Beastmastery Detection Experiments

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This is a ritual to make one-shot items to detect beastmastered or otherwise mind-magicked people. I have confirmed that this is a power 5 ritual.


Major Themes/Narratives

  • Core ritual theme is "Hidden control by Northerners, seeking of that control by Empire"
  • Transformation of person to animal, as they are being controlled as animals
  • Representation of appropriate Empire spirits/countries within the ritual (marked in bold)
  • In the previous ritual form, Artist = Empire, the Northerner's actions represent their interference in the affairs of the Empire.

Current Working Version

I put the "finished" (beta) ritual description in a separate page. Detection of Beastmastery

Further Testing

We tested how healing the ritual performer changes the crane's effectiveness.

  • If the damage is healed entirely the crane won't work.
  • Extra damage does not make the crane more effective.
  • Healing some of the damage, either naturally or with magic, will reduce the effectiveness of the crane - small, slow puff of smoke rather than distinctive one.
  • Now that we've refined the ritual a little healing won't affect the crane so long as the damage taken still exceeds the minimum.
    • Example: Instead of taking (25 damage - Resistance) the Artist takes (45 - Resistance). She can be healed up to 20 points and the crane will still work at full effectiveness.

From this we got a clue that Feng Shui isn't Yang-y enough and swapped to Performance.

We also tested to see who can be detected.

  • Smoke goes strongly towards a person who has been beastmastered.
  • Smoke goes weakly towards someone with beastmastery corruption.
  • If those two are in the same room, it just goes to the beastmasterd person.
  • Smoke just sits there until it dissipates if there is no one with beastmastery.
  • It does not react to other Northern magics or corruptions.

We also rearranged the order of the elements, to find the best one.

Best order: Metal -> Earth -> Water -> Wood

We could use another Northern distraction before Water.

Kuan Xi is currently testing materials.

She spends 20 li, going for a fairly wide range of expensiveness/fanciness on the reusable components.

After buying them she wants to test the materials out in separate trials without running the whole ritual.

Which paper works best? Int with Magic Ritual 14 successes Various kinds of paper: The Wood component of the ritual

Xuan (xuanzhi) - calligraphy paper (made of elm, rice, bamboo, mulberry)
Kami- common origami paper
Washi- fancy origami paper
Unryu - mulberry paper
Lokta - made from evergreen shrubs bark from the mountains

The Unryu paper works best - the swirl of the shiny strands is echoed back later by the swirling smoke, and it's also a little slower to burn, so this is a good enhancement for improving the final detection.

Which ink works best? Int with Magic Ritual 13 successes

The ink needs to be mineral. Charcoal-based tanks the ritual badly. (Control of Earth here). The best turns out to be an iron-sulfate type ink that produces a dark brown ink rather than black, which matches the bear bristles that work best in the brush. The porcelain handle (again, Earth) works best.

Once you have focused the calligraphy brush on bear-and-earth, the acid+metal brush works much better as something else (plus it's better to not accidentally mix your calligraphy ink with acid and stopping to wash the brush breaks the flow). Horn for the paintbrush handle works better, because it's orthogonal to the elements.

Do the accoutrements matter significantly or would any basic desk set work? Int with Magic Ritual 12 successes

Having a well-made somewhat expensive (*) desk set helps, though it's marginal compared to some of the other options.

Which monocle is the most symbolically Magpie? (What roll is this?)

Expensive is better than cheap, but you think it's actually quality and valuable and effective and not just "lots of money". You find an elegant delicate monocle that gives you +1 skill in Eye for Detail, and this works very well.

Ritual v3

Two person ritual: Artist/seeker (Empire) and Northerner/Beastmaster

  • Experiment: Location, setting, timing
    • Time of Day
      • Moonlight (rise, set, transit of Moon)
      • Daylight (rise, set, transit of Sun)
    • rolled magic ritual 6 times in a row getting the same result, wits with mag ritual to watch
      • Midnight is best - sneaking, candle, etc. all more dramatic (late at night)
    • 2 points
    • Location
      • Building - not right with sneaky guy, but better than being rained on.
      • Military Tent - Study in a tent works best of options
      • Garden - right out
      • Wilderness - raining, puts out candle
      • By a fortress or city wall - something to the wall, but doesn't quite work with the tent. just there, not working with northerner.
    • 2 points

Invoking the Tao

  • Invoke the Yang: The Artist rolls Int with Feng Shui and Yang with Magic Ritual (want to change this to something more artistic) to invoke the Yang and lay out the implements.
    • Suggested ritual test: Figure out which skill to invoke
  • Invoke the Yin: Northerner (dressed as Beastmaster) takes all the ritual items. A magpie comes in and brings back a bunch of replacement items; Artist must use Wits with Perception and Yin with Magic Ritual to pick out the right items from the pile.
    • Suggested ritual test: Can we train a magpie to do this?
      • This is very hard. It would raise the difficulty (rolling for higher numbers).
      • Easier to get it to take stuff and leave. Maybe put bird-attracting food on some? Still rolling for 8s, probably.
    • Experiment: Baiting items to get a magpie to take them. (Northerner adds extraneous things instead of taking things?)
      • Food-scented chopstick
      • Shiny thing
      • Feather
      • Bone
      • Ribbon
      • "Northern" Cricket
    • 5 li for a magpie
    • What is it naturally attracted to?
    • Desk has normal writing implements, etc. Picking out wrong thing. (3,3,4,3,1)
      • The cricket seems to be the only one easily replicable.
      • Doesn't seem to prefer our stuff consistently.
      • Would need a more trained magpie to do better.
      • Could signify Magpie by making something valuable. Don't actually need a real magpie.
      • Putting on an expensive monocle to make the per roll?
      • 2 points
    • Northerner adds artistic implements (brushes/pens/etc) that are like the ones to be used by the Artist, but made of carved and painted bone?
    • Artist uses monocle and Wits with Perception to remove the incorrect/cheap ones.

Invoking the Elements

  • Artist lays out several identical sheets of paper. Beastmaster puts animal grease on one finger and "subtly" marks one sheet of paper amongst many. Artist must determine which paper has the mark and discard it (this is purely for show). He then performs the calligraphy of a bear symbol (Accuracy or Dex(?) with Calligraphy, Creation with Earth)
  • Bloodhound (dog) must find the Northerner's scent amongst set of target animals (real or stuffed). This proves he is worthy to seek and thus put his paw print on the paper with the calligraphy; handler must use Animal Handling to put paw print (Charisma with Animal Handling, Control of Water).
    • Suggested ritual test: Need to work out basic mechanics of paw print
      • Experiment: Test different types of dogs out: Bloodhound, Hero, Sheepdog, ShiTzu, Terrier.
      • Bloodhound and terrier are good. Sheepdog not so much. ShiTzu is aesthetic, but not seeking. (Ho is best, but probably shouldn't be made part of the ritual.)
      • Testing the dog should only be en passant, but shouldn't be a full step. Having it avoid/resist/discover as part of the painting step would work well.
      • We get 2 points.
    • Instead of seeking among animals, have dog notice the Northerner and bark warning before going to put his paw on the paper.
    • Do we want a guard dog instead?
    • Try different tasks en passant.
      • Seeking among stuffed animals - silly
      • Noticing Northerner and barking in warning - kind of good, best-ish
      • Northerner calls him and he ignores him - meh
      • Ignoring food distraction - less of seeking/noticing thing
      • Another dog - does pull in beast master, but adds an evil dog so....
    • None of them perfect, 2 points
  • Northerner steals paper that has been prepped above. He has several metal boxes (jewelry box, footlocker, etc) with latches keeping them close. He puts stolen paper inside one box; Seeker must find which one has the correct paper inside and open it by destroying the metal latch (Destruction of Metal); other boxes have symbolic animals inside of them. He then folds the paper into an origami crane (Dex with Origami, Transformation of Wood).
    • Experiment: What skill/stat to use for destruction of metal? Spend 2 li each on 5 jewelry boxes.
      • Strength roll with Athletics (10 successes) - Jump on box, smashing it open. No
      • Accuracy with Blacksmith ( 10 successes) - chisel & hammer pops it open - ok
      • Dex with Jewelsmith (8 successes) - Filed the lock in two - best option so far
      • Yang with Metal Sorcery (27 successes) - Immolates the box! Nope.
      • Energy with Kung Fu (8 successes) - knocks box across room, breaking its hinges. Just no.
    • Destroying the box or doing combat with it just defeats the aesthetic entirely.
      • Dripping acid on it might work.
      • Destroying it better than breaking it.
      • Something that fits well with character of "Artist" - Painting with etching compound.
    • 2 points


  • For finalizing the ritual, we set up a beeswax candle with a dragon on it (dragon), then cup the origami crane in one hand, bring it near the candle, but interpose the other hand to protect it, taking the damage from the candle and soaking the power. (Resolve with Strong Will)
Beastmaster detection castle.png


All experiment feedback has been incorporated into the current ritual form documented above, so these may not make sense without looking at earlier versions of the wiki page.

Experiments for current ritual form

Experiment #1

  • Experiment: Multiple sets of boxes, each set is made of one type of metal.
  • Points: 2 points, 10 cumulative points
  • Spend money buying metals for boxes; smithing rolls to make boxes


  • Decoy boxes should all be one type; actual hidey box should be of multiple types of metal.
  • Russian doll portion is doing a lot; having them be boxes of different construction that seem to be for people: e.g. jewelry box, footlocker, etc. is less fiddly. Each box is then of different metals.

Experiment #2

  • Experiment: Five different types of dragon candles/candle-holders
  • Points: 2 points, 12 cumulative points
  • Spend money buying 5 different types of candles, make rolls with Magical Ritual, Strong Willed, and taking damage from candle flame


  • Beeswax candle with dragon carvings on it is best. Bees and wax are ritually neutral.
  • Invokes image of mage's study with items of subtlety and meaning.
  • Nice in that it explicltly invokes "No fire" in an interesting way.

Experiment #3

  • Experiment: Calligraphy experiments: Method of hidden writing, what the writing is (words, names, pictures), how many pieces of paper should be corrupted
  • Points: 3 points, 15 cumulative points
  • Rolls: Spycraft, Magic Ritual, Disguise, Torgut


  • Just one paper is wrong (Northerner can act surreptitious).
  • "Mine" or "obey" is better than an animal.
  • Northerner should be a Beastmaster (have him dressed him up as one for ritual purposes).
  • Could have Beastmaster just mark one page with his fingernail or cover finger with animal grease and rub page.
  • Extra actions/verbs should not interfere or overlap with active ritual verbs.

Experiments from Ritual v2

Points from this version of the ritual still count as it is close enough to Ritual v3

Experiment #1

Invoking the Tao

Test 3x3 grid

Artist: Feng Shui/Ceremonies/Noble Lady Pastimes

Northerner: Cats/Self/"beastmastered" guy

Defender: Wits w/Per as either Find the Items in the mess/see the attack coming & block it/grab the important objects before attack arrives.

We get four points!

Cats are dodgy. Noble Lady Pastimes works with the aesthetic, Feng Shui was ok. Something artistic. Find the items works best.

Build up to beastmastery of men, appropriate escalation and drama. Use something to indicate control like threads. Final step would have him trying to control the Defender! Or some other guy and the defender can cut the thread. .

Make them metal threads so that can be destruction of metal!

Experiment #2

Calligraphy: Spend 50 li on art supplies and try out different papers/charcoals and seeing which symbols seem to work best

Xiao Fa does Calligraphy. 12 - tries many different types of calligraphy involving dragon & phoenix, or implying a sinuous dragony form without including dragon, etc.

Takanata does Art. 14 - dragon and phoenix, map of empire, northern wall, etc

KuanXi does Art Appreciation 14

Something small and symbolic in the heart of the origami that doesn't show until it's burned. Can get something from transforming one piece of art into another piece of art when its folded.

Art to outside, symbol to inside.

If we do the magpie frame, the defender can hold onto it and be damaged. Metal threads work.

We get two points!

Experiment #3

So, for this test we'll look at what will distract the animal at the 5 success level. Hunting dog.

Bloodhound! We borrow a bloodhound from house Tokai.

How do we imbue the paper with bloodhoundness using a wet paw print that doesn't mess up the art or origami? Only one print.

Distraction could be another animal with a metal thread on it. Or a lure of food and a metal thread ready to wrap around it. Or there could be a thread on our hound?

What kind of things distract it? Where can we put the paw print? How to do threads for symbolic beast mastery?

Think about symbology of threads throughout the whole ritual and how we use them on each step in a consistent way. <- different experiment.

Fox/ Ferret / bunny rabbit / skunk

Fox is winner in terms of the dog wanting to go after it. Skunk is winner for dog wanting to go away from it.

We need a bigger piece of paper. The paw print could be the symbol in the middle..... How do we place the paper so that the print can be put on it? Do this step first? Do we put it on the floor or get the dog to jump on the table? Or go up a ramp onto the table?

If we have the dog go up a ramp to the table to make his mark it's a harder roll, so the distraction can be lesser?

2 points!

Ritual v1

The items will be origami animals that can be burned & when you look thorough the smoke you can see mind influences on people. Either Cranes or Phoenixes. Crane is for sight, Phoenix for magic - Phoenix might object less to her image being lit on fire...

Nope, that doesn't quite work. The smoke flows towards anyone beast mastered in the area.

Invoke the Tao:

  • Int with Feng Shui to lay out the implements and materials. 1st person
  • Yang with Magic Ritual!
  • Wits with Perception to find and select the correct ones! 2nd person
  • Yin with Magic Ritual.

Invoke the Elements:

Spirits that seem appropriate to invoke include Bear, Dog, Crane, Magpie, Phoenix.

  • Place the paper into a metal frame to write on it. Magpie in some way?
  • Calligraphy to draw characters for sight, mind, etc. on the paper. Creation with Metal. (to make this metal use a metallic ink or metal stylus or stamp?)
    • Make this Creation with Earth by using charcoal or chalk to write with. Write signs for the Empire with explicit Dragon iconography.
  • Animal Handling to have a dog place a wet paw print on the paper. Control of Water (Wanted Dog cause he's one of the defending spirits.)
    • Make it a bloodhound.
  • Crumble up a stone and use the sand to dry the paper? Destruction of Earth.
    • Dismantle the frame. Destruction of Metal.
  • Origami to fold it into a paper crane (or phoenix). Transformation of Wood.

The dust goes into your eyes! Yang soaked by perception dice loss!

  • No longer any dust. Cut yourself on the metal pieces to soak the Yang.

The Yin goes into the crane!.

Ritual v2

New Plan: 3 person ritual- The Artist, The Northerner/Beastmaster, The Defender

The Artist rolls Int with Feng Shui and Yang with Magic Ritual to invoke the Yang & lay out the implements.

The Northerner comes in and messes with it. An animal comes in and messes it up.

The Defender uses Wits with Perception and Yin with Magic Ritual to find the correct implements in the mess & invoke the Yin.

The Artist uses Calligraphy to draw symbols for the Empire with dragon iconography using charcoal on the paper. May also have art or drawing skill to add images. The Northerner tries to distract with bird calls. A loud animal with a wire tied to it tries to distract the artist.The Defender quiets them somehow or covers the artist's ears. Creation with Earth

The Artist brings in a bloodhound, the Northerner tries to entice it away with food, the Defender makes an Animal Handling roll to have it place a pawprint on the paper. Control of Water Change to the Northerner has an animal on a thin wire that he uses to try to distract the hound.

The Artist folds the paper into a crane using Origami, the Northerner uses a symbolic metal puppet to interfere, the Defender destroys the puppet. Transformation of Wood/Destruction of Metal. The northerner has a man with a thin wire attached or tries to attach the wire to the defender. The defender breaks the wire

The Yang is soaked by ? getting cut by the wire or injured defending ? The Yin goes into the Crane.