Shinobi Military Formation in The Sagas | World Anvil


Those who live in the light shall always fear the darkness and are forever bound to it. But those choosing to enter shall know the truth that goes on in the light, for its brightness does not blind them that so many accept. - Feruku Genama, head of the Feruku Clan



Shinobi work in small groups when carrying out missions, often carrying out tasks alone or with several dozen depending on the mission they have to undertake.


Shozoku: Clothing ranging from black to blue covers their entire body to ensure that no skin is showing or anything is reflective. It also allows them to block out noise to ensure they're unheard when on the move. Armor is applied to it in small amounts to offer some protection when in combat.   Climbing Gear: Climbing gear is needed to ensure that they can continue their missions without the obstacles in the way. Things such as climbing spikes and rope are some of the few things it holds.   Explosives Pouch: Since the discovery of Black Powder, its primary use has been to create distractions, conceal one's presence through smoke and create explosions when something is needed to be gone.   Poison Pouch: A series of lethal and nonlethal poisons are in liquid and powder form to place on a weapon or secret added to food or a drink.


Katana : Unlike the weapon used by samurai, a Shinobi's Katana is straighter, shorter, and designed for stabbing rather than slashing. It's also intended to help them climb up walls when needed.   Blow Gun: A weapon that can fire darts from a distance without making too much noise. Their darts can range from poisonous to paralysis.   Rope Dart: A rope with a sharp piece of metal attached to it. While hard to master, it can be dangerous to face once it achieves its range and speed.   Shuriken: Small throwing stars can easily throw one or several times, making them easier to conceal and harder to dodge.   Kama: A sickle-like weapon equipped with a chain used for close and long-range attacks, its design allows it to hook onto opponents and disarm them quickly.   Sai: A unique weapon once used to collect rice, it has become a weapon that can deflect or trap an enemy's weapon with its three distinct blades.   Kunai: A weapon that acts as a small dagger that can be a throwing weapon due to its design and size.   Tetsubishi: Small metal spike used to block a person's path, or they will have their feet impaled by them.


A shinobi will often act alone when assigned to a mission to ensure that their mobility is not hindered and there can remain as quiet as possible not to reveal themselves. , But when more of them are required, they will often work in small groups to carry out their assignments.


We strike from the shadows when we want to, not our opponents. Only fools would reveal themselves to an enemy when they can attack without being seen. - Veteran Shinobi
A Shinobi is a being that will remain hidden as long as possible when out on a mission, and tactics may be seen as simple but are far from it.  
  • Stealth : Having the element of surprise is a Shinobi's main advantage when out in the field as it allows them to reach a target without being seen or heard. They have blended in with the shadows easily through special techniques and do not make a sound even when walking. These techniques are known as the Art of Shadows or Ninjitsu for short.
  • Diversion: Sometimes, Stealth isn't enough when trying to carry out a mission, which is why a distraction can be as helpful when moving around unseen. These distractions can range from fires or noises to distracting the attention of others to avoid being discovered.
  • Assassination: There are at least a thousand ways to kill someone when it comes to a Shinobi. Some can be subtle as poisoning someone's meal to brutal such as beheading a target when the employer what proof once someone becomes a target of a Shinobi, they are best to be ready for the fight of their life.
  • Sabotage: The best way to defeat an enemy is by bringing ruin to their designs, as a broken enemy cannot put up a good fight. One of the many ways a Shinobi can be of use is to sow chaos behind the enemy lines by destroying fortification and equipment to weaken a foe, among many other things.


Trained at Birth

  Being born into a Shinobi clan is never easy as all are expected to follow in the footstep of their parent and become assassins. The training becomes more complicated and complex as the years go on to strengthen all attributes to become a living weapon. Making them highly skilled killers at a young age as they become more and more qualified by reaching adulthood. A weakness is purged from them to ensure they are hesitant or impaired by physical and mental concerns. They often break their limits as they continue to improve with them and become masters of the shadows. However, many of these skills are kept a secret as the clans live in secrecy and avoid giving up any information to ensure that enemies and rival clans cannot exploit them.


Logistical Support

Shinobi clans often have safe houses in certain areas to allow their members to rest and resupply when going to or from missions.


At times a Shinobi will become a part of a battle and sneak into places while their enemies are distracted by other forces.


A Shinobi will often stay in their clan's ancestral home with all their equipment and supplies. Most of their pay comes from the missions they are hiring for with them, ranging from small amounts to bars of gold depending on many factors, from information to the influence of a target.


Shinobi are often born into one of the Shinobi clans to become one, but they will often recruit those willing to join them, often orphans or young adults. It does not matter where they come from nor their they of a different race, as all can learn the arts of the shadows.


The Arrival of the Great One

  Before the rise of the Juzakabe Shogunate or the creation of the region of Kenju in the south, was the land of Keto and its inhabits the Ketoese, the ancestors of the Kenjuese people. Back then, these people were made up of simple farming communities and tribes that lived off the land and did not bother anyone. But when kingdoms began to rise to defend themselves from harm better, things changed for them. These kingdoms would wage war and oppress their populations into submission to ensure that their power would grow. They led to an age of turmoil and battle that saw the people constantly fear invaders and their governments. That changed when a mysterious figure arrived in their lands many centuries later. The figure was none other than the famous Ratsutoshadou, companion, of the great hero Ken Han Shu that traveled the ground with him to do good in the world.   But after his death, Ratsutoshadou wondered about the land as a drifter after losing his friend. He would eventually find himself in Keto and see people's troubles across the land. He would aid them here as they were not strong enough to face the might of the armies that their rulers had to suppress them. Ratsutoshadou was no ordinary being as it was said he was born from the shadows and blended into it as if he was never even there. He would teach his techniques to those who had the will to fight to create the Art of Shadows, known later as Shinjitsu. From him, the first Shinobi would learn the art of shadows that would turn simple farmers into warriors of stealth and death. The first Shinobi would become protectors of the people as they wage war against the tyrants that ruled over them from the shadows. Ratsutoshadou would vanish after he finished training his disciples with no one knowing where he went, only that one day he would return to claim a favor from them for his services before returning to the shadows from whence he came.  

war in the Shadows

  In these ancient times, the Shinobi formed great clans that would teach the art of Shinjitsu to all willing to learn and wage war against those who abused their power and harmed the innocent. These clans spread far and wide across Keto as they carried out their crusades of justice from the shadows. In time, the senseless wars and oppression would cease as all would fear the wrath of the Shinobi if they ever thought of such things. For them, at any moment from any shadow, they see one of them could strike a moment's notice if they wanted to. These hidden warriors would be the unsung heroes of peace and justice to many ordinary people. Creating a long yet delicate peace amongst the kingdoms as they watched and waited for when they were needed once more. But not all foes they faced would be from inside the kingdoms and threaten the people.   After many centuries of war from outside, the kingdoms would see the Shinobi facing the might of Derulo Khanate and its vast armies of horse riders, leading them into a long and bloody struggle to ensure the survival of the kingdoms from destruction and the occupation of a foreign force. Through them, the Derugo knew what it meant to fear the darkness as their leaders were killed without a sound, and their camps were sent into disarray. Leading their forces to become divided into a separate as they continued their campaign for several more decades. It was not until the death of one of their Khans at the hands of Shinobi that they had enough left the land of Keto in peace and secured the future of independence for its people. But the war took its toll on the Shinobi clans as well, with their number dwindling and many clans being destroyed in the conflict. It forced them to go into hiding and only resurface when they needed to. Their absence would lead to a new age in Keto as the war had destabilized the kingdom leading them to collapse, and once more, warlords called Daiymos would rise from the ashes.  

Divided Paths

  When the Shinobi finally returned from many years in hiding, their land was once more sent into total war as warlords battled for dominance. But rather than fighting these new warlords, many of the clan's views had changed since their time in hiding and wished to enrich themselves rather than protect the peace that had cost them dearly. Leading many clans to leave the old ways and become mercenaries for hire as spies, assassins, and saboteurs. Many Shinobi pledged their allegiance to Daimyos as their master for wealth, or they were deemed worthy of their services. Very few of the clans that stuck to the old ways remained now, and we were left to fend for ourselves as they struggled in a new world where there were very few friends. Some would even be hunted by the newly emerged Samurai and other Shinobi Clans if they were found to be troublesome. Forcing them to hide once more with it being said that they only lived in the shadows themselves to reveal themselves when they needed to, clans such as are only known as Shadow clans who have become shrouded in myth and secrecy.   In these dark and turbulent times, the Shinobi had lost their values in the power search and would become feared by all, for they would kill anyone that paid them for it and bring chaos from the shadows. Many were often considered dishonorable as Keto would change culturally, with land being called Kenju as the Kenjuese culture began to spread, and the old ways vanished with them. Thus began their long reign of wage war in the shadows for power and wealth from those who hired them. The adaptation to this era allowed them to become more skilled killers and better equipped with the wealth they achieved and would continue to do so for years to come. The clans would flourish as their numbers grew and spread across the land as they were hired by anyone who paid well for their services.  

Spreading and Retraction of the Shadows

  It would not be until the rise of the Juzakabe Shogunate that the services of the Shinobi would spread across the archipelago as they would begin to find work in more distant lands as the shogunate's wars spread across the land in the Century of Fire. Many of them would be hired by the shogunate to weaken their enemies as their war machine continued along with spreading their list of clients to other lands and waging war with different groups of assassins to strengthen their control over a region and get rid of the competition known as the Hidden Wars. In time the clans would have spread across the land and could be found wherever the shogunate had conquered. Creating peace across the ground, but one where assassins were still needed as they went about their tasks as killers for hire. Even within the shogunate, rivalries and deception flourish in a society that believes in honor and righteousness.   But the clans would begin to lose power as the shogunate collapsed more than half a millennia later, with many clans destroyed in foreign lands as unrest and rebellion soon found themselves at their doorstep. Many clans would be wiped out while many fled, returning to their homeland for safety. Though it did not deter all of them from leaving, some managed to escape destruction and remain in the former lands of the shogunate. They may be scattered and divided, though far from harmless as their shadows still linger as they seek the employment of anyone who would have them. Since then, the Shinobi would still been used, and their legacy remains as they continue to do the dirty work of others in search of wealth. But since the arrival of Shungetsu Empire, many clans fear their time is at an end as the empire seeks to rid them of their lands. But a few have begun to change with the times and strive to rid themselves of their ways of killing for money and power to serve a greater purpose in bringing peace to the land.

Historical loyalties

Shinobi are bound by the clans they are born with and remain loyal to them as they carry out their orders. Some offer their services to a lord and carry out their will when asked to. But many clans have become mercenaries for hire and offer their services to anyone who pays them well no matter who they to spy on or kill.
1000 BCA
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy

Master of Stealth

Only in shadows shall we be able to roam freely without gaining the attention of others around us. - Unkown
  The Shinobi are feared not because of their fighting tactics or methods but because they can remain hidden without being seen or heard. Only those whose senses honed to search for such individuals will never see a Shinobi pass them by or know of their presence. Those who do will often find it too late to do anything, as they will likely be dead by then. When their mission becomes completed, they will be long gone before anyone can find them. It's believed that Shinobi are not people. Instead, they are beings who have shown themselves to the shadows that will only appear when they want to.    

Notorious Spies

Find the document and retrieve them so I may give them better use than their current owner ever could - Employer
  When not dealing with assassinations and wreaking havoc behind enemy lines, a Shinobi can become an excellent spy when they need to be. They are capable of gathering information far higher than that of most other spies. This is due to them being able to hide their presence from others to allow them to eavesdrop and seek into places unnoticed, allowing them to learn many secrets without anyone even knowing that they take them. Shinobi will even stay in an area for weeks to ensure they get what they require. They are also known to spy without their Shinobi clothing to avoid suspicion of others who may discover them. Even wearing disguises to stay hidden in plain sight as they search for what they need and leave as if they were never even there in the first place.  

Paths of Shadows

They are many paths that one can take, but once you choose one, there is often no going back from that choice, and most bear all that struggle that path has to offer - Shin
  In their centuries of existence, the Shinobi clans had not remained ideal in finding different ways to hone their techniques and skills to become living weapons. During that time, they have created various trials that they call the Paths of Shadows that allow a Shinobi to master a particular branch of Shinjitsu to further their success when on an assignment. It is considered a great honor for those who take these trails and pass to become masters of their craft. But it should not be taken lightly, for each trial is difficult to pass, and very few succeed in completing them. Those who do will become one of the most gifted members of their clan and be rewarded with a spirit mask that proves the completion of their path. These paths are known as the Path of Silence, the Path of Blood, the Path of Torment, and the Path of Ruin.   Path of Silence: Those who take this path will no longer be able to make a sound in their movements and can vanish as if they were the wind itself. Their arts allow them to become untraceable and hidden from all unless they enable it to be so. It's said that they can mimic the voices of others if they hear them. Those who complete this path are given the mask of a Noppera-bō, a faceless Yokai known for its terrifying appearance.   Path of Blood: Those who take this path are known to be violent and bloodthirsty, favoring a trail of corpses in their wake rather than remaining hidden. They have trained themselves to become master martial artists and weapon experts. Their speed is the stuff of legends as very few can match. Those completing this path are given the mask of an Oni, a Yokai known for its brutal nature and wickedness.   Path of Trickery: Those who take this path shall become masters of the arts of deception and cunning. In doing so, they can create situations that favor them by manipulating their surroundings and those in them. With various skills and tools at their disposal, they will always be victorious while their enemies are lost and confused at what has transpired. Those completing this path are given the mask of a Kitsune, a Yokai known for its mischievous nature and trickery.   Path of Ruin: Those who take this path will bring destruction wherever they go through various methods. It allows them to gain access to far more dangerous material to make tools of destruction and better understand how to break certain things, whether walls or buildings. Nothing remains intact when they are on a mission. Whatever the target will be is left in ruins with very little remaining. Those completing this path are given the mask of a Tengu, a Yokai known to bring destructive calamities wherever they go.


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Jan 5, 2022 18:20 by K.S. Bishoff

This is really well done and very thorough! The artwork is amazing!

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Jan 17, 2022 01:04

I love how in-depth your information is in many sections! This article was a great read!

Co-creator of the fantasy worlds Isekai & Seireitei
Co-creator of the TTRPG System Storybook