Theory Thursday #3: Equinja in Campaigns

Like all characters and facitons in Pirates versus Ninjas, Equinja bring their own unique problems to the table. Whether its their increased mobility, their flexibility, or their synergy with other allies, the Equinja do bring challenges to the table as a GM that you will want to be prepared for. It won’t do to make a bad ass campaign villain only to have him mowed down by the Equinja before he can hit them. So, here’s a list of things to watch out for when GM’ing for an Equinja.

1. Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
The ability to burst down walls with Nothing Gonna Break My Stride was a hard call to make. On the one hand, most uses of the ability are innocent and innocuous. Unfortunately, those last 5% are pretty evil. While it doesn’t add anything that craftsmen couldn’t already do in 3 turns, the ability to burst through walls does bring up some issues.

First, your villains aren’t going to successfully hide in impenetrable fortresses, nor are most barriers to hidden treasure going to stand in your Equinja’s way. This is exactly why this ability is rated at a level 4. GM’s that don’t want Equinja’s going everywhere may want to put a limit on the required wall thickness and say that Equinja can’t bust through or must spend an awesome point on walls of a certain thickness.

Furthermore, sinking a boat becomes no problem if the Equinja wants to spend 10 life or 2 awesome points. Of course, the Equinja might not make it back to dry land if his mount can’t run on water or fly.

The second problem comes from the Equinja’s potentially high move speed. While this is true of evadinja and arrcrobats alike, with a high move speed, comes the inherent ability to catch up with any attempt to run away. Villains should either makes few actual appearances and send henchmen or villains should have an escape plan at all times with an Equinja around.

2. Giving Allies a Lift
Continuing on the topic of fast movement, the Equinja are capable of giving movement boosts to their allies with Together We Ride. While this limits said ally’s move speed to the Equinja’s, this does bring some deadly possibilities. Characters that are traditionally slow can be speed up for great effect. A Rokinja can give a power slide several dozen meters long with an Equinja’s help. Furthermore, a patient Equinja can get their party anywhere they need. Nothing will be off-limits with a well-built Equinja.

Obviously, for this kind of scenario, you want fun places for the Equinja to get into, but don’t expect it to be hard. If something needs to be hard to get to, it needs something other than impossible heights and impenetrable foretresses protecting it. Things may have to be hidden or even guarded by actual people.

3. Hard to Play at Low Points
Factions vary in how well they play at certain point totals. Equinja, with all their scenario based fighting make solid high point characters but will find trouble if a player wants to be one at 40 points. It’s certainly possible to make an Equinja at 40 points, but unlike other factions, it’s going to be unlikely they’ll pull any abilities out of any other factions at this total. The problem mostly lies in the Equinja have lots of minor abilities that are incredibly useful to their style. As such, despite best efforts, a pure Equinja may be difficult to build at low points without lots of flaws.

As such, if multiple players are interested in playing Equinja, it’s suggested that they be allowed to play 60-80 point characters to start out, or at least, they should be warned that they’ll be missing some moves for their faction. Thankfully, Equinja are one of the factions that can contribute without taking a Level 5 ability. They are capable of doing decent damage without one if they can set up the right conditions.

4. Hark! A Potentially Scary Move.
Be the Rider is a fun move. For 2 awesome points, you remove an ally, but get a mount, a buff, and one of their abilities. Oh wait. That last part could be dangerous. For most characters and most builds, this aspect is pretty innocuous. Still, if your players plan it, they can create some scary effects. There are just some pirate level 5’s and Ninja level 5’s that weren’t meant to combine. If a player takes this ability, you might look into seeing if any of their allies have something potentially game-breaking on them. If this is the case, it may be wise to house-rule no non-ninja level 5 abilities on this effect. This ability is still strong and flexible without it. It would even be the official version if most cases of it were fairly innocuous. If an Equinja wants to take Drunken Master Form for 20 extra life, then let them.

5. Oh, I have like 20 Rides.
Not so noble sacrifice is a fun move that forces an Equinja to either severely nerf themselves or switch strategies in exchange for negating a hit. However, if the Equinja has multiple rides, using this move is a no brainer. For most rides, this shouldn’t be a problem. It should be difficult to keep more than 2 horses on hand. But what if the Equinja has Stripped Down Chasis and can ride something like Badgers and keeps them in a cage? In this case, you may want to limit the number of animals the Equinja can consider a ride or limit their access to this move.

After all, if it’s not a sacrifice, then what is the point of the move?

So there it is. Some tips on handling the new Equinja in your campaign. Every faction has their challenges and weaknesses. That’s the fun of Pirates versus Ninjas. Hopefully, by reading these, you’ve gotten an idea of what you’re potentially in for and can prepare for it.

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