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    Default [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    This is a bit of a two parter, as the Assassin suffers from poor power selection, ridiculous fragility and a terrible striking mechanic. The power selection issue I'm addressing beyond this revised profile.

    New Assassin Feats and Powers can be found here:

    http://www.myth-weavers.com/showthre...25#post6643325


    "The shadows betray you... because they belong to me!"

    Hit Points & Surges:

    Hit Points At 1st Level: 12 + Constitution Score
    Hit Points Per Level Gained: 5
    Healing Surges per Day: 7 + Constitution Modifier

    Why? Increased to standard striker levels to bring the Assassin's staying power up to par with other strikers. Surge count increased to Executioner levels.

    Assassinís Shroud

    Assassin's Shroud - Assassin Feature
    At-Will (1/round)* Shadow
    Free Action - Close burst
    10
    Target: One enemy you can sense in the burst
    Effect: You increment the number of your shrouds on the target by +1. The number of your shrouds on a target cannot exceed 4. These shrouds last until you use this power against another enemy or until the end of the encounter.

    When you make an attack against the target, before its attack roll, if any, you can choose to invoke all of your shrouds on the target. If you do, your shrouds vanish, each dealing 1d6 extra damage, +1 extra damage for each shroud on the target beyond the first. On a miss, reduce the number of shrouds by 1 before dealing this extra damage on a miss. This extra damage applies even if the attack deals no damage on a miss.

    Creatures you're hidden from aren't aware of your shrouds.

    If the target is reduced to 0 hit points or less, you can transfer all but one shroud from it to another enemy you can see within this power's close burst centered on the target as a free action.

    Level 11: 2d6 damage per shroud + 2 damage per shroud beyond the first
    Level 21: 3d6 damage per shroud + 3 damage per shroud beyond the first
    Special: You can only use this power on your turn. You can use this power any number of times as a Standard action for each use beyond the first each round.

    Why?
    • Improves the damage output of the striker feature to be competitive and scale competitively.
    • Rewards assassins who take the risk of stacking multiple shrouds proportionately.
    • Allows the Assassin to compound his shrouds while being stealthy without paying a feat tax (Hidden Insight).
    • Helps mitigate shroud wastage on badly damaged or prematurely killed enemies.


    Deathstroke: (New Mechanic)

    Deathstroke X: When you drop a non-minion creature to 0 hit points or fewer with an attack that invokes your shrouds, you can trigger the Deathstroke clause (if any) of that attack if the number of shrouds invoked in this way is equal to or greater than that attack's Deathstroke value.

    You may also trigger the Deathstroke clause of one non-attack power as no action (unless stated otherwise) if the number of shrouds invoked in this way is equal to or greater than that power's Deathstroke value.

    Shade Form:

    You gain Shade Form and one of the following Assassin feats for free:
    • Shadowcast
    • False Guise
    • Darkness Falls


    Spoiler
    Show
    Shadowcast
    Requirements:
    Shade Form feature
    Benefit: You gain the Shadowcast power:
    Shadowcast - Assassin Feature
    From hidden obscurity, you cast forth a shadowy decoy to serve as a diversion or act in your stead.
    Requirement: You must expend a use of your Shade Form power.
    At-Will * Shadow, Summoning
    Minor Action - Close burst
    10
    Effect: You summon a shadowy duplicate in an unoccupied space within the burst that lasts until the end of your next turn. It has the following properties:
    • Your game statistics, including bonuses without a conditional duration, feats and non-attack powers.
    • It can be commanded to make skill checks.
    • Whenever the duplicate uses a power, effect or game element which is limited in use (including per turn or round limits) that element is expended for you as though you had used it. Powers that are expended for you are likewise expended for your duplicate.
    • Has vulnerable radiant and resist necrotic equal to 5 + half your level.
    • Has hit points equal to your base healing surge value and is immune to your own attacks if you choose.
    • You can sense and use Shadow powers as if you were in the duplicate's space as well as your own.
    • When you take a move action, you can also command the duplicate take a move action.


    Sustain Move: The duplicate persists until the end of your next turn. You can only sustain your duplicate if it is within this power's range.

    Darkness Falls
    Requirements:
    Shade Form feature
    Benefit: You gain the Darkness Falls power:
    Darkness Falls - Assassin Feature
    Your shadow erupts into a conflagration of impenetrable darkness.
    Requirement: You must expend a use of your Shade Form power.
    At-Will * Shadow, Zone
    Standard Action - Close burst 5

    Effect: You gain darkvision and the burst creates a zone that blocks line of sight for creatures other than you until the end of your next turn. All light in the zone is darkness. Squares in the zone count as creatures for the purpose of Shadow Step.
    Sustain Minor: The zone's size decreases by 2 and the effect persists until the end of your next turn.

    False Guise
    Requirements:
    Shade Form feature
    Benefit: You gain the False Guise power:
    False Guise - Assassin Feature
    The darkness sweeps over your wavering form, changing your appearance to that of another.
    Requirement: You must expend a use of your Shade Form power.
    At-Will * Illusion, Shadow
    Minor Action - Personal

    Effect: You alter your physical appearance with a powerful illusion to assume the appearance of any creature of your size or smaller (your actual size doesn't change). The appearance of your clothing, armour and possessions change to match your new appearance. This illusion duplicates the textures, olfactory, thermal and auditory qualities (such as voice) of the creature you are mimicking, and its possessions. This new appearance lasts until you use this power again, the end of your next short rest or you dismiss it as a free action. Any creature that attempts to see through your disguise makes an Insight check opposed by your Bluff skill +5. You may take a 10 on this opposed check.
    Creatures aren't aware of your shrouds while they're unaware of your disguise.


    Shade Form - Assassin Feature
    You transform yourself into a being of shadow, becoming more difficult to notice and to harm.
    Encounter * Shadow
    Minor Action - Personal
    Effect:
    You assume a shadowy form that lasts until you resolve an attack or until the end of your next turn. While Shade Form is active you gain the following characteristics:
    • You are insubstantial.
    • You gain vulnerable radiant and resist necrotic each equal to 5 + half your level.
    • You can make Stealth checks to become hidden if you have any cover or concealment and you don't take penalties to your Stealth check for running or moving more than 2 squares.
    • You can use cover granted by your allies both to become hidden and to remain hidden.


    Sustain Minor: The form persists until the end of your next turn or you resolve an attack.
    Deathstroke 4: You gain 1 additional use of this power until the end of your next short or extended rest.

    Why?
    • Letting you use an alternate power, particularly Shadowcast and Darkness Falls in place of Shade Form improves the effective in-combat impact of Shade Form in a thematic way which was lacking due to its exceptionally short 'real' or practical duration (dispelled the moment you attack).
    • Rewards the shroud invocation/stacking mechanic, and can help soften the blow of wasted shrouds if the target is badly damaged by the time they are invoked.
    • Improves Shade Form to be on par with the superior Black Flame Form alternate class feature power.




    Shadow Step:

    Shadow Step - Assassin Feature
    You vanish into the shadow energy around one creature and then step out of it near another creature.
    At-Will * Shadow, Teleportation
    Move Action - Personal

    Requirement: You must be adjacent to a creature.
    Effect: You teleport 3 squares to a square adjacent to another creature.
    Level 11: Teleport 4 squares.
    Level 21: Teleport 5 squares.
    Deathstroke 4: Immediately after your Deathstroke attack resolves, you may use this power without meeting its requirements as a free action, teleporting up to 1 extra square for each shroud you invoked with your Deathstroke attack. You can teleport in or adjacent to a square of dim light or darkness in this way.

    Why?
    • Thematic change that allows the assassin to exploit the darkness and environment, and quickly reposition and engage the next target, or retreat into the shadows after a successful assassination.
    • Rewards the shroud invocation/stacking mechanic, and can help soften the blow of wasted shrouds if the target is badly damaged by the time they can be invoked.


    Overall not as necessary as the others, but there are definitely solid reasons for its implementation.


    Bleak Disciple:

    Bleak Disciple: Whenever you deal damage to your Assassin's Shroud target with an attack, you can gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier, or take necrotic damage equal to your Constitution modifier that can't be reduced. If you take damage in this way, the target takes an equal amount of extra damage.

    Why?
    • Bleak Disciple sucks compared to the Night Stalker option. This improvement makes Bleak Disciple competitive with Night Stalker in a way that is thematic, and somewhat adheres to its original incarnation.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Okay, I like some of the things you've done here, but I really disagree with others.

    Assassin's Shroud: Your static bonus on top of the dice seems superfluous and, if not superfluous, then certainly excessive. Under this given schema, at heroic:

    1 Shroud: 1d6 (Avg: 3.5)
    2 Shrouds: 2d6+2 (Avg: 9)
    3 Shrouds: 3d6+6 (Avg: 16.5)
    4 Shrouds: 4d6+12 (Avg: 26)

    Compare to a Rogue, which in four rounds, will have done:
    4 x (2d6) = 8d6 (Avg: 28).

    More In-Depth Mathiness:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Okay, so it looks like the shrouds measure up nicely; the issue, however, is that on a miss, the Assassin still does 16.5 damage on their attack, while the rogue deals nothing on any of their misses with their bonus damage. Assassins also get to use much bigger weapons (weird fluff aside). Lets compare, now, a Fullblade Assassin with a Dagger Rogue, at level 1. Each attacks for four rounds straight, the Assassin invokes on the last turn, the Rogue gets Sneak Attack on each attack. Assume they both have CA, and are attacking a level 2 monster (AC = 16).

    Assassin: Attack Bonus = 4 (Dex) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) = 9
    Tot AVG DMG: 4*(0.65)*(11.5) + 4*(0.05)*(22.5), pre shrouds
    Tot AVG DMG = 34.4

    Rogue: As Assassin, but +1 Weapon Talent
    Tot Avg DMG: 4*(0.7)*(13.5) + 4*(0.05)*(20), incl Sneak Attack
    Tot Avg DMG = 41.8

    Assassin's Shroud: (26)*0.65 = 16.9 (this does not even include the potential for the miss damage)

    Final totals: Rogue: 41.8 vs. Assassin: 51.3
    The Assassin, under your system, wins by approximately 2.375 DPR, which is significant at early levels. And that's not even considering the potential extra from that lovely Shroud miss damage. Now, this is a simple analysis, and each of these is only bare-bones hardly optimized. But I think you see my issue. I think the math only gets worse at epic.


    Now, having read my massive spoiler of butchered math, I propose my alternative: Make each subsequent shroud deal a cumulative +1 damage. So:

    1 Shroud: 1d6 (3.5)
    2 Shrouds: 2d6+1 (8)
    3 Shrouds: 3d6+1+2 (13.5)
    4 Shrouds: 4d6+1+2+3 (20)

    At Paragon, increase all the statics by one (2, 2/3, 2/3/4) and at Epic, again by one (3, 3/4, 3/4/5). I would also recommend dropping that Epic figure to just 3d6 - this keeps it on par with Curse and Quarry as a base, and it is still getting rather nice static boosts for layering.

    Now, onto the other mods. I like them, but again, I want the mods to encourage the layering mechanic. So, I would add the caveat "when you drop to 0 hitpoints or fewer an enemy with an attack that invoked two or more of your shrouds". I would also add the proviso that only your first kill that otherwise fulfills the prereqs counts for recharging Shade Form - I don't think every single kill should recharge it, its an encounter power for a reason.

    Finally, I really like the changes you're making, and I think these mods to the features will be a great addition to the Assassin Class. Once they're finalized, I would certainly include them in my game. Sorry for the massive post.
    Last edited by Shadow_Elf; 2011-03-24 at 05:42 PM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Nice analysis, you've got some good points. However you must keep in mind that the Rogue's Sneak Attack has both the advantage of flexibility (you don't have to commit to a single target), and the fact that it's all upfront damage. Up front damage is obviously more valuable than backloaded damage. If the assassin invokes before 4 shrouds, he gets penalized. These advantages are both worth some equivalent value of DPR. You furthermore also ignore the Rogue Backstabber feat, which is essentially a feat tax. To make it fair, let's assume the Assassin has Brutal Shroud though for +0.5 to the damage output of each shroud dice. So the new math:

    L2 AC16 Opponent (Heroic):

    Assassin: 1 (Level Bonus) + 5 (Dex mod) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) = 10 (20% miss chance)
    4 Shrouds (Brutal) = 28 (base) * 0.75 (hit) + 36 * 0.05 (crit) + 18 * 0.2 (miss) = 26.4 average

    Rogue: 1 (Level Bonus) + 5 (Dex mod) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) + 1 (Talent) = 11 (15% miss chance)
    4 Sneak Attacks (2d8) = 36 (base) * 0.80 (hit) + 64 * 0.05 (crit) = 32 average

    On top of that, the Rogue has the advantage of a more flexible and frontloaded striker mechanic! Let's look at this in the Paragon and Epic tiers:

    L12 AC26 Opponent (Paragon):

    Assassin: 6 (Level bonus) + 7 (Dex mod) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) + 3 (Enhance) + 2 (Expertise) = 23 (10% miss chance)
    4 Shrouds (Brutal) = 44 (base) * 0.85 (hit) + 60 * 0.05 (crit) + 30 * 0.1 (miss) = 43.4 average

    Rogue: 6 (Level bonus) + 7 (Dex mod) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) + 3 (Enhance) + 2 (Expertise) = 23 (5% miss chance)
    4 Sneak Attacks (3d8) = 54 (base) * 0.6 (hit) + 96 * 0.05 (crit) = 53.4 average

    L22 AC36 Opponent (Epic):

    Assassin: 11 (Level Bonus) + (9 (Dex mod, assume +2 key stat from ED) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) + 5 (Enhance) + 3 (Expertise) = 33 (10% miss chance)
    4 Shrouds (Brutal) = 74.8 (base) * 0.85 (hit) + 120 * 0.05 (crit) + 60 * 0.1 (miss) = 86.8 average

    Rogue: 11 (Level Bonus) + (9 (Dex mod, assume +2 key stat from ED) + 3 (Prof) + 2 (CA) + 5 (Enhance) + 3 (Expertise) + 1 (Talent = 34 (5% miss chance)
    4 Sneak Attacks (5d8l) = 90 (base) * 0.9 (hit) + 160 * 0.05 (crit) = 89 average

    Obviously, the Assassin's Shroud if anything needs to be made more robust!


    So far the best fix I've come up with:

    Increase Shroud damage to 1d8

    Decrease Epic shroud damage dice to 3.

    New Assassin Numbers: 55.7/75/141.4 (by tier, weapon dice factored) vs
    49.8/71.2/124.6

    While this is better than Rogue numbers at each tier, it should be.


    Now, onto the other mods. I like them, but again, I want the mods to encourage the layering mechanic. So, I would add the caveat "when you drop to 0 hitpoints or fewer an enemy with an attack that invoked two or more of your shrouds". I would also add the proviso that only your first kill that otherwise fulfills the prereqs counts for recharging Shade Form - I don't think every single kill should recharge it, its an encounter power for a reason.
    Yes, Shade Form is an Encounter power, but its real/practical duration is also quite short since any attack interrupts it, hence recouping it on a kill. I'm not adverse to layering.

    Finally, I really like the changes you're making, and I think these mods to the features will be a great addition to the Assassin Class. Once they're finalized, I would certainly include them in my game. Sorry for the massive post.
    Thanks for the feedback and analysis!

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    It is worth noting that your mathematical analysis does not take into account each of the characters' respective weapons, though mine does - your calculations demonstrate solely the damage provided by the extra damage feature. However, for a Rogue to benefit from Weapon Talent, they need to limit themselves to a dagger (low damage) or a crossbow (no melee), both of which have serious downsides compared to the assassin; the assassin can not only use any weapon in theory, they can also use any weapon in practice - the flexibility of their Ki Focus allows this. Also of note that the Rogue requires Combat Advantage to get their damage, making them more reliant on allies.
    And so, I will give you a level 11 vs. level 12 analysis, complete with which powers the pair are using and extra, static modifiers to their attacks. This is all using the math you are currently using for your shroud mechanic.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Assassin:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Attack Bonus: +6 DEX +3 Ench +3 Prof +1 Feat +2 CA = +15
    Damage Die: d12 (Fullblade), high crit
    Using Leaping Shade. d12+6 (dex) + 5(cha) +2(feat) + 3(ench)
    Nightstalker Build. No Brutal Shrouds
    45% chance hit. 5% chance crit. 50% chance miss.
    DMG/4 rounds = 4*[0.45(22.5) + 0.05(52.5)] + Leaping Shades: [0.45 + 0.9 + 1.35] + 0.45[40] + 0.05[68] + 0.5[27]
    = 88.6 damage/4 rounds
    = 22.15 true DPR


    Rogue:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Attack Bonus: 6 DEX +3 Ench + 3 Prof + 1 Feat + 2 CA + 1 WT = +16
    Damage Die: d4 (dagger), no other properties that infringe on dmg
    Using Piercing Strike. 1d4+2d8+6 (dex) + 5(str) +2(feat) + 3(ench)
    Brutal Scoundrel Build. With Backstabber.
    50% chance hit. 5% chance crit. 45% chance miss.
    DMG/4 rounds = 4*[0.5(27.5) + 0.05(46.5)]
    = 64.3 damage/4 rounds
    = 18.825 true DPR


    Other considerations:
    Layering Shrouds is a disadvantage
    The Rogue needs Combat Advantage to get Sneak Attack for that turn

    As you can see, with your current math, the Assassin beats the rogue by almost 4 true DPR. The Rogue is widely considered the best single-attack strike (i.e. it may not measure up to the twin strike cheese rangers, but for single attacks, it is king). The damage-focus feats even out; the assassin has Superior Weapon Prof (Fullblade) and the Rogue has Backstabber. Both have some manner of Expertise. The result, I think, is quite clear-cut. Your numbers are too high.


    EDIT: Realized that I forgot that I was using Piercing Strike with the Rogue. The disparity is smaller, but still quite present.
    Last edited by Shadow_Elf; 2011-03-24 at 07:54 PM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Rogues can use Rapiers without sacrificing too much damage vis a vis a Full Blade. The result is as follows:

    6.5 (Base Damage) * 0.85 (Normal Hit %) + (12 (Crit Dmg) + 6.5 * 2 (High Crit)) * 0.05 = 6.725
    6.725 * 4 = 27.1

    4.5 (Base Damage) * 0.9 (Normal Hit %) + 8 * 0.05 = 4.45
    4.45 * 4 = 17.8

    So a difference of 9.1. When we add these totals to the Paragon bonus damage from the striker feature, we get:

    Assassin: 39.7 (no Brutal Shroud) + 27.1 = 66.8
    Rogue: 53.4 + 17.8 = 71.2

    Difference of 4.4 in the Rogue's favour.

    While yes, the Rogue requires CA, that is an insignificant hurdle compared to the Assassin's limitation that he needs 4 shrouds on the target or his DPR is significantly penalized; it is much more difficult to accelerate shroud placement than it is to get CA. Furthermore, the Assassin's damage is completely backloaded. This complete and total lack of flexibility/speed demands a significant premium.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    By using a Rapier, the Rogue forfeits that key +1 Attack from Weapon Talent, though. I think it would be more fair to use numbers closer to what I suggested and make a homebrewed feat to make the Shroud's d6's into d8's (Getting rid of Brutal Shrouds, which is a worthless feat). I also don't think the backloading is as big an issue as you think - especially with free hidden insight and an easier to recharge Shade Form, an assassin can use Stealth quite readily to lay four shrouds on an opponent pre-battle, and then employ their many movement techniques to move in for a devastating opening blow to an encounter. An assassin can also make use of a much larger variety of weapons than a Rogue - a Longspear/Greatspear for reach, a ranged weapon, a two-hander like the Fullblade, a blade-and-buckler style for more defense, and they can have all of this on their person and merged into one enhancement, their Ki Focus. There are other balancing factors, here, and I am not convinced that, even with the disadvantage of backloading, an Assassin should heavily out-DPR a Rogue. They should roughly be at parity, assuming both are played smartly.
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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Elf View Post
    By using a Rapier, the Rogue forfeits that key +1 Attack from Weapon Talent, though. I think it would be more fair to use numbers closer to what I suggested and make a homebrewed feat to make the Shroud's d6's into d8's (Getting rid of Brutal Shrouds, which is a worthless feat). I also don't think the backloading is as big an issue as you think - especially with free hidden insight and an easier to recharge Shade Form, an assassin can use Stealth quite readily to lay four shrouds on an opponent pre-battle, and then employ their many movement techniques to move in for a devastating opening blow to an encounter. An assassin can also make use of a much larger variety of weapons than a Rogue - a Longspear/Greatspear for reach, a ranged weapon, a two-hander like the Fullblade, a blade-and-buckler style for more defense, and they can have all of this on their person and merged into one enhancement, their Ki Focus. There are other balancing factors, here, and I am not convinced that, even with the disadvantage of backloading, an Assassin should heavily out-DPR a Rogue. They should roughly be at parity, assuming both are played smartly.
    I didn't say an Assassin should heavily out-DPR a Rogue, I said they should possess a significant/meaningful DPR edge to compensate for the backloading and lack of flexibility (hard/impossible to recommit shrouds without losing DPR). Yes, you can sometimes prep and start off strong, but that's not always going to happen.

    Furthermore, the 5% isn't huge (forgot to account for it though). With an equivalent hit rate, the differences are as follows:

    Heroic:
    Assassin: 25.8 (Full Blade x4) + 24.6 (Shroud) = 55.7
    Rogue: 16.9 (Rapier x4) + 32 (Sneak Attack) = 48.9
    Difference: 1.5 (Assassin's favour) or 0.375 DPR

    Paragon:
    Assassin: 27.1 + 39.7 = 66.8
    Rogue: 16.9 + 53.4 = 70.3
    Difference: -3.5 (Rogue's favour) or -0.875 DPR

    Epic:
    Assassin: 52.9 + 79.4 = 132.3
    Rogue: 33.8 + 89 = 122.8
    Difference: 9.5 (Assassin's favour) or 2.375 DPR

    Keep in mind this doesn't factor in the off-hand shenanigans/charge bonuses or minor action attacks melee Rogues enjoy, which expands the gap when it exists in the Rogue's favour, and probably more than eliminates any Assassin edge (which is actually very slight).

    As for weapon diversity/flexibility, ranged rogues, particularly handcrossbow/sling (since the 1d8 Dark Sun Sling, and +3 prof/high crit bonus feat) Cunning Sneak Rogues can easily beat out the Assassin on flexibility and survivability while simultaneously out DPRing it. They also have the mobility and stealth to almost never get caught in melee in the vast majority of circumstances. CSRs are furthermore unparalleled at doing hit and run guerilla softening prior to a proper engagement.

    Ki Focus is a trap btw; Assassins are almost always better off using a weapon enhancement (Spiderkissed, Frost, etc...), and taking a +1 Ki Focus like Rain of Hammers which has secondary elements that work nearly as well at +1 as they do at +6.

    Some revision possibilities (relative to my existing fix):

    1d8/2d8/3d8 per tier:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Advantage of this is that it improves the Assassin's Heroic tier performance.

    Heroic:
    Assassin: 25.8 (Full Blade x4) + 28.6 (Shroud) = 54.4
    Rogue: 16.9 (Rapier x4) + 32 (Sneak Attack) = 48.9
    Difference: 5.5 (Assassin's favour) or 1.375 DPR

    Paragon:
    Assassin: 27.1 + 47.9 = 75
    Rogue: 16.9 + 53.4 = 70.3
    Difference: 4.7 (Assassin's favour) or 1.175 DPR

    Epic:
    Assassin: 52.9 + 77.1 = 130
    Rogue: 33.8 + 89 = 122.8
    Difference: 7.2 (Assassin's favour) or 1.8 DPR


    1d6/2d6/3d6 per tier damage per Shroud
    +1/2/3 per tier bonus damage per Shroud for each Shroud on the target beyond the first:

    Spoiler
    Show
    I like this solution because it scales neatly and simply, and it is also consistent with the base damage dice of other striker features.

    Heroic:
    Assassin: 25.8 (Full Blade x4) + 24.6 (Shroud) = 50.4
    Rogue: 16.9 (Rapier x4) + 32 (Sneak Attack) = 48.9
    Difference: 1.5 (Assassin's favour) or 0.375 DPR

    Paragon:
    Assassin: 27.1 + 51.1 = 78.2
    Rogue: 16.9 + 53.4 = 70.3
    Difference: 7.9 (Assassin's favour) or 1.975 DPR

    Epic:
    Assassin: 52.9 + 76.3 = 129.2
    Rogue: 33.8 + 89 = 122.8
    Difference: 6.4 (Assassin's favour) or 1.6 DPR


    Other Revisions:

    Shade Form:
    If you drop a non-minion creature to 0 or fewer hit points with an attack that invoked at least 2 of your shrouds, you gain 1 additional use of this power until your next short rest.


    Shadow Step:
    If you drop a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with an attack that invoked at least 2 of your shrouds, you can use this power as a free action without meeting the prerequisites. You can teleport up to 1 extra square for each shroud you invoked with that attack.
    Special: If you would teleport to a square adjacent to your assassin's shroud target, you can teleport up to 1 extra square for each of your shrouds that target has on it.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Added the following revisions (feedback welcome):

    1d8/2d8/3d8 per tier damage per Shroud
    +1/2/3 per tier bonus damage per Shroud for each Shroud on the target beyond the first:

    Spoiler
    Show
    I like this solution because it scales neatly and simply, and it is also consistent with the base damage dice of other striker features.

    Heroic (L6):
    Assassin: 25.8 (Full Blade x4) + 29.125 (Shroud/4 rounds) = 53.625
    Rogue: 16.9 (Rapier x4) + 32 (Sneak Attack/4 rounds) = 48
    Difference: 6.925 (Assassin's favour) or 1.73125 DPR

    Paragon (L16):
    Assassin: 28.2 + 58.025 = 86.225
    Rogue: 16.9 + 48 = 64
    Difference: 22.225 (Assassin's favour) or 5.55625 DPR

    Epic (L26):
    Assassin: 50.3 + 86.925 = 137.225
    Rogue: 32 + 80 = 112
    Difference: 25.225 (Assassin's favour) or 6.30625 DPR


    Note that the DPR edge is necessary to compensate for the fact that Shroud damage is both inflexible and backloaded, and is subject to tighter constraints than Sneak Attack (SA can be used again off turn).

    Other Revisions:

    Shade Form:
    If you drop a non-minion creature to 0 or fewer hit points with an attack that invoked at least 2 of your shrouds, you gain 1 additional use of this power until your next short or extended rest.


    Shadow Step:
    If you drop a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with an attack that invoked at least 2 of your shrouds, you can use this power as a free action without meeting the prerequisites. You can teleport up to 1 extra square for each shroud you invoked with that attack.
    Special: If you would teleport to a square adjacent to your assassin's shroud target, you can teleport up to 1 extra square for each of your shrouds that target has on it.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Revisions:

    Assassin's Shroud:

    Shroud damage dice reduced back to 1d6.

    Why?

    This is to account for the growing number of shroud imposers that the assassin now has access to. These accelerate the effective rate at which the Assassin can impose shrouds, which skews previous DPR comparison models that the balance of the 1d8 shroud damage dice is based and contingent on.



    Shade Form:

    Shade Form effects have been added:

    • Being in or adjacent to a square of dim light or darkness satisfies the requirements of Shadow Step.
    • You can use Shadow Step to teleport into or adjacent to squares of dim light or darkness.
    Why?

    Improves Shadow Step to be on more even footing with the new alternate (and more powerful) class feature encounter power Black Flame Form.


    Shade Form's special clause has been revised (changes in bold):

    If you drop a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with an attack that invoked at least 3 of your shrouds, you gain one additional use of this power until the end of your next short or extended rest.
    Why?

    Accounts for the growing number of shroud applying powers and effects. This helps reduce the rate that the clause is triggered and additional uses are gained back to intended levels.



    Shadow Step:

    Special clause has been revised (changes in bold):

    Special: If you drop your assassin's shroud target to 0 or fewer hit points with an attack that invoked at least 3 of your shrouds, you can use this power once this turn without meeting its requirements as a minor or immediate action, and can teleport up to 1 extra square for each shroud you invoked with that attack.
    Why?

    Accounts for the growing number of shroud applying powers and effects. This helps reduce the rate that the clause is triggered back to intended levels.

    The action usage of the special clause has been downgraded from a free action to a minor or immediate action in order to limit its action economy to something more acceptable.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Your Deathstroke rules are inconsistent.

    Deathstroke 4 technically only does something if it is a property of an attack -- sort of like a Miss effect on a power.

    But both of your Deathstroke 4 properties are properties of non-attack powers.

    You need some rewording. It isn't clear if both Deathstroke 4 effects are triggered when you do a 4-shroud kill.

    ---

    Static damage bonuses are, quite honestly boring.

    Why not "1 die per should. If you invoke 1 shroud, you roll 1d6. For each additional shroud, the die size increases by 1, to 2d8, 3d10 and 4d12 with 4 shrouds".

    Rolling 4d12s is more fun than rolling 4d6+12, and has the exact same average damage. But higher critical damage.

    At level 11, you roll 2 dice per shroud you invoke.
    At level 21, you roll 3 dice per shroud you invoke.

    It does rule out "die size boosters", but they can be replaced with Brutal X shrouds, or even "if you roll a 1 on a shroud damage die, replace it with the maximum value of that die".

    ---

    A thought I had for the Executioner: what if we fed some combat abilities off marking? Ie, you have partial concealment from foes marked by your allies, and total concealment from foes who are both marked and adjacent to the marking ally.

    This gives you access to limited in-combat opportunities to hide.

    ---

    Ideally, the Assassin should be a Lurker. For the Assassin to be a Lurker, it should have things to do that involve hiding and disengaging from the enemy, and that shouldn't be sub optimal.

    Something along the lines of being able to burn a Standard Action while hidden, and having that pay off hugely on your next turn.

    Automatic critical hit? That auto-kills if you exceed the target's Bloodied value in hit points?

    Another interesting idea would be to permit the Assassin to expend Shrouds for purposes other than damage. As an example, being able to burn invoked shrouds for +1 to hit after you roll your to-hit dice (trading damage for accuracy), use them to fuel recharging encounter powers, or applying status effects on an enemy (like Ranger's feats that burn HQ dice to slow the target on a hit).

    A fundamental problem with the Assassin was that it was designed to be "weapon agnostic", able to pick up any weapon and deal death with it. The problem is that it ends up being Avenger-esque: there is no downside to picking up a big damn weapon and hitting foes with it.

    And I think Assassin's should be deadly with darts as well as fullblades.

    So, as a suggestion, what if when you invoked your shrouds, you can substitute your shroud damage die size for your weapon die size.

    Now an Assassin who spends 4 rounds stalking a target can use a chopstick or a dart or a club as a 1d12 damage weapon. The fullblade is still a tempting tool, because it gives you increased damage on rounds when you are not invoking 4 shrouds, but using "small weapons" no longer seriously cripples you.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    RE: Deathstroke wording

    ???

    The only problem I can see with the wording is that per the RAW non-attack powers with Deathstroke clauses can only trigger off an attack that has successfully triggered its own Deathstroke clause. The intent is that _all_ non-attack powers with a Deathstroke X clause triggers off any attack that invokes X shrouds or more and drops a non-minion to 0 hp or less and this part I will fix to reflect that.

    EDIT: In retrospect, allowing all non-attack powers whose X is met or exceeded to trigger could result in a serious, flow destroying bogdown/cluster****, so I'm limiting it to one, and increasing the limit with each instance of Improved Deathstroke taken.

    RE: Assassin's shroud static damage bonuses

    It's not static so much as it is exponential. If you mean static not as in it is simply arithmetically iterative but that the damage dice don't change while non-variable, 'static', amounts are added to the extra damage, I implemented this form of damage progression for a number of reasons:

    1. It simplifies the power and rolling by only having one type of dice.
    2. It makes the power much more compatible with elements that increase the maximum number of shrouds, or allow you to exceed the normal maximum.
    3. It stops the striking feature from being too powerful in conjunction with crit-fishing optimization.


    RE: Executioner:

    It's a decent, functional class. I'm not looking to fix or tinker with it at this point. Personally I see it as more of a lone wolf rather than one that somehow derives special teamwork benefits/synergies anyways.

    RE: Assassin as a 'Lurker'

    The assassin has always been about spike damage in my view, not necessarily disengaging, though it certainly _can_ build that way with the new feats and powers I've given it (just look at Darkness Falls and all the shenanigans you can do with that). Beyond this, you have to understand that my intent is to avoid totally or even substantially redesigning the basis chassis of the class, which is probably what such a shift would require.

    Off the top of my head, the best way to allow for this element without getting too revolutionary or overpowering the class would be to let the assassin expend his Standard to drop an extra shroud on his assassin's shroud target as a special clause of Assassin's Shroud. Perhaps feats could enhance this to allow the Assassin to simultaneously become invisible when this is done, or to place additional shrouds.

    RE: Alternative shroud uses

    There are feats and powers that allow for this sort of thing. See the Paragon feat Shroud Hex.

    RE: Weapon agnosticism

    To be honest this sounds better implemented as feat rather than a base element of the class.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
    RE: Assassin's shroud static damage bonuses

    It's not static so much as it is exponential.
    In no way is it exponential? It is quadratic at most.

    Average Damage = X * (3.5 + X) = 3.5X + X^2, where X is the number of shrouds invoked, which is quadratic.

    Exponential would involve doubling the number of dice with each additional shroud, or something else similar.

    By static, I mean it is a number you add to damage, not a die you roll.

    In order to use the power as you described fast enough at a table, you'd have to (in practice) both have a bucket of dice and a table saying what the static modifier is for invoking 2, 3 and 4 shrouds. The time it should take to work out that modifier should be close to zero.

    Heroic: 1d6+0/2d6+2/3d6+6/4d6+12
    Paragon: 2d6+0/4d6+4/6d6+12/8d6+24
    Epic: 3d6+0/6d6+6/9d6+18/12d6+36

    If you increased the max shrouds, you'd have to add another column. The pattern can be calculated, but in practice you added a table to do lookups on.

    The damage bonus you get ends up being more important than the dice you roll just when the dice you roll end up reaching the point where their collective behavior becomes ridiculously predictable.

    The 95% confidence interval of 12d6 is:
    Variance of a d6 = 35/12
    Variance of 12d6 = 35
    SD of 12d6 = sqrt(35) =~ 6
    95% confidence radius =~ 2SD = 12.
    So 42+/12. Add in the 36 static damage bonus, and a 4 shroud invoke deals 78 +/- 12: basically 66 to 90 damage, almost every time.

    Doing the same with 12d12 gets us 143 variance, or a SD of ~12, or a confidence radius of 24, or 78+/-24, or 54 to 102 damage.

    There is far more point to rolling the dice. There is no need for a table.

    If your bonus from 5 shrouds per shroud goes up in your system, you just need a bigger table in practice.
    It simplifies the power and rolling by only having one type of dice.
    I am not sure how picking a bigger die to roll when using more shrouds is more complex than having to do quadratic math, or look something up in a table, every time you invoke shrouds.
    It makes the power much more compatible with elements that increase the maximum number of shrouds, or allow you to exceed the normal maximum.
    If the die size caps at 1d12, the same is true of the bigger die method.
    It stops the striking feature from being too powerful in conjunction with crit-fishing optimization.
    Shouldn't the assassin be about crit-fishing optimization? The assassin, as it stands, is so far away from being an optimization problem it isn't funny.
    RE: Assassin as a 'Lurker'
    Beyond this, you have to understand that my intent is to avoid totally or even substantially redesigning the basis chassis of the class, which is probably what such a shift would require.
    Nope -- I'm just talking about when boosting the class, to pick ways that boost that spike damage, rather than baseline damage. Making the shrouds deal more damage is an example of that, as is keying powers off invoking multiple shrouds, and reducing the penalty for "waiting" until max shroudage.
    Off the top of my head, the best way to allow for this element without getting too revolutionary or overpowering the class would be to let the assassin expend his Standard to drop an extra shroud on his assassin's shroud target as a special clause of Assassin's Shroud. Perhaps feats could enhance this to allow the Assassin to simultaneously become invisible when this is done, or to place additional shrouds.
    That ability is not being an effective Lurker: an additional Assassin's Shroud is not worth even a mediocre attack, unless the Deathstroke bonuses get insane.

    Going from 3 to 4 shrouds at epic increases your hit damage by 22.5 and your miss damage by 19.5. If your expected damage per standard action attack at epic is under 25, you have other problems.

    In order for "Burning a Standard Action to boost next turn's attacks" to be tempting in combat, it has to be an action that will boost your damage output on the next round by something like expected striker damage on a per-round basis.

    RE: Weapon agnosticism

    To be honest this sounds better implemented as feat rather than a base element of the class.
    As a feat, it doesn't add to your damage output to any significant degree. You'd have to add on riders in order to make it worthwhile, because the assassin could say "I could take this, which lets me hit for [W] as d12s every 4 rounds, or I could take fullblade proficiency, and just hit for [W] as d12s every round. I wonder which is better?"

    While it does give you access to light blades with d12 damage dice every 4 rounds, even that has limited utility.

    Maybe if you rolled it into an expertise feat: +1 feat bonus per tier to hit against targets under your shroud, and your weapon damage dice are increased to d6 if they have 1 shroud, d8s if they have 2, d10s if they have 3, and d12s if they have 4 or more, regardless of if you are invoking the shrouds.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    RE: Quadratic vs exponential:

    Lol, c'mon Yakk. I think it's readily apparent I am invoking 'exponential' on an colloquial (i.e. is an exponent effectively involved?) and not formal mathematical basis.

    On static, yes I'd thought so.

    On the damage being predictable, yes, it absolutely is, and that's fine in my view. As stated I'd rather avoid crit fishing optimization, while still allowing it to have some form of synergy with the shroud striking feature. Yes, the old assassin isn't anywhere near an optimization issue, but the new chassis is definitely potent in conjunction with its new powers and feats. This aside, while I hear you on spike damage being a core characteristic of the assassin, I feel both that it should be reliable albeit deferred and that in general, there are better ways to give the assassin this than crit fishing.

    As for dice steps not increasing in your Assassin's Shroud proposal in tandem with elements that increase the Shroud limit, it half defies the point of additional shrouds to only let them increment and not compound the overall shroud damage output.

    Bucket of dice granted, but not until Paragon at a minimum (by which time you'll be throwing around buckets of dice normally anyways). Either way, precisely the same dice buckets (and of many different types of dice) are likewise involved in your proposal.

    On calculating the static damage bonus, while this is probably the most legitimate issue, I ultimately don't see this being a problem because it's fixed; after you work it out the first time (with basic multiplication; 'quadratic math' as a descriptor is a silly overstatement, c'mon Yakk), it becomes automatic. You always know what to roll, and you always know the static damage output.


    RE: Assassin as a Lurker discussion:

    Regarding changing the Assassin without substantially redesigning/overpowering the core chassis to feature a potent disengagement component or a potent component to use while disengaged/further enhance deferred damage, my concern is that not only would this add yet another mechanical element that prominently rather than peripherally features (unlike Deathstroke), but it also fundamentally changes or strongly encourages a change in the basic playstyle of the Assassin. I'm not saying a 'Lurker' approach to the assassin is a bad idea, or that it isn't thematic, but that I'm not sure if such a substantive redesign to the base of the class should occur when the original intention was to buff it without featuring such a redesign, especially when there are many optional elements that allow a player to emphasize disengagement/non-engagement in exchange for deferred damage.

    Regarding the shroud as a Standard, yes, I'm fully aware it's not equivalent to an attack; by itself, it is definitely more of a situational element, of course. The idea is to allow for the Assassin to optionally disengage, or remain disengaged while accomplishing something and to provide a foundation for feats to expand upon, such that this alternative does become consistently attractive vis a vis a normal attack.

    Take this for example:

    Conspiring Shrouds
    Requirements:
    Assassin's Shroud feature
    Benefit: When you use your Assassin's Shroud feature as a Standard action to place a shroud, your Assassin's Shroud target grants combat advantage to you and doesn't benefit from concealment against you until the end of your next turn. Until this effect ends, when you make an Assassin attack as a Standard action that invokes your shrouds, you can increase its critical hit range against your Assassin's Shroud target by +5 per shroud it invokes. If you do, this effect ends after that attack resolves.


    RE: Weapon Agnosticism:

    Yes, a rider component was the idea, a sort of 'weapons master' theme rather than expertise element; I don't like that because it conflicts with other feats the player has an immense competing incentive to take. Specifically I was thinking of granting the PC the ability to swap held weapons or items as a free action (surprisingly useful) and the ability to use improvised weapons with a proficiency bonus and a higher damage dice.

    EDIT: Example

    Assassin Weapon Training
    Benefit:
    You gain the following benefits:
    • You can stow, pick up and/or draw a weapon as a free action once per turn.
    • Improvised weapons you wield or throw have their damage dice increased by one step, and have a +2 proficiency bonus to attack rolls.
    • When you invoke your shrouds with a weapon attack, you may increase the damage dice of the weapons used for that attack by one step for each shroud it invoked (to a maximum of 2d6).

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Hit Points & Surges
    Part of me wants to just agree that this change is good, as it just brings them up to the striker base level, but at the same time, the Assassin before even been given new powers and feats probably has the most access to stealth, concealment, insubstantial, and otherwise being able to avoid damage. I'd argue with its old hit points it was still good at survivability, even great with the right feat and power selection.

    Assassin Powers
    Yes, the class needs more, so, this is great. The only thing to say, which feels incredibly odd to say, is that it might now have too much choice. Ideally 3-7 viable choices at each level seems about right, though even going as high as 14 for the at-wills wouldn't be too overwhelming given that you need two of those (humans might take a third). 21 at-wills...I don't know, just feels excessive. Some of the powers just feel a little...off. For example, Seeking Strike should still have an attack roll. I understand that you want it to automatically hit, but there has got to be better ways to make it accurate instead of just doing that. Maybe +2 and vs. a NAD, or a flat +4 vs. AC, or maybe if you use it on your shroud target, you get to roll twice. Another is Seeking Shades, if you really indeed for this to be a ranged basic attack...it should probably be a ranged attack. Also as you did with the at-wills, perhaps it would be worth also buffing the Assassin's existing powers for the other levels?
    Awesome avatar made by Erthiz.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud View Post
    Hit Points & Surges
    Part of me wants to just agree that this change is good, as it just brings them up to the striker base level, but at the same time, the Assassin before even been given new powers and feats probably has the most access to stealth, concealment, insubstantial, and otherwise being able to avoid damage. I'd argue with its old hit points it was still good at survivability, even great with the right feat and power selection.
    As Strikers go, Blackguard is easily the most durable and robust by far. Meanwhile the Executioner has base striker level durability and all the same tricks the base Assassin has and then some with the exception of Shade Form. There is nothing at all that really justifies wizard level durability for a frontline melee fighter like the Assassin.


    @ Assassin Powers:

    At-will selection is about comparable to the Wizard.

    The autohit powers are effectively variants of Magic Missile which don't suck (I'll note that MM is a ranged basic).

    As for buffing the Assassin's other, existing encounter powers, it's on the list, but in due time.

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    Default Re: [4E] Fixing the Assassin (PEACH)

    Paragon Path:

    Shroudmaster
    "Your fate is writ in darkness."

    Prerequisite: Assassin, Assassin's Shroud feature

    You have gained mastery of the shrouds, the fundamental tools of true assassins, allowing you to wield them with a proficiency and skill unmatched by lesser killers. Exploiting the baleful curses of the Shadowfell to maximum effect, you are able to inflict blows of staggering accuracy and power.


    Shroud Mastery (11th level): Choose one: You can take two feats with the Assassin's Shroud feature as a prerequisite, or you can gain the following benefit. You may expend a retraining option to change this choice:

    When you invoke your shrouds with an attack, that attack benefits from the following cumulative effects against your Assassin's Shroud target:
    • If you have at least two shrouds on the target, that attack ignores the insubstantial quality, cover and concealment.
    • If you have at least three shrouds on the target, that attack has combat advantage, and ignores all cover and concealment.
    • If you have at least four shrouds on the target, that attack ignores immunity and resistance, and its critical hit range against the target increases by +2.


    Shrouded Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you can subject a creature you can see within your Assassin's Shroud close burst to 3 shrouds.

    Shroud in Death (16th level): Whenever you drop your non-minion Assassin's Shroud target to 0 hit points or fewer with an attack that invokes your shrouds, you can subject another creature you can sense within your Assassin's Shroud close burst to half the shrouds you invoked with that attack (rounded down).

    Shroudmaster Hexes:

    Shadowhex - Shroudmaster Attack 11
    The contempt of the Shadowfell descends upon your victim, its aura manifesting a ominous eldritch glow as your curse takes hold.
    Encounter ♦ Implement, Shadow
    Minor Action - Close burst
    10
    Target: Your Assassin's Shroud target
    Attack: Dexterity vs. Will. This attack gains a +1 bonus to its attack roll for each shroud you have on the target or that you invoke with this attack.
    Hit: The target is subject to your Shadowhex (save ends). While subject to your Shadowhex, the following effects apply to the target:
    • The target emits dim light in a close burst 1 only you can see.
    • If you have at least two shrouds on the target, it grants combat advantage, and can't regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.
    • If you have at least three shrouds on the target you have truesight against it.
    • At the start of the target's turn, you subject it to a shroud.

    Whenever another creature becomes your Assassin's Shroud target, this effect ends immediately.
    Aftereffect: If the target saved against this effect, you may subject it to a shroud.
    Special: While the target is unaware of your shrouds, it's unaware of this effect.


    Stalking Reaper - Shroudmaster Utility 12
    You become undetectable to your mark, shrouds warping its senses to fully conceal your presence even as they allow you to see the world through its eyes whilst you await the perfect moment to strike.
    Encounter ♦ Illusion, Shadow, Teleportation
    Minor Action - Personal

    Target: Your Assassin's Shroud target
    Effect: You can hide and remain hidden from the target without cover or concealment, can't be detected by its special senses, have a +5 power bonus to Stealth checks made to hide from it, and can sense what the target senses. You can teleport to a space adjacent to the target you can occupy as a move action without needing line of sight. When you resolve an attack against the target, these effects are suppressed until the end of the active creature's next turn. These effects last until the end of your next turn, you use this power again or another creature becomes your Assassin's Shroud target.
    Sustain Minor: The effect persists as above. Outside of combat this power requires no actions to sustain and can be sustained indefinitely.
    Deathstroke 4: If this power is expended, you can regain a use of it.
    Special: While the target is unaware of your shrouds, it's unaware of this effect.


    Symphony of Slaughter - Shroudmaster Attack 20
    A storm of phantom blades burst from the shroud-tainted aura of your foe, each following in the wake of your own as you strike.
    Daily ♦ Force, Necrotic, Shadow, Teleportation, Weapon
    Standard Action - Melee
    weapon
    Effect: Before the attack, you teleport up to 5 squares for each shroud you have on your Assassin's Shroud target to a square adjacent to it. You do not need line of sight or effect to teleport in this way.
    Target: Your Assassin's Shroud target
    Attack: Dexterity vs. AC. This attack gains a +1 bonus to its attack roll for each shroud you have on the target or that you invoke with this attack.
    Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. This power deals 1[W] extra force and necrotic damage for each shroud you have on the target or that you invoke with this attack.
    Miss: Half damage.
    Effect: If you invoked your shrouds on the target as part of this attack, your shrouds deal maximum damage to the target, or double damage on a critical hit.

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