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How exactly do I play an assassin?

I never understood how it's done. The idea of using a bow or darts has never been appealing to me.
And I don't really understand backstabbing as Hide in Shadows always seems to fail for me. On that note am I completely worthless when NOT backstabbing?
Could someone let me know the basics?

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Comments

  • RawgrimRawgrim Member Posts: 621
    Hide before the battle start. You can't hide "while being observed". Which kind of makes sense. I wish more games made use of common sense like that.

    You can also use invisibility potions and the like. To backstab you have to be unseen, and manage a successful attack from behind - with a stabbing weapon (I think).

    AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,389
    edited July 2016
    I use assassins to target mages; a) because they irritate me and b) because they have low(er) AC and are usually at the back of parties. So, my mage casts Haste and Invisibility on my assassin who scouts forward, finds the party (hopefully before the mage has buffed up), goes and stands behind the mage, activates Poison Weapon, backstabs away and then gets the hell out of Dodge (sometimes with the help of a potion of Invisibility).

    P.S. This is why I love dual classed Assassin/Mages because they can do their own buffing.

    AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,099
    deltago said:

    A halfling assassin with 19 dex can have 55/55 stealth from the get go.
    A human with an 18 dex can have a 35/40.

    Worn Whispers can be found early and give a +20/+15 to stealth putting a human assassin on par with a halfling, and brings a halfling to 75/70. With that, you should be able to hide and move silently fairly easily away from enemies.

    Keep in mind, your Thac0 is going to be worse than a fighters. To combat this, make sure your strength is high (17 if halfling, 18 if anything else). Being an elf that uses either short swords or long swords also helps as they get a +1 to hit with them (and you are only going down to 50/50 in stealth).

    An elf with an 18/19 str/dex, proficient with a basic long sword has a Thac0 of 17 (13 when stealthed) and does a base damage of 4-11 before poison is applied.

    Taking single weapon style fighting also increases your AC and chance to land a critical hit.

    The down side to assassins however are their limited skill points per level. You need to travel with another thief especially if you min/maxed stealth at level 1.

    Also if "bows and darts" are not your thing, perhaps playing a thief kit is not truly ideal for you. Thieves aren't front liners and do better with ranged weapons (due to high dex) than with melee weapons.

    An assassin is suppose to be set before an assault taking down a large threat (such as a mage) and then falling back providing ranged support while your tanks mop up everything else. If your play style prevents you from doing this, then yes, you can be kinda worthless until you can get some of your other skills up.

    As an extra note, you can find the worn whispers in the area just south of Beregost. Easy to get at lvl1.

    As an elven assassin at lvl 1, you get 50/50 move silently and hide in shadows. This goes up to 70/65. That's pretty darn good at lvl 1. As Deltago also points out, elves get +1 Thaco with both swords and bows, which are two assassin weapons.

    In other words...Deltago is a wise man. I'd listen to him.

    deltagoNoobaccaAerakarJuliusBorisov
  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,607
  • randomhero890randomhero890 Member Posts: 82
    I'd recommend keeping at your assassin. I don't recall if assassins can lay traps (I think they can). I know it seems that a thief who isn't backstabbing is just a weak ranged fighter, and that's partly true. But traps really redeem the class by doing big, big damage that can't be saved against and bypass magic resistance. The only downside is it's piercing damage so some monsters like skeletons are hardly hurt by them.

    Once you start landing backstabs they become invaluable. I made a half-orc F/T that is lev 9/9 now. With 19 str and a 4x backstab modifier his backstabs with a +2 longsword land for about 70-80 damage and crit for 130 damage. Nothing any of my other chars can do can even approach that kind of damage.

    Almost every fight I get to pick which opponent I would like immediately removed from the equation. It can almost ruin the story because some enemy NPC's are supposed to verbally challenge you and offer some storyline information before you fight them, and I just one-shot them before they can say anything. I almost wouldn't recommend doing it on a first play through because you can actually miss some storyline-related dialogue because of it lol

    Aerakar
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 6,423
    Grum said:

    deltago said:

    A halfling assassin with 19 dex can have 55/55 stealth from the get go.
    A human with an 18 dex can have a 35/40.

    Worn Whispers can be found early and give a +20/+15 to stealth putting a human assassin on par with a halfling, and brings a halfling to 75/70. With that, you should be able to hide and move silently fairly easily away from enemies.

    Keep in mind, your Thac0 is going to be worse than a fighters. To combat this, make sure your strength is high (17 if halfling, 18 if anything else). Being an elf that uses either short swords or long swords also helps as they get a +1 to hit with them (and you are only going down to 50/50 in stealth).

    An elf with an 18/19 str/dex, proficient with a basic long sword has a Thac0 of 17 (13 when stealthed) and does a base damage of 4-11 before poison is applied.

    Taking single weapon style fighting also increases your AC and chance to land a critical hit.

    The down side to assassins however are their limited skill points per level. You need to travel with another thief especially if you min/maxed stealth at level 1.

    Also if "bows and darts" are not your thing, perhaps playing a thief kit is not truly ideal for you. Thieves aren't front liners and do better with ranged weapons (due to high dex) than with melee weapons.

    An assassin is suppose to be set before an assault taking down a large threat (such as a mage) and then falling back providing ranged support while your tanks mop up everything else. If your play style prevents you from doing this, then yes, you can be kinda worthless until you can get some of your other skills up.

    As an extra note, you can find the worn whispers in the area just south of Beregost. Easy to get at lvl1.

    As an elven assassin at lvl 1, you get 50/50 move silently and hide in shadows. This goes up to 70/65. That's pretty darn good at lvl 1. As Deltago also points out, elves get +1 Thaco with both swords and bows, which are two assassin weapons.

    In other words...Deltago is a wise man. I'd listen to him.
    Someone is fishing for likes from me. I'll just give you a pompous agree instead.

    Grum
  • FrancoisFrancois Member Posts: 452
    edited August 2016
    Also, you have less chance of success at stealth if you are not actually standing in a shadow. Whenever possible stand in a shaded area, for example the shade of a tree when outside (characters will appear darker).

    Maybe you would enjoy the shadowdancer thief kit more. Unlike other thieves they can hide in shadows even when seen by enemies (but they have reduced backstab multipliers). It makes them better frontliners because they can hide every round instead of falling back after one backstab; but your skill points have to be high enough to be reliable.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 1,903
    Chiyosuke said:

    I never understood how it's done. The idea of using a bow or darts has never been appealing to me.

    Well, that kind of IS how it's done. Assassins throwing 3 poison darts per round can be pretty scary. Assassins level up faster than Blackguards, so their poison ability will get strong pretty quick. Even better, use darts that were already poisonous in the first place for double the poison. If using a dart-throwing assassin isn't appealing to you, so be it, but you're missing out.

    Aerakar
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,219
    Chiyosuke said:


    And I don't really understand backstabbing as Hide in Shadows always seems to fail for me. On that note am I completely worthless when NOT backstabbing?
    Could someone let me know the basics?

    look here https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/60581/extra-lame-spells/p2
    Write twice the same thing in a day is a little too much for me :smiley:

  • JDowJDow Member Posts: 58
    Poison + Explosive arrows

    Aerakar
  • SkaroseSkarose Member Posts: 247
    Assassins are actually pretty weak now. Because of how OP Blackguards were, the Beamdog designers decided to seriously curtail poison. It now does less damage and can only be applied once per round, no matter how many attacks per round your character gets. This has made Blackguards way more balanced (They're still pretty OP) but unfortunately Assassins have been seriously gimped, so much so that I can't play one anymore. Every time I try, I can't get around the 15 skill points per level for some [email protected] poison, +1 Combat and bigger backstabs way in the future. They've become too silly to play, which is really sad, because they used to be a really fun and challenging class to play. Now, not so much...

    dunbargorgonzola
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,099
    deltago said:

    Grum said:

    deltago said:

    A halfling assassin with 19 dex can have 55/55 stealth from the get go.
    A human with an 18 dex can have a 35/40.

    Worn Whispers can be found early and give a +20/+15 to stealth putting a human assassin on par with a halfling, and brings a halfling to 75/70. With that, you should be able to hide and move silently fairly easily away from enemies.

    Keep in mind, your Thac0 is going to be worse than a fighters. To combat this, make sure your strength is high (17 if halfling, 18 if anything else). Being an elf that uses either short swords or long swords also helps as they get a +1 to hit with them (and you are only going down to 50/50 in stealth).

    An elf with an 18/19 str/dex, proficient with a basic long sword has a Thac0 of 17 (13 when stealthed) and does a base damage of 4-11 before poison is applied.

    Taking single weapon style fighting also increases your AC and chance to land a critical hit.

    The down side to assassins however are their limited skill points per level. You need to travel with another thief especially if you min/maxed stealth at level 1.

    Also if "bows and darts" are not your thing, perhaps playing a thief kit is not truly ideal for you. Thieves aren't front liners and do better with ranged weapons (due to high dex) than with melee weapons.

    An assassin is suppose to be set before an assault taking down a large threat (such as a mage) and then falling back providing ranged support while your tanks mop up everything else. If your play style prevents you from doing this, then yes, you can be kinda worthless until you can get some of your other skills up.

    As an extra note, you can find the worn whispers in the area just south of Beregost. Easy to get at lvl1.

    As an elven assassin at lvl 1, you get 50/50 move silently and hide in shadows. This goes up to 70/65. That's pretty darn good at lvl 1. As Deltago also points out, elves get +1 Thaco with both swords and bows, which are two assassin weapons.

    In other words...Deltago is a wise man. I'd listen to him.
    Someone is fishing for likes from me. I'll just give you a pompous agree instead.
    Fine by me. Last I checked it takes 10 agrees for 1 insightful, and 5 likes for 1 agree. Fool! Despite your best efforts I have become more powerful than ever!!!!

    ...enjoy your like.

    deltagoAerakar
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,219
    @Skarose as I don't play EE I did not know about the Blackguard, assassin and poison stuff.
    It seems to me that seriously gimp an existing and funny to play kit just for the reason that a new and OP one has to work is not the best way to go. I suspect also that the main reason for the new kit is the new NPC. And even worst the new kit can be only evil, the Assassin can be chaotic neutral and not all people like to play evil charnames or parties. Maybe the developers should had deal with the matter in a better way.

    Skarose
  • alceryesalceryes Member Posts: 362
    edited August 2016
    Apparently, the below is old, misinformation, please ignore.

    Also, remember that HiS and MS are handled differently in BG than in PnP D&D. ALWAYS focus on increasing MS. You really never need to increase HiS*.
    How BG stealth works -
    Initial 'stealth' score (when you first try to hide) is calculated by adding together your HiS and MS score and dividing by two. Subsequent checks ONLY check against your MS score.
    I guess if you want to have a better chance of hiding in broad daylight you can put some points into it later in the game (like in BG2). But, since you'll probably drop out of stealth on the next check, its usefulness is limited when compared to the benefits of increasing DI or ST instead.

    * Except in the case of making sure HiS and MS add up to an even number after all gear bonuses and penalties are applied so that when it's divided by two for the initial stealth check it doesn't get rounded down.

    Post edited by alceryes on
  • Abi_DalzimAbi_Dalzim Member Posts: 1,410
    Assassins aren't a class I play much, primarily because poison is one of those things that I tend to shun for being OP, and without that, they lack a good reason to use over a regular thief. Same deal with bounty hunters and traps, I rarely use traps because they're just too good.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,453
    @alceryes I believe that was proved false. Do you have new evidence?

    alceryes
  • alceryesalceryes Member Posts: 362
    edited August 2016
    It was??? I read it in an old post. Maybe I'm not up to speed...

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,219
    edited August 2016
    Also I and many others believed that HiS and MS worked in a different way. When I wrote it some months ago @JuliusBorisov linked a topic where was given the evidence that is not true, I don't know how to find the link now. The strange thing is that you find the false notion of MS being better in many topics on various boards and even in the better rogue guides that you can find online, so a false thing believed true even by the best players for 15 years.

    Anyway MS was supposed to determine how long you remain hidden after a check, that is different from affecting the subsequent checks. I explain better the difference, that is very important to understand if you want to hide efficiently, in the link that I gave before. And the fact that the average of HiS and MS is used for both doesn't make the difference less relevant.
    You have to scroll the page because I don't know how to link a single post but only a page of the boards.
    And I explain the thing in 2 posts in that page, the second one is the relevant one, don't stop to the first.

    JuliusBorisov
  • SkaroseSkarose Member Posts: 247
    Alright, I don't like Assassins anymore but they once were my favorite playthrough class, so with that in mind I'll just put in my two cents on playing an Assassin Kitted Character. For brevity's sake I'll just be discussing single class Assassins (No dual class Assassin/Mage, Assassin/Cleric, Assassin/Fighter).

    The typical styles for an Assassin playthrough will have two stereotypes, the party Assassin or the Solo-Assassin. When I speak of a party Assassin, I am typcially speaking about an Assassin who will have another Thief character in the party. The Solo Assassin style can either run through the series alone or within a party, but the difference being that the Solo Assassin is capable of performing all the thief's duties.

    The Party Assassin should focus on Stealth and let the other Thief handle finding traps, openlocks, pickpocketing etc. I also like for the Party Assassin to spend a few skill points on setting snares because I feel like they fall within the trained killer's wheelhouse. Personally, I like putting 50% into Set Traps and Hide in shadows, I dump the rest of my skill points into Move Silently. The two weapons of choice for any Assassin are shortbow and quarterstaff.

    The shortbow has decent range and speed, it also has the premium ammo. Arrows of Biting, Acid Arrows, Arrows of Explosions, Arrows of dispelling, +2 Flame arrows. (So much utility, an arrow for every circumstance) The shortbow is also good for kiting your enemies, If they are too strong and numerous. Coupled with your poison weapon ability it makes a shortbow a fantastic weapon. (Darts are significant weapons especially with Darts of Stunning, but I always liked the Shortbows extended range. My assassin can stealth within range of an opponent fire both his arrows and run, it always seems like I can only get one dart thrown before the enemy closes with me.) * With the boots of cheetah and Oil of speed all manner of killing foes is possible, my Half Orc Assassin solo killed the Neolithid utilizing this technique.*

    The quarterstaff is the ultimate backstabbing weapon and backstabbing is what an assassin does. I know many people on the forum can't stomach using a quarterstaff as a backstabbing weapon, me I love it. I imagine my Assassin use his quarterstaff as an all around tool. For pole vaults, balance, reaching objects, parrying blows and when in combat I imagine he use the quarterstaff as a welll trained martial artist using a Bo staff, thrusting the end through gaps in his opponents armor, applying tremendous force to a tiny surface area, shattering vertebrae, temples, eye sockets etc, truly a deadly weapon for those trained in it's use. The two handed weapon style is also a good choice with a quarterstaff as it allows for more damage, more criticals, and greater weapon speeds.

    The Solo Assassin is for the more experienced player. The player needs to be cognizant of all the different items/consumables that help him or her in being thief and plan their skill selections accordingly. You need find traps but potions of perception give +20% to find traps so you'll never need more than 80%. Open locks you can quaff two potions of master thievery can add up to 80% , so Open locks is a minimal requirement. Personally I like investing a little in Hide In shadows and Move Silently, With your stealth boots and Stealth studded leather, I want my assassin to be able to regularly hide when I need him to backstab, run around the corner, hide, backstab again, run around another corner, hide, backstab again...
    I also like setting traps. Traps are deadly, powerful and exploitive, just the type of tool an assassin needs.
    A successful Assassin scouts ahead and knows where his enemies are, where the corners are that they may run to hide again and where to set snares to lead your prey into a deadly trap.

    Invisibility potions and rings are very useful, but too few and expensive, so I tend to use them only in emergencies and boss fights.

    When entering a new outdoor area, I always rest until night, when it's easier to stealth and then begin scouting and removing all the prey from the area.

    The Assassin's Creedo is to never fight fair, to never fight straight up. Exploit every weakness, every potion, every item and every ability.

    Yeah, I used to like the Assassin...

    gorgonzolarandomhero890AerakarLoldrup
  • ThelsThels Member Posts: 1,274
    @gorgonzola Could you show us where this information is found? I mind mind if you link to a discussion in general rather than a specific link, but it would be nice to find out how it really works.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,219
    edited August 2016
    @Thels
    Abaut the fact that the value is always averaged I have found the link
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/370098#Comment_370098
    as you can read @Dee tells that he looked into the code, so there is no doubt about it.

    About how the whole thing work I try to merge together the 2 posts that I wrote in the topic linked before.
    What I will tell is based on my experience and research using a thief in a not EE engine, but afaik in EE it should work the same way.

    The average of HiS and MS together determine if you succeed or fail to hide, the chance depends also on how much light there is in the point where the thief is, not on the average light of the area, the lesser the better. So not all the places in a dungeon are the same and outside being in the shadow of a building before sunset can help a lot. There is also a certain randomness so I suppose that a dice roll is used.
    The average of HiS and MS also affects the time you will be hidden after the check.

    A thief with a bad score in stealth can have a certain percentage of success when he hide in a very dark place, but he have to run and backstab. With a very high score he almost never fails hiding when he is in a dark place, and a good chance to hide also in plain light, but also the full round or more, up to something like 15-17 secs when the ability is maxed, to move behind the enemy, wait the right moment (maybe a breach from your mage) and backstab.

    As I told if you have a good stealth score you remain hidden longer, but there is no check for it, how long is only related to your stealth ability. only something like a spell that reveals invisibility or Detect Illusions from another thief can reveal you. And non detection from the cloak protects you also from that. To stay hidden is not easy or difficult, there is no check, is automatic.
    So your thief hide successfully, then walk or do what he wants, avoiding the things that interrupt the invisibility like attacking or even changing weapon from the quick slot. At this point how much light there is is not relevant, if according to his stealth points Hide in Shadows lasts 10 seconds he will remain invisible for that period, point.
    But every rounds, so every 6 secs, a new check is done. Suppose that he fails this check, on the feedback screen appears "Hide in shadow failed", but he will be still invisible for other 4 secs (10 - 6 = 4 :smiley: ) that he can use to backstab, run away undetected to try to hide again or whatever. If he doesn't fail the check then he have other 10 secs of invisibility, from the moment that the new check is done, not from the moment that the old invisibility would have been expired.
    Every new check is done according to the light conditions of the place where he is at the very moment of the check, so at the beginning of the round.

    FinneousPJAerakarJuliusBorisov
  • ThelsThels Member Posts: 1,274
    edited August 2016
    So placing a point in hide in shadows or placing a point in move silently amounts to the exact same thing?

    Well, on the plus side, it's good that there's no undocumented advantage to one over the other, as it's really unclear on players which one to go for.

    On the minus side, one could wonder why these are even split up into two different stats, if they amount to the same thing? It's just a skill point sink (and I personally approve Pathfinder from combining the two, as well as other similar skills).

    Personally, I don't find the whole backstab play appealing. I tend to bring rogues for their Open Locks/Remove Traps/Pick Pockets, so I'd much rather go Swashbuckler over Assassin.

    @gorgonzola: Thanks for the link to the information!

    JuliusBorisov
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,219
    Thels said:



    On the minus side, one could wonder why these are even split up into two different stats, if they amount to the same thing? It's just a skill point sink (and I personally approve Pathfinder from combining the two, as well as other similar skills).

    Maybe the idea behind this is that hiding is the strongest ability of the thief and averaging 2 stats is like giving only 1/2 of the points when you invest in that ability. Consider that when BG and BG2 were created there where no UAI, Spike and Time Trap and in SoA the backstabbing can be relevant, gamebreaking if you master it.

    FinneousPJ
  • ThelsThels Member Posts: 1,274
    If I recall correctly, Hide in Shadows/Move Silently was a single skill in Vanilla BG1, and only split up later.

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,438
    Thels said:

    If I recall correctly, Hide in Shadows/Move Silently was a single skill in Vanilla BG1, and only split up later.

    Sort of. If I'm remembering correctly, the engine still kept them separate, but hide that separation from the player. So if your character had 20 Stealth, that actually meant the character had 20 HiS and 20 MS.

    I agree that it's an unnecessary complication, though in some ways it would be even weirder to say that your chance to hide in the shadows is equal to one-half your Stealth skill.

    JuliusBorisov
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    I rarely put points in Hide or MS but regularly backstab enemies courtesy of max dexterity, +stealth items and judicious use of available shadowed areas (which have the biggest impact that I've noticed).

    That said I don't start stabbing until x3 multiplier and a +2 or better weapon.

    I'm BG1 I prefer 2 thieves each with effective backstabs, each with effective trap laying and other duties split between. Though be effective I find 50 in each of those skills to generally be enough (hide, MS, set traps).

    I much prefer multiclass thieves like Coran, Montaron and Tiax.

    gorgonzolaAerakar
  • SkaroseSkarose Member Posts: 247
    edited August 2016
    This thread has inspired me to give a v2.3 Solo assassin run a try. I went with an elf for the 19 dex and improved Thieves skills because skill points are such a premium for the solo assassin. Using the secondary staff of doom and beginning my assault on the Bandit's Camp. Poor little Bandits...

    Thought I'd post why Quarterstaves are so freaking amazing for stealthy trained killers!

    *Arioch the scion of murder is currently delivering the pain. A nice round number for damage. I believe this bandit's name was "Gibbets"

    Oops, Arioch did it again!

    *So much for full plate!

    AerakarJuliusBorisovthespace
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Skarose said:

    This thread has inspired me to give a v2.3 Solo assassin run a try. I went with an elf for the 19 dex and improved Thieves skills because skill points are such a premium for the solo assassin. Using the secondary staff of doom and beginning my assault on the Bandit's Camp. Poor little Bandits...

    Thought I'd post why Quarterstaves are so freaking amazing for stealthy trained killers!


    *Arioch the scion of murder is currently delivering the pain. A nice round number for damage. I believe this bandit's name was "Gibbets"

    Oops, Arioch did it again!

    *So much for full plate!
    Yes quarter staves are the best for numerous reasons including:
    - Reach
    - Bludgeoning type
    - 2 +3 versions available in bg1
    - THF'ing style

    Though I don't find a solo assassin to be all that engaging. I'd want at least another thief to trade aggro with to limit the amount of kiting.

    gorgonzolaAerakarJuliusBorisov
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