Having revamped and improved the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition assassin to suit my whim, I figured it would be handy to make a version for the Pathfinder flavor of D&D. I'm especially glad to do so given how much I dislike the official Pathfinder version of the assassin, which I find underpowered and uninspiring. Here are my Pathfinder Improved Assassin rules written for Pathfinder:
The Improved Assassin
The unseen approach, the innocent look, the perfect disguise, the knife in the dark -- these are the tools of those who have perfected the art of murder. Some are mercenaries, who value wealth over life. Some are devoted to a cause, fighting tyrants, theocrats, and terrorists as a guerrilla, a rebel, or an infiltrator. But no one devoted to dealing death can be an innocent, or good at heart.
Role: Those who delight in dealing death, those for whom killing is a career, and those who kill for a cause -- such people come from all walks of life. Fighters and mages, clerics and rogues, all can be assassins -- although characters with a natural inclination toward stealth are more natural murderers than others. Most assassins have at least a bit of training as a rogue.
Alignment: Some lawful NPCs with this prestige class may be associated with a thieves guild, or with their own association of assassins, or with another group -- the secret police, a resistance movement, a guerrilla band. Some chaotic freelance assassins work on a contract basis for the highest bidder; others pursue solitary vendettas against those who have wronged them. Those who kill for pay are uniformly evil; those who use assassination for a higher purpose may see evil and good as tools, and may be neutral.
Hit die: d8
- Alignment: Any neutral or evil (non-good).
- Skills: Disguise 2 ranks, Stealth 5 ranks.
- Special: Sneak Attack +1d6 OR take Sneak Attack as your Assassin Trick at level 1.
- Special: Must seek out and kill a specific person to prove your willingness to kill.
Table: The Improved Pathfinder Assassin
.1....+0......+0.....+1.....+0.....Assassin Trick, Paralyzing Stab
.2....+1......+1.....+1.....+1.....Poison Use, +1 Save vs Poison
.3....+2......+1.....+2.....+1.....Uncanny Dodge, Assassin Trick
.4....+3......+1.....+2.....+1.....Death Stab, +2 Save vs Poison
.6....+4......+2.....+3.....+2.....Improved Uncanny Dodge, +3 Save vs Poison
.7....+5......+2.....+4.....+2.....Ranged Stab, Assassin Trick
.8....+6......+3.....+4.....+3.....Hide in Plain Sight, +4 Save vs Poison
10....+7......+3.....+5.....+3.....Final Rest, Quick Stab, +5 Save vs Poison
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Know Local (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha)
Skill Points per level: 4 + Int modifier
Weapon & Armor Proficiencies: Assassins are proficient with blowgun, crossbow (hand, light, or heavy), dagger (any type), dart, rapier, sap, shortbow (normal and composite), and short sword. Assassins are proficient with light armor but not with shields.
Spells: Beginning at 1st level, an assassin gains the ability to cast a number of arcane spells. To cast a spell, an assassin must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spellís level. Assassin bonus spells are based on Intelligence, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the assassinís Intelligence bonus. When the assassin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Intelligence score for that spell level. When the assassin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Intelligence score for that spell level. The assassinís spell list appears below. An assassin casts spells spontaneously just as a sorcerer does.
Cantrips: Assassins learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on the table below. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.
Assassin Tricks As an assassin gains experience, she learns a number of tricks that aid her in her murderous missions. Starting at 1st level, an assassin gains one assassin trick. She gains an additional trick for every 2 levels of assassin attained after 1st level. Some tricks can be taken more than once, as noted.
Fast Stealth (Ex) This ability allows an assassin to move at full speed using the Stealth skill without penalty.
Magic Stab (Su) At level 1, the assassin can make a Paralyzing Stab attack with a spell that features a melee touch attack. At level 4, the assassin can make a Death Stab with a melee touch spell. At level 7, the assassin can make Paralyzing and Death Stab attacks with ranged touch attack spells.
Master of Skills (Ex) Pick one of the following key assassin skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth. The assassin gains a bonus to checks with this skill equal to five plus half her assassin level (round down). This trick can be taken more than once; pick a different skill each time.
Sneak Attack (Ex) This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. It adds +1d6 of damage under particular circumstances. If an assassin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonus damage dice stack. This trick can be taken more than once; sneak attack damage dice gained stack.
Speedy Disguise (Su) An assassin with this talent can use the items at hand and seemingly innocuous material hidden on her person to create startlingly effective disguises, reducing the amount of time it takes to create a disguise using the Disguise skill to one full round action.
Surprise Attack (Ex) During the surprise round, opponents are always considered flat-footed to an assassin with this ability, even if they have already acted.
Swift Poison (Ex) An assassin with this talent can apply poison to a weapon as a move action, instead of a standard action.
Paralyzing Stab (Ex) 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 paralyzing the target. Studying the victim is a standard action, and the assassin can undertake other actions during the study period, so long as 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 assassinís class level + the assassinís Int modifier) against the paralyzing effect, she is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the assassin. If the victimís 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 paralyzing stab within the next 3 rounds. If a stab 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 paralyzing stab.
Poison Use Assassins are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.
Save Bonus against Poison The assassin gains a natural saving throw bonus to all poisons gained at 2nd level that increases by +1 for every two additional levels the assassin gains.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex) Starting at 3rd level, an assassin retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (He still loses any Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.) If a character gains uncanny dodge from a second class the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below).
Death Stab As paralyzing stab, but the assassin can choose to kill his target.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex) At 6th level, an assassin can no longer be flanked, since he can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single attacker. This defense denies rogues the ability to use flank attacks to sneak attack the assassin. The exception to this defense is that a rogue at least four levels higher than the assassin can flank him (and thus sneak attack him). If a character gains uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge, and the levels from those classes stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
Ranged Stab As paralyzing stab and death stab, but the assassin can use a ranged weapon. The attack must still be a sneak attack, however.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su) At 8th level, an assassin can use the Stealth 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. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.
Quick Stab As paralyzing stab and death stab, but the time of study required is 2 rounds, not 3 rounds.
Final Rest Once per day, when the assassin makes a successful Death Stab, he can cause the target's body to crumble to dust. This prevents raise dead and resurrection (although true resurrection works as normal). The assassin must declare the use of this ability before the attack is made. If the attack misses or the target successfully saves against the death attack, this ability is not wasted and can be used again until the effort succeeds.
Spells Known, Spells Per Day, and Spell List
Table: Improved Pathfinder Assassin Spells Known and Spells Per Day
Spells Per Day
acid splash, dancing lights, detect magic, detect poison, light, lullaby, mage hand, message, prestidigitation, read magic.
accelerate poison, chill touch, disguise self, jump, obscuring mist, sculpt corpse, delay poison, true strike, vanish.
alter self, catís grace, foxís cunning, invisibility, pass without trace, scorching ray, spider climb, undetectable alignment.
clairaudience/clairvoyance, haste, misdirection, neutralize poison, nondetection, poison, twilight knife.
dimension door, dimensional anchor, freedom of movement, glibness, greater invisibility, locate creature.
polymorph, prying eyes, scrying, teleport, veil.