Assassin

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Assassins hone their weapons and fighting skills to such a degree that all but the toughest monsters fall to their Mortal Strikes.

Contents

HG customization

Languages

  • Assassins can speak Assassin's Cant. To speak it, use the command /l assassin [message] to speak a single line in Assassin's Cant, or !speak assassin to speak it until you !speak another language or opt to !speak common.
    • While they add flavour and are probably useful for RolePlaying, languages are currently not used in the game, except for the occasional monster shouting a battlecry.

Feat conversion

  • Characters with at least 14 levels of Assassin may exchange Epic Reflexes feats for Epic Great Strength feats, by using the PC Scry. A character who converts feats in this manner can no longer delevel using the town priest.
    • Upon reaching character level 42 (in legendary levels), the swap is no longer available.
    • HGenhanced adds the Epic Great Strength feats to the assassin epic bonus feat list. This means you do not need to any feat conversions, if you have HGenhanced installed.

Check Class Changes Documents for more infomation

Honed weapons

  • At Assassin 20, an Assassin with a base Strength or Dexterity of 30 can acquire a scabbard that lets them hone weapons. They can hone more than one weapon at a time, but Mortal Strike only works for onhand weapons. You cannot hone weapons in combat.
  • Whenever a honed weapon hits, it rolls again, and if THAT roll is a hit, and is in the critical threat range, the target must roll a fortitude save vs. half the Assassin's DEX or STR modifier (whichever is higher) + a base DC.
    • Only melee weapons may be honed, but an Assassin with at least 10 Monk levels may hone their gloves. Honed gloves receive a +2 to critical range.
  • Penetrating strike: For characters with between 20 and 27 Assassin levels, honed weapons deliver penetrating strikes, inflicting added damage. The base strike damage added is equal to the Assassin's level, plus legendary levels if the characters control class is Assassin, plus the character's Strength modifier. Critical immune creatures hit by a penetrating strike suffer no damage if they save vs fortitude, and one quarter of the base damage if they fail. Non-critical immunes suffer one quarter of the base damage if they save vs fortitude, and one half the base damage if they fail.
  • Mortal Strike: For characters with 28 or more Assassin levels, honed weapons deliver mortal strikes, inflicting added damage and potentially killing the target instantly. Targets immune to critical hits now suffer full base damage if they fail their fortitude save. Targets not immune to critical hits suffer the full base damage if they make their save, and are instantly killed if they fail.
  • Example 1: an assassin with 95 AB and a threat range of 11-20 hits a target with 100 AC. Since the assassin needs only 5 or higher in order to hit, the penetrating/mortal strike chances on a successful hit are limited by the critical threat range. The second roll will need 11 or higher.
  • Example 2: an assassin with 85 AB and a threat range of 11-20 hits a target with 100 AC. Since the assassin needs only 15 or higher in order to hit, the penetrating/mortal strike chances on a successful hit are limited by the assassin's AB. The second roll will need 15 or higher.
  • The base DC starts at 35 and increases by 1 for every 3 Assassin levels above 29 (including legendary levels), as follows:
Assassin Level (including LLs) Base DC
30 35
31 35
32 36
33 36
34 36
35 37
36 37
37 37
38 38
39 38
40 38
41 39
42 39
43 39
44 40
45 40
46 40
47 41
48 41
49 41
50 42

Spells On Higher Ground, assassins are able to cast a variety of arcane spells. Although the spells are considered arcane, assassins do not suffer from spellfailure while wearing armor or a shield. To be able to cast a spell, the assassin need to have at least 10 + [spell level] base intelligence, have the spell prepared in advance and must be evil. A complete list can be found on the wiki or on the forums. Assassins can change their memorized spells using the !sb change as command.

Types of Assassins

  • Dexterity assassins have high AC and easily maximize their Camouflage (Improved Invisibility) concealment. These high defenses are countered by the low damage output. Many also feature rogue skills such as open locks and search.
  • Strength assassins typically wear full plate and a tower shield. Using Iron Silence, they can still get decent Camouflage concealment. 15d6 death attack combined with a high strength modifier and usually Devastating Critical means they are quite capable damage dealers.
  • Unitank assassins it is just about possible to make unitank builds through use of some of the currently available BUR races with large bonuses to Str & Dex (Kolyarut, Half-Guardinal and Wemic being suitable examples), whilst giving up one or two DC on mortal strike you can prevent the irritation of being disabled (or in some cases killed) by the Str and Dex checks present in a lot of LL runs in the module.


Monk assassins are a possibility, but they aren't popular (and that's an understatement). This is because the base threat range for fists is the lowest possible. Only pure monks receive keen gloves, so even with the +2 threat range from honing, you can only reach 16-20 threat range (with both improved and devastating critical). The additional attack you get while fighting unarmored and unarmed does not make up for the loss in threat range.

Play Guide

While perfectly capable of tanking or dealing damage, the assassin's primary goal is to take out the weaker monsters that are not immune to Mortal Strike as quickly as possible. Focus on the monsters that are vulnerable to your mortal strikes first, then move on to the bigger baddies.

  • Don't forget to prepare spells!
    • Caustic weapon Adds acid damage. If you have enough slots, buff your teammates and monsters like Malebranches and Screelings will go down quicker.
    • Clairaudience/Clairvoyance will not last very long, but if you have the slots to recast often, this spell can alleviate the need to get listen from gear.
    • Expeditious Retreat will make you faster on the battlefield, decreasing the time it takes to reach and kill you next target. However due to the short duration of this buff if you are in a party it will often suit you better to beg a Freedom of Movement from a Cleric/Druid as it lasts significantly longer and has other beneficial effects.
    • False Life is a great way to temporarily increase your hitpoints, providing an extra buffer of hitpoints for the monsters to chew at.
    • Ghostly Visage is a great get-away spell if you have spell focuses in illusion.
    • Improved Invisibility will be your best defensive spell. It casts a special version of Camouflage when cast on yourself, providing (25 + [hide skill]/3) % concealment.
    • Iron Silence is most useful for strength assassins, as it allows them to negate their armor class penalties from armor and shield for hide, which in turn means higher Camouflage concealment.
    • True Strike can be used to quickly maximize attack bonus, should other buffs (bard song, greater magic weapon) suddenly fail or expire. Being a swift action means you can cast this without having to interrupt your fighting.
    • Foebane is nice for when you need to kill a monster that is immune to critical hits but not to death magic.
  • Offensive spells are only marginally useful, if you choose to invest feats in spell penetration. DCs are intelligence based, but since assassins cannot focus on both dexterity/strength and intelligence, these will not be spectacular.
    • Wrack indirectly increases the party's physical damage output. Great cast on critical immune monsters.
    • Heartbane is probably not worth casting because it is DC based.
  • If you have UMD, get some scroll stacks and wands:
    • Greater Sanctuary: GS scrolls are always nice to carry around for those moments you would rather not be targeted by monsters. Sometimes needed for a party that needs to regroup.
    • Mind Blank: while mind immune from items usually does the job, sometimes, a scripted immunity, such as that from mind blank, is needed to avoid effects.
    • Black Blade of Disaster: always nice to have an additional meat shield to keep monsters busy. Sometimes good to use in combination with GS.
    • Stone to Flesh: useful for de-petrifying (or un-freezing) party members
    • Gust of Wind: handy to remove transient effects swiftly rather than waiting for them to expire, very useful in Stygia and Cania to remove the Arachil webs
    • Mordenkeinens Disjunction: always good to remove mob buffs and lower the sr of creatures

Building an Assassin

Since Mortal Strike is what defines an assassin, the highest priority is increasing the DC:

  • start with 18 Str/Dex. 20 for Half-Orcs (Str), Elves (Dex) and Halflings (Dex)
  • pick a subrace with high bonus to your chosen ability score: Salamander, Half-Fiend, etc.
  • take all Great Str/Dex feats.
  • put all regular leveling increases in the relevant stat.
  • get other bonuses: XDD levels, STR or DEX artifact, (double)demigodhood.
  • pick the maximum possible assassin levels, go pure.
  • wear an item that gives a bonus to the DC. Note that such items are EXTREMELY rare.


With a high DC almost automatically comes high AB, but you will want this (near to) maximized:

  • get all AB increasing feats: weapon focus, greater weapon focus, epic weapon focus, legendary weapon focus, epic prowess.
  • put ranks in craft weapon.
  • pick weapon finesse if you are dexterity based.


Once your AB is high enough, critical threat range will be the limiting factor for your effectiveness:

  • pick the right weapon: Assassin Dagger, Kukri, Whip, Rapier, Katana, Light-Flail*, Scimitar*, Halberd*, Falchion* are all good choices. (* for strength assassins only. Large characters may still finesse Light-Flails or Scimitars.)
    • fists are hardly ever chosen because of their low base threat range, even though it is possible to use them if you have at least 10 monk levels.
  • get Ki Critical (does not work for assassin dagger).
  • get Overwhelming Critical (does not stack with Ki Critical). Strength assassins will find it easy to get this, but dexterity based assassins will have to get this from items (Stygian Razor, Augments of Devastating Weapon-work).
  • get Improved Critical. Easy to get as a feat in pre-epic levels, it is best not to depend on an [Augmenters#Rare_Augmenters|Augment of Precision Weapon-work].
  • since an actual critical hit is not required, Power Critical and Superior Critical will not increase your Mortal Strike effectiveness.


Another limiting factor will be opponents concealment:

  • maximize your listen skill.
  • pick up Epic Skill Focus: Listen or wear an item such as the Visor of Vigilance or a Sonar Amplifier.
  • get Legendary Skill Focus: Listen, if you think you cannot reach the +50 cap with bardsong and items.


Get as many attacks as possible:

  • Assassins may now Mortal Strike twice in the same round (but not twice in the same flurry; there is still a small delay between Mortal Strike attempts), having lots of attacks means the chances of hitting your target are increased, resulting in a better chance to actually get a Mortal Strike.
    • you need at least 16 BAB in order to get 4 base attacks. 10 levels of assassin gets you 7 BAB, so you will need at least 9 more from the other 10 pre-epic levels. 6 levels in a 1/1 BAB class and 4 in a 3/4 BAB class or 8 / 2 will get you just that.


Also make sure you have at least 14 base intelligence so you can cast all possible assassin spells.

  • Use the Illusion tome (obtained from the Ssithrak area) so you can cast Ghostly Visage with added etheralness for a quick escape.
  • some items may add 5th level spell slots. You will need 15 base intelligence and a meta-magic feat (such as extend spell or silent spell) in order to use these slots.


A dead character does nothing, so make sure your defenses are in order:

  • maximize Hide, Discipline (pick up Bullheaded and LSA: Discipline), Tumble, Craft Armor, Parry maxed to 23 at level 20 (though secondary class) very useful for a Dex character and fit in some Concentration (20 points should be enough).
  • increase your saving throws.
  • Assassins do not get Evasion as a free (or class selectable) feat therefore most builds include Monk, Rogue or Shadowdancer levels to get this benefit, you could also build your character to use an item that includes Evasion such as the Panoply of Lira robes.


Increase your damage output:

  • devastating Critical may seem very nice, but since most monsters that are vulnerable to critical hits should die because of Mortal Strike, this is not as useful for an assassin as for other characters.
  • overwhelming critical on the other hand increases the threat range of your weapon giving you another 5% chance to inflict a Mortal Strike, items with this Feat added for your weapon can be very beneficial.


Useful, but not necessary, skills are:

  • Use Magic Device is great for assisting in the casting of scrolls or use restricted items.
  • Bluff, when successful, means there's one additional monster you get to attack with flanking bonuses: +2 AB and +15d6 death attack damage. Bluffing also reduces the monster's AB, which may be nice if there's a lot of squishies in the party.
  • Craft and Set Trap are currently not favored as skill choices, mostly because parties are impatient. If you have both maximized, traps can actually be quite useful.
  • Search and Spot can get you secret stuff. If you do decide to get these skills, maximize them (use skill focuses if you need to).
  • Open Lock and Disable Trap in combination with Search allow you to get to the best loot in the game through the opening of loot chests. All need to be maximized if you decide you want these skills. Note: If you want to disable the hardest traps you will need to include Rogue levels in your build.
  • Pick Pocket can be handy for quickly depleting the healing potion stack of some monsters, but it's probably not the best skill choice to make.


You can find assassin builds on the wiki or in the Assassin forum section.

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