Maximizing the Essentials Assassin 'Death Attack' ability

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I'm intrigued by the question of how 'Death Attack' works out mathematically. (this is the ability on the new assassin to let you drop a target if your attack brings it to 10/20/30 hit points or fewer)


The hard thing is estimating the numbers, though.

(% of the time you land a blow that takes it into the DA range) * (5.5/10.5/15.5) = DPR add (before to-hit)

...but that's a really hard number to come up with. One can see how to maximize it, though.



* Number of party members: The more people in your party, the less the odds that you land the next-to-killing blow is combat is assumed to be randomized. On the flip side, more PC's = more mobs = more bloodied mobs, which is an opportunity. (see below)

* Damage output of party: A striker-heavy party may blow past the DA range more frequently. Less damaging parties will float a mob at the DA range for a longer time, giving you better odds for getting payoff. Then again, you'll be waiting a long time for that to come around, so maybe it's a wash.

* HP of the monster: The fewer it has, the better the odds that DA will pay off, up to a limit. Minions are perfect except for the fact that they make DA irrelevant by dying anyways.

* Raw defenses don't increase or decrease the power of DA, but resistances do make it better relative to other attacks. There is no resistance to DA! Note that DA dosen't specify living creatures; objects with high resistances are still subject to it.

* Non-bloodied targets have a basically zero chance of being affected by a DA, but on the flipside bloodied ones have better odds. (a 100HP monster is only in the DA zone 10/20/30% of the time, but a blooded one is in that zone 20/40/60% of the time) Officially the only info one has is 'Bloodied or not bloodied', but some GM's will give descriptions that hint at more, like 'The Barbarian's attack nearly finishes it off.'  These increase the chance of a DA payoff.


It dosen't relate directly to DA (since DA only works on a hit...I was excited until I saw that they thought of that loophole!) but the Guild Executioner level 16 power that lets the at-wills do half on a miss is another way to make the new Assassin particularly effective against bloodied targets who may be a few HP away from death. Taking feats and weapons that give you benefits against bloodied targets and using your mobility to scoot over and engage them may be a good idea.


* Raw defenses don't increase or decrease the power of DA, but resistances do make it better relative to other attacks. There is no resistance to DA! Note that DA dosen't specify living creatures; objects with high resistances are still subject to it.


Death Attack deals with enemies. You'd have to convince your DM that the object you're attacking is somehow your enemy.

I don't see how one could do much too optimize for this other than the way they already do; do a lot of damage. Death Attack is an assurance that you'll never get so so close but not quite. You already ideally hound the bloodied foes, though. Death Attack is there primarily to save you some time.

Also, it's there so that you can one-shot low-leveled opponents with a pebble. 'Cause that's always fun. 
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