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AC4 Rope Dart

A rope dart

A rope dart, or shéng biāo in Mandarin Chinese,[1] is a flexible weapon of Chinese origin that consists of a long rope about three to five meters in length with a metal dart attached at one end.

This type of long-ranged weapon can be swung at enemies, and, once anchored into the target, can be used to pull them over distances.

The rope dart was prominently employed by the Chinese Assassin Shao Jun who journeyed to Italy to locate the Italian Mentor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and learn from his legendary knowledge and skills in the hopes of saving the Assassin Brotherhood in China.[2][1]

Description

These ropes are equipped with a lethal grappling knife at the end, allowing one to pull a single opponent from a group and bring them to melee reach. It can also be used to pull an enemy into the air and hang them above ground.[1]

History

Everything is Permitted 4

Edward Kenway holding a rope dart

When Shao Jun was captured in 1526, the Templars stripped her of her weapons, including her rope dart. After recovering it, she used her rope dart to traverse the landscape and kill unsuspecting guards.[3]

In 1720, rope darts were given to the pirate Edward Kenway by Ah Tabai, Mentor of the Caribbean Assassins, after Edward proved himself worthy of having ties with the Assassins. Unlike those later owned by his grandson, these darts could only be reused in open combat through dual-wielding after being thrown at an enemy, with the exception being ship boarding. He most notably used one such dart to assassinate the infamous pirate Bartholomew Roberts.[4]

Shay Cormac, a fellow Templar and associate to Edward's son, Haytham Kenway, also employed rope darts during the Seven Years' War. He had the same restrictions as Edward, both in open combat and shipboarding/defense.[5]

Haytham's son, Ratonhnhaké:ton, used rope darts during the American Revolutionary War, after they were given to him by his Mentor, Achilles Davenport. These were much more durable in construction than the ones used by his grandfather, allowing them to be reused. However, when dual-wielding, they couldn't be reused.[1]

In 1841, rope darts were used as grappling hooks by Indian Assassin Arbaaz Mir, during his quest to recover the Koh-i-Noor from Templars.[6]

In 1918, during and immediately following the Shooting of the Romanov family, Russian Assassin Nikolai Orelov was equipped with a rope dart, which he used when assassinating guards from ledges. During the same period, Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, infused with the genetic memories of Shao Jun, used a dagger given to her by Orelov and rope to fashion a makeshift rope dart.[7]

In the year 2016, a rope dart was also used by Lin to kill guards while protecting the animus room after Callum was initiated into the Brotherhood.

Usage

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Achilles explaining the rope dart to Ratonhnhaké:ton

The weapon could be thrown down from amongst the treetops to impale enemies, who could then be used as a counterbalance for the user to drop down to ground level, hanging the victim in the process. Accompanying this aerial attack, rope darts could also choke victims to death, if an overhead ledge was utilized to increase the pressure of the strangle-hold. Following this, they could also be thrown upwards to drag enemies from rooftops.[1]

In open combat, rope darts could also be used to impale enemies and drag them towards the user, allowing for a close attack or for a human shield maneuver, as well as to wrench the intended target to the ground for a quick, instant kill. Additionally, they could also be used in conjunction with the Hidden Blades or Tomahawks and Swords whilst chaining kills together. Throwing the lethal dart tips to impale enemies in the chest and throat and leaving them to a slow, painful death by exsanguination (blood loss).[1]

By contrast, Shao Jun primarily utilized the rope dart to swing across chasms or climb up to a ceiling, where she was harder to spot. As such, it functioned more as a tool to help her traverse the environment than as a weapon. Shao Jun generally did not employ the rope dart in open combat, but could use it to quickly assassinate a guard while she was hanging from a ledge. However, Jun often used the rope dart to kill a guard in open combat using Helix abilities.[3]

In late 2016, whilst interred at the Abstergo Foundation Rehabilitation Center in Madrid, Lin, a decedent of Shao Jun, used a rope dart that was being held on display to fight her way out of the complex alongside Callum Lynch; Moussa, Nathan, and Emir.[8]

Trivia

  • The Chinese name Shéng biāo (繩鏢) literally translates to "rope dart".
  • The art of wielding a rope dart is also named shéng biāo in Chinese martial arts.
  • In Scroll 16 of Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China, the name shéng biāo is introduced with its diacritics indicating the tone of each word in pinyin. While they help readers to pronounce the words correctly, these diacritics are conventionally omitted in romanization of Chinese names, a convention abided by the game itself with the sole, inconsistent exception of shéng biāo.
  • In Scroll 16 of Chronicles: China, it is also stated that the rope dart is Shao Jun's original invention. This is historically incorrect as the first known written description of the weapon dates to the Tang dynasty (618–907).
  • Originally, Ratonhnhaké:ton's long-range weapon was meant to be a "Chain Blade" that extended from the Hidden Blade similar to the Hidden Gun, but this was scrapped as it was considered too fantastical. Instead, the rope darts replaced this concept as they were deemed more realistic.[9][10] Exploring the game's assets revealed a planned icon and code for the weapon, suggesting it was scrapped late in development.
  • Attempting to hang multiple bodies from the same tree branch would cause them to fall to the ground.
  • Ratonhnhaké:ton could find rope darts on people he had killed before the tool was introduced to him by Achilles, though the darts could not be used prior to that point.

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Appearances

References