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Sho Factions

Here are some of the historic organizations known to have existed in the homelands of the Sho. How will these groups - and other groups not written of here - fare in the new land of Dereth? Your actions will doom some to the dull dust of obscurity, and raise others to the fiery glow of fame.

Ryu Jou Gai

Order of the Dragon Temple

Motto: "From Discipline comes true power."

Background: Founded over a thousand years ago, the Ryu Jou Gai is based at the Dragon Temple in the Sho homelands. Those who swear obedience to the Dragon Temple dedicate their lives to the warrior's path. Ryu Jou Gai members are also encouraged to keep to all Four Stones of Jojiism. The sword is the Order's primary weapon, but all forms of battle skill, from magic to hand-to-hand combat, are means to a common end. Members of the Ryu Jou Gai are also trained to be administrators and leaders, which is (some argue) the true foundation of power and the true purpose of the Order, especially in a relatively peaceful age.

Current: Dereth has no Dragon Temple. However, the demands of survival in wild lands filled with hostile monsters will surely bring about a renewed interest in the study of battle, and perhaps the Ryu Jou Gai will rise again.

Chiran Jou Gai

Order of the Unicorn Temple

Motto: "Without compassion, all is as dust."

Background: Based at the Unicorn Temple, the ancient Chiran Jou Gai is made up of those who have dedicated themselves to the study of magic and healing, with an emphasis upon the virtue of compassion. Some are purely scholars; others treat the sick who come to the Temple, or go out into the world to help the ailing. Within the Temple hangs this sign: "Without compassion, an empire of ten thousand years yields nothing but dust that is lost and forgotten. With compassion, an empire of ten thousand years even lights the far edge of eternity." Almost anyone who has been shown to be merciful, compassionate, and dedicated to helping others is allowed to become a member of the Chiran Jou Gai. Members are encouraged to apply all the Four Stones of Jojiism. Funding comes from wealthy patrons seeking medical favors and a constant stream of individual donations from the poor.

Current: A lone Chiran Jou Gai arrival in Dereth is known to have said, "It matters not if the Chiran Jou Gai survives; what matters is that compassion itself grows and flourishes."

Chiran Jishui Dan

The Ranks of the Unicorn's Battle

Motto: "The Unicorn's Grace shines in battle."

Background: The Chiran Jishui Dan split off from the Chiran Jou Gai 300 years ago. It is dedicated to the study of battle magic, of such power that it has become a rival of the Order of the Dragon Temple, the Ryu Jou Gai. However, the Chiran Jishui Dan stubbornly refuses to teach any fighting using swords or blades, because "The horn of the Unicorn is never used to cut or pierce." Members of the Chiran Jou Gai remain on polite speaking terms with the Unicorn Temple, and though not friendly, are quick to come to the Temple's aid in times of conflict. Rulers have long funded the Chiran Jishui Dan, in order to win their favor during times of war.

Current: Dereth's harshness and different magic seems to have spelled the death of the Chiran Jishui Dan. However, as more and more Sho arrive and take up the study of new magic, perhaps the Chiran Jishui Dan will be reborn.

Washui Iiwah Jou Gai

Order of the Splendor of the Firebird Temple.

Motto: "True Splendor soars above all earthly cares."

Background: Historically, the Washui Iiwah Jou Gai has thrived during times of peace and prosperity, and has suffered in times of war. Members' vows include a renunciation of worldly wealth, and a dedication to the higher, non-earthly arts such as painting, music, poetry, and philosophy. They seek to observe the ways of the universe and learn its truths. Some philosophize and argue so much that critics call them "songbirds"; others seek to depict the beauty of the physical world in their works, while at the same time reminding their audience of the fleeting nature of physical world. The Washui Iiwah Jou Gai normally survives with the patronage of wealthy nobles.

Current: A lack of wealthy patrons and the harshness of life in Dereth means that those who seek to follow the Washui Iiwah Jou Gai are facing a tough battle. However, Washui Iiwa Jou Gai-style philosophical debates are common in some areas, so perhaps there is hope for this esoteric group.

Jojii Zhen Gai

Order of Jojii.

Motto: None

Background: This ultra-conservative Jojiist group is sometimes called the Order of Humanity, to fill in the fourth place among the Jojiist groups. The members of this group tend to be either generalists, or specialists who work in diverse teams. They believe balance is essential. They are also immensely strict within their own ranks. As ascetic as the Washui, they have less tolerance for a dreamy lifestyle. Jojii Zhen Gai people often wander the countryside, offering assistance to whoever is in need – whether it's a farmer putting up a new roof or a traveler in need of protection.

Current: Some early arrivals have expressed the sad wish for the arrival of the Jojii Zhen Gai. Once felt to be no longer needed in the homelands, benevolent mercenaries to help those in need would now be welcomed.

Nanjou Shou-Jen

Sons of Shou-Jen. Also called the "Order of the Shadows."

Motto: Unknown. Popularly, it is said that "Nothing stands between a Nanjou and his objective."

Background: Very little is known of this group of assassins, spies, thieves and mercenaries. An ancient order that predates Jojiism, the Nanjou Shou-Jen do not follow the Four Stones of Jojii. They do, however, believe in strict obedience and stability; as the "sons" (and daughters) of Shou-Jen, they are extremely loyal to the Sho people, and believe themselves to be the heirs to the Dragon's power. The group has been an efficient, shadowy "left hand" to various powerful warlords throughout Sho history. They believe in following their paths with single-minded determination. Rumors imply that particularly notable members of the Ryu Jou Gai and the Chiran Jishui Dan, or their affiliated temples, are targeted for secret recruitment. The Nanjou is said to have several hidden temples scattered throughout the Sho lands.

Current: There is as yet no sign of the Nanjou Shou-Jen. Perhaps, new seeds of its revival may planted, but those who wish to do such dangerous planting are advised to be cautious, quiet, and wise.
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