Zaltec was the god of war, violence, and hishna magic in Maztica. He was also known as Bringer of War and Eater of Hearts. He was the most bloodthirsty of the Maztican gods.
Zaltec appeared as a humanoid figure, but with a jaguar-like head and the fangs of a rattlesnake. He was always portrayed as snarling, and sometimes holding weapons as well.
Zaltec was the second son of Kukul and Maztica. When the gods first made humans, he gave the new people honor and courage. Later, though, out of jealousy of his older brother Qotal, who was worshiped more than him, he created and gave to humans hishna magic, which his followers used to wage terrible, savage wars. After his mother Maztica helped Qotal end the fighting by creating pluma magic, he rose up against her and struck her down with his maca. This started a war between him and Qotal, in which his three other brothers, Azul, Tezca, and Plutoq sided with him, while his sisters sided with Qotal.
Zaltec and Qotal had their followers build a massive pyramid on which to fight. For his sacrifice, Zaltec brought and killed 10,000 of the mightiest human warriors on the top of the pyramid. He and Qotal then commenced their battle, which Zaltec lost. He was then banished. After his sister Kiltzi, and later Watil and Nula as well, fled from Qotal, they went to his protection. While Qotal slept, he sent his priests forth among the people to convince them to worship him and sacrifice humans to him, which they did since Qotal was not responding to their prayers.
By the time Qotal awoke a decade later, Zaltec was strong from the sacrifices. Qotal eventually left Maztica entirely.
Centuries later, a shaman of the Dog People had a vision which sent him wandering in the desert for a year. This shaman, Tecco, then found a vast, artificial cavern in which a pillar of stone became a living image of Zaltec. Zaltec gave Tecco a prophecy commanding him to take his tribe and go south. The image then faded back into a crude statue, which Tecco faithfully carried, chanting the exact prophecy, back to his tribe. This tribe went on to become the Nexalan people.
Zaltec was considered the patron god of the Nexalans, and he was by far the god they worshiped the most. For their success, they carried his worship to appalling levels. He was the most bloodthirsty god of the Maztican pantheon, with his priests regularly sacrificing people to him. These same priests wore black robes and caked their hair in blood. They fasted often and would ritually injure themselves as well. They cut out the hearts of sacrifices to offer to a stone statue of the god.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Douglas Niles (August 1991). “Gods & Battles”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), p. 25. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Douglas Niles (August 1991). “A Journey to the True World”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), pp. 7–12. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.
- ↑ Douglas Niles (August 1991). “A Journey to the True World”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), pp. 18–19. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.