Tuesday, October 13, 2009, 7:58 AM
So, today it's more that I am annoyed that people get hung up on names of classes in D&D. Before I go on I will put a disclaimer, this is not about all D&D players, hell it may only by 20 or so people out in the entire world wide player base of the game. This is not directed at your campaign where all assassins are evil because that is how you designed the world. This is for everyone that reads classes like the assassin and says "Great, now my players have an excuse to be evil" or "Oh you are playing an assassin? You are automatically evil".
You may have guess it but I am going to talk a little about Assassins. I have a great love for the Hashshashin (which was the original Shi'a Muslim group in the Middle Ages) I developed this love for them after reading The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam by Bernard Lewis and various other texts. The Hashshashin themselves were not evil. They were a group that was persecuted for their beliefs, and found a way to have their voices heard. The targets of this group were political in nature but not every assassination was actually carried out. The Hashshashins on several occasions would simply leave a golden dagger (their symbol) upon a sleeping targets pillow or in an area that only that target would go. This sent the message to the target was not safe anywhere. The actual assassins themselves were not 'evil' at worst they were lead to believe in a different interpretation of their core beliefs, at best they were protecting their people using techniques unheard of or unexpected at the time.
My opinion is that they were both, many were lead to believe in the glory for the cause, and to die in a spectacle after completing the job. Of course, this is the historical view of the assassin not the modern interpretation. Now, this short rant can be applied to many other classes in D&D, the Necromancer is a good example. I'll admit in my games the general stigma about Necromancers is that they are evil, but I do not preclude my player from being a good aligned one. It is the job of the pc at that point to change the attitudes of the npcs. Just to clarify the first Necromancers where diviners and spirit talkers for the Greeks, same for the Norse. Just Saying.
I suppose really all I am trying to say is don't get caught up on the name. If in your campaign world all Assassins and Necromancers are evil, that's fine that is part of what makes D&D enjoyable, the ability to make a world of your own. If, on the other hand, the Necromancer and Assassin are evil in your world because "They do unsavory things and that is how I know them," research them and other classes just a bit, it might change your opinion on them. I really ask that you also research it more if in your group/game you've ever had a good aligned Drow Rogue (or any class for that matter) and accepted it without question.