Assassin, Variant (3.5e Prestige Class)

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The avenging crusader of the dark. The skulking fiend. The black-clad horror striking fear into the hearts of those who prey on the weak. Assassins appear to be cold-blooded killers at first glance. However, when examined under close scrutiny, the assassin turns acts of murder into works of art. Rather than relying on brute force, the assassin applies precision and skill to all of their work. They are the surgeon's scalpel, not the smith's hammer. Assassins do indeed pride themselves on their skills, claiming high profits in the trade of taking lives. To an assassin, there is no greater challenge than pulling off the perfect mission, slipping in unseen, slitting their target's throat or dropping poison into a wine goblet, then getting away completely undetected. In the larger world, some assassins are cold, clinical, professionals, accepting missions that offer high profits to fulfill a high-class lifestyle. However, some believe that a balance needs to be maintained, striking at good or evil when either one grows too powerful. Of course, some people just deserve death.

Making an Assassin[edit]

Abilities: Assassins require exceptional Dexterity, as it is the basis for their primary skills and class features. Assassin also need decent Wisdom to reflect their awareness of their surroundings. Intelligence is also important, as some class features and skills require nominal Intelligence scores. Constitution is important because it provides extra Hit Points.

Races: Any race may produce assassins, with the smaller races producing a higher population, as their small size and general agility lend itself well to the life of an assassin. Humans also tend to produce some of the finest, most well-known assassins. Most races that espouse the importance of honor tend to frown upon assassins, but many other races or vile beings actually welcome a friendly assassin as an effective tool, no matter the race or gender. All cultures have their own form of assassins, from orcs thugs wielding throwing axes, to humans specializing with crossbow and dagger.


To qualify to become an assassin, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

  • Alignment: Any.
  • Base Bonus Attack: +5.
  • Special: The character must kill someone for no other reason than to join the assassins.
Table: The Assassin

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Maneuvers
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Bonus feat, Death Attack, Deadly Precision, Sneak Attack (+1d6), Poison Use 3 3 1
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 AC Bonus, Evasion 4 3 1
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 Bonus feat, Anatomy Knowledge, Sneak Attack (+2d6) 5 3 1
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Uncanny Dodge,Assassin Eye 5 4 2
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Sneak Attack (+3d6) 6 4 2
6th +6 +2 +5 +2 Bonus feat, Hide in Plain sight 7 4 2
7th +7 +2 +5 +2 Sneak Attack (+4d6) 8 4 2
8th +8 +2 +6 +2 Improved Uncanny Dodge 8 5 3
9th +9 +3 +6 +3 Sneak Attack (+5d6),Improved Evasion 9 5 3
10th +10 +3 +7 +3 Bonus feat, Deadly Strike 10 5 3

Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (Martial Lore), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Assassin.

Maneuvers: You begin your career with knowledge of three martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Desert wind, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Shadow Hand, Tiger Claw, and Setting Sun.

Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by asssassin is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one.

You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it.

Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered assassin level after that (6th, 8th, 10th, and so on), you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. You can choose a new maneuver of any level you like, as long as you observe your restriction on the highest-level maneuvers you know; you need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. For example, upon reaching 10th level, you could trade in a single 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- or 4th-level maneuver for a maneuver of 5th level or lower, as long as you meet the prerequisite of the new maneuver. You can swap only a single maneuver at any given level.

Maneuvers Readied: You can ready all three of the maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you must choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by exercising for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to exercise again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in practice, you can change your readied maneuvers.

You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (until you recover them, as described below).

You can recover all expended maneuvers with a Full round action. You cannot initiate a maneuver or change your stance while you are recovering your expended maneuvers, but you can remain in a stance in which you began your turn.

Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of one 1st-level stance from any discipline open to warblades or swordsages. At 4th, 10th, and 16th level, you can choose additional stances. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you are currently using as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description.

Unlike with maneuvers, you cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one you already know.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Assassin proficiency with all martial nd simple weapon. They also gain proficiency with Assassin Needles and Assassin Daggers. They gain proficiency with Light Armor but no shield.

Death Attack: If an assassin studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (assassin’s choice). While studying the victim, the assassin can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the assassin or recognize the assassin as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the assassin’s class level + the assassin’s Int modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the assassin. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack. Poison Use: Assassins are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.

Deadly Precision: The assassin may add her dexterity bonus on damage made with light weapons or swords that deal no more then 1d6 of damage. (In addition with Strength Bonus). Or ranged weapon if within 60 ft. of the target.

Sneak Attack: If a assassin can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The assassin’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the assassin flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two assassin levels thereafter. Should the assasssin score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a assassin can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

A assassin can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The assassin must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A assassin cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Poison Use: Assassins are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.

AC Bonus: At 2nd level or higher, the assassin may add her Wisdom modifier to her AC. This ability can only be used when the assassin wear light or no armor. This bonus does not stack with the monk AC bonus.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a assassin can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the assassin is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless assassin does not gain the benefit of evasion.

At 9th level the assassin gains improved evasion. Exactly like evasion but halves the damage even if the assassin fails her saving throw.

Anatomy Knowledge (Ex): At 3rd level the assassin may add her intelligence or wisdom (whichever is higher) to the confirmation roll of Critical hit. If playing with variant rules without confirming critical hits, instead double the critical range on master-worked weapons the Assassin is proficient and familiar with.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a assassin can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a assassin already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

A assassin of 8th level gain improved uncanny dodge and can no longer be flanked.

This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Assassin Eye (Ex): The assassin now lands much more terrifying blows when she land a critical. The assassin now increases the critical hit multiplier by one (x3 to x4) with all weapons she is proficient with.

Deadly Strike (Ex): Each time an assassin deals a critical hit, there is 1% chance per assassin level that the assassin kills his opponent (or disables him, assassins choice). The victim must succeed a Fortitude Save DC 10+assassin level/2 + assassin Dexterity Modifier. If the victim fails her save she dies or is disabled for 1/4 round/point of damage dealt. If the victim succeeds her save, it is just a normal critical hit.

Hide in Plain sight (Su): At 6th level, an assassin can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

Epic Assassin[edit]

Table: The Epic Assassin

Hit Die: d6

Level Special
11th Sneak Attack (+6d6)
13th Sneak Attack (+7d6)
14th Bonus Feat
15th Sneak Attack (+8d6)
17th Sneak Attack (+9d6)
18th Bonus Feat
19th Sneak Attack (+10d6)

Sneak Attack: The epic assassin’s sneak attack damage increases by +1d6 at every 2 level.

Bonus Feats: The epic assassin gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic rogue feats) every four levels after 10th.

Epic assassin Bonus Feat List: Blinding Speed, Combat Archery, Dexterous Fortitude, Dexterous Will, Epic Dodge, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Speed, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Sneak Attack, Legendary Climber, Lingering Damage, Self-Concealment, Sneak Attack of Opportunity, Spellcasting Harrier, Superior Initiative, Uncanny Accuracy. The rogue may choose a special rogue ability instead of a bonus feat.

Low-Powered Assassin[edit]

The current progression was made with "compete with monster" mindset. Therefore I present you the low-powered assassin, for less optimized games.

Table: The Assassin

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Maneuvers
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Poison Use 3 3 1
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Anatomy Knowledge, Sneak Attack (+1d6) 5 3 1
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Sneak Attack (+2d6) 6 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +3 Sneak Attack (+3d6) 8 5 3
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Sneak Attack (+4d6) 9 5 3
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +5 Sneak Attack (+5d6) 11 6 3
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Sneak Attack (+6d6) 12 6 4

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (Martial Lore), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Alternate Class Feature[edit]

To create a more skilled assassin at infiltration, just replace the poison use ability with the rogue's trapfinding ability.

Human Assassin Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Shortsword.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Balance 4 Dex
Bluff 4 Cha
Disguise 4 Cha
Hide 4 Dex
Move Silently 4 Dex
Tumble 4 Dex

Feat: Stealthy.

Bonus Feats: Skill Focus (Move Silently).

Gear: Masterwork Leather Armor.

Gold: 1d4 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Assassin[edit]

Religion: Assassins can follow any deities or beliefs. However many tend to go with the least hostile ideology toward killing. In fact assassins of good deities may find themselves accepted if they target evil characters, but most lawful deities tend to frown the illegal act of stealthy killing.

Other Classes: Assassins get along with rogues, and have conflict with Paladins and good party members. Otherwise they does not tend to have conflict with other classes.

Combat: An assassin is a combat rogue, he fights and kills on par with a fighter or a martial adept and is able to pack a huge punch with sneak attack. However the d6 hit die makes you a glass cannon and you are not a good skillmonkey or trapfinder. You extend your use of stealth to only one thing: combat.

Advancement: An assassin should remain an assassin from 1 to 20. Few classes offer him a countinuity in all of his abilities, no martial adept or roguish PrC really fits his need.

Assassin in the World[edit]

Some kill for duties, some kill for revolutionary causes, some kill for power or fun. Some even kill for "good". No matter why you kill, the method is always the same.
—Makkura, Human Assassin

Daily Life: Assassin must know how to blank their emotions, killing people isn't easy for the good assassin. But really assassin have no fixed daily lives, a orc assassin will live a very different life than a human guild assassin.

Notables: The Righteous Plague, a mysterious female assassin who lived in the great metropolis of Thereleflor. She killed about a hundred crime lords and thugs during her rather short career. Shortky after killing the last big crime boss she surrendered herself to the local police and was hanged, however she still remain a legendary and beneficial figures among the common people of the city. She is a prime example of a lawful good assassin.

Organizations: Assassin organization are widely different. Some are cult-like organization who kill for dark deities. Some are guild who kill for profit, other are justiciars killing criminals. No matter the origin and purpose, assassin organization are many and worldwide.

NPC Reactions: NPCs almost alway react negatively to the assassin, if they know she is one. In fact most people tend to think assassin are rogues.

Assassin Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in knowledge (local) can research assassin to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

knowledge (local)
DC Result
5 An assassin is a killer, a master of stealth and combat. If he sees you first, chances are good you won't see him, or anything else really.
10 An assassin are able to use maneuvers and stance..
15 Assassin are incredibly knowledgeable of the art of killing, but do not have the versatility of rogues..
20 Info on a particular assassin or about an assassin guild..

Assassin in the Game[edit]

Adaptation: COMING SOON.

Sample Encounter: COMING SOON.

EL whatever: COMING SOON.

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