History and Lore (city23)

Kali Gods and Religion

Like most nations in the Asteanic world, the Kali have numerous gods, some of which overlap with neighbouring peoples’ deities, while others are unique.

Similar to many other cultures, the Kali view the world as three-fold: the Human world in the middle, the Otherworld below, which the Kali refer to as Tests of Xibalba, and the third world, Collective Celestial Waters, which is inaccessible. Souls of the dead must pass through the Tests of Xibalba to reach the Collective Celestial Waters. This world can only be seen by looking up at the night sky and is where all dead souls become one. Living cannot access it, despite the most powerful magic.

As a result of these three worlds, the Kali also have three main gods, or Trinity, as the main gods are seen as inseparable, almost as one goddess. The three main goddesses are called Three Sisters, Triplets, Three Mothers, Threemother, Twenty-Seven (33), and so on. The main goddesses’ names are Ixime, Uxmal, and Quirigua.


Ixime is the goddess of Collective Celestial Waters, ruler of the universe, creator of magic, and mother of the Feathered Basilisks, who taught it to humans. Ixime is the Collective Spirit, of which all the dead souls who have passed through the Tests of Xibalba become a part. Some believe that the human soul comes only from Ixime. Ixime is also an inaccessible goddess, a distant goddess, or as some cynical heretics say – a made-up goddess. Establishing contact with Ixime is particularly difficult, as her totem Otherworldlings, the Feathered Basilisks, are almost impossible to find. In art, Ixime is often depicted as a young woman with wings or feathered arms, bird legs, or a snake’s lower body and wings.

In Orenic culture, Ixime is identified as the Birdserpent, which laid the egg that birthed the universe.


Uxmal is the goddess of the Human world, including the Sun, Moon, rain, and drought, and the mother of countless nature gods. She and her children, the numerous nature gods, control the entire physical human world.


Quirigua is the goddess of the Tests of Xibalba, Commander of Death and War, bringer of misfortunes and diseases, but also the bringer of luck in war and the healer. Quirigua is the mother of 400 Jaguars, Smoking Bone Man, and other Xibalban gods. In art, Quirigua is depicted in many different ways. Sometimes, she is depicted simply as a jaguar or a woman with a jaguar’s head. Other times, she is a large lizard inspired by the Quirigua avatars held in temples, or a lizard-woman. She is often portrayed as a lich or bone woman, and sometimes as a naga, a being with a woman’s upper body, a snake’s lower body, and six arms.

The Orenic culture identifies Quirigua with both its death goddess Seven Deaths and its war goddess Blood Virgin.

The influence of the Otherworld on Kali culture

The Kali Otherworld consists of an infinite number of Otherworld pockets, many of which are interconnected, some can be accessed through secret paths from the human world (such as the Yaxchila Otherworld pocket, which begins in his palace, in the middle of Irongate City), and some can only be accessed through other Otherworld pockets. Some of the Otherworld pockets are parallel to the human world, meaning that a shaman can access them using Astral projection magic, but many are not and require the physical discovery of a secret path to access.

Very few of these Otherworld pockets are empty; most are home to a minor deity or Otherworldlings, all of whom are considered the descendants of the Otherworld’s goddess Quirigua, and many of whom can be approached to make a pact with Quirigua. All of these Otherworldly beings have motives that are incomprehensible to humans, and it is not wise to accidentally wander into one of their worlds.

The abundance of Otherworld pockets, their maze-like structure, and the abundance of Otherworldly beings make Kali’s Otherworld one of the most dangerous Otherworlds to enter in the entire world. However, the Kali believe that in order for a dead soul to become one with the Collective Celestial Water and other souls, it must first navigate through this maze.

What happens to a soul after death according to the SAKE rules:

Roll Willpower to find out what happens to a soul after the body’s death. Roll Willpower against 20 upon death (if the deceased has Astral projection, they can attempt that). Rolling less than 20 allows the soul to move through The Otherworld into the beyond. This process takes about a week, after which the soul becomes unreachable. Resurrection sorcery can stop this process if a week has not passed yet. A soul moving through The Otherworld towards the beyond is invisible and untouchable. People believe that a soul becomes part of the collective spirit, reincarnates, enters paradise, etc. The outcome of a person’s death can be manipulated by undertaking a proper burial. However, in most religions, a proper burial makes entering The Otherworld more difficult, as it’s deemed an undesirable place to go after death. The Willpower roll gains as many pluses or minuses as the burial conductor has Theology points.

Rolling Willpower 20 or more means their soul moves onto The Otherworld and becomes a spectator, ancestral spirit, or individual soul.

Considering the nature of their Otherworld, Kali’s religious beliefs and practices are relatively cynical and masochistic. Although Kali know what awaits them in the Otherworld, they do not want to avoid it but find that the soul can only find the true solution by navigating through this Otherworld. Therefore, the Kali also call their Otherworld the “Tests of Xibalba” – a test that the deceased must pass to finally become one with the collective spirit and Ixime. Throughout life, people have time to prepare for this test – to learn to fight, learn witchcraft, make pacts with gods, increase their Willpower (to die as a more powerful soul/being in the Otherworld), etc. When a Kali dies, they are buried with proper war equipment, and many delicious foods and beautiful items are sacrificed so that the deceased soul can use them to trade with the Otherworldly beings.

If the Tests of Xibalba are actually passable and where they ultimately lead to is not possible for the living to know or prove, many cultures with opposing beliefs (such as the Asteanic and Orenic) see the Kali as a people who curse their dead to eternal wandering in the afterlife until they are eventually consumed by some entity that feeds on souls.

  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.
  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.
  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.
  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.
  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.
  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.
  • Many of the Otherworld pockets in the Tests of Xibalba are some sort of mysterious caves.

Direct impact

The reality of the afterlife and beliefs associated with it make the Kali culture a warrior culture, or more precisely, a shaman- and priest-warrior culture, as only by balancing these two sides can a person ensure the best outcome for themselves after passing to the Tests of Xibalba.

The Gods and the Kings

There is a myth in Irongate about Tzek I, the founder of the Itza Empire, who as a child was visited by the avatar of Uxmal, the goddess of fertility, sun, moon, land, ocean, and all the physical world. Uxmal gifted him three eggs. Tzek I buried these three eggs atop the three peaks of a three-tipped mountain – one egg in each tip. Years later, when the Itza tribe faced destruction, Tzek approached the mountain seeking counsel and aid from the gods. In response, three turtle-shaped deities hatched from the eggs:

  • The Motherturtle, swiftly assuming control over the surrounding seas and bays of the West-Kali Archipelago.
  • Crownturtle, asserted dominion over the main island and the creatures residing there.
  • And Bloodturtle, became the region’s war deity.

As the first person to encounter these newborn gods, Tzek was told that he should now become their first priest, guiding the people on these islands as they ruled over the islands and their surroundings as deities. Tzek heeded this, and with the assistance of the three gods, he subdued all of the Itza tribe’s adversaries, laying the foundation for the Itza Empire.

The creation myth of the Itza Empire is undoubtedly of questionable truth, especially considering that the alliance between the Itza tribe and Tzek I with the first arriving Asteanic iron traders is not a secret but a well-known historical fact. Nevertheless, this myth has been instrumental in legitimizing the authority of Itza kings and has, in a way, become partially real through this process.

In contrast to most regions in the Asteanic world, the land of Kali still harbours a multitude of more or less powerful deities. People have never been successful in eradicating Kali gods like in many other regions, primarily because the Kali afterlife, the Tests of Xibalba, is an intricate, labyrinthine, and multilayered construct. Thus, Kalis have had to more or less accept the presence of these deities. This has led Kali kings and tribal chiefs to also be priests, effectively priest-kings – typically in a pact with some local nature deity of the forests and/or seas. This was true for the rulers of the Itza Empire as well. The three turtle gods govern the nature and creatures of the West-Kali Archipelago’s seas and islands. Thus, it’s logical that the high priests of these deities hold significant influence over the islanders. In the Itza Empire, however, these three high priests were embodied by one individual: the king of Irongate.

For centuries, the crowning of an Itza Empire king was a complex and time-consuming process, as the king had to form pacts with three mighty nature deities. Dealing with deities was, as usual, no simple task – kings were given intricate or sometimes outright bizarre tasks by the gods, which could take years to fulfill. But this process had to be undergone, as the legitimacy of the kingship in the eyes of other island tribes depended on it.

Despite the complexity, this crowning system had a direct positive impact on the Itza nation. Completing the entire ritual generally required the king to possess strength, cunning, and determination – attributes crucial for a ruler of a warlike empire.

However, history records several kings who are suspected of not forming these pacts, or at least not with all three deities. Yet, only one king is known to have not formed any pacts at all – today’s king of Irongate, Wadcha VII Itza, mockingly called Rustking. Furthermore, in a particularly embarrassing move, he had to ban the Bloodturtle cult and close its temples due to the “Itza-Zipopan Open Seas Peace Treaty.” It’s no wonder that most former empire’s tribes don’t recognize him and he barely holds control over his capital city’s tribes.