Clan Feature: The Shaolin
Editor's Note: This is the first of six exclusive articles on the six starting clans of 9Dragons.
Hello and welcome to this, the first of six articles specially written for MMORPG on the starter clans in 9Dragons. The six clans we are going to cover are Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan, the League of Beggars, Heavenly Demon, Sacred Flower and the Brotherhood of Thieves. All six of these clans are based upon Chinese history and mythology and we’ve researched them to give you as authentic an experience as possible. In ancient China, the clans were labelled as either white or black, as delineated by their allegiance to The Imperial Emperor. The white clans were, on the whole, loyal and noble, while the black clans were rogues with intent that violated Imperial decree. Of course, there are many famous legends in which disciples of these clans have acted out of order with their clan’s traditions!
I am going to start with perhaps the most famous of the clans - The noble monks of Shaolin Temple.
The Shaolin are of course, white clan disciples, serving as advisors to The Imperial Court, who have vowed to reform evil wherever they find it. Disciples are Buddhist monks and one thousand years of demonstrating righteousness and mercy in all of their deeds has earned them the title of, “The Noble Clan”.
Integral to the philosophy of the Shaolin is the belief that one should not take life, nor take delight in death. Therefore, to ascend the heights in Shaolin, one must cleanse one’s self of all egotistical and selfish thoughts, and commit to walking The Noble Path.
By joining Shaolin you agree to sacrifice all of your vanity and worldly possessions. The first step upon initiation is the ritual of shaving of your head. You then exchange your worldly clothes for the simple robes of a monk and then piety and meditation become the order of the day. It should be noted that, only men are allowed to join the Shaolin clan. But those who find this rule unfair may find their home in the women-only order of Sacred Flower.
Shaolin’s fighting style also reflects their peaceful view of the world. Their fighting techniques should not be used to take life, merely to disarm and disable. They do not utilise edged weapons, preferring instead their own “praying mantis” style Kung Fu. However it should be noted that they are a pragmatic clan as illustrated by a quote from The Immoral Monk, “We cannot elevate the people to heaven without putting ourselves through hell. Sometimes we have no choice but to break the precept against killing…”
Their praying mantis style of Kung Fu has its origins in the Shantung Province. It was here that a monk named Wang Lang witnessed a fight between a tiny Praying Mantis and a Cicada, which was many times its size. Against all odds the tiny praying mantis emerged victorious, and Wang Lang decided to dedicate his life to studying its movements and gaining a better understanding on how to defeat more powerful enemies. Since Shaolin adopted Praying Mantis, many devout disciples have produced exceptional variations on the style, including Plum Blossom, Seven Stars, Secret Doer, Jade ring and Dragging Hand techniques.
As a Shaolin disciple there are many responsibilities you will need to take on. You should practice modesty in all things, and any action you take as an individual also has implications, either positive or negative, on the overall “karma” of the clan. By karma I refer to the basic notion that “what comes around, goes around.” The Shaolin maintain a strong relationship with the Imperial Emperor, which paradoxically affords them great status and power. On the negative side, communication across the clan’s hierarchy is poor and the basic principle of maintaining life impacts on their freedom during military strikes. However, if one thing is certain, it’s that Shaolin is revered throughout The Land as a beacon of hope and righteousness. They are routinely sought out to administer justice, and enjoy the support of the common people.
Don’t make your choice of clan just yet, as we will be introducing you to the Wu-Tang Clan next. However, if you respect others and look for the good seed in every living thing, then Shaolin may be the clan for you.As the Shaolins would say, “Never forget that all life is precious.”
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-By Ken Johnston and Steven-Elliot Altman
(based on The Lore created by Steven-Elliot Altman)
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