Machine Gun Assassin (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Author's Note: "Now you see me, now you don't. Because you're dead."

Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: July 14th, 2009
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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File:Naruto Shurikens.jpg
"And this is only enough for half a round of combat..."


Throw up to 16 shurikens every 6 seconds as touch attacks while adding Sudden Strike to each one. Due to making touch attacks, you should be able to easily hit with every attack.


  • Flaws (Unearthed Arcana)
  • Complete Adventurer
  • Complete Scoundrel
  • Complete Warrior
  • Magic Item Compendium

Game Rule Components


Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): (Assuming 32 Point Buy) 12 18 12 10 14 8

Race (Templates): Halfling

ECL Class/HD/LA Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Feats Class
Fort Ref Will
1st Ninja 1 +0 +0 +2 +0 Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting Ki Power, Sudden Strike +1d6, Trapfinding
2nd Ninja 2 +1 +0 +3 +0 Ghost Step (Invisible)
3rd Ninja 3 +2 +1 +3 +1 Weapon Focus: Shurikens Sudden Strike +2d6, Poison Use
4th Ninja 4 +3 +1 +4 +1 Great Leap
5th Ninja 5 +3 +1 +4 +1 Sudden Strike +3d6
6th Ninja 6 +4 +2 +5 +2 Rapid Shot Acrobatics +2, Ki Dodge
7th Ninja 7 +5 +2 +5 +2 Sudden Strike +4d6, Speed Climb
8th Master Thrower 1 +6 +2 +6 +2 Quick Draw Thrown Weapon Trick: Palm Throw
9th Master Thrower 2 +7 +2 +7 +2 Improved Two-Weapon Fighting Evasion
10th Master Thrower 3 +8 +3 +7 +3 Thrown Weapon Trick: Two With One Blow
11th Master Thrower 4 +9 +3 +8 +3 Snatch Arrows
12th Master Thrower 5 +10 +3 +8 +3 Expanded Ki Pool Thrown Weapon Trick: Weak Spot Build reaches full potential
13th Ninja 8 +11 +3 +9 +3 Ghost Strike
14th Ninja 9 +11 +4 +9 +4 Sudden Strike +5d6, Improved Poison Use
15th Ninja 10 +12 +4 +10 +4 Greater Two-Weapon Fighting Ghost Step (Ethereal)
16th Ninja 11 +13 +4 +10 +4 Sudden Strike +6d6
17th Ninja 12 +14 +5 +11 +5 Acrobatics +4, Improved Evasion Master Thrower's Evasion gets boosted here
18th Ninja 13 +14 +5 +11 +5 Improved Precise Shot Sudden Strike +7d6
19th Ninja 14 +15 +5 +12 +5 Ghost Mind
20th Ninja 15 +16 +6 +12 +6 Sudden Strike +8d6

At level 20: Ninja 15 / Master Thrower 5

Items of Note

  • +5 Teleporting Shocking Frost Flaming Corrosive Shurikens
  • Goggles of Foefinding (Get this ASAP to ignore soft cover)
  • Gauntlets of Extended Range


  • Assumed stats at level 20:
    • Dex: 18 (Base) + 2 (Racial) + 5 (Level) + 6 (Item) + 5 (Tome) = 36 (+13)
    • Attack Bonus: 16 (BAB) + 13 (Dex) + 1 (Weapon Focus) + 1 (Point Blank Shot) + 1 (Size) + 1 (Racial) + 5 (Magic) = +38/+33/+28/+23 (Touch attacks)
    • Damage: 1 (Small Shuriken) + 4d6+5 (Magic) x2 (Palm Throw) + 8d6 (Sudden Strike) = 16d6+12
      • Errata of Complete Warrior clarifies that precision-based damage (like Sudden Strike) is not doubled with Palm Throw
    • Full attack array (Rapid Shot + Greater Two-Weapon Fighting): +34/+34/+34/+29/+29/+24/+24/+19
    • Total damage per attack comes out to 68 (on average). Should all attacks hit (and attacking touch AC, they're bound to), that's 544 damage.
  • If two foes are adjacent, you can deal this to both with the Two With One Blow weapon trick.
  • If you finish off one foe, you can continue your attack chain on another within range.

Combat Sequence

  • Full attack enemies while under Ghost Step (Invisible) at range. Should two enemies be adjacent to each other, take -4 to hit both at the same time.
  • You'll take no penalties to attack rolls when within 20', but when within 30' you'll take -2 due to range.
  • If an opponent has the ability to see you while you're invisible, instead shift to the Ethereal Plane (using Ghost Step (Ethereal)), take a 5' step underground (See Invisible doesn't let you see through the ground) and then full attack using Ghost Strike to hit them from the Ethereal Plane. Downside: Take 1d6 damage coming out of Ghost Step.

Further Optimization

  • Replace Expanded Ki Pool with Dead Eye (Dragon Compendium) to add your Dexterity modifier to damage.
  • Pick up Way of the Hare to use Ghost Step a lot more often.
  • Pick up a Ring of Blinking to make anything that doesn't have See Invisible denied dex to AC permanently. You don't have a 20% miss chance, however, due to the daggers leaving your body (and thus the blinking effect) once you've thrown them. (In the same way that inappropriately sized items fall off of you when Enlarge Person might wear off.) See the discussion here for more information about the legality of this.
  • Be a Strongheart Halfling and with the bonus feat pick up Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Skiprock (Races of Faerun) to hit two adjacent for with one go, allowing you to hit them both twice with every attack using the Two With One Blow thrown weapon trick.
  • Use a boomerang and pick up Boomerang Daze to virtually always daze anyone you hit.
  • Get someone to cast Haste on you for another attack every round.
  • Get someone to cast a permanency'd Reduce Person upon you to increase your attack roll and AC by 2.
  • Pick up Dead Eye (Dragon Compendium) or Sharpshooter to add your Dexterity bonus to damage.


  • Creatures immune to Sudden Strike, creatures with a high Touch AC.

DM Counters

  • Defenses apart from AC (illusions, concealment, etc)
  • Keep enemies at a distance greater than 30' so they can't be affected by Sudden Strike.


  • If the DM throws a lot of creatures with Blindsight, Tremorsense or the like, pick up the Darkstalker feat from Lords of Madness instead of Expanded Ki Pool.
  • The water elemental variant (Deceptive Mist, Dragon Magazine #354, page 87) is a good alternative if you face many foes with See Invisbility, since it creates an actual barrier to sight around you.
  • Take a level of Swordsage after the 5th level of Master Thrower for +2d6 Sneak Attack (Assassin's Stance), and an extra Invisibility once per encounter (Cloak of Deception) if your game uses Fractional BAB. Doing this without Fractional BAB causes you to lose your last iterative attack, stopping you from being epic-ready.
  • Trade a level or two of Ninja for Monk in order to gain the ability to flurry with shurikens, albeit at a -2 to attacks. If you choose to go this route, the Ascetic Stalker feat in Complete Scoundrel may also prove useful.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewCharacter Optimization

Ghostwheel's Homebrew (360 Articles)
5e Classes Crusader, Exorcist, Mesmerist, Soulknife, Spirit Binder, Swordsage, Toxic Adept, Warblade, Warrior
5e Subclasses Chi Blocker, Edgemaster, Sacrifice Domain, Soulknife, Way of the Dragon
5e Feats Close Bond, Elemental Adept, Revised, Greater Magic Initiate
5e Races Ratkin, Sylvari
5e Variant Rules Extended Projects, Lingering Injuries, Shifting Luck, Strength as Damage Reduction, Variant Firearms, Variant Recurring Saves, Variant Surprise Rounds
5e Conditions Dazed, Degeneration, Disoriented, Dizzy, Lame, Marked, Sluggish
3.5 Classes Berserker, Cosplayer, Daywalker Paragon, Iaijutsu Master, Magus Portalus, Marshal, Rage Mage, Reaper, Sharpshooter, Spellthief, Pathfinder Variant, Thaumaturge, Toxinblade, Trapsmith, Xenophile
3.5 Feats Access Divine Power, Access Divine Spells, Accomplished, Accurate Opportunist, Acolyte of the Skin, Adaptable Technique, Adjusted Accuracy, Aegis of Health, Tome, Arcane Champion, Assassinate, Augmented Thaumaturge, Barreling Charge, Bladeblast, Blood of Stone, Bolster Technique, Careful Movement, Charismatic Prodigy, Cleave, Grimoire, Close Miss, Combat Reflexes, Greater, Combat Reflexes, Grimoire, Combat Reflexes, Improved, Compensate for Size, Copy Technique, Cross-Style Training, Dabbler, Danger Intuition, Dash, Death From Afar, Defensive Roll, Defensive Strike, Deft Opportunist, Diehard, Grimoire, Distracting Barrage, Divine Stalker, Dragoon Charge, Endurance, Grimoire, Euphoric Blade, Expose Weakness, Extended Psychic Strike, Focused Energy, Fortune's Friend, Furious Blow, Gatecrasher, Gatling Spell, Goad, Greater Spellthief, Greater Spring Attack, Gripping Vise, Heavy Build, Heedful Charge, Hidden Manifestation, Hostile Mind, Improved Charge, Improved Mage Knight, Improved On Your Knees, Improved Wild Talent, Incredible Focus, Intervene, Intimidating Brute, Iron Tide, Know-It-All, Last to Fall, Living Weapon, Mage Knight, Magekiller, Tome, Mana Engine, Master Blaster, Master Creature Killer, Master of Concoctions, Metamana Fuel, Mystic Arts Synthesis, Mystic Theurge, On Your Knees, Overwhelming Blow, Penetrating Strike, Phantom Health, Pounce, Power Attack, Grimoire, Power Charge, Precise Marksman, Primal Enchanter, Psyblade, Purple Dragon Knight, Quick Reconnoiter, Ranged Feint, Ranged Flanking, Ranged Threat, Renewed Zealousness, Shadow Pounce, Sharpshooter, Shielded in Life, Short Haft, Skill Trick Mastery, Spell Cascade, Spell Parry, Spell Reflection, Spellcutting Strike, Spellthief, Spiritual Weapon... further results
3.5 Traits Ambidextrous, Avenger, Exceptional Luck, Hulking Brute, Mixed Blood, Opportunist, Preacher, Psychic Potential, Radical Upbringing, Raised by Wolves, Sight Without Sight, Skilled, Trapspringer, Unnatural Aura, Unorthodox Tutelage, Versatile, Void Born
Guide to Roles in the Party (3.5), Talk
Article BalanceHigh +
AuthorGhostwheel +
Final Class ProgressionNinja 15 / Master Thrower 5 +
Identifier3.5e Optimized Character Build +
RaceHalfling +
RatingUnrated +
SummaryThrow up to 16 shurikens every 6 seconds as touch attacks while adding Sudden Strike to each one. +
TitleMachine Gun Assassin +