“When our Spanish ancestors first arrived to this continent they were not alone, with them came their gods and their armies of angels. For our Indian ancestors angels were not the incense sellers of today, they were the harbingers of destruction. Between the sword of Cortés and St. Michael the Archangel’s there was no difference, and neither made a clean cut to the roots. The brujos resisted. Nahuales, the most powerful shamans, took on the task of fighting the invading angels.”
-Edgar Clément. Operación Bolívar
Nahual is a Mexican role-playing game set on the universe created by the comic book artist Edgar Clément, started in the graphic novel Operación Bolivar.
Players are angel hunters, descendants from the powerful brujos nahuales. They have the dormant gifts that enable them to touch the gods and their harbingers, but their memory is lost, impoverishing the greatness of these wonders.
Sometimes they do not know such gifts exist, let alone the scale of these powers.
Many just struggle for survival, other look for answers, they all agree on one thing: a nahual lives to hunt down angels.
Nahual‘s backdrop is a Mexico filled with fantasy and sci-fi elements, mixed with the maelstrom of violence, inequality, corruption, folklore and fiesta that characterize it.
In all this mess, angels are more useful as a product than as divine intercessors. Their magical properties turn them in exotic animals coveted by different groups. The drug dealers are interested in the Angel Dust made by grinding the bones, a very addictive and potent drug. The church needs them as circus animals for embellishment to allure the congregation. The big corporations are beginning to realize the big business they are, and want them for experimenting and trying to replicate their qualities synthetically. The politicians… well, they like to get their hands in everything, as long as there is a good profit. Con dinero baila el perro.
Caught in the middle are the Nahuales (meaning the player characters). They are the ones who can catch the angels. They are the laborers. And the cheaper the better. The only thing they can do is try to survive these shark infested waters where everyone wants a bite.
The angeleros are angel hunters and merchants. Their trade is to kill angels to sell them in carnitas: buche, maciza, tripitas, pásele joven, what are you ordering! But not only that, every part of the angel is profitable; like the blood for making the Chingueré drink, or the bones for the prized Angel Dust. If the customer prefers, he can also buy the whole angel in one piece or even alive! Customer asks, customer gets.
However, killing and butchering angels is not easy, to do so requires cold blood. Many cannot stand the job and go crazy or commit suicide.
Killing angels may seem disgusting, and it is, but the angeleros were born to do this, they are beings branded by fate.
The diableros are dedicated to catching devils or demons, who are but fallen angels. However, unlike angels, demon meat is no longer good for eating, it is in fact poisonous! That’s why the diableros catch the demons alive and enslave them. While the angeleros are hunters and merchants, the diableros are tamers and slaveholders. Captured devils are trained as pit fighters in clandestine palenques, as hitmans or for heavy duty.
Diableros have to be disciplined and good for labor, because demons are tamed with discipline and hard work. The lazy mind is the devil’s workshop, my granny used to say. So, there is no choice, hay que chingarle!
The shamans are in a quest for power and knowledge. For what purposes? That depends on each person. Their sole interest is to become great brujos nahual and don’t give a shit about everything else. They don’t care about material possessions, nor look for a place in society, because they know that all these are insignificant next to infinite greatness of the Nahual.
They are owners of secrets and ancient traditions that allow them a fucking great communion with their nahual. Untethered and freed of responsibilities, shamans know themselves better than anyone. And because they have forgone the material world, it’s easier for them to break its bindings. The shamans are above all ascetics and spiritual beings.
We all have our nahual: is the innermost part of the unconscious, the wildest in each of us. The nahual is infinite. Is the energy that permeates and connects the Cosmos. Is everything that surpasses our comprehension.
When you awaken the nahual and recognize it, unimaginable powers are acquired. The degree of awareness of the nahual is known as Nahuality. It is a state of the conscious mind in which the shackles of matter are broken, to a greater or lesser extent. To be able to shapeshift and access the various levels of Nahuality, you have to commune with your nahual and let it open the doors of infinity, thus allowing you to alter the laws of physics. However, being able to control the nahual is no easy task. For many, it’s a lifetime journey.