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In the common parlance of the Hsien, Hou Tan is Fire Alchemy: a branch of Wu Tan that deals with the Element of Fire and all its correspondences.


Masters of Fire are canny opponents and active rulers. They tend to be unable to rest and constantly seek activity and involvement. Fire is associated with lightening, light, flame and all other visible energies. It is found in storms, open flames, computer screens, and blazing magma.

Fire Soul


The Fire Soul regulates the sense of propriety and understanding of manners and codes of conduct. It controls a sense of duty and the eagerness to enforce the laws of society. Policemen and even government officials can possess strong Fire souls. It also influences the Charisma and Wits Attributes.

When communing with a Fire Soul, the shinma can determine the hidden meanings of etiquette and its breaches. Yin effects cause confusion and chaos in social situations; faux pas become more embarrassing and frequent. Yang effects imparts social graces, shame, and a thirst for retribution.


  • Virtue - Greater Yang
  • Constructive Cohorts - Wood and Earth
  • Adversary - Water quenches Fire
  • Yin Attribute - Charisma
  • Yang Attribute - Wits


  • Color - Red
  • Direction - South
  • Dzi Dzat - Depictions of fire, storms, or technology; burning an image in effigy.
  • Festivals - Summer and Fire festivals; festivals in honor of the god Chu Jung or the emperor Yen Ti; Second Moon, Fourth Moon
  • Kwannon-jin - Chu Jung and Nyan gain an automatic fortune when using Hou Tan
  • Mu-jen - No particular form but the doll must be burned
  • Poetry - poems about the elements bound by Fire, heavenly bodies, or vision.
  • Season - Summer
  • Sense - Sight
  • Skill - Demolitions, Herbalism, Painting, Etiquette, Seduction, etc...

I Chih

For How To on the following effects, see the page Wu Tan.

Level 1: The Prodigal Tongue

  • Commune With Fire / Browsing History - Fire in itself is a hard element to commune with as it doesn't stay in one place long. Lighting, Forest fires... they are short lived. Some Fires, though, live in things like electric technology or TV and computer screens. They can relate what they have seen, or whether someone behaved indecorously in front of them while on. They are capable of sharing what they showed on their screen, if not what is in their hard drive.
  • Read Fire Soul / The Flame Bears Witness - the content of the Fire Soul is recounted above.
  • Speak With Jimu-Tenno - The alchemist can speak with any Hou Shen he or she may meet.

Level 2: Command Elemental Vassals

  • Summon/Dispel Hou Shen - As the name says, the Alchemist may dispel or summon a Fire elemental.
  • Diminish/Nurture Fire Soul / Seduction/Decorum - By diminishing the Fire Soul, the Nyan can make a person more susceptible to their advances while the Chu Jung can enlarge the fire souls of their courts to create an effect much like the first level of Sovereign.
  • Increase/Decrease Fire Attribute / Jackie Chan Can/Dullard - By increasing their Charisma and Wits, the Alchemist can make themselves as popular and quick as the great martial arts actors or, by decreasing them, make their target so socially inept that they never recover their standing in the eyes of their court.
  • Summon the Dragon Boat - With this I Chih, the alchemist can summon a Dragon Boat to travel Dragon Lines of Light or Magma. This effect can only be done at a Dragon Nest.

Level 3: Raiment of the Elements

  • The Enfolded Object - Unfortunately, it is hardly possible for a Fire Alchemist to use this ability without a mixed effect. On top of that neither of Fire's Cohorts are particularly good at storing Fire. Technology, such as cell phones or computers or flashlights, tend to require both Fire and Metal alchemy to affect and this causes its own difficulties as Fire is Adversarial to Metal. While possible, the difficulty of the effect would make it... unpractical.
  • The Path of Fire - While this seems at first glance to be relatively useless (who needs to travel through fire except in a fire?) as electricity and optical fiber spread throughout the Middle Kingdom, so too do the paths of Fire.
  • Fire Form/Fire Fist / The Fiery Claws of Chih Ching-tsu - The general rules for this ability say that the fire must obey the laws of physics... that it needs fuel. This makes the whole ability seem rather useless because unless you are carrying something, say, wooden in your fist then your body becomes the fuel and that seems problematic to say the least. If a Nyan turns their claws to fire, how do they return if the fire goes out? This might be a storyteller call.
  • Mask Fire Soul - (Not Canon) While most Chu Jung would be loathe to make themselves appear any less decorous than they are for any reason, there are probably a number of Nyan who are more than happy to mask their less-than-decorous selves with a false Aura to allay suspicion of they are up to no good.

Level 4: Awaken the Elements

  • Awaken True Jade - With this ability the Fire Alchemist can awaken Red Jade.
  • Move/Shape/Sunder Fire - While this ability may at first seem limited to pyrokinesis, the ability to bend light is included at this level which allows for effects like invisibility or even the creation of holograms and illusions that only include sight. Paired with Metal Alchemy (see difficulties with this above) one could manipulate technological objects.
  • Summon/Dispel Fire - While the Alchemist cannot control where the Fire comes from, being able to call fire from heaven or bring light or even sunlight where it wasn't before has its perks. From a momentary flash to stun an enemy, to short circuiting a computer, to illuminating underground caverns, their is possibility here. Also, at this level, the Alchemist could summon information stored within a computer to the screen or wipe its memory completely.
  • Repair Fire Soul - (Not Canon) It would follow that if one can shape or Awaken the Elements, one could theoretically repair a broken soul, possibly leading to the redemption of some of the blacker souls of the World of Darkness. Returning a sense of propriety to the most depraved of monsters would be the realm of Fire.

Level 5: Master the Elements, Throne of Jade

  • Exchange Properties - A person of a scientific bent knows that Electricity is governed by Fire and that Electro-magnetism is the actual force. With this effect one could make a fire magnetic and draw metal weapons into its grasp or make electricity flash different colors.
  • Transmute Fire - Light to Fire. Electricity to Light. Light to Heat. Magma to Light. All these are possible.
  • Transmute Hou Shen - While this would let you change one fire elemental into another, paired with a Cohort one could offer a fire spirit, who probably loves change, the chance to taste what it means to be a different elemental all together. This would very likely anger the Heaven Courts if done against the elemental's will.


  1. CTDLand of Eight Million Dreams, pp. 14, 98-99, 114-115.

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