Before the ritual starts, start a small fire over which a pot can be hung/placed.
Invoking the Tao:
- Start with a quill and a brush (writing instruments) and two pieces of paper, and some ink left over from the last time the ritual was done.
- Lay the two pieces of paper on top of each other
- Use the quill (without ink) to inscribe the characters for the north and south winds in opposite corners of the top page, hard enough to crease but not hard enough to puncture, then use the brush to drip ink into the dimples created by the creases, so that the inscribed characters will soak through. Blot extra ink, and then turn the papers over and inscribe the characters for the east and west winds in the remaining corners, and repeat the drip/inscribe/blot sequence. (Accuracy and Yang rolls to inscribe the characters, Resolve and Yin rolls to drip the ink; Calligraphy is the obvious skill for the Accuracy and Resolve rolls.)
Invoking the elements:
- Grind up some black walnut charcoal for ink (transformation of earth), 3 successes on an Int roll with Calligraphy needed.
- Mix the ground pigment into water and place the mixture in the pot over the fire. The water should have been obtained from two places as far apart as possible. (The water doesn't have to be recently gathered; you can stash a mix of water. The separation of the two places affects the range of the resulting paper.)
- Boil down the results to form the ink (destruction of water, control of fire), 3 successes on a Cooking roll needed.
- Take a silver die (cost approx. 2 li) and inscribe a chop on it with the characters for "Communicate" (creation of metal), 3 successes of Metalworking and 3 successes of art/design/calligraphy needed. The art/design/calligraphy roll makes it firmly "creation" and not "transformation".
Closing the Ritual:
- Use the chop and the ink to place a seal on both pieces of paper, closing the ritual. Save the remaining ink for the invocation of the Tao in a future run of this ritual.
- The Yang energy is soaked as damage and the Yin is channeled towards Seeking of Wood.
(Notes from ritual development below the line, in case they're useful remembering how to write rituals or something...)
The goal of this ritual is to create a pair of pieces of paper, each of which will duplicate whatever is written on the other. (One message, all written at once.) I think this is power 3 effect, and once-ever, for a total ritual power of 3.
Given that we have an example of this (Min Feng's gift), we may be able to leverage it for a couple of points of experiment.
Shen-Ji's initial thought is to model the ritual on a series of actions:
- Make paper
- Make ink
- Write on paper
- Clean paper
That allows various creation/transformation/destruction actions on various elements
Various bits I have thought of:
- Transformation of Earth: Converting ingredients into ink (also could involve boiling of water: Creation of Fire and Destruction of Water)
- Transformation of Wood: Creating the paper (also could involve Destruction of Water (drying out the paper))
From Cai Wen--what's a suitable imbalance for this? A couple of theories:
- Transformation or control of wood, since paper is made of wood. (Or seeking wood, since the written message is seeking the other page?)
- Creation, transformation, or control of earth, since we're making a written message (written in ink, which seems mostly earthy) appear somewhere else.
Some other ritual bit ideas:
- Seeking and destruction of metal, possibly also transformation of water: Find a small and somewhat-flat metal object that has rusted. Dampen it and imprint both pages (leaving an identical rust stain on each), and then melt down the object. (Ensures that the imprint pair is unique. It sounds to me like melting down a metal object counts as destruction--a transformation where the result is less.)
- Control of Fire: Careful use of fire to dry out the paper, either during the paper-creation process, or after the rust imprint.
Shen-Ji isn't sure what the right imbalance for this is offhand. I suspect we'll need a Magic Ritual skill roll or a use of my Tweak Ritual schtick to get a hint. Remind me to use my Tweak Ritual schtick on this in the future; the period from 3/6-3/20 is being used for Takanata's ritual, but as that will likely happen soon, I'll start using it on this ritual when his is over.
Hints we have been given:
- "Being a brush" and "being paper" are not very strong for Yang or Yin. You probably need to do something Yangy with the brush, and something Yiny with the paper. (April 27)
- (Done) To avoid Creating Fire in the ritual, light the fire before the ritual starts.
- (Done, or at least tried...) Even better than stabbing it with a brush would be to include some amount of Lijuan's suggestion of soaking ink through one into the other. Ink and White Paper are very natural for Yin and Yang symbolism. If you want to mess around with punctures, a quill is better than a brush. (from Paper-linking experiment)
- [From the ink-choosing experiment] Having two different inks is a little weird, but you do need to do the Tao before the Elements. Perhaps having the ink in the first step be the leftover ink from the last time you did the ritual, or something like that...
- Paper-linking experiment
- 2 points.
- Of the three things you tried, the one involving using a brush on your paper, rather than trying to shoot it to death, is the most appropriate for the ritual.
- Pigment-choosing experiment
- 2 points
- Carbon/charcoal seems to be the best one, from association with the nonexistent phrase "carbon copy". Also, black is clearly better than colored ink; ink and paper is a classic Yin and Yang pairing.