Shinobigami - Modern Ninja Battle Tabletop RPG from Japan

Created by Andy Kitkowski

Shinobigami is an original Japanese story-focused tabletop RPG of drama, action, tactics and frenemies, set in a modern ninja cold war.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Further status, a bit behind but pushing forward
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Jun 06, 2018 at 11:01:02 PM

Hey Shinobigami Team: A very quick update, before returning to the workbench...

Unfortunately I have some rather embarrassing news: We couldn't make it by the 6 week estimate we earlier set. In the background, there was a week-long national holiday vacation here in Japan (Golden Week), and both myself and my layout designer planned to take most of those holiday days and focus all that time on finishing up the layout.

What we thought was a sure thing got rolled by some real life stuff: Neither of us were able to take that week off, and instead (for different reasons/causes) had to grind through the vacation week. Further, some art assets we thought we had turned out to be missing, so we're hunting for those now.

We're almost there, and are focusing on evenings and weekends to get it done. Before the end of June (3 weeks) we'll have an update with hopefully a pre-final PDF ready by then (I say "pre-final" only if we can't get those 1-2 pictures ready and instead need some placeholder art until it can be readied).

I wish I had better news to share, but this mark was missed due to, effectively, our holidays being cancelled.

However, with 3 weeks and four weekends between now and the end of the month, we're going to be able to catch up with our earlier proposed schedule, and won't see later timelines (finished book) etc slip too much.

Stay tuned for the next update. Until then, we're going to be spending our time grinding evenings and weekends to get through this last step!

Quick Status Update!
almost 2 years ago – Mon, Apr 09, 2018 at 11:41:56 PM

Hey Team Shinobigami: Andy here.

Apologies for the delay, we're a little over the 6 week mark since my last update. I was trying to hold out a few days for some graphical samples, but I couldn't get them ready without ever further delay: I'll likely have an update once those are ready in hopefully the next two weeks, but at least for now I wanted to discuss our status and release plans.

The PDF is almost done: We expect delivery of the finalized PDF to you backers within the next 4-6 weeks. This finalized PDF has even more bugfixes and final edits than the previously released files (so don't worry about errors you may have seen in those previous files at this point, most have been caught and fixed).

After the PDF is complete, we're going to start pushing towards the printing of the book: We're going to hold out for 2-3 weeks to catch any final mistakes or fixes in the finalized PDF (since that will be the base file that we're using for the book), and then get that final to the printers shortly after. With samples, proofing and the like, we expect the finalized book to be released around convention time (GenCon) this year.

This is for the commercial edition of the book, mind: The limited edition is going to take a little bit longer (current estimate: 2-3 months after the release of the commercial/"regular" edition). The reason comes down to form factor: When we produced Ryuutama (our last project) and went for a limited edition version of the game, producing the same content but with a different cover made the most sense for that game: The book was already full-color and gorgeous, and a limited edition cover really set the book apart.

However, for Shinobigami, the book is a much smaller form factor (American manga sized, like a wide paperback book), and just releasing a special cover felt a little underwhelming for what we could do. In the end, we are going to adjust the layout, once completed (not starting over from scratch, mind, just minor adjustments) and push the layout into a larger B5 form factor, to make it that much more special. Long story short, while the text will be the same, the book's cover and form factor will be quite different. We expect the printing of the limited edition to take about 2 more months, pushing the first book's limited edition into the Fall.

Several folks have asked about upgrading their pledge level to the limited edition book: We're going to be moving to Backerkit soon, first I want to be able to provide you with a few samples of what it will look like. We'll have those visual samples ready (plus the backerkit portal live) within six weeks, so before/by May 22nd. We'll also have samples of the coins and tenugui (hand-cloth) Shinobigami play-mats as well (these are the samples I hoped to have this week, it took a little longer than I expected to work out the details with the textile vendor).

In short: THings are on track, and the first delivery milestone we expect to hit within six weeks. We're very excited to be able to get the fully playable electronic version into your hands!

Thanks for your patience with us on this journey. As soon as I have more details and samples both of the limited edition book and some of the extras, I'll share those with the community (hopefully within the next two weeks).

Next stop: The Finalized Electronic PDF of Shinobigami!

Book Update and Extras Details!
about 2 years ago – Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 08:28:36 PM

Hi Team Shinobigami: Andy here with our first update of 2018.

First of all, I want to apologize for the first update of the year coming out mid-February. After a bit of Japan O-shogatsu/New Year's holiday chaos and things settled down a bit, a bit of delay creeped in, followed by a bit of delay-triggered anxiety. That was crushed a few weeks back and we're back on track.

2017 was, well, really sh**y for the Shinobigami team across the board, for personal and professional reasons. We've made regular forward progress, but not at a speed or throughput that's on par with our previous work, and that really got to us both. We ultimately had to do a lot of self-improvement and self-care to get back on the rails at the end of 2017. The engine stalled a bit in 2017. We're late with both books. But we're back on track: Calendar's up, goals and deadlines are set and being met.

I do understand that some folks will not be happy with the delay at this point: While we haven't created a sunken-cost fallacy pit trap here, we do realize that we have basically sat on folks' money that could have been put to use for other projects or personal goals. To that end, if anyone contacts us asking for a refund at this point, a full refund will be given, no questions asked. We hope that you'll stick with it since we're almost there, but we absolutely understand that people's situations change.

Here's what we're going to see in the first few months of 2018:

* The finished electronic copy of the first book: We're in layout (stalled a bit at the end of the year, but back on it now). Should be finished and available for review before finalization within the next six weeks. 

* Release of some of the stretch goals: We plan on eventually compiling all the extra scenarios into a supplement at a single link (DriveThruRPG), but until that's ready and done we'll be releasing them individually over the first few months to the backers.

* Preview of the second Shinobigami book: We'll have a preview of some of the content, including the new sub-clans, and a look at the three "Normal Human" character classes and what they bring to the table.

* Details of the limited edition Shinobigami book: For those who followed the Ryuutama campaign, you know that the Limited Edition was a faux-leather cover with gold trim, but essentially the internal book contents from start to end were the same. For Shinobigami, the book format is such that it didn't feel right to give the limited edition just a different cover: We're processing a second, separate layout for it, at a different book size (the text contents will be the same, but the book size will be a little bigger; this will allow us to play with the layout a little more, but take away from the modular nature of the small pocket-sized original paperback). More details on this soon.

* Backerkit information: We're going to go with Backerkit for pledge handling this time. We've had a lot of people approach us asking for an upgrade to the limited edition version of the game (sight unseen, which is extremely flattering; thank you): To ensure that we are able to handle the logistics of all these changes, we're bringing Backerkit into the picture to handle processing and extras. When the link is ready we'll be sending it out.

* Other extras: I've been keeping quiet on these until we had actual samples, but here's what we're prototyping in the background while we finished up the book content (while not a core part of the campaign, these are going to be offered as extras to those who want them, as well as be included by default in all Limited Edition orders):

- A Shinobigami Tenugui (traditional Japanese hand-towel/cloth) with the Shinobigami logo, with the "Velocity System" battle mat printed on it: Basically a cloth you can use to tie your book(s) together, then throw down on the table to serve as a large (larger than printing out the A4/Paper sized one) Velocity System sheet. 

- Working with a metal coin manufacturer on a set of "Shinobigami coins", to be used as a token for each player to track if they had completed their Scene in the cycle (face up), or if they haven't had a turn yet (face down). Think of it as one of those stones/buttons at a Churrasco restaurant, where you leave it face up to bring "The Drama" instead of steak.

- Further Shinobigami scenarios written by as yet unannounced authors, including one that will appear simultaneously to the Western (in English) and Japan (in Japanese) fanbase.

More on these extras later once we have prototypes complete; for now we're focusing on closing the electronic book and moving forward with printing the physical book.

On that timeline, we expect to see the following:

1-2 months: Finalized electronic copy.

2-3 months later (summer, before convention season) Finalized version of the commercial/regular edition of Shinobigami printed and en route to the backers.

2 months after that: Delivery of the limited edition of the Shinobigami book.

Finally, we've already started in on the review of the second Shinobigami book (pre-editing stage). With the project back on the rails, we are aiming for completion of the electronic version of this book by the Fall, and aiming to print the book around the end of the year (I can't promise at this time that the second book will deliver to all backers by the end of 2018, but we definitely intent to have it in the hands of the printer or warehouse by that time).

In short? Back on track. And again, apologies for the embarrassingly long start to 2018: The project is back on the rails. The next update will be in March, where we'll have pictures of the book and more information on the extras announced above.

Thanks for your time: We're super excited to be closing in on the results of our blood and sweat.

Shinobigami Beta (Final) Files Here!
over 2 years ago – Fri, Jan 05, 2018 at 05:02:53 PM

This post is for backers only. Please visit and log in to read.

Shinobigami Token Progress, and Quick Beta (Final) Rules Note
over 2 years ago – Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 11:53:35 PM

Hey team awesome. I had a quick update for you all.

As posted in the last update/comments, this weekend I was working to produce the finalized text to tide you over until the final PDF is ready in a few weeks. Unfortunately, just as I was getting the last of the appendix/English edition advice into the book at the end of this weekend, I came down with a stomach bug. Just got over the worst of it now, but my "Red Bull All-Nighter to Crush It" plans died with the lining of my stomach (though not as violently). 

Instead, barring further sickness or act of kami(s), they'll be ready 24-36 hours from now: That's right, two updates in two days.

To lessen the pain of my delay there, I do have good news to share right now: The first sample round of some extra Shinobigami character tokens are now complete.

As I stated in the previous update, one really fun part of the Shinobigami book that some fans have been creative with is the Velocity Battle System: A simple grid of about 7 large boxes, where the players put in their tokens that represent their character (in many games this is a single unique die or coin). The original book has representations of many Shinobigami characters (all Japanese/asian in a typical anime style) in a super-deformed/"chibi"/santoushin style, and many fans have produced their own tokens for their own characters and games.

There are many such tokens floating around out there, mostly culturally Japanese (understandable, given the game!), but with some creative representations of foreign ninja (for fans who wanted to portray foreign-born ninja, or else use a "Alt-history London with Ninjas" setting that was portrayed in a replay). However, those were mostly white/very light-skinned.

Working with one such artist (Sanoya-san), I am commissioning a few sets of foreign-looking ninja of various cultural and world backgrounds: Female, Male, Andro, etc characters with many varied skin tones (read: melanin). Sure, one can freely palette-swap existing characters, but I also wanted to include small, unique physical or cultural elements (including inspiration from real cultural fashion and the like... as much as such can be represented in a thumb-sized token anyway) above just palette-swapping.

Alrighty, that was enough lead-in: In short, here's the first set of four that I commissioned just to sort of test the waters, so they're mostly loosely based on real-life friends and taking some creative cultural liberties (and in one case, a chibi anime take on a goofy picture my friend Jerry shared on Facebook). Many future sets will be a range from culturally-placed clothing to "foreigners in business suits or high school uniforms" for the undercover-in-Japan look.




 (many) more to come!

Okay, that's all for today: Going to pill up, crash, and have the Finalized/Beta text to you all shortly!