Armor and Assassins

Quote from the assassin class:
“When wearing leather armor or lighter grab, an assassin may move silently, hide in shadows, and backstab as a thief of the same level. If wearing armor heavier than leather these abilities are not available.”

My question is can an assassin keep the backstab and other thief skills if wearing +2 ringmail? The magic armor would be lighter than leather.

I’m not an autarch but:

Rules as written this is not the way it ought to be interpreted: the armor categories are grouped in such a way that “leather and lighter” is a specific set of armors. Moreover, the assassin is, by default, only proficient with leather armor or lighter (IE: something providing AC2 or less).

That being said, if you were to change the wording to permit any armor weighing 2 stone or less, because it would require +2 armor and a proficiency to become able to wear the armor (assuming that exists, i might be mixing up editions), it would probably not be game breaking. If you were to do so, you should likely extend it to any class with backstab abilities, not just assassins.

“Moreover, the assassin is, by default, only proficient with leather armor or lighter (IE: something providing AC2 or less).”

This is actually incorrect; assassins are proficient with all armor (and all weapons, and shields and fighting styles, too. They’re Fighting 2 with no tradeoffs.)

That said, I am also not an autarch, and I agree with Jard’s conclusions.

oh that’s right, I forgot about that.

But yeah, to reiterate: we’re talking about a 5000gp investment that will net 1 more AC than most people, I don’t think it’s going to break the game, nor would it be crippling an assassin to not permit that slide.

Not an Autarch either, but put me firmly in the “Not Allow” camp.

Jard covers the rule-why-and-wherefores above. But I’d even argue the plain IRL logic alongside it… Just because that magic Ringmail is physically lighter than leather doesn’t mean it’s as quiet.

The official ruling is that it is not permitted. Every campaign being a law unto itself, feel free to change it if you’d like. (Just be ready for thieves to insist on being able to wear +3 chain, explorers to wear +2 plate, and so on.)

I understand hide and sneak being affected by armor but Backstab seems to a bit odd. Does the assassin forget his Backstab training if he wears heaver armor? Assassins do train in all armor.

Presumably the idea is that you can’t get the same level of surprise when wearing the heavy armor.

You can still stab them in the back, but you can’t get a perfect line up straight into a vital organ when they’re currently twisting around.

That’s certainly a reasonable interpretation. Because of the rarity of such armor and assassins being in the unique situation of having more armor proficiencies than their thief skills allow, you could reasonably allow assassins to backstab in heavier magical armor in your campaign without breaking the game.

I too vote for “not allow”. I already have to deal with magic-item tanked assassin-types without letting them get away with better armor, too. The elf nightblade IMC is the highest level and easily the most dangerous, and I’m still actually able to hit him occasionally in combat.

Are you finding the elven nightblade to be useful/successful in your campaign? I played an elven nightblade in a game up to about 4th level, but no one in my home games has leveled one beyond that.

The Nightblade in my campaign is only level 3 so far but he has an interesting advantage that I didn’t consider before: By getting spells at 2nd level he does not have to roll them randomly on character creation but can pick them.

is that how it works by RAW? I’ve been making my players roll for every new spell if I hadn’t already determined what the guild they’re going to knows (Which is usually determined by rolling randomly)

The RAW is that casters who gain levels 2-9 are taught new spells by their master or guild or what-have-you.

In other words, it is entirely up to the Judge what new spell they gain or what choice they have or otherwise how it’s determined. Letting them choose and determining randomly are both entirely acceptable.

(Personally, I have yet to actually run a game of ACKS, but I think I would roll randomly a few times for the master’s/guild’s repertoire and let the player choose between the generated options.)

Can’t edit, double post! Levels 2-8.

9th level or higher, you’re on your own.

Also, page cite: ACKS Core page 67.