Death Incarnate: The Executioner's Guide

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Death Incarnate:


The Executioner's Guide


 


assassins-creed1.jpg


 


It's a fact of life: Some people just need to die. But that need isn't always easy to fulfill, and not just any dull knife can do it. I'm here to hone you into a fine edge that will keep the Nine Hells packed with fresh souls.


So why play an Executioner?


With so many Strikers out there, what does the Executioner bring to the table?


* You're extremely stylish. Looking for a class that offs his enemies in many different ways besides merely a few stabs to the face? You've found the right class. From garrotes around the throat, to bolas around the ankles, to poisons in drinks, to stowing corpses in a little portable coffin, you'll find that killing has never been more fun.


* You're rewarded for creativity out of combat. You may be a loner at heart, but when you drop one of your poisons in the evil warlord's food right before your "friends'" climactic entrance, you know your skills and abilities made the job that much easier. Sometimes much easier.


* You know where to hit them where it really hurts, every single fight. Should you need to get your hands a little messy, as will often be the case, you know when and how to really make it count.


Ratings system:

Red: A trap, or just plain garbage.
Purple: Pretty dull tool in the box. Situational at best.
Black: Fair pick. You could do worse.
Blue: Good choice. Helps you kill better, for sure.
Sky Blue: You should definitely consider this one.
Gold:  Mandatory. Not just the best. Mandatory. A very rare rating.


This Handbook covers the following sources:

PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB3 - Player's Handbook 3
HoS - Heroes of Shadow
E:HFL - Essentials: Heroes of the Fallen Lands
E:HFK - Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
MM - Monster Manual
MM2 - Monster Manual 2
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DA XX - Dragon Annual, year XX
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
PHBH - Player's Handbook Heroes
AP - Arcane Power
MP - Martial Power
DP - Divine Power
PrP - Primal Power
PsP - Psionic Power
EPG - Eberron Player's Guide
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
PHR:D - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR:T - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings


Glossary

AoE - Area of effect, often denotes a burst or blast attack.


AP - Action Point


BBEG - Big Bad Evil Guy (typically a Solo or an Elite)


DPR - Damage per round


ED - Epic destiny


MAD - Multiple-attribute dependency. Otherwise known as stretching your ability scores too thin. Typically a designator for a build needing three or more ability scores to function.


MBA - Melee basic attack


MID - Multiple-item dependency. Having to use both a weapon and an implement is a cause of this, eating up more of your allocation of finances, feats and other resources.


NAD - Non-AC Defense (Fortitude, Reflex or Will).


O-Assassin - The original Assassin class, which will get referenced a few times here.


OA - Opportunity attack


Permafrost - The combination of the Heroic Tier feat Wintertouched, the Paragon Tier feat Lasting Frost, and a Frost weapon to produce constant combat advantage and cold vulnerability. Recognized as one of the top damage-boosting options in 4e, if not the top.


PP - Paragon path


RBA - Ranged basic attack


THP - Temporary hit points.



Thanks to:

Everyone who posts and helps out.

Expectations of a Death Dealer:

Power Source and Role


Like your parent class, the Assassin, your role is a Striker. Unlike your parent class, which is exclusively Shadow, you are Martial in addition. Your Shadow abilities are more or less exclusively tied to your utilities, which allow you to magically keep yourself concealed or escape when things go wrong, while your attacks are purely based on skill and training. Classes of the Martial power source tend to hit hard, and you can do that in nice spurts.


Damage Per Round (DPR) - No one is going to confuse you for the Ranger or the Avenger in this department, but unlike your parent class you're at least adequate at this. You won't have a lot of trouble eclipsing the expected round-by-round damage benchmarks expected of your role.


Burst/Spike/Nova Damage - You're fair at this, but not as outstanding as you probably should be (or that your concept demands). Assassin's Strike nets you a substantial spike in your damage for one hit (preferably the first hit of the encounter), but without any readiy obtainable sources of extra attacks (BY FAR the best way to increase burst damage), you can't be better than average here. With that said, you do now have a way to access certain daily powers that give you one legitimate nova per day, but you'll have to REALLY work at it (as in, multiclassing and power-swapping are involved).


Debilitating Effects - Your poisons are a big part of why you're decent at this aspect of your role. A couple of your at-wills have minor controlling effects as well.


Survivability - Much better than your parent class, at least, considering you actually have standard Striker hit points and surges. Several of your utilities also allow you to get out of danger or reset the situation when things get tough. And finally, you can access some ki focuses that help, too.


Targeting Capacity - Depends on build. For you Melee Executioners in the Red Scales Guild, while you do have some fine mobility powers, you need to use Stealth pretty liberally to use your best tricks in this department, like some of your at-will powers. If you can constantly get the drop on your enemies this will be less of an issue. Ranged Executioners in the League of Whispers Guild, on the other hand, will typically have little trouble nailing who they want, aside from the 5-square range on their Assassin's Strike.


Secondary role effectiveness

Controller - While you do have some status effects in your arsenal, mostly thanks to your poisons, you focus those on single targets. Not too effective here, but it's probably your "secondary" by default. Executioners who follow the Way of the Ninja are actually passable here.


Defender - Absolutely not. You don't have the marking abilities, the hit points or the healing surges to do this in any sort of capacity.


Leader - You're good at killing, but you can't make others better at the job. And forget about healing anybody.


 


Basics of Death: Baseline Mechanics


Game Mechanics

Hit Points: 12 + CON score at Lv. 1, +5 hit points at every level after. Standard Striker figures, which is average on its face, but certainly better than your parent class.


Healing Surges: 7 + CON mod, which is actually slightly better than the original Ranger and Rogue. Can't complain.


Defenses: +1 to Fortitude and Will. Solid.


Proficiencies: Leather armor is fine considering that Dexterity is your main stat. Proficiency in all military one-handed weapons is definitely nice, as is the shortbow. And even more exotic weapons like the garrotte, bola and blowgun. Finally, you are also proficient in the ki focus implement, which is the best type of implement in the game, since its enhancement bonus and, in some cases, its properties, apply to all your melee weapon attacks.


Class Features

Lv. 1


Extra-damage mechanic (Choose one of the following)

Attack Finesse (D 394): A two-parter. First, you use your Dexterity for all your MBAs. Second, once per turn you get to tack on a tier-scaling amount of extra d8s (1/2/3) on a weapon attack's damage using any one-handed weapon (melee or ranged), garrote, blowgun or shortbow, with no strings attached otherwise. Because it's once per turn, Warlords will feel good about using you as their beatstick, too. All in all, this Striker feature is pretty damn solid, and easily the better choice.


Master of Shrouds (D 400): Like Attack Finesse, lets you use DEX for all MBAs, and instead of the tier-scaling d8s to damage with certain weapons, you get Assassin's Shroud from your parent class. To be blunt about it: This is NOT a good deal. At all. While it's true that Assassin's Shroud has a lot of feats supporting it, none of that feat support will ever bring this extremely flawed extra damage mechanic to the level of Attack Finesse's cheap, easy, free d8s, especially in Paragon and Epic Tiers. Whatever you do, take Attack Finesse instead and don't subject yourself to this.


Assassin's Strike (D 394): Your encounter attack-boosting power, and the only one you have. It can only be used once per encounter, ever; nothing can refresh it. While the damage it adds on any given hit in the fight is substantially more than most E-encounter powers, the numbers still don't work out, as they were explained in theory, to the total amount of damage over the course of an encounter that other, multiple-use E-encounter powers add. That makes this power not as effective as it should be. It can still add enough for a coup-de-grace kill if you worked at your damage through feats and other things, and you multiclassed and power-swapped to get such set-up powers. Another interesting thing to note, thanks to recent developments, is that this power can add its extra damage on any type of power, even a daily.


Quick Swap (HoS): Nice to have some action economy swapping weapons, since you just might do that quite a bit. This one actually got better recently, as now you can both draw or stow a weapon and then, in addition, draw another weapon with the same free action.


Versatile Defense (D 394): You get either Light Shield Proficiency or Two-Weapon Defense on the house. Most of you will probably go for the latter, as it grants you the same shield bonus' worth of defense but doesn't hamper your skill checks. Plus you can do a whole lot more with an off-hand weapon than you can with a shield. A few ranged-inclined builds might opt for light shields, but that's a very select few.


Lv. 3


Death Attack (D 394): There's nothing more frustrating than the case of dealing huge damage to an enemy to almost kill him that round. That annoying key word is "almost," because an enemy who is "almost" dead can still cause a lot of problems. This tier-scaling feature is great at reducing these frustrating cases, which happen quite a bit. Essentially, you get to treat an amount of hit points left on an enemy after you hit with an attack (10 at start, 20 at Lv. 23, 30 at Lv. 23) as a 0 (thus killing them, barring DM fiat).


Death Attack Proportional Effect on DPR

The "effect" that Death Attack has on the Executioner's DPR can be quantified. Admittedly, this is a very rough model, at best, on how Death Attack plays out in practice (since the killing blow is effectively just an extra-damaging hit). But it's about the only place we can start, for now. It is handled with a proportion:


x/h = y/(h-d), which becomes ...


x = (yh) / (h-d)


Where:
x = "Effective DPR" with Death Attack factored (what you're trying to calculate)
y = Your face value, or actual DPR
h = Maximum HP of a monster (typically one of your level)
d = Threshold of Death Attack


Note that this is of no use if you're trying to calculate the damage you need to do to kill someone with a coup-de-grace. For that, you still have to hit absolute bloodied value.



Lv. 4


Nimble Drop (D 394): Reduce damage from falls for free, at a level-scaling amount? Sure.


Lv. 7


Hidden Stab (D 394): An at-will, using a light blade and a free hand, that's a rather curious case. First of all, it's melee only, so Executioners who like to work from range are shafted. In the case of melee assassins, it does have one interesting application in an alpha-strike nova: Start the fight using this power. If you didn't crit with this, use your action point to make a second attack to fish for a crit. If you do, awesome, your Assassin's Strike is maximized. If not, and even if you miss, don't sweat it, you can still apply Assassin's Strike. Still, that's situational, and it probably should've just been a conditional minor-action attack of some sort, instead.


Lv. 8


Flawless Disguise (D 394): One for out-of-combat situations. You get a +5 to the Bluff check from using your disguise, so even if your Charisma isn't that high, you have a decent chance of success. League of Whispers (ranged) Executioners are more likely to have a high Charisma.


Lv. 16


Untraceable Step (D 394): Your fixed utility power at this level, but luckily it's a damn good one. A per-encounter move action, at your full speed, that results in two turns of invisibility.


Lv. 17


Shadow Coffin (D 394): Gets its rating for style points alone. Stowing away a corpse out of sight, out of mind can sure come in handy, too.


Lv. 22


Ignore Barriers (D 394): Your Epic utility is fixed. Encounter-long phasing can come in handy, but probably moreso for infiltration missions than combat.



 


Death in Non-Facestabbing Ways: Skills


You're trained in Stealth automatically, but let's face it, you were gonna take that, anyway. You get a choice of four more skills from your list, and your list is a robust one, covering all your infiltration needs.


Class Skills

Acrobatics: Great for a lot of things, like keeping your balance, escaping from grabs and restraints, and, especially in conjunction with your class feature Nimble Drop, avoiding damage from falls. And it keys off your main stat in Dexterity.


Arcana: I hope your party isn't counting on one as non-academic as you likely are for rituals and magical knowledge.


Athletics: Climbing, jumping and swimming all come in very handy. Melee-inclined Executioners are likely to care about their Strength score and excel here.


Bluff: With a class feature and some utility powers reliant on this skill, it's not a bad idea to train this. Ranged Executioners are more likely to have the Charisma to shine here.


Endurance: Resist diseases and survine in some adverse conditions. Good skill, although you may probably won't have the Constitution to really make it worth your while.


Insight: Counters Bluff, which can let you act in a surprise round. Good skill to have, but your Wisdom won't be the highest.


Intimidate: A good conversation skill to have, particularly if you care about Charisma, and you can even force an enemy to surrender.


Perception: This is one I recommend even with your Wisdom score likely to be average. Countering Stealth can be quite important, as is finding tracks.


Stealth: You're automatically trained in this one, but you would've taken it, anyway. Seriously, what's an Assassin without Stealth?


Streetwise: A good conversation and information-gathering skill with some Charisma.


Thievery: Highly recommended. Disabling traps, sleight of hand and opening locks are very, very nice abilities to have. You can even improvise with this skill to bind creatures with rope, which, at DM discretion, could leave them helpless.


Body of Death: Ability Scores


Dexterity is the ability all Executioners must have at attack caliber. Your RBAs and your at-will attack powers will definitely be using this, and in most cases so will your MBAs. In fact, the Executioner is practically made for an array that involves completely maxing out your primary stat, since none of your class features rely on a strong secondary stat. Bumping up your Dexterity will also improve your AC and Reflex, as well as your initiative and checks to very important Assassin-type skills. However, a few of you melee types could conceivably "demote" this to a co-primary with Strength, depending on your multiclass and its associated paragon paths and daily powers. (Recommended start: 16-18, before racial adjustments)


Strength is your second-most important score if you plan on doing most of your work in melee (Red Scales). Depending on what your multiclass is, you might even make this one a co-primary along with Dexterity, since some of the best nova daily powers you could swap for use Strength for the attack roll, as do the attack powers of some very nice PPs availably though multiclassing. Even if you're not heading down that route, you'll still want enough development here to qualify for weapon mastery feats in Epic Tier. If you plan on using your garrote, you'll also want a high score here for Fortitude defense, which will make it more difficult for your victim to escape the grab. (Recommended start: 12-16, before racial adjustments; if you're going to do most of your work from a distance, on the other hand, you can leave this at a 10)


Charisma is your de facto secondary if you're doing most of your work from range (League of Whispers). And that's mostly because it helps you with Bluff checks, which a couple of your features and utility powers key off. Red Scales Executioners should put whatever points they didn't put in Dexterity and Strength here. (Recommended start: 12-14, before racial adjustments)


Constitution and Wisdom are two abilities in which you'll do OK with average scores. You don't want to dump them outright, though, since you never want a penalty to healing surges nor a penalty to Perception. Just stick a score between 10-12 here and you'll be fine. (Recommended starts: 10-12, before racial adjustments)


Intelligence, on the other hand, does absolutely nothing for you. Dump it. Hard. (Recommended start: 8, before racial adjustments)


 


Born and Bred to Make 'Em Dead: Races


Any race that gets a bonus to Dexterity is going to do well at this profession. If you get a bonus to Strength or Charisma as well, even better. Drow, Half-Orcs, Halflings and Humans are all prime Executioners, in particular. Overall, you'll find that the races are divided pretty clearly between good/great and just plain bad at being an Executioner.


PHB

Dragonborn: +2 CHA and either STR or CON. So you can get a bonus to essentially your secondary and tertiary, but considering the importance of the primary stat on the Executioner, that's really not too helpful. Not a prime race for the job.


Dwarf: You're good at a lot of things, but this class is most definitely not one of them. You're durable with your minor-action second wind, to be sure, which is about the only thing that keeps you from the very bottom of the heap.


Eladrin: Book smarts are useless, but you can opt for the all-important Dexterity bonus and become solid at this job. Fey Step is a great racial mobility power, and Trance is an excellent adventuring benefit.


Elf: Your natural Dexterity qualifies you well. Opt for WIS over INT, since you'll get a tangential benefit out of the former. Elven Accuracy is amazing for those alpha-strikes when you need to make sure you hit, and that extra speed is also quite an asset.


Half-Elf: The ability to poach another class' at-will power (*cough* Twin Strike) definitely counts for something, but your stats don't match up even for Twin Strike's melee application (STR-based attack), let alone the DEX upon which every other Executioner leans so heavily.


Halfling: You've got the quickness and, if you choose, the personality to be an incredible Executioner. Small size is immaterial, since you can use all the important weapons for the trade, anyway. Bonus to defense against OAs and forcing a reroll of an enemy attack are great for maneuvering and surviving.


Human: You get to train one stat of your choice, and it'd better be Dexterity. Do that, and you'll find that you have a lot going for you in this profession. Bonus feat, bonus trained skill and +1 to all NADs are all great. And last but not least, you get a choice between a nice per-encounter boost to a failed attack or save, or a bonus at-will poached from the O-Assassin's arsenal. Most of you will probably go for the former, although the latter can be interesting.


Tiefling: What isn't this race good at? This class. At best, you'll be sturdier and more charismatic than average, which are only tangential benefits, at most.



PHB2

Deva: No way. Bonus to two barely relevant stats at best disqualify you immediately. Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes is awesome, to be sure, but an Elf or a Human can accomplish much the same thing, and they're far more suitable for the job.


Gnome: Now that you can opt for some extra quickness instead of personality, you're a viable Executioner all of a sudden. Your racial power, Fade Away, greatly helps your stealthy ways. You'll probably want to be ranged, since you are a bit on the slow side and can't chase after prey so easily if you're melee. The compulsory smarts are also wasted.


Goliath: Strong and either sturdy or wise, with a racial power that makes you even tougher. Sadly, that doesn't help you kill efficiently.


Half-Orc: Now we're talking. With natural Dexterity and the option to be strong, too, you make likely the best Red Scales Executioners in the business. On top of that, your Furious Assault racial utility adds even more damage to a hit. Combine that with Assassin's Strike, and you're gonna make a killing out there with your alpha-strikes.


Shifter, Longtooth: Strong and wise, which aren't the best combination for the Executioner. The racial power is pretty nice, though.


Shifter, Razorclaw: Quick and wise, like an optimal Elf for the job, so you'll do pretty good. Your racial power is a solid defensive boost when you're bloodied.



PHB3

Githzerai: Choose Dexterity to go along with your natural Wisdom. If you're looking to be more durable than most functional Executioners, this is a good choice, thanks to Iron Mind, an interrupting defense boost per encounter, and Defended Mind, which can help you break the three most crippling conditions in the game. Bonus to initiative is nice, too.


Minotaur: Ahahahahahaha. No. One secondary stat and another barely relevant stat, and a racial power that can't hit the broad side of a barn.


Shardmind: You're not cut out for this, either. Compulsory book smarts and no chance at Dexterity to show for it take you out of the running.


Wilden: You can take some Dexterity in addition to your natural sturdiness, so you're in. Racial bonus to Stealth is nice, and Nature's Aspect can come in very handy. Incidentally, all three of those aspect powers have their uses for your trade, although my personal favorite is Wrath of the Destroyer for an extra attack and a daze when an enemy attacks you or an ally next to you.



Other rulebooks/Dragon

Changeling/Doppelganger (EPG): Natural Charisma and the choice of Dexterity make you as good a League of Whispers Executioner as any. Changeling Disguise is fun, and is essentially a way to get the benefits of Flawless Disguise without having to carry around a makeup kit. Changeling Trick is also nice for some combat advantage.


Drow (FRPG): The Drow Executioner is about as cliche as it gets. Of course, that's probably because it's about as effective as it gets. Dexterity and Charisma are prime stats for the Executioner, especially a ranged one, and both Lolthtouched powers (but especially Cloud of Darkness) are very handy tools for the trade. You also get very nice feat support. And on top of all that, you get Trance.


Genasi (FRPG): Eh, no. You're strong, which helps a little for melee-types, but book smarts do you no good. The racial powers are solid, but nothing that will remotely make it a sell.


Gnoll (D 367): Quick and sturdy, fast on your feet, more dangerous when bloodied, and racial powers and features that enhance your damage on charges and team beatdowns. Solid pick.


Kalashtar (EPG): Charisma and Wisdom bonuses are tangential at best. At least you get some nice survivability benefits.


Mul (DSCS): Dwarf stat options, which don't help you any. Much like the Dwarf, only its inherent toughness keep it from bottom-of-the-barrel status.


Revenant (D 376): Bonus to the all-important Dexterity, and then your option of Charisma or Constitution for starters. The main sell of this race is the ability to qualify for another race's feat support, and for certain races, even take one of their key benefits with a feat. Half-Elf Soul, in particular, is a popular choice, allowing you to take Twin Strike while actually having better stat bonuses for the Executioner's Trade (although keep in mind that if you're going melee, that power is a STR-based attack, which you still get no bonus toward).


Shadar-Kai (D 372): You're quick, which is what matters most, and you can be wise. Shadow Jaunt, with the ability to become insubstantial, is a solid power for survivability and repositioning yourself.


Shade (HoS): The stats match, especially for League of Whispers, so what's the problem? A lot, actually. First off, you lose a healing surge. That really sucks. Second, the free training in Stealth is completely wasted on your class. And third, the racial power is wholly useless in combat (NEVER use your standard action for anything besides attacking). Just a total failure of a race.


Thri-Kreen (DSCS): A prime candidate for Red Scales Executioners with the ability to be both quick and strong, just like the Half-Orc. Thri-Kreen Claws is a minor-action attack against potentially multiple foes, which is great. Speed of 7 is quite nice, and to boot, Torpor is essentially Trance.


Vryloka (HoS): The penalty to healing surge value when bloodied is annoying early in Heroic Tier but almost inconsequential past that point. But it's not like you're trying to take all the hits a la a Defender, so with that out of the way there's a lot to love from this race. You're a perfect match for League of Whispers with your Dexterity and Charisma bonuses, you're fast (speed 7), you've got level-scaling resistance to a common enemy damage type in necrotic, and you've got a strong and versatile per-encounter racial utility that can help your mobility, your survivability via a THP buffer or your attack chances as you see fit.


Warforged (EPG): Good survivability features, but those don't make up for lack of a Dexterity bonus.




 


Death in the Flesh: Recommended Themes


Devil's Pawn (NWCS): Hellfire and Brimstone is a very handy encounter power for debuffing the attacks and the defenses of enemies within 2 squares of you. Fire resistance at Lv. 10 is nice, too.


Fey Beast Tamer (HotF): You get a level-scaling beast companion that has half your maximum hit points. And at Lv. 5 said companion grants combat advantage to enemies next to it automatically, flanking or not. A strong and flavorful theme.


Guardian (D 399): Guardian's Counter is a great way to get an extra attack every encounter if you're willing to take a hit for an ally. For a Striker class always looking for extra opportunities to attack, this is quite valuable.


Pack Outcast (NWCS): Must be a Human or Shifter (and with DM permission, Half-Elf or Half-Orc). Now you get combat advantage whenever an ally and you are both next to an enemy, regardless of positioning. Thus giving you the best part of flanking without actually needing to flank. That's pretty handy. Oh, and, yeah, there's that shapeshifting thing, but really, that's beside the point.


Sohei (D 404): This Oriental- and divine-flavored theme presents Sohei Flurry, a much-needed nova power right off the bat. It's a minor action to tack on another attack (using your highest stat) after you hit an enemy with your standard, and in Epic Tier you can even hit a second enemy with this for collateral damage. The +1 power bonus to saves at Lv. 10 against the three big ones (daze, dominate, stun) is also pretty neat.


 


Death, Be Prepared: Basics of Equipment


Before I go into weapons, first things first: ALWAYS carry a ki focus of an enhancement bonus appropriate to your level. Even if it's just a basic Magic Ki Focus. Having one will always ensure that you won't fall behind on your attack rolls, no matter what weapon you're using at any given time.


Red Scales Executioners should always keep a garrote and a dagger on hand to use their at-will powers. League of Whispers Executioners should do likewise with a bola, blowgun and hand crossbow.


Executioners following the Way of the Ninja should definitely keep some shurikens handy. And, well, a Kusari-Gama if they want to, although truthfully that weapon and the guild power attached to it are pretty weak. 


Then we get to the default weapons of choice, the ones that Executioners will use for their MBAs that make up the majority of their attacks:


- Red Scales Executioners and Ninjas should head straight for the rapier, the most damaging one-handed light blade, and one they're automatically proficient with. Light blades in general are the king of the melee Executioner's arsenal, in particular because of their incredible feat support in the Striker capacity (and a +3 proficiency doesn't hurt, either). Hidden Stab, at Lv. 7, also requires a light blade, but any one will do, including the rapier.


- League of Whispers Executioners are torn between the hand crossbow and the shortbow. Both have the same +2 proficiency bonus, and both work with Attack Finesse. The shortbow has the edge on range and damage die (d8 vs. the hand crossbow's d6), but the hand crossbow has some excellent feat support, particularly if you multiclass. You can't go wrong with either choice.

Signatures of Death: Guild Attacks


These are the at-will powers that you get depending on which guild you adopt. Red Scales Executioners tend toward melee, League of Whispers Executioners tend toward ranged, and Ninjas have a mix of both. These have no level, so a Human can't snatch a power from another guild's specialty. These at-wills are mostly situational by their very nature, so they will be graded on how effective they are in their appropriate situations.


Red Scales

Garrote Strangle (D 394): Just what its name says, this power invokes the classic image of sneaking up behind someone, wrapping up their throat and hearing them gurgle out their last breaths. You must be hidden to use it, and you get a free 2-square shift before you make the attack. The attack is against Reflex, and with the garrote's +3 proficiency bonus this will hit pretty often. This attack does 2[W] + DEX mod damage, and 4[W] + DEX mod in Epic, which is great at making up for the d4 damage die of the garrote. You can still apply your Assassin's Strike and Attack Finesse if it hits, making this a prime (and stylish) alpha-strike power against an isolated enemy. Make sure your Fortitude and Reflex defenses are both high to ensure success at maintaining the grab and doing more damage without another need for an attack roll (exactly why you should boost Strength as your secondary stat).


Poisoned Dagger (D 394): Must use a dagger. This is the power you use to ensure that your poison does not go to waste when using it in combat, since even if you miss you get to apply the effects of the poison. If you do hit with this, the enemy takes a -4 penalty to the first save against your poison, if your poison was a save-ends effect, which is very nice.


Quick Lunge (D 394): A 1-square shift followed by a knockdown attack, and if you hit you can shift back where you started. The knockdown attack does no ability modifier damage, though. It's for those situations when you want to give up some damage for minor control. It does work with any weapon. It's explicitly a melee 1 attack, so reach weapons are of no use with this.



League of Whispers

Bola Takedown (D 394): Wrap up a target's legs with your bola and send him crashing to the ground for some minor control at range. This attack nails Reflex, and the bola has a +3 proficiency to make it a pretty sure hit. Just like Quick Lunge, you get no ability modifier on the damage.


Precision Dart (D 394): Must use a blowgun. The ranged equivalent to the Red Scales' Poisoned Dagger as far as both the hit and miss effects go, this one is actually even better because this attack targets Reflex for a more sure hit (the blowgun has a +3 proficiency).


Quick Shot (D 394): Must use a hand crossbow. You get to attack at point blank without drawing OAs, then shift away 2 squares regardless of hit or miss. Good for getting out of trouble. Even if you prefer the shortbow for your RBAs, this is why you should at least keep a hand crossbow around.



Way of the Ninja
 

Ninja-to Rush (D 404): I'll be blunt: You should NEVER use this power. It makes you use a short sword, and all for some highly situational combat advantage for an attack that, while it can be used on a charge, is not an MBA and doesn't benefit from all the wonderful things that boost MBAs. CA is plenty easy to get when you want it nowadays, to the point that you should never have to use this power to get it. Again, NEVER use this power.


Poisonous Shuriken (D 404): In short, this is THE reason why you would want to be a Ninja. You can target up to three foes with this shuriken attack and apply one of your Executioner poisons that normally only works off a single piece of ammunition to ALL targets you hit with this power. With certain poisons, this can actually let you perform decently in a secondary controller detail if the need arises.


Whirling Kusari-Gama (D 404): The Ninja's proning power, which requires that you use the Kusari-Gama, which is a double weapon with +2 proficiency bonus on both ends, 1d10 damage and reach on the primary end and 1d6 damage on the secondary end. Just a gander at the Kusari-Gama's stats shows you that it's a rather weak weapon, and a big strike against this power that it requires it. The primary attack, which knocks prone, does attack Reflex and utilize the primary end's reach, so it has that going for it, but it only deals DEX-mod damage, and the secondary attack with the light-bladed part of the weapon is rather piddly, without an ability modifier to damage and stuck with that end's d6 die. In practice, the moments in which you'll want to use this at-will are really pretty rare, if even existent.




O-Assassin At-Will Powers


Humans who elect to take a bonus at-will power will select a power from this list. Since one of them is an implement attack, these powers will be split into weapon and implement categories, for your convenience.


Overall, I'd say as a Human you're better off taking Heroic Effort.


Weapon

Inescapable Blade (D 379): Extra reach and ignoring cover and superior cover, but the attack does not deal your DEX mod when it hits. Can't think of too many cases, really, where I'd use this one over what the Executioner already has.


Leaping Shade (D 379): Ahahaha. No. Let's put it this way: Even O-Assassins who actually get the benefit from this power don't like this one.


Shadow Storm (D 379): This one actually has its points. An extra point of damage (2 in Epic) for every creature next to your target, ally and enemy alike. Not spectacular, but at least worth a look, which is more than can be said for everything else here.



Implement

Executioner's Noose (D 379): A 2-square pull on hit and slowing. Attacks Fortitude. League of Whispers Executioners shouldn't even give it the time of day, but Red Scales types might look at it as an easy ranged control option. Still not too impressive, though.


Concoctions of Death: Poisons


Poisons are essentially the Executioner's daily attack powers, and at levels everyone else gets daily powers, you get extra poison recipes in your cookbook, the ability to prepare more vials of poisons per day and, eventually, higher-level poison recipes. They're unique in that each one of them has a combat application and one or more out-of-combat applications. The out-of-combat applications of your poisons are typically the more powerful effect and encourage you to be creative with the use of your skills and strategies to make sure that your target suffers as it should and starts any ensuing battle, if necessary, already afflicted.


Some of your poisons use your ki focus as the method of attack, including for the out-of-combat application, so keep that in mind. An implement attack method tends to be counted as a strike against such poisons since (a) you can't use your poison-related at-will power with them, and (b) you might have to take an extra feat in the Expertise family for such attacks to stay up to par.


Each poison will get a grade both for combat and out-of-combat scenarios, since some poisons aren't very good in combat but are quite good out of it, and vice versa.


Note, however, that the feat Shadow Master (D 400) now allows you to take an O-Assassin daily power in place of your highest-level poison preparation. This is important in certain builds.


Lv. 1 Poisons

Bloodroot Poison (D 394)


Combat: Apply to your weapon or one piece of ammo, and the target takes a little extra poison damage and gets save-ends dazed. As good as you can expect at this level. This should be, by far, the favorite poison of shuriken-wielding Ninjas for a large part of their careers.


Out-of-combat: Apply to drink or food, and the first poor sap to eat it is dazed the rest of the day without a chance to save. Definitely something worth going for.


Carrion Crawler Brain Juice (D 394)


Combat: Apply to a melee weapon or five ammo pieces. This one's long-term, slowing on all your hits for the rest of the encounter. Pretty good.


Out-of-combat: Apply to handheld item, and the target is immobilized until his next extended rest, no save allowed, if he holds the affected item for a full minute. You can do some special things with this one. Imagine immobilizing an Elite or Solo Leader with clever application of this before a fight begins, at a place where he could get left behind out of the encounter altogether. Just one example.


Greenblood Oil (D 394)


Combat: Weapon/single-ammo, and the next target you hit takes extra poison damage and gets a save-ends condition where he can't regain hit points. Has its points against a Solo Leader, but in most cases you won't really need this one in combat. If you really need this, your party might want to re-evaluate its tactics or choices.


Out-of-combat: Drink/food, and it inflicts a -4 penalty to saves and an inability to regain hit points, no save allowed, until the target takes an extended rest. Better application, but not as much bite as other poisons at this level. At least not right now. This gets better as your poisons' effects or your allies' save-ends effects, as well as your enemies, get stronger.


Id Moss Powder (D 394)


Combat: An implement attack vs. Reflex which, if it hits, deals ongoing psychic damage and makes the enemy attack one of his buddies every time he fails the save. The permanent insanity part is pretty cool, but this is about middle of the pack among combat poisons, in practice.


Out-of-combat: You place this in a closed container, like a chest or jewelry box, and you make the implement attack against the first one to open the trapped container. Fair enough.


Nitharit Poison (D 394)


Combat: Full-encounter melee weapon or 5 ammo pieces. Inflicts extra save-ends poison damage with each hit, more if they fail a save. Fair.


Out-of-combat: Handheld object. Use this one when you anticipate an enemy who is resistant or immune to poison, otherwise, and then later on in the day, before he goes to bed, finish the job. A handy one to keep around when needed.


Ungol Dust (D 394)


Combat: Implement attack vs. Reflex. The permanent scarring can be pretty cool, but in combat practice this one's rather tame compared to other poisons, merely inflicting ongoing acid damage.


Out-of-combat: Closed container, with the implement attack against the first one to open it. Again, meh.



Lv. 15 Poisons

Black Lotus Extract (D 394)


Combat: Full-encounter melee or 5 ammo pieces. Inflicts 8 extra poison damage with each attack. Somewhat more powerful than Nitharit Poison at a similar function, so fair enough.


Out-of-combat: What, all that work for a measly 40 points of damage? No, thank you.


Insanity Mist (D 394)


Combat: Implement attack vs. Fortitude, inflicting a fair amount of ongoing psychic damage (10) if it hits, more after the first failed save (15). Unfortunately, that's all it does. Well, the permanent insanity part is possible, but while cool, that's highly situational in practice.


Out-of-combat: Closed container, implement attack against the next one who opens it. Same words above apply.


Lich Dust (D 394)


Combat: One-hit melee/one piece of ammo, and it save-ends weakens. Pretty solid, especially for Ninjas.


Out-of-combat: Drink/food. Weakening until the next extended rest, no save allowed. Nice.



Lv. 25 Poisons

Dark Reaver Powder (D 394)


Combat: Full-encounter melee weapon/5 ammo pieces. Makes your attacks inflict 10 extra poison damage and daze, which is a good thing. Especially with Poisoned Dagger or Precision Dart letting you daze even on misses.


Out-of-combat: You were waiting for an opportunity to create enemy helplessness for yourself. Here it is. Slip it into drink or food and make the next one to ingest it fall unconscious, which can only be saved against at the end of the target's extended rest at a -5 penalty. Surely you can infiltrate and kill the sap by then.


Dragon Bile (D 394)


Combat: One-hit melee/1 ammo piece. Knocks the target prone and stuns the target until the end of your next turn, which together are a pretty nice effect. Even for their turn after they recover from the stun they might still have to spend an action standing up. Ninjas will really like it.


Out-of-combat: Smear it on a handheld item and kill someone of your level or lower. In most campaigns, though, the biggest threats tend to be above your level. Still, instant death of any sort counts for a lot. Do take this poison recipe at Lv. 29, but Dark Reaver Powder is the higher priority.


Eye of Basilisk (D 394)


Combat: Implement attack vs. Reflex which can petrify the enemy after two failed saves. Potentially a winner, but you'll want to have assistance from an ally who can debuff the target's saves for you so the petrification has a greater chance of happening. It is worth noting that an enemy is helpless when petrified, although he also has resist 20 all.


Out-of-combat: Closed container, implement attack against opener. Not so good out of combat, since there aren't any ways to debuff the target's saves by enough to make petrification of the enemy a realistic prospect. Sure, you have Greenblood Oil to help, but even a -4 debuff doesn't guarantee the petrification by a longshot.


Aides to Death: Utility Powers


Remember that your Lv. 16 and Lv. 22 utilities are fixed. Also remember that O-Assassin utilities are fair game for the levels where you do have a free selection.


 


Lv. 2 Utility


Cloak of Shades and Silent Stalker are your best bets at this level.


Class Powers

Cat's Trickery (D 379): Darkvision and extinguish a small light source. Meh, you can do better.


Cloak of Shades (D 379): Alright, now we're talking. Concealment against everyone and total concealment to creatures past 5 squares, allowing you to stealth up in the right spots, per encounter. Perfect.


Contrivance of Speed (D 386): Lets you shift 2 squares as a move action. Not worth a daily stance.


Converging Shadows (D 388): Per-encounter concealment as an immediate interrupt, with a Stealth check if the triggering attack misses. Can't go wrong here.


Distracting Illusion (D 394): An encounter power you can sustain, and one that's pretty good for infiltrations if your Bluff and Charisma are high. Worth a look from League of Whispers Executioners.


Lurking Shadow (D 379): A daily that's clearly meant strictly for night infiltrations. The invisibility and silence are great just as long as you don't run into any sources of bright light or move more than 2 squares. This requires a standard action to cast and sustain, so never use this in combat.


Shadowed Legion (D 379): Daily stance that lets everyone in your party use your Stealth for their Stealth checks. A rare moment of "leadership" for you that can come in handy sometimes.


Silent Stalker (D 394): An at-will move action that lets you move full speed while hidden up to 2 squares away from an enemy. Within perfect reach of, oh, Garrote Strangle.


Summon the Mists (D 394): A daily zone creating lightly obscured squares rather pales in comparison to an encounter power that lets you obtain total concealment at the right distance.



 


Lv. 6 Utility


Ghost of the Rooftops and Vanish shine in their own dark ways here. Darting Shadow is pretty good, too, if you're into full-speed stealth.


Class Powers

Darkness (D 394): Close burst 2 daily power that creates a zone blocking line of sight for everyone except you. Which can be an asset, but can also a liability, as it affects your allies, too. Drow are least likely to use this one, as their Lolthtouched power accomplishes much the same thing.


Darting Shadow (D 379): Another at-will full-speed stealth movement ability. As long as you're in any sort of conealment or cover when your move ends you'll stay hidden. Good stuff.


Ghost of the Rooftops (D 394): An at-will move action that, once per round, lets you climb or long jump up to your speed without making an Athletics check. Awesome, especially for League of Whispers Assassins who are likely to have lower Strength.


Shadow Adept (D 386): Encoutner immediate interrupt to allow you a chance to stay hidden when your stealth is blown, as long as any cover or concealment is nearby. Situational, but a fair choice.


Sheltering Dark (D 379): Per-encounter zone of concealment followed by very short-term invisibility. Can't say I'm too fond of this one.


Slayer's Escape (D 379): For most practical purposes, this one got obsoleted by Vanish at this same level. The only time when this power is better is if you're slowed, but that's no reason to pick this one over Vanish.


Slithering Shadow (D 379): Daily stance that lets you shift a square as a minor action. You have better choices than this.


Vanish (D 394): A flat upgrade over Slayer's Escape, since it uses your speed for the teleportation distance instead of a fixed value of 5 squares. Your speed is likely to be at least a square more than that. Turning invisible after you're hit and resetting the situation is still as great as it ever was.



 


Lv. 10 Utility


Walk Through Shadow is your best choice here for a per-encounter teleport unhindered by walls. A lot of the other powers here have their uses, though.


Class Powers

Darkening Veil (D 388): An interesting daily power. It creates a 3x3 zone of concealment, sustainable with minor actions, and if you're hit by an attack, you can teleport to or near the zone. Not bad.


Death Mark (D 394): Essentially you place an unerring homing device on one enemy per day. That can be handy.


Eyes Unseen (D 394): Per-encounter power that lets you spy through walls for a few seconds.


Mist Walk (D 379): A daily shift 6 with phasing. Not worth a daily. Avoid this. And as if its situation couldn't get any worse, Walk Through Shadow comes along and does pretty much what this power does a lot more often.


Promise of Retribution (D 379): A daily power that lets you teleport away from a foe who hit you, reset the situation, and then later on teleport back near him with solid bonuses to attack and damage. Pretty decent.


Seeker of Shadow (D 379): This daily lets you start an encounter invisible and silent on the initiative roll, and you stay that way until you attack, and even when you do attack, you're still invisible and hidden for another round after. Decent, particularly for maneuvering for an alpha strike and in infiltration situations.


Slayer's Endurance (D 379): Worthless to you, since you don't use Assassin's Shroud.


Vaporous Step (D 386): This daily lets you make the whole party, yourself included, shift 2 squares every round as long as you keep using this as your move action. One of your rare moments of leadership.


Walk Through Shadow (D 394): Per-encounter teleportation that can take you through walls or anywhere else where you don't have line of sight. A great choice.


Training for Death: Feats


Note on the general, class, racial, and divine power source feats: Not all of those will be listed. Only the consequential ones (many of those will be rated blue or sky blue). Traps among those will be noted. This saves space, plus since feats have become a more precious resource thanks to simply the increasing number of them in 4e, narrowing them down to the meaningful choices is justified.


As for what you should prioritize when selecting feats:


1. Attack accuracy. You're a Striker. Your most important function is hitting the enemy so he feels pain.


2. Damage. When you hit, it's your job to make sure it hurts. A lot.


3. Defenses. You do no damage when you're dead, so you want to be able to stay upright. In some cases, namely those involving grabs, improving your defenses helps your offense, too.


4. Stealthiness/Concealment. A lot of what you do works best when you're hidden from the enemy, and the best way to ensure that happens is to make sure you can generate concealment so you can take Stealth checks.


5. Miscellaneous. After you've taken care of the above, round out your character. What's your Executioner's focus? Charging optimization? Grappling optimization? Maxing out the alpha strike?


 


Class/Power Source Feats

Heroic Tier


Assassin's Cloak (D 379): Considering how many of your utility powers let you turn invisible, free-action Stealth checks can be quite an asset.


Cursed Shadow (D 385): Must be multiclassed to Warlock, and you probably took that multiclass because of this feat. Getting Shadow Walk is an exceptional thing to have for someone as reliant on stealth and concealment as you.


Shadow Master (D 400): Lets you trade your highest-level poison preparation for an O-Assassin daily power. By itself, this doesn't seem like a good deal, as O-Assassin dailies are pretty wretched. However, if you're multiclassing, this is an amazing option, and depending on your MC one could even make a case for it being mandatory. If you gain a daily power, you open up access to power-swapping opportunities (Adept Power, among a few other things) for cross-class dailies that can do things like give you a legitimate multi-attacking nova or even a chance to set up a coup-de-grace opportunity with your Assassin's Strike.


Venom Hand Assassin (D 379): Adds even more tier-scaling d8s to your alpha-strike in the form of poison damage. Something to consider, for sure.


Venom Hand Master (D 379): Poison immunity and resistance are not uncommon, and the ability to flat-out ignore those with your attacks is very, very helpful if you're using your poisons often in combat.


Paragon Tier


Deft Blade (MP2): Makes your basic attacks, melee or ranged, with light blades nail Reflex instead of AC if you prefer. This one's mandatory for Red Scales Executioners.


Drawn Shadows (D 388): Concealment for being within 2 squares of dim light or darkness. Decent expansion of your stealth abilities.


Killer in the Crowd (D 382): Wait, is that right? Permanent cover from your enemies, just like that? Whoa. And you get to ignore the cover enemies provide each other, to boot.


Minion of the Dark (D 379): You get darkvision if you didn't have it already.


Wicked Blade (MP2): If you're using heavy blades for some reason, high crit on an MBA with those can be good for coup-de-grace attacks. You use your MBAs pretty often, so it's more worth it to you than it is for a lot of other classes.


Epic Tier


Soul in Shadow (D 382): Permanent concealment against all enemies farther than 5 squares away is awesome, especially for League of Whispers types.



General Feats

Heroic Tier


Blindfighting Warrior (E:HFK): Ignoring concealment of all sorts can come in handy for melee types.


Bow Expertise (E:HFL): Although Ki Focus Expertise is the Expertise family feat you should always take, it is conceivable that a League of Whispers type who uses a shortbow will take this one in addition. Why? Because the tier-scaling bonus to damage against isolated foes is worth a feat all by itself.


Cunning Stalker (E:HFK): Combat advantage against enemies who aren't next to anyone except you. That's going to happen a lot. One of the most reliable feats for combat advantage. Especially for melee Executioners, for whom it's very close to being mandatory if they're not going to use the Permafrost combo.


Distant Advantage (PHB2): Combat advantage against any enemy flanked by your allies when attacking from range. League of Whispers types should look at this one.


Echoes of Thunder (PHB2): If you're using a Thunderfist Ki Focus, this practically guarantees a tier-scaling amount of more damage on all your attacks after the first. Awesome.


Great Fortitude/Lightning Reflexes/Iron Will (E:HFL): If you took two Superior NAD-booster feats, you may not qualify for the third. A feat from this line lets you complete the set with a bonus as large as the Superior feats, but without their tasty side benefits.


Grounding Shot (PHB3): Another worthy pick for League of Whispers types, this one negates the prone penalty for your ranged attacks and even makes those do a little extra damage.


Hidden Sniper (E:HFK): Combat advantage with ranged attacks whenever you have even just partial concealment. Nice for League of Whispers types.


Improved Defenses (E:HFL): It's very important to take feats that boost your NADs, since naturally they do not scale well against enemy attack bonuses at higher levels. This one bumps them all by +1 per tier. The only reason this isn't mandatory is because some Executioners will want to take individual NAD-booster feats that have even greater bonuses and side benefits (garrote specialists among the Red Scales come to mind here).


Ki Focus Expertise (HoS): Of all the feats in the Expertise family, this is the one you're most likely to take. The tier-scaling attack bonus correction applies to all weapon attacks you make with the assistance of your ki focus, so no matter what tool you're using for the job, you're golden. The vital bonus even applies to the implement poison attacks, if you decide to take those. And then there's the sweet icing on the cake: The tier-scaling untyped bonus to damage against bloodied enemies that goes oh-so-nicely with your Death Attack.


Light Blade Expertise (E:HFL): If you're really focusing on charging with light blades, this member of the Expertise family is the one for you. In fact, the side benefit to this, which is tier-scaling extra damage when you have combat advantage, is worth a feat alone, so it's even conceivable that a Red Scales type who takes Ki Focus Expertise will still take this one in addition.


Nimble Blade (PHB): Extra +1 to attack rolls with light blades with CA that stacks with all other bonuses makes for a must-take for Red Scales.


Powerful Charge (PHB): +2 bonus to charge damage is nice for charge optimizing, which is one of the key avenues of boosting Executioner DPR.


Rapid Assault (PHB3): Now this'll do your alpha strikes a lot of favors if you're with the Red Scales. A very healthy, tier-scaling melee damage boost on your first round of combat.


Resilient Focus (E:HFL): +2 feat bonus to all saves is nice.


Skill Power (PHB3): An extra utility for a feat. Can be a worthy investment for the right power.


Superior Fortitude (E:HFL): Red Scales Executioners will qualify for this, and they should take it if they're optimizing their grab attacks. The Fortitude bonus is +1 greater per tier than Improved Defenses, and resistance against ongoing damage is also pretty nice.


Superior Reflexes (E:HFL): Free combat advantage on the first turn is perfect for your alpha strike, and you get the great tier-scaling fix to Reflex, to boot. This one's also important for grab optimization.


Superior Will (E:HFL): League of Whispers Executioners are likely to qualify for this one, and if they do, they should very strongly consider taking it. Saving against dazing and stunning at the start of your turn, even if the effect wasn't save-ends, will save your butt big time.


Toughness (PHB): Increasing your max HPs by a tier-scaling amount is good if you can afford it.


Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB): Not a great feat by itself, but the reward is the feat line it opens up.


Versatile Expertise (PHB3): If you plan to take implement-attack poisons, you should strongly consider this one in addition to Master at Arms for the necessary attack bonus with your ki focus.


Weapon Focus (PHB): The universal tier-scaling feat bonus to damage on all attacks with a particular type of weapon. This is the first damage feat (of many) you should take.


Wintertouched (PHB): Not worth it until Paragon Tier when you get Lasting Frost, but when you do, constant combat advantage is there for the taking.


Paragon Tier


Agile Opportunist (PHB2): If your Leader is someone who slides allies, such as a Cunning Bard, DEFINITELY take this one. He'll thank you for it. And getting off-turn attacks is always fun.


Critical Targeting (D 387): Nice boost to damage the rest of the fight if you crit.


Danger Sense (PHB): Rerolling initiative twice can save you from those bad rolls.


Fleet-Footed (PHB): +1 to speed is never a bad thing to have if you can afford it.


Lasting Frost (PHB): Combine with Wintertouched and a Frost weapon, and permanent combat advantage and a hefty damage boost is there for the taking. One of the original damage-boosting combinations, and still among the best.


Light Blade Precision (PHB): Nice untyped bonus to damage against Large and larger foes, which become almost ubiquitous in upper Paragon on into Epic.


Persistent Poison (D 373): A -2 save debuff against your poisons can be pretty nice. Combine with your guild at-will devoted to poisons (it stacks) and the full penalty on the first save can get rather juicy.


Point-Blank Shot (PHB): Ignoring cover, superior cover and concealment against foes closeby with ranged attacks is nice for League of Whispers types.


Repel Charge (PHB3): A nice way to discourage enemy charges. An opportunity to get an attack out of the deal is always good.


Reserve Maneuver (PHB2): Take this to use an O-Assassin encounter power in place of a less desirable PP encounter power.


Recommended Reserve Maneuver powers

Gloom Thief (D 379): I'm not gonna lie, the O-Assassin arsenal is pretty slim pickings, but this is one of the few solid ones with its invisiblity for being within 2 squares of the target you hit.



Solid Sound (PHB): If you use a Thunderfist Ki Focus, a practically permanent +2 untyped bonus to all NADs is there for the taking.


Steady Shooter (PHB): +3 to crossbow damage for standing still is quite good for crossbow-inclined League of Whispers types, assuming you get the CON 15 to qualify.


Two-Weapon Opening (PHB2): Qualifying for this is why you take Two-Weapon Fighting. Getting extra attacks on crits is a beautiful thing.


Epic Tier


Bow Mastery (PHB2): League of Whispers typers have no excuse to skip this feat, which grants 19-20 crit range. Unlike its melee counterpart, this doesn't even have any ability requirements.


Blind-Fight (PHB): Assuming you're trained in Perception, this lets you target invisible enemies in melee. Can be worthwhile.


Deft Aim (PHB3): Targeting Reflex with a crossbow is just what every crossbow-wielding League of Whispers type wants.


Epic Fortitude/Reflexes/Will (PHB2): +4 untyped bonuses to the NAD in question, which means it stacks with the likes of Improved Defenses and the Superior feats. You would do well to go for at least one of these. It can make a weak defense at least passable, and a strong defense extremely hard to hit. A grab-optimized Red Scales type should boost that Fortitude and Reflex even further.


Light Blade Mastery (PHB): The mastery feat Red Scales Executioners are most likely to take. Requires STR 17, which they really should have. Get that 19-20 crit range and be happy.


Long Step (PHB3): All your shifts are (at least) 2 squares now. Since charging is one of your main avenues of DPR optimization, this is very important.


Triumphant Attack (PHB): An all-encounter long debuff to enemy defenses and attack rolls is very nice, indeed.


Unfettered Stride (PHB): Ignore difficult terrain all the time? Yes, please. Must be trained in Acrobatics.



Racial Feats

Changeling

Heroic Tier


Shapeshifting Contortionist (EPG): Having your attack bonus fully intact, and not giving up combat advantage, when squeezing can be very handy in your line of work.



Dragonborn

Heroic Tier


Emerald Scale Concealment (D 379): Invisibility when you hit with Dragon Breath. Pretty much essential if you want to play this suboptimal Executioner race.



Drow

Heroic Tier


Clutch of Darkness (FRPG): If you opted for Darkfire, extending the range on that is nice. However, if you opted for Cloud of Darkness, the burst expansion can actually be a liability almost as often as it is an asset.


Drow Fighting Style (D 367): If you dual-wield a light blade and a hand crossbow, not provoking OAs with the crossbow is pretty good. Solid choice for crossbow-favoring League of Whispers types.


Far Shadow (D 385): If you took Cloud of Darkness, you should take this feat over Clutch of Darkness. Turning your Cloud of Darkness into an area burst within 10 squares can always work out well.


Knife in the Dark (D 382): Nice and brutal, just your style. Essentially get yourself a net +3 per tier on your damage over Weapon Focus when you attack targets in your Cloud of Darkness.


Ruthless Hunter (FRPG): This is why Drow rock at and favor the hand crossbow. Increase in damage die and high crit are just great.


Paragon Tier


Cloud of Poison (D 382): 5 poison damage to enemies stuck in your Cloud of Darkness. Decent.


Eyedark Strike (D 373): Blinding once per encounter at the cost of your Cloud of Darkness can be a nifty deal.


Master of Fire and Darkness (FRPG): Now you get to use both Lolthtouched powers. Very good.


Merciless Killer (FRPG): While the +5 to damage is most likely to occur on the attacks after your alpha-strike, finishing the job is just as important, and boy does this help you do it efficiently. Combined with your Death Attack, this will make finishing a snap.


Venom Master (D 382): Oh, nice. Vulnerability 5 poison on an enemy for the whole fight after you use Darkfire. Combine with things like the Venom Hand feats and your poisons that deal poison damage and you'll add up the damage quickly with this. Great against Solos.


Epic Tier


Lolth Blessed (D 382): Recharging Lolthtouched powers with an action point? Sure, I'll take that, and so should you.



Elf

Epic Tier


Hawkeye Warrior (MP): +1 to attack rolls for a whole fight for using Elven Accuracy? Damn straight.



Githzerai

Heroic Tier


Githzerai Blade Master (D 378): With this feat, you may be the only race who can justify focusing on heavy blades as a Red Scales Executioner.


Paragon Tier


Tempered Iron Mind (D 378): Nice boost to your racial power's action economy and trigger.


Epic Tier


Adamantine Mind (PHB3): A nice defenses boost for your racial power.



Half-Elf

Paragon Tier


Versatile Master (PHB2): Turns your Dilletante into a true at-will. No reason not to take this one.



Halfling

Heroic Tier


Halfling Short Bow Hunter (D 381): Whoa, Brutal 2 and 20/40 range are huge buffs for short bows.


Know When to Fold (D 381): Inspired by Kenny Rogers. OK, not really, but it's a nice feat that practically shuts down OAs against you when you're bloodied.


Lost in the Crowd (PHB): +2 to AC for something that's going to happen a lot is very, very good.


Nimble Dodge (MP2): A huge boost to your already great defensive racial power with its penalty to the reroll and the crit denial.


Second Step (D 381): A shift attached to your racial power. Most things are bigger than you, so this feat will see a lot of action.


Paragon Tier


Underfoot (PHB): Move through Large creatures' spaces. Nice.



Half-Orc

Heroic Tier


Anger Unleashed (PHB2): +2 to attack rolls until the end of your next turn after being bloodied. Pretty good.


Thirst for Battle (PHB2): +3 feat bonus to initiative and an extra healing surge. Nice.


Paragon Tier


Strength from Pain (PHB2): +5 to damage rolls until the end of your next turn after being bloodied. Good stuff.


Epic Tier


Ferocious Critical (PHB2): A very hefty attack and damage boost until the end of your next turn whenever you score a crit. Very nice.



Human

Heroic Tier


Action Surge (PHB): +3 to an attack you get from using an action point. Still great to have for that alpha-strike.


Bogtangle Heritage (D 386): The daily power you get with this feat is pretty good, but this feat's true strength lies in what it opens up.


Bogtangle Warrior (D 386): A damage die increase to your blowgun, and on top of that you get an excellent at-will control power with your blowgun. This is probably THE reason a Human League of Whispers Executioner would elect to take a bonus at-will power, so he can swap the crummy O-Assassin power he got for this slowing and immobilizing beauty.



Revenant

Heroic Tier


Chill of the Grave (D 376): Mask the commonly resisted Necrotic damage of Dark Reaping by adding an element whose resistance isn't so common.


Concealing Shades (D 379): Grant you and all allies within 5 squares concealment with your racial power. Good stuff, assuming you're not using a racial power from a Soul feat.


Dark Feasting (D 376): THPs from Dark Reaping. Decent.


Death's Blessing (D 376): Become undead. You no longer need to eat, sleep or breathe, or make Endurance checks related to those things. Great one.


Death's Quickening (D 376): Take a minor action past the KO point as well as a standard action. Good.


(Race) Soul (D 376): You get a trait, or in some cases, the racial power of your past life race. That can be really huge.


Swallowed by Shadow (D 387): Dark Reaping makes you invisible for a round. Very nice.


Paragon Tier


Thin the Herd (D 376): Now Dark Reaping can trigger when someone, including you, gets bloodied. Good, again, if you actually plan to use Dark Reaping.


Epic Tier


Ghostly Vitality (D 376): Whoa. Get your full complement of actions in the negative hit points range, and also gain insubstantial for more damage reduction. Consider it mandatory. Retrain Death's Quickening for this one.



Shadar-Kai

Heroic Tier


Life on the Edge (D 372): Sort of a lesser version of the Human's Action Surge, with the bonus on AP attacks at +2. Still something you should take.




Eberron Dragonmark Feats (EPG)

Mark of Shadow: Stay invisible or hidden when you miss with an attack. That's vital for your line of work. Plus it opens up a great paragon path in Thuranni Shadow Killer, should you wish to take it.


Death Be Proud: Paragon Paths


Not too many choices for you, but the PPs that are good are REALLY good. Guild Executioner fits all Executioners like a glove. If you're in Eberron, Thuranni Shadow Killer is flat-out incredible, and Traveler's Harlequin opens up a lot of interesting and potentially effective possibilities.


Assassin/Executioner PPs

Gloaming Dancer (D 388): The 11th-level features offer some teleporting on an action point and extra range on your teleport utilities, which are pretty nice. Unfortunately, the rest of this path requires O-Assassin features you don't have. Pass on it.


Guild Executioner (D 394): The PP tailor-made for the Executioner, and thankfully it's very, very good. An extra 2d10 on your Assassin's Strike makes your alpha strike that much deadlier. Executioner's Action is an incredible AP feature that covers for any bad damage rolls on your extra attack (and encourages you to save your Assassin's Strike for the AP-granted attack). Daring Escape is a solid repositioning per-encounter utility. The Lv. 16 feature, Vital Strike, lets you deal half-damage on a miss for all of your attacks, which is a very nice boost to DPR. Finally, the poison that you get, Wyvern Venom, is pretty decent both in and out of combat, delivering a hefty bonus to damage on the first hit in combat, and out of combat taking a nice chunk out of a Solo with no chance for the Solo to heal from it for the day.


Obsidian Stalker (D 379): A PP focused on mobility. The utility and the daily require O-Assassin features, but the rest of it actually works. But still pretty underwhelming compared to what you should be taking.


Shadowblade (D 379): This one actually works for you in its entirety. The gloom shard mechanic is pretty interesting and comes with some decent perks, the Shadowblade itself is a light blade with some good stats, and the utility that confers invisibility per encounter is nice. Can't go too wrong with this one.


Soul Thief (D 379): The utility does you no good, but you can actually use the rest of this PP. The Soul Shards still come in handy for bonuses to various d20 rolls, the AP feature can add some substantial damage, Soul Shadow is a nice 3[W] attack vs. Will that can serve well for an encounter alpha-strike, and the daily is a 5[W] attack, halved on miss, that also serves as a solid alpha-strike opener.


Venomed Soul (D 379): Not a bad choice. Only the daily power uses an O-Assassin feature, and that for just an extra save debuff. The stuff that requires a good CON score also isn't too vital. Master of Poisons and Persistent Venom are solid features for you, granting you a nice measure of control, and the encounter utility is also decent for an alpha strike.



Eberron PPs

Thuranni Shadow Killer (EPG): Requires Mark of Shadow, which you should have if you're in Eberron, anyway. This one's incredible for Red Scales Executioners. Invisibility when you use an AP. Constant enhancement to allies' stealth. Ongoing necrotic damage whenever you hit with combat advantage. A nice, multi-attacking, crippling encounter attack against NADs in Descending Shadows. A per-encounter teleport/zone of darkness in Shadowstep. And finally, even the daily, Spectral Garrote is great, a good upgrade over your standard garrote for a fight that lets you use your victim as a shield against other enemies attacking you.


Traveler's Harlequin (D 382): Must be trained in Bluff, have a multiclass and worship the Traveler to enter this very flexible PP. Master of Many Paths opens up unlimited multiclassing and thus a ton of build possibilities (and even gives you another free MC feat). Features that let you reroll attacks and skill checks are also great, and finally at Lv. 20 you get to swipe a Lv. 19 or lower daily power from any one of your multiclasses, which can obviously be very useful.



 


Pinnacle of Death: Epic Destinies


Much like feats, I'm going to limit this to the ones you should look at, and note traps, in the interest of space.


General/Assassin EDs

Chosen/Demigod (PHB/FRPG/DP): The classic ED of power, with its +2 to two abilities of your choice, a near-death recovery, and a powerful utility. The Demigod's is insane regeneration, while the Chosen's varies with whatever deity you worship. However, Divine Miracle only works if you took a PP with an encounter power you like. That capstone does not recover Assassin's Strike, so Guild Executioners should look elsewhere.


Destined Scion (E:HFK): Gives you the classic Demigod's +2 to two abilities, and then on top of that, at Lv. 24 you get an extra +1 to all attack rolls and +2 to saves. The utilities are handy, but won't dazzle you; nevertheless, this is one of your best EDs, and just a great, no-nonsense option.


Eternal Seeker (PHB): You can't take advantage of the power-nabbing part of this (other than the Lv. 22 ability of any class you get at Lv. 26), but Eternal Action is still very good, and the capstone ability to take a Lv. 24 feature from another ED can still be useful.


Hordemaster (DSCS): +2 to two abilities, like most good EDs have, and some nice Leader-ish benefits to boot.


Indomitable Champion (E:HFL): The Destined Scion's more defensive counterpart, with the Lv. 24 feature coming in the form of 20 extra HPs and +1 to all NADs. That latter part, incidentally, is good for grab optimization. Another top option.


Prison of the Winds (D 371): +2 to DEX and CON, speed boost, and a nice self-defense capstone featuring insubstantial when bloodied. Very good choice.


Punisher of the Gods (D 372/DA 09): Seems to have stabilized, but its current form, while good against one foe per encounter, is still a shadow of its former selves. Yes, that plural was intentional. Now, that said, that capstone sure does wonders for an AP-ed alpha strike round.


Raven Knight (D 380): A constant self-defense feature against adjacent foes, +2 to DEX and CON, extra speed, insubstantial and phasing on a charge, and a nice weapon buff for the utility. Awesome ED for worshipping the Raven Queen.


Thief of Legend (D 388): +2 to DEX and another start of your choice is great for you. The capstone of constant passive Stealth is also terrific for your profession. The Lv. 24 feature and the utility are subject to the DM's whims, though, but this is still a good choice.


Death's Other Faces: Multiclassing


Some of the entry feats are terrific support for your role. Power swapping is limited to utilities, and, if you took Shadow Master, dailies, but the latter is of particular importance and can give you a huge boost in nova damage you wouldn't have had otherwise. A note: If you see powers corresponding to fixed utility levels for the Executioner, it's OK. Power swapping at those levels is apparently still legal, as it's not the same as retraining.


 


Blowgun


If you're a League of Whispers type who wants to get very serious about using your blowgun with poisoned darts in combat, this one is worth a look.


Entry Feats

Blowgun Training (D 373): Load a blowgun as a free action, increase its range and make it high crit. Good suite of benefits if you're going this route.



Class Feats

Blowgun Expert (D 373): Swap a Lv. 6 or higher utility with a per-encounter attack and damage buff to a blowgun attack. Not bad.



 


Fighter


A terrific MC choice if you're a dual-stat STR/DEX build. Good nova daily powers, good feats and a couple of fantastic PPs here, one for some high DPR and another for some gross nova potential.


Entry Feats

Battle Awareness (MP): If you do somehow manage the STR 13, WIS 13 to qualify for this one, take it and love it. The chance for an extra attack is always very much welcome, especially for a Striker scraping the barrel for ways to get them.


Cyclone Warrior (MP2): Dual-wielding is a common setup for you, and free damage for a round per encounter for that setup is nice to have. DEX 13 qualifies you automatically.


Student of the Sword (PHB): You only need a STR 13. A +1 to attack once per encounter is nice, and incidentally you lay down a mark, although you can't do anything with this. Not the best feat, but it's an easy one to qualify for.



Class Feats

Heroic Tier


Surprising Charge (MP): Important for charge optimization, granting an extra [W] of damage on a charge against any enemy who yields CA.


Paragon Tier


Striking Resurgence (MP2): A nice one that lets you attack when you second wind.



Key powers

Lv. 5 Daily


Bedeviling Assault (MP): Tagging on free-action MBAs for the rest of the encounter whenever your allies hit the target of this is positively nasty.


Lv. 19 Daily


Devastation's Wake (PHB): Double-taps on everyone in a close burst 1 around you? Yeah, that's really good.


Lv. 22 Utility


Martial Supremacy (D 382): A per-encounter stance that lets you reroll your MBA attack rolls is a huge boost to your DPR and ensures that everything will die quickly.


Lv. 29 Daily


Catastrophic Flurry (MP): Three attacks of focus fire, with extra damage tacked on if multiple ones hit. Plus each attack deals half-damage on miss. Great one for a nova.


Paragon Paths

Kensei (PHB): +1 to hit and +4 to damage with your weapon of choice is as no-nonsense a damage boost as it gets. The powers aren't the best, though, and require STR to attack with.


Shock Trooper (MP): This one requires that you make STR and DEX co-primaries, but this PP really makes that decision pay off. The encounter power is a powerful triple-attack, which is as great an encounter nova power as you're going to get. Features that increase the damage die of off-hand weapons and add your DEX modifier to damage when you have CA on a foe round out this great PP.



 


Garrote


A garrote specialist will do well taking this entry feat.


Entry Feats

Garrote Training (D 373): Impose a -2 penalty to grab escapes from your garrote powers. Mainly only worth it of you're in Eberron and go Traveler's Harlequin, in which case you can take Sneak of Shadows (MC Rogue feat) and take advantage of this feat's Sneak Attack benefit with your Garrote Strangle.



Class Feats

Garrote Expert (D 373): Swap a Lv. 6 or higher utility for Body Shield, a per-encounter immediate interrupt which lets you make your garrote victim take a hit intended for you. This one's pretty good.



 


Ranger


This class is the king of novas, so it's no surprise that this MC option provides you with a wealth of daily nova powers. Dual-stat STR/DEX melee builds and pure DEX League of Whispers ranged Executioners alike will find something they love here. 


Entry Feats

Two-Blade Warrior (MP): Dual-wielding two rapiers can be a good thing if you plan on taking advantage of one of this class' nova daily powers.


Warrior of the Wild (PHB): Gives you a Hunter's Quarry that can be in effect for two turns. A damage bonus on your alpha strike that is less restrictive, although less damaging, than Sneak Attack from Rogue MC, but this works with any weapon. For garrote specialists, this is usually the better choice, since the garrote does not work with Sneak Attack.



Key powers

Lv. 9 Daily, STR melee (no dual-wielding required) or DEX ranged


Attacks on the Run (PHB): Two-attack focus-fire flurry, one that's extremely versatile, in case you haven't noticed. Plus you get full movement for free with it. Beautiful.


Lv. 15 Daily, STR dual-wield


Blade Cascade (PHB): Needs no introduction. Just make sure you're set up for nigh-guaranteed success before using it.


Lv. 15 Daily, DEX ranged


Confounding Arrows (PHB): A triple-shooter that can stun??? Uh, yes, please.


Lv. 19 Daily, STR dual-wield


Cruel Cage of Steel (PHB): 3 attacks with a +2 bonus each to hit and can inflict a cocktail of status effects. If you just can't be bothered to wait and maneuver for proper Blade Cascade setup, you might prefer this one as your Adept Power, instead.


Lv. 29 Daily, DEX ranged


Five-Missile Dance (MP): 5 ranged attacks makes for a truly nasty ranged capstone.


 


Rogue


No surprise that this is one of the Executioner's top MC options. Automatic qualification? Check. An entry feat that adds more punch to your alpha strikes? Check. Good class feats? Check. (Especially for hand crossbow specialists and charge optimizers.) Nova daily powers? Double check.


Entry Feats

Sneak of Shadows (PHB): One use of Sneak Attack per encounter, which is all you need to make your alpha strike that much deadlier. And you also get training in Thievery.



Class Feats

Heroic Tier


Backstabber (PHB): Because of the number of damage die Sneak Attack eventually adds compared to other Striker features, this one can be worth taking at some point.


Risky Shift (MP2): If you're into charging optimization, this is a good one to take to make sure you get charges a lot more often. Although this thing is called risky for a reason, as granting combat advantage is typically not nice. Retrain this for Long Step when you get to Epic.


Slaying Action (MP): Lets you Sneak Attack on the same turn with an AP-ed attack. A great way to break the normal once per encounter limit of your Sneak of Shadows, and perfect for an AP-ed alpha strike round.


Surprising Charge (MP): Important for charge optimization, granting an extra [W] of damage on a charge against any enemy who yields CA.


Two-Fisted Shooter (MP): If you're serious about using the hand crossbow, you probably MC-ed Rogue in a large part because of this one. Dual-wielding hand crossbows and getting free attacks on crits with these is just too good.



Key powers

Lv. 5 Daily, Melee or Ranged


Bloodbath (MP2): Autodamage effect with a damage roll and all applicable damage modifiers therein, plus an actual attack on top of that for even more damage. Bloody impressive.


Lv. 9 Daily, Melee


Knockout (PHB): The first darling (in some cases, the only darling) of many a melee Executioner. Nothing quite like knocking a foe unconscious and following that with an action point and an Assassin's Strike coup-de-grace. Work at the follow-up strike's damage hard enough and you stand a fair chance of killing an Elite with this in Heroic and Paragon Tiers.


Lv. 25 Daily, Melee


Cruel Pursuit (MP): Double attack power targeting Reflex for some sure hitting (half-damage on misses), and you get to take your victim for a dance next to something or someone scary in between the attacks. Solid for a nova.


Lv. 29 Daily, Melee


Kiss of Death (MP2): Tag on an extra MBA for every ally who hits the poor sap next to you. A suitably brutal capstone that excels at piling on the damage quickly.


 


Warlock


Likely, you're taking this MC to get access to the amazing Cursed Shadow feat (already detailed in the Feats section). One entry feat here also adds to your alpha strike capability. Those facts alone make this an MC strongly worth considering, although with the CON 13, CHA 13 requirement of your preferred entry feat, most of you will probably have to wait until Paragon Tier.


Entry Feats

Student of Malediction (AP): One instance per encounter of Warlock's Curse damage for even more damage on your alpha strike. Good deal.


Instruments of Death: Items


Just remember that your top priority in every 5-level interval is keeping your armor, ki focus, weapon and neck item up to date. Plan it right and you'll still have room for other nice things.


Armor

All of the armors listed here are available in Leather.


Lv. 2+


Veteran's (AV): Used to be a lot more powerful, but even now the +1 to attack and defenses on action point use is a solid benefit, considering this armor is in a cheaper pricing bracket per plus.


Lv. 3+


Thought-Eater (PHB3): Bonus to Stealth and a daily which grants concealment against enemies more than 2 squares away. Pretty good for League of Whispers types.


Lv. 4+


Battle Harness (D 368): Power bonus to initiative. Good.


Flowform (PHB3): A per-encounter no-action free save with this armor. Even in non-augmented form this is awesome.


Lv. 13+


Shadowflow (PHB): Enhancement's worth of untyped bonus to Stealth and a per-encounter concealment power (which turns to invisibility for Epic versions). Awesome.


Lv. 14+


Armor of Dark Deeds (AV2): Concealment for nailing someone when you have combat advantage. As a property. Great fun.



Ki Focuses

Lv. 1+


Magic (PHB3): Absolutely nothing wrong with this basic ki focus if you prefer to spend more of your hard-earned cash on enhancing your favorite weapon. Just carry one of these along so that all your attacks are level-appropriate no matter what weapon you're using for a given situation.


Lv. 2+


Ghost Strike (PHB3): Ignore insubstantial with combat advantage. Worth a look in certain cases.


Lv. 3+


Blazing Arc (PHB3): Can make your melee attacks Fire. Hey, it's cheaper than a Flaming weapon. Tieflings who decide to become Executioners for some weird reason want this along with Hellfire Blood.


Final Sleep (D 382): Crit die of d12, and shift a square when you off someone. Not bad, especially if your party can set up coup-de-grace situations to take advantage of that crit die size.


Manual of Ninjutsu (D 404): Brutal dice (up to Brutal 3 in epic versions) on Assassin's Strike if you have combat advantage. Pretty good.


Rain of Hammers (D 382): Some free damage against another enemy next to you when you off someone is nice, but the best part is the daily power that gives you a minor-action at-will attack (this can be a basic attack) against someone you already smacked around. Perfect for one grand nova per day.


Lv. 4+


Abduction (PHB3): If you have the Deadly Draw feat, permanent combat advantage from your MBAs is there for the taking.


Ghost Mask (D 387): The encounter power lets you target Will, a typically easy-to-hit defense, with an attack that normally targets AC, and the damage becomes Psychic. Worth a look.


Thunderfist (PsP): All your melee attacks can deal Thunder damage. Considering some of the awesome feat support that keyword gets (e.g. Echoes of Thunder, Solid Sound), this is easily a top choice.


Lv. 5+


Iron Body (D 382): Whoa, talk about instant survivability boost. Damage resistance against all the target's attacks if you hit him is insane. The d10 crit die is pretty good, too. Definitely worth its high price tag.


Lv. 9+


Forked Lightning (PsP): Lightning on all your melee attacks if you choose. Doesn't quite have the support of Thunder, but it's still a cool effect. If you're in Eberron, this is better thanks to the Eberron Shard of Lightning.


Mountainfall (PsP): A tier-scaling item bonus to damage against prone and immobilized targets. That can be useful. Also comes with a Daily power that save-ends immobilizes.


Lv. 15+


The Ineffable Secret of Death (D 404): High price tag per plus, but pretty worth it. Extra enhancement bonus' worth of necrotic damage against enemies you have CA against, plus a suite of some interesting powers. The per-encounter utility granting insubstantial and phasing after you off someone, in particular, is really nice.



Weapons

Lv. 3+


Frost (Any) (PHB): Too bad there isn't a ki focus for this one. One of the top damage options from the very beginning thanks to the Lasting Frost/Wintertouched combo, and it's only received even more support since then.


Rhythm Blade (Light Blade) (AV2): Some extra defense along with Two-Weapon Defense when you dual-wield. Good.


Vanguard (Any Melee) (AV): An extra +1d8 damage on a charge. Good for charge optimizers.


Lv. 8+


Cunning (Any Melee) (AV): If you're into delivering save-ends poisons with your weapon, this is a good one to consider.


Graceful (Flail, Heavy Blade, Light Blade, Spear) (AV): Your DEX mod times the enhancement bonus to determine your crit damage makes this one hard to beat if someone can set up coup-de-grace opportunities for you.


Lv. 9+


Feyslaughter (Any) (AV): Prohibit teleporting with a hit. An actual garrote specialist will want to give this one a long, hard look.


Lv. 10+


Wraithblade (Light Blade) (DA 09): If you MC-ed Rogue via Sneak of Shadows, this is a great way to get even more damage on a crit, even if you already used your Sneak Attack for the encounter, you get the damage on all crits.


Lv. 12+


Jagged (Axe, Heavy Blade, Light Blade) (AV): 19-20 crit range at 9 levels before you can get weapon mastery is a good thing for you.


Lv. 13+


Bloodiron (Any) (AV): The d10 per enhancement crit damage from this gets applied twice. Good one.


Lv. 15+


Radiant (Any) (AV): If you've got a Radiant Mafia Lord in the party (i.e. a Divine character with the Sun domain or the Morninglord PP) this lets you take advantage of the vulnerability he hands out. That can definitely be worth the price of this weapon.



Neck

Lv. 2+


Amulet of Mental Resolve (AV): +2 item bonus to saves against charm, illusion and sleep. Good early on.


Amulet of Physical Resolve (AV): +2 item bonus to saves against weakening, slowing and immobilizing. Also good early.


Badge of the Berserker (PHB2): No drawing OAs on charges. Perfect for charge optimizers.


Lv. 4+


Cloak of Distortion (AV): Not really worth it in Heroic Tier, anymore. It does get a lot better later, though.


Lv. 8+


Periapt of Recovery (AV): +2 bonus to death saves. Nice.


Steadfast Amulet (AV): If you don't qualify for Superior Will, this one is something to strongly consider. Preventing daze or stun, even if it's a daily power, is very good. If you fail the save, the power isn't spent.


Lv. 10+


Periapt of Cascading Health (D 369): End one save-ends condition per encounter. Pricey, but great.


Lv. 15+


Brooch of Vitalty (AV): Increase your max HPs. Simple, and awesome.


Lv. 25+


Life Charm (AV): Also known as: You (almost) never die.



Arms (Bracers)

Lv. 2


Bracers of Mighty Striking (Lv. 2/12/22) (PHB): Good until you can comfortably afford Iron Armbands of Power. Since you'll use MBAs pretty often, this will tide you over nicely. If you're playing with rarity rules, note that this is a common item.


Lv. 3


Bracers of the Perfect Shot (Lv. 3/13/23) (PHB): Good until you can comfortably afford Bracers of Archery. Since you'll use RBAs pretty often, this will tide you over nicely. If your favorite ranged weapon happens to not be a bow or crossbow, somehow, you'll want to keep these.


Lv. 6


Bracers of Archery (Lv. 6/16/26) (AV): No reason for League of Whispers Executioners using a bow or crossbow to not take this, rarity rules notwithstanding.


Iron Armbands of Power (Lv. 6/16/26) (AV): No reason for Red Scales Executioners to not take this, rarity rules notwithstanding.


Lv. 14


Counterstrike Guards (Lv. 4/14) (AV): The Lv. 14 version is the one that's worth it, granting you an MBA counterattack against an enemy who misses you every encounter. A great one to take if you got a consistent item bonus to damage from some other source besides Iron Armbands (such as a Radiant Weapon).



Feet

Lv. 2


Acrobat Boots (PHB): Minor action to stand up from being prone. Good one early.


Boots of Adept Charging (AV): Shift after a charge. Nice.


Lv. 7


Boots of the Fencing Master (AV): +1 item bonus to AC and Reflex whenever you shift, and you get to shift 2 squares every encounter. Good one.


Lv. 8


Boots of Quickness (Lv. 8/18/28) (AV): Untyped bonus to your Reflex defense. There's a version of it at each tier. Great one, of course, especially if you're going for grab optimization. Wrestler's Gloves' bonus will actually stack with this one.


Lv. 9


Boots of Eagerness (AV): Extra move action per encounter. Nice.


Lv. 12


Dragonborn Greaves (AV): Extra defense and speed when bloodied. Nice.


Lv. 13


Winged Boots (PHB): Your first item that prevents fall damage completely. Also comes with a daily flight power.


Lv. 14


Oceanstrider Boots (AV): +1 item bonus to speed and you can walk and stand on water and other non-hazardous liquid surfaces. Very nice.


Lv. 18


Dimensional Stride Boots (AV): +1 untyped bonus to Reflex, with a per-encounter teleportation power. Good.


Phantom Chaussures (AV): Concealment for moving 3 or more squares. Awesome.


Lv. 23


Boots of Stealth (AV): +6 item bonus to Stealth. Obviously a very good thing.


Lv. 24


Zephyr Boots (AV): You get a permanent fly speed. Enough said.


Lv. 28


Boots of Teleportation (AV): At-will teleportation. Awesome if it's in your budget.



Hands

Lv. 2


Wrestler's Gloves (AV): +1 item bonus to attack rolls with grab attacks and to defenses against grab escapes. Pretty good, but remember to take the Belt of Vim for Fortitude and Boots of Quickness for Reflex, as those are the untyped bonus items, and the ones with which the bonus from this will actually stack.


Lv.4


Gauntlets of Blood (LV. 4/14/24) (AV2): A nice item early, which helps you finish foes quicker in conjunction with Death Attack. Later on, though, you'll have better, more non-conditional damage options in this slot.


Lv. 6


Breaching Gauntlets (AV): Reduce some resistance against your attacks. Good for this point.


Lv. 9


Gloves of Storing (AV): Interesting, and handy at times.


Lv. 10


Strikebacks (AV): Per-encounter immediate reaction attack against an enemy who hit you. Anything that gives you extra attacks is great.


Lv. 11


Gloves of Ice (Lv. 11/21) (AV2): A nice boost to the Lasting Frost synergy. Especially if you run into cold resistance.


Lv. 18


Gauntlets of Destruction (PHB): Brutal 1 on all die rolls for melee attacks, assuming you don't already have a Brutal weapon, which is probably the case considering your usual tools. And considering all the damage dice you tend to roll, this one can add up very quickly, on everything from your alpha strike to even optimized charges with a Horned Helm.


Lv. 20


Many-Fingered Gloves (AV2): Wear an extra ring. Can be beneficial.



Head

Lv. 6


Horned Helm (Lv. 6/16/26) (PHB): Practically a must for charge optimization.


Lv. 8


Circlet of Indomitability (AV): Untyped bonus to Will, and a version comes at each tier. As good as anything.


Coif of Mindiron (AV): Per-encounter prevention of daze if Will is attacked. Gets even better in later tiers, when it also prevents stuns and eventually domination.


Lv. 9


Helm of Battle (PHB): Item bonus to initiative for you and nearby allies. Nice.


Lv. 14


Goggles of Night (PHB): Darkvision is nice if you don't have it already.


Helm of Able Defense (AV2): +1 item bonus to Will and an extra +2 to all defenses until your first turn at minimum. Quite good.


Lv. 21


Essence of the Wisp (AV2): +2 item bonus to Will, and an at-will power that pulls enemies who dare use ranged attacks against you a couple squares as an immediate action. Good for the melee-inclined.


Eye of Discernment (AV): Practical immunity to blinding is the main draw here, and that's pretty major.


Lv. 22


Helm of Ghostly Defense (PHB): Necrotic resistance and per-encounter insubstantial. Nice.


Lv. 23


Eye of Awareness (AV): +2 to Will and +5 to initiative. Very good.



Rings

Lv. 13


Ring of Giants (D 378): Stronger crits, which is great. The daily power is only for Primal powers, but that's not the important part.


Lv. 15


Ring of Aquatic Ability (AV): A ring slot is where you're most likely to put swim speed/underwater breathing properties.


Lv. 16


War Ring (AV): Stronger crits. Good stuff.


Lv. 17


Ring of the Radiant Storm (AV2): If your main damage type is either Lightning or Radiant, by chance, you'll want to take a good look at this one. Rerolling damage and keeping the better result is a nice boost.


Lv. 21


Ring of Tenacious Will (AV): Uses Charisma to determine number of healing surges instead of Constitution. For League of Whispers types, this is probably a good idea.


Lv. 24


Ring of Regeneration (PHB): Item bonus to healing surge value as a property, and the daily, after a milestone, gives you regeneration 10 and gives you back a healing surge. Good.


Lv. 25


Gargoyle Ring (AV): Save against petrification, even when you are petrified. Nice.


Lv. 27


Ring of the Phoenix (AV): Solid fire resistance property, and a very nice self-resurrection daily power.


Shadow Band (AV): Concealment all the time. Great fun, especially for your profession.


Lv. 29


Ring of Free Time (AV2): Resist 5 all constantly is awesome enough. Then there's the one extra minor action per encounter from this ring ... which turns into an extra minor action every single round after the first milestone. Incredible, since you tend to use your minor actions quite a bit.



Waist

Lv. 2


Belt of Vigor (Lv. 2/12/22) (PHB): Item bonus to healing surge value. Solid start.


Lv. 6


Cincture of the Dragon Spirit (AV): If you're allowed liberal use of the Intimidate skill in combat this could be handy.


Lv. 7


Rope of Slave Fighting (Lv. 7/17) (AV): Attack normally when prone. Nice. The Paragon Tier version cancels combat advantage when prone as well.


Lv. 8


Belt of Vim (Lv. 8/18/28) (AV): Untyped Fortitude bonus. Comes in a version at each tier. Just a great all-purpose benefit, espeically if you're going for grab optimization. Wrestler's Gloves' bonus will stack with this one.


Lv. 10


Diamond Cincture (Lv. 10/20/30) (AV2): Item bonus to Fortitude with the opportunity to spend more healing surges if you need to. Very nice, and it helps you with grab optimization.


Lv. 21


Baldric of Valor (AV): Bonuses to attack, saves and defenses for action point usage. Nice.


Lv. 23


Belt of Vitality (AV): +2 untyped bonus to Fortitude, and once per day get back up when you make a death save. Very nice.




Dragonshard Augments (Eberron)

Lv. 2


Eberron Shard of Lightning (Lv. 2/12/22) (EPG): The shard of choice for those who use a Forked Lightning Ki Focus.


Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (Lv. 2/12/22) (EPG): Lasting Frost users go straight for this one.


Lv. 3


Siberys Shard of Radiance (Lv. 3/13/23) (EPG): Untyped bonus to Radiant damage rolls to enhance your participation in a Radiant Mafia's blessings.

The entire cast of Jersey Shore.

Manifestations of Death: Sample Builds


Bare Essentials


The two builds in this division will use only the material provided in the Assassin: Executioner article from D394 and in the two Essentials books, Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, for those of you playing Essentials-only games. That's an unfortunate situation (no ki focuses, no Permafrost, no charge optimization, etc.), but we'll try to make the best of it.


Red Scales

This is the Essentials-only melee Executioner.


Race: Half Orc
Versatile Defense: Two-Weapon Defense
Guild: Red Scales
Paragon Path: Guild Executioner
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion

Ability Scores
L1: STR 14, CON 12, DEX 20, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 12
L4: STR 15, CON 12, DEX 21, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 12
L8: STR 16, CON 12, DEX 22, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 12
L11: STR 17, CON 13, DEX 23, INT 9, WIS 11, CHA 13
L14: STR 18, CON 13, DEX 24, INT 9, WIS 11, CHA 13
L18: STR 19, CON 13, DEX 25, INT 9, WIS 11, CHA 13
L21: STR 22, CON 14, DEX 28, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14
L24: STR 23, CON 14, DEX 29, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14
L28: STR 24, CON 14, DEX 30, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14

Feats
L1: Master at Arms
L2: Weapon Focus (light blade)
L4: Light Blade Expertise
L6: Cunning Stalker
L8: Superior Reflexes
L10: Two-Weapon Fighting
L11: Improved Defenses
L12: Defensive Mobility
L14: Blindfighting Warrior
L16: Blindfighting Sentinel
L18: Disciple of Stone
L20: Eager Advance
L21: Disciple of Freedom
L22: Disciple of Shadow
L24: Wilderness Skirmisher
L26: Iron Will
L26: Superior Fortitude (retrained Improved Defenses)
L28: Stoneroot's Endurance
L30: Alertness

Executioner At-Will Powers
L1: Garrote Strangle
L1: Poisoned Dagger
L1: Quick Lunge
L7: Hidden Stab

Poison Recipes
L1: Bloodroot Poison
L1: Carrion Crawler Brain Juice
L5: Nitharit Poison
L9: Greenblood Oil
L15: Lich Dust
L19: Black Lotus Extract
L20: Wyvern Venom
L25: Dark Reaver Powder
L29: Dragon Bile

Utility Powers
L2: Silent Stalker
L6: Vanish
L10: Walk Through Shadow
L12: Daring Escape
L16: Untraceable Step
L17: Shadow Coffin
L22: Ignore Barriers
L26: Epic Recovery
L30: Undeniable Victory

Skills
L1: Stealth
L1: Athletics
L1: Acrobatics
L1: Thievery
L1: Perception

Magic Items at L30 (Expected GP = 14,625,000)
L28: +6 Sylvan Armor (2,125,000 gp)
L28: +6 Safewing Amulet (2,125,000 gp)
L27: +6 Vicious Rapier (1,625,000 gp)
L27: +6 Vicious Garrote (1,625,000 gp)
L27: +6 Vicious Dagger (1,625,000 gp)
L24: Gauntlets of Blood (epic tier) (525,000 gp)
L22: Bracers of Mighty Striking (epic tier) (325,000 gp)
L22: Belt of Vigor (epic tier) (325,000 gp)
L21: Headband of Perception (epic tier) (225,000 gp)
L9: Boots of Striding (4,200 gp)
Total GP = 10,529,200


League of Whispers

This is the Essentials-only ranged Executioner.


Race: Drow
Versatile Defense: Shield Proficiency (light shield)
Guild: League of Whispers
Paragon Path: Guild Executioner
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion

Ability Scores
L1: STR 10, CON 12, DEX 20, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 14
L4: STR 10, CON 12, DEX 21, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 15
L8: STR 10, CON 12, DEX 22, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 16
L11: STR 11, CON 13, DEX 23, INT 9, WIS 13, CHA 17
L14: STR 11, CON 13, DEX 24, INT 9, WIS 13, CHA 18
L18: STR 11, CON 13, DEX 25, INT 9, WIS 13, CHA 19
L21: STR 12, CON 14, DEX 28, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 22
L24: STR 12, CON 14, DEX 29, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 23
L28: STR 12, CON 14, DEX 30, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 24

Feats
L1: Master at Arms
L2: Weapon Focus (crossbow)
L4: Hidden Sniper
L6: Cunning Stalker
L8: Superior Reflexes
L10: Distant Advantage
L11: Superior Will
L12: Great Fortitude
L14: Crossbow Expertise
L16: Blindfighting Warrior
L18: Disciple of Freedom
L20: Eager Advance
L21: Disciple of Death
L22: Blindfighting Sentinel
L24: Wilderness Skirmisher
L26: Shield Finesse
L28: Stoneroot's Endurance
L30: Alertness

Executioner At-Will Powers
L1: Bola Tekedown
L1: Precision Dart
L1: Quick Shot
L7: Hidden Stab

Poison Recipes
L1: Bloodroot Poison
L1: Carrion Crawler Brain Juice
L5: Nitharit Poison
L9: Greenblood Oil
L15: Lich Dust
L19: Black Lotus Extract
L20: Wyvern Venom
L25: Dark Reaver Powder
L29: Dragon Bile

Utility Powers
L2: Distracting Illusion
L6: Ghost on the Rooftops
L10: Walk Through Shadow
L12: Daring Escape
L16: Untraceable Step
L17: Shadow Coffin
L22: Ignore Barriers
L26: Epic Recovery
L30: Undeniable Victory

Skills
L1: Stealth
L1: Bluff
L1: Acrobatics
L1: Thievery
L1: Perception

Magic Items at L30 (Expected GP = 14,625,000)
L28: +6 Sylvan Armor (2,125,000 gp)
L28: +6 Safewing Amulet (2,125,000 gp)
L27: +6 Vicious Hand Crossbow (1,625,000 gp)
L27: +6 Vicious Blowgun (1,625,000 gp)
L27: +6 Vicious Bola (1,625,000 gp)
L24: Gauntlets of Blood (epic tier) (525,000 gp)
L23: Flame Bracers (epic tier) (425,000 gp)
L22: Belt of Vigor (epic tier) (325,000 gp)
L21: Headband of Perception (epic tier) (225,000 gp)
L9: Boots of Striding (4,200 gp)
Total GP = 10,629,200


 


Anything Goes


These builds use everything available to you in 4e. Obviously you'd look here if you want anything even remotely optimized for a full 4e game.


The Cold Charger

Charge optimization is the route to go if you want high DPR. And of all damage types to choose from, the Permafrost combo of Lasting Frost + Wintertouched + Frost weapon reigns supreme. This Half-Orc Red Scales Executioner combines the two, along with heavy focus on the rapier/dagger set, to make one cold-blooded mofo. In addition, he makes sure to take advantage of Shadow Master and Adept Power at Lv. 10 to get Knockout from his Rogue MC, which he'll use until he gets something even better at Lv. 29 in Kiss of Death. He boosts his Strength to master his light blade, as well as have enough Fortitude to strangle someone if he needs to.


Race: Half-Orc
Versatile Defense: Two-Weapon Defense
Guild: Red Scales
Paragon Path: Guild Executioner
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion

Ability Scores
L1: STR 14, CON 12, DEX 20, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 12
L4: STR 15, CON 12, DEX 21, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 12
L8: STR 16, CON 12, DEX 22, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 12
L11: STR 17, CON 13, DEX 23, INT 9, WIS 11, CHA 13
L14: STR 18, CON 13, DEX 24, INT 9, WIS 11, CHA 13
L18: STR 19, CON 13, DEX 25, INT 9, WIS 11, CHA 13
L21: STR 22, CON 14, DEX 28, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14
L24: STR 23, CON 14, DEX 29, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14
L28: STR 24, CON 14, DEX 30, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14

Feats
L1: Sneak of Shadows
L2: Light Blade Expertise
L4: Weapon Focus (light blade)
L6: Cunning Stalker
L8: Surprising Charge
L10: Shadow Master
L10: Adept Power (retrained Weapon Focus (light blade))
L11: Lasting Frost
L11: Wintertouched (retrained Cunning Stalker)
L12: Deft Blade
L14: Nimble Blade
L16: Weapon Focus (light blade)
L18: Improved Defenses
L20: Two-Weapon Fighting
L21: Long Step
L22: Light Blade Mastery
L24: Two-Weapon Opening
L26: Epic Will
L28: Unfettered Stride
L30: Ferocious Critical

Executioner At-Will Powers
L1: Garrote Strangle
L1: Poisoned Dagger
L1: Quick Lunge
L7: Hidden Stab

Poison Recipes
L1: Bloodroot Poison
L1: Carrion Crawler Brain Juice
L5: Nitharit Poison
L9: Greenblood Oil
L15: Lich Dust
L19: Black Lotus Extract
L20: Wyvern Venom
L25: Dark Reaver Powder
L29: Dragon Bile

Utility Powers
L2: Silent Stalker
L6: Vanish
L10: Walk Through Shadow
L12: Daring Escape
L16: Untraceable Step
L17: Shadow Coffin
L22: Ignore Barriers
L26: Epic Recovery
L30: Undeniable Victory

Rogue Daily Powers
L10: Knockout
L29: Kiss of Death (replaces Knockout)

Skills
L1: Stealth
L1: Athletics
L1: Acrobatics
L1: Bluff
L1: Perception
L1: Thievery (from Sneak of Shadows)

Magic Items at L30 (Expected GP = 14,625,000)
L28: +6 Frost Rapier (2,125,000 gp)
L28: +6 Frost Dagger (2,125,000 gp)
L28: +6 Shadowflow Armor (2,125,000 gp)
L27: Shadow Band (1,625,000 gp)
L27: +6 Badge of the Berserker (1,625,000 gp)
L26: Horned Helm (epic tier) (1,125,000 gp)
L26: +6 Magic Ki Focus (1,125,000 gp)
L26: Iron Armbands of Power (epic tier) (1,125,000 gp)
L24: Zephyr Boots (525,000 gp)
L22: Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (325,000 gp)
L20: Diamond Cincture (paragon tier) (125,000 gp)
L18: Gauntlets of Destruction (85,000 gp)
L13: Ring of Giants (17,000 gp)
Nonmagical: Garrote
Total GP = 14,077,000


The Icy Shooter

This League of Whispers Drow specializes in the hand crossbow, which members of his race wield with no peer. Like most Executioners looking to top out their DPR, he goes straight for the Permafrost combo as soon as he can get it. He also picks up some tricks from the Ranger, namely one of his giant nova powers.


Race: Drow
Lolthtouched: Darkfire
Versatile Defense: Two-Weapon Defense
Guild: League of Whispers
Paragon Path: Guild Executioner
Epic Destiny: Destined Scion

Ability Scores
L1: STR 10, CON 12, DEX 20, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 14
L4: STR 10, CON 12, DEX 21, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 15
L8: STR 10, CON 12, DEX 22, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 16
L11: STR 11, CON 13, DEX 23, INT 9, WIS 13, CHA 17
L14: STR 11, CON 13, DEX 24, INT 9, WIS 13, CHA 18
L18: STR 11, CON 13, DEX 25, INT 9, WIS 13, CHA 19
L21: STR 12, CON 14, DEX 28, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 22
L24: STR 12, CON 14, DEX 29, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 23
L28: STR 12, CON 14, DEX 30, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 24

Feats
L1: Warrior of the Wild
L2: Ruthless Hunter
L4: Master at Arms
L6: Weapon Focus (crossbow)
L8: Distant Advantage
L10: Shadow Master
L10: Adept Power (retrained Weapon Focus (crossbow)
L11: Lasting Frost
L11: Wintertouched (retrained Distant Advantage)
L12: Weapon Focus (crossbow)
L14: Venom Master
L16: Merciless Killer
L18: Master of Fire and Darkness
L20: Rapid Assault
L21: Bow Mastery
L22: Deft Aim
L24: Venom Hand Master
L26: Improved Defenses
L28: Lolth Blessed
L30: Epic Fortitude

Executioner At-Will Powers
L1: Bola Tekedown
L1: Precision Dart
L1: Quick Shot
L7: Hidden Stab

Poison Recipes
L1: Bloodroot Poison
L1: Carrion Crawler Brain Juice
L5: Nitharit Poison
L9: Greenblood Oil
L15: Lich Dust
L19: Black Lotus Extract
L20: Wyvern Venom
L25: Dark Reaver Powder
L29: Dragon Bile

Utility Powers
L2: Cloak of Shades
L6: Ghost on the Rooftops
L10: Walk Through Shadow
L12: Daring Escape
L16: Untraceable Step
L17: Shadow Coffin
L22: Ignore Barriers
L26: Epic Recovery
L30: Undeniable Victory

Ranger Daily Powers
L10: Attacks on the Run
L15: Confounding Arrows (replaces Attacks on the Run)
L29: Five-Missile Dance (replaces Confounding Arrows)    

Skills
L1: Stealth
L1: Bluff
L1: Acrobatics
L1: Streetwise
L1: Thievery
L1: Perception (Warrior of the Wild)

Magic Items at L30 (Expected GP = 14,625,000)
L28: +6 Frost Hand Crossbow x2 (4,250,000 gp)
L28: +6 Shadowflow Armor (2,125,000 gp)
L27: Shadow Band (1,625,000 gp)
L27: +6 Amulet of Physical Resolve (1,625,000 gp)
L26: +6 Magic Ki Focus (1,125,000 gp)
L26: Bracers of Archery (epic tier) (1,125,000 gp)
L23: Boots of Stealth (425,000 gp)
L23: Eye of Awareness (425,000 gp)
L22: Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (325,000 gp)
L21: Gloves of Ice (epic tier) (225,000 gp)
L20: Diamond Cincture (paragon tier) (125,000 gp)
L13: Ring of Giants (17,000 gp)
Nonmagical: Blowgun, bola
Total GP = 13,417,000

Any and all celebrity lawyers. Ugh.

And that ends the death list ... err, reservations. Feel free to post, now.
Glad someone's picking this one up. Good on ya, litigation.
A Beginners Primer to CharOp. Archmage's Ascension - The Wizard's Handbook. Let the Hammer Fall: Dwarf Warpriest/Tactical Warpriest/Indomitable Champion, a Defending Leader. Requiem for Dissent: Cleric/Fighter/Paragon of Victory Melee Leader Ko te manu e kai i te miro, nona te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai i te matauranga e, nano te ao katoa. It's the proliferation of people who think the rules are more important than what the rules are meant to accomplish. - Dedekine
Well, this came out of left field.

Perhaps it is more awesome because I didn't see it coming?

Either way, looking forward to this. 
Thank you Litigation.
You've got me hooked with the reservations alone .
You didn't mention Revenant in the races list.  Considering what you can do with a dead HE TS at range here, it seems like it would be... good.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
What is HE TS? No one is allowed to berate me if the answer is obvious. Rather, thank me for giving you the opportunity to enlighten me.
Any and all celebrity lawyers. Ugh.

And that ends the death list ... err, reservations. Feel free to post, now.

But, but, Phoenix Wright is a celebrity lawyer... and he's on your avatar.

Any and all celebrity lawyers. Ugh.

And that ends the death list ... err, reservations. Feel free to post, now.

But, but, Phoenix Wright is a celebrity lawyer... and he's on your avatar.




It seems like you're voicing an... *puts on sunglasses* OBJECTION!
www.epiconeliner.com/
What is HE TS? No one is allowed to berate me if the answer is obvious. Rather, thank me for giving you the opportunity to enlighten me.



Pretty sure it stands for High Elf Transsexual.  
 
What is HE TS? No one is allowed to berate me if the answer is obvious. Rather, thank me for giving you the opportunity to enlighten me.



Pretty sure it stands for High Elf Transsexual.  
 



This. It's pretty much the gold standard in tranny combat.

Or, it could also mean Half Elf Twin-Strike.
Out of curiosity, Litigation, how exactly is this version of the Executioner going to get a coup-de-grace? The playtest had Unseen Spearhead, but I don't see anything in its class powers or poison list that would fit the bill, here.
There's Dark Reaver powder applied out of combat, but that's at Lv. 25.

But, yeah, that's why I tried to make it clear that the CDG was very conditional. You need a Wizard with Sleep, otherwise. Or wait until your quarry goes to bed for the night. Or maybe get lucky with an improvised Thievery check and a rope, if your DM lets you.
A Rogue with Knockout or a Battlemind with Mind Blade can also get you there, but yeah, that's what I meant. Maybe a note regarding that it's very hard to generate CDG circumstances on your own?
Attack Finesse bonus damage is once per turn, not once per round. Wink
Oh, good catch. Well, sweet, the Executioner is a nice Warlord beatstick, then.
Sweet. I like me this class, and I look forward to somebody else scouring for ways to make it better at its job! I'll try and help out by offering suggestions from what I know.

- Light Blades (specifically the rapier) are probably the best weapon type for a melee executioner. For Deft Blade, mostly.
- Multiclassing Rogue helps a lot with alpha damage. 9d10 + 5d6 hurts. Incidentally, feverishly pursuing combat advantage is a good idea too because executioners are somewhat innaccurate compared to Slayers, Thieves, Avengers, ect. Given the stealthy nature of the class, combat advantage isn't terribly hard to get (and thus Nimble Blade is another reason to use Light Blades).
- Charging always makes things better. Surprising Charge (requires being a rogue or fighter) gives a nice boost to damage with combat advantage on those, and Horned Helms make it even better (+1d6/+2d6/+3d6 on charge damage).
- Drow get a feat called Merciless Killer which gives you +5 damage against someone that is bloodied. This is a good thing for a race good at this class that likes to kill wounded things.
- This class can take advantage of the assassin feats that allow you to multiclass warlock and get Shadow Walk, combining it with the level 6 at-will utility Darting Shadow to result in near permanent hidden status. Make sure you take Mark of Shadow so your misses don't blow your cover.
- A melee executioner may also be wise to multiclass Avenger. Increasing your chance of critting on the big hit is always a good idea. Elves in particular would do well with fishing for crits this way. Note: I have suggested three awesome multiclass options. They sadden me with their taunting.

I was able to make a drow charger executioner/guild executioner/destined scion last night that did about 71 DPR at-will, and 90 on charges. Without frostcheese, it was more around 57 and 75, respectively. I assumed continuous combat advantage even on the non-frostcheese one, because executioners rarely enter combat situations without backup and there are lots of feats that can make combat advantage super-easy to acquire (Cunning Stalker, that rogue one for basically all conditions, ect.).
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.
^^ Can you explain how you get shadow walk?

I think Shadow Storm from the original Assassin would be a good choice for humans as their bonus at will. +1 dmg for each creature adjacent to the target could be some nice extra damage pretty often.
^^ Can you explain how you get shadow walk?

I think Shadow Storm from the original Assassin would be a good choice for humans as their bonus at will. +1 dmg for each creature adjacent to the target could be some nice extra damage pretty often.


I just finished that section. It's ... OK, I guess. Better than the other O-Assassin at-wills, but that's damning with faint praise. Overall, I'd definitely take their Heroic Effort feature over the bonus at-will.
^^ Can you explain how you get shadow walk?

There's a feat called Cursed Shadow from Dragon 385 that requires you to be an Assassin and a warlock. Its benefits are that you can use rods as implements and that you gain the warlock's Shadow Walk class feature if you don't already have it. Pretty cool feat.
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.
Anyway to get the rogue and warlock multiclass on the same build? I think there's a paragon path but I'm wondering of anything that's a smaller investment.
Leage of Whispers Essassins would probably enjoy warlock MC+Cursed Shadow+Hidden Sniper for guaranteed CA as long as you can move 3 on your turn..
It's an inconvenience to find in the Compendium due to word parsing, but Halflings will almost certainly want to opt for the Shortbow instead of the Hand Crossbow, due to the feat "Halfling Short Bow Hunter".

One feat nets them brutal 2 and a range of 20/40 on an already decent weapon.

Scrappy is also going to be a good source of untyped bonus damage for them as well, since Weapon Finesse only applies on one-handed weapons anyway. Small Warrior's Defense is more optional, since it requires multiclassing into fighter, but either of these becomes quite a nice option with any Military One-Handed Versatile weapon.
Anyway to get the rogue and warlock multiclass on the same build? I think there's a paragon path but I'm wondering of anything that's a smaller investment.

Traveler's Harlequin, which is actually worth it.  Why?  Because instead of giving a Daily 20, it lets you pick a Daily 19 from one of your classes.  Which you can promptly swap for, say, Knockout.  Between that and being able to multiclass Warlock and Rogue, I'd say it's a solid choice.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
Hmm... looking that path over, it's actually not bad at all. Action point feature is solid enough, the multiclassing is awesomeness (free multiclass feat, too), and getting Knockout would be pretty sweet.

But I dunno... is it worth giving up Guild Executioner? With that path, you're getting +2d10 to your Assassin's Strike, another boost to nova damage in the action point feature, and doing half damage on all your at-will weapon attacks on a miss. That's a lot of really good stuff.

But the ability to multiclass Warlock, Rogue and Avenger would be seriously very, very tempting...
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.
Hmm... looking that path over, it's actually not bad at all. Action point feature is solid enough, the multiclassing is awesomeness (free multiclass feat, too), and getting Knockout would be pretty sweet.

But I dunno... is it worth giving up Guild Executioner? With that path, you're getting +2d10 to your Assassin's Strike, another boost to nova damage in the action point feature, and doing half damage on all your at-will weapon attacks on a miss. That's a lot of really good stuff.

But the ability to multiclass Warlock, Rogue and Avenger would be seriously very, very tempting...



Quick reply to this, since I was also thinking about the Traveler's Harlequin trade-offs. Losing 2d10 with your Assassin's Strike is rough, but then I remembered we're talking about Multiclassing to rogue.  Sneak of Shadows at paragon gives you 3d6 sneak attack, which does virtually identical damage.  It's marginally harder to apply since you need CA, but more flexible overall (can use it on same or different foe as Assassin's Strike) and it'll outscale +2d10 come Epic.

With that a wash, trading off the other features in order to get Knockout and instigate my own CDG nova seems like a good deal.
Githzerai should be sky blue imo.  They don't have a "secondary stat" as such, but their blade mastery feat is bastardsword prof with a free +2 feat bonus, which puts them in the running.

Further, I would also note that races with a str boost but no dex boost should be revisited with the understanding that assassins can indeed choose to use strength instead of dexterity for their melee basic attacks.  Their at-wills would become less useful with dex as a secondary, but they'd function just fine in doing what they're supposed to be doing, which is killing people.  This won't make any of them blue I don't think, but it would bring several up from red to black.  Dwarves/Muls come to mind, with their weapon prof feat being as tasty as it is.

EDIT (further thought): On the Dwarf/Mul Front, an Urgosh would be pretty sexy: free defenive weapon for +1 AC (makes up for being 1 dex below other choices) and it's a 1d12 weapon, but can still count as one-handed weapon (stout is worded as being optional) and you save yourself an action when you want to toss something: shift whole weapon to off hand as a free action, draw throwing weapon as free action as per class feature, seathe throwing weapon as a minor action (if it was enchanted and thus returns to you) and switch the urgosh back to being wielded as a free action.

Let us not forget the value of those executioners not blessed with high dexterity.  Remeber this guy?

Interesting idea: Your Assassin majors in Dex and Int and takes Ritual Caster. Cast the Silence ritual in the King's bedchamber and laugh while you stab him to death while his guards stand just outside the door oblivious to the screams from the dying King.

You can also literally kill first, ask questions later by assassinating someone and then casting Speak with Dead. Awesome.

I'm sure there are also some other nasty tricks an Assassin can do with different rituals.

Another interesting Idea: Kill a Troll and cast Shadow Coffin on it.  Use a breakable, throwable object as your coffin.

Troll grenade.
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