Dragon 400 - Playtest: New Hybrid and Multiclass Options

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 400
Playtest: New Hybrid and Multiclass Options

By Mike Mearls

Introducing multiclass and hybrid options that you can use with characters who have access to shadow magic.

Talk about this article here.

the blood thirst feat has a problem in that the base feat (vampirism) doesn't provide a melee vampire at will attack which is needed to trigger blood drinker in the first place...
also, with the hybrid executioner's attack finesse which currently says that you can use it with basic attacks, what if you have a power from your other class that lets you use that in place of a basic attack, would that count to apply atttack finesse?(would also like to know about that sort of situation in other examples, i.e. have a bonus that applies to basic attacks if that would apply to powers that can be used in place of MBA's etc) thanks!
another note on the vampirism feat, it says to reduce the healing surges you clas gives you to 2... do you still get to add your con mod, racial mod(minotaur etc) or does this drop any classes healing surgers to 2? if so, it might be a bit too costly a feat unless you plan on spending nearly all of your remaing feats adding more vampiric abilities to your character...

P.S. also the vampire hybrid seems to eliminate the other half of your characters surges..this is more understandable than the multiclass feat but I'm not sure how this will really work with some character concepts... I know this isn't as smooth or uniform of an idea but i would suggest maybe making it so that you lose the con mod to surges and maybe add 1 for vampire and the other character clas contributing it's normal share?(i.e. normal for hybrid)
Pact Blade Manifestation seems pretty strong.  An extra at-will for a feat, even if it only applies to a little over half of the current pacts and is linked to a predetermined power.  It would automatically apply if the Dark, Vestige, and SK pacts ever got a Hexblade write-up, and warlocks already deal with pact-determined powers.

It would be worth clarifying if the White Well pact is considered a variant for Feylocks (so they could take either Moonfire Blade or Icy Skewer) or whether Fey Pact of the White Well is considered a different pact with a similar name.  My guess and likely houserule would be the former, and I would not be surprised if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I feel it's worth asking.
Right off the bat i was surprised to see an option that allowed a swap of features without the cost of a feat "new guild training" but as i read on i realized there weren't many other options like this. I was really hoping for something that allowed a scout to ditch wilderness knacks for something from the original ranger without the cost of a feat. i didn't even get that in feat form. as my scout levels up i eventually gain all wilderness knacks and frankly i'm not very interested in them. I'll have to browse through it again cuz i really just skimmed looking for things that applied to my group's characters.
It would seem like if you wanted to only be a little vampiric that it would be easier to Adept Dilettante your way into it as either a half-elf or revenant who used to be a half-elf.  Are there any "broken" combinations possible with going vampire and not having to take Vampirism?

Vampirism would really change how your character survives.  Though Blood is Life and Enduring Soul can make a character very survivable.  At least in heroic where I have played a vampire.
i really like the Vampire Multiclass, giving the character the feeling of being a vampire with out the limited choices of the class itself. as for the flaw of with gaining the blood drinker ability, i think it would be easy to fix by letting it be used with any melee at will... I can see a swordmage pulling blood from their target with magic, or a rogue licking the blood off their dagger from a deep cut.
I know this is probably complaining about a free apple when I wanted an orange, but was there a similar article for options from Heroes of the Fallen Lands? I was hoping to see multiclass Slayer options...
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How Guild Training works with hybrid assassins is unclear: if the "hybrid option" version of the Guild Training feature isn't applicable to this option, it needs to say so.  A hybrid assassin could take the new option, get a fully powered Assassin's Strike, as well as their normal complement of encounter attack powers from their other class.
I too was wondering where the other essential classes hybrid options were.
Bah!  Where are the options for the Essentials Knight?  I wanted to create a Knight/Warlord Hybrid!

 
cool stuff but plz wizards finish the job and give options for all the classes. i mean 'subclasses'?
Gaining just one Wilderness Knack seems pretty weak. It should be at least two.

And there's already a feat called Soldier of Virtue. And that one has the wrong flavor text.
Bah!  Where are the options for the Essentials Knight?  I wanted to create a Knight/Warlord Hybrid!

 




There will be no bad touching or filthy hybridization of the Sacred Four*. They're perfect as is. It is written. Wink







* Well, 5, but knight/slayer are both fighters.
Please stop calling attention to anything regarding the vampire.  I would like it to remain somewhat viable. Innocent
Practiced Killer I assume would make you Martial/Shadow (and I love the lack of prerequisites)?  If so my warden will love this as a way to become martial, and get ki focus use.

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Some folks are asking why this article covers some Essentials classes and not others.  Let's break it down.  

Subclass Feature Swapping Feats
Feats to allow classes to swap features from different subclasses within their class were already produced in the Class Compendium feats for Fighters, Rogues, Clerics, and Wizards.  So now the classes from Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms (Paladin, Ranger, Warlock, Druid) received that same treatment.  The two Assassins also received this treatment along with some extra free mixing options when building characters.  There were no feats to allow Paladins or Warlocks to receive features from Blackguards or Binders (respectively), so the other two Heroes of Shadow subclasses did NOT receive this treatment.

Multiclass Feats
There were no Multiclass feats to gain features from Essentials classes before this.  It could be argued that some essentials classes, like the Mage, are served perfectly well by older multiclass feats.  In any case, this article introduces multiclass feats for the Executioner Assassin, Blackguard Paladin, Vampire, Sentinel Druid, Cavalier Paladin, and Binder Warlock.  Note that all of the Heroes of Shadow classes received this treatment.  The Sentinel and Cavalier are the only two Essentials classes to have received this treatment so far.

Hybrid Classes
The only Essentials classes to receive Hybrid content are the Cavalier Paladin and the Sentinel Druid.  That means that Essentials Fighters, Rogues, Clerics, Wizards, Warlocks and Rangers are still not options for Hybrid classes.  All four Heroes of Shadow Classes received Hybrid classes from this article.

Summary
Basically this article does 3 things.

  1. The Heroes of Shadow classes can be used with Multiclass Feats and Hybrid Classes.

  2. The Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms are brought into line with the Heroes of Fallen Lands classes for subclass feature swapping.

  3. The Assassins, Sentinel, and Cavelier are singled out to receive both of the above.  Guess somebody likes them.

I just want to add that I think content in this article is great.  I can see from some of these comments that it is not quite ready for prime time, so it was probably wise to release it as a playtest.  

I'm just sad that we'll have to wait some months for the official release, and then some months after that for the content to be available in the CB.  Not exactly well timed to support people buying Heroes of Shadow now.

I'll reiterate my request for WotC: Please hold off on releasing content until its ready for the CB.  Just like with the Heroes of Shadow, that was perfect. 
I really like the Pact Blade Manifestation feat - I don't think, as someone else mentioned, that the versatility granted by an extra at-will is overpowered.

I'd also like to see hybrid/multiclass rules for the first round of Essentials classes.  They were probably skipped because people were clamoring for Vampire stuff, but hey, I can't complain.  Anytime we get more Executioner stuff, I'll be happy.

I'll reiterate my request for WotC: Please hold off on releasing content until its ready for the CB.  Just like with the Heroes of Shadow, that was perfect. 



I disagree with this.  I appreciate WotC's attempts to bring the community into their decision-making process.  Besides, it wouldn't make it into the Builder until the same time either way, and they'd probably need to do some errata if they didn't let us poke holes in it before the "final" release.
tenebrousrex already stated all the "problems" with the article. Anyway, I think everything is great. Mike Mearls really developed something good here. I had started to loose faith in the guy, but as a designer he's good!

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I'll reiterate my request for WotC: Please hold off on releasing content until its ready for the CB.  Just like with the Heroes of Shadow, that was perfect. 



I disagree with this.  I appreciate WotC's attempts to bring the community into their decision-making process.  Besides, it wouldn't make it into the Builder until the same time either way, and they'd probably need to do some errata if they didn't let us poke holes in it before the "final" release.


I don't mind the playtest part so much.  Just taking every opportunity to express dissatisfaction that Dragon/Dungeon content is still on a 2-month delay for digital updates.

If I were them I'd invest in some temporary help to get really caught up in their digital upgrades.  It would present a much cleaner service to their customers, and would improve their business in the long-run. 
Anyways, ignoring the few naysayers, this article is pretty awesome... Only problems that I saw were with the blood drinker feat and possible Basic Attack abuse with the Hybrid Executioner, however the "with a weapon" thing limits its abuse to the sorcerer, warlock, seeker, and maybe one or two others because it requires the basic attacks to be weapon attacks as well (Eldritch strike FTW).
Anyways, ignoring the few naysayers, this article is pretty awesome... Only problems that I saw were with the blood drinker feat and possible Basic Attack abuse with the Hybrid Executioner, however the "with a weapon" thing limits its abuse to the sorcerer, warlock, seeker, and maybe one or two others because it requires the basic attacks to be weapon attacks as well (Eldritch strike FTW).



I don't think it's been established whether powers that can be used in the place of melee basic attacks count as melee basic attacks themselves, has it?  But, regardless of how Attack Finesse combos with things like the sorcerer's Ensorcelled Blade, they should clean it up so things don't get muddled when they release hybrid rules for other MBA-using classes like the slayer.  Because a character with Attack Finesse and Heroic Slayer is going to hurt balance.
*snip*

I don't think it's been established whether powers that can be used in the place of melee basic attacks count as melee basic attacks themselves, has it?  But, regardless of how Attack Finesse combos with things like the sorcerer's Ensorcelled Blade, they should clean it up so things don't get muddled when they release hybrid rules for other MBA-using classes like the slayer.  Because a character with Attack Finesse and Heroic Slayer is going to hurt balance.



Well, a quick search of the CharOp forums reveals a little bit more ambiguity: compare, for example, a Hybrid Sorcerer/Avenger taking "Distant Vengeance" and having Acid Orb as one of their two at-wills would be able to reroll Acid Orb attacks against theor OoE target. But CharOp forums and customer service seemed to be indicating at one time that the way it was inteded was that, since Hybrid Oath only gives re-rolls on Avenger powers, Distant Vengeance for a hybrid would only allow re-rolls of, say Avenging Shackles, which is both an Avenger power and an RBA, which satisfies the "implied" conditions of the feat and the Hybrid version of the power.

But that's murky, and it definitely doesn't jive with whats written in the rules. Attack Finesse makes it even more confusing because it says right there that it counts for MBAs. That would suggest that Hybrid Executioner / Warlock with Pact Blade Manifestation would get +1d8 1/turn for their pact blade at-will.

I don't personally think that's awful. The Executioner doesn't have any other striker damage mechanic - no bonus damage on hit, no Curse damage, no Hunter's Quarry, none of that stuff. Giving it that flexibility doesn't seem untoward in any way.
 
One method of balance might be "when you use Attack Finesse to add bonus damage to a melee basic attack, you cannot benefit from any other bonus damage class feature." Makes it so you have to choose between curse damage or sorcererous power bonus or any of that stuff. Now... I don't want this. I feel like Hybrids get the shaft so hard so often that this actually seems pretty balanced. 

My suggestion is actually to erratta it backward the other so that something like Hybrid Sneak Attack or Hybrid Assassin's Shroud work with basic attacks at the exclusion of other bonus damages. 
Pact Weapon at-wills aren't just at-wills; they're also MBAs.

So you're giving a third at-will, which is an MBA to boot, for the cost of a feat.  Seems a little low-cost to me.

Also, any chance that Dark Pact and Gloom Pact could possibly be merged together?  They seem rather similar in terms of theme; seems rather silly to have them be separate.

Also, any chance that Dark Pact and Gloom Pact could possibly be merged together?  They seem rather similar in terms of theme; seems rather silly to have them be separate.



Not at all.  Gloom Pact is all about planar shadow; darkness made real, given form, pulled forth from the nether and manipulated with magic.  It is cold and grey and emotionless.

Dark Pact is caves and spiders and poison and mind flaying.

I feel like Hybrids get the shaft so hard so often that this actually seems pretty balanced. 

My suggestion is actually to erratta it backward the other so that something like Hybrid Sneak Attack or Hybrid Assassin's Shroud work with basic attacks at the exclusion of other bonus damages. 



Both of these things.  Absolutely.
I really liked these and can't wait to see the rest of the Essential line receive the treatement.


I'm a bit confused how you are supposedto build these hybrids. The normal hybrid rules say you take a power of each type from each class as you level up (so at level 3, you have one encounter attack power from class a and one encounter attack power from class b), but these classes don't have powers like that, so I'm confused what you are supposed to do... Did I miss something?
Pact Blade Manifestation observations:

1)What would happen if you start off as a heroic tier Fey pact warlock, then at paragon take twofold pact to get star pact? Both have hexblade variants. Would you end up with both blades now, being four warlocks at once at the cost of two feats?

2)Constitution based warlocks are 50% of the eligible pacts, which "can't" use the feat. Most infernal warlocks won't have a high Charisma to benefit from taking the hexblade feat. You'd need to build quite a MAD one to work. Same with the star pact. So for the moment, you either need a really precise build in mind, or just play a fey pact warlock and have everything fall into your lap ;) Unless the feat can be changed in a way that you pick Con or Cha when you take the feat.
I'm a bit confused how you are supposedto build these hybrids. The normal hybrid rules say you take a power of each type from each class as you level up (so at level 3, you have one encounter attack power from class a and one encounter attack power from class b), but these classes don't have powers like that, so I'm confused what you are supposed to do... Did I miss something?



Yup.  For example, the rules for the hybrid version of Blood Drinker are as follows:

"You can select the blood drinker power whenever you have the opportunity to gain a class encounter attack power that has a level.  If you already have blood drinker, you gain an additional use of the power if you select it again."

They should probably clarify what levels they're talking about, though.
Can this article please, please extend Martial Cross-Training to include giving up uses of Disruptive Shot (and, for that matter, create an analogue for the Blackguard and Cavalier)?  The Hunter currently feels pretty limited compared to other Essentials classes because of the lack of a feat to allow this.

It's not like it's a difficult feat to write.
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I really like and support everything in this article. More careful and attentive readers than I can go into the mechanical nudges and tweaks to get them perfect.

I just have one thing to say: I want more. I like the direction this article is heading, but I want to see even more transarency with Essentials. More feat-less class feature-swapping, more multiclass feats for more classes, etc. etc.
Planes Wanderer
I'm a bit confused how you are supposedto build these hybrids. The normal hybrid rules say you take a power of each type from each class as you level up (so at level 3, you have one encounter attack power from class a and one encounter attack power from class b), but these classes don't have powers like that, so I'm confused what you are supposed to do... Did I miss something?



Yup.  For example, the rules for the hybrid version of Blood Drinker are as follows:

"You can select the blood drinker power whenever you have the opportunity to gain a class encounter attack power that has a level.  If you already have blood drinker, you gain an additional use of the power if you select it again."

They should probably clarify what levels they're talking about, though.

Also note, for all classes other than the vampire, the hybrid versions have the ability to take encounter powers that belong to their parent classes.
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I just noticed there's no prequisite for the blackguard multi-class paladin feat. I think this should change because as written, it would allow access to all paladin options (via multi-class) without any pre-req. That's a very potent option and would lead to some strange combos (wizard multiclass paladin). 

Except for the Sentinel Druid feat, none of the multiclassing feats in this article have any prerequisites.

That's one of the "new direction" things for going forward with 4e: feats will have few, if any, prerequisites.  There are supposed to be fewer tiered feats, also.
After enjoying the idea of the feats that let AEUD classes get the limited Essentials encounter attacks (like power strike, Disruptive Shot, and the feat to get the Hexblade's encounter attack), I considered the possibility of the reverse.

Say you want to play a Knight with the Plate proficiency and at-will stances and no dailies, shouldn't you be able to take a feat, something like "Weaponmaster Talent" which lets you give up a use of Power Strike to gain an Fighter encounter attack of your level or lower?

Same with a warlock. Shouldn't a Hexblade be able to take a feat, such as "Pact Talent" and trade a use of their automatically given pact-blade encounter power for a Warlock encounter power?
Planes Wanderer
There is a feat that allows the Knight and Slayer to swap out a use of Power Strike for a Fighter encounter power.
Derp. That's probably how the idea even entered my head in the first place. Guess this just goes back to my earlier post: I want to see all these options be offered accross the board for all the classes. Doesn't make much sense to me to offer Power Strike replacements to Knights and Slayers, but not Scouts or pact-weapon encounter replacemements for Hexblades.
Planes Wanderer
The one for swapping a use of power strike does support the Scout
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