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  • The Society of Rivers and Lakes

    Something I was playing around with was a mortal wuxia campaign and I wanted a bit more granularity and depth, so, here's an attempt to bring back enlightened mortals, using the Sorcerous Initiation framework. The initiation on offer is a general 'proof of concept', and not for a specific Sect. Obviously there is room for customization here, just as with the Sorcerous equivalent.

    Mortals benefit most from this, by design, though I suppose even exalts might benefit, especially from the 'Wulin Training'.

    So, PEACH away!

    The Society of Rivers and Lakes:

    The character is trained by one of the sects of the Jianghu and is now forever set apart from mainstream society. This initiation works different from Sorcerous Initiation as it does not give access to Spells, but to Techniques (Martial Arts Charms). Note that Techniques are not Charms, and one can not be used as prerequisite of the other. However, an Exalt knowing a particular Charm can teach or learn it as a Technique (see below).

    Furthermore, it does not give access to the ‘Shape Sorcery’ action, but to the ‘Gather Chi’ action. This works in the exact same manner, except uses Wits + Martial Arts (or perhaps another combination for more esoteric sects). Another difference is that sorcerous motes gathered are called Chi, and can be used to fuel any Technique known by the practitioner. Techniques cost as much Chi to activate as the mote cost of the corresponding Martial Arts Charm.
    The ‘Sorcerous Workings’ system is likewise reinterpreted as ‘Wulin Training’. It reflects special training, learning mysterious techniques to harden the body, etcetera. Think internal application more than the outward shaping of the environment possible with Sorcerous Workings and uses Intelligence + Martial Arts (or another combination depending on the attempted goal).

    The foremost use of Wulin Training is to gain the possibility to learn a new Technique. Essence 1 Charms count as Terrestrial Ambition 3, Essence 2 as Celestial 1; Essence 3 as Celestial 2, Essence 4 as Celestial Ambition 3 and finally Essence 5 as Solar Ambition 1. Finesse for these is always set at 1. You still need to pay the xp for the Technique on top of paying xp for the training (Techniques costs the same as a Spell).

    Shaping Rituals, now known Sect Secrets:
    • The Practitioner meditates for half an hour on the principles and teachings of his Sect, gaining Willpower + Stamina motes which last for a day. This can be performed once per day.
    • The Martial Artist has learned to cultivate the light of virtue in her own heart, using it to charge the power of her Art. Whenever she would gain a point of Willpower from upholding an Intimacy that represents a passionate emotion or fervent belief, she may instead claim 5 motes. These motes last until the next sunset, and can be spent towards any Technique. If upholding that Intimacy causes in-character hardship that would be sufficient to gain solar experience as though from a Flaw, she gains 10 motes, which last for the duration of the story. After the first time this bonus is awarded in a story, subsequent awards are lowered to (Essence).
    • The jianghu member has mastered his Art. Whenever he has activated a Form Technique he gains 3 motes per turn, which last until the end of the Scene.
    Other Benefits:
    Very much depending on Sect.

  • #2
    Ooh, I really like the idea of performing a pseudo-Working on yourself to learn a Charm-alike. I don't know that I'd make someone pay for the Technique in addition to the XP for the "working", though. I wouldn't make someone who acquired a Strength dot via a Working on themselves to pay the full cost of both.

    Also, rather than setting Finesse to 1, I'd use it like Finesse in regular workings and give the character potential weird, thematic side effects if their finesse was low. Maybe learning the capstone of Tiger Style with insufficient finesse gives you tattoo-like stripes all over your skin, for example.

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    • #3
      Hmm, yeah, especially the numbers for the Wulin Training and xp cost need a good critical look to see how they pan out. But yes, exalts shouldn't find it attractive as charms and motes are much more practical than constantly worrying about your chi to pull off your techniques, so making the xp cost punishing isn't really necessary. And yes, lowering the overall Ambition and being able to use finesse scale is definitely a good idea.

      It was actually using the workings system to unlock Techniques, Sect Secrets and god knows what else is what made me look at it to use for wuxia stuff. Throw in some locations and npc's, write down some stuff for the players to unlock, bit like the Legend of the Wulin Loresheets, sit back as the players describe just how to tackle it all and the campaign will write itself.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Angwe View Post
        exalts shouldn't find it attractive as charms
        Actually, I'm not so sure about that. It wouldn't be for everyone, but if your table wanted to play a very wuxia, Martial-Arts-World-front-and-center kind of game, I could definitely see removing the (somewhat flimsy) distinction between Charm and Technique and just using this methodology to learn MA Charms. Chi is a nice backstop to let mortals in on MA Charms with sufficient effort, that Exalts will probably not bother with, but then not everyone bothers with Sorcery and Sorcerous Motes either so hey. Maybe the most esoteric Taoist exalts cultivate chi for the side benefits.

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        • #5
          Hmmm, interesting! I really like the idea of using the Sorcerous Working rule for learning charms... though I'd be hesitant to require each individual charm to require it's own Wulin Training project, perhaps lowering it to each essence level within a given charm set.. so, all Snake Style Ess 1 charms for 1 Training, all Essence 2 (after already learning all Ess 1 Techniques) after a Celestial Training, etc...

          Of course, it goes without saying that mortal practitioners would be subject to the Terrestial keyword in practicing their Arts?

          Also, just as a curiosity point, in your version does an individual mortal require some uncanny trait to pursue the Arts (as one would with Sorcery), or can anyone do so with required training/meditation?

          Similarly, at a mortal dojo what % of the Artists have access to Techniques? Is it possible to practice the style (Say, have Martial Arts (Single Point) 5) without ever learning a Technique?


          Blasphemy? No, it is not blasphemy. If God is as vast as that, he is above blasphemy; if He is as little as that, He is beneath it.
          - Mark Twain, a Biography

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          • #6
            Random thought: what if you "unlocked" all Essence 1 Charms with a single Training (+XP cost), which allows you to buy the relevant Charms with XP, but you don't have to take the Martial Arts merit or buy separate Ability dots in the relevant Style?

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            • #7
              I like the concept, it's probably fairly workable as is mostly.
              One issue is the MA merit.

              A mortal sorcerer becomes so by buying a shaping ritual (a five dot merit for 15 exp), and their first spell (10 exp).

              Assuming you mirror that it costs 25 exp to learn a first technique. However The MA skills themselves are gated behind a 3 dot merit (9 exp), and it looks like you're talking about even more exp costs on top of that. Considering how much less versatile this is I'm not sure why you're upping the EXP costs so much.

              Comment


              • #8
                Obviously mortals learn charms at the terrestial level in the exalted setting! As for requiring an uncanny trait, I wouldn't mind, as it is not uncommon in the genre, but it's certainly not always there. Sometimes it is 'just' that talented prodigy, or the princess unsatisfied with being quiet and looking pretty. However, it's not for everybody, as it is in the wuxia genre. I was thinking a defining principle or tie to justify the necessary drive to push yourself beyond the normal limits.

                Originally posted by Blackwell View Post
                Random thought: what if you "unlocked" all Essence 1 Charms with a single Training (+XP cost), which allows you to buy the relevant Charms with XP, but you don't have to take the Martial Arts merit or buy separate Ability dots in the relevant Style?
                Ah, yes, that works even better! Unlocking all charms of an essence level and style with a single Wulin Training level is certainly a good idea. Haven't really crunched the numbers yet at how long it would take to learn a style, but this would certainly make it more manageable. Don't really won't to bog down the campaign with too much down-time!

                Originally posted by A Not Quite Simple Soul View Post
                I like the concept, it's probably fairly workable as is mostly.
                One issue is the MA merit.

                A mortal sorcerer becomes so by buying a shaping ritual (a five dot merit for 15 exp), and their first spell (10 exp).

                Assuming you mirror that it costs 25 exp to learn a first technique. However The MA skills themselves are gated behind a 3 dot merit (9 exp), and it looks like you're talking about even more exp costs on top of that. Considering how much less versatile this is I'm not sure why you're upping the EXP costs so much.
                Now, for this particular campaign idea, as all pc's are supposed to be wuxia heroes, I would give them the merit for free obviously. But in general, as this initiation is for learning martial arts, the martial arts merit would be rolled into it. I'm also reconsidering charging xp for unlocking the Techniques as they already cost xp to learn. They will be doing plenty of Wulin Training for stuff other than the Techniques anyway.


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                • #9
                  One issue has occurred to me.

                  MA charms are designed to work in concert with their own style, and that can be very difficult if you have to shape and cast them all individually.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Blackwell View Post

                    Actually, I'm not so sure about that. It wouldn't be for everyone, but if your table wanted to play a very wuxia, Martial-Arts-World-front-and-center kind of game, I could definitely see removing the (somewhat flimsy) distinction between Charm and Technique and just using this methodology to learn MA Charms. Chi is a nice backstop to let mortals in on MA Charms with sufficient effort, that Exalts will probably not bother with, but then not everyone bothers with Sorcery and Sorcerous Motes either so hey. Maybe the most esoteric Taoist exalts cultivate chi for the side benefits.
                    it would also be immensely useful to solars in need of hiding their solar nature and being unable to spend copious peripheral motes.


                    Elemental and dragon line descriptors and capturing device coming soon
                    Craft Rewrite W/ Points, Slots, and Charms
                    Executive Leadership Organization Merrit

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                    • #11
                      I think that you would have to rule that entities with Essence Pools cannot use chi motes until they run out of their own personal and periphereal Essence Pools because their chakras are already filled with their own Essence Pool. It would be like a mortal human trying to breath only argon in our world when they take a breathe of normal air. The argon is always there, but the nitrogen and oxygen cannot be pushed aside by mortal human lungs in favor of the argon.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by A Not Quite Simple Soul View Post
                        One issue has occurred to me.

                        MA charms are designed to work in concert with their own style, and that can be very difficult if you have to shape and cast them all individually.
                        The chi gathered would work to power all Techniques, you don't have to gather it for a specific Technique. So, take a gather chi action, build up a pool, and use it to power your Techniques. It decays in the same manner as sorcerous motes, as in if you're using them, you lose one per turn.

                        As for Exalted with a mote pool having access to chi gathering, I am personally going for just saying no because they are already using a vastly superior and upgraded version. After all adding propellers to a jet fighter doesn't work.

                        Providing an extra mote pool for Exalts just seems like a bad idea, and I want it to feel like the 'poor man's' version of the real thing, which is still an awesome accomplishment for the unexalted who dedicates his or her life to it. It also allows for scrapping the distinction between Charms and Techniques. It would still be worthwhile investment for Exalts just for the Wulin Training part and those who want to take on the role of Sifu and train students.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                          I think that you would have to rule that entities with Essence Pools cannot use chi motes until they run out of their own personal and periphereal Essence Pools because their chakras are already filled with their own Essence Pool. It would be like a mortal human trying to breath only argon in our world when they take a breathe of normal air. The argon is always there, but the nitrogen and oxygen cannot be pushed aside by mortal human lungs in favor of the argon.
                          Very intrigued by this idea however as far as I know it is only personal motes that are very closely associated with the character, that they draw from within, so wouldn't it be more apropriate to have only personal motes be the barrier to gaining chi?
                          And also, an overflowing basin does not wait to fill the adjacent basins until they are empty, I think that the chi should be allowed to accumulate as much as the character acting is lacking in personal motes.


                          Elemental and dragon line descriptors and capturing device coming soon
                          Craft Rewrite W/ Points, Slots, and Charms
                          Executive Leadership Organization Merrit

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If the Personal Essence Pool is the highest basin, the Peripheral Essence Pool is the middle basin, and Chi is the lowest basin, then the analogy works. When you are sitting on a peak, you draw from the highest first, the middle second, and the lowest third.

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                            • #15
                              You could also remove the distinction between Personal motes and Chi. Creates a natural reason why Exalts don't get an "extra" essence pool, and mortals get a small Personal pool (which they can call "Chi" if they want) with elaborate recharge rules that can only be used on MA Charms or possibly some special wuxia Merits.
                              Last edited by Blackwell; 05-16-2017, 10:36 AM.

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