Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

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Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Havard » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:28 pm

I realize that Oltecs were probably based on the RW Toltecs, but I am still having trouble differentiating between Hollow World Oltecs and Azcans. How can we make Oltecs more interesting? What would a Oltec Fan Reference guilde include? I do like this old idea from Cthulhudrew about Oltec air balloons. Maybe some connections to the Feathered Serpents?

What other PC options might be available in an Oltec oriented campaign? Would any non-humans be found in their lands?

Would any material from the Atruaghin Gazetteer be useful here at all? The Shamani class perhaps?


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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:04 am

The Oltecs as described are sort of a combination of the Toltecs and the Incas (notably the latter insofar as their governmental makeup).

I started an Oltec gazetteer many years ago, and never finished it. Among other things that I had slotted out for development:

Spellcasting system: using Quipu (or HW equivalent) instead of scrolls and spellbooks

Money: Barter based, with cloth as a major article of exchange (it was more highly valued among the Inca than gold and often accepted as tax payments)

Class Specializations: Messengers (Thief specialization), Collahuayas (wandering clerics), Acllas (female clerics), diviners (coca leaf reading magic-users), others I can't recall at the moment and don't seem to have updated my word file with (so they're probably on sheets of paper hiding in my closet... :( )

Other races: Was probably going to include some rakasta, due to the prominence of large cat iconography in central and south american religion (particularly pumas).

I don't think there is much in the Atruaghin gazetteer that would be terribly applicable. The shaman class is really not something that culturally fits in either a Toltec or Inca setting; it has an entirely different characteristics than what is known of their religious practices. The latter were definitely more hierarchical and organized.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Seethyr » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:41 am

Big Mac led me in the direction of watching the Cities of Gold cartoon when I was working on Lopango for Maztica (sorry I can’t do links right now). I got a lot of inspiration from it for what I wanted my “fantasy Inca” to look like.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Sturm » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:51 am

Here they are:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myste ... es_of_Gold
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... es+of+gold
Never saw it, seems interesting. There are solar powered ships and planes, it is also linked to the myths of Atlantis and Mu
For the rest I agree that using Inca culture is enough to differentiate them much from the Azca which are based on Aztecs.
Puma rakasta and Jaguar rakasta are also appropriate, and even many more given the variety of South American cats: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puma_(genus) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopardus i.e Jakar, Pumasta, Ocelasta, Margasta, Tigrista and more.

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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Havard » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:44 am

I see potential for a ThunderCats cameo here :)

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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:00 pm

Sturm wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:51 am
Here they are:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myste ... es_of_Gold
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... es+of+gold
Never saw it, seems interesting. There are solar powered ships and planes, it is also linked to the myths of Atlantis and Mu
It's well worth a look, if you are interested in Azcans, Oltecs and Mesoamerican culture.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold Documentaries used to be on YouTube, but have been taken down now. You should get them as DVD extras, if you buy the boxed set. They explain a lot of the background to the kids watching the show, so cover lots of areas of Mesoamerican culture and explain how the real world works.

The one thing that probably wouldn't fit so well is the MCoG Olmecs. They kind of get turned into alien-invaders from space! There is still a lot of potential to use the Olmecs in a tabletop game, but I probably wouldn't rely on their depiction in the show being accurate to Mesoamerican culture in any way.
Sturm wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:51 am
For the rest I agree that using Inca culture is enough to differentiate them much from the Azca which are based on Aztecs.
Puma rakasta and Jaguar rakasta are also appropriate, and even many more given the variety of South American cats: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puma_(genus) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopardus i.e Jakar, Pumasta, Ocelasta, Margasta, Tigrista and more.
Wow! Variant rakasta is a brilliant idea!
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Sturm » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:13 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:00 pm
Wow! Variant rakasta is a brilliant idea!
Some already existed in the original Bruce Heard's article and Simone Neri's expansion here: http://pandius.com/rakhevol.html
I'm creating more for issue #20 of Threshold but they do not apply for Oltecs as they are for Skotharian/Asian setting :)

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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Chimpman » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:23 pm

Huh... that's funny, because of the name I always assumed they were based off of the Olmecs. I'd love to figure out some way to incorporate the Olmec style "giant heads" into Oltec culture somehow.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Havard » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:58 pm

Chimpman wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:23 pm
Huh... that's funny, because of the name I always assumed they were based off of the Olmecs. I'd love to figure out some way to incorporate the Olmec style "giant heads" into Oltec culture somehow.
It occurs to me that the term Oltecs refers to a culture that spanned continents and existed for milennia on Mystara. They are the ancestors of both the Azcans and the various cultures of Atruaghin. At least in the Outer World, I think they must have covered a large number of cultural groups. I think most R/W cultures that have existed in North and South America might have an equivalent on Mystara related to either the Oltecs, Azcans or Atruaghins.




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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Seethyr » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:35 pm

Chimpman wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:23 pm
Huh... that's funny, because of the name I always assumed they were based off of the Olmecs. I'd love to figure out some way to incorporate the Olmec style "giant heads" into Oltec culture somehow.
I’ve used them as buried colossal golems in the past. They awaken when there is some threat to the land in general. Demonic incursions and such - but unfortunately they don’t recognize friend from foe.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Chimpman » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:50 pm

Seethyr wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:35 pm
Chimpman wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:23 pm
Huh... that's funny, because of the name I always assumed they were based off of the Olmecs. I'd love to figure out some way to incorporate the Olmec style "giant heads" into Oltec culture somehow.
I’ve used them as buried colossal golems in the past. They awaken when there is some threat to the land in general. Demonic incursions and such - but unfortunately they don’t recognize friend from foe.
Yeah, I've always had similar ideas. The heads are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The rest of the giant body is buried beneath the earth for some reason. Perhaps pulling energy in from the surrounding natural world, charging up slowly for when they are finally needed. It could mean that they can't remain active for very long, and so must fulfill their mission in the shortest possible time frame.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:51 pm

Chimpman wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:23 pm
Huh... that's funny, because of the name I always assumed they were based off of the Olmecs. I'd love to figure out some way to incorporate the Olmec style "giant heads" into Oltec culture somehow.
The Empire of the Incas encompassed a large region and had incorporated or absorbed many other indigenous peoples of south america, such as the Chimu, Mochica, and Nazca. On Mystara, the Aztecs are themselves a culture that had been initially incorporated into the Oltec Empire but later broke free (IIRC). They may very possibly be one of many (that's the route I was taking with my ill-developed Gaz anyway). The M-Olmecs could either be a contemporaneous sub-culture within the Oltec Empire, or could have preceded it.

As for the Giant Heads: In mythology, the Incan god Viracocha is said to have created a race of giants that preceded the creation of mankind. When he grew displeased with them he turned them into stone. I think there is certainly room to perhaps combine some mythologies here. The Oltec Viracocha equivalent would probably be Terra, and the giants could be actual stone giants, or they may be apocryphal (a way of more modern Oltecs to explain the giant statuary left behind by their M-Olmec predecessors).

IIRC, I believe some of the myths I read had the stone giants in a more benevolent fashion- as ancient guardians. But I'd have to refresh my memory on this. They were closely associated with Tiwanaku, as I remember.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:58 pm

Another thing I recall that I was going to incorporate were the myths relating to the underworld, Ukhu Pacha. Given the geographic location of the Oltec in the HW, as well as a large body of Native American mythology regarding the existence of the Underworld, and several origin stories that place the origins of humans to an emigration from the Underworld to the surface (including the Inca and IIRC the Aztecs, as well as several North American tribal myths), I wanted to connect this with their mythologies and the Schattenalfen.
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by JamesMishler » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:05 am

It has been some time since I worked on that area of Mystara but from what I recall, the Oltecs were the first urban culture in that region of the world, among the various Oltec-related and undifferentiated clans and tribes. Their empire then spread, absorbing the Oltec-related groups and undifferentiated groups as the empire grew.

At some point they migrated to Davania; I'm sure I noted it somewhere in the big Blackmoor history, as the Oltecs were subservient to the Gold Dragons and Chimeric folk of western Davania (opposed to both the Chromatic Dragon Empire of Brun and the Serpent Men empire of eastern Davania).

The original Oltecs in this regard were kind of like the Olmecs and other peoples of southern Mesoamerica in that their culture resembled something distantly like the Aztecs and distantly like something resembling the Inca.

The Azcans, descended from Oltecs and undifferentiated groups, later broke away, while the Oltecs who settled western Davania developed into something like the Inca (and other South American groups). To the Oltecs under the Gold Dragon Empire, the dragons were like "space gods," after all, IMM, they actually came from other worlds in outer space...
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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Sturm » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:49 am

Havard wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:58 pm
It occurs to me that the term Oltecs refers to a culture that spanned continents and existed for milennia on Mystara. They are the ancestors of both the Azcans and the various cultures of Atruaghin. At least in the Outer World, I think they must have covered a large number of cultural groups. I think most R/W cultures that have existed in North and South America might have an equivalent on Mystara related to either the Oltecs, Azcans or Atruaghins.
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There is a fundamental confusion in Canon material because the term "Oltec" is used both for the Classical Oltecs now in the Hollow World which were in Brun before the Great Rain of Fire, for all the similar cultures elsewhere in the world and for the humans group related to them, as the Jennites, i.e. the whole Asian/Amerindian supergroup in the RW. A Timeline of the Oltec Man by Átila Pires dos Santos and Giampaolo Agosta http://pandius.com/oltcmant.html is the basic guide here.
The Amerindian-like Oltecs should be only those which went to Brun and Davania, while the "Asian-like" Oltecs mostly remained in Skothar (with some exceptions). Indeed in Brun and Davania there is room enough to place all the ancient Amerindian culture.
Another problem in canon is that the region where the Oltecs and Azcan supposedly were (Black Mountains to Atruaghin) now are inhabited by different cultures. I wonder if some sort of post-Inca-like Oltec culture should be placed in the Black Mountains. Or maybe the current descendants of the Oltecs in Brun are now tribes which roam the plains..

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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Havard » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:43 am

Sturm wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:49 am
There is a fundamental confusion in Canon material because the term "Oltec" is used both for the Classical Oltecs now in the Hollow World which were in Brun before the Great Rain of Fire, for all the similar cultures elsewhere in the world and for the humans group related to them, as the Jennites, i.e. the whole Asian/Amerindian supergroup in the RW. A Timeline of the Oltec Man by Átila Pires dos Santos and Giampaolo Agosta http://pandius.com/oltcmant.html is the basic guide here.
Agreed. That is a useful guide. A large population going through many stages of cultural development through the ages would have resulted in many types of cultures through the centuries and milennia. Some ethnic traits might have been retained as well as language and some connections to specific Immortals. But beyond that there would be a wide variety.
The Amerindian-like Oltecs should be only those which went to Brun and Davania, while the "Asian-like" Oltecs mostly remained in Skothar (with some exceptions). Indeed in Brun and Davania there is room enough to place all the ancient Amerindian culture.
Makes sense to me.
Another problem in canon is that the region where the Oltecs and Azcan supposedly were (Black Mountains to Atruaghin) now are inhabited by different cultures. I wonder if some sort of post-Inca-like Oltec culture should be placed in the Black Mountains. Or maybe the current descendants of the Oltecs in Brun are now tribes which roam the plains..
I think this can easily be explained by the Oltecs having been driven away (or left on their own free will) by other cultures and creatures. There would undoubtedly be remnants of Oltec structures in the region, especially in dungeons and caverns below the Black Mountains.

I do very much think that descendants of Brun Oltecs still can be found in the Midlands, on the Yazak Steppes or elsewhere on Brun. Perhaps these have to a greater extend been influenced by Atruaghin, or perhaps Ixion and Atzanteotl still have some hold over them.

What about the Oltecs in the Hollow World?

I think it is pretty clear that not every sub division of cultures that have existed under the "Oltec" label over the milennia has been preserved in the Hollow World, at least not in the lands called the Oltec Lands. Jennites for instance have their own region. The Oltec Lands in the Hollow World are clearly dominated by a culture resembling some kind of South American Indians. Although if we look at the Known World or Savage Coast, I see no reason to limit ourselves strictly to one specific RW analogy. The Oltec Lands could also have room for cultures inspired by Maya, Inca, Olmec, Toltec and other cultures IMO.

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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Sturm » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:00 pm

I've used Maya for Schweidnitz in Davania, where the Heldannic knights colonized a Mayan like culture (from an idea of Geoff Gander): http://pandius.com/schweid1.html

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Re: Oltecs - just nice Azcans?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:54 am

Havard wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:43 am
Sturm wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:49 am
There is a fundamental confusion in Canon material because the term "Oltec" is used both for the Classical Oltecs now in the Hollow World which were in Brun before the Great Rain of Fire, for all the similar cultures elsewhere in the world and for the humans group related to them, as the Jennites, i.e. the whole Asian/Amerindian supergroup in the RW. A Timeline of the Oltec Man by Átila Pires dos Santos and Giampaolo Agosta http://pandius.com/oltcmant.html is the basic guide here.
Agreed. That is a useful guide. A large population going through many stages of cultural development through the ages would have resulted in many types of cultures through the centuries and milennia. Some ethnic traits might have been retained as well as language and some connections to specific Immortals. But beyond that there would be a wide variety.
That sounds like a similar situation to Greyhawk, where I used to be confused by the ancient races there. They talk about several races and define new nations by the rough percentage of the old races that make up the new people.

Maybe you could use some sort of terms like "Ancient Oltecs" and "Modern Oltecs" to define the original people (from Mystara's past) and the most pure group of Oltecs that are around today.
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