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The Cycle

All that changes follows patterns. Simple changes - ebb and flow, night and day, follow the duality of the Tao, and slightly more complex patterns follow the elements. Greater changes, such as the year, the lives of the people of the Twelve Kingdoms, can be mapped to the twelve animals of the Cycle. Each of the twelve aspects is said to be a shard of the dragon.


  • Bear: While slow and ungraceful, the large and powerful bear endures his trials until his enemies foolishly move within his grasp.
  • Dog: Loyal, dependable, and self-sacrificing, dogs make the best soldiers and bodyguards.
  • Crane: Graceful and precise, the crane prefers to keep its distance and strike from afar. Popular among weapons fighters.


  • Tiger: Fierce, straight-forward. Preferring the attack to defense. A favorite among martial artists.
  • Tortoise: The wise and thoughtful tortoise is a natural choice for loremasters, sages, and teachers of all stripes.
  • Monkey: Quick and unpredictable, the monkey is easy to find, but hard to catch. Flamboyant and without care for the opinions of others.


  • Butterfly: With little care for this world, the spirit of the butterfly touches those focused on another. The best artists, poets, dancers and musicians are of the butterfly.
  • Phoenix: The ethereal Phoenix is master of forces few understand. Sorcerers, monks and monsters can all be touched by the firebird.
  • Serpent: The serpent is shy, preferring to hide and watch rather than confront - or strike in surprise from hiding. Healers, herbalists, and the collectors of secrets share the nature of the serpent.


  • Fox: Smooth as silk, the fox is a master of words, not weapons. Sly or subtle, the fox will always keep you happy.
  • Spider: With plans within plans, the spider weaves its web from out of sight. They lead the unwary to a gruesome fate. (We would prefer to avoid Spider PCs)
  • Magpie: Seldom seen, but often felt, the magpie is a collector, of items, money, and power. Thieves, merchants, and bureaucrats are drawn to the magpie.

Yoshi's Notes on What the Cycle Spirits Want

  • Fox: To be admired.
  • Spider: Power and domination.