Art and Music

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ID: 8195


June 7, 2015, 8:57 pm

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Han Yu (Cold Jade)


An ancient Chinese string instrument (guqin being the actual term) adapted to a fantasy setting


An irregular shaped block of white crystalline rock, on top of which six strings of undefined material lay.

Special Property:

The strings of Han Yu exudes a slight chill that can be felt if one passes one’s hand close above them. However, upon actual contract with human flesh, they start to exude mild warmth. This property gave rise to the term * Han Yu Sheng Wen (literally Cold Jade giving birth to warmth) which is used to describe a pleasant surprise.

*This term is based on actual Chinese characters but the term itself doesn’t exist. It is purely made up by the author for the purpose of this sub.


Tunes played from Han Yu have a calming effect on their audiences and also provide them with better mind focus.


When played, coldness is summoned to a radius approximately equal to its maximum hearing range. The drop in temperature is a very gradual process. However, that is not to say that the effect could not be lethal*. The well-known incident in which a gathering between several masters of the guqin, among them Master Plum Blossom who happened to be the owner of Han Yu and was using it to perform his masterpiece “The three variations of plum blossom” at the time, resulted in all attendees being frozen to death remained the most lamented event among those with a true appreciation for music.

*Game mechanics note: The chance of the drawback becoming lethal should not be very high, else this item would be very unbalanced with a mild benefit but potentially lethal drawback. I have the idea that the chance of the drawback becoming lethal would be increasing with the skill of the musician performing with Han Yu.


Reputedly, Han Yu was not made by conventional craftsmanship but rather a product of nature. It was said that the strings of Han Yu were actually morning dew condensed into line form by Snow Spirits who were the original owner of this legendary instrument that have now fallen into mortal hands.


Whenever Han Yu is played, it acts as a beacon to Snow Spirits. Moreover, it not only attracts them but the sound produced from Han Yu acts as an aphrodisiac that put them ‘in heat’. In fact, the drawback of this instrument is entirely attributable to the tendency of this instrument to put Snow Spirits in heat.

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Comments ( 5 )
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Voted valadaar
June 8, 2015, 21:54
I love the - uniqueness - flavor - these submissions have. Would love to see what this would look like - I have a picture in my minds eye - like driftwood made from white jade.

Great stuff!
Voted Murometz
June 11, 2015, 21:17
I love the flavor text here as well. I can sort of "hear" it playing, based on hearing similar-looking instruments played in movies. The only thing that slightly bothers me (very very minor nit-pick) is the switching from "the author" to "Moonlake" to "I" throughout the piece. Love the lore and the peculiar side effect.

Question: if used in warm climate (tropical or sub-tropical) settings how would this side-effect work as far as the elementals? Would it be obsolete?

Love your Chinese-inspired subs!

June 11, 2015, 21:55
Good question, I never thought about this instrument being used in a warm climate but I guess the answer is that it would probably be obsolete based on the assumption that Snow Spirits wouldn't exist in a place that never snows.
Voted Scrasamax
July 2, 2015, 0:00
I think the origin is beautiful, being an auspicious event caused by stone and snow spirits, rather than the works of a craftsman or mage. Chinese mythology has a much more natural and often times more beautiful underlying imagery to it compared to more sweat and toil western interpretations.
Voted axlerowes
July 11, 2015, 0:12
I really liked this idea, it is good footnote for other stories and it was so subtle, like hypothermia itself. I can best sum up the post by saying this is a COOL and WELL PLAYED.

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