Content of the article: "I present to you – The Online Assassin"
I just want to present something I made and used in my online session to great success- an assassin that is super stealthy due to the existence of direct messaging and muting in calls.
This encounter is going to be an assassin that will sneak up on your party, paralyzing and replacing members from the back to the front. This is a high stakes test of both your players' real life perception of their group mates and their abilities to engage in combat without the whole team.
Prerequisites: Must be an online session (hopefully that is all of you right now) and if the party has companions or thins that alert them, try and find reasons why they aren't there (for me my party has a whole group of animals so I just made them scared of the cave and had them refuse to enter). Lastly, this really should be in some kind of isolated environment to allow someone to actually sneak up on them and hide bodies.
So, here it is:
Going down a hallway, the party will have to declare the order they are proceeding in, completely unaware that this will lead to the order of their demise. For me, I said that the walls were very jagged and uneven, narrowing down at some points, meaning that they would have to go in single file. Feel free to use any reason to make them decide what order the group is in.
Going down, they will discover small distractions which will either be revealed as a random events or the assassin hunting them if they are able to detect well. These function both as opportunities for the party to detect the assassin with perception rolls and for the assassin to snipe off members of the group. These are the events I used:
1)A glint of light- either a gem etched in the wall or the blade of the assassin
2)A rotten smell- either a corpse of a rat or the smell of boiled eggs (who had eggs for breakfast?)
3)Water dripping down- either a stream falling from the ceiling or the sweat from the assassin
4)The walls shake, A crumbling sound- either just falling pebbles or falling pebbles as a result of the assassin losing his footing above
Again, feel free to use any events, as long as they have an innocuous version and something indicating that an assassin might be there
At each of these events, the party will be presented with that initial sensory information. If they roll perception and it does not beat the stealth of the assassin, they will see the random events not pertaining to the assassin.
(Note: Based on how much you want the assassin to be found based on rolls vs actual detection via players noticing muted PCs, you can change the stealth of the assassin. I did Nat 20s only because I really wanted for the players to notice the assassin via the mutes)
However, at each failed detection of the assassin, the assassin will sneak up on the last party member in the line, paralyzing them with poison and replacing them with a doppelganger. This is what I sent in their direct messages-
“Do not react to anything anyone else says or does, do not roll dice, do not make any actions. Just mute yourself and don't call any attention to yourself from any of the other players.
You feel a prick in your neck as a jolt of pain shoots through you. A chill follows, your body tensing up. You begin falling to the ground and soon realize that you are completely unable to move.
Right before your impact on the ground, you are caught by cold, bony hands and are laid down gently, completely paralyzed. You see what looks like a version of yourself catch up to the group, almost mechanical in movement. A robed figure follows.
Type “ok” if you understand”
You can reword this any way you like as long as they know they've been paralyzed, cannot do anything, and that they've been replaced by some lifeless mimic by a mysterious robed figure
Eventually the party will either detect the assassin with their perception rolls or realize in real life that some of them are muted and this will trigger the combat encounter
“Turning around, trying to converse to
You then get to reveal the assassin and he can begin fighting the group.
The assassin should be a tough fight for your party minus one PC, and should lose health based on how many people the assassin picks off so as to make the fight actually possible.
Defeating him can reveal his weapon and poison and maybe a kill order for expositional purposes.
After this, the group will have to find the paralyzed party members in parts of the area- take some creative direction with this (I just hid them in corners but if they have to go back through dangerous territory or something that could be cool).
TLDR- Assassin sneaks up on them and wants to knock out everyone before killing the only remaining player and executing everyone else. Little distractions are made, the person in the back of the group gets muted, and they can either roll perception that beats the assassin or realize someone is muted to trigger the assassin fight. Make it less health for less people to not make it a stupid fight.
Shoutouts to Ros, DM Steve, and Bwash for giving critique and helping brainstorm
Final Notes: If you are concerned about smarter players immediately finding out, just make reasons why they need to be in the back. Luckily for me my party's order almost directly went from front to back, loudest to quietest, most oblivious to wittiest, so I had a very fortunate situation where only 2/5 players were left when realizing that something was left. Also, feel free to tweak any of this! This is just something that I thought was super cool and wanted to share to other DMs.
Hope this was inspiring/fun to read! If you have any questions I will definitely try to answer them!
- Minecart Adventure
- Just got invited to the system software 8.00 beta! Here’s what was updated, according to the email:
- Was worried my campaign may be getting stale from lack of role playing. One tension filled session & fight among party members later put that notion to rest.
© Post "I present to you – The Online Assassin" for game Dungeons & Dragons Online.
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