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.
-Zoology & Wildlife:
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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 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)
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
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.
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
. 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.