Talk:Swordsman's Wand

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Hints due to shtick and experiments will go here. Feel free to discuss as well.



First Hint

Creation of a clay pot and creation of a fire that the pot is put on are not sufficiently of a single piece to be able to add their succeses together as you do. Similarly, three successes stabbing the pot is not six successes, even if you are destroying two things at once. Basically, for everything you want to succeed in, you should try to be succeeding with six successes (since it's a power 6 ritual). You can arrange to have some of those successes be cumulative - the Hon'eth Arcade ritual does that - but each thing you're doing in the ritual needs to get to six.

Second Hint

The current ritual is not very unified. There's swordfighting at the beginning, during the Invoking of the Tao, but nothing else guides the power in the direction of moving-a-sword as opposed to any other type of controlling-metal. (For example, having it be a sword of +2 successes is easier to make aesthetic).

Third Hint

Even if no one drinks the tea, it should be well-made, non-muddy-tasting tea, to be aesthetic. Whatever it is you do in performance of a ritual, you should aspire to do well.

Fourth Hint

Items which you seek to have last for a while (as most permanent items will be) generally require more valuable (expensive, rare, etc.) components than for rituals with a transient effect.

Fifth Hint

Once that is done, the sparring partners bow to each other and walk off.

You probably don't want to send them completely out of the ritual. They don't have to be the guys doing everything else, but you want to symbolically tie them in rather than symbolically discard them.


A clay pot needs to be fired before you can usefully use it to hold or boil water. Usually this takes a fair amount of time. It's a magic ritual so maybe that doesn't matter. Or perhaps the fashioned clay pot isn't the same one used elsewhere in the ritual, but that doesn't feel right to me. Then again, I'm not a ritualist. --Shen Wei Han 23:11, 23 June 2009 (EDT)

It doesn't matter if the pot is actually useful or not in the long term, as long as it holds together long enough for the ritual to work. -Shen-Ji

This makes more sense if the clay pot made is not the same as the clay pot used to make tea, I suppose. If the pot's not well fired before you try to boil water in it, the result will spill all over the campfire if you're lucky and taste like mud if you aren't. There was this time in the northern Qin Chao Steppes when weather forced a couple of us to unexpectedly stop in the back end of nowhere and we had to try it. But if you ask a master potter he might have something he can do about it. We didn't have one, we just got mud tea. --Shen Wei Han 01:00, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

Read the ritual again; no one actually drinks the tea so who cares what it tastes like? The only thing that matters is that it puts out the fire at the end. -Shen-Ji

I assumed 6 successes of cooking would exclude mud. --Shen Wei Han 13:51, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

Maybe it would be fire transforming stuff too many times, but there's this thing we did at home that used fire to make pots hard for tea and is pretty cool and stuff. ( --Lijuan 13:00, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

That page explicitly says Raku fired pieces are too porous to be used for food or drink (though it would be a much faster way to get a usable piece, and be fun to watch!)
That page contradicts itself--at the top, it says that Raku ware is associated with the tea ceremony, and at the bottom, it says that Raku ware is too porous to be used for food or drink. I found a site for the Raku Museum, in Kyoto, and most of the pieces pictured there are tea bowls. --Shuyan 11:35, 27 June 2009 (EDT)
(I wonder if that's a difference between historical and modern. If modern bowl-owners expect that ceramic bowls will be watertight so you can leave things in them for a long time, and dishwasher safe, so are unpleasantly surprised by raku, even if it's fine to use to drink tea out of then dry...?) --Boojum 12:01, 27 June 2009 (EDT)
I'm starting to think that it's the difference between Japanese-style Raku and American-style. After more reading, they seem very different. --Shuyan 11:49, 28 June 2009 (EDT)
Certainly, I have a piece of American made Raku that definitely cautions against trying to put liquids in it. It's pretty though. --Kate 17:35, 9 July 2009 (EDT)

Perhaps we could sidestep the entire clay issue by using sculpture or stonecarving to create a stone pot, instead of firing it? Hm, I suppose that would be transform earth instead of create earth...or maybe they can make a pot by essentially dry-mortaring appropriately shaped (or carved) stones together so it holds water? That's plausibly back to create earth, no? --Eon 14:30, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

This could possibly work as well as clay or even better. If the stone material itself is not transforming, it is still creation of the pot, not transforming. I'll go with this idea to avoid the whole pottery issue. -Shen-Ji

Isn't making the pottery pot transform anyway? --Kate 14:48, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
No, the earth is not being transformed in any way, it's being shaped, at least if its not fired. -Shen-Ji
Okay, sure, but you can probably argue that the stone in Eon's suggestion it also being shaped too, no? so it can still be create earth? --Kate 15:14, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
Yes, this is why I suggested it: to keep it create earth and sidestep the pottery issue, which looked like it was becoming a digression. --Eon 08:52, 29 June 2009 (EDT)

What about fashioning swords out of the various materials? (Stone, Wood, Ice, ...not sure what you do for fire...) And then you could duel with them at the climax of the ritual. --Fearless 17:05, 9 July 2009 (EDT)

Freeze the stone sword, light the wood one on fire? Coat a normal sword in alcohol and set it on fire for a "fire" sword (no, you can't do that to my blade)? --Shen Wei Han 17:50, 9 July 2009 (EDT)

Why not use a wand that's crafted like a sword? Then you could be quenching it in the tea, and so on. (Perhaps because you don't want a sharp wand? Or perhaps because this suggestion should have been raised much sooner...) --HeidiB 07:53, 5 August 2009 (EDT)

The wand is already shaped like a sword. Also, I need to include wood in the ritual and exclude metal, so it makes sense to use a wooden wand in the form of a sword. We could use a different type of non-metal sword, but would then have to include wood again someplace else. -Shen-Ji
Excluding metal -- that's what I was missing. Thanks! --HeidiB 15:48, 5 August 2009 (EDT)

Potential Experiments

Tea and Wood

See if creating tea with a stick of wood steeping in it can actually result in decent tea for the ritual. Experiment with different types of teas and woods (cedar, etc).

(2 points)

Start with six types of tea that encompass a reasonable variety (tell us what they're named and approximately what they're like; spend about 20 zhu for the initial tea stocking, and someone should make an Int roll with Cooking/Tea Ceremonies/other tea buying skills for 6 successes to get a good variety), and six different types of wood (tell us what), each carved into six little swords.

Invoke the Yang as you start the tea boiling (6 successes Magic Ritual), pour all thirty-six cups of tea, and steep the tea and the carved swords while the yang energy flows through the tea. (Requires 36 dex rolls with cooking/tea ceremonies skill, but each of them only needs one success to avoid messing up.)

Invoke the Yin (Magic Ritual, 6 successes) to halt the steeping and consume all 36 cups of tea immediately. The consumer should make a Wits roll with Cooking/Tea Ceremonies/tea-judging skills for 6 successes, and will also soak some of the Yin energy in side effects.


Creating the pot. Experiment with the right type of pot to find one suitable for making the tea, but still be breakable.

(1 point)

Describe six different sorts of "making a pot out of stone" methods. +1 to ritual skill for each which is Interestingly Different from the others, and each which is Expensive (we'll give you prices once that's determined). Invoke the Yin as the pot is "created" (whether that's actual carving, or putting together pieces), for 6 successes; this roll may add appropriate pottery/stone-carving skill. Two people must dramatically smash each pot with their swords(Accuracy and Sword skill), for an equal number of successes each and at least 6 successes total, as you invoke the Yang (again, six ritual successes). The pot-smasher(s) are likely to take damage from flying potshards as they soak some of the Yang.


Woodworking of the wand. See what sort of wand design is suitable.

(1 point)

At dawn, invoke the Yang (6 successes) and search the wood for six different sticks (This is a 2-point experiment if you find six different types of wood to use, though then you need a particularly diverse forest.) (6 successes on a Survival/Foraging/Woodsman roll to find good sticks). A woodcarver should carve each stick in a described different manner (+1 rital skill for each which is Particularly and Interestingly Different, and +1 skill to the carver for that particular carving); the carvings must get at least 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 successes in order. The carvings must all be finished by nightfall (Energy roll with Strong Will, 6 successes required); invoke the Yin at that point (6 successes required). You are not sure how the Yin is soaked here.


Firestarting with the practice swords. See how to actually set up the practice swords to make structure which will still hold up after burning for the time needed.

(1 point)

(Practice swords for six fires cost about 20 zhu.)

Invoke the Yin in darkness. (6 successes) Someone must build the practice swords into pyres; provide sketches of the six arrangements. Make a roll with Dexterity + Survival, Camping and any skill in setting up fires for each pyre, rolling for 8s because of the darkness - keep track of what successes (N) each pyre gets. Place a practice tea-boiling pot in each of them. Light the fires as you invoke the Yang (6 successes). Each pyre must make a roll, with N dice and N skill, to avoid dropping the pot before the water boils. Each must get at least one success, and one pyre must get at least three. The person lighting the fires will soak some of the Yang energy.