Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Mezo-American adventures in Maztica, the True World.
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Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Big Mac » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:01 am

Paladinnicolas said something about his new Esmeralda: Island of Revolution netbook, that made me think of the Ghostwalk Campaign Setting:
paladinnicolas wrote:The book includes the overview of this Maztican island, its peoples and nations; the rules of sacrificial magic; the Esmeraldian exorcist class; backgrounds and more to play in this island to the West of Maztica, in the Forgotten Realms. A domain of dread originally from Esmeralda is also described in the book.

New mechanics include the notion of Spiritual Hit Points, Attacks and Armor Class: some mystical beings cannot be hurt by spells or weapons, but only by the deeds and faith of pious souls.
Spiritual Hit Points is an interesting concept. It makes me wonder how an adaptation of Ghostwalk into Maztica might work.

Ghostwalk is a campaign setting, but there is also a sidebar on page 134 that gives advice for "Using Ghostwalk in Other D&D Worlds" (which really only explains how to use it with Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk).

Imagine a Maztican version of Manifest, where people killed before their time, including captives in Flower Wars, rise again as ghost PCs/NPCs.

The gateway to The True Afterlife would need to be swapped out for something connected to the standard Forgotten Realms cosmology, but there could be a zone around the city, that causes all people killed in that area to manifest as ghosts within the city itself.

I would suggest putting the portal to the afterlife below a pyramid. And the Ghostwalk (the taking of dead bodies to the portal, so that the dead can be reunified with their bodies) could be adjusted to fit in with Mezo-american culture.

The "free restoration to life" aspect of Ghostwalk (free of level-draining, that is) could be interesting, as warriors could be killed in combat, serve in some sort of capacity as ghosts, earn enough money to buy a restoration to life and then go on to fight again. Maybe there could be some sort of "Phoenix Knights" who are have died in combat and then come back. (And maybe there could be something similar for Jaguar Knights too.) The rules could be the same, but they could just be warriors who have fought in the Maztican "City of the Dead" and come back.
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Bardsidhe » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:22 am

This is absolutely possible, and culturally (from a person who is not from the earth culture that Maztika is based on) such a setting is perfectly suited.

I would use a new city for the location, I do not recall the name but there is a "lost mayan" city that was found to be the size of Manhatten. that would be perfect for this, it even has multiple pyramids including the largest known to exist. if a map can be located for that it would be the perfect basis for a RPG setting of this nature.

for the Ghost NPC/PC point of return such a large necropolis would be ideal.

I think this is a fantastic concept that deserves its own dedicated "netbook"

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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Seethyr » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:39 am

Bardsidhe wrote: I think this is a fantastic concept that deserves its own dedicated "netbook"
I agree wholeheartedly and really hope someone considers giving it a shot. The whole concept is brilliant! Maybe this novel will have some ideas...

So what might a book like that include to make a truly awesome product/project?

The lore Big Mac mentioned would need to be built in for certain and possibly expanded upon. For example, what is the origin of this city with its uniquely bizarre life/death balance and why would such a place would manifest (pun not intended) in Maztica? I was thinking about some connection to the goddess Maztica's death. She was a goddess of life and basically the "mother" of the world and her body is possibly the land itself. Her death at the hands (or the macuahuitl) of her son Zaltec* could have caused all kinds of crazy supernatural events to occur. I mean, if the death of Mystra (a goddess of magic on the mainland) could cause the Spellplague, how could the death of a life/mother goddess not cause some weirdness - at least at the actual site of the deed.

If a book such as this became a DMS Guild item, it could stand to use some 5e updates to the rules in Ghostwalk. The whole transition between an ectoplasmic body and living body seems like it might be an easy thing to "re"do, considering 3e and 5e rules have so many similarities, on top of all the other strangeness I think I need to reread.

The ideal location for this city might be in the southern jungles of the Green Folk. Canonically, there are dozens of ruins throughout these jungles that came from an unknown people (already set the stage a bit with the adventure The Ruins). The Green Folk are a tad xenophobic and are far out of the region described in the novels and game products. This could account for how noone (like the Nexalan Empire or Cordell) ever mentioned or sought to explore/exploit such an interesting place.





*In lore that I use, Zaltec took her heart when he killed her and it is the source of the corrupted life magic that changed the humans of the Cult of the Viperhand into orcs, ogres, trolls and jagres.
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Big Mac » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:11 am

Bardsidhe wrote:This is absolutely possible, and culturally (from a person who is not from the earth culture that Maztika is based on) such a setting is perfectly suited.
Thanks Bardsidhe. It looks like this is your first post, so welcome to The Piazza. Thanks for delurking to help with my topic. :D

You might want to pop over to the "Introduce Yourself Here" topic, in The Philosopher's Stone, say "hi" to the community at large, and say a little bit about yourself, and what D&D stuff you like.
Bardsidhe wrote:I would use a new city for the location, I do not recall the name but there is a "lost mayan" city that was found to be the size of Manhatten. that would be perfect for this, it even has multiple pyramids including the largest known to exist. if a map can be located for that it would be the perfect basis for a RPG setting of this nature.
A new city does sound like the best thing.

I think that Manifest, from the Ghostwalk book, would be highly disruptive if added into any existing canon Maztican city, as the ghosts would require a reboot. But if a Ghostwalk/Maztica city was put into one of the many undocumented areas, the general outline of Manifest could be looked at, with individual buildings replaced by step pyramids and other things.
Bardsidhe wrote:for the Ghost NPC/PC point of return such a large necropolis would be ideal.
I looked at the Wikipedia article for Ghosts in Mexican culture and there are some interesting things there, including the idea that the "Cantares Mexicanos" are some sort of "ghost songs" that can bring back fallen warriors to fight again, but that they require payment in souls. That's something that is disputed (as are some of the other things I've seen scholars write about Mezo-america) but I figure that a bit of research could help inspire a new Maztican-theme that is more appropriate as a history, than the theme included in the Ghostwalk book.

There is also the Day of the Dead to look at for inspiration. That's a tradition observed all across Mexico. One of the limiting things about Ghostwalk, is that ghosts only manifest in the city of Manifest (unless they take special feats or use special magic items). But what if a Maztican "City of the Dead" was home to the ghosts, but the manifest zone expanded to an entire country, during a Maztican answer to the Day of the Dead.

The real-world Day of the Dead, lasted an entire month (in August), so if there was an in-game Day of the Dead, and that lasted an entire month, that would be enough time for an army of ghosts to be summoned to march across the country and fight for the living. That could give you a fun plotline, where colonists from Faerûn (or even Kara-Tur) take control of part of the coastline, after an invasion and a battle with the natives, and then get killed off, by the very same warriors they killed, when the Day of the Dead rolls around. :)
Bardsidhe wrote:I think this is a fantastic concept that deserves its own dedicated "netbook"
It would probably be a lot of work, and would take a bit of research and some brainstorming, but it could be fun to talk about this some more.

One thing that needs sorting out, is a local replacement for Orcus (assuming that Orcus himself is not used), if an island of undead, close to the coastline is going to take the place of Inuitea/Xaphan. Perhps Myrkul or Bhaal could be the returning outsider deity.
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Big Mac » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:36 am

Seethyr wrote:
Bardsidhe wrote: I think this is a fantastic concept that deserves its own dedicated "netbook"
I agree wholeheartedly and really hope someone considers giving it a shot. The whole concept is brilliant! Maybe this novel will have some ideas....
I've not heard of The Mayan Ressurection yet, but the Amazon page, says that it is part of a trilogy. I also saw The Mayan Prophecy and The Mayan Destiny. Are these the other two books that make up the trilogy?
Seethyr wrote:So what might a book like that include to make a truly awesome product/project?

The lore Big Mac mentioned would need to be built in for certain and possibly expanded upon. For example, what is the origin of this city with its uniquely bizarre life/death balance and why would such a place would manifest (pun not intended) in Maztica? I was thinking about some connection to the goddess Maztica's death. She was a goddess of life and basically the "mother" of the world and her body is possibly the land itself. Her death at the hands (or the macuahuitl) of her son Zaltec* could have caused all kinds of crazy supernatural events to occur. I mean, if the death of Mystra (a goddess of magic on the mainland) could cause the Spellplague, how could the death of a life/mother goddess not cause some weirdness - at least at the actual site of the deed..


Eberron Campaign Setting has a lot of stuff about "Manifest Zones". They are essentially a connection between the Material Plane and another plane (or demiplane) where some rules of the other plane spill over.

Doing something with the godess Maztica could be fun. I wonder if Maztica could come back to life, at some point. I wasn't thinking along those lines, but Chainmail has the death of the war god causing a war in the Sundered Empire. :?
Seethyr wrote:If a book such as this became a DMS Guild item, it could stand to use some 5e updates to the rules in Ghostwalk. The whole transition between an ectoplasmic body and living body seems like it might be an easy thing to "re"do, considering 3e and 5e rules have so many similarities, on top of all the other strangeness I think I need to reread..
Ghostwalk has not been released to DMs Guild, at this time.

That would mean that it would be difficult to connect any netbook, like this, to any Maztica Alive products released on DMs Guild.
Seethyr wrote:The ideal location for this city might be in the southern jungles of the Green Folk. Canonically, there are dozens of ruins throughout these jungles that came from an unknown people (already set the stage a bit with the adventure The Ruins). The Green Folk are a tad xenophobic and are far out of the region described in the novels and game products. This could account for how noone (like the Nexalan Empire or Cordell) ever mentioned or sought to explore/exploit such an interesting place..
I bow to your greater judgement on the location, although tying into a DMs Guild product might be tricky, at this time.

If you wanted to use the Ghostwalk map (it's hidden in one of the two web enhancements) you would need to put a Maztican "City of the Dead" near to the Eastern coast, with an island (full of undead) just off of the coast.
Seethyr wrote:*In lore that I use, Zaltec took her heart when he killed her and it is the source of the corrupted life magic that changed the humans of the Cult of the Viperhand into orcs, ogres, trolls and jagres.
I wonder what would happen if the goddess Maztica came back (or tried to come back) but didn't have her heart. Perhaps she could come back as a ghost of a deity, searching to replace her heart so that she can fully manifest as a regular deity again. :?
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:19 am

Bardsidhe wrote:I think this is a fantastic concept that deserves its own dedicated "netbook"
I would buy this if it were a well-written product.
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Seethyr » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:01 am

Big Mac wrote: I've not heard of The Mayan Ressurection yet, but the Amazon page, says that it is part of a trilogy. I also saw The Mayan Prophecy and The Mayan Destiny. Are these the other two books that make up the trilogy?
I just ordered it, and I'm wondering if it will have good ideas to raid. It supposedly has some discussion of Xibalba (an Aztec realm of the afterlife) that I want to know more about. I read a review that said the first book in the trilogy was terrible but this one was decent so I might just try to dive in to this second novel.
Big Mac wrote: Eberron Campaign Setting has a lot of stuff about "Manifest Zones". They are essentially a connection between the Material Plane and another plane (or demiplane) where some rules of the other plane spill over.
That certainly sounds like a great idea, but from what I remember of ghostwalk, a wholly different concept. They could be intertwined some way I'm sure.
Big Mac wrote: Doing something with the godess Maztica could be fun. I wonder if Maztica could come back to life, at some point. I wasn't thinking along those lines, but Chainmail has the death of the war god causing a war in the Sundered Empire. :?
That would certainly be a RSE for Maztica (would that make it a MSE?). I couldn't imagine the implications. I'm sure she's none to happy with her sons (particularly Zaltec).
Big Mac wrote: Ghostwalk has not been released to DMs Guild, at this time.

That would mean that it would be difficult to connect any netbook, like this, to any Maztica Alive products released on DMs Guild.
I've seen updated rules for Binders (from Tome of Magic), Incarnum, and even Spelljammer up there that I don't think have caused a problem. I mean, if it's set in a new city, a Maztica campaign, and only uses some raided ideas from Ghostwalk, do you think that violates their terms?
Big Mac wrote:
If you wanted to use the Ghostwalk map (it's hidden in one of the two web enhancements) you would need to put a Maztican "City of the Dead" near to the Eastern coast, with an island (full of undead) just off of the coast.
Now that would be awesome!
Big Mac wrote: I wonder what would happen if the goddess Maztica came back (or tried to come back) but didn't have her heart. Perhaps she could come back as a ghost of a deity, searching to replace her heart so that she can fully manifest as a regular deity again. :?
I have to go through the boxed set again, but if my memory serves me correctly, there is a canon basis that could make this all possible. There is a section in the boxed set that briefly talks about the Maztican cosmology (which at the time of 2e, was separate from the Great Wheel) and Maztica's ghost DOES in fact wander one of the planes. Time to rummage lol...
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:38 am

Seethyr wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I've not heard of The Mayan Ressurection yet, but the Amazon page, says that it is part of a trilogy. I also saw The Mayan Prophecy and The Mayan Destiny. Are these the other two books that make up the trilogy?
I just ordered it, and I'm wondering if it will have good ideas to raid. It supposedly has some discussion of Xibalba (an Aztec realm of the afterlife) that I want to know more about. I read a review that said the first book in the trilogy was terrible but this one was decent so I might just try to dive in to this second novel.
Maybe you could post a topic about raiding ideas from the novels. I have to say that, if I was going to get them, I would probably start with the first one (even if it wasn't so good) just so that I had the story straight.
Seethyr wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Eberron Campaign Setting has a lot of stuff about "Manifest Zones". They are essentially a connection between the Material Plane and another plane (or demiplane) where some rules of the other plane spill over.
That certainly sounds like a great idea, but from what I remember of ghostwalk, a wholly different concept. They could be intertwined some way I'm sure.
The manifest zones in Eberron have some sort of magical properties, that relate to various other planes (there are different zones in different parts of Eberron that connect to different planes. The city of Manifest, in Ghostwalk has the magical properties of causing ghosts to automatically manifest fully. And the city is built on top of a portal to the True Afterlife. So its a pretty similar implementation of the concept (even though Ghostwalk predates Eberron).
Seethyr wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Doing something with the godess Maztica could be fun. I wonder if Maztica could come back to life, at some point. I wasn't thinking along those lines, but Chainmail has the death of the war god causing a war in the Sundered Empire. :?
That would certainly be a RSE for Maztica (would that make it a MSE?). I couldn't imagine the implications. I'm sure she's none to happy with her sons (particularly Zaltec).
Maybe she doesn't actually need to come back to life. Maybe there just needs to be a connection with her death.

In Chainmail, the god Stratis cursed the Sundered Empire, threw down a number of magical weapons (artifacts) and vowed that mortals would fight, until a new war god rose up.

I don't recall exactly how Maztica was killed, by Zaltec, but if the story of her death could somehow be linked to something similar to Ghostwalk's True Afterlife, that could give you a "City of Phantoms" (to use the term I just found out is associated with the Western Afterlife in Aztec Mythology. (Phantoms might be a better term, as "Ghostwalk" ghosts are not the same as regular D&D ghosts and you can have D&D ghosts in Ghostwalk. Ghostwalk suggests renaming D&D ghosts to something else, but in another setting, it's probably better to drop the "Ghostwalk" name and use a new name for "Ghostwalk ghosts".)

I would probably need to do more research, but if the way that Maztica was killed by Zaltec, broke a hole between the Material Plane and the "Western Afterlife" (aka "The House of Corn") (or whatever that might be in Planescape terms) it might create a manifest zone that makes the return of phantoms a lot higher than other parts of Maztica.

In fact, if we ignored my previous "stick it on the East, so you can use the maps" thing and flipped the map, it might be more logical to stick a "City of Phantoms" on the extreme west coast, perhaps in an area isolated by mountains (to stop the phantoms spilling out and taking over all of Maztica).

I don't know if phantoms feature in Maztica mythology, but if the "four afterlives" were literally shunted off in four directions, you could have vague mentions of them in the canon Maztica area (with almost nothing known about them by normal people) but much stronger themes in "specialist areas" that were far away from Maztica.

I think that the ghost-class options might need a reboot, to make them fit in better with the concept of "phantoms". A lot of other things would probably need to be rebooted too.
Seethyr wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Ghostwalk has not been released to DMs Guild, at this time.

That would mean that it would be difficult to connect any netbook, like this, to any Maztica Alive products released on DMs Guild.
I've seen updated rules for Binders (from Tome of Magic), Incarnum, and even Spelljammer up there that I don't think have caused a problem. I mean, if it's set in a new city, a Maztica campaign, and only uses some raided ideas from Ghostwalk, do you think that violates their terms?
I do think it would violate those terms...at the moment.

I think that Ghostwalk, as a campaign setting, will be opened up, at some point. If things had been different, we might even have seen a Ghostwalk SRD (there was nearly an Oriental SRD from the 3e Oriental Adventures).

I don't think that stops fan netbook publication outside of DMs Guild (and if you really want to publish absolutely everything via DMs Guild, you could always do prep work now and publish later).
Seethyr wrote:
Big Mac wrote:If you wanted to use the Ghostwalk map (it's hidden in one of the two web enhancements) you would need to put a Maztican "City of the Dead" near to the Eastern coast, with an island (full of undead) just off of the coast.
Now that would be awesome!
(I'm now thinking that the Western coast would be better, to go with a Western Paradise (aka "The House of Corn") and the Aztec concept of "phantoms".)

And the main theme could be that the death of Maztica is stopping people from moving on immediately. And they are coming back as phantoms (not necessarily evil phantoms) to finish their work.
Seethyr wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I wonder what would happen if the goddess Maztica came back (or tried to come back) but didn't have her heart. Perhaps she could come back as a ghost of a deity, searching to replace her heart so that she can fully manifest as a regular deity again. :?
I have to go through the boxed set again, but if my memory serves me correctly, there is a canon basis that could make this all possible. There is a section in the boxed set that briefly talks about the Maztican cosmology (which at the time of 2e, was separate from the Great Wheel) and Maztica's ghost DOES in fact wander one of the planes. Time to rummage lol...
I need to find my Maztica stuff. It's packed away. But if Planescape has a home for Maztica, then the "local understanding of the Forgotten Realms cosmology" could call that place "The House of Corn" and it could be tied in with the Western Paradise...although I'm not sure that is the one of the four Aztec paradises that is the best fit with the concept of Maztica being worshipped by druids (there are three others). :?
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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by paladinnicolas » Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:53 pm

I have written a new DMsG product entitled "Spiritual Abilities, Trials & Combat", available here: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/185136/ ... est_in_dmg, in which I expand on the idea of a Spirit ability, spiritual checks, contests and powers.

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Re: Using Ghostwalk in Maztica

Post by Big Mac » Mon May 01, 2017 1:07 pm

paladinnicolas wrote:I have written a new DMsG product entitled "Spiritual Abilities, Trials & Combat", available here: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/185136/ ... est_in_dmg, in which I expand on the idea of a Spirit ability, spiritual checks, contests and powers.
Thanks for that, and for Resistance.

I'll have to have a skim through them all and see how well they fit in with the concept of a Mezoamerican city similar to Manifest.
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