[pnpgm] Assassin/Executioner skills
longshotgm at netzero.com
Sat Jul 30 06:14:47 CEST 2011
Powers and Perils is a deadly system and experience can be fast
and furious. There has always been two skills that I find to be
a bit hard to award just blanket experience. The following outline
both of those skills.
We know this is the largest skill to buy and is worth it since
we know it can give great benefits. The core items of this skill
A) Ambush: Skill use is in the ability to ambush another person.
Not everyone deals in perfect ambushes. Most tend to think
ambush is simply come behind a person and stabbing them in the
back. But to me the aspect of ambush is in the skill of the mind.
Anyone can come around a corner and grab a guy to kill him. But
the more elaborate assassin's use the skills they learned to
their advantage. Place a carpet over a hole in a house picked
with spikes and have the target over it and fall in to his doom
is more exciting and use of the skill. It also builds reputation.
Anyone can jump off a boulder to thrash a man. That doesn't take
so much skill there. Any hired goon can do that. But the artist
could rig up a tree trap to trigger blades to pierce targets then
another tree to propel a net to capture the victim. That would
be a more elaborate ambush and worth the experience.
The problem is what qualifies as a ambush from a simple attack? To
me I take it all on a case by case basis. An ambush can be an
attack without melee. Fire a bow to a target and kill him without
touching him. Is that use of Bow or Assassin skill? Under the
rules it could be both. But at what point do you decide the
skill used or the assassin skill? If one simply awarded expertise
for every attack then the assassin would be maxed up in short order.
When one thinks of Assassins one thinks of dark shadows and doing
it from behind. But that isn't the case all the time. It is
possible to ambush a person standing a foot away who has seen
you for minutes. It is all in the method used. I do think this
skill adds too much benefits at times. This is why some balance
has to be used in the reason of experience.
So to me the best ambush is those well thought out and with
good role playing. This doesn't have to happen all the time.
Simply walking up to a guy to backstab him is fine. Just keep
in mind the more elaborate the more experience one might get.
B) Expertise: Does expertise get earned from the ambush itself
or from all attacks? To me this is a bit unclear. While a
assassin is skilled in the deadly arts this seems to be a easy
task so should he earn more "normal" experience? A butcher
who works on meat for 20 years finds some strange new animal
to butcher should he earn higher experience or just assume
its so "standard" that experience is low. Sometimes experience
can only go so far. So should a deadly killer get more experience
than a simple infantry guy because he is in a guild? Maybe
not for everything. But the assassin would have possibly more
from methods like poison but then again one could argue it
should be poison skill not assassin.
A person in my world can still react to a ambush. A person
who is about to be jumped from a tall tree could react in
a second or two. Their senses might detect the ambush EVEN
though the ambush by the rules is good. So in that split second
a assassin backstabs a person the target can still sense it.
Though he is very likely not about to react time.
With that said I award Assassin expertise based on the style
of ambush and the overall possible reaction. It is taken on
a case by case basis.
Expertise is gained by the ambush effect but not for all
attacks or bonuses that the Assassin skill awards. Does the
assassin benefit from the full combat effects all the time?
Yes. Those effects are always on like OCV or weapon bonuses.
Frankly I've always though Assassin should learn Healer so they
learn the anatomy of the body for the most efficient way to
kill. But that is a side issue.
C) HPV bonus: Frankly I do tend to forget the HPV bonus for the
expertise gained. I always catered to that being for actual
targets rather than just random spur of the moment attack. But
going forward I'll include the hpv bonus in the expertise.
D) How best to earn assassin expertise: Anyone can get behind
a person and stab a knife in their back. The true aspect of this
skill is the exceptional use. Even with a perfect ambush by the
numbers there is still a chance the target will react a split
second before. A half second before the knife digs deep the
person's sixth sense will alert him. So in that slight chance
the expertise might be less or none depending on the level of
awareness. Again, I take it a case by case basis.
To me there are two forms of executioners in pnp. Those who are
paid as a living to kill or torture. Then the common man who has
had some skill or training in some way to do it privately but not
in some official capacity.
A) Private to public: Clearly public executioners are the common
hang-men or axers that chop off folk's heads or the secret prison
torture guy. Those guys get the most immediate experience based
on the fast tasks they perform.
Where the issue of experience tends to come in is private folks.
Anyone can kill a person that is helpless. The line comes in that
area that gives the basic experience for a death blow or killing
a person using the execution skill.
B) What defines helpless? The obvious would be ropes or being
knocked out. But a target can be helpless if he is standing
right in front of you and can't defend himself. The problem is
where does the gray line divide from basic combat kill, execution
kills or assassin/ambush kills? One can argue that if the person
can defend themself or not helpless the skill is wasted. In some
cases I find that the skill can still be used in those situations.
But it is a case by case basis. For example a man who is bound
but has elbows free is bound but not helpless. He could still
elbow a person to fight back. Would that cancel the executioner
skill? The problem is the fine line for these points.
C) Torture: The nice aspect of this skill is the torture. It
clearly will earn experience without question. You either get
answers or you don't. The problem is the other side of the skill
D) Difficulty level: Which level does the GM assign for the
task? IT depends on the situation. A bound guy on the floor
will be a easy Easy task. If that person is squirming then
maybe a one grade higher. But what about the barbarian who
is helpless running away from the knight on his horse? The
knight may be expert rider but doing a quick executioner skill
to kill the guy in one blow is hard thus would be a Impossible
or such level of difficulty. This is how I judge the factors.
By far the most common would be easy to moderate level for
the most common things.
E) Other restrictions: Little is added to the final result
for the executioner skill. But there is no black and white
answer to the situation. While the majority of cases no
other restrictions will apply there may be one or two. For
example, a person who has to execute his friend in order to
save a town. That person who normally would not shake his
hands might and thus slip. So it will be a case by case thing.
F) Non-skill use: The problem is where is simple common
killing or executioner death needed? The easy answer one
must declare the skill being used or common skills will be used.
The more complex answer is that not every execution might be
deemed a execution. It is beyond the scope of this document
to cover every situation. For example leaving a bottle of poison
for a prisoner to drink in a cell isn't a normal execution.
But if the prisoner is thirsty enough he'll be desperate to
do it. While its not a direct execution it might qualify
as experience. But leave that same prisoner in a cave which
may or may not collapse is likely not a execution. There
is no control over that situation so it is not a direct
result of your execution skill, so no experience.
G) Non weapons: The common weapon is the axe for a executioner.
But that isn't needed all the time. He will be able to use
any weapon of their choice. Even if he isn't skilled in that
weapon he could use it though at a reduced EL. So any weapon
is allowed. in fact non traditional methods are allowed as
well. Martial arts or some could even use magic to kill without
using a normal weopon.
H) Executioner bonus: The execution benefits are not always on
unlike the Assassin benefits. I only invoke those benefits
when the skill is declared in use. Otherwise the person would
be trying to kill everyone in one blow rather than knocking them
out or taking prisoner. So the benefits are turned off when the
skill isn't used.
I) How to earn experience: As outlined before the torture end is
straight forward. But the other side killing is not so easy.
First a person must declare the skill is being used. The problem
is that anyone can kill a person. The intent needs to be defined
for the death. If one is to kill to quicken the death due to
pain then experience would be awarded in that the best death blow
is the fastest and most efficient. But if the intent is to kill
a person with pain and leave them bleeding from the stomach then
maybe the experience will be little to none. This is because the
goal of the skill is to kill not prolong life. Torture does
prolong the life of the victim but the other side of the skill
does not. This is where the fine line is drawn.
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