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Assassin is a striker class in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. There are two assassin subclasses: original assassin--a shadow striker,[Dr379:16] and executioner--a martial and shadow striker.[Dr394:6][HoS:15]

Assassins specialize in doing very high single target damage, and gain access to poisons and class-specific weaponry.

Class traits[]

Both original assassins and executioners gain a +1 bonus to Fortitude and Will defenses.

Original assassin[]

Original assassin is the subclass of assassin introduced in a series of articles by Mike Mearls in Dragon #379.[Dr379:16]

At 1st level, an original assassin has hit points equal to 10 plus the assassin's Constitution score. An original assassin gains 4 hit points per level.

An original assassin has healing surges per day equal to 6 plus the assassin's Constitution modifier.

An original assassin has cloth and leather armor proficiency, one-handed simple melee, military light blade, military heavy blade, and simple ranged weapon proficiency, and implement proficiency with ki focus and weapons with is proeficient.

An original assassin is trained in Stealth (Dex), plus any four skills from the original assassin class skill list:

An original assassin's class features are:

  • Guild Training (Bleak Disciple, or Night Stalker)

Assassin's Shroud[]

You subject the target to your shroud. If any of your shrouds are already on the target, you subject it to an additional shroud, up to a maximum of four. The shrouds last until you use this power against a different enemy or until the end of the encounter. Before you make an attack roll against the target, you choose to invoke either all your shrouds on it or none of them. If you invoke your shrouds, the attack deals 1d6 damage per shroud, minus one shroud if the attack misses, and all your shrouds then vanish from the target. This damage roll never benefits from bonuses to damage rolls, and is in addition to the attack's damage, if any. Level 11: 1d6 + 3 damage per shroud. Level 21: 1d6 + 6 damage per shroud.

Guild Training[]

An assassin chooses one of the following options and gains the corresponding benefit.

Bleak Disciple
When the assassin hits a target that is not bloodied, the assassin gains temporary hit points equal to the assassin's Constitution modifier. At 11th level, the temporary hit points increase to 2 + Con modifier. At 21st level, they increase to 4 + Con modifier.
Night Stalker
While a target is not adjacent to any other enemies, the assassin's damage rolls against the target gain a bonus equal to the assassin's Charisma modifier.

Shade Form[]

You gain the shade form power.

Black Flame Form[]

This class feature is an alternate to Shade Form, and is introduced in Class Acts: Assassin: Black Flame Zealot. [Dr401] It has a minor tie to Forgotten Realms, originating from a pre-spellplague sect in Thay.

The power Black flame form is an encounter power, giving resist 5 to all damage, and provides 5 extra fire/necrotic damage when you hit with a melee attack. You can use an assassin's shroud as part of this power (and not count towards the limit

Shadow Step[]

You gain the shadow step power.


Executioner is the subclass of assassin introduced in the "The Executioner Assassin" article by Rodney Thompson in Dragon #394, and republished in Heroes of Shadow.[Dr394:6][HoS:15]

At 1st level, an executioner has hit points equal to 12 plus the executioner's Constitution score. An executioner gains 5 hit points per level.

An executioner has healing surges per day equal to 7 plus the executioner's Constitution modifier.

An executioner has cloth armor, leather armor, and light shield armor proficiency, simple one-handed melee, military one-handed melee, garrote, simple ranged, blowgun, bola, and shortbow weapon proficiency, and ki focus implement proficiency.

An executioner is trained in Stealth (Dex), plus any four skills from the executioner class skill list:

At 1st level, an executioner has the assassin's strike, Attack Finesse, Guild Attacks, Poison Use, Quick Swap, and Versatile Defense class features. These features replace the choice of leveled at-will, encounter, and daily attack powers.

Assassin's Strike[]

Executioners with the Assassin's Strike class feature gain use of the Assassin's Strike encounter power. [HoS:21]

Attack Finesse[]

Executioners can use their Dexterity instead of Strength for melee basic attacks. In addition, once per turn you can deal 1d8 extra damage with a weapon attack using a one-handed weapon, a garrote, a blowgun, or a shortbow. The extra damage increases to 2d8 at 11th level and 3d8 at 21st level. [HoS:20]

Guild Attacks[]

As a member of either the Red Scales, the League of Whispers, or Way of the Ninja [Dr404:20], you have learned various deadly attack techniques. At the start of your career, you can use the techniques associated with your guild.[HoS:20]

Poison Use[]

Instead of dailies, Executioners gain the use of one poison at level 1. [HoS:22]

Quick Swap[]

Once during each of your turns, you can take a free action to draw another weapon. [HoS:20]

Versatile Defense[]

You choose a bonus feat, either Shield Proficiency: Light or Two-Weapon Defense. You don't have to meet the feat's prerequisite.[HoS:19]

Assassin powers[]

Assassin powers, having shadow or martial power sources, are also called hexes or exploits.

At-will attack powers
(Original assassin only)

1st level

Encounter attack powers
(Original assassin only)
Daily attack powers
(Original assassin only)
Utility powers

1st level

1st level

2nd level

3rd level

  • Army of the Night[Dr379:21]
  • Cloaking Mist[Dr379:21]
  • Inescapable Shadow[Dr379:21]
  • Nightshade's Kiss[Dr379:22]

5th level

  • Heart of Dust[Dr379:22]
  • Shadow Soul[Dr379:22]
  • Treacherous Shades[Dr379:22]
  • Twilight Assassin[Dr379:22]

6th level

  • Darting Shadow[Dr379:23]
  • Sheltering Dark[Dr379:23]
  • Slayer's Escape[Dr379:23]
  • Slithering Shadow[Dr379:23]

7th level

  • blinding menace[DSH:53]
  • Captured Shadow[Dr379:23]
  • Echoing Threat[Dr379:23]
  • Shadow Jack[Dr379:23]
  • Shadow Link[Dr379:23]

9th level

  • Black Garrote[Dr379:24]
  • Bound by Shadow[Dr379:24]
  • Obscuring Shadow[Dr379:24]
  • Wall of Shadows[Dr379:24]

10th level

  • Mist Walk[Dr379:24]
  • Promise of Retribution[Dr379:24]
  • Seeker of Shadow[Dr379:24]
  • Slayer's Endurance[Dr379:24]
13th level
  • Dark Step Ambush[Dr379:28]
  • Flurry of Talons[Dr379:28]
  • Slayer in the Dark[Dr379:29]
  • Well of Shades[Dr379:29]
15th level

16th level

17th level
  • Mob of Shadows[Dr379:30]
  • Shadow Fire[Dr379:30]
  • Shadowed Deception[Dr379:30]
  • Traitorous Shadow[Dr379:30]
19th level
  • Consign to Shadow[Dr379:31]
  • Executioner's Blade[Dr379:31]
  • Guild of Shadows[Dr379:31]
  • Phantom Assault[Dr379:31]
22nd level
  • Assassin's Eye[Dr379:35]
  • Claim the Dead[Dr379:35]
  • Fortress of Shadow[Dr379:35]
  • Soul of Death[Dr379:35]
23rd level 25th level
27th level
  • Ambush from Thin Air[Dr379:37]
  • Last Word[Dr379:37]
  • Reaper in Black[Dr379:37]
  • Shadows of Doom[Dr379:37]
29th level
  • Doom Foretold[Dr379:37]
  • Intent to Murder[Dr379:37]
  • Shadow Puppet[Dr379:37]
  • Three Shadow Venoms[Dr379:37]
Unleveled powers

Assassin Feats[]

Multiclass assassins[]

Practiced Killer [Dr400:2] You gain training in one skill from the executioner assassin’s class skills list. You gain proficiency with ki focuses. Once per encounter, you can deal 1d8 extra damage with a weapon attack using a one-handed weapon, a garrote, a blowgun, or a shortbow. The extra damage increases to 2d8 at 11th level and 3d8 at 21st level. [Dr400:2]

Hybrid original assassins[]

The hybrid class of the original assassin and another class can be selected. It grants cloth, leather, and light shield armor proficiency, and weapon proficiency in simple one-handed melee, simple ranged, military heavy blade, military light blade, in addition to ki focus implement proficiency. The bonus to defense is +1 Fortitude and +1 Will. Hit Points granted at 1st lvl is 5 + Constitution score, Hit Points per level is 2, and they get 3 healing surges per day. The class skills are Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Endurance, Insight, Perception, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery.

The class feature granted is Assassin's Shroud (Hybrid), which works as the original Assassin's Shroud, except they can subject a target to a maximum of two shrouds, and they can invoke their shrouds on a target only when they attack with an assassin power or an assassin paragon path power.

The hybrid feats which can selected are as follows:

  • Guild Training (Hybrid) This feat allows taking the Bleak Dicipline (hybrid), or Night Stalker (hybrid), both which work like their normal assassin counterpart, except only being able to trigger from assassin or assassin paragon path powers.
  • Shade Form This works as the normal assassin Shadow Form class feature.
  • Shadow Step This works as the normal assassin Shadow Step class feature.[Dr385:32]

Hybrid executioners[]

A character may be created as a hybrid of executioner and another class other than executioner. The hybrid executioner bonus to defense is either +1 Fortitude or +1 Will. The hybrid's executioner class features are Assassin's Strike (hybrid), Attack Finesse (hybrid), Guild Attacks (hybrid), and Poison Use (hybrid). Assassin's Strike (hybrid) which is the same as Assassin's Strike except that if you already have assassin’s strike and already have an encounter attack power from your other hybrid class, then instead of choosing or replacing an encounter attack power, you can increase the extra damage dealt by your assassin’s strike by 1d10, and instead of increasing in damage at levels periodically, you increase the damage at each tier. Attack Finesse (hybrid) only allows you to do extra damage with basic attacks, assassin powers, and assassin paragon path powers. Poison Use (hybrid) you do not start with access to any poison recipes. When you gain a daily attack power, you can instead opt to learn a poison recipe. When you replace a daily attack power, you can instead replace one of your poison recipes with one of a higher level or with a daily attack power from your other hybrid class. The recipe’s level must be less than or equal to your level. For each daily attack power you forgo, you can prepare one poison per day. [Dr400:3] [Dr400:2]

When a hybrid executioner gains the Hybrid Talent feat, he or she chooses one hybrid talent option from either of his or her hybrid classes. The executioner hybrid talent options are:

Nimble Drop: You must be at least 4th level to choose this option. This class feature functions the same as the executioner class feature. [Dr400:3]

Flawless Disguise: You must be at least 8th level to choose this option. This class feature functions the same as the executioner class feature. [Dr400:3]

Assassin magic items[]

  • Virulent Weapon (3) - suitable for executioner's poison use.
  • Embers of Black Flame (10 R) - Extra fire/necrotic damage when you use a shadow attack power.
  • Bracers of Assassination (16 U) - increases critical threat range if you have three shrouds on a target.

Charcter Optimization[]