Investigations were tasks that Assassins had to complete before any assassination or mission could be carried out.
Investigations were tasks performed normally by novice Assassins, where they would gain valuable information on a target through various methods, before relaying it to the Assassin bureau, who would then task a higher ranked and more experienced Assassin to eliminate the target. In 1191, after Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's failed mission at Solomon's Temple, the Assassin was demoted from his Master Assassin rank to that of a novice, requiring him to find and investigate his targets by himself. In general, the more the Assassins investigated their target, the easier it would be to kill them.
By the 15th century, the Assassins had decreased significantly in number, and as such, they would investigate their targets themselves. However, they also relied on their allies for valuable information, being the thieves, the courtesans and the mercenaries.
Types of investigation
- Main article: Pickpocketing
The Assassin would walk among the crowds of the city, and if they found a person carrying any document related to the target, they would tail them and pickpocket the document carefully. If the carrier caught the Assassin, however, they would call the guards, forcing the Assassin to fight or flee.
Despite this, pickpocketing allowed Assassins to recover documents such as maps, showing guard posts around their target, or letters, which told the Assassin where their target would be, who they had connections with, and so forth.
- Main article: Eavesdropping
Occasionally, an Assassin could come across certain individuals who were talking about their target. The Assassin could carefully listen to their conversation either by sitting nearby, or by tailing them as they moved.
Listening to the conversation of their target, or of the target's allies and enemies, provided the Assassin with valuable information about them, including their plans, surroundings and routine.
- Main article: Interrogation
Sometimes, Assassins would come across individuals who happened to have information about their targets, and for some, they would either give all the information they knew right away, while others would refuse to speak or try to run. In response to the latter two, the Assassin would need to use physical force until they spoke.
During his Quest for the Chalice, Altaïr would find such individuals and torture them into speaking by pressing certain pressure points on their bodies, though on his Hunt for the Nine, however, he simply beat up the target of his interrogation, and then killed him with his Hidden Blade when he got what he needed out of them.
- Main article: Informer
Since lower ranking Assassins were always tasked with investigating targets in the High Middle Ages, they would provide any information they possessed to an Assassin who had to kill the assigned target. During Altaïr's hunt, informers would freely give away what they knew if they assisted them with a favor or errand.
Of these tasks, they included assassinating various Templar guards, destroying the stands of corrupted merchants, collecting scattered flags, escorting an informer who had blown his cover, or racing to a second informer who had more information.
During the Renaissance, lower ranking Assassins were not tasked to investigate for higher ranking ones. Instead, each Assassin investigated for themselves, or asked other Assassins and other allies for help.
- Though there were 6 investigation missions for each target, Desmond was required to only complete 2 or 3 in the Animus, before Altaïr could gain permission from the Bureau leader. Completing all available investigations, however, increased the ease with which Altaïr could complete the assassination, as it unlocked and listed certain escape routes, guard postings and movements of the target.
- Four types of Informer Challenge missions are only available in the PC version of Assassin's Creed: Archer Stealth Assassination, Escort, Merchant Stand Destruction, and Rooftop Race.