Nature based magic of Maztica

Mezo-American adventures in Maztica, the True World.
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Rod Collins
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Nature based magic of Maztica

Post by Rod Collins »

We all know pluma and hishna magic and then there is the sea magic. Should there not be more? Particularly from Plutoq or Watil or Ehe?

Actually where I am going with this is how Maztica magic is so different from the weave of Faerun. Where the weave treats everything as a flow of magic, the pluma-weaver or the hishna-shaper enhances the natural magic of feathers and claws. I believe it is justified to believe Fairyza when he says that The True People in Maztica do not distinguish divinity of the gods with a banality of things. To a Maztica, he states, “everything is divine, but some things are more potent in their Divinity than others.”

As such, a Faerunian chops a tree and makes a ship's mast and uses magic to make it straight or to mend it when it is broken. To a Faerunian, the boat is a banal object, devoid of life and divinity, and is simply an inconvenience when broken, its dead mast broken by a thoughtless sea. They pray to the Divine Gods to defeat this dead boat or protect them against the lifeless sea.

A Maztican would approach the tree and think of the boat in a much different way. He would approach the divinity of the tree and coax out a mast and guided its shape into a mast that forms the living and divine embodiment of the gods that will fashion the boat to move in the ever changing seas. The boat itself would be divine and may grow into a new shape to serve the True People or negotiate the True Sea. Design of such an object, indeed all of the architecture and urban planning of the True World would be a result of constant prayer and respect.

From that, all of Maztica would look different. After Cordell came with his floating houses, the True World saw for the first time, nature subjugated by men and were understandably confused. As the True World copies this technology, they would not forget their worship of the divinity in all things. They would craft ships from the divinity trees, make hardware from divine stone and metal, lash with living rope. The designs would be organic. They would be infused with the vitality of nature and the divine worship of the craftsmen and sailors.

As I thought this through, I imagined the cities of the True World being also organic. This notion is in much contrast to the stone ruins in the jungle photographs we have in history books. Would not a stone magic craftsman be able to produce beautiful stone buildings carved by Azul of growing and flowing stone to shelter his people? Should not a woodman be able to grow trees shaped by Ehe for shelter rather than chop them down? I have started to search for images and draw and sketch such a civilization. The possibilities for discovery in game of these are astounding.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

Post by thorr-kan »

Is sea magic detailed anywhere officially, or are you referring to the various articles on the Piazza about it?

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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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thorr-kan wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:04 pm
Is sea magic detailed anywhere officially, or are you referring to the various articles on the Piazza about it?
I’d be really honored if he’s referring to Teoatl Magic but either way the point is a really good one. There absolutely should be other forms of magic besides hishna and pluma (and I guess teoatl) considering the massive boost in worship hishna gave to Zaltec and pluma gave to Qotal (even though Maztica herself created it). If I were still writing as much material these days my first go to would be to have the brothers Plutoq and Tezca introduce a volcanic magic and take the opportunity to update a lot of the great articles from earlier Dragon Magazines on the subject.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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But of course I was referring to the great 5e expansions such your Teoatl Magic. I am writing pregens for an adventure and was instantly struck that craftsman would be so limited to just these magics. The people described in IronHelm are makers and worshipers at the same time. I would extend that idea to homes and ships and forges and mining carts. There is no reason those things of Maztica would look anything like Earth's or Faerun's. They could be fantastic structures! Plutoq and Azul would also be natural combinations to shape stone. Teoatl deals with Ehe and Azul, but I am writing a shipwright who could also be attuned to the divinity of wood and rope itself. If that magic can bend wood and stretch rope, then the ship could be much much more than the Faerunian designs. They could be living things, like the pluma barges talked about in IronHelm. They could develop and mutate with the divine magic. Would not a wood weaver be able to use the magic to bend a ships keel or give it the strength of Ipe against a cannon, or have its masts and booms attack and grapple a pirate's ship? A lot of what I am thinking is coming from developing imagery with Artbreeder.com. The forms are so organic that I want to justify them in Maztica with its innate magic.

What are these Dragon Magazine articles of which you speak Seethyr?
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Seethyr wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:33 pm
considering the massive boost in worship hishna gave to Zaltec and pluma gave to Qotal (even though Maztica herself created it).
On this subject of gods getting a boost from worship, the gods of Maztica seem tied to their worship an inordinate amount, more so than other pantheons, yes? If the DMG is correct in that children of gods are not quite gods, then Zaltec and his brothers and sisters would be wholly defendant upon worship to maintain their form as an expression of divinity. (Also the child of Kiltzi and Qotal would be in a greater dire need of worship, but that is the subject of an entirely other post.)

As such, they would barter magic and divine favors for worship. Plutoq and the others must needs be same as Zaltec and Qotal. This plays into the extrapolation of magics from the other gods, albeit not as powerful.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Rod Collins wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:27 pm
We all know pluma and hishna magic and then there is the sea magic. Should there not be more? Particularly from Plutoq or Watil or Ehe?
I do really like this idea.
I have always viewed the types of Maztican magic as still accessing the Weave but in different, less conventional, ways.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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apotheot wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:10 am
I have always viewed the types of Maztican magic as still accessing the Weave but in different, less conventional, ways.
Question is, what less convention ways. Is it merely a new list of spells, or something more fundamental?
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Rod Collins wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:31 pm
apotheot wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:10 am
I have always viewed the types of Maztican magic as still accessing the Weave but in different, less conventional, ways.
Question is, what less convention ways. Is it merely a new list of spells, or something more fundamental?
Well, I’m not sure if you want to keep with the format that has been “established” or not for the 5e update but if you do, I could tell you what it entails.

Pluma/Hishna/Teoatl each are based on a “fetish” of sorts. Pluma on feathers, hishna on claws and talons, and for my home brew teoatl I used shells, kelp and bioluminescence particularly.

Pluma is was created by Maztica but introduced to humanity by Qotal, hishna was from Zaltec (though perpetuated by Azul and Tezca in some ways as well) and Teoatl for my own lore was a joint effort in creation by Azul and the sister goddesses.

Each form of magic has a “knight” associated with it and subsequently a powerful predator it is associated with. These first translated to me as ranger archetypes but in the update they became paladin oaths. Jaguar Knights with hishna, Eagle Knights with pluma and Shark Knights with teoatl.

Then there is an artisan archetype (plumaweaver, hishnashaper, teoatltamer) and a wizardly subclass (plumacaster, hishnacaster and teoatlcaster).

Finally, there’s the magic. They each incorporate spells and magic items that incorporate the fetishes, animals and general themes of each magic form.

I apologize that 60-70% of that is from my own lore l, but as far as 5e goes that’s really all there is at the moment.

I hope this is helpful.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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I’m also sorry for all the typos. I’m posting from my phone while briefly pulled over from driving!
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Seethyr wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:27 pm
Well, I’m not sure if you want to keep with the format that has been “established” or not for the 5e update but if you do, I could tell you what it entails.
You "spelled" it out very straightforwardly. I like the format. I was focusing on the artisan weaver aspect, but the whole scheme makes sense. If we are to build a robust world setting in the absence of guidance from above, I believe a strong consistency must needs be our essential core. And even if I had not agreed with the format, I would say, the best way to correct a mistake that is already published, is to repeat it...
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Now what the hell kind of aggressive creature would be associated with plant magic? lol, these aren't druids.

Building, masons - Plutoq, Azul, Tesca - totem fetish - golem warrior?
Shipwrights, fences, barrelwrights - Ceiba tree fetish - Watil, Eha, Azul - squirrel warrior, lol?
Midwifes, healers, necromancers - Eha, Coatlicue - bone fetish - snake warrior
Agriculture and Hunting - Watil, Nula - furry fetish (omg) - alligator warrior
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Rod Collins wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:31 pm
apotheot wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:10 am
I have always viewed the types of Maztican magic as still accessing the Weave but in different, less conventional, ways.
Question is, what less convention ways. Is it merely a new list of spells, or something more fundamental?
Well, the way it was described in earlier editions ALL magic utilized the Weave. This included Priestly Magic which the gods provided from the Weave, Arcane Magic which is the caster ripping magic directly from it, as well as other lesser known forms (even Shadow Weave casters, as revealed very late in 3e required the Weave). The fetishistic magic of Maztica would simply be an alternate method which is mostly unknown to those specialists that study the Weave (such as the Chosen). So in answer, it is mostly method, though sure new spells and spell lists would be fine.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Yaxche magic for the Kapok Knight and Yaxchecaster and Yaxcheweaver. Perhaps the Kapok Knight seems like a paladin/militarized dryad and the Yaxchecaster is a circle of the land druid and the Yaxcheweaver is shipwright or carpenter or medicine man background.

Kapok tree, or the ceiba tree, forms the Mayan Tree of Life that occupies the center of most villages, its flowers adorn a new king's coronation or a festival to the gods. Named Yaxche, it stands with roots in the four cardinal directions and creates the central axis of heaven earth and underworld. This is certainly an obsession of a woodcrafter in Maztica, if not a fetish. It describes the making of a wooden hut as well as seafaring vessels.

I suspect Watil developed this "branch" of magic by herself, though she drew upon the powers of Eha and Azul as she does for all her creations. She was quiet about it, and only the most devout seek her gifts. Even the ubiquitous village shaman does little more than worship the Yaxche. Exceptional ones, however, can draw upon the weave in the cosmos for power and inspiration. Artificers perform such magic almost naturally.

As a very rough draft, I can imagine powers of Yaxche would grant in the form of spells:

Ipe Skin - black wood armor
Tall growth
Root tentacles as in Evard's Black Tentacles
Wood melding
Spear chucking
Vine entanglement
Pollen cloud
Flower healing
Kapok walking (teleport)
pass without trace
divination- Knowing weather, the cardinal directions or enemy locations (too rangeresque?)
Strong bows
Prickly ceiba mace
Poison darts or bioactive poison splinters
Summon a wooden couatl or golem that breath-weapons splinters, lol
Jackfruit seeds - Goodberry equivalent
Tamarind sourness astringency effects - confers dumbness, effective against casters
Monkey/Coconut raining tricks for bludgeoning damage and a good meal
Rope tricks
Repair ship hulls as in shipwright background
Communicate with the planes/ancestors
Hold water - ie barrel, similar to a cube of force?
Spinning top about a stable axis - AOE
Any staff related work - maybe use a staff to invoke a tree or wall of trees (ie. you shall not pass!) - maybe magic item
summon aspects of Watil or Eha - air elemental, woodland animals
Bamboo wall of force
8 hour cacti hut
Hallucinatory terrain
non burning wood fire effect for light?
Reeds -ethereal walk
Cacophony -jungle noises
Divine through plants - arcane eye
Greensong - enhanced running/climbing speed
Bog - restraint
Honey Bees
Lash
Fabricate:grow


I will play test these as NPCs against my party in Maztica. I have already played jaguar knight and eagle knights against them, where I try out all kinds of spells from the new campaign guide. The party is my guinea pig test, as I write temples and god/villians. I plan a teoalt encounter as soon as they reach a coast.

Any comments or other ideas?
Last edited by Rod Collins on Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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This is really, really cool. Where did the etymology come from? I tend to take my words from altered versions of the Nahuatl language.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Seethyr wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:04 pm
This is really, really cool. Where did the etymology come from? I tend to take my words from altered versions of the Nahuatl language.
I jus grabbed the living tree name from the quickest of google searches for Mayan tree. I already have a Kapok walking Dryad in my campaign that the party summons by sending stone when they want a shoulder to cry on. The two ideas go well together. I don’t know e entomology yet. I’ll get home and break it down.

I have a friend at work that teaches me Nahuatl but not much. I spent a weekend breaking down the Maztica gods names down and matching with phonetic Nahuatl and then creating Mayan square glyphs for a temple puzzle. They had to match the gods graven image with its name in the scripted story and then with individual glyphs on a Mayan circle and then put them together in the temple and speak the gods name. They had to do that with all 12 gods at equal vertices in a spherical path to form, I know you guessed it, a twenty sided die. That triggered The temple guardian to come through to the temple and speak to them. The puzzle was brutal, but at least I learned a hell of a lot of Mayan.

The biggest stretch I had was Plutoq. I substituted the phonetic tum, which glyphs as a stone cave. The rest of the Maztica names were close enough to Mayan phonetics, ignoring that Azul is Spanish.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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I wouldn’t hold too closely to the actual language but Nahuatl dictionaries online have just been inspiration for me. I always try to push the fact that this IS NOT Aztec or Maya, this is MAZTICA - a fantasy realm with borrowed inspiration.

To be honest, sometimes during my research I get lost in what I’m reading. Those cultures were so amazing and I learned so little of them in school. What a shame.

If you need help with anything I would love to be as much as I can. This really is exciting because Maztica is sorely lacking in powerful magic.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Did I mention I’m a woodworker, an architect running a commercial mill. I work with Ipe and Honduran Mahogany and teak. Never Kapok. That would be sacrilege.

True. I don’t want to use the Mayan word but rather search back to its roots and then find a glyph to work back to a Maztica name. It’s the most important decision of the idea. Also then the underlying language will be consistent. I mean, if Tolkien could do it then it must be easy.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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How about Iya-ke
iYa-ke
Iahke
Yggdrasil (wait not that one)
Iqué
Ya Che (too Spanish)
Yahque
Yache
Yaxche (How did I end up back here?)
...
Last edited by Rod Collins on Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Ok. I’m already ready for a major revision. The Yahque wood magic and the Agricultural magic really ought to be together. The Tumqua stone magic and the Itzalta death magic both stand on their own. (These are working names, roll with it. Yaxche is the one tree, Tum is stone cave, and Itza is snake)

Let me explain. Maztica magic is more powerful than Faerun spells. Maztica magic comes more directly from the primordial sources and fed by the untamed land. I’m biased. I can say this.

If this is correct, then the magic has to come from deeper sources than in Faerun. There, Lythander and his ilk encouraged government centralized agriculture systems of production that supported large cities and feudal societies. Hebrew tent walls that form the glyph for family, and Roman walls have encouraged this Eurocentric value placed on the Field and the Bailey. But in the Real World, there is no dependence on the domesticated animal or the fence or the plow. Besides Qotal’s bribe of Maze, what did the First People eat? They sustained themselves and Maztica with natural agroforestry I tell you. The jungle and the sea and the forest and the creek all provided natural patterns which they recognized as natural and powerful and food providing. Like Australian aborigines which inspired the last century’s back to the land theories, the Mazticans encouraged the forest to produce food and medicine, fiber and fuel. It is only the power hungry gods that encouraged urban supporting agriculture and easy to mass produce grains and also warfare. Qotal and Zaltec may be the most powerful gods but they made The First People the weakest to conquest by Cordell. Sorry if I am beginning to sound like my own villian who wants to usurp the old gods, lol

Agriculture as a magic is a dead end. Grain production is a high sugar, low protein system of food production that pales to the floating vegetable production islands and food forest that the True World offered before Qotal corrupted it. I’m sure the priests of Qotal would disagree with this statement. The most polite way to say this of an old god is to say there is always unintended consequences to such a powerful gift such as Maze. Of course gods are fallable and are forgiven easily by the Mazticans. They have already forgiven him of divine rape and incest. What’s a little narcissistic meddling in the True World going to matter. And then again to shift blame away from Qotal, it is the Faerunians and their magic that brought the steel ax and the plow to destroy the land, and treat the land Maztica with the same slight respect that they had disrespected their own lands.

The Kapok Knight stands to protect the Maztica from the invaders in a way that the Jaguar and Eagle Knights failed. By husbanding the land and creating interwoven systems of protection and sustainability, Yahque magic creates a stronger weave of magic than previous editions dreamed of. I suspect the spell lists of Yahwue could include some powerful spells equal to the Wizard Class spell lists and still remain balanced. By placing the power of Maztica magic in the hands of multiple factions, each with their own knights, casters and weavers, there will remain balance at least as well as the factions of Faerun or worse, Ravnica. Bring them together against a common enemy such as invaders, then watch out. It makes for a richer than ever campaign world.

And yeah, Tumqua magic brings the fire and the stone to bear in the forms of totems to give powerful forms of attacks and defense. Then there is the snake, ... don’t mess with death.
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Rod Collins wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:22 am
There, Lythander and his ilk encouraged government centralized agriculture systems of production that supported large cities and feudal societies. Hebrew tent walls that form the glyph for family, and Roman walls have encouraged this Eurocentric value placed on the Field and the Bailey. But in the Real World, there is no dependence on the domesticated animal or the fence or the plow. Besides Qotal’s bribe of Maze, what did the First People eat? They sustained themselves and Maztica with natural agroforestry I tell you. The jungle and the sea and the forest and the creek all provided natural patterns which they recognized as natural and powerful and food providing. Like Australian aborigines which inspired the last century’s back to the land theories, the Mazticans encouraged the forest to produce food and medicine, fiber and fuel.
http://thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=15747

I thought to do more research in the forum, you know, read it, and I found someone else mention Mayan food forestry. Nothing new under the sun.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Revised list of magics for Maztica

Pluma - sounds like feather - Qotal - feather fetish - Eagle Knight - pacifism
Hishna - sounds like a predator - Zaltec - claw and fang fetish - Jaguar Knight - aggression
Teoatl - sounds like divine water - Azul/Watil/Nula/Eha - shell fetish - Shark Knight - sea
Yahca - sounds like the One Tree and tales long ago - Watil/Nula/Eha - root fetish - Kapok Knight - jungle
Nahtl - sounds like nothingness and nativity - Coatlicue/Kiltzi - bone fetish - Coatl Knight - necromancy
Tumqua - sounds like cave - Plutoq/Tesca - totem fetish - Golem Knight - mountain
Uhta - sounds like that which comes forth - Mother Maztica/Uhti the unnamed - jewel fetish - Sun Knight - summoning
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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As for the Yahca magic and Kapok Knight, I am considering calling it Kapok magic and Green Knight, for the sole reason I am having a hard time imaging a tree decorated warrier. I can easily see the Green People of Maztica taking up this magic and using leaves and limber branches as decoration and armor. Or should it be Yahca magic and Green Knight, and lose the tree species all together (also confusing with the Kapok wolves of the northern lands.)

What do people think about these names? It's really the hardest part of this project. I am well into writing it up.
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Image

I’m doing renderings. What magic do you think she does?
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Image

How about her? Green People doing wild wood magic from Watil?
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Re: Nature based magic of Maztica

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Image

Or him? Nexal Hishashaper?
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