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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: NINJAS!!!  (Read 11158 times)
Jaeger
Member

Posts: 73


« on: August 12, 2003, 05:04:18 PM »

If it takes place in a feudal Japan like setting then it has to have ninjas.

  And if your gonna have Ninjas in your game it should be done right.

 This is the most authentic online resource I've yet come across...

   http://www.realultimatepower.net
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2003, 07:03:22 PM »

I split this thread from the must-read Samurai thread...

Quote from: Jaeger
If it takes place in a feudal Japan like setting then it has to have ninjas.

  And if your gonna have Ninjas in your game it should be done right.

 This is the most authentic online resource I've yet come across...

   http://www.realultimatepower.net


Okay, so I had to double-take this, because at first I thought it was serious (then I saw the sight). But it brings up an important point--to what degree should Ninja (The Plural of Ninja is NINJA! If you say "Ninjas" you lose one point of HONOR and must roll on the NINJA UNSPEAKABLE DISGRACE CHART or die!) be included in the heretofore unnamed TROS-Japan book? Thoughts? I want reasons for each idea, too, not just "NINJAS ARE COOL!"

And remember, the plural of Ninja is Ninja.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2003, 08:52:44 PM »

Ninja were a reality of Ancient Japan, so of course they should be present in any game that attempts to model reality.

A lot of funky mystic powers were attributed to Ninja, but in reality they were just extremely good at what they did (infiltration, spying and assassination, primarily) and they used fear and exadurated rumors to keep people afraid of all their mystic abilities. On the other hand, Weyrth actually has magic, so there's no reason that the Ninja of Tengoku couldn't have some minor forms of magic, but (and it's a big but, Jennifer Lopez sized even) the primary thing to keep in mind about Ninja is that they were subtle and mysterious - they were not the "run around in full daylight in a black gi tossing shuriken and engaging in sword duels" that they're often presented as.

What is a ninja? It's someone very very highly trained in certain skills and with very high "dexterity-style" attributes (Agility, Wit etc). They're well trained in different forms of combat, are very good at the magicians trick of distraction, and probably they have special tricks such as exploding gas pellets (made with dirty gunpowder) and the like to make folk think they have magic. And that's probably all that needs to be said, to be honest, unless you like the idea of Weyrth Ninja somehow having real magic.

But subtle is the key. For gods sake, don't turn them into D&D ninja.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
prophet118
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2003, 09:58:50 PM »

a friend of mine showed me that ninja site a few months ago... we laughed our asses off for about a week...

i understand about ninja, but for someone to come up with a website of that design, and lack of intelligence... is awe inspiring.
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Tony Irwin
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2003, 12:21:19 AM »

Quote from: Jake
But it brings up an important point--to what degree should Ninja (The Plural of Ninja is NINJA! If you say "Ninjas" you lose one point of HONOR and must roll on the NINJA UNSPEAKABLE DISGRACE CHART or die!) be included in the heretofore unnamed TROS-Japan book? Thoughts? I want reasons for each idea, too, not just "NINJAS ARE COOL!"


My experience in L5R is that as soon as you introduce ninja into a samurai game either people want to be ninja, or people want to fight ninja, or just exalt in the coolness of ninja by dragging ninja associations into the game: "Our Lord is dead! Its a ninja attack!" or "My guy always wears a black kimono with no markings", or "I always sleep with a tanto under my mattress in case of Ninja".  

It can take ages to get it out your system. Ninja were just too powerful an icon in my youth and that of everyone I've ever role-played with. Japan - Ninja, Ninja - Japan. It goes together, and it can quickly force Samurai right out of the picture.

Alternatives to the traditional Stephen Hayes style RPG ninja PC (Martial arts monster + kewl sharp assasin weapons + amazing stealth training + esoteric ninja magic) could be

Ninja as NPCs only, providing cool foils for the PCs.

Ninja as a wicked occult force. Anyone performing sorcerous actions is effectively doing Ninja things and would be branded as such.

Anyone performing espionage or sabotage is effectively doing Ninja things and would be branded as such. Espionage & sabotage specialists may or may not live in hidden Ninja clans.

Tony

--------
edited because I kept adding an "s" after "ninja"
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Jaeger
Member

Posts: 73


« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2003, 12:37:02 AM »

What unspeakable disgrace must I suffer? I rolled a 5 on 1d6.

Seriously though...

   I would like it if none of the modern mysticism attributed to ninjas nowdays made it into the final game. Most of the books I've read on the subject basically say ninja/shinobi were basically espionage/sabotage/assassin type agents. And quite frankly no different, or more skilled than thier european equivalents.
 
 "Ninja" should not get any special magic or abilities. The only reason I could find that so much is made of them, is because of the way they stand out in comparison to the rest of the rigid feudal japanese society. They get far too much credit just for having cool outfits.

Oh, "the site" is a place you can go on the web - "the sight" is what Ms. Cleo has.
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Rattlehead
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Posts: 159


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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2003, 12:47:37 AM »

First, I want to agree with Brian on most of what he said.

Second, I think that since it is a fantasy game with magic, that ninja should be allowed to have magic.

Third, since they would be magic using characters, the priorities would have to be spent on them and they would be rare as PCs. And the GM should make them rare as NPCs, obviously.

Fourth, I think there should be a different kind of magic for the "oriental" style areas. Perhaps based on the same principles, but different. Thus the ninja magic could be a bit toned down perhaps.

Fifth, why tone it down? Because ninja operated in clans. A lone ninja was unheard of. So, if you have a clan of 50 ninja, and they're as powerful as a "normal" TROS sorcerer, then you've got problems....

Sixth, and last... Why have a seperate flavor of magic? Because the difference between east and west is a broad as night and day. Their myths and legends were completely different and that should be reflected in the game. As a westerner, going to Japan, for example, is as close to visiting another planet as possible without a rocket.

Brandon
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Grooby!
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2003, 06:36:03 AM »

You know, I just learned a bit about these guys, but I'll be darned if I can remember where...

It seems that Ninja weren't in fact Ninja only. It seems that they were almost all formerly Samurai or even disgraced Ronin first! I guess you could say the Ninja were to Samurai what Black Ops/Special Forces are to Rangers.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2003, 07:14:00 AM »

For the record I'm not currently planning on any magic in the Japan book. There will be magic inspired by asian myth, etc. in Sorcery and the Fey, which will, of course, be compatible with TROS Japan, as well as compatible with the main book, but I want all mysticism to be treated as religion is treated in TROS...it takes faith. So there will be no magic except as a GM-controlled "was it even real?" plot device, used as the seer in Rashomon was. The TROS/Tengoku connection will be a smaller part of the book...really more of a "this is what we kept from real Japan, this is what's different, now use the rest of the book as-is" sort of thing.

I think that the idea of using Ninja with a very firm base--Ronin (or similar) spies, assassins, and espionage experts--is the way to go. Not only is it more interesting, but if the book is clear enough on it then the "Ninjas Rock!" people will be happy that there are Ninja in the book. The rest of us that want something more...complicated...can also be very happy. And everyone is happy. Yay!

Good recources? More opinions?

Jake
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tralese
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2003, 07:25:42 AM »

I think Ninja definitely have their place in the Ancient Japan version of ROS.  I don't know that I would go so far as to attribute magical powers to them, but a seperate set of skills would not be a bad idea.
Things that would allow them to do some serious acrobatic things, and some good prestidigitation skills.

As for Magic... well I think there is a place for it if you are thinking  of making it similar to mythical china.  But if you are attempting to replicate more of Japan in the 1800's then it wouldn't really have much of a place.
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Tralese
"Work before you play, BUT PLAY!"
DaGreatJL
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2003, 10:45:55 AM »

While my understanding of such things is limited, my own interpration of ninja was that they evolved from displaced monastaries driven underground by oppresive governments. In becoming covert and adapting to living within society (as opposed to out in the middle of nowhere), they began using their talents proactively, both for their own agendas and for pay. Also, I've always seen being a ninja as more of a mind-set than just someone who's really good at what they do. After all, to use a comic reference, while he is as skilled as any ninja, Wolverine is not a ninja.
So, to conclude, I suggest Ninja should have a philosophy to them, as opposed to just a bunch of sneaky guys who kill for money.
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JL

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Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2003, 11:33:16 PM »

hmmm... IMHO (i'm not here to start a flame war but alot of the misconceptions about Ninja come frome 80's films and are totally inorrect)

A good starting point to find out the history would be:
 
Ninjutsu: History and Tradition
or Essence of Ninjitsu
both by Masaaki Hatsumi

Masaaki Hatsumi soke (leader) of the Bujinkan.  The Bujinkan is a synthisis of 9 historical japanses martial arts (3 of which are ninjutsu based, the others samurai based)  The oldest is Togakure ryu ninjitsu of which he is 34th Grandmaster.

this forum http://www.kutaki.org/modules/newbb also has a history section which may be useful.

When looking for information on ninja samurai a sreach on Bujinkan would be a good start there are some interesting essays on the history linked through some sites.  But be warned there is an awful lot of rubbish spread around as well.

kind regards,
Dan.
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Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2003, 01:29:27 AM »

Quote from: Dan Sellars
When looking for information on ninja samurai a sreach on Bujinkan would be a good start there are some interesting essays on the history linked through some sites.  But be warned there is an awful lot of rubbish spread around as well.


I meant ninja or samurai.  not ninja samurai (I don't even know what they are ;-)

How do you edit existing posts to correct them?

Dan.
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Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2003, 11:27:42 AM »

Quote from: Dan Sellars
I meant ninja or samurai.  not ninja samurai (I don't even know what they are ;-)

How do you edit existing posts to correct them?


Dan,

When you're viewing your own post, you'll find an edit button at the top right. Note that the forum rules (in a sticky at the top of the forum) forbid you from editing a post after someone else has replied to it. This is to prevent confusion where it looks like someone is responding to something you apparently didn't say (because you've edited it out), etc.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Dan Sellars
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2003, 06:22:02 AM »

Thanks for the reply Brian,

I did end up finding the button while on another thread, I wasn't looking then either.

That rule seems fair.  I would put a note on to say I edited it even if no one had replyed.

Cheers,
Dan.
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