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Anybody know anything about Kalka-Kylla? (From Tamoachan)

Stoat

Adventurer
I'm running the 4E conversion of Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan now, and I'm interested in any mythology that might flesh out the various inhabitants of the Shrine.

Most of the opponents in Tamoachan have some antecedent in Mesoamerican myth/history. Does anybody know if this applies to Kalka-Kylla, the hermit crab guardian that the PC's meet fairly early in the module? Google is only giving me D&D references.
 

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Stoat

Adventurer
All I know is I had fun role-playing him when I was running it and the party decided to parley.

Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I'm interested. The PC's are trying to bargain with K-K and Tecuziztecatl, and I'm trying to get a sense of how to proceed.
 


grodog

Adventurer
Jeff deferred to Harold, who sent two notes:

Harold Johnson said:
Allan, It's been a while since I checked my source materials, but I'll look for them. When I wrote Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (that should have been Tamoanchan, but the "n" was dropped by an editor proof), I was fresh out of college with a raft of mythology resource books and recently published research articles. I will attempt to find the source material. For what it's worth, the names were drawn from my research of gods and demigods of Olmec, Toltec, and Incan societies. I used the names to inspire the creation of several of the monsters - for instance Xilonen is known as the Hairy Mother Goddess of Maize and hence the polyp, Xipe was a cannibal war god who wore the flayed skins of his victims, and the gibbering mouther was modelled after -Tlazoteotl- the earth mother also referred to as the Gibbering Mother, described as a being that was all mouths and eyes in my resource material. I justified my almagam of mythologies under the model used by Greco-Roman gods where neighboring pantheons were adapted and adopted by the ruling society and often identified as the same god using an ancient name. If at the core of all mythology is a shared pantheon of gods, their names and spheres of influence will change with each new dominant society. Mezo-American mythology has many differently named gods that share identical spheres of power. I also adapted the scholarly theory that many gods were once heroes and rulers and historically dominant figures, whose stories and deeds were mythologized as they receded into the vague mists of the past until they transformed these heroes into gods - in a manner similar to the deification of the pharoah. From that point of view - some of the ancient beings of power who may have been viewed by the common folk as gods, were no more than a fantastic beast who gained legendary status. As a DM, you should not confuse physical, mortal beings as gods, though the common people in the game world often do. Gods are a principal or essence of a sphere of power and as such a physical shell is most likely a champion of the god in question, a possessed servitor, or a physical avatar - which is no more than a single hair or finger of the actual being worshiped as a god. At best these creatures are demigods or heroes, sharing god blood, servitors possessed by a fraction of the god's power, or they are merely awe inspiring creatures of legendary status. I'll let you know what my source materials say about these creatures as soon as I find it.

and

Harold Johnson said:
Allan, I have yet to dig into my files in the garage, I have only looked online and in my active files in the house. This is what I have determined thus far. Xilonen, Xipe, Kalka-killa, and others in the tomb are not the gods, only representations of the gods used by the priests of Zotz. They are only creatures/monsters. Most of the names relate to specific gods in the Olman pantheon however. Kalka-Killa, Chitza Atlan, and Nanahuatl were made up names derived from actual deity and Mezo-american site names, but did not relate to a specific name. Kalka-Killa was derived from a couple Incan deities - Mama-Quilla and Ka Ata-Killa - both are Moon Goddesses. In the references I located, they are listed next to the Crabman in Inca statuary. Since the zodiac sign for the moon is Cancer, the Crab - I was inspired to make this representation a giant hermit crab. Chitza Atlan is essentially the guardian of the dead, sort of the mesoamerican equivalent to Charon the boatman. At best, he is a demigod. This centaur mummy is not actually a centaur, but a taxidermical contrivance stitching the torso of a man to the body of a horse. Technically, it should not even be an equine body, since the mesoamericans did not possess horses, so it is more likely a llama or large white tail deer body (or moose or buffalo). Nanahuatl was a blank faced creature that was to represent the every man, but was essentially a variation on the doppleganger. This is at best a lesser god and at worst a common monster. By the way, Zotzilaha really means "cave of the bats" and referred to the home of the Zotz or Camazotz which by mythological description fit our more Anglican depiction of a vampire. Camazotz may be one creature, but more likely it represented a type of legendary monster race, like the harpies or original gorgans which were a finite number of individuals. In Mesoamerican lore Zotzilaha may be the birth place/parent of Camazotz. I will keep looking for my original source documents to see if there is a greater clarification, but for now I think this should satisfy your gamer's query.

That help?
 

Stoat

Adventurer
[MENTION=1613]grodog[/MENTION],

Thanks a heap, that's exactly what I was looking for!

Can somebody cover for me? I need spread some exp around.
 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I'm interested. The PC's are trying to bargain with K-K and Tecuziztecatl, and I'm trying to get a sense of how to proceed.

I played him as a lonely old crab, missing the days in which he was worshipped as a god, slow to speak but eager, as long as his vanity was appealed to.

They basically treated him with respect and promised to free him and get him some worshippers. He told them a bit about the vampire and the nearby rooms.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Interesting....

When I ran my group through this, the party jokingly offered the halfling to K-K as a sacrifice; he took them up on it, and they had to put them down.

Also, I put an inanimate warforged atop the altar on the top of the pyramid, named Zoltz. He was essentially a golem of brass and wood powered by hearts torn out of sacrificial victims. The party managed to permanently animate him by using the heart from a drake to power him (he was basically the group wizard's cohort for the leadership feat). Fun times, he became a very popular NPC.
 

grodog

Adventurer
Some additional info/context from Harold Johnson:

Allan,

I found some of my paper research materials, though nothing dealing with actual mythology. Still, these finds might have some interest for your readers.

The first is a reference to "Lubaantun", regarding a dig in British Honduras in the year 1924. This was the name of the collectors edition of C1. The term Labaantun translates to "the place of fallen stones".

The second article, which I have included an excerpt from, was my inspiration for the tomb of the Vampire discovered in a hidden room in the lowest level of this tomb. How could I not include it in the adventure?

Hope your readers enjoy this:

Written by Dr. Alberto Ruz, Director of Research at Palenque, in Yucatan, Mexico


I began excavating and on the next day – May 20, 1949 – there appeared that stone which, in Mayan buildings, is always used to close up a vault. … A few days later I found a step, and then more and more steps. What had been found was an interior staircase descending into the pyramid and which for a reason which we then did not know, had been made impracticable by a filling of large stones and clay.

Four spells of work – each two-and-a-half months long – were needed before we were able to clear the filling from this mysterious staircase. After a flight of 45 steps, we reached a landing with a U-turn. There followed another flight, of 21 steps, leading to a corridor, whose level is more or less the same as that on which the pyramid was built – i.e., some 22 meters under the temple flooring. In the vaulting of the landing two narrow galleries open out and allow air and a little light to enter from a near-by courtyard. …

And on July 13, 1952, after demolishing a solid obstruction some metres thick, made of stone and lime – this was very hard and the wet lime burnt the hands of the workmen – there appeared on one side of the corridor a triangular slab, 2 meters high, set vertically to block an entrance. At the foot of this slab, in a rudimentary stone cist, there lay, mixed together, the largely-destroyed skeletons of six young persons, of whom one at least was a female.

At noon on the 15th day of the same month we opened the entrance, displacing the stone enough for a man to pass through sideways. It was a moment of indescribable emotion for me when I slipped behind the stone and found myself in an enormous crypt which seemed to have been cut out of the rock – or rather, out of the ice, thanks to the curtain of stalactites and the calcite veiling deposited on the walls by the infiltration of rainwater during the centuries. This increased the marvelous quality of the spectacle and gave it a fairy-tale aspect. Great figures of priests modeled in stucco a little larger than life-sized formed an impressive procession round the walls. The high vaulting was reinforced by great stone transoms, of dark color with yellowish veins, giving an impression of polished wood.

Almost the whole crypt was occupied by a colossal monument, which we then supposed to be a ceremonial altar, composed of a stone of more than 8 square meters, resting on an enormous monolith of 6 cubic meters, supported in its turn by six great blocks of chiseled stone. All these elements carried beautiful reliefs.

Finest of all for its unsurpassable execution and perfect state of preservation was the great stone covering the whole and bearing on its four sides some hieroglyphic inscriptions with thirteen abbreviated dates corresponding to the beginning of the seventh century A.D., while its upper face shows a symbolic scene surrounded by astronomical signs. …

I then had the base bored horizontally at two of the corners; and it was not long before one of the drills reached a hollow space. I introduced a wire through the narrow aperture and, on withdrawing it, I saw that some particles of red paint adhering to it. … The particles of cinnabar adhering to the wire inserted into the center of the enormous stone block was unquestionable evidence of burial; and our supposed ceremonial altar must therefore be an extraordinary sepulcher. …

This was not the first time during my career as an archaeologist that a tomb had been discovered, but no occasion has been so impressive as this. In the vermillion-colored walls and base of the cavity which served as a coffin, the sight of the human remains – complete, although the bones were damaged – covered with jade jewels for the most part, was most impressive. It was possible to judge the form of the body which had been laid in this “tailored” sarcophagus; and the jewels added a certain amount of life, both from the sparkle of the jade and because they were so well “placed” and because their form suggested the volume and contour of the flesh which originally covered the skeleton. It was easy also to imagine the high rank of the personage who could aspire to a mausoleum of such impressive richness.

We were struck by his stature, greater than that of the average Mayan of today; and by the fact that his teeth were not filed or provided with incrustations of pyrites or jade, since that practice (like that of artificially deforming the cranium) was usual in individuals of the higher social ranks. The state of destruction of the skull did not allow us to establish precisely whether or not it had been deformed. In the end, we decided that the personage might have been of non-Mayan origin, though it is clear that he ended in being one of the kings of Palenque. …

As shown in some reliefs, he was wearing a diadem made from tiny discs of jade and his hair was divided into separate strands by means of small jade tubes of appropriate shape; and we discovered a small jade plate of extraordinary quality cut in the shape of the head of Zotz, the vampire god of the underworld …

Your faithful researcher,

Harold
 


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