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Assassins are useful units available only in the campaign. They are Agents like the spy and the diplomat but pose a bigger threat to enemy forces than that of the diplomat or the spy. The assassin can be found in the 'Agents' section of most settlements. The Assassin can do one thing to an army that is not held in a settlement. The Assassins can be used to assassinate enemy Generals (naturally).
The General is then sometimes killed while assassinating. Also, there are disadvantages to not succeeding with the assassination because the Assassin is either a bad shot and misses, is spotted by bodyguards but escapes or is slain by the bodyguards. To be able to know how likely you are to succeed in the mission, there is a percentage. Usually this is low like 21% success rate.
The other way of seriously irritating your opponent is Sabotage. This can only be done if the Assassin is targeting a settlement (not including forts). The normal assassination mission can be carried out but it is better fun to blow up some factions buildings. When the Assassin has enough moves to reach the settlement. The place is right clicked on and all the Generals are listed. Near the top of the notice, there is another option labeled 'Sabotage'. Upon left clicking this tab, there is a list of options that come up. These are the settlement's buildings. If the Settlement has no buildings then the mission can not take place. Usually most of the buildings are unknown to the assassin and sometimes a random guess on which building to choose is the best way to annoy the enemy. If there are buildings known, these can be chosen to be blown up by you if you so desire. The three outcomes that may occur are, Sabotage Mission Successful, Sabotage Mission Failed or Assassins Killed In Mission. There is also the success rate percentage like assassinations.