Shangri-La Tattoo Magic, Warrior-Monks, and the Mythic City in Feng Shui

Throughout the world, there have been tales of magical, mystical cities, places of enchantment and wonder and adventure that have been lost to time. In the world of Feng Shui, no such place is more famous than the lost city of Shangri-La. Legends and folklore paint Shangri-La as a city of ancient mysteries and forgotten wisdom. No one knows exactly how Shangri-La came to be, or what secrets lie within its walls, but one thing everyone agrees on is that Shangri-La is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible to find. Although most stories place it somewhere within the region of Tibet or Nepal, no one knows exactly where it is. There are rumors and stories of explorers who managed to find the city, but these cannot be confirmed. Only those who failed to find the city have come back to tell the tale.

Shangri-La does, in fact, exist, and it is indeed a city of magic and wonders. However, the reason it is so hard to find is because it never stays in one place for very long. Shangri-La is peculiar and unique in that it phases in and out of time in what is only a semi-predictable cycle at best. An inhabitant of Shangri-La could go to bed in the year 820 and wake up in the year 1820 the next day, or virtually any other year for that matter. Unlike the portals of the Netherworld, Shangri-La is not limited in its movements to the open junctures, but rather can appear at almost any time in history. Nor does it phase in any set pattern either, but instead moves from year to year, backwards and forwards in time without any discernible meaning. What's more, the city tends to phase fairly frequently and erratically, sometimes staying in one place for a few months, in others for only a day. Finally, Shangri-La shifts not only from time to time, but in and out of the Netherworld as well.

Despite the seemingly random nature of the city, there are a few rules that govern its existence. For one thing, the limits of its movements are set between whatever the earliest and latest open junctures currently are. What's more, Shangri-La seems to favor time periods where magic is strong. Thus, it appears in the Netherworld and in the years prior to the Renaissance much more often than it does anywhere else. When Shangri-La does shift, it always does so at night, never during the daytime. Also, no matter what year Shangri-La appears in, its location is always the same, a very remote area somewhere in the Himalayas. When it appears in the Netherworld, it appears in a similarly remote area, which is why it is largely undiscovered and unheard of even there. Finally, as in the Netherworld, time in Shangri-La always moves forward in a linear fashion. Monday always follows Sunday no matter what the year is, and its inhabitants always age normally as time passes. Of course, because Shangri-la moves about so much, the flow of time may seem radically different to those outside the city. There are tales within Shangri-La of natives outside the city walls, by chance or by choice, when it phases out. When they next see the city again, dozens of years have passed for them, while only weeks or days have gone by for those living in the city. In contrast, there are similar tales of such people returning to the city after only a short absence, only to find that their friends and family have all aged many years since they last left.

Shangri-La itself is indeed the place of wonders that the legends make it out to be. For one thing, within the city walls are three major feng shui sites (each one providing double the attunement bonus of a normal site) and close to ten times as many minor feng shui sites. As a result, the inhabitants live in a sort of pocket reality that is insulated from the modifiers of their current juncture. Shangri-La always has a +3 sorcery modifier, and the presence of so many feng shui sites means that the average citizen has a Shaping skill of 6-12. Shangri-La itself is made up of a combination of shaped and normally created buildings and items, and what is truly astonishing is that all of the shaped items maintain their integrity outside of the Netherworld, so long as they are kept within the city walls. Finally, Shangri-La is blessed with wells that never run dry, and plants that bear fruit every day. In fact, most of the food comes from small orchards, vineyards, and gardens scattered throughout the city. Needless to say, were this not the case, the people of Shangri-La could not survive.

Shangri-La itself is a small, walled city with less than 10,000 inhabitants. The city itself is loosely ruled by the high priests of the temple, although the day to day affairs of the city are handled by a council comprised of the most influential citizens in the city. Despite this, every adult in the city, other than slaves, beggars, and criminals, has a say in how the city is run, and council meetings are often boisterous affairs. By and large, the priesthood concerns itself with the spiritual welfare of the people, as well as tracking the constant movements of the city itself. Through a very complex method involving astrology and divination, the priests claim to be able to determine the year wherever the city is located, and how long it will remain there (though these predictions are not always 100% accurate). The priests also act as doctors and healers for the city, combining herbalism, prayer, and magic to tend to the sick and injured. They also handle funerary rites for the dead (who are always cremated). The remainder of the city is made up of the usual mix of artisans, civil servants, laborers, and the like. Responsibility begins early, with children expected to contribute to the welfare of their family by the age of 6. The social structure is very stratified, with sons almost always following in the footsteps of their fathers, and daughters always joining the families of their husbands in arranged marriages (also handled by the priesthood). The only way to break out of this cycle is to join the priesthood or to become a warrior-monk.

The warrior-monks are a special branch of the clergy committed to the maintenance of order within the city and to its defense as well. When a boy reaches the age of 6 his parents may apply to have him join the priesthood. He will be carefully questioned and tested by the priests, and if he is deemed suitable he will be inducted into either the priesthood or the brotherhood of warrior-monks, depending on his aptitude. Needless to say, few are selected for either order. The warrior-monks are different from the priests in that that their training is as much martial as it is spiritual. The first six years after a boy is inducted is spent learning basic physical and spiritual techniques, along with a lot of menial work. This period is concluded with a test, and if the novice is worthy then he will spend the next six years in intense training, learning to tap into and utilize his chi as part of becoming a warrior. Finally, on his eighteenth birthday the initiate will be tested again, and if he is successful he will be inducted into the order as a full warrior-monk and given his first tattoo. These tattoos are magical in nature, providing the monk with supernatural powers and abilities. The tattoos are earned as the warrior-monk advances spiritually, and are given based on the nature of the recipient himself as determined by the priesthood.

Naturally, all of the factions would love to get hold of Shangri-La for themselves (except for the Dragons, who don't work that way, and the Jammers, who would like to blow it up). Needless to say, a city that can phase in and out of the Netherworld and throughout time would be a tremendous asset to anyone who controlled it. So far, none of the groups have been able to locate it, much less control it, and what little they know comes from stories of those who claim to have visited or lived there. Shangri-La has gone undiscovered for so long partially because of its remote location and partially because it never stays in one time for very long, but also because the priesthood have employed and maintain a number of spells designed to hide the city from detection. Although Shangri-La welcomes visitors, they also know that the survival of their city depends upon it remaining largely a mystery.

Character Types


Bod 5, Chi 0 (Mag 6), Mnd 5, Ref 5.
Add 6 points to your primary attributes. No more than 5 points can be spent on any single attribute.
Martial Arts +9 (=14)
Sorcery +8 (=13)
Info/Philosophy and Theology (of Shangri-la) +3 (8)
Add 4 skill bonuses.
5 Tattoo schticks.
Wealth Level

The warrior-monks of Shangri-La are responsible for the security and defense of the city of Shangri-La. Although they are part of the priesthood, much of their training is in the martial arts, and they utilize magical tattoos which give them special powers as well. The warrior-monks are ascetics, who are expected to live lives of celibacy and poverty. They keep their heads shaved, and wear only the simplest of clothing. Although they can use weapons, most eschew them in favor of unarmed combat.

Using Tattooed Warrior-Monks as Player Characters

While most warrior-monks will only be encountered within the walls of Shangri-La, they may theoretically be found anywhere. On a monk's 24th birthday, he is given the option of leaving the city to explore the outside world, so that he may bring back news of what is happening elsewhere. This allows players to take on the role of a wandering warrior-monk. Furthermore, although the warrior-monks are not supposed to interfere in the conflicts of outsiders they meet on their travels, they are taught to uphold the tenets of righteousness and to oppose evil when they encounter it. Thus, although a warrior-monk's loyalty is always to Shangri-La, he may find himself working with others toward a greater good. One thing no warrior-monk will ever do is reveal the location of Shangri-la to outsiders. They may, however, provide clues to trusted friends. The monks hold that those who are truly worthy of finding the city will find it when they look.

Leaving Shangri-La is not an easy decision, for the nature of the city is such that when the monk returns, he may find many decades have past. That is, if he finds it again at all. Monks who wish to return to the city invariably travel to the Netherworld, and from there make the long trek to the place where the city will appear when it returns. When they reach that spot, they simply wait for the city to return. The monks believe that when it is their time to return, they will know when to make the journey. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes returning monks are forced to abandon their vigil and return to try again at a later date.

Tattoo Magic

Tattoo magic involves the use of magical tattoos which provide their bearer with access to different supernatural powers. Each tattoo the character has is represented by a “tattoo schtick.” Multiple schticks can be spent on some powers, which represent more complex and detailed tattoos.

Characters with magical tattoos activate their powers much in the way a Martial Artist activates Fu powers, except that they expend Magic points instead of Fu points. Like Fu points, magic points used to activate tattoo powers refresh at the beginning of each sequence. The character does not have to perform any special ritual to activate his tattoos; he must simply will them to activate and they do. Most tattoo powers activate instantly, and the duration of their effect is given with each individual description. Multiple schticks in one tattoo usually increase the cost by a like amount. When the cost of tattoo says “1 cumulative,” that means that for every schtick the character has spent on this tattoo, 1 magic point must be spent when activating that tattoo. Thus, a character with three schticks in Dragonfire would have to spend 3 magic points every time they used the power of the tattoo.

Activating a tattoo requires a Sorcery task check, though success is usually automatic barring any unusual circumstances or a botched roll. Using the schticks in combat usually requires a Martial Arts task check, as most of the schticks enhance the character's combat capabilities, and are not attacks in and of themselves. However, characters who use tattoo magic in combat suffer (or benefit from) juncture modifers just as a sorcerer or supernatural creature would.

Learning new schticks 5 + X experience points per schtick, where X equals the number of tattoo schticks the character will have after they acquire the new one. Players may not buy any one schtick more than five times, where multiple purchases of the schtick are allowed.


Dragon Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative.

This tattoo allows the character to breathe fire. Treat this as the fire effect of the Sorcery Blast Schtick. Damage, however, is always based on the character's regular Magic rating +2, not his current rating. Attacks with this schtick are made using the Sorcery skill. Each schtick spent on this power above the first adds an additional +2 to the damage dealt.

Stone Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative

This tattoo temporarily hardens the character's skin, making her more resistant to damage. Each schtick spent on this power provides one point of Toughness which lasts for the duration of the sequence.

Wind Tattoo

Cost: 1

Each schtick spent on this power allows the character to add their Move score again when leaping horizontally or vertically. Thus, a character with one schtick in this power could leap up to twice their Move rating, with two schticks they could leap up to three times their rating, and so on.

Hare Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative

Each schtick spent on this power allows the character to add their Move score again when running. Thus a character with one schtick in this power could run at a rate equal to twice their Move rating, and so on. Once activated, this power remains active for the remainder of the sequence.

Cobra Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative

This tattoo temporarily increases the character's reaction time. This tattoo must be activated when the character is rolling for initiative. For each schtick spent on this power the character gains a +1 bonus to initiative for that sequence.

Hummingbird Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative

This tattoo temporarily increases the speed of a character's action. When the character activates this tattoo, the shot cost of her current action is reduced by one for each schtick spent on this power. For example, a character who uses this action while making a martial arts attack would reduce the duration of that action from three to two shots. No action can be reduced down to less than one shot (i.e., you can't perform two actions on the same shot with this power). This tattoo must be activated as the action being reduced is initiated.

Owl Tattoo

Cost: 1

This tattoo allows the character to see normally even in complete darkness. This effect lasts for the duration of the sequence.

Carp Tattoo

Cost: 1

This tattoo allows the character to breath normally underwater. This effect lasts for the duration of the sequence.

Lion Tatoo

Cost: 2

This tattoo allows the character to make a tremendous roar once per sequence that disorients all those in a radius in meters equal to the character's Sorcery skill level. When you use this power make a Sorcery task check with your victim's CON as the difficulty. Success means that your victim suffers −2 impairment for a number of shots equal to the outcome. You must test individually for each character, including allies who are in the area of effect.

Gorilla Tattoo

Cost: 3

This tattoo gives the character a surge of strength, adding +4 to the damage of any one Martial Arts attack you make. This tattoo must be activated before the character makes his Martial Arts attack roll.

Elephant Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative

The character's strength is increased by +1 for each schtick they have purchased in this tattoo for the duration of the sequence.

Tempest Tatoo

Cost: 3

This tattoo allows the character to exhale a great torrent of wind once per sequence, knocking aside those in front of him up to a distance in meters equal to his Sorcery skill rating. When you use this power make a Sorcery Skill Task Check with your opponent's STR as the difficulty. Success means the character is knocked backwards a number of meters equal to the Outcome, and then must spend half that many shots (rounded down) getting back up again.

Bane against …

Cost: 2

This character inflicts +4 damage when making Martial Arts attacks against any one type of creature specified by the tattoo for the duration of the sequence. You may not spend more than two schticks on this power during character creation. Possible subjects include: demons, transformed animals, and the undead.

Ward against …

Cost: 2

This tattoo affords the character temporary immunity against one source of damage for the duration of the sequence in which it is activated. Use the Damage Immunities listed in the Creature Power section of the rules. The exceptions listed apply here as well. You may not spend more than two schticks on this power during character creation.

Ward against Sorcery

Cost: 2

When activated, this tattoo increases the character's resistance to magic for the duration of the sequence. All spells directed at him or which include him in their area of effect have their difficulty increased by +2.

Would Closing Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative.

This tattoo allows the character to rapidly close up wounds and heal injuries instantaneously. For each schtick spent on this power, the character may instantly remove up to 3 points of damage on himself. However, healing in this manner requires a tremendous amount of energy. Thus, magic points spent on this schtick recover at the rate of 1 point per hour, instead of all at the end of the sequence.

Fast Healing Tattoo

Cost: 1 per sequence cumulative.

This tattoo magically speeds up the body's healing abilities, causing the character to automatically recover 2 points of damage per schtick spent on this power at the end of each sequence. The points must be spent at the beginning of each sequence in order to maintain this power.

Mountain Tattoo

Cost: 1 cumulative.

This tattoo suffuses the character with magical fortitude, allowing him to keep fighting long after he should have died. Each schtick spent on this power gives the character a +3 bonus when making death checks. Magic points are spent automatically when the character has to make the check, and if the character has already spent his points for that sequence then the tattoo will not activate.

Chameleon Tattoo

Cost: 1 per schtick

This tattoo changes the color of the character's skin, allowing him to blend in with his surroundings to the point where he virtually invisible. Each schtick spent on this power adds +2 to the character's Intrusion skill for the duration of the sequence when he is hiding or attempting to move without being seen. The character may expend points automatically at the start of each sequence to maintain the tattoo's effects. Of course, the effectiveness of this tattoo has a lot to do with the character's surroundings — it won't help much in a bare, well lit room. No more than three schticks can be spent on this tattoo.

Sigil of Fate Reversed

Cost: 5

This powerful tattoo dramatically alters the flow of chi around the character, changing bad luck into good fortune. The player may use the power of this tattoo to reverse any one action roll — that is, make the negative die positive and the positive die negative — after the roll has been made. The character does not activate this tattoo; it takes effect when it is needed (as dictated by the player).

Sigil of Destiny Altered

Cost: 4

This powerful tattoo warps the probability lines around the character, slightly changing the outcome of one small action, and thus the character's destiny itself. The player may use the power of this tattoo to re-roll any one action he has just made. The results of the second roll must be kept — this tattoo cannot be used a second time on the same action. Like the previous tattoo, the character does not activate this tattoo; it takes effect when it is needed (as dictated by the player).

Mark of Good Fortune

Cost: 2

This powerful tattoo acts as a focal point for positive chi, drawing good luck toward the character. The player may use the power of this tattoo to gain an extra Fortune point for each schtick spent on this power. These points may only be used to add to action rolls — they do not actually raise the character's Fortune score — and they must be spent immediately. The character may gain a Fortune point as many times during a sequence as he has schticks in this tattoo, but he must pay for each one seperately. Furthermore, this tattoo places a tremendous strain on the chi of the warrior. Each time this tattoo is used, the character will regain one less magic point at the start of the next sequence (this is a one time penalty for each use, not a cumulative or continuous loss). Points lost this way are restored at the rate of one per hour. Like the previous tattoo, the character does not activate this tattoo; it takes effect when it is needed (as dictated by the player).

Mark of the Berserker

Cost: 5

When the bearer of this tattoo summons its power he becomes gripped by a ferocious battle rage which makes him into a virtually unstoppable killing machine. While under the effects of this tattoo, the character's STR and SPD scores are raised by 2, he becomes immune to the effects of the Influence schtick (except Illusions), Death Checks are made as if the character's CON were doubled, and he suffers no penalties for impairment. The effects of this tattoo last for the duration of the battle, and can only be activated during combat. Although the character can distinguish friend from foe, he will have a hard time restraining himself in combat from attacking allies or non-combatants if they get in his way (a WIL roll would be required, with the difficulty set by the GM). Once the battle ends the tattoo's effects wear off, at which point the character's SPD and CON drop by 2 (below the character's normal scores) for a number of hours equal to the number of sequences the character spent in the berserk state. Any impairment suffered takes effect, and if the character suffered 35 wound points or more in the battle they must immediately make a death check treating their CON were halved (rounding up). No other tattoos may be used while this Tattoo is in effect except for Sigil of Fate Reversed, Sigil of Destiny Altered, Mark of Good Fortune, Mountain Tattoo, and any Banes and Wards.