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[V20] How do assamites contract work ?

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  • [V20] How do assamites contract work ?

    Hello everyone !

    I've read lore of the clans and I'm a bit confused on how an assassination contract with an assamite works.

    It says that the client bleeds into a magic vessel, that transfers the blood automatically to a sorcerer of the clan. Alright, does this mean that every assamite is given such a vessel to use during their unlife ? Is it a per-contract thing ? Who gives them ?

    After that, 10% goes to the clan, 10% to the sire, and the rest is kept in a special urn for the assassin, kept by the sorcerer in alamut. So, I guess that the assassin dosn't have to worry avout anything : he just takes the payment, and then everyone in alamut takes care of it, redistributing it.

    However, it explicitly says that ALL payment must go through this 10% task for sire and clan, so how does that work if you're far away from alamut ? Like if I'm in philadelphia, and I've been given $1 million + some magical artifacts : how do I send them to alamut ? I'm pretty sure the postal service doesn't cover it.

    All contracts must go through the Silsila, who are explicitly permanently in Alamut, to be approved : how does that work ? Does the client do a zoom call with Alamut (again, I doubt there is wi-fi there). Do you have to send the details through a letter, that is then reviewed, approved and sent back ? That would take a long time ! Also, how do they approve or not a contract ? What makes a contract worthy or not ?

    Finally, the ritual to lower the generation : when you have enough points in your special urn jept in Alamut, what happens ? Does a sorcerer there gives you a call, saying "congratulations ! You've won a free lowering of generation !" ? Do you have to travel to alamut for the ritual ? Are you transferred to the nearest sorcerer ? How does the blood from your urn travel ?

    So many logistical questions ! Thank you very much

  • #2
    Originally posted by Yorkblack View Post
    Hello everyone !

    Finally, the ritual to lower the generation : when you have enough points in your special urn jept in Alamut, what happens ? Does a sorcerer there gives you a call, saying "congratulations ! You've won a free lowering of generation !" ? )
    ROTFLAMAO!! It is funny to picture the Assamite essentially getting his generation punch-card filled. Humor aside, this sort of stuff is probably why the Assamites were damaged so much as a clan. You don't need to explain what they were doing if you destroy it all. Then it just becomes a minor mystery that once mattered and now doesn't.


    • #3
      I mean, the idea of doing contract for blood and paying a tithe to the clan and sire, and at some point, you can lower your generation, is a pretty cool concept ! There are just issues with the logistical aspect of this, like... how does all of that work ?
      And really I'm really asking those questions, it's not to make fun of them, but just to try to understand


      • #4
        -The Mountain probably does have it's own wifi.

        IMO, It's unatural, and too much of a hassle, for vampires to be so centralized. Certainly not all sorcerers are going to reside in the mountain, especially with the schism. Assamites are known to have communal bases scattered around the place. It's unlikely that every base is home to a sorcerer, but they all probably have viziers or at least a warrior/ghoul/servant acting as such in order to facilitate contact with other assamite cells and to manage finances for the less erudite warriors (as well as finding contracts and gathering information; Viziers are great to get to know) . The networks that these Viziers make enable the warriors to focus on what they do best.

        Basically, Viziers are responsible for networks, Warriors and Sorcerers are largely dependent on these networks. Sorcerers are, infact, dependent on the other castes for security and resources; spending time on the comprehending the mysteries of the universe leaves little time for building up the infrastructure that protects those very desirable secrets of the universe. The Assamite sorcerers aren't the Tremere where you've got seven wizards and fourty-nine brainwashed acolytes living in a fortress together, the warriors would never allow them to have such power and independence. If a warrior wants you, a sorcerer to perform a ritual for them, you do it for the funding. The best you can do is delay. If your performance is unsatisfactory, the warriors will at best look elsewhere to your rivals and you can watch your benefits drop. At worst they'll kill you on trumped up charges of treason.

        All contracts must go through the Silsila, who are explicitly permanently in Alamut, to be approved
        This is managable in the present with communication being what it is, but prior to the Telegram, this is just logistical foolishness. I'd ignore this, or at least, reserve this for contracts against powerful kindred.

        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
        There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.


        • #5
          So what you're saying is that it probably should be handled at a local level, with the viziers and sorcerers in the area, who will then handle the clan business, rather than have the warrior worry about contacting alamut for every contract ? Seems like a good idea.


          • #6
            Indeed, though I don't imagine Assamites generally have the numbers to stock each city with a cell with all three castes, both pre and post schism. If we take say, Texas, and assume settlements need a real world population of at least 200,000 to have vampire populations (we'd increase the pop because WoD and to improve what we can do with the 1:100,000 "ideal", but the RW is a nice reference) There are 13 cities that'd have vampires (using this census) with five cities having between 0.85 and 2.4 million people. From some crude, inaccurate maths, we can say there's 97 vampires in texas before we add factors like WoD population increases and the part where that 1:100,000 ideal ratio is rarely achieved. Assamites are both conservative embracers and outsiders, so don't likely make up a 10th of that population, and of the Assamites, the castes are rediculously lopsided. I can't remember what the ratio was, but if we had ten assamites, probably six or seven would be warriors, maybe one would be a sorcerer, and the rest are viziers.

            So, like, even after we get generous and boost mortal and kindred populations, we probably only have one or two sorcerers* for all of Texas and the surrounding areas (or the sorcerers are in the surrounding areas, providing services for the assamites in texas)
            Hell, there aren't even enough viziers for the five most populous cities, where the majority of Assamite contracts are probably going to go down.

            *if you do have two sorcerers, it's probably a master-apprentice relation.

            So, like, let's say at the end of everything you have 10 assamites for texas's vampire population of 210 ( 140 from mortal population increases and the rest from ratio changes) and thus have 6 warriors, 3 viziers and a sorcerer. I can't be bothered to research Texas's geography, so let's say you put a sorcerer, a vizier, and three warriors in one city. You put the two remaining viziers in the two most important cities that you didn't put the main hub in, and the other three warriors do whatever (Ideally get sherrif jobs in wherever if they're not doing some kind of contract) They may be with or without the two 'free' viziers. One vizier (likely the core vizier with who stays with the sorcerer and assamite) probably networks to other cities on occasion to find vampire middlemen to arrange contacts with (Sending ghouls to the other cities might do, but Assamites seem to have significant reservations concerning ghouls)

            So, yeah, really you should consider Assamite organization to be country sized rather than city sized. Assamites, vampires may go to Amalut for specific reasons (training? Conclaves?) but it's probably rare.
            Put way too much effort into numbers here :[

            Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
            There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.


            • #7
              If you really want a head scratcher, try figuring out the assassination price rates.

              How many blood points do you charge for a hit? Sure the clan and the sire claim 20%, so rather than trying to split blood points, do you just always charge 10 BP per target to keep the book keeping simple, on top of any monetary and or item based payment? Would it work better to charge 5 on commission and then 5 after the contract is complete?

              If you require a specific set of skills to pull off the hit, like having a high auspex rating to hunt a Nosferatu, the technical skills required to make the hit look like an accident, or maybe having access to an AC-130 to make mopping up a werewolf cairn quick and easy, does that mean their is a multiplier on the cost? Alternatively what happens if the job isn't as advertised, does the assassin refuse the contract and return the blood and payment or try to renegotiate the price?

              Also let's not forget that the assassin has to always charge enough in money to cover operating costs and still have a profit. International travel isn't that cheap, especially when you need up to date fake papers and have to smuggle weapons. Sure you could just try to buy equipment once you get to the country of the target but that means you have to deal with price variance as well as basic availability issues.


              • #8
                Few vampires are really going to try an assassination against someone far away enough to be called expensive. Excluding Asia (and most vampires would) borders arent an issue for anyone on the same continent. As for the rest, you're going to negotiate. Vampires dont need to keep book keeping simple,to butcher lenin: there are centuries where nothing happens, and there are days where centuries happen. either ypu've got all the time in the world or you're far too busy. Hell, vampires by their very nature should avoid book keeping, nevermind assassins.

                what kind of vampire doesn't haggle? Gangrel excluded of course. If I could , I'd ask for a bath worth of blood over the course of a month. Few vampires of class are lacking money, and money pales in comparison to the prospect of strenghening the blood.

                Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.


                • #9
                  This is an interesting question, and I must admit my ignorance on the topic; I'll need to read up on the relevant material in LotC when I have time. But I had a thought that might work to address the logistical difficulties, assuming there aren't written materials directly contradicting the idea, lol. What I'm considering is that it's probably not the case that every contract taken by the Banu Haqim is paid for with Vitae.

                  It seems likely that the Assamites do a lot of work that is paid for in more mundane fashion, for things they need like funds to support their operations. That kind of work obviously wouldn't involve the challenges of arranging for magical transportation of Vitae, and probably would not require the extra bureaucracy of a rubber-stamp from Alamut itself. And you could imagine that kind of work being given primarily to neonates that are still developing their skills, proving themselves.

                  Conversely, the traditional Banu Haqim 'Blood Contract' could then be imagined as a much rarer event, a much Bigger Deal. And a lot of the difficulties around the logistics come across as more understandable. If you only get a real Blood Contract every few years, or even every decade or so, then having a Sorcerer specifically responding to that rare event isn't as much of a stretch. It might take a while to send a message all the way to Alamut and wait for the Silsila to make a ruling, but if the very act itself is not something undertaken lightly, then the time involved is just something to account for, especially for Elder Kindred that operate on much longer timeframes.

                  And what does one get for jumping through all of these hoops and paying out a bathtub of Vitae? The guarantee that the agent sent by the Banu Haqim is going to be a Certified Badass. Not a fresh corpse turned a few years ago, but a centuries-old assassin that has mastered every Assamite Discipline, likely has an extensive network of contacts and resources set up inside the region where the target resides, and has more kills to their name than a fascist death-squad.

                  If you don't care about that level of professionalism, just pay for a squad of neonate Assamites with a briefcase full of cash, it's simpler.

                  It especially fits with the extent that lowering Generation is a rather spiritual thing for the Banu Haqim IIRC; it seems like something that would be reserved for those who had proven their skill and dedication to the clan over many years, had learned the esoteric secrets and traditions associated with it. Every new Assamite getting a "Generation punch card," as CajunKhan humourously put it, does seem to cheapen the whole thing, whereas imagining it as this ancient and sacred tradition that is rarely invoked helps maintain that mystique.

                  P.S. According to LotC, not every contract is paid in blood, but every hit on a Cainite is, so I am more wrong than right. But it does also seem to present the Silsila as being quite proactive in making themselves available to clients, with networks of agents that have likely been set up with relatively rapid methods of communication.
                  Last edited by Kharnov; 04-03-2021, 11:06 PM.


                  • #10
                    Another thing to keep in mind is that technology and security practices are always changing.

                    In real life the ability to hit a target with your first shot is called a "cold shot", and it takes the shooter going to the range practicing several times a week to maintain that shooting skill level. An assamite would need to take mortal/mundane jobs for money to pay for maintenance materials and if for no other reason than to keep in practice. Of course this means training with all sorts of new guns and weapons. Being able to pull a Quigley Down Under with a Shiloh Sharps rifle is going to be a bit different from using say a Barret M95. Don't even get me started on the specialty ammunition.

                    On a technology level consider how much security has changed now that weaponized drones are a thing, everything from remote firing stations with attached guns, to C4 upgraded toys with remote detonators. You could make an argument that the assamites could be priced out of the market by mortals due to technological advances. A Tremere Hacker with Path of Technomancy could abscond with a military drone with hellfire missiles just as easily as an Assamite could use obfuscate to get close to a target to use a vitae poisoned dagger.

                    Technically making a kill look like an accident still requires the assassin to constantly update their knowledge. Every time car manufacturers change designs, the assassin will need to learn where the break lines are and exactly how to sabotage them to get the end result, further more how to do it so it isn't blatantly obviously that someone tampered with the vehicle.

                    All of that training, which in game terms means the character is constantly XP grinding to increase ability dots creates both high operating costs for the assassin and a high price tag for the clients.


                    • #11
                      I personally believe vampires, who don't pick up skills as fast as humans, also don't lose skills as fast (if at all) as humans. Just like how, if a human doesn't use their muscles, they'll atrophy, but such would never become a problem for a vampire who doesn't experience strength growth in the form of tearing and regenerating muscle.

                      An assamite would need to take mortal/mundane jobs for money
                      Ahahaha. This is what happens if you play Anarch too much.
                      1-They're vampires. Vampires don't do 'mundane jobs for money'
                      2-The Viziers exist for the financial good of the other two castes.

                      -Who da fuck is assassinating their enemies with hellfire missiles? You start quiet. you only bring out the money when you need too. Loud and bombastic is stupid.

                      1 Melee- Cheap, assamites are naturally very good at it. Quiet. Available in every nation. Assamites with celerity and obfuscate are naturally very talented at brawl and throwing bricks.

                      2 Mundane poisons. Given how poison focused Quietus is, it should be obvious that Assamites are going to spend a lot of time using mundane poisons. While high end russian designer poisons might be pricey, and running a snake farm might cost you a large number of mice each year, most poison is cheap. Plenty of poisons, like Arsenic and Cyanide, are cheap industrial products/wastes that are easily obtained. Other poisons are commercially available as pest killers or household cleaners. I'll include diseases in this category, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

                      3- Guns.
                      Loud and difficult to get a hold of in many places. Still, unless you're hoping for a machinegun, they're inexpensive (relative to vampire money). In the US, You aren't likely to spend more than $7000, and that's if you want a big gun to kill a gangrel elder. More likely you'll spend less than 500, and you can re-use your gun. It's very likely viziers will arrange spaces for spare firearms.
                      Outside of lupines, You don't need expensive special ammo, and even then silver's relatively cheap.

                      4- Bombs. Make at home. You only don't want to use bombs because terrorism scares are bad for business. If you wanna deliver a bomb through a civilian drone that's not much more expensive. Animalism is a fantastic method for bomb delivery, as is Dominate and... Obfuscate.

                      Things you don't want to use: Military shit
                      Unless you're living in a wartorn land, this is fucking stupid. If you are living in a war-torn land, you'd be better off feeding a nation clues about a possible enemy possition rather than trying to take control of the devices yourself. If a tank is just lying around... and why would it, you'd be better off letting retainers use it. you wouldn't be able to take advantage of your vampire abilities in a tank. Why would you hire an assamite here when you could do it cheaper with anything else. .

                      Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                      There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                        I personally believe
                        And that sums up a lot of the problems in your post, believing rather than knowing.

                        The acquisition of skills is a game balance function, not a simulation of some inherent vampiric learning curve. Double or triple the XP gain per session and the vampires learn just as fast as humans do, but the stats get out of hand rather quickly. White Wolf has a real bad track record when it comes to balancing character development on a mechanical level.

                        A hacked drone with a missile is something mortal agencies don't look for, especially if you pick the right kind of bomb and are careful about where you hit the target in relation to surrounding gas lines or fuel tanks. This approach also has the benefit of not requiring any disciplines to pull off and can be done from the other side of the world. The Path of Technomancy is just an extra, but really all you need is computer 5, at least as far as the game requirements are concerned.

                        Melee isn't cheap, the closer you get to a mark, the more skill it requires. Obfuscate takes care of a lot of this but it doesn't remove the need to be able to know where the target is going to be so you can essentially ambush them. Given the requirements of killing a vampire, it is very difficult to make a melee kill look like an accident or robbery gone wrong. A mugger generally will not decapitate their victim or set them on fire before taking a wallet. So melee while simplistic is far from the ideal when it comes to the needs of an assassin, it just works for Dark Ages games and modern day fan boys who don't know any better.

                        Poisons are one of those things that are both simple and complex at the same time. Most poisons are detectable by modern medical examiners. So while there are a wide range of poisons, the range of poisons that are able to fly under the radar of a competent ME is a far shorter list. Then you have to consider the time table involved in the use of any given poison. In some cases the poison can take days to cause lethal results, while others can do things quicker. This in turn leads to the discussion of dosage and how some poisons require huge amounts relatively speaking while others only require microscopic levels to be lethal and of course people have been known to randomly take a far larger dose than medically expected and still survive. Then once we are through all of that we have to discuss delivery method. Putting snake venom into some ones soup won't do much except make them ill if at all, venoms require a direct way into the blood stream and tissues. Of course temperature also can be a factor, such as a real hot bowl of soup or cup of coffee can denature a poison thus making it far less potent.

                        Guns are loud, unless you are using specifically designed equipment. Suppressors help a great deal, having weapon actions designed for minimal sound also helps, as does using sub-sonic ammunition or you could just use Quietus and go full auto to your hearts content. The problem with guns is that are a bit sub-optimal when being used on Kindred. Vampires only take bashing damage from most ammunition types and a headshot isn't an auto kill. So if you are using the single shot assassination concept, then you need something that either does enough damage due to shear mass and power or the bullet is large enough to be customized for the target. In either case you are talking something like 50 caliber sniper rifle or an nitro express elephant gun.

                        A basic bare bones barret 50 runs around $10,000 these days, any shooting enthusiast can tell you that customizing a rifle can turn into a huge money pit but lets say that all the extras and adjustments extremely conservatively come out to an additional $5,000. Except that while you have this super sweet rifle, you now need the ammo to go with it. Sniper or Sharpshooter ammo is not something that you get off the shelf. When it comes to long range accuracy or dealing with supernatural targets, custom ammo is the name of the game. The exact powder load, the shape of the bullet, the type of powder used, is it a tracer round or armor piercing affects accuracy and range. So you have to purchase all the custom ammo loading equipment and supplies and do it all by hand. This sort of excess cost means you add another $1,000 to the price tag and costs your between $3 - $6 a bullet fired, regardless if you are practicing or shooting at an assassination target. Side note, unless you are using silver as a flechette or bullet core with a softer metal jacket, silver is a horrible bullet material. Silver is harder than the materials used in bullets, thus the grooves in the barrel don't bite into the silver. This means the bullet more or less ricochets down the barrel rather than being given a proper spin, as a result accuracy is more or less destroyed with no chance of being used at medium ranges, let alone at long ranges.

                        All of this gun complication means you have a very expensive custom weapon that needs to be smuggled into where ever you are going, can't be purchased from any retailer so you can't just fly in and buy it, and the ammunition has to be custom made so it to has to be smuggled which means you have limited shots with said weapon. Of course there is also the reality that during any assassination something might go wrong which means you abandon/destroy equipment so that you can't be traced or caught. Which means your $15,000 to $20,000 sniper rig and all the goodies that go with it are essentially disposable, and that price point has to be figured into your contract price.

                        Explosives like poisons are a complicated business when it comes to using the right tool for the job. "Low explosives" can be fabricated at home but have the trade off of being larger in size to get the same result as a "high explosive" in a much more concealable amount. Hence why a diesel fuel and fertilizer bomb has to be carted around in a 55 gallon drum while the same amount of blast potential is small brick of C4 that fits in your hand. There is also the problem that most explosive manufacturers add taggants to their explosives and their chemical signatures are on file means that purchasing from companies leaves a paper trail. You could put together your own lab to produce what you need, but once again that requires you to smuggle your product into where ever you are going. Additionally for an Assamite, Animalism and Dominate are non-clan disciplines so getting an Assamite bomber is a specialty like having auspex to hunt nosferatu. Thus using drones tends to be a cheaper option, but that is only functional with high explosives due to the weight restrictions of modern drone technology.

                        Lastly the term "military grade" is a subjective term. During the revolutionary war here in the US, military grade meant smooth bore muskets, while civilian sharp shooters had flintlocks with rifled barrels, hence the term rifle. Todays Military Grade is tomorrows civilian toy, as was the case with the Jeep, GPS, Kevlar body armor, Hummers, night vision technology, etc.


                        • #13
                          You're overthinking it. Like a lot. It's like you've watched a load of thrillers and heist movies and have come up with the assassin equivalent, when really smash and grab/ asking the bank teller for money ominously like you've got a weapon you don't want to reveal is all you need to successfully rob a place. Simplicity is what you want, though it doesn't work so well for TV. And as someone who researched poisons, I can comfortably say you're talking out... that it's really a lot simpler than you imagine to get a hold of suitable materials. Your gun knowledge, similarly, is lacking. You don't need Nitro express to take out a fucking vampire. .375 is a readily available hunting calibre that takes on brown bears and lions, and unless you're hunting Gangrel Methuselah you aren't going to need more than that. Silenced weapons, similarly, don't work so well in reality, but Assamites have a silencing aura so unless they're doing some ranged shooting it doesn't really matter. In actuality, going really loud with guns can be a good thing, because you'll deafen people and cause them to panic, and nobody's thinking straight enough when you start blasting to really give a coherent acount of what you looked like after the fact. You should try and not get wrapped up in the exotic, and think about the practicalities of this kind of stuff. The exact amount of powder in a round might matter on a ballistics chart, but it's not going to make a difference in the field.

                          Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                          There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.


                          • #14
                            On the question of communication, something else to consider is the existence of Assamite Sorcerers have access to blood magic that could be used for them to coordinate and communicate across the world; which means that the field Assamite does have the benefit of simply needing to contact their nearest sorcerer so they can begin the telephone game hopping sorcerers until they reach Alamut and the field agent can receive instructions coming back through the chain of command.

                            Again on the matter of the magical vessel I would say that any sorcerers sent out into the field to work as a contact for the field Assamites would be taught to construct/maintain such objects for the use of the clan’s blood alchemy.

                            For other resources I imagine that nearby viziers would coordinate as well as they move them through the various phantom accounts and back channels vampires use to maintain their resources and worse case scenario the field Assamite can simply keep their tithe set aside until they get orders from their sire about how to use it.

                            I think another big question about all this though is that, if you use the Ur-Shulgi metaplot advancement, how the Assamite Schismatics and the Ashirra Assamites maintain their customs and rituals and chain of command. Do they create divergent structures, do they adopt the methodology of the Assamite Renegades who were already outside the clan’s orthodoxy? I think there’s rich opportunity for development there.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                              The exact amount of powder in a round might matter on a ballistics chart, but it's not going to make a difference in the field.
                              Considering that the amount and type of powder is exactly what allows a bullet to travel far enough to have to account for the Coriolis effect or to allow for armor penetration. Heck having the wrong powder type in the field is the difference between ambient humidity having no effect on your gun and it causing the powder to not ignite when the trigger is pulled, this was problem for the US forces in Viet Nam with stick powder vs. ball powder. So yeah, the type of powder, the amount of powder, the type of bullet, even the primer makes a huge difference in the field.

                              I would say you need to stop pretending to know stuff, its getting a bit embarrassing to be honest.

                              Also on the subject of gun sound, a sub-sonic round is achieved by lowering the amount of powder in the shell, but that like wise reduces both its range and penetrating power. So once the round leaves the assamites zone of silence it starts making a fair amount of noise if it was a hyper-sonic round. If you are close enough that your weapons fire is scaring the locals, then first you are not sniping and second you only have a few of minutes before the police arrive since most vampires are city dwellers.

                              If you don't believe me, please google the information for yourself about the gun powder and have your much touted wife explain the science to you, because if you were one of my students, forget failing the test, you would need to repeat the whole dang class.