For seven years I have wandered;
My task; justice. My companion; steel
I turn to face the void;
Fall six. Rise seven.
-Tai Yua, Xia
Also Known As: Ujia
Pre-requisites: Exposure to the mists of Mujin, 5 points in Grace and Will
The Xia are elite warrior mystics who roam the lands of Mujin, defending its people and hunting the mist monsters known as the Sucha. Xia are revered and venerated by the people of Mujin and even those who dwell beyond the Og Sup have heard the stories of their fighting prowess. The path to becoming a Xia requires a mixture of discipline and agility; surviving as a Xia requires keen martial talent and no small amount of luck.
Xia are able to develop an array of powers that seem intrinsically connected to the Angae, the mist of Mujin. These powers primarily affect awareness and mobility. They also often develop an aura that most Mujin both recognize and revere as they are seen as heroes of the people. A Xia’s words carry considerable weight and their actions even more so.
The Xia’s gifts expose them to aspects and dangers of reality others do not perceive and which can have a detrimental effect on their health and sanity. Xia are also forever marked by their exposure to the mist and particularly powerful Sucha are often drawn across vast distances in pursuit of them.
The Xia of Mujin are often portrayed as a singular group but in fact they can come from a variety of backgrounds and take a variety of forms; warrior monks, errant soldiers, wandering hunters, dangerous mystics and more. Whatever their background and form, the Xia are known for their supernatural mobility, capacity for survival in the deadly mists of Mujin, and their long history service to the people of Mujin. As a result the collectivist and martial culture of Mujin has driven most Xia towards this specific lifestyle by treating the Xia with a near-religious reverence. Xia are typically nomadic, traveling the breadth of Mujin in service to its people either out of a sense of moral obligation or divine purpose.
The propagation of the Xia calling occurs one of two ways; random exposure and studious self-development or “Yangxan”. The former can occur to any individual with the right qualities who has been exposed to the mists. Yangxan on the other hand is roughly equivalent to apprenticeship and starts with the Xia selecting a child between the ages of 7 and 13 for conscription as a Yangxa. Once selected the Yangxa leaves home to travel with the Xia, acting as armiger or squire. This is typically seen as an enormous honour among the Mujin and it is exceedingly rare for a family to decline the offer. During their tutelage a Yangxa is expected to obey the Xia at all times, learning from and serving them as needed. When they are sufficiently trained, typically by the age of 19, the Yangxa undergoes a ritual which marks their graduation to full Xia and they venture out on their own.
Beyond Mujin, the Xia are rarely seen and typically only spoken of in tall tales and ghost stories of the Jade Forest. Foreign rumours attribute a shroud of invincible martial prowess and almost monstrous abilities. These characterizations are rarely challenged due to the scarcity of Xia found outside of Mujin.
Zhì: The Xia outranks all save the Yunfa and is accorded the appropriate respect and deference as a result. They are also permitted to delve first age ruins and utilize first age artefacts without the usual stigmas attached to such items.
Zūnzhòng: The Xia is offered free lodging, food, and materiel from any Mujin merchant.
Yìwù: All Xia are driven by some celestial will to kill Sucha. While this is not typically a suicidal drive, it is a powerful one. Any time a Xia retreats from a Sucha or by inaction allows a Sucha to harm a human they suffer 3 stress.
Manjin: Becoming a Xia is an eternal path. Becoming a Xia requires one to dedicate their focus and will towards it. Once one walks down this path they can never leave it and must dedicate some portion of each day to maintaining their connection to the source of their power. Each day they do not engage in at least 1 hour of meditation or focus they suffer a point of unsoakable damage.
Core Trait ∞
Wù xīn / Angae Simjang: The core trait for a Xia is defined by their connection to a liminal space between worlds known alternately as the Chasm, Valley, Liku, Shēnyuān, or Kai. The properties of this space defy traditional understandings of physical reality and even short exposure can trigger the changes that grant the Xia their ability. This intangible connection can be strengthened by meditation, mental training, and practicing with the abilities of the Xia.
Ability levels cannot exceed the characters level in Wù xīn.
Angaeam: (Aka: Mist Sense) The Xia can sense the approach of the Mujin mist. Typically the sensation of the approach occurs a day before the mist begins to form, but by meditating and strengthening this ability the Xia can extend this warning. For each level taken in this ability the Xia senses the mist a day earlier. For example, a Xia with three points in Angaem senses mist approaching three days prior to its arrival. They can also travel in the mist without losing their bearings and eliminating the need for hourly survival checks to navigate the dense fog.
Zhǎ: (Aka: Blink) The Xia can teleport across short distances nearly instantaneously; at least this is what observers perceive. In reality the Xia enters the Valley where time and space are less rigid structures, and exits into our world at a different point. A Xia appearing behind or above an enemy is a deadly surprise. The distance and frequency with which this ability can be used is determined by its level. See the table below for reference.
A Xia who Blinks before attacking an enemy in combat gains a +3 to that attack.
Quánwēi: (Aka: Aura of Authority) The Xia can, at will, generate an aura that is known to all Mujin. This aura is either that of an looming shadow or glowing luminescence that radiates from their body, conveying with it a sense of authority. Observers gain a small glimpse at the intentions and spirit of the Xia and most are comforted by the experience. The Xia can use this ability once per day to gain a bonus to social rolls equal to their level in Quánwēi. The culturally specific nature of this ability means that the bonus is halved for friendly rolls with most non-Mujin however the Xia can use this ability to intimidate with a full bonus.
Kido: (Aka: Vapour Strike) The Xia is able to render an attack made with hand or weapon semi-tangible for a single moment; enough to strike through an enemies armour. When even the most sturdy armour can be breached with a whim a Xia becomes terrifying opponent. The Xia can make this attack a number of times equal to their level in Kido and each attack ignores an amount of armour equal to the Kido level. For example, a Xia with 3 levels in Kido could make three attacks, each one ignoring 3 points of the enemies armour.
Xīngso: (Aka: Sidereal Speed) For a moment the Xia is able to take on the fluid properties of the mist itself, transcending typical human levels of Grace and striking an enemy with perfect form, or dashing up a sheer surface with supernatural ease, or dodging an otherwise lethal attack. Once per day for one action the Xia gains a number of points of Grace equal to their level in Xīngso.
Dinzyīu: (Aka: Ephemeral Step) The Xia is able to take on a semi-tangible form and pass through attacks and permeable surfaces. The Xia can add their level in Dinzyīu to any defense roll (Parry, Dodge) a number of times equal to their level in the ability. For example, a Xia with 3 levels in Dinzyīu could use this ability three times per day and add three points to each defense.
Agma Ěr: Monster Lure: The Xia can act as a spiritual beacon, summoning aberrations and Sucha attention towards them. This ability is typically used to protect areas and people by drawing monsters away, though some clever Xia also use it to lure such creatures towards their enemies. The distance and danger of the Sucha are determined by the Xia’s level in Agma Ěr. The Xia can determine the exact level of the threat they wish to summon below their current level. They cannot control the exact creature or their behaviour making this a dangerous gambit. Summoning requires at least 1 hour of focused meditation and the Xia knows immediately when they’ve been successful at getting the Sucha’s attention.
|1||1km||Nuisance: Sucha Vermin|
|2||5km||Minor: Lower Aberrations|
|3||10km||Moderate: Greater Aberrations|
|4||30km||Major: Monstrosities and Horrors|
|5||50km||Massive: Hordes or Calamitas|
Tiěxīn: (Aka: Iron heart or Unshakeable) By connecting with the Chasm the Xia’s mind has been exposed to monstrosities, horrors and fundamental truths about the universe otherwise hidden to mortal minds. This grants them a measure of resistance to stress as a result. For each point in Tiěxīn the Xia gains a point of Stress Soak.
Zǒuguò (Aka: Walking through [the Valley]) The Xia has learned how to open an entry way to the Chasm itself. They are able to take advantage of the bizarre properties of space and time in that realm to travel vast distances in reality. A Xia who travels a day in the Valley emerges a week distant in Aeldos. This dangerous ability enables Xia to cover vast distances but comes with its own risks, in particular attracting the attention of the darker denizens of the chasm. The distance the Xia can travel in a given transition is defined by their level and the risk of attracting unwanted attention is also affected. Whenever a Xia uses Zǒuguò they must roll 2d10 and consult the chart below to see if they have attracted malicious attention.
|4||700km||2 or 20|
Tohēiàn: (Aka: Murk Blade) Once per day, with a thought and gesture the Xia is able to form a weapon from the mist of the chasm; this can take the form of a melee weapon or arrow. The traits of this weapon grow with the Xia’s level in Tohēiàn.
|Level||Melee Damage||Duration||Arrow Damage|
Angaeilk: (Aka: Summon Mist) A little used power of the Xia that allows them to evoke the mist of the chasm with all the dangers that entails. Xia typically use Angaeilk to cover an attack against enemies such as Bandits, and adventurous Ossandrian cohorts, cover retreats from the same, or to grant themselves a measure of cover when approaching dangerous areas. Angaeilk evokes the mist in a limited fashion, spreading over a limited area and lasting for short periods.
|1||3m||30 seconds / 5 rounds|
|2||10m||3 minutes / 30 rounds|
|3||30m||10 minutes / 100 rounds|
|4||100m||30 minutes / 300 rounds|
|5||1km||1 hour / 600 rounds|
Shāsucha: (Aka: Sucha Killer) Perhaps the Xia’s greatest advantage is their gift for killing the hated and monstrous Sucha, the aberrant creatures that dwell in the Mist. Wounds that a Sucha might heal if struck by a normal human seethe and fester when made by a Xia. For each point in Shāsucha the Xia may add a point of damage to any attack made against a Sucha.
Jī’è Wen Fùhuó: (Aka: Born of Mist) As a Xia grows they develop a fundamental connection to the otherworldly realm known as the Chasm. As a Xia grows in power it is possible to take on more features of the Chasm at the cost of one’s mortal features. For each level in Jī’è Wen Fùhuó the Xia grows a bit… stranger.
|1||The character becomes immune to mundane illnesses.|
|2||The character becomes immune to poisons and toxins.|
|3||The character requires little rest and can survive off of 2-3 hours of rest per night.|
|4||The character ceases aging.|
|5||The character can survive indefinitely without food or water.|
As the Xia advances through Jī’è Wen Fùhuó, (or the Way as some call it) they take on additional features. For example: blood that is more vapour than matter and flows upwards; unnaturally coloured eyes that swirl with mist; hair that seems to float perpetually as if beneath water; a tenuous physical coherence that seems to shift with ones movements; etc.