Wherein your humble scribe presents a set of opponents for his Mesoamerican themed setting for Barbarians of Lemuria.
Cuachicqueh – whose appellation translates as “The Shorn Ones” – are the ultimate Tlactozotl warriors; feared by king, priest, soldier and peasant. No fiercer breed of man exists within the lost valley. These elite fighters take their name from their custom of shaving their heads completely but for a single braid that extends over their left ear. They are also known to paint their faces and heads, normally half red and half blue, though other color schemes have been seen. Prior to entering battle, each Cuachicqueh swears a blood oath never to retreat even a single step. Violation of this oath results in death.
Rumors persist that Cuachicqueh cannot truly be killed by an opponent in battle and that if slain their bodies arise anew, powered by some strange magic or perhaps by the will of the gods themselves. Regardless of the veracity of these legends, one is strongly advised not to engage with Cuachicqueh who are charged with the protection of a temple, as these warriors are known to continue fighting through injuries that would kill a lesser man.
Protection: 1d6-1 (quilted cotton armor & shield)
Weapons: Macuahuitl (obsidian-toothed wooden swords) 1d6+4 (-1 to hit)
Atlatl (dart thrower) 1d6+2
From a game-mechanics standpoint, these guys have the lifeblood of full-fledged heroic types, careers (and then some), and ability scores (and then some), but no hero points, right?
Exactly. They’re tough as hell, but they lack that “spark” that true heroes have. Also, they’re not classed as rabble, so they can’t be dispatched en masse. I’d definitely avoid getting into combat with more than a couple of them at once unless the situation absolutely demanded it.
I really wanted these guys to be far and away the best of the best. I feel they might be a bit over-powered as written right now, but they absolutely have to be scary as hell to face. Otherwise, they’re just regular old warriors with funny hair and makeup.
I could see paring their numbers back just a touch (drop Agility by 1, maybe reduce either Ranged or Defense to 0) if I revise them. But for the moment I’m sticking by keeping them hardcore. Oh, in case it’s not obvious, they really should only be encountered in small numbers (four max, I think) when they’re encountered at all.
Any thoughts on your end on reining them in some, G-Man?
Like you said, I’d probably drop 1 of the agility, drop 1 off the combat skills to keep the total to 4. It looks like you’ve already adjusted the careers. You want to make them scary bad-ass, give them a boon–bonus die for a particular weapon (say the Macuahuitl). That should put the fear of God into your PC’s!
The boon approach would work, but that was another thing I was trying to keep held as a further way to distinguish these guys from proper heroes. So for now, no boon for them!
Thinking about it more I’ve gone back in and made the adjustments I mentioned above. I figure if you agree with ’em then they’re worth making sooner rather than later 🙂
I think they certainly work out well as a session’s “big bad”.
Of course the challenge is that the party might be well banged up by the time they fight their way TO these guys.
Love the concept and description – as always
Hey Gobbo! Good to see ya, amigo! These guys have the potential to ruin a party’s day, no doubt. I tend to see them more as a force to be negotiated with – perhaps even allied with – within the setting rather than outright enemies to be engaged directly. Because, even turned down a bit (as they are listed now), they’re going to put the hurt on some arrogant outlanders.