Assassination, Kidnapping, Seizing and Cursing
Dirty Deeds (DD) such as kidnapping and assassination had their place during the Hundred Years War. It was by any standard a brutal era. But it also was an era of chivalry and one that set deliberately high moral standards for precisely those nobles that, on occasion, indulged in DD's. How can these two conflicting impulses be reconciled or, as to the point, how can DD's be used (or abused) within the game?
The immediate advantages of DD's are easy to summarize. If you succeed in a kidnapping, you can demand ransom for your prisoner. If you enjoy success in an assassination, an able adversary is dead. If you are fanatical about it, you can murder an entire noble family and drive your opponent into playing another position entirely in some cases.
The disadvantages of DD's are not so obvious, but are substantial. The most immediate one is that you open the door to DD's against you. You had better be ready for the Night of the Long Knives if you draw your dagger first. Second, your king might disapprove. He will if He has any sense, because despite the in-game penalties for killing royals, the rewards for doing so (especially English royals) are often so much greater that the daggers come out anyway. Third, the Church will almost certainly disapprove and will apply sanctions. These may or may not be immediately problematic, but they will be so eventually.
As a rule, then, the successful kingdom will sanction and employ DD's only under one of two conditions: 1) It has nearly lost the war, and it has nothing to lose by drawing daggers and trying to catch a superior adversary unawares, or 2) It has nearly won the war and seeks to crush the spirit of its opposition by eliminating its key centers of resistance.
Able players will understand that even in these two circumstances DD's may not be ideal. A losing French side will almost always find the Joan d'Arc rule preferable to a DD war. A winning English side will never want to jeopardize its royal line and so will have great incentive to avoid DD's. A winning French side will never have any need for DD's. Think about why in this case.
That said, Dirty Deeds may be attractive for short-term and emotional reasons to a particular position. In such cases, it will be up to the Royals to figure out if the interests of their kingdoms are served by DD actions (as I've developed above, the usual answer is no) and to act accordingly. Between two even kingdoms, DD wars encourage more DD's and radically limit the use of days in conventional warfare. Besides yielding a futile stalemate, such wars often yield a dull game. (M. Barnhart/HYW Scribe)
Assassinating, kidnapping, seizing and cursing are very similar in execution. When chosen these options will display a list of all of your NPCs with their locations asking you to choose which one is to be your Assassin/Kidnapper/Cursor/Seizer. Once you choose an NPC, then a list of the available victims in that Fief where the NPC is will be displayed. All of these options, save seizing, are considered highly despicable and underhanded, so much so, in fact, that the Game will put your NPCs through a loyalty check before executing the action. Your NPC may very well quit your service rather than perform one of these acts. Even if the attempt is made, your NPC may fail, or more likely, fail and be captured by the intended victim. Your servant can then be tortured into revealing your identity.
Anyone with an army, or in a locked keep, cannot be touched by any of these dirty deeds.
Assassination- Killing another character using one of your NPCs. This is tough to do successfully. Even if you are successful, you still stand a good chance of getting outlawed and/or excommunicated. Then again, perhaps you won't. It all depends upon how well connected you are. An NPC with high assassin skills, and speaking the language of the fief the victim is in is your best choice. You can also succeed with sheer weight of numbers (dozens of assassins, sent one after another).
Kidnapping-Taking prisoner another character using one of your NPCs. Similar to assassination, but more difficult to achieve.
Seizing- Arresting another character in one of your fiefs, using one of your NPCs. Seize functions similarly to Kidnap but carries no stature hit and only functions for NPCs in Fiefs you own or Manage. The King of France and the King of England may seize anywhere within the boundaries of their respective Kingdoms. Seizing has a much higher probability of success than kidnapping.
For kidnapping and assassination, the intended victim will not run away while you make your attempt, unless, of course, the player in question comes on line while you are making your attempts and moves the victim away. Seize victims, on the other hand, will move away after each attempt.
Cursing- This feature is based on the rampant superstition that infested the Medieval period. If you have an NPC that has the evil eye skill or sorcerer skill they can place a curse on someone. Hired NPCs can only curse other hired NPCs. Family members may curse anyone. To curse someone you must be in the same fief as the intended victim. The curse has a chance of taking effect dependent upon the level of the skill. If you have both skills the higher of the two skills is used. So if you have a skill of 8 you have a 80% chance of success. If the curse is successful the amount of health damage done is between 0 and 5, again dependent on the skill level. The damage is calculated via the following formula: skill level/ 9 * 5
If the curse is successful it is reported to the personal herald of the PC who was cursed. It is only reported to the public herald if the NPC fails a check based on guile and skill level. The reason for this is that someone can accuse someone of cursing them, but without proof in the public herald the resultant confusion is very interesting and quite historical, especially when the Pope has to sort it out. Those that have the Evil Eye, Sorcerer, Stupidity, or Superstition skills are more likely to be affected by a curse. Those that have Healer, Healer Extraordinare, Piety Extraordinare, and Piety will be less affected or not affected at all. If you have none of these skills the highest hit you can take is a 4, reflecting the superstitious nature of the time. Remember a Four hit would only come if you had none of the above skills and the curser had a skill level of 9 in Sorcerer or Evil Eye.