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In Dragon Age Origins, the rogue character class can specialize in one of four different areas of expertise. The assassin specialization is for the type of character who doesn’t mind killing for money, and has no issue with using poisons on opponents. This wicked sub-class will benefit your rogue in ways that let them do extra damage in combat, thus making it a very desirable specialization. You shouldn’t really worry about the moral issues associated with being an assassin, because you’re already spending most of the game taking out bad guys. This specialization just lets you take them out more effectively.
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How to Become an Assassin
There are currently two ways for you to specialize as an assassin. The easiest way is to win the approval of the Zevran character. If you get the approval score up to +27, he will offer to train you on how to be an assassin. You will encounter Zevran in the woods while travelling because he will be leading a team of assassins to kill you. If you already got to that part and killed him, then you’ll have one other opportunity for training at Denerim.
If you killed Zevran or can’t win his approval, then the only other way to get Assassin training is to complete the Unrest in the Alienage quest in Denerim. After you complete the quest, the Alarith merchant character will come available and you can get training in his store. It takes a while to get to this part of the game, so try your best with Zevran first.
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Assassins gain a +2 to their dexterity score, plus their critical hit chance in increased by 2.5%.
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In addition to the four sets of rogue talents, the assassin also gets their own tree with these four new talents. Each one is passive, so there’s nothing to activate in order to make them work. The first three all cause extra damage to the enemy, so they are very desirable.
Mark of Death
- Requirements: 7th Level
You can select a target as a ‘mark’ and this will allow everyone who hits him to do extra damage. This is great for taking out boss type characters or any enemy who poses the greatest threat. It has a 60 second cool down, so you won’t get to use it more than once or twice in a fight.
- Requirements: 12th Level
With this talent, your rogue automatically does extra damage whenever they backstab. The bonus is based on your cunning score divided by three, so the average rogue would do at least another 6 or 7 points of backstab damage with this talent.
- Requirements: 14th Level
If you deal a powerful enough backstab, it will do additional damage over a period of four seconds. The damage is equal to 25% of the initial backstab amount. The effects are not stacking, however, so you can’t backstab them twice and have two four-second countdowns going at the same time.
Feast of the Fallen
- Requirements: 16th Level
This talent allows you to get a partial stamina boost whenever you finish off an enemy with a backstab attack. I’ve read online that it doesn’t seem to work all that well.
This article series documents the various specializations for the rogue in Dragon Age Origins.