Taiyi Boons

This Purview’s name means “Great Principle.” It refers to the universal law of transformation: Nothing stays the same forever, and everything eventually changes into something else. The universal force called Qi flows and changes according to the principles of Yang and Yin – the active and passive, archetype of all polarities and oppositions – as well as the Five Elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, and the trigrams and hexagrams of the I Ching. One who masters these principles of change can transform anything into anything. The shen regard all their powers as exercises of Qi. Their study of the Great Principle, however, leads to a unique set of Boons dedicated to transformation.

A Scion who wants to learn Taiyi must engage in mystic exercises to develop her sense of how supernatural power flows and changes form. The martial arts are one way to learn Taiyi: Many shen perform special taolu (similar to Japanese katas) when they wield the Purview’s Boons. Scions can also meditate and imagine their Qi flowing between different parts of their bodies. Special diet, herbal medicines and many other disciplines can also enable a Scion to learn Taiyi.

1 Five-Cycle Augmentation
2 Yin-Yang Destruction
3 Five-Cycle Conjunction
4 Eight Trigram Transformation
5 Qi Hand
6 Living Hexagram Metamorphosis
7 Resurrection Anchor
8 Divinize Kuei
9 Grand Unity Transformation
10 Reshape Shen

Five-Cycle Augmentation

Dice Pool: None
Cost: 1 Legend
The first art of Taiyi is learning to pass Qi to another being to augment his own supernatural force. The Scion concentrates, touches another character who is using a Boon or spell, and spends a point of Legend. This enhances the target character’s use of the Boon or spell as if his Legend were one higher than its actual value. For instance, a dice pool that included the character’s Legend would gain one die, or the recipient’s Legend would be treated as one higher than its real value (for purposes of Boons whose effectiveness depends on the attacker’s Legend being equal or higher than his target’s).

Shen can perform Five-Cycle Augmentation in a series, each character passing her point of Legend to the next in line until the final character receives the boost in effective Legend from all of them. This boost cannot exceed the highest Legend value of any of the participants, though, and it cannot raise anyone’s effective Legend above 12. Thus, if four Scions used Five-Cycle Augmentation in series on a fifth, and they all had Legend 2, the final recipient’s effective Legend could not rise above 4.

Yin-Yang Destruction

Dice Pool: Legend + Occult or Science
Cost: 1 Legend (+ 1 Willpower)
After learning how to enhance the Qi of another legendary being, a Scion learns how to counter the supernatural force in powers directed against him. He shapes his own Qi into the perfect negation of the power used against him, the Yin to its Yang. This is much easier, however, against powers the Scion has experience at using himself.

When someone uses an All-Purpose Purview Boon or spell against the Scion, and he has a tick free to engage in a Guard action, he may spend a point of Legend while his player rolls (Legend + the highest of the character’s Occult or Science). Sufficient successes mean that the Boon or spell does not affect the Scion. If the Scion knows any Boon from the Purview that was used against him (or a spell, in the case of the Magic Purview), the roll’s difficulty equals the attacker’s Legend. Otherwise, the difficulty becomes twice the attacker’s Legend.

Yin-Yang Destruction can be used at range to counter a Boon or spell that isn’t specifically directed at the Scion, but this requires the character to spend a Willpower point and take a Miscellaneous Action (Speed 5, -1 DV) instead of a Guard Action. If you can perceive the character’s use of the spell or Boon, you can negate it. Of course, nothing keeps your enemy from reusing the Boon or spell on her next action.

Five-Cycle Conjunction

Dice Pool: None
Cost: None
Increasing mastery of Yin, Yang and the Five Elements enables a student of Taiyi to protect his own All-Purpose Purview Boons from Yin-Yang Destruction. She does this by altering the effect of a Boon so that it falls within two Purviews at once. She must know at least one Boon from each Purview, and still needs to carry a Birthright for at least one of the two Purviews.

The altered Boon still has the game effect of its original Purview, but a visual effect based on the other Purview. For instance, a Scion who knew Unseen Shield (Guardian 4) and at least one Fertility Boon could manifest her Unseen Shield as a celestial lotus that grows from her mouth to block incoming attacks. Or, a Scion with Heavenly Flare (Sun 3) and Animal Communication with snakes (Animal 1) could conjure a host of glowing spiritual snakes that bite the eyes of nearby people, dazzling them for a time. A Scion with Wind’s Freedom (Sky 2) and a Fire Boon could define his flight as riding on a wheel of fire, like Nezha. Some combinations of Purviews may seem quite peculiar, but if the player can come up with some flamboyant effect to justify the linkage of the two Purviews, the Storyteller should allow it.

On buying this Boon, the Scion defines one of her All-Purpose Purview Boons as conjoined to another All-Purpose Purview she knows. Each time she gains another dot of Taiyi, she can define another one of the Boons she already knows as conjoined to another Purview. A Boon cannot be part of more than two Purviews. Aside from looking cool, Five-Cycle Conjunction protects a Boon from Yin-Yang Destruction: Since the Boon has two Purviews, a defender’s player must roll twice the character’s Legend to negate the Boon, unless the defender knows Boons from both Purviews. Magic, unfortunately, cannot be conjoined with another Purview.

Eight Trigram Transformation

Dice Pool: Wits + Craft
Cost: 3 Legend
Matter constantly takes new forms, from water vapor condensing into rain to rock’s slow decomposition into soil. All matter is just a particularly dense form of Qi, and the Five Elements and Eight Trigrams govern all their transformations. A scholar of the Great Principle of Change can nudge this potential for change into new paths, and so transform matter into new forms and substances. To do this, she need merely touch the object and trace out the trigrams that represent the sort of change she desires. For a small change, she can trace the trigrams with her finger. Large objects (anything larger than person-sized) requires drawing trigrams on the object using ink, chalk or some other means.

Transforming an object takes as many miscellaneous actions as the difficulty set by the object’s size. With this Boon, a Scion can transform inanimate objects. The size of the object sets the difficulty of the player’s roll.

Difficulty Size
1 Hand-sized (pistol, book, bowling ball, briefcase)
2 Person-sized (bicycle, store mannequin, chair)
3 Horse-sized (horse, big motorcycle, sofa)
4 Car-sized (auto, bank vault door)
5 House-sized (small house, panel truck; maximum for this Boon)
+1 Create object with moving parts (pistol, bicycle, car)
+2 Create complicated object (calculator)
+3 Create substances with exotic properties (nuclear fuel rod)

The character can only transform discrete objects into other discrete objects of the same size class, such as turning a rock into a flashlight, or turning a bank vault door into a very large block of cheese. A Scion cannot simply disintegrate an object, or create something from air or water. The change is permanent, unless the Scion decides to reverse it. To do this, she need merely touch the object and will it to revert; this does not cost Legend. Magical objects are immune to Eight Trigram Transformation unless they are the character’s own Relics.

Qi Hand

Dice Pool: None
Cost: 2 Legend per item per action
As demigods master the Great Principle, they can manipulate objects using currents of Qi in a form of telekinesis. A Scion could wrestle someone without touching him, wield one weapon while another dances in the air beside her, or type at a computer keyboard while peeking in through a window. Anything a person can do by hand, the Qi Hand can do as well. Actions involving the Qi Hand use the same dice pools as they would if the character performed the action himself. For instance, wielding a sword using the Qi Hand would call for a (Dexterity + Melee) roll. The Strength of the Qi Hand equals the character’s Legend, so a physically frail Scion could use her Qi Hand to send burly bikers flying.

A character can manipulate one or several objects using the Qi Hand. If the character uses the Qi Hand on just one object, she can also perform other actions at the same time. However, these do count as multiple actions and take the appropriate penalties. For example, a character could hold one shotgun in her hands and wield another in her Qi Hand, but would roll the (Dexterity + Marksmanship) attack for both guns at a –4 dice penalty. Any Knacks that permit multiple actions without penalty apply as much to actions done using Qi Hand as they would to actions the character performs herself. Alternatively, a character can simultaneously manipulate as many objects as the sum of her Wits and Epic Wits (though the cost in Legend points can mount up quickly). For instance, a Scion with Wits 4 and Epic Wits 3 could telekinetically pick up and hurl seven spears at once. All the telekinetically-controlled objects must perform the same basic task, though, so while the Scion could use Qi Hand to hurl seven spears (using Thrown) or stab with them (using Melee), she could not hurl three and stab with four. The player’s dice roll also takes a single multiple action penalty, and the character cannot take any other actions while directing all these objects — the Qi Hand takes her full attention.

The multiple action penalty that results from using Qi Hand to attack can render this a dubious tactic. On the other hand, a character can take a Coordinate Assault action to reduce her target’s DV against her multiple attacks. Since she coordinates with herself, however, this requires no dice roll: The target’s DV penalty equals the number of simultaneous attacks.

Living Hexagram Metamorphosis

Dice Pool: Wits + Medicine
Cost: 5 Legend
Tales of Gods and sages often describe them transforming people and animals as well as inanimate objects. For instance, Wong Tai Sin turned the sheep he was supposed to tend into white boulders, and back again. This Boon functions like Eight Trigram Transformation, but can affect living targets. This includes creating life from the inanimate. However, the Scion cannot create intelligence or a soul where none existed before.

Shen can use this Boon to transform themselves into a demonic creature, an application called the Devil-Sage Body. The demonic form has skin colored some vivid hue such as scarlet, green or indigo, claws, jutting fangs and, very often, up to three heads and six arms. The chief practical effect is to enable the character to inflict lethal damage with unarmed attacks. The character also gains one dot of negative Epic Appearance and the Dreadful Mien Knack (if she did not have these already). Positive Epic Appearance and associated Knacks are unusable while the character is in Devil-Sage form. Characters cannot use Living Trigram Metamorphosis to assume other forms. Shen often assume the Devil-Sage Body for battle, as a way to scare off weaker foes or innocent bystanders.

Resurrection Anchor

Dice Pool: None
Cost: 10 Legend
Most creatures of Legend return from death only if they possess Ultimate Stamina. The shen, however, regard death itself as just another change of form and state. Even a demigod can return from death… with help, and at cost.

To use this Boon, a Scion must form a permanent Fatebinding with another Scion, God or creature with a minimum Legend of 5. Establishing this connection costs 10 Legend points, which the character cannot regain unless he renounces the Fateful link (and with it, his chance for resurrection). If he dies, this other character can bring him back. This requires persuading at least 50 people to worship at a shrine to the deceased character, within a year from the character’s death. The massed worship recalls the character and re-creates his body. However, his Legend score drops by 1. Any Boons or Epic Attribute ratings that exceed the new (Legend - 1) limit are lost — the character must buy them all over again (if he chooses) once he regains his former Legend.

A Scion with this Boon can also serve as an anchor to resurrect another character, who need not possess this Boon but must have a minimum Legend of 5. This too costs 10 legend points to forge the Fatebinding between them, constructing a shrine and persuading people to worship the slain character. However, the resurrected character loses the dot of Legend, not the Scion who performed the resurrection.

Divinize Kuei

Dice Pool: None
Cost: 10 Legend
To a great sage of Taiyi, the difference between ghosts and Gods is more one of degree than of kind. At will, the character can transform a ghost into a lesser immortal with a maximum Legend of 4. This can be a demon, an Earth God, the Chinese analogues to nymphs or alfar — whatever the Scion wants. To perform this feat, the Scion walks in a circle around the ghost she intends to transform, placing her feet so her steps form stylized images of various groups of stars, a practice called “pacing the constellations.” The transformed ghost may feel some gratitude for his promotion to lesser immortal, and the exercise of Legend has the normal chance of Fatebinding, but the Boon does not intrinsically grant the Scion any control over the lesser immortal he just made.

Grand Unity Transformation

Dice Pool: Willpower + Legend + Craft, Occult or Science
Cost: 15 Legend
A divine master of the Great Principle can create whatever surroundings she wants, in a wide area centered on herself. As a dramatic action taking five minutes to complete, the character can create whatever simple, inanimate objects she wants. She can also create living creatures, natural forces such as flames and storm-winds, or virtually anything else she can imagine, depending on what other Boons she knows. The Scion’s player rolls the dice pool and allocates the successes to various transformations:

  • Area: Each success gives 5 yards of radius if the Scion uses this Boon in the World, or 50 yards’ radius in the Overworld or Underworld. At least one success must go to area.
  • Followers: The Scion can create people (or person-like creatures) by allocating successes to dots of Followers. For instance, the Scion could allocate four successes to create a demon, five successes to create a squad of five demons, or 10 successes to create two squads of five. The character needs at least five dots in Fertility or Health Boons to create living Followers or in Death Boons to create ghosts, but no specific Boon in any of those three Purviews is needed.
  • Creatures: Successes can also be allocated to dots of Creatures. Every Creature must be bought separately. Again, the character needs Fertility or Health Boons to create living Creatures.
  • Powers and Environmental Effects: This requires spending successes on a Boon with some connection to the desired effect. For instance, spending two successes on Wind’s Freedom (Sky 2) would create an area in which everyone could fly, while six successes for Inferno (Fire 6) could fill the area with that effect — but another success, allocated to Fire Immunity (Fire 1) would make everyone in the area immune! The Scion can only allocate successes based on the Boons she herself knows. Use of Mystery can even imbue the transformed area with information the Scion herself does not know equivalent to one use of the Mystery Purview (so this offers no advantage compared to using the Mystery Purview by itself).
  • Complexity: The Scion must allocate one success to create objects with moving parts, or two successes for notably intricate shapings, such as giving everyone in the area a notebook computer or covering every surface with immaculate calligraphy of the poems of Li Po.

Storytellers can come up with additional ways the character can spend successes to customize a zone of Grand Unity Transformation. The wondrously shaped reality of the zone lasts for one scene. Then everything the Scion transformed reverts to its former state and any animals, people, spirits or the like disappear.

A Scion can make the change permanent, but this costs the character a dot of permanent Willpower. If the Scion permanently transforms part of the World into someplace visibly magical, the transformed zone becomes a small terra incognita.

Reshape Shen

Dice Pool: Willpower + Legend + Command
Cost: 20 Legend
Ultimate mastery of the Dao enables a God to transform other Gods, spirits or lesser immortals. The other God must be willing or somehow compelled not to resist. The greatest Gods in the Celestial Bureaucracy use this Boon to reshape lesser Gods so they can better fulfill the duties of a new office, or as the ultimate threat of punishment by taking away a God’s former identity. The Celestial Bureaucracy also used this Boon to assimilate the Gods of China’s conquered ethnic minorities: It forms the pantheon’s ultimate threat against foreign deities. To use this Boon, the character’s player must win a contested roll of the Scion’s (Willpower + Legend + Command) versus the target’s (Willpower + Legend + Integrity), even if the subject is willing. The process is a one minute, -2 DV dramatic action. If the roll succeeds, the Scion can turn his subject into a different character. The Scion’s player defines the transformed entity’s Legend, Attributes, Abilities, Epic Attributes, Boons, Virtues — everything.

The chief limitation is that the Scion cannot create a character of greater power than the subject was before. This is defined as possessing more dots in a class of trait than the character had before. Thus, the subject cannot gain a greater Legend, more total dots of Attributes, more total dots of Abilities, more total dots of Virtues, more total dots of Boons or more total dots of Epic Attributes. (Birthrights are largely malleable, since characters may gain and lose them in the course of play, without any use of experience points.) Also, the subject cannot be made mortal: she must remain a creature of Legend (though a God could be turned back into a hero). The God who uses this awful power can alter his subject’s memories along with everything else. While the physical and supernatural change is permanent and irreversible by anything less than The Wyrd, however, erased memories may return. This may happen when the transformed character channels Willpower through a Virtue, faces a situation that calls for a Virtue roll or any other stressful situation that the Storyteller considers appropriate. Under these circumstances, the transformed character’s player rolls (Charisma + Integrity) as a reflexive action for the character; the player cannot apply bonus successes for Epic Charisma, spend Willpower for a bonus success or apply Legend. With five successes, a memory from the subject’s former existence returns.

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