A knife in the dark. Not many things are as dangerous as an unseen attack. Especially one from those trained in the art of death. The Assassin Rogue is a deadly class in Baldur’s Gate 3 that is excellent at wiping out enemies before they get a chance to act. Either through stealth or their quick feet, if the assassin rogue gets the first strike in combat, they’re sending something to the grave.
If you’re interested in playing an assassin and don’t know where to start then have no fear. Whether it’s for your custom character or you want a strong build for Astarion, we’ll be going over how to turn into the deadliest blade in Faerûn.
Before anything we need to make sure we start on the right foot to maximize this build. This means picking the best race, stats, skills, and background for our assassin.
The first thing we’ll look at is our character’s blueprint; their race. While which race you choose doesn’t have that much impact on what character you want to play, some races come with bonuses that can be useful for the assassin.
The Wood Elf and Wood Half-Elf both have high movement speed with their Fleet Of Foot trait that increases their base walking speed. Another good race is the Lightfoot Halfling. They come with the Naturally Stealthy which gives them Advantage on Stealth checks. A very useful trait for any rogue. Finally, there’s the Deep Gnome. Not only do they get Stone Camouflage which gives them Advantage on Stealth checks, but they also have Superior Darkvision which lets them see in the dark up to 24 meters. An incredibly useful ability if you plan on being a ranged assassin.
After we choose our race, we’re going to want a nice background to go with it. You want to stick to backgrounds that will have skills that align with what our assassin will be good at. Mainly stealing, sneaking, and lying.
A couple of backgrounds that fit perfectly with our assassin would be Charlatan, who has proficiency in Deception and Sleight of Hand, Criminal, who has proficiency in Deception and Stealth, Entertainer, who has proficiency in Acrobatics and Performance, and Urchin who has proficiency in Sleight of Hand and Stealth.
All are pretty good options because they have skills that the assassin can use, but they also fit perfectly if you wanted a good narrative reason for your character to be so nimble or conniving.
Speaking of skills, let’s go over some skills we’ll need for our character. Lucky for us, the rogue can choose 4 skills to be proficient in during character creation so we have options. Which skills you choose are mostly going to depend on which background, and to a degree, which race you chose. Regardless, the skills you want to focus on most are Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Perception.
These four skills are incredibly important for traversing The Sword Coast and surviving. Acrobatics will keep you from getting pushed off cliffs. Sleight of Hand will help you break in or out of places and steal useful loot from people. Stealth will help you set up ambushes, which is important for an assassin. Perception will help you keep from falling into ambushes and finding hidden loot.
The rogue also gets Expertise at level one. This lets the rogue choose 2 skills they’re proficient in and double their proficiency score when rolling those skills. I recommend choosing Stealth and Sleight of Hand as they will be the most useful to you throughout the game.
Finally, we get to the Ability Scores of our character. As an assassin rogue, Dexterity is going to be our most important stat as it determines almost everything we do. From rolling skill checks to attacking and determining our armor class, Dexterity is supreme when allocating stats. Get this as high as possible in character creation.
After that, it’s mainly up to what your playstyle is. If you plan to mostly be in melee, then raise your Constitution to around 14 so you have decent health. Want to be the face of the party, put a couple of points in Charisma.
Assassin Rogue Level Progression
The Assassin Rogue gets some pretty neat features to work with, along with improving sneak attack, as they level. In this part of the guide, I’ll go over what our rogue will be getting as well as what feats to choose when appropriate.
At this level, we get Cunning Action. This allows us to use the Hide, Dash, and Disengage as a Bonus Action instead of an Action. This improves our mobility by a ton and lets us effectively hide during combat if we need a way to get Advantage.
This is the level where we actually become assassins. We finally grab our subclass which gives us Assassinate: Initiative, Assassinate: Ambush, and Assassin’s Alacrity. Assassinate: Initiative gives us Advantage on Attack Rolls against creatures who haven’t taken a turn yet. Assassinate: Ambush makes it so any attack against a Surprised creature is a Critical Hit. Assassins Alacrity makes it so you regain your Action and Bonus Action when combat starts. This means you can ambush someone with an attack and immediately hit them again.
This is also the level where our Sneak Attack goes up to 2d6 which is an awesome boost to our damage.
This is a big level because it’s when we can choose our first feat. There are a lot of good options to choose from. While the Ability Score Improvement might be a safe option, there are many opportunities throughout the game to up your Ability Score through other means.
Regardless, I’d look at feats like Alert, Sharpshooter if you plan on playing primarily at ranged, Dual Wielder if plan on playing primarily melee, or grab an Ability Score Improvement.
At this level, you get Uncanny Dodge. This is an incredibly useful feature that halves the damage you take when getting hit. It adds a little survivability to an otherwise squishy class. Our Sneak Attack also increases to 3d6.
At this level, we get Expertise again. This means we can choose two more skills to double our proficiency score in. At this point, you should know what skills your party needs so it is largely up to what team you’re running. My advice would be to stick with skills attached to your highest ability scores since they will be even stronger.
At this level we get Evasion. This feature makes it so that when a spell or effect would deal half damage on a successful Dexterity Saving Throw it deals no damage on a successful roll and half damage on a fail. Like Uncanny Dodge, this is a nice ability to help with our assassin’s survivability in combat. Our Sneak Attack also gets upgraded to 4d6.
Just like level 4, this level gives us another feat to play with. The feats mentioned previously are still applicable, but if you feel like you’re lacking in damage improve your Dexterity score or pick up Savage Attacker, although that might be overkill with how high your Sneak Attack is.
At this level, we get another feature from the Assassin subclass called Infiltration Expertise. This ability essentially acts like Disguised Self allowing the character to change their appearance to a random race. It’s nice to have, but you likely won’t be finding much use out of it. In better news, your Sneak Attack goes up to 5d6.
Surprisingly, rogues get another feat at level ten. Choose a feat like Tough if you think you need more health or Crossbow Expert if you find you get swarmed a lot when trying to shoot.
At this level, you get an incredibly useful skill called Reliable Talent. This feature makes it so the lowest result you can roll on a skill check you’re proficient in is a 10. This means that you are most likely passing any skill check you’re rolling if you’re proficient in it. Your Sneak Attack also goes up one final time to 6d6.
Our final level. The only thing we get at this level is our last feat. At this point, you should be pretty set for most combat encounters. Grab whatever you need to round out your character and have fun!
Assassin Rogue Multiclassing
Going straight rogue will leave you with a powerful damage dealer and skill monkey. But if you want a little more spice added you can always multiclass. There are a couple of classes that merge well with the Assassin Rogue and we’ll go over a couple of options here.
Gloom Stalker Ranger
The Gloom Stalker Ranger gets some really fun features once you grab the subclass. Dread Ambusher gives you a +3 to your initiative, increases your movement speed by 3 meters, and gives you an additional attack that deals +1d8 damage on the first turn. This is great since the assassin is strongest on its first turn and Gloom Stalker is just making it stronger.
We also get Superior Darkvision and the ability to become invisible. Two very useful abilities for a rogue.
A two-level dip in fighter gives us everything we need. Not only do we get a Fighting Style like Two-Weapon Fighting and Archery, but we also get Second Wind and Action Surge. The ability to gain an extra turn is powerful and is worth the measly two-level dip.