All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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Why do you want to knock down your targets? For combat advantage only or for something else?

By the way, with Mind Blade you can think about using a multi-attack power to make the Coup the Grace. For the Coup the Grace outright slaying feature you can then use the overall damage of the power.

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

Why do you want to knock down your targets? For combat advantage only or for something else?

By the way, with Mind Blade you can think about using a multi-attack power to make the Coup the Grace. For the Coup the Grace outright slaying feature you can then use the overall damage of the power.

The reason I was wondering about making an enemy prone was that one solid source of static mods for an Every Trick in the Book attack is to pick up Brutal Gauntlets and Headsman's Chop. Combined, across the four damage rolls, they contribute 2x5x4 = 40 damage. However, once you've got the gloves/feat, you may as well find ways of making use of them the rest of the time too. Don't want to be a one trick pony!

My fiancee's assassin is lucky because our party warden uses a lightning greatspear, mark of the storm, and will pick up polearm momentum. Very often there will be a prone target for her to beat on (granting +10 untyped bonus to damage rolls). But it would be nice for the build to have a means of making targets prone itself!

I guess Traitorous Shadow might be worth picking up if you have +10 damage vs. prone targets. The problem is that it's hard to ensure that the target remains prone. I guess you can try the following: hit a lone target with traitorous shadow and then turn invisible or hide (if specced to do so). If the target guesses that you haven't moved, they might be motivated to shift+charge or shift+make a ranged attack. Either option will leave them prone. On the other hand, if they choose to make a ranged attack or charge without shifting first, you get to make an OA, which is a bonus unto itself. They'll probably use their move action to stand back up after that, however, so you won't get the +10.

No, what I really want is something approaching the potency of polearm momentum. But I'm not sure anything really does.

Hmm, opportunistic shove might work... is it legal to take both thug specialist and adept power?

In fact, Opportunistic Shove + Fortress of Shadow (or any other means of regular invisibility/hiding) + Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon makes for a rather awesome lockdown, especially for a Nightstalker, who is fairly likely to be targeting a lone straggler. If your enemy wants to avoid an OA (with a +10 damage bonus) from you, they'll need to attack you from prone... but you're invisible, and take half damage from their attacks.

And.. Traitorous Shadow works pretty well against a target that is already affected by the combo in the paragraph directly above. If they started prone, they've already USED their move action to stand up. Unless they spend their standard action to shift or attack you at a huge penalty, they'll be prone again at the end of their turn.

To cap it all off, add Sundered Shadow. Could make for some interesting control against one opponent for the encounter. Unfortunately it's just against one target. And it falls apart if your allies want to stand next to it, for whatever reason. Still, if you pick your target carefully, and your allies cooperate by attacking other targets, it could be pretty nasty!

Hmm, I think you're right about adding all the attacks together for the coup de grace slaying feature, at least how it's worded in the PHB.

With Traveler's Harlequin, battlemind, mind blade and Combat Virtuoso, it might be worthwhile to dip into barbarian MC for hurricane of blades and perhaps even pick up the rampant fury feat from primal power. Four crits with hurricane of blades and a fullblade... I think that might kill a god. You'd need to boost strength a little, although it would be worth it. It would be a super powerful combo, although I'm not sure how RP an assassin/barbarian/fightbrain!!!

I think it's absolutely legal to take Thug Specialist and Adept Power. Usually the limit to swapping two powers of the same type (dailies in this case) is due to the fact that you can't take the same feat twice, but here we have two entirely different feats.
It's not as nice as polearm momentum but I don't see many other possibilities. Most of the the feats who let you knock prone a target are based on criticals and that's really not an assassin's business.

Regarding Coup de Grace, it clearly states that you Coup de Grace with a power and if the damage is higher than the bloodied value of the target you slain it outright. No mention of single attacks, so the damage is the damage of the overall power.
The idea behind is taking Storm of Blades and retrain it for Hurricane of Blades. The main issue is to see how to improve the attack and damage rolls. A 30th level Perfect Slayer can add 48 points of shrouds to each single attack (I think the the limit is on placing, not on invoking, but I may be wrong). Anyway even without this the damage from four hits will easily get in the 500-600 range, killing any elite without problems. Some figures:

2[w] ->                   24
Strength ->            2?
Enh ->                    6
Iron Arm ->             6
Brutal Gauntlets + Headsman's Chop-> 10
2 Rings of the Giants -> 24
Weapon Focus -> 3
High Crit ->  19,5
Vicious -> 39 (or Final Sleep Ki Focus)

Times four, it's quite a good number (close to 600 with 4 shrouds). The main problem is the attack bonus. If you're a Nightstalker you can go for Combat Virtuoso but you'll not be able to take Soul Thief as you will need Traveler's Harlequin for the the multiclassing into Bard too. If you go Bleak Disciple (and Windrise Ports) you'll be able to take Soul Thief, but no Combat Virtuoso...
It's not a problem for the elites (at least for the Soul Thief Version) as we'll hit them on a 2 and most likely will not need all the four attacks to hit in order to kill them (most of them will die with 2 and all of them with 3).


To get to the 800 range where even gods die is trickier, but I think some work here can be interesting. Adding damage is the first issue but the main point is hitting consistantly as we will need all four hits.
The target monsters are:
Mual Tar: 802 HP (bloodied value) and AC 49
Bahamut: 658 Hp (bloodied value) and AC 52

The trick can start at paragon with Mind Blade and Storm of Blades. It's quite costly as at 13th level you have Well of Shades and at 15th Sundered Shadow, but may let you feel a real assassin.
Mind Blade should have clearly been an assassin power....

I'll work out a full build.



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

[sblock my initial reservations about Sword of Black Ice]Actually, before I finish writing up this build, it would probably make sense to check with everyone else - how cheesy is the Sword of Black Ice considered to be? Strictly speaking, it's an allowed weapon as it was in a dungeon magazine article and is in the compendium. However, it seems kinda super-awesome-uber, even though you're limited to using a longsword, and I thought I'd double check before I crank up the cheese/munchkinism further.[/sblock]

EDIT: I've decided that the Sword of Black Ice is not too munchkinny for my tastes, so I'll update the spec to use that weapon henceforth. Note that the spec will look more or less like the old version throughout most of its career (using a spiderkissed fullblade, dynamic weapon and final sleep ki focus) but upon obtaining the sword of black ice, the player will switch out a few feats. For that reason I'll leave my notes on the old build sblocked [sblock here]

[sblock 30 spiderkissed fullblade build]

30 Assassin/Traveler's Harlequin/Deadly Trickster
MC: Rogue, Warlock
Race: Any, preferably with +dex/cha (drow or changeling).
Final ability scores: 12, 15, 26, 10, 13, 26
AC 43; Fort 34; Ref 39; Will 41. Conditional bonuses: +2 vs. melee/ranged (concealment, shadow walk), +2 AC/Ref (after teleporting, Cloak of Translocation), +5 vs. melee/ranged (total concealment due to invisibility or stealth).
hp: 141 (7 above the theoretical minimum hp for a character of this level! Note, however, that you take half damage from enemies you are hidden from due to Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon)

Feats:
Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Versatile Expertise (Fullblade and Ki Focus)
Hidden Insight
Venom Hand Killer
Sneak of Shadows
Adept Power (Knockout)
Student of Malediction
Cursed Shadow
Melee Training (Dex)
Venom Hand Assassin
Venom Hand Master
Headsman's Chop
Bardic Dilettante
Multiclass Mastery
Novice Power (Tumbling Strike)
Superior Initiative
Epic Resurgence
Twofold Curse
Thug Specialist
Rapid Assault
(If your DM grants expertise for free as a houserule, like so many do, you may want to consider Skill Power - Deeper Gloom and take Assassin's Defense as your level 16 class utility)

Encounter Powers: Ambush from Thin Air, Shadow Fire, Tumbling Strike, Traveler's Mummery
Daily Powers: Opportunistic Shove, Every Trick in the Book, Sundered Shadow, Knockout (how sad that there's only one Assassin power in this list!)
Utility Powers: Epic Trick, Fortress of Shadow, Deeper Gloom, Shape of the Traveler, Seeker of Shadow, Shrouding Gloom, Fast Hands.

Equipment/boons: +6 Spiderkissed fullblade, +6 Final Sleep ki focus, +6 +6 Shadowflow starleather, +6 Cloak of Translocation, +4 Rod of Feythorns (+6 if you can afford it), +2 Dynamic dagger (more portable than a mundane shortsword), Lightstep Slippers, Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon (level 18), Iron Armbands of Power (+6), Sapphire scabbard (x2), Gauntlets of Brutality, Trickster's Mask, a whole bunch of cheap doses of bloodstinger poison (to grant first attack with dynamic dagger the poison keyword).[/sblock]

[sblock Combat Coup de Grace] Twice per day (thanks to Epic Trick) you can do the following on the first round of combat:

Combat prep: using concealment granted by shadow walk, sneak right up to your foe and shroud them fully with hidden insight. This effect does not rely upon terrain as you have concealment wherever you go. Note, however, that you have to make a stealth check every round with a -5 penalty as you moved more than 3 on your turn. Your stealth bonus (assuming a +2 bonus from racial or background and including the -5 penalty) is +36, meaning that you'll succeed vs. the highest level 30 passive perception on a 5+, and you get to roll twice (chance of failing = 4%, but you have rerolls). Apply venom hand assassin to fullblade, cheap bloodstinger poison to dynamic weapon, and transform it into a shortsword. Draw rod and dynamic weapon.

During initiative, use Seeker of Shadow. Your DM may rule that you are auto-hidden under the effects of this power - check with him or her. 
Surprise: Curse your coup de grace target (target one) and one other target (target 2). Sheathe your rod as a free action (fast hands). Ideally both these targets should be alone.
Your initiative bonus is +31 - hopefully you won. If you didn't, one or both of your targets might save against the poison vulnerability before you get to attack. Not to worry.

First round
Minor: Tumbling Strike target 2 with dynamic weapon, shift to target 1. Apply sneak attack. +37 to hit, average 69 hit damage. [sblock damage calc]
Tumbling Strike (short sword, sneak, poison keyword but does not trigger vulnerability)10.5 (3W)17.5 (5d6 sneak)8 (dex)8 (nightstalker)6 (rapid assault)3 (sapphire scabbard)4 (venom hand killer)6 (enhancement)6 (armbands)[/sblock]
AP: Knockout (dynamic weapon) target 1. +37 to hit, roll twice and take highest, and can expend Deadly Trickster rerolls to ensure it hits. Damage is unlikely to matter for this one.
Free: Sheathe versatile dagger and draw spiderkissed fullblade.
Standard: Every Trick in the Book (spiderkissed fullblade). +37 to hit, target has -5 to defenses, can use rerolls to ensure it hits. [sblock damage calc] 5d12 maximised = 60 (5W)
3d8 maximised = 24 (Venom hand assassin)

4d6+24 maximised = 48 (assassin’s shroud)

3d6 maximised = 18 (warlock’s curse)

10*4 = 40 (4*vulnerability (rod of feythorns +4)

5*4 = 20 (gauntlets of brutality)

8*4 = 32 (4*nightstalker)

6*4 = 24 (Rapid Assault)

4*4 = 16 (4*venom hand killer)

5*4= 20 (4* headsman’s chop)

6*4=24 (4* enhancement)

6*4=24 (4* armbands)

6d6 = 21 (spiderkissed)

3d12 = 19.5 (high crit)

Average = 390.5, minimum = 359[/sblock]
This should be enough to kill any 30 elite brute outright.

free: regain tumbling strike (epic resurgence)
free: shroud something.
Minor: Tumbling Strike target 2 again. [sblock damage calc][/sblock][/sblock]
[/sblock][/sblock]

but won't bother updating it any further.

After the introduction of Mind Blade this build may be relatively less impressive but I think a build along these lines is still very much viable. Rogue brings some interesting things to the table beyond just Knockout. I've added in some warlock too - how could I resist?! I think that this guy will play very much like an assassin (rogue and warlock sync up very nicely with assassin, fluff- and mechanics-wise). This is just the level 30 build. The build uses a level 27 longsword - before that, it will use a fullblade instead, so although every level of play will be eminently playable, there may be a little discontinuity in terms of flavor! If you're worried about that and your DM is ok with houserules, ask your DM to introduce the Sword of Black ice in earlier tiers. Perhaps your DM would consider a +4/+5, 1d8 poison damage version?

Anyway, onto the level 30 build.

[sblock Black Ice Slayer]
30 Assassin/Traveler's Harlequin/Deadly Trickster
MC: Rogue, Warlock
Race: Any, preferably with +dex/cha (drow or changeling).
Final ability scores: 12, 15, 26, 10, 13, 26
AC 45; Fort 36; Ref 43; Will 43. Conditional bonuses: +2 vs. melee/ranged (concealment, shadow walk), +2 AC/Ref (after teleporting, Cloak of Translocation), +5 vs. melee/ranged (total concealment due to invisibility or stealth).
hp: 141 (7 above the theoretical minimum hp for a character of this level! Note, however, that you take half damage from enemies you are hidden from due to Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon)

Feats:
Assassin's Cloak
Versatile Duelist
Versatile Expertise (longsword and Ki Focus)
Hidden Insight
Venom Hand Killer
Sneak of Shadows
Adept Power (Knockout)
Student of Malediction
Cursed Shadow
Melee Training (Dex)
Blade and Buckler Duelist
Venom Hand Master
Headsman's Chop
Healing Song
Multiclass Mastery
Novice Power (Collapsing Riposte)
Epic Resurgence
Twofold Curse
Thug Specialist
Robust Defenses
Skill Power (Deepening Gloom)

Encounter Powers: Ambush from Thin Air, Collapsing Riposte, Well of Shades, Traveler's Mummery
Daily Powers: Opportunistic Shove, Every Trick in the Book, Sundered Shadow, Knockout (how sad that there's only one Assassin power in this list!)
Utility Powers: Epic Trick, Soul of Death, Deeper Gloom, Assassin's Defense, Shape of the Traveler, Seeker of Shadow, Shrouding Gloom, Shadowed Legion.

Equipment/boons: +6 Sword of Black Ice, +6 Shadowflow starleather, +6 Cloak of Translocation, +6 Rod of Feythorns, Lightstep Slippers, Silver Hands of Power (level 19), Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon (level 18), Iron Armbands of Power (+6), Sapphire scabbard, Gauntlets of Brutality, Trickster's Mask, Dice of Auspicious Fortune, Siberys Shard of the Mage, light shield[/sblock]
[/sblock]

[sblock Combat Coup de Grace] Twice per day (thanks to Epic Trick) you can do the following on the first round of combat:

Combat prep: Use Shadow Walk to sneak right up to an enemy (target 2; making a stealth check each round at +36, roll twice, including a +2 background bonus and the -5 penalty for moving 3 or more squares). Put four shrouds on the target you want to coup de grace (target 1).

Initiative: Seeker of Shadow
Surprise: Well of Shades (+4 damage from Seeker of Shadow). If possible, keep target 1 apart from other foes (and adjacent to you). 

First turn:
Move adjacent to target 1 if needed.
Minor: curse target 1 and 2
AP: Knockout target 1. +37 to hit, roll twice and take highest, and can expend Deadly Trickster rerolls to ensure it hits. Damage is unlikely to matter for this one.
Standard: Every Trick in the Book target 1.  [sblock damage calc] 15+8+6+3+3+2= +37 to hit, target has -5 to defenses, can use rerolls to ensure it hits.
On a hit, you crit.
5d8 maximised = 40 (5W)
8d8 maximised = 64 (4* black ice bonus damage)
4d6+24 maximised = 48 (assassin’s shroud)

3d6 maximised = 18 (warlock’s curse)

15*4 = 60 (4*vulnerability (rod of feythorns +6)

5*4 = 20 (gauntlets of brutality)

8*4 = 32 (4*nightstalker)

4*4 = 16 (4*venom hand killer)

5*4= 20 (4* headsman’s chop)

6*4=24 (4* enhancement)

6*4=24 (4* armbands)

6d10 = 33 (black ice crit damage)
minimum damage: 372. Average damage: 399.

This is enough to kill any elite in the game, and a solo will be left badly injured, prone, dazed (save ends), and slowed (save ends), and you can hit them again the next round with a second Every Trick in the Book attack (see below).[/sblock]
effect: shift 6 squares (every trick in the book)

free: regain Well of Shades (epic resurgence)
free: regain Every Trick in the Book (Silver Hands of Power).
free: shroud target 2.
Move: move and hide (if you have a move action left).

Note that between Epic Trick and Silver Hands of Power, you can use Every Trick in the Book four times. Twice as part of a Knockout coup de grace, and twice more. Even on a normal hit, the daily does substantial (~300) damage against a vulnerable, prone target. [sblock damage calc]
5d8 = 22.5 (5W)
8d8 = 36 (4* black ice bonus damage)
15*4 = 60 (4*vulnerability (rod of feythorns +6)

5*4 = 20 (gauntlets of brutality)

8*4 = 32 (4*nightstalker)

4*4 = 16 (4*venom hand killer)

5*4= 20 (4* headsman’s chop)

6*4=24 (4* enhancement)

6*4=24 (4* armbands)

Average damage: 254.5 without invoking, 292.5 invoking 4 shrouds.

[/sblock]
[/sblock]


[sblock single target control trick] Twice per day, you can do the following trick against an isolated foe:
Round 1: Move 3 (concealed), Opportunistic Shove, Shrouding Gloom (hidden).
Round 2: Warlock's Curse, Sundered Shadow (knock prone), Shadowflow power (and hide).
Round 3: Standard attack against target (knock prone), shade form, move and hide.
Round 4: "Kite" by moving away and attacking target each round (knock prone).

Enjoy your free opportunity attacks! While your target is prone and vulnerable, your opportunity attacks deal 4d8+57 damage.[sblock damage calc]
+15 (vulnerability)
+10 (brutality, headsman's chop)
+8 (nightstalker)
+4 (venom hand killer)
+6 (enhancement)
+6 (armbands)
+8 (dex)

[/sblock][/sblock]

[sblock area damage] This build has a fairly decent repertoire of close burst damage, with Well of Shades followed by Traveler's Mummery. The sword of black ice allows these powers to deal an extra 2d8 damage against each target, while the Siberys Shard of the Mage pumps their damage a little further. Both attacks provide a source of forced movement.[/sblock]

[sblock defensive tricks] Your survivability is due almost entirely to hiding. You have a stealth bonus of around +41, can bypass tremorsense, and can reroll stealth checks. You also have concealment whenever you move 3 or more squares on your turn thanks to shadow walk, and you get to make a stealth check whenever you become invisible (thanks to Assassin's Cloak). Targets that cannot see you deal half damage on a hit and no damage on a miss (Sehanine's Mark) Here are a few abilities that allow you to hide:

Encounter:
Shade Form and move (minor+move)
Gloaming Shroud (move+minor)
Shadowflow armor (minor)
Well of Shades (standard attack)
Deepening Gloom (immediate interrupt)
Assassin's Defense (immediate interrupt)

Daily:
Seeker of Shadow (1-2 rounds invisibility after initiative)
Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon (immediate reaction, but still useful when you're getting focus fired)

Although not based on hiding, Soul of Death can bounce you back from near death twice per day.

Lastly, Collapsing Riposte (plus your sneak attack) can be used against a target that misses you with a melee attack. If you knock them prone and they don't get up (e.g. if they already moved or charged), then you can really make them pay with one of your four/day Every Trick in the Book Attacks the following turn.

In other words, without your powers, you are rather squishy. If you use your powers right, you spend a fair bit of the time hidden. In rounds during which you've teleported and hidden, your defenses bounce up to 52/41/50/48 vs. melee and ranged attacks, and you only take half damage (effectively boosting you up to 282 hp!)[/sblock]
Actually, before I finish writing up this build, it would probably make sense to check with everyone else - how cheesy is the Sword of Black Ice considered to be? Strictly speaking, it's an allowed weapon as it was in a dungeon magazine article and is in the compendium. However, it seems kinda super-awesome-uber, even though you're limited to using a longsword, and I thought I'd double check before I crank up the cheese/munchkinism further.


I don't see a good reason to disallow one. It's nice, yes, adding ~9 poison damage (and debatably thus adding the poison keyword, opening up the +6 feat bonus), but it's only a few extra points of damage over most other enchantments and it requires a Longsword -- say bye-bye to Fullblade.

Yeah, I think you're probably right at that. Still, it's a pretty awesome weapon.

I'm trying to figure out how Versatile Duelist would work for my build. At the very least, it would allow me to use Knockout without needing a light blade.

Strangely, Tumbling Strike DOESN'T require a light weapon. Seemingly, this oversight means that versatile duelist doesn't apply to it. Damn!

Does versatile duelist apply to rogue paragon path powers? I'm guessing that it probably doesn't, meaning that Every Trick in the Book wouldn't qualify, even if it required a light blade.

Perhaps the best option would be to pick up a spiderkissed short sword or dagger, and to dual wield. That way I could make sneak attacks with my offhand, and would still have the option of turning an attack's damage into pure poison. Hmm, I wonder if any two weapon feats would be worth picking up?

Alternatively I might just drop tumbling strike, pick up perfect strike, and use the longsword 2 handed. Seems simpler. 

Good work, guys -- I'm looking forward to see you advance the build further.
The black ice slayer build is pretty much done, and is posted a few posts above.

I may tweak it a little bit still. The coup de grace attack is actually more than is needed to drop any elite, but far less than needed to drop a solo, so I may as well trade some stuff out (venom hand assassin and rapid assault, perhaps) for more defensive feats (maybe blade and buckler duelist + robust defenses?). Yep, I think I just talked myself into it...
Good build Psk. Very solid and ableto slay an elite several times a day. Is it finished or are you looking at some more changes? If it's done I will add it to the list. Let me know if you want it to replace your "venom" build.

The main drawback I see (and you too) are the low hit points. To become hidden you need invisibility (to get total concealment) so for some encounters a day you'll have to try to avoid getting mauled too much. This is normal for a Nightstalker so I don't think it's a real problem.

The Sword of Black Ice is a very nice weapon and I don't think it's cheesy to use it. I rated it sky-blue as it has some nice features and lets you use a shield for some defense bumping. Actually it's a pity that only an high level version exists.


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

Good build Psk. Very solid and ableto slay an elite several times a day. Is it finished or are you looking at some more changes? If it's done I will add it to the list. Let me know if you want it to replace your "venom" build.

The main drawback I see (and you too) are the low hit points. To become hidden you need invisibility (to get total concealment) so for some encounters a day you'll have to try to avoid getting mauled too much. This is normal for a Nightstalker so I don't think it's a real problem.

The Sword of Black Ice is a very nice weapon and I don't think it's cheesy to use it. I rated it sky-blue as it has some nice features and lets you use a shield for some defense bumping. Actually it's a pity that only an high level version exists.



Hey erlini,

Somehow I managed to leave Assassin's Cloak out of the build - I remedied that by dropping supreme initiative. This is the character's main method of defense - teleportation, movement, and invisibility. After teleporting and turning invisible, the build actually has quite solid attacks and takes only half damage - and when hidden, enemies have to guess the build's position. The build has 6 encounter powers and 2 dailies (each potentially useable 2/day) that allow invisibility/hiding of some form (and therefore at least 1 stealth check). Well of Shades, the Sehanine's Mark daily, and deepening gloom last until the end of your next turn so allow a second hide check with a move action after attacking.

I'm actually pretty disgusted with the Assassin's list of encounter powers. By and large, they're terrible. Some of the forced movement powers are ok, but they require hazardous terrain or zones/walls to really come into their own. To be honest, I feel tempted to take Dark Step Ambush, a level 13 encounter power, over any of the level 27 encounter powers on offer.

The build is more or less finished, for now. Feel free to post it in your guide! I'll likely make more changes if they release more options for the assassin. I'm actually not at all sold on any of my encounter or daily attack powers apart from Knockout and Every Trick in the Book, and if better ones were released I'd jump onto those in a heartbeat. I imagine that eventually I might drop Thug Specialist for a better assassin daily power and feat.

Wizards really needs to add an ASSASSIN daily power that makes the target helpless.

Regarding the Sword of Black Ice, yeah, it's a bit of a pain that it is a) longsword only, and b) only level 27. I think I'd ask my DM to introduce a lower level version of the weapon, to help the PC spend more levels wielding their choice of weapon. It just seems clunky to upgrade from a spiderkissed fullblade and dagger to a single longsword in mid epic. I think in my campaign I'll probably introduce a +4 and +5 version of the sword, which only deal +1d8 additional poison damage.
Have you seen the Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness in the Moradin's article? I'll wait until the monthly compilation is done but, if it stays like it is, it will make revenants almost unkillable.

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

Have you seen the Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness in the Moradin's article? I'll wait until the monthly compilation is done but, if it stays like it is, it will make revenants almost unkillable.



Speaking of current Dragon Issue articles, the new weapon in the Class Acts Swordmage article adds 1 to the distance of and teleport power. Synergizes nicely with Shadow Step & Cloak of Translocation
You're right renau1g. I will rate it as soon as the monthly issue is released.

Psk20: your build has been added to the list. I totally agree about the need of a "helpless/unconscious" power for the assassin.

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

erleni -

I was wondering whether the Revenant feat Grave Dust Advantage deserves a higher rating, at least under certain conditions.  Assuming that most Revenant Assassins will pick up Grave Dust Assassin, Advantage can help you get more out of it - since you may not have 4 shrouds on a target when you'd like to trigger your Dark Reaping.  This way, when you trigger you're Dark Reaping, you can throw an extra shroud on your target before using GD Assassin on it.

Another condition that makes it better is if you also take the Epic level feat Reaping Renewal, since it lets you use Dark Reaping twice you'll get to use GD Advantage twice as well.
I think you're right Squad,

I will add a note for the combination in Grave Dust Advantage upgrading it to green if you have the other feat. You can get 2d6+12 in total over each encounter, which is not that bad, considering the assassin's damage output. Grave Dust Assassin potentially offers 4d6+24 and Reaping Renewal 4d6+24+1d8+Con on top of that, so they are both a step above.

Edit: done.

Thanks for this comment. I like to receive this kind of suggestions as they show ways to combine several options (in this case three feats) to get the best out of each one. To me this is what people look for in an handbook.

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

I think you're right Squad,

I will add a note for the combination in Grave Dust Advantage upgrading it to green if you have the other feat. You can get 2d6+12 in total over each encounter, which is not that bad, considering the assassin's damage output. Grave Dust Assassin potentially offers 4d6+24 and Reaping Renewal 4d6+24+1d8+Con on top of that, so they are both a step above.

Edit: done.

Thanks for this comment. I like to receive this kind of suggestions as they show ways to combine several options (in this case three feats) to get the best out of each one. To me this is what people look for in an handbook.



I was also wondering about the revenant paragon feat "Reaper's Strike", which doesn't appear on your list of feats.  The feat grants a +2 bonus to your next attack roll when you use your Dark Reaping power.  Since you only get to deal the damage with Dark Reaping (and then also Grave Dust Advantage) if you hit with an attack you make before the end of your next turn (after the power triggers), it seems that any bonus to hit could make a big difference.  If you miss with your attack during your next turn, you don't deal any damage with Dark Reaping or GD Advantage - but you've used up your Dark Reaping power so you can't try again.
Items my assassin has on him..

Bracers of the Bracheon - Gives me a natural climb speed. Which is really good for quickly moving around when you can't just teleport where you want.

Belt of the Brawler - I make it a point to look disarmed some games. This helps me with that.

Wolven Dagger - A simple weapon, meant to stave off any sort of ambushes.

Morphing daggers - Since I'm ki focused, I use these to always have an appropriate weapon for the job.
I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.
I think you're right Squad,

I will add a note for the combination in Grave Dust Advantage upgrading it to green if you have the other feat. You can get 2d6+12 in total over each encounter, which is not that bad, considering the assassin's damage output. Grave Dust Assassin potentially offers 4d6+24 and Reaping Renewal 4d6+24+1d8+Con on top of that, so they are both a step above.

Edit: done.

Thanks for this comment. I like to receive this kind of suggestions as they show ways to combine several options (in this case three feats) to get the best out of each one. To me this is what people look for in an handbook.



I was also wondering about the revenant paragon feat "Reaper's Strike", which doesn't appear on your list of feats.  The feat grants a +2 bonus to your next attack roll when you use your Dark Reaping power.  Since you only get to deal the damage with Dark Reaping (and then also Grave Dust Advantage) if you hit with an attack you make before the end of your next turn (after the power triggers), it seems that any bonus to hit could make a big difference.  If you miss with your attack during your next turn, you don't deal any damage with Dark Reaping or GD Advantage - but you've used up your Dark Reaping power so you can't try again.



I may rate it, but I don't think it's really worth a paragon feat for its effect on Grave Dust Assassin. If it had been heroic I could have rated it green. It gives you a 10% higher chance to hit when you use Grave Dust Assassin and Dark Reaping. This means  about 5-6 points of damage per encounter (in average and if you can consistantly have 4 shrouds on the target). That could be nice at heroic but at paragon it doesn't change the picture too much.
On the other hand it's an untyped +2 bonus, and can be interesting if you can time it properly (i.e. if you can decide when somebody goes bloodied and have Thin the Herd) to get an extra boost on an important attack. You can maybe buy a cheap Battlecrazed weapon for that purpose.

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

Items my assassin has on him..

Bracers of the Bracheon - Gives me a natural climb speed. Which is really good for quickly moving around when you can't just teleport where you want.

Belt of the Brawler - I make it a point to look disarmed some games. This helps me with that.

Wolven Dagger - A simple weapon, meant to stave off any sort of ambushes.

Morphing daggers - Since I'm ki focused, I use these to always have an appropriate weapon for the job.



Hello Chanter,

do you have a full build? It could be nice to show the character and make comments about why some pieces of equipment have been chosen.

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

Just wanted to pop in a good word for the Armor of Dark Deeds.

As a property it grants you concealment until the end of your next turn every time you hit a target with CA.  For the right assassin build that could be every single turn.  And it loops nicely in that a stealth check, with the aforementioned CA, can make it very easy to get CA for the next turn's hit, thus giving you concealment again.

Rogues w. Fleeting Ghost, or any of the new "shadowey" build stuff, would also love this set of armor.

But for an assassin I think it can be pure gold.

-abs
Hello,

I'm currently working on a Coup the Grace build for a Bleak Disciple (as Psk20 already covered the Nightstalker side) and am looking for some help/comments. I'm not looking at hybrid builds as I feel you lose too much of the assassin features. Feel free to post any ideas.

Basic trick:

MC Battlemind for Mind Blade and Barbarian for Storm of Blades, to be later retrained for Hurricane of Blades.
This can be done either taking Windrise ports or by taking half-elf as a race and the new feat Adept Dilettante. For this second choice, is there a barbarian or battlemind at-will you will recommend?
My idea is taking revenant with either shadar-kai or half-elf past, but I'm open to suggestions.
Go for a straightforward Dex/Con build with Str tertiary.

Optimizing the hitting chance:
Soul Thief will be the Paragon Path. The attack rolls bonus granted by Soul Thief's Action is great and I don't see other chances to get the same bonus without extra attacks/actions.

Weapon Choice:
Seems to me that a Blood Fury weapon is the best choice, for both the crit damage and the fact that makes you bloodied without dealing damage to you (will come back later in the post about being bloodied). A Final Sleep Ki Focus or Vicious Fullblade would work too. Are there other options you see? Rending maybe?

Feats:
Aside from the four MC + swaps, I'm looking at:
Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades)
Focused Expertise (Fullblade) or Focused Expertise (Ki Focus)
Fierce Vitality
Death Scorned
Eerie resurgence (for the DST bonus)
Life on the Edge (if Shadar-Kai, needs to be bloodied)
Hunter in the gloom (if shadar kai to get an edge on high AC low ref monsters when we use our barbarian power)
Restless Dead
Versatile Master (for half-elves if it makes sense)

Epic Destiny:
I see three possibilities:
Divine Trickster (to have re-rolls and recharge Mind Blade) but we'll not slay solos.
Punisher of the Gods (for the extra standard action on a crit and the capstone). This would make the ultimate slayer but only at 30th level (even Bahamut will die with four shrouds).
Raven Consort, for a lot of added resilience.

Magic Items:
Iron Armbands
Two Ring of the Giants?
Gauntlets of Brutality
Life Charm (for non-Raven Consorts)
Cloak of Autumn's Child (for Raven Consorts - the sinergy can be tremendous)
Belt of Sonnlinnor Righteousness
Violet Solitaire
Dice of Auspicious Fortune
What else?

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

farnsworth.jpg

Good news everyone! The Hybrid Assassin's shroud has been fixed to only work when an Assassin power is used.
April brings us a power play: shadow and a races: changeling article. Hopefully we'll see something beautiful.
Aye, though there track record doesn't inspire a lot of hope. It's kinda too bad they fixed the Hybrid Assassin. I was looking forward to actually playing an assassin by Hybriding rogue or sorcerer and then taking mostly powers from the other class. Now, absolutely nothing of an actual assassin survives a hybrid. No shrouds, nothing.

Hopefully, they'll bump late heroic+ damage so the class remains playable past level 5. As it stands, the leaders, controllers and defenders out damage it by a massive margin.
The hybrid assassin was already bad, but now it's kinda horrible. The most interesting things in an assassin are class features (as powers an not that good) and you can save only one with Nybrid Talent.
Let's hope that the Class Acts: Shadow is giving us some meat. And Changeling support is welcome.

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

April brings us a power play: shadow and a races: changeling article. Hopefully we'll see something beautiful.


Do Power Play articles typically present new options for relevant classes? If so, what types of options? (Powers, items, feats, class builds, etc.)
I guess we'll see some new powers. Hoping for the third build they promised (Int?? We want more Int!!!).

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

If they do a Dex/Int build, it would need a little something something to compensate for the fact it will be focused only in one defense set.

Though I could see the Int side being more about anotomy then bleak and nightstalker. Be great with lots of ongoing damage effects.

I'd also like to see at least 1 new implement at-will power that is more on the shadowstorm scale and not on the at-will that sucks so much.
I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.
Oh and you asked earlier what my build was. This is my projected build when I hit level 11, I'm currently level 9, and all the gear on me is what I currently have. (though I do carry some potions and clockwork bombs.)

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Cheshire Cat, level 11
Changeling, Assassin, Chameleon
Guild Training: Night Stalker
Pact Initiate: Pact Initiate (fey pact)
Background: Akanûl (Akanûl Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 13, Dex 21, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 21.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 16.


AC: 24 Fort: 17 Reflex: 21 Will: 22
HP: 63 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 15

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +15, Athletics +10, Acrobatics +15, Perception +13, Insight +13, Thievery +15

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +4, Bluff +12, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance +6, Heal +6, History +4, Intimidate +10, Nature +6, Religion +4, Streetwise +10

FEATS
Level 1: Focused Expertise (Ki Focus)
Level 2: Killer's Insight
Level 4: Assassin's Escape
Level 6: Pact Initiate
Level 8: Cursed Shadow
Level 10: Slow Fall
Level 11: Minion of the Dark

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin encounter 1: Shadow Darts
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Agile Recovery
Assassin encounter 3: Army of the Night
Assassin daily 5: Twilight Assassin
Assassin utility 6: Darting Shadow
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Jack
Assassin daily 9: Wall of Shadows
Assassin utility 10: Crowd Cover

ITEMS
Battle Harness Leather Armor +1, Hand Crossbow, Light Shield, Belt of the Brawler (heroic tier), Bracers of Brachiation (heroic tier), Final Sleep Ki Focus +1, Wolfen Dagger +2
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


I pride myself in this character to being elusive and deceptive. While I may not be the damage king at the table, I do focus quite a bit on being not hit, unlike some other strikers i've seen that blow all their dailies and encounters with in a single turn so they can kill one target before it had a chance to act.


I took Chameleon as my PP instead of assassin PPs, because none of them really fit as well as the shapeshifting assassin did.

This is also why Eventually when i get enough money too, I'm buying a bunch of +2 morphing daggers. The +2 won't be important because my Ki focus will eventually take it over. (Money problems again.) but it will allow me to switch to different weapons quickly and easily with the Battle harness.


I find inititive is very important to have lots of. Not so you can go first, but so you can choose when to jump in.


Anycase, I can't wait till the new articial comes out for changelings. I could really use some more feats to choose from, cause after heroic I've got nearly nothing.
I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.

I'm starting to post in the multiclassing section. I will add the Ardent today. Please have a look at the format and give me your comments before I move on. The idea is to have (for the classes where it's worth):

A comment on each multiclassing feat

A comment on the hybrid combination

A list of the interesting powers with an indication of the Guilds that would be interested in them

A list of the useful feats


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


I'm starting to post in the multiclassing section. I will add the Ardent today. Please have a look at the format and give me your comments before I move on. The idea is to have (for the classes where it's worth):

A comment on each multiclassing feat

A comment on the hybrid combination

A list of the interesting powers with an indication of the Guilds that would be interested in them

A list of the useful feats



I'd suggest focusing first on the multiclassing feats and useful class feats, as well on the at-will's (especially) if the multiclass feat grants access to them.  There are just so many potential powers to analyze . . . but if you've got the time then go for it!


I'm definitely curious as to what you think might be useful to take as an MC Warlock.  Certainly Cursed Shadow . . . I've been pondering Warding Curse as well at epic if only for a solid defensive bonus against solos.  Rod of Quickcurse could help extend that Warding trick to other enemies on the battlefield.  I'm not sure Twofold Curse is worth it though, but I'm looking forward to this section.



Ardent and Artificer are up. The first is an example of a class I'm digging into the second one of a class I will not look at. Please give me your comments.

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

Re: "10th level utilities: Mist Walk: this would be interesting as en encounter. As a daily it's really underwhelming."

I'd say it's something of a situational red. Red in standard, open ground combat, maybe, but depending on your group it could be quite useful (at least purple or even green depending on the group makeup and general gaming focus). Primarily if you need to set up a character as bait or that your assassin is "guarding", it lets you quickly get through a wall to either escape to the ambush point (if you were the bait) or to get into a position to defend the bait or your target, of course you could have also tried stealth to avoid being seen while in the same location but being on the other side of the barrier is more of a sure thing. It's also useful for getting through a wall to attack (assassinate? Wink) something you know is on the other side. Since TP won't let you do it this is the only way for an assassin to get there that quickly at this time. Yeah, it would probably be a lot better as an Encounter, but depending on the group that may be the best power to pick, if there isn't an Avenger around, at this level just to get some way to walk through walls into the mix.
Lenny Zimmermann
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The Power Play: Shadow article of this month seems not to be concerned with Assassins.

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

Does that mean there are going to be other classes introduced with the shadow power source?  Or perhaps just powers and paragon paths to flavor other classes with shadow.

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Cheshire Cat, level 11
Changeling, Assassin, Chameleon
Guild Training: Night Stalker
Pact Initiate: Pact Initiate (fey pact)
Background: Akanûl (Akanûl Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 13, Dex 21, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 21.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 16.


AC: 24 Fort: 17 Reflex: 21 Will: 22
HP: 63 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 15

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +15, Athletics +10, Acrobatics +15, Perception +13, Insight +13, Thievery +15

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +4, Bluff +12, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance +6, Heal +6, History +4, Intimidate +10, Nature +6, Religion +4, Streetwise +10

FEATS
Level 1: Focused Expertise (Ki Focus)
Level 2: Killer's Insight
Level 4: Assassin's Escape
Level 6: Pact Initiate
Level 8: Cursed Shadow
Level 10: Slow Fall
Level 11: Minion of the Dark

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin encounter 1: Shadow Darts
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Agile Recovery
Assassin encounter 3: Army of the Night
Assassin daily 5: Twilight Assassin
Assassin utility 6: Darting Shadow
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Jack
Assassin daily 9: Wall of Shadows
Assassin utility 10: Crowd Cover

ITEMS
Battle Harness Leather Armor +1, Hand Crossbow, Light Shield, Belt of the Brawler (heroic tier), Bracers of Brachiation (heroic tier), Final Sleep Ki Focus +1, Wolfen Dagger +2
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


I pride myself in this character to being elusive and deceptive. While I may not be the damage king at the table, I do focus quite a bit on being not hit, unlike some other strikers i've seen that blow all their dailies and encounters with in a single turn so they can kill one target before it had a chance to act.


I took Chameleon as my PP instead of assassin PPs, because none of them really fit as well as the shapeshifting assassin did.

This is also why Eventually when i get enough money too, I'm buying a bunch of +2 morphing daggers. The +2 won't be important because my Ki focus will eventually take it over. (Money problems again.) but it will allow me to switch to different weapons quickly and easily with the Battle harness.


I find inititive is very important to have lots of. Not so you can go first, but so you can choose when to jump in.


Anycase, I can't wait till the new articial comes out for changelings. I could really use some more feats to choose from, cause after heroic I've got nearly nothing.



I had posted my build here, as there was some questions on why I took some items.

I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The Power Play: Shadow article of this month seems not to be concerned with Assassins.



My reaction precisely... I was actually dumbfounded when I noticed this. First, the assassin article is for hybrids and multiclassers, and then the shadow article is for non-shadow characters? It seems like some kind of cruel joke!

The scoundrel article gave lots of interesting fluff for some assassin characters, but had really weak crunch. Even a changeling rogue wouldn't really consider those bluff oriented feats.

Here's hoping that the Power Play: Shadow article will at least throw assassins some sort of bone, even if merely as a side note.

The worst thing about this shadow power article, if it truly doesn't cover assassins, is that I feel that it might now be less likely we'll see a class act or power play article relevant to assassins or shadow for some time.

Still, I reckon it might be worth holding off posting that interesting looking revenant coup de grace spec of yours until after the power play article, just in case. On the other hand, you could post it now and edit it later if something good shows up.

Here's hoping that the changeling article won't be as big of a disappointment as the scoundrel one was and the power play one is threatening to be...
The build is ready. I'll just wait for the CB update to double check it, and then I'll post it. In the meantime I'll slowly update the multiclassing section.

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

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The Power Play: Shadow article of this month seems not to be concerned with Assassins.



My reaction precisely... I was actually dumbfounded when I noticed this. First, the assassin article is for hybrids and multiclassers, and then the shadow article is for non-shadow characters? It seems like some kind of cruel joke!

The scoundrel article gave lots of interesting fluff for some assassin characters, but had really weak crunch. Even a changeling rogue wouldn't really consider those bluff oriented feats.

Here's hoping that the Power Play: Shadow article will at least throw assassins some sort of bone, even if merely as a side note.

The worst thing about this shadow power article, if it truly doesn't cover assassins, is that I feel that it might now be less likely we'll see a class act or power play article relevant to assassins or shadow for some time.

Still, I reckon it might be worth holding off posting that interesting looking revenant coup de grace spec of yours until after the power play article, just in case. On the other hand, you could post it now and edit it later if something good shows up.

Here's hoping that the changeling article won't be as big of a disappointment as the scoundrel one was and the power play one is threatening to be...



Yes...this was my reaction also. WTF WoTC? Why no love for the assassin, but Wizards get a million new powers or so since the assassin has been released. Hells bells, get some of your own writers on it if the freelancers aren't.

Anyways rant aside, I play a changeling assassin on Enworld's PbP boards and am getting so tired of almost 0 support for my combo. The changeling is only barely more supported than the doppelgagner from the MM it replaces.

Please, oh please, put something, anything out there for the changeling besides that cortortionist feat.
Updating for Dragon 385:

- Mercurial Assassin PP

- Plague of Chance feat
- Plagueforged Accuracy feat
- Plaguing Bloodhunt feat
- Plague Regeneration feat
- Betrayal of Zerthimon feat
- Darkness' Wings feat
- Eilserv's Treachery feat
- Far Shadow feat
- Flickering Fortune feat
- Ghostly Voyage feat
- Horned Nightmare feat
- Hunting Shadow feat
- Insidious Shroud feat
- Lolth's Embrace feat
- Merciless Nature feat
- Shadowforged Killer feat
- Spirited Shadow feat

- Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness
- Rubicant Blade

All updates in (mutliclassing stuff will come).

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