Way of the Ninja is sourcebook for the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying game published in 2002, detailing the more shadowy duties of many samurai in Rokugan. Despite the name, most of the book deals with shinobi and various other organisations; ninja in the strict Rokugani sense only make up a very small part of the material. Unlike Way of the Samurai and Way of the Shugenja it doesn't deal with each of the Great Clans, presenting instead major players in spies and assassins in each chapter. It includes mechanics for the Second Edition as well as the d20 version of the RPG. The events in the book take place as later as Spring 1159.
- Writing: Shawn Carman, Rich Wulf, Seth Mason, Aaron Medwin
- Editor: D. J. Trindle
- Additional Editing: Kevin Millard, jim pinto
- Creative Director: Mark Jelfo
- Art Director: jim pinto
- Graphic Designer: Justin Lawler
- Cover Artist: Craig Maher
- Interior Artists: Troy Graham, Daerick Gross, Sr.
- Typesetter: Justin Lawler
- Chief of Operations: Maureen Yates
- Brand Manager: Raymond Lau
- Production Manager: Mary Valles
Introduction (page 4)Edit
- Fiction: Shosuro Yudoka and Bayushi Tai hunt Goju Nishiko on the Kaiu Wall, which is occupied by the Lost.
- The Hateru family are one of the oldest Ninja families and have infiltrated the Kitsuki.
- The Sesai family protect the Isawa and Shiba without their knowledge.
- The Koga are a ninja "clan" that defends the lower classes against samurai excesses.
- The Winds of the Storm are a group especially loyal to Yoritomo Kitao.
- All the Clans have a family especially inclined to ninja-like activities; these are the Hiruma, Daidoji, (rarely) the Hitomi and Kitsuki, the Ikoma, all of the Mantis Clan, especially rarely the Shiba, the Shinjo - and of course the Scorpion.
- Much information on ninja customs.
- Kata: The Blackened Caress is a death touch. Dwell in Darkness is an exercise in stealth. Kiss of the Lotus is a vicious crippling attack. Poisoned Wind allows to move fast, but less concealed.
- Mamoru, a new ancestor, was known for his skills in defending others against ninja.
- Quotes involving Yogo Tjeki, Bayushi Paneki, Shinjo Akahito, Asako Misao, Daidoji Uji, Tsuruchi Okame, Shosuro Chian and Mamoru.
The Scorpion (page 25)Edit
- Fiction: Shosuro Daigo instructs his student, Haikono, in the art of poisoning.
- The Hidden Moon Dojo is a school teaching the Scorpion Tejina magic, which uses kami as a shield to call on the Lying Darkness. It is based on the journal of Soshi Kuriname, and was founded by Yogo Kakatsu. The current sensei is Yogo Tjeki. One of its most promising, and dangerous, student is the reckless Soshi Kuneko.
- The Dojo of the Red Crane is a Bayushi school specializing in sabotage and misdirection. Its arrogant sensei is Bayushi Churai. He has introduced the Folding Leg technique, based on his experiences with the Kaiu. Bayushi Tai and Bayushi Sunetra have both attended this dojo.
- The Brother's Gift Dojo is a classical, merciless ninja school, based on Bayushi Aramoros teaching. Shosuro Aroru is its shadowy sensei. Its students include the highly talented Shosuro Kotomuri, who has made himself some vicious rivals already, and the honorable Bayushi Ichiba, who feels it's his duty to become a ninja.
The Kolat (page 41)Edit
- Fiction: Sensei Kitsuki Kamoto and his student, Kitsuki Ryoko discuss the relative importance of various dangers to the Dragon Clan, including the Kolat, Yobanjin, the bandit Lord Hayato and the Phoenix Clan.
- The Kolat are a vast and ancient conspiracy, bent on destroying the rulership of the descendants of the Kami over the Empire. They are organised into 10 sects:
- The Chrysanthemum Sect operates in the Imperial City and tries to spread it's influence over the Emperors court. Its last known master is Ikoma Tsai.
- The Cloud Sect is tasked with preserving the knowledge of the conspiracy, and has control over one of its most important items, the Oni's Eye. The master at that time was the venerable Isawa Korekado.
- The Coin Sect ensures the financial liquidity of the organisation. The master at that time was Moshi Shanegon; he was later replaced by Yasuki Jinn-Kuen.
- The Dream Sect brainwashes sleeper agents for future use. It's master was Kuni Nakiro.
- The Jade Sects purpose is to combat the Shadowlands and the Lying Darkness. The resilient Yasuki Taka is its master.
- The Lotus Sect is the wetworks department of the conspiracy, assassinating those that become a problem. Its master is Shosuro Nyoko.
- The Roc Sect forms the embassy of the Kolat in Lands where the Kami do not hold sway. It is known as the Qolat in Medinat al-Salaam. Its master, Ruqayah, is the most independent of all the masters.
- The Steel Sect protects the headquarters of the Kolat, the Hidden Tempel. It mostly consists of an inner circle within the Ox Clan, whose daimyo Morito is Master Steel.
- The Tiger Sect acts as the internal affairs bureau for the Kolat. The identity of its secretive head, Master Tiger, is known to none.
- The Kolat teach their assassins a few unique techniques: the Tiger's Claw make them especially deadly against unaware foes, while the Steal the Light Technique permits them to blind or deafen foes.
- The Oni's Eye is a powerful artifact allowing it's wielder to spy on almost anyone, and communicate with Oni's Tears.
The Goju (page 51)Edit
- Fiction: A Goju asks for a terrible price after killing Hida Yoshiteru.
- The Goju and Ninube were once the faceless servants of the Lying Darkness. After its destruction, the became minions of the Shadow Dragon. They have adopted and made true the legends originally intended to distract from the true ninja.
- The Goju cannot procreate, and instead twist others to become one of them.
- With their increased independence, the Goju now have a sensei, Goju Shingo, a fallen Phoenix.
- Notable Goju students include the former Geisha, Goju Oharu, and the Obsidian Champion, Goju Kyoden.
- Besides the powers granted by Nothing, the Goju also have their own Goju Ninja school.
Minor Ninja Dojo (page 59)Edit
- Fiction: Kasuga Eju, who for years has acted as servant (in disguise) of the Emerald Magistrate Shinjo Tokitsu, kills his patron to keep his clan's secrets unrevealed.
- The House of the Golden Frog is the dojo of the Machi-Kanshisha who acted in covert operation for the Kaeru family. The current sensei is Kaeru Kenko.
- The Temple of the Order of Tengen is the dojo of the Order of Tengen, a monastical sect of the Brotherhood who acted as ninja spies of the Otomo family. The current sensei is its founder, Shosuro Chian.
- The Favorable Tides Inn was the headquarters of the Scales of the Carp, an Otokodate which traded with the Crane, but secretely are loyal to the Crab Clan. Its leader is the manipulative Yasuki Jinn-Kuen.
- The Hidden Dagger Dojo of the Tortoise Clan trains the bushi who will perform the secret operatives of the Minor Clan. The current sensei is Kasuga Shiriko, elder sister of the Tortoise Clan Champion Kasuga Taigen.
The Art of Silence (page 67)Edit
- Fiction: The guard Hida Toshiro is killed by Daidoji Harriers and a Crab supply depot is destroyed with explosives.
- The Mountain's Shadow Dojo is the dojo of the secretive Harriers. The current sensei is the aged Daidoji Mihoko. One of its most notable student is Daidoji Enai.
- The First Strike Dojo is the dojo of the Hiruma family. The current sensei is the exceptional Hiruma Todori. One of its most notable student is the keen oberver Hiruma Nichi.
- The Honor's Sacrifice Dojo is the dojo of the Ikoma Spymasters. The current sensei is the cheerful Ikoma Daimyo Ikoma Sume. One of its most notable student is the reviled Miya Hatori.
Enemies of the Ninja (page 77)Edit
- Fiction: Kitsuki Kenchin takes the upperhand during a ninja ambush.
- The Leaves of the Tree Dojo is the hideout of the Forest-Killers, former bandits which hire their sword in the current conflicts under the command od Kuso.
- The Open Eye Dojo housed the renowned Kitsuki Investigator school. The current sensei is the cynical and harsh taskmaster Kitsuki Kiyoko. Kitsuki Remata is one of its students, as well as the Shosuro Ryobu, a Scorpion spy impersonating Kitsuki Keno.
- Other groups which deal with ninja are the Tsuruchi Bounty Hunters and the Shadow Hunters.
Equipment of the Ninja (page 87)Edit
Shadow Warrior Secrets (page 93)Edit
- Section that refers to the D20 versions of skills where applicable.
- News of the Empire:
- Shiba Aikune assumed leadership of the Phoenix Clan, believing the Elemental Masters to be dead.
- The Lion send troops to their Phoenix allies, to withdraw them after the Tsuno attack. Aikune kills the Lion leader Matsu Shinya alongside with many Lion samurai. The survivors fled to the mountains in Phoenix territory.
- Akodo Kaneka sits at Yasuki Yashiki as Yasuki family's heir. The Crane's retreat is stopped afterthey are attacked by the Mantis. Kakita Kaiten demands safe passage to Kaneka, who kills the Kakita Dueling Academy sensei in a duel.
- Hida Kuon meets the Empire's enemy, Daigotsu, to eventually retreat and fight their way back. Kuon silences his advisors when he reveals a plan to retake the Kaiu Wall.
- Moto Gaheris passes to Yomi, after his heir and grandson Moto Chagatai arranges with the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang the construction of a temple in their honor.
- Bayushi Kaukatsu is selected as Imperial Chancellor, and the Imperial Families expected he will serve as a go-between among the Four Winds, hoping that such an individual can help foster peace. The first agreement he makes is with Ikoma Sume, the marriage of Sume's nephew Ikoma Otemi and Kaukatsu's student Shosuro Yasuko.