n its most common use, assassin has come to mean someone who kills (assassinates) an important person, usually for ideological or political reasons. The immediate motivation for an assassin may be money (in the case of a hitman), opposition to a person's beliefs or belief systems (in the case of a fanatic, for example), orders from a government (often carried about by a subversive agent such as a spy), or loyalty to a competing leader or group.
murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a treacherous surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed; "his assassins were hunted down like animals"; "assassinators of kings and emperors"
a member of a secret order of Muslims (founded in the 12th century) who terroriszed and killed Christian Crusaders
can this exsist
a paladn may kill for opposition to his/her belief system.
can we stretch the definition of assasin to this paladin?
September 27th, 2005, 08:14 AM
Greetings, ifaznu. Welcome to SFFworld :).
Although I understand what you're talking about, not everybody here has experienced the game Dungeons and Dragons so, in the future, could you state what it is you're talking about, just to be polite? This will prevent the thread from being locked, as such a thing could be construed as arbitrary. Thanks!
As for your question, no. As you said an assassin, by definition, is one who attacks by surprise. There is nothing good or honorable about such one-sided combat, and assassins are generally known to use whatever underhanded tactics are necessary to win. They are also generally those who kill for money, which you also stated, but to end a life for monetary reward is abhorant to most people and couldn't really be considered "good" by popular definition.
Paladins, though they may kill to defend their beliefs, do so only if no other option presents itself, and combat only those of an evil weal. This sounds a little hypocritical, yes, but an assassin murders as a first resort, a paladin as a last.
However, you should keep in mind that the Dungeons and Dragons game uses the alignments system to provide interesting hooks for characters. It is not intended to accurately portray good and evil, law and order in a realistic way. These are extreme concepts that work well within the black-and-white fantasy setting, but hardly carry over to the real world, because good and evil are relative to the observer. My good is not the same as your good, etc.
September 28th, 2005, 05:40 PM
I think no, simply on the grounds that assassination is generally an unlawful act, murder with a good cause is still murder. I'd say neutral good at best.
Edit: My favourite alignment to play is true neutral, cuz that's pretty much how I am in real life (realistically I can be kind of a selfish arsehole sometimes)
September 28th, 2005, 06:08 PM
I'd have to agree and say no to Lawful Good, but I think an assassin could be Lawful Neutral. Basically, murder in cold blood, generally not a "Good" attribute, but if you're Neutral and under hire of a kingdom or government, you could certainly be Lawful and be an assassin.
September 29th, 2005, 08:50 AM
But that would have to be a society where assassination was actually legal and socially acceptable, I find the hangup is more with being lawful than with being good.
September 29th, 2005, 11:05 AM
BTW, I don't know if you are precisely playing D&D 3.0 or 3.5, but I was browsing last night, and realized something. If you want to take levels of the assassin class, one of the roleplaying requirements is that at some point your character killed someone "solely for money." (emphasis mine) In other words, not for a good or patriotic reason, but only for the cold, hard cash. That rules out any Good motives right there, even if after that first act, you only act out of patriotic or paladin-like motives.
BTW, saintjon, state-sanctioned murder has often been legal. Remember back to the off-with-their-heads bad old days, or even just modern genocides. America has even occasionally taken leave of its senses and given the CIA the mandate to try to assassinate foreign leaders. We just don't hear about that sort of thing very often, since it is, by its nature, secret. So I don't really see the Lawful aspect as being a deal-breaker.
September 30th, 2005, 09:29 AM
I think it's entirely possible to have a lawful good assassin. Remember that alignments are very subjective. They don't always have to hinge on being 'good' or 'evil' in the eyes of society.
Look at the Shadowbane Inquisitioner and Stalker (Complete Adventurer). Zealots who seek out and destory evil. They can retain their class so long as they 'believe' that those they destroy are evil.
I think alignment has more to do with intention than with action. If your PC assassinates someone with good motives (ie, saving lives, protecting innocent, to join an assassin guild with the intention of steering its motives to the protection of the kingdom...blah blah), and he or she can justify it a good act or an act for the greater good to his or her self - then I feel they are justified in keeping a good alignment.
As all things - DM discretion.
September 30th, 2005, 10:47 AM
Ah, but does it not clearly state that an Assassin must be any non-good alignment? Therefore, to become one, that character must, at least temporarily (for it is possible to atone) lose their good status, and if it is regained they fail to meet one of the prestige class's criteria and therefore can no longer advance in it. Of course, the DM can mess with these rules, but that's the way the game states it, no?
September 30th, 2005, 09:14 PM
True. The PHB does say that a PC must be non-good; so to the letter of the book - no, there is no chance to be anything good as an assassin, but that's where I think the alignment system gets "iffy."
I think a PC can see itself as being good and lawful while acting contrary to the social dictates of such alignments. So...if you do something society says is bad, does that make you bad or 'non-good' or does the action have to be 'evil' to you personally? If only the former is true, then there isn't much to discuss: assassination is evil. If a PC can (in character) rationalize his or her actions, I don't see why they couldn't be considered 'good' while committing their non-good deeds.
October 2nd, 2005, 12:29 PM
America has even occasionally taken leave of its senses and given the CIA the mandate to try to assassinate foreign leaders. We just don't hear about that sort of thing very often, since it is, by its nature, secret. So I don't really see the Lawful aspect as being a deal-breaker.
Just because the CIA has assassinated people, doesn't mean it isn't against our moral, and social laws. These people don't really have anyone else to answer to after the order is handed down. Why do you think it's secret? I would think most times it's generally known in the country where the assassination took place who has killed the person.
Assassination while evil can sometimes beget something good. I.E. If the person assassinated was a hate mongering tyrant.