Liang Shui

Dashing Literati, 4th Rank Courtier

Fame: "Who's Liang Shui? Fool! Three pretty daughters all unwed and you aren't paying attention to threats to their virtue? Best lock them up — no, send them down the river — no, send them downriver in a locked box!

Shui is a prominent literati, excelled on all the exams, but you wouldn't call him a scholar! He lives for two things: politics and fun, and he throws himself into both with equal fervour! Why, just last month he strode into Three Blessings Town and restored poor old Magistrate Kwan's authority after the mess his corrupt sons and Shen Dong had made of the place... all in one day! It was an act worthy of the courtier-heroes of old, yet Liang Shui decided a day's hard work deserved a day's hard celebration, and held a massive feast for himself at Kwan's place - even talking Kwan's daughters into dancing for him!

He's a handsome man with clever tongue and a talent for music, and his achievements are as high as the clouds! You'll know him anywhere for his long black hair, green eyes and fine silks, while still being fit and not soft in the slightest! So you see you can't trust your daughters within ten thousand miles of such a man!"

History and Heart: Your father was a noted warrior, and though you never had much taste for his lifestyle, he passed onto you one indelible trait: a hatred for idleness. You don't even like sleeping! From the youngest age you filled every moment of your day, whether working studiously on your education, or playing as hard as you could in your leisure time. On the same day you gained top-marks on your all-important exams, you danced for six hours with the women of your favoured tea-house!

So you live your life at all times. You work incredibly hard for conspicuous and exemplary success in governance, commerce, and the tasks of a courtier, and you repay yourself equally with the finest enjoyment to be had. Your works achieve virtuous ends, but it is a foolish father who leaves you with access to his daughters... You are determined to keep up the proud traditions of the literati — both as political champions of just rule, and as figures of desire and delight for the women of Shen Zhou.

Your chief motivation at this time is to increase your fame in the Wulin. In time, you'll find a ministry worthy of your talents, but for now, you crave the challenge offered by the Martial Arts world and strive to improve yourself as much as possible. Your Kung Fu is excellent, but you know it will never be the best and neither will you ever be a sorcerer, so you employ your silver tongue to keep a band of heroes around you at all times. The bunch you've met on your way to Only Six Devils all seem to be there for the same reason — each to recover a different wonder from the markets there.

Heaven has obviously blessed you with a powerful band of companions, so you'd be a fool to throw it away. You're determined to keep the band together and ride the wave of fame sure to arise from your heroic deeds!

To you, the most important field of challenge is in the interactions of human beings. This is why, despite your impressive calligraphy and knowledge of the classics, you don't consider yourself a scholar. Your learning, your looks, your kung fu and your music are all tools of leverage over other people. You are always on the lookout for opportunities to use them for noble ends — ends that coincidentally will put you in position to reap the greatest rewards!

ORIGIN: Handsome Courtier
PASSION: Joy - Work and Reward
REGION: Southern Liang (Dong Territory)

ATTRIBUTES & SKILLS (All Skills have +1 die to their rating unless otherwise noted)

Athletics 3
Fight 3 [palms 1]
Hardiness 1

Dodge 3 [projectiles 1] (no bonus)
Finesse 1

Confidence 3 [regaining chi 1]
Grace 3 [city 1]
Inspire 3 [extraordinary techniques 1]
Perform 3 [music 1]
Persuade 3 [big lies 1]

Learning 3 [the classics 1, calligraphy 1]
Politics 3

Awareness 3 [understanding people 1] (no bonus)
Investigation 3 [hidden secrets 1] (no bonus)


Quality Good Looks: You get a +5 modifier to skill rolls (usually Presence skills) where your good looks are a factor.

Kung Fu and Extraordinary Techniques
Weapon Initiative Attack/Block Damage
Palms 1d + 15 5d Result dice - 5

Common Any Chi

Lightfoot is the ability to defy the rules of the world as you move! Every member of the Wulin has this kung-fu — it's so universal that you can spend any colour of chi to fuel its techniques!

1. Surefoot. Using this technique lets you run on water, climb at your running speed, cling to walls like a spider, and take no damage from falling. Cost: 1 chi of any colour.

2. Run Like a Deer. This technique lets you Cover Ground as a Free Action (i.e. you can run without losing the opportunity to attack). You also gain a +5 modifier to any Dodge roll that you describe well. Cost: 2 chi of any colour.

3. Headlong Flying Leap. You can make enormous leaps as a Free Action — roll Athletics at difficulty 18, travelling ten yards per result die. You gain a +10 modifier to Dodge skill rolls that are well described. Cost: 3 chi of any colour.

Cloud Mastery
Common Jade Chi

This style focuses your jade chi to conceal your fighting spirit from your enemy!

1. Phantom of the Clouds. Add a +10 modifier to your weapon's Speed for the round. Cost: 1 Jade chi

2. Moon Covered by Clouds. Using this technique applies a -10 modifer to the Strike of any attacks made against you this round. Cost: 2 Jade chi

Music of War
Common Gold Chi
Critical: Disorient or Stun

1. Single Note of Pain. Activate this technique to make an attack by playing your flute (a Performance roll at 5d) at a target up to 10 yards away. Since you're not using a weapon, you gain no Speed, Strike or Damage modifier, but the attack ignores armour! Cost: 1 gold chi

2. Agonising Melody. As Single Note of Pain, but up to 50 yards range, and with +1d damage. Cost: 2 gold chi

3. Threnody of Torment. As Single Note of Pain, but up to 100 yards range, +2d damage, and causes your opponent to lose their breath in their Favoured Chi for a round. Cost: 3 gold chi

Extraordinary Courtier Techniques: You may use any of the following Techniques as a full action. Liang must quote or reference Confucius, Meng Tzu or some other great sage in order to use any of these techniques (it doesn't have to be a real quote, but it helps if it sounds wise). Alternately, you may spend two chi of the same colour to gain a +5 modifier to your Inspire roll to activate one of these techniques.

Anger Inspiring Technique: Make a Moderate (20) Inspire roll, opposed by your opponent's Confidence. If you succeed, they suffer a -10 modifier to all actions due to blinding anger, until someone (including themselves) takes a full action to resolve the anger.

Instant Inspiration Technique: Spend a Free Action in addition to a Full Action to activate this technique — you use the Free Action to demonstrate your superiority through proper behaviour! Add a +5 modifier to your next action.

Exploitation of Sorrows Technique: Make a Moderate (20) Inspire roll, opposed by your opponent's Confidence. If you succeed, they suffer a -10 modifier to all non- defensive actions for a round in their misery!

Fear Inspiring Technique: Make a Moderate (20) Inspire roll, opposed by your opponent's Confidence. If you succeed, they suffer a -5 modifier to all actions opposing you for five turns.

Note: These Techniques are not the end of Liang's Courtier abilities. In longer term games, a Courtier can apply the Secret Arts of Intrigue to manipulate the emotions of friend and foe alike, creating and twisting inspirations and passions!

Strategy: Liang doesn't look like much of a fighter, but used carefully he can be devastating. It's quite dangerous for him to be in close combat, so try staying back and using your Extraordinary Techniques to confound your foes and give your allies an easier time. When you can fill your river, hammer a vulnerable foe with Threnody of Torment! While you have more dice for Block than Dodge, you're still generally better off using Dodge and boosting it with your Lightfoot. Make sure to use Moon Covered By Clouds in any turn where you expect to be attacked by named characters, or if you have spare Chi and want to make sure Minions have no chance.

Instant Inspiration Technique doesn't look like much, but it's your best friend for non-combat actions where such modifiers are rare.

This text is copied from the pdf of Jye Nicolson's Auspicious Beginnings without permission, but it's a free adventure so I expect it's basically ok (if you're going to play this you probably don't want to read the adventure in advance).