AC C U R ACY Athletic. You can use throwing weapons with Athletics instead of Shooting with one disadvantage.

UN T O UC H ABLE Athletic. REACTION: After taking damage from a character suffering a negative consequence, cancel the negative consequence to reduce the damage by your Athletic Focus.  Untouchable will not work while wearing heavy armour.

V I T AL I T Y Athletic. You ignore the first instance of Exhaustion you suffer every Round.

PAC K L E AD E R

TH E JAGUAR’S C LAW Melee . REACTION: When you use Melee as the triggering character, gain one advantage.

KNOTS OF WAR Profession. Characters tied by you receive two disadvantages to escape. Additionally, when you use the Resourceful action to claim you have high quality rope, the GM cannot confront you unless you have been stripped of all your belongings.

TH E C LAW FROM ABOVE Profession. REACTION: As a positive consequence from a Melee action against a character of lower level than you, instead of dealing damage to him, he becomes traumatised.

BATTLE TRANC E Rites. REACTION: After you traumatise or kill a character of at least level 1, gain one Spirit.

Charisma. Gain one advantage when convincing soldiers of your nation and of lower rank to follow your orders.

NEC ROP H AGI C MAGI C

S C AR Y

WERE-JAGUAR

Discipline. REACTION: After you attack a character for the first time, he must make a Fear check.

HU NT E R

Rites. You know all the spells of the Necrophagic magic school. Rites. You know the Jaguar token spell of Nahualotl School, which one costs you one Spirit, and the Tonalli Summoning of the Tonalli School.

Knowledge. Choose as many creature types as your Knowledge Focus (when your Focus increases, gain a new one). When facing that type of creature, gain one advantage when performing a Knowledge check to determine its weaknesses, behaviour, mood, etc and to gain one advantage the first time you attack it.

FELI NE GRAC E

A N E Y E F O R W E AKN E SS

Survival. REACTION: After you take damage, draw a card. INSTANT: Discard a card from your hand to ignore your Injuries until the end of the Round.

Melee . REACTION: After declaring an attack against an Injured human character, gain one advantage.

Survival. Felines recognise you as an alpha, and they will not attack you unless provoked. You can move and hunt among them.

FUELED BY PAI N

EX PE R T I S E Melee . When you choose this Talent, select between: Maze and throwing weapon. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

JAGUAR WARRI OR ARMOUR You gain the jaguar’s armour.

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PochtecA W O R D S S H A R P A S obsidian. Ideas deadly as armies. Plans cunning as

Huehuecoyotl. You are the giver of the true blood of empires: commerce and information. Your roots extend far and wide. You have ears where all the important words are spoken and you have mouths on all the ears worth convincing. You alone can do more for your lord than a whole army can. You can hold frontiers at peace just with promises, and you can expand them as easily with lies.

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NY C HA R A C TER FR OM any Anahuac or Inca

culture can be a Pochteca. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Perception and Charisma: 5 ■ Profession and Stealth: 4 ■ Tolerance and Knowledge: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0

■ Your primary Skills are Perception, Charisma, Profession, Stealth, and two of the following: Tolerance, Crafting, Survival, and Knowledge. ■ You must purchase the Knowledge Talent ‘Literate’.

class Talents MERC H ANT SOUL Charisma. Gain one advantage towards commerce actions such as getting a good discount, having a seller show you his best products, selling something overpriced or making something pass as a better quality version of what it really is. Also, you are more likely to find the best deals and hard to find items.

SPY SOUL Charisma. Gain one advantage towards Charisma when lying about your identity and motives and when trying to disguise as someone else. 184

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C O D E X R E AD E R Knowledge. You can read codexes. The GM should give you an additional clue than usual when investigating codexes or other native writings. If it comes down to a check, gain one advantage.

ME R C H ANT E Y E Perception. Gain one advantage to figure out the true value of an object and if it really is what it seems. Additionally, you can obtain two special ingredients from each creature that grants one.

D E AL S Profession. You receive a monthly income that depends on your Profession Focus: 1: 200, 2: 500, 3: 1,000, 4: 2,000.

EV E R Y T H I NG CAN BE B O UGH T Profession. You can gain favours as if you were a rank 1 noble, but you cannot owe favours. Additionally, for as long as you are affording the rich status you will be treated as a fellow noble by most people. 

(consider that within a city you can obtain almost any objects as determined by the GM of a total cost of 100 times your Profession).  Before leaving the city you should give it back, or give back similar type of objects for the same cost. If you cannot, you should pay it back once you are in a Mexica city. If you fail to do so timely, the GM can cancel your access to Stashes until you make amends with your guild.

ILLUSI ON MAGI C Rites. 25 experience points. You know all the spells from the Illusion School.

G E N TLE H ANDS Stealth. Gain one advantage towards opening closed doors, breaking into locked places and pickpocketing.

TR AVELLED Tolerance. Halve the cost (rounded down) of increasing your Tolerance Skill and Focus.

NE T W O R K O F CON TACTS Profession. Gain one advantage when you use Profession to perform a Contacts check. The GM can veto any out of scope claims or ask you to revise them.

S E R V ANT Profession. You can gain this Talent several times, only the first instant will occupy a Talent slot. You gain a Servant. Each additional time you gain this Talent it will double in cost and your Servant will gain one level, up to level 3.

S T AS H Profession. The Mexica empire does not leave things to chance, and in every city they hide a Stash full of weapons, money and other useful stuff only known to Pochtecas

MAP S OF TH E E MPI RE You always know where you are and where you are going if it is within land known to the Mexica (this includes all cities the Mexica know from battling against them or trading with them).

PO C H TEC A GUI LD IC ON If you show this icon to any other Potchteca or highranking member of the Triple Alliance, you will be helped to fulfil your mission as if they owned you one Favour.

‘How much for your nation, Lord Tlacaxquihui?’ The tlatoani of Amalco thought he’ d heard wrong. He looked down on the travelling merchant. ‘I will buy your nation’, the merchant insisted. The tlatoani composed himself. ‘How dare you? No price could buy Amalco.’ ‘Sorry if I offended you. If you don’t wish to sell, perhaps I could sell you the state of Motetzinco.’ The tlatoani flinched. Motetzinco had been Amalco’s rival for decades. ‘How would you sell me Motetzinco?’ ‘I have a map of their force deployments, a list of their weakest garrisons and the signatures of fifteen teteuctin willing to defect to you, my lord. What will you give me for these?’ The monarch almost leaped from the throne. ‘I’ ll give you ten thousand cacau seeds and a place in my court for that’. ‘See? Now we know there is a price that could buy a nation.’ The tlatoani felt a chill down his backside. ‘I accept your price’, said the merchant. ‘And we will add another ten thousand for me not to sell similar items to the lord of Motetzinco’. Thus the deal was sealed; thus a merchant of nations brought about the ruin of Motetzinco.

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Beast lorD Y O U A R E T H E beast lord, the ruler of mighty creatures that see men

as food, see you as their master. Your control over your beast is complete. It rides where your thought leads, it attacks those you despise, it feeds after you – and only if you let it. It will die for you, and its spirit will come back to sacrifice itself again and again.

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NY NON-SLA VE C HA R A C TER from a Mayaab culture can be a Beast Lord. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■

Set your Skill values to:



Riding and Survival: 5

■ Profession: 4 ■ Perception, Medical: 3

Stealth

and

■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Riding, Survival, Profession, Perception, and two of the following: Stealth, Medical, Discipline, and Tolerance.

MOUNT’S ARMOUR Give 1 soft and 1 hard armour to your mount. If you lose it, you can craft a new one from 1 forestry, 4 animal, and 1 obsidian.

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class talents A N I MAL B O N D Charisma. If your beast can see you, it gains one advantage towards Discipline. Additionally, if you are not in normal health state, your beast will forget about its own safety and will do all in its power to save you, from fighting until death to get you to safety.

A N I MAL D O C TOR Medical. Gain one advantage when performing Medical actions on beasts and animals.

B E AS T L O R D Profession. Cost: 10 times the beast’s level. You can gain this Talent several times, each time you gain this Talent it will double it’s cost. Only the first instant will occupy a Talent slot.  You gain a beast as a friendly NPC. It will obey your orders unless you mistreat it. If you gain it while it is a pup it will become loyal to you, and from that moment on it will give its live for you. Each additional time you gain this Talent your beast will gain one level, up to level 4 (everytime it gains one level it can play an additional card for both its Competente and Mediocre Skills). If your beast dies, spend 4 Spirit and a day meditating alone in nature. A new beast (of your choice but that could be found in that environment) will join you.

MAS C O T Profession. You can gain this Talent several times, only the first instant will occupy a Talent slot. Each time you gain this Talent it will double it’s cost.  You gain a small non-combatant animal as a mascot; such as an eagle, a non-venenous snake, a mouse, a small monkey. Your mascot will always be with you for as long as you feed it and treat it well. It will follow all of your orders. If your mascot dies, spend 1 Spirit and a day meditating alone in nature. A new mascot (of your choice but that could be found in that environment) will join you.

T R AI N E D F OR RE SISTAN CE Profession. Your beast gains one advantage towards Athletic.

T R AI N E D F OR STE ALTH

BEAST C ONTROL Riding. While you are riding your beast gain, INSTANT: When your beast has to play a card from the top of the deck, play it from your hand instead (you might draw a new card, but taking into consideration your beast’s stats). Maximum once per action.

RI DE TO BATTLE Riding. If you are riding your beast if either of you attack the same character during a Round, the one of you who attacks last gains one advantage.

ANI MAL VOI C E Rites. ACTION: Spend 1 Spirit to be able to communicate with animals around you until the end of the Round. Animals will see you as some strange friendly being and will be more able willing to approach you but if you kill an animal while this is active, you’ll automatically gain one Corruption. You’ll be able to communicate to them simple ideas (such as “look for other two legged creatures like me in the forest, if you find them come back and I’ll feed you”). You’ll be able to learn from them things they remember or instinctively know, but it will be in their animal terms and understanding. There is no right way to interpret animal thoughts, but as a general rule they won’t use complex ideas, think of motives, nor understand most things humans do (they might have seen the humans you are chasing, but they won’t be able to tell you that they are preparing a ceremony or a meal).

TH ROUGH YOUR EYES Rites. ACTION: Spend one Spirit and stare straight into the eyes of your beast or mascot to have your soul enter its body. Until your beast or mascot spends an action staring straight into your own eyes, you are inside its body and control it, while your real body remains in a meditation stance. While you are your beast or mascot you’ll have its Skills but you can play cards from your hand. If your beast or mascot dies while you are in it, instantly discard down to one card and come back to your own body.

TONALLI MAGI C Rites. 20 experience points. You know all the spells from the Tonalli School.      

Profession. Your beast gains one advantage towards Stealth.  187

ShamaN W H I L E T H E P R I E S T S look at the stars from their pyramids, you walk up the mountains to be quickly, you stroll on men, yours is of just guests here lived all five the world is more mouths of Understanding much more.

close to them. While they walk on roads to move the fields to find plants. Their kingdom is of nature. Men belong to the fifth sun; they are and they’ll eventually leave. The earth has suns. Some believe humanity is the center of but there is more wisdom in herbs, there strength in beasts, there is more power in the volcanoes, there is more vitality in the wind. nature, you understand humankind and so

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NY NON-NOBLE C HA R A C TER from any Mayaab culture or from a small nomadic or semi-nomadic tribe from the New World can be a Shaman. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■

Set your Skill values to: ■ Rites and Medical: 5 ■ Survival: 4 ■ Charisma, Crafting: 3

Profession,

and

■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Rites, Medical, Survival, Crafting and two of the following: Charisma, Profession, Stealth, and Perception.

Malichi, yeu se weye ka’ i tuka ani’apo, tuka ani’apo yeu ne sikaa saila kauni tukatane vichakane yeu, ne sikaa saila. Deer, goes out into the night world. I went out, brother, into his night world, and lost myself in the night. - Yo’emem Deer Dance

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class talents C R E AT E D R UG S Crafting. You can craft objects that require you to be an alchemist.

PO T I O N M AK E R Crafting. If the potions you make require a check from the person who drinks it you can choose to give them one advantage or disadvantage towards the check.

PO I S O N E XPE RT Medical. Gain one advantage to heal venoms. Additionally, from the corpse of a venomous NPC you can craft an oil that if applied to a weapon, it’ll gain Venomous 1 of that type of poison.

WO UN D E XP E RT Medical. This Talent can be gained several times, only occupying one Talent slot. Choose a type of wound: Weapon, unarmed or magical. When you perform a medical action on a character who has been mostly wounded by it, gain one advantage.

T H E S AC R E D R ITU AL OF S AC R I F I C E

to interpret animal thoughts, but as a general rule they won’t use complex ideas, think of motives, nor understand most things humans do (they might have seen the humans you are chasing, but they won’t be able to tell you that they are preparing a ceremony or a meal).

C URSED SOUL Rites. You cannot have the Healer’s soul Talent. REACTION: After performing a Tlacatecolotl Spell, gain one Spirit.

H EALER’S SOUL Rites. You cannot have the Cursed soul Talent. REACTION: After performing a Titici Spell, gain one Spirit.

SC H OOL OF SP ELLS Rites. This Talent can be gained several times. The first time you choose this Talent it costs 20 experience points, every time after that 30 experience points. Each time you choose this Talent, select one of the following magic schools and you’ll know all the spells from that school: Tlachichina, Tlahuilpochtli, Nahualotl, Tonalli, Titici, Necrophagic (only 10 experience points), and Tlatlacatecolotl.

SPI RI T DREAM

Profession. Gain the Sacrifice ritual, or if you already had it, gain any other ritual available to your religion. When you perform a sacrifice with all the required elements to make it an important religious event you gain one advantage to Transcend. Afterwards the sacrificed characters cannot be the target of magic from characters other than yourself (certain spells can use dead characters or target them).

Rites. ACTION: Spend 1 Spirit after performing a Drug ritual. You’ll fall asleep and you’ll travel to the spirit world where your ancestors will whisper to you about the future and your destiny. 

A N I MAL S O UL

FOREORDINATION

Rites. REACTION: After performing a Nahualotl Spell, gain one Spirit.

A N I MAL V O ICE Rites. ACTION: Spend 1 Spirit to be able to communicate with animals around you until the end of the Round. Animals will see you as some strange friendly being and will be more able willing to approach you but if you kill an animal while this is active, you’ll automatically gain one Corruption. You’ll be able to communicate to them simple ideas (such as “look for other two legged creatures like me in the forest, if you find them come back and I’ll feed you”). You’ll be able to learn from them things they remember or instinctively know, but it will be in their animal terms and understanding. There is no right way

Perform a hard Rites check (difficulty: 9(1)). If you are successful, you interpret some of it, gain the Foreordination ability.

ACTION: Request the GM’s advice about a choice you have to make or a course of action you should take. The GM should give you solid advice, even if that means revealing to you something you shouldn’t be able to know (such as letting you know you are being betrayed or deceived, or that there is danger ahead and what type). Foreordination can only be used once until you perform the Spirit Dreams again. If you have Corruption when you use Foreordination, the GM must tell you a lie instead without you knowing.

GODLY I C ON REACTION: After you suffer Corruption, reduce it by one. Limited to once per Scene.

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Tomb raideR M O S T P E O P L E H A V E just enough to

survive until illness takes them. All their lives, they see how their owners and lords live as lavishly as gods, and then how these unloving masters take all with them to their tombs and they do nothing about it. Not you. No dusty skeleton will stop you from being rich, not even if it moves and throws curses.

I barely clear the chasm. Even with my experience and the swinging vine, a 50-metre gap remains a challenge for anybody, especially with added weight. But I had to bring the Gift. Once across, I check that the Gift is still safely tucked away in my pack, and that’s it – the Gate of the Holy Child looms ahead. It’s a matter of placing the thirteen gems in the correct order – the easiest part, as I got it from the old codices years ago. Then the treasure is up for grabs. I complete the puzzle almost from memory and the gate swings open. The mountain of gold surpasses my wildest expectations. Sitting on it is the Holy Child, surrounded by traps, untouchable even in life. King Apaka was so paranoid, he forbade even the queen from coming in contact with his precious son. No wonder he died young, and no wonder there was a deathtrap built around the grave. I’m the first living thing to come within five paces of the Godchild in… well, ever. The mummy boy moves and grunts as I approach, because why the hell not. But I’m prepared. I pull out the Gift – the desiccated hand of Queen Embiri, the boy’s mother. It was expensive and hard to find, but worth it. I get to take whatever I want from the hoard, and the Holy Child gets to spend eternity feeling his mother’s hand stroking his face.

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Y

O U E XC E L A T getting what you want and surviv-

ing, no matter what. You know there are better methods of getting your way than fighting for it. The best method is the one in which no one else actually realises that you did. Any non-noble character from any Mayaab or Inca culture can be a Tomb Raider. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Stealth and Perception: 5 ■ Crafting: 4

ple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

MASTER OF BLADES Melee . While wielding a knife in your secondary hand, add the damage it deals to your primary weapon (adding the damage instead of doing it simultaneously allows you to bypass stronger armour and further benefit from positive consequences).

TH E UNSEEN BLADE

■ Any other three Skills: 2

Melee. If you are dual wielding knives, gain one initiative. Additionally, you can use knife throw as a melee action with Reach 8.

■ Any other three Skills: 1

AN EYE FOR TRAPS

■ The last three Skills: 0

Perception. Gain one advantage when checking to detect traps and when acting to dodge or disable them.

■ Melee or Shooting, Survival and Knowledge: 3

■ Your primary Skills are Stealth, Perception, Crafting and three of the following: Melee, Shooting, Survival, Discipline, and Knowledge.

SENSE DANGER

class talents

Perception. REACTION: After you are the target of an action you were unaware of, you can still confront it suffering a disadvantage.

T H E F L O W OF M OTION

SH ADOW MAGI C

Athletics. REACTION: After performing an Athletic action, keep the last card you played on the table. During your next Athletic action during that conflict that will be your first card.

Rites. 30 experience points. You know all the spells from the Shadows School.

WI ND O W O F OPPOR TU N ITY Athletics. If you have higher initiative than your opponent, gain one advantage towards Athletic actions.

DEFILER Discipline. You do not suffer Fear while performing a raid in an abandoned building.

KNI FE TH ROW Shooting. You can use knives as ranged weapons with a range of 20m and piercing.

MI SDI REC TI ON Stealth. REACTION: After you are the target of an action that could target another of your allies, discard a card with a higher value than the triggering character’s level to force him to target someone else instead.

C O D E X R E AD E R Knowledge. You can read codexes. The GM should give you an additional clue than usual when investigating codexes or other native writings. If it comes down to a check, gain one advantage.

B AC K S T AB Melee . REACTION: After attacking a target from behind, gain a positive consequence.

EX PE R T I S E Melee. When you choose this Talent, select between: Sword and knife. You can select this Talent multi-

EVI L PROTEC TI ON Ignore all the ill effects of the gear you carry (other than Fatigue from carrying too much). Additionally, gain one magic resistance.

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Sun paladiN L E T I T S L I G H T guide you. Let its heat empower you. Let its will guide

you. Close your eyes and feel it, Inti, Sun God, source of life, Golden God in the sky, bringer of harvest, defeater of evil. You are its Paladin, sworn defender of faith, light, justice. You stand at the edge of dusk and protect the world against darkness. You fight for a new dawn, for a new day under its eye.

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N Y N OB L E C H A RA C T E R from an Inca culture can

be a Sun Paladin. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Melee and Discipline: 5 ■ Rites: 4 ■ Profession, Crafting, Tolerance: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Melee, Discipline, Rites, and

three of the following: Profession, Crafting, Tolerance, Athletics, and Charisma. Tutayaqenuq kneeled on the stone steps, a haloed figure against the cliff edge. She looked at the rosy dawn beyond the Antikuna, and nodded to herself. ‘The Light always returns’, she thought. So she had returned to Ayarchullpa, as she’ d sworn upon starting her pilgrimage twenty years ago. Now, Ayarchullpa lay in ruins, its temples burned, its flags flapping in mangled shreds. The priests’ corpses, preserved by the chill winds, still bore the grief of the traitorous attack. ‘Come to join your brethren, have you, Sun Knight?’ Tutayaqenuq recognised the voice of the Dark Priest Laqawa. Her spear shone with golden fire, and she turned around. ‘Light has returned’, she said. ‘It always does’.

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class talents I NRI ELEVATES Athletic. Gain one advantage towards Athletic during daylight. 

I NRI ’S SOLDI ER Charisma. Gain one advantage when convincing soldiers from your nation of lower rank to follow your orders.

GOLDEN DEFENSES Crafting. You can craft armours and shields using as much gold as the cost of thue required resources. They gain REACTION: After someone performs a successful attack against you with no positive consequences, if this is under direct sunlight, he suffers one negative consequence.

GOLDEN WEAPONS Crafting. You can craft armours and shields using as much gold as the cost of the required resources. They gain REACTION: After performing an attack with no negative consequences, if this is under direct sunlight, gain a positive consequence.

I NRI WATC H ES OVER Discipline. Gain one advantage towards Discipline during daylight.

EXP ERTI SE Melee. When you choose this Talent, select between: Maze, shield, or spear. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

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S UN T E AR S Melee . REACTION: After dealing damage to an enemy under direct sunlight, he suffers one unpreventable damage.

K I L L E R O F DARKN E SS Profession. INSTANT: Gain one advantage against a spirit, undead or Demon. Limited to once per Scene.

PR O T E C T E D AG AIN ST DARKN E SS Profession. REACTION: Cancel a negative consequence you suffered against a spirit, undead or demon. Limited to once per Scene.

B L E E D GO L D Rites. Ceremony. You must perform it under direct sunlight. Suffer one Injury to gain 50 gold. Limited to once per Session.

D I VI N E AF F IN ITY Rites. Gain Affinity to the Divine suit.

EX T E ND T H E LIG HT Rites. ACTION: Spend two Spirit and touch an object made of gold, it’ll shine like a dazzling torch that is sunlight for all rule related possibilities. If anything hits the object, it’ll stop shinning; otherwise it will shine until the end of the Scene.

S UN F O R GE D Rites. ACTION: If you are under direct sunlight, spend two Spirit to lose one Fatigue or one Injury you have suffered during this Scene. Limited to once per Scene. 

X I H UI T L M A G IC Rites. 30 experience points. You know all the spells from the Xihuitl School.

MO L T E D GO LD Shooting. You can spend one Spirit to throw 5 gold as if it were a Ranged weapon. The attack reaches up to 10 meters, deals 2 damage and has Magical and Fire. The gold is corrupted and cannot be recovered.

S U N AR MOU R You gain the Sun armour.

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HeadhunteR T H E Y T H I N K T H A T in death they’ll be free. Everlasting sleep, they

think. But there is no heaven or oblivion for those whom you slaughter. You make their heads and their souls into your trophies. You enchant their dead eyes to see in your stead. You bewitch their mouths to speak the truths they died to hide. As the final degradation, you can bring them back to life to serve you as undying slaves.

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S A H E AD H U N T E R you can use Spells that give you power upon the dead, the more you hunt, the more powerful you become. ■ Any non-Slave character from the Jivaroan culture can be a Headhunter. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Crafting and Rites: 5 ■ Melee or Shooting: 4 ■ Perception, Stealth and Survival: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1

These are testaments to my strength in past hunts. They will also lend me power in the future. The head is both test and reward, both weapon and trophy. Thus, renown becomes skill, and glory feeds itself through further deeds. That is the magic of my head belt. That is the power of the headhunter – the ability to weave past and future into an endless thread of uninterrupted strength. We harness life and death; thus, we become masters of time itself.

■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Crafting, Rites, Melee or Shooting, Stealth, and two of the following: Perception, Survival, Medical, and Knowledge.

FULC RUM OVERLORD Discipline. Add 2 to the total level of the Fulcrums you can have actively invoked.

class talents

SENSE P OWER

D EV I L I S H D E ALS

Perception. When you see a character, you can perform a Perception check (difficulty: 6(1)) to figure out if he can perform magic or if he is being affected by it. A positive consequence also lets you know all about his magic (all the spells he knows and what other magical abilities he’s got) or the magic affecting him (the curse afflicting him, the blessing empowering him, etc) or it will let you know if he has got any Corruption, but not how much.

Charisma. Gain one advantage when negotiating a deal with a demon. 

ZOM B I E PO I S O N Crafting. Spend one animal resource and one Spirit to give a weapon Zombie venom (Venomous X, where X is your Craft Focus). A character affected by Zombie poison gains, FORCED REACTION: After this character dies, if you see it, pay the Spirit cost of a fulcrum spell to instantly turn him into an invoked fulcrum (with no need to perform the Ceremony nor invoking it yourself).

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C URSE RESI STANT Profession. Gain one advantage when checking to resist a potion that would curse you.

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T S ANT S A E XPE R TISE Profession. You can use two different Tsantsa spells in each shrank head.

D AR K N E C R OM AN CE R Rites. If you spend only Corruption to cast a Tsantsa spell, it will cost half its usual Spirit cost (rounded down).

NE C R O P H AG IC M AG IC Rites. You know all the spells of the Necrophagic  School.

WH I S PE R H A TE Rites. ACTION: Whisper an order to a non-invoked fulcrum, the head will use all of its senses (sight, smell, sound, etc) to find the trigger of your order, once it senses it, it will cast itself and try to comply your order e.g. You tell the fulcrum to look for anyone who isn’t part of your group and kill them if they approach you while you sleep in the jungle, then you set the head on top of a branch so it can have a good view. If someone approaches, and the shrank head senses it, it will cast itself and fight.

FUL C R U M M AKE R Requires a Rites and a Craft Talent slots. It costs you one less Spirit to cast a fulcrum spell. Additionally, at the end of each Scene you can spend the Spirit cost of a single invoked fulcrum to revert it to shrank head, which means it can be used again later on. 

T S ANT S A M A G IC Requires a Rites and a Craft Talent slots. 20 experience points. You know all the spells of the Tsantsa magic school. You know how to shrink the heads of your fallen enemies and make them into your undead slaves (a shrunken head does nothing until filled with the magic of a Tsantsa Ceremony Spell). Characters who have had their heads shrunken cannot be the target of any magic other than the Tsantsa magic school.

HU MAN H UN TE R Stealth. Gain one advantage when hiding from other humans.

GO D L Y I CON REACTION: After you suffer Corruption, reduce it by one. Limited to once per Scene.

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Christian missionarY I F G O D H A D a Voice, It would sound like yours. You are the speaker of

His words. You are the harbinger of His miracles. Yet, you are nothing but the humblest of servants because before the Almighty, there are only servants and enemies.

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S A C HR ISTIA N missionary you can call upon

miracles and bring all kinds of godly favours upon your party. Any male non-slave Christian character from any European culture can be a Christian Misionary. If you choose this order during character creation gain: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Rites and Charisma: 5 ■ Knowledge: 4 ■ Tolerance, Profession, and Discipline: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Rites, Charisma, Knowledge, and three of the following: Tolerance, Profession, Discipline or Medical.

Class talents PREAC H ER Charisma. You can only gain this Talent if you know the Priesthood Scripture. You gain one advantage towards converting someone to Christianism. If you spend a week of time trying to convert people in a populated area in which you may act freely, you can perform a Charisma check (difficulty: 6(1)). If successful you convert a person. If you gain a good consequence you can gain one advantage towards Transcending; but if you fail with a bad consequence, furious locals will be chased away.

RELI GI OUS RETH ORI C Knowledge. Gain one advantage to convince Christian character to do something if you can justify it with passages of the bible and they are pious. 196

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C H R I S T I AN FU R Y Profession. You cannot have Christian mercy. When you target a spellcaster or leader from a different religion, either gain one advantage when attacking or reduce by one the Spirit cost of casting a spell.

R E L I GI O U S W ISE Profession. You can gain this Talent twice. You can gain this and spend another Profession Talent slot to gain an additional Rites Talent slot.

T H E O R D E R ’ S RITU AL Profession. Choose an additional Ritual.

S C H O O L S O F M IRACLE S Ritual. This Talent can be gained several times. The first time you choose this Talent it costs 20 experience points, every time after that 30 experience points. Each time you choose this Talent, select one of the following magic schools and you’ll know all the spells from that school: Priesthood Scripture, Old Testament Scripture, Patmos Scripture, Seven Seals Scripture.

C H R I S T I AN JU STICE Tolerance. Spend one hour with a Christian character and as much Spirit as his Level to convince him of the righteousness of his acts and his divine destiny. After this, until that character performs what you discussed he won’t be stopped by any of his traits for things that directly related to his mission, good or bad (e.g. if he is “loyal”, he will break his loyalty with no need to succeed on a check; or if he “cannot kill innocents”, he will be able to).

C H R I S T I AN M E RCY Tolerance. You cannot have Christian fury. Gain one advantage towards your Tolerance checks.

‘So… your God says it’s a sin if I slaughter your brothers here.’ Father Carles looked at the other captive priests, some of which cried or mumbled quiet prayers. He looked back at chieftain Bolomkeh. ‘If you repent, he shall forgive you’. ‘So’, the chieftain insisted, ‘your God says it’s a sin if I skin you alive and use your pelt as a curtain’. ‘If you repent, he shall forgive you’. ‘Ah, but your God says it’s a sin if I rape all of your men and women with sharp knives and burning coals’. ‘If you repent, he shall forgive you’. Bolomkeh was growing annoyed. He began playing with his knife, an inch away from the priest’s skin. ‘Your God says it’s a sin if I open you from the crotch up and make that acolyte there eat your entrails as you agonise’. ‘If you repent, he shall forgive you’. Bolomkeh lost his temper. ‘WHY? Why would a God forgive that? It’s stupid!’ ‘If you repent, he shall forgive you’. This time, Bolomkeh DID stab Father Carles in the chest,

leaving a bleeding gash - a death wound. The missionary grit his teeth, but made no sound. ‘There, I just killed you. Can your God look that over?’ ‘If you repent… he… he shall forgive you’. Furious, chieftain Bolomkeh lighted a torch, and walked up to the wooden cross that marked the settlement’s chapel. ‘Your God says it’s a sin if I burn this cross! Will he forgive that?’ ‘If you repent… he… he shall for… forgive you’. Bolomkeh roared and set fire to the Cross. Only it didn’t burn. Instead, it was the chieftain that caught fire. He began to scream. The Yokot’an warriors stood transfixed at their burning leader. Father Carles freed himself from the ropes, closed the wound on his chest with a flick of the wrist, and walked up to Bolomkeh. The flames on the chieftain went out - he was unharmed. ‘You… you could have… you…’ Father Carles helped the chieftain up, and returned the lit torch to him. ‘If you repent, he shall forgive you’. Bolomkeh dropped the torch and kneeled before the priest. He begged forgiveness.

G O DLY I C ON REACTION: After you suffer Corruption, reduce it by one. Limited to once per Scene.

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ConquistadoR Y O U A R E A soldier and an explorer from the Spanish or Portuguese

Kingdoms. You have come to the New World to search for power and riches. You are who conquers civilizations whole.

“(others) claim that, as Cortés ordered the ships scuttled, he dared not tell the soldiers of his plan to march into Mexico, in search of Great Montezuma. It was not so, for, what manner of folk are we Spaniards, not to advance and seek where we may have battle and profit?“ - Bernal Díaz del Castillo

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OU A MIX TUR E between a soldier with lots of tricks up your sleeve, and an explorer with a keen sense of direction.

Any non-slave character from any Spanish or Portuguese culture can be a Conquistador. If you choose this Class during character creation gain: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Melee or Shooting and Survival: 5 ■ Melee or Shooting (the one you did not choose before): 4 ■ Athletics, Discipline and Profession: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0 ■ Your primary Skills are Melee or Shooting, Survival, Discipline, and three of the following: Melee or Shooting, Athletics, Stealth, Perception, and Profession.

class talents DRI VEN Athletics. INSTANT: Discard a card and place it on top of your character sheet as a reminder until the end of the Scene. Until the end of the Scene you can ignore the effects of your injuries towards actions related to the card’s suit. Limited to one card per Session. 198

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HE AVY AR MOU R E D

DI SDAI N

Athletics. Ignore the Heavy effect of the gear you carry.

Profession. REACTION: After being the target of Fear, ignore it. Limited to once per Scene.

R E S O L UT E

PLUNDER

Discipline. You can only be affected by one instance of Exhaustion, regardless of how many times you use the same Skill during the same Round.

Profession. REACTION: After acting (forced by the GM or by choice) upon one of your bad traits or an intolerance, gain one advantage towards your action. Limited to once per Scene.

S K I R MI S H W AR FARE Discipline. REACTION: If you are attacked by surprise but you are aware of the attack itself (e.g. you are being ambushed and suddenly a warrior surges from the jungle launching himself against you), you won’t suffer disadvantages towards your counter and if you carry weapons you can consider that you are already wielding them.

T E AMW O R K Discipline. REACTION: After a member of your Formation is the target of an attack, if the attacker is within your range, you can confront the action in his stead (the other character must give permission), but the triggering action will still target the initial character. 

S T R E N GH T I N N U M B E RS Requires a Discipline and Melee Talent slots. REACTION: After declaring an attack against someone that has already been attacked by characters from your Formation, gain one advantage.

EX PE R T I S E Melee . When you choose this Talent, select between: Sword, shield, and spear. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

HA R D E NE D V E TE R AN Melee . Increase your threshold by one.  Additionally, gain REACTION: After declaring an attack, gain one advantage and one negative consequence. Limited to once per Scene.

TALK OF GOLD Profession. You are paid 20% more than usual when you finish a quest. This additional cost of hiring your services has no effect on negotiations or their willingness to hire you. If you are not taking part in a paid quest, but you find treasures, you’ll find a similar but bigger treasure than usual (or your part of the treasure will be 20% bigger than that of characters without this Talent).

EXP ERTI SE Shooting. When you choose this Talent, select between: Arquebus, crossbow or handgun. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

GUNPOWDER TREASON Shooting. While in Melee range, you can shoot pistols with Melee instead of Shooting. 

EXP LORATI ON AFFI NI TY Survival. Gain Affinity to the Exploration suit.

EXP LORATI ON I NSTI NC T Survival. REACTION: After you or one of your allies performs a check to figure out where you are or where to go, you can request to know if the check was successful. Limited to once per Session.

MARC H Survival. REACTION: After failing a Fatigue check, repeat it. Limited to once per check.

PUS H F O R W ARD Melee . UNIQUE REACTION: After losing a Melee confrontation, if your opponent suffered a bad consequence, you can make that consequence be that your attack is also successful.

LOOT Gain 500 gold to spend on european weapons and armour.

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Dragon rideR Y O U A R E A daughter of Saint Sabra. You are a nun, a wife of God. You are also God’s mightiest knight, the one who rides the believer serpents to battle. You are the soul-bounded companion of a Christian dragon.

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S A D R AG ON Rider, you are tasked with caring for and directing a dragon and a dragon-crew to battle or adventure.

Any female noble Christian character from any European culture can be a Dragon Rider. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Riding and Discipline: 5 ■ Profession: 4 ■ Melee or Shooting, Medical, and Charisma: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0

DRAGON LI GH T ARMOUR Gain the Dragon Light armour for 150 gold. consider it a traitor of the highest level. They will persecute you with all the might of your nation. Obtain a level 3 dragon. It will be domesticated and Christian. It will have a personality of its own and while it will consider you its superior, you must gain its trust and respect to get the best results and absolute obedience.”

TRAI NED FOR RESI STANC E. Profession. Your dragon gains one advantage towards Athletic.

■ Your primary Skills are Riding, Discipline, Profession, Melee or Shooting, and two of the following: Medical, Charisma, Rites, and Knowledge.

TRAI NED FOR STEALTH

Class talents

DRAGON ARMOUR

D R AGO N GR O WTH

Riding. Your dragon can wear an armour with the dragon armour requirement.

Profession. Cost: 30 experience points or 50 if you are not level 4. Your dragon gains the stats of its adult form (or young, if it was an infant). You can gain this Talent several times. 

D R AGO N M AS TE R Profession. Cost: 50 experience points. You have been paired with a dragon. The crown of your country grants you a young Mediterranean dragon (alternatively, spend 25experience points to gain an infant Mediterranean dragon). Your task is to train it and make sure it follows the Christian rites. Your superiors might call you to perform any kind of mission or go to war. If you don’t comply, they can treat you as a traitor and if your dragon stays loyal to you, they will also

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Profession. Your dragon gains one advantage towards Stealth. 

DRAGON DI SC I PLI NE Riding. Your dragon gains one advantage against Fatigue and, while you are riding it, one advantage towards Discipline 

DRAGON RAI DER Riding. Gain one advantage when using Charisma, Discipline or Riding against your own dragon.

DRAGON NUN Rites. You can gain this Talent twice. Gain an additional Riding Talent slot.

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Saint Sabra, Brave princess of Capadocia, Who turned the fierce dragon to the True Faith, We humbly beseech thee to come to our aid; By your shield we shall not bleed, or falter.As God our Saviour was protected in the womb of Mary,Thus we stand shrouded behind your spear and shield. Amen.

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HidalgO Y O U A R E A nobleman without land or riches. You are a descendant of the Knights of old. You belong to a long tradition of warriors who fought in the Reconquista. Or perhaps you have been granted your nobility by virtue of meritorious acts.

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them.

S A N HID A LGO, you’ll be a fighting noble, capable of leading men and also of fighting alongside

Any noble character from any Spanish culture can be an Hidalgo. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■ Set your Skill values to: ■ Melee or Shooting and Discipline: 5 ■ Charisma: 4 ■ Melee or Shooting (the one you did not choose before), Athletics, and Riding: 3 ■ Any other three Skills: 2 ■ Any other three Skills: 1 ■ The last three Skills: 0

Your primary Skills are Melee or Shooting, Discipline, Charisma, and three of the following: Melee or Shooting, Athletics, Riding, and Profession.



Gain the noble Status for free. But, although you are a noble by birth, you will have the economic power of a peasant, you cannot employ people like a normal noble does, and you cannot increase your nobility rank through Talents, but you could through gameplay (if you do, it might change your economic power status)v. You will still be treated as a noble by most people, but there will be a few that won’t think of you as a real noble (duel them!). ■

■ Gain the trait ‘Ashamed of being poor (bad)’, you won’t gain extra experience from it.

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class talents

he has a higher action value. Limited to once per confrontation.

HE AVY AR MOU R E D

FAVOURABLE POSI TI ON

Athletics. Ignore the Heavy effect of the gear you carry.

C O NT AGI O U S V ALOR Charisma. REACTION: After you are successful at a Discipline check, all the other members of your Formation affected by the same trigger are also automatically successful.

FI R S T B L O O D

Melee. REACTION: After being successful in a confrontation using Melee or Athletics, draw a card and then discard a card.

FOOTWORK Melee . INSTANT: If there is a single enemy within Melee range of you, gain one Reach.

LUNGE

Charisma. REACTION: After damaging a character for the first time during a Scene, if he was not part of a Formation, he suffers Fear.

Melee . REACTION: After declaring an attack with a sword, discard one card from your hand. Your attack will gain an advantage and piercing, but if it fails, you will suffer an additional negative consequence.

ON M E

MELEE EXP ERTI SE

Charisma. REACTION: After being the target of an action, choose another member of your Formation who can reach the triggering character, he can confront the action (in your stead or in addition to you).

C O UR AGE I N N U M B E RS Discipline. While you are in a Formation you gain one advantage towards Discipline.

FO L L O W M Y LE AD Discipline. REACTION: After finishing your turn, the other non-Spent members of your Formation gain your Initiative until the end of the Round.

G E T H I M! Discipline. REACTION: After declaring your action, chose a character. For the remaining of the Round, any member of your formation who acts against him gains one advantage.

T E AMW O R K Discipline. REACTION: After a member of your Formation is the target of an attack, if the attacker is within your range, you can confront the action in his stead (the other character must give permission), but the triggering action will still target the initial character. 

Melee . When you choose this Talent, select between: Sword or shield. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

EXP EDI TI ON LEADER Profession. Gain one advantage when convincing european soldiers of your nation and lower rank to follow your orders.

GUNPOWDER TREASON Shooting. You can shoot pistols with Melee instead of Shooting. 

RANGE EXPERTI SE Shooting. When you choose this Talent, select between: Arquebus or handgun. You can select this Talent multiple times, selecting a different weapon each time. REACTION: While performing an action with that type of weapon, play a card upside down to give it the value of your Focus (and no suit). Limited to once per action.

R E I N AS S AN CE STU DE N T Knowledge. Gain Affinity to an additional suit.

D UE L I S T I N STIN T Melee. INSTANT: During a Melee confrontation force your opponent to play his next card or pass, even if

LOOT Gain 500 gold to spend on european weapons and armour.

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InquisitoR Y O U A R E P A R T of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. You

are tasked with tearing heresy and maintaining Catholic orthodoxy in this valley of tears. Insidious pagans and demonic forces storm the walls of Righteousness every chance they get, only to face you and be brought down.

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OU A R E A specialist in the su-

pernatural with a keen eye for detecting the smallest transgression of Faith. Your party can count on you to protect them from supernatural forces and Corruption. ■ Any non-Slave character from Spain can be an Inquisitor. If you choose this Class during character creation: ■

Set your Skill values to: ■ Profession and Perception: 5 ■ Rites: 4 ■ Discipline, Knowledge Melee or Shooting: 3

and

■ Any other three Skills: 2

Any other three Skills:



1



The last three Skills: 0

■ Your primary Skills are Profession, Perception, Rites, Discipline, and two of the following: Knowledge, Melee or Shooting, Charisma, and Tolerance. ■ You must purchase the Knowledge Talent “Literate”.

GODLY I C ON REACTION: After you suffer Corruption, reduce it by one. Limited to once per Scene.

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Class talents

GODLY I NFLUENC E

S E NS E P O WE R

Rites. While you wield a weapon, it gains Magical. REACTION: After declaring an attack, spend one Spirit to give it Fire.

Perception. When you see a character, you can perform a Perception check (difficulty: 6(1)) to figure out if he can perform magic or if he is being affected by it. A positive consequence also lets you know all about his magic (all the spells he knows and what other magical abilities he’s got) or the magic affecting him (the curse afflicting him, the blessing empowering him, etc) or it will let you know if he has got any Corruption, but not how much.

T H E J U D GI N G E YE Perception. Other characters suffer one disadvantage when trying to lie to you.

FI GH T I NG H ER E SY Profession. Gain the Fighting heresy ritual, or if you already had that ritual, gain any other ritual available to your religion. Additionally, if your actions completing this ritual have place the fear of God in everyone around you, gain one advantage to Transcend.

S L AY E R Profession. You can obtain this Talent several times, each time you do choose one: Non-christian human, monster, demon, or undead. REACTION: After declaring a Miracle against such a character reduce its cost by one.

S T AR E AT T HE AB YSS Profession. Ignore as much Corruption as your Rites Focus (e.g. if you have Rites Focus 2 and Corruption 4, the GM can only use 2 Corruption against you).

T O R T UR E R Profession. Gain one advantage when obtaining information from a character you are torturing.

UN R E PE NT I N G Profession. If you act in what you considered was to further Christianhood, gain one advantage towards any Discipline and Tolerance checks that might give you pause or make you feel bad about you have done, are doing or will do.

FI GH T H E L L I SH FIRE W ITH FIR E Rites. Gain as many spells from a non-christian magic school as your Rites Focus (if your Rites Focus increases later on, gain additional spells from the same School). Every time you cast one, gain one Corruption.

SC H OOLS OF MI RAC LES Rites. This Talent can be gained several times. The first time you choose this Talent it costs 20 experience points, every time after that 30 experience points. Each time you choose this Talent, select one of the following magic schools and you’ll know all the spells from that school: Old Testament Scripture, Patmos Scripture, Seven Seals Scripture. ‘So, what are you doing here, Inquisitor?’ Sister Constanza wasn’t there for the palace ball. Her teacher had always said, ‘Evil thrives in hiding; it cannot abide plain sight’. So, she looked straight at the Lord Chamberlain’s eyes and showed him the five-pointed medallion and the signed letter proving his guilt. The Lord Chamberlain stood frozen for a single heartbeat and then resumed his confident poise. ‘Sister, you overstep your bounds’. ‘You have no authority to stop me from walking to the king with this, right here, right now’. ‘You can’t know all the people involved in this. You don’t know whom you’re messing with…’ ‘So be it’, grunted Sister Constanza defiantly. She held his cross up high, pointing it at the party guests, and began reciting a loud and ominous prayer. ‘You’re bluffing’. Sister Constanza continued her prayer, unblinking. Some heads began turning towards the entrance. The Lord Chamberlain took a step back. Sister Constanza went on, louder and louder. The Lord Chamberlain lost his nerve and dashed for the back door. Six other nobles took his cue and tried to flee. Sister Constanza, who had been expecting that, sent her men to round them up. As she pronounced her formal accusation on the stunned Satanists, Sister Constanza thought she’ d never seen grown men so scared of a paternoster. Then again, evil can’t abide plain sight.

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Fayomi ramireZ

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D ON’ T R EMEMBER MY father that well.

He is like a blur, a smoke cloud that bursts and disappears in my mind, just like that other world of carpeted floors and scented clothes, which I only vaguely remember belonging to, burst and disappeared when he died. His name was Ruy Ramirez, and when he died, the thread that bound me to that life receded into darkness. My mother tried to love me, but there was always a long queue of men to get her attention, and I didn’t belong there either. The other african slaves hated her for what he had become, and hated me because of my slavemaster blood, perhaps more than the whites themselves. I had to walk alone, stand up to the scoffing nobles that turned their backs on me because of my lower birth; argue and fight against those that would undermine me with word or action. Thus I drew myself, like an incomplete map, where the same old, sad places are well marked by coming and going, while the unknown areas are but a sketch at the edge of the chart. That is why I love maps. I’m a course-charter, a map-maker; a noble, a slave. A white man, a black man. Even the white patch in my face outlines a strange continent over dark waters, mocking my mixed heritage too. I

didn’t regret leaving Spain, not even when the Company shareholders thought it so funny to put me at the head of an outcast crew. I was glad to leave those coasts, so laden with human dirt, with memories and old meaning. The New World was a clean wind, a step into the unknown areas of the map. Then I met Itztahualli. She is all I am not. She is one race, one purpose. Her parents are the same stock, a single birth, a pure origin. She is likewise pure; she is honest, with no doubts, no unknown areas. She shows her full map. I want to chart her, to know her, to put my flag on her shores. And she wants me too. Christ forgive me, but she is a pagan. Is this another winding path to uncharted wilds, a way that will lead me to become lost? Am I lost already? Was I born lost? 206

of heroes

Aritz álavA

E

VER YTHING IS MA D E of something else.

Everything contains something that other things need. Nowhere is this more evident that in the plant kingdom. Plants are pure nature, lifegiving matter in its basic form, conduits by which the sun becomes life and life becomes Earth. Their leaves and stalks are the cord that ties everything together. Distilling their humours we can make foodstuffs, raw materials, and even medication for humans. Break down a plant and you will get the building blocks of matter, of Creaton itself. We overlook the lowly grass blade and the gentle flower, turning instead to God’s loftiest achievements - Mankind, the stars, the Ocean - but it’s there, in the green leaves, that the words of God were first written long before we mortals learned to read and write. They call me a scholar. I’d rather say I’m a traveller, an explorer, a lover of the world and its paths. I know the land and its greens, and I love the Sea, for it is the gateway to other lands and other greens, to unknown leaves and unrecorded petals that hide yet more of God’s secret codes. But of all the lands, none compares to the Basque country. It is the land I know and love best, and it still surprises me every time; it always has something new to teach me about its soil and its roots, about the raw materials that make it up, and doubtlessly pass to its sons and daughters, for my people is as much a creature of the soil as the chestnut and the eguzkilore thistle. Yet, although I love my country, I don’t like borders that much. The Kings of man would see the world quartered and shared as square landfills to war and build on. They would take our Basque country and claim it for Castile. They would claim Navarra, Turkey, even Egypt and the Moorish lands further away. I don’t love the lords of Castile, I am not like them. If they asked me, I would say I’m more a brother to the stalk and the root than the swaggering spaniard and his conquering flag, just as I prefer flowers to women.

207

QuetzatentlI

L

A ST NIGHT, W HILE I slept, while I dreamed, I saw him. The Plumed Serpent, the Beautiful Serpent, the Great Dragon, he came to me, he spoke to me again.

For he shall come back, our Plumed Lord, our Precious Lord. He shall return to drive back the sinners, he shall gild the streets again with jade, with green plumes. He shall find Huitzilopochtli, he shall cull his followers, he shall pick the childkillers, the virgin-slayers, those that perform sacrifice and spill blood on the altar; all these people He shall pluck from the world, scatter them to the winds. He shall topple the temples of the left-handed one, he shall set fire to the house of xiuhtecuhtli; he shall drown Tenochtitlan because they forgot his words. He will fight Huitzilopochtli; they will meet in the battlefield, our Plumed Lord and the Left-Handed One, the fuzzborn one. There the Great Dragon shall put his arm around Huitzilopochtli’s neck; he shall subdue, he shall capture the Hummingbird, devour his heart as the hummingbird has sucked on so many hearts since the rise of Tlacaelli. Then, the Great Lord will rise his pyramid again, he will make the Mexica great again, he will bring the power back to Cholollan, to the jade stones. Tenochtitlan shall drown, shall sink beneath the waves; it will be as it was, the lake clear, empty, a still surface like a mirror, as it was in the times of the Acolhua. All this shall come to pass when my Plumed Lord returns from the East, riding his white boats to claim his land back. Thus I have seen, thus the Great Dragon has shown me. They have rejected me, they have scorned me, because I will not sacrifice, because I will not make a drink from the blood of innocents for the usurper Saint. They say I’m no priest, they say I’m a peasant, a wizard with no respect for authority. But I know whose authority is the true one. I know who will come back, sailing from the East. This I know, this I have seen, for he spoke to me in dreams, and I know he shall return. 208

of heroes

Crazy b’aK

R

ED , W HITE, YELLOW , black;

Got a jaguar at your back.

Green, white and green again, Water heal and poison pain.

Do you know what I like about pain, about bleeding? It is the best signal we have of the passage of time. Nowhere is time, birth, mortality, more patent, more clear, than when our body cries out in suffering. We wish it to end, we remember it when it has passed, we dread it when it is to come. Present, past and future, branded in our minds like a bleeding tattoo wound that never fully closed, and drips festering black ooze over the rest of our memories, our desires, our hopes. I was born different, they said. Frail, yes; weak, ugly even. But soon I dazzled them with my wit, my thoughts, my focus. I could recite one thousand permutations of the calendar round in flawless order by my eleventh summer. I cast my first curse before I was named a man. But magic is not my interest, it’s not what I seek. Not the stars and divinations, not the bleeding curses, not summoning crackling thunder. They said that is all I’m good at. I can be no warrior. But I don’t want to be a priest. Thus, I came to the jungle, I came to the valleys, to live alone under the vines and bushes like our Kan’Ek ancestors when they were expelled from Chichén. I am like them in disgrace and insight, in time and memory. I master the waters and the beasts, yet I only care about the soul, what makes us laugh and cry and want to kill and die. I seek the wanderers, the lost ones; I follow them for a while, sometimes in hiding, sometimes walking beside them. I listen to their madness, I record it. I remember all. The more stories, the more madnesses I listen to, the more souls I witness through the eye, the more I know, the more I understand of this great retarded chaos of mortal nature. Sometimes I can read their deeds, I know who has killed, who has betrayed, who is fleeing. Sometimes I give chase, spear them, visit justice upon their souls. But I care not for justice. I seek only understanding.

209

Noble

28

Fayomi Ramírez de los Negros

M

Hidalgo

Spanish

2

3 Bastard child of a Spanish no-

0

ble and an African courtesan

x

Treated as a second tier

0

Spaniard for being mestizo (bad) Loyal to Spain (bad)

x

0

Vengeful (bad) Argumentative (bad) Ashamed of being poor (bad)

0

150

0

Devout Christian (neutral)

4

1

Cartography lover (good)

3x 5x

x

0 3x 1 3 4

x

0

Reinassance student. Literate.

0 4 1 1 5x

x

2

x

4x

x

Avocation (Cartography)

Common spells: Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Ritual: Protecting the faithful. Noble: rank 1, peasant economy, owned favour 2. Languages: Spanish, Yoruba 210

Dueling sword

2+

4

-

B

-

C

C

Br

-

-

-

-

5

-

-

J

-

J

F

C

Br

-

-

-

Forged Piercing. Fast draw

Sharpshooter’s arquebus

Primitive Piercing. Concussive. Very slow reload. Explosive sound. Easy to use. Melee weapon

211

Peasant

41

-

Aritz Alava

Sage

Spanish

2

3 Secretely gay

0

Proud Basque (bad)

x

Cares about people (neutral)

0

Doesn’t feel he belongs among Spaniards (neutral)

0 1 0

15

3

1

1 0 5x

x

Chemist

x

Literate

1 1 0 3 5

x

4x 2 3

x x

x

x

x

Inquisitive mind

5x

x

Travelled

3 0

2

Avocation (Botanist)

Common spells: Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Ritual: Praying. Languages: Spanish, Euskera. 212

Steel dagger

2

1

-

D

C

Br

-

-

-

-

-

-

Forged Secondary weapon. Fast draw. Between the cracks

Improving tools

(After crafting a piece of gear, give it one magic level)

1 Coca leaves. 1 coca extract. 1 cohuanenepilli plant

213

Peasant

44

M

Quetzatentli

Teotl priest

Tlaxcala

2

3 Believes Quetzalcoatl will

0

return soon to f ight the domain of Huitzilopochtli

0

Hates human sacrif ice (bad) Proud (bad)

0

Speaks like a prophet (neutral)

x

Loves snakes (neutral)

5 5

5

3

2

1 0 3 1

Powerful

1 0 4 5

x x

x

Literate

5x

x

Nahualotl. Tlachixqui

0

x

3 2 2x

x

2x 3x

Mascot (snake)

Common spells: Nonotza blessing and penance. Ritual: Bloodletting. Tonal spirit: Snake. Languages: Nahuatl. 214

Warrior spear

2

6

-

-

-

F

C

C

Br

-

-

-

1

-

-

D

C

Br

-

-

-

-

-

Normal Thrusting. Spear wall. Dueling stance

Dread knife

2

Primitive Secondary weapon. fast draw. fear. magical. between the cracks. magic level 1

Godly icon (REACTION:

After you suffer Corruption, reduce it by one. Limited to once per Scene)

1 peyotl cactus. death whistle

215

Peasant

28

Male

Crazy B’ak

Classless

Mexica

2

3 Back home everyone

0

thinks he is crazy and that he is disgraced

0

Enjoys pain (neutral) Curious (neutral)

0

Cannot focus (bad) Ugly (bad)

x

3 3

0

3

1

4x 5x

x

Precise

2 1

x

1 0 0 5

x

x

3x 2

x

2 3

x

x

Investigator, judge of character

3 1 1 Common spells: Nonotza blessing and penance. Ritual: Bloodletting. Languages: Nahuatl. 216

Hunting atlatl

Athletic focus

-

-

F

Br

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Normal. Piercing. Momentum (can be used while running). Hunting weapon (advantage against animals). Precise aim (always one advantage). Short range (target further than 20m: -1 damage, one disadvantage, and loses piercing) Quauhololli

3

2

-

-

-

F

C

-

Br

-

Primitive Concussive

217

Steel & stonE 218

219

I N D C A , C H A R A C T E R S can carry and use any kind of gear they might

buy, find, craft, or otherwise obtain. This book describes some of the most useful pieces of equipment. However, we encourage players to create their own gear if they find the need for it.

Gear level Gear can have one of the following levels: ■ Primitive: Every time this is used, whether successfully or not, it suffers one deterioration. ■ Normal: Nothing special. ■ Forged: It halves (rounded up) the deterioration it suffers. ■ Legendary: It halves (rounded down) the deterioration it suffers from attacks, and it has the keywords ‘magical’ and ‘legendary’. (Certain abilities require these keywords to work).

Weapons Weapons are either Melee weapons or Shooting weapons. Both can deal certain damage and provide advantages or disadvantages when used under certain circumstances. Unless a specific reach is determined by a weapon’s description, Melee weapons can attack anyone within the character’s sight in Melee range (up to 2 meters away); while Shooting weapons can attack anyone within the character’s sight outside Melee range and up to its maximum Shooting range (50 metres away unless otherwise specified).

R EA C H When you attack a target with lower reach than you have, gain one advantage. Every melee weapon has a different reach value. Unarmed attacks have a reach value of 0. A character who dodges an attack can use their weapon’s reach to help him avoid the attack. However, a character who does not attack back or who dodges is considered to have a reach of 0. Clarification: Reach is different from Melee range. Melee range determines how far you can attack using a Melee weapon (up to 2 meters away), while Reach determines who has the advantage within that Melee range.

220

Alternatively, the GM might decide that in certain small quarters, a smaller weapon is more beneficial. When that happens, she should say something like, “In this small corridor, weapons with Reach 2 have the advantage”. In that area, if your weapon is closer to Reach 2 than your opponent’s is, you’ll gain the advantage. The players can also provoke this by spending a good consequence to close in or out on an opponent and getting at a distance where their shorter weapon’s Reach is more efficient. E.g. In a tunnel so small that you must move through it on all fours, you come face to face with an enemy. The GM says that Reach 1 has the advantage in this situation. If you were unarmed, which gives you Reach 0, you would have the advantage over someone with a Reach 2 weapon, and you would draw with someone with Reach 1. Or, a player with a knife (Reach 1) is fighting an NPC with a spear (Reach 3). The player with the knife wins a confrontation (it could be an attack or a dodge) against him with a good consequence and asks the GM to spend it to close in so that the spear is less efficient against the player. She agrees and now – until they move again – Reach 1 is considered to have the advantage for their fight.

steel & stone

Crafting gear Characters can use their Crafting to create any of the non-legendary gear in the game. Each gear includes a list of the resources required to craft it and a check at which the character must succeed (additionally, certain gear requires that you have a specific Crafting Talent to attempt the craft). If you fail against the check, you’ll lose the required resources and obtain nothing. If you are successful, you lose the resources required and obtain the gear. However, depending on the level of success, additional things might occur:

You can use only one type of special resource to replace a type of common resource and you must spend as much on that special resource as the amount required of the common resource it replaces. E.g. If you are crafting a piece of gear that requires two animal and two forestry, you can use two copies of one type of special resource that can be used instead of animal and two copies of another type of special resource that can be used instead of forestry.

MAGI C LEVEL

■ For each positive consequence, the gear gains a magic level, up to your Crafting Focus.

Additionally, gear can have a magic level. Gear without a magic level cannot have spells cast on it to improve it (though enemies can still cast spells to break it or such). The magic level of a piece of gear determines how many improvement spells it can contain. These spells can be cast over older spells, replacing them if required.

C O MM O N R ESOU RCE S

AMMUNI TI ON

There are five types of common resources: forestry, stone, obsidian, animal, and metal. Each common resource represents a general area of resources. An animal resource can be used as leather, to cover a shield, or as a tendon to make the string of a bow. When you obtain a resource, you do not need to specify anything about it. Therefore, it can be used for any Crafting that requires its type of resource.

Counting ammunition for ranged weapons can be a daunting task, and understandably many groups cannot be bothered with it. Yet it is important for other groups, and it might actually make for interesting roleplaying in certain situations (e.g. the party is lost in the middle of the jungle for months, or the party is lost on an island after a shipwreck). Therefore, we have included this advanced rule to craft ammunition (which you can very well ignore if it is not your cup of tea).

■ For each negative consequence, the gear suffers one deterioration that cannot be removed and it loses one magic level if it had any.

Resources can be obtained from the wild by performing a Survival action, or they can be bought from marketplaces. Depending on your location, prices might change but as a guide you can usually purchase resources for the following prices: ■ Forestry: 5 gold. ■ Stone: 10 gold.

You can craft five projectiles out of one resource by succeeding at an easy Crafting check (difficulty: 3(1)). Otherwise, the resource is spent without obtaining anything from it. Most projectiles are crafted out of wood, but some (such as those required for slings) are crafted from stone, while others (such as those required for gunpowder weapons) are crafted from gunpowder.

■ Obsidian: 30 gold. ■ Animal: 30 gold. ■ Metal: 50 gold. You can turn metal into steel with a successful normal Crafting check (difficulty: 6(1)), if you have the Blacksmith talent and access to a forge.

S PE C I AL R E S OU RCE S When crafting gear, you can use special resources granted by certain creatures (you’ll find these described in each creature) replacing common resources. If you do, they provide additional effects for the gear they create. Each special resource will specify which common resource it replaces (e.g. the Itztlicoatl’s stone scales can be used as either obsidian or steel).

221

Deterioration Deterioration is an advanced rule that can be used to add another layer of interest to campaigns. It is recommended when playing adventures based on a survival theme, but it might be cumbersome and unfocused when playing campaigns based on diplomacy. Pieces of gear with a deterioration track can be affected by deterioration. Deterioration is suffered through use, when a piece of gear suffers damage, or by being affected by abilities. You can track deterioration by ticking it off or placing a token on the corresponding space on the deterioration track starting from left to right. Every time the deterioration of an item reaches a space with an icon, its effects are triggered.

JAMMED FORCED REACTION: After resolving the action that makes a piece of gear reach a jammed icon, perform a normal Craft check (difficulty: 6(1)). If you fail, the weapon is jammed and can no longer be used until a character spends an action cleaning it.

B R OKE N FORCED REACTION: After a gear reaches a broken icon, it cannot be used until it is repaired, nor can it suffer additional deterioration (this is particularly important for shields, as a character cannot use their Shielding ability to suffer deterioration if that would take the shield past its Broken icon).

C OM PR OM ISE D FORCED REACTION: After resolving the action that causes a piece of gear to become Compromised, discard a card from the top of the deck. If it is a one or two, it becomes broken and can no longer be used.

F A U LTY FORCED REACTION: After resolving the action that causes a piece of gear to become Faulty, characters suffer one disadvantage when using it.

222

BLUNT FORCED REACTION: After resolving the action that causes a piece of gear to become Blunt, it deals one less damage than usual.

SPEC I AL Some items have special deterioration effects. These are stated in their respective descriptions.

RI P PED FORCED REACTION: After resolving the action that causes a piece of gear to become Ripped, it provides one less armour than usual. If the armour is a combination of soft and hard armour, the owner decides which is lost first.

Repairing actions Characters can use their Crafting Skill to repair gear. Deterioration confronts a Crafting action as if it were an NPC with a Skill equal to the amount of deterioration on the gear, and it plays as many cards as the level of the gear (one if primitive, two if normal, three if forged). Additionally, certain situational effects might give disadvantages to the character as determined by the GM. Here are some examples: ■ The character who is performing the action does not have the appropriate tools for it. ■ The character is performing the action without parts for replacements or adequate materials.

The time it takes to perform a repairing action is up to the GM (repairing only a few points of deterioration on an improvised weapon might be possible to do in a turn, but repairing a forged weapon that has been badly damaged might take hours or even days). A successful repairing action removes all the deterioration on the gear.

steel & stone

QuauholollI This is the Nahua name for a mace. Like European maces, the Quahololli consists of a wooden handle, ending in a heavy, blunt sphere the size of a large grapefruit, designed to break the bones of the target. Many Quauhololli maces have stone heads, heavy enough to dent a steel

cuirass if used with enough force. However, some – particularly those found in the Tzintzuntzani Empire – are fitted with metal balls, which both hit harder and swing easier. Quauhololli maces are less common than other weapons, such as spears, which are either more effective in battle or easier to make.

Quauhololli

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ PR IMITIV E ‡ 30 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 2(1); 2 hours; 2 forestry; No special requirements M E L E E R ea ch 2 Co n c u s s i ve

3

Dread quauhololli

NEW WORLD ‡ MACE ‡ PRIMITIVE ‡ 200 GOLD

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(2); 1 day; 2 forestry, 2 spirit; No special requirements M E L E E R ea ch 2 Co n c u s s i ve, f ea r, mag i ca l

3

MAGIC LEVEL 1

Cursed quauhololli

NEW WORLD ‡ MACE ‡ NORMAL ‡ 250 GOLD

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(2); 1 day; 2 forestry, 2 spirit; No special requirements M E L E E R ea ch 2 Co n c u s s i ve, stun, mag i ca l

3

MAGIC LEVEL 1

223

MacuahuitL The staple of New World melee weapons, the macuahuitl is the equivalent of a European sword – a versatile, one-handed weapon, easily wielded and capable of inflicting deep wounds with its razor-sharp edges. A macuahuitl is a flat plank, the length of a human arm, outfitted with obsidian blades along both its edges. There are countless macuahuitl designs, many of them enchanted with spirit markings that help stun or intimidate the weapon’s targets. The spiked macuahuitl is thus called because of the pointed shape of its obsidian blades. It deals mostly piercing and blunt damage. Regardless of its design, a macuahuitl can as sharp as the best Toledo steel, in addition to the great blunt strength it can bring to bear on the target. Its main weakness is metal armour, which easily shatters its sharp, yet brittle, stone blades.

Soldier’s macuahuitl

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 50 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(1); 1 day; 2 forestry, obsidian; Artisan ME LE E R e a c h 3 C on cu s s i ve

3

OBSIDIAN EDGES 2: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

Noble macuahuitl

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 150 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 2 days; 3 forestry, obsidian, 1 animal; Artisan ME LE E R e a c h 3 C on c u s s i ve

3

OBSIDIAN EDGES 2: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the

224

current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

steel & stone

Dread macuahuitl

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 300 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 4 days; 3 forestry, obsidian, 1 animal, 2 spirit; Artisan MEL E E R e a c h 3 C o n c u s s i ve, f ea r, ma g i c a l

3

OBSIDIAN EDGES 2: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

MAGIC LEVEL 1

Large macuahuitl

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 75 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(1); 1 day; 3 forestry, 2 obsidian; Artisan MEL E E R e a c h 4 C o n c u s s i ve

4

OBSIDIAN EDGES 2: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

Noble large macuahuitl

TWO-HANDED: This weapon requires both hands.

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 175 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 4 forestry, 2 obsidian, 1 animal; Artisan ME LE E R e a c h 4 C o n cu s s i ve

4

OBSIDIAN EDGES 2: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

Dread large macuahuitl

TWO-HANDED: This weapon requires both hands.

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 400 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(2); 4 days; 3 forestry, 2 obsidian, 1 animal, 2 spirit; Artisan MEL E E R e a c h 4 C o n c u s s i ve, f ea r, ma g i c a l

4

OBSIDIAN EDGES 2: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

TWO-HANDED: This weapon requires both hands. MAGIC LEVEL 1

225

SwordS

Conquistador sword

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 3 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MELE E R e a c h 3

3+

THRUSTING: REACTION: After declaring an attack with this weapon, lose one damage to gain piercing.

Toledo steel sword

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 1000 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(3); 10 days; 3 Toledo Steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MELE E R e a c h 3 Ma gi c a l , p i er c i n g

TOLEDO STEEL: deterioration.

This

weapon

3+

cannot

suffer

MAGIC LEVEL 2

Short sword

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 3 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MELE E R e a c h 2

3+

THRUSTING: REACTION: After declaring an attack with this weapon, lose one damage to gain piercing. DEADLY CLOSE: REACTION: After successfully performing a defensive stance action while wielding a shield in your other hand, close in the distance with

226

your opponent and choose which Reach value has the advantage in confrontations against him until that opponent successfully performs an outmaneuver action or moves outside melee range.

steel & stone

Dueling sword

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 250 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(2); 4 days; 3 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MEL E E R e a c h 4 P i erci n g , f as t dra w

2+

Conquistador’s longsword

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 250 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(2); 3 days; 4 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MEL E E R e a c h 4

3+

HALFSWORDING: UNIQUE REACTION: Lose one reach to gain piercing. HAND AND A HALF: This weapon can be used with one or two hands. If you use it with one hand, you suffer one disadvantage and you can not use halfswording.

Toledo steel longsword

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 1250 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 9(3); 15 days; 4 Toledo Steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E R e a c h 4 M a g i c a l , p i er c i n g

3+

HAND AND A HALF: This weapon can be used with one or two hands. If you use it with one hand, you suffer one disadvantage and you can not use halfswording.

Dueling longsword

TOLEDO STEEL: deterioration.

This

weapon

cannot

suffer

MAGIC LEVEL 2

EUR OPEA N ‡ SW OR D ‡ FOR GED ‡ 350 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(2); 5 days; 4 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E R e a c h 5

3+

HALFSWORDING: UNIQUE REACTION: Lose one reach to gain piercing.

TWO-HANDED: This weapon requires both hands.

227

SpearS The spear is one of the oldest close combat weapons in history, together with the club and quarterstaff. Older than civilisation itself, spears accompanied the hunters of earlier eras, when all mortals lived as beasts in the wilderness, and their usefulness and versatility give them an important role in warfare to this day. All spears are wooden shafts with a sharp point made of either stone or metal. New World spears use leather

improvised spear

straps or minor enchantments to affix the stone point to the shaft; European spears, which tend to be heavier, forge metal tips into the spear shaft. At the time of the Spanish invasion of the New World, pikes – extremely long spears with 10-foot poles, designed to meet cavalry charges – have become widespread across all infantry units in Europe.

NEW W OR LD ‡ SPEA R ‡ PR IMITIV E ‡ 5 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 1(1); 30 minutes; 1 forestry; No special requirements ME LE E R e a c h 5

1

THRUSTING: Reaction: After declaring an attack with this weapon, suffer one deterioration to gain piercing. SPEAR WALL: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. You can attack over an ally, and if your opponent doesn’t have a similar ability he can not counterattack.

Warrior spear

DUELING STANCE: If you are using both hands to wield this weapon and you are not in a Formation, gain one advantage.

NEW W OR LD ‡ SPEA R ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 60 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(1); 2 hours; 1 obsidian, 2 forestry; No special requirements MELE E R e a c h 6

2

THRUSTING: Reaction: After declaring an attack with this weapon, suffer one deterioration to gain piercing. SPEAR WALL: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. You can attack over an ally, and if your opponent doesn’t have a similar ability he can not counterattack.

Rider spear

DUELING STANCE: If you are using both hands to wield this weapon and you are not in a Formation, gain one advantage.

NEW W OR LD ‡ SPEA R ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 60 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(1); 2 hours; 1 obsidian, 2 forestry; No special requirements ME LE E R e a c h 5

2

THRUSTING: Reaction: After declaring an attack with this weapon, suffer one deterioration to gain piercing.

228

RIDING WEAPON: When you use the talent mounted charge, gain REACTION: Add two base damage to this weapon.

steel & stone

Lord’s spear

NEW W OR LD ‡ SPEA R ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 150 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(2); 1 day; 1 obsidian, 2 forestry, 2 spirit; No special requirements M E L E E R ea ch 5 Pi erc i n g , ma g i c a l

2

THRUSTING: Reaction: After declaring an attack with this weapon, suffer one deterioration to gain piercing. SPEAR WALL: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. You can attack over an ally, and

Steel spear

if your opponent doesn’t have a similar ability he can not counterattack. DUELING STANCE: If you are using both hands to wield this weapon and you are not in a Formation, gain one advantage.

EUR OPEA N ‡ SPEA R ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 120 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(2); 5 hours; 1 steel, 2 forestry; Requires a forge M E L E E R ea ch 6 Pi erc i n g

2

SPEAR WALL: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. You can attack over an ally, and if your opponent doesn’t have a similar ability he can not counterattack.

Rider steel spear

DUELING STANCE: If you are using both hands to wield this weapon and you are not in a Formation, gain one advantage.

EUR OPEA N ‡ SPEA R ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 120 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(2); 5 hours; 1 steel, 2 forestry; Requires a forge M E L E E R eac h 4 Pi erc i n g

2

RIDING WEAPON: When you use the talent mounted charge, gain REACTION: Add two base damage to this weapon.

Pike

EUR OPEA N ‡ SPEA R ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 120 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(2); 5 hours; 1 metal, 2 forestry; Requires a forge M E L E E R eac h 8

2

PIKE WALL: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. You can attack over two allies, and if your opponent doesn’t have a similar ability he can not counterattack. VERY LONG: FORCED REACTION: After an opponent successfully dodges one of your attacks or gains a positive consequence and

spends it to do this, he can approach you. Until either of you move apart, your pike has Reach 0 against that character. Additionally, if the GM determines it, it may not be possible to use the pike, especially indoors. ENCUMBRANCE 1 TWO-HANDED: This weapon requires both hands.

229

Knives and daggerS

Itztli knife

NEW W OR LD ‡ K NIFE ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 30 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 2(1); 2 hours; 1 obsidian; Artisan ME LE E R e a c h 1 S e c o n d a r y w ea p o n , f as t dra w

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

Sacrificial knife

NEW W OR LD ‡ K NIFE ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 200 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 2 obsidian, 2 spirit; No special requirements MELE E R e a c h 1 S e c o n da r y w ea p o n , f as t dra w , ma gi c a l

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour. MAGIC LEVEL 1

Dread knife

SACRIFICIAL KNIFE: REACTION: After killing a character with this knife during a Sacrifice Ritual, gain one advantage towards your Transcend check. NEW W OR LD ‡ K NIFE ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 100 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 1 day; 1 obsidian, 2 spirit; No special requirements MELE E R ea c h 1 S ec o n d a r y w e a p o n , f a st d ra w , f e a r, m ag i c a l

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

Corrupted dagger

MAGIC LEVEL 1

EUR OPEA N ‡ K NIVE ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 150 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 1 day; 1 obsidian, 2 spirit; No special requirements ME LE E R e a c h 1 S ec o n d a r y w e a p o n , f a st d ra w , m a g i c al

2-

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour. MAGIC LEVEL 1

230

CORRUPTED: After dealing damage because of this weapon, the target suffers the following curse: Every dawn, he suffers one corruption.

steel & stone

Steel dagger

EUR OPEA N ‡ K NIFE ‡ FOR GE D ‡ 75 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(2); 8 hours; 1 metal; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E R e a c h 1 S eco n d a r y w ea p o n , f as t dra w

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

Toledo steel dagger

EUR OPEA N ‡ K NIFE ‡ FOR GED ‡ 300 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 5 days; 1 Toledo Steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E Reach 1 Secondary weapon, fast draw, magical, piercing

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

TOLEDO STEEL: deterioration.

This

weapon

cannot

suffer

MAGIC LEVEL 2

Duelist dagger

EUR OPEA N ‡ K NIFE ‡ FOR GED ‡ 120 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 12 hours; 2 metal; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E R e a c h 1 S eco n d a r y w ea p o n , f as t dra w

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

Long dagger

PROTECTION 1/1: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 1 points, you can choose to deal up to 1 of that damage to the shield. EUR OPEA N ‡ K NIFE ‡ FOR GED ‡ 75 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 12 hours; 1 metal; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E R e a c h 2 S eco n d a r y w ea p o n

2

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

High quality steel dagger

EUR OPEA N ‡ K NIVE ‡ FOR GED ‡ 150 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 12 hours; 1 metal; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E

R e a c h 1 S eco n d a ry w ea p o n , f as t dra w

2-

BETWEEN THE CRACKS: REACTION: Suffer one disadvantage to ignore hard armour.

231

AxeS An axe is a close-combat weapon consisting of a wooden handle attached to a wide, flat blade that covers at least part of the wood. It’s intended for hacking and cutting off the limb or head of a target. The first axes were sharp stones tied to wooden sticks with leather straps; European axes have metal heads forged into sleek, streamlined wooden handles.

Battleaxe

At the time of the Spanish invasion axes have become somewhat rare, displaced by more reliable and versatile weapons such as the sword and macuahuitl. The most common axe today is the European halberd, a long-shafted axe with a piercing point in one end, whose main function is as a stabbing, long-range weapon to dismount riders. EUR OPEA N ‡ A X E ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 60 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(2); 8 hours; 1 steel, 1 forestry; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MELE E R e a c h 3

4

Stone axe

NEW W OR LD ‡ A X E ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 25 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(1); 3 hours; 1 stone, 1 forestry; No special requirements ME LE E R e a c h 3

4

Two-handed battleaxe

EUR OPEA N ‡ A X E ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 150 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(2); 1 day; 2 steel, 2 forestry; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MELE E R e a c h 4

5

TWO-HANDED: This weapon requires both hands.

Halberd

EUR OPEA N ‡ SPEA R , A X E ‡ FOR GED ‡ 300 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 1 day; 2 steel, 2 forestry; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MELE E R e a c h 6

3

THRUSTING: REACTION: After declaring an attack with this weapon, lose one damage to gain piercing. SPEAR WALL: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. You can attack over an ally, and if your opponent doesn’t have a similar ability he can not counterattack.

232

POLEARM: This weapon requires both hands. When you use the strong attack action, deal one additional damage.

steel & stone

WarhammerS A Warhammer is a hafted weapon with a blunt metal head, intended to inflict precise blunt trauma with focused force, even against armoured enemies. Hammers had gone out of style during the early middle ages, when a sword proved to be better at cutting into leather and studded armour. However, the appearance of chain mail and breastplates brought blunt

Warhammer

weapons, which can crush an opponent’s bones along with their metal armour, back to the forefront in warfare, and today many European soldiers carry warhammers as a main weapon, their swords keep as backup. Against the light armour of New World warriors, however, warhammers still take second place when compared with the slashing power of good steel blade. EUR OPEA N ‡ MA C E ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 60 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(2); 1 day; 1 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MEL E E R e a c h 3 C o n c u s s i ve

3

SPIKE: REACTION: After declaring an attack with this weapon, lose concussive to gain piercing.

Stone warhammer

NEW W OR LD ‡ MA C E ‡ PR IMITIV E ‡ 25 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(1); 2 hours; 1 stone, 1 forestry; No special requirements MEL E E R e a c h 3 C o n c u s s i ve

3

Riding warhammer

EUR OPEA N ‡ MA C E ‡ FOR GED ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(2); 2 days; 3 steel; Blacksmith (requires a forge) ME LE E R e a c h 3 C o n cu s s i ve

3

SPIKE: REACTION: After declaring an attack with this weapon, lose concussive to gain piercing.

Poleaxe

RIDING WEAPON: When you use the talent mounted charge, gain REACTION: Add two base damage to this weapon. EUR OPEA N ‡ MA C E ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 300 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 1 day; 2 steel, 1 forestry; Blacksmith (requires a forge) MEL E E R e a c h 4 C o n c u s s i ve

4

SPIKE: REACTION: After declaring an attack with this weapon, lose concussive to gain piercing. POLEARM: This weapon requires both hands. When you use the strong attack action, deal one additional damage.

SPEAR STANCE: UNIQUE REACTION: After declaring an attack, deal one less damage and lose Concussive to gain one Reach.

233

BowS One of the simplest, deadliest and most effective weapons in history, the bow has appeared independently in almost every culture. Bows are so deadly, accurate and cheap to build that they remain in use even now, that firearms are coming to the forefront.

Hunting bow

The most common bow is used for hunting or for shooting lightly-armoured enemies. The longbow, a weapon invented in Europe strictly for war, is as tall as a human, and can shoot with such force that is shafts can go through some plate armour.

NEW W OR LD ‡ BOW ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 60 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(1); 4 hours; 3 forestry; Bowyer RA N G E D

Pi er ci ng

3

HUNTING WEAPON: Gain one advantage towards obtaining animal resources.

Longbow

NEW W OR LD ‡ BOW ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(1); 8 hours; 4 forestry; Bowyer RA N G E D

Pi er ci ng

4

HEAVY DRAW: You must have Athletic focus 3 or higher to use this weapon.

Scout’s bow

LONG RANGE: Its range is 100 metres, It suffers a disadvantage towards shots further than 50 metres away.

NEW W OR LD ‡ BOW ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(1); 8 hours; 4 forestry; Bowyer RA N G E D

Pi er ci ng

3

SILENT SHOT: Shooting this weapon does not reveal your position. Characters trying to detect you after you shoot it suffer one disadvantage.

234

steel & stone

CrossbowS The first truly mechanical weapon in the world, a crossbow is a horizontal bow, fit over a wooden tiller with a handle and trigger. As it requires no physical effort by the wielder, it’s much easier to use and aim than a bow, and it can turn a peasant into a match for a trained archer.

Soldier’s crossbow

Besides being easier to use, a crossbow can fire at longer distances with greater force. It’s only drawback is the slow reload procedure, which makes crossbows unsuitable for fast-paced combat. Save for a few exceptions through history, crossbows never truly replaced bows, however, they still appear in some European armies. EUR OPEA N ‡ C R OSSBOW ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(2); 1 day; 1 metal, 1 animal, 2 forestry; Bowyer RAN G E D

P ie r c in g

4

SLOW RELOAD: REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends an action reloading it.

EASY TO USE: When you use this weapon, you can choose to play up to 2 cards instead of using your Shooting Focus.

LONG RANGE: Its range is 100 metres, It suffers a disadvantage towards shots further than 50 metres away.

Sharpshooter’s crossbow

EUR OPEA N ‡ C R OSSBOW ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 200 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 1 metal, 2 animal, 2 forestry; Bowyer RA N G E D

P ie r c in g

3+

SLOW RELOAD: REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends an action reloading it.

EASY TO USE: When you use this weapon, you can choose to play up to 2 cards instead of using your Shooting Focus.

LONG RANGE: Its range is 100 metres, It suffers a disadvantage towards shots further than 50 metres away.

Heavy crossbow

EUR OPEA N ‡ C R OSSBOW ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 200 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 1 day; 1 metal, 2 animal, 3 forestry; Bowyer RA N G E D

P ie r c in g

5

SLOW RELOAD: REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends an action reloading it.

EASY TO USE: When you use this weapon, you can choose to play up to 2 cards instead of using your Shooting Focus.

LONG RANGE: Its range is 100 metres, It suffers a disadvantage towards shots further than 50 metres away.

235

ArquebuS

Soldier’s arquebus

EUR OPEA N ‡ GUN ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 400 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 3 days; 4 metal, 2 forestry; Gunsmith (requires a forge) RA NG E D

6

P ie r c in g , co n cu s s i ve

VERY SLOW RELOAD: FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it.

EASY TO USE: When you use this weapon, you can choose to play up to 2 cards instead of using your Shooting Focus.

EXPLOSIVE SOUND: This weapon makes a very loud noise. Anyone targeted by it who had never heard an explosive sound before suffers Fear.

MELEE WEAPON: This weapon can be used as a Melee weapon that deals 2 damage and has reach 2.

Sharpshooter’s arquebus

EUR OPEA N ‡ GUN ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 500 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 5 days; 4 metal, 5 forestry; Gunsmith (requires a forge) RANGE D

P ie r c in g , c o n cu s s i ve

5

VERY SLOW RELOAD: FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it. EXPLOSIVE SOUND: This weapon makes a very loud noise. Anyone targeted by it who had never heard an explosive sound before suffers Fear.

Shrapnel arquebus

LONG RANGE: Its range is 100 metres, It suffers a disadvantage towards shots further than 50 metres away. MELEE WEAPON: This weapon can be used as a Melee weapon that deals 2 damage and has reach 2.

EUR OPEA N ‡ GUN ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 500 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 3 days; 5 metal, 2 forestry; Gunsmith (requires a forge) RA NG E D

P ie r c in g

3++

VERY SLOW RELOAD: FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it. SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres. Additionally, this weapon can be used as a Melee weapon that deals 2 damage and has reach 2. 236

EXPLOSIVE SOUND: This weapon makes a very loud noise. Anyone targeted by it who had never heard an explosive sound before suffers Fear. EASY TO USE: When you use this weapon, you can choose to play up to 2 cards instead of using your Shooting Focus.

steel & stone

PistolS

Soldier’s pistol

EUR OPEA N ‡ GUN, PISTOL ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 200 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 2 metal; Gunsmith (requires a forge) RA N G E D

S e c o n d a ry w eap o n, p ierc ing , c on c ussive, reac h 9 , fas t draw

4-

VERY SLOW RELOAD: FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it.

Duelist’s pistol

PISTOL: Its range is 20 metres. It can be shot in Melee range and it gains one advantage when doing so.

EUR OPEA N ‡ GUN, PISTOL ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 250 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 3 days; 3 metal; Gunsmith (requires a forge) RAN G E D

S e c o n da ry w eap o n, p ierc ing , c on c ussive, reac h 1 0, fas t draw

2

VERY SLOW RELOAD: FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it.

Boarding pistol

PISTOL: Its range is restricted to 20 metres. It can be shot in Melee range and it gains one advantage when doing so.

EUR OPEA N ‡ GUN, PISTOL ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 2 days; 2 metal; Gunsmith (requires a forge) RA N G E D

S e c o n d a ry w eap on , p ierc ing , c on c ussive, reac h 9 , fas t draw

3-

VERY SLOW RELOAD: FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it.

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

PISTOL: Its range is 20 metres. It can be shot in Melee range and it gains one advantage when doing so.

237

AhtlatL

The primitive spear-thrower is a wooden club or shaft, with a hooked groove on one end to place the butt of a thin spear or javelin. By adding the strength of this shaft, instead of relying only on the arm, the force and distance of the throw are exponentially increased. Like spears themselves, spear-throwers have been in use since before the dawn of civilisation. Most cultures ended up discarding spear-throwers in favour of the bow and arrow, but nations of the Anahuac and neighbouring regions developed both weapons simultaneously.

Regular atlatl

In fact, the Mexica, which call spear-throwers atlatl, gave them the status of military-grade weapons, and train specific combat units in their use. The Mexica have developed a specific kind of javelin, known as a tlacochtli, which is often decorated and feathered like an arrow, to serve strictly as ammunition for atlatl units. Elite Anahuac warriors often use magical versions of both the atlatl and tlacochtli, enchanted for increased accuracy and damage.

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 40 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 3(1); 1 hour; 2 forestry; No special requirements RAN G E D

P ie r c in g

A T H L E T I C F OC US+ 1

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres.

War atlatl

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 60 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(1); 2 hours; 3 forestry; No special requirements RANGE D

P ie r c in g

A T H L E T I C FOC US+ 1

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres.

238

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

steel & stone

Hunting atlatl

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 70 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 4(1); 2 hours; 3 forestry; No special requirements RAN G E D

A T H L E TIC FOC US

P ie r c in g

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres. MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

Screaming atlatl

HUNTING WEAPON: Gain one advantage towards obtaining animal resources. PRECISE AIM: Gain one advantage towards shooting this weapon.

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 1 day; 3 forestry, 2 spirit; No special requirements RAN G E D

P ie r c in g , f ea r , ma g i c a l

A T H L E T I C FOC US+ 1

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres.

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

MAGIC LEVEL 1

Fast atlatl

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 60 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(1); 3 hours; 4 forestry; No special requirements RAN G E D

P ie r c in g

A T H L E T I C FOC US-1

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres.

FAST SHOOTING: The first time you use this weapon each round does not make you Spent.

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

Cursed atlatl

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 250 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 1 day; 3 forestry, 2 spirit; No special requirements RA N G E D

P ie r c in g , s tu n , ma g i c a l

A T H L E T I C FOC US+ 1

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres.

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

MAGIC LEVEL 1

239

JaveliN Spears designed specifically for throwing, javelins are among the most popular hunting weapons in the New World. Consisting of a long, light wooden shaft with a sharp tip, javelins come in various shapes and styles, from the ornate side weapons of elite Mexica knights, with jade or obsidian tips, or the elaborate tlacochtli darts of atlatl throwers, often ritually marked to

Javelin

seek their target, to simple sharpened sticks that often achieve the same result – skewering another creature. Javelins are most common among New World armies; European soldiers know and use them too, but they have mostly abandoned them for guns or crossbows.

NEW W OR LD ‡ THR OW ING W EA PON ‡ PR IMITIVE ‡ 10 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 2(1); half an hour; 1 forestry; No special requirements RA NGE D

P ie r c in g

A T H L E T I C FOC US

SHORT RANGE: This weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage, and loses piercing against targets farther than 20 metres.

MOMENTUM: REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, shoot this weapon. Then, resume your movement.

MELEE WEAPON: This weapon can be used as a Melee weapon that deals 2 damage and has reach 2.

SlinG Perhaps the earliest and simplest ranged weapon known to humans, the sling consists only of a leather strap and a stone; the wielder places the stone in the middle of the strap and spins it at high speed, releasing the stone when it has reached enough momentum.

Sling

Despite its simple function and often poor manufacture – a sling can be improvised using nearly anything found anywhere – a sling can be deadly if aimed right. It’s very effective against small game like rabbits or smaller deer, but a well-aimed shot can kill a fullgrown man or a larger creature.

NEW W OR LD ‡ SLING ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 30 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 1(1); 1 hour; 1 animal; No special requirements RANGE D

C on c us s iv e

2

HEAVY SHOT: This weapon deals one additional damage against targets closer than 20 metres.

240

steel & stone

BlowgunS Another early ranged weapon, the blowgun was invented by hunter-gatherers from previous Suns, which travelled hidden from predators and prey.

The puncture wound from the dart is negligible; what downs the victim is the toxin or spell entering their blood.

A blowgun is a hollow wooden tube through which a hunter may blow a small dart against a target within range. Since the darts themselves are not dangerous, they are often coated in poison or magical substances.

All New World cultures use blowguns, especially the Arawak of the impassable southern jungles. Some European forces, such as elite assassins, also employ blowguns in special operations.

Blowgun

NEW W OR LD ‡ BLOW GUN ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 35 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(1); 1 hour; 1 forestry, 1 animal; No special requirements RA N G E D

Ve nom o u s 2

1

DEADLY VENOM: REACTION: After being affected by this venom, suffer as much unpreventable damage as the weapon’s Venomous value. It’s antidote is the horsetail plant, which can be obtained as a forestry resource almost anywhere except during the winter.

Assassin’s blowgun

SILENT SHOT: Shooting this weapon does not reveal your position. Characters trying to detect you after you shoot it suffer one disadvantage. SHORT RANGE: Its range is 15 metres.

NEW W OR LD ‡ BLOW GUN ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 80 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(1); 2 hours; 1 forestry, 1 animal; No special requirements RA N G E D

Ve nom o u s 3

1

DEADLY VENOM: REACTION: After being affected by this venom, suffer as much unpreventable damage as the weapon’s Venomous value. It’s antidote is the horsetail plant, which can be obtained as a forestry resource almost anywhere except during winter. SHORT RANGE: Its range is 15 metres.

Slave hunter’s blowgun

SILENT SHOT: Shooting this weapon does not reveal your position. Characters trying to detect you after you shoot it suffer one disadvantage. SMALL OBJECT: It can be hidden while wearing regular clothes. Characters searching you for weapons suffer one disadvantage towards finding it. NEW W OR LD ‡ BLOW GUN ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 45 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(1); 3 hours; 1 forestry, 1 animal; No special requirements RA N G E D

Ve nom o u s 2

1

PARALYSING VENOM: REACTION: After being affected by this venom, suffer paralysis. There is no antidote for this venom.

SILENT SHOT: Shooting this weapon does not reveal your position. Characters trying to detect you after you shoot it suffer one disadvantage.

SHORT RANGE: Its range is 15 metres.

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ArmourS Armour – attire designed to protect the wearer against physical attacks – is categorised depending on the material used for it. Padded armour is just a cotton jerkin, light and comfortable, and designed to soften the enemy’s attacks. Leather armour, consisting of light vests or jackets of cured hide, also offers very little protection, but enough to glance off hits of lighter weapons such as knives or rapiers. Metal armour is going out of style with the advent of firearms, although Spanish forces still use steel helms, breastplates and chainmail, as Anahuac warriors have no guns. Special armour is manufactured from elite materials, by elite craftsmen or for elite warriors, and often custommade for the wearer. In the Anahuac, the most famous special armour is the jaguar and eagle suits of the Mexica cuauhocelotl elite knights, consisting of full-body padded armour with ritual markings and enchantments to enhance the wearer’s combat ability. In Europe, most special armour are blessed leather tunics or light jerkins made of dragonscale.

Strong gambeson

A R MOUR ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 70 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 10 hours; 2 animal, forestry; Artisan SOFT AR M OUR

1

HARD AR M OUR

UNDERGARMENT: You can wear any other armour on top of this. Add 1 point of soft armour to the other armour, and ignore the deterioration, level, and armour of the gambeson until the other armour is broken or you stop wearing it.

Soldier armour

A R MOUR ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 150 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(2); 1 day; 3 animal, 2 forestry; Artisan SOFT AR M OUR HARD AR M OUR

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2

steel & stone

Coat of mail

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(3); 2 days; 6 steel; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

1

ENCUMBRANCE 1 UNDERGARMENT: You can wear any other armour on top of this. Add 1 point of soft armour to the other armour, and ignore and ignore the deterioration, level, and armour of the coat of mail until the other armour is broken or you stop wearing it.

Breastplate

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 250 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 1 day; 5 steel; Blacksmith SOFT AR M O UR HA R D AR M OUR

1

SAFETY MARGIN: Attacks against you that suffer any number of negative consequences deal one less damage.

Conquistador armour

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 400 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 2 days; 8 steel, 2 animal; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

2

ENCUMBRANCE 2 HEAVY: Suffer one disadvantage towards Athletics and Stealth.

Knight armour

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 1000 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(3); 5 days; 12 steel, 3 animal; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

3

ENCUMBRANCE 3 HEAVY: Suffer one disadvantage towards Athletics and Stealth.

IMPENETRABLE: This armour can only be ignored by piercing weapons. REACTION: After suffering deterioration and before halving it thanks to Forged, cancel one deterioration.

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Escaupil armour

A R MOUR ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 1 day; 2 animal, 4 forestry; Artisan SOFT AR M O UR

1

HA RD AR M OUR

CAMOUFLAGE: Gain one advantage towards hiding actions.

Jaguar armour

A R MOUR ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 500 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 1 day; 5 animal, obsidian; Artisan SOFT AR M OUR

2

HARD AR M OUR

SHAPE OF THE JAGUAR: REACTION: After casting the Jaguar token or Tonalli summoning spells, gain one Spirit.

MAGIC LEVEL 1

Eagle armour

A R MOUR ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 500 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 1 day; 4 animal, obsidian; Artisan SOFT AR M OUR

1

HARD AR M OUR

SHAPE OF THE EAGLE: REACTION: After casting the Eagle token or Tonalli summoning spells, gain one Spirit.

WINDFULL: If you are flying, add 5 metres to your movement. MAGIC LEVEL 1

Temple guard armour

A R MOUR ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 500 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 2 days; obsidian, metal, animal, forestry; Artisan SOFT AR M OUR

1

HARD AR M OUR

1

SPIRIT CRYSTALIZER: REACTION: After being the target of a Spell, gain one Spirit.

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ENCUMBRANCE 1 MAGIC LEVEL 1

steel & stone

Sun armour

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 500 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 2 days; 300 gold, obsidian, metal, animal; Artisan SOFT AR M O UR

1

HA R D AR M OUR

1

SUNLIGHT: While the sun hits this armour directly, its armour value cannot be ignored by any means.

GOLDEN DEFENSES: REACTION: After someone lands a successful attack against you under direct sunlight without gaining any positive consequences, he suffers one negative consequence.

Dragon light armour

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 750 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 4 days; 12 steel, 5 animal; Backsmith SOFT AR M O UR

2

HA R D AR M OUR

DRAGON ARMOUR: Dragons only. It can only be worn by dragons whose rider has the dragon armour talent.

Dragon heavy armour

A R MOUR ‡ FOR GED ‡ 1500 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(3); 6 days; 20 steel, 10 animal; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

2

DRAGON ARMOUR: Dragons only. It can only be worn by dragons whose rider has the dragon armour talent.

HEAVY: Suffer one disadvantage towards Athletics and Stealth actions.

Magic cape

ITEM ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 90 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 1 day; 2 animal, 2 Spirit; No special requirements SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

PROTECTION 2/1 : REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 2 points, you can choose to deal up to 1 of that damage to this item.

MAGIC LEVEL 1

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ShieldS Shields are simple planks, boards or discs made of wood or metal, intended not to reduce damage but to stop attacks altogether. Using a shield requires more training, skill and concentration than wearing armour, but it remains a staple of both European and New World armies. New World shields are made of wood and decorated with the symbols of the owner’s nation, army or patron saint; some are enchanted to protect the wearer or retaliate against the attacker. European shields may be of studded wood or metal, some have the Christian cross drawn on them to bless the wearers and mark their allegiance. Some elite European soldiers have truly blessed shields, which miraculously deflect bullets by the grace of God. The shields of both armies may be round or rectangular, small or large. Smaller shields are better for skirmish units, which charge into battle wielding light melee weapons; larger shields favour slow-advancing units wielding guns or longer close combat weapons such as pikes or halberds.

Leather shield

SHIELD ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 40 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 4 hours; 2 forestry, 2 animal; Artisan SOFT AR M O UR HARD AR M OUR

PROTECTION 3/3: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, you can choose to deal up to 3 of that damage to this shield.

SHIELDING 3: ACTION (Melee): Use this action against a Shooting action that targets you, gain one advantage. If you are successful, deal up to 3 of that damage to this shield.

High quality leather shield

SHIELD ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 80 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(3); 7 hours; 2 forestry, 2 animal; Artisan SOFT AR M OUR HARD AR M OUR

PROTECTION 4/3: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 4 points, you can choose to deal up to 3 of that damage to this shield. SHIELDING 3: ACTION (Melee): Use this action against a Shooting action that targets you, gain one advantage.

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If you are successful, deal up to 3 of that damage to this shield. REINFORCED: REACTION: After suffering any amount of deterioration from a non-magical source, reduce it by one.

steel & stone

Large leather shield

SHIELD ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 120 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 9 hours; 2 forestry, 2 animal; Artisan SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

PROTECTION 4/4: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 4 points, you can choose to deal up to 4 of that damage to this shield. SHIELDING 4: ACTION (Melee): Use this action against a Shooting action that targets you, gain one advantage.

Steel shield

If you are successful, deal up to 3 of that damage to this shield. REINFORCED: REACTION: After suffering any amount of deterioration from a non-magical source, reduce it by one. ENCUMBRANCE 1

SHIELD ‡ FOR GED ‡ 150 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 8 hours; 2 steel, animal; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

PROTECTION 3/4: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, you can choose to deal up to 4 of that damage to this shield.

SHIELDING 4: ACTION (Melee): Use this action against a Shooting action that targets you, gain one advantage. If you are successful, deal up to 4 of that damage to this shield.

High quality steel shield

SHIELD ‡ FOR GED ‡ 300 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 1 day; 3 steel, animal; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

PROTECTION 4/4: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 4 points, you can choose to deal up to 4 of that damage to this shield. SHIELDING 4: ACTION (Melee): Use this action against a Shooting action that targets you, gain one advantage.

Buckler

If you are successful, deal up to 4 of that damage to this shield. REINFORCED: REACTION: After suffering any amount of deterioration from a non-magical source, reduce it by one. SHIELD ‡ FOR GED ‡ 75 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(3); 7 hours; 1 steel; Blacksmith SOF T AR M OUR HAR D AR M OUR

PROTECTION 3/3: REACTION: If you lose a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, you can choose to deal up to 3 of that damage to this shield. SHIELDING 1: ACTION (Melee): Use this action against a Shooting action that targets you, gain one advantage.

If you are successful, deal up to 1 of that damage to this shield. FAST DRAW: INSTANT: Drop what you were holding on either of your hands to draw this shield.

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DrugS The use of medicinal, stimulant and hallucinatory plants is widespread among New World cultures and armies. There are countless such plants in nature, with various possible effects, to various degrees. Cactus drugs such as peyotl alter and enhance the users’ senses, and they may in fact increase one’s understanding and wisdom. Many Nahua nations such as the Mexica and Acolhua, and nearly all Chicihimeca tribes from the Northern steppes, use cactus drugs in their ritual magic. Fungi drugs, known to the Mexica as nanacatl, induce strong introspective hallucinations, and are an essential component of Spirit Travel magic. In fact, some nanacatl drugs are so powerful that they cause the user to travel to the Spirit World on their own, with no additional magic required. Leaf drugs, such as coca and tobacco, are mostly used as stimulants. Chewing on the leaves of a stimulant herb increases the user’s strength, endurance and athletic ability, and is also good for keeping a clear head even in the face of fatigue.

Coca leaf

D R UG ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 15 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 1 forestry; Chemist COCA LEAVES: REACTION: After initiating an Athletic action or check, consume this item to gain one advantage. ADDICTIVE (EASY)

Peyotl cactus Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 1 forestry; Chemist PEYOTL CACTUS: ACTION: Consume this item to perform a Drug Ritual. You suffer one disadvantage towards all checks and lose all interest in humanly or earthly things for the rest of the day. ADDICTIVE (NORMAL)

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D R UG ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 35 G O L D

steel & stone

Nanacatl mushrooms

D R UG ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 75 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 2 forestry; Chemist NANACATL MUSHROOMS: ACTION: Consume this item to perform a Drug Ritual, gaining one advantage if you Transcend. You suffer one disadvantage towards all checks and lose all interest in humanly or earthly things for the rest of the day. ADDICTIVE (HARD)

Coca extract

D R UG ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 60 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(3); 2 forestry; Chemist COCA EXTRACT: ACTION: Draw 2 cards, then discard back to your maximum hand size. ADDICTIVE (NORMAL)

Cohuanenepilli plant

D R UG ‡ NOR MAL ‡ 35 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(2); 2 forestry; Chemist COHUANENEPILLI: REACTION: After declaring a Medical action, make the patient consume this item. He must discard his two highest cards and you gain one advantage. ADDICTIVE (NORMAL)

Leaf frog extract

D R UG ‡ NOR M AL ‡ 5 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 6(2); 1 animal; Chemist LEAVE FROG EXTRACT: REACTION: After beginning a physical action or check, suffer one unpreventable damage and gain one advantage. Every additional time you consume this drug during the same day, you suffer one additional unpreventable damage.

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MiscelaneouS Both the European and New World cultures make use of various magical trinkets and tools, such as talismans, amulets, enchanted clothes and so on.

Talismans are bits of metals, stone, plants or animals that protect wearers against specific magic or give them good luck, from Christian crosses to Mexica idols.

Magical clothing ranges from cloaks that hide the wearer to sandals that increase one’s speed and endurance, or magic rings or amulets that make the wearer charming or fortunate.

Special tools are common survival tools with minor enchantments, such as a whistle that harms those that listen to it, or a torch or lantern that never goes out.

Death whistle

ITEM ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(3); 1 dead human, 1 forestry, 2 spirit; Artisan DEATH WHISTLE: ACTION: Spend 1 Spirit to cause fear to all your human enemies in a 20 metre radius. Each human can only be affected once per day.

Saddle

ITEM ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 75 GO L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 7(2); 3 animal; Artisan SADDLE: It can be worn by beasts with the Mount ability. While riding a beast with a saddle, cancel two of your encumbrance.

Camouflage cape Crafting: Check difficulty 8(2); 2 forestry, 1 animal; No special requirements CAMOUFLAGE: Gain one advantage towards Stealth actions when you are not moving and you are in a nonurban environment.

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ITEM ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 GO L D

steel & stone

Magic ornament

OR NA MENT ‡ FOR GED ‡ 100 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(2); 1 resource of any type, 2 spirit; Artisan MAGIC LEVEL 1

High quality magic ornament

OR NA MENT ‡ FOR GED ‡ 200 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(3); 1 resource of any type, 2 spirit; Artisan MAGIC LEVEL 2

Light sphere

ITEM ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 8(3); 2 spirit; Artisan INFINITE LIGHT: Spend an action to either lit this up or shut it off. While lit, the light sphere lits like a torch without heating up. VERY SMALL: It has the size of a bean. It can be made into a ring, necklace, or even earring. While it is shut down it does not appear to be magical, even to detection spells.

Alarm

ITEM ‡ NOR MA L ‡ 100 G O L D

Crafting: Check difficulty 5(3); 1 spirit; Artisan BLARE: Whisper a day and a time to this object. When that moment comes, it will emit a powerful trumpetlike noise until someone shakes it.

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Religion & magiC

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SpiriT T H E S U P E R N A T U R A L I S a fickle and incomprehensible thing. Some

brave men and women try to control it, to study it, and to understand it; however, all they can do is let it flow through them. And while it is empowering like nothing else, it is also dangerous, as it can turn against you as quickly as it helped you.

S

PI R I T I S TH E abstract concept that encompasses all the different forms of power granted by belief, magic, spirits, and everything supernatural and divine. The phenomenon that grants spirit to characters depends on their religion. It is called the Ritual.

Characters can use Spirit points to use Spells they know. Characters can spend or lose more Spirit than they have, but they cannot have negative Spirit. Instead, they will gain as much Corruption as the amount of Spirit they spend or lose that they did not have. However, a gain in Spirit does not reduce Corruption.

Gaining Spirit After a character has performed a Ritual, they will gain one Spirit. Then, they can choose to perform a Transcend check or not to gain additional Spirit. When a character Transcends, they can choose one of the following checks to perform: ■ Normal: 6(1). Gain an additional 3 Spirit. If you fail the check, you will also gain 2 Corruption. ■ Hard: 9(1): Gain an additional 5 Spirit. If you fail the check, you will also gain 3 Corruption. ■ Impossible: 12(1): Gain an additional 9 Spirit. If you fail the check, you will also gain 4 Corruption.

A positive consequence will remove one Corruption, while a negative consequence will give you an additional Corruption. REMEMBER: Only the GM should know the true result of the Check and the true Corruption of each character. The character must not find out what their Corruption is (unless they use some magical ability to earn that knowledge). 254

CorruptioN The GM must keep track of her player’s Corruption. Players are unaware if they have any Corruption at all (but they can suspect it). Only the GM keeps track of it in her GM sheet. Corruption allows the GM to use terrible abilities against the characters and their companions depending on their religion. Corruption can be gained in three ways: ■ When a character spends or loses a Spirit point that they do not have, they gain a Corruption point. ■ When a character Transcends, they might gain Corruption points. ■ When a character is the target of another character’s abilities that deals Corruption, such as Spells, magic weapons, etc., each ability will specify how much Corruption it gives.

The GM can and should use the characters’ Corruption against them. Every Session, the GM should use Corruption Curses against a character with a total Corruption cost the same as that character’s Corruption. Corruption is not spent by this; a character must get rid of his Corruption himself as best as he possibly can.

Abrahamic Curses Use Abrahamic Curses for Christians, Jewish, Muslim and any other character who follows any form of an Abrahamic religion.

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Corruption represents the Devil’s influence on the characters. Satan works in mischievous ways and even the most pious Christians can suffer his influence if they are not careful. Characters cannot know exactly how much the Holy Father has blessed them, as God does not create in straight lines. Therefore, inadvertently, it is possible for a character to spend Spirit that is not given to them by God. When that happens, it is the Devil that provides the energy, mimicking God’s miracles to fool his believers, entering their minds and corrupting their souls.

I LL F O R T U NE 1 Corruption. REACTION: After resolving a check, give him a negative consequence.

T AI NT E D 2 or more Corruption. INSTANT: At any time, ask the character to perform an easy Rites Check (difficulty: 3(1)) to see if he is tainted by a Demon. For each point of Corruption over two that you use for this curse, he will suffer one disadvantage. Being tainted by a Demon is not obvious, but a character with a well-trained eye might detect it. Once per Session, a character can choose any character, including himself, to perform one normal Perception check (difficulty: 6(1)). If successful, he will realise whether or not the target has been tainted or not. A Tainted character will gain one Corruption per Session. A character automatically stops being Tainted if at any time he has no Corruption.

PO S S E S S E D 4 or more Corruption. INSTANT: At any time, ask the character to perform an easy Rites Check (difficulty: 3(1)) to see if he is tainted by a Demon. For each point of Corruption over four that you use for this curse, he’ll suffer one disadvantage. The player loses control over the character completely. The character is now considered an NPC under the control of the GM and: ■ He’ll grow horns and claws, his skin will expel black steam and he’ll be completely mad. ■ It ignores one damage from non-magical attacks. ■ It ignores Corruption. ■ It gains one advantage towards all actions.

The player will gain back control over his body if the Demon vanishes from the Earthly plane without having his body killed.

Native Curses Use New World Curses for all New World religions of both American continents. For the New World faiths, Corruption happens when a character uses more magic than he has paid for. A character that doesn’t properly repay the universe, sacrificing or compensating for the power received to keep the cosmic balance, may become Corrupted without knowing it.

I LLNESS 2 Corruption. REACTION: At the end of the Session, the character finds out he has been affected by a debilitating illness and suffers Fatigue. The character can’t recover this Fatigue, even if he rests or receives magical healing or even if he is the patient in a Medical action, until he has no Corruption.

DEFORMI TY 3 Corruption. REACTION: At the end of the Session, the character feels unclean and corrupt; he gains the trait ‘Deformed (bad)”: He has suffered a physical and visible deformity that make him look hideous and corrupted. Most characters from any faith will shun him, not by prejudice but by basic instinct. A deformity may be reversed only if the character somehow loses all his Corruption and then he is the successful target of a magical Medical action confronted by a TSE that plays four cards.

BEAST TRANSMUTATI ON 4 Corruption or more. INSTANT: At any time, ask the character to perform an easy Rites Check (difficulty: 3(1)) to see if he is affected by this Curse. For each point of Corruption over four that you use for this curse, he will suffer one disadvantage. If he fails, he’ll turn into an unclean animal (such as a vulture or a toad) as determined by the GM. This transmutation works like the Nahualotl Spell Skin Change, except that the character can’t return to human form unless he loses all his Corruption and finds his tonal animal. 255

Common curse

Sacrifice

This curse is common to all religions. Therefore, it can be cast against any character.

Gain Spirit at the end of a scene in which you killed or gave to be killed one or more living beings during an appropriate Ceremony (it must be large or symbolically important to your religion and it will take several hours) or burned a prized possession to appease the Saints. You can take part in only one Sacrifice per day.

WA N D E R I NG SOU L 1 Corruption. After a character with Corruption spends two days dead (and he has not been successfully cleansed of Corruption with the Cleansing-eating Spell from Necrophagic School, if he were from the New World religions, or the Requiem Spell from the Priesthood Scripture, if he were a Christian), his soul will get lost, tricked by demons and spirits. He’ll become a wraith under the GM’s control, haunting his old friends who let him die without the appropriate Requiem. A wraith has the same stats as the deceased character but will play cards from the top of the GM’s deck, as would any other NPC. Additionally, he’ll have the following abilities: WRAITH: It cannot be damaged by non-magical attacks. CORRUPTION OUTPOUR: REACTION: After successfully attacking a character, additionally reduce his target’s Spirit by the Wright’s level.

As many as two people might gain Spirit or Transcend from a sacrifice: the person who provided the sacrifice and the person who performed the sacrifice. If you try to Transcend, you might gain one advantage for each of the following instances: ■ The burned object was specifically valuable to the Saint to whom you pray. ■ The sacrificed individual was properly prepared for at least one month before the sacrifice. ■ You sacrificed several humans, one after the other. ■ The sacrificed individual was important to you (e.g. a family member or friend).

Or you might gain one disadvantage for each of the following instances:

RitualS

■ The sacrificed individual resists sacrifice (this can be mitigated by drugging them). Bear in mind that many people from the New World will be happily sacrificed after being captured in an honourable battle or if requested by the higher authorities during a religious celebration. Meanwhile, all Europeans will resist unless they are in shock.

Through Rituals, the characters communicate with the divine and prove their worth. Characters obtain Spirit by achieving the requirements of a Ritual.

■ You sacrifice a living being that is not human and is not an important animal to your religion.

When you create your character, you must choose one Ritual that will give you Spirit. When you achieve it, note it on your character sheet and on the GM sheet. Alternatively, if a character behaves in such a way that he is acting against his Rituals, the GM can determine that at the end of that Scene he will lose one Spirit. The GM should let the player know about this. ■ Christian characters should choose from among

the following Rituals: Fighting Heresy, Protecting the Faithful, Praying, and Vows. ■ Native characters should choose from among the following Rituals: Sacrifice, Endurance, Bloodletting, Praying, and Drug Ceremony.

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Fighting heresy Gain Spirit at the end of a Scene in which one or more heretic or pagan characters have died due to damage that you dealt or because of your influence (e.g. you order them killed, you plotted their death) as determined by the GM. If you try to Transcend, you might gain one advantage for each of the following instances: ■ Multiple characters were killed. ■ Any of them were important to another religion (e.g. a Priest). ■ Any of them had the trait Demonic.

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Endurance Gain Spirit at the end of a Scene in which you dealt yourself Fatigue, forfeiting basic food, drink, or rest needs. (These things must be readily available or you should have removed them; if you don’t have access to them, it does not count).

Gain Spirit at the end of a Scene in which you were tempted to act upon your traits and you successfully resisted. If you try to Transcend, you might gain one advantage per vow-bound trait you resisted after the first.

Bloodletting

SpellS

Gain Spirit at the end of a scene in which you dealt yourself an Injury of any kind by causing minor bleeding wounds on your own body.

Casting a Spell

If you try to Transcend, gain one advantage if the injury was inflicted during a proper Ceremony.

Protecting the faithful Gain Spirit at the end of a Scene in which you saved other members of your Religion from characters that are not from your Religion. If you try to Transcend, you might gain advantages as determined by the GM, taking into consideration the odds of your success. However, you might also suffer disadvantages if you did not make a big enough effort.

Praying Spend a whole day praying and repenting to perform a Transcend Check with one disadvantage. Praying will automatically fail with a critical if you had any Corruption.

Drug Ritual Gain Spirit at the end of a Scene in which you consumed mind-expanding drugs such as peyotl cactus or nanacatl mushrooms. If you try to Transcend, you might gain one advantage if you learned a relevant lesson about yourself (as determined by the GM) during the Scene, or if the Scene was a proper Ceremony. You automatically fail with a critical if you had any Corruption.

Vows When you obtain this Ritual, choose one or more of your traits and make a Vow to resist your urges to pursue them. The GM will let you know which traits she believes can be used as a Vow.

Any character who knows a Spell can cast it by spending the required amount of Spirit. To cast a Spell, each religion has a requirement, as follows: ■ Abrahamic religious characters must sing or recite a verse they have memorized from their sacred book while casting the Spell, which they can do as quietly as they wish and can. However, if they cannot speak, they cannot cast Spells. ■ New World religious characters must be able to freely move while casting the Spell, which they can do as subtly as they wish and can. However, if they cannot move around (e.g. they are in chains), they cannot cast Spells.

Magic Resistance It costs one additional Spirit to target a character for every point of Magic Resistance that character has.

Curse Certain Spells have the keyword ‘curse’. Curses’ effects usually last for a long time or even forever. There are three ways to dispel a curse: ■ Use an ability that specifies it (e.g. a Spell). ■ Destroy the charm into which it is cast, if there is one. ■ Comply with the curse requirements, if any.

Ceremony Certain Spells require a Ceremony. A Ceremony cannot be performed while resolving Rounds. The length and complexity of each Ceremony should be made up by the player performing it; it can take from a few minutes to a few hours.

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If the player comes up with an amazingly rich and fitting ceremony for the Spell, fills it with detail, and makes it enjoyable for everyone around the table, the GM can give an advantage. However, if the player makes it uninspiring and easy for himself ( spends only a few in-game minutes on it and doesn’t use any strange ingredients), the GM can give him a disadvantage.

Common Spells

PENANC E Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability to draw blood from yourself or a willing and repenting believer of a New World religion. After the Ceremony, the target suffers one injury of your choice, and loses as much Corruption as your Rites Focus.

Common Spells are Spells that characters know simply by belonging to one religion or another. They do not require a Talent like the Spells from the different magic schools do. Each religion has its own common Spells: ■ Catholic characters know the Pater Noster and Ave Maria. ■ Native characters know the Nonotza Blessing and Penance.

PA TE R N O S T ER Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. Cost: 2 Spirit. REACTION: Cancel one bad consequence that you were to suffer, or a good consequence that your opponent gained over you.

A V E M AR I A Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen. Cost: 1 Spirit. INSTANT: During your turn, gain one Magic Resistance until the end of the Scene. Limited to once per Scene.

NON O T Z A B L ESSIN G Cost: X Spirit up to your Rites Focus. REACTION: After declaring an action (or counteraction), draw X cards.

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He (Jesus) replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

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AH UAL O TL I S T H E most famous of Native Magic

Schools. It gives its practitioners the ability to change their shapes into those of animals or spirits.

Jaguar Token Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to wear the teeth, claws, fur, or other parts of a jaguar or ocelot. You don’t acquire the creature’s form, but: ■ You gain one Initiative. ■ You double your movement. ■ You gain one Reach while attacking unarmed. ■ Characters attacked by you suffer Fear. This is limited to once per Scene per character.

You will turn back to human form at the end of the Scene.

Eagle Token Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to wear the wings, claws, feathers, and other parts of an eagle. You don’t acquire the creature’s form, but you: ■ Gain one advantage towards Perception. ■ Can fly. While flying, you move an additional 10 meters per running action.

You will turn back to human form at the end of the Scene.

Skin Change Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to turn into a harmless, non-combatant animal such as a mouse, deer, bird or, cat. (Your gear turns with you and you cannot use it while in this form). While in animal form, you: ■ Cannot speak, but you will keep all of your mental functions and therefore can try to communicate non-verbally. ■ Cannot attack. 260

■ Gain one advantage on Stealth, Athletic, and Perception actions. ■ Cannot use Melee, Riding, Crafting, Shooting, Medical, or Order Skills while in animal form. ■ Can choose the ability to fly, fit through small holes, etc., depending on the small animal. You will move as quickly as the animal you choose. ■ Ignore your non-Charm gear while in this form.

You may remain in animal form for as long as you wish. If you want to turn back, you can do so spending an action for this purpose.

Mometzco Pinqui Cost: 1 Spirit. Only female spellcasters may use this ability. The first time you cast this Spell, choose a predatory bird (such as a falcon, eagle, owl, or vulture). Every time you cast this Spell, you will become the same bird. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to remove your own legs and change them into the wings and legs of your bird. While in bird form, you: ■ You may speak as if you were still human. ■ Gain the ability to fly. You will move as quickly as the animal you choose. ■ Gain one advantage towards Athletic, Melee, and Stealth. ■ Cannot use Crafting, Riding, Charisma, Medical, or Order Skills. ■ Ignore your non-Charm gear while in this form.

You may remain in bird form for as long as you like, but you must keep your cut legs somewhere safe and spend an action to put them back on to return to human form. If you ever misplace your human legs, you become trapped in bird form until you recover your legs and put them on.

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Tecuanahualli Cost: 3 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to turn into any beast of an equal or lower level than your rites’ focus. While this spell is active, you: ■ Will use the beast’s stats instead of your own. While in beast form, you can use those Talents that the GM sees as reasonable. ■ Will use the beast’s threshold to calculate injuries when you take on damage in beast form. Any damage you had before – or took on while – converted is kept when you change shapes. ■ Cannot use Shooting, Crafting, Riding, Charisma, or Medical Skills. ■ Cannot speak, but you will keep all of your men-

tal functions and therefore can try to communicate non-verbally. ■ Cannot use gear. Any gear you were carrying will become part of the transformation. ■ Can end its effect at any point as an action.

If you become traumatised, the spell will end immediately.

■ Can float over or flow through ground obstacles such as stairs, quicksand, or sharp rocks, ignoring their effects. ■ Gain 2 advantages to dodge attacks. ■ Cannot use Shooting, Crafting, Riding, Charisma, Medical, or Order Skills. ■ Ignore your non-Charm gear while in this form.

You will turn back to human form at the end of the scene. If you want to turn back before that, you can spend an action for this purpose.

Teotlipan Moquetzani Cost: 4 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any follower of a New World religion that partakes of the Ceremony to be the vessel of the essence of a dragon, divine spirit, or Saint for a whole day. He becomes Teotlipan Moquetzani, an avatar of the chosen Saint or divine spirit. If he had any Corruption, the spell fails automatically. The spell is dispelled the moment he gains any Corruption. The vessel can use any of the following by spending one Spirit after each use: ■ REACTION: After killing an enemy, gain as much Spirit as their level. ■ REACTION: After dying, your body will be taken to the Spirit World, where you will be judged. If you outsmart the spirits and trick them into giving you back your life, you will be brought back to life by the next sunrise. Your body will be completely free of injuries and damage.

Elemental Form Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to turn into a natural element or force, such as a gust of wind, a ball of fire, or a pool of water. (Your gear turns with you and you cannot use it while in this form). While in elemental form, you: ■ Cannot speak, but you will keep all of your men-

tal functions. Therefore, you can try to communicate non-verbally. ■ May attack, in Melee, other creatures using your new physical nature (that is, burning them, choking them, or punching them with air or water). Your attacks are considered unarmed and they ignore armour.

■ ACTION (Rites): Remove one effect that affects you (fatigue, an injury, a curse, etc). This costs one additional Spirit point. ■ INSTANT: Become the center of attention of everyone who could see you and gain one advantage towards social interactions for the remainder of the Scene.

Spirit Walk Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. You must cast Tonalli summoning from the Tonalli School, then initiate this Ceremony to follow your tonal animal to the Spirit World. There, your tonal animal will remain with you. You can act and die as normal while in the Spirit World in this form. You will leave the Spirit World the moment your tonal animal dies or you sacrifice it. 261

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L O S E LY R E L A T E D T O the Nahualotl School, the

Tonalli School of Magic finds the animal spirit guides of people, and teaches mortals to use these guides for special abilities and blessings. Only characters who know their tonal animal may learn this School after character creation.

‘He is a double wind. He cannot succeed me’. ‘Why not? He is a strong spirit’. ‘A wind spirit! Our calpolli prides itself on the stability of the tecpacalli, the stone house. Many lesser calpolli heads come to us for advice and ruling. A double wind family head will be fickle, shifty… will just… he will not do’. ‘Please don’t send away my son’. ‘He will be better loved, and more useful, in the Eleven House calpolli. He will become a courier, maybe a merchant. With a double wind soul, he is guaranteed success – a prosperous life’. ‘But he will be away from home!’ ‘He will be home. There’s a place for his kind there’. ‘His kind? How dare you… he is our blood!’ ‘No double wind child is of my blood!’ ‘You will not take him...!’ The woman lunged at her husband, crying in desperate rage. He grabbed her, twisted her arm, and drew his tecpatl knife. ‘You raise your hand against…’ The man never finished the sentence. A gale blew across the house, lifting the man through a window and carrying him away until he was nothing but a screaming spot in the distance. A tiny head peeked from the doorway. The woman ran to her child and hugged him, sobbing. The boy hugged back, unaware of what he had done.

Tonalli Guidance Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability to find the tonal animal spirit of a living human. The effect of this ability is permanent. Once you discover his animal spirit, that is their tonal forever. If you have this Magic School from character creation, consider that you have already cast this Spell on yourself. After the ceremony, the GM decides which animal is the person’s tonal spirit. If you use the ability on a PC, he may choose his tonal animal instead. You may not have a fantastic creature – such as a dragon or phoenix – as your tonal animal. When you choose a tonal, you must also choose a single associated Skill for it to influence. The Skill must relate to the virtues or qualities the tonal animal symbolises as determined by the GM. An animal may represent more than one quality and, thus, have more than one associated skill. However, you must choose only one, and may not change this choice afterward. You use this when casting the Spell Tonalli Skill. Write down on your character sheet your tonal animal and related Skill.

Tonalli Skill Cost: 1 Spirit. REACTION: Activate this ability before using the associated Skill of your tonal spirit to gain one advantage towards the action.

Tonalli Healing Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this spell on a person if you know his tonal animal, he will be affected by the following after resting for a full night: ■ If the target is cursed, perform a Rites check with one disadvantage against the curser’s Rites to dispel the curse. If the curse has a specific way of being dispelled in its description, you will suffer one additional disadvantage. ■ If the target had any Corruption, he loses Corruption points equal to your Rites Focus.

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Tonalli Power Cost: 2 Spirit. REACTION: After declaring an action, gain an ability associated with your tonal spirit animal until the end of the Round. This does not grant advantages, but it does grant a special ability your tonal animal may have, such as having claws (dealing piercing damage while unarmed), the ability to fly, or the ability to breathe underwater. Your GM must approve the special ability you wish to acquire.

Tonalli Speech Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION: Gain one advantage towards Charisma and Riding when used on a real living member of the species of your tonal animal until the end of the Scene. Furthermore, the creature will understand your words and their meaning.

Tonalli Summoning Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability to call a specimen of your tonal animal to the physical world. The animal appears during the next round. It doesn’t obey your orders or help you in combat, but it remains near you, wandering freely within 100 metres of your location for the rest of the day. While your tonal animal walks beside you, you gain the following benefits: ■ You may see whatever your

tonal animal sees as if you were in its place. This grants you a wider vision area. ■ REACTION: After you suffer damage from a source, spend one Spirit to avoid it. Have your tonal sacrifice itself for you instead. This is not an evil act and your tonal is honoured to give its life for yours,

but you may not summon another until the next day.

Tonalli Visions Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this spell on any willing human to ask a question of, or seek advice from, their tonal spirit. After the ceremony, the target of the spell must go to sleep or meditate. During the target’s dreams or trance, he must perform a Rites check (difficulty: 6(1)). If successful, he receives dream visions where his tonal gives the requested answer or advice in a reasonably clear and accurate manner. The GM may wish to make it somewhat cryptic, or make you interpret some clues, but the answer must be correct and useful. In case of a failure, you will unknowingly misinterpret the message and the GM will give you false information (perhaps mixed with the truth to make it less obvious).

Tonalli Transformation Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. You become a human-shaped version of your tonal animal until you spend an action to stop. You may use any gear you carry, and you can talk and walk like a human, but your skin will change into that of your tonal animal and many of your features will mimic those of your tonal animal. Choose as many of the following animal traits as your Rites Focus. Once chosen, every time you cast this spell, you must use the same ones. The traits you choose must relate to your tonal animal and be approved by the GM (e.g., if your tonal animal is a fish, you cannot choose aerial). Choose them from the following list, or you and the

GM can come up with fitting ones for your tonal animal. ■ Aquatic: You can breathe underwater. Additionally, you will not suffer penalties when moving or acting underwater. Aquatic animals must choose this as their first trait. ■ Aerial: You can fly. Flying animals must choose this as their first trait. ■ Spry: You gain one advantage towards athletic actions and you can move at twice your base speed using your animal’s preferred medium. ■ Hunter: Your unarmed attacks apply hemorrhage I and gain piercing. ■ Strong: Your unarmed attacks deal as much damage as your Melee focus and you gain one threshold. ■ Tough: Your current and maximum health are by 2 two and you gain one soft armour. ■ Sneaky: Gain one advantage to hide. Additionally, if your stealth is higher than your opponent’s perception, you will gain a positive consequence towards any stealth checks or confrontations. ■ Attentive: Gain one advantage towards perception actions. You can perceive smells and sounds that would be undetectable to humans. ■ Cunning: Gain one Initiative. Additionally, after spending an entire round focusing on a task, you will gain one positive consequence when you attempt to perform that task. Any actions that cause you to lose concentration will end the effect. ■ Deadly: Your unarmed attacks gain one reach and one advantage. ■ Sticky limbs: You can adhere to or climb any surface as if you were walking on the ground. 263

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I TI C I , O R H EA L I N G magic, is

the most widespread School in the New World.

Pahtli Healing Cost: 3 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Target yourself or a character in physical contact with you. A character can only be targetted by this Spell once per Scene. This action is a magical surgery action performed in a single Round. If successful, it will also remove all stacks of venom from the target.

Tattoo Healing Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. By carving a bleeding tattoo of a sacred symbol into the skin of a living person, you heal the target of all non-magical illnesses. The target suffers one unpreventable damage during the process.

Teiczaliztli Healing Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. You must walk barefoot on the patient to use this ability. After the target gets a good night’s rest during in-game time, he will experience healing of all injuries in a body part of their choice.

Wind Healing Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Blow on the body of an injured character up to 10 metres away. That character can ignore the effects of as many injuries of their choice as your Rites Focus until the end of the Scene. 264

Sunlight fell gently through the tree branches as Ehecatzin walked into the garden, his head bent in reverence. The old priestess was, as always, seated by the main altar amidst the bushes, surrounded by offering plates. Ehecatzin approached the priestess, remembering to look down and light his censer for her. She smiled at him. ‘Good evening, Ehecatzin. They tell me you have concerns’. ‘Forgive me, mistress’. ‘Concerns and doubts are ailments. As such, they can be healed. Do you apologise for your illnesses?’ ‘I do in this case, mistress. That is why I sought this talk with you’. ‘When you came to me, you wished to be healed’. ‘That is correct, mistress’. ‘You felt a poison in your soul, you said. A malady that took away your enjoyment, your purpose, your will to live’. ‘That is exactly how I felt, mistress’. ‘And you asked if our magic could heal you. I said yes’. ‘And yet… please forgive me for saying this… you haven’t healed me. I, I still feel the poison, the constant sadness… the death inside’. ‘How long have you been at our temple, Ehecatzin?’ ‘Four years, priestess’. ‘And what have we done for you?’

‘You have taught me the healing arts. I’m not complaining, I’m very thankful. I now know the words, the herbs, the rites to cure most maladies of the body and spirit. It is just that…’ ‘Your soul remains poisoned. You came here seeking a cure, yet none of the magic that we taught you has healed your grief ’. Ehecatzin bent his head in shame. ‘I have thought… I have thought that maybe, maybe there is no cure, mistress?’ ‘I see. Well, then, there is nothing more that I can teach you’. As she said this, the priestess grabbed a flint knife from the offerings and stabbed herself square in the chest. She started shaking, and blood gurgled from her mouth. Terror and urgency gripped Ehecatzin. Barely overcoming his guilt and surprise, he rushed to his mentor and kneeled over her dying body. He pulled out the knife, bled his own fingers, and recited the ritual words to close the wound. After a few desperate, frantic instants, the spell did its work. The priestess coughed back to life, her wound fully closed. ‘My… my mistress! Forgive me, I…’ ‘Thank you for saving my life, Ehecatzin. Are you healed now?’ Ehecatzin felt his soul. He began crying. He was.

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Xihuitl schooL

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LS O KN OW N A S ‘comet control’, or ‘star charm-

ing’, the Xihuitl School of Magic allows casters to alter weather and natural forces.

Mixtlazqui Healing Cost: 3 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Summon healing winds that targets everyone around you. Perform a Rites check to dispel a curse affecting one or more characters around you. If the curse has a specific way of being dispelling in its description, you’ll suffer one disadvantage.

Summon Catastrophe

Weather: Very dry - dry - raining - stormy Temperature: Cold - temperate - warm - very warm ■ All characters in the open while in rainning or stormy conditions suffer one disadvantage to Athletic, Perception and Survival actions, and may suffer additional nuisances as determined by your GM. ■ All Characters who spend a few minutes in the open while affected by any of the four extreme conditions (very dry, stormy, cold, very warm) suffer one point of damage and may face other dangers or suffer increased damage as determined by your GM. ■ You can spend an action and one Spirit to change either the weather or climate by another step. You can do this as many times as you wish during the duration of the spell. Additionally, you can spend an action and one Spirit to be immune to the effects of this spell.

Cost: 9 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability to call a catastrophe, such as a hurricane or earthquake, on the surrounding area (100 meters of radius per Rites Focus) until you spend an action to stop it or until the end of the Scene. The following effects apply during the catastrophe’s duration: ■ Every other character in the area suffers as much

damage as your level. This may cause injuries as normal. This damage applies only once. If the catastrophe was an earthquake, it does not deal damage to flying characters. If the catastrophe was a hurricane, it does not deal damage to non-flying characters. ■ Every other character in the area suffers 1 disadvantage on all actions for the rest of the scene. If the catastrophe was a hurricane, flying characters suffer 2 additional disadvantages for as long as they are flying. ■ Every building within the area might be damaged as determined by the GM. You can target a specific building to suffer more than the rest by spending as much extra Spirit as determined by the GM. But, pyramids and palaces are not affected by this spell.

Teciuh Peuhqui Cost: 4 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability to change the weather conditions in your area (100 meters of radius per Rites Focus) for the duration of the Scene. You may change the weather or climate by one step as follows:

‘Thank you mother’, Itzá said to himself as he raised the offerings to the sky. He spoke to her, to Mother Alom; but also to himself. The power was hers. But the gratitude was all his. The townspeople weren’t sure they should be grateful. Itzá didn’t blame them. The drought had went on for fourteen years now. No child in the village had ever known rain; many of the adults had forgotten it. Yet Itzá was thankful, knowing the simple power to try, just to kneel and beg to Mother Alom, was a blessing beyond count. He’ d cried, back when his parents sold him to the priests, for the price of two large water jugs. ‘Mama, I’ ll give you water’, he’ d cried back then, ‘I’ ll cry the jugs full for you, see?’. But his parents didn’t look back. They didn’t let him beg. Alom let him beg. He was grateful. He made two deep cuts, just below his eyes, and let his blood fall in two thin red streams down his cheeks. He was crying again. Not the blood, not his last offering to the Mother, but real tears. And Mother Alom cried for him. With him. As the tears flooded his face, the faces of the people, the whole town, Itzá spoke again. ‘Thank you, mother’.

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H E I LL US I ON S C H O O L is considered minor magic

by New World wizards and the general population; however, when used correctly, it may be far more useful than mightier schools.

Small Illusion Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Create the illusion of any small (about child-sized) object or creature, such as a flowering bush, piece of clothing, or snake. Onlookers might perform a Perception check against your Rites to detect the illusion.

Transmutation Cost: 2 Spirit for a human-sized object or creature, or 1 Spirit for a smaller object or creature.

Body Deception Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Pretend you are dead or injured. You may appear to be missing limbs or seem dead even under medical examination. Onlookers might perform a Perception check against your Rites to detect the illusion.

Elemental Illusion Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to create the illusion of a large (about house-sized) elemental event, such as a cloud, fire, or lightning bolt. It must be something simple and general, as determined by the GM. Onlookers might perform a Perception check against your Rites to detect the illusion.

Shroud of Darkness Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Gain one advantage towards your Stealth actions until the end of the Scene. 266

ACTION (Rites): Make a creature or object adopt the appearance of a creature or object of roughly the same size. You can change anything you imagine into anything else, provided the GM approves it. You can turn the target into only a form that you know. For example, you can turn a stick into a snake or a boy into a wooden idol, but not a man into an ogre or a girl into an elephant. The spell has an effect until you spend an action to stop it, the target moves over 200 meters away from you, or the Scene ends. Onlookers might perform a Perception check against your Rites to detect the illusion. If the target is a living creature and does not cooperate with the deception – that is, acts in a way that completely contradicts the nature of its illusory form – they will gain one or more advantages. If the illusion impersonates an existing character, bear in mind that the illusion will be only visual (the intonation, facial expressions, and other characteristics of that character must be acted out). Therefore, characters who knew the impersonated character gain one advantage towards detecting it, or two if they interact with you for a while. (Evil creatures or spirits taking over bodies are not extremely rare, so most people know this is a possibility).

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‘See the little bird. See the little bird’. The performer’s sing-song voice has the double purpose of drawing the people’s attention, and distracting them from the show’s hidden tricks. I know. I, too, work in the, let’s say misdirection business. Suddenly, the wooden toy becomes a flesh-and-blood, multicoloured bird, which flies away to the cheers and gasps of the crowd. A basic trick, but always effective. His name used to be Huitziteuctli. He’s hidden his identity under layers of paint, well-weaved charms and years of walking the roads, but he can’t fool one that studied under him, back when he was the Lord Tlacochcalcatl’s head recruiter. Now, he is an outlaw, a runaway; and I’m on a mission from the Lord Tlacochcalcatl to bring him to justice. Huitziteuctli may be past his prime, but he remains a master of the craft, perhaps the greatest that ever lived. How else could he have spent all these years as a faceless nobody, invisible and untroubled, right under our nose? As he wraps up the show and the crowd start to disperse, I disperse with them. I’m wearing a disguise charm, but if anyone could see through it, it would be Huitziteuctli. Still, I make sure to watch as he packs his tools, slings them over his shoulder and limps away, with his feigned old man steps. A master at work, down to the slightest movement. I was the obvious pick for the mission. They knew I would see through his disguise. They knew I would find him. More importantly, they knew I would need to ask. Even now, it takes all my strength not to leap on him and put a knife to his loins, to torture the truth out of him, as he taught me so well over those long nights, with the Tlaxcalteca prisoners. Remember, Huitziteuctli? How that woman pleaded and wept,

her tears her blood, ‘nothing is pain is not

flowing together with and you kept whispering true, nothing is real, her real.’ I can’t forget.

But I rein my desire in. I let him walk away. I let him believe nobody follows. I will need all my skill, every spell, down to the last trick Huitziteuctli taught me, to keep pace with him. We all know what happened to the last person that tried to shadow him. That’s why they sent me, after all. They need justice, punishment, an example. Me, I only need to know why he killed Izhuaton. She was his best student. Sometimes she didn’t even need magic to change. The way she cried and laughed, the way she could make you feel that her emotions were sincere, even when you knew for a fact she was pretending. Was that it, Huitziteuctli? Was she too dangerous to live? Or is it, as the Lord Tlacochcalcatl believes, that she was in fact a traitor on the enemy’s payroll, and you executed her on your own initiative, knowing that it would mean the end of your career? I can’t believe she was a traitor. Did I love her? I don’t know. Perhaps it was an illusion, like everything else in our line of work. Perhaps she tricked me, as easily as she could laugh and cry and make you believe it. Perhaps no real love is possible for a spy. I don’t know what I feel, master Huitziteuctli, and I’ ll settle for believing you are a traitor and a cold-blooded killer, for that is easier for me than the chance that my love for Izhuaton wasn’t real. Then, blackout. Dizziness. Everything goes up in smoke. The street has disappeared; the city’s gone. No passersby, no marketplace bustle. I’m surrounded by darkness. Impenetrable, silent darkness. Is this an illusion too?

floating above the back of his hand. Not an old man but his real age, with some graying hairs, but still a strong and capable master spy. Not a humble street performer, but a man of dignity. My master. ‘You almost caught me’, he says. ‘ it took me a full hundred steps to realise it was you.’ ‘Thank you, practiced.’

master.

I

have

‘So I see. So… the Lord Tlacolcachcatl wants me back.’ ‘He knows you’re innocent’, I say, repeating the lie I was instructed to use. ‘He knows Izhuaton was a traitor in the service of Tlaxcalteca emissaries. He wants me to tell you that.’ He betrays no emotion, but I know he doesn’t believe me. ‘The point is, poor boy… that I am guilty.’ I manage to not tremble with rage. I also manage to not reach for my knife right away. ‘Izhuaton had discovered the real traitors in the network. I was sent to silence her, to murder her. I am guilty.’ I gasp. He drops the illusion. No, not he. ‘Or rather… Huitziteuctli was.’ The master spy becomes a beautiful woman. A woman my age. ‘Turns out, disguising a dead body is easier than a live one.’ It was her all these years. Disguised as a master spy on the run. The greatest that ever lived. ‘I’m sorry they sent you. I loved you, you know. But as Huitziteuctli used to say - pain isn’t real.’ I hear nothing else, as she puts a knife to my loins.

Then he appears, walking towards me. A small orb of light 267

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H E TLAC H I X Q U I S C H O O L includes all magical

methods of divination, prediction, and prophecy known in the New World. Its users are very respected and often gain employment as advisors to chiefs and lords.

Nahual Vision Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony.

Atlan Teittaqui Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability on a small recipient with water or a natural body of water. You may ask the water a single question. It will answer via an image appearing in the water. The question may be about a distant place, a person, or the future of a character or enterprise.

Your soul moves into the Spirit World, allowing you to see and communicate with the spirits. You cannot attack, and if anyone successfully attacks you, you will return to your body, suffering one Injury.

Answers delivered via this medium are not always clear-cut or precise. It falls on you to interpret the answer correctly. Any vision of the future gained from this ability is only a possible future and is subject to change depending on your actions or other factors.

You can maintain this Spell for as long as you want, but every hour after the first costs one Spirit.

Coatl Quiyolitia Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony.

Once, the City of Patecatl went to war. The Lord of the City summoned his diviners, his Three Seers, to predict whether his nation would be victorious. The Seers of Patecatl were three sisters, all equally skilled. The night before the summons, all three had the same dream: the army of Patecatl was soundly defeated, and the battle was lost.

By using this ability, you summon a poisonous snake to face one or more living humans in your line of sight. Then you ask a single question of these humans. If one of them refuses to answer, or answers with a lie, they must succeed at a Charisma check against your Rites. If he fails, the snake attacks him (the snake does nothing, as it is made of smoke, but it reveals the liar).

That morning, the Lord of Patecatl called the first of the Three Sisters, and asked whether Patecatl would win the battle. She told the truth: ‘O Lord, I have had bleak dreams. Our city will be defeated, our Lord humiliated, our lands taken.’ The Lord of Patecatl, outraged at the prediction, had the sister taken away and executed.

If more than one target answers with a lie, the snake chooses the one further from the truth (perhaps leaving the other targets’ lies undiscovered).

Then, he summoned the second sister. She chose to lie: ‘O Lord, I have had a glorious vision. Our city will stand victorious. Our Lord shall return a hero and a mighty conqueror’. Then, the second sister fled the kingdom, fearful of the Lord’s punishment when he discovered her prediction had been a lie. Finally, the Lord summoned the third sister. ‘O Lord’, said she, ‘I’ve had a revealing dream. The coming war entails great danger; but if my Lord takes precautions, he will survive it.’ After the war, the Lord returned, defeated but alive. He rewarded the third sister richly, and made her Head Seer of Patecatl, thankful for her prediction.

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Measuring Tlachixqui Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. During the Ceremony, measure the patient’s body with your hand, a rope, or a stick to gain one advantage towards Medical Actions or Checks on that patient until the end of the Session.

Paini Divination Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires killing a living being or burning a prized possession. If you or your sacrificial victim have any Corruption points, the spell fails. Ask the spirits any question. The spirits must answer as accurately as they can, although your GM may give answers in a cryptic form, particularly if the question was poorly worded. Some spirits might enjoy toying

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with you if your question could have several interpretations, and even their answers could have them. Other spirits might not understand certain forms of speech or take everything literally and therefore might get confused.

Tlapachtla Pouhqui

Temicamatl Divination

Use this ability to ask a single question about the future. It may be any question, as vague or specific as you wish, but it may pertain only to the future. The answer will be as general or as specific as your question; broad questions will get broad answers, such as ‘maybe’. It is up to your GM to determine the accuracy and nature of the answer.

Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Use this ability on yourself or another (willing) person to interpret the target’s last dream correctly. The spell’s target may recall important information from the interpreted dream and gain one advantage on the next Knowledge action or check he performs. This effect lasts for one day or until the advantage is used.

Tlaciuhqui Divination Cost: 0 or 1 Spirit. You cannot use this spell willingly; rather, if you know Tlaciuhqui Divination, the GM must warn you of danger when it approaches. REACTION: The GM must warn you when danger is nearby (in time or space), or when the target of your Knowledge, Medical, or Perception actions or checks has a terrible danger or disgrace awaiting him in the near future. The GM should not tell you exactly what is the danger or how soon it will happen, but you may spend 1one Spirit and a Ceremony to get a cryptic and vague clue (decided by your GM) about the best way to avert the danger or protect yourself against it.

Tlaolli Quitepehua Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Perform this Ceremony before you perform an action or undertake a journey, quest, or enterprise. Throw corn grains on the ground and read their position to find out whether the action is beneficial, very beneficial, harmful, or very harmful. A neutral or ambiguous action registers as simply ‘beneficial’. The result is not conclusive; a harmful action may still be a thrilling and bountiful adventure, while a beneficial action may be boring or go wrong due to bad luck. It is up to your GM to decide whether the action is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ idea, and it is up to you whether or not you heed the warning.

Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Only female characters may use this ability. This requires that you throw some conch shells on the ground.

Sealed Fate Cost: 5 Spirit. Ceremony. You can cast this spell on any creature you can sense. You read the potential futures of your target and attempt to select one. Perform a rites check with difficulty 7 (target’s level). A negative consequence or a failure will give you as much Corruption as the target’s level. The spell will be cast all the same, but the GM will decide whether it provides good luck or bad luck. If the target takes part in the ceremony, you will gain one advantage. If the target doesn’t, you will suffer one disadvantage. If you perform the ceremony using at least one token of the target, such as a lock of hair, a scale, or a nail, you may ignore the disadvantage. Success will allow you to choose between bad luck and good luck for an entire day. You can spend positive consequences to increase the duration to another day, one week, or one month or to increase the effects to blessing or misfortune. ■ Blessing: The character gains the effect of playing a joker in every confrontation or check. Additionally, he gain some advantage towards every check. ■ Good luck: After successfully performing an action, he may ignore one negative consequence. Additionally, he gains an advantage towards every check he performs. ■ Bad luck: After failing an action, he gains one negative consequence. Additionally, he gains one disadvantage towards every check. ■ Misfortune: His opponents gain the effect of playing a joker in every confrontation or check against him. Additionally, he gains one disadvantage towards every check.

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OU C AN US E these Spells only on dead charac-

ters that you have killed yourself. After killing a character, you can perform a Tsantsa Spell on their dead body, making a Ceremony in which you cut their head and shrink it. These heads and the souls inhabiting them become your slaves and cannot disobey you, but their capacities are reduced to what the Spell describes. You can use only one Tsantsa Spell on each head.

‘This head is useless. I never understand what the spirit says. It grants none of the expected powers. Plus, it’s ugly. I think he was a beastman. The trader that gave it to me said as much.’ ‘It won’t work. You didn’t kill the man yourself ’ ‘Crossed my mind.’ ‘May I tell you a story? You heard of the Anija massacre? Strange men clad in metal, spewing fire, wanted to enslave a few of the Anija. The Anija resisted, got butchered for it. Anyway, some moons ago I hunted with a survivor. He told me that one of the invaders, a man with a face full of hair, turned on his people. Tried to save the Anija. Even fought on the Anija’s side. Helped some of them escape.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yeah. Well, later, the Maniti came to aid the Anijas. The Maniti lost the raiders’ trail, but they found this guy, the one that stayed behind to help the Anija. Him, they killed.’ ‘But he wasn’t guilty.’ ‘The Maniti didn’t care. They had to punish someone. They torture the guy, cut his head off, burn the body.’ ‘So you think…’ ‘Tell you what. This is a hunting necklace, blessed by the high witch herself. I’ ll gladly give it to you to take that head from your belt and bury it somewhere.’ ‘Bury it? Why?’ ‘The hunter told me these people, these hairfaced men, like to be buried when they die.’

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Unsleeping Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. You turn the character’s head into an Unsleeping shrunken head. The senses of these heads are still fully operational and they never rest. All they do is scout around themselves (they can move only their eyes and mouths), and they will speak up and warn you when they see something that might interest you (e.g. intruders, someone for whom you are searching); they know this instinctively and magically. You can place the heads anywhere, and they can perform Survival and Perception checks as if they were you (they use your stats) even if you are not there or if you are unaware of what they are sensing. ACTION (Rites): Close your eyes to sense through one of your Unsleeping heads as if you were in its position.

Mouthpiece Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. You turn the character’s head into a Mouthpiece shrunken head. It remains inert until you look it straight in the eye and ask a question. The head will then answer as truthfully as it can, taking into consideration all the memories of the person it used to be (and even some memories that the actual person might have forgotten). The answer will be as complete as possible.

Fulcrum Cost: X+1 Spirit (X is the target’s character’s level). Ceremony. You turn the character’s head into a Fulcrum shrunken head. The head remains inert until you spend an Action to throw it against a hard surface. Then the Fulcrum will break and from it will appear the NPC he was before being killed. That NPC will be a friendly NPC who will follow all of your orders and will know them instinctively and magically. However, it will be very dull, able only to fight or perform other menial physical actions. The invoked Fulcrum will vanish at the end of the Scene. Each Fulcrum has only one use. The total level of the Fulcrums actively invoked cannot be higher than your Rites Focus.

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Necrophagic schooL

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O U C AN US E these Spells only on dead characters

who are fresh, making a Ceremony in which you eat a small part of their flesh raw (usually, a few bites of an inner organ). You can use these only on human characters and you can perform only one Spell on each dead character.

Soul-Eating Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. During the Ceremony, give the character’s flesh to yourself or to another character. Until the sun rises again, the character who ate it will hear the voice of the dead character in his head talking to him, and will be able to talk back to him. The dead person’s voice will behave as if it were alive, but it knows that the character is no longer alive.

Talent-Eating Cost: X Spirit (X is the level of the character you are eating). Ceremony. During the Ceremony, give the character’s flesh to yourself or to another character. The character who eats it will gain a Talent or ability of the character he ate (for free and ignoring any requirements, such as a specific culture or gender). This effect disappears when the sun rises again unless he spends one Spirit. By spending one Spirit after each sunrise, the character can maintain this ability for as long as he can pay. A character can maintain only one ability gained using Talent-eating simultaneously. If the character were to gain another one from this Spell, he’ll lose the ability he previously had.

Body-Eating Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Whoever eats the flesh during the Ceremony gains the following: Your body will change form to look like the character you ate. You will be identical to that character’s appearance before they were wounded and killed, but you will keep your own stats. You can remain in that form until you spend an action to change back.

Onlookers can detect the illusion and use Stealth or Cunning to confront it. If you are not cooperating with the deception – that is, if you are acting in a way that contradicts the nature of the illusory form – they will gain one or more advantages. Bear in mind that the illusion will not give you the character’s demeanor (you must act the intonation, facial expressions, etc).. Therefore, characters who knew the impersonated character gain an advantage. (Evil creatures or spirits taking over bodies are not rare, and most people know that this is a possibility).

Experience-Eating Cost: X Spirit (X is the number of characters who benefit from this Spell). Ceremony. After performing the Ceremony, give the character’s flesh to as many characters as you want. They will benefit from this Spell. (You don’t have to take it yourself if you don’t want to). A character cannot benefit from this Spell more than once per Session. They gain as much experience as the eaten character’s level. However, if the eaten character had any Corruption, the character will also gain one Corruption.

Cleansing-Eating Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. After performing the Ceremony, reduce the Corruption of the character you ate as much as your Rites Focus. If he has none after that, he is immune to magic and therefore cannot be the target of necromancers or other creatures of evil that use the dead.

‘Don’t eat the hair-faces. Don’t partake of their flesh. You shall consume the meat of the fallen enemy, but not of the wizard-people of the East. Their tonah are not your tonah. Their souls come tainted. You eat of the wizard-people, you become cursed, become crazy, give your mind to the Spirit World. Plus, they taste like burnt ash, and there are hairs everywhere’. - Tzotzam, Cuauhocelotl commander

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H I S I S TH E darkest school of the New World, as

it focuses on hurting others. Tlacatecolotl casters are ill-regarded, and most cities forbid their practice. However, they always find customers for their trade, those willing to pay to have an enemy harmed or a nuisance removed. Tlacatecolotl casters are forced to operate clandestinely unless they learn to maintain appearances.

T LAC AT E C O L O Also known as “Owl-men”, the tlacatecolo are sorcerers who delve into the dark arts. If their crown is shaved, their tonalli will escape their bodies. If this happens, they will be unable to use magic and will lose one point of health every day until they die. This can be reversed only by successfully casting tonalli healing on them.

Wings of Dread Cost: 0 spirit. Can be cast only during nighttime. ACTION (Rites): The caster will turn into a dark owl. While in this form: ■ He may fly. ■ He will gain one advantage towards Perception and Stealth. ■ He may not attack or cast any other spells. ■ Attacks

made disadvantages.

against

him

will

suffer

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■ His health will be reduced to 1one. ■ As an action, he may cancel the effects of this spell. ■ If his health drops below 1one, the spell will immediately end. Any damage suffered while in owl form will be transferred to his human form.

Tepan Mizani Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Suffer one unpreventable damage to attack a character up to 10 meters away. The target can counteract as if it were a regular Shooting or Melee attack. (If in Melee range, consider that the attack has Reach 8). If successful, your target will suffer your Rites Focus plus 1one damage. Consider that this attack has 272

piercing and if it deals deterioration, it ignores forged. If the attack is used against inanimate objects, they will rust and crumble as determined by the GM. REACTION: After suffering damage from a Melee attack, apply this spell’s effects on the attacker’s weapon (or on the attacker himself if he was attacking unarmed) without suffering the unpreventable damage.

Death Gaze Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Use this ability to stare intently at a single living creature to deal him one unpreventable damage. This action cannot be confronted and other than staring intently at the target, there will be no sign that it is you who is casting the spell. If you cast this spell against the same target several times in a row, performing no other actions in between, each new time you cast this spell it will deal an additional point of unpreventable damage, up to your Rites Focus. To represent your concentration, during the rest of the Round you will suffer a disadvantage towards any other action you might perform (such as a counteraction against an attack).

‘They are called owl-men because of the eyes. The cursing, wide eyes. A glance from a tlacatecolotl can freeze your blood in its tracks and kill you right there from fright, just like the field mouse is dead long before the screech falls on it. Thus, magic kills you before you see it. As the saying goes: When tecolotl cries, macehual dies’.

Tlamatocani Stealing Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION: Cast this spell on an inanimate object. The next time this object is unattended – that is, when nobody is touching or looking at it – it will disappear and reappear in your possession.

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You and the object must be in the same village or calpolli when it teleports from its location and into your possession; otherwise, the effect fails. Other than that, the item may be at any distance when the ability activates. If the object remains attended or in someone’s contact for a full day, the spell’s effects are dispelled and you must use the ability again.

Paint Curse Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. Use this ability to suffer one unpreventable damage and paint with your blood a sacred glyph on a building. Depending on the glyph you painted, choose from among the following: ■ The spell will take place immediately. ■ The spell will take place in several hours of your

choice.

■ The spell will take place the next time a living person enters the building.

When the spell takes place, you must pay as much Spirit as the number of people inside the building to force them to perform a Rites check against your Rites. Those who fail are cursed; they cannot regain health, and they suffer one instance of Fatigue and one unpreventable damage every sunset.

Curse of Paralysis Cost: 3+X Spirit. Curse. This requires the left hand of a woman who died during childbirth. The dead hand will turn to dust after it is used. ACTION (Rites): Touch the frame of a door to paralyze everyone inside the house for one hour. (X is the number of characters inside the building). They must perform a Discipline check against your Rites. Those who fail will suffer Paralysis until the curse is dispelled. (If it lasts very long, they might suffer Fatigue until they die). A success with a negative consequence creates an instance of Exhaustion.

Muscle Curse Cost: 2 Spirit. Curse. ACTION (Rites): Choose a character within your sight and yell a curse at him. He must perform a Rites check against your Rites. If he fails, he will suffer Fatigue at that instant, and at an additional instant every sunset.

He cannot recover from Fatigue by any means until this curse is dispelled.

Curse of Sickness Cost: 2 Spirit. Curse. INSTANT: Infuse a surface or creature you are touching with a deadly sickness. If cast on a surface, the curse will affect the next person to come in contact with that surface. The target will gain one stack of deadly poison every sunset. Every time he gains a stack of poison, he will take one unpreventable damage for every point by which the stacks exceed his threshold.

Fire Curse Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires you to burn a clump of hair, nail clippings, or another body part from a specific person you have met. You and the target of the spell must be in the same village or calpolli when you use this ability; otherwise, the effect fails. The owner of the body part burns spontaneously, suffering Flames X, where X is your Rites Focus.

Tlahuilpochtli Fire Cost: X Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Target all the characters in a 45-degree cone in front of you and up to 8 meters away, if in Melee range this has Reach 8. The targets can try to counteract as if this were a regular attack. If successful, they suffer Fire and Flames X, where X is your Rites Focus.

Moyohualli Curse Cost: 3 Spirit. Curse. ACTION (Rites): Target a character who can see you, he must perform a Discipline check against your Rites; he gains one advantage if he finds you repulsive, or if he is already in a relationship. If he fails, he becomes enamoured with you, wishing to touch and kiss you for the rest of the Scene. You may not control the target’s will, except to perform sexual or romantic actions. Every round during which you don’t command the target to perform another action, they may repeat the check to resist the effects.

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H E C UR S E S S C H O O L is well-known for its lasting

and damaging effects. Curses can usually be cast from anywhere and without their victims’ knowledge. The only real protection is to make sure the wizard cannot get hold of the necessary ingredients.

Curses require ingredients. Casting a Curse is always a Ceremony.

Aversion Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires a drop of blood from the target, something that belongs to the recipient, and the poison of an itztlicoatl. After the ceremony is performed, the target must perform a hard tolerance check (6(1)) or he will gain the trait dislike (bad) against the spell’s recipient.

Forget Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the tongue of a Chanekeh and the blood of the target. During the Ceremony, say out loud an event from the target’s life. Once the Ceremony is complete, the target will forget those events. The more accurate the recollection of events, the stronger the effect. If some details were blatantly wrong or important details were left out, the target may remember bits and pieces of information, feel as if something was amiss, or even realize that he is cursed, which might make the curse fail and bring a vivid recollection of the events back to his mind.

Undesired Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires urine, semen, or menstrual blood from the target. Choose either of the following effects to affect the target until you die or it is dispelled: ■ He cannot engage sexually with anyone, and when

he tries, he will feel physically sick and will panic, get anxious, or get angry depending on his personality (he can still feel desire, and this will occur only when the sexual encounter approaches). ■ All other characters are affected by the previously

described effect towards the target of this Charm.

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Living Nightmares Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires a drop of blood from the target and both eyes of a person who has died in great agony. The target of this spell must perform a normal rites check (difficulty: 6(1)) or be accursed to revive the last agonized moments of the person used to cast the spell every time he falls asleep. While he will believe the visions to be just vivid nightmares (unless he knew the victim, in which case he might understand the visions for what they really are), every sensation and image will feel real. Every time the target wants to fall asleep, he must succeed at a hard Discipline check (difficulty: 9(1)); if he fails, the visions will wake him up or otherwise prevent him from resting that night. A character with sleep deprivation will suffer Fatigue, and if he suffers many instances of Fatigue, he’ll eventually die.

Oxidise Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires that you irreversibly break a piece of gear during the Ceremony. This Charm will have a level that is 20 times less (rounded down) than the cost of the broken gear. Cast this spell into a bag of dust. You can spend the bag to cover up five objects and cause them as much deterioration as this Charm’s level, ignoring forged. Alternatively, you can throw all the dust over an opponent as an Athletic action up to 5 meters away, which will affect his gear.

Unfound Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the feet of a Cuetlaquetzal monster. A person with this curse will always get lost and will not know the way back.

Unfair Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the saliva of a person who has been a victim of the target. It also requires a wooden doll of the target. The target will suffer a disadvantage towards all Tolerance checks until the doll is destroyed or the curse is dispelled.

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Unloved Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires hair, saliva, urine, or anything similar from the target, as well as the heart of a Nahual. Strangers will dislike the target, who will suffer one disadvantage towards social interactions with them.

Blood Promise Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the blood of two willing individuals. They must clasp their open wounds together during the Ceremony, say out loud their promise to each other, and say a threat of Corruption. If any of them break their promise, they will gain as much Corruption as the threat established. If one finds a workaround or a sneaky interpretation of the promise, the spellcaster must be the one to decide whether they will apply the Corruption or not.

Unfortunate Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the willing participation of a Chanekeh. (Most Chanekeh are happy to help you do this to people, but they will ask you to do something for him beforehand). The target must perform a normal Discipline checks (difficulty: 6(1)) every day or lose a random object.

Unremembered Cost: 5 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the tongue of a Cihuateotl and the saliva of the target. Everyone but the spellcaster will forget everything they know about the target. People who interact with him will forget about the encounter as soon as the conversation is over.

Unsleeper Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires a doll in the shape of the target, sodden in the blood of a Miquitl champion. When the target falls asleep, he will replicate each movement you make with the doll. If the movement is dangerous, he can perform a normal Perception check (difficulty: 6(1)); if he is successful, he’ll wake up and the curse will not affect him until he falls asleep again. If he takes any damage, he’ll automatically wake up.

Ox Ix Chic held the pouch with the red dust close to her chest as she gingerly dragged her feet towards the Four-Mouths Cave. The wind chilled her less than the fist balling up under her ribcage. Each step was slower and shorter than the previous one. If she kept it up, she would stop long before she reached the cave’s mouth. But stopping frightened her even more. She was tempted to turn, to run back home. Then she thought of the witch at the marketplace, and the puppet, the tiny reed puppet, with his scared little eyes, as if it were a living child. A trapped, frightened child. Just like Ox Ix Chic was now. She steeled herself to make the last 20 paces to the dark cave opening. She peered into the pitchblack crack, all her hair standing on end, her mind a dull mist of cold panic. And yet she took another step forward. That one step was perhaps the bravest thing she had ever done in her life. A tiny, scared part of her managed to mutter that the cave may be deserted; perhaps the witch was out gathering herbs or flies or mice. Or children. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Ox Ix Chic noticed a weak, grayish glow a few steps ahead. Deeper into the cave, the lights were on. Ox Ix Chic entered a kitchen, complete with a wooden table and stalls. Dried, misshapen things hung from the ceiling while pottery cups with strange herbs lined the shelves. The light came from hanging censers in reds and yellows, and from the hearth, where a stewpot bubbled with a strange, oily smell. And then, hanging from the wall, Ox Ix Chic spied the reed puppet. It seemed inert, yet… She dared a trembling step towards the puppet. What if the witch was there, what if… Standing on the tips of her feet, she removed the puppet from the wall. Looking frantically over her shoulder, she undid the pouch at her neck and sprinkled the red dust over the puppet to undo the curse. That night, as two living, breathing children fled from her cave into the night, the witch looked on, not chasing but smiling. ‘That girl will be a magnificent Ixtabay when she grows old. I’ ll have to take her next’.

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New world charm schooL

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L S O KN O WN A S the Charm school, it uses spiritu-

ally charged ingredients to grant magical abilities to objects of all kinds. Charms require ingredients. Casting a Charm is always a Ceremony.

Ancestors Blessing Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the blood of a human who has been sacrificed on a sacred day or in a sacred location to your religion (e.g. a pyramid of your religion). Cast this Charm on any weapon or armour.

‘How stupid you are, to face me? The priests should have warned you’. ‘They did warn me, Ah Kabah,’ Ixalan replied, cocking his head and thinking about his aching left thigh. It had been a long walk to the White Gate. ‘I know that you cast a spell to avoid death; you made a Charm to avoid death’. ‘Avoid death? You imbecile,’ hissed Ah Kabah, coiling around Ixalan in slow circles. ‘I am death’. Ixalan cocked his head to the other side. His neck was stiff from all the walking. He mustered his voice and revealed the spear he hid under his feathered cloak. ‘Behold, Ah Kabah; this is Final Death, forged by the ah kinob of Bolon Tam’. As he spoke, Ixalan shook the spear at Ah Kabah’s monstrous face. Ah Kabah lunged at the insolent human; Ixalan met his attack with the blessed spear, hitting the dragon’s neck plates. The spear tip broke and the pole shattered, sending splinters all over as Ixalan reeled back. ‘Now you see ... but it’s too late,’ Ah Kabah hissed hatefully. ‘The spell states that only I can end myself. That is why I am death. No weapon, mortal or blessed, can kill me … only me!’ With a triumphant roar, Ah Kabah loomed over Ixalan. But then he stopped, grunted, and looked down. The wound was bleeding. That was the dragon’s last thought. He writhed and snapped his jaws. His immense body collapsed, crumbling like a scaly earthquake radiating from Ixalan’s standing form. ‘They did warn me,’ Ixalan whispered when the dragon’s death throes had stopped, and the White Gate was still again. ‘That’s why I forged the Final Death using your scales. Now you see … but it’s too late’.

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■ A weapon gains Corruption 1. ■ An armour gains REACTION: After being successfully attacked, the attacker suffers Corruption 1.

Water and Thunder Blessing Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the ashes of a human who has been sacrificed by drowning underwater. Cast this Charm on any weapon or armour. It cannot have the Fire blessing. ■ A weapon gains Radius 2. ■ An armour gains ignore Fire and REACTION: After being affected by Flames, reduce it by one.

Sky and Lightning Blessing Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires part of the skin of a human who has been sacrificed by choking. Cast this Charm on any weapon or armour. ■ A weapon gains stun. ■ An armour gains REACTION: After being successfully attacked, the attacker suffers one unpreventable damage, or two if he was attacked with a steel weapon.

Fire Blessing Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the ashes of a human who has been sacrificed by being burned alive. Cast this Charm on any weapon or armour. It cannot have the water and thunder blessing. ■ A weapon gains Fire for as long as you are wielding it. You can spend an action to stop it. Afterward, you can spend another action to turn it on again. ■ An armour gains REACTION: After being successfully attacked, the attacker gains Flames 1.

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Fearmonger Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the blood of a human who has been sacrificed. Cast this Charm on any weapon. It gains Fear.

Blood Drinker Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the blood of a human who has been sacrificed. Cast this Charm on any weapon. It gains REACTION: After dealing damage to a non-undead, non-construct, non-spirit character, it recovers 1one deterioration. You can spend an action and suffer one unpreventable damage to activate this ability.

Blood to the Blood God Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the blood of a human who has been sacrificed. Cast this Charm on any weapon. It gains ACTION: Spend one Spirit to gain Hemorrhage 1 until the end of the Session or for two hours of in-game time, whichever ends last. The effect will end if you sheathe your weapon or spend an action for this purpose.

Entanglement Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires two objects and the weight of the most expensive one in gold. Cast this Charm on both objects; it will corrupt and destroy the gold. While holding either of the objects, you can spend 1one Spirit to sense where the other object is for the rest of the day. Alternatively, you can choose only one of the two objects to gain this ability.

Magic Detector Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the eye of a Tlahuilpochtli and an ornament. Cast this Charm onto the ornament. Whenever the ornament is 5 metres away from something magical, it will vibrate very subtly. The closer it gets, the stronger the vibration. It is also triggered by magically hidden objects, such as a hidden door.

Magical Protection Charm Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the thumb of an undead mummy.

Cast this Charm onto an ornament. Whoever wears it in contact with their skin gains one Magic Resistance.

Physical Protection Charm Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires a Golem’s heart. Cast this Charm onto an ornament. Whoever wears it gains INSTANT: Destroy this object to reduce the damage you take from a source to half after reducing it by armour.

Defiled Touch Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the eye of an undead mummy. Cast this Charm onto any object. When another character touches it, he will gain one Corruption without realising it. If he carries it for long, he’ll gain an additional Corruption every sunset.

Sense Monster Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the heart of any creature. Cast this Charm onto any object. Whenever the object is 20 metres away from a creature of the same type as the one used to cast this, the object will vibrate very subtly. The closer it gets, the stronger the vibration.

Hearsay Charm Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires an ornament of a face with ears and a mouth. Cast this Charm onto the ornament. The Charm will record everything it hears as if it were a person with normal human hearing. The caster of this Charm can then touch the ornament and spend one Spirit to ask it to repeat out loud what it has heard.

Unchained Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the shackles (of any material) last worn by a slave before becoming free. Creating this Charm does not spend this resource. Cast this Charm on any amulet or ornament. A character wearing it gains one advantage when trying to free himself from any physical unanimated restraints. The character can try to do so even if it would impossible without superhuman strength or special tools. 277

Tlachichina schooL

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L S O KN O WN A S the potion

school, Tlachichina infuses magic into drinks created with powerful and strange ingredients. Potions require ingredients. Crafting a potion is always a Ceremony and requires that you be an alchemist. All potions are spent after one use unless otherwise specified. Things with no legs drink water; things with four legs drink mud. Things with light wings drink dew; things with dark wings drink blood. Only two-legs drink potions; only two-legs mix drinks. They mix their milk with water; they mix their blood with ink. Mortals create their brews, from fire, water, and snow; So mortals brew their spirits, and so their spirits grow.

Invert Feelings Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. Suffer one unpreventable damage. A person who drinks this potion must perform a Discipline check against your Rites. If he fails, he will suffer a permanent supernatural curse, causing them to gain a prejudice against their closest friends or loved ones and to fall in love with the person they hate the most. Your GM must determine who they are, if they are not obvious.

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The effects of the potion may be reversed only by the Mixtlazqui healing or Pahtli healing spells, or by the direct intervention of a divine spirit.

Sleep Potion Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires saliva obtained from a beast or dragon (level 4 or higher) without waking it. Whoever drinks this potion must perform one normal Discipline check (difficulty: 6(1)). If he fails it, he will fall asleep immediately and he won’t be able to wake (regardless of what happens to him) until someone dispels this Charm. A success with a negative consequence will force him to check again in one hour. If the saliva is from a dragon, the target will suffer one disadvantage towards the check to resist this potion. If you use the saliva of multiple creatures, the target will suffer one disadvantage towards the check to resist this potion. While asleep from this, he won’t require food or drink.

Love Potion Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the hair or blood of a primary target, the hair or blood of the secondary target, and the hair or blood of a mammal killed during the act of sex. The primary and secondary targets must at least be acquainted. Whoever drinks this potion must perform one normal Discipline check (difficulty: 6(1)). If he fails it, he will immediately gain the trait “In love (bad)” with the secondary target. A success with a nega-

tive consequence will force him to check again in one hour. If the primary target was already friendly and/or considering the secondary target, it will seem natural to him; therefore, he will fight falling in love only if it would be normal for him to do so (e.g. he is already married, he is a Christian priest, they are from adversarial families, etc). If it comes as a complete surprise (e.g. he barely knows the other person, he has never been attracted to someone of that gender, he dislikes that person) he will still fall in love, but he’ll know that something shady is going on and will constantly check to overcome the trait with one advantage.

Astral Ointment Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires a gram of gold never touched by another human other than you and a handful of dragon fat. It is applied to a single person, but from the same ceremony, if you have access to more gold and dragon fat, you can make up to 10 of these potions. After a person is covered with the potion, he will be immune to changes in temperature around him for the remainder of the day. He cannot burn or freeze. Only the heat of a volcano’s lava and the breath of a Xiuhcoatl dragon are immune to this.

Strengthener Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the eyes of a Golem. Characters suffer one disadvantage when trying to break some-

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thing that this covers. If it is used on a piece of gear that can suffer deterioration, it will halve the deterioration that the gear suffers (after any other modifiers, such as forged) from that moment on until it breaks or is repaired.

Fertility Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the semen of a dragon or king. Cast this Charm onto a potion. Only a male can be affected (if the special ingredient comes from a king, it cannot affect that same king) and he must overcome a normal Athletic check (difficulty: 6(1)). Otherwise, the Charm will fail and he will gain one Corruption. If he is successful, he gains for a week the following ability, which he can use once: If his semen touches the skin of a woman, she will become pregnant of him, regardless of where it touches her, their fertility, and whether she was already pregnant. The baby in her belly will be eaten and replaced by the new one.

Infertility Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires part of a fetus of a dragon or a king’s miscarried child. Whoever drinks this potion will become infertile. If she was pregnant, she will have a miscarriage. The effects last until the person affected by the Charm complies with one wish you ask of her.

Sin-Maker Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires an object, hair, nails, skin, or blood that belonged to someone killed for a specific bad behaviour. Whoever drinks this potion must perform a normal Tolerance check (difficulty: 6(1)). If he fails, he will gain that bad trait (e.g., lust, greed, pride, etc). He can eventually lose that trait if he overcomes it a sufficient number of times as determined by the GM.

Regain Memory Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the presence of an object or a person important to the target from a specific period of his life (baby, childhood, youth, maturity, elder years).

When the target drinks this potion, he will remember with complete accuracy every detail about that period of his life for the remainder of the Scene.

Sense Deprivation Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires a bit of blood of a person born without one or more senses. Whoever drinks this potion will lose the same sense(s).

Night Vision Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the eye of an obsidian jaguar. Whoever drinks this potion gains night vision until sunrise; in the meantime his eyes will look like the eyes of a jaguar.

Pacify the Beasts Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. This requires the fat of an Atotolin. Whoever covers his body with the contents of this potion will not be attacked by non-magical animals (they will not perceive the character as a threat either, and will allow the character to approach them) for a whole day. If he attacks an animal, any animal that sees the character will escape or attack and the Charm will stop working on them.

Stupidity Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the blood of someone who died doing something idiotic. Whoever drinks this potion will suffer one disadvantage towards Charisma, Knowledge, Perception, and Discipline.

Potion of Change Cost: 5 Spirit. Ceremony. Curse. This requires the sacrifice of an animal. Whoever drinks this potion will change into the shape of the same animal. This transmutation works like the Nahualotl spell Skin Change, except the character can’t return to human form unless he is the target of a magical medical action.

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Auianime schooL

A

L S O KN O WN A S the Seduction school, its magic

focuses in manipulating the mind and desire.

Bane of My Enemies Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. For the remainder of the Session, every time a character succeeds in an action against you, if they suffered a bad consequence, they will suffer an additional bad consequence. If they did not suffer consequences, you can spend 1one Spirit to give them one bad consequence. (This will not trigger the additional bad consequence that this spell provides).

A Thousand Faces Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose a character you have seen at any point. When that character sees you, he must perform a Knowledge check against your Rites. If the character knew you well (you are family, old friends, or lovers), he’ll gain one advantage. If he fails, choose one: Either he will not remember you if he knew you, or he will believe he knows you when, in fact, he does not. (Depending on that person’s politeness or desire to appear a certain way, he might be willing to believe whatever story you tell him about how you know each other but you cannot claim to be anything more than acquaintances). The spell lasts until the end of the Scene or until you are no longer in a normal health state. Bear in mind that you are not deleting the person’s memories of you; you are simply making yourself unrecognizable to him.

Words for Your Ears Cost: 1 Spirit. INSTANT: For the remainder of the Scene, when you talk, you will choose which of the present characters can hear you speak. Everyone else will not realise that your lips are moving. Any characters who are eavesdropping will not hear anything.

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Inspire Raw Emotions Cost: 1+X Spirit. ACTION: Choose X number of characters in a 20meter radius. They must perform a Discipline check against your Rites. Any character who fails must immediately act upon one of his bad traits of your choice as if they had failed a Discipline or Tolerance check on it. Alternatively, you can choose any number of those characters who failed and spend an additional Spirit point per character to give them, for the remainder of the Scene, one bad trait of your choice. (It can be a different one for each character). For as long as the Spell is active, the GM must ask the affected characters to perform a check for this bad trait every time it could come up.

Inception Cost: 1 Spirit. This requires you to lie next to a sleeping person and inspire the air he breathes to cast this Spell. You can choose what that character dreams. In a world of magic and gods, people believe their dreams tell their destiny. If you make a character dream of something he will be more likely to act accordingly. Consider that the character will see, in a new and positive light, what you made him dream (even if he was initially against it). This will not make him act against his own reason or do something he has no reason to do, but it will reinforce an idea in him: if he loves or likes a person and you make him dreams of marrying him, he will be more likely to act upon it. If he dislikes his brother and you make him dreams of fighting his brother, he will be more likely to do this, etc.

Charm of Calmness Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): All other characters in a 20-meter radius must perform a Discipline check against your Rites. This will affect any character who fails for the remainder of the Scene. They will think of using violence only as a last resort and after carefully considering all other options. This might force them to think outside their comfort zone or against their orders or personal desires.

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Shadows schooL Shadow Walk Cost: 0 Spirit. ACTION: Act as your shadow instead of your body. Your shadow can act independently from you. (This also means you can choose to not have a shadow by keeping it away from you). As your shadow, you can sense as if you were in its position and you can move around over any surface. (You ignore gravity but you cannot stand up, although you can project your shadow over a wall or ceiling). If at any point your shadow is completely lit, it will vanish and reappear at your feet. Your shadow cannot interact with physical objects and cannot be attacked (but it can be lit up to make it vanish).

Shadow Form Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): You become invisible and shapeless for as long as you are completely untouched by a direct, pure form of light. (Pure forms of light are the sun, fires, and light from Spells; however, a reflection of such forms of light can touch you, such as moonlight or the reflection of a fire on a wall). Shadow form lasts until you spend an action to get out of it or you are no longer in a normal health state. For as long as you are in shadow form, you can hide in open areas with one advantage, or in hidden areas with two advantages. Non-magical attacks cannot damage you, but you cannot attack or interact with physical objects (e.g. you cannot open a door or steal something).

Revert Light Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): For your own senses, only you change light and darkness. This means that in pure darkness you will see as clearly as you would in bright daylight, while in bright daylight you will see as little as you would in pure darkness. The spectrum in between will change accordingly. Revert light lasts until you spend an action to get out of it or you are no longer in a normal health state.

Shadowlight Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION: Choose a source of light up to 20 meters away from you. Its light becomes a shadowlight. A shadowlight is indistinguishable from a regular light, but it is no longer a pure form of light (i.e. it will not reveal you while you are in shadow form). You can spend an action to make its light invisible to others so that only you can see what it lights up.

Wall of Darkness Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Create a wall of absolute darkness (up to 2x2x0.5 meters) at any point up to 20 meters away. The darkness is magical and cannot be dispersed by non-magical light. Therefore, non-magical light does not go through it. You can see through it as if it weren’t there. Additionally, any character who isn’t you and who touches it must stop their movement for that turn but can move normally through it during the next turn. Wall of Darkness lasts until a day has passed. It is lit by a magical light or until you are no longer in a normal health state.

The Darkness Approaches Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose a small area (around 25 square meters) up to 50 meters away from you. Characters who look into that area or who are in it will believe they are seeing things. They will feel something moving, sense something coming towards them from behind, etc. Characters who stay in the area for long will eventually break down and have to perform Fear checks to avoid running away. Characters aware of this Spell can spend one Spirit to get rid of its effect. Characters might spend the Spirit even if they are not actually affected by the Spell but are, instead, paranoid or actually seeing things. The GM should not let them know the truth behind this. (If the character is an NPC, should succeed at a check against the spellcaster’s Rites to figure it out).

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Priesthood scriptureS Absolution May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and by His authority I absolve you of every bond of excommunication and interdict, so far as my power allows and your needs require. Thereupon, I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. You must listen to another Christian character who, willingly and repented, must reveal to you all his sins since his last confession. Then you will assign the character a penance and absolve them. The GM must listen closely to all of this. Based on what she hears, the GM decides by how much she’ll reduce the sinner’s Corruption – which she does in secret. In general, if everything has been done correctly, she should reduce it by as much as the sinner’s Rites Focus value.

After performing a baptism, consider that you have performed a Ritual. If you try to Transcend, you might gain one advantage for each of the following instances: ■ You converted multiple characters. ■ Any of these characters was important to another religion (e.g. a Priest).

If the character being converted was lying about his intentions or was protected by a spell from another religion, the Baptism is a failure without your knowing it. This also means that the Ritual of Conversion automatically fails as if you tried to Transcend and failed with a negative consequence.

Requiem May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony.

If the sinner doesn’t tell all of his sins or if the penance does not seem strong enough as determined by the GM, she can cancel the Corruption reduction partially or completely. Additionally, if the sinner does not complete his penance in a reasonable time, he’ll suffer twice as much Corruption as his Rites Focus.

Use this over the dead body of a Christian to reduce his Corruption as much as your Rites Focus. If after that he does not have any Corruption he is immune to magic, and therefore he cannot be the target of necromancers or other creatures of evil who use the dead and he cannot become a wandering soul.

Baptism

Expel Demon

This is life eternal, that they may know thou art the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, ‘This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?’ – Matthew 12:22-32

Cost: 0 Spirit. Ceremony. You convert a willing character to Christianity. (This cannot be performed with a character who had been Christian or is already a Christian). If you are converting a character incapable of giving consent (e.g. a child), you must have the consent of the character’s next of kin (e.g. the mother). From now on, that character will consider Christianity his religion and will be banished from all others. His Spirit will be reduced to zero, but he will keep his Corruption. He’ll lose any schools of magic that he had that a Christian cannot choose (without recovering the experience points spent on them) and the common Spells from his previous religion. In exchange he’ll gain the Christian common Spells.

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Cost: X Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Target a demon or spirit within your sight and up to 20 metres away from you. He’ll confront you with his Competent Skill. If you are successful, he’ll suffer one point of unpreventable damage for every point of Spirit you spent. (If you spend more points than your Rites Focus, you will also suffer the difference). If you obtain a good consequence, double this damage or give him a disadvantage towards all his actions until the end of the scene. If you suffer a bad consequence, you’ll gain one Corruption.

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Divine hands

God’s Provision

‘For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; no one cares for her.”’ - Jeremiah 30:17

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Target a character in physical contact with you or choose yourself as the target. However, you cannot choose a character who has already been the target of this Miracle during this Scene. The action will be confronted by the character’s wounds, as if it were a Medical action (but performed with your Rites). If successful, remove one Injury from the target or remove as many stacks of one Poison as your Rites Focus.

Eucaristia For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me”. Cost: X*2 Spirit. Ceremony. X willing Christian characters who participate in this Ceremony can use one Pater Noster and one Ave Maria for free before the end of the Scene. It does not stack. You will gain one Corruption for each character who benefited from this and who had Corruption.

Word of God Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. – Genesis 11:1 Cost: 1 Spirit. INSTANT: Use this at any time to speak in a foreign language until the end of the Scene. OR REACTION: After declaring an intimidation action against a Christian, use this ability to gain one advantage.

Cost: X Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Target X willing Christian characters near you. They will gain an advantage towards resisting their bad Traits for the rest of the Session.

‘So, one of us is possessed?’ Brother Pedro grit his teeth. These matters required discretion. And restraint, too, if he had to keep cleansing women as beautiful as Sister Lucia. ‘We don’t know if anyone is possessed. These holy water baths are just an additional precaution.’ ‘Of course, Brother Pedro. Go ahead.’ Sister Lucia stood in front of Brother Pedro, her shape visible through the robe. He hesitated, then steeled himself against desire. He’ d passed harder tests. He began performing the ablutions, carefully washing Lucia’s body and reciting the litanies to draw out any evil presence. He managed to pretend it didn’t turn him on. Then he felt it. A force, a tug, that resisted him, assaulted his mind, made him dizzy. It was her. ‘Brother Pedro? Are you all right?’ ‘It’s nothing wrong, it’s this… it’s…’ Brother Pedro couldn’t answer. He struggled. There was a dark fire between his hands and the sister’s body. It was an evil spirit, a force of corruption. Lucia was the host. Brother Pedro tried to recall the words, the movements, while his mind burned. He tried to reach for the holy basin. He bent over in pain. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t… Then he felt a cold splash. He blinked. Sister Lucia stared at him, holding the empty basin over his head. She hadn’t been the possessed one. She had freed him. Father Carlos knew. He had sent him to wash the nuns to draw his own lust demon out. Sister Lucia did not look tempting any more. She looked holy. Like salvation.

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Patmos scriptureS Ephesus

Pergamum

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work, and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. [...] You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city – where Satan lives. [...] Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose a character you can see and perform a Rites check against his Rites. If he fails, you can learn the following information: ■ What his true religion is. ■ If he has any Corruption (but not how much). ■ How much Spirit he has. ■ If he is affected by any magic and which type. ■ If he truly is who he seems, and not an evil spirit, a shapeshifter, a doppelgänger, or something similar.

Smyrna To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich! [...] Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any Christian character you can see to be the target of this miracle. That character can pay any amount of Spirit to reduce his Corruption by half that much (rounded down). If that character has no more Corruption and does not suffer additional Corruption between being affected by this Spell and dying, it will be as if he had been the target of a successful Requiem spell. 284

Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Create a white stone with a message to a specific person or group of people. The stone will shine when a character speaks true about his intentions to fulfil the mission written on it. Christian characters will usually respect such a thing and are more likely to grant you access to documents, areas, and such. Gain an advantage when interacting about this. Any of the people to whom the message is directed will hear it in their heads as soon as they touch the stone.

Thyatira To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. [...] To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery ’ – just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Cost: 2 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any Christian character who participates in the Ceremony to gain, until the end of the Session, one advantage towards social interactions with characters of other religions unless they succeed at a Rites check

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against your Rites and one Magic resistance against spells from other religions.

Sardis To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing’. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose a Christian character up to 20 metres away. He must perform a Rites check against your Rites. If he fails, he cannot use the gear he is holding until after it is your turn again. Additionally, if you obtained any good consequences, you can spend one in canceling the effects of the gear he carries (such as armour).

Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose a character who can hear you and give him an order that if carried out correctly will further the Christian influence in the world. It must be something that the chosen character can do and that would not take more than one week of his time. The GM should be the final arbiter in determining which orders are allowed and how they can be interpreted. The target must perform a Rites check confronted by your Rites. If he fails, he must do as you ordered or he will suffer as much Corruption as your Rites Focus.

Zordan hoped the sailor wouldn’t notice him, but at the same time he expected to draw his attention. What if he asked how a Venetian had smuggled himself onboard? True, he had a way to buy the man’s silence. The gem was likely as valuable as the entire ship.

This does not represent the fact that you corrupt him but that they give in to hellish powers to contradict a divine order.

For the hundredth time, Zordan cursed his plan to rob that Greek temple. At least he’ d found a ship whose captain asked no questions. Maybe he’ d manage to sell some of the loot en route and reach the New World a wealthy man.

Philadelphia

The sailor looked up. Zordan composed himself and produced the jewel.

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. [...] Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Cost: X*2 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose X Christian character that participates in the Ceremony to gain as much magic resistance against Christian magic as your Rites Focus until the end of the Scene.

Laodicea To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were

‘A trade, my good man’, he offered in his best Castilian. The sailor looked at the jewel. He seemed surprised. Of course, Zordan thought, it’s as large as my fist and it shines so brightly that… Zordan froze in his tracks. The gem did glow. And it spoke. In Greek. There was the sharp bite of steel, and then Zordan lay on the deck, tasting his own blood. Something was under the sailor’s shirt – a cross? No, it was different… like a… Oh no. Of all ships, of all sailors… It had been the jewel. Had to be. It had led Zordan to this ship, to this man. It... As darkness came, Zordan listened. The jewel kept talking. And the sailor talked back.

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Seven seals scriptureS Conquest I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see!’ I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. ( Revelation 6:1-2) Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any Christian character who participates in the Ceremony to be the vessel of the first horse of the Apocalypse, Conquest, until the end of the Scene. The vessel can use any of the following by spending one Spirit after each use. If the vessel gains Corruption from using this, he’ll lose this power and instantly fail a Possessed curse. ■ INSTANT: Succeed in a Discipline check and grant one advantage to allied Christians having to perform one that Round. ■ ACTION (Discipline): Confront an attack with

Discipline. If successful, the attack fails. If the attacker was human, he must escape as if he failed a Fear check. ■ INSTANT: Become the center of attention of every-

one who can see you and gain one advantage towards social interactions for the remainder of the Scene.

War When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come and see!’ Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. (Revelation 6:3-4) Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any Christian character who participates in the Ceremony to be the vessel of the second horse of the Apocalypse, War, until the end of the Scene. The vessel can use any of the following by spending one Spirit after each use. If the vessel gains Corruption from using this, he’ll lose this power and instantly fail a Possessed curse. ■ INSTANT: In your hands appears a magical sword with a Fire Spell.

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■ ACTION (Rites): Choose a human up to 20 metres away. He can confront this action with Rites. If he fails, you take control of that character for his next action as if he were a friendly NPC who would do anything you want. ■ REACTION: After successfully killing a character, draw as many cards as your Rites Focus.

Famine When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’ (Revelation 6:5-6) Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any Christian character who participates in the Ceremony to be the vessel of the third horse of the Apocalypse, Famine, until the end of the Scene. For the remainder of the Scene, anyone following him will see the food and drink he carried decompose within seconds, won’t be able to find anything to drink or eat, and will suffer terrible hunger, making them suffer an instance of Fatigue. The vessel can use any of the following by spending one Spirit after each use. If the vessel gains Corruption from using this, he’ll lose this power and instantly fail a Possessed curse. ■ ACTION (Rites): Choose any character up to 20 metres away. He can confront this action with Rites. If he fails he will suffer Fatigue until the end of the Scene. ■ ACTION: For the remainder of the Scene at the end of each Round, any character up to 10 metres around you will suffer as much unpreventable damage as the Fatigue they have.

Death When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come and see!’ I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. (Revelation 6:7-8)

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Cost: 3 Spirit. Ceremony. Choose any Christian character who participates in the Ceremony to be the vessel of the fourth horse of the Apocalypse, Death, until the end of the Scene. The vessel can use any of the following by spending one Spirit after each use. If the vessel gains Corruption from using this, he’ll lose this power and instantly fail a Possessed curse. ■ REACTION: After successfully killing a human character who had Corruption, cancel all the effects that affected that character and reset its health. It will become a zombie under your command and it will act as if it were a friendly NPC who would do anything you want. He automatically becomes Ready. Spend one Spirit at the beginning of each Round or it will collapse into dust. ■ REACTION: After successfully attacking, additional-

ly deal as much Corruption as your Rites Focus.

■ ACTION: Every enemy in a 10-metre radius suffers Fear.

Martyrium And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11) Cost: X Spirit. Ceremony. X Christian characters who participate in the ceremony gain until the end of the Session REACTION: After someone deals you damage, and because of that damage you are no longer in a normal health state, the attacker suffers as much unpreventable damage as your Rites Focus. You will regain as much health as your Rites Focus. However, any of them who had any Corruption will instantly fail a Possessed curse instead.

Divine vengeance And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of the heavens fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is

shaken of a mighty wind. And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17) Cost: 5 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Every other character in a 50-metre radius must perform a Rites check against your Rites. Otherwise, they will believe in the visions of the Apocalypse you cast around you. It will be completely real to them even if they saw you cast this miracle. They will act as if the sky truly opened and the end of times had begun. The chaos, the guilt, and the fear will be so absolute that all fighting and talking will stop; they will run around, hide, collapse to the ground, or be paralyzed in shock, staring at the sky. Characters affected by this miracle can defend themselves only if attacked; afterward, they will no longer be affected. The miracle lasts until the end of the Scene or until you spend another action to stop it.

Silence And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer [...] and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. Cost: 3 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Every other character in a 20-metre radius must perform a Rites check against your Rites. Otherwise, they will become deaf and mute until the end of the Scene. All beasts in the area are automatically affected. Additionally, non-Christian characters affected by this miracle suffer. FORCED REACTION: After casting one spell, gain one Corruption.

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Old testament scriptureS Samson strength

Joshua’s wish

Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. – Judges 14: 5-6

On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon’. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

Cost: 2 Spirit. REACTION: After declaring an unarmed Melee or Athletic action, gain one advantage. If it is an attack, it deals one additional damage, and it is considered Magical. It stacks.

Moses’s blessing Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer’. – Exodus 15:22-27 Cost: 1 Spirit. Ceremony. Turn wood and dust into food and water enough for a day for as many people as your Rites Skill. OR Perform a normal Rites Check (difficulty: 6(1)) to make as many meals as your Rites Skill value, free of poison, disease, and any other illnesses or magic. If the food was good to begin with, the Check is always successful.

288

Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Until the end of the Scene, an area consisting of a 100-metre radius around you is suddenly lit as if it were under the sunlight. If you move, the area moves with you; this occurs even if the area could not normally be lit (e.g. it is underground). This light is considered sunlight for all purposes. (It will affect certain creatures and spells).

Blind faith Cost: 1 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose yourself or another Christian character within your sight. For the remainder of the Scene, every time that character uses Discipline and Tolerance, he cannot be affected by disadvantages and will ignore bad consequences. Additionally, he can REACTION: After declaring an action, spend one Spirit to ignore injuries while resolving this action.

Lift curse But God said to Balaam, ‘Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed’. – Numbers 22:12 Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Choose a target who has a curse within your sight up to 20 metres away. Perform a Rites check with one disadvantage against the curser’s Rites to dispel the curse. If the curse has a specific way of being dispelled in its description, you’ll suffer one additional disadvantage.

r eligion & m agic

Exodus serpent

Exodus Serpent So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. – Exodus 7:10-12 Cost: 2 Spirit. ACTION (Rites): Invoke a huge serpent that will follow all your commands, and will disappear when killed or at the end of the Scene. The serpent can act in the same round it is invoked right after your turn ends. Friar Bastía and the Tabasco priest stared off in the distance, unblinking. They seemed the only calm people in the clearing. The other tabascos were nervous, if confident; our people stood sweating, scared speechless.

level x

initiative 6

C OMPETENT

6 (X)

MED IOC R E

2 (1)

attack MELEE

Rea c h 3, pi erc i ng, ma gi c a l

health 2*X

2+

thr eshold X

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

1

ABI LI TI ES X: Equal to the caster’s Rites Focus. MAGIC RESISTANCE 1.

The wizard went first; we had that, at least. If his magic failed, they’ d have to let us go, no hard feelings. He spoke some strange incantation. Sure enough, an enormous snake, wide as a tree and long as a bad year, came crashing through the bushes. I swear I could see the venom dripping from its fangs. No way a mortal man could stand that bite. But that was the agreement: Whoever survived the poison would be the greatest wizard, and the loser’s people would submit to him. I could hear some mumbled prayers on our side, forswearing women and wine if the painted shaman fell dead. But of course, the knave didn’t even flinch when the thing bit him. He stood up smiling, with not even a bead of sweat. It was Friar Bastía’s turn. Not one Christian heart dared beat as the old man kneeled before the beast and opened his arms. But instead of biting Friar Bastía, the monster went to the wizard again, this time snatching his body in its jaws, and dragging the poor bastard, kicking and screaming, back into the bushes. We all stood there, dumb as stones, looking at the jungle like idiots, long after the wizard’s frightful cries had faded away. ‘God is merciful’, said Friar Bastía at last. The tabascos scattered to the four winds.

SIZE: SMA LL ‡ TYPE: SPIR IT BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GUES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 0 METER S SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: NONE 289

Enemies & allieS 290

enemies & allies

291

N O N - P L A Y E R C H A R A C T E R S ( N P C S ) are characters controlled by

the GM. They are the key to many stories, and they can be friends, foes, or simply neutral. They can be as simple or as complex as the GM wants: she is in charge of developing their backstories, if they need them. While with many NPCs most interactions will consist of talking or trading, others might perform actions and engage in confrontations. STATISTICS An NPC’s statistics (or Stats) provide information about the NPC, allowing a GM to use it in encounters and almost any situation. The Stats are not meant to be comprehensive, but give you the tools to use the NPCs in most situations as they are. The GM can decide to change part of an NPC’s Stats or come up with new details.

Level An NPC’s level tells you how much of a threat they are. You should use it as a guide to determine an encounter’s difficulty. An encounter from which all the PCs should come out alive safely or with only a few injuries should have the same number of points on both sides. Use the following to calculate the points of an encounter. This is called a fair encounter. In some scenarios, you’ll see “create a +X encounter” or “create a -X encounter”, which is a fair encounter modified by as many points as X. ■ Level 1 characters are worth 1 point. ■ Level 2 characters are worth 2 points. ■ Level 3 characters are worth 4 points. ■ Level 4 characters are worth 8 points. ■ Level 5 characters are worth 16 points. ■ Level 6 characters are worth 32 points.

E.g. If your party consists of three players with characters in level 2 (6 points), they could face a force of six NPCs at level 1; a force of two NPCs at level 1 and two NPCs at level 2; a force of four NPCs at level 1 and one NPC at level 2; or a force of two NPCs at level 1 and one NPC at level 3. If your party is not built around fighting or if one or more of the PCs has no combat capabilities, you could

292

not count them when calculating the encounter’s difficulty, or you could ensure that there are other possible resolutions to the encounter (which will also make the whole Scene more enjoyable for those characters). These resolutions could range from possible diplomatic solutions to using those PCs to distract their opponents or lure them into traps (e.g. a thief who cannot fight can still run back to the trap he just barely dodged while getting into the temple and cause the monster that is chasing him fall into it). The addition or removal of NPCs can adjust the difficulty to the group’s taste. Create different encounters by creating NPC groups in which you mix higherlevel NPCs with low-level NPCs. Varied encounters will force the players to play smart and to seek advantages through role-playing. This is, of course, a very rough guideline; you should plan your encounters based on your story’s needs. We recommend that you allow for different resolution paths other than the classical “team-death-match” resolution; this will also allow you to create unbalanced encounters that require an additional step to be resolved. E.g. Have the players fight an overwhelming force, requiring them to use other means to obtain victory. Perhaps they must lure the strongest opponents into a trap or use the environment as a weapon (e.g. using fire, bringing down walls and ceilings, or any other cool ideas your players come up with!).

Skills NPCs do not have the same Skills that the player characters do. Instead, they have a Competent and a Mediocre Skill. The GM decides which of the two Skills the NPC uses for each action. It is also up to the GM to determine the number of areas they cover. E.g. A warrior might use the Competent Skill for Shooting, Melee, and Athletics while using the

enemies & allies

Mediocre Skill for Charisma and Knowledge. It will all depend on what the GM thinks best fits that specific character – a warrior can be charismatic and a priest can be good at running. NPC Skills are usually presented as “X (Y)”, where X is the Skill’s value and Y is the Focus. In any case, the GM is always free to modify the values of the NPC Skills to serve the story better. However, she should inform the players beforehand to avoid misunderstandings. This does not mean that an NPC will suffer Exhaustion from using his Competent Skill twice in the same Round if it is used for very different things. If the NPC performs an attack and then dodges one, the NPC shouldn’t suffer Exhaustion. However, if the NPC performed the attack and then counteracted with another one, he should suffer Exhaustion.

FO C US Each of the two NPC Skills has its own Focus, which determines the number of cards the NPC can play every time he performs an action.

Abilities MAGI C Certain NPCs might be able to use magic. This is established by an ability that will provide the GM with information about the Spells or Magic Schools that the NPC knows and how much Spirit overall that NPC can spend in that encounter. NPCs are not supposed to spend over their Spirit and gain corruption. However, the GM might do this for named characters who are important to the story she is telling (e.g. a random priest helping a bunch of bandits won’t be able to do this, but Ehecatl, the wizard who is trying to take over the region the PCs are defending, might do so).

ADDI TI ONAL ABI LI TI ES NPCs can belong to an Order, as well as have gear and abilities described outside the NPC’s card (e.g. a soldier might carry a steel sword for which there is a gear card). Even if you can find the rules for it, if it is not part of the NPC’s card, it should be ignored. The only exception to this is the optional abilities you can sometimes find next to an NPC’s entry in the book.

NPCs do not have a hand of cards to play during confrontations. Instead, whenever they can play a card, they play the first card from the top of the deck. This does not trigger any drawing card mechanics (unless specified by an ability).

Information

Attacks

An NPC can be Small, Medium (human-sized), Large, or Monstrous.

NPCs might have one or more attack types. Every time they attack, they will choose one to use.

■ Small: Everything from the size of an insect to the size of a child. The GM can determine that characters targeting a small character with an attack suffer a number of disadvantages depending on how small it actually is (e.g. a mastiff probably won’t benefit from this, but something that could fit in your fist might give you a disadvantage or two).

Health Most NPCs who are not important to the story can be considered dead (or at least out of action) once they are Bleeding Out or Traumatised. NPCs can suffer injuries just like any PC, but those injuries are not dealt to a particular body part. Instead, they are all considered ‘generic injuries’. Each generic injury gives the NPC one disadvantage towards all actions and checks. NPCs can have Armour and magic resistance, just like any other character.

SI ZE

■ Normal: The size of most humanoid characters. ■ Large: Anything between normal size and the size of a very large bull or horse. The GM can determine that large characters suffer disadvantages towards Stealth actions (if you are playing with miniatures, its base should occupy between two and four humanoidsized bases). ■ Colossal: Colossal characters are creatures from elephants to dragons. They are so large that they have their own unique rules.

293

T Y PE An NPC’s type tells us about their nature. The type has no game effect other than determining special interactions with certain Spells or abilities (e.g. an exorcism Spell will say it can target only a character of the demon type). However, type can give us important information about the NPC’s origins. E.g. A ghost type character usually appears as the consequence of a curse or some evil act that took place in a specific place. Finding out about this character might give the players a way of getting rid of the character other than by fighting it, or at least give the players clues about things that will affect the character, such as angering it by mocking how it died. ■ Humanoids ■ Dragons ■ Beasts ■ Constructs ■ Elementals ■ Spirits ■ Divines ■ Fey ■ Demons ■ Giants

■ Cunning: They will try to avoid fighting while working their way to an upper hand position. They will do whatever might benefit them more. ■ Chaotic: They will behave randomly, moving from one behaviour to another to better amuse the GM.

MOVEMENT The movement rules explained in the Characters section of the book apply to most humanoid characters unless otherwise specified in their Stats. However, many monsters are smaller or larger and move at different speeds than humanoids do. Additionally, certain creatures might be able to swim, fly, or even move while buried in sand or mud.

SENSES As the default, every creature has the same senses that a regular human does (how sharp those senses are is determined mostly by the creature’s Skills when searching and such.) However, certain creatures have special senses or lack others (e.g. blindness, deafness, etc). THERMAL VISION A character with thermal vision can see the heat that comes out of living beings, even in total darkness. Therefore, such a character won’t suffer disadvantages from being in the dark.

■ Monstrosities

RESONANCE VISION

■ Undead

A character with resonance vision can sense and detect anything moving in the area while in contact with the same ground or substance (such as being in the same cave or the same lake), even without having a line of sight.

B EH AVI O UR The NPC’s behaviour is a guideline to his temperament and, when in doubt, a clear indication of how the NPC should react. Of course, the behaviour you’ll find in the NPC’s Stat is simply the default version, there to help you generate stories. You can choose to ignore it or change it to anything you want. Human NPCs do not have a behaviour type, as they are considered too variable for this to be of any help. When introducing a human NPC into the story, you could choose one behaviour for him (it can be useful because a PC might want to perform a check to figure it out so that they know the best way to approach the NPC), or even come up with a complete backstory of complex behaviour and intentions. ■ Aggressive: When they feel threatened, they will

default to attack.

■ Cautious: When they feel threatened, they will de-

fault to escape or close up. 294

DARK VISION A character with dark vision can see in the dark as well as a human can see in the light. MAGIC VISION A character with magic vision ignores line of sight, barriers, or obstacles of any kind to see anything in a 20-metre radius. UNDERWATER BREATHING (X) A character with underwater breathing can breathe underwater for as many minutes as specified. NON-BREATHING A non-breathing character does not have to breathe.

enemies & allies

R E S O UR C E S Certain NPCs can be harvested for resources (read more about this in the Crafting Gear section on page 219). Human NPCs might drop some gear. This will incur two to five deterioration points that cannot be repaired, as determined by the GM.

Deterioration NPCs can suffer Deterioration, which is applied in a general sense, never to specific pieces of gear they might carry.

Colossal NPCs Certain unique and very powerful NPCs are Colossal, which requires a set of unique rules. Colossal NPCs are so large that what they do does not fit within the usual rules of NPCs. Colossal NPCs have several body parts (e.g. head, body, and wings) which can be alive or dead independently. Therefore, Colossal NPCs are, in a way, several NPCs in one. Each body part can act independently as if it were its own unique NPC, with the restrictions that it cannot move apart and that certain things affecting one health bar might affect them all (e.g. for most Colossal creatures, when their head dies, they die completely). Each body part has its own Stats, attacks, turns, abilities, etc. It will suffer injuries and exhaustion separately, and it will become Spent separately. However, certain effects (e.g. venoms, curses, etc.) as determined by the GM will affect the Colossal NPC as one. Each Colossal NPC will specify which unique rules apply to each of its body parts.

Friendly NPCs Not all NPCs are enemies. Most will be neutral, but a few might be friendly or even allies. Some NPCs might act as friendly NPCs even though they are not, because they are pretending, they are forced to do so, or for other reasons. Regardless of the reason, when the GM declares that a friendly NPC has joined the group, she can give control of that NPC to any of the players (or to the team as a whole). The GM can retake control of an NPC at any time for any reason (e.g. the players are not playing the NPC correctly, the players are abusing their power, the NPC has different ideas about what should happen, etc.). While having an NPC under his control, a PC will control that NPC exactly as the GM controls her NPCs. The

friendly NPC will play his cards from the top of the deck.

Servant A servant is a special type of friendly NPC that certain orders can obtain through a Talent. There are two types of servants. When a character obtains one, he must choose his type: either Bodyguard or Caretaker. Additionally, they might be level one to three. A servant has no gear of his own; the owner must provide it. If a servant is lost, the player does not lose the Talent. A player with a servant Talent but no servant can acquire a new servant in any reasonably large community. A servant costs 250 gold per level. In principle, a servant is completely loyal to his owner and will follow any of the owner’s commands. However, of course, anything the servant does will fall back on you. Depending on the type of game you are playing, you can develop more or less the servant’s personality. This might change the dynamic with the servant’s owner, as the servant could grow more independent or more dependent. Like any other NPC, the servant will be played by the GM. It is recommended that, in terms of the servant’s backstory, they be given a strong tie to the owner (perhaps the servant has seen the owner grow up under the servant’s watch, or was friends with the owner’s parents). Otherwise, it will be harder to justify the servant’s loyalty. In some campaigns, servants develop strong and fleshed-out personalities; they’ll participate in the story proactively and at some point be considered part of the group. Sometimes when a player loses their character, they might return to the campaign by playing the character of a servant instead of introducing a new character out of nowhere.

By default, servants are slaves. Slavery was common in the New World and, sadly, many people got used to it. Therefore, a slave will not necessarily seek their freedom and might be content with having a “fair” life within their terrible station. However, if the group does not feel comfortable playing characters who own slaves, you could consider a servant to be hired help, or you could free the servant and then hire him. If you do, you will need to pay the servant as if he were a peasant who worked for you. 295

European C

OLON I S TS FR O M T H E so-called ‘Old World’ are,

for the most part, rowdy mercenaries or ambitious hidalgos out to carve their own piece of stolen land. They enforce their control of conquered areas through strength of arms, intimidation, forced labour and religious indoctrination. European soldiers are brave, proud and devout, ready to die for their country but hoping to survive and enjoy

the plunder of conquered lands. They tend to be singleminded, passionate and hot-tempered, but their military tactics make up for what they lack in numbers. Priests, while also motivated by power and material ambition, have a different priority - to convert the natives to the Christian faith. By creating a continent of baptised souls, the Catholic Crown seeks to establish itself as a world power, and it knows that the people’s souls are the quickest way to global supremacy. Finally, politicians and landowners, the official masters of the conquered regions, tend to be greedy, wary and ambitious, mistreating natives as a rule and striving to own more slaves than the settler next door, so as to have more power and influence as European control spreads across the continent. In battle, European settlers employ metal armour and fearsome mounts, from warhorses to dragons; and they all know at least some basic miracles of Christian magic. The most powerful priests and generals command large armies, and may summon battle dragons or perform impressive miracles to terrify their enemies. Most soldiers use metal breastplates and helmets as standard issue, with metal weapons such as swords and pikes. As European troops are paid from the landowners’ pockets, most soldiers own and care for their own weapons. As a special complement, some of them may even carry one of their fearsome firearms, such as an arquebus or pistol. Spanish steel weapons are the best in the world, and it shows in combat. Some Europeans use native mercenaries as shock troops, mostly from allied tribes against a common enemy, but also from their enslaved workforce. These local troops have the statistics and weapons shown in the Native Characters section. Only the dragon rider nuns stands above the concerns of greed and political ambition. If their faith requires them to do battle in a foreign continent, there they shall fly; and their dragons, equally zealous, shall bear them. Dragon riders are the most honest of European missionaries, but also the most ruthless. They have no concern with land, power or conquest - only with planting the standard of Christianity wherever their dragons fly, and burning all opposition.

296

enemies & allies

Conquistador pikeman

Conquistador soldier LEVEL 2

I N I T I A TIVE 5

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 4

skills

skills C O M PE TE N T

6 (2 )

C OMPETENT

6 (2)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks M E LE E R e a c h 3

3+

M E LE E R e a c h 3 , p i erc i n g

2+

R AN G E D

4-

S e c o n d ar y w eap on , p ierc ing , c on c ussive, reach 9

health 6

thr eshold 2

S OFT AR M O UR

0

H AR D AR M OU R

2

abilities SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction). SHIELDWALL: He does not become Spent after using the defensive stance action. REACTION: After an adjacent member of his Formation is the target of an attack, he can benefit from the Protection of this shield. This effect stacks with any Protection he may gain from his own shield. It stacks.”

MELEE Rea c h 8

health 5

2

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

3

abilities PIKE: REACTION: If you are in a Formation, gain one advantage when using this weapon. Additionally, you can attack over up to two allies. If your opponent cannot reach you back over your ally because he does not have this or a similar ability, he cannot counter with an attack of his own. FORCED REACTION: After an opponent successfully dodges one of your attacks or gains a positive consequence and spends it to do this, he can move in, if he does so, until either of you move apart, your pike has Reach 0 against that character. Additionally, as determined by the GM there will be many places in which it won’t fit and won’t be possible to use it. Most indoors locations fit this possibility. RANK SOLDIER: Gains one advantage towards Discipline while in a Formation.

PISTOL: This weapon’s range is only 20 metres, but it can be shoot in Melee range, gaining one advantage (this allows you to counteract Melee attacks with Shooting). He carries one and it would take him two actions to reload it.

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S: ONE EU RO PE A N L A N G U A G E M O V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S OUR C E : 1 x C O N Q U I S T A DO R’ S S W O R D

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x C ONQUISTA D OR ’ S A RMO UR 297

Conquistador arquebusier LE V E L 2

Hidalgo troop leader

I N I T I A T IVE 4

skills

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 6

skills

CO M PE TE N T

5 (2 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

ME D I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

ME LE E R e a c h 3

3+

RA N G E D P ie rc in g , c o n cu s s i ve

health 4

6

thr eshold 1

MELEE Rea c h 4

3+

MELEE Rea c h 3, pi erc i ng

3+

R A NGED

4-

S econdary weapon, pi erci ng, concus s i ve, reach 9

health 6

thr eshold 2

SOFT AR M O UR

2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HAR D AR M OUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

3

abilities

abilities

ARQUEBUS: When this weapon is used it makes a loud noise which can be heard from far away. Additionally, anyone targeted by it who had never been heard a weapon with Explosive sound before suffers Fear. FORCED REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends two actions reloading it.

FOLLOW MY LEAD: REACTION: After finishing your turn, the other non-Spent members of your Formation gain your Initiative until the end of the Round. PISTOL: This weapon’s range is only 20 metres, but it can be shoot in Melee range, gaining one advantage (this allows you to counteract Melee attacks with Shooting). He carries one and it would take him two actions to reload it. GET HIM!: REACTION: After declaring your action, chose a character. Any member of your formation that acts against this character during the current Round gains one advantage. CONTAGIOUS VALOUR: REACTION: After you are successful at a Discipline check, all the other members of your Formation affected by the same trigger are also automatically successful.

S I ZE : N O RM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : O NE E U RO PE A N L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S OUR C E : 1 x S O L D I E R’ S A RQ U E BU S 298

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x SOLD IER ’ S PISTOL

enemies & allies

Christian priest

Hidalgo duelist LE V E L 3

I N I T I ATIVE 7

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 2

skills

skills C OM PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

M E D I OC R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks M E L E E R e a c h 4 , p i erc i n g

2+

R AN G E D

2+

R each 10, secondary weapon, piercing, concussive

health 5

thr eshold 2

S O FT AR M O UR

1

H AR D AR M O U R

2

abilities DAGGER: REACTION: After dealing Melee damage, deal another instance of 2 damage. PISTOLS: This weapon’s range is only 20 metres, but it can be shoot in Melee range, gaining one advantage (this allows you to counteract Melee attacks with Shooting). He carries two and it would take him two actions to reload one.

MELEE Rea c h 0

health 3

1

thr eshold 1

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities MAGIC RESISTANCE 1 SPELLCASTER 7: It knows the Priesthood and Patmos Scriptures of magic and has 7 Spirit. PRIEST: Gains one advantage towards convincing a Christian character to do something in the name of God.

DUELIST INSTINCT: INSTANT: During a Melee confrontation force your opponent to play his next card or pass, even if he has a higher action value. Limited to once per confrontation. FIRST BLOOD: REACTION: After damaging a character for the first time during a Scene, if he was not part of a Formation, he suffers Fear.

S I ZE : N O RM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR: C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE E U RO PE A N L A N G U A G E M O V E ME N T : 1 2 M E T RE S SPE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S OU RC E : 1 x D U E L I N G S W O RD

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

299

Preacher

Christian monk LEV E L 3

I N I T I A T I VE 2

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 2

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

6 (2)

MED I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 4

health 4

1

thr eshold 2

MELEE Rea c h 0

health 3

1

thr eshold 1

SO FT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HAR D AR M O UR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

SPELLCASTER 5: It knows the Priesthood and Old Testament Scriptures of magic and has 5 Spirit.

SPELLCASTER 5: It knows the Priesthood Scriptures of magic and has 5 Spirit.

MONK: FORCED REACTION: After killing him, perform a normal Rites check (difficulty: 6(1)), if you fail, gain one Corruption.

POWER OF CONVERSION: Gains one advantage when he Transcends after performing a Baptism. Additionally, reduce the cost of Word of God to 0 Spirit when used to speak a foreign languages once per Scene.

S I ZE : N ORMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : C A U T I O U S ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE E U RO PE A N L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

300

enemies & allies

Inquisition warrior

Inquisition torturer LEVEL 2

I N I T I A TIVE 3

LEVEL 3

INIT IAT IV E 5

skills

skills C O M PE TE N T

6 (2 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks M E LE E R e a c h 3 , c o n cu s s i ve

health 5

3

thr eshold 1

S OFT AR M O UR

2

H AR D AR M OU R

0

abilities MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

MELEE Rea c h 4

3+

MELEE Rea c h 3, pi erc i ng

3+

health 7

thr eshold 3

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

3

SPELLCASTER 6: It knows the Patmos and Seven Seals Scriptures of magic and has 6 Spirit.

abilities

TORTURER: Gains one advantage to obtain information through torture.

SPELLCASTER 6: It knows the Old Testament and Seven Seals Scriptures of magic and has 6 Spirit.

MAGIC RESISTANCE 2

WARRIOR OF GOD: Reduce the cost of Samsom’s Strength to 1 Spirit.

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S: ONE E U RO PE A N L A N G U A G E MO V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

301

Spanish sage

Dragon rider nun LEV E L 3

I N I T I A T I VE 5

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 1

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

6 (3 )

C OMPETENT

6 (2)

MED I O C R E

5 (2 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 3 , p i erc i n g

3+

ME L E E R e a c h 6

health 6

3

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

1

HAR D AR M O UR

3

abilities DRAGON RIDER: It rides a European dragon.

MELEE Rea c h 0

health 3

1

thr eshold 1

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities KNOWLEDGABLE: Gains one advantage towards Knowledge and towards Charisma when it involves convincing about something related to an area of knowledge such as science, religion, etc. SPELLCASTER 4: It knows one Spell from his religion and has 4 Spirit. CRAFTER: He can craft any object from his Contienent from the common gear list for their regular cost if he has easy access to Resources, or for higher prices if he has a limited access to Resources.

S I ZE : N ORMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE E URO PE A N L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

302

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES : O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

enemies & allies

Spanish noble LEVEL 3

Crossbowman

I N I T I A TIVE 1

skills

LEVEL 1

INIT IAT IV E 3

skills

C O M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

6 (1)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 5

3+

MELEE Rea c h 2, fa st dra w

2

M E LE E R e a c h 4 , p i erc i n g

3+

R A NGED P i erc i ng

4

R AN G E D

S ec o n da ry we a pon, pie rcin g, con cu ssive , re a ch 1 0

health 4

2

thr eshold 1

health 4

thr eshold 1

S OFT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

2

H AR D AR M OU R

2

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

PISTOLS: This weapon’s range is only 20 metres, but it can be shoot in Melee range, gaining one advantage (this allows you to counteract Melee attacks with Shooting). He carries two and it would take him two actions to reload one.

CROSSBOW: This weapon’s range is 100 metres, but it suffers a disadvantage after the first 50 meters. REACTION: After it is shot, it cannot be used again until a character spends an action reloading it.

ON ME: REACTION: After being the target of an action, choose another member of your Formation who can reach the triggering character, he can confront the action (in your stead or in addition to you). COURT INTRIGUES: Gains one advantage towards Perception and Charisma MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR: C A U T I O U S ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE E U RO PE A N L A N G U A G E M O V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O URC E : 1 x D U E L I S T ’ S P I S T O L

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E EUR OPEA N LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x SOLD IER ’ S C R OSSBO W 303

New worlD T

H E N E W WORL D is home to thousands of differ-

ent cultures, customs, languages and religions, but their peoples wage war and practice their faith in very similar ways. Native soldiers and warriors favour maces, shields and spears. Some, like the Tzintzuntzani and Qusqu, use metal weapons, or wear metal-reinforced armour

pieces, but most native peoples’ weapons are made of stone or wood. Armour is cotton padding, with leather or wooden shields. Elite combat units wear luxurious wooden helmets shaped as animal heads. Most ranged units employ bows, arrows, slings and javelins, with elite soldiers using atlatl dart-slingers a mix of dart and slingshot, which most Native peoples employ in their armies. It’s common for native soldiers to possess magic weapons, made of enchanted materials such as spirit jade or blessed stones. Some tribes, like the Hnanhu people of the Central highlands, are known for their superb copper-smithing, but nothing in the continent can match the spirit-forged weapons of the Tzintzuntzani Empire. Native forces complement their lack of guns or metal armour with a much wider variety of combat spellcasters, from the nahual soulhunters of the Northern Deserts to the storm shamans of the Eastern Coasts, from to the blood-drinkers of Yokot’an cities to the Sun Virgins of the Four Regions. By giving blood to the spirits, native spellcasters can invoke a dizzying variety of effects, from enhancing their strength to bending the weather. The mightiest of these priests can summon dragons to battle, except that native dragons live in the Spirit World, and only aid mortals in exchange for ritual sacrifice. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee they will fight on the side of mortals when they arrive. Native armies have a wide array of specialist forces, which have mastered the art of combining magic and combat. Such forces include cuauhocelotl elites - the Mexica ‘Eagle’ and ‘Jaguar’ knights; Nahua and Chichimieca corpse-eaters; the fearsome beast lords of the Ch’ol jungles; the dedicated temple guards of the Tutunacu and Bini’zá; and the legendary cuahchiqueh twin-warriors of the Tenochca. Each of these specialist units has magical disciplines that complements their military ability, with colourful and devastating results. Native nobles and merchants maintain vast contact networks through the trade routes of the Anahuac and the Mayaab, and have access to far more information than the average people, including the presence of European Invaders in the Eastern Islands.

304

enemies & allies

Caretaker

Bodyguard LEVEL X

I N I T I A T I VE 4 + X

LEVEL X

INITIAT IV E 2+X

skills

skills C O M PE TE N T

6 (X )

C OMPETENT

7 (X)

MEDIOCRE

2 (X )

MED IOC R E

4 (X)

attacks

attacks M E LE E R e a c h 0

health x*3

1

thr eshold x

MELEE Rea c h 2, c o nc ussi v e, fea r, ma gi c a l

health x*2

3

thr eshold 1

S OFT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

0

H AR D AR M OU R

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

X: X is the character’s level.

X: X is the character’s level.

BODYGUARD: INSTANT: If he is aware of an action against their owner and they are up to 5 metres away, he can choose to become the target instead.

CARETAKER: His owner can ignore one instance of Fatigue per Session (e.g. the caretaker brought along enough food for his master, carried part of his gear, etc.).

GEAR: The character will have the gear you give to him.

His owner gains one advantage towards Profession while the Caretaker is around to advise him.

SKILLS: He is Mediocre at all non-physical Skills. Additionally, if he is Competent with Melee weapons he’ll be Mediocre with Shooting weapons or viceversa.

Additionally, every day, his owner can choose to either recover all the deterioration of an item or two deterioration of each of his items. GEAR: The character will have the gear you give to him. He cannot carry hard armour nor weapons with reach 2 or more. SKILLS: He is Mediocre at all physical Skills.

S I ZE : N O RM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : - ‡ L A N G U A G E S : S A ME A S O W NER N E W W O RL D MO V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E RE S O U RC E : N O N E

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : - ‡ LA NGUA GES: SA ME AS O WN ER PLUS TW O MOR E OF THE OW NER ’ S CHO ICE NEW W OR LD MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: NONE 305

Peasant militia LEV E L 1

Warrior

I N I T I A T I VE 2

skills

LEVEL 1

INITIAT IV E 5

skills

CO M PE TE N T

6 (1 )

C OMPETENT

6 (1)

ME D I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

ME L E E R e a c h 2 , co n cu s s i ve

3

MELEE Rea c h 4, c o nc ussi v e

4

RA N G E D ( S L I N G) Co n c u s s i ve

2

R A NGED (A TLA TL) P i erc i ng, 2 a mmo

2

health 6

thr eshold 2

health 6

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

1

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HAR D AR M O UR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

SHIELD 2: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 2 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 2 points, he cancels up to 2 of that damage. Limited to 2 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction).

ATLATL: Against target farther than 20 meters, this weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage and loses piercing. REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, he performs a shooting action with this weapon and then resumes his movement.

HEAVY SHOT (RANGED ATTACKS): When attacking a target up to 20 metres away, deal one additional damage. RANK SOLDIER: Gains one advantage towards Discipline while in a Formation. SHIELDWALL: He does not become Spent after using the defensive stance action. REACTION: After an adjacent member of his Formation is the target of an attack, he can benefit from the Protection of this shield. This effect stacks with any Protection he may gain from his own shield. It stacks.

S I ZE : N ORM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S OU RC E : 1 x MA C U A H U I T L 306

OBSIDIAN EDGES II: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one. CHARGE: REACTION: After performing a running action, if an enemy is within Melee range, it can automatically perform an attack against him, if successful, it will deal one additional damage. Having already performed an action does not cause Exhaustion for this additional action.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x A TLA TL OR LA R GE MA C UAH UIT L

enemies & allies

Archer

Spearman LEVEL 1

I N I T I A TIVE 4

LEVEL 1

INIT IAT IV E 4

skills

skills C O M PE TE N T

6 (1 )

C OMPETENT

6 (1)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks M E LE E R e a c h 6

health 5

2

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

2

H AR D AR M OUR

0

abilities SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction).

MELEE Rea c h 1, fa st dra w

2

R A NGED

3

health 4

thr eshold 1

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

RANK SOLDIER: Gains one advantage towards Discipline while in a Formation. SHIELDWALL: He does not become Spent after using the defensive stance action. REACTION: After an adjacent member of his Formation is the target of an attack, he can benefit from the protection of this shield. This effect stacks with any Protection he may gain from his own shield. It stacks.”

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S: ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M O V E M E N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O U RC E : 1 x S T O N E S PE A R

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x HUNTING BOW 307

Scout

Atlatl thrower LEV E L 1

I N I T I A T IVE 4

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 6

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

6 (1 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

ME D I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks ME LE E R e a c h 2 , c o n cu s s i ve

3

MELEE Rea c h 2, c o nc ussi v e

3

RA N G E D ( ATL AT L ) Pi er ci n g

2

R A NGED (SC OUT’ S BOW )

3

R A NGED (A TLA TL) P i erc i ng

2

health 4

thr eshold 1

health 5

thr eshold 1

SO FT AR M OUR

1

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HAR D AR M O UR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

SHIELD 2: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against an attack that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 2 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 2 points, he cancels up to 2 of that damage. Limited to 2 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction).

SILENT SHOT (SCOUT’S BOW): Shooting with this weapon does not reveal your position. Characters trying to detect you because of you using it suffer one disadvantage.

ATLATL: Against target farther than 20 meters, this weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage and loses piercing. REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, he performs a shooting action with this weapon and then resumes his movement.

S I ZE : N ORMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR : C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M O V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O U RC E : 1 x A T L A T L 308

STEALTHY: Gains one advantage towards Stealth and Perception. FAST SHOOTING (ATLATL): Your first action using this per Round does not make you Spent. Against target farther than 20 meters, this weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage and loses piercing. REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, he performs a shooting action with this weapon and then resumes his movement.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x SC OUT’ S BOW OR FA ST AT L AT L

enemies & allies

Shaman LEVEL 3

Warrior officer I N I T I A TIVE 3

skills

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 4

skills

C O M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

6 (2)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 6

health 3

2

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

0

H AR D AR M OUR

0

abilities MAGIC RESISTANCE 1 SPELLCASTER 9: It knows the Tlachichina, Nahualotl, Tonalli, Titici, and Necrophagic schools of magic and has 9 Spirit. SHAMAN: Gains one advantage towards Stealth, Perception, Athletic, and Discipline while he is in a natural environment.

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR: C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : TW O N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E S M O V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

MELEE Rea c h 4, c o nc ussi v e, fea r, ma gi c a l

4

R A NGED (A TLA TL) P i erc i ng, 3 a mmo

3

health 5

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

1

abilities SHIELD 2: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 2 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 2 points, he cancels up to 2 of that damage. Limited to 2 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction).

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: T WO NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GES MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

309

Jaguar warrior

Beast lord LEV E L 3

I N I T I A T I VE 5

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 8

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

ME D I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 6

health 5

2

thr eshold 2

MELEE Rea c h 3, c o nc ussi v e, fea r

health 7

3

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

1

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HAR D AR M O UR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities THE JAGUAR’S CLAW: REACTION: When he uses melee as the triggering character, he gains one advantage. VITALITY: He ignores the first instance of Exhaustion he suffer every Round. AN EYE FOR WEAKNESS: REACTION: After declaring an attack against an Injured human character, he gains one advantage. SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction). OBSIDIAN EDGES II: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one.

S I ZE : N ORM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

310

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 5 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x NOBLE MA C UA HUITL

enemies & allies

Eagle warrior LEVEL 3

Shapeshifter

I N I T I A TIVE 9

skills

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 5

skills

C O M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 6

2

R AN G E D ( ATLA T L ) Pi er ci n g , 3 a mmo

3

health 5

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

2

H AR D AR M OUR

0

abilities AERIAL DANCER: REACTION: After he wins a Melee confrontation, he gains an additional positive consequence. This positive consequence cannot deal additional damage or ignore armour. Cannot be used in a formation.

MELEE Rea c h 6

health 5

2

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities MAGIC RESISTANCE 1 SPELLCASTER 9: It knows the Nahualotl, Tonalli, and Necrophagic schools of magic and has 9 Spirit. SHAPESHIFTER: Nahualotl Spells cost him one less Spirit.

DEATH FROM ABOVE: Gains one advantage towards Shooting actions if his target is in a lower position than him. FLYER: It can fly. While flying, it can perform one free movement action that won’t make it Spent, and it can perform it even if it was Spent. ATLATL: Against target farther than 20 meters, this weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage and loses piercing. REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, he performs a shooting action with this weapon and then resumes his movement.

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR: C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N EW W O RL D L A N G U A G E M O V E ME N T : 1 5 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O URC E : 1 x S PE A R O R A T L A T L

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: T WO NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GES MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

311

Temple warrior LEV E L 2

Temple champion

I N I T I A T I VE 4

skills

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 5

skills

CO M PE TE N T

6 (2 )

C OMPETENT

6 (2)

ME D I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 3 , co n cu s s i ve

health 8

attacks 3

thr eshold 3

MELEE Rea c h 6

health 8

2

thr eshold 3

SO FT AR M O UR

2

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HAR D AR M O UR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

1

abilities

abilities

SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (counting actions and reactions).

SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction).

UNBREAKABLE DEFENSE: When he uses the defensive stance action, he doesn’t suffer exhaustion and he may still benefit from positive consequences. MAGIC CANALIZER: REACTION: After a Spell is declared up to 10 metres away from him and within his sight, he can spend up to 2 Spirit to either increase or decrease the target Spell’s cost by that amount (to a minimum of 0). If you increase its cost, the Spellcaster can decide to spend the additional cost or the Spell is cancelled (and the Spirit used to cast it spent); if you decrease it, the Spellcaster regains that amount of Spirit. Limited to once per Round. SPIRIT 3: He has 3 Spirit. MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

PROTECTOR: INSTANT: If you are aware of an action against another character up to 5 metres away from you, you can choose to become the target instead. If you did this to protect your protegee (see Ward), gain one Spirit. MAGIC CANALIZER: REACTION: After a Spell is declared up to 10 metres away from him and within his sight, he can spend up to 2 Spirit to either increase or decrease the target Spell’s cost by that amount (to a minimum of 0). If you increase its cost, the Spellcaster can decide to spend the additional cost or the Spell is cancelled (and the Spirit used to cast it spent); if you decrease it, the Spellcaster regains that amount of Spirit. Limited to once per Round. SPIRIT 3: He has 3 Spirit. MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

S I ZE : N ORM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O U RC E : 1 x Q U A U H O L O L L I 312

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES : O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x W A R R IOR SPEA R

enemies & allies

Blood priest LEVEL 3

Weather priest

I N I T I A TIVE 3

skills

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 2

skills

C O M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

MEDIOCRE

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 6

health 4

2

thr eshold 4

MELEE Rea c h 6

health 6

2

thr eshold 2

S OFT AR M O UR

1

SOFT A R MOUR

1

H AR D AR M OU R

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

SPELLCASTER 9: It knows the Tlahuilpochtli, Tlacatecolotl and Necrophagic schools of magic and has 9 Spirit.

SPELLCASTER 9: It knows the Titici, Tlachixqui, Xihuitl, and Necrophagic schools of magic and has 9 Spirit.

BLOOD PRIEST: REACTION: After anyone is damaged from one of his Spells, that charater suffers one unpreventable damage.

WEATHER PRIEST: He is unaffected by his own Spells.

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR: C A U T I O U S ‡ L A N G U A G E S : TW O N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E S M O V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: T H REE NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GES MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

313

Cuahchic right

Cuahchic left LEV E L 3

I N I T I A T I VE 8

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 8

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

ME D I O C R E

5 (1 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 3 , co n cu s s i ve

3

RA N G E D ( ATL AT L ) Pi er c i n g , 3 a mmo

3

health 6

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

2

HAR D AR M O UR

0

abilities DAGGER: REACTION: After dealing Melee damage, deal another instance of 2 damage. CUAHCHIC: REACTION: After his partner is the target of an action, he can join the confrontation. REACTION: After his partner takes damage, he can take any amount of that damage instead. ATLATL: Against target farther than 20 meters, this weapon deals one less damage, suffers one disadvantage and loses piercing. REACTION: At any point while performing a running action, he performs a shooting action with this weapon and then resumes his movement. HARD: Ignores his first Injury.

MELEE Rea c h 6

health 6

2

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction). CUAHCHIC: REACTION: After his partner is the target of an action, he can join the confrontation. REACTION: After his partner takes damage, he can take any amount of that damage instead. SHIELDWALL: He does not become Spent after using the defensive stance action. REACTION: After an adjacent member of his Formation is the target of an attack, he can benefit from the Protection of this shield. This effect stacks with any Protection he may gain from his own shield. It stacks.” HARD: Ignores his first Injury.

S I ZE : N ORM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PEC I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O UR C E : 1 x N O BL E MA C U A H U I T L 314

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x W A R R IOR SPEA R

enemies & allies

Native lord

Headhunter LEVEL 4

I N I T I ATIVE 5

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 2

skills

skills C O M PE TE N T

8 (3 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

MEDIOCRE

5 (2 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks M E LE E R e a c h 4 , co n cu s s i ve, f ea r , ma g i c a l

4

MELEE Rea c h 4, c o nc ussi v e, fea r, ma gi c a l

4

R AN G E D ( ATL A T L ) Pi er c i n g

3

R A NGED (A TLA TL) P i erc i ng

3

health 4

thr eshold 3

health 4

thr eshold 2

S OFT AR M O UR

1

SOFT A R MOUR

2

H AR D AR M OU R

0

HA R D A R MOUR

1

abilities

abilities

MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

FULCRUM 3: Has Fulcrums of any NPC or group of NPCs with a total level of 3.

LEADER : Gains one advantage when convincing soldiers of his nation to follow his orders. While he is alive they gain one advantage towards their Discipline checks.

MAN-HUNTER: Gains one advantage towards Stealth against humans.

S I ZE : N O RM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR: C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : ONE N EW W O RL D L A N G U A G E MO V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction).

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: T WO NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GES MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x D R EA D MA C UA HUITL A N D ST RO N G GA MBESON 315

Pochteca

Civilian LEV E L 0

I N I T I A T I VE 2

LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 5

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

4 (1 )

C OMPETENT

5 (2)

ME D I O C R E

2 (1 )

MED IOC R E

3 (2)

attacks

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 0

health 4

1

thr eshold 1

MELEE Rea c h 1, fa st dra w, v eno mo us 2

health 3

2

thr eshold 1

SO FT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HAR D AR M O UR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities POCHTECA: Gains negociating or lying.

one

advantage

when

PARALYSIS VENOM: REACTION: After being affected by this venom, suffer paralysis. There is no antidote for this venom. HIDDEN TREASURE: He can offer up to 200 gold towards any deals (usually to save his life).

S I ZE : N ORM A L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I O UR : C A U T I O U S ‡ L A N G U A G E S : O NE LANGUAGE M O V E M E N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E

316

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOI D BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: T WO NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GES MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

enemies & allies

Bini’za warrior LEVEL 2

Sun paladin

I N I T I A TIVE 5

skills

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 4

skills

C O M PE TE N T

6 (2 )

C OMPETENT

8 (3)

MEDIOCRE

5 (2 )

MED IOC R E

5 (1)

attacks

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 4 , co n cu s s i ve

4

R AN G E D ( ATL A T L ) Pi er c i n g , 2 a mmo

2

health 6

thr eshold 3

S OFT AR M O UR

1

H AR D AR M OU R

0

abilities BINI’ZA FURY: REACTION: After declaring an attack suffers one damage to gain one advantage. OBSIDIAN EDGES II: Whenever this weapon deals damage to a target, it deals additional damage equal to the current value on obsidian edges. Everytime it suffers its special deterioration effect, reduce obsidian edges by one. CHARGE: REACTION: After performing a running action, if an enemy is within Melee range, it can automatically perform an attack against him, if successful, it will deal one additional damage. Having already performed an action does not cause Exhaustion for this additional action.

MELEE Rea c h 6

health 6

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

2

abilities MAGIC RESISTANCE 1 SUN FORGED: REACTION: After someone performs a successful attack against him with no positive consequences, if he is under direct sunlight, the attacker suffers one negative consequence. REACTION: After performing an attack with no negative consequences, if he is under direct sunlight, he gains a positive consequence. SHIELD 3: ACTION (Melee): Uses this action against a Shooting action that targets him, gains one advantage. If he is successful, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. REACTION: If he loses a confrontation against an attack by up to 3 points, he cancels up to 3 of that damage. Limited to 3 times per Scene (in total, between the action and the reaction). GOLDEN GEAR: REACTION: deterioration, cancel one.

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : H U MA N O I D B E H AV I OUR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S: ONE N E W W O RL D L A N G U A G E M O V E M E N T : 1 0 M E T RE S SPE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E R E S O UR C E : 1 x A T L A T L O R L A RG E M A C U A HUITL

2

After

suffering

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: O N E NEW W OR LD LA NGUA GE MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE

317

BeastS F

O R E UR OPE AN I N V A D E RS , the lands of the New

World are as exotic as they are familiar; equal parts alien landscape and recognisable environments. The local fauna is no exception, including predators that are widespread in Europe, such as bears and wolves, and undreamed horrors such as terror birds, giant snakes and demon bats. Life is far more diverse in the New World than in any place the conquistadors have previously known, with the southern jungles alone containing as many plant and animal species as the rest of the planet combined. This, along with the fact that native humans have never tried to tame nature spirits or resist their rule, resulted in the appearance of mighty, truly monstrous animals. This section includes only a few examples among the tens of thousands of animals that exist in the New World, along with a few Europeanintroduced species, such as the horse. Most creatures in the list have been chosen for their ferocity and aggressive-

ness; all beasts in this section are lethal to some extent, and guarantee a challenging encounter against a party of the appropriate level. The more monstrous species, such as the terror bird, giant spider and giant bat, are a result of the unshackled flow of spiritual energies into the mortal realm, which flow more freely in the New World than in Europe, turning many animals in powerful avatars of their Spirit World versions. Despite their greater size, power and intelligence, these monstrous animals behave like their mundane brethren. Likewise, the tactics to follow against such demonic beasts are the same as with the normal animal version; a giant spider and a terror bird will fear fire, and a giant bat can be avoided by crossing its lands only during the day. They may be smarter, and even lay rudimentary traps for PCs, but they are still predators and behave as such. Then there are the dinosaurs. Back in the First Sun, when dragons ruled the world alone and hadn’t begun the experiment of giving birth to humanity, they shared the primordial Earth with all manner of monstrous, half-formed beasts at the early stages of creation. From the mating of dragons and the earliest birds and lizards of the world, dinosaurs came about. They disappeared at the height of the First Sun, when dragons tired of them and burned the world down to start again; but a few survived, hidden in jungles and valleys that remained beneath the notice of dragons, spirits and mortals. As can be expected, dinosaurs are primitive, dumb and bestial - but a few retain the ancient cunning of their dragon forefathers. These few touched specimens number among the most dangerous creatures in existence. SERPENTINE SKIN It can be worn as a cape and you gain one advantage towards Stealth actions while it is wet.

318

enemies & allies

Water serpent LEVEL 2

Atotolin

I N I T I A TIVE 6

skills

LEVEL 1

INITIAT IV E 9

skills

C O M PE TE N T

5 (2 )

C OMPETENT

6 (1)

MEDIOCRE

4 (2 )

MED IOC R E

3 (1)

attacks

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 2 , g rappl e

2

M E LE E R e a c h 4

2

health 6

thr eshold 3

S OFT AR M O UR H AR D AR M OU R

abilities FLAME RESISTANT: It ignores fire. REACTION: After it suffers flames, reduce the effect by two. WATER CREATURE: It can move through water at its regular speed. If both the water serpent and its target are submerged or partially submerged in water, the serpent gains one advantage towards physical actions. CAMOUFLAGE: It gains one advantage towards Stealth while in water.

MELEE Rea c h 0

health 2

1

thr eshold 0

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities THE THREE DAY CHASE: When you see an Atotolin, every time you aim at it, every time you start chanting a Spell, every time you approach it, it will always take a turn, disappear under the water, be out of range… It is magically untouchable until the sun raises a third time since you started chasing it. Additionally, if it figures out you are chasing it, it won’t try to confront you, and instead it’ll make you follow it into trouble - it will take you into monster lares, across rivers filled with crocodiles, into military outposts... If you don’t catch it you’ll receive the curse “Unfinished task”. While you have this curse every encounter you face will be one level higher than it normally would, and every distance you need to travel will take you twice as long for one reason or another. STEALTHY: It gains one advantage towards Stealth and Perception. FLYER: It can fly. While flying and even if it is already Spent, it can perform one free movement action that won’t make it Spent. REACTION: After declaring an attack while flying, it increases its reach by two. MAGIC RESISTANCE 2

S I ZE : N O RM A L ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T B E H AV I O UR: C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : N ONE M O V E M E N T : 5 ME T RE S O N G RO U N D, 20 M E T RE S U N DE RW A T E R SPE C I AL S E N SE S : U N D E RW A T E R BRE A T HER (4 5 ) R E S OU RC E : 1 x S E RPE N T I N E S K I N

SIZE: SMA LL ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 5 METR ES ON GR OUN D, 2 0 METR ES FLYING SPEC IA L SENSES: UND ER W A TER BR EAT H ER (5) R ESOUR C E: 1 x A NIMA L 319

Giant bird

Jaguar LEV E L 2

I N I T I A T I VE 7

LEVEL 1

INITIAT IV E 6

skills

skills CO M PE TE N T

7 (X )

C OMPETENT

4 (2)

MED I O C R E

2 (X )

MED IOC R E

3 (1)

attacks

attacks ME L E E R e a c h 2

3+

ME L E E R e a c h 2 , f ear

4

health 6+X

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

1

HAR D AR M O UR

0

abilities CALM KILLER: Gains one advantage when attacking a Spent character or when attacking by surprise. STEALTHY: Gains one advantage towards Stealth and Perception.

MELEE Rea c h 2

health 5

2

thr eshold 1

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities FLYER: It can fly. While flying, it can perform one free movement action that won’t make it Spent, and it can perform it even if it was Spent. REACTION: While flying, after declaring an attack, gain an additional 2 Reach. STEALTHY: Gains one advantage towards Stealth and Perception.

STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage. X: While wild, X is equal to its level. While belonging to a character, X is the same level as its owner (and will level up with him).

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T B E H AV I O UR : C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : N O NE M OV E ME N T : 2 5 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : DA RK V I S I O N R E S O U RC E : 1 x A N I M A L 320

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 5 METR ES ON GR OUN D, 3 0 METR ES FLYING SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x A NIMA L

enemies & allies

Bear

Terror bird LE V E L 2

I N I T I ATIVE 6

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 5

skills

skills C OM PE TE N T

7 (X )

C OMPETENT

5 (3)

M E D I OC R E

1 (X )

MED IOC R E

3 (2)

attacks

attacks M E L E E R e a c h 4 , p i erc i n g

3

M E L E E R e a c h 2 , c o n cu s s i ve

4

health 8+X

thr eshold 2

S O FT AR M O UR

0

H AR D AR M O U R

0

abilities MIGHTY CHARGE: REACTION: After performing a running action, if an enemy is within Melee range, it can automatically perform an attack against him with two advantages and dealing an additional 2 damage. Having already performed an action does not cause Exhaustion for this additional action.

MELEE Rea c h 3

health 12

6

thr eshold 4

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage.

MOUNT: It can be ridden by its owner. While riding it you suffer one disadvantage towards Shooting, Crafting, and Medical; you will use your Riding Skill for Athletic and Stealth actions. Additionally, gain: REACTION: When it is this beast’s turn, you choose its movement. REACTION: At any point of this beast’s movement perform an attack and then resume your beast’s movement. X: While wild, X is equal to its level. While belonging to a character, X is the same level as its owner (and will level up with him).

S I ZE : L A RG E ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S: NONE M O V E ME N T : 2 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E RE S O U RC E : 2 x A N I M A L

SIZE: LA R GE ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 5 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 2 x A NIMA L 321

Crocodile LE V E L 3

Horse

I N I T I A T IVE 3

skills

LEVEL 1

skills

COM PE TE N T

6 (3 )

C OMPETENT

ME D I OC R E

2 (1 )

MED IOC R E

attacks

6 (X) 3 (X-1)

attacks

ME L E E R e a c h 3 , p i erc i n g

4

ME L E E R e a c h 5 , r a d i u s 2

2

health 8

INITIAT IV E 5

thr eshold 3

SO FT AR M O UR

1

HAR D AR M O UR

2

abilities STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage.

MELEE Rea c h 1

2

health 8+X

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities MIGHTY CHARGE: REACTION: After performing a running action, if an enemy is within Melee range, it can automatically perform an attack against him with two advantages and dealing an additional 2 damage. Having already performed an action does not cause Exhaustion for this additional action. TAMED (250 GOLD): It can be owned and bought in the market for 400 gold. It will obey your orders unless you mistreat it. If you gain it while it is a pup it will become loyal to you, and from that moment on it will give its life for you. X: While wild, X is equal to its level. While belonging to a character, X is the same level as its owner (and will level up with him). MOUNT: It can be ridden by its owner. While riding it you suffer one disadvantage towards Shooting, Crafting, and Medical; you will use your Riding Skill for Athletic and Stealth actions. Additionally, gain: REACTION: When it is this beast’s turn, you choose its movement. REACTION: At any point of this beast’s movement perform an attack and then resume your beast’s movement. RESISTANT: It gains one advantage against Fatigue and doesn’t suffer exhaustion when using Athletics.

S I ZE : L A RG E ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T BE H AV I O UR : AG G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S : N ONE M OV E M E N T : 8 M E T RE S O N G RO U N D, 15 ME T RE S U N DE RW A T E R SPE C I AL S E N S E S : U N D E RW A T E R BRE A T H E R (2 0 ) R E SO U RC E : 2 x A N I M A L 322

SIZE: LA R GE ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : C A UTIOUS ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 3 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 3 x A NIMA L

enemies & allies

Wolf

Wardog LEVEL 2

I N I T I A TIVE 6

MEDIOCRE

INIT IAT IV E 6

skills

skills C O M PE TE N T

LEVEL 1

7 (X ) 4 (X -1 )

C OMPETENT MED IOC R E

4 (X) 3 (X-1)

attacks

attacks M E LE E R e a c h 1

3

MELEE Rea c h 2

2+

health 6+X

thr eshold 2

health 5+X

thr eshold 1

S OFT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

0

H AR D AR M OU R

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

OPPORTUNITY CHARGE: REACTION: After performing a running action, if an enemy is within Melee range, it can automatically perform an attack against him with one advantage. Having already performed an action does not cause Exhaustion for this additional action.

STEALTHY: Gains one advantage towards Stealth and Perception.

ALANO BREED: It cannot suffer Fear and it ignores the effects of injuries. TAMED (250 GOLD): It can be owned and bought in the market for 250 gold. It will obey your orders unless you mistreat it. If you gain it while it is a pup it will become loyal to you, and from that moment on it will give its life for you. You can purchase armour: Spiked (100 gold) It gains one soft armour and piercing; Steel (100 gold) it gains one soft and one hard armour; or Heavy (175 gold) it gains one soft armour, two hard armour and piercing, and suffers one disadvantage towards Athletic and Stealth actions.

STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage. KEEN SENSE OF SMELL: Gains one advantage towards Perception actions that require smell. X: While wild, X is equal to its level. While belonging to a character, X is the same level as its owner (and will level up with him).

KEEN SENSE OF SMELL: Gains one advantage towards Perception actions that require smell. STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage. X: While wild, X is equal to its level. While belonging to a character, X is the same level as its owner (and will level up with him). S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T B E H AV I O UR : A G G RE S S I V E ‡ L A N G U A G E S: NONE MO V E ME N T : 1 5 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : N O N E RE S O U RC E : 1 x A N I MA L

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 8 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: D A R K VISIO N R ESOUR C E: 1 x A NIMA L 323

Giant snake LEV E L 3

Giant spider

I N I T I A T I VE 5

skills

LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 6

skills

CO M PE TE N T

6 (3 )

C OMPETENT

3 (4)

ME D I O C R E

2 (2 )

MED IOC R E

2 (3)

attacks

attacks

ME L E E R e a c h 4

2+

ME L E E R e a c h 0

4

health 8

thr eshold 3

MELEE Rea c h 4

2

MELEE Rea c h 2, v eno mo us 2

2

health 10

thr eshold 3

SO FT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HAR D AR M O UR

2

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities

abilities

STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage.

PARALYSIS VENOM: REACTION: After being affected by this venom, suffer paralysis. There is no antidote for this venom.

CALM KILLER: Gains one advantage when attacking a Spent character or when attacking by surprise.

MOUNT: It can be ridden by its owner. While riding it you suffer one disadvantage towards Shooting, Crafting, and Medical; you will use your Riding Skill for Athletic and Stealth actions. Additionally, gain: REACTION: When it is this beast’s turn, you choose its movement. REACTION: At any point of this beast’s movement perform an attack and then resume your beast’s movement.

STEALTHY: Gains one advantage towards Stealth and Perception. PREHENSILE TAIL: It can always perform its grapple attack in addition to its regular action, and it does not cause it Exhaustion. If it has grappled a character of normal or small size, he can drag it without seeing his movement reduced.

S I ZE : L A RG E ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T B E H AV I OUR : C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : N O NE M OV E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I A L S E N S E S : D A RK V I S I O N R E S O U RC E : 2 x A N I M A L 324

INSECTOID: It ignores its first Injury and its first instance of Exhaustion every Round. It heals one Injury every day.

SIZE: LA R GE ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 2 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: D A R K VISION R ESOUR C E: 2 x PA R A LYSIS VENOM

enemies & allies

Giant bat LEVEL 2

Dino I N I T I ATIVE 7

skills

LEVEL 2

skills

C O M PE TE N T

5 (3 )

C OMPETENT

MEDIOCRE

5 (2 )

MED IOC R E

attacks

6 (X) 2 (X-1)

attacks

M E LE E R e a c h 1 , h emo rr h ag e 1

health 7

INITIAT IV E 5

2

MELEE Rea c h 2, pi erc i ng, hemo rrha ge 1

4

thr eshold

health 8+X

thr eshold 2

SO FT AR M O UR

0

SOFT A R MOUR

0

H AR D AR M OU R

0

HA R D A R MOUR

2

abilities

abilities

FLYER: It can fly. While flying, it can perform one free movement action that won’t make it Spent, and it can perform it even if it was Spent. REACTION: While flying, after declaring an attack, gain an additional 2 Reach.

MOUNT: It can be ridden by its owner. While riding it you suffer one disadvantage towards Shooting, Crafting, and Medical; you will use your Riding Skill for Athletic and Stealth actions. Additionally, gain: REACTION: When it is this beast’s turn, you choose its movement. REACTION: At any point of this beast’s movement perform an attack and then resume your beast’s movement.

STRONG GRAPPLER: While grappling a character every time you deal him damage, deal an additional damage. BAT: Gains two advantages towards Stealth, Perception and Athletic.

MIGHTY CHARGE: REACTION: After performing a running action, if an enemy is within Melee range, it can automatically perform an attack against him with two advantages and dealing an additional 2 damage. Having already performed an action does not cause Exhaustion for this additional action. X: While wild, X is equal to its level. While belonging to a character, X is the same level as its owner (and will level up with him).

S I ZE : N O RMA L ‡ T Y PE : BE A S T B E H AV I O UR : C A U T I O U S ‡ L A N G U A G E S : NONE M OV E M E N T : 2 M E T RE S O N G RO U N D, 2 0 M E T RE S F L Y I N G S PE C I AL S E N S E S : RE S O N A N C E V I S I O N R E S O U RC E : 1 x A N I M A L

SIZE: LA R GE ‡ TYPE: BEA ST BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 2 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 2 x A NIMA L 325

AtlachaneH A

of the Waters, are the natives of Tlalocan, the Spirit World of Water, rains and storms. The singular form of the word is atlachanetl. TLAC H AN E H ,

OR

DW E L L E RS

Tlalocan is a realm without air or land, where only water and floating rocks exist. Some of these rocks have inner caves where mortals may survive for a while, but only those blessed by Tlaloc and the Water Dragons may find them. Therefore, natives of Tlalocan are adapted to spend their immortal lives on water, either swimming or latching on to one of the floating rocks in the endless sea of Tlalocan. The upper realms of Tlalocan, which connect to Ilhuicatl, are constantly struck by storms and tidal waves, and only the strongest water spirits can endure the lightning and maelstroms of the area. These are the elite of the atlachaneh, immensely powerful beings that are at ease amidst the fiercest thunderstorms, who can eat lightning and ride hurricanes. Conversely, Tlalocan’s lower regions, which lead into the Mictlan, are pitch-black depths of deadly cold and pressure, where only the largest and most ancient water creatures can survive. This is the home of cipactli dragons, and dark spirits with luminous auras or glowing eyes. All atlachaneh have the ability to breathe water, and can swim as easily as, or better than, other creatures can walk. The weakest atlachaneh, such as fish spirits, are unable to breathe air, and only visit the mortal world through its seas, ponds and rivers. To visit the mortal world, atlachaneh must be summoned through rites dedicated to Tlaloc, a lesser tlacoatl, or a Water Saint; only these higher spirits may grant the atlachanetl access to the mortal realm. A human that wants to cause an atlachaneh to manifest in the physical world must know the proper rites and sacrifices, and must also have access to a suitable body of water, according to the size and power of the spirit to be summoned. A fish spirit can be called through a simple pond, summoning the drowned dead would require an enchanted pool, and calling larger water spirits would require the power of a river or lagoon. Summoning a tlacoatl dragon would need the

326

channeling power of the ocean itself or the mightiest rainstorm. The powers an atlachanetl can grant to mortals depend on its rank. The weakest atlachaneh can share the power to swim better; drowned apachoameh can grant the ability to breathe underwater; larger fish spirits can grant communication with water-dwelling lifeforms, and the mightiest apachoameh can share the power to control water itself. Only tlacoatl dragons, Water Saints and the highest storm spirits can concede the power to control the tides and weather. Like most spirits, atlachaneh are immortal; this means they can only be destroyed if fought and killed in their own world. If an atlachanetl dies in the mortal world, its spirit simply returns to Tlalocan, where it reforms and restores its strength from the realm’s eternal waters. Atlachaneh have a natural affinity for water and lightning magic, and most can use some form of weather or electricity-related magic. By the same token, they are immune to water- or lightning-based attacks. Some atlachaneh even have the ability to soak electricity, feeding on lightning to heal themselves or empower their attacks. It’s not uncommon for atlachaneh spirits to wield magic weapons that can channel electrical discharges or even shoot lightning bolts. When an atlachanetl uses weapons, armour or tools, it prefers jade or silver, both metals being sacred to Tlaloc, the moon and other water spirits. Likewise, magic items obtained or inherited from atlachaneh tend to be made of jade and silver. Dry environments are the bane of atlachaneh; when killed or destroyed by a dehydrating attack, atlachaneh risk being disintegrated entirely, unable to reform. An atlachanetl that dies by a fire- or heat-based attack is destroyed forever; it can never return.

enemies & allies

TeomichiN Teomichin, or fish spirits, are the bulk of the inhabitants of Tlalocan. Most are born out of the very essence of spirit water, as manifestations of the Realm itself, but many are reincarnated dead; spirits of drowned mortals that didn’t merit rebirth in a higher form.

Teomichin LEVEL 1

INITIAT IV E 5

skills C OMPETENT

7 (1)

MED IOC R E

1 (1)

attacks

The stats presented describe a spirit catfish, one of the most common subspecies of teomichin. Spirit catfishes are predatory teomichin in the shape of an elongated, eel-like fish; however, teomichin look like fishes of all sizes and shapes, from small and playful coloured creatures to ugly axolotl-spirits; from hardy crab spirits to soft jellyfishes. Some have bizarre humanoid features, such as human arms, eyes or legs; a few even look like fully human-shaped fishes, or fish-headed humanoids. The only trait all teomichin spirits have in common is the inability to survive out of water.

MELEE Rea c h 3, hemo rrha ge 1

2

R A NGED Stun

0

Teomichin spirits fight according to their shape. Spirit catfishes attack by biting or slapping their tails, and they can spit water at a certain distance, which does no harm but can annoy or distract the target. A few teomichin spirits have tentacles, which allow them to grab smaller beings. Since teomichin spirits rarely grow larger than a human, these tentacles are only good to snatch lesser prey, such as other fishes.

SLIPPERY: It ignores piercing.

Teomichin can be found in any body of water; they have no restriction as regards saltwater or freshwater environments. In fact, finding a river fish in the ocean, or vice versa, is a sure indicator that it isn’t a normal animal, but a fish spirit.

health 5

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities WATER-ONLY CREATURE: It can move through water at regular speed. If both the teomichin and its target are submerged or partially submerged in water, the teomichin gains one advantage towards physical actions. It cannot survive outside water for longer than one minute and it suffers one disadvantage during that time. FLAME RESISTANT: It ignores fire. REACTION: After it suffers flames, reduce the effect by two.

Teomichin spirits are too weak to survive out of water. Even the few specimens with legs, or other means to travel across solid ground, can only breathe air for a few minutes before dying from asphyxia or dehydration. For this reason, they always try to lure their targets to the depths, where they not only have the advantage but the only chance to come out alive.

FISH SCALES It can be used as animal. If you are wearing something made of this, other characters suffer one disadvantage when they try to grapple you.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: SPIR IT BEHA VIOUR : C HA OTIC ‡ LA NGUA GES: L O CAL MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES ON GR OU N D, 2 0 METR ES UND ER W A TER SPEC IA L SENSES: UND ER W A TER BR EA TH ER (AN Y) R ESOUR C E: 1 x FISH SC A LES 327

Drowned maN Apachoameh, or drowned dead, are the best known denizens of Tlalocan, if only because they don’t resemble their mortal versions at all, and are instantly recognisable as drowned spirits on sight, as opposed to other Tlalocan spirits, which can easily get confused for mundane water creatures. Looking like a muscular human with blue skin and a skeletal face, an apachoatl is an impressive sight; they

are always larger and stronger than they were in life, as if drowning had pumped up their bodies. Apachoameh always sport tattoos or ritual scars in sacred shapes, which mark them as eternally indentured to Tlaloc or a Water Saint. They often dress in stunning regalia, with crowns and jewellery of gold, jade and silver. Their torcs and bracelets are marked with the same designs as their bodies, and their earrings and necklaces glow with the same green hue as the points of light in their eye sockets. The often wear pieces of jade and gold among their yellowing teeth. Other than their tattoos and impressive ornaments, apachoameh wear nothing but white or green loincloths, also decorated with the symbols that mark their submission to Tlaloc. Most of them retain wild, lush manes of hair from when they were alive, and wear them loose or in high knots. An apachoatl’s hair is black, dark blue or green, with a few white-maned specimens. White-haired apachoameh are regarded as specially marked, and tend to have greater powers than their kin, who fear and avoid them superstitiously. An apachoatl fights as a mortal warrior, using weapons, close combat moves and military tactics. They favour melee fighting, and weapons such as maces and clubs. An apachoatl’s weapons are always enchanted and made of sacred minerals such as jade, obsidian or silver. They are larger and more durable than mortal weapons, even those made of the same materials. Apachoameh wear no armour, but some carry metal shields, as massive, heavy and magical as their weapons. A mortal carrying an apachoatl shield cannot wield it in combat, but may crouch to hide behind it as if it was covering terrain. Apachoameh are intelligent and can speak the languages they knew in life, in addition to the sacred tongue of spirits; but they much prefer grunts and roars of triumph as they crush their opposition, and they’d rather not communicate with mortals unless their duties specifically require it. Apachoatl tactics are a mix of what the creature knew in life, such as military formations, expertise with a certain kind of weapon or terrain, or a preference for offensive or defensive stances, and new moves developed to favour their great bulk. They like to use their

328

enemies & allies

size and strength to browbeat their opponents, with attacks that trip the target and keep it down. They favour guarding over dodging, waiting for their enemies to spend their strength in futile strikes against their shields and tattooed hides, and then simply crush them with a casual swipe. Their dead, unfeeling bodies suffer less consequences from pain or exertion, an ability they use to their advantage. Many apachoameh know water magic, and have even learned to protect themselves against fire and heat, turning their weakness into an advantage. These apachoameh are effectively impervious to fire; a mortal wearing their skin in a ritual armour would gain resistance against such attacks. They are still vulnerable in dry, hot climates, however. Older, wiser apachoameh can summon water to do their bidding, and cause crushing waves with their weapon strikes. One such apachoatl can drown several opponents with one swing of its mace. These mightier individuals can also walk on water, or swim against a current, even up a waterfall. As opposed to other undead from the Spirit World, apachoameh have no society to speak of, and don’t establish communities beyond small warbands, where a handful of warriors shares a temporary or long-term goal such as securing a relic or guarding a place. In Tlalocan, apachoameh are everywhere, swimming across the world’s currents or clustering around floating rocks to guard some treasure within. They prefer to wander the realm’s dark depths, patrolling in search of law-breaking teomichimeh or intruders. In the mortal world, they are almost always found guarding ancient temples or sacred pools, sent by the higher powers to protect the sacred relics of Tlalocan.

Drowned man LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 4

skills C OMPETENT

6 (2)

MED IOC R E

2 (2)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 2, c o nc ussi v e, fea r, ma gi c a l

3

MELEE Rea c h 1, sec o nda ry wea po n, fa st draw

2

health 6

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities DROWNED: It is immune to fire and flames, and it does not suffer disadvantages towards performing actions underwater. WATERMADE: It cannot suffer Injuries unless it is in a very dry or very hot place. FLAME RESISTANT: It ignores fire. REACTION: After it suffers flames, reduce the effect by two.

Regardless of their habitat, all active apachoameh are on some task or mission, bestowed either by the high water spirits or the wizards that summon them. When not performing a sacred duty for the tlacoatl or Water Saints, apachoameh simply go into torpor; unable to sleep, they just lie down at their chambers, or stand still where they are, and go inert until called upon.

DROWNED SKIN It can be used as animal. If you are wearing something made of this, each time you are affected by flames reduce the effect by one.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: UND EAD BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NON-BR EA THER R ESOUR C E: 1 x D R OW NED SK I N 329

XolomichiN Xolomichimeh, or monster fishes, are the sea monsters of Tlalocan. The term includes the larger Teomichin such as shark spirits, but also more monstrous species, with no equal among mortal animals. The stats presented are those of the abyssal xolomichin, a huge fish with maws that can swallow a small boat whole. There are many other kinds and species, from gigantic crabs to nightmarish masses of eyes and tentacles. Some are so translucent as to be invisible; some are as dense and dark as black stone. Their only common traits are size and hunger. All xolomichimeh are huge, from the length of a chinampa raft to as large as a city, and they are all hungry predators. Even those that represent herbivorous or peaceful species like dolphins, or were members of those species in life, have developed an appetite for living flesh, and a craving for the souls of mortals. If a xolomichin encounters a human being, nothing will scare, sway or stop it, until its prey has become its meal. Xolomichimeh tend to be dumb brutes, rarely smarter than the average predatory fish; those few specimens that can talk or weave magic become powerful leaders in Tlalocan, and may command armies of their lesser kin. Abyssal xolomichimeh fight by swimming toward their prey with an open mouth, expecting to swallow it whole. They use their venom stingers and acid blood only against prey that tries to resist or defend itself. The fluids inside a xolomichin’s body are all highly toxic, and many a creature dies from the very wounds it dealt to the xolomichin. As a rule, xolomichimeh cannot survive on dry land, and are always found underwater. In the mortal world, they may occasionally roam the beaches or surface in search of land-dwelling prey, but they are far more common, and comfortable, at deeper waters.

Xolomichin LEVEL 3

INITIAT IV E 7

skills C OMPETENT

6 (3)

MED IOC R E

1 (3)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 7, v eno mo us 2

health 8

3

thr eshold 2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities SLIPPERY: It ignores piercing. ACIDIC BLOOD: REACTION: After a character deals damage to it with Reach 5 or less, that character suffers one damage that ignores armour. BOILING VENOM: REACTION: After being affected by this venom, characters suddenly start to heat up and will burn inside their armour. They gain FORCED REACTION: At the start of a Round, if the character has any armour on, they suffer one unpreventable damage. It stacks up to as much damage per Round as the total armour. The antidote is the bladder of the totoaba fish, which can be obtained as an animal resource north of the Great Southern Sea. FLAME RESISTANT: It ignores fire. REACTION: After it suffers flames, reduce the effect by two. WATER-ONLY CREATURE: It can move through water at regular speed. If both the xolomichin and its target are submerged or partially submerged in water, the xolomichin gains one advantage towards physical actions. It cannot survive outside water for longer than one minute and it suffers one disadvantage during that time.

BOILING VENOM GLAND It can be used as stone or obsidian. A weapon made of this gains venomous X of the boiling venom, where X is the amount of this resource you used to create this object.

330

SIZE: LA R GE ‡ TYPE: SPIR IT BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: L O CAL MOVEMENT: 8 METR ES ON GR OUND, 3 0 METR ES UND ER W A TER SPEC IA L SENSES: UND ER W A TER BR EA THER (AN Y) R ESOUR C E: 1 x BOILING VENOM GLAN D

enemies & allies

CipactlI The Cipactli, or monster crocodile, is a lesser form of dragon, larger than any other dragon breed, but also slow, cumbersome and unable to fly. A typical cipactli is a four-legged, wingless dragon, larger than the human eye can measure, resembling a colossal crocodile. Cipactli dragons used to live in the mortal world, but one after another they fell asleep and disappeared. Nowadays, most cipactli dragons live in the Spirit World. Cipactli dragons are so big that they can cause tremors by walking at a moderate pace. They sleep underground or undersea, waiting for food to come near and snatching it with their massive jaws. When there is no nearby prey, a cipactli can hibernate for millennia, making the earth tremble when it sighs and wreaking havoc when it wakes up. When fighting, a Cipactli focuses on the most bothersome target and attempts to either swallow it whole or slap it away with its tail, depending on the victim’s nearest location. It can attack simultaneously with bite, claws and tail, dealing with enemies at various angles. Its thick hide allows the cipactli to ignore most attacks, so it can usually take the time to turn around (a long time) and choose its victim; in any event, a cipactli causes enough damage just by turning around that it counts as an attack. Some cipactli can take human shape, like other dragons and nahual creatures, but they rarely do so, preferring their massive natural forms. As a rule, a cipactli will only become human out of curiosity, hunger (a human body needs less food to become sated), or if it has some important mission in the mortal world. In Tlalocan, cipactli dragons roam the deeper waters, especially the darkest depths where they can doze off as they swim, resting until they come upon suitable prey. In the mortal world, most remaining cipactli live underground, deep below the earth or the ocean bed, sleeping since uncounted millennia, but ready to wake up if given enough reason to do so.

Cipactli LEVEL 4

INITIAT IV E 3

skills C OMPETENT

5 (4)

MED IOC R E

3 (2)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 4, pi erc i ng

5

MELEE Rea c h 6, ra di us 5

2+

health 20

thr eshold 3

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

2

abilities DEFENSE: REACTION: After allowing an attack to hit unconfronted, it ignores its default positive consequence from not being confronted. Limited to once per Round. SLOW ARMOURED MONSTER: REACTION: After declaring an attack as a counteraction, suffer one disadvantage. REACTION: After being hit by an attack with a positive consequence, that consequence can not be used to ignore its armour. NAHUAL: REACTION: After starting his turn, change its shape to a human or back to its true appearance. TERRIFYING: Every enemy character up to 10 metres away suffers fear every Round. MAGIC RESISTANCE 1 FLAME RESISTANT: It ignores fire. REACTION: After it suffers flames, reduce the effect by two.

WATER SPIRIT It can be used as any resource. An object made of this cannot suffer damage caused by moisture and will self-repair 2 deterioration each whole day it spends submerged underwater.

SIZE: LA R GE ‡ TYPE: SPIR IT BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES ON GR OUN D, 1 5 METR ES UND ER W A TER SPEC IA L SENSES: UND ER W A TER BR EA THER (30) R ESOUR C E: 1 x W A TER SPIR IT 331

Tlacoatl dragoN Tlacoatl dragons, like their mixcoatl relatives, are massive feathered serpents with powers over the weather. Like mimixcoa can control the winds, tlacoatl dragons are masters of the rains and tides. They can summon storms at will, and can easily move and survive in both air and water. Tlaloc, master of the storm and hurricane, and ruler of Tlalocan, is a tlacoatl dragon - the largest of his kind. A tlacoatl dragon looks like a monstrous snake with a long mane and beard, which has led many to believe they have human faces. To the untrained eye, they look very much the same as mixcoatl dragons, except that tlacocoa are more blue-green than golden-green, and slightly smaller. It’s widely assumed that tlacoatl dragons took part in creation; most sources agree that a host of them, under the leadership of Tlaloc himself, were present when the First Dragon and the First Saint gathered to give birth to humans. According to some legends, it was the tlacocoa that infused mortals with their most basic emotions: fear, fury and passion. When taking on human form, tlacoatl dragons prefer to become priests rather than rulers, and wizards rather than priests. They like to teach their arts to others, be them mortals or other spirit creatures, and they often become reputed, even legendary, mystic masters. A mortal human apprenticed to a tlacoatl will surely become a wise and respected wizard or priest among his own people. In battle, a tlacoatl uses its magic powers to bring rain, thunder and lightning down on its opponents. Every tlacoatl has a different favoured tactic, and many have developed unusual and creative ways to wield water magic. For example, one tlacoatl may like to simply drown its enemies in tidal waves crashing from out of nowhere; another might prefer to summon an endless barrage of hailstones to kill his opponents slowly; while another one may like to encase its targets in floating water bubbles and then form a ‘necklace’ by skewering them all with a lightning bolt. No two tlacocoa fight the same way, and even a single tlacoatl may change tactics from one battle to the next, or between rounds of the same fight. Tlacocoa are among the ficklest creatures in existence, and they fight as such.

332

As regards weaknesses, a tlacoatl can be defeated through its own flighty nature. It’s relatively easy to distract a tlacoatl dragon and make it look the other way mid-fight; the weakest and youngest tlacocoa have been known to forget their opponents entirely after looking away for a couple of minutes. This is not due to a lack of focus, but of interest; it’s hard to hold a tlacoatl’s notice, unless one proves to be a threat (a very hard feat for most living creatures) or possesses a very valuable treasure. And this is the second weakness of a tlacoatl: they are the most attached and materialistic of mixcoatl species, almost matching four-legged dragons in their greed and vanity. A tlacoatl can be bribed with the proper tribute, particularly in the form of valuable jade relics, suitably powerful magical artifacts, or very well-spoken flattery. The natural habitat of tlacoatl dragons is the Spirit World, but they can travel freely between Tlalocan and the mortal world, as easily as a human may step into or out of a house. They can also enter ilhuicatl or Mictlan at will, but they rarely do so, preferring the endless waters of their own realm. When they visit the mortal world, it is often out of whim, curiosity, or in search of interesting baubles to carry back to their lairs. If a tlacoatl encounters a worthy individual or community, or the fancy simply takes it, it may decide to prolong its stay among mortals, and teach its vast knowledge to those that deserve it, receiving some nice tribute and well-deserved worship in the bargain. When in Tlalocan, a tlacoatl is a majestic, awe-inspiring creature, almost as large as a mixcoatl, with some tlacocoa growing even larger. In the mortal world they tend to limit themselves to smaller sizes, about twice the length and width of a huge boa, even in dragon form, to better interact with humans. Such ‘smaller’ tlacocoa were the founders of the Cihuacoatl school of priestesses in the Anahuac, and the Chaa’kaan worshipping cults in the Snake Kingdoms.

RAIN DRAGON’S HEART It can be used as obsidian, stone or steel. A weapon made of this gains REACTION: After successfully attacking, suffer one unpreventable damage to have this weapon’s damage increase by three for this attack.

enemies & allies

Tlacoatl dragon LE V E L 6

I N I TIA TIVE 5

HEA LTH

skills C OM PE TE N T

1 0 (4 )

M E D I OC R E

3 (3 )

attacks M E L E E ( H E AD ) R eac h 5 , c o n cu s s i ve, g ra p pl e

7+

M E L E E ( B OD Y) R eac h 1 , r a d i u s 1 0 , co n cu s s i ve

8-

M E L E E ( LE G S ) R ea ch 1 0 , ra d i u s 1 2 , s tu n

2

Head H E AL TH

Legs

16

12

THR ESHOLD

2

SOFT A R MOUR

1

HA R D A R MOUR

1

The wings can only be attacked from the sides. If the wings die, the dragon can not move, only rotate. Their attack has initiative 3, and they perform the dragon’s movement actions. When the wings are targeted by an attack, they counteract with an 11(3) dodge action. abilities

T H R E S H O LD

3

MAGIC RESISTANCE 2

S O FT AR M O UR

1

H AR D AR M O U R

2

FLYER: It can fly. While flying and even if it is already Spent, it can perform one free movement action that won’t make it Spent. REACTION: After declaring an attack while flying, it increases its reach by 2.

The head can only be attacked from the front. If it dies, the dragon dies. It performs the dragon’s spells. Body H E AL TH

40

T H R E S H O LD

3

S O FT AR M O UR

1

H AR D AR M O U R

1

The body can be attacked from anywhere other than the front. If it dies, the dragon dies. Its attack has initiative 3, and can only target characters on the dragon’s sides. When the body is targeted by an attack, it counteracts with a 12(3) dodge action.

SPELLCASTER 13: It knows the Xihuitl school of magic and has 13 Spirit. He can cast Ceremony spells as an action. FLAME RESISTANT: It is immune to Fire. REACTION: After suffering Flames, reduce it by 2. WATER CREATURE: It can move on water at its regular speed. If both the dragon and its target are submerged or partially submerged in water, the dragon gains one advantage towards physical actions.

S I Z E : C OLOSSA L ‡ TYPE: D R A GON BE H A V I O U R: C U NNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: A LL NEW W OR LD MO V E ME N T : 1 2 ON GR OUND , 2 0 METR ES UND ER W A TER S PE C I A L S E N S E S: R ESONA NC E VISION, NON-BR EA THER RE S O U R C E: 1 x R A IN D R A GON’ S HEA R T 333

MiquimeH B

Y D E FI N I TI O N , A mictlachanetl is any inhabit-

ant of Mictlan, the Underworld, the darkest of the four Spirit Worlds and the Realm of Death. By description, however, the term includes myriad different creatures, entities, spirits and monsters, which roam Mictlan as penitent souls or hungry predators. Mictlachaneh are the largest of spirit tribes, if only because of the constant flow of dead souls that swell their numbers. Every mortal that dies and goes to the Underworld becomes a mictlachanetl, and most living creatures are doomed to this fate. Mictlachaneh are the souls of every dead spirit in history, from the loftiest kings to the lowest ants, from short-lived birds to timeless trees. Everything that dies goes to Mictlan unless another of the three Spirit Worlds claims it, and those that don’t outnumber those that do twenty to one. Although Mictlan is supposed to be an eternal fate, most souls end up decaying and dispersing into nothingness after many millennia, particularly when forgotten by their mortal kin. Thus, mictlachaneh are not endless, and they can disappear into oblivion given enough time. However, they remain the most numerous and varied people in creation, counting the mortal realm and all four Spirit Worlds. Mictlachaneh have versions of every living creature among their number; they include dead humans, spirit animals and birds, ghostly trees and flowers, undead ogres and goblins, and even the shades of dead dragons. The only thing that doesn’t become mictlachanetl upon death is another spirit, which will disperse instead of being called to Mictlan.

There are mictlachaneh adapted to every environment and mimicking every form of existence, from flying to swimming to fruit-giving. Even some rocks and mountains have their own mictlachanetl versions if they were important enough in the mortal world. Mictlachaneh can mate and even give birth; anything born in Mictlan is a mictlachanetl spirit from the beginning, subject to the same laws and near-eternal life. Despite being so widespread and common, or perhaps because of it, mictlachaneh are, on average, the weakest of spirit castes, and the ones more easily ban-

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ished to the spirit world if they manage to cross over to mortal lands. A mictlachanetl can only exist in the mortal world if anchored there through necromancy or a particularly strong feeling that prevents it from crossing over to the Underworld. In both cases, the mictlachanetl is a prisoner of the force keeping it on the mortal realm, unable to return to Mictlan even if it wanted, and instantly banished away if that force is cut off. Most saints, ancestors and divine forces are mictlachanetl, even those considered ‘nature spirits’ in the mortal realm. They are fairly easy to summon and bind, and they can grant a staggering variety of powers, blessings and curses on their mortal worshippers. Dead heroes grant their support and teachings; tree spirits grant knowledge of the Earth’s past and the language of nature; animal spirits grant their character, shape and soul traits through nahualotl magic; ancestor wizards grant the varied powers they in turn received from other spirits. Mictlachaneh have all the powers and weaknesses of the form they possessed in life; in addition, they hate the bright light of the mortal world. They are also particularly weak against the magic and powers of Ilhuicatl, or Heaven. All forms of solar or light-based powers are particularly effective against mictlachaneh. The most powerful mictlachaneh have magic of their own, and can summon the aid of other spirits to weave powerful spells from the water, fire or even heavenly realms. They command other mictlachaneh by magic, authority or the compulsion of their very rank and nature; and some of them gather enough power and followers to forge great empires within Mictlan. Most of these elite mictlachaneh are the shades of dead human wizards and priests, but they can also be undead fairies, high-ranking nahual beast lords, or other nature spirits. The greatest of mictlachaneh are the Nine Lords of Death, masters of Mictlan and lords of the Underworld. They are the shades of ancient heroes, who took part on building the first human civilisations during the Fourth Sun. Their leader, known as One Death by the K’iché, the Itzá and Yokotán, and as Mictlantecuhtli by the Mexica and Acolhua, is the single greatest power in the Underworld, and the mightiest of all mictlachaneh.

enemies & allies

Miquimeh zombiE The common population of Mictlan are the Miquimeh, the ‘dead ones’; the wandering shades of dead mortals, their souls gone to the underworld. A miquitl looks like the walking corpse or skeleton of a human. It often dresses in the rotten rags of the clothes it wore in life, but some miquimeh conserve a degree of fashion sense and prefer to attire themselves in fresh clothes, as fancy as their afterlife status will afford. A miquitl’s form is solid, but it decays into etherealness as its attachment to its former life fades away. Common miquimeh are solid, and filled with a semblance of life; the less solid ones are mere wisps, their strength almost wasted away after millennia of afterlife. Miquimeh tend to be clumsy and slow to react in combat. As they can’ experience any pain, they make little effort to dodge attacks. Their attacks are similarly ponderous and half-hearted, but once they grip a target, only the death of either the miquitl or its victim will release that grip.

Miquimeh zombie LEVEL 1

INIT IAT IV E 1

skills C OMPETENT

4 (1)

MED IOC R E

1 (1)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 0

health 5

2

thr eshold -

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities ALREADY DEAD: It cannot suffer injuries and it cannot fail Discipline checks. FORCED REACTION: After suffering any amount of damage from a non-magical source or an attack without positive consequences, it reduces that amount to 1. WORTHLESS: Three of them count as a single Level 1 character towards calculating the difficulty of an encounter. ZOMBIE: It cannot run, but it will never suffer Fatigue. It can keep moving forever.

As they have lost their instinct of self-preservation, all miquimeh are utterly fearless, and only magic light, or heavenly effects, can cause them to turn away. In Mictlan, miquimeh can be found anywhere and everywhere; they are, after all, the realm’s general population. They wander the roads, man the fortresses and inhabit the settlements; they peddle the wares, clutter the streets and stalk prey in the realm’s gloomy natural areas. In the mortal world, miquimeh can only be found if summoned by necromancy, or in areas where the boundaries between both worlds are naturally thin, such as graveyards, cursed lands and magical darkness. Miquimeh detest natural sunlight, and never come out during the day - at least not willingly.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: UND EAD BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 5 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NON-BR EA TH ER 335

NahuaL

Nahual LEVEL 2

Nahual creatures are a mystery even to themselves. Resembling normal animals on the surface, in truth they are mighty spirit creatures, with a penchant to guide and speak to mortals.

skills

A nahual can take human form, and teach a human to change shape into an animal. Some scholars debate that all animals are nahual, and they only require an awakened spirit to bring out their spiritual abilities; others that nahua are a higher, smarter breed of common animals. Some claim that there are not ‘naturally occurring’ nahua, and they all come from mortals that learned shapechanging magic.

attacks

Whatever the truth, there are creatures out there with the ability to pass as a normal human or a normal animal, when in truth they are neither.

abilities

A mortal that becomes nahual receives advice from the spiritual world, and she can impart such advice. She can also summon the spiritual traits of the animal that taught her, beyond the mere physical shape, such as an eagle’s bearing or a jaguar’s ferocity.

INITIAT IV E 6

C OMPETENT

6 (2)

MED IOC R E

6 (2)

MELEE Rea c h 0

health 5

1

thr eshold 1

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

SHAPESHIFTER: REACTION: After its turn begins, it can choose a Beast and turn into it, maintaining its level, this ability, and any damage it has already suffered. All its other stats become those of the beast it has turned into. MAGIC RESISTANCE 1

A nahual spirit looks like a normal animal, save for a subtle glint of intelligence that only a trained eye can perceive. Its nahual form is usually the same as the animal the creature used to be in life, or the one that best matches its human persona. A nahual can always use magic of all kinds, but it prefers spells that hide, mislead and deceive. In combat, they prefer to use misdirection and trickery to keep their opponents off-balance; they will try to charm, bluff or scurry out of fighting if possible. If forced to do battle, a nahual likes to become invisible, attack by surprise and then disappear again, complementing its hit-and-run tactics with distracting or fearsome spells, designed to demoralise the target. Nahual spirits are adept at existing in both the mortal and spirit worlds, so their status as living or dead beings is uncertain, and it’s assumed that when a nahual dies it simply continues its existence as a guiding spirit in Mictlan. NAHUAL SKIN It can be used as animal. While wielding or wearing an item made of this, the first Nahualotl or Tonalli Spell you cast each Scene costs two less Spirit. Limited to 5 uses. It can be replaced with a new nahual skin with a repair action. 336

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: HUMA NOID BEHA VIOUR : C HA OTIC ‡ LA NGUA GES: LO CAL MOVEMENT: 1 2 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NONE R ESOUR C E: 1 x NA HUA L SK IN

enemies & allies

Miquimeh champioN Just as the mortal world has officers for its military hierarchy, so does Mictlan have its heroes and elite forces. Miquitl champions are the shades of valiant mortal officers and knights; they serve as leaders of Underworld armies, bodyguards to the undead aristocracy, and all-purpose battle heroes. They are not only better trained than common miquimeh, but also better preserved, being almost as lively as they were in life. A miquitl champion looks like a walking corpse with officer garb, high-quality equipment, and a proud, commanding presence. Its flesh is usually better preserved than that of the average undead creature, but even those miquitl champions whose bodies are down to the bare bones retain a light in their eyes and an earnestness in their movements that betray their stature as leaders of the dead. In battle, miquitl champions perform like their living selves, with the same bravery and combat experience, with the added edge of being impervious to pain or bleeding. They retain any magical training they once had, so it’s common to encounter miquitl champions with cuahchic, cuauhocelotl or beastmaster abilities. They are all but fearless, and have even been known to dare the light of day when needed. They never back away from a fight unless specifically ordered to do so, or faced with very powerful light or heavenly power. They often appear at the front of large, well-armed units, but a single miquitl champion can dispatch a whole platoon of lesser spirits. Miquitl champions are a common sight at Underworld cities and palaces, where they serve as guards and enforcers. Any war fought in Mictlan is guaranteed to involve hundreds of miquitl champions. They are rarer in the mortal world, where they are often found guarding relics, tombs or wizard lairs.

SHIELD BREAKER It can be used as obsidian or stone to make a weapon. When a weapon made of this gets its damage absorbed by a shield, the shield suffers two additional deterioration, or spends an additional use if it is an NPC’s shield.

Miquimeh champion LEVEL 3

INIT IAT IV E 5

skills C OMPETENT

5 (3)

MED IOC R E

2 (2)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 2, c o nc ussi v e, fea r, ma gi c a l

health 9

3

thr eshold -

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HA R D A R MOUR

2

abilities ALREADY DEAD: It cannot suffer injuries and it cannot fail Discipline checks. FORCED REACTION: After suffering any amount of damage from a non-magical source or an attack without positive consequences, it reduces that amount to 1. CHAMPION OF THE DEAD: Allied zombies up to 10 metres away gain its Initiative and double their movement speed. CHALLENGE : REACTION: After starting its turn, it chooses an opponent up to 5 metres away. If any other character attacks the Miquimeh champion, they gain one Corruption and this effect ends. Limited to once per Scene. UNDYING: If its health is reduced to 0 it will fall back to the demonic realm and won’t be able to come back to reality for a whole moon. It will forever hate whomever killed it and it will do anything in its power to get its revenge.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: UND EAD BEHA VIOUR : A GGR ESSIVE ‡ LA NGUA GES: AN Y NEW W OR LD MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NON-BR EA THER , D A RK V ISIO N R ESOUR C E: 1 x SHIELD BR EA K ER 337

Miquimeh wizarD The lords and aristocrats of the Underworld, the micteteo, or miquitl wizards, are undead humans or other creatures that gained or kept a degree of magical skill after death; armed with this knowledge, they carved some power for themselves in Mictlan, and most of them enjoy some authority over other miquimeh. Most micteteo were human in life, but some were nahual spirits, or even rarer creatures like fairies or giants. Their only common trait is the ability to cast spells, which they have used to achieve a higher status in the Underworld. A micteotl looks like a robed corpse, decked with jewellery, piercings and wizardly accoutrements such as sceptres, orbs, rings or amulets. They often wear flashy crowns or plumed headdresses, and mark their rotted flesh or bones with ritual colours to indicate their arcane trade. Most micteteo are old corpses, and as such their flesh has all but rotted away. Their limbs and skulls are either fleshless or covered with a taut, filmy grey skin that looks about to peel away all over. Very few micteteo have kept their hair, but those that do tie them in long, complex braids or ponytails, and often cake it in ritual paint or blood. The eye sockets of a micteotl always glow with a sinister blue-green light; some micteteo have replaced their missing eyes, teeth or limbs with pieces of glowing jade or other gemstones. Their voices are raspy whispers, but they boom loud and deep, as if heard inside the hearts of listeners. A micteotl’s markings are arcane symbols, magically carved on its skin or bones, which help tether its soul to its rotted frame, and allow it to access its full magical power even without a preserved brain or heart. Instead of trading blood to the spirits in exchange for power, a micteotl has sacrificed its own lifeforce to become a spirit creature; its arcane tattoos seal this exchange.

and are often encountered with a previously conjured, battle-ready retinue of pets, guardians and catspaws. When forced to face their opponents directly, they prefer spells that curse, sicken or drain the lifeforce of their target; the average micteotl can kill the mightiest human warrior simply by pointing its finger and commanding the target’s soul to leave its body. Then, the hapless victim joins the micteotl’s entourage of wandering spirits, bound to its service for all eternity. A micteotl is equally likely to kill an enemy quickly (for humiliation) or slowly (for pleasure), or else to keep it as a slave or plaything out of boredom or convenience. The lairs and sanctums of micteteo are full of the trapped souls and twisted bodies of those that were foolish or unfortunate enough to cross the undead wizard’s path. Most micteteo keep themselves to the underworld; they dislike the mortal realm, which has little to offer them now that they don’t need to sacrifice or consume mortal blood or life forces, especially when they have such power and influence in Mictlan. When a micteotl wants or needs to explore the mortal world for a compelling reason - usually revenge, or the search for a particularly valuable relic - it greatly prefers to send its servants to do the drudge work. Despite their power, undead wizards hate daylight as much as other miquimeh types, and their magic is somewhat diminished by the mortal sun. It is virtually impossible to summon or bind a micteotl to a mortal spellcaster’s service, as the weakest micteotl is older and wiser than the mightiest human priests and wizards. In the extremely rare occasion that a micteotl is successfully yanked to the mortal world against its will, the most likely outcome is the quick and painful death of the summoner for the indignity, followed by the micteotl’s immediate return to Mictlan by its own, expeditive means.

Micteteo dress and paint themselves in all colours, but they favour red, black and white - meaning blood, darkness and death, respectively - not only for aesthetic reasons, but because colours have their own magic in the Spirit World, and their symbolism fuels a micteotl’s power.

UNDEAD CROWN

A micteotl fights using its own considerable magic ability, which leaves little need for anything else. They favour summoning spells, to surround themselves with a horde of servants and bodyguards to fight for them,

It can be used as obsidian or forestry. While wearing or wielding an item made of this gain REACTION: After gaining any amount of Corruption, gain the same amount of Spirit.

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enemies & allies

Miquimeh wizard

Miquimeh necromancer LEVEL 4

LEVEL 4

I N I T I ATIVE 5

skills

skills C OMPETENT

5 (3) 1 (4)

C O M PE TE N T

5 (3 )

MED IOC R E

MEDIOCRE

1 (4 )

attacks

attacks

MELEE Rea c h 2, c o nc ussi v e, fea r, ma gi c a l

M E LE E R e a c h 2 , c o n cu s s i ve, f ea r , ma g i c a l

health 9

INIT IAT IV E 5

3

thr eshold -

health 8

2 0

2

HA R D A R MOUR

H AR D AR M OU R

0

abilities

ALREADY DEAD: It cannot suffer injuries and it cannot fail Discipline checks. FORCED REACTION: After suffering any amount of damage from a non-magical source or an attack without positive consequences, it reduces that amount to 1. MAGIC RESISTANCE 2 INVOCATION: REACTION: After starting its turn, it summons three Miquimeh Zombies up to 10 meters away from itself. The Miquimeh Zombies can take their turn the round they are invoked. MASTER OF THE DEAD: REACTION: After it is the target of a successful attack, if there is a Miquimeh Zombie up to 2.5 meters away, the Miquimeh Zombie will suffer the damage in its stead. The attacker can spend one positive consequence to cancel this effect. SPELLCASTER 10: It knows the Nahualotl, the Illusion, and the Tlacatecolotl magic schools and has 12 Spirit. It can cast Ceremony spells as an action, and Action spells as an instant during its turn.

S I ZE : N O RM A L ‡ T Y PE : U N DE A D B E H AV I OUR: C U N N I N G ‡ L A N G U A G E S : A NY N E W W O RL D M O V E ME N T : 1 0 M E T RE S S PE C I AL S E N S ES : N O N - BRE A T H E R, MA G I C VISION R E S O U RC E : 1 x U N DE A D C RO W N

thr eshold -

SOFT A R MOUR

SO FT AR M O UR

abilities

3

ALREADY DEAD: It cannot suffer injuries and it cannot fail Discipline checks. FORCED REACTION: After suffering any amount of damage from a non-magical source or an attack without positive consequences, it reduces that amount to 1. MAGIC RESISTANCE 2 PLAGUE: REACTION: After starting its turn, it curses an opponent up to 20 metres away. That character must succeed against a 5(3) Athletic check or suffer one fatigue at that moment and an additional one at the beginning of every day after that. SOUL BLEEDING: REACTION: After starting its turn, it curses a character up to 20 metres away. The character must perform a Rites check against the Miquimeh Wizard’s Competent Skill. If the target fails, he will suffer one Injury at that moment and an additional one at the beginning of every day after that. SPELLCASTER 10: It knows the Nahualotl, the Illusion, and the Tlacatecolotl magic schools and has 12 Spirit. It can cast Ceremony spells as an action, and Action spells as an instant during its turn.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: UND EAD BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: AN Y NEW W OR LD MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NON-BR EA THER , MA GIC V ISIO N R ESOUR C E: 1 x UND EA D C R OWN 339

Miquimeh mummY A few micteotl become so powerful, or had such power in life, that they achieve a status beyond undeath, becoming something closer to saints or immortals than to walking corpses. Such beings are known as huehue micteotl, the Great Dead Wizards, but most people in both the mortal and Spirit worlds call them simply qimiloatl - ‘wrapped ones’, or mummies. Qimiloah are the supreme beings of Mictlan in political hierarchy and raw power. Their ranks include vampire lords, dead emperors, and the oldest and most worshipped of ancestor saints such as Tlazolteotl, Yum Kimil, Ek Chuah or Huitzilopochtli himself. There are even some heavenly beings or elemental creatures from the other Spirit Worlds, which fell from grace or switched sides, that became qimiloatl after moving to the Underworld. The mightiest of qimiloah include, of course, the Nine Lords of Death, but also the ancestor saints of most tribes, and the first wizard, Tezcatlipoca. Qimiloah distinguish themselves from other undead creatures because of the reverence that shapes their nature and status. All qimiloah enjoyed a glorious death, or at least a privileged burial. Their deathly trappings are all relics and objects of worship, and symbols of divine power both in Mictlan and the Spirit World. A qimiloatl’s clothing, weapons, tools, and even its body parts, are divine relics, and are often the object of their own cult. This is not to say, of course, that qimiloah are not creatures of death and darkness - they are. However, their souls are not truly dead. Rather, they have transcended the cycle of life and death, existing in an immortal, timeless state, earned by the unmatched strength of their souls or their world-changing deeds, and sustained through their thousands of followers and worshippers, both in Mictlan and the mortal realm. A qimiloatl looks like the mummy of a human monarch, priest or wizard, with luxurious garments, astonishing jewellery and an aura of majesty and sainthood, even filtered through the horror of its dark nature. Its body is somewhat old and withered, but much better preserved than that of other undead creatures. Qimiloah tend to retain all their teeth and organs intact, and even those whose corpses had begun decaying were partially restored in their afterlife. Qimiloah can change their shape at will, usually choosing forms that represent their personality or what they stood for in life. They can take the form of

340

bolts of lightning, spirit animals, or living humans. Although they can be masters of disguise and deception, all qimiloah retain a physical trait, tell or mannerism, that may reveal their true nature to a mortal that knows how to recognise the marks. Qimiloah command entire nations in the Underworld, and can summon thousands of miquimeh to their service, just as human monarchs. It’s almost impossible to face a qimiloatl directly, without engaging its armies, priests and bodyguards first. A qimiloatl may have very powerful beings, such as micteotl wizards, or even dragons, under its command. When fighting head-on, a qimiloatl can summon a staggering array of combat tactics and magical powers, as diverse as those of human heroes. According to their powerful nature, they are ruthless, unflappable and arrogant, treating all opposition as a mere nuisance, and any real threat - if such a thing can happen - as an offence to their supreme power. A qimiloatl cannot be hurt by conventional weapons, and if killed, be it on the mortal or the Spirit world, it will invariably reform at full power after a few days. The only way to destroy a qimiloatl permanently is to wipe out the city, nation or religion that worships it, so that it has no power source to reform. All qimiloah, however, have a specific weakness, related to their nature. It may be a specific weak point in their bodies, or a vulnerability to a particular material or a certain magical phrase. A qimiloatl’s weakness may be used to defeat, kill or destroy it permanently, depending on the qimiloatl’s power and the nature of the weakness. A qimiloatl’s weakness is a closely guarded secret, which only a few beings know, and most that do are killed for it. Qimiloah are bound to Mictlan, but they can, and do, visit the mortal world whenever they want. They like to walk hidden among humans, out of curiosity or to set secret schemes in motion. They sometimes allow themselves to be summoned, and work with mortals that perform the proper sacrifices.

enemies & allies

Miquimeh mummy LEVEL 5

INITIAT IV E 7

skills C OMPETENT

9 (4)

MED IOC R E

4 (3)

attacks MELEE Reach 4, corruption 2, discard 2, fear, spiritual R A NGED

Rang e 2 0 , corruption 1 , discard 1 , f ear, sp i r i tua l

health 20

4+ 1

thr eshold -

SOFT A R MOUR

2

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities ALREADY DEAD: It cannot suffer injuries and it cannot fail Discipline checks. FORCED REACTION: After suffering any amount of damage from a non-magical source or an attack without positive consequences, it reduces that amount to 1. MAGIC RESISTANCE 3 SPELLCASTER 25: It knows all the native schools of magic and has 25 Spirit. He can cast Ceremony spells as an action, and action spells as an instant during his turn. LORD OF THE DEAD: He ignores magic resistance and he cannot gain negative effects, such as exhaustion, venom, flames, etc (but he can still become spent). Additionally, at the beginning of every round it gains 2 Spirit, up to a maximum of 25.

MUMMY’S CURSES It can be used as a Spell on a weapon. That weapon gains Corruption 2.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: SPIR IT BEHA VIOUR : C UNNING ‡ LA NGUA GES: AN Y MOVEMENT: 1 5 METR ES ON GR OUND A ND FL YIN G SPEC IA L SENSES: MA GIC VISION R ESOUR C E: 1 x MUMMY’ S C UR SES 341

IlhuicatL I

LH UI C ATL, TH E H E A V E N S , is the highest Spirit

realm in every sense, located physically, hierarchically and spiritually above all other worlds, including the Mortal Realm. Ilhuicatl represents superiority itself, and that reflects on its denizens, known collectively as Ilhuicachaneh. Ilhuicachaneh are flying spirits of great power, from shining bird-creatures of gauzy substance, to celestial dragons that carry the wind and lightning. The spirits of virtuous mortals, which go to Ilhuicatl upon death, are as monstrous and terrifying as the undead of other realms, but they still represent the sky and the light. Some nations depict these beings as beautiful beings of perfect goodness, even physically. Ilhuicachaneh are an elite, and as such they are less numerous, but more powerful, than other spirit breeds. All living creatures pass through Mictlan after death, but the honoured few, the deserving few, find their way to Ilhuicatl. Some of these souls require a long, arduous ordeal to arrive, travelling through the thirteen levels of Heaven; some, like birds, pass over to Ilhuicatl almost immediately after they die. Magical beings such as dragons, fairies or spectral undead can switch between Ihuicatl and the mortal realm at will. Ilhuicachaneh are almost as diverse in shape and power as the creatures in Mictlan or the mortal world, except that they belong to a higher hierarchy and they all can fly, winged or not. This is because their souls, free of sin, of solid matter, or both, are lighter than air, and the ground has no hold on their being. An ilhuicachanetl can visit the mortal world at will, but the strict laws of Heaven dictate when and how it may happen. For example, Tzitzimimeh and Cihuateteo raiders can only attack humans that deserve it, and only during the night. Heavenly laws punish ilhuicachaneh that visit mortals without specific orders or a just cause. An Ilhuicachanetl that harms or assists a human against the laws of the Spirit World may be stripped of its rank, power, or even its heavenly nature, being doomed to return to Mictlan or join the punished ones in The Fire. The highest of ancestor saints, those with powers over sunlight or the weather, can travel between Mictlan and Ilhuicatl at will, and live in either realm.

342

They only visit mortals when summoned to do so, which requires very specific and powerful rituals, performed by very wise and pure humans. As opposed to other Spirit Worlds, Ilhuicatl has a day and night, with all-pervading sunlight during one cycle and a star-dotted gloam during the other. Ilhuicachaneh are similarly divided between a night caste and a day caste. Night-time spirits include Tzitzimitl raiders, Cihuateotl witches, fairies and ghostly undead; Daylight Ilhuicachaneh include bird spirits, angels and mixcoatl dragons. Besides flight and spirit travel, all Ilhuicachaneh are blessed with the power of light. Daytime Ilhuicachaneh can summon daylight and the blinding rays of the sun, which inspires and empowers truth and purity; their nocturnal counterparts control the ghostly glow of the stars and the moon, which incite mystery and mischief. The mightiest of heavenly spirits can adjust the light of the sun itself, and even turn it off, summoning darkness during the day. Besides this, ilhuicachaneh can affect mortal souls. Daylight spirits can inspire mortals with outward feelings such as greatness, bravery and victory in battle, while nighttime spirits inspire the hidden emotions - fear, curiosity and desire. A daylight ilhuicachanetl will cause mortals to find their way; a nighttime spirit will cause them to lose it again. Ilhuicachaneh have no general weaknesses, although iron and other earth-based metals have been known to hurt or disrupt the physical forms of the lesser air spirits. Although the powers of light can hurt and frighten creatures of death and darkness, the opposite is not true, and shadow powers do not affect the Ilhuicachaneh. The lords of Ilhuicachaneh are doubtlessly mixcoatl dragons, the mightiest of dragon breeds and the First Living Beings in creation. Then, when the first mortal civilisations learned the Old Magic and the Great Truths, human ancestors began reaching Ilhuicatl after their great deeds, and their spirits now share the rule of Heaven with dragons, not always peacefully, but with utmost mutual respect.

enemies & allies

SpectrE The ghostly undead, spectres are the souls of dead humans that couldn’t stay in Mictlan or achieve peace in Heaven, because of unfinished business in the mortal world. Members of the night court, spectres are tormented creatures, that may drag mortals into their own cycle of horror and regret. As ethereal beings, spectres cannot be touched by physical attacks, and a mortal that sees or hears them may be struck by terror, sickness or sudden death. They attack by floating towards their target, and let their horrific nature do the job.

LIBERATED SOUL During a Ceremony of the Sacrifice Ritual, break this to fulfil the requirements of the Ritual.

Spectre LEVEL 2

INITIAT IV E 3

skills C OMPETENT

3 (3)

MED IOC R E

4 (1)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 2, fea r, c o rrupti o n 1

health 5

2+

thr eshold 3

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

0

abilities SPECTRAL: It can fly and move through solid matter. REACTION: After the Spectre is killed by a non-magical attack, discard a card from the top of the deck. If it is a 5 or a 6, a new Spectre appears in its place.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: SPIR IT BEHA VIOUR : C HA OTIC ‡ LA NGUA GES: N O N E MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NON-BR EA THER , D A RK V ISIO N R ESOUR C E: 1 x LIBER A TED SOUL 343

Tzitzimimeh warrioR The star-demons, tztzimimeh are the people of the night, the incarnation of stars, and the most numerous of nighttime spirits. They are a numerous and powerful people in the Spirit World, with their own cities and armies far up in the sky, where they wage bloody war against other spirits. A single tzitzimitl looks like a skeletal humanoid with glowing bones and skin, dressed in a warrior’s regalia and wielding enchanted weapons made of pale light. They favour clothes of white, black and yellow, and equipment made of silver, gold or obsidian. They like ostentatious headdresses and jewellery. They can disguise themselves as beautiful, celestial humanoids, an ability that they use to entice mortal souls into following them to Heaven. Tzitzimimeh are made of starlight, and as such are members of the Ilhuicatl night court, charged with waging war in the name of Heaven. They are hungry and ferocious, and would gladly consume all of Ilhuicatl, plus both the Spirit and mortal worlds, if allowed to run rampant. The only thing that stops tzitzimimeh hordes from laying waste to creation is the curse that comes with their very nature: when a soul dies and joins the tzitzimimeh hosts, it’s forever bound to a star. A tzitzimitl is only active for as long as its star shines in the night sky; if its star isn’t visible, the creature must return to Ilhuicatl, where it lies dormant until its light shines again. This forced activity cycle prevents tzitzimimeh from forming large armies or waging long-term battles. Most tzitzimimeh, however, are content with their assigned duty, which consists in reaping souls for Heaven. They roam battlefields after a fight and cities after an epidemic, looking for souls worthy of ascending to Ilhuicatl; if they find a mortal that died, or is about to die, after a honourable deed - such as in glorious battle or childbirth - the tzitzimimeh cut the soul with their obsidian knives and carry it to the Spirit World. But tzitzimimimeh are at their wildest and most dangerous during the times of cosmic change and star rearrangement, such as at the end of a tonalli cycle or during a solar eclipse. These times weaken the barriers that prevent tzitzimimeh from leaving their heavenly prison, and many of them take the opportunity to form warbands and quick raiding parties. These marauders cross into the mortal world and rain destruction on hu-

344

mans, razing cities, slaughtering their inhabitants and stealing children for food, before the stars realign and tzitzimimeh must return to their perennial sleep. Tzitzimimeh are well-versed at using their flying ability in combat, and they constantly dodge, whirl, climb, dive and zip among their enemies, drawing blood all around. A single tzitzimitl can keep dozens of lesser enemies at bay, flying too fast for them to hit it, while it wounds and harasses them across the battlefield. They can also use a limited form illusion magic, which they can use to glow brighter or dimmer, or become completely invisible, often to surprise and terrify their targets. They can also use this glamour to take on the appearance of alluring humanoid warriors, but this illusion serves no combat purpose; they only use it to convince mortals to follow them into Heaven, or to inspire lesser troops under their command. Tzitzimimeh are utterly fearless, and they have been known to take even mixcoatl dragons head-on, regardless of their losses or their chances. There is no mortal or spirit thing they bow to, except for tlahuilpochtli hags, whose nahual bird-forms have the power to devour the soul of a tzitzimitl forever. It’s common for a tlahuilpochtli to use tzitzimimeh as messengers and hired thugs. Other than tlahuilpochtli witches, any wizard or priest can summon a tzitzimitl, provided they are wise and resolute enough, and they know the right enchantments to protect themselves from the spirit during negotiations. Tzitzimimeh are glad to serve anyone that pays them the proper sacrifice, but they always try to take a bit more tribute, to spill a bit more blood than asked. Therefore, it’s usually better to summon tamer, weaker spirits, and tzitzimimeh are thankfully rare in the mortal world.

TZITZIMIMEH ARMOUR PARTS It can be used as obsidian or steel. While wearing an armour made of this at night, gain ACTION (Rites): Spend 2 Spirit to perform a movement action through solid matter.

enemies & allies

Tzitzimimeh warrior LEVEL 3

INIT IAT IV E 4

skills C OMPETENT

1 (4)

MED IOC R E

8 (2)

attacks MELEE Rea c h 2, ma gi c a l, ra di us 5, c o rrupt ion 1

health 6

3+

thr eshold 3

SOFT A R MOUR

0

HA R D A R MOUR

2

abilities INEXHAUSTIBLE: It cannot suffer exhaustion. TERRIFYING: Every enemy character up to 10 metres away suffers fear every Round. GHOST: It can fly and move through solid matter. Non-magical attacks can not deal more than one damage to it. MAGIC RESISTANCE 1 FLAMMABLE: When it is attacked by fire or flames, it gains flames 1.

SIZE: NOR MA L ‡ TYPE: UND EAD BEHA VIOUR : C HA OTIC ‡ LA NGUA GES : L O CAL MOVEMENT: 1 0 METR ES SPEC IA L SENSES: NON-BR EA THER , D A RK V ISIO N R ESOUR C E: 1 x TZITZIMIMEH A R MOU R P ART S 345

TeotototL Massive spirit birds that soar the high winds of Ilhuicatl, teototomeh are among the largest creatures of Heaven, second only to mixcoatl dragons. They are immense creatures, grown to monstrous girths thanks to the heavenly energies of Ilhuicatl, often preying on smaller creatures, not because they need the sustenance, but to assert their dominion of the skies. Teototomeh can, and prefer to, remain in flight from the moment of their birth until their millennia-old spirits finally decay and disperse. They sometimes perch on one of the rare floating solid surfaces of Ilhuicatl, but they have the ability to remain in flight indefinitely, spending their entire lives on the air. Thus, they are the best flyers in creation, having mastered thousands of ways to use their flying ability that land-bound creatures haven’t even begun to dream of. There are two kinds of teototomeh - spirit raptors, which attack and devour wandering spirits, smaller birds and even lesser dragons; and spirit messengers, which rarely attack other spirits unless threatened, and can wield great magic to spread sacred messages across heaven. These two types of spirit birds are further divided into daylight and nocturnal spirits, just like all other ilhuicachaneh.

Daylight Birds Daylight teototomeh are majestic, luminous spirits, with colourful plumage and beautiful voices that ring across Heaven like bells. They are equally terrifying and dangerous in battle, however, and terrorise weaker spirits, particularly those belonging to death and darkness, with their piercing, clear hunting calls.

T EO C UAU H T L I Teocuauhtli birds, also known as Spirit Eagles, are the noblest birds in the Spirit World, and the lords of all avian life. A teocuauhtli looks like a massive eagle, large enough to carry an elephant in its claws, with glimmering quills and intelligent eyes. Teocuauhtli birds are complete masters of aerial movement. They can fly unhampered across the strongest winds and under the heaviest rainstorms, and don’t fear the weather at all. In combat, they try to carry or lure their prey upwards, as far from the ground as possible, and then eat it at their leisure. They avoid ground combat, using their incredible airborne speed and manoeuvrability to pick their enemies off and remain out 346

of their weapons’ range. When facing an opponent with flying capabilities, they keep it out of balance by flying into and out of reach, buffeting it with their wings and seeking positions where the target needs to turn around to attack. Teocuauhtli usually keep to Ilhuicatl, but sometimes, out of hunger or curiosity, they descend to the mortal realm to hunt land-bound game. They cannot speak, but are smart enough to avoid human settlements.

TEOQUETZAL The Teoquetzal is arguably the most beautiful being in creation. Resembling a stupendous bird with multicoloured feathers, a majestic crown, dazzling tail feathers, and eternally surrounded with a shimmering aura of fiery light, a teoquetzal is an unforgettable sight, and doubtlessly a divine being. Teoquetzal birds are unimaginably wise, surpassing even mixcoatl dragons in knowledge and insight. However, they don’t wish to teach or lead anyone, and they keep to themselves, seeking a simple life of solace and beauty. They abhor violence and always attempt to flee before fighting; if forced into battle, they can summon great explosions of fire and light to confound and distract their enemies, and most of them command the magic schools of fire, light and healing. Nonetheless, they will always try to use these abilities to escape combat, rather than kill or overpower. Teoquetzal birds very rarely visit the mortal world, and remain reclusive even in Ilhuicatl. But that doesn’t stop mortals from seeking them, and many a legend has sprung from someone’s fruitless efforts to catch or glimpse one of these marvelous birds, or at least an egg, or even a single feather.

Night-time Birds When nighttime teototomeh spread their wings, darkness falls upon the world, and not even the stars can pierce the cover of their dark shroud. They are massive soaring shadows of black feathers and glowing eyes, feeding on carrion or lost souls, and calling for death with their eerie screeches.

TEOTZOP I LOTL A teotzopilotl is a horrid raptor of the night, a true bird of nightmare that haunts the night sky, cawing madly before diving after its hapless prey.

enemies & allies

Teotzopilomeh look like skeletal vultures, with rotting quills of maroon-grey over leathery skin, and a bald head with glowing, pupil-less eyes atop a vicious serrated beak. They like to cross over to the mortal world in search of prey, but very rarely attack openly, preferring targets that are guaranteed to lose the fight. Thus, most of a teotzopilotl’s victims die without ever telling the tale, often not knowing what hit them. When encountering a worthy opponent, teotzopilomeh prefer to attack in groups; they like to gather in flocks of three or more, swarming around their enemies in a vicious frenzy of quills and talons. A teotzopilotl’s feathers are hard and sharp as blades, and they can cut an enemy with a wing slice as easily as with the steel-hard teeth on their beaks. Teotzopilotl are sneaky and evasive, but they may be baited to the mortal world on moonless nights with a lone, defenceless victim. They are stupid but cunning, as likely to trick as they are to fall for one themselves.

T E O C AC AL O TL Dark birds of ill omen, carriers of bad news, and the bane of gullible creatures everywhere, teocacalomeh, or Spirit ravens, are known across the mortal world as wily tricksters and unwelcome messengers of doom. A teocacalotl looks like a massive raven with jet-black plumage, with eyes like dead dark orbs, and a distinct stench of carrion around it. Its screeching caw is one of the most annoying sounds from any living creature, guaranteed to upset mortals and rattle Saints. What makes it worse is that teocacalomeh are smart and talkative, able to communicate in all mortal languages, and they aren’t above using their unbearable voic