Dragon 379 - Exclusive Content: Assassin

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So the Heroic Tier section is up.  Let's discuss the Assassin as it's being fully revealed. For my part, I like that the Powers are called Hexes.  Makes me think of Hexblade - Shadow Defender?

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The Night Stalker build is both highly damaging and very fragile. Interesting.

...whatever

This is a fantastic class. I really like it.

There are no Drow or Changeling racial Heroic feats?


 


I assume multiclassing will be covered in a future installment.

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Ok, i get kinda how Ki focus work....but there's no enchantments for them. Implement powers fall behind really quick. This was a major interest for me, and yet nothing besides what was given at the preview.


The lack of Drow Feats is really odd, seeing as how one of their builds originates from them.


The light shield proficiency is odd, but i can deal with it.


Would have prefered Mysteries to Hexes. Nostalgia aside, hexes just seem voodoo-y to me.


Assassins Shroud, while clearly the 'normal' striker feature, its worded in such a way there's already 2 threads wondering about clerification.


Suffice to say, i'll be glad to roll up a Revenant Assassin next month, just hope we get Ki Focus stats soon...

so whats can you tell me about the class?  This is a make or break thing for me if I am going to get a month long subscription or not.


Not asking for powers... llike ummmm


for one thing we found out from pictures people took that one build is dex/cha (i think), what other builds are there?  Is one dex/con?  because we remember hearing the revenant would make a great assassin.


What is this ki focus stuff?

The builds are Dex/Cha and Dex/Con. Cha is higher damaging, but Con is much more durable (which is nice since you have controller HP as a melee).


Besides being stealthy and dex based it is definitely not the rogue, but at the same time i wouldn't call it better or worse. I think the rogue has more status effects. A nice mix of implement and weapon powers.


Ki focuses let you use any weapon you are proficient with an enchancement bonus provided by your Ki Focus instead of the one it is. Very nice for flexibility....if they gave us rules on Ki Focus enchantments. Right now you could have a ritual caster enchant it i guess..but it seems to be implied you can get properties from it besides enhancement.

Very neat class. I really like it.

None of the races outside of the PHBs have listed feats, except the Revenant.  Ie, no FRPG, EPG, or Dragon races.  I really hope that's fixed with one of the other two articles.

I like what I see so far.


One thing I would like to see is some Shadar-Kai assassin feats. As a Shadow Race, they seem like they should be naturals at this class (and their Dexterity bonus does make them a contender).

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None of the races outside of the PHBs have listed feats, except the Revenant.  Ie, no FRPG, EPG, or Dragon races.  I really hope that's fixed with one of the other two articles.




We may see an article or articles later on for Assassins of Eberron or Assassins of the Realms, where those will be made available.  The other Dragon magazine races might see Assassin feats the next time they're revisited.  I don't think you'll see too many in the paragon- or epic-tier articles though.
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It appears the Assassin was a KI class before the power source got scrapped. That's extremely interesting, as I certainly don't think KI when I hear Assassin. Although I'm sure others will point out to me that Ninja and Assassin are synonymous (to which I agree), although again I don't think the Ninja is really a KI class. It would have just gotten thrown into KI because Ninja = Asian.


IMO this reaffirms that the decision to scrap the KI power source was a good one.


I'm always interested to find out how the next striker class will differentiate itself from the earlier strikers. IMO requiring combat advantage for rogues was a good choice, but warlock's curse simply seems like a better version of hunter's quarry. Fortunately Avengers (giving up extra damage for better accuracy) and Barbarians (certain powers have extra dice damage under certain conditions) had interesting mechanics that offered different tactical situations. Although Sorcerers were a bit boring (get a flat stat bonus).


So with all that in mind, I think the shroud feature is an interresting take on the typical striker feature. I'd be curious to see what the average damage is depending on when you activate the shroud. I'll use this formula:


Average damage per round = (average on a hit+average on a miss)/(number of shrouds*2)


Although I have no idea how accurate it is ;) Depending on when you activate your shroud you will:


  1. Activate on first - Hit: 1d6. Miss: 0. Average: 1.5

  2. Activate on second - Hit: 2d6. Miss: 1d6. Average: 2.25

  3. Activate on third - Hit: 3d6. Miss: 2d6. Average: 2.5

  4. Activate on fourth - Hit: 4d6. Miss: 3d6. Average: 2.625

Based on that it'd be better to wait until you put 2 shrouds on your target, so you at least do some damage. Waiting longer results in smaller increases in damage and you run the risk of the target dying before you activate any of the shrouds.


Of course, I'd like it if someone who actually knew how to do maths provided the actual average damage ;)


All in all an interesting class with intriguing powers.


None of the races outside of the PHBs have listed feats, except the Revenant.  Ie, no FRPG, EPG, or Dragon races.  I really hope that's fixed with one of the other two articles.




Yeah, Like someone said earlier, its wierd Drow don't have a racial.


 


and Dangit! I'd love to play a Gnoll assassin if I could. Esspecially if they finally fix feats for the gnoll. Course i wouldn't mind playing a revenant assassin.. OH the brutality you could do then!


I mean seriously, you can take both revenant feats and then pick up yet another racial feat.

I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.

I get slightly different numbers (assuming 60% hit chance)


  1. activate with 1 shroud: 2.1 damage (hit: 0.6 * 1d6 = 2.1 damage; miss: 0.4 * 0d6 = 0 damage)

  2. activate with 2 shrouds: 5.6 damage (hit: 0.6 * 2d6 = 4.2 damage; miss: 0.4 * 1d6 = 1.4 damage)

  3. activate with 3 shrouds: 9.1 damage (hit: 0.6 * 3d6 = 6.3 damage; miss: 0.4 * 2d6 = 2.8 damage)

  4. activate with 4 shrouds: 12.6 damage (hit: 0.6 * 4d6 = 8.4 damage; miss: 0.4 * 3d6 = 4.2 damage)

So, adding an additional shroud results in 3.5 more damage.


Using more shrouds at once always deals more damage than using the same amount of shrouds over multiple rounds. e.g.: 3 shrouds at once result in 9.1 damage, while using 1 shroud one round and 2 shrouds two rounds later only deals 7.7 damage.


So, the best thing to do is just add as many shrouds as possible on a target before using them (either because you have reached the maximum of 4 or because the target might be killed before you have a chance to trigger your shrouds).


 


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Edit: Correcting massive brainfart

I'm a little wary of Shadeform seeing as to how an assassin can chill out in it for hours. Also doesn't insubstantial allow you to move through objects like a ghost!?


edit: Realized that I'm thinking of Phasing


There are no Drow or Changeling racial Heroic feats?


 


I assume multiclassing will be covered in a future installment.




Changelings getting shafted in the feat department is starting to seem like policy :P It's real annoying.

This looks extremely awesome.  I'm not even into this type of character, but the mechanics are really interesting and the fluff well-presented imho.  Drow assassin on the way!


I like Gloom Thief (Encounter 1) and the ability to Shadow Step at will!  Surprised  The sidebar on ki focus (re: transporting the bonus rather than the physical weapon for stealth purposes) helped smooth out that feature for me.  The lack of drow feats did stand out, but I thought maybe it was because they are considered standard for the class anyway...?


Would have prefered Mysteries to Hexes. Nostalgia aside, hexes just seem voodoo-y to me.


I'd forgotten about "mysteries" (which I liked), but "hexes" doesn't rankle me personally.  It's a little more biting and little less, well, mysterious.  Smile  I'm sure one of the future shadow classes will incorporate the term mysteries though.


My one worry was that they'd used up all the shadowy and misty power names possible!  Despite that, the assassin makes me look forward to other shadow classes.  Someone will have to start another speculation thread soon. 

Its like they made a class just for one of my characters.

It seems they decided to leave the Campaign Setting races out of the feats completely.  Not only are there no Drow or Changling feats, there are no warforged, gensai, or kalashtar feats.

Aesop had it right 2,500 years ago, "By endeavoring to please everyone, he had pleased no one, and lost his ass in the bargain".

There is also no minotaur or gnoll.


 


Gnolls would make excelent assassins, stat wise at the very least. Then the +dmg when bloodied helps alot too.

I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.

It's an interesting striker (warlock/hexblade) on par with the swordmage defender. 


I'll second the disappointment at no shadar-kai feats (and no multiclass feats either?)  It's a shame that DDI exclusive content isn't referring back to the races that have been featured on DDI. 


A hybrid warlock/assassin looks like it might be a bit complicated and I doubt that the at-will teleport will be on the available list of goodies (assuming we get hybrid rules).  If it was, I might think again.  I might stick with my warlock multiclass rogue ghost of eventide and just pick some juicy assassin abilities via Eternal seeker when I get that far.


There is also no minotaur or gnoll.


 


Gnolls would make excelent assassins, stat wise at the very least. Then the +dmg when bloodied helps alot too.




Wow you're right, they a dex con race aren't they.  Gnoll assassins aren't iconic, but they may be in the future.  Especially since Ki focus might make the claw fighter feat actually useful.

Aesop had it right 2,500 years ago, "By endeavoring to please everyone, he had pleased no one, and lost his ass in the bargain".

Hm, I think I have to build a half-elf assassin. With Velvet Blade Trick and Versatile Master he should be able to apply two shrouds per round.

I'm wondering if we'll see ki focus or other enchantments geared toward Assassins in either of the upcoming articles, or if we're going to have to wait for Shadow's release in PHB4 before ki focii become usable.


 


Overall, it's pretty cool, I like what they've done, but it's not really inspiring me to play it. Few classes jump out at me like that, though, so that's nothing against it.

What I'm a little disappointed in is that the assassin has the ability to generate Combat Advantage so easily without any ability to capitalize on it.

It is just a little frustrating knowing that you can turn invisible, hide easily, have abilities that give enemies "the target grants combat advantage (save ends)" but you gain no benefits from it at all other than +2 to hit.

It just feels like a class that SHOULD get some benefit when they strike from the shadows. That's pretty much how me and my roommates all felt as we read the class. It was pretty much: "Ok, so you can turn invisible. That does give people -5 to hit you, but other than that...why?"

For those you who don't use Twitter (Follow me @AsmodeusLore), Mr. Mike Mearls has let slip that there is an easter egg in this article.


"I wonder how long before anyone finds the #dnd nostalgia easter egg in the assassins character class that just went live on DDI?"


 


Can you find it?

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You know, the light shield proficiency really doesn't seem to fit the class at all. It should really be removed in favor of something like hide proficiency/sherukin proficiency.


You know, the light shield proficiency really doesn't seem to fit the class at all. It should really be removed in favor of something like hide proficiency/sherukin proficiency.




Giving them Shuriken might make them too close to the Rogue for some people's tastes.  As far as the armor goes ... I'm ambivalent.

Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.


Hm, I think I have to build a half-elf assassin. With Velvet Blade Trick and Versatile Master he should be able to apply two shrouds per round.




Velvet Blade Trick is disgustingly more powerful than any of the other Assassin feats when you take Versatile Master into consideration.


Half-elf assassin isn't bad, but remember... You can just as easily take dilettante through revenant for the same thing, but a higher primary stat.


Dilettante Twin Strike w/ ranged weapon... mmmm...



You know, the light shield proficiency really doesn't seem to fit the class at all. It should really be removed in favor of something like hide proficiency/sherukin proficiency.




Giving them Shuriken might make them too close to the Rogue for some people's tastes.  As far as the armor goes ... I'm ambivalent.




I don't know. To be honest, their powers are so different, and so few are useful with ranged weapons, that I really don't think that giving assassin shuriken proficiency (so that they can make ranged basic attacks with them) is really a big deal. I personally think it would really fit with their ninja flavor. These guys are the magical ninjas to the rogues mundane ninja.


The builds are Dex/Cha and Dex/Con.




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Velvet Blade Trick is disgustingly more powerful than any of the other Assassin feats when you take Versatile Master into consideration.


Half-elf assassin isn't bad, but remember... You can just as easily take dilettante through revenant for the same thing, but a higher primary stat.


Dilettante Twin Strike w/ ranged weapon... mmmm...




I wouldn't be caught dead playing a revenant. (Pun intended.)Laughing Additionally I would lose the CHA-Bonus for Night Stalker, and there are a lot more interesting Dilettante powers for Charisma than for Constitution. Unfortunately all other non-ranged Dex-at-wills only work with rogue weapons or monk weapons. Velvet Blade Trick is one of the must-have feats, the assassin doesn't have a lot of those.Wink

Um, one small editing issue: as written is seems that using your shrouds REPLACES your attacks damage instead of adding to it.  Could someone add the words "an additional" between "the attack deals" and "1d6"?

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Um, one small editing issue: as written is seems that using your shrouds REPLACES your attacks damage instead of adding to it.  Could someone add the words "an additional" between "the attack deals" and "1d6"?




Holy crap! you are right!


If that is how it is suppose to be, then shrouds kinda sucks since you can only use it once per round. So it would take 4 rounds for you to finally be able to pull off the big 4d6 and do suffecient striker damage. (since you can't modifiy it at all.)


 


Also shades form says something about allies providing cover.. when did they start doing that?

I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.



The builds are Dex/Cha and Dex/Con.




Yummy, Kobold Assassin ^^




I was thinking the EXACT same thing.  I kept hearing about "Oh, kobold rogue is so broken!" So that actually made me NOT want to play a rogue because of their sneak attack junk and their ease of getting combat advantage.  This class I do see myself making a kobold of in the near future, though ^_^


Then again I have to be the biggest kobold lover on these boards... 4e has been out a bit over a year and I have played 5 kobolds in 5 different classes and not any other race o_o


warden, warlock, warden, shaman, and bard kobolds have been played XD


Could the assassin be next? O_O!

That Minion of the Dark feat is a must have.  Is there any other way to acquire darkvision in 4e, besides magic items?

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That Minion of the Dark feat is a must have.  Is there any other way to acquire darkvision in 4e, besides magic items?




Be a Drow. Other than that, not much.



Velvet Blade Trick is disgustingly more powerful than any of the other Assassin feats when you take Versatile Master into consideration.


Half-elf assassin isn't bad, but remember... You can just as easily take dilettante through revenant for the same thing, but a higher primary stat.


Dilettante Twin Strike w/ ranged weapon... mmmm...




I wouldn't be caught dead playing a revenant. (Pun intended.)Laughing Additionally I would lose the CHA-Bonus for Night Stalker, and there are a lot more interesting Dilettante powers for Charisma than for Constitution. Unfortunately all other non-ranged Dex-at-wills only work with rogue weapons or monk weapons. Velvet Blade Trick is one of the must-have feats, the assassin doesn't have a lot of those.Wink




Well, didn't you think for a minute that they didn't intend it to work at-will? They probably didn't even think about Versatile Master, don't be surprised if the compiled version will have a note added that will put a cap of 1/encounter, so that even when you have Versatile Master, you will only be able to apply shroud with it 1/encounter. If they don't do this, half-elves suddenly become not only the best assassins but the best strikers in the game.


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The builds are Dex/Cha and Dex/Con. Cha is higher damaging, but Con is much more durable (which is nice since you have controller HP as a melee).


Besides being stealthy and dex based it is definitely not the rogue, but at the same time i wouldn't call it better or worse. I think the rogue has more status effects. A nice mix of implement and weapon powers.


Ki focuses let you use any weapon you are proficient with an enchancement bonus provided by your Ki Focus instead of the one it is. Very nice for flexibility....if they gave us rules on Ki Focus enchantments. Right now you could have a ritual caster enchant it i guess..but it seems to be implied you can get properties from it besides enhancement.




the cha feature indead does more damage but  the acutal encounter powers of the builds the con does more damage cause it is more weapon bassed


like lots of con based powers are [2W]+mod damage and effect


 


but the cha ones are 1D8 or 1D10+mod damage or even [1W]


 


you could still take cha feature and choose the con based powers i suppose but i think in the end it balances itself out. with the CHA doing more damage with their at wills and some dailies, but Con doing more damage with encounters and some Dailies


 


 


For those you who don't use Twitter (Follow me @AsmodeusLore), Mr. Mike Mearls has let slip that there is an easter egg in this article.


"I wonder how long before anyone finds the #dnd nostalgia easter egg in the assassins character class that just went live on DDI?"


 


Can you find it?




Well, this looks like a challenge I may dig, but apart from many Shadow Hand power names like Black Garrote, Executioner's Noose, Obscuring Shadow and such, which don't even qualify that much as "nostalgia" since Book of the Nine Swords is not that old, I don't know...


Ki Focus and Shadow Step are quite obvious...


I think it must be hidden is one of the pictoresque racial feats...


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Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
- Cylonea: Merfolk (Elemental Priest) Shaman(World Speaker)/Artificer --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff
- Vurokk Dahvre: Shade (Escaped Slave) Blackguard of Fury --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)
Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

Lack of level 1 - 10 (Heroic) Ki focus implements is lame, since they appear to be the primary magic item for this class. Splitting the article into three parts seemed stupid to me all along.