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MyGURPS - Tian Xia Mysticism

Tian Xia Mysticism

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Note that the following abilities are described in detail in the book TianXia: Spirits, Beasts & Spells instead of in the core TianXia book.

Miracles vs Magic

Citizens in Shenzhou tend to view magic and mysticism as compatible with, but distinct from, religion. In general, faith-based exorcism is considered a holy ability; alchemy, lore-based exorcism, geomancy, and sorcery are seen as magical abilties; and divination and prophecy can go either way.

Holy folk, from priests to saints to emperors seen as chosen by Heaven, are afforded a certain religious reverence and assumption of being a good person. Magic, on the other hand is viewed as a mix of arcane science and esoteric knowledge, unconnected to morality or virtue. A magician might be trying to help, but might also be a threat or at least opportunist. Because of this, characters with magical or supernatural aspects can usually invoke them to be respected or feared, but not trusted or loved.

Mystical Multitaskers

Most forms of mysticism requires a specific high concept aspect, and characters get only one of those. As such, combining them can be tricky, requiring a high concept that fits the needs of both. As you add a third, fourth, etc., it gets exponentially harder to cram them all into a single aspect! This isn't a rule against doing so, just a guideline.

There are a few exceptions:

  • All forms of mysticism can be combined freely with kung fu, and usually are.
  • Alchemy doesn't require a high concept, so it's easily added to other mysticism as long as it makes sense.
  • Divination and prophecy combine well with each other, as the same high concept can cover both.
  • Because sorcery requires a strong, specific high concept, it's harder to mix with others. It cannot be combined with exorcism.

TianXia Alchemy

Exotic herbalism training that teaches how to craft a wide range of potions. These can heal or invigorate your allies, or they can sicken or harm your enemies. Custom stunts allow for variations like internal alchemy or sorcerous alchemy. (Note: basic herbalism is just the Crafts skill.)

TianXia Divination

Studying a person's palm, astrological charts, etc. to learn more about their future. This is a relatively weak ability mechanically, but it can be a very thematic addition to a hero's talents. Often combined with prophecy (below).

TianXia Exorcism

Comes in two different types: faith-based exorcists rely on their spirituality to overcome and banish demons, while lore-based ones rely on arcane knowledge to overcome and trap demons. They can do this in person, or create charms to protect others at a distance - from demons or even sorcerers (below).

TianXia Geomancy

Reading and understanding the feng shui of an area, which translates to learning and (over time) manipulating its Shentong rating (which is very important for sorcerers; see below). The Ministry of Architects uses geomancy to choke the magic out of the land, to keep out demons, monsters, and sorcerers.

TianXia Prophecy

Rather than actively pursuing knowledge, a prophet has visions thrust upon them from the Heavens (or perhaps from their own subconscious). Even when the player uses this ability actively, their character is hit with the prophecy by surprise. Often combined with divination (above).

TianXia Sorcery

A sorcerer either inherited or bargained for unnatural power, and the astute may notice that they're not quite human. They use techniques ranging from elemental control to shapeshifting, and can craft powerful but difficult rituals to accomplish more, but are heavily limited by the land's Shentong rating (think "mana level").

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