The Totem of Nahual
The Totem of Nehual is something of a Maltese Falcon. Many have spent long periods of their life searching for it, spending vast sums of money, and in the end never finding it, or only finding it long enough to lose it.
Three times she had attempted to steal the totem; once in shipping, a second time as it sat in customs, and a third time when it was being moved to the personal collection of the millionaire industrialist who had bought it. The fourth time was a charm. The cat burglar slipped through the security system, bypassed the alarm, and stole her way into the gallery. The totem was given low billing, sitting on a lower shelf while much less valuable items were given more prominent position. She lifted the gold, and for a moment struggled with the weight of it.
The Totem of Nahual is an Olmec 'huaca' or ritual device that was used in the tribe's religious ceremonies venerating their jaguar god. It is a primitive figurine of a half man half jaguar made of gold, and set with precious stones.
The Secret History of Nahual:
Nahual isn't an Olmec totem, despite it's origins in an Olmec temple. The idol is a powerful and cursed relic that belonged to a rival tribe of the Olmecs, who they only overcame at great personal cost and after many years of bloody war. The Olmecs toppled the shrines built to the Jaguar God, and subverted the deity with their own faith and magics. The relic remained as a trophy of their conquest of the Nahauli tribe. The Nahauli tribe was predominantly female, and venerated a strong warrior god, also associated with fertility and jaguars, and the priestesses of the temple were said to be able to wear the skin of Nahual into battle, where they were fearsome foes. The Nahuali were a tribe of were-jaguars.
The Cat burglar ran as fast as she could, a pair of guard dogs had been unleashed and a swarm of security guards had come out of nowhere. She had been too open, they knew she was coming, and they had left her a trap. When she evaded them, when she knocked a few of them down, they stopped playing nice and started shooting. Two rounds hit her, and she collapsed. Laying on the plush carpet, bleeding, she clutched the totem. The guards surrounded her, their eyes taking in her lean body, the form fitting suit she wore, and she knew something horrible was coming, something worse than a pair of .22s through the side.
'I'll kill every one of you...' she spat.
The Powers of the Totem:
The Totem of Nahual can be used to ceremonially and ritually turn any woman into a werejaguar. This requires the woman in question to annoint the totem with her own blood, and to swear vengeance against those who harmed her. Once this is done, the woman is transformed into a full blooded werejaguar. As a full blooded shapeshifter, she can assume the form of a jaguar, and a middle half human half cat warrior form, well armed with large teeth, ripping claws, the ability to use tools and weapons, and the senses of a jaguar.
A werejaguar priestess has two methods by which she can spread the blessing/curse of Nahual, by bite, and by birth. This is considered important as the Totem can only serve one mistress at a time.
La Mordisca - The bite of the werejaguar is contagious, a common element of the werewolf mythology. Spanish missionaries referred to these women as La Mordisca, the bitten, as they would be mauled by a jaguar and rather than succumbing to fever and death, they would heal, and on the full moon would rise from their beds as jaguars, turning their claws and fangs on abusive men, the men of the clergy, and stopping them required a great number of bullets and fire. Once slain, these jaguars would revert to human form, causing cries of witchcraft, heresy, and cause the problem of leaving a dead naked woman laying in the middle of a circle of blood and carnage.
La Jaguarete - The Werejaguar priestess can take a lover, and her female born children will be full blooded werejaguars like their mother, so long as she retains control of the totem through conception and childbirth. The Nahuali tribe would raid and capture the strongest men of neighboring tribes to ensure the priestess of Nahual would have the best to chose from, and through this, there were a great number of La Jaguarete warriors born.
The cat burglar stood over the disemboweled corpses of over a dozen men, their formerly lust filled eyes now glazed and dull with death. The bullet holes were gone, her suit was gone, but where she had been petite, she towered over them, a bristling hissing mountain of muscle and bad attitude. Clutching the totem, the werejaguar fled the manor, smashing out a window, and only pausing to tear the guard dogs to bloody pieces, even those that tried to run from her.
The Curse of the Totem
The werejaguar is a powerful but unstable chimera, and the longer a woman bears the blessings of Nahual, their sanity degrades and eventually there is nothing but the jaguar remaining. In ancient times, the high priestess of Nahual would serve for no longer than a lunar year before passing the idol and mantle to her replacement. This was often done pragmatically as the priestess would have a child to care for, and in several years, the mantle would very likely be passed back to her. In the modern world, this understanding of the idol and it's power is gone, and those who find it's power never think to give it away before it destroys them, or leads to their demise.
The Urban Jungle - The Totem of Nahual has found its way to Plutopolis, where it grows a new cult of female jaguar warriors. The police are unable to handle the monsters, and a number of strong female characters are drawn out of gangs, oppression, and other negative situations where they join the new cult. The city is forced to fall back on it's own supernatural protectors.
Silver Bullet - The totem has ended up in a small community in the hands of an abused woman. She gains the power of the totem and starts killing the people who hurt her, then the people she doesn't like, and eventually ends up mad and it's up to the PCs to either kill the abused woman/werejaguar, or find a way to separate her from the totem and redeem her.
A Mexican Jaguar in Tokyo - Supernatural fish out of water, the solo PC has found the totem in another country, and falls to it's magic and becomes not just a tourist, but a monster as well. I went to Moscow and all I got was covered in blood and screaming at the moon.
Author's Note: The Totem of Nahual is the second part of my Ultra Dark, UItra violent Lovecraftian take on the Batman mythos. The totem is a new take on Catwoman, in possibly one of the most literal senses of the name. As a werejaguar she is cat and woman, and rather than sexy, she is massive, powerful, and very easily capable of killing.
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? Responses (2)
That is certainly a cool take on Catwoman. Given how it destroys the host, how would you end up with Catwoman lasting long enough to become a fixture?
I hope, however, the Penguin won't get quite the same treatment :)
A. You don't, power corrupts
B. The priesthood of Nahual is restored and a Cult of the Catwomen is born
C. Strength of Will, a powerful woman becomes the Catwoman and resists the effects of the idol.