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Just discovered this while I was trying to suss out some ambiguities for a prospective assassin build.

Two critical insights -

1. the game dynamically updates your PEN and other stats for calculating spell effects as they change. this might seem obvious, but some of the ramifications of this were unobvious to me even until now. for one, this means that boosting your PEN or getting hit with Dazed can cause DoTs that you've already applied to enemies to change their damage. The game doesn't "snapshot" your stats upon casting, in other words. (I had previously thought that maybe PEN was snapshotted)

2. assassinate is a passive bonus that lasts only so long as you are physically invisible. Importantly, stealth and many forms of invisibility disagree on when your character should become visible. This can really mess up how you plan on using your spells with an assassin.

 

This means:

  • while stealth or invisible, an assassin/caster multiclass will appropriately see boosted accuracy and PEN for all their spells and tooltips, because you have an assassinate bonus and the game is updating you with what you have.
  • however, for slower spell effects, you may already be visible by the time they happen, which means you are missing out on the full potential of assassinate. for example: if you apply a DoT, you lose the +PEN assassinate bonus because by the time the spell actually does damage (even the intial tick), you're already visible. This is true regardless of whether you are stealthed or invisible. For DoT or slower spell effects, the only way to benefit from +PEN is to become reinvisible after you've already cast the spell (and then that implies you pretty much just sit around doing nothing while giving you a slight penetration bonus).

 

the rest i hid in a spoiler tag because it turned out from follow-up posts that it's mostly an issue with shadowing beyond, but i'm keeping it around so anyone who goes through this thread knows what on earth the next few posts are talking about.

TL;DR:

  • don't use DoTs, bounce, jump, or multi-part spells with assassinate
  • don't use shadowing beyond to trigger assassinate, unless it's a weapon-based attack.
  • smoke veil and potions of invisibility are your friend.
  • inexplicably, hazard spells don't break stealth/invis, and (excluding shadowing beyond) even when they trigger they don't break invisibility, even though stealth would normally break.
    • this has the odd consequence that a priest with good alchemy could drink a potion of invisibility and go to town just casting repulsing, warding, and searing seals, and all of them get a +25 accuracy bonus. then you finish it up with one good spell to break invisibility. not exactly the most powerful thing you could do with your time, but fun nonetheless.
    • works less well with druid/wizard because the only hazards they get are walls that don't do too much per tick. (the really good stuff--like wall of many colors--aren't hazards)

 

Spoiler

note - all of this is just for historical record and is not completely accurate.

 

  • super importantly, invisibility effects are really janky, which means for many spells you may already visible before the spell even has a chance to land, which means that contrary to your tooltips and accuracy indicators, you may not be getting the +25 accuracy bonus to your spell. The spell basically has to be "instant" for it to get any assassinate bonus, and it's super ambiguous what counts as "instant" just from looking at a spell. Fan of Flames, for example, does not get any +accuracy. Shining Beacon, the initial application, does not get any +accuracy. Divine Mark does not get any +accuracy. Pillar of Holy Fire does not get any +accuracy. Interdiction, however, does get +accuracy (even though to me, both Interdiction and Shining Beacon are equivalently "instant"). And from age-old testing, the initial hit of Pillar of Faith does get +accuracy (but the prone aoe does not... and this is especially weird because pillar of holy fire doesn't get any +accuracy, so the two different pillar effects are implemented differently).
    • You can basically rule out any spell that uses projectiles, because you become visible as soon as you launch the projectile, well before the projectile has a chance to hit the enemy.
    • Forget about jump or bounce spells. Though if you want to be "tricky" you can use Shadowing Beyond or Smoke Veil after you start a slow jump or bounce spell and the next application will get an assassinate bonus.

The assassinate mechanic is so janky with regards to spells that I would consider basically all prior advice to combine assassinate with spellcasting as wrong (I'm guilty of this). Basically only spells cast from actual, physical stealth will reliably benefit, and the only other ways to benefit from it are slippers of the assassin and arkemyr's brilliant departure (solely because their forms of invisibility are more generous about when they break).

 

Reliable ways to trigger assassinate-

  1. anything triggered by a weapon attack (that's about as "instant" an effect as you can get). this includes poison.
  2. traps and hazards that you can have enemies use while you are invisible.
  3. anything used from stealth.

edit: Semi-reliable ways to trigger assassinate-

  1. Spells cast from smoke veil. But you should manually test important spells you care about. See below posts.

basically anything else needs to be manually tested, even martial abilities, if they are not weapon-based (e.g. paladin effects, barbarian projectile attack, short-cast chanter invocations). i did test pernicious cloud, and that at least works (for the +acc; as a dot it doesn't benefit from the +pen).

 

note; edited this post based on updated dat from follow up comments.

Edited by thelee
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You need to cast the spell very close to yourself to make assassinate bonus work, because spell like fireball has a project speed, meanwhile it's flying to enemy, your invisible is gone and you lose the assassinate bonus, the best way is to fire it under your feet...

Btw you left invisible from Smoke Veil more slowly than from Shadowing beyond, which means there are better chance for you to get assassinate bonus if you cast from smoke veil instead of shadowing beyond.

Edited by dunehunter
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2 minutes ago, dunehunter said:

You need to cast the spell very close to yourself to make assassinate bonus work, because spell like fireball has a project speed, meanwhile it's flying to enemy, your invisible is gone and you lose the assassinate bonus, the best way is to fire it under your feet...

Btw you left invisible from Smoke Veil last later than from Shadowing beyond, which means there are better chance for you to get assassinate bonus if you cast from smoke veil instead of shadowing beyond.

you should test this yourself.

for most forms of invisibiliy (including smoke veil), you become visible as soon as you do an action. e.g. as soon as a projectile appears at your finger tips. it's already way too late to get an assassinate bonus from that.

actual stealth is more generous, because it doesn't unstealth you until you actually affect a target, so you get an assassinate bonus as a result.

 

edit - keep in mind that i was testing even with spells that don't have projectiles. the timing pretty much has to be instant, which means it boils down to some incredible tedious details of how a spell animation and its timing is set up.

Edited by thelee
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And I also replied in 1st post that you came out of invisible much faster with Shadowing Beyond, faster than smoke veil, you should test it yourself before you think others didn't test it....

Edited by dunehunter
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37 minutes ago, dunehunter said:

Of course I tested it before I reply :) Like I said it really depends on how close your cast your fireball.

you are right. going through my notes, i was a bit sloppy with the testing. i did some test with both smoke veil and shadowing beyond on what i thought were "instant" spells and got similarly bad results, that i gave up on using smoke veil and did the rest of my tests with shadowing beyond.

 

37 minutes ago, dunehunter said:

Of course I tested it before I reply :) Like I said it really depends on how close your cast your fireball.

it's worse/more confusing than that, i'm afraid. smoke veil -- it turns out -- also waits until you affect a target, but is less generous than stealth.

so it's not that it lasts a bit longer than shadowing beyond, but it will wait until you affect something before it breaks. so how far or close that fireball is, doesn't actually matter. however, like i said, it's less generous than stealth:

  • stealth doesn't break upon using potions or poisons. smoke veil does.
  • bafflingly, even though smoke veil will wait until you affect an enemy before breaking invisibility, you still don't get assassinate bonus on some spells depending on some weirdness internally, even if you would with stealth. this confused my testing. (an example spell: divine mark will only get +25 accuracy from stealth. from smoke veil or shadowing beyond, it gets no assassinate bonus)
    • edit - this is inconsistent. sometimes i get the assassinate bonus, sometimes i don't.
  • edit 2 - smoke vile doesn't break from your hazards affecting enemies. stealth does. gaaaaah why didn't obsidian pick on one single implementation of invisibility.

 

26 minutes ago, dunehunter said:

And I also replied in 1st post that you came out of invisible much faster with Shadowing Beyond, faster than smoke veil, you should test it yourself before you think others didn't test it....

sorry. a lot of people when it comes to game mechanics like to say stuff based on intuition, without having actually verified it in-game. it's a pet peeve of mine ("theorycrafting"). accept my apologies.

on the other hand, between the two of us, you were able to help identify how invisibiliy/assassinate is even weirder than i thought. at least though now this means smoke veil is a better way to trigger it.

Edited by thelee
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ok, after testing more forms of invisibility, i think shadowing beyond is just the weird one. even potion of invisibility is fairly generous. i actually think now that it's a bug with shadowing beyond, since i noticed that upon action you lose invisibility, but you still keep a "shadowing beyond" buff up until the moment your spell actually lands. i think it should either be vice versa, or both should wait until your spell actually lands.

 

updating my original post. i can't reproduce the smoke veil issue consistently enough, that i'm chalking it up to random noise from my test fight that's causing something to happen.

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Shadowing Beyond nowadays also immediately breaks if you have some stuff like Gouging Strike/Bleeding Cuts/Poison Dipped/True Love's Kiss etc. going. I don't mean on appliance but also later if you re-use SB after the initial attack. I think I remember that this was a complaint after release and got changed - but it seems to have been reverted to its crappy state? 

Afair Smoke Veil does not break if you use it after applying those DoTs.

I knew that ACC/PEN values etc. get updated all the time. Also see healing over time with Livehuber over the course of their shifting cycle and such things. I thought that was common knowledge (but what is in this game ;)).

@thelee: did you also try and compare Arkemyr's Brilliant Departure? It doesn't break at all as long as you don't damage enemies (or use Walls  - I guess hazards are  somehow their own "character instance" which also explains their behavior with certain other buffs/debuffs etc.). It seems that there are not two similar invisibility effects in the game. Stealth, Shadowing Beyond, Smoke Veil, Vanishing Strike, Arkemyr's BD all use their own stuff. I suspect the original code got copied and then altered individually by different devs for each ability. Like every ability in the game that got reused (see Wizard spells which can be cast by Priest of Magran etc.) is indeed a copy and not a reference to some basic effect.

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Well, that's weird. I've been playing a Blood mage/Assassin in turn based mode and there Shadowing Beyond was the superior invisibility choice as a free action (or other forms would trigger Recovery - a round "lost" just to become invisible - except for Assassin Slippers - but that effect wouldn't last long enough for you to cast something next turn).

And sure, it IS a bit funky. I've like almost never intentionally managed a stealth assassinate Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar (Extremly Loud).  At the same time I think I saw it happen a few times (and of course, you can re-stealth once the spell is cast).

But there are spells that work very well with Shadowing Beyond - in Turn Based at least. Particularly point blank aoes, like Minoletta's Precisely Piercing Burst, Torrent of Flames. But also Ninagauth's Shadowflame worked fine... regular Fireball too, I think - though I rarely used that.

Plus rays, like Ray of Fire, Ninagauth's Death Ray, Ninagauth's Bitter Mooring - in fact if you were outside enemy sight cones, rays often would NOT break invisibility from Shadowing, allowing for 2 Assassinate ticks (out of 3). Of course that's much less helpful real time, as the ticks in real time are very low - unless the invisibility can persist trough a large part of the spell duration.

 

think Assassinate also worked perfectly for most CC effects. Not that I've used them much (except Shadowflame).

Edited by Haplok
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