Entering the Shadow: Becoming an Assassin
Most ordinary people do not wake up one day and decide to master the killing arts. It takes a special kind of person, one of the Inspired who has lived a life touched by violence and death. An Assassin could have been a professional killer before their Moment of Inspiration, but it is just as possible that they had little experience killing beforehand and must adapt to survive with their newfound skills.
Some Assassins were victims of violence, rather than its perpetrator, left for dead by a serial killer or pursued by killers themselves. Many grew up in environments suffused with violence and death, such as in deadly warzones, places torn apart by civil strife, among criminals, or even raised by other Assassins. A rare few are unfortunate people who have led otherwise sleepy boring lives, are suddenly drawn into a life-or-death situation. Inspired to survive, they overcome danger as an Assassin. These unlucky circumstances are always life-threatening (and somewhat traumatic).
Like Talents, their abilities develop with exposure to flux, but the circumstances of an Assassin’s life and Moment of Inspiration refine their manipulation of probabilities towards killing. Once Inspired, each Assassin finds themselves more capable of inflicting and surviving violence, but the heights of Assassin skill require training and dedication. Veteran Assassins seek out their juniors, schooling them in the basics of the Shadow, from the most fundamental training in self-defense to the Code that governs Assassin conduct, and even their first Masteries, the killing techniques practiced by Assassins.
An elder Assassin owes only a bare minimum of training according to the Code, but it is common for senior Assassins to scout out fledglings and offer more extensive training. The bonds forged during this time serve to help recruit fledgling Assassins into a Society, one of the organizations dedicated to training killers-for-hire and ruling the Assassin world.
The world of Assassins is our modern-day world. It takes place in the present. The cities and nationalities present within its world are our own, unchanged except by the imaginations of the Storyguide and players. However, this fictional version of the real world breaks down along three lines: Daylight, Twilight, and Shadow. These are descriptors for different parts of the setting that Assassins interact with. The lines between them are intentionally porous and characters freely move between them during Assassins chronicles.
This is the realm of Assassins. It is their hidden abode and base of operation. Shadow is not an alternate dimension or reality, or a shard of the real world. It exists alongside normal, day-to-day operations, but disappears beneath average scrutiny. The world of Assassins stands inaccessible to the people of Daylight (unless, of course, they are a victim of unlucky circumstances, see p. XX). An ordinary salaryman cannot accidentally make a reservation at Hotel Asylia, or stumble into a board room reserved by the Daughters of the Jacobins. The Inspired power of Assassins as a collective whole protects them. An Assassin can bring someone from Daylight into Shadow. Such a thing is not impossible. However, doing so puts the cultivated secrecy of Shadow at risk — a transgression that Societies do not look upon lightly.
All Societies, major and minor, operate out of Shadow. The major Societies control whole organizations, own businesses, hotels, and training facilities. These places exist in material reality but they do not exist legally. Of course, residents of the Shadow know each other and how to locate one another though hidden facilities and headquarters remain secret even among Assassins. If a person in Daylight has heard of something from Shadow, it’s in the form of an urban legend, an unbelievable post online, or a swiftly-discredited piece of independent journalism. Those who dwell in Twilight know that Shadow exists, and is populated by extremely powerful and impossibly deadly people. Criminal elements with contacts in Shadow abide by one very important rule: do not fuck with your Shadow associates. This doesn’t stop residents from ignoring this rule, naturally — a mistake for which they pay dearly.
From their vaunted, hidden bases of operation, Societies influence the power structures of the world. They select their targets from among the dangerous and powerful at the behest of those governments, corporations, and other organizations who can afford them. The masterminds in Shadow orchestrate unrest in another country, embed seconds-in-command who quietly pull the strings, and eliminate important opposition to their long-term plans. Assassins begin as the killing instruments of these hidden leaders, but may rise to seize power for themselves. Most Assassins choose to live a life of violence, and escape Shadow before it claims their lives but most aren’t that lucky. Doing so is a dangerous play, and a path strewn with countless enemies. No matter how a character approaches her life in Shadow, it’s never an easy trod.
Shadow and Flux
Where Assassins gather, the collective force of their Inspiration creates something like a barrier of Flux. This cordon of energy separates Shadow from the rest of the world. It makes everyday people drive past their glistening bases of operation and think wonder what people do there, then never consider the place again. Like any other continuum, this bubble of Flux affects temporal flow. The World of Shadow is every-so-slightly anachronistic, and thanks to this unusual manipulation, protects its residents from extra-dimensional problems. Anomalies like Francis Smith (Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook, p. 141) do not appear within Shadow. However, this does mean that antiquated technology and weapons — like oil paintings or phonographs or swords — see regular use. Characters with the ability to sense the presence of flux might be able to identify a location as belonging to Shadow by its unusual energy. They’d be wise to leave it well enough alone, though.
14 responses to “[Trinity Continuum] Assassins preview 1: Assassin Lore”
Need this book, please! Ian! Give me the book!
OMG! Oh… my… god…
Shadow intrinsically generates Somebody Else’s Problem Fields?
So if you’re in the Shadow, but then you meet someone, get out into Daylight, but your someone dies, and then some jackass kills your dog, you’re back? Yeah, you’re thinking you’re back?
I think we all know not to shoot the devil in the back.
I’m thinking you’re back.
Well this teaser just made me tremendously more excited for Assassins than I was before!
(shows hands full of money)
This is amazing
So basically a great in-universe explanation for John Wick’s High Table.
Oh wow, that’s some clever writing to explain alot of things that happen in John Wick. I’m very interested in this