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Well.... well.... what the Hell.....
I gave the player a bit of a heads up as to what was about to happen and how the situation came about. After a discussion he declared that he didn't want to meta game and didn't want me to softball the encounter.
I did alter a few things, most importantly the stealth bonuses for the assassins, so that it was at least theoretically possible for his character to make a perception check to spot the invisible assassins before they attacked.
So, of course, on the critical stealth roll the 3 assassins rolled a 2, 3, and a 7 and the PC rolled a 19 and was able to spot two of the assassins. In the surprise round he got an initiative over 30, so he attacked first. He got off one shot, made a critical hit with nearly max damage, and made the roll to overcome the 50% miss chance. First dead assassin.
As planned, the assassins spent one round attacking other people.
During the first full round, the PC hit himself with a see invisibility wand. This would not have been a big deal for the assassins, but the assassin mage with dispell magic prepped happened to be the one that the PC had smoked in the surprise round.
There was a running battle on the ship,with the assassins trying to hide behind cover so they could jump back out at him for sneak attack a round or two later. I never saw the player roll lower than a 15 on his perception checks, and the assassins never rolled higher than a 7 to hide. When the assassins did attack, they rolled the biggest collection of 1s, 3s, and 5s I've seen in a single combat.
I was worried that the PC would die in an unfair fight, but the dice gods decided to step in on this one. The assassins never stood a chance.