A genre of RPG that I never really managed to get into for a long time was that of the Ninja, the Samurai, Medieval Asian settings – I think the reason being that my exposure to the history and culture was poor, it was a world that I found hard to visualise and to understand. But, there were always elements that intrigued me – the honor, heroism, and mysticism of the genre would always have me picking up games and supplements and trying to get my head into the genre. It never quite felt accessible and I think, in truth, I was always slightly nervous of being disrespectful and disingenuous to a cultural heritage that I was in reality very respectful of, but knew little.
Then a couple of years ago I played a single game of Wu-Xing: The Ninja Crusade, run by a friend – I might have opted out of playing that evening but for the fact that the game was produced by Third Eye Games and I already had a love for their game Apocalypse Prevention Inc. As it turned out I played a really great game that evening, the games master did a fantastic job evoking the setting and explaining the back story to newbies like myself.
Basically behind the Ninja Crusade is the idea that a few years ago, a war was waged upon the ninja of the Izou Empire. This “Ninja Crusade” was ordered by the Emperor following the murder of the Empress and poisoning of the young princess. Prior to this, the ninja of the Empire had been allies to the Emperor and his family, helping to protect citizens and keep the peace. But now the Emperor suspecting that ninja had something to do with the tragic events in his family sought terrible vengeance. The ninja, who live divided into discrete clans carving the Empire into numerous rival territories, were uncharacteristically caught unaware and many villages were destroyed by the Empire’s soldiers. The ninja clans now focussed on survival quickly put aside old rivalries and created the “Lotus Coalition”, a group of ninja to lead the rebellion against the Emperor.
We subsequently even gave the game a little plug here at miskatonic.co.uk when it was briefly available as a Pay-What-You-Want on DriveThruRPG (here).
It’s funny how the world sometimes conspires to bring things together. It was, as I said, a few years ago that I played that single evening of Wu-Xing; The Ninja Crusade and I thought nothing of it until I was trying to select games for the ReuniCon 2015 RPG Day in Brighton this September when I thought briefly about running The Ninja Crusade. In the end I decided against it, but still spent time re-reading the rulebook. Then, unrelated, I had a bout of nostalgia when I saw a complete box set of “The Water Margin” for sale on eBay – unopened and unloved I purchased it for a pittance and have since relived many childhood memories watching two seasons of badly dubbed genius from start to finish (if your unfamiliar with it see here). Then – because these things always seem to come in threes – I got an email, as a backer of previous Kickstarter’s, from Third Eye Games announcing The Ninja Crusade 2nd Ed. Frankly I think its just the Great GM in the sky telling me that I need to play more of this game…
The project is exciting, it is taking what is already a great game and addressing those bits that maybe weren’t quite the way that they wanted them to be, the wonderful story and background remain the same but the game system gets a major overhaul.
The Kickstarter for Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition is to produce a true system core book, containing all of the rules you need to create characters and play the game. This includes:
- 10 ninja clans to pick from (plus an 11th clanless option)
- Detailed history of the Ninja and the Izou Empire
- Life path-style character creation system
- Brand new d10 mechanics, redesigned from the ground up to bring stunning ninja action to your table
- Opponent systems making it easy for GameMasters (GMs) to come up with enemies on the fly
- New Dynamic Environments that make your choice of terrain a real part of the fight.
- Plenty of advice on how to run the game
The final product is estimated to be 8.5 x 11, 240 pages, hardcover, black & white interior art, selling for around $40 when it hits the shops. The artwork looks to be superb with the highly talented Daniel Wong producing the majority of the artwork for the book. (See the Kickstarter page for some examples).
What is very exciting for anyone new to The Ninja Crusade is the fact that for the duration of this Kickstarter, Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade (1st Edition), original released in 2009, is once again available as a Pay-What-You-Want product through DriveThruRPG. Anyone interested in checking out the 1st Edition can simply download it and give it a read. All the guys at 3EG ask is that if you like it, then please consider backing Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition.