Concept: Players are assumed to be genin in the service of Itsuriku. Itsuriku drafts young ninja from all seven nations, so nearly any background is possible. Ninja come from all walks of life and vary widely in power, technique, and motivation. It’s important to remember that anyone who has passed the basic requirements and become genin is considered a ninja. This may include samurai who wish to study methods of defending their lord against ninja, wu jen who seek to increase their power, or even a doctor wishing to supplement his medical knowledge with magic.
Players should consider what their character’s background is. Is he just a ninja, or does he have training in other fields? What motivated him to pursue the path of the ninja? Where was he born and raised? What arts does he intend to pursue as a ninja?
Basic Attributes: For the most part these follow standard rules. Some characters may posses supernaturally enhanced attributes. Such an attribute gets a -10% limitation if it is subject to cancellation or countering. For instance, an Oni may have ST 15, with an additional 5 ST from demonic strength, for a total of ST 20. The first 5 points cost the normal 10 per level, but the 5 from demonic strength cost only 9, for a total cost of 95 points. If that Oni then fights a Shugenja that can seal demonic powers, his strength would be reduced to 15 until the seal wears off or is broken.
Secondary Attributes:Secondary Attributes follow the same rules as attributes, but with special rules for their limits. HP and FP can only be raised or lowered by 30% of the base attribute, unless the character has special training. Will and Perception can’t be raised above 20, or lowered by more than 4 below the base trait. Basic Speed can normally be bought up or down by up to 2.00 either way, while Basic Move can be bought up or down by 3 either way. In addition to these rules, there are special training secrets that can raise these limits even further, but they will be discussed elsewhere.
The normal rules for build, age, and beauty apply to characters in this session, but average height is assumed to be 4-6 inches shorter. For the most part, fair skin, dark hair, and dark eyes are the norm, but there are exceptions. Anyone taking eye, hair, or skin color that is unusual for a Chinese or Japanese should buy an appropriate distinctive feature. Since Ninja are known as masters of deception, apply appropriate mitigator costs to any disadvantages that are frequently concealed without drawing suspicion, such as wearing a mask (common for ninja) if you are unattractive or to cover a distinctive feature. This is typically -60% for something that is concealed with clothing or the like. Masks and full body coverings might draw attention in most campaigns, but in Naminzoku, a masked ninja walking down the road would be viewed by commoners the same way we view a soldier or police officer in uniform at the local Wal-Mart. Don’t apply this cost unless the character actively hides the feature. Covering it as part of a disguise does not count.
The campaign is base TL 4, though characters from particularly advanced cities may buy TL +1, and those from very rural areas may buy TL -1. Refer to the individual nations and regions for more details. Most regions have slightly varied tech levels based on trades they specialize in. If a character has access to a higher TL, but only in one field, he may increase that field’s TL by 1 as a perk, provided he has the appropriate Cultural Familiarity. Cultural familiarities for any of the seven nations and for Itsuriku cost 1 point each. Any other culture costs 2 points, and may include any subset of spirits, any inhuman race, Wastelander, Kensaban, or desert nomad.
Languages are dealt with in greater detail in the skills section.
The campaign’s starting wealth is $5,000. Ninja are primarily mercenaries, getting paid by the job. As such, most do not hold steady jobs or have a set income. Most ninjas take the disadvantage, Dead Broke, though a few hold down jobs outside of their missions. In most cases money from a wealthy family, personal savings, and even starting equipment will be bought with character points. Particularly wealth ninjas may have independent income, either from shares in a side business, or as a stipend from their master or family. In addition, players will be provided some basic gear in play, as well as special gear for certain missions, by their patrons.
Normal rules for reputation apply. Remember, reputation is your personal reputation. If an NPC has a favorable or unfavorable bias towards ninja, Samurai, a specific nation, or the like you do not receive points for this.
Status and Rank are very important in Naminzoku. Status represents general social standing, and individual levels are noted within individual nations. Players have only one status, but they may have multiple ranks. In general, there are ranks for ninja, samurai, and the military. Some other organizations may also have their own ranks. These are detailed in the appropriate sections.