Name: Sho Tenshin (characters read Solemn Will of Heaven) Aliases: The Ageless Master, Martial Scholar Titles: Founder of Taido (The Way of the Body), Bushi (equivalent of samurai in his homeland) Age: 70+ Place of Origin: Nanchu Islands Kingdom: Hakugawa Gender: Male Time of Death: 100 years ago
Eyes: Lively hazel left seemingly clouded by time. Hair: Wispy grey and mostly gone. Physical traits: Sho Tenshin stands at a not particularly impressive six feet sharp and weighs around 170 pounds, at first glance looking every bit the part of a gangly old man. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s hard to miss his firm posture and confident stride, the impossibly athletic physique packed with lean muscle, the long arms with a notable 78 inches of reach. Aside from the signs of his advanced age, especially noticeable from the neck up, the martial artist’s body is covered in a myriad of old scars and markings collected across a life of challenges, with his limbs in particular being terribly hardened from relentless conditioning.
Day To Day Attire: Despite his lofty status Sho prefers simple clothes, dressing in greyed robes, worn out blue nobakama (fieldwork hakama with tighter legs for better mobility), grey tabi and straw sandals, with a matching blue haori jacket to top it off and cloth wraps that go from the feet to near knee-height and around his hands and forearms for insulation and support. Strengths: Superbly talented and trained martial artist, gifted in body and mind, surprisingly well educated Weaknesses: Does not and will not use magic, weapons or armor, supremely self-assured
Energetic * Loyal * Unyielding * Honest (sometimes to a fault) * Combative * Supremely self-assured * Meritocratic * Self-reliant
Sexuality: "I am quite past that, I’m afraid" Relationship Status: Married to the martial arts Personality: Still outgoing and energetic despite his age and seemingly always in high spirits, Sho Tenshin nonetheless has followed the path of the warrior all his long life and this shapes his interactions with others. Downright obsessed with the martial arts and combat skills, he is tremendously secure in his lofty abilities and somewhat lacking in social graces, making him terribly blunt at times and prone to criticizing the form and skills of others, though he’s also friendly enough and can be easy to get along with if one takes his quirks into account.
And speaking of his quirks, The Ageless Master holds himself to exceedingly high standards first and foremost, in excess of what he expects of others. Tenshin puts deception and treachery beneath him and he is exceptionally driven to match his words with his deeds, minding honor and some part of his reputation greatly. On the one hand this makes him bold, loyal, straightforward and brave, but on the other it can make him adventurous to a fault and at times unnecessarily combative and unwilling to let a slight go.
Finally, he is a firm believer in self growth through hard work and earning one's keep. He thinks little of those gifted their position or power, having earned his through much effort, and similarly expects others to put in the work to help themselves rather than just be fed easy solutions. Having said this, he acknowledges the skill and strength of others when proven and greatly values growth and the necessary conditions for it, meaning he will go out of his way to ensure people can carve their own path in life.
A listing of skills, such as horseback riding or cooking. Levels include novice (0.5 pt), apprentice (1 pt), journeyman (2 pt), expert (3 pt), master (4 pt), grand master (5 pt). Each character can spend 21 points & only two skills can be mastered and one grand mastered. If your character knows magic, it counts as a skill.
Taido (Grand master): Founder of his own school of martial arts, Sho Tenshin is one of the greatest unarmed fighters in the world, having turned his entire body into a deadly weapon capable of contending with armed and armored adversaries. Trained in a number of representative arts from his homeland dealing with both striking and grappling, and well versed in other fighting forms and combat in general, The Ageless Master employs a versatile, deceptive and highly technical style, stressing relaxed flowing motion, timing and control of position and angles, drawing out opportunities for explosive bursts of offence or counterattacks via strikes, throws or submission holds as the situation demands.
The Way of Observation (Master): Much of Tenshin’s success comes from his ability to read opponents and the flow and rhythm of an engagement. As much a natural aptitude as it is a specifically trained and developed skill, forged through comprehensive understanding of combat dynamics and technique and hours upon hours of study and application, The Martial Scholar is very hard to catch unawares or out of position.
Athletic skills (Master): Intent on training himself to the utmost, Tenshin has not only engaged in the necessary physical preparation for martial arts training, he has also delved into a great number of avenues for body development and expression. From sprinting and long distance running, to swimming, climbing and acrobatics, as well as more unexpected skills such as balancing acts, stealth, escapism, perhaps his most impressive talent is his ability to perform near gravity-defying leaps and bounds.
Survival skills (Expert): The life of a wandering martial artist can be quite inhospitable, exposed to the fury of the elements and the dangers of wildlife as one embarks on training voyages or sets out in a new adventure, and thus many masters often learn to thrive in the wilderness. Sho is quick to adapt to the ways of nature even in foreign lands, reliably able to find food, water and shelter, deal with wildlife on some level, endure harsh conditions such as extreme temperatures or altitude and generally get by just fine with nothing but his own two hands.
Physiotherapy (Expert): A large part of training in the martial arts is ensuring the body does not break down, and it is normal throughout the world for top instructors to be well versed in medicine to ensure this. Though not a healer per se, The Ageless Master has enough knowledge to help stabilize the wounded, knows curative herbs and concoctions and, through studies in therapeutic massage and bonesetting practices, he is well versed in anatomy and how to best manipulate it for the benefit of friends and the ill of foes.
Education (Journeyman): Contrary to popular belief, Tenshin was not raised entirely for battle and actually received a decent enough education on matters not fistic violence, which he has supplemented with constant travels and a willingness to learn. While not particularly scholarly inclined he is decently versed in lore, history and other common knowledge subjects, can read and write, speaks a little of a smattering of languages and is even decently skilled at non-violent arts and crafts.
Unlike many other heroes, The Ageless Master employs no magic and carries no items of power, instead possessing the following physical gifts:
The body a fortress: Tenshin’s life has been spent seeking impossible perfection of the self in body, mind and spirit, and this dedication has seemingly allowed him to transcend the limits of age. Though there definitely are larger, stronger beings as far as pure lifting is concerned, The Martial Scholar is not easy to overpower on muscle alone, and the rest of his physical parameters are so developed as to allow him to fight evenly with other heroic caliber opponents. His entire body is tremendously difficult to damage, eradicates poisons, toxins and disease with absurd ease and he can work his simple physical attributes against sorcerous forces without being brushed aside.
The mind a temple: Sho has developed a mental acumen to match his physicality, not so much on the intellectual side of things but more predicated on his unbreakable willpower and sharp instincts. He has has excellent control over his body’s functions, able to do things such as shut out pain and push himself beyond his reasonable physical limits at times, and attempts at psychic attacks or mental tampering can be about as difficult as trying to fistfight him. He has also trained himself to not rely entirely on his eyesight by focusing on his other senses, and he possesses an outstanding talent for perceiving danger and tracking targets as well as an uncanny sense of direction.
Myth / Legend: TLDR: Outstanding martial artist that retained vigor into old age, with well over 50 years of battles, travels, exploits and heroics behind him, a teacher and founder of his own school of martial arts that has continued to grow to this day. He is especially beloved as a hero in Hakugawa for defeating foreign representatives of all kinds at a time when the national identity was being eroded by outside influences, defending the pride and ancient traditions of the country and bringing prestige to the people of the Nanchu Islands, long maligned as uncultured barbarians and second-class citizens in the mainland.
In a society as martially driven as that of Hakugawa, famed far and wide for its samurai warriors, how could a master who stood strong against the ravages of time not be a legend? A man who without weapons or sorcery travelled the land and beyond, meeting any and all challenges both human and supernatural, righting wrongs, spreading his teachings to any who sought them and learning in turn from other masters, even at an age where most resign themselves to their imminent end. Founder of a discipline that has continued to grow since his passing, with verifiable deeds difficult to separate from glorified fiction, there are few figures as significant to the martial world of the far east as Sho Tenshin.
Equally important to his martial achievements, however, is his cultural significance to both his home of the Nanchu Islands and Hakugawa in general. In fact, for much of his early days his combative ways were not exactly well received. For his teachers, respected warrior-scholars in Nanchu, placing such importance in testing his skills and those of others was behavior unbecoming of a martial artist. For those in the mainland, who admittedly suffered many a humiliation at Tenshin’s hands, it was uncouth savagery well in line with the general perception of Nanchus, who retained some independence despite having been colonized by Hakugawa and were often seen as uncultured barbarians.
The perception of Sho Tenshin changed in large part thanks to being born at the right time, as Hakugawa had recently reopened its borders to the world after a long period of internal conflict and found itself mired in foreign influence. With this came progress and plenty, to be sure, but also an erosion of national identity, as the general populace adapted to new ways of life and other nations sought to take advantage of the developing country. Though he did not oppose change and progress, in fact he embraced them, Tenshin opposed the idea that there was no worth in the traditions and way of life that had shaped him, and so took to defending his national pride. The only way he knew how.
As the foreign powers made much of their own heroes, martial schools and magic pursuits, often drawing unflattering and self-aggrandizing comparisons to Hakugawa’s, Sho Tenshin launched his own campaign and began offering large sums of money (that he did not initially have) to any foreign champion that might best him in a public match. Then in his early 30s, his first victories using nothing but his own hands greatly elevated his standing. The common people rallied behind someone who acted as a symbol and validated their ways, and all of a sudden other martial artists began to approach Tenshin to learn from him and offering him their teachings in turn. It was a turning point.
Not only did he further develop and refine his physical discipline in this period of new learning and challenges, a personal change came over him as well. He was no longer simply fighting for himself. To Hakugawa he was a representative of the nation despite not being of the samurai caste, a man who reaffirmed the validity of ancient ways even as he clamored for progress in others. To Nanchu specifically he symbolized a break from being perceived as lower class citizens, he brought prestige to their court and arts and helped bridge the distance between them and the mainland. It was by embracing his new responsibilities that he would start down the true path of mastery and begin leaving his mark.
A final, oft disputed note is the nature of his passing. After all, when one retains their strength at such an age it is not rare for them to be considered immortal. The common tale is that, having lived so long and done so much, having studied and battled and taught and settled into a peaceful life, Sho Tenshin simply realized that his work was done. Those who had been his peers and rivals had passed away, his students would not grow properly under his long shadow. And so, one day, The Ageless Master quietly retired to a natural cavern near his birthplace that he wished to make his final resting place and simply moved on, entrusting his legacy to the future generations.
Parents: Sho Yasuaki and Momoko Siblings: None Childhood: Sho Tenshin was born in the Nanchu capital of Suifa, son to servants working in the estate of one of the royal family’s cadet branches. The Nanchu Islands are the southernmost part of the kingdom of Hakugawa, and aside from being an important commercial port in the region they were once an independent small kingdom themselves. The islands were annexed by Hakugawa in a short but exceedingly heated campaign when the country attained some semblance of unity and, to avoid extended conflict and retain its commercial relations, it was agreed that Nanchu would retain some independence as a vassal state, though still be subject to rendering tribute and unequal peace treaties.
One such treaty decreed that Nanchu was to renounce its right to bear arms or armor, in an effort to curtail possible rebellions. While it was hoped that the islands would be forced to rely on mainland samurai for protection and law enforcement, it did not quite happen this way. The population of Nanchu was particularly hard-nosed, a rough culture of sailors and fishermen hardened by having to fend off pirates and other undesirables for ages, and rather than be deterred they turned to different means. New schools focusing on improvised weapons were established, chief among them staves of many sizes, and a culture with a strong dedication towards body strengthening to not have to rely on weapons came to be the norm.
The skills were practiced in relative secrecy to avoid further crackdowns, and while village schools produced excellent results the very best were those of the Bushi, the warrior-scholar officials of Nanchu’s court who rivaled the samurai themselves. Growing up within a noble estate, Tenshin had the privilege to witness the training of one such school from an early age led by famed court warrior Kyodai Kanga. Though as a commoner he was not allowed to join the nobles in their training, the young Sho would find ways to watch the lessons then practice on his own, fascinated by the development of self, and soon his dedication caught the eye of master Kyodai who took him in as a pupil.
Adulthood: So it was that Sho Tenshin’s path down the martial arts began in earnest: a young commoner who earned his spot through hard work, driven to excel in order to climb higher in life and surrounded by nobles whose instruction took precedence over his own. The situation combined with his natural, undeniable talents would make a stellar pupil out of the youth, whose insatiable thirst for knowledge saw him seek out further instruction from many of Master Kyodai’s peers with the man’s permission. Tenshin’s progress was such that Kyodai eventually sponsored him and recommended he be allowed to enter the noble classes first as his page and finally as a fully recognized Bushi in his own right.
By that point, Tenshin’s recognition in his homeland fully entitled him to a comfortable life, even granting him an offer to serve as an instructor of the martial arts in Nanchu’s central palace. But the young man’s burning spirit could not yet be quelled. Sho began seeking out further tests and challenges heedless of his social standing, first taking to battling other martial artists in official, friendly duels, then taking to brutal fights in the dead of night around Nanchu’s less reputable ports and alleys. While his challenges with other recognized masters were seen as cordial practice and even his nightly activities taken as a service to the community, it was clear that such practices could lead to no good.
Hoping to rectify the situation and assuage his thrill-seeking ways, Master Kyodai arranged for Sho to be sent to the mainland. The youth was to stay with a samurai who Kyodai had once befriended, a relatively lower class of warrior but a recognized teacher of a softer style of combat, and so explore and see what the world outside of the islands had to offer. It was in this travel that Tenshin was first introduced to the martial arts of Hakugawa that would deeply influence his own eventual school, and it was in the mainland that his legend would be formed...
Special Moments: Being accepted as a student of Master Kyodai, the roar of the crowd as he bested the first foreign champion, stopping the rampaging bull demon Karubi to prove that men could face such evils alone and unarmed, leaving the confines of his homeland on a pilgrimage, returning and founding his school of martial arts.
Character Quote: "Ah, you still need much practice, I’m afraid" Theme Song:The sounds of the homeland Aura Color: Translucent ocean blue Scent: Sweat, blood, aromatic oils and leaves to preserve the body.
@Zero Hex - Approved under one condition - that you keep in mind that he cannot solve all problems and that we definitely have other party members better suited for various situations, even our Dragoon who is more martially focused as well. ^-^
Of course, he's kinda hyperspecialized and all. Even with the skill level there's still the obvious drawbacks and downsides to not even having the extra reach of a pointy stick and whatnot, let alone magic items.