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  • LostLight
    started a topic Tiansheng [Strains of the Cursed Blood- China]

    Tiansheng [Strains of the Cursed Blood- China]

    Heaven Born

    [taijitsu surrounded by ten thousand petals]

    Ten thousand things serve bellow the Heavens. Ten thousand gods work in unison to bring forth order and life. Ten thousand people endure and serve under the commands of those holding the Mandate, following the story of perfect harmony and eternal glory. Ten thousand things are being tied together by fate- the destiny decided by the one to hold the Mandate of Heavens. Ten thousand things express the Three. The Three are produced from the Two. The Two are the faces of the One, and the One follows the Way. The Way tells the story of the ten thousand things- and from the Mandate of Heaven is the mechanism which brings that story fourth. All take part of the grand tapestry, serving their part in the delicate, ever changing structure of reality. By following the Way, the natural path of all, all things would be fulfilled. There are ten thousand things serving beneath the Mandate of Heaven.

    And ten thousand demons to spit in its face.

    The Yaoguai- strange devils, strange spirits. Lesser deities who strayed the path in the name of egoistic desires, pets of the gods and animal-demons who feast on the souls of the righteous in search for power. They search for immortality, for deification, for rising in the ranks of Heaven and taking by force what belongs to others by right. In the name of their hunger, the Mowang, lords of the demons, send forth the yaoguai to bring them souls to feast upon, twisting their flesh and spirit until they become another pet in their service. They exploit the Mandate and turn against the natural Way. They make nothing- only take, only steal, only break and destroy. Their mansion-worlds are realms of madness, and their servants exist simply to fulfill their every desire.

    They make nothing- but the nothing makes the whole.

    The Tiansheng are a weird lineage, coming from the ancient days of China (during the time of the legendary Xia dynasty, if the stories are to be believed). They speak about old, wild times in which the the Mowang has just rose their heads and bound lesser spirits as pets and servants. In those early days of terror, the people were exposed to constant attacks by the demons, being exploited by the Mowang through deals and pacts sanctified by the Mandate. Many souls were lost in those days, and the demon-lords danced in their mansions and drank their fear with pleasure.

    However, the Way is more powerful than any selfish desire, and even demons are forced eventually to bow their head before it- bound by the very laws they use to bind others. One day, after another raid by a group of yaoguai, the elders of a nameless village has gathered together and made a decision to stand against the Mowang which kept stealing their children and force it into a challenge. They knew it was a risk- for by the pact they made with the demon lord, they had to option to be freed from its clutches, yet while currently the Mowang could have attacked only once per month and take no less then three and no more than a dozen, if they'll fail it would be free to take them all to his mansion and feast on their souls for all eternity. But if they'll win- the demon would not only stop harassing them, but would also return all the souls it captured through those countless years.

    And so, when the moon shined bright and the servants of the Mowang came riding the wind, a single woman came before them and called the Mowang's true name, demanding the right to challenge their lords. Following the terms of their oath, the yaoguai took the women beyond the thorny walls which protected their lord's mansion, leaving her alone before the mighty throne upon which sat the demon lord.

    "I have heard you have challenged me" said the Mowang "and as promised, I follow the terms. What do you believe you could do that I, with all my sorcery and knowledge, could not?"

    and the woman said "I can make"

    and the demon laughed, for it knew that no being in its kingdom make create anything new, for it was too far from the guidance of the Way. "Very well" it said "and what do you wish to make?"

    "I can not say" she said "but it shall require time. The moon must shine nine times, where I shall not be seen or touched by you, and once it would I shall present you with my creation".

    "very well" said the demon "take all the time you need- but you must stay here, in my kingdom, and I free to hunt as I please as the Mandate dictates while doing so".

    The woman agreed, and the Mowang smiled, believing its victory was guaranteed. And the moon shined and set, and the yaogui hunted and the halls of the Mowang were filled with screams of terror- but the woman sat quietly in her room, hidden in the darkness. Once nine months have passed, the demon-lord broke into her room, preparing to demand its due- only to stand before her, holding a newborn baby in her arms.

    "Nine moons has passed" she said "and I present you my creation- the greatest thing a mortal may make and you can not. I made life, for I was pregnant as I walked through your gates. I made her here, birthed all alone through blood and pain. I have made her- and you have lost".

    The Mowang raged, wishing to tear the woman apart- yet as it failed the challenge, it lost the Mandate of Heaven through which it governed. Its kingdom crumbled around it, and its was ripped apart by the broken laws which defined its existence. As the mansion collapsed upon itself, the woman escaped- taking her new born together with her as the two of them run through the thorns. As the woman was not a demon, the thorns cut through her flesh and scarred her heart, and she came different then before. She became a yaogui, unable to create, unable to make. Yet her baby was birthed in the realm of demons, and as such was a demon by herself. The thorns didn't cut through her delicate skin, and her bright soul was unarmed. She was a child of heaven, the first Tiansheng, carrying the cleverness of men- and the powers of a demon.

    ​While the accuracy of that story is a matter of debate, it can't be denied that the Heaven Born are touched by the Mowang and their terrible taint. Each member of the lineage shows the signs of the yaogui, having the potential to work terrible magics and innate sense to how the Mandate stirs the events of the world. That influence, however, also effects their ability to reproduce- for the powers of the Mowang consume their creative spark as it burns in their blood. Only one out of five Tiansheng is fertile, and one out of five pregnancies ends with an abortion- not to mention the high death percentage of the mothers. More than that, only the children of the mothers carry the demon-blood. Male Tiansheng who sire children bring fourth only regular, normal kids, if any at all. Some claim it to be a curse of the ancient demon-lord their tricked. Others claim it to be a natural effect of being so far from the Way, only barely being able to live natural life.

    ​For that reason, the hierarchy of the Tiansheng is highly matriarchal- the women choose their husbands, give orders and decide the course of the conspiracy. Each of the Tiansheng is trained from very young age to use his powers, learning occult secrets and methods to channel their abilities and the different weakness of their eternal enemies- the yaogui and the mowang who control them. Those training last up until the Heaven-born is 18 years old, and after that she takes an oath under the Mandate and the Way to ward off evil and hunt for those who feast on human misery and fear. Some try to escape the oath, searching for life of freedom from the binding Mandate- but few manage doing so. Those who do usually ends up making bargains with the yaogui, leaving this world to the world of demons and becoming Mowang by their own right. Others are enslaved by the demons and become toys and pets in their service. However, the most take the oath and humbly serve the Mandate of Heaven- not out of fear, but out of duty, for if they were not to protect their people, who would?

    Unlike certain other conspiracies, the Tiansheng are a lot more rural- their leadership stays away from the large cities and the centers of powers, preferring small, isolated places as temporal bases. They never stay in the same place for too long, knowing that by drawing too much of attention the mowang would track them down and send their yaogui against them, as they see their very existence as a disgrace- half bloods who rebel against their parents, birthed out of trickery and lies.

    Because of that constant threat, the Tiansheng has developed through the years complicate forms of communications- from a complicated set of road signs and gestures meant to allow one member to recognize other members and call them for help which was perfected through hundreds of years of hard work, which is constantly changing and evolving in order to make sure their enemies won't be able to break the code. While the modern era has brought with it many new ways for communication, the older members of the conspiracy are still wary from using them, preferring the old system over things like phones and the internet. After all, while the mowang are not able to create anything new- they are quick to exploit the creations of others for their uses. Some of the younger members, however, work to incorporate their old system through the new media- using hidden messages in blogs and websites in order to share information or ask for help, but currently the fear from both supernatural and mundane threats (such as being hunted down by a governmental agency as a cult) are enough to keep the old tradition strong.

    While the Tiansheng carry their Vigil against any kind of monster, blocking the influence of the mowang is seen as their top priority. Those demons are powerful and terrible- yet thankfully they are bound to their mansions from beyond the wall of thorns. Instead, they act through the yaogui- their pets and servants enslaved by the Mandate to their demonic will. Fighting against those demons is possible, and many of their members have lost their life by doing so, but as whole the conspiracy prefers using trickery over brute force. Once tracking a roaming yaogui, their goal is to tire it out- misleading it again until it grows tired and tired until it is banished back to the realm from which it came. That means, however, they must make sure the yaogui keeps interested and won't return to its mission. Doing so is a dangerous act, but the life of the Tiansheng are dangerous. Luckily (or not), the enmity of the demon lords marks the Tiansheng, drawing the yaogui's attention toward them, for better or worse.

    Although hunting down the yaogui is seen as their greatest duty, the Tiansheng do not forget their duty for those who escaped the clutched of the demons. Those people, who call themselves as "the Lost", are twisted beyond any redemption of returning back to the path- but they are not, by themselves, evil. Usually, the Heaven born even work with those broken people, trying to help them adjust to their new lives, such as killing the fake manikins the mowang created with their magics to replace those who were kidnapped (as the Tiansheng have little qualms about banishing those demons). Still, the Tiansheng avoid making a long term relationship with those beings, always keeping one eye open and never establishing an oath or bargain with them or their so called "courts". They may have suffered a lot- but once a demon, always a demon.

    While the Tiansheng have some rigid rules meant to fulfill their goal, they rarely intervene in the hunter's personal life. They believe that each person has his own path to walk, and while the core believes of cosmology of the conspiracy are strongly influenced by the Taoism, their members come from every religion or system of faith, be it Buddhism or Christianity. Once they are young, the conspiracy trains their members to improve their strengths and learn their weaknesses, carefully matching members together into creating "perfect cells". The conspiracy governs the many cells through their communication system, requiring monthly reports which are transmitted from once cell to the other until it reaches to one of the Five Perfects who leads the conspiracy. Each of the Five, in turn, sends her commands through her own information network, and the Five meet together only once a month in order to compare intelligence and discuss their vision for the conspiracy. Each of the Five has her own method of operation and her own goals needed to achieve, with one of the other members of the Five working to help her while another works against her. The official stance is that by doing so, they confuse the mowang and protect the conspiracy from spies. Others think they simply can't trust each other.

    Still, unstable as it may be, the system works- the Tiansheng stand strong in China, and even reach out for nearby territories, from India to Japan- where they fight new monsters and meet similar yet different lineages. Some of them even reached out and went to the western world, establishing a small presence in the United States. They go wherever the Way leads them, be it across the land, beyond the sea or even through the thorns of the demonic mansions. They know their place under the Mandate of Heaven.

    It's time for the demons to know theirs, too.


    Status:
    0- you have finished your training and took an oath to protect mankind from the hungry demons. You may buy dots at the Mofa Endowment, and can expect to live for 150 years.
    000- you have fought in the name of the Mandate to remove unnatural taint from the world, and you learned to recognize it. You gain the Eye for the Strange merit for free. You may also live up to 200 years. This is the highest a man could reach in the conspiracy.
    00000- you have shown yourself worthy to the Mandate, and many think of you as possible candidate for the Five Perfects. Until then, your place in the conspiracy allows you to touch the Mandate itself. You get Unseen Senses (Talecrafting), and you can expect to live up to 400 years.

    Endowment: Mofa (0-00000)
    The Heaven-born know how the Mandate stirs, and to exploit it to command the Ten Thousand Things. Mofa works as if it was the Goblin Vows merit- that is, each dot represent a single aspect of reality which the hunter learned to command. However, there are few changes- first, the hunter may replace current aspects with new ones. Doing so requires a quest which re-balance the Mandate, both repaying the replaced aspect and serving the new one. Second, each of those dots also grants the hunter an alternative form which is related to that aspect. That form may be humanoid or not, to your choosing (most actually prefer beast-like forms), and works like the Disguise of an Huntsman- although instead of paying Yearning, the hunter reduce her permanent Willpower by 1 for as long as she is in that form. Third, she gains one Arcadian weapon per dot, which may be summoned by spending a Willpower point and under a situation appropriate to the bound aspect (arcadians weapons to be released with C:tL 2E). Finally, once activating her Endowment (not including shape-shifting), the hunter draws the attention of the yaogui around her. She gains the Marked Condition toward any Huntsmen in a range of 2 meters per Mofa as if she was a changeling hunted by it. The Huntsman in question would mark her as its top priority.
    Last edited by LostLight; 12-29-2016, 03:42 PM.

  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Fallen Blossoms: The Shogun's Mandate

    Even before their borders were closed, the islands of Nippon had little contact with the wider world. When the Tokugawa Shogunate came into power, though, contact with foreigners was outlawed, and any who sought to enter or exit the country faced execution if caught. The Chinese were one of the few exceptions to this rule, and they were the only ones not confined to the island of Dejima. In fact, they had long established themselves on Nippon, ever since the Hata and several other clans came to the islands in the days of the Qin Dynasty.

    During the Edo Jidai, Chinese traders far outnumber their Dutch counterparts in Dejima, and they could travel freely in the town for a time. While they would later be restricted to their district in 1689, some would become influential painters in the country. A few even join the ranks of the Bijin. There also existed a larger population of ethnic Chinese, who were considered permanent residents of Nippon. While they were forbidden from leaving, they could mingle more freely with Japanese society, and thus could travel as far as Edo if they wished.

    It was within this larger community that Nippon's Heaven Born could be found.

    Some come from families that lived in the country for generations, but many others are recent immigrants who fled their homeland as it endured civil unrest and natural disasters. Intermingling with the resident Chinese, they maintain only tenuous ties with the mainland thanks to the enforcement of sakoku and hostilities between the Shogunate and the Ming Dynasty. This state of affairs worsens once the Qing Dynasty comes into power, and China grew more insular under their rule.

    Thus, the Tensei of Nippon are a group unto themselves. Cut off from the mainland, they answer to Perfects chosen from their ranks, who lead them in a more concerted effort as opposed to the ordered chaos of the past. The landscape of the local Vigil is treacherous ground for them, and they cannot afford to act at cross purposes if they are to survive.

    The Tensei have a strong presence in the island of Kyushu, with Nagasaki being home to several family lines, including those of the Perfects themselves. Other Heaven Born can be found further south, living among the people of the Ryukyu Islands. From these two regions, the conspiracy has branched out to the rest of Nippon, with some cells venturing as far as Edo over the course of their travels.

    These same cells inevitably cross paths with hunters from other compacts and conspiracies. Some swim alongside the Ama, invoking the magic of the ten thousand things to help quell those beasts that threaten to rise from the sea. Others mingle with the Bijin, trading secrets over nights of entertainment and revelry. A few work closely with the Azusa Miko and the Gimu, rooting out corruption from the temples and the courts.

    And then there are those Heaven Born who cross paths with members of another cursed lineage. The Otodo, as they call themselves, claim descent from the oni. They use the powers inherent in their blood to fight back against malevolent yokai and root out evil in its other forms. Few know that the Tensei exist, but those who do see them as distant kin, another branch of the bloodline that took root across the sea but nonetheless pursue similar responsibilities.

    Not all hunters see the lineage as allies, and would happily see them dead or subdued. The priests and magicians of the Onmyodo bind demons and spirits into servitude, and a few are capable of doing the same to the Heaven Born through the Kinro no Kusari. In the days of the Shogunate, some stories circulate which speak of Tensei reduced to slaves in all but name after running afoul of the Bureau of Onmyo. Such tales remind the conspiracy of its need for secrecy even as some Heaven Born attempt to seek out these lost souls.

    The Tensei also find their concerns directed at another organization. Based among the merchant caste, the Hototogisu are a group whose members could steal the powers of yokai through well-crafted deals. These pilfered abilities were used, in turn, by the merchants to ensure the success of their busineesses. To the Heaven Born, such mystical thefts imply that the merchants wield the Mandate in ways they cannot achieve with Kido, and they try to uncover more on their tricks even as they work to avoid drawing their notice.

    Between the Onmyodo and the Hototogisu, the Tensei find themselves close to destruction or enslavement many times. It is only through their cunning and alliances with other hunters that they were able to avoid either fate as a group.

    The Meiji Restoration would send them tumbling into chaos again, however, as it set into motion events which would bring new and different threats to the conspiracy.

    Tensei no Namae: Because they have lived on the islands for generations, the Heaven Born favor Japanese terms in reference to certain concepts in the conspiracy. Many of the elders among their ranks still use the original Chinese names, however.

    Goryu (五流, Five Schools) - The Five Steps
    Kido (氣道, Spirit Way) - Mofu
    Tenmei (天命, Destiny) - The Mandate of Heaven
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 01-21-2017, 02:51 PM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Touched by the Mandate

    With their fabled origins and the powers they wield, the Tiansheng have much in common with the yaoguai who call themselves the Lost. They call upon the Mandate of Heaven to reshape things within given purviews, and they often resort to trickery and guile to halt the predations of the mowang. And while they are discouraged from doing so, many of their number do deal with them on a regular basis. Some even go so far as to swear pledges with a select few Yaoguai, despite the dangers such acts invite.

    Why one of the Heaven Born would agree to such a thing ranges from the practical to the personal. It is an open secret in the conspiracy that many branches bargain with the Lost in order to circumvent their infertility. At the same time, a given hunter may have had friends (or even family) who were taken beyond the Thorns and perhaps subsequently escaped.

    And there are those who seek out the changelings not out of friendship or a desire for children, but for tutelage in the mystical arts.

    All Tiansheng are described by the Lost as being "Faetouched", but the apellation is not entirely correct. Yes, their souls are tied to the Mandate (or the Wyrd, as many Westerners call it), but they were not made so from a promise made to a changeling and a journey through the Hedge. They are not cursed with brief lives, fated to die ahead of friends and family. Their thoughts are not colored by unending madness or a strong longing for the Thorns. No, the Heaven Born are something else, a distinct lineage that stands apart from the faetouched and changelings.

    That does not mean they cannot learn their tricks.

    Changelings can learn to command the Ten Thousand Things in the same manner as the Tiansheng, but they can also enter into fixed agreements that let them harness smaller portions of their power. These Contracts leave indelible marks on their bodies and perceptions, but do not have any severe impact on their ability to retain Clarity. Faetouched can similarly harness such sorcery with ease, but only because their psyches have been fundamentally warped.

    Heaven Born also have the potential to wield Contracts, but it is considered a taboo in the conspiracy. The act of learning such magic involves letting demonic energies into themselves. These energies corrupt their minds and bodies, and steadily wear away the fortitude of their souls. A few even whisper rumors of Tiansheng who were rendered barren by the knowledge they received. Such dangers have not deterred members from seeking out those powers, and the conspiracy counts a number of sorcerers and enchantresses among its ranks.

    -=-

    Optional Rule: Born Beyond the Thorns
    A Tiansheng has a somewhat adverse relationship with the Hedge. She is subject to the following conditions.

    • Whenever they cross a Hedge gate, they risk attracting a Hunstman's notice, as if they had activated their Endowment. Tiansheng with no Mofa dots instead gain the Marked Condition towards any Huntsman in a range of one meter.

    • Whenever they exit the Hedge after spending at least a full scene inside it, they must roll Resolve + Composure. On a failure, they suffer from Hedge Addiction for three days. This is extended to a full lunar month on a dramatic failure.


    Optional Rule: Madness in Knowledge
    A Tiansheng can purchase certain Fae-Touched Merits at the Storyteller's discretion. He may also spend Experience to learn Contracts in the same manner as faetouched, with the following restrictions.

    • They cannot learn the Seeming bonuses of Contracts.

    • They cannot make use of catches.

    • They reduce their maximum Integrity by the dots in their highest rated Contract. If this would reduce their current Integrity score, the Storyteller may decide to give 3 Experience per dot lost, which can be used to purchase additional Contracts.

    • Unless they purchase the Glamour Merit (see below), they must tap into external fonts of power to fuel their Contracts.


    New Merit -- Glamour (o to ooooo)
    Effect: The Tiansheng has immersed herself in the raw substance of the Mandate of Heaven. She gains a Glamour pool equal to the dots in this Merit, which can be used to fuel Contracts and certain Merits.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Three Kingdoms of Darkness: Lost Harmony

    If there is one thing that best embodies the worst of chaos, it is War. And the War of the Three Kingdoms is one of the greatest conflicts to plague the ancient world. Warlords vie for the right to rule under the Mandate of Heaven, and their struggles plague the common folk with death and destruction. Yet even in the midst of this tragedy, despite the atrocities made on all sides, some manage to leave their mark in history with their actions.

    And more than a few Heaven Born are counted among such figures.

    The woman known as Diaochan is perhaps the best example. A follower of the Water Step, her actions would come to bring about the downfall of Dong Zhuo, and thus put an end to the atrocities of his reigns. What befell her afterwards (and whether or not she truly existed) will come to be a subject of much debate, and not even her fellow Tiansheng may know the full truth.

    However Diaochan's story ends, others in the conspiracy have their own tales in this violent and chaotic time. Some roam the countryside, fighting the various demons who roam freely under the cover of war. Others navigate the politics of the court, with their cunning and guile putting them steps ahead of many ambitious mortals and yaoguai. Either way, most do not live long, as the majority of the conspiracy faces the same hardships of the era as the peasantry.

    Indeed, the conflicts ravaging China nearly extinguish the lineage. Famine, disease, and bloodshed claim a number of Tiansheng, and more than a few bloodlines die out without leaving behind any fertile daughters. That the mowang and their servants hunt them under the cover of war only makes their situation more dire.

    Even so, the Tiansheng survive. And when the Three Kingdoms are founded, they establish themselves in each kingdom's lands. But like the freeholds of the Lost, they would suffer from divisions among their ranks. The Five Perfects that lead the Heaven Born are split over which lord they should support as the rightful bearer of the Mandate. While this dispute does not hamper the conspiracy, at first, it soon threatens to tear it apart as the kingdoms turn their armies on each other.

    In time, even the Heaven Born fall into strife, with mothers clashing with their daughters, and sisters standing on opposing sides.


    Mystery Cult Initiation (Tiansheng) (o to ooooo)
    Effect: You are a child of Heaven, marked by the powers of the yaoguai who dwell in the lands beyond the Thorns. While your birthright may leave you with a life of suffering and unable to bear children, it still empowers you to uphold the balance set by the Mandate of Heaven.

    (o) -- You finished your training, and have taken an oath to protect mankind from hungry demons. You may buy dots in the Mofa Endowment, and gain an Occult Specialty in Huntsmen. You can also expect to live for 150 years.

    (oo) -- Most Heaven Born come from rural families, and come to be instructed in traditional medicine. Even if you live in the cities, you still know a few natural remedies. You gain the Holistic Awareness Merit.

    (ooo) -- You have fought in the name of the Mandate to remove unnatural taint from the world, and you have learned to recognize it on sight. You gain the Eye for the Strange Merit, and now live up to 200 years. This is the highest that a man can reach in the conspiracy.

    (oooo) -- In standing against the Mowang, you have begun to master the power of your own dreams. You gain the Lucid Dreamer Merit and a dot in the Diviner Merit. If you already have the former, you instead gain two more dots in the latter.

    (ooooo) -- You have proven yourself trustworthy to the Five Perfects, and many see you as a possible candidate to succeed one of them. Until then, your place in the conspiracy allows you to touch the Mandate in your waking moments. You gain the Omen Sensitivity Merit, and may expect to live up to 400 years.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 01-13-2017, 08:56 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Brainstorming ideas for the Three Kingdoms of Darkness sidebar, and this came to mind. I've been entertaining the idea that the (mostly fictional) woman known as Diaochan might have secretly been one of the Heaven Born.

    If I do go through with this idea, which of the Five Steps would be the most apt for her? The Water Step seems to be the most likely, but I'm curious to hear what you think.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Well, seeing as I made mention of it in my sidebar pitch, I second that idea.


    And I am dreading/anticipating what you can think up on the Aki Ten binding such hunters as their shikigami, seeing as you posted mechanics for the Begotten. What's next? Amkhata and Huntsmen?

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
    On the other hand, the predecessors of the Aki Ten might not be so accomodating, since... you know, they're demons. And foreign ones, at that.
    That reminds me I should make a bonus mechanic for them to bind Cursed Strains and their like as shikigami :P

    EDIT- also forgot to mention that Leilel's idea for the conspiracy making bargains with changelings for fertility is a great idea, and I fully approve of it.
    Last edited by LostLight; 12-26-2016, 03:04 PM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    I definitely can see the Ama San and the Bijin as likely allies to a Tiansheng in the Edo Jidai. They both rely on trickery and teamwork to maneuver around their enemies, just as the Heaven Born do, and they certainly could help in supplying them with information, especially on the Hototogisu.

    I would also argue that the Azusa Miko and the Gimu might be cordial as well with a Tiansheng, seeing as they concern themselves with fighting corruption (both literal and spiritual).

    On the other hand, the predecessors of the Aki Ten might not be so accomodating, since... you know, they're demons. And foreign ones, at that.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 12-26-2016, 12:45 PM.

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    no problem- didn't meant for it to sound offensive or something, just wanted to explain my choices. All good (and I don't have full access to my Dark Eras copy right now, so I said "possible". better safe then sorry :P ).

    As for the Wu Xing "Ways/Movements"- what about the "Five Phases" or "Five Steps"? Wikipedia says those are possible translations/names for it, but it is always better to double check.
    Agents, Movements, Phases or Steps - I see all of them as valid translations, for they show that the Five Xing are fundamentally different from the Four Elements. The Elements are the building blocks of the world, sorta like atoms and particles. In Taoism, though, everything is ultimately made out of Qi/Chi/Ki, even the mind and the soul and everything else unseen and intangible, so that's the only Element. Basically, it's Essence from Exalted. The Wu Xing describe how Qi moves and acts within the ten thousand things, which is why all of its translations focus on describing movement and action.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

    Hey, it's your work after all - of course you get the final word on it. And I do agree that original stories do spice things up. Was just checking out of curiosity than criticism.

    On the other hand, I thought the connection between the Yaoguai/Yaogui and the Gentry was not just a 'possible' connection, but a blatantly obvious one. Because "Yao", which means "wicked", has always been the go-to word for translating "fey" or "faery". Yaoguai / Yokai / Yogoe literally mean "the wicked & the bizarre", so it's almost the perfect word to describe the Fae.

    Hmm... yeah "movement" does sound political in English. I take back my word - Way/Path/Approach do sound better Though I still insist on Wu Xing being called Five Agents or even Five Movements/Actions, rather than Five Elements. But alas, that goes into nitpicking territory very quickly.
    no problem- didn't meant for it to sound offensive or something, just wanted to explain my choices. All good (and I don't have full access to my Dark Eras copy right now, so I said "possible". better safe then sorry :P ).

    As for the Wu Xing "Ways/Movements"- what about the "Five Phases" or "Five Steps"? Wikipedia says those are possible translations/names for it, but it is always better to double check.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post

    pretty much everything Leliel said- the Tiansheng are not, after all, a religious group, and it's Changeling's theme that telling the right story is more important than the actual facts. And no, the story about the woman and the demon king is something I've came up with, not an actual fairy tale. After re-interpreting myths for some time, I kinda wanted to make a group with a more... original backstory. After all, it is not like the backstories for actual, canon conspiracies are all based around real mythology, and again- considering the fact the group way tied to Changeling, as possible connection between (at least some) Yaogui and the Gentry was established in the Dark Eras- it felt "right" to make up a story for them. (The al Rih al Asuad, for example, are not all that "better", as they are based around V:tR's Edimmu, which are not exactly the way they are represented in the myth).

    As for the Five Ways, I'm not claiming to be an expert on Chinese philosophy, and I've based on Wikipedia, so I'm all open to switch their associations. However, the name "Movement" is not really a good replacement for a Way- the Five Elemental what-you-call-it are not some political division in the conspiracy or something- it is an Approach, a way to make sure you'll choose the game you and the Huntsmen play. I've chosen "Way" as a "Way to Approach". If I were to switch it, it is better to use something like "path" or a similar word. Suggestions about that?
    Hey, it's your work after all - of course you get the final word on it. And I do agree that original stories do spice things up. Was just checking out of curiosity than criticism.

    On the other hand, I thought the connection between the Yaoguai/Yaogui and the Gentry was not just a 'possible' connection, but a blatantly obvious one. Because "Yao", which means "wicked", has always been the go-to word for translating "fey" or "faery". Yaoguai / Yokai / Yogoe literally mean "the wicked & the bizarre", so it's almost the perfect word to describe the Fae.

    Hmm... yeah "movement" does sound political in English. I take back my word - Way/Path/Approach do sound better Though I still insist on Wu Xing being called Five Agents or even Five Movements/Actions, rather than Five Elements. But alas, that goes into nitpicking territory very quickly.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
    I was wondering what you would name the Chinese lineage and which game splat you would tie them to. Part of me suspected that you were going to connect them to Changelings. That said, the Tiansheng sound like Faetouched just as the Usij are Stigmatics. Their Endowment certainly allows them to tap into the power of Goblin Vows, and perhaps with a little more versatility than the Lost. I may need to look at the drafts for Huntsmen again to comment on their access to Arcadian Weapons, and the mechanics behind their Disguises.

    Seeing as you wrote that the Heaven Born are making inroads into India and Japan, they would have extensive interactions with both the Avici Sutra and the Otodo. And I am especially interested in the norm for encounters with the latter, seeing as they both focus their respective Vigils on the Lost. On a semi-related note, there's also exploring a Tiansheng hunter chronicle set during one of two Dark Eras.

    In the Three Kingdoms of Darkness, I can see the Tiansheng carrying out their Vigil in a manner similar to the approaches of the Wuchang Gui (AKA Sin-Eaters). And their relationship with the Lost might be rather bellicose, seeing as they do contribute to how long and violent the conflicts of that time were. I kind of wonder, though, where each of the Five Elemental Ways stand, and if they're in turn divided among Wu, Shu, and Wei.

    For Fallen Blossoms, China had limited access to Japan during the Edo Jidai. This was kept to the port of Dejima, but there may have been a few Heaven Born that could have been traveling throughout the country, and maybe even settling in certain areas. And then, there's of course their interactions with the various hunter compacts and conspiracies, in particular the Otodo.
    Arcadian Weapons are still not out. Not sure about making the Tiansheng as full Faetouched. Need to check again what exactly being a Faetouched gives them.

    And yes, they do know about both the Avici Sutra and the Otodo- but there are good chances that those groups don't know much about them. They prefer to avoid being noticed by other Strains, as they usually judge them as mischievous at best and tainted at worst. All in all, they prefer to avoid drawing attention- for that's how the yaogui catch you (having an inborn shapeshifting ability does helps them at doing so).

    As for the Dark Eras- the Three Kingdoms of Darkness are, of course, a violent time. There is a lot of chaos, and a lot of demons roam free. They are almost over their heads, and many live sort, yet heroic, lives (and again, the Ways are not a political movement, they are a metaphysical trick of the conspiracy. What you need to ask is what the Five Perfects have in mind, and how they divide themselves in the Three Kingdoms. It is more than likely that their contradicting agendas may almost tear the conspiracy apart, as each support another rightful "bearer of the Mandate").

    Finally, for Fallen Blossoms- as I've mentioned earlier in the post, the Tiansheng would do their best to avoid being noticed by the other hunters. Their main interest would be at investigating the Hototogisu, as their ability to steal other monster's powers mentions they may have some great influence about the Mandate (at least, in their eyes). The Otodo would most likely judge them as they judge the Lost, and as such they prefer to avoid them. The Bijin and the Ama San may be, however, good potential allies for them.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
    I see you've combined three faiths into one in their backstory - the Mandate of Heaven from Confuscianism, the concept of the Way from Taoism, and the Mowang from Buddhism. But then again, it's not like folklore and fairy tales particularly cared about the fine differences anyway

    I also notice that you're building them less on existing lore about otherworldly bloodlines (or a mythic source that could have spawned them), and more on the Changeling setting. It feels like you are kinda forcing the Changeling setting to cough up a Strain, rather than connecting a Strain to a gameline. Were you doing that already with other Strains and I didn't notice? Or have I missed some piece of a fairy tale about a woman outwitting a demon king through clever application of childbirth?

    Anyway, still looks promising as ever.

    EDIT: I'd also switch around what the Five Movements do (yes, including the name)
    Wood is associated with growth and vitality, so they get social networking.
    Fire is associated with passion and temper, so they get artistic contests.
    Earth is associated with integrity and firmness, so they get investigation.
    Metal is associated with endings and severity, so they get physical prowess (and probably martial arts)
    Water is associated with wisdom and strategy, so they get wits.
    pretty much everything Leliel said- the Tiansheng are not, after all, a religious group, and it's Changeling's theme that telling the right story is more important than the actual facts. And no, the story about the woman and the demon king is something I've came up with, not an actual fairy tale. After re-interpreting myths for some time, I kinda wanted to make a group with a more... original backstory. After all, it is not like the backstories for actual, canon conspiracies are all based around real mythology, and again- considering the fact the group way tied to Changeling, as possible connection between (at least some) Yaogui and the Gentry was established in the Dark Eras- it felt "right" to make up a story for them. (The al Rih al Asuad, for example, are not all that "better", as they are based around V:tR's Edimmu, which are not exactly the way they are represented in the myth).

    As for the Five Ways, I'm not claiming to be an expert on Chinese philosophy, and I've based on Wikipedia, so I'm all open to switch their associations. However, the name "Movement" is not really a good replacement for a Way- the Five Elemental what-you-call-it are not some political division in the conspiracy or something- it is an Approach, a way to make sure you'll choose the game you and the Huntsmen play. I've chosen "Way" as a "Way to Approach". If I were to switch it, it is better to use something like "path" or a similar word. Suggestions about that?

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    double post

    Leave a comment:


  • Deionscribe
    replied
    I was wondering what you would name the Chinese lineage and which game splat you would tie them to. Part of me suspected that you were going to connect them to Changelings. That said, the Tiansheng sound like Faetouched just as the Usij are Stigmatics. Their Endowment certainly allows them to tap into the power of Goblin Vows, and perhaps with a little more versatility than the Lost. I may need to look at the drafts for Huntsmen again to comment on their access to Arcadian Weapons, and the mechanics behind their Disguises.

    Seeing as you wrote that the Heaven Born are making inroads into India and Japan, they would have extensive interactions with both the Avici Sutra and the Otodo. And I am especially interested in the norm for encounters with the latter, seeing as they both focus their respective Vigils on the Lost. On a semi-related note, there's also exploring a Tiansheng hunter chronicle set during one of two Dark Eras.

    In the Three Kingdoms of Darkness, I can see the Tiansheng carrying out their Vigil in a manner similar to the approaches of the Wuchang Gui (AKA Sin-Eaters). And their relationship with the Lost might be rather bellicose, seeing as they do contribute to how long and violent the conflicts of that time were. I kind of wonder, though, where each of the Five Elemental Ways stand, and if they're in turn divided among Wu, Shu, and Wei.

    For Fallen Blossoms, China had limited access to Japan during the Edo Jidai. This was kept to the port of Dejima, but there may have been a few Heaven Born that could have been traveling throughout the country, and maybe even settling in certain areas. And then, there's of course their interactions with the various hunter compacts and conspiracies, in particular the Otodo.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 12-25-2016, 10:59 PM.

    Leave a comment:

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