If we were going to delve into the subject of ki and the idea of energy flows that link and infuse mind, body, and spirit with the same vital force, the idea of acupuncture seemed like a natural subject to address. It didn’t hurt that Frank Hessefort came up with an amazing illustration for us to use. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit… 🙂
Seriously, though, the idea of mystical energy flows with healing implications were intriguing territory to explore in the tome entitled Seven-Ghost-Needles. This mystical practice was first referenced in the character description for Xiuj Hak Leyng, the irascible alchemist of Gothic Heroes, and it had long been our intention to someday develop that idea.
Acupuncture involves healing in purely mundane terms, and this tome leads off with describing how the secrets of the Seven-Ghost-Needles can enhance ordinary medical care, from field surgery to long-term tending. Stepping beyond this to the supernatural, the manipulation of energy flows was something that could have certain combat applications, true, by turning a character’s inner energies against him. The secrets of this tome also became a home for what you could term meta-ki powers: ki effects that affect other ki effects, or that change what ki can do, like Block Flow preventing ki use while Restore Flow allows you to unravel and cancel harmful ki powers and similar effects like a monk’s Stunning Fist ability.
Dealing with acupuncture also required thinking about a system of energy centers. While the term chakras is perhaps more familiar, it derives from more of an Indian-flavored system of prana energy; in the context of ki, those energy centers, organized somewhat differently, are called dantians (among other similar cognates and transliterations), and Recenter Flow allows a creature to move the core of their ki flow from the upper jing of thought and emotion, to the middle shen of the spirit and the lower wuji of the void. Each recentering grants a different saving throw bonus and the ability to spend ki to delay the onset of effects related to the nature of the dantian chosen.
It goes without saying that Meditations of the Imperial Mystics is a gaming product, not an academic treatise, so any resemblance of this product or any of our ki products to real-life qigong and the like is purely thematic. We think this product provides great atmospherics and interesting mechanics that evoke what it would be like to practice a form of supernatural ki manipulation. Hopefully you agree and enjoy using it!