All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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Cursed shadow is AMAZING for assassin/warlocks.
Cursed shadow is AMAZING for assassin/warlocks.




Shadow walk should help keep the assassin alive a bit longer. Now if only they could do something about the damage.
With Cursed Shadow and Cutthroat, an assassin could be hidden every round with a move and a minor, correct? That's not bad. You'd need to use Traveler's Harlequin, Windrise Ports or something in order to be able to pick up both class-specific multiclass feats however.

Also, Cutthroat Novice + Assassin's Noose is kinda funny. Yoink! 
Oops, diversion is only once per encounter!
With Cursed Shadow and Cutthroat, an assassin could be hidden every round with a move and a minor, correct? That's not bad. You'd need to use Traveler's Harlequin, Windrise Ports or something in order to be able to pick up both class-specific multiclass feats however.

Also, Cutthroat Novice + Assassin's Noose is kinda funny. Yoink! 



Or you could be an Assassin|Rogue and take Hybrid Talent: Cunning Sneak and then MC Warlock and then take Cursed Shadow (comes together at level 4, 2 if Human but you want a better Stealth race than Human). If you move 3 squares, you get concealment; if you move 3 squares (as part of a move action), you can hide if you have concealment.

Half-Elf doesn't fit the bill for Stealth but it opens up the Twin Strike option - but then you need to figure out how to stay hidden and other things. Twin Strike cuts out Sneak Attack though so it's a delicate balance. In the early levels, that Sneak Attack will beat Twin Strike if you can consistently get CA (and you should be able to, you sneaky fox).
Say goodbye to the pure Assassin. All the weaknesses of the class are gone if you Hybrid:
Better HP (if you choose a higher HP class to hybrid with of course), better striker damage, not weighed down by lack luster guilds, can pick up shadow step, and use Ki Focus for your one stop shop implement and weapon attacks.
Drow got a nice ranged control boost, and Warlock seems like the best class for Night Stalkers to MC or Hybrid with. Otherwise the feats only offered their standard fare of racial stuff.
I dunno. I'm glad I'm not playing an Assassin for a while now. I'll have to hold of Riven's return for a later article with actual stuff that helps an Assassin be an assassin, not more reasons to only play half the class. 
remember in order to hide from something you need to take a move action and have total concealment or total cover at the end of said movement. only shade form let's you get off with regular cover and concealment.
remember in order to hide from something you need to take a move action and have total concealment or total cover at the end of said movement. only shade form let's you get off with regular cover and concealment.


Cunning sneak lets you hide with any cover/concealment.
Or if you have a DM thats cool and will let you roll a stealth check with just a -2 penalty if you turn invisible. No need to take a lame feat and it makes freaking sense.
Stealth rules are unnecessarily clunky in 4e. Pity they aren't more intuitive. 
remember in order to hide from something you need to take a move action and have total concealment or total cover at the end of said movement. only shade form let's you get off with regular cover and concealment.


Cunning sneak lets you hide with any cover/concealment.
Or if you have a DM thats cool and will let you roll a stealth check with just a -2 penalty if you turn invisible. No need to take a lame feat and it makes freaking sense.
Stealth rules are unnecessarily clunky in 4e. Pity they aren't more intuitive. 


oh right i still haven't gotten around to MP2 and i agree abolut the rules
I think the main problem with this article, and with expanding upon hybrids in general, is that it does very little good to those of us who have characters we're already invested in.  The same can be said of racial feats - it's great that Drow now has more assassin feats, but this does me little good if I'm a Revenant-Human.

As I posted in the semi-hijacked errata thread, in the time since Assassin's epic powers were posted back in September, the Wizard class has gotten 48 new powers, four articles entirely dedicated to it, and a new paragon path.  In comparison, the assassin has had one article which was a series of racial feats (see above) and ki foci that really didn't have much flavor at all, and applied better to monks than to assassins.

My character is currently level 10, a revenant-human Night Stalker.  I don't have a level 5 daily, because none of them were as good as Grave Spike, a level 1.  My at-wills are decent, but as our current DM has us fight in big, open, DBZ-style areas that don't exist in the real world, my stealthing can't compensate for a lack of damage and no real bonus to hitting, despite the precise nature of my class.

In short, what assassin needs are powers and general feats, things that can be used by anyone after they've made a character.

(Thank god my assassin was, in life, a human warlock, because  at least that multiclassing will be in character.)
Say goodbye to the pure Assassin. All the weaknesses of the class are gone if you Hybrid:
Better HP (if you choose a higher HP class to hybrid with of course), better striker damage, not weighed down by lack luster guilds, can pick up shadow step, and use Ki Focus for your one stop shop implement and weapon attacks.
Drow got a nice ranged control boost, and Warlock seems like the best class for Night Stalkers to MC or Hybrid with. Otherwise the feats only offered their standard fare of racial stuff.
I dunno. I'm glad I'm not playing an Assassin for a while now. I'll have to hold of Riven's return for a later article with actual stuff that helps an Assassin be an assassin, not more reasons to only play half the class. 


+1
Come join Team Apathy! or not whatever shrug.gif
 
Yo! tm  afro.gif

 
Hey guys, lets try not to derail this thread with complaints about how uber the hybrid assassin is. I agree that the plain ol' assassin needs some work, but there's already another thread full of complaints about that and I think it would make much more sense to focus posts in this thread on giving feedback and suggestions etc. I guess talk of the hybrid assassin is relevant but it would be a shame if the thread devolved into a needless argument about how broken it was, imo.

On that topic, it would be great to actually compile a list of ways of becoming hidden with concealment only.

Shade Form gives all assassins a way of doing this once per encounter. Soul thief can do it more than once per encounter. Are there any other ways of regaining a use of shade form on a regular basis? Power Jewel might work (if shade form counts as a level one encounter power) although it only works once per day, after a milestone. That said, you'd probably choose to use the power jewel on something else! The nice thing about shade form is that you can then hide by shifting, thus not provoking an OA.

The twilight adept MC feat grants use of Cunning Sneak once per encounter (and opens up nice rogue power swaps, etc, such as Knockout)

A hybrid rogue/assassin can gain Cunning Sneak outright, allowing you to repeat the trick ad nauseum. Hybridisation works pretty well for damage too, although you do make sacrifices for this option. Most noteworthy is the lack of Shadow Step, meaning that you need to find another way to avoid OAs to make use of Cunning Sneak in melee.

the Cutthroat MC feat allows you to become hidden as a minor action until the end of your turn (making it perhaps slightly better than Twilight Adept, which requires a move action). This only works once per encounter. I'm not sure about the wording of the "create diversion" entry in the PHB2 however. Does the hidden status end at the end of your turn even if you have concealment? Or do they mean that your special, diversion-granted, no-concealment-required hide only lasts until the end of your turn, but if you DO find some concealment/cover, then you can extend the hidden status as per usual? My interpretation would be the latter, but I guess this is up for debate.

What other options are there?

mm, I'm wondering how an assassin with a subtle fullblade and serpentine bracers would work with such a build. An extra untyped bonus to damage equal to your fullblade's enhancement bonus, plus 1d8 damage and the benefit of Venom Hand Killer. It might be worth considering over a spiderkissed weapon and iron armbands of power, although the spiderkissed option is a bit more reliable, works with multiattacks, and makes ALL your damage poison.

Is there a way to get a regular, non-trivial item bonus to damage from something other than a weapon or arm-slot item? Such an item would complement the subtle+serpentine combo rather nicely.

The hybrid rogue|assassin has a problem (not insurmountable but a problem nonetheless) when in melee: how do you move 3 without provoking OAs?

On the other hand, the multiclass assassin/warlock has shadow step, but has a harder time regularly obtaining the hidden status (3 options for doing this are listed below, however - and note that none of them need provoke OAs for movement):

1) Shade form (minor) + shift (move): hide with no penalty or OAs.

2) Cunning Sneak (from the rogue MC feat), plus shadow step: easy hide with no penalty without provoking any OAs. Hybrid rogue|assassins can't do this.

3) Cutthroat (MC): minor action to hide on the spot. No OAs but must succeed on a bluff AND a stealth check.

I think that the level 6 utility "Darting Shadow" is probably worth getting for a non hybridized assassin/warlock. It won't avoid the penalty for the initial stealth check, but on consecutive move actions it will.

Another thought I'm having: What does the Assassin/Warlock bring to the table that a single-classed assassin couldn't just as easily get by loading up on invisibility powers? There are a decent number of assassin powers that grant full invisibility status. What does the Assassin/Warlock have over and above them?
Thanks for putting that poison build up!

I think I can improve on it quite a bit. I've been thinking about what could be done as a Traveler's Harlequin with Every Trick in the Book, as you know, and depending on how you want to interpret Every Trick in the Book and static mods/vulnerabilities/venom hand assassin/crits, I think such a build would knock a Venomed Soul out of the water (in terms of coup de grace damage potential). There's no reason such a build couldn't retain a heavy poison focus, either.

Are you satisfied with the CS response you received regarding ETitB and static mods? What about Venom Hand Assassin? Once there's a degree of consensus on how Venom Hand Assassin should work, I'll probably write up the build I have in mind.

I'm interested in the Vampire line of feats. Hmm, how to make good use out of the Vampire Heritage feat? I guess it could be seen as a bit of a feat tax as it's hard for most assassins to make and sustain a grab (low strength, and the only power that grants a grab requires a sustain standard). Then again, maybe savage bite is worthy of consideration.

I imagine that in my campaign the insubstantial+fly utility power might actually be a little more useful than a daily regeneration power, as our leader is a pacifist healer and therefore heals everybody virtually to max every time she targets them with a healing power.

Dominating Gaze looks like it might even be worth spending a power swap on, too. It's a minor action - not bad!

Something else that I realized is that the Traveler's Harlequin's level 11 feature doesn't just grant you 1 extra feat, it grants you 1 extra feat PLUS the bard class-specific multiclass feat of your choice. Just take that bard feat for your bonus feat and at 21, pick up Multiclass Mastery. Voila! Two extra feats! Of course, you need to be willing to spend at least 3 feats on multiclass stuff. 



If you want to make a build with Traveler's Harlequin and Coup the Gracing with Every Trick in the Book you're welcome.

I'm pretty satisfied about CS asnwer on Every Trick in the book. You add static damages to each damage roll, I think you add crit damage only once as you have a single attack roll and you add Venom hand Assassin once beacuse you have a single attack.

Vampire Heritage is a bit of a feat tax for Nightstalkers, you're right. But it opens some interesting powers, so it's a viable option.

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Hey guys, lets try not to derail this thread with complaints about how uber the hybrid assassin is. I agree that the plain ol' assassin needs some work, but there's already another thread full of complaints about that and I think it would make much more sense to focus posts in this thread on giving feedback and suggestions etc. I guess talk of the hybrid assassin is relevant but it would be a shame if the thread devolved into a needless argument about how broken it was, imo.




Thanks Psk!!

To all: feel free to add any constructive discussion about the Hybrid Assassin and how it can be used. Hybrid characters are much more complicated and combinations of feats/powers/features may not be intuitive, so any help is appreciated.

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Say goodbye to the pure Assassin. All the weaknesses of the class are gone if you Hybrid:
Better HP (if you choose a higher HP class to hybrid with of course), better striker damage, not weighed down by lack luster guilds, can pick up shadow step, and use Ki Focus for your one stop shop implement and weapon attacks.
Drow got a nice ranged control boost, and Warlock seems like the best class for Night Stalkers to MC or Hybrid with. Otherwise the feats only offered their standard fare of racial stuff.
I dunno. I'm glad I'm not playing an Assassin for a while now. I'll have to hold of Riven's return for a later article with actual stuff that helps an Assassin be an assassin, not more reasons to only play half the class. 



Being forced to choose between Shadow Step and Shade Form is not that nice. I guess that almost everybody will choose the former, but losing Shade Form is tough. I would have preferred to lose Assassin's Shroud than Shade Form....

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It's even worse than that for the hybrid, interestingly. Many people are talking about the beauty of combining the cunning sneak talent and the warlock shadow step feature (from the MC feat). Doing this requires choosing cunning sneak for your hybrid talent. So say goodbye to BOTH shadow step and shade form (and guild training, for that matter! +cha to damage every attack is a pretty big thing!)
Say goodbye to the pure Assassin. All the weaknesses of the class are gone if you Hybrid:
Better HP (if you choose a higher HP class to hybrid with of course), better striker damage, not weighed down by lack luster guilds, can pick up shadow step, and use Ki Focus for your one stop shop implement and weapon attacks.
Drow got a nice ranged control boost, and Warlock seems like the best class for Night Stalkers to MC or Hybrid with. Otherwise the feats only offered their standard fare of racial stuff.
I dunno. I'm glad I'm not playing an Assassin for a while now. I'll have to hold of Riven's return for a later article with actual stuff that helps an Assassin be an assassin, not more reasons to only play half the class. 



Being forced to choose between Shadow Step and Shade Form is not that nice. I guess that almost everybody will choose the former, but losing Shade Form is tough. I would have preferred to lose Assassin's Shroud than Shade Form....


Actually losing Shade Form is nothing. Shade Form exists to give Assassins a defensive boost and can normally only be used once per encounter. Shadow Step is a slight loss since it a great form of movement, but by going hybrid you can make up for it in other ways. By hybridizing with other striker classes, one can pick up plenty of powers that grant mobility in other ways (most provide encounter and utility powers that can shift you around the field of battle). Of course if you opt to go ranged, standard movement is probably fine.



Inescapable Shadow: nothing special for a 3rd level encounter. The teleport is ok. Normally it will only save you a move action.




Awesomeologist... I have to really disagree with Green for this power.

I'm playing an Assassin in LFR, often my group members untrained in stealth wait a good distance away, or are under my "Hey everybody, use my stealth check" daily Mmm, Army of Night goodness... As a scouting specialist I almost ALWAYS have a surprise round... (silly tremorsense/blindsense monsters mess up my day...)


In a SURPRISE round, this is the GO-TO power. Shroud as free (after 6th level I'll be able to pre-shroud thanks to hidden insight) then Teleport and Attack as my surprise. It's devastatingly nasty.



Being forced to choose between Shadow Step and Shade Form is not that nice. I guess that almost everybody will choose the former, but losing Shade Form is tough. I would have preferred to lose Assassin's Shroud than Shade Form....



It's even worse than that for the hybrid, interestingly. Many people are talking about the beauty of combining the cunning sneak talent and the warlock shadow step feature (from the MC feat). Doing this requires choosing cunning sneak for your hybrid talent. So say goodbye to BOTH shadow step and shade form (and guild training, for that matter! +cha to damage every attack is a pretty big thing!)



Inescapable Shadow: nothing special for a 3rd level encounter. The teleport is ok. Normally it will only save you a move action.




Awesomeologist... I have to really disagree with Green for this power.

I'm playing an Assassin in LFR, often my group members untrained in stealth wait a good distance away, or are under my "Hey everybody, use my stealth check" daily Mmm, Army of Night goodness... As a scouting specialist I almost ALWAYS have a surprise round... (silly tremorsense/blindsense monsters mess up my day...)


In a SURPRISE round, this is the GO-TO power. Shroud as free (after 6th level I'll be able to pre-shroud thanks to hidden insight) then Teleport and Attack as my surprise. It's devastatingly nasty.




I agree with this. Also, having movement bound to some of your attacks gives you some options for getting away, or better yet, outright hiding, after the attack. Inescapable shadow (from hidden), shade form, then shadowstep for the hide. 



Inescapable Shadow: nothing special for a 3rd level encounter. The teleport is ok. Normally it will only save you a move action.




Awesomeologist... I have to really disagree with Green for this power.


I believe the person you're disagreeing with is Erleni. Although I'm sure you can find plenty of other things to disagree with me about ;)
The reasons why I don't like Inescapable Shadows are two-fold:

1) Surprise round: in a surprise round you get only one action. So you teleport, hit badly and then if you roll bad on initiative you take a beating (this tactic will sooner or later put you in a very bad situation). Better in a normal round when you do this and then teleport out, but...
2) Damage is low. Cloaking mist will very often be a better choice damage wise and Nightshade's Kiss has a fantastic rider.

I would consider taking it only if you have a very tough build (revenant, Bleak Disciple) or the party has no way to exploit Nightshade's Kiss (damage zones, Create a target, Threatening Strike).
This power leads you to take risks which is exactly what you should not do if you're an assassin. You teleport yourself to the target and this can put you in bad tactical position.

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The thing is though, you teleport up to the target as part of the same action. So you get to remain hidden while you make the attack (granting combat advantage and possibly some other things, e.g. if you have serpentine bracers). Following the attack, you still have a minor and a move action. You could use this to get away. You're unlikely to end your turn adjacent to the target.

With powers that required you to move adjacent to the target with your move action, you don't remain hidden for the attack (unless you somehow retain concealment), and you are therefore less likely to have a spare move action after using the power.

I'm not that hugely keen on the Nightshade's Kiss rider. Normally, a slide 2 is enough. Only if zones are up (and how many of such zones are there at level 3?) will you be likely to get a lot out of this. I'd imagine that occasionally it will be brutal but most of the time the rider won't do a whole lot. I think that the fact that Nightshade's kiss targets Ref is a better reason to get behind it!

By the way, Hidden Insight got a lot less situational when coupled with Cursed Shadow.

Hmm, trying to find reliable sources of item bonuses to damage that don't come from a weapon or bracers. So far I've found Talon amulet, but it's only +1. That said, the item only exists as a +1 item so perhaps a nice DM would extrapolate it out to an item bonus = to the enhancement bonus of the item. 

Paragon Tier Powers


13th level encounter powers:


Well of Shades: a multiattack power and its a burst 3!! And you can then become invisible or teleport 5 and if you're a Bleak Disciple it also slows all the targets you hit. Maybe sky-blue for a Nightstalker who doesn't slow on a hit. Fantastic on an AP with a Soul Thief. It's a nice set-up power for area/blast powers of your allies as it groups enemies. If you have the Lasting Frost feat you can make a nice combo with Well of Shades + Cloaking Mist. Later on you can set-up a different combo with Wall of Death.



How is this a multi-attack? Do you mean AoE?

Paragon Tier Powers


13th level encounter powers:


Well of Shades: a multiattack power and its a burst 3!! And you can then become invisible or teleport 5 and if you're a Bleak Disciple it also slows all the targets you hit. Maybe sky-blue for a Nightstalker who doesn't slow on a hit. Fantastic on an AP with a Soul Thief. It's a nice set-up power for area/blast powers of your allies as it groups enemies. If you have the Lasting Frost feat you can make a nice combo with Well of Shades + Cloaking Mist. Later on you can set-up a different combo with Wall of Death.



How is this a multi-attack? Do you mean AoE?



I wanted to say multi-target. I will amend the text. Thanks

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Although I'm disappointed by the recent Class Acts article, I am excited about the possibilities from going MC Warlock for Cursed Shadow.  Assuming you take Pact Initiate and Cursed Shadow, you receive:

A Warlock Skill
A Warlock Pact & the Pact At-Will as an Encounter power
The Use of Warlock Implements for Warlock powers
The Use of Rods for Assassin Implement powers
Shadow Walk

The Pact might open up some interesting feat options, but I don't recall if all pact feats require triggering the pact boon (which you don't receive).  There may be other Warlock feats that are useful for the Assassin, though many of them require Warlock's Curse (which you could get with a different MC feat, but it will still be limited to 1/enc).  

I don't see anything great developing from the use of Warlock implements for Warlock powers.  The Use of Rods for Assassin implement powers may be more interesting.  The Rod of Stolen Starlight allows you to change your damage type on implement powers from Necrotic or Poison to Radiant.

Obviously, Shadow Walk helps defensively with concealment granting +2 to defenses.  The concealment might help with becoming Hidden as others have noted so far.  Are there other feats or items that can be be used to great effect if you have near-constant concealment?
Rod of Starlight is interesting for Slashing Builds with Long Night Scion + Radiant one. You need some feats to optimize but it's interesting.

Rod of the Dragonborn can be interesting to with Lasting Frost and cold breath.

I'm still looking at rods.

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Squad, I'm pretty interested in assassin MC warlock too.

Rod of feythorns looks made for a poison-based assassin, and Rod of Ulban wouldn't be bad at all for an assassin with a Githyanki silver sword.

Rod of feythorns + knockout + every trick in the book + spiderkissed weapon = 40 damage added to that coup de grace attack, or 60 damage if you are rich and can afford to pay for the level 27 version of the rod. That's in addition to the maximised 3d6 added by your curse. Definitely worth a feat and a level 17 item (plus perhaps a feat for quick-draw or something similar).

What I wonder is, which of the warlock feats relating to cursing allow an MC warlock to apply their curse more than once per encounter?

Do both Relentless curse and twin curse work? That might be worth doing, if you're a psychic damage build and have a rod of ulban. Even if you don't deal the extra curse damage very often, it would be worth it just for the vulnerability, imo. Perhaps less worth it with a rod of feythorns, which seems to only apply the vulnerability as a (save ends), but is poorly worded so it's hard to tell.

The empowering shadows feat grants +1 to damage when concealed from shadow walk. But it's only +1, so I'm not really sure it's worth picking up.
I've been thinking about Lurking Shadow. What does it actually do? I'm no longer sure. I haven't been able to find any explicit rules for what being silent adds above and beyond being invisible. If you are invisible and silent, are you also automatically treated as hidden (no check required)? Alternatively, does being silent give you a bonus to stealth checks? If being silent doesn't add anything then all Lurking Shadow really does is give you an opportunity to make a stealth check, in the rare event that there are no trees/walls to duck behind. If that's all that it does, then once you're hidden, why bother sustaining the power? If you're in dim light you're concealed anyway so can continue being hidden without the power. I guess Lurking Shadow allows you to be hidden even against creatures with low-light and dark vision (who would normally see through dim light), so there's that. Is that all it really does?
I think Twofold Curse and Relentless Curse work together. There's no reason they shouldn't.
The only problem I see for the MC is that relentless curse says "you can use your Warlock's curse", but for the MC Warlock's curse is an encounter power so you can't use it twice. Works fine with the Hybrid.

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You're probably right. Another question: for powers that make you "invisible and silent," e.g. Lurking Shadow, Seeker of Shadow, what does the silence actually do? Do these powers make you essentially hidden? Or is the "silent" part wholly redundant?

Am I reading this right? The assassin's shroud power does not restrict an assassin from invoking their shrouds twice in a round. It says that you can only use the power once per round on your turn, but I'm pretty sure "use" is supposed to apply to the free action, close burst 10, against one enemy in burst written in the power description (i.e. subjecting the target to a shroud). What's to stop a perfect slayer from picking up blade cascade at level 30 and dealing their shroud damage 5 times with one standard action? Or a less extreme example, an assassin to spend an action point to follow doom foretold with another attack? 

Regarding the Shadow Link lvl 7 power, I have a question as to how it works. The hit text of the power states (emphasis mine):

Until the end of your next turn, you can use your assassin’s shroud against the target whenever you are hit.

the way I read it, if you are hit multiple times you can use your shroud on the target for each hit you take. If you were to intentionally draw OAs (not the best strategy on a glass striker, I know) or just get targeted by several creatures, this could help bring a newly shrouded target up to max shrouds quickly. With the help of THPs, DR, and Insubstantial, you could also possibly shrug off the hits (to some degree). Doesn't this warrant at least a green rating?

Edit: Activating the ability of Bloodcut Armor could help reduce a lot of the damage you might take.

Considering it only takes few good hits to make an Assassin fall like a sack of bricks, it's probably a good idea to not draw too many attacks. The power is more of a deterrent, similar to what Retribution Avengers do with their censure. It's a message to the DM saying "Sure I look like a tasty target, but its going to be a bad idea to hit me."

If you use it in conjunction with Shade From maybe, but then you're taking away from other times Shade Form may be useful. Shadow Jack is still a better power. 
You're probably right. Another question: for powers that make you "invisible and silent," e.g. Lurking Shadow, Seeker of Shadow, what does the silence actually do? Do these powers make you essentially hidden? Or is the "silent" part wholly redundant?

Am I reading this right? The assassin's shroud power does not restrict an assassin from invoking their shrouds twice in a round. It says that you can only use the power once per round on your turn, but I'm pretty sure "use" is supposed to apply to the free action, close burst 10, against one enemy in burst written in the power description (i.e. subjecting the target to a shroud). What's to stop a perfect slayer from picking up blade cascade at level 30 and dealing their shroud damage 5 times with one standard action? Or a less extreme example, an assassin to spend an action point to follow doom foretold with another attack? 



About the silent issue I have your same doubts. The Compendium says that when you are hidden you are invisible and silent. Is the opposite true? (i.e. if you're invisible and silent, are you hidden?)
By RAW we have no confirmation so I guess the answer is no. But in that case what's being silent useful for?

I agree with you that it seems that the limit is on the shrouds placed each round (one) and not on the times you can invoke them.

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Am I right in thinking that if you go for a reach weapon like Blade of the Eldritch Knight, that it would be really helpful to have the "Killer in the Crowd" feat to prevent enemies from granting cover to targets within your extended reach? 
Actually you don't have to worry about enemies granting other enemies cover for melee attacks - creatures only provide cover for ranged attacks.
Hello Psk,

for your Coup de Grace builds a variant could be based on a Bleak Disciple MC Battlemind taking the Mind Blade 15th level daily. It doesn't deal damage on a hit, but your target is unconscious (save ends) so all the party can potentially coup de grace him.

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Hmm, very interesting!

That would help against solos or very high level elites. At the moment the build I'm working on is able to do the 440+ damage needed to kill a 30 brute fairly reliably anyway so wouldn't need the assistance of other party members. Still, that daily looks super powerful (an I-win button vs. most solos as far as I can tell...) The other two nice things about the daily is that it can be delivered with fullblades and it targets will - both very nice.

Interestingly, all traveler's harlequins with sufficient charisma get a bard MC at level 21 for free anyway (take a bard MC and then pick up multiclass mastery, essentially refunding yourself the cost of the bard MC). Such a character could take combat virtuoso to make make Mind Blade use charisma for the attack roll instead of constitution. If you had already gone down the assassin MC rogue path however, it might just be simpler to aim for Knockout, which, with a big enough daily to follow it up with will get the job done.
The advantage of Mind Blade is more significant if you have a way of generating a standard action when you crit, say via Punisher of the Gods or a Violet Solitaire (or both).

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Yes, or if you have minor action attacks (i.e. through tumbling strike, but this requires a further multiclass).

Note, however, that this only really matters if your first crit doesn't slay the target outright. Most coup de grace builds will have no problem killing any non-elite target with a coup de grace, and will kill the vast majority of elite foes outright. So against solo foes, Mind Blade is quite a lot more powerful than knockout, but against the vast majority of others, the difference is not so big. If you kill your foe with the first coup de grace, then you'll probably end up using your extra Punisher attack against whoever you put your immortal curse on next (and it won't be a coup de grace because the unconscious target is already dead). Unfortunately, the violet solitaire AP can no longer be used in a turn in which you've already spent an AP (unless some other item or feature exempts you from that rule).

The current build I'm looking at uses tumbling strike twice (once with a shortsword and backstab damage; once with a fullblade) in the first round against a second target, as well as knockout and every trick in the book (critically hitting for a minimum 360 damage) against the first. But it needs a bit more tweaking before I put it up. I'm not really happy with the last spec I posted (the poison one).

Also, are there any easy ways for an assassin to knock targets prone reliably? Let's assume no polearm momentum.
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