I. Additional Infomation
Natural Oddities are oddities, found in nature. Nobody is entirely sure where they come from or how they are made, but they exist in the world and are good supplements for people trying to enhance their Tao Chi, as long as one pays attention to the limits and restrictions that each oddity has.The Frozen Bolt
The Frozen Bolt is a low-level Natural Oddity found in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. This Natural Oddity takes the shape of a bolt of lightning, complete with the intense crackling energy that can be seen within, but is made exclusively out of ice that seems to resist all attempts at melting it. While low-level, it is still very valuble to Tao Chi Cultivators, as the power that has built up inside is a great deal of natural Qi that can be used for a great boost to silver ranked cultivation, and a decent boost to Gold rank cultivation. Bronze Rank cultivators can not use this because it will produce too much energy, and cause their Dantian to rupture. Black Gold cultivators can use this, but they will barely see anything worth the money spent.
For Silver Dantians, they can grow two ranks with this item. Gold Dantians of the first Rank can grow one rank with this item. The only problem is, once it has been used, it is merely an interesting ornement, and doesn't even have the crackling lightning effect inside it. As such, it is only really used by rich Cultivators.Man of Magma
Found in the heart of Volcanos, Man of Magma is just as it sounds. A solidified lump of magma in the perfect shape of a man, even detailing his hair, eyes, teeth and muscles. Some have been known to have leg hair, or dimples. While their uncanny appearance is unnerving to some, they are still highly sort after for the incredible stores of Natural Energy that can be found within them.
They are Silver-Excluding, as a Cultivator with such a rank would burn to death as if submerged in Magma were he to try and use it, melting a most gruesome death. To touch, it is very warm. A warmth that is confusing, as the person is pretty sure anything that warm should burn his fingers to the bone in seconds, but it doesn't.
For a Gold Realm Cultivator in their first Rank, it grants two levels. A Second rank will gain one level. Beyond that, they will see diminishing fractions of their rank gained. Black Gold Cultivators will see more of a boost than with the Frozen Lightning Bolt, but still not anything major. The Screaming Shell
Found in places of extreme darkness, where the Sun never shines, the Screaming Shell looks like an ordinary conch shell. However, unlike most shells which, when placed to your ear grant the sounds of the sea, this shell grants the blood-curdling shrieks of a thousand banshees. As such these shells are kept in locked, metal boxes until sold.
These are Gold-Excluding, for the first Rank. A Cultivator who tries to use them before the second rank of Gold will have their mind shattered into a thousand pieces, and forced into a short stint of hysteria as their organs shut down one by one. Choking, retching, and clawing at their skin in a disturbing display before their heart finally stops, and they pass from the mortal coil.
For a Gold Realm Cultivator in their Second Rank, it grants three levels. A Third rank will gain two levels. A fourth rank will gain one level. A fifth rank gains a little more than half the progress to breaking through, roughly 60%. A Black Gold Cultivator in the First Rank will see one level increase. Further levels will see decent gains, albeit not truly a full level.Broken Wing Crane
Found at the apex of the Eight-Thounsanders - a collection of fourteen mountains that are at least eight thousand meters tall - on the top of a dead tree. The Crane is only found once a year, and nobody knows which mountain it will appear on until it appears on the 86th moon of the year. The tree itself has a thousand branches, stretching out for miles, but has no life upon it at all. Upon one of these branches sits a crane, with a broken wing. It is made out of wood, but so perfectly crafted it seems to be a crane that was turned into wood, rather than a statue created. Where ever a person stands, if they can see the Crane, the Crane seems to stare back. And to look at the Crane brings about a bone-deep feeling of terror and trepidation. No being is immune to the feeling, no being can shrug off the ominous stare of the Crane, and all beings feel as if the stare of the Crane is the harbinger of the End Times. There is no telling if this is true or not, but such a universal reaction must have some truth to it. They are very rare due to the fact that the Crane manifests a protector if it is pulled from the tree, and this protector has the power to make the mountain upon which it is perched tremble. Fleeing does no good. The protector will always find you. Always
The Broken Wing Crane is Gold-Excluding. If a Cultivator tries to draw from the Crane before they have hit Black Gold, they slowly turn an intensely pale colour, and drop dead. Their soul never enters the Soul Cycle, nor is it delivered to Hell. And the Crane seems to smile. For a cultivator in the first level of Black Gold, they gain three levels, in the second level of Black Gold, they gain one. The power of the Broken Wing Crane is such that even a Cultivator in the first rank Yu-Shan Realm will feel a little less than half of their Dantian filled.
The Crane is kept within an obsidian box, inside a box crafted from Ebony, with both boxes carved intricately with warding runes, and then tightly wrapped in Linen that has soaked in Holy Water for two weeks and absorbed the light of the Moon through those weeks. After that, it is stored underground in a special confinement chamber above the stall until it is sold.
I. Lord Tombs
The very word, set a Cultivator to salivating in a way the most glorious of banquets could never hope to. The Five Lord Tombs, refer to the Five Spiritual Lords, each of which possess their own unique tomb-manse. Where they claim to be slumbering in await of the return of their Lord, Shaka Nyorai. His absence means that they slumber eternal. The True Tombs can not be delved by anyone, for the security is far too tight to ever dream of such a thing - the tombs quite literally detonating before being pierced. Being shut away from the world, never to return, infomation is extremely scare about the Spiritual Lords. The only hope of learning anything is to ask the woman married to one of them, Matron Of The Dead, Izanami. But if she would talk, is another thing entirely. But the term has come to be used on any Cultivator's Tomb that has a Yu-Shan Dantian, or a few arrogant high tier Black Golds.
These tombs are filled with treasures to help them in their next life. Artifacts, precious metals and jewels, sometimes even Soulforged items and great tomes of techniques. They are always heavily guarded, and the denizens, are not always dead....
Beyond Yu-Shan, lies the Martial Realm. The only person to have ever reached it in the history of Cultivation is the Lord of Wulin, Shaka Nyorai. While the Golden Age had Yu-Shan Cultivators by the dozen, not a single one could glance a single speck of dust from the Martial Realm, as it lies beyond mere Kung Fu.
To enter the Martial Realm, one must be able to comprehend the Nature of Existence. It can not be taught or mentored, nor explained or written in any form. Thus, it lays beyond most, if not all. Though, Shaka proved that it can be reached, should one be able to enter the mental state required.
The power of one's Dantian once they have reached such a stage requires potent spiritual power to nourish it, and so they would need to create their own Cultivation techniques and learn entirely new methods to cultivate, else they stagnate till death. The Gap between each of the five aspects of the Martial Realm is so wide they do not have their own ranks like the other Realms, instead having unique names. Elixers and even Natural Oddities are all but useless at this stage due to the depth of power, but a side-benefit is the ability to draw in natural energy of the universe as a cultivation aid. One can only do this with Stoic Meditation, in a state of tranquillity, known as Lighting The Samadhi Flame. Cultivation Techniques can be created, but are absolutely lethal to anyone below your current stage, swelling the Dantian with such immense energy it instantaneously explodes in a grisly fashion as if one had used a Technique three ranks above themselves. This Martial Realm grants access to increasing amounts of Yuiden [Ascended energy] which occupies a different state of being to Jing, Qi, and Shen. It's power can make even the most minor of Standardized Techniques devestating, and even provides an effective means by which to power Rank 10 Techniques.
The ranks of the Martial Realm are
Dongxu [Hollow Orb]: The First rank, this encompasses the Dantian in a Hollow Orb, hence the name. The orb is then filled with Yuiden, until it solid, and radiant. This, leads to the second rank.
Jindan [Golden Orb]: The Second rank, the previously hollow Orb is filled, and shines with a brilliant luster. With nowhere else for energy to go, it simply propogates endlessly, being produced and pushing at the walls of the orb, until it is sucked back to the center. This carries on until it implodes under it's own force, creating what seems to be an endless void, and leads to the third rank.
Kongming [Void]: The third rank, this Void draws in Yuiden voraciously, with unceasing and unquenchable need. Such is it's depth that it requires considerably more spiritual energy to cultivate in any speedy fashion, causing a lag of hundreds of years if the Cultivator lacks the soul to feed it. When the Void has fed enough, it transcends comprehension, and becomes abstract, this leads to the fourth rank.
Dujie [Tribulation]: At this point, the Dantian is not an existance like those that came before it. Instead, it is a concept, the idea of Tribulation. This is the stopgap, and to pass it, one must comprehend it, in a similar vein to getting to the Martial Realm in the first place. Comprehension allows the Cultivator to fill the abstract idea, and finally reach the final rank.
Dacheng [Completeness]: The completion of the climb to the Martial Realm's apex. From here, the view is breath-taking, able to see all before you with the clarity of an eagle's eye. Having overcome Tribulation, the Cultivator is impossible to deter, since they now truly understand that their goals are simply on the other end of the current obstacle. At this point, one is enlightened to all things, and may ascend Samsara, becoming one with the Universe and all things at the same time. Though others may chose to stay to teach others with this intelligence.
Every increase in rank brings a new Divine Proclamation, as the body prepares itself for the power that comes into it. Dongxu to Jindan strikes the Cultivator with lightning from a clear sky. This is intensely traumatic and can kill the Cultivator if they are not ready for it, with the pain and sheer power of the bolt, if not by physical damage. Cultivators are generally robust beings, so this is not seen as a major problem, though it is not passed by rote either. Scouring the nerves within, they are replaced with the power of the skies.
Jindan to Kongming sets the Cultivator ablaze with a fire so ferocious that Gods Themselves have been known to bawk at it. This has the same problems as the proclaimation above it, as the fire scorches every inch of skin to the bone in a flash of fire and agony. Should they survive this, their skin is replaced with the power of the sun, giving the cultivator shocking golden skin, as they glow with an inner radiance.
Kongming to Dujie is considered it's own trial, though a subtle one. As if a deep breath before the plunge into the waters below.
Dujie to Dacheng disintegrates the Cultivator, atomising them at the most absolute level. It is at this point one can chose to remain atomised, sliding into the universe and becoming one with it, never to reincarnate and to lose all sense of Self in exchange for absolute enlightenment. Or, they can reconstitute themselves into a body of sculpted perfection, to guide those who still need it on the earthen plane.
Multi-classing and Subsets:
Shinmeiryuu, while toated as the fourth style of Cultivation, is not actually it's own style, rather an exceptionally famous Subset of Tao Chi. There are many, many others about the world, lesser known due to either the user's lack of fame, or them being an exclusive to a certain family. The Taiju Snake Style is a good example of this. While it's creator, Jormun Gandr was a famous Cultivator, who's skill and strength were acknowledged by the Spiritual Lords, it is still a lesser known style as he kept it within his family, a habit that sustains to this day with a few divergences for trusted people. Thus, a Cultivator should not feel like they have to go the way of one of the Big Three. While all Subsets uses these as a basis, you can create your own style that ends up being so far from the original style that people do not realise it is not it's own thing, such is the case with Shinmeiryuu. One man even wishes to create a subset of of Shinmeiryuu by creating his own subset revolving about guns, Schuss der Länge.
Also on the table, is the discussion of using Multiple Styles. This is a point of contestation for most, since many claim it to be outrageous and an insult to both styles, not focusing your efforts and attention on the one you chose. Others enjoy the versatility it brings, having multiple ways of of striking so they can fall back to another if the first fails. You can adopt as many styles within the same Core as you would like. If you practice Blood Fists, you may use it, Taiju Snake Style, and whatever other style that uses Blood Fists as it's base. Cross-Core styles is where it gets tricky. The same person who uses Blood Fists will find difficulty cultivating Tao Chi or Kyōka styles. Each slightly different enough to have disparities between them and the main Dantian. Core Styles and their Subsets that are separate from your Main Dantian suffer a one-realm-one-step mallus [if your Tao Chi is Yu-shan 1, your Kyōka will be Gold 5]. As while they are comparable enough to work together off a single Dantian, the subtle differences between the three cause them to be less efficient.
Taiju Snake Style
(Willpower obviously effects this, given it's pain-related)
The progenitor of the Gandr Clan, Jormun was not born special, nor did he grow up special. But what he did have, was a surprisingly delicate aesthetic despite his mighty body and appetite. Thus, did he create Taiju Snake Style. Using palms and finger strikes, the Cultivator strikes nerve clusters with precision blows, dispersing the Tao - Material Energy - through the impact point. This causes significant pain in the attack point, as if one had been poisoned by a venomous snake, giving it it's name. The ranking of the techniques are counted in "Fangs".
First Fang - Viper's Dripping Fang: The first technique of Taiju Snake Style, it is as much energy control as it is martial precision, releasing Meln at the point of contact to severely aggravate the nerve cluster of the point that it hits.
Second Fang - Quicksilver Viper's Bite: Charging one's body with Meln, they enter a temporary state of superspeed, lashing out several strikes across the target to spread the 'venom' further and debilitate the target even further than the First Fang is capable of.
Third Fang - Taiju Snake Palm: The Eponymous technique of the style, the open palm and thrusting power behind the blow causes intense pain in the point of contact, even to the point of impacted organs spasming should the blow be landed well enough.
Forth Fang - Rock-Snake Venom: Clenching your fingers inwards so the second of three knuckles are pointing towards the foe, step in and strike with all force into the target. The result of this is a release of 'Venom' - the physiological reaction of pain when hit with Taiju Snake Style - that causes such pain the muscles contract to become hard as a rock, temporarily reducing the person's flexibility.
Fifth Fang - Twin Taiju Snake Palm: The "Hissatsu" or "Killing Strike" of Taiju Snake Style, the Twin Taiju Snake Palm requires two cultivators at parallel points to the target. Both striking with Taiju Snake Palm at the same time, in the same moment, devestates the impacted organ, shredding it from the converging forces.
Obviously, there are problems here. The first being you need a second guy, and the second being that you need to be absolutely
in sync with your second person to pull off the kill strike. If you mess up the timing, it is still far from pretty for the target, but they will not die from it. As such, the technique is somewhat depreciated and learned for posterity rather than practicality.
Fifth Fang - World-Wrapping Snake: Requiring a Finishing Move to end fights in style, the Gandr Clan experienced for a long time trying to replace Twin Taiju Snake Palm. Eventually, this was fixed by the genius cultivator, Noctis Gandr. This ascended the "Young Snake" to "Lord Of Snakes", and put him firmly at the head of the Gandr Clan.
The effective capabilities of World-Wrapping Snake is the use of an exceptional amount of Meln, struck into center mass. This disperses the force through out the target's body, causing the 'venom' of the snake to spread to every part of the body like a fire lit inside them.
Extra Standardised Techniques
While the nine Standardized Techniques are the ones that are most well known, there are many others that are lesser known without being true Personal Techniques. These are found listed here (and are exclusively player made, so the list might be short for a while)
Standardized Technique - Rank 6 - Thousand Blooded Threads: A strong technique created for Shinmeiryuu, It manifests the Shen used to power it as shining spiritual threads, that wrap around the target and then pull tight, restraining them or even slicing into their skin if their durability is low enough in relation to her Dantian. This technique is exhausting beyond usual Rank 6s because it extrudes the energy outwards, rather than being on an internal cycle, and so is used sparingly, as if it were Rank 9 [currently the threshold is Advanced. This is a standalone technique, and is not required to be in a stance]
Standardized Technique - Rank 7 - The Caress of Hell: A technique for the Keihatsu stance, it is a weakened version of it's mighty brother, Caress of a Thousand Hells. It is merely a single cut as opposed to three, but strikes without the arrogant forewarning of a Thousand Hells, making it a good trump card to play in a heated battle.
Standardized Technique - Rank 8 - Heaven Thunder Hammer: A superior variant to Three Thunder Fists, this is the epitome of brute force in Wulin. The explosion of Shen that comes from the fist in this technique is capable of blowing many things away, and is used by those who focus their force and strength above all other things, as well as those who want a massive kick to their versatile armory.
Better Than Sex. You want that pleasured, lustful look in a woman's face that you just don't have the skill to call forth on your own, just mention Warstriders. A group of four robotic suits designed to feed off a Cultivator's Dantian and carve out a large piece of the world for the creator, who saw the coming of the Great Despair and commissioned these four titans created. Faaram Warcaller, The Magnificent Moonlight Dancer, Demon-Smiting Warlord [destroyed in the Great Despair, parts of it can still be found in archaeological digs] and the creator's personal Royal Warstrider, Star-Plucking Devastation. These four great machines stood against everyone who could come after the creator's wealth. He was eventually killed, and the Warstriders fell to whoever could claim them the fastest. Eventually, the machines were put away, sealed inside tombs and left dormant. If they were to return to the World, you could count the number of people who could stand against you - at least within Wulin - on one hand....but be careful not to use it too long, for the Warstriders have a voracious appetite, and no safety feature exists to stop it from sucking you dry.
Only a Tao Chi Human can learn this powerset, as the Dantian is an ancestral mutation from many who came before you. Though the Bloodline in the modern day is spread across the vast oceans of humanity, roughly 80% of people can claim some kind of heritage towards Wulin, and awaken their Dantian with work. However, additional spiritual powers of any description causes the Cultivator to lose Tao Chi Racial Masters. This is the equivalent of Vizards losing Shikokai, and other such hybrid systems. Every other race can not Hybrid into Tao Chi Humans because their spiritual nature - or half-spiritual nature in the case of half-breeds - does not properly interface with the genetics of the Dantian.
The World Is Vast. In a world before automobiles and airplanes, to cross it was a work of many many months. This, did not suit the cultivators of Wulin, and so a technique called Lightfoot was created.
At it's core, this sends energy to the feet and allows the user to kick off in a rapid flash of movement, moving rapidly, with speed scaling off the energy, off one's Dantian. This is the Tao Chi Human's movement technique, equal to Sonido, Shunpo and Hirenrenyku.
The advanced version of "Lotus Stepping" is used to cross otherwise unstable surfaces, such as rickety bridges, water, and the air.
Culture And Power perception
The general Culture of Wulin, the traditional culture, is one of family. Every Cultivator is your brother, every Cultivator is your sister! Families may feud and fight, they may clash for many a reason, but they never betray another, they are never cowardly or vindictive, and they always respect one another, even in defeat and death. "Brother" or "Sister" is the general way to address a Cultivator you do not know, and some like to keep this long after they have gotten to know the person. Be "Brother Henrex" or "Sister Ulv" but just as commonly, these are simply "Henrex" and "Ulv". The culture is not all pervasive these days, and some people are less than stellar in the Age Of Sorrows, leading to lesser prevalence with the respect and familial ties.
What is not ignored, however, is deference due to ability. Even if you consider yourself better or more talented than the other, it is still a heavily regulated to show respect to the effort they have put in to reach Realm higher than you are currently. A Cultivator can sense the Realm and Rank of another Cultivator by looking at them, and focusing as long as they are in the same Realm. Any higher, and one can not sense the power of the person accurately. Instead, they are shown a glowing light equal to the distance between them, the further the distance, the brighter the light. Such is the gulf between Black Gold and Yu-Shan, even a Black Gold 5 will see a Yu-Shan 1 as a glowing, shiny being. Silver to Yu-Shan find it hard to see more than the general shape of the person as they are blinded by the sun-like visage of the being in front of them. Fortunately, this is a personal choice to sense a person's Cultivation, and so you are not permanantly blinded looking at another.
When a Cultivator is 3 realms above another, they may speak with a great weight that forces the other to his knees to accept the words that are being spoken as if by the very Celestial Bureaucracy itself. Generally, this means that only those in the realm of Yu-Shan can command Silver ranks, as the realm difference is to small for any others. But occasionally it is used by Black Gold Cultivators to cowl unruly Bronze realm children.
(Gonna be lazy here and just copy from my solo)
The World is saturated in Natural Qi. Not something you can really feel most of the time, but it is there anyway. No Natural Jing or Natural Shen, but I digress. Large currents of this Natural Qi are spread across Dragon Lines, and sometimes these Dragon Lines intersect. At these points, the Qi gathers and collects, to a point you can absorb it with your Cultivation. Easier if there is something you can immerse yourself in, like a pool, but doesn't have to be. Now, there is method for altering these Dragon Lines, making them intersect where you want rather than relying on nature. Which is what these pools are. Zian-Zi's Dragon Lines are all intersecting here. While doing Dragon Lines is not hard, you need quite the broad expanse of land to make them worth it, and few people have the control over such broad a land to do it. There are a few personal Dragon Line Pools, but Zian-Zi is continental, so they have the best. If one could alter the Dragon Lines of another continent, it would be very good for them, but nobody has yet managed to get control of an entire continent that they want to stay in. Plus, Dragon Lines degrade over time and you have to do upkeep. Upkeep over an entire continent, is hard and isn't really worth it"
In ten thousand animals, one might have the mentality to see beyond the veil that is draped across the rest of their kin. To ascend beyond instinct and pack mentality to grow into something more. It is these animals that become aware of the world around them, and have a path to Cultivation. Animals cultivate dramatically differently to people, as they draw in the light of the Moon, and the natural Qi of the world, which they are highly attuned to. They have often been noted to create their own Pools of Cultivation which they bathe in.
However, even for a Cultivating animal, the world is still dangerous, and so only a few ever make it out of the Bronze realm. The world is less dangerous for Silver Realm animals, since their speed and strength, as well as intelligence, allows them to avoid most dangers. And when they reach Gold Realm, they are gifted with a magnificent metamorphosis, known as Man-Beast Metamorphosis. Half animal, and half human, these beings are a rarity in the world, but also interesting to the extreme. Not only for their peerless ability to do Dragon Lines, but also for their very nature. The most famous of these, is Sun Wukong, Grand-Student of Shaka Nyorai. These Man-Beast Metamorphs always have a vestige of their origins, as with Sun Wukong's tail and monkey-like agility, and King Uma's horns and oxen strength.
Personalized and Ancestral Techniques
While the core of Cultivation is taught to everyone, some people create their own unique abilities that fit their niche. These abilities are hard to create and take more power than usual to sustain, but are generally more potent that what most can get their hands on. Examples are Sun Wukong's Jin Dou Yun, Xuanzang's Shaka Nyorai Palm, and Shaka Nyorai's Dukkha Samudaya - The accumulation of the noble truth of suffering. Generally they can be taught to others, but are mostly kept them themselves for additional support and a card to play when things turn bad.
The big brother to these, are Ancestral Techniques. The Tsu Clan are well known for possessing these, and Ci Lan Tsu ardently practices them. Cho Ken Tsu's Demon-Suppressing Palm and Divine Asura War Form are the most famous of these. Handed down from father to son, mother to daughter, Uncle to nephew, they are refined over many life-times to become fantastical techniques, with somewhat equally fantastical costs of power. Divine Asura War Form demands a Yu-Shan Dantian for how much it can drain a person in a short space of time.
The Five Spiritual Lords
In the Age Of Might, where the Strong Eat the Weak's Meat, Wulin was unruly. Personal powerbases were the core of Wulin, and a powerful Cultivator was a King. And as most turned out, a Tyrant. Zian-Zi - at this point simply a very big market and meeting place - tried to remain neutral in this age, but eventually two Yu-Shan cultivators clashed here, in an attempt to own Zian-Zi. This fight was brought to an end by the sudden appearance of a man. Many identities have been attributed to this man, but at this point in time, he was known as Shaka Nyorai. Overwhelming power flowed from this man and he struck down both Cultivators and ended not only the fight, but the Age Of Might itself. His pure, unrivaled power made many deem him Envoy Of Heaven, here to set them on the right path after straying so far from it.
Seeing how the world was, he walked the world gathering the strong who have great moral conviction. The first he found, was a serene woman, who had no other name than Luna. This woman, the Shadow Across The Moon, became the first Spiritual Lord under Shaka. The next to join this group, was a man who led the Tsu Clan. One of the powerful Cultivation families that had a powerbase in Wulin. They were somewhat unique in their selfless assistance of lower graded Cultivators, and so while they had a lot of people under them, they were constantly fending off the more tyrannical clans. The appointment of Cho Ken Tsu, the Heavenly Demon, quickly eroded the willpower of these hostile clans, and allowed the Tsu Clan peace and prosperity.
By this point, the Spiritual Lords were gaining fame in Wulin, and many people applied to join them. Not among the applicants, but trying to force his way in with his skill and stature, was Ma Kensei, Dragon As Man, and head of the Ma clan. Not wishing to antagonise the Ma clan with a flat refusal, he suggested that Kensei fight with an applicant for the spot. Accepting the offer with great arrogance, Ma Kensei was humiliated when he was defeated by the applicant, Izanagi. He was accepted, as the Fourth Spiritual Lord. Shortly after this point, a strange new man appeared. Tall, powerful, and with a unique art under his belt, which he called the Crying God School, or Shinmeiryuu. This new warrior got into a fight with Izanagi's wife, Izanami, and severely wounded her. This prompted Izanagi to come down and rescue her.
The two fought, and Izanagi proved to be a peerless genius by unleashing a skill of unparalleled force, the first Rank 10 Standarized Technique: Falling Divinity - Heaven Shattering Thunder. The man's chest, seeming invincible before this point, was smashed concave, and he nearly died. It was here that Izanami earned his title "The Man Who Shakes Heaven". But, rather than let him die, Izanagi acknowledged his skill and praised his creation of Shinmeiryuu, allowing him to recover from his wounds and then getting Shaka's permission to invite him, to the Spiritual Lords. The man was called Chuluun, although later known as Futsunushi. After his recovery, he showed pride equal to skill, and challenged Cho Ken Tsu to a fight. Shaku, who wanted the greatest warriors as well as the most honorable, agreed to this fight, and it was a spectacular display of skill and prowess. It ended when, channeling the power that had defeated him, Chuluun made his own Rank 10 technique on the spot. Rain From Heaven: Tears Of A Thousand Gods. This technique smashed through the protection of Cho Ken Tsu's Demon Surpressing Palm, and also cut the mountain the where fighting below in half. To this day, if one looks closely, they can still see the split in Mount Fuji.
Peace reigned in Wulin, or rather not open conflict, as Wulin was the land of combat and Martial Prowess. Eventually, however, a man came from more miles west than any believed to have existed. This man was greeted by Chuluun, who was by now going by the name Futsunushi so as to fit in with his friends, Izanami and Izanagi. Futsunushi realized that neither could understand the other, and so quickly spoke with the language of fists! It turned out the man was fluent in such a language, and the two clashed. Both with unparalleled physical durability, both paragons of endurance and determination, The sun kissed their battle and the moon grace her light upon it five times before it was over in a draw. Shaku, a venerable and learned sage, then arrived and through intent and bodily langauge, managed to invite him to rest. Once the rest was over, a week was spent where Shaku learned the man's language, and invited him to the Spiritual Lords, believing that his insight and great strength would be invaluable.
After learning the native tongue of Shaku and Futsunushi, the man - Bjorn Ironside - followed in the footsteps of Futsunushi and challenged Luna to a fight. The most beautiful of Cultivators gracefully surrendered before the fight even began, and took his position as Fifth Spiritual Lord. Izanagi felt awkward being superior to the first Spiritual Lord that Shaku had recruited, and so changed places with her, accepting Fifth so she could be Fourth. Futsunushi and Bjorn then had another week long fight for the position, in which Futsunushi eventually collapsed of exhaustion when Bjorn was able to survive his Rank 10 technique. Bjorn celebrated for all of five seconds before collapsing of his own wounds and exhaustion. Thus, the legends were passed down of the Five Spiritual Lords.
The Man Who Shakes Heaven, Fifth Spiritual Lord Izanagi.
The Shadow Across The Moon, Fourth Spiritual Lord Luna.
The Crying Diety, Third Spiritual Lord Futsunushi.
The Mountian That Moves, Second Spiritual Lord, Bjorn Ironside
The Lord Of Wulin, First Spiritual Lord, Shaka Nyorai
The Three Buddha
The Five Spiritual Lords were not the only Wulin-Renowned Cultivators. There was also a group known as The Three Buddha. Starting with Shaka Nyorai, The Enlightened Buddha, for his tutorage and the creation of Buddism. The second, is attributed to Shaka's most brilliant student, Xuanzang Sanzang. Her skill was only surpassed by her zeal for Shaka's teachings, and she became known as one of the greatest Buddha Priests to have ever lived, even after she became the Buddha of Sandalwood Merit, for her ability to coax friendship and loyalty from the Sandlewood Dragon, Bai Long (Unfortunately Bai Long left with the majority of the Dragons at the end of the Golden Age). The third, is given to Xuanzang's own student, and one of the Man-Beast Metamorphs, Sun Wukong. A fantastic student of a fantastic student and teacher, Sun Wukong journeyed To the West, to find Shaka Nyorai and understand the profound source of his teacher's wisdom.
It was here, in India, where the two crossed fists. Sun Wukong's Jin Dou Yun granting him speed surpassing even the Enlightened Buddaa. After a long conflict, Sun Wukong used his Master's most treasured technique: Five Element Mountain - Shaka Nyorai Palm. Proud to see such a technique made in his image, and amused it was used against him, Shaka Nyorai returned the blow with Dukkha Samudaya - The accumulation of the noble truth of suffering. A powerful technique that took the blow of an enemy and returned it. The power of Shaka Nyorai Palm was enough to break the defensive capability of his Heaven-Sculpted Perfection, and severely wound him. Sun Wukong avoided the counter-attack with God-Deceiving Trickery, the greatest of damage negation powers.
Both however, were exhausted by this point, and so they agreed to a draw and Sun Wukong thanked Shaka one thousand times for the honour of such a bout. Here, two names sprung. The first, Victorious Fighting Buddha, and the second, Great Sage Equalling Heaven, the second he was not to enamoured with, but he took the title of Buddaa with great enthusiasm. For his contributions to Shaka's endless progression, he was gifted the Ruyi Jingu Bang, As-You-Will Gold-Banded Staff, which could expand and retract as he willed. While offered a place in the Spiritual Lords, Sun Wukong was too adventurous and free-spirited to police Wulin, and declined, going on to other exploits that eventually earned him the moniker 'The Monkey King' for how his antics seemed to mimic the mischievous and energetic nature of Monkeys. Here came the culture that the strongest Man-Beast Metamorph of a certain race would be called 'The (Race) King'. In modern times, Man-Beast Metamorphs are rare, and so there is only King Uma, The Ox King.
The Nine Mountain Thrones
In the Age Of Might, Warlords were akin to sand in the desert. But even those with the greatest of hubris could not step up to the Nine Moutain Thrones. These were Mount Meru, Mount Fuji, Mount Tai, Mount Buzhou, Mount Penglai, Kunlun Mountain, Feather Mountain, The Jade Mountain, and The Inverse Mountian. Upon each mountian sat a Warlord of extreme power, and between these nine were the Wan Xian, the Ten Thousand Heroes. While the Immortal Sovereigns of the Mountians were terrifying in their own right, true might sat at the feet of the 1,111 Wan Xian that each Sovereign possessed. (And the one final Wan Xian that travelled between the nine every year). These could truly be considered to Rule All They Surveyed, and with great understanding of the other's power, there was never any war between them. Every Sovereign knew that the others would simple watch the war and then sweep in when both sides were week and obliterate them both, as such, war never occurred between them. Each Sovereign's thrown was carved from the skull of a Dragon they had beaten alone, which went great lengths to intimidate any who came to them.
Rulership was unhindered until the arrival and Shaka Nyorai. All Nine Sovereigns descended from their Thrones and met Shaka Nyorai, and stood across the field from him. A fierce battle then occured, and at it's end, the Nine Sovereigns left to their Mountians, and Shaka Nyorai returned to his humble shack, for the battle had occurred inside the hearts and minds of all who were present. Shaka then later visited all nine Sovereigns and ensured their cooperation in keeping the relative peace of the Golden Age, each one enticed and bound with terms unique to them.
At the end of the Golden Age, when Wulin collapsed in on itself, The core of their power, the Wan Xian, were enticed to betrayal by the others of Wulin, and were henceforth cursed as the Wan Kuei, the Ten Thousand Demons. Some Sovereigns showed that their Wan Xian guard were a deterrent, not a necessity, by smiting them. Others, were overwhelmed by their guard and died with curses in their lips. All 10,000 of the betrayers were given crippling curses, however, almighty Onmyōdō Magic long since lost to the world of Wulin. Every descendant of the Wan Xian, now the Wan Kuei, would be cursed to forever starve, and yet unable to die of starvation. It was a well deserved curse.
Most notably in this great betrayal, was the was the rage of the Ninth Mountain Throne, Yuexian. It was so great that her Throne was sundered, becoming barely a hillock as Yuexian struck down the Wan Kuei, and then sealed them all within Mount Tai, cursing them with imprisonment as well as eternal starvation. Over the next few thousand years, Mount Tai regained some of it's luster, but one can still clearly see the impact of Yuexian's rage if they climb it.
Great Body and Great Mind
Cultivation Techniques, Cultivation Resources, Natural Oddities, Soul Rice Wine, a fight with an equal level Cultivator. None of these things suffice to drive a Yu-Shan far enough for them to see improvement at any speed worth mentioning. Lacking a handful of unique powers that sped up your Cultivation and allowed others to Cultivate for you, something needed to be done. And so something was. Bodhidharma, Third Generation Student of Shaka Nyorai, meditated under a tree for a dozen times a dozen nights, and was enlightened at the edge of starvation. Blossoming in his mind, was the Sam-Hwa-Chui-Jung, The Three Lotus Petals. A Mindset of Supernal beauty, this allowed Bodhidharma to cultivate more efficiently than any man in the world, surpassing even his great grand-teacher, if only in efficiency. Every Cultivator has one of two problems, too much energy or not enough energy. With The Three Lotus Petals, Bodhidharma fell firmly in the latter, almost unheard of in Yu-Shan Cultivators except by those that neglected their Physique in favour of speed and efficiency. Bodhidharma did not, and quickly rose to be a great being.
Much later, after Bodhidharma put his technique to paper and his bones were now but dust, the second technique would be developed. A Man who looked to the future and saw his slow decline did not want to simply wait for it to come, and so he set about with physical training unlike any other. Every Mountian in the World, big or small, was graced by his feet, and he travelled between them with no aid or mount. In a Post-Great Collapse era, Cultivation was poor and he was not a powerful being, but supplemented what he needed with guts and tenacity. He conquered the mountains in order of height, and at the top of Everest, he let out a scream of victory that was heard across the world. It was here, that he caught fire and fell down the mountain as his sudden panic to put himself out caused him to lose his foothold.
Cultivators are hardy, especially The Man, who's name was never recorded by is remembered as the Lord Of All Mountains in recognition of his feat. Once calming and realising he was not on fire, The Lord Of All Mountains suddenly felt that these black flames kindled the raw energy in his Dantian to such a degree he never thought a body could possess such energy. The rest of his life was spent seeking better techniques to Cultivate this energy, faster and more efficent. He died a hair's width from the Realm of Heaven, and never managed to scratch his endless energy. This, was Yeonhon Yeongi Yeonshindan, the Black Blazing Body. He allowed it to be researched and documented in Zian-Zi, but never actively taught another.Bone Metamorphasis Technique
A crazy technique that has been known to kill the unprepared with the sheer scale of pain, and cripple even the most durable of mental bastions for hours. It is a technique that removes a person's skeleton and replaces it with the energy of their Dantian, which means that even if they can survive the pain of the skeleton's sudden explosion, if their Dantian is too weak, they will collapse under their own weight and die as a puddle of person.
Gold 3 is the minimum, but Black Gold 3 is where one really sees some advantages over their normal skeleton. As their Dantian grows, the skeleton also grows. It's benefits, are an increased Cultivation as Jing can be brought into the Dantian faster due to the bones being pure energy rather than energy and bone and the energy being cycled through the body is enhanced by the energy of the bones. At higher levels, the skeleton is also notably (although not considerably) stronger than a normal skeleton due to the density of the energy with no increase in weight. This doesn't change the strength of the skin, fire will still burn and blades will still cut down to the bone, but the bone itself is more durable. This increase in density allows the skeleton to hit harder than it would normally, as the solidly packed energy makes for a much less forgiving surface to be hit with than normal. This can even transfer through Soul-Forged wrappings, as the bone's energy fills the wrapping with great vigor. This allows some protection to the knuckles, decreasing the skill level one needs to be at to avoid knuckle damage by one for Bronze and Silver Soulforged, and two for Gold Soulforged.
However, if the Dantian is in Yu-Shan, it can cause damage to even supernaturally hard knuckles, splitting the skin and scrapping as the powerful skeleton smashes against the object harder than the skin is able to handle. This necessitates some covering to use one's full strength. And, a person is not given the ability to control their new body immediately after use, meaning they have to practice in it's use to master it.
Bronze - Fatal
Silver - Crippling
Gold - Increased Density (Knuckles split at Adept and below)
Black Gold - Enhanced Density (Knuckles split at Advanced and Below)
Yu-Shan - Supernal Density (Knuckles split at Elite and Below)
If your Durability is below your skeleton's durability, then care must be taken, as certain blows can still pulverise organs while leaving your harder bones intact.
Dracarys Majestica. Tremendous and diverse, these flying reptiles were great creatures that flew across the sky in the old world of Wulin, and ruled them. As proud as they were powerful, they viewed humans as simple creatures, and while they were wise enough to learn the language with ease, few cared to interact with them beyond the occasional terrorising for food. A few dragons claimed a village, city, or even country as their own, and ruled with an iron claw. But in this world of warriors, no Dragon was left alone.
These mighty beasts were challenged by many a Cultivator, to show their might, and to prove their worth. While some Dragons would fight these Cultivators with fairness, a test of skill against the strongest beings of nature, other Dragons were vindictive, or simply too proud to give Cultivators such an honour, and fought to kill them. While many a man fell to these Dragons, there were still more Cultivators with phenomenal power. Black Gold and Yu-Shan Cultivators had all that was required to clash on par with these scaled beasts. Tyrants were cast down and slain, their bodies becoming reagents for creation. Siegfried, a legendary Dragon-Fighter, freed the countries of England and Wales from their overlord Dragons, Albion and Ddraig. From these two beasts were forced the Left and Right Arms Of The Dragon.
Not every meeting with a Dragon ended in conflict. Sun Wukong's meeting with Ao Long, Dragon-King of the West and father of Xuanzhang's ally and confidant, Bai Long, ended with great mutual respect between the two. Apalala's meeting with Shaka Nyorai ended with the dragon becoming an adherent to Shaka's beliefs, and following him as a subject would follow his lord. However, the reign of dragons would soon come to an end, as the vast majority of them would leave this plane of existence and go elsewhere, leaving behind scant few pure-bloods and many descendants. For Dragons had physical desires like all others, and they found power and strength of will most attractive. Unfortunately, the culture of Dragon-Hunting could not be sustained in this new population, and very quickly, there were no more Pureblooded dragons left at all.
As magnificent as Cultivators are to look upon, they are still human. They age like humans, they bleed like humans, they die like humans. And yet, one can not, no matter how hard they try, reach the Realm of Heaven in one life time. Therefore it was quickly found that Cultivation extends a person's time on earth with skill. Cultivators also seem to age more slowly while in deep Stoic Meditation, aging only a year for every several that pass. This has given rise to people getting older in life, going into closed meditation and racing the sands of time. If they can break through to the Gold or Black Gold, they will have many more years to come of and the benefits it comes with. Once one reaches Gold 1, the aging slows down, every 5 years that pass causes their biology to change as if it was a year older. Once a person enters Black Gold, this slows to every 10 years. Once one reaches Yu-Shan, aging effectively stops, and you will die of anything else before you die of old age. This, means that the appearance of a person is no indication of their age. A talented Cultivator could keep their looks of thirty and be hundreds of years old. A poor Cultivator could look seventy, and be seventy. Or be thousands of years old.
Five Great Metals:
In Wulin, there exists five unique metals that are used in Soulforging. Not everything Soulforged has any of these five as each is hard to create and requires a decent investment, but when they do, they are marvels to behold, as each metal possesses a special, unique property. Melded together, each metal can provide it's unique property, but it is weakened considerably, and so most Soulforged items are monometal if they have one at all.Aurichalcum
: Glittering Gold Of Atlantis. This an alloy of Gold and other unknown ingredients, made in Zian-Zi and liberally used for Soulforging in the Age of Might and Golden Age. It's hardness is unparalleled, but it's creation is expensive and time consuming - being made out of Gold the least of it's worries - making it a poor armour as the plate often beggers a man and then weighs him down when he needs to be lithe. Instead, it is often used for weaponry, to give it the durability to survive earth-sundering strikes. Moonsilver
Liquid Metal Of The MoonJenhu
: Blood Of The Earth. Jenhu is found deep within the earth, and is a deep red colour when found, giving it's name. When harvested and refined into ingots, the metal can cool to a deep, jade-green colour, or retain it's blood-red colour. Superstition dictates difference between "red Jenhu" and "green Jenhu" but nothing has been proven. What is known, is that Jenhu allows considerable conductivity between the wielder and the weapon, making the enhancing properties of Soulforged items much more potent. Zaoho
: Essence-Pool spawned metal. This is metal that is harvested in Essence Pools, coming from the pool itself, it collects as sediment in the bottom, and then can be gathered and refined into metal. It is not a very hard metal, nor a very tough one, so is usually made into bangels, bracelets, and earrings. This metal allows the user to essentially carry an Essence Pool around with them, assisting with Cultivation when worn. Soulsteel
: Yu-Shan manifested metal, Grand Emperor of Metal. This metal is the most expensive thing in Wulin, even beyond the Broken Winged Crane. By having a Yu-Shan cultivator imbibe a special concoction, he will over the next week, sweat out liquid metal that can be refined and made into metal. While Zian-Zi has a store of this metal, the lack of Yu-Shan cultivators makes it most limited, and thus prohibitively expensive. But when something is
made out of Soulsteel, it is truly the Grand Emperor of Metals, for it is all of it's subjects (the previous four metals) combined.