All along the crooked way - An Assassin's Handbook

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For utility powers at level 2, Agile recovery is very good, since it pretty much stops enemies from attempting to lock you down by making you prone. It also can be used in conjunction with going prone to get a quick defense bonus.

And while army in the night is low on damage, it attacks will with a weapon, which makes it very accurate usually.


I've now hit level 10, and I can't figure out what to get. I wanted the daily power that allowed you to walk through things.. but now.. Meh. I'm thinking about picking up adept power to gain the warlock power that makes you like liquid.
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.
At low-level I think that acrobat boots are a good way to deal with the prone issue, too.

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

What do you think of a changeling assassin using the chamelon PP to mimic his party members?

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 assassin level 2 utility powers leave a lot to be desired, and so skill powers look really tempting for that slot. Agile Recovery is one option; Fast Hands is another.

I think it can be pretty powerful, but it clearly depends on your allies.

There's bunch of very interesting PP powers (Prophecy of Doom, Bleed Away, Blade Dance, Cross-Body Parry, you name it..), but this PP has to be judged on a case-by-case basis looking at the powers of your allies.

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

I'll put in my suggestion for good skill powers:

2nd Level - Grit and Spittle (Endurance) - An encounter power that costs you a healing surge but allows you to make a saving throw against every effect on you that a save can end.  Nightstalkers may not have the healing surges to spare, but it's great for Bleak Disciples.  [From Dragon 385]

6th Level - Tumbling Dodge (Acrobatics) - An encounter interrupt that gives you a variable boost to your defenses in order to avoid being hit by a melee attack.

10th Level - Reactive Surge (Endurance) - An encounter immediate to spend a healing surge when an attack bloodies you.  Nice way to heal without slowing down your offense.

10th Level - Spot Weakness (Perception) - An encounter power that gives you +4 damage against a single target until the end of your next turn - so 2 turns worth of added damage, which should appeal to any striker.

16th Level - Insightful Riposte (Insight) - Another encounter power - this one allws you to gain a +3 attack bonus on a missed attack, in the hopes of turning a miss into a hit.  Especially attractive for use on a daily, or for those Revenants trying to milk Grave Dust Assassin - since you don't get the damage if you miss your attack rolls on the next turn after using Dark Reaping.

From the May and Beyond article:

Next month in Dragon: a look at paladins, wizards, and the new assassins of the gloaming dance.




Scattered across the world, in cities and towns, controlling vast regions and kingdoms, are the assassins' guilds. Each a complex and sinister organization involved in killing's business, they recognize no authority but that of the guildmaster who rules them.





I'm hoping that this will be to assassins as the X Power books are to other classes. One can dream... 

I think it can be pretty powerful, but it clearly depends on your allies.

There's bunch of very interesting PP powers (Prophecy of Doom, Bleed Away, Blade Dance, Cross-Body Parry, you name it..), but this PP has to be judged on a case-by-case basis looking at the powers of your allies.




Yeah. My allies change though quite often.. though thats kinda dieing down a little bit now.

It doesn't just have to be  thier PP though, but after a while they probally wont have any powers other than the PP ones to copy.
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.
You're right. You can take also class powers, and the fact that you use Cha for both attack and damage rolls is great. Unfortunately potentially great powers like Storm of Blades are too high in level to be taken.


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


From the May and Beyond article:

Next month in Dragon: a look at paladins, wizards, and the new assassins of the gloaming dance.




Scattered across the world, in cities and towns, controlling vast regions and kingdoms, are the assassins' guilds. Each a complex and sinister organization involved in killing's business, they recognize no authority but that of the guildmaster who rules them.





I'm hoping that this will be to assassins as the X Power books are to other classes. One can dream... 


Let's hope the introduce the hybrid assassin as well...
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.



OK, you may have just caused a rebuild of one of my characters. Human, Mark of Finding Inquisitive.
Right now he's a Rogue|Monk, and I like the build, but Assassin\Avenger might...yeah. Whaoh. :P

And I like this, because I don't have to mess with another hybrid build. After building one, it's kind of a pain. :P

One question, is the damage output going to be sweet enough to not need nightstalker? Cuz if so, I would take bleak disciple. What i mean is, will the toon feel competitive with other strikers?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

From the May and Beyond article:

Next month in Dragon: a look at paladins, wizards, and the new assassins of the gloaming dance.




Scattered across the world, in cities and towns, controlling vast regions and kingdoms, are the assassins' guilds. Each a complex and sinister organization involved in killing's business, they recognize no authority but that of the guildmaster who rules them.





I'm hoping that this will be to assassins as the X Power books are to other classes. One can dream... 


Let's hope the introduce the hybrid assassin as well...




Hopefully there will either be a dex/wis or dex/int set up for gloaming dance. And feat support for shadar-kai assassins.


hey, I can dream, yeah?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

Let's hope the introduce the hybrid assassin as well...



Hybrid Assassin was in Dragon 385.
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.



OK, you may have just caused a rebuild of one of my characters. Human, Mark of Finding Inquisitive.
Right now he's a Rogue|Monk, and I like the build, but Assassin\Avenger might...yeah. Whaoh. :P

And I like this, because I don't have to mess with another hybrid build. After building one, it's kind of a pain. :P

One question, is the damage output going to be sweet enough to not need nightstalker? Cuz if so, I would take bleak disciple. What i mean is, will the toon feel competitive with other strikers?



If you're lucky enough to have a morninglord or other radiant-spamming divine character in your party (highly adviseable if you want to make Covenant Agent really "shine") then you can ask your DM to give you a Pelor's Sun Blessing - +con extra damage vs. radiant vulnerable foes. This is actually better than nightstalker because it applies to all damage (including walls and Twilight Assassin and Guild of Shadows), not just damage rolls.

Also, revenants are currently the best supported race for assassins. That can't hurt at all. You can deal some seriously nice damage with the revenant racial plus Grave Dust Assassin and Thin the Herd. 
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.



OK, you may have just caused a rebuild of one of my characters. Human, Mark of Finding Inquisitive.
Right now he's a Rogue|Monk, and I like the build, but Assassin\Avenger might...yeah. Whaoh. :P

And I like this, because I don't have to mess with another hybrid build. After building one, it's kind of a pain. :P

One question, is the damage output going to be sweet enough to not need nightstalker? Cuz if so, I would take bleak disciple. What i mean is, will the toon feel competitive with other strikers?



If you're lucky enough to have a morninglord or other radiant-spamming divine character in your party (highly adviseable if you want to make Covenant Agent really "shine") then you can ask your DM to give you a Pelor's Sun Blessing - +con extra damage vs. radiant vulnerable foes. This is actually better than nightstalker because it applies to all damage (including walls and Twilight Assassin and Guild of Shadows), not just damage rolls.

Also, revenants are currently the best supported race for assassins. That can't hurt at all. You can deal some seriously nice damage with the revenant racial plus Grave Dust Assassin and Thin the Herd. 



Not playing a Rev in this campaign, unfortunately. It's a bit more of a roleplay-centric campaign, and I didn't really feel inspired by anything I thought of to explain a Rev in eberron. Had some thoughts with Aerenal Elves, Karnath, the Prophecy, even the Silver Flame, but none of them really made me excited to play that character.
What I'm looking at is basically a member of a sort of Spec Ops type unit in the House Tharashk mercenary guild, focused on infiltration, investigation (ferreting out spies, hunting them down, apprehending them and bringing them back to whoever is paying me, infiltrating a place, completing an objective, quietly, and then getting out discretely.) and fast, stealthy strikes against specific targets.

So, Human Assassin, Mark of Finding, mc Avenger.
Any reason to not take Hero of Faith instead of Disciple of Divine Wrath? I'd rather get a more useful skill than religion, and then take the other one later(assuming if I take both i get to use oath twice an encounter, since they're slightly different. If I'm wrong on that, obviously I won't take both.)

The group, so far, has a  Kobold wizard, a Changling Bard, an elf bow rogue (love that feat) sniper, and some kind of other melee striker, probably a half orc rageblood barb.

If that helps.

You know, maybe I should just start a new thread, since this is getting more specific about my build, rather than just exploring the assassin avenger combo in general. :P
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
If you don't mind please keep the discussion here. It helps me in following up other people's opinions about the assassin.

Regarding your question about Disciple of Divine Wrath vs Hero of the Faith: DoDW lasts until the end of your next turn, so you normally go oath, attack, attack next round, getting the benefit for two rounds (two attacks or three if you use an AP). HoF last until you hit, so only one attack.
This is the main reason why DoDW is preferred.
If you take both I guess you get to use OoE twice, with different limitations, but honestly I would prefer to take DoDW and then a way to re-use it (say a powerswap for Holy Blessing).

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

Hey there,

This is just a Covenant Agent build I'm working on. It's made to work alongside a morninglord and thus can't be easily compared to other builds. Any advice?
[sblock the build]

-----
level 30
Revenant, Assassin, Covenant Agent, Punisher of the Gods
Guild Training: Bleak Disciple
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Ki Focuses)
Choose your Race in Life: (Any)
Background: Occupation - Criminal (+2 to Stealth)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 12, Con 26, Dex 26, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 13.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 10, Con 16, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 11.

AC: 44 Fort: 41 Reflex: 40 Will: 35 HP: 152 Surges: 14 Surge Value: 38
TRAINED SKILLS Stealth +41, Bluff +21, Perception +22, Acrobatics +28, Thievery +28, Religion +22
UNTRAINED SKILLS Arcana +15, Diplomacy +16, Dungeoneering +17, Endurance +25, Heal +17, History +15, Insight +17, Intimidate +18, Nature +17, Streetwise +16, Athletics +16

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Double Scimitar)
Level 2: Versatile Expertise
Level 4: Disciple of Divine Wrath
Level 6: Grave Dust Assassin
Level 8: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 10: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 11: Painful Oath
Level 12: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 14: Two-Weapon Opening
Level 16: Pervasive Light
Level 18: Godsworn Radiant
Level 20: Acolyte Power (Holy Blessing)
Level 21: Hand of Divine Guidance
Level 22: Robust Defenses
Level 24: Reaping Renewal
Level 26: Epic Resurgence
Level 28: Thin the Herd
Level 30: Devastating Critical

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin encounter 1: Gloom Thief
Assassin daily 1: Grave Spike
Assassin utility 2: Agile Recovery
Assassin encounter 3: Inescapable Shadow
Assassin daily 5: Twilight Assassin
Assassin utility 6: Slithering Shadow
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Jack
Assassin daily 9: Obscuring Shadow
Assassin utility 10: Spot Weakness
Assassin encounter 13: Flurry of Talons (replaces Gloom Thief)
Assassin daily 15: Sundered Shadow (replaces Grave Spike)
Assassin utility 16: Assassin's Defense
Assassin encounter 17: Shadow Fire (replaces Inescapable Shadow)
Assassin daily 19: Guild of Shadows (replaces Sundered Shadow)
Assassin utility 22: Soul of Death
Assassin encounter 23: Well of Shades (replaces Shadow Jack)
Assassin daily 25: Reaper's Touch (replaces Obscuring Shadow)

ITEMS
Shadowflow Starleather Armor +6, Bloodiron Double Scimitar +6, Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier), Cloak of Translocation +5, Ring of Giants (paragon tier) (2), Many-Fingered Gloves (paragon tier), Pelor's Sun Blessing (level 3), Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon (level 13), Khyber Shard of Death's Embrace (epic tier), Dark Clover (epic tier) (3), Circlet of Arkhosia (epic tier), Silver Hands of Power (19), Dice of Auspicious Fortune, Symbol of Victory +2[/sblock]

Here's an example nova. It assumes a bit of a set-up, and can only be achieved in all its glory 1/day.
Show

Set-up: Covenant of Assassination (to deal necrotic damage), Twilight Assassin, apply necrotic vulnerability with Dark Clover, get morninglord ally to apply radiant vulnerability. Apply Oath and Immortal Curse. Shroud 4 times, ideally dark reaping will trigger twice before nova round.

AP: Shadow Fire 394 damage [sblock damage breakdown]
+36 vs. AC 46, roll 3 pairs d20 and use highest of each pair.
hit (7% 1[W], 22% [2W], 22% 3[W])
6-18 (1-3[W])
8 (dex)
6 (enhancement)
6 (item bonus)
8 (pelor boon)
3 (feat bonus)
1 (Two weapon fighting)
15 (Radiant vuln)
15 (Necrotic vuln)
2 (Painful Oath)
32 (Dark Reaping x2)
144 (4 invoked shrouds, 8 Grave Dust Assassin)
crit (2% 1[W], 16% 2[W], 28% 3[W])
60 (magic item)
8 (Godsworn Radiant)
10 (Devastating Critical)
24 (Ring of Giants x2)
85 (Two weapon opening MBA)
18 (high crit)
Start of next turn: 60 (Blood iron property)
Start of next turn: 30 (Combined vulnerabilities)
Start of next turn: 8 (Pelor's Sun Blessing)
Average: 394 damage.

Standard: Flurry of Talons - 214.
Minor: Twilight Assassin attack - 88 [sblock damage breakdown]
hit (61%)
5 (base)
8 (Pelor's Sun Blessing)
15 (Vulnerable Radiant)
15 (Vulnerable Necrotic)
crit (19%)
60 (magic item)
8 (Godsworn Radiant)
10 (Devastating Critical)
24 (Ring of Giants x2)
85 (Two Weapon Opening)
Start of next turn: 60 (Blood iron property)
Start of next turn: 30 (Combined vulnerabilities)
Start of next turn: 8 (Pelor's Sun Blessing)
Average: 88 damage.[/sblock]

Move: Twilight Assassin attack - 88
Free: Ring of free time - Twilight Assassin attack - 88
85% chance of critical and additional Shadow Fire for 218 (epic resurgence, immortal curse).
10 ongoing damage + vulnerabilities - 40.
Total expected damage by start of next turn: 1098. Just for fun I recalculated with a 2+ to hit and an 18+ crit (our leader's contribution to a nova round) and came up with 1416 damage. [/sblock]

Against one target per encounter, without spending an action point, and sticking to one Shadow Fire or Flurry of Talons per round for the first 3 rounds, you get something a bit more like this:
Show
Prep: put Oath and Immortal Curse on target. Use morninglord ally's radiant vulnerability. I'll leave shrouds out of this (because they aren't repeatable at will) but note that a 2x dark reaping, 4 shroud invoke will add 143 damage to a shadowfury attack.

Standard: Shadow Fire - 205 damage
Show

+36 vs. AC 46, roll 3 pairs d20 and use highest of each pair.
hit (7% 1[W], 22% [2W], 22% 3[W])
6-18 (1-3[W])
8 (dex)
6 (enhancement)
6 (item bonus)
8 (pelor boon)
3 (feat bonus)
1 (Two weapon fighting)
15 (Radiant vuln)
2 (Painful Oath)
crit (2% 1[W], 16% 2[W], 28% 3[W])
60 (magic item)
8 (Godsworn Radiant)
10 (Devastating Critical)
24 (Ring of Giants x2)
85 (Two weapon opening MBA)
18 (high crit)
Start of next turn: 60 (Blood iron property)
Start of next turn: 30 (Combined vulnerabilities)
Start of next turn: 8 (Pelor's Sun Blessing)
Average: 205.

47% chance of critting and following up with Shadowstorm for 117.
Total average: 260 DPR for first 3 rounds against Oath/Immortal Curse target (plus whatever you get for shrouding/dark reaping).


Any suggestions? It's a bit clunky/messy at the moment, what with Painful Oath to trigger Shadow of the Gods in addition to Pervasive Light in order for all attacks and damage (including the bloodiron proc) to deal extra damage. Dropping either feat seems like a bad move, and bloodiron seems too good to pass up given the high crit chance and the level 30 Punisher feature, along with vulnerabilities.

I suspect I've spent a little much on magic items. What's the CharOp assumptions for magic items - creating a character at 30 makes for much poorer characters than leveling a character to 30.

I would really like to add more sources of necrotic vulnerability (at the moment there's dark clover and the khyber shard), and wish I could use Punishing Radiance with this build (boosting our morninglord's vulnerability!). Also, Font of Radiance would be fairly awesome but I'm afraid that it would negate the defensive advantages granted by invisibility.

I suspect the build may change a bit when this next Assassin article comes out - if the new build is dex/con or dex/wis. Hopefully the article will have plenty of new powers and feats - I haven't even selected a level 23 or 27 encounter power, or a level 29 daily.

Any suggestions welcomed.
I was thinkering about a similar build (see my question in the main CO board). Just a couple of questions: what power do you want to swap with Acolyte Power? Is that Holy Blessing?
Can you post a breakdown of the damage of Twilight Assassin?

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

If you don't mind please keep the discussion here. It helps me in following up other people's opinions about the assassin.

Regarding your question about Disciple of Divine Wrath vs Hero of the Faith: DoDW lasts until the end of your next turn, so you normally go oath, attack, attack next round, getting the benefit for two rounds (two attacks or three if you use an AP). HoF last until you hit, so only one attack.
This is the main reason why DoDW is preferred.
If you take both I guess you get to use OoE twice, with different limitations, but honestly I would prefer to take DoDW and then a way to re-use it (say a powerswap for Holy Blessing).



Hmm. makes sense. Taking DoDW would also allow me to put few points in something other than wis, either to make my con better(better combat efficacy) or boost a sub-tertiary stat like cha for better skills, since the campaign is going to be more heavily roleplaying than normal.

Definately going to grab Holy Blessing with a powerswap.

I'll have to look through the avenger power list to see if there are any other really awesome options. For instance, the Avenger has some powers that allow a re-roll themselves, so if there are one or two that are better all around than assassin powers of the same level(better damage, more utillity, etc.) that reroll might make up for the lower attack bonus and make it worthwhile.

I'll also have to take a second look at the assassin utility powers for covenent agent builds, and see if any of them are really awesome.

This whole thing has me really excited. Both mechanically and in terms of fluff.

Great job with the guide, by the way. After all the time I've spent talking about how to fix the assassin, it's nice to read a good guide on how to use what we have to make a useful assassin.


I do wonder a couple things, regarding Shadar-Kai assassins.

First, some of the Shadar-Kai feats seem like they would deserve a mention.

Winter favored and Benighted Birthright both give resist 5(cold and necrotic, respectively) with the right background (calimsham if you're in FR) and items you can have a decent resist to most damage types, and have more item options, potentially. They also give a +2 bonus to saves against ongoing damage of those two types.

Also of note is that Shadar-Kai have a bonus to Fort, and a bonus to death saving throws, which can make them a slightly more durable nightstalker, or  an even more durable Bleak Disciple.

They also have a very nice paragon path, that could very easily overshadow the Assassin PPs.

Abiding Reaper increases both damage output, and durability. An encounter power that gives the target vulnerable 5 to all damage, which is along the lines of one of my favorite ideas for fixing the assassin's damage scaling issues(and is weapon vs fort), an encounter utillity that makes it really hard to die, and lets you stand up(no action) if you get a 20 or higher on the death saving throw, and a daily that is weapon vs fort, 3[w] damage, and you spend a healing surge. The features for the PP are also really nice. Nightstalkers with a decent Con(anyone with a nerfed con is being a bit silly, anyway) will get the most out of the 16th level one, since thp doesn't stack, but since the thp triggers differently than that from BD, and gives you more thp, they will still benefit from it. 

Basically this PP, along with the right feat selection, allows for a nightstalker that's nearly as hard to kill as a bleak disciple, or a bleak disciple that does more damage than normal, and is even harder to kill (if nothing else, the thp from abiding reaper triggers differently than that from bleak disciple, and it gives you more of it, so you'd

Doomspeaker is better for bards than assassins, but a nightstalker who mc's and grabs some powers with the rattling keyword would get some great use out of it, and the attack bonus won't be terrible, since the attacks are cha+X vs Will. Nightstalker/rogue will really like this PP, as it gives a good source of CA, and there are plenty of rogue powers with the  rattling keyword. Also a good PP for shadar-kai assassin|rogue, as long as you either take nightstalker or artful dodger with Hybrid Talent. I'm seeing this PP are blue or sky blue for an assassin/rogue or assassin|rogue duelist build. Useless for bleak disciples, however.

Just some thoughts.

I think all around, the Shadar-kais make better assassins than eladrin, for instance. Not to mention that tele 3 and insubstantial will be better than tele 5, and shadar-kai get better skill bonuses, and are a little harder to kill.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Added Abiding Reaper to the racial PP list. It was quite an oversight. Thanks for reminding me about this PP.

As you said Doomspeaker is more for hybrid or MC rogues.

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

I was thinkering about a similar build (see my question in the main CO board). Just a couple of questions: what power do you want to swap with Acolyte Power? Is that Holy Blessing?

Yep.
Can you post a breakdown of the damage of Twilight Assassin?

Sure - I added it to my post.

I'm just writing up a little summary of what the build can do when it's not using dailies, just to show that it's still fairly useful in those off-encounters.

I was thinkering about a similar build (see my question in the main CO board). Just a couple of questions: what power do you want to swap with Acolyte Power? Is that Holy Blessing?

Yep.
Can you post a breakdown of the damage of Twilight Assassin?

Sure - I added it to my post.

I'm just writing up a little summary of what the build can do when it's not using dailies, just to show that it's still fairly useful in those off-encounters.


I guess you're pretty on the mark with this build. Buy some acrobat boots (520 gp and you can get back on your feet from prone as a minor).
I see the main lines in:
- looking for more crits (OoE, Shadow Fire, Flurry of Talons, Guild of Shadows, Twilight Assassin)
- combining radiant and necrotic damage to respective vulnerabilities (morninglord ally)
- getting more from crits (bloodiron, two-weapon opening, punisher of the gods)

Dark Clover in the 28th level version is really expensive. I guess you should look at the paragon one if you want to use it extensively.

Necrotic Weapon can bestow vulnerability too (as a daily), but I guess it's not really worth to use it.

I would forego the Trickster's Mask and go for Circlet of Arkhosia (being stunned sucks).

Maybe silly, but it would be interesting to look at a different approach with a Deadly Trickster, getting back your dailies once a day and maybe not losing them. Dice of Auspicious Fortune will help too.

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

I was thinkering about a similar build (see my question in the main CO board). Just a couple of questions: what power do you want to swap with Acolyte Power? Is that Holy Blessing?

Yep.
Can you post a breakdown of the damage of Twilight Assassin?

Sure - I added it to my post.

I'm just writing up a little summary of what the build can do when it's not using dailies, just to show that it's still fairly useful in those off-encounters.


I guess you're pretty on the mark with this build. Buy some acrobat boots (520 gp and you can get back on your feet from prone as a minor).
I see the main lines in:
- looking for more crits (OoE, Shadow Fire, Flurry of Talons, Guild of Shadows, Twilight Assassin)
- combining radiant and necrotic damage to respective vulnerabilities (morninglord ally)
- getting more from crits (bloodiron, two-weapon opening, punisher of the gods)

Yep!

Dark Clover in the 28th level version is really expensive. I guess you should look at the paragon one if you want to use it extensively.

Necrotic Weapon can bestow vulnerability too (as a daily), but I guess it's not really worth to use it.

Yeah, spamming the paragon dark clover would work pretty well with a Necrotic weapon (could pretty much pull off at-will vulnerability 10), or at least for those encounters that you use Covenant of Assassination. If you're just using it on the daily nova round, the epic version might be affordable enough though.

I would forego the Trickster's Mask and go for Circlet of Arkhosia (being stunned sucks)

Ah, yeah, that's probably worth it.

Maybe silly, but it would be interesting to look at a different approach with a Deadly Trickster, getting back your dailies once a day and maybe not losing them. Dice of Auspicious Fortune will help too.


Mmm, I intended to include the dice but forgot! I'd be interested in seeing a deadly trickster version, not to mention a Perfect Slayer version (shroud on every single attack).

Ring of Free time would be really really nice in conjunction with Twilight Assassin - it's a bit expensive though. Perhaps replacing the Greater Ring of Invisibility and Cloak of Translocation with a Ring of Free Time and a +5 cloak of some kind (either translocation or something that grants an item bonus to stealth).

I'll update with some of the changes you suggested.
Added Abiding Reaper to the racial PP list. It was quite an oversight. Thanks for reminding me about this PP.

As you said Doomspeaker is more for hybrid or MC rogues.



Cool. Glad to help.

If I wasn't already playing a human covenent agent build, I'd be considering a shadar-kai assassin, abiding reaper. :P
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

@Psk20: I know you have a morninglord ally, but you could look into a "champion's ring". After a milestone the daily is pretty powerful.
Stalwart Belt may be overkill for THP but you are not always hitting unbloodied opponents.

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

Mm, maybe it would be worth it to include means of getting radiant vulnerability solely for the benefit of those without a morninglord ally...

Still, I wonder whether paragon bright leaf might be an easier solution, considering that this build is (mostly) single-target focused and it is very cheap and can be used as a free action.

Punishing Radiance... is there any way to leverage this feat for this build? I can't see a way, unfortunately

Hmm, do multiple Symbols of Divine Light stack? I guess RAI they don't. Although the rules for bonus/penalty stacking and overlapping durations don't seem to technically come into play here, I'm guessing they are supposed to prevent this. 
I've been thinking...


Elf or Githzerai Assassin/Avenger/Covenent Agent, with both mc feats, and powerswap for both holy blessing and a couple Avenger powers, specifically at levels where the Assassin doesn't have much of value to choose.

If you're using the avenger attack powers when your oath is active, and/or taking avenger powers that allow rerolls themselves(pretty sure most, if not all of them have "your oath of enmity target" in the target line, so I'm not sure how much it would benefit you to take those, specifically), you don't need as high a wis as your dex, and having a 16 wis at level one will be very easy, without nerfing yourself elsewhere. (after racial mods, 15 con, 18 dex, 16 wis is possible at level one. your bleak disciple feature could certainly use those extra points you put into your wisdom, but depending on various factors, it could well be worth it.)

Githzerai Blade Master is obvious, as is expertise.


some other stuff I've been pondering about assassins who want to mc, from another thread:

Mc Shaman with both mc feats can seriously add to an Assassins control and survivability, as well. Requires a few Shaman class feats to make it really sick, but if you make a build out of the concept, it can be well worth it.

And any decent mc feat, worship the traveller, traveller's harlequin is a more attractive option for assassins than most other classes, imo. If you plan it right, you can get a really sick lvl 20 PP daily, and from level 11 on, take any mc feat for which you qualify, regardless of what mc feats you already have, which opens up numerous options, possibly allowing you to take advantage of, say, tricksy mc exploitations involving three different classes. Considering how many attacks you make in an average encounter, mc rogue, ranger, monk and avenger(in some combination) will have you doing extra damage beyond your class features with most, if not all, of your attacks in an encounter, or at least allow you to stack more shrouds on a target before invoking without losing per round damage output, or even crazy action point related nova damage, possibly. The number of skills you'd have by mid paragon, and the TH utillity are icing on the cake for an assassin who actually plans on doing infiltration and such.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome


Hi,

Someone can explain me the feats progression of Sword of Black Ice build? I doesn't understand how this build have the 'Healing Song' feat and 'Multiclass Mastery'... I can't see, in this build, an MC bard feat

Sword of Black Ice
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
Ah, whoops, you're right. Healing Song is the paragon MC bard feat - I thought it was the alternative class specific multiclass feat. So you'll have to pick up Bardic Dilettante instead of Healing Song - shouldn't be a big problem for the build, however.
In another thread Psk20 pointed out that there is no way to end the dazing effect of the Sword of Black Ice on a critical. This makes that weapon deadly in the hand of a Covenant Agent.
Oath of Enmity, Shadow Fire and Flurry of Talons are all encounter powers and with OoE and Hand of Divine Guidance your chance to daze enemies is very high (you get 6 rolls with each power). You can easily perma-daze solos (if you go for both powers with an AP in one round you have a 72% of perma-dazing the target, if you can hit it on a 19+).
If you have a leader that can grant you an 18-20 crit range your chances go up to 86% (as long as you hit on an 18+).

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

Hmmmm that seems like a minor typo, but until they fix it, it's there. My DM wouldn't allow that as I'm sure the intent is daze forever. Actually if you're sick and like to play with your target you can stand 1 squares away so it can't hit you with melee attacks, but it also can't charge you, so it just has to watch you while you load up the shrouds. (assuming it doesn't have ranged attacks)
A similiar problem popped up in my Moradin article in 385 before the compiled version. For some reason (save ends) seems to get lost in the editing process from time to time.
ANY time a power effect is listed without a duration, it is a typo, and up to the DM to figure out what the duration was most likely supposed to be. A good guideline is that daily powers usually are save ends or until the end of the encounter at their best, and encounter powers are usually until the end of your next turn at their best.
Hi, I'm just about to start a game with a level 11 assassin (my first 4e game, though I used to play 3.5 regularly), but everything I see seems to be geared toward big 2 handed weapons.

While that isn't necessarily a problem, per se, it doesn't really fit the whole concept of "assassin" as I see it, so I'm wondering...is there any way to make a 1 handed weapon viable all the way through paragon and epic, or am I just deluding myself?

(I know, I could play a rogue, but the problem is there are only 2 players in the game so I can't always count on flanking, and I'm not entirely sure how to ensure combat advantage consistently without it...)
Hi, I'm just about to start a game with a level 11 assassin (my first 4e game, though I used to play 3.5 regularly), but everything I see seems to be geared toward big 2 handed weapons.

While that isn't necessarily a problem, per se, it doesn't really fit the whole concept of "assassin" as I see it, so I'm wondering...is there any way to make a 1 handed weapon viable all the way through paragon and epic, or am I just deluding myself?

(I know, I could play a rogue, but the problem is there are only 2 players in the game so I can't always count on flanking, and I'm not entirely sure how to ensure combat advantage consistently without it...)



What class is the other player's character? I have some experience about running an assassin in a small party (3 players) and can give you some recommendations.

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

Hi, I'm just about to start a game with a level 11 assassin (my first 4e game, though I used to play 3.5 regularly), but everything I see seems to be geared toward big 2 handed weapons.

While that isn't necessarily a problem, per se, it doesn't really fit the whole concept of "assassin" as I see it, so I'm wondering...is there any way to make a 1 handed weapon viable all the way through paragon and epic, or am I just deluding myself?

(I know, I could play a rogue, but the problem is there are only 2 players in the game so I can't always count on flanking, and I'm not entirely sure how to ensure combat advantage consistently without it...)



What class is the other player's character? I have some experience about running an assassin in a small party (3 players) and can give you some recommendations.



Swordmage, with some warlock multiclassing I think (not hybrid though, as far as I know). I'm not sure which style of swordmage though.
Ok. Check with your buddy if he's gonna play a swordmage that makes a lot of use of some catch-22 combo. In that case you may want to be a reasonable target so that you may help in triggering the aegis of the swordmage.
In a 2 player group an hiding strategy is bad as the other character cannot really afford to be attacked continuously, so I guess you'd better be prepared to take a reasonable amount of damage.
Look for powers that make you insubstantial and take Bleak Disciple as the THP will help in mitigating damage.
Your party has no leaders, so try to look for a strategy for healing. Revenant can be a good race as it increases your durability, and you can use potions to heal yourself if you go below 0 HP.
Shaka UVM's Mrs. Tough Guy build shows a really solid assassin.
You'll most likely fight small groups of enemies, so try focusing on single target powers (some of my recommendations on the handbook are based on "normal" encounters, so they are not the best in your case).
I would take Soul Thief as my PP as it is currently the best choice and gives you a way to recover Shade Form, if you don't want to MC.
If you are looking into MC the best choices are probably Rogue or Avenger. The first one for extra damage and powers like Knockout, and the second one for Covenant Agent and increased crit chances.
To be honest is such a set-up I would go for Covenant Agent, with a powerswap for Holy Bless and powers like Shadow Fire and Flurry of Talons). Obviously you can do this only at higher levels, but in small encounters an high chance to crit helps a lot (jagged weapon or later Hand of Divine Guidance), more than in standard encounters.
Regarding weapons I think that big ones are better in general for an assassin. The only one handed weapon that can really make you think about foregoing a fullblade/mordenkrad is the Sword of Black Ice, but that is an high epic level item.

The main issue would be trying to balance damage with the Swordmage. If you give good reasons to the monsters to focus fire then one of you will drop fast. I play in a group of three, me a barbarian and a druid/shaman, so we're two and a half strikers and half a leader. If I make myself too difficult to attack, then the barb gets pummeled at an incredible rate (I saw him running through six surges in a single encounter).



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

I'm not super worried about damage, really, but I do want to have options for it, so I'll definitely look for some inspiration there (the other player is also the DM, and isn't really much on optimization or anything - last campaign we played together was just the two of us, 3.5, and I was playing just a normal druid and really having to hold back not to obliterate the encounters).

I've currently got Soul Thief as my PP, but I've been eyeing Covenant Agent instead, as I multiclassed Avenger for the Oath of Enmity thing. I don't really know much about the powers though - I was just using this guide to help me pick, so I didn't really look at the other classes' stuff.

I went with Night Stalker initially (we haven't started yet but I went ahead and made my character) thinking that the extra damage would be more useful than temp HP because it would help to drop enemies faster, but this is my first 4e game as I said, so maybe that's wrong? I did roll really good stats though (18, 18, 15, 14, 13, 10).

Here's the character builder info for my character as I had it initially, if it helps:
Show
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Katryn, level 11
Shadar-kai, Assassin, Soul Thief
Guild Training: Night Stalker
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Ki Focuses)
Background: Dragon Coast (Dragon Coast Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 16, Dex 23, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 20.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 15, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 18.


AC: 24 Fort: 22 Reflex: 23 Will: 23
HP: 66 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 16

TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +18, Acrobatics +18, Bluff +15, Thievery +16, Perception +15, Religion +11

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +6, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +8, Endurance +8, Heal +8, History +6, Insight +8, Intimidate +10, Nature +8, Streetwise +10, Athletics +7

FEATS
Level 1: Assassin's Escape
Level 2: Versatile Expertise
Level 4: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 6: Venom Hand Killer
Level 8: Venom Hand Master
Level 10: Darkness's Wings
Level 11: Disciple of Divine Wrath

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin encounter 1: Nightmare Shades
Assassin daily 1: Targeted for Death
Assassin utility 2: Fast Hands
Assassin encounter 3: Cloaking Mist
Assassin daily 5: Twilight Assassin
Assassin utility 6: Slayer's Escape
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Jack
Assassin daily 9: Bound by Shadow
Assassin utility 10: Slayer's Endurance

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Ki Focus, Dagger, Crossbow, Crossbow Bolts (20), Spiderkissed Fullblade +3, Cloak of Translocation +2, Bloodcut Leather Armor +1, Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier), Cannith Goggles (heroic tier), Demonskin Tattoo (heroic tier), Potion of Regeneration (heroic tier), Potion of Healing (heroic tier) (3), Camouflaged Clothing, Climber's Kit, Disguise Kit, Fine Clothing, Footpads, Glass Cutter, Inquisitive's Kit, Silk Rope (50 ft.), Thieves' Tools, Flute, Sling, Riding Horse, Handy Haversack (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======



Would you recommend going with something like this, or the Mrs. Tough Guy build (although I don't know if it works without being a dwarf, and this character is Netherese so I'd need to be human, shadar-kai, or maybe half-elf), or would I be better off going with a rogue (I also built a melee rogue and a sniper rogue, just because of the whole "giant weapon" thing, lol)?
If both you and the master are willing to cooperate (and I believe this is the case) I guess that your idea could work. Your rolls were good, so your Con is not that bad and your HP and surges are reasonable. Fast hands will help you in juggling potions. It will be easy to get the Nightstalker bonus damage as encounters will not be crowded and the Swordmage can mark and punish distant targets.
Anyway be careful as you'll be easy to take down, even with you good access to insubstantiality.

I'll run a little math with the character survivability calculator and be back to you.

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

Covenent Agent is a good PP for an assassin/avenger build. I've built one a few different ways and  am currently leveling on up. It's fun. Being able to roll twice and take the better result while throwing down a daily and invoking shouds is just plain awesome.

Good choice with Shadar-Kai, as far as I"m concerned. Two sources of insubstantiability(one of which comes with an unrestricted teleport, which comes in handier than you might think), bonus to death saving throws and fort defence and feat access to some minor damage resistence.

 I would seriously consider mc shaman(rather than avenger. avenger is awesome, but shaman might be more valuable in a small group with no leader, and it's really fun), and take the spirit healing feat, so you can heal you and your ally once an encounter, if you set things up right. (shaman "word" power heals two people, one for healing surge, one for 1d6) The shaman mc feat that gives you the spirit companion is also nothing to turn your nose up at.

All in all, it's a really valuable two feat investment for a small group assassin.

As for one handed weapons, the bastard sword is a perfectly good weapon. If you end up mc avenger, the high crit property from the fullblade is going to be extremely handy, but otherwise it's not quite awesome enough to make losing it a big deal. You can live without it, either way, if you want your weapon loadout to match your image the character.

Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Ok, I spoke to the DM last night about some things, and for the weapon we came up with a solution - we deleveled the Sword of Black Ice to a +3 version (exactly the same as the +6 version, but +3 enhancement obviously, +3d10 on crit instead of 6, and +1d8 poison on hit instead of 2d8 - as I level, I'll level the sword too in some way, so that each additional plus would upgrade it as expected and at +5 it'll get the extra d8 poison).

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

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