The Sting of the Scorpion
This section covers the rules necessary to include Scorpion Eaters in a chronicle. The ingestion of tainted Chi has made it impossible for Scorpions to use the Shintai Arts available to other Kuei-jin; instead they have developed their own versions of the various “god body" powers. The rules for these Disciplines, as well as using tainted Chi, are discussed below.
Like any Kuei-jin, the Scorpion Eaters require Chi to survive. What makes them unique among all shen, however, is their ability, with the tacit approval of the Yama Kings, to draw sustenance from tainted Chi. Chi is the vital energy of creation. The flow of Yin and Yang Chi drives the Great Cycle, and it is the interplay between the two that determines the state of the Ten Thousand Things. In recent years, however, defiled energy continually seeps into existence, markedly changing these flows and thus the state of creation. Normally, the flow of Chi from Dragon Nest to Dragon Nest dissipates and purifies impurities resulting from natural radiation, decay and disease, much the same way the internal organs filter and expunge poisons in the human body.
The massive accumulation of such impurities, from repeated nuclear detonations, waste spills, air pollution and outbreaks of virulent diseases, however, stretches this system's capacity to cope properly. In some locales - like nuclear test sites and toxic waste zones, as well as the worst disease-ridden slums and settlements - the system is overwhelmed. The poisons enter the flow of Yin and Yang energies itself, tainting Chi. Fortunately, Chi carrying this taint cannot easily flow along Dragon Lines. Corrupt Dragon Nests have a kind of "gravity," which attracts and isolates toxins and taints within them. Clean Chi is repelled by tainted Chi, so the system acts to quarantine such pockets of foulness. Unfortunately, these unclean sites cannot be easily severed from the remaining "circulatory system." As taint accumulates, it overflows the capacity of the Dragon Nests, and seeps into adjoining sites like a back-flow of sewage. This slow, but steady spread of poisoned Chi thus far resists all efforts to staunch it through Tapestry, Feng Shui and a host of other related Disciplines. The ancestors and bodhisattvas have no idea where the flow will eventually stop.
Chi inherent in living creatures is similarly, but not as drastically, affected. When various toxins and poisons accumulate in the ecosystem, they filter upwards, from the smallest organisms to the most complex. Some Kuei-jin with particularly refined tastes have said for some time now that an odd taste is creeping into the Chi of some mortals.
The taint is not merely physical. With psychological pressure and stress across the world mounting, more people experience stronger negative emotions; some even reach a breaking point, exploding violently and horribly. The Chi of such desperate individuals is also tainted, and they rarely live long. Once their Chi becomes unclean, either from physical or psychic stress, their vital flows malfunction, resulting in sickness and death (usually diagnosed as a "psychotic episode").
Consuming Tainted Chi
Kuei-jin who ingest tainted Chi gain no sustenance from it and quickly grow violently ill while their systems purge the foul energies. The Kuei-jin's body expels its various humors, which must then be replenished from a clean source. Taking tainted Chi into one's system is not pleasant; until the Kuei-jin replaces all Chi lost while cleansing her system, all tasks involving a Mental Attribute incur a penalty equal to half the number of points of tainted Chi ingested (rounded down). To determine the effects of consuming tainted Chi, the Kuei-jin must make a Stamina roll (difficulty of 5 + the number tainted Chi points consumed) and compare the results to the following table:
Successes Result Botch Uncontrolled vomiting and bowel movements, weeping and sweating. The Kuei-jin's system purges itself of all Chi. 0 The Kuei-jin loses all but one point of Chi. 1 The Kuei-jin loses two points of Chi for each point of tainted Chi consumed. 2 The Kuei-jin loses one point of Chi for each point of tainted Chi consumed. 3 The Kuei-jin purges the tainted Chi, losing one point of Chi in the process. 4+ The Kuei-jin purges the tainted Chi, but no other Chi is lost.
Sources of Tainted Chi
Tainted Chi is most readily found in corrupted Dragon Nests. Currently, perhaps one out of every 20 Dragon Nests is tainted through a massive influx of poison, radiation, chemicals, disease or other unclean substances. Taint can also occur when a powerful wave of negative emotion born from atrocity upsets the area's Chi flow, though this is extremely rare. The Wall rating of tainted Dragon Nests varies, but it is usually two to four points lower than that of the surrounding area. In cases when it is extremely low, it may form the wellspring of a Broken Mirror.
Tainted Chi in humans is much rarer. It isn't enough for a human to be sick; after all, sickness is natural. Some particularly virulent diseases, however, will taint an individual's Chi. These include man-made biological pathogens and some of nature's more disgusting plagues and viruses like Lassa Fever and the Ebola strains.
Psychological corruption is another source of tainted Chi, but such individuals often learn to live with their taint. Serial killers, particularly remorseless criminals and the violently insane, may be sources of tainted Chi. Scorpion Eaters learn to taint the Chi of their victims, however, so finding a suitable mortal font is rarely a problem.Broken Mirrors
Sometimes, when despair, suffering, and hopelessness overtake an area, the barrier between the physical world and Hell ceases to be. Such sites are called Broken Mirrors and they are the Yama Kings' delight. A piece of Hell literally comes to Earth, turning these places into nightmarish zones of horror and suffering. Currently, only Mikaboshi and Rangda have managed to establish Broken Mirrors, located in the most soulless skyscrapers and desperate slums respectively.
The Broken Mirror disturbs the natural order in such places; Equilibrium attempts add two to the difficulty; Tapestry malfunctions severely, attracting demons and potentially transporting the Kuei-jin directly to Hell; and Rites generally don't work at all. Bile Shintai is not affected at all, however, allowing Scorpion Eaters to function normally. Their other Arts remain unimpaired as well, enabling this Dharma to turn Broken Mirrors into admirable bases of operation. Whether the Yama Kings mind these squatters or not remains to be seen (for full details on Broken Mirrors, see Killing Streets, pgs.104-107).
Demon Shintai Characteristics
After a while, the flow of tainted Chi through a Scorpion Eater's body has a deleterious effect. Constant exposure to corrupted and polluted energies warps the flesh and eventually leads to the manifestation of Demon Shintai characteristics (see Kindred of the East, p. 109). Among one another, Scorpion Eaters wear these marks with pride. They are a physical testament to the Kuei-jin's commitment to survival and to the Dharma. The Scorpions believe that with the coming of the Sixth Age, such marks will cease serving as signs of corruption and will instead indicate one's rightness and worthiness to exist in the Age of Sorrow.
For every three levels the Scorpion progresses along her Dharma's path, she gains one permanent Demon Shintai mark.
Tainted Chi and other Disciplines
Scorpion Eaters can use tainted Chi just like "normal" Chi in most ways. They can aspect it towards Yin or Yang, passive like a pool of toxins or active like corrosive acids. In this fashion, the Scorpions are still susceptible to imbalances, and must spend the right type of Chi to power certain Disciplines as per normal. There are several specific differences, however, as noted below.
When the Dharma's founders experimented with their powers, they discovered the various shintais did not function as they once did. This, they believe, is because the basic principle of the various Arts is the focus and manipulation of Chi throughout the body as a whole. With both the vessel and medium corrupted, however, the shintais... changed, becoming the collective Bile Shintais.
The five regular shintais (Blood, Bone, Jade, Flesh and Flame Shintai) are unavailable to Scorpion Eaters: the ingestion of tainted Chi makes their use impossible. The Scorpion Eaters, however, possess twisted versions of these Arts (Poison, Decay, Radiation, Disease and Burning). Whether this is a corruption of the god bodies or a secret gift from the Yama Kings to further their own agendas remains unknown. Knowing the Yama Kings, however, the latter is likelier.
Equilibrium: This Discipline functions normally since it's based on manipulating the Kuei-jin's own internal Chi balance.
Tapestry: Tapestry can only be used to contact demons or malignant spirits, and to manipulate tainted Chi and Dragon Lines.
Yang Prana: Yang Prana functions normally, except that it causes boils and sores to erupt on the Scorpion Eater's flesh whilst in use (penalty to Appearance-based rolls equal to the Chi expended). If the Scorpion spends a point of temporary Willpower, he can suppress this effect for the remainder of the scene.
Yin Prana: Similar to Yang Prana, Yin Prana functions normally, but, is usually accompanied by the distinct odor of decay. Spending a temporary Willpower point before using these powers negates the smell for an entire scene.
Cultivation: The Scorpion Eaters greatly favor this Discipline, but it functions no differently for them than for other Kuei-jin.
Chi'iu Mui: This Discipline functions as stated, except the fourth power, Purification, only uses the P'o's effect. It cannot heal. Likewise, the third eye, if developed, bears some mark of corruption, like being bloodshot, milky or even compounded like an arachnid's.
Internalize: Although the Scorpion Eaters rarely study this Discipline, it functions as per normal.
Obligation: There are no changes to this Discipline.
Black Wind: This Art functions exactly as described in the Kindred of the East rulebook.
Demon Shintai: This Art functions exactly as described in the Kindred of the East rulebook.
Over the decades, the Scorpion Eaters have studied the shintai powers fueled by their unique diet. Called the Bile Shintais, they encompass five unique Arts, each one roughly analogous to one of the five elemental shintais practiced by other Kuei-jin. Scorpion Eaters cannot learn these normal shintais, aside from Demon Shintai and Bile Shintai. Conversely, other Kuei-jin cannot learn Bile Shintai unless they abandon their Dharma, undergo the Eating the Scorpion rite and become Scorpions.
In such cases, points in existing Shintai Arts do not transfer to the equivalent Bile Shintais; they are lost and the student must begin learning a new. Tainted Chi interacts with the body in a fundamentally different way from pure Chi, and the techniques for one are not applicable to the other. Storytellers, however, may rule otherwise.
Equivalent to Blood Shintai and thus the element of Water, this Art gives the Scorpion Eater control over various vital fluids and humors within his body or that of the target. As with Blood Shintai, the vampire can attune these powers to Yin, Yang or Balance.
Chi Attunement: Dexterity
● Stinging Touch
The first power learned draws the body's various poisons, acids and waste products to the surface, particularly to the fangs and claws. This enables the Scorpion Eater to deliver extremely painful, stinging attacks against opponents. When activated, the body parts concerned take on a sickly, yellow-green hue.
System: For each Chi point expended, the Kuei-jin may coat one body part (fists, claws, feet, head or fangs) in bile, stomach acid and the like. If the Scorpion successfully hits the target with the coated area, the poison delivers an additional two dice of aggravated damage.
●● Inharmonious Excretion
This power allows the user to manipulate a target's bodily humors. Stomach acids burn, bile floods the system and the bowels spasm violently. The results on mortals are unpleasant to say the least, while for Kuei-jin, the effects are rarely fatal but are extremely inconvenient.
System: The Kuei-jin must touch her target, spend a Chi point and make a successful Stamina + Medicine roll (difficulty 7). If successful, the victim must roll Stamina (difficulty 7) to ameliorate the effects. For each success the attacker rolls over the defender, the target heaves and retches, suffering a penalty of two to the difficulties of all actions. This effect lasts for a number of turns equal to the attacker's final success tally. If the victim fails her roll, she is incapacitated while her system purges itself of the offending fluids. If the target botches the roll, she is hospitalized and suffers one health level of bashing damage (no soak allowed) for each of the attacker's successes.
●●● Flow Like Sewage
The Kuei-jin suffuses her body with corrosive fluids, melting her own hard tissues like bone and turning her flesh, muscle and organs into a soft and pulpy mass. This allows her to resist bashing and lethal damage more easily, and flow through tight spaces. Whilst in this form, the Kuei-jin also stinks like an open digestive tract.
System: After spending a point of Yang Chi, the Kuei-jin turns her body into a soft mass that retains its basic shape for up to three turns. In this state, the Kuei-jin gains an additional five dice to soak bashing or lethal damage. She may also push (slowly) through gaps like dough through a crack, but the space must be at least an inch wide. The Kuei-jin can move no faster than walking pace while in this form.
●●●● Bilious Expectoration
The Kuei-jin can eject a sickening bolus of mucus, blood, phlegm and bile. Mildly corrosive to metals and stone, it bores into flesh with horrifying intensity.
System: The Kuei-jin spends a point of Chi and one action generating a sufficient mass within his mouth. The Expectoration has a range of double the vampire's Stamina in yards, and inflicts his Strength in aggravated damage against inorganic materials like armor. Flesh, however, takes Str + 3 damage (all aggravated), though any dice of protection from armor are eliminated from the attack's Strength dice first. If the Strength dice fail to penetrate the protection, the attack is stopped for that turn.
Once the attack hits, it continues burning for three turns with lessening effect. Each turn after the first reduces the damage - first to Str + 2 damage, then finally, Str +1 damage.
●●●●● Phlegmatic Sting
This enables the Kuei-jin to transform any fluid inside the target (living or dead) into a virulent, toxic slush. The effects on living creatures are immediate and dramatic; death is often instantaneous when the target's own blood, phlegm, water, and other fluids attack his internal mechanisms. Organs rupture and arterial membranes crack open, leaking caustic fluids everywhere. The target becomes a living toxic spill. Fortunately for shen, while similarly affected, the results are generally more debilitating than fatal.
System: The Scorpion Eater must first touch the target, spending a point of Yin Chi and Willpower before making a Willpower roll (difficulty 6). The target suffers a level of lethal damage per success the Scorpion rolled on Willpower, plus one additional level per Yin Chi spent. The target can still soak the damage, but for every health level inflicted, one point of the target's Chi becomes tainted (requiring a Stamina roll).
The Scorpion Eater’s analogue to Bone Shintai and the element Metal, this Art focuses on the entropic powers of decay and corruption inherent in tainted Chi.
Chi Attunement: Strength
● Stink of the Grave
The Scorpion Eater infuses her flesh with Yin Chi, causing her body to undergo rapid deterioration, like advanced decay. She becomes a walking corpse in appearance; her stench is nearly overpowering and her countenance so horrific that most mortals flee in terror.
System: Spending a point of Yin Chi, the Scorpion's Appearance drops to 0 immediately for the duration of a scene. Any mortals encountering the vampire must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) against both the sight and smell of the Scorpion Eater. A botch indicates the victim is paralyzed with fear, while a simple failure causes the target to flee in terror. Otherwise:
Successes Effect 1 The victim flees, but quickly regains his composure once the Kuei-jin is out of sight. 2 The target retreats, but can still fight back; all actions against the Kuei-jin are at an additional two difficulty. 3+ The target acts normally, but all actions have an increased difficulty of one due to the choking stench (Kuei-jin and other creatures who do not need to breathe are not affected). The effect lasts for an entire scene.
●● Deadly Waft
Similar to White Tiger Corpse in effect (see Kindred of the East, p. 112), the Scorpion instead radiates a strange smell that betrays her location.
System: The Kuei-jin is invisible but a strong smell remains, allowing anyone who makes a Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 5) to follow the Scorpion around. Expending an additional Yin Chi point allows the Scorpion to contain the smell to a faint odor. Animals and any other creature with heightened olfactory senses, however, may still track the Kuei-Jin.
●●● Bone Shrapnel
This heinous power enables the Kuei-jin to detonate penny sized portions of a target's skeletal structure, shredding the victim's internal organs and tissues with bone shrapnel.
System: After successfully touching her intended target, the Kuei-jin may then spend two points of Chi flooding the target with tainted energy and causing micro-explosions along the surface of their skeletal structure. The Kuei-jin rolls Stamina + Medicine (difficulty 7) to determine the lethal damage, but the victim may also soak the attack as per normal. Each level of damage inflicted stems from penny sized bone fragments exploding and lacerating the surrounding tissues, though the Scorpion has no control where the explosions take place.
●●●● Splenetic Exhalation
The effects are the same as Five Poison Cloud (see Kindred of the East, p. 112), though the cloud in this case is more akin to toxic pollution.
●●●●● Harbinger of Decay
This power enables the Scorpion Eater to infect animals and mortals with a dose of virulent Chi, transforming them into a mindless servitor. It's like rabies but on a psychic level, turning the servitor into a decaying engine of destruction. Of course, when the police finally bring such creatures down, they often claim "he must have been on PCP."
System: The Kuei-jin must spend three points of Chi before successfully biting the target. If the Kuei-jin is not successful, the Chi is lost. The Scorpion injects a poison into the victim, resulting in paralysis after a number of turns equal to the victim's Stamina. Afterwards, the victim falls into a coma, their body ravaged by toxic-laden endorphins. The next evening, the victim awakes with her Physical Attributes increased by one each and three additional health levels. Additionally, a mindless, maddening hunger for flesh consumes the target (whether she's animal or mortal). She will attack anything or anyone who looks appetizing, regardless where she is, and will consume her victims like a mad beast.
The target also suffers two levels of aggravated damage every night from the toxic Chi consuming and decaying her preternaturally. She will die if someone doesn't put her down first. If the victim makes a Willpower roll she can control herself for a turn, but she will eventually perish unless healed through powers like Blood Atemi (which, in this case, purges the victim's blood of toxins; see Kindred of the East, p.110).
Radiation Shintai replaces Jade Shintai, and thus acts as the element of Earth for the Scorpion Eaters. It shows the Kuei-jin that even the most ancient rocks and mountains may contain poisonous, corrupting substances capable of eroding life.
Chi Attunement: Strength
● Treacherous Earth
By disrupting the flow of natural Chi through the earth, the Scorpion Eater can root an opponent to the ground, preventing them from leaving the spot. This has no effect from the knees up unless used on a prone target.
System: By spending a point of Yang Chi and succeeding in a Manipulation + Intimidation roll (difficulty 7), the Kuei-jin anchors a target to one place for a scene. If the victim is standing (in which case only their feet are immobile), he makes all attack and defense rolls with a penalty of two to the difficulty. If the target is prone or kneeling, he suffers a penalty of four to all related difficulties. Shen can overcome this by expending a point of Chi to deflect the effect, but must spend an action concentrating.
●● Repulsive Touch
By making her entire being abhorrent to the Ten Thousand Things as an undeserving, corrupt entity, the Kuei-jin may move through objects as though insubstantial. Actually, matter glides over the Scorpion, or her own flesh parts to allow matter through; either way, her very touch is anathema to creation itself and thus repulsive to everything around her.
System: The Kuei-jin rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 6) and spends two Chi. If successful, she becomes insubstantial for the duration of the scene, neither affecting nor being affected by any physical effect around her. She can walk through walls or gunfire with equal facility, though powers that target the mind or soul will affect her normally. If she rolls three successes or more, the Kuei-jin can double her leaping distances and swimming speed since even water and air are repulsed by the presence of her foul body.
●●● The Bowels of the Earth
This has the same effect as Placate the Earth Dragon (see Kindred of the East, p. 113), except the Kuei-jin requires tainted earth.
System: The same as Placate the Earth Dragon, except the Kuei-jin rolls Dexterity + (Chi Virtue), with difficulty depending on the surroundings. At a toxic waste dump, the vampire requires no roll to succeed. In Calcutta's slums, the difficulty would be 4, in Hong Kong, 6, while in Singapore, the difficulty to slip into the earth would be 8.
The Kuei-jin can harness the Earth's ambient radiation, thanks to global warming, to power any machine, regardless of its normal power source.
System: By tapping into effects like global warming and the electromagnetic fields being generated by too many power lines, the Kuei-jin can activate any man-made device from a computer to a vehicle, as long as he can touch it. By succeeding in a Stamina+ Meditation roll (difficulty 6), the Scorpion can power a cellular phone or walkman with just one success; three successes will get a car going, while five is enough to power a jetliner or 18-Wheeler. The machine then operates at peak capacity for a number of hours equal to the Kuei-jin's Stamina, plus an additional hour for every two points of Yang Chi expended.
When the device finally "powers down," it is ruined; the components are rusted, the casing rotted and the fuel cells empty. That's why most Scorpions don't hotwire their own gadgets with this power.
●●●●● Destroy with a Touch
This power grants the Kuei-jin near complete control over the earth. By drawing upon weaknesses and impurities in this element, she can cause stones to break, walls to crumble, and if sufficiently skilled, the earth to shake.
System: The Kuei-jin must by in physical contact with the object or ground to wield Destroy with a Touch. She may then spend a point of temporary Willpower and a varying quantity of Chi to empower the effect. The Kuei-jin can manipulate or destroy one cubic yard of earthen-based material for every Chi point expended. She can make it flow like mud or crumble it into dust. With the requisite Knowledge rolls and by spending a point of temporary Willpower and three Chi points, the Scorpion can also elicit other effects. For example, Intelligence + Craft(construction) might enable the Kuei-jin to locate the key point in a stone building's structure to collapse it; Perception + Science (geology) could allow the Kuei-jin to locate a fault line and cause a very minor and localized tremor (difficulty 6 for a 4.0 on the Richter Scale, with each .5 increment increasing the difficulty by one).
Scorpion Eaters cannot study Flesh Shintai, so they learn the nuances of disease instead, which is a Wood analogue. Similar to Flesh Shintai, the manifestations of this Art are generally quite disgusting to behold.
Chi Attunement: Strength
● Acrimonious Flesh
The Scorpion afflicts the victim with vile-looking boils, weeping sores and strings of pulsating warts that cover his entire body.
System: By touching the victim and expending a point of Chi, the Scorpion Eater contaminates him with skin conditions. Over the next six hours or so, the target breaks out with the most hideous infections imaginable. Boils, patches of acne, flaking skin, warts, and sores all conspire to reduce the victim's Appearance to zero. The victim can function normally, but any tasks involving Social rolls receive an additional penalty of three to related difficulties.
The affliction lasts for a number of days equal to the Stamina of the Kuei-jin responsible. The target can expend three Chi to cure the effect; otherwise, a single success with any supernatural healing power will also do it.
●● Dead Hands
This power functions exactly as Detach Limb (see Kindred of the East, p.115).
●●● Fevered Delirium
This power functions exactly as Lotus Clouds (see Kindred of the East, p. 115), except, the effect is more akin to fevered delusions than pleasant euphoria. The weakness is likewise illness-related, as though the victim has a bad cold.
●●●● Servile Plague
This power functions exactly as Pelesit (see Kindred of the East, p. 116), except most Scorpions vomit out a swarm of gastrointestinal maggots or mosquitoes.
●●●●● Soul of Sickness
At this level, the Scorpion Eater becomes an embodiment of disease, a walking vector of humanity's modern fears. Although he appears no different, his presence and touch are enough to infect mortal and shen alike with plague.
System: The Kuei-jin spends two points of Yang Chi to activate this power and carry any one active disease within him for the duration of a scene, be it a flesh-eating virus, STD, hemorrhagic fever, insect-born plague or bio-weapon pathogen. The Scorpion may then use any of the previous powers mentioned in Disease Shintai to vector the contagion to a victim, as through Servile Plague or Fevered Delirium, for example.
All mortals who encounter the vector must roll three successes on Stamina (difficulty 8) or contract the illness. lf infected, the mortal loses one health level and one die per day from all Physical Attribute-related dice pools until he dies or someone mystically cures him. Standard medical treatments will not work. Shen must make a similar roll or suffer the same consequences, but they can make up for any deficiency in successes by spending two Yang Chi per success required (or two Gnosis, Quintessence, etc). Fortunately, the diseases are all mules and cannot spread beyond the original target.
Of all the Bile Shintais, Balefire is perhaps the most hated, for it allows Scorpion Eaters to taint Dragon Nests, Dragon Lines, and mortals. Its use is always accompanied by a stink reminiscent of burning flesh, rubber, or garbage. Balefire is also aspected to the element of Fire.
Chi Attunement: Strength
● Burning Kiss
This power allows the Scorpion Eater to taint a living creature's Chi before (usually) consuming it. The imparted taint does cause the target some discomfort, but most living creatures are robust enough to dispel the corruption.
System: The Scorpion Eater spends a point of Chi (any kind will do) and touches the target. Over a number of turns equal to the victim's Stamina, the poison works its way through the victim's system. During this time, the victim feels ill, and pursues all actions with an increased difficulty of two. After that, the victim's Chi is sufficiently tainted for flesh or blood consumption. If the victim survives the feeding, she will still experience bouts of nausea and dizziness for a number of hours equal to the Chi taken during feeding.
If the Scorpion Eater uses this power on another Kuei-jin, the victim can make a Stamina + Survival roll (difficulty 6). Each success allows the target to retain one point of untainted Chi while also purging one point of poisoned Chi. The victim is sick if there's any toxin remaining in his system, however, and suffers a penalty of one to all difficulties for each poisoned Chi point still present.
●● Baleful Light
This power functions exactly as Goblin Spark (see Kindred of the East, p. 118).
●●● Death Breath
This power functions exactly as Goblin Scorch (see Kindred of the East, p. 118).
●●●● Invading the Dragon
This power is similar to Ride the Dragon (see Kindred of the East, p.104), except the Scorpion Eater injects herself like a shot of heroin into the veins of the Middle Kingdom. Her presence is also corruptive enough to temporarily "short" out the system by infusing tainted Chi into the otherwise pure flow. The effect isn't permanent, but it does cause one hell of a traffic jam.
System: As per Riding the Dragon, except that the Scorpion Eater leaves tainted Chi behind along the Dragon Line, like land mines. Each point of tainted Chi that the Scorpion spends at the moment of transit negates the amount of successes someone else using Ride the Dragon might enjoy when determining distance traveled. If the Scorpion spends five Chi points, however, he disrupts the Dragon Line sufficiently that it requires travelers to roll against an increased difficulty of 10. The disruption, in either case, lasts for one day per Chi spent.
Unfortunately for the Scorpion, his passage leaves a stain, like a greasy oil slick on water. Other shen may roll Perception + Occult (difficulty is Scorpion Eater's highest Chi virtue) to track him.
●●●●● Body of Burning Filth
This power is similar to Goblin Lantern (see Kindred of the East, pgs.118-119), except it also enables the Scorpion Eater to corrupt a Dragon Nest (though the vampire must also perform the rite of Shitting Down the Dragon's Neck to make the corruption permanent). Regardless, even a temporary corruption can cause massive problems for the local shen.
System: In addition to Goblin Lantern's effects, if the Kuei-jin meditates at the heart of a Dragon Nest she becomes a conduit for tainted Chi, poisoning the very wellspring around her with the offal of her presence. The Scorpion must roll Stamina + Meditation (difficulty 9); each success and hour spent in meditation allows the Scorpion Eater to defile the site for two days, effectively preventing others from drawing Chi there. Otherwise, the Storyteller can rule that the local Wall's rating increases by two for every Chi point the Scorpion spent infecting the place, to a maximum rating of 10. Nothing prohibits shen, however, from expediting the site's recovery time back to normal through Chi cleansing abilities like Broom of Heaven (see Kindred of the East Companion, p. 64).
Rites and Rituals
The Scorpion Eaters do not generally have much patience for rites and rituals, believing them largely part of the ancestors' outmoded panoply. There are only two rituals of value to the Scorpion Eaters: Eating the Scorpion, by which a Kuei-jin becomes a Scorpion Eater (and hence able to consume tainted Chi) and Shitting Down the Dragon's Neck, by which the Dharma can permanently corrupt a Dragon's Nest.
Eating the Scorpion
(Level One Rite)
This is the ritual that creates a Scorpion Eater. It essentially involves the Kuei-jin purging her system of Yin and Yang Chi at a tainted Dragon Nest. The Scorpion Eaters submerge the manacled or chained vampire (who should be in fire soul at this point, whether willingly or not) into a pool of tainted Chi. Raw sewage is popular, as is the toxic runoff from a factory or illegal landfill. If the Kuei-jin can ingest the polluted Chi and emerge from her fire or accompanying shadow soul, she becomes a Scorpion Eater. All that remains now is to eat a live scorpion suffused with toxic Chi (through Burning Kiss) to officially seal the pact and enable the new initiate to imbibe poison Chi. If the Kuei-jin remains trapped in fire or shadow soul for too long (too long equaling the span of time it takes the other gang members to grow bored of the game), the Scorpion Eaters dump her in someone else's territory for "disposal."
Shitting Down the Dragon’s Neck
(Level Five Rite)
This is the ritual that permanently pollutes a Dragon's Nest. The central element is a team of at least three Scorpion Eaters with the level five Burning Shintai power, Body of Burning Filth, to overwhelm the Dragon Nest with tainted Chi. They must infect the area with a cumulative minimum of 40 corruptive Chi points before beginning the ritual, though the Chi can come from either poisoned victims upon whom the Scorpions feed or from other Dharma members assisting the ritual.
The participants using Body of Burning Filth must each succeed in two out of three Stamina + Rituals rolls (difficulty 7) and two out of three Intelligence + Occult rolls (difficulty 7). If one person fails, all the Chi expended is lost, and the Scorpions have to start back from scratch. lf they succeed, however, the Wall rating of the Dragon Nest drops by two, and it becomes a permanent and unrecoverable source of taint.