The Great War
Every universe has that one rule.That's not to say that there's more than one rule (It's almost certainly guaranteed), but every universe that ever has and ever will exist has one rule that defines it and defines how it runs.
For some universes, that rule is that good and evil are in constant opposition. Other universes could care less about moral philosophy and are merely based around the unbiased eye of science. Universes based around imagination. Universe based around rigid numbers and logic. Universes based on multiple religious beliefs. There's even Universes that base themselves around the rule that men in purple pointy hats and pajamas wielding a stick are the most powerful form of evolution. Undoubtedly, these universes would make little to no sense to each other if they ever met. But every universe takes its one rule seriously.
For one universe, that even the Gods dare not speak of, that rule is simply as follows: "Pirates and Ninjas were born to fight".
No one knows exactly what it is that draws Ninjas and Pirates to fight each other, but they have fought harshly since the dawn of time. Some believe that it's because of cultural difference in opinions. While Ninjas are cold, logical, and live by codes, Pirates live a life of wild abandon, freedom, and impulsiveness. Others believe that it's because the first two beings to exist in the universe were the first pirate and ninja and one merely told an insult so harsh that it led to an eternal blood feud.
Historically, the world was a blood bath. The two sides fought eternally, taking no prisoners. No one was safe from the violent and ferocious wave of war.
Eventually, people grew tired of the constant fighting and began forsaking the way of the pirate and the ninja. These people, believing in a middle path or no path at all, called themselves the Wanderers. By growing large enough, the Pirates and Ninjas were forced to form peace treaties and cease fires or threaten being overwhelmed by the Wanderers.
And so, civil society knew a shaky peace for over 1,000 years. However, all peaces are temporary and this was no exception.
Just 30 years ago, an Artifact was discovered. An artifact that was believed to be a piece of the Gods themselves. This artifact was simply known as "The Takara". The Ninjas believed that touching the Takara would lead to ultimate enlightenment. The Pirates believed that touching the Takara would lead to one hell of a buzz. Fighting was inevitable.
A great Wanderer, known only as the Raven, came up with a quick solution. A fighting tournament would be held to determine which side was more worthy of the Takara.
The tournament went on for days.
In the end, only a pirate named Two-Eyed Pete, and a ninja named Ellipsis remained. These were two people of such immeasurable power that all modern Pirate and Ninja techniques descend from their fighting styles.
Their fight was supposed to be the determining factor on which side would control the Takara, but something unusual happened. Neither opponent showed up for the fight.
A quick search of the premises revealed that the Takara was nowhere to be found. Neither was Two-Eyed Pete, Ellipsis, or the Raven. The Pirates blamed Ellipsis. The Ninjas blamed Two-Eyed Pete. The Wanderers blamed the failure on The Raven.
The full-scale war between the Pirates and the Ninjas resumed. Nations were torn apart and people were forced to ally with one side or the other.
Ever since then, neither of the three has been seen, except for some obscure rumors. Various theories on what happened have been presented, but none of these have stopped the fighting. Did one of the three members steal the Takara? Did a different party take the Takara and cause the disappearance of 3 powerful warriors? Were The Raven, Ellipsis, and Two-Eyed Pete all working together?
While some individuals still seek out the Takara and the Legendary Three Warriors, a good number of people have decided to use the situation to their advantage. With a world in chaos, the opportunity for adventure and profit is great. For a young adventurer, there are monsters to fight, treasure to find, fame to gain, and ultimate power to be found.
This is the world of Pirates vs. Ninjas.
Pirates, Ninjas, And Wanderers
There are three factions in Pirates vs. Ninjas. Which one your character belongs to will generally determine which stance your character takes on life. Ninja Society values honor, order, laws, and tradition while Pirates value freedom and fun over anything else. The Wanderers seek to either find a balance between these two cultures, or just flat out don't care.
Some people may mistake this as a choice that other systems call "alignment". Despite general leanings towards tradition and freedom, both Pirates and Ninjas generally support the war and have their fair share of both good and evil heroes. There are even wicked Wanderers who seek to use the fighting between the Pirates and Ninjas for profit, and seek to prolong the war.
One might also assume that Pirates, Ninjas, and Wanderers cannot be in the same party. This is simply not true.
While the entire world is at war, there are still those that are not taking part. With so many people at war, the jobs of digging up hidden treasures and finding hidden techniques have gone without notice. Despite their differences, no Pirate or Ninjas is entirely immune to the draw of treasure and more power.
A good number of Pirates and Ninjas have realized the advantage of having members of opposing factions on their teams. There are certain places and things that both sides can go to and do that the other side cannot. They're just too handy not to have around. There are still arguments over methods, but a lot of these arguments merely amount to nothing more than friendly rivalry when long-time comrades are concerned.
So, for the most part, the majority of people generally do not care about the war. They grew up in peacetime, and they're not going to let some artifact they never had a chance of getting get in the way of long time relationships.
Just don't show your "comrades" or the techniques he taught you to your buddies within your faction. They might not take to it as kindly.
Even barring that, the Wanderers have no problems hiring Ninjas AND Pirates. Even the most hardened Ninjas and Pirates tend to honor their contracts, no matter who they have to work with. Ninja society tells you to never let emotions get to far in the way of the job. Pirate Society is too greedy to let some "stick up butt" ninja to get in the way of a quick buck.
So, there is very little keeping the average ninja from working with the average pirate. Only the biggest extremists would rather die, and those extremists that are generally strong enough to live long enough to get to any position of power are generally powerful enough to not need friends.
In Pirates vs. Ninjas, a player can choose to be a pirate, a wanderer, or a ninja. This choice effects the abilities the character can learn a general leaning towards people of certain groups. On top of that, a character will also typically belong to one or more factions. These are schools of thought within each side that reflect a certain philosophy, have their own abilities, and can effect a character's allegiances. The articles for each side can be found here:
The Three Legendary Heroes
In the Pirates vs. Ninjas universe, there are three legendary heroes that forever changed the world. They are the center of the current conflict between Pirates and Ninjas. The details of that conflict can be found in the World Backstory. You can also find out more about them in their entries:
Using the Heroes in Your Game
The Raven, Ellipsis, and Two-Eyed Pete are legends and should be treated as such. It's unlikely any of your players will ever meet these VERY formidable foes. Still, players and GMs being like they are, the temptation will be there. If the temptation proves too great, the following should be used as a baseline for their stats.
-Body, Will, Precision, and Agility are all at an 11 (yes, they go to 11 even though the stats are capped at 10).
-Since they founded all modern styles, they will inevitably know every technique in their group except custom techniques for the players
This is just a baseline though, and does not represent their full power. Each of the these people is powerful enough to turn a war on their own. A group of rookie adventurers should be little challenge for them, and the only way they should be seeing a victory against them is if one of them is going easy on the party.
Ye have been warned.