Shéng biāo, or rope darts, were long-ranged weapons that could be thrown at enemies and, once anchored into the target, could be used to pull them over distances.
It was revealed by Achilles Davenport that the darts were a product of the legendary Chinese Assassin Shao Jun, which she developed after her journey to Italy to locate the Italian Mentor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and learn the secrets from him that allowed her to reform the Assassin Order in China.
Rope darts consisted of long ropes about 3–5 meters long, with metal darts attached to one end. A dart was thrown with the opposite end of the rope anchored to an object, or held in one's free hand.
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.
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 not be reused after being thrown at an enemy. He most notably used one such dart to kill the infamous pirate Bartholomew Roberts.
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.
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.
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.
- The "Predator" achievement could be earned by hanging five enemies with rope darts.
- Accompanying the weapon's Chinese name, the art of wielding a rope dart is also named Sheng Biao in Chinese martial arts.
- According to an XboxGameZone article, Connor's long-range weapon was originally a "Chain Blade". However, the development team thought that they would be taking "too much of a fantasy route" and researched a method that was more realistic, resulting in the addition of rope darts. Initially, concept art by William Wu shows that the Chain Blade was planned to be a variation of the Hidden Blade, similar to the Hidden Gun. Exploring the game's assets revealed a planned icon and code for the weapon, suggesting it was scrapped late in the development cycle.
- Attempting to hang multiple bodies from the same tree branch would cause them to fall to the ground.
- Connor 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.