I. Tao Chi Racials
(Since It's like, 15,000 words I am gonna drop a link rather than copy-pasting. People interested in said Tao Chi culture can pitch me character or concept ideas. Like how SE and the Nine Mountain Thrones. Within reason, of course)
(Note; they are called Tao Chi Humans for ease, but the racial term is Cultivator)https://www.platinumhearts.net/t18982-tao-chi-megathread
Created by a man long since lost to the sands of time, Tao Chi was born in a great valley called Zian-Zi, in China. Why, how, and other questions were lost in the vast expanse of time between now and then. These are your average humans, without true Spiritual Powers like most other races. The Soul is separate to the Dantian, and the two do not grow in tandem. However, Strong Soul nourishes the Dantian however, so greater spiritual power allows for greater Cultivation. Not, enough to be relied on however. But through Profound and Mystic techniques made across thousands of years, they can enhance their body to a level unimagined by the average person. Essentially, they are Super-Martial Artists, straight out of a Wuxia novel.
Tao Chi Human's dual-track advancement and lesser focus on spiritual tier makes them somewhat confusing to play with, as they are unique compared to the rest of the races. While unlikely given the nature of activity, they are wholly comfortable at 6-0, because their power comes directly from their body, not their soul. As such, skill sheets are filled out by Dantian tier, not spiritual tier.
Comprehension: This skills shows how well you can understand the profound subtext and symbology of the Cultivation Techniques, and thus how effectively you can use them to enhance yourself.
Untrained: You've never seen a Cultivation technique or any book detailing them. This is the level of normal people, and while you can use the techniques to aid in your cultivation, they are minimalistic at best.
Beginner: You've read a book! That is unfortunately the extent of your knowledge towards the mysterious secrets of Cultvation techniques. You may extract more power from Bronze Ranks, but the rest truly escape you.
Adept: Now we are getting somewhere. Numerous books and research have been devoured in your persuit for knowledge, and you have experience in translating and extrapolating hidden depths in Cultivation Techniques. You can draw out all the power in a Bronze Rank Cultivation Techniques, and reap enhanced rewards from Silver rank Cultivation Techniques.(edited)
Advanced: Enough research has been done by you to be able to write your own book. Here your insight has grown to be able to extract Silver Rank Cultivation Techniques to their fullest extent, and gain more from Gold Ranks. Your understanding is such you can begin to mitigate the effects of Cultivation Techniques that are too high for your Dantian. You still suffer discomfort, or risk death, but it is lesser discomfort, and not a garanutee anymore.
Elite: Deep and respected knowledge on Cultivation Techniques is at your disposal. You have the understanding to write several books, and it is here that you have the skills required to start teaching another. For it is one thing to understand a concept, and another thing entirely to be able to explain it to another. You can do Gold Ranks to their fullest extent, and Black Golds to an enhanced extent.(edited)
Master: Wise and venerable, you need a long white beard to stroke, as it certainly fits in with your aestetic. It is at this rank that you may begin to extract the secrets hidden within the supernal Reactive Rank Cultivation Techniques. Able to see through several layers of deeply obscure and profound teachings, there are few secrets hidden away. Extracting Black Golds to their fullest extent allows you to propel your Cultivation to soaring hieghts, and even comprehend the deepest mysteries, Yu-Shan Cultivation Techniques.
Grandmaster: Unparraleled wisdom, The Universe opens before your eyes, and lays bare all that it has. Yu-Shan Cultivation Techniques are wholly cracked open by your apical comprehension skills, and there are a sea of lesser beings before you, all desiring your tutorage. A conversation with you is worth your weight in gold, and any book you write is treasured like an artifact. At this level, you may even set your sights higher, for there is a whole world above your head to be explored....
Physique: As the Dantian collects physical energy and refines it, and that physical energy is used to power your techniques, it stands to reason that a fit and able body will produce more energy that a limp and frail body. Better physique, more energy. But simply having more energy flush into your Dantian means little if you haven't the skill to Cultivator it proper. So a master must balance the two for optimal power.
Untrained: The physique of a normal person, this grants a very small amount of energy to your Dantian. Although in most cases it grants no energy at all because you aren't a Cultivator. If you are, you certainly won't stay this level for long.
Beginner: You have the equivilent of the guy that goes to the gym once a week. Tao Chi cultivation, unless you exclusively defult to Stoic, is extraneous, and so you will build up a physique simply by doing. Get active and you'll not stick around this level.
Adept: You've been taking the stairs, haven't you? Daily Martial Meditation has allowed you to develop a very nice body. Not quite Mr Universe, but you look good, feel good, and this translates well to your Dantian.
Advanced: This is the limit of 'passive' progression in the field of Physique. After this point, it doesn't matter how long or vigerously you cultivate with your Martial Meditation, you are going to need something else to get fitter. The good news is you've got a swoon-worthy body to impress the chicks.
Elite: A solid workout regime, perfectly balanced diet, and suppliments from your local alchemist go into this level of Physique. Without anything else, you have the fitness and althletic capability to keep pace with, and possibly surpass World Champions. If all this Tao Chi business falls through, at least you can make a living with the Olympics and other contests.
Master: That Physique, how can I speak, weak at the knees~ Treading the path of Swoll with great vigor and unending determination, many years of work have gone into sculping your body. You can run an Iron Man Marathon and then do your afternoon workout routine and still go for a relaxing run through the countryside the same night. Here is where it starts to get tricky. You have a vast surplus of energy to Cultivate, but you are going to need some expertise and Cultivation Techniques to use that energy efficently. Added to the fact that keeping such a physique in top form requests a great deal of investment, and taking heavy damage to your body or being unconsious - or simply in secluded Meditation - for a few weeks will cause you to drop down to Elite. Thems the brakes.
Grandmaster: A real Life Adonis. Your fitness allows you to operate at peek capacity for days without becoming tired, and that boon is well needed, because to mantain this body and Cultivate efficently, there is not enough hours in the day to add in sleep as well. Unless you are inundated with all manner of supportive items that saturate your daily life, you are going to need this level of Physique to push into the Realm Of Heaven. So, pump those irons. The downside is that the physical perfection that is your body has a quicker degrading rate than Master physique. So while this may be the easiest Grandmaster to achive out of all of them, it is also one you can lose. Nobody said the path to power would be easy.
Talent: Talent covers a both how long you have been cultivating as the most important one, and who your family is as a support. Family is not a limiter, however, nor do they give a chance to neglect hard work and rest on your laurels. That is the best way for someone else to outstrip you. Note, that while your family's wealth and legecy may help you on the road, that does not mean they are still around. Maybe they fell one of the three World Wars, maybe they were destroyed by another house, or absorbed by another. Support of your family does not neccecerily mean the people, it can just as easily be the things.
Untrained: This is the rank of most people. Either you have been Cultivating for a few weeks, with common-as-muck parents and talent, or a few days with slightly better circumstances. Maybe your mother or father dabbled, maybe your Grandfather. It is very hard to go anywhere fast with this, but don't give up hope because the future is always brighter with perseverance. It can only go up from here.
Beginner: A few months of Cultivation make up this level, or a few weeks with a better-than-average family. A few generations have gone into Cultivation before reaching you. It might not be a Family Tradition, but you've certainly got enough of a foothold to make it one, by your children's generation.
Adept:A decade of Cultivation, or several years with a Family who has been cultivating since World War 3, or just before. It is here that you have the support of generational understanding, lessons and Family Techniques to set you apart from the normal people. With a lesser family, you are considered a prodigy of the house, a Genius to lead them to greatness. Don't let it go to your head though, there is still more to do.(edited)
Advanced: Several Decades of Cultivation with strong family, or a single decade of Cultivation with a powerful household who has been Cultivating for close to a millennia. Either way, you have a great supply line, personal connections with The Wandering Bazzar, and a good stockpile of Cultivation Resources. Unless there is intense tragedy or hardship, you also possess a few Cultivation techniques. Which is good, because at this point you are going to need them.
Elite: The Limit for familial advantage, (excluding a single circumstance) this dictates several decades of Cultivation with the support of a family dating back to the Golden Age Of Wulin. The grand households of Tsu, Naku, and Gandr have your back, and come with all the resources one might expect of them. At least one ancestor has reached Yu-Shan, and you may even be able to trace your linage back to the Five Spiritual Lords. On the lower end of things, this dictates a Century of Cultivation with a family who has been Cultivating for close to a mellenia. In this lesser spectrum the family puts you on a pedestal and hails you as the greatest cultivator they have ever had [the truth of the matter is a different thing entirely].
Master: This dictates a century of cultivation with the family dating back to the Golden Age Of Wulin. By this point you have your own powerbase, independant from your family. While having strong ties of support with them, you have your own personal contacts with the Queen Of Wulin and other highly influencial figures. When you walk through Zian-Zi, everyone looks in your direction. On the lower spectrum of things, this dictates several centuries of cultivation in a family with strong footing in Wulin. You quite possibly took part in the great massacure of World War 3, standing alongside great warriors of the age such as Alavazi Naku the Sky-Touching Giant, and Ci Lan Tsu, the Queen Of Wulin.
Grandmaster: This is the apex of talent and skill. Over a century of Cultivation with a great family, or several centuries with a strong family. You yourself may have broached the Realm Of Heaven by this point, and you most definately had an ancestor who had. Maybe several. Your cultivation is among the top 1% of all in Wulin, and you have the support of entire treasure vaults in your name, safeguarded within Zian-Zi, or delivered regularly by the Wandering Bazzar. But however high you stand on the mountian, there is always further to go. Do not allow success, to breed complacency. This is the single circumstance of familial advantage, as you may just be the child of the Lord Of Wulin, Aang Feng. But he spawned only one, and his liniage has been estranged from Wulin for mellenia. Rebuilding that connection will be the greatest task any member of your family has undertaken since Aang Feng's sudden dissapearance.
Support Skills: Without those that support the world of Wulin, most Cultivators would be stuck around Gold Realm, maybe Black Gold if they were of sufficent age and had good Cultivation Techniques. Natural Oddities would be fought and murdered for, and the world would be a darker place. So, it is fortunate that not every person in Wulin focuses exclusively on their Cultivation, and in turn becomes skilled in the myraid of vocations to support and assist their brothers. While a person may dip their toes into all vocations and do work wherever he may, that person will never be considered a Master as the split-effort will make it impossible to give any one thing the focus Mastery demands. A person must chose a primary focus, and it is this focus alone that they will Master.
Spiritual Beings may also enact these support skills, but at a fixed rate and never being able to grow beyond Adept. As they lack a subtle but fundermental something, that drives and fuels all the skills. [Spiritual beings start at Untrained, then go to Adept after learning about it, and never rise from adept]
The following, is a none-exhaustive list of supporting occupations.
Qi Alchemist [Making the elixers and herbal remedies to aid cultivation and restoration]
Tzi Labourer (The one who grows and mines and prepares all the raw matierals required for most other vocations)
Dragon Lines Drawer [The one who draws Dragon Lines]
Brewer of Souls [The one who creates Soul-Rice Wine]
Soulforger [The one who makes Soulforged weapons and armour]
Flesh-Marker [A modern vocation, and as such having considerably less workers than the others. This skill dictates the ability to work the enhancing and modifying Tattoos]
Untrained: Basic, unskilled labour. While there are some vocations that might accept you, a Qi Alchemist or Soulforger to fetch and carry, you don't really know what they are doing. Apprentices doing this fetch and carry, will soon learn, however.
Beginner: The first step in a joureny of a thousand miles. Here, you understand the core principles behind your work, and assist your master in more intensive tasks than simply carrying things. If you are self-taught, expect things to break, explode, sunder, and generally not work far more often than they do work.
Adept: A measure of skill allowing you to do the actual work with a respectable success rate, if only the basics of the world. Qi Alchemists of this rank are often set to making the simple elixers for Bronze and Silver realm Cultivators. If you are self taught, there are still explosions, burned exliers and broken scrap, but it has reduced in scale and frequency.
Advanced: Graduation from your Master's tutorage, you are now ready to take on the world, forging, farming, crafting and drawing. Which ever vocation you have decided, even if it is all of them. Wonderous works of art are not yours to make, but you can still have a respectable living allowance by selling off what you can create. Self-taught workers see that their failures are rare and their successes shining. Life, is certainly looking up.
Elite: The limit for Jacks who wish to swim in all pools. Both learned and self-taught have been doing respectable work for a decent period of time. Failures happen only when they reach out to make masterpieces, and even then it is not garunteed. You may just have made your magnum opus, and either kept it for your own use, or sold it for a very tidy profit.
Master: By this point you have chosen your primary vocation and set to work learning it to the fullest extent it can be learned. While Jacks may still have a respectable knowledge of everything else, it is this vocation that they are the best at, and probably reach this stage a lot later than a person who focuses on a singular subject. This skill is where you can comfortably advertise for apprentices, and in teaching them, grow to be a better worker, and a better person. Creating the highest echalon of work that is physically possible for you, is not quite a daydream anymore. While such intensive work may elude you at times, determination, persistance, and comittment will see it finished.
Grandmaster: The apex of your primary Vocation, Masters of their art come to you for advice and wisdom. Your work allows you to live most frugally, as it is highly sort after and is sold for vast sums. You may own an entire workshop of scurrying assistants and there are always more trying to get in. Nothing short of killing your Apprentices will dissuade people from wishing to learn from you.