Happy Lunar New Year, again!
Last year, we introduced Sun Wukong for the Year of the Monkey (click here for last year’s post). Once again my creativity and madness decided to go into the far end by incorporating two aspects of traditional Chinese mythos and concepts. If’ you’ve loved us for our Santa Claus stats (as a bard or a wizard), you’ll have a nice kick out of this year’s addition with the Year of the Rooster!
This year’s lunar new year is going to be Saturday, January 28th.
Rooster and Phoenix – Enter the Raging Phoenix
The rooster in the Chinese Zodiac is often depicted as amusing, popular within a crowd. Roosters are also considered to be quite active, frank, outspoken, but also loyal and honest. Though said roosters tend to be boostful and prideful as well, they get agitated when not taken seriously.
Most people who are roosters tend to also be quite healthy due to their active lifestyle. Additionally, roosters are quite goal oriented and tend to put their careers as a top priority in their lives. Roosters are multi-talented, hard-working, and adaptable to all sorts of jobs.
All the Zodiac signs undergo an additional layer of depth with Elemental attributes which cycles through the five elements: fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. This year is the year for the Fire Rooster, these type of roosters tend to be trustworthy with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility for work.
The rooster sometimes gets replaced with a bird in similar Asian cultures, the rooster is sometimes replaced with the phoenix or “feng huang” which is sometimes referred to as the “Autumn Rooster”. The phoenix typically represents the sun, eternity, and rebirth. A phoenix dies and is reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. Following the more traditional Eastern interpretations of the phoenix, there is many themes strung with knowledge, celestial bodies like the sun and moon, and prosperity. It is suggested in Chinese traditions that the phoenix would appear in an area or location that was blessed with the utmost happiness or prosperity. The title “King of Birds” was often depicted with a male (feng) and female (huang) phoenix on opposing sides of each other, later the phoenix would come to represent the Empress while the dragon would come to represent the Emperor. The term “fenghuang” would result in the merger of the iconic phoenix forms into a singular unit of power. A house adorned with a phoenix would denote that the people residing within were loyal and honest people. The fenghuang also represented grace and dignity.
In Japan, the fenghuang is refered to as the “ho-oh” which calls back to the term “king of the sun” or the “sun-king” or “the divine king” depending on how you wish to interpret it. Koreans use the term bong huang which means “immortal bird” which essentially beckons closer to Western interpretations of a bird of rebirth and two phoenixes are used in their presidential emblem.
So what does this culture have to do with D&D?
Like our Sun Wukong post from last year, I decided to include a Feng-huang as our Rooster tribute this year. Not as intricate as Sun but definitely as rewarding. I incorporated several of the myths and ideals of a phoenix and then amplified it further with my general level of D&D madness, which was probably astronomical. Loosely inspired from the popular game Borderlands 2, this version of the feng-huang can change its elemental nature and gain some additional utility. The legendary actions were based on the idea of the traits of the Rooster, and the feng-huang summons a group of cockatrice because I’m inherently evil. Enjoy the new year and may it be prosperous for us all!
Homebrewery link for Feng-huang here (you can save it as a PDF now)
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