D&D 5e

SniperGod
SniperGod

Should PCs ever have assassins targeting them in their sleep? What if it makes complete sense in the context of the situation?

Or should it be something that's just not done, so they can be heroic?

Soft_member
Soft_member

@SniperGod
If they have ways of dealing with it, then yeah, sure. I had a rogue who loved to carouse and stay out late, and did so at slummier dive bars and brothels. So when stumbling home in a stupor, said rogue encountered assassins trying to break into where the other PCs were sleeping and assassinate them. Rogue raises the alarm, the killers are brought low after a short fight.

That's the sort of shit I like to do; if you play it right you can make them think they were going to be hit anyway even if the rogue hadn't blundered on the plot and warned everyone. They're left thinking that things could have gone MUCH worse. So without really risking them, they get put on-edge, and it makes them feel threatened.

askme
askme

@SniperGod
Players should always have a chance to interact with and influence the events happening to them.

Attacking them in their sleep is fine if you fluff it that the player wakes in time to react and prevent their death. Maybe they've been caught in the middle of the night with their armor off and their pants down, so to speak, but it'll still make for a cool moment if they manage to fight the assassin off with a broom they grabbed from the corner or something.

If the assassin just slits the players throat while they're asleep without the player ever having a chance to influence the situation or react, that's hella gay.

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

@Soft_member
What if it's one of those situations where everyone is asleep, but someone's on watch? Then the assassin makes a good Stealth check, assassinates the PC they're after, and slips out.

Basically, sometimes you play it for drama, but sometimes you play it for real.

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

@askme
Well, I don't think just going "lol u died" is fair.

But if they make a stealth check, get the first hit, and it puts the guy to 0, then what can you do.

Once the attack starts it's just up to the dice. Or do you mean even with all that said, they should be woken up beforehand?

massdebater
massdebater

IMHO, it should only be done under certain conditions.
It makes sense for the major/minor villain to consort with (or even lead) assassins.
The player characters pissed off the wrong person, who logically would either would have connections to assassins, or would have the money to hire them.
These kinda cover a broad spectrum of situation, but just make it believable and fun.
Don't just have assassins show up out of nowhere, unless you're going to pull a Dark Brotherhood scenario where a fallen assassin has a written letter about the bounty on the target(s).

Also, seconding what @askme
said.

iluvmen
iluvmen

@Gigastrength
Always give the players a chance.

Don't make an opposed check vs stealth, make it a perception check against the NPC:s passive stealth, and then give the player character about to be assassinated a dexterity save or something.

Rule the attack as a sneak attack that is an automatic critical hit, and make it do a shitton of damage. Roll the damage, but don't make it a certain kill by massive damage (because if you do what the fuck are you doing). 5e has death saving throws, and there is no coup de grace rule.

What I'm saying is, having characters instantly die to assassins with the words "They just rolled well" makes you look like an asshole GM. Honestly, it also kind of makes you an asshole GM.

You can make encounters with assassins, where one of the characters is stabbed in their sleep, sure. But outright killing them in their sleep? Fuck no.

Poker_Star
Poker_Star

@Sir_Gallonhead
But if they make a stealth check, get the first hit, and it puts the guy to 0, then what can you do.

Considering most games have you take massive penalties to notice people if you are asleep, that's not exactly a fair situation for the PCs even if you do get dice involved.

I've had Assassins attack PCs in thier sleep but that's because LOTW is a game where your defence can't ever be negated. They get a small bonus for attacking a sleeping PC but he's a Xia (PC-tier person) and it's a kung fu game, he'll wake up just before the attack hits and have a chance to defend. I wouldn't do it in a game where 'Bad roll, you died' is actually likely.

WebTool
WebTool

@iluvmen
What you said is what I was talking about though.

I'm not saying "automatically say they die," but I'm saying it's theoretically possible, that, doing all the steps to give them a chance, the PC still fails all their rolls to notice the assassin and the assassin does enough damage on the attack to put the PC to 0 hit points and start making Death Saves.

That's what I was talking about. Because once that happens, well, it's pretty easy for the assassin to finish them off.

If the assassin fucks up or the PC detects them this is all a moot point since they have a fighting chance then.

CouchChiller
CouchChiller

@Poker_Star
How would you make an assassin as a main enemy a credible threat then? I'm asking seriously, because taking that away kind of makes the enemy a joke. Should they just maim the character and run for it? Steal something they care about?

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

@WebTool

And that's kinda a shitty situation to put a PC in. It's like how no one likes Save or Die, except this is a mundane version of it that often has very hefty penalties.

Bidwell
Bidwell

@CouchChiller

How would you make an assassin as a main enemy a credible threat then?

Make them not a useless foe once the guy does actually wake up? There is an entire martial art style that works great for assassins (Murderous Shadows), as it's mostly about 'Concealing your presence so the other guy can't find you' (Giving you a hefty bonus to dodging and toughness as it's much harder to lay a solid blow on you).

It's a martial arts game, if someone wants to kill someone of note it's going to end up with a fight of some sort .

Snarelure
Snarelure

@CouchChiller
Don't be afraid to drop players to 0 hit points (in such systems). Most systems have some manner of lifeline for PCs that are "killed" to be saved. Maybe it's a First Aid roll to stabilize them. Or death saves. Or the "negative hitpoints = CON means death" thing, so the bleed out for a bit. There are very few games that are so deadly as to just flat kill someone when their health goes to zero, and if you ARE playing a system like that, then you and your players know what you are in for, and you should act accordingly. PCs make enemies, and the tone of the system and game dictates how they act. In a D&D-alike? They grandstand and threaten with theatrics. Players can get laid low to zero health, but there's always a chance to save them, and most times that's more than enough to put the fear of god into them. So don't be scared to do it.

In your @Gigastrength
situation, sure, sneak in and stab them. They're at 0 HP now, making death saves. The noise alerts the watcher. The watcher chases off the assassin while waking others. Roll a death save. Healer or someone able tends to the dying. Death save. Skill roll. There are ample ways to deal with such a problem, so the PC is likely not in any REAL danger, but it sure as shit feels like it. But yeah, be careful about how you apply assassins; you need to balance them being dangerous and competent with being stoppable within the PCs' means.

BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

@Bidwell
Are we talking about D&D 5e still?

Also, the issue is an assassin typically works best 1 v 1. But if the other party members join in after the person wakes up, then they'll just trounce the assassin.

If the assassin is strong enough to fight the entire party at once, they aren't an assassin anymore. Why bother being sneaky if you're that strong?

Still, maybe that could be a good idea, if there was a way to isolate the player and make it a 1 on 1 fight.

Fuzzy_Logic
Fuzzy_Logic

@BlogWobbles
Are we talking about D&D 5e still?

No, I was talking about how assassins are handled in a DIFFERENT game as a comparison. Hence saying LOTW.

farquit
farquit

@CouchChiller
Just because someone can react to the first attack doesn't mean the enemy has instantly stopped being credible. A fight while wounded, unarmored, and unarmed can be scary as hell.

You could also add on complications like lingering wounds, poison, items being stolen, ect. that make the situation more than just "I won a fight, everything is back to normal again."

CodeBuns
CodeBuns

@farquit
Good idea! A slow acting poison... it would put pressure on them over the long term but give them time to act. Assuming they fight off the assassin.

viagrandad
viagrandad

@CodeBuns
Sure, just make sure it's not a poison the cleric or druid can handwave away with a level 2 or 3 spell. Make it more involved than that. Find an alchemist or something who can MAYBE treat it but needs a rare herb or something and then send the party out on a mini-quest against the clock for it.

Techpill
Techpill

@viagrandad
That's true... Paladins can heal any poison or disease just like that. I don't think there are poisons immune to that?

DeathDog
DeathDog

@Techpill
As a DM, thats when you say it's a MAGICAL poison (because WTF isn't magical in DnD... ugh) or do like the people in /tg/thread/57405966#p57405966 are discussing and limit what healing magic is actually capable of.

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

@SniperGod
I've done an assassination attempt in my last campaign. Just rolled their stealth checks against the PCs passive perception and gave them some generous attempts so the PCs would wake up mid-ambush. It was a low level game so I didn't want to just fuck on them, but it turned into a good fun encounter.
PCs working for passage on an airship smuggling captured monsters into a Dwarven city
they help with haulage of cages containing an Ogre, a few Lizardmen, a Pseudodragon, and a few other assorted creatures
one night, sleeping in the hold in bunk beds
a pair of stowaways attempt to murder PCs sleeping but are discovered by PP
turns into an awesome shitfest, with one assassin being launched into bars of Ogre cage and gets crushed
other assassin escapes to the deck and jumps off the ship with a parachute
end up giving Human PC a pair of ruby quartz goggles (grants darkvision when worn), they get clues off the body of the slain assassin about their pursuers, and more questions that lead the game forwards.
Ended up being pretty successful. I think the best way to treat it would be as a story-beat with a bit of combat, not a full-on encounter.

Stupidasole
Stupidasole

@CouchChiller

By not having an assasin being the main threat, that's gay and the game in its vanilla state is not fit for that kind of play, the characters have no effective tools to deal with stuff like that and no one wants to be hounded by sneaky beaky cheeki breeki niggers in an heroic fantasy game, save that stuff for low fantasy political games.

Spazyfool
Spazyfool

@DeathDog
The point is it heals magical disease and poisons too by RAW. Normally I'm ok with houseruling but it feels like it would be more cheap here.

Booteefool
Booteefool

@Spazyfool
Just make it so it heals the poison, but the poison has been made by a master alchemist and purging it triggers a contingency that has some other effect that requires more advanced treatment, like ability damage.

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

@Spazyfool
Yeah, the limitations of healing are really something that needs to be established before the actual campaign begins, while discussing the setting and world-building with players.

PackManBrainlure
PackManBrainlure

@SniperGod
I've considered this scenario before. What I had in mind was one of them waking up to a shitload of damage, or another noticing someone bringing one of their buddies down to 0hp and death saves, or something. It feels like a middle ground between just declaring someone dead, or just avoiding the encounter altogether.

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

@SniperGod
@PackManBrainlure
Forgot about this- I've considered the much more likely alternative of not-so-sneaky, Suda51 style whacky "assassins" making simultaneous separate attacks on the party. It'd be an excuse to come with PC-like NPCs, and give different members unique encounters. It's a lot less realistic or dire, but I haven't really set the tone very well for PCs getting their throat cut in their sleep.

viagrandad
viagrandad

@viagrandad
Personally I don't see a huge problem with a player being able to go "lolno remove poison" against it. They've got the ability for it and it lets them feel powerful. Just gotta play it by the book and ask if they have the right spell prepared, since not a lot of people keep poison removal handy (the fools). And by the time they have what they need to counteract the poison, a lot of damage can be done, hefty stat penalties being the classic one. Merely removing the poison won't negate these.

Or you can get more outlandish and cruel. They're implanted with slaad eggs, have a geas placed on them, are cursed with lycanthrophy, or given some other dangerous affliction. Doesn't have to be poison.
It's also a good idea to give the assassins multiple chances to fail. The more checks they have to make to kill the players, the more likely it is they'll fail one of them.

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

@SniperGod
I have 2 players who always stay back at camp "because our background is hermit, we don't WANT to go in the city walls". Which generally idgaf but the other two keep going into town and solving mysteries by themselves or taking on bosses meant for 4 people, so as soon as it makes sense I'm going to start sending assassins into the woods after the party and pretty much almost kill them so that they're scared to be by themselves.

massdebater
massdebater

@viagrandad
The problem is that the right combination of classes can go "lolno" to most of the problems in the game. A wizard with level 3 spells can bypass huge parts of the game as long as he has spell slots left.

Skullbone
Skullbone

@SniperGod
Do you want "Heroic fantasy" or do you want "X CARD X CARD THIS IS MY #SAFESPACE" faggotry?

Thought so.

likme
likme

@SniperGod
In a game like D&D, where defense is passive and automatic by default (barring specific abilities like Shield that go off as a reaction), it's generally recommended that you don't go for attacks against the party unless you give them a roll to defend themselves, whether it's a saving throw or a perception test.

Evil_kitten
Evil_kitten

So, a hero reluctantly settles down as a farmer in the middle of nowhere, with the intention of nobody finding him again (or more accurately, finding his wife that settles down with him).

What does he change his name to, more notably, his last name.

Bonus points if it got a german twist.
Another point for a female name that matches.

It's for the backstory of my new character, a potato-farmer that's the now middle-aged son to this couple, being forced against his will to take up his fathers sword and go on an adventure, while have tried to actively not pry into the strange past of his parents, but i can't come u.

"Better not ask questions that'll get me killed, i just want to go home and grow my fucking potatoes"

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