Xiao Fa's Notebook
Xiao Fa's notes and such. Mostly in-character. Please suggest corrections on the Discussion page.
Inside the Front Cover
On Starting on the Path of Statecraft
"So, where does one begin if one desires to be principled and taken seriously but is beginning from a standing start, as it were?"
On Being Emperor
Usually from reading 'State and Statecraft,' unless noted otherwise.
- Support of the People
- Support of the Army
- Being a blood heir
- Support of the Regency Council
- The book does not mention the Regency Council, but it does say:
- so...one presumes that means support of the regency council can be gained by arranging a vote and arranging a suitable number of regents to vote your way.
- Support of the Dragon
- Omens of Thrones
- From thinking about Imperial Shticks:
- Support of the Bureaucracy
- ...after reading that bit, I got a weird feeling, like something went wrong with that reading session. Or perhaps something went... better than expected and you just weren't used to it working like that? Hard to say.
- Well, all of that ends in itself business is clearly a disaster. However, a rule of the bureaucracy is that the the bureaucracy has to follow the rules of the bureaucracy. So if we understand it better, we may be able to use it enough to our advantage to get something that counts.
- Support of the Nobility
- Support of the Imperial Consort
- And from research done by Yue, Shen-Ji's wife:
On What Is
- "Closing your eyes does not make the room dark." -Master Kwan
On What We Wish There Wasn't
- "There is no fixing change, Xiao Fa." -Master Kwan
- "It is not possible to have the chi of a place completely unconnected from the rest of the world. So it is important to shape the connection, as well." -Master Tranh
It is also notable that the empire seems to have pinched off bits of the terrains of the northern and southern barbarians (Qin Chao and the Strand, respectively), perhaps to anchor the empire's chi to the world surrounding it? Are there therefore other anchors as well?
This one helped to create a new meditation garden for the Green Pagoda. It feels strongly like it is my garden instead of a garden. This is somewhat unsettling. However, it is very comfortable, and I think it is working the way we intended. It seems to be good for reflection and introspection; less so for zen letting go of self. After the plants take root, Monk XX will let me know how he finds it. Perhaps Cai Wen can be convinced to go meditate there and share his thoughts.
Or perhaps even Master Zhou.
First I Ching Reading
On Right Actions
- "Common courtesy should never put one out." -Qin Yanyu
Sapora Oil Recipe
A recipe for distilling Sapora Oil.
Put Snake Oil recipe here, when I know it.
- All better! Next to consider is what else can be done for the region.
Two infrastructure wounds remain
Two resources wounds remain
Widows and Orphans Fund
Currently contains 79 li, 36 zhu. Li Merit gave it all to this one.
On Garnering Help
Currently asking Brother Sochu (and possibly Sister Aiyu) of the Meihua Sannong to come inspect the situation and tell him what they think the next steps are. Brother Sochu and Sister Aiyu think that they cannot spare the time to go look at New Rivers, as they feel Brother Changling will become Abbott if they leave for that long.
A noodle recipe. Hard to make out what several of the ingredients are. There are a couple of scribbles, and crossed out bits.
Late Spring Taiga Noodle Soup: Ingredients (includes 'Mindfulness' in addition to other more predictable ingredients) , but also includes ramps and peppercorn flowers, and Method (includes 'Meditate on the recipe', and 'Mix with Intent'). "It is the Taiga, so celery is predominant, with other Taiga flavors, and a sense of burgeoning summer."
- Resolve with Meditation to focus the mind on the recipe, then empty the mind.
- Chi with Chi Mastery to feel the chi of and ride it into the cooking
- Int with Cooking to make the soup
On Being Master Tenzin's Great Work, and Severings In General
The answer to this depends somewhat on how much you sever. The more gets removed, the harder it is for the chi to grow again quite as fully - and it's something that happens over time, not immediately. But in general, yes, the chi grows anew (not quite "regrows", it's not what was there before, it's chi based on what is there after the severing).
(The metaphor might be if someone lost a beloved spouse - there is a hole immediately, and perhaps they will never be quite as innocently joyful as they were, but with time and growth, they can stop grieving. For a less painful seeming metaphor, perhaps it's like giving up smoking; there may always be that particular thing missing, but that doesn't mean you're Always Lessened.)
You could probably expand the ritual to put new things in the holes (then you'd get something more like Mirris); Master Tenzin doesn't seem to have pursued that. When you prune a limb from a bonsai tree, you do not stuff a different plant in; you prune to the shape you want, and then let it grow anew from there.
On Shaping Your Chi
- "I would say to you that if your chi is not as you wish it to be, to shape your actions and your surroundings to be most harmonious to that which you wish to be, and your chi will grow to join that harmony." --Chi Master Ko
Not trivially; places have less of a sense of self, and are less able to participate fully in this sort of change. The Great Work was clearly something that involved a willing and participatory subject, not an unwilling subject. On the other hand, a place is also not likely to resist in the same way as an unwilling subject would.
So it would definitely be an expansion to do it on a place, but it's likely possible, with research and work.
8 altogether (although this number might have been relevant as this one was once a Spider). There are a bunch of roles: one for Yang, one for Yin, and two for Chi (one of the Chi guys is more like the overall ritual master). Then, there's someone to act as the connection to the Material World, and someone to provide the connection to the World Above, and a healer. Oh, and the target. It is possible to combine roles, though it would require much more ability for the combined-role person.
Well, technically, you could do it more than once - keep cutting off bits until there was just the teeniest stub of a person left. Ew. Though, there would be issues with having their active participation, even after the first one, if part of what they lost was the plan; they might have to re-learn it all.
From the reading, though, you don't think Master Tenzin would ever have been likely to *do* that - the philosophy would be to choose the *right* cut to make, not to just randomly chop off bits until it was good. If a second severing was needed, that would mean the first one failed in its ends, so figuring out why would be more important, and then figuring out why a second one would be any more likely to work.
The ritual isn't at all designed for that. The idea is somewhat distasteful, but you imagine it might be possible to graft onto another person. You would probably want to have a second group dealing with that, rather than adding to the functions of the group performing the main ritual. You can't think how it wouldn't end up with something like a mess like Ting Ting, though.
On Teachers and Students
- "It is said that we are who our teachers make us. You more than most, I am sure - you speak now much more like he did. If you do not remember who he was, look inward to see who you have become - his thumbprints are all over your clay." --Yanzi, speaking of Master Tenzin and Xiao Fa
On Too Much of a Good Thing
Do buffs, especially external ones, put the chi of a person out of harmony with themselves? Kind of...
Ting Ting's Wisdom
- "The weight of the mountain is as nothing compared to the sorrow of a burdened heart." -
- "When all one has to carry a flame in is one's hands, there is no question of whether there is harm. The hands may be burnt... or the flame may be extinguished." -
- "It is a wise man who knows when he is the hunter, and when he is the prey." -
She called this one the "Hand of the Dragon."
On Helping Li Kao
I feel badly that we failed to do anything with Li Kao's prayer beads. We had them for so long, but did not know what to do with them. I hope to be able to do something about rescuing or helping him. When visited the Temple of Invisible Wind, chose to listen to the wind for a way to help Li Kao. Saw this vision:
- You look out over the mountain, and the plains beyond and the rivers and hills... it's very hard to see. Something blocks your sight, but there are two men, your men, sitting across from each other at a campfire, waiting for you. They do not share your goal, but you may be able to get them to assist during their attempt at their own.
Revered Takanata thinks Silver Dragons is more likely.
Second I Ching Reading
On Asking Questions
What questions need to be asked? How will this one discern those questions that will guide him?
- Darkest Well-Water. Is this relevant somehow?
Dates of Note
- Date of Severing, according to Sister Aiyu: "Early Tiger in the eighth Year of the Tortoise since the beginning of the Stewardship. So nearly eight springs ago."
- Date of Dragon Aspect: The Day of the Early Spider in the Month of the Butterfly in the first Year of the Spider since the White Pagoda was abandoned. (Last year)
- Defied his necromantic captor Mu the Mad, and used my Chi Mastery to destroy his wretched Army of the Undead
- Faced down the fear of a haunted house and claimed the Skeleton Key, which opens all locks
- Wrested the very chi of the empire from the Jade Throne, disrupting for a time the flow of chi to his enemies
- Dove into a volcano to meet the Great Phoenix Spirit and emerged unburnt
- Sailed the World Ocean, and visited far-off, exotic lands unheard of from the Empire
- Redeemed the corrupted Ghosts of Imperial Soldiers ensnared by Northern magics, bid their shades be bound back into their bodies, and caused them to be reborn as Imperial Citizens, whereupon they entered his service
- Unmade a vile necromantic relic and freed the soul of the Imperial citizen trapped therein
- Made a student of one of his enemies, forcing him to serve him and do his bidding for a time
Chi Reserve Research
- 1. Find and examine N different sorts of chi reserve (currently Tao Rock, Wall reserve, Inflicted Senchi Chamber)
- 2. Come up with N sorts of differences (currently vulnerability, access, and purpose)
For each increasing N, you can make a roll to ask the GMs a question, with N dice and N skill; the question should be either about the subject in general, or one of the particular chi reserve mechanics. 1 success is needed for a Y/N question, 3 successes for a short answer, 5 successes for a short essay.
"How would I do this myself" is a valid short essay question, but may require more research than a single question. :)
|Tao Rock||Wall Reserve||Inflicted Senchi Chamber||Sorcerous Ritual||Chi-Stolen Statuette (Dreamed)|
|Vulnerability||The rock made subject's chi more vulnerable by providing an avenue to the subject's Tao. Possession of the vessel was sufficient to allow chi combat with the subject.||Damage done to the Wall by northern magics drained the reserve of the subject. Symbological analysis suggested that if the subject joined a new House and the House was utterly defeated, the Wall itself would probably also be damaged. Two-way vulnerability?||Did the fact that subject was not a proper senchi chamber make the senchi chamber's chi more vulnerable? I did suspect at the time that strengthening subject's chi to withstand the senchi chamber might damage the chamber's chi, and since it was not a living thing, the chi might be permanently damaged. The inappropriate vessel was a potential vulnerability for the senchi chamber's chi.||Each step of a sorcerous ritual must be successful, and the larger the effect of the ritual, the more difficult the actions must be.||The statuette can easily be taken away, denying you access to the stored power.|
|Access||Tao placed in the rock was not accessible to subject until he expended it in the form of karma.||The Wall seemed to have access to Wei Han's reserves of Tao when it was damaged by shaggy elephants.||Subject had access to senchi abilities. Accessing abilities reduced dissonance of unusual relationship: using a senchi chamber's abilities is not dissonant, but having a senchi chamber forced into your own chi is.||The power built up by the ritual is not accessible safely until the ritual's completion, and the final soaking.||After the statue is aspected (?), (all of?) the stored successes are available each action.|
|Purpose||To allow subject's Tao to be expressed directly as karma when used||The human reserve of the Wall exists to give the Wall the chi of a living, adaptable thing?||A Senchi chamber is a means to focus the chi of an area to make it more potent and to allow direct expression of some of the more subtle effects of the local chi.||To allow the creation of complex effects by channeling chi through the elements, actions, and (possibly) cycle spirits.||To store aspected (usable by a particular class/profession) successes for future use.|
|Capacity(?)||Limited capacity?|| First, it becomes very clear to you that Wei Han belongs here. Like one of the stones of the Wall, fitting perfectly and solidly between the other stones.
You *don't* obviously belong here in the same way, so it takes longer for you to center yourself in your space, but once you've done so, you can feel the strength of the Wall surrounding you. This is a place of endurance, of strength, of maintaining forever, and you can tap some small part of its infinite reservoir.
|Essentially infinite?||Defined by the size/difficulty of the ritual designed.||Defined by the size of the cap (?) and the number of successes stored.|
|Aspect (Flavor?) of Chi||Defined by Individual's Tao||The Wall is Winter-flavored||Defined in part by the Senchi Chamber's attunement at the time.||Determined by the parts left out of the ritual.||Determined by the being who provided the chi in the first place.|
- 1. "Does the 'human reserve of the Wall' exist to bring the chi of the Wall closer to that of a living being?"
- 2. "Would strengthening Ting Ting's chi to the point where it could withstand the chi of the senchi chamber actually have endangered the chi of the chamber?"
- 3. Is the expression of saved Tao as karma an effect repeatable by chi reserves in general?
Other Possible Avenues of Research
- A sorcerous ritual is a temporarily constructed chi reserve, built up and then released.
- Most magic items are not exactly a chi reserve, as the chi is ~permanently instantiated into the item, but temporary items like potions would probably qualify.
- In other realms, possession by a spirit or demon is similar to your example of the senchi chamber, but very different in nature.
- Holy places, and haunted places may have that aspect to them. A number of locations in the Jade Palace do interesting things with the chi; some almost certainly qualify as having a reserve of dedicated and tappable chi.