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Discussion Lizardmen Temples and Worship

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Lets Talk Temples!

    I covered Taboos and Lizardmen defensive structures to set the groundwork for two more posts. One covers temple cities, and one covers temple cities. I figured I’d cover the religious aspects first because Lizardmen are a theocracy and religion and magic comes first in all things.

    Lizardmen live in Temple Cities, but relatively little attention is given to temples. Time to fix that with a really really long fluff thread!

    I’m going to reference the temple here fairly often. I’m not sure I like these diagrams from the 5th edition army book but they provide a baseline for discussion. I’m also going to use temple and pyramid pretty interchangeable.

    What are real temples for?

    In the real world, generally temples are either holy sites or places of worship. Probably both. Do the Lizardmen consider their pyramids holy? Certainly! Do they worship there? That’s up for debate. We’ll put a pin in that for now.

    Functions of a Lizardmen Temple

    But Lizardmen temples are used for so much more than sites of worship or holy objects of admiration.

    Slann live in temples. This makes temples like palaces/mansions for the rulers. This also means the pyramids are governing centers. Even if the Slann are asleep it’s likely the Skink and Saurus leaders make the bulk of the big plans and strategies from within temple chambers just out of habit.

    Lizardmen pyramids usually have secure vaults with diligent guards and potent magical protections for holy items. This can blur the line for what is holy, the temple or the temple’s contents, but that distinction matters little. Holy is holy.

    Sometimes they might safely store profane artifacts in similar vaults to keep them from causing damage.

    Deceased Slann are mummified and stored in similar vaults, making Lizardmen pyramid temples similar to the temple tombs of real world Ancient Egypt.

    Slann can use pyramids to augment the range and power of their telepathy. They can enhance their scrying abilities, and they channel greater magic powers easier. Skink Priests may be able to tap into a fraction of this power too.

    Some fluff sources have Saurus spawning pools located underground beneath some temples.

    That’s it.

    I’m not going to say it.

    ……Lizardmen temples serve as emergency spaceships. Are you happy now!

    Do Lizardmen worship in their pyramid temples?

    In the modern world, a place of worship probably has locks on the doors and other basic security measures, for when it’s not in use, but ultimately, regardless of what religion a place of worship is dedicated to, the place of worship is probably designed the building easily accessible to the faithful.

    Slann live in these pyramids. The more accessible you make a Temple, the more vulnerable the Slann is. Also, the more accessible a temple is, the more vulnerable the temple vaults are. True, a visiting congregation of Skinks and Kroxigor would probably never harm a Slann or steal an artifact. True, it would be very difficult for an enemy of the Lizardmen to infiltrate the Skinks and Kroxigor, but having a wide public entrance is still a point of entry for assassins, thieves, and spies.

    In addition to direct dangers to Slann, Lizardmen tend to walk on egg shells around a Slann that is meditating or contemplating. Crowds of worshipers tromping in and out singing hymns “Sotek loves me yes I know, cause he makes the rat blood flow” could interrupt a Slann’s concentration or the Slann’s Skink attendants could think this might bother the Slann which would have the same effect on their behavior.

    True, a lot of nations have public tours of their government buildings but these are generally limited and carefully proscribed, so one could mix a need to allow worship with a Slann’s need for privacy and time, but what about the temple vaults? There are no public tours of Fort Knox and probably never will be.

    There is another difficulty with Lizardmen using their pyramids as places of worship, and that is space. A pyramid is not the world’s most efficient storage shape, and if real world architectural limitations and the diagram from the 5th edition book are any indication, pyramids are not perfectly empty and hollow with several well composed floors. That’s not a lot of space to begin with and you already have to cut off any areas taken up for sacred vaults or Slann quarters. That’s not a lot of space to accommodate large crowds of worshippers.

    This setup can work if Lizardmen take short breaks from their day and head to the temple alone or in small groups, make simple prayers, maybe talk to a Skink priest for advice, then leave and return to their duties. As long as the stream of worshippers is staggered this will work fine, but all indications are that Lizardmen are a communal society. Their natural inclination is to work, fight, eat and sleep in large groups. They would probably want to worship in large groups as well. Worship can certainly be a community builder.

    Based on the above things I said, I do not believe most Lizardmen would use their most sacred pyramids as a place of worship. What options are there?

    Option 1: The above assertion is wrong. Since Lizardmen are a theocratic society they don’t need to worship in large groups because they already know what they are doing and why. They only need small worship spaces with limited access because a typical Lizard rarely needs to worship in a temple.

    Option 2: The Lizardmen have two main types of temples, private temples and public temples. The first type is the aforementioned magic temple that augments a Slann’s power, serves as a Slann quarters, and is used to store sacred treasures in secure vaults. The second type of temple is still sacred, but it is not heavily guarded. They are designed to maximize usable space. They are built around accessibility rather than accessing fonts of magical power. Private temples are used by the Slann, public temples are used by everyone else.

    Option 3: Temples are sacred holy places, but most worship is done elsewhere. Maybe worship is done outside in courtyards or fields. Maybe they worship in open air buildings designed to maximize capacity like amphitheaters and coliseums. Worship areas could either be in the literal shadow of the temples or they could be located near the densest populated portions of the city for ease of access. Alternatively they can be located in the most empty unused spots of the city so the daily working of the city doesn’t interfere with worship. If most of a Temple City’s space is occupied, then spaces set for worship would be any spaces left open. This is currently my favorite option. So far, when I had large gatherings in my own fluff pieces, I assumed they’d be in a coliseum-like structure. I haven’t figured out where they are located in cities though. Whether they are in the shadow of a mighty temple, in a busy area, or on the outskirts.

    Option 4: Something other people come up with.

    Anyway where do you think most Lizardmen worship? This is part of this posting that I would especially appreciate feedback on.

    Where are Temples Located?

    Ha ha.

    That doesn’t narrow it down that much. Both for writing fluff pieces and drawing maps, I want to know where to put temples. I am working on another detailed fluff thread on how a Temple City is built and how they get their basic needs, food, water, sanitation, etc. I cannot really do that till I figure out where the temples go, since I’m betting temples come first, they get first dibs on space and the support infrastructure has to conform to the temples, not the other way around.

    Also, given that Temple Cities change over time, I want to know if temples can be torn down and rebuilt without offending the Old Ones. Look at the link above again for the map of Itza. The very center of the city is a large Sotek Temple. In a way that makes sense because Sotek is the most important contemporary god in Lizardmen society. Still, Sotek is the Lizardmen’s youngest god and Itza is the Lizardmen’s oldest city. The big Temple of Sotek was clearly not there when the city was young. Either the Lizardmen tore down and rebuilt their city center or at the very least they re-purposed their central Temple for Someone Else into a Temple for Sotek.

    I’m sure the official GW writers never leave gaping plot holes or logical inconsistencies, so this implies that, yes, temples can be taken down, moved, rebuilt, re-purposed and whatnot without offending the Lizardmen’s sensibilities too much. Alternatively they are just bad writers and we should toss out the map as an authoritative reference material. Maybe temples cannot be refurbished or moved.

    These are the considerations as to where to put a temple, in an order that may or may not mirror their actual importance.

    Temples need to be able to harness magical power

    The 5th edition army book map of Itza may or may not be “canon”, but the map on page 25 of the 8th edition army book probably qualifies as canon. It’s certainly the most complete Lustrian map ever published. The major Temple Cities and monuments are built along geometrically perfect ley lines and their intersections.

    Lizardmen temples, at least the ones used as magical conduits, need to be able to access these ley lines. It’s up to individual interpretation just how nitpicky these ley lines are. If you only need to be within a mile or perhaps even farther, then you can put the temples almost anywhere in a temple city and still let the Slann access the power. What if the ley lines are almost literal lines as in very thin lines? In order to access these ley lines the exact center of every temple needs to be precisely over a very precise point. That means Temples would be grouped together in a perfect straight line. If the Temple City is an intersection of ley lines, the layout of temples would looks like an X.

    That’s assuming the ley lines look like they do on the map. It could be the case that the major ley lines look like the perfect diamonds and 90 degree intersection points on the macro level, but once you go to the local level, the lesser ley lines go in different directions. If the ley lines are not finicky, this doesn’t matter. If the ley lines are finicky this means temples have to be centered in exact specific points, but they wouldn’t necessary be in straight lines. Still, even if it’s not a straight line, the patterns should makes sense to the eye, geometrically speaking. The ley lines and temples are still intended to shore up Order against Chaos, so they should probably make recongizeable shapes, not take the form of random squiggly lines.

    Of all the aspects of temples, this is the one I am least sure of and would like to mine the minds of the forumites for ideas. If the ley lines are finicky then pretty much none of the considerations that follow will be taken into consideration since the ley lines come first unless you are using the interpretations that Lizardmen have public and private temples, then the private temples certainly must be built a long ley lines and the public temples do not have to be (thought they might be just out of tradition).

    Temples need to be accessible to those who use them

    If it’s just the Slann and their Skink attendants using the Temples, they can be almost anywhere. They are accessible to the users because the users live there. Assuming the unwashed masses need to use a temple for broad worship, the ideal place would be along major paved crossroads or near the big clusters of Skink barrios. If a temple is mainly used for a specific purpose, it should be located accordingly.

    Ideally a Temple of Itzl would be located somewhere near the beast pens because the beast handlers are going to offer more prayers than the general population. “Great and Wise Itzl, please do not let my Salamander eat me”

    A Sotek temple, at least one that regularly offers mass sacrifices, may not actually work best in the city center. Skinks literally take their enemies here. Do you want to take potentially plague bearing enemies into the heart of your city? Probably not.

    Potec is a god of supernatural protection. Tepoc is a god of magic in a general sense. If only a few temples need to be built directly on the ley lines, these are the two temples would be on the shortlist, though you can come up with other justifications. Since Potec is a god of protection, his temples might be built on the edge of the city as sort of a barrier against external corruption, just for perceived utility, this segues into the next part.

    Temple locations may have to do with folklore and superstition.

    This kind of related to ley lines and this is kind of related to accessibility. Superstitions can help figure out where temples should be. I like the idea of Huanchi the night god having temples in the west towards the setting sun and Chotec the sun god having temples in the east towards the rising sun. That leaves a lot open to interpretation. You could have a single temple in the city center with one Temple that’s eastern half is dedicated to Chotec and the western half is dedicated to Huanchi. Or if the temples are clustered in a district, Chotec and Huanchi can bookend the east and west sides of the temple district. Alternatively you could have Temples to Chotec and Huanchi on the far east and far west sides of the city.

    Warriors would want the blessing of Sotek and the Old Ones dedicated to war. They would probably appreciate it if these temples were located near their barracks, training fields, and/or watch towers if possible so the gods can bless their martial endeavors. It would probably be considered lucky to have a temple of Tzunki overlook the city’s spawning pools or Tzunki’s temple could be symbolically guarding a city’s primary source of drinking water. Temples could be built on the site of great victories and horrible defeats to honor and memorialize the deaths of heroes. There are near limitless possibilities for superstition based Temple placement.

    There is an interesting dissonance here. Superstition could lead Lizardmen to want to relocate a temple to a more favorable place often as circumstances and histories change. Superstition could also lead Lizardmen to never want to relocate a temple for any reason because moving a temple would be insulting to the gods.

    Temple should ideally be located in defensible locations

    I discussed Lizardmen defensive strategies here.

    Long story short, there is nothing that the Lizardmen want to defend more than their temples and spawning pools. Apart from the Skaven and the rare forward thinking Daemon, most enemies of the Lizardmen are not going to bother poisoning spawning pools, spawning pools have nothing to steal and most warmblood invader are not aware that future generations of Lizardmen come out of them. The general consensus is that spawning pools cannot be moved or replaced. It is possible that Temples can be moved or replaced.

    So if Lizardmen have the option of moving their temples, and if they have the freedom to put them wherever they want. From purely strategic perspective, the best place to put a Temple City’s temples is in the very center of the city. That way invaders have to fight through the entire city to get to the temples. Also it is easier to defend one strategic objective instead of seventeen scattered temples. If a city’s temples are widely scattered, basically a Temple city has no second line of defense, if the outskirts of a city is breached by the enemy, it will be difficult to defend every temple. Though if you have public and private temples, the public temples can be abandoned to the enemy in dire situations.

    Even if a Temple City or Kahoun doesn’t have the resources to build and maintain full city walls, Lizardmen would be fools to not have an interior wall around their temple district if the Temples are tightly clustered together. If they do have walls around the whole city, they can probably spare the resources to make a secondary wall around the temple district, if there is a temple district. That’s a fantastic second line of defense.

    Spawning pools and temples fit together

    The one diagram we have a Lizardmen pyramid temple has a Saurus spawning pool beneath it. Officially, Saurus spawning pools are located underground. Skink and Kroxigor spawning pools are located above ground. There is an appeal to placing temples on top of Saurus spawning pools and there is an appeal in placing temples adjacent to Skink and Kroxigor spawning pools.

    The appeal to place spawning pools with temples is two-fold, maybe three if spawning pools are found along mystic ley lines. There is a superstitious benefit, its good fortune to have a spawning of Skinks or Saurus under the eye of the Old Ones. It might be especially appealing to place temples to war gods near Saurus Spawning pools for instance.

    There is a strategic benefit to clustering temples near spawning pools too. Since the two most important things to defend in a city are the spawning pools and temples, defense because slightly easier if these two resources can be defended together.

    All that said, a spawning pool can operate just fine independent of a temple and a temple can operate just fine independent of a spawning pool.


    Does the Fact that Some Temples are Spaceships Impact where they should be placed and whether or not they can be moved?

    My answer to that is probably not. I don’t think it will impact where and how a temple is physically placed and whether it can be rebuilt.

    Don’t tell me you can’t move a temple because it’s a spaceship. Spaceships by definition, can move. For all its pretensions to being a spaceship, most temples were assembled by Kroxigor stacking bricks at a Skinks direction. These structures are probably not air tight and able to withstand the vacuum of space (though maybe space is not a vacuum in the Warhammer Fantasy/Age of Sigmar universe). Magic, not craftsmanship, is what let the temples fly into space during the End Times. Presumably some combination of Slann spells and ancient artifacts of the Old Ones powered this magic. Slann and ancient artifacts can be moved. Therefore the temples they are attached to can also be moved as long as you move the sacred artifact and Slann with it.

    My conclusion (feel free to dispute this): unless temples must be built physically on ley lines, they can be moved, but the potentiality or lack of potentiality of space travel will not affect whether a temple can be moved or replaced.

    Anyway these are my thoughts. What considerations do you all think are the most important in determining where temples are physically placed? Do you think temples can be moved, repurposed or modified without offending Lizardmen sensibilities?

    Besides City Temples, what other structures do Lizardmen consider holy or an aid to worship?

    Again I’m not a big fan of this map of Itza, but it is a reasonable starting off point.

    Maybe the map is not to scale but the four avenue of Lizard sphinxes are REALLY wide. The rules are often different for Lizardmen versus humans but the general rule for ancient and medieval human cities is lots of narrow cramped and often winding streets.

    For day-to-day activities, it is probably a waste of space to have long wide streets that are wider than is necessary for a single loaded Stegadon to tromp down. The avenues on the map are MUCH wider. Since there is no practical purpose to have streets this wide, if you hold the map as canon, the avenues need a religious or mystical purpose.

    I mentioned Lizardmen could use wide open spaces for religious ceremonies and observances, I guess this fits the bill. If religious observances take place along these wide avenue that means most major religious ceremonies would take the form of a parades or processions. Since the avenues move in four cardinal directions you could have Old Ones attributed to the North, South, East, and West. Alternatively a single god could have four aspects to his existence. I’m not a big fan of the four wide avenues approach to city design, but I can see the merits in it.

    Ignoring the fact that the dictionary definition of a sphinx is a lion with a human head, and Lizardmen statues would not involve lions or humans. So sphinx is not the right nomenclature. But "quadrupedal statues with mismatched heads" doesn’t roll off the tongue. I’m not sure what their bodies would be, but probably not lions. I don’t know what their heads would be but probably not humans. I’m not sure what they would look like. I’m open to people posting pictures of drawing or terrain pieces. Unless someone comes up with a compelling pro-sphinx argument, sphinxes are not on my to-do list for terrain pieces to make. I like pylons, obelisks, cairns, and vertically oriented statues, but I don’t care for sphinxes, apart from Egyptian style sphinxs for Nehekaran themed terrain setups.

    Another possibility I want to cover is temples and shrines outside of Temple cities. I doubt they are going to have Slann live in the deep jungle or stow sacred artifacts in the middle of nowhere, but the Lizardmen could maintain isolated temples in the wilderness. Probably near crossroads, water sources and other locations patrols are likely to visit. A Skink in the deep jungle probably has more things to pray about than one in a big city.

    Caxautn is associated with deep jungle predators. I imagine it would be hard to properly worship in him in a city. A lot of Old Ones could have rites that require the wilderness to be authentic so the deep jungle could have some small temples and shrines. A great excuse to set up a battlefield terrain board with one Temple on it for simplicity.

    Altars of Sotek are another religious structure that doesn't have to be in a city. The logistics of moving live prisoners through a track of jungle is difficult at best, dangerous at worst. First off, Lizardmen with prisoners are easier to track and move slower so if the Sotek sacrifice victims have friends, they know where to find the Lizardmen and can follow the trail to figure out which direct the temple city is. The longer it takes to move prisoners the greater chances of a rescue or escape attempt. Then there is the possibility that Skaven could be witting or unwitting typhoid Marys that they wanted to get caught. They did this to the Dark Elves. That's why Dark Elves don't take Skaven slaves anymore and they enslave EVERYONE. The sooner one can dispose of Skaven prisoners the better. Locating Altars of Sotek around the jungle is one way to help accommodate this.

    On the road, I think large Lizardmen army would carry mobile shrines or icons. Similar to what Lizardmen standards look like but probably bigger carried back with the supply train...the invisible supply train that never sees the tabletop. I can imagine during religious ceremonies on campaign away from the cities that unit standards would be arrayed around the mobile shrine. If the army really has to travel light then can use their unit standards as the central icons to do their religious ceremonies.

    More or what religious ceremonies look like in part two!
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  2. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    There are lots of things religious real world humans do. I group them into two main categories. Somber and Exuberant. I’m hardly an expert on religion, but I fancy myself well-read. Every real world religion I studied has a mix of both somber and exuberant expressions of faith. I don’t see why Lizardmen and Seraphon would not have a mix, but I do know in writing you want to set a tone. Whichever you are tone you are going for, keep that in mind for what religious practices you include in your fluff.

    If you are writing fluff and want to emphasize the Lizardmen’s cold blooded discipline, focus your fluff on somber displayers of worships. If you want to focus on Lizardmen’s predatory nature and animalistic instinctual outook then focus on exuberant displays of worship. If you want to focus on conflict or dichotomy, do both.

    These lists are not exhaustive

    Somber Displays of Worship

    Engaging in periods of respectful silence: I think Lizardmen would do this often.

    Fasting: I’m not sure if Lizardmen would do this. They probably have no problem going hungry if duty demands it, but fasting is not the same as going hungry. Hungry people want food and don’t have it. Fasting people have access to food and choose not to eat it. Lizardmen certainly have the discipline to fast, but I wonder if they are too pragmatic to consider this a reasonable practice.

    Abstaining from Earthly Pleasures: Lizardmen and Seraphon do not reproduce sexually, so they couldn’t really abstain from that. Lizardmen certainly have the technology to ferment intoxicating beverages. Lustria certainly has hallucinogenic plants and animal poisons. They might have smokeable plants. Don’t know if they use it, but it’s there. It is debatable whether their constitutions allow them to become inebriate and it’s debatable whether they would choose to do so recreationally. Assuming they do recreationally partake of any mind altering substances, it would certainly be taboo to be inebriated during a formal holy ceremony but I don’t think they’d make a big deal about going 40 days without it or anything like that.

    Silent Prayers: I don’t see why Lizardmen couldn’t do this.

    Rhythmic Chanting, Singing in Unison: I see this as very appropriate for Lizardmen to do. I think they can probably do this to a point that would put human monks to shame.

    Ritualized Prayers Given by Rote: Possibly done alone, possible done in small or large groups. I’m sure the Lizardmen have a bunch of these.

    Exuberant Displays of Worship

    Loud open expressions of faith: Emotionally shouting praises to Sotek and the Old Ones makes a lot of sense. I imagine “FOR SOTEK” is screamed by many before many battles even if they sound like inarticulate roars to the untrained. I’m sure spectators might cheer in an undignified manner while Skaven are being sacrificed to Sotek. Emotional displays of faith don’t have to be limited to killing.

    Feasting: Lizardmen can praise the gods in a celebration while stuffing their faces. As long as you thank the gods for your food, this can be just as respectful as fasting.

    Wild Parties: I’m not sure if Lizardmen would dance, but they could. They might brawl. Maybe they have manly non-fighting contests, who can throw a stone the farthest, who can swim the fastest, who can climb the fastest, etc. They might break stuff, they might drink or smoke. Whatever Lizardmen find fun and exciting.

    Free Form Chanting and Singing: To an outside observer, it might sound like bestial roars but as the worshippers are actually roaring nice things about their gods.

    Improvised Prayers about Personal Wants and Fears: I’ve had characters in my fluff pieces do this fairly often when facing challenges.

    If you like these ideas as is. Good. If you want to adapt or personalize to your own fluff, even better. If this inspires you to come up with your own ceremonies even better. I’ll admit I pulled a lot of inspiration from this from one of my favorite roleplaying games, the now OOP Werewolf: The Apocalypse. I figure the Solstices and Equinoxes would be big.

    I can imagine Lizardmen would have a New Years festival. There is no reason it must be on January 1st. I can think of a dozen plausible rationales for putting New Years in this time or that time. Apart from the Solstices and the Equinoxes, I have not set any dates for any of the festivals or rituals detailed below. It’d be quite easy to say the Festival Tzunki/Sotek/Quetzli/Scalenex marks the official start of the new year. Just like New Years, Vengeance Day could be in the Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter.

    I’m sure Skinks keep a lunar and solar calendar. I like the idea of both being important. If the solar calendar is the dominant one, the Lizardmen might recognize the midway festivals like the Ancient Celts did. Half way between the Equinoxes and Solstices you have Samhain (morphed into Halloween), Beltane (morphed into May Day), Imbolc (sort of morphed into Ground Hog Day), and Lughnasa (stands alone as Midsummer). It would also be pretty easy to assign the holidays listed below to occur at the same time as Imbolc, Samhain, etc.

    I won’t be offended if someone writes fluff that contradicts how I state these observances “must” occur. I am hoping to inspire people to come up with their own religious observance ideas for Lizardmen and Seraphon. I would very like people to post their own ideas for Lizardmen/Seraphon religious observances.

    I believe in the realm of fiction, holidays and celebrations are a fantastic backdrop for stories. You can have a holiday reinforce the story by matching the narrative. A story about family cohesion set during Christmas time. Or you can enhance a story with juxtaposition and contrast. A violent action movie set during Christmas time. Likewise you can develop a character by showing him or her participating (or not participating) in a ceremony that either reinforces or conflicts with his or her core personality and drives. I didn’t consciously plan this, but the one time I won (well tied for victory) in a short story contest, I used a Chotec ritual as the backdrop to set the tone and foreshadow the ending.

    Major Religious Observances/Holidays

    Most religious festivals are technically open to everyone, and it’s not particularly difficult to get permission to take a break from normal duties to attend a religious observance, but most Lizardmen don’t go to most religious observances. Except for these. They aren’t going to stop essential duties, but very few Lizardmen sit these observances out. The business of a Temple City basically comes to a halt to accommodate these festivals and most look forward to it.

    Autumnal Equinox: The Autumnal Equinox marks the beginning of the dark half of the year where the nights are longer than the days. Just before dusk, the Lizardmen gather to thank Chotec for maintaining his vigil over them during the light half of the year. Then it’s time to welcome Huanchi’s patronage for the next half.

    For the daylight portion of the equinox, some Lizardmen engage in fasting, meditation or other silent expressions of faith, but most just try to get a good long nap in because the Lizardmen are going to ready themselves for twelve active hours at night. Opinions differ on whether chewing xilqua root or coffee beans honors Huanchi by keeping the worshipper awake and alert or if it offends Huanchi by not relying on natural endurance and will.

    Most Lizardmen are more active during the day than at night, therefore the night dominated half of the year is typically the time that Lizardmen look inward. A big part of the early part of the Autumnal Equinox is to memorialize the dead, especially any who passed away since the last Autumnal Equinox. Usually pretty formalized recounting of their positive traits and deeds and sorrow for how the First are diminished by the deceased’s passing. Some choose to honor the dead by taking on ceremonial burdens on this day. Sometimes they might have held on to their burdens for several days. The burden rarely anything deadly or damaging, usually something akin to backpack full of rocks to carry around.

    Several Old Ones are honored here. There are no hard and fast rules here. Most Lizardmen have one or more favorite deities and most do not keep this secret. If you are honoring a deceased friend who felt especially close to Tlazcotl then the eulogy will probably pray to Tlazcotl to watch over his soul. If they liked Sotek best, then you pray for Sotek to watch over his soul. In a general sense, Potec is the probably the closest thing Lizardmen have to a generic all-purpose guardian of the dead. Also, if a city has a specific patron, that patron often usually takes a guardianship rule over that city’s dead.

    The Autumnal Equinox is also the time to look back on mistakes and make amends. If a Skink, Saurus, or Kroxigor makes an apology for wronging a brother or more distant kinsman in the past year, then the aggrieved party is honor bound to fully forgive them if the apology is genuine. This also applies to wronging large groups or society at large. Once in a great while, a lesser Lizardmen will apologize to a Slann for a misdeed but this is usually coupled with the supplicant volunteering for some dangerous quest or onerous duty, and the Slann is not required to acknowledge the apology though non-Slann witnesses will probably accept the apology on the Sann's behalf as long as the supplicant actually performs the task he volunteered for.

    Lizardmen take attempts at contrition seriously but not every apology given has the same gravitas. Some interpose in jokes. “I apologize to the Rat Men we fought last season for not killing every last one of them! I promise to make amends when we meet again.” Friends can make fake apologies, but only if they are truly close. “I am sorry I totally humiliated you in our last sparring contest!” “Well I am sorry I broke my broke my practice sword over your ugly head in the contest before that!”

    At midnight Huanchi is honored by brief invocations, then things loosen up. Anyone who chose to carry a ceremonial burden up to this point, removes them now. After the invocation there is a feast and anyone who was taking a ceremonial fast, breaks the fast now. The feast is relatively small relative to other feasts but it is still a decent spread. Before the Lizardmen start to eat, small portions of the choicest bits of food are ceremonially given to their dead brothers. The food might be thrown into a fire, into a river, dropped into a pit, dumped on the ground or flung off a cliff. Either way the intent is to offer food to the deceased. After the dead had their taste of life, the living can eat. During the feast, the dead are still talked about but it’s much more informal. “Did I tell you about the time Murloq tried to eat a whole ghost pepper by himself? The look on his face was hilarious!”

    After dinner and talking, Skink Priests lead some brief honorifics to the Old Ones apart from Huanchi. Then the attendees are pretty much free to do what they want. Some turn into bed early. Some chat up their friends. Some pray to the gods. Some stargaze. Whoever is left gathers just before dawn and welcomes the sunrise together, watching quietly till the sun is fully over the horizon at which point the attendees all give a raucous cheer. Then the equinox celebration is over.

    Festival of Sotek: The newest major Festival, the Festival has a number or variations city to city depending on how strong the Cult of Sotek is there and how hidebound the Slann and priesthood is. The Festival of Sotek is actually made up of three consecutive Festivals, The Festival of Before Sotek. The Festival of Sotek’s Spawning, and the Festival of Sotek’s Legacy. Each lasts at least a day, sometimes these last a couple of days.

    The Festival of Before involves a lot of storytelling. Sometimes Skinks will perform roles in bulky costumes while story tellers speak. Sometimes puppets are used. Sometimes this is done without props. They cover the rebuilding and relative prosperity of the time after the Great Catastrophe, the early warnings of the coming of the Ratmen and how they largely fell on Deaf Ears. This Festival is marked by somber observances, memorializing the dead. Sometimes Lizardmen fast, take vows of silence, or carry ceremonial burdens during this time.

    The Festival of Sotek’s Spawning celebrates Sotek’s appearance (Lizardmen tend to use literal names for things). Tehenhauin’s heroism is celebrated. If the city can pull it off, they will sacrifice Skaven now. Sometimes they’ll substitute other prisoners to Sotek. If they don’t have any convenient prisoners, they’ll symbolically destroy effigies of Skaven. These sacrifices kick off a big feast and wild celebration of a level of rowdiness that makes some conservative Skink priests shake their heads sadly.

    The Festival of Sotek’s Legacy tones down the wildness a bit. After some brief ceremonial invocations, and recounting of history, the wild energy from before is pushed towards productive ends. First come some martial tests of physical skill. Sotek caste Skinks sometimes decide their leaders by the outcomes of these contests. Although Sotek defeated the Horned Rat, his Children need to maintain eternal vigilance. Defensive structures are ceremonially blessed at this time. The Festival concludes with formal oaths and ritual displays of a willingness to show eternal vigilance against the Skaven and other foes of the First Children of the Old Ones.

    A lot of real world societies, both modern historical have a day where the literal or figurative king is humbled. This doesn’t just apply to countries. I’ve seen a lot of cases on the professional level where you have a picnic or celebration where the boss goes in a dunk tank or takes the forefront in a messy pie eating contest or something similarly undignified. Real world example, the monarchy in the United Kingdom is held in high regard but the Black Rod has the door symbolically slammed in his face when parliament opens. There was also a Boxing Day tradition where rich people waited on their servants.

    It’s certainly plausible that the Lizardmen never humble their leaders, especially the Slann. During the coming of Sotek, the Slann and their Skink toadies were wrong, or at the very least way too slow. If the rank and file Skinks didn’t take their own initiative and invoked Sotek, the First Children of the Old Ones would probably have been wiped out.

    IF there is ANYtime when it was proscribed that it was acceptable for a Lizardmen to question his superiors, it would be incorporated into one of the three Festivals of Sotek because this marks the historical time when the lowly masses were correct and their leaders were not. It might not go as far as the Slann. Skink priests, chiefs, maybe Scar Veterans or Old Bloods basically invite underlings to approach them with criticisms. In the unlikely event it is deemed necessary and acceptable to criticize Slann, you don’t criticize a Slann. You talk to a Skink priest intermediary and the intermediary decides if the complaint is valid enough to politely broach to his master later (he probably won’t but the illusion of access is there).

    Invocation of Tzunki: Tzunki’s main holy day starts as the rainy season begins in earnest. Tzunki’s nourishment of the thirsty jungle is honored and celebrated as well as everything else good Tzunki does. In the morning the Skink priests take a large ceremonial container of pure water. This might be filled from a sacred pool or spring of exception purity. More often, the container is filled with natural rainwater. The container is taken all around the city and blessed several times by several different Lizardmen. Also, the container is blessed by several Old Ones, not just Tzunki. Once the ceremonial water has been thoroughly blessed, a portion of the blessed water is poured into each and every Spawning pool in the city to extend Tzunki’s blessings on all future generations. After every pool is covered, all the water left over is either poured over Tzunki’s main temple or drank by a Skink Priest said to bear the Mark of Tzunki. If a Slann is awake and willing to drink the water, even better.

    Summer Solstice: The longest day of the year is Chotec’s holiest day. The Vernal Equinox is primarily in Chotec’s honor but most/all the Old Ones and Sotek get a nod of attention. Appropriately enough, Chotec worship dominates the observances on the day he dominates the day.

    No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, but it is considered good luck to fight a battle on the Summer Solstice than any day of the year, so commanders will try to schedule battle enemies on or near the Solstice when this is feasible. Because of this not every Solstice tradition takes place at the city level. There are number of rituals performed by expeditionary armies during the Summer Solstice including variations on whether the army is camped out, marching, or actually fighting a battle.

    Different Temple Cities have a lot of variation here, but commonalities include group prayers and chants, burnt offerings, and displays of martial strength. More often than not, Lizardmen religious observances tend to start out with the formalities and then loosen up as they progress. The Summer Solstice festival works in the opposite fashion. The Dawn is greeted with a rowdy and boisterous celebration. The morning is dominated by marital contests and feats of strength. Ceremonial fires are lit at high noon. If a city has powerful lenses and can start the fires from natural sunlight, the ceremonial fire are lit this way, with the sun’s own light. The afternoon is dominated by burning offerings and prayers, gradually getting more ritualized and somber as night finally approaches.

    Vernal Equinox: The Vernal Equinox marks the half of the year where the days are longer than the nights. Just before dawn, the Lizardmen gather to thank Huanchi for maintaining his vigil over them during the dark half of the year. Then it’s time to welcome Chotec’s patronage for the next half.

    The cusp of dawn is welcomed with much fanfare. Initially loud ecstatic praise which slowly dies down and then gives way to a calm formal chant that is gradually taken up by more and more of the Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor until all are chanting. Most of the morning is taken up by formal ritualized displays of worship for Chotec.

    Most Lizardmen are more active during the day than at night, therefore the day light dominated half of the year is typically the time that Lizardmen begin offensive military campaigns. At high noon offerings are burned to Chotec. Militaristic Temple Cities and Kahoun often burn last year’s war trophies at this time confident that Chotec and the rest of the gods will grant them more victories in the year to come. Sometimes instead of physical trophies, they burn a large wooden plaques or pylons with glyphs detailing enemies slain. Some locations burn wooden trophies depicting successful hunts against large prey instead of or in addition to the war trophies. The afternoon is often filled with martial contests and displays of physical prowess by Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor alike. While this is primarily for Chotec’s honor, these competitions are interposed between religious honorifics to the more martial Old Ones like Xhokha and Itzl.

    Chotec is the sun and the sun is a giver of life. As the martial activities wind down, Lizardmen sit down to a great big feast to let them enjoy the fruits of Chotec’s bounty. A martial city might have storytellers or even re-enactors regale the feasters with stories of military victory, both in the past year and in antiquity.

    As dusk gets closer and everyone is digesting their food, worship becomes more somber again. The Vernal Equinox is mainly a celebration of Chotec but the more cerebral Old Ones not covered during the martial competition get their due here. For example the monsoon season is almost upon everyone, and the Lizardmen thank Tzunki for the beneficial aspects of this and pray for respite from the dangerous aspects of this. Potec is thanked for keeping the dark forces at bay much as Chotec dispels literal darkness.

    As dusk falls and turns into night, the Skinks light huge bonfires in Chotec’s honor. The Lizardmen stamp and howl in delight, defiance and strength letting the darkness know that they will never falter and they will always carry the light of the Old Ones. One by one as participants get tired, they give a short prayer to the god of the lizard’s choice and hunker down to go to sleep.

    Winter Solstice: Naturally the longest night of the year is Huanchi’s holiest day…er night. Unlike the Autumnal Equinox, there is no major pressure to do everything at night. The night is long enough, Huanchi can be honored during the relatively brief time the sun is in the sky without dishonoring him. Throughout the day, Huanchi is honored with prayers and offerings. Sometimes there are whispered chants but a many view the best way to honor Huanchi is with silence. Some take vows of silence for the day (or even the surrounding week). Many praise Huanchi with interpretive dances or by drawing or carving effigies.

    A lot of religious observances include martial displays and physical contests. The Winter Solstice has some contests of speed and agility. It also features activities that bore the average Saurus to tears like riddle contests and stargazing.

    At dusk, or sometimes midnight depending on local preferences, a captured jaguar is ceremoniously released. Not every city can manage to successfully capture a jaguar unharmed. Sometimes a jaguar is symbolically released. A bunch of Skinks wearing a Jaguar costume march into the jungle, a jaguar shaped kite is released into the sky, or a jaguar effigy is burned (the jaguar rises to the heavens as smoke). After the jaguar is released, the main meal of the day is eaten and the formalities wind down. Some individuals opt to do displays of worship till dawn. Others opt to go to sleep shortly after the ceremonial jaguar is freed.

    Minor Religious Observances/Holidays

    These are not minor in the sense that they are unimportant (I DARE you to tell a Kroxigor that Kroxigor Day is unimportant!), they are minor in the sense that they are either very short ceremonies or they cater to a specific demographic of Lizardmen society rather than to everyone. Most religious festivals are technically open to everyone, and it’s not particularly difficult to get permission to take a break from normal duties to attend a religious observance, but most Lizardmen don’t go to most religious observances. Everyone is (usually) invited but these holidays are intended for a specific subset of the community and that’s who shows up.

    Day of Testing: There is a saying that Sotek spills the enemy’s blood and Quetzl sheds his own blood to defend his People. While many Skinks are involved with Quetzl’s holy day, this is primarily a Saurus-centered holiday. Besides the standard prayers and offerings that accompany most Old One’s festivals, a big aspect of the Day of Testing is Sauri, Skinks, and Kroxigor testing themselves physically. Fasting, feats of endurance, feats of strength. Carrying heavy weights, enduring extreme heat or cold, deliberately letting spawning brothers smack the tested with clubs. Not everyone takes parts in these tests, but leaders and especially aspiring leaders are expected to do this. It’s unlikely that new leaders are named on the spot this day, but people remember how well the Tested did today. It’s not just what a First Child of the Old Ones can endure, but how stoically they endure it.

    While Temple Guard rarely take on Tests, the Day of Testing is a day to honor Temple Guard and memorialized those who died protecting the Slann. New spawnings of Temple Guard, as well as the rare regular Sauri who are promoted to Temple Guard are often sworn into service on the Day of Testing. Since Quetzl wants his Children to stand like a wall against the enemies of the Old Ones, sometimes this is taken literally and a wall or other defensive structure is blessed on this day. Sometimes it’s blessed by Testing it, aka having a Saurus or Kroxigor wail on it to make sure it can withstand punishment.

    Festival of the Unseen: Participation in most religious observances are open to all. Not counting comatose Slann, Chameleon Skinks are the most likely of the First to consistently sit out of religious observances. When they show up they tend to hang out at the fringes, watching but not not actively participating. The Festival of the Unseen is said to be a religious observance where Chameleon Skinks worship the Old Ones by themselves, on their own terms, in their own way, and non-Chameleon Skinks, even priests, are not welcome.

    Little is known about the Festival of the Unseen. If you ask a Chameleon Skink about it he will probably ignore you. Maybe he will flash you a mischievous smile but little more. But the rumors from different Temple Cities are consistent enough that there is probably a kernel of truth in them.

    For centuries, no Chameleon Skinks were spawned at all. Not long after Oxoytl emerged, a spawning pool in Pahaux began spawning anew. Generations later, Chameleon Skink spawnings appeared throughout Lustria, but Pahuax remains the most prolific source of new Chameleon Skinks. Thus Pahuax is believed to remain the modern Chameleon Skinks' spiritual center. The Festival of the Unseen is believed to be a regular scheduled pilgrimage to Pahaux, so since Pahuax has a reasonably large population of permanent residents who are not Chameleon Skinks, they presumably meet in a secluded area outside of the city.

    Not every Chameleon Skink goes to every Festival but it’s assumed that most Chameleon Skinks go at least once in their lives. If every Chameleon Skink left at the same time every year, the rest of the Lizardmen would eventually figure this out, but if half (or less) of the Chameleon Skinks choose to wander off, whose to know?

    It’s assumed they make prayers and offerings to most, if not all the Old Ones and Sotek, but it is said that Huanchi, Sotek, Tlazcotl, and perhaps even Rigg are the favored deities. It is known that Chameleon Skinks are generally better informed on the goings on outside of their home Temple cities, so it’s assumed that the Festival of the Unseen includes a lot of news sharing between Chameleon Skinks from disparate areas. They mourn their lost brothers who have died or gone missing. They compare notes and look for patterns in their patrol data, and perhaps share less serious gossip too.

    There is much speculation on whether the Chameleon Skink attendees here whisper and chant making subtle displays of piety to the Old Ones and Sotek, or whether they do the opposite relishing the opportunity to drop their natural and learned stealth in the company of the only people they can truly open up to. Maybe they do both. Most mainstream religious observances have quiet and dignified and wild and exuberant sides, so it’s likely Chameleon Skinks would do likewise.

    There is a dark rumor though. The rumor is that Chameleon Skinks are terrified that Chameleon Skink spawning poolss will fall dormant again. It is whispered (by non-Chameleon Skinks) that during the Festival of the Unseen, the Chameleon Skinks nominate their bravest, wisest, and strongest attendant, and ritually sacrifice him at the Pahaux spawning pool in a dark fertility rite.

    Festival of Tlanxla: An Old One who is a war god who flies his chariot across the sky. Who does this Old One going to appeal to? Terradon riders of course! Terradon riders are too vital for the lives and defense of Temple Cities for all of them to abandon their posts on the same day, but on any given year about half of them fly off in preparation for Tlanxla’s holiest day. A lot of them fly to the ruined city of Tlanxla but there are a number of less accessible sites in Terradon friendly areas where Skinks have erected modest temples or shrines.

    The Terradon riders honor Tlanxla, they prayer for a strong healthy next generation of Terradons to be born. They mourn the deaths of Terradons and Terradon riders over the last year. Since most worship sites are visited by Terradon riders from multiple locales, after the formalities are out of the way is a great time to share news and renew ties with distant Skinks. After all, only a Terradon rider can understand a Terradon rider. If the Skinks do any controlled breeding of Terradons instead of just taming wild Terradons, the Festival of Tlanxla would be a good time to rotate Terradons between distant locales so local populations do not become too inbred.

    Unlike the Festival of the Unseen, this is not a secret ritual. If visitors are willing to make a long walk through the jungle, they are welcome to come and worship Tlanxla from the ground if they want. In a way it’s pretty entertaining, kind of like going to the air show. I’m sure Terradon riders have some friendly competition and it’s the closest thing Lizardmen (or anyone else in Warhammer) can get to seeing an air show. Also, I imagine since Skink Priests have access to both Beast and Heavens magic some of them could and would want to learn how to fly Terradons themselves, so Skink priests could actually be leading the ceremonies per usual.

    What about Ripperdactyls and their riders? Well one, I imagine Ripperdactyl riders would be loners compared to other Skinks. Two, you get more than a two dozen Ripperdactyls in a single location they are probably going to over hunt that area till there is hardly anything left, so the Ripperdactyls fight each other in competition for food. Ripperdactyl riders surely honor Tlanxla, but they do that alone or in small groups on irregular schedules.

    Itzl Ceremonies: I am betting that Itzl has more varied ceremonies in his honor than any other Old One. Lizardmen are a hidebound people, so I can imagine they stubbornly keep rituals intact pretty much unchanged for centuries, but the Skink priests will eventually adapt their rituals to their parishioners wants and needs. The beast caste Skinks have a lot of wants and needs.

    Among the lay population of Lustria, I’m guessing Beast caste Skinks are the most pious. The beast handlers are guiding beasts that form the front line offensive of many Lizardmen or their beasts are critical army support that will draw disproportionate enemy attacks. In peace time, they have to regularly deal with creatures that can shoot them full of quills, burn them alive, flatten them into a pancake, and of course eat them. If the beast caste Skinks are the Skinks who collect the poison that the Lizardmen use to coat their weapons with, they risk being accidentally poisoned.

    So Skinks are going to pray to Itzl for protection a lot. Beast caste Skinks are very aware of the life cycles of their charges. Birth (usually hatching), growth, maturity, mating, aging, death. Beast caste Skinks are intimately bound to their charges enough that they would want religious ceremonies tied to their charge’s life cycles. The animal kingdom is diverse so every creature has its own biological time table. That means there is probably a separate Itzl ceremony for Salamanders, a separate ceremony for Stegadons, etc, etc.

    The most likely time to have a creature’s Itzl ceremony is either right before it’s mating season, or right before hatching season. Itztl is praised for the benefits that this particular creature brings to Lizardmen society. The Lizardmen request Itzl’s protection or mercy from whatever negative aspects this creature brings to Lizardmen society. Itzl is invoked so the next generation of whatever beast you are talking about grows up healthy and strong. Besides prayers and icons, one or more creatures could be fed a ceremonially prepared food. Another option is a creature that is being honored can be killed in sacrifice to Itzl or the worshippers may even eat it. If that seems sacrilegious or wasteful, imagine ritually killing an old and sick Salamander as a sign of renewal for the next generation. Lizardmen are based loosely on Aztecs, and they had a lot of live sacrifices.

    A life cycle ceremony could be based on the mating cycle of a whole species, but if the beast in question is large and relatively rare you could have personalized ceremony. Even the Big Four don’t train huge numbers of Carnosaurs. You could have a ritual in Itzl’s honor for one Carnosaur when it hatches, another Itzl ritual when it is deemed big enough and trained enough for active duty in battle (this is a sort of rite of passage for the Saurus rider too), and another ritual for Itzl to honor the Carnosaur’s death. This could work for Bastiladons, Stegadons, and Troglodons too.

    Itzl could have rituals in his honor before Skinks go on an egg hunt to capture new specimens. Even lowly food hunters could have their own Itzl rituals before embarking on a hunt, Itzl rituals commemorating the kill, and Itzl rituals celebrating the feast.

    Kroxigor Day: Kroxigor Day is celebrated primarily by Kroxigor and Skinks who have Kroxigor spawning Brothers. Kroxigor Day is not fixed on either the solar or lunar calendar. Each Temple City of Kahoun is free to have Kroxigor Day at different times. Sometimes a couple a years go by with no Kroxigor Days. Sometimes a city can have multiple Kroxigor Days in a single year. Kroxigor Day can last a single day or stretch to a whole week. Bigger cities tend to have Kroxigor Day less often but they tend to run longer. Smaller cities tend to have Kroxigor often but they only last a single day.

    Basically Kroxigor Day is a day when Kroxigor get to take a day off of work. When Skink Chiefs meet to discuss the state of the city’s labor force, they mostly factor in if they can handle a day without Kroxigor labor or not. Also, if a city has a temporary surplus of fresh meat, that’s another good time to hold a Kroxigor Day. Another good reason is the city needs a morale booster. Whatever the reason is, if the Skink Chiefs vote that a particular time is good for Kroxigor Day, they quietly talk to a Skink priest. Then the Skink priest will gaze into a pool, examine the stars or perform some other augury and announce to the city that “the Old Ones have decreed that now is the time to have a Kroxigor Day!”

    So how does Kroxigor Day work after the “Old Ones” sanction them? The morning has a brief prayer led by Skink Priests. It’s short and simple because the intended audience is Kroxigor. Certain Old Ones are thanked for giving the Kroxigor strength, endurance, loyalty, courage and all their other positive traits. Then the festivities commence.

    Skink Chiefs and Skinks at large heap gushing compliments on Kroxigors. They complement individual Kroxigor, Kroxigor spawnings, and the Kroxigor race as a whole. The Kroxigor figuratively eat this praise up. The Skinks also prepare large quantities of food and the Kroxigor literally eat this up.

    There is also entertainment. Skinks dance, sing, and tell stories to entertain their larger kin but the Kroxigor’s favorite entertainment is comedy. Their favorite comedy? Watching Skinks try to move heavy things, it’s hilarious. This ultimately leads to a Kroxigor saying “I can move that easily!” Another Kroxigor saying “I can move that farther!” then you have lots of Kroxigor competing in tests of strength, speed, and endurance while crowds of Skinks cheer them on. Since this was expected, the Skinks probably laid out a stash of sporting props nearby for this eventuality. A good time is had by all.

    Uxmac’s Day: Uxmac is said to be the Old One that will return with a message from the others someday. For an entire day, a Skink Priest leads a constant chant to help Uxmac find his way home. The entire city doesn’t have to do this, as long as there are two or three chanting, Uxmac will hear them, and there are usually at least a few dozen. The Skink Priests swap this duty out several times as do their parishioners, so no single person chants all day, but the chant never stops all day.

    Every Lizardmen may write a prayer or request to the Old Ones (or find a literate friend to write a message on their behalf). Others take a hollowed out gourde and whisper their prayer into it. At the end of the day the papyrus and gourdes are gathered up and ceremonially burned. Generally Skink priests presided over all the offerings of the gods, but the ceremonial fire is not lit by a Skink Priest. The honor of lighting the fire is given to visiting Terradon rider, scout, or someone else from a distant Temple City. The farther they traveled to get there the better.

    Supplication of Caxautn: “He who stalks the deep jungles, whose passing causes the beasts to become suddenly silent and the winds to become still” tends to be revered by Skinks who have to work with various beasts on a daily basis. Some Temple cities pick a calendar day for this ritual. Usually just before the large predators tend to start mating, or they wait for a Skink priest (Beasts priest, not a Heavens priest) to read auguries for the appropriate time.

    Appeasing Caxautn is said to lead to Caxautn directing his children away from eating Lizardmen for a year, mostly. Also, it’s viewed that an attempt to capture Carnosaur eggs (or any predator eggs) is doomed to failure if Caxautn is displeased.

    The ritual is primarily practiced by very devout beast caste Skinks and Sotek caste Skinks that have something to prove. The expedition is led by the most foolhardy Skink priest they can find. The ritual may or may not start out at a temple or shrine in the city with some brief prayers or symbolic offerings, but the main ritual is enacted without civilized trappings in the deep jungles. The long and short of it is that a bunch of Skinks and maybe some Kroxigor bind a captive prey animal, take it out to the jungle and ritually feed it to a wild Carnosaur or similar large predator, then they run away mahrlect fast.

    Supplication of Tzunki: The Supplication of Tzunki is typically held on or near the driest day of the year. Tzunki is given prayers and offerings to beseech him to return in full force. Tzunki’s holy day invoked at the start of rainy season is a major event. Tzunki’s other holy day tends to draw somewhat smaller crowds. This is largely because water is relatively abundant in Lustria even at the driest time of year. It almost goes without saying that Lizardmen settlement outside of the moist jungles tend to take this festival much more seriously and it counts as a major festival in those areas.

    The Supplication of Tzunki involved both somber prayers and offerings and more energetic displays of worship as well, especially rain dances. Rattles mimic the sound of rain fall and drums mimic thunder. It’s considered a good omen if the sky thunders and rains during this festival, but it’s not a bad omen if Tzunki does not immediately respond. Lizardmen honor Tzunki but they don’t expect miracles on command. In addition to asking Tzunki to bless the skies with rain, Tzunki is also invoked to bless those dousing for wells and springs. It’s also considered good luck to start or complete construction of aqueducts, rain barrels, and another Skink-constructed tools or features designed to harvest or control water on this holy day if feasible.

    Tlazcotl’s Invocation: A surprisingly short ritual is the Tlazcotl’s Invocation. It’s all done in less than two hours. There’s no physical tests of martial prowess, no feast, no singing. Tlazcot is all about the beneficial aspects of being cold blooded. Tlazcotl expects his Children to be focused on duty. After a brief formal prayer, everyone goes back to work.

    Vengeance Day: Xapati did not get his own standalone holy day until after the Great Catastrophe, and it did not become popular until after the coming of the Skaven. Not every city celebrates this. Some celebrate this every few years rather than every year. Skink Priests marked by Xapati are amongst the rarest. The biggest proponents of Vengeance Day is usually the Sotek caste warrior Skinks and the Skink priests of Sotek. Generally speaking, the stronger the Cult of Sotek is in a city, the more strongly celebrated Vengeance Day is.

    So this is a day that oaths of vengeance are taken. Even for cold-blooded beings, vengeance can burn hot. The problem is generally if a Skink, Sotek, or even rarer a Kroxigor becomes so angry that he wants to invoke Xapati then he probably isn’t going to wait for Vengeance Day. He’ll usually go immediately to the nearest shrine of Xapati and make an oath that day, rather than wait.

    Besides taking of formal oaths, this is also a popular time to settle disputes with rival Lizardmen via combat. This is a major point of contention between the Cult of Sotek and more conservative priests of the Old Ones who wish to curtail Lizardmen versus Lizardmen duels. Usually ritualized combat to settle disputes among Lizardmen is intended to be non-lethal but when you are dealing with primal predators, sometimes accidental or “accidental” deaths happen. Unsurprisingly, duels and challenges on Vengeance Day are considerably more likely to result in fatalities than Lizardmen on Lizardmen fights the rest of the year.

    A popular part of Vengeance Day is the Accounting. A euphemism for a 1984-esque Lizardmen version of the two-minute hate, though instead its group focus targeting all the groups that have bothered the Temple city in living memory. There a little bit of nuance in the Saurian but essential it boils town A Skink priest or chief yells at the crowd. What are we going to do to the Skaven?” “KILL THEM!” “What are we going to do to the Dark Elves” “KILL THEM!” Oddly enough the rare Skink Priests of Xapati tend to largely sit out of these observances. Their vengeance is served cold and they prefer action and planning or rabble rousing.

    Warding Rituals: When the Chaos moon waxes unexpectedly or some supernatural danger is identified. The Skink priests will hastily organize a ritual supplicating Potec with offering and prayers. Traditionally these prayers are offered at midnight, dawn, high noon, and dusk. The attendance at this is generally low, generally including the Skink priests and their support staff, but in times of prolonged woe, superstition and fear can cause the audiences to swell at these events. Some warding rituals are planned in advance, the most important and well-attended of the Warding Rituals is the Night of the Baleful Moon, what the Empire calls “Geheimnisnacht” marking the time when the Chaos moon’s influence on the world is at its peak.

    Examples of Local Religious Observance Traditions and Variances

    Not every individual or group performs their ceremonies the same way. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some ideas for regional variations on common rituals, or regions with rituals unique to their location alone.

    Hexoatl: The Solstices and Equinoxes are major religious observances in every Lizardmen settlement large and small. Even Lizardmen finding themselves outside a Temple City or Kahoun try to observe these holidays to some degree. Hexoatl, the City of the Sun really takes these holidays serious and stretches the ceremonies around Winter Solstice and Autumnal Equinox into two or three days. The observances for the Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice take the better part of a week.

    Huatl: Of all the ruined Temple Cities with current garrisons, Hautl has the biggest garrison and their goal is to eventually fully restore the city. The City of the Awakening has a very somber dignified festival on the anniversary of the city’s original fall every year called the Festival of Remembrance. They have an exciting happy party of thanksgiving on the anniversary of the day rebuilding officially begun, the Festival of the Awakening. Because the First Children of the Old Ones love spiritual significance and long-term planning, these festivals are back-to-back. Rebuilding officially began the day after the anniversary of the city’s fall. Given that Huatl is located on the Vampire Coast and very close to the Tlax, the City of Ghosts, Potec rituals are bigger here year round than other cities.

    Itza: The First City has a major festival commemorating the initial arrival of the Old Ones. Sometimes Lizardmen will travel from other cities to participate in it.

    Klodorex: I figure my own fluff city would have a major festival honoring Izzatal’s noble sacrifice. A minor observance that is growing in popularity is the Homecoming. After the Slann’s prolonged absence, the anniversary of their re-emergence is celebrated every year and the sacrifice of those who died saving the Slann is memorialized every year as well.

    Los’tmabo’tl: Los’tmabo’tl has the Festival of Apostrophes. Apostrophes are inserted into the proper nouns on every scroll and effigies of Scalenex are sacrificed. Come back @spawning of Bob . We miss you.

    Oyxl: The Eternal City is best known for being where the jungle meets the Culchan Plains. Skink Culchan riders are a major component of their military defense and their reconnaissance. They probably taste like chicken too and chicken is delicious. Oyxl has a festival thanking the Old Ones for giving them the Culchan. The logical time to have this festival would be around egging season so the priests can ceremoniously bless the new eggs or hatchlings. There would probably be races or other contests with Culchans. They might have something recklessly dangerous like the Running of the Bulls. Assuming it’s not taboo to eat culchan, they probably have a nice big chicken dinner towards the end.

    Tlaxtlan: The City of the Moon take astronomy and astrology very seriously. Because of this, Tlaxtlan has more minor religious observances than any other city, the bulk of the extra religious observances related to changes in the moon and constellations and attempts at gleaning meaning from the stars. Generally anniversaries of spawning are only observed by close friends if at all, but the whole city has an observance of Tet’to’eko’s birthday. While not as extreme as Hexoatl’s fixation on Chotec, the Equinoxes and Solstices have longer more elaborate festivals than most of Lustria, especially the Winter Solstice and Autumnal Equinox, in Huanchi’s honor.

    Xlanhuapec: The City of Mists has an annual major ritual where their mystic warding is renewed and strengthened as well as celebrated. If the Slann all sleep through, technically no magic is renewed since the Slann are really passively maintaining the warding, but it is good for the Skinks to celebrate what makes their city unique.

    Zlatan and the satellite Southlands cities: The Southlands and Lustrian Slann and their minions were out of contact with each other for many centuries so their societies evolved apart a little bit.

    Zlatan’s main difference against the Big Four as far as rituals are concerned is that Zlatan does not have the Cult of Sotek. In Lustria most of the Slann had missing or incomplete prophecies relating to Sotek and it was the red-crested Skinks that mobilized the masses to fight the Skaven and set forth the conditions for Sotek’s coming. In Zlatan, the Slann never lost any golden plaques. They knew Sotek and the ratmen were coming. There was never a division of goals or methods between the Skinks and the Slann. They mobilized to fight the Skaven in an organized fashion and they sacrificed Skaven en masse to help bring about Sotek’s coming. It was a hard fight against the Skaven and the Lizardmen suffered terrible losses in the Southlands but the Skaven never actually overthrew whole cities in the Southlands.

    This means that in the Southlands that Skaven are an enemy to the Lizardmen, not the enemy. This also means that Sotek is an important god, he is not the important god. That means Sotek’s rituals are smaller and shorter. Without a Cult of Sotek pushing and pulling on all elements of society, Sotek’s influence has not impacted the rituals to the Old Ones as much. Because of this Southland’s festivals in honor of the Old Ones tend to have fewer martial overtones than similar festivals in Lustria.

    Rites of Passage

    Lizardmen are a religious society, so it’s natural that rituals to the Old Ones would be invoked at most if not all rites of passage. I’ll start with the basics and move to some specialized rites. The big three basic rites would be Spawning Rituals, Becoming Rituals, and Funeral Rituals. Since these are major events for characters, they are a good way to help characterize Lizardmen characters in fluff pieces.

    Spawning Rituals: Sometimes portentous spawnings are foretold on sacred plaques. The exact date is known centuries in advance so there is naturally a big delegation waiting for them to emerge. Sometimes Slann or Skink priests have to rely on divination techniques and they might get a rough idea of when a spawning is going to occur a few weeks or months before a spawning, but they are probably going to have assign helpers to watch the pool like a hawk when the time nears because they can’t know exactly. Sometime Skink priests or Slann feel a magic pull from a spawning pool and only have minutes or hours to respond. Other times, there is no warning until someone says “Hey, there are Skinks coming out of the pool!”

    Whether the Skink priests and scribes were waiting patiently camped out by the spawning pools for weeks in anticipation or they hastily scrambled down to the pool at the last second. The first thing the Skink priests do is pick one of their members to lead the onlookers on a brief mostly generic prayer covering all the major gods.

    “Praise be the Old Ones for blessing us with a new spawning. May Chotec grant them energy, may Huanchi grant them cunning, may Tzunki grant them health and agility…” etc.

    Whether the spawning is a single individual or a thousand, Skink priests and scribes are going to examine every newly spawned lizard for markings of the gods. They are going to look at the current astrological charts for that day. They are going to note the time of the day, the weather, and recent events. They are going to consult records of past spawnings at the same pool. The delegation wants to figure out which god or gods or has blessed this spawnings, what the spawning’s likely aptitudes are, and figure out what societal role was pre-ordained for this spawning. That could take hours or days.

    Once the nuts and bolts of the new Spawning are figured out, the Skink priests prepare a non-generic religious observance. For example if the new spawning is determined to be blessed by Tzunki, then you get the head priest of Tzunki to lead prayers and offerings for Tzunki. Once the formalities are out of the way, it’s party time.

    Regardless of which gods were responsible for what traits of what spawning, a new spawning means that the Temple City and the First as a whole are now slightly stronger today than they were yesterday. That’s worth celebrating. Naturally the type and size of the celebrations depends on what the spawning. A large spawning (or several spawnings in a short period of time) tend be more celebrated than a small spawning. A rare spawning is more celebrated than a common one, but unless a spawning pool is tainted somehow, a new spawning is always a good thing.

    Ritual of the Adopted Brother (advanced spawning rite): This ritual is predominantly used by Sauri, but there are versions that allow Skinks and Kroxigor to do something very similar, but this is less common, mainly because Skinks and Kroxigor are not immune to death by old age. Many Sauri choose to stay with their spawning brothers fighting battle after battle until they are all dead only one or a handful are alive but the survivors are as strong, tough, and smart as Scar Veterans. Sometimes a spawning takes substantial casualties when they are relatively young. Instead of marching into battle as a unit of six, they can opt for the Rite of the Adopted Brother.

    Whether motivated by loneliness or duty, a Saurus and his remaining spawning brothers (if any) decide amongst themselves that they should join a larger spawning of Saurus warriors. They find a spawning that for whatever reason, they identify with, and ask to join. The Sauri join together in as many activities as they can, eating, recreation, training, fighting. This informal joining occurs for a few weeks or a few months, a year at most. Once every Saurus on both sides of the divide involved decides they like the new guys, the Sauri will approach a Skink Priest and ask for the Rite of Adoption.

    Whether you have one Saurus or ten joining, the process is the same. The big block of Sauri is separated from the would-be joimers. The Skink priest gives a flowing speech about the bond between Spawning brothers is holy and good. Several Old Ones and probably Sotek are invoked, this is catered to the preference of the Sauri. Then the ritual becomes straight forward. The Skink priest addresses the first “new” Saurus spawning with about a half dozen questions.

    “Do you accept these Sauri as your brothers?”
    “Do you promise serve the Old Ones beside them?”
    “Do you promise to stand beside them in battle?”

    A couple more questions like this. Note that at no point does the Saurus cut ties with his former spawning brothers. This is an addition of brothers, not a substitution.

    Then the Skink priest moves to the next Saurus in line and goes through the exact same battery of questions. Once all the new members have answered yes to all questions, The Skink turns to the larger crowd.

    “Do you accept these Sauri as your brothers!”

    The Skink Priest makes a sweeping proclamation similar to what is below.

    “Let all know in this city and beyond, that these are true brothers. To stand against one is to stand against all. To support one is to support all. Let the Old Ones bless these brothers, let the foes of the Old Foes fear them!”

    Then the participants are free to do whatever they see fit, which usually involves a rowdy feast. The only required participants are the Sauri and the presiding Skink priests but most of these ceremonies have witnesses and the witnesses are invited to join in on the fun.

    Rite of the New Spawning (advanced spawning rite): This is similar to the Rite of the Adopted Brother in that this is a way for a Lizardmen from decimated spawnings to gain new brothers. Rather than a large spawning absorbing a smaller spawning into its ranks, the Rite of the New Spawning involves at least three different depleted spawnings merging into a single new entity that is after the Ritual, treated as a distinct spawning.

    This rite is roughly as common for Skinks and Kroxigor as it is for Sauri. Skink and Skink/Kroxigor spawnings like this area often called Vengeance Spawnings. Given that they are united by loss, these spawnings tend to be very militant. Saurus warriors of course are warlike to begin with, so they don’t change in purpose much though very frequently their spawnings are at the forefront of their city’s battle lines. Saurus spawnings created this way are often called Scar Spawnings. Indeed a large proportion of Scar Veterans served in a Scar Spawning for a some portion of their lives.

    The Rite of the New Spawning is a lot more formal and involved than the Rite of the Adopted brother. The new brothers-to-be do mingle together in work, war, and socialization, but before they do this, the group gathers to recite an oath together to make their intentions to become brothers officially. They even state when they plan to cement their bond or disperse rather than initiating the ritual whenever they feel like it like with the Rite of the Adopted Brother. This period of time is usually a year, sometimes less. During the time of the first Clan Pestilens invasion, there were recorded incidences of this period taking a week. If possible the finish date falls on a significant date. Either a major or minor holy day or the anniversary of the event that decimated their original spawning.

    During the transition time, it’s common for the Skink priests to suggest prayers for the forming group to give to the Old Ones and/or Sotek together. A lot of times they perform military drills to cement team cohesion and in the case of Skinks, build up military discipline and skills they might not have had before the rite began.

    Unlike the Ritual of the Adopted Brother, there are no spectators. Only the participants, a presiding Skink priest and maybe a small support staff to the Skink priest participate. Once the date of the joining comes, a Skink Priest opens up with some prayers about the importance of spawning brothers’ loyalty. The Skink priest invokes the gods that the new spawning have said are important to them. There are a lot of chants said in unison by the new spawning brothers to-be.

    The ritual concludes with the new spawning simultaneously walking into a spawning pool and submerging together for about a minute or two, then walking out of the pool together symbolically reborn as brothers. Then the Skink priest officially announces the new spawning and the new brothers are free to celebrate this however they see fit. This could be a wild and raucous feast, a silent religious observance to their selected patron gods, or they could butcher some captives to honor Sotek or Xapati. Spawnings created by the Rite of New Spawning tend to be very serious and driven by marital pursuits compared to your average spawning.

    Ritual of Becoming: There have been historical cases where a spawning of Sauri has occurred while a Temple City was under attack and the Sauri immediately start savaging the invaders. While Lizardmen emerge from spawning pools physically at adulthood, they generally need to train to learn the skills they need to serve their role in the Great Plan. This training can take days, weeks, or maybe even a few years depending how complicated their pre-ordained task is.

    Rituals of Becoming are basically a combination of a graduation ceremony and coming of age ceremony. Once a spawning of the First have reached the basic competence to become full (if novice) members of their class and profession then a ceremony commemorates this.

    Naturally a Ritual of Becoming for Skink Terradon riders is substantially different than a Ritual of Becoming for Skink laborers. Since most spawnings are considered to be under the auspices of Sotek and/or one or more specific Old Ones, the ritual of Becoming for a particular spawning is likely to be tailored to honor the spawning’s patron deity or deities. Generally the more lengthy and involved the training it takes to make an individual spawning ready for the Ritual of Becoming impacts how long and elaborate the ceremony will be. Saurus warriors have very short and simple ceremonies taking a few hours while a Terradon riders’ ceremony will probably stretch over a few days.

    Rite of the Sacred Guardianship (advanced becoming rite): Most Temple Guard were identified as destined to be Temple Guards upon emerging from their spawning pool. Because they are united by duty, different spawnings of Temple Guard Sauri do not think much of mixing and matching with other spawning of Temple Guard. They will guard the Slann, temples, and holy objects equally well standing with spawning brothers or working with strangers they just met.

    Sometimes Saurus warriors opt to join the Temple Guard who are not born to it. This is usually out of a sense of duty after a city or Kahoun’s Temple Guard have taken extremely heavy losses. Skink priests will periodically offer a city’s Sauri the chance to join the Temple Guard. This is volunteer only, there is no shame in saying no. Most Sauri say no. Temple Guard often transform completely in personality. While Lizardmen are not particularly individualistic, this loss of identity is intimidating to many Sauri, but some do hear the call and take up the mantle.

    Besides training in formations protecting a Slann mannequin (Slannequin) and practicing fighting with halberds, there are a lot of tests of endurance of all sorts, fasting, holding heavy loads for long periods of time, maintaining long vigisl under adverse conditions and more. There is at least year of these tests, sometimes several years of tests. Generally about half of the applicants pass these tests. It is rare but not unheard of for some Sauri to die during their tests. Those who fail and live through it are not punished or shamed. They return to their old lives and spawnings, but they can never apply for the Rite of Sacred Guardianship again.

    After passing all their grueling tests, a Skink priest initiates them in the presence of a sleeping Slann, or better yet a Slann actually presides over their initiation ceremony. This is more common than one would think because most Slann have a vested interest in making sure they have competent bodyguards. At this point, their ties with their original spawning brothers are severed (that’s part of their oath), and they are considered full Temple Guard by all members of Lizardmen society.

    Scar Veterans and Oldbloods can participate in a separate but very similar ceremony to become Eternity Wardens. This is actually more common. Some Eternity Wardens are regular Temple Guard who survive enough battles over the centuries to attain Scar Veteran or even Old Blood levels of power, but about half of Eternity Wardens were not born into the role of Temple Guard. This contrasts with the rank and file where adopted Temple Guard only make up a relatively small portion of the Temple Guard demographic. Scar Veterans and Saurus Oldbloods are a lot less likely than rank and file to fail their initiation tests, but the death rate for failure is proportionally higher too because their tests are that much harder.

    Rite of Itzl’s Mantle (advanced becoming rite): Most Saurus Cold One Cavalry are born with the Mark of Itzl and have a natural affinity for riding Cold Ones. Cold Ones are vicious and hard to tame. Dark Elves often die in the process and the most successful Cold One riders have to basically mutilate their bodies with Cold One slime to make the beasts even remotely accept them. A Scar Veteran that used to be a foot soldier has developed so much strength, ferocity, and discipline that he can basically tame a Cold One by staring it down. Sauri with the Mark of Itzl don’t have to tame a Cold Ones, they bond on a spiritual level and effortlessly work in sync.

    Sometimes Saurus Warriors who do not bear the mark of Itzl and lack a Scar Veteran’s centuries of experience decide they want to become Cold One riders. This route is often chosen by Saurus Warriors that are in the awkward half-way point between normal warrior and Scar Veteran. A Spawing of Sauri of this experience level are probably reduced in numbers compared to their youth, but they aren’t ready to join or create a new spawning.

    If every member of the spawning agrees they want to take up Cold One riding, they approach a Skink priest of Itzl and announce their intentions. Priests of Itzl tend to be less hidebound than most other Skink priests so they are free to personalize the rituals to their tastes. The Saurus applicants are made to undergo a battery of religious observances to Itzl. Prayers, offerings, mock combat, ceremonial hunts, whatever the Skink Priest wants. After about a week of this, the Skink Priest deems that the Sauri are sufficiently blessed by Itzl to make the attempt.

    Then the Sauri are handed off to the Skink beast handlers who then help the Sauri find suitable Cold Ones (or make the Sauri catch their own mounts in the wild) and basically school the Sauri in how to feed, care for and interact with Cold Ones. After months, or possibly years of this training, presumably the participating Sauri have each tamed a Cold One or died trying.

    Then you have another ritual, usually fairly informal with a lot of spectators. After some prayers and other rituals, the new Saurus Cold One Cavalry get a tattoo or scale carving literally bestowing Itzl’s mark on them. The Sauri typically take a victory lap through a portion of the city. They may or not have their Cold Ones rip apart a captive prey animal or maybe a captive Skaven or other to cheering onlookers. Then more informal celebrations and observances typically commence.

    The Rite of Tlanxla's Mantle works very similarly for Skinks who want to be Terradon riders and are not born to it, but this is rare due to the very fact that easily more than half of the Skinks who attempt this rite literally die trying. This is only invoke if the shortage of Terradon riders is truly untenable.

    Ritual of New Becoming (advanced Becoming ritual): This rare and controversial ritual is only for Skinks. Saurus are born to fight. If a Saurus wants to fight in a different way they can take an appropriate ritual to do so, but a Saurus who doesn’t fight is not a Saurus at all. Kroxigor generally have two purposes, fight and do whatever they are told.

    Skinks can be born to work, fight, handle animals, do all sorts of things. Most have their role assigned to them shortly after their spawning and they do their Old Ones appointed task till the day they die. Sometimes a Skink feels he is serving the wrong purpose. Some Lizardmen view this as an insult to the Old Ones for forsaking the duty assigned to them at their spawnings. Others shrug and say the Old Ones always know what a person should do, sometimes it just takes longer for us to figure out what the purpose is. Sometimes Skinks choose to undergo this ritual after a major loss or to atone for a major mistake. Essentially starting a new life because their old life is failed or meaningless.

    The Skink undergoes a lot of ritualized hardships: fasting, carrying ceremonial loads, forgoing sleeping, tests of endurance. While this going on the Skink is going through a very unforgiving training schedule for the skill set of his new chosen vocation. The tests are hard because the old Skink needs to symbolically die for the new Skink to be born. If the Skink Priest and/or skill trainers in question is biased against New Becoming Skinks, they are going to make it even harder passive-aggressively rooting for the applicant to fail. For this reason, and because few Skinks ask for this ritual lightly, it’s very common for the Skink to quietly train in his new vocation before announcing his intention to participate in this ritual.

    After passing all the tests and showing competence (if not excellence) in their new vocation, the Skink’s new role for the Old Ones is formalized by a Skink Priest in a very somber ceremony. The ritual culminates when the participant is symbolically splashed with blessed water. Then the Skink takes on a new name, usually of their own choosing. If he can handle all the trials placed before them they are accepted in the new role without question. He may or may not try to associate with friends from their previous name and they may or may not accept them.

    Funerary Rites: If a Slann dies, the entire business of a Temple city likely shuts down to accommodate it. It’s somber, it’s sad, and it’s very formal and ritualized. Dead Slann are mummified carefully and the relic priests are carefully stored in secure temples. They might even have new temple built just for the occasion. No effort is spared in securing and preserving a Slann’s corpse.

    Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor are different. If the stakes are high and stopping to venerate a Skink’s corpse will endanger some critical task or military operation, then the living Lizardmen will leave their brothers for the vultures and continue with whatever they were doing with barely a second’s hesitation.

    Lizardmen are coldblooded, but not stone hearted. If the Great Plan doesn’t require them to do something right now, Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor will take the time to recover the bodies of their fallen brothers and treat the deceased with honor. There is also a lot of middle ground between doing nothing to honor the dead and having a very elaborate lengthy funerals. Lizardmen will do a quick improvised funeral if the option is a quick funeral or nothing. The baseline for a minimalistic memorial is to anoint the deceased forehead with a dab of water and say “Old Ones, take name into your care now that his service to the Great Plan is ended.” Below I’m going to cover funerals that assume the Lizardmen have plenty of time to do a nice funeral.

    The Lizardmen have a lot of variations of funerals but they generally follow these four parts usually in this order: invoking the gods, eulogizing the deceased, disposing of the body, and celebrating life. This basic format is used in funerals for one individual, but it works with minimal modification if the Lizardmen are burying hundreds of dead at once. High status Lizardmen like Scar Veterans and Skink Priests are likely to have more pomp and ritual in their funerals to lowly rank and file, though in death the social strata are less pronounced than they were in life.

    First, the Old Ones are invoked and the onlookers pray for the deceased soul. If the deceased was especially bonded to one particular god, that god is going to be invoked in these prayers a lot. Sometimes offerings for the gods are prepared. These prayers are led by a priest if possible though that is not required. Any of the First Children of the Old One can step up and offer these prayers, even a Kroxigor.

    Second aspect of a Lizardmen is the eulogy covering the deceased contribution to the community. The onlookers thank the deceased for his contributions to the First as a whole and mourn the loss. If possible the eulogy is performed by a spawning brother or close friend. If the funeral is a mass funeral there is probably one generic eulogy led by a Skink priest, then the mourners break into smaller groups to cover their closest friends with personal eulogies.

    Third part is actually disposing the body or bodies. This varies a lot based on the cultural preferences of the area, if the deceased ever gave their burial preference to friends while alive, what gods the deceased worshipped, and what options are physically available. These can be by water, earth, fire, air, or animals.

    Water burials are probably the most common. Lizardmen are born of water and return to water. Often deceased are floated into the pool where they spawned from and left to decompose there to nourish the next generations. If that is not feasible to return them to their original spawning pool, any clean body of water is acceptable to honorably dispose of a body.

    Burying a corpse in the ground is pretty common especially if the deceased identified with one of the stone or earth based Old Ones. Unlike the humans, the Lizardmen do not bother with coffins. They are more likely than not to bury their dead outside a city rather than inside and they rarely mark the burial site. The whole point of burial is to return the deceased to the earth, and markers impede the natural assimilation.

    Similar reasons motivates an animal burial, where the corpse is basically taken out to the jungle so the scavengers can have at it. The goal is to return the deceased to nature. That’s not quite the same as just leaving a corpse where it lies because the corpse is ritually cleansed and blessed before it’s abandoned. Animal burials are common for beast handler Skinks or Saurus cavalry. It’s also the funeral rite of choice when time is limited because it’s the simplest. It is rare but not unheard of to feed the deceased’s corpse to the very animals he once trained or raised. This is generally not done unless the deceased specifically asked for this while alive. While not every rider does this, Ripperdactyl riders are the segment of the Lustrian population most likely to request this method of funeral. Flyers have a lot of machismo.

    Speaking of flyers, “air burials” are the least common. This is commonly reserved for worshippers of Tlanxla or Terradon riders. After the funeral rites, the deceased is dropped into a random stretch of jungle from a Terradon or hurled off a cliff.

    Fire burials, aka cremation, tend to be combined with the other funeral rite option. The ashes can be scattered into a body of water, across a section of a Temple city, left out in the deep jungle or tossed off a windy cliff. Sometimes Lizardmen will do their own variation of a Viking funeral. The deceased is placed on a wooden raft which is set on fire and left to burn while floating on a body of water, eventually sinking the charred remains.

    The fourth aspect is to celebrate the deceased’s life. This could be as elaborate as a sumptuous feast with musical accompaniment or it could be as short and simple as a circle of the deceased friends saying “here’s to you” and taking a swig of fruit juice.

    The Last Journey (advanced funeral rite): The Rite of the Last Journey is rarely performed and only with the greatest reverence. If one of the First decides that he is incurably sick, injured, or infirm to such an extent that he has become a burden to his fellows, he may choose to walk off into the jungle alone, so that he can die.

    This ritual is always done for one individual, never for groups. Mostly, it’s Sauri that perform this rite, but Skinks and Kroxigor may do so if they choose. It is a severe taboo to pressure another First to take the Last Journey. The choice must be made freely.

    Before the individual walks off into the jungle, his friends and brothers gather to honor his life. Basically you have a funeral where the honored deceased is alive to hear the mourner’s praise and sorrow. They share a last meal together and then the mourners line up to see their friend exit their presence for the last time, either with respectful silent salutes or whooping cheers depending on the temperament of those involved.

    If the deceased to be cannot walk, his closest friend or friends carry him. Once alone, the rite subject may choose to die alone, or may ask his friend to quickly euthanize him.

    Personal Religious Observances

    To state the obvious again. You can help characterize your fluff characters by showing how and to whom they pray.

    When I started writing this I thought of religious observances, almost ALL Lizardmen fluff as two dichotomies. Wild bestial ferocity on one side and cold blooded rational order. Human and alien. Comments on part one have suggested a second dichotomy towards Lizardmen religious observances. Active and cerebral. There is a very valid idea that since Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor know they serve the Old Ones so they don’t have to talk about or reinforce it. The other side of the coin is that because they are religious in nature they would want to express their religion with every breath.

    Human and alien, I am not going to address directly. If you recognize something from a real world religion, then it’s human. If it seems weird and scary, it’s alien. Looking at the other dichotomies. Bestial versus rational. Rational would be rote structured prayers, songs, dances, art and other observances the same time or very similar every time and most prayers would be at proscribed times. Bestial would be informal, free form and differ most times and differ for when they are offered. Cerebral would mean fairly few outward prayers. Active would mean lots of public prayers.

    Broad Personal Prayers

    Your basic daily prayers to ask for good things and avoid bad things will make up a large portion of personal prayers. Lizardmen are not human but they probably have most human wants and needs. They pray for food, protection, strength, health, long life, a chance to prove themselves, destruction of their enemies. They probably pray for good things not just for them but the First as a whole, their spawning brothers, and their Slann overlords. They could pray in small groups but are probably pray alone. They could cerebral (you think the prayers) or they could be said out loud. They could also be sang or chanted.

    Regardless of where you as a fluff writer put Lizardmen religion on the two dichotomies. Prayers would either address several Old Ones (and Sotek) at once briefly or one Old One (or Sotek) in depth. Here are two very similar variations of the same thing.

    “Chotec I ask you to invigorate me with warmth. Quetzl please grant me strength and resilience. Potec protect me from evil. Sotek grant me the strength to destroy the enemies of the Great Plan.”

    “Sotek invigorate me with your power. Great Sotek give me strength and resilience to destroy the Anathema. Let you strength drive away evil and keep your People safe.”

    Of course I guess just saying “Old Ones grant me strength, resilience, etc etc” is fine too.

    That will tell you a bit about the personality of the individual Skink, Saurus, or Kroxigor. If they pray to one god for nearly everything, you can guess where their priorities lie. A Skink who prays to Sotek for everything is probably pretty aggressive and pushes boundaries. A Skink that prays to Tlazcotl for everything is probably pretty stoic and follows his duty to the letter. If they pray to a menagerie of gods you can guess that they are fairly balanced.

    Omission is not as telling, but a generalist who prays to lots of gods could show you some personalities traits by who they don’t pray to, or at least don’t pray too often. Ignore Sotek, you are probably a bit less proactive than the average Lizardmen. Ignore Potec, probably a bit more reckless. Ignore Tlazcotl, maybe a little more selfish than average. Then again, not worshipping Tepok or Xapatli much doesn’t reveal much because they are pretty specialized gods that most Lizardmen don’t think about on a daily basis.

    Specific prayers

    If it’s a holy day associated with a specific god, most Lizardmen will at least make a token effort to give the god his due, of course during but possibly in the lead up to the ritual, but I already covered the big rituals. On a personal level let’s look at times a Lizardmen will prayer on the cuff for a specific things.

    Sotek: Before and after battle. At the start and end of a campaign. Before and certainly after intiating a live capture of a foe.
    I imagine Sotek prayers would be energetic and active. They would probably be loud or involved physical movement. They might even prick themselves to let loose a drop of blood.

    Chotec: Anytime a Lizardman is cold. When a Lizardmen wants to heal, rest, or recover. The most likely Old One to associate with food.
    I imagine Chotec prayers would tend be formal and likely to occur at dawn, noon, or dusk. I imagine before the prayer starts the individual pauses, closes his eyes and concentrates on the feeling of warmth.

    Potec: When facing the scary unknown. When sneaky enemies are believed to be present.
    I imagine these prayers would be whispered or entirely silent. They might have some kind of hand or tail gesture to ward off evil. Maybe crossing hugging their body to symbolically bring protection in and then shaking the dust off their tail to rid themselves of foreign influences symbolically.

    Huanchi: At dusk. When traveling at night. When attempting stealth or subtly.
    Definitely whispered or silent. I imagine they look up and salute the night sky (or the nearest shadow if it’s day time) with a fluid hand gesture. Huanchi probably would be okay with purely cerebral prayers and no movement or sound.

    Tzunki: When thirsty or dry. When attempting to be fast or agile.
    Whether it’s spoken or silent, I think maybe dabbing their lips to symbolize liquid sustenance is appropriate. Perhaps they make physical gestures mimic swimming.

    Tlazcotl: When scared or agitated. Before and after a difficult project.
    Probably prayers are given while staying perfectly still. These prayers may or may not be cerebral but Quetzl is probably the most likely to be formalized and rote.

    Quetzl: When enduring hardship. Before and after a battle.
    Probably pretty similar to Tlazcotl prayers but they might beat their chest or acknowledge their physical forms and strength or make a military salute whatever form that takes.

    Itzl: When starting a hunt or even a foraging run. When going near a dangerous beast. When completing a hunt.
    Probably pretty informal. Skinks take whatever pose most small lizards do when they are trying to be imposing which I’m pretty sure involves taking up as much space as possible, opening their mouth wide and displaying their tongue. Sauri and Kroxigor probably roar their prayers to Itzl.

    Caxautn: When alone in the jungle. When facing dangerous predators for any reason.
    Probably so off the cuff and uncommon there are few standardized practices.

    Rigg: When one feels alone.

    Xapati: When one feels personally wronged.
    Whether the enemies are people, group, or events, I can imagine some kind of enemies chant like Arya Stark does. Alternatively Xapati could be invoked against another person, lizard or not, as a direct and bold challenge.

    Uxmac: At the start of a long journey.
    Maybe bless one’s traveling supplies. Maybe the traveler crafts a token representing home, so they can find their way back. Probably a pretty standard prayer on the whole.

    Xhotl: When seeking a promotion.
    Prayer probably involves oaths or self confidence building.

    The middle ground where the personal prayers and major rituals meet is regular group worship. A lot of real world religions have weekly services. I don’t have a problem with Lizardmen having weekly services but I haven’t had much inspiration on coming up with what they look like. I’m also less sure how weekly mass, whatever Lizardmen call it (assuming they recognize calendar weeks) would help build a story. But maybe someone can work with it. Simpsons for all its irreverence was the first show on primetime television to regularly show a family in a church on Sunday and during the peak of the show, these services enhanced the main plot whatever it was. If you want to talk about Simpsons in depth I’m all for it, but not here please!

    There could also be daily prayers. Either everyone does the same basic prayers or everyone takes time out of the day at the same time to pray to the god or gods of their choice. Whatever time of day the Skink Priests watch for, a city could ring a bunch of bells, gongs, or blast horns whenever it’s time for a city to stop and prayer. Then they go back to work after that brief diversion. Then again I can also the case that Lizardmen would choose not to do something because they don’t want to interrupt their work day like this.

    I like this idea. I’m going to expand this a bit further. Lizardmen might sing on the march. While songs on the march are often to show bravado and fight fear I imagine there is a holy aspect for Lizardmen since literally every war they fight is a holy war.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  3. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Ok I am going to reply to your thoughts in several posts because I'll otherwise surely miss something.

    About worshipping:
    Option 3, well, kind of. I think that one of the highest forms of worshipping the Old Ones and the Great Plan and the Holy Slann is to do whatever is needed to fulfill the plan. In other works: I think that most Lizardmen don't spend extra time to worship at all, they do so while working, maybe singing religious songs together as worksongs.
    I am thinking of Union Pacific railroad workers in the 1860s who sung worksongs, some of them of religious nature (Spirituals). Also african tribal cultures where singing while at work to the rythm of the tools is very common, and religious texts are common as well.
    Maybe they don't only do that, they might also gather in small or large groups to worship their gods. But I think they are doing so outside of the temples on big squares in the cities that are used for many other things as well.
    Sotek might be worshipped by caring for his snakes, his places of worship which might or might not be snake pits or snake shrines with holes for many living snakes that are also used as fortifications should the city get attacked. I am thinking of something like the Ark of Sotek carried by a Bastiladon, just static and bigger.

    Where the temples are and whether they can be torn down to restructure the cities?
    They are wherever the Priests decide. And yes, should the Priests see the gods' will to change something they will give the orders and the Lizardmen will carry them out without hesitating. The will of the Old Ones is too high for mere mortal lizards to comprehend. The Skink priests try to explain it sometimes, but they probably more often don't. And that's fine for Lizardmen.
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  4. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    About Ley Lines:

    I like the idea of their centers being rather fine, BUT I also think their strength diminishes with the square root of the distance to their center or so, so if you build a lesser temple you might just build it half a kilometer away and still get some of that sweet Ley Line influence. If you want to build a great temple you have to build its sanctum chamber thingie right into the Ley Line if possible.

    If that Ley Line is running more than a few meters above the ground (yes I assume they aren't necessarily running on the ground, they might run through mountains, below the ground, or up to several hundred meters above the ground) you might have to build a tower or a tall pyramid.

    There might be means to bend the Ley Lines though, using powerful magical crystals or a concentrating Slann or powerful Skink Priests. Those means will be used during the construction of temples, bending the Ley Lines a bit and hold them in place by attuning the crystals.

    About spawning pools and temples: I think there are temples near or even on top of spawning pools, and those are centers of the city that are well defended.
    And yes, other temples might not be that well defended or they might even be defensive structures themselves, just like you theorized. It depends on the god. Sotek and Itzl temples will probably be more useful for that than some others.
  5. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    I own none of the End Of Time Warhammer splash books. (So I might have the wrong end of the stick as they say...)

    But, my conception of: Temple-Cities are / were really spacecraft built by the old ones is far more vast and grand than the mighty Scalenex is contemplating.

    A diagram:
    The Original Temple Cities are simply a veneer made from locally available materials which disguised the grounded spaceships of the Old Ones. When they left, vast inverted pyramidal craters were left behind (and then the crater walls collapsed). They didn't bother tearing down the Pyramids and what not built on their upper surfaces. A lot of the material remained, artificial gravity held it roughly in place (but in ruins).

    These were the craft that helped construct the Warp Gates over the poles. But at that, these little space ships are like the Tug Boats, Bouy Tenders, and Pilot Boats of the Old Ones. A SERIOUS space ship of theirs might be a Stellate Polyhedron the size of Earth's Moon.

    @Scalenex is advised to Scale up his Contemplations.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  6. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Per my previous post the answer is NO. All ^ of this is completely wrong. The 200 meters of rock, soil, and Kroxigor constructions covering the ships of the old ones could be improved and upgraded if, as, and when the Slann dictated.

    Ley Lines: several hundred yards wide at least. More like jet streams, but made of Magic, and much straighter than jet streams.

    Worship: The Slann worship the Old Ones, the lesser Lizards serve the Slann; their servitude is their worship; large ceremonies and rotating hordes of ordinary Lizards to visit the Temples is not a thing.
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  7. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    This opened my eyes. I just assumed ley lines would be on ground level. I hadn't considered them hovering in the air or underground.

    Fantastic! These ships are so big and powerful they supersede all concerns! How does everyone fit, who and what is left behind. Can they be damage. The ships are big and strong enough to overcome all concerns ending all discussion of pre-Age of Sigmar, solving the problem once and for all.
  8. Scolenex

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure. Giant ships underneath the cities would complicate any story about enemies tunneling under the city to attack. An underground ship of this size raises questions about underground Saurus spawning pools, underground pyramid vaults, underground caves where Cold Ones, Troglodons and other subterranean beasts.

    I took a sneak peak at your next thread and saw you mentioned wells and ground water. This going to throw a wrench in that too. This opens up more potential for disc—
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  9. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Also, part two is up
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  10. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Re: part 2

    I could see a religious toned ceremony where a Krox was gifted or maybe bequeathed a Moonstone Club Great Weapon.

    Would arming up a newly spawned mess of saurus be a rite? or just queue up to see the quartermaster?
  11. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I could see both, but if you wanted to make a rite out of arming a newly spawned mess of Saurus than I would fold that into a Saurus Spawning's Rite of Becoming.
  12. Warden

    Warden Tenth Spawning

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    I never thought of this before either. Why would the invisible WINDS magic be moving across the ground?

    Very interesting idea, comparing the invisible currents of magic to floating jet-streams in the sky. Lizardmen temples could be built HIGHER than the surrounding jungle so the slann can better tap into the flowing (and floating) magical potential. In addition the specific locations of the temple cities could have been built to better harness and guide the natural magic "currents" that were already flowing across the globe at the arrival of the Old Ones, but the temple cities provided them better structure and focus.

    Also reminds me of how a nuclear weapon, and the added EMP effects, are more effective when it denotes several meters/hundred meters ABOVE the ground rather than when it makes direct impact/contact with the ground...

    FANTASTIC picture, I was planning to draw a temple at some point, I never though to take the newer lore of a space ship into account. Especially one not that big!

    Personally I don't 100% buy into the spaceship thing, but in either case this seems a big too big. Why build a single giant ship and not just many smaller ones? Wouldn't a ship that big have trouble coming through the atmosphere in the first place, let alone landing?

    True, but if the saurus spawning-pools are within the bowels of the temples to begin with, maybe they are just within the space-ship to begin with? And are just overgrown with jungle flora/dirt over time to the point that the skinks and other Lizardmen can't really tell where the temple/ship ends and the jungle begins?
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  13. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    I would change that picture a little bit.
    I think there are hidden elevators in the temples leading to the spaceships, and the spaceships themselves are buried a tiny bit deeper, let's say they are covered by at least 200m of soil. That's enough for ground water, caves, tunnels and all that jazz being _above_ the hull, just like the temples are on top of the hull. But somewhere in a hidden chamber below some temples there are elevators leading into the ships.

    Those might also be magical elevators, like portals or something that can be activated to access the ships.
    There were several space ships, probably one below every big old city, and all were that massive because space ships capable of interstellar travel are huge.

    Moving through the atmosphere with something big isn't difficult, if you are moving slowly. The reason real life rockets aren't bigger is that we have to move them through the air quickly. If you had some device that could make things hover gently you could move them up with just a few meters per second. Something the size of a Star Destroyer (although not the shape, that's ridiculous) might actually work then.
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  14. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    The Slann did not build the ship. It is merely equipment left behind by the Old Ones. The ship shown in the diagram is one of "the many smaller ones". Cruisers and Containerships of the Old Ones are the size of Moons.

    None at all. It helped build two warp gates above either pole...that was its previous assignment. Prior to that it helped tow the Warhammer World into position so that its climate would be just so. So landing on a planet it helped configure ..?.. piece of cake.

    It is possible Hexoatl (FREX) had four ships (landed in close proximity) that were only one mile across each (instead of three miles across).

    Pilot boats, Harbor vessels, Tugs, Fireboats, Oil Rig Service Boats, Bouy Tenders, Mine Sweepers ... these exist in many sizes in real world fleets. Same goes for the small craft of the Old Ones.
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  15. Warden

    Warden Tenth Spawning

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    Very good point, it makes sense the Slann would not have built the ships. I personally think they might be on the large size, but your justification makes sense.

    Switching over to the subject as temples as places of worship, here are a few things from the historical perspective to think about (mostly looking at this from an ancient Mayan perspective):

    1) Temples. Obviously they are very big constructions, tend to be much smaller at the top meaning there isn't much actual room to hold worshippers. This means that those attending to the worship services would be limited to only those of high status: the ruling nobility and the priests. In Lustria, while the Lizardmen temples are orders of magnitude larger than their historical counterparts could conceivably fit more bodies on top of them, still couldn't fit everyone. I expect that only the Slann, the skink priests, and some assistants such as the temple guard/kroxigor orderlies would be allowed to enter the inner top chambers of any temple. And maybe an honored saurus commander.

    In many cases temples were also known to invoke ancient volcanoes, which were seen as "living gods of fire" and objects of veneration. Such a giant temple would constantly have smoke billowing from the top, from ceremonial incense and fire, very much reminiscent of man-made volcanoes. This is something I could see happening at temple of Chotec (god of the sun/fire) in particular.

    2) Plazas. So where did the rest of the worshippers stand during great ceremonies? Most likely in the wide plazas between the "clusters" of temples within the great cities. They might not have front row seats to directly witness the mysterious ceremonies taking place at the top, but could easily listen to whatever chanting/singing is emanating from the priests on the stairs to let them know what is going on.

    Plazas were also the location of various altars and stone stela commemorating various gods, and more often invoking the names/victories of long-dead warrior kings. In the Lizardmen context these could also be used as more visible reminders of heroes long past, invoked for help in future battles/endeavors.

    3) Ballcourts. There is already a Lizardmen precedent for ballcourts in the form of the blood-bowl universe, but in the historical perspective ballcourts were also very much places of worship (i.e. the game of pok-a-tok). However they also served a dual purpose of being readily available to the masses, who could witness first hand the unfolding cosmic events played out by the actors/players in the ballcourt. Many stories of gods exist (such as the maize god and the hero twins) of heroic ballcourt matches against the gods of the underworld. Undoubtedly the rulers of these ancient cities used ballcourts as visible (and bloody) ways of bolstering their legitimacy in the eyes of the common masses.

    4) Shrines outside of the cities. There will always be places located outside of the cities that are considered "holy," so small-scale shrines is probably the best option as far as the Lizardmen are concerned. The smallest ones may only have a token skink or chameleon patrol occasioanlly passing by when ceremonies are not taking place, but during months of worship entire baggage trains of skink priests, worshippers, saurus guard, and kroxigor workmen may trample through the jungle to revisit the shrines: clear the undergrowth, set up tents on the cleared platforms, and conduct the sacred rituals ordained in eons past. I am sure there are plenty more that are completely forgotten hidden within the depths of Lustria as well.
  16. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    @Warden what was the game of pok-a-tok?

    I think you are spot-on about the plazas. That would be where the masses of ordinary Skinks and Saurus would be located during a big event.

    Would the ceremony / celebration happen outside in full view of all below? Is anything known about historical ceremonies?
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  17. Warden

    Warden Tenth Spawning

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    Pok-a-tok is the name given to the ancient ball-game played by the Mayans and other various pre-columbian cultures prior to the arrival of the Spanish. It involved the use of a large SOLID rubber ball (larger than a basketball but less heavy than a bowling ball), and the primary objective was to keep the ball from touching the ground, but you couldn't use your hands (or in some cases your feet). But you could hit the ball with any other part of your body, primarily the elbows, knees, and hips, which is why we see Mayan vases with ball-players wearing large pads around their waists.

    Both the lintel carving and the clay figurine show the large sets of padding that the players wore.

    ball player- at the smithsonian.jpg


    I already mentioned the religious significance of the game, but so far as my reading has shown me the game represented a visible link between the material realm and the spirit world (underworld) for the ancient Maya. It is known that many captives (and even prominent citizens) who were made to play the game were often sacrificed and buried in or near the courts when the game was completed. At one site (I think Chichen Itza? I will need to check) there is a giant stone skull-rack carving directly adjacent to the ballcourt to highlight this practice.
    Though bloody by modern standards, some Mayan historiographers believe that the notion of human sacrifice was seen in a different light by the ancient Mayans; making the arguement that many sacrificial victims went willingly to their deaths in order ensure that their spilt blood would allow the universe to endure/crops to grow/rains to come, etc.

    Human sacrifice was believed to be considered a great honor, and many went willingly to ensure the survival of their species, because they believed they would be "reborn" in the next life somehow (though it was preferable to sacrifice royal captives too).

    I liken this notion to the warhammer equivalent of Orion of the Wood Elves: each year a young highborn wild-rider elf would be sacrificed on a funeral pyre each winter, and be reborn as Orion, Avatar of Kuronous, God of the Hunt, each spring in a never-ending cycle of death and rebirth (autumn, winter--> spring).

    I learned recently that pok-a-tok wasn't the actual name of the game, it was called pitz by the Mayans and ollamaliztli by the Aztecs. And el juego de pelota maya by the Spanish. Gotta love wikipedia!

    If it took place at the front of the steps perhaps, but any ceremonies taking place within the rooms at the top of the temples would naturally be hidden, for the eyes of the priests/nobility only.

    There are known ceremonies that took place not on top of the temples, and those include the katun ceremonies dedicating the stone-carved stela occuring each time another katun passed.

    I talked briefly about how the Mayan calendar worked in this thread about the Lizardmen version of it, but suffice to say a "katun" is a cycle in the Mayan calendar of about 20 years in length, a very important cycle that occured about only twice, max three times in a single Mayan's lifetime. At the ending of each katun, the Mayan rulers of the classical Mayan cities would order the carving and dedicate stone stela to commemorate the import of the events, often with large-scale carvings of themselves to glorify themselves, their reign, and their accomplishments.

    tikal stela.JPG
    Tikal Stela 16, dated (711 AD) dedicated by King Jasaw Chan K'awiil (also known as Ah Cacau and "Sky Rain") at the height of his power.

    There would have been great ceremonies that took place at all the major calendrical endings, the katun is the most prevalent one I know of based on the huge number of stone-carved stela that exist throughout the Mayan world.
  18. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Very informative, thanks!
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  19. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    So "pitz" This involved the ballcourts that had a stone hoop high up on a wall?

    I wonder if the hoop was where the ball started.

    Place ball in hoop. Knock it out to put it in play, scoring is the number of times it bounces off a player before it finally hits the ground. Then the other team has a go. The team that got the most bounces wins that round?

    The point of the stone hoop would be to always launch from the exact same height to make it fair.
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  20. Warden

    Warden Tenth Spawning

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    I am not sure specifically where the ball started, but the stone hoop in the side of the court was actually a very late addition to ballcourts. The vast majority of Mayan ballcourts didn't even have any hoops.

    The hoops were very small, nearly impossible to actually put the ball through. It is believed that the object of the game was to keep the ball in play by not letting the ball touch the ground. Players could bounce the ball on the slanted walls of the court in order to set up further body hits. Games have been recorded as lasting for longer than 3 days, during which time players continuously "subbed out" kinda like a basketball game (must have had a lot of torches). In the event the ball did go through the hoop the game often straight up ended, with the scoring team being immediately declared victors.

    Another thing to remember is the sense of scale.

    Uxmal Ballcourt.jpg

    Here is the ballcourt from Uxmal that I saw last April. On the ballcourt in the picture the center "court" is about ~20 feet across (I don't have the exact dimensions in front of me), with an additional 15-20 feet separating the playing field from the hoop itself. The hoop is about 10 feet off the ground, but given it is already so far from where the players would actually stand it would be like making a long 3-point shot, sideways. And this hoop isn't even that high; there are some ballcourts where the hoop was over 20 feet off the ground!

    Based on the sheer distance of the hoop from the players (and the real world descendant of the game ulama, still played in rural parts of Mexico without the use of a hoop at all. According to wiki games last about 2 hours, with a record set for 8 days!) it is likely that scoring through the hoop would be a truly momentous occasion.

    Video of the modern-day game. The balls they use are much smaller than I would have expected (size of a baseball?), and there is even a variant with the players using sticks to hit a flaming ball!

    Edit: Another video on the more ancient variant. The game had a huge religious significance for the ancient Maya/Mesoamericans, so of course the Spanish did their best to stamp it out when they arrived.

    - In one case a rubber ball was made of a HUMAN SKULL COVERED IN RUBBER!
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