Cloak & Dagger The Assassins' Guild: Unofficial FAQ v0.2

Please note that this FAQ is intended as an introduction to the game of Assassins for the knowledge-hungry newcomer and not as a substitute for the official game rules, which everyone who intends to play should have read in full. Obey, or know umpirical wrath!

What's all this about, then?

The Cambridge University Assassins' Guild plays a game every Michaelmas and Lent term, in which each player is given the names of other players in Cambridge and has to hunt them down and "kill" them using a variety of simulated assassination techniques such as water pistols, cardboard knives and imitation bombs and poisons.

About this document

This is version 0.2 of the Unofficial Assassins' FAQ, which is intended to act as an introduction to the guild and its traditions. It's aimed primarily at students in Cambridge who might be interested in getting into the game but find the prospect somewhat daunting or confusing, but some parts might be of interest to others such as assassins from other universities who are interested to see how our game compares to theirs.

Who wrote this?

The original version of this FAQ was written by Jonathan Hogg, who graduated from Cambridge in 2004 with an almost-unblemished track record of swift but spectacular deaths, by which time the FAQ had barely been touched in many moons and was already out of date. The version you're reading now was written early in 2005 by Adam Biltcliffe, who doesn't mean to make a habit of maintaining it.

The game of Assassins

Do I have time to play?

Dubious medics seem to ask this question a lot, but the time commitment is only what you make it. You could spend several hours a day researching your targets, scouting out their residences, building elaborate weapons and hiding in ambush behind a fence, but you're equally welcome to forget about the game for a few days at a time, then when you're bored one evening, wander over to a target's room and see if you can trick them into opening the door. The Umpire usually asks that players make an attempt every week to keep the game moving, but that's it (and, at least to start with, that attempt need only take five or ten minutes).

How much does it cost?

It's free! It doesn't really cost anything to run the game (other than time), so we don't ask anyone to pay for it. That said, most assassins at some point will probably spend a few pounds on some sort of weapon, although it's perfectly possible to do well using weapons constructed from materials commonly available in the student study-bedroom.

How do you kill people?

There are a whole host of ways specified in the rules, which you should read at some point if you're going to play. Broadly, they break down into direct weapons (knives or guns that you go up to your target with and stab/shoot them) and indirect ones (poisons and traps that you can leave for the target and then escape before they return). If you have any innovative or silly ideas for ways you should be allowed to kill people, you can ask the Umpire to approve them - generally he or she will be happy to unless your creation is dangerous (eg. a BB gun) or unfair (a voodoo doll that makes the target fall down dead instantly wherever they are).

Where do you get weapons?

Knives and coshes can be made from bits of paper and cardboard. Find a big cardboard box, and you've got yourself a fridge that you can drop on someone. Poison letters require only some paper, an envelope and some flour, talcum powder, vaseline or glitter.

The only thing that can be hard to get hold of is guns. There used to be a shop on Green Street which sold a variety of suitable toy weaponry, but unfortunately it's now gone out of business. You may get by with a cheap unpressurised water pistol of the sort sold in toy and joke shops, and you can usually buy some sort of supersoaker in John Lewis or Argos during the summer months. Rubber-band guns, the other common weapon, can be ordered online for about ten pounds each from a variety of web sites. Should you decide that more specialised weapons are needed, many of the classic Assassins weapons (including CPS 2000s, Nerf Wildfires or Powerclips and XP215s) can sometimes be found on eBay.

How can you stand being on your guard all the time?

You don't have to be on your guard all the time. Certain areas, like lecture theatres, are permanently out-of-bounds for reasons of sanity, and events like supervisions and society meetings are also excluded. You are, of course, also perfectly safe while in your own room, as long as you take the simple precaution of locking the door (and closing the windows, although this is usually only necessary if you live on the ground floor).

And remember, there are only three people trying to kill you. They might be very dedicated, but if you're wandering down a backstreet in Cambridge where no-one you don't trust has any reason to think you might be, you're probably safe. Unless you're really deadly serious about making sure no-one but no-one can get to you, you only really need to be careful when you're somewhere predicatble like outside your room or your lectures.

What happens when you kill someone?

Well, they die, and generally you feel a well-deserved sense of accomplishment, particularly if you've spent a lot of effort tracking them down or setting them up. Then you send an email to the Umpire telling them who you killed and how. If they were one of your three targets, you'll then be sent a new target to replace them (this also happens if someone else kills one of your three targets — at least until the game gets down to a handful of players, you'll always have three targets at a time). If they weren't one of your targets, this redistribution of targets will still happen, but since you're not due a new target, you probably won't notice. If you kill one of your own assassins in self-defence, you'll get a new assassin instead (but obviously, you won't know who it is).

Of course, if the person you killed wasn't your target and you didn't have an excuse for killing them (like them trying to kill you, or carrying a gun where you could see it), you might have been put on the "wanted list", which means that everyone in the game is now trying to kill you. This is a bad thing to happen and you probably won't live very long, which is why it's always wise to make sure someone is actually your target before you kill them.

What happens when you die?

Well, you drop out of the game, and normally send a report to the umpire lamenting your death or making an excuse for the totally unforeseeable set of circumstances which led to your being off your guard. Depending on the ruling of the Umpire for that particular game, you may or may not be allowed to help out your still-living assassin buddies to some extent, although never to the point of bearing weapons or attacking people.

Alternatively, you could ask the Umpire to be resurrected as a member of the police force, whose job it is to hunt down criminals (people who break the rules in minor ways, like killing the wrong target) and incompetents (people who make so few attempts that they need to be killed off to keep the game moving). This is a fun thing to do and a good way to meet some other assassins and go out on assassination attempts where the stakes are slightly lower. Umpires vary, but often you will be allowed more than one life in the police force if you're sufficiently enthusiastic in your first one, so you don't need too worry too much about taking risks for the sake of fun.

What are/were bombs?

Bombs were a type of weapon which used to be allowed in the Assassins game, consisting of devices which made "bang" noises when triggered by, for example, the target opening their door. However, although bombs were always supposed to be labelled as harmless imitations, college authorities were understandably unhappy on the rare occasions when someone got the wrong end of the stick and managed to mistake a bottle of lemonade labelled "FAKE BOMB" for a real terrorist threat, and so bombs have recently been removed from the rules. Since the bomb rules were one of the most complicated and poorly-understood parts of the rules (for example, the blast radius of a bomb was a linear function of the logarithm of its volume), as well as the fact that they almost never killed wary players and when they did it was usually in contentious circumstances, the removal of bombs from the game is felt by many, although not all, to be quite a good thing anyway.

What's this about banned weapons?

There are certain weapons which have been used in past Assassins game and are now, for one reason or another, not allowed. Sometimes this happens because we no longer want particular weapons or players holding them to be seen for safety reasons — bombs (see above) were one case of this; another is the restriction on cap guns which look like real ones. Due to new firearms legislation you can now be arrested for carrying these around visibly in public. (Yes, even if they have one of those orange bobbles on the end. Yes, even if they're painted bright pink — real criminals do actually do that to confuse police officers. Sorry.)

The other reason weapons are disallowed is because they break the game. The classic example of this is poisonous baby rubber hedgehogs, which were small bouncy balls which could be thrown down corridors in handfuls. When these entered widespread use, it quickly became clear that they were stupidly powerful in indoor fighting and everyone would need to have some, so they were taken away again to stop the game being ridiculous. Other things which have been removed include poison gas (which caused lots of arguments as to whether people could smell it or not, and led to lots of aerosols being sprayed around which were dangerous to people with athsma) and body armour (which was removed because it turned the game from one about sneaking around and getting the jump on your target to one about having protracted firefights in the streets).

What's a pseudonym?

An important part of the game of Assassins is that your targets aren't supposed to know that you're after them. Since it's possible that you might try to kill them and fail, to avoid giving the game away at the first opportunity, the reports of your attempts on the assassins website are normally published under a pseudonym, which is an alternative fake name you choose for yourself.

You only get one pseudonym to start with, so it's a good idea not to make it too obvious whose it is. One way to avoid getting your pseudonym in the news too much is to ask to use your real name in reports where it doesn't matter so much (because everyone else involved is dead, or because the attempt was on you and so the assassin obviously knew who you were anyway). You can ask the Umpire that attempts people make on you always be reported under your real name, if you don't mind people knowing that you're playing.

You normally get an extra pseudonym for every two players you kill. If you have more than one pseudonym, you can choose which you'd like to use for any given event (and if you keep using both frequently, you're more likely to maintain the illusion of those pseudonyms belonging to two different people). Generally, if you have more than one pseudonym, you should tell the Umpire which one you want to use every time you make a report, or he or she will have to guess and may not end up doing what you intended. Note that you don't get pseudonyms for legally killing innocents, and may or may not get them for killing police or illegally killing other players, depending on the current Umpire's ruling.

A pseudonym can be essentially any string of text, with one exception: you're not allowed to use the real names of people likely to be involved with Assassins as a pseudonym. You can use pseudonyms which look like real names, but Umpires are usually willing to tell anyone who asks whether a given name on the website is a pseudonym or real name. Pseudonyms can, in theory, be arbitrarily long, but really long pseudonyms have been done before and tend to just annoy people by making an untidy mess of the news pages.

There are a few people who sign up with the same pseudonym in every game. In general, this isn't a brilliant idea if you're playing semi-seriously, since if everyone knows it's you, you're not really gaining any advantage from using it. However, there have been occasions in the past where players have stolen someone else's favourite pseudonym and used it to successfully impersonate them.

Getting involved

What do you guys do besides try to kill each other?

We're actually quite a sociable lot — many assassins are friends outside of the game, and there are often social events such as parties and pubmeets during the game as well as at the end (and sometimes the start) of each of the main games. The assassins game tends to attract a certain kind of person (by which we mean the sort who enjoys silly and slightly geeky pastimes, rather than the sort who thinks guns are cool), and if you're the kind of person who the game appeals to in the first place then you're quite likely to find some kindred spirits.

Why would I want to hang out with a bunch of gun-toting psychos?

You'd be surprised how pacifistic most assassins are outside of the game. Admittedly, you'll probably find that they talk about assassins a lot, but normally it's about the funny situations people got themselves into, rather than how cool it was that they wrought so much simulated violence on their hapless targets. We may arguably be geeks, but we're not psychopaths.

How do people ever meet each other if you're always hiding behind locked doors?

Well, very few people manage to live through the whole game, and many assassins make a point of having a bit of a chat with the people they kill or are killed by. Assassins social events that take place during the game are generally ruled out-of-bounds so that people can come along without fear of being killed, and players who want to meet up during the game are quite at liberty to agree between themselves not to kill each other. Assassins in general are very sympathetic towards the desire to see one's friends without constantly being in fear for one's life, and take a very dim view of people who break no-kill agreements made for social purposes.

The newsgroup

For those who've not come across one before, a newsgroup is like an online discussion forum to which people can post messages. The assassins game has one, called, and Appendix B of this FAQ gives instructions for finding it. The newsgroup doesn't tend to see much use, but is occasionally used to post important messages and to invite discussion on matters relevant to the game. Since there's no official committee in charge of running the society, such democracy as we do enjoy tends to take place on an ad-hoc basis such as this.

The IRC channel #assassins

IRC, for those unfamiliar with it, is essentially an online chat system in which people join a channel (like a chatroom) and can send messages to other people on the channel. There's an unofficial IRC channel on the SRCF server called #assassins, instructions for accessing which can be found in Appendix B. Although technically this channel has nothing to do with the game, many assassins can be found chatting there at all times, not just during the game and not only about matters relevant to assassins. The IRC channel tends to be the focus of many social activities and a good way to find out if anything is going on.

For details of a few other online resources mostly relevant to the #assassins IRC channel, see Appendix C.

History, background and foreign affairs

How long has this been going on for?

The Guild has records (accessible via the website) of games going back as far as Lent 1993, which we believe makes us one of the older university societies. It's thought that there were games of "killer" played before then by the CU Science Fiction Society and others, but they probably only involved a handful of players and bore little resemblance to the games played today.

Are there any other guilds?

Many! Popular rumour has it that the game originated at MIT; certainly an organisation called the Assassins' Guild plays a game there at the moment, although it's not a great deal like ours, focusing more on role-playing and less on killing at all costs.

There are also several other guilds in the UK, although none as old as ours; although Durham claim that they were the first Assassins' Guild in the UK, their ruleset clearly acknowledges that it is based on ours, so this claim seems suspect. Durham's game is somewhat different, with much less intrigue and rules-lawyering; notably, they only issue one target at a time, generally making alliances impossible.

At the time of writing, we had recently had some contact with the Oxford Assassins' Guild, who have a style even further removed from ours, focusing on lighthearted day-long or week-long killfests instead of six-week elimination games. The Sheffield Assassins' Guild is also thought to be still functioning, despite some recent trouble with university authorities. The Cambridge guild webpage contains a list of links to other guilds' sites, which may or may not be up-to-date.

I want to start a guild!

Excellent! Being one of the more prominent Assassins' Guilds in the UK, occasionally we get approached by people from other Universities or similar institutions, who want to start a Guild of their own and often want general advice, or, quite frequently, permission to borrow our ruleset. We're always happy to provide the former; as for the latter, you're probably welcome to it provided that we continue to get credit for it, but be aware that our rules are somewhat heavyweight and complicated and contain a lot of stuff that another guild would quite possibly never need. If you're just starting up, you're likely to have a smallish number of keen players; it's likely that one target each will work fine, particularly if most of the players know each other, and you probably don't need to worry about things like competence just yet. In any case, if you're after general suggestions for setting up a game in your area, you're welcome to drop by the #assassins IRC channel (see Appendix B) for a chat with some of our players.

Does this have anything to do with Terry Pratchett? Did you get the idea from the Discworld novels?

Although there are a great many Pratchett fans in the Assassins' Guild, it's not thought that his writing had any relation to the invention of the game. It is possible, though, that the name of the guild was adopted in a nod to the respected Ankh-Morpork institution.

Appendix A: Glossary of terminology and in-jokes

An agreement between players to work together in the Assassins game. Usually this includes a no-kill agreement (see below) but also often an agreement to help one another in other ways, eg. by exchanging target information, accomplicing one another on attempts, etc.
Any activity which an assassin undertakes in order to try to kill someone, ranging from sending a poisoned letter to hiding in a bin for three hours.
To break off an alliance or dissolve a no-kill agreement with someone in a rather terminal way. Frowned upon by many assassins.
The practice of saying "bang" while pointing a gun at someone at point blank range without actually firing it in order to kill them. In situations where the target is unaware of the attacker, this avoids the unpleasantness of having to actually shoot them (from point-blank range, rubber-band guns may sting a little, and no-one wants to be shot with a CPS if they can avoid it). Wise assassins will make bang-kills wherever possible, since doing so removes the possibility of missing or of one's gun misfiring unexpectedly.
Generally short for "bearing weapons". In Assassins, you are allowed to kill anyone you see obviously holding a weapon, to discourage people from waving them around in public, so "he was bearing" is an acceptable reason for being allowed to have shot someone not technically your target. Police can also kill people for bearing, although Umpires tend to come down forcefully on people who abuse this by doing things like teaming up with players and then shooting them when they get their guns out.
A giant rubber-band gatling gun which was once owned by Games & Puzzles, used rarely in games and not known ever to have killed anyone. When the Durham guild raided Cambridge in 2003, they made it a key point of their strategy to capture the BFRBG; unfortunately they were not able to use it effectively due to the fact that it was useless, and so they were swiftly exterminated.
Bourbon creams
Archetypal type of biscuits to give to the Umpire as a bribe. Note, however, that all Umpires are impartial and incorruptable.
Bad Poison Letter. Generally, one so unsubtle that it has no hope of killing anyone because, for example, it has vaseline soaking through the envelope. Nevertheless, people do die to BPLs, and anyone paranoid enough to avoid one is not all that much more likely to be killed by a more carefully-constructed letter; accordingly, many assassins use the term "BPL" to refer to any poison letter.
Constant Pressure System, a range of supersoakers from Larami. All CPS weapons are extremely large and unsubtle (the CPS 1000, the smallest model, is a couple of feet long and can just about be hidden under a sufficiently shapeless coat, but the CPS 2000 is about twice the size and doesn't really work as anything other than a mobile gun emplacement). However, they have a long range compared to most assassins weapons and so are useful to have in a firefight, if you can find a way of carrying one around with you. Nevertheless, most assassins nowadays rarely carry one in a main game unless they have a special use for it, such as setting up an ambush (during Mayweek, patrolling the streets of Cambridge with the largest weapon you can get your hands on is not uncommon).
What most Assassins props are. This was more relevant when bombs were used in the game, as they were required to be labelled with the words "FAKE BOMB". Sometimes other things are described as fake, usually in an analogous context; for example, Fake Simon Ford (a Simon Ford scarecrow constructed by Michael Richards in an ungentlemanly but hilarious attempt to wage psychological warfare on Jenny Chase). The fake bomb disclaimer ("this is a fake bomb for the purposes of the a game played by the University of Cambridge Assassins' Guild") was also often parodied in similar circumstances, although it remains to be seen whether this practice will fade with the removal of bombs from the game.
Fake fake bomb
Name for an object which appears to be a fake bomb (ie. an Assassins bomb) but lacks a detonator or other vital component, making it a harmless fake. Fake fake fake bombs (bombs which appear to be fake fake bombs, but actually have cunningly-concealed detonation mechanisms, making them real fake bombs) have also been known. Again, likely to become less relevant now bombs have been removed from the game.
What assassins generally claim to be in response to accusations that they are scary, dangerous or otherwise assassinlike. Also the name of Tom Garnett's rabbit, which killed a large number of people during his career as an assassin.
Game (1)
The game of Assassins. Past games tend to be referred to by the name of the Umpire (eg. "Rosie's game") or, more rarely, by the name of the winner.
Game (2)
A meme to which many assassins have fallen victim (as in "I've just lost the game").
Generic term covering to card games, board games, party games and other things assassins sometimes do when not hiding in corners with toy guns. Also refers to a social event at which games are played.
Games & Puzzles
A shop in Green Street which was owned by two ex-assassins and used to sell, among other things, a large variety of toy guns and other things suited to assassination. Unfortunately, Games & Puzzles closed down around Easter of 2004, meaning that the only way to get hold of many weapons such as rubber-band guns is now to order them online.
Short for incompetent; a player whose lack of participation in the game has led to their being identified as a legal target for all players and police. Many assassins have a somewhat blasé approach to inco-hunting, viewing it as something of a sport; this occasionally turns out to be someone's downfall, since some incompetents are actually quite competent. It has also occasionally been known for players to become incompetent on purposes in order to attract assassins to come and kill them.
Inco bashing
The practice of hunting incompetents, but also refers to a particular activity which takes place on the day after everyone's initial incompetence deadline. Since this is the date on which those players who have done nothing in the game whatsoever first become incompetent, it is traditional for players and police to gather for drinks or a pub lunch, followed by dividing into large and unsubtle groups in order to go and kill the newly-announced incompetents.
Obscure synonym for "knife", allegedly dating from a drunken spelling mistake at an Emmanuel Mafia party several years ago. By unspoken consensus, the word "kife" has since been accepted as a substitute for "knife" in the labelling of weapons.
As can readily been seen from the Assassins rules, many otherwise harmless objects can be turned into weapons with the addition of an appropriate label ("knife" on a pen, "anvil" on a cardboard box, etc). Players frequently make requests (with varying levels of seriousness) to label things as other things in the hope of imbuing them with some property which makes them useful in game terms. Occasionally this is used in the construction of obscure joke rules queries, normally with reference to other contentious or frequently-debated points of the rules; for example, "Can I make bang-kills through spy-holes with a chaplain labelled 'canoe'?"
The practice of waiting in a likely area for a target to show up. May require a considerable time investment, but is one of the most popular tactics against competent targets. Among assassins, the verb is often used transitively, as in "lurked his room", "lurked her lectures", etc.
(aka Master Assassin) Award given to a player for winning a game or, at the discretion of the Umpire, for making a similarly impressive performance in a given game or across one's career. See also PhD.
Mafia (1)
A mafia generally consists of a group of players who have some kind of agreement between them, usually not to kill one another and often to help one another out in various other ways, such as by sharing information or by accompanying one another on attempts. Although teaming up with your friends is fun and not to be discouraged, it is felt by many players that having large mafias of experienced assassins tends to unbalance the game. Some mafias may exist for a number of games; some are now far older than any of the current assassins in them (the most famous being the Caius Mafia, although that one is now showing some signs of fading away).
Mafia (2)
(aka real-time Mafia) An alternative format of the Assassins game, based on the card game of the same name, in which a few players are secretly Mafia and have to eliminate the other players before anyone works out who they are.
Mafia (3)
A card game sometimes played at assassins' parties, described as like wink-murder with more treachery and psychodrama.
A card game sometimes played at assassins' parties, described as like communist China with fewer armed police.
Matthew Garrett
An ex-assassin. At some long-forgotten point in history his identity became the default one for assassins to adopt if they didn't want to admit who they really were. Hence, anyone claiming to be Matthew Garrett should be viewed with some degree of suspicion. However, be wary that if the person in question is the real Matthew Garrett, he is likely to get very annoyed if you refuse to believe him.
A period in June during which Cambridge students traditionally unwind after exams by going to garden parties and drinking Pimms until they pass out. Also refers to the Assassins game held during that week, in which there are no targets, dead players respawn after four hours and the winner is the player with the most points at the end. Most assassins take the Mayweek game less seriously than the Michaelmas and Lent games, particularly as it is possible to continue to have fun while dying several times a day; success in a Mayweek game is based much less around paranoia and careful planning and more around single-minded commitment to tracking down and executing as many people as possible.
Thought by some assassins to be a sign of untrustworthiness. Also a term used to refer to the retired assassin Ed Nokes.
The practice of using people who have died to gain information or assistance; depending on the current Umpire's ruling, this may or may not be legal in any given situation. Past umpirical stances have ranged from "dead players can do whatever non-players can do" (Rosie Warner) to "dead players can't do anything to influence the game, no, really, I don't care what it is" (Adam Biltcliffe) to "ask me and I'll tell you if you can do it" (Ric Brackenbury).
Term often used synonymously with 'necromancy' by the population of #assassins in order to provoke amusement or revulsion. Accusations thereof are also a source of jokes to be made about assassin couples when one of them is alive and the other dead.
A brand of toy weapons which fire foam darts, almost always suitable for use in Assassins and often even useful. See also 'Wildfire'.
No-kill agreement
Sometimes shortened to just "no-kill". An agreement between players not to kill one another. Some players take it as implicit that this includes not setting one another up, passing information about one another to third parties, etc.; others require that these terms be spelled out in the agreement. See also 'alliance'.
What members of known mafias are often accused of having when many of them are in the same place, as in "Caius Mafia orgy". The term is of uncertain origin; an alternative definition, that of "at least four persons of mixed sex in the same room, not wearing socks or shoes" has also been appropriated from a similarly-ill remembered source.
(aka Paranoia-hardened Deathmaster) An award given by the society for winning two games. At the time of writing, five people hold PhDs; only two people have managed to win two main (ie. non-Mayweek) games, and only one person (Bjoern Holzhauer) has ever won three games. An up-to-date list of PhDs and MAs can be found on the assassins website.
If said without further qualification, this generally means "playing in this term's Assassins game". Since initially who is playing and who is not is known only to the Umpire, many assassins will attempt to deceive others as to whether they are playing or not, particularly if it is the less likely of the two possibilities which is the case.
A fake name under which your activities are reported on the Assassins website.
Phenomemon usually specific to Michaelmas games, in which keen first-years make an alarming number of attempts, kill a large number of unsuspecting targets and usually die shortly afterwards when they come up against someone a little more careful.
Puzzles & Games
(aka Puzzles & Games Ring, PGR) Often confused with Games & Puzzles, PGR is a branch of the Archimedeans' maths society, and, at least officially, has nothing to do with assassins. Rumours of high assassin density at PGR meetings may or may not be worth heeding.
Rubber-band gun. A popular weapon, especially since RPGs have now been outlawed, an RBG consists of a wooden handle with a plastic cog onto which rubber bands can be loaded. A plastic peg attached to the trigger keeps the wheel in place until the trigger is pulled, whereupon one rubber band flies off and the next one pulls the wheel forward ready for the next shot; this semi-automatic capability gives the RBG a higher rate of fire than most weapons and makes it especially suitable for close-quarters indoor encounters.
Rubber pellet gun. A range of weapons once popular in the Guild, which have now been outlawed due to their visual similarity to real guns. RPGs came in a range of sizes, from pistols which fit in a pocket to full-sized rifles; although none of them could fire as fast as a rubber-band gun, the smaller ones fit in most pockets more conveniently than an RBG, and the larger ones outranged almost any other assassins weapon. Many older assassins own RPGs painted in bright colours from the era when such painting was considered sufficient to mark them out as toys.
Silly buggers
Too-strict or too-loose interpretation of the wording of a particular rule or agreement. This generally comes up in two contexts, the first of which relates to interpretation of the Assassins rules ("my room is no-water, but if I lean out of the window really far so that the gun is actually outside the room..."). The second relates to the interpretation of no-kills or other agreements made between players ("I only said I wouldn't kill you, I didn't say anything about shooting all your limbs off and then phoning someone else to come and do it"). The Umpire's rule is, as ever, final in the first matter, but players' opinions on what exactly comes under the heading of silly buggers with respect to the second may differ, and since agreements between players have no legal weight in the game, you would be wise to ensure that you and your prospective allies understand one another.
Social no-kill
A no-kill agreement usually made to cover a party or outing which assassins wish to enjoy together without fear of being shot. Many assassins parties often advertise the fact that a social no-kill will be in force, and turning up constitutes implicit acceptance of the agreement. Breaking of a social no-kill agreement is generally frowned even more severely than breaking a no-kill agreement made for other reasons; it's also rather silly, since afterwards you'll be surrounded by annoyed assassins while holding a weapon and having just demonstrated that you don't place much value on the agreement you had not to kill each other.
A brand of pressurised water pistol. The larger Storms are very useful weapons (they're smaller than an XP of equivalent power), but difficult to find; smaller models are fairly readily available during the summer, but don't hold a great deal of water or pressure before they need repumping or refilling.
One of the players you have been assigned to assassinate. Also, as a verb, to have been assigned to kill someone, viz "I'm targetting two Girtonians and a random grad in a house, just my luck."
There are no ... in Cambridge!
Originally a declaration of the unofficial status of mafias in the game ("there are no mafias in Cambridge!"), this phrase is now frequently used to disavow the existence of almost anything.
One who has sacrified their free time and sanity in exchange for omnipotence and immortality.
A Nerf weapon first popularised by the Durham Assassins' Guild. A Wildfire is just about small enough to fit in a rucksack and fires twenty Nerf darts over a considerable range in the course of about two seconds. Hard to carry around and extremely unsubtle, but the submachinegun-like noise it produces is likely to terrify the life out of the target.
Another line of Larami supersoakers. XPs are somewhat more practical than CPSes, due to their smaller size, and still very useful in a firefight, but generally still large enough that it's hard to carry one around somewhere you can get to it quickly (although there are exceptions - the XP215 fits in a coat pocket). As with all water weapons, they also have the disadvantage that they can't be used in some indoor areas.

Appendix B: Technical resources

How to access

The easiest way to access the newsgroup is to use the web interface on the Assassins' Guild main page. This is a front-end which makes the newsgroup look like a web forum, with nice self-explanatory controls which should be usable even by non-compscis. It also has the advantage that you can do it from anywhere, even from your home computer during the holidays.

If you are familiar with USENET and want to use some other client, you are looking for the group on the server Note that you will only be allowed to connect from inside the CUDN (ie. from a college network connection, PWF computer, etc).

How to access #assassins

If you are an experienced IRC user, what you want is the channel #assassins on the server, port 6667. If you've never used IRC before, you will need to install a program called an IRC client to access the channel. There are many of these to choose from, of which irssi is apparently currently the recommended one. XChat, mIRC and Trillian are other popular choices for Windows users.

How to use screen and irssi on pip to access #assassins (information provided by Philip Bielby)

This is the way that most people access #assassins. It has the major advantage that you can see what has been going on while you have been offline, as the IRC client is still running on the student webserver (pip), even if your computer is turned off.

These instructions are longer than the others, but that is because they contain more helpful information for you.

  1. Visit, to get an account on the student webserver (pip). This is useful for more than IRC, giving you access to free webspace, and many other things (see the website for more details).
  2. Wait to be emailed your account details...
  3. If you use Windows (this probably means you):
    1. download PuTTY from
    2. Load PuTTY, and enter '' in the "Host Name" box, and click "Open" (or press return).
    3. When prompted, enter your username (your CRSID, the first part of your email address), and password (in the email sent when you signed up). Your password will not be displayed at all (even as asterisks).
    If you use linux (or some other *NIX varient):
    1. Open a terminal.
    2. Enter 'ssh' (where CRSID is your CRSID), and press return.
    3. Enter your password when prompted(in the email sent when you signed up).
  4. Change your password to something better, by entering 'passwd', and following the instructions.
  5. Enter 'screen -U irssi'. This opens the IRC client itself.
  6. Enter '/connect localhost', and press return. This connects you to the Student IRC server. You should see a welcome message. You can type '/list' to get a list of channels, (including #assassins) which are running on the server.
  7. Type '/nick Nickname' to set your IRC nick, where Nickname is what you want to set it to. By default, this is your CRSID. This is the name that everyone sees. You can set it to something up to 16 characters long (you cannot use spaces).
  8. Type '/j #assassins' to join the Assassins' channel
  9. Have fun!
  10. When you have had enough for a bit, rather than quiting IRC, simply press Ctrl-A, and then press D. This will place you back onto the command line, where you just type Ctrl-D to quit. When you want to return, just follow the relevant part of Step 3, and then type 'screen -rd' to return to IRC.

The following are some useful tips for using irssi:

How to set up XChat to access #assassins (based on information provided by Andrew Sobala)

  1. Download XChat from and install it.
  2. Start XChat. In the server list that appears, choose 'add'.
  3. Type in a network name. 'SRCF' is good.
  4. Choose that network and press 'edit'.
  5. Click on 'newserver/6667', press 'edit' and type ''.
  6. Type '#assassins' in the 'channels to join' box.
  7. Click 'close'.
  8. Double-click on 'SRCF' to connect to it and join the channel.

How to set up mIRC to access #assassins (adapted from Jonathan Hogg's instructions)

  1. Download mIRC from and install it.
  2. Run mIRC and fill in your name and email address if you want. Leave all the settings as they are.
  3. When the options box pops up, on the 'connect page' (the default) click 'add' and fill in the following info:
  4. The drop down list should now include 'pip' or whatever you chose to call it; select that from the list (it'll be at the bottom). Click 'connect to server'.
  5. You should get the channel folder open in from of you. You may wish to delete all the channels it lists by default, but you don't need to. Click 'add', and enter '#assassins' for the channel and 'Assassins Channel' or similar for the description. Click 'ok'.
  6. Find the description you just entered in the list, and double-click it. The channel should appear!
  7. To say something, just type it in the line at the bottom and press enter, easy as that.

How to set up Trillian to access #assassins (adapted from instructions by 'Primal' of the Sheffield Assassins' Guild)

  1. Go to and download Trillian.
  2. Install Trillian and run it.
  3. At the bottom of the Trillian window there are five small symbols corresponding to different chat networks. Click the grey spiral and choose 'connection manager'.
  4. In the 'servername' box, type ''. In the 'port' box, type '6667'.
  5. Enter the username you want to use in the 'nickname' box. You might also want to enter an alternative in the 'alternative' box in case someone is using the name you want.
  6. Click 'connect'. The spiral should turn blue to indicate that you're connected.
  7. Click the spiral again and choose 'join channel'.
  8. Type '#assassins' in the box that appears and press enter.
  9. Welcome to the channel!

Appendix C: #assassins resources

There is a wiki (a collaborative web page editable by anyone) set up by the denizens of #assassins which can be found here. The wiki is sometimes used to plan unofficial social events or record amusing things done by regulars of the channel, although it was recently described as "consisting mostly of drinking contests and pornography".

Set up initially by Jon Hogg and subsequently maintained by Russ Williams, then Paul Fox, and currently Philip Bielby there is also a statistics page for the #assassins channel, which tracks how much has been said in the current month by whom and at what times, as well as presenting various excepts of channel conversation out-of-context at random.

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