Everything is cooler with ninjas – as we can see in these tabletop RPGs about stylized versions of spies and assassins from feudal Japan.
Ninjas are cool, and so are tabletop role-playing games; so, Tabletop RPG with ninjas in them must be extra cool! But what exactly is a ninja, and what makes them a staple in pop culture? The following RPG systems, each with their own stylized version of Ninjas somewhere on the spectrum between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, try to answer this question.
Ask most people born in the 20th century what a ninja is, and they’ll usually think of a stealth assassin, dark clothing, and a hooded hood, wielding exotic weapons such as throwing stars, sickles, and Sai daggers. Ask people who grew up in the 2000s or 2010s and they might cite the Ninja gaiden series or Lego Ninjago franchises, media about warriors who wield magical “Ninjutsu” techniques and exotic martial arts. Ask a historian about the Ninjas, and they might mention the mercenary subclass “Shinobi” that emerged in 12th century Japan, who enlisted as spies and assassins for the warlords, wielded weapons inspired by the farm tools and often disguised themselves as subordinate servants to get closer to their targets.
Most of the role-playing games listed below were written by people who did their research on actual historical ninjas and then decided to wholeheartedly embrace the stylized and pop design of ninjas, “Shadow Clones” and all. the rest. Some of these ninja RPGs take place in historical fantasy environments similar to the days when real ninjas existed (as with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s decor and NPCs), while others have ninjas leaping across the rooftops of modern metropolises; each, independently, is to play ninjas in a stylish and stealthy way.
The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
The 2nd edition of The ninja crusade, available on Drivethru RPG.com and set in a fantasy version of medieval Japan, tells the story of heroic ninjas of the Lotus Coalition, waging a war of resistance against the militant forces of the Izou Empire. Players create characters aligned with one of the ten Lotus Coalition clans, each specializing in certain skills and embodying different ninja archetypes. The wandering adventures in which the PCs take place The ninja crusade draw heavily on the Ninja scroll anime, as well as more modern works such as the Naruto franchise.
Roleplaying Game The Legend of the Five Rings
Legend of the five rings started out as a collective card game franchise with a rich meta-plot, then expanded into tabletop role-playing. The latest edition of Roleplaying Game The Legend of the Five Rings can be used to tell stories about noble samurai and wizards repelling dark entities from the Underworld, or political plots with scheming courtiers and genius generals. If players choose to create characters from the Scorpion clan wearing masks and ninjas, they can also delve into stories of stealth, infiltration, lies and assassinations – dishonorable acts committed for the greater good from Rokugan.
Shinonbigami, an RPG translated from Japanese after a successful Kickstarter, takes place in today’s Japan and centers on a shadow war between members of rival ninja clans – who also have day jobs, families, homework and other daily concerns. The play cycle of a Shinobigami session is divided into four parts. In the first three “Cycles,” each ninja player character takes a turn in the narrative spotlight to pursue their secret goals, learn the secrets of other characters, and develop their relationships. The final part, a “Climax Phase”, is a battle between players and groups of players where secrets are revealed, relationships are pushed to breaking point and spectacular ninja arts are used.
Ninja Burger is a low prep RPG about ninjas. Who work in the fast food industry. Set in a world that’s a crazy mix of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, and the “Deliverator” scene from the cyberpunk novel Snow accident, the goal of the players in a Ninja Burger session involves using their PC’s stylized ninja skills to deliver meals to (undetected) customers in 30 minutes or less. No matter what. Obstacles standing in the way of Ninja Burger PCs can range from mutant sewer dwellers and hostile ninjas to rival fast food franchises such as Pirate Pizza, making it a Tabletop RPG with ninjas which can provide both fun and adventure.
Next: Swashbuckling Tabletop RPG For Pirate Story Fans
Sources: Driving RPG, Kickstarter
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