A civilian is an individual who is not on active duty as a member of a military, police, or firefighting force whether that force is affiliated with a sovereign state or with the shadow organizations known as the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order. As such, civilians are roughly synonymous with non-combatants although not every non-combatant is necessarily a civilian as some may be in service to a military in support roles.
Distinguishing civilians from hostiles is an indispensable feature of Assassin operations, owing to their strict prohibition against the harming of innocents. In contrast, their archenemies, the Templars, historically have lacked this explicit prescription, rendering most civilians as acceptable casualties in the name of their higher goals.
In ancient times, civilians lived in the cities and countryside, working as farmers, craftsmen, merchants, artists. During the Peloponnesian War, many civilians in Greece had problems with bandits and soldiers and from time to time hired the misthios Kassandra to help them. Some of them would attack her if they saw her fighting. If Kassandra killed a civilian, a bounty was placed on her head, attracting other mercenaries.
In Ptolemaic Egypt, the Medjay Bayek of Siwa protected civilians from bandits and wild animals. Some of the citizens rebelled against the guards and could fight with Bayek. If Bayek was in the middle on high waters, civilians with a felucca will help him.
Civilians were the denizens of the cities and countryside of the Holy Land, and they generally posed no threat, though certain individuals reacted aggressively towards an Assassin's presence and actions.
If a fight occurred, they watched closely, made comments on those who free-ran throughout the city, gasped when anyone was killed, and collectively fled from a scene of bloodshed. They also acted as both a shield and a hindrance for Assassins, on the occasions that they needed to flee from their enemies.
Whenever they ran into a large group of civilians whilst sprinting, an Assassin would lose their balance and fall onto the ground, offending those around them. However, if the Assassin shoved their way through a crowd, they could maintain their running momentum, though it would be slower, in order to effectively barge through the civilians.
In accordance with the first tenet of their Creed, Assassins would neither kill nor harm civilians, seeing them as innocents.
Citizens during the Renaissance period behaved in a similar manner to those during the High Middle Ages, though they offered Assassins an added capability, since Ezio Auditore da Firenze was also able to blend within all groups of civilians, as opposed to the Assassins of the Third Crusade like Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, who could only hide among scholars.
Ezio also possessed the ability to throw florins onto the ground, causing a mob of civilians to crowd around him and excitedly pick up the coins. For Assassins, this served as a common means of distracting enemy guards, and entering restricted areas. In Constantinople, Ezio learned how to use pyrite coin bombs, and would throw them to the ground while being chased by guards, attracting civilians that would form a blockade and behave aggressively to his pursuers.
Golden Age of Piracy
Edward Kenway could not directly kill citizens, although he could shoot them and they could be caught in the crossfire of firearms. Edward could blend with any group of civilians in order to hide from guards. Similar to Ezio, Edward could throw Reales onto the ground, causing civilians to quickly pick them up, allowing Edward to distract guards or create obstacles if he was being chased.
Dancers and drunken pirates would come to Edward's aid, without the need of payment, if he engaged in combat near them. Dancers would grab the arms of the soldiers, hindering them. Drunken pirates would help kill the guards using the heavy axes they carried.
The citizens of the early American colonies are represented in a wider demographic than previous. Small children and domestic animals were a common sight.
Colonial civilians could be directly attacked as well as be harmed in the crossfire of ranged combat. Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton could blend with any pair of civilians, even if the civilians were not part of a larger group.
Civilians in Paris during the French Revolution typically protested in large mobs, brandishing burning effigies, pitchforks or decapitated heads on pikes. Extremists roamed the streets often murdering those they chose to threaten, and fights broke out between them and vigilantes. Pickpockets rushed past victims seizing money.
Several archetypes of citizens were intermixed with the populace, each bringing a unique form of interaction with their surroundings.
They would often approach an Assassin and persistently run into their path until they either ignored them for long enough, ran from them, or attacked them. Should the Assassin attempt to climb a building to escape their nagging, the beggars would often throw rocks at them and yell their disappointment.
If the Assassin instead chose to draw any of their weapons or attacked the beggars, they would run away screaming and no longer bother them. Accompanying this, beggars could also alert the Assassin's targets of their approach, if threatened or hit.
In the Renaissance, beggars did appear in the Italian regions of Romagna and Tuscany, but they did not chase or harass any passing people for money. They usually only leaned or sat against alleyway walls, with one hand extended. Should an Assassin throw money to them, they would pick it all up, and proceed to walk away.
The cities of Rome and Constantinople featured the calmer beggars of the previously visited Italian cities, as well as the persistent beggars of the High Middle Ages. The latter of these were always female, came in groups of three, and usually could only be found in the parts of the city still under Borgia influence. In Constantinople, beggars were always present in a district, regardless of whether Byzantines or Ottomans controlled the area.
In the three cities visited by the Assassins of the High Middle Ages, certain civilians could be found walking around carrying heavy objects. When Assassins bumped into them, they would drop their item and begin to scold them openly, causing a commotion that could potentially disrupt the Assassin's current mission or assassination. To avoid a scene, they could gently push them aside as they passed, not startling the civilian and keeping their object intact.
Carriers came in two variations, jar carriers and box carriers. Jar carriers were women holding a large clay jar on their heads, while box carriers were men holding a crate close to their chest. If an Assassin knocked either of these civilians over, nearby guards would exclaim a warning, and if they repeated their actions, the guards would attack.
During the Renaissance, box carriers and goat carriers could be found. They were seen walking the streets, carrying their merchandise from shop to shop. If an Assassin bumped into one or rode a horse too close to them, the carrier would drop their box, breaking it and causing a great deal of commotion, and any guards that witnessed the action would often approach and push the Assassin around in warning.
Even in the event that a box carrier be the one to walk into the Assassin, they would drop whatever they were carrying and still scold the Assassin for the fault. In Constantinople, two more variations appeared, being bread and drink carriers. The two types held trays for bread or bottles of drinks, and they would react the same way as box carriers if an Assassin bumped into one. In Colonial America, several types of carriers could be seen, wearing basket bags, carrying buckets or holding crates and barrels.
- Main article: Scholars
Scholars were holy men who walked slowly and silently through the three cities of the Holy Land. As they possessed robes similar to a scholar, Assassins could blend in with a group of them to escape guards, though it would only work with a group, and not with a single scholar. During Altaïr's visit to Alep, individual scholars could be found walking around, but Altaïr could not blend with them.
Though scholars were not present during the Renaissance, monks were comparatively similar in appearance to them. Their strategic importance was severely diminished, however, as Ezio was able to blend with any group of civilians.
- Main article: Thugs
Thugs were the only civilians in the High Middle Ages that would fight Altaïr, usually if they found him engaged in a fistfight with an interrogation target, or if they caught him attempting to steal throwing knives from their pouches. In response, they would engage the Assassin in a brawl, but if Altaïr drew a weapon, the thugs would immediately flee. Conversely, if guards happened to be watching the fistfight and witnessed Altaïr draw a weapon to scare the thugs away, they would immediately attack.
Whilst thugs did not appear in any other period, Renaissance civilians would fight Ezio similarly to thugs, should they witness him pickpocketing from them. Unlike thugs, however, they were easily beaten in a fight, and the courageous citizens usually only attacked Ezio alone. Only during two events in Forlì did gangs of civilians engage Ezio in much the same way as thugs, and they proved to be more difficult to defeat.
During the Golden Age of Piracy and the Seven Years' War, thugs could be usually found as aggressive and trouble-making patrons in various taverns through the Caribbean and North America, respectively. When Edward Kenway or Shay Cormac entered a tavern, those thugs would need to be beaten down by Kenway or Cormac in order for them to be accepted by the tavern.
During the High Middle Ages, the three major cities that Altaïr visited contained madmen and drunkards. They were usually found babbling and walking along back alleyways or docks.
When approached, the troublemaker would shove an Assassin violently, causing them to stumble, as well as potentially breaking their cover during an assassination. Troublemakers in Acre could also push an Assassin into the water, instantly causing desynchronization for Desmond Miles in the Animus.
Similar to beggars, when an Assassin punched, grabbed or shoved a troublemaker, they would flee. Such an act would not arouse suspicion with any guards, but nearby thugs would start a fistfight if they were close by.
During the Renaissance, numerous drunkards located in the cities resembled those in the High Middle Ages; however, they did not act aggressively.
In Constantinople, some individuals provoked the citizens to fight them in a street brawl. Ezio could fight them and recupering a reward.
- Main article: Vigilantes
Vigilantes were groups of brave, tough men that assisted an Assassin after they saved citizens in distress. During the Third Crusade, these troubled citizens were usually female, presumably the wives, daughters, mothers, or various other close relatives of the vigilantes in question.
To show their gratitude, when an Assassin ran past a group of vigilantes whilst they were being chased by guards, the men would grab ahold of the soldiers, delaying them and aiding the Assassin's escape.
In Rome during the 16th century, vigilantes appeared in areas where Ezio destroyed Borgia towers, acting in the same manner as vigilantes in the High Middle Ages, though they would often heckle any nearby guards.
In Paris, Versailles and Saint-Denis during the French Revolution, vigilantes were usually beggars, peasants or more moderate revolutionaries than the Extremists. They would always assist Arno Dorian during the latter's fights with members of the Raiders, Extremists, National Guards and Swiss guards, as well as any other type of enemy encountered by Arno.
Minstrels were performers who, during the Renaissance, could be found singing and playing their instruments in the streets. Lute players were most common, though minstrels with a variety of instruments could be seen in Venice during Carnevale. Should they catch sight of an Assassin, they would often run after them and block their way, before playing on their lutes and singing songs about them.
Similarly to beggars, they could break the Assassin's cover, as well as call the attention of nearby guards should an Assassin attack them. Though they could prove irritating, or disruptive during a potential assassination, throwing florins could easily appease them.
Alternatively, the Assassin could intercept a minstrel by attacking them, stealing money from them (around 3 or 4 florins), or by running into them. All of these would make minstrels drop their instruments and run off, lamenting that the Assassin was not satisfied with their singing. Should the Assassin do this near to guards, they would suffer a slight increase in their notoriety.
Minstrels were also found in Rome and resembled those in other cities, even singing the same songs, though they wore different colored clothes. When an Assassin stole from a minstrel, it caused them to drop their instrument, but it yielded no coins.
In Constantinople, Ezio and the Ottoman Assassins encountered Italian minstrels preparing to perform at Topkapı Palace, and subsequently beat them, before stealing their clothes for infiltration purposes.
- Main article: Pickpockets
Pickpockets in the Renaissance era were thieves that attempted to steal an Assassin's florins. If the pickpocket was successful in robbing money, or if the Assassin was in the pickpocket's sight, they would attempt to escape by the use of free-running.
When an Assassin was pickpocketed, they could regain the money by chasing and tackling the pickpocket, or looting it from their corpse. In addition to the stolen money, an extra 500 florins could be gained, presumably from the pickpocket's previous victims.
- Main article: Borgia messengers
Borgia messengers were couriers of the House of Borgia during the Renaissance, and they behaved in a similar manner to pickpockets, but did not steal from Assassins, and would flee upon catching sight of Ezio.
They were adept free-runners, but again shared similarities to pickpockets in that they would be attacked by guards on the rooftops should they be seen. An Assassin could steal a sum of 1503 to 1505 florins from them, though killing a messenger would greatly increase notoriety.
In Constantinople, Templar Tax Collectors served the same function as Borgia messengers, and like their Italian counterparts, they would run away upon spotting Ezio. However, on killing a Templar tax collector, the Assassins would be made instantly aware to the Templars, potentially jeopardizing one of their Assassin Dens.
During the Golden Age of Piracy, and later the American Revolution, couriers could be used to refill any depleted ammo, as well as a small supply of currency. If a courier were to catch sight of Edward Kenway or Ratonhnhaké:ton, they would run.
Citizens in distress
- Main article: Save Citizen
During the Peloponnesian War, soldiers and bandits captured prisonners of war and citizens. Kassandra could save them when she infiltrated a camp. The civilians will run while the soldiers will attack their jailers.
During the Alexandrian Civil War, Bayek could liberated, civilians, rebels, soldiers and bandits imprisoned in camps.
In the High Middle Ages, an Assassin could often discover citizens that required their attention within the Kingdom's three cities.
In these instances, they were often being harassed by guards for crimes they did not commit, and upon being rescued by the Assassin, they would tell their family or friends about the act of kindness. Subsequent to this, a group of scholars or vigilantes could be found in the area where the citizen had been rescued.
In Altaïr's visit to Alep, these citizens also thanked Altaïr for being rescued, but rewarded him with a monetary sum as opposed to potential assistance.
In Rome and Constantinople during the 16th century, an Assassin could save citizens that were being harassed by Templar guards.
Unlike those in the Third Crusade, many of them could be found openly committing acts of rebellion; these included engaging a group of guards in a sword fight, or holding a guard hostage as others attempted to rescue their comrade.
Should the Assassin come to their assistance, the citizen would join them in the duel, proving to be able fighters. Once saved, the civilians gave their lives to the Assassins' cause, becoming apprentices of the Order shortly thereafter.
Throughout the Caribbean during the 18th century, Edward Kenway could rescue pirates in distress. These pirates would join Edward's crew on the Jackdaw without hesitation. Crew members are essential part of boarding ships. Distressed pirates could be found almost anywhere in the Caribbean; floating on some flotsam after a shipwreck, marooned on an island. In the cities they could be seen at a public hanging, fighting with and being held captive by the city guards. When he was in Saint-Domingue, Adéwalé liberated slaves from their masters in sugar plantations and on slave ships. Once rescued, the former slaves joined the Maroon rebellion and the crew of Adéwalé's ship, the Experto Crede.
In the American colonies, during the Seven Years' War, the gang members captured civilians and the French Army took British soldiers as prisonners. If Shay liberated civilians, they will join the crew of Shay's sloop of war, the Morrigan. The British Army rewarded Shay if he saved soldiers. During the American Revolution, mercenaries working for the Templars bullied citizens of Boston and New York. Ratonhnhaké:ton with the help of Assassins apprentices saved them from their attackers. In British forts, some American soldiers were imprisoned. Ratonhnhaké:ton could liberate them when infiltrating a fort. Through the colonies, Ratonhnhaké:ton saved some individuals who decided to pay back his help by settling in his Homestead.
- Main article: Stalkers
During Ezio Auditore's stay in Constantinople, some Byzantine Templars disguised themselves among the populace to hunt down and kill the Assassin. These civilians were known as Stalkers, and they typically wore outfits that disguised themselves as lower class members of society, as they attempted to stealthily sneak up on Ezio and stab him with a short blade.
Stalkers were rarely successful, and were usually killed by Ezio, who would turn their own daggers against them. In the chance that a stalker was successful, however, they would stab Ezio in the back, leaving him paralyzed for a few seconds and giving themselves the time to run off. But if any nearby Ottoman guards saw a stalker successfully stabbing Ezio, they would chase the stalker.
Assassin stalkers were present during the Seven Years' War, working closely with the the Assassin-affiliated gangs in New York and other settlements, pursuing the Assassin-turned-Templar, Shay Cormac.
Utilizing their Assassin training, the stalkers laid in wait disguised as civilians or in hiding spots such as haystacks, and attacked with Hidden Blades. They were capable of freerunning, knife-throwing and using smoke bombs, allowing them to both reach high points and strike from above, or attempt to stun Shay and attack him while he was vulnerable. If he faced a stalker's attack head-on, Shay could typically parry and counter the strike, killing the assailant in the process.
During the American Revolution, groups of small children approached Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton, seeking attention. These children always approached in groups of three, and sought only to get the attention with their impromptu street performances. Any nearby civilians would cheer the orphans on, however guards would rudely disperse the children, should they cross paths.
Like other civilians, Orphans could be distracted by throwing them some money. However, unlike the beggars or minstrels, drawing a weapon did not scare them away. Unlike other civilians, an orphan could only be killed if they were in the path of enemy gunfire. Should it occur that an orphan be shot, a new orphan would automatically regenerate in their place.
During the Renaissance, a common profession in areas near lakes, sea, rivers and other bodies of water was the one of a fisherman. Ezio Auditore could encounter several fishermen across Romagna, most of them by the docks, and could also encounter fewer in the rivers of Venice.
During the Golden Age of Piracy, one of the most common professions for commoners was the fisherman life. Edward Kenway could encounter fishermen trying to capture fishes on the docks of several cities, such as Kingston, or in the docks of many of the fisherman-settlements, such as Salt Key Bank.
All fishermen act like normal civilians, and it's always a crime to assault or kill them.
During the American Revolution, adults and children served as newspaper sellers in the streets. If Ratonhnhaké:ton had committed illegal acts, the newpapers spread the information and reported wanted poster of him. To lower his social notoriety, Ratonhnhaké:ton could ripping down the poster, bribing newspaper sellers and printers to stop spreading the informations.
Newspaper sellers can be found all over Paris, Saint-Denis and Versailles during the French Revolution. They are usually women, and stand on wooden crates, showing their newspapers to the public and shouting the news.
Arno Dorian could pick a newspaper from the seller's box for free if he desired to read it's content.
In London during the Victorian era, newspaper sellers could be rarely found along the dirty streets doing the same they did back in the French Revolution. One of these sellers was a child, and he was met by Jacob Frye after the latter assassinated both Pearl Attaway and Malcolm Millner during a bloody bus economic war, and it was one of the topics of the news.
In London during the Victorian era, chimney sweepers could be rarely found on the rooftops sweeping the chimneys.
- When using Eagle Vision, civilians were not highlighted in any way. They were simply shown as a dull grey, being neither an ally nor an enemy.
- In Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the social class of civilians could be distinguished based on their attire. As such, a richer civilian could be pickpocketed for more money.
- Prior to Assassin's Creed III there were extremely few instances of children appearing in-game, and none could be interacted within free roaming sequences.
- Assassin's Creed
- When Desmond had fully synchronized with Altaïr, and had relived through the memories desired by Abstergo Industries, he could no longer be desynchronized by killing civilians.
- Altaïr was originally able to push civilians out of his way while standing still, instead of only while running.
- An achievement called "Enemy of the Poor" could be obtained by throwing female beggars 25 times.
- Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- Thugs could be found in the streets, usually with daggers tucked into their belts. However, they would not attempt to steal or cause any inconvenience, instead acting as normal civilians.
- Scholars lost most of their importance in the game, as Altaïr could blend simply by posing as one, rather than walking within groups of them. However, they could still be found in the streets. Among the civilians of the game, they would not reprimand Altaïr for any improper behavior. They would, however, turn to watch as the Assassin drew any weapon, and would flee at any sign of violence.
- Members of the Cypriot Resistance also wandered the streets. Though they carried swords, they would not attack the Templars, and would always flee if guards attacked Altaïr. Also, while the resistance members were allied with Altaïr, they would still complain and threaten him if he stumbled into them.
- Civilian population in the game was sparse, due to PSP's limitations. This was explained in-game as the result of the Templar regime.
- Drunkards could be found in certain areas of Kyrenia's Harbor district, though they would nearly always be asleep on the streets, usually with a mug nearby.
- While escaping from pirates in a cutscene, Altaïr knocked a man into the sea. However, if he did the same afterwards, it would cause instant desynchronization.
- Assassin's Creed II
- In Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood, women would often find anything that Ezio did to be attractive, commenting on how strong, fast, or brave he was throughout the game.
- There was a rare glitch where a group of civilians listening to a herald would not react to any violent acts Ezio committed. These civilians could be killed without penalizing Desmond, though on occasion, about a minute after the glitch, he could spontaneously be desynchronized.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- As Rome was renovated, civilians would begin to carry parasols, bread, scepters and fans, signifying their increased wealth.
- Potential Assassin recruits in Rome always had the same clothes as Duccio de Luca, Claudia Auditore's former fiancé.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Civilians were seen doing a greater variety of activities, such as smoking a hookah pipe, playing board games or browsing the shops. In some cases, a rowdy citizen would challenge Ezio to a brawl, and merchants would ask him for help in carrying boxes if their shipment was running late.
- Some civilians in Constantinople would speak using Italian accents and terms, representing the diverse culture of the city.
- In the E3 promotional video, a civilian could be seen carrying a barrel, however no such carrier was present in the final version of the game.
- Assassin's Creed III
- Adult civilians and domestic animals could be killed if they were manually targeted.
- Civilians tended to stare at Connor, and make comments about how aggressive he seemed, even if he was just walking at a fast pace.
- Haytham and Connor would automatically shove civilians when running, as opposed to falling over.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Unlike previous games, civilians could not be killed with melee weapons, though they were still susceptible to both the blowpipe darts and flintlock shots. If Edward was attacked by a civilian under the influence of a berserk dart, he would not be able to parry or counter-attack.
- In the E3 promotional video, Edward could be seen naturally engaging in various activities while blending with groups of civilians, though no such feature was present in the final version of the game.
- Civilians no longer drown upon falling into water, and will instead swim and attempt to climb out and back onto land. They would, however, drown if they stayed in the water for too long.