Hashshashin Novice (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||We work in the dark, to serve the light. We are Assassins.||”|
|—Rauf, Human Hashshashin, The Hashshashin Codex|
The Hashshashins of Kreed are a philosophical branch of the Assassins Guild, the bedfellow of the Rogue's Guild. They believe in three tenets that strictly govern their way of life:
1. "Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent." 2. "Hide in plain sight, be one with the crowd". 3. "Never compromise the Brotherhood".
These tenets permeate every aspect of the Hashshashins' daily life and their fight for "peace in all things". The Hashshashins uphold their tenets through strategic political assassinations in the hope that killing one individual will lead to the salvation of thousands. They believe that they fight on behalf of those who do not possess the abilities, resources, or knowledge to speak out against those who abuse their power.
Hashshashins are feared by the general populous despite their altruist beliefs. This is due to their terrifying reputation for publicly killing political officials suddenly before vanishing into the crowd without a trace. This is done to put fear into the hearts of those who might abuse their power or corrupt the innocent. To assist in these abrupt killings the Hashshashins use the hidden blade, a single thrust from which could end the life of its victim.
Extensive political knowledge is a must have so the assassins remain in tune with the ever-changing politics surrounding them. Obtaining the information is the job of low-level members of the Hashshashins of Kreed, who are stationed throughout the cities of the world. These spies watch the local nobles and rulers, looking for signs of corruption. Once the information is gathered, it is passed on to the Hashshashins who are responsible for the execution of the target.
Becoming a Hashshashin Novice
Rogues, monks, and bards best fit into the Hashshashin class, skulking in the shadows with a blade waiting to kill. Fighters, ex-paladins, rangers, druids, and barbarians make better warriors than they do Hashshashins due to their lack of subtlety. Sorcerers, wizards, and clerics may be the most terrifying assassins of all because the wide versatility of their spells allows them to infiltrate and slay with impunity and secrecy.
|Alignment:||Any non-good and non-evil|
|Skills:||Gather Information 4 ranks, Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks.|
|Special:||The character must be recruited in to the Hashshashins of Kreed.|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Sneak attack +1d6, death attack, freerunning, exotic weapon proficiency (hidden blade)|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Sneak attack +2d6|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Sneak attack +3d6, improved uncanny dodge|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Sneak attack +4d6|
|8th||+6||+2||+6||+2||Special ability, hide in plain sight|
|9th||+6||+3||+6||+3||Sneak attack +5d6|
Class Skills (4+Int)
All of the following are class features of the Hashshashin Novice.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Hashshashins are proficient with the crossbow (hand, light, or heavy), dagger (any type), dart, longsword, rapier, sap, and short sword. Hashshashins are proficient with light armor but not with shields.
Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Hidden Blade): The Hashshashin begins his training learning the intricacies of the Hidden Blade, the Hashshashin's primary weapon of assassination.
Sneak Attack: This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th). If a Hashshashin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses on damage stack
Death Attack: If a Hashshashin studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (Hashshashin’s choice). While studying the victim, the Hashshashin can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the Hashshashin recognize the Hashshashin as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the Hashshashin’s class level + the Hashshashin’s Int modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim’s mind and body become enervated, rendering her helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the Hashshashin. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the Hashshashin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the Hashshashin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.
Freerunning: A Hashshashin can scramble up or down walls and slopes with great speed. He can climb at his speed as a move action with no penalty; however he must begin and end the round on a horizontal surface (such as ground or rooftop). If he does not end movement on a horizontal surface, he falls, taking damage as appropriate for his distance above the ground. A Hashshashin needs only one free hand to use this ability. This ability can be used only if a Hashshashin is wearing light or no armor and is carrying no more than a light load.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a Hashshashin gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to even be aware of it. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (He still loses any Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.) If a character gains uncanny dodge from a second class (such as a barbarian/rogue), the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below).
Special Ability: Special Abilities: On attaining 4th level, and at every two levels thereafter (6th, 8th, and 10th), a Hashshashin gains a special ability of her choice from among the following options.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 5th level, a Hashshashin can no longer be flanked, since he can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single attacker. This defense denies rogues the ability to use flank attacks to sneak attack the Hashshashin. The exception to this defense is that a rogue at least four levels higher than the Hashshashin can flank him (and thus sneak attack him). If a character gains uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class (such as a barbarian/rogue), the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge, and the levels from those classes stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, a Hashshashin can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow or group of people, a Hashshashin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.
Playing a Hashshashin
You espouse a personal code of honor, valor, fidelity, and truthfulness. You are not under any obligation to prove your personal bravery by declining advantages that would help you to defeat a foe or by rashly attacking enemies superior to you. Your sacred vow is to defend the innocent, the weak, and the downtrodden in the most expedient and effective way you can. Consequently, you do not scorn the thrown dagger, the spell, or the ruse of war when such things are called for. Once you strike a blow you cannot undo it, even if it later proves to have been a mistake. Therefore, you are slow to strike and deliberate in your actions and words until it is clear that combat is the best response to a particular challenge. When blood must be spilled, you will do so quickly and expertly. You do not enjoy killing, but you take pride in doing it well when it must be done. Remember, life is not one continuous battle, and you should not let the beauty of a single life diminish even when you wade through a sea of blood. You appreciate many fine things; art, literature, beauty, good company, laughter, and love. Sometimes hope and heart are the best weapons against evil.
Combat: You fight with skill and special maneuvers, not brute power. Your best ability is your Sneak Attack; you win fights by ending them before they start. Patiently hide in the shadows until the perfect moment to strike. If you’re facing a tough foe, think about darting into and out of combat to confound your enemy while your companions cut him down from behind.
Advancement: Surprise and mobility are your best weapons on the battlefield. Look for feats, skills, or magic items that add to these capabilities. Dodge and Mobility help you to move around enemies and avoid attacks of opportunity, as does the Tumble skill. Improved Initiative increases your chance of catching a foe flat-footed at the beginning of a fight and ending the battle before the other fellow even knows it has started. Your Dexterity score probably exceeds your Strength score by a fair margin, so Weapon Finesse will make you a much better melee combatant. If you decide to take levels in classes other than Hashshashin novice as you advance, you should strongly consider ranger, fighter, or rogue. Ranger and fighter levels add more of the feats that you will want to master, while rogue levels increase your sneak attack damage faster.
Resources: Every settlement or caravan is your haven. Like a partisan or a guerrilla, you can move among your neighbors and kin, hidden from the eyes of your enemies. Your closest allies are the other members of your brotherhood (see below). Even if you go for a long time without seeing these comrades, you should stay in touch by correspondence or by leaving messages for them at prearranged places. When you need someone in the next town over to dig into the truth of a rumor or observe the comings and goings of a particular person, the other Hashshashin in your order may be able to help you. Of course, you should expect to do the same for them when they request it. Not all other hashshashin are your friends. While few hashshashin ever raise blades against each other, some members of the class are more zealous than others. You share a simple professional courtesy with hashshashin whose methods and motivation differ from yours, but you certainly do not have to help them in their work, nor should you expect them to help you in yours.
Hashshashin in the World
Like the races themselves, hashshashin present a dichotomous face to the world. Unlike common assassins who kill for money or for pleasure. Hashshashin are courageous defenders of their people, and they only unsheath their blades for those who have done (or intend to do) injury to the weak and defenseless. Some hashshashin lose their way and become simple killers for hire, but they are 're-educated' sooner rather than later. Many hashshashin also have a career as an itinerant adventurer, but they are constantly vigilant for any abuse of power, ready to end it with a swift flick of the wrist.
NPC Reactions: Since most people don’t recognize the philosophical difference between a Hashshashin and any other assassin, members of this prestige class generally provoke the same sort of reactions that any assassin would among a particular community. In lands where assassins are regarded as murderers-for-hire, a Hashshashin is regarded with an unfriendly attitude. In lands where the Hashshashins of Kreed flourish, a Hashshashin enters most encounters facing an indifferent or even friendly attitude.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) or Gather Information can research Hashshashin to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
Contacting a Hashshashin is not easy if you are not a member. Hashshashin naturally conceal the true nature of their vocation from anyone, passing themselves off as scouts, rogues, or simply adventurers of indeterminate sort. A DC 25 Gather Information check in a city or settlement with a hashshashin presence puts a character seeking a Hashshashin in contact with a go-between who decides whether to introduce the character to a Hashshashin. A check made in a settlement without any significant hashshashin presence has a DC of at least 35.
Hashshashin in the Game
A Hashshashin excels at looking like something less than he is. You could easily introduce a Hashshashin into your campaign by creating an ally for the players who turns out to be more skilled and dangerous than they expect. You could present a Hashshashin as a villain, an assassin who intends to kill someone the PCs are duty bound to protect. In a more sophisticated campaign, consider introducing the Hashshashin as a vigilante whose excesses must be checked.
The hashshashin novice prestige class appeals to players who want to combine the stealth and flexibility of the rogue with the killing power of a nonevil assassin. It also offers the opportunity to play against type, by creating a somber and serious character who is more interested in subterfuge than face-to-face combat and who possesses a bit of a cruel streak, at least when it comes to dealing with those he thinks of as his enemies.