Saturday, 11 February 2012

More classes! -- Assassin redux

As I recently wrote, I've always liked the idea of the assassin class, but never been that keen on the mechanics of the AD&D implementation. An idea presented by Carter the other day finally inspired me to do my own version of the class. The end result is more in line with the other basic LL classes, having much simpler mechanics and less baroque abilities than the AD&D / AEC version.

Requirements:       None
Prime Requisite:    STR, DEX
Hit Dice:                1d6
Maximum Level:    None
XP Progression:     1,500 for 2nd level

Assassins specialise in stealth, infiltration and silent killing. They can use any missile weapons, any one-handed melee weapons, and leather armour. Assassins are also able to use shields.

Assassins with a 13 in both prime requisites receive a 5% experience bonus. Those with a 16 in one or both prime requisites receive a 10% bonus. Assassins' saving throw and attack advancement is the same as standard thieves'.

Humans, dwarves, elves and halflings* may be assassins. Elvish and halfling assassins may advance to 10th level, while dwarfish assassins may advance to 8th level.

Like thieves, assassins are trained in the art of stealth, and can use the following skills with the same degree of success as a thief of the same level: hide in shadows, move silently, hear noise.

Assassins are also trained in techniques of swift and silent murder. When an assassin successfully attacks an opponent by surprise (either due to a surprise roll, or as a result of using his stealth skills), he inflicts extra damage equal to his own Hit Dice. For example, a 15th level assassin inflicts 9d6 + 12 hit points extra damage upon making a successful assassination attack. Assassination attacks may only be performed with short-bladed melee weapons (daggers, knives or short swords), and are only effective against targets with a perceptible weak-point, such as the heart, throat or brain of a humanoid. In situations where it is relevant, the Labyrinth Lord may require a successful move silently roll to effect a completely noiseless assassination.

Many assassins make use of various poisons, and have enough experience to avoid the risk of self-poisoning while dealing with these deadly substances.

Reaching 3rd level: An assassin's knowledge of harmful substances grants him a chance to be able to identify unknown poisons or drugs by their colour, consistency and odour. The chance of success depends on the character's level (see table below). Rare substances may incur a penalty to identification checks, at the Labyrinth Lord's discretion. Each attempt to identify a substance takes one turn. If the attempt fails the substance cannot be identified by that assassin until he has increased in level.

Reaching 5th level: As an aide to infiltration, assassins sometimes need to practice the art of disguise. While characters of any class may attempt to disguise themselves, from 5th level assassins gain an additional edge in avoiding detection. In situations where the Labyrinth Lord has determined that a disguise is ineffective, an assassin is able to make a hide in shadows check. If the check succeeds, the character is not noticed.

Reaching 8th level: Due to his highly honed awareness, an assassin of 8th level or higher may only be surprised on a roll of 1. He additionally gains a saving throw versus death against any backstab or assassination attempts against his person. A successful save indicates that the assassin takes only the base damage form the attack, not the additional dice.

Poison Identification Progression by Level: 3: 25, 4: 35, 5: 45, 6: 52, 7: 60, 8: 65, 9: 70, 10: 75, 11: 82, 12: 90, 13: 95, 14+: 99

* The suggested level limit for a halfling assassin is based on the rat-folk which have replaced halflings in my campaign. In standard LL, this class should probably not be available to chubby hobbitses.


  1. Looks very good.

    AD&D assassins could also set traps pretty well -- better than thieves.

    But: No half-orcs on your campaign? Or they can't be assassins? Heretic!

  2. Dyson Logos did a write-up of the Assassin as a "Glantri-style" prestige class - a mechanic I think is a pretty cool way to introduce some of these specialty classes.

    I like the mechanics you've used here, though, and can see using a combined approach in my game.

    I'm fairly new to your blog here and I really what you're doing - thanks!

  3. Thanks for the positive feedback everyone!

    @Mike Monaco: Setting traps... now that's an interesting (and very assassiny) idea.

    Re: half-orcs, well... the PCs have never met a single orc during the 12 months the campaign has been going! So as you can imagine, half-orcs aren't a common race.

    @Koren n'Rhys: Yeah I liked that article from Dyson too!