Assassins: Wanted Dead, not Alive

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A glimpse into a romantic lifestyle, from one who knows.

Assassins – Wanted Dead, not Alive


"Hi all, just ran someone down in the corridor. . . never bring a knife to a gun fight."

"I would make an awful spy, I'm paranoid from anyone reaching into their bag. . . but it's not paranoia if someone is out to kill you!"

"Hi guys, just been told I'm being hunted for crimes against humanity"

Erm. . . What Have You Been Doing?

Firstly, Relax. Over the last three weeks or so I have been annoying the volunteers, my h2g2 friends, anyone anywhere near me in real life and not a few innocent members of the public. In an attempt to know what on Earth is going on, and to try and distract me from my rambling I was asked to do a Post entry. . . fearing the consequences if I said no, I agreed. So in what was, and failed, to be a quick run through, I present the assassins guild.

As of a month ago I arrived at my university, already prepared for the inevitable deaths – I had spotted the assassins guild on the Student Union's website. In a bid to find out more, I made for the guild's stall. . . getting slightly distracted by the real ale society stall next door. . . but that's another story.

There, I was given a quick summary of both what the game was, and how we went about it. Much of what I was told however had to be recouped later as I was to busy staring at the largest nerf guns1 I had ever seen. I had thought that it was a case of loading a pellet, pulling the spring back, and pulling the trigger – 48 pellet drum clips for the machine guns were outside my expectations.

Well before the game could even start to commence we had two GIAG (Give it a Go) sessions. One of these would turn out to be a complete failure, one would turn out to be a brilliant afternoon, nevertheless I recklessly signed up to both paying the grand sum of a fiver. The two sessions were: The modding of a pistol with a spring and sealing the pistol more thoroughly – it turns out that girls are much better at this then boys.2. . .

The second session was of a more active variety. As well as the pure assassinations (which, yes, we are still to get to) our guild is responsible for the protection of my university against other heinous guilds who would dare to storm our campus. As such practice full scale battles are of course necessary. As such we now reveal a benefit of the guild – every other society at the uni has a president, a treasurer a secretary and another person. Our other person has been recognised by the university as "the armourer general". The man in question gains the title for holding onto the 15 machine guns, 20 clip carbines and numerous version of pistols and revolvers.3

The next three hours would be spent fighting a war up and down one of the student house occupied streets. With the only complaint silenced by an offer of a gun to join in the wars began. Standard versions, including pure annihilation and capture the flag were played with a bloodthirstiness that would have made a general wince. In one version of merely claiming land to win I gained acclaim and a series of bruises after "a suicidal stupid sideways dolphin dive without checking what was on the other side of the wall is always an acceptable tactic". The afternoon was finished off with several bouts of judge Dredd hide and seek – that is where four people with the machine guns hunt 30 people with a pistol and one shot.

And so, finally, we come to the assassinations. The original plan where each person is given targets rested on us having a working website, which ours was not – therefore that version of assassination, now starting will be the subject of a future post entry. The alternative version "madness" where each assassin (around 30 of us) is given each person's address and course was decided upon. Each death would be -5 points and each kill would be 10 points, with more dramatic kills given extra points. If you died you would come back to life at midnight.

Now firstly the rules for how to kill people should be given a quick summary lest my lines up above continue to be misinterpreted. Anything that "kills" a person without damaging them or their property is allowed. This means ranged kills from nerf guns.4 "Knives" are used – except knives are usually amusing things with "knife" written upon them. The student newspaper counts as a cosh, the spiking of a drink with salt is allowed (though it is suggested that doing this in a nightclub is a bad idea) and most impressive of all – ACME testing. . . have a look in your childhood for ideas. . . there is also one more method, from which i came to some grief.

I Begin My New Career

  • And so the bloodshed began. . . I didn't come very organised (what with my gun breaking in the modding session) – however I had laid my hands upon a very rubbery knife. A brief trip up a single flight of stairs and I was standing talking to two girls, one of whom was giving me a very odd look – having supplied a fictitious picture for identification my first hint was the "Oh @7:*! it's him, run!", my first advantage was when she hit her locked door and bounced off; assassins can't afford compassion and my first kill was claimed.

  • At that point I still moved around the campus quite calmly and upon coming to dinner my first killer struck – what was worse, I saw them coming but carrying a tray of food with nowhere to go i had to take the hit. And so I finished my first day 5 points in the black.

  • The next day I seemed to spend hunting zombies, despite setting out at 9am5 the two attempts I made were extremely successful kills were it not for the fact that the assassins in question were already dead for the day. The day was even worse as I left a lecture to be shot in the back.

  • The next couple of days were ineffective, with missed attempts both by me and at me. This lead me to attempt the one method I didn't list above, and it was a bold one. Using the addresses I used a web letter method to send letters "containing "deadly germs"" to each person. . . . . . . . . .It turns out that this stupid service uses nearly transparent letters – not one assassin opened the letter, and worse one was opened by a civilian – the death of a civilian is a notable breach of the rules. As such the guild was targeted against me in a very impressive rant speech by the guild master along with congratulations and the first achievement of the game (going postal) for the boldest attack in the guild's eight years – apparently no person has ever attempted to simultaneously kill every other assassin at once, if only it had worked.

  • The next four days were ones of hiding, amazingly despite no less than 11 failed attempts (three of which i didn't even notice) I survived, at the curtailing of every thought of going on the hunt. It was in this period in which certain people began to get deluged with updates from me, caged as I was. One important note is that one day I managed to avoid people very effectively by going on a real ale society trip (remember above?) to the Magic Rock brewery and surrounding pubs – five quid got each person two pints of amazing beer, a free pint glass and an amazing tour that would have been worth more than a fiver on it's own. . . back to the killing it is.

  • The next day, my gun arrived, the longest range of any non-modified gun, along with various clips and spare rounds. As such I went on the warpath. One person who was late to the game had not yet provided their address, however had made the mistake on talking to me on the first day of the term, as such thinking he was safe had asked how to get a gun – revealing his lack of armament. A trip up to his corridor had me wandering around to turn around to see an amorphous blob; not bringing glasses had been a mistake, however the blob made the mistake of running, working off the "only the guilty run" theory I pursued in a very dramatic chase, cutting him off and shooting to victory "never bring a knife to a gun fight". But the day wasn't finished! In what i would like to say was brilliant tactics but was actually luck I knocked on another assassin's door in the same corridor just as a non-assassin walked past – thinking she was safe the assassin walked out into a hail of bullets.

  • With the game drawing to a close I returned to the scene of my previous two killings; all of about 18 minutes later. While one appeared to have gone to sleep and I let them be the other opened their door without checking whether midnight had ticked round. After a good sleep I woke up to return to the kitchen of my first ever target and removed them again. As the evening of the day appeared I checked my post – having set the biggest of precedents I was somewhat wily of other people attacking me in my post, and the unsealed "Leeds Information" letter set alarms ringing, and again, a civilian opened the post – lo and behold another civilian was killed and I was no longer the only player targeted by the guild.

  • In the penultimate day I received the crucial assassin's weapon – a TITLE="Jolt">jolt – this tiny pistol fits very easily into any pocket but is unbelievably powerful for its size, as such every assassin walks around with one concealed. It saved my life as I nearly walked into an assassin and took him out at point blank. Feeling rather confident I fetched my larger (much more manly, ahem) gun and went to knock on another door. . . hearing the ka-chunk, ka-chunk as each round in a nerf revolver is loaded I back out and in a 10 yard shoot out got the first hit.

  • The final day the plan to take out every committee member failed as two of them had fled! One of them completely out of the country! As such as evening closed the blood finally ceased to flow.

While the après-game achievements are yet to be declared the points have been announced and despite the proclamation against me I still finished comfortably in the top third of assassins – the top assassin appears to not actually do anything all day, receiving one day a week with nothing at all to do but hunt the rest of us. One interesting effect, is that despite doing no posters, no advertising – and indeed we're quite secretive we've somehow become the most known society over the last couple of weeks – at least a thousand people have witnessed a death or attempted assassination and thousands more have seen people peering out of doors with guns to see if all is safe.

And so, to anyone else who gets the opportunity to play, whether at a uni, or in a workplace (I have heard of a few places that do it, not even counting The Office War (If you have five minutes spare, it's well worth watching)) or for the truly devoted there's a couple of cross city versions – do try it, the paranoia can make life interesting but a proper chase is always fun – and remember – your friends will love to hear about it! Enjoy!

Part of the armoury.
General Features Archive


05.11.12 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1That's foam pellet guns, for those without small children or small children students.2The modifications in question are perfectly legal but will well and truly destroy your warranty3The picture above is roughly one half of just the pistols held by the armoury.4BB guns, used to be allowed until the various unis agreed to stop their use – occasionally referred to as the Assassins conclave.5Painfully early for those of us in the student world.

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