|Common Nicknames||Yellowskins, Easterners, Chi|
|Languages||Tatsugo (Dragon Tongue)|
|Naming Customs||Similar to Japanese, Chinese, or Korean found on Earth.|
|Distinctions||Always have golden eyes, signifying their genetic proximity to the Seraph|
|Maximum Age||120 years|
|Body Types||Most often Skinny, but never above Toned|
|Height||5’ - 5’8”|
|Weight||100 - 170 lbs|
|Eye Colors||Always a rich golden color if a purebreed|
|Hair Colors||Black or very dark brown|
|Skin Tones||A pale tan|
While this doesn't mean your character has to come from one of these places, it's recommended they do.
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Ch'ien-Ji, commonly referred to as Chi among the Ailor, are the foremost oriental subspecies that most Alorians are acquainted with. Originally hailing from the supercontinent of Shi-Yao-Lan, the Ch'ien-Ji have migrated to the outlying Yang-Tzu Isles together with their Guo-Ji cousins and the lesser Wulong to escape certain destruction against the ever growing power of the Shen-Xi Empire, ruled by the Huon-Ji. Self professed guardians of the world, Ch'ien-Ji culture is steeped in ancient knowledge, magical mysticism, and a strong drive for isolation and pacifism. Their very nature however, drives them into a perpetual conflict with the Wulong, with an ever vigilant stance against the potential loss of the Fen-shu, the magical barrier that shields the world from the violence and cruelty of the Huon-ji. Their way of living has (since their departure from Shi-Yao-Lan) been heavily influenced by astrology and magic, making the Ch'ien-Ji some of the world’s foremost mages, magical researchers, and astrologers. They hold true to their old religion: that of Dragon Worship, a faith similar to that of the Isldar. Their knowledge of the demise of their Loong Dragons and the ever looming threat of the Shen-Xi Empire weighs heavy on the minds of the Ch'ien-Ji, though many could also praise them for their unrivaled cooperative spirit and compassion for one another. There may yet be a time in history when the world will have dire need for these far-off people, but for the time being, they are content with their isolation in mountain monasteries and magical schools.
Proportionally speaking, the Ch'ien-Ji have a similar build to the Ailor, though their physical characteristics are much more uniform and they are considerably shorter than any other humanoid races, even their own racial cousins the Huon-ji and Guo-ji. The Ch'ien-Ji stand between five feet and five feet and nine inches tall, and tend to be somewhat on the frail side. A muscular or strongman Ch'ien-Ji is something that simply does not exist, as their predisposition towards gaining mass is extremely limited. Their skin tones are uniformly yellowish-bronze, while their hair is always black. The most prominent physical feature of a Ch'ien-Ji’s face is their golden eyes, a trait that is not shared with the many races on Aloria. These golden eyes are lost as soon as a mix-breed is born, causing the Ch'ien-Ji to have a negative view on Racial Interbreeding. Gender dimorphism and population diversity is extremely low for the Ch'ien-Ji, causing many Ailor to say they all look the same.
Ch'ien-Ji are a very traditional people, heavily opposed to extreme deviation and consequently incredibly unified in their loyalty and opinions. Typically, Ch'ien-Ji are stronger logical thinkers than other Human races, with a longer attention span and excellence in working with numbers and literals. The Ch'ien-Ji as such have an excellent relation with the Qadir, who are known to make the mechanical equipment the Ch'ien-Ji use in their mathematical, astrological, and other scholarly pursuits. Unfortunately, this means Ch'ien-Ji also have a difficult time grasping abstract concepts. Ch'ien-Ji are very structured and goal-oriented, with a lot of curiosity about the world around them, and a strong drive to leave no question unanswered. Finally, Ch'ien-Ji have a strong emphasis on cooperating with one another, whether it be through magical collaboration, joint curiosity, or coming together to strengthen war efforts. Among their own, Ch'ien-Ji are one of the most peaceful races, preferring to let the stars dictate their paths and fuel their loyalty toward their kind, instead of mere obligation to cooperate. This can often result in many other races calling the Ch'ien-Ji cowards, but the truth is more aligned with the idea that the Ch'ien-Ji wish to preserve themselves for the eventual enemy which they consider paramount to everything else: The Huon-ji.
Ch'ien-Ji history is extremely difficult to pinpoint due to their general reluctance to share their historical records or speak too greatly of the Shen-Xi Empire that they were once a part of. All Ji races (the Ch'ien-Ji, Huon-ji and Guo-ji) descend from the same people, the Shen-ji, that (according to folklore) have lived on the continent of Shi-Yao-Lan for thousands of years. Despite this, the latter often conflicts with contemporary notions of the Void Invasion—especially in recent times, since Regalian scholars have started looking deeper into Ch'ien-Ji history and culture. It was always assumed that Void Invasions always occurred on a global scale, however the Ch'ien-Ji indicate, with what little they have released about their past, that there has never been any such thing as a Void Invasion in their homeland. The Shen-Ji had a strong relation with the Loong Dragons, sky dragons of the far east that frequently communicated with them, and formed the basis of their religion and spirituality.
The first recorded mention of the Ch'ien-Ji considering themselves separate from the Shen-Xi Empire lies around 500 BC. The Shen-Xi Empire is a massive spanning state entity that was always considered to be a loose federation led by a single symbolic figurehead, but usually had a very wide range of states that were only loosely affiliated by friendship treaties under it. What occurred around 500 BC was that the then Shen-Xi Emperor, Kai-Zhen Song, broke thousands years of tradition and created a grand Imperial army for himself with which he started subjecting various weaker states, while simultaneously turning his back on the Loong Dragons. The Ch'ien-Ji (originally only in name, as they were still Shen-ji back then) were mostly a collection of smaller states and religious figures led by the Emperor’s Empress consort that attempted to passively resist this movement of conquest initiated by the Emperor. Their resistance was futile, as the Emperor’s power continued to galvanize. After a failed assassination attempt by the Empress-led consorts, which ended in the Emperor being badly scarred, the Ch'ien-Ji leaders chose to escape the continent to the far off Yang-Tzu isles that were just a collection of outposts of the Shen-Xi Empire at the time. This massive movement of people was later called the Great Flight, as the Ch'ien-Ji also took a wide range of native animals with them and other lesser races that once belonged to the Shen-Xi Empire. Notables that fled with the Ch'ien-Ji were the Wulong (who were mostly Shen-ji slaves at the time) and the Lovarr, a bird like race.
Upon arriving in Yang-Tzu, the Ch'ien-Ji attempted to set up a functional governance and society with resistance against the Shen-Xi Emperor in mind, though many of them wished no further part in the conflict against the cruelty of Emperor Kai-Zhen Song. The Ch'ien-Ji who split off from the Yang-Tzu Isles to settle the Tsuo Isles would later become the Guo-Ji, and seek further isolation from their Ch'ien-Ji cousins. Surviving on the Yang-Tzu isles was hard for the Ch'ien-Ji at first, as the islands were inhospitable, and their mostly agricultural society was not suited for the rocky and barren environment. The Lovarr, short and unadaptable as they were, perished very quickly, going extinct on Yang-Tzu within 15 years of arriving. The Wulong however, which were first still in captivity as slaves, slowly started escaping and setting up their own smaller colonies away from the Ch'ien-Ji. This was allowed by the Ch'ien-Ji at first, who had more pressing matters such as the critical lack of a proper food supply and their impending doom by the hand of the Huon-Ji, however conflicts would later spark the never ending war between the Ch'ien-Ji and the Wulong.
By 400 BC, the situation on Yang-Tzu had stabilized, save for the conflict between the Ch'ien-Ji and the Wulong, however the Huon-Ji were just on the horizon. Despite being badly scarred and injured by the assassination attempt nearly a century before, the Kai-Zhen Song Emperor had somehow achieved a state of immortality, and many of his armies had evolved beyond being of Shen-ji nature. In fact, something had either altered or mutated them to such a degree it was hard to even call them humanoid anymore. The Emperor built a massive fleet with the intention of crushing the Ch'ien-Ji on Yang-Tzu, after which to invade Farah’deen and the world beyond. Some scholars have speculated that if Yang-Tzu had fallen, then the Elven Empire would have been no match for the Kai-Zhen Song Emperor, and the whole world as the Ailor know it would have fallen.
In the face of their impending doom, the Ch'ien-Ji used their religious allies, the Loong Dragons and their leader Shen-Loong to their advantage. The Dragons had taught the Ch'ien-Ji various forms of magic with the aims to defend themselves against the Huon-ji, and thus, the Ch'ien-Ji made battle with the Huon-ji over the great Jade seas. The Ch'ien-Ji rode on the backs of the Loong Dragons, casting magic down at the great war fleets of the Emperor, however the tide of Kai-Zhen Song’s armies was unstoppable. Badly outnumbered, the Ch'ien-Ji retreated while the Loong Dragons continued to do battle with the Huon-ji, their errant worshippers. Shen-Loong eventually realized the futility of their struggle, and together with the other Loong Dragons, sacrificed himself to create the Fen-Shu, the magical Jade Sea barrier that shields the continent of Shi-Yao-Lan away from the world.
The Huon-ji eventually turned inwards, believing they could no longer cross the barrier after centuries of trying. Their lands became as twisted as their bodies, a vast Empire of vile beings ruled by an insane and power-hungry Emperor that would spell doom to the world if they were to ever break free. The Ch'ien-Ji built Great Loong Temples to honor their heroes, and it is said among their people that when the Shen-Loong sacrificed himself, he created the stars and the heavenly bodies. Soon after, the Ch'ien-Ji united under one political leader, the Cheng-Yao-He Empress. While the Empress acts as a figurehead to all the Ch'ien-Ji, they have effectively become autonomous from her control, with each community centered around their Great Loong Temples. The Ch'ien-Ji continue to develop the means to try and reverse the effects of the Huon-Ji corruption, never truly giving up on their lost brethren and their ancient history in the Shen-Xi Empire.
Ch'ien-Ji culture is centered around the so called Sima-Xiao communities that formed around the Great Loong Temples. These Temples emit a constant magical essence that is used to repair the faltering magic of the Jade Sea Wall, which the Huon-Ji occasionally still attempt to break, and sometimes succeed in small numbers. Ch'ien-Ji societies are often the essence of communal cooperation where a person’s purpose in society is predetermined by the stance of the heavenly bodies when they are born. Everyone fulfills their own part in their Sima-Xiao to ensure the future survival of the Ch'ien-Ji people and the world at large.
Formally, the Ch'ien-Ji are ruled by an Empress, the so called Cheng-Yao-He Empress, however the Empress has no executive control over the Ch'ien-Ji beyond a cultural role. The Ch'ien-Ji are all split into various Cheng-Yao-He communities which all have a so-called Bai, a First Lord of the Loong. The First Lord of the Loong is usually an elder expert mage who has been with the community for a long time, and will oversee the general domestic and foreign decisions taken by the community. These Bai’s often come together on a Yang-Tzu-wide college to discuss decisions impacting the entire race with the Empress. Within family units, the grandfather and grandmother of a family often act as the figureheads which are directly in contact with the Bais. As such, Ch'ien-Ji politics is often seen by outsiders as old people politics, largely because any who engage in it are often above the age of seventy. The governance capital of the Ch'ien-Ji is Daishima, a city built around the Shen-Loong Temple and the Starlight Court of the Empress on the largest landmass of Yang-Tzu.
Ch'ien-Ji societies are often nestled in monasteries or Temple complexes built into the rough and rocky mountains, either on top of them or on the steep slopes. Smaller towns often sprawl at the base of any such structure near the water, with semi-floating structures connected with boardwalks and bridges. Ch'ien-Ji culture is strongly influenced by the stars and astrology. Immediately upon the birth of a child, an astrologer will record the stance of the heavenly bodies and predict the future of the child and their purpose in the collective. Deviation from this divination is extremely rare, and often also severely punished by the elders who tolerate no dissention from their so called divine purpose to resist the Huon-ji, an eternal vow to pay back the sacrifice of the Loong Dragons.
The Ch'ien-Ji have a simple cuisine, mostly dominated by seafood, but supplemented with limited trade from Farah’deen in spices, and alcoholic beverages from the Guo-ji. Their clothing is often made from the finest and smoothest silk with colorful floral patterns that puts Regalian clothing materials to shame. Art among the Ch'ien-Ji is strongly based in Chi Script, as well as geometric shapes. All Ch'ien-Ji are raised both with the Tatsugo language and the Seraph and Dai-li script, the latter of which is the official written form of Tatsugo, but is structured in a very mathematical manner which causes it to be nearly untranslatable. For leisure, the Ch'ien-Ji engage in mind games: either riddles, puzzles or so called Logic Paradox games in which they must engage in critical thinking to solve paradoxes (or at least theorize a solution).
Finally, the Ch'ien-Ji are a largely pacifist people who look kindly onto other races, all save for the Wulong and the Huon-ji. Culturally speaking, the Ch'ien-Ji have an intense hatred for the Wulong, feeling these errant servants have abandoned their plight to their saviors. In context to the Loong Dragons, the Ch'ien-Ji consider the Wulong something that they could become if they too abandon their saviors. The Ch'ien-Ji also have numerous rituals, some of which are very noteworthy for their strong impact on their daily lives, or the lives of others around them.
Ritual of Qing-jie (Cleansing)
Occasionally, Huon-ji forces manage to penetrate the Jade Sea Wall, causing some of their troops to spill over into the Yang-Tzu isles. The Ch'ien-Ji are often quickly on the spot when this occurs, but it obviously presents a continued problem to the tranquility of the Ch'ien-Ji lands. That being said, the Huon-ji that are sometimes captured have presented the Ch'ien-Ji with a unique opportunity in the past to experiment on their lost brethren with the intent to save them. The Ch'ien-Ji have since developed the ritual of Qing-jie, one involving Soul Essence and a unique form of time magic. With a captured Huon-ji, this ritual can be performed to cleanse their corrupted and twisted state and revert them back to an infant of a much purer Huon-ji physical appearance. Their memories will also be destroyed in the process, but their bodies will be cleansed of the Kai-Shen Song Emperor’s vile magical effects, thus creating a child to be raised in the Ch'ien-Ji culture. Many Huon-Ji have been cleansed this way, surviving and thriving in Ch'ien-Ji society and giving the Ch'ien-Ji hope that they might one day cleanse all of their people to save their lost Empire. This ritual does not work on any race but the Huon-ji yet.
Ritual of Xi-Sheng (Sacrifice)
The ritual of Xi-Sheng is often performed by elder Ch'ien-Ji who is nearing the end of their lifetime, or who have become so gravely ill that they have no further cause for living. When such a time occurs, the Ch'ien-Ji in question invokes Xi-Sheng, which involves one full day of prayer, after which the Ch'ien-Ji will enter the great White Flame at the center of any Loong Temple. These White Flames are commonly seen as the source of the Jade Sea Wall’s power since the Loong Dragon force has started to fade, and the Soul Essence and magical power of any Ch'ien-Ji that engages in this ritual adds to the power of the Temple to keep the flame going. Those that perform this ritual are often intensely revered among the Ch'ien-Ji. Their names are often engraved on the floors of the Loong temples.
The faith of the Ch'ien-Ji is centered around Dragon worship, or more specifically, the worship of the Loong Dragons. In ages long past, the Ch'ien-Ji (and before that the Shen-ji) believed that the Loong Dragons breathed life into the world from their great expanse of nothingness, the sky. Before the fall of the Shen-Xi Empire, the Loong Dragons enjoyed a very similar status among the Shen-ji as the Nenya did among the Elves, making the great Sky Temples their homes, often speaking to the Shen-ji to provide spiritual guidance to the people. Dragon priests tended to the needs of the Dragons, while in turn, the Dragons obeyed the wishes of the Emperor to bring good fortune and splendor onto the land. The Dragons caused floods and rain in drought, and broke clouds when the people were drowning in downpour. All this ended when the Loong Dragons fled with the Ch'ien-Ji to Yang-Tzu, especially since the Kai-Shen Song Emperor had started hunting the Loong Dragons down and killing them with his armies.
With the sacrifice of the Loong Dragons to create the Jade Sea Wall, the Loong Dragons ceased to exist, and according to Ch'ien-Ji folklore, created the many stars and heavenly bodies in the sky. As such, the Ch'ien-Ji now use the stars as their divine inspiration for spiritual guidance, but in effect still worship the Loong Dragons in their absence. They have given many names to the Huon-Ji, such as “Dragon Slayers” or “Traitors to the Loong”, while the Huon-Ji entertain the idea that they are God Slayers. The Ch'ien-Ji still believe that the Loong continue to instruct the people through the stars, and as such the dragon priests of old have become starlight priests who divine the will of the Loong through the positions of the heavenly bodies and the constellations. In private, Ch'ien-Ji might often still have a shrine with a Jade effigy of a Loong Dragon to continue their worship, but more often than not do they simply engage in this by star gazing or using a telescope to read the constellations.
Ch'ien-Ji currency is incredibly distinct and is rarely used outside the Yang-Tzu Isles. Instead of coins or bills, Ch'ien-Ji use jade tablets engraved with Tatsugo characters as money and trade these for goods between towns. Foreign affairs are strictly held through trading instead of money exchange, often making it difficult for Ch'ien-Ji immigrants to make a living in another land. Ch'ien-Ji primarily produce plant products such as rice and bamboo, animal products such as Qilin wool or Okosuto horns, and magical services for hire. In turn, they frequently import wools, silks, foods and spices from Farah’deen, their closest and most prevalent trade partner. Between towns and monasteries, a heavy amount of commerce occurs, as most towns specialize in something and spread it about the rest for other goods. Mass-production is uncommon for dwellers of the Yang-Tzu isles due to limited room and specific needs that change by town and time.
Combat and Warfare
Instead of using brute force or traditional combat and weaponry, Ch'ien-Ji mostly rely on tactical combinations of magic. Conventional weapons and the art of hand to hand combat are considered barbaric and impractical, partially because Wulong use it, and partially because it’s less potent due to their smaller stature. As a result of the aforementioned conditions, Ch'ien-Ji cannot afford to use brute force when in battle, instead relying on heavy cooperation and ambush. Typically, battle mages in the war will combine their magic to create subtle raiding parties that predominantly go after smaller groups or individual Wulong. People are placed in very specific spots, asked to play a very specific role, and use very specific tactics in their parties. For example, two Elemental mages may use Kilhid and Wellen, Kilhid to stun their opponent, then Wellen to burn them. Ch'ien-Ji soldiers follow very structured orders, remaining focused on conserving resources and relying on the element of surprise.
- Ch'ien-Ji magic is notorious for combination. While it predominantly focuses on elemental, their free and expected beliefs when it comes to magic has opened up a lot of possibilities.
- While Ch'ien-Ji are incredibly loyal to their own, they often remain closed off from others. The Qadir and Regalian Empire have both offered to assist with efforts in the Wulong war in the past, but all attempts to reach out have been declined.