Cloak & Dagger The Assassins' Guild: Michaelmas 2005 Rules

1.0 Introduction:

Assassins is a game of mock assassination for a large number of players. Each person has to try to survive the attempts of others to kill them whilst eliminating their own targets. The last person to be left alive is, not surprisingly, declared the winner. The object of the game is for everyone playing to have fun.

If you have any questions about these rules, then once you have read them thoroughly, please ask for clarification from the Umpire, who will be only too happy to provide it.

1.1 Signing up for the game:

The game shall be open to people who live for much of the time within a five-mile radius of Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge city centre, although others may be considered at the Umpire's discretion. (Note that this does not mean that the game is played only within this area.)

If you wish to play, you should provide the Umpire with:

Anyone found to have supplied false or misleading details to the Umpire will be disqualified, but I'm sure it's not necessary to say that.

If you live in a shared room, you are advised to tell your roommate that you are playing, so that he or she will not think that your assassins are real murderers.

Note that by signing up to play you are agreeing to report any assassins-related events which you are involved in for the period during which you remain alive, including your death. You are also giving permission for other players to try to "kill" you by the legal methods described in these rules, and to enter your room without warning should you leave the door unlocked or the window open.

1.2 Conduct:

For any deliberate breach of the rules, a player may be identified as a legitimate target for all other players ("put on the wanted list") or, in serious cases, disqualified from playing.
The spirit of the rules is more important than the actual rules themselves. Rules are made to be bent here and there. On the other hand, the Umpire will not be bound by the rules if he feels that someone is attempting to exploit a loophole. If in doubt, e-mail the umpire with your question.
Exercise common sense. Players are entirely responsible for their behaviour. Avoid inconveniencing other people, especially porters and the general public. In particular, do not knock on your target's door at unreasonable hours.
This game depends on players being honest for it to work. Please inform the Umpire if you have been killed. Honour among murderers and all that ...
You must expect other players to have nefarious intentions at any time during the game. Do not involve (or cause to become involved) college authorities or other non-players to eject or intimidate those attempting to kill you or others. If you feel players are behaving unreasonably, contact the Umpire.
This is not a game about physical strength or violence. There is no excuse whatsoever for pushing people around or forcing them out of your way. Most specifically, if someone is holding a door closed you should not attempt to push it open, and you should never do anything likely to cause anyone (including yourself) injury.
Be aware that both the security forces and the public are particularly easily alarmed at present. Avoid behaviour that may cause them to mistake you for a stalker, burglar, murderer or terrorist: do not wear a balaclava or other suspicious clothing; avoid bearing weapons or fighting in public; remember that even toy guns can look real in the dark or on CCTV; where possible, do not lurk suspiciously; be particularly cautious anywhere outside central Cambridge, where students are less common.
Most of all, remember that this is a game. Do your best, but have fun. Don't take things too seriously or turn into a paranoid wreck, but get out there and enjoy it. Please be friendly to other assassins you meet during the game.

2.0 How to play:

The game, in brief:

2.1 Killing people:

The weapons rules describe the various weaponry you may use to eliminate other assassins.

2.1.1 Legal targets

You may legally try to kill any of the following types of player:

Note that it is, of course, possible to attack people who do not fall into any of the categories above. Should you do so, you will be made wanted for killing or attempting to kill innocent victims.

There are a number of ex-players around whom people find it amusing to shoot. If not playing, they are entirely innocent and should not be attacked. These people will have some say in the fate of those who do attack them.

2.1.2 Rules of engagement

You may use all manner of ruses to ensnare your target. However, there are some things you are not allowed to do:

2.1.3 Out of bounds areas and situations

There are some places and circumstances which, for reasons of sanity, are considered out-of-bounds. No-one may kill anyone or be killed when they are out of bounds, which includes the following:

Computer rooms such as the Phoenix User Area, Cockroft 4 and other departmental computer rooms are in bounds subject to the following restrictions:

A computer room is, in general, defined as a place where the public (or any clearly-defined group, e.g. members of a college) are permitted to use computers. Players' private rooms do NOT count. Computer rooms which occupy a completely separate room inside a library count as computer rooms and so are in bounds outside office hours. Rooms which function as both computer rooms and libraries such as the one in the CMS count as libraries.

Players should not abuse no-kill zones. You may not take a suspicious letter into a no-kill zone and open it in safety.

If you are not sure whether a given time or place is out of bounds or not, please contact the Umpire. Similarly, if there is something not mentioned on this list you think should be out of bounds, ask the Umpire to consider it.

2.1.4 Accomplices and non-players

Non-players may, if you wish, act as accomplices on your kill attempts. However, accomplices cannot attack or kill anyone (but they can still be attacked). You are responsible for the safety of your accomplices, and should they be killed you will be held responsible, which means that you will probably become wanted. You should not allow your accomplices to be seen bearing weapons at any time; particularly, you should not use armed accomplices as decoys, and should you do so the kill may be disallowed.

You should not use non-players to avoid exposing yourself to danger, for example, by getting them to open your mail for you. Should you do so and they be killed as a result, you will be made wanted in connection with their death.

In general, if you kill a non-player you will be made wanted. However, it is possible for innocents to be killed through unforseeable mischances, in which case you will be let off if you are believed to have acted responsibly. A poison letter clearly addressed to your target will not make you wanted if it claims the life of a curious innocent. However, it is assumed that people other than a room's occupant could reasonably try to open its door; therefore, should you put contact poison on someone's outside doorhandle, you will be made wanted for endangering innocents.

You may not enter a non-player's room through the window unless and they have explicitly allowed you to do so. While you may pass through the unlocked rooms of non-players, you should avoid doing so unless absolutely necessary (for example, because they are on the only route to your target's room).

2.2 Reporting:

Whenever you are involved in any assassins-related incident, such as successfully or unsuccessfully trying to kill another player or innocent, being attacked or killed or witnessing a killing, you should inform the Umpire as soon as possible.

Reports of the game's events will be published on the website during the game. Reports are encouraged to be dramatic and creative and may also be intentionally misleading (although outright lying is frowned upon). However, if your report is sufficiently outlandish to make it unclear what actually happened, please explain the raw facts separately to the Umpire in your e-mail, as he likes to know what is going on.

If you cannot be sure what happened in an attack, you may call a "discussion phase" with the other assassins involved in order to clarify who was hit, who is dead, etc. Players cannot kill one another while doing this, although please try to avoid exposing yourself to any entirely different assassins who might happen to be passing. In general, all players involved should submit a report of every incident; this way the Umpire can correlate the reports and so ensure that the news is updated as quickly as possible. If there is disagreement about what happened in an event, please try to come to an agreement about it at the scene of the event if possible. However, don't be afraid to disagree on the interpretation of the rules and ask the Umpire for clarification, while agreeing on the facts of what happened.

2.2.1 Pseudonyms

Obviously, you will wish to avoid other assassins finding out that you are playing the game and what you have been doing. For this reason, each player is allowed to select a pseudonym at the start of the game. Whenever you make a report, you may choose whether to have it appear under your real name or your pseudonym. If you do not specify, the Umpire will probably assume that you intend to use your pseudonym.

For every two assassins you kill legally, you can earn an extra pseudonym. If you wish to take advantage of this, e-mail the Umpire telling him that you wish to register a new pseudonym and what it is. From then on, whenever you make a report you may choose any of your pseudonyms to report under instead of your real name.

You will not be awarded extra pseudonyms for kills you make while wanted, but wanted criminals who succeed in redeeming themselves may be given a new pseudonym to help with their rehabilitation, at the Umpire's discretion. Note that while you are wanted, all of your pseudonyms will be listed on the Wanted List along with your real name.

2.2.2 Public killings

If you kill someone in an unsubtle manner in a public place, you may be unable to avoid being noticed. For this reason, any kills made in public areas or areas like college dining halls may result in your not being allowed to report the event pseudonymously, if there is a sufficiently large number of people around to see you. (As a rule of thumb, there need to be at least half a dozen uninvolved people in a position to clearly see you make the kill — the intent is mainly to discourage assassins from having shootouts in crowded areas.) Kills made with subtle weapons like knives will not result in your kill being witnessed in this way.

2.3 Dead players

Dead players should esentially act as non-players, but refrain from seriously affecting the game. In particular, dead players should not act as accomplices. However they may point assassins out, or pass on any information they have to other players unless it was obtained through playing the current game. For example, they may not pass on their list of targets or reveal anything about the incident in which they died, but they may point out someone they know in lectures. However, even this is discouraged.

Players may not get dead players to open doors for them or check their mail in the same way that they may not get non-players to do so.

If you have been killed, you should not announce this to anyone until you are sure that the information could not be used to track down your killer; preferably, you should wait until the report of your death is on the website. This particularly applies to those using the #assassins IRC channel.

Dead players may, of course, rejoin the game as police; see Police Force.

3.0 Wanted criminals

Any players who break these rules, such as by killing or endangering innocent victims, may be declared to be "wanted". The names of all wanted criminals will be put up on the website along with their addresses and pseudonyms. Anyone on the wanted list is a valid target for anyone else in the game, including the police (see Police Force).

It may be possible, at the Umpire's discretion, for wanted criminals to redeem themselves through services to society such as the elimination of other criminals. The Umpire (possibly in conjunction with the Chief of Police) will decide what conditions, if any, are appropriate. Note that players who become wanted intentionally, for example by murdering other players, are very unlikely ever to be redeemed.

4.0 Competence

To encourage participation in the game, there is a time limit for making attempts on your targets, called the "competence period". Initially the competence period will be one week. If you do not make an attempt within a week of the start of the game, you will be designated incompetent. After each attempt, you have a further week in which to make another attempt.

If you become incompetent, you will be put on the Incompetent List. This is like the Wanted List without the glamour; incompetent players are legal targets for all players and police. The Umpire will specify conditions for players to be removed from the Incompetent List; this will probably involve making two credible attempts on your targets, possibly of a specified type.

Initially all attempts will count for competence. As the game progresses, certain types of attempt may cease to count for competence: you may still make them, but you will become incompetent if you do not make any others. Poisoned letters will probably cease to count for competence a few weeks into the game; other indirect attempts may cease to count shortly after that. You will always receive competence for killing another player, even if it is done using a method which would not otherwise count or if they were attacking you rather than the other way around. Killing incompetent or corrupt police does not count for competence.

As the end of the game approaches, the competence period may decrease to five or even three days. Should this occur, the Umpire will let you know.

5.0 The police force

Players who have been killed may, if they wish, be reincarnated as a member of the "police force". This is a special group of players who exist solely to hunt down and kill criminals and incompetents. If you have died and would like to join the police, tell the Umpire. A list of all police (including real names) will appear on the game website.

Police are more limited in their powers than real players; for one thing they are not allowed to use any form of poison. Police, unlike players, will also find that they cannot kill anyone who is not a legal target for them — should they attempt to do so they will discover that the victim miraculously does not die. Police may attack and kill players bearing weapons in pre-emptive self-defence, but attacking innocents or other illegal targets will result in their being made wanted just like anyone else.

Police should not collaborate with assassins except to co-operate in the elimination of criminals and incompetents. Those who are found to be helping assassins with any other goals will be made wanted for corruption. Police who arrange to "collaborate" with other assassins and then shoot them for bearing weapons may have such kills disallowed at the Umpire's discretion.

Police who fail to make attempts on criminals and incompetents when there are any around for them to kill may be designated incompetent and made a legal target for all players. Note that even wanted or incompetent police cannot kill people who are not legal targets for them, although obviously they can kill anyone who attacks them.

Police who are successful in upholding the law and removing criminals may be promoted to higher-ranking positions in the Force. The actions of the police are ultimately controlled by the Chief of Police and his deputies.

Particularly successful, devoted or brave police officers who are killed in action may just find themselves given another chance...

6.0 The Umpire:

This term's Umpire is Martin Lester of Gonville & Caius College and may be contacted by e-mailing

The primary method of contacting the Umpire is through e-mail, though players are welcome to visit. The Umpire's room is V3/4, Tree Court, Caius. No-one may be killed in the Umpire's room or staircase. However, players are discouraged from running into the Umpire's staircase in order to escape an attacker. Should you burst into the Umpire's room gibbering about attacking assassins, he will sneer and call you a pansy.

Any queries about the game can be e-mailed to the Umpire, or you can visit (but you should probably try to arrange the meeting beforehand, since even the Umpire goes to lectures occasionally). Try to resolve any queries before they become a matter of life or death (yours or anyone else's).

Attempting to take items from the Umpire's pigeonhole or break into his computer account is strictly forbidden. Impersonating the Umpire is also forbidden; see Rules of engagement.

Player-Umpire communications may be made public at the end of the game for everyone's enlightenment and amusement. If you do not wish a certain communication to be made public, please tell the Umpire.

The Umpire is immortal. Players attempting to test this proposition will be made wanted, and quite probably laughed at.

7.0 Administrivia:

It is the responsibility of players to read their e-mail and read the news to see whether they have been put on the wanted list. Players are deemed to know that they are wanted/police as soon as these details are published on the website. They are not wanted/police before this, and you cannot kill someone just because you believe that they are about to become wanted. Of course, if they are trying to kill you or bearing a weapon, they are fair game anyway.

7.1 Web pages:

The game website is at; you are probably reading these rules there now. During the game, the news will be published on the website along with any updates to the rules, news of upcoming special events or social events, etc.

To avoid waste of bandwidth, game news will not be distributed by e-mail.

7.2 Newsgroup:

The game also has its own newsgroup ( which players may use for discussion, etc. You are unlikely to find news about the current game here, but you may find discussion of special events, proposed changes to the game or new mini-games, etc.

7.3 IRC Channel:

There is an IRC channel #assassins on the SRCF server (, port 6667). All assassins, potential assassins or ex-assassins are welcome to join and discuss the game or anything else. See Jonathan Hogg's Assassins FAQ for more details on both the newsgroup and IRC.



The history of this set of rules is thought to be:

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