test content
What is the Arc Client?
Install Arc

CU Lore for Ninjas?

Other than Yengtao Temple and the city of Shamballah, there's anything else on CU lore for a possible ninja background story?

Comments

  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    edited January 2018
    There are several possibilities, depending on how you wish to define "ninja" for your purposes, and the background you want for your character. A couple of official groups have strong similarities to the traditional pop-culture conception of the ninja, but are part of larger, generally villainous organizations; so a PC hero coming from them would need a character-based reason to leave, and would probably be pursued by them. I'll start with those first.

    The Takara-Shinja are an order of martial-arts warrior-assassins worshiping what they call "the Great Snake," arising in Japan around the Tenth Century. Persecuted by lawful authorities, they survived in secret until the 1960s, when they offered their unconditional service to VIPER as the most potent incarnation of the Great Snake in the modern world.

    The Takara-Shinja are rigorously trained from childhood in the arts of stealth, assassination, and various traditional martial-arts weapons, like most depictions of comic-book ninjas. They practice a distinctive martial art called Hebijutsu ("Way of the Snake"), with some resemblance to snake-style kung fu.

    There are around two dozen Takara-Shinja agents active in the world today. Their headquarters is in Kyoto, Japan, with cells in Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Vancouver; although they may be sent wherever in the world VIPER needs them. The five most skilled agents form an elite unit, Shehei no Habu. Retired masters train the next generation, as well as the bodyguards of VIPER's Supreme Serpent, and even the Serpent himself.

    The Takara-Shinja are described in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent pp. 64-65, although there isn't much more detail given than what's above, aside from Hero System game stats.

    The Sekihara Clan appears to be a particularly clever and ruthless, but otherwise fairly typical Japanese yakuza organized-crime "family," with interests in the criminal world beyond Japan; although it's atypical in its use of ninjas as assassins and enforcers. Two other more important details set it apart; the Sekihara secretly serve the Cult of the Red Banner, fanatically worshiping Doragon Kingu (the "Dragon King"); and their ninjas are trained not only in traditional skills, but also in mystic disciplines giving them the equivalent of super powers, including the ability to control men's minds, to enhance their physical attributes, even to change their bodies into intangible mist.

    The Sekihara have at most half a dozen fully-trained ninjas at their disposal at any one time; but may have others who have not yet completed their training and don't possess the full range of mystic powers. In fact, one such trainee decided he would rather serve his own interests than those of the Red Banner, and fled the Sekihara Clan to become an independent mercenary. Today he's a member of the supervillain team, the Brain Trust, under the code name, "Black Mist."

    Martial Enemies Vol. 2: The Cult Of The Red Banner is a PDF book breaking down the structure and membership of the Cult, including the Sekihara Clan. Black Mist is written up as part of the Brain Trust entry in Champions Villains Vol. 2: Villain Teams.

    Beyond the late, lamented Yengtao Temple, and the hidden city of Shamballah (and its evil counterpart, Agharti), there are a few other hidden temples in the Far East where people can learn various exceptional martial arts techniques, and which have produced official Champions characters. While I'd be happy to mention the others, I would recommend a monastery in the Himalayas briefly described in the book, Golden Age Champions, in the background for the British World War II hero known as the Ghost. Alfred Scott was rescued by the monks after his airplane crashed in the mountains. They nursed Scott back to health, and allowed him to learn the martial art they practiced, a variation of the baritsu stick-fighting style studied by Sherlock Holmes. Scott also learned their special mystic technique, "the Path of the Unseen Man," which "erased" their presence from the minds of specific people, making them effectively invisible.

    If you want more info on any of the above, I'll be glad to offer what I have. If none of those would suit your purposes, if you explain your concerns maybe one of the more "out there" options I can reference would work for you. :)
    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • brfabeirasbrfabeiras Posts: 175 Arc User
    Thanks a lot for the info!

    I had in mind something similar to Marvel's The Hand, and the Takara-Shinja seems to suit my character perfectly! I would love to learn more about them, if you have more to share :)

    I would like to know more about the Sekihara Clan too, I feel they can be part of my character background story at some point aswell.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    edited January 2018
    VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent p. 65 calls the Takara-Shinja "supremely skilled warriors." "Trained from birth to become 'the ultimate warriors,' culled by an education process crueler and more ruthless than anything practiced in the West, the Takara-Shinja boast that they know neither fear nor hatred, only purpose." Takara-Shinja mostly have high-level but otherwise mundane skills; although their training does result in extraordinary leaping ability, and immunity to any snake venom, which may have a mystical component. Game-stat wise, even a basic T-S is at the level of Special Forces-plus, and could match a low-level superhero with the advantage of preparation and surprise.

    The implication of the Takara-Shinja's history is that their order is the only "family" they have, so leaving it would mean truly being on your own. I can offer you some of the rationales I like to use for a PC hero who escapes a villainous group he belonged to: being confronted with the true depth of the group's evil, e.g. a particularly cruel and horrible experiment performed on innocents; having been egregiously tricked, betrayed, or abandoned by the group in the name of "the greater good" or to "cut their losses"; falling in love with someone who wants him to change (for added motivation and drama, the loved one may die due to the group's actions, accidentally, or deliberately as a security risk). It would also help if your character had encountered someone, probably on a mission, that he or she respected, to turn to as a role model, even a friend and/or mentor.

    The Takara-Shinja's (which according to Google Translate means "Treasure-Believer") more formal name for themselves is Shinja no Hebi, or "Believers of the Snake." Their headquarters in Kyoto is called Mayonaka no Shinden, which V:COTS translates as "Temple of Midnight," although the word order is reversed for some reason. Their martial art is Hebijutsu, "Way of the Snake," and practitioners of it are called Hebijutsuka, a common convention for Japanese martial artists. The five elite Takara-Shinja are known as Shehei no Habu; Google Translate renders "habu" as "hub," but I couldn't find "shehei" in any online dictionary.

    V:COTS p. 64 claims the Takara-Shinja "originated in tenth century China as the offshoot of an order of dragon worshipers." Although the text doesn't state it explicitly (and it's unlikely to be confirmed or denied in a future one), it's tempting to equate that order with the Cult of the Red Banner. Assuming such a connection, their split might have led to a long rivalry and conflict between them. That still wouldn't automatically cause the Takara-Shinja to consider the Sekihara clan as enemies -- remember that they keep their allegiance to the Red Banner secret. But if you wanted it, you could use that rivalry to justify the Sekihara ninjas engaging in a shadow war with the T-S.

    Here's a little about the Sekihara traitor, Black Mist, from Champions Villains Vol. 2: Villain Teams p. 13, which speaks to the Clan as a whole: "Like other clan children, he was tested in various ways until he was six years old, and based on those tests he was assigned to ninja training. For over a dozen years he worked, and sweated, and bled to learn the skills of the Sekihara ninja, including the simplest of their ninja magics (such as the ability to transform into a cloud of dark mist, or to steal the will of others). When he had completed his training satisfactorily, the clan sent him into the world to work the will of the Cult. And that was a mistake. Exposure to the greater world intrigued and enthralled him, and he soon decided he had no interest in serving some bizarre, nihilistic religious sect for the rest of his life. He wanted all the wealth and excitement the world had to offer. He defected from the clan and became a mercenary, offering his hard-won skills to the highest bidder."

    Even though both of these groups are part of larger organizations, I could readily see them choosing to deal with a traitor, or an enemy targeting them specifically, on their own as a point of honor. But if an enemy of the Sekihara or the T-S actually became a serious threat to them, logically one would expect the parent org to intervene. That would be one route to upgrading the threat represented by either group as your PC became more experienced and dangerous over time.
  • brfabeirasbrfabeiras Posts: 175 Arc User
    bulgarex, thanks a lot for your help. Now I believe I have enough material to write down a good background story for my character.

    By the way: do you think it's plausible the Takara-Shinja "adopt" a non-asian child, whose fathers they assassinated on some sort of mission, and submit him into their training? How about the Sekihara?
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    I'm glad you found that helpful. As to your BTW, since I can't find anything definitive on that specific subject either way, I can only offer you my opinion. As always, I'll preface that by saying this is a comic-book world, where exceptional circumstances and coincidences are standard in the lives of superheroes and villains. If it's in-genre and makes for a good story, there's no reason for it not to happen. ;)

    That said, IMHO the circumstance you describe would be very unusual, but not impossible. Perhaps the group felt honor-bound to adopt the child; for example, if the parent(s) of the child was someone they respected, or they felt killing him somehow placed them in debt to his family. I do believe it would be more likely for the Takara-Shinja to do this than the Sekihara, just because their being in service to VIPER has resulted in much more interaction with non-Asians. Both Japanese organized crime and the Cult of the Red Banner display great reluctance toward inducting such people into their ranks.
  • brfabeirasbrfabeiras Posts: 175 Arc User
    Yeah, I felt that the T-S were more likely to to this. :)

    Now I have pretty much everything I needed, let the writing begin!
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    While it's not a direct response to your inquiry, as part of the general subject of the thread there is another potential lore-based route to developing an organization like these for use in role playing; one that requires more agreement among players, but leaves more room for creative additions.

    The Kokyurukai, known in the West as the "Black Dragon Society," claimed to trace its origins to the Seventh Century BC in Japan, but went through a long period of dormancy before being revived in the mid-nineteenth century. A mostly-secretive, mystically-oriented group, the Society gained public political support and influence in the early twentieth century, pushing Japanese nationalism and expansionism. They conducted espionage on behalf of the Japanese government around the world, using ninja shinobi and magic as well as more conventional methods.

    The Society was traditionally led by a council of elders and advisors. The head of its secretive magical branch carried the title, "Iron Father." After the Walpurgisnacht Working of 1938, the sitting Iron Father's sorcery grew so powerful, he became the de facto leader of the Black Dragon Society. The Iron Father was one of Emperor Hirohito's closest advisors, and was given authority over most of Japan's superhuman assets through WW II.

    The Iron Father refused to accept the surrender of Japan, and attempted to recreate a divine weapon, the Ame-no-nuboko, or "Heavenly Jeweled Spear," with which the kami supposedly created the world. A large assemblage of Allied superheroes defeated the gathered Black Dragon Society and destroyed the Spear. The Society was formally broken up by American occupation forces, and most of its mystically-oriented members vanished into the occult underworld.

    The above is summarized from the new Golden Age Champions book. No official source dealing with the present-day Champions Universe mentions the Black Dragon Society. However, the Society has publicly disappeared before, only to return renewed. There's no reason it couldn't do so again. If used in a story for a game group, it can be as small or large as the plot requires. The precedent of creating the Heavenly Jeweled Spear could make for a plot of world-threatening proportions, if desired.
  • brfabeirasbrfabeiras Posts: 175 Arc User
    That's an interesting plot for a story arc, thanks again for the info.

    When I finish my background story, I'll post it here to show you :D
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,908 Arc User
    Heh, the Cult of the Red Banner was the first thing I thought of when you said evil ninjas. :p

    I guess there are no good ninjas?
    ChampsWiki
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    My characters
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    Again, it depends on your definition. After all, Batman has been described as a ninja. B) Most comic-book depictions of ninjas cast them in the role of opponent to the heroes, hence "evil" by default. Heroic ninja types are typically escapees from or traitors to their organization, like some former members of DC Comics' League of Assassins. But in the CU the ninjas who served the Black Dragon Society were fighting for their country, which from their perspective was heroic (albeit their tactics weren't of the stand-up-fighting variety). As the old saying goes, everyone is the hero of their own story. ;)

    The Sekihara ninjas, though, are expressly and consciously evil. The deity they serve is the embodiment of human evil, and their masters in the Cult of the Red Banner seek to spread corruption so as to increase the amount of evil in the world, and hence the power of their god.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    edited February 2018
    The Chinese mercenary assassin named Xiu Kwan was told that he's the last to be trained in the arts of the lin kuei, the legendary Chinese counterpart to the ninja. (Yes, I know the provenance for the real-world existence of the lin kuei is probably apocryphal. On Champs Earth they were real.) :p Xiu Kwan has never met another lin kuei, but that doesn't mean there are no others. He'd also like to find a worthy Chinese student to pass his skills on to.

    Xiu Kwan has great martial art and stealth prowess, and is a particular master of throwing weapons, able to turn almost any throwable object into a deadly projectile. He has also mastered a variety of mystic disciplines granting him extraordinary powers of body and mind.

    Xiu Kwan is written up in a PDF mini-book, Martial Enemies Vol. 1.
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,908 Arc User
    Lin kuei? Interesting choice of name. I suppose it's NOT a coincidence that Sub-Zero was Lin-Kuei?
    ChampsWiki
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    My characters
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,107 Arc User
    edited February 2018
    The designers of Mortal Kombat wanted some "evil Chinese ninja" background for Sub-Zero, but didn't wholly invent what they gave him. They came across references to the lin kuei, which predate that game. However, the "lore" of historical lin kuei appears to itself have been a work of fiction. This is the most thorough discussion of the subject I've found online: https://www.martialartsplanet.com/index.php?threads/lin-kuei.24638/

    Nonetheless, since Champions is fiction also, there's no bar to making lin kuei an element of the setting. It's like how the historical Assassin cult in the Middle East was co-opted and massively distorted for use in another video game, Assassins Creed. But there's also an official Champions Middle Eastern villain, Khanjar ("Dagger" -- Champions Worldwide) who's a product of that cult. "Born into a family that had carefully maintained the ways of the Assassins, he was trained in all the arts of death." (CW p. 157) This despite the fact there have been no Assassin cultists for nearly eight hundred years.

    But fiction is often more fun than truth. ;)
    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,908 Arc User
    Hmm I wonder if this is where the names Lin Qi and Quan Qi came from? Lin is found near 1357/60/-253 in west side and her bio talks about her brother Quan.
    ChampsWiki
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    My characters
Sign In or Register to comment.