While assassins are an integral part of almost all fantasy or medieval settings, most Game Masters threat them as taboo. A single assassin in a campaign could ruin everything, if not controlled carefully by the GM. Or it could be just another NPC to fight, without the real dread what an assassin should generate. Assassin’s Amulet – Life is a Dangerous Business is the perfect supplement to include these hired killers into the game, with more background and gameplay information you could dream of.
Assassin’s Amulet – Life is a Dangerous Business is the biggest sourcebook dealing with the topic I ever heard of. On it’s 300 page, this massive book contains everything from maps, statistics, hideouts, NPC-s, items, GM-tips and anything else you could imagine. The three authors – Mike Bourke, Michael K. Tumey, Johnn Four – provide us a very complete book.
The centerpiece to this massive resource is the Holy Assassin’s lair, and the guild housed in it. This assassin’s guild could be fitted in many settings, without much problem. This part is built in a very exceptional way: the map is very detailed, and it has options for alternatives and options for every single room. We also receive NPC statistics, and interesting items from simple books to magic items.
About the game related information, it should be noted that all data – like monster statistics and characters – in Assassin’s Amulet are presented in two versions : both for d20/OGL and for the Pathfinder RPG, which is a great plus.
The book is divided into six chapters, however the last chapter, dealing with how to integrate the book’s content to a campaign is very brief. It’s especially true, if you compare it to the full extent of the book.
In the first chapter we find the map of the assassin’s lair, and some targets where assassinations might occur. We also receive some props to print out and use, like paper-minis for assassins or a wanted poster. For me it seems a strange choice to start a sourcebook with these things instead of real “about assassins” material, but I guess this is happened because the design process involved.
The second chapter is very closely connected to the first, as it consist every information about the Holy Assassin’s Lair from map keys to detailed information on every single room. This is an nicely detailed part of the book, and it’s deal with topics like how to defend the lair, how is it operated day to day, and even with design flaws regarding the lair.
Maybe the most useful part of the book is Chapter 3 : GM Advice. We get a ton of useful material, like adventure hooks, assassin guilds, and possible targets for elimination. If you want to use an assassin yourself, you get suggestions for equipment, combat tactics, poison use and possible motivations, and even tips on”how to play an assassin”. If you read this chapter, your hired killers will be much more credible and fearful than ever before.
The remaining two chapters are dealing with NPC-s, personalities and tools of the trade for the topic. We also receive a description about Cyrene, the goddess of the Holy Assassins. Of course, she could be replaced with another god, if that fits better to your campaign setting. We also get two new core classes and four prestige classes to use. In the items chapter, the bigest hits are the legacy items… but I don’t want to spoil everything.
Overall, it’s a very extensive and useful resource on the topic.
To purchase this book, you may look at DriveThruRPG : Assassin’s Amulet
Or you may look at the 73 page free preview : Assassin’s Amulet free preview
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros