Improved Assassin Class

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Improved Assassin Class

Post  Khaos1987 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:50 am

One of the more unique things about the server is that that classes have been upgraded. Fighters gain a small boost to melee weapons they equip, Rangers and Druids have the ability to track and/or I.D. bad water, as well as new spells. Not to mention all the tasty new spells for the arcane classes. Rogues can climb without a rope.

And while I love that underused classes are being given a reason to be played, one seems to have slipped under the radar, the Assassin. Yes, in an unmodded game, the Assassin ranks dead last in overall usefulness, right under Harper Scout and arguably Purple Dragon Knight. Which is a shame that a class dedicated to murder would be so... weak! Here's the rundown of the class as is:

Level Ability gained

1st : use poison, death attack
2nd: ghostly visage, uncanny dodge I, poison save
5th : darkness, uncanny dodge II
7th : invisibility
9th : improved invisibility
10th : uncanny dodge III

Ladies and gentleman, that is supposed to be a prestige class. I know, I can hear you gasping in horror. Let's break it down.

Death Attack - The biggest letdown. Not only does it only function on targets not in battle, it doesn't kill the target at all! It just inflicts paralysis, which doesn't last long.
Use Poison - No need for a Dex check to poison a weapon. Seems reasonable, even if poison only does a small amount of ability damage at worst. Maybe if there were more kinds of poisons that had different, more powerful effects, but as for now, next to useless. Especially against other PCs.
Ghostly Visage - A good defensive spell.
Uncanny Dodge - Standard fare for any rogue based class.
Poison Save - Huh? Why would the Assassin get a poison resist bonus? Didn't that Use Poison feat take care of self poisoning? Is the Assassin inhaling the fumes from poisons and gaining gradual immunity? If so, maybe eventually he'd be immune to poison altogether.
Darkness - Great spell, but it's not fooling other PCs.
Invisibility and Improved Invis.- Great spells.

So, how to fix this wretched mix of abilities? I'll fill you in.
1) Death Attack needs to be improved. Either we could make it paralyze every time a sneak attack would be made instead of the silly "no-inbattle" restriction, or make it live up to it's name and kill the target with a fortitude save at a reasonable DC. Sneak attacks are supposed to target vulnerable areas, after all.
2) Either we cut Poison Save out completely, or just have it give complete immunity at level 9 or so.
3) The class is supposed to be a skilled killer, but it's not killing anyone with that mash-up. How about we add Hide in Plain Sight at level 5? At least then it would make sense to sneak around in battle, and it's not as cheap as taking one level of Shadowdancer.
4) Use Poison is okay, but if we're not adding in all kinds of new poisons, how about making it give any slashing/piercing weapon equipped inflict poison as an ability like the fighters get with enhancement bonus? Or if you don't feel like worrying over all that, just grant the Crippling Strike feat and call it poison?
5) Finally, let's round it out with one more spell. Rogue's Cunning. It's only available for custom content, and it gives bonuses to common rogue skills for five rounds.
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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  eve_of_disaster on Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:13 am

I tend to disagree on the point you made about death attack.

Death attack DC is 10+assassin level + int modifier. It's not unheard of with a 50+ DC. That is crazy stuff... And the paralysis lasts a hell of a long time. I've seen people do several emotes after a successfull paralysis - taking advantage of the victims helplessness. Saying this I should probably also mention that death attack seems a bit bugged, all the attacks you get in the first round don't count towards death attack... Sad

They gain improved invisibility! That's like one of the best protective spells in the game. Against all non true sight opponents you have an automatic 50% dodge. If you make the assassin focusing on dex and base it on rogue levels you can easily get epic dodge ontop of that. You could also make a monk/shadowdancer/assassin. Who would get epic dodge and still be able to max out the assassin dc. The class can also be combined with wizard to gain some custom spells along with a bunch of useful buffing spells (like maxed bulls strength and the other stat modifying spells) - not to mention wizard and assassin both use int which is a good combination. I actually made an epic wizard focusing on Int and managed to get the death attack dc to 40 without taking more than 13 levels of assassin. That's pretty good... The AB was quite low though but I had epic spells too. o.O

The thing about assassins is that they'd need some sorta story-stuff to become really interesting. Like a guild or similar helpful server-based stuff. The class in itself does very little to help them carry out their hits - they should gain abilities based on finding victims weaknesses. That way they could be useful to a party who goes into a dungeon as well, perhaps by watching the enemies and seeing their weaknesses or some such. It'd be really cool in any case. I'd be running around the cavesystems scouting enemies for their weaknesses and find it alot of fun.

I think assassins could use a guild or contacts in the city at least. Also considering the amount of paralysis immune opponents on the server - there's a huge amount of elementals, undead, golems etc, who are just immune to those things, they do get a tad tedious to play in high levels.

One thing I do agree with is the Darkness spell. I think its a great thing for the assassin, but it should have more uses per day and the darkvision of the assassin needs to help them in the darkness, which it doesn't... So in effect they just blind themselves. I suppose they could get a wand with ultravision and one with darkness on it too, but they should really have these abilities innately, in my oppinion.
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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  Khaos1987 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:37 pm

I know that death attack can be great... but you also need to invest 15 - 20 levels of assassin before that happens. The length of paralysis is one round per assassin level, and the DC is largely based off assassin level, since no sane person would pump intelligence on a rogue build unless it's multi-classed with wizard, but even then the BAB would be pitiful, defeating the purpose. Besides, the Palemaster class gets a move that kills on hit with a save, why not a class that's -supposed- to be killing people? Granted the Deathless touch can only be used once per day, but still, it seems a little strange.

But all that aside, the assassin gets a raw deal as a prestige class. I mean you take seven levels of Weapon Master and you're good to go, ten levels of Red Dragon Disciple, ONE level of Shadowdancer, ten of palemaster. And then here comes the assassin that requires around seventeen. Which means you'll be around level 30, and who isn't a force at that level? But the DC thing is shortchanged anyway, since any class's DCs would be impressive after 17 levels of it from the sheer nature of the beast. I expect this kind of behavior from a base class, but I would not, in good faith, call it prestige. Maybe the assassin as a base class would be more appropriate, like a variant of the rogue like the barbarian is a variant of the fighter, that's tweaked slightly.

And thank you Eve! You reminded me that darkness can be counter productive, another minus for the class, and it's probably in the negative by now. I don't think ultravision works on darkness, but darkvision does... but not the darkvision that comes from items, the one that comes from a spell. Something along this those lines, I'll visit the wiki if it becomes a talking point.

Finally, Eve brings up another good point. The assassin class almost requires in-game help from the roleplay itself to be effective. I kind of touched upon this without realizing. You'd almost have to tell the other player that the assassin is coming for them so they can RP resting as a several hour long affair where they're vulnerable. However, even then you can't pick the locks on inn rooms, making the player pretty secure for a roadside inn. That's why I tried to make up for that with the improved abilities, so the assassin would at least have a chance if he leaped out of the shadows at his target while s/he's walking down a road, giving the other player a genuine surprise with a deadly situation instead of a planned encounter. Which I think is always better.
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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  eve_of_disaster on Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:11 am

Ok. I'm convinced. You hear? You've convinced me assassins are crappy!

Still, combined with shadowdancer they get mildly better. <.<
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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  Khaos1987 on Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:19 pm

That is very true, an Assassin with HiPS is not a total loss. But what kind of prestige class is only effective when it mooches off another prestige class? In pen and paper gameplay this isn't a huge issue, when in NWN when you can only have a max of three classes, it's a big road bump. That's why I wanted to grant the Assassin class HiPS at some level, to free up one of those few, valuable class spaces for more build options.

From the time I spent on a few arena servers in the younger years of NWN, I've seen builds that would blow your minds! Druid/Shadowdancers, Ranger/Wizards with a focus on strength, Barbarian/Clerics with low wisdom, Sorcerer/Rogue/Red Dragon Disciples with both epic dodge and devastating critical... I could go on about all the strange, yet effective builds I've borne witness to over the years. However there only seems to be one build for the Assassin class, which is to be a rogue, take one level of shadowdancer, and then go assassin until you hit the level cap, putting as many points into int as you possibly could, and focusing on hide and move silently skills. As you can imagine, this lead to every assassin character looking exactly the same, because no one else could figure how to make that class worth it. From an RP stand point, this leaves little room for details, and could be seen as powergaming if you don't make that character seem like s/he's smarter than all the professors at the college and trying to explain why they dabbled into shadowdancing in the first place then quit. On the flip side, if you be an assassin without any of that stuff above, you run the very high risk of making your PC too weak to kill anything with ease, even with the planning every assassin should be doing.

The point of all that, my people, is that the Assassin class needs to be improved without being overpowered. It doesn't have to be as strong as the Palemaster, who upon reaching tenth level for all battle purposes becomes a lich without a phylactery, but I'd to see it as more of a prestige class and less of a Harper Scout. (Don't get me started on them!)
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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  Hacatsu on Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:20 am

I agree with each and every point Khaos1987 made.

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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  GM_ODA on Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:53 pm

Friends,
OK, I'm reviewing the ASSASSIN prestige class.

AS OF NOW:
We have MANY additional poison options, including poisoning food and drink. PCs can brew poisons, or purchase them if they have such (rare) connections.

CONCEAL ITEM allows an assassin to hide an item in an item, so a dagger in a boot, or similar subterfuge is possible. Matching tools for guards to 'search PCs' is coming soon.

WE ARE SEEKING MORE INPUT ON POSSIBLE FIXES FOR ASSASSINS.

One thing I'm considering is a DM tool to allow an ASSASSIN a boost in an attempt to murder a victim - PC secretly converses with DM, explains all the preparation the ASSASSIN PC would do in preparation for the job, the DM would use the tool to flag the ASSASSIN with a bonus the DM assigns based on the preparations. This bonus has a timer on it so it can expire after a day, else it is 'on tap' for the next attack the ASSASSIN makes on the specified PC. The bonus would apply to such things as Attack, Damage and even allow for poisoning in the process.

A matching tool will allow the PC to OBSERVE MARK, the tool usable on any other PC once per Area. The idea being that an ASSASSIN could follow and observe the intended victim, and each time the OBSERVE MARK tool is used on a PC or NPC that creatures ID and Area are logged. A DM with the prior tool can read this data back from the PC tool, to access what might be an appropriate maximum bonus to allow based on the legwork done by the ASSASSIN in preparation for the hit.

GIVE US FEEDBACK ON THESE AND ALSO GIVE US MORE IDEAS TO CONSIDER HERE THE ASSASSIN WILL SOON BE UPDATED.


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Re: Improved Assassin Class

Post  Animayhem on Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:09 am

GM_ODA wrote:Friends,
OK, I'm reviewing the ASSASSIN prestige class.

AS OF NOW:
We have MANY additional poison options, including poisoning food and drink. PCs can brew poisons, or purchase them if they have such (rare) connections.

CONCEAL ITEM allows an assassin to hide an item in an item, so a dagger in a boot, or similar subterfuge is possible. Matching tools for guards to 'search PCs' is coming soon.

WE ARE SEEKING MORE INPUT ON POSSIBLE FIXES FOR ASSASSINS.

One thing I'm considering is a DM tool to allow an ASSASSIN a boost in an attempt to murder a victim - PC secretly converses with DM, explains all the preparation the ASSASSIN PC would do in preparation for the job, the DM would use the tool to flag the ASSASSIN with a bonus the DM assigns based on the preparations. This bonus has a timer on it so it can expire after a day, else it is 'on tap' for the next attack the ASSASSIN makes on the specified PC. The bonus would apply to such things as Attack, Damage and even allow for poisoning in the process.

A matching tool will allow the PC to OBSERVE MARK, the tool usable on any other PC once per Area. The idea being that an ASSASSIN could follow and observe the intended victim, and each time the OBSERVE MARK tool is used on a PC or NPC that creatures ID and Area are logged. A DM with the prior tool can read this data back from the PC tool, to access what might be an appropriate maximum bonus to allow based on the legwork done by the ASSASSIN in preparation for the hit.

GIVE US FEEDBACK ON THESE AND ALSO GIVE US MORE IDEAS TO CONSIDER HERE THE ASSASSIN WILL SOON BE UPDATED.


A simular system was and is in place elsewhere but the catch was a good rp reason as to why a certain pc was to be assassinated. As if there was not both the assassin and dm were held accountable. A dm would not tell the victim who but would give a heads up saying your character;'s recent action has angered some people and your life may be at risk. Just because an assassin may think they have a right the targeyt may have a valid reason as to why oit is not. Also a dm had to be on the same time as the assassin and intended victim.
The victim naturally is given a chance to evade and fight the assassin. If the victim was successful in defeating the assassin then the situation was dropped. If not then compensation was given to the victim for being a good sport.
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