[Trinity Continuum] Assassins preview 4: Masteries

What Are Masteries?

Masteries are special abilities that an Assassin learns as tools of her craft. An Assassin doesn’t just bend the likelihoods and probabilities around her, she cows them to her whim and breaks them. Masteries allow the Assassin to reach out into the world and warp it, creating circumstances and unlikely events that suit her purposes. Like Talents, she uses her Inspiration to do this, drawing on the Flux of the Continuum, but unlike Talents, an Assassin has control over her use. This is a deliberate act, one that would appear in Daylight as a fantastic display of unbelievable magnitude, but in the Shadows is just another day.

Masteries are deliberate and calculated actions. While Masteries often stem from training and skill, they are not beholden to those. An Assassin who has never searched for a quarry alone may have a Mastery that points her to his exact location. No amount of skill could do that for her. The Assassin knows that she has a power that no one else does, though she believes it comes from dedication to her training and whatever mystical propaganda her Society has fed her. In short, she recognizes her Mastery as beyond normal human capabilities, but she doesn’t necessarily recognize Inspiration, nor does she believe her own Masteries stem from the same place as other Assassins.

Masteries are a form of Dramatic Editing, though they don’t always require Inspiration to work. Many Masteries happen immediately, enhancing a particular action, though some last longer, either fundamentally changing the Assassin, or lasting for the duration of a job.

Types of Masteries

Masteries are broken down into three types: Preparation, Evaluation, and Execution. These represent the three stages of action that Assassins take when planning and executing a job. Preparation is the procurement of necessary items, communicating, information gathering, and anything that doesn’t involve finding and killing someone. Evaluation is tracking, observing, finding, and laying traps for a quarry. Execution is attacking, defending against, and killing a mark.

Masteries are further refined by duration as Constant, Hunt, or Momentary. Constant Masteries are always active and enhance the Assassin’s natural abilities to do something. They often come with a drawback if the Assassin does not act in a certain way, now that she has this Mastery. You do not need to activate a Constant Mastery, and they cannot be turned off unless encountering a power that would deactivate all of an Assassin’s Masteries.

Bespoke Disaster

Keywords: Hunt, Preparation

A seven-car pileup that leaves exactly one person dead. A propane tank explosion that bisects a corrupt politician while leaving his hairdresser shocked but unharmed. A fallen electrical wire which loses its current seconds after killing a famous general. These are your weapons, carefully assembled and readied.

System: Your Procedural actions gain access to the Sudden Demise stunt (p. XX), but each time you use it, it applies to the location where you’ve used the stunt. For example, if you’ve used your investigations in a subway tunnel to set up a wire snare in an attempt to decapitate a target when a certain train comes by, this will not help a separate attempt to kill them with an accident.

Killing Weapon

Keyword: Hunt, Preparation

Every Assassin knows the tools of the trade, and one weapon is just as good as any other when it comes down to it. There’s always that one knife, gun, or garrote that she keeps going back to because it’s never let her down. Using this weapon is now a ritual, and the Assassin’s reliance on it, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

System: The Assassin dedicates a specific weapon for the hunt. As long as she is on the hunt, she gains an additional +1 Enhancement when using the weapon beyond whatever other tags it has. Additionally, the weapon cannot break. Attempts to break it with a Gift or Mastery provoke a Clash. If the weapon is lost or stolen, it returns to the Assassin in the next scene.

No Barriers

Keyword: Constant, Hunt
Prerequisite: No Hesitation

Nothing stops the Assassin. Their bullets find ways through the most impossible angles; their barehanded strikes penetrate solid steel; their blades slice clean through concrete. Though the Society of Leonidas claims to have invented this Mastery, the Swarm perfected translating it to digital formats a few years ago, something they have tried to jealously guard.

System: While on the hunt, the Assassin can ignore all Field Complications that would impede her movement. Additionally, she can use the Cutting Through Stunt. Spend an Inspiration to use this Mastery to ignore Complications that would impede a digital investigation.

Cutting Through (1s): Destroy all cover your opponent is utilizing. If this cover is a permanent object, such as a wall or structure, the part the opponent is behind is destroyed, but the structure remains intact.

Without Ignorance

Keywords: Constant, Evaluation

Hunting Talents and stranger prey is a specialized skill; few survive to fail such a pursuit more than once. The Assassin’s senses and training focus on searching out more-than-human targets, and then turning traces of otherworldly energy to the Assassin’s own advantage.

System: The Assassin gains +2 Enhancement on all procedural rolls to identify or track Talents, other Inspiration- or Source-using individuals, and similar targets. The first time in a scene that the Assassin is in the presence or affected by a Gift or similar power, they may immediately heal an injury condition or gain a point of Inspiration. This does not apply to Assassins or Assassin Masteries.

A Message Delivered, Twice

Keywords: Hunt, Execution
Prerequisites: A Long Walk in an Old Coat and Worn Shoes Mastery

It is important to act with scrupulous clarity. Even a villain should not die without understanding why they are slain. Once they know, there is no severing the connection between their vile lives and your righteous action. Deliver the message, then reinforce it fatally.

System: You gain access to the And Now, Justice stunt for your attack actions while you’re on the hunt. You may make a target aware that they’re being hunted and of the reason you hunt them, whether through anonymous messages, public declarations, or other means. If you do so, they gain a point of the “Painted Target” Condition (p. XX). Every time they’re reminded of this fact through a different venue or means, increase the “Painted Target” Condition by 1. If you stop hunting them whether due to your own choices or externally imposed inability, the Condition resolves.

And Now, Justice (3s): The target suffers 1 Injury Condition or Health Box of damage for every point of the “Painted Target” Condition they possess. 

Good Manners

Keywords: Momentary, Execution

Every Assassin familiar with the methods of the Worshipful Company of Killers knows that explaining one’s technique both shows respect to your opponent and strikes fear into their heart.

System: At the start of any fight, you may explain your approach to battle, techniques, outlook, etc., to your opponent. When you do so, you make an Encourage Behavior roll, which may be made with Aim or Close Combat instead of the usual social skills. If successful, gain the target’s Attitude towards you after the roll as Enhancement to all attacks for the duration of the scene. Treat negative Attitudes as having a positive value for the purposes of this Mastery.

3 thoughts on “[Trinity Continuum] Assassins preview 4: Masteries”

  1. So, any chance you’ll reveal if there are any Stalwart/Nova analogs for this game, and if so, provide us with some choice examples?

    • I’m not anyone official, but this is specifically an expansion for Trinity Core, which means it’s gonna be focused on Assassins and Talents. If Assassins gets a Kickstarter (and there’s no guarantee it will) there may be something in a stretch goal companion book. But otherwise (and barring some future book), I wouldn’t expect anything like Stalwarts or Novas.


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