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raxies94
2010-08-04, 10:42 PM
Hello all. I'm a big fan of the concept of fantasy assassins. Characters like Artemis Entreri or Drasek Riven hold an appeal to me. But it's always bothered me that there's not really a class to fit these guys. Sure, they can kill with one blow and sneak around like a ninja, but they can also hold their own in straight up combat. So, with these characters and my own concept of what an assassin should be in mind, I have created this very bare bones idea of a class.

I've always heard that the Ranger class is considered pretty balanced, so the Ranger class is the standard here. All of the abilities are, at the moment, from the player's handbook. The only thing that is really different is that Flurry of Blows is usable with a weapon and that Death Attack's DC is 10+1/2 Class Level+INT. The 1st through 4th part of the table is spells per day, btw.

Hit Die: d8

Skill Points: 4 per level

Alignment: Any nongood.

Class Skills: In Progress, but off the top of my head: Hide, Move Silently, Use Magic Device, Disable Device, Climb, Bluff, and Disguise. I'll have to think more on this.

Weapon/Armor Proficiency: Light Armor, but no shields. I'll have to think about weapons too, but Simple and Rapier for certain.

Level| BAB| Fort| Ref| Will| Special| Flurry of Blows| 1st| 2nd| 3rd| 4th
1| +0|+0| +2| +2| Sneak Attack+1d6, Trapfinding, Flurry of Blows| -2/-2|0|-|-|-
2|+1|+0|+3|+3| Uncanny Dodge|-1/-1|0|-|-|-
3|+2|+1|+3|+3 |Sneak Attack+2d6|+0/+0|1|-|-|-
4|+3|+1|+4|+4| |+1/+1|1|-|-|-
5|+3|+1|+4|+4 |Sneak Attack+3d6, Trap Sense+1|+2/+2|2|0|-|-
6|+4 |+2| +5| +5| Death Attack| +3/+3|2|0| -|-
7|+5| +2| +5| +5| Sneak Attack+4d6| +4/+4|3|1|-|-
8|+6/+1|+2 |+6| +6| Evasion |+5/+5/+0| 3| 1| -| -
9|+6/+1|+3 |+6| +6| Sneak Attack+5d6| +6/+6/+1| 3| 2| 0| -
10|+7/+2|+3| +7| +7| Trap Sense+2| +7/+7/+2| 3| 2| 0| -
11|+8/+3|+3| +7| +7| Sneak Attack+6d6| +8/+8/+8/+3| 3| 3| 1 |-
12|+9/+4|+4| +8| +8| | +9/+9/+9/+4| 3| 3| 1| -
13|+9/+4|+4| +8| +8| Sneak Attack+7d6| +9/+9/+9/+4| 3| 3| 2| 0
14|+10/+5|+4| +9| +9| |+10/+10/+10/+5|3|3|2|0
15|+11/+6/+1|+5|+9|+9|Sneak Attack+8d6, TS +3|+11/+11/+11/+6/+1|3|3|3|1
16|+12/+7/+2| +5| +10| +10| Hide in Plain Sight|+12/+12/+12/+7/+2|3|3|3|1
17|+12/+7/+2| +5| +10| +10| Sneak Attack+9d6| +12/+12/+12/+7/+2|3|3| 3| 2
18|+13/+8/+3| +6| +11| +11|| +13/+13/+13/+8/+3|3|3|3|2
19|+14/+9/+4| +6| +11| +11| Sneak Attack+10d6| +14/+14/+14/+9/+4|3|3| 3|3
20|+15/+10/+5| +6| +12| +12| Trap Sense+4|+15/+15/+15/+10/+5|3 |3|3|3

Spells Known
Level| 1st| 2nd| 3rd| 4th
1| 2| -| -| -
2| 2| -| -| -
3| 3| -| -| -
4| 3| -| -| -
5| 3| 2| -| -
6| 3| 2| -| -
7| 4| 3| -| -
8| 4| 3| -| -
9| 4| 3| 2| -
10| 4| 3| 2| -
11| 4| 4| 3| -
12| 4| 4| 3| -
13| 4| 4| 3| 2
14| 4| 4| 3| 2
15| 4| 4| 4| 3
16| 4| 4| 4| 3
17| 4| 4| 4| 3
18| 4| 4| 4| 3
19| 4| 4| 4| 4
20| 4| 4| 4| 4

As you can see I've included quite a few abilities, including spellcasting. I thought about including differing paths of combat, such as the ranger, but I think that kind of thing is better for a player to spend their feats on, so no bonus feats right now.

Main changes from Rogue/Assassin combo:

-I've given the class a bit more health with a d8.
-Reflex and Will are both good saves, reflecting the iron will of Artemis Entreri. This is liable to change. Namely by changing will to a "medium" save.
-Flurry of Blows. This will hopefully give the class a little more to offer in combat.
-Less skill points over all. I think this will be offset by the class requiring a high Intelligence score.
-No Improved Uncanny Dodge. We'll see about that one.
-More Trap Sense, no Save against poison.

Other Notes:
-Spells are the same as if a character had the Assassin prestige class. Also the amount of spells is the same as a Ranger, my standard. The current spell tables were just made by doubling the assassin spell tables. For example if there were two levels where an assassin knew 2 spells, I made it four levels in the base class. This is highly likely to change.

Criticism would be highly appreciated, but keep in mind that this is really just the bare bones concept thrown together. Also keep in mind that the Ranger is the standard at least for now.

Let me know what you think please!

Milskidasith
2010-08-04, 11:24 PM
So... it's a rogue, but near strictly more powerful besides the lack of special abilities?

It depends on where you want this to be balanced at, but I don't see the point of making a class that's just "the same but more."

Mr.Moron
2010-08-05, 01:00 AM
I've always heard that the Ranger class is considered pretty balanced, so the Ranger class is the standard here.


(Standard) Ranger is on the weak side. So you certainly don't have to be afraid of one-upping it. Being too concerned with "Balance" in terms of "Not Overpowered" has a tendency to cause people to hold back and make things bland. Unless you're hitting Wizard levels of power, I wouldn't worry too much.


Anyway:

-Flurry of Blows here isn't any less a "Flurry of Misses" than it is on the monk. It's an option, but a weak one. It's improved by the fact this class has sneak attack and that makes multiple attacks a better deal, but it's still only full attacks with medium BaB.

-Assassin spells are cute and have some nice things associated with them. However, with the slow progression of the other 4-level spell casters they're not enough to take the class for.

-Dead Levels. 4,12,14,18 No features, no new spells.. just dead.

All in all, this feels on the boring side. A rogue with more combat tricks but half the skills, is... just kinda lame combat class. The normal assassin PrC is kind of a lackluster way to do the "Assassin" concept (That is a guy who sneaks around, shanks folks and knows magic). As extension of it... this doesn't do much better.

Also.Where is poison use? That seems pretty basic for the concept, yet I don't see it.

Milskidasith
2010-08-05, 01:04 AM
(Standard) Ranger is on the weak side. So you certainly don't have to be afraid of one-upping it. Being too concerned with "Balance" in terms of "Not Overpowered" has a tendency to cause people to hold back and make things bland. Unless you're hitting Wizard levels of power, I wouldn't worry too much.

Well, it depends on what kind of power level you are going for; if you're going for "good for a party with a decently optimized barbarian, a healbot cleric with no clue what he's doing, and a rogue" then it's pretty bad if it's on par with high optimized warblade builds. Likewise, for PrCs, generally you don't want "wizard levels of power" if the intended entry is anything but T2 classes or higher.

But yeah, this isn't so much overpowered as it is... boring. It's a rogue without the special abilities and feats (which hurts a bit, granted), but that gets a bunch of other class features that already exist tacked on. I'd love to see an assassin class that was a martial initiator with shadow hand maneuvers and some spells or spell likes that helped with moving around and hiding (though Shadow Hand does cover that to some extent). That would be more interesting than sneak attack and flurry of blows.

Eldan
2010-08-05, 05:02 AM
Actually, the initiator assassin has been done several times already, by both Krimm Blackleaf and The Demented One.

Anyway: compared to the normal rogue, I think this class should lose something to gain something else.

A suggestion: give it a slower sneak attack progression than the standard rogue, in exchange for bard-like casting with six levels of spells.

jiriku
2010-08-05, 06:23 AM
+1 for poison use and bard spell progression. Don't be afraid to let this out of the can a little.

Stay away from a "medium save progression". D&D doesn't have those, and it's better to cook with off-the-shelf ingredients when you're making a new dish you've never made before.

Trap Sense sucks. Got anything more interesting you could use instead? Maybe you could steal a little from the thief-acrobat prestige class in Complete Adventurer.

I'd recommend you add EITHER 6 skill points per level OR the Good base attack progression. If your baseline is the ranger, you've chopped both skills, bonus feats, and base attack. I don't believe sneak attack is worth all three of those things.

raxies94
2010-08-05, 09:40 AM
Wow, I didn't expect this much response in just one night. Thanks, guys. I'll try to answer some concerns now.


So... it's a rogue, but near strictly more powerful besides the lack of special abilities?

It depends on where you want this to be balanced at, but I don't see the point of making a class that's just "the same but more."

Yeah, I kind of thought about that when I threw the concept together. But...I don't know, I just really wanted to try and make a class that fit my concept of an assassin. So, it may not be the best or most necessary idea to homebrew, but I'm going to keep on trying anyway.


-Flurry of Blows here isn't any less a "Flurry of Misses" than it is on the monk. It's an option, but a weak one. It's improved by the fact this class has sneak attack and that makes multiple attacks a better deal, but it's still only full attacks with medium BaB.

-Assassin spells are cute and have some nice things associated with them. However, with the slow progression of the other 4-level spell casters they're not enough to take the class for.

-Dead Levels. 4,12,14,18 No features, no new spells.. just dead.

All in all, this feels on the boring side. A rogue with more combat tricks but half the skills, is... just kinda lame combat class. The normal assassin PrC is kind of a lackluster way to do the "Assassin" concept (That is a guy who sneaks around, shanks folks and knows magic). As extension of it... this doesn't do much better.

Also.Where is poison use? That seems pretty basic for the concept, yet I don't see it.

-So that's what you think of Flurry of Blows, eh? I've always wondered about its power level, having never played a monk.
-Well, I didn't really want the spells to be the main focus of the class, or a reason to take the class.
-Yeah, I realize those are dead levels. Remember that this is just a very basic concept at the moment.
-It looks boring now, yes, but I really just wanted to get the concept out and see what people thought about it. Also, I completely forgot about poison use, so I'll probably put that in.


A suggestion: give it a slower sneak attack progression than the standard rogue, in exchange for bard-like casting with six levels of spells.

I kind of toyed around with the idea of giving the class bard level spell progression in the beginning. As I said though, I didn't really want spells to be the main feature of the class. Also, as it is now, this class would have the same amount of spells as a ranger, my standard of power. That is an idea I'll keep in mind though.



+1 for poison use and bard spell progression. Don't be afraid to let this out of the can a little.

Stay away from a "medium save progression". D&D doesn't have those, and it's better to cook with off-the-shelf ingredients when you're making a new dish you've never made before.

Trap Sense sucks. Got anything more interesting you could use instead? Maybe you could steal a little from the thief-acrobat prestige class in Complete Adventurer.

I'd recommend you add EITHER 6 skill points per level OR the Good base attack progression. If your baseline is the ranger, you've chopped both skills, bonus feats, and base attack. I don't believe sneak attack is worth all three of those things.

Noted about medium save progression. I'll keep that in mind. No on has said anything about two good base saves yet, so I'll assume that's not a big deal anyway.

The deal with trap sense is that I wanted this class to be able to fulfill one of the rogue's main purposes; finding and disabling traps. Although I guess trap sense isn't necessary for that. Duly noted.

Well the idea was that Flurry of Blows combined with Sneak Attack would be really cool, so I thought that was worth Base Save and Skills. Hmm. Ok, I'll think about this some more.

Well, thanks a lot for all of your input. I'll think about things some more, and possibly update the original post. Thanks a lot!

Eldan
2010-08-05, 09:41 AM
As it is, though, this is still strictly more powerful than a rogue, which is actually a pretty balanced class.

raxies94
2010-08-05, 09:50 AM
As it is, though, this is still strictly more powerful than a rogue, which is actually a pretty balanced class.

I'll take your word for it. I've actually had very little play experience, to my shame.

Kurtmuran
2010-08-05, 11:19 AM
the flurry of blows deal whit weapons too? or only unnarmed?

raxies94
2010-08-05, 12:34 PM
the flurry of blows deal whit weapons too? or only unnarmed?

Yes, Flurry of Blows would be modified to deal damage with weapons and unarmed.

Machiavellian
2010-08-05, 12:50 PM
Green Ronin did an Assassin BC already.

The book's called "Assassin's Handbook"

Considering it's 3.0 3rd party, it makes Assassin slightly weaker than the PrC version, but it gives them a slightly less finicky Killing Blow, but a lower SA. plus the class grants Bonus Feats, and advances spellcasting slightly better. Overall, it's a balanced BC.

And to your version, I have only this to say: Assassins were one-shot one-kill types. Flurry of Blows seems kind of out of place in the Spirit of the assassin. The monk FoB acf (the one good punch thingy) seems far more accurate to what an Assassin is. Think about this: If an assassin misses with his first blow, he's going to slink off into the darkness and rethink his plan. He's not going to unleash a volley of blows hoping one will hit and kill the target. Assassins are planners, not wailers.
However, I like how you redid FoB. Maybe it'd work as an ACF for fighter? To me, a fighter is less likely to deliver one good blow and instead, being a master of his weapon, deliver several powerful blows. With assassin having a Medium BAB, it seems unfair to give a stealthy ninja-like one-shot master the ability to barrage his foe. However, Maybe as an Assassin-only feat, you can give them a feat that says, "If you score a sneak attack, you may initiate a Flurry of Blows," kind of like you make a lot of lightning strikes to their back/flank, which you could balance by having the SA be delayed by how many strikes you make, like these blows seems insignificant until a few rounds later, where the wounds, to the dismay of the target, suddenly become FAR worse. I think there's a feat for a Delayed SA.
All in all, a great BC for players who adore assassin (me being one of them), but you kind of deviated from the spirit of what the assassin is to many players.

elpollo
2010-08-05, 02:35 PM
Assassins were one-shot one-kill types.

I think you're associating the word with things that it doesn't necessarily mean.


If an assassin misses with his first blow, he's going to slink off into the darkness and rethink his plan. He's not going to unleash a volley of blows hoping one will hit and kill the target.

John F. Kennedy assassination (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_assassination)
Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austr ia)
Ra-Ra-Rasputination (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Rasputin#Murder)

Three famous killings that were multiple assailants or attacks. Assassins assassinate someone - there are no rules on how.


Assassins are planners, not wailers.

Can't the plan be to wail?

edit - as a little game for yourselves, see who can come up with the best example supporting the idea that assassins can keep going at it (not like that). The best entry gets a cheer. I've started you off.

Eldan
2010-08-05, 03:35 PM
Do automatic weapons count?

elpollo
2010-08-05, 03:40 PM
Most certainly.

raxies94
2010-08-05, 04:00 PM
All in all, a great BC for players who adore assassin (me being one of them), but you kind of deviated from the spirit of what the assassin is to many players.

Thank you for the input. As I said from the beginning though, this class is really based on how I think assassins are, primarily based on characters like Artemis Entreri. Honestly, I kind of doubt that anyone will end up using this class but me.

FlamingKobold
2010-08-05, 04:15 PM
Yeah, I'm not sure about this class. If you want ranger-like spellcasting, why does it start at level 1?

raxies94
2010-08-05, 04:19 PM
Yeah, I'm not sure about this class. If you want ranger-like spellcasting, why does it start at level 1?

Well, that was kind of just an experiment. I'll probably just end up changing that. I just wanted to see how it would look if I doubled the assassin spell tables.

elpollo
2010-08-05, 05:16 PM
Since I haven't actually contributed to the thread with my posts:


Hello all. I'm a big fan of the concept of fantasy assassins. Characters like Artemis Entreri or Drasek Riven hold an appeal to me. But it's always bothered me that there's not really a class to fit these guys. Sure, they can kill with one blow and sneak around like a ninja, but they can also hold their own in straight up combat. So, with these characters and my own concept of what an assassin should be in mind, I have created this very bare bones idea of a class.

Tripping rogues with kusari-gamas are quite good at straight up fights (and by that I mean tripping people and then destroying them, so perhaps not really straight up).


I've always heard that the Ranger class is considered pretty balanced, so the Ranger class is the standard here. All of the abilities are, at the moment, from the player's handbook. The only thing that is really different is that Flurry of Blows is usable with a weapon and that Death Attack's DC is 10+1/2 Class Level+INT. The 1st through 4th part of the table is spells per day, btw.

The ranger isn't that great, so you probably want to be shooting for past him.



Alignment: Any nongood.

Why can't you be a good assassin? I don't like alignment restrictions on classes as there is a fair degree of relative morality involved, but at the end of the day a fighter is still sticking a sword in someone. Just because they hide instead of standing in the open to get pin-cushioned shouldn't mean they're evil.


Class Skills: The assassinís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex),Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

These are what I used for my assassin base class (it's actually basically just the ninja, but I dislike the connotations that ninja brings), although it is a bit similar to the rogue.



Level| BAB| Fort| Ref| Will| Special| Flurry of Blows| 1st| 2nd| 3rd| 4th
1| +0|+0| +2| +2| Sneak Attack+1d6, Trapfinding, Flurry of Blows| -2/-2|0|-|-|-
2|+1|+0|+3|+3| Uncanny Dodge|-1/-1|0|-|-|-
3|+2|+1|+3|+3 |Sneak Attack+2d6|+0/+0|1|-|-|-
4|+3|+1|+4|+4| |+1/+1|1|-|-|-
5|+3|+1|+4|+4 |Sneak Attack+3d6, Trap Sense+1|+2/+2|2|0|-|-
6|+4 |+2| +5| +5| Death Attack| +3/+3|2|0| -|-
7|+5| +2| +5| +5| Sneak Attack+4d6| +4/+4|3|1|-|-
8|+6/+1|+2 |+6| +6| Evasion |+5/+5/+0| 3| 1| -| -
9|+6/+1|+3 |+6| +6| Sneak Attack+5d6| +6/+6/+1| 3| 2| 0| -
10|+7/+2|+3| +7| +7| Trap Sense+2| +7/+7/+2| 3| 2| 0| -
11|+8/+3|+3| +7| +7| Sneak Attack+6d6| +8/+8/+8/+3| 3| 3| 1 |-
12|+9/+4|+4| +8| +8| | +9/+9/+9/+4| 3| 3| 1| -
13|+9/+4|+4| +8| +8| Sneak Attack+7d6| +9/+9/+9/+4| 3| 3| 2| 0
14|+10/+5|+4| +9| +9| |+10/+10/+10/+5|3|3|2|0
15|+11/+6/+1|+5|+9|+9|Sneak Attack+8d6, TS +3|+11/+11/+11/+6/+1|3|3|3|1
16|+12/+7/+2| +5| +10| +10| Hide in Plain Sight|+12/+12/+12/+7/+2|3|3|3|1
17|+12/+7/+2| +5| +10| +10| Sneak Attack+9d6| +12/+12/+12/+7/+2|3|3| 3| 2
18|+13/+8/+3| +6| +11| +11|| +13/+13/+13/+8/+3|3|3|3|2
19|+14/+9/+4| +6| +11| +11| Sneak Attack+10d6| +14/+14/+14/+9/+4|3|3| 3|3
20|+15/+10/+5| +6| +12| +12| Trap Sense+4|+15/+15/+15/+10/+5|3 |3|3|3

At first level you have both flurry and sneak attack, which seems a little unbalancing (not incredibly so, but you get both the rogue and monk's offensive shtick, as well as the potential for a spell or two).



Main changes from Rogue/Assassin combo:

-I've given the class a bit more health with a d8.
-Reflex and Will are both good saves, reflecting the iron will of Artemis Entreri. This is liable to change. Namely by changing will to a "medium" save.
-Flurry of Blows. This will hopefully give the class a little more to offer in combat.
-Less skill points over all. I think this will be offset by the class requiring a high Intelligence score.
-No Improved Uncanny Dodge. We'll see about that one.
-More Trap Sense, no Save against poison.

d8 HD is fine for a melee character. Rogues don't need flurry to add to combat - whilst flurry certainly makes them better, they can still only do it with a full attack which means that they can't move to flank and take advantage of one of their class features. Out of 10d6 sneak attack with a better chance to hit or a few attacks at a low damage, which do you think most players would choose (especially with Craven which is crazy).

I also pretty much agree with Mr. Moron about everything, especially his world views and his unorthodox ideas on capitalism.

raxies94
2010-08-05, 07:04 PM
Since I haven't actually contributed to the thread with my posts:

Why can't you be a good assassin? I don't like alignment restrictions on classes as there is a fair degree of relative morality involved, but at the end of the day a fighter is still sticking a sword in someone. Just because they hide instead of standing in the open to get pin-cushioned shouldn't mean they're evil.

Honestly, I don't see any reason why the class can't be good. This is really just here for the people who would freak out if it could be good. Trust me, I know some people like that.



At first level you have both flurry and sneak attack, which seems a little unbalancing (not incredibly so, but you get both the rogue and monk's offensive shtick, as well as the potential for a spell or two).

Yeah, now that you mention it, that doesn't seem like the best of ideas.



d8 HD is fine for a melee character. Rogues don't need flurry to add to combat - whilst flurry certainly makes them better, they can still only do it with a full attack which means that they can't move to flank and take advantage of one of their class features. Out of 10d6 sneak attack with a better chance to hit or a few attacks at a low damage, which do you think most players would choose (especially with Craven which is crazy).

Hmm. I didn't notice that Flurry had to be a full attack. Perhaps modifying it to a standard action? That may make it too powerful though.

Also, what does everyone think about Death Attack? I want the concept to stay, but I'm open to re-imaginings.

elpollo
2010-08-06, 05:38 AM
A fix for flurry (one particularly suited for the monk) is to make it so as a swift action you can make the extra attacks. This means the monk still gets her crazy movement and her flurry. I'm not sure how well this would work with sneak attack, but you aren't getting full flurry, so I guess it's up to you.

Death Attack isn't incredible. 3 rounds is a long time in combat, and if you start every fight by waiting 3 rounds then killing someone then the DM might just start having 1 more monster in the fight. I'd say make it a standard action without the 3 rounds of watching but limit the number of times it can be done per day - maybe have it the same rate as a paladin's smite (or start at 3/day at level 6 and increase by 1 every 4 levels or something).

Andion Isurand
2010-08-06, 05:41 AM
Where's the Poison Use ability so the assassin doesn't poison himself when dosing his blades?

raxies94
2010-08-06, 10:27 AM
A fix for flurry (one particularly suited for the monk) is to make it so as a swift action you can make the extra attacks. This means the monk still gets her crazy movement and her flurry. I'm not sure how well this would work with sneak attack, but you aren't getting full flurry, so I guess it's up to you.

Hmm. Swift Action sounds like a bit much. A standard action for flurry may be the best.


Death Attack isn't incredible. 3 rounds is a long time in combat, and if you start every fight by waiting 3 rounds then killing someone then the DM might just start having 1 more monster in the fight. I'd say make it a standard action without the 3 rounds of watching but limit the number of times it can be done per day - maybe have it the same rate as a paladin's smite (or start at 3/day at level 6 and increase by 1 every 4 levels or something).

The x/day option doesn't sound too bad. Especially if the times per day is also based on intelligence. Also, another idea is this: I once saw death attack done on another assassin homebrew. You had to study the opponent for 1 round, then you could attack. However, every round after one that you spent studying raised the DC of the save by one, to a maximum of your class level.


Where's the Poison Use ability so the assassin doesn't poison himself when dosing his blades?

I kinda forgot to put that in there. But it will probably be in the final copy.