From the midst of that radiance, the sound of Reality, reverberating like a thousand thunders simultaneously sounding, will come. That is the sound of thine own real self. - Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
Demeanor: Serene and beatific, the young tulku Yonten is the living ideal of monasticism. Although quiet when not directly questioned or addressed, Yonten is usually very warm towards people who do speak to him. He is slow to anger and even slower to violence, trying to exhaust every possible way to resolve conflict before taking up arms. He gives off an aura that seems to mute extreme emotions and radiates calm.
He follows the Vinaya (monastic vows) to the letter, with some of his notable practices including: strict vegetarianism, not eating any plants with viable seeds, sweeping the ground before sitting to avoid injuring insects, always wearing his triple-robes, never dealing with finances, fasting weekly and extreme chastity (as in, he can't even be in a lying position in the presence of a female.)
Nature: Yonten is more or less an open book (he IS a saint…), but with one interesting difference. Although he had prepared himself to come to SunnyBrook, Yonten is still quite homesick. He misses the friendship of his fellow brothers at Pel Sakya monastery and the wise guidance of the Head Lama. Consequently, he is more gregarious than usual, unconsciously trying to make up for the loss of his friends back in Tibet.
Description: Yonten is a 15-year old of Mongolian decent, with close-cropped black hair and dark brown eyes. He is a little short and on the thinner side (due to the rigors of monastic life), standing at 5' 5" and weighing 115 lbs. His skin seems a bit leathery for a person his age, once again a consequence of his lifestyle. His earlobes and fingers seem somewhat elongated, similar to statues of the Buddha. More tellingly, he has Siddhartha Gautama's trademark thousand-spoke wheel birthmark on his right ankle. Yonten has an ugly scar across his back from a misunderstanding with a large yak. He wears his triple robes at all times (usually with a pair of pants and an undershirt beneath), with his gray robe of the Sakya Trizin office used for official events or religious services. This doesn't change when the weather gets cold, as anything a New England winter can muster means little and less to someone who meditated sky-clad in the Himalayan peaks.
See here for an example of Tibetan monk triple robes.
HP and Psyche start at 6, can't raise during creation, but add 1/2 of Brawn to HP.
Brawn, Agility and Brains start at 1 each, starting cap 4, total cap 6, and you get 5 points to distribute among them.
Things your character is good at, things normal people can do
Skills rolls add their associated stat as well (Brawn, Agility or Brains). You get 12 points to spend on skills at creation, with a starting cap of 4 and total cap of 6.
- Holy Scholar of the Gray Monastery - (4) Brains As the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism most scholarly sect, Yonten is extremely well-read on everything from the secret enlightenment teachings of the Sakya School, general East Asian esotericism, world literature and religion, historical studies and even foreign cultural practices.
- Jeweled Speech of the Monk - (3) Brains Buddhist monks are trained to be understanding and compassionate listeners as well as convincing debaters, making Yonten a very charismatic figure.
- Read the Skies Above - (3) Brains Life on the steppes is harsh and herding yaks on the Himalayas harsher still. Yonten needed to be alert to everything, from a roving gray wolf to a sudden shift in the snowpack above, granting him increased perceptive ability.
- A Last Resort… - (2) Agility Yonten is an accomplished student of the rare Tibetan martial art Lion's Roar, a blend of native Tibetan folk fighting, early Chinese styles and North Indian techniques. This is usually used for athletic training, due to the near-absolute pacifism practiced by monks, but can be used to dodge, deflect, or return attacks as well.
These are things you're character accomplishes via their power.
Abilities/Powers should be fairly broad, but look at other characters for good examples. They can grow over time, so don't worry if you start on the small side! You get 7 points to spend on powers at creation, with a starting cap of 4 and total cap of 7. Powers add your Tier to their rolls, usually.
Karmic Destiny - 2 - By invoking the Great Prayer Wheel of Time to change its spin and grant him wisdom, Yonten can see into the immediate (a number of hours forward or back equal to his score in the Karmic Destiny power) future or past of a specific person or thing. The vision lasts for a number of minutes also equal to his score in the Karmic Destiny power. His reach into time can be extended by performing a day-long ritual involving the creation of a mandala representing the person/thing to be read and prayers to Maitreya, the Buddha of the Coming Age. To create the mandala, he must have the person/thing present or it must be a person/thing that he knows well. As this reading is based on one's karmic path, actions of great "merit" in either the negative or positive sense can change the future Yonten foresees. Actions of great merit could be either saving a school of kids or unleashing starved tigers inside said school.
Vajra Mind - 2 - The Bodhisattvas were the greatest scholars of humanity (even teaching Brahma and Indra in the Pali Canon.) They had knowledge on future ages, the aeons past, the realms of the gods and the void of space. Yonten, as the mind-descendant of one of Buddhism's greatest lineages of saints and sages, can ask his predecessors to provide information on a question at hand, provided he pay obeisance to them first. This also grants him a Mental Defense which is uniquely strong against suggestions that would cause him to break his Vinaya vows.
Enlighten Others - 1 - Yonten can temporarily provide to others the serenity that he personifies, even beyond his general aura of peace. He can also, once a day, grant another person his Karmic Destiny power to use for a number of hours equal to his Enlighten Others power, if they are already within a state of calm.
Walk the Noble Path - 2 - Perhaps the greatest of the powers granted to the Sakya Trizin, Yonten can perform any of the miraculous acts legendarily ascribed to Siddhartha Gautama (within the canon of Mahayana Buddhism.)
Things that cause problems for your character, often side effect of your powers (or of having your powers), not necessary. Not just 'limitations' of your powers.
- The Strength of Vows (Mild) - Yonten's powers stem entirely from his position as the Sakya Trizin, Lama of the Gray Monastery. If Yonten were to willingly break any of his Vinaya vows binding him to monkhood, he would lose access to all of his powers until he performed one of the prescribed Penitent's Actions listed in the Tripitaka.
List everything your character carries on their person here. Be reasonable.
- Walking stick with mantras carved into the wood and prayer flags wrapped around the top.
- A small brazen prayer wheel.
- A collection of studies on the Lamdre by his mind-ancestor Drokmi
- A Sylvia Plath poetry compilation (Yonten is going through American poetry chronologically, and has just gotten to Confessionalism)
- Three bags of colored flour (one red, one blue, and one orange)
- A small straw broom
- A pen and paper pad for recording things Yonten finds interesting.
- A thermos with two small metal cups attached (usually filled with butter tea)
- A Nokia phone (even monks make concessions to easy communications)
And everything that they keep in their dorm at SunnyBrook. Anything that's not listed here or in the section above will be difficult for the character to retrieve.
- Handmade Thangka paintings featuring Bodhisattvas and Buddhas on the walls.
- Old analog alarm clock
- Large collection of manuscripts and scrolls in a bewildering variety of tongues
- 1 extra pair of sandals
- A thick bamboo mat for sleeping and meditating spread on the floor.
- 3 extra sets of dull ocher sheets and underclothing and 1 extra gray sheet of office
Born in the provincial herding city of Arvaikheer to a semi-nomadic family of tradespeople at the exact dying moment of the previous Sakya Trizin, Lama Gendun Drup, Yonten was identified as the new head of the Sakya School of Vajrayana Buddhism by monks from the nearby Erdene Zuu Monastery at the tender age of 3 through the traditional method of toy-identification. He was sent by his parents on recommendation from the monks to the ancient and storied center of the Pale Earth school, the Pel Sakya Monastery. There he was groomed to become the religious leader of the group, studying and meditating alongside the usual chores of a young monk, until he became 13, when he received a prophetic dream. He saw the Adibuddha on his left side, Maitreya on his right side and Siddhartha Gautama in front of him. The first two granted him the ability to see through the illusion of time, call upon those who walked before him, and teach others to follow the Middle Path. Then they departed, leaving him alone with Siddhartha. Siddhartha told him that he had a great task appointed to him, to find the next heir to the Jonang legacy (lost since the 12th century). He told him that he would not find them in the Dharmalands of Tibet, Nepal, India, China and Mongolia, but that he would have to seek them in the sunset. Before he left, he also granted Yonten a gift, the ability to use the same Great Acts that the Buddha himself did. At first, Yonten was distraught. How would he find the Hidden Heir in the West? He knew nothing of the place and would not know where to begin. He threw himself into his studies, hoping to maybe find an allegorical answer to his vision within the texts of the Pel Sakya Great Library. Two years later, he was contacted by the GWU after public displays of miracles, like redirecting a whole river to protect a village downstream. Yonten then understood that this was what the dream meant, he would go to the place of magicians and superhumans to discover the Hidden Heir, his mind-relative and fellow bodhisattva.
Yonten knows a staggering amount of languages, including the Mongolian, Russian, and Chinese common to Mongolian citizens, the Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Vietnamese, and Japanese common to monks, and English, French, and German, the languages he learned in preparation for his Western journey.
Yonten can sing the Tibetan holy chant of King Gesar (20 million words in more than 1 million verses) in its entirety. He uses both of his vocal cords at the same time while singing.
Yonten shares the usual Himalayan predilection for butter tea, often solely subsisting on tea while spending days in prayers.
Yonten's favorite animal is a snow leopard.