Assassin (Executioner) build...need some advice

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Smoke, level 6
Revenant, Assassin (Executioner)
Executioner Option: Attack Finesse (Executioner)
Assassin Guild Technique: Red Scales
Choose your Race in Life: Githzerai

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 13, DEX 19, INT 11, WIS 8, CHA 17

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 11, DEX 16, INT 11, WIS 8, CHA 16


AC: 17 Fort: 18 Ref: 20 Will: 18
HP: 50 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 12

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +12, Bluff +13, Perception +7, Stealth +12, Streetwise +11

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +3, Athletics +4, Diplomacy +8, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +6, Heal +2, History +3, Insight +2, Intimidate +8, Nature +2, Religion +3, Thievery +7

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Revenant Utility: Dark Reaping
Assassin Attack: Assassin's Strike
Assassin Attack: Garrote Strangle
Assassin Attack: Poisoned Dagger
Assassin Attack: Quick Lunge
Assassin Utility 2: Silent Stalker
Assassin Utility 6: Vanish

FEATS
Level 1: Two-Weapon Defense
Level 1: Great Fortitude
Level 2: Githzerai Blade Master
Level 4: Superior Reflexes
Level 6: Cunning Stalker

ITEMS
Bloodroot Poison
Carrion Crawler Brain Juice
Id Moss Powder
Envenomed Ki Focus +2
Amulet of Seduction +1 x1
Adventurer's Kit
Poisoner's Kit
Dagger
Garrote x1
Supremely Vicious Fullblade +2
====== End ======

This is my level 6 Assassin (Executioner)

1) I've chosen Revanent to get some of the darker abilities of the race AND to get in the Githzerai Blade Master racial ability.

Is this an optimal racial choice?

2) I chose Red Scales as my Assassin Guild Technique so that I could employ the use of the Garrote Strangle.  I'm under the understanding that I can add garrote damage EVERY turn in a round and can build up damage via poisons and dark reaping.

Is a garrot an effective weapon to deliver poison? Do I truly get damage EVERY turn?  How can I employ dark reaping most effectively?

3) I've chosen Superior Reflexes and Great Fortitude in order to make it difficult for a foe to escape from a garrote attack.

Other than forced movement, can I max this any higher to make it even more difficult for a foe to break free?

4) Anyone have a link to a character optimization that builds on this same theme? 

You can't use a fullblade and get the Executioner's extra damage (only works with Executioner weapons & one-handed weapons).

You get garrote damage every round if you sustain standard.  It does not damage every turn.

Trade the +2 fullblade for some armor.  The naked undead thing is not so hot.
I generally agree with Vorne.

Trade the Fullblade for a Bastard Sword (don't bother with magic, that is what your Ki Focus is for).

I'm not a big fan of Envenomed Ki Focus, I think it only works for you on one attack per day (Id Moss) and you can't use that with the "miss with Assassin's Dagger" exploit so I'd consider something else (I'm fond of Devastating but people have pointed out that that may not be as good as some other options). Rain of Hammers maybe?

Get some magic armor.
You can't use a fullblade and get the Executioner's extra damage (only works with Executioner weapons & one-handed weapons).

You get garrote damage every round if you sustain standard.  It does not damage every turn.

Trade the +2 fullblade for some armor.  The naked undead thing is not so hot.

Doesn't Attack Finesse give you damage every turn?  The way I read it was that you add Finesse damage every turn...so if I've got someone choked with a garrote and sustaining it, wouldn't the weapon damage apply on every turn?  Here's the cut/paste:

ATTACK FINESSE (EXECUTIONER)
...once per turn you can deal 1d8 extra damage with a weapon attack using a one-handed weapon, a garrote, a blowgun, or a shortbow...

I thought this to be a bit OP, but I only see one way of reading that when you're choking an opponent with a garrote.

This character isn't fully fleshed out yet so the gear isn't fully populated at the moment.  What are the best suggestions for gear other than those items titled "Assassins..."?
I generally agree with Vorne.

Trade the Fullblade for a Bastard Sword (don't bother with magic, that is what your Ki Focus is for).

I'm not a big fan of Envenomed Ki Focus, I think it only works for you on one attack per day (Id Moss) and you can't use that with the "miss with Assassin's Dagger" exploit so I'd consider something else (I'm fond of Devastating but people have pointed out that that may not be as good as some other options). Rain of Hammers maybe?

Get some magic armor.

I'll change to bastard sword, thank you.  Would it be worth a feat to pick up proficiency in kukri?

I'm thinking of focusing on a garrote; as you can see I've feated up for higher Ref and Fort to help fend off the escape attempt.   I know an amulet or cloak may work here as well.  Any other ways that bear mentioning?

As for Ki Focus...i'm really not to keen on Ki.  I don't see the point really.  I was hoping to build toward a non-magic based assassin without becoming a Slayer.  Is this impossible?
Read further: 

"...once per turn you can deal 1d8 extra damage with a weapon attack"

You're not making an attack outside of your own turns, therefore the d8s don't just start piling themselves up.  
I'm not sure you're clear on many of the rules concerning Executioners.

The point of a ki focus is that it gives an enhancement to your garrote and your bastard sword, and whatever other weapons you want.  Right now, you're attacking with a plain old mundane garrote, no enhancement bonus, no expertise.  Also, +2 ki focus is no more or less "magical" than a +2 sword.  It could be something as mundane as a locket with a picture in it that inspires you to attack more fiercely.

Two weapon defense only works if you are wielding a different weapon in each hand.  The garotte is a two-handed weapon.

The +1d8 from attack finesse is meant to be in addition to whatever attack you make, not seperate from it.  If you miss, no bonus.

Once you hit with Garotte Strangle, you can continue to sustain the attack, but you can't attack anyone else, and you can't move without breaking the grab or spending an action point to drag your prey with you (if you succeed on a STR vs Fort attack, which you will not) and even then it's only half your speed.

Furthermore, be aware that you have to first be hidden to use Garotte Strangle.  This is a whole other set of rules that you'll need to familiarize yourself with.  It's more complicated than just being invisible.

Get some armor.  A level 6 monster has a 75% chance to hit a 17 AC.

Finally, if you really want to boost your Fort and Ref, take those points you put into CHA and put them into STR or CON instead.
   Executioners are almost always better as a hybrid over a pure class, Warlock,blackguard,avenger are all wonderfull hybrids with them.

Poisons are useless, the ones that do anything cool only work once, the others add so little damage its almost not worth it.

I'm not sure you're clear on many of the rules concerning Executioners.

The point of a ki focus is that it gives an enhancement to your garrote and your bastard sword, and whatever other weapons you want.  Right now, you're attacking with a plain old mundane garrote, no enhancement bonus, no expertise.  Also, +2 ki focus is no more or less "magical" than a +2 sword.  It could be something as mundane as a locket with a picture in it that inspires you to attack more fiercely.

Two weapon defense only works if you are wielding a different weapon in each hand.  The garotte is a two-handed weapon.

The +1d8 from attack finesse is meant to be in addition to whatever attack you make, not seperate from it.  If you miss, no bonus.

Once you hit with Garotte Strangle, you can continue to sustain the attack, but you can't attack anyone else, and you can't move without breaking the grab or spending an action point to drag your prey with you (if you succeed on a STR vs Fort attack, which you will not) and even then it's only half your speed.

Furthermore, be aware that you have to first be hidden to use Garotte Strangle.  This is a whole other set of rules that you'll need to familiarize yourself with.  It's more complicated than just being invisible.

Get some armor.  A level 6 monster has a 75% chance to hit a 17 AC.

Finally, if you really want to boost your Fort and Ref, take those points you put into CHA and put them into STR or CON instead.

You are absolutely correct.  As this is my first attempt at building an assassin, I've got some preconceptions, some rules ignorance, and a whole lot of 'I wanna do it my way'.  And so I'm posting for advice and links to other people assassin builds that they find works very well.

I appreciate all your input.  Let me reply to some of your notes.

I took two weapon defense because the alternative choice under Versatile Defense was Shield Proficiency: Light.  That seemed a bit odd for an assassin to manage a light shield while trying to be stealthy and perhaps wield either a garrote or perhaps two daggers.  So while I'm focusing on garrote, this thread has led me to believe that I should perhaps choose a different weapon to focus on.  I'm still up in the air with this.

I would hope that Wizards could think of a more worthwhile use of the garrote than simply instilling 1d4 (what? no attack finesse bonus?! Grrrrr) of choking damage every round.  Historically (IRL), the garrote wasn't just for choking, but some were designed to cut through the soft tissue of the neck or employ pressure to the spine to crush it and paralyze someone.  I'd love to be wrong about my recent assumption about the D&D version of the garrote being a poor weapon choice, so please correct me.  However, we all know history and reality are a far cry from the D&D fantasy genre at times.  Bummer.

I'm not terribly worried about moving a grabbed opponent.  I rarely do it in my current gameplay and don't see much advantage to it as an assassin.  Call me creatively limited.

As for hiding, I've read several forums on the mechanics of concealment, invisibility, hiding, and all the other degrees of these.  I'm pretty clear that I need to successfully hide from my opponent and his allies in order to set up a decent assassin strike.  Thanks for saying so, might as well not leave that rock unturned.

As I've not finished this character, can you suggest a magic armor?

I'll consider CON as my secondary stat and CHA as tertiary.

Great input, again, I thank you.
   Executioners are almost always better as a hybrid over a pure class, Warlock,blackguard,avenger are all wonderfull hybrids with them.

Poisons are useless, the ones that do anything cool only work once, the others add so little damage its almost not worth it.


I'll look into Avenger then, I was already considering this and you've pretty much confirmed it for me.  Would it be better to hybrid the class rather than take a feat to Multi-class?

I've done some pretty good reading on poisons.  With the right feats, I think it's possible to make it difficult for an opponent to save against them.  And, the other thing I was considering is that it's nice to simply stack damage for that first strike...the ongoing damage is gravy.

Am i correct in this?:
Assassin's Strike + Poison + Shrouds + Attack Finesse =  High DMG potential?

I'm beginning to see that DPR might suffer overall, but that initial hit can be a shocker.  What's your thought? 
You dont get both shrouds and attack finess you can choose one or the other. I posted a good Assassin (non essentials) build a bit ago. Here the link community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
I would hope that Wizards could think of a more worthwhile use of the garrote than simply instilling 1d4 (what? no attack finesse bonus?! Grrrrr) of choking damage every round.  Historically (IRL), the garrote wasn't just for choking, but some were designed to cut through the soft tissue of the neck or employ pressure to the spine to crush it and paralyze someone.  I'd love to be wrong about my recent assumption about the D&D version of the garrote being a poor weapon choice, so please correct me.  However, we all know history and reality are a far cry from the D&D fantasy genre at times.  Bummer.

Well, it's not great, but it's not quite as bad as just 1d4 damage.  The Garrote Strangle power is 2[W], so you're actually doing 2d4, then add your dex modifier, enhancement/item/feat/etc bonuses, and you do indeed get the 1d8 from Attack Finesse since you're making the attack.  Sustaining the attack will do the same amount of damage again in subsequent rounds.

Where it falls behind is in certain optimization bits like the garrote not really being a certain "type" of weapon, so you can't add feat support like you could with say a light blade.  Also the requirements of being hidden and staying stationary and vulnerable in plain sight are a lot of hoops to jump through for an attack that's not hitting any harder than a swing of a rapier.  Also, the grab can be broken by any kind of forced movement on you or your target. 

On the other hand, the sustain attacks are auto-hit, so that's nice.  This kind of approach is never going to get much attention in CharOp, because there are other options that are more effective.  But in a casual, non-optimized game, this can be a decent power. It certainly has great flavor to it.
I'm curious as to the game you plan on playing this in. While many of the above comments are true (namely that the executioner is imperfect by itself and not the most optimized for damage) depending on the group you are playing with, and the difficulty of the fights, you may find that the unique flavor of this class (pretty much the only thing I've seen who can actually use a garrote effectively) outways the disadvantages. If you're playing a home game, you could even talk to your dm about tweaking it to make your class more viable. Just a thought.

I'm currently in the midst of building an executioner myself, who also relies on his garrote. In an effort to make hiding easier (since I'll need it to strangle) I've chosen a drow as a race (unoriginal but effective). His cloud of darkness is perfect for popping just before I attempt a choke. I've also taken the escaped slave theme which provides another (though more limited) invisibility substitute at first level. At level 2, I took the Cloak of Shades which does more of the same.

So by level two, I can potentially be hidden from one (possibly multiple) targets for three rounds. Since most of the fights I'm in don't go beyond four or five, this is acceptable to me. I'd reccomend sticking with a dagger over a bastard sword or fullblade. Since your poisons act as a daily power, it doesn't seem worth the risk of wasting on a miss. If you aren't able to hide and garrote on your turn, switch to your dagger as a free action and use your poisons or encounter ability. 
Probably not the most optimal MC but Cutthroat can give you that 4th round as well (the garrote power just requires hidden from the target right?) as it allows you to do the bluff/stealth hide thing as a minor action once per encounter.
I'm curious as to the game you plan on playing this in. While many of the above comments are true (namely that the executioner is imperfect by itself and not the most optimized for damage) depending on the group you are playing with, and the difficulty of the fights, you may find that the unique flavor of this class (pretty much the only thing I've seen who can actually use a garrote effectively) outways the disadvantages. If you're playing a home game, you could even talk to your dm about tweaking it to make your class more viable. Just a thought.

I'm currently in the midst of building an executioner myself, who also relies on his garrote. In an effort to make hiding easier (since I'll need it to strangle) I've chosen a drow as a race (unoriginal but effective). His cloud of darkness is perfect for popping just before I attempt a choke. I've also taken the escaped slave theme which provides another (though more limited) invisibility substitute at first level. At level 2, I took the Cloak of Shades which does more of the same.

So by level two, I can potentially be hidden from one (possibly multiple) targets for three rounds. Since most of the fights I'm in don't go beyond four or five, this is acceptable to me. I'd reccomend sticking with a dagger over a bastard sword or fullblade. Since your poisons act as a daily power, it doesn't seem worth the risk of wasting on a miss. If you aren't able to hide and garrote on your turn, switch to your dagger as a free action and use your poisons or encounter ability. 

In my attempt to min/max the class, I now realize I've overlooked the pure fun of flavor and role play. While this garrote focused assassin isn't the heavy hitter I'd like him to be, you've certainly helped me refocus my attention on the fun of playing the class.

I certainly will be looking for ways to hide easily.  That's the bread and butter of this assassin build.  Thanks for your input. 
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