One of the most frequently encountered villains in just about any martial arts-oriented these days is the ninja, the elusive assassin-spy of feudal Japan. Ninja clans and individual ninjas are particularly popular in martial arts-based stories, but they are used as villains in many other sorts of genres as well. Even characters that aren't "true" or "pure" ninjas have often received "ninja training" of some sort.
The ninja are most often used as serious enemies whose skills make them deadly opponents for the heroes; in the superhero genre, some ninjas are so advanced that they are able to present a credible threat to superpowered humans. In some cases creators go even further and invest the ninja with a host of mystical abilities to make them even more powerful. A few authors have made fun of this trend and shown that the ninja have humor value, too—in some stories, Our Hero can't even get near Chinatown without stepping on hordes of the damned things, and their fighting prowess is questionable at best.
This section of Chapter One presents a variety of information for gamers who want to play a ninja or use them as villains. The special skills, magical powers and tools and equipment of the ninja are all described here, as are four "variant" styles of Taijutsu, the ninja's fighting art. Also included is a Ninja package deal for those players who want to create ninja characters.
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