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Ydaer Ca Noit
2014-01-28, 03:02 PM
So the story goes like this.
I have a party of 2 players, who wanted me to run a campaign where they would be assassins.
The problem is, that they went on and made a magus and an inquisitor/something (pathfinder). I asked them if we are on the same page about what kind of assassination they plan to make when they don't even have stealth. Still somehow they think it will work, so I don't know maybe it will?

So far they joined an assassins guild (they were wanted and needed to clear their name somehow, so a friend of a friend hooked them up). The question is what happens after.

Should I go on to go kill that guy quests? The guild knows their abilities, so would it make logic to use them for stealthy jobs, even if they claim they can pull them off? Or should I make it more go intimidate/silence that guy? Or is there an other idea I could use? I am puzzled.

Why they no play rogues or something :smallsigh:

Knaight
2014-01-28, 03:20 PM
It seems like there are a lot of ways this could work. Being able to sneak is helpful, but there's plenty of other approaches to getting close to targets (e.g. manage to get yourself on staff through demonstrations of skills with a backing of forged documents, build trust through social skills, etc.), and they've got the investigation part down.

Rhynn
2014-01-28, 03:31 PM
Sneaking-and-hiding stealth isn't the only way: social infiltration, plain clever plans (ambushes, etc.), and the like can work great.

The guild should test them out with a job that's low-risk to them but demanding in circumstance, maybe with parameters ("nobody can know it was you guys").

veti
2014-01-28, 03:37 PM
Yeah, 'sneaking' is only one kind of assassination. The team you describe should be able to bluster their way in to see reasonably-important people, and should have plenty of options to persuade or force people to "come with us" as well.

With that in mind, give the players a mission. How they carry it out - is their problem.

Slipperychicken
2014-01-28, 03:47 PM
Oh well, I guess they'll just have to deal with a lot more botched missions, fights with security, and intense chases to escape. Or the assassin guild understands their strengths, and only sends them on missions which require neither stealth, finesse, nor professionalism (which they would logically send their newb recruits on anyway). Things like "kill this mid-level gangster, who has a small group protecting him. We don't care who else dies".

Also, I think you guys are using different definitions of "assassin". They probably think it means "brooding hot guy/girl wearing who wears black and is super good at killing people" like the classic fantasy portrayals of assassins, while you're thinking more along the lines of Agent 47 (i.e. cold, methodical, practical, and professional).

veti
2014-01-28, 04:02 PM
Also, I think you guys are using different definitions of "assassin". They probably think it means "brooding hot guy/girl wearing who wears black and is super good at killing people" like the classic fantasy portrayals of assassins, while you're thinking more along the lines of Agent 47 (i.e. cold, methodical, practical, and professional).

Personally, I'm thinking of Vincent from Pulp Fiction. A cold-blooded but professional thug.

Red Fel
2014-01-28, 04:02 PM
First off, I question the logic of how they joined the guild - what, was it open tryouts?

I'm going to assume the guild is run by people with a modicum of sense, who realize that these are powerful individuals who can be of use to the guild. Not all kills need to be done in a stealthy fashion - sometimes you want to send a message. My advice would be to send these players on missions reasonably suited to their skills. Not easy, mind you, but not ones requiring them to dance through the shadows on their tippy-toes.

That said? Be prepared for the mission to blow up, literally or figuratively. Be clear on instructions - if it's a targeted kill, no collateral damage. If it's an area decimation, no survivors. If it's a quiet mission - not stealth, necessarily, but not noticed - no witnesses and no clues. And if they play it like a videogame - smash what you want, make a fuss, guards will forget you if you leave their line of vision - impose consequences. Maybe the guild refuses to pay you. Maybe the guild disavows you. Maybe they just decide you're too much of a liability to live.

But give the players a chance. If they try to adhere to the letter of the mission - again, be specific in your missions - give them at least some credit. If they veer far off course, however... Well, an assassin's guild isn't necessarily the best place for an action hero.

Calen
2014-01-28, 04:36 PM
As some have said above, give them a mission like
"we need Berus the merchant silenced" get a few details in mind like where Berus lives and what his habits are and let them plan the mission out however they want.

It's possible that the players idea of what assassins do come from the Assassins Creed series?

veti
2014-01-28, 04:47 PM
It's possible that the players idea of what assassins do come from the Assassins Creed series?

The Assassins' Creed series are very much conventional fantasy assassins - main skills are climbing, running, jumping and stealth. If that were the case, we wouldn't be having this thread.

Berenger
2014-01-28, 08:11 PM
Put on a terrifying mask and a cloak, climb on a rented horse, ride down main street in broad daylight and brutally slaugther your target with an axe. Escape to an abandoned warehouse / sewers / whatever, throw away your fancy dress and walk away while humming an inconspicuous tune.

FreakyCheeseMan
2014-01-28, 09:23 PM
The Assassins' Creed series are very much conventional fantasy assassins - main skills are climbing, running, jumping and stealth. If that were the case, we wouldn't be having this thread.

Stealth? Maybe in the first one. After that, you have an annoying tendency to get cutscene'd into stepping out into full view of your target, announcing your presence and then fighting your way through all of their bodyguards before chasing them through their entire fotress to the tune of Yackety Sax.

Benthesquid
2014-01-28, 10:06 PM
Taking "Assassin," to mean, "Person tasked to kill a public figure."

A not particularly exhaustive list of ways for an inquisitor to use their class features to kill a target.

Inquisitor:
Take the Heretic archetype. This gives you Wisdom to Stealth and Bluff.
Take the Sin Inquisition. This gives you a +4 to Cha based skills if you can appeal to a target's sinful nature. Combine with the above for appropriately high bluff scores to lure your target to a place of your choosing.
Use Disguise Self, Vocal Alteration, and your Disguise Class Skill to get close to your target.
Use your high wisdom score and assorted supporting class features and spells to ferret out your target's darkest secrets. Exploit them to catch the target at their most vulnerable.
Use your high wisdom score and assorted supporting class features and spells to ferret out the darkest secrets of your targets protectors. Blackmail them into stepping aside, or even killing the target themselves.
Cast Invisibility.
Cast Terrible Remorse to force the target to kill itself.

Red Fel
2014-01-28, 10:07 PM
Stealth? Maybe in the first one. After that, you have an annoying tendency to get cutscene'd into stepping out into full view of your target, announcing your presence and then fighting your way through all of their bodyguards before chasing them through their entire fotress to the tune of Yackety Sax.

As a rule, a good assassination has precisely one (or several, if the job calls for it, but always a precise number) victim, no collateral damage, no explanation, no clues, no witnesses, and no suspects. An ideal one has no corpse, and no sign that anything at all happened.

I don't expect an ideal assassination from the PCs you've described. But then, you don't send a demolitions expert to make an omelet. (Unless she's Mrs. McNinja. But that lady's a heck of a cook. Also, precision demolitions.) So perhaps they're being sent into more... Suitable roles.

Benthesquid
2014-01-28, 10:10 PM
As a rule, a good assassination has precisely one (or several, if the job calls for it, but always a precise number) victim, no collateral damage, no explanation, no clues, no witnesses, and no suspects. An ideal one has no corpse, and no sign that anything at all happened.


That would depend entirely on your motivations for the assassination.

Red Fel
2014-01-28, 10:21 PM
That would depend entirely on your motivations for the assassination.

True enough. Occasionally, you want a killing that sends a message. Splattering gore across a wall does that, as does collapsing a building upon those within. However, it also leaves lots of evidence, and takes time. If your goal is to send a message - such as "Enemies of the rebellion will meet a similar fate" or "Guess what? Joe the Freaking Crazy Arsonist is in town!" - then this is perfectly acceptable.

On the other hand, an assassin's guild generally gets paid to make people cease to be an obstacle, not to put up banners in the middle of town announcing the involvement of interested parties. A local politician might need a stubborn clergyman removed for insisting that morals come before taxes. A desperate bride trapped in a loveless, abusive marriage may need her freedom at any cost. A noble in the king's court may want his influential rival to stop putting the kibosh on his every attempt at a power play. These are jobs that require subtlety. If it becomes painfully apparent that someone has been killed, instead of simply vanishing or dying peacefully, the inevitable search for suspects can make the client very unhappy. Subtlety, therefore, is the ideal approach for organized assassinations.

Unless someone tries to outlaw the guild. Then the whole city is going to burn. Every last one of them. There is only one response to those who think they can make an enemy of the assassin's guild and live to tell about it.


"No."

Warlawk
2014-01-28, 10:35 PM
As a rule, a good assassination has precisely one (or several, if the job calls for it, but always a precise number) victim, no collateral damage, no explanation, no clues, no witnesses, and no suspects. An ideal one has no corpse, and no sign that anything at all happened.


That may be what you associate with the word, but it has little bearing on what an assassination actually is.



assassinate (əˈsæsɪˌneɪt)

— vb
1. to murder (a person, esp a public or political figure), usually by a surprise attack
2. to ruin or harm (a person's reputation, etc) by slander


There's a dictionary definition for you. Seems that the characters in question would be quite capable of doing this.

FreakyCheeseMan
2014-01-28, 10:44 PM
As a rule, a good assassination has precisely one (or several, if the job calls for it, but always a precise number) victim, no collateral damage, no explanation, no clues, no witnesses, and no suspects. An ideal one has no corpse, and no sign that anything at all happened.

I don't expect an ideal assassination from the PCs you've described. But then, you don't send a demolitions expert to make an omelet. (Unless she's Mrs. McNinja. But that lady's a heck of a cook. Also, precision demolitions.) So perhaps they're being sent into more... Suitable roles.

er... I was talking about what always seems to happen in Assassin's Creed. I'm all for actual assassins being more subtle - for me, the ideal is that the target dies in mid-sentence from previously unrecognized causes about the time you're walking out of the city gates two miles away.

EDIT: But, I should probably mention that that sort of thing doesn't at all need *physical* stealth - you don't have to be any good at sneaking, or even slight of hand. A great assassin could just be a really friendly, gregarious person that can talk his way into anywhere, lure the target away from the crowd, beat them over the head with a wine bottle and stuff their body in a closet. Honestly, so long as they pick classes that have lots of options (i.e., not barbarians/fighters), they'll probably do just fine, assuming the players themselves are any good.

Rhynn
2014-01-28, 11:47 PM
Put on a terrifying mask and a cloak, climb on a rented horse, ride down main street in broad daylight and brutally slaugther your target with an axe.

Get your assignments from weirdoes in animal masks through the phone, wear weird animal masks yourself, bloodily slaughter absolutely everyone, and swing by a random store (always with the same clerk) on your way home.


Cast Invisibility.

That right there is about all the stealth you need (until you ran into magical defenses, anyway).

Thrudd
2014-01-29, 12:15 AM
So the story goes like this.
I have a party of 2 players, who wanted me to run a campaign where they would be assassins.
The problem is, that they went on and made a magus and an inquisitor/something (pathfinder). I asked them if we are on the same page about what kind of assassination they plan to make when they don't even have stealth. Still somehow they think it will work, so I don't know maybe it will?

So far they joined an assassins guild (they were wanted and needed to clear their name somehow, so a friend of a friend hooked them up). The question is what happens after.

Should I go on to go kill that guy quests? The guild knows their abilities, so would it make logic to use them for stealthy jobs, even if they claim they can pull them off? Or should I make it more go intimidate/silence that guy? Or is there an other idea I could use? I am puzzled.

Why they no play rogues or something :smallsigh:

You need to decide what this assassin's guild does. What is their mission/purpose? How do they operate, how organized are they? What sort of people hire them (assuming they are for hire)? This will help you decide what sort of things they will do as members of the guild.
They may be a mercenary group that sells services to anyone that can pay. Or do they have an underlying mission besides killing/spying/stealing for profit? Are certain places/people outside their jurisdiction, or will they send an assassin on a mission anywhere? Are there certain groups or people they are allied with and will not target? Do they work for a specific government or ruler like some kind of black-ops group?

Usually there is some kind of entrance requirement or initiation for guild membership of any sort. The characters may be probationary members until they have proven themselves on a few missions. You probably want to keep the PC's together as a team, so this should be worked into your ideas for the assassin's guild and what sort of missions they have. A normal practice for them must be sending out teams of assassins, which means there may be NPC's who accompany your players on some or all of their missions. If their missions regularly require teams, this should inform somewhat on the types of jobs the guild takes and who they work for. Do the guild members get to decide for themselves who will go on each mission, or does a higher ranking member select people for each mission based on their skills? As probationers or low ranking members they probably would be told what missions to go on.

Slipperychicken
2014-01-29, 12:33 AM
Get your assignments from weirdoes in animal masks through the phone, wear weird animal masks yourself, bloodily slaughter absolutely everyone, and swing by a random store (always with the same clerk) on your way home.


It helps when your hallucinations ask you cryptic, unanswered questions like "Do you like hurting other people?". Also, don't be afraid of dying.


You know, I've been wondering how to build the Hotline Miami guy (apparently fans call him Jacket?) in various RPGs. Because playing a traditional paranoid murderhobo gets boring sometimes, as does playing a reasonable person, so one sometimes wants to go full-on psycho mode.

I mention it here because, in the game, he's a good assassin in the way the OP's players might be: He conceals his identity, rushes in, efficiently murders everyone he's supposed to (sometimes in surprising and creative ways), and can usually extract himself long before backup arrives. And he does it in one of the least subtle ways possible (i.e. entering mafia bases through the front door with nothing but a chicken mask and his fists), much like how the players might make entrances if they lack stealth and finesse.

Berenger
2014-01-29, 04:15 AM
As a rule, a good assassination has precisely one (or several, if the job calls for it, but always a precise number) victim, no collateral damage, no explanation, no clues, no witnesses, and no suspects. An ideal one has no corpse, and no sign that anything at all happened.

If you go by the original assassins, a good assassination is designed to spread utter terror and a feeling of insecurity. It may absolutely involve collateral damage, for example amongst the targets bodyguards and servants. The explanation is: "The assassins and their sponsors don't like your politics and / or religion.". It is as public, brutal, messy and obvious as possible. (It also ends, by design, with the death of the assassin. Omitting this last part is preferrable for a game.)

Ydaer Ca Noit
2014-01-29, 06:14 AM
First off, I question the logic of how they joined the guild - what, was it open tryouts?


The guild was looking for possible recruits none would miss if they died or disappeared. The players were "wanted" and they knew this innkeeper to whom they owed way more money than their bounty. So he hooked them up with the bad ppl.


Put on a terrifying mask and a cloak, climb on a rented horse, ride down main street in broad daylight and brutally slaugther your target with an axe. Escape to an abandoned warehouse / sewers / whatever, throw away your fancy dress and walk away while humming an inconspicuous tune. :smallbiggrin: I can see it going that way too, lol


You need to decide what this assassin's guild does. What is their mission/purpose? How do they operate, how organized are they? What sort of people hire them (assuming they are for hire)? This will help you decide what sort of things they will do as members of the guild.
They may be a mercenary group that sells services to anyone that can pay. Or do they have an underlying mission besides killing/spying/stealing for profit? Are certain places/people outside their jurisdiction, or will they send an assassin on a mission anywhere? Are there certain groups or people they are allied with and will not target? Do they work for a specific government or ruler like some kind of black-ops group?

Usually there is some kind of entrance requirement or initiation for guild membership of any sort. The characters may be probationary members until they have proven themselves on a few missions. You probably want to keep the PC's together as a team, so this should be worked into your ideas for the assassin's guild and what sort of missions they have. A normal practice for them must be sending out teams of assassins, which means there may be NPC's who accompany your players on some or all of their missions. If their missions regularly require teams, this should inform somewhat on the types of jobs the guild takes and who they work for. Do the guild members get to decide for themselves who will go on each mission, or does a higher ranking member select people for each mission based on their skills? As probationers or low ranking members they probably would be told what missions to go on.

They are religion based, but not all its members care so much about that. They would probably send an assassin anywhere. However I could change details around, the players don't know enough yet.

The players had to assassinate a guard officer to join. More to ensure that they were not useless and for the guild to have an insurance that they won't betray them so easily. They managed to kill him and make it look like some orcs did it. Almost. But it still went better than expected.

I like the idea that they could choose some not so important for the guild missions.

To sum up, I will give them jobs that are within their abilities in the beginning. Maybe dealing with non-guild assassins or not-so-silent assassinations, or dealing with gangsters that none will care about.
After they prove they can do those ill give them some stealthy missions (with requirements to not be noticed etc) and see how they deal with those.
Then they should be able to work their way up.

I am toying with the idea of giving them NPC help in the form of cohorts, or ppl they know that can perform certain tasks. They already hired a kid to do some stalking so I can see that working. Someone to sell them poisons etc.

Thanks for the replies guys!

ElenionAncalima
2014-01-30, 02:31 PM
You may just have to get creative with the kinds of missions you send them on. They probably won't be able to do a lot of scouting or sneaking into places, but they can be involved in forming and executing assassination plans.

Initially they can be that they are ordered to be in a place at a certain time and kill the target...the guild takes care of the other details. However, as they rise through the ranks they can start getting more information and input in into the jobs they take. At which point you could have them involved in the planning of the jobs and ordering around lower ranking guild members with the stealth skills they need.

Also, I know that it is probably way too late for build suggestions, but I will still put in a good word for the Conversion Inquisition for the Inquisitor. It lets them use Wisdom instead of Charisma for Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate...all three of which are great skills for an assassin. Combined with Stern Gaze, it makes the Inquistor very good at intimidation.

Mark Hall
2014-01-30, 02:49 PM
Sneaking-and-hiding stealth isn't the only way: social infiltration, plain clever plans (ambushes, etc.), and the like can work great.

The guild should test them out with a job that's low-risk to them but demanding in circumstance, maybe with parameters ("nobody can know it was you guys").

Heck, in the Vlad Taltos books, the Sword and Dagger of the Jhereg (http://dragaera.wikia.com/wiki/Sword_and_the_Dagger) pretty much operate by brute force... teleport in, swing swords, and teleport out. But the post-Interregnum Empire was a pretty Tippyverse place.

veti
2014-01-30, 03:00 PM
On the other hand, an assassin's guild generally gets paid to make people cease to be an obstacle, not to put up banners in the middle of town announcing the involvement of interested parties. A local politician might need a stubborn clergyman removed for insisting that morals come before taxes. A desperate bride trapped in a loveless, abusive marriage may need her freedom at any cost. A noble in the king's court may want his influential rival to stop putting the kibosh on his every attempt at a power play. These are jobs that require subtlety.

I'm not sure what the Pathfinder "Inquisitor" class means, exactly (yeah, I've read the SRD - says nothing useful). But if it's anything at all even remotely related to the historical inquisition, it'd be the ideal class for handling any of these scenarios. Way better than someone who's into stealth and stabbing.

Eldest
2014-01-30, 03:58 PM
I'm not sure what the Pathfinder "Inquisitor" class means, exactly (yeah, I've read the SRD - says nothing useful). But if it's anything at all even remotely related to the historical inquisition, it'd be the ideal class for handling any of these scenarios. Way better than someone who's into stealth and stabbing.

Think of it as the divine bard. Best comparison I could find for it.

Milo v3
2014-01-30, 07:49 PM
I'm not sure what the Pathfinder "Inquisitor" class means, exactly (yeah, I've read the SRD - says nothing useful). But if it's anything at all even remotely related to the historical inquisition, it'd be the ideal class for handling any of these scenarios. Way better than someone who's into stealth and stabbing.

SRD says:
Scourge of the unfaithful and hunter of horrors, the inquisitor roots out the enemies of her faith with grim conviction and an array of divine blessings.

Which is effectively what it is. It's like a paladin, who specifically has abilities revolving around tracking and hunting down things.

It's a divine cop, but with more stabbing.

Alejandro
2014-01-30, 08:28 PM
Not every assassination is a stealthy ninja. John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at point blank range, then leaped down from the box to the stage, in front of the entire audience (and injuring his leg in the process), shouted 'Sic semper tyrannis' and fled.

Beleriphon
2014-01-31, 12:59 PM
Not every assassination is a stealthy ninja. John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at point blank range, then leaped down from the box to the stage, in front of the entire audience (and injuring his leg in the process), shouted 'Sic semper tyrannis' and fled.

In fairness even ninjas weren't stealthy ninjas. They are however exactly how you run an assassination. You hide in the general populace, integrate yourself into the target's life and then kill them. Or as noted you walk up to the guy and peg him in front a massive audience because his security really is that useless.

Rhynn
2014-01-31, 01:06 PM
In fairness even ninjas weren't stealthy ninjas.

How often did ninjas even assassinate anyone? All the actual historical references of ninja activity I've read in the Sengoku period were pretty much "ninja wears enemy uniform, gets in castle, sets it on fire" ...

Incidentally, my swordsage ninja assassin in a D&D 3.5 assassin campaign I played in did pretty much exactly that every job. Need a distraction? Set a fire! Need to kill someone? Set a fire! Get in a fight? Set a fire!

Beleriphon
2014-01-31, 01:13 PM
How often did ninjas even assassinate anyone? All the actual historical references of ninja activity I've read in the Sengoku period were pretty much "ninja wears enemy uniform, gets in castle, sets it on fire" ...

Hey they probably had to kill at least one guy to get that uniform, so there you go. :smallbiggrin:


Incidentally, my swordsage ninja assassin in a D&D 3.5 assassin campaign I played in did pretty much exactly that every job. Need a distraction? Set a fire! Need to kill someone? Set a fire! Get in a fight? Set a fire!

Fires are a good distraction I'll give you that.

Tiki Snakes
2014-01-31, 01:18 PM
I think the key here will be to avoid second guessing their methods, setting overly specific conditions or time limits. Give them a few really open ended tasks, preferably against very soft targets at first, slowly increasing the danger of the target. (say, Innkeeper > Merchant > Gang Member > Mafia Boss).

Give them aid in the form of constructing new identities first. You want them to have a persona for use on missions (even if that is just a rubber chicken mask).

Then see how they handle it. Depending on how they do, they'll either find sneaky ways of getting the job done or start becoming Infamous. At this point, you can have the guild start using them for more important or plot related things, and they will know how best to do that.

If they are surprisingly efficient at subtle, then you have more or less traditional assassins. If they are more infamous/shock and awe, then you have the kind of assassin team who you specifically make sure the target knows is coming for him so as to force him to make mistakes or to distract him/his allies from the secondary team...

Slipperychicken
2014-01-31, 01:19 PM
Hey they probably had to kill at least one guy to get that uniform, so there you go. :smallbiggrin:


Not necessarily. Just find where the uniforms are made, stored, or washed. Then snag one from there. Or simply get one fabricated. Or get one of the guards drunk, take his uniform, and dump him in a gutter (or a bed if you're feeling nice).



Fires are a good distraction I'll give you that.

Setting fire to occupied buildings has a tendency to kill people, so I'd consider counting those as indirect kills.

A Tad Insane
2014-01-31, 07:47 PM
Many real world assassins don't use stealth. Sniping a guy from the roof, stalking them until they're in a lonely alley and killing them there, hell, even running up to them, throat stab, then booking it like a mad man has and is a very common and effective method.

Beleriphon
2014-02-01, 11:43 PM
Many real world assassins don't use stealth. Sniping a guy from the roof, stalking them until they're in a lonely alley and killing them there, hell, even running up to them, throat stab, then booking it like a mad man has and is a very common and effective method.

I think the key to an assassin actually doing the deed is surprise. Surprise is in fact "surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise...."

And them bam... knife in the face.

MonochromeTiger
2014-02-01, 11:52 PM
Many real world assassins don't use stealth. Sniping a guy from the roof, stalking them until they're in a lonely alley and killing them there, hell, even running up to them, throat stab, then booking it like a mad man has and is a very common and effective method.

pretty much, really assassins are like mercenaries with a more specific list of jobs they take and a fancier title. the image of a stealthy assassin that's never seen by their targets is mostly a story made up to advertise their services and hype up their reputation more.

SassyQuatch
2014-02-02, 12:06 AM
Replace "assassin" with "hit man". Get contract. Take out target (with or without external casualties). Repeat. Done.

It's pretty much regular "kill X" quests, but you are taking contracts either from the guild itself as a broker, or on contract with a portion of the proceeds going to the guild itself as dues (following this method you should also register your contracts with the guild to avoid double-hiring, in-guild conflicts, etc.).