Now that we’ve been up and down the entire list of Origins for Fantasy Craft, I think it’s time for us to turn an eye towards the other half of the equation: Classes.
Crafty-Games pretty much took the same route they did with Classes as they did with the Races… mainly, to allow themselves to be inspired by various sources, and assemble a fresh take on these iconic concepts and give them the tools they need to make players want to make a character of that Class. Their inspirations show quite well through their work, and I’m certain more than a few people who have had a chance to look over the book will find that they can practically name the characters that were the basis for these classes. That said, Crafty-Games left a lot of personalization options open, so that even if you do pick a Class, you won’t be limited to just doing a couple of things well, but will be useful in and out of a combat situation.
Let’s start with the Assassin:
The Assassin takes the familiar stereotype and turns it on it’s head. Strongly influenced by the Assassin’s Creed video games, the Fantasy Craft Assassin is focused on getting to his target with the use of crowds and other low-key means of getting into places where you’re not supposed to be. Using a combination of misdirection, disguise, fast-talk, and good old-fashioned legwork, an Assassin is fully capable of being there where the target is least guarded, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Assassins sport a number of interesting abilities that help them excel in their dangerous line of work, including such interesting abilities such as Cold Read which allows an Assassin to learn details about a target by observation, Quick on Your Feet, which enables an Assassin to throw together a disguise as a free action, or my personal favorite: Bald-Faced Lie, which allows an Asassin to tell a complete lie to a character, who then believes it as truth for a number of minutes equal to the Assassin’s Class level.
The other half of the Assassin’s repertoire is the ability to take down choice targets, which usually translates to Special Characters in Fantasy Craft parlance. Assasins enjoy a higher base attack bonus when striking against a Special Character,courtesy of their Heartseeker core ability. They may also gain additional sneak attack dice, or at level 14, attain the fearsome Finish Him! ability, that increases the threat range with attacks and skill checks targeting Special Characters by 4. Furthermore, when one of an Assassin’s attacks or actions would kill a Special Character, they cannot Cheat Death.
I find it fascinating that the Assassin is one who doesn’t rely on skulking about to get to his target. This is the Class for the daring and the audacious, players who enjoy the thrill of walking through a crowd, surrounded by the enemy to make that single perfect kill, then laughing all the way as they make their escape, only to disappear yet again as another faceless nobody as the guards mill about in confusion.
Just from a study of the abilities, here are a few tips that might be of use:
- Social Skills are Your Friends – Blend, Bluff, Disguise, Intimidate and Sense Motive are vital if you want to succeed as an Assassin. The name of the game here isn’t just sneaking up to someone, it’s finding a way to be there at the perfect opportunity to make a powerful impression both literally and figuratively.
- Case your Targets – Most of the time, Assassins are given their assignments ahead of time. Casing your targets with Notice, Sense Motive, the Cold Read ability, and a lot of Blend Checks should be second nature. Once you’ve got your target’s routine down to rote memory, you can plan around it, and strike when he’s at his least guarded. It’s a cliche that an assassin knows his target better than he knows himself, but it works. Also, consider marking Investigate as an Origin Skill, as Canvassing Checks can go a long way in getting you information about a target.
- Your Escape Route is the Front Door – I’m not kidding. When your target falls, the standard operating procedure is to run into a crowd and lose yourself. Again, Blend Checks will be a life saver here, and the Quick on Your Feet ability (backed up by the Convincing Mask Ability, if you really want to make sure) will make it nearly impossible for your opposition to locate you the moment they lose sight of you. Remember, the moment the guards start tearing through every nook and cranny of the place trying to find where you’re “hiding” you should already be outside with the gawking onlookers, listening to the gossip, and adding another notch on your belt.
- Never Let Them Know What Hit Them – Careful use of Tactics Checks can insure that you can set up an Ambush that grants you and your allies a Surprise Round in which to act, with a chance to grant everyone the ability to deal Sneak Attack Damage on a Critical Success. Make your Surprise Round count. The Heartseeker core ability helps a lot in terms of amplifying accuracy. Hit hard, hit fast, and as much as possible, try to drop the target right away, so that you can spend your first round making your escape.
Overall the Assassin is an excellent Class, and one that takes the Talker / Combatant mix a unique spin that will be an absolute blast to play. My only worry is that the Assassin might suffer the Hacker syndrome, wherein a single player will be busy with his schtick while everyone else is sitting on their thumbs. That said, careful planning on the part of the GM can avoid this, though that’s a topic for a different article.