Wednesday, September 18, 2013

261: AF Ninja

ENTRY 261: AF Ninja

“You are not worthy of my teachings.”
- Koga Jun, Grandmaster of Mars

Long before the Fall on an island empire, in an age of civil strife, there arose a new breed of warriors. Spies, scouts, and assassins, their deeds became legends, and as the stories grew and grew some people stepped forward and claimed that they were the modern descendents of these legendary ninja. Most cast doubt on the historical accuracy these claims; others rushed to join their schools. Then, a funny thing happened, one of the quirks of the world: the schools flourished, continued, and perpetuated themselves.

Now after the Fall, there are transhumans that can proudly claim descent to a heritage of learning going back over a century—and prove it with documentation. These contemporary ninja continue a long tradition of training in martial arts, survival techniques, bodyguarding, legerdemain, and other eclectic and esoteric techniques. In this, they are not far different from any other lineages of various training; the Young Transhuman Scouts of the Universe for example.

Yet the Fall was a harsh trial for many transhuman social traditions, and many of the least practical lineages of ninja training died out. What was left, still recovering, rebuilding, and redefining themselves, are the hardened survivors. Sensei of schools that, whether they were founded on empty boasts or not, have incorporated many effective martial arts and paramilitary training for generations, and which are more open to adapting new techniques and technologies into their curricula. In the oxygen bars and hookah lounges from Mercury to Titan people whisper of secret martial arts for use for biomorphs against synthmorphs, or to make the maximum use of cyber-implant weapons, and integrated training and augmentation methodologies.

Some of these stories are true. Traditional martial arts schools, while capable of incredible feats, seldom have the cultural image momentum of the ninja. Transhumans throughout the solar system know, as a fact, that there are ninja today after the Fall—and they are dedicated and willing to become warriors of legend, using whatever skills and implants are available to them to achieve those goals. Mesh archives track the lineages of the new schools—the Lunar Tai, the Hope Moon Ryu among the Rusters of Mars, the Reborn Iga in the Belt who are said to be masters of zero-g combat, the Solid Clan all claimed to be cloned and forked from a single ninja master…the line between reality and fiction blurs thin for some of these groups, especially those underground schools.

Using AF Ninja

The idea of a group of adults dressing up in black pajamas and running around being sneaky and stabbing people was slightly silly back on Earth; in space it’s quite a bit sillier. However, silliness has not stopped people from doing a lot of things, and while there are probably quite a few laughable efforts at “ninja schools” in the Eclipse Phase setting, the “real ninjas” who have been practicing martial arts, paramilitary, and survival training for a couple generations are a serious bunch—and in the wake of the Fall, they have begun to diversify and further adapt to personal augmentation and differing environments.

Serious AF Ninja are deceptive rather than outright sneaky; they prefer to dress like maintenance workers instead of crawling around in black suits, and they’ll use modern weapons just as eagerly as archaic ones. Individuals focus on survival skills and movement skills like Climbing and Free Fall; skillsofts are fairly common as well, especially for languages, Pilot skills, and Swimming. Most have at least one or two tricks up their sleeve, with training in escape artistry, sleight-of-hand, and Demolitions (Illusion) for smoke bombs, flash paper, acid and other useful materials they can conceal on their persons (or make quickly in a supply closet) all popular; the vast majority embrace personal augmentation but prefer concealed, less-showy implants that give them an edge and allow opponents to underestimate them.

Ideologically, AF Ninja fall all over the spectrum. Every habitat and faction can harbor a few ninja (or ninja-like groups) fairly easily; the most secretive and heavily augmented groups generally require at least moderate regular funding or infusion of resources, either from a government, hypercorp, or criminal activity. Some stories tell of a scumbarge where everyone is a ninja, but most consider that just another Mesh legend.

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