All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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However, I'm not sure on the specific wording of Venom Hand Killer. It says "poison damage rolls." This opens up a can of worms, imo.



I think that they simply messed up with damage keyword and power keyword. It's a useless mechanic detail that can can only complicate things. If a power has keyword "X", it means that it has something to do with "X". Then the damage should be of type X. I don't see the need to differentiate between power keyword and damage keyword, just like I don't see the point to detail other things that lucky have been removed from this edition.
Of course we can complicate things, like thinking a radiant power of the god of venom that deals poison damage. But is that really needed? Is so, then they missed an opportunity to simplify this point of the game.

ED's are up.

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However, I'm not sure on the specific wording of Venom Hand Killer. It says "poison damage rolls." This opens up a can of worms, imo.



I think that they simply messed up with damage keyword and power keyword. It's a useless mechanic detail that can can only complicate things. If a power has keyword "X", it means that it has something to do with "X". Then the damage should be of type X. I don't see the need to differentiate between power keyword and damage keyword, just like I don't see the point to detail other things that lucky have been removed from this edition.
Of course we can complicate things, like thinking a radiant power of the god of venom that deals poison damage. But is that really needed? Is so, then they missed an opportunity to simplify this point of the game.



I agree with your criticism but I'm not 100% sure how to solve the mess.
Would Dragonfang Bolt, for instance, benefit from Venom Hand Killer? If it's the keyword that matters, then yes, but if your answer is no, then it must not be the keyword (or at least not the keyword alone) that matters here.

Erleni, ED assessments look pretty good! Only thing I have to say at this stage is that the title for the section says "paragon paths"

Thanks!! I corrected it. I have a lot of problems with formats, so when something works I often use copy-paste to carry over the formats from one post to the other and then edit the text. This time I forgot to update the title. 

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A couple of edits after today's update. The magic item list is ready and I plan to rate them all within the end of the week. This will leave only multiclassing.

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Yeah Spiderkissed + Venom Hand feats just got the green light. Good news for some builds!
A couple of edits after today's update. The magic item list is ready and I plan to rate them all within the end of the week. This will leave only multiclassing.



Do you mind telling us what was edited?
Sorry!!

Wall of Shadows is now sky blue if you use a Spiderkissed Weapon and Venom Hand Master due to the poison keyword working on an implement power too.

Shiere Knight cannot be exploited in a broken way anymore by stacking bonuses coming from several teleports (as they do not add up anymore), though it's still a solid choice. 

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Yeah Spiderkissed + Venom Hand feats just got the green light. Good news for some builds!



Yeah, from my reading of the update, it's now possible for a venomed soul to use a final sleep ki focus for coup de grace attacks and still retain the poison keyword from, say, venomous kiss.

I'm looking at a strange combo these days: Assassin MC Cleric/Messenger of Peace. Then use Bleak Gallows, End of Strife and Wall of Death close to the Gallows. Every round you bring the target back and he takes 35 points of damage (with 4 shrouds). The only way for him to get out is to interrupt the line of sight with you. I'm gonna call this assassin the Judge of Death. If you see any way to limit the target's movement without attacking him (and thus breaking End of Strife) let me know.

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I've been thinking of a ranged assassin who makes basic attacks with superior crossbow (and uses it as implement), and this just got a bit more attractive at paragon with Seeker multiclass.

Primal Eye
Prerequisite: 11th level, seeker
Benefit: You add your Dexterity or Intelligence modifier to damage rolls when you make ranged basic attacks.

So you've got Dex+Dex+Cha getting added. Eagle Eye goggles are of course useful. And at epic, we can target Reflex instead of AC with Deft Aim.
Multiclassing into Seeker may be interesting, as well as MC/Hybriding with Battlemind. I think I will wait for the PHB3 to be out before writing the multiclassing section as I may have to rewrite it all.
Magical items will be up during the weekend.

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Aren't Seekers Wis primary / Dex Secondary? You're looking at a heavy Wisdom investment not leaving much room for Cha or Con. Might be better off as Seeker with main class and just picking up Assassin for damage and poison vulnerability.

Ranger and Rogue I think work best for the ranged assassin. Once again though, wouldn't you just be better served starting as one of them? It's a tough sell for the ranged Assassin. Hopefully WotC will send some love their way. 
Actually if you play a Seeker/Assassin as a ranged Striker/Controller, using implement powers and ranged weapons you may look at a Dex/Wis build, maybe using a Blade of the Eldritch Knight to deliver melee attacks (from Paragon). I'm not sure if it will be a good idea and will need to go through the PHB3 and the assassin article coming out the same day (most likely containing the Hybrid rules for the assassin) before taking conclusions.

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... assassin article coming out the same day (most likely containing the Hybrid rules for the assassin) ...



If you check the index for the latest dragon magazine, it confirms your suspicions. It says that it will have the hybrid rules and some additional racial feats. I'm guessing the races supported will include the PHB3 races - let's just hope they don't limit themselves solely to PHB3 races (or for that matter, limit themselves to racial feats)!

Even without ANY more feats, the githzerai assassin already has miles better feat support than the changeling.
Githzerai really got a good treatment feat-wise. I didn't realize that until I went through all the feats. And Revenant with Githzerai Past are even better.

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Mark of Passage might be worth mentioning - +1 to teleport distance. At paragon, a 4 square teleport would be noticeably more maneuverable than a 3 square one, I think.

Poison Gloves might be kinda interesting for a venom-using build. I'm not sure how cost-feasible it would be to use two consumable poisons in an encounter...? Hmm. I just did some calculations and over the course of any given level, a PC's share of the typical haul of monetary treasure, if spent purely on poisons of that level, would buy 10 poisons. That's only one per encounter (although it might be kinda nice to be able to use two in the harder encounters and none in the easy ones, I guess). Another option would be to buy poisons of the next tier down - these would hit about half as often, but cost one fifth the price. At that price, though, you could happily coat your fullblade, as well as two throwing knives with poison and then use gloves of venom to use a fourth. 
Nice catch on Mark of Passage psk, I might incorporate that into my assassin. It's pretty unliekly you'll still be at teleport 3 at paragon though, especially with the number of teleport increasing items and the fact that Shadow Step scales with tier.

For the record, items that can increase teleport distances;


Mithrendain Steel Weapons (Lvl 8+): +1

Incisive Dagger (Lvl 9+): + enhancement bonus

Eladrin Ring of Passage (Lvl 14): +1 (+2 if Eladrin)

Eladrin Boots (Lvl 16): +2

Eldritch Panalopy 2+ Item Set Bonus: x2 for a minor action
True. Nice list btw. 
Lasting Frost: frostcheese maybe will not be one of the main options for an assassin but can still be a possibility. You'll not be able to exploit it as much as multi-attackers but should at least look into into it.



I wasn't sure what the reasons were for why frostcheese wouldn't be a main option for an assassin.  Is it because you're assuming the use of ki focus, or otherwise poison-centric builds? 

I would have thought that at least for fullblade builds focused on weapon attacks that frostcheese would be the best option for eeking out more DPR.  Is there something I'm missing?
The main reason is that you lack multiattacks, meaning that you can exploit frostcheese less than others and that it will be more difficult to sustain the vulnerability as you have only one chance to hit.
Rangers and avengers are clearly better than an assassin at this, due to multi-attacks and OoE.
By the way you'll have to stick to a frost weapon while Blade of the Eldritch Knight or Spiderkissed  are probably better choices.

Before the last update the cold property applied technically only to melee attacks and this forced you to stay in melee with your target to keep the vulnerability effect up, which is normally not the best idea unless you have an extremely tough build. Now that it is clear that it also works when you use your weapon as an implement I think I will upgrade the feat to blue as you can use it also with ranged and area powers (at least on one target).

I hope this explanation is clear, if you have any other questions or suggestions let me know.

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Squad, I think part of the problem is that the assassin doesn't have any true multiattack powers, and secondly, much of the time assassins will switch targets (they'll attack one guy and shroud another, and then teleport next to the shrouded guy when they want to invoke them). That kind of playstyle gets much less out of frostcheese, which doesn't come into play until you hit the target - and you have to keep hitting them every round.

Erleni, you might want to revise the Venomed Soul, now that Wizards has changed the way weapons as implements work. All those necrotic powers and ongoing damage powers (even implement ones) are fair game for the Venomed Soul. The assassin now has 5 ongoing damage dailies up his sleeve.

I might actually write up a full build some time. I'm hesitant to write it up because people tend to ignore things that aren't hugely flashy on the charop forums. This one will be eminently fun and pretty powerful (just not broken). It'll combine poisons and the knockout/coup de grace trick you posted earlier. I think this version will have a very high chance of connecting with that original knockout, by using Lucky Start (I did some maths and with the new superior initiative and one other initiative feat, you can virtually guarantee the first turn, provided your other party members don't also have high initiative) and the Deadly Trickster class feature - afaik that's four rolls. Also, as a Deadly Trickster, epic trick will allow you to repeat it again later, making the investment much more worthwhile.
Nice catch on Mark of Passage psk, I might incorporate that into my assassin. It's pretty unliekly you'll still be at teleport 3 at paragon though, especially with the number of teleport increasing items and the fact that Shadow Step scales with tier.

For the record, items that can increase teleport distances;


Mithrendain Steel Weapons (Lvl 8+): +1

Incisive Dagger (Lvl 9+): + enhancement bonus

Eladrin Ring of Passage (Lvl 14): +1 (+2 if Eladrin)

Eladrin Boots (Lvl 16): +2

Eldritch Panalopy 2+ Item Set Bonus: x2 for a minor action



To Psk: Ozovio's list pretty much sums up the reasons why I didn't look into Mark of Passage. As an assassin you'll be very often feat starved and there's plenty of items who can help you in increasing your teleport range. I may rate it as green if you think it should be included.

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I think you're right. It's worth mentioning, definitely, but it's difficult to choose a feat to drop in its favor when you actually look at your shortlist of feats!
Squad, I think part of the problem is that the assassin doesn't have any true multiattack powers, and secondly, much of the time assassins will switch targets (they'll attack one guy and shroud another, and then teleport next to the shrouded guy when they want to invoke them). That kind of playstyle gets much less out of frostcheese, which doesn't come into play until you hit the target - and you have to keep hitting them every round.

Erleni, you might want to revise the Venomed Soul, now that Wizards has changed the way weapons as implements work. All those necrotic powers and ongoing damage powers (even implement ones) are fair game for the Venomed Soul. The assassin now has 5 ongoing damage dailies up his sleeve.

I might actually write up a full build some time. I'm hesitant to write it up because people tend to ignore things that aren't hugely flashy on the charop forums. This one will be eminently fun and pretty powerful (just not broken). It'll combine poisons and the knockout/coup de grace trick you posted earlier. I think this version will have a very high chance of connecting with that original knockout, by using Lucky Start (I did some maths and with the new superior initiative and one other initiative feat, you can virtually guarantee the first turn, provided your other party members don't also have high initiative) and the Deadly Trickster class feature - afaik that's four rolls. Also, as a Deadly Trickster, epic trick will allow you to repeat it again later, making the investment much more worthwhile.



I see we agree on frostcheese.
I will re-rate Venomed Soul, as the update was crucial in that sense.
Please make a build and post it here so that we can discuss it. This Handbook's aim is to give information to possible assassin players not to squeeze every inch of DPR out of builds.

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The main reason is that you lack multiattacks, meaning that you can exploit frostcheese less than others and that it will be more difficult to sustain the vulnerability as you have only one chance to hit.
Rangers and avengers are clearly better than an assassin at this, due to multi-attacks and OoE.
By the way you'll have to stick to a frost weapon while Blade of the Eldritch Knight or Spiderkissed  are probably better choices.



Squad, I think part of the problem is that the assassin doesn't have any true multiattack powers, and secondly, much of the time assassins will switch targets (they'll attack one guy and shroud another, and then teleport next to the shrouded guy when they want to invoke them). That kind of playstyle gets much less out of frostcheese, which doesn't come into play until you hit the target - and you have to keep hitting them every round.



Thanks for those explanations - it does fill in what I was missing.

I'm trying to develop a Revenant (Githzerai) Bleak Disciple build with a fullblade, but I'm just struggling to find useful feats and weapons to support it.  I have trouble getting excited about Spiderkissed weapons since the usefulness seems to depend on a poison-centric build.  Oh well, looking forward to your items update . . .
Are you aware of mordant weapons (introduced in P1 mod)? They're slightly limited in weapon choice and one level higher than a spiderkissed weapon, but they turn the damage into poison and acid instead of just poison. This is useful because it obviates the need for venom hand master in most (?) cases. I don't know how many monsters have resistance to both poison and acid, but at the very least this gets around the immunity of undead.

On that note, I'm not sure I follow why a spiderkissed weapon is good. All I really see going for it is the +1 damage over weapon focus from that one venom hand feat. It really doesn't seem worth it, especially considering that you pretty much have to buy venom hand master too. What am I missing?
Here's a sample Venomed Soul/Deadly Trickster that uses poisons to one-shot elites.

[sblock The Build]
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Josea, level 30
Changeling, Assassin, Venomed Soul, Deadly Trickster
Guild Training: Night Stalker
Background: Deviant (+2 to Stealth)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 15, Dex 26, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 26.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 11, Wis 8, Cha 16.

AC: 43 Fort: 33 Reflex: 38 Will: 40
HP: 141 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 35
TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +30, Streetwise +28, Thievery +28, Acrobatics +28, Bluff +30
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +16, Diplomacy +23, Dungeoneering +15, Endurance +17, Heal +15, History +16, Insight +17, Intimidate +23, Nature +15, Perception +15, Religion +16, Athletics +16
FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 2: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 4: Venom Hand Killer
Level 6: Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)
Level 8: Sneak of Shadows
Level 10: Adept Power (Knockout)
Level 11: Venom Hand Master
Level 12: Assassin's Escape
Level 14: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 16: Lucky Start
Level 18: Improved Initiative (retrained to Superior Initiative at 21)
Level 20: Novice Power (Tumbling Strike)
Level 21: Persistent Poison
Level 22: Hidden Insight
Level 24: Venom Hand Assassin
Level 26: Skill Power (Stall Tactics)
Level 28: Headsman's Chop
Level 30: Devastating Critical

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin encounter 1: Gloom Thief
Assassin daily 1: Grave Spike
Assassin utility 2: Lurking Shadow
Assassin encounter 3: Inescapable Shadow
Assassin daily 5: Heart of Dust
Assassin utility 6: Sheltering Dark
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Jack
Assassin daily 9: Obscuring Shadow
Adept power: Retrain Obscuring Shadow to Knockout
Assassin utility 10: Seeker of Shadow
Venomed Soul encounter 11: Inescapable Venom
Venomed Soul utility 12: Venomous Kiss
Assassin encounter 13: Dark Step Ambush (replaces Inescapable Shadow)
Assassin daily 15: Shade Venom (replaces Heart of Dust)
Assassin utility 16: Shadow Meld
Assassin encounter 17: Traitorous Shadow (replaces Gloom Thief)
Assassin daily 19: Executioner's Blade (replaces Grave Spike)
Venomed Soul daily 20: Soul Venom
Novice Power: Retrain Traitorous Shadow to Tumbling Strike
Assassin utility 22: Fortress of Shadow
Assassin encounter 23: Cruel Shadows (replaces Shadow Jack)
Assassin daily 25: Reaper's Touch (replaces Obscuring Shadow)
Deadly Trickster utility 26: Epic Trick
Assassin encounter 27: Last Word (replaces Dark Step Ambush)
Assassin daily 29: Doom Foretold (replaces Executioner's Blade)

ITEMS
Dagger (6), Battle Harness Starleather Armor +6, Final Sleep Ki Focus +6, Spiderkissed Fullblade +6, Alchemy Gloves (heroic tier), Eladrin Boots (paragon tier), Assassin's Cloak +5, Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), War Ring (paragon tier) (2), Spotted Toadstool Venom (level 30) (2), Bloodstinger Poison (level 28) (4), Eberron Shard of Bleeding Wounds (heroic tier) (7), Whetstone of Venom (paragon tier) (10)[/sblock]
[sblock Weapons and Poisons] 
This build has quite a large array of weapons and poisons in his arsenal.

The build's main weapon is a Spiderkissed Fullblade, with attached Eberron Shard of Bleeding Wounds. You will use this attack to make the vast majority of attacks. The spiderkissed power converts all your damage to poison, the daily is occasionally worth using, and any ongoing you damage you deal is increased by two due to the eberron shard. On top of that, it's high damage, accurate, and good for crits.

Six daggers with attached Eberron Shards of Bleeding Wounds are used for delivering your knockout attack as well as sneak attacks, as well as ranged attacks at a pinch. Keep one or two of them poisoned with Spotted Toadstool Venom - this is useful against solos as they tend to have a lot of damage potential, and the poison's effect lasts a full round and does not grant a saving throw. Put bloodstinger poison on the rest to add a kick to your ranged basic attacks and sneak attacks. Note, that with the Battle Harness armor, you can draw and throw, or draw, melee and drop, without needing to spend a minor action to draw or sheathe either your dagger or your fullblade. These are cheap, expendable weapons.

Several items, features, and powers grant poison effects - using these intelligently will make you a fairly versatile controller. Note that ALL your (save ends) effects are saved against with  -2 penalty to saving throws (as they are all poison effects) and all ongoing damage has 2 added to it.

The Master of Poisons PP feature grants a choice of 3 poisons every encounter and after spending an action point. The damage option is fairly good and should be used for coup de grace attacks against elites to ensure that the elite dies outright. Otherwise, the immobilize poison, on a thrown dagger attack, is solid versus brutes that have failed to close into melee range yet.

Your first attack with a specific weapon each encounter deals +3d8 poison damage. Apply this to your fullblade. Note, that this confers the poison keyword so you are free to make that first attack using your final sleep properties. This is especially good if your first fullblade attack is a coup de grace - extra crit damage is always nice.

Venomed Kiss provides a 1/encounter 2d6 poison damage to the next hit with a weapon. Once again, this is good for coup de grace attacks or other nova attacks.

You have many cheap, consumable whetstones of venom. These are super cheap, deal 10 ongoing damage which is not inconsiderable, but use up daily item uses. Because they do not require a secondary attack roll to take effect, they are worth using for select attacks. It is worth applying these to your weapon prior to spending an action point so that you can benefit from Venomous Action, if your target is not already taking ongoing poison damage. Note that these confer the poison keyword to your attacks, allowing you to use the final sleep ki focus rather than the spiderkissed weapon for the extra crit damage and property.

You also have a number of fairly cheap alchemical poisons (bloodstinger and spotted toadstool). These cost more and are less effective than the whetstones of venom because they require an attack roll. However, they can come in handy for ranged attacks, sneak attacks, and low [W] attacks where the higher damage die of the fullblade is not as important. Spotted toadstool is actually fairly effective versus solos. You have alchemical gloves which boost your attack rolls to apply these poisons by 2. Presumably the bloodstinger poison grants the poison keyword to your attacks, as it adds a damage type to the attack. You may want to check with your DM, because the damage is contingent upon hitting with a secondary attack.

Two of your dailies, and your spiderkissed weapon item daily power, provide some more substantial poison save ends effects.

All in all, you have a lot of poisons to play with. If you think this kind of thing will be fun, then this build is for you. It might be a bit much to keep track of however, and some status effects (e.g. immobilize) vary greatly in usefulness depending on context.[/sblock]

[sblock The Combat Coup de Grace] Perhaps the most flashy and deadly trick this build has is the combat coup de grace. The cool thing? You can do it twice per day with Deadly Trick. More or less, this is what you want to do:

Pre-combat (i): Use Lurking Shadow and Hidden Insight to scout the battlefield, find your mark, and shroud them up.
Pre-combat (ii): Poison up your weapons. Put a whetstone of venom on your dagger, and your master of poisons (7 damage) and venom hand assassin poison on your fullblade. Just before combat starts, add Venomous Kiss to your fullblade.

Initiate combat. Use both Seeker of Shadow and Stall Tactics. You are now invisible and silent, and your foes take a -10 penalty to initiative checks. Your initiative bonus is +37 - you will ANY level 30 foe in initiative even if you roll a 1 and they roll a 20. The only combatants that may be able to top your initiative are your allies. If this is a significant risk given the makeup of your party, encourage your high initiative allies to get a casque of tactics (or get one yourself). Alternatively, take Danger Sense rather than Stall tactics. Coming first in initiative is important, as it triggers Lucky Start.

1. Surprise action - move up to your target (and make a stealth check, if your DM rules that you've lost the hidden status).

Round ONE
2. Standard action - Knockout with dagger/ki focus.
To hit: 15 (levels)+8 (dex) +6 (enhancement) +3 (proficiency) + 3 (expertise) + 2 (CA) = +37. Attack roll required to hit the highest level 30 elite brute's fortitude (46) = 9. You get to roll twice due to Lucky Start, so your initial attack has a 84% chance of hitting. Use one of your Deadly Trickster rerolls to ensure a hit, if necessary. Also, you may want to fish for 18-20s, in order to regain the use of this power because of your level 24 ED feature.
Damage: Not really relevant for this power - you just need to hit. But if you're attacking an elite brute it might come into play.
2d4 (dagger): average 5 (crit: 8)
(5d6, sneak, worth adding vs. elite brutes: average 17.5, crit 30)
+8 (dex)
+8 (nightstalker)
+6 (fullblade)
+6 (armbands)
+4 (venom hand killer)
+4 (seeker of shadow)

If you crit you also get:
6d12 (final sleep) average 39 
1d10 (devastating critical): average 5.5
2d12 (war rings): average 13

Damage on a hit: 41 (sneak: 58.5, sneak crit: 131.5).

Leave the dagger emerging from your opponent's unconscious form.
3. Action point - Doom Foretold with fullblade/ki focus. Invoke shrouds.
To hit: 15 (levels) +8 (dex) +6 (enhancement) +3 (proficiency) + 3 (expertise) + 2 (CA) + 2 (Venomous Action) = + 39, and your opponent suffers a -5 penalty to defenses as they are unconscious. Attack roll required to hit the highest level 30 elite soldier's AC (46-5=41) = 2. If you're really really unlucky, use a Deadly Trickster reroll. You really want this one to hit. As this is a coup de grace attack, if you hit, you crit. If you deal damage equal to the target's bloody value, they die.
Damage (crit):
7d12 maximised (power): 84
3d12 (high crit): average 19.5
6d12 (final sleep): average 39
4d6+24 maximised (shrouds): 48
1d10 (devastating critical): average 5.5
2d12 (war rings): average 13
+8 (dex)
+8 (nightstalker)
+6 (fullblade)
+6 (armbands)
+4 (venom hand killer)
+7 (master of poisons)
3d8 maximised (venom hand assassin) = 24
2d6 maximised (venomous kiss) = 12
+5 (headsman's chop)

Average damage = 289. The average bloodied value of a 30 elite soldier is 275. Against a soldier you have over a 50% chance of killing the target outright. Against a 30 elite brute you would have to roll extremely well on damage - 339 (the maximum damage you can deal is 352). Invoking your war ring dailies may help you reach that goal. However, the take-home message here is that without improving upon this build's damage it is probably preferrable to guarantee-kill Ssazz Tam (the only level 30 elite artillery, who has 194 hp), or have even odds of one-shotting an elite controller than have a small chance of one-shotting an elite brute.

Afterwards, apply a master of poisons effect to one of your weapons (thanks to Venomous Action).

4. Minor Action (optional) - If you really want to try and drop that brute, apply your sneak-attack damage to the knockout attack. If you fail to deal its bloody value in damage, you can always use your minor action to follow up with a tumbling strike (which, surprisingly, can be made with a fullblade) in a bid to eke out a little extra damage.
Attack bonus: +39, hitting elite 30 brute on a 5.
Damage:
3d12 (power): average 19.5
+8 (dex)
+8 (nightstalker)
+6 (ki focus)
+6 (armbands)
+4 (venom hand killer)
+7 (master of poisons)
+5 (headsman's chop).
Average: 63.5. Then shift your speed away. Even if your coup de grace didn't kill the elite, you have still dealt around 411 damage to it, assuming that you hit and dealt average damage.

5. Move Action - move away. You're invisible and silent until the end of your next turn, so you'd better get away and hide (your foes may not be happy with you!)
[/sblock]

[sblock What to do the rest of the time]
Like many assassins, your damage is somewhat spiky. In fact, it could be argued that your damage is a lot more spiky than most assassins. You have several feats spent on boosting your critical hit damage, yet apart from those two coup de grace attacks per day, you are unlikely to crit much.

Instead of trying to deal really high, consistent damage (you're not going to compete with a ranger of any stripe), you make do by dealing decent, consistent damage, coupled with ongoing damage and control effects from your various poisons. Weaken solos, immobilize brutes, and try and get that nightstalker damage perk as often as you can.

Above all, try not to get swarmed by enemies. There are very few PC builds as prone to die as you are. A number of your powers provide invisibility or insubstantiality - use them judiciously.

A fairly good encounter nova would look something like the following:

Preferrably, use this combo versus an already poisoned foe, but if needed, apply a whetstone of venom to the first attack.
AP: Inescapable Venom +Venomous Kiss
Standard: Last Word + master of poisons + all your shrouds
Minor: Tumbling Strike
[/sblock]

On that note, I'm not sure I follow why a spiderkissed weapon is good. All I really see going for it is the +1 damage over weapon focus from that one venom hand feat. It really doesn't seem worth it, especially considering that you pretty much have to buy venom hand master too. What am I missing?



Using a convert-to-poison weapon with Venom Hand Master allows all your attacks to ignore resistance and immunity; including powers that would be necrotic or another easily resisted type as well as providing a means of bypassing Resist All.
Spiderkissed is good almost only because of Venom Hand Master. There are not many monsters immune/resistent to both acid and poison, but there are some. By the way there is a strange but interesting point raised by the definition of immunity in MM2. The book says:
"A creature that is immune to charme, fear, illusion, poison or sleep is not affected by the non-damaging effects of a power that has that keyword".
If we use a Spiderkissed or Mordant weapon all the powers we use have the poison keyword, so technically any creature immune to poison is immune to the non-damaging effects of all the powers we use. The fact that Mordant adds the acid keyword doesn't change the picture for what regards conditions (it changes it for damage). As a lot of the assassin powers (dailies especially) have effects it's always better to have Venom Hand Master anyway.


Mordant weapons are anyway quite interesting and I will rate them high. The only drawback is that they come from an adventure and many DMs may not allow them, depending on the books they use.

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By the way I made some updates:

- Skill powers: Inspiring Fortitude, Endure Pain, Diehard
- PP: Venom Hand Master upgraded to blue/sky-blue.
- Feats: Mark of Passage added (green)

I will not add more stuff from PHB3 until it comes out.

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Spiderkissed is good almost only because of Venom Hand Master. There are not many monsters immune/resistent to both acid and poison, but there are some. By the way there is a strange but interesting point raised by the definition of immunity in MM2. The book says:
"A creature that is immune to charme, fear, illusion, poison or sleep is not affected by the non-damaging effects of a power that has that keyword".



That is interesting. I had assumed that immunity works just like resistance.

Back to venome hand master and spiderkissed weapons, I took a quick tally of the attack powers rated blue or higher in this guide looking for damage type:

16 Untyped
6 Psychic
4* Poison
3 Cold
2 necrotic
1 Force

*Two powers- Heart of Dust and Three Shadows Venom- deal untyped initial damage and then have poison riders. The riders seem to be the real point of these powers (TSV especially), so I figure they still count.

Untyped accounts for exactly half, and if you take out psychic (which is a fairly rare resistance from my experience as a winged horde slinging wizard, but I don't know the actual number of psychic resistant monsters) and force (extremely rare) that's 2/3 of the best powers that don't gain anything from the switch to poison + VHM. Even if you still want VHM for those poisin powers, or because you're a venomed soul, it doesn't seem necessary to throw away your weapon choice just for the 5 remaining powers.
Hello Momar,

I see your point here and will try to explain some more about my view on the assassin.
Venom Hand Master+Spiderkissed (strangely) is a very good combo especially for the multiclassing/hybrid assassin, who then takes powers from another class as it lets you choose powers regardless of their damage type and be sure that they bypass any resistance (and more and more monsters with "resist all" immediate interrupts are coming out, mainly dragons) . VHM is also good for Poison Builds for obvious reasons.
For a pure assassin not focused on a poison build I agree with you, VHM+Spiderkissed is not that interesting, but keep in mind that some of the most damaging combos like Well of Shades + Cloaking Mist are cold based.

BTW: Armors are up. Very difficult ratings as nothing really shines but there are lot of good things.

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Well the build I promised is on page 19, sblocked. Tell me what you think. It would be nice for me to find a way of adding about 50 more damage to the coup de grace attacks. All in all I think it gives you slightly better than 50% chance of killing most 30 elites, will almost definitely kill a 30 artillery elite, but probably won't kill an elite brute.
You can invoke the daily power of both your war rings to deal another 26 points of damage, getting to an average of 315. I can't see anything else at the moment.
My "executioning build" comes slightly ahead at 334 points invoking both rings' dailies but as I mentioned before it's more limited in scope than yours.

If you really focus on 30th level you may forego Deadly Trickster and its recharging feature and take Punisher of the Gods. Use immortal curse after hitting him with Knockout and you will maximize all damage of the Coup De Grace. This should mean 354 damage without using the war ring dailies and up to 402 using both.

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Yeah, I think punisher of the gods would make the most sense to get the most out of the coup de grace. For a purely theoretical build that would make a lot of sense but I imagine that for actual play it would be better to be able to repeat the trick twice in a day. After all, you may not pick the right target and end up wasting your combo on a minion or something, haha

Maybe there's an item with a daily use that applies extra dice of damage? Something that will be maximised? 
Arms are up! (no pun intended)

Feets and Hands too, plus a little stuff about Dragonshards and Divine Boons.

Head items added.

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Can you sblock some of this stuff? easier to read then.
I will try to, but I have serious problems with sblocks (i.e. they don't work most of the time). I've been able to sblock a couple of paragraphs in the Guild section, but with other sections they don't seem to work. The sblock opens but it's empty and the text taht should be in the sblock is after it and looks normal.

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I had a question about Grave Dust Assassin.  It looks good in theory but I'm wondering if it's less spectacular in practice.  In order to get maximum damage out of it, you need to already have your target with 3-4 shrouds when there's a trigger for Dark Reaping, and then of course you need to be able to hit your shrouded target with your next attack.  For those with some experience playing Revenant Assassins with GDA, how often does this work out in practice?