This special trade skill is available only to characters of the Assassin Trade, for whom it is a defining skill. The Assassin’s expertise centers upon the bypassing of defenses and striking at the body’s most vulnerable areas, the various organs, arteries and nerve clusters.
The Assassin Strike may be used to attack any member of any of the major, warm-blooded humanoid or demi-human races in the worlds of RoM, due to the fact that it is assumed that there are no major differences in their bodies’ physical make-up, for the purposes of the game. The Strike may be used in combat or any other setting, according to the weapon employed, such as with a bow and arrow in the manner of a sniper.
When training in the Assassin’s deadly art, the weapons with which the master Assassins teach their craft is limited to a special few that are designed to best get past the defenses of armor and reach vital organs inside the body. The following are the only weapons with which the special trade Assassin Strikes may be made.
Sword (any Thrusting)
The player is free to equip his Assassin character with any Weapon skills other than those on the list for his character, the character simply may not perform his special Assassin Strikes with any weapons other than those on this roster. As the player can see from the selection of weapons on the roster, Assassin Strikes are always Thrusting or piercing attacks, and interact with armor on that basis. The only exception to the weapons restriction in regards to the Assassin Strike is the Brawler skill, with which the Assassin may improvise an appropriate thrusting/piercing weapon from materials at hand when no acceptable formal one is available (GM’s discretion).
Due to his intense training in the advantages and disadvantages of various weapon types against the different types of armor, the vulnerabilities of the different types of armor, the Assassin’s skill with this special Strike enables him to reduce the effective protection afforded by any armor worn by a target by (SL) points. As long as the Assassin knows what type it is and can see basically how it lays (GM’s discretion), the amount by which the Assassin is able to reduce the protection value of underlying layers of armor is halved for each layer beyond the (most visible) outside layer. The Assassin must always use a weapon from the selection of those available for this skill that could conceivably get through the weak points of the victim’s armor, however (narrow enough, according to the restrictions on piercing weapons for the armor type).
Because all Assassin Strikes are Thrusting attacks, whether the armor DR is affected cannot be not specified.
For example, if the Assassin has SL17 he is capable of lowering armor protection values by up to 17 points, but he can only lessen the protection provided by second and third underlying layers of 9 (8.5) and 4, respectively. Any protection offered by any armors beyond these amounts is subtracted from the POT of the Strike.
IF the target’s armor reduces the POT of the Strike to zero (0), the Strike fails.
Before an Assassin may attempt to use the Strike, he must first “Assess” the physical resources of the foe in general, in a similar manner to the Assessment discussed in the trade description and using the same AV and DV, but for the purposes of judging how the organs are most likely to sit and where the actual locations of the most vulnerable points are most likely to be, according to visible landmarks of the body, posture and Build. The less clothing the target is wearing for this assessment, the easier it is.
Once the Assessment is performed for an individual, it need never be done again. It is a good idea for the player to keep a list of those for whom he has successfully done so (for those who remain living, anyway) in case he ends up attempting a Strike on them later.
Every layer of clothing adds up, providing a Progressive DV according to the number of layers donned.
IF the target is wearing armor, the sum of the DR’s of the layers is added, instead, and if armor has been donned between the first assessment and the current situation, or the armor has changed from one encounter to the next, another Assessment must be made of that armor so the Assassin knows what he is dealing with, first.
The Assassin must be aware of the armor he is Striking through, and have made a successful Assessment check for it before it is attempted. If a character ever launches an Assassin Strike on a target who is wearing armor unbeknownst to him, the Strike will automatically be foiled. There is no way he can adjust his attack quickly enough to compensate for armor he didn’t know was there and obviously could not see.
In order to attempt an Assassin Strike, the player must make a successful d100 roll “to hit” the target regardless of whether he is in an actual combat situation or not – settings that are especially quiet and secluded (free of witnesses) or those that are busy and confused are often best. If used in battle, the Strike roll is resolved in the same manner as any other weapon blow, with a Contested Roll.
Since the Assassin Strike is made with such great precision, the Assassin cannot add any damage to the Strike by means of a Hearty Blow as he might with a normal weapon blow. A successful Assassin Strike inflicts only (1 per 4 trade SL’s) actual BP’s of damage, to a maximum of (STR ÷ 4), to one of the Portals of Life.
Unless the wound is channeled away through the use of Sorcery or Naming magick before or within an allowable margin of the time of death according to the descriptions of the applicable magicks, the victims dies from any successful Assassin Strike, if not immediately, then soon after. Magick is the only recourse for most victims, as only a HIGHLY skillful Surgeon can treat such a wound, and such skillful Surgeons are by no means common.
First and foremost, the assassin’s victim must make a successful P-RES check vs. the shock inflicted on the vital areas of the body’s systems by the Strike.
Failure indicates total shock and immediate death. Only the most puissant (Sovereign) magicks can bring the victim back from this.
In the medieval mind and spirit, the Flesh does not stand alone.
Success relegates the victim to suffer great losses from bleeding and vital bodily fluids with losses of energy from the failure of the damaged vital tissues and organs, so that the victim loses (Strike AV) points of divided evenly between STR and CND at the end of the CS in which has been struck. The victim suffers the same amount again every (CND) CS’s afterwards. The current CND, including the reduction from the Strike, is used for this purpose. Death occurs when the CND is reduced to zero (0).
IF a Strike victim should get up and try to move about, the rate at which the STR and CND losses are deducted is doubled. This continues until death.
When determining the DV for any Surgeon (specifically) to attempt to repair the damage, the AV for the Strike is added to the BP’s inflicted with the wound, and the process embodied in a Contested Roll of the same character as an Attunement roll.
The same successful Contested Roll is required if an attempt is made to treat the wound by magickal means. If successful, the skills of the Herbal and common support therapy can be used to aid recovery and healing normally.
Despite the low number of damage points, the injuries inflicted by an Assassin’s trade Strike are considered to be most dire due to the fact that they result in death when they are performed correctly if they are not tended to immediately.
The point of the assassination strike is not to kill by virtue of the amount physical damage inflicted, but due to the vital locations which the Assassin Strikes. The targets the Assassin seeks when striking at a body are specifically identified with those sites that have spiritual significance, too. Because death would most likely result, the soul is said also to be accessible through these sites, which are also called the “Twelve Doors of the Soul” or the “Twelve Portals of Life”, as follows.
1) the top of the head (the ‘crown’, where the ‘sutures’ of the plates of the skull meet at the top-rear, the softest spot on the skull)
2) the hollow of the occiput (at the base of the skull, on the back side, and immediately inferior to)
3) the hollows of the temples (temporal fossæ)
4) the apple of the throat (“Adam’s Apple”, thyroid cartilage)
5) suprasternal notch (at the base of the throat, between the sterno-clavicular or collar bone joints at the top of the sternum), but also including the adjoining carotid/juglar triangles marked by the location of the sterno-cleido-mastoid, (the rope-like muscles running from the sternal notch up behind the corner of the mandible or lower jaw)
6) the armpit (axilla)
7) the breast-bone (‘spoon of the breast’) (sternum-xiphoid process)
8) the navel (umbilicus)
9) the inside of the bend of the elbow (antecubital fossa)
10) the hollow in the backside of the thigh just above and behind the knee (popliteal fossa)
11) the bulge of the groin (femoral triangle, pelvic origins of the thighs, inguinal tendon areas),
12) the sole of the foot
These locations are all very vulnerable to debilitating injury and susceptible to mortal wounds. These include several of what are referred to as “endangerment sites” in modern medical parlance, and most of these correspond to the seven chakras of Hindu tradition (as follows).
7) Crown chakra (Portal 1)
6) 3rd Eye chakra (Portal 3, exactly between the temples on the forehead)
5) Throat chakra (Portal 4, Adam’s apple & Portal 5, suprasternal notch)
4) Heart chakra (Portal 7)
3) Solar plexus (just beneath Portal 7, the xiphoid process)
2) Sacral chakra (at the same latitude of the body as Portal 11)
1) Root chakra (at the same latitude of the body as Portal 11)
The chakras are wheels or vortices of energy through which energy of the soul or spirit is received and transmitted.
The shock and trauma inflicted on the victim in piercing the body at one of the Doors or Portals is not merely physical, to the Flesh, but also to the soul and Spirit. Due to the nature of the wound inflicted, the victim not collapsing immediately in death suffers a penalty to all AV’s for any actions he attempts until death takes him equal to the Strike AV with which he was struck. Even if he maintains consciousness, the victim is in a state equivalent to being Stunned until death overtakes him.
Once it is determined that his spirit is resilient and he remains conscious he may remain so until death without further P-RES checks.
The att. mod. for making an Assassin Strike is based solely on the character’s CRD score and uses the Strike SL instead of the character’s normal SL to wield that weapon in battle, OR the assassin’s weapon SL with the weapon being used, whichever is less.
- IF the character’s SL with the weapon is greater than his SL with the Assassin Strike, a bonus based on the difference in SL’s between them is added to the Strike AV. If the Strike SL is greater
Weapon size ratings and character STA and STR scores do not affect the character’s AV for an Assassination Strike in any way.
- IF the character is equipped with the Husbandman trade he may also attempt to assassinate the beasts that lie within his scope of practice (specialty). In these cases, the effective Strike SL is limited to no greater than the Husbandman trade SL in determining the AV. If the character is also a Beastmaster of the same type of beasts, a bonus is allowed based on the Beastmaster trade SL.
The character’s DV for making an Assassination Strike is equal to the victim’s (Defense DV, if applicable) + (a Progressive modifier per point by which the target’s [modified] STA is greater or less than 20). The Defense DV used here depends upon whether the target is aware that the assassin is trying to kill him or is engaged in combat with him. If the target is taken by “Surprise” the DV is reduced to only the bonus granted due to the average protection of any armor worn (as applicable), plus one (1).
- IF the assassination roll fails, the character has missed and, if the victim was unaware, the GM must check to see if the victim has been alerted to his peril. It is highly unlikely that, if already engaged in battle with the Assassin, the target will realize the magnitude of his peril should the Assassin Strike land true.
- IF the assessment of the target’s physical resources has been failed or just not done, the DV for that check should also be added to the DV for the Strike.
- IF the assessment of the target’s armor (as applicable) has been failed or just not done, the DV for that check should also be added to the DV for the Strike, as well.
The penalty due to the presence of distracting persons or beasts around or in the company of the target will apply whether the Assassin is Hurling or firing Assassin Strikes into a melee situation at range or engaging the target in battle in person.
Surprising the target affects the DV normally where those conditions have been obtained.
Reducing the amount of damage inflicted with this sort of Strike by “Channeling” part of it away will affect the results on the victim in the same manner as armor hindering the Strike – the number of points channeled away is used to divide the effects down. For a victim to actually be saved from the effects of a Strike and his swiftly approaching death, the magicker must channel the entire wound away.
The one to whom the wound is channeled is left with the same problem that the original victim had, as if the attack had originally befallen him instead, so finding a suitable recipient may pose just as great a problem. True healing is rare, and is hindered by the AV of the Assassin as any other healer, but is the best answer.
Due to the fact that wound inflicted is Mortal, “Swift Heal” can have no effect, the wound is too severe for the faculties of the body to heal on its own, regardless of the speed at which it does so.