Kindred of the East: Crimson Empires
The Ritual For Being Devoured
The Ritual for Being Devoured, lvl 5
The Hun and P’o are always in opposition, struggling against each other for control. However, many vampires lose site of the fact that the Demon is as vital to advancement as
the Hun, and that the struggle between Bone Soul and Cloud Soul makes advancement possible. Many vampires — Resplendent Cranes and Rising Phoenixes especially — neglect their P’o in favor of Hun, and don’t seek to understand and assimilate their Demons’ urges. For vampires that wish for accord with their P’o, and make up for past repression, there is Chud, also known as the Ritual of Being Devoured. This ritual is based on the powerful Tibetan Buddhist chud meditation. Rarely does a vampire feel it necessary to perform Chud more than once a year; overindulging one’s Demon is even more destructive than repressing it.
The Kuei-jin must sit alone in a place where there are few distractions (a quiet room or waterfall are idea). The area should be relatively free from spirits, too, as the Chud is a private ritual.
The vampire must achieve a state of deep meditation and maintain it for at least an hour (Stamina + Meditation, difficulty 7). The vampire visualizes herself as a receptacle, in which there are egoistic drives, oppression, lack of harmony, and imbalance. She also pictures her P’o as an entity separate from her (that appears either as a dark reflection of the vampire, or the character’s Demon Shintai form if she has one); the Demon sits in front of her, waiting for its offering. The ritualist then mentally visualizes her skull slowly being sliced open, starting at the forehead and going counter-clockwise around her head until the incision meets in the middle. (The ritualist can picture a blade of air, a sword, a saw or whatever as the implement doing the cutting, but it must be a clean and steady incision.) This ritual isn’t painful, but it is intense, and the vampire must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 8) to picture this with the proper intensity. Once her skull has been cut open, the ritualist imagines herself removing the top section of her head and holding it in her hands like a bowl; within the bowl is the character’s Ego. She offers this bowl to the P’o, who takes and eats of it, symbolically devouring the character’s oppressive Hun. When this is done, the P’o
sits in the “bowl,” the vampire puts it back on, and the Demon returns to its rightful place in the Kuei-jin.
Some spirits claim to have seen this ritual performed from the spirit lands (at a safe distance, of course), and that the ritual involves more than visualization. They say that the P’o actually separates from the vampire, and the spiritual reflection of the vampire literally performs this gruesome self-surgery. The veracity of this claim is unknown, and most vampires probably wouldn’t care. It is enough that the ritual works.
While the visualization of Chud is disturbing to say the least, those who perform the ritual find it to be refreshing and liberating. The P’o is sated, the Hun is humbled, and a sense
of profound calm fills the vampire for a few night or so. Upon completion of the Chud ritual, the character gains one point of Demon Chi (which can take her above her P’o rating
if she is already at maximum, but in this case the extra point lasts only for one night).
For a number of nights equal to the success on the above Willpower roll, the vampire’s P’o is more forgiving, and is less likely to provoke Shadow Soul, Fire Soul or Wind Soul. Moments of Den tend to come more easily, while Acts of Blindness are less cataclysmic. These things are more given to roleplaying than systems, but the Storyteller may rule that one less die is rolled for the P’o during this time.
This doesn’t give the vampire free reign to go out and do as she pleases, however; such acts of hubris would enrage the P’o (as the Hun apparently learned nothing),
as well as having probable Dharmic repercussions.