“The strangest of all the phantasms described is, perhaps, the Yohualtepoztli, literally, ” the night hatchet or axe.” It manifested itself by causing loud intermittent sounds resembling those produced by the blows of an axe in splitting wood. These ominous sounds were audible at dead of night in the mountains, and inspired terror, for they were said to be illusions produced by Tezcatlipoca in order to frighten and mock those who were out in the dark.” .

– Zelia Nuttall,  A Note on Ancient Mexican Folk-Lore
Yohualtepoztli by saptarahita

The Yohualtepoztli is an ancient entity from Mexican folklore known to haunt mountainous regions and desolate places. Its presence is announced by the singular sound it makes, that of an axe chopping into wood. It is from this sound its name is earned. Yohual can be translated to “night,” and tepoztli may be translated to “axe” or “hatchet.” It is known to torment and terrify unwary travelers, mostly at night.

The Yohualtepoztli resembles a large, muscular humanoid devoid of a head. From a distance it may be mistaken for a naked man. The chest cavity of the Yohualtepoztli is hollow, with a beating heart (and no other organs) visible inside. The large heart glows red and pulses. Some tales describe small, hinged doors flanking the hole in the chest, the flapping of these doors supposedly providing the tell-tale sounds of the Yohualtepoztli’s presence.

It has been linked to the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca is the god of the constellation of the Great Bear, a black magic wizard and the source of the human sacrifice practices in central Mexico. This link is perhaps due to the Yohualtepoztli’s unique appearance, and the Aztecs practice of removing the human heart during their sacrificial rites.

Some folktales state that rather than fleeing the Yohualtepoztli, the bravest of men or women should follow the entity’s sounds. A soul brave enough to clutch the Yohualtepoztli’s beating heart is supposedly given control of it, and thus they may request boons in return for its freedom. Magical agave thorns are said to be offered in exchange for releasing it, these gifting the owner special powers and untold riches. The removal of the heart without making a bargain is said to render the Yohualtepoztli inert, at least temporarily.

In reality the Yohualtepoztli is an ancient creation of the Elder Things. It is a leftover experiment in creating a Shoggoth-like automaton. This organic robot was used, amongst other of its kind, to guard outposts in Mexico and for manual labor. Why it is still active after so many millennia, and if there is more than one surviving, is unknown. The Yohualtepoztli has been heard and witnessed all over Mexico.

The Yohualtepoztli no doubt lurks near a former Elder Thing outpost, and perhaps following it could lead one to the remains of an underground Elder Thing city, or technological installation. This may be where the concept of the Yohualtepoztli bestowing riches originates. It appears to have a strong territorial instinct, and will attempt to frighten away (and if that fails) kill anyone that remains in the area it is guarding. Its death may well activate another Yohualtepoztli of the same statistics and abilities.


Power: Implant Fear. The Yohualtepoztli has the ability to implant fear in anyone encountering it. This power invokes a soul-chilling dread, requiring a Sanity roll for a 0/1D4 loss on top of the cost for seeing the Yohualtepoztli. A failure of the Sanity roll causes the investigator to flee as far as they are able. A success and they have fought the effects and will not need to reroll unless they encounter The Yohualtepoztli again after a 24-hour period. This roll should be made after the initial Sanity roll on encountering the Yohualtepoztli. The ability costs the Yohualtepoztli 1 Magic point per victim, regenerated at a rate of 1 point per hour.

Spells: None

Yohualtepoztli, Ancient Technological Revenant

STR: 100

CON: 80

SIZ: 120

DEX: 50

INT: 50

POW: 50

HP: 20

Damage Bonus: + 2D6

Build: 3

Magic Points: 10

Move: 7


Attacks per round: 2

Fighting attacks: Large creature with hands that pummel and pull

Fighting 40%: (20/8), damage 1D6 + damage bonus

Dodge: 25%

Armor: Fire and electrical attacks do only half damage, rounded down. Firearms and projectiles do half of rolled damage, round down any fraction. The Yohualtepoztli regenerates 1D6 Hit Points per day. The destruction or removal of its heart will stop the Yohualtepoztli dead in its tracks, the removal rendering it inert rather than killing it.

Skills: Climb 60%, Sneak 60%, Track 40%

Sanity Loss: 0/1D4

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