In the creation of my Wuxia-inspired world, 'Sword Intent' is a cornerstone concept where sword masters channel a life force known as 'Qi' to perform extraordinary feats. 'Sword Intent' in my world is not an undefined magic but a force governed by specific principles, akin to a form of energy manipulation. To avoid making 'Sword Intent' an omnipotent plot device, I am looking to establish clear rules for its use and limitations in my world.
- 'Qi' is a finite internal resource, regenerated through rest and meditation.
- It is stored in the lungs, with an average volume of 6L (6000 cubic centimeters) maintained at a staggering 30PSI.
- 'Sword Intent' is the mental ability that a practitioner uses to shape this 'Qi' into a sword-like form.
- 'Qi' shaped by 'Sword Intent' has particle bonds unbreakable by physical means, only broken by other sources of Qi
- Qi can be compressed to extend range and potential damage.
Practitioners utilize 'Sword Intent' in three forms, Qi Blade, Qi Bullets, and Qi Beams.
- The Qi blade is a 1 cm thick coating wrapped around an object.
- Provides moderate protection against Qi attacks and also cuts through non-Qi materials with impunity.
- Qi consumption: 200 cubic centimeters per layer, lasts 5 minutes with concentration. 30x
- The Qi bullet gathered in the veins and compressed before being shot out.
- Shape is 10 cm in length and 2 cm in diameter, flies at 500m/s (musket bullet).
- Qi consumption: 120 cubic centimeters / 10 metres range. 50x
- The Qi beam is a hyper-concentrated beam of Qi at 300PSI kept in shape by sword intent.
- At 0.25 cm in width, it can reach a maximum range of 24 meters in length.
- Adjusting the width and concentration of the beam allows a range between 0.5 to 100 meters.
- Can only be used a limited number of times per day due to physical and mental limitations
In summary, Qi has three forms. Blade, bullet, and beam. Qi blade grants sword master unparalleled close combat ability and defense against Qi bullets, Qi bullets are versatile medium range projectiles, and Qi beams are a one-time-use sweeping beam.
Given these limitations, does it make sense for the Sword Masters in my world to use Qi in a Beam form when they have access to Qi blades and Qi bullets?
Examples to help illustrate:
Sword Master using Qi Beam:
Master Liang stands in the center of the training courtyard, his eyes closed in deep concentration. The air around him shivers as he summons his 'Qi', drawing the finite resource from within. His pupils flicker open, revealing a steely gaze as he extends his palm toward a group of bamboo stalks across the yard. With a sharp exhalation, he channels his 'Qi' into a focused beam twenty meters in length, no wider than a chopstick, and swings it with a flick of his wrist. The 'Qi Beam' slices forth, slicing all the bamboo in the clearing cleanly in half, but dissipates just a few meters beyond the target, The effort leaves Master Liang with a tremor in his hand, hinting at the mental and physical fatigue caused by the technique. As an average Sword Master, his control over 'Qi' is impressive but bounded by his mental stamina and the finite nature of his internal 'Qi' reserves.
Sword Master using Qi Bullets:
In the shaded grove beside the flowing creek, Master Zhang faces a practice array that his disciples have prepared. Before him are thin, tall reeds, each about the height of a man and as thick as a finger, placed at intervals along the bank. They are intended to mimic the silhouette of an opponent, offering a target that demands precision
Master Zhang focuses, drawing the 'Qi' from the depths of his being. It's a familiar sensation, like drawing water from a well. With a series of measured breaths, he raises his hand, fingers outstretched. He channels the 'Qi', concentrating it into projectiles the size of long beans, each about four inches in length and an inch in diameter.
He flicks his wrist, and the 'Qi Bullets' are loosed. They shoot forth with a faint hum, traveling in a straight line toward the reeds. The effort is akin to throwing a dart—a momentary exertion of energy, a subtle tensing of the muscles, and then release. Each bullet finds its mark, leaving a clean hole through the center of a reed. Master Zhang’s breathing remains steady, though his concentration and reserves are noticeably diminished when firing at the more distant reeds.
The reeds sway slightly from the impact, the neat holes evidence of the Sword Master's accuracy. His disciples note that the use of 'Qi' in such a focused manner allows for a quick succession of strikes. The distance and precision can be varied, controlled by the amount of 'Qi' and the sharpness of focus.