I managed to go all the way with my Assassin in the Random Tournament 2013. Rules are explained in the tourney thread, but it boils down to (with some exceptions), basically, that you have 8 skills you are allowed to place points in and use at any one time. Three of these skills are the same for the whole character journey while five skills get rolled for each difficulty (we were required to use respec at the start of Nightmare and Hell). Also, the gear is restricted in such a way that only a few item types are allowed (determined at random, except for main weapon types (unless the player wants to randomize that too)). Charges, ctc skills, equipped auras, passive staffmods and passive oskills from items are all OK. Active skills from staffmods and oskills are not allowed to be used (unless it's one of your 8 skills, of course). Starting gear is also allowed. We could pick two main weapon types (one type would get a roll of two subtypes and the other a roll of one subtype). One class-specific item type would also be rolled, which in the case of Assassin is a claw, of course. So four allowed weapon subtypes in total for me. I picked polearm x2 and javelin x1, the same types as my succesful Random tourney Paladin last year had. The idea behind this was that I wanted javelin for a combined ranged/melee option. All javelins are long-ranged melee weapons, great for Phoenix Strike. A big damn polearm would be good both for a Phoenix Striker (long range, plus think about 2nd charge lightning mayhem with a Crescent Moon!) or for a Tiger Striker. I am pretty new to the RWM, so I wanted to have a chance to play with some of those fancy runewords, and there are overall many good runewords for polearms. Also, if I hadn't picked spear or polearm, if I were to choose an Act II merc, he would be stuck with javelins! Erica's item types: Heavy body armor (armor is more generous than the other types - several types are bunched together, so I could use any of Scale Mail, Plate Mail and Full Plate Mail) Mask Buckler Light Gauntlets Sash Chain Boots Javelin Scythe War Scythe Hatchet Hands Forever skills (the ones that were with me the whole way): Dragon Talon Shadow Warrior Fire Blast Skills for Normal: Death Sentry Dragon Claw Burst of Speed Cloak of Shadows Venom Nice skill roll, wouldn't mind something like that for Hell difficulty! First character report in the thread is post #306. BoS was convenient the whole difficulty. Got Shadow Warrior at level 18 (around Barracks) which was nice. No need to tank much for my archer merc any longer. I could always fall back on CoS if many monsters were threatening. Got to Act II, hired a Prayer merc and rolled him a Savage Scythe with the kris/belt/staff/diamond recipe once I got the cube. I later found an ethereal rare Scythe with the same average damage as the Savage, plus it had life steal. I killed Diablo with Venom-assisted javelins. Kinda scary with 10% fire resist but a strong Shadow Warrior allowed me the time I needed to move around and avoid most of the fire. After the Highlands quest, I hired a barb merc and gave him an ethereal Shadowfang. That was good enough for a while, especially when I could upgrade it when an Amn dropped in Infernal Pit. Skills for Nightmare: Claw Mastery Cobra Strike Psychic Hammer Dragon Claw Wake of Inferno So, the RNG (that stands for Random Number Gods) want me to be a fire trapper in NM? OK, whatever... My barb merc with ethereal Shadowfang Espandon ate Act I NM for breakfast (as I knew he would - this is not the first time I've had that setup). My Sturdy Shadow Warrior added to his (and the whole party's) safety. Game-changing moment when I found an ethereal Battle Scythe in Fangskin's lair and the socket recipe gave it four sockets. Switched to Might merc and made Insight in this polearm for him. This was to be my companion for the rest of the game and that was to be his weapon for 6 of the remaining 8.5 acts (plus it still made "guest appearances" against some PI bosses until the very end). The rest of Nightmare was a big treasure hunt. This version of Erica was just a big lump of life that couldn't fight and could barely move (heavy armor and no FRW) but with a good Shadow and pretty decent fire traps. Skills for Hell: Death Sentry Cobra Strike Blades of Ice Fade Mind Blast So, I was not going to be a Phoenix Striker or a Tiger Striker. What to be? A Death Sentry Assassin! Just need some corpses and you'll see dominance on low players settings. Fade is great for Hell, as is Mind Blast. Merc was no longer a topaz-shining glass cannon, because he was now outfitted with Tal Rasha's mask and a 'Stealth' Full Plate (hehe, nice oxymoron there...). Erica herself also toughened up considerably, getting DEX for 50% blocking, maxed resists with Fade and lots of life. String of Ears combined nicely with Fade to give her 36% physical damage reduction. I made a 'Strength' Hatchet Hands for act boss fights (actually used already against NM Baal). Even the Shadow got a major boost, now that I could have her cast (level 17) Fade on herself. That was especially nice in Act II with all those poisonous monsters. She was practically poison immune - the poison hits only had her blink green for a moment. So no trouble with resurrectors, and generally little problems with monsters vulnerable to physical damage. And those that are indeed PI do not have much life in the first acts (ghosts, bug swarms) or are lone Stone Skin bosses. Death Sentry was my main PI solution. It is not a powerhouse with its lightning damage (unsynergized) but some investment in Fire Blast at least made it fire many times. Not that this mattered much, because of Insight. Fire Blast also helped, and that is synergized by DS. In Swampy Pit, I found a magical Giant Thresher that I, after spending all my chippies (save for a small reserve for cube recipes) and about half of my mid-sized gems, managed to reroll into an absolutely incredible weapon: a perfect +300% ED Cruel Giant Thresher of Alacrity with 2 sockets (!). This was his main weapon for more than two acts. For the last stretch, from Ancients' Way and onwards, it was replaced by an even more insane weapon (see below). Overall, the toughest monsters were the Blunderbore types. Frenzytaurs had a chance to be very dangerous as well but there was only one boss pack (not even close to the entrance) on the entire Hell difficulty. See the thread for progress on Hell difficulty. The only real hiccups were some of the Act III Temples (especially Forgotten Temple that I mistakingly entered at players 8 and got stairs trapped by two monster packs). Also, a Gloam boss pack guarding the entrance to Great Marsh suprised me, and I ate all the shots and got down to about half life. That never happened again for the rest of the game. That's how good she was at staying away from danger, and at dealing with danger when she had to. I chose to go with a teleporting amulet and while it was not used all that much (maybe 50 or so times in total), it was great to have when I wanted it. Single-pass full clear of the whole game, on Hell mainly on players 3. Skills for Hell: Death Sentry 20 Fire Blast 20 Dragon Talon 7 Shadow Warrior 20 Fade 20 Mind Blast 2 (note: all skills operated at +2 because of Lore helm and Bul-Kathos' ring) Stats: Erica the Assassin Level 86 STR 84+20, DEX 144, VIT 272+10, ENE 25+10 Resists 75/72/75/25 Blocking 50% Life 1380 Mana 180 AR with Dragon Talon 3056 Death Sentry lightning damage 1-392 Fire Blast damage 323-422 Final Gear: (Disclaimer, this exact setup was actually never used - the armor wasn't socketed until just before the cow level and for that, I replaced the BK ring with a Fortune one) * 'Lore' Death Mask * Amulet of Teleportation (22 charges) * 'Strength' Hatchet Hands * Coral (27) Full Plate Mail of the Whale, socketed with a perfect ruby (+138 life) * 'Rhyme' Heater (yup, had to go 'l33t' to get a shield with more than one socket!) * Light Gauntlets of Fortune (25) * Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band * String of Ears * Nagelring (28) * Russet (13) Chain Boots of Transportation (weapon switch was never used, but it had Wailing Hatchet Hands and another 'Rhyme' Heater) * Lapis (17) Grand Charm * Garnet (25) Grand Charm * Garnet (25) Grand Charm of Life (7) * Septic Grand Charm of Sustenance (33) * Grand Charm of Vita (40) * Sapphire (15) Large Charm * Azure (4) Small Charm of Fortune (4) * Lapis (7) Small Charm of Greed * Cobalt (9) Small Charm * Small Charm of Sustenance (12) * Beryl (5) Small Charm of Sustenance (12) * Small Charm of Sustenance (14) * Rugged Small Charm of Sustenance (15) Razan the Might merc (vital for corpses for DS so the best stuff went here!) * Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest socketed with a Jewel of Fervor * 'Obedience' (Superior, +10% ED) Thresher * 'Fortitude' Full Plate Mail Notable other item finds: Dangoon's Teaching, Bloodmoon, Djinn Slayer I will conclude this post with Erica's sick run of high rune finds. She found absolutely no rune in the range from Fal to Mal (I cubed the Fal for Obedience from all the runes shown in my stash here). This was quite strange. With the 1.13 rune drop odds, one can pretty much expect to have the runes for Obedience before Nightmare is over. What she did find were these runes: Gul (in Act V Nightmare (!)) Ist (Hellforge) Vex (early Hell) Ohm x2 (one in early Hell, one halfway through Act V Hell) Ohm and Ist were both grailers for me. I think I can count Lo in there as well (from the cubed Ohms). Only S/U grailer was the BK ring.