Talk:Assassin (3.5e Class)

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Author's notes[edit]

I wanted to put in the 25% chance of an instant kill on any critical hit from the Fire Emblem series, but I decided to behave. :P Armond 11:56, 11 April 2007 (MDT)


First Off I must say this class is very complex and will be a pain to keep a track off, with ever refilling and depleting critical strikes, it made it really hard for me to even know what balance to give this class. I suggest trying to tidy this up a bit might make it a bit easier to understand.

Now onto balance: The Critical Striked ability is the first thing that shouted broken, so lets say an assasin with a keen dagger, 17-20 Critical right? then he adds the + 4 bonus for this class, this is scoring a critical on a 13-20, it may be just me but at around that point critical strikes seem to lose their meaning. Also, on another note what do these critical points represent, they must have some flavour reason for te assasin needing to score a critical hit, at the moment it doesnt make much sense.

It also allows for them to carry a bunch of rats coup de grace the rats getting auto criticals and charging their crit points. I am sorry to say this but the base mechanic this class works around (The Critical points) In my opinion need to be revised, as at the moment it seems like it will be hard to work into a game both story wise and mechanically. That is all I have to say for now, I look forward to your response

On a side note, the save DC's of "spells" are very low and you may want to increase the save dc beyond 12 + Int Mod Linkrulesx10 05:34, 13 April 2007 (MDT)

Thank you for your response. This class was based off the Guild Wars Assassin, who can have up to a 30% chance of landing a critical hit without breaking a sweat - and any assassin worth his salt brings something to increase that even more (such as a keen dagger, when translated into D&D). The other thing is that daggers seem to have a higher base chance to land a critical hit than other weapons (something like 10%). On the flip side, critical damage in GW is only max damage × <math>\sqrt(2)</math>. The thing both games share is that the assassin is forced to use low damage weapons.
I guess the real problem was trying to convert the biggest feature of their critical hits into D&D; Assassins gain energy when they land critical hits, energy which is used for their attack skills (here called "critical attacks"). I think I broke it, though.
Just threw in a strong nerf - target has to have a CR of at least equal to the assassin's. Goes against the GW thing of a higher crit chance on lower level enemies, but then again any time you're attacking an enemy ten levels lower than you the outcome is pretty much decided anyway, especially with a max level of 20. Also decreased duration of the critical strikes points to 24 hours. Armond 10:56, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
Spell DCs: I thought about that at one point, and I thought I had changed it to 3×spell level, but I guess not. I'll do that now.
Again, thanks for your comments - I want to make this a good class, and your input is helpful. Armond 10:56, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
What if damage dealt is decreased as crit chance increases? What if for each +1 to a crit chance, you deal -1 damage for each die rolled on dagger attacks and effects created due to this spell and take a -1 penalty on bonus damage from critical attacks? The latter would likely have a cap - I'm thinking -4 or so, but I could be convinced otherwise. Armond 14:30, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
Ok, well if you want this class to absorb damage from a critical hit, you might have to put that in there, also, just a suggestion but might it be easier to combine the deadly arts and the critical strikes into one mechanic? As that would simplify things but it may lose the kind of flavour you are looking for (I have never played guild wars) Ok, if you don't mind I shall make a few more comments:
Maybe I am blind but can we get a definition on the difference between a primary, follow up and finishing attack it, I can work it our flavour wise but I can't see rules supporting it... If I may say, maybe instead of the crit attack theme you may want to focus on the idea that they start of combat with an initial attack, chain it on to a follow up and then finish it, using that kind of mechanic instead of the critical. These are all suggestions so feel free to ignore which ever one's don't fit. One more point, what it you made the spell DC's 10 + Half Class level + Int... Linkrulesx10 21:54, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
The problem is that the only real way to define the attacks is by saying what follows what. Generally, a followup follows a primary and a final blow follows a followup, but there are a bunch of exceptions (palm strike, black spider strike, falling spider being just a few). About DCs, that sounds better than 3xlevel, I'll put it in. About arts, I really don't see how they would combine with crits - one's for attacking, and the other's basically spellcasting. About attacks and crits, I'm loathe to combine them, but if nothing better comes up I'll have to do that... Thanks again. Armond 23:39, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
Smacked that one down with the nerfbat of doom. It's now effectively useless until level 5, though it's still a stat that increases based on level starting at a certain level. Armond 21:00, 25 April 2007 (MDT)

I have to agree that this class is unnecessarily complicated. The main problem is that you invent your own mechanics when there is a "D&D way to do it". I suggest you take a step away from the Guildwars assassin and towards D&D.

  • Hex and Buff spell categories: Unnecessary. D&D does not make such a distinction in official rules, even though there are a lot of D&D spells that are either buffs or hexes (also called debuffs). Just remove that part, what is hex and what is buff can be understood just from descriptions. As for "must strike a hexed foe", remove all of them. It makes playing the class much easier.
  • Disoriented condition: D&D already has a long list of conditions, see SRD. Don't invent your own. Just replace disoriented with an official condition that fits the purpose.
  • Clear up your definitions! "Deadly arts cannot benefit from Metamagic feats, since they aren't strictly spells. However, they can benefit from feats that deal with spell-like abilities." There is no "strictly" in game rules. Either they are spells, or they are spell-like abilities. Decide! If they are spell-like abilities, then it is not necessary to state that they are not spells. And don't create anything in between. If they are spell-like abilities, then arcane spell failure chance does not apply. If you want it to apply, make them spells!
    WotC has set the precedent exception to this rule. Invocations are SLAs that are subject arcane spell failure (see the warlock in the Complete Arcane and/or the dragon adept in Dragon Magic). —Sledged (talk) 12:48, 14 June 2007 (MDT)
  • The whole "charge your critical meter" thing works well in a computer game, but it is annoying at the game table. "Hey Bob, how many crit points did you have last session?" - "Ah, I had that on my not sheet... damn, can't find it!" Wait, I just stab Pete for subdual damage until my crit meter is up again!" Please change that. Ideally, the number of critical strikes should be limited per encounter.
  • "The assassin cannot learn elite critical attacks unless he already knows three or more other critical attacks." - For everybody who can count, this means he can choose elite critical attacks from 11th level on. Wouldn't it be easier to just state it that way?
  • "Critical attacks must always hit a foe that was hit in the previous ten rounds by the prerequisite attack type defined by the critical attack." Uhh, 10 rounds? Very few D&D combats last 10 rounds. And what good is an assassin that needs 10 rounds to dispose of a foe?
  • "From 15th level onwards, the assassin can instead choose any rogue special abilities that he does not already have." - Vetoed. Rogue special abilities are for Rogues. Don't steal the cream of other classes.
  • It's not called "Health", it's called "Hit points". Use the proper D&D terms to avoid confusing the reader.
  • Both "Critical Strikes" and "Dagger Mastery" increase the critical hit threat range. If I calculate right, the threat range increases by +7! That's way too much. With Keen or Improved Critical a level 17 Assassin has a threat range of 10-20!? But it's all kind of moot because his BAB is a crappy +12 and he has to confirm all threats. And critical hits won't make much difference. Really. At level 17, he does 1d6+Str+enhancement bonus base damage, but 6d6 Sneak Attack damage that remains the same regardless of criticals. So why bother.
  • Shadowy Dodge (Su): - Again, that is an ability right out of the Guildwars, but D&D abilities don't work that way. What you are looking for is called "Hide in plain sight", as per Ranger ability.

I'm aware that these changes will bring more changes with them. For example, if the "critical meter" is removed, the Black Lotus Strike is useless and must be rewritten. But this is necessary. --Mkill 02:57, 14 June 2007 (MDT)

I have to admit you're right on this, and I have myself been considering the wisdom of making a class this complex, but job hunt, etc. is taking me away from the wiki a lot lately... I'm starting to think that this should be rewritten from the bottom up (which would, of course, call for an archive of the talk page). Perhaps it should be more a literal translation of the Assassin prestige class? The main thing I wanted was an assassin-like character (lots of damage, very fragile, but good at dodging to make up for it), but without the alignment restriction of the original. --Armond (talk/contribs) 16:48, 18 June 2007 (MDT)

Ideas for modifications while keeping with the current flavor

1.first off, fix the BAB, it either needs to be full or 3/4, and at the same time make sure to give the TWF feats at the same BAB a ranger gets them at (+2, +6 and +11). On that note, instead of the dagger defense thingy, give Two-weapon defense feats instead, probably at +3, +9 and +12 BAB.

2.integrate the Criting ability with the sneak attack. make the 'sins sneak attack be a flat damage add (maybe +2 each time instead of +1d6), but be multiplied by critical hits.

3.Make the attacks fit better within the way both games work. one possibility is to combine the Tome of Battles martial expoits with something similar to the Psionics power point system. give them attacks of power similar to spells, with a limited number known and a smaller number availible during an encounter (say start with three and +1 known every other level, +1 availible at a time every 4) and have them cost points equal to their "spell level", with a maximum "spell level" of six (use bard or psychic warrior progression?). keep the attack chain requirements, but make them act like the Guild Wars ones, with a "lead attack" (main hand) and an "offhand attack" that must hit after the main attack. so if you full attack, you must alternate main hand and offhand attacks and once you have a "lead attack" from your main hand hit, followed by a "offhand attack" from your... off...hand (redundancy? redundancy?) if you still have a main and offhand attack availible, you make a dual strike, which has two simultaneous attacks at full BAB, which both do something if they hit, and a (small) extra effect if they both hit.

4.similar to the previous, make the deadly and shadow arts act more like spells. make them spell-like abilities that use points the same way attacks do, with the same levels availible.

hope these help.Zau 18:30, 21 October 2011 (MDT)

for the thing with integrating the Energy pool thing, why not give them something like 5+Wis or Int 'Energy Points', which they spend on their abilities. the points regenerate one point or so every round. --Salasay Δ 12:18, 15 June 2012 (MDT)

capstone ability[edit]

The class, as it is now, does not gain anything at lvl 20 (also called the Rogue disease). A mere +1 BAB and +1 Will save, pretty much any multiclass will do better. Give it a cornerstone ability that is worth it! --Mkill 23:57, 11 June 2007 (MDT)

Yeah I noticed that, but I'm not sure what to put in there, or if Shadow Displacement should be lvl 20... --Armond (talk/contribs) 23:53, 13 June 2007 (MDT)
I have several ideas for a capstone ability but first we need to clean up the rest of the class. --Mkill 02:57, 14 June 2007 (MDT)

Critical Strike[edit]

You should put a cap on the criticle threat range, because it would be unfair to use a dagger with a threat rang of 10-20 --Xdeletedx 16:51, 22 February 2008 (MST)

Also, change the % into actual numbers, i dont want to be calculating 33% of 30ft. Please edit this class so its easier for DnD players. GFD i think this class would be too powerful for my friend's campiagn, should i get a new character sheet or should i erase the work i did and ruin the character sheet(im being sarcastic) --Xdeletedx 17:24, 22 February 2008 (MST)
hello. my name is zarrall. i LOVE D&D, but also favor GW. may i bring up the crit fox build which uses a combo that, when used right in GW, never misses. how would you represent this in dnd? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Zarrall (talkcontribs) 18:17, 22 February 2008 (MST). Please sign your posts!
Possibly by a bonus to the attack bonus. --Green Dragon 22:13, 24 February 2008 (MST)
Crit fox can still miss if you are blind, btw (i play GW as well). you could make the fox attacks touch attacks. Zau 13:59, 24 September 2008 (MDT)
The Crit Range can be 9-20 and it's not overpowered when you take into consideration that you're only doubling 1d4 + whatever your damage modifier is. You would have to invest quite a few feats towards that specific end to make it noticeable and by the time it was, you're at such a high level that you're still not contending with the fighters, druids (trust me, my wife's druid build is a BEAST), monks, etc. Sure, you're auto-hitting but you only double it on confirmed crits. (BTW: You're BAB is in line with Rogues so that's cool.) The ONLY thing that could make it seem broken is the Crit Attacks...unless you change the limits on them. First: make MORE. (Happy to help) We need a selection if Primary, Follow Up & Final Attacks further broken down by Slashing or Piercing or Either all with enough choices to make it interesting. Second: Simplify the restrictions. No consecutive Crit Attacks & Each Series (Primary, Follow up, Final) must be completed on the same Target. That's all you need because 10 rounds is kinda useless and IF you can get 5 attacks in one round (crit, normal, crit, normal, crit) then go for it! But that's not going to happen until later levels anyway (just like the 55% Crit Rate). AND unless you are flanking the target... you're not getting that Sneak Attack Damage on these attacks...--Damagecrab (talk) 14:37, 5 April 2013 (MDT)

Critical Points[edit]

You should lower the min CR to gain a point to a little below your level (mabye 3/4 your level) so you can gain point in fights other than a major fight, since as is, many of your class features wont be usable at all when fighting a large number of slightly lower level enemies (as lvl 10 chars, you would be useless in a fight against a bunch of level 9 NPCS). Zau 10:48, 30 June 2009 (MDT)


Why dose the assassin need to be Evil? In GW they were, at worst, always chaotic.

Best. Assassin. Ever.[edit]


Power - 4/5 I give this class a 4 out of 5 because it kinda ramps slowly but is still useful, even as a rogue replacement in a party. You have to take the right feats to really turn it into a Cuisinart/Tazmanian Devil-like fighter. The Deadly Arts are cool but the Critical Strikes are SO LIMITED. I'll propose more but more input would be fantastic.--Damagecrab (talk) 11:51, 5 April 2013 (MDT)

Wording - 4/5 I give this class a 4 out of 5 because while wording is pretty clear ; more examples would make it easier to understand on the first read. --Damagecrab (talk) 11:51, 5 April 2013 (MDT)

Flavor - 5/5 I give this class a 5 out of 5 because this class is SO much fun to play as a rogue substitute!! The best part is the freedom with which you allowed to play this character. There are SO many personality archetypes that go with this class! --Damagecrab (talk) 11:51, 5 April 2013 (MDT)


Balance - 1/5 I give this class a 1 out of 5 because it's not balanced at all.

Wording - 1/5 I give this class a 1 out of 5 because it's very unclear. Very wishy-washy.

Formatting - 1/5 I give this class a 1 out of 5 because it's very much a Rogue overloaded with spells along with Sneak Attack, debilitating spells, it doesn't mesh well.

Nice, but need simplification[edit]

At first, this class looked terrible, as it's overloaded with special abilities, bonus feats, spell like abilities, multiples pools, special attacks and all of the rogue features except trapfinding. Taking a closer look, though, showed that it had some potential, at it kinda replicated what the usual complex mesh of rogue/thug/swordsage/assassin/daggercaster means to achieve, although it lacks the sheer number of sneak attack dice and trapfinding. Sure, it's almost strictly better than straight rogue, but straight rogue is just not very good. The problem here though is it's just that much more complex than the usual complex multiclassing mesh, and it's just one class. I honestly can't figure out if it's balanced or not. You should honestly try to combine some of its features together, and limit the number of pools to track. Also, death attack as a level one ability, and even as an ability seems like a bad idea. You've got deadly arts and critical strikes, why couldn't you make some that instantly kills, or work it a way or another in some coherent ability? I really don't see the synergy with the rest of the class, except that it's an assassin base class and so it seems to have every prestige assassin ability for some reason. I mean, there are just too much different abilities on this class that seems independent from each other, you really need to streamline it. But I like the concept. ^^

Check out the Guild Wars Assassin for a better idea of what the class is going for. Feel free to try and help. --Salasay Δ 21:57, 30 April 2016 (MDT)
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