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The Whalers are a group of assassins in Dishonored, led by Daud. They wear industrial gas masks used in whale oil processing plants,[1] presumably to protect themselves from the rat plague and conceal their identities. Their base of operations is the former Chamber of Commerce in the Flooded District.

Before being recruited by Daud, they were mercenaries, street kids and refugees. They appear at times to attack Corvo Attano and were involved in the assassination of the Empress, Jessamine Kaldwin. There are three different ranks of Whalers during the game: novice assassins wearing gray outfits, master assassins wearing dark blue outfits, and unique leader assassins such as Daud and Billie Lurk wearing dark red suits. All members make use of the same weapons and masks.

Equipment and skills

Assassins possess supernatural abilities, including Blink - which they refer to as "transversals"[2] - and Pull - known to them as tethering,[2] which pulls an object or target towards the caster.

The Assassins' transversals have a much greater range than Corvo's Blink ability, but whether this state is based on function or practice is unknown. Transversals also seem to work differently, requiring the user to think of the locale instead of seeing it, as revealed in a conversation during The Flooded District. It is also stated that looking at and focusing on the destination while performing a transversal limits the potential of the power. Assassins often use transversals in combat, blinking next to targets and attacking them directly.

Tethering is used to snare and pin targets, and is not limited by physics; tethered targets can be lifted and held in the air, as performed on Corvo during the attack on the Empress. Though a target is still able to move while tethered, moving against its pull is met with great resistance.

In addition to the use of their swords, Assassins use their wristbows to perform ranged attacks.



A Whaler attacking Corvo.

  • Much like City Watch Officers, Assassins will often dodge Corvo's sword attacks even after being countered.
  • They will frequently try to knock Corvo back in order to make better use of their wristbows, but Blink can be used to minimize this.
  • Be careful not to get ambushed when passing Assassin territory. Dark Vision is a helpful ability to locate any possible Assassins lurking in the area. Also, getting to high ground significantly decreases Corvo's chance of being ambushed.
  • Assassins will often teleport behind Corvo, or pull him into bad positions through their supernatural abilities. Bend Time is a good way to turn the odds in Corvo's favor.
  • It is inadvisable to directly confront groups of Assassins, as their powers make their attacks hard to predict or even block. Even on a high chaos approach, it is advised to single them out before attacking.
  • When attacking Assassins with ranged weaponry, it is advised to catch them off-guard, otherwise they will often teleport or dodge, thus making Corvo waste ammunition.
  • Assassins are much harder to shake off than normal guards due to their teleportation ability. When playing a low-chaos approach, often sleep darts are the only way to knock them out once alerted.
  • If an Assassin is hit with Windblast, they will teleport, nullifying the damage. However, their mana must recharge afterward, so if Corvo uses Windblast again before their mana recharges, they will not be able to teleport in time.
  • Unlike Overseers, their masks do not grant them any protection. Thus, Assassins can be killed by a crossbow bolt to the head.
  • If tethered, whether by Daud or an Assassin, Corvo can blink away to escape the effects of the ability. Alternatively, he may charge the caster, turning their own ability against them.


  • Assassins are immune to certain poisons.[3] This is, however, not applicable to the sleep darts utilized by Corvo.
  • Although Whalers wear gas masks, they are not immune to the bottles of river krust acid thrown by the Dead Eels.
  • The Assassins' magic is bestowed upon them by Daud, rather than directly gifted by the Outsider.[3]
    • The degree to which the Assassins share in Daud's powers is beyond his control, with some of them failing to receive any powers at all.[4]
    • If an Assassin leaves the Whalers, his powers will fade over time.[5]
  • If an unconscious Assassin is hidden underwater, they will still be able to breathe, meaning that they will not count as being killed.
  • Assassins do not talk or shout during combat, even while on fire, but do speak upon spotting Corvo or while patrolling.
  • The Overseer music box prevents Assassins from performing Transversals and Tetherings in much the same way it inhibits Corvo's magic use.
  • The Assassin in-game model recycles an old design that was originally intended for Corvo.
  • The Heart has great difficulty learning the secrets of individual Assassins. It mentions that "It is as if there is a cloak around him, and I cannot see through it" and that they have "Secrets so well kept - even I cannot discern the truth."[6]
  • According to Harvey Smith, "The Whalers [believe] that Daud [is] absolutely unstoppable, and their powers - extensions of his - [make] them arrogant," meaning that some of them are not as afraid of Corvo as they should be.[7]
  • After Daud leaves Dunwall, the Whalers splinter, some creating new factions, others turning against each other, and some simply retiring.[8]
  • The Whalers are equipped with a poison needle in their gloves, used to end their lives to prevent questioning by Overseers.[9]



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