The Assassin

A forum for discussion of The Wanderer's White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game

Moderator: The Wanderer

cbarchuk
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:41 pm

The Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

I've really been wanting to add an Assassin class for FMAG that is unique and has its own niche without stepping on the toes of the thief. So I'm looking for suggestions. I've come across a few ideas that are pretty good from various authors but nothing that has really hit the nail on the head in my opinion. Things I like are having an Assassinate skill similar to the thieves thievery skill that only works on things pertaining to stealth or getting close to a target to set up an Assassination. Maybe in combat it would act like a Hide in Shadows roll, and if successful, would allow the Assassin to roll the damage dice three times. Any other ideas would be great.

User avatar
merias
Site Admin
Posts: 1166
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:37 am
Location: Eastern Townships, Québec
Contact:

Re: The Assassin

Post by merias »

Have you seen the 'White Box Heroes' Assassin? That uses a d20 for the assassinate attempt, based on the level of the PC and the level of the target. But the use of that skill is kind of vague - leaving it up to the ref. as far as requiring stealth (I think I would).

cbarchuk
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: The Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Yea I've seen that one and it's not bad but I really like the singular mechanic of thievery and would rather see something along the same lines. Here's a simplified version of an Assassin created by someone else named Fen Orc in his book White Box: Unearthed Trove. I really liked what he did but I still found it to be a bit convoluted for my tastes therefore I set out to keep what I liked and get rid of what I thought wasn't needed for how I like to play the game which is more RAI. Let me know your thoughts.
Last edited by cbarchuk on Sun May 02, 2021 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
merias
Site Admin
Posts: 1166
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:37 am
Location: Eastern Townships, Québec
Contact:

Re: The Assassin

Post by merias »

I like that version, I had not seen it before. While I like the d6 thief mechanic that is in FMAG, I don't think it works for an assassinate skill, which I think should be more difficult. This balances the skill with the use of poison and a saving throw, and only then if all goes as planned - leading to more of a narrative effort, rather than just "roll to kill". I think this is what you're after?

Just throwing this out there - maybe just take away the poison, and limit the HD of the target to 1+the assassin's level. So a 1st level assassin could assassinate up to a 2HD creature, with proper setup (sneak attack of some sort), a normal to-hit roll (probably from behind, but not always), and a skill roll.

cbarchuk
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: The Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Interesting. So what your saying is simply remove the whole poison thing and let the OUT OF COMBAT use of Assassinating be open ended like it already is? So remove the poison section and just have...

Out of combat Assassins can carry out assassination plots to murder their targets. The player needs to describe the plot and roll 1d6: the range of success is given for the Assassin’s skill at this. On a successful roll, the plot works as planned. This roll does not kill the target. It simply sets up a situation where the target could be killed. A hit roll still as to be made in most cases and the target still gets a saving throw vs. death. Only targets of of the Assassins HD+1 can be Assassinated.

User avatar
merias
Site Admin
Posts: 1166
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:37 am
Location: Eastern Townships, Québec
Contact:

Re: The Assassin

Post by merias »

Yep, exactly. I like the poison aspect of those rules, but this is simpler for sure.

cbarchuk
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: The Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Okay, I guess the thought was the Poison would limit how many save vs. death chances you would have since you only start out with a certain number of vials. Removing that would essentially allow the Assassin to instant kill whenever though the limit of the Assassin's level+1 does keep that under control. Yea really either way would work it seems. Also I need to add that an Assassinate roll is required in order to backstab in combat. It essentially acts as stealth check. So I need to add...

In combat, successful use of
Assassinate enables the Assassin to
position herself for a Back Stab with a
melee weapon on the following round.

So Assassinate really ends up being a stealth check that encompasses a variety of stealth means including hiding, moving silently, disguise, voice mimicry, shadowing, sleight of hand etc... But the reason for rolling it must be for the purpose of Assassination instead of just run of the mill dungeon exploring. At that point your encroaching on the thief. So in combat that's obvious. You would use it to see if the Assassin gains surprise where he land a nice 3d6 backstab with a +4 to hit compared to the thief's +2 to hit and 2d6 back stab. Outside of combat is where things open up. It could be a sleight of the hand roll to add poison to someone's drink or food. Or maybe it would encompass several actions in order to set up a poisoned crossbow shot. Maybe you use it to disguise yourself in order to infiltrate some stronghold. Really at this point it's up to your imagination. But the sand box has to be for the purpose of killing.

Anyways I'll give it some thought but I personally prefer the poison version. But either seem good to me. That being said It might still be a good idea to add the Assassins level+1 limit so you don't have a level 1 Assassin taking out a dragon or something in one shot. So anyways, as a review kind of thing, what do you think overall? I really value your input and all the work you've done so a stamp of approval from you would mean a lot.

User avatar
merias
Site Admin
Posts: 1166
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:37 am
Location: Eastern Townships, Québec
Contact:

Re: The Assassin

Post by merias »

I agree you don't want to encroach on the thief, so what you describe is good. I think capping the victim's HD works well to limit the ability, if I was using the Fen Orc version I think I'd add that limitation anyway. If I was allowing poison use, I'd probably make the poison available in limited quantities and at some great expense from a few, select alchemists, rather than use the arbitrary limit to the number of doses that can be carried.

I don't think I'd tie the assassinate ability to the enhanced backstab routinely - I'd just have the player describe how they are being stealthy. If there was some reason to think the target might notice the assassin, I'd use it then. The example I can think of is in combat, where it might be easy for an assassin to sneak around a large battle where everyone was otherwise occupied with saving their skin, without even needing to roll. If they were alone or the target was alert, then maybe I'd require it.

cbarchuk
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: The Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Thanks again for the back and forth. If you get a chance to check out the original from Fen Orc then do so. He also adds Blade Venom which is different from Poison. In his version the Assassin gets to roll a d6 at the beginning of an adventure to see how many vials of Blade Venom he starts with instead of poison. The number rolled can't be under the the current Assassinate level. Now Blade Venom is simply a save vs. poison or the target suffers 1d6 damage. That's it. So he meant for Blade Venom to be used in normal combat and actual Poison to be used in Assassination plots but primarily through the poisoning of food. It's pretty cool but I thought it was a bit too busy for my tastes. A possible extra d6 isn't worth the trouble to me since it requires a round to apply along with the dumb luck of maybe only doing an extra 1 damage. So I like having the bigger back stab for combat. It's up to the referee on how generous they want to be. For me personally I would allow an Assassinate roll at the beginning of every combat before initiative is even rolled. I tend to think of surprise rolls more like stealth rolls. So if the party didn't roll a 1 or 2 to surprise some group of monsters I will still allow the Assassin to roll an Assassinate roll to retain stealth and an opportunity for an individual surprise round. That way he get's a chance to use it just about every combat. Add in some judicious use of poisons for particular targets and you have a very cool character that doesn't step on the toes of the thief.

cbarchuk
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: The Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Here's an updated version that takes into account the things you mentioned along with the poison concept from the original. Let me know what you think.
Last edited by cbarchuk on Sun May 02, 2021 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply