|Tezcatlipoca's symbol, as depicted in The Scarlet Brotherhood (1999).|
|Title(s)||The Smoking Mirror|
|Home Plane||A parallel Prime Material Plane|
|Power Level||Greater deity|
|Class(es)||Cleric 9, fighter 20, magic-user 15, assassin 15, bard 6|
|Portfolio||Lightning, Mischief, Sun, Moon, Night, Scheming, Betrayals|
|Domains||Air, Chaos, Evil, Mysticism, Knowledge, Magic, Sun, Trickery, War, Weather|
Tezcatlipoca (whose name means "the smoking mirror") is the Olman god of the Sun, Moon, Night, Scheming, and Betrayals. He spreads disorder and war, but he is also the origin of wealth. He personifies the harmful and destructive forces of nature, and is also the patron of sinful pleasures and arcane magic. He is also the vessel by which people gain absolution from their sins. His symbol is a jaguar.
As Apocatequil, he is the god of lightning and the moon (specifically, the moon Celene, which is named for Apocatequil in the Olman tongue).
Tezcatlipoca rarely takes on a physical form, preferring to remain invisible and ethereal. When he does assume a material body, he customarily appears as a giant jaguar or bear. He may also appear as a one-footed man with a round obsidian mirror instead of a foot. He is depicted as black-skinned with a yellow-striped face. He will occasionally assume a more human-looking form in order to masquerade as someone else.
Tezcatlipoca is Quetzalcoatl's rival, and the servants of the two deities never cooperate. Heironeous also considers himself to be Tezcatlipoca's enemy. Tecatlipoca's sister is Tlazoteotl, who helped him overthrow Quetzalcoatl.
Tezcatlipoca dwells in the constellation of Ursa Major on a parallel Prime Material Plane.
Tezcatlipoca encourages people to escape the bonds places on them by society and fate. His followers push the boundaries of ethics and morality, and seek to change their fate by force of will.
Tezcatlipoca is worshiped in Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle by Olman warriors, thieves, witches, and farmers. The lowly worship him to escape their burdens, as do the ambitious. His followers might never know when the quest they're undergoing is part of their god's greater plan or merely a random act of destruction, but typically they are tasked with doing things like embarrassing respected rulers, stealing powerful magic, or playing deadly tricks on entire villages.
Tezcatlipoca's herald is a 20th level sorcerer. His allies include howlers, and glabrezu and nalfeshnee demons.
Clerics of Tezcatlipoca wear ash-gray clothing with jeweled helms and feathered cloaks. They are politically active and prone to underhanded methods. They encourage war on other cities. Many are sent to spy on clerics of Quetzalcoatl. Like those of other Olman gods, Tezcatlipoca's clerics refrain from regular bathing, and dried blood and filth cake them as a result of their rituals. Tezcatlipoca is a patron of diviners, and his clerics train in a number of traditional divining methods. Some take levels in wizard or sorcerer, and often specialize as diviners or illusionists.
Priests of Tezcatlipoca must choose a direction to pray to at the beginning of their careers. Clerics of the east wear red, clerics of the south wear yellow, clerics of the west wear black, and clerics of the north wear white.
Tezcatlipoca is very stern toward his priests, tolerating no errors or shortcomings. Those who transgress against him may be denied spells and visited by thieves who serve their god.
Olman temples are usually step pyramids with entrances at the bottom corresponding to the four points of a compass. Tezcatlipoca's holy places may contain magical mirrors (as the one in Tamoachan does). Carvings of jaguars feature prominently.
Tezcatlipoca is given sacrifices in the hope of bringing gentle sunlight to their crops and parching heat to the crops grown by enemies of the tribe. Every year, priests of Tezcatlipoca pamper a perfect human male before ripping his heart out. The public is required to attend these rituals, held at Tezcatlipoca's temples.
Many pray to Tezcatlipoca in order to seek absolution for their sins or to be reprieved from divinely-inspired misfortune. Others call on their god to bend the rules, to aspire to higher social castes or learn new arcane spells.
Participants in Tezcatlipoca's rituals often perform acts of debauchery as a form of catharsis.
Deities & Demigods (1980) said that Tezcatlipoca's holy day was the Spring Equinox, while The Scarlet Brotherhood (1999) implied that the day of Tezcatlipoca's human sacrifice was the Summer Solstice.
Myths and legends
The Creation of the World and the Theft of the First Sun
Although powerful individually, only by working together could Quetzalcoatl and Tecatlipoca create the world by laying the endlessly-hungry Coatlicue in the waters and transforming her body into various forms of terrain. After completing this task, they fought over who would be the sun. Tezcatlipoca, dark as shadow, stole the sun and tied it to his waist, but because of his dark nature he could light only half the day. Eventually Quetzalcoatl knocked Tezcatlipoca from the sky with a gigantic stick, and so he became the second sun.
Tezcatlipoca was originally a god of warriors and the sun, the ruler of the First Sun, one of the great historical ages in the Olman circular calendar. After his fall, Tezcatlipoca was transformed from a humanoid to a jaguar, becoming more associated with night, witches, thieves, and others who perform deeds under the cover of darkness. With the aid of his sister Tlazoteotl, Tezcatlipoca tricked Quetzalcoatl into getting drunk and debasing himself, which so shamed Quetzalcoatl that he ordered a city razed and all its treasures buried. Then Quetzalcoatl sailed into the sea on a raft of snakes, vowing to return one day and reclaim his kingdom. Without Quetzalcoatl's influence, Tezcatlipoca was free to work his evil unhindered; many look forward to the day when Quetzalcoatl will get over himself and return.
- 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:
- Kenson, Stephen. "Do-It-Yourself Deities." Dragon #283. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
- Schwartz, David. "Class Acts: Aztec Mythos I." Dragon #352. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2007.
- Ward, James and Troy Denning. Legends & Lore. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.