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 Dharma: Resplendent Crane, Wind and Ice

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yanamari

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PostSubject: Dharma: Resplendent Crane, Wind and Ice   Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:25 pm

The earth is a chaotic shadow show of unruly imperfections. Heaven, by contrast, is ordered, secure and settled.
Shouldn't earth be more like Heaven?
When imperfect souls are returned to earth, Heaven must have some task for them. Some Kuei-jin recognize that they died wreathed in sin; Yomi was not enough penance -- they must make bent things straight.
Like Legalists and Confucianists, Resplendent Cranes see suffering flow from imperfection. If enlightened rulers can set examples -- and laws -- for their people, those people should prosper. The key lies in the purity of the lawmakers; if the leaders are enlightened, their laws carry Heaven's blessings. The Wan Xian disgraced their posts; their heirs, the flawed souls returning as Kuei-jin, are likewise shameful. To alleviate their shame, the vampires must serve as the Correctors of Heaven, as enforcers and exemplars of the Harmonious Way. The path is not easy -- the Demon chews at one's honor and the hunger gnaws at one's resolve. Resisting these distractions, however, provides salvation: salvation for the lost souls of the vampires and for the continuation of the mortal world.
The Sixth Age is not set in stone. It can be averted by virtuous behavior and right action. With a powerful effort, the Great Cycle can be turned back and a new Age of Heaven can begin. The Shining Ice Guardians -- as some Resplendent Cranes call themselves --want literally to save the Middle Kingdom from itself. It's a mighty task; never before has the world seemed so corrupt. Still, Chi, the power of Heaven, flows through all Kuei-jin. They have one last chance to redeem themselves, and the Cranes are resolved to do just that.
The Eight Lotus Path (a collection of analects and koans) gives a formula for salvation: The First Lotus offers the recognition of hope. The Second Lotus demands virtuous existence. The Third Lotus involves nurture -- rewards for virtue, correction for recklessness -- and the Fourth calls for the purgation of the wicked. The Fifth Lotus encourages instruction, while the Sixth demands law. With the Seventh Lotus, mortal law gives way to harmony; the Eighth Lotus transcends the living world and unites it with the spirit. By meditating upon the Eight Lotus Path, a Crane discerns what must be done.
Shining Ice Guardians recognize that the entire world cannot be saved. Things have gone too far out of balance; dead wood will have to be cut away. Most sages set their hopes on the redemption of the Golden Fields -- of the Eastern lands and their peoples. The misery in the Orient has been caused by foreign invaders, from the Mongols to the Americans. These invaders carry disease like plague-dogs, and their sickness must be purged. If that requires a blood-cleansing, so be it. Heaven will deal with the dogs in its own way; the Kuei-jin have been sent back to make the Golden Fields pure again. Training: Resplendent Cranes recognize their impurity and strive to overcome it. In Yomi, their sins were boiled to the surface; now, they wear the residue as punishment for their disgrace.
Still, there is hope. Rigorous discipline, generosity and benevolence are like Hell-money paid for the vampires' souls. A Shining Ice Guardian is counseled to be wise, honorable, prudent and refined. Asceticism is encouraged, but mortification is considered bad form. Masters present their pupils with complex riddles and reward attentiveness with great gifts.
Weakness: Resplendent Cranes have no tolerance for rebellion, and their rage is like the north wind. In theory, they follow the Fivefold Way religiously, punishing anyone who deviates from it. In practice, the Shining Ice Guardians are regal monsters, interpreting the law as they see fit and enforcing it when it suits them. Some Cranes follow Devil-Tigers around like carrion-crows and fall on sinners like icicles plummeting. It is said that Resplendent Cranes are as honest, cole and merciless as the winters they enjoy. In that purity, they hope to find forgiveness, even if they have none to grant themselves.
Affiliations: Water, the number 1, the color yellow and the north direction
Auspicious Omens and Symbols: Eight-petaled lotus flowers, cranes, butterflies, cold wind, ice and snow

Turning Back the Wheel
The Resplendent may be viewed as the cold, calculated rulers of the Middle Kingdom. But their primary, and very noble in my opinion, mission is to turn back the Wheel of Ages. They want to fight against the blight that is corruption and evil in the Middle Kingdom and bring back the glory of the 4th, 3rd, even back to the 2nd Age. So what could be more noble a cause than the restoration of the world? That is what the Cranes are after.

By achieving this goal, the Cranes wish to receive the August Personage of Jade's good graces once again. They wish to emulate the fallen Wan Xian and try not to fall into the pitfalls of being a demon, unlike their Devil-Tiger counterparts. While the Devil-Tigers want to revel in their defilement, the Cranes want to get as far away from it as possible and they use laws and tools to help them along the way.

The Laws
Everything in the world lives by the laws of the universe, the Mandate of Heaven and Hell. The clouds produce rain which waters the plants to grow to feed animals that go on to feed predators and the death of animals contributes to the healthy earth, etc. There is northing that is not touched by the way things are "supposed" to be. The Law.

The Cranes see their existence as another part of the laws of the universe, one that they cannot escape. Other Dharmas look at them strangely, because they surround themselves with rules to help them through their unlife, letting them know what to and what not to do. Many believe this to be foolish on the part of the Cranes, handing their life over to the universe. But if not to the August Personage of Jade, from whom they seek forgiveness, then who. They try to achieve the state of the Superior Man. Someone that teaches by example, who is a great leader and one that shows compassion to others. By following the laws, they seek to reach this and thus will be allowed once more into Heaven's light.

They follow the Eight Lotus Path and the Fivefold way stronger than any other Dharma does. They have more control over themselves than your average Thrashing Dragon. They are just as controlled and have more personality than your average Bone Flower. While the Thousand Whispers travel through a fake life wishing to learn from life, they forget that they are disgraced in the eyes of Heaven. And there are a lot of words that can be said about the Devil-Tigers, and none of them are nice.

The Eight Lotus Path
The Shining Ice Guardians rule themselves and the rest of the Middle Kingdom with rules and laws. The highest of these rules is the Eight Lotus Path. It is the central doctrine of Crane philosophy, is taught to every Crane and is practiced everyday. It is composed of, you guessed it, 8 rules.

1. Recognition of Hope: The Cranes must believe in the hope that they will someday be rid of their Dual Souls and return to their heavenly state as the Wan Xian.
2. Virtuous Existence: Cranes must use meditation and focus to live a life of correctness and obey all the laws of the universe.
3. Nurture: A Crane must nurture all around him to avoid corruption from ever taking root in his world.
4. Purgation of the Wicked: Cranes must be ready to destroy the source of corruption if they cannot be redeemed. Some weeds just must be pruned.
5. Instruction: The Crane must be a diligent student daily, studying doctrines and sutras that allow him to know right from wrong.
6. Law: The Laws of the Universe stand forever true. A Crane must follow these laws to stay pure from corruption.
7. Harmony: The moment before any types of feeling are aroused there is calmness. This is when the soul is most in harmony. A Crane must use this to make good decisions.
8. Transcend the Living World: The final lotus teaches that the corruption and evil that plagues the Middle Kingdom exists in the Spirit Worlds as well. It must be healed on all fronts to turn back the wheel.

The Gallant and the Wicked
Picture the Middle Kingdom as a garden. The Cranes are the gardeners. The pluck the weeds of evil and nurture the seeds of prosperity. By doing so, the purity of their cultivation can choke the weeds' roots from below and block the sun that fuels them from above, leaving all corruption in the Middle Kingdom decimated. Of course, the Scorpion Eaters have their utmost hatred and are their eternal targets for war. And since they are branded akuma in almost all instances, it is easy to justify destroying their heretical kind.
Tenets (A Brief Overview)

1. Follow the Eight Lotus Path: see above.
2. Follow the Fivefold Way: The 5 rules that govern the Kuei-jin's courts and night life in the Middle Kingdom. The Cranes follow them more strictly than any other Dharma, for they must show the example of what the Perfect Man can become. (THE Fivefold Way is found on page 39 of the KoE Core book).
3. When you lose control, make amends. The Demon guides you but does not own you: The P'o gains control sometimes. Any misfortune that it creates must be corrected, for that is the law of the universe.
4. When injustice or corruption appears, correct it to the best of your ability: Just as it states. Corruption is not to be tolerated, but remember that the Cranes idea of justice does not necessarily match that of mortal society.
5. Be generous to the worthy, defend the weak and instruct the young and errant: You must be a teacher as well as a student. You must be a defender as well as an attacker. You must be able and ready to protect all those who require it.
6. When the wicked will not listen to reason, straighten them as you were once straightened: This tenet teaches that the Crane should choose to correct the corruption, at least attempting to turn the tide, before outright destruction is needed. Even the wicked should have the chance to redeem themselves, as they try to do themselves.
7. Defend the ghosts of your family and protect your living relations. Do not let them see you, however - you have become a disgrace to their honor: The Cranes are directed to protect and guide both their living and dead relative. But they do so from the shadows and try to never let their relations know they have fallen from heaven's graces.
8. Maintain your dignity, honor and composure. You are an example of what the Damned can become: Everything you do, even your destruction, should be that of the greatest caliber and done with grace. You do try to become the perfect man.

Suggested Disciplines

* Blood Shintai
* Obligation
* Internalize
* Cultivation
* Tapestry
* Tzu Wei
* Feng Shui

Portraying the Dharma
Yes, the Cranes are the leaders of the Middle Kingdom. Yes, this moves them to making cold, rational decisions instead of emotional ones. This does not mean that they have to be emotionless, stuffy, humorless vampires. The ones that break up all the fun and are not fun to play.
They are very intent on their Dharma, as any good Kuei-jin is. And it does take up every moment of their un-lives to follow the Way of the Resplendent Cranes. But that does not mean that they have no personality outside of the stereotypes of their Dharma. There are Crane Demon Hunters, Ambassadors, Partiers, as well as stuffy bookworms. It is up to Players to find the concept that best suits them in the context of the Dharma.
Suggested Auspicious Occasions

* Nurturing a person to make the right choice
* When a choice you make in the name of justice, hurts you in any way
* If somebody makes a choice, by watching your example
* Healing a Broken Mirror
* Settle Negotiations with Spirits
* Bring a smile to a wretched persons face
* Seeing a butterfly emerge from his cocoon
* Many more can be found on page 62 of DB: Resplendent Cranes
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PostSubject: Re: Dharma: Resplendent Crane, Wind and Ice   Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:26 pm

Original Discipline
Intemperance

• Gorge
The Glutton teaches, first, the lesson of how to sustain oneself in as little time as possible. This is a convenient Demon Art, as it allows for advanced fangs (maw) without having to ask the P’o permission.
System: With the expenditure of 1 Demon Chi, the Kuei-jin grows a maw capable of Strength + 2 Aggravated damage and can drink Chi at a rate of 2 per turn. This does not change the amount of the Chi available from the victim however, so the victim will simply die twice as fast.

•• Chi Leak
The working of the Devil-Tiger’s mind is interesting indeed. Using this power, the Devil of Heaven is able to make his target slowly become free of chi. Kuei-jin who are affected by this power often seek revenge on the Devil who cursed them, if only for a short while.
System: After touching the victim’s skin, the Kuei-jin spends 2 Demon Chi and rolls P’o (difficulty Willpower + 1, to a maximum of 10). If successful, the victim’s hold over his Chi reservoirs (Gnosis, Chi, Quintessence, Glamour, etc… are all included) will lose 2 additional Chi with every expenditure for one day per success on the above roll.

••• Touch of Weakness
The next lesson learned is how to steal energy from others to use for yourself. With this, the Devil-Tiger can power his statistics up without the need for Shintai, but instead of using Chi, he uses the very essence of her victim. Fighting someone who wields this power can be deadly for even the greatest of fighters.
System: The Kuei-jin must touch the target’s skin, expend 2 Demon Chi and choose a physical stat he chooses to steal. A roll of P’o vs. Target’s Stamina (difficulty 7 for both) must be made, with every success resulting in the movement of 1 dot from the target’s stat to the character. The target’s stat, however, cannot be dropped beyond one.
Example: Feng has 2 Dexterity and wants to steal Wang’s, who has 4. Feng, after touching Wang, rolls his 6 P’o and receives 7, 7, 8, 0, 2, 5 (4 successes), while Wang, who has 3 Stamina, rolls a resisted check and gets 2, 3, 6 (No successes. Feng now has Dexterity 5 (2 + 3 gained from Wang) and Wang has been reduced to Dexterity 1 (4 - 3 transferred to Feng).

•••• Defiled Earth
After gaining the abilities to effect mortals, themselves and other shen, the Kuei-jin turns to his next target: his environment. This power has gained many Devil-Tigers their putrid reputation among the Beast Courts of the Emerald Mother, as it destroys plant-life without blinking.
System: By expending 3 Demon Chi into the earth beneath his feet, the Kuei-jin can defile all the land in a 1-yard radius per level of P’o (someone with 4 P’o will expand 4 yards). Grass, crops and bushes die instantaneously, while trees in a matter of (10 - P’o rating) minutes. Any small animals in the contact with the earth during the activation contract a strange spiritual disease that kills them within (8 - P’o rating) days. Shen are unaffected by this power, however mortals receive 3 automatic levels of Lethal damage (this includes those in human shells: Hsien, Demons, Changelings, Hunters, and Mages). This also taints the area and is a sure way to get spirits to notice you, but not in a good way.

••••• Famine Cloud
All the powers of Intemperance lead up to one great big finally of starvation and famine. The Kuei-jin exudes a rancid cloud of pure Demon Chi which drains the life force all beings around him in such a way to cause very bad things to happen.
System: The Kuei-jin expends 3 Demon Chi and creates a cloud of Demon smoke that expands 2-yards per point of P’o (someone with 4 P’o will expand 8-yards). Everyone caught in the cloud must make an immediate Willpower roll (Difficulty Cool and score at least 3 successes or suffer the following:

* Kuei-jin: Lose 1 Chi / Victim cannot ingest any Chi for the rest of the night / Immediate Fire Soul check at a +3 difficulty.
* Kin-jin: Lose 2 Vitae / Victim cannot ingest Blood for the rest of the night / Immediate Frenzy check at +2 difficulty
* Hengeyokai: Lose 2 Temporary Gnosis / Victim cannot shift forms until the next Dawn, stuck in whatever form they were in during activation, unless knocked out / Immediate Frenzy check at +3 difficulty.
* Humans (includes shen in mortal shells, see above): Lose 3 Chi (Yugen, Glamour, Conviction, Quintessence) / Lose 1 Temporary Willpower / Automatically faints due to intense hunger.


Original P’o Archetype
Glut
The Kuei-jin holds true to his duty to the universe and the Way, however the Glut has only one obsession: to eat. Devouring anything near to him: food, flesh, chi, whatever. It doesn’t matter. It have an insatiable hunger that cannot be staved for anything. It is not, however, a retard. It’s hunger reaches not only for simple consumption, but also for power. The devouring of a business venture is just as great. It has a special connection to the Demon Art, Intemperance, as it does not require a Shadow Soul roll to use this power if you possess the Glut P’o archetype. The power is a way to devour and the Glut enjoys it too much to try and impede it.
Conditions for Takeover: Whenever the Character has 4 or less Chi in his Chi reservoirs, the Glut will attempt a Shadow Soul roll and its first impulse is to do nothing but eat for the rest of the scene. If no actual food is in sight, animals or even the Hun’s wu-mates make a nice snack. But occasionally, the Glut will also choose to further his dark whims, making shrewd business decisions to use against the Hun when the time is right.
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