Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 Running the Realms
 Price of an assassination
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1243 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  16:47:12  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
For an upcoming intrigue oneshot I need some quick facts.

For what sums of coins would a professional assassin operating in Tethyr kill a rival noble? Anyone know which assassins guild a noble house must contact?

Would for example Harpers be willing enough and how would they typically keep things covert?

My campaign sketches

Druidic Groves

Creature Feature: Giant Spiders

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31056 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  17:12:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I doubt the Harpers would condone, much less engage in, assassination - even if the victim was evil. The Moonstars might, but not the Harpers. (At least not as an organization. Individual Harpers may be more morally flexible, though they'd likely have to keep that from their higher-ups in the organization)

I would say there are also a lot of factors that would go into the price of the assassination. How much can the patron afford? Does he want simple thugs to beat the victim to death, or does he want a fast-acting poison, or does he want something undetectable that will appear to be a natural death? How soon must this assassination happen? How prominent is the victim? How well-guarded is he? How public will the assassination be?

All of that is going to factor into the price. The more well-guarded the victim is, the higher the price. The more subtle the method, the higher the price.

Another factor is when your game is set. If it's between the Ten Black Days of Eleint and the Reclamation, assassins will be able to operate a lot more openly (and they were fairly open about it, then) than they would after the return of order. And this, too, will be a factor in the price.

I'd say that a commoner would be cheaper to kill than an adventurer, a non-leveled noble would be pricier than either, and a noble who had class levels would likely be the most expensive, aside from temple leaders, guildmasters, and royalty.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 14 May 2018 17:13:27
Go to Top of Page

Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

413 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  18:16:42  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Shadow Thieves of Amn would most likely be the closest guild to find an assassin, though any major city would likely have independent killers for hire.
Go to Top of Page

Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1243 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  18:56:45  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The murder needs to be done on the grounds of the nobles house and would need to be a mystery as to who would have done it, preferably incriminating a household member (leading to a fun cluedo type scene). This is no easy feat, so how much coin do you think a guild assassin could ask for this?

My campaign sketches

Druidic Groves

Creature Feature: Giant Spiders
Go to Top of Page

Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

413 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  20:35:41  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

The murder needs to be done on the grounds of the nobles house and would need to be a mystery as to who would have done it, preferably incriminating a household member (leading to a fun cluedo type scene). This is no easy feat, so how much coin do you think a guild assassin could ask for this?



I think the guild assassins leaders would make the call. Most likely the Grandfather of Assassins in that city, and it wouldn't be cheap.
Go to Top of Page

Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
2972 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  21:43:42  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
50 gp per levl. 100 gp per level. 1000 gp per level. Whatever works for your game.

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
Go to Top of Page

moonbeast
Senior Scribe

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  23:09:35  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

The murder needs to be done on the grounds of the nobles house and would need to be a mystery as to who would have done it, preferably incriminating a household member (leading to a fun cluedo type scene). This is no easy feat, so how much coin do you think a guild assassin could ask for this?



You're not just requesting (paying for) an assassination. You are also requesting that a "set-up" be done. A single lone assassin will not suffice. You literally need a well-connected guild of assassins, where some of the higher-ups are well connected with insiders/courtiers within the Noble House. In other words, an "internal hit job" that will quickly implicate and plant evidence on a specific household member. That's not a simple killing job. You are requesting the orchestration of a carefully planned conspiracy.

I'd say very expensive. At least triple the rate of a typical assassination of a noble.
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
6985 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2018 :  23:58:16  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It would also depend heavily on the individual. Is it an incredibly wealthy noble with guards and magic to protect them, plus class levels of their own, simply a rich noble who has guards, or a well off noble without guards, etc...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

413 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2018 :  00:32:01  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not to mention that an infamous assassin with a known reputation who is specialized in certain areas will cost you thousands in gold just for the price of his/her name.
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31056 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2018 :  02:57:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

50 gp per levl. 100 gp per level. 1000 gp per level. Whatever works for your game.



I'd go with something like that as a sliding scale, with the different rates applying to commoner, adventurer/ranking priest or prominent person, and then royalty/high priests/very prominent guildmasters.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

LordofBones
Senior Scribe

685 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2018 :  04:44:23  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It probably depends on the target's rank, the methods desired by the client, material costs for any specific reagent (if needed) and so on.

Killing the high priest of Valkur while he's taking his morning piss while he's adventuring in the arse-end of nowhere is going to incur different costs than killing him in his own temple, while he's surrounded by guards, using a specific weapon laced with a soul-eating poison and making it look like a tragic accident.
Go to Top of Page

TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1621 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2018 :  13:48:28  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

For what sums of coins would a professional assassin operating in Tethyr kill a rival noble? Anyone know which assassins guild a noble house must contact?

Depends on the place or whoever they can contact.
Generally the Shadow Thieves, especially near Amn. Or their branches: if in Zazesspur or around, the local Assassins' Guild, along the Tethir Road maybe Cat's Claw (but they are more "leave a guild mark" sort rather than "make it look like...").
Perhaps requested via Knights of the Shield (who can either hire or thwart Shadow Thieves affiliated assassins whenever they deem it a good idea) if they have appropriate connections.
quote:
Would for example Harpers
Err... why Harpers?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
Go to Top of Page

Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1243 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2018 :  18:49:11  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Aye, some further clarification.

The Harpers came to my mind because of the novel War in Tethyr, and some of the Harpers' (Arylin) other actors in the area could very well be seen as assassins by many.

I envision the scenario to be taking place in a millers mansion of the Frajal family of Myratma, a couple of bowshots from the Eastgate up the Red River. The target would be the eldest son, who is planning some new poison smuggling deals with the shadow thieves; the request would come from the Jhannivvar clan who would like to weaken the Frajal clan and eventually take over their new textile mills.

As the Jhannivvar clan has calishite roots, they might even try to contact a guild all the way from Calimshan, with which they might have easier accessible lines of communication. So the question would come to what calibre assassin would be required for this...

Entreri-level seems like way to much overkill, and his price must have been steep. Anyone read his stories and know for what price he normally operates?

Somebody that is well known to be able to infiltrate the household and perform the deed within a tenday.

My campaign sketches

Druidic Groves

Creature Feature: Giant Spiders
Go to Top of Page

Clutches at Greatness
Seeker

Germany
23 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2018 :  14:29:39  Show Profile Send Clutches at Greatness a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Best way to determine the price is probably by first determining the exact method, you want the murder to proceed, then decide what skills/ resources would be needed to successfully follow through with the assaination, then craft an NPC, who would have the skills in question and make up a short background. What is his motivation? Just to be able pay a certain living standard for a certain time? Does he want to retire (at a certain living standard) and buy some income-generating property for that time? Can he be blackmailed? Have the Jhannivvars access to some specific thing, that he desperately wants?
How much money do the Jhannivar even hope to siphon off the mill, after deducting running expenses? Are they willing to spend ... say, a years worth of that profit? They will probably be looking to get off as cheap as possible, if they act out of commercial interest, so what could they offer, that is cheap to them but valuable to the assasin? Information, access to a powerful person/organization, some service of their own in exchange?

Some assassination methods:
How about the Jhannivar clan just tricks the son into ingesting Midnight Tears. The poison costs 1500 gp, and can be mixed into liquids or solid food. I don't know, how paranoid/alert the son is. Would he drink some expensive liquor, that came in a nice parcel with a letter from a former love-interest?
Does he have some favorite drinks in his room/workplace, where a bottle could be swapped with sleight of hand or via a covert burglary? Does he always leave his lunchbox in an easily accessible place while at work? Could a sweet-talking lass dressed as food vendor convince him to taste her special bakery wares?

If you insist for story-reasons on having him stabbed, maybe try Crown of Madness (2nd level enchantment, Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock Wizard, range 120 feet, caster must be able to see the perpetrator-to-be). If you need it to be safe, the combo of Dominate Person (lvl 5, Bard Sorcerer Wizard, range 60 ft, LOS to perp while casting, 1 min) and Modify Memory (Lvl 5 Bard Wizard, 30 ft, LOS) could just utilizes someone, who IS a household member, without exposing the assassin, who would have to be a 10th level bard or wizard. Only level 3+ needed for the cheap-and-dirty crown of madness variant.

Or... :D ... just have an aboleth hide in the mill pond and use enslavement.

----

If you insist on the low-magic, dagger-in-the-back, all-skill-all-the-time infiltration method, well, I guess you need a Lvl 13 Rogue/Assassin with the Imposter class feature and proficiency with disguise kit. And he would have to remove the person, that he is mimicking first, somehow.

I'll be right back, after I caught that piece of string

Edited by - Clutches at Greatness on 17 May 2018 14:50:47
Go to Top of Page

Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1243 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2018 :  18:40:46  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To keep the adventure short and sweet I need to limit the suspects to two or three NPCs, and have the PC's investigate and interrogate them. The conflicting alibis of the household members would then have to lead to the assassin with his payment as the adventurers reward/spoils and potential hook to further story-lines involving the politics of Myratma.

I actually like the proposed spell combo assassination best! I can keep the dagger in the back scenario, and the bread crumb clues would lead to the fallguy household member more easily (i.e. the murder weapon could still be on his or her person or obviously linked to them). So a 10 to 11th level enchanter would do nicely, but will be a nearly impossible challenge for the level 3 city watch/heroes I was intending to run the scenario for. A lower level bard or rogue using UMD using a Crown of Madness scroll probably would work better.

The poisoning might be preferable to the Jhannivvars, because if it was found on the body of the son, they might accuse the Jarval clan of smuggling illegal poisons as well...

Great ideas all round!


My campaign sketches

Druidic Groves

Creature Feature: Giant Spiders
Go to Top of Page

Clutches at Greatness
Seeker

Germany
23 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2018 :  08:22:02  Show Profile Send Clutches at Greatness a Private Message  Reply with Quote
OK, things you would have to keep in mind.

.Use Magic Device in 5e is actually a lvl 13 feature of the thief subclass. Otherwise a spellscroll with the "Crown of Madness" could only be used by a bard, warlock, sorcerer or wizard, as these have class access to the spell. A spell scroll for a level 2 spell would be an uncommon item, with a price range between 100-500 gold crowns.
On the upside, even a single class level could do. A lvl 1 bard could easily have the skills and proficiencies to find work as an excellent gardener or janitor.
(Guild carpenter background, Cantrips: Mending, Vicious Mockery, Lvl 1 spells known: Animal Friendship, Sense Emotion, Featherfall, Speak with Animals, skills: Insight, Persuasion, carpenter's tool prof from background, Athletics, Nature, Stealth from Bard lvl 1, plus the usual instruments and weapon capabilities)
At that low level he/she probably wouldn't even think of him/herself as a bard, just a multi-talented guy or gal, looking to make a buck. Or he/she would see him/herself as bard, but no one else would, as he/she wouldn't even chose/enter a bard college before lvl 3.

-The reason to use the spell method is for the assassin to avoid having to enter the building itself. He/she could just cast it through a window, so after figuring out the plot, the group would have to determine the window, that it was cast from and trace the tracks of the assassin back to where he entered the domain. Unless he/she accidently drops some very obvious clues to his/her identity on the domain, the party would probably need to do more investigations to finally catch him/her.

-The actual "killer" would only know, that he stabbed the victim, but not really why. The rules about, whether the target of an enchantment knows, that he was influenced by magic are somewhat ambiguous. Ideally it should be someone not very bright, so he/she has little chance to pass even an easy Intelligence(Arcana) check, and realize, that he is not actually guilty, but was just used as a tool by someone else. On the other hand he/she shouldn't be stupid (or honest, or trusting to justice) enough to just confess immediately, so your cross-interrogation scenario can work.

-Sticking strictly to the rules, it is not easy to kill even an NPC commoner with a single dagger attack, not even with a sneak attack, that would a)require a rogue level instead of a commoner class, and b)not be strictly within the bounds of the Crown of Madness spell, which just specifies melee attacks, not use of abilities.
On the other hand, the dagger-in-the-back isn't a surefire way to kill someone quick and silently in the real world either, yet it is such a common trope in all kind of detective stories, that you can probably handwaive that slight inconvenience to story-logic without too much objection from your players. If you want the tone of your campaign to be gritty and realistic, a messy brawl/knifefight, initiated by a surprise attack, would be the more likely outcome, causing noise and potential injuries on the killer. (My take, son is in the kitchen with the cook, who is preparing soup for the next day. Gardener has climbed the window sill and uses spell scroll. CoM takes effect, cook stabs son, both are surprised and unsure what just happened. Cook rushes over to the son to help, instead he stabs him again. Cook is now in panic mode, intent on silencing the son and hiding the evidence, fight between seriously injured son and cook ensues)

-If you need to know the exact payment, so you can assess the players' reward for the adventure, just use chapter 7 of the DMG and pick whatever fits your players levels and the flavor of your take on the Jhannivar clan. Finding an explanation, why the assassin wanted exactly THAT from the clan, and was willing to kill for it, should be easy enough.

-if the son is poisoned, the poison will not be found ON his body, but at most IN his body, which would require some serious medicin/investigate skills and possibly profiency with a poisoner's kit or library access for the investigator to explain his knowledge of the symptoms of potent poisons. The investigators would be your players, so...
Also it wouldn't implicate the son of anything, just indicate the type of poison used.
If the Jhannivar want to make sure something is found on the body, they would either have to plant it, or somehow steer the investigation towards uncovering actual evidence against the son. As the son is eyeing a criminal career, they could just arrange to sell him something clearly illegal and hope, that the murder investigation will reveal it.

I'll be right back, after I caught that piece of string

Edited by - Clutches at Greatness on 18 May 2018 10:59:02
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2018 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000