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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Ronald B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2017 18:15:29

One of my favorite features is there’s no metaplot, just the setup. There are no secrets, which only the game master may know--another Good Thing(TM). The end result is players can read this book, cover-to-cover, and their understanding and enjoyment of the game can only be enhanced by doing so.

The core mechanic of the game is simple--roll d20, add modifiers, beat target number. A deft GM could easily roll in the additional mechanics as needed, to a crunch-shy group.

I have two issues with this book: 1) It seems to me a game about a war should include mass combat rules. I know ninja battles are showcased as one-on-on events in anime and manga, but larger-scale skirmishes and battles are mentioned; so they should be represented by rules. 2) The editing in this book leaves much to be desired. There are times where I laughed for all the wrong reasons when I was reading.

If you’re looking for a blow-by-blow replacement for Legend of the Five Rings, you may be disappointed by Wu Xing. Further, avoid it if you weren’t excited about my description of initiative and combat. But if you love martial arts action, and authentic Eastern culture is a tough sell at your game table, this is a must buy. Heck, if you saw Avatar: The Last Airbender and loved it, go directly to your FLGS or Third Eye Games' store or RPGNow--do not pass go; do not collect $200.

Full review at

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Thom S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/23/2015 13:18:23

This is a fantastic setting with a great ruleset that does a fantastic job of capturing Wuxia / Anime / Manga style combat. The setting itself includes enough overlap with real historical Asian culture to be familiar to the reader, while putting its own unique spin and effectively distancing itself from Earth / the "real" world.

I look forward to the Third Eye Games efforts on Ninja Crusade 2

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Thiago R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2013 02:45:09

While the layout is a bit on the weak side and the system is not very original or engaging, Wu Xing is a very honest book with gorgeous art. It felt like a strange mix of White Wolf and D&D in both scope and rules, but it does not try to sell itself as revolutionary or anything like that. Get it while it's on promotion - while it feels like a good buy at $8.83, I don't think it's worth 15 bucks.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/09/2012 00:23:14

I find that Wu Xing is a game that has a lot of open spaces for a GM to fill in on his own. Sure there's a large central conflict with the Izou Empire and the Lotus Coalition, but it's just sort of there. The writing doesn't seem to convey the same kind of urgency that being hunted to extinction is supposed to impart. That said, all the pieces to make it feel urgent are there, the Executioners and Golden Lions are all fearsome opponents, and the Firearms mentioned in the game's blurb is barely given more than a short sidebar, a paragraph saying that they're pretty dangerous and take a while to reload and a single row in the weapons table. It would have been nice to see a unit of empire soldiers that specialize in firearms, like Imperial Snipers or something just to amp up how they can turn the tide against Chi-Manipulating Ninjas.

Speaking of the Empire and the Lotus Coalition, even having a small smattering of NPCs from both sides of the conflict would have been nice to see. Giving a name and a face to the big names of the Empire, such as say, a Spymaster could do a lot to make the setting more interesting. Likewise the Lotus Coalition would be more interesting if we knew who were the Ninjas who were squabbling against each other, and what their agendas were.

I'm also slightly put off by the modern language and concepts used in character dialogue in the fiction parts of the book. One particular vignette for the Blazing Dancers Clan had me strangely bothered when the Ninja offers a fan an autograph. It seemed like a very strange anachronism, and one that kept jarring my suspension of disbelief. Some turns of phrase were also far too informal to match the setting, but I think that's just my expectations clashing with the setting as intended by the author. I think my expectations could have been colored by my experiences and comfort in running Legend of the Five Rings.

That said, the game itself is pretty neat. I mentioned some issues I've had about the organization of the rules, such as putting the basic mechanics in the skills portion of the character creation instructions, but once you actually get a hang of the entire thing, it feels like a very solid system. The options for combat, the strong visuals for the Wushu and various techniques, and the little ways to customize your character are all well done. The artwork and layout are all well done, with the various pieces for the Clans being a highlight. Also the character sheet, while dense (and perhaps riddled with just a little too many shuriken) is very useful, and has a mini-reference for all the little rules for combat to help things move along a little more smoothly.

Wu Xing delivers on the promise of being action-oriented, and provides enough magic and mysticism to pull off the whole superpowered Ninja schtick with aplomb. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in playing or running in such a game, but I would also advise them to read the book very carefully just so you don't miss out on any stray rules tucked away in other paragraphs.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by David C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/28/2012 08:31:20

I love the concept of this ninja rpg and I was enchanted enough to purchase it. I also really like to support small game companies where possible so there is a nice synergy.

However, there are a few glaring problems that keep this product from being a truly great product:

  1. There are glaring grammatical errors, that sometimes make it difficult to understand what the writer was even intending to say (sometimes seems as though not written by an English speaker). The designers seriously need spell check and a decent editor on this product. I, for one, find them so glaring it would be worth putting out a revised edition.

  2. The dice mechanics are essentially a variation on the OGL that are made overly complex - instead of Reflex, Fortitude, Will we are given specific Fear, Insanity, Flexibility, Balance, etc... checks resulting in a complex series of bonuses. While not specifically a problem, it seems like the needless level of complexity that the OGL was designed to eliminate. Also there is a surplus of bonuses when compared to target numbers that seems to make the dice rolling irrelevant.

  3. The rules for Chi (a key mana source in the game) are not sufficiently explained. For example - if your Chi becomes "depleted" it can cause personality changes, yet some Elemental Souls (aka alignment) begin with 0 Yin or Yang Chi. As the rules read, there is no way for these characters to not be depleted. It is also not clear as to exactly how overall Chi level is calculated for purposes of buying Wu Shu (spells). For such an essential (use several times per session/fight) mechanic the writers definitely should have given Chi more elaboration.

  4. As with the White Wolf system it is copied from, the Wu Shu system has grievous disparity of power. For example "Way of Heaven's Judgement" provides 4 different overlapping Wu Shu for determining truth, but only 2 Wu Shu that might help in combat, and those might never help the character unless chasing a guilty individual. By contrast "Way of Great Serpents" is filled with 7 different Wu Shu that help a character in combat.

  5. There is very little in the way of a money/purchase/resouce system, the system relies on GM decision in "giving appropriate gear" based on Class. Considering how important shuriken, weapons, clothing, costumes, and gadgets are to the ninja this is a poor choice.

  6. The world description is nice, but as with most of the "Game master" section there is insufficient adversaries. The only actually intelligent "villain" is the Empire, and they are described vaguely at best - for example there is no description of how the government functions (Does it use Daimyo's, Judges, Samurai, Lords?) and most notably there is no "arch villain" such as a powerful evil ninja or clever Oni. Also it seems that the Empire is surrounded by nations that are either weak or are allied, so there is little to indicate that could/would employ ninja against the empire.

  7. Highly complex character creation will involve needing multiple books to create characters as there are 3 different shopping elements in character creation (Skills, Wu Shu, Bonus Points) that will likely involve intense reading. Esimated time for character creation with an experienced group 2-4 hours.

All that being said, I have been having fun contstructing my own variation of the campaign setting and there is alot of originality in this game.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/12/2011 21:32:18

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade claims itself to be a “Action RPG of Martial Arts, Mysticism and Rebellion” and truly sticks to that description. The setting is influence, quite obviously even, by traditional Asian themes such as Taoism (Yin and Yang) and ch’i (qi). However, the setting itself is unique (although influenced by Asian legends and folklore) and contained within its own world filled with ninja and a seemingly large empire. Traditional fantasy themes are replaced by those of martial arts philosophies and cinematic fiction. The setting, and much of the mechanics, is also influenced by martial arts Anime creating a seemingly over-the-top effect filled with kick-butt ninja action!

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is powered by the Dynamic Gaming System. A basic roll-over d20 system where bonuses are added from a characters attributes and skills and then compared against a fairly standard target number (doesn’t float around as much as THE d20 System). The system utilizes only a single d20 with in-game mechanics based upon bonuses and penalties instead of using different dice for each roll. After learning how the mechanics work (as noted later on), it almost seems as if the system was built around the non-stop, martial arts action prevalent throughout the setting. Game-play should be very dynamic, interactive and filled with ninja action!


One of the strongest points of Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is how the mechanics can replicate high-action, cinematic combat (common to many ninja-themed movies and Anime). If you’re ever looking to replicate this type of gaming experience, then this is the game for you. The setting is very focused upon the atmosphere it’s trying to create (that of the latest war referred to as The Ninja Crusade) and characters are bound to find themselves wholly absorbed into that setting. As stated before, the game is very dynamic and very interactive.


Publication Quality: 8 out of 10 The chapter-by-chapter layout and presentation is very smooth and well done. Along with lots of great looking illustrations, the publication quality is high. However, the overall layout of what order the content appears could be improved upon. I found myself skipping ahead to Character Building to make sense of the Clans section (where the in-game mechanics for choosing a clan are found). While seemingly minor, I found myself not fully understanding the first two chapters due to a lack of knowledge concerning how to create a character. Once you get past this hurdle, everything flows well and the content is very easy to read. This content is also done in a very concise manner which meant I rarely found myself misunderstanding what was being presented. Much of this is easily overlooked when you see the illustrations and how awesome some of them are. While they have a bit of an Anime feel, they are definitely fit perfectly with the settings theme.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10 I love how the mechanics fit in so well with the martial arts, action theme. When you think of a cinematic fight between two ninjas, it’s a constant exchange of blows – actions and reactions. The choices you make effect the length of time your action and reaction requires. The seemingly more difficult the move is, the more time it should take. And as opposed to simply taking turns, a single round is interactive in which all characters are performing moves instead of simply waiting until your opponent resolves all their actions. Another big plus is how the mechanics are tailored to fit the theme of the setting (such as wushu replacing magic). Character creation is fairly straight forward but the number of character bonuses and penalties can be a bit daunting. There are a lot of bonuses/penalties to calculate outside of a simple bonus-to-hit or bonus-to-damage. There are bonuses/penalties for the different combat moves and opposed checks and it becomes a bit much. You don’t want players to worry about too many mechanics during game-play. However, this fairly minor and the system still works wonderfully with the setting’s theme.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10 For a game focused on high-action martial arts, there’s no need to look any further than Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade. Many of the Asian themes and influence come through quite nicely and the interactive turn sequence means that combat should never be dull. Many of the stereotypes surrounding ninjas and their high-velocity combat is felt within the mechanics (especially the fighting styles in chi). This is a definite, solid action system that keeps all players involved in every step of that action.

Overall: 9 out of 10 With solid mechanics, an interactive system that reproduces cinematic action and a fully fleshed out setting, Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is an excellent choice for fun-filled action adventures. Those who enjoy Anime and ninja-clad movies should get plenty of enjoyment out of this game. Those who enjoy high-action, cinematic combat will also get lots of enjoyment out of this game. There’s even opportunities for long-term campaigns pinning the PCs in a struggling rebellion against a repressive empire.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Lee L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2011 11:15:36

Wu Xing takes all the things I love about Ninja based anime and rolls it into an elegant, fast and east to play system set in a world of intrigue and contradictions. An Emperor who want the Ninja dead, yet has ninja power himself, and one of his major allies is one of the ninja clan he is fighting against.

A fantastic game with a lot of rich background and fantastic online support! I have to say, I now need to pick up other products by Third Eye Games. If they are half as good as this book, I will be a very happy gamer!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/27/2010 02:14:58

The Good: FILLED with plot hooks, great character options and a robust system that brings the martial arts alive.

The Bad: Minor editing issues and a few more examples of adversaries would have been great.

Conclusion: One of the best new releases I have read all year, period.

For a full review, please visit:

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Mark G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/23/2010 14:58:07

[Crossposted to the DM Sketchpad:] Wu Xing - The Ninja Crusade is a new roleplaying game from Eloy Lasanta and Third Eye Games. Within the Empire, the ninja clans have been betrayed, their homes destroyed and their initiates hunted. For ages past the ninja have served and saved the empire countless times. Now the emperor, mislead through treachery, is determined to destroy all the ninja that infest his empire. The ninja are not taking their extermination lying down though…clan rivalries have been suppressed, and a tenuous coalition has been formed.

Before the Ninja Crusade there were ten ninja clans from bamboo herbalists (the healers) to grasping shadows (shadow assassins) to will of iron (honourable swordsmiths). Each clan worked independently often with deep-seated rivalry or even war with the other clans. That has changed, now individual members of different clans may be called together to work together as a unit to accomplish one mission or another for the Lotus Coalition.

The first part of the book provides an overview of the setting for the Ninja Crusade campaign. It discusses the role of the ninja in society and explains their role in the history of the empire. It talks about the previous ninja wars and the state of the ninja clans during the ninja crusade. The lotus coalition, an organization holding the clans together is discussed as well and how it functions in this time. The setting itself, the ten provinces of the Izou empire and the five surrounding kingdoms are detailed, mapped and explored in terms of their history, class, religion and geography.

The second part of the book begins to focus in on more information for players eager to get playing. The major ninja clans of the Izou empire are all detailed here with each clan getting three pages of information including narrative, history, lifestyle, agendas, character creation information and their feelings toward the other clans. I think my top three clans from this section are some of the least traditional: the Blazing Dancers, the Pack of the Black Moon and the Virtuous Body Gardeners.

The Blazing Dancers were originally a group of acrobatic performers from another land who were forced to flee to the Izou Empire after they embarrassed their own nobility. They are entertainers, warriors and strategists whose chi manipulation is focused on fire, movement and illusionary effects. The Pack of the Moon are more isolationist, having forged a deep bound with the environment their survivalists has a unique rapport with the beasts of the lands. Finally the Virtuous Body Gardeners are tattooed warriors who have broken off from another clan. They are up and comers who are not afraid to get their hands dirty or rock the boat.

Character creation is driven by choice over random die rolls. The process has six steps. Here is a sample character that I have created for this review.

Ember – Wronged Acrobat Passion Vengeance; Elemental Soul Fire Yin 0; Yang 3 Elemental Soul Bonuses +1 to parry for each successful attack they make Fire Imbalance Loquacious; Fire Depletion Overheated Clan Blazing Dancers Pow 6; Agl 8; Vig 5; Int 3; Ins 3, Chm 5 Wushu Bright Star (Level 1, Yang), Flame Arrows (Level 2, Yang), Tiger Leap (Level 1, Yang) Skills Acrobatics 6 (Balance), Athletics 5 (Climbing), Discipline 4, Legerdemain 5 (Juggling), Monkey Style 5 (Rolling Attack), Perception 3, Performance 5 (Dancing), Stealth 3, Survival 1 Gifts Ambidexterity, Attractive 3, Cat-Like Balance 2, Double-Jointed Health 28; Stamina 6; Initiative 18 Movement 14 ft./280 yrds/21 ft. jump; Actions Per Round 3 Combat Modifiers +1 damage, +5 dodge, +4 grapple, +7 parry, +3 roll, +5 strike, +9 throw

By the time you go through the 30 pages of history, clan specifics and character creation including a huge, huge pile of wushu powers you have blow through 70% of the book. Combat section of this book spans another thirty of so pages and introduces a host of martial arts weapons, codifies the combat actions into a standardized set. All of the martial styles (learned as skills) provide access to a number of combat bonus (at different rates) and a handful of unique combat actions. Together these two sections let you perform a wide variety of martial arts techniques along with the unique combat tracking sheet to allow a dynamic exchange of attacks and reactions.

The close of the book ends with a section of antagonists and a section on storytelling (GM advice). My one disappointment in this release is that there is no quickstart adventure or first mission to help get a new Wu Xing campaign off to a good start.

Overall, Wu Xing looks to be a very strong release. The book is rich with information, unique art and the mechanics of wushu and combat match well with the wuxia style that clearly inspired it. It is clear that a lot of love went into creating this release and it meets the high standard that I've come to expect from Third Eye Games' work.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Steven L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2010 12:13:55

[originally posted on RPGnet]

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is the second role-playing game made by Third Eye Games. Wu Xing takes much inspiration from anime such as Naruto and Avatar the Last Airbender and combines it with other Asian influences such as Chinese Kung-Fu. The setting’s end result turns out to feel a lot like Exalted blended with Legend of the Five Rings with a dose of Naruto thrown in.

The Book Itself

Currently, Wu Xing is only out in pdf form with the print form due out within the next few weeks. The pdf is 221 pages, and is bookmarked. The cover has a simple look with a white background behind a bamboo forest; the logo is over a splash of blood. The interior is black and white, and the artwork is of a high standard very fitting for the setting; I just wish there was more of it.

Chapter Breakdown

Introduction (Pages 3-7)

Wu Xing starts out with a brief synopsis of the game. Four years ago the Empire declared war on the ninja who were formerly their allies. The majority of ninja clans have banded together to form the Lotus Coalition to try to survive, stave off, or defeat the Empire in this latest war. However, even though the clans have unified for the most part against the Empire, this does not mean they are all fine with each other. Even while being hunted by the Empire the clans are still trying to gain the upper hand against each other.

Wu Xing has the usual “What is an RPG?” section that is simple and to the point. Wu Xing uses 3EG’s house system called the Dynamic Gaming System or the DGS. It is the same system used in 3EG’s first game, Apocalypse Prevention, Inc., with some minor alterations and lots of added options to fit the setting (more on the DGS later.)

Chapter One: Ninja VS. The Empire (Pages 8-36)

In Wu Xing’s history there have been 4 Great Ninja Wars (the fifth currently is taking place.) The first was known as the Orime Rebellion. During this time the Izou Empire was not yet in power and instead the Orime Dynasty was the top seat. When a large volcano erupted, causing mayhem all across the land, the people cried out to the Orime for help; the Orime laughed. The people began to ban together with seeds of rebellion growing. Eventually the people assassinated heads of government, generals in the army, and other leading noble families. They continued their hidden killings until the Orime Emperor himself was assassinated and the ninja were born into a world with new found freedom.

The Second Ninja War is also known as the Mercenary Wars. Due to the Orime Empire being fractured into several smaller nations, these nations started to grow suspicious of their neighbors and border fights began. The ninja became mercenaries for hire by powerful families and governments to protect what they considered their lands. After 10 years of this virtually all ninja were backed by a specific noble, whole clans were wiped out for not following this status quo. There is no real marker to the end of the Mercenary Wars; however, the traditions and structures created from it are still used.

The third war is the War of Withered Fangs. During this war a clan known as the Slithering Gods began to destroy and/or assimilate lots of the smaller and less powerful clans. The larger clans were arrogant and saw the smaller clans and ronin beneath them and let it happen. Before too long the Slithering Gods outnumbered all the other clans. Some of the larger clans decided to let the War be known by non-ninja and convinced many of the governments to help in the fight, to help the ninja to succeed against the Slithering Gods. Most nations helped for fear of losing the ninja (which a third of the clans were lost by war’s end) as their protectors from the unknown lands of the Five Kingdoms. The Slithering Gods did not stand a chance and conceded. The nations looked at their alliance and saw it was a wonderful thing; this was the birth of the Izou Empire.

The fourth war is known as the Expansion Wars. The Izou Empire now strong from victory set its eyes on more territory. The Empire began to expand and gain more control over lands owned by the Five Kingdoms. Using the ninja as their elite soldiers and assimilating more clans as they grew the Empire and its ninja became more prosperous than any other time in their history. But as the Empire grew, their need for ninja slackened and ninja became the target of the government and nobles. Ninja became hunted out and chi users were punished under new laws.

The fifth and current war is the Ninja Crusade. The Emperor has now called for the elimination of all ninja. The Empire has allied itself with parts of the Five Kingdoms to eliminate the ninja from the world. The ninja have formed the Lotus Coalition to fight the Empire.

I absolutely love the history here. It really sets up a great environment for play. It feels very much like Exalted to me not just in idea, but the description of the Empire and its surroundings. They both have a “bad guy” Empire surrounded by uncontrolled areas, and the main protagonists are hunted as Anathema, though they are not Godlike in Wu Xing they are powerful ninja. The book gives enough information about the locations to give a good sense of the setting, but lives lots of room for more detail from the GM or for future source books.

Chapter Two: Clans (Pages 37-69)

Wu Xing gives us the 10 most powerful clans in the Lotus Coalition. They are:

Bamboo Herbalists - The brewers were the first clan to realize chi’s potential for healing. They often ignore territorial warnings to hunt for ingredients to their brews. They are thrill seekers, and don’t mind getting into a little trouble for their thrills.

Blazing Dancers - The Blazing Dancers are not from the Empire, but originally from one of the Five Kingdoms. They are entertainers who hide their ninja ways behind the mask of performance.

Grasping Shadows - The Shadows are one of the oldest clans, and at one time were the trained assassins for the Emperor. Eventually the Shadows grew tired of being the Emperor’s dogs and turned against the Empire, using their powers over darkness against the Emperor.

Hidden Strands of Fate - The Strands are also an old clan whose history is full of inner conflict. They are fierce in their court play and masters of deception. Most of the Strands despise the rest of the clans, even going so far on occasion as to help the Empire with information that could hurt or destroy another clan.

Living Chronicle - These ninja are the scholars and historians of the ninja. After centuries of information was lost in a disaster, these ninja began to use tattoos and Wushu to record history on their very person.

Pack of the Black Moon - The pack began as small backwater people in small villages whose uncanny gifts with animals helped them to survive away from larger civilization. Then when the Grasping Shadows began burning their villages, the Pack became mentally bonded with their herd dogs, and turned the tide against the Shadows.

Recoiling Serpents - The largest clan, that lives in the jungles of the southwest. They are what remains of the Serpent Gods from the War of Withered Fangs so most clans do not like the Serpents.

Virtuous Body Gardeners - The Inks are one of the youngest clans of the ninja. They have learned to use Wushu through tattoos on their bodies. They can even assimilate small items into their tattoos for concealment and later use.

Wardens of Equilibrium - The Wardens are a clan created by several merchant families to try to hold on to peace at the end of the War of Withered Fangs. They are known to be the ultimate merchants with powers of persuasion that cannot be resisted.

Will of Iron - The Sheriffs are a clan that believes in protecting the innocent and making sure justice is served. They are known to have the world’s best swordsmen and smiths.

Ronin - Technically not a clan, but the clanless. The Ronin are those who outcasts or chi users who were never born into a clan.

These clans alongside the history known so far, makes me really want to play this game. Each clan as it is presented has my brain running with ideas for characters. Do I want to play a backwoods Pack of the Black Moon, lost in the cities, but powerful with his dog companion? Do I want to be the secretive Hidden Strands of Fate ninja who has plots unknown to others? Perhaps the aged and wizened Bamboo Herbalist knowledgeable in the ways of herbs and potions? The possibilities really roll around in my head with this setting.

Chapter Three: Character Building (Pages 70-119)

As said before Wu Xing uses the DGS as its system. Characters are made using a point buy system. The first step is to choose a concept and select your PC’s Passion. Their Passion can range from having a Code of Honor or greed to love or power. Next, the player decides what his Element Soul is, Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, or Wood. This decision determines a PC’s starting Chi, or how much permanent Yin and Yang they have. To finish the first step the player chooses their Clan. Their clan besides deciding their theme, also describes what Wushu, skills, and bonuses the player will have.

Step Two is to divide 30 points amongst the six attributes, which are Power, Agility, Vigor, Intellect, Insight, and Charm. These attributes are on a scale of 1-10 with 4-5 being average. Levels 1-8 cost 1 point per level and levels 9-10 costing 2 per level.

Step three is skills. All ninja start with some basic skills then get 30+IQ (Intellect) in skill points. There are 20 basic skills and then 11 fighting styles that are bought with skill points. Any skill not a clan skill is more expensive to buy. Fighting styles give bonuses for every level that add to things such as attack, parry, and dodge.

Step four is choosing your PC’s wushu or ninja powers. In total there are 20 different paths of wushu, half of them clan specific and half general ninja wushu. A ninja starts out with 5 levels in their favored wushu, Ronin start with 4 levels in any path. Ninja can buy levels in paths that are not favored by their clan later, but it costs more than favored paths.

Step five is spending bonus points on Gifts (and other areas) and gaining BPs through Drawbacks. Ninja start with 10 BPs and Ronin 12. These can be spent on attributes, skills, wushu, and gifts. The gifts/drawbacks are a basic advantage/disadvantage list that covers most things a player could want.

Step six is the final step and is calculating all sub-attributes which include Health, Initiative, and Stamina, as well as figuring all your bonuses to strike, parry or grapple.

Chapter Four: Wushu (Pages 120-153)

Wushu are the chi powers of a ninja. Each power is based either in Yin or Yang energy and therefore requires the expenditure of the appropriate type of chi points to activate. Wushu require an activiation roll to succeed which uses the base mechanic of the game except instead of an attribute the roll uses a PC’s permanent Yin or Yang chi. So a normal Wushu activation roll is 1d20+Perm. Yin/Yang Chi+Skill vs. a difficulty based on the wushu power’s level. Wushu also gains bonuses or negatives based on whether it is a signature clan Gift and when elements oppose each other. A ninja throwing a water wushu power at a wall of earth is -4 in his roll because of the opposing elements. The different paths of wushu are divided into 10 general wushu paths and 10 clan specific paths. The general paths are:

Way of Beasts Way of Earth Way of Fire Way of Metal Way of Movement Way of Survival Way of the Unseen Way of the Warrior Way of Water Way of Wood

The clan specific wushu are:

Way of Balanced Scales Way of Caring Hands Way of Ebony Clutches Way of Great Serpents Way of Heaven’s Judgement Way of Immaculate Show Way of Inked Skin Way of Kept Lore Way of Spun Threads Way of Twin Beasts

The chapter finishes with rules for creating your own wushu moves in play. Which is simple guidelines to keeping the wushu balanced with those given in the core book.

Chapter Five: Equipment And Combat (Pages 154-181)

The beginning of this chapter is lists and descriptions for the average items, weapons and armor one would see in the Wu Xing setting. This is then followed by the rules for combat. Wu Xing and the DGS’s main mechanics are 1d20+Attribute+Skill vs a difficulty number is not opposed and vs. the opponent’s roll if opposed. The DGS uses a sort of tick system in combat. Rounds are divided into 20 counts that equal 10 seconds all together. The winner of initiative begins the round on count 1 and then opponent’s start at a later count based on how much lower they rolled compared to the winner. Each action a player may choose has a speed which tells how many counts before the PC may take another action. Some of these actions are light, full and heavy strikes each increasing in speed and damage, aiming, grappling, using a wushu, etc… Players can gain bonuses and negatives in the next round if they had an action saved or if they over shoot their next available action into the next rounds counts. This type of combat adds a lot of exciting and tactical play in real life games; however I would find it a bit tedious to try to run online. The chapter ends with an example of combat a few pages long.

Chapter Six: Antagonists (Pages 182-198)

This chapter provides write-ups for the basic people and creatures player’s may encounter in the world of Wu Xing. There are basic animals such as bears and wolves, basic town folk and guards, stats for the Emprie’s soldiers, basic ninja stats, spirits and celestial animals, summoners and anthropomorphic races, and Oni demons. It seems to be a pretty good coverage and assortment of what a player would encounter.

Chapter Seven: Storytelling (Pages 199-220)

The final sections of the book are dedicated to the GM and give the usual basic advice on mood, themes, hooks, and types of stories. It is good advice, but nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary from most other games equivalent sections. The book finishes with a glossary of basic terms for Wu Xing both in and out of play terms. Next, is a two paged index which seems like a good listing, even though I never used it. There are charts for each fighting style and the bonuses they give each level, a combat count tracker, and character sheets. The last two pages are advertisements for Third Eye Games and for future source books for Wu Xing covering the clans and the Five Kingdoms (Yay!.)


I expected Wu Xing to be a great game due to my intense liking of Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.; however, I didn’t just get a great game, but one I think I already like even more than API. I really love the Exalted like setting with the L5R’s type of inner clan conflict. The ninja wushu powers bring out the best in Naruto style powers. The setting and clan descriptions hooked me, big time, and I find myself wanting more setting information just to read much less play or use in a game.


Style is getting a 4. What is in the book is wonderful black and white art; there just needs to be more of it. I felt like there was less in this book than in API, but that could be wrong in an actual count. If there was more art, or if this wonderful art ever got the full color treatment it would easily be a 5.

Substance is getting a 5. 3EG’s has a track record now of giving you everything you need to play and really get the GMing and RPing gears a rolling while making you hungry for more source books to flesh it out more and more.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/02/2010 12:49:01

On one hand, this game has an incredible amount of detail.

On the other hand, it's too complex for rapid-fire character creation, meaning that you'll take a while.

It has a lot of what I like from the d6 System style, with gifts and drawbacks. They allow ultimate customization of a character, at the cost of extended character creation. The fighting styles should always be presented as the tables in the glossary, in my opinion (and they should be referenced more loudly, since I tallied up my test character's fighting style effects by hand, leaving off only one point.

The game winds up applying massive modifiers to rolls. With +15 modifiers, plus the potential to add even more modifiers, oftentimes the dice become minimally active, taking a role only in the case of a critical failure or success, which oftentimes unbalances play, since the game seems to "fight" the dice, making them irrelevant (when it's possible to get a +10 modifier bonus on your opponent, it's pretty much no surprise as to which way the game goes).

I actually like it, despite its flaws, though, because it has an in-depth world, with lots of flavor and fluff to complement the rules, which are simple, if a mite overly complex.

If you want a ninja game, this is the best one I've seen.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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