Main: TianXiaSorcery

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Sorcery comes from a being’s essential nature. Demons have blood, spirits have their ghostly essence, and other magical creatures have what makes them inherently magical as a bond to sorcery. Mortals can have a sorcerous bond only through being a descendant of a demon, by committing a ritual that infuses them with such essence, or by bargaining for power from a powerful supernatural being.

Both benevolent ("light" or "healing") and malevolent ("dark" or "profane") sorcerers use the same rules and have access to the same abilities - the difference is purely how they use the tools they have. Some techniques and rituals are more helpful or vile, but simply having the power to curse someone does not make a being evil nor does the power to heal make one good. A heroic sorcerer might curse a killer or demon to punish them for their crimes, while an evil sorcerer might heal loyal minions and allies so they can better serve their interests.

Learning Sorcery

Cost: A sorcerous bond (high concept), a sorcerous element (stunt), and a telltale sign (extra).

Note that characters can also acquire sorcerous power in play from powerful supernatural beings, either permanently or temporarily.

Improving Sorcery

A sorcerer who has mastered eight sorcerous techniques, including all three techniques of her element, has access to another option . . .

. . . however, doing so also requires the sorcerer to bond with another source of power, in-game. She may be able to wield Storm Sorcery thanks to being descended from a dragon, for example, but adding Fire Sorcery will require a deal with a demon. This new bond will usually alter another of the sorcerer's aspects, though that is not a strict requirement.

A sorcerer who achieves the same level of mastery with both elements could seek out yet another bond and learn a third one . . . in theory. A third bond requires far more supernatural power than the first two, so the GM and player must work together to determine what must happen in-game to make this possible.


These are not the classic five elements as scholars understand, but more akin to mystical affinities or even families of powers. All sorcerous bonds inherently belong to one of these elements. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. These grant no automatic or inherent bonuses, but they make excellent and consistent justifications for Create an Advantage actions.


Earth sorcery is tied not just to rock and stone but to the hidden places of the earth. Powerful practitioners of this style of magic can even become as stone to resist damage and weather overwhelming force, but they lack the flexibility of storm or flash of fire sorcery.


Fire sorcery is fast, powerful, but inconstant. It can generate heat and flame to both protect and harm, but it lacks the enduring defense of earth or adaptability of storm sorcery.


The opposite energy of fire, frost can burn a foe or shelter a practitioner who has mastered its secrets. It is an insidious force, capable of freezing physical forms and emotions alike, though it lacks the endurance of earth and is in many ways the antithesis of nature sorcery.


Nature sorcery is flexible and vibrant, attuning a sorcerer to the flow of life found in plants, animals, and wild places. It surpasses many other styles for its ability to manipulate one’s environment without destroying it, but lacks the raw destructive power of fire or storm sorcery.


Soul sorcerers learn to attune and commune with spirits and affect the immaterial as if it were flesh and blood. This path is ill-suited to dealing directly with the inanimate, unlike earth, fire, or frost sorcery. However, it is powerful in its realm and can allow a practitioner to affect such things indirectly by interacting with spirits related to places and natural phenomena.


Storm sorcery is one of the flashier and more immediately powerful styles. However it lacks the focused destruction of fire and the enduring effects of nature or earth.

Using Sorcery

Sorcery is not a skill in and of itself, but a power that extends the range of many skills.

In addition, each element has a set of "basic powers" which rely on the sorcerer's standard skills. For example, Storm Sorcery allows one to use Notice to hear voices carried on the wind, to use Rapport to speak with storms, and so on. Many sorcerous techniques (below) expand them even further.

Sorcerous Rituals: A sorcerer can use Crafts to work potent rituals. Doing so often requires some combination of accomplishing certain deeds, obtaining supernatural aid or objects, making sacrifices, and lining up the perfect day and/or time. A powerful ritual might let one ward a location against demons or spirits, heal grievous injuries, alter an important memory, or learn the location of an artifact. A mythic ritual might summon and control a powerful demon or spirit, craft a supernatural prison, compel a dead Kung Fu master's spirit to reveal their secrets, or bring about famine or plague. A world-shattering ritual might raise the dead, steal a captured god's power, or cause an earthquake. For full rules, see pp. 38-40 of Spirits, Beasts & Spells.

Shentong Rating: Unlike any other ability, sorcery is heavily affected by an area's Shentong rating -- a measurement of its feng shui and supernatural power. See below for more on that. Many sorcerers overcome this restriction with henchmen, or study Kung Fu or other arts to protect them when their magic is restricted.

Sorcerous Techniques

The sorcerer does not start with any techniques for free, but they can be added per Improving Sorcery, above.

Elemental techniques that inflict stress or aspects do not easily affect sorcerers and other beings of the same element. Most gain a +2 bonus to defend against such techniques, but fire- and frost-bonded are simply immune thanks to their basic powers.

General Techniques

* Advanced Shapeshifting techniques exist (see p. 34 of Spirits, Beasts & Spells), all of which have Simple Shapeshifting as a prerequisite, but these are considered Lost Techniques for all purposes, not Sorcerous Techniques.

Earth Techniques

Fire Techniques

Frost Techniques

Nature Techniques

Soul Techniques

Storm Techniques

Shentong: The River of Magic

Different places in the world of TianXia have varying degrees of supernatural allowance, known as a Shentong rating. This relates to a place’s feng shui — the flow of chi within the land. This rating greatly affects Sorcery (including Kung Fu techniques that were learned as sorcerous techniques!), though it has no bearing on other abilities like Alchemy or Exorcism. TianXia Geomancy is the art of detecting and (gradually) altering a place's feng shui and thus its Shentong rating.

Shentong ratings come in five levels. Within a city or wilderness, there can be weaker or stronger spots (usually only by one level). Similarly, some places are particularly weak or strong for one sorcerous element, during a particular day or event, and so on. This will be represented with an aspect.

Shentong Rating

What This Means

Effects on Sorcery

Choked (0)

There is no chi flow allowing for magic, including that needed to heal magical beings. It takes considerable effort to keep a place choked, as chi wants to flow into such voids, so only small places can remain this way for long.

No sorcery is possible. Purely magical beings are weakened. Sorcerous techniques do not count for Jianghu Rank.

Dulled (1)

There is enough chi flowing into the area to allow a small amount of sorcery to happen.

Sorcery cannot succeed with style, and attacks do at most 2 stress. No more than two sorcerous techniques count toward Jianghu Rank.

Normal (2)

The chi flows as nature intends, with nothing blocking it or causing it to wellspring.

Sorcerous actions have no limitation or benefit.

Rich (3)

Feng shui causes chi to pool like a spring. The area has an aspect marking it, such as Bone-Chilling Fog or Vibrant Plant Life.

Sorcerers get one free boost in this location per session, usable only for sorcery.

Wild (4)

If a Rich area is a spring, a Wild area is a geyser, ever-bursting forth with power. These places are unmistakably supernatural in their nature, with aspects to match.

All sorcerous actions have an inherent +2 bonus. Individual areas may have specific benefits, either in addition or as a replacement.

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Page last modified on January 05, 2020, at 10:34 AM