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Old 04-22-2012, 06:40 PM   #1
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Default The Shinshi Clan of Grass

Shinshi Clan of Grass
When Shinshi Ken was a boy, he was sent to the academy to learn the shinobi arts, and it was discovered he had absolutely no talent for it, and was released early. But he had learned Kusagakure’s techniques, and so he was not allowed to leave the village. Instead he stayed, became a teacher, then a professor of mathematics. What would become the Shinshi clan signature technique was a fond pastime of his, a parlor trick to amuse his daughter and a small way to meld his early shinobi training with his love of mathematics and physics. She asked him to teach her, and he did, and wrote notes that she could read if the fancy ever struck her.

He slipped while walking home on a rainy day and cracked his head open. They say he was dead in minutes.

His daughter, Mao, excelled at everything her father had fallen short in. By the time she was a genin, she had turned her father’s parlor trick into a weapon to be used against the enemy, and when others asked her to teach them she said that it was a family skill. Mao had big dreams and chased them with a disturbing intensity; she took the way her father had been treated as a personal affront and a challenge to make them acknowledge the Shinshi family as something worth noticing.

She gathered half a dozen cousins she trusted with her life and taught them to make use of the Hen’iki. Mao married early, retired from shinobi life and had many children, always searching for some way to bring fame to her clan’s name. Six decades ago, they began to entrench themselves, to teach their children, live as a clan and spread news of themselves through their actions and deeds. Though the country would remember nothing they did so well as the coming Kumakusa Conflict.

Since the end of the Battle of the Blades, the Heijin Daimyo of southeastern grass had been jealous and covetous of the other Lords. The Heijin had been shortchanged, in their mind—where other's lands were fertile the Heijin's were dry and arid, without the ability to sustain any real military to defend their own borders. But the Heijin could not take the fertile lands of Grass back for themselves—peace treaties and the strength of their two rivals barred them from it. Thirty years ago, Heijin Gorou approached the problem from a different angle.

He instigated a border dispute between Grass and Bear in an attempt to even the balance between the three Daimyo. Mao’s eldest son, Nori, was with him at all times, and Gorou requested Shinshi presence for his most important operations. They might have bit off a bit of Bear country and made it theirs, if it was not for Iron.

With the Samurai of Iron Country mobilizing for the first time in decades, the Kumakasa Conflict quickly began to escalate into something resembling a war, and the people of Grass who’d known of nothing but peace came to know of it through hearsay. The way entire villages had been burned. How masked men had burst into homes at night, where sons had been forced to copulate with their mothers at swordpoint and young girls were dragged off into the dark and sometimes returned. Iron Country was enraged. Bear Country was enraged. Most of Grass Country was enraged.

It took ten years of quiet bloodshed for the other Daimyo of Grass to send troops to end the conflict. When they tracked down the Heijin forces Gorou was nowhere to be found. The leaders in the Kumakusa conflict were tried on a jury of Grass, Bear and Iron officials. Each and every one of them was executed, including half a dozen Shinshi and Nori. Whispers in dark corners of the countries bars said that Nori had killed Gorou, and given orders in his stead. The rumor spread. The Heijin family was largely absolved of blame by the general populace. The hate was directed toward the Shinshi instead.

To this day, citizens of Grass use the Shinshi name as a synonym for war criminal. The spectre of the Kumakusa Conflict haunts the Shinshi and all those connected to it.
Clan Physique:
When someone in Grass meets a Shinshi, they think they already know what they’re seeing. Their hair is known for its redness, their skin for near sickly fairness with freckles in excess. A bloody crown some say, in whispers to the side or with spittle to their faces. The Shinshi’s eyes? Well, they’re almost colorless. You like gossip? Some tell that they’re soulless. Their stature is small, slight—tiny blights who just love to fight.

But though there’s a grain of truth in what they whisper, there’s a risk in always trusting what people say. Because while the Shinshi are one family they have many different faces.
Every other week, strangers come to the front of their house; old men lecture to the street behind them that this is what the world has come to, or children throwing rocks at their back windows, jeering and escaping before anyone can find them. The country has not forgiven them

It’s no surprise then that Shinshi often develop inferiority complexes and approach the rest of the village with something to prove. The Matriarch encourages men to marry early and teach their children the Hen’iki. Women she likewise encourages to marry, retire, and take every chance to bolster the clan’s ranks. Underhanded shinobi have attempted to steal the Hen’iki’s secrets before, and so no spouse is ever taught it, and no shinobi are ever married into the clan.

The clan remains small, only topping forty persons if one counts infants and young children. Everyone in the clan knows each other’s names, and gossip and secrets spread through the clan like fire on dry tinder. Emphasis is always placed on upholding the honor and dignity of the clan—‘They think we’re scum. Prove them wrong.’

Clan Grounds
The clan compound, is an old repurposed apartment building, six stories tall, bought cheap from someone who thought the place would have been better off as bits of scrap and rubble.

The clan has turned it into something that other shinobi might envy, tearing off the walls on the last two floors, soundproofing and padding them to act as indoor training grounds, with special props to aid in the advancement of the Hen’iki. The fourth floor has been remodeled into a series of larger rooms, including an entertainment center, conference room, group dining room and Mao’s quarters.

Those below have not been altered in any way. Each family is assigned an apartment as their private home within the compound to sleep and deal with private business.

The Matriarch
Shinshi Mao was a beautiful young woman, and there are traces of that beauty in her even now. Her hair is stark white, her eyes wide and round, her nose very sharp. She is in her eighties, and though she is nearly crippled by arthritis her presence in the clan remains strong, her mind clear. Mao is a woman of extremes to the heart of her. Mao’s temper is infamous among her children and grandchildren, but so is her capacity for love, for caring. The Shinshi are biased, and must love her, and when she screams they tell their children that it is because she loves so deep that every little betrayal stings deep.

She believes in the strength of the clan and her thoughts are always for what might best benefit the Shinshi as a whole. The Shinshi shinobi clan is her life’s work and the whole of her soul is dedicated to it, especially now, when she has so few years left in the world to watch over it. For her, the love of her children and grandchildren and the love of her lifelong passion of building a clan are the same, and when what she perceives as the clan’s good comes into conflict with the desires of its individuals the whole of the Shinshi clan fears her wrath.

When she dies, doubtless some new order of things will need to be organized. But she is not dead yet.
One week after a child is born within the clan’s grounds, there is a spontaneous celebration. The family gathers and has a feast in the fourth floor, music is played, and clanmembers of all ages dance and celebrate, giving toast to the child born that day, children born before and all those that will be born thereafter. Contests are held on chalk circles based on who can remain within the circle for the longest. The Shinshi treat weddings in a similar way, and make the same toasts at the end.

The Shinshi keep track of personal accomplishments by tattooing strips of color around an arm. Each color represents a different kind of event; white represents acts of great renown, grey an act of great shame, or black; a moment of exceptional mourning, while all other colors represent important personal events.

These stripes are an important badges of honor to many of the Shinshi, and measure their worth to other Shinshi. Every time a shinobi is promoted, they get a white stripe. Every time they do something truly exceptional or bring good attention to the clan, they get a white stripe. Those who understand know that the tattoos act as a sort of timeline, a record the achievements a Shinshi has accomplished in their lifetime. To those outside the clan who do not understand the custom, it is mostly a way to tell at a glance if one is looking at a Shinshi.

After Nori and the other dead Shinshi were buried, angry Grass citizens stole their tombstones, exhumed the bodies, removed their heads and left them on the Shinshi's doorstep. Ever since then all their dead have been cremated and their ashes have been placed in a small room on the fourth floor constructed explicitly for that purpose.

The Hen'iki
From a young age, Shinshi are schooled in numbers, physics, meditation and spatial awareness. Though lengthy breathing exercises and years of training they slowly internalize the symbol that serves both as their clan sign and the basis of their technique. It is incredibly rare for a Shinshi child to pass the age of ten without having learned to preform advanced calculus or make use of special cognitive loops to manipulate weight through the Hen'iki.

The Shinshi keep everything about how the Hen'iki operates secret, for fear that a clever shinobi who knew the details of how it functions might be capable of reverse engineering it. Even the children are taught to never discuss the details of the Hen'iki with anyone outside the family.

Shinshi Specialist
Special: When taken as primary the user has one free usage of their highest stage of the Hen’iki
Primary: Any
Secondary: Any
Tertiary: Any
Stat Merit: +2 to Control, +1 to Tactics
Stat Flaw: -2 to Speed, -1 to Willpower
Some among the Shinshi are absolutely obsessive in the maintenance of their Hen’iki. Through countless hours of practice and training, they have refined to process so much so that they have learned ways to make the process more efficient.


Shinshi Gemmei - Junge
Shinshi Junichi - Wess
Shinshi Tsuneo - Distortion
Shinshi Yui - Kaen - NPC

Last edited by merdle; 07-12-2015 at 07:31 PM..
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:29 AM   #3
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Very interesting...

Half-approved for the Grass math and science nerds. ;D

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Old 04-25-2012, 10:25 AM   #4
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:38 AM   #5
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Can't really do much by ways of approving this (else I would), but I did find one error in the text:

...and when other asked her to teach them...


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Old 04-25-2012, 04:02 PM   #6
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Thank you. Though be careful! If you keep saying how you can't approve but you want to like that, people are going to think that you're pining for Eldership immediately after your three year absence.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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That archetype special indeed. Half-approval to keep the ball rolling.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:32 AM   #8
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I'll throw a halfproval to leave this up to Grass GM.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:11 PM   #9
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Interesting, for the sake of the villages timeline, give me some year markers if you could. I guess for the sake of future timeline, work forward from the battle of the blades. So like '50 years after the founding of grass' or whatever. It wasn't until I knew Mao was still alive that I knew when some of your events were supposed to happen, but it was still difficult to hold together.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:29 AM   #10
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I've given a few harder dates in the history. Here's a tl;dr, in the requested format.
  1. Seventy years after the founding of Grass Village, Mao begins to build the clan that will be known as the Shinshi.
  2. A hundred years after the founding of Grass Village, Heijin Gorou initiates the Kumakusa offensive.
  3. A hundred and ten years after the founding of Grass Village, the Kumakusa Conflict is brought to a halt by Grass, Bear and Iron.
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Kurayami ~ Real Monster | Y—i ~ Unfurling Fire | Ayaka ~ Silent Dissident
Kyou ~ Collared Cat| Masuyo ~ Lurking Liar | Rina ~ Serial Adventuress
Shiori ~ Cynical Seer | Kinsha ~ Pure Poison | Miyu ~ Amoral Mage

Last edited by Kaen; 05-07-2012 at 01:39 AM..
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