[BoP: The Fifth Sun] Main Thread

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The gathering at Tlaxcala would have seen many delegates sent by their lords for a rare opportunity to exchange information 'directly'. Some, such as Wey Taketzani Tilputunki of Kushkatan, had very specific messages to relate to the other ambassadors...

Tell me, speak to me with your hearts, may truth be found in its breath the true fate of Chululan. Has rumor choked its way to Kuzshkatán like a foul weed? Behold, my kingdom is distant, my kingdom is on the edge of the world, from my kingdom I can see the waters that lead to Talukan. The travelling breath grows cold, its truth is a picked flower that fades. Even the breath of my own heart is not like that of the Culhua*.

And so I, Tilputunki, lord of the Kuzshkateku and the Xinka, captor of the lords of Pokomam, beseech you, lords of the White Way**! I implore you, Ladies of the Black! Give the Great Speaker of the Jewelled City the words that do not fade, give them to his emissaries. Has the Place of Running fallen to a mad Speaker? If the stories are true, does he truly speak for Tiyut? Why does he seek to deny them the most potent gifts, the most filling meals, the greatest power that can only come from the human spirit?

Few towns can carry the burden of the offering up of men, few towns can partake in the flowers of its ceremony, and the song that is made for those who give their service. It would be too much to ask this of every town, and so the putting down of the knife by Cholollan, though earning that place no good fortune through its betrayal of the gods, and bringing sorrow and mourning to those who loved it as the holiest place of our ancestors, a place where people are as numerous as reeds, faithfully carrying the fire of the Toltecs but no longer, may not bring too much harm to that which is surrounded by the waters. If the place of those who ran vowed to focus all of its worship and adoration on Kitzekowat alone, that would be a thing I could easily understand, it may even be a thing to respect.

But that blasphemous Speaker, that intoxicated revelrous lord of the Chololtecs, if the stories reach us true, does not simply abandon his own city to his own madness, but steals the clout earned by his ancestors to coerce the whole world into his foolishness. I tell you now with no flowers in my speech, this is that which will end the Fifth Sun.

The speaker of the Chololtecs, he became bored of his excessive pulque! In pursuit of pleasure he consumed the peyote alone, he did not take the counsel of his priests. And the speaker was visited by Weyweykuyut, who wished to amuse himself by destroying the world, he saw a great opportunity. The god filled his heart with lies, the lies were sweet like Cholollan's incense.

Lords of every direction! Do you plan to follow the corrupted counsel of a blasphemer, simply because the holy and wise once wore his crown of turquoise? I have full faith that you do not. The libraries of your towns are vast, you know of the consequences if the gods are denied their blood. How shall Tunaltiyut gain the energy and protection needed to travel through the sky without the aid of the warriors? How shall Taluk make the fields fertile with no blood or tears to strengthen the rain, and how could anyone possibly convince him to send rain to their own fields without proof of such devotion? How could we possibly repay the gods for their own sacrifices without blood? What insult this would be! Such betrayal they would feel! The farmer toils for his maize, and the maize gives itself up, for they both need the other to give sacrifice. So too must we give ourselves as yield of the gods' toil, that we may receive their care and blessings.

But the Chulultek taketzani is unwilling to give anything, he wishes only to take. We do not always need to give these offerings. Our gods rarely require much from the fountain of the life of men. Behold, the land is plentiful, I see no reason to take more hearts than necessary. Even our own blood can be pricked, threaded and spilled at no cost of our life. O, woe! Does Cholollan's selfish Speaker refuse to part with even a single drop of blood? How many quail feathers can approach the power held in our own hair? How many mountains of frogs must be offered to the Lord of Rain? Can the peccary, as close as her spirit is to a human being, defend the Sun and help it to rise? Would you let deer suckle your women as the Maya do just so you could have enough of their hearts to match the value of a single human heart? O, woe! The Speaker is so averse to death that he cannot stand to sacrifice a mouse! Does he not know our time on this earth is only one step in our lives, our time on this earth is only for a little while? Speaker, you cannot feed the Lords of the Earth and Sky with incense alone! Did the wise men of the esteemed Cholollan not teach you this? Did you, in your youth, refuse to listen?

Behold, the people of Cholollan are forced to feed on thistles, onions, and other weeds of the field, because the benevolent Speaker, who loves all life and eschews killing of any kind, cannot bear to see the sight of a precious maize stalk cut down, except perhaps that it then goes to increase his storehouses of pulque.

My friends, I see no bright future in a world that neglects its duty due to some superficial idea regarding the despising of death. Refusing to offer up blood ourselves, safely and with reverence and reward, will not cause the end of bloodshed. If we do not aid the gods willingly, then both in their wrath and in their pains of starvation, they will make it happen. We will have elected the way of pain. Taluk will not give any rain, the crops will fail, and children will die to give him a more meager amount of power. The gods will drive enmity between us and cause us to kill each other. In our empty gardens will be scores of hummingbirds. Our fertile fields will have a multitude of butterflies. Tunaltiyut will be unable to complete his journey out from the land of the dead, surrounded by enemies. Kuyulshawuhki will kill the Sun.

The Tzitzimime will come, they will devour us all.

Even now, the world is beginning to be choked by war and conquest. Friends, choose peace, choose life, choose sacrifice!

And so does Cholollan live to its name twofold: once as for those who fled from Tollan's fall, twice as for those who now flee the responsibilities taken up by their ancestors, those who flee from righteousness.

I mourn for the fallen Tollan, I weep for the end of that great history, my fists clench at the perfidy of man. O, what a terrible age of darkness! O, what a terrible opinion!

*Even though IOTL the Mexica had become the dominant force in central Mesoamerica (which time will tell if the Triple Alliance gets that big ITTL), everyone not close by just kept calling them the Culhua after the traditionally dominant polity of the Valley of Mexico. Since they also absorbed that title that further linked them to the Toltecs, the Mexica welcomed the connection.
**West and north, respectively.
 
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Once again I wish to thank Retamayooho Na Dehe for his kind words, which have done much to raise our spirits in this unhappy moment; because this is actually quite serious!

It seems our spectaculary bad performance was not due to any particular failings of our players, as we had prepared quite well for it, but mostly due to a string of very unfortunate coincidences. These can be directly linked to theological efforts regarding Xolotl, parton of the Ballgame, which we had just started. It is therefore clear that I have offended Xolotl, and he thus clearly shows his displeasure. For this reason I have to take full responsebility for our defeat, and have to apoligize to the people of Acoliman as well as to my Priests and Ballgame players.

I also wish to reassure Wey Taketzani Tilputunki that we still enjoy the blessings of Quetzalcoatl and seem to do just fine under His patronage and protection. Our farmers still reap the fruit of the earth, the coffers of our merchants are overflowing with riches, our city remains a beacon of civilization. You can come and see for yourself while you're in the area, as we are neighbours of the Republic of Tlaxcallan.
 

Pixel

Archduke
Hey guys, progress is quite good. If you check the tracker, we have as many green as we have red, will be well-past the half-way point sometime this week. While it's physically possible that I could have the turn out by the 5th (which is Cinco de Mayo, and thus totally thematic for the BoP :^^)) the logistics of that are such that I don't think it'll happen, especially as I return to work soon. But it'll probably be like last turn, if not a little faster. And a little more exciting!

Some balance changes are planned to be implemented after the turn release. Merchants are an incredibly powerful lineage when brought to Supportive, so the bonuses given by merchants (particularly the +2/+3 merchant envoys) are likely to be nerfed, and in turn, those given by other lineages buffed (especially nobles).

Also, I hate to be bringing this up, but if you haven't already noticed by now, I do have a Patreon link in the OP. I put dozens of hours of work per week into running this thing and as much as I really do enjoy this hobby it's only responsible that I value my time enough to ask for something in return. Like pupusas or Dr Pepper. I have recently added a new tier, where you get pictures of my cat, Zuko, together with your report!
 

Pixel

Archduke
Cemanahuac: 11.10.11.14.4 - 6 House
Mesoamerica: March 7th, 1434

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Previous player map for comparison
Results of 3 Rabbit ballgames
New trade goods and entrepots

The Tepaneca Wars: Triple Alliance Hegemony
The Basin of Mexico was no stranger to war the past few years, as the Triple Alliance of Tenochtitlan (AdmiralThrawn), Texcoco, and Tlacopan continued their drive to topple the reign of Maxtla and assert themselves as the new hegemony of Anahuac. Most among their opposition assumed that they would next march against Teotihuacan (IacobusCaesar), foremost among their enemies, however instead, they simply mustered a larger army for another go at the head of the snake: Azcapotzalco, throne of Tepanecapan. Now more diplomatically isolated due to the defeat of his allies Coyoacan and Colhuacan in the south of the lake, Maxtla begged the only one he could count on, Teotihuacan, to send troops and supplies post-haste. His pleas were met only by Teotihuacan's own soliciting for war materiel and troops, and it became clear that Teotihuacan intended to abandon Maxtla to his fate for the sake of self-preservation. So it was that when 18,000 Triple Alliance troops surrounded the walls of the old Tepaneca capital and blockaded the city by sea, they would only face a bit less than 4,000 defenders in total, mounting a desperate last stand. As everyone expected, the walls fell, the defenders slaughtered, and soon after the city was put to the torch. Half of its inhabitants were killed or enslaved, while Maxtla and his son Tecollotzin were brought back to Tenochtitlan where they were paraded through the streets at the head of Tlacaelel's first Triumph. There, finally, they were brought to the top of the Huey Teocalli, Tenochtitlan's great temple, and in one stroke as their istli was fed to Huitzilopochtli, the god of the Mexicas, so too was the age of Tepanec rule in the basin struck down, and in its place rises a new world order: that of the Triple Alliance, one that until now has only existed in the dreams of Tlaceleltzin or Nezahualcoyotl, but which now seems almost inevitable. Now, there is but one major obstacle to overcome...
(Slaves have been added as a trade good at Tlatelolco.)
(Azcapotzalco is no more.)

Cloud-King among Lowlanders
For their part, Teotihuacan (IacobusCaesar) has enjoyed a newfound (though some would say merely newly recovered) position at the center of Anahuac's politics, due to their role as the primary antagonist of the Triple Alliance. Anticipating a direct attack sometime in the last four years, king Totomochtzin has come into an element of his own, organizing and planning a defensive effort to meet the Aztecs in battle and defeat them. As the Triple Alliance demonstrates their willingness to sack cities so severely, Teotihuacan has lately found itself harboring refugees from across the lake region, many among them Otomi, who perceive it as safe due to Teotihuacan's control of the largest Otomi settlement remaining in the basin, Otompan. The influx of migrants was a substantial boost to Teotihuacan's manpower, but perhaps even more important than that is the resurge of the city's religious influence. With news of Cholollan's bloodless sacrifices bringing grief and anxiety across Mesoamerica (as well as within Cholollan), some pilgrims instead look towards the ancient legacy of Teotihuacan, the "place where the gods were born", indeed where Tonatiuh himself ascended from the Pyramid of the Sun, tallest standing in Mesoamerica, to become the Fifth Sun, though the Mexicas dispute this. Among these wayward pilgrims, and perhaps most surprising of all, was the Zapotec king Za'achila Xipe.

Internal strife has long gripped the kingdom of Za'achila due to a period of rapid expansion that gave little time to consolidate, immediately followed by Za'achila himself's ailing health and inability to conceive an heir. Knowing his kingdom, forged in the fires of conquest in a few decades, would likely not outlive him in its present state, Za'achila put in place a number of initiatives including the adoption of two royal heirs from a number of other Zapotec families. Perhaps most startling of his initiatives though was the pilgrimage, in person, to Teotihuacan's pyramid, to receive a coronation in the style of the ancients. Fearing the interference of the Aztecs, Za'achila came to Anahuac at the head of an army of thousands of soldiers, and getting them across Mexico in so great a number was clearly a logistical achievement to be admired. Admirable, too, was Za'achila's coronation ceremony, witnessed by all of his soldiers at the top of the tallest pyramid in the known world, granting enormous prestige and legitimacy.

The Death of Higuingaje: War erupts in Patzcuaro
Intrigue at court among the princes of the Tariacuri Triarchy has centered around the fact that Higuingaje, lord of Patzcuaro, has no heir. Long has this meant that upon death, Tzintzuntzan (Curio) and Ihuatzio would likely enter a state of war. While this would mean the end of the Triarchy, it is also an opportunity to re-unite all the lands conquered by Tariacuri the Great under one ruler once again. Higuingaje died in the spring of 1430, and that same winter, Ihuatzio made its move. An army of 14,000, including Ihuatzio's forces joined by mercenaries, sympathetic retainers from Patzcuaro, and a number of turncoats in Tzintzuntzan, marched against Tzintzuntzan's relatively poorly defended capital, whilst much of the armed forces and the prince were away on some mission. Titacame of Ihuatzio successfully took the capital, and his blockade captured Tangaxuan, lord of Tzintzuntzan, and promptly took his wives, property, and title as his own. While Titacame was crowned king, however, a loyalist movement was building up its forces in the city of Uayameo, Tariacuri's first capital in those times. Rumors were spreading, with a little help from Titacame, that the heir to the kingdom, Tzitzispandacuare, was dead. Rumors that the loyalists found baseless, and they patiently awaited his return.

Some months later, Tzitzispandacuare indeed returned home alive, and was crowned king in Uayameo. There the loyalist nobles placed their army, in total 18,000 soldiers, at his command, and immediately marched out to retake the capital. Titacame intercepted the Tzintzuntzani, but underestimated the number of troops the loyalist nobles could have mustered, and was lead into a trap. There Tzitzispandacuare almost annihilated Titacame's forces, but some portion of his army organized a fighting retreat back to Ihuatzio only a few kilometers away. Meanwhile Tzitzispandacuare returned to Tzintzuntzan and was welcomed as their proper king. Just as on the shores of Lake Texcoco, here too will Tzintzuntzan champion a new world order...

Defiling of Cacaxtla!
The ancient city of Cholollan (CapturedJoe) long has held primacy as a sacred site to almost all Mesoamericans, not just its Nahuan-speaking inhabitants but peoples as foreign as the Mixtecs and Mayas. In the latter case, the holiness of the region has much to do with the shrine of Cacaxtla, built here during a time of Maya cultural, religious, and architectural influence in Central Mexico. Aside from a fascinating example of cultural syncretism, the idols and murals at Cacaxtla are, despite their distance from the Maya world, the main attraction for a number of pilgrims often coming in from the Gulf Coast. Recently however, news of the bloodless sacrifices in Cholollan has reached the Maya world and there, just as everywhere else, has evoked a sense of grief and anxiety. Evidently, this translated to the Maya gods themselves, who are rumored to have had a hand in the removal of all man-portable idols at Cacaxtla.

The theft of these precious idols can only have been an act of protest against the end of human sacrifice, especially taken together with Cholollan's abysmal performance in the ballgames in Tizatlan. Yet Cholollan has their own story, accusing the "queen of the Itzas" 8 Hummingbird (Almalexia) as having been the last person to visit the shrine, and whose departure was immediately followed by the news that the shrine had been defiled. Despite an investigation that was supported by neighboring altepemeh, however, 8 Hummingbird's trail ended along the roads leading to Ndachjian (Doomykins), and word on the caravans centers around superstitious explanations for what has happened...
(Cholollan remains a holy site for the Maya pantheon, but pilgrims income has been significantly reduced.)

Earth-shattering party in Cempoallan!
The prince of Cempoallan (CleverMoe), A'tujun, recently got married with a noblelady from Papantla, and king A'kta'ti was eager to celebrate. The newly-forged alliance not only meant peace in our time for Totonacapan, but its wedding was also coincidentally timed with the arrival of a caravan of high-ranking Maya visitors from a number of different polities who were taking the Gulf Coast maritime route to get to the ballgames in Tizatlan. Including Cempoallan's biggest trade partners, those of Acalan-Tixchel (Titantoe). A'kta'ti wasn't pulling any punches - the occasion would become the most magnificent party in all the Fifth Sun. So it was that an extravagant amount of resources were allocated and the entire city - 2nd largest in Mesoamerica - would take part. Word spread across the region fast, musicians traveled to Cempoallan seeking employ, chocolate and pulque were stocked up, the dancers endlessly rehearsed together with the ballplayers. And when the day finally came, no one was disappointed. Everyone was given time off, but what was supposed to last one or two days and nights became a week-long stupor, the whole city driven to near desperation in an effort to consume all the party supplies so it would not go to waste. With the monotony of daily life broken for a while, when it was finally all over, its end was only lamentable. To this day, stories from the party are told, and everyone from the heir of the kingdom to the lowly slave longs for those days of bliss to return. In the process, word of Cempoallan's opulence - some might say decadence - has reached every corner of the known world, attracting attention both from those that A'kta'ti may have wanted to know, as much as those he may regret having shown.

So grand were the festivities that a couple years later, Cipactli - the enormous crocodile-fish-toad monster whose flesh makes up the landmasses of the world - quivered with displeasure, and so an earthquake struck off the coast of the Tuxtla Mountains to the southeast of Cempoallan. Although far from the only place to be hit by the earthquake, the city's enormity ensured it would be among the most damaged by the incident. Thousands have died and thousands more are rendered homeless... although the damage should be quite easily repaired by someone so wealthy as Cempoallan - assuming of course its slaving rulers deign to have compassion for those affected.

Scourge of the Celestial Seas! Sacking of Soite
Maya archives from all over the Caribbean Coast recall the tumultuous events of 5 Ahau (ca. 1300) wherein the "foreigners without skirts who devour men" invaded the peninsula by sea, only to be repelled. Long since then have those same foreigners plagued maritime trade routes, particularly that between the Maya world and Honduras, a route where piracy is so frequent that for the mercantile Maya kingdoms of this region the Invasion of 5 Ahau never truly ended. Yet now the eastern coast of the Yucatan finds itself politically divided and constantly embattled, and this instability has allowed the foreigners, said to come from the paradise islands far to the east where the sun rises on the mortal world, to return in greater force against the squabbling Maya.

While the interdiction on the trade lanes was not wholly unexpected or abnormal, shock reverberated through the peninsula when news came of the Sack of Soite. Soite, a relatively small but fortified coastal town of several thousand inhabitants in the kingdom of Tayasal Itza (Monty) was attacked by what appears to have been multiple expeditions working together. The invaders were able to overcome the city defenses - never before seen from their sort - and the town was subjected to a brutal sack, especially the temple where most of anything the minor town would have of value would be stored. And just like that, before any response could be mustered, they disappeared into the sea again. Stories like this, though not quite on the same scale as Soite, repeat themselves along the coastline, where even rebel factions brewing in Tuumben Mutal (Almalexia) have had to focus their efforts on trying to defend the coast, and the Mopan Maya were more easily swayed to join Tayasal Itza by the promise of military aid.

Notably, king Pawahtuun of Chactemal (ComradeCrimson) had apparently somehow foreseen a massive upscale in raiding activity, and became the first local ruler to make any substantial preparations against it. These preparations paid off, as when they inevitably came to Chactemal, they were forced back into the sea thanks to the militia, rapidly-summoned thanks to the implementation of a coastal warning system. Numerous slaves were taken from among the raiders, and even now are sold on markets as far as Mayapaan (Draorn) itself.

Strange Visitors from the South
On the Pacific coast, another visitor from the sea has made an appearance, although this time they came in peace. They came just in time to be invited as honored guests at a birthday party being held for Terazi, heir apparent to Zacatollan (Murtox), a party in which numerous other foreigners had been invited to, including Tzintzuntzan (Curio), Yopitzinco (Ivelios), and Acoliman (Dago), and so news spread rapidly about the strangers. They come from far to the south, on great rafts moved by the air rather than oar, a daring journey they make apparently semi-regularly in an effort to procure shells from the Spondylus, shells which are plentiful here on the coast of West Mexico. It is apparently not the first time they have visited, since Zacatollan has apparently managed to establish communication with them. They are said to have stayed in Zacatollan for several months, only able to return home - wherever that may be - once the monsoons are favorable again.

Rebel Hunt in the Yucatan
The Cocoms (Draorn) opted to crush the Tutul Xiu revolt, and mobilized an enormous army to do so entirely from their own reserves - making no use of any of their vassals' manpower, with one notable exception. The Cupul, long rivals of Tutul Xiu more so than the Cocoms, contributed a small number of soldiers as well. Ah Mekat, the rebel leader, realized quickly that he was outmatched, but fortunately for him had several months before the campaign season to strengthen his position. Ah Mekat reached out to several other vassals of the league and even some kingdoms outside its power, most notably Ekab, however most of his requests for aid were rebuffed, except by the kuchkabal of Chikinchel, which rose up in rebellion alongside the Tutul Xius, probably motivated in part by trade conflicts. Chikinchel's participation effectively tripled the number of soldiers available to the rebels. Nonetheless, the Cocoms yet still had more soldiers to bring to bear, and once the dry season came, this great army descended upon the lands of the Xius, lead by a newly-appointed marshal from outside the Cocom lineage. Ah Mekat was content to sit behind his walls and waste as much of the enemy's time and resources as possible - and so the campaign basically became a series of sieges of those towns loyal to the Xius. Time was running out for Ah Mekat, however. Whatever he was waiting and buying time for, his defensive effort was not able to make materialize, and instead he left Chikinchel's forces to die while he fled into exile. Ekab, apparently, has granted Ah Mekat asylum, and has refused to extradite him back to the League.

While the lands of the rebellious Xius were handed over to Cupul as a reward for their loyalty, the viceroys of Chikinchel were given extreme penalties for their part in the revolt, including economic consequences so severe that the chief port of Chikinchel and by extension the league as a whole, Chauaca, has declined in prosperity. The preferred trade entrepot for the northeast quarter of the peninsula now is Ekab, outside the League.

Meanwhile, Maya commoners tired of mercenary rule in Ah Canul have staged their own revolt against their viceroys, and have the sympathy of many nobles among the lineages of the League...

Stone for the Dam!
With a touch of outside help, the kingdom of Ndachjian (Doomykins) has made enormous progress in advancing their engineering prowess, such that reconstruction of the Dam of Purron, once the largest in Mesoamerica, and which once breathed life into the otherwise desiccated Valley of Tehuacan, no longer presents an insurmountable engineering challenge. So say the confident leaders of the 'Masters' Assembly' - an advisory body to the king consisting of only the most learned men in the land. Yet one obstacle remains - sourcing the great quantity of raw materials required to actually construct it. Out of a number of options presented by the Masters, the king has opted to invest in training the masons from among his people, aimed at making us of the volcanic stone abundant around Ndachjian. After pushing out an effective program of apprenticeships, the guilds have concluded that restoring the dam is possible within 10 years.

The completion of the dam has numerous implications, not just for the carrying capacity of the valley, but also for geopolitics among the Chocho city-states. Ndachjian would come to possess not only the most sacred temples among the Chocho lands, dedicated to Xipe Totec and Mictlantecuhtli, not just the great trade entrepot of the region, situated at the headwaters of the great Papaloapan river that connects Ndachjian to the Gulf Coast trade, but finally it would also have a monopoly on water resources in the basin. This all in addition to being the primary source of obsidian for the region. The enormous degree of control this would afford Ndachjian has, thanks to the guilds' confident assertions about the dam's coming to be in perhaps less than a decade, enabled lord Tejngoo to make great diplomatic progress. Trade deals were sealed, alliances were made, and Tejngoo marched to war on behalf of those allies, conquering the small city of Chiapulco, which controled the source of the river. Ndachjian's increasing importance has lead many experts to predict the rise of a new regional power. Only time will tell how much the final restoration of the Dam of Purron will propel Tejngoo's rise as one of the paramount kings of Mesoamerica...

Burying an 800 year old hatchet
Centuries ago, the world was a very different place. The Mayab was dominated by a patchwork of city-states - much like today, except there were great kingdoms where now there are only villages - ruled by supernatural divine kings with otherworldly powers, including the ability to build enormous pyramids to match those of Central Mexico. Numerous events conspired together to bring down this world, and in its stead a new one has risen, where but a flicker of the old still remains. Forest dwellers and ruins squatters have slowly reformed states atop the ancient withering foundations of these powerful kingdoms, calling upon legend as much as archived records in the crafting of a new vision to meet the challenges of the Post-Classic world.

Among the juggernaughts of that period were Yax Mutal and Kaan. These were the superpowers of their day, and their epic centuries-long feud was at the center of Maya politics. Endless proxy wars were fought across the Maya world on behalf of one or the other, and both placed loyal puppet dynasties in other cities. At various times one or the other would come out on top, but by the 800s Yax Mutal had turned the tide and asserted its supremacy, only just long enough to be among the last cities to be abandoned during the great upheaval that was the Collapse. Today, however, once again the ruins of Mutal and Kaan flicker to life, and just as the cities themselves, old rivalries come to life as well. But, of course, the world has changed, and now Maya politics center predominately around the League of Mayapaan. Just as tensions between Kaan and Mutal began to pick up again - over the ruins of Waka', a city they had fought over 8 centuries ago no less - 8 Hummingbird approached Yuknoom IV offering to talk. The aim of these talks, strangely enough, was to establish peace between them - not just over recent disputes but for the foreseeable future. In the process, it looks as though Kaan and Mutal - while they could never in a thousand ka'tun be friends - have for now buried the hatchet.

Revitalizing the Aztatlan Complex
Concurrently with the storied height of Mutal and Kaan, a bustling trade route once connected the world of Mesoamerica to the vast expanse beyond to the north. Political instability on both sides of this trade route have resulted in its collapse and gradual revival placing the various Chichimec peoples that populate the desert as the middlemen for this trade. Rumor has it however that the realm of Chiametla (Grimmend) has discovered a maritime route to Mazocahui (an Opata city in the far northwest of Mexico) which would bypass these middlemen.

---

Cards will be out shortly.
 
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Comrade Crimson

Knight at Arms
WB
"The seas froth with vengeance, upon those complacent and disregarding of the threat of beyond. Vigilance has secured Chactemal victory, but there is still much work to be done. When the waves crash upon our realms, will we be jagged rocks that will cut through those who seek to harm, or shall we be a placid beach for them to come ashore and plunder? Ask yourselves this, and weep if you are the latter. Communication attempts have been made, and some of it has been met with considerable reciprocation. Where as others... the call falls upon deaf ears, to their own woe.

Regardless of the political climate, Chactemal publicly offers its condolences to the victims of Soite. May the gods smile upon them in mercy and offer the grief stricken people respite and recovery with the lessons they have hard learned.

There are hungry eyes from beyond the horizon. Hunger brings with it its own sense of desperation and evil no matter the maw it belongs to. Never underestimate this, lest one be devoured."

-King Pawahtuun Kan of Chactemal, in address to the Scourge of the Celestial Sea.
 

Evelyn

Goblet
Duke
WF&SWBNWVC
So, in case anybody wasn't taking us seriously before, there you have it. Continue at your own peril. Or, do the smart thing and just pay us off, so we can leave you alone and go bother other people instead. Do you guys know how hard it is to scrub the blood off of our weapons and clothes after every raid? Seriously.
 

twirlytusks

With the restoration of our ancient capital Danibeedza, I extend an open invitation to anybody who wishes to celebrate it's completion! All are welcome, and there'll be sacrifices, pulque, chocolate, and music! Who knows? If the Coatlicamac royals are happy with it, we may even see the King of Mixes sacrificed? Wouldn't that be quite the sight?! I welcome with open arms any donations or support lent over, as it is quite the investement, for this capital of ours once was the greatest center of trade in all of the south highlands! Don't believe me? Ask the scribes, ancient as time, of Teotihuacan, Yucu Dzaa, or Xochistlahuacan! First few people to arrive might even get to make a blood offering at our most venerated temples ;3
 

Dago Wolfrider

Sergeant Knight
Retamayooho Na Dehe, king of Acoliman, would like to express his most sincere condolences to the people of Cempoallan. The people of Acoliman are ready to offer their help to king A'kta'ti and his people.

It's with great displeasure that our king is forced to refuse the gentle invitation of Za'achila for the reasons that will soon be revealed.

May the entire heavens, waters and soils rejoice in knowing that all the West Otomi lords have agreed to meet in Acoliman to discuss the possible creation of a united federation. A new great and wealthy power may soon arise in West Mexico. It is with even great pleasure that our king publicly announces that his religious reorganization has been a great success! From this day forward, people devoted to all pantheons will be free to celebrate their rites freely and safely. Yet, that's nothing compared to the opportunity to be represented in the Religious High Council granted them by the king. It's with a weeping heart that, lastly, the king wishes to inform everyone of the unmatched prosperity that Acoliman is enjoying thanks to the mighty protection of its nobles, the renowned piety of its now reorganized priests, the wise investments of its rich and satisfied merchants and the hard work of its commoners. The king would therefore announce that social and economical programs to accept all those who are willing to share our prosperity by migrating to Acoliman or to trade with our marvelous city will soon be implemented.

Retamayooho Na Dehe confirms his eagerness and the one of his people to help with the reconstruction of the dam of Purron. He also wishes to confirm his proposal of a united West and Central Mexico ballgame delegation for our journey South. Our ballgame teams and their escorts will only travel together in order to strengthen the bonds between our peoples and to safely reach our destination.

The king of Acoliman is happy to announce that Acoliman will again finance the Fair play prize for the next ballgame. Hopefully, we will be able to communicate the entity of said prize to the host of said ballgame soon. Needless to say, the current worrying or warring situation of most maya peoples and the reputation of some among them, not to talk about the skirtless men's raids, makes our king very concerned, we would like to hear what our host has to say concerning these matters.

Our king, Retamayooho Na Dehe, feels compelled to state that no matter who stole the idols, may the gods unleash their rightful wrath on them. May their blood be devoured by the Earth, may their crops fall ill, may their sons and daughters die in terrible agony.

More public announcements will probably be released soon. Our king wishes you all safety and prosperity in these troubled times.
 
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First, I wish to thank my neighbouring Altepetls for their practical help in our time of need. Although our efforts proved to be fruitless, I am still grateful for their assistance.

Secondly, I would like to ofer my sincerest apologies to Tayasal Itza, whom I erroneously confused with the barbaric tribe of Yax Mutal. I am sorry for this offense and ask for forgiveness from the Itzas.

And finally, I need to adress the tragedy you all have doubtlessly heard about. The Chieftess of Yax Mutal, 8 Hummingbird, took advantage of our hospitality to defile our holy shrine of Cacaxtla, brutally killing my Guardsmen at their posts and taking not just all man-portable idols, but also other items like incense burners and the paper used for bloodletting with them! Only one of the Guards on duty survived, swearing by his life that he had witnessed 8 Hummingbird in person defiling the shrine and carrying out the acts of murder, sacriliege and theft.

Let us be clear, this is an act of war. As I already made clear in an earlier announcement, despite our small size Cholollan will not submit to foreign agression, but defend our interests with force of arms. However, I still wish to avoid unneccesary bloodshed, and thus I hereby ask that Yax Mutal return the idols forthwith, that they issue a public apology and compensate the families of the murdered Guardsmen. These demands are reasonable, and I pray to Quetzalcoatl that He gives 8 Hummingbird the wisdom and moral courage to accept them.

And before people start parroting peasant superstitions, let me ask you these things: Why would the Gods take only man-portable idols away? They are not weak! Why would they murder my Guardsmen, rather than compell their obedience by their divine power? Why would 8 Hummingbird and her entourage flee from Cholollan just as the crimes were discovered, racing down to the southeast so fast my well-trained Guardsmen could not catch up with her? No, this is clearly not the wrath of the Gods, but the treasonous and murderous greed of barbarians.
 
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Dago Wolfrider

Sergeant Knight
The king of Acoliman is happy to announce that a future marriage between Tzahthyo, daughter of the king of Acoliman, and Huijaca,son of the ruler of Tlacuitlapan, will take place in Acoliman in a date that has yet to be decided, in more than four years' time. This act will create and celebrate the creation of a deep and strong bond between our peoples. A link that will be cemented further by the mutual signing of a defensive alliance that both rulers have already agreed upon. The marriage of the heir of Acoliman, Hiahatoo, will also be celebrated on the same day, yet the king is still in no condition to announce the name and status of his future daughter in law. Negotiations are still in progress. Lastly, I, as the king of Acoliman, am more than ecstatic to invite all my fellow rulers and friends from Cholollan, Ndachjian,the republic of Tlaxcallan, Tzintzuntzan, and Zacatollan to share my joy in the festivities that will follow the celebrations of these two royal marriages.

Acoliman's king is glad to publicly express his thankfulness for all those who have traded with us. In order to further improve our relations with our trade partners, present and future, our king is going to implement some new reforms and laws that will be aimed at improving the staying of foreign merchants in Acoliman. First of all, the construction of an entire new district dedicated to hosting foreign merchants will start this very year and will probably be completed in eight years' time with the construction of an even bigger market. Moreover, gifts will be given to all those foreign merchants that have already visited us in the past and that will visit us again, something that we hope will become a new Acolimanese tradition. Lastly, the new city district and every single foreign merchant that visit Acoliman will be placed under the direct protection of the king, no act (no matter its perpetrator/s) that negatively affects our trade will remain unpunished.

Retamayooho Na Dehe, king of Acoliman, as stated before, is ready to protect all those that are eager to share our prosperity. The king has reason to believe that the skirtless men menace, if left unchecked, will sooner than later reach, directly or indirectly, the shore of West Mexico. Retamayooho Na Dehe can't help but praise the effort of the people of Chactemal, their actions should tell us all that these pirates can be dealt with if wise preparations are made. That's why the king of Acoliman will send economical aids to support their endeavor. Our king is also willing to support the creation of a West Coast Protection Union(WCPU), a combined league whose goal is to prevent or fight back possible pirate raids on the West Coast of Mesoamerica. Our king would also like to hear what's the position of the honorable host of the next ballgame, and the one of the other Maya peoples that have and unfortunately probably will be targeted by pirate raids, concerning this threat. How does he think to prevent those pirates from looting his city or raiding, killing and even....eating, this is what certain stories claim at least, his guests and their escorts?

Retamayooho Na Dehe is delighted to publicly state that Tzintzuntzan and the republic of Tlaxcallan have already decided to join the united delegation headed to the ballgame. The other rulers that have already decided to join us, or not, are invited to communicate their response to his majesty, the king of Acoliman, as soon as possible.

More communications may soon follow, in the meantime, may the Sun shine bright on all of you and may the Earth freely present its prosperous gifts to you, your children and your peoples.
 
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It seems that the usually so boisterous chieftess 8 Hummingbird is unwilling to comment on our entirely reasonable demands for justice. Although it is possible she has simply chosen the best diplomatic course for the guilty, which is to remain silent, I think it is instead because the barbarians from Yax Mutal simply can't understand any language other than violence. While Cholollan will likely be forced to take up arms in the name of justice, we remain hopeful for a peaceful sollution to this conflict and will keep the option of a negotiated peace on the table; if war breaks out in earnest, our goals will be as limited as they are righteous.

It is unfortunate that this bad news must overshadow other developments which should be cause for joy; Our priests and tlamatinime, as well as myself, have been looking into the stories and knowledge regarding the various godesses who share associations with and patronage over motherhood, fertility, female beauty, childbirth and the like; they are also known as mother to Quetzalcoatl in different kind of ways. For these things to be all true at the same time, it makes sense to interpret these deities, the most important of which are Coatlicue, Xochiquetzal, Chimalman and Cihuacoatl, as aspects of the same godess; this is what we have done, now venerating these as aspects of the godess Coatlicue, the Mother of the Gods.

Shortly after enacting these religious reforms, my wife gave birth to a healthy daughter, our fourth child; this good omen is a clear sign of the approval of the Gods, as well as bringing the joy of new life to the royal family. It is with confidence in the favour of the Gods that we will face the challenges of the present.
 

Pixel

Archduke
And now's about the time to announce Patch 1.06. I'm not sure why I'm calling it that, that's just the number that came to me. Let's see if we can get to 1.069 (nice). In any case, a number of things have revealed themselves over the past couple turns to be quite problematic for game balance, in a couple cases I would argue game-breakingly so.

What follows is a breakdown of my approach to fixing these problems and a couple new additions to the game which hopefully will shore up the, currently quite useless, Prestige resource. All crunch.

Lineages
At present, all four basic lineages give you some kind of passive bonus when they are happy, starting at Supportive level (75+) and especially at Harmonious level (85+). Something actually kinda game-breaking happened here. These bonuses as they currently exist are (Supportive/Harmonious):
- Commoners give you +10%/+20% tribute from population and +1%/+2% recruitable population.
- Merchants give you +2/+3 merchants (!) and +15%/+25% trade income. At Harmonious they also increase the amount of tribute received from NPC merchants going to your entrepots by +5 (an increase of +50%)
- Priests reduce omen cost by -10%/-20% and increase pilgrims income by +10%/+25%. At Harmonious they also give you +5 Authority.
- Nobles reduce the upfront and maintenance costs of raising Orders troops by an increasing (but also kinda pathetically small) rate. They also reduce the maintenance costs of forts outside the capital by -10%/-25%. At Harmonious they also give you +5 Authority.

Many of you immediately realized that the bonus the Merchants lineage gives you when happy is by far the strongest of the four. The extra 2 merchants basically translate into anywhere between 50 and 200 more tribute income from trade, if placed intelligently. For commoners to get you that much you'd need minimum 500,000 population, while for Priests' pilgrim bonus to come anywhere close the player has to invest thousands of tribute into building Pyramids, or alternatively hundreds of piety. And not to mention the nobles who in turn save you a pitifully small amount of tribute if you happen to be recruiting Orders units that turn. Like at most happy nobles might save you 2-6 tribute. And it's not like fortifications are particularly expensive to maintain, nor especially common outside of capitals.

As such the bonuses will be reworked entirely, not only bringing the merchants lineage more in line with the others, but also by introducing part of their bonus as an ability activated with prestige, similarly to an omen with piety, only possible when the lineage is at a certain happiness level. This in addition to passive boosts as already exist. Observe (again, Supportive/Harmonious):

- Commoners will now give +10%/+25% tribute from population. If one spends 50 Prestige and -10 commoner happiness, then the player can choose one work to have it give twice its normal effect for one turn. Also doubles that work's maintenance cost. (Effect excludes legalism, markets, forts, libraries, education, the army speed boost from roads, the tribute from population of agriculture, and the pilgrims chance from temples.)

- Merchants will now give +10%/+25% trade income, and +1/+2 to espionage rolls. If one spends 50 Prestige and -10 merchant happiness, they also allow you to choose 1/2 trade goods of yours to be In Demand at every entrepot your merchants visit this turn. (With a handful of merchants, this ability could effectively increase trade income anywhere from not at all to several dozen tribute. At its best, it's basically +20 tribute per merchant! It's not as long-lasting or dramatic as the old bonus, though.)

- Priests will now give +10%/+25% pilgrims income, and +5 Authority at harmonious. If one spends 50 Prestige and -10 priests happiness, they also give +50%/+100% to research points generated by Libraries.

- Nobles will now give +25%/+50% tribute from looting, and +3% recruitable population at harmonious. If one spends 50 Prestige and -10 nobles happiness, they also grant +1 Morale to all soldiers (including regulars and mercenaries) and a surge of manpower of up to 10% of your max. (may come back to this one)

Yes, if you have 100 prestige, and two lineages happen to be happy enough, you can fire both of them in the same turn! However, the happiness cost of these actions hopefully ensures they won't be too spamable. Speaking of doing things in the same turn, however...

Consecutive work levels
One of the things exacerbating the lineage happiness issue was the fact I made the mistake of allowing players to build more than one consecutive Work in a turn, IE two Roads levels at once. I thought it made sense, ykno, for roads to be able to work like that. Idk why, they're roads okay? In any case roads are one of the buildings (together with ballcourts, temples, and legalism) which give an immediate +10 happiness to some lineage (in this case merchants) when built. Naturally, this meant upgrading roads twice in one turn would give you +20 merchant happiness which - for 90% of players - meant they now had the Supportive bonus from merchants with almost no effort and relatively little expense. It's so easy to do, I feel most of those who did this did it by accident.

Addressing this problem is rather simple: no longer can you do this. Works upgrade one at a time, no exceptions.

Revolt risk
As of now the only way to get a revolt is if your lineages are unhappy, in which case at Annoyed (less than 50) they will have a 1/6 chance of an uprising, while at Distraught (less than 30) it becomes a 1/2 chance. You may be noticing a trend for this patch in modifying things to do with Lineages. In this case, the current system is inflexible, and further exists concurrently with a better way already! From now on, revolts and the like will use the Natural Disaster system. Like an earthquake or a flood, revolts will trigger when one out of a certain number of 'Factor' dice land on a 6. Factors will be added by various variables, for example low stability will add one, in addition to a particularly unhappy lineage. So, you can have multiple cascading factors leading to a rebellion which is much more interesting than the old way and also gives the player a little more to work with when it comes to preventing it or quelling it.

The most important implication of this change though is that like other disasters revolts will have a Severity level, determined by a separate dice roll. This means they can vary in strength dependent on actual reasons rather than just me lazily arbitrating it.

Mercenaries vs. Migrants
I've been hoping for a long time to find a way to make Mercenaries and Migrants a little more distinct, and now that many of my first wave of mercs/migrants have been used up, it seems like about now is a good time to do that. As of now, one can spend lineage happiness and potentially a bit of prestige/bribe money/a marriage to entice one of many groups listed in the doc to come to their country and bolster their ranks, in return for a short-term income penalty and pissing off the target lineage, proportionally to the number of people that have arrived.

Mesoamerica, throughout its history, has been shaped by migration. The Mexica themselves were migrants, the last to arrive of many, who themselves came as part of just one of many successive waves of people moving into Central Mexico. The arrival of the Nahuas came in tandem with the fall of Teotihuacan's authority and became the catalyst to a new series of migrations of people heading to the coast (like the Totonacs, making a new living among the remnants of the 'Classic Veracruz' traditions) or heading in basically every direction (like the Otomi). This is like migration-period Europe tier stuff goin' down. Migrations lead to cultural and religious syncretism which permeates the Post-Classic period's new wave of state formation, driven by new dynasties and new ideas. As a major catalyst for change, here as elsewhere, migration has to be a big deal in the game, too!

Mercenaries now are clarified to be groups of mostly men of fighting age, traveling in groups of several hundred to a couple thousand, lead by charismatic types, seeking their fortune in the war-ravaged world that is Mesoamerica. When "hired" you get the entire group as manpower, and they can be called up at any time for free. As before, some of them still give other benefits: Chichimeca give a -50% discount on researching Composite Bow, Nahua a -50% discount on researching Broadswords, etc. and have access to these weapons even if your country doesn't. As mercenaries are mostly if not entirely men, they will find wives among your people, which means the mercenaries' original culture may well not last a generation (as, of course, women still raise the kiddos in mesoland).

Migrants are now understood to be more diverse demographic units, including women and children. You won't get the whole group as manpower (likely around ~10%, as is the case with your population in general). On the other hand, migrants travel in much larger groups, perhaps up to 15,000, and as a result grant greater long-term economic benefit (as well as greater short-term happiness and income penalties) by boosting your population much more than mercs do. As the migrants have families with them, they are more likely to preserve more of their customs, which means dealing with them as a foreign lineage for possibly much much longer.

Trade goods and strategic bonuses
As you've hopefully picked up by now many trade goods are categorized as Sacred, Luxury, or Construction goods, and give some kind of bonus from having them aside from just getting money. Sacred goods give you some piety and priest happiness, while Luxuries give you prestige and noble+commoner happiness and Construction materials enable the construction and expansion of Pyramids. Several very important goods, however, have no strategic use, or do have one but it's kinda underwhelming. I call your attention in particular to Salt, Slaves, and Obsidian.

Historically, these resources were absolutely essential in Mesoamerica, if not the world. Salt drove numerous wars of expansion in Mesoamerica, indeed the most hotly contested lands between its two largest empires (the Aztecs, of course, and Tzintzuntzan) were those rich in the salt trade. It was often those who

Having Access to Salt will now double the number of Wounded soldiers healed every turn. For most players this means healing 900 instead of 450.
Having Access to Slaves will now reduce the impact of war weariness by -20% (so lineages will lose 3 happiness instead of 5, 8 instead of 10, and 12 rather than 15.)
Having Access to Obsidian increases the orders-to-regulars ratio by +2.5%. Obsidian from Tlautla or Churumuco (trade entrepots) is a sacred good though.

While I feel I still need a break from bop to focus on other things, I'll get around to questions now as I know it's been a week or so. The gang has ate all my free time with Dominions 5 and I'm no longer employed so ykno the rest.
 

Comrade Crimson

Knight at Arms
WB
An announcement from the King of Chactemal, Pawahtuun Kan:

"It comes with great sadness that I must declare that my beloved wife, Suchil Nito, who had bore me three talented and wonderful children and contributed greatly to the affairs and matters of the state has died alongside what was to be a new infant son of mine during childbirth. She was truly someone who commanded great respect and admiration from myself, and someone I was proud to share the honour of being a monarch with, proud to call my Queen.

Her legacy will be forever remembered, as I have commissioned a statue of her and that of Ix Chel, and will be instructing the priests to initiate rites to honour the spirits and gods. We will in this time accept all pilgrims and mourners to arrive into Chactemal with the utmost respect and hospitality, and to my relations in Nito: While the official alliance between that of Chactemal and Nito has ended, I personally held Suchil dearly to my heart and hope that communication between our families will continue. Suchil Nito's family is invited to stay within the Royal Palace and be attended to during this time of grief, and a funerary gift will be sent to Nito as well. As far as I see it, you are all still family in the eyes of Chactemal. Suchil's blood flows through her three beautiful children, her strong and able son Ix Copacab, her eloquent and clever daughter Xtz'aak, and her youngest, curious and intelligent Suhuy Pal.

This loss bereaves me, especially as my youngest daughter- Suhuy Pal, who has proven to be as bright and full of life as her mother- is not going to grow up with her mother's loving care. It has hit my family hard, but both me and all three of my children shall hold our heads high. We have much to be proud of, and we have a kingdom to run. Chactemal, like the great Kan family, shall prevail and thrive. I thank the gods for the time I had with Suchil, and when it is time I shall see her in the next life."

Official policy and stance from Chactemal:

Pilgrims and mourners invited to Chactemal. We will also be opening up our markets more for travelers. We encourage all our neighbours to focus on the coming storm and survive the onslaught of the pirates. Now is not the time for petty squabbles- we advise diplomacy and talking each other's issues out. Fighting will only leave us weaker and worse for wear.
 

Dago Wolfrider

Sergeant Knight
I, Retamayooho Na Dehe, king of Acoliman, will be unfortunately incapable of visiting Chactemal personally for the funeral, yet I will make sure to indirectly participate in the commemoration of the passing of such a noble woman. May her memory live forever in her family's heart and the one of the people of Chactemal.
 
I too would like to offer my sincere condolences to king Pawahtuun Kan, the defender of the coast; may Xolotl provide his noble wife safe passage into the next life. We take note of the diplomatic advice, and are willing to see if we can still talk things out with certain people.
 
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