Shenxue

Mortals cannot see the many different spirits. Yet they are there; inhabiting every tree, every stream, and every rock. If the need is great, the correct ceremonies are performed, and the proper effort is expended, spirits sometimes come to life within a manufactured thing, such as when a great sword smith creates a masterwork blade that is used in a great battle.

These spirits are the least of all in the spirit world. There are more powerful, more sentient, and more enlightened spirits within the celestial bureaucracy. The celestial bureaucracy, in ascending order, is composed of the least, lesser, minor, major, and greater spirits. These spirits, (except the least), have thoughts and emotions on the same scale as (some say greater than) the mortal races.

Shenxue are the result of a rare union between the mortal world and the spirit world. There are three types of shenxue, or spiritblooded: those from the union of a physically manifested spirit and a mortal; a spirit being cursed into a mortal existence (through a ritual ceremony performed by his enemies or a spirit court banishment); and spirits who desired a mortal existence to ind greater enlightenment through reincarnation and rebirth.

The first type look like their mortal ancestor and are considered to be members of that race, though exceptional. Shenxue connections to the natural and spirit worlds manifest through both their personality and appearance; they are a living representation of the influence these worlds can have on the mortal realm. While they may not be persecuted, they are marked as different in their birth societies.

On rare occasions, a spirit may fall in love with or have a short-lived relationship with a mortal. The spirit is usually recalled by the heavens for neglecting its duties or the spirit may leave after it grows bored. It may see that the mortal cannot attain immortality or enlightenment enough to remain with the spirit over the course of its existence. Or even more rarely, a more violent encounter may occur. They do, on occasion, leave a child in their wake. A player character shenxue is usually from such a union.

Some shenxue become mortal due to the effects of a curse or as punishment. These shenxue resent their form of existence, longing for the power needed to return to their previous form. It is said that some spirits wish to live the life of a mortal. They imbue their essence into a mortal and develop into the form of the child within the mortal host. (Their old form fades away.) These children do not retain any memory of their previous lives unless they learn prior memories through unusual means, such as through searching the akashic record somehow or with magic.

Because they can shapeshift, spirits can mate with the mortal races when they manifest on the same plane of existence. A mortal mother bears the child in a manner typical for her race, though unusual circumstances and omens may surround such a birth. But, when the mother is a spirit, oftentimes the child is born inside an egg that hatches within a few days or less. There are instances where a shenxue child may be born in a bamboo stalk, a blooming lower, a seed, or within a rock that has cracked open; these are merely spiritual eggs in a different form.

Personality

All spirits have an aspect; a reflection of nature in their makeup. Shenxue inherit this aspect from a spirit somewhere in their ancestry or it could have to do with what type of spirit they was in their previous incarnation. Whether this aspect is an animal, an element, a place, or even a form of energy like the weather and storms, it always has an influence. A shenxue’s aspect defines who and what the shenxue is. An animal-aspect shenxue bears several similarities to that animal. This could be an affinity for the sea in the case of an aquatic animal or a penchant for teamwork in the case of a pack animal. They also share the same aversions.

A shenxue with an elemental or place aspect feels comfortable and confident around those elements or in those places. They are uncomfortable, but not always hampered, when around the antithesis of their favored element or place. For example, a shenxue with an aspect for fire may be uncomfortable in the rain or on the sea, but he would not balk at civilized practices involving water, such as bathing. He might not submerge himself in water completely or willingly go swimming. The same concept can be applied to those with an aspect for storms, though they too dislike being confined.

Shenxue get wild and out of control when immersed in or surrounded by an overwhelming amount of their spiritual aspect. A storm aspect shenxue might lose discipline in a hurricane or a river aspect shenxue might lose his self-control when nearby rivers flood.

Most animal-aspect shenxue feel comfortable in the natural places of the world, or on the open sea if aquatic. Some, such as those with a rat aspect, feel comfortable in civilized areas. Shenxue with spiritual aspects of certain elements suffer likewise. Fire feels uncomfortable in the presence of an abundance of water, water is contained by the earth, earth and stone are broken and divided by the process of roots dividing it and breaking apart the soil, wood is chopped by metal, ire tames and molds metal, and wind is consumed by fire and restrained by structures of earth, wood, or metal.

Those with aspects of place are uncomfortable in locations like their antithesis. Those shenxue with river, swamp, and sea aspects ind discomfort near areas that are dry and barren. Mountain and plains shenxue will not like enclosed areas (unless it is beneath the mountain, in the case of the mountain shenxue). Forest and bamboo grove shenxue will be distressed near fires and areas where plants will not grow. Shenxue with aspects of storm are much the same, and will not like enclosed areas where they feel claustrophobic. Snow shenxue don’t enjoy hot and tropical locales.

Physical Description

In appearance, shenxue resemble their mortal ancestor or parent, but with fine, beautiful features. Unless their spiritual aspect influences their features, they generally have pale or golden complexioned skin, little or no body hair, and thin eyebrows. Many have unusually colored eyes that reflect their spiritual heritage, or green or violet instead of black or brown. They tend to have long, full, luxurious hair on their heads. Males sometimes grow long and full beards.

Shenxue always have at least one extra quality that is a telling mark of their spiritual aspect and heritage. This could be something as difficult to hide as a tail, hoofed feet, antlers, or tusks, or as easily concealable as fangs or a forked tongue. As shenxue grow with age and experience, their telling features grow more numerous and pronounced.

Bakemono males retain their proportionately large feet and pointed ears, but their skin color is paler. Also, their teeth are ivorylike, unlike their bakemono parent’s yellowed teeth. Females always appear to be the great beauties of their kind.

Dwarf shenxue have the same sort of wide, stocky frame, but with longer legs, standing an inch or two taller than the average dwarf. The men grow long, luxuriant, facial hair.

Elf shenxue are almost indistinguishable from other elves, with the exception of their telling trait and ears that are less pointed than the elves.

Gnome shenxue appear to have slightly brighter colored eyes, hair and skin than their cousins, while their features tend more toward the stunning than the disturbing with a daring sparkle to their eyes. They also tend to stand a couple inches taller than other gnomes.

Half-orc shenxue benefit from a less bestial appearance. Their jaw lines and foreheads are not as protruding, while their tusks gain the appearance of the brightest ivory. Their eyes are larger and more colorful and their manes grow long and lustrous.

Halfling shenxue typically have skin and hair that is either significantly darker or lighter than most other halflings. They also tend to be an inch or two taller than their cousins.

Mandragoran shenxue do not have any hair whatsoever. They have magnificent head-branch tails, and outstrip mandragorans of equivalent height and weight by an inch or two. Their mouths are smaller and their skin tones are brighter and livelier.

Relations

Shenxue are far from common, but occupy a unique position amongst the other races. Shenxue of mortal ancestry live with one foot in the mortal world and one in the spirit world. The inhabitants of both worlds view them as the best intermediaries between the two, regardless of their actual skills. Because the shenxue can ensure good relations with the local spirits, they are accepted within their mortal parent’s society, but it is not always without discrimination.

Usually, the local spirit court tasks them to perform certain duties. Obedience is expected because the shenxue was born with spirit blood. The threat from a spirit lord to make the shenxue’s mortal family suffer from natural disasters coerces reluctant shenxue into fulfilling the tasks set to them. If that doesn’t work, then the prospect of having their supernatural abilities stripped by the spirit court most likely will work.

For their part, the shenxue feel a keen difference between themselves and their relatives; a good reason for some to become adventurers and leave behind the family, local discrimination, and the politics of spirits.

Outlook

Because of the position that most shenxue fill within their mortal communities, many feel burdened with a responsibility they can never shirk. Worse, the community often reminds them of how different they are, whether meant as a compliment or insult. Many dream of being free of their responsibilities, but they also know that it could create problems for their mortal relatives if they should abandon their posts. Shenxue confront this part of their lives when growing up. Some revel in what they can learn from the spirits and feel that they have found a place that they belong. A few shenxue who are never approached by the spirit courts find themselves freed of their kind’s responsibility.

Shenxue Lands

Shenxue have no lands of their own and live in the lands of their mortal parent’s race. A rare few live with their spirit parents or amongst one of the spirit courts, found in places where the spirit world touches upon the mortal world.

Religion

The shenxue are proof of the existence of the spirit world. They never doubt in the heavely rulers and the various spirit courts. Many shenxue, however, feel the need to seek enlightenment to escape the perpetual karmic cycle of death and rebirth. Quite a few seekers hope to become one with the universe and transcend the mortal and spirit forms.

Languages

Shenxue share the same language as their mortal parents.

Names

Shenxue gain their names from their mortal parent’s culture. On occasion, the spirit parent may name the shenxue child; this name usually derives from the spirit's region.

Adventurers

Many shenxue adventure to discover more about the world or to find a spirit parent who left in their youth. Some adventure to protect an area. Since they often act as intermediaries between the mundane realm and the spirit world, a spirit lord or court may give them tasks and responsibilities that lead to adventure. When an area they act as intermediary for comes under threat, they feel the need to act.


Shenxue Racial Traits

  • Native Outsider Traits: Shenxue are native outsiders, but they do not have darkvision and only gain it from their mortal parent’s ancestral bloodline or from certain spiritual aspects.
  • Truename: All shenxue are born with a truename inherently tied to their spiritual aspect and they always know their truename. Shenxue are so bound by their truenames that they suffer a -2 penalty to resist spells cast by spellcasters who know their truename. If they return from the dead, their truename never changes.
  • Languages: Shenxue begin play speaking the language of their mortal parent as determined by their Ancestral Bloodline. Shenxue with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Celestial, Draconic, and Sylvan, in addition to the bonus languages known to the mortal race of their ancestral bloodline.
  • Ancestral Bloodline: Shenxue inherit certain physical characteristics and abilities inherent to the bloodline of the mortal race of their ancestors. Since shenxue carry the blood of their mortal ancestors in their veins, they count as members of their ancestral bloodline race and a native outsider for all effects related to race, spells, special abilities, and effects. Shenxue are eligible to take feats normally restricted to the race of their mortal ancestor, provided they meet the other prerequisites. They may also take paragon racial class levels from the mortal parent or ancestor’s race. The abilities they gain vary according to race, as detailed below. Unless noted, all shenxue are Medium size and have a base 30 foot movement with no special bonuses or penalties due to their size. They only gain the listed special abilities, not all those of their ancestor race.
    • Bakemono: Shenxue with the blood of bakemono are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. He uses smaller weapons than humans use, but his lifting and carrying limits are the same as those of a Medium character. Bakemono shenxue are unusually strong for their size. Bakemono shenxue are humanoids with the goblinoid and evil subtypes; however, shenxue bakemono player characters need not act in an evil manner or have an evil alignment. Their base land speed is 20 feet. They also receive the Darkvision, Iron Teeth, and Tribal Totem racial abilities of their bakemono heritage.
    • Dwarf: Dwarven shenxue have the same physical build as their mortal ancestors, which results in Medium size and a base land speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modiied by armor or encumbrance. They also receive the Darkvision and Stability racial abilities of their dwarven heritage. Additionally, they receive a +2 to either Constitution or Wisdom to be chosen at character creation.
    • Elf: Elven shenxue bear the exceptional senses of their ancestors. They also receive the Keen Senses and Low-light Vision racial abilities of their elven heritage. Additionally, they receive a +2 to either Dexterity or Intelligence to be chosen at character creation.
    • Gnome: Gnome shenxue are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. They must use smaller-sized weapons and equipment and can lift and carry only three quarters as much as Medium characters. Gnome shenxue base land speed is 20 feet. They receive a -2 penalty to Strength due to their smaller physical frame, but receive a +2 to either Constitution or Charisma to be chosen at character creation. They also receive the Keen Senses and Low-light Vision racial abilities of their gnome heritage.
    • Halfling: Halfling shenxue are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. They must use smaller-sized weapons and equipment and can lift and carry only three quarters as much as Medium characters. Halfling shenxue base land speed is 20 feet. They receive a -2 penalty to Strength due to their smaller physical frame, but receive a +2 to either Dexterity or Charisma to be chosen at character creation. They also receive the Fearless and Keen Senses racial abilities of their halfling heritage.
    • Human: Human shenxue display the versatility of their ancestors. They retain the Skilled racial ability of their human heritage. Additionally, they receive a +2 to one ability score of their choice at creation.
    • Mandragoran: Mandragoran shenxue have the head-vines of their mortal parentage. They also receive the Head-Vine Senses, Healing Light, Light Dependency, and Low-light Vision, racial abilities of their mandragoran heritage. Additionally, they receive a +2 to either Charisma or Wisdom to be chosen at character creation.
    • Orc: Shenxue with the blood of orcs or half-orcs retain the tusks of their mortal parentage. They also receive the Darkvision and Intimidating racial abilities of their orcish heritage. Additionally, they receive a +2 to either Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution to be chosen at character creation.
  • Spiritual Aspect: All shenxue have a spiritual aspect that they are tied to in some way. It does not matter whether it is an element, a place, a type of animal, or a force of nature; the bond between the shenxue and this spiritual aspect is strong enough to grant the shenxue a special ability and a related penalty. Unless speciied otherwise in the text, both aspect powers and aspect penalties are supernatural. They also gain access to certain skills as they gain racial levels. See below for available shenxue aspects, telling traits, abilities, skills, and penalties available.
    • Aspect of Bamboo: Bamboo shenxue have a deep understanding of the fleeting nature of life. Sacrifices must sometimes be made to ensure life goes on. These shenxue try to grow in all things, be it knowledge, power, prestige, wealth, or simply to have a large and prosperous family. Though tranquil and gentle by nature, they live life’s pleasures to their fullest. They also know that life must be treated like a garden and tending a garden takes lots of patience, a nurturing hand, and the occasional pruning. Something must die for something else to live. To live is to grow and to grow is to eventually die. They are quiet, introspective observers, though not so introspective as to let life slip them by. Though they can be stubborn and unflinching in their ways, they when they should follow the winds of change or be knocked down by those same winds. Shenxue with this aspect are slender with long limbs and hair. Their deep-set hazel or green eyes glow with an emerald, inner light. Many have golden brown, green, or leaf-like hair. Occasionally, some might have limbs that resemble shoots of bamboo. Skin tone may be green or golden brown. The more prominent a bamboo shenxue’s spiritual pedigree, the greener the tint to his skin and hair. As they advance in racial and evolved levels, they may grow a light layer of bark on their skin. Some even sprout lowers in their hair. A perpetual scent reminiscent of lowers, fruit, pine, or other trees after a hard rain shower, crackles in the air about them. They wear as little as possible while still offering a degree of decorum as they love the feel of the sunlight and the air on their skin. Loose robes that open easily are a favorite. They favor clothes made from natural materials such as cotton or linen. They almost never wear hats and many go about barefoot. They enjoy eating soups over other foods. Favored drinks include water and green tea. When in combat, they prefer bludgeoning weapons and pole weapons, such as staves, pole arms, and maces.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Natural Camouflage (Ex): The shenxue gains a +8 racial bonus to Stealth skill checks while in natural surroundings that have prodigious vegetation such as forests, bamboo groves, swamps, and jungles.
      • Aspect Penalty – Fire Susceptibility: Being creatures tied to an aspect that is a type of wood, they have certain a vulnerability to fire. This results in a +1 to damage from each die of ire damage that they may receive.
    • Aspect of the Cloud: The clouds are known for their capricious ways and sudden changes in attitude, but also for their exposure to all the open places the sky touches and all the knowledge that such exposure might bring. Cloud shenxue are quick, independent, flamboyant, and care-free, but are also impatient. They have difficulty standing in one place for long. Occasionally, they express their bravado loudly to any who will listen, but are become suddenly sullen and melancholy at the drop of a hat. This free-willed capricious attitude is often mistaken for arrogance. These shenxue are typically thin for their mortal bloodline. A touch of light white, grey, or even blue tints their skin and highly curly hair. Some even have a slight breeze or ever-present whirling wind around them. Wispy voices can still be heard over the strongest of non-magical winds. Those with a stronger spiritual pedigree have a pronounced grey or blue coloration to their skin tone. As cloud shenxue increase their bond through racial and evolved levels, the strength of the ever present winds increase and their skin grows cool to the touch. Whistling accompanies quick movements and parts of their bodies take on a transparent, wispy appearance, especially in strong winds. When wounded, their blood lies wildly about with a ine, mist-like quality. They favor durable, light-colored garments, usually white, grey, or blue, perhaps with orange or red highlights or lining, that can billow in the wind. They like to wear their hair long and lowing. Males grow their beards long. They like to use weapons that take advantage of the wind, such as thrown weapons. Bows are a particular favorite. They enjoy strongly spiced food and drink whose scents carry.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Breathless (Su): These shenxue are a living part of the air around them, so they do not breathe, making them immune to drowning, suffocation, and attacks that require inhalation (such as some types of airborne poisons or spells like cloudkill).
      • Aspect Penalty – Claustrophobic Vulnerability: As shenxue of the clouds, characters enjoy their freedom and suffer greatly when confined. They suffer a -2 penalty on all saving throws versus spells that capture, confine, or hold the shenxue (such as hold person or web) as well as a -2 to their Combat Maneuver Defense when resisting attempts to grapple and when making Escape Artist checks.
    • Aspect of the Crane: Cranes are associated with long life, immortality, and medicine. Shenxue with this aspect are graceful, quick, beautiful, and vain. Most have a gentle disposition, but are highly protective of those they are close to. They are benevolent, but quick to make judgments based solely on appearance. The irst mortal to learn about medicine and become a physician was taught by crane spirit wearing the guise of a human. Crane shenxue appear to be light on their feet, usually have light complexions, long legs, and long noses. Crane shenxue may have birdlike talons for feet or unusually long, bird-like beaks for a nose and mouth. As they grow in experience and age through racial and evolved levels they grow white, light yellow, pink, light blue, gray, light brown, or black feathers instead of hair. They enjoy wearing white and/or pastel-colored robes that emphasize the beauty of their form, but seldom wear hats. They like to eat raw fish and drink refined wines. Preferred weapons include elegant weapons such as bows and light swords (katana and jian).
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Reflex Bonus (Ex): The shenxue gains a +2 racial bonus on all Reflex saving throws.
      • Aspect Penalty – Armor Restriction: Crane shenxue are unused to wearing anything that restricts their movements or might hide the beauty of their form. When wearing any medium or heavy armor, their maximum Dexterity bonus is always restricted to +0.
    • Aspect of the Dog: Shenxue with this aspect are idealistic, reliable, loyal to a fault, and always seek acceptance. A dog shenxue can always be counted on by his comrades and protects those who are close to him. However, once a dog shenxue dislikes someone, it is hard to change his mind. They are honest and straight-forward in their intentions and do not take well to deception. They are not easy to fool, but they are easy to deceive these shenxue if you earn their loyalty. The hard part is earning their loyalty. Dog shenxue typically have long incisors. Pointed and furry ears sit higher atop their head than normal ears. Dog shenxue with a stronger spiritual pedigree often have a furry tail and/or a furry pelt. As they gain racial and evolved levels, they may develop a longer fur, grow 3 to 4 inches taller, gain broader shoulders and chest dog-like muzzle, Teeth, particularly the incisors, elongate out of the mouth slightly when it is closed. Dog shenxue care about how functional and practical their clothing is, not how fashionable it is. They enjoy any sort of meat and are not picky about what they drink. Favored weapons include swords, daggers, axes, and spears.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Scent (Ex): The shenxue has an extremely sensitive sense of smell, and gains the Scent ability.
      • Aspect Penalty – Gullible: Dog shenxue are susceptible to mind-affecting magic. They receive a -2 penalty to saving throws against spells and effects with the language-dependent and mind-affecting descriptors.
    • Aspect of Fire: Passionate and intelligent masters of strategy, whether on the battleield or in the intrigue-filled courts, fire shenxue are arrogant and aggressive. They can surprise one with great compassion and love as well. They are restless, filled with energy, and never timid or shy. When they undertake a course of action, they commit to it passionately. They like to bend rules without breaking them and can be rebellious to a fault when they believe it to be the popular thing to do. They are overly concerned with the appearance of propriety and often make judgments based on what is popular rather than what is fair and just. When it is necessary to kill and destroy, these shenxue believe it is their appointed duty to make way for new life and what will become a better way of life. These shenxue are tall and graceful with long limbs. They have red or charcoal grey skin that is unusually warm to the touch. Their hair ripples like flames in the wind. Those with a strong spiritual pedigree or a close connection to their spiritual aspect emit puffs of smoke from their mouths as they speak or from their noses as they breathe. Their eyes blaze like fire when laughing, when angry, or when in the throes of passion. As they grow in age and experience, fire shenxue turn a deeper red or a dark charcoal. Certain paper materials, or lightweight fabrics smolder slightly if they come into contact with the shenxue’s perspiration or saliva. These shenxue also smell like smoke and gain a nimbus of orange, red, or blue lame about the head. Evolved shenxue even perspire licks of non-combustible lame. They like lowing, red, orange, or yellow clothes. They enjoy wearing gold and platinum jewelry. They like food that is cooked well done, fried, or even fried to a crisp. Any drink that is prepared hot goes over well for fire shenxue. In combat, they enjoy an energetic fighting style and carry weapons that can be used for both offense and defense (weapons with a parry bonus) as well as paired weapons and double weapons, such as quarter staves, hook swords, butterfly swords, nunchaku, sai, swordstaves, monk’s spade, etc.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Fire Resistance (Su): 10
      • Aspect Penalty – Water Susceptibility: Being creatures tied to the aspect of fire, they have a certain vulnerability to water. Fire shenxue suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and saving throws while immersed in or surrounded by water.
    • Aspect of the Fox: Ever cunning and practical, fox shenxue are mischievous, overly bold, and overly proud with an aptitude for trickery and sorcery. They are haughty and introspective with a love for a good story. They are so anxious to satisfy their curiosity that they are willing to discover any secret, no matter how forbidden. Many are perfectionists, terrified of failure. Despite their faults, some foxes are great healers, builders, and loyal, though questionable, friends. Some see themselves as guardians of the mortal races and adopt mortals that treat the fox shenxue well, protecting them from afar. Spellcasters favor spells from the conjuration, enchantment, illusion, and transmutation schools. Fox shenxue have slender builds, narrow faces, delicate features, and long incisors. They always have a flicker of amusement in their sharp, bright eyes. Those with a strong spiritual connection may have sharply pointed, fox-like ears atop their heads. As they age and grow with experience and power, fox shenxue gain more tails; up to a maximum of nine. Every three character levels after 1st (4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, and 25th) the fox shenxue gains an extra tail. Fox shenxue enjoy the pleasing effect that their appearance can have on others. They dress to impress; usually in loose, rich, silk robes that allow them to hide items and disguise their own movements. They enjoy eating meat and rice and drinking tea and rice wine. Usually, fox shenxue prefer to use their magic. Their choice in weapons considers size and convenience: they don’t want a weapon that will interfere with their use of magic. Common weapon choices include daggers, sai, staves, vajra, jian, or short swords.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Tricky Sensibilities (Ex): The shenxue has extreme cunning as well as strong senses, and gains a +2 racial bonus to Bluff, Perception, and Sense Motive checks.
      • Aspect Penalty – Extra Obeisance: Fox shenxue must choose an extra obeisance. This obeisance cannot be the same as the first one chosen for being shenxue.
    • Aspect of the Hare: The hare is a symbol of virtue, selflessness, talent, luck, speed, and the moon. Hare shenxue have quick reactions. Their first instinct is to flee from trouble, but if backed into a corner they know how to turn a bad situation around. They are also promiscuous to the point of folly. Many turn to the use of magic and are perhaps the one shenxue that loves magic as much as the fox shenxue. Both enjoy transmutation and enchantment spells. Where fox shenxue focus on conjuration and illusions a little more, the hare shenxue prefer abjuration and divination. Sometimes these shenxue put too much stock in their luck and take chances, despite a tendency towards cowardice. Hare shenxue refuse to let their fear rule them. Some think that this is why they take such great chances: to prove they are not ruled by fear. These shenxue have white, grey, or mottle colored hair. Their small noses twitch over a strong scent. Many have lithe bodies, long legs, delicate features, bright eyes, a narrow face, and longer front teeth than is usual. Those with a strong spiritual aspect may even have rabbit-like ears atop their heads. As they gain racial or evolved levels, they may grow a rabbit-like snout, whiskers, or even a short, fluffy tail. Many are conscientious of the effect their appearance has on the opposite gender. They are always well-groomed; their choice in clothing complements their natural features. They enjoy eating raw or steamed vegetables and a nice cup of soothing, spiced tea. In combat, they are prone to using small, easily concealed weapons, or those easily defense (weapons with a parry bonus) such as daggers, sai, short swords, butterfly swords, quarter staves, etc.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Auspicious Fortune (Su): Once per day, the hare shenxue can re-roll a failed saving throw, but he must keep the second result. If the shenxue should gain the ki awakened feat, he can expend his ki focus to gain another reroll, spending two ki points. No matter how many ki points expended, the shenxue can only benefit from this ability a number of times per day equal to half his character level. He can only reroll any single saving throw once.
      • Aspect Penalty – Susceptibility to Fear: Like the animals whose nature they are bound to, these shenxue always startle easily. They receive a -2 penalty to saves against fear effects or spells with the fear descriptor. Hare shenxue can never become immune to fear, even if this ability is gained from a spell, a feat, a class ability or some other effect. Instead, should they gain access to such an ability they gain a +2 racial bonus to save against fear in place of this penalty.
    • Aspect of the Moon: These shenxue are renowned for their spiritual connection to the moon and the mystical powers it holds: to illuminate the darkness of the world and shine through to the truth hidden in the shadows, to float high in the sky beyond the reach of others, to inspire romantic fantasies and dreams, and to hold the fascination of the weak-minded. Hare and cloud shenxue can often ind common ground with moon shenxue and are frequently associated with one another. They are often inspired by romantic emotions and are moved between longing, desire, and compassion for others. However, just as often, they can be cold, calculating, and merciless. Just as the moon has many different phases, so too do these shenxue shift between emotions. But this is only their inner turmoil. The face of a moon shenxue can have dificulty expressing its emotions. Often it is only by their voice that one can tell when they are angry or sad. Moon shenxue are very light skinned and pale. They can never gain a tan. Their hair is always white, grey, silver, or black (or rarely, light blue). Their eyes are often blue, grey, or even yellow. Those with a stronger spiritual pedigree can be eerily silent without meaning to be and sometimes even the harshest winds seem to barely touch them or their clothing, remaining in a physical aura of calm, no matter what occurs around them. As these shenxue grow with experience or racial and evolved levels, they grow cold to the touch and their glow seems to increase in its intensity. It is also said that these shenxue are like the goddess of the moon in that they bear the favor of the archer god, Yi, and the more advanced shenxue of this aspect have protection from arrows. They favor durable, light-colored garments that it loosely about their frame, usually white, grey, or blue, perhaps with orange or red highlights or lining. They like to wear their hair long and lowing. Males grow their beards long. They like to use ranged weapons. Bows are particular favorite. They enjoy mild food and drink.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Moonlight (Su): The shenxue can cast light, at will, as a supernatural ability. Upon attaining 4th character level, she can use this ability as if it were the spell continual lame.
      • Aspect Penalty – Brightest in the Dark: Because her skin is always so brilliantly white, whether pale or gleaming brightly, even on the darkest of nights, the shenxue receives a -4 penalty to Stealth skill checks. This penalty will stack with the one from the Immaculate Aura obeisance.
    • Aspect of the Mountain: These shenxue are bound to a powerful and majestic aspect of nature that is resilient against extremely harsh conditions. They are associated with justice and stability as the one feature that links the earth and the heavens. They are traditionalists and are the living embodiment of endurance. Mountain shenxue are practical, pragmatic, meticulous, proud, noble, and bluntly honest, seldom having a deceptive bone in their body. When these shenxue form relationships, they like to make them last, they only make or purchase things that they know will endure. Often considered slow to act, when they do act there is little that will stop their resolve. They like to do undertake big tasks, enjoy grand spectacles, and have a deep appreciation for a good view. They prefer to live outdoors, exposed to the sky. Mountain shenxue are idealistic; some might say unrealistically so. While always willing to listen and talk, they have dificulty displaying empathy and understanding for the problems of others. These shenxue have craggy skin body skin. Always on the large side in stature, they have broad shoulders, a stocky frame, and brownish-red, brown, deep amber, or grey skin. Those with a strong spirit ancestor pedigree have smooth, stone-like skin that shows veins of precious metals and colorful minerals. Other common features are deeply set shining brown or amber eyes, large hands and feet, roughly hewn facial features with large, jagged, and they often smell of freshly turned soil. They have a deep and reverberating voice that commands respect. As they age and gain experience, these shenxue ind their skin becoming more stone like, ranging from a rough sandstone texture to that of smooth marble. Traditional and formal clothing is the favored form of dress. Mountain shenxue enjoy drinking tea and having large meals of many different dishes. These shenxue prefer the feel and heft of two-handed weapons that are large in size and weight, such as pole arms, great axes, and great swords.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Mountain Stance (Ex): When he adopts a defensive stance, a mountain shenxue gains increased strength and durability, but he cannot move from the spot. The mountain shenxue can enter a defensive stance for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + his Constitution modifier. Temporary increases to Constitution, such as those gained from rage and spells like bear’s endurance, do not increase the total number of rounds that the shenxue can perform mountain stance per day. A shenxue can enter the mountain stance as a swift action. The total number of rounds of mountain stance per day is renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours do not need to be consecutive. While in mountain stance, the shenxue gains a +2 bonus to Strength, a +4 morale bonus to Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +2 morale bonus on Will saves, but he cannot use skills or abilities that would require him to move from his position. In addition, he takes a –2 penalty to his Armor Class. A shenxue can end his mountain stance as a free action and is fatigued afterwards for a number of rounds equal to the number of rounds spent in the mountain stance. A shenxue cannot enter a new mountain stance while fatigued or exhausted but can otherwise enter mountain stance multiple times during a single encounter or combat. If a shenxue falls unconscious, his mountain stance immediately ends, placing him in peril of death.
      • Aspect Penalty – Erosion Vulnerability: Being creatures tied to an aspect that is continually worn away by the elements, these shenxue find that they are susceptible to these forces. Mountain shenxue receive a -2 penalty to saving throws against spells with the air and water descriptors as well as spells that use plants and any other effects that use air, plants, or water to inflict damage or otherwise impair the mountain shenxue.
    • Aspect of the Panda: Shenxue with this aspect are very patient and make good teachers. They are slow to anger, but frightening to behold once that anger is aroused. They are stable and dependable and are known for a certain playful and friendly attitude. Some believe that panda spirits have access to certain secrets or forbidden knowledge and that some of those pass on to shenxue with this spiritual aspect. Common telling features include pale complexions with dark colored patches of skin around the eyes and ears, powerful jaws and teeth like those of a panda, stocky and barrel-chested body, eyes with vertical pupils, short hair on the head, and stubby ingers. Those with a close connection to their spiritual aspect often have round, furry ears situated higher on the head or have a bear-like snout. As they grow in age and experience through racial and evolved levels, panda shenxue may grow black and white fur. They enjoy wearing traditional, but comfortable clothing that is black and/or white in color. They eat vegetables almost exclusively, but can enjoy honey, eggs, and the occasional bit of meat when they are in the mood. There is nothing quite like a nice cup of green tea to a panda shenxue when he wants to relax. When in combat, they like to use blunt or slashing melee weapons, such as staves and axes.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Climbing Affinity (Ex): Gain the feat.
      • Aspect Penalty – Delicate Diet: Being creatures tied to an animal that is dependent upon a type of plant for their survival, shenxue with this aspect have delicate stomachs. They take a -2 penalty to saving throws against poisons, disease, and any effect that induces nausea.
    • Aspect of the River: River shenxue are highly individualistic, though one could say they all have a mercurial temperament and a flexible nature. One may be straight-forward and direct, while an other may lazily move along the winding path he has chosen. They have little interest in others of their kind. They feel a great deal superior to the mortal races and only slightly less superior to other shenxue. True river spirits and ocean spirits they will kowtow to without much hesitation; other water spirits only get a respectful bow. They are flexible, adaptable, and capable of deep thoughts. Change and struggle is the way of life; to deny this is to deny life and to lie still and unchanging is to die. A river shenxue prefers to bypass those in his way through the route of least resistance, wherever that may take him. He won’t hesitate to rise up to the occasion and wash away any obstacle though. Highly competitive, with a will to succeed, river shenxue are excellent problem solvers, tackling problems from unconventional angles and unexpected directions. These shenxue sometimes have amber or blue eyes and very long blue-black or dark green hair with shiny jewels and baubles entwined in their hair. Their skin is usually clammy to the touch and perspires often. They have gill slits on their necks or torsos with their hands and feet having slight webbing between their fingers and toes. Their voices sound as though they are speaking through water. Those with a stronger connection to their spirit ancestor may have bluish-tinged scales on their skin or the tentacle-like, or the drooping whiskers of a catfish for a mustache. As they gain in experience and age, they may grow hair that moves as if it were under the influence of a river current. Parts of their bodies and possessions appear translucent or begin to ripple like waves in the water, especially when experiencing intense emotion. When moving quickly or intently, part of their form might disappear into mist like that from a waterfall. Those standing near the river shenxue may smell running water or sense a perpetual fog in the air. They love to drink water and can’t seem to get enough of it. They prefer to eat food that comes from the river or grows with the river’s bounty, such as fish and rice. If endangered, they ight back using slashing and pierce weapons with small blades, or flexible weapons, such as daggers, jian, kama, whips, nunchaku, chains, and two or three section staves.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Water Breathing (Ex): The shenxue can breathe underwater.
      • Aspect Penalty – Earth Susceptibility: As creatures tied to a natural element that is conductive to electricity, shenxue of this type have a certain vulnerability to electricity. This results in a +1 to damage from each die of damage that they may receive from any spell or effect using electricity.
    • Aspect of Snow: Shenxue with this aspect are distant, seemingly emotionless beings with an ordered and disciplined air. They enjoy solitude. At irst impression, they are cold, hard, and orderly, but can be deceptively wild, losing control of their carefully emotionless facade. They enjoy simplicity and structure in their lives, but have dificulty controlling strong emotions after letting them out. This moment of release is often long in coming. These shenxue have sharper and more chiseled features. Their skin is unusually pale and cold for their mortal race. Their hair is almost always white or light grey. They have the sharpest blue or grey eyes to be found amongst any race. Those with a stronger spiritual pedigree have frost-caked hair and breath that fogs in even the hottest weather. As they grow in age and experience, their teeth and bones (when visible) seem to be completely composed of ice. A constant, cool wind blows whenever they are about. Liquids in their possession chill and cover over with a thin sheet of ice. When they walk across snow, they seem to step lightly upon the surface. They like to wear simple, elegant, light and airy clothing in white and light blue colors. They enjoy the cold touch of steel blades capable of piercing and slashing their enemies. They do not like heated drinks and have little taste for alcohol; water suits them just ine. They dislike vegetables, preferring to eat meat: the less cooked, the better.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Cold Resistance (Su): 10
      • Aspect Penalty – Fire Susceptibility: Being creatures tied to the aspect of snow, they have a certain vulnerability to ire, taking +1 to damage from each die of damage that they may receive from any spell or effect using ire.
    • Aspect of Sword: Shenxue with this aspect test themselves in combat and other physical endeavors. They express their prowess loudly to any who might present a challenge. Sword shenxue are cold and aggressive creatures with a strong sense of self discipline. They work well with others when the occasion calls for it. Never timid or shy, the sword shenxue won’t hesitate to conquer and destroy any obstacle in his way. They can be both wild and bloodthirsty on occasion. These shenxue are bound to a tool for conflict and judgment. They are respected, if not feared. Practical, arrogant, overly proud, and bluntly honest, seldom do sword shenxue have any desire to be deceptive. Many desire to work alone. Shenxue with this aspect are passionate and intelligent masters of tactics, both on the battlefield and in the courts of intrigue. It is said that sword spirits can become dragons. Whether this is true or not, sword shenxue do strive to become dragons. These shenxue have sharp features. Shenxue with this aspect are thin and lithe for their race. Their hair and skin is tinted with a touch of grey or silver. Their hair is very long, very short or nonexistent. Their skin is unusually pale and cool to the touch. Those with a strong bond to their spiritual aspect or their ancestors have jeweled eyes like the well-crafted ones in a nobleman’s sword. As these shenxue grow in experience, they often acquire hardened skin with intricately detailed etchings and scrollwork on their flesh. Eventually, they might appear to have iron skin, and sharply edged flesh. Some wrap their arms and legs with strips of leather. Sparks may fly from their skin when they strike metal, or when grasping metallic objects one might hear raspy sounds. Their taste in clothing runs the gamut from formal to flamboyant, but it is always well-made and durable. Their taste in food is bland, but they seek flavor and potency. They fight exclusively with swords.
      • Aspect Racial Trait – Natural Swordsman (Ex): The shenxue gains a +1 competence bonus to damage rolls made from attacks with swords (short swords, longswords, greatswords, bastard swords, double-bladed swords, falchions, and so on). Further, if a foe attacks him with a sword, the shenxue gains a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class. A condition that makes him lose his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) also makes him lose dodge bonuses. The shenxue must be aware of the attack to gain this bonus. These shenxue start play with a masterwork sword; if their class does not grant a sword proficiency, then they are bound to a single masterwork short sword. They have proficiency with it and it alone.
      • Aspect Penalty – Bound Blade: As creatures bound to a sword, their health is tied to their blade’s strength. The shenxue suffers from the Soul Vessel obeisance in addition to the first one he must select for being a shenxue.
  • Obeisance: As creatures tied to the celestial will of the universe, all shenxue must pay homage to it in the form of an obeisance; a form of geas, prohibition, disability, or activity that must be adhered to. Shenxue are often either born into their obeisance or acquire it upon puberty and are compelled to follow it by their very nature. The shenxue must take an obeisance listed below. He cannot select one that is contrary to the nature of his aspect. For example, shenxue with the aspect of the river cannot take Sealed from Crossing Running Water. If the shenxue breaks the obeisance for any reason, he suffers the penalty described. Certain obeisance are constant penalties rather than a conditional penalty. The shenxue cannot die of any obeisance that inflicts hit point damage; he can only be reduced to 0 hit points.
    • Child of the Sun: The shenxue has an affinity for daylight, but seems melancholy and depressed when removed from its reassuring light. The shenxue receives a -2 penalty to all skill and ability checks while out of the sunlight. If this obeisance is selected, then Child of the Moon may not be selected as an additional obeisance.
    • Child of the Moon: The shenxue has an affinity for the night, but seems melancholy and depressed when removed from that relaxing darkness. The shenxue receives a -2 penalty to all skill and ability checks while in the sunlight. If this obeisance is selected, then Child of the Sun may not be selected as an additional obeisance.
    • Duty: The shenxue has a task or ongoing responsibility assigned by a powerful spirit or celestial being. This could be anything from guarding a sacred site, protecting a certain individual, item, or creature, to acting as a courier, messenger, or executioner. The details should be worked out with the GM. So long as the shenxue fulfills his responsibilities, his life is his own, but this responsibility cannot be ignored. The shenxue should not show disrespect to the spirits, their sacred sites, or their institutions. Violating this obeisance means that the shenxue loses access to all supernatural abilities and spell-like abilities. He may have to undertake a special quest on behalf of the spirit court to atone for his failure and regain any abilities lost.
    • Grotesque Appetite: The shenxue has unusual appetites for his race: a taste for still-living flesh, rotting flesh, or blood. Normal food and drink do not nourish him. He must consume his grisly meal at least once per day. For living lesh, the creature must still be living at the time of consumption. A big insect, mouse, or any other small creature will do. In the case of rotting lesh, he must eat raw meat that has decomposed for some time already. In the case of blood, he must drink at least one pint per day. Unless the flesh or blood is normally poisonous or diseased, the shenxue does not become ill or poisoned from his meal. Every day that the shenxue goes without fulfilling his grotesque appetite he receives a cumulative, temporary -1 penalty to Constitution. If seen by others while eating his unusual meal, he receives a -4 penalty to Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks to interact with them.
    • Honor Bound: When the shenxue gives his word, he must live up to it exactly. The shenxue rarely gives his word, but he must live under the effect of at least one promise almost constantly. Once a promise is completed, he must give make a new one within a week. A shenxue who makes a promise is under the effects of a geas spell with respect to that promise. The normal consequences of defying a geas/quest aflict him when he breaks that promise until he makes amends or performs the promised action. He also suffers this penalty if he does not make a new promise within a week of completing his last promise. The DC of the Fortitude saving throw is determined as if the individual to whom the promise was made were the caster of the geas spell. This geas effect lasts up to a year and a day or until the promise is kept. He can have as many promises in effect as he wishes, though doing so can be even more dangerous for him.
    • Immaculate Aura: Something about the shenxue draws attention to him. There is just something indescribably fascinating about him. He receives a -4 penalty to all Stealth checks.
    • Karmic Debt: The shenxue must honor others as he has been honored. He must repay any gift, favor, or kindness within 24 hours with a gift, favor, or kindness of equal or greater value. Additionally, he must repay any wrongdoing or insult done to him back upon the offender with an equal or greater insult or mischievous prank. Every 24 hour period he goes without repaying a debt causes a cumulative penalty of -2 to all saving throws, ability checks, and skill checks.
    • Nature of Lies: The shenxue may not state a complete truth or fact; it is physically impossible. This includes written and nonverbal statements. If the shenxue somehow tells the truth anyway, such as with a dominate spell, the shenxue receives hit point damage equal to his level for every true statement. Note that this is not a requirement to say the opposite of what the shenxue means; merely a requirement to say something misleading. Remember, the best lies are often wrapped in truth.
    • Nature of Truth: The shenxue may never state a falsehood; it is physically impossible. This includes written and non-verbal statements. If the shenxue somehow tells a falsehood anyway, such as with a dominate spell, the shenxue receives hit point damage equal to the character’s level for every false statement.
    • Religious Aversion: Symbols, prayers, and sanctuaries of religious faiths repulse the shenxue. Every round the shenxue is in contact with a religious item, stays in a consecrated location, or hears a prayer, he must make a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw. If any item of faith is used to repulse him, add +2 to the DC for every extra item or prayer. Failing the saving throw means taking nonlethal damage equal to his character level.
    • Sealed from Crossing Running Water: If this shenxue crosses running water he takes nonlethal damage equal to his level in hit points per hour spent crossing it. If he unknowingly crosses running water, he will not suffer any damage.
    • Sealed from Private Dwellings: The shenxue may not enter the personal dwelling of any sentient creature with an Intelligence score of 7 or more. This supernatural obeisance can only be overcome by powerful magic or supernatural conditions, such as with a dominate spell or with a DC 15 Will save. If the shenxue forces his way into such a dwelling despite his obeisance, he receives nonlethal damage equal to his character level for every minute he remains in the dwelling. Once he falls to 0 hit points, he no longer suffers any damage until he departs; at which point he immediately regains all hit points lost due to this obeisance. The shenxue does not suffer from this penalty once he has been invited within a dwelling by one who lives there. Being carried or forced into a dwelling by the occupant count the same as being invited. Larger domiciles such as castles do not count as personal dwellings for the purposes of this obeisance, but personal chambers within such a structure do.
    • Sensitive Nose: Due to the shenxue’s sensitivities, all gas, scent-based or inhalation attacks (i.e. stinking cloud, certain breath weapons, etc.) inflict double normal damage to the shenxue and/ or have the duration of their effects doubled, as applicable. This obeisance cannot be taken by cloud shenxue. (This obeisance is recommended for shenxue with the scent ability.)
    • Soul Vessel: The shenxue must carry an item that contains his soul; this can be any item the shenxue can take with him easily. (A sword or amulet makes for a good soul vessel, but a chest or chair does not.) Taking the soul vessel instantly reduces the shenxue’s maximum hit points by 10%. Anyone who returns the soul vessel can force the shenxue to perform a task or service of some sort or to refrain from some action or course of activity. The shenxue must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + half the level of the character returning the soul vessel + their Charisma bonus) or comply with the request. The shenxue must be able to understand the instructions. The shenxue cannot be compelled to kill himself or perform an act that would result in certain death, but he can be compelled to do almost any other activity. The shenxue must follow the given instructions until the task is completed, no matter how long it takes. If the instructions involve some open-ended task that the shenxue cannot complete through his own actions, he remains compelled for a maximum of one day per the requesting creature’s level or hit dice. Note that a clever shenxue can subvert some instructions. If something prevents the shenxue from obeying the instructions for a whole day, he suffers as though under the effects of a geas/quest spell. This magical effect can be dispelled, and it ends if the creature possessing the soul vessel dies. A creature or character possessing the soul vessel can do this to the shenxue only once, whether he makes the initial Will save or not. Making this request of the shenxue is a full-round action. If the soul vessel is sundered or destroyed, the shenxue must make a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw. Failure means they permanently lose those hit points that were lost when the soul vessel was taken. A shenxue’s current hit point total can never go below 0 as the result of a soul vessel’s destruction. A destroyed soul vessel must be repaired immediately. If it cannot be repaired, it must be replaced with the irst suitable item the shenxue inds. Each day you go without your soul vessel, you suffer a permanent loss of another 1d10 hit points. These hit points can only be healed after you repair your soul vessel or bind yourself to a replacement.
    • Wandering Eyes: The shenxue cannot see with his own eyes. Instead, he sees through the eyes of a host. It need not be a player character or NPC; it could be an animal companion. This host can be changed once every new moon. (The GM and player should agree ahead of time who will be able to see for the player’s character. If another player character is chosen, that player should agree irst. GMs may ind this obeisance too dificult to play, and alter it or remove it from the game.) As long as the host is in the same location as the shenxue character, he suffers no penalties; except that anyone concealed from the host’s eyes is also concealed from the shenxue character that suffers from this obeisance. If the host is not present, the shenxue suffers from the blinded condition. The link between the host and the shenxue has a range of 1 mile per the shenxue character’s level. If they exceed this range, then the shenxue goes completely blind and cannot beneit from the host’s vision.

The Shenxue Paragon

Shenxue can take levels in “shenxue” as a paragon class to develop their racial qualities more fully. A few shenxue develop abilities beyond the norm for other shenxue of their spiritual aspect. These few meditate extensively upon their bond with nature, developing control over their aspect’s afinities. Paragon shenxue achieve closeness to nature through the spiritual bloodline of their aspect. Each type of shenxue develops unique physical characteristics as the connection grows deeper.

Shenxue can take up to six levels in “shenxue paragon” at any time. Not all shenxue, take paragon levels (or all of them). Shenxue levels stack with spellcasting class levels for purposes of determining spellcaster level. If the shenxue has two spellcasting classes, add the paragon levels to the higher of the two. Innate spell-like abilities gained through shenxue paragon levels use the character’s total level as the caster level. Use the shenxue’s character level as his caster level and his Charisma as the key ability for his spellcasting.

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills: The shenxue paragon’s class skills are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), and two other skills determined by the shenxue’s spiritual aspect as follows:

  • Bamboo: Heal (Wis) and Survival (Wis).
  • Cloud: Fly (Dex) and Perception (Wis).
  • Crane: Acrobatics (Dex) and Fly (Int).
  • Dog: Perception (Wis) and Survival (Wis).
  • Fire: Intimidate (Cha) and Perception (Wis).
  • Fox: Escape Artist (Dex) and Stealth (Dex).
  • Hare: Acrobatics (Dex) and Jump (Str).
  • Moon: Stealth (Dex) and Swim (Str).
  • Mountain: Climb (Str) and Feng Shui (Wis).
  • Panda: Climb (Str) and any single Knowledge skill.
  • River: Feng Shui (Wis) and Swim (Wis).
  • Snow: Acrobatics (Dex) and Survival (Wis).
  • Sword: Acrobatics (Dex) and Intimidate (Cha).

Skill Points: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

Class Features

Table: Shenxue Paragon Class
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1 +0 +0 +0 +0 Spell-like ability, Spiritual aspect ability +1 level of existing class
2 +1 +1 +1 +1 Aspect ability bonus, Voice of the Spirits +1 level of existing class
3 +2 +1 +1 +1 Spell-like ability, Spiritual aspect ability -
4 +3 +2 +2 +2 +1 Charisma, Spell-like abilities +1 level of existing class
5 +3 +2 +2 +2 Spiritual aspect ability +1 level of existing class
6 +4 +3 +3 +3 Aspect ability bonus, Percipience, Spell-like abilities -

1st-Level Spell-like Ability (Sp)

At will – detect magic. This spell is in addition to any other spell-like abilities the character already has.

1st-Level Spiritual Aspect Ability

You gain a unique ability, according to the spiritual aspect:

  • Bamboo – Natural Armor (Ex): Their tough bark-like skin, reminiscent of bamboo, provides them with a +1 natural armor bonus.
  • Cloud – Billowing Defense (Su): The shenxue resists air and electricity effects, gaining a + 1 bonus to saving throws against spells and effects with those descriptors.
  • Crane – Crane Form (Sp): The shenxue can change himself into a crane as a full round action, for a number of times per day equal to half his character levels. He can remain in this form for 10 minutes per character level. If he has the Ch’i Awakened feat, he can expend his ch’i focus to gain an extra use of this ability per day. His type changes to animal. Upon changing, he regains lost hit points as if he had rested for a night (this healing does not restore temporary ability score damage or provide other beneits of resting). Changing back to normal form does not heal him further. If slain, he reverts to his original form, though he remains dead. As a crane, the shenxue gains a +6 bonus to Dexterity and a -6 penalty to Strength, but his Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores remain as before. The shenxue retains his own base attack bonus, base saves, and hit points, skills, and feats, but gains a 1d4 -2 piercing damage bite attack, low-light vision, a base land speed of 15 feet, a base ly speed of 40 feet with Average maneuverability, and becomes size Small. As a Small creature, a crane shenxue gains a +1 bonus to AC and to attack rolls as well as a +4 bonus to Stealth checks. He suffers a –4 penalty to grapple checks as well as the appropriate size difference penalties for other opposed combat checks. While in this form, shenxue can speak freely and retain their understanding of any known languages. Shenxue in crane form gain the ability to speak with ordinary cranes. Equipment worn subsumes into the crane’s form, where it is nonfunctional.
  • Dog – Bite (Ex): The dog shenxue knows how to use his sharp teeth and jaw to good effect in combat. The shenxue is proicient with using bite attacks in combat and, unless gagged or muzzled, is always considered armed (the bite is considered a light weapon). A Medium-sized character inlicts 1d6 + Strength bonus in damage (1d4 + Strength bonus if Small-sized). When the shenxue takes a feat requiring him to specify a weapon (such as the Weapon Focus feat), he can choose “bite.” If he uses a weapon (or unarmed attack) in the same round as the bite attack, both the bite attack and the other attack suffer a –2 penalty. A character ighting with a weapon in each hand (or with a double weapon) can make a bite attack, but all attacks suffer a –4 penalty in addition to normal two-weapon ighting penalties the character might incur. The Two-Weapon Fighting feat does not modify the penalties associated with this ability.
  • Fire – Control Flame (Sp): These shenxue can cause a nonmagical fire within 30 feet of them to diminish to the level of coals or lare to the brightness of daylight and double the normal radius of its illumination. This ability does not change the heat output or fuel consumption of the ire source. It lasts 5 minutes, and can be done a number of times per day equal to the shenxue’s Charisma bonus (if any). If the shenxue has no Charisma bonus, he can use this ability once per week.
  • Fox – Fox Form (Sp): The fox shenxue can change himself into a fox as a full round action. He can remain a fox for 10 minutes per character level and he may take the form of a fox a number of times per day equal to half his character levels. If the shenxue also has the Ki Awakened feat, he can expend his ch’i focus to gain an extra use of this ability per day. His type changes to animal. Upon changing, he regains lost hit points as if he had rested for a night (this healing does not restore temporary ability score damage or provide other beneits of resting). Changing back to normal form does not heal him further. If slain, he reverts to his original form, though he remains dead. The fox shenxue gains a +6 bonus to Dexterity and a -6 penalty to Strength, but his Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores remain as before. The shenxue retains his own base attack bonus, base saves, and hit points, skills, and feats, but gains a 1d6 piercing damage bite attack, lowlight vision, scent, a +4 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks and a +2 racial bonus on Survival checks, a base land speed of 40 feet, and becomes size Tiny. As a Tiny creature, a fox shenxue gains a +1 bonus to AC and to attack rolls as well as a +4 bonus to Stealth checks. He suffers a –4 penalty to grapple checks as well as the appropriate size difference penalties for other opposed combat checks. While in this form, the shenxue can speak freely and retain their understanding of any known languages. Shenxue in fox form gain the ability to speak with ordinary foxes. Fox shenxue with multiple tails can choose to have only one tail while in fox form, or all their tails. Equipment worn subsumes into the fox’s form, where it is nonfunctional.
  • Hare – Hare Form (Sp): The hare shenxue can change himself into a hare as a full round action. He can remain a hare for 10 minutes per character level and he can take this form a number of times per day equal to half his character level. If the shenxue also has the Ch’i Awakened feat, he can expend his ch’i focus to gain an extra use of this ability per day. His type changes to animal. Upon changing, he regains lost hit points as if he had rested for a night (this healing does not restore temporary ability score damage or provide other beneits of resting). Changing back to normal form does not heal him further. If slain, he reverts to his original form, though he remains dead. The hare shenxue gains a +6 bonus to Dexterity and a -8 penalty to Strength, but his Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores remain as before. The shenxue retains his own base attack bonus, base saves, and hit points, skills, and feats, but gains a 1d3-4 bite attack, low-light vision, a base land speed of 40 feet, and becomes size Tiny. As a Tiny creature, a hare shenxue gains a +2 bonus to AC and to attack rolls as well as a +8 bonus to Stealth checks. He suffers a –8 penalty to grapple checks as well as the appropriate size difference penalties for other opposed combat checks. While in this form, the shenxue can speak freely and retain their understanding of all languages known in their humanoid form. Shenxue in hare form gain the ability to speak with ordinary hares. Equipment worn subsumes into the fox’s form, where it is nonfunctional.
  • Moon – Darkvision (Ex): The shenxue can see in the dark up to 60 feet. If the shenxue already possesses Darkvision at this range, but suffers from a penalty to see in the light, she will no longer suffer that penalty now and can see normally in daylight.
  • Mountain – Natural Armor (Ex): Tough, rock-like skin, reminiscent of marble provides the shenxue with a +1 natural armor bonus.
  • Panda – Bamboo Diet (Su): Your teeth can bite through any wood. Outside of combat, you may inlict 3d6 bite damage to any nonmagical, wooden object or 1d6 damage to magical, wooden objects. Out of combat, shenxue can chew through one cubic foot of wooden material per ive minutes. Consuming more than one cubic foot of wooden material in a day causes you 1d8 points of nonlethal damage per additional cubic foot of matter consumed. If you consume more than your Constitution bonus in additional material in a day you become nauseated for a number of hours equal to the cubic feet consumed. Although it's not in the shenxue’s nature to bite to any creature, if the situation were dire enough to warrant it, the damage is 1d6 (for Medium sized panda shenxue). To avoid provoking an attack of opportunity, the shenxue must take the Improved Sunder feat.
  • River – Swim (Ex): The shenxue gains a base swim speed of 30 feet and can move normally through water without making Swim checks. He has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. The shenxue can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. The shenxue can use the run action while swimming, provided he swims in a straight line.
  • Snow – Damage Reduction 1/Fire (Su): Like a sheet of ice, your skin resists all attacks.
  • Sword – Natural Armor (Ex): The shenxue’s skin hardens like iron in his blade, providing him with a +1 natural armor bonus.

Voice of the Spirits

Their mixed spirit heritage allows shenxue to sense the desires and emotional states of minor elemental spirits in the area as well as the occasional larger spirit. The shenxue cannot actually hear them, but has an empathic bond. With a successful Wisdom check (DC 15), the shenxue ascertains how the spirits are currently feeling, especially if they are particularly agitated, content, joyous, or fearful at the moment. This ability does not detect the type, abilities, power level, or thoughts of the spirits, only their feelings.

Aspect Ability Bonus

The shenxue gains a +1 to an ability score. The speciic ability score bonus is appropriate to each spiritual aspect:

  • Bamboo: Constitution.
  • Cloud: Dexterity.
  • Crane: Dexterity.
  • Dog: Constitution.
  • Fire: Dexterity.
  • Fox: Charisma.
  • Hare: Dexterity.
  • Moon: Charisma.
  • Mountain: Strength.
  • Panda: Strength.
  • River: Strength.
  • Snow: Constitution.
  • Sword: Dexterity.

3rd-Level Spell-like Abilities (Sp)

Alter self once per day and two other spells. All are in addition to any other spell-like abilities the character already has. The following list describes which spell-like abilities the shenxue gains according to his spiritual aspect:

  • Bamboo: 1/day – barkskin; 2/day – entangle.
  • Cloud: 1/day – gust of wind and levitate.
  • Crane: 1/day – cure moderate wounds and gust of wind.
  • Dog: 1/day – locate object; 2/day – speak with animals.
  • Fire: 2/day – burning hands and endure elements (hot only).
  • Fox: 1/day – invisibility and locate object.
  • Hare: 1/day – cat’s grace; 2/day – jump.
  • Moon: 1/day – glitterdust and invisibility.
  • Mountain: 1/day – soften earth and stone; 2/day – enlarge person.
  • Panda: 1/day – augury and owl’s wisdom.
  • River: 2/day – bless water or curse water (choose one) and obscuring mist.
  • Snow: 1/day – chill metal; 2/day - endure elements (cold only).
  • Sword: 2/day – magic weapon and true strike.

3rd-Level Spiritual Aspect Ability

The shenxue gains a greater unique ability acquired through the shenxue’s inherent connection to the supernatural world and his afinity for nature. The following are their abilities according to the spiritual aspect

  • Bamboo – Fast Healing (Su): Bamboo shenxue can draw on the healing power of sunlight. Once a day, while in sunlight, the shenxue may gain Fast Healing rank 1 for a number of rounds equal to his character level.
  • Cloud – Blindsight (Su): By focusing on air movement, the shenxue senses the location of creatures that might ordinarily be concealed from him. The shenxue gains Blindsight out to 30 ft. for a number of times per day equal to his Charisma bonus. If he has no Charisma bonus, then he can use this ability once per week. The duration is a number of rounds equal to half the shenxue’s character level. Activating this ability is a free action.
  • Crane – Grace of the Crane (Ex): These shenxue are graceful and light on their feet. They receive a +2 racial bonus to skill checks with Acrobatics and Fly checks. Movement speed while lying is increases by 10 feet in all forms.
  • Dog – Resilient Body (Ex): The shenxue gains a +2 racial bonus on all Fortitude saving throws.
  • Fire – Fast Healing (Su): Once a day as a free action, the shenxue enter a meditative state while in contact with fire. He gains Fast Healing rank 1 for a number of rounds equal to his character level.
  • Fox – Spell-like Abilities (Sp): 3/day – cure light wounds and expeditious retreat.
  • Hare – Agility of the Hare (Ex): These shenxue are extremely agile and quick on their feet. The shenxue gains a +2 racial bonus when making skill checks with Acrobatics and Jump. Furthermore, his base movement speed increases by 10 feet in all forms.
  • Moon – Spell-like Abilities (Sp): 3/day – charm person and sleep
  • Mountain – Mastery of the Mountain (Su): The shenxue gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both he and his foe are touching the ground. Additionally, the shenxue can perform a bull rush maneuver without provoking an attack of opportunity.
  • Panda – Scent (Ex): The shenxue gains the scent ability.
  • River – Mastery of the River (Su): A river shenxue gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both he and his opponent are touching water. The river shenxue’s touch puts out torches, campires, exposed lanterns, and other open lames of nonmagical origin up to and including Large size. The shenxue can dispel magical ire that he touches as dispel magic (caster level equals the shenxue’s character level).
  • Snow – Blizzard (Su): The snow shenxue channels his supernatural cold spiritual aspect into a small blizzard centered on him. It emanates out in a radius equal to 5 feet × the shenxue’s character level. For a number or rounds equal to half his character level, the shenxue creates such extreme weather conditions that he receives 50% Concealment and a +4 circumstance bonus to AC against ranged attacks. The severe cold causes all creatures within the area of effect to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + half the shenxue’s character level + his Charisma modiier) or ind themselves too cold to move while within the blizzard’s area of effect. The shenxue can use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma bonus (if any). If the shenxue has no Charisma bonus, then he can use this ability once per week.
  • Sword – Unarmed Blade (Su): A sword shenxue gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. The attacks may be with ist, elbows, knees, and feet. The shenxue may even make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for the shenxue striking unarmed. You may apply your full Strength bonus damage on all his unarmed strikes. He can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll, even while grappling. Lethal damage can be piercing or slashing. Furthermore, he can use the bonuses granted by his Natural Swordsman ability with this one, provided he deals lethal, slashing or piercing damage. The shenxue’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

4th-Level Spell-like Abilities (Sp)

These spell-like abilities are in addition to any other spell-like abilities the character already has. The following list describes which spell-like abilities the shenxue gains according to his spiritual aspect:

  • Bamboo: 1/day – snare, speak with plants, and spike growth.
  • Cloud: 1/day – call lightning, ly, and gaseous form.
  • Crane: 1/day – ly, remove disease, and wind wall.
  • Dog: 1/day – beast shape I, locate object, and greater magic fang.
  • Fire: 1/day – continual lame, ireball, and protection from energy.
  • Fox: 1/day – displacement, major image, and suggestion.
  • Hare: 1/day – clairaudience/clairvoyance, haste, and slow.
  • Moon: 1/day – displacement, ly, and suggestion.
  • Mountain: 1/day – meld into stone, protection from energy, and stone shape.
  • Panda: 1/day – dispel magic, explosive runes, and magic circle against chaos/evil/good/law.
  • River: 1/day – protection from energy, water breathing, and water walk.
  • Snow: 1/day – protection from energy, sleet storm, and slow.
  • Sword: 1/day – greater magic weapon, heroism, and keen edge.

5th-Level Spiritual Aspect Ability

The shenxue gains an ability unique to his spiritual aspect:

  • Bamboo – Dirt Glide (Su): The shenxue can burrow through dirt, mud, and sand, or almost any other sort of earth except metal and stone as easily as a ish swims through water. The shenxue’s burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other sign of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing a burrowing bamboo shenxue lings the shenxue back 30 feet, stunning him for 1 round unless he succeeds on a DC 15 Fortitude save.
  • Cloud – Whirlwind (Su): The shenxue can transform himself into a whirlwind as a swift action and remain in that form for a number of rounds equal to his character level per day, although these rounds do not need to be consecutive. The total number of rounds he can be in whirlwind form per day is renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours do not need to be consecutive. If the shenxue has a ly speed, he can continue to ly at that same speed while in whirlwind form, otherwise he gains a ly speed equal to his base land speed (average maneuverability) while in whirlwind form. The whirlwind is always 5 feet wide at its base and is 10 to 30 ft. in height (10 to 20 ft. if the shenxue is Small sized). A whirlwind’s width at its peak is always equal to half of its height. The shenxue controls the exact height, but it must be at least 10 feet high. The whirlwind form does not provoke attacks of opportunity, even if the shenxue enters the space another creature occupies. Another creature might be caught in the whirlwind if it touches or enters the whirlwind, or if the whirlwind moves into or through a creature’s space. A shenxue in whirlwind form cannot make his normal attacks and does not threaten the area around him. Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the whirlwind might take damage when caught in the whirlwind (damage equal to the shenxue’s unarmed attack damage) and may be lifted into the air. An affected shenxue must succeed on a Relex save (DC 10 + half the shenxue’s level + Strength modif ier) when it comes into contact with the whirlwind or take damage as if it were hit by the whirlwind shenxue’s unarmed attack. It must also succeed on a second Relex save or be picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful winds, automatically taking the indicated damage each round. A creature that can ly is allowed a Relex save each round to escape the whirlwind. The creature still takes damage but can leave if the save is successful. Creatures trapped in the whirlwind cannot move except to go where the whirlwind carries them or to escape the whirlwind. Trapped creatures can otherwise act normally, but must succeed on a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell. Creatures caught in the whirlwind take a –4 penalty to Dexterity and a –2 penalty on attack rolls. The whirlwind can have only as many creatures trapped inside at one time as will it inside the whirlwind’s volume. The whirlwind can eject any carried creature whenever it wishes as a free action, depositing them in its space. If the whirlwind’s base touches the ground, it creates a swirling cloud of debris. This cloud is centered on the shenxue and has a diameter equal to half the whirlwind’s height. The cloud obscures all vision, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment, while those farther away have total concealment. Those caught in the cloud of debris must succeed on a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell.
  • Crane – Bonus Feat (Ex): The shenxue gains a bonus feat that can be selected from general or combat feats.
  • Dog – Spell-like Ability (Sp): 3/day – summon nature’s ally II.
  • Fire – Spell-like Ability (Sp): 1/day – laming sphere, pyrotechnics, and scorching ray.
  • Fox – Spell-like Ability (Sp): 1/day – blur, minor image, and mirror image.
  • Hare – Speed of the Hare (Ex): The shenxue gains a +6 racial bonus on Initiative checks.
  • Moon – Spell-like Ability (Sp): 1/day – hideous laughter, protection from arrows, and touch of idiocy.
  • Mountain – Tremorsense (Su): The shenxue gains the tremorsense ability with a range of 5ft. for every 2 character levels.
  • Panda – Ki Feat (Ex): The shenxue gains the Ki Awakened feat; however, he must still meet the ability score and skill rank prerequisites. If the shenxue already has the Ki Awakened feat, he may choose any single ch’i or chakra feat in place of the Ki Awakened feat. He must still meet any prerequisites these feats may have.
  • River – Living Water (Su): As a free action, the shenxue’s form is altered somewhat to a more liquefied state of matter while immersed in any kind of water. He gains Regeneration at a rank of 2 for a number of rounds equal to his character level. In moving water, such as a river, stream, or waterfall, then the regeneration rank becomes 3. If the water is salt water or is diluted, such as a keg of alcohol, then the regeneration rank becomes 1. Fire deals damage as normal to a river shenxue as they are vulnerable to fire. If the shenxue loses a limb or body part while in this state, the lost portion can be reattached and instantly healed by holding it to the stump. Lost limbs or body parts do not grow back since the regeneration will not last long enough to do so. The river shenxue can use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma bonus (if any); if he has no Charisma bonus, then he can use this ability once per week.
  • Snow – Ice Blood (Su): The shenxue’s eyes now appear made of the purest ice with deep blue pupils, which provide darkvision out to 60 feet. Furthermore, snow or icy weather effects never impede the shenxue’s vision and movement. The shenxue can use Trackless Step at will while traversing snow or ice and never slips or suffers penalties for moving on snow or ice. On snow or ice, his base movement increases by 10 feet.
  • Sword – Forged Physique (Su): The shenxue’s body is increasingly composed of the metals used in the forging of swords. He is only affected by critical hits and sneak attacks 50% of the time.

Percipience (Su)

At 6th level, the shenxue can see and hear nature spirits otherwise imperceptible to mortals (unless a spirit wishes to show itself). The character inds this ability disconcerting at irst, because it makes him realize how pervasive spirits are. They are everywhere, all the time — although only rarely do they pay attention to the actions of mortals. Shenxue sometimes become alerted to danger when the nature spirits of an area are upset or absent.

6th-Level Spell-like Abilities (Sp)

1/day – ghost weapon (self only) and two other spells. All are in addition to any other spell-like abilities the character already has. Use the shenxue’s character level as his caster level and her Charisma as the key ability. The following list describes abilities the shenxue has according to his spiritual aspect:

  • Bamboo: 1/day – blight and command plants.
  • Cloud: 1/day – elemental body I and solid fog.
  • Crane: 1/day – cure critical wounds and neutralize poison.
  • Dog: 1/day – beast shape II and locate creature.
  • Fire: 1/day – elemental body I and wall of ire.
  • Fox: 1/day – confusion and greater invisibility.
  • Hare: 1/day – dimension door and freedom of movement.
  • Moon: 1/day – dimension door and fear.
  • Mountain: 1/day – elemental body I and spike stones.
  • Panda: 1/day – divination and divine power.
  • River: 1/day – control water and elemental body I.
  • Snow: 1/day – ice storm and wall of ice.
  • Sword: 1/day – divine power and greater magic weapon.
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