5E Assassins, Alignment, and Archetypes

Zardnaar

Legend
I kind of like Bhaal in FR. The class was inspired by the assassins in the ME.

I've got this idea for a creed of assassins game. There's this matrix like illusion where you can pretend to be in the past.
 
I really like the Bleed idea. Especially if a bleeding target has their speed slowed. Really nice way to get past mooks to your real target.

I don’t dig crit multipliers so much. Extra dice on a crit, I could get behind, or maybe steal 4e’s brutal mechanic and reroll any 1 or 2 until they are higher than 1 or 2 on shroud damage. That would raise the average, and do so even more on a crit. Another option would be to double the Lethal threshold on a crit?

I also still like the idea of gaining a “destroy target” ability where if you deal half their HP in damage and they are CR [n] or lower, they must save or drop to 0hp. Maybe that could be what makes crits special?
Dropping the slowed condition on every target you hit sounds like a lot, but I like the idea. Maybe it's just on a crit that the condition gets activated as a rider? That might keep it form being OP.

Some sort of mechanic to reroll low damage dice on crits would work, yeah. I was really talking about extra dice though. I didn't really explain that very well though. I was envisioning a progression where the class goes from rolling two weapon damage dice on a crit to three, and then four. Not even necessarily multiplying the shroud die, although that could also be the case. We're talking d4s and d6s so rolling 3 or 4 of them on a crit isn't breaking the game at higher levels.

I like the destroy target ability too. Is there a way we can decouple that from CR? Not everybody uses that straight out of the tin and it feels like a lot of double checking for the DM. That said, if it's mooks mostly it shouldn't be that hard to track. We'd need to think hard about what the CR [n] or equivalent should be as well.

As for the parry, there are a bunch of abilities that allow X reaction on a missed melee attack. It could just be a higher tier ability that allows a reaction attack on a miss period. Nice and simple. I think the Shrouds could be based on the BA too. I'm picturing TWF being the class primary, so that would have them choosing round to rounnd between the extra attack and maybe more crits and the shrouds, plus maybe dodging. That sounds like a meaningful tactical choice. I like it. Generally keep ripostes and dodges to the R and BA and make it a choice that matters.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Dropping the slowed condition on every target you hit sounds like a lot, but I like the idea. Maybe it's just on a crit that the condition gets activated as a rider? That might keep it form being OP.
maybe save vs slow?

Some sort of mechanic to reroll low damage dice on crits would work, yeah. I was really talking about extra dice though. I didn't really explain that very well though. I was envisioning a progression where the class goes from rolling two weapon damage dice on a crit to three, and then four. Not even necessarily multiplying the shroud die, although that could also be the case. We're talking d4s and d6s so rolling 3 or 4 of them on a crit isn't breaking the game at higher levels.
that could work.

I like the destroy target ability too. Is there a way we can decouple that from CR? Not everybody uses that straight out of the tin and it feels like a lot of double checking for the DM. That said, if it's mooks mostly it shouldn't be that hard to track. We'd need to think hard about what the CR [n] or equivalent should be as well.
it’s possible that hp could work. Some higher CR critters have lower HP because they’re more glass cannon, but hell, that might be okay.

As for the parry, there are a bunch of abilities that allow X reaction on a missed melee attack. It could just be a higher tier ability that allows a reaction attack on a miss period. Nice and simple. I think the Shrouds could be based on the BA too. I'm picturing TWF being the class primary, so that would have them choosing round to rounnd between the extra attack and maybe more crits and the shrouds, plus maybe dodging. That sounds like a meaningful tactical choice. I like it. Generally keep ripostes and dodges to the R and BA and make it a choice that matters.
I think we are on mostly the same page, tbh. I like the monk’s deflect arrow ability, maybe coming online later? Give the parry part in tier 2, and the riposte later since it’s potentially more powerful than the monk’s deflect attack?
Or make it the main thing of the assassins creed style guy, but I’d prefer it as a class feature that comes online before tier 3 if possible. If it costs a shroud it is also slowing down damage buildup, which is a solid cost.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Real quick question:

names. I know, more important stuff, but hear me out.

Enclaves, Schools, or Guilds. (Please no arguments from tradition, here)

What do we think of naming them after monsters. Ie;

School of the Manticore (poisoner)

Banshee Enclave (Fey themed fear and charm master)

Peryton Guild (assassins creed/4e executioner)

School of The Wraith (shadow master)

Enclave of the Felidar (divine assassin, “sometimes justice is a blade in the left hand of god”)

🤷‍♂️
 
Could we call them Shadows? Shadow of the Manticore sounds cool. Veils would work too. Barring that, maybe Schools. Or Creeds! :p

Lets leave Destroy Target as based on CR for now, and change it if we think of something fancy. What were you thinking for a CR cap? AT 20th level the CR that can be insta-ganked is...

Maybe now is the right time to start picking and choosing what is base class and what is subclass. I was kind of picturing each subclass having a unique ability and another ability or two that leverages existing class abilities like shrouds or crits (or both) and do something unique with the mechanic.

Oh yeah, riposte online later sounds right.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah, no. Not so much. You need to let go of your hate and anger Luke. Let go of your preconceptions about alignment. Let go of your narrow non-melee vision. Lead to the dark side those things do.
Given as the dark side is exactly where I expect to find Assassins, that somehow seems appropriate. :)

The assassin in your post is pretty categorically not what's on the table here. I also find that assassin intriguing, but only as a NPC. A better set of comps might be Kalam Mekhar or Apsalar from the Malazan books, or Rallick Nom from the same series. Or Caine from the Acts of Caine series.
Sorry, not familiar with any of those.

The kind of fantasy fiction assassin we're talking about is very much melee competent - fast, accurate and deadly. Precise and skilled rather than brutal, but deadly nonetheless.
Sounds like you're talking about something more akin to a 4e striker, which isn't at all what I'm after here.

Poison probably shouldn't be a factor either, or at least it wouldn't be for me - I'll either add deadly poisons to my game or not, but they aren't just a toy for one class, nor just for the good guys. The whole "only one chance" idea above is precisely why the Rogue archetype won't cut the mustard either - that emphasizes solo play and makes the character generally useless (and not fun to play).
That's the whole point: the Assassin is very much a solo character. (yet still lots of fun to play) Sure there's times an Assassin fits into a party and can bring something they otherwise lack (which is why they get some Rogue abilities; if the party needs a Rogue an Assassin can kinda fill the bill) but most of the time they're running solo.

I never for a second either said or implied this class would be easy to play in a typical game.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm not sure how observation and a tactical approach to combat equal 'flailing around'. It could just as easily be read as "four times as likely to land a telling blow due to precision and planning". Keep in mind that it's also just one mechanic and it applies to all the assassins attacks. Part of the program was to make a more DPR assassin
No.

If it's into worrying about DPR that implies it's in an ongoing combat, which means it's done something wrong.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
WTF is a 'shroud', anyway? Is that something out of post-initial-release 4e (all of which I ignored)?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Could we call them Shadows? Shadow of the Manticore sounds cool. Veils would work too. Barring that, maybe Schools. Or Creeds! :p
Depends. Are we imagining an organization calling themselves a Shadow or Veil? Could be cool, also makes me wonder if there is something hermetic/esoteric that they could be called. I think School is the best generic option, but Veil and Shadow are fun.

Lets leave Destroy Target as based on CR for now, and change it if we think of something fancy. What were you thinking for a CR cap? AT 20th level the CR that can be insta-ganked is...
Maybe just scale it by the same ratio as the Cleric ability, but at different assassin levels.

Maybe now is the right time to start picking and choosing what is base class and what is subclass. I was kind of picturing each subclass having a unique ability and another ability or two that leverages existing class abilities like shrouds or crits (or both) and do something unique with the mechanic.
agreed.
Shrouds and Lethal for sure are core. At least one of the Reaction parry and Bonus Action Defense buff need to be core class. I’d say a stealth buff of some kind, Evasion, and the base class is most of the way done.
Edit: and the crit range boost. Should it be part of shroud?

Oh yeah, riposte online later sounds right.
But not too late. Or maybe the Ezio school can do it earlier? Nah that’s weird. Okay, put it between 5 and 11, and ezios do it better?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
@doctorbadwolf - you seem to want your Assassins to be combat-first (as in, almost based on Fighters), where I see them as stealth-first (largely based on Rogues/Thieves or maybe Ninjas).

We're talking about two completely different classes here. I'm not sure what to call your version, but it sure doesn't say 'Assassin' to me.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
In the first movie Blade used EDTA, an anticoagulant, as poison against the vampires, and in the final fight against Deacon Frost. In the third movie "daylight" was a biological weapon against vampires created by the "night stalkers", the vampire-hunter group.

A fighter with a strong sense of honor shouldn't use poison against other living humanoids.. (garlic and holy water against vampire then the thing is different).

Usually the assassins' modus operanti is infiltration, hitting and to disappear without a trace. It is more stealth tactics that true fight.

"Good" assasins are possible, but they need a special background. An example could be the class from Diablo II expansion. They could member of an order of witch-hunters or monster-slayers, or a secret rebel group against a tyrant.
 
Given as the dark side is exactly where I expect to find Assassins, that somehow seems appropriate. :)

Sorry, not familiar with any of those.

Sounds like you're talking about something more akin to a 4e striker, which isn't at all what I'm after here.

That's the whole point: the Assassin is very much a solo character. (yet still lots of fun to play) Sure there's times an Assassin fits into a party and can bring something they otherwise lack (which is why they get some Rogue abilities; if the party needs a Rogue an Assassin can kinda fill the bill) but most of the time they're running solo.

I never for a second either said or implied this class would be easy to play in a typical game.
Yeah, we're talking about very different characters. I would actually be very down to try and build the one you're indexing too actually. Built properly I think it would make a great villain. It would also be fun to play, I agree, but no, it doesn't fit into a party very well. Anyway, yeah, different projects.
 
Depends. Are we imagining an organization calling themselves a Shadow or Veil? Could be cool, also makes me wonder if there is something hermetic/esoteric that they could be called. I think School is the best generic option, but Veil and Shadow are fun.
Would is maybe be less restrictive to refer to traditions, rather than specific actual schools? A specific organization could be an example of tradition X, but I feel like we could be leaving a little more room for players to background things more to their taste. Aesthetics in both cases though, we can let it marinate.
Maybe just scale it by the same ratio as the Cleric ability, but at different assassin levels.
The cleric ability has uses/SR - is that the resource type you want? If so then it's fine. I thought you were looking for more uses per rest for some reason, or even an always on ability of some kind. I'm fine with a SR resource there.
Shrouds and Lethal for sure are core. At least one of the Reaction parry and Bonus Action Defense buff need to be core class. I’d say a stealth buff of some kind, Evasion, and the base class is most of the way done.
Edit: and the crit range boost. Should it be part of shroud?
I'd keep the evasion separate. If you pack too much into one mechanic it gets draggy. This could be as simple as 'dodge or disengage as a bonus action' like the rogue/monk versions.
But not too late. Or maybe the Ezio school can do it earlier? Nah that’s weird. Okay, put it between 5 and 11, and ezios do it better?
Maybe we should take a step back here. Perhaps what's really needed is a reaction based mechanic in the base class that we can leverage in various ways for the different flavors. We could even fold in the dodge thing. Call it [insert superlative here] reflexes or something, with the initial ability ability being a dodge of some kind for the base class. Then we can add different scaled abilities, like riposte, as we see fit for the subclasses. IDK, there's a lot of cool moving parts here.:cool:
 
In the first movie Blade used EDTA, an anticoagulant, as poison against the vampires, and in the final fight against Deacon Frost. In the third movie "daylight" was a biological weapon against vampires created by the "night stalkers", the vampire-hunter group.

A fighter with a strong sense of honor shouldn't use poison against other living humanoids.. (garlic and holy water against vampire then the thing is different).
If it isn't poisonous to us then it doesn't count?

I'm reminded of a link I saved for when someone was remaking a pantheon. Too bad GiTP is still down, or I'd post the full link because it was really good.

But, his philosophy involved making every god reasonable to be worshipped by normal people, and he had a god who used poisons. How could this be acceptable to the common man?

Because poison is an equalizer. No amount of education, training, or wealth can protect you from a poisoned goblet. Why is a dagger different than poison? Because a wealthy person can buy armor to protect them. They can take the time to train in the arts of war to deflect and fight off their attacker. They can hire bodyguards to fight for them.

But, to take a look back at the Ninja's of history, when you have a nobleman in heavy, expensive armor, wielding a steel blade with years of training, fighting a commoner with cloth and a few cheap iron tools at best... should we call that a "fair fight"? Should we call the commoner "Evil" for poisoning a caltrop, tricking the nobleman into stepping on it, and winning the fight through being clever and quick instead of rich and educated?


I don't want to say "poison is good" but, killing is never "good" either. And if we are going to go out with the intent to kill someone, it shouldn't matter how we do so, and whether or not it is "fair" to our target.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Would is maybe be less restrictive to refer to traditions, rather than specific actual schools? A specific organization could be an example of tradition X, but I feel like we could be leaving a little more room for players to background things more to their taste. Aesthetics in both cases though, we can let it marinate.
Yeah, we can leave it for now.

The cleric ability has uses/SR - is that the resource type you want? If so then it's fine. I thought you were looking for more uses per rest for some reason, or even an always on ability of some kind. I'm fine with a SR resource there.
I was referring the ration between PC level and monster CR, but yes that too. I wonder if the assassin could use a general short rest resource, like ki?

I'd keep the evasion separate. If you pack too much into one mechanic it gets draggy. This could be as simple as 'dodge or disengage as a bonus action' like the rogue/monk versions.
Maybe we should take a step back here. Perhaps what's really needed is a reaction based mechanic in the base class that we can leverage in various ways for the different flavors. We could even fold in the dodge thing. Call it [insert superlative here] reflexes or something, with the initial ability ability being a dodge of some kind for the base class. Then we can add different scaled abilities, like riposte, as we see fit for the subclasses. IDK, there's a lot of cool moving parts here.:cool:
I was listing the core class features, in total. Evasion would be just like it is in the monk and rogue.

The more active ability would be more akin to the rogues uncanny Dodge or the monks patient defense and/or deflect Missiles.

Edit: I think that deflect missiles is a good model for a base class ability. Attempt to parry as a reaction, no cost. Spend a resource to do a cool thing like riposte.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Tell Cersei Lannister: I want her to know it wasn't my PC but I had poisoned Joffrey if I could and I wouldn't regret at all.

Using poisons in the battle field isn't honorable, not fair play, but some chaotic good characters could dare to do it.

Good assassins are possible, but they would rather to use another name, for example "Slayer of Domiel" (prestige class from "Book of Exalted Deeds").
 

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