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Nexal was the capital of the greatest empire in Maztica.[3]


Nexal was both the name of the empire and the city-state that conquered and controlled it. The empire itself covered the Valley of Nexal, Pezelac, Huacli (with the exception of Otomi), and Kolan. The city-state of Nexal was a grand city located on an island in the center of the lakes in the Valley of Nexal, thus occupying a central position in the Valley itself.[3]

The Pyramid of Zaltec
The great pyramid and temple of Zaltec in the city of Nexal was first built by the tribe that settled on the muddy island and placed the stone pillar atop it, but over the years it was expanded, enlarged, and rebuilt it was the tallest pyramid in Maztica, only second to the Pyramid of the Gods in the fabled city of Tewahca.[4]


Nexal was inhabited by humans, primarily of the Maztican ethnic group, although the original Nexalans had been a tribe of Dog People. They spoke the Nexalan language, and were fierce warriors and devoted to the god Zaltec, who was their patron god.[3]


The Nexalan had a fierce, warlike culture, and were devoted to their patron god Zaltec. They were ruled by a Revered Counselor, but the high priest of Zaltec, as well as military leaders, had a great deal of influence.[3]

The Nexalans regularly practiced human sacrifice, holding Feathered Wars when captives were scarce. They sacrificed the most to Zaltec, but also honored Azul and Tezca greatly.[3]

Nexalan merchants were known to travel as far as the cities of Far Payit to trade. They placed more emphasis on aesthetics than substance in art, with things tending to be gaudy and ostentatious.[3]


Early History[]

The map depicting the Sacred Plaza of Nexal.

The ancient Nexalans were a tribe of the Dog People, living far from the Valley of Nexal in the vast northern desert. One night, though, the shaman of that tribe, Tecco, had a vision. This vision caused him to journey through the desert for a full year before he found a massive, artificially constructed cavern, in which he found a stone pillar. Before his very eyes, this pillar turned into a living statue of the god Zaltec, which gave him a prophecy commanding him and his tribe to go south. The image then faded back into a crude statue of the god, and Tecco carried the statue back to his tribe, repeating the exact prophecy all the way. The tribe then set out, heading south.[3]

Years later, when Tecco's grandson Cattl was shaman, they came to the Valley of Nexal, and claimed a small island in the center of the lakes on which to build their village. Here they built a pyramid to Zaltec as well, on which they placed the stone pillar that Tecco had carried back to them and they had carried with them for so long. They also pledged fealty to the greatest city-state in the Valley at the time, Tezat, and fought for it in the Valley's constant wars. In this time they grew strong and multiplied, until they made their move many years later.[3]

The ancient Nexalans were fierce warriors, and Tezat came to rely on them in its fighting, for with their aid Tezat came close to conquering the entire Valley of Nexal. But the Nexalans allied with their rivals, Azatl and Zokik, and in a single campaign conquered their former ally, and then used threats and diplomacy to subdue the other city-states of the Nexal Valley. With these victories, their town grew into a city, and they took for themselves a new name, "Nexala".[3]

The Empire[]

The empire Nexal built, starting with their betrayal of Tezat, was ruled by Revered Counselors. The 15 Revered Counselors that ruled, over the course of 299 years, provided an easier way to record their history.[4]

  • Ipana I was the first Revered Counselor of Nexal. Much of his thirty-five year reign was spent uniting the city-states of the Valley under Nexal's control, a goal which he accomplished with Zokik and Azatl but which Tezat resisted.[4]
  • Upon Ipana I's death, his grandson Tenoch took the throne. He devoted his twenty-year reign to the struggle of thoroughly subduing Tezat, a goal he never accomplished.[4]
  • However, Tenoch's son Ipana II succeeded where his predecessors failed, using subtlety and poison to accomplish where force had failed in his reign of twelve years. Ironically, the same poison he used to kill the leaders of Tezat was later used to kill him.[4]
  • Upon Ipana II's death, his ten-year-old son Ipana III ascended to the throne, marking the start of one of Nexal's most prosperous periods. Ipana III ruled for fifty-one years, during which the other cities of the Valley were finally cemented under the rule of Nexal, and the first Feathered War was introduced to the Valley's inhabitants. But Ipana III's biggest contribution to Nexalan history was when he carried Nexal's dream of empire beyond the Valley, conquering the city-states of Cordotl and Palul and five of the six city-states of Huacli. Only the three-year-long siege of the sixth city-state, Otomi, and the campaign into Kultaka failed.[4]
  • After Ipana III's death, of old age, his grand-nephew Tolco was crowned Revered Counselor. Tolco immediately went looking for a war. Since he had been part of the siege of Otomi, and knew the futility of attacking them, he instead launched disastrous campaign against Kultaka. After that failed, he spent nearly a decade fighting the Pezels, always defeating but never conquering them. His final campaign, again against Kultaka, ended when he himself was slain by an arrow.[4]
  • With Tolco's death a great-grandson of Ipana III was chosen as Counselor. Tenoch II ruled for a peaceful twenty-one years, during which he had roads built connecting Nexal directly to Cordotl, Palul, and the Huacli border. The third road, which led into Pezelac was abandoned when the Pezels rebelled. The rebellion was quickly and brutally quashed by an army led by Tenoch II's son, Chimal.[4]
  • Chimal later became Nexal's seventh Revered Counselor after the death of his father. He ruled for eighteen years, during which the empire flourished and the roads were expanded, and with them trade. Nexalan merchants ventured as far as Payit under his reign, and the only fighting was limited to skirmishes with Kultaka.[4]
  • Chimal's son Totep was weak ruler, interested more in the pleasures of his palace than anyting else, and ruled only six years before his untimely death.[4]
  • It was one of Totep's military advisers and nephews, Zomoc, who ruled after him. Zomoc was responsible for the conquest of Kolan, which lasted a full twenty years during which Nexal's armies were commanded by the general Coyo, before his triumphal return to Nexal. But Zomoc, suspicious of Coyo, engineered his death. Aferwards Zomoc grew paranoid, and his death five years after Coyo's victory came as a relief to Nexal.[4]
  • At Zomoc's death, the nephew of Coyo, a descendant of a cousin of the line of Ipana, was chosen as the Revered Counselor. Izco's short reign was marked by the expansion and consecration (with the sacrifice of 1,000 humans) of the great pyramid of Zaltec. However, the insufficiency of the consecration's sacrifice was made apparent when Mount Zatal erupted. Izco stepped down from his throne at the time, allowing his son to take over.[4]
  • After a new consecration sacrifice, of 10,000 humans, was made on Zaltec's pyramid, Izco II was crowned. His reign was much like his father's, for their combined reigns of twenty-seven years were prosperous and peaceful.[4]
  • However, the long period of peace left Nexal longing for war, and the military leader Pakli was crowned. He immediately launched simultaneous campaigns against Kultaka and Otomi, both of which ended in failure and worse- three of the five conquered Huacli cities rebelled against the army attacking Otomi, and rebellions also started in Kolan and Pezelac. Much of Pakli's fourteen-year reign was occupied with putting down these revolts.[4]
  • Chalco was the Revered Counselor chosen after Pakli's death. He accomplished Nexal's greatest victories against Kultaka and Otomi, though he failed to conquer both. In Kultaka he nearly took the city, but was defeated by the young warrior Takamal, and Otomi he invaded and occupied for years, but eventually left since the natives had fled into the mountains, leaving their city empty. He sent missions into the northern desert searching for the cavern wherein Tecco found the stone pillar, and into the House of Tezca looking for Tewahcoa, the City of the Gods. Both searches ended in failure, though, Ultimately, Chalco's reign of twenty-six years was counted as one of the greatest in Nexal's history.[4]
  • Chalco's grandson Axalt succeeded him at a young age. Axalt sent campaigns against Kultaka, in later years often led by his own son, Naltecona. However, his greatest accomplishment was the building of the great aqueduct that supplied Nexal's citizens with clear, fresh spring water. Axalt's death after twenty-two years marked the end of the rise of Nexal.[4]
  • Naltecona ascended to the throne after his father's death. He ruled for a tragic twelve years, primarily marked by the decade of mysterious omens.[4]

Later, after Qotal's return and Mount Zatal's eruption, people from Nexal fled south, along the series of oases created by Qotal in the House of Tezca, and settled in the valley in the desert's center, founding the city of Tukan.[5]



  1. Douglas Niles (1990). Ironhelm. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, p. 13. ISBN 0-8803-8903-6.
  2. Douglas Niles (1990). Ironhelm. (TSR, Inc), pp. 14, 16, 28. ISBN 0-8803-8903-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Douglas Niles (August 1991). “A Journey to the True World”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), pp. 17–22. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 Douglas Niles (August 1991). “A Journey to the True World”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), pp. 22–37. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.
  5. Douglas Niles (August 1991). “A Journey to the True World”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), p. 43. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.