Why was the Assassin kept as a purely evil PrC?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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James Jacobs wrote:
A non-evil assassin would need different flavor text going along with it. They'd need another motivation to kill than greed or a desire to turn murder into an art form, for one thing. We might build a prestige class to fill this niche some day, but it won't be called an "assassin."

Perhaps call it the Avenger?

[sarcasm]C'mon, the picture even is white and red just like assassin's creed. How can we argue with this higher motivated killer?[/sarcasm]

Seriously though, that is proof that even 3.5 knew what the deal with assassin alignment was. They knew the kind of joke the whole issue is.

Cartigan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Assassins have always been evil in the game, so on one level, we kept it that way due to tradition.
If I had a nickel for every idiotic sacred cow in Pathfinder...

Does it make it any better that the old guard realized this one on some level too?

-The fact that the link was even written as an April Fools article says something.


To me the requirements make sense, matching well the flavor text. If you or a player have a great idea for flavor that matches the mechanics of the class other than the alignment requirement, then change it. I wouldn't necessarily just drop it though; I'd replace it with something appropriate. A minor code of honor that matches the new flavor.


James Jacobs wrote:
Assassins have always been evil in the game, so on one level, we kept it that way due to tradition.

In 3.5, Assassins could cast spells, many of them were EVIL spells, so it made more sense them to have to be EVIL.

However, when you take away their EVIL spells, you are left with someone who kills for money.

There should be an option to take a code such as No Women No Children, and play a neutral assassin or even take multiple codes such as EVIL only, No Women No Child and play a good assassin.

I started a whole thread in the Ninja section about why Ninjas could even have an ability called assassinate without being evil while poor innocent assassins got hit with the EVIL stick.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Sleep-Walker wrote:


In 3.5, Assassins could cast spells, many of them were EVIL spells, so it made more sense them to have to be EVIL.

However, when you take away their EVIL spells, you are left with someone who kills for money.

There should be an option to take a code such as No Women No Children, and play a neutral assassin or even take multiple codes such as EVIL only, No Women No Child and play a good assassin.

I started a whole thread in the Ninja section about why Ninjas could even have an ability called assassinate without being evil while poor innocent assassins got hit with the EVIL stick.

But do they have a reason other then "I'm getting paid to kill you" to kill the person, if not its an evil act. Ninjas often were used as assassins by the government, so had orders of it being their honor on the line if they failed to do it. Also from wikipedia:
wiipedia wrote:
By the Sengoku period, the shinobi had several roles, including spy (kanch&#333;), scout (teisatsu), surprise attacker (kishu), and agitator (konran)

There are perfect archtypes for the ninja. Spy, Scout and agitator would not have the evil requirement, but the surprise attacker may - just a thought, as we don't know what archtypes are actually going to be in the book.

Scarab Sages

I've only skimmed this thread, so I apologize if this has already been brought up, but I don't think it has:

Assassins don't kill people for money.

Assassins MURDER people for money.

There is a big difference. Soldiers kill in the line of duty - fighting, dying, the ugly business of war - that's their job. Even black-ops guys and snipers who rely on stealth fall into this category - it's war. Law Enforcement sometimes kills in the line of duty, even though it is thankfully a rare event in most civilized societies. Heck, even traditional gladiators kill people as part of their "job", but it happens in the course of a (hopefully) fair fight - in heroic fantasy, at any rate.

What an assassin does is commit murder for hire. He does it on behalf of someone who does not want to get their own hands dirty, and whose motives are obviously not legitimate enough or strong enough to warrant war or prosecution under the law. An assassin does not fight. He strikes, and then leaves. If he is a good assassin, then his target will be dead before he leaves. If he is a poor assassin, then he probably won't last long in the profession.

Assassins work by poison, by staging accidents, by ambush, by stealth. The target ideally does not even realize the danger until the moment they are killed.

Now look at the assassin prestige class - look at the abilities. Look at the requirements for stealth and disguise. (they used to be even higher, didn't they?) Forget the stupid picture of the half-orc in the silly mask, look at the class itself, and the mechanics of the death attack. This is a character that wants to get in, strike a single fatal blow, and get out. This is not a hero, this is a murderer.

Now, don't get me wrong: playing an assassin can be fun. Sometimes being one of the bad guys can be cool - especially if you have to navigate being part of a party of good-aligned characters. One of my favorite characters is an assassin: He's a plain-faced, generic, unremarkable-looking guy who doesn't talk much, but he's awfully good at murder. He's also evil.

Not terribly evil. Not the mad, cackling laugh kind of evil. Nor the smoldering, cruel kind of evil.

Just the banal, casual evil of a person who commits murder for a living.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Wolfsnap wrote:

Assassins don't kill people.

Assassins MURDER people.

This is more how I see it.


Wolfsnap wrote:


Assassins don't kill people for money.

Assassins MURDER people for money.

"A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords at dawn."

I don't know why people get so hung up on the for money bit. That's not actually a part of the assassin class. While, yes, no doubt a lot of assassins are motivated by cold cash, it's certainly not the only possible concept for an assassin.

And whether it's nice or not to sneak around and stab people that aren't ready... well, that's between the particular assassin and his conscience.

The only argument I really see for the alignment restriction, is that some of his class abilities kinda-sorta suggest that there might be some supernatural mojo going on in the background. And that may or may not be an irredeemable evil force.

In the end, I really think it makes sense to at least have it open to any non-good. The fluff even airs that possibility. Of course, given the typical job description, staying not-evil might be something of a challenge. But that's where that pesky roleplaying thing comes in.


Wolfsnap wrote:


Assassins work by poison, by staging accidents, by ambush, by stealth. The target ideally does not even realize the danger until the moment they are killed.

Now look at the assassin prestige class - look at the abilities. Look at the requirements for stealth and disguise. (they used to be even higher, didn't they?) Forget the stupid picture of the half-orc in the silly mask, look at the class itself, and the mechanics of the death attack. This is a character that wants to get in, strike a single fatal blow, and get out. This is not a hero, this is a murderer.

Ninja

Shadow Lodge

Assassin : Ninja :: Ninja : Assassin.

Remove the Oriental flavor and the black pajamas and a Ninja is an assassin. Yet, it's not EVIL...despite doing exactly what an assassin does--sneak in and murder/death/kill people.

.:Solution:
Have your assassin wear black pajamas and nothing he does will be EVIL.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

We might end up slapping an "evil" requirement on the ninja still, but I doubt it. We'll probably be positioning that class as the non-evil option for players who want to play "assassins," honestly. What we might do, though, is impose a "any non-good" alignment restriction on them. We'll see.

I'm not interested in arguing for argument's sake whether or not the already in print and not going to change assassin prestige class's alignment restriction should change, though, so I'll leave you all to that part of this thread.

Silver Crusade

James Jacobs wrote:

What we might do, though, is impose a "any non-good" alignment restriction on them. We'll see.

Please don't. All that would result in is forum rage from people that just had their concepts shut down, whether they wanted to be Ryu Hayabusa or a Ninja Turtle. Removing the possibility of good ninjas could only take away from the game rather than add to it.

People have it bad enough with chatoic martial arts type characters being shut out by the monk's alignment restrictions.


James Jacobs wrote:

We might end up slapping an "evil" requirement on the ninja still, but I doubt it. We'll probably be positioning that class as the non-evil option for players who want to play "assassins," honestly. What we might do, though, is impose a "any non-good" alignment restriction on them. We'll see.

I'm not interested in arguing for argument's sake whether or not the already in print and not going to change assassin prestige class's alignment restriction should change, though, so I'll leave you all to that part of this thread.

Fair enough, and thank you, J.J., all I wanted to understand was the reasoning behind the retention of the Evil Only part of joining the class. Thank you very much for dropping in on the thread.

Okay, to other matters: I think it's fairly safe to say the thread's divided firmly into three camps, or sticking points and we're all missing each other, for the most part.

1) But none of the Class Abilities are necessarily Evil.

2) They are Fluffed as killing for Money.

3) Just houserule them.

1) Technically true, but as has been pointed out, the Assassin has focused upon being able to kill with a single stroke. Technically not evil, but definitely not a good ability. Respect For Life is one of the primary roots of a good alignment, and training to be able to pull out a Five Fingers of Death move useable at will in heading towards the Black/Darker Grey end of the spectrum.

I still believe that none of the Assassin's abilities are inherently evil, and while Death Attack is dangerously ominous in both name and deed, not inherently an evil Attack. Still, I can hardly see anyone who has a typical 'good' alignment training for this ability, and even the most benign Neutral is going to have some soul-searching to do as sell.

2) First thing that comes to mind is 'silly g##+*%n argument' but it is not silly. As J.J. and a few other people have pointed out, the Design Mechanics (which were not obvious to most people reading the manual) and the Tradition of the Assassin PrC pushed the Assassin PrC towards keeping it's Evil pre-requisite, and the retention of the Assassin also gave GMs/DMs access to a 'generic' Assassin while allowing the 'new' Assassin, the Red Mantis Cult, to be thrown in as 'Master' Assassins.

Much as we might wish to beat the Fluffing with it's own limbs at one stage or another, it does gives us an insight into how the Game Designers/Developers see the Race, Class and Abilities in their game world. We can use it as a Guide to help us get into the right mindset for a campaign world, or we can ignore it and use our own ideas, but it's there, it's cannon, we have to deal with that.

3) I agree with this, and most of the groups I know and have played with dropped the 'Evil Only' stick on this particular PrC to allow for a slightly broader role of the prestige class, both for PCs and NPCs.


I would argue that the difference between the Assassin, and the Master Spy or Ninja is that killing is what an Assassin does. For the other two killing might be part of what they do. As I look at the rules for the Master Spy I see intelligence operative, and while I'm not sure about the Pathfinder Ninja (Haven't read the playtest) but historically that's what they were too... though they had a lot of spec ops mixed in.

It seems to me that it is the focus on killing that makes it evil.

That being said I see no problem with a LE rogue/assassin being a devout believer in Sarenrae and working to exterminate all evil. We're all the hero of our own story, no one thinks of themselves as evil. I honestly think it would be a lot of fun to have that character in a party with a Paladin of Sarenrae, especially if you started at level one... boy would that pally be confused when the Assassin (rogue at that point) hit level five :D

Though I think the Assassin would be more confused... and offended...

Hmm, next time I know that I'm gonna be in a group with a Paladin I might just talk to the GM and see if they'd allow it...


None of the assassins in my games, PC or NPC, have ever had levels of the assassin PrC.

There's been no negative consequence to ignoring its existence. Rogue does fine.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, someone wants to make ninjas any non-good!

What about Master Splinter? Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelangelo?

Or the 3 Ninjas?

Or the 80s!

Ninjas are nice guys :)


In my games, Poison Use is a Rogue Talent and Death Attack is an Advanced Rogue Talent. If someone wanted True Death or Angel of Death, I'm sure we could work something out.

Prestige Classes are the Devil.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I think Kirth did the same thing with the Assassin class. We're not big on prestige classes either.


HalfOrcHeavyMetal wrote:


I still believe that none of the Assassin's abilities are inherently evil, and while Death Attack is dangerously ominous in both name and deed, not inherently an evil Attack. Still, I can hardly see anyone who has a typical 'good' alignment training for this ability, and even the most benign Neutral is going to have some soul-searching to do as sell.

I have to disagree. The fantasy world does not have the same widespread stigmas about killing as our western society does. Paladins for instance, kill habitually for their causes. Training to kill effectively and swiftly for the defense of one's allies doesn't seem to be such an issue, the marines do it all the time. I had a swordsage in 3.5 that opened with some of his strongest attacks all the time (as I am sure many open with greater vital strike now). The DM was debating on weather or not to shift his alignment to evil. I had to explain that it came to simple assessment of his allies wellfare, especially when he used it to draw the dragon's attacks, sacrificing himself to give his allies the chance to kill it. Worked great too. Poison use is kinda the same, especially when I have an alchemist concept built around the immediate action usage of it.


Viktyr Korimir wrote:
Prestige Classes are the Devil.

Agreed. I also think that having to use a resource like a feat or a class feature to choose something like Poison Use ought to be avoided at all costs. What other alchemical-like item requires a feat-like ability to use safely? Acid Use to avoid accidentally burning oneself? Alchemist Fire Use to avoid setting oneself on fire?


Would people be wanting for an Assassin PrC if it did not exist? How many would just say 'play a rogue or rogue/shadowdancer'?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Depends. Did it exist in previous editions in this thought exercise? Or was there never an Assassin class?


As long as some of the more iconic assassin abilities became rouge or ninja talents (as was suggested)I would never use the PrC.


Spes Magna Mark wrote:
Viktyr Korimir wrote:
Prestige Classes are the Devil.
Agreed. I also think that having to use a resource like a feat or a class feature to choose something like Poison Use ought to be avoided at all costs. What other alchemical-like item requires a feat-like ability to use safely? Acid Use to avoid accidentally burning oneself? Alchemist Fire Use to avoid setting oneself on fire?

Poison is much more dangerouse to use.

Vial of acid...I throw it....Alchemist fire I throw it. No contact required...no careful application neccessary.

Though that being said...I don't make people roll out of combat. Also if they are throwing a container of say contact poison to braek upon contact...they is no risk of poisoming yourself.

As to the main issue....shrug...change it if you don't like it. The game is not just designed based on your enjoyment though...lots of other people...people who will never ever meet are playing the same game. If Pazio took away the evil requirement...I would just add it back(because that assassin is evil IMO)...I would not complain about it on a messageboards. (I realize the OP was not complaining, he was more asking why they had it the way they did...which is a fair question). The game is meant to be adaptable.

Shadow Lodge

Umbral Reaver wrote:
Would people be wanting for an Assassin PrC if it did not exist? How many would just say 'play a rogue or rogue/shadowdancer'?

As written, I honestly don't think there's enough of a difference between a Rogue and an Assassin, and a Rogue could easily fill the role (as could Bards, Inquisitors, Rangers and Monks for that matter-depending on your "flavor" of "assassin").

So, if there was no Assassin PrC, you'd have alternatives.

Really, and I hate to drag 4e into it, but unless there's something strikingly unique to Assassins, their role is easily duplicated.

In 4e, however, the Assassin class if powered by Shadow and gets all sorts of neat fluff text describing its class powers (similar in many ways to a Shadowdancer) while the Rogue is purely Martial and can't burst into a flock of ravens (murder of crows, whatever) nor leap through shadows or hurl a blade of darkness at people. This makes the Assassin and the Rogue seem like very different classes despite fulfilling the same role and being mechanically very similar.

IF that was the case, and the PF Assassin was significantly different from the Rogue, then there'd be more impetus to play one. As it is, with other classes easily duplicating the Assassin, I'm not convinced anyone would miss it other than "Assassin" implies a cooler/more badass character that "just" a "Rogue".


The_Normal_Anomaly wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
A non-evil assassin would need different flavor text going along with it. They'd need another motivation to kill than greed or a desire to turn murder into an art form, for one thing. We might build a prestige class to fill this niche some day, but it won't be called an "assassin."

Perhaps call it the Avenger?

[sarcasm]C'mon, the picture even is white and red just like assassin's creed. How can we argue with this higher motivated killer?[/sarcasm]

Seriously though, that is proof that even 3.5 knew what the deal with assassin alignment was. They knew the kind of joke the whole issue is.

Cartigan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Assassins have always been evil in the game, so on one level, we kept it that way due to tradition.
If I had a nickel for every idiotic sacred cow in Pathfinder...

Does it make it any better that the old guard realized this one on some level too?

-The fact that the link was even written as an April Fools article says something.

The fact is, the Avenger you posted is actually an Assassin proper. The vast majority of real life "assassins" are motivated for reasons other than money. We generally call them "hit men" or "mercenaries" otherwise; and some of us call them "adventurers".

I love Pathfinder, but really some of this stuff is just stupid.

Sleep-Walker wrote:

In 3.5, Assassins could cast spells, many of them were EVIL spells, so it made more sense them to have to be EVIL.

However, when you take away their EVIL spells, you are left with someone who kills for money.

There should be an option to take a code such as No Women No Children, and play a neutral assassin or even take multiple codes such as EVIL only, No Women No Child and play a good assassin.

I started a whole thread in the Ninja section about why Ninjas could even have an ability called assassinate without being evil while poor innocent assassins got hit with the EVIL stick.

Slayer of Domiel is a good-only assassin from the Book of Exalted Crap (I meant deeds), that actually has spells on its spell list that the Book of Vile Darkness calls out as having the Evil descriptor; and yet it's part of this class that is very much expected to kill evil people for the greater good (IE - HEROES); when honestly the whole thing was just an assassin that replaced "Death Attack" with a overwhelming amount of sneak attack damage.

*sigh*

EDIT: Its reasons like this we get a bad reputation for being idiots in the RPG community. Have we not got enough criticism about the stupidity of actively trying to portray hypocritical genocides?

Curse of the Crimson Throne:
In CotCT, Edge of Anarchy, you're 100% expected to be a PC that has some past Vendetta against an old crusty badguy, and you are very much expected to go kill this badguy to sate your revenge or seek some personal justice outside of the law. The given suggestions for this were things like...

He killed your friend.
He framed you for murder.
He abused you as a child.
He got you or a friend hooked on drugs.
He made you an orphan or widow.
He kidnapped someone important to you.

He's a very, very bad man, who always gets out of trouble when he is involved in crimes and the local guard will do nothing to him. He forces orphans to steal for him, and laughs and feeds the ones he doesn't like to a pet crocodile while playing sick and twisted games with them and his companions; and you're going to go kick his door in and show him who's boss.

You have two options. You can either opt to turn this detestable bastard over to the guards who have ignored the problem or failed in the past, or cut the sucker down; and going by the implications of the AP and the AP:PG, the second option probably wouldn't cause a blip on the Evil-dar; even though you are totally killing him for revenge or to prevent him from doing evil.

IE: Selfish or Philosophical homicide.
But as Jason has pointed out in other threads, motivations don't have as much to do with alignment as actions.


Thread Question wrote:
Why was the Assassin kept as a purely evil PrC?

Because it was and is designed to be a class for villains. It is why most monsters are evil, or at least non-good. I worry slightly for all those who claim all adventurers are genocidal maniacs, and wonder what games you play in, because by default the game is good PCs protecting those who can't protect themselves in the name of the greater good. A lot of questionable activity occurs under those premises, but that is pretty much the crux of the design philosophy. I agree PCs who run around slaughtering every member of an "evil" race to take their goods is just as evil, but that is not the theory behind game design. That is simply the acceptance of ethics for a hack and slash, which is in and of itself a variant of the actual game.

As far as the arguments that other classes exist solely for killing, well fighters really specialize in winning fights, rogues focus on skills and sneak attack is a game balancing mechanism for combat, other classes have just as much utility as combat. Players just over emphasize combat function because it is the easiest to discuss and often the most exciting.

My argument for the Assassin being designed as a villain class is settled more deeply than just fluff. The Stay Dead mechanic actually exists to frighten PCs. When someone gets killed in town, the eleventh level cleric just jaunts up, and problem solved. With an assassin around, the ability for characters to ignore death is absolved. Now, they are faced with a foe who can bypass their own security blanket of survival. The death attack is also a dramatic villain ability. In action economy, it makes little sense for a PC to spend three rounds watching some creature that can be probably killed in three rounds of straight combat by the fighter. However, when facing an assassin in combat who disappears, the party suddenly has a time limit with which to locate the villain before someone is faced with irrevocable destruction. Sure, players can opt to be assassins, but the class wasn't designed for PC combat as it is also based on solo play, killing by itself singularly without any assistance. Again, it's boring when one PC just offs the opponent the whole party wanted to fight.

Finally, fluff design for only evil envisions something I think most people avoid in an effort to justify wanting to be an assassin. I understand people want to enjoy the experience, and not upset their DMs, but the assassin concept is PC friendly. When people reference a hunter of a political or religious group, their description is more befitting a ranger with a favored enemy. The assassin was designed to be a murderer with no compulsion of any kind as to who they kill. Anyone who stipulates no woman or no children cannot be an assassin. The prerequisite of must kill someone should really be implied to be must be willing to kill anyone... Repeat Anyone. Children, check, elderly, check, family, check, clergy, check, lovers, check, price being negotiable of course. Also, payment should be variable, the assassin kills because it benefits themselves, money is just an easily understood currency for exchange. If an assassin is unwilling to kill a single target, they should lose all access to any class abilities. That is the spirit of the design philosophy behind the class in my understanding, and I think should be considered by players. That is the cold heart someone needs to qualify for the prestige class. The reason an assassin should not be a PC would then be underscored by the fact that every other PC is just a price tag to them.

If you want something else from your assassins then play it, but you want the design philosophy that is how I see it.


'Cause I was Ninja'd...

pobbes wrote:
Because it was and is designed to be a class for villains. It is why most monsters are evil, or at least non-good. I worry slightly for all those who claim all adventurers are genocidal maniacs, and wonder what games you play in, because by default the game is good PCs protecting those who can't protect themselves in the name of the greater good. A lot of questionable activity occurs under those premises, but that is pretty much the crux of the design philosophy.

Curse of the Crimson Throne:
In CotCT, Edge of Anarchy, you're 100% expected to be a PC that has some past Vendetta against an old crusty badguy, and you are very much expected to go kill this badguy to sate your revenge or seek some personal justice outside of the law. The given suggestions for this were things like...

He killed your friend.
He framed you for murder.
He abused you as a child.
He got you or a friend hooked on drugs.
He made you an orphan or widow.
He kidnapped someone important to you.

He's a very, very bad man, who always gets out of trouble when he is involved in crimes and the local guard will do nothing to him. He forces orphans to steal for him, and laughs and feeds the ones he doesn't like to a pet crocodile while playing sick and twisted games with them and his companions; and you're going to go kick his door in and show him who's boss.

You have two options. You can either opt to turn this detestable bastard over to the guards who have ignored the problem or failed in the past, or cut the sucker down; and going by the implications of the AP and the AP:PG, the second option probably wouldn't cause a blip on the Evil-dar; even though you are totally killing him for revenge or to prevent him from doing evil.

IE: Selfish or Philosophical homicide.
But as Jason has pointed out in other threads, motivations don't have as much to do with alignment as actions.


Ashiel wrote:
'Cause I was Ninja'd...

I apologize for that. I think we are on the same page here. Granted your example is one that exemplifies a very grey morality situation. From a good vs. evil argument the death of the BBEG in the AP is mix of both good and evil actions. Here an assassin could be benefiting good because of his actions, but I think importantly this kind of killing isn't one that would qualify someone for the PrC. The assassin PrC must be willing to kill this guy without the personal vendetta or the inherently evil nature of the target.

I think another big issue is linguistic in nature. Despite the class being named "assassin", I don't think it should be thought of as for any character who assassinates. Any class can perform an assassination, and the PrC skills are unnecessary. Also, any character can damage a body so that it is difficult to resurrect. That doesn't qualify them for the core assassin PrC. I think people wanting to intuitively assign a character concept to the PrC because that character assassinates is false. Perhaps, a new alternate class is necessary that gives good PCs the options for a skilled one shot KO character, but the assassin PrC was not designed to be it. Hey, maybe the ninja is great addition for Ultimate Combat for that purpose...

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
But also, the concept of being paid money to kill someone is, in my opinion (and in the opinion of pretty much all of us at Paizo) is evil.

So all soldiers are evil by your reasoning? That is their primary duty, go kill the enemy.

I allow good assassins in my game as long as the player creates a code similar to a paladin they must adhere to. Neutral assassins don't need a code but I weigh their actions and shift alignment as necessary.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Assassins were in 1st edition.

As part of 2nd edition's attempt to "sanitize" the game, the assassin class was not included in the game at all.

With 3rd edition, they brought the assassin back. That was actually a pretty major thing—it was one of the big things that won WotC back a lot of lapsed players, along with restoring other old favorites (half-orcs, devils and demons, etc.) to the baseline game.

So, yeah... if we hadn't included the assassin as an evil character option, I suspect that there would have been some angry feedback. And, in my opinion, that angry feedback would be justified.

Some of us like assassins being evil.


Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

So all soldiers are evil by your reasoning? That is their primary duty, go kill the enemy.

No, the primary duty of a soldier is not to kill the enemy. The primary duty of a soldier is to defend the nation. Sometimes this involves killing the enemy, sometimes it doesn't. Evil societies kill first and seek other solutions only when forced to. Non-evil societies seek other means to accomplish the objective, and resort to force when necessary.

TOZ is, I believe, an active duty soldier currently deployed in a war zone. Perhaps you should give his opinion a little more weight.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Anyway... the more I think about it, the more I doubt we'll put any alignment restrictions on ninjas. We'll just offer some cool flavor text options for various types of ninjas.

If that causes folks to freak out that a ninja can be good and an assassin can't, blame that on the fact that the Creative Director prestige class ALSO has an evil requirement, I guess?


I actually have no problem with the assassin having an Evil requirement.

There is plenty in there to justify the requirment, but it has nothing to do with accepting payment to kill people, or things.

Like so may prestige classes, and normal classes, the assassin is a mystical tradition, one in which your ultimate pay of is the ability to no only kill, but slay some ones so very totally, that only the most powerful magics can revive them. Hell, i am half tempted to house rule a worship: charon requirement onto the class.


James Jacobs wrote:

.....

If that causes folks to freak out that a ninja can be good and an assassin can't, blame that on the fact that the Creative Director prestige class ALSO has an evil requirement, I guess?

That means you're a Fiendish Tyrannosaurus Rex? Eep!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HalfOrcHeavyMetal wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

.....

If that causes folks to freak out that a ninja can be good and an assassin can't, blame that on the fact that the Creative Director prestige class ALSO has an evil requirement, I guess?
That means you're a Fiendish Tyrannosaurus Rex? Eep!

he has been since the beginning ;)


Well, direct answer from JJ, but I still like to continue arguing here, even if it won't change anything just for the sake of it ^^

Mikaze wrote:
All that would result in is forum rage from people that just had their concepts shut down, whether they wanted to be Ryu Hayabusa or a Ninja Turtle.

I'm not planning on such a character (that is, a sneaker who kills in the dark and retreats) but I'm for the prequisite removal. Players are no children, if you need to tell them how to play their characters, you're doing something wrong

HalfOrcHeavyMetal wrote:


1) Technically true, but as has been pointed out, the Assassin has focused upon being able to kill with a single stroke. Technically not evil, but definitely not a good ability. Respect For Life is one of the primary roots of a good alignment, and training to be able to pull out a Five Fingers of Death move useable at will in heading towards the Black/Darker Grey end of the spectrum.

The single stroke is called "effective". As a method, it's just the same as smite evil, except that it is not restricted to kill evil alignment. Killing innocents is evil, not the fact that you do that with a single stroke (it's not less evil to kill them with ordinary slashes or magic or your druid's fangs)

Quote:
(...) and the retention of the Assassin also gave GMs/DMs access to a 'generic' Assassin while allowing the 'new' Assassin, the Red Mantis Cult, to be thrown in as 'Master' Assassins.

The special abilities of this class are devastating. Imagine a PC who is attacked by an assassin - it's no good plot to kill PCs without them being able to defend. While you can say this is fair (since the PCs can do the same) or realistic, it's against both game defining factors, the gamist part (tactical simulation) and the storyteller part (telling a fantasy story). An assassin is a nice story element, for example I picture an urban adventure in which the heroes investigate a murder case caused by said assassin but since the murders happened outside the direct narrating, there's no need for rules (a rogue could have done it too - death attack is for computing damage, not plot). That's my basic problem with the assassin as a class made for NPCs (please don't answer this post with "fairness" stuff)

Froze_man wrote:
I would argue that the difference between the Assassin, and the Master Spy or Ninja is that killing is what an Assassin does.

Like fighters and wizards do. While the game mechanics let their enemies survive more easily, in reality it's no save way to make prisoners if you stab them with swords or burn them with flames.

Tough I agree on the Master Spy.
Quote:
That being said I see no problem with a LE rogue/assassin being a devout believer in Sarenrae and working to exterminate all evil. We're all the hero of our own story, no one thinks of themselves as evil. I honestly think it would be a lot of fun to have that character in a party with a Paladin of Sarenrae, especially if you started at level one... boy would that pally be confused when the Assassin (rogue at that point) hit level five :D

I like that part "hero of our own story". It brings me to another very important item of arguing, what IS evil alignment? What makes the devout assassin evil but not the paladin? If the paladin was near the assassin for the whole five levels... is his own moral compass nothing compared to the all judging detect evil?

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


What about Master Splinter? Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelangelo?

They use magical pizza which allows them to take classes that don't match their alignments, just as UMD lets an item think you're a paladin

Umbral Reaver wrote:
Would people be wanting for an Assassin PrC if it did not exist? How many would just say 'play a rogue or rogue/shadowdancer'?

I agree, basically I regard rogue as core assassin (I mean, he got sneak attack, that IS attacking from the dark and stuff). Tough I'd be interested in a "shadow magic rogue" class like the 3.5 assassin

pobbes wrote:
I worry slightly for all those who claim all adventurers are genocidal maniacs, and wonder what games you play in, because by default the game is good PCs protecting those who can't protect themselves in the name of the greater good.

+1

Quote:
. Sure, players can opt to be assassins, but the class wasn't designed for PC combat as it is also based on solo play, killing by itself singularly without any assistance.

Basically I agree, it's not a good class to take in a "common party", still I don't see why one should limit the characters unnecessarily - most PCs are good or at least neutral and most villains are evil but that alone is no reason for the prequisite. I don't give such a prequisite to all the classes meant for NPCs.

Quote:
The prerequisite of must kill someone should really be implied to be must be willing to kill anyone... Repeat Anyone. Children, check, elderly, check, family, check, clergy, check, lovers, check, price being negotiable of course. Also, payment should be variable, the assassin kills because it benefits themselves, money is just an easily understood currency for exchange. If an assassin is unwilling to kill a single target, they should lose all access to any class abilities. That is the spirit of the design philosophy behind the class in my understanding, and I think should be considered by players. That is the cold heart someone needs to qualify for the prestige class.

While this all is obviously evil, I don't understand why it has to apply to everyone with the abilities of this class.

See, for example take the rogue class. It's a very versatile class that allows you to create characters of a thousand different kinds as basically all classes do. The assassin on the other hand seems to be narrow focused if you limit it to that design philosophy. I see classes as tools you work with to create mechanics that fit your mental image of your character, not as limitations
Mynameisjake wrote:
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

So all soldiers are evil by your reasoning? That is their primary duty, go kill the enemy.

No, the primary duty of a soldier is not to kill the enemy. The primary duty of a soldier is to defend the nation. Sometimes this involves killing the enemy, sometimes it doesn't. Evil societies kill first and seek other solutions only when forced to. Non-evil societies seek other means to accomplish the objective, and resort to force when necessary.

TOZ is, I believe, an active duty soldier currently deployed in a war zone. Perhaps you should give his opinion a little more weight.

Yeah, soldiers are no good example, escpecially not modern soldiers since as you say, soldiers can be defenders.

Shadow Lodge

Another reason why Pathfinder should have jettisoned the entire alignment system to begin with. Hopefully in Pathfinder 2E...


James Jacobs wrote:

Assassins were in 1st edition.

As part of 2nd edition's attempt to "sanitize" the game, the assassin class was not included in the game at all.

With 3rd edition, they brought the assassin back. That was actually a pretty major thing—it was one of the big things that won WotC back a lot of lapsed players, along with restoring other old favorites (half-orcs, devils and demons, etc.) to the baseline game.

So, yeah... if we hadn't included the assassin as an evil character option, I suspect that there would have been some angry feedback. And, in my opinion, that angry feedback would be justified.

Some of us like assassins being evil.

Some of us obviously don't. I don't see a lot of support for "Assassins should be evil" here and what support there is is SOLELY because of the fluff - which can obviously be changed.

You know what I want for Pathfinder 2? Pathfinder to be Pathfinder, not "Updated 1e/2e because we used to work for WotC/are nostalgic"

Though I suppose Paizo would have to toss a enough people out of the decision making process that there isn't anyone left to make decisions.


James Jacobs wrote:

Anyway... the more I think about it, the more I doubt we'll put any alignment restrictions on ninjas. We'll just offer some cool flavor text options for various types of ninjas.

If that causes folks to freak out that a ninja can be good and an assassin can't, blame that on the fact that the Creative Director prestige class ALSO has an evil requirement, I guess?

You know who else has most of the Assassin powers and fluff and is not only not Evil but also not "non-Good"? The Master frakking Spy.

PS. What the hell is with this line:

Quote:
Alignment: Due to its necessary selfishness and callous indifference toward taking lives, the assassin class attracts those with evil alignments more than any others. Because the profession requires a degree of self-discipline, chaotic characters are ill suited to becoming these shadowy killers. Neutral characters sometimes become assassins, frequently thinking of themselves as simple professionals performing a job, yet the nature of their duties inevitably pushes them toward an evil alignment.

No, they can't. What part of that was screwed up? The Alignment fluff or the Alignment restriction?

PRD Assassin

Silver Crusade

Cartigan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Assassins were in 1st edition.

As part of 2nd edition's attempt to "sanitize" the game, the assassin class was not included in the game at all.

With 3rd edition, they brought the assassin back. That was actually a pretty major thing—it was one of the big things that won WotC back a lot of lapsed players, along with restoring other old favorites (half-orcs, devils and demons, etc.) to the baseline game.

So, yeah... if we hadn't included the assassin as an evil character option, I suspect that there would have been some angry feedback. And, in my opinion, that angry feedback would be justified.

Some of us like assassins being evil.

Some of us obviously don't. I don't see a lot of support for "Assassins should be evil" here and what support there is is SOLELY because of the fluff - which can obviously be changed.

You know what I want for Pathfinder 2? Pathfinder to be Pathfinder, not "Updated 1e/2e because we used to work for WotC/are nostalgic"

Though I suppose Paizo would have to toss a enough people out of the decision making process that there isn't anyone left to make decisions.

Dude, chill. I don't like the alignment restriction either, but Christ. That's not helping.

James Jacobs wrote:

Anyway... the more I think about it, the more I doubt we'll put any alignment restrictions on ninjas. We'll just offer some cool flavor text options for various types of ninjas.

Thank you, big time.


Cartigan, mate, relax.


Cartigan wrote:


Some of us obviously don't. I don't see a lot of support for "Assassins should be evil" here and what support there is is SOLELY because of the fluff - which can obviously be changed.

You know what I want for Pathfinder 2? Pathfinder to be Pathfinder, not "Updated 1e/2e because we used to work for WotC/are nostalgic"

Though I suppose Paizo would have to toss a enough people out of the decision making process that there isn't anyone left to make decisions.

Don't get your point here.

Do you really just want a game to that aligns perfectly to what you want? Won't happen...as any game that does won't sale too as many people.

If you don't like it...change it. What is the problem?

The Assassin PrC does not equal a regular Assassin. They get two Su abilities that clearly define it as not you typical assassin( Angel of Death and True Death). It is a PrC all about the fluff. Which a PrC are meant to fulfill this role as well as others.

See I actualy liked 2nd ed answear to this...any class can be a 'assassin'. It is merely a role. the 3rd ed prc just came out w/ a class that reflected a flavorable specific kinda of assassin( along with a couple of other with different flavors.

But why can't you just change a little rule? Heck it is not even a rule that effects mechanics that much.


John Kretzer wrote:
Cartigan wrote:


Some of us obviously don't. I don't see a lot of support for "Assassins should be evil" here and what support there is is SOLELY because of the fluff - which can obviously be changed.

You know what I want for Pathfinder 2? Pathfinder to be Pathfinder, not "Updated 1e/2e because we used to work for WotC/are nostalgic"

Though I suppose Paizo would have to toss a enough people out of the decision making process that there isn't anyone left to make decisions.

Don't get your point here.

Do you really just want a game to that aligns perfectly to what you want? Won't happen...as any game that does won't sale too as many people.

No, I'd prefer a game that is its own game and not the past revisited but with new fluff.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Have you tried 4e? It TOTALLY fits your bill! ;-)


Gorbacz wrote:
Have you tried 4e? It TOTALLY fits your bill! ;-)

You know what this thread needed? Edition wars.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Have you tried 4e? It TOTALLY fits your bill! ;-)
You know what this thread needed? Edition wars.

Hey I'm trying to help!


Gorbacz wrote:
Cartigan wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Have you tried 4e? It TOTALLY fits your bill! ;-)
You know what this thread needed? Edition wars.
Hey I'm trying to help!

Yes, I've played 4e but that has jack all to do with the point I was making.


Cartigan wrote:
No, I'd prefer a game that is its own game and not the past revisited but with new fluff.

I don't mean any insult here...but the reason why I play Pathfinder over 4th ed(well one of the major reasons) is because Pathfinder stayed true to the previous editions lore. Maybe there is another game system that would fit you needs and taste better. You can't please everyone 100% of the time.

Now I can perfectly understand why people might not like it. I have know groups who got rid of the evil only on assassins in 1st ed. But it is really just a non-issue to me. I think assassins PrC should be evil. So if Pathfinder 2e changes it...should I come here a complain about that they should just change it back? No I would just change it for my games.

Do you play Pathfinder?

Do you DM or are you just a player?

Do you currently even play RPGs?

No insult is meant here I really just get the feeling that you either don't play the game...or don't get to play any RPG...or if you do you are a player primary.


John Kretzer wrote:
Cartigan wrote:
No, I'd prefer a game that is its own game and not the past revisited but with new fluff.
I don't mean any insult here...but the reason why I play Pathfinder over 4th ed(well one of the major reasons) is because Pathfinder stayed true to the previous editions lore.

How could it stay true to previous editions' lore if it is a different game world?

Quote:
No insult is meant here I really just get the feeling that you either don't play the game...or don't get to play any RPG...or if you do you are a player primary.

And your point in this character assassination is what? "You don't play RPGs/don't DM games so your assessment of Nostalgiafinder is irrelevant." No, it isn't. Unlike 4e, Pathfinder IS a different game, but the whole game is practically bent on trying to include as much nostalgia in it as possible. For every design flaw fixed from 3.5, another 2 are kept as sacred cows of EARLIER editions.

This isn't even touching on other tangential actions taken by Paizo I'm not terribly fond of.

Shadow Lodge

Cartigan wrote:
Though I suppose Paizo would have to toss a enough people out of the decision making process that there isn't anyone left to make decisions.

Dude, there's no need to be a complete jerkass. Hell, I think they should dump the entire alignment concept altogether, but I try not to be a complete jerk about it.

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