Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Multi-classing--to the EXTREME! Has anybody done it?

In D&D 3.x, you could multi-class as many times as you wanted, but you suffered an experience point penalty (20%, if I recall) if any of your levels deviated more than 2 from your primary class.

In theory, you could tack on a new class every time you gain a character level under this system. Thus you could run through the entire base class list in the Player's Handbook, resulting in an 11th level character with a single level of Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard, all with first level abilities.

In theory, yes, but I'm curious: Has anybody actually done this in practice? 

About a year or so ago I did end up in multi-classing hell. We had a small group in 3.5e. I was playing a Bard 1/Druid 1, but our group lacked fighters. So, being a sport, I added a level of fighter when the character reached 3rd level. Then, suddenly three more players showed up and balanced things out. Suddenly, my character was the outlier, and it'd be along time before my character would even qualify for the prestige class I wanted. I felt like my character was wallowing in sub-mediocrity.

Previously, the last time I played a triple-classed character was more than ten years ago, during an AD&D 1st Edition campaign. A half-elf fighter/wizard/thief. He was very versatile, though it took him forever to gain experience. He was more enjoyable to play than the 3.5e character.

What are your experiences with multi-classing--in whatever edition? Did you character seem over or underpowered? How much fun did you have playing the character?


  1. I've never done more than two classes at a time. But it's your character, do what you want. If your group has any super maximizer types they'll probably freak the "mediocrity", but too bad.

  2. I ran a game with a Cleric 3, Wizard 1, Rogue 2, Fighter 1, Human Paragon 3. His next ten levels would have been spent in Mystic Theurge. His Wizard side specialized in Enchantment. Looking at his character sheet, you'd be reminded of the Order of the Stick comic in which Nale realizes he's taken the long road to Bard as a fighter/rogue/sorcerer.

    It worked out alright, actually.

  3. Multi-classed quite a few times for prestige classes. The worst was probably qualifying for Mystic Theurge/Theurgic Crafting for a magic-item maker concept, though trying to go True Necromancer was bad too. Frenzied Berzerker with Fighter/Barbarian was easy and fun- a misreading of one ability had me losing my head to a vorpal weapon and continuing to fight on for the duration of the frenzy anyway.

    I love using Gestalt rules when I run games, and you'd think that would eliminate the desire for multiclassing- but it doesn't always. It's all fun, though.

  4. I'd like to point out that in 3.x you technically couldn't multi-class to every class. Many classes had alignment restrictions. Barbarians must be chaotic, monks must be lawful, paladins must be lawful-good, druids must be in some part neutral. I believe rangers had to to be good(though I'm not sure.)

    I think the worst part of multi-classing would be splitting resources between classes, either in levels that would give power or wealth to support that classes activities.

    Not quite fantasy, but also based on the 3.x d20 system, there is Star Wars Saga Edition, which very much supported multi-classing. It had a very different magic system. I believe the Vancian magic system makes things difficult to keep track of. Class in SWSE also didn't have separate standerds for equipment. Generally speaking, no class specialized in any weapon or armor type. This likely helped keep the multi-classing simple.

  5. I tried to rebuild the AD&D Bard with 3.0 (didn't know they made fun of that in Order of the Stick...). But I never played that much. As a DM I never encountered anything too extreme, as far as I remember. Nobody invested enough money or energy to go that far.


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