The shadow assassin is a Pathfinder RPG core class created by the excellent Super Genius Games.  I love the Super Genius Guides, and the shadow assassin has to be one of my favorites.  I haven’t written about it much, but I love Pathfinder.  The shadow assassin is a wonderful implementation of a good idea in a great system.  In short, a perfect marriage.

What is the shadow assassin?  A blend of rogue and beguiler (see the Player’s Handbook II, D&D 3.5), with echoes of the 3.5 assassin prestige class.  The class focuses on using shadows and concealment for everything from stealth to combat.  The class offers the skills, saves, and attack options to be expected of a stealthy type.  The other abilities are where the class really shines, though.  By using areas of dim illumination, the shadow assassin is able to blend with the shadows and even become a shadow himself.

Personally, I think the coolest features are the options for daggers and the ability to create a light weapon out of pure shadow.  I’ve always felt that the dagger ended up being way too ineffectual in D&D.  That is, there were never enough options to make a knife fighter a really viable option the way it is often used in the fantasy genre.  The shadow assassin offers some more options, like Daggermaster, that go a long way to rectify that problem.

I also love the ability that allows a shadow assassin to create any light weapon out of pure shadow.  It fires my imagination like nothing else, and I can just see cinematic sequences in which the cloaked shadow assassin takes on a squad of enemy guards, dodging their weapons and blocking with a weapon that flashes in and out to deflect the occasional lucky blade.  In short, serious badassery.

So…I’m not a d20 Modern player (yet), but it occurred to me that the shadow assassin would make a pretty good street samurai/ninja.  Some tone elements could be tweaked to add a more cyberpunk flair to it, and it would be neat for a game like Shadowrun or d20 Modern.  It seems like a class well-suited to the internet land of Snowcrash or as the avatar for an AI or for someone like Merlin Athrawes in the Safehold series by David Weber.  The shadowy striker can fit into just about any fantasy/sci-fi game, and I think the shadow assassin is a good fit for the role.

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