"I was this NPC all along" OSR assassin

When 5e was in its late playtest some small weird little OSR game came out that had a mechanic where the assassin could, retroactively, say that an NPC in the scene.... were them. But I don't remember the name of this game, anyone do?

Comments

  • Wow, that's cool.
  • And a bit historical if you know the legend of Saladin and the assassins posing as his bodyguards.
  • That's really awesome. And my brain says it thinks it remembers reading it! But it says it has absolutely no idea where.
  • I suspect you're thinking of The GLOG (goblin laws of gaming) where the assassin can acquire this ability:

    "Dramatic Infiltration
    At any time, you may declare that you are walking off-screen. Later on in the session, you may reveal yourself to have been a minor NPC in the background of the scene “all along” as long as there actually are minor NPCs in the background of the scene. You can always walk back on stage at any time, even climbing in a window. This ability is limited by plausibility."

    It is a great, quirky system.

    Heres a link to the system & ten martial classes (one of which is the assassin) :http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-glog.html?m=0

    Here are the wizards: http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-glog-wizards.html?m=0
  • Hej Flanellis♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

    that was definitely it! I had the time period wrong af because 2016 wasn't the date i wrote in my OP here. But I misremembered!♥

    In my vague memory of the rule, it had some problems and I was trying to think of ways to fix it. But... I think it's playable as is. It fixes the two problems I had forgotten that it fixed and that my vague memory had cooked up. 1. Having to explicitly walk offscreen solves the "but then, where are YOU?" q. 2. Having it be limited to "minor NPC" makes it so that they can be the vizier killing the king rather than just be the king.

    So my thinking for 5e is that...
    at 9th level, you get it with the limitation of the NPC can not have been pre-existing there.
    At 13th level, you get it but you can also replace minor NPCs by walking off.

    I just need to phrase this in a clean way...
  • edited June 14
    Here's my 5e port/ripoff of this power, blatantly working off text copy by GLOG by Arnold Kemp and text copy for the non-OGL:d 5e assassin class:

    Infiltration Expertise
    Starting at 9th level, you gain the ability to create false identities for yourself. At any time, you may declare that you are walking off-screen. Later on in the session, you may reveal yourself to have been a minor NPC in the background of the scene “all along” as long as there actually are minor NPCs in the background of the scene. You can always walk back on stage at any time, even climbing in a window. This ability is limited by plausibility. You can't have been seen at the same time as the NPC since they (are retroactively revealed to be) an alternate persona you've created and maintained. Creating a persona like this costs 25 GP and 7 full workdays, but, you can pay that retroactively, after the reveal, by removing any 7 days from your character's past and by paying 25 GP.

    Impostor
    At 13th level, you no longer have to create personas for your Infiltration Expertise, you learn to replace pre-existing people, body snatcher style. You need to study them for at least three hours.
  • edited June 14
    WIP, I want to find non-camera, non-theatre replacement terms for "off-screen" and "scene" and "stage"
  • "Scene" is a very good term that I feel no need to change myself, but if you wanted a more transparent term (that is, one that explains itself), then maybe something like "events being processed in first person perspective in the fictional space". "Event" for short.

    Alternatively, you could call it the "encounter" in D&D specifically. There is some basis for that. I've written a game text in Finnish that uses "encounter" instead of "scene". (Helps that the words have the same root in Finnish.)

    "Off-screen" = "out of scene", "downtime", "outside immediate processing radius", "dealt with in the abstract".

    "Stage" is just unnecessary, you can speak of the "location" or whatever you call the scene (the immediate fictional space being processed by play at the time) instead.
  • Oh, Eero, I already edited the text. Here is the new version:

    Infiltration Expertise
    Starting at 9th level, you gain the ability to create false identities for yourself. At any time, you may declare that you are walking off. Later on in the session, you may reveal yourself to have been a minor NPC in the background “all along” as long as there actually are minor NPCs present. You can walk back on at any time, even climbing in a window. This ability is limited by plausibility. You can't have been seen at the same time as the NPC since they (are retroactively revealed to be) an alternate persona you've created and maintained. Creating a persona like this costs 25 GP and 7 full workdays, but, you can pay that retroactively, after the reveal, by removing any 7 days from your character's past and by paying 25 GP.

    Impostor
    At 13th level, you no longer have to create personas for your Infiltration Expertise, you learn to replace pre-existing people, body snatcher style. You need to study them for at least three hours.
  • Starting at 9th level, you gain the ability to create false identities for yourself. At any time, you may declare that you are infiltrating an enemy's ranks.
  • edited June 15
    This is similar a MADCorp's Maddog class (but more flexible and interesting, agent 47 is more gameable than Jason Vorhees). Here are the two relevant class skills (I highly recommend reading the class list for interesting ideas, google MADCorp Employees Handbook).

    Where the fuck did he come from?
    Once per job, you can vanish from sight and reappear just where you are least expected – perfect for getting the drop on people who panic and run away, so that you can try to murder them. Anyone you do this to is automatically surprised, and Rattled to boot.

    Murder someone helpless or unsuspecting.
    Make a HIT check to murder someone helpless or unsuspecting. A successful murder kills the victim outright. The Ref must judge the prospective victim as helpless or unsuspecting. Someone who is tied up, has gone down, or has gone critical is automatically helpless, and anyone that you surprise, sneak up on, or hide and lie in
    wait for is automatically unsuspecting. On a bust, they notice you before you can do it, and you’re in a normal combat situation. Helpless victims don’t require a roll.
    You are +1 [advantage - Krippler] to murder if you use some dangerous feature of the surroundings, such as high-voltage wires, heavy machinery, or pointy things suitable for impaling. (See also the Slasher trait below). Witnessing a murder inflicts mental trauma. Partners are Rattled, except your buddies; they’re kindof used to it, but they still think you’re a fuckin’ psycho. Enemies are either Rattled, Harrowed, or Horrified, depending on how brutal the Ref judges your murder to be.
  • I think the 25gp/7 day thing is unnecessary. (And making it retroactive is awkward... like, do I need to intentionally do nothing for a few weeks to make sure that I have time to retroactively spend on this? And that may not make sense in the fiction--e.g. if the time spent occurred before I ever came to this place, and thus had an opportunity to start cultivating personas...).

    Having to declare "walking offstage" and then not being there immediately, seems like a good enough balance. You could certainly make this a daily ability (or similarly time-limited) if you are worried about abuse.

    An option for a higher-level ability: you don't have to declare that you've walked off-stage. You were there earlier, and nobody noticed you slink off when the you were out of focus in the scene, so to speak. This probably works best when it implies that you've somehow stealthily killed/KO'd the imitated NPC without anyone noticing--an almost supernatural effect.
  • edited June 15
    Val, I like that phrasing.

    The 25gp/7 day thing is from the 5e PHB version of these two class features.
    ditch it if you want. It's not there for balance purposes, it's there because it's cool to imagine the assassin doing this prep work. Like Elektra working for weeks and weeks mopping floors in The Redeemer.

    The assassin in my group thought it was cool, added some more verisimilitude to the features. It's like "Oh, I spent a week in Chult back in 1387 and that's when I created this persona". And when you are truly in a new place then you can't use this. And, it goes from 7 days & 25 gp to 3h & free four levels later.
    Stephen P said:

    And that may not make sense in the fiction--e.g. if the time spent occurred before I ever came to this place, and thus had an opportunity to start cultivating personas...

    The time spent need to be time there. Covered under the "limited by plausibility" clause.
    Stephen P said:

    An option for a higher-level ability: you don't have to declare that you've walked off-stage. You were there earlier, and nobody noticed you slink off when the you were out of focus in the scene, so to speak.

    Yeah, this is how I remembered the ability vaguely. You were, like, standing at the back of the group, behind everyone — or so they thought. But, since it's TotM, and everyone has their own mental picture of what's happening, you can lose a lot of the sense of presence if they had pictured you standing in front of them. That slinking away works great in a movie but not as well in a TotM game. This was actually one of the things I had in mind to fix but I didn't have to since the thing I wanted to fix was just in my misremembrance.

    OK so this ability would be 20% cooler if the other players don't know you had it. If out of the blue, no known ability, no loud declaration, you're just "suddenly, you see the cook wink at you, and put up her index finger in front of her lips in a silent shush". But distributing abilities without putting them in the PHB / houserule doc becomes a very different kind of game. Arguably other DMs have the chance to do this, if they have an assassin player and the other players in the group don't read S-G, you can send them this ability via email or something.
  • Stephen P said:

    do I need to intentionally do nothing for a few weeks

    Like, let's say you arrive to a truly new place. An underground city on the moon. Needing to take downtime to prepare seems pretty awesome to me! And in line with the PHB phrasing of the class feature.

Sign In or Register to comment.