The Qi Gong

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A write-up for an attempted antagonist faction in my Shogunate game.

Unfortunately, my players did not particularly like them, and found the story involving them too confusing, so they've rather fallen by the wayside as I attempt to get the plot back on track.

I would suggest if you're playing in my game right now, you not read this thread, because it has spoilers for an upcoming fight.
 


The Qi Gong were created at the dawn of Creation. The world makers wanted to create their own race; distinct from Gods, or the Fae. They wanted to see a race of people who would play upon their new world, and fill it with life; so that they could enjoy looking down at the tiny things running about. But they would not be satisfied with weak, or pathetic beings; they wished for warriors and scholars, who could defend themselves from beasts and survive the maker’s wild playing or the fae’s incursion. The Qi Gong were this creation.

A Qi Gong will stand somewhere between 8 and 9 foot tall, and look generally humanoid. However, all humans have a reaction to them akin to viewing a predator or an uncanny valley perception, innately understanding that they are predator creatures who eat humans. This is also not the true form of a Qi Gong, which is inevitably some sort of monstrous creature, though each monster's form looks completely different from other Qi Gong.

While a Qi Gong could pass for human if not overly scrutinized from the outside, they are completely different outside. A Qi Gong has organs like a human; heart, brain, stomach, and the like, but their bodies are filled with duplicate, redundant organs of major organs. A Qi Gong has 4 brains and 5 hearts, and 3 sets of lungs, spread throughout their body; a single organ being incapacitated will barely even slow down a Qi Gong, much less kill them. The only way that was determined to kill them so far has been complete destruction of all their major organs. Their bones and flesh are also supremely elastic; they can stretch their arms or legs for a hundred feet or more, twist them into screws, or fit their bodies through gaps only three inches wide. They can expand their bones and thicken their muscles, and can survive their entire body being destroyed so long as one of each of their major organs survives, allowing them to come back from being trampled or burnt to a crisp as long as they can protect their bodies.

The reason that Qi Gong are able to survive and strengthen themselves come from two specific organs that humans lack; the tanden and the dantian.

The tanden is a small organ that rests directly between the Qi Gong’s lungs, roughly the size of a human fist. It drains the air from the lungs and purifies it into Essence, drawing Essence directly from the fabric of Creation and the respiration of the body. This means that their generation of power is completely on the outside of the body, with limited internal mechanisms for producing Essence for their abilities. The Essence gathered by the tanden is then transferred to the dantian, a series of veins and nodules throughout the Qi Gong body system that piggybacks on the circulatory system, intertwined with their blood vessels. The Essence from the dantian fills the Qi Gong’s entire body, permanently suffusing her entire body with Essence. In effect, while the Qi Gong generates Essence through absorption of the Essence in the air, then, unlike an Exalt or a God, suffuses their entire body with Essence at all times, meaning that they are never lacking in power.

This means that a Qi Gong can have their strength disrupted by disrupting their breathing, then letting them run out of their stored Essence; an action which can take an hour for a Qi Gong at rest, or a few minutes for one who is engaged in pitched battle. With no Essence, a Qi Gong can not use their more fantastical feats, making them only a 9 foot tall giant of rippling muscle, rather than an almost unkillable monster who can slither under door frames and punch you from across a street.

However, it also means that a Qi Gong has another way to empower their Essence, and that is feeding off of Humans and other solid spirits. By locking their lips with them, a Qi Gong can forcefully suck the air out of an individual’s lungs, then the Essence that has been stored in their body. This sensation is completely painless for the individual, as they simply feel themselves drifting off to sleep, but if the Qi Gong successfully feeds, it is almost certainly fatal as the individual suffocates when their lungs are completely empty of air long before the Essence is drained. The amount of Essence they gain from this is consummate to the creature drained; a normal Human grants them the equivalent of eating a meal, while Exalted and Spirits can be likened to feasts. Locking lips with a Fae and draining them will calcify them, as the Qi Gong are made of pure Creation.

In the ancient ages of Creation, the Qi Gong ruled as the Apex predators; only the God’s Creators walked without fear of the Qi Gong, as even gods could be brought low by the creatures. They herded humans as cattle, presiding over villages and venturing down to eat one when they found themselves hungry, and all that the nascent human species could do would be to flee, for those that fought would be slain. Great heroes would rise up, but could only fight the Qi Gong to a standstill at best, and even the first of all heroes, Bishamonten, could only defeat them, but never kill them, as their resilience and regeneration were incomprehensible. In addition, the leader of the race, the strongest of them all, was named Queen, and she  was a favored friend of the King of the Cosmos, who granted a blessing to her;

so long as your name is used as a title for rulers, your life shall never end’.

With their might, their favor, and their wisdom, it seemed as if the Qi Gong would never be triumphed in ruling over Creation; when other Ancient Ones made species to attempt to colonize the world themselves, the Qi Gong would seem to be on the verge of extinction before they would adapt, growing and changing to overcome any foe, and adapting their slain foe’s greatest powers into their own bodies. Their bodies could be considered temples of perfection. But for Luna, the idea of sharing space with such great predators annoyed her tremendously, as did the fact that Sol had a crush on Queen and courted her, and she schemed with the first hero Bishamonten to remove these creatures and take her place as the supreme huntress of Creation. Cursing all the line of the Qi Gong, she wove into her very spirit a hatred for the beasts, and damned them to petrify under her moonlight, and gave them a Bane to Moonsilver. With this beneficial curse, Bishamonten moved across Creation, killing the Qi Gong where he found them. But the strongest of the Qi Gong; Queen and her three attendants, and their greatest terror, a rebellious, mighty warrior named Malcolm, could not be slain by Bishamonten, even with Moonsilver weapons, so they were sealed into stone bodies, then buried deep underground in ancient shrines, hopefully never to be awakened.

Qi Gong reproduce normally, but do so rarely; they are functionally immortal unless they are actively slain, so they only procreate rarely. However, they turn those that they drain the life of; mortals drained completely of air become suffocating zombies, shambling desperately towards any source of air to try and drain the breath of others, which in turn raises them as more suffocated ones. While they are zombies, they recieve a minor version of the Qi Gong's blessings due to their overpowering Essence, becoming able to rapidly regenerate from harm. However, these ghouls need constant fresh air, so they eventually suffocate in on themselves in only a few minutes if not constantly fed. The more dangerous set of individuals is the Made Men.

A Qi Gong only learns how to make Made Men after interacting with the Exalted, so no Qi Gong would be able to do it originally, as they were sealed before the Exalted were created. Once interacting with one, however, they become able to understand the process of investing into another a portion of their power. By doing so to a mortal of high enough skill, they turn the individual into a Made Man; an individual possessing almost all of the Qi Gong's powers, dutifully loyal to them. The Made Men are not as powerful as the Qi Gong, but are much more powerful then their original baseline individual, gaining access to the Qi Gong's abilities and powers. However, in exchange for not being near as strong, they do not suffer the Bane of Moonlight, and are able to operate in the night while the Qi Gong must hide. In time, as a Qi Gong Experiments, they may also learn how to turn stranger, or stronger, creatures, such as animals, spirits, demons, or even the Exalted.
 

An example Qi Gong;

Malina, the Dancer of the Valley

9 foot tall with hair the color of a sunset and green eyes, Malina is a muscular woman whose outfit is a bodysuit of interlacing threads tied into knots where they overlap, with excess material flowing off her body like tassels. She is a supreme dancer, fully convinced of her own superiority as a member of a supreme race, and looks down upon humans and animals as being her inferiors. Like any primadonna, she is prone to throwing tantrums when she doesn’t get her way, stomping her feet and screaming, but unlike a diva on a stage, Malina’s temper can result in massive destruction and death when she has a freak out.

Essence; 5 Willpower; 10 Join Battle; 16 dice
Personal Motes; ---
Health Levels; -0x10/-1x5/-2x10/-4x5
Actions;
Strength based: 12 dice
Dexterity based: 16 dice
Stamina based: 12 dice
Charisma based: 14 dice
Manipulation based: 8 dice
Appearance based: 13 dice
Perception based: 12 dice
Intelligence based: 7 dice
Wits based: 10 dice

Appearance: 5, Resolve: 5, Guile: 3

Combat;
Attack/Grapple (A Body Made for Murder): 14 dice, Damage 18, minimum 6
Grapple Control Roll: 12 dice
Combat Movement: 16 dice
Evasion: 9, Parry: 8
Soak/Hardness: 12/8

Special Abilities;

Hyper Regeneration; A Qi Gong recovers from injuries almost faster then they are made, making them almost impossible to take down. As permanent effects, a Qi Gong only takes half damage from a Withering attack against them- though the attacker gains full Initiative-. Additionally, a Qi Gong can only take a maximum number of Health Levels of Decisive damage from an attack as their current Onslaught penalty (Minimum 1 if their Onslaught is 0), and if this damage fills up a wound penalty level, all damage past that is negated. If attacked by a Moonsilver weapon, or by a Lunar using Claws of the Silver Moon or striking barehanded, the individual may instead inflict up to (Strength + 3) Levels of damage at once.

Mein of the Predator; Any human, fae, or demonic creature that meets a Qi Gong for the first time is subject to immediate social influence from the creature against their Resolve. As an individual comes face to face with a predator species, fear builds in their body. If this roll is failed, the individual must pay 2 Willpower, or they can not roll Join Battle against the Qi Gong unless the Qi Gong has attacked them, giving the Qi Gong a Surprise Attack with a -2 penalty, but they may flee without having to roll join battle. In addition to this, a Qi Gong is naturally disturbing for a human to be near even if they are not in combat, as their faces and bodies exist in the uncanny valley of perception; all individuals who engage with a Qi Gong are constantly forced to comprehend the terror of trying to bargain with a predator, reducing their Resolve and Guile by 2 unless they spend a willpower at the start of a scene. The threatening Social Influence reoccurs if the Qi Gong activates their True Form. Lunar Exalted are immune to the effects of Mein of the Predator, as Luna’s eternal hatred for the Qi Gong has become a core to her being that all of her Exalted also share. If this effect is resisted by the roll not beating their Resolve, meeting the Qi Gong later will not cause the effect to occur again. If, instead, Willpower is paid to resist it, or it is not paid at all, the effect will continue to apply each time the Qi Gong is met

A Body Made For Murder; Qi Gong are designed to be ultimate predators. They are monsters in a human form, an extinction level threat to any ecosystem, a supreme apex predator that can cause ecological collapse if they so much as felt like it.Their bodies stretch like rubber to reach distant foes, they can fire finger bones or pull their own spine from their body to use as a sword or whip as, using the same traits as the listing in their combat stats, and their muscles generate almost no fatigue toxins. A Qi Gong may apply double 8s to 10 rolls in a scene, and gains 2 additional double 8s each time they enter a new wound penalty level.

Qi Gong Stances and Talents;

A Qi Gong’s body is a constantly evolving weapon designed for the obliteration of prey; if the Ancient Ones stood on the top of the hierarchy of Spirits, then the Qi Gong stand atop the hierarchy of flesh and blood. Everytime the race has been threatened with extinction, they have adapted and evolved beyond it, and become even stronger. In doing so, they have stolen the greatest assets of the creatures they’ve killed and consumed, in order to overpower them in their own arenas and leave behind nothing but bones and desiccated corpses. A Qi Gong has a variety of Stances, which improve their base capabilities. In addition, each Stance grants the ability to use a variety of Talents, charm-like abilities that make them even more devastating. More powerful Talents are not as easy to use as weaker ones.

Stance of The Chronus Tigers; The Chronus Tigers were created by Cecelyne and Szorney, tigers of blue flame that flowed like quicksilver, so fast as to be invisible and almost impossible to strike. It seemed as if these creatures would grow rampant over Creation and slay everything. But the Qi Gong adapted, rather than perish, and tore the tigers in half. By speeding up the transfer of blood in their bodies, the Qi Gong’s skin turns bright pink, and steam begins to pour from their bodies as their sweat evaporates from the heat of their blood.
  • In this form, the Qi Gong increases their Dexterity based pool by 4, and increases their Accuracy by 2 and Defense by 1. They lose 2 points from their Strength and Stamina pools, and 2 points from their Damage and Soak. They only take half of the Onslaught that would be applied to them (So it takes 2 attacks to give them 1 point of Onslaught).
  • Sonic Falcon; A Qi Gong’s fist strikes so fast that it’s impossible to see, stretching out like a lightning bolt. The Qi Gong may move at the start of the Initiative Order every round.
  • Whirlwind Terror; If a Qi Gong hits an opponent, they may make a second attack at another opponent, reducing their accuracy by 2 points. They may do this until they miss an attack. This may only be used once per scene
  • Seven Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy Seven Strikes; The Qi Gong makes a Decisive attack against all opponents in Short range, with a base damage of 10, adding extra successes. This may only be used once per scene.

Stance of the Black Marauders; The Black Marauders were monstrous creatures made by Isidoros and Kimbery. A combination of rhino and man, their skin was as dark as obsidian and harder then diamond; for mortals who had barely learned how to make sharpened sticks, they simply broke. The fangs of a Tyrant Lizard would break, they could not be crushed by a Kraken, they would walk through Magma and not die from being dropped in the ocean. It seemed as if these terrible creatures would overrun all of Creation, but the Qi Gong adapted, rather than perish, and shattered the Black Marauders. By increasing the density of their muscle, bone, and skin, they take on a sheen the same color as those ancient Marauders, but make themselves much denser.
  • In this form, the Qi Gong increases their Stamina based pool by 4, and increases their Damage, Overwhelming, and Soak by 2. They lose 2 points from their attacks and 1 point from their Defenses. Opponents don’t double 10s on Withering Damage rolls, and they don’t count 7s as successes on Decisive damage rolls.
  • Raging Demon; The Qi Gong may respond to one attack per round with a clash attack attempting to grapple the opponent. If they are successful, they must slam them immediately, converting all extra successes on the control roll to damage.
  • Pile Bunker; The Qi Gong creates an area of pressure behind their elbow that is released when they strike a foe, obliterating them with traumatic force. The Qi Going applies a knockback akin to Heaven Thunder Hammer to whatever opponent they strike.
  • Compress and Empower; When the Qi Gong takes Initiative damage, they increase their soak by half the damage they take until the start of their next turn.

True Form; a Qi Gong’s form is not that of the tall, muscular humanoids that they pretend it is. Rather, each is a unique, horrifying monster, a nightmare brought to life, that is only barely concealed beneath the insulting veneer of humanity. A Qi Gong will never enter their True Form against a human unless their -0 and -1 health levels are full, as it is considered an insult to not be able to beat a human in their regular form. For Malina, her true form is a massive, arachnid like beast. When Malina takes this form, her ribs burst forth from her waist, lifting her up on them like 6 spindly legs. Her mouth becomes full of razor sharp fangs, and her arms become blades akin to a scythe. Her legs can still be used to kick, but her primary forms of offense become stomping on foes with her giant legs or slicing them to death with her blade arms. While in this form, she has no Stance, and instead gains a different set of powers;
  • In this form, Malina’s massive size grants her the effects of being Mounted, increasing her Withering attack dice by +1 and her Defense by +1 against foes who are not equally mounted or using Reach weapons, or are otherwise able to strike her core. In addition, she attacks two foes per turn instead of one. She can only be knocked prone by being hit by 2 different Knockback gambits in one turn. She may also only take up to 3 points of Onslaught on a single turn, no matter how many opponents attack her, but if charms or effects carry over onslaught, additional onslaught may be applied on the next turn.
  • When a Grapple gambit is made against her, it is at difficulty 4 instead of two. Success indicates the individual has climbed onto her back, meaning she takes a -3 penalty to attack and -2 to her defense against that individual, but it has no penalty on her defenses against other foes.If she has control of a Grapple, she takes no penalties.
  • Her Accuracy, Soak, and Damage all increase by 2.
  • When she successfully decisively damages an opponent, her base initiative on her reset is increased by the number of 10s on her damage roll.

 

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I love this and I want more examples and stances!
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