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History

On Ispar

Founding

The history of the Sho is intertwined with their mythology. For more information on the Sho creation story, see Religions and Beliefs. The legendary founder of the Sho Nation was Shou-Jen Rian. According to their beliefs, after dishonoring the Dragon of Power, Shou-Jen Rian and his kinsmen were driven west and south by the Dragon, who burned their crops and destroyed their villages.[1][2] The people were driven southwest for years, all the way to the sea.[1][2] There, the Shou-Jen family established a kingdom and named it after the Dragon (Ryujii) to placate the Elder.[3] However, six families instead sailed across the sea and founded their own kingdoms upon islands named after the Firebird (Iiwah) and the Unicorn (Chiran-tou).[1][2][3]

While the dates of the founding of the Sho Nation are unknown, we can some assumptions. The first is that the Ryu Jou Gai, the Order of the Dragon Temple, was founded after the founding of Ryujii since the Ryu Jou Gai is based at the Dragon Temple in the Sho homelands.[4] In Leafcull, 10 PY (1286 RC) the Ryu Jou Gai was said to have been founded over one thousand years ago, giving us an approximate date of 286 RC for the Order's founding. Thus, one can assume that the events of the founding of the Sho Nation took place at some point prior to that.

Given that this is a fantasy setting, it is entirely possible that the Sho creation story and their Elder spirits are real beings and the story of Shou-Jen Rian is true. However, if interpreting their mythology from a more secular point of view, it is possible that the Dragon destroying their crops and home and driving them to the sea is a metaphor for a stronger nation expanding their territory by claiming the old Sho homelands. If the Sho Nation was founded some time prior to 286 RC, the Roulean Empire could certainly be the rival nation. Another idea, presented on Warcry's Crossroads of Dereth's Sho introduction article is that the Dragon was a metaphor for volcanic activity.

Three Kingdoms

For centuries after the founding of the three kingdoms warlords feuded amongst themselves, mostly in the name of one of the Elder spirits or another.[3]

Over a thousand years ago (286 RC or earlier), the Ryu Jou Gai was founded.[4]

Around 800 years ago (approximately 486 RC) Jojii received a vision from Unicorn of Grace on how to reach Paradise by following four primary precepts: Humility, Discipline, Detachment and Compassion.[3] [5] This new religion, called Jojiism, would gradually become the guiding school of thought for the Sho.[3] For more on Jojiism, see Religions and Beliefs.

No more than 500 years ago (approximately 793 RC or later) the Tanada Clan of Nanjou Shou-Jen arose in the midst of a minor territorial war between the warlords Fansin Hanu and Kosu Jainan.[6]

300 years ago (986 RC) a split occured in the Chiran Jou Gai, the Order of the Unicorn Temple. While the Order focused on healing magic, the new group, the Chiran Jishui Dan or The Ranks of the Unicorn's Battle focused instead on battle magic.[4]

Unification and the Kou Dynasty

200 years ago (approximately 1086 RC), the Emperor Kou rose to power in Ryujii at the age of fifteen. Kou united the Sho people under his banner. Iiwah he took by force, invading with a massive fleet; Chiran-tou he took by peace, marrying the daughter of its ruler and moving his throne there. Then, he quickly began reforming Jojiism and encouraging its spread. Thus began the Kou dynasty, and the Sho people were at last unified under one Throne and one vision.[3]

At a very approximate date of 1176 RC (based on average human generational span and the ages of Kou and Kou-an) Empress Kou-an, great granddaughter of the Emperor Kou, ascended to the Throne of the Sho Empire at the age of fifteen. Guided by Jojiism, Kou-an in turn guided and refined the Sho culture. During her reign, Kou-an sen the Thousand Emissaries to the other nations of the Iron Sea, including Gharu'n, Milantos, Viamont, and Aluvia. Kou-an also decreed that the common trade language of the other nations, Roulean, be taught to all Sho.[7]

Present Day

As late as 1286 RC, the Sho still enjoyed the stability brought by the Kou Dynasty. Monasteries and temples provided a foundation of education and training for the populace.[3] The old rivalries between the three Elders and their associated Jojiist principles still remained. There were also rumors of secret groups who despise both Jojiism and the Kou Dynasty, and are loyal only to the Dragon.[3] Trade had begun with the two closest kingdoms, the Gharu'ndim and the Milantos, and the Sho were growing increasingly aware of the vast lands beyond their borders.[3]

In 1292 RC, the Gharu'ndim realm was shrinking as Viamontians aggressively expanded their territories. Some in the Sho Nation worried the Viamontians may target their lands next.[8]

On Dereth

Rulers

Name Bloodline Rank/Title Years of reign Notes
Shou-Jen Rian ?? ?? ?? Legendary founder of the Sho Nation
Kou ?? Emperor 1086 RC - ?? Emperor who united the Sho Nation under one banner.
Kou-an Granddaughter of Kou Empress 1176 RC - ?? Regarded as very wise. Sent 1000 emissaries to other nations of Ispar.
Sources: Sho Introduction, The Glorious Reign of Empress Kou-an,The Shou-Jen and the Founding of Ryuujii Version 1 and Version 2 & other sources cited on the Timeline of Ispar.

Culture

Religions and Beliefs

The Sho believe in a divine creator referred to as the One.[1][2][3] The One created the three Elders to rule the world: the Unicorn of Grace, the Firebird of Splendor, and the Dragon of Power. Humans were created as servants to the Unicorn of Grace.[3] But mankind forcibly rose above his station and seized the domain that Grace once ruled.[1][2][3] Grace left the world and was hidden, Splendor fled and became elusive, and the Dragon of Power became a treacherous ally to man.[3] This action by man caused the pillars of Heaven to shake so hard that many evil beasts, once imprisoned by the Elders in the darkness, to break free of their chains and come rushing back to the world of mankind.[1][2] Of these creatures the most feared was the Wind Serpent, son of the Dragon of Power. He had seven heads and rode upon the wind, breathing fire that consumed entire villages.[1][2]

The details of what came next are debated (see The Shou-Jen and the Founding of Ryuujii Version 1 and Version 2) but what is clear is that Shou-Jen Rian, aided by the the Unicorn and Firebird, was able to defeat the Wind Serpent.[1][2] The Dragon, seeing the people rejoicing and the remains of his son, was enraged and leaped down from Heaven. Though forbidden to destroy them, he drove the people across the land, burning their crops, destroying their homes, and forcing them to move on, until mankind was driven all the way to the sea.[1][2][3] There, the Shou-Jen family and others settled and named their kingdom after the Dragon (Ryujii) to placate the Elder. However, six families instead built boats, sailed away, and founded the island nations of Iiwah and Chiran-tou, named after the Firebird and Unicorn.[1][2][3]

For centuries after the founding the three kingdoms, the three Elder Spirits dominated the beliefs of the Sho. Around 800 years ago a man named Jojii received a vision from the Unicorn of Grace on how to reach Paradise.[3][5] In his vision, he saw four stones around him in a square: a stone named Humility was in front of him. A stone named Discipline was to his right. To his left was a stone named Detachment. And behind him was a stone called Compassion.[5] On this vision, Jojii said,

"I knew then that Humility must always be before me; that Discipline was my weapon to cleave through all foes and vices, and that Detachment was my shield against all hurts and sufferings. And ever supporting me and following me was Compassion, which should be the only footprint that I should leave behind in life. These Four Stones I saw as the foundations of living, the stones that pave the way to our return to Paradise." - Jojii Zhen Gai Comments on the Teachings of Jojii

After his vision, Jojii began to teach the Four Stones of Humility, Discipline, Detachment and Compassion. This new religion, called Jojiism, gradually became the guiding school of thought for the Sho.[3]

Customs and Traditions

From Winter Festivals from Ispar:

South and west of the Naqut, over the tall mountains, the Sho lands brace as both the water and the air grow cold. The weather can shift with little warning from clear skies to torrential, wind-driven rains that leave towns flooded and in ruins, and on the coldest days, snow falls from the sky and blankets the ground in a thin layer of white. Some say the first pure snow of the year is the funeral ashes of the Wind Dragon, slain so long ago by Shou-Jen.

During this time, the Imperial Capital traditionally threw open its gates, and the last of the fresh harvest was brought forth, after the bulk had been pickled, smoked, or dried for the rest of the winter. But seeing that many used the time purely for culinary excess, Emperor Kou, the founder of the Kou Dynasty, saw that wisdom's touch was needed. Believing that the Four Stones of discipline, compassion, detachment, and humility were the true foods of the soul, he decreed the celebrations must ultimately honor the Elder Spirits and the teachings of Jojii, for without truth, even the best of harvests means very little. He also decreed that the temples must release their students and acolytes during the celebration, not only to reunite families but also to permit them to glean wisdom from their students' studies.

So the temples and monasteries across the land now release their students and acolytes, who travel homeward amidst the first snowflakes to meet their families, share some of their hard-won knowledge, and enjoy days of feasting. Travelers began carrying lanterns and torches, and the waiting towns would welcome them home with a myriad of bright paper lanterns. Children too young for the monasteries especially seem to enjoy the season, when their elder siblings return home and all can engage in the festivities together. Some towns have gone so far as to host parades, celebrating the return of loved ones and another year of abundance. Thus, the Festival of Lights, starting at first as a gluttonous spectacle, grew moderated by wisdom, and came to be the celebration it now is.

The Sho lands are bright and bustling places during this season, with small groups of torchbearers walking the roads. For the Sho, the Festival of Lights is a time to accomplish great things, and reach out to assist one's neighbors.

Ranks

Rank Male Title Female Title
10 Koutei Koutei
9 Ou Jo-Ou
8 Taikou Taikou
7 Kou Kou
6 Kun-Chueh Kun-Chueh
5 Ta-Chueh Ta-Chueh
4 Shi-Chueh Shi-Chueh
3 Nan-Chueh Nan-Chueh
2 Jo-Chueh Jo-Chueh
1 Jinin Jinin

Real World Basis

The Sho culture is based on East Asian cultures, in particular the cultures of Japan and China.

Numerous names for Sho places and items are Japanese or Chinese. The word Ono is Japanese for "axe".[9] The word Yoroi comes from Ō-Yoroi, Japanese for "great armor".[10] The name of the forest town of Lin most likely comes from the Chinese name Lin, meaning "forest".[11]

The Sho naming system of having the surname first and the given name last is based on the naming traditions of China,[12] Japan,[13] Korea,[14] and Vietnam.[15]

The three elder spirits have basis in reality as well. Ryujii, the Dragon of Power is most likely based on the Japanese dragon god named Ryūjin. Chiran-Tou, the Unicorn of Grace, is most likely based on the Japanese and Korean Kirin, derived from the Chinese Qilin, sometimes called the Chinese unicorn. Iiwah, the Firebird of Splendor, may be based on the Fenghuang, the Chinese phoenix, although the names are not similar.

The Four Stones of Jojii are most likely based on the Taoist Three Jewels, which could be interpreted as compassion, humility, and frugality or simplicity. The four stones of Jojii change frugality or simplicity to detachment from worldly things, and add the fourth stone of discipline.

The four houses of the Tanada Clan of Nanjou Shou-Jen, Air, Earth, Water, and Fire, correspond to four of the five elements of Japanese philosophy and the four great elements of Buddhism.

Texts

Firebird's Splendor (Text) Icon.png Firebird's Splendor (Text)Jojii Zhen Gai Comments on the Teachings of Jojii Icon.png Jojii Zhen Gai Comments on the Teachings of JojiiKen-Gou and the Curse of Attachment Icon.png Ken-Gou and the Curse of AttachmentLetter From Home (Sho) Icon.png Letter From Home (Sho)Loka Jii Learns to Hunt Icon.png Loka Jii Learns to HuntOn the Four Stones and Three Elders Icon.png On the Four Stones and Three EldersReflections of a Portal Icon.png Reflections of a PortalScrawled Note (Jojii) Icon.png Scrawled Note (Jojii)Stone of the Firebird (Text) Icon.png Stone of the Firebird (Text)The Collected Writings of Jhong Mi Icon.png The Collected Writings of Jhong MiThe Emperor's Blade Icon.png The Emperor's BladeThe Journal of Nandesu Ka Icon.png The Journal of Nandesu KaThe Rise and Fall of the Tanada Icon.png The Rise and Fall of the TanadaThe Story of Ben Ten and Yanshi Icon.png The Story of Ben Ten and YanshiThe Story of Koji and the Dragon of Power Icon.png The Story of Koji and the Dragon of PowerThe Story of Koji's Sword Icon.png The Story of Koji's SwordUnicorn's Grace (Text) Icon.png Unicorn's Grace (Text) Sho (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Sho (Town Network Sign)Baishi (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Baishi (Town Network Sign)Freehold (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Freehold (Town Network Sign)Hebian-To (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Hebian-To (Town Network Sign)Kara (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Kara (Town Network Sign)Kryst (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Kryst (Town Network Sign)Lin (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Lin (Town Network Sign)Mayoi (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Mayoi (Town Network Sign)Nanto (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Nanto (Town Network Sign)Sawato (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Sawato (Town Network Sign)Shoushi (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Shoushi (Town Network Sign)Tou-Tou (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Tou-Tou (Town Network Sign)Yanshi (Town Network Sign) Icon.png Yanshi (Town Network Sign)

Internet Articles

Factions

Items

Generic Weapons

Dagger (Weapon) Icon.png Dagger (Weapon)Jitte Icon.png JitteJo Icon.png JoKen Icon.png KenLight Crossbow Icon.png Light CrossbowNekode Icon.png NekodeOno Icon.png OnoShou-ono Icon.png Shou-onoShouyumi Icon.png ShouyumiShouken Icon.png ShoukenTachi Icon.png TachiTofun Icon.png TofunWar Hammer Icon.png War HammerWand (Sho) Icon.png Wand (Sho)Yari Icon.png YariYaoji Icon.png YaojiYumi Icon.png Yumi

Generic Armor

Kabuton Icon.png KabutonKote Icon.png KoteYoroi Breastplate Icon.png Yoroi BreastplateYoroi Cuirass Icon.png Yoroi CuirassYoroi Girth Icon.png Yoroi GirthYoroi Leggings Icon.png Yoroi LeggingsYoroi Pauldrons Icon.png Yoroi PauldronsYoroi Sleeves Icon.png Yoroi Sleeves

Generic Clothing & Accessories

Kasa Icon.png KasaSuikan Robe Icon.png Suikan RobeYifan Dress Icon.png Yifan Dress

Ogre Mask Icon.png Ogre MaskKoji's Beast Icon.png Koji's BeastKoji's Fiend Icon.png Koji's FiendKoji's Visage Icon.png Koji's VisageThe Dragon of Power Icon.png The Dragon of Power

Weapons

Feathered Razor Icon.png Feathered RazorFist of Enlightenment Icon.png Fist of EnlightenmentGreen Mire Yari Icon.png Green Mire YariJitte of Law Icon.png Jitte of LawMi Krau-Li's Jitte Icon.png Mi Krau-Li's JitteMi Krau-Li's Improved Jitte Icon.png Mi Krau-Li's Improved JitteMi Krau-Li's Remastered Jitte Icon.png Mi Krau-Li's Remastered JitteMoriharu's Kitchen Knife Icon.png Moriharu's Kitchen KnifeOrb of Splendor Icon.png Orb of SplendorPillar of Fearlessness Icon.png Pillar of FearlessnessSerpent's Flight Icon.png Serpent's FlightSword of Soroku Icon.png Sword of SorokuTachi of Grace Icon.png Tachi of Grace

Armor

Breastplate of Grace Icon.png Breastplate of GraceBreastplate of Power Icon.png Breastplate of PowerBreastplate of Splendor Icon.png Breastplate of SplendorGreater Koujia Shadow Breastplate Icon.png Greater Koujia Shadow BreastplateGreater Koujia Shadow Leggings Icon.png Greater Koujia Shadow LeggingsGreater Koujia Shadow Sleeves Icon.png Greater Koujia Shadow SleevesGreen Mire Yoroi Cuirass Icon.png Green Mire Yoroi CuirassLesser Koujia Shadow Breastplate Icon.png Lesser Koujia Shadow BreastplateLesser Koujia Shadow Leggings Icon.png Lesser Koujia Shadow LeggingsLesser Koujia Shadow Sleeves Icon.png Lesser Koujia Shadow SleevesKoujia Shadow Breastplate Icon.png Koujia Shadow BreastplateKoujia Shadow Leggings Icon.png Koujia Shadow LeggingsKoujia Shadow Sleeves Icon.png Koujia Shadow SleevesNexus Koujia Breastplate Icon.png Nexus Koujia BreastplateNexus Koujia Leggings Icon.png Nexus Koujia LeggingsNexus Koujia Sleeves Icon.png Nexus Koujia SleevesPathwarden Yoroi Leggings Icon.png Pathwarden Yoroi LeggingsPathwarden Yoroi Hauberk Icon.png Pathwarden Yoroi HauberkPrismatic Koujia Breastplate Icon.png Prismatic Koujia BreastplatePrismatic Koujia Leggings Icon.png Prismatic Koujia LeggingsPrismatic Koujia Sleeves Icon.png Prismatic Koujia SleevesShield of Power Icon.png Shield of PowerShield of Truth Icon.png Shield of TruthShield of Yanshi Icon.png Shield of YanshiShou-jen Jika-Tabi Icon.png Shou-jen Jika-TabiShou-jen Shozoku Jacket Icon.png Shou-jen Shozoku JacketShou-jen Shozoku Mask Icon.png Shou-jen Shozoku MaskShou-jen Shozoku Sleeve Gauntlets Icon.png Shou-jen Shozoku Sleeve GauntletsShou-jen Shozoku Trousers Icon.png Shou-jen Shozoku TrousersSollerets of Grace Icon.png Sollerets of Grace

Clothing & Accessories

Channeled Tanada Medallion Icon.png Channeled Tanada MedallionColosseum Master's Robe Icon.png Colosseum Master's RobeDansha-Ki's Gem of Portal Recall Icon.png Dansha-Ki's Gem of Portal RecallDansha-Ki's Ring Icon.png Dansha-Ki's RingGem of Balance Icon.png Gem of BalanceMiyako's Moonstone Icon.png Miyako's MoonstonePathwarden Robe (Sho) Icon.png Pathwarden Robe (Sho)Suikan Creature Apprentice Robe Icon.png Suikan Creature Apprentice RobeSuikan Item Apprentice Robe Icon.png Suikan Item Apprentice RobeSuikan Life Apprentice Robe Icon.png Suikan Life Apprentice RobeSuikan War Apprentice Robe Icon.png Suikan War Apprentice RobeSuikan Creature Master Robe Icon.png Suikan Creature Master RobeSuikan Item Master Robe Icon.png Suikan Item Master RobeSuikan Life Master Robe Icon.png Suikan Life Master RobeSuikan War Master Robe Icon.png Suikan War Master Robe

Decorations

Bending Willow and Setting Sun Icon.png Bending Willow and Setting SunFalling Leaves Icon.png Falling LeavesFat Vase Icon.png Fat VaseFont of Jojii Icon.png Font of JojiiJade Shrine Icon.png Jade ShrineScreen Icon.png ScreenSho Festival Light Icon.png Sho Festival LightSho Floor Pillow Icon.png Sho Floor PillowSho Lantern Icon.png Sho Lantern

Miscellaneous

Brazier of Power Icon.png Brazier of PowerCrystals of Grace Icon.png Crystals of GraceEnlightened Master's Medallion Icon.png Enlightened Master's MedallionGolden Shuriken of Tanada Icon.png Golden Shuriken of TanadaGrace and Power Icon.png Grace and PowerJade Medallion of the Depths Icon.png Jade Medallion of the DepthsJojii Shrine Icon.png Jojii ShrineMedallion of Breath Icon.png Medallion of BreathMedallion of Earth Icon.png Medallion of EarthMedallion of Metal Icon.png Medallion of MetalMedallion of Stone Icon.png Medallion of StoneMedallion of Storms Icon.png Medallion of StormsMedallion of the Sword Icon.png Medallion of the SwordMedallion of Wind Icon.png Medallion of WindPower, Grace and Splendor Icon.png Power, Grace and SplendorPure Water Icon.png Pure WaterRock of Splendor Icon.png Rock of SplendorScroll of Air Icon.png Scroll of AirScroll of Earth Icon.png Scroll of EarthScroll of Water Icon.png Scroll of WaterStone of Compassion Icon.png Stone of CompassionStone of Humility Icon.png Stone of HumilityStone of Discipline Icon.png Stone of DisciplineStone of Detachment Icon.png Stone of DetachmentTanada Clan Master's Medallion Icon.png Tanada Clan Master's MedallionTanada Gate Medallion Icon.png Tanada Gate Medallion

Art & Images

References

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