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    Tamoachan Revisited - The Fall of Tamoachan
    Posted on Thu, September 15, 2005 by Trickster
    gvdammerung writes "So, Tamoachan fell in a single day. The northern capital of the Olman Empire. The jumping off point for the Olman expansion into Hepmonaland, the Pomarj and the Abbor-Alz. In a single day. No gradual decline. Just - gone! Of course, this is "canon" according to the The Scarlet Brotherhood, which has little good to say of the Olman as other than has beens and current "dirty savages." It is "ignorant canon" - canon specifically ignorant of the prior canon of The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and, in this case, the early history of the game itself, to say nothing of the actual history that informs the Hidden Shrine. What follows is not "canon." What follows is easily derived from the canon of The Lost Shrine of Tamoachan, however. Is it any better than the blythe destruction of Tamoachan? You be the judge.

    Tamoachan Revisited - The Fall of Tamoachan
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    As can be readily understood from the finds in the Hidden Shrine, Tamoachan played a pivotal role in the saga of the Olman Empire, largely due to its strategic location. Less understandable is its demise, a seemingly inexplicable self-destruction in the course of s single day.

    The Glory That Was Tamoachan

    Tamaochan was the northern capital of the Olman Empire, meaning that it was a regional administrative center and rival of both Chetanicatla and Xamaclan. By virtue of its strategic position, it was “The Home Sought After,” the foundation of the Olman Empire at its greatest extent. No other Olman city-state was so readily positioned to play key roles in the Olman Empire’s expansion into Cemanahuac (Hepmonaland), the Pomarj and eventually the Abbor-Alz. Two men were chiefly responsible for Tamoachan’s greatness.

    The grandeur that was Tamoachan is reflected in the two royal burials discovered in the Hidden Shrine. The greatest is that of the first king and founder of Tamoachan - Ayocuan I. Buried with a virtual army, honor guard and courtiers, Ayocuan I was a formidable ruler buried in great style. No less grand, and more enlightening, is the tomb of the first high priest - Tlacaelel. Buried with a diorama of ancient Tamoachan that reveals its thriving trade, Tlacaelel is symbolically credited with having bestowed the blessings of the gods on Tamoachan. As in most of the Olman Empire, the secular ruler had a virtual co-ruler in the person of the high priest.

    Tamoachan thrived by importing exotics to the interior Olman Empire and exporting Olman staples to the overseas colonies. It was the chiefmost seaport of the empire and the embarkation point of the Empire’s greatest armies of conquest. From Tamoachan, northern Cemanahuac (Hepmonaland) was conquered. From Tamoachan, the lands of the Bright Desert were tamed and the Abbor-Alz mined, well before the rise of Sulm. From Tamoachan, the Olman colonized the Pomarj, even as they clashed with the vile Southern Yahetees.

    Only Xamaclan, the southern capital of the Olman Empire, could rival the wealth and power of Tamoachan. Chetanicatla remained the viable capital of the Empire between these two powerful city-states only by virtue of its central location and by the Emperors’ skillfully playing of the kings of Tamoachan and Xamaclan off again each other. When weak emperor’s would rule Chetanicatla, Tamoachan and Xamaclan would act as imperial seats in all but name. Tamoachan achieved the greatest role for itself at such times for it was The Home Sought After - the key and gate to The Olman Empire’s greatest overseas holdings. That Tamoachan should fall in a day requires more than a little explaination.

    The Fall of Tamoachan

    The doom of Tamoachan is said by Skreyn to have been a magical duel among the priesthoods of Tamoachan that took but a single day to destroy one of the mightiest cities of the Olman Empire. As in much else, Skreyn tells a broken tale. Tamoachan did fall in a day and rival priests did clash in the streets but the reasons why are what is more fantastic and left unsaid by Skreyn. Within the Hidden Shrine was discovered the Silver Coffer, which contained a coppery figurine, narrow with fins and which flew about of its own accord. The markings on the amazing figurine read “II-Nedraw.” This was the doom of Tamoachan.

    The Olman gods are not of Oerth and not of the parallel Earth of the Maya, Toltec and Aztec. They are “alien” to both worlds. From the sky they came and after living among the Olman people for a time, to the sky they returned. When the gods physically departed, they let it be known that one day, they would return. From that day forth, the priests among the Olman have waited the gods return from the heavens. The some number of Olman priests in Tamoachan believed this time had come with the arrival of “II-Nedraw.”

    Research among some of the most ancient and obscure records of Oerth, particularly those kept by the Arch-Mage Drawmij, identifies “II-Nedraw” as a survey drone of the Earth colony ship Warden-II, by some “metamorphosis” transposed into II-Nedraw. The Warden II, sister ship to the original Warden, was a space faring vessel that moved among the heavens, transporting colonists from a dying Earth, one of Oerth’s parallel spheres. Encountering the same strange anomaly that fatally impacted the original starship Warden, the Warden II was drawn through a “blackhole,” a rift in the dimensional continuum, into Oerth’s reality, where the Warden II broke apart before crashing in pieces to Oerth.

    Lest this be thought wildest fantasy, the records of the Oerthly Cave, and the strange glowing vale nearby in the mountains, document where two portions of the Warden II crashed. A third section made a controlled crash landing in the waters off Tamoachan. The survivors wielding strange magics were taken by many of the Olman as the returning sky gods of their legends. Others dissented. When fighting eventually broke out and the strangers began to use their exotic weaponry to settle the matter, Tamoachan was doomed. The dissenting Olman priests, aided by almost all of the wizards of the city, fought the strangers and those Olman priests calling them gods. All were destroyed, as was Tamoachan.

    The only survivors were the Nacehual - the monks Cipactonal and his companion Oxomoco. To them fell the task of sealing the Hidden Shrine. Before placing themselves within the Hidden Shrine in a dreadful slumber, they were visited by a vision of Quetzalcoatl. Seeing the destruction of Tamoachan, the god foretold the fall of the Olman Empire itself saying cryptically that, “Tamoachan could not escape the fate of Tenochtitlan nor its empire. Beware now the Children of Zotzilaha but know to them again a many eyed god will bring/rain a fiery death/end. The Olman will rise from south when the Children of Zotzilaha think to bestride the smoking jungle.” This prophesy was recorded by the Nacehual but rescued from the ravages of time by divination subsequent to the Sonjohn and Leason Expedition of 577 CY

    Author’s Note:
    The II-Nedraw (Warden II spelled backwards) is an obvious, if thinly veiled reference to Jim (Drawmij) Ward’s Metamorphosis Alpha game of 1976, wherein the story of the lost Starship Warden is recounted. The Starship Warden already appears in Greyhawk lore in Faceless Men and Clockwork Monsters from Dragon 17.

    The Aztec Empire of Earth fell, in part, after the Aztec’s mistook the conquistador Hernando Cortez for a supposedly returning sky-god Quetzalcouatl.

    As the Olman are modeled after the Maya, Toltec and Aztec (see The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, page 2), as they have similar gods who come from the “sky,” and as there is a fairly obvious reference to a “starship” in The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan - the Fall of Tamoachan all but wrote itself. Certainly, such a end for Tamoachan “fits” with the real world and gaming references associated with the Olman in The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Such a fall also backs and fills for Sean K. Reynolds’ otherwise uninspired end to Tamoachan recounted in The Scarlet Brotherhood.

    While there is in some quarters a desire to divorce Greyhawk from real world analogies such is literally impossible with respect to the Olman as they are described in The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan with direct reference to actual MezoAmerican peoples. The literary precedent for such “borrowing” has no better pedigree that Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age. Certainly then, there is nothing “wrong” with a liberal “borrowing” of real world cultures to populate a fantasy setting with but a thin disguise. While individuals may find it not to taste, it is “canon” Greyhawk if that term is to have any meaning at all.

    By the same token, individuals may not find to taste references to “spaceships” in Greyhawk. They too are, however, fully “canon.”
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    Re: Tamoachan Revisited - The Fall of Tamoachan (Score: 1)
    by Wolfsire on Thu, September 15, 2005
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    I would welcome a discussion of this in the forums, but I will start here.  Although I am not crazy about starships or earth gods on Oerth, I have to agree that they are both old and well estabished canon.  This may be a case where two wrongs, when put together, do make a right.  But the implications should be fully explored.

    I noted in a forum that I was working on the goddess Ixchel to represent the rebirth of the Olman, as an expansion on Chalchiuhtlicue, so the prophesy struck a cord.  Ixchel, IMO is somewhat different than other earth mothers in that she seems not to be closely assocated with the earth.  I am not saying that there is no such association, but there is more emphasis on the moon and the waters.  I will need to consider, this article in relation to her.

    Can you explain "think to bestride the smoking jungle?"

    Re: Tamoachan Revisited - The Fall of Tamoachan (Score: 1)
    by mtg ( on Thu, September 15, 2005
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    An elegant way to resolve the otherwise perplexing one-day destruction.  I particularly like how the "Olman" gods are alien both to Oerth and to Earth.  That's skillful use of the multi-verse.

    The Children of Zotzilaha might be the Suloise.  The "many eyed god / rain of fiery death / end" might be the Rain of Colorless Fire.

    Re: Tamoachan Revisited - The Fall of Tamoachan (Score: 1)
    by grodog on Tue, December 01, 2009
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    Intersesting follow-up from Jim Ward @

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