Today I am doing two thematically linked stories. The first is Growing Pears, which is about a charlatan who uses sleight of hand to make it look like he can grow a pear tree instantly. The second story is similar. It is called The Daoist Priest of Mount Lao. In this one, a priest dazzles a townsman named Wang with miraculous powers that are implied to be mere parlor tricks.
These were more challenging than the others, because I couldn't just make a monster. Instead I had to make a new mechanic for the game to emulate the tricks. There were a bunch of ways I could have gone about this. Honestly it might best be handled by the Deception skill (which covers many forms of deception). However I thought it would be fun to create a new kind of Ritual. We have Rites and Magic. For this entry I made a new category: Magic Tricks. These function the same as Rituals but are mere sleight of hand.
MAGIC TRICKS (NEW RITUALS)
Magic Tricks function like other Rituals. The only major difference is you do not run the risk of going mad from failure and they don't actually produce supernatural effects. Instead they use things like sleight of hand, smoke powders and misdirection to get the audience to believe you are performing something miraculous. Like other Rituals these are open skills, meaning you can take ranks in each Magic Trick separately. Unless otherwise stated, all Magic Tricks are rolled against the Wits of the intended audience.
CHOPSTICKS OF XING
You throw your chopsticks into the sky, toward the moon, and as they land they take the form of Xing, goddess of Lunar Realm. She then performs a dance and song before returning becoming little more than a pile of clothes containing two slender chop sticks. This Ritual requires an assistant, to play the role of Xing (use his or her Talent: Dance skill for the dance and Talent: Singing Skill for the singing). To perform this Magic Trick make the Ritual Skill roll against the Wits of onlookers. If you succeed then the chopsticks appear to turn into Xing. If you fail, the onlooker sees through your misdirection and observes your assistant leap from a nearby platform to replace the chopsticks.
Obviously there are endless variations of this trick. You could also use it to summon Xang of Solar realm by throwing chopsticks at the sun, for example.
FRUIT TREE SURPRISE
You eat a piece of fruit down to the seeds, which you then plant in the ground. You then draw a large cape of fabric over them. Speaking strange magic words and coaxing the seeds with encouragement you cause them to grow into a mighty fruit tree in a few moments. In truth you rapidly construct the tree using wood and attach pre-ripened fruit to its "branches". You conceal your deception with a large square piece of fabric. To perform this magic trick, first you must construct the tree (Trade: Wood TN 7). You will also need fruit (this can be obtained in the moment if it is handy). Then you must make a Ritual Roll against the Wits of the intended audience. If you succeed then to their eyes it seems you grew a tree from seeds. If you fail, they see you placing the tree in the ground.
This ritual uses props such as poles and sticks to make it appear as though you are ascending high into the sky. Make a Ritual Roll against the Wits of the audience. On a Success you seem to rise as high as 20 feet into the air. On a Failure the intended target (s) sees the pole and/or sticks.
Porcelain Immortal is an eccentric woman who claims to have attained immortality through a lengthy cultivation process. She is a charlatan who demonstrates miracles to prove her immortality and then charges to teach people useless breathing exercises that she claims are the building blocks of her cultivation. Porcelain Immortal is a mere human, and has no real experience in cultivation. However she is a highly practiced trickster, performer and thief who knows how to convince a crowd. She thinks fast on her feet and is a skilled liar.
Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 3, Parry 3, Stealth 9, Wits 9, Resolve 6
Key Skills: Light Melee: 0d10, Medium Melee: 0d10, Heavy Melee: 0d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 1d10, Endurance: 1d10, Meditation: 1d10, Divination: 1d10, Trade (Alchemy): 2d10, Trade (Wood): 3d10, Talent (Acting): 3d10, Talent (Poetry): 1d10, Persuade: 3d10, Deception: 3d10, Detect: 2d10, Read Scripts (Feishu): 3d10, Languages (Daoyun): 3d10, Classics (Sayings of Kong Zhi): 3d10, Religion (Yen-Li): 1d10, Institutions (Imperial Bureaucracy): 1d10, Institutions (Religious Organizations): 1d10, Institutions (Sects): 1d10, Ritual (Fruit Tree Surprise): 3d10, Ritual (Chopsticks of Xing): 3d10, Ritual (Heavenly Lifting): 3d10
Max Wounds: 1
Expertise: Persuade-Charm, Persuade-Convince, Deception-Tall Tale