All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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Soul Thief and Covenant Agent are the best PPs for an assassin so I understand that choosing is not easy.
Covenant Agent is effectively tied to radiant and necrotic so maybe not the best choice with your weapon. Anyway both MC into Avenger and powerswap for Holy Bless can be interesting for crit fishing. The Sword of Black Ice dazes on a crit and has a daily that stuns. I don't know what you agreed with your master about the properties, though.

As DBW suggested it may be useful for your (or the other character) to MC into a leader class for some healing powers. If you go Nightstalker you can look at Warlord and Paladin too.

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Ok, I spoke to the DM last night about some things, and for the weapon we came up with a solution - we deleveled the Sword of Black Ice to a +3 version (exactly the same as the +6 version, but +3 enhancement obviously, +3d10 on crit instead of 6, and +1d8 poison on hit instead of 2d8 - as I level, I'll level the sword too in some way, so that each additional plus would upgrade it as expected and at +5 it'll get the extra d8 poison).

I'm still kinda eyeing Covenant Agent, but I'm wondering if it's worth it, particularly with my new sword, since it's all keyed to radiant and necrotic damage? Also, the Soul Thief's "regain shade form" thing is really nice >_> <_<.

I'll take a look at the shaman thing you mentioned, DoctorBadWolf (great name, by the way - I love that show).



(Thanks, I'm just watching the most recently available episodes of the new season now. It's fantastic.)
The cool thing about shaman, over other leader mcs is the fact that you can use the healing once per encounter, rather than once a day, and you can heal two targets, but others will be more useful if you are going nightstalker, as erleni pointed out.

About PPs, don't forget to look at Abiding Reaper, since you're a shadar-kai. It's about as good as any of the other good options for an assassin.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
A Class Acts coming next month. Hopefully some new crunchy powers.

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Erl, big fan of your guide. Was reading over it, and wanted to suggest an addition.

Have you considered the Ghost of Eventide paragon path?

~~~~
While the level 16 feature isn't really worth noting, the 11th level features are really nice for assassins.

-Shadowed Action: When you spend an action point, you gain concealment until the start of your next turn.

-Twilight Accuracy: Your melee attacks deal 1d6 extra damage when you have concealment from the target.

If you were to go the Cursed Shadow route, whether by hybrid or multiclassing, it would nullify the Shadowed Action bonus. The benefit, however, would be that you get that extra 1d6 damage per melee attack.

~~~~

Also of note are the powers.

The level 11 encounter power is special in that you roll both an attack roll and a Thievery Check. (Not sure if you take a -10 to the Thievery check, seeing as it's part of the attack...) Since most monsters aren't trained in Perception, you're more than likely to hit with the Thievery roll. Hit with both, and you do a decent bit of damage.

The level 12 utility is a good 'I need to run away now' power, except when you're on difficult terrain. (Then again, if you get trapped on difficult terrain, you're probably doing something wrong...)

Of particular interest, however, is the level 20 daily. While one must take into account the possibility of creatures that ignore invisibility, the power is good since it affects all enemies adjacent to you. A nice survivability power, useful against solos and encounters with lots of brutes.

~~~~

Considering that it requires a MC Rogue, causing a possible dependance on Windrise Ports if you want to go Cursed Shadow to boost the damage of this paragon path, and a background that may be restricted by a persnickety DM due to setting, it may be a moot option.

However, barring those restrictions, it seems like a solid path for an Assassin at home in the shadows.
A Class Acts coming next month. Hopefully some new crunchy powers.



I'm hoping the same thing. The last Class Acts was disappointing in that it was all feats. More powers are what the Assassin really needs, IMHO.

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

I was browsing the Compendium and stumbled across the following feat: Shadow of the Wild. There seems to be a lot of potential with this feat, so long as the player remains 'outdoors'. Situational, yes, but with the myriad of ways to keep Concealment or Cover at higher levels, it seems that an Assassin could remain Hidden throughout a fight. This is even more powerful than Invisbility, as it also makes you completely silent.

I didn't see this feat covered in Feats section of this guide, so I thought I'd bring it up.

Thoughts? Am I interpreting this incorrectly? Any combos or abuses for this?

I'm thinking Cursed Shadow + Shadow of the Wild (with Secret Stride for good measure). Start your turn Hidden, then maintain Hidden through movement (easily with Secret Stride), then attack and remain Hidden (thanks to Shadow of the Wild). Continue this each round, making sure to move at least 3 squares each turn to keep the Concealment active.

A Class Acts coming next month. Hopefully some new crunchy powers.



I'm hoping the same thing. The last Class Acts was disappointing in that it was all feats. More powers are what the Assassin really needs, IMHO.



And you're completely right.

There are really only two good options for fixing what's wrong with the assassin, other than errata.

1. New powers that are more worthwhile. Whether they achieve that through more [w]s or by inflicting vulnerabillity, or some other option isn't as important as the class just getting some better powers.

2. A new class feature, on top of what the class already has, which boosts average damage in some way.

On the errata end, a static increase to how much damage you deal per shroud, or the abillity to move your shrouds(or even half your shrouds) to a new target if your shroud target drops from an attack that you didn't do, or something like that, would about do it. The class might still need better attacks even with that. Honestly, if they were to errata the class, I'd love to see an increase to hit points, bring them up to the rogue, at least.

Anyway, hopefully the upcoming Class Acts article will help us out a bit.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
On the errata end, a static increase to how much damage you deal per shroud, or the abillity to move your shrouds(or even half your shrouds) to a new target if your shroud target drops from an attack that you didn't do, or something like that, would about do it. The class might still need better attacks even with that. Honestly, if they were to errata the class, I'd love to see an increase to hit points, bring them up to the rogue, at least.

Anyway, hopefully the upcoming Class Acts article will help us out a bit.



I think if they just boosted shroud damage to +2/4/6 (or +3/6/9) rather than +0/3/6 per tier that would be a fine fix.  Would preserve the big hit feeling of the class without losing the intention of slow building for those big hits.  Either that or just a feat to increase shroud dice to d8s. 

I hope they don't mess with our HP just because I know any increase to survivability would decrease the chances that we'll get more damage. 
On the errata end, a static increase to how much damage you deal per shroud, or the abillity to move your shrouds(or even half your shrouds) to a new target if your shroud target drops from an attack that you didn't do, or something like that, would about do it. The class might still need better attacks even with that. Honestly, if they were to errata the class, I'd love to see an increase to hit points, bring them up to the rogue, at least.

Anyway, hopefully the upcoming Class Acts article will help us out a bit.



I think if they just boosted shroud damage to +2/4/6 (or +3/6/9) rather than +0/3/6 per tier that would be a fine fix.  Would preserve the big hit feeling of the class without losing the intention of slow building for those big hits.  Either that or just a feat to increase shroud dice to d8s. 

I hope they don't mess with our HP just because I know any increase to survivability would decrease the chances that we'll get more damage. 



On the other hand, a small increase to HP and to Shroud damage would be enough of a combined boost to make the class keep up with other strikers, and make open up power choices by virtue of making the low damage of the existing powers less of an issue. In other words, the existing powers wouldn't suck, in an overall class analysis, and so some of the powers that have cool effects, but just aren't powerful enough right now, would be viable, because your damage would be coming more from class features.

In the end, it's probably better to bring in new powers and/or a new class feature.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I've been eying making an assassin for my next character, and I just can't get past the lack of damage. I totally agree that a boost to shroud damage, through feats would be A-Ok imo, (think of the myriad of feats that prop up sneak attack, hunter's quarry, and curse damage) and maybe a handful of powers that have more interplay with shrouds (ie, don't consume shrouds or allow an extra shroud to be thrown) is probably all it'd take.

I think the shroud mechanic has some legs, but with the current support they haven't done anything interesting with it. It feels like they said, "here's a striker class feature, but we're giving you only controller feats and powers," when they made the assassin.

/crosses fingers 
Hello to all,

some comments to the last posts:

1) Added Ghost of Eventide and Shadow of the Wild to the list of stuff to rate (basically the Revenant Assassin powers from the last Dragon). I'll do the ratings this week (don't know exactly when as I just changed my job and this week will be pretty full).

2) The assassin so far has some main themes:
- bursts of damage (shroud accumulation)
- control
- invisibility/insubstantiality

This sums up to something like: your business is disorienting/controlling enemies while you wait for an opening to place a deadly strike. You're not very sturdy, but you master stealth and your connection with shadow makes you sort of a ghost (insubstantiality).

The third point is very well developed. The assassin I'm playing is constantly in melee and has a far better survivability than our barbarian (during the last big boss fight I didn't even have to spend healing surges, while the barb spent 6 of them as was bloodied at the end of the fight).
Control can be expanded but it's quite ok. I'm quite fond of the two "wall" powers. Some more control powers  at various levels may be useful to expand choices.
The big problem is that the bursts of damage are good only at heroic and mainly if you use Grave Dust Assassin. By the way, against standard monsters, you're forced to invoke well before than reaching four shrouds, not to lose them (ok, they added a revenant feat and a ki focus who let you move the shrouds, but with some limitations) so your bursts of damage often do not come at all.

I'm not really concerned about low DPR. The theme of the assassin is not dealing constant/reliable high damage. That's the business of the ranger and avenger, through multiattacking and crit/fishing + reliability in hitting.

What I would like to see are powers that let you do two things:
1) Make your target unconscious. Currently in 4ed there are at least three powers that let a PC make a target unconscious straight away (Knockout, Mind Blade, Whispers of the Dream King). The assassin has none, even if it would fit the class pretty well (unconscious + coup de grace is quite an assassination tactic).
2) Encourage you to put more shrouds on a target (thus also revitalizing the feats who let you add a shroud more once an encounter). Say a daily who let you expend the shrouds to make an MBA for each expended shroud on the target. This would be in line with Blade Cascade, with one attack less, but the chance to use a big weapon for your attacks, and still less powerful than Hurricane of Blades.
3) An at-will that can be used as an MBA. With all the stealth powers an assassin has opportunity attacks are quite easy to get, but then Melee Traing becomes a feat tax.

On top of that I think that a crit range enhancing feat is needed. Something like Divine Hand of Guidance working on your assassin's shroud target instead of your OoE target.




IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

For the current campaign our DM has been tracking a number of stats across every encounter, like number of hits, total damage dealt, number of 20s, number of 1s, damage taken, etc.  The party is my Bleak Disciple, a Chaladin, an archery Warlord, a stone fist Monk and a swarm druid.  In the two sessions so far (one full level worth of encounters each session, starting at 5th), I've come out on top for total damage dealt both times.  While it's been fairly close between the Monk and I, I'd still say that beating an optimized, tricked out stone fist monk for DPR over the course of two levels is a strong sign that the class isn't too far off from where it should be, at least at Heroic.

The biggest problem in my mind is the potential loss of damage from lost shrouds making shroud stacking inadvisable.  I think the only time I've bothered to stack shrouds is when I was stuck trying to climb a wall and couldn't actually get to the target.  Other than that I've just invoked one shroud every attack.  It loses a lot of the flavor that way though, and shroud becomes hunter's quarry for all intents and purposes.  There's decent incentive to stack shrouds with some feats like Grave Dust Assassin, but there's just not enough reason to do it.  So the fix needs to be either more incentive to stack shrouds which comes from class features (if it came from feats, then you could just not bother to take those feats) or a feat which allows you to salvage shrouds from dying enemies reliably.  Another incentive could be powers which deal damage as if you'd invoked shrouds. 

Maybe instead of just a base increase to shroud damage across the board, give a bonus of +2 damage for each shroud beyond the first that was invoked or something. 

I also agree that an MBA at-will would be very nice.  Melee Training is very annoying.  It's probably a lot worse as a Revenant Assassin, but I feel extremely feat starved.  Just looking at the lists I know I'm going to miss out on a bunch of cool tricks that just don't make the cut. 

Overall I'm happy with the class, but we'll see how I feel about as I move through the tiers (which will be quick, as this campaign is designed to have time lapses between 11th-15th and 21st-25th levels). 
We need an assassin-ized equivalent of painful oath or cursed spells (maybe add dex, or higher of con/cha to damage dealt by each shroud, paragon or epic feat?) and an assassin-ized version of Hand of Divine Guidance/warlock implement expertise. Perhaps something that scales with the number of shrouds on the target? (1 shroud : 19+, 2 shrouds: 18+, 3 shrouds: 17+, 4 shrouds: 16+).

 
Hello to all,

some comments to the last posts:

1) Added Ghost of Eventide and Shadow of the Wild to the list of stuff to rate (basically the Revenant Assassin powers from the last Dragon). I'll do the ratings this week (don't know exactly when as I just changed my job and this week will be pretty full).

2) The assassin so far has some main themes:
- bursts of damage (shroud accumulation)
- control
- invisibility/insubstantiality

This sums up to something like: your business is disorienting/controlling enemies while you wait for an opening to place a deadly strike. You're not very sturdy, but you master stealth and your connection with shadow makes you sort of a ghost (insubstantiality).

The third point is very well developed. The assassin I'm playing is constantly in melee and has a far better survivability than our barbarian (during the last big boss fight I didn't even have to spend healing surges, while the barb spent 6 of them as was bloodied at the end of the fight).
Control can be expanded but it's quite ok. I'm quite fond of the two "wall" powers. Some more control powers  at various levels may be useful to expand choices.
The big problem is that the bursts of damage are good only at heroic and mainly if you use Grave Dust Assassin. By the way, against standard monsters, you're forced to invoke well before than reaching four shrouds, not to lose them (ok, they added a revenant feat and a ki focus who let you move the shrouds, but with some limitations) so your bursts of damage often do not come at all.

I'm not really concerned about low DPR. The theme of the assassin is not dealing constant/reliable high damage. That's the business of the ranger and avenger, through multiattacking and crit/fishing + reliability in hitting.

What I would like to see are powers that let you do two things:
1) Make your target unconscious. Currently in 4ed there are at least three powers that let a PC make a target unconscious straight away (Knockout, Mind Blade, Whispers of the Dream King). The assassin has none, even if it would fit the class pretty well (unconscious + coup de grace is quite an assassination tactic).
2) Encourage you to put more shrouds on a target (thus also revitalizing the feats who let you add a shroud more once an encounter). Say a daily who let you expend the shrouds to make an MBA for each expended shroud on the target. This would be in line with Blade Cascade, with one attack less, but the chance to use a big weapon for your attacks, and still less powerful than Hurricane of Blades.
3) An at-will that can be used as an MBA. With all the stealth powers an assassin has opportunity attacks are quite easy to get, but then Melee Traing becomes a feat tax.

On top of that I think that a crit range enhancing feat is needed. Something like Divine Hand of Guidance working on your assassin's shroud target instead of your OoE target.








All good points. This is why my primary focus in what I think the Assassin needs is better powers. The potential is there for the ability to make either an Assassin that plays as you described, or a mightily powerful damage dealer, the damage dealing version just isn't quite there yet.
I really like 2 and 3. 1 would be cool, but I'm not personally that inspired by it. Just sort of a, I probably wouldn't take advantage of that option kind of thing. Probably a quite effective idea, though.

2 would certainly help the spike damage portion of what the Assassin does, even at once per day.

Another idea that might help would be powers that do decent damage, and encourage allies to attack targets other than yours. Say, secondary attack, burst 1 on first target, secondary target(s) gain vulnerable 5/-2 to all defenses/grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn, or something like that, making targets other than your shroud target tempting for your allies, giving you another turn to get another shroud on your target before you blow your shouds, with a decreased chance of your allies droping the bugger before you can invoke. This would also increase the control abillity of the Assassin.


Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I'd personally love to see a dual weapon build as well.  The ki focus mechanics seem like they'd work great with two weapons, letting you save money on weapon enhancements, and a double attack build could do a lot for the Assassin's limited damage potential, particularly if there were was something allowing you to gain the invoked shroud benefit on all attacks made with the single power (maybe on some of the dailies?).  Sort of an assassin equivalent of the Warlock's shadow pact, the more damage, less control option.  Also, I prefer my assassins using smaller, more concealable weapons, rather then fullblades and the like, so I'd prefer a dual weapon build on aesthetics alone.

Otherwise, the stuff I want has already been mentioned.  Feat support to increase shroud damage, feats to mitigate lost shrouds (either by shifting the shroud to another target, or offering a consolation prize like temp HP, saving throws, or attack or damage boosts), more damaging powers in general, a basic attack at will power, knockout attacks, and more attacks that either accumulate shrouds faster or gain extra benefits from expending accumulated shroud.

The ideal consolation prize feat would be one that gives you the bonuses for your unexpended shrouds on your next attack in that encounter, imo, rather then just letting you shift the shrouds to a new target.

Feats, features, and powers that just give you bonuses for having more shrouds on the target should generally be avoided, imo, since they encourage you to just stockpile shrouds and never invoke them.  The goal should be support encouraging the player to stock up shrouds and then actually use them, as that's where the fun of the shroud mechanic and thus the entire class is.
A dual weapon build would be fun... From a personal, flavor point of view, it just doesn't seem right to me for Assassins to be wielding shields. Dual weapons might also solve the problem of Assassins needing a damage bump.

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

A dual weapon build would be welcome, but it is totally unsupported so far. They will have to make a completely new Guild with all powers and feat support.
By the way, Hurin, also shields builds are not very much supported. The power of current shields is not really good compared to what you lose for not using a two-handed weapon with some nice bracers.
The Sword of Black Ice is currently the only reason to use a shield (as it is longsword only and thus leaves you a free hand, and its poison damage makes up for not having stuff like Iron Armbands).

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

I think for high crit assassin builds (particularly covenant agents), Two weapon opening plus double scimitar beats fullblade. This is especially true when you consider that assassin powers have very few [W], and that TWO actually applies to implement attacks whereas the high crit property and higher [W] of the fullblade do not.

I also really like the idea of double-teaming an enemy with your Twilight Assassin - the twilight assassin crits and you get a free attack

Just thought it was worth pointing out - in spite of the lack of support for a dual-wield assassin spec, some of the highest damage-dealing assassin builds out there (IMO) dual wield. I wouldn't mind seeing some power-based support for such a spec, however. In fact, I'd love it . I'd love to see what my covenant agent build could do with something akin to twin strike. I think it would be rather sick!!

Erleni, any chance of that build being posted in your guide? Or are there changes you want me to make to it?
While I wouldn't mind seeing a dual wielding build, what I really want is a build that can be a "true" striker without a damn fullblade. Whether that's via two weapons, or some other means, I really don't care. I just can't get my head around an Assassin (or really many character concepts that I would use the Assassin mechanics to simulate) wielding a huge sword, or equally huge axe. Sword and shield doesn't bother me in the least, thematically, but the big two handed weapon just makes me snort in derision.

In fact, far more than a dual wielding build, I'd love to see a build that rewards wielding one weapon in one hand, with the other hand free. Perhaps a +1(2) to AC when wielding a one handed weapon in one hand, and not using a shield or second weapon/impliment, as well as a +X bonus to damage rolls after you teleport if you meet the requirements for the AC bonus.

If the ranger hadn't already called dibs, I'd suggest pretty much the new build options for the ranger for Assassin builds, along with new powers similar to some of the new ranger powers, but alas, it is too late for that.

An Assassin at-will that can be used as an at-will, along with a build options that allowed an MBA after a teleport as a free action would probably be too powerful, because it'd just be constant MBAs, but something relatively similar would be awesome, and fit. I mean, who's going to argue with the constantly teleporting guy getting free attacks against people he teleports next to?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I think for high crit assassin builds (particularly covenant agents), Two weapon opening plus double scimitar beats fullblade. This is especially true when you consider that assassin powers have very few [W], and that TWO actually applies to implement attacks whereas the high crit property and higher [W] of the fullblade do not.

I also really like the idea of double-teaming an enemy with your Twilight Assassin - the twilight assassin crits and you get a free attack

Just thought it was worth pointing out - in spite of the lack of support for a dual-wield assassin spec, some of the highest damage-dealing assassin builds out there (IMO) dual wield. I wouldn't mind seeing some power-based support for such a spec, however. In fact, I'd love it . I'd love to see what my covenant agent build could do with something akin to twin strike I think it would be rather sick!!

Erleni, any chance of that build being posted in your guide? Or are there changes you want me to make to it?



Hello Psk, I'll post your build. I was only waiting for you to give a final version. Just post it here and I'll link it to the builds post. As a side note, the crit fishing ability of the Covenant Agent comes mainly at paragon and epic, when you get access to OoE firtst and Hand of Divine Guidance later. So you'll probably have a better life by starting your career as a fullblade user and retrain later to Double Scimitar.


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Rated all the material in last Dragon's revenants article, plus two rogue's PPs (Death Dealer and Ghost of Eventide) and the Shadow of the Wild feat.

I didn't rate the Haunting Shade feats as I feel they're not really worth it. The main feat uses up your multiclassing chance and this is killing the business for me at the moment, as MC Rogue or Avenger is the best route to go so far. The daily is good (area dazing power), but the other powers are not that nice.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Rated two Ki foci too: Scavenger Bird and Cup of Death.

Added Psk20's Covenant agent to the Builds section.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Thanks Erleni.

I'm going to try and get around to adding a couple of sections to the build - explaining what the build looks like during heroic and paragon. At heroic it will be using a fullblade, as you pointed out. At around level 10 it will switch to a Jagged double scimitar, along with grabbing OoE and TWO. At 21, the Jagged double scimitar will be traded for a Bloodiron one, with hand of divine guidance.
I think Leaping Shade might be getting a bad reputation. It really isn't that bad if your build focuses on building shrouds. Over 4 rounds, if you use it for the first 3 rounds and then hit with another power (probably shadow storm) it will (on average) out-damage the +1 for Shadow Storm and using the shrouds every two rounds. It's more for the night stalker though (as you'll want to be the only one fighting it). I do realize it's bad for hybrids though. Maybe I'm wrong though.
I think Leaping Shade might be getting a bad reputation. It really isn't that bad if your build focuses on building shrouds. Over 4 rounds, if you use it for the first 3 rounds and then hit with another power (probably shadow storm) it will (on average) out-damage the +1 for Shadow Storm and using the shrouds every two rounds. It's more for the night stalker though (as you'll want to be the only one fighting it). I do realize it's bad for hybrids though. Maybe I'm wrong though.



I'd agree with that assessment if there was a reason to not invoke your shrouds every round. As it stands, saving shrouds is just a waste of time... especially if the monster dies before 4 rounds are up.
That's the main issue with leaping shade. If you fight an isolated target it may not be that bad, but you lack powers that let you isolate a target, so the power will be quite situational.
30th level Perfect Slayers may look for it (retraining another at-will once they reach that level) as their shrouds never disappear.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

There certainly are reasons to invoke your shrouds less than every round.

With a 50% hit chance, average damage of one shroud = .5*3.5 = 1.75.
Average damage of four shrouds = .5*14 + .5*10.5 = 12.25

That's 3.06 damage per shroud, 75% more damage than if you had invoked every turn.

Of course, there are often good reasons to invoke early, but generally you shouldn't be invoking a single shroud on an unbloodied target, imo. 

I'm sure this may have been suggested before, but being as Op'ing an assassin requires numerous different Dragon articles, is there any way to at least update the powers and feats with which issue of Dragon they're mentioned in? That.....that would be extremely helpful.


I have another question, as well. Are Assassin's proficient with Fullblades? Or do they need the feat?

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac


I'm sure this may have been suggested before, but being as Op'ing an assassin requires numerous different Dragon articles, is there any way to at least update the powers and feats with which issue of Dragon they're mentioned in? That.....that would be extremely helpful.


I have another question, as well. Are Assassin's proficient with Fullblades? Or do they need the feat?




In order for an Assassin to use a Fullblade they do need the feat. As for your other question, there really has only been 1 dragon issue for them.

Dragon 379: Assassin introduced
Dragon 385: Hybrid Assassin and feats
Dragon 386: Assassin/Avenger builds
Dragon 387: Revenant Assassin Article

I think that is most of them.
psk20,

You need to look at Shroud damage on a per round basis, not as an absolute.  It takes you 4 rounds to gain those 4 shrouds.  That makes a big difference when you evaluate if it is better to have 1, 2, 3 or 4 shrouds when you invoke.

I posted this on a thread in the Striker section:


Average Damage per Shroud on Hit:  3.5

Chance to Hit Target:  60%
Chance to Miss Target:  40%

1 Shroud = 2.1 Damage (1 round) or 2.1 DPR
2 Shrouds = 5.6 Damage (2 rounds) or 2.8 DPR
3 Shrouds = 9.1 Damage (3 rounds) or 3.0 DPR
4 Shrouds = 12.6 Damage (4 rounds) or 3.15 DPR

Mathematically, it is advantageous to invoke with more shrouds on the target, but it is a tricky game.  Depending on the enemies faced and the party build, it may not be realistic to place more than 2 shrouds on a target before the rest of the party kills it.

At a 75% chance to hit, the numbers go to:
2.6 DPR
3.1 DPR
3.2 DPR
3.28 DPR

In this case, it is far more advantageous to have a high attack bonus and only stack 2 shrouds.  The differences (on a per round basis) between 2 and 4 shrouds is negligable.  I frequently invoke on even just one shroud if I feel that I am likely to hit or the target is near dead.


There is a reasonable (though small) jump in DPR between 1 and 2 Shrouds.  The increase at 3 and 4 is almost worthless.  Add in the factor that it takes a long time to reach 3-4 and the target may die before that and you will find that 1 or 2 Shrouds is almost always best.

I think it mostly comes down to party set up and how you play.

A Changeling Assassin could potentially get 4 shrouds twice. 4 if they set them up as a scout and then 3 with 1 for the power and two for the two feats that are available to them (it may be a waste of feats, but...)

If your party is all their own foe then stack away, but if they are gang beaters than you might as well forget it.

Or I suppose if you went by yourself (not recommending party split) or in a duel with someone then it is also justifyable.

It seems unfair they lose their extra damage if the foe dies. While they have the most damaging mechanic, the fact it takes 4 turns only makes it on par with the other strikers, and sub-par since if the foe dies they lose those rounds of striker damage. Maybe the next build will have shroud saving.

Anyways, can someone explain how the Assassin is better at stealth than a cunning sneak rogue? My problem is that they are, but only once per encounter while the rogue needs only three steps. I do realize the Assassin can turn invisible, but a rogue can use powers that leave him hidden or let him hide.


I think it mostly comes down to party set up and how you play.

A Changeling Assassin could potentially get 4 shrouds twice. 4 if they set them up as a scout and then 3 with 1 for the power and two for the two feats that are available to them (it may be a waste of feats, but...)

If your party is all their own foe then stack away, but if they are gang beaters than you might as well forget it.

Or I suppose if you went by yourself (not recommending party split) or in a duel with someone then it is also justifyable.

It seems unfair they lose their extra damage if the foe dies. While they have the most damaging mechanic, the fact it takes 4 turns only makes it on par with the other strikers, and sub-par since if the foe dies they lose those rounds of striker damage. Maybe the next build will have shroud saving.

Anyways, can someone explain how the Assassin is better at stealth than a cunning sneak rogue? My problem is that they are, but only once per encounter while the rogue needs only three steps. I do realize the Assassin can turn invisible, but a rogue can use powers that leave him hidden or let him hide.




I think that both assassin and cunning sneak rogue are good at hiding. The Cunning Sneak needs concealment to hide, so he needs to generate concealment somehow.
The Assassin (with Assassin's Cloak) can hide everytime it becomes invisible (very often then).
That's why the best character at hiding is a Cunning Sneak Rogue MC Assassin MC Warlock (for Cirsed Shadow).

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

psk20,

You need to look at Shroud damage on a per round basis, not as an absolute.  It takes you 4 rounds to gain those 4 shrouds.  That makes a big difference when you evaluate if it is better to have 1, 2, 3 or 4 shrouds when you invoke.

I posted this on a thread in the Striker section:


Average Damage per Shroud on Hit:  3.5

Chance to Hit Target:  60%
Chance to Miss Target:  40%

1 Shroud = 2.1 Damage (1 round) or 2.1 DPR
2 Shrouds = 5.6 Damage (2 rounds) or 2.8 DPR
3 Shrouds = 9.1 Damage (3 rounds) or 3.0 DPR
4 Shrouds = 12.6 Damage (4 rounds) or 3.15 DPR

Mathematically, it is advantageous to invoke with more shrouds on the target, but it is a tricky game.  Depending on the enemies faced and the party build, it may not be realistic to place more than 2 shrouds on a target before the rest of the party kills it.

At a 75% chance to hit, the numbers go to:
2.6 DPR
3.1 DPR
3.2 DPR
3.28 DPR

In this case, it is far more advantageous to have a high attack bonus and only stack 2 shrouds.  The differences (on a per round basis) between 2 and 4 shrouds is negligable.  I frequently invoke on even just one shroud if I feel that I am likely to hit or the target is near dead.


There is a reasonable (though small) jump in DPR between 1 and 2 Shrouds.  The increase at 3 and 4 is almost worthless.  Add in the factor that it takes a long time to reach 3-4 and the target may die before that and you will find that 1 or 2 Shrouds is almost always best.



The difference is in average on the smaller side as an assassin has often more than 60% chances to hit. You most likely use a +3 proficiency weapon and can get CA almost all the time. My assassin usually hits  on a 6+ (75% chance) so I almost never go above two shrouds, unless I'm fighting an opponent with a lot of HP and plan to use Grave Dust Assassin. Non-GDA using assassins should never get to more than 2 shrouds unless they can stack them out of combat (i.e. before combat starts).

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Quick note: My post actually did look at it on a per round basis (check it). I only said what I said because draco claimed there was no reason not to invoke your shrouds every time - I was pointing out that there was indeed a reason, and noted in my post that there were however countervailing reasons that weighed against that reason.
A couple random thoughts:

Any hybrid or mutli-class Assassin build that uses str or int may want to look at the mark of passage feat a little closer. That is, they may want to look at the associated PP, Orien Swiftblade. Bonus to speed, bonus to defense against OAs, extra teleport as a move action when you use an AP at your speed, the utillity power is another full speed tele with the added bonus of ended any marked or immobilized effect on you, and the daily is three attacks with 5* square teleports after each one.


*4, but with MoP it will be 5, or more with the right items.


Being able to teleport your speed is already something that Assassins can achieve through items, but being able to do so with fewer items is certainly nice, as is being able to teleport well past your speed a handful of times an encounter.

Mark of Shadow also has a fairly nice PP associated with it. Thuranni Shadow Killer uses dex, has strong powers that also very much match the flavour of assassins, and an awesome level 16 feature. Having combat advantage is hardly difficult for assassins, so being able to apply ongoing 5 necrotic damage to a target you hit with combat advantage is a benefit that you will rarely miss out on.
The daily is really great. While you have the target grabbed via the power, you have cover and can make an attack that targets you instead target the creature you're grabbing as an immediate interrupt. Also, sustain minor, deal 2d8 +dex damage to the grabbed creature.

Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Take a look at this thread. It seems some heavy support for the class will be out next year.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Take a look at this thread. It seems some heavy support for the class will be out next year.




Gods I hope so.


Speaking of more support, I was just thinking. How much of an effect would being able to inflict ongoing damage once per turn have? If it couldn't be obtained through mc assassin or hybrid assassin, would it be balanced? Would that depend on the amount?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Any thoughts on the Thief of Legends as an epic destiny for assassins?  Prerequisites are easily met in class (trained in Stealth, theivery), ups your primary and secondary stat by 2 (regardless of what that secondary stat is), stealth as a passive skill at level 30, and the most amazingly fluffy level 24 ability I've ever seen - in addition to the usual 'come back to life' gimmick (in this case you already stole your own soul, so you can give it back to yourself when you die), when you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points (whether you're killing them or just subduing them), you can steal 'something intangible' from them - with effects determined by the DM.  Imagine a changeling assassin who steals their marks identity, or a drow assassin who steals his enemy's dying breaths and keeps them in little jars as keepsakes, or a godslaying assassin who steals the divine spark of the campaigns final boss to pay for his retirement!

I'm not sure how good all this is mechanically (although it really isn't bad), but fluff-wise it's what I always thought epic destinies should be.
It's quite good as it stands now, but also the other two EDs (although they will require multiclassing) are very interesting. MC into Warlock or Paladin are good choices for an assassin anyway so it will not be difficult to qualify.
Let's wait for the compilation and see.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Quick note: My post actually did look at it on a per round basis (check it). I only said what I said because draco claimed there was no reason not to invoke your shrouds every time - I was pointing out that there was indeed a reason, and noted in my post that there were however countervailing reasons that weighed against that reason.



You're right, and I hadn't done the math. I'll probably change the way I handle shrouds too, but not by much. 2 shrouds pre-bloodied, expend every round post-bloodied.

One thing I do like a lot about shrouds in general, though, is that you can throw them on something you're not necessarily attacking for up to four rounds and not lose the DPR. Also, you can save the spike for when you get bonuses from a leader to hit. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'd like to see in the guide something more about how to get the most out of shrouds.
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