Star Log.EM-004: Assassin (SFRPG) PDF

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By Alexander Augunas
For the Pathfinder RPG customer who wants a little more, Everyman Gaming is proud to introduce Everyman Minis! Uniting several high-quality Pathfinder RPG freelancers under a single product line, each week a different Everyman Gaming author or freelancer tackles an exciting new topic by creating a miniature product specially designed to scratch that product’s particular itch.
This installment of Star Log.EM includes: 1,000 words detailing the assassin, a new archetype based on a legacy prestige class that allows any character to make devastating death attacks against foes they stalk. Also included are notable organizations in Rogue Genius Games’s Blood Space Campaign Setting that employ assassins, providing you with a touch of inspiration for using assassins in your own space-age campaigns.
The Star Log.EM series—Starfinder for tomorrow!

Page Count: 5

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An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

4/5

This installment of the Star Log. EM-series of minis clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages, including the usual introduction, so let’s take a look!

See, this archetype is a great example why I like Starfinder’s pretty open archetype-system – Assassins should be varied! There’s a reason I adore the more modular solutions presented for Assassin concepts in Pathfinder (most notably, the great Modular Assassin by Interjection Games and the exciting Assassins of Porphyra by Purple Duck Games). But I digress.

The assassin-archetype presented herein grants alternate class features at 6th, 9th, 12 and 18th level.

6th level nets Death Attack. In order to use the ability, you must succeed a Bluff, Disguise or Stealth check against 20 + 1.5 times the target’s CFR; the respective checks are properly codified. On a failure, the target notices you as a threat, preventing you from performing death attacks against it for 1 day unless you spend 1 Resolve Point. Okay, is that an action? I assume not, analogue to many envoy improvisations, but I still think it would have been nice to see it explicitly stated. You must study the target for 3 consecutive round, and after that, you may move up to your base speed and then perform the death attack as a full-round action.

The death attack must be executed with a melee or ranged weapon that you’re proficient with or a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action that deals Hit Point Damage and requires an attack roll against the target’s respective appropriate AC. Minor complaint – personally, I probably would have specified that the means of delivery determine the AC used, but that is pure aesthetics and won’t influence the verdict. If you hit with these paradigms, you deal normal damage to the target, the victim must succeed a Fort-save (governed by your key ability score modifier) and either be temporarily paralyzed or take bonus damage governed by item levels of the weapon in question. Nice for fans of the Starfarer’s Companion: 9th level-spellcasting classes get their spell-levels translated alongside Starfinder’s regular 6-level spellcasting progression. If the damage exceeds the remaining hit points, the target must succeed a second Fortitude save…or he’s dead – no bartering, no resolve – dead. You can’t make death attacks with unwieldy or explosion weapons or those that require a full action to attack. Spring Attack and Shot on the Run synergy are provided. It should btw. be noted that death attacks are NOT death effects!

9th level yields Hide in Plain Sight, already hinted at in Starfinder’s Hide skill use of Stealth, makes an appearance here – it pretty much does what you expect: Hide while observed, provided you have some sort of cover etc. The ability concisely defines interaction with darkvision etc. and other senses. At 9th level, there would be quiet death, which lets you make successful death attacks that kill or paralyze silent via Stealth. Pretty much the lack of the paralysis-option’s an oversight here. The 19th level ability enhances death attack: You can spend Resolve Points to reduce the number of rounds required for death attacks to a minimum of 1 round (2 Resolve) –spending Resolve this way doesn’t take an action, fyi. Additionally, foes slain via death attacks crumble to dust, preventing the more common ways of returning the dead to life.

The last 0.5 page is devoted to the contextualization of the assassin archetype within the Xa-Osoro system shared by Everyman Gaming and Rogue Genius Games – we hear about the Dragonheir Concordance corporation, a ruthless kobold mining corporation; we learn about the roles of freelancers, the deoxyian gene-trading goliath helix and Sanguinary stewards, sworn to protect the coffins of the vampire lords – some cool angles here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series. The pdf comes with a solid full-color artwork and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ assassin had me start rather skeptically – the Skill-check based mechanic may yet be unhinged, as Starfinder, so far, is a very young system. That being said, the strict limitations in place and the relatively conservative formula mean that, basic math-wise, this will, at least for not, not come apart – and after that, the archetype still has some knobs to turn, so kudos there – smart design. I generally liked this archetype. I Sooo, how to rate this. I did enjoy this supplement, though, frankly, I would have liked to see some benefits for less optimal assassin-weapon-choices; RAW, range is pretty much king here, since the studying doesn’t have a range. That makes sense in Starfinder’s universe, obviously, but yeah, consider that to be a bit of a lost chance in my book. Ultimately, my final verdict for the revised editionwill clock in at 4 stars, +0.5 stars for getting the paralyze-oversight right in the revision.

Endzeitgeist out.


Good interpretation of the concept

4/5

First, I want to say that using the archetype rules to reinterpret prestige classes is a fantastic idea and I can't wait to see more of them. And the Assassin presented in this book shows good promise for the concept overall.

This archetype does not replace every level available, but packs a lot into what it does replace by handing every character the ability to make death attacks, hide in plain sight, and eventually swift death attacks that crumples your victim to dust. A very interesting addition was the ability to make death attacks using spells.

The rules were presented well and clearly, with no typos or errors that I noticed. I disagreed with the author enough on a few points that I'd likely rewrite it slightly if I used in a home game, but these points mainly did not detract from the product's value.

One relatively minor correction I would make is that the capstone ability wasn't fully updated for Starfinder. The archetype mentions true resurrection and resurrection, but neither are in the SF Core Rules. I assume they're in the Starfarer companion? It also DOESN'T mention Mystic Cure, which while a quick read of the rules makes obvious it doesn't work when enhanced death is used, it would have been nice to have that specifically mentioned. Going with just Core Options, I'm guessing only a wish/miracle can revive a creature that has been the victim of enhanced death attack and thier body crumpled to dust. Which, that's awesome actually, I love it

I also liked the small bits of detail included on blood space organizations. The idea of death kobolds is intriguing and I may" borrow" it even if I don't use blood space.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Shouldn't this be EM-004? EM-003 already exists.

Scarab Sages Webstore Coordinator

David knott 242 wrote:

Shouldn't this be EM-004? EM-003 already exists.

Adjusted product title.

Contributor

Thanks Rick!

In our fourth installment of the Star Log.EM series, we're continuing our morally questionable quest to bring legacy prestige classes into Starfinder via updating them. This time, we're doing the assassin! This archetype is something anyone can take to death attack foes, using a remastered version of the assassin's classic (and final) signature move.

Also included is bonus information for Rogue Genius Games's Blood Space Campaign Setting that lists some organizations from the Xa-Osoro System that utilize assassins for their own nefarious ends.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In addition to my review of the product, I had some rules feedback that I didn't feel was appropriate for the review itself, since rules are going to be interpreted differently by everyone.

  • The fluff text (and Rule of Cool) says that sniper weapons should be able to be used for death attacks, but because you can't use unwieldy weapons for death attacks, that's not possible with this archetype.
  • I like the concept of spell death attacks, but I felt the rules execution was a little off. If the listed spell damage was bonus damage on top of the normal spell damage, then sure. Otherwise it feels a little low, especially compared to simply shooting the target (same damage or higher, but without using your highest spell slot available). Also what should a cantrip deal, 1d10?

Overall, I really liked this product, and these items are easily houseruled small potatoes.


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


Updated my review to account for the improvements made.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the review and the revisions!

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
AnimatedPaper wrote:

In addition to my review of the product, I had some rules feedback that I didn't feel was appropriate for the review itself, since rules are going to be interpreted differently by everyone.

  • The fluff text (and Rule of Cool) says that sniper weapons should be able to be used for death attacks, but because you can't use unwieldy weapons for death attacks, that's not possible with this archetype.
  • I like the concept of spell death attacks, but I felt the rules execution was a little off. If the listed spell damage was bonus damage on top of the normal spell damage, then sure. Otherwise it feels a little low, especially compared to simply shooting the target (same damage or higher, but without using your highest spell slot available). Also what should a cantrip deal, 1d10?

Overall, I really liked this product, and these items are easily houseruled small potatoes.

First, let me start off by thanking you for your review and the time you took to gather this feedback.

While I agree that rule of cool for death attack is super appropriate, sniping as part of a death attack mechanically is NOT fun, especially if the character is built for sniping. Sniper rifles are designed to give players enough time to react to the sniper's presence and do something about them out of pragmatism rather than realism—if a sniper could one-shot your whole party from 1,000 feet away, why isn't everyone a sniper? That's why sniping isn't part of the assassin class for now. That being said, I have heard the feedback and am looking into ways to making death attack and sniper weapons compatible in the future. I have no ETA on this, only a promise that its being looked at.

As for the spell damage, we don't want you to be doing nothing but spamming cantrips all day. If a cantrip's damage stayed viable for too long because of death attack, you could enter this weird world where all technomancers felt like they HAD to be an assassin, because for the cost of a few magic hacks you'd basically never need to learn higher-level damage spells again. We (Owen and I) like the idea of magical assassins, but we're also okay with magic not being the absolute best way to be an assassin. There's something very cool about the idea that weapons might be more useful as an assassin tool then magic, making your Assassin's Creed characters still useful and part of a space age setting.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:

First, let me start off by thanking you for your review and the time you took to gather this feedback.

Just noticed that you replied to my review. Oops.

And it was my pleasure to review this product.

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