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    Canonfire :: View topic - Contract with Assassins' Guild
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    Contract with Assassins' Guild
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 30, 2022 3:12 pm  
    Contract with Assassins' Guild

    As mentioned in another recent thread, in my campaign Fionor the Rude has contracted with the Greyhawk Assassins Guild to retrieve a party member alive so she can be sent to Greysmere for trial as a thief.

    The party defeated the assassin sent to do this last game, and left the assassin in the custody of the Sacred Temple of Saint Cuthbert.

    My question is—Is a contract with the Assassins Guild with a particular assassin or with the Guild as a whole?

    Because the assassin was defeated, will Vesper assign the contract to someone else to uphold the reputation of the Guild? Or does Fionor have to start over because the contracted assassin tried and failed?

    How do you guys think this works?
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Sun Oct 30, 2022 5:19 pm  

    Well, what's the point of having a guild if not to uphold the reputation of the members?

    Yes, the guild would see to it that the contract was fulfilled. Otherwise, potential clients will go elsewhere for such services, since it will become obvious that their money could be wasted if an incompetent assassin is assigned the case.

    The assassin who failed will likely be held accountable for the failure in some way by the guild, if s/he got away with their life.

    The temple of St. Cuthbert may have an understanding, or even a written contract with the assassin's guild that makes its grounds off-limits to assassination attempts. The contract may extend to anyone under the direct protection of the church (i.e. having a priest of St. Cuthbert accompanying them as a bodyguard).

    SirXaris
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    Sun Oct 30, 2022 5:49 pm  

    Probably depends on the nature of the contract :D

    Allan.
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    Sun Oct 30, 2022 6:07 pm  

    I'm guessing your world combines bounty hunters and assassins into the same guild?

    Assassins generally specialize in... well, assassination. To be blunt about it, murdering people for pay. Bounty hunters are the ones who capture a target and bring them back alive.

    Now there's nothing that says the two can't be combined under a single guild, as there can be some overlap in skills between them. But it IS important to note that there is a difference between the two.

    So it's possible Fionor went to the Assassins rather than the Bounty Hunters for some reason (perhaps they were rude to the Bounty Hunters one time too many), and the Assassins made a one-time exception to capture rather than assassinate. In which case, the Assassins might not waste further resources on a failure.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 30, 2022 7:00 pm  

    Vulcan, because there's no mention of a bounty hunter guild in Greyhawk City (in the CoG box set, FtA Campaign book, G:TAB, or ETRG) I assumed there wasn't one and that the Assassins Guild was the closest equivalent, likely having knowledge of sleep poisons and such. I also assumed Fionor, as a retired adventurer, would have a good feel for who could do what he wanted.

    The real problem Fionor has is that the party is holed up in Greyhawk City, and he can't (legally) just storm their inn and take the witch prisoner and drag her back to Greysmere. So I thought he'd try a Greyhawk-appropriate approach to the problem and have her captured by the Assassins Guild and smuggled out.

    I also assumed that his contract was signed by a lesser member, perhaps Ramman Damian (the 9th lvl assassin who failed to capture the witch last session). The other wrinkle here is that Vesper, the guild master, despises dwarves and I found it unlikely he'd handle this personally.

    But if the reputation of the Guild is at stake, maybe he does . . .
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Oct 31, 2022 6:08 pm  

    (Quickly double-checks the City of Greyhawk box...)

    Oh, yeah. They don't. Back when I first got the box, I thought it was such a flagrant omission I added one into my version of the City... and it's been so long I forgot it wasn't canon. Embarassed

    I suppose the other logical candidate would be whatever adventurer's guild is in the city, although that risks the PCs finding out.

    I imagine the City Guard would HAVE TO have a bounty hunter/SWAT team equivalent, even if there isn't one in canon. If Fionor is in the City's good graces they might put that team at his disposal.

    But that's all speculation on my part. If the only resources available to Fionor in your campaign are his own troops and hiring the Assassin's Guild, then that's what they have in your game.

    I don't recall the Greyhawk Assassin's Guild having the sort of 'kill the assassin we send and the contract is over' honor code you see in other fiction. So I imagine that the guild will, indeed, send more assassins after the PCs. If one failed, then next time there would be at least two.

    So long as the PCs stay in Greyhawk, the Assassins would be on their tails every night.
    GreySage

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    Mon Oct 31, 2022 7:34 pm  

    The reason I mentioned the potential contract between the Church of St. Cuthbert and the Assassin's guild is because of the Lawful nature of the two entities. (St. Cuthbert's clergy are generally LN and a guild is, by nature, fairly Lawful in its organizational aspects.)

    Certainly other faiths may, or may not, have contracts with the Assassin's Guild. Such a thing would probably fall outside the city's written statutes anyway, so it would be a black market sort of deal. I don't see the Churches of Pelor or Heironeous, for example, tolerating any kind of cooperation between their clergy and members of the Assassin's Guild.

    SirXaris
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Nov 01, 2022 8:58 am  

    Thank you, everyone, for the feedback and suggestions.

    Vulcan, there's not only no bounty hunter guild, there's not even an adventurer guild—although, practically-speaking, the Seekers of the Arcane (detailed in EttRG & an Oerth Journal) do have a Greyhawk presence and fit that niche pretty well.

    Sir Xaris, my campaign is set in CY 596, so I'm bringing in Living Greyhawk material where appropriate, and the church of Saint Cuthbert most certainly does not cooperate with the Assassins Guild because Eritai Kaan-Ipzirel, the Matriarch of Saint Cuthbert, has become a Directing Oligarch by now and leads a political faction of the nobles, common folk, & do-gooders against Nerof Gasgal and his mercantile and black market allies, which includes Vesper and the Assassins Guild. I've been seedings hints at a big political blowup between the factions during Growfest, just before the start of the Champions Games.

    I didn't have Fionor involve the city watch because Greysmere's hands-off-but-we're-trading-partners relationship with Greyhawk I took to mean that he doesn't have any particular sway with the police. It does bring up the question, though, what would happen if he attempted to have the PC witch extradited as a wanted criminal to Greysmere.

    The witch is a (albeit pretty new) Thieves Guild member and known to the Mayor and Guildmaster: Would they honor a request for extradition or simply help her "disappear" and throw up their hands as if she couldn't be apprehended?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 02, 2022 8:00 am  

    If I were a party member, the first thing I'd probably do is wring Pappy Dickens' neck for getting us into this mess!

    Regarding your question, I think that yes, the Guild would probably send another assassin. Fionor is probably not going to be happy at having paid good money for a failure, and he won't be shy about letting the Guild know about it. Vesper might not like dwarves, but he doesn't oversee every "contract" the Guild takes on and would delegate a lot of the day to day work, so I could see whichever lieutenant Fionor is dealing with trying to satisfy their customer.

    As for an extradition request, there's the old saying about "no honor among thieves." Nerof Gasgal and Org Nenshen are not paragons of virtue. If a valued trading partner is so angry, they might not have a problem throwing Dusty under the bus to keep him happy, especially if she's a newbie. They might even do it if she was a more experienced member!

    I'd also have the Temple turn the assassin in to the Watch on kidnapping charges. If you want another wrinkle that could work to your players' advantage, maybe the fact that the lawful-leaning St. Cuthbertines know about the harassment of your players and Fionor's involvement with the assassins might make Org and Nerof think twice about extraditing Dusty. The last thing they need is to give any political ammunition to Eritai and her crusading bunch!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Nov 04, 2022 3:18 pm  

    One question: did the party member steal something?
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    Sun Nov 06, 2022 4:00 pm  

    Yes. Dusty the Witch was in fact only one of two assistants to the real perpetrator, the party factotum i.e. thief Pappy Dickens; but due to earlier suspicion and too-narrowly worded divinations from the clergy of Ulaa at Greysmere, the involvement of the other two isn't yet known by Fionor. What was stolen was Acererak's Tome, mentioned in Fionor's possession in a Dragon magazine from the 90's.

    The party has since off-loaded the book to the Guild of Wizardry in exchange for a bunch of magic items. Also, the party dwarf, Dremnoc, who is Fionor's son-in-law and was kept in the dark about the whole venture, just discovered that the burglary took place, and during his own wedding, when the party were Fionor's guests, for crying out loud, and is not pleased, to put it mildly.

    There will be some delicious intraparty drama next session for sure.

    This thread ("Fionor the Rude Out for Revenge") has more of details:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=9655
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Nov 11, 2022 1:19 am  

    Guilds probably frown on members taking on related side work, so the bounty is likely through the guild. Bounty hunting seems more along the lines of a Thieves' Guild type of job though - assassins do have a reputation to maintain after all.

    So the PC is a legitimate fugitive, the church of St. Cuthbert is aiding/abetting the thief AND unlawfully imprisoning the holder of a legitimate bounty, and the thief has fenced the stolen property (unlikely with the blessings of the Thieves' Guild) to the Mages Guild. Lovely.

    Good guys at work. Move along. Nothing to see here. I'm sure there will be no retaliation against anyone. Laughing
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    Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:45 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Guilds probably frown on members taking on related side work, so the bounty is likely through the guild. Bounty hunting seems more along the lines of a Thieves' Guild type of job though - assassins do have a reputation to maintain after all.

    So the PC is a legitimate fugitive, the church of St. Cuthbert is aiding/abetting the thief AND unlawfully imprisoning the holder of a legitimate bounty, and the thief has fenced the stolen property (unlikely with the blessings of the Thieves' Guild) to the Mages Guild. Lovely.

    Good guys at work. Move along. Nothing to see here. I'm sure there will be no retaliation against anyone. Laughing


    IIRC, I was the guy who suggested to edmundscott that the Assassins' Guild would be the people Fionor contracts for the kidnapping. My reasoning is that an assassin's more "people-related" skillset would probably be more useful for an abduction than a thief's skills, which tend more towards the "smash and grab" style of crime. An assassin's poisons don't have to be lethal, in that they could easily be paralytic or sleeping drugs instead. Assassins would also have fewer moral qualms about a kidnapping job, while thieves are probably IMO more likely to be good-aligned.
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    Thu Nov 17, 2022 9:55 am  

    At this point, it becomes less of Vesper's detesting dwarves and more of the necessity for upholding the Assassin Guild's reputation. If there is another repulsed abduction attempt, then I think the guild would be out for blood, even if the PC in question makes restitution with Fionor.

    So, I would say don't have another attempt the very next session, but let the PCs get some idea of what they've done and what they need to do to dig themselves out of the hole. If they still continue on as if nothing has happened, then, well, you've kind of stuck yourself in a campaign-killer.
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