Excerpt: Multiclassing

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http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4ex/20080430a

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We’ve introduced the Player’s Handbook and one of its classes—the warlord. But what of multiclassing? In today’s preview, we asked Mike Mearls to explain 4th Edition’s design goals for a multiclass system.

His response:

“We'll get to you,” we'd tell it, “but first we have these shiny new classes to finish first. You used to push classes around and tell them how they had to be designed. Well, now the tables have been turned, you bullying jerk.”

This made multiclassing very sad. Even game mechanics hate being called jerks, but deep down it knew it was true. Back in the old days, it was a great tool for building what amounted to your own class. Magic-user/thieves, fighter/clerics, and even the rare but potentially awe-inspiring fighter/magic-user/thief walked the land, like chimeras wrought by strange rites involving Player's Handbooks, an overactive imagination, and a DNA splicer.

3rd Edition gave us a simpler, elegant, and intuitive solution that worked wonderfully… for characters who didn’t cast spells. The system also forced the core classes to delay abilities after 1st level to avoid cherry picking, where “clever” players simply took one level of as many classes as possible (or layered single levels on to a primary class) to reap the benefits of ungodly saving throws and bizarre but ultimately frightening combinations of class abilities that—like chocolate and pickle relish—were never meant to be combined by men and women of good taste.

The 4th Edition design had three primary goals for multiclassing:

1. Design the classes, make them cool, then force multiclassing to play nice with them.
2. Institute controls to prevent abusive combinations.
3. Institute controls to make every combination as playable as possible.

In 4th Edition, we strived to make each character option useful. Since D&D lacks a competitive or deck building element, it's silly to hide bad choices in the rules. Multiclassing had to obey this rule in order to justify its existence.

In the end, we came up with a system of feats that allow you to borrow abilities and powers from other classes. At 11th level, you can choose to forgo your paragon path in order to further specialize in a second class. This approach lacks the intuitive elegance of the 3E system, but it allows us to tone down or boost a class's multiclass options as needed. If everything works as planned, you have the flexibility to mix classes without making your character into a juggernaut or a cripple. Combos like fighter/wizard now work much better, while traditional choices like fighter/rogue still function just fine. Going forward, we'll introduce new feats for new classes, ensuring that all classes play well together.

So, that's multiclassing. Whether you missed playing a cleric/wizard from older editions or liked the flexibility of building a fighter/rogue in 3R, we've got you covered.

Multiclass feats allow you to dabble in the class features and powers of another class. You might be a fighter who dips his toe into wizardry, or a warlock who wants a smattering of rogue abilities. Each class has a class-specific multiclass feat that gives you access to features from that class.
Class-Specific Feats

There are two restrictions on your choice of a class-specific multiclass feat. First, you can’t take a multiclass feat for your own class. Second, once you take a multiclass feat, you can’t take a class-specific feat for a different class. You can dabble in a second class but not a third.

A character who has taken a class-specific multiclass feat counts as a member of that class for the purpose of meeting prerequisites for taking other feats and qualifying for paragon paths. For example, a character who takes Initiate of the Faith counts as a cleric for the purpose of selecting feats that have cleric as a prerequisite. These feats can qualify you for other feats; for example, a warlock who takes Sneak of Shadows can use the rogue’s Sneak Attack class feature, which means that he meets the prerequisite for the Backstabber feat.
Power-Swap Feats

The Novice Power, Acolyte Power, and Adept Power feats give you access to a power from the class for which you took a class-specific multiclass feat. That power replaces a power you would normally have from your primary class. When you take one of these power-swap feats, you give up a power of your choice from your primary class and replace it with a power of the same level or lower from the class you have multiclassed in.

Any time you gain a level, you can alter that decision. Effectively, pretend you’re choosing the power-swap feat for the first time at the new level you’ve just gained. You gain back the power that you gave up originally from your primary class, lose the power that you chose from your second class, and make the trade again. You give up a different power from your primary class and replace it with a new power of the same level from your second class.

You can’t use power-swap feats to replace powers you gain from your paragon path or epic destiny. If you use retraining to replace a power-swap feat with another feat, you lose any power gained from the power-swap feat and regain a power of the same level from your primary class.

Discuss

Edits coming after I read.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

There's going to be a lot of upset people, I'll tell you that much.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

Looks like Multiclassing as we knew it is dead.

Instead of being two classes, you're still your first class, but with flavor of a second, and the option of going into the Paragon Paths of the second class instead of your primary.

I'm not grieving as much as I thought I would.
It's all about character concept. Unless your concept is a god, then you should be alright with the rules.
Neceros' Character Sheets
Many sheets for many systems.
This is about what I expected. The basic ones give you an extra basic ability of the cross-class (which makes sense), but it is very limited (1/encounter for at-wills, it seems, and 1/day for encounters). It also gives you skill training or a skill; I'm not sure what they mean by "skill training", but I'm assuming it gives you skill training in something, probably either a class skill for that class or a class skill which overlaps your class and that class. I assume that "Thievery skill", "Religion skill", and "Arcana skill" either give you training in that skill specifically, or unlock things related to those skills. This is actually pretty solid as a choice, by the looks of it, and worth the feat.

The power feats are more interesting; they don't look that hot on their face, but when you think about it, likely it will allow you to poach an ability you "shouldn't" have from that class, probably increasing your power because you have access to something you "aren't supposed to". And the fact that you get to choose again every new level means its power level is pretty constant across levels, not leaving you with stranded skills. It doesn't increase your encounters or dailies or utilities overall, but that was to be expected.

Overall, it looks okay, though I'm curious what additional feats (if any) they will add/exist and aren't listed here.

Also, I suspect the "Wizard power 1/encounter" means those wizard cantrip spells we saw on the pregen character.

I do wonder why they restricted it to one secondary class, though; I wonder if there was a specific reason, or just to avoid a billion classed character.
Looks like Multiclassing as we knew it is dead.

Instead of being two classes, you're still your first class, but with flavor of a second, and the option of going into the Paragon Paths of the second class instead of your primary.

Yeah, that 2nd bit is the part that saves it for me. I'm still a little uncertain but knowing that I can grab a paragon path for any class with a simple feat prereq gives me some hope about the number of options availible.

It's definately better for characters with a smattering of knowledge (far superior to Rogue19/Wiz 1).
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
=/ I will get used to it. I was hoping for more. But I will get used to it.
It's not to bad.

It's actually about what I thought it might be.

Note that only the Healing powers are daily as the rest are encounter.

I guess an encounter Healing Word would steal a lot of thunder from the Cleric.
=/ I will get used to it. I was hoping for more. But I will get used to it.

Ditto :/

BTW, in the feat descriptions, those should have read ""Swap one encounter power with one of multiclass feat's, 4th level." Possessive and plural are very different, especially when it comes to feats and multi classing.
Let your voice be heard! Tell WotC to Publish D&D 4e under the OGL!
Also, I suspect the "Wizard power 1/encounter" means those wizard cantrip spells we saw on the pregen character.

Refer to the Half-Elf Warlock.

I think she actually got a class training feat for free.

And she has a Wizard at will attack power as an encounter.
Refer to the Half-Elf Warlock.

I think she actually got a class training feat for free.

And she has a Wizard at will attack power as an encounter.

Yeah. They've said that Half-Elves "multiclass well", so the Half-Elf probably gets a multi-class feat for free at 1st-level.
okay im on the other thread about this to..

So basically, my rogue can dip into warlock by spending 4 whole feats by 10th lv? (im assuming the novice, acolyte and adept feats that have 4th, 7th, and 10th lv next to them mean you have to wait till those levels to gain those feats.) Though shouldn't they list the level requirements for the acolyte, novice and adept under the requirements.

Now I understand why they made such a big deal out of Half Elves being able to multiclass right from the start. So I guess my rogue is gonna be a Half Elf with some kind of innate warlock ability, then as I level I splatter some more warlock feats on to him. I'm still kind of happy because it really depends on what powers you take, and im not to upset that you don't gain a power in addition to taking the multiclass feat since you are only meant to have but so many powers in the first place.
Refer to the Half-Elf Warlock.

I think she actually got a class training feat for free.

And she has a Wizard at will attack power as an encounter.

Wrong. Re-read the half-elf warlock. Note where "Ray of frost" is? It is under at-will powers; it isn't a per encounter power.

The reason they "multiclass well" is, most likely, that at first level they get to choose another class's at-will and use it as an at-will; note that humans have the opposite from what we can tell, an additional at-will in their own class.

This is entirely seperate from multiclassing.

Also, he doesn't have the Arcana skill.

So in short, no.
Wrong. Re-read the half-elf warlock. Note where "Ray of frost" is? It is under at-will powers; it isn't a per encounter power.

You're wrong, actually. Those original character sheets were in error. WotC has since put out revised character sheets with corrections made to them. And in the revised version of Tira's character sheet, her At-Will Wizard Power is under the Encounter Power section.
So in short, no.

Apparently those sheets have been updated. They moved her Ray of Frost to encounter and took away the +dex to damage that the Rangers Careful Attack had.

And lastly, what is the Wizards skill training?
So basically, my rogue can dip into warlock by spending 4 whole feats by 10th lv? (im assuming the novice, acolyte and adept feats that have 4th, 7th, and 10th lv next to them mean you have to wait till those levels to gain those feats.) Though shouldn't they list the level requirements for the acolyte, novice and adept under the requirements.

This is what confuses me too. Is it just a poorly formatted table or is there something else going on?

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

I think I found the one thing that I am displeased about with 4E. To be fair, though, I'm not reviled or extremely disappointed.

I have been hearing for months that there was going to be some innovative new system to do "deep multiclassing" that was going to resemble multiclassing in 2E, only in a good way. Something like having class features of two classes with a staggered progression and a detriment like less HP or something.

The multiclass feats are interesting, but I think I was expecting something a little more direct. Such as a feat that gave you a basic class feature of another class in it's full capacity - i.e. a cleric that has a warlord's Inspiring Presence.

I can see why they didn't do it that way, though. 3.5's way of doing it is probably worse still. It's not that I wanted to see 3.5 multiclassing preserved, it was more that I was hoping that the designers would have devised an exciting way of fixing what has historically been a troubling mechanic. I suppose that is not very feasible even with all the changes.

The nice thing is that it shouldn't be difficult, now that I think of it, to make houserules that allow for higher levels of multiclassing. In addition, I've heard there may be an optional rule for classless play made available in a book like the 4E version of Unearthed Arcana. That should make a suitable model for a lot of neat tweaks.

Let it be said that if this is the only thing about 4E that ends up less than satisfactory, I will be a happy girl.
Mouseferatu (Ari Marmell, one of the play testers) posted this at ENworld:

Formatting on that table's a little off. That's going to confuse some people.

The phrases "feats, xth level" should be with the prerequisites, not the benefits.

IOW, the prerequisite of "Acolyte Power" should read:

Any class-specific multiclass feats, 8th level.

And the benefit should read:

Swap one utility power with one of multiclass

I'm a little confused about what the "4th," "8th" and "10th," are in the multiclass power feats "benefits" mean. If they are prerequisites, wouldn't they be under that column? If not, are they the limit to which you can take that particular power? Like you are limited to 4th level encounter powers or less?
I'm a little confused about what the "4th," "8th" and "10th," are in the multiclass power feats "benefits" mean. If they are prerequisites, wouldn't they be under that column? If not, are they the limit to which you can take that particular power? Like you are limited to 4th level encounter powers or less?

Please read the post right above yours.
Neceros' Character Sheets
Many sheets for many systems.
You're wrong, actually. Those original character sheets were in error. WotC has since put out revised character sheets with corrections made to them. And in the revised version of Tira's character sheet, her At-Will Wizard Power is under the Encounter Power section.

Oh darn. I even DLed the new ones, but apparently didn't bother to replace the old sheets with the new ones.

So, in short, I think you're right, though the lack of Arcana is a bit puzzling, unless it simply adds it as a skill you CAN be trained in (which is plausible, which probably means that Thievery is exclusive to the rogue, Arcana to the wizard, and Religion to the cleric (though the last seems questionable); either that, or the power you get from those three is considered to be more powerful.

I have been hearing for months that there was going to be some innovative new system to do "deep multiclassing" that was going to resemble multiclassing in 2E, only in a good way. Something like having class features of two classes with a staggered progression and a detriment like less HP or something.

They actually explicitly said MONTHS ago that the multiclassing system was not for "deep multiclassing".
I figured it out.(If noone else has said this yet).

Some classes, like Wizard and Rogue have some skills as automatic Arcana/Thievery respectively, however, other classes have stuff like Nature or Dungeoneering is an Automatic Skill(Ranger) So skill training means make the choice of skill that that class makes at first level.

This epiphany due to the song: All About Us, by T.a.T.u.
Couldn't 'skill training' refer to, say, weapon and armor proficiencies?
So, in short, I think you're right, though the lack of Arcana is a bit puzzling

I'm starting to think I'm wrong on that score, as her character sheet doesn't list her Arcane Initiate Feat. Some things were left off the character sheets, but not Feats. So it may be that the Half-Elf Racial Ability simply mimics that Feat in one regard, allowing one to take an At-Will Power from another class as an Encounter Power but no more. So if Tira wants to multiclass further as a Wizard, she'll still need Arcane Initiate. She'll just have an additional power in addition to what she'd be able to get through multiclassing.
In the paragon path excerpt it was said that you could gain powers from a second class by foregoing a paragon path. I wonder if one can also gain class features that way, in place of the features one gains from a path? That sounds like a great way to accomplish a more integrated style of multiclassing.

They actually explicitly said MONTHS ago that the multiclassing system was not for "deep multiclassing".

It's also been hazy and uncertain for quite a while. I had heard that multiclass feats would be the only way to multiclass, but also heard a lot of claims that this wasn't substantiated and that Mike Mearls had spelled out that there was another way to multiclass.
Posted by GreenKnight:
So it may be that the Half-Elf Racial Ability simply mimics that Feat in one regard, allowing one to take an At-Will Power from another class as an Encounter Power but no more.

i suspect thats how it is. thats how i heard it at DDXP, anyhow.

the one thing i wish this preview had was more info on how multiclassing instead of taking a paragon path worked, because it repeated the statement that such was possible and then didnt give any clues to how it worked. its something im really curious about...
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
Yeah, I'm especially curious about what you get in place of the Action Point Feature.
i suspect thats how it is. thats how i heard it at DDXP, anyhow.

the one thing i wish this preview had was more info on how multiclassing instead of taking a paragon path worked, because it repeated the statement that such was possible and then didnt give any clues to how it worked. its something im really curious about...

Me too. Speculating:

We know that Paragon Paths have the following structure:
* 11th: Paragon path feature
* 11th: Paragon path action point feature
* 11th: Paragon path encounter power
* 12th: Paragon path utility power
* 16th: Paragon path feature
* 20th: Paragon path daily power

I don't know how the AP feature might translate, but the others seem relatively obvious. In fact, if the AP feature becomes just a feature, then by 16th level, a character will be darn near fully functional in the second class.

As I've said elsewhere, the feats shown so far allow you to have about 1/3 of your powers be from the second class at 10th level, about 1/4 later.
Taking a class instead of a PP moves that number up (eventually) to just under half.

11th P, 7, 3, 1 9, 5, 1 10, 6, 2

2 of 4 encounter, 1 of 3 daily, 1 of 3 utility.

12th P, 7, 3, 1 9, 5, 1 P, 10, 6, 2

2 of 4 encounter, 1 of 3 daily, 2 of 4 utility.

20th P, 17, 13, 7 P, 19, 15, 9 P, 16, 10, 6, 2

2 of 4 encounter, 2 of 4 daily, 2 of 5 utility.
I have the latest D&DXP Warlock, I believe, and although the power is in the encounter section, it still has the at-will descriptor.
Two of the pictures in this are broken from where I'm standing. The only one I can read is the one at the end with the feat chart. If anyone can read these, what are the other two pictures?
...whatever
The Wizard Training feat says they gain a wizard power 1/encounter. I suspect that means they get one of the at-will attacks as an encounter power. All of the other Training feats grant one of the class's at will abilities (fighter's mark, rogue's sneak attack) 1/encounter, so that seems to be the precedence.

One thing I'm going to do for PPs is craft some "generic" PPs for each class. Instead of gaining new powers automatically, they just gain more powers from their class. They would need new class features and an AP feature, but it should allow for more generic characters.

The PP picking up class features from another class sounds like a great way of handling true Gish's too.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Two of the pictures in this are broken from where I'm standing. The only one I can read is the one at the end with the feat chart. If anyone can read these, what are the other two pictures?

I suspect they're fluff, rather than crunch.

I don't think there's any actual information missing that they intended to give us.
It's all about character concept. Unless your concept is a god, then you should be alright with the rules.

What does being godly have to do with multiclassing?

Making powerful combinations was but one aspect of it (which simply happened to receive a very disproportionate amount of attention and negative publicity). Allowing you to create unique, deep and immersive PCs was another benefit, which oddly enough, received no commendation where it was due.

Likewise, I find it somewhat amusing that people point fingers exclusively at multiclassing, without noting at how there are single classed PCs that can be every bit as powerful, if not more.

Looks like multiclassing really got the axe in 4e. Seems like I will be more limited in the sort of character archetypes I can toy around with. Though I will likely still need more info to see just how much leeway I have in customizing my own PC.
IMAGE(http://images.hasbro.com/common/images/products/62946ab862f_Main400.jpg)

Count me as *extremely* disappointed. This is the lamest 4e news that I've heard. It looks like the "multiclassing is too powerful" crowd won out.

Can't pick up at-will powers as anything better than encounter powers? Can't get deep class features like the Fighter's Combat Challenge? Oh, wow. Sneak Attack once per encounter....

And how about that explanation of Paragon multiclassing? We still don't know what that even involves or if its even worth the bother. I hope its worth the trouble if we have to wait to level 11 to get it.

Only two classes? What happened to Mike Mearls' comment that they were trying to get a ranger/cleric/wizard working?

I'm just not happy with this. Plus, I love how they phoned in setting up the webpage such that two of the images don't even load (as of this hour).

Multiclassing is dead, indeed. How irritatingly lame.
Mouseferatu (Ari Marmell, one of the play testers) posted this at ENworld:

Okay, thanks for that. Yeah, that 4th, 8th and 10th was twisting my brain, too.

I'll also say multiclassing in general is about what I expected. It's not exactly a system I'm going gaga over, but it's not like any multiclassing system from past D&D was particularly satisfactory, either. In short, I can get used to this.

One thing I do like is that taking a class initiate feat opens up Paragon Paths for that class. Somehow, I have a feeling the Paragon Paths you open up may in fact be the better option in many cases than going further into your second class.
Theoretically they want to do away with most 3.5 shenanigans pertaining to Multiclassing. Instead, they'd rather releases classes based on two classes to evenly distribute the changes.

Example: Ranger = Druid + Fighter. (Round-about).
Neceros' Character Sheets
Many sheets for many systems.
Example: Ranger = Druid + Fighter. (Round-about).

Correct me if I'm wrong(I'm not) but didn't the ranger loose all it's Druidic aspects in favor of a more hunter-like archetype?
Correct me if I'm wrong(I'm not) but didn't the ranger loose all it's Druidic aspects in favor of a more hunter-like archetype?

Yeah, you got me. I was just trying to make a point. A better example would have been the Swordmage.
Neceros' Character Sheets
Many sheets for many systems.
Yeah, you got me. I was just trying to make a point. A better example would have been the Swordmage.

Or Paladin.
I've ahd a bit more time to actually mull things over and this is what I'm seeing: the goal of multi-classing seems to be delivering on its promises by the time you're 20th level. Up to that point you're still busy collecting abilities from Feats and PP/PP Substitution. If your character concept is a Class X with a peppering of Class Y then you'll need to delay that, ultimately, to 20th level (we'll have to wait for Ari or Massawyrm or someone else to spill the beans as to whether there are any epic level multiclassing options). This will be a familiar process for many 3e multi-classers who frequently had to delay their character concept until 5th-10th level as they assembled bits and pieces from other classes. Some of those people will be unhappy with where things have gone, while others, like myself, are appeased in other ways. My personal take on it is that it doesn't hurt me that much because the base classes are more competent on their own. I don't need to build an effective Defender out of a Fighter 2/Rogue 5, I can just be a Fighter.

This leads into the next point

If they were looking at multi-classing asking all kinds of questions about how to make things like the Fighter/Wizard viable without breaking stuff it appears they came to the conclusion "you can't." Even-split concepts still require a new base class, but the new structure of the base classes makes these easier to gauge based on relative merits. I can tell right now that they're going to be selling a lot of FR Campaign Guides to those of us who couldn't give a (respectful) tinker's damn about the Realms because the Spellblade is going to pull traction out the wazoo, barring it being really weird, like if all its fluff involves eating strange bugs as material components or if it gets really awkward like has to cut its arms to fuel its arcane magic.

I suppose, ultimately, if they have enough base classes to choose from and enough versatility within those classes then the entire need for a multiclassing system dries up, but also given the comparative lack of options any new edition starts with it's not really the best idea to drop multiclassing altogether. Even if the new system isn't really very evocative, even if it doesn't get my creative juices flowing in anything resembling the way the Paragon Path excerpt did, it looks functional.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

Yeah, you got me. I was just trying to make a point. A better example would have been the Swordmage.

Correct me if I'm wrong(I'm not) but isn't the Swordmage more of a mage who uses arcane power to their ability to defend and attack foes at a close range by learning how to manipulate arcane forces into personal protection and temporary weapon enchantment as opposed to a "Gish" who's talent is blending the art of swordplay itself with arcane magic in order to have both where they are appropriate?
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