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Rome: Total War Discussion
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Total War Heaven » Forums » Rome: Total War Discussion » Looking for advice on using Spys and Assassins
Topic Subject:Looking for advice on using Spys and Assassins
posted 21 June 2009 14:39 EDT (US)         
I have been starting to dabble with using Assassins and killing other Assassins. And how Spys fall into this. Also how to protect my Generals and high ranking family members from these nasty little dudes who are always trying to "wack" them, lol.
posted 21 June 2009 15:08 EDT (US)     1 / 12       
Practice makes perfect. Have your assasins and spies work on low lv target to raise their skills. Perfect targets include all the wandering diplomats the A.I usually has around your place, rebel captains (sometimes), and any low lvl general you see. Be on a sharp lookout for any general that has traits affecting his security (some generals grow too trusting and make easier targets for instance).

To protect against spies and assasins, you need to use your own spies and assasins. I also suggest not leaving important generals inside settlements for TOO long or they start to develop bad traits that diminish their security.
posted 21 June 2009 15:52 EDT (US)     2 / 12       
Ah very good advice thank you! I have noticed spys seem to be almost impossible to kill. I suppose it's safe to assume then, I have to level up my assassins first before having a decent chance to "wack" them?

Somewhere here on these forums I remember reading someone was saying having a spy and an assassin travel in your generals army to help them avoid being killed by enemy assassins. Is this correct?
posted 21 June 2009 17:22 EDT (US)     3 / 12       
A couple of things that haven't been mentioned:


When you infiltrate an enemy city with a spy you'll notice a message that says something to the effect, "There is a xx% chance the spy will open the gates". So, when you attack that city, the spy may open the gates for you so you won't have to smash the walls to enter it.

Also if you don't have towers in place, spies are great for seeing what is approaching your cities, giving ample warning of an attack.


I like to visit enemy towns a few turns before attacking them with a spy and a couple of assassins. Send the spy in, and if you notice a low morale you can sabotage "moral buildings" with assassins. For example if you flame a temple, the morale in that town may drop to critical and the town may revolt. I use two assassins since sometimes one attack only drops the building down to 25% - 50% damage, and when you take a turn, the AI will repair the building. So two assassins are more effective. Interdicting a town like that will deny the enemy the resources that town generates - and it's fun too!
posted 22 June 2009 02:32 EDT (US)     4 / 12       
Also try not to risk retinue members on spies and assasins. For example, if your assasin has an X% chance of succeeding without a certain retinue and the same chance of succeeding without the retinue member, it is best to not risk it and give it to another assasin. Similarly by swapping retinue members around agents it is possible to have several agents who have a high skill level with the retinue members, effectively giving you many more high level agents to use.

Just on a final note, I have always found that assasins generally have a lower chance to succeed than spies, so don't be afraid of losing a new assasin whilst attempting to train him.

AAR Coming real soon :P
Seraph Emeritus
posted 22 June 2009 07:16 EDT (US)     5 / 12       
Spies can be used to sow disorder in settlements. If a spy has infiltrated a city, he will cause 5% unrest for every eye of skill he has, up to a maximum of 50%. This way you can get cities to revolt, especially the bigger (and thus more valuable) ones. Also use assassins to destroy temples and other buildings which increase public order.

Assassins take a while to become useful as they usually won't be able to kill a family member when they're just recruited. Let them practice on captains and low-influence diplomats first to improve their skills. You will lose a few, but those are the ones that aren't up to the job anyway.

posted 22 June 2009 08:31 EDT (US)     6 / 12       
Another more advanced technique, though fairly easy to use, is using spies for biological warfare.

The idea is for a spy to infiltrate a city which is infected with the plague. The spy will get the plague, and then you take the spy and infiltrate nearby enemy cities, spreading the plague to their cities.

Its probably not a good idea to use high-skill spies for this, as chances are they will die from the plague at some point.
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 23 June 2009 03:24 EDT (US)     7 / 12       

I have acctually heard that people train an elite group of assasins and spies and they go ahead of the army killing generals and sabotaging military buildings to soften up their pray. However it would be difficult to train an assasin to be good enough to never die.

Thank you for listening.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda

[This message has been edited by awesomated88 (edited 06-23-2009 @ 03:25 AM).]

Lanky Lancer
posted 23 June 2009 04:03 EDT (US)     8 / 12       
By cleaning house of rival diplomats on home soil, training assassins is not that hard. Especially mid game, most diplomats are crappy, cause the really good ones from the beginning of the game are dead, and Lord AI doesn't make enough treaties and alliances later in the game to train up decent diplomats. Hence, easy targets. Enemy assassins are very rarely any good because they send them against hard targets too soon, fail and end up with no skill points at all, and weaker agents are easier targets. If you've already been using assassins, trading ancillaries from an old, skilled assassin to a younger recruit makes it even easier.

Having, say 3, 5-7 skill assassins is enough to make any invasion easier. The idea isn't having an assassin that will never die, cause there is always a chance of him messing up his last job. The idea is that there is a good enough chance of him succeeding on any given job. Continously destroying military buildings stops his production, but if his economy is still going, he can keep repairing them. Sure it means that he can't train that turn, but its time consuming and not that effective.

Trashing Lord AI's economy is even more fun and effective. Ports to kill naval trade, markets to cut what trade remains. happiness buildings so he has to cut down on taxes. If you completely neuter his economy, then wipe out his military buildings when he can't afford to repair them you can, quite literally, destroy Lord AI's kingdoms capacity to wage war. I think Subrosa did that really well in her Scythian defensive campaign, have a look there.

it seems, unless Lord AI is stacked on Law buildings, sabotage missions are easier than assassinations, but don't build up your agents as much. So, kill some agents to improve some Assassins, then proceed to go all out against some buildings, then, once the enemy is broken, attack.
posted 23 June 2009 05:35 EDT (US)     9 / 12       
I never saw the point of using assassins in sabotage missions. It would be more useful if the building was actually destroyed, rather then being reparable the next turn.
Lanky Lancer
posted 23 June 2009 06:39 EDT (US)     10 / 12       
true, that is why sabotage on mass is important. If you sabotage a building you deny its use for one turn, great if you want Lord AI to have one less Armoured Hoplite in its garrison when you attack next turn, and have a squad of Peltasts instead. However by attacking on mass (at least 3 assassins) you can be crippling every economic building in a city (port, market, temple), not only costing money to repair, but also lost income. If his income is already struggling, Lord AI might lack money for repairs, which is ideal. While repair in one turn is still possible, its the economic strain that sabotage causes thats is the real strength.
Lasting men
posted 23 June 2009 19:25 EDT (US)     11 / 12       
no money means no units, no buildings , no chance.

“We call Japanese soldiers fanatics when they die rather than surrender, whereas American soldiers who do the same thing are called heroes” - Robert Maynard Hutchins

“The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.” - Peter Singer
posted 24 June 2009 14:06 EDT (US)     12 / 12       
Spies are incredibly useful... not only can they open gates which means siege is avoided and massively speeds up your conquests as you can skip at least 1 turn, perhaps more when attacking massively fortified cities, and spies as well are better than armies at watchtowers watching your borders. Since spies can only be attacked by assassins they can be positioned somewhere and just stay there their whole lives while armies come and go past them and they observe numbers and generals etc which allow you to construct specific army to fight the invader. Spies maintenance per turn is fairly cheap as well so a decent economy can produce large numbers and get detailed info on all the area around.

Assassins are not quite as useful unless you really concentrate on training them up. I like developing 2 or 3 very skillful assassins and sending them together into my strongest opponents lands. I first seek to eliminate as many family members as possible so some spies sent ahead of the assassins to identify family member is useful. Also I think spies can slightly improve odds of assassination attempt so on the tougher family members its useful. Most often the faction leader and heir are so well guarded assassins will fail vs them so it is more efficient to eliminate every other family member which is quite easy to do. Once you get to that point you can leave 1 assassin in the area to take care of the new members which appear every other turn or so and the other assassins concentrate on your opponents richest cities infrastructure. Family members boost production as well as make the enemies armies fight better so eliminating them is good idea.

I don't always use assassins in conjunction with invasion as it can be expensive to develop so many assassins as the cost to produce is cheap but it takes a turn and if you have less than 20 cities that production often more useful to make a military unit in the long run. However, developing 1 or 2 groups of 3 assassins each is great for keeping your strong enemies down. Combined with fleet to embargo and interdict enemy fleets you can totally dominate a rival without every fighting the armies head on. Assassins die about 50% of the time while developing until they become skillful so to make 6 good assassins takes most likely 12 turns of production and 4-8 turns to develop them and multiple turns to use them. That is a bit less efficient than armies but if use correctly really multiply the affects your armies can achieve. Before using spies and assassins I felt I needed 3 full stack armies invading to take a large empire on. With spies and assassins used right 1 full stack can take on all but the largest(over 30 cities) empires within one generals lifetime.

Spies first to seek out info, assassins follow targeting weaker family members, then key structure in richest cities while fleet embargo all their ports. Suddenly a empire like Carthage will be lucky to be able to produce a full stack army every 10 turns and they never lost a city. Eventually when the richest cities brought low, then more spies sent to foment rebellion in the smaller cities where culture penalty is easier to overcome. Its possible to expand sometimes in this way without ever fighting a battle against the empire you are expanding against until you arrive near their capitol or take over a rebel city which was formerly theirs and now you share a border. Slower and more micro but fun in its own way.

[This message has been edited by Ichon (edited 06-24-2009 @ 04:00 PM).]

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