Getting Started: Overview, Ability Scores, and Races
[u]Baseline Mechanics[/u][u]Features[/u]Assassin’s Shroud – This is your striker damage ability, and you will be using it every single round; it is the mechanic this class revolves around. Since you still damage even on a miss, you probably want to have at least two on a target before invoking them, and if you can get sneaking off before the battle, you will probably stack as many as possible on a foe before hitting them (hopefully four). Learn every nook and cranny of Assassin’s Shroud, and become very proficient with when and how to optimize it.Shade Form – This will mostly be used for sneaking around before combat, as you can make Stealth checks from behind just about anything with it, and even if you are noticed, you’re taking half damage. You can also use this in combat, however it goes away after you make an attack roll or stop sustaining it. With this, its possible to tank huge amounts of damage, but not very advised to do so. A crafty assassin though will find ways to use this power, and never make attack rolls for at least a good period of time while still be an asset to the party. Shadow Step – This power is extreamly useful. Esspecially if your team is masters of the battlefield. Combined with a wizard or some summons, you can easily move around. Esspecially useful in dungeons, a little less so in open areas. Crafty assassins will find ways to expand this power, and other ways to get to use it. Guild Training – You only have two choices as of now, though we have been promised another in a future article:
[u]Ability Scores[/u]Constitution – This is the secondary score for Bleak Disciples, who want it at at least 16.Also, because of your low HP in general, and the allure of Hide armor, you probably want at least a 12 in here, and a 14 would be nice. If you are a Bleak Disciple going after warlock powers, you might want a 16-18 after racial bonuses.
Wisdom – Not a secondary stat, but important for several notable reasons. First off, if you are a Bleak Disciple, you probably want this better than your Cha for pumping Will, unless you just love Bluff and Intimidate. Wis boosts Perception, and it’s honestly shameful for an assassin to be caught by one of his own kind. Charisma – The secondary ability for Night Stalkers, who will want this at least at 16. This also boosts your Bluff and Intimidate, which you might use very little or often, depending on the campaign. Bleak Disciples will likely skip this for Wisdom, so they need a lower score, 10-12 probably.[u]Races[/u]
Eladrin – +2 Dex, Good racial power, good feat support. This race would generally focus on heavy amounts of teleportation and avoidance, making them a very hard assassin to ever pin down. Can follow Bleak or Nightstalker fairly easily. Elf – +2 dex, great racial power and feat support. Can easily favor either side. This one is a little more capable of doing good damage do to the uses its racial power could have. Half-Elf – +2 to Con/Cha. While not having a dex increase, this means you can easily follow either way. Feat support is also really good, though a little lacking on the elven side.
*****Current List I've gone through ^^^
Human – The bonus to only one ability score is okay for Assassins, but sub-optimal. The NAD bonuses help cover your weak spots. The extra at-will is somewhat limited as of now, but is still helpful and will undoubtedly be useful in the future. The feat and skill, as always, are very nice for you, especially if your DM makes you get Hidden Insight to sneak n’ shroud.Tiefling – Cha bonus and decent racials for an Assassin, very average overall, though the flavor is nice You know how to optimize Tieflings. Races, PHB2Deva – Oh, a race with Int and Wis bonuses? Just what Assassins don’t need! Memory is nice, and the feat is okay, and they get defensive boosts, but really, you can do better.Goliath – Well, you’ll qualify for Hide armor easily. And you’re a little less squishy. However, your racial Assassin feat is ridiculously good, and you'll be able to pick hammers up easily for even more damage. Goliath Greatweapon Prowess and other racials also bump you up.Half-Orc – Nice stats, especially for Bleak Disciples looking to go for Hide, and the racial power helps damage and racial stuff makes you tougher. Shifter, Razorclaw – Okay, it’s an elf, but a little worse. The speed boost makes you faster when bloodied, and the defense bonuses are nice with that shifting, but do you really want to be bloodied with your squishiness?Shifter, Longtooth – Two stats you really don’t need. I would say you could do worse, but that’d be pretty hard. I guess the power is decent…Races, PHB3Githzerai – Again, an elf clone, but this one’s pretty good. The power is great for boosting defenses and the initiative boost is cool. Although you don’t get a Cha or Con bonus, overall, especially with Githzerai Blade Mastery, this is a pretty strong race.Minotaur – Pretty much the same as the Goliath, only more melee oriented. But hey, you were going Bleak Disciple anyways as a Minotaur, weren’t you?Wilden – Think better Dwarves: not slow, defense bonus, and good racial powers. Oh, and you will be choosing Destroyer (maybe Hunter), because that power is ridiculous.FRPGDrow – Optimal stats for Night Stalkers, great racial powers, and darkvision. If you can walk around in the dark constantly, more power to you.Genasi – Str and Int. Not so good stat wise, but some of the new Gensai that just came out might be Helpful. Especially with Reverants. EPGChangeling – CA once per encounter, perfect stats for Night Stalkers, amazing at disguising, even an extra defense bonus. Very solid race, and great flavor (My current assassin). Makes a remarkable 'victim' assassin. Kalashtar – Your stat bonuses could be worse, but your abilities are oriented away from striker. Telepathy could be fun.Warforged – The only reason I mark this as worse than Goliaths and Minotaurs is because THP doesn’t stack.Manual of the PlanesBladeling – All you’ve got going for you is a Dex bonus, really.DragonGnoll – Definitely one of the best races for Assassins, especially Bleak Disciples. Great speed, great power, good damage bonuses, decent feats.Revenant – Wow, both good Dex and Con races in a row. Revenants are amazing Assassins, and they really favor neither. Both Guilds like Con for HP, and Unnatural Vitality lets you not only attack someone, but you can still use Assassin’s Shroud. When looking at feats, don’t forget your Past Life. Some races that might have bad stats, might have great feats. Shadar-Kai – Basically exactly the same as Eladrin.MM1 and MM2[color=Magenta]Bugbear[/color] – Think Half-Orcs, but worse. I guess Oversized is good. Maybe this should be Black.Bullywug – Okay, you have nice stat bonuses. Otherwise, you pretty much suck.Duergar – Like Wilden, only more offensive. Their racial power is great, the stat boosts are okay, but darkvision.Githyanki – Initiative bonus, Con bonus, defense bonus and racial are solid. Int is useless, though.Goblin – Your ability score bonuses are perfect for Night Stalkers. The skill bonuses, Reflex bonus and racial are all good as well. Small, though, unfortunately, so go for more ranged attacks.[color=Magenta]Hobgoblin[/color] – You have a bonus to both secondary stats. Nothing else, really.Kenku – Great stat bonuses, great skill bonuses, better flanking is fun. If they just had better feats… Also, Mimicry could be amazing for an Assassin.Kobold – Dex and Con are good stat boosts, good skill bonuses, and good racial power. However, you are small, and you have no feat support and no really good other bonuses.Orc – Goliaths and Minotaurs that are worse and have no feat support.
Lurking Shadow I think Lurking Shadow is under rated. It's a sustained invisibility that you can attack from. I would be surprised if you couldn't get this off for at least 1/2 a fight per session. The fact that it makes you invisible and silent (depending on how your DM reads that) makes you almost impossible to target. And it is an easy way to get Combat Advantage.
Paragon-Tier Powers[u]Level 13, Encounter[/u]Dark Step Ambush – Oh hey, look, it’s that level 3 power Inescapable Shroud, but with an invisibility rider! Okay, that’s nice, but shouldn’t we be getting a little more bang for our buck 10 levels later?Flurry of Talons – This is nice, and to me it’s better than Dark Step Ambush. Though you don’t turn invisible, you move farther and deal more damage. Also, it’s really likely your shrouds will hit with it. Slayer in the Dark – Another one meant to isolate the target for you Night Stalkers. This can be a really, really good power if you have a party full of druids, wizards, fighter, warlocks or others who push, pull and slide often. If only the damage were a little better, but I suppose it is meant to control more than strike.[color=Blue]Well of Shades[/color] – This is a great controlling power, but only really for Bleak Disciples, as Night Stalkers are probably leaving themselves too open after the attack. The damage isn’t too shabby either, but it does target Fort.[u]Level 15, Daily[/u]Bleak Gallows – The damage is okay, but the effect if great for those who either like to isolate, or control. Be careful that you don’t keep teleporting someone who likes to charge or stay away; you have to make sure you have an appropriate target.Death’s Doorstep – Weapon vs. Reflex, so it’s accurate, and the 3[W] is nice damage. The effect doesn’t help you that much, but if you’re fighting someone who makes you miss an annoying amount of the time, this power is invaluable. It’s another daily that helps your shrouds to be better.Shade Venom – The attack itself is okay, but there’s one thing you need to note about the effect: you can’t make an OA against it if you invoke it. Thus you have to plan with this power, so people who will be moving away from you anyways are good targets, or you only invoke it on turns when it’s already away from you.[color=DeepSkyBlue]Sundered Shadow[/color] – I absolutely love this power, and it is simply wonderful to use against people in the back ranks, who will likely try to escape you anyways. Keep in mind, this allows you to use any melee power against it from anywhere on the battlefield, but you still have to have line of sight and effect to it.[u]Level 16, Utility[/u]Assassin’s Defense – While a defensive power is very welcome, it’s extremely limited for this level. Invisibility is always nice, but +2 is not that likely to make a difference, and you can only use it against your shroud target.Liquid Shadow – Now, that’s a defensive power! Another one of those nice retribution powers, this one lets you be both less squishy and move about. Also, keep in mind this enemy need not be one you’re focusing on; that’s why you have Shadow Step.Shadow Meld – This is a very nice desperation power, and it will save your skin. [color=Blue]Thief of Names[/color] – This power both has an RP aspect, and a combat aspect, which is nice. Keep in mind, it can be any creature you have ever seen, any. In combat, using this on the big boss often turns it into a duel between you and him, so be sure that you can handle that.[u]Level 17, Encounter[/u]Mob of Shadows – The damage is decent and it’s pretty accurate. This is a good control power, and, ironically, an isolating power intended for Bleak Disciples. However, you must remember that you cannot make an OA against an enemy you damage, but this can take out minions easily.Shadow Fire – This is one of those powers that is meant for you to invoke our shrouds with, and it has decent damage and an okay effect to boot. Shadowed Deception – vs. Will is nice, and the damage is pretty good. The effect is very nice for an encounter power, especially since it grants CA in general, not just to you, if you’re a Night Stalker, making it a Blue power for them. [color=Black]Traitorous Shadow[/color] – The damage this power deals is good, and it really keeps artillery and controllers out for at turn, or at least deters them. However, I can’t say it’s lack of accuracy really makes it equal to Shadow Fire, so I have to make it Black.[u]Level 19, Daily[/u]Consign to Shadow – Accurate and damaging, and tries to make a duel between you and the baddie. Again, I have to warn you that you need to be prepared to duel them. It also prevents enemies from helping the monster in any way, and you can keep going after it turn after turn.Executioner’s Blade – This power is reliable, and it is ridiculously deadly. Keep in mind that even if you miss, you still deal max shroud damage and you can use it again later.Guild of Shadows – This is a nice power for controlling enemy formations, but the fact that you can’t help your allies flank or beat up on one enemy with them limits it. vs. Will is nice, and the damage is pretty good. The effect is very nice for an encounter power, especially since it grants CA in general, not just to you, if you’re a Night Stalker, making it a Blue power for them. [color=Blue]Traitorous Shadow[/color] – Very accurate, damaging, and an effect that just about lets you have CA versus it until the end of the encounter. I’d say that’s pretty good. However, I have to say that all of these powers seem a little lackluster compared to other striker powers of this level.
Improved Initiative – Going early is always nice, though hopefully you’re also getting a surprise round.Melee Training – You are in melee a lot, and any opportunity to do extra damage is good. Opportunity attacks are your friend, and charging can be too.Nimble Blade – If you use Light Blades, this is a decent investment.Weapon Focus – Probably for Heavy Blades; extra damage is always good.Weapon Proficiency – This is for the Fullblade, which you will likely be using. Bleak Disciples with high Str may go for Mordenkrad, as they will be more likely to qualify for Bludgeon Mastery.Wintertouched – Standard combo with Lasting Frost.[u]Paragon Tier Feats[/u]Agile Athlete – You might climb, jump, and do stunts a lot, so this could be useful.Danger Sense – Improved Initiative is better, but if you need initiative for some reason, this is always there to help.[color=Blue]Defensive Advantage[/color] – Hopefully you have CA a lot, but even if you don’t, +2 conditional AC is good.Fleet-Footed - +1 speed is nice, but not necessary.[color=DeepSkyBlue]Heavy Blade Opprotunity[/color] – If you have the Str for this, then definitely take this.Lasting Frost – With Wintertouched, of course.Minion of the Dark – Darkvision is great, especially if you can get rid of light sources.[color=Blue]Nightmare Master[/color] – Many of the fear powers are good powers, and dazed is a great condition; however, it really only prevents OAs and gives CA to allies or you if you use an AP.[u]Epic Tier Feats[/u][color=DeepSkyBlue]Epic Fortitude/Reflexes/Will[/color] - These feats offer a huge untyped boost to some NAD. Great if you need a filler feat.[color=Blue]Poison’s Partner (Dragon)[/color] – If you love poison powers, then this a natural choice.[color=DeepSkyBlue]Robust Defenses[/color] – You will be retraining Paragon defenses to this.Weapon Mastery – If you have the Str, Con, and Dex for any of these, go for it. However, you probably don’t.Noteworthy Racial Feats[u]Heroic Racial Feats[/u]Action Surge (Human) - You are a human, and as such, this is your amazing feat you will take sooner or later.Blurring Claws (Razorclaw Shifter) - You'll probably have CA more and more as you gain levels, so +2 damage is nothing to scoff at.Dwarven Weapon Training (Dwarf) - Since you may have been going for Hammers anyways, the Superior Weapon Proficiency and +2 damage are great, making WF unneccessary until Epic.Goliath Greatweapon Prowess (Goliath) - With this, you don't even need Superior Weapon Proficiency.Hellfire Blood (Tiefling) - Typical flaming weapon stuff.[color=Blue]Markings of the Victor[/color] (Goliath) - Rerolling your first attack roll is great for Assassins, who usually invoke all their shrouds. And it ups your crit chance.[color=Blue]Thirst for Battle[/color] (Half-Orc) - Both helps you go first in combat, and to mitigate a little of your squish.
Noteworthy Racial Feats
InvisibilityI think there is a defensive combo move that isn't being taken into account that:Darting ShadowAssassin's CloakAny Item/Power that makes you invisible. For example, if you use Dark Step Ambush on your turn and hit, you become invisible (-5 to hit) w/ free action Stealth Check to become hidden (Have to guess your square). You can then use a move action to use Darting Shadow to move your speed without a penalty, to retain your (essentially) untargetable status. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons that a DM would opt to take the -5 penalty to attack your invisible character depending on how much damage you've done, what the other characters are doing, and positioning. But any DM would be hard pressed to find a justification for their monsters "guessing squares" however they decide to play that. They're actions are better spent finding a new target. Say what you will about the Assassin's HP and Defenses, imo the best defense is not being the target in the first place. I would upgrade Darting Shadow and Assassin's Cloak for these reasons. This trick can be pulled off multiple times per encounter depending on power/item choice.
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Wow, Chanter when did you apprentice to LordDuskBlade???I thought he was the only guy who could post a forum that was EXACTLY what I wanted.I cant wait too see your Paragon Path opinions!(I have yet to see a must have PP.)Edit: Also, serious bonus points for the Fire Emblem Assassin vid!!! As you can tell from my profile I am a BIG fan.Double Edit: Dont change the Kobold line, its what makes that power gold!
57223408 wrote:You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection.
(01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D
(01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
READ THE ERRATA.I've only skimmed this, but you still have Hero of Faith listed as a reason for taking 15 Wis. Not... not any more.
First line of post three....the word is "Archetypes" not "Arch types"It's about time someone picked this up, though I'm not sure how I feel about "Teacups" being in the title =P
Thanks a bunch for this. GnomeNinja5 got caught up in life stuff, and basically had to leave the forums. This is great though.Good job Chanter Hound. One suggestion is detailing the powers a little more, like an overview of what they do. "Weee I'm a kobold" (from the old guide, I know), is not very helpful.
For these I'm only going up myself up to level 5. And mostly changing from GnomeNinja5's version, something I personally didn't agree with myself. As I play through my versitile assassin, I'll post more on here. If there is unhelpful data about a power (such as weeee! I'm a kobold!) tell me, and how it should be fixed.
I'm building an Assassin/Rogue that uses light blades, and I'm wondering if anyone else thinks the Surprising Charge feat is any good? To me it looks great, if you combine it with Melee Training, it gives you an At-Will charge (free move and +1 attack) that does 2[W]+Dex damage! Seems better than Shadow Storm in lots of situations. Seeing as how there are lots of ways to remain hidden or invisible, you can often charge away from or past enemies without drawing an OA. If you carry around an extra spear you could use it with reach too.I never see this feat mentioned though, so maybe it's not as good as I'm imagining. Anyone have any experience with it?
Does the subtle property apply when in the offhand? My reading says yes, as it makes no mention of "with this weapon" but I'm curious as to what other people think.
Personally, I felt that my damage was a little low (~20 with shadow storm usually, using fullblade), but a lot of that was me needing to learn when to invoke. As mentioned before, I found the enemies dying between my second and third round, so I ended up losing shroud damage fairly often until I just started invoking at 1 or 2 shrouds. I do think that the damage will spike up with level as you acquire ways to mutli-shroud, but I haven't had the opportunity to try an assassin at paragon or epic yet.
Not to be offensive Momar, but Assassins Shroud is easily in the top three DPR based class mechanics.(A Rogues nova capability is FAR below an Assassins.)
Finally, despite me having wasted all of this time for it, the point I'm trying to make is pretty insignificant. All I'm saying is that if you're going to rate an inherint class feature that the player has no choice in so long as they're playing that class, the only way it makes sense is to compare to comparable abilities of other classes. If, in some magic world, I could pick any striker damage feature I don' t think the shrouds would be the automatic go to choice (sky blue).EDIT: Vengeful diety- I've seen your thread and I like it. Sadly, I'm not playing an assassin anymore, but I'll be sure to read through it again if I play another.
i would recommend if you feel like making it more rp oriented, the Boon Shroud of the Raven Queen.Its very useful for it per encounter effect, and the daily is awesome too, plus if you are a dealer of death, why wouldnt you want to worship the god of death.
Kudos on the DPR spreads, but you are still failing to grasp the concept of the Shroud Mechanic, and in fact the Assassin class altogether in my opinion.Upwards of fourth level(and for some builds even at first) the Assassin will begin casually slinging three to four shrouds on the staple AP round of combat. A good simple comparison for this is looking at both classes encounter and daily novas. The Rogues does two to three dice higher, while the Assassin can scale up to six. Being that you have a head for figures could you post the DPR of a fourth level Assassins nova versus a fourth level Rogues to get a concrete answer to these comparisons???(I would suggest assuming both are Human and took the standard 19/16/11 spread at first level and taking all the sky blue power options for both classes.)