Night Scale Assassin by Dmitry Burmak


Night Scale Assassin, by Dmitry Burmak

HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.” —Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

I find it mildly discouraging sometimes how oft-sexualized female assassin characters have become throughout art and movies. The James Bond movies have kind of popularized the sexy murderess trope to the point that it’s hard to find a lady assassin in an outfit less revealing than a zipped-down leather cat suit. It’s not so much the sexiness that bothers me as the gratuity—just because a woman can kick ass and kill people in a tank top and leather shorts doesn’t mean that she should, doesn’t mean it’s a smart idea. And while seduction is certainly a viable means of assassination, I feel like in general women in the assassination trade should be as professional as in any other career field. All in all, I found Dmitry’s refreshingly well-clad assassin’s battle preparedness to be far sexier than—and a welcome contrast to—the exposed cleavage and bare midriffs.

I set our golden-haired killer into a category that I tend to refer to as the combat assassin, as distinguished from the shadow assassin. Where the shadow assassin prefers to slip in and slay her target without a fight and vanish without a trace, the combat assassin swoops in and takes out her target, the target’s bodyguards, and possibly any nearby witnesses. (It’s a difference of style, really, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.)

assassin2I think the armor is the main factor that establishes our pretty murderess as a combat assassin. She anticipates the likelihood of being in a scrum with the palace guards and dresses accordingly. Her armor is a very solid-looking set of hardened leather plate strapped to a soft leather shirt and tights. That slender, elven neck is protected by a leather collar while a leather cuirass protects her torso. I like, too, the attention to joint protection with additional padding at her shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. Her gloves are fingerless, for better handling of her weapons, potions, and other tools of her trade. And her leather boots should be sturdy enough for climbing and combat but flexible enough for stealthy entries and daring escapes.

The mini-crossbow is kind of a neat and easily concealable weapon, and likely not the only weapon she has on her. Interestingly, our Night-Scale Assassin keeps her assassination tools on the outside of her outfit, rather than hidden away in a cloak or backpack. The tradeoff being that they are easily accessible when she needs them, but exposed to damage during infiltration or combat. The pouch at her waist may contain anything from extra bolts to throwing knives to garrotes to additional potions and poisons. The vials strapped to her hips and cuirass look to be alchemical in nature, which could entail to anything from poisons of various effects and potencies; potions of healing, invisibility, or haste; acid flasks; or smoke screens.

I love the smug look on our comely assassin’s face in this image. It’s the look of someone who knows she’s just succeeded: her target has his back turned, his Ring of Protection is at home, and one of his bodyguards is relieving himself around the corner. In seconds this will be over. Thanks to Dmitry for letting me borrow his assassin, and thanks for reading, everyone. Stay awesome and take care of yourselves and each other!

Image by Dmitry Burmak, copyright of Paizo Publishing. Used with permission.

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