Old Tzal Post

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Old Tzal Post

Post by Jerial » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:32 pm

Tzal Brainstorming/World Dev

Shaman use hallucinogens and druidic magic to summon the spirits of animals to their bidding. They can also summon elemental spirits (fire, air, water, etc) or even sentient spirits if they are powerful enough. Hallucinogens aid in this process as they help to bypass the logical limitations of the conscious mind. Summonings are long, arduous, and difficult, but as long as the shaman maintains control over their power, the spirits stay tied to the shaman after having been summoned. Now, as one delves into more powerful spirits, they might attempt to either break free or invade the body of the shaman, both of which are possible. With a strong spirit, when the tie is broken, the spirit of the shaman may go with it, effectively killing the shaman and ruining his chance at the afterlife (see Phylacteries). The most powerful shaman can force sentient spirits to summon other spirits, saving them the time and effort. However, this is more dangerous and requires complete control over the spirit.

Prophets- The conclave of prophets, chosen from among the most powerful shaman of every tribe, reign over the tribes in an ultimate theocracy that the chieftains and shaman answer to. The duties of the prophets and their stable of personal servants and ambassadors include but are not limited to presiding over sacrificial proceedings (as well as sacrifices of their own), overseeing their ziggurat, and handling disputes that the chieftain of a tribe may not be able to resolve alone.

Ancients- Old and powerful spirits from before the Changer’s War, these beings can only be summoned by the conclave of prophets on special occasions and are banished soon after out of fear and reverence. A Guardian, one of the Ancients appointed by Piltzintlicoatl to watch over his lands and embody the soul of the jungle, is summoned at the appointing of the Great Prophet once every hundred years to be tied to his spirit. If the Guardian accepts the new Great Prophet, he will tie himself to the Prophet’s spirit and allow him to live until the appointment of the next Prophet. If not, the Prophet dies and the conclave must rule until the next century. Therefore, the process of selecting a Great Prophet from among the conclave is extremely particular. The process of binding with an Ancient spirit isn’t mere puppeteering control as with other spirits; it is a symbiotic habitation involving physiological and psychological alterations. According to tradition, The entire ritual must be done under a solar eclipse, brought on by a ritual even longer than the actual appointment by the Great Prophet, or, in cycles without one, the entire conclave (involving a week’s worth of sacrifices and the odd prayers/incantations of the shaman).

The Great Prophet- Coexisting with an Ancient spirit gives limited power over the seasons and weather, over the lesser spirits controlled by other shaman, and the power of being the voice of the theocracy. Depending on the spirit, he gains other elemental and/or animalistic powers. The price of this power and extended life is sacrificing himself to end the century cycle and appoint the next Great Prophet. Every twelve cycles, a Guardian answers the call, almost exclusively one of the animal spirits. Only thrice has another Guardian answered the call; once Death, once the Storm, and once the Water[the last two are flexible pending another idea as to significant events like Navarre’s with Death].

The Prophet of Death- To the horror of the conclave, the Ancient that answered the call was that of death.(Navarre’s character Grand Prophet Yancuican)

Capital City- Home to the Ziggurat of the Sun, towering at the heart of the city, which houses the meeting rooms of the Conclave and the Great Prophet as well as many other ceremonial and shamanic areas and a grand central temple room with a lofty ceiling that is open to the public for worship.

Prophecies- When the apocalypse approaches, the Avatars shall return, led by the spirit of the Sun (who in the mythology was the god bidden to be keeper of the earth and to watch over it and the mortals, while the moon [spirit of the night?] was bidden to be the keeper of time and the cycles; therefore, when the moon and sun meet [solar eclipse], it is a significant time in the cycles for mortals). They shall form a new Conclave like the one that was appointed during the reign of Piltzintlicoatl. Then, after the Sacred Conclave[WTB better adjective pls] have prepared the people, it will begin[Seal breaking?]. The shaman will unlock their true potential, and while it will drive many insane, those who remain will aid the Conclave in animating the spirits of the dead shaman in the catacombs beneath the Ziggurat of the Sun to defend the people from [whatever it is :P].

Avatars- Physical incarnations of the Ancients, led by the twelve Guardians[six animals and six elements]: the Serpent, the Jaguar, the Eagle, the Spider, the Monkey, the Piranha, the Water, the Fire, Life, Death, the Storm, and the Sun. [Not sure whether to include the night as an avatar/guardian since in the mythology, the spirit of the Sun was the god whose purpose was caring for mortals, and therefore should lead the Guardians, while the Moon wasn’t given a role strictly concerning mortals]

???- Shaman that use their own blood as a catalyst/access point to their own spirit, nihilists? cult?
Zombie librarians- Unliving phylacteries for the prophets. They have no ability to speak, because all their body fluids are coagulated and they do not breathe. They are simply puppet bodies controlled by the spirits of prophets, very weak under most circumstances to prevent dead prophets from doing much other than helping the Keeper of Spirits.

They possess magical sense that can divine when a phylactery is wearing, and they can replace spirits into new ones. They and the Keeper are the only ones that can create new phylacteries. When an intruder enters the Catacombs, their other magical powers activate; they develop an ant-like hive mind with the Keeper as the head and they gain the collective might of the spirits in the Catacombs combined with the magical prowess of the inhabiting prophets to repel the invasion. You probably shouldn’t break in.

They feel no pain and do not ‘die’, because they are not governed by a brain- the impulses are not nervous in nature, they are magical. The bodies do not decompose. If they leave the Catacombs, they will disconnect from their spirit and simply become a normally decomposing corpse. Another body will have to be used to reconnect the prophet’s spirit, if it can even be recovered.

The Ziggurat of the Sun is sitting on an incredibly weak point in the Seal, and this is even more true under the ground in the Catacombs.

Civil Leadership- Tribes have been ruled by a chieftain since they split from the unified nation of Tzalxochitl not long after the death of Piltznicoatl and the divine appointment of the Circle of Prophets. As some of the larger tribes grew, chieftains appointed civil councils mirroring the Circle to legislate and manage the civil guards (though the Circle’s guards are also present in anything as big or bigger than large village). When a chieftain dies, a senior member of the council is chosen by the rest of the council to succeed him. Trade is regulated and managed on a regional basis by an office of trade that reports directly to the Circle (though each tribe handles its own economy, the minting of coin and such is handled by the office of trade in the capital)

Arbiters- Judge/sherriffs, there are three per chieftain, report directly to him, and handle civil disputes. Arbiters are not obligated to handle cases involving shaman (though they often do so anyway), and are to report to the Conclave’s appointed arbiter for such cases (rare). Shaman are generally given the benefit of the doubt, as they are technically part of the theocracy, though most live among the public or are civil servants (healers, hunt leaders, etc).

Justice System

-Arbiters hear cases
-Murder, arson, etc. punished with enslavement
-Poaching=shave unless it’s a spirit animal, in which case falls under heresy
-Heresy=death in all cases, sometimes arbiter doesn’t need to hear case first
-Murder can be up to completely forgiven if the victim was suspected to be a heretic or apostate
-No prisons, all slavery if not allowed back into society
-Chieftain is hereditary unless emissaries say otherwise, then voted on by local council with supervision by an arbiter
-Peasants pay tax to both city-state and to theocracy
-Chieftain considered only a man, prophets considered ascended, not allowed to be looked upon by peasants
-Tattoos considered important both spiritually and ceremonially (marriage tattoos, rite of passage, etc.)

-Law requires education
-Shaman are given extensive education
-Being selected to shamanism removed your past life- family ties, past crimes, etc.
-Rare to have a shaman chosen after age 4
-Can buy your way out of slavery if you are not there for heresy
-Each prophet has a non-shamanic servant called a viceroy

-AYLLU- group of families, responsible for taxes
-Can pay either a labor tax or a crop tax
-Nobles pay a tax of gold and slaves

The most important food that the Maya ate was maize, which is a vegetable like corn. They made all types of food from maize including tortillas, porridge, and even drinks. Other staple crops included beans, squash, and chilies. For meat the Maya ate fish, deer, ducks, and turkey.

The Maya introduced the world to a number of new foods. Probably the most interesting was chocolate from the cacao tree. The Maya considered chocolate to be a gift from the gods and used cacao seeds as money. Other new foods included tomatoes, sweet potatoes, black beans, and papaya.

-Commoners are expected to feed a shaman if he invites himself into your home. It is considered a breach of shamanic conduct and therefore heresy for a shaman to request to sleep with a man’s wife while in his home, but his daughters are open for taking if asked for.

-Cool idea: a hermitage or shrine in the mountains that contains the deepest secrets of the universe and the gods; a shaman may make the pilgrimage there, but must read what is written, meditate until the last of his food has run out, then fast while adding to the sacred writings. He must then commit ritual suicide and release their spirits from the world so the secrets do not escape the hermitage. Not even the Great Prophet knows what these writings say, BUT: maybe the cult of apostates, or maybe a privileged few leaders, have seen them and are attempting to proliferate whatever arcane knowledge is there. Very grey morality etc

Last edited by Jerial on Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:06 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Ancladar wrote:I read something about a fox shifter who wields two swords or daggers, and was once part of the guard and had or has a phoenix shifter love interest who has some control over fire and another ability I can't recall at the moment.

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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:51 am
Name: Jerial Malkyralas
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Re: Tzal (Ongoing Word doc on my comp; will update often)

Post by Jerial » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:48 pm

Reserve/things to research:

Head shaping/shrinking
Ceremonial mounds
Animal mythology
Differences between Aztec/Maya/Olmec/Zapotec/others (decide which one[s] you want to focus on!)
Tribute systems to the theocracy
Class systems

I think that's it for now...PM me if you have ideas!
Ancladar wrote:I read something about a fox shifter who wields two swords or daggers, and was once part of the guard and had or has a phoenix shifter love interest who has some control over fire and another ability I can't recall at the moment.

User avatar
Posts: 271
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:51 am
Name: Jerial Malkyralas
Race: Elven

Re: Tzal (Ongoing Word doc on my comp; will update often)

Post by Jerial » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:53 pm

Reserve/Things to develop and think about:

Shamanic hierarchy and official ranking
Shamanic apostasy
How the shaman affect daily life of the people
Military structure
Government push/pull between tribal chieftains and theocracy
Serpent's Coil

Once again, PM me with ideas!
Ancladar wrote:I read something about a fox shifter who wields two swords or daggers, and was once part of the guard and had or has a phoenix shifter love interest who has some control over fire and another ability I can't recall at the moment.

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