One of my players wants to try out multiclass. I suggested using something near the 2nd or 3rd ed but it seems to be overpowered to do so.
He is a cleric and if he goes for the rogue class just for 1 lvl, he gains a LOT of stuff only for 1 lvl.
Any ideas how you would use multiclassing in DnD Next as for now?
It seems like there is so much potential for abuse in multi-class mechanics, so much so that it sometimes produces a result far greater than the sum of their parts. Let me give an example. Back in 3rd edition, a character starts as a rogue. He gets a lot of skill points. He then takes levels of fighter for durability and feats. Returns to rogue to up skills that he can't on the fighters list as easily. Returns to the fighter to get class related goodies, such as weapon specialization: Scythe. Goes back to rogue for skills and more sneak attack damage. As far as I am concerned, that character can outfight a fighter while being a pretty good rogue.
My point is that maybe we need a new mechanic for multi-classing and perhaps a subclass/mundane prestige class sort of structure could be the way to go. It could slide over the existing class and specify what is gained and what you don't end up getting from your base class(if applicable)
For instance, maybe a "shadow priest" or cleric/rogue class could work something like this...
Requirement: at least one level in cleric or rogue
Level 1: Divine or skill mastery(you gain the other component of your multi-class, but don't get everything you'd get for just being that class: May have some options for the sake of customization)
Level 2: +1 divine caster level, +1 level rogue expertise
Level 3: +1 level rogue experise, rogue maneuver
Level 4: +1 divine caster level, +1 level rogue expertise
Level 5: +1 divine caster level, unique divine spell-like ability feature
...and so on...
+1 level rogue experise: Treated as a rogue of one level higher for purpose of determining expertise dice
+1 divine caster level: Treated as gaining a level in cleric for the purpose of determining spells/day
This above example is imbalanced because it was made up spontaneously. Only performing as a cleric and rogue of one level lower at level 6 is too much. I was merely trying to show an alternative set of mechanics. My issue with multi-classing as it has performed historically is that the practice just begs for you to dabble in classes for the sake of attaining an early class feature. In my opinion, a first level character has some experiences in his or her vocation to that point that warrants having that bonus. I don't really want to see the following anymore...
Fighter: I want to take a level in druid so I get an animal companion. C'mere tiger...
You can take Ambush specialist feats at 3rd 6th or 9th to make you more roguish.
Each even level you get to boost a skill, so you could take a skill from the other class at that level.
You can also do it with Background and Specialty.
Cleric/Rogue : Background = Guild Thief or Spy, Class = Cleric-Trickster, Specialty = Ambush or Stealth specialist.
the alternative : Background = Priest, Class = Rogue, Speciality = Divine magic or Stealth specialist.
So you'd be a troubleshooter, problem solver or scout for the church. Gathering items or information, tracking down enemies etc.
I think the way to go to make multiclassing a choice is to create classes that resemble those from the twilight years of 3e - the archivist, spirit shaman and so on.
They had class abilities that were valuable and easily on par with many of the multiclassing options but if you dipped very much you'd miss out.
Multiclassing becomes a choice at that point.
Wizards has said that they are working on the multiclass approach: it will be most similar to 3rd's manner (though I hope for the ability to hybrid again - that was so great), however they will change things so that you don't get all of the features, etc., at level 1 of your second (or more) class, but also that abilities (like spells) gained will also be of roughly overall level-equivalent power. What it sounds like will happen is that there will be a separate multiclass table for each class, detailing the additional things you get when you take each new level (which features you gain, what levels you pick a new spell up at and what the max spell level will be based on your character level, etc). So with all that said, it's probably best to wait until Wizards comes out with their first multiclass packet for comments on multiclassing.
I certainly hope there won't be a seperate table for each class. The best way to do it is the way they've got it now: a block of exceptions in the class description for taking that class at character level 1 and a universal table to use for the class regardless of application. Universal progression conventions make it easier, to be sure, and probably are necessary but individual multiclass tables for each class would be really irritating.
The hybrid tables in 4e are a total nightmare and require discrete support from the publisher. Expanding the class means expanding the hybrid table as well and it basically doubles the work.
They could do it that way but I really hope they don't. I much prefer the format we have.
There are players/DMs who like the 3e "add a class" method, and players/DMs who like the "multiclass at 1st level" method. I hope WotC can manage both of these, since I think they both have merit. I never played in a game that had a hybrid so I don't know how it works.
In my perfect world WotC would be able to figure out a way to make the multiclassing tables so that
1) Adding a new class gives you extra abilities of the new class but without the front loading issue had with 3.5.
2) A Fighter that learns to cast spells will feel slightly different from a wizard that can swing a sword.
3) If you take 2 or more classes, both from the multiclass section at level 1, you get a hybrid class that is just as powerful as a full class.
Honestly, 1 and 2 can be done pretty easily, it's the third one that will probably be an issue.
Assuming that the standard rules for multiclassing will exist in 3.5 (and that each "iconic" class will be its own class and not a multiclass combination), there are a couple issues that I can see.
The first problem arises from "dipping", as was mentionned earlier in the thread, a character who takes a level of Rogue gives up very little while gaining quite a lot. Likewise, a Wizard who takes a level of Fighter gains a ton of survivability (since as I last checked, armor no longer impedes casting spells, you just can't wear armor you're not proficient in. Maybe I'm wrong).
Dipping gets even more complicated when you factor in Maneuvers. As they currently exist, there's not much stopping a Fighter from taking a level of Rogue for the Skill Mastery ability, taking a level of Monk for the wall-running Manuever, and having as good or better Expertise Dice than a pure Fighter. In addition, despite the fact that Mearls has stated that Maneuvers will represent a large distinction between classes, since they're all available at 1st level, any character that uses Expertise Dice can dip a level and immediately gain a powerful signature move of another class. When you factor in how some of these maneuvers are based around your total Expertise Dice pool, things get even crazier. Its equivalent to a Wizard taking a level of Cleric and immediately gaining access to 3rd or 4th level Cleric spells, because they can already cast 4th level spells as a Wizard.
The second problem is when a character multiclasses between two casting classes. Since spells no longer scale based on caster level, multiclass casters also fall behind significantly in terms of power. In addition, by limiting the number of spells gained per spell level, a Wizard 20 will have the same number of spells as a Wizard 10 / Cleric 10, only the multiclass character won't have access to spells higher than 5th level, and thus will be vastly inferior in terms of ability. Compare this to a Mystic Theurge-style build from 3.5, where the character was 3+ caster levels lower and lagged behind 1-2 spell levels constantly, but made up for it by having easily twice as many spell slots per day.
The third problem is when a character multiclasses between a caster and an expertise-dice class. Spells and expertise dice do NOT synergize at ALL, and the character will find themself with a deceptively narrow set of options. If they make a weapon attack, they can't cast a spell that round. If they cast a spell, they can't use their expertise dice for added damage that round. I could see a Fighter / Cleric build that revolved around using cure spells and Parry in order to be basically unkillable, but the character should still lag behind the rest of the group in ability.
Here's the thing: I LOVE the idea of multiclass characters. I like characters that break away from the traditional fantasy pidgeonholing that classes enforce, and who find different and unique roles in the party. You tend to get the most interesting (and fun) characters from that sort of experimentation. The problem is, the current class system just isn't built to handle that sort of thing. However, there is a way to fix this.
1) Don't let characters immediately gain class features and proficiencies. If a Wizard takes a level of Fighter, they might gain Light armor use or martial wepaon use, but they won't gain all armor, all weapons, and all shields for free. That's several feats' worth of investment right there. Likewise, grant maybe one Rogue skill if you take a level of Rogue.
2) Allow characters who multiclass into spellcasting the ability to get higher level spell slots from the get-go. Add up their levels from spellcasting classes (Cleric, Sorcerer, Wizard) and add 1/2 their total levels from non-casting classes (Fighter, Rogue, Monk), and look at what a character of that level would gain in terms of spells at that level. Then give them a spell slot one level lower. For example, a Wizard 5 who took a level of Cleric has an effective level of 5 for this purpose, so they'd get a level 2 Cleric spell slot. For classes like the Sorcerer, instead give them a spell knwon of a level one lower, and the same number of Spell Points as they would have gained at that level.
3) Add together all Martial classes' levels to determine their total Expertise Dice. It's just easier than having to track the dice you recieve from all of those classes. At the same time:
4) When using Maneuvers from a class, you're limited to using one die per 4 levels you have in that class, rounded up. So, if you're a Fighter 4/Monk 1, you can't spend more than 1 Experstise die on Flurry of Blows or Slow Fall, and you can't spend more than one die on Parry.
That's my suggestion of how to fix multiclassing.
The player in my game that wanted to make a multiclass made up this document :
Please tell us what do you think of his first idea, but I think it is mostly like most of you thought of multiclassing without the "dipping".
It's an interesting method, I think. There are some things I'm not clear on (for example, if you're a level 6 Fighter and you take a level of Cleric, what level spell do you gain?) but it looks pretty solid. Very much like the Hybrid class mechanic from 4E, and I'm sure that will please a lot of fans. In fact, the Hybrid mechanic might be just what 5E needs to draw 4E fans back into the fold... that gives me an idea. But for another time.
All in all, it looks pretty solid. Lose your Feats in order to "buy" the features of classes you multiclass into (I hope I'm understanding it correctly). I personally think that Feats should equal Class Features anyway, and with signature maneuvers becoming Feats anyone with Expertise Dice can take, it seems to be moving in that direction.
I can tell your player puts a lot of effort into that document. You should totally get your group to play characters built using the Multiclass combinations and see how they perform!
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