By Moe Lane
Corporeal Forces: 1
Ethereal Forces: 4
Celestial Forces: 2
Elements: Senses: Darkness (Primary) and Tech:
Affinities: Obscurement (moderate), Puissance
Skills: Artistry/1 (varies), Dodge/3, Dream-Shaping/5,
Emote/1, Enchant/1, 'Fighting'/5, Large Weapon/3
(Katana), Move Silently/3, Ranged Weapon/3 (Shuriken),
Songs: Artifacts (Ethereal/1), Darkness (Ethereal/1),
Form (Ethereal/2), Machines (Ethereal/1)
Dread: Public failure to complete a commission/4 (2
Image: A humanoid dressed in traditional ninja garb:
an occasional glimpse of bamboo or metal can be seen
at wrist, ankle and waist. Only the eyes can be seen
through the cloth mask that covers the face, and then
only when the Clockwork Ninja chooses (usually just
before an attack). There is sometimes a faint sound
of gears moving and a steady tick.
Clockwork Ninjas date almost from the beginning of the
August Co-Prosperity Collective's alliance with
Nybbas. The seminal ethereal (usually styled the
Clockwork Master) came from the dreams of a late 19th
century Japanese inventor-craftsman: it was able to
stabilize itself and went on to an illustrious career
as one of the Collective's most effective assassins.
Its 'descendants' have continued the tradition.
Clockwork Ninjas are interesting in that new ones are
created through what can be best described as
'voluntary assumption'. A likely spirit of either
Darkness or Machines (usually the former) may after a
rigorous set of tests choose to join the Clockwork
Ninja 'clan': the Clockwork Master will gift the
spirit with either a katana or shuriken created from a
combination of its own life-force and that of an
existing Clockwork Ninja. Once accepted, the weapon
will quickly transform the spirit into a Clockwork
Ninja. The procedure is wearying to the Clockwork
Ninja (and sometimes fatal to the Clockwork Ninja
donor), so it is not often done: there are always more
petitioners than slots available.
The average Clockwork Ninja is an interesting study in
mysticism and hardheaded practicality. They value
stoicism, self-discipline and loyalty, but are often
vulnerable to a suitably grand gesture. The procedure
that creates new Clockwork Ninjas does not necessarily
result in major personality changes, so they can be a
varied lot (although it can be difficult to tell).
Clockwork Ninjas are also not particularly evil
creatures: indeed, some are quite decent entities.
However, they are extremely loyal to the Clockwork
Master, the Clockwork Ninja clan and the August
Co-Prosperity Collective, in that order. The clan
supports itself by acting as assassins, mercenaries
and emissaries for the Collective: they will follow
their contracts to the letter. This, coupled with
their generally enhanced abilities, make them very
feared adversaries, which is often all the Collective
needs for them to be.
The Clockwork Master is like its 'children', only more
so. It is a primal spirit (although of which Element
is open to interested debate), possesses at least 9
Forces and is rumored to have killed both angels and
demons in single combat. These days it rarely leaves
the Collective's Domain, but is rumored to have the
most interesting visitors at times...
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