Olman is generally used in reference to the Olman people, a race of humans of Oerth, though the term may also refer to the language and culture of said people. They mainly inhabit the southern fringes of the Flanaess and are primarily a tribal people, though in the past they commanded a great empire. The Olman are roughly modeled on the Aztec.
Olman tend to have reddish-brown or dark brown skin tones, and speak their own language. There is a theory that the Olman are directly related to their alternate-world cousins, the Aztec and other Central American natives. This is primarily because they worship the same pantheon of gods. How this cross-universe colonization from Earth to Oerth might have occurred, none can say.
The following deities, inspired by Aztec and Central American myth, make up the Olman pantheon:
The Olman have also been known to worship non-divine beings such as Xilonen and Xuxeteanlahucuxolazapaminaco as if they were true gods. A gas spore and a giant snail seem to have also played a part in their mythology. The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan mentions, but does not name, other entities revered as gods by the Olman: a coyote (the Aztec god Huehuecoyotl), a crab-headed god (possibly Blibdoolpoolp, or perhaps more likely Kalka-Kylla), an alligator-headed god (probably Huhueteotl), a feathered warrior (probably the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli), a jaguar (Tezcatlipoca or the Aztec god Tepeyollotl), a sun god (perhaps Tonatiuh), and a "dual-god, the supreme god, the god of creation" who fits the description of the Aztec god Ometeotl.
Olman temples are usually step pyramids with entrances at the bottom corresponding to the four points of a compass.
Rituals and holy days
Rituals to the Olman deities are typically performed every 20 days, corresponding to the various "signs" of the divinatory calendar. Each sign is ruled by a different deity. Sacrifices may take many forms, depending on the god. The public is required to attend every ritual, held at the temple of the appropriate god.
The Olman use the Olman Lunar calendar for keeping time.
Olman legend states that the Olman gods discovered Oerth and the Olman people circa -2400 CY. At that time, the Olman had not migrated from their homelands in Hepmonaland. Some 500 years later, the Olman began warring with the Touv people in the northern jungles of Hepmonaland.
Olman civilization advanced much between -1900 and -1500 CY, when they began working bronze and stone, and built great cities in northern Hepmonaland.
Around -1000 CY, the Olman people began migrating from Hepmonaland to the Amedio Jungle. There, they erected a portion of their vast empire that would outlast that in Hepmonaland. In -805 CY, the Olman of the Amedio Jungle declared themselves the true Olman nation, marking this year as the beginning of the Olman Lunar calendar (OL 1). By -800, however, all seven of the Olman Amedio city-states would declare themselves independent, though they were still considered part of the same empire.
In -490 CY, the emperor of the Amedio Olman empire, Tloqasikukuatl of Chetanicatla, was assassinated by priests of Zotzilaha. By -425, the empire fell into civil war. The city-state of Tamoachan was destroyed in the magical warfare in a single day.
During the height of their civilization, the Olman built great temples and shrines deep in the jungles of the southern Flanaess. They also explored the southern oceans to an extent that may have out-stripped even modern explorers from Aerdy, Greyhawk, and Keoland. The Olman are also credited with developing the blowgun, sometime in the seventh century before the Common Year.
The modern Olman inhabit the Amedio city-state of Xamaclan (last remaining city-state of the Olman's Amedio empire), and are also spread out in isolated tribes throughout the Amedio Jungle. Sparse populations also exist elsewhere. One such remote location is the Isle of Dread, an island far to the south of the Azure Sea which was overrun by the kopru centuries ago. There, many small tribes of Olman remain.
- Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:
- Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K. Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
- Moore, Roger E. "Green Nightmare: The Amedio Jungle, Part I." Oerth Journal #4. Council of Greyhawk, 1996. Available online:
- Schwartz, David. "Aztec Mythos IV." Dragon #358. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2007.
- Ward, James, and Troy Denning. Legends & Lore. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.