What bugs me about Maztica

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What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Dragonhelm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:44 am

Trampman Rant #1492... ;)

I've come to realize something about Maztica that has been bugging me for years, and I'm just figuring it out. And perhaps I'm off base here. It just seems to me that Maztica doesn't feel very much like D&D to me. It also doesn't feel like it's fully integrated with the Realms as a whole. It feels more like an add-on.

While D&D is based largely on western Europe, we've seen where it can work with other genres (i.e. Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape, etc.). And I would dare say that it works out okay for Kara-Tur's Oriental Adventures.

When I think of Maztica, I don't instantly see how D&D's races and classes fit in. The gods are foreign, feeling like little more than names on a page. I would like to see some original regional races as well. Recent products suggest that the Tabaxi come from Maztica, so that helps.

There are some cool things going on. Eagle Knights, Jaguar Knights, pluma and hishna magic. Aztec-style pyramids.

Yet at the end of the day, I kind of feel like Maztica is just a place to put Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.

Now I'm probably way off base here and have probably forgotten a lot. I just feel like Maztica needs something more. Strong archetypes using D&D classes, but flavored to be more Mesoamerican. Art would be a huge boon. We don't have a lot of quality art for Maztica.I want dragons (Returned Maztica has them!).

Anyway, just some various thoughts. Am I off base here?
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Morfie » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:24 am

You could apply the same to Al-Qadim perhaps?
I like the idea of Maztica, but what bugged me was the lack of detail. I want populations, area size etc. Perhaps I have been too spoiled by the GAZ series.

Wasn't there a storyline somewhere where Realms countries colonised Maztica, similar to Colombus? Did that go some way to integrate it? Sorry, I am not familiar with that bit.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Jürgen Hubert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:12 am

I hear you - addressing at least some of these complaints is one of the reasons for my "Revised Maztica" project.

Dragonhelm wrote:Trampman Rant #1492... ;)

I've come to realize something about Maztica that has been bugging me for years, and I'm just figuring it out. And perhaps I'm off base here. It just seems to me that Maztica doesn't feel very much like D&D to me. It also doesn't feel like it's fully integrated with the Realms as a whole. It feels more like an add-on.

While D&D is based largely on western Europe, we've seen where it can work with other genres (i.e. Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape, etc.). And I would dare say that it works out okay for Kara-Tur's Oriental Adventures.

When I think of Maztica, I don't instantly see how D&D's races and classes fit in.


This is a big one - while not necessarily all subclasses are a good fit, when I am done I am going to assure that all the classes from the Player's Handbook fit into Maztica (as well as the Artificer class from Unearthed Arcana).

Additionally, one of my pet peeves is now much "weaker" many of the class choices for Maztican characters were when compared to Faerunian characters. Native non-divine spellcasters were much weaker than wizards. Priests had far fewer accessible spheres than characters from Faerun. I get that they needed some justification for why the Golden Legion was able to conquer so much, but it is still galling - and in the post-Sundering era, this is gone.

The gods are foreign, feeling like little more than names on a page.


This is less of a problem IMO, since Kara-Tur and Zahkara both have their own pantheons. Unless you mean "not enough detail", in which case I hear you - that's also something I want to address. There are also a few deities from Faerun which have by now integrated into the Maztican pantheon

I would like to see some original regional races as well. Recent products suggest that the Tabaxi come from Maztica, so that helps.


Don't forget the Aaracokra. And in "Returned Maztica" there are large numbers of dragonborn and genasi immigrants, which helps with the diversity. As for new, original races... I haven't thought of any that would fit, but I will see what I can do.

There are some cool things going on. Eagle Knights, Jaguar Knights, pluma and hishna magic. Aztec-style pyramids.

Yet at the end of the day, I kind of feel like Maztica is just a place to put Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.


In other words, an exotic place to visit, instead of a fascinating place for entire campaigns where characters can come from.

Personally, one model for how I want Maztica to be is Morrowind from the Elder Scrolls series - a very alien culture, yet clearly a civilized one, and one with lots of potential for adventure. It shouldn't just be fun to play a visitor, but also a native who can see eye-to-eye with the foreigners.

Now I'm probably way off base here and have probably forgotten a lot. I just feel like Maztica needs something more. Strong archetypes using D&D classes, but flavored to be more Mesoamerican.


Current plans for new subclasses:

Artificer: Plumaweaver and Hishnashaper
Paladin: Eagle Knights and Jaguar Knights
Wizard: Blood Mage (sacrificing blood - your own or that of others - to boost your spells!)

And Xanathar's Guide to Everything has some very useful subclasses, from what I've gathered (I don't have the book yet myself). I would not have thought it possible to make Barbarians fit in with the "civilized" regions of Maztica, but both the Ancestral Guardian and the Zealot would work well (and I have even some ideas for how Totem Warriors could fit). The Drunken Master would work very well for martial arts developed by slaves, since it is very similar in style to the real world martial art of capoeira. And so forth.

Art would be a huge boon. We don't have a lot of quality art for Maztica.


That is sadly something I can do little about - I do want to create art, but my own art skills are still rather modest and I don't have the budget to commission anything. If the first product does well, then maybe I can do something about that...

I want dragons (Returned Maztica has them!).

Anyway, just some various thoughts. Am I off base here?


Nope, I obviously think you are on the right track. ;)

Morfie wrote:You could apply the same to Al-Qadim perhaps?
I like the idea of Maztica, but what bugged me was the lack of detail. I want populations, area size etc. Perhaps I have been too spoiled by the GAZ series.


That, too, could be done if I find enough time.

Wasn't there a storyline somewhere where Realms countries colonised Maztica, similar to Colombus? Did that go some way to integrate it? Sorry, I am not familiar with that bit.


The initial conquest in the style of Cortes' wars was covered in the novels - their counterpart (Cordell) did not manage to conquer quite as much, but the large Aztec Empire analogue self-destructed anyway. One further product - Lands of Intrigue - mentions that Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate created their own colonies further north and that the existing colonies get quite a lot of immigrants, but that's about it.

Then, a few decades later during the Spellplague, the whole continent shifts over to the world of Abeir, where it remains for the rest of the 4E era - it only returns with the Sundering and the 5e era, more than a century later. And examining what has come of Maztica after all this time... well, that's what I am exploring right now. ;)
Last edited by Jürgen Hubert on Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Sturm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:35 am

Indeed the original lacked many details to work well as a stand alone campaign setting, and felt very different from the rest of Tori, so required some work by the DM to be developed.
Now however Seethyr (viewtopic.php?f=39&t=6538), Zeromaru X (viewtopic.php?f=39&t=15572) and Jurgen (viewtopic.php?f=39&t=18770) did so much to develop the setting that I think you can easily play a full campaign in any era of Maztica..
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby night_druid » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:45 pm

Maztica hails from an unfortunate period of time during FR's 2e run, when the product quality was lacking. It wasn't just Maztica that had issues with wide borders, low word-count per page, poor artwork, and bad rules. Had Maztica came out in late 1e, they might have given it a treatment not unlike Oriental Adventures. Or had it come out a few years later, at around the time Al'Qadim had come out, it probably would have been given a similar softback. Either way, it would have been a single book, absolutely packed with details and integrated much better into D&D. I always viewed Maztica as "just FR version of Cortez defeating the Aztec Empire", without even other races for PCs to play aside from Aztecs. They probably should have included more native american cultures, and incorporated D&D races. And probably ditch the Cortez storyline in favor of ongoing trade and communication between the two continents, sporadic as it might be. Maybe even go fantastic, adding dinosaurs or prehistoric mammals. <shrug> It certainly needed _more_; what we got just wasn't that interesting unless you really want to play Cortez and his men. :P
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:24 pm

Morfie wrote:Wasn't there a storyline somewhere where Realms countries colonised Maztica, similar to Colombus? Did that go some way to integrate it? Sorry, I am not familiar with that bit.


I guess this is my only complaint with Maztica: it was a total rip-off of Pre-Colombian America, to the point of that even the colonization happened. What was the necessity to make the Amnians colonize this land? Couldn't Maztica be self-sufficient, trading with Faerûn like Kara-tur was?

I guess the Spellplague was the best thing that could have happened to Maztica, because it allow it to develop as its own thing, instead of being "not-Mesoamerica".
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Sturm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:28 pm

The fact is Douglas Niles trilogy mirrors almost exactly the History of the Conquest of Mexico by William H. Prescott, at least in the first book. But I found it quite entertaining at the time exactly because I had read Prescott shortly before and I appreciated the transplant of the story in a fantasy environment.
I would have appreciated even more a counter-invasion of Faerun by Mazticans however :)
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Jürgen Hubert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:11 pm

night_druid wrote:Maztica hails from an unfortunate period of time during FR's 2e run, when the product quality was lacking. It wasn't just Maztica that had issues with wide borders, low word-count per page, poor artwork, and bad rules. Had Maztica came out in late 1e, they might have given it a treatment not unlike Oriental Adventures. Or had it come out a few years later, at around the time Al'Qadim had come out, it probably would have been given a similar softback. Either way, it would have been a single book, absolutely packed with details and integrated much better into D&D. I always viewed Maztica as "just FR version of Cortez defeating the Aztec Empire", without even other races for PCs to play aside from Aztecs. They probably should have included more native american cultures, and incorporated D&D races.


To be fair, the Boxed Set does have a number of different cultures beyond the Payit ("not-Mayans") and the Nexalans ("not-Aztecs") - there is also Kultaka, Huacli, and Kolan. But their descriptions are very much bare bones, and much more could be done with them (I've written my best guesses on their real world counterparts in their respective regional update threads).

Including counterparts beyond Mesoamerica would probably have been too large in scope - Maztica is already a very large region in its own right, and its real world counterparts have lots of details for exploration and inspiration.

As for incorporating D&D races, I actually rather like the concept of the desert dwarves - turning real world cultures into fantasy races is always a topic fraught with peril that can be done very, very badly, so having D&D races as an "alien" element that the "native" elements have to interact with works rather well. This is the model I have chosen for the Dragonborn in "Returned Maztica". The genasi, meanwhile, occupy a similar "niche" as African slaves in real world history, but I will strive to turn them into their own thing.

And probably ditch the Cortez storyline in favor of ongoing trade and communication between the two continents, sporadic as it might be. Maybe even go fantastic, adding dinosaurs or prehistoric mammals. <shrug> It certainly needed _more_; what we got just wasn't that interesting unless you really want to play Cortez and his men. :P


And the justifications for his victories were to the detriment of the setting IMO. I mean, I can see why they didn't want to go with "plagues of apocalyptic proportions", but the combination of "the native don't know useful, powerful magic" and "the natives are controlled from behind the scenes from beings from Faerun" left me with a sour taste. This left the natives with no real agency of their own - they didn't shape their own destiny, but were at the mercy of others.

Zeromaru X wrote:I guess this is my only complaint with Maztica: it was a total rip-off of Pre-Colombian America, to the point of that even the colonization happened. What was the necessity to make the Amnians colonize this land? Couldn't Maztica be self-sufficient, trading with Faerûn like Kara-tur was?

I guess the Spellplague was the best thing that could have happened to Maztica, because it allow it to develop as its own thing, instead of being "not-Mesoamerica".


Yeah, I was not a fan of the Spellplague when it happened. But when the Sundering occurred and Maztica returned after its absence, the thought hit me like a hammer: "Holy crap, this could make Maztica awesome!"

Hence my project. ;)

Sturm wrote:The fact is Douglas Niles trilogy mirrors almost exactly the History of the Conquest of Mexico by William H. Prescott, at least in the first book. But I found it quite entertaining at the time exactly because I had read Prescott shortly before and I appreciated the transplant of the story in a fantasy environment.
I would have appreciated even more a counter-invasion of Faerun by Mazticans however :)


Eh, it's hard to justify that one - I mean, what does Faerun have that would justify an invasion over such a distance?

That being said, I hear "Crusader Kings II" has a DLC on these lines... ;)
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Dragonhelm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:27 pm

Jürgen Hubert wrote:
This is less of a problem IMO, since Kara-Tur and Zahkara both have their own pantheons. Unless you mean "not enough detail", in which case I hear you - that's also something I want to address. There are also a few deities from Faerun which have by now integrated into the Maztican pantheon


I prefer the Dragonlance approach, where Deity X is seen in different ways based on region.


Don't forget the Aaracokra. And in "Returned Maztica" there are large numbers of dragonborn and genasi immigrants, which helps with the diversity. As for new, original races... I haven't thought of any that would fit, but I will see what I can do.


Nice! See, this is what I like. Humans are around, some regional races, some "foreign" races, and maybe some of the old mainstays could be added as well (elves, dwarves, and halflings?). I think halflings exist already in Maztica, IIRC.

In other words, an exotic place to visit, instead of a fascinating place for entire campaigns where characters can come from.


Yes, that's it exactly. I'd also like to see characters from Maztica and characters from Faerun interacting.


Current plans for new subclasses:

Artificer: Plumaweaver and Hishnashaper
Paladin: Eagle Knights and Jaguar Knights
Wizard: Blood Mage (sacrificing blood - your own or that of others - to boost your spells!)


Love it! Never would have thought of the plumaweaver and hishnashaper as artificer subclasses. Eagle and Jaguar Knights definitely need to be paladin subclasses. I never felt that they worked for the ranger. And I love the idea of a blood mage.

Wasn't there a storyline somewhere where Realms countries colonised Maztica, similar to Colombus? Did that go some way to integrate it? Sorry, I am not familiar with that bit.


The initial conquest in the style of Cortes' wars was covered in the novels - their counterpart (Cordell) did not manage to conquer quite as much, but the large Aztec Empire analogue self-destructed anyway. One further product - Lands of Intrigue - mentions that Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate created their own colonies further north and that the existing colonies get quite a lot of immigrants, but that's about it.


I really don't want a retelling of the whole Columbian Exchange. Cordell could just fade away. I want something inspired by Mesoamerica, not a fantasy retelling of it.

Then, a few decades later during the Spellplague, the whole continent shifts over to the world of Abeir, where it remains for the rest of the 4E era - it only returns with the Sundering and the 5e era, more than a century later. And examining what has come of Maztica after all this time... well, that's what I am exploring right now. ;)


I like where you're going with this, Jurgen. Keep up the good work!
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:43 pm

night_druid wrote:Maybe even go fantastic, adding dinosaurs or prehistoric mammals. <shrug> It certainly needed _more_; what we got just wasn't that interesting unless you really want to play Cortez and his men. :P


We can easily add dinosaurs to Maztica, in fact. The 4e FRCG implies that most of the dinosaur population in current Chult is from Abeir (or at least, did not existed in Chult since Abeir and Toril were separated). That means a lot of freedom from some fantastical stuff in Maztica.

Dinosaurs, scathebeast, anaxims. We can even go Bruce R. Cordell, and bring on some Lovecraftian creatures, because those also were regular inhabitants of Abeir as well.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby night_druid » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:56 pm

Jürgen Hubert wrote:As for incorporating D&D races, I actually rather like the concept of the desert dwarves - turning real world cultures into fantasy races is always a topic fraught with peril that can be done very, very badly, so having D&D races as an "alien" element that the "native" elements have to interact with works rather well. This is the model I have chosen for the Dragonborn in "Returned Maztica". The genasi, meanwhile, occupy a similar "niche" as African slaves in real world history, but I will strive to turn them into their own thing.


I'm not sure I'd equate x race = y culture, just do stuff to incorporate them into the whole. Probably something not unlike spirit folk for the elves and the like.

And the justifications for his victories were to the detriment of the setting IMO. I mean, I can see why they didn't want to go with "plagues of apocalyptic proportions", but the combination of "the native don't know useful, powerful magic" and "the natives are controlled from behind the scenes from beings from Faerun" left me with a sour taste. This left the natives with no real agency of their own - they didn't shape their own destiny, but were at the mercy of others.


Thinking about it, I sorta think they should have already HAD the apocalyptic depopulation of Maztica...generations ago. Some ancient disaster, cult, or whatever, swept the land and destroyed much of the civilization. AKA leaving LOTS of monster-and-cult haunted ruins everywhere. The arriving PCs aren't conquers, they come to help. The natives have powerful warriors and magic, but not the numbers they need. These outsiders might just be the mercenaries needed to push the balance back into their favor. Much more mutually beneficial relationship instead of outsiders conquer primitives storyline.

I certainly would go with a wide mix of cultures and motives, too. Some good, some want to just use the PCs, and others are downright evil, wanting to flay them alive and dance around wearing their skins. There'd be some city-states that would give the Zhents the heebeegeebees, and some with noble warriors that could stand side-by-side with paladins against an impossible, evil foe and not flinch.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Dragonhelm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:10 pm

night_druid wrote:Thinking about it, I sorta think they should have already HAD the apocalyptic depopulation of Maztica...generations ago. Some ancient disaster, cult, or whatever, swept the land and destroyed much of the civilization. AKA leaving LOTS of monster-and-cult haunted ruins everywhere. The arriving PCs aren't conquers, they come to help. The natives have powerful warriors and magic, but not the numbers they need. These outsiders might just be the mercenaries needed to push the balance back into their favor. Much more mutually beneficial relationship instead of outsiders conquer primitives storyline.


Yes, exactly. I think in the original version of Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, the pregen Rhialle the Wanderer is set up to seek help from the rest of the party. He would make for an excellent eagle knight.

I certainly would go with a wide mix of cultures and motives, too. Some good, some want to just use the PCs, and others are downright evil, wanting to flay them alive and dance around wearing their skins. There'd be some city-states that would give the Zhents the heebeegeebees, and some with noble warriors that could stand side-by-side with paladins against an impossible, evil foe and not flinch.


Yeah, I'd love to see some nasty cultists who dabble in the undead. Maybe a nifty idea for a warlock.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Jürgen Hubert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:12 pm

Dragonhelm wrote:
Jürgen Hubert wrote:
This is less of a problem IMO, since Kara-Tur and Zahkara both have their own pantheons. Unless you mean "not enough detail", in which case I hear you - that's also something I want to address. There are also a few deities from Faerun which have by now integrated into the Maztican pantheon


I prefer the Dragonlance approach, where Deity X is seen in different ways based on region.


Who is to say that this isn't the case here?

"Referring to Kukul as 'Lord Ao' only betrays your ignorance. And Miska (Mystra) is simply Qotal's and Zaltec's younger sister, who attempted to give mortals the gift of magic in order to one-up their brothers, but then was driven away from Maztica due to their jealousy..."

Nice! See, this is what I like. Humans are around, some regional races, some "foreign" races, and maybe some of the old mainstays could be added as well (elves, dwarves, and halflings?). I think halflings exist already in Maztica, IIRC.


Yes, and as I have pointed out elsewhere, they are evil-minded little bastards. :D

Yes, that's it exactly. I'd also like to see characters from Maztica and characters from Faerun interacting.


Well, considering that Maztica only returned to Faerun 1-2 years ago, there hasn't been much opportunity to reacquaint themselves. Though that will likely change in a hurry - people from Faerun will want to know if Maztica is still as rich in gold as in the old times, and the Dragonborn need new markets to dump their surplus of cotton, sugar, and tobacco now that their old trade routes to other continents have collapsed.

The first cigar is free! After that, you will have to pay a premium. :D

Love it! Never would have thought of the plumaweaver and hishnashaper as artificer subclasses.


It makes all kinds of sense, and gives them a needed power boost. And given the presence of Lantanese exiles, the two existing Artificer subclasses can fit in as well.

Eagle and Jaguar Knights definitely need to be paladin subclasses. I never felt that they worked for the ranger.


Yeah, in real world history, they were the elite military orders of the major city-states - that doesn't fit well with wilderness loners.

And I love the idea of a blood mage.


Thanks, though it hasn't progressed much beyond the "vague concept" stage. I really need to get "Xanathar's Guide to Everything" and have a look at all the subclasses so that I can get some inspiration for the mechanics.

I really don't want a retelling of the whole Columbian Exchange. Cordell could just fade away. I want something inspired by Mesoamerica, not a fantasy retelling of it.


Oh, after reading Charles Mann's "1493" I am all for plundering the interesting parts of the Columbian Exchange ("Japanese samurai in 17th century Mexico guarding silver shipments as mercenaries? Sign me up!"). But it will be more on the lines of "inspired by" instead of a retelling - the premise of "exchanging people, animals, and plants with newly-discovered continents changes both sides irrevocably" remains the same, but the details have gone pretty far off the rails, thanks to that sojourn on Abeir.

And Cordell is mostly gone. Though a bunch of his descendants secretly have him as the "Undying" warlock patron - ancestor worship has become rather popular during the Godless Times...

Zeromaru X wrote:
night_druid wrote:Maybe even go fantastic, adding dinosaurs or prehistoric mammals. <shrug> It certainly needed _more_; what we got just wasn't that interesting unless you really want to play Cortez and his men. :P


We can easily add dinosaurs to Maztica, in fact. The 4e FRCG implies that most of the dinosaur population in current Chult is from Abeir (or at least, did not existed in Chult since Abeir and Toril were separated). That means a lot of freedom from some fantastical stuff in Maztica.

Dinosaurs, scathebeast, anaxims. We can even go Bruce R. Cordell, and bring on some Lovecraftian creatures, because those also were regular inhabitants of Abeir as well.


While I am all for introducing weird beasties to Maztica - including weird reptilian ones - I'd like to avoid actual dinosaurs for purely aesthetic reasons. That's the niche of Chult and Katashaka, and I'd rather do something different with Maztica. As for Aboleths and all, I will see what I can make into a good fit.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Jürgen Hubert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:29 pm

night_druid wrote:I'm not sure I'd equate x race = y culture, just do stuff to incorporate them into the whole. Probably something not unlike spirit folk for the elves and the like.


I've just started reading the 4E supplement "The Shadowfell - Gloomwright and Beyond". Perhaps I can do something interesting with the shadar-kai.

Speaking of which, the cosmology in the Maztica Boxed Set was rather boring. "The Mazticans completely misunderstood the actual cosmology of the world, as properly understood by the sages of Faerun!" - a cosmology that incidentally was thrown out of the window with the 3rd edition (and the 3E Forgotten Realms Player's Guide also salvaged the situation for Maztica). So at the very least I want to do some interesting things with the Feywild and the Shadowfell, which are going to be relevant for (a) the nation of Pezelac and (b) warlock patrons - who during the Godless Time frequently worked as "clan priests".

Thinking about it, I sorta think they should have already HAD the apocalyptic depopulation of Maztica...generations ago. Some ancient disaster, cult, or whatever, swept the land and destroyed much of the civilization. AKA leaving LOTS of monster-and-cult haunted ruins everywhere. The arriving PCs aren't conquers, they come to help. The natives have powerful warriors and magic, but not the numbers they need. These outsiders might just be the mercenaries needed to push the balance back into their favor. Much more mutually beneficial relationship instead of outsiders conquer primitives storyline.


I don't really want to contradict the Boxed Set (much), but I did come up with an explanation for the "inexplicable population decrease" of Payit: A plague of vampires. This is only remembered in garbled legends like the "red wedding" described in the Boxed Set, but essentially the vampire population grew so large that the population of mortals could no longer sustain it. This led to a feeding frenzy, with more and more humans fleeing the cities, and after some intra-vampiric warfare the remaining elders sealed themselves into their tombs and awaited a night when the population of Payit would grow large enough to sustain them again. This day is close at hand, and the first members of the Court of Night are beginning to awaken...

I certainly would go with a wide mix of cultures and motives, too. Some good, some want to just use the PCs, and others are downright evil, wanting to flay them alive and dance around wearing their skins. There'd be some city-states that would give the Zhents the heebeegeebees,


Nexal, Mictlatepec, and Cerico would be the prime candidates for that in "Returned Maztica". :D

and some with noble warriors that could stand side-by-side with paladins against an impossible, evil foe and not flinch.


The warriors of Tukan would probably qualify. Ulatos-Dragonport could become a paragon of good with some work, but right now it could go either way.

Apart from that, "Returned Maztica" recently had a great group of noble heroes who gave their lives to defeat five of the seven dragon overlords who terrorized the continent (a sixth didn't quite take). Since they are largely no longer around, these heroes won't steal the spotlight from the player characters - but they can serve as inspiration and are proof that the natives of Maztica can be fully as heroic and badass as heroes from Faerun.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Dragonhelm » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:30 pm

Jürgen, you may want to consider the warlock for your blood mage concept. I think that's a bit more thematically compatible. Making blood sacrifices for your patron to grant you arcane power seems like a great concept.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby night_druid » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:00 pm

BTW, for "dinosaurs", I'm thinking not so much the classical big reptiles, but actually feathered dinosaurs. Ala "feathered serpents", gifts from Quetzalcoatl. Perhaps one might be something similar to a small hadrosaur, about warhorse-sized, commonly used as a mount. Maybe a feathered sauropod, the thundering feathered serpent, and a feathered theropod with wings.

Just tossing that out there.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby night_druid » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:04 pm

Dragonhelm wrote:
night_druid wrote:Thinking about it, I sorta think they should have already HAD the apocalyptic depopulation of Maztica...generations ago. Some ancient disaster, cult, or whatever, swept the land and destroyed much of the civilization. AKA leaving LOTS of monster-and-cult haunted ruins everywhere. The arriving PCs aren't conquers, they come to help. The natives have powerful warriors and magic, but not the numbers they need. These outsiders might just be the mercenaries needed to push the balance back into their favor. Much more mutually beneficial relationship instead of outsiders conquer primitives storyline.


Yes, exactly. I think in the original version of Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, the pregen Rhialle the Wanderer is set up to seek help from the rest of the party. He would make for an excellent eagle knight.


I think it would be a better fit for the overall theme of D&D...go to village, make friends with locals, get involved somewhat in the personal dramas, kill a few bad villagers, go to local dungeon, and spend every gold piece on ale and women.

I certainly would go with a wide mix of cultures and motives, too. Some good, some want to just use the PCs, and others are downright evil, wanting to flay them alive and dance around wearing their skins. There'd be some city-states that would give the Zhents the heebeegeebees, and some with noble warriors that could stand side-by-side with paladins against an impossible, evil foe and not flinch.


Yeah, I'd love to see some nasty cultists who dabble in the undead. Maybe a nifty idea for a warlock.


I'm definitely thinking necromancers, good and bad. Some contact the undead for help, for relatives to talk to their departed loved ones, etc, while others raise armies of the dead and do other unspeakable things.
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Re: What bugs me about Maztica

Postby Jürgen Hubert » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:21 pm

Dragonhelm wrote:Jürgen, you may want to consider the warlock for your blood mage concept. I think that's a bit more thematically compatible. Making blood sacrifices for your patron to grant you arcane power seems like a great concept.


Hmmm... that could work too, although it would have to be a type of Pact Boon since it ought to work with all Warlock Patrons.

But I still want to keep Blood Mages as a wizard specialization - it was basically invented when Maztica came to Abeir and was cut off from Mystra's Weave, and then the wizards had to come up with new ways of accessing magic. Drawing power from blood would make sense to Mazticans since that's what they always used to feed power to the gods.

night_druid wrote:BTW, for "dinosaurs", I'm thinking not so much the classical big reptiles, but actually feathered dinosaurs. Ala "feathered serpents", gifts from Quetzalcoatl. Perhaps one might be something similar to a small hadrosaur, about warhorse-sized, commonly used as a mount. Maybe a feathered sauropod, the thundering feathered serpent, and a feathered theropod with wings.

Just tossing that out there.


Well, I do plan to have herds of wild axe beaks running around, which is almost the same thing. ;)

night_druid wrote:I think it would be a better fit for the overall theme of D&D...go to village, make friends with locals, get involved somewhat in the personal dramas, kill a few bad villagers, go to local dungeon, and spend every gold piece on ale and women.


That's one option, though I see other possibilities for native characters - one I want to emphasize is "Agents of the Clan".

I'm definitely thinking necromancers, good and bad. Some contact the undead for help, for relatives to talk to their departed loved ones, etc, while others raise armies of the dead and do other unspeakable things.


Let me put it like this: During the Godless Time, when the gods were inaccessible, many native clans sought new patrons for worship and protection - and warlock patrons were a popular choice since they could empower people similar to what the gods did.

The most popular patrons were beings from the Feywild (especially assorted animal spirits). Those who worshiped Fiends or Great Old Ones (such as H'Calos or the Star-That-Shines-By-Day) are rarer, and tend to keep the precise nature of their patron a secret.

However, the second most popular choice is the Undying (from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide) - usually in the form of a famous clan ancestor. Again, for a good model for this consider the Dunmer ancestor worship in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (including their precise laws on what kinds of necromancy are and are not permissible).
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