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Xian are people or entities with either extreme longevity or immortality, typically as a result of spiritual enlightenment. This often manifests in the development of mystic qualities in the form of magical powers and psychokinetic abilities. They have dwelled primarily in the Yaojing region since even before its establishment and greatly involved ore referenced in its culture and history.    


  There are two major varieties of Xian   Xianren, "illuminated immortal person", this term is typically used for people who ascended to their state through Wudaoist cultivation practices such as internal alchemy, ascetic mediation, and martial arts. They have magical powers, can fly freely through the air, and have a close connection to bith heaven and world.   Xianshou, "illuminated immortal beast" or "auspicious beast", refers to animals and beasts who have or are capable of reaching enlightenment and manifesting preternatural abilities. Some creatures are inherently xianshou such as the Qilin, and others have become xianshou through external means such as the Drakains.


Xi'an Shen is the name of a Yaojing martial art of mythical and legendary proportions. It is said to have been used by the immortal mountain hermits of  myth, and is centered on the exercise and mastery of one's chi. Despite linguistic usage, Xi'an Shen is merely a Jianghese umbrella term used to refer to various arts said to guide and refine one into becoming a Xian. Though its lore and mythology are up to debate on whether such ways truly do allow people to become Xian, Xi'an origins tie in deeply with the Yaojing arts, including the chi centered arts of Neidan (internal alchemy) and Qigong.  The mastery of such school's ways of living were said to allow one to carefully balance their being to allow them the secret to immortality.    Esoteric and majorly unknown in its regards to its practices to the masses, these arts are hinted to revolve around drawing upon the latent power within oneself and learning how to communicate with force behind both the heavens and the earth. Training and study of Xian Shen, also known colloquially as cultivation, is described to be extremely rigorous, demanding, and a vast investment of time, desiring only those who are willing to learn its secrets in the years needed to master it.


Mastering any of the legendary practices were said to grant the practitioner fantastical powers; such powers manifest most commonly as superhuman strength, prowess and agility, as well as increased longevity and effectively immortality. A Xian can manifest their chi into corporeal form with ease and project it as psychic abilties or they can contain it within themselves to transcend the need for bodily sustenance and withstand environmental/ atmospheric conditions too extreme for a normal member of their kind.

Affected Groups

Inherent Xianshou species or creatures include
  • Qilin
  • Pheonix and relatives
  • Longma
  • Xiezhi
  • Longryu clan of Drakain
  • Jinwu/Sun Crow
  • Pixiu
  • Luan


Xian are mostly endemic to Jianghu's claim to the Yaojing region, their earliest recordings being detailed in literature from the ancient Zhenxun civilization from before the Ghulat Wars. Various creatures were said to have properties like those of xian, namely transcending natural limitations like aging or need for sustenance. The people there attempted to emulate the natural xian in order to attain their apparent immortality. Thus methods such as inner alchemy and qi cultivation became developed and eventually codified into complex methods and procedures and becoming a xian was associated with ascended to higher planes of existence like the heavens. Certain individuals have attempted to cultivate qi for immortality – often seeking eternal life and the pinnacle of strength. Often this involved cultivators secluding from society as hermits into nature or engage in fierce and usually deadly struggles to acquire the resources they need to grow stronger.   Such people generally also are said to develop special psychic and magical powers. Generally, these abilities are said to develop through such practices of inner alchemy or obtaining an elixir of life, and/or various austerities of diet or sexuality. Basically any known racial group can become a xian, regardless of being a human, spirit, animal, henge, fay.   Henge have a special tie to the processes that can elevate one to a xian. Many legends involve the gods of old or xian themselves transforming animals into henge, intentionally or otherwise.

Cultural Reception

Xian have been long ingrained in the Yaojing region, especially cultures that would form the nation that would become Jianghu in the modern era. They bring to mind a man who is like a mountain as a distant or transcendent figure. And indeed, the term was originally used to refer to ascetics & hermits who would retreat from society and live up in the mountains. In the precursor of Jianghu, in ancient Zhenxun, these strange and reclusive mountain men were ascribed mystic qualities, perhaps out of fear and awe of the unknown.    Stories of xian are common in Jianghu like the Baxian, a particularly famous group of Wudao xian in Zhenxun mythology. Sometimes called the Eight Immortals, they are a diverse group of individuals, representing different status groups of society for the time. They each possessed a magic tool which are collectively called the “Eight Treasures”.
Chronic, Acquired & Congenital

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12 Dec, 2021 07:20

I'm a sucker for this sort of soul cultivation and fun kind of immortality. Great stuff :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
25 Dec, 2021 00:01

I've been recently introduced to the xianxia subgenre of chinese fantasy novels and media and I'm trying to learn the ropes, tropes, and what makes people like it so I can show the essence of it properly.