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5E [GUIDE] Dealing Death: Handbook of the True Assassin

bockscarrasor

First Post
Actually here's the rub. You can't reload a crossbow, even a one handed crossbow without a free hand. This is something that was clarified a few months ago. So if you have the traditional melee weapon in one hand and the hand crossbow in the other, you can't reload. You have to sheathe or drop the melee weapon to free your hand and then you can reload. However, reloading is part of the attack that you make meaning that there's no action requirement on your part. So don't worry about that, just make sure you have a free hand. If you're using crossbows, that feat is imo a mandatory requirement at some point. Either because you have multiple attacks per attack action, or need something to do with your bonus action or both.

I'm brand new to D&D so I just want to make sure I understand.

In this you say, "make sure you have a free hand." so would I be able to use my action to attack with a one handed weapon (short sword or rapier) then my bonus action (as part of the feat) to attack with a hand crossbow. I could then do that each turn without taking any kind of action or bonus action to reload the hand crossbow?
 

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Noctem

Explorer
I'm brand new to D&D so I just want to make sure I understand.

In this you say, "make sure you have a free hand." so would I be able to use my action to attack with a one handed weapon (short sword or rapier) then my bonus action (as part of the feat) to attack with a hand crossbow. I could then do that each turn without taking any kind of action or bonus action to reload the hand crossbow?

You fire the hand crossbow, you need to reload. If you have anything in your other hand (the one not holding the hand crossbow) you can't reload. You would need to drop or store whatever you're holding first. So you could do an attack with your melee weapon and then an attack with your ranged weapon if you can make multiple attacks. But until you reload you can't fire your hand crossbow again. You need a free hand to do that.

I would really recommend talking to your DM about being able to reload your hand crossbow while holding your melee weapon. It's a common desire for players to be able to dual wield a hand crossbow but as per the rules you can't easily achieve that goal in 5e. Worse thing that happens by asking is the DM says no and you're stuck juggling weapons to reload.
 

Hiding in the sentence is being used as both the act of hiding and being hidden. That's how the rules describe rolling stealth to hide and being hidden, hiding. What you're attempting to do is differentiate between the act and the state. The errata and the rules themselves make no such distinction. You can thank the purposeful ambiguity of the rules for that one. The fact that they didn't specifically say something like "when you are hidden". Using the general term "hiding" instead makes the distinction you're attempting to make nonsensical. The rules also don't make a difference between requirements to become and later lose hidden. Pre errata, if you were seen you couldn't hide and if you were hidden you would lose hidden. The only way around that were the skulker feat, halfling racial ability and elven ability. Post errata, anytime you are deemed unclearly seen by the DM, since the DM decides when you can hide or not, you can hide and remaining hidden also only requires to be unclearly seen. Skulker's main benefit is now useless. The only way it's not useless is if they specifically state that half cover and light obscurement don't make you unclearly seen. In which case they would then need to explain what being unclearly seen means in 5e.

I stand corrected. Hiding may mean trying to hide in this case.
But I still interpret that sentence differently. I think if you are in light obscurement near someone he sees you clearly enough except when you have the skulker feat.
You can either make a ruling that makes sense and not make the skulker or the wood elf or maybe even the halfling ability useless, or you make a ruling that does. Just how you interpret the text. I chose not to invalidate abilities, you do.
 
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DocSharpe

First Post
You fire the hand crossbow, you need to reload. If you have anything in your other hand (the one not holding the hand crossbow) you can't reload. You would need to drop or store whatever you're holding first. So you could do an attack with your melee weapon and then an attack with your ranged weapon if you can make multiple attacks. But until you reload you can't fire your hand crossbow again. You need a free hand to do that.

I would really recommend talking to your DM about being able to reload your hand crossbow while holding your melee weapon. It's a common desire for players to be able to dual wield a hand crossbow but as per the rules you can't easily achieve that goal in 5e. Worse thing that happens by asking is the DM says no and you're stuck juggling weapons to reload.

What Crossbow Expert gives you by removing the Loading property is essentially give you a way to have a crossbow's rate of fire keep up with a bow. Not counting action surges, hastes, or anything else, a 11th fighter can shoot 3 arrows with their Attack action. The loading proficiency of a crossbow would normally limit this to one shot per Attack action (p46 Basic Rules)...but with Crossbow Expert, the 11th level fighter can also shoot 3 shots with their Attack action. So by purchasing the feat, a heavy crossbow user gets a *slight* damage bonus over a longbow (d8 vs. d10).

With a hand crossbow, you're not going to get the "John Woo/two guns blazing" effect...it'll be more like fanning the hammer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cobPY_umBd0)...but you could also do this with a heavy crossbow.
 

Flididdle

First Post
This thread definitely needs more Bard.

As pointed out in the January unearthed arcana bards are often assassins hanging out in plain sight.
In fact I would say thematically Valor Bard 17/Rogue 3 is one of the most thematically flavorful characters in the game. They show up, play their gig, get out a town. Though that mostly works as human, half-elf, or elf since they can blend easier in most worlds.

I'll let others calculate the nova damage but it can get pretty insane if you drop an 8th level spell slot -9th is usually better off for the powerful 9th lvl spells- on Heat Blade. The damage can get pretty crazy and you become the equivalent of Trunks slicing Frieza apart like cheddar. The damage on one's own is great but it get's crazier when you consider: 14th lvl magical secrets: Simulacrum. This either grants extra damage or creates the perfect alibi. This is really effective with a dex based bard who has the Alert feat, with jack of all trades and possibily bardic inspiration added is likely to have the initiative after the surprise round which would then grant advantage on an attack or just allow a nice quick teleport spell to flee the scene. I mean if they really have great timing they could even have a 6th or 8th level spiritual weapons (via magic secrets) up and ready to add to the attack. A Bard 17/Rogue 3 may be the most dangerous single individual in the game. It's like being a demolition expert. I'll talk more about that on the Bard thread though, instead I'll show a few Bard builds I think really work with Rogue 3/Fighter 2.

Valor Bard 15/Rogue 3/Fighter 2
As far as I can figure THE top archer in the game. Take Swift Quiver w/10th lvl Magical Secrets, get archery fighting style which then allows you to use the Sharpshooter feat on the ambush and you can rack up some damage when Simulacrum comes online. Unfortunately this build only REALLY works with Variant Human since that allows you to start with either Sharpshooter or Alert. Like I said getting the initiative on the next attack is pretty amazing, it's like a natural action surge. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention an 8th level lightning arrow ready to fly? That's also possible crazy damage, I think I saw Mellored calculate it at 270+ damage

Barbarian 9/Lore Bard 6/Rogue 3/Fighter 2
This is kinda the half-orc special but the key will be to get haste w/6th lvl Magical Secrets and if you use a maul or battle axe It's some pretty solid damage. Unfortunately only 3 ASI's for strength but still, probably a playable and fun character, a one orc or even a one man wrecking crew. I dunno if this could run as dex based but it might be worth looking at for initiative
On a side note I'd like to see a barbarian totem that fuses with the assassin, path of the Viper maybe? you could be the D&D equivalent of a hell's angel hitman.

Eldritch Knight 11/Lore Bard 6/Rogue 3
3 attacks, action surge and you'll be a 9th or 10th level caster which will allow heat blade or haste. Conversely you could go more Bard with something like EK 7/LB 10/Rogue 3 for a more powerful caster who will have 4 magical secrets but not as many attacks or ASI's.

Another one I didn't really calculate is around a paladin since that allows for smiting using bard spell slots but I'm sure something that gets to Lore Bard 6 and haste is pretty damn good.

Another great benefit is the added expertise, which I think adds alot of flavor for an Assassin.

One question though, if you roll a 20 on an auto-crit do you deal an extra die of damage? Couldn't find the answer
 

Coyote81

First Post
Builds that only include 3 levels of rogue for the assassin bonus don't really feel like they belong in the assassin guide. No of these are really rogue themed either. (Even your Valor Bard is Bard themed not Rogue)

And to answer your question Auto-crit basically means you get to roll extra damage every time it occurs.
 

DocSharpe

First Post
Builds that only include 3 levels of rogue for the assassin bonus don't really feel like they belong in the assassin guide. No of these are really rogue themed either. (Even your Valor Bard is Bard themed not Rogue)

I think you may be missing the point of the original guide. The OP has put forth an idea that with only 3 levels of rogue, he's figured out a build which can be more deadly than a straight rogue/assassin. Your mileage and opinion may vary, but any build which starts with Fighter2/Rogue3 certainly has a place in this guide.
 

Coyote81

First Post
I think you may be missing the point of the original guide. The OP has put forth an idea that with only 3 levels of rogue, he's figured out a build which can be more deadly than a straight rogue/assassin. Your mileage and opinion may vary, but any build which starts with Fighter2/Rogue3 certainly has a place in this guide.

I just feel any build that has a majority of X class in it is a X build and not a rogue build.
 

Flididdle

First Post
I agree with DocSharpe. This thread, to me, has more concern with damage dealing. As I stated though a VB 17/Rogue 3 is a touch more Bard flavored, but still a real death dealer
 

Eltab

Hero
re: crossbows

Out of the Abyss includes a specialized crossbow that functions like a repeating rifle; it ignores the Loading property, with certain additional limitations. Sweet-talk your DM - True Assassins have good Deception / Persuasion, right? - into letting you visit that place, obtain one (by hook or by crook - you are after all a Rogue too) and find a Tinker Gnome friend / hireling to study the original and modify 2 Hand Crossbows to work the same way.

Presto - 6-shooter pistols !
 

LightningArrow

First Post
Great guide!

That being said, I feel you're underselling Dual Wielder; it's not only about another point of average damage, but +1AC (which can never be underestimated). Plus, drawing two weapons at the same time is very helpful in social situations, such as when you have to use Deception to get that surprise round, otherwise you make only one nova attack.
 

MBN

First Post
grumpy gamer has kindly pointed out that the # of attacks in this build isnt valid. my bad, sorry.



Fighter 12 (battle master)/ Rogue 3 (assassin)/ Paladin 5 (vengeance)


5 ability score increase

4 attacks per turn + 1 bonus action attack

Feats
+2 dex
+Mobile (extra movement, free disengage without provoking opportunity, you don't have to choose between dmg and disengaging for your bonus action)
+Alert (initiative)
+Athlete (i need +1dex, extra mobility doesnt hurt. although if you dont need it pick something else, or drop 1 fighter level to put where ever you need)

+sentinel (Pretty much if an enemy does ANYTHING other than attack you, you're getting a reaction. Combined with reposite you always get one)
or
+Dual Wielder (AC bonus is nice, little stronger weapons.. personally i like sentinel better to more reliably getting reaction dmg and monster control)


For sake of damage output i'll compare using comparable formulas provided in the guide.


"All out" nova (Hunter’s Mark + Divine Smite on each hit, 2x level 2, 3x level 1+combat superiority+assassinate )
Action Surge (4 attacks/action), 2 shortswords (1 bonus action attack) = 9 attacks

Per hit (auto-crit) damage:
5 DEX
+2d6 (7) shortsword crit
+2d6 (7) Hunter’s Mark crit
=14 +5 per hit
=9*.84 = 7.56 hits (enough to get all smites, and combat sups in)
=19*7.56 (143.64 sub total)

+2d10 (11) Superiority Dice crit (5 attacks only)
+4.8d8 (21.6) Divine Smite crits (5 attacks: 3xlevel 1 spells, 2x level 2 spells. averages to 2.4d8 per. so 4.8d8 per hit crit)
=31.6 per hit (158 sub total)

Once per round damage:
+4d6 (14) Sneak Attack crit

Total: 315.64

Comparable "max nova" dmg to the guide's fighter4/rogue3/paladin13
-although id like to note that with 5 attacks only you wouldn't reliably be applying all superiority dice/smites

what this picks up is +1asi, and +2 attacks per action (+4 during an AS)

What i haven't really seen covered in a guide and which is a large part of the reasoning behind this build is poisons.. the generic lowest poison you can get is 1d4 per hit.
At 84% chance to hit with 5 attacks (no as)
5*.84*1d4 = +10.5dmg (no crit) +21 dmg (with crit)

At 84%chance to hit with 9 attacks (AS)
9*.84*1d4 = +18.9 dmg (no crit) + 37.8(with crit)

this doesn't seem like a HUGE damage uptick (~11.9%) but if you start looking at the mid/late game poisons it scales REALLY HARD. see below for example from MM
Examples (AS assassinate)
2d6 poison = 105.84dmg
3d8 poison = 204.12dmg
4d6 poison = 211.68

Clearly some are stronger than these examples MUCH stronger, which you start doing more dmg from poison than from all your other damage combined!!! which you can use to make your burst even higher, or perhaps save your abilities for the utility they provide throughout multiple combats?
(sorry if the below information isnt allowed, i pulled it from another thread on this forum)


Basilisk bite - 2d6 poison damage
Chuul tentacles - DC13 save or be Poisoned + Paralyzed for one minute
Couatl bite - DC13 save or be Poisoned + Unconscious for 24 hours
Dretch gas cloud - DC11 save or be Poisoned for one turn, and have reduced actions
Quasit claws - DC10 save or take 2d4 poison damage and be poisoned for one minute or until you do make the save (try each round)
Yochlol tentacle - 6d6 poison damage
Yochlol mist - DC14 save or be Poisoned and Incapacitated for one turn
Bone Devil sting - 5d6 poison damage, plus DC14 save or be Poisoned for one minute or until you do make the save (try each round)
Erinyes sword - 3d8 poison damage
Erinyes arrows - 3d8 poison damage, plus DC14 save or be poisoned until it's magically removed
Imp sting - 3d6 poison, DC11 save for half damage
Green Dragon breath - X poison damage, save for half (amount of damage and difficulty of save vary based on dragon age)
Drider bite - 2d8 poison damage
Drow Elite Warrior crossbow - DC13 save or be Poisoned for one hour. Failing the save by 5 or more means Unconscious while Poisoned
Drow Mage staff 1d6 poison damage
Drow Priestess of Lolth scourge - 5d6 poison damage
Ettercap bite - 1d8 poison damage, plus DC11 save or be Poisoned for one minute or until you do make the save (try each round)
Flumph spray - DC10 save or be Poisoned for 1d4 hours. Creatures within 5' of you are also Poisoned until they leave that range. Bathing will get rid of the effect early
Gnoll Fang of Yeenoghu bite - DC12 save or take 2d6 poison damage
Svirfneblin dart - DC12 save or be Poisoned for one minute or until you do make the save (try each round)
Iron Golem breath - 10d8 poison damage, DC19 save for half
Grell tentacles - DC12 save or be Poisoned and Paralysed for one minute or until you do make the save (try each round)
Homunculus bite - DC10 save or be Poisoned for one minute. If the save fails by 5 or more, the duration is 1d10 minutes and you are also Unconscious
Medusa hair - 4d6 poison damage
Medusa arrow - 2d6 poison damage
Myconid Sprout fist - 1d4 poison damage
Myconid Adult fist - 2d4 poison damage
Myconid Sovereign fist - 3d4 poison damage
Bone Naga bite - 3d6 poison damage
Spirit Naga bite - 7d8 poison damage, DC13 save for half
Guardian Naga bite - 10d8 damage, DC15 save for half
Pseudodragon sting - DC11 save or be Poisoned for 1 hour. If the save fails by 5 or more you're also Unconscious for the duration
Purple Worm sting - 12d6 poison damage, DC19 save for half
Sprite arrows - DC10 save or be Poisoned for one minute. If the save fails by 5 or more you're also Unconscious for the duration
Troglodyte stench - DC12 save or be Poisoned for a turn
Wyvern sting - 7d6 poison damage, DC15 save for half
Yuan-Ti Abomination bite - 3d6 poison damage
Yuan-Ti Abomination arrows - 3d6 poison damage
Yuan-Ti Malison bite - 2d6 poison damage
Yuan-Ti Malison arrows - 2d6 poison damage
Yuan-Ti Pureblood arrows - 2d6 poison damage
Arcanaloth claw - 10d6 poison damage, DC14 save for half
Flying Snake bite - 3d4 poison damage
Giant Centipede bite - DC11 save or take 3d6 poison damage. If the damage reduces you to 0hp, you're not dying, but Poisoned and Paralysed for an hour even after being healed
Giant Poisonous Snake bite - 3d6 poison damage, DC11 save for half
Giant Scorpion sting - 4d10 poison damage, DC11 save for half
Giant Spider bite - 2d8 poison damage, DC11 save for half. If the damage reduces you to 0hp, you're not dying, but Poisoned and Paralysed for an hour even after being healed
Giant Wolf Spider bite - 2d6 poison damage, DC11 save for half. If the damage reduces you to 0hp, you're not dying, but Poisoned and Paralysed for an hour even after being healed
Phase Spider bite - 4d8 poison damage, DC11 save for half. If the damage reduces you to 0hp, you're not dying, but Poisoned and Paralysed for an hour even after being healed
Poisonous Snake bite - 2d4 poison damage, DC10 save for half
Spider bite - DC9 save or take 1d4 poison damage
Swarm of Snakes cumulative bites - 4d6 poison damage, DC10 save for half
Assassin weapon - 7d6 poison damage, DC15 save for half



thanks :p

long first post
 
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traleh

First Post
I'm building a 13 lvl assassin for a game, looking at going 5 fighter/ 8 assassin, any hints or advice will be accepted, starting with 3 uncommon magic, 2 rare and 1 very rare/legendary magic items.
 

GrumpyGamer

First Post
"All out" nova (Hunter’s Mark + Divine Smite on each hit, 2x level 2, 3x level 1+combat superiority+assassinate )
Action Surge (4 attacks/action), 2 shortswords (1 bonus action attack) = 9 attacks

A 12 level fighter only has 3 attacks not 4.

You can use a bonus action for another attack, but hunter's mark takes a bonus action; you won't be able to do both before their initiative comes up in the surprise round. To use assassinate you have to both surprise them and beat them in in initiative (their turn still comes up in a surprise round, they just can't do anything).
 

MBN

First Post
A 12 level fighter only has 3 attacks not 4.

You can use a bonus action for another attack, but hunter's mark takes a bonus action; you won't be able to do both before their initiative comes up in the surprise round. To use assassinate you have to both surprise them and beat them in in initiative (their turn still comes up in a surprise round, they just can't do anything).

Hunters mark- choose a creature you can see within range (90ft) you do not have to be in combat yet to apply. if the conditions are correct you can apply before surprise round begins. As its not affecting the creature, but designating it as your quarry it doesn't tip the enemy off.


# of attacks
level 1
1 attack + 1 bonus attack

fighter level 5
+1 attack

2 attacks + 1 bonus attack

Fighter level 11
+1 attack

3 attacks + 1 bonus attack

Paladin 5
+1 attack

4 attacks + 1 bonus attack

action surge.
4x2 = 8 attacks + 1 bonus attack

so at 19 levels, fighter 11/rogue 3/ paladin 5, thats 4 attacks + 1 bonus attack..
 
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GrumpyGamer

First Post
Hunters mark- choose a creature you can see within range (90ft) you do not have to be in combat yet to apply. if the conditions are correct you can apply before surprise round begins. As its not affecting the creature, but designating it as your quarry it doesn't tip the enemy off.


# of attacks
level 1
1 attack + 1 bonus attack

fighter level 5
+1 attack

2 attacks + 1 bonus attack

Fighter level 11
+1 attack

3 attacks + 1 bonus attack

Paladin 5
+1 attack

4 attacks + 1 bonus attack

action surge.
4x2 = 8 attacks + 1 bonus attack

Casting a spell with a duration puts you in turns, and starts the clock on the assassinate ability.

Additional attacks between classes don't stack.
 

MBN

First Post
Casting a spell with a duration puts you in turns, and starts the clock on the assassinate ability.

Additional attacks between classes don't stack.

can you site where the attacks between classes dont stack?


casting a spell with duration puts you in turns

Hunters mark as slot 1/2 = 1 hour duration, slot 3/4= 8 hours, slot 5 = 24 hours.

so you're saying if you for example expended a slot 5 for hunters mark.. that the counter has always started for every engagement thereafter since the duration is already going. i think your logic is flawed on this one.
 

GrumpyGamer

First Post
so you're saying if you for example expended a slot 5 for hunters mark.. that the counter has always started for every engagement thereafter since the duration is already going. i think your logic is flawed on this one.

It is a bonus action to move it to a new target and that is when I would start the engagement (clock on assassinate), but different DMs will rule differently.

The extra attack feature not stacking is covered under the class abilities section of the multi-classing/customization chapter of the PHB.
 



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