Heralds were citizens who informed the populations of cities about recent news, such as those concerning laws, taxation, public health issues or executions. They came about due to the lack of an effective means of information transfer, and were precursors to the communication system of modern times.
At the time of the Third Crusade, heralds were found in major cities such as Acre, Damascus, and Jerusalem, where they attempted to convince the citizens to join the Crusaders or the Saracens, depending on which faction controlled the city at the time. From 1191, the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad interrogated and killed several heralds in order to gain information on his assassination targets.
During the Italian Renaissance, should Ezio Auditore da Firenze commit a crime, the heralds would begin warning the people about the presence of the Assassin. To keep himself hidden, Ezio would often bribe them with 500 florins, and encourage them to speak of other matters. Similarly, in Constantinople, Ezio would bribe heralds with 100 akçe.
When viewed with Eagle Vision, heralds were marked with blue if they were announcing normal events. If they spoke of the Assassins, usually consisting of lies and slander, they were shown glowing red, as any other enemy would. Peculiarly, they sometimes also glowed gold.
- Bribing a herald lowered notoriety by 50%, but in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, this was lowered to 25%.
- The Magistrates in Assassin's Creed III: Liberation worked very much like Heralds in the sense that bribing them would reduce your notoriety.
- In Assassin's Creed II, heralds would appear on the Animus mini-map as long as Ezio's notoriety was not at 0%. In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, notoriety must have been greater than 50%, and in Revelations, they appeared around 25% Templar awareness. It should be noted that, in Assassin's Creed II, in Venice, heralds appeared at 50% notoriety.
- It was possible to steal back the money that Ezio used to bribe heralds, though they would initiate a fistfight should Ezio remain in the area afterwards. The Brotherhood achievement "Easy Come, Easy Go" could be earned by doing so.
- In this achievement, a herald was referred to as an "orator".
- In Brotherhood, when bribing a herald, citizens would make threatening remarks, as if Ezio had drawn his weapon in public.
- In Assassin's Creed III, heralds were replaced by town criers, which did not attract crowds like in earlier games, and held up newspapers instead.