Novice to Ninja RPG system

About Novice to Ninja

Novice to Ninja is an overarching system that allows players to develop skills in this gaming system with little to no prior experience in RPG's or game play.  It is developed for use in classroom settings, where the content delivery is far more critical than the game-play rules themselves.


Negative Tenets:
  1. No "Hero" identification.

  1. The hero concept creates a binary assumption that prevents players from focusing on the story and the adventure. The players will become the protagonists, but that is not the same. 
  2. No Character Sheets. Character sheets require data analysis, and limit a player's ability to take risks and try something different.
  3. No Dice. The usage of dice to determine an action's success or failure limits a player's ability to evaluate, reflect, and discuss.  These are crucial aspects of learning.  
Positive Tenets:
  1. Game play is created by actionable statements, known as "postulates"
  1. These postulates are conditional statements, and conform to basic logic structures.
  2. Action can also be determined by non-conditional statements known as "Adages." These Adages may not conform to basic logic structures, and can have consequences that are not readily apparent.
  3. Spells, enchantments, defenses, charms, etc. are created by playing music.  All enchantments are equated with musical expression, therefore all musical selections used as enchantments must be cohesive musical ideas.
  4. Performance level does not hinder actionable items, but does hinder action effectiveness.The effectiveness of a performance is evaluated by both the GM and the players in order to create understanding of expectations and foster reflection.
Game Play:   The game play can vary significantly in order, and in pace.  However, it contains three aspects: Describe, Decide,andDo.[/b)  
  1. Describe: The GM is responsible for sharing the story.  Although the GM is responsible, this can take many forms - including showing the world and the chapter, materials, asking questions to prompt the players to "create" the story, acting out a short tableaux, or presenting images, movies, or puzzles.
  2. Decide: The players work together to decide how to address the action/puzzle/plot or story point. This decision making can include discussions, suggestions, idea sharing, or questions.  Students can be prompted in a direction, but it is important for them to determine their own actions.
  3. Do: Once a decision has been made, the players execute the action. Often, it will take multiple attempts until the players have satisfied themselves that the action was adequate.  Whether or not the action was appropriate to the task/story/puzzle is determined by the GM after the action is taken.    
  Tips and Tricks:
  1. Act it out. Putting the players in the position of acting out their ideas builds the story, and creates empathy and awareness of one's actions.  Often needs a willing participant.
  2. All bets are off. Vitula is a made up world, it is a great space to try out terrible ideas and discover their consequences.  Even if the players suggest the characters take potentially fatal action, it is worth following that idea to completion.  The "death" of a character in Vitula does not mean that the player is out of the game.
  3. Live in the "what if." Because the game play is built upon conditional statements, it is easy and rewarding to explore philosophical ideas.
  4. Player-driven action. There is no timeframe associated with each chapter.  Multiple chapters can be combined into one session, and it can take many sessions to complete a single task.  It is important to keep the story engaging and players involved - not to advance the plot at a certain pace.  

Cover image: The Wizard's Rock