General Prestige Class : Assassin

The assassin is the master of dealing quick, lethal blows. Assassins also excel at infiltration and disguise. Assassins often function as spies, informants, killers for hire, or agents of vengeance. Their training in anatomy, stealth, poison, and the dark arts allows them to carry out missions of death with shocking, terrifying precision.

Rogues, monks, and bardic assassins make for the classic skulking assassin in the shadows with a blade carrying certain death. Fighters, ex-paladins, rangers, druids, and barbarians operate as warrior assassins, with as much ability to kill in combat as from the shadows. Sorcerers, wizards, and clerics may be the most terrifying assassins of all, for with their spells they can infiltrate and slay with even greater impunity

As NPCs, assassins work in guilds or secret societies found hidden in cities or based in remote fortresses in the wilderness. Sometimes they serve more powerful evil characters singly or in a group. Occasionally an assassin works alone, but only the most capable are willing to operate without any sort of support or backup.


To qualify to become an Assassin, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The assassin's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device, and Use Rope.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the assassin prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An assassin's weapon training focuses on weapons suitable for stealth and sneak attacks. Assassins are proficient, with the 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. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently Pick Pocket, and Tumble, and that carrying heavy gear imposes a check penalty on Swim checks.

Sneak Attack: If an assassin can catch an opponent when she is unable to defend herself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Basically, any time the assassin's target would be denied her Dexterity bonus to AC (whether she actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), the assassin's attack deals +1d6 points of damage. This extra damage increases by +1d6 points every other level (+2d6 at 3rd level, +3d6 at 5th level, and so on). Should the assassin score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. It takes precision and penetration to hit a vital spot, so ranged attacks can only count as sneak attacks if the target is 30 feet away or less.

With a sap or an unarmed strike, the assassin can make a sneak attack that deals subdual damage instead of normal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals normal damage to deal subdual damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty because he must make optimal use of his weapon in order to execute the sneak attack.

An assassin can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies - undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Additionally, any creature immune to critical hits is similarly immune to sneak attacks. Also, the assassin must also be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach a vital spot. The assassin cannot sneak attack while striking at a creature with concealment or by striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

If an assassin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses to damage stack.

Death Attack: If the 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 her Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + the assassin's class level + Intelligence modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim's mind and body become enervated, rendering her completely 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.

Spells: Beginning at 1st level, an assassin gains the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells. To cast a spell, the assassin must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spell's level, so an assassin with an Intelligence of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Assassin bonus spells are based on Intelligence, and saving throws, against these spells have a DC of to + spell level + the assassin's Intelligence modifier (if any). When the assassin gets 0 spells of a given level, such as 0 1st-level spells at 1st level, the assassin gets only bonus spells. An assassin without a bonus spell for that level cannot yet cast a spell of that level. The assassin's spell list appears below. An assassin prepares and casts spells just as a wizard does.

Saving Throw Bonus vs. Poison: Assassins train with poisons of all types and slowly grow more and more resistant to their effects. This is reflected by a natural saving throw bonus to all poisons gained at 2nd level that increases by +1 for every two levels the assassin gains (+1 at 2nd level, +2 at 4th level, +3 at 6th level, and so on).

Uncanny Dodge: Starting at 2nd level, the assassin gains the extraordinary ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to even be aware of it. At 2nd level and above, he retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.)

At 5th level, the 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).

At 10th level, the assassin gains an intuitive sense that alerts him to danger from traps, giving him a +1 bonus to Reflex saves made to avoid traps.

If the assassin has another class that grants the uncanny dodge ability add together all the class levels of the classes that grant the ability and determine the character's uncanny dodge ability on that basis.

AssassinHit Dice: d6
1st+0+0+2+0Sneak attack +1d6, death attack, poison use0---
2nd+1+0+3+0+1 save vs. poison, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC)1---
3rd+2+1+3+1Sneak attack +2d610--
4th+3+1+4+1+2 save vs. poison11--
5th+3+1+4+1Sneak attack +3d6, uncanny dodge (can't be flanked)110-
6th+4+2+5+2+3 save vs. poison111-
7th+5+2+5+2Sneak attack +4d62110
8th+6+2+6+2+4 save vs. poison2111
9th+6+3+6+3Sneak attack +5d62211
10th+7+3+7+3+5 save vs. poison, uncanny dodge (+1 vs. traps)2221

Assassin Spell List

Assassins choose their spells from the following list:

Source: Dungeon Master's Guide v.3.5

General Prestige Classes