This is a places where I'll compile my character sheets and other roleplay-created archives for various roleplays and the like.
This is a places where I'll compile my character sheets and other roleplay-created archives for various roleplays and the like.
Jigu is one of an infinite number of alternate Earths. There are many countries nestled on a few continents. Each section will be broken down by individual continents and then each nation.
Inhabited mainly by humans, asia is based off the cultures and customs of a few countries in real life Asia, namely Korea, Japan, China, The Philippines, Malaysia & Thailand. Originally the continent of Asia was divided between the Old Kingdom, or Yes Wang-Gug and the many tribal islands to the south. Since the decline of the Tes Wang-Gug, the territories were split into two nations with distinctive cultures. Currently there are now three nations; Saikoku, Dong Guojia and Timog
Dong Guojia: The republic set on the eastern most of the continent. It is heavily based on historical Chinese and Korean culture with some modern influences and futuristic technologies.
Landscape and geography: Dong Guojia is made up of mostly hilly grasslands, occasionally dotted with forests of bamboo and other trees, which are common in Asia. The region becomes more mountainous as one heads further west. There are three notable landmarks
- Lánbǎoshí hé (Sapphire River): Starting from the southeast, this famous river branches into hundreds that snake all over Dong Guojia. Due to this, ferries and waterbending is the most common mode of travel in the country, second only to hover vehicles and airbending.
- Yù píngyuán (Jade Plains): In the center-most of the country are the jade plains which are lush grasslands that go on for several miles. Due to the fertile soils; farms, apothecaries and the like are very common here.
- Shí bùxiǔ de zhīzhù
(Stone Immortal Pillars): Towards the western mountains of Dong Guojia are these stone formations. There is a famous tale of an earth bender named Guan Pi who was set upon by a large gang of bandits. Knowing he could not defeat them all in one sitting, he used his earthbending techniques to raise this maze of stone pillars, trapping and isolating the bandits. This allowed him to pick them off one-by-one or in small packs and arrest them. Since then there has yet to be a greater feat of earthbending.
Zoology & Wildlife:
Fashion: Long, flowing, robe-like clothes are quite common in Asia. Dong Guojia, while having some long shirt styles, typically wear collared shirts, jackets, gowns and the like.
Men: Men typically wear long Changshan during the winter, along with slacks and boots. In the spring and autumn, Tangzhuang suits, along with slacks and slipper-style shoes are worn. While in the summer shorter-sleeve or sleeveless versions of Tangzhuang are popular along with either shorts or lighter slacks and the same slipper-style shoes and sneakers.
Women: Women in Dong Guojia wear Qipao of various lengths and styles, depending on the weather. In winter the Qipao tends to be very long with long sleeves and women wear long boots and stockings to protect against the cold. In Spring and Autumn the Qipao is lighter and slipper-style shoes or heeled shoes are popular. In the Summer, shorter-sleeve or sleeveless Qipao are accompanied by the same slipper shoes and heeled shoes as in the Spring and Autumn. Short-shorts are also sometimes worn, but most women are too reserved or easily embarrassed to wear such revealing clothes.
Not all women in Dong Guojia wear gowns and dresses, especially airbenders and gliders (so as to avoid giving unintentional peeks at their undergarments). Those who don't, prefer to wear pants and shorts, similar to men, but more form fitting.
-General Society: The people of Dong Guojia greatly value scholarship, health, good etiquette and culture. As such, the average Dong Guojian would have an IQ level of about 275 and a life expectancy of 150-200 years. Dong Guojian people are very polite, always bowing in greeting and farewell while maintaining eye-contact and are also tactful in what they say. It's rare to find a Dong Guojian that swears regularly, though the occasional cuss word does slip out in times of high emotion.
It's worth noting that the Dong Guojian public is somewhat reserved in "mature matters". Censorship in media is very high with violence, sexuality and foul language are either kept out or in the case of Mature-themed and even Adult films and shows, censored. However, nudity in the context of art such as paintings, artistic films, plays or medical-theme works are now uncensored due to recent laws. This is meant to show the human form in a non-sexualized and artistic manner, though this isn't still without some controversy. Entertainment in Dong Guojia tends to be very high-brow, popular genres include Historical Fiction, Drama, Science Fiction, Educational and Comedy.
-Education: Dong Guojia's emphasis on education and intellect has caused it's education system to be among the best in the world. Schools teach a wide range of subjects from including science, history, math, language arts, foreign languages, philosophy, art, music, political science, computer science and physical education. At an elementary level, foreign languages would include those local to the continent such as Timog or Saikoku. Physical education teaches a wide range of exercises including basic calisthenics and Qigong to develop both external and internal fitness.
The school year is typically eleven months out of the year, ending during the spring for Chūnjià or 'Spring Break'. The School week is six days out of seven and rarely closes except on important holidays such as the Dōngzhì (Winter Solstice). The education system is broken into three stages: Elementary which goes from ages 4-10, High School which goes from 11-18 and University. Schools also include extracurricular groups and clubs that include debate teams, drama clubs, Go clubs, music bands, art clubs, poetry clubs and martial art clubs.
-Music: The music of Dong Guojia is taught as a complex and expressive science of sound. Traditional music can be played solo or in small quartets. Traditional instruments come in various forms which are separated into three main categories.
-Woodwind & Percussion including
-Plucked and Stuck strings.
Modern music in Dong Guojia takes advantage of modern computers, synthesizers and sound sampling creating genres such as Huánjìng, meaning Ambience, Gǔ dīyīn, meaning Drum n Bass, Dàqì de , meaning Lounge and many others. Artists who work in these fields are typically solo artists, but collaboration between musicians is also common in Dong Guojia.
-Celebrity culture: Celebrity culture in Dong Guojia is not the same as it would be in most countries, due to cultural emphasis on intellect and high culture. As aforementioned, celebrities include scientists, doctors, philosophers, authors of various genres, actors of various genres, musicians of various genres, artists of various genres and martial artists. Due to local laws of privacy, tabloids and gossip is very low, while some underground forums and websites focus on such things.
Those who are able to master several of study and accomplish great things with them are awarded the title Wényì fùxīng shíqí de rén, meaning 'Renaissance man' or Wényì fùxīng shíqí de nǚrén if a woman. These people are somewhat rare and it's considered a great honor to be awarded this title. As such all people of renaissance are inducted in a hall of fame and are historically recorded for their accomplishments.
-Martial Arts Culture: The martial arts techniques and practices in Dong Guojia had evolved the techniques practiced in the Old Kingdom, or "Gǔ wángguó". There exist several forms and techniques in Dong Guojia which are separated between hard-external & soft-internal. Hard-external styles such as Pigua Zhang and Choy Mok practiced fast and emphasize the use of muscular power, gradually becoming softer and more internally based as the user advances. Meanwhile soft-internal styles such as Taiji Quan and Bagua Zhang are practiced slowly and emphasize the use of internal Qi-power, gradually becoming harder and more external as the user progresses. There also exist several forms based on animals; the most famous five being the tiger, crane, snake, leopard and dragon and even styles from the Gǔ wángguó such as Taekkyon and Kuk Sool Won. No matter the form, most martial art institutions include grappling techniques in the form of Chin na which uses submission holds & joint locks and Shuai Jiao which emphasizes throwing & wrestling techniques.
The dong Guojian martial arts arsenal uses hundreds of different weapons which are categorized into 18 weapons; 9 long, 9 short. The main four are the dao (saber), jian (sword), qiang (spear), and gun (staff). The weapons also have dozens of variations and combinations.
The practice of martial arts has always been a spiritual one, focusing on personal development and self-actualization as well as self-defense. As such; many Chán and Tiandao temples across Dong Guojia also teach martial arts. The techniques of Chán monasteries are hard-external and include mind-based Qiángzhì techniques meanwhile Tiandao temple techniques are soft-internal and teach various Qishu techniques and Qí mó spells & rituals. Other institutions that teach martial arts are education institutions that offer martial arts as an extracurricular activity, the police and the military. The latter two of which focus more on practical technique in order to increase survivability of the practitioner. More information on this will be found in sections regarding military and police.
As aforementioned; the practice of martial arts in Dong Guojia is considered a spiritual one of self-development. As such, schools generally emphasized teaching prearranged forms and partnered sets, saving the martial applications for more advanced students who had developed good physique and technique. However some schools and clans secretly warred with one another for supremacy of the martial arts world. Anyone who gained such would be able to more widely promote their school's techniques and acquire great amounts of social-economic influence as well as work for the military as a high-ranking officer. By the end of the 20th century, these conflicts began to worsen when certain schools who practiced forbidden techniques began to force the conflicts out in the open. Many rival schools and temples continued to battle them in order to stop them in order to keep them from gaining any more power and influence.
However, despite their and the police's efforts, the conflicts only continued to escalate to the point of innocent bystanders were killed in the process. At this point the military had to properly intervene to bring some measure of order. In the year 2005, the Hépíng zhǔyì zhě (Pacifist age) began in which the government first disbanded it's military forces in an attempt to encourage peace amongst the world. Originally there came a large demand to have all martial practices and weapons banned. However, at the same time there was just as much demand to keep the martial practices alive as they had been integral in Dong Guojia's history. To satisfy both parties, the Republic Council at the time began what is known as the 'Wǔshù movement'.
This had many schools and institutions begin to place a greater emphasis on perfecting forms for performance arts and sportifying martial applications for competition sparring. This caused them to either place far less emphasis on self-defense & battlefield-oriented martial applications or stop teaching them altogether. While this movement gained great popularity, it did not go without criticism from many martial arts purists who felt the movement was hurting the true spirit of martial arts by watering down its techniques into a performance act and sport. Other institutions that maintained that purist school of thought included Chan and Tiandao monasteries and temples who needed to combat evil spirits, demons and cult followers and police institutions who needed to apprehend criminals. However, maintaining their arts' purity also caused this institutions to fall into decline from lack of students. Some of these schools were even forced to shut down while others moved to other countries that would appreciate the pure martial techniques.
-Supernaturalism: Like most of Asia, mysticism in Dong Guojia is devided between Qi-based 'Qishu' and mental-based 'Shēngwù'.
Use of supernaturalism in Dong Guojia is generally Qi (internal energy)-based, so use of actual magic and sorcery is not very common. However, before the aspects of Qi-based arts, one must understand the aspects of Qi by itself.
Qi is the lifeforce energy present within living things, much like the battery or power source to an electrical device. The flow and balance of Qi is closely related to one's health and in some cases stamina. Contrary to ancient belief, imbalance or lack of Qi is not the cause of illness, but rather rather a consequence. One of the basic functions of Qi is to strengthen a body's immune system. As such imbalance or lack of strong Qi flow can allow bacteria and viruses to settle in the body and attack it.
While having a strong Qi-flow and/or abundance of Qi can help keep the body healthy and increase life-span somewhat, it does not cause immortality as the body still ages and eventually shuts down. On the flip-side if one's Qi is completely depleted, then the body will die. One needs the other to keep a person alive.
In Dong Guojia, any technique of cultivating and manipulating one's Qi is referred to as 'Qishu' or 'Energy-art'. However, this has caused a misconception in countries outside of Asia that these arts use only Qi, the life energy. It must be understood that Qi actually has two sides: Qi, which refers to life energy and Jing, which refers to power or essence. Nearly every Qishu technique first teaches a form of Qi-gong to create this energy.
Qi is produced in the Dan Dian point, which is located in the lower stomach (as such Qi flow and abundance is also closely related to sexual health and fertility), and flows throughout the body through meridians, which are located throughout the body. Eventually Qi flows up to the brain and from there is converted into Jing and flows back down throughout the body, eventually going back to the Dan Dian point.
Different styles of Qishu are usually referred to as bending, which are taught in two versions in Dong Guojia
Trade schools and medical schools that teach bending, teach domestic versions also known as 'tool styles'. Meanwhile temples and other institutions that teach martial arts teach the martial version of bending. There are some institutions that teach both versions of bending techniques, however those who are clever and have the control could manipulate either style to resemble the other.
There are various forms of bending;
-Shuǐ jìshù (Waterbending) is the technique of bending liquid by externally expanding one's Qi into water or water-based substances. Typically the user can manipulate the molecular speed of water to use any of its three phases; ice (solid) water (liquid) and steam (gas). Through this, the waterbender can control the temperature of water as well as it's shape and movement. While Shuǐ jìshù is generally taught to use all three phases, some institutions emphasis use of one phase, such as liquid bending.
The tool version of Shuǐ jìshù is often used for fishing, water travel, fire-fighting, plumbing, ice sculpting, ice skating and cooking to a small degree. Meanwhile the martial styles of Shuǐ jìshù manipulate water to crash, whip, restrain & control, create projectiles and fixed weapons of ice and encase either an opponent to restrain them, themselves to create a layer of armor, as well as various other applications.
A sub-skill of Shuǐ jìshù is bloodbending which is used to bend the blood within living beings. Due to dangerous and homicidal philosophy behind this technique, it has been banned from use.
-Xiāofáng jìshù(Firebending): Firebenders can use their Jin to regulate their body temperature and ignite it into flames. At higher levels, firebenders can also externally expand their Jin to control surrounding flames. This can be used to either make flames bigger and burn brighter or extinguish them. Firebenders can also intensify their flame, which also causes it to change color. Flames can burn a low red, high yellow, intense blue and at its highest level a powerful white.
The tool version of Xiāofáng jìshù is used for welding, fire-fighting, cooking, factory use (such as glass making and metallurgy). Meanwhile the martial style teaches to project flames through one's hands, feet and even mouth. A firebender using can project concentrated jets or compacted blasts, either of which can be charged for greater effect.
Subskills of Xiāofáng jìshù include magmabending which allows a user to control molten lava and combustion which focuses on firing bursts of concentrated heat. The tool version of this is used for demolition purposes.
-Tǔ jìshù(Earthbending): The technique of bending the earth to one's use by expanding their Jin into the ground. This extends to just about any mineral and type of earth, including dirt, crystal & gemstone, sand, mud and so on. Earthbenders can either create fissures in the ground, raise stalagmites or lower craters or even lift piece of earth, giving them an element of telekinesis.
Tool versions of Tǔ jìshù are often used in construction, grounds keeping & gardening and sculpting as well as travel. The martial application typically involves creating fissures or earthquakes to disrupt an opponent's footing, raising pieces of earth to strike an opponent or create cover, hurl projectiles or shape pieces of earth into a weapon, or encase themselves in earth to create a layer of armor.
A subskill of Tǔ jìshù is metalbending, which is sometimes taught as a separate style. Metalbending is obviously the skill of bending metal, which is simply refined earth. Tool versions of metalbending is used in metallurgy or other metal works. Meanwhile the martial style of metalbending is used in a similar manner of Tǔ jìshù.
-Kōngqì jìshù(Airbending): The skill of manipulating the very air itself by channeling one's Jin into it. Kōngqì jìshù is considered a very versatile skill as air almost always available. This allows the user to generate gusts of wind, cyclones, whirlwinds, hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as vertical air funnels and even increase or decrease air resistance to augment speed.
The tool version of Kōngqì jìshù is mostly used for personal use such as travel when couple with a hang glider or flying suit. The martial version uses the aforementioned abilities to knock down and trap opponents. In more extreme cases, the air gusts generated can be used to cut opponents or objects.
-Fáng léi jìshù(Lightningbending): Once considered a sub-skill of Xiāofáng jìshù, lightning bending is know taught as its own art. The user can use their Jin to separate the electrons and protons in their cells and then channel the resulting electrical current throughout their body. Fáng léi jìshù is very straight forward and often used to project streams of electricity through one's fingers. Holding fingers together will project a single stream, while spreading them will project multiple streams-one through each finger-
However more advanced techniques allow the Fáng léi jìshù to project electricity along their body, objects (works best with metal) and from there generate electromagnetic fields.
The tool version of Fáng léi jìshù is often used by electricians to regulate electrical current in devices and machines. Meanwhile the martial version teaches the user to externally project electricity in either singular bolts, streams or in multiple streams and bolts to hit multiple targets. Later, the user learns to channel electricity through their body to either create electromagnetic fields that can stop metal projectiles, or electrify the body to either add electrical damage to physical strikes or electrify metallic or wet surfaces.
-Jīn jìshù(Essencebending): The art of Jīn jìshù is the technique of manipulating one's internal energies by itself, without the use of external elements. Jīn jìshù is mostly body based and is almost exclusively taught in martial art institutions, since it's applications are mostly combat-based. Every martial art institution that teaches physical combat, whether they be internal or external, teach the elementary and intermediate techniques of Jīn jìshù at one point.
These include light-body skill, which makes the body lighter, allowing a user to move faster, float on water, jump higher and glide distances, fajin and neijin, which allows the user to increase physical power (note: this is not the same as increasing physical strength) in short bursts or sustained use respectively. When these techniques are taught depends on the system being taught-external arts teach these are advanced stages, while these are taught at beginner to intermediate stages in internal systems.
Martial arts institutions that teach the advanced to master techniques of Jīn jìshù will also teach the techniques of Qi-healing, which uses Qi to stimulate the immune system to expedite the healing process. However, if used to treat broken bones and similar injuries, the bones must be reset before the technique can be attempted.
There is also the technique of Jin expulsion which is simply firing off blast of Jin energy through one's hands or feet. This can be done in either concentrated bursts or sustained blasts. This can sometimes be used as an improvised method of propulsion for flight.
Finally there is the technique of Dim Mak which is the technique of striking pressure points. This is similar to the external art of Telegu. However, where Telegu hits vital points such as nerve bundles, blood vessels, etc, Dim Mak strikes the meridians by having the user inject their Jin into specialized pressure points through their fingers, fists or feet. Also unlike Telegu, the effects and techniques of Dim Mak are far more complex and difficult to use since these pressure points are not immediately visible.
Furthermore; while Telegu can merely disable or kill an opponent, Dim Mak can also heal a subject connecting their internal energies with that of the subject, allowing them to apply the Qi-healing technique to injuries, regulate Qi-flow to restore regularity, read vital functions, siphon off the subject's Qi or supply their own and finally purge Qi, which is also effective for removing malicious magic effects and exorcism.
While powerful, this technique requires an extremely high amount of Qi abundance, control as well as coordination and accuracy to hit those pressure points. As such, there is only one place in Dong Guojia, or moreover the whole world, that teaches Dim Mak and that is the Liù xióngfēng (Six treasures) temple. This is also the only martial institution that teaches all six bending arts.
Outside of bending, Tiāndào spells and rituals are also used in order to create various effects such as seals and enchantments. These are done most commonly with paper charms or magically enchanted swords, ritual circles and more. Tiāndào sorcery is only taught within temples and monasteries to advanced monks. The magic techniques taught in several categories based off the Elven system in Hasari.
- Yuánsù : Known as 'Elemental' magic. This is manipulation of the elements including earth, wind, fire, water, lightning, spirit and Qi/Jin.
- Zhìliáo : In this case is the manipulation of Qi to heal injuries, cure illnesses and even restore someone from death. However, the latter has various limitations. Spells in this category also uses spells to fortify one's health.
- Huànxiàng : The creation of manipulation of illusions. These are split between physical illusions such as ethereal constructs, etc, and hallucinations which is manipulation of a subject(s)'s senses to perceive something that isn't there. Illusion magic was also common in theatre and opera until the use of practical special effects became more common since a camera couldn't pick up the illusions
- Biàndòng : Known as 'Alteration', is manipulation of the physical world's properties. Techniques in this field includes changing a person or object's physical properties (I.E. weight, height, etc.), multiplying a person or object (or cloning), transmutating an object (most commonly turning a stick into a rose) and shapeshifting a person.
- Bǔchōng : Known as 'Supplemental' magic This field involves spells that can be used to enhance a subject's abilities such as improving one's physical and/or mental performance. This field also uses this to improve an object's abilities such as a sword's sharpness and durability. Offense spells in this category are used to achieve the opposite effect such as making an enemy weaker or slower, decreasing the effectiveness or durability of their armor & weapons, etc.
- Mèilì : Most commonly done through ritual, this is the field of imbuing an object with any of the above magical effects. Most enchantments in Tiāndào tend to be permanent, but its style of enchanting is somewhat difficult and somewhat rare in Dong Guojia
- Wèizhì : Meaning 'Location'. This field includes spells such as teleportation (either short or long range) of a person or object, tracking and marking and even telepathy.
- Liànjīn shù : Meaning Alchemy, is similar to enchanting; Alchemy is the field of creating potions that bestow magical effects. While this field holds no actual spells, it's still integral in the magic community, especially in Tiāndào temples.
Mind-based Shēngwù has slightly less influence in Dong Guojian general culture, at least that it's not commonly taught in educational institutions. Shēngwù is more commonly taught in Chán monasteries and Chán-influenced martial arts schools.
The term Shēngwù translates to 'Biotics' and is first developed in the mind through intense meditation. This causes the mind to create energy through divination of bodily cells. This begins in the mind and as the practioner progresses they are able to create energy from the cells in the rest of the body which then flows through the meridians. In essence, as Qi flow starts in the Dan Dian, goes to the mind and flows back down; The flow of Shēngwù goes in reverse, starting in the mind and ending in the Dan Dian and then back up.
At Shēngwù's basic levels, the user can augment their physical ability by increasing the range and effectiveness of the body's senses More advanced forms of Shēngwù branch into telepathic and telekinetic techniques.
-Telekinetic: The user would begin to general 'Dark Energy' to create telekinetic fields. The first skill of which is used to increase the body's physical performance through Tactile Telekinesis or 'Chùjué de xīnlíng cù dòng', in which the user channels the Dark Energy to create gravitational fields over their bodies. This is used to increase the user's strength, speed, toughness or levitation. At first this can only be done separate, but later combined at more advanced levels.
Later the user project this Dark Energy over distances for a variety of purpose; project blasts of Dark Energy in either concentrated bursts, shockwaves or sustained beams, manipulating the gravitational fields of others to lift, move or restrain them to the ground or against surfaces, creating energy barriers of various sizes and shapes or most famously creating a gravity well that can draw in and tear apart anything it sucks in.
-Telepathic: The user can project telepathic fields unto other living beings with a consciousness. This can be used to transmit thoughts from the user to the subject and vise-versa, allow the user to look into a subject's mind, hypnotize a subject through eye contact to enforce their will over them or create sensory illusions. At later levels convert their body into energy and inter a subject's mind to possess them or in the case of Chan monks, perform an exorcism.
As the skill and Shēngwù power of the user increases, their ability to connect with multiple minds increases. However, possession can only be used on a single subject at a time. However, there are many laws regulating the use of telepathy. As such peering into a subject's mind without prior consent is illegal and punishable for up to twenty-five years in prison.
Finally there is a final skill that allows the user to alter the mental function of a subject, changing their personalities, erase memories and even perform lobotomies. However, this technique has been banned in Dong Guojia and many other countries and are mostly used by demon worshiping cults and criminal organizations.
-Religion: In general, the various gods are respected and revered rather than worshiped in Asia and instead philosophical followings exist in , mainly Tiāndào and Chán
Due to Dong Guojia's down-to-earth and intellectual attitudes, there is a separation between temple and state. As such, spiritual matters, including that involving spiritual beings, magic and the like are often left to temples and monasteries. In some cases monks and priests are sometimes called
Jīngshén jǐngchá or 'spirit cops'.
Many cases include haunting & possession to attacks by demons and other mystic beings, cults practicing forbidden arts, smuggling and trade or contraband and immigration of spiritual creatures into the human realm. Larger cases would call upon the government and religious institutions to cooperate with one another.
There are many gods and deities who have shrines located in many places, usually in relation to their affliation. Below are some examples
-Guan Ti is the Deity of Scholarship and is very popular in Dong Guojia. Shrines dedicated to him usually have books, abacuses, pens, modern calculators and other scholastic objects.
-The Goddess of the Sun, Xihe and the Moon Goddess, Chang'E both have shrines that include a mirror to reflect the light of the sun and the moon.
-Zhu Rong is the god of fire, whose shrines include an open flame of some sort.
-Fēi Lián is the God of Wind, whose shrines are often outdoor and accompanied by fans
-Tu Di Gong is the God of Earth whose shrines are set upon some type of earth
-Gong Gong is the God of Water whose shrines are set near rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water
-Lei Gong is the God of Lightning whose shrines include lightning rods or devices creating open streams of electricity.
-Tiāndào, meaning 'Heavenly path' is derived from Dogyo of the old kingdom. This is not so much a religion but a philosophical path, though temples do observe some ritualized prayer to the gods. It has been observed that the forces of the universe are in constant flux and as such, Tiāndào's systems and doctrines have been in flux throughout its history and actual beliefs and practices vary from person to person.
However, what has been determined through modern science is that the universe first began as a vast nothingness, Wuji. From this nothingness came the gathering of cosmic energy known as the Yang phase. From there, this energy began to move until Yin energy was born within and the two energies interacted. This resulted into the energies splitting into four phases of Yin and Yang. This is also known to scientists as 'The Big Bang'. The process of evolution is represented by the four phases further splitting into eight, known as Bagua or Eight Trigrams and the Bagua continuously subdividing from there.
It has been determined that the gods and deities mortals worship are not so much the great creators of existence, but those who have mastered themselves and ascended into higher states of being, thus becoming immortal. Hence, the ultimate goal of Tiāndào is to negotiate one's fate by becoming immortal. This is done through the process of Alchemy which comes in two forms.
Waidan is the art of external alchemy which uses physical ingredients and ritual to concoct potions. A Tiāndào monk and priest can concoct potions of varying types and affects- which are too numerous to list here. Meanwhile, Neidan is the art of internal alchemy, which uses specilized Qi-gong exercises to manipulate and mold the energies of the body to create immortality. In this vein, one could become immortal by brewing a potion that grants eternal youth, or manipulate their Qi to convert their physical body into spirit.
There are historical records of those who have been able to accomplish either of this and a few of them head some Tiāndào shrines and the secrets behind this are fiercely guarded. There is a saying; Tài zìyóu jǐyǔ de zhùfú biànchéngle zǔzhòu, meaning 'A blessing too freely given becomes a curse'.
-Chán is a philosophical path that was developed in the Old Kingdom in ancient times. Chán's overall philosophy is that one's extravagant ambitions for power, wealth, status, etc. is the overall cause of human suffering and personal depression. Only by letting go of those desires and 1. Finding happiness in one's station and 2. Taking a path of self cultivation in order to achieve a higher state of consciousness and 3. Showing compassion to all living things, one would eventually find peace and happiness.
In the second vein, Chán and Tiāndào share similarities beyond occasional worship of the gods and deities. However, Chán places far more emphasis on mental meditation and the present moment. This has led to the misconception that Chán practitioners tend to disregard the past and future.
This addressed with a saying; “We can learn from the past, but those days are gone. We can hope for the future, but there may not be one.” As such, the Chán practitioner places more focus on the present moment, including what one is currently occupied with and what is happening around them at the present moment.
-Government: The nation of Dong Guojia is governed by a republic. The republic as a whole is headed by a council which are elected by the people. This council is made up of seven chairmen/chairwomen who would vote on various policies and laws. Each individual in the council would serve a term of five years and can be re-elected once.
The council works in a palace located in Dong Guojia's capitol, Peking. Cities and towns around the country follow a similar format in local government. Every month there is a town or city hall meeting where citizen can come meet with government officials to make inquires, make suggestions or express other concerns.
-Military: During the Hépíng zhǔyì zhě (pacifist) age, three hundred years ago; the then council of Dong Guojia nearly completely disbanded its military in favor of maintaining peaceful foreign relations.
-Police: Due to Dong Guojia's emphasis on intellectual development and education and current technologies of computers and cyber databases, most crimes are white-collar and/or cyber-based and well organized. This includes fraud of various forms, corporate embezzlement, and sophisticated robberies. As such police institutions are outfitted with latest in forensic science, computer technologies and surveillance.
However, there are still privacy laws that put some limits on what police are able to do with these surveillance technologies. As such, no such equipment is allowed to be used to track a purpose without probable cause and a warrant approved by the local court.
While violent crimes such as assaults and murders are relatively low, the activity of criminal groups can, at times, lead to murder and if cat-and-mouse evasion tactics fail, a suspect will resort to lethal force to resist arrest. As such, police officers and investigators are trained in martial arts, mostly derived from Wing Chun coupled with Chin Na joint manipulation and Telegu external pressure point striking which is also useful in dealing with benders.
Police units are often outfitted with a collapsible staff that can extend up to seven feet. Wing Chun also includes the use of Húdié dāo (butterfly sabers), lethal force is discouraged in police institutions and instead a pair of electrified taser sticks are used.
- The Kingdom set on the westernmost of the continent. This country is based on Japan, Okinawa as well as Ancient Sparta.
-Landscape and geography: Saikoku is a mountainous region that descends into dense forests as one gets further west. Towards the westernmost of Saikokuare coastal beaches and a few islands at least twenty miles from the mainland. There are a few notable landmarks.
- Bushi-Ō no tomarigi: Meaning 'Warrior King's perch', is the highest mountain in Saikoku and is also where the royal palace, in which the Bushi-Ō does their work, is located. Traditionally, since the first Bushi-Ō, Saikoku rulers would live on the highest possible point of the mountain in order to lookout for his fellow citizens.
- Seishun no izumi: Meaning 'Fountain of Youth'. There are various hotsprings (Onsen in Saikoku) through out Saikoku, but the most famous is in the northern city of Minato. Originally it was believed that those who bathed in this holy spring would have their youth restored and extend their lifespan. While this is partial untrue, people who bath in these springs will experience increased stamina and bodily vitality of a young athlete for at least five days.
-Zoology & Wildlife: The wildernesses of Saikoku are home to a variety of animals such as bears, birds, deer, wolves, foxes. In civilization popular pets include rabbits, the Akita dog, cats, koi fish and the copper pheasant. There are also magically-based animals such as the Kirin (Unicorn) that can be found in the various wilderness.
Saikoku is also home to various Yokai. Some are natural to Jigu while others actually come from the spiritual realm. These creatures are most commonly found in the wilderness. This section will be broken between non-hostile- yokai that are either friendly or generall non-agressive-, and hostile- yokai that typically attack travelers and/ civilization.
-Non-hostile: These yokai normally prefer to live in the wilderness, but there have been cases of yokai living amongst human civilizations and even mating with humans. Otherwise yokai typically live in solitude or have formed their own governed societies in the wilderness. These civilizations are recgonized by the SaikokuBushi-Ō as sovereign nations and there are negotiations and trade between them. These yokai include, but are not limited to,
- Kitsune: Fox-like creatures that, while somewhat mischievous, are generally friendly towards humans. Some have been known to take a humanoid form with fox ears & tails to live amongst humans. A few even mate with humans, producing half-yokai. In the wilderness they are somewhat solitary, living alone or in small packs. Kitsune are magical-creatures that are capable of various forms of magic, most famous of which is transformation, which involves placing a leaf to their head.
Their level of magical power is measured by the number of tails they have, with nine being the maximum. Kitsune with nine tails are called Kyuubi and are said to have god-like powers. Kitsune general hail from the heavenly or spiritual realms and are related to the deity Inari.
- Kappa: These are humanoid creatures with a tortoise shell, webbed feet, skin ranging from human-like to green, blue, yellow and red in some cases and have the posture similar to a frog. They typically keep to lakes, rivers, ponds and anywhere with a body of water. One would noticed a disk of some sort kept on their head which holds moisture on their head. If this disk is removed, they are weakened.
Kappa are generally competitive and like to gamble, as such they typically challenge travelers to a game of some sort and place bets. There have been cases of people losing items in a bet against a Kappa. Despite their competitive nature, Kappa are friendly and very knowledgeable in medicine and irrigation. Hence, those who live among humans are typically doctors or construction foremen
- Tengu: Tengu are humanoids with wings on their backs with males having long noses. There are both good and evil Tengu, but this section will focus on the good. Tengu have their own civilizations in forests and mountainous regions, including a village that neighbors the royal palace on Bushi-Ō no tomarigi. Tengu, while non-hostile are somewhat territorial and very protective of their habitats, often attacking those seen damaging the environment such as pollution, (unlawful) wood-cutting and so on. The various Tengu civilizations are in talks with the Saikoku Bushi-Ō, though.
- Ningyo: Meaning mermaid or mermen, these are humanoids with the lower half resembling a fish. Ningyo tend to live underwater and have civilizations that span across the entire ocean floor. Ningyo can also live on land and develop human legs when on dry surfaces, but revert to their half-fish form if exposed to seawater or salt. Ningyo are also known to live amongst humans and even marry and/or mate with humans. They are somewhat timid and shy, but very kind to others when they open up.
Ningyo used to be hunted as their blood is an ingredient to elixirs granting immortality. While this practice has been banned world-wide, there are still cases of Ningyo being hunted and killed for their blood which is sold on the black market.
-Hostile Yokai: Usually classified as demons, monsters, ghosts or other beings that are typically hostile to humans and human civilizations. These include, but not limited to,
- Oni: Giants with blue or red skin, unkempt hair and horns dressed in animal skins and armed with an iron club. They are often occupy forests and caves. Oni are extremely strong, but also very stupid and can be easily outsmarted. At least if the victim isn't crushed to a pulp already. They ocassionally wander to human civilizations and proceed to crush buildings and attack citizens, though the actual purpose for this varies.
- Jorōgumo: Half-spider women that are dressed in kimonos sewn from their webs. They are found on an unnamed island where military cadets are sent for a final test. Jorōgumo typically lure their prey by playing a Biwa flute until they are trapped in one of their complex networks of webs. Human cadets who are caught by Jorōgumo are typically raped for as long as several days in order to reproduce. Once satisfied, it would finally devour him.
- Despite their danger, the Saikoku government has decided to leave them alone as they unwittingly protect a valuable secret for the army as well as provide test for cadets. Jorōgumo can not swim and hence keep to the island.
- Yukionna: Snow spirits that take the form of a woman with blue skin, white hair wearing a white kimono. They only appear during the winter time or snow-capped mountains in the north. Whenever males wander near their homes, the Yukionna would generate a blizzard in order to trap them there and then offer the man a place to stay. If the man tries to leave, the Yukionna would simply repeat the process until they give up. If only does escape, the Yukionna would track them to their city or town and blast it with unrelenting blizzards until either finds him or is killed.
- Tengu: This section will focus on malicious Tengu. Just like their better behaved brethren, malicious Tengu are humanoids with wings and the males have long noses. These creatures are known to attack travelers in the forests and mountains and have occasionally attacked towns and cities. Tengu are typically skilled in various forms of combat and have control of the wind. Tengu tend to be very prideful and sometimes challenge or accept the challenge of duel, often offering their nose as the prize. This is because of the nose of a male Tengu is useful in medicine.
-Fashion: Long, flowing, robe-like clothes are quite common in Asia. In the case of Saikoku various types of kimono and yukata are worn.
Men: As all Saikoku boys are drafted into the Armed forces at age five, they are usually in some sort of military dress. There are two main types; the simple white gi worn during schooling and training sessions.
-Cadets, who wear the white Gi, also wear a colored belt to indicate grade level. Once reaching black at senior year, the cadet becomes eligible to take a final test and graduate into the Armed forces
Ashigaru and Gashira
Samurai and Damiyo
And armored robes worn during formal occasions and special events. These are color-coded to indicate rank
If not at school or in the barracks; males tend to wear short-hemmed robes coupled with baggy pants and tabi shoes. During the winter, this is coupled with a jacket and a scarf. During the summer, the robes are short sleeved and coupled with baggy shorts and the same type of shoes or sandals. A t-shirt is also a common sight during the summer. When wearing such outfits, members of the Armed Forces always wear a headband to indicate rank. The battalion they belong to is etched unto the headband.
- Ashiragu wear plain black headbands
- Gashira wear black headbands with horns
- Samurai wear plain blue headbands
- Damiyo where blue headbands with horns
- The Bushi-ooji wears a plain red headband
- The Bushi-O wears a red headband with horns
Males have also been known to grow their hair into spikey or otherwise erratic patterns
Women: Females on the other hand tend to dress more freely in a variety of kimono, yukata and the like. During the spring and autumn seasons, the long kimono gown and tabi sandals are very common. During the winter, the kimono is coupled with a coat and scarf along with tabi boots to stave off the cold. In the summer, a shorter, lighter yukata and sandals are preferred. Some, more reserved women will either keep the kimono or wear long stockings with the yukata to hide their legs.
Women in Saikoku usually have long hair with fringes, which they wear in a variety of styles. Popular among young girls is the 'hime-cut' which come in many variations
-General Society: Since it's establishment, the kingdom of Saikoku has had a high emphasis on military strength and readiness and has maintained an active draft. Hence every male of Saikoku decent is an active member of the military from fresh recruit to seasoned veteran. Since the role of soldier traditionally fell upon the males, female citizens were often left to manage the home front. Due to this, the other aspects of mordern Saikoku society, such as industry, business and so on is dominated by women.
-Education: Education in Saikoku is separate between male and female students. Boys are sent to military schools in which they are trained in the fighting arts, outdoor survival, strategy and other military skills. In today's modern society boys are taught the usual school subjects such as math, science, literature, history and basic computer skills, as well as military arts. The school week is six days out of seven while Toyoil (saturday) is only open for further military training while Il-yoil (sunday) is a rest day.
Cadets in the military schools are rarely given days off except for important holidays such as Tōji (Winter Solstice), but days of holidays, the schedule is reserved for military training before the cadets are let out early. Grades go from kindergarten at age five to senior at age sixteen. By this time, the cadet will be given a final test that will determine whether or not they are officially inducted into the army.
Girls' schools on the other hand follow a more traditional format which is based off the Dong Guojian school system. Girls start formal schooling at age five in kindergarten and are taught a larger variety of academic subjects including; math, science, literature, foreign languages, music, art, history, physical education and computer sciences. Schools are separated into four categories; elementary school going from grades kindergarten to five, middle school going from grades six to eight, highschool going from grades nine to twelve and university.
The schedule is somewhat more lenient in girls' schools as days are five days out of the seven and occasionally close during holidays. Meanwhile the school year itself is eleven months out of the year, ending in the spring for Haruyasumi (spring break)
-Music: Traditional Saikoku folk music includes a variety of instruments including the Shameisen, the flute and drums. Music can either be played solo or in small groups.
Back in the 1900's, Dwarven musicians from Akujui introduced various genres of metal to the people of Saikoku, starting a musical movement referred to as 'The Dwarven Invasion'. From there, Saikoku began to form their own genres of metal and rock including Pawāmetaru,Metalcore, Guranji and many others.
Other forms of music such as S-Pop, which is more popularly performed and enjoyed by young females, also came into prominence. S-Pop uses a variety of instruments from traditional shameisen and biwa flutes to modern keyboard synthesizers, guitars and drums. Songs in live concerts and music are also accompanied with a choreographed dance number.
-Celebrity Culture: High-ranking officers are famous in Saikoku for their military exploits, meanwhile female celebrities include mainly actresses and musicians. Because men are usually away in active duty, movies and theater productions would have tomboyish actresses take the role of male characters. While there are male actors, musicians and the like, these are usually men who were discharged from the army, or those on leave or otherwise inactive duty. Like most industries, the entertainment industry is mostly dominated by women.
-Martial Arts Culture: Nearly every martial art established in Asia can be traced back to the ancient art of Sibpalki, practiced in the old kingdom which was the basis of civilization in Asia. The earliest form of martial arts in Saikoku were originally direct off-shoots of Sibpalki.
During the Saikoku revolution headed by Akechi Hidemitsu, the first Bushi-Ō, warriors used a system he dubbed Shinken-ryu or 'Godfist Style'. According to legend, this straight-forward and comprehensive martial art was taught to him by the war deity, Hachiman-shin vie a dream. Hidemitsu went on to teach it to rebels who joined his cause to overthrow Emperor Oda. Originally martial arts were taught only to the men of the military and royal family.
Shinken-ryu is a hard-external style of martial art that focuses on rigorous physical power and gradually becomes softer as the practitioner advances. Shinken-ryu emphasize a balance between form and practical application of form, which is known as 'bunkai'. Young cadets start off by learning to use their first weapon, the body and go through rigorous physical training to develop the physical power, endurance and toughness necessary to make the system work properly.
As the cadets advance, they begin learning the use of various traditional weapons, including the katana, naginata, sai, bo, jo, nunti, yari and so much more.
Women were originally barred from the military and forbidden to learn fighting art because of a long-standing belief that beings that give life (in other words Mothers) should not also take it. Because of this, a woman convicted of killing another person is more severely punished than a man. This has lasted until 2049 when a woman named Azuma Hazuki was arrested for having killed a man who attempted to sexually assault her. While Hazuki was clearly acting in self-defense, she was convicted for the crime because of the belief that women should never kill.
When reviewing the case, the Bushi-Ō, at the time, Jakku, decided to overturn the conviction when coming to the revelation that
1. During combative situations, killing isn't always avoidable.
2. A man isn't always available to protect a woman from harm, hence women must be allowed to be responsible for their own safety
3. Not all women, straight or lesbian, embrace the prospect of motherhood.
This has started the On'na senshi or 'Woman Warrior' movement back in 2050's. During this period, military trainers and resident martial art instructors from other countries began to open their doors to women. From there, those women would then open their own schools.
Since the beginning of the On'na Senshi movement, women who have trained with military martial arts instructors would later go on to open their own schools, teaching techniques derived from Shinken-ryu. These styles include Te Ken Michi, Kempo, Aikijujutsu and Aikido. These schools also teach a variety of weapons, the most popular amongst women being the nichogama (dual sickle), the jo (short cane), kodachi (short sword), jutte (a hooked baton), tessan (iron fan) and tanto (dagger) since they are easy to conceal in one's clothing or purse.
Martial arts are also taught in Shinto shrines headed by miko who regularly teach forms of Aikido and Aikijutsu which are internal-based, to weapon arts such as kyudo (archery) naginatajutsu and kenjutsu, students here well learn kido, which is ki-based magic using hand seals (more on this will be elaborated in the mysticism section).
The monks of Shorinji on the other hand practice the martial art simply named 'Shorinji Kempo' which is also derived from the military's Shinken-ryu. In addition to hand-to-hand fighting, monks here learn the use of the yawara stick, the nunti (spear), bo as well as Chikarajutsu (art of the force) techniques (more on this will be elaborated in the mysticism section)
-Mysicism: Saikoku, like many other countries in Asia divides it mysticism between Ki-based and mind-based.
Ki-based techniques are not in popular use, at least not on the scale of places like Dong Guojia which teach Qi-gong exercises as physical education and employ acupuncture in its medical processes. As such bending techniques-known as 'Kijutsu' are more commonly found in civilian dojos that have Dong Guojian influences. The most popular kijutsu in these dojos is Shenjutsu (Essence bending). However, there are a few dojos that teach the use of bending arts of the other elements. One of note is the Kusangai Dojo, currently headed by Kusanagi Kyoko
However, Ki-based magic, called Kido (Energy path) is taught to miko (shrine maidens) of Shinto shrines. This is derived early forms of Kido used in the old kingdom and very similar to Qidao used in Dong Guojian Tiandao temples. However, where Qidao uses paper talismen, Kido uses hand seals known as Kuji-In or 'Nine syllables' as they are derived nine main mantra.
All Ku-ji is used to shape one's shen (essence) that has been developed through ki-based meditation to create a variety of effects. The number of specific effects are too many to list at once, but these include manipulation of various natural elements such as earth, wind, fire, water, lightning, creating illusions, summoning extra-planer beings, healing, sealing, enchantment and exorcism.
While these can be done by the miko on her own, rituals can be performed to summon more power from the natural spirits in order to cast more powerful effects. This often take great concentration as the miko(s) would be sending their thoughts and feelings through the ritual.
Meanwhile on the mental-based spectrum, Chikarajutsu (Art of the force) is often taught in civilian dojos in one way or another or more famously in the Shorinji temple. However, to properly understand Chikarajutsu, one must understand Chikara.
Chikara simply means 'The Force' or 'The Power' and just as Ki starts in the lower hara and ascends to the mind and goes back down, Chikara starts in the mind, flows down the body to the hara and goes back up. Chikara is developed first in the mind through divination of cells to create energy. This is done through intense meditation and focus.
At it's basic level, Chikara can be used to increase one's perception by increasing the sensitivity of their senses. As they progress, the user would have began to develop Chikara throughout the body can use it to increase their physical performance by focusing Chikara into the muscles. How this actually effects muscular performance depends completely on two things; intention and muscular training.
In this vein one can increase speed or strength. Both can be used in either short burst (I.E. high-speed dashes or bursts of strength) or sustained. In the case of sustained speed, the user perceives everything around them as moving much slower. Meanwhile, sustained strength causes the skin begins to blush all over from increased bodily temperature. Most civilian dojos teach Chikarajutsu up to this point as they are more focused on physical combat.
More advanced Chikara techniques are exclusively taught at the Shorin temple. These techniques all branch from two sources; kinetic and pathic.
Kinetic techniques include telekinetic, pyrokinetic, cryokinetic and electrokinetic.
-Telekinetic uses raw Chikara to either project telepathic fields around objects and people or themselves to lift and move through mental coordination or fire bursts of Chikara energy produced in the body. The later can be done in either concentrated bursts, shockwaves of various sizes & ranges or sustained beams. Chikara can also be projected into force fields which can vary in range, size and shape as the wielder wishes or create stasis fields over objects and people, acting as a telekinetic straightjacket
-Pyrokinesis uses Chikara to channel the bodily heat in the body to produce and manipulate flame in a similar vien to Enjutsu (firebending)
-Electrokinesis is virtually identical to Ki-based lightning-bending in the vein that the wielder uses Chikara to divide the protons and electrons in their cells to generate electricity which is then expelled through the hands or feet.
-Cryokinesis uses Chikara to produce liquid nitrogen which is flash frozen to create objects or projected to flash freeze objects or enemies
Pathic powers refer to Chikara techniques that project telepathic fields to connect the wielder's mind to that of the subject. This can be used to either transmit the user's thoughts to the subject, tap into a subject's mind to read their thoughts, project the user's will through hypnosis or make illusions by manipulating the user's senses to see, hear, taste, feel and smell artificial stimuli. At it's most advanced levels, the telepath can actually project their consciousness into a subject to either take control of them or simply look into their mind more deeply. The latter purpose is often used by Shorin monks to exorcise demons or other telepaths.
Telepathy is sometimes used as a means of interrogation, but is usually forbidden except for dire situations when all other alternatives have been exhausted. The same is said of hypnotism and illusion.
-Religion: Asia has mainly two religions, Shinto- meaning way of the spirit, and Zen.
-Shinto: Derived from Dogyo of the Old Kingdom and known as the Saikoku equivalent to Dong Guojian Tiandao. Shinto seems to place a bit more emphasis on worship and prayer towards the gods and natural spirits. As today's society has men off in the army, Shinto shrines are typically headed by female priestesses, known as Miko.
There are various ceremonies and rituals associated with Shinto, such as the cleansing ritual in which the subject would pour ritually enchanted water upon themselves to be rid of spiritual pollutants such as death. Modern science has proven there is some merit to this practice, mainly in the vein of washing off mystic diseases. I.E., when dealing zombies, a person would perform a cleansing ritual in order wash off traces of the magic or virus that created it.
There are various shrines built in accordance to a deity's affiliation. They are as follows:
-Shrines to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu and the Moon Goddess, Tsukuyomi would include a mirror to reflect rays of the sun and moon.
-The Water Dragon Deity, Ryūjin has a shrine either near rivers, ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
-Shrines to the Wind God Fūjin would include a windmill of some sort or a fan.
-Shrines to Kagutsuchi, the Fire God either have an open flame, torches. There is one shrine towards the south called Kagutsuchi no tōchi (Kagutsuchi's torch) which is set on a volcano of the same name.
-Sarutahiko Ōkami is God of Earth who's shrines are usually underground or set upon some type of earth.
-Raijin is the God of Lightning and his shrines include lightning rods. With current technologies, these shrines now include electronic machinations and open streams of electricity.
-Hachimon, the Deity of War mainly has shrines in military schools and installations. The most famous of this is on Bushi-Ō no tomarig, at the foot of the mountain. Hachimon is probably the most famous of these deities considering his role in installing Hidemitsu Akechi as the Bushi-Ō. Hachimon's shrines usually has a weapon or piece of armor included.
There are many other deities, people who's spirit ascended to the heavenly realm, but they are too many to list. Despite what many believe, the titles these gods and deities possess is not related to their role in creation, but rather their office in the heavenly realm, as the heavens have their own government.
When one prays to a god or deity, they would make an offering at the shrine (the contents of this offering depends on the god). The person would then kneel in front of the shrine and make their prayer. These prayers nowadays are some form of inquiry or request for a blessing. However, these god/deity in question doesn't always answer as there is a law in heavy not to directly intervene in the affairs of mortals unless their need or situation is dire. This is because of the gods' belief that the mortals must be able to fend for themselves rather than rely on the gods.
This is especially true when demons make an outright invasion on the human realm or other matters in which the god or deity would give the mortal a gift or a piece of vital information.
-Zen: Contrary to what many believe, Zen is not a religion, but a philosophy. Any worship is actually towards the Shinto gods, hence Zen and Shinto are closely associated. There is a lot more meditation in Zen than prayer or religious ritual due to this. In terms of actual philosophy, Zen believes in letting go of overly ambitious desires such as wealth, political power and instead enjoying one's current position. This is in the wake of instead developing one's character to reach enlightenment known as 'Satori'. Satori in Zen is considered a true understanding of the world, it's inhabitants and events.
Another vehicle of Zen is focus on the present moment. This means focusing on a current task as well as what off-handedly observing what is happening around the person at the current moment. As such a Zen-ka (one who practices Zen), would spend little time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This is sometimes misinterpreted as ignorance of the past or disregard for the future. Rather, Zen-ka believe that while one can learn from the past, that event has passed. Meanwhile one should make some preparation for the future, but what one prepares for may not occur. Instead, more focus is placed upon the present moment since that is what is occurring right now.
In both religions, sexuality and marriage is allowed. However some mikos-especially the younger ones-prefer to preserve their chastity until marriage.
-Government: Originally Saikoku was governed by a Shogunate until the year 1821 in which Hidemitsu Akechi overthrew the tyrannical Oda Nobunaga. Since then Saikoku is governed by an Oligarchy, for lack of better terms. As such the kingdom of Saikoku is governed by a Bushi-Ō, or 'Warrior King' and a Joō or queen who would be the Bushi-Ō's wife (or husband in some cases).
The Bushi-Ō's title is given because; in addition to being the king of the land, the Bushi-Ō is also the general of its Armed forces. As such the Bushi-Ō fights on the frontlines along side his soldiers rather than staying out of the conflict. If the Bushi-Ō had any sons, they are called Bushi-ōji. They would be considered the Bushi-Ō's second in command and authority over the Armed Forces would be divided between him and the Bushi-Ō, with the Bushi-Ō having overall power. The government was only broken up between Damiyo who acted as governors over whole provinces and Samurai who acted as mayors, in addition to be military officers. These seats of office were also shared between the officer's wife who shared the same title.
In Saikoku, all people, the ruling family included, are considered equal. So, while the ruling family would be in charge of the government, they are still completely subject to the law. Everyone is treated the same, be them Bushi-Ō or an average citizen and as such one's individual wealth, social or political status is treated with very little relevance in the grander scheme of things. Taxes are also proportionate towards one's income. Simply; those who had little, paid little to no taxes, those who were rich or well-to do paid much higher taxes.
-Military: It has been said that the Saikoku Armed Forces has one of the best trained military in the world. This is mainly because the fighting systems in Armed Forces are much more comprehensive. This is also due to their use of tactics as well as their armor and weapons.
By the time a cadet has reached the end of their primary schooling, usually at the age of sixteen to seventeen, they are given a trial by fire known as the Rutsu Bo, or crucible. In this challenge the cadet is given only a few items for their survival including; kindling, a day's ration, a kuwa (hoe) and a map. The they are put on a single canoe with an euk (oar) which they used to paddle out to an unnamed island.
On this island, the cadet must uses their various skills, the items supplied and their wits to reach a cave on the northern most of the island. However, this island is infested with a variety of dangerous animals and creatures. The most notable of these are the Jurougumo. Those who manage to survive long enough to reach the cave would find themselves moving towards a certain direction, as if being beckoned by something. Inside the cave one would find entire crops of glowing crystals of various colors. Eventually the cadet will stop at a certain crystal formation and pick a small piece out for himself.
The next step is to fight his way back to his kayak and paddle back to the mainlandi. The cadet would then turn the crystal in to be made into a katana. The katana would then be presented to the cadet as they are formally inducted into the Armed forces as a proper bushi (warrior).
These katanas are famous (or infamous depending on who you are) for their ability to cut nearly anything by unleashing power. Saikoku Bushi have been known to cut modern tanks, buildings, oni, spirits and even mystic seals. There is a secondary property, but what these are varies between bushi. Some katana have an elemental property, others increase the user's physical ability and some can even grand special abilities. Known crystal effects are as follows.
- Elemental: These include electricity, flame, ice and kinetic. The blade glows with its corresponding element-an electric blade crackles with electricity, flame blades are ignited, etc- and in addition to adding corresponding damage to physical strikes, the user can also project the energy as either waves along surfaces or arcs in the air. The range and potency of this effect is augmented by the user's sync with his sword and concentration.
- Healing: These blades have a green hue and gradually heal the user. This effect can be extended to others by having the user touch the blade to a wound-but must be careful not to cut them. Sync with the sword and concentration augments this blade's healing rate & effectiveness.
- Phantasm: The blade is transparent, allowing it to phase through solid objects and cut one's spirit, draining their vital essence, mana, etc as well as damaging them. This is only effective against a being with a soul. This can also be extended to the user himself, allowing him to become ethereal, making him impervious to physical damage, but are still vulnerable to energy-based or mystic-based attack.
- Quicksilver: This blade glows silver and causes the user's mind to perceive time and space to be moving slower, allowing them to react and move faster.
- Hachimon's Strength: The blade has a yellow glow. The wielder's physical strength and toughness are increased. In combination with their armor, this can make a Bushi very powerful and durable.
- Perception: A very rare crystal that glows a violet hue. This allows the user to sense another being's thoughts, allowing them to predict their next move. Higher levels allow the user to briefly glimpse into the future.
What is little known is that the katana's cutting power and secondary property are extremely dependent on the user's willpower and mental concentration. This is indicated by the glow of the katana's blade; the greater the bushi's concentration and synchronization with the katana, the brighter the glow. If the bushi is emotional (I.E. frightened, angry, etc), disoriented, unconscious, hypnotized or separated from his katana, then the glow will dim and the blade will become no sharper than a stick. Maintaining a strong synchronization with the blade is somewhat difficult and the average Bushi is able to maintain a sync ratio of 48-52%, resulting in good cutting power and potency of secondary effects. It's possible to achieve a 100% sync ratio to unlock the blade's true potential, but this takes extreme concentration on the Bushi's part and can only be maintained for a few moments.
Once a Bushi becomes high enough in rank, he may decided to return to the island to put himself through a second Rutsu Bo. If successful in recovering a second crystal, he would have this forged into a wakazashi which he could either dual wield with his katana or use by itself. Sometimes the Bushi would recover a crystal of similar effect to his first one, sometimes he would recover a different crystal. However, maintaining a good sync ratio with both blades is very difficult as one blade would have a higher ratio than the other. One Bushi of note would be Miyamoto Musahi-Damiyo, who was the first to adopt the nittou-ryu (two-sword style) and was the first Bushi to achieve a 100% sync ratio with both blades and the only one since.
It is part of the reason why zen meditation is so integral with military training so as to strengthen the mind against the high stress associated with battle. Aside from the katana, bushi collapsible Kinetic Spear, called a Kinetikku yari. This spear contains a power cell which contains concentrated solar energy. When activated, this energy is dispersed along the blade to be used in melee combat. In this form, the blade become super-heated by the kinetic energy and can pierce various substances up to Mithril or Adamantite with relative ease. A secondary function disperses the kinetic energy through vents just under the spearhead and on the pommel of the spear, which the bushi can use to propel himself across distance in high-speed charges, allowing him to ram targets with great force. The power cells can last up to four hours until needing to be recharged vie sunlight. Engineers are still working on a means to project this energy across distances, but so far a working prototype has yet to be completed.
The Saikoku Bushi is dressed in a complex battle armor which is color-coded to indicate rank. Uncolored for an Ashigaru & Gashira, blue for a Samurai & and Damiyo and red for members of the royal family. This armor suit has a few layers. The first is an environmental suit which is used to protect against environmental elements. Placed on top of this is an obsidian compound shell armor that covers much of the body. This material, though somewhat heavy is very tough, durable and is designed to absorb and disperse energy from an impact along the surface and chips in layers if damaged.
The armor is designed to take as long as possible to break and can take as long as 45 minutes of continuous damage to break. However, there are no defenses against certain magic; namely mind-effecting magic and earth elemental magic or earthbending. The armor can also be broken more quickly by high-calibur or high-veolicity weapons, but these can take up to 22.5 minutes of continuous damage to break the armor. The armor comes with a storage deck backpack that allows the bushi to carry supplies such as kindling, water, rations, etc. There are side notches to holster the kuwa and spear in their collapsed forms. The belt is magnetized to carry the sai on the back and the katana on their hip. The helm has a built in re-breather mask, night-vision and infrared vision, local radar & mapping, and holo-vision communication.
The Saikoku Armed forces is organized into a few ranks which are identified by the color of their armor and presence of shoulder guards. They are as follows;
- Ashigaru:The equivalent of a private. Ashigaru make up the bulk of units.
- Gashira: Or 'Head' are the equivalents of captains who lead units of seven Ashigaru.
- Samurai: Meaning 'One who serves', samurai are officers who command battalions of serveral units. Some are also elected to act as mayors of towns and cities.
- Damiyo: Damiyo command several battalions, depending on which province of Saikoku they are based in. If the Bushi-O has no sons actively serving in the Armed forces, then they would also act as the Bushi-O's generals and governors of provinces.
- Bushi-Ōji: The Bushi-Ōji who serve in the Armed forces serve under the Bushi-Ō himself. If there is more than one, then command of the army is divided between them.
- Bushi-Ō: The Bushi-Ō himself is the commander over the whole of the army.
But, no matter a Bushi's rank, they all fight on the frontlines together, including those of the royal family.
The Armed forces also uses a variety of ground tanks, ships and aircraft vehicles, but these are used primarily to carry troops and equipment. Vehicular combat is primarily done with mech units. The Saikoku Mobirusūtsu (Mobile Suit) is a gargantuan humanoid battle mech that is made in a similar likeness to a Bushi. The Mobirusūtsu is typically outfitted with a katana, yari (or naginata for models used by the royal family) to employ in close-combat. The armor, similar to the ground-based Bushi is very dense and is designed to absorb and disperse impact from attacks along the frame, taking as long as possible to break. The Mobirusūtsu is all-terrain and can dive underwater and there has been a case of a pilot being able to fly his Mobirusūtsu into outer space.
Another interesting feature of the Mobirusūtsu is the design of the interior which features a platform that the pilot stands on. The pilot is dressed in a form-fitting motion capture suit which allows him to control the Mobirusūtsu with bodily motion, as if he were on the ground. The mobile suit can also transform into a vehicle form to maneuver tighter spaces or make better use of ranged weapons. The Mobirusūtsu models are color coded for their individual purpose, based on their vehicle transformation. Gold are ground units that transform into tanks, blue are amphibious units that transform into submarines and green are ariel units that turn into jets.
-Police: Since nearly every male born of Saikoku is a bushi, any crimes involving them- be them victim or perpetrator- is treated as a military matter. As such, some bushi are placed in the 'Heiwa iji' or 'Peacekeeping' squad. This includes several branches operated in every city and has two main levels; patrol and investigative.
Patrol units are pretty much beat cops that patrol the streets and respond to any emergencies near them. Meanwhile the investigative units are used to investigate crimes and situations that patrol units can not resolve on their own. The investigation branch is further broken down in types including homicide, special victims- who deal with sexually based offenses, kidnapping, etc-, vice- who deal with narcotics- and fraud.
Spiritual cases involving demons and/or mystical creatures and cults are also investigated by Heiwa iji if they get to it first, since the bushi's katana would allow him to deal with most threats. Otherwise, these cases are investigated with cooperation from a local miko(s).
As per Saikoku custom, all are equal under the law and when arrested, the suspect is given a fair trial where their case is reviewed. They are considered innocent until proven guilty by a court of law which is headed by the local government head, such as a Samurai or Damiyo and is decided by a jury of local citizens.
While the Heiwa iji was predominately made up of men, the On'na Senshi movement has seen women be recruited into the ranks as officers of the law. Some of these women are even head of their precinct after a long career.
While a bushi is allowed to carry their katana, they are given a different weapon load-out to try to retrieve suspects alive. This would include a bo and a pair of tonfa, both of which being colapsible.