D&D 5E Split the Assassin from the Rogue back into its own class

Should the Assassin be made into its own class again?

  • Yes, the Assassin should split from the Rogue and be its own class

    Votes: 15 15.2%
  • Yes, the Assassin should split from the Rogue and take the Thief with it

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • Yes (Other)

    Votes: 3 3.0%
  • No, the Assassin should stay where it is

    Votes: 65 65.7%
  • No, the Assassin should stay where it is. Someother subclass should split from the Rogue

    Votes: 3 3.0%
  • No, just make more killy Rogue subclasses

    Votes: 5 5.1%
  • No (other)

    Votes: 8 8.1%
  • A THIEF is a THIEF! An ASSASSIN is an ASSASSIN! No Rogues.

    Votes: 5 5.1%
  • I'm about to be Sneak Attacked

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • (Currently hiding)

    Votes: 3 3.0%

  • Poll closed .

Minigiant

Legend
The several times when I've discussed tiers with people, I am reminded that the Rogue class in 5th edition is the only class of this family. The Rogue is the only Rogue class now. Only the Expert sidekick class officially is in the same area. Every other skills based class goes the Warrior or Spellcaster route. All the other roguish and skilled archetypes are pushed within the Rogue class.

And every time I remember this, I ponder about returning the Assassin to full class form. I look at the class and think that its aspects could be shifted down in level, scaled over time, and properly balanced per level. I remember the spellcasting assassins of past editions and assassins of various media.

And I think about having another nonspellcasting base class.

How would I do it?
Probably by cutting out Cunning Action. Free up the bonus action. Possibly just letting the Assassin make a single attack when they Dash, Disengage or Hide. This weaker version of the class feature would allow the disguise and poison stuff to shift down in level position and upgrade better.

What subclass would it have?
Sublasses dedicated to stealth, disguise and poisoning individually. Plus a straight up fighting subclass. And a spellcasting one for the nostalgia and Magic.

  1. Chameleon (Disguise Based)
  2. Poisoner (Poison Based)
  3. Shade (Stealth Based)
  4. Executioner (Fighty Assassin Assassin's version of Swashbuckler)
  5. Shadow Stalker (Magic Assassin, Assassin's Caster subclass)
  6. Holy Slayer (Get some Cleric in your killer. Heal up after everyone is dead)
What do you think?
 

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NotAYakk

Legend
I suspect you didn't play much 4e.

Rogue/Thief/Assassin/Avenger

For 5e, a class should have an archtype - even just a drawing you can point at and say "yep, that is X". It should have a hook as well, and the archtype/hook needs to connect with the D&D combat resolution mechanics (small squad skirmish pesudo-heroic fights).

I kill stuff better than another class isn't really a mechanical identity. It is more about another class sucking, not about what this class does.

I mean, every combat ability the rogue has is in line with what a ninja-esque assassin's abilities might be. "That, but better" is a bit meh. And your tradeoff - "I can do the same thing using slightly different mechanics" - isn't a tradeoff.

If you want to juice up the rogue, just do it?

There are only a few ways to optimize a 5e rogue in combat. MCing (becoming non-rogue), booming blade, readied action tricks, and crit fishing are most of them. The readied action one has the biggest ROI, as it doubles sneak attack. Booming is easiest. Crit fishing can work, but is harder.

Not being a rogue wins more often. Like, assassin 3/gloom 5/hex 3/BM 3 or what have you. Rogue is in there but overshadowed.

A half caster rogue is a fun thought; shadow assassin.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The several times when I've discussed tiers with people, I am reminded that the Rogue class in 5th edition is the only class of this family. The Rogue is the only Rogue class now. Only the Expert sidekick class officially is in the same area. Every other skills based class goes the Warrior or Spellcaster route. All the other roguish and skilled archetypes are pushed within the Rogue class.

And every time I remember this, I ponder about returning the Assassin to full class form. I look at the class and think that its aspects could be shifted down in level, scaled over time, and properly balanced per level. I remember the spellcasting assassins of past editions and assassins of various media.

And I think about having another nonspellcasting base class.

How would I do it?
Probably by cutting out Cunning Action. Free up the bonus action. Possibly just letting the Assassin make a single attack when they Dash, Disengage or Hide. This weaker version of the class feature would allow the disguise and poison stuff to shift down in level position and upgrade better.

What subclass would it have?
Sublasses dedicated to stealth, disguise and poisoning individually. Plus a straight up fighting subclass. And a spellcasting one for the nostalgia and Magic.

  1. Chameleon (Disguise Based)
  2. Poisoner (Poison Based)
  3. Shade (Stealth Based)
  4. Executioner (Fighty Assassin Assassin's version of Swashbuckler)
  5. Shadow Stalker (Magic Assassin, Assassin's Caster subclass)
  6. Holy Slayer (Get some Cleric in your killer. Heal up after everyone is dead)
What do you think?

I approve.

Use Sneak attack + extra attack + Expertise in very specific skills (stealth, forgery kit, poisoner's kit, disguise, final). Some kind of half-fighter/half-rogue, like the paladin is a half-fighter/half-cleric.

Remove the Infiltration stuff from the archetype as it is something better left to roleplay. Or use them as ribbons.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I suspect you didn't play much 4e.
I did actually.

Rogue/Thief/Assassin/Avenger
I didn't get to the Avenger yet. Baby steps.

For 5e, a class should have an archtype - even just a drawing you can point at and say "yep, that is X". It should have a hook as well, and the archtype/hook needs to connect with the D&D combat resolution mechanics (small squad skirmish pesudo-heroic fights).

I kill stuff better than another class isn't really a mechanical identity. It is more about another class sucking, not about what this class does.

The Assassin would be the archetype of the Assassin. Getting to a target. Killing it. Then escaping. That's the hook.

The Rogues and Fighters of the world can pursue many roles in D&D combat and exploration world.

The Assassin cuts all of those out to get the kill (excuse the red font mods, the emphasis is needed)

Much like the Paladin, the class has a narrower focus. And by being a class of its own, it can branch out into more directions
 

I approve. Assassin guilds, the idea of taking life, and the context wherein you become one of these characters provides a rich narrative framework to operate. Creating a fantasy version of the Hitman, Ezio, Altair, and so on yields narratively and mechanically unique ideas fresh in their inspiration yet still welcome in the genre.

Make many of the subclasses magical assassins, with access to different schools of magic and tricks. Maybe have a Warlock Invocation-esque feature that is your Stable of Techniques, where you learn different packages of abilities, some containing spells, some containing new feats, proficiencies, abilities to do things with weapon, etc depending on the package.

Tie in these packages with the philosophical ideas that comes with being an assassin. Make them do the work of forcing the assassin into rich roleplay knots where they have to be delicate, clever, and cautious, all while maintaining an active energy. And in combat, turn them into glass cannons for the first round, and then they have a stable of tricks to finish the job over the next 2-3 rounds. Maybe if the first attempt to kill fails (which it usually does), the enemy is crippled or openings are made for your allies, or a suite of other effects, making them something like murderous warlords who give orders through their assassination attempts instead of by barking them out.

Give them a strong stable of ribbon features that ties them into the world. The disguise stuff, the actor feat, and probably more ability score improvements then casters (much like a rogue) to let them have a chance to dabble in more eclectic tools for their job.

Let them be able to transition their predatory talents into helping the party with social and exploration challenges. They can spot out the best place for an ambush, or watch someone that the party's face is talking to and examine if they're lying or hiding something — things only an assassin as a master-of-disguise could see.

Yeah, I think you could make a fun, compelling 5E-compatiable class from this.
 



I don't think assassin is really worth a new class assuming we're keeping the general 5e class structure - it's a kind of rogue. It could use a re-do, like several other PHB subclasses, but that's about it.

If we want to go off on a tangent about whether 5e's general approach to classes is the best option... that's a tangent I'm willing to engage in, but it is a tangent.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I didn't even realize Assassin wasn't still its own class in 5e. It certainly should be, and is also the class that can fill the role of part-Fighter part-Thief/Rogue for those as want such.
 

DeviousQuail

Adventurer
I don't think assassin is really worth a new class assuming we're keeping the general 5e class structure - it's a kind of rogue. It could use a re-do, like several other PHB subclasses, but that's about it.

If we want to go off on a tangent about whether 5e's general approach to classes is the best option... that's a tangent I'm willing to engage in, but it is a tangent.
This is pretty much my take on it as well. There is a place for the assassin outside of the rogue chassis but probably not in current 5e.

If I was going to add another rogue tier class I would do:
Rogue - Thief, Arcane Trickster, Inquisitive, Mastermind, Phantom
Skirmisher* - Assassin, Hunter, Beastmaster, Swashbuckler, Scout, Soul Knife
Warden** - Ranger subclasses minus Hunter and use the Tasha elemental beastmaster

*I'm sure there is a better name but I'm spacing on it right now. This class would be a mix of 5e rogue and spell-less ranger.
**Pretty much ranger but let it lean into its magical side instead of the tacked on feeling of the current ranger.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I approve.

Use Sneak attack + extra attack + Expertise in very specific skills (stealth, forgery kit, poisoner's kit, disguise, final). Some kind of half-fighter/half-rogue, like the paladin is a half-fighter/half-cleric.

Remove the Infiltration stuff from the archetype as it is something better left to roleplay. Or use them as ribbons.

I agree with the limited Expertise (stealth, sleight of hand, forgery kit, poisoner's kit, disguise kit,)
I was thinking less Extra Attack and freeing up bonus actions for dual wielding, steady aims, or cantrips.

I didn't even realize Assassin wasn't still its own class in 5e. It certainly should be, and is also the class that can fill the role of part-Fighter part-Thief/Rogue for those as want such.
I would think the Assassin could fit the Fighter/Rogue class some hoped for.
 

Minigiant

Legend
This is pretty much my take on it as well. There is a place for the assassin outside of the rogue chassis but probably not in current 5e.

If I was going to add another rogue tier class I would do:
Rogue - Thief, Arcane Trickster, Inquisitive, Mastermind, Phantom
Skirmisher* - Assassin, Hunter, Beastmaster, Swashbuckler, Scout, Soul Knife
Warden** - Ranger subclasses minus Hunter and use the Tasha elemental beastmaster

*I'm sure there is a better name but I'm spacing on it right now. This class would be a mix of 5e rogue and spell-less ranger.
**Pretty much ranger but let it lean into its magical side instead of the tacked on feeling of the current ranger.
Scoundrel

The problem is there is no story for the Skrimisher/Scoundrel. There is a story and narrative hook for an Assassin. And many assassins of media were sneaky light strikers.

If there was room and a place for the Bard....
 

dave2008

Legend
No (other).
I would prefer only four classes: Warrior, Mage, Priest, and Sneak. Everything else (including Assassin and Monk) should be subclasses of those four.
I flip flop between 4 or narrowing it down to two or three. Obviously that would require a complete rewrite of the classes / class structure so I haven't put in the effort. But I would really like to see a 5.5 / 6e that took this approach.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Whatever one does with Assassin, the Rogue subclass in 5E is absolute junk. It's not even good at assassinating people!
That's another reason why I made the topic.

I DMed 2 Assassins and played with onein my party. And boy doees the class and subclass barely support assassins without extraordinary DM help.

And while my homebrew assassin subclass does fix some. It would be easier to start from a whole new class.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I voted Yes, Other.

There are a number of subclasses which in many ways are generic enough that you could use them (with some tweaks) in other classes. Assassin is one example, but other is we made a College of Shadows for Bards, instead of just the Sorcerer Shadow Magic subclass. The two are nearly identical, but it works so well with Bards!

Assassins could easily be a Fighter subclass, for example, with those tweaks. And we like the idea of subclasses that are universal enough to fit under more than one class, so we continue to develop them along those lines.
 

While the current subclass has its issues, at its heart, the assassin to me is a character who can infiltrate close to their target, often with stealth, social skills or both, excels at killing an unsuspecting target, and is good at escaping uncaught.
All that is already covered well, and is in the style of the Rogue's wheelhouse.

Now, any class can kill people for money. Whether that is the fighter method (hacking their way through the target's guards and then killing their way out, or the wizard method (of which there can be many options, both flashy and subtle).

But the assassin as a class does this almost as a profession, and thus would excel at avoiding fights and other unnecessary risks. It strikes me that if you wanted to make a specific assassin class, you would have to reinvent a lot of the Rogue to put into it.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
No (other).
I would prefer only four classes: Warrior, Mage, Priest, and Sneak. Everything else (including Assassin and Monk) should be subclasses of those four.
I flip flop between 4 or narrowing it down to two or three. Obviously that would require a complete rewrite of the classes / class structure so I haven't put in the effort. But I would really like to see a 5.5 / 6e that took this approach.
Okay, ya'll hear me out.

If "Warrior" is shorthand for 'martial focus'...
and "Mage" is shorthand for 'full caster'...
and "Priest" is shorthand for 'half-caster'...
and "Sneak" is shorthand for 'skill focus'...

You could build some excellent combinations. A Warrior with the Druid subclass would play more like a ranger or barbarian, a Priest with the Druid subclass would play a lot like a shaper-druid, and a Mage with the Druid subclass would play more like an elementalist, for example.

Sure, a Sneak with the Assassin subclass would be the stereotype, but what if!
 

DeviousQuail

Adventurer
Scoundrel

The problem is there is no story for the Skrimisher/Scoundrel. There is a story and narrative hook for an Assassin. And many assassins of media were sneaky light strikers.

If there was room and a place for the Bard....
I like Scoundrel but honestly I'd probably just call it Hunter and have the subclasses differentiate the method. Either way it leaves Assassin not in the driver's seat like you want. Would a 5 or 10 level prestige class work? I liked the idea of prestige classes in 5e but WotC clearly decided they weren't popular enough to expand on.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I voted Yes, Other.

There are a number of subclasses which in many ways are generic enough that you could use them (with some tweaks) in other classes. Assassin is one example, but other is we made a College of Shadows for Bards, instead of just the Sorcerer Shadow Magic subclass. The two are nearly identical, but it works so well with Bards!

Assassins could easily be a Fighter subclass, for example, with those tweaks. And we like the idea of subclasses that are universal enough to fit under more than one class, so we continue to develop them along those lines.
I just noticed that a Battlemaster fighter with Ambush, Precision and Menacing strike could go a long way to make an assassin.
Just take the Poisoner feat at 6th, Skulker that 14th and maybe Prodigy or Skill expert or Alert somewhere to have expertise in Stealth. Create a background with the feature of either charlatan or faceless.
 

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