The Genius Guide to the Shadow Assassin (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Rogue Genius Games
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This release introduces the Shadow Assassin, a new core class designed for use with the PFRPG. It is a stealth-oriented class, with an emphasis on fighting effectively with light or exotic weapons, powers designed to strike down a single foe, and mystic control of shadows that greatly increases the character's power in dim lighting and total darkness.
More than just killers, shadow assassins are masters of secret combat techniques focused on light and exotic weapons, tactics designed to single out and slay a single foe in direct confrontation, and of course a mystic connection to and manipulation of shadow. Traditionally trained in clans with histories going back centuries, shadow assassins may try to conceal their existence from the common population, or may be legendary enforces of specific religions or rulers. Shadow assassins must train for years in the same kinds of conditions monks and wizards do, and for most their path is a lifelong dedication to mastering the darkness and overcoming any lone target.
Super Genius Games is proud to announce a new line of products for use with the Pathfinder RPG. The Genius Guide series of products are short electronic books that feature new templates, classes, spells, prestige classes and/or magic items. For use by players and GMs, each Genius Guide is low-priced and ready to be dropped into your game.
I have played, played with, or DMed for innumerable third party classes over the last ~12 years that I have been playing 3rd, then 3.5th Edition D&D, then Pathfinder, and I have to say that the Shadow Assassin is among my all-time favorites.
The greatest thing about this class is its versatility. With two different sets of customizable class features ("Shadow Styles" and "Shadow Talents"), there are dozens, possibly into the hundreds of different, viable builds for this class, particularly because it multiclasses so well in addition to being a fun and unique blend of abilities when played all on its own.
Two of the favorites in my group so far are to play this class as a lightweight ranged Fighter, focusing on consistent, high single-target damage output with their many abilities that can be used to boost the damage of shurikens, or as an elusive and shadowy Rogue-replacement, capable of moving practically undetectably through darkness with a high base speed and many acrobatic tricks, or flight at higher levels, passively perceiving and rapidly disabling traps, and detecting just about anything with their ability to gain low-light and darkvision as class features and a Feat option for +Perception and, later, Blindsense in dark areas in the supporting "With a Bullet" product.
What makes the Shadow Assassin truly bemusing to witness is their signature "Deadly Focus" and "Greater Deadly Focus" abilities, however. 1-3 times per day, with Greater Deadly Focus, even a completely utility-built character can activate what the first DM in my group to run for one of these bad boys coined as, "Super Kill Guy Mode," and unleash more DR Bypassing damage on that annoying BBEG than anybody ever saw coming. It is truly an awe-inspiring and giggle-inducing moment the first time you see it in action.
The Shadow Assassin was the first Super Genius product I ever used, and since then I have become a dedicated fan - they are now by far my most-owned 3PP publisher, in fact, I would wager I own more of their products than any tabletop manufacturer except Paizo themselves, and I love every single one of them.
d8, 6 skills, medium BaB, weapons and armor like a rogue.
Class abilities mostly deal with using and mastering shadows. They also get a few talents similar to rogues and a choice of fighting styles. With Daggers, bolas and shuriken they add a bonus to hit/dmg as they level (up to a +4), also deadly focus add wis mod to hit/dmg(if the assassin kills them they can reuse the power after a 15 min break, otherwise they can not use it till the next day), they can learn to by pass DR. Those are a few example abilities they get.
Closing thoughts, If you want a assassin with a mystic/supernatural bent with shadow powers then this is a very interesting class. All and all i liked the class but felt it makes a more interesting challenging NPC class than PC class. I am revisiting some of my older reviews and fix my rating system to match. With that said I am giving this a 3.5 star review.
Very fun - very different from the standard assassin
At first glance, you can see the work that went into this PDF - it's clean, easily understood, good-looking, well-edited, and the illustrations of the "iconic" shadow assassin are eye-pleasing and evocative.
As for the mechanics - I made a 5th level elven shadow assassin, and played him in two sessions of the CotCT campaign I'm in.
I had a lot of fun making the character - so many of the class features are pick and choose, similar to the rogue's talents. You can easily customize the feel of the class via ability selection. There are some abilities that all shadow assassins get that focus on 1-on-1 fights, and the pick-and-choose abilities are based around things like mobility, stealth, minor spells, or combat.
I decided to give my PC an ability that kept him always armed, as well as one that helped him hinder spellcasters. My idea was that he'd be a scout and a support combatant. It worked out fairly well. In a fight with a "boss" spellcaster, I was able to provide consistent damage and spell disruption, and good mobility meant I could pursue the BBEG and chase him into a corner. In that kind of fight, I was right up with the tanks in combat contribution.
In non-combat encounters, I was still able to participate. I didn't have rogue trap skills or ranger tracking skills, but decent skill points and shadow-related bonuses let me do some good scouting.
The class does have a 1-on-1 combat focus, but it lacks an "instant kill" kind of ability (no death attack or sneak attack) which may disappoint some folks. It's also very dependent on context - if your GM isn't willing to provide opportunities for your PC to shine, you won't be as effective. Basically, this means including areas of darkness/shadow and at least one solo or boss enemy to fight - not that tall an order for a typical adventure.
tl;dr - A very versatile stealth-based class. An excellent supporting class. I will be playing this one again.