Professional Assassin, variant (5e Background)

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Professional Assassin, Variant[edit]

Creator’s Note: This is fairly similar in spirit to the other version here, but with different features and some changes in proficiencies, equipment, and suggested characteristics. The introduction/description is entirely that of the original because it sets the scene well enough. This was not a corrective variation so much as an alternative for personal use that I decided to share.


You are, or were, a professional assassin or hitman. Your job, possibly even your purpose in life, was to kill people without getting caught. By luck or talent, you must have been fairly successful—a famous assassin is a dead assassin after all. Were you born into the profession, or were you otherwise forced into it, or did you intentionally take up the dagger? Were you a solo act, or did you work for an agency/guild, organized crime group, or private individual? Did you work for money, personal beliefs, to avoid some threat from your employer or your own freedom? Were you brainwashed or tortured to do this type of work? Did you receive professional training as an assassin, or did you learn it by yourself? Did you hang up the hat, or are you still available for hire? Did you enjoy your work? How do you feel about your marks? What do you think of other assassins? Were there any really important people you were tasked to kill or were there any missions that were especially difficult or memorable?

Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from Acrobatics, Insight, Perception, and Stealth

Weapon Proficiencies: Silenced firearms, if applicable, knives/daggers

Tool Proficiencies: Choose two from Poisoner’s kit, thieves’ tools, disguise kit, forgery kit, and, if applicable, explosives

Languages: Thieves' Cant, plus one of your choice

Equipment: A pistol with silencer (if applicable), a knife/dagger, a set of dark hooded common clothes with a mask and secret pockets/compartments, one kit or tool set you are proficient in, proof of your first or last kill, and an easily-hidden pouch or coin purse containing 15 gp.

Specialization[edit]

Assassins have a wide variety of killing their victims, almost as wide as their potential victim pool. What is your specialty? This should be factored into which tool proficiencies you select.

d8 Specialization
1 Poisoner
2 Sniper/Distance
3 Explosives
4 Bladework
5 Information extraction/Informant silencing
6 Political assassination
7 Contract killer
8 Mafia hitman

Feature: Contacts[edit]

As an assassin, former or continued, you have a number of contacts from all walks of life. They might be those who trained you, those who gave you false papers or burn identities, those who you’ve purchased weapons from, someone who owes you a debt, or perhaps just an average citizen or villager who sheltered you in a time of need, someone who didn’t ask questions and provided aid out of the goodness of their heart. They might even be your bond, or related to them. Whether or not these people are willing to help again, however, depends upon how your last encounter with them went, or perhaps just the roll of the dice and DM discretion.

Alternate Feature: Services For Hire[edit]

Through whatever means you usually receive commissions or jobs, you may continue to receive such offers for fast cash. This could put your adventuring group in more danger should you , even if it means lining your pockets with finer cloth.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

d8 Personality Trait
1 Death no longer fazes me. It is a natural part of life.
2 I am still squeamish about certain aspects of the job.
3 This is but a job I have using skills I am good at. I take neither pleasure in nor suffer pain from doing it.
4 You could say I have a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for the aesthetic.
5 I am constantly trying to better my craft, and will take any opportunity to learn more.
6 Most people are weaker than me. I take advantage of that as much as possible.
D6 Ideal
1 Godly: I alone control who lives and who dies. (Evil)
2 Greed: All I care about is money, and this is a lucrative way to do it. (Neutral/Chaotic)
3 ’’’Justice:’’’ Justice must be served, especially if the government is too corrupt to serve it themselves. (Good/Neutral)
4 ’’’Death:’’’ Death unites us all. Why not make it come a little quicker? (Chaotic)
5 ’’’Penance:’’’ I made a terrible mistake, and now must make amends. (Good/Neutral)
6 ’’’Honor:’’’ I only kill those who deserve it. (Lawful/Good)
7 ’’’Honesty:’’’ My word is my bond. If I swear or promise something, it will be done. (Lawful)
8 ’’’Vengeance:’’’ Some cannot enact the vengeance they seek, so I do it for them. (Chaotic)
d6 Bond
1 The cabal/family who trained me saved my life. I owe them everything.
2 I seek revenge for a wrongdoing to me or someone I cared about.
3 I am alone in this world.
4 A villager once saved my life and hid me from authorities despite great personal cost. I am in their debt.
5 Whoever bids the highest gains my services.
6 My past defines me.
d6 Flaw
1 I feel excessive guilt whenever I make a kill.
2 I take extreme pleasure in ending the lives of others, even (or perhaps especially) when they are innocent.
3 If anyone were to question my skills, my pride would make me show them I am the best.
4 Personal safety does not matter so much as getting the job done.
5 My flair for the dramatic and penchant for the aesthetic may get me caught one of these days.
6 I believe I am playing a game, one that I am winning.

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