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Onyx Path: [Trinity Continuum] Assassins preview 2: Assassins and their Code


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The Order of the Shadow

The Shadow is like a world unto itself hidden in parallel to the societies of Daylight and Twilight. The Societies form the bulk of this world, but the order that governs the Shadow is held together by three vital components: The Code is the foundation that binds all Assassins together and separates the killers from the beasts. The Service which arbitrates the Code and provides the functions necessary for the Shadow to survive in the modern era. Finally, there is The Contract, the kill itself, the one commonality among all Assassins. Each of these three pillars form the foundation for the modern Shadow, born from the ashes of the Worshipful Company’s violent order.

The Code

The World of Shadow is above the law — it is well beyond the reproach of any Daylight authority, and thus it must govern itself. In Twilight, criminals scrabble for territory and stab each other in the back. No one can be trusted. If Shadow followed the same haphazard structure, it would have long since collapsed. Since times immemorial, there has been only one rule of the Assassin’s Code, to honor your contracts. A contract is a promise, and so the modern Code is a contract between all the participants in the Shadow: a standard of behavior to which all Assassins from the secret masters to the newest recruits must adhere. Those who violate its tenets are marked anathema and cast out from Shadow, if not executed. An ejected Assassin is a liminal being with nowhere to belong in Daylight and unable to return to Shadow. Execution is a mercy.

The Code is based on the ancient social contract among Assassins, first codified into tradition by the Society of Leonidas and then put to paper by the Worshipful Company of Killers. In the modern day, the Service enforces the Code and does not hesitate to mark code-breakers anathema at the slightest offense. The following strictures make up the Code.

  • Rule the First: Do Not Kill Your Siblings-in-Arms. Assassins are a rare and precious resource. Slaying another is a grave sin, even if they are an enemy. The corollary to this rule is, of course, unless they are a contracted target, or they harm you first.
  • Rule the Second: Do Not Interfere in Your Siblings’ Conflicts. Forbidden from slaying each other, Assassins resolve their problems with formal duels: tests of combative skill with strict rules to determine the winner and loser. Do not interfere with a duel.
  • Rule the Third: Do Not Involve Others in Your Vendetta. Tensions run high in the world of Shadow, and bruised egos happen more often than not. If one must get even, do not drag your associate Assassins into it, and absolutely not drag your contacts in Twilight nor your family and friends in Daylight into the struggle. This also goes for targeting a rival’s contacts, friends, or family.
  • Rule the Fourth: Respect Neutral Ground. Places like Hotel Asylia (p. XX) host all residents of Shadow, regardless of their affiliation. While in an established neutral location, Assassins may not feud with, duel, or kill one another.
  • Rule the Fifth: A Contract is Sacrosanct. Do not question it. If you do not like the terms of a contract, do not accept it. Breaking a contract or betraying one’s employer is forbidden.
  • Rule the Sixth: Your Word is Binding. Assassins must treat their promises like a contract. If you swear not to harm someone, you must abide by that. If you swear a life-debt, you must answer the call when you are summoned.
  • Rule the Eighth: Death is Only for the Target. Assassins are precision instruments, not weapons of mass destruction. Claim too many lives and the general public of Daylight notices. Every Assassin is called to temper their bloodlust for their contracted target only. The corollary to this rule is that hired muscle, bodyguards, soldiers, enforcers, and other doers of violence hired to get between you and your target are fair game.
  • Rule the Ninth: Aim Carefully the Killing Arts. Do not raise your hand against a non-combatant. Targets employ dozens of Daylight innocents who have nothing to do with accomplishing your contract. Slaying clerks, assistants, servants, and other non-combatants is forbidden. They are to be bargained with or intimidated into silence, if they are in your way.
  • Rule the Tenth: Abandon your Daylit Life. Discussing the goings-on and the details of a life in Shadow is forbidden. Assassins should not reveal anything about their hidden world to the general public, their families, and especially not Daylight authorities. The Societies advise that Assassins cut their ties entirely, and warn that those who do not do so at their own risk.
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