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Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic


The people of Mount Shenlon are different. They can fly. The Masters of the Jade Empire want the technique for themselves and will stop at nothing to get it.

317 readers have visited Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic since Scumbag_Brain created it.



Light Heart is a martial arts epic in the style of films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers. In this world based on Chinese mythology wushu (martial arts techniques) can literally bend the laws of physics, but only one people have ever bent the law of gravity, gliding, even flying. They are called the Shien or Cloud-People, an isolated and enlightened folk who live upon the summit of a high mountain called Shenlon.

For centuries the Shien have lived apart from the warring states which surround them protected both by the natural fortifications of their mountain home and the reputation of their legendary kung fu. However, in the recent decades the Emperor Ty Lin has succeeded in bringing all the states under his iron grip. The emperor is an avid student of kung fu and has mastered the techniques of all his subjugated people. The Light Step remains the final and brightest jewel in his crown and now with the power of all the states unified, he has the strength to grasp it.


Jade Empire

Also called the Empire of Heaven, this refers to the civilized realm. Beyond its borders live only barbarians who are ruled by brute strength and characterized by savagery. For seven centuries the Empire has been split among a number of warring states, each ruled by their own Lord. Kung Fu split along with the empire and each state developed its own distinctive style. Only upon the isolated Mountain of Shenlon was kung fu preserved in anything resembling it's pure and primordial form. This, according to some monks, is why the Shien retain the power of flight, a wushu forgotten by the fractured lowland schools.


Chi or Qi refers to spiritual energy, a power that flows from one's center and soul. Wushu uses chi to manipulate physical forces and help the body and mind achieve the impossible. Chi is gathered by a variety of methods, the most basic of which is breathing. Meditation, shouting, taolu (forms), poetry, and even alcohol are used to build Qi.


Ty Lin did not claim the title of Jade Emperor by martial skill alone, he possessed a distinct advantage, gunpowder (often called dragon dust). Ty-lin's alchemists in his home state perfected the mixtures and his armies use a diverse array of primitive gunpowder weapons. Among these are batteries of firework-like missiles, simple arquebi (muskets), flame throwers, and bombs.


Although the people of the empire possess horses and oxen, these are considered crude beasts, better suited for the lower class and barbarians. Upper class citizens and the Imperial Entourage instead employ large flightless birds called Huangfeng. These animals, similar to Earth's extinct Asian ostrich, have been bred by the highborn families of the Empire for millenia. Esteemed not only for their beauty but their grace and character, they have become one of the symbols of Jade nobility. Resplendent in iridescent plumage, they strut at the head of all high-born processions carrying guards or pulling their glittering carraiges and chariots.

In the army, Huangfeng bred for war carry mounted archers who use the speed and agility of the birds to move swiftly in and out of firing range. Calvary charges, however, still rely on horses since the birds are far to frail to survive the impact of so brutal an offensive.

The Shien

The isolated Shien people live an idyllic life free of strife and conflict. They are fond of agriculture and invention and have many miraculous yet simply machines which grant them abundant leisure time. They spend this time in an almost constant state of joy and laughter. Unlike the lands below the Shien learn Kung Fu from birth. There are no schools or dojos on the mountain. The Shien would find the concept of a place for the study of Kung Fu as silly as we would find a University of Walking. They develop their powers of flight around their sixth year and do not call the technique Light Step but rather Light Heart. This is a reference to the Shien philosophy, not just of Kung Fu but of Life (not that a Shien would make a distinction between the two).

By practicing the Light Heart, a wushu artist actually reduces their mass to the point that they can glide or fly and this is not just an advantage for transportation. All weapons rely on the resistance of their target to motion, its mass. This resistance is how a fist bruises and a sword cuts. However, a weapon swung at a nearly massless Shien can do nothing more than propel them backward for they offer no resistance to its motion. Even the Cloud People have their limits however. Flying drains their qi same as any wushu and to power their flight without leaping or relying on the wind drains far more energy. Eventually regardless of talent, skill or stamina, they tire and must return to the earth to replenish their energy.


The religion of the Empire is ancient, predating civilization and has neither formal name nor official text. It teaches that the world is ruled by fundamental forces. Most central of these are Yin and Yang, sometimes characterized as passive and active or emptiness and form. Below these are the five elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Metal and Wood. Below these are Dragons and other Gods, spirit lords and children of the elements. Finally, serving them are a great diversity of lesser spirits often in animal form. Of course, few ever see such spirits and many modern scholars go so far as to question their existence.

The Way, as the old belief is sometimes called, is practiced most fervently in pastoral regions where a farmer's livelihood hinges on nature's whims. Often large shrines dedicated to local Gods are maintained to assure their good graces.

Gender Roles

On Shenlon both boys and girls learn kung fu, but throughout the rest of the Jade Empire girls have been barred from kwoons (chinese dojo, pronounced gooan). To learn any wushu a girl must either seek private training or cross dress. The new Jade Empire has fortified this prejudice by giving it legal form and instating harsh penalties for women who openly display martial ability.



Players are free to create any character, though they should keep in mind a few things.

1) The description of a character's style should be detailed and creative. "I know kungfu," is not enough.

2) The character's personality, description, and history should be thoroughly covered. Do not be afraid to add elements to the world, creating your own provinces, subcultures, geography, etc. (that's why I left it so open).

3) If you want to post in the initial scenes work out a reason you are at or near the siege of Shenlon. You may be in the Emperor's army, one of the Shien, a trader accompanying the army, or a simple peasant living nearby and caught up in the action.

4) Mastery of more than one kung fu style is extraordinarily rare as each kwoon jealously guards its secrets. Only the emperor and other high ranking officials have the clout to force kwoon masters to divulge their teachings.

5) Shien characters ARE enlightened regardless of age. If you can not effectively RP an enlightened being, do not play a Shien. This does not mean you need to be bland and colorless. That is a false Western stereotype of enlightenment.

6) If you want your Shien character to survive and escape the siege, you best play a young character. In all liklihood the elders will stay to defend the village giving others time to escape. That means they will probably either die or be captured.

7) Chinese names are backwards from Western. The surname comes first. For example in Hi Xan, Hi is the family name, Xan is the personal name.


The Story will begin with the siege of Mount Shenlon by the Jade Army. Where the story goes from there is up to the players.

PreOrdained Characters

There are a few characters who would generally be NPCs, however, if you impress me with a write up for them I will allow you to play them

-Jade Emperor (Ty Lin) - A young and talented man ravenous for power. He has mastered the wushu of every conquered province and now wishes to do the same to the legendary Cloud People. Little does he know, his heavy heart tainted by greed will always prevent him from mastering the Light Step.

-Shou Fen - The oldest of the Shien rumored to have lived for several centuries. He is the iconic kung fu master, complete with long waving white whiskers and unexpected jocularity.

-General Yan Dao - The Jade Emperor's chief military adviser, he believes in alchemy and strategy and scoffs at the mystical powers of the wushu masters. A peasant by birth his soul is driven by the desire to make his family name second only to that of the Jade Emperor.

Toggle Rules

1) Know a little about Chinese culture or have the motivation to wiki/google your weak areas.
2) Be a halfway decent writer (ie. your writing does not make me want to murder your English teacher)
3) Submitted characters should have a portrait (I can not relate with a square that reads, 'image not available.'). If the image uploader is giving you hell tell me and I will help or exempt you.
4) No Qi Balls (better known as HADOUKEN!!!). For one it is a stupidly wasteful use of Qi when one could easily fling a dagger or shoot an arrow. Two it is campy and reminds me of a particular anime which I loathe intensely.

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Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic: Out of Character


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Most recent OOC posts in Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Sorry, I really like the whole idea and theme of this RP, but I don't think I'll be able to join this. I don't know if I could handle it cause' I'm still kind of new in RPG and I'm still involved in three or four other active roleplays. Again, I am terribly sorry :(

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

@All Added two new sections to the Intro. One on the Empire's religion which is based on Taoism and Chinese folklore and another on the Huangfeng, a large flightless bird of colorful plumage used by the upperclass as mounts and status symbols. This will probably be my last additions to the intro unless someone points out something which is desperately needed.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

@Sneakyrio That's a good question. All effects in the story which bend the laws of physics should be explainable as a form of wushu. A martial artist may call his stance the Coiled Lung (dragon) and he may even claim that the spirit of a dragon resides in the tatoos imprinted on his body, but at the end of the day all his powers come from himself.

Particularly flashy displays like using your chi to heat air and hurling a fireball are possible, but the mark of naive rather than skilled artists. Methods such as these waste qi and a fight will often be won by the person who's reserves last the longest. This is why the great masters will often have the least flashy techniques, using a fist rather than a fireball or a pair of chopsticks rather than a heavy sword.

Mystic rituals involving the transfer of qi, the drawing of poison, or the healing of certain energetic wounds are totally acceptable but again are a form of wushu and will usually involve some sort of bodily contact or the use of pressure points. A good example of something like this comes from a very campy but very epic 70's kung fu flick. In the scene, three women martial artist charge the male protagonist with their chi striking each of his chakras. Their Yin energy complements his Yang and transforms him into a super bad ass, who's balanced style is the ultimate form of Tai Chi.

Basically, when in doubt check the theme. This is a kung fu story, so if what your doing looks more like wizardry than kung fu, that's a no-no.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Hey, quick question. Is there........magic. I don't want my character performing magic or anything like that, but i wanted to know if there are things like sorcerers and demons and spirits or anything of that nature. This information will help me create a better character, thank you.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Scumbag_Brain, I finished my character I put something down for her Wushu I hope thats what you looking for. I actually like the idea of her trying to make the trip up the mountain and being caught up in all the drama only to find out there isn't a school. I guess I'm a gluten for punishment, anyway thanks for already accepting her you didn't have to do that till I was done. Any way I hope to see this start, and I'm looking forward to Rp'ing with everyone.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

@Jayu Although based on Chinese Culture, the world itself is fictional and could be thought of as an 'oriental-themed fantasy'. You are, of course, free to use geographical regions and schools of martial arts as inspiration (I certainly did, Mount Shelon is based on Mount Wudang).

@Sneakyrio I am willing to accept anything that stays within the broad Chinese theme. Although you are right that we should refrain from duplicating specific regions since this is fictional, I would expect something more creative than 'the South.'

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Thanks man, I just needed some kind of direction to go with my Character. I can start work on him right now. I was just wondering how you felt about Cantonese martial arts such as the animal styles. Though in the Jade Empire it would probably be simply known as the "South".

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

About the rule of needing to know something about Chinese culture, is it alright if I join? I take Chinese at school and I would like to be in this RP to see how much I know and remember. Also, is it okay if my character stayed in South Korea for maybe a long period of time? Because I was kind of hoping that my character would also know Tae Kwon Do. you see, I have a thing for Asian culture ^.^

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

@Clover_honey Cool character. I am accepting but she is missing the description of her wushu style (that which she learned from her brother). This is very important in a martial arts epic since a character's style reflects their personality and grants the reader a window into their soul. Please add this before we begin. It is fine if she is a beginner and knows only basic forms, this too can reflect her character.

I should also remind you that the Shien do not discriminate. They all know kung fu, boy or girl, adult or child. Have you seen Shaolin Soccer? The protagonist in the film dreams of a world where everyone knows and uses kungfu in daily life and for mundane tasks. The Shien are like this, they live and breathe wushu. As a result, they would likely be at a loss to teach anyone. How do you teach someone to breathe?

That being said, it is very likely your character does not know any of this and assumes (as many likely do) that Shenlon is simply the home of some advanced school of kung fu. Assuming this, it makes perfect sense why your character would cross dress but should she make it to the mountain top, the Shien would likely be either confused, amused or both.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

Very interesting concept, I'll work on a character and should have her up by this evening. Hope this one goes well, so far everyone I've joined haven't started yet. It's a little discouraging to say the least, but I hope this one gets off to a good start.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

@Sneakyrio No I don't use character sheets. They are kind of like training wheels and I want players who are advanced enough that they no longer need them. I know that from a player's perspective this can be annoying, but it helps keep out the fail without me having to reject folks. I will, however, edit the intro so as to be a tad more specific about what I want in a character submission.

Re: [OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

This looks very promising. Are you going to put up a character sheet?

[OOC] Light Heart, A Kung Fu Epic

There are no dumb questions. Ask me anything.