Straight to it.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Ninja Crusade - The Outsiders: Straight to it.

This PDF is only 13 pages long and wastes no time whatsoever. We jump straight into the first of three minor clans: The Crawling Magpies, AKA the Doro Clan, the Swamp People and the Mud-Eaters. They practice Dragon and Snake styles, and their jutsu is the Way of Restless Earth. They get +1 Intimidation, +1 Perception, +1 Stealth and +1 Survival, as well as +1 Yin. See, when the Crusade began, the Army burned down a small mining village named Okasu. The villagers weren't ninja, but they did resist the Imperial advance and had valuable resources. Two of the villagers, the siblings Rinji and Una Kita, hid a cache of supplies in the local swamp and rescued as many townsfolk as they could. The brother and sister knew not to trust the Empire and had long prepared for this possibility, vowing that they would protect their next home better than the town had been.

Over the next few years, the two foraged in the countryside and stole from the new, more Imperial inhabitants of Okasu. It didn't take them long to become master thieves, and after a few years, the Okasu Guard were forced to negotiate with a new gang - the Crawling Magpies, who demanded offerings and supplies in return for no more theft. The gang, now a clan, focused their attention on bigger hauls. These self-taught ninja began robbing Imperial convoys, to get more resources and reputation. The first raid was a massive success, but caused heightened security that made the next two disasters. The Magpies decided they needed teachers. They found several Ronin, having them come to their hidden swamp village and train them in ki usage, combining this with their mastery of the swamps to develop new, specialized jutsu.

The Kita siblings are now dead, but are still revered as the clan's founders. A tree in the center of the Doro village is named Kit's Tree to honor them. The Empire, after one heist, attempted to cut down and burn out the swamp, but the Magpies drove them off while remaining hidden. This is important - the Recoiling Serpents would destroy them utterly if they knew the group existed. The Empire knows there are ninja in the swamp, but rarely take the time to differentiate between the Magpies and the Serpents. Guards are posted on common swamp entrances to contain the clan, but are often murdered. The size and harshness of the swamps make it hard for the Empire to search, too.

The Magpies have a unique perspective, thanks to the dangers of their swampy home. They've made it more dangerous, adding pitfalls and traps to the quicksand, giant lizards, diseases and other hazards of the swamp. They use their home to their advantage, able to make daring raids and then fall back without caring about pursuit. So far, no one has ever gotten to their village without their explicit help in doing so, and those few visitors could never retrace the route. The village's name is Zhazo, and it was originally just a hut on stilts, but has expanded to several raised structures and treehouses. The clan use the high vantage to watch for signs of invaders. They are deeply attached to their swamp in northern Triumph Province, and are taught to navigate it from childhood. Small offshoot villages have sprung up in other provinces but rarely survive long - the Magpies don't know the land as well and can't hide from the major clans there. Other clans tend to look down on them as robbers that can easily screw things up for every one, after all. They originally approached the Serpents for treaties, but the Serpents have taken to killing Magpies for sport as a message about who owns Triumph.

The Zhazo survive on trade, thievery and local support. They hate the Empire, but their primary concern is surviving day to day. They try to spread dissent and distrust of the Empire when they can, however, and they joined the Lotus Coalition...but mostly for the resources rather than out of any desire to help the other clans. They often work with other clans to achieve mutual goals, but avoid the Serpents at all cost when possible. When the war ends, the Doro plain to maintain their swampy home. They've adjusted to living there and can't imagine leaving. They want to work with other clans to resolve the old conflicts and stay united, and would happily see the Empire entirely replaced. They see themselves as on the side of justice, but will happily steal, murder and destroy to achieve their ends.

The Gift of the Doro is that they know their swampy home better than anyone, even the Recoiling Serpents. They get +1 to any checks when in a swamp environment, or +2 if it's a Survival check. Their Trigger is that they're a little overtrusting. They grow up pretty much entirely among friends and family that need to work together to survive, and betrayal is a shock for them. The party gains 1 Karma when they discover someone they trusted has now betrayed them.

Potential Contacts: Horigume Maru (Intuition), a local flower shop owner who uses rare swamp flowers brought to her by ninja traders. Okamura Yoshitomo (Fighting), a former Silver Blade who betrayed the Empire to remain loyal to his wife after discovering she was a ninja. Doro Chie (Perform), a shell game specialist and entertainer who hopes to take her show on the roado ne day. Hatayama Shogo (Perception), a village lookout with amazingly keen eyes, who is a secret ninja. Higo Kiyomitsu (Fortitude), a poisonmaker who tends to test his work on his own body. Imaizumi Sen (Intimidation), a cutthroat magistrate who is known to take bribes in some situations. Bonds:

The Way of Restless Earth is actually a Water-elemental jutsu, because it's all about controlling the swamp. On a Boost during activation, you get +2 Movement and +1 Initiative while in a swamp. On a Backfire, you get either Poisoned 1 (for Yang) or Dazed 1 (for Yin).
Basic Jutsu
Bog Touch (Yang+Crafts): You turn stone and rock into mud with a touch, affecting several feet of material. A Knowledge+Crafts check will reveal what part of a building is most vulnerable to this.
Instant Submerging (Yin+Crafts): You touch something, instantly sinking it to the bottom of the swamp. The Difficulty to find it for anyone but you is reduced(??? that's what it says but it should be increased) by a fair amount.
Mud Walk (Yin+Discipline): You touch a piece of organic(??? it means inanimate) matter and pass through it as if it were mud. You have half Movement and can only stay in it while holding your breath. On a Boost, you may affect several others with this, too.
Nature's Cloak (Yang+Survival): You coat yourself in mud or dirt, becoming near invisible while outdoors. This lasts until you speak, attack, use a different jutsu, go indoors or otherwise draw attention to yourself. You can reuse this without extra chi if you find a new hiding spot. You get +2 Stealth, but halved Movement.
Powerful Lung Technique (Yin+Fortitude): You may hold your breath for the rest of the scene. This ends if you try to speak or take more than (Yin) physical damage in one hit. On a Boost, you can do one of those two things without ending the jutsu.

Median Jutsu
Deadly Swim (Yang+Athletics): You must have Nature's Cloak. When in water or mud over 3 feet deep, you may grapple a foe and use this jutsu to drag the target into the water and constrict them like a snake while rolling like an alligator. The target takes 3 damage per Round while in the Grapple. On a Boost, they also get -2 to break the Grapple.
Fever of the Swamp (Yin+Holistics): You strike a single target at Near range with a magical fever that causes nausea and hallucinations. They resist with Fortitude once per round to tell what's real amidst the illusory marsh horrors. On a failure, they lose 1 Dynamic Action per Round for several Rounds and get Dazed 1 and Confused 1. Even on a success, they get Confused 1.
Friend of the Swamp (Yang+Persuasion): You connect yourself to the swamp and bring it to life. For several Rounds, the land itself will fight for you, sending bugs or driftwood and detritus at the foe. You get a number of +1 bonuses or -1 penalties that you can apply to people in the Battle.
Mud Touch (Yang+Crafts): You must have Bog Touch. You attack using the activation to touch a foe, and must be Dodged. If you hit, you do +1 damage per point of the target's Armor and reduce their Armor by 1.
Sinking Attack (Yin+Discipline): You must have Instant Submerging. You may now touch someone to drag them beneath the swamp, resisted by Strength, but they get -1 per point of Armor they are wearing. The get Deprived 1 each Round they are submerged, passing out and floating to the surface at Deprived 5.

Advanced Jutsu
All to Mud (Yang+Crafts): You must have Mud Touch and Nature's Cloak. You turn every non-living thing in a wide area into mud, even weapons, armor and parts of buildings. This does not affect anything you're carrying or wearing, nor any magical or master-crafted weapons or armor.
Body of Mud (Yin+Fortitude): You must have Mud Walk. You turn into a person made of mud, able to seep through cracks or up pipes at a Movement based on Yin and -4 Initiative. You may suffocate others with Grapple checks, getting +2 to Initiate Grapple and causing Deprived (Air) 1 with each Action you take to do so. You take only half damage from physical attacks that aren't Water-aspected. This lasts for several Rounds.
One with the Swamp (Yin+Persuasion): You must have Friend of the Swamp. The swamp supports your actions. For several Rounds, any 1s you roll are counted as 10s while in a swamp.
Rain of the Gods (Yang+Survival): You create a rainstorm that lasts several minutes, dropping lots of rain and mud and lightning. Anyone that isn't a Magpie that is caught in the storm gets Confused 2 and Sensory Loss (Sight) 1. After 1 Round, the area is considered a swamp for all purposes and gives +1 to Restless Earth jutsu. It will return to its normal environment the next day.
The Start of All Life (Yin+Survival): You must have Fever of the Swamp. You submerge a wound in swamp water to heal it, recovering 1 damage of either type for every 5 minutes submerged. All Bleeding, Poisoned and Injured conditions are also reduced by 1 every 5 minutes after you run out of damage to heal.

Next time: Another clan of bug ninja.

Ant Man

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Ninja Crusade - The Outsiders: Ant Man

The Harmonious Swarm are also known as the Mushi Clan, the Bugs and the Swarm. They practice Horse and Scorpion styles (Scorpion being a style from Firebrands) and their jutsu is the Way of the Hive Life. They get Deception +1, Empathy +1, Knowledge +1 and Might +1, plus +1 Yin. Originally, the Swarm were a small band of five or six Ronin who grew sick of wandering, but did not want to have the political, structure life of others. They decided they needed power, but had to deal with the fact that several were criminals or had burned bridges with the major clans. One morning, however, they found a series of anthills, swarming with thousands of identical ants. It was thus they were enlightened: they could find safety in conformity, infiltrating the human hive by disguisng themselves as normal people.

The Swarm studied the ants for months, learning how to take advantage of safety in numbers and how to meet the expectations of others, as well as developing the jutsu they would need. The fledgling clan remained small but vital in their communities, assuming a number of roles ot strengthen the local economy and their own safety. Some even set themselves up as leaders, directing things from the shadows. Thus, the Mushi evaded clan conflict and Imperial notice. They knew, however, that it could not last. So they joined a new hive to hide in - the Lotus Coalition, to keep their small membership safe. They focus on keeping ordered, safe communities now, both to fight the Empire and prepare for after the war.

The Mushi dress in whatever is normal for the community they infiltrate. They do their best never to stand out, fighting with subtle tools and threats. They have learned both conformity and ferocity from the insects they emulate, and they are unrelenting when attacked. That is why they joined the Coalition, andn ow they live among every kind of people, able to strike and fade back into anonymity. Most of them are charming, personable people that can easily slip between roles. However, it is only among other ninja that they can be themselves, and they tend to seek out other ninja or volunteer for dangerous missions in order to hang with ninja. They are a small clan, with no more than a handful active in any given area at a time and with too fragmented an infrastructure to provide much support. Other clans find it hard to trust the Swarm, too. They could be anyone, anywhere, at any time, and so exterminating them would be very hard. Worse, they aren't the most human people around, and some worry about how insectile they have become, or worry that they might put their own interests above the war effort.

The Mushi claim they want a peaceful, hidden life, free from influence. They claim they want a stronger society for the benefit of all. They claim to have the most noble intentions. In truth, what they actually want is control. They find safety in groups, but they always manipulate events to favor them if they can avoid getting caught. They want to survive, above all else, and will do anything for that. The Coalition is ultimately a means to survive. The Empire is powerful, yes, but the Crusade is too great a threat to ignore. Thus, the Harmonious Swarm plans to devote all resources to the destruction of the Izou Empire, then retreat back into their hiding to survive.

The Gift of the Mushi is that they know everyone. Every single one knows many people as friends and can hide just about anywhere. They get +2 Travel when on a Journey and get an additional Ally during chargen. Further, their bonus from involving Allies is +3 rather than +2. Their Trigger? They're cowards. The Swarm want to survive first, idealism is a distant second. Others distrust them, for good reason. The party gains 1 Karma when their temperance causes conflict.

Potential Contacts: Kashiwagi Gihei (Might), a sumo wrestler rising to the top. Mushi Toshie (Survival), a Swarm ninja who has spent most of her time learning how to blend into animal collectives rather than human ones. Kido Nobuatsu (Knowledge), a fisherman who has discovered several new species of fish. Iseya Kinnojo (Persuade), an advisor to a local mayor and a man loyal first to his village, even before the Emperor. Harada Mae (Athletics), a woman who is said to have swam across the Western Ocean to the Land of Crashing Waves without using any jutsu. Mizoguchi Oharu (Marksman), a knife-throwing performer of great skill. Bonds:

The Way of Hive Life is an Earth-elemental jutsu focusing on connecting with and assimilating to groups. On a Boost during activation, you get either +1 Empathy or +1 Persuade, your choice. On a Backifre, you get either Confused 1 or Dazed 1.
Basic Jutsu
Eyes Everywhere (Yang+Survival): You link to the insects in the area, getting a bonus to your next Perception skill against Stealth due to their senses.
Infiltrate the Hive (Yin+Empathy): You tune yourself to a society, getting +1 to any checks to integrate with that group. This does not affect any combat checks and cannot be used if you are already a member of that group or society.
Insect Mind (Yin+Discipline): You assume the mindset of an insect. You get +2 against fear or awe and +1 against pain.
Stronger Together (Yang+Persuade): You synchronize with your allies. Support checks made by the party may now benefit from a number of extra helpers, each adding another +2 to the roll.
Unspoken Communication (Yin+Knowledge): You communicate a message to the target, no longer than a sentence, entirely using facial tics. Your target instinctively knows exactly what you are communicating.

Median Jutsu
Defense Mechanism (Yin+Survival): If you are in a Battle and have at least two other allies, you may activate this. The next attack that would target you within Near range must instead target one of your allies. On a Boost, this lasts for the next two attacks instead.
Fly on the Wall (Yang+Perception): You must have Eyes Everywhere. You may view events up to a mile away, as long as there is an insect nearby. You must completely concentrate while doing so and can take no other actions. On a Boost, you also get sound.
One of the Swarm (Yin+Empathy): You must have Infiltrate the Hive. You alter your appearance, clothing included, to appear as a totally average, nondescript member of a particular group or society. Small and tight-knit groups may not be fooled, if they know every other member of the group, but you will still change appearance.
Poking the Wasp's Nest (Yang+Marksman): You send a swarm of insects against someone at Near range as an attack with the activation. This can only be Dodged. If they hit, they initiate a Grab using your stats, but at -1. If the target breaks the Grapple, the swarm disperses. On a Boost, you may make another reflexive activation check to keep your hold on the first dispersal, but a second will still end it.
Silent Sting (Yang+Stealth): You may activate this as an attack from hiding. The target gets -2 to resist due to your speed. If you hit, the target takes damage normally and must make a Fortitude+Athletics check to not take 3 more damage and Poisoned 2 due to bug toxins.

Advanced Jutsu
Aiding the Hive (Yang+Persuade): You must have Stronger Together. You tie yourselves to your allies in an hour-long ritual. For the Battle, the party gains 1 Karma whenever one of the affected characters takes an Action to help another, such as moving to protect an ally, distracting a foe from an ally, or healing an ally.
Bug in the Ear (Yang+Persuade): You must have Unspoken Communication. You make one of your statements magically addictive. The target can think of nothing but what you said to them for several hours.
Infestation (Yang+Empathy): You must have Insect Mind and Poking the Wasp's Nest. You create two copies of yourself made out of bugs. They cannot speak, but can fight, acting on your Initiative. All of you must perform the same Actions and Defenses. Each has 4 Health, and you may transfer damage you take to the copies. They cannot take Conditions. They vanish at the end of the Battle.
One with the Colony (Yin+Empathy): You must have One of the Swarm. You assert yourself as the mystic leader of your group, forming a limited hive mind with the party. At the start of each Round, you choose one ally. You and the ally get an extra Dynamic Action that Round.
Hive vs the World (Yang+Intuition): You must have Defense Mechanism. You align your spirit with your allies, getting a number of bonus dice equal to twice your number of current allies, max 10 dice. You may spend these at any time during the Battle to boost your rolls or add them to the Karma pool one for one.

Next time: Hair metal ninja.


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Ninja Crusade - The Outsiders: HAIR FIGHT

The Wicked Quills are also known as the Kami Clan, the Whiskers and the Quills. They practice Bear and Eagle styles and use the Way of the Piercing Jacket as their unique kung fu. They get Crafts +1, Fortitude +1, Holistics +1, Perform +1 and +1 Yang. The Kami clan has always existed in a state of trouble. They live in a small strip of land between the Land of Seed and Blossom and the Izou Empire, which officially belongs to neither. During original conquest of Seed and Blossom, the Kami fought against the Izou and helped stave them off for a few extra years. However, during the occupation, the Wicked Quill leaders were replaced by less honorable and more corrupt sorts, believers in might-makes-right. If the Izou could take the Land, it was theirs, they saw...though they were happy to keep raiding.

The Wicked Quills take great interest in both the Ninja Crusade and the Blossom Uprising. They aren't sure which to join. They could side with the Lotus Coalition against the Emperor in hopes of making allies for later. Or they could help the Blossom ninja, who see them as the same kind of vaguely treacherous, rather estranged cousins as the Bamboo Herbalists. That could get them into their good graces - but without an Immortal's blessing, they'd always be second class to the seven Blossom clans.

The Kami fight cosntantly, even from youth. They're masters of winning against impossible odds. They also never cut their hair, and indeed, it is considered blasphemous to do so. Many Quills captured by the Izou are disgraced by being shaved before they are hanged - in part because they learn to control every follicle on their bodies. However, anyone that can seize that control from them does earn some of their respect. Their land is known as Mitsuami, the Braids, and it's a long strip along the Blossom/Izou border, full of streams and game to hunt and eat. It'd be great, if they weren't fighting basically every day with Izou soldiers. They tend not even to move the corpses, instead leaving them out to warn trespassers.

The Quills have ruled Mitsuami for a long time, but it's not a big piece of land. They want to broaden their territory, and don't especially care if they have to take Izou or Blossom land to do it. They don't ever take prisoners, either. They border on Bamboo Herbalist and Crystal Bearer land, so neither clan is especially fond of them, and they hold an old grudge against the Hidden Strands for stealing some of their techniques. Honestly, they treat everyone as a potential foe until proven otherwise.

The Gift of the Kami is that they're used to being the underdog. With a look, they can instantly tell if someone is more or less powerful than them, and broadly by how much. By spendng 1 ki, they can then raise one of their combat bonuses of their choice to match that of their foe for one Battle. However, they can only have one such bonus at a time. Their Trigger is that they aren't known for being nice. Even at their best, they are uncivilized. They revere strength over all else. The party gains 1 Karma when showing their strength causes problems rather than solving them.

Potential Contacts: Iwasa Kaneko (Crafts), a jewel appraiser who'll pay anything for a certain priceless gem. Marugo Hanae (Speed), a hunter who's able to take down even the fastest prey and who likes to share her take with her friends. Kami Kantaro (Holistics), a ninja known for collecting cadavers and preserving them for battle practice and testing his blade. Fujita Nao (Deception), a wealthy noblewoman who has put a bounty on her cheating husband and who has many secrets of her own. Fujito Yozo (Travel), a man falsely accused of treason, now on the run and willing to trade his expertise in getting around the Empire for protection. Inao Sanetomo (Discipline), a champion Go player who has never lost a match due to his immense focus. Bonds:

The Way of the Piercing Jacket is a Wood-elemental jutsu that teaches how to control your hair. On a Boost, you get +1 Intimidation against anyone that can see you. On a Backfire, you get -2 to Initiative.
Basic Jutsu
Like Hands (Yin+Fortitude): Your hair grows up to 10 feet and can be used as easily as your hands. You can make any skill check with only your hair at a -2, and can make them out to Near range. On a Boost, you get no penalty.
Needle Shower (Yang+Marksman): Your hair becomes needles that fire off your body, attacking everything in a 20 foot radius with the activation. Everyone in that range must Dodge or take 2 damage. You may spend any amount of ki to fire the attack off that many extra times with the same exact roll, requiring multiple Defense checks.
Protective Coat (Yang+Fortitude): You harden your body hair into a protective shell, gaining Armor 1 agianst physical attacks and immunizing you to any effect requiring a touch.
Split Ends (Yang+Fighting): You make your hair much deadlier, dealing +1 damage for several attacks. On a Boost, it lasts the entire Battle. (Obviously, your hair can be used as an unarmed attack if it's long enough. That's just normal.)
Tool for the Job (Yang+Crafts): Your hair grows and hardens into a shape that can replicate any tool you need. This can be used several times before it becomes just hair again.

Median Jutsu
Cocoon Atttack (Yin+Fighting): You touch someone and send your hair to capture them tightly. You give up all your Actions for the Round, but your target can do nothing but try to escape. After the first Round, they can make a Strength check against your activation to get free, and you can spend Dynamic Actions to give them a -1 penalty per Action spent. If they succeed, they're free. If they fail, you can give up your Actions again for the same effect. This can last for up to several Rounds.
Long and Luxurious (Yang+Fortitude): You make your hair beautiful. You get +2 to Persuade and your social attacks cause Confused 1 on a Boost.
Razor Jacket (Yin+Fortitude): You must have Needle Shower and Protective Coat. Your hair grows all over your body in the form of sharp spikes and a cocoon with Health based on your Yin. While inside, you can take no physical ACtions. Most ranged attacks are negated entirely, and anyone attacking in melee must make a Dodge check to avoid being struck by hair spikes. If you use this with a Deflect Attack dynamic action, the first Dodge is harder. This lasts until you end it or the cocoon is destroyed.
Strong Roots (Yang+Fortitude): You may use your hair to assist in feats of strength. For the rest of the scene, your Strength is tripled. On a Boost it is quadrupled instead.
Whip of My Own (Yang+Crafts): You must have Tool for the Job. Your hair extends out to 10 feet long, and you can use it as a whip, but it also has Brutal on top of its normal qualities. It cannot be cut by any means and is razor thing.

Advanced Jutsu
All Tangled Up (Yin+Survival): Your hair extends everywhere within a wide area, tangling all it touches. Anyone in the are gets Slowed 1, which goes up by 1 every time they take a Move action. They may spend an Action to make a check to struggle with the hair, lowering Slowed by 1 on a success.
Sewn Shut (Yang+Holistics): You seal your wounds with hair, healing 2 dmaage and lowering Bleeding, Injured or Broken. You can use this on another, but the conditions aren't lowered by as much.
Stranglehold (Yin+Athletics): You must have Whip of my Own. You force the target's hair to lengthen and wrap itself around their throat for as long as you concentrate. They may resist with an Action and a Yang+Fortitude check against your activation. Each time they fail, they take damage and, after two failures, Deprived 1 each time.
Unbreakable (Yang+Fortitude): Your hair becomes entirely unbreakable, period, no matter what. If you use this with Razor Jacket or Cocoon Attack, you increase the Health of the hair coccoons but don't make them unbreakable.
Whiplash Assault (Yang+Fortitude): You must have Razor Jacket. You launch your hair off in all directions as an attack with the activation, hitting anything in a wide area for 3 damage that ignores 2 Armor. Anyone or anything not tied down then flies into the air as you start spinning and dragging them around, doing another 3 damage from hitting stuff.

The End!

So, what do you guys want next - Firebrands or Truth and Lies?