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- "You do realize the Assassin will gut you in the very near future? Well, those of you he doesn't drain, castrate, behead, or drop from high places, that is!"
- ―A vigilante taunting a guard.[src]
Vigilante groups were usually made up of the friends or family members of female citizens, who had been rescued from harassing guards by Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. The rescued citizen would often thank the Assassin, and assure him that their husband, brothers, friends or neighbors would be sure to hear of his kind deed. Subsequently, if Altaïr was being pursued by guards or chasing an assassination target, the vigilantes would grab them by the arm and prevent them from moving. This allowed the Assassin to either make his escape, dispose of his pursuers or assassinate his target.
Should Altaïr pass by the group of vigilantes when not being pursued, they would greet him, and say such things as "Thank you for saving my daughter," or "If you need me, I am here."
During Ezio Auditore da Firenze's attempts to retake Rome, several vigilantes began to support his actions. After he destroyed Borgia Towers, small groups of vigilantes would gather in the district, shouting insults at nearby guards, and ready to aid Ezio at any time.
Aside from directly assaulting the guards, they could also hide him from them. After successfully helping Ezio against an attack, they would disperse from the area, and only gather again at a later time.
Though vigilantes did not address Ezio should he walk past, they would often speak complaints against the Borgia, and praise for the Assassins.
In Constantinople, when Ezio stirred a riot at the Harbor of Theodosius, several vigilantes chose to fight against the Janissaries. Though unarmed, or wielding only pitch forks, many risked their lives to protest the tyranny of the guards.
Once the rioters had broken through the gate and into the Arsenal itself, Vigilantes could be seen fighting both the Elite soldiers and Janissaries inside.
During the American Revolutionary War, vigilantes would assist Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton. Liberating regions from the Templar influence prompted them to gather around certain areas. Like in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, they would shout insults at the nearby guards.
The vigilantes would not only grab and stop attacking soldiers directly, but hide Haytham and Connor, by allowing them to blend with the group. If they were attacked, it would cause them to disperse, but following an attack they would quickly move back to their original area.
Along with ordinary vigilantes, rioters have also appeared in the cities, gathering the surrounding citizens to cause a commotion. This would distract soldiers away from certain areas and allow Connor to slip by. These rioters could also be provoked by Assassin recruits.
During the Boston Massacre, the rioters gathered and began shouting at the British soldiers because of their unfair treatment. This drew away all the guards' attention in the district, as most were busy with keeping order. Eventually though, the soldiers began shooting upon the civilians and killing them.
Later, Stephane Chapheau went on a riot through Boston in his irritation at the British before he joined the Assassins. Through this, he gathered a lot of attention of British soldiers in the district, as well as provoked other civilians to riot as well.
During the French Revolution, citizens were often harassed by violent thugs and thieves. If protected by Arno Dorian, the civilians would return the favor by fighting with Arno against city guards or extremists.
- A guard held by a vigilante could not move or defend himself, allowing Altaïr or Ezio to easily kill or shake the pursuers.
- Vigilantes could hold guards for around five seconds before the guard broke free, although it was possible for the guard to be grabbed again immediately afterward.
- Any guard, regardless of health or type, could be grappled by vigilantes. Even some assassination targets were vulnerable to them.
- If all of the pursuers were killed with the assistance of vigilantes, the group would disperse, and could not be used again until the area was revisited.