Warriors of the Night

The PCs might be ninja or sulsa . . . or members of a secret society such as a tong or a Triad . . . or guerrillas using their martial-arts skills to wreak havoc after an invasion. Alternatively, they might be on the other side, tracking down and destroying such a group. Or they might be on neither side, and caught in the middle.

There are many variations on this theme. The "warriors of the night" might be loyal servants of a lord or commander, freedom fighters, mercenaries, or an evil cult. They might have no master or a single employer, or hire out to the highest bidder. If they answer to someone, that person might have little loyalty to them and regard them as expendable. In a realistic campaign, betraying such a valuable asset as a band of guerrillas or group of ninja after a job would be foolish and wasteful. In a cinematic game, it should happen often!

This theme sometimes shows up alongside A Learning Experience (p. 249). The heroes are ninja-in-training - or perhaps someone is using their school as a cover for clandestine activities. Their master might work for good or for evil, and they might be his loyal dupes or willing partners.

Almost any setting is possible. In feudal Japan, the PCs might be ninja, helping their lord unify Japan or keep the Tokugawa Shogunate in power. In China, they might belong to a secret society that's trying to overthrow the Manchu. In a modern-day game, they might be special-ops troopers working behind enemy lines or in remote lands where resupply is difficult and martial arts are a way to save ammo. A fun cinematic modern-day campaign has the heroes caught in the crossfire between rival tongs or ninja clans - and having little luck convincing anyone of their unlikely predicament!

Timothy Zahn's The Blackcollar exemplifies this kind of campaign: a tiny group of cinematic ninja spearhead the resistance against alien invaders. The Chuck Norris movie The Octagon is inspirational for a "good hero vs. evil ninja" campaign.

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