Thursday, October 22, 2009

Know Your Rogue Lore: Stormwind Assassins

Last week I had questions as to why the segment of KYRL was so SHORT. Basically it was because if I expanded it I started getting into lore from both another faction AND an individual which ended up with the segment being both to long AND to involved. Instead I opted for one short one and two other longer ones. I stated with SI:7 because of the three players will have the most direct contact with its lore and there by a frame of reference.

The Stormwind Assassins on the other hand is one of those organizations whose presence is FELT within the game. The actions of its members directly effect the world we play in but the majority of the major players are neither known by nor have a place in the on line game.  In fact the majority of on line players will have absolutely no idea of its existence. Most recently they were mentioned in the World of Warcraft Comic Book one in which Lady Prestor sent one of the assassins after Lo'Gosh the Gladiator. Valeera, one of Lo'Gosh's companions was able to dispose of the assassin (more by way of LUCK than actual skill.)

So who exactly ARE these individuals and where did they come from?

The Stormwind Assassins claim to be one of the oldest surviving organizations on Azeroth. Their existence predates any of the wars as well as the Alliance itself. The human nation of Stormwind's leaders realized that they were restricted by their own laws to do everything they might want in dealing with certain situations. One of it's nobleman, a man by the name of Erwill Youngton reportedly came up with the idea of recruiting from within the prisons and building an organization that could do this type of work for them.

Youngton located the PERFECT individual in Pathonia Shaw. A professional thief for the thrills, the offer of clemency to do what she loved best LEGITIMATELY was just to tempting. Further more Youngton allowed Shaw to organize the society as she saw fit with only her having complete knowledge of all of its members. Shaw began recruiting a very select collection of thieves, spies and assassins. Her requirements were simple but tough: The thrill along with a steady pay check needed to be enough or you were not considered. She wanted individuals who could be loyal to the "family" as she called it. Trustworthiness is all important along with a desire to serve. Recruits are subtly tested on everything from skills to morals. As a result this small group is totally dedicated to the Alliance and its goals.

Of course there was no way to keep such an organization COMPLETELY secret, not and have it do the job it was intended. So the general population of Stormwind is VERY aware that it exists. Rather than make the Stormwind Assassins a organization to be feared Shaw instead worked to have its image be one of shadowy protectors, talented fighters who work alone to make sure that the general population of Stormwind is kept safe and the wicked ones made to suffer wherever they hide. Consequently sometimes the children of even wealthy parents (like Edwin VanCleef) would become thieves in hopes of becoming assassins themselves. It got so bad at one point that the prisons were literally full of "would be assassins" hoping to be recruited.

Shaw retired about 10 years ago and left the Assassins organization to her Grandson Mathias whom she had carefully groomed from infancy for the job. When Mathias first took over he spent the first couple of months attempting to "improve" on his Grandmother's design only to finally concede her plans only required him to keep a steady hand at the reigns. Pathonia designed the Assassins into a five branch group using the image of a fist grasping a dagger as her inspiration. The thumb is made up of about thirty older rogues including Mathias and deals with the general management and leadership of the overall organization.

The other four fingers make up the general rank and file and consist of about 500 rogues each. The First Finger is the highest level a rogue can reach before entering leadership or retiring and deals with assassinations. The Second Finger specializes in "acquisitions", this involves either returning stolen goods to their rightful owners or removing powerful items from individuals it is best to keep living for the time being. The Third Finger focuses on espionage, often working closely with the First and Second fingers, they gather information, will read and memorize information with out actually removing the documents, as well as serving as look outs or distraction providers while others conduct their work. The final finger, or the Fourth Finger are your "Jack-of-All-Trades" and new recruits. This branch is about twice the size of other three fingers and handle more low profile things such as body removal and disposal, alibi establishment, along with recruitment.

Since the Assassins are based in Stormwind and focus more on the human interests their range of influence is a little more limited than Mathias Shaw's other organization SI:7. (Though of course the two DO interact and Shaw certainly used his Grandmother's organizational skills when developing SI:7.) The Assassins really only have influence in Elwynn, Redridge and Westfall. Areas directly under Stormwind's control. However they have conducted jobs in such places as Duskwood and Deadwind Pass.

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