All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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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



Added and rated sky-blue. I don't know why I missed it. Thanks for the tip! By the way, be aware that you get concealment when you attack a target with CA. You don't need to hit.

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Can a medium sized Traveler's Harlequin pick up the scrappy feat, use the level 12 encounter power to become small, and then benefit from scrappy while wielding a versatile weapon? Seems incredibly cheesy but yeah...

I'm not sure whether you're allowed to pick feats that you only sometimes qualify for. 
Can a medium sized Traveler's Harlequin pick up the scrappy feat, use the level 12 encounter power to become small, and then benefit from scrappy while wielding a versatile weapon? Seems incredibly cheesy but yeah...

I'm not sure whether you're allowed to pick feats that you only sometimes qualify for. 



I guess no (the CB for example doesn't allow it), but I guess you can make an Halfling and then use the PP encounter to get Medium Size and use Scrappy with a medium sized weapon if you really like cheese.

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Not sure if this is the place to post this but I am going to make my very first assassin ever for a up and coming game. The problem is I have no idea what I really want from the class. I am totally willing to lose some damage and optimization to have a character that does and acts like I want. I think the problem is that I want too many things....

I love the idea of a poison master, thus taking Venom Master and other such feats and loading up on weapon powers to use a Spiderkissed weapon.

At the same time I want him to seem fairly harmless when not stabbing people, not carrying a huge sword or anything, perhaps not using any weapons. And at the same time being very stealthy and using concealment and teleportation powers to go sipping all over the battlefield. this would mean loading up on Implement powers and such.

I assume I cannot reconcile these two ideas into one character and not make him fairly ineffectual to the point where the party suffers for it. So is there any consensus as to which would be a better route to go? The Poisoner or the Sneak?
*sigh*

And once more, changelings get shafted with lots of fluff and no crunch...

www.wizards.com/dnd/downloads/dragon/386...
Wow, I can't believe they shafted changelings so bad. The race still doesn't have a single feat worth taking as a striker.
Wow, I can't believe they shafted changelings so bad. The race still doesn't have a single feat worth taking as a striker.

effing weak....so much fail here it makes me hurt
Was hoping for a changeling paragon path that granted you the racial power of your preferred race.

This actually feels rather surreal. What a joke! 
Geeze. One freeking feat for one of the three archtypes of changelings.


I'm totally going to start working on writing a page of stuff regardless of what certian people think of the changelings racial shapeshifting ability being nothing more than minor cosmetic changes. (cause its not. Especially after training it further.)

Personally though psk20, I'd prefer the racial power to be a feat that allows you to mimic allies racial powers. (again though, people cry because a primal power epic path gains a similar ability.) Because what I want is as I progress into paragon, to be able to copy and mimic my allies.
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.
No reason we couldn't have had both, Chanter! Either would have been better than what we got...
Not sure if this is the place to post this but I am going to make my very first assassin ever for a up and coming game. The problem is I have no idea what I really want from the class. I am totally willing to lose some damage and optimization to have a character that does and acts like I want. I think the problem is that I want too many things....

I love the idea of a poison master, thus taking Venom Master and other such feats and loading up on weapon powers to use a Spiderkissed weapon.

At the same time I want him to seem fairly harmless when not stabbing people, not carrying a huge sword or anything, perhaps not using any weapons. And at the same time being very stealthy and using concealment and teleportation powers to go sipping all over the battlefield. this would mean loading up on Implement powers and such.

I assume I cannot reconcile these two ideas into one character and not make him fairly ineffectual to the point where the party suffers for it. So is there any consensus as to which would be a better route to go? The Poisoner or the Sneak?



Remember you can use you weapon as an implement and that Spiderkissed can be any melee weapon, so you can take a quarterstaff and use it a a walking staff (like Gandalf). That said at some levels weapon powers are quite better than implement powers so using a good weapon is not a bad idea.

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Stuff



Remember you can use you weapon as an implement and that Spiderkissed can be any melee weapon, so you can take a quarterstaff and use it a a walking staff (like Gandalf). That said at some levels weapon powers are quite better than implement powers so using a good weapon is not a bad idea.



You might like to consider Staff of the Serpent if going this route. It adds the poison damage type to your melee attacks and throws fairly significant levels of damage about while it's at it.
This an overextended version of the Bleak Disciple Coup de Grace build. It probably shows many weaknesses, but here the target is maximizing the chance to kill an high level solo.

The build:
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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Headsman, level 30
Revenant, Assassin, Soul Thief, Punisher of the Gods
Build: Bleak Disciple Assassin
Guild Training: Bleak Disciple
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Ki Focuses)
Choose your Race in Life: Shadar-kai
Background: Windrise Ports (Windrise Ports Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 26, Dex 26, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12.

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


AC: 43 Fort: 42 Reflex: 41 Will: 40
HP: 152 Surges: 14 Surge Value: 38

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +28, Thievery +28, Bluff +21, Endurance +30, Perception +22, Dungeoneering +22, Nature +22

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +23, Arcana +15, Diplomacy +16, Heal +17, History +15, Insight +17, Intimidate +18, Religion +15, Streetwise +16, Athletics +17

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 2: Grave Dust Assassin (retrained to Life on the Edge at Level 30)
Level 4: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 6: Versatile Expertise
Level 8: Shadar-Kai Soul
Level 10: Demanding Talent
Level 11: Fierce Vitality
Level 12: Death Scorned
Level 14: Berserker's Fury
Level 16: Adept Power
Level 18: Novice Power
Level 20: Hunter in the Gloom
Level 21: Ghostly Vitality
Level 22: Deathless Warrior
Level 24: Epic Will
Level 26: Epic Resurgence
Level 28: Robust Defenses
Level 30: Triumphant Attack

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin encounter 1: Gloom Thief
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Cloak of Shades
Assassin encounter 3: Cloaking Mist
Assassin daily 5: Twilight Assassin
Assassin utility 6: Slayer's Escape
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Jack
Assassin daily 9: Obscuring Shadow
Assassin utility 10: Slayer's Endurance
Assassin encounter 13: Well of Shades (replaces Gloom Thief)
Assassin daily 15: Sundered Shadow (retrained to Crisis of Identity at Adept Power) (replaces Obscuring Shadow)
Assassin utility 16: Liquid Shadow
Assassin encounter 17: Mob of Shadows (replaces Cloaking Mist)
Assassin daily 19: Phantom Assault (replaces Targeted for Death)
Assassin utility 22: Claim the Dead
Assassin encounter 23: Obsidian Spiders (replaces Shadow Jack)
Assassin daily 25: Wall of Death (replaces Twilight Assassin)
Assassin encounter 27: Ambush from Thin Air (retrained to Hurricane of Blades at Novice Power) (replaces Mob of Shadows)

ITEMS
Circlet of Arkhosia (paragon tier), Life Charm +6, War Ring (paragon tier) x 2, Fullblade, Repeating crossbow, Starleather Armor of Dark Deeds +6, Eladrin Boots (paragon tier), Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), Gauntlets of Blood (epic tier), Dice of Auspicious Fortune (paragon tier), Baldric of Valor (epic tier), Blood Fury Fullblade +6
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


The trick:
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Assumption: 4 shrouds and 5 soul shards (for the limit)

It all goes in one round:

Minor: mordant weapon daily power to become bloodied

Move: Shadow Jaunt (so that we can attack the lowest of Ref or AC). The hardest monster to hit has a defense of 49.

AP: Mind Blade (attack bonus= +15 (lvl) + 8 (con) + 7 (Soul Thief's Action) + 3 (prof) + 3 (exp) + 6 (enh) + 2 (CA) + 1 (baldric) + 2 (Life on the Edge)= 47 so we need a 2 to hit

Standard: Hurricane of Blades (attack bonus +15 (lvl) +2 (str) + 7 (Soul Thief's Action) +3 (prof) + 3 (exp)+ 6 (enh) + 2 CA + 1 (baldric) = 39 versus a defense of 44. As soon as we score a hit the defense goes to 42 (Triumphant attack). We have one reroll due to the Dice of Auspicious Fortune.

As soon as we score a crit we recover Hurricane of Blades via Epic Resurgence and we get a standard action due to our 21st level ED feature so that we can CDG again in case with Hurrican of Blades again.

Hurricane of blades single hit damage: 24 ([2W]) + 2 (str) + 6 (armbands) + 24 ( 2 War Rings) + 36 (high crit) + 72 (crit) + 7 (soul thief's action) + 3 (focus) + 5 (gauntlets) = 179
If we hit 4 times we get to 716 points. Invoking the 2 dailies of the War Rings and 4 shrouds we get 96 points more, bringing us to 812.

This will kill everything except the Old Man with the Canaries (by 10 points). By the way with him we attack a defense of 47 (ref) so it will be even easier. To kill him too we may take Headsman's Chop instead of another feat (adding 20 points of damage).
.

The build here considers no external support and is more than a little unbalanced. If we want to limit us to killing elites our life will be much easier. 400 points of damage will be enough to wipe out any of them and hitting will be much easier. In that case I will probably choose Raven Consort as my ED and Belt of Sonnlinor Righteousness for my Waist slot, or even Eternal Seeker to reduce feat consumption (will get back four feats!) and still getting Cycle of Life (albeit at 30th level only).
We can also get rid of Headsman Chop and the Gauntlets of Brutality.
I will post these other two builds tomorrow.

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Very awesome! One thing that you may have to contend with for some of the more powerful solos (including Bahamut) are special defenses beyond the baseline. When you knock Bahamut out, he gets to save immediately (and has an 80% chance of succeeding at this save). Against such foes, you may need to concoct a method to get around this.

Still, very very awesome. 
Is..is focused expertise gone now? I cannot find it in CB or on the compendium.
Is..is focused expertise gone now? I cannot find it in CB or on the compendium.

It was replaced with Versatile Expertise - which is better.

My hope is that this "Assassins aren’t the only ones who can tap the power of shadow." means that WotC is announcing more shadow classes.


But given the past Power Play articles, I'll stick to crossing my fingers that it's mostly feats and magic items and not class powers.

Fire Blog Control, Change, and Chaos: The Elemental Power Source Elemental Heroes Example Classes Xaosmith Exulter Chaos Bringer Director Elemental Heroes: Looking Back - Class and Story Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Xaosmith (January 16, 2012) Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Harbinger (May 16, 2012) Check out my Elemental Heroes blog series and help me develop four unique elemental classes.

Very awesome! One thing that you may have to contend with for some of the more powerful solos (including Bahamut) are special defenses beyond the baseline. When you knock Bahamut out, he gets to save immediately (and has an 80% chance of succeeding at this save). Against such foes, you may need to concoct a method to get around this.

Still, very very awesome. 



I have looked at that issue too. On top of Bahamut I saw at least another high level solo that can do that. There are ways to get around it but you need some external support (say a wizard with an Orb of Karmic Resonance). I couldn't find any way to pack everything in a single character.

To be honest the most efficient version of this slayer is not an assassin. It's an hybrid Battlemind/Barbarian or a full Barbarian MC Battlemind that then MCs into assassin and takes Soul Thief. The main drawback is that you're left with two Dex-based powers that are almost useless.
With such a character you can easily power attack on Hurricane of Blades due to the higher strength bonus so you get 36 points more plus say 24 points for extra Strength and you lose two shrouds for 24 points.

I had some problems in putting the build up as the Battlemind MC feat in the CB multiclasses you into a psionFrown, so I had to manually change Mind Blade (in the beginning I was really puzzled because the power was not on the list but as I donìt have experience with the names of psionic powers I didn't immediately realized what was wrong, then I saw that CB offered me to choose a 1-st level psion at-will as an encounter.....)

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Added the Headsman build. I have serious issues with the CB for the eternal seeker version as apparently I can't swap some powers (Brutal Barrage for example).

Brutal Barrage (Con Based) is a great power for Coupes de Grace for Bleak Disciples. It's Con based, you can make 4 attacks and even if the base damage is low you can get some serious crit damage. Say:
9 (Con)
6d12=39 (crit)
3d12= 19,5 (high crit)
12 (Ring of the Giants)
6,5 (War Ring)

With 4 hits (we will hit any elite on a 2) we talk of 344 points of damage, enough to slay almost any elite monster. Adding Headsman Chop or Gauntlets of Brutality will move the average damage to 364 (the maximum bloodied value of an elite monster is 360).
Considering Soul Thief's Action we may want to look at any kind of power that lets us send enemies unconscious (save ends). So far I've seen a Warlock power (we need MC to use a rod, but we may want to MC warlock anyway for other reasons), a Seeker power (we can use a crossbow) and am evaluating some others (on top of Mind Blade).
In this way we could use the assassin great features and swap/retrain as many powers as we can to create a very sturdy character who's able to pull out many CDGs a day and send several enemies unconscious. 

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I have only played up through 5th but, I have been finding my Revenant (Eladrin) Bleak Disciple using Eladrin Soldier to wield a Great Spear has been particularly effective. The extra reach makes Inescapable Blade alot more useful and more able to focus completely on weapon based attacking. +12 to hit for 1d10+8 damage base is very solid at 4th

All that mobility and reach 4 handles most issues and you can pretty frequently rush out and over extend, shroud an eventual target, attack a minon and then use a couple temp HP and shade form to "tank" for a round. Round 2 or 3 will often be using a double dose of shrouds via Grave Dust Asssassin and an action point.

We'll see how it plays out at higher levels but, the build seems very good at pushing a flank and keeping the NPCs on their heels through the lower levels of LFR. I think melee training-DEX may be my next feat as shadow step, charge can be useful for postioning and pinning down softer ranged types.
Hey, thought I'd just mention that Greater Ring of Invisibility, though over"shadowed" (sorry about that :P) by the Shadow Band, is 4 levels lower, making it a LOT more affordable. Characters that want a +6 enhancement bonus for all attacks and defenses will really have to stretch to afford a level 27 ring (it's very difficult to do with starting gold at 30, but you can probably do it if you level from 1 to 30, I imagine).

Moreover, the Greater Ring of Invisibility grants a +5 bonus to stealth, and the power is actually really solid when combined with Assassin's Cloak. When combined with shadowflow armor you've got +11 to stealth and two encounter invisibility powers, in addition to the encounter-long concealment after the first milestone.

Not as reliable a way to get concealment as Cursed Shadow or Shadow Band, but still a very good item, imo! 
i'm having trouble finding a few feats on the CB. like versatile expertise and demanding talent?
Those feats should be in there by then. Strange.

Hey, a quick note about "+1 shroud" feats. I'm wondering whether they might be worth taking for revenant grave dust assassins. When an enemy drops to 0 hp, you're going to want to use dark reaping. Sometimes, this isn't going to coincide with 4 shrouds on the target. If you're not already at 4 shrouds, any shrouds that you can apply before you make your dark reaping attack are going to count for double.

This makes me wonder whether perhaps it would be worth it for a revenant with Grave Dust Assassin to pick up Killer's Insight and Grave Dust Advantage. At epic, each feat is fairly likely to add 2d6+12, rather than 1d6+6. On top of this, you can use Dark Reaping twice per encounter at epic tier with Reaping Renewal. (Best case scenario: Dark Reaping is triggered twice (through Reaping Renewal), and both times you use Grave Dust Advantage to add a shroud, which is then doubled in effectiveness due to Grave Dust Assassin. In total, Grave Dust Advantage deals 4d6+24 damage.)

Of course, if you timed your use of Dark Reaping impeccably, then you wouldn't need Grave Dust Advantage or Killer's Insight to get your 4 shrouds off. But how realistic is this? There are only so many foes in most encounters; and moreover, the tactical benefits of dealing extra damage are much greater earlier in the encounter. Waiting to use Dark Reaping seems problematic - maybe another opportunity won't come up, or by the time it does, the battle is already won anyway!

A quick question: Can you apply the Grave Dust Assassin damage to the same attack that you invoke your shrouds on? Enemy A dies, then assassin uses dark reaping, adding a second shroud to enemy B (let's say enemy B already had 1 shroud). On their next turn, the assassin uses Killer's Insight to place two more shrouds on the target, bringing it to 4 shrouds. Then the assassin attacks, invoking his shrouds, dealing a total of 8d6+1d8+48+con extra damage. Is this right?
A couple other things I've been thinking about:

1) Serpentine Bracers and Shadowdancer's Gloves add extra dice of damage when you hit/attack things you're hidden from - but don't restrict this bonus to damage rolls. Dark Scythe takes this a step further and just says "property: the dark scythe deals 2d10 extra necrotic damage." How do these items interact with powers, such as Wall of Death, Guild of Shadows, and Twilight Assassin, which don't usually involve a damage roll?

2) Can you use the free action of Captured Shadow to teleport a ranged opponent adjacent to you, interrupting their ranged attack, causing them to provoke an opportunity attack and potentially a number of opportunity attacks from your allies too? This would make the power very powerful. I'm not sure this was the power's intent but it would allow you to seriously mess with artillery mobs.

3) How do Grave Dust Assassin and Last Word interact? If I use Last Word straight after Dark Reaping, do the GDA shrouds also do d12s? Can I use dark reaping twice (if I have Reaping Renewal) prior to attacking with Dark Reaping to effectively invoke 12 shrouds at 1d12+6 a pop? That's about 150 damage extra damage on average (216 on a crit) - not too bad.
Those feats should be in there by then. Strange.

Hey, a quick note about "+1 shroud" feats. I'm wondering whether they might be worth taking for revenant grave dust assassins. When an enemy drops to 0 hp, you're going to want to use dark reaping. Sometimes, this isn't going to coincide with 4 shrouds on the target. If you're not already at 4 shrouds, any shrouds that you can apply before you make your dark reaping attack are going to count for double.

This makes me wonder whether perhaps it would be worth it for a revenant with Grave Dust Assassin to pick up Killer's Insight and Grave Dust Advantage. At epic, each feat is fairly likely to add 2d6+12, rather than 1d6+6. On top of this, you can use Dark Reaping twice per encounter at epic tier with Reaping Renewal. (Best case scenario: Dark Reaping is triggered twice (through Reaping Renewal), and both times you use Grave Dust Advantage to add a shroud, which is then doubled in effectiveness due to Grave Dust Assassin. In total, Grave Dust Advantage deals 4d6+24 damage.)

Of course, if you timed your use of Dark Reaping impeccably, then you wouldn't need Grave Dust Advantage or Killer's Insight to get your 4 shrouds off. But how realistic is this? There are only so many foes in most encounters; and moreover, the tactical benefits of dealing extra damage are much greater earlier in the encounter. Waiting to use Dark Reaping seems problematic - maybe another opportunity won't come up, or by the time it does, the battle is already won anyway!

A quick question: Can you apply the Grave Dust Assassin damage to the same attack that you invoke your shrouds on? Enemy A dies, then assassin uses dark reaping, adding a second shroud to enemy B (let's say enemy B already had 1 shroud). On their next turn, the assassin uses Killer's Insight to place two more shrouds on the target, bringing it to 4 shrouds. Then the assassin attacks, invoking his shrouds, dealing a total of 8d6+1d8+48+con extra damage. Is this right?



It is true that having Grave Dust Assassin may be a reason to get some +1 shroud feats, like Grave Dust Advantage and Killer's Insight (and maybe Crimson Eye Action if your past life is human). I think you either go this way or rely upon timing and take Thin the Herd, that greatly enhances your chances of triggering Dark Reaping (and lets you use it against a solo too, without you or one of your allies going below 0 HP). I will add a note to GDA saying that you may want to look at the +1 shrouds feats with more interest, especially if you have Reaping Renewal (by the way the only reason to take Reaping Renewal is Grave Dust Assassin).

Regarding GDA applied to the attack where you invoke the shrouds I only remember a CS answer saying that you can't. According to them you can use GDA and invoke shrouds in the same round, but you have to do that on two different attacks (for an assassin this usually means using an AP as you don't have minor action attacks, but if you have a leader that can grant you an extra attack, like an MBA or RBA, you can easily pull this every fight). 


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A couple other things I've been thinking about:

1) Serpentine Bracers and Shadowdancer's Gloves add extra dice of damage when you hit/attack things you're hidden from - but don't restrict this bonus to damage rolls. Dark Scythe takes this a step further and just says "property: the dark scythe deals 2d10 extra necrotic damage." How do these items interact with powers, such as Wall of Death, Guild of Shadows, and Twilight Assassin, which don't usually involve a damage roll?

2) Can you use the free action of Captured Shadow to teleport a ranged opponent adjacent to you, interrupting their ranged attack, causing them to provoke an opportunity attack and potentially a number of opportunity attacks from your allies too? This would make the power very powerful. I'm not sure this was the power's intent but it would allow you to seriously mess with artillery mobs.

3) How do Grave Dust Assassin and Last Word interact? If I use Last Word straight after Dark Reaping, do the GDA shrouds also do d12s? Can I use dark reaping twice (if I have Reaping Renewal) prior to attacking with Dark Reaping to effectively invoke 12 shrouds at 1d12+6 a pop? That's about 150 damage extra damage on average (216 on a crit) - not too bad.



1) I'm not 100% sure about RAW in these cases, but this will be my take:
Serpentine Bracers and Shadowdancer Gloves  do not apply to Guild of Shadows and Twilight Assassin because it's the conjuration that attacks (even if you make the attacks for it), and they do not apply to Wall of Shadows too because there's no attack/hit involved.
More or less the same for Dark Scythe, but as I said I'm not sure about RAW so maybe it will be worth to ask the question to CS and get some insight.

2) I don't know. 

3) I would say that GDA is still normal (1d6 + 6 per shroud). Last Word clearly says "if you invoked your shrouds" and GDA doesn't invoke them (and according to the CS answer mentioned in the previous post you cannot use GDA and invoke on the same attack).
I guess that nothing stops you from using Dark Reaping twice prior to attacking so you can use GDA twice on the next attack (but you can't invoke too, so you do 8d6+48). The only question that remains is if you can use Dark Reaping twice on the same trigger or if you need two separate triggers (i.e. two creatures going to 0HP or bloodied if you have Thin the Herd). 

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Hmm, I'm not so sure about that CS response! Since making that post I've read over the feat and two powers and really can't see any reason why you couldn't invoke and gain the benefit from grave dust assassin. As far as I can tell, it goes like this:

1. Dark reaping is triggered and you use it.
2. You pick a power and decide on the target(s) (steps 1 and 2 of PHB p. 269).
3. Choose to invoke all your shrouds (as per assassin's shroud wording).
4. Make an attack roll, determine whether you hit (step 3, PHB 269).
5. Roll damage. Add shroud damage and dark reaping damage. Your shrouds are still on your target, so you also deal extra damage as if you had invoked them.
6. After rolling damage, the shrouds vanish from the target (as per my interpretation of assassin's shroud wording).

At least, that seems like the most natural reading to me.

Regarding using a conjuration to attack, consider the following:
"Attacking with a Conjuration: If you can attack with a conjuration, you make the attack. You deter- mine line of sight normally, but you determine line of effect from the conjuration." (PHB2 220). It really seems that when a conjuration attacks, it's resolved just the same way as if you'd made the attack. RAW, there's no distinction here (even though it doesn't really agree with common sense!)


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Last Word says "if you invoked your shrouds as part of the attack, you deal d12s instead of d6s for that damage." Crucially, However, Grave Dust Assassin says "deal damage as if you had invoked your shrouds." If you had invoked your shrouds, they would have done d12s, so therefore , Grave Dust Assassin does too. I think.

Actually look at Last Word and GDA under the light of your last post I have actually to agree with you. The GDA damage would be d12s (I didn't see the crucial point  before).

There has been quite a lot of discussion on another thread about using GDA and invoking on the same attack, with people on both sides. CS gave the interpretation I mentioned. It all depends on whether you first apply the shroud damage or GDA damage. If you say shrouds are used up and vanish before GDA is applied then you cannot stack (as there are no more shrouds). CS probably thought that shrouds are invoked and vanished as soon as you roll your attack roll is made, but before you roll damage. Honestly I think that you can read it both ways, until we get more clarifications.

Conjurations: I see your point here. This would be quite powerful, especially with Guild of Shadows. It will change a power that makes 5+Dex into 5+Dex+1d8+1d6 adding about 24 damage per round if you hit 3 times. But be careful, as someone may start saying that this is now a damage roll (as you roll for damage) like they are doing in a similar discussion these days and will ask for other bonuses to be added.

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Yeah, suddenly powers such as bless weapon and dark scythe are a decent boost for Twilight Assassin (2d10+5 as a minor action, which can crit, and which benefits from vulnerabilities, might be fairly decent if you are able to crit big/often and have easy access to vulnerability - not to mention if you're wielding a Ring of Free Time), or other such powers (Does Shadows of Doom potentially do 2d10+3+vulnerabilities three times?).

People in that other discussion seem to think that dark scythe would add its damage in such situations, but don't think that it would allow the addition of static mods like shadowfell gloves do. These powers say "extra" damage, which people seem to think means that they don't actually count as part of a "damage roll" - it's just tacked on the end. Shadowfell gloves are a bit of an exception. At least, that's what people in that thread argue.

Regarding Grave Dust Advantage and invoking, I think that the most natural reading of assassin's shroud, in conjunction with the "making an attack" rules in p. 269 of the PHB is that all the extra damage is calculated in step 5. Nothing in the rules suggests that one component of the damage has temporal precedence over any other - my interpretation here would be that they happen simultaneously. The shrouds "then" vanish from the target, as per the Assassin's Shroud power description. My interpretation of this conspicuous "then" is that the shrouds only vanish from the target after damage is calculated - that is, after step 5. This is just my interpretation though! 
Another post - I know, I know.

Is Wall of Death really that much better than Wall of Shadows? As far as I can tell, Wall of Shadows has over double the damage potential of Wall of Death. It's a damage roll (big difference! Night stalker + enhancement + item + feat bonuses, etc etc) and it will damage enemies that are forced into the wall twice, rather than once (once when they go in, once at the start of their turn). Wall of Shadows is liable for extreme shenanigans when combined with forced movement.

Shadows doesn't affect enemies adjacent to the wall, I guess, but if you're stacking forced movement powers, this is unlikely to make a huge difference as far as I can tell.

Lastly, Shadows is party-unfriendly. I guess this is a potential big cost. But it seems to me that the much (again, over double) higher damage is worth that cost. And if your leader can grant movement, then these costs will be mitigated somewhat. I guess it comes down to a risk. Careful play will allow you to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits, hopefully.

If Wall of Death is a sky blue with cold/radiant/poison cheese at level 25, then surely Wall of Shadows is better than green at level 9!  
ok, so...

Assassin|Avenger.

Any thoughts?

I find this interesting because I think the avenger and assassin have a strong mechanical compatibility, in spite of having two different attack stats. Further, the fact that the avenger in 3.5 was a variation of the assassin prc makes the thought fun for me.

CB doesn't have the assassin hybrid yet, so I can't check it.
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Hey DBW,

I think that Assassin and Avenger gel really really well together. However, I *think* Assassin/Avenger would be a much better way of achieving this. Bear with me...

Pick up the following feats:
  • Disciple of Divine Wrath

  • Acolyte power (Holy Blessing)


and the Covenant Agent PP from this month's dragon. Between those two feats and the Covenant Agent encounter power, you can be using Oath of Enmity most of the time, and still gain the benefits of the full shroud mechanic. Arguably, Holy Blessing even applies a full-duration Oath of Enmity, so, provided that you can lay the smackdown on another target while it's Oathed, you will get a lot of Oathy goodness. Add Epic Resurgence and Hand of Divine Guidance and not only are you likely to get another round of Oath (bringing the total to 2+1+1=4 rounds of Oath without Holy Blessing) but you can actually crit on a 19-20, which is something that is notoriously difficult for Assassins to achieve with their current crappy feat support.

You can pick up all three of the "Halo of X" feats from Dragon 382. These are all really, really good feats.

By not hybridizing, you admittedly lose easy access to Avenger Powers, but I think this cost is far outweighed by the benefits. You get to keep leather proficiency, guild training (bucketloads of temp hp or a very solid damage boost), and a proper shroud mechanic. Also, your Oath of Enmity will apply to all your powers. Arguably, you'll actually get to benefit from Oath as often or even more often than you would have as a hybrid (and, importantly, you get to invoke shrouds AND roll twice on nova attacks, making for high crit potential).

Add to that the fact that the Covenant Agent is a spectacular PP (let's hope they don't nerf it -at least not into obscurity- during the compilation this week) and you've got the beginnings of a very solid build.
Another post - I know, I know.

Is Wall of Death really that much better than Wall of Shadows? As far as I can tell, Wall of Shadows has over double the damage potential of Wall of Death. It's a damage roll (big difference! Night stalker + enhancement + item + feat bonuses, etc etc) and it will damage enemies that are forced into the wall twice, rather than once (once when they go in, once at the start of their turn). Wall of Shadows is liable for extreme shenanigans when combined with forced movement.

Shadows doesn't affect enemies adjacent to the wall, I guess, but if you're stacking forced movement powers, this is unlikely to make a huge difference as far as I can tell.

Lastly, Shadows is party-unfriendly. I guess this is a potential big cost. But it seems to me that the much (again, over double) higher damage is worth that cost. And if your leader can grant movement, then these costs will be mitigated somewhat. I guess it comes down to a risk. Careful play will allow you to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits, hopefully.

If Wall of Death is a sky blue with cold/radiant/poison cheese at level 25, then surely Wall of Shadows is better than green at level 9!  



There are two main reasons why I prefer Wall of Death and you listed them already:
1) Wall of Shadows is party unfriendly, Wall of Death is friendly.
2) Wall of Shadows is bigger, as it affects adjacent squares too.

My group uses Wall of Death when we face melee opponents. I just sit within the wall and wait for them to come (or "call" them with powers like Well of Shades and Come and Get It). When we use Wall of Shadows the enemies simply go around it, and attack from the other side (wall 5 is bloody small). Wall of Death affects something like 21 squares and grows (if you use it in an encounter with minions you can transform the whole battlefield into a nightmare for your enemies).
My low evaluation of Wall of Shadows comes from a very bad experience we had in a 9th level fight.
The druid/shaman raised a Wall of Thorns and I used Wall of Shadows, to "cut" a very big encounter into smaller portions. Unfortunately we were fighting some bugbears and gnolls that were able to slide/push/pull us (it was the first time we met them so we were unaware). It was a bloodbath. Monsters have more HP than characters and exchanging damage is not a good idea.

On the other hand if Covenant Agent stays as it is I will re-rate both powers for that specific PP.

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

Hey DBW,

I think that Assassin and Avenger gel really really well together. However, I *think* Assassin/Avenger would be a much better way of achieving this. Bear with me...

Pick up the following feats:
  • Disciple of Divine Wrath

  • Acolyte power (Holy Blessing)


and the Covenant Agent PP from this month's dragon. Between those two feats and the Covenant Agent encounter power, you can be using Oath of Enmity most of the time, and still gain the benefits of the full shroud mechanic. Arguably, Holy Blessing even applies a full-duration Oath of Enmity, so, provided that you can lay the smackdown on another target while it's Oathed, you will get a lot of Oathy goodness. Add Epic Resurgence and Hand of Divine Guidance and not only are you likely to get another round of Oath (bringing the total to 2+1+1=4 rounds of Oath without Holy Blessing) but you can actually crit on a 19-20, which is something that is notoriously difficult for Assassins to achieve with their current crappy feat support.

You can pick up all three of the "Halo of X" feats from Dragon 382. These are all really, really good feats.

By not hybridizing, you admittedly lose easy access to Avenger Powers, but I think this cost is far outweighed by the benefits. You get to keep leather proficiency, guild training (bucketloads of temp hp or a very solid damage boost), and a proper shroud mechanic. Also, your Oath of Enmity will apply to all your powers. Arguably, you'll actually get to benefit from Oath as often or even more often than you would have as a hybrid (and, importantly, you get to invoke shrouds AND roll twice on nova attacks, making for high crit potential).

Add to that the fact that the Covenant Agent is a spectacular PP (let's hope they don't nerf it -at least not into obscurity- during the compilation this week) and you've got the beginnings of a very solid build.



I basically agree over the whole line here. If you go Assassin|Avenger you'll have to maximize Dex and Wis (unless you want "useless" attack powers). This means that your Con will be quite low and the best PP (Covenant Agent) will not be very attractive for you as the main feature is Con based.
By the way Psk20 is right in pointing out the "bucketloads of hit points" you get from Bleak Disciple training.

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

Just wondering - how does Shadow Fire interact with Oath of Enmity? Do you get to roll 3 pairs of d20s and take the highest of each pair? I don't think the rules are quite clear on this. Anyway, I've made a Q&A topic on it.

IF Shadow Fire interacts with Oath, then an Assassin/Avenger with Oath and Hand of Divine Guidance can crit almost 50% of the time (and basically never miss). Some numbers that I've run suggest that 300 or more average damage wouldn't be out of the question (with a few buffs from self and allies).

By the way, this power would be hilarious for an assassin/avenger with Font of Radiance. Crit the target and simultaneously make yourself invisible and negate your own invisibility at the same time!

Question - does Ring of the Radiant storm allow rerolled critical dice? What about dice from "extra damage"?
Just wondering - how does Shadow Fire interact with Oath of Enmity? Do you get to roll 3 pairs of d20s and take the highest of each pair? I don't think the rules are quite clear on this. Anyway, I've made a Q&A topic on it.

IF Shadow Fire interacts with Oath, then an Assassin/Avenger with Oath and Hand of Divine Guidance can crit almost 50% of the time (and basically never miss). Some numbers that I've run suggest that 300 or more average damage wouldn't be out of the question (with a few buffs from self and allies).

By the way, this power would be hilarious for an assassin/avenger with Font of Radiance. Crit the target and simultaneously make yourself invisible and negate your own invisibility at the same time!

Question - does Ring of the Radiant storm allow rerolled critical dice? What about dice from "extra damage"?



I guess the interaction is exactly as you say. Three rolls, so three pairs of d20s and take the highest of each.

The auto-negated invisibility is clearly an indication of the assassin/avenger internal struggle between light and darknessWink

Regarding the Rig of the Radiant Storm I think you can reroll everything but you do not reroll each portion separately, you just reroll the whole damage.

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

Well, here's an example of a 305 average damage Shadow Fire coming from a Covenant Assassin build. I might post it in a few days but just wanted to demonstrate Shadow Fire's potential. I did make a few RAW assumptions, however (e.g. regarding the Grave Dust feats). This build is made to work alongside a morninglord ally, and the attack involves some prep.

Show


Conditions: Target is vulnerable 15 radiant (Morninglord ally), 15 necrotic (dark clover), Assassin is self-buffed with Dark Scythe and Covenant of Assassination, and is hidden from target. Has used Dark reaping twice (Reaping Renewal) during the last round. Oath of Enmity is also on the target.

Assuming .1225 miss, .19 crit, .6875 hit, for each of the 3 attacks (Hand of Diving Guidance, Oath of Enmity)

Using probability tree to calculate, final probabilities are: .352 3[W] crit, .324 3[W] non-crit, .173 2[W] non-crit, .110 2[W] crit, .031 1[W] non-crit, .009 1[W] crit.

Damage: 2d10+Xd12+1d6+2d8+12d6+154, crit 301+9d6+3d12
2d10 (11, 20, dark scythe)
1d12 (6.5, 12) OR 2d12 (13, 24) OR 3d12 (17.5, 36)
1d6 (3.5, 6, hidden bonus)
9 (dex)
6 (enhancement)
6 (item, radiant weapon)
6 (Pelor boon)
3 (feat, weapon prof)
5 (shard)
5 (nightstalker)
30 (total vulnerability)
2d8 + 12 (21, 28, dark reaping)
12d6+72 (114, 144, 12 shrouds including dark reaping/Grave Dust Assassin)
6d6 (21, weapon)
3d6 (10.5, executioner bracers)
3d12 (17.5, high crit)
9 (Godsworn boon)
12 (Ring of Giants)

Determined damage with Ring of Radiant Storm empirically using Monte Carlo simulation(N=100)miss: 38.5 * .002 = .1

hit(1[W]): 232.4 * .031 = 7.2
hit(2[W]): 236.9 * .173 = 41.0
hit(3[W]): 243.6 * .324 = 78.9
crit(1[W]): 355.8 * .009 = 3.2
crit(2[W]): 368.5 * .11 = 40.5
crit(3[W]): 381.0 * .352 = 134.1

Total = 305 radiant and necrotic damage, and assassin is invisible until EONT. 50% chance of also triggering Font of Radiance, Epic Resurgence (so assassin should save a move action to shift after the attack out of the font area and hide, if possible).
 
My response on Warforged as an viable Assassin build.

My initial interest was to create an automaton assassin that does not know it's reasons for existing. Think Dollhouse. Multiple Geas were placed on this creation which happens to be "female" in my build.

Rip it apart and make it better. I like this build for smaller parties or parties without an effective Defender (player or build-wise) where you are going to be taking more hits.

Obvious synergy between Warforged Resolve and Bleak Disciple. Due to the Controller hps of Assassin the class is ultra-squishy. Bleak Disciple's temp hps for striking unbloodied foes is nice, but it doesn't help much in the second half of  a fight when they might be falling behind on health, and the leaders may have spent their Healing Word, LoH, etc.. Once bloodied the Assassin activates Warforged Resolve for 7-8 hps. During a fight that can be up to 2-3 free surges of fake HPs if the Assassin is getting smacked (not unlikely given there level of spike damage, and propensity for DMs to leave out cover options and lighting problems from other PCs dropping torches/sunrods.

The STR/CON stat boost works well. I gave the character 10 str, +2 racial, +1 at Paragon, to gain Hide Armor Proficiency feat.  This is especially useful at Paragon and beyond where the AC improvements of Hide at 6/11/16 are starting to outpace Leather Armor. 

The relative darth of Warlord feats is a non-issue in my book. I like Warforged Tactics (extra +1 to attack when target is adjacent to your ally), and Resolve of the Iron Terminator (resist damage equal to #of shrouds on a target that strikes you). Good enough considering the number of other feats I'll want in Heroic.

========================================
X37 Epsilon, level 11
Warforged, Assassin, Zealous Assassin
Build: Bleak Disciple Assassin
Guild Training: Bleak Disciple
Deity: Silver Flame
Align: Lawful Good 
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Ki Focuses)
Background: Silent Hunter (Silent Hunter Benefit)


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 20, Dex 20, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 15, Dex 17, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.



AC: 22 Fort: 21 Reflex: 20 Will: 19
HP: 70 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 17
TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +16, Acrobatics +15, Thievery +15, Streetwise +10, Perception +13, Religion +9


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +4, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering +7, Endurance +12, Heal +7, History +4, Insight +7, Intimidate +7, Nature +7, Athletics +6


FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 2: Versatile Expertise
Level 4: Warforged Tactics
Level 6: Improved Initiative
Level 8: Resolve of the Iron Terminator
Level 10: Disciple of Divine Wrath
Level 11: Armor Proficiency (Hide)


POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin encounter 1: Smothering Shadow
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Cloak of Shades
Assassin encounter 3: Nightshade's Kiss
Assassin daily 5: Treacherous Shades
Assassin utility 6: Slayer's Escape
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Link
Assassin daily 9: Wall of Shadows
Assassin utility 10: Promise of Retribution


ITEMS

Leather Armor, Adventurer's Kit, Footpads, Ki Focus, Thieves' Tools, Crossbow Bolts (20), Repeating crossbow, Fullblade, Climber's Kit, Candle, Camouflaged Clothing, Belt Pouch (empty), Alchemist's Frost (level 1) 


The recent Article that was released gave a ton of love for Reveant Assassins. take a look...

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Added the Covenant Agent article material. Will go on completing the Avenger MC this evening.

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

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