(D&D OA) List of Wu Jen Mystic Taboos

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
One of my favorite bits of class flavoring in D&D was the idea of giving the wu jen (or wu shi if you prefer) from Oriental Adventures mystic taboos. As per the original text:

Taboos: To maintain their supernatural power, wu jen must abide by certain taboos that might seem inconsequential to other characters but are vitally important to the wu jen. If a wu jen violates one of her taboos, she cannot cast any more spells that day. A wu jen must choose one taboo at 1st level, and one additional taboo every time she learns a spell secret. Possible taboos include:
  • Cannot eat meat.
  • Cannot own more than she can carry.
  • Must make a daily offering (such as food, flowers, or incense) to one or many spirit powers.
  • Cannot bathe.
  • Cannot cut her hair.
  • Cannot touch a dead body.
  • Cannot drink alcohol.
  • Cannot wear a certain color.
  • Cannot light a fire.
  • Cannot sit facing in a certain direction.

Honestly, this sort of thing works pretty well in occidental spellcaster myths too (especially for fey creatures), no need to limit it geographically. Anyway, as part of a long-term exercise in making my modern, science-filled brain think more 'magically', I'm going to think up a list of taboos.

- Cannot remove jewelry once it is put on.
- Cannot let his shadow fall upon a child.
- Cannot sleep on anything but grass (dry or living).
- Cannot speak above a whisper.
- Cannot ride in a wagon, carriage, chariot, or any other sort of drawn vehicle (riding an animal directly is fine).
- Cannot intentionally look into an artificial mirror.
- Cannot remove a splinter from his skin or anyone else's.
- Cannot be within 100 feet of a woman giving birth.
- Cannot witness the sunset.
- Cannot use eating utensils of any kind.
- Cannot lie about history (events older than a year) to the best of his knowledge.
- Cannot use hostile magic against widows/widowers.
- Cannot drink anything before high noon.
- Cannot sign documents with his name.
- Cannot turn down an opportunity to debate theology.
- Cannot use magic to deceive supernatural beings.
- Cannot expose his hands to strangers (hides them in voluminous sleeves).

I'll come back to this later, anyone got some ideas in the meantime?

8WdNhAQ.jpg
 

Raleel

The Lemon LeCroix of Mythras
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
4,589
Reaction score
10,588
Eating vegetables
Cannot speak
cannot use a bladed weapon
Must sleep outdoors
Must sit facing a particular cardinal direction
Cannot sit facing the same cardinal direction twice in a row
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot have more than one eye open at a time in public (eyepatch is ok).
- Cannot use any form of boat.
- Cannot touch gold with his bare skin.
- Cannot step on a flower.
- Cannot make music.
- Cannot spend time with more than one other person after sunset.
- Cannot cross a line drawn in the sand/dirt/mud/painted on the floor.
- Cannot drawn anything non-abstract (like a map).
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot sleep in the same 10-foot space twice.
- Cannot dig any holes.
- Cannot consume anything (including potions) at night.
- Cannot swear any oaths to mortal authority.
- Cannot use divination on a target without consent.
- Cannot open a door (or have a door opened for him) without first performing a small incantation.
 

JAMUMU

I prefer sports, where you can win
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
202
Reaction score
640
- Cannot enter into monogamous relationships
- Cannot achieve orgasm
- Cannot adventure with monks and/or priests
- Cannot camp or travel with thieves or bandits
- Cannot exchange their services for money
- Cannot teach anything to those of a different religion
 

VisionStorm

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
630
Reaction score
1,448
One issue that I have with these is that they seem kinda hard to balance out or make comparable to each other. Some of them might be easier to avoid or more detrimental than others. And I could see some of them working with certain caveats or with no caveat at all.

Like for example:

- Cannot touch someone of the opposite sex.
Vs.
- Cannot touch someone of the opposite sex unless related to them.

Both of these make sense as prohibitions, but one of them is more restrictive than the other. Also, from the ones mentioned so far not being able to sit facing one direction is probably less detrimental and easier to avoid that not being able to own more than you can carry.
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
One issue that I have with these is that they seem kinda hard to balance out or make comparable to each other. Some of them might be easier to avoid or more detrimental than others. And I could see some of them working with certain caveats or with no caveat at all.

Like for example:

- Cannot touch someone of the opposite sex.
Vs.
- Cannot touch someone of the opposite sex unless related to them.

Both of these make sense as prohibitions, but one of them is more restrictive than the other. Also, from the ones mentioned so far not being able to sit facing one direction is probably less detrimental and easier to avoid that not being able to own more than you can carry.

I guess the beauty of it is the GM and the player decide together what works best, so these are just suggestions to expand on. Because the penalty for violations is so low and the original list so benign, the taboos are ultimately more flavor based than min/max based, kind of like the tenets of an individual cleric's religion.

I'd also note that some of these would work best as weaknesses for an NPC wu jen (or fey creature, or alternate vampire), something neat for the players to discover and possibly exploit.
 
Last edited:

VisionStorm

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
630
Reaction score
1,448
I guess the beauty of it is the GM and the player decide together what works best, so these are just suggestions to expand on. Because the penalty for violations is so low and the original list so benign, the taboos are ultimately more flavor based than min/max based, kind of like the tenets of an individual cleric's religion.

I'd also note that some of these would work best as weaknesses for an NPC wu jen (or fey creature, or alternate vampire), something neat for the players to discover and possibly exploit.

Yeah, I figure this is the type of stuff that takes GM involvement and it's done to a certain extend for flavor. Though, I wouldn't necessarily consider the penalty for violations exactly "low", since it gets rid of their ability to cast spells for the rest of the day, which can pretty much cripple a character that relies on their magic abilities if they have to face any encounters later that day. But at least it isn't permanent or long lasting.
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
Though, I wouldn't necessarily consider the penalty for violations exactly "low", since it gets rid of their ability to cast spells for the rest of the day...

That's fair, but consider that one of the standard punishments for clerics who break the rules of their faith too blatantly is to lose their spellcasting until they've atoned! :ooh:

Here's a few more.

- Cannot refer to himself in the first person.
- Cannot finish off a downed enemy unless they ask him to out of mercy.
- Cannot snuff out candles.
- Cannot seek shelter from the rain.
- Cannot complain.
- Cannot maintain eye contact.
- Cannot go out in public without elaborate makeup.
- Cannot treat a weapon as anything less than a person.
 

VisionStorm

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
630
Reaction score
1,448
- Cannot set foot in holy ground before paying homage to the gods or spirits of the place.
- Cannot wear clothes or jewelry made out of animal parts (furs, hide, leather, teeth, etc.).
- Cannot enter someone's residence while wearing footwear.
- Cannot wear clothes that were washed alongside somebody else's clothes.
- Cannot cut nails, except under the light of a full moon.
- Cannot eat food that has been left standing for more than an hour.
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot speak until spoken to.
- Cannot use cutlery.
- Cannot cast magic with his left hand.
- Cannot acknowledge foreign holy days.
- Cannot step exactly in someone else's footprint.
 

AsenRG

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
10,818
Reaction score
12,137
One issue that I have with these is that they seem kinda hard to balance out or make comparable to each other. Some of them might be easier to avoid or more detrimental than others. And I could see some of them working with certain caveats or with no caveat at all.

Like for example:

- Cannot touch someone of the opposite sex.
Vs.
- Cannot touch someone of the opposite sex unless related to them.

Both of these make sense as prohibitions, but one of them is more restrictive than the other.
...the latter, because it comes without the title "cousin-kisser", right:shade:?
 

VisionStorm

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
630
Reaction score
1,448
...the latter, because it comes without the title "cousin-kisser", right:shade:?

I think you mean the "former" (prior/earlier), though, you could also "touch" someone of the opposite sex that's related to you without it being your cousin (or sibling, etc.) if you marry them first.
 

AsenRG

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
10,818
Reaction score
12,137
I think you mean the "former" (prior/earlier), though, you could also "touch" someone of the opposite sex that's related to you without it being your cousin (or sibling, etc.) if you marry them first.
Ah, but that begs the question, does marriage make you related:tongue:? Or is blood relation assumed?

Also, if it's not clear in-setting, would a PC risk his powers:shade:?
 

VisionStorm

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
630
Reaction score
1,448
Ah, but that begs the question, does marriage make you related:tongue:? Or is blood relation assumed?

Also, if it's not clear in-setting, would a PC risk his powers:shade:?

I would guess that the Wu Jen/Mystic would intuitively know, since these are personal prohibitions they acquire as they grow in power. If not, they'll lose their power only for a day. I suppose they could make arrangements when to risk it then. Wonder if having children would make them officially related if marriage doesn't.
 

AsenRG

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
10,818
Reaction score
12,137
I would guess that the Wu Jen/Mystic would intuitively know, since these are personal prohibitions they acquire as they grow in power. If not, they'll lose their power only for a day. I suppose they could make arrangements when to risk it then. Wonder if having children would make them officially related if marriage doesn't.
Maybe they would, which would be...interesting:angel:.
"Curious. I get a feeling I really shouldn't touch Olivia, despite nothing in our family histories, while a couple of my cousins on my father's side feel, ahem, safe...damn that confusing Wu Jen intuition! Now I'm wondering why my aunt fainted when she learned I'm pursuing the Wu Jen career..."

Or maybe they wouldn't, in which case there would be different cans of worms to deal with:grin:!
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot fight unarmed.
- Cannot forgive an insult.
- Cannot harm mosquitos or their larva.
- Cannot express regret or blame.
- Cannot drink water from a leather or wooden receptacle.
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot watch or participate in theater of any kind.
- Cannot offer or accept gifts.
- Cannot gamble.
- Cannot seek political power.
- Cannot tell a joke.
 

AsenRG

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
10,818
Reaction score
12,137
- Cannot forgive an insult.
- Cannot harm mosquitos or their larva.
Better watch out when sitting down:shade:?
- Cannot watch or participate in theater of any kind.
- Cannot offer or accept gifts.
- Cannot gamble.
- Cannot seek political power.
- Cannot tell a joke.
...are those known as the Sad School of Wu Jen Power:thumbsup:?
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
...are those known as the Sad School of Wu Jen Power:thumbsup:?

- Cannot hear a joke without laughing, at least a little.
- Cannot have breakfast without something sweet.
- Cannot meet someone new without making a quip at his own expense.
- Cannot be friendless (trying to be befriend someone counts as having a friend for as long as the attempt is ongoing).
- Cannot go a day without reciting a mirthful new poem.
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot use magic in the "line of sight" of statues that have open eyes.
- Cannot discuss the subject of ghosts and spirits with non-casters.
- Cannot enter a cultivated field of barley.
- Cannot use magic for direct financial gain.
- Cannot build a structure or ask for a structure to be built.
 

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
3,925
- Cannot break an earthenware object.
- Cannot approach within 1 foot of an origami animal.
- Cannot refer to himself in the 1st person.
- Cannot meddle in the romantic business of others.
- Cannot cast the same spell twice in a row.
 

AsenRG

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
10,818
Reaction score
12,137
"Oh wow, you're so powerful, why don't you take this quest and stuff it...I mean, finish it yourself? Instead, you prefer to languish in this huge castle with countless doors, among endless fields of barley, where every damn room or corridor has a statue...and that everyone must approach walking on a road covered with weapons, while watching artists performing..."
"You forgot to mention that you had to eat a sweetened breakfast on arrival and that you are forbidden from wearing makeup. And that is your answer!"
"What answer?"
"Shut up, barbarian. He means that he is powerful, but he's got powerful enemies among the Wu Jen".
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top