Fire in the Yucatan

by Paul Strack

I wrote the following scenario for a game I ran at a convention. It is designed to work with angels, demons or a mixed group. This adventure is based on the recent Zapatista uprisings in the Yucatan peninsula. I've take some rather extreme liberties wi th the truth, in the hopes of telling an interesting story.


The player characters, demons and angels alike, are summoned by their various superiors and told to go to Mexico City. Something important has arisen in Mexico that must be dealt with immediately, and the PCs are the best that are available on such short notice. They are supplied with plane tickets and reservations in a upper class hotel in the center of the Mexican capital.

There they are met by the representatives of Heaven and/or Hell, the Seraphim Madiah and the Shedim Abel-Boalah (who possesses a bellhop). They explain that there have been disturbing rumors originating in the Yucatan peninsula. One of the old Aztec gods has been gathering power and worshipers from the descendants of the native population living in the region. Worse yet, spirit servants of the god have escaped from the Marches and are roaming on Earth. To top it all off, there is evidence that they in tend to open a tether to god's realm in the Far Marches.

The ritual opening the Tether will require tremendous power, and nothing less fifty human hearts. Fortunately for the Celestials, the ritual is also very time dependent. If it does not happen within the week, it will not happen for another decade. The Celestials are to go to the Yucatan peninsula, seek out the worshippers of Aztec god, follow them back to the source and prevent the ritual from happening.

The angels will of course be strongly motivated to prevent this heinous act of human sacrifice. Demonic motivations are a bit more complex. It boils down to this: Hell needs to keep the old gods in Beleth's realm quiet and dependent on Infernal mercy. They can't get the idea that they will ever return to Earth without Hell's help. Beside, the demons don't need any competition claiming damned souls.

Most importantly, neither Heaven or Hell can allow the existence of a Tether to any other realms. Such a Tether is a step in the process of elevating that realm to the Celestial plane. Whether or not this is good or bad depends on your perspective, but neither side wants a third major force entering the war.

If both angels and demons are present, they are given specific orders to work together. Time is precious and resources are limited; only cooperation will lead to success. Of course, if only one side is present, this isn't a concern, although the possibi lity that the enemy will take advantage of the situation adds some additional urgency to the issue.


The Situation

As is often the case, reality is a bit more complex than the mission briefing. The worshippers of Aztec god are also members of the Zapatista liberation movement, an organization of indigenous people in the Yucatan peninsula struggling for freedom and equality against the Mexican government. Frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations with the government, a few Zapatistas are willing to take more drastic measures to win their liberty.

Under their leader Ramone Delpuente, this subgroup of Zapatistas have reached out to some of the older gods of Central America, and have been answered by Huehueteotl (hoo-weh-hoo-weh-tee-ott-ull, said quickly so that the syllables run together), Aztec god of fire. The deity has promised them fiery retribution in exchange for their worship. Delpuente has changed his name to Xichal, and leads a secret cult within the broader Zapatista movement. Xichal believes the native population must hearken back to o ld ways, and hopes to oust the current leaders of the Zapatista movement in favor of his own more reactionary outlook.

The current Mexican governor of the region, Eduardo Robledo, is notoriously corrupt. He got his position by appointment from the Mexican government, not popular election. Robledo's elite forces have terrorized the native people of the Yucatan in the hopes of demoralizing the Zapatista movement. Some of his soldiers are little better than death squads. Recently, however, the Zapatistas have had some success, and captured most of a company of Robledo's goons. Delpuente/Xichal has convinced some of the Zapatistas that an example needs to made of the captured troops. It is these soldiers that Xichal hopes to sacrifice to Huehueteotl - though he has yet to tell this to any but the secret cult members.

Not all the Zapatistas agree with Delpuente's plans, however. More moderate members of the movement hope to exchange the soldiers for Zapatista prisoners. It was Xichal's followers that captured the Mexicans, however, and he has control of them. In fact, Huehueteotl's spirits helped Xichal's men win the night battle against the Mexican troops, harrying the soldiers with flames that moved of their own accord. Without outside intervention, Xichal and Huehueteotl are likely to get their way.


Searching the Yucatan

The Celestials should proceed to the Yucatan peninsula soon after their meeting. They must take a train south, and then a bus; convenient air travel is not available. The Celestials should quickly become aware of the squalor and poverty the natives live in, compared to the luxury of the upper class Mexican's. Note that journey down is a good time for Celestials to receive "private messages" from their superiors about how the Aztec god should be handled.

How the Celestials proceed is up to them, but they should soon learn of the tension between the natives and the government. Hopefully they will make their way to the Zapatistas. If they are able to earn the rebels' trust, they may learn of the capture of the Mexican soldiers, and that Delpuente is planning something big soon, to prove to the government how serious the movement is. Moderate Zapatistas will express misgivings about Delpuente, worrying that he will go too far and draw in more government troops.

Delpuente's followers themselves will not willingly give any information to slick gringos sniffing around their turf. Only Delpuente's men know where the Mexican soldiers are being held. One of them must be captured or followed as he heads back into the jungles. Still, clever Celestials should have little trouble finding Delpuente eventually.


The Tecpatl

The Tecpatl are fire spirits that serve Huehueteotl. Like Celestials, they can hear (and make) disturbances in the Symphony. If the player characters get carried away with Songs or mayhem, they might attract the Tecpatl. The Tecpatl may attack while the Celestials are still in native territory, in the jungle on the way to Delpuente's camp, or any time the GM wants to spice of the story.

The Tecpatl are spirits with no Vessels; Huehueteotl is not yet powerful enough to give bodies to his servants. They can possess flames, however, just like Shedim of Belial. They spend most of their time on Earth hanging out in small fires like cigarette butts, manifesting Celestially and flitting to a new fire when they need to (like Shedim, they make no disturbance to the Symphony when they leave their "host"). They are also able to ignite flammable substances, as with Belial's Servitor Attunement: Incendiary. This allows them to create host flames in a pinch. In Celestial form, the Tecpatl appear as amorphous balls of fire. Their touch burns, and is a Power 3 attack. The stats of Tecpatl are as follows:

Corporeal Forces 3 - Strength 7, Agility 5, Body 21
Ethereal Forces 2 - Intelligence 3, Precision 5, Mind 6
Celestial Forces 2 - Will 4, Perception 4, Soul 8

Skills: Fighting/4

Attunements: Shedim of Fire, Incendiary

Note: While possessing flames, water does Body damage to the Tecpatl; the Power depends on the amount of water.


Delpuente's Camp

Delpuente's camp is well hidden deep in the Yucatan jungle. There are over 200 well-armed Zapatistas in the camp, too much even for ambitious Celestials. Subtlety will be required. Unfortunately, Delpuente and most of the captured soldiers are gone, getting ready for the big ceremony. Only a handful of Mexican soldiers are left in the camp - Delpuente plans to send them back to the government with proof of his activities. The Mexican goon squad are insulting and crude, threatening to hunt down the families of the Zapatistas if they are not released. They are not exactly the sort of men your average Celestial would go out of his way to rescue.

There are also two Jesuit priests, Felipe Carlos and Raymundo Triere, being held prisoner in the camp. They have learned of Delpuente's plans, and he captured them before they could warn anyone. Delpuente respects the priest - the Jesuits have been a great help to the Mexican poor in the past - and is only planning on holding them until after the ritual. The priests know where Delpuente has gone, and can tell the Celestials this if they are rescued.

Most of the Zapatistas in the camp are unaware of Delpuente's exact plans. Many of them know where he has gone, but don't know what he is doing. If approached correctly, they might be willing to share that information. Failing that, one of them could always be captured and interrogated.



Delpuente has gone to one of the Mayan ruins littering the Yucatan landscape. Uxmal is not quite as famous as some of the other ruins, but is still an important site. Delpuente is atop the central pyramid of the ruins, with a huge bonfire roaring at the top (to receive the sacrificial hearts). As soon as fighting breaks out, he will take cover behind masonry and blast his foes with his staff. Delpuente is insane and cannot be convinced to stop. If called by name, he will maniacally and cry "Delpuente is no more; I am Xichal!"

At the foot of the pyramid are two dozen of Xichal's secret cultists. They are fanatically loyal and cannot be swayed. They guard the sixty prisoners (a few extra in case anything goes wrong). The prisoners are roped together, and tied to stakes so that they cannot escape. If the Celestials have been tardy, half of the soldiers have already been sacrificed. The Zapatistas will open up with assault rifles should Uxmal be attacked. Finally, there are several Tecpatl in the area, one for each of the Celestials. The fire spirits will swarm to attack.

The ritual can be stopped in several ways. Killing Xichal would work, but he will drop under cover once fighting starts. Freeing the prisoners would work as well. If too many of the Zapatistas are killed, the Tecpatl will try to burn the prisoners where they stand. If the prisoners are freed or the battle goes badly, the fanatic cultists will fling themselves into the fire in the hopes of freeing their god. If the GM likes, Huehueteotl himself can partly manifest at a dramatic moment, to add a little tension to the scene (the god can do nothing until the ritual is complete).


Zapatista Soldiers

Corporeal Forces 2 - Strength 4, Agility 4, Body 16
Ethereal Forces 2 - Intelligence 3, Precision 5, Mind 3
Celestial Forces 1 - Will 2, Perception 2, Soul 2

Skills: Fighting/2, Range Weapon (Rifle)/4, Survival (Jungle)/3, Move Silently/3


Delpuente / Xichal

Xichal is a soldier, able to control his expenditure of Essence.

Corporeal Forces 2 - Strength 4, Agility 4, Body 16
Ethereal Forces 2 - Intelligence 3, Precision 5, Mind 6
Celestial Forces 2 - Will 5, Perception 3, Soul 10

Skills: Fighting/2, Ranged Weapon (Rifle)/4, Survival (Jungle)/3, Move Silently/3, Language (English)/2, Tactics/4, Knowledge (Aztec Ritual)/4

Artifact: Staff of the Fiery Serpent - This carved and feather-decorated staff is imbedded with the Celestial Song of Light. It is also a level 4 Reliquary (only for powering the staff). The user must bear the make of Huehueteotl in order to be able to the staffs powers.



Huehueteotl appears as an immense flaming serpent, with burning wings. The Aztec god is extremely powerful, almost equal to a Superior, and will easily defeat the Celestials if the ritual is completed and he is able to fully manifest.



If the Celestials were successful, they need only clean up after their mess. Some of them may want stick around for a while to help - or take advantage of - the struggle between the Zapatistas and the Mexican government. If the Celestials failed, Huehueteotl will drive them from the Yucatan, probably destroying their Vessels with fire and flinging them back to Heaven or Hell. The forces of God and Satan will have a tough battle ahead to eject the god's influence from this world.



The Celestials may have mixed motives going into the Yucatan, especially if they are a mixed group of angels and demons. They may receive some special instructions from their superiors about how to handle the situations. Some possibilities are:


[[Note from -- I will endevor to put these characters in the Rogue's Gallary as soon as my HTML editors stop throwing tantrums...]]


**Flaming Feather**

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