Shinobigami Kickstarter

This KS just opened up.

It seems this game is hot in Japan thes years. Looks pretty interesting.


  • I'm very happy there are more JRPGs out there now - impressive start for the Kickstarter!
    A question: what can be expected for shipment costs to Europe (from where)?
  • I think there's a shipping cost field when you pledge, and I would assume/hope that it takes advantage of the fact that KS has your address.
  • OK, I've found it. It is shown as 15$ (though you have to calculate important tax, also)
  • Im curious to know the opinion of Apoc World fans about this game, as it seems to scratch similar itches like intra-party conflict and drama-driven gameplay in a "fast and furious" framework. Or at least that's the impression I've got from Shinobigami.
  • edited November 2015
    A new update explaining the "wheel of hate" between clans. Funny how this is looking more and more like a Vampire the Masquerade's hyperactive younger brother. hehe

    "The Six Clans of the World of Shadows


    Hi everyone, Matt here. I'll be presenting a series of articles showing off the clans and all the cool options you'll have when creating your character. For now, I'll be sticking to the first book, which means that I'll get into the subclans later on.

    First, I want to talk about the 6 clans in general. Over the hundreds (thousands?) of years since the First Ninja, groups of ninjas have been fighting for control over the world of shadows. In the warring states period, when Oda Nobunaga marched across Japan and the Tokugawa shogunate first took power, 12 distinct clans fought amongst each other. As time passed, some of these clans were absorbed or combined into larger clans while others were wiped out. Eventually, we were left with the 6 feuding clans we are familiar with today.


    Each clan has a specific goal. Each clan also has a clan that it is hostile to, usually as a direct or indirect result of that goal. For example, the Kurama Shin Clan is trying to prevent the resurrect the Shinobigami, which means that they must hunt down the Bloodline of Oni. This leads to something I call "the wheel of hate," as seen above. Everybody in the World of Shadows is hunting someone, and are being hunted in turn.

    It is highly recommended that all players in a session choose different clans for their characters. Since characters earn XP for working towards their clan goals, characters start the game loaded with conflict and tension. What will you do if you end up feeling loyal to a rival clan? Do you follow your heart, or your clan's rules? This is what makes real ninja drama!

    In following updates I'll talk about each of these clans, the kinds of characters that may fill their ranks, and the cool special abilities that each clan has access to. Then, maybe I'll spill some of the secrets of the Shinobigami..."

    Thank you again for your support!"
  • Can somebody indicate how fights end up in this game?
    Are they rather long vs short? Crunchy vs light?
  • @BeePeeGee
    Fights run (pretty much) three ways. The first, and simplest, is "just for flavor." You narrate whatever you want, you don't have to roll anything, and there are no mechanical negative or positive outcomes. They would occur mostly as exposition, or to add heightened tension during some other scene.

    Second, you can choose during one of your turns during the "Main Phase" (the real meat and potatoes section of the game) to have an actual battle scene using the combat rules. You basically "call someone out," and other characters may have the option to join in (though they might also not want to risk it unless it seems to them that the stakes matter). These Main Phase battles are to first blood; a character is eliminated when they take any damage at all. The last one standing wins, they have a turn limit equal to the number of characters involved, and if you win, you can force an emotional bond, learn a piece of information, or steal a Prize from any one of the losers. They're usually pretty quick since they will often only have 2 or maybe 3 characters involved and you only need to land one good blow to knock someone out.

    The structure of most sessions will end with a big, everyone-is-involved free-for-all, which can take a little longer because of all the characters, but ultimately the rules for resolving attacks and whatnot are the same as the second type (non-dramatized/expositional) mentioned above.

    I'd say that probably 1/2 or more of all the ninpo, or special character abilities, relate to combat in some way, either as individual attacks or else as supplementary to combat, so it would be fair to say that combat itself is rather crunchy. Combat rules in a nutshell:

    1. Secretly choose your initiative (or "Plot"), from 1-6. Higher numbers go first. The score you choose is also your fumble (crit fail) threshold on 2D6 for ANY roll you make during combat; rolls to attack, rolls to dodge, rolls to activate special powers, etc. If you fumble during combat, you automatically fail every roll you would make (including dodging others' attacks) for the rest of that round. Certain ninpo have a "cost" associated with them, and the total cost of ninpo used in a round can't exceed your initiative score. Finally, attacks all have a range that the target must be within, and this range is also determined by the difference between the Plot value of you and the target; for example, if you choose 6 and they choose 1, they'd be 5 spaces away, so you'd need an attack with a range of 5 or more to target them.

    2. On your turn, choose an attack ninpo (or sometimes there are other ninpo that you can use instead of an attack, like summoning a servant to fight with your or stuff like that) to use (keeping in mind the above regarding Cost, Range and your Plot value), and roll. If you succeed, the target has to roll to dodge, using the same skill you used to attack with. Attack ninpo have lots of different effects, from simply "deal 1 damage," to multiple points of damage, status affects, area attacks, increasing the difficulty of the target's roll to dodge, etc... Damage gets dealt directly to that funky awesome skill matrix, locking out one column for every point you take, making it potentially harder for you to use your skills the more damage you take.

    3. Once everybody has acted once, then you go to a new round, choose a new Plot value, and repeat everything until everybody's knocked out of combat or decides not to fight anymore.

    The latest episode of the Shinobigami session on One Shot Podcast has one of these fight scenes in it, if you want to listen to an example of how it works in action. I tried my best to explain it well, but I'm not necessarily sure if I succeeded or not, so if you want to know anything else or clarification or whatever, ask away.
  • Wow, you got me with this. I'm definitely gonna back this now.

    - and I LOVE the initiative rule, it might even replace my favorite initiative system (Marvel Heroic Cortex Plus)!
  • Yeah! It's one of my favorite initiative systems I've ever seen in pretty much any game. The whole "wagering" aspect, that you flat out get to choose, but the more you put forward the more risk you are taking, is so simple and basic yet I can hardly think of another game I've seen use it before the Saikoro Fiction series games. Even how the rules suggest you do it, by taking a D6 and hiding it behind your hand, is cute and quirky. Plus, if you have an NPC and you just want to determine their initiative randomly for whatever reason, BAM, roll 1D6.
  • Yes, sounds very interesting. It can also be justified in the fiction of the game: When you "take initiative", you are usually more vulnerable in some way.
  • Hey guys, I didn't want to pop in and run my mouth as the "guy who made this site and totally wants you to support his latest Kickstarter", but... heh yeah. :-)

    It is hot in Japan, indeed. A lot of the game reeks of happenstance: A few good ideas cobbled together, some genius, some accident: And when they hit the table BOOM Roleplay Cold Fusion resulted. It was popular enough that it helped rope more people into gaming. I've seen all sorts of types picking up the books in game stores, from girls in hime-loli wear and guys in Harajuku fashion, to men and women in suits popping in after work to pick up the latest book in the series. It's really opened people up to a new type of play, a "one night story" session. It's also inspired not only a lot of other games in the series, but a lot of indie folks to try their own hand: Attack on Titan using the Shinobigami rules; Ninja Slayer using the Shinobigami rules, and so on.

    I love all the games I translated and produced, it's the reason we picked them: Not "What would sell" or "What's listed on the current top ten of big sellers", but this one straddles all angles: Love the game, love the play it produces, love all the little tricks and stuff the system has, love the community that plays it, and on top of it all, it's been a long seller.

    Yukamichi laid out the awesomeparts of the combat. A few more cool things:

    1) When you pick the value, you use a die: Set the top to the number you want, cover it with your hand, then reveal at the same time. It's a cute trick.

    2) You have emotional bonds with the other characters at the table. If you have an "emobond" with a character in the battle, you can join the battle whenever you want: You just show up and start stirring shit up, no matter who you are or are not allied with.

    3) If you're not in the battle, and you have an emobond with another, you can give them a +1 or -1 to any roll they make each round.

    Just some cool trust mechanics at play.
  • Also, one more thing: Not a lot of folks get this, but people here might: Have you ever played a "Luke Crane/Burning Wheel" scenario, like The Sword? I've played three different scenarios, and they all go like this: Everyone has a character, with various motivations for themselves and others. There's a prize in the middle, between everyone, and everyone has a relationship with it or with someone who needs it. The GM says "GO!", and play begins in an intense free-for-all of rules and punching and talking and stabbing and alliances and betrayals for 3-4 hours. Shinobigami is basically that:

    Combat is lighter, the pace isn't as frantic (there is a Prize, but your characters make your moves over several scenes in time/space, not all at once in one room together), but it's the same kind of play.

    Though, sometimes (especially with fewer people) the GM will make basically an antagonist NPC, who is simply a slightly more powerful PC that the GM controls, complete with their own motivations and secrets and powers.

    Long story short, it's one of my favorite gaming experiences of the past several years. Tenra was the same, and Ryuutama the same as well, all for different reasons (though the one-session play is similar to Tenra). But Shinobigami packs it all into one tiny book, basically a briefcase nuke of gaming: Not just RPing, not just strategy, not just social "werewolf/mafia" style manipulation, but a hybrid of all three.

    I honestly think most of the folks on this forum would really, really like it.
  • edited November 2015
    Wow, that's quite some sales speech :-)
    Not that it's necessary. There are already ardent followers of this game in our local RPG community who keep praising it since 2011.
    The only question for me at the moment is at what level I should pledge (here in Europe, with the shipping conditions).
  • I honestly think most of the folks on this forum would really, really like it.
    To add to this, in the past couple years I've spent mostly just lurking here, I've seen a lot of conversations where I've wanted to interject, "Well, in Shinobigami..." because I think that it does a lot of really weird and maybe even unique things with gaming that answer some common questions in ways that other games don't, but I would always hold back because I felt like it's just a potential derail about a game that most people wouldn't have access to anyway. So I'm happy it's coming out in English and I might be able to talk about it places (not necessarily just here) and people might finally know what I'm talking about for once!

    I might as well mention, I translated the Replay Part (the Actual Play transcript part of the books) for the English release, and the discussions that go on on these forums were a huge help for me in how I was able to contextualize the game as seen through the different players' eyes when translating them, as well as contextualizing Shinobigami myself in order to write about it. If you read the "Translators' Notes" section of the Shinobigami website, where I say something like, "Actual plays are valuable tools for teaching gamers how to play games in new and different ways," that's all Story Games's influence.
  • Alright, this is the last you'll hear me blast about it so greasily. :-)

    It's the last day for the KS campaign. Fund now or never okay later we'll accept Paypal, but still... :-)

    Also, I put together a Medium article that really tackles why Matt and I are obsessed with this game, basically from a story-gamer point of view: Stepping back and looking at the constructs behind the game and how/why the deliver.

    I could write several essays about how play breaks down; in fact I later might...

    Medium Article:

  • Hey folks, heads up! The final PDF is out for backers.

    I'm really excited to try this game. Will probably play it sometime this month. If everything goes well, I'll post my impressions later.
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