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D&D 5E Do Assassins suck?

auburn2

Adventurer
I am looking at subclass options for my 2nd level half elf Rogue in a campaign I am playing. I was thinking Assasin but I keep reading how awful it is.

So far he is the gadget guy and face in the party, with a ton of proficiencies, and a 14 Charisma and 16 Dex. he only has a 10 constitution, so not a lot of hps. The party is a martial-heavy party with a Paladin, Ranger and Fighter.

My initial thought was an assasin and alert feat at 4th level. My only experience with Assassin is with a multiclass halfling Vengence Paladin/Assasin multiclass played by another player who had alert. She was awesome in combat. At 15th level (7 assasin/8 Paladin) she did the most damage in one turn I have ever seen done at my table in 5E as either a DM or a player.

I am certainly not doing Paladin or any other multiclass and I am starting to wonder how much of her awesomeness was Paladin and not Assassin.

I see myself being a primarily a ranged weapon attacker in combat with a lot of versatility out of combat. The two subclasses that are off the table are swashbuckler (that is kind of melee focused and I want to be ranged focused) and Arcane Trickster (I am playing an AT in a second campaign and don't want two of them).

This game will go to about 9th level so anything above that is irrelevant.

After reading the subclasses here are some thoughts on how I am leaning:
1. Assassin - Awesome first turn, especially with alert. Is it really as bad as people say?
2. Phantom - great versatility with another skill you can change every day. How does wails from the grave compare to Assasinate?
3. Soulknife - With psychic power and psychic blades this seems pretty boss, and the blades can be thrown.
4. Thief - Is fast hands better than assasinate?
5. Scout - This seems like a really cool subclass, but we have a Ranger in the party so ....
7. Mastermind, Inquisition - Meh don't seem to have much for me.

If I go assasin alert at 4th level is a no-brainer due to +5 intitiative. But if I go something else?

Thoughts, comments, advice and insults welcome :)
 

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You've complained in a another thread that you dont get sneak attack all that often (your DM sets encounters on open football fields and your melee PCs are never in melee etc).

Insightful Fighting from Inquisitive grants you a Bonus action Wisdom (Insight) check. If you succeed, you can use your Sneak Attack against that target even if you don't have advantage on the attack roll, for a whole minute.

That should help a ranged rogue.
 


I have never complained about any game I am playing. I get SA plenty, just not 95% :)

Go an inquisitor. Unless you're somehow at disadvantage to an attack roll. you're getting SA every single shot.

As for assassins', ask yourself how many times you're getting surprise vs your opposition, and how often you go first when you do.

That'll determine the mileage you get from the subclass.
 






S'mon

Legend
I am looking at subclass options for my 2nd level half elf Rogue in a campaign I am playing. I was thinking Assasin but I keep reading how awful it is.

So far he is the gadget guy and face in the party, with a ton of proficiencies, and a 14 Charisma and 16 Dex. he only has a 10 constitution, so not a lot of hps. The party is a martial-heavy party with a Paladin, Ranger and Fighter.

My initial thought was an assasin and alert feat at 4th level. My only experience with Assassin is with a multiclass halfling Vengence Paladin/Assasin multiclass played by another player who had alert. She was awesome in combat. At 15th level (7 assasin/8 Paladin) she did the most damage in one turn I have ever seen done at my table in 5E as either a DM or a player.

I am certainly not doing Paladin or any other multiclass and I am starting to wonder how much of her awesomeness was Paladin and not Assassin.

I see myself being a primarily a ranged weapon attacker in combat with a lot of versatility out of combat. The two subclasses that are off the table are swashbuckler (that is kind of melee focused and I want to be ranged focused) and Arcane Trickster (I am playing an AT in a second campaign and don't want two of them).

This game will go to about 9th level so anything above that is irrelevant.

After reading the subclasses here are some thoughts on how I am leaning:
1. Assassin - Awesome first turn, especially with alert. Is it really as bad as people say?
2. Phantom - great versatility with another skill you can change every day. How does wails from the grave compare to Assasinate?
3. Soulknife - With psychic power and psychic blades this seems pretty boss, and the blades can be thrown.
4. Thief - Is fast hands better than assasinate?
5. Scout - This seems like a really cool subclass, but we have a Ranger in the party so ....
7. Mastermind, Inquisition - Meh don't seem to have much for me.

If I go assasin alert at 4th level is a no-brainer due to +5 intitiative. But if I go something else?

Thoughts, comments, advice and insults welcome :)

Funny, until XGE came out ALL the Rogues I saw took Assassin at 3rd level. I think they're fine. Albeit the Thief is definitely underappreciated.

My son has a ridiculously powerful Barbarian/Assassin PC in my Primeval Thule game!

They definitely work best with a sneaky party who can get Surprise quite often. And yes the Alert feat is a big boost.
 

Horwath

Hero
they are little bit weaker than they should be.

we housedruled surprise so that Assassin gets crit on a surprised target even if they lost on initiative and have advantage on all attacks in 2nd round if they have higher initiative then surprised target. So Alert feat still have big impact for subclass.
 


They don't suck but they're on the weak side of things.
Pretty much this.

They certainly don't really live up to player expectations. D&D 5E is a game full of total badboy badasses, it really is. Berserker Barbarian really hit that archetype with a brick. Battlemaster Fighters do actually feel pretty masterful so long as they get them short rests. Bladepact Warlocks will chop you the hell up with a demon sword. Enchanter Wizards WILL control your mind. Loremaster Bards absolutely feel like they are. Even Diviners are badasses, which has absolutely never happened in D&D before.

And so on.

So any subclass that doesn't really whack that archetypical vibe is a bit meh. And that's Assassin. People expect a D&D take on like an Assassin's Creed-type badass (and really that's 99% of modern assassins across all media - acrobatic, dangerous badasses who spring out of hiding/drop from the rafters and kill a bunch of people before making some kind of wild ecape). What we get instead is someone takes the Hitman Codename 47 approach, except way more toned-down and weak (even ol' disguise-oriented 47 can go on a hell of a rampage when stuff gets real). They're not terrible, but they're just not like "HELL YEAH" like a lot of subclasses can be.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Pretty much this.

They certainly don't really live up to player expectations. D&D 5E is a game full of total badboy badasses, it really is. Berserker Barbarian really hit that archetype with a brick. Battlemaster Fighters do actually feel pretty masterful so long as they get them short rests. Bladepact Warlocks will chop you the hell up with a demon sword. Enchanter Wizards WILL control your mind. Loremaster Bards absolutely feel like they are. Even Diviners are badasses, which has absolutely never happened in D&D before.

And so on.

So any subclass that doesn't really whack that archetypical vibe is a bit meh. And that's Assassin. People expect a D&D take on like an Assassin's Creed-type badass (and really that's 99% of modern assassins across all media - acrobatic, dangerous badasses who spring out of hiding/drop from the rafters and kill a bunch of people before making some kind of wild ecape). What we get instead is someone takes the Hitman Codename 47 approach, except way more toned-down and weak (even ol' disguise-oriented 47 can go on a hell of a rampage when stuff gets real). They're not terrible, but they're just not like "HELL YEAH" like a lot of subclasses can be.

Yeah had this conversation tonight with my players about how high level an Assassin has to be to have a reasonable chance of yeeting an ogre.

And yeah been playing Assassin's Creed lately (sigh Kassandra, Bayek rocks as well).
 
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Yeah had this conversation tonight with my players about how high level an Assassin has to be to have a reasonable chance of yeeting an ogre.

And yeah been playing Assassin's Creed lately (sigh Kassandra, Bayek rocks as well).

People expect a feature called "assassinate" to kill an enemy, not "do a fair bit of damage." 5e monsters have enormous buckets of hit points, which, yeah, no, haha, that hill giant isn't dead, just angry.
 

TheSword

Legend
People expect a feature called "assassinate" to kill an enemy, not "do a fair bit of damage." 5e monsters have enormous buckets of hit points, which, yeah, no, haha, that hill giant isn't dead, just angry.
Well assassins creed assassinate damage often didn’t kill the enemy in one. So 🤷🏻‍♂️ not sure that’s always the case.
 


TheSword

Legend
Depends on build and game.

If you manage to assasinate you usually kill them. I can one shot with light attacks in AC: Odyssey.
What even Mercenaries, Ptolemarch, Leaders, Cultists? Im up to level 50, I may have overlevelled and now health has overtaken my abilities.
 

The main issue with the assassin is that it is VERY DM dependent. The chance for surprise tends to be inconsistent in most games IMX (though of course the character and party can usually take steps to increase said chance). Furthermore, the other features of the subclass can often be replicated through skill checks.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
What even Mercenaries, Ptolemarch, Leaders, Cultists? Im up to level 50, I may have overlevelled and now health has overtaken my abilities.

Level 99 :) I'm not the best at mega damage you need two specific weapons and various skills. Best level 50 some sort of fire or poison build. Depends if you have found perfect swords and equipment.

Playing on legendary or whatever the highest difficulty is.
 

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