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    Default The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Came across an old custom class from a few years back, dusted it off, wondered how well it works. It's a magic-assassin type, pretty much what I expected from the Duskblade (based on the name alone).
    The Shadow Assassin



    “You won’t see him coming. You won’t hear him. The night embraces him like a lover. Incidentally, I’ll need my pay in advance this month.”
    -Renallis Hasur advising the target of a Shadow Assassin.

    The Shadow Assassin is a mix of many things. An deadly swordsman, a stealthy assassin, and a powerful mage. He can’t stand up to a trained warrior in hand-to-hand combat, but if he’s seen at all, he’s done something wrong. He thrives when taking his foes by surprise, launching death attacks and killing magics from the shadows.

    Abilities: Intelligence is extremely important for a Shadow Assassin, powering their spell casting and many of their special abilities. Dexterity is also important for the lightly armored Shadow Assassin. Strength is useful for those wising to focus on melee combat, although Weapon Finesse and spells like True Strike can somewhat mitigate this. Constitution is, as always, important for the added health it provides.

    Races: Any race can be a Shadow Assassin, but humans are most often drawn to the profession of assassin. Halfling Assassins are not unheard of, and many Drow find being a Shadow Assassin quite to their liking.

    Alignment: Any, although most are Lawful Neutral or Evil.

    {table=head]Level|Base attack|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|0 lv|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th
    1st|+0|+0|+2|+2|Trapfinding, Low-Light Vision, Sneak Attack +1d6|2|—|—|—|—|—|—
    2nd|+1|+0|+3|+3|Shadow’s Veil|3|0|—|—|—|—|—
    3rd|+2|+1|+3|+3|Blindfight|3|1|—|—|—|—|—
    4th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Eyes of the Night, Sneak Attack +2d6|3|2|0|—|—|—|—
    5th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Shadow’s Embrace|3|3|1|—|—|—|—
    6th|+4|+2|+5|+5|Shadow’s Devotion|3|3|2|—|—|—|—
    7th|+5|+2|+5|+5|Death Attack, Sneak Attack +3d6|3|3|2|0|—|—|—
    8th|+6/+1|+2|+6|+6|Share the Night|3|3|3|1|—|—|—
    9th|+6/+1|+3|+6|+6|Whisper of the Night|3|3|3|2|—|—|—
    10th|+7/+2|+3|+7|+7|Hide in Plain Sight, Sneak Attack +4d6|3|3|3|2|0|—|—
    11th|+8/+3|+3|+7|+7|Shadow’s Cloak|3|3|3|3|1|—|—
    12th|+9/+4|+4|+8|+8|Blessed of the Night|3|3|3|3|2|—|—
    13th|+9/+4|+4|+8|+8|Sneak Attack +5d6|3|3|3|3|2|0|—
    14th|+10/+5|+4|+9|+9|Gift of the Night|4|3|3|3|3|1|—
    15th|+11/+6/+1|+5|+9|+9|Soul of the Night|4|4|3|3|3|2|—
    16th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10|Sneak Attack +6d6|4|4|4|3|3|2|0
    17th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10|Shadow’s Mask|4|4|4|4|3|3|1
    18th|+13/+8/+3|+6|+11|+11|Killing Blow|4|4|4|4|4|3|2
    19th|+14/+9/+4|+6|+11|+11|Sneak Attack +7d6|4|4|4|4|4|4|3
    20th|+15/+10/+5|+6|+12|+12|Shadow’s Oblivion|4|4|4|4|4|4|4
    [/table]

    Hit Die: d6
    Class Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).
    Skill points at first level: (6+Int modifier) x4
    Skill points at each additional level: 6+ Int modifier

    Class Features

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
    Shadow Assassins are proficient with all all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, kukri, sap, shortbow, and short sword. They are proficient with light armor, but not with shields. A Shadow Assassin can cast Shadow Assassin spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a Shadow Assassin wearing medium or heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component (most do). A multiclass Shadow Assassin still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

    Spells:

    A Shadow Assassin casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the shadow assassin spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. Shadow Assassin spells do not have verbal components. To learn or cast a spell, a Shadow Assassin must have a Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Shadow Assassin spell is 10 + the spell level + the Shadow Assassin’s Intelligence modifier.

    Like other spellcasters, a Shadow Assassin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Shadow Assassin. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score. When the table indicates that the Shadow Assassin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Intelligence score for that spell level.

    He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time the way a cleric or wizard must. When a shadow assassin gains access to a new level of spells, he automatically knows all the spells for that level listed on the warmage’s spell list. Essentially, his spell list is the same as his spells known list. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.


    Trapfinding:
    Shadow Assassins can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

    They can also use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. A Shadow Assassin who beats a trap’s DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with his party) without disarming it.

    Sneak Attack (Ex):
    If a Shadow Assassin can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

    The Shadow Assassin’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the Shadow Assassin flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every three Shadow Assassin levels thereafter. Should the Shadow Assassin score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

    Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

    With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Shadow Assassin can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty.

    A Shadow Assassin can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The Shadow Assassin must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A Shadow Assassin cannot sneak attack while striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

    Low-Light Vision (Ex):
    A Shadow Assassin gains low-light vision. If he already possessed low-light vision, he can now see three times as far as normal in dim light.

    Shadow’s Veil (Su):
    At 2nd level, a Shadow Assassin the shadows first show their loyalty be covering him more thickly then others. When in an area with shadowy or no light, he gains a bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks equal to his class level.

    Blindfight:
    At 3rd level, a Shadow Assassin gains Blindfight as a bonus feat.

    Eyes of the Night (Su):
    Beginning at 4th level, the shadows endow a Shadow Assassin with the ability to see better then other men. He gains 60 foot Darkvision, and a bonus to Spot and Search checks equal to his class level. If he already had Darkvision, its range is increased by 60 feet. Additionally, all Shadow Assassins gain the ability to treat magical darkness as normal darkness for the purpose of vision.

    Shadow’s Embrace (Su):
    Beginning at 5th level, the shadows actively aid a Shadow Assassin in his attacks and hinder his opponent’s efforts to block. When in an area with shadowy or no illumination, he gains a bonus to his attack equal to his Intelligence modifier.

    Shadow’s Devotion (Su):
    By 6th level, the shadows are so loyal to a Shadow Assassin that they will violate physical laws for him. When he leaves an area with shadowy or no illumination, shadows remain wrapped around him, creating an area of shadowy illumination in a 10 foot radius. They remain present for 1d4 times rounds.

    Death Attack (Ex):
    Beginning at 7th level, a Shadow Assassin can strike targets dead with a single attack. If a Shadow Assassin studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a Sneak Attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the attack has the additional effect of possibly killing the target. While studying the victim, the Shadow Assassin can take no more than a single move action each round. The target may not detect the Shadow Assassin or recognize him as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + the Shadow Assassin’s Int modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal Sneak Attack. Once the Shadow Assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the Shadow Assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.

    Share the Night (Su):
    At 8th level, a Shadow Assassin can share some of his kinship with shadows. As a standard action, he can grant all allies within 30 feet 60-foot darkvision for a number of hours equal to his Intelligence modifier. He may use this ability at will. Additionally, their darkvision can penetrate magical darkness created by the Shadow Assassin.

    Whisper of the Night (Ex):
    Beginning at 9th level, the shadows speak to a Shadow Assassin, telling him where his foes are. He gains blindsense out to 30 feet in any area of dark or shadowy illumination.

    Hide in Plain Sight (Su):
    At 10th level, a Shadow Assassin can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, he can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

    Shadow’s Cloak (Su):
    Beginning at 11th level, a Shadow Assassin can cloak himself in shadows, letting their power protect him from enemy attacks. While in an area with shadowy or no illumination, he gains a bonus to armor class and saves equal to his Intelligence modifier.

    Blessed of the Night (Su):
    By 12th level, the partnership between a Shadow Assassin and the shadows is so great it affects his magic. When in an area with shadowy or no illumination, he gains a bonus on spell save DCs and time interval (rounds, minutes, hours…) equal to his Intelligence modifier. However, they gain the [Darkness] description. This ability only applies to Shadow Assassin spells.

    Gift of the Night (Su):
    At 14th level, a Shadow Assassin’s ability to share his vision with his allies improves. As a standard action, he can grant all allies within 30 feet 120-foot darkvision and 30 feet blindsense for a number of hours equal to his Intelligence modifier. He may use this ability at will. Additionally, their darkvision can penetrate magical darkness created by the Shadow Assassin.

    Soul of the Night (Su):
    At 15tht level, a Shadow Assassin’s soul is deeply in tune with the shadows. He can see in perfect color and detail out to 120 feet (this ability overrides Darkvision), and gains blindsight out to 60 feet (this ability overrides his blindsense). Additionally, he gains Darkness as a spell-like ability usable at will, with a caster level equal to his class level.

    Shadow’s Mask (Su):
    At 17th level, a Shadow Assassin is more a creature of shadow then light. While in an area with shadowy or no illumination, he can fade into the shadows and become fully invisible as an immediate action. He doesn't become visible until he enters a well-lit area (and the duration on Shadow's Devotion expires) or he attacks.

    Killing Blow (Ex):
    By 18th level, a Shadow Assassin is sufficiently skilled at assassination that he no longer needs to spend several rounds studying his target. He may make a death attack against any creature that is unaware of his presence. Additionally, if he spends three rounds studying them, he may attempt a death attack even against creatures which would normally be immune to such attacks, such as constructs and the undead.

    Shadow’s Oblivion (Sp):
    At 20th level, the Shadow Assassin can manipulate the shadows to such an extent that he can use them to kill. This ability is usable a number of times equal to the Shadow Assassin’s Charisma modifier times per day. The target must be within thirty feet, and in the Shadow Assassin’s line of sight. The victim must make a Fortitude save (DC 15 + 1/2 level + the Shadow Assassin’s Intelligence Modifier) or die. If he succeeds, he instead takes 10d6 points of damage.

    Spell List (Core Only for now)
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    0-Level:
    Detect Magic
    Detect Poison
    Ghost Sound
    Inflict Minor Wounds
    Mage Hand
    Mending
    Message
    Open/Close
    Read Magic
    Resistance

    1st Level:
    Animate Rope
    Cause Fear
    Deathwatch
    Detect Secret Doors
    Detect Undead
    Disguise Self
    Entangle
    Erase
    Expeditious Retreat
    Feather Fall
    Grease
    Hold Portal
    Inflict Light Wounds
    Jump
    Magic Weapon
    Obscuring Mist
    Pass Without Trace
    Silent Image
    Sleep
    True Strike

    2nd-Level:
    Alter Self
    Bear’s Endurance (self only)
    Blindness/Deafness
    Blur
    Bull’s Strength (self only)
    Cat’s Grace (self only)
    Darkness
    Detect Thoughts
    Fire Trap
    Fog Cloud
    Inflict Moderate Wounds
    Invisibility
    Knock
    Levitate
    Locate Object
    Minor Image
    Misdirection
    Obscure Object
    Protection from Arrows (self only)
    Pyrotechnics
    Resist Energy (self only)
    Rope Trick
    Scare
    Shatter
    Silence
    Spider Climb
    Undetectable Alignment
    Web

    3rd-Level:
    Arcane Sight
    Deep Slumber
    Deeper Darkness
    Dispel Magic
    Displacement
    Explosive Runes
    Gaseous Form (self only)
    Haste (self only)
    Hold Person
    Inflict Serious Wounds
    Invisibility Sphere
    Keen Edge
    Magic Weapon, Greater
    Major Image
    Meld Into Stone
    Nondetection
    Protection from Energy (self only)
    Shrink Item
    Slow
    Water Breathing (self only)
    Water Walk

    4th Level:
    Air Walk
    Arcane Eye
    Confusion
    Contagion
    Detect Scrying
    Dimension Door
    Fear
    Inflict Critical Wounds
    Invisibility, Greater
    Locate Creature
    Solid Fog

    5th Level:
    Mind Fog
    Passwall
    Persistent Image
    Prying Eyes
    Sending
    Slay Living
    Symbol of Sleep

    6th Level:
    Antimagic Field
    Ethereal Jaunt
    Find the Path (self only)
    Forbiddance
    Harm
    Mislead
    Programmed Image
    Shadow Walk
    Symbol of Fear
    True Seeing
    Veil


    Shadow Assassins and the Assassin PrC- The Assassin prestige class from the Dungeon Master's Guide works differently than normal for Shadow Assassins. Rather than gaining a new form of spellcasting from taking the class, each level in the PrC advances his Shadow Assassin spellcasting by one level. Additionally, class levels in the base class and the PrC stack when considering the DC of his death attack.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2011-11-19 at 12:54 PM.
    STaRS-- The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.

    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.

    The Fixed-List Caster Project: my attempt to create classes in the vein of the Dread Necromancer for all relevant aspects of magic. (Now a part of the larger Giants and Graveyards collection)

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    Default Re: Duskblade in truth (aka the Shadow Assassin) [3.5, PEACH]

    Someone? Anyone?

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Interesting...

    Some how, I thought of ToB. One guess as to the style. (Shadow hand, if you don't know ToB) Thats what I originally thought when I saw "deadly swordsmen".

    Looks interesting.

    Surprise strike, shadows viel, and all the other 1st level abilities are repeated. Once more a few abilities down from the original.


    If you do know ToB, give this class a few manouvers and a progression equal to 3/4 of a sword sage. For more fun options. If you don't id recommend learning it.

    I dislike dead levels, so something fun at one of the 4 ded levels near the end would be nice. Perhaps a ranged attack?

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone View Post
    Some how, I thought of ToB. One guess as to the style. (Shadow hand, if you don't know ToB) Thats what I originally thought when I saw "deadly swordsmen".
    ...
    If you do know ToB, give this class a few manouvers and a progression equal to 3/4 of a sword sage. For more fun options. If you don't id recommend learning it.
    I do know the ToB, but... I don't particularly want to use it with this class. Spells and maneuvers always feels a bit redundant and a lot overcomplicated to me. I suppose I could make a variant, probably with full BAB, no spellcasting, and Shadow Hand/Diamond Mind maneuvers...

    Surprise strike, shadows viel, and all the other 1st level abilities are repeated. Once more a few abilities down from the original.
    Whoops. Nice catch.

    I dislike dead levels, so something fun at one of the 4 ded levels near the end would be nice. Perhaps a ranged attack?
    That was actually one of the things I was looking for suggestions on... I don't have any really good ideas at the moment.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    I don't think you get bonus spells known from a high ability score.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    I don't think you get bonus spells known from a high ability score.
    I copied the spellcasting numbers from the bard. At the levels indicated, he has 0 spells/day. If his ability score is high enough that he gets one bonus spell to cast at that level, he knows spells. If not, he effectively has to wait another level before getting new spells.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    So the (1) is your notation instead of an astrix...
    Also, one of the '('s in the table is actually a '9'.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    I know a lot of brewers aren't incredibly fond of the Jack of All trades approach you've taken but I do very much like it
    A couple of issues:
    • Please switch the (1) in the spells known table for an asterisk, it is slightly confusing
    • You said that Charisma is the spellcasting stat in the introductory spiel, could you clarify if it's INT casting, CHA casting or Favored Soul-style both?


    And gratuitous opinion:
    • I feel like there should be a blind fight in there somewhere?
    • Shadow's Mask seems a little overpowered, perhaps restrict its duration and uses per day - it's like having a quickened greater invisibility on call. I could see it becoming an immediate action though.
    • An attack bonus to Surprise Attacks is all very well, but I think a low-moderate Sudden Strike progression would add a bit more of an assassin vibe to the class. You may need to move class features around to accomplish this though. Also, perhaps tone down Shadow's Wrath to half class level as well - that's quite a powerful ability.
    • Possibly tone down the spell progression just a little bit.


    That said, I do like what you've done with it already and I'm pleased that he's able to hold his own in direct combat:smallgrin:

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfinor View Post
    [*]Please switch the (1) in the spells known table for an asterisk, it is slightly confusing[*]You said that Charisma is the spellcasting stat in the introductory spiel, could you clarify if it's INT casting, CHA casting or Favored Soul-style both?[/LIST]
    Done.

    I feel like there should be a blind fight in there somewhere?
    Good idea.
    Shadow's Mask seems a little overpowered, perhaps restrict its duration and uses per day - it's like having a quickened greater invisibility on call. I could see it becoming an immediate action though.
    OTOH, it is a 17th level ability...

    An attack bonus to Surprise Attacks is all very well, but I think a low-moderate Sudden Strike progression would add a bit more of an assassin vibe to the class. You may need to move class features around to accomplish this though. Also, perhaps tone down Shadow's Wrath to half class level as well - that's quite a powerful ability.
    Hmm...

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Shadow’s Mask (Su):
    At 17th level, a Shadow Assassin is more a creature of shadow then light. While in an area with shadowy or no illumination, he can fade into the shadows and become fully invisible as a swift action. He does not become visible when attacking.
    It doesn't say if he becomes visible after he leaves the shadowy area, might want to specify that.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Made a number of minor changes.

    • Removed Sudden Strike and Shadow's Wrath, and replaced them with a moderate Sneak Attack progression, cribbed from the Psychic Rogue
    • Added an ability to grant party members darkvision and blindsense, so that he plays well with others.
    • Nerfed the 7th level Death Attack a bit, and removed the limit on the 17th level version.
    • Added Blindfight
    • Weakened Shadow's Wrath a bit.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2011-10-14 at 12:51 PM.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Your fort save progression has a copy+paste error.

    In addition, as long as you are using a chassis simlar to the bard, you should reduce the hit dice to d6 given all the special features you gain. Especially since the spells are Int based, reducing MAD.
    Last edited by Andion Isurand; 2011-10-14 at 11:39 PM.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Oh, jeez, this seems pretty weak.

    I only skimmed, but this appears to be a bit of arcane spellcasting (no armor!) on top of a stealth melee combatant (slight armor). It also has sneak and death attacks (requiring time spent studying) and then that spellcasting (requiring time spent casting).

    It just really seems low on internal synergy.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by YouLostMe View Post
    Oh, jeez, this seems pretty weak.

    I only skimmed, but this appears to be a bit of arcane spellcasting (no armor!) on top of a stealth melee combatant (slight armor). It also has sneak and death attacks (requiring time spent studying) and then that spellcasting (requiring time spent casting).

    It just really seems low on internal synergy.
    You've clearly missed the other class abilities, heck if anything it's too powerful. In my mind, one of its best aspects is that it can stand toe-to-toe with a fighter in darkness and come out ahead (depending on items and various factors) even discounting spells. He can sneak better than a rogue. He also has the same spellcasting progression as a bard, with a good-but-not-game-breaking spell list.

    This class would be a solid tier 3 - it has a clear Achilles heel (needs shadowy illumination or less) but has tremendous versatility with its illusion (and save or die) spells and great skill list regardless of illumination. Spellcasting and most special abilities are keyed off INT. Similar to a bard, though with a far more combat/stealth oriented focus.

    EDIT: Just noticed the fortitude saving throw progression is wonky, I assume it's meant to be low progression? Also clarified post and fixed grammar.
    Last edited by Elfinor; 2011-10-15 at 08:28 AM.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Andion Isurand View Post
    Your fort save progression has a copy+paste error.

    In addition, as long as you are using a chassis simlar to the bard, you should reduce the hit dice to d6 given all the special features you gain. Especially since the spells are Int based, reducing MAD.
    Thanks for pointing out the typo in the Fort progression. And... you may be right about the HD. For some reason I assumed that the rogue had a d8 Seeing as how all of the chassis classes (bard, rogue, and assassin) have a d6...

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfinor
    stuff
    Thank you. That's pretty much exactly the goal of this class.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Yay! No dead levels. +1 Cookie for you.

    Right now I would define the strengths and weaknesses as follows.
    Strengths
    • Can hide in the dark very well
    • Minor spellcasting to help said hiding and misdirection as well as a few buffs
    • Ambush type abilities

    Weaknesses
    • No movement related abilities, which are crucial to hit and run fighters.
    • Strong team player (You need someone to help you flank in order to sneak attack) which is not always bad. Still, a summoning of a "creature of darkness" for a few rounds couldn't hurt.
    • Besides spells, very melee oriented. I reiterate my comment about ranged attacks. Perhaps gank a ranged shadow hand manouver or the concept? Mid level ability, preferably


    I still feel like this guy could use more abilities/options and still not be pushing anything power wise.
    Just my views.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    I would reduce the bonus to Hide, Move Silently, Spot and Search to 1/2 class level.

    I would include the Poison Use (standard action) and Improved Poison Use (move action) abilities, and grant a normal DC progression for the Death Attack (10 + 1/2 class level + Int Mod)

    I would do away with the abilities to grant allies darkvision/blindsense and put Darkvision on the spell list.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfinor View Post
    You've clearly missed the other class abilities, heck if anything it's too powerful. In my mind, one of its best aspects is that it can stand toe-to-toe with a fighter in darkness and come out ahead (depending on items and various factors) even discounting spells. He can sneak better than a rogue. He also has the same spellcasting progression as a bard, with a good-but-not-game-breaking spell list.

    This class would be a solid tier 3 - it has a clear Achilles heel (needs shadowy illumination or less) but has tremendous versatility with its illusion (and save or die) spells and great skill list regardless of illumination. Spellcasting and most special abilities are keyed off INT. Similar to a bard, though with a far more combat/stealth oriented focus.

    EDIT: Just noticed the fortitude saving throw progression is wonky, I assume it's meant to be low progression? Also clarified post and fixed grammar.
    I think a balance judgment of that sort is part of the reason players like the monk class--a lot of class abilities isn't exactly the sign of super usefulness.

    • This guy is a melee sneak attacker. That means he wants armor. That means he's going to incur ASF.
    • This guy wants at least cover or concealment to hide, an cannot be observed. This means that if he casts darkness or somesuch, opponents will see him casting a spell be observing him--ruining hiding attempts.
    • He wants to cast darkness in combat (with his ASF), but darkness isn't on his spell list till 4th level, so that semi-useful schtick doesn't even come online for some of the most commonly-played levels of the game.


    This class does not mesh with itself, probably lagging below Tier 3 and above Tier 4 if it makes good use of its spell list (and by that, I mean buying a tower shield for hiding and spamming concealment before stabbing).

    There's really no need for a spell list at all--just give this guy the ability to make small patches of darkness (since that's what he wants in combat) once per encounter, which upgrades as levels increase. You will have a simpler class, and if you make it a swift action at higher levels, you'll have much better internal synergy.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone
    Weaknesses
    * No movement related abilities, which are crucial to hit and run fighters.
    * Strong team player (You need someone to help you flank in order to sneak attack) which is not always bad. Still, a summoning of a "creature of darkness" for a few rounds couldn't hurt.
    * Besides spells, very melee oriented. I reiterate my comment about ranged attacks. Perhaps gank a ranged shadow hand manouver or the concept? Mid level ability, preferably
    *Movement... yeah, that's always a bit of a problem. Suggestions?
    *Kind of funny how that works out. On the one hand, invisibility spells, hide in plain sight, super-sneaking... on the other hand, that sounds like a pretty cool ability, in all honesty.
    *Not a bad suggestion. Or maybe allow sneak attacks at longer levels if he starts from hiding...


    Quote Originally Posted by Andion Isurand
    I would reduce the bonus to Hide, Move Silently, Spot and Search to 1/2 class level.

    I would include the Poison Use (standard action) and Improved Poison Use (move action) abilities, and grant a normal DC progression for the Death Attack (10 + 1/2 class level + Int Mod)

    I would do away with the abilities to grant allies darkvision/blindsense and put Darkvision on the spell list.
    Hmm... poison, yes, good call. The bonus reduction... maybe, yeah. But I'm sticking with the ability- not everyone is going to want to waste spells buffing the party (which isn't really the point of the class to begin with), and I'd rather have a slightly strange ability that boosts teamwork than cause conflict.

    Quote Originally Posted by YouLostMe View Post
    This guy is a melee sneak attacker. That means he wants armor. That means he's going to incur ASF
    He can wear light armor without incurring ASF- check the proficiency paragraph. I guess I should probably add add another mention in the spellcasting section, since I think someone else made that mistake as well.

    This guy wants at least cover or concealment to hide, an cannot be observed. This means that if he casts darkness or somesuch, opponents will see him casting a spell be observing him--ruining hiding attempts.
    He buffs before sneaking up to foes? And I'm pretty sure you can cast spells while hiding...

    He wants to cast darkness in combat (with his ASF), but darkness isn't on his spell list till 4th level, so that semi-useful schtick doesn't even come online for some of the most commonly-played levels of the game.
    Oh no, he has to wait three levels before he can cast a spell that gives him a huge advantage at everything. He only has sneak attack, a medium BAB, a few first-level spells, trapfinding, plenty of skill points, better sneaking than the rogue...

    There's really no need for a spell list at all--just give this guy the ability to make small patches of darkness (since that's what he wants in combat) once per encounter, which upgrades as levels increase. You will have a simpler class, and if you make it a swift action at higher levels, you'll have much better internal synergy.
    Except that's not what I want for the class. This is the spellcaster-rogue/assassin that the Beguiler isn't quite. The idea is that he can use his magic to enhance his infiltration abilities- self-buffs, illusions to distract guards, divinations for scouting, mobility-enhancements, a few trap spells... I don't know about you, but I could do a lot with the spells on his list.
    I could very easily make a variant with no spellcasting, probably involving Shadow Hand maneuvers and a full BAB. But that's not the class we're discussing here.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    The picture at the top STILL makes me thin of a gish that casts buff spells and then sneak attacks with Shadow hand manouvers..

    Anyway, I would hold off on ACF's until your certain about this class.

    As for movement, First, just teleporting within shadow. As time goes on, and so do levels, allow low light or a certain distance from shadow and perhaps from shadow to shadow. At 20th, let them teleport into someone else's shadow and then attack.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Thank you. That's pretty much exactly the goal of this class.
    I'm fond of it.

    As for my two cents worth on possible changes:
    Ditch the sneak attack for sudden strike. It's worse, I know - but it does fit in more with the solitary vibe. You can always bring back Shadow's Wrath or add other features (such as the mobility ones) to compensate. Or give him d8 HD (you may have been thinking of Pathfinder) again.

    For mobility, I suppose his spell list gives him quite a few options there. I would suggest adding the swift versions of Invisibility, Expeditious Retreat and Fly to the list. Other possiblities: Spring Attack/Bounding Assault, Increased movement speed, Cheetah's Sprint (10xspeed charge/hour), Tiger's Pounce (Full Attack post-charge)

    Or the Nightcrawler option: Shadow Jump (as Shadowdancer, or maybe just requiring dim illumination, or no requirements) with the maybe-separate ability to make one attack at your highest BAB-5 (due to teleport disorientation) after teleporting, which is always a Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike/Surprise Attack. This could later upgrade to no penalty attacks, 'any standard action' (allowing spellcasting) or a full attack later on - though Shadow Pounce is a little infamous for a reason.

    Elfstone's mobility suggestion looks good too, especially the capstone - I salivated over that capstone, kudos for flavor there. You could possibly combine it with the Nightcrawler suggestion above.

    I also agree with Andion's suggestion to decrease the Hide/Move Silently bonus on Shadow's Veil.
    Last edited by Elfinor; 2011-10-16 at 02:50 AM. Reason: Grammar

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    He can wear light armor without incurring ASF- check the proficiency paragraph. I guess I should probably add add another mention in the spellcasting section, since I think someone else made that mistake as well.
    I normally see that as a separate ability. K, that's dealth with.

    He buffs before sneaking up to foes? And I'm pretty sure you can cast spells while hiding...
    That requires knowing that combat is about to start, or doing a dungeon crawl where you're constantly fighting. Surprise attacks are a smack in the face, as is battle in the tavern or combat with bandits on the road.

    And spells when hiding works if they're Somatic and/or Material-only. Darkness uses a Verbal component--you can't speak a spell and not have anyone notice you.

    Oh no, he has to wait three levels before he can cast a spell that gives him a huge advantage at everything. He only has sneak attack, a medium BAB, a few first-level spells, trapfinding, plenty of skill points, better sneaking than the rogue...
    Yes. Mild sneak attack like the rogue (worse than the rogue at level 3), medium BAB so he'll probably hit like the rogue, trapfinding just like the rogue, and I'm not seeing how his hide is any better at low levels...

    He's basically a rogue, my friend. And guess what class is ranked at Tier 4?

    Except that's not what I want for the class. This is the spellcaster-rogue/assassin that the Beguiler isn't quite. The idea is that he can use his magic to enhance his infiltration abilities- self-buffs, illusions to distract guards, divinations for scouting, mobility-enhancements, a few trap spells... I don't know about you, but I could do a lot with the spells on his list.
    I could very easily make a variant with no spellcasting, probably involving Shadow Hand maneuvers and a full BAB. But that's not the class we're discussing here.
    That's not what I wanted to discuss either. I don't want maneuvers at all, because those would hurt the class, but he's missing his schtick. His schtick is darkness and when I play games, I want my character's schtick to work all 20 levels. Heck, at high levels, some monsters have blindsight and see in magical darkness and just don't care because they spam AoE attacks or have decided to probe his mind.

    The whole "shadow" assassin doesn't incorporate "shadow" till level 4, and then doesn't scale after the effects of things like deeper darkness are done, and so peters out. I'd say this guy is an effective shadow assassin from levels 4 to around 12-14, depending on what sorts of opponents the DM tosses at you. It gives out just before invisibility shenanigans die out.

    As for that whole "needs utility" thing, I agree. But you can do that with class abilities, or a small list of SLAs or somesuch. It doesn't really matter what your choice is, so long as you are differentiating and supporting the theme of this character (the theme being "darkness" and "stabbing fools").

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by YouLostMe View Post
    He's basically a rogue, my friend. And guess what class is ranked at Tier 4?
    Let's compare it to the rogue at levels 3 and 13. At level 3, the Shadow Assassin does not have that extra die of sneak attack, nor does he likely have the same dexterity as the rogue, but he does... maybe have surprise strike... it's on the table... um which would mean he'd have a rogue's accuracy, maybe even edge him out. His Intelligence is likely higher, so we could probably assume they have a similar skill total. His stealth skill would probably be equal to or greater than the rogue, thanks to shadow's veil. Blindfight gives him edge where it's supposed to, in dim illumination he has a better hit chance and better vision than a rogue. A lot of his cantrips (ghost sound, message, open/close) have uses in infiltration work. He probably has a bonus 1st level spell - so he'll be able to cast two first level spells out of a pool of three known. The number of uses for Silent Image alone is astounding. The rogue does have a slight edge in raw damage dealt, even in dim light, but the shadow assassin has a very clear advantage in misleading opponents (potentially getting in more damage in the process) and hence getting in and out of situations alive. Another comparision: A bard (Tier 3) of this level is also weaker in combat than a rogue, but has more options. The Shadow Assassin's spells give him more options.

    As is the case with all moderate to high level spellcasters, by 13th level there is no contest. Although he has +2d6 less sneak attack damage dice than a rogue he has a death attack (low chance of affecting high-level targets, but still), far superior senses, HiPS, better attack and defenses in dim illumination and useful 4th level spells (assuming no bonus 5th level spells) like Greater Invisibility - useful in almost any encounter. A UMD rogue could potentially duplicate some of these abilities, but it would be costly to do so and the Shadow Assassin has UMD as a class skill too.

    Clearly superior to a rogue. And it has magic

    EDIT II: Found a psionic power and thought of you Not sure if/how you'll want to use it though - it seems a tad melodramatic. It's on the SRD here.
    Last edited by Elfinor; 2011-10-16 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Made more concise, fixed phrasing.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfinor View Post
    Let's compare it to the rogue at levels 3 and 13.
    No.

    My point was that he was weaker than Tier 3 at lower levels. And when I went through, his lower levels were basically a Tier 4 class. He's better than a rogue at higher levels, but I have a completely different argument for that.

    Please please please read the posts before you respond to them.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    I did. The 'at level 3' section makes by far the majority of my previous post - with a minor comparison to the tier 3 Bard (more difficult to do, since they have less overlap) that I probably can/should expand upon (Later, Time Waster) as it's a little nebulous. The 'at level 13' section is more an addendum, though admittedly the opening sentence does imply I gave them equal study. Maybe try reading it... again? I did attempt to address what you said, really!

    If you have a problem with the actual meat of my explanation though - I guess it is just opinion in the end. I'm not going to spend much more time justifying mine, though you may find (apparent) errors in my reasoning.

    EDIT II: I also want it on record that I was not discussing all of your (YouLostMe's) concerns/suggestions, mostly the low level tier rating (flexibility). Just in case.
    Last edited by Elfinor; 2011-10-16 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Clarity, expansion, sounded less pretentious (sorry!) and stopped overusing non-full stop punctuation.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfinor View Post
    I did. The 'at level 3' section makes by far the majority of my previous post
    I admit, I stopped reading after that first sentence. I will parse and reply now.

    At level 3, the Shadow Assassin does not have that extra die of sneak attack, nor does he likely have the same dexterity as the rogue, but he does... maybe have surprise strike... it's on the table...
    And not in the class. I assumed it was a typo. Unless it's sudden strike or something that I'm not familiar with--it also doesn't appear to be in the SRD. Please help me here.

    um which would mean he'd have a rogue's accuracy, maybe even edge him out
    I don't see the connection. More MAD means less of other stats. With same BAB, that seems like a lower chance to hit. But the difference is pretty negligible at low levels.

    His Intelligence is likely higher, so we could probably assume they have a similar skill total. His stealth skill would probably be equal to or greater than the rogue, thanks to shadow's veil.
    Yes, if he is in darkness, then gets a 1-3 bonus (depending what level we're looking at) on his sneaking. That hardly impacts anything till around level 3, especially if the rogue has more Dexterity.

    Blindfight gives him edge where it's supposed to, in dim illumination he has a better hit chance and better vision than a rogue.
    Pray tell, where is this dim illumination? In the cavern? In the dungeon? And what are his teammates doing to compensate for the 20% miss chance? Does he just give them the middle finger? That's awfully nice of him...

    A lot of his cantrips (ghost sound, message, open/close) have uses in infiltration work.
    Uses, yes. But he gets 2-5 of them per day, and their uses aren't exactly fantastic. This is not the dividing line between T4 and T3.

    He probably has a bonus 1st level spell - so he'll be able to cast two first level spells out of a pool of three known. The number of uses for Silent Image alone is astounding.
    Silent image is a very controversial spell, and without sound or smell you can probably simulate a wall or a dead body from far away. Nice utility, but not fantastic.

    I do, see, however, that there is entangle, sleep, Grease, and Cause Fear. Those are nice spells, and I see the use of those winning .5-1.5 encounters per day (depending on number of spells and possible success/failures for saves), which is definitely better offensive ability over the rogue. But while that's quite good, the rogue also gets well-respected ability Evasion over the shadow assassin. So I can see more "winning" from the shadow assasin, but less "getting hurt" from the rogue. Balance-wise, I'm not impressed.

    The rogue does have a slight edge in raw damage dealt, even in dim light, but the shadow assassin has a very clear advantage in misleading opponents (potentially getting in more damage in the process) and hence getting in and out of situations alive. Another comparision: A bard (Tier 3) of this level is also weaker in combat than a rogue, but has more options. The Shadow Assassin's spells give him more options.
    Where is this misleading coming from? His spells? He needs a standard action to cast that spell, my friend, which is about the same amount of time a rogue needs to stab someone in the face.

    And the bard example is pretty weak--bards are considered Tier 3 only if you're using things like Dragonfire Inspiration (which JaronK decided he would use), where all your allies get bonus dice of energy damage to attack. A bard gets his weapon plus 1d6 fire/cold/sonic, which isn't precisely small fare at these low levels. Those spells are nice, but they're not really what makes the bard shine at low power.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    As a party member, he's got serious limitations (unless in a similarly defensive party). As a solo class, however, this could get extremely nasty, particularly if he grabs Silent Spell.
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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    As a party member, he's got serious limitations (unless in a similarly defensive party). As a solo class, however, this could get extremely nasty, particularly if he grabs Silent Spell.
    I assume you mean the requiring-darkness thing? I tried to address that with the Share the Night abilities. I suppose I could move them up a bit...

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Spellcasting: Seems like this would be a candidate for Shadow Magic, from Tome of Magic. Nothing wrong with arcane spellcasting, just thought Shadow Magic would be better, flavorwise.

    If you don't use Shadow Magic, you should find more Darkness spells. I know there are a few (though the only one I know is in Ravenloft, and damages characters that aren't evil). The Darkness Domain may be of use. I especially think Armor of Darkness should be on your list. You may also be interested in Assassin spells in the Spell Compendium.

    Sneak Attack: This might be best off as Sudden Strike. Do you care if the Shadow Assassin flanks to get his bonus damage?

    Surprise Strike: This is on the table, but I don't know what it is for. I think you should replace it with Darkness as a spell-like (or even supernatural) ability 1/day, increasing uses every few levels until eventually it's at will. Maybe even make it so that its spell level equals half your Shadow Assassin level?

    Shadow's Veil/Eyes of the Night: Perhaps cut it down to 1/2?

    Death Attack: (DC 10 + the Shadow Assassin’s Int modifier). I wouldn't use it. If I wanted to use death attack I'd rather go into assassin, or wait until level 18 for Killing Blow. You should add 1/2 Shadow Assassin level.

    Whisper of the Night: Shouldn't this be in only shadowy illumination?

    Gift of the Night: Duration? It's a swift action with no duration. Is it like a stance?

    Killing Blow: Better than Death Attack, but it should still probably be 10 + 1/2 Shadow Assassin class level.

    Shadow's Oblivion: same as Killing Blow.
    Last edited by Nihilarian; 2011-11-18 at 05:27 PM.

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    Default Re: The Shadow Assassin [3.5, PEACH]

    Change the Share the night ability to only affect his darkness effects, extend duration to hours per level, since as it is written now he can technically give them Share the Night at will anyways.

    That should help with the party issues.

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