5E Dagger Thrower
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  1. #1

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    Dagger Thrower

    I am working on making a Dagger Thrower, and would like any helpful commentary, advice, changes, etc. that folks can think of.

    This is the build so far, up to level 5. I chose human for the extra feat, though Halfling could work to use sneak behind a medium size ally instead of Skulker (I like Skulker more personally - hiding in shadows is more versitile). Cunning Action would not be used in the first round (you go into combat already hidden with two daggers in hand, and use your bonus action to throw that second dagger), but it could be used to get the heck out of there on round 2 (your foes were surprised on round 1 so didn't act) and prepare for another set of attacks. You don't have the Dual Wielder feat, so (depending on how you read the rules) you cannot draw two daggers each round and are stuck drawing just one per subsequent round. But really this guy is focused on assassinating his target on round one, and then moving on and hiding again to prepare for more attacks on round 3 if necessary, or returning to the party if you were scouting ahead and decided to assassinate a target you found.

    Why Daggers? It's the only light (two weapon attack), finesse (dex instead of strength), thrown weapon (attacking from as much as a 60' range (sharpshooter) is much safer than melee range). The low base damage isn't important, because the Sharpshooter feat is adding +10 to damage (at -5 attack, but advantage from attacking while hidden basically is a wash with that), and Assasinate is making it a critical hit which doubles sneak attack damage in addition to base damage. Plus, daggers are cool (like fezzes).

    By my calculations (see below), this guy at 3rd level (if he can hide without skulker) or 4th level (if he needs skulker to hide) does an average of 47 damage on that first round if both daggers hit, going up to 54 damage at level 5. That seems pretty darn good, for a guy with just a bunch of throwing daggers.

    From there you can take more Rogue levels, or in the alternative take a level or two of fighter or ranger to get dual wielding, which adds your dex bonus to the off-hand dagger attack. Fighter comes with second wind at level 1, and action surge at level 2. Ranger comes with favored enemy tracking for more assassin theme, normal pace stealth movement when you're alone, and spellcasting that helps with the superb hunters mark spell (add another +1d6 damage to each dagger attack) and hail of thornes (burst 5' on your first hit of +1d10 damage (save for half)). Technically I suppose you could do both fighter 2 and ranger 2, picking up the Archery ability for +2 attack with each dagger. But I don't think that is necessarily worth it.

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  2. #2

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    That's really interesting to see. I've been thinking about making an assassin ambusher, working in a slightly different way. My plan was to take advantage of the assassin's auto crits on a surprise round combined with a fighter's ability to attack many times. So go rogue 3, fighter 2 or 5, ranger 2 or 5. You want action surge, 2 attacks and to be an assassin. Then you can action surge to fire 4 times during your surprise round and hopefully land 4 crits.

    I'm not sure about using ranger in your build. The issue is that hunter's mark uses your bonus action, which you also want to use to throw a 2nd dagger. By taking either fighter or ranger up to level 5 instead you get 2 attacks as a single action, so you've still got the option of using your bonus action to either stick hunter's mark on something or get out of melee.

    My leveling plan would probably be to go ranger 1-5, then get rogue 1-3, then think about getting 2 levels of fighter for action surge. I'm not at all sure which class I'd then carry on advancing. Picking up weapon master would be good actually, since then you could spam superiority dice on those attacks you know are going to crit, with the added benefit that the bad guys would end up prone, dropping their weapons and so on. I think there's one of those that gives you advantage too, which would be useful in turns after the 1st.

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    Coincidentally, I've just been looking at converting a 3e character who threw daggers (as well as firing a longbow).

    He was a 3e-ish (Thieves' World) non-magical Ranger, but I converted him to be a Dex-based fighter with the Archery ability and Sharpshooter feat. I haven't had a chance to play him yet, but it looks like he will be able to dish out a reasonable amount of damage at long or short range, before drawing his rapier for melee.

  4. #4

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

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    Halfling gives you the hide advantage you need, which might be preferable to human with a feat. Plus you can start with a +1 higher dex. (and Lucky, etc.)

    I like the Rogue build - SA dice are a fun way to do damage - but you may want to consider a 1-level dip into fighter. It would let you take the archery specialty which (I'm pretty sure) would apply to thrown weapons as well. Being one level behind the rogue progression also gives you second wind; I myself would not wait two levels in order to get action surge (and be another level behind on the feat and SA progression).

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandragola View Post
    I'm not sure about using ranger in your build. The issue is that hunter's mark uses your bonus action, which you also want to use to throw a 2nd dagger. By taking either fighter or ranger up to level 5 instead you get 2 attacks as a single action, so you've still got the option of using your bonus action to either stick hunter's mark on something or get out of melee.

    My leveling plan would probably be to go ranger 1-5, then get rogue 1-3, then think about getting 2 levels of fighter for action surge. I'm not at all sure which class I'd then carry on advancing. Picking up weapon master would be good actually, since then you could spam superiority dice on those attacks you know are going to crit, with the added benefit that the bad guys would end up prone, dropping their weapons and so on. I think there's one of those that gives you advantage too, which would be useful in turns after the 1st.
    Here is how I imagine using Hunter's Mark with this build. Let's say your job is to take out the guard at the back door to a building. You cast Hunter's Mark on a passer-by, and flip a one-minute sand timer you wear as a necklace (probably shaped in the form of the symbol of the God of Luck) - you have to accomplish your assassination in that time, or the spell is lost.

    You climb the wall to the building next door, and stealthy move across the rooftop. Hiding in the shadows of the rooftop, your target does not see you from down below (your stealth beat his passive perception). You re-assign the Hunter's Mark to your target in one round (no sound necessary to re-assign, which is why you cast it before arriving at this position). Now, roll initiative, because combat is about to begin, and you've got surprise. First round of that combat, you throw your daggers down at your target, and each carries with it the Hunter's Mark. In theory, the second one carries the Colossus Slayer as well (as that dagger is hitting a damaged target).

    Thunk Thunk - you just did 65.5 damage on average, enough to take out almost any guard. Assassination accomplished, as the sands run out in your timer.

    Obviously just one of many examples, but this would work in any scenario where you are sneaking ahead and have the time to spend a round of non-combat time assigning the spell but not attacking. This class combination requires preparation - you're sneaking, you're readying two daggers (which takes two rounds to draw), you're assigning or casting a bonus action spell, etc.. Initiative isn't rolled until combat actually begins, and you will have that first round as a surprise round, but you will have done all that preparation prior to combat actually beginning (unless their passive perception beats your stealth roll - in which case, like any good assassin who is caught - you run like hell!)
    Last edited by Mistwell; Friday, 5th September, 2014 at 04:25 PM.

  6. #6

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    Thatís a bunch of damage.

    Each arrow from an archer assassin (at rogue 3 fighter 2) would do something like 3(stat)+2D8(bow)+2D6(hunterís mark)+4d6(sneak)10(sharpshooter). That comes to 43 damage for the first arrow, on average. Subsequent arrows without sneak attack would do 29 each. Total of 72.

    So thatís actually pretty comparable to your dagger thrower. Itís when you get your 2nd attack from somewhere the fun really starts for the archer. With 5th level in fighter or ranger youíre doing pretty consistent high damage without having to use your bonus action up. Battle master and those superiority dice, or some kind of hunter ability also add to the fun.

    The numbers are actually reassuringly close to be honest. It really looks like both are good damage-dealers. Your knife thrower is certainly comparable in output to a good archer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandragola View Post
    Thatís a bunch of damage.

    Each arrow from an archer assassin (at rogue 3 fighter 2) would do something like 3(stat)+2D8(bow)+2D6(hunterís mark)+4d6(sneak)10(sharpshooter). That comes to 43 damage for the first arrow, on average. Subsequent arrows without sneak attack would do 29 each. Total of 72.

    So thatís actually pretty comparable to your dagger thrower. Itís when you get your 2nd attack from somewhere the fun really starts for the archer. With 5th level in fighter or ranger youíre doing pretty consistent high damage without having to use your bonus action up. Battle master and those superiority dice, or some kind of hunter ability also add to the fun.

    The numbers are actually reassuringly close to be honest. It really looks like both are good damage-dealers. Your knife thrower is certainly comparable in output to a good archer.
    Cool, thanks for the number crunching!

  8. #8
    Heya, I just made an account to ask a related question.

    I'd love to make a hunter/cook character who throws his cooking knives. I don't care about min-maxing stats, but I enjoy roleplaying interesting characters. I was thinking he could cook up his own poisons too, or maybe harvest venom from his poisonous pet... Can you offer suggestions how to build a knife throwing hunter/beastmaster (ranger, not rogue) cook who coats his knives in poison?

    If you could show me a breakdown of what to build levels 1 through 5 I'd really appreciate it!
    Last edited by faria; Thursday, 11th September, 2014 at 11:54 PM.

  9. #9

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

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    Welcome to the boards!

    Quote Originally Posted by faria View Post
    Heya, I just made an account to ask a related question.

    I'd love to make a hunter/cook character who throws his cooking knives. I don't care about min-maxing stats, but I enjoy roleplaying interesting characters. I was thinking he could cook up his own poisons too, or maybe harvest venom from his poisonous pet... Can you offer suggestions how to build a knife throwing hunter/beastmaster (ranger, not rogue) cook who coats his knives in poison?

    If you could show me a breakdown of what to build levels 1 through 5 I'd really appreciate it!
    So you've decided on Ranger already; if you want to be a knife thrower-cook, here's what I would do:

    1. background: guild Artisan gives you proficiency in cook's tools, and two useful Ranger skills.

    2. straight ranger -- nothing else particularly helps with the concept.

    3. at level 2, pick "archery" style -- that's +2 to attack with your knives.

    4. race: so many choices, all of which are viable:
    a. elf (high) gives you +2 Dex and a cantrip of choice
    b. elf (wood) gives you a higher speed and better hiding
    c. halfling (either) gives you luck and dexterity
    d. half-elf lets you pick up an extra skill, and with the charisma bonus makes you better with animals.
    e. human (variant) lets you pick a feat at first level.
    f. even half-orc gives you a bit more staying power though relentless, but it's not optimal.

    5. feats. when you get them (level 4, and possibly level 1 if you're human) there are two obvious choices for the ranged attacks. Sharpshooter lets you avoid cover with your knives and doubles your effective range. For the fun factor, though, I'd take Martial adept which lets you pick things like disarming attack, menacing attack, or precision attack (which stacks with the sharpshooter ability that will lead to +10 damage).

    That's a start for you.

  10. #10
    Thank you!

    Would you recommend I go beastmaster or hunter? I'm leaning towards beastmaster for the poisonous pet, but I see there are some ranged attack abilities that hunters get that are really cool too...

    Or do I not have to take an archetype? When you say "straight ranger" do you mean just ranger and not hunter or beastmaster?

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