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    Troll in the Playground
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    May 2009
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    Default [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages! Outsiders and eldritch abominations too!

    In what even I consider was a much-delayed oversight on my part, I found a small piece of homebrew that was left, if anything, in the dark. Checking the date, I realized it was almost two years old (2010! And finished in March, of all things!!), and was left in the backburner for far too long. Although there are older pieces of 'brew, this one was delayed constantly, after other, newer stuff got pushed (Project Heretica, Wyrmlord, the deities, etc.), and given that I'm mostly pushing one piece of 'brew a month (slow, but steady), I decided to show it off to the world before January ends...or February begins, whichever is the best.

    As you may know, the Assassin was formerly a class and then turned into a PrC when the concept of prestige classes emerged. Being one of the first PrCs dropped by WotC in the 3rd edition line, the Assassin (alongside the Arcane Archer, the Arcane Trickster, the Archmage, the Blackguard, the Hierophant, the Horizon Tripper, the Shadowdancer and the Thaumaturge; some of these were released and updated in 3.5 but were originally from other places) has the unique distinction of having more support than other PrCs but not the advantage of late-game PrCs which were far more fleshed in terms of what they could do. While the assassin got new spells, items to assist on their work and new poisons to work with, being part of that first line of PrCs means that other classes sometimes fleshed their work better. Heck, classes made their work a bit better (I'm looking at you, Swordsage!!).

    Of all the PrCs, the Assassin is, oddly, one of the best worked. There's both fail and win in the first batch of PrCs (the Archmage counts as very powerful if not broken, yet the Arcane Archer is a joke and the Hierophant a weird piece of work), but the Assassin stands somewhat in the middle; if you get access to it, it might work just fine.

    But, upon examination, this isn't the case. The spells, of course, are what makes the Assassin stand out, but the other abilities are either good (sneak attack, hide in plain sight), bad (death attack) or hilarious (bonus to saves against poison?). The idea with this retooling is to reinforce the chassis a bit more, applying some of the lessons learned in the way from other classes and PrCs, attempting to avoid dead levels, and so forth.

    Thus, without further ado, I present to you:

    ASSASSIN

    Drow Assassin, by Beth Trott. Originally released in the Drow of the Underdark supplement.

    "In the game of shadows, I am but a pawn. And like the pawn, I kill and crown matriarchs and consorts. I would ask you to recall that...but unfortunately that will not be the case..." -- Maenyas, drow assassin, to her latest target.

    Requirements
    To qualify to become an assassin, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
    Alignment: Any non-good.
    Skills: Disguise 8 ranks, Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks.
    Special: The character must have slain a creature of a Challenge Rating equal or greater than his character level minus two on his own for one of the following purposes: contract-bound assassination, personal vendetta, or removing a person from power.

    Spoiler
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    As you can see, the requirements are a tad stricter, but a bit wider as well. You don't have to be specifically evil, so neutral assassins are fair play (and they're as close you'll get to "good" assassins). The Disguise requirement was increased, because you're expected to be a master at hiding away, and what better way than to blend in with a simple yet clever disguise (or an elaborate one, meant mostly to hide in plain sight for quite some time). The special requirement has been refined, making it a bit of a challenge to enter but giving some sense into it: either you assassinate someone because you're being paid, because you hate the guy's guts, or because you're attempting to raise in the ranks, destabilize a society or simply oust an unfair ruler. The original assumed there was an assassin's guild, but where there's none (and you might just be the first, perhaps, or when the mantle of the assassin is based off apprenticeship), the following make more sense.


    Class Skills
    The assassinís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

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    The most notable change is the amount of skill points you get per level. While the Assassin makes a strong use of Intelligence, the sheer amount of skills it has simply can't withstand a 4+Int amount of skill points. Sure, you might have an 18 Int, but if you come from, say, a Rogue background, that's nearly one-third of your skill points lost! 6+Int is enough to make a skill-monkey without having to delve deep into the Rogue's territory, and works well with other such classes as Factotum and Spellthief. Aside from that, the list is essentially identical, full to the brim of skills an assassin may make use of.


    Hit Die: d6.
    {TABLE=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|{colsp=4}Spells per Day
    1st|+0|
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |Sneak attack +1d6, backstab, skill mastery|0|-|-|-
    2nd|+1|
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |Poison use +1, brains over brawn, uncanny dodge|1|-|-|-
    3rd|+2|
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +1
    |Sneak attack +2d6, hide in plain sight|2|0|-|-
    4th|+3|
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |Poison use +2, evasion|3|1|-|-
    5th|+3|
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |Sneak attack +3d6, improved stealth|3|2|0|-
    6th|+4|
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |Poison use +3, death attack|3|3|1|-
    7th|+5|
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |Sneak attack +4d6, hinder spellcasting|3|3|2|0
    8th|+6|
    +2
    |
    +6
    |
    +2
    |Poison use +4, improved virulence|3|3|3|1
    9th|+6|
    +3
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |Sneak attack +5d6, untraceable|4|3|3|2
    10th|+7|
    +3
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |Poison use +5, hide magic aura|4|3|3|3[/TABLE]

    Spoiler
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    As you can see, the assassin is now chock-full of new and unique abilities, reinforcing the idea of assassination and stealth. You'll notice their key ability, death attack, has been placed later than the norm, well after the assassin has gained a great deal of abilities, and more than halfway through its progression. This is intentional, and explained later on.

    Since the biggest support assassins got was through spellcasting, this trait was retained, in order to keep some of the very useful spells assassins got intact. Some support for uses of spell slots aside from spellcasting are also given, particularly with improved virulence.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the assassin prestige class.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Assassins are proficient with the hand crossbow, rapier, shortbow (normal and composite) and short sword if they are not already proficient with it. Assassins gain no new armor proficiency if they already do not possess any.

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    If you're a fighter or rogue, these weapons will already be on your list (except for the hand crossbow in the case of the fighter). If you enter through other means, you get at least the hand crossbow in your list of proficiencies, unless your entry method only allows for simple weapons.

    The reason why Assassins don't get redundant armor proficiencies is because, of all the expected entry methods, Monks can't equip armor and the rest at least have light armor proficiency, so while the weapons are sorta justified, the armor really isn't.


    Sneak Attack: As the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other odd level (3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th). If an assassin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.

    Spoiler
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    As before, the assassin gets sneak attack right at 1st level, and progresses every 2 levels, so that's unchanged. The stacking sneak attack also applies as well.


    Spells: Beginning at 1st level, an assassin gains the ability to cast a number of arcane spells, which are drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. To cast a spell, an assassin must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spellís level, so an assassin with an Intelligence of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Assassin bonus spells are based on Intelligence, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the assassinís Intelligence bonus. When the assassin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Intelligence score for that spell level.

    An assassin can learn any spell from the enchantment, illusion and transmutation schools, and necromancy spells with the fear or death descriptor. An assassin may also choose other spells from different schools of the sorcerer/wizard spell list but as indicated below; furthermore, she can learn unique spells not available on the sorcerer/wizard spell list. An assassin casts spells just as a bard does, including being capable of casting in light armor, but not all spells require a vocal component.

    Upon reaching 6th level, once per week and at every even-numbered level after that (8th and 10th), an assassin can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. The new spellís level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. An assassin may swap only a single spell at any given moment, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for that level.

    {TABLE=head]Level|1st|2nd|3rd|4th
    1st|21|-|-|-
    2nd|3|-|-|-
    3rd|3|21|-|-
    4th|4|3|-|-
    5th|4|3|21|-
    6th|4|4|3|-
    7th|4|4|3|21
    8th|4|4|4|3
    9th|4|4|4|3
    10th|4|4|4|4[/TABLE]
    1: Provided the assassin has sufficient Intelligence to have a bonus spell of this level.

    Spoiler
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    While the assassin's spell list is pretty formidable, it's important to indicate that it could use some more love. Hence, a few changes have been made to a pretty decent spell list.

    The most important comes from...where else, Project Heretica (actually, it was from the Spellthief, but you can see how that little piece of mechanics works out for me). As you can see, the assassin learns spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list (not its own, self-contained list, although that list serves as the list of spells it has access to aside from that of the Sor/Wiz spell list), so as long as new Sorcerer/Wizard spells appear, the Assassin benefits. This is exactly the way a Spellthief (and the Suel Arcanamach, as well) learns spells, and it's a very reliable way to provide a great deal of power to a PrC. Necromancy is limited because we want the debuffs, but not the ability to manipulate the undead. As usual, if a spell is on the Assassin spell list, it's available on this Assassin's spell list, and if it appears earlier, it counts as if appearing earlier.

    Another big change is the way they exchange their spells; they have a weekly ability to alter one of their spells, so they don't have a "set in stone" spell list, instead of one they can play with if needed. Since an assassin is expected to stay for days or even weeks tailing a target, there's a chance they may change their spells to suit their needs.


    Backstab (Ex): Assassins train to kill their enemy with a single blow. Although it is late in their training when they can effectively truly kill a target with one blow, assassins begin by enhancing their basics; striking at the most vulnerable parts of a creatureís body.

    As a full-round action, an assassin may sacrifice all of her attacks and make a single attack at her highest attack bonus. An assassin does not need to be facing the opponentís back (although it is the usual way to execute this ability), but she must otherwise comply with the requisites for sneak attack (except that an assassin does not gain this ability while flanking, only if she catches her enemy flat-footed or somehow denies her opponentís Dex bonus to AC). If she succeeds on the attack, the assassin deals twice the amount of damage she would usually deal. An assassin doubles the result of the damage roll, including the weapon damage, her Strength modifier, and her result in precision based damage (such as sneak attack), but not magical weapon enhancements (such as flaming or frost).

    Spoiler
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    So death attack isn't a 1st level ability, and we have a weaker form of this ability called Backstab. You may ask, why!? Well, here's why.

    Death Attack, as it stands, is pretty weak. It requires three rounds of study, it requires having the target not realize you're an enemy, and it also requires the target be vulnerable to sneak attacks. Backstab seems roughly similar, requiring a full-round action and actually denying the enemy's Dex bonus to AC in order to work, but its application is slightly more useful.

    You see, doubling nearly every bit of damage (including precision damage, and that means Sneak Attack or Sudden Strike, but not Skirmish unless you can move AND make a full-round action) can effectively kill a single enemy in one blow. Every point of static bonus is doubled, so if you use a two-handed weapon for this move, you're nearly tripling your Strength to damage, or doubling stuff like Inspire Courage extra damage, Insightful Strike, amongst others. Note, also, that Backstab can be done from a distance: a single hit within 30 ft. while hidden or invisible can be devastating, even if you are revealed from hiding afterwards. It's more manageable than Death Attack in that way, but it still requires proper positioning in order to make it far more effective.

    The real reason? Death Attack comes later, and Backstab plays a good deal in how that ability works.


    Skill Mastery (Ex): An assassin is so confident in her abilities, she may take 10 with any Disguise, Hide or Move Silently even if stress and distractions prevent her from doing so.

    Spoiler
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    To support the entry skills, here's a little bonus. You can take 10 to Hide or Move Silently, so with a huge enough bonus, you can effectively go invisible without problems. It's pretty minor, though, but it's gotten pretty early.


    Poison Use (Ex): Starting from 2nd level, the assassin gains training in the use of poison and never risks accidentally poisoning herself when applying poison to a blade. Furthermore, she may apply poison to a blade as a swift action. Finally, any poison she uses gains a +1 bonus on the saving throw DC, whether it is a contact, inhaled, ingested, or injury poison. This bonus increases by one per each two class levels.

    Spoiler
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    The bonus on saving throws against poison becomes irrelevant if you spend at least a few GP on a periapt of Proof against Poison, or the use of Neutralize Poison on a potion or scroll. Thus, since there are many ways to become immune, why grant an ability that'll see so little use?

    Hence, I combined the poison use ability with a nifty trait: if you use poisons, their save DC increases based on your class level, so poisons will become far more dangerous. Since you can apply a poison as a swift action, you could easily kill an enemy in two blows using a strong Constitution poison. Remember you have lots of skill points, and Craft as a class skill, so Craft (poisonmaking) isn't out of the question.


    Brains over Brawn (Ex): At 2nd level, an assassin gains her Intelligence bonus as a modifier on Strength checks (including disarm and trip checks), Dexterity checks (including initiative checks), and checks involving skills based on Strength or Dexterity, such as Hide, Climb, and Jump.

    Spoiler
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    A minor boon for Assassins from your friendly Factotum, the ability to use Int to fuel tripping and Initiative makes you a deadly combatant even when you're not aiming to kill. This, oddly enough, makes intelligent Fighters viable, particularly if their second stat is Strength, because you can use stuff like spiked chains and Improved Trip to keep the enemy down, while striking from a hiding spot in order to deal sneak attack damage. This is meant to reinforce the role of the Assassin when in combat, instead of merely relying on Backstab/Death Attack.


    Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, an assassin retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (She still loses any Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.)

    If the assassin gains uncanny dodge from a second class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge, and assassin levels stack to determine the amount of rogue levels required to flank her.

    Spoiler
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    If you didn't enter by means of the Rogue class, you get Uncanny Dodge in order to prevent many of the ways a creature can deal precision damage against you. If you ARE a Rogue, you get the improved version and you pretty much can't be flanked. Since the original granted a redundant Improved Uncanny Dodge (redundant in that the best way to enter was via a Rogue), this makes it less redundant, but not as powerful. The original's Improved Uncanny Dodge was changed to something worthwhile, tho.


    Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 3rd level, an assassin can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

    She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.

    Spoiler
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    Yes, HiPS is still supernatural, still requires hiding near a shadow, but it's five levels earlier. Why? Because you need Hide to remain important for a few levels, and what better way than by allowing you to hide easily. While you can't hide in your own shadows, you CAN hide on the shadows of others, and coupled with the other boons to hide, you can hide pretty reliably.


    Evasion (Ex): At 4th level, whenever an assassin succeeds on a Reflex saving throw against a spell or attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. This ability is identical to the evasion ability of the rogue.

    If the assassin gains evasion from a second class, the character automatically gains improved evasion.

    Spoiler
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    Remember when I mentioned I replaced Improved Uncanny Dodge for something useful? This is it; all Assassins, no matter what, gain Evasion. Rogues and Monks, on the other hand, gain the ever-useful Improved Evasion, and with their bonuses to Reflex they'll make pretty good use out of it.


    Improved Stealth (Ex): At 5th level, an assassin may move at her full speed without taking a -5 penalty on Hide or Move Silently checks. Furthermore, an assassinís penalty for running or charging while using Hide or Move Silently are reduced by 10, as well as attacking while hiding.

    Spoiler
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    Improving the stealth aspect of the Assassin, now you can use Hide pretty much tactically. This effectively allows you to move while hiding without any penalty, and reduces the penalties for attacking, running or charging by half. This also includes sniping, so you can make a ranged attack and remain in hiding with less penalties, which works wonders if you're attempting ranged backstabs or, heck, ranged death attacks.

    Hiding after bluff is considered part of the movement, so let's assume, in case you're curious, that such a penalty disappears. Covering all notions of stealth can be a bit of a hassle, so in case I missed something, indicate it please.


    Death Attack: Beginning at 6th level, if an assassin studies her victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (assassinís choice). While studying the victim, the assassin can undertake other actions so long as her attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the assassin or recognize the assassin as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the assassinís class level + the assassinís Int modifier) against the kill effect, it dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the assassin. If the victimís saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack (and the backstab ability applies if conditions are met). Once the assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, she must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.
    If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes its save) or if the assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before she can attempt another death attack.

    Spoiler
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    Here is Death Attack, basically the same as before. You may ask; why!? Why do you need to spend three rounds of study in order to make a lucky shot in order to slay an enemy immediately?

    In part, it is because it's hard to define what else to do. Daily uses of this ability would be pointless, and uses per encounter would be equally so, because this is an attack that's meant to take advantage of studying your opponent and slaying him instantly. Making it useful only once or twice per encounter (or worse, per day) would be insipid. However, done at will would be too powerful in any case, even with two hold-backs around (the Fort save and the attack roll), since you could make any sneak attack a death attack. So, a compromise must be made.

    While there IS a way to solve it somewhere around, the best way is to make the minimum amount of changes possible. Thus, the main change around is the application of backstab: if you can take the enemy as a full-round action and deny its Dexterity bonus to AC, you can pull off a backstab with no problems, which might just be enough damage to kill the enemy in a single blow. Or maybe not, but it makes death attack a bit more of a "no save, just die" ability, which increases its potential a bit.

    Of all the abilities, this one is subject to change at any moment, if only because I can predict you guys won't be too happy with it.


    Hinder Spellcasting (Ex):
    At 7th level, an assassin seeks to take advantage of a spellcasterís focus in order to hinder her magic prowess and cause greater damage. If a spellcaster is on the threat range of an assassin, she is vulnerable to the Assassin's attack even if casting defensively; thus, even if she succeeds on the Concentration check, the assassin is still allowed to make an attack of opportunity as usual. A spellcaster may still cast defensively for purposes of other creatures, unless they have an ability that explicitly denies so. Furthermore, if the spellcaster is not casting defensively, the attack of opportunity is treated as a sneak attack if successful (so as long as the assassin is capable of making the sneak attack). Finally, for purposes of denying a sneak attack by casting defensively, the DC for the Concentration check increases by an amount equal to the assassinís class level plus the assassinís Intelligence modifier.

    Spoiler
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    This ability is really, really powerful, because it makes the Assassin a nightmare in the eyes of a spellcaster...well, one that doesn't take defenses seriously. Of course, the Assassin has some spells to work against the enemy's defenses...

    The feature is divided into three big abilities, all related to casting defensively; first, the Assassin gets Mage Slayer for free, but without caster level penalties and not counting for Pierce Magical Protection/Concealment. Second, if the enemy somehow forgets to cast defensively, it'll suffer a brutal sneak attack of opportunity, so you'll make sure that they attempt to cast defensively. But finally, you hinder that specific ability by increasing the Concentration check they need to do by quite a bit. At 7th level, with 16-18 Int, that means a +11 to the DC to cast defensively, which isn't very funny to observe. So, unless the enemy relies on non-AC defenses or stays well outside the range of the Assassin, it'll suffer...and if you remain invisible or somehow near the spellcaster inconspicuously, he or she will suffer. That's mostly the point.


    Improved Virulence (Sp):
    At 8th level, an assassin makes her poisons magically potent. She may sacrifice a spell slot and gain a bonus of +2 per level of the spell slot expended to all poisons she uses during the round. Furthermore, if a blade is poisoned, it remains poisoned until the beginning of the next round; however, a creature may only be affected once by a poison even while using this ability.

    Spoiler
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    This makes poisons even MORE lethal than before, and you get this by expending spell slots. Sure, the spell slot of an Assassin is extremely valuable and you get limited slots, but when you really need the enemy to be poisoned by any means (say, if you want to land the death attack by any means), this ability is formidable. The second ability works to poison many enemies in a single round, in case they are within range (and if you're using a reach weapon, chances are you WILL), with the same degree of lethality. Sure, immunity to poison is cheap, but then again you have positoxins and ravages qualifying as poisons in that regard, of which at least the first ignores undead's immunity to poison.


    Undetectable (Su): At 9th level, if an assassin succeeds on a Hide or Move Silently check to cloak her presence, she may not be detected by supernatural or magical means. Extraordinary means of sight, such as blindsense, blindsight or tremorsense still work on the subject, but not supernatural or spell-based versions of these abilities. This ability only applies whenever the assassin uses either Hide, Move Silently, or both; an invisible assassin is still detected by magical or supernatural means, but the creature must still succeed on a Spot or Listen check to detect the assassin.

    Spoiler
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    I insist on making Hide and Move Silently (or Stealth for you PF fans) important, so here's this little beauty. This denies most spellcasters' ways to foil stealthy actions, which may lead to the enemy suffering a deadly backstab or death attack. Coupled with Darkstalker, you are effectively undetectable by any means short of a good Spot and Listen, which only a few might be capable of getting, and with the expected bonuses to these skills...


    Hide Magic Aura (Su):
    At 10th level, an assassin and her objects are treated as if under the effect of a magic aura spell. This affects also any spell currently under effect on the assassin, unlike the spell. Objects with this ability lose the benefit one round after they leave the assassinís hand. The save DC for the magic aura effect, if necessary, is equal to 15 + the assassinís class level + the assassinís Intelligence modifier.

    Spoiler
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    Not much of a capstone, but it kills the most obvious bit of the Christmas Tree effect, in that you'll negate a spellcaster's basic detection skills (Detect Magic, for example) and make you seem mundane; perfect for going undercover. You can also attempt to foil a spellcaster by making him believe you're far more buffed than possible, thus making him lose time and possibly spell slots using Greater Dispel Magic only to realize your items are still standing and your aura is still going strong.


    Assassin Spell List

    As mentioned before, an assassin may cast spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, with a few exceptions. However, an assassinís spell list differs from that of a sorcerer or wizard by means of spells that any of them cannot normally prepare or know. As well, an assassin may learn spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list with an effective spell level lower than the usual.

    The following spell list is a compilation of all the spells that assassins may cast alongside their limited-access sorcerer/wizard spell list, as well as spells that are reduced from level. All of these spells are on the Dungeon Masterís Guide assassin spell list. For other sources than the Dungeon Masterís Guide, an assassin may cast spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list and the assassin spell list. If a spell is in both lists, the assassin learns the spell at the lowest level by which the spell may be cast; for example, if a spell is 3rd level on the sorcerer/wizard spell list but 2nd level in the assassinís spell list, the assassin learns the spell as a 2nd level spell. Restrictions on spells are also extended to these spell lists; an assassin is limited only to spells from the enchantment, illusion, or transmutation schools, as well as necromancy spells with the fear or death descriptor. The Dungeon Master may decide which spells from other sourcebooks may not apply. When determining which spells to remove and which to apply from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, a DM is well advised to retain spells of the enchantment and illusion schools, most if not all of the spells of the transmutation school, spells that cause conditions such as death, poison or any of the fear states, or spells that resemble or behave as spells from the following list (or as the bard spell list on the Playerís Handbook).

    1st Level: detect poison*, detect secret doors*, grease*, hold portal*, lesser confusion*, obscuring mist*, protection from good*, true strike*.
    2nd Level: darkness*, detect thoughts*, fog cloud*, glitterdust*, illusory script-, pass without trace*, see invisibility*, undetectable alignment*.
    3rd Level: deeper darkness*, dispel magic*, false life*, magic circle against good*, nondetection*, tongues*.
    4th Level: clairaudience/clairvoyance*, contagion*, detect scrying*, dimension door*, freedom of movement*, glibness*, locate creature*, modify memory*, poison*, solid fog*.

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    Finally, here are the spells you can get aside from the spells on the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. They are the classic Assassin spells from the old list, added for completion. You get a good share of new spells and some gems, like Glitterdust and Glibness (and Freedom of Movement, as well). If you miss a few, remember that you have the remaining ones as part of the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list, so raid those lists to find out how to build a better assassin.


    Alternate Class Feature: Blackthorne Assassin
    Most assassins are familiar with magic because of their constant dabbling with arcane items, such as wands and scrolls. The assassins of the Blackthorne guild, on the other hand, train in an esoteric martial art that allows them to master the shadows, strike at blinding speeds, as well as to use the enemiesí strengths against them. Blackthorne assassins have a distinct disdain for the arcane arts, and many of their targets tend to be arcanists.
    Level: 1st
    Replaces: Class skills, spellcasting, hide in plain sight, death attack, improve virulence
    Benefit: A Blackthorne assassin gains Concentration and Martial Lore as class skills, but loses Use Magic Device.

    As well, the assassin gains the following benefits:
    Maneuvers: At every even-numbered level, the Blackthorne assassin gains a new maneuver from the Diamond Mind, Setting Sun and Shadow Hand disciplines. The Blackthorne assassin must meet a maneuverís prerequisite to learn it. The Blackthorne asssassin adds her full class levels to her initiator level to determine her total initiator level and her highest-level maneuvers known.

    The Blackthorne assassin has an unique way of recovering maneuvers; if the assassin had levels in a martial adept class before taking levels in the prestige class, she must choose which of the two recovery methods she will use from onwards; once the choice is made, it is permanent and may not be changed. A Blackthorne assassin recovers one maneuver whenever she makes a backstab; for every round she spends studying her opponent, she recovers two extra maneuvers.

    At 4th level, 7th level and 10th level, the Blackthorne assassin may ready one additional maneuver per day. If she has no levels in a martial adept class, she may prepare one maneuver per day at 2nd level, but she does not gain the ability to prepare any other maneuvers until 7th level. A 2nd level Blackthorne assassin counts as a swordsage of 1st level for purposes of qualifying for feats that require it (such as Extra Readied Maneuver and Scribe Martial Script).

    Stances Known: At 5th level, and again at 10th level, a Blackthorne assassin learns a martial stance from the Diamond Mind, Setting Sun or Shadow Hand disciplines. The Blackthorne assassin must meet a stanceís prerequisite to learn it.

    Weapon Proficiency: Blackthorne assassins gain proficiency with the bastard sword (or katana), nunchaku, sai, siangham, short sword, spiked chain and trident. As well, they gain the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for free; if they already have this feat, they gain no further benefit. A Blackthorne assassin with levels in monk stacks her monk levels with levels in this class to determine the damage of her unarmed strikes.

    Hide in Plain Sight: A 3rd level Blackthorne assassin may hide in plain sight if she remains in a Shadow Hand stance. The stance does not need to grant concealment for the ability to work; this trait supersedes explicitly the restriction in the Child of Shadow stance.

    Death Attack: A 6th level Blackthorne assassin may make a death attack without spending 3 rounds of study (as normal assassins do), but with the following changes: a Blackthorne assassin must have a 4th level or higher Shadow Hand strike maneuver readied. When using a death attack, the Blackthorne assassin loses the use of the highest-level Shadow Hand strike readied for the current encounter, as if she had initiated the strike (except she does not also gain the strikeís normal effect). The saving throw DC for this type of death attack is equal to 10 + half the Blackthorne assassinís class level + the level of the Shadow Hand strike expended + the assassinís Intelligence or Wisdom modifier (whichever is higher). Once the death attack is resolved, the Blackthorne assassin may recover the expended maneuver and use it as normal.

    Increase Virulence: A 8th level Blackthorne assassin may expend a boost maneuver she has readied for the current encounter to use this ability. The bonus to the DC of the poison is equal to the level of the maneuver expended, however (instead of twice the level).

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    Many Assassin fixes I've seen support the idea of making it based off maneuvers instead of spells, so here's a good way to handle that out. I like how spells, maneuvers, mysteries and invocations have a feel that's dark but not evil, and thus classes that are dark but not necessarily evil can share them.

    The amount of maneuvers is pretty limited at first instance, but pretty standard based on the PrCs that Tome of Battle offers. 5 maneuvers, three readied maneuvers and two stances; that's roughly more than many of the classes offer, but still on the range. It's obviously built to be entered by means of the Warblade or Swordsage class (and has a bone thrown to Monks and unarmed Swordsages, if that's your schtick).

    The other changes explain themselves: you gain the class skills of the three disciplines you master but you lose the all-powerful UMD; you gain all the weapon proficiencies of the three disciplines' favored weapons; Death Attack can be done as if it were a maneuver, and Improve Virulence behaves a lot as a boost, so you can figure both can be augmented pretty nicely. Oh, and Hide in Plain Sight is now almost as if you had permanent invisibility, because of how Hide has been improved.


    Alternate Class Feature: Master of Shadows
    Some assassins have taken to the mastery of shadow magic as a source of power. Being a subtler, yet more effective form of magic than the arcane arts they practice, assassins that master paths of shadow blend their formidable arts of stealth and assassination in ways unimaginable
    Level: 1st
    Replaces: Spellcasting, increase virulence
    Benefit: The assassin gains the ability to cast mysteries from a small amount of paths. Likewise, because of their ties to shadow magic, increase virulence works in a different way:

    Mysteries and Paths
    : Beginning at 1st level, an assassin gains the ability to use mysteries. At 1st level, an assassin gains the ability to use mysteries from one path, and may choose a new path at level 4th, 7th and 10th. An assasin begins capable only of choosing mysteries from the apprentice paths; at 7th level, an assassin becomes capable of casting mysteries from the initiate paths and all of his apprentice path mysteries become spell-like abilities.

    An assassin may use each mystery from a single path once per day; at 7th level, she may use her apprentice mysteries three times per day. An assasin may, instead of choosing a new path at any given level, choose from any of her already chosen paths; if doing so, she progresses further down her path as if she had gained the ability to choose initiate mysteries, turning those specific mysteries into spell-like abilities and gaining the ability to cast them three times per day. A third choice of the same path allows the assassin to treat her mysteries as supernatural abilities, usable five times per day. An assassin may not choose the same path more than three times. An assassin that chooses to delve further down a path gains no further uses of his mysteries at 7th level (effectively, she sacrifices to an extent her progression in other paths for greater understanding of a single one), except as follows. After 7th level, if the assassin decides to delve further into her apprentice mysteries, she is treated as if she had already progressed further down her path once.

    The Difficulty Class for an assassinís mystery is equal to 10 + the mysteryís effective spell level + the assassinís Intelligence modifier. If the assassinís mysteries become supernatural abilities, the saving throw DC for these mysteries becomes 10 + the assassinís class level + the assassinís Intelligence modifier. Although the assassin has no actual caster level, she is treated as if having a caster level equal to her class level for purposes of determining the effect of mysteries.

    Increase Virulence: an assassin may sacrifice one of her mysteries per day to increase the virulence of poisons, in the following way: she gains twice the mystery level as a bonus to the saving throws against poisons, but her poisons are augmented by shadows, and thus have a chance to have lesser power. A successful Will saving throw against a DC equal to 10 + the assassinís class level + the assassinís Intelligence modifier halves the potency of this ability (thus, the poison only gains a bonus to its save DC equal to the mysteryís level).

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    The mystery-using version was actually much easier, and makes quite a lot of sense if you think about it, than the maneuver version because it was replacing one form of spellcasting for another.

    One thing I need to mention is that I follow a slightly different set of rules for mystery casting, which are very loosely based on that of Mr. Mearls' unofficial errata. Uses are now 1/3/5 times per day based on tier, and you can choose to advance each path separately, so you can have a small set of powerful mysteries or a bunch of mysteries for diversity. I'll see if I can work a Shadowcaster using these small rule changes, but if there's differences between Mearls' unofficial errata and mine, use the most advantageous.

    The caveat about Increase Virulence is that you could sacrifice one of your th level mysteries to add a +12 to the save DC of any poison, which is 4 more than the usual, and because you're using shadows to augment your powers, so there must be some catch to it. Thus, using poisons turns out to be a pretty brutal gamble, but if your enemy fails on both, it's open to a world of hurt.


    So, as usual: questions? Comments? This retool is so good, its murderous? You're dead...of laughter because of how weak it is?
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2012-02-09 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Fixing stuff; adding Blackthorne Assassin and Assassin of Shadows ACF
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    man... the instagib potential of a thug with a falchion just went up... Now I want to make that build...(take level d6+ 3*strength+2*power attack+4d4+weapon bonus, keen to crit on a 15-20 for x2... average damage at level 6 with full power attack and 18 str= 48+weapon bonus, or 78+weapon bonus on a crit... or dropping a barbarian of equal level with a +2 con mod...)
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    I'm my opinion this better fills the flavour of the assassin in fantasy. Can't hide anywhere (In the shadow of a coin), no one is safe (Not even mages), and can fool you into becoming their tool (Enchantment spells).

    Even though I love this. I'm never letting my Rogue player see this. He will use it to destroy the game!

    Edit: Also shouldn't the title be 18 seconds. 6 seconds in a round, three rounds for death attack.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    I don't do core for quite a while now, but I couldn't not notice this.
    This is by far the best Assassin fix I've encountered.
    Bravo


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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Its good. Its really nice. It suffers the same drawbacks everything with SA does, but it has other abilities to help it through the hard times. I wish that some of the poison buffs would make them effect people with things like a Periapt against Poison and other immunity granting devices, but I think what you have might be okay for a Core fix. Still much better than the sadness it was before.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    It would be clearer in the text if you did away with all the stuff about Sneak Attack in the conditions and simply said:

    "As a Full round action, the Assassin may make a single attack against one target that is Flatfooted or otherwise denied its Dexterity bonus to AC. If the attack hits, it deals double damage. Unlike normal, Sneak Attack damage or other precision damage is multiplied on a Backstab hit, but weapon modifiers, such as Flaming or Frost, are not."
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    The spell reselection guidelines are confusing. Do you get to change once per week + an additional time every two levels there after, so you can change 5 a week at 10th level, or do you have once per week and then can change the rest once you hit the appropriate level once?

    Also, you mention Backstab and Death Attack being able to be used at range throughout your notes, yet both abilities explicitly say melee (trading of all your 'melee' attacks, make a sneak attack with a 'melee' weapon). Are we supposed to use throwing weapons or something to still enable it or be in melee before making a ranged attack? So confused...
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    A lot of the necro debuffs lack a descriptor (or at least an obvious one), Ray of Enfeeblement and Shivering Touch (where available) being the two more useful examples standing out in my mind.

    I'm not sure if there's any elegant way around this besides just rounding all of them up and sticking them on the list, since the Undead manipulation spells don't all share a descriptor (though the creation spells and many of the more undeady spells have the [Evil] descriptor, so you could maybe ban that). You could also just ban any spell with "Undead" in the name, but that might come across as pretty silly

    Lastly you could just give them all the necromancy and let Assassins create crummy Undead armies with their gimped casting progression if that was really their true desire in life.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Erm, wow. Super-sweet retooling for a much loved and slightly under-performing PrC!

    Having read through this pretty carefully I can't find anything really wrong with it, however I would like to add my voice to Cieyrin's confusion over the spell reselection, the wording is a little vague. Also, the wording in Improved Virulence doesn't actually state what the +2 is for... I assume it's DC, but you don't actually say! Finally, may I suggest you put Hinder Spellcasting into 2 or 3 smaller paragraphs. Although it's not needed, per se, I feel it would make the ability clearer in 3 definitive sections (since it's essentially 3 different yet related boni anyhow)

    That's all I can see which needs changing... I salute you sir!
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
    It would be clearer in the text if you did away with all the stuff about Sneak Attack in the conditions and simply said:

    "As a Full round action, the Assassin may make a single attack against one target that is Flatfooted or otherwise denied its Dexterity bonus to AC. If the attack hits, it deals double damage. Unlike normal, Sneak Attack damage or other precision damage is multiplied on a Backstab hit, but weapon modifiers, such as Flaming or Frost, are not."
    Hmm...I'll consider it. I need another editor: not to bash Cie's work, but I tend to go on quite a bit. Perhaps it's because of my mentality that the less words a description has, more problems happen with RAW interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cieyrin View Post
    The spell reselection guidelines are confusing. Do you get to change once per week + an additional time every two levels there after, so you can change 5 a week at 10th level, or do you have once per week and then can change the rest once you hit the appropriate level once?
    The second one. You can change spells once per week. However, if you reach 6th, 8th or 10th, you can exchange a spell immediately as you level up, independent of the weekly change.

    That said...thanks for the idea. I might...consider taking a cue from Magic of Incarnum regarding spell reshuffling. Changing one spell per week at first, then 2, up to 4 spells per week for classes such as sorcerers and favored souls.

    Also, you mention Backstab and Death Attack being able to be used at range throughout your notes, yet both abilities explicitly say melee (trading of all your 'melee' attacks, make a sneak attack with a 'melee' weapon). Are we supposed to use throwing weapons or something to still enable it or be in melee before making a ranged attack? So confused...
    Hmm...good catch. Being a two-year old 'brew, it tends to happen.

    Death Attack hasn't been touched from the original, except for the backstab addition. The original Death Attack requires a melee attack (and there's a spell that allows you to make death attacks at a range), and the same line of thought went with Backstab. Until further changes to Death Attack are pitched, Death Attack remains untouched, but Backstab should act like Sneak Attack and allow the 30 ft. range. In fact, I want it to be used while sniping, because that makes sniping all the more useful (full-round action, you make a ranged attack and then Hide again, dealing double damage including SA).

    That said, if you have Lightning Throw, you could qualify for ranged Backstab/Death Attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeAnno View Post
    A lot of the necro debuffs lack a descriptor (or at least an obvious one), Ray of Enfeeblement and Shivering Touch (where available) being the two more useful examples standing out in my mind.

    I'm not sure if there's any elegant way around this besides just rounding all of them up and sticking them on the list, since the Undead manipulation spells don't all share a descriptor (though the creation spells and many of the more undeady spells have the [Evil] descriptor, so you could maybe ban that). You could also just ban any spell with "Undead" in the name, but that might come across as pretty silly

    Lastly you could just give them all the necromancy and let Assassins create crummy Undead armies with their gimped casting progression if that was really their true desire in life.
    Heh, the idea is interesting. Gimpy undead creatures could make for impromptu distractions (the party fights the undead, they don't know who controls them, the undead die, but while that happens the Assassin studies the Wizard and then *splat*, dead Wizard because of failed Fort save).

    That said: the most elegant would be "all necromancy spells except those that create undead as their main effect" (so that stuff like Enervation doesn't get shafted), OR add those spells to the Assassin spell list (which is what I've done with most of the spells I wanted to add anyways).

    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    Also, the wording in Improved Virulence doesn't actually state what the +2 is for... I assume it's DC, but you don't actually say!
    It's a bonus to the save DC of the poison. I thought I added that into the description; at least it SHOULD be on the commentary (which oddly, on second thought, it doesn't have).

    That said, I might just say "+2 to the save DC or to the damage dealt by the poison's initial damage", which works even better!

    Finally, may I suggest you put Hinder Spellcasting into 2 or 3 smaller paragraphs. Although it's not needed, per se, I feel it would make the ability clearer in 3 definitive sections (since it's essentially 3 different yet related boni anyhow)
    I'll...consider that, though usually what I need is to resume, not expand into more paragraphs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    Edit: Also shouldn't the title be 18 seconds. 6 seconds in a round, three rounds for death attack.
    Well: I wanted to joke about the 3 rounds, but I also consider the move action you require to draw near the enemy. That's...roughly 2 seconds.

    Point is, I wanted a really nice, round number, and the closest was 20, because it's the nicest number within the 3-round range. Still, kudos on finding the joke (though, that WAS an easy joke to get, no?)

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    I find it a lost cause because (hey, that rhymed) everything the Fighter does is Fight. Outside of combat it collaborates too little. You'd need to unmake the Marshal and add it to the Fighter, plus add a few skills to have something to work with, and that wouldn't cover many of the traits that the Fighter would require. Then, even when you pull that off, you need to make it distinct enough from the Warblade, or else the Warblade will be the best option. Paladin has the spells to distance it from the Crusader, so that's a point to reinforce; with the Auras, I could distance it enough from the Cleric so as to make it stand on its own. The Monk was even harder, but I believe that with the ki mechanic and Way of the Beasts I could pull off something that would take the unarmed Swordsage quite a lot to duplicate, reinforcing the skill potential of the Monk. I'd need a hint of inspiration to pull that off with the Fighter, and not even the Pathfinder version can do that.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    I hate to be the dirt bag to bring this up. I do really like your assassin fix. But there is still one small nit-pick. I will admit, however, it is entirely personal. Spells. Personally I don't think that an assassin should just get spells for delving into a non-casting class... (does that make sense)? My ideas of an assassin are those who get the job done without magic. Because there is no magic in the land? No. Because "they" (initial non-casters) are incapable of using magic? Not really, there is a reason why multiclassing exists after all. But rather to me an assassin to me is the paragon of stealth arts and killing techniques the way a monk is to well... their abilities. I am not against their supernatural abilities (in fact many parts of Bo9S I rule as supernatural simply because the fact that they are extraordinary is kinda silly). But still I hope I am making my point without confusing everyone. Anyways on to the point if it wouldn't be a hassle could you "recommend" some ACF's for this class to remove spells? Please? :) :D *even bigger smile/puppy dog eyes*
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by BladeTempest View Post
    I hate to be the dirt bag to bring this up. I do really like your assassin fix. But there is still one small nit-pick. I will admit, however, it is entirely personal. Spells. Personally I don't think that an assassin should just get spells for delving into a non-casting class... (does that make sense)? My ideas of an assassin are those who get the job done without magic. Because there is no magic in the land? No. Because "they" (initial non-casters) are incapable of using magic? Not really, there is a reason why multiclassing exists after all. But rather to me an assassin to me is the paragon of stealth arts and killing techniques the way a monk is to well... their abilities. I am not against their supernatural abilities (in fact many parts of Bo9S I rule as supernatural simply because the fact that they are extraordinary is kinda silly). But still I hope I am making my point without confusing everyone. Anyways on to the point if it wouldn't be a hassle could you "recommend" some ACF's for this class to remove spells? Please? :) :D *even bigger smile/puppy dog eyes*
    The most obvious one is to exchange spells for a maneuver progression, making it part of a clan that practices the Sublime Way instead of magic. However, I'd have to be fair and exchange the spells for mysteries as well, because, you know, Assassins and Shadows.

    A class that's entirely non-magical (as in no Blade Magic, arcane magic or shadows) would be difficult because then I'd have to cram loads of abilities to cover what spells could easily pull off. Particularly on the area of illusions and whatnot. Hide could easily become outright invisibility, and some other class skills could attempt to replace what magic can, but only to an extent, and then you wouldn't have the spells that serve as patches to death attack, or the spells that increase the effectiveness of poisons (and Increase Virulence would lose a bit of its power), and so on. Plus, it would look far too cramped up for a PrC, which would then imply that a class is best fit for it.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    um... so that is a no then? :/

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by BladeTempest View Post
    I hate to be the dirt bag to bring this up. I do really like your assassin fix. But there is still one small nit-pick. I will admit, however, it is entirely personal. Spells. Personally I don't think that an assassin should just get spells for delving into a non-casting class... (does that make sense)? My ideas of an assassin are those who get the job done without magic. Because there is no magic in the land? No. Because "they" (initial non-casters) are incapable of using magic? Not really, there is a reason why multiclassing exists after all. But rather to me an assassin to me is the paragon of stealth arts and killing techniques the way a monk is to well... their abilities. I am not against their supernatural abilities (in fact many parts of Bo9S I rule as supernatural simply because the fact that they are extraordinary is kinda silly). But still I hope I am making my point without confusing everyone. Anyways on to the point if it wouldn't be a hassle could you "recommend" some ACF's for this class to remove spells? Please? :) :D *even bigger smile/puppy dog eyes*
    I simply reflavour the spells into something the Assassin does with skill. Mechanically its the same but its still an assassin using his skill to do acts of stealth and finesse.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    I'd need a hint of inspiration to pull that off with the Fighter, and not even the Pathfinder version can do that.
    What about... Inspiration?

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Another solid home run, Oskar.

    In addition to the previously mentioned melee/ranged discrepancies and strange (but clear) wording, you mention preparing spells a few times in the Spell List section.

    Still... fantastic. I've already requested it's use in a game.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    I find it a lost cause because (hey, that rhymed) everything the Fighter does is Fight.
    Not my Warrior (Fighter remake).
    Hint: The maneuvers mechanics are not mentioned or even hinted in my house rules codex.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Outside of combat it collaborates too little.
    Being a bit less MAD, with 4 skill points per level, more skill points at character level 1 and a lot more class skills, my Warrior has a lot more to say out of the battlefield.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    You'd need to unmake the Marshal and add it to the Fighter
    Given the concept of auras seemed inappropriate to me for a purely mundane class, I covered this one with appropriate feats.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Then, even when you pull that off, you need to make it distinct enough from the Warblade, or else the Warblade will be the best option.
    No resemblance.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    The Monk was even harder, but I believe that with the ki mechanic and Way of the Beasts I could pull off something that would take the unarmed Swordsage quite a lot to duplicate, reinforcing the skill potential of the Monk. I'd need a hint of inspiration to pull that off with the Fighter, and not even the Pathfinder version can do that.
    My Warrior by no means puts my Monk to shame, but it does put the PF Fighter to shame - bigtime (and that's an understatement).

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Hey, one homebrew per thread, guys. If you want to discuss your Fighter, Nonsi, go to your thread.

    I don't want to see this closed because of some silly accident.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    I thought that the problem people found with Death Attack was that the DC was too low (because of being based on class levels and having too few ways to boost it)?

    Also, for whoever was complaining about poisons lacking the ability to penetrate spells... I fixed that. And as I read it, it would roll onto this versions spell list automatically.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by BladeTempest View Post
    ...Anyways on to the point if it wouldn't be a hassle could you "recommend" some ACF's for this class to remove spells?...
    You could always take a cue from the Rokugan ranger variant and replace spells with an ambush feat every odd level. Not as snacky, but functional for a lower magic setting or suchlike.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    I would have answered yesterday, but for some reason...everything got lost. However, I had enough time to work something else, so...

    Quote Originally Posted by BladeTempest View Post
    um... so that is a no then? :/

    *puts on Sherlock Holmes cap* Time to homebrew methinks...
    It wasn't really a definite answer. For your information, the maneuver variant and mystery variant of the Assassin are ready to be posted because of this.

    However, a spell-less assassin much like the Pathfinder version...that would have been pretty hard. Spells cover for quite a bit of the flexibility of assassins (stealth, improvements to combat, improvements to poisons and death attack, mobility) so it'd require quite a bit of time to work out appropriate abilities to compensate for the loss of spellcasting. The last thing I want is a spell-less Assassin in the same vein as the spell-less Paladin or spell-less Ranger in Complete Warrior, or the spell-less Assassin of Pathfinder which is pretty weak.

    Quote Originally Posted by NineThePuma View Post
    What about... Inspiration?
    Stealing a page from the Factotum? I'd rather give Inspiration to the Expert instead of to the Fighter. Thing is, the mechanic stripped down to its bare bones is pretty similar to the ki mechanic, except with a recharge mechanic, so it'd make it pretty similar to the Retooled Samurai, which would make one of the two a copy of the other. Maneuvers would have worked better, but Warblade is right with them, and they have bonus feats much like Fighter, so making those bonus feats count as Fighter bonus feats is just the thing you need to invalidate Fighter, so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyndworm View Post
    In addition to the previously mentioned melee/ranged discrepancies and strange (but clear) wording, you mention preparing spells a few times in the Spell List section.
    That's pretty odd, but it must be due to copy/pasting errors. That reminds me; I need to check on the Paladin for that. I noticed while I was doing some fixes, thanks to you pointing that out. I'll change it as soon as I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Not my Warrior (Fighter remake).
    [...]
    Being a bit less MAD, with 4 skill points per level, more skill points at character level 1 and a lot more class skills, my Warrior has a lot more to say out of the battlefield.
    [...]
    Given the concept of auras seemed inappropriate to me for a purely mundane class, I covered this one with appropriate feats.
    This was the longest part of the post I was supposed to work yesterday, so I'll simplify it:

    I've seen some attempts at fixing the Fighter, and the best ones so far usually involve maneuvers a la Warblade. Others essentially invalidate other classes (jiriku's version invalidates the Samurai and Marshal classes, plus the Knight class partially, for example) but otherwise retain some of the problems with the class (what about outside of combat?). The Warblade already has 4+Int skill points, a good set of class skills (Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge [local and history]), a unique mechanic, bonus feats and some staying power. I'd need an equally unique mechanic that justifies more than just bonus feats.

    Personally, a mixture of Pathfinder Fighter and a fix to bonus feats would make the Fighter somewhat good, but I've attempted that in my homebrews and my Fighter player requested to add a few Warblade levels because he felt he couldn't do that much outside of battle. He spent a few of his skill points on a forbidden skill (Craft: Alchemy, just because both of us study/ied Chemical Engineering and like Chemistry), plus I allowed Listen and Spot as class skills, and it wasn't enough. In fact, my player told me the Fighter was feat-starved, and he was going for a pretty easy build which he has retained in his new incarnation (Half-Giant, Power Attack [but no Leap Attack or Shock Trooper], Large Fullblade and oodles of strength, ending battles in one or two rounds) That shocked me a bit, considering the Warblade is pretty fun to play even if it lacks something to do outside of battle (unlike the Swordsage, which has teleportation and levitation to work things out).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyndworm View Post
    Hey, one homebrew per thread, guys. If you want to discuss your Fighter, Nonsi, go to your thread.

    I don't want to see this closed because of some silly accident.
    Oh, no worries, so as long as the discussion remains within the realms of the Assassin and its woes, separate discussions are fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    I thought that the problem people found with Death Attack was that the DC was too low (because of being based on class levels and having too few ways to boost it)?
    Based on one of the many Iron Chef Optimization Challenges? Optimizing Death Attack wasn't so hard, though on the realm of optimizing Truespeak if that's the case. Agility Focus and a few feats helped a lot (Aleval School and others from Drow of the Underdark for example), some magic items added even more, and the spells made death attack easy to pull off. Poison is one of the many ways to boost the check (by weakening Fort saves) and that was easier to work with.

    However, it's much easier to boost the save DC for Assassin (I recall one of the entries used two classes that granted Death Attack in order to stack the levels) than to pull it off in less than three rounds, because a battle could easily end in 3 rounds tops, and you're forced to do nothing while at that (in order to convince everyone you're not an enemy).

    --

    That said, I'll see if I do some of the fixes and add the maneuver Assassin and the mysteries Assassin ACFs at any time soon.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    I'm kinda wondering what could detect the assassin at 10th level. With greater invisibility, silence and fly active, and the darkstalker feat, he is undetectable by sight, sound, tremorsense, blindsight, blindsense, and detect magic. With undetectable alignment thrown in, the detect alignment spells won't work. And, of course, nondetection. Add in a ring of counterspells to foil attempts to dispel magic, and the assassin could only really be detected by bumping into him.

    Which is awesome, of course. I'm imagining an assassin just backstabbing a king several times in succession before the bugger dies, without anyone realizing that he's there.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    or symbol of death keyed to go off when an invisible silent creature tries to enter the throne room... best key ever.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Assassin: will it surprise you after 20 seconds of study?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Death Attack hasn't been touched from the original, except for the backstab addition. The original Death Attack requires a melee attack (and there's a spell that allows you to make death attacks at a range), and the same line of thought went with Backstab. Until further changes to Death Attack are pitched, Death Attack remains untouched, but Backstab should act like Sneak Attack and allow the 30 ft. range. In fact, I want it to be used while sniping, because that makes sniping all the more useful (full-round action, you make a ranged attack and then Hide again, dealing double damage including SA).
    I'm not sure when you plan to get back to the Assassin, but, as I type this, Backstab is still melee-only.

    Also, it might be worth mentioning that that spell to which you referred (Sniper's eye, not to be confused with sniper's shot, which is similar but weaker, both from the Spell Compendium) is 4th level only and only works when you're standing in one very specific, predefined location (despite have a rounds/level duration). It's... awkward, and it doesn't show up until a minimum of 13th level.
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