“Schizoid is what I’d call them; on one hand you have these ramrod-straight, hardcore types who epitomize the clean, spare, ideals of traditional art and demeanor, warrior-scholars who can cut deep with a well-crafted vibrokatana and a well-worded haiku. Then on the other hand you have these eye-blindingly bright neon-lit cyberpunked raver-types who look like they stepped out of an otaku or ecchi fanwork, who nevertheless can cut you to pieces while enthusiastically proclaiming about ‘love ad justice’. Then again, what can you expect of a tribe that started out as a bunch of cyborg Wayfinder scholars who crashlanded in otaku-paradise?”
|Where First Encountered||Rifts Earth, Japan|
|Highest Caste Class||Yurei|
|Technology Level||Megadamage Age|
|Relations With Outsiders||Friendly|
|Relations With Other Shemarrians||Open|
|Prefered Mode of Combat||Sneak Attack|
The Wayfinder expeditions to Japan would have a profound effect on EShemar society in the wealth of technological data sent back to North America and distributed among the Tribes. Information on advanced robotics, stealth bionics, sonic weaponry, and the like improved the EShemar techbase substantially and enriched the new Nation considerably. Indeed, the very concept of the Yurei caste-class, that became adopted throughout the Tribes, had its origins in the Wayfinder expeditions.
So impressed and intrigued with what they saw in Japan were the Wayfinders that they left several members behind on extended/permanent assignment to continue studying the Japanese technology and gather more information on Asia in general. This initial group, consisting of a senior Tinker, several assistants, and a small retinue of bodyguard warriors, would later be bolstered with Trinity Modules. From their ever-shifting bases of operations, the Wayfinder group could investigate the various regions of Japan, observing, testing, sampling, and occasionally scavenging. It was in the course of traveling in the north, skirting the oni warren, that the investigations group added their first NeShemar; several young girls badly burned and mutilated when oni raiders obliterated their village. These first few cyborg-conversions were joined by others, including cyborg ronin, new customs were assimilated (or created) to facilitate the new additions to the group, and the Fringe Tribe was born.
Clan Shinden (‘Magnificent Lightning’) combines Shemarrian organization and matriarchal society (or at least the fairly freewheeling Wayfinder version of it) with elements of Japanese tradition and techo-otakuism. The Shemarrian design aesthetic has been colored by Japanese themes; samurai-style armor, katanas, and even glitzy, glamorous robot bodies to name a few, but the Shidenese also take to heart aspects of Japanese introspection, philosophy, and art. Depending on who one asks, the members of Clan Shinden come across as warrior-poets, shadow-philosophers, or glitzy techno-fangirls.
Clan Shinden has a few problems and restrictions in its operations; Japan is far smaller than North America, and as a result the tribe doesn’t have as much room to maneuver and hide itself in. Probably more people in Japan know about the fringe tribe than people of North America know about the Shemarrian Tribes of the East Coast. Adding to their problems is their almost explosive growth, thanks in part due to the many NeShemar recruits from the burgeoning cyberculture and cyborg-friendly societies of the Republic and Ichto. The swelling number of added NeShemar has taken some of the tribe’s ability to quickly maneuver and hide away, leading to the decision to split the tribe into several smaller units to keep from being pinned down.
Takamatsu is perhaps the most welcoming and accepting of the EShemar, and the original core Wayfinders find the island kingdom very much like Lazlo in North America. The Shemarrians can move about openly in Takamatsu, and have volunteered to help the Takamatsuans explore their dimensional portal-world(s). The citizens of Talamatsu regard Clan Shinden as a strange, but friendly, alien cult that seems to be picking up more Japanese customs than trying to impose alien ones on the Japanese natives.
Relations in Asia
As both a technological powerhouse and a well-organized nation-state based on pre-Rifts Golden Age organization and attitude, the Republic of Japan commands Clan Shinden’s attention. The Republic sees Clan Shinden as a minor alien presence, even though the Shindenese have made several forays and recruiting missions amongst the cyberpunks of the Republic. As something of a ‘flavor of the month’, the exotic and alien gynoids have caught the eye of many of the more youthful citizens of the Republic, who want to emulate many of their ways, if not become Shemarrian. This has worked for and against Clan Shinden; they can move more openly amongst the cyborgs and Shemar-imitators of the Republic, but are helpless to curb some of the wilder rumors and takes on their society without tipping their hand as to their presence and true purposes in the Republic. To the Republic of Japan, Clan Shinden is more of a crazy otaku-club, though if it ever became anything more, and a threat to the Republic and its citizens, they’d be quickly targeted by the RJSDF.
Clan Shinden keeps a particularly close eye on Ichto, source of so much tantalizing and fascinating robotics technology. For their part, Ichto has heard rumors of a tribe of d-bees possessing advanced robotic and bionic technology, and the stories are beginning to sound intriguing to the corporate-state’s executives. Ichto (and Otomo as well) would be incensed, however, to learn how badly the Shemarrians are ripping off the advanced proprietary technologies of Ichto, and distributing their secrets to the Shemarrian Nation. That would provide the corporation with a ready excuse to swoop down and ‘punish’ the d-bees, and incidentally grab their advanced technology for themselves.
Otomo is seen as a grubby, fractious, dangerous little nation, best avoided. H-Brand has little to offer the technologically-inclined EShemar. Clan Shinden rightly suspects the warlords of Otomo would love to get their hands on Shemarrian technology by any means possible, so the Shindenese give the region a wide berth.
The Empire, with its revived ancient culture and mystic arts, fascinates the scholarly Shindenese, even though the cyborg and robotic EShemar repulse the technophobic traditionalists. Even though Clan Shinden has helped the Empire fight the oni on numerous occasions, the aftermath of such battles typically leads to the Shemar then being shunned, or coldly warned to leave Imperial territory. The Empire regards the Clan as gaijin, and though individual samurai may, on the field, openly respect the contributions and bravery of the EShemar, the Empire officially refuses to acknowledge their existence, and their victories are recorded as accredited to others.
Both the oni and the Horune are considered to be the Shideneses’ local enemies (and bread and butter, when it comes to being hired for mercenary work). The clan’s Yurei have also made their share of local corporate and warlord enemies, leading to more than a few skirmishes with local enforcers, Yakuza, and ninjas.
A bolt of blue lightning against a red or black circle. Sometimes simply a blue lightning bolt adorns Clan Shinden armor and garments.
Wayfinder splinter group, separated by distance (the Pacific Ocean).
Where First Encountered
Japan, Rifts Earth.
Large; with 70,000 members, but the Clan is distributed in several smaller, more mobile, sub-tribes, the majority settled in Takamatsu, and the others scattered along the northern coasts near oni territory.
Traditional Matriarchy, currently led by an Elite Yurei.
Elites (primarily Yurei) make up some 35% of Clan Shinden, followed by NeShemar at 28%, Warriors at 11%, and the remaining 26% divided up fairly evenly amongst the remaining classes.
Ironically, many of the cyberhumanoid-conversion NeShemar take up training and Upgrades akin to Berserkers.
Highest Caste Class
Elites; primarily Yurei.
89% Female, 11% Male.
Terrestrial Environs (Japan).
Megadamage Age. Roughly equal to Rifts Earth canon and ARCHIE-3 canon Shemarrians. Megadamage weapons and equipment are readily available to the abilities of this tribe. The Shindenese use baseline Shemarrian equipment, leavened by locally-acquired gear and technology, and Upgrade gifts from the North American Tribes.
Relations with Outsiders
Friendly. The Shindenese work to avoid appearing as dangerous aliens to the locals, and frequently offer their services as mercenaries (in trade escort or defensive positions). They do keep their secrets, however, from more prying eyes.
Relations with Other ‘Shemarrians’
Open; Clan Shinden has played host to other Tribes’ members wanting to see for themselves what Japan has to offer. The Shindenese are often called upon to arrange quarters and local supply/information for visiting Tribal parties and follow-up expeditions to the western Pacific region. Thus relations have ranged from formal and cordial (as with the Skullcrusher combat trials party and the Lost Eclipse maritime expedition) to enthusiastic (as with the Ghost Rider group of nethackers wanting to test their skills against Golden Age-level corporate computer security networks).
Pursuit of Knowledge. Some might call it corporate espionage, but the Shindenese are keeping an eye (and hands) on what the Japanese technopowers are coming out with next. The Japanese islands are also used as a base to gather information on the Asian mainland and western Pacific.
Preferred Mode of Combat
Sneak Attack. As the tribe that virtually created the Yurei caste, it comes as no great surprise that sneak attacks and commando-style raids are a favorite of the Shindenese. However, some of the NeShemar with their new bionic abilities, and some of the assimilated samurai, do tend to dramatics in combat; even some of the Elites are not immune to ‘sentai’ action.
Exceptional Combat Skills. Exposure to some rather exotic martial arts has led to the Shindenese acquiring some cool moves and righteous combat abilities. Clan Shinden members seem able to take FULL advantage of ALL the bonuses (including physical stats) of the martial arts styles of Asia, despite their bionic/robotic nature. The Wayfinders can’t explain why this is, just that it is.
The Shindenese also have their own unique gear and Warmounts, but these are mainly adaptations of locally-available weaponry and equipment, such as katana-, no-dachi-, and wakizashi-styled vibroblades replacing the original Shemarrian-pattern blades. They use baseline Warmounts, but their small production capability and unexpected growth in numbers means that they’ve had to make do with battlefield salvage and combat loot, adapting and modifying a number of vehicles and robots into Frankensteeds. The Shidenese have at least one Armatech AT-1063 Hi-Tora ‘Fire Tiger’ rebuilt as a Warmount (Clan Pantheron is allegedly already petitioning Clan Shinden for the design specs).
Self-Sufficient. The tribe is doing well for itself, with an ample supply of material for its projects, provided they are of modest ambition, replacement weaponry and warmounts for 50% of their number, a modest surplus, and enough disposable material for some small trading. In the case of the Shidenese, a good part of their income goes back out to acquire information and scavenged technology of interest, that is then studied and either the material or the specs passed on to the Shemarrian Nation. The Wayfinders are trying to figure out how to provide more regular support to their dedicated tribe of observers and spies.
Wayfinders. Clan Shinden remains on very good terms with their mother Tribe, but organizationally have simply found it easier to operate as a separate tribe with their own traditions and customs.