Ninja were the perfect mercenary for infiltrating enemy territory and exploiting their weaknesses. Often dressed like citizens, or even as the enemy guards, and collected all kinds of intelligence. They would report back to their employer anything that they were asked about. How much food, weapons, number of troops, where the leader was, what kind of defenses are in place and how to beat them, etc. Not only were they spies, but they made wonderful scouts.
Despite their lack of honor when it came to combat and tactics, Ninja were not completely without it. They were loyal to their Ninja family and they did not play sides against each other or switch sides. If their side was losing, once the payments stopped, they would depart. Slipping away through the crowds before anyone would even realize it. They were excellent businessmen in this sense. If you played those types of counter espionage games and were caught, it could ruin the reputation of the entire Ryu and then there would be no more business. Most often however, the side that paid the Ninja is the side that ended up victorious.
At one point in history, a Samurai actually declared war on the Ninja and attacked one of their more prominent villages. The Ninja were nearly wiped out. In the end though, he was eventually toppled in power by another Samurai, who had taken the surviving Ninja under his wing. Once again, Ninja were the deciding factor in victory.
Ninja were amazingly talented people shrouded in myths and legends, but history showed that having these types of individuals on your side helped more than hurt. This is why every major nation in the world today has a special agency that trains in espionage.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Weapons and Warriors, click here to view the entire catalog of weapons and cultures. Thank you, see you next week.