Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Assassins and Assassinations…

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Assassins and Assassinations…

    Originally posted by Blindeye View Post
    Hey there, long time fan, and Ex3 playtester here: One thing that infuriated me during the tests and beyond is that I never got a straight answer from the devs concerning assassinations:
    How would a mortal assassin work in the current combat system? There seems to be no way with the current mechanics for a skilled bowman to shoot his target in the head and be assured a kill.
    I repeatedly suggested that the +5 damage rule for when a captive flees when you use the 'Hold At Bay' system and apply that to well hidden and prepared assassination attempts, but I got no reply or explanation why that wouldn't work.

    Now there's some Charms that a Solar Assassin can use to make a very surefire kill on a mortal target, but I can't imagine mortal assassins non-existant in the setting, but with the current rules it's hard to imagine them being effective. Currently I imagine this scenario playing out thus:

    A max stat (5s in everything) assassin is watching a politician give a speech, she levels her bow, aims and fires.



    I'd really like to get an answer for how the current devs would want to approach this problem.
    Now, I'm no developer (hence my posting this thread as opposed to addressing the poster in the thread they posted), but to me this post reveals a weird misconception people have about assassins and assassinations. Namely that an assassin is a skilled professional capable of instantly killing a person from stealth.

    Historically, this has not been the case. Vastly more often, your hired killer is a guy who's desperate enough for cash to suppress any qualms he might have about ending the life of another human, at least until he can pay off his debts. He's also probably never killed anyone before, either; it's almost certain to not be something he does for a living.

    As far as instantly putting down the target goes, well, even when the would-be killer is equipped with a firearm, people are often hardy enough to survive a single shot; hell, Teddy Roosevelt once took a bullet during a speech, and just stood there and continued the speech for hours.

    The same is incidentally true of stabbing someone; people in the past have taken in excess of sixty knife wounds and survived.

    I'm hardly an expert on the subject, but if you want someone dead, you're a lot likelier to succeed by sneaking poisonous greens into their salad than you are paying a man with a bow and just one arrow to try and snipe your target from a rooftop.

    (Also, just as an aside, Blindeye, the rules for trivial opponents permit you to apply a withering attack as though it were decisive, which would more than blow through your hypothetical politician's health, and if the target is not trivial, then I don't think it's unreasonable to have to use a second arrow.)
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-07-2017, 12:13 PM.

  • #2
    I get the point being made here, but think this is one case in which narrative expedience should often allow one to keep things relatively simple.

    ​Hell, I personally find the image of a bow being used as a stand in for a sniper rifle to be quite ludicrous, but... no, wait, there are so many security dynamics that aren't really practical in a setting such as this if you assume precision long-range killing, so no, barring the Exalted, people aren't really at risk from snipers.

    ​For things like being stabbed, though, I would go with a cinematic convention.

    Which, you know, is right there in the corebook on page 212, but I suppose this original poster turned a blind eye to it.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

    Comment


    • #3
      There's also the possibility of either using a poisoned weapon or simply getting really lucky on your Join Battle and/or damage roll.


      Some of me humble homebrew for ex3:
      Artifacts for Crumple's DB homebrew
      Some Lintha QCs
      A Wyld Behemoth

      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah, either the character will die just fine, or you don't get to kill them so anticlimactically.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, the base combat system allows for ambushes against unaware targets. Meaning that you could make a decisive attack with your starting Initiative (an average of '7' for a skilled human assassin or '11' for a skilled Solar Exalted assassin). Since the target has Defense 0, the attack will likely succeed, with the skilled human assassin doing 3-4 health levels of damage while the skilled Exalted assassin doing 5-6 health levels of damage. While an auto kill is unlikely, the damage will likely make the target vulnerable to Initiative Crash on the second attack and death on the first attack.

          Comment


          • #6
            For that matter, it's not like doing four levels of lethal damage to a person is nothing; it's very conceivable for a person to bleed out before a doctor can be summoned. Worse still if the wound gets infected.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes, the average mortal (Stamina 2) will suffer bleeding damage (one health level of lethal damage per minute) if they take 3 or more health levels of lethal damage from a single attack in 3e. I would suggest though that the bleeding rules are unrealistically rapid for mortals. I would suggest the following changes to the bleeding rules for STs who want more realistic bleeding rules.

              Mortals should make a Stamina roll after suffering more lethal damage than their Stamina from an attack. On a botch, they take one health level of lethal damage per turn. On a failure, they take one lethal damage per minute. On a success, they take one heath level of lethal damage per hour. If they make more successes than damage suffered on the attack, they take one health level of lethal damage per day. Medical attention halts the bleeding as normal.

              Comment


              • #8
                Potential houserule discussion aside, some better ways to use your purse of silver over an archer who bizarrely refuses to carry more than one arrow:

                - Hire a courtesan to seduce your target and smother him to death with a pillow in his sleep.
                - Get a generous portion of cyanide put in a bottle of wine, then trick someone else into giving him that wine as a hospitality-gift.
                - Find one of his guards with a gambling problem, and offer to settle his debts if he pushes the guy off his balcony. (If his guards don't have gambling debts, find someone who does.)
                - Put a keg of firedust under the stage he plans to do his speech at.
                Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-07-2017, 01:43 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think in a lot of cases, this is all overthinking it. I think the term used in the aforementioned sidebar is quite elegant in conveying a useful alternative: Skip it.

                  ​This is another area in which it's useful to acknowledge how the rules are not physics of the setting, but a system for dramatic resolution in the course of playing a game. Health level and damage rules aren't an objective measure of bodily functions and incurring injury, they're just how these things necessarily play out in certain contexts. If somebody is just being shanked, then a difficulty 2 roll is enough.


                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                    I think in a lot of cases, this is all overthinking it.
                    I'm not saying the rules preclude the existence of mortals instantly killing mortals; I'm saying that even if they did - which they don't, per your cite of the rules - these weird ultra-lethal ninjas that people seem to be picturing is so divorced from what an assassin actually is that it's kinda weird to me.

                    I almost feel like this should be covered in the books - perhaps not with the same depth as economics or what role priests have in the setting, but it warrants mention, no?
                    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-07-2017, 01:55 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                      I'm not saying the rules preclude the existence of mortals instantly killing mortals; I'm saying that even if they did - which they don't, per your cite of the rules - these weird ultra-lethal ninjas that people seem to be picturing is so divorced from what an assassin actually is that it's kinda weird to me.

                      I almost feel like this should be covered in the books - perhaps not with the same depth as economics or what role priests have in the setting, but it warrants mention, no?
                      Why are we talking about "what an assassin actually is?" We should be talking about what an assassin actually is in genre fiction.

                      In fiction like what Exalted is based off of, assassins kill people with one shot all the damn time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Simply treat assassination targets who are meant to die in one hit as trivial opponents.


                        [Ex3] Why Gods Need the Exigence - Plot hooks for Exigent characters of various gods.
                        [Ex3] Homebrew Solar Charms - I can see the future, and it is glorious.
                        [Ex3] The Glass Library - My Exalted Third Edition Blog (Updated 24/04/2016)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jetstream View Post
                          Why are we talking about "what an assassin actually is?"
                          For the same reason that the setting was written by people with a firm grasp of real-world history and economics. The intended setting has fantastical elements, yes, but like the roots of a tree, they work best when grounded in something real and tangible.

                          Originally posted by Jetstream View Post
                          In fiction like what Exalted is based off of, assassins kill people with one shot all the damn time.
                          Sure, but in fiction like what Exalted is based off of, no one ever takes a shit unless it's important or hilarious; I don't think it's supposed to be representative of how the world actually works.
                          Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-07-2017, 02:10 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think Isator hit the nail on the head. The important thing to remember, when looking at the rules, is that the rules are an abstraction, a mechanical framework designed to allow players to interact with the setting through their characters. The rules aren't necessarily meant to be realistic. Also, keep in mind that NPCs don't use those rules on a day to day basis. Exalted is a game, and the mechanics were designed for making Exalted a fun to play game, first and foremost, rather than to reflect the day to day actions of NPCs inhabiting the setting.

                            Shooting someone in the head and killing them in one attack is realistic. But "one-shot-one-kill" mechanics in a game can be problematic. I mean, we had a whole edition of Paranoia Combat, and many of 3rd edition's mechanics are an intentional rejection of some of those ideas.

                            Ultimately the rules were made for player characters who are playing Exalted. For NPC's interacting with the setting on a day to day basis, they function more in a narrative medium than in a mechanical one. If the ST decides an NPC assassin needs to kill his target swiftly, silently and in one hit, then that is what is going to happen. If the ST decides the assassin fails, then the assassin fails.

                            So yes, mortal assassins can kill people in one hit all the time - they just do it at the ST's discretion. However, if they're targeting the player characters then they won't be able to do so. This is because, once the assassin begins interacting with the PC's, they'll need to interact by using the mechanics and rolling dice, which largely prevent them from being able to kill PC's in one hit. But when NPCs are interacting with one another, they don't use the game mechanics to do so.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A solar with the right Charms will work like a sniper no problem, shooting a a bow from Extreme range after accumulating ludicrous Initiative from stealth. I imagine many other Exalt types would also succeed in something similar. There is your genre fiction assassin.

                              Mortal heroes are more grounded in reality (The Black Company is right there in the Suggested Resources section of the Introduction).

                              That politician will not instantly die unless the shooter has great luck on their roll...but it is unlikely that said politician is in the upper bounds of human Stamina, so they are quite likely to bleed to death (see page 174 of the EX3 Core Book) from their wound.

                              So, shoot a second arrow as they try to get the target away, tell a story of how the assassination proceeds after the target has been wounded but not killed (maybe you must invade his manor to finish the job?), treat the target as a trivial opponent if it is just a set-up scene for something else and so on.

                              Ultimately, If adding that "hold at bay"-like bonus to someone with a bow far away works better for your table, sure, do it. I just think it might imbalance things when you get Exalts back in the mix.

                              EDIT: I'm coming from the perspective of the PC being the mortal assassin, and thus the player wanting something that at least engages the rules in some more extensive form in their scene on the spotlight. Otherwise, yeah, I'm with Isator and Anubis - it happens as needed, or just as a simple difficulty whatever roll
                              Last edited by danelsan; 05-07-2017, 03:08 PM.


                              You need a picture altered to fit your Exalted character, or just looking for some visual inspiration? Check out the twice-reborn Exaltification thread. And here is my Deviantart page

                              Søren Kierkegaard + Kim Kardashian = Brilliance

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X