Today we’re back with another NPC for this week’s Exotic Encounters. It’s always important to have some good stock stat-blocks ready to go. While there are a variety of decent assassin stat-blocks for NPCs, I’ve found that they’re a bit lacking around the CR 12 mark, so this week we have an assassin tailor-made to fit the bill. Whether you like the character that it comes with or not, the stats are still good for a wide variety of games, and even the character himself is pretty easy to drop into just about any campaign.
Nicholas “One Nick” Dustrakov
This middle-aged man has dark hair, and sallow skin. His face looks as though he shaved recently, but not very thoroughly, with small tufts of hair and a thin coating of stubble. His clothing is unremarkable, except perhaps for a larger than usual number of pockets, and he wears a black hooded cape, though the hood is currently down.
NICHOLAS “ONE NICK” DUSTRAKOV, UNSCRUPULOUS ASSASSIN CR 12
Male human rogue 4/slayerACG 8
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +4; Senses Perception +15
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +4 Dex)
hp 60 (8d10+4d8-4)
Fort +6, Ref +14, Will +5
Defensive Abilities evasion, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 short sword +16/+11/+6 (1d6+3/19-20)
Ranged +1 shocking composite longbow +16/+11/+6 (1d6+3 plus 1d6 electricity/x3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +4d6, studied target (+2)
Str 14, Dex 19, Con 8, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +11; CMB +13; CMD 27
Feats Deadly Aim, Iron Will, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Skill Focus (Stealth), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +19, Bluff +16, Climb +13, Craft (alchemy) +13, Disable Device +15, Disguise +16, Knowledge (local) +13, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Sleight of Hand +19, Stealth +23
SQ expert poisoner, rogue talents (lasting poisonAPG, sniper’s eyeAPG), slayer talents (deadly range, foil scrutiny, poison use, rogue talent [powerful sneak]), stalker, track +2, trapfinding +2
Entourage solitary or assassination squad (Nicholas plus four other assassins with identical statistics)
Gear +1 shocking composite longbow [+2 Str] with 100 arrows, +1 short sword, +2 mithral shirt, arsenic (5 doses), drow poison (10 doses), giant wasp poison (8 doses), potion of fly, potion of invisibility (2), garrote, pouch with five small emeralds worth 100 gp each, 20 gp, 200 sp, and 50 cp.
Boon Nicholas does not work for free, but he does offer a 10% “friends and family” discount to the few individuals he feels either indebted to or friendly towards. He will also make and sell poisons at 75% of the market price.
Expert Poisoner (Ex): Nicholas is an expert at applying poisons. He increases the saving throw DC of any poison he uses by +2.
Garrote Specialist (Ex): Nicholas is a master of the garrote. He gains a +4 bonus to CMB for the purposes of initiating or maintaining a grapple with a garrote, and he treats his CMD as 4 higher for the purposes of any creature attempting to escape from a grapple in which Nicholas is in control and using a garrote. Further, Nicholas can begin using the garrote while in control of a grapple, even if the target is neither helpless nor unaware of him, although if he does so, he suffers a -4 penalty on his attempt to maintain the grapple that round (and the bonus for using the garrote does not apply that round, either). Finally, each round that Nicholas successfully uses the choke option with a garrote during a grapple, the target is treated as though he had held his breath for 1d4 rounds, rather than just 1 round, as Nicholas quickly squeezes the breath from his victim.
Nicholas is an assassin who has gained no small amount of notoriety in the criminal world for both his wide versatility of assassination methods, and his high success rate. Nicholas is fairly discriminating when it comes to what sorts of jobs he will take: while his standards in this matter are high, they have nothing to do with how much the target deserves to die, and everything to do with how realistic it is to expect him to be able to accomplish the job. He does not accept jobs that he does not think he can succeed at, and will also turn away requests to slay particularly public figures, or others whose deaths would be likely to lead to particularly extensive hunts for vengeance.
If he does accept a job, he takes his time, carefully learning his victim’s routine. He often prefers to use disguises and lies during this phase, rather than overt stealth, but will adapt his methods depending on the situation, and what seems more likely to get him what he needs without raising suspicion. From there, he determines the best plan of attack, from among the many methods available to him. His preferred method of killing is by lacing the victim’s food with arsenic poisoning (or, in some cases, using contact poisons, instead). If this seems unlikely to work, or is tried and fails, he typically prefers ambush attacks at a range in the dark, taking two or three shots with poisoned arrows and then fleeing into the night. Only if a direct physical fight proves truly necessary is he willing to do so, though he is actually an accomplished swordfighter. Even in these cases, he prefers to begin combat by firing poisoned arrows (typically drow poison) at a range, and then closing to deal the finishing blow.
While Nicholas has a reputation for always getting the job done, this is not entirely accurate, and is deliberately cultivated by Nicholas. In fact, while it is fairly rare, he does fail to kill a target from time to time, and determine that further attempts will be pointless. When this occurs, however, he typically takes it upon himself to remove his employer, as well as anyone else who would know about the job, and simply pretend the entire thing never occurred.
For the most part, Nicholas is married to his work, and doesn’t have much in the way of a personal life. He was married, but his wife died some time ago, and he has no children. He spends much of his off-time deep in his cups, living just lavishly enough to make good use of the fortunes he’s made killing for a living, but not enough as to be conspicuous.