Assassins are a rare sub-class of Thieves; they are trained killers, members of secret guilds and societies of their kind. As an Assassin, you begin the game as a very minor member of the nearest Assassins’ Guild, a secret organization to which you and your fellow Assassins have given dire oaths and pledges of loyalty. The first rule of the Assassins’ Guild, one might say, is that no one talks about the Assassins’ Guild. You are not an indiscriminate killer for hire, for the guild strictly regulates the actual assassination missions its members are permitted to undertake. As an Assassin-adventurer, you provide your allies with a mixture of thieving skills and combat capabilities, although you are not as proficient with thieving skills as a true Thief, nor are you truly a front-line fighter. However, your ability to disguise yourself can be of great advantage in certain situations, and your ability to use poisons and poisoned weapons can often turn the tide in a desperate combat.
Prime Attribute: Dexterity, Strength, and Intelligence all 13+ (an assassin character gains a +5% experience bonus only if ALL of their Prime Attributes are 13 or higher.)
* Assassins were capped at 13 levels of ability in the Original Game.
** Hit points shown for levels after the character no longer gains full hit dice are the total combined number. A 15th level Assassin has 13 HD plus 2 hit points total, not 13 HD plus one hit point gained at 14th level and another 2 hit points gained at 15th.
The Original Rules did not provide any “automatic kill” ability for Assassins, other than for hired Assassins, as a way of determining success or failure on a mission. The Referee might choose to allow Assassin characters to add the Assassin’s level of experience to damage inflicted by a backstabbing attack.
Assassins must be of Neutral or Chaotic alignment. In the Original Game, Assassins could only be Neutrally aligned, presumably since their allegiance to a guild is similar to the Druidic allegiance to the powers of nature, and they are not indiscriminate in their actions. However, for purposes of Swords & Wizardry, the Referee has the flexibility to allow Chaotic alignments even for player-character Assassins. A Chaotic alignment, however, means that a creature is utterly bad, down to the very bones (see Alignment.)
Assassins can disguise themselves with great skill, allowing them to blend into other groups without causing suspicion. A person of average intelligence and wisdom (both scores averaging about 10) has only a 5% chance to see through such a disguise, unless it involves considerable fakery such as posing as a member of the opposite sex. In these cases the base chance to detect the disguise is 10%. These chances will be modified by the Referee to take the observer’s intelligence into account. As a rough guideline, if the observer had the brutish intelligence of an orc or a particularly foolish human, the chance to detect the disguise might drop by 1% or 2%. If the observer were a captain of guards, a Cleric, a Magic-User, or were otherwise of greater than average mental capacity, the chance to detect such a disguise would increase by 1% to 3%. The Assassin’s disguise is more than just a matter of costume; it encompasses mimicry of speech and behavior as well. However, if the character is impersonating a specific individual, the disguise can only make the Assassin look vaguely similar – anyone at all familiar with the original would spot the imposture immediately. Disguises are more about blending in, mimicking a different social class, and – especially – not being recognized afterwards.
Assassins can use any magic items usable by Thieves, plus any magic weapons, armor (leather only), and shields.
Assassins are able to use poison on their weapons without the risk of making basic errors. Fighters who coat their swords with poison might – just might – make the mistake of absentmindedly rubbing their eyes before remembering to wash the deadly toxin from their hands; Assassins are trained not to fall prey to such basic errors when using poison. Assassins are not, however, trained at concocting poisons; most guilds employ an alchemist for such purposes.
Assassins have skills similar to those of Thieves, but comparable to a Thief two levels lower than the Assassin character.
At 14th level, the Assassin may establish (or take over) a guild of Assassins. The guild need not be located in a large city, and can even be established as a barony in the wilderness. However, if the new guild is within the territory of an existing guild, there will unquestionably be a battle to the death between them. Assassins’ Guilds do not – ever – share their territory. An existing guild of Assassins will generally not accept the leadership of a new Guildmaster who does not claim that rank by killing the former Guildmaster.