Assassination (sage ability)
Describes a blow that strikes at a weak point in a humanoid opponent, allowing the attacker to kill an enemy immediately on a successful hit.
The sage ability is specifically available to all assassins, even those who possess 9 points of knowledge or less in the practice (unskilled). These are yet able to perform the act of assassination, though to a lesser degree.
Description of the Act
The deed requires that the perpetrator be near enough to attack with a hand-to-hand attack. It is also necessary that the intended victim be surprised. The assassination need not be committed from behind, but this is often the case. Usually, to succeed, the assassin approaches the victim through the use of stealth.
If, following the stealth calculation, the assassin is adjacent to the intended victim and the victim is surprised, the assassin may at that time reveal their intention to assassinate. A die is rolled (see below) and the success of the assassination is determined. The victim cannot defend at all unless the assassination fails and then wins initiative. If the assassination fails, the assassin cannot make a second attempt, as the victim ceases to be surprised. The same rule denies an attempt to backstab.
Obviously, because an opponent in the midst of combat is not subject to the surprise rule, an assassination cannot take place during normal melee.
Note that if the intended victim that is more than three times the height of the perpetrator, or more than four times the perpetrator’s weight, the victim is too large to be assassinated.
If successful, rather than determining damage, the perpetrator and victim’s levels are compared using a roll of 2d4, rolled by the perpetrator. This result is modified by adding the assassin’s level, then subtracting 5 points. If the total is now equal to or greater than the victim’s total hit dice plus experience level, the victim is absolutely DEAD, reduced to minus 4 hit points for combatants without an experience level or -10 for those with an experience level.
An unskilled assassin uses the same method, adding but one-half of levels gained, discarding all fractions. For example, a third-level unskilled assassin would add only 1 pt. to the die, drastically reducing the chance of success even against lower level targets.
If the assassination fails, normal damage is rolled. If the intended victim survives, initiative is rolled.