Aug 092013

The term Street Samurai is often overused. Any yahoo with a vaguely oriental looking sword strapped to their bike feels like they have the right to claim some kind of heritage as a Japanese warrior. Few, if any of them, take the time to understand the meaning of Bushido, and even fewer choose to follow the way.

Akihiro has a right by birth and upbringing to be called a Samurai. He is in fact a third generation Samurai, with a young boy of his own who is being raised according to the traditions of Bushido. What marks his family out as even more unusual though is that they have for decades worked exclusively for a corporation. More than worked for them, loved, breathed, and died for them. [Feel free to have this family tied to any mega corp that you feel is possible within your own game world, I will not even be adding a name myself in the hope that you run with this idea in the direction you choose.]

On the grounds of the Corp’s central offices, between two glass and steel spires there sits a spacious garden with several quaint buildings that house the Yamada family. For the most part they are treated as a curiosity, and are a stopping point on tours of the corporate facility. School children walking in groups to be shown the life they may one day lead are taken to him and are encouraged to ask him questions. He answers them all with good grace in a slow deliberate fashion, but never goes into detail about what it is he does for the company, instead just saying, “Whatever is required of me”.

In fact he does very little actual work for the Corp, instead acting as a mascot and a sign that they respect the ancient values and wish to see them continued in a world which often overlooks loyalty and obedience, favouring a more selfish attitude rather then the selfless existence of the Samurai. When called upon to work, he acts with total dedication and ruthless efficiency.

Armed with a bow crafted by his father, made specifically for Akihiro – he is currently working on specially treated word so that his son will one day have a bow of his own – he requires no other ranged weapon. His mastery of Kyūdō is absolute and from a distance is he almost as deadly as a Recon Marine sniper. It is at close range that he is truly terrifying though. Although skilled almost beyond mortal measure in the use of his twin swords, it is the art of iaido that makes him a cut above even the greatest. In a single draw of his blade, he can cut a cyber-psycho in half before it knew it was even in danger.

The Katana and Wakizashi are a perfect blend of ancient metallurgical techniques and aesthetics, with cutting edge technology. Each sword is curved slightly to allow for a speedy draw, with an impossibly sharp molecular edge and are almost indestructible. They are in fact the wet dream of every wannabe street samurai come to deadly life, and only possible because of the staggering amounts of money the Corporation has invested in their pet Samurai. The only cybernetic augmentations that Akihiro has installed – other then obligatory basic processor – are a pair of sub-dermal plates on the palm of each hand that allows him to truly be one with his daishō, from the moment his hand first touches a handle, they become an extension of himself in a way that would be impossible to even the most advanced of Zen masters.

Other than these slight concessions to modern life, he acts and dresses as his ancestors would have done, maintaining the traditional robes and topknot that set his kind apart. This distinctive look could be a real problem when he is on company business, but his skill and training as a warrior is more than enough to see him through to corporate wet work he is expected to carry out. And what with so may pretenders, it’s not the problem one would imagine.

Akihiro never even thinks to ask why he is told to kill certain people. His allegiance to the Corporation is absolute, and Akihiro would die for it. He would throw himself onto his own blade if it was asked of him, or if he believed his actions had caused the Corporation to lose face in any way. And when the job is done, he returns to his home, to his wife and child and instills in the young boy how important it is to serve those who are your superiors.

And the corporation chairmen smile to themselves to think of their pet Samurai, and how glad they are that many years ago they set out on this experiment with a baby that had been found alone without a mother several decades ago that they had thought to raise themselves into a killing machine. With the next generation of the family already being indoctrinated into the way of the warrior, their good luck seems unending.

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Hello there, learned reader. My name is not shortymonster, but since we will soon become firm friends, feel free to call me Shorty. I am a well versed and well traveled gentleman gamer, with no particular favourites in regard to system or setting, playing or GMing. You can also find me at my personal RPG blog.

  4 Responses to “Steal this Cyberpunk NPC: Akihiro Yamada”

  1. Excellent. I can easily see slipping this samurai into my Shadowrun campaign.

  2. I have seen countless killing machines in our games, but only at this moment do I wonder how and why they got that way. They were all cookie-cutter-killers, except now for this one…

    • I’ve had this one in the back of my mind for a while now, and finally took the time to get it researched and written up. Glad you lot seem to like it, and with any luck I’ll be touching on some fun bits of Japanese etiquette on my own blog soon.

  3. Good post! I like how Chris mentioned cookie cutter killers.

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