Ch'i (Ki)

Wiki Note: Ch'i is a term interchangeable with Ki, an existing game mechanic seen in other products for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. While this page often uses the spelling of Ch'i because that's how it was published in Heroes of the Jade Oath, other parts of this site - including the Jade Feats page - will typically use Ki as the preferred spelling. Accordingly, references to things like "Ch'i Focused" actually mean "Ki Focused".

Ch’i, is breath; the mystical breath of the individual and the breath of the universe. It is the unifying force that binds all things in life and death. Ch’i comes from within and without the body. Breath is air from the environment, processed by the body, which is in turn controlled by the mind; a mind which cannot exist without a soul.

Ch’i is not strictly a power that originates with any one of those three things, the body, mind, and soul, but rather the combination of all three working in unison. Most often, ch’i energy derives from a union of the body, the mind, and the soul interacting with the environment in the creation of breath. There are two aspects of ch’i; positive yang and negative yin. Ch’i works best when it is in balance; just as breath is composed of equal parts breathing in and breathing out.

Ch’i is also in the environment. It comes up from the earth to reinforce the power, strength, and leverage of the body, and comes down from the heavens to heighten awareness, focus devotion, and lift the body, mind, and soul. Many believe that ch’i is the true source of magic and that the dragons are the living embodiment of ch’i.

Awakening to Ch’i

Characters can gain access to a personal reservoir of ch’i points with the Ch’i Awakened feat. Anyone with a Wisdom score of 9 or less cannot manipulate ch’i.

Ch’i Focus

On a successful concentration check, a character can attain a state of focused unity between body, mind, and soul called ch’i focus. Once a character attains ch’i focus, he can retain it until he either expends his ch’i focus, becomes unconscious, his ch’i reservoir drops to 0, or he reaches his limit of time for maintaining his ch’i focus. You can maintain ch’i focus for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom bonus (if any) + half your character level (minimum 1 round). When a character is ch’i focused, he can invest ch’i points into ch’i receptacles called chakra (see Jade Feats).


A chakra is a metaphysical receptacle for ch’i; usually for a specific purpose that directs ch’i in some manner or direction. Chakra can be abilities gained from certain class features, other feats the character may acquire, or certain magic items. Chakras grant powers or enhanced abilities when invested with ch’i points. While a character is ch’i focused, all his chakra with invested ch’i points grant these powers or enhanced abilities. The character cannot benefit from any chakra if he is not ch’i focused.

A character can also expend his ch’i focus with a single chakra in order to gain a greater power or ability, but for a shorter period of time. When expending ch’i focus, the chosen chakra must have ch’i points invested. Only the chosen chakra provides special abilities and only the chosen chakra loses the expended ch’i points. Any ch’i points expended are lost for the day. You can invest 1 point of ch’i + 1 point for every ive character levels into any single chakra (up to a maximum equal to your Wisdom bonus). Certain feats, prestige classes, and magic items can increase this capacity.

While ch’i focused, you can invest and reallocate ch’i into your chakras as a free action on your turn. Your ch’i remains where you have invested it until you reallocate it on a later turn. Any invested ch’i points remain where allocated, unless expended or reallocated. Some chakras only provide a benefit or ability when they have ch’i invested and cannot provide any benefit when expending ch’i focus with them. Certain chakras only provide a benefit or special ability when expending ch’i focus. Chakras that only provide a benefit or special ability upon expending ch’i focus can be invested with ch’i prior to expending their focus. The ch’i points in that chakra provide no benefit until expended.


You must have a good night’s rest (8 hours) and meditate for 1 hour every day in order to regenerate expended ch’i and maintain your ability to reallocate and invest ch’i points. If you do not, then any expended ch’i points do not regenerate and you reallocate ch’i points as a move action instead of as a free action while ch’i focused.

Ch’i and Spells

Spells can be invested with ch’i by expending a number of ch’i points for the day. A single ch’i point invested into a spell at the time of casting allows you to consider the spell cast as if you used a spell-like ability (allowing you to forego component use and avoid armor check penalties). If two ch’i points are invested in a spell at the time of casting, then the caster may cast it as a heightened spell without expending a higher level spell. (The caster must have access to the heightened level spell already.) The spellcaster must expend her ch’i focus to use her ch’i points this way.

A spell with a descriptor that is associated with yang or yin (see below) increases its save DC by the number of yang-aligned or yin-aligned ch’i points expended.

Losing Ch’i

Deduct ch’i lost from effects, environment, attacks and sources other than the character from any non-invested ch’i in the character’s reservoir. If the entire loss in ch’i exceeds the reservoir, remove invested ch’i from a randomly determined chakra. Continue until you account for the entire loss of ch’i. The character loses his ch’i focus if he loses all ch’i points. He does not expend ch’i focus and no beneficial effect can take place.

Ch’i damage is temporary and recovers at a rate of 1 point + 1 point per point of Constitution bonus per day (minimum 1); 2 + Constitution bonus with a full day of rest (minimum 2). Spells heal ch’i damage as if it was ability damage, but for every point of ability damage healed, characters recover 2 points of ch’i from such spells and effects.

Replenishing Ch’i

You can replenish your personal reservoir of ch’i points from the surrounding environment. You can do this a number of times per day equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum once per day), for an amount equal to your Wisdom bonus (if any). If you have no Wisdom bonus, then you cannot replenish your ch’i points. You must be ch’i focused to replenish ch’i.

Ch’i points gathered from the environment cannot exceed your total ch’i point reservoir. Ch’i recovered from the environment could possibly be aligned to yin or yang depending on where it is gathered.

Ch’i and the Environment

As breath draws from the air around us, so too does ch’i come from where we live. Ch’i is found in a wide variety of different locales and conditions. Some locations have a stronger amount of natural ch’i. Natural and wild environments always have higher ch’i than places where many creatures live or build up unnatural structures. Often this natural ch’i lows through a region like a river or stream. Just like a river, it may have branches that form their own path. These flows of natural ch’i are called dragon lines. Ch’i can also naturally align to either yin or yang. Each type is naturally attracted to certain locations.

Yin-aligned ch’i is commonly found in the desert during the night, graveyards, caves, underground, underwater, the ocean surface (though not in stormy or active weather), swamps, tundra, rain (long downpours, not thunderstorms), desolate or decaying areas found in nature, night, winter, and autumn.

Yang-aligned ch’i is commonly found in the desert during the day, gardens and ields of crops or rice paddies, mountain tops, in high trees (except willow trees), the ocean surface (in stormy or active weather), thunderstorms, jungles, wherever there is an abundance of ire, earthquakes, volcanoes, day, summer, and spring.

Balanced ch’i occurs in other locations such as rivers, waterfalls, forests, and plains. Urban locations vary a great deal in what type of ch’i might be found, but it is almost always less than the natural and wild areas of the world.

All of these locations and conditions are merely guidelines; the DM has the final say. Characters may try to gather ch’i from their environment if they have the appropriate ability scores, feats, and/ or class ability. When they do so, the DM describes what type of ch’i is in the area (if any) and how abundant the ch’i is in the immediate environment. Areas with an overabundance of ch’i can replenish a character’s ch’i reservoir at a rate of 2 ch’i points per round. Areas with a moderate amount of ch’i can replenish a character’s ch’i reservoir at a rate of 1 ch’i point per round. Low ch’i areas can replenish a character’s ch’i reservoir at a rate of 1 ch’i point per 2 rounds. Desolate areas are completely devoid of ch’i and cannot replenish any ch’i.

Holy or unholy sites are an exception to these rules. These locations that are sacred or reprehensible to a religious sect always have an abundance of ch’i no matter where they are located.

Ch’i Cheat Sheet

  • Ch'i is an interchangeable term with Ki (which is used for many feats, etc. - for compatibility, Ki is the preferred term on this site)
  • Requires Ki Awakened Feat or class ability
  • Gain a Ki reservoir: one point for Ki Awakened, plus one point per two points of Wisdom and/or Constitution bonus
  • Gain an additional Ki point for each additional Ki feat
  • Must become Ki focused to use Ki (see Ki Focus feat)
  • Invest Ki to power Ki effects, including chakras (see Jade Feats)
  • Lose and regain Ki from the environment and effects
  • Expend Ki focus with an invested chakra to gain temporary powers and extra benefits
  • Allocate Ki between powers as a free action unless insufficiently rested (see Resting, above)
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