Dragon 394 - Essentials Assassin: Executioner

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 394
Assassin: Executioner, Play the Most Dangerous Game

by Rodney Thompson

The Assassin Executioner is here! Ring the Bells of Joy, and steer clear of shadows.

Talk about this Article here.


















MaximumHavoc







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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 394
To Live Defeated: Taking Names, Not Lives

By Peter Schaefer

Not evey villain the heroes overthrow deserves death.  Some deserve worse.

Talk about this Article here.


God, is it too much to ask for "Shadow Defense" or something? They removed the proficiency with Light Shields. And then, this.

Level 1: Versatile Defense
Ever watchful, an executioner practices techniques for staying alive. You have learned a mode of defense tailored to your fighting style.
Benefit: You choose a bonus feat, either Shield Proficiency: Light or Two-Weapon Defense. You don’t have to meet the feat’s prerequisite.



That's just lazy. No matter which option you choose, it doesn't give you the expected defense bonus when you're wielding a Garrote, Bola, Blowgun or a Rapier/Hand Crossbow combo.

Striker feature is no +1d8/2d8/3d8 with all weapon attacks, just with a restricted weapon set. Oh, and it's just once per turn.

Guild at-wills have been distilled down into mostly boring options. Garrote Strangle is still the coolest but is really no better than the Garrote Training feat and depending on certain factors is easily worse. Upending Throw is gone (must have been too difficult to attach a proficiency bonus to it, right?) and replaced with Quick Lunge, an MBA with a Shift 1 before and afterward that knocks the target prone. Oh, and you lose your +Dex to damage with that.

This next thing is STILL a typo. Or perhaps incomplete?  Or just a signal of incompetence.

Level 1: Quick Swap
Your weapons are extensions of your body. When you are changing your focus from nearby foes to distant enemies, you can switch between your melee and ranged weapons with ease.
Benefit: Once during each of your turns, you can draw or stow a weapon as a free action instead of a minor action,



That's all it says. Note the comma at the end with nothing to follow it. Notice how it says "Draw or Stow", which means you're still spending a Minor action to swap between weapons (Free to Stow, Minor to Draw). Which means you should just take Master of Arms, get your Expertise bonus to ALL weapon attacks and have the same benefit, since that feat is "stow THEN draw as a minor" instead.

No help, still, if you choose to either wield a shield or dual wield and you want to switch to your garrote or your crossbow.

Nimble Drop is now just a Feature, which effectively makes it At-Will again. Ghost of the Rooftops is back to an At-Will but only usable once per round; a totally satisfactory compromise. Phew.

At level 7 you gain an At-will that turns you into a brawler Fighter? Erm... sure. Except it requires a light blade and a free hand, which once again invalidates the whole Shield defense you're supposed to have.

Shadow Coffin is back; awesome. Were they worried about it's abuse potential, or something? It's an Encounter power now and requires a minute's concentration to empty.

Epic Tier is still totally boring. Upgrade to Death Attack, more Poisons (that are just a few damage stronger than what you already have) and a once-per-day Phasing until the end of the encounter. That's all we get?

AWESOME LIST OF THINGS THAT WE DIDN'T GET:
1) Feats. Ki Focus Expertise, anyone?
2) A version of Quick Swap that's worth a damn. No support for switching to two-handed Assassin weapons. No support for Poisons.
3) A version of a Shield Bonus that's worth a damn. No defense bonus while using 3 out of 6 of the Guild Attack Powers. No defense bonus while using the level 7 at-will attack power.
4) Not a single way to make an enemy helpless; not even a Daily way, not even in the Epic tier.
5) Not a single way to attack multiple targets at once. No close blast poisons, not even in the Epic tier.
6) No enhancements to Guild Attacks other than Epic tier damage scaling. If you take the Executioner-specific PP, you gain half damage on a miss with at-will weapon attack powers.
7) A reason, any reason at all (apart from fluff) to have Charisma as a secondary. Or any stat as a secondary, for that matter. Ask your DM if you can pick a Dex race and start with 22 Dex.

I'm not impressed.
Petrified enemies are helpless.
Oh Content, where art thou?
Petrified enemies are helpless.

They also have resist 20 all damage, which somewhat negates the benefits of using bonus damage on them. Also petrifying enemies is pretty difficult to do generally.
They've got a poison at level 25 that petrifies the target if the target fails two saving throws, so I guess I was wrong there. But, and this may vary heavily based on your DM, but those whom I've been in Epic tier with have never used monsters that would suffer a (save ends) condition for longer than a round. If that long at all to begin with.
All in all, I like it. I am sad to see some of the stuff I really wanted to see included disappear, but this isn't the travesty that the last version of the class was. However, the Dragon Bile poison seems very underpowered. For a level 25 poison, its effect on a hit is very lackluster.
I guess non-magical wrist razors are assassin weapons number one.  Two weapon defense and free hands.
All in all, I like it. I am sad to see some of the stuff I really wanted to see included disappear, but this isn't the travesty that the last version of the class was. However, the Dragon Bile poison seems very underpowered. For a level 25 poison, its effect on a hit is very lackluster.

Maybe it's an acknowledgement that (save ends) is a risky endeavour in epic. There are creatures that get instant saves against a (save ends) effect. But yeah, something more would be nice. Perhaps an aftereffect of daze and immobilized?

I'm also pleased with it. It'd be nice if the class could operate under an "impose helplessness then prey on it" system, but that system could get borked to the Nine Hells and back whenever a new rules item gives you something on a critical hit. Besides, I'm pleased with the pick-ups to the damage elsewhere. d8s for the striker damage is good, hopefully with a feat for upgrading to d10s (or d12s?) on the horizon. Vital Strike is also a great DPR boost. On the whole, this is not a striker who will be found wanting, even if it'll never approach the damage potential of the standard ranger.

I guess non-magical wrist razors are assassin weapons number one.  Two weapon defense and free hands

I dunno if that works. Two-Weapon Defense requires you to wield a weapon in each hand. Nothing about the wrist razor says you wield it in your hand.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
If this class follows the pattern of other Essentials classes with regard to feats (and there's no reason to think it wouldn't) then there'll never be a feat that raises the die of it's striker feature. No Essentials resource released so far has a feat that specifically effects a single class; they're all generalized feats.

Of course, that doesn't stop you from taking Backstabber on a Thief; Executioners just get the shaft since they don't have those options from other sources. Which is why I was sad to not see a Ki Focus Expertise in here.
Is there something I'm missing? If you use an attack on a helpless target, isn't the damage already maximized (making the special use case of assassin's strike sort of, well, redundant)?
If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one. Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.
Is there something I'm missing? If you use an attack on a helpless target, isn't the damage already maximized (making the special use case of assassin's strike sort of, well, redundant)?



That's there for ranged attacks.

Helpless enemies are automatic crits IF you specifically perform a Coup de Grace attack which requires that the helpless enemy be adjacent. Which you can see would screw ranged characters.
Poisoned Dagger is vs AC; Precision Dart is vs Reflex. Boo.
actually read coup de grace it only works on adjacent enemies. assasains strike can be used at range.
Unless you're immobilized or something, it's still worth it to walk up to the guy and CDG even if you're going to make a ranged attack because you get your base damage maxed out and your extra crit dice from your magic weapon.  It's not like a helpless foe can take an OA on you for making the ranged attack while adjacent.
IIRC, Light shields count as free hands for the purpose of grabs.  This helps keep defense normal for hidden stab, but not if you take the two weapon feat.
I actually quite like this. It retains a lot of the fun and flavor that oozed from the play-test version and shows evidence that some player input was taken on-board while trying to maintain some semblance of balance. As much as I loved 'Unseen Spearhead', half of that was due to its obvious power level. I accept that it probably had to go.

As for power level, I guess that's for the OP forums to work with (but I have a feeling its still not a top contender).

While it might not live up to many people's ideals its gone back to looking 'fun' and personally i'm not asking for much more than that.

Cheers

Blinkey Wink
Looks pretty good to me.  More comment when I've had a proper chance to read it.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.

I liked it. More in line with the original article. Good bye Unseen Spearhead though.

@Kietian999, you can't make attack with the free hand equiping a Light Shield, so no Grab with it unfortunatly.

Yea that's something i disliked, Two Weapon Defense or Light Shield Prof for their AC buffing. But i don't expect Essassin to be top tier ACed Class anyway.

Thanks to Steve Winter and others for correcting the issue.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

We still have time to submit some feedback, too. It isn't officially finalized until the compiled magazine. Though, not sure anyone is going to be there to take the feedback. There may be time for minor adjustments to it, though.

However, considering they're compiling this week... 
DnDi_Large.pngDragon 394
Assassin: Executioner, Play the Most Dangerous Game

by Rodney Thompson

The Assassin Executioner is here! Ring the Bells of Joy, and steer clear of shadows.

Talk about this Article here.



* Riusaldregan, thank you for starting this thread.   I've linked to it as the official discussion thread.  Please use the format above in your original post.
Finally was able to get it from Wizards webpage now and then I just lost all interest in playing an Executioner. Comparing it to the Thief the damage is low, down where I'd almost say that non-strikers may even be better! They do have a single alpha strike (assassin's strike), but once used their damage per round is ridiculously low.

- the executioner has a problem hitting with his attacks - Thief get a bonus to hit with his chosen weapons, executioner does not
- assassins strike is nice, but limited to once per encounter - this is fine, if only the Executioner made up for it in some way so they had consistent damage flow
- the damage is low. Once per round add +1d8 damage (5 average). Compare to Thief who gets +2 on his basic damage and may deal +2d6 damage once per round with sneak (yes, combat advantage needed, but the thief powers makes it almost impossible not to have CA). This is an average damage of 4 each single round.
- In honesty I don't really see the point in why they made the assassin a weapon switcher. They're forced to constantly switch weapons due to their powers, which means that single-weapon users can and will have far better feat support. Some built on power should apply the effects of weapon focus or such to all weapons the assassin wield, rather than just a single group? Otherwise make the powers less dependent of which weapon is used, as long as a one-handed melee weapon is used you could deliver poison attacks for instance. As long as you have a ranged weapon you can shoot precise poison arrows/bolts/darts/throwing knives
- To make it all worse the class is one of contradictions, who will be its own worst enemy. Instead of the shield proficiency or two-weapon fighting, why not simply give the class a built-in +1 shield bonus to AC and Reflex, like the Iron Soul monk has? Then the assassin can use two-handed weapons, one handed weapons, ranged weapons and so on without having to worry about that stuff.
Make the class more dependent of the secondary attributes. Perhaps rather than the poison strike attacks, build in a feature where opponents get -Cha Mod to all their saving throws against poisons used by you? Then charisma would suddenly mean something, rather than just being fluff.
- Give the class more encounter powers. Or make the poisons into encounter powers rather than daily powers. Right now it looks a lot like the assassin makes his assassins strike and then walks to the corner where he'll just sit the rest of the combat.
- the damage is low. Once per round add +1d8 damage (5 average). Compare to Thief who gets +2 on his basic damage and may deal +2d6 damage once per round with sneak (yes, combat advantage needed, but the thief powers makes it almost impossible not to have CA). This is an average damage of 4 each single round.


Rangers get 1d6/round with a feat to upgrade it to 1d8. So do Warlocks. Barbarian built-in damage varies between 1d6-1d8 (at wills) and around 1[W] more than average (encounter, dailies). I'm no expert but it really looks comperable to me. Rogues (and by extension Thieves) get and extra dice on their striker feature because CA relies on condition that might not be avialable every time. As for the +2 on basic damage for Thieves - it looks to me like this might be part of their compensation for lack of dailies.

I like it, a lot.  I especially found the DesDeve article a good read on how the Executioner is meant to be played, as well. 

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

It still needs a second article to flesh it out, though. 
- the executioner has a problem hitting with his attacks - Thief get a bonus to hit with his chosen weapons, executioner does not
- assassins strike is nice, but limited to once per encounter - this is fine, if only the Executioner made up for it in some way so they had consistent damage flow
- the damage is low. Once per round add +1d8 damage (5 average). Compare to Thief who gets +2 on his basic damage and may deal +2d6 damage once per round with sneak (yes, combat advantage needed, but the thief powers makes it almost impossible not to have CA). This is an average damage of 4 each single round.



Remember, though - Thieves don't get dailies. Many of their generic bonuses are there as compensation for that lack.

Overall, I like the final version. The numbers feel reasonable enough. And I like having elements that encourage certain bits of flavor - I'm glad to see a discouragement of two-handed weapons and such.

For those concerned about weapon-switching - again, keep in mind that the at-wills are designed to be situational. I think the expectation is that the assassin will have one usual weapon, and occasional switch things up to take advantage of a certain circumstances. I like that, flavor-wise, and don't think he'll be exceptionally impaired in actual play.

It would be nice to see another article eventually with feat support and the like, but I'm happy with how this turned out. Some of the changes folks are clamoring for are, honestly, not ones I really would have wanted to see.

- the executioner has a problem hitting with his attacks - Thief get a bonus to hit with his chosen weapons, executioner does not



The assassin has quite a few abilities that the thief does not as well. You can't have everything. That is called balance, and life.

- assassins strike is nice, but limited to once per encounter - this is fine, if only the Executioner made up for it in some way so they had consistent damage flow



You mean like poisons, many of which add a constant sum of damage on every attack you make? Assassin's strike is what the assassin gets instead of backstab. And it is very much equal in power to the thiefs multiple uses of backstab. In fact, it might be the single largest damage spike power in the game... though some of the ranger/barbarian multiattack powers might have it beat. Those multiattack powers get silly damage if you hit multiple times. I would have to do the math to actually compare average probably damage.

- the damage is low. Once per round add +1d8 damage (5 average). Compare to Thief who gets +2 on his basic damage and may deal +2d6 damage once per round with sneak (yes, combat advantage needed, but the thief powers makes it almost impossible not to have CA). This is an average damage of 4 each single round.



It really isn't low. +1d8 per tier is what rangers and warlocks get... if they spend a feat to boost their damage output. It is fine as is.

- In honesty I don't really see the point in why they made the assassin a weapon switcher. They're forced to constantly switch weapons due to their powers, which means that single-weapon users can and will have far better feat support. Some built on power should apply the effects of weapon focus or such to all weapons the assassin wield, rather than just a single group? Otherwise make the powers less dependent of which weapon is used, as long as a one-handed melee weapon is used you could deliver poison attacks for instance. As long as you have a ranged weapon you can shoot precise poison arrows/bolts/darts/throwing knives



I quite like the flavor of weapon switching. It should also be noted that the class is supposed to primarily rely on a basic attack, and uses its weapon specific powers as situational powers.

- To make it all worse the class is one of contradictions, who will be its own worst enemy. Instead of the shield proficiency or two-weapon fighting, why not simply give the class a built-in +1 shield bonus to AC and Reflex, like the Iron Soul monk has? Then the assassin can use two-handed weapons, one handed weapons, ranged weapons and so on without having to worry about that stuff.



It should be noted that the class is not supposed to have support for choices like "two handed weapons." It is specifically geared towards the use of one handed weapons. Just check out the restrictions on its striker damage bonus. And, honestly, I support this restriction. It is thematic. But it might have been nice to have a feature such as what you are describing anyway...

Make the class more dependent of the secondary attributes. Perhaps rather than the poison strike attacks, build in a feature where opponents get -Cha Mod to all their saving throws against poisons used by you? Then charisma would suddenly mean something, rather than just being fluff.
- Give the class more encounter powers. Or make the poisons into encounter powers rather than daily powers. Right now it looks a lot like the assassin makes his assassins strike and then walks to the corner where he'll just sit the rest of the combat.



Ugggh. Please no. I like this aspect of the assassin class as is.

IIRC, Light shields count as free hands for the purpose of grabs.  This helps keep defense normal for hidden stab, but not if you take the two weapon feat.



This is incorrect. Light shield allows you to holding misc object ands climb, but is specifically mentioned in Brawler rules that a hand holding a shield does not qualify as "free".

Overall, the article is quite good. I'm not seeing anything that really seperates it from the old Assassin, now that it's damage is essentially the same with the removal of a CDG move. So, while I am happy the class is playable, I've lost interest in playing one.
Despite the other criticisms some have leveled... I am satisfied with this Assassin article. While I may be an optimizer, I do not need every class to be released to be the most damaging, the most defending, etc. What I look for is the room /to/ optimize, and for simple fun to play at the gaming table. This Assassin has both, in the form of working with Base Attack boosts (there are plenty in the game) and I would look forward to situations where I can use my Guild Attacks for effectiveness.

Also? There no rule saying you can't roll a crit, and then decide to put your Assassin's Strike on that. Also, they brought back Shadow Coffin, albeit as an encounter. Good enough for me. Finally, despite people complaining that they don't have the DPR of a Thief... They get Death Attack. That's a situational +10 damage per tier, effectively. Nothing to sneeze at.
57650768 wrote:
Hello Gamers. Look at the hexblade, now back to the slayer, now back to the Hexblade, now BACK to the slayer. Sadly, it isn't the slayer. But if it stopped masquerading as a reskinned WoW Warlock and started using Charop, it could FIGHT like the slayer. Look down, back up. Where are you? You're on a battlefield with the Striker your Striker could strike like. What's in your hand, back at me. I have it. It's an oyster with two magic items you love. Look down, back up, the items are now Astral Diamonds. Anything is possible when you game with Charop. I'm on a dragon.
There's one big thing you guys all seemed to miss about assassins strike.  It's a huge amount of extra dice, added on AFTER YOU'VE HIT THE TARGET.  In other words, after you know whether the hit was a critical hit or not.  There's a huge incentive to wait for a critical hit to maximize those extra 7d10s, a mechanic that is contrary to both fluff (which encourages first strike) and versimilitude (you decide whether to give it that extra umph after you know you hit something important?), not to mention kind of annoying in play.  This doesn't come into play so much for knights and such who get multiple uses of their encounter power, but the single-use high-damage assassins strike really encourages it.  I'm thinking they should throw on an extra 1[W]+dex and make it its own attack with the reliable keyword, to prevent this problem without running into problems on a miss.

I'm all for not encouraging fullblade wielding assassins, but denying the defensive bonus to characters using a garrote or blowgun (very assassin themed weapons) is annoying, as well as making it difficult to switch since you've got to get rid of two weapons or a weapon and a shield).  Of course, if you use quick swap to stow one as a free, then take master at arms (which of course you would anyway, since you want the bonus on multiple weapon types) to stow the other weapons and take out a new one as a single minor, your still ok.  Of course, you're not actually getting any benefit whatever out of an offhand weapon (without feat investments, most of which would be wasted if you use your garrote/blowgun at all frequently) and I really dislike the idea of shield-wielding assassins fluffwise.  I agree that versatile defense should be replaced by a static bonus to AC and reflex, or frankly dropped entirely (I don't see why assassins should have better defenses than rogues).  

As to the complaints about assassins strike, I see both sides of the coin.  I LIKE the idea of a single, high damage power to open with.  The desdev article said it well, assassins are meant for a deadly opening blow that takes out their target and then run from the targets' guards, not a drag out fight.  And the damage works out equivalently, giving you as many extra dice on a single attack as other essentials would get cumulatively.  I also see how that's going to result in a class that can feel boring to play after the first round.  They say the situational at-wills are supposed to keep you occupied with a set-up and execute combo, but I don't really see any set-up powers in the group.  Garrote helps you lock down a single target, but in a boring way that has you not rolling attack until he escapes (not even for op atks) and is really more useful as a silent take-down for lone guards thanks to the no talking rider.  Poison dagger/blowgun keep you from wasting your poison dailies, but that's not really an interesting set-up either.  Quick lunge and bola take down can keep the bad guys from running away or set up CA for the rogue, but he'll be standing by the time you get there so it's not much fun for you.  They had the right idea, I think, trying to give them a set-up and then execute combo that, because it takes two rounds to accomplish doesn't add too much to their damage (which they're right should be concentrated in the first round with assassins strike), but still gives the player something to think about and plan rather than spamming mediocre-damage at-wills.  It also works fluff-wise, the assassin incapacitates his foe and then finishes him off.  They just failed on the execution, none of the at-wills they said were meant to accomplish this actually do.  They were right to get rid of all the helpless stuff, helpless is too abusable if the party focuses fire, but you could replace it with restrained which offers less opportunity for the rest of the party to over-use it.  Very few other classes have many powers that offer the restrained condition, which would allow you to set up your own one-two punches (a low-damage power that restrains followed by a high-damage power that only targets restrained characters) without getting your second punch so often that it unbalances the class.  There are other ways to accomplish this effect, too.  Maybe the sustain on garrote should do more damage than the initial attack (perhaps even cutting down on the initial damage to compensate), or give the powers riders that trigger on future attacks like "vulnerable CHA to damage dealt by your attacks until the end of your next turn" or "extra CHA damage against targets suffering from an effect you caused."  This also gives you some purpose to CHA besides skills, and not one that scales as horribly as the suggestion of -CHA to saving throws (after all the updates to try to limit stun-lock...).  Alternately you could encourage more of a lurker approach by giving them more bonuses for attacking while hidden, encouraging the player to blow a round finding a place to hide and then strike from a different angle.  Of course, with all the feats out there for getting hiding without blowing a round, this might be too easy to abuse.
^Actually, Essassins are discouraged from using big weapons. The extra damage with Attack Finesse only triggers when you are using a one-handed weapon, or a select few 2-handed ranged weapons.

And to everyone saying that Essassin damage can't compare to a Thief: the Vital Strike feature that comes with the Guild Executioner PP lets you deal half damage with all your at-will attacks, and since all executioners do are at-will attacks, you are always guaranteed damage.

Also for those on the "Red Scales is better than League of Whispers" wagon, I think you're building your Whisper's Essassin incorrectly. Just focus on melee basic attacks, and use your guild at-wills when the time calls for it. Quick Shot is a cool get-out-of-jail-free card. If you get mobbed, just quick swap to a hand crossbow, throw this out, then shift and run away. You also get the better half of the poison application power in the form of Poisoned Dart. Not only is that power ranged, but it targets reflex.

There's one big thing you guys all seemed to miss about assassins strike.  It's a huge amount of extra dice, added on AFTER YOU'VE HIT THE TARGET.  In other words, after you know whether the hit was a critical hit or not.  There's a huge incentive to wait for a critical hit to maximize those extra 7d10s.......



Assassin's Strike is secondary damage that does not originate from a Crit. Therefore, you don't get to maximize it. Though I still think Assassin's Strike is still very nice even though you can't maximize it often, if ever.


That being said I liked this article as it blended the two together and gives some new aspects that you haven't seen with any other class so far. I hope they keep this design trend up.



Assassin's Strike is secondary damage that does not originate from a Crit. Therefore, you don't get to maximize it. Though I still think Assassin's Strike is still very nice even though you can't maximize it often, if ever.



what?  Assassins strike is worded exactly like the extra damage granted from the Rogue or ranger and those dice are maximized on a crit.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

Yeah, Omnifarious, that's not right. Any damage dice you can roll WITHOUT doing a crit (i.e. Assassin's Strike) is maximized when you get a crit.

Only damage dice that you gain BECAUSE you got a crit (i.e. High Crit or Devastating Crit) are rolled.
The des/dev article today specifically discusses the potential of critting on assassins strike, about as clear an indication of intent as I can imagine.  I realize that this argument is still being repeated on the boards, and that the updated answer hasn't shut people up as well as was intended, but I think most people agree that the only damage that isn't maximized is dice that you only get to roll if you scored a crit: high crit, devastating crit, magic weapon crit dice...
^Actually, Essassins are discouraged from using big weapons. The extra damage with Attack Finesse only triggers when you are using a one-handed weapon, or a select few 2-handed ranged weapons.

And to everyone saying that Essassin damage can't compare to a Thief: the Vital Strike feature that comes with the Guild Executioner PP lets you deal half damage with all your at-will attacks, and since all executioners do are at-will attacks, you are always guaranteed damage.

Also for those on the "Red Scales is better than League of Whispers" wagon, I think you're building your Whisper's Essassin incorrectly. Just focus on melee basic attacks, and use your guild at-wills when the time calls for it. Quick Shot is a cool get-out-of-jail-free card. If you get mobbed, just quick swap to a hand crossbow, throw this out, then shift and run away. You also get the better half of the poison application power in the form of Poisoned Dart. Not only is that power ranged, but it targets reflex.



Miss damage is a lot better when you miss a lot.  Thieves rearely miss so they do not care about miss damage.  It is possible to have thieves that only miss on a one.
Daring Escape at level 12 - the +5 power bonus to Jump/Climb during the shift is wasted. You can't shift using a movement mode that requires a skill check.
Daring Escape at level 12 - the +5 power bonus to Jump/Climb during the shift is wasted. You can't shift using a movement mode that requires a skill check.



Are you sure about that? I thought Athletics (and similar skills) received errata to be usable as part of any action that involves a creature moving. (The way most DMs had run it from the beginning.)

Edit: Wait, I think I see your confusion. "You can’t shift when using a form of movement that requires a skill check" is in the Compendium Glossary. However, this is the entry for the Shift Move Action. The way I read it here, you can't use the Shift Move Action when climbing/jumping/etc, but that shifting granted by another power doesn't have this limitation.

Hard to say for sure, admittedly - I don't think WotC made a good call when naming an action and the effect of that action the same thing...
Maybe this is meant for Char Op, but I thought I'd post it here since it relates to the perceptions of one of their powers.

Is it just me or is really difficult for an Assassin to expect to maintain a grab with Garrote Strangle?  18 starting Dex, means at level 1 you have a 14 reflex (no shield bonus, takes 2 hands for garrote) for them to acrobatics out of.  You'll need a 16 Str or Con to match that on a Fortitude.  Is there a feat somewhere to give you a bonus to your defenses for those trying to escape a grab?  (I guess Garrote Training applies a -2...)

Would appreciate if anyone can give an idea of something I missed. 
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Index of 4e Errata
- To make it all worse the class is one of contradictions, who will be its own worst enemy. Instead of the shield proficiency or two-weapon fighting, why not simply give the class a built-in +1 shield bonus to AC and Reflex, like the Iron Soul monk has? Then the assassin can use two-handed weapons, one handed weapons, ranged weapons and so on without having to worry about that stuff.



It should be noted that the class is not supposed to have support for choices like "two handed weapons." It is specifically geared towards the use of one handed weapons. Just check out the restrictions on its striker damage bonus. And, honestly, I support this restriction. It is thematic. But it might have been nice to have a feature such as what you are describing anyway...



This comment was meant since most of the ranged weapons (and the Garrotte) used by an Assassin are two-handed. It could simply be solved by building in a +1 shield bonus to AC as long as you wield a one-handed melee weapon or a ranged weapon. That way the assassin wouldn't use fullblade, but they wouldn't hurt their AC by using the blowgun or the shortbow either.
Maybe this is meant for Char Op, but I thought I'd post it here since it relates to the perceptions of one of their powers.

Is it just me or is really difficult for an Assassin to expect to maintain a grab with Garrote Strangle?  18 starting Dex, means at level 1 you have a 14 reflex (no shield bonus, takes 2 hands for garrote) for them to acrobatics out of.  You'll need a 16 Str or Con to match that on a Fortitude.  Is there a feat somewhere to give you a bonus to your defenses for those trying to escape a grab?  (I guess Garrote Training applies a -2...)

Would appreciate if anyone can give an idea of something I missed. 



Without spending some resources on your defenses, an enemy will have about 50% chance to escape your grab in any given round, 75% chance if he is trained in either relevant skill. Garrote Training gives the target a -2 penalty to escape checks but everything else about the feat is somewhat useless to you (too bad it is a multiclass feat). Still, a -2 penalty can give you that extra needed round to kill someone off. Otherwise, Wrestler Gloves raises your defenses against escape attempts by one, and you can of course boost your defenses by other means and it will work against escape attempts as well (Superior Fortitude, Superior Reflexes, neck items et al).

I was actually happily looking at the Garrote Training/Sneak of Shadows combo before I remembered why it doesn't work...

I have to say, the level 7 at-will power hidden stab doesn't seem to work as intended. I mean, it doesn't really give an assassin any incentive to use their assassin's strike power after maintaining the grab. So what if you can add your assassin's strike damage even if you miss? In order to even be given the chance to miss while maintaining the grab you would have had to hit with hidden stab. Why not just apply your assassin's strike damage then? It is not like your strike will be any more effective if you wait until your next attack...

Hidden stab needs to confer some sort of bonus for utilizing your assassin's strike after setting up the grab with the hidden strike at-will attack power. Obviously, it seems making the target helpless is too much. But simply allowing the person to apply their assassin's strike damage on a hit or miss is sort of pointless considering the fact that they could have applied their assassin's strike damage on the hit required to perform hidden stab in the first place. Hidden stab needs to feel like it might increase the damage dealt by assassin's strike. Instead of just being able to apply an assassin's strike on a hit or miss while you maintain the grab, perhaps it should also grant an extra die of assassin's strike damage, or add a bonus +1 point of damage per assassin's strike damage die rolled, or allow you to reroll a roll of a 1 on your assassin's strike damage dice, or even simply increase your critical hit chance against the grabbed target by 1 (19-20, or 18-20 if you have a feat that already increases the critical hit chance to 19-20). Any of these things would give you an incentive to wait until your next attack to apply the assassin's strike damage. If you miss, you will still get to apply the assassin's strike damage. If you hit, you will get some sort of extra bonus you would not have otherwise gotten. The bonus doesn't have to be huge. But right now, the bonus is non-existent.