Itotia (Zyanya Supplement)
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Itotia is a nation of dense rainforests. It is a tropical nation that contains some deep valleys hot enough to kill a human that does not take precautions. There are active volcanoes throughout the land. The range of mountains known as the Serpent’s Spine are high enough to have snow-topped peaks and nearly unbreathably thin air.
Currently the dominant human city of Itotia is Eztli, a coastal border city. They have a port that outsiders may dock at, though they are still forbidden to enter the city itself. Eztli is one of the cities that makes use of bronze weaponry. The dominant orc city is Cuacatl. The most powerful city in the mountainous southern region is Tawantinsuyu, home of a powerful cult of dead worship. The city of Atahualpa was recently destroyed in an invasion by the Amareth empire, and the survivors fled to other cities. The city of Pachacutec sits on an active volcano, and the city of Pacaritambo sits high in the mountains and is almost constantly enveloped in clouds.
Itotia are unfamiliar with the demi-human races other than orcs, few having ever actually seen a dwarf, elf, gnome, or Halfling before. Strange and often entirely fictional stories spread about these races, such as elves are believed to be ten feet tall with eyes that glow, or dwarves actually being made from stone or making stone limbs to replace their own. There is much ill will towards the Amareth empire, due to their recent invasions (that the Itotia turned back). During those invasions, the Amareth soldiers committed atrocities such as calling the sacred mummified corpses ‘abominations’ and ordering them burned, cutting down the undead temple guardians, and destroying sacred texts. Captured Amareth soldiers are oft deemed unworthy of being sacrificed to honor the gods and usually made into slaves, or simply slaughtered after interrogation and left to rot. Recently good relationships have been building between Itotia and the Sclavini region, and some trade has been established. Sclavini tradesmen have recently been allowed to build a small enclave in the city of Eztli, and at least one Sclavini diplomat has been allowed to enter the city proper. The goblin nations are also friendly towards Itotia, especially the orcish Itotia. Other regions tend to avoid the Itotia, and the Itotia more or less like it that way.
Itotian coins are done by weight, as they vary greatly. Pataca Peso Sucre
Itotia has real currency, they operate mainly on barter. As horses are unknown in Itotia, travel and trade are done on foot. All the city-states maintain a network of roads connecting each other, and may be trading with each other even while they are at war. The roads are under surveillance by guards, and it is said even a child may travel the roads alone in safety. Those that leave Itotia quickly learn the esteem in which other nations hold gold (considered just another metal to the locals) and craft gold jewelry with parts that can quickly be broken off and weighed, to be traded for outsider goods. Itotias main trade goods are gold and corn. As they are rather xenophobic, they do not import much, though some border nations have started trading in metal weapons. Staple foods include corn, beans, and squash. Though mostly vegetarian in spite of their occasional forays into cannibalism, they do make meals of high-protein insects. Some cities raise goats, though those are used mostly for milk rather than for meat. Honey is a popular addition to their diets. Coastal cities add shrimp to their diets. They drink a fermented beverage called pulque.
The territories of Itotia are almost constantly at war with each other. Each city is ruled by a high king, called a Makina. The Makina also serves as a general and high priest. The Makina presides over official sacrifices, and, on occasion, are themselves sacrificed. In spite of their lack of metal and somewhat primitive technology, Itotia cities are beautifully engineered, containing palaces, shrines, even sewer systems and running water and irrigation. As siege warfare is uncommon, only border cities are walled. The cities however, are deliberately laid out in convoluted fashions, with areas designed specifically to trap and ambush invaders. Large pyramids stand in the center of each city, functioning as a temple to all the gods. Each city contains an arena dedicated to the brutal game of hachtli (The players hit the ball with their hips, knees, and elbows and had to pass the ball through a stone ring to automatically win.). Captured soldiers often play willingly, and it is common for the losers to be sacrificed.
Warriors of Itotia paint themselves before battles. Many tattoo themselves to represent great achievements. Priests paint themselves black before going into battle. It is common for the warriors to take trophies from their slain opponents. Wars tend to start in the spring after the planting and end in the autumn before the harvest. Battles have particular rules. Torture of enemy soldiers is common, as is cannibalism, but crops are not burned and non-combatants are only slain if they are aiding enemy soldiers. Upon a victory, the conquering city simply absorbs the citizens and assets into itself. Itotia soldiers wear padded or leather armor, and breastplates made of bone scale-mail. Many forgo armor altogether. Priests do not cut or wash their hair, believing it offers them a form of spiritual protection. Their weapons are made of wood or stone, though a few have traded for metal weapons. Their obsidian and hardwood club, called a macahuitl, functions as a short sword. They also use a short-spear tipped with obsidian called a tepoztopilli. Bows, slings, atlatls, darts, bolas, saw-bladed wooden swords, and javelins are also used, as well as stone daggers and axes. A few cities have bronze weapons. Poison is used for hunting and warfare with outsiders, but not against fellow Itotia. Those living in a conquered city pay tribute to their conquerors in the form of gold, feathers, goats and other foodstuffs. Tribute is never harsh enough to starve a conquered city. Those whose crops have failed or have suffered other hardships may apply at a temple for foodstuffs. A wise Makina knows better than to let his people starve, else he may end up a sacrifice to the gods.
Itotia men wear loincloths and decorated capes. Women wear fringed skirts and colorful ponchos. Both genders wear sandals or go barefoot. The cloth and pattern worn vary with rank. Generally the more colorful a pattern is, the higher ranking the individual is. Piercings are common. Jewelry is common and ornate, though only the noble castes wear headpieces. The people of Itotia tend to be short, with the men averaging about 5’4” and the women 5’0”. Their hair is black, though some have dark red. They have dusky skin and dark eyes.
Until the age of fourteen, the education of children is in the hands of their parents, but supervised by the authorities of their calpōlli. Part of this education involves learning a collection of sayings, called huēhuetlàtolli ("sayings of the old"), that embody Itotia ideals. Judged by their language, most of the huēhuetlatolli seemed to have evolved over several centuries, predating the Itotias and possibly coming somewhat from the orcs. At 15, all boys and girls went to school. The education is mandatory and provided for all children, regardless of gender, rank, or station. There were two types of schools: the telpochcalli, for practical and military studies, and the calmecac for advanced learning in writing, astronomy, statesmanship, theology, and other areas. Itotia teachers (tlatimine) propound a spartan regime of education with the purpose of forming a stoical people. Girls are educated in the crafts of home and child raising. They are rarely taught to read or write. All women are taught to be involved in religion; there are paintings of women presiding over religious ceremonies, but female priests are extraordinarily rare. Books are sacred to the Itotia people, and they find the destruction of books to be the worst form of barbarism. Those who engage in such behavior are considered the lowest of beings.
Orcs and Humans
Orcs are common in Itotia, and culturally similar to humans. The orcs claim they were in the jungle first, and the humans were initially refuges that learned from the orcs. They worship the same gods, whom they claim were originally theirs. Half-orcs are not common, but not unusual. Itotia humans speak Izel, and the orcs speak Xipil. Both languages share an alphabet and are similar enough to each other that there is cross understanding (If a PC speaks Izel, they may purchase Xipil for half the normal cost. If Izel is the PC’s native tongue Xipil may also be added as a bonus language). The written language has an alphabet of pictograms.
The highest class were the pīpiltin or nobility. This status is not solely hereditary, although the sons of pillis have access to better resources and education, so it is easier for them to become pillis. Priests are members of the pīpiltin. The second class are the mācehualtin, or peasants. These include farmers as well as craftsmen. Slaves or tlacotin also constitute an important class. Itotia can become slaves because of debts, as a criminal punishment or as war captives. A slave can have possessions and even own other slaves. However, upon becoming a slave, all of the slave's animals and excess money go to his purchaser. Slaves can buy their liberty, and slaves can be set free if they had children with or were married to their masters. Typically, upon the death of the master, slaves who had performed outstanding services were freed. The rest of the slaves were passed on as part of an inheritance. Traveling merchants called pochtecah are a small, but important class as they not only facilitate commerce, but also communicate vital information across the empire and beyond its borders. They are often employed as spies.
Gods of Itotia are worshipped through intricate rituals, including pageants and sacrifices. The gods are given offerings of cakes made from corn, meat, and blood (often human). Jaguars and serpents (especially the feathered serpents) are particularity sacred to the Itotia. They are considered either messengers from the gods or the mortal forms of the gods. They believe the soul resides inside the heart, and one of the greatest honors they can pay an worthy opponent is to eat it’s heart, thus taking it’s strength inside itself. The liver is also considered a source of strength. Trophies are often taken, and an Itotia’s prized drinking vessel may have been formed from the skull of a fallen foe. Head-shrinking is also practiced. The dead are sacred, and Itotia funeral rites include mummification. The mummified corpses of ancestors are oft treated the same as they were when they were living, even being served a place at a dinner table. The dead are given offerings and asked to intercede with the gods on the behalf of the living. Other dead are raised by the priests to guard temples and sacred treasures, usually those that were warriors in life. The worship of mummified ancestors is more prevalent in the southern areas of Itotia, but practiced somewhat throughout. Desecrating a sacred corpse is considered one of the worst crimes imaginable, for it condemns the soul of the ancestor to wander lost through eternity.
In the World
The population of Itotia in Shieldmeet is very small, perhaps fewer than 100 people. Their representative is the most recent addition to the council. Most would not be there at all, save they consider the dragon Zyanya to be semi-divine. And they know that it is best to keep eyes on enemy outsiders, especially after Amareth’s recent invasion. They tend to keep to themselves, and have a small enclave on the coast with it’s own docks. They have a single tavern that does allow outsiders (The Snake's Feather), though most outsiders consider the fare inedible. Though Itotia is not a united nation and those in Shieldmeet hale from different city states, often city-states that have been at war for generations, they are Itotia and the rest of the world is outsiders. As the Amareth learned to their dismay during their recent invasion, the Itotia will put aside their own wars quickly and unite solidly against a common foe. Lord Ihucatl’s biggest (and often sole) supporter on the council is Lord Casimir Gostislav of Andrzej. The local Itotia consider the Sclavini peoples to be marginally acceptable, due perhaps to both nations recent and common enemy in Amareth, and perhaps moreso to the Sclavini tendency not to bat an eye at the Itotia cultural habits and their firm belief that ‘to each his own’.
Character Creation Info
Izel - Spoken by Humans Xipil - Spoken by orcs
Necropolis Born, Atlan's Mark, Blooded, Jungle Fighter, Mountain Fighter, Orc Blooded, Snake Blood, Survivor, Ancestral Spirit, Grim Visage, Plague Resistant, Necromantic Presence, Tomb-Tainted Soul, Deathly Pallor
Atlatl, Bolas, Bolas-Barbed, Blowgun, Bow-Bone, Club, Dagger, Dart, Greatclub, Handaxe, Harpoon, Javelin, Mace, Maquahuitl, Sickle, Sling, Spear, Shortspear, Shortbow
Wizard, Paladin, Artificer