Tweaked Assassin

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cbarchuk
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Tweaked Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Hey Doug, I figured I would link my tweaked Assassin class here as well. In my message I mentioned it was for Iron Falcon but I would also use it in place of the S&W version as well. So hopefully its okay I upload it here to get your thoughts. The Assassin class has always been the one class I'm the most unhappy with for a variety of reasons. So I first just wanted to get your general thoughts on the base version I've uploaded. And then second, your opinion on whether I should include the Assassination Table from Blackmoor as an option. The rules around it's use would be how it's presented in Osric:
If an assassin gains surprise (see combat) he may elect to assassinate the victim instead of backstab. The assassin need not roll to hit for an assassination attempt, which is a special attack resulting in a chance to kill the victim instantly and ensure damage even if the victim is not successfully killed. Instead the assassinate will roll percentile dice chance based on the assassin's level and the victim's level as shown in the table above. If the assassination attempt does not succeed then regular damage is inflicted. The assassin does not gain backstab multiple damage on a failed assassination attempt, even if the assassination attempt was made from behind.
You'll notice that I removed several of the thief skills. This was on purpose as I've always felt the Assassin was too similar to the thief. But as you can see I fleshed out poison and allowed the Assassin start with a decent chance to use his skills right at level 1. (I'm a big fan of d6 for thief skills) Otherwise there is very little difference here compared to the S&W version.

Ambusher is the main new skill that's added. If I was going to add in the Assassination Table I would remove the Ambusher skill. So there ya go. Pick it apart. :)
Last edited by cbarchuk on Sun Jan 24, 2021 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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merias
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by merias »

Hi Chuck, I agree about the thief skills. Despite the Assassin being a thief subclass, it's nice to have some differentiation.

On the assassinate table, I always felt uncomfortable with the auto-kill for 1e assassins, I think it reduces what should be a fairly elaborate process (planning and carrying out an assassination) and reduces it to a couple of die roles. For that reason I like the "add your level to the damage" and maybe even start at x3 for the backstab (which I think you mentioned already). I suppose with poison you get a similar effect (the "doom" poison you mention), albeit with a target save, which seems better since it is already baked into the target's level.

The phrase "downtime action" leaped out at me as very "5e" :D - I'd replace it with some time duration that ensures a few wandering monster checks, to force the player to make a choice if they really want to take the time to extract poison from the dead serpent or whatever. You also mention a "poison kit", which also seems like it was language brought in from 5e's kits, or were you thinking it is like thieves' tools in B/X?

I think the d6 is a great mechanic for the skills, if you wanted something more granular maybe 2d6 like AS&SH uses for thief-like skills, but d6 works.

I really like that list of poison effects, there is some good variety there.

cbarchuk
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Thanks Doug!

Yea the Assassin is the only class that seems to be shrouded in ambiguity. The others seem pretty straight forward. So I guess that's why I'm tackling it first. I agree I never liked the whole not getting thief skills till level 3. And I would rather the Thief be more of the 'dungoneering' expert while the Assassin is more of the martially-focused silent killer. In my view that is where the distinction lies.

I also agree with you about the auto-kill. I've never like it either though I understand the idea behind it. Adding the Assassin's level to the backstab damage is what S&W Complete mentions and its a simple way to represent the enhanced alpha-striking power of the Assassin over the thief. But do to the faster leveling of the thief the difference isn't as huge as it would seem at least on the upper end of things. But where the real difference is made is with the minimum damage done. But I also thought about, as you mentioned, simply allowing the Assassin to start with a x3 multiplier. If I did that do you think I should still had the Assassin's level to the damage or do you think it should be one or the other? Lastly what did you think about the ambusher ability? It would only apply to the Assassin not the whole party.

Thanks for the feedback with poisons. As you know it isn't really fleshed out in S&W at all. So these are just ideas I got from several different places. I'll definitely clean up the wording according to your suggestions. And poison kit is meant to be similar to thieves' tools. To me poison use should be one of the defining characteristics of an Assassin. Cheers.

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merias
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by merias »

Thinking about it, with the variable weapon damage in Complete, the damage can get pretty crazy using a longsword to backstab and assuming x3 (~17% chance to do 24 points of damage). So maybe that is not a good idea after all for a 1st level assassin? I guess I'd just leave it as x2 with the per-level bonus (still a hefty max of 17 points of damage with that long sword).

I'm not sure about the ambusher ability. Sometimes I rule on surprise without a roll, if it seems appropriate for one side or another. I think if an assassin could describe how they intended to surprise someone and it seemed reasonable, I'd allow the greater chance, or just forego the roll. But I think as a guideline that tells the ref that assassins are extraordinarily stealthy it is fine.

cbarchuk
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Wonderful. Thanks again Doug. So it sounds like I'll just keep it as is. I really appreciate it as the other classes are fairly straight forward. I assume keeping the XP progression the same is good?

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merias
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by merias »

No problem, yeah I see no reason to change the XP progression.

cbarchuk
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Thanks Doug. Do you think I should add back in hear noise and climb walls?

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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by merias »

cbarchuk wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:25 pm
Thanks Doug. Do you think I should add back in hear noise and climb walls?
If you have made the decision to not include the thief skills, then I'd say no to even those two.

cbarchuk
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Sweet. Thanks again for the feedback.

cbarchuk
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Re: Tweaked Assassin

Post by cbarchuk »

Hey Doug,

I had quite a lengthy conversation about the Assassin class on the Frog God Games discord yesterday about whether the Assassination table in Blackmoor should be included with the Assassin class in the complete book. But what's interesting is I stumbled upon this article from White Dwarf 77' where John Rothwell featured an Assassin class. I thought it was interesting. Not sure if you've seen it or not.

Anyways I attached the original article and my own version below that. The Assassinate range is based on the backstab multiplier. (20-BS multiplier)
Attachments
White Dwarf Assassin1024_1.jpg
White Dwarf Assassin1024_2.jpg
Last edited by cbarchuk on Sun Jan 24, 2021 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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