5E Archetype-Multiclass option initial concept

dnd4vr

Hero
So, I got this idea after being inspired by another thread. If we think of archetypes like Arcane Trickster as a pseudo-multiclass character, how about a simple multiclass-theme archetype to replace multiclassing (or offer another option)?

My idea is this: you take the features for each class using levels 1 - 6 or 7, and turn them into the features for the archetype. Every class can use a multiclass archetype for any other class. Whether or not prerequisites are required is up in the air, but probably not.

Example: a Ranger gains archetype features at 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th. So following the Barbarian archetype adds the following:

Starting at 3rd level, you gain rage and unarmored defense.
At 7th level, you gain reckless attack and danger sense.
When you reach 11th level, you gain extra attack (won't help a ranger...) and fast movement.
Beginning at 15th level, you gain feral instinct.

Applying the Barbarian archetype to a Rogue would be at 3rd, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels. The rogue would benefit from the extra attack, but not until 13th level.

I kind of like this idea because you can gain some features for a second class and it would replace having to make an archetype choice (which our table is rarely thrilled about, with notable exceptions...).

Obviously this would have to be worked up for each class to become an archetype-multiclass option. Spell progressions would be similar to Eldritch Knight/ Arcane Trickster, some features might not translate well, and so on. This is just sort of a jumping-off point.

Thoughts? Comments?
 

Esker

Explorer
Interesting idea. Curious about some of the details.

So if you wanted to be a Rogue with the Wizard multiclass, would the features you'd be getting just be spell levels (and, I guess, ritual casting and arcane recovery at 3rd), since wizards don't really have any base class "features" until very high levels? Which would mean 2nd level spells slightly later than arcane trickster as written, 1st and 3rd right on target, and 4th earlier?

How would sorcerer and cleric work? Would you get the base spells as your first feature but not the subclass features?

Would fighters who take the wizard multiclass get higher level spells than rogues, since they have more subclass levels?
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Make EVERY character a multiclass. Something like the following.

Four mage classes, dividing by theme
• (Matter) Wizard − elements (earth-fire, water-air), ether
• (Mind) Mystic − mind (charm, fear, phantasm), force constructs
• (Lifeforce) Shaman − nature (plants, animals, shapeshifting), healing
• (Spirit) Cleric − divination, luck, teleportation

Three warrior classes
• (Matter) Fighter − heavy armor, heavy weapons, equipment
• (Mind) Warlord − group tactics, morale healing
• (Lifeforce) Rogue − gymnastics, speed, stealth



Pick any two classes to build your character concept.

While advancing, both classes level up simultaneously, but while leveling, you have the choice to swap out one of the two classes for a different class.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Interesting idea. Curious about some of the details.

So if you wanted to be a Rogue with the Wizard multiclass, would the features you'd be getting just be spell levels (and, I guess, ritual casting and arcane recovery at 3rd), since wizards don't really have any base class "features" until very high levels? Which would mean 2nd level spells slightly later than arcane trickster as written, 1st and 3rd right on target, and 4th earlier?

How would sorcerer and cleric work? Would you get the base spells as your first feature but not the subclass features?

Would fighters who take the wizard multiclass get higher level spells than rogues, since they have more subclass levels?
Still working on the details and ironing it out. Depending on work, I might get some of this done over the week, or it might have to sit on the back burner until next weekend.

As to the Rogue (Wizard) idea, yeah pretty much. You would get spellcasting (including Ritual Casting) and Arcane Recovery, though I might delay Arcane Recovery until 9th. Otherwise, it would mostly be the spell progression. The spell table would be actually a bit faster:

1st at 3rd (normal)
2nd at 7th (normal)
3rd at 11th (faster)
4th at 15th (faster)
5th at 19th (never acquired by Arcane Trickster RAW)

I would modify Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight to follow this progression as well.

You never gain subclass features for the multiclass archetype (otherwise, your archetype would have an archetype???). I suppose you could but my initial impression would be that would be too much.

Bards only have 3 subclass features and Fighters have 5, all the rest have 4. So, I would probably add one more around 11th level for Bard and ignore the 18th level one for Fighters. If you choose a normal archetype, it is RAW as normal.
 

Esker

Explorer
The spell table would be actually a bit faster:

1st at 3rd (normal)
2nd at 7th (normal)
3rd at 11th (faster)
4th at 15th (faster)
5th at 19th (never acquired by Arcane Trickster RAW)
Hmm... I like the idea of being able to be a rogue/wizard with more magic than arcane trickster currently gives you without having to multiclass (my current character in my main game is an arcane trickster / bladesinger, but I honestly would have preferred an option that allowed me to stay single classed but still be more than a 1/3 caster). But those levels don't line up with the levels that grant rogues subclass features. So are 9th, 13th and 17th dead levels then?

I would modify Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight to follow this progression as well.
If AT and EK also get the faster spell progression and also their subclass features, why do you need the wizard subclass option? More spells known with fewer restrictions and being a prepared caster with rituals, vs mage hand legerdemain and magical ambush, etc.?
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
For a bard, the hidden subclass feature is magical secrets at level 10.
They also universally get 2 features at level 3.
In the end, a revised 5th edition should have all classes gain subclass features at the same level and start at level 1.
1, 3, 7, 11, 15 and 19 would probably make sense.
At level 3 there should be another decision point. The warlock is a great model for a 5e class (which still could have some improvements).

So probably:
1: class, subclass, +3 proficiency bonus
2: ASI
3: subclass feature
4: +4 proficiency bonus, class feature
5: extra attack/3rd level spells
6: ASI
7: Subclass feature
8: +5 PB
9: class feature
10: ASI
11: Extra attack/6th level spells
12: +6 PB
13: subclass feature
14: ASI
15: subclass feature
16: +7 PB
17: extra attack/9th level spells
18: ASI
19: subclass feature
20: +8 PB, capstone ability

Expertise: *1.5 PB
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I love it, and honestly, it's essentially the same idea I've been working on myself (a sign of good design is when multiple people come up with the same idea independently). I've actually been working on a long post on this very topic.

I like the concept of multiclassing in general but with 5E's core leveling mechanic (primarily ASI/feats and Extra Attack tied to character level, capstones, etc) and subclasses, multiclassing feels clunky and tacked on. You also sacrifice a ton of power when you mutliclass except for a few very niche, cherry-picked combos. Because of that loss of power, players are not incentivized to create unique multiclassed character concepts.

I wasn't a fan of 4E but it's interesting that 4E got away from multiclassing and instead added more customization into each class, primarily with feats but also paragon paths, which are not that dissimilar from 5E's subclasses/archetypes.

The trick is with a system like this is it starts to inch closer and closer to an a la carte character customization system. That's not a bad thing but it does increase complexity and require a higher degree of system mastery. I definitely want more customization options in 5E but balancing that without become too cumbersome (like 4E and PF) is tricky.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Pathfinder 2 seems to do it similar to that concept.
IIRC dndnext had some iterations where something like this was intended but it didn't show up and was dismissed.
A few things pathfinder2 does was actually in some iteration of dndnext, but it didn't work out back then.
Now almost 7 years later, we have a different view and i guess the designers know what they would do differently, but their enduring success does not allow a streamlining at this point. Let 3 years pass and things may be different. After 8 years, some revisions should feel ok.
 
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dnd4vr

Hero
Hmm... I like the idea of being able to be a rogue/wizard with more magic than arcane trickster currently gives you without having to multiclass (my current character in my main game is an arcane trickster / bladesinger, but I honestly would have preferred an option that allowed me to stay single classed but still be more than a 1/3 caster). But those levels don't line up with the levels that grant rogues subclass features. So are 9th, 13th and 17th dead levels then?
The progress of the spell levels is independent from other features that might be granted by the second-class archetype. The access to higher level spells don't have to coincide with when subclass features would normally be acquired.

This does mean, in some cases, there would be no real new features at higher levels in some cases. But this is mostly true when the second-class archetype is a spellcaster. IMO, the spells are typically a feature enough.

In the case of the Rogue (Wizard), I think delaying Arcane Recovery to 9th level would be good, and there really would be no features for 13th and 17th levels despite archetypes normally getting them at that point.

Perhaps some small thing could be added, but I wouldn't really care personally if there wasn't. As I said, to me the higher level spells at 11th, 15th, and 19th are sufficient.

QUOTE="Esker, post: 7836485, member: 6966824"]If AT and EK also get the faster spell progression and also their subclass features, why do you need the wizard subclass option? More spells known with fewer restrictions and being a prepared caster with rituals, vs mage hand legerdemain and magical ambush, etc.?[/QUOTE]

It is a trade-off. If you want limited access to spells, but other AT and EK features to off-set, that is fine. I would rather have greater spell access, ritual casting, and arcane recovery. It is all a matter of preference. If it turns out updating AT and EK spell progression is too much, I can always revert it.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
For a bard, the hidden subclass feature is magical secrets at level 10.
Oh, good point. But really most classes get nice class features around 9th or 10th as well, so I am not certain if that was meant to be the 11th level archetype replacement as well. Maybe...
 

Esker

Explorer
For AT and EK specifically, I've kicked around a variant multiclassing option along the lines of the following: when you level up, you can choose to devote a level to your casting ability. When doing so, you do not receive any new features from your class or subclass, but your caster level is increased by 1, which bumps up both your spell slots and your spells known as if you had attained 3 levels in your class.

So it would basically be like taking a wizard level, but you don't start up a second list of spells known and you don't get wizard class features; instead you accelerate your caster progression from your main class.

So, for example, an arcane trickster could take a casting level at 6th, delaying expertise but learning two 2nd level spells as if they were 8th level in AT, one of which must be enchantment or illusion.

If they took two more caster levels, they would get another cantrip, 3rd level slots, two more 2nd level enchantment/illusion spells known and two 3rd level spells known, one of which must be enchantment/illusion.

They are now 8th level but have a caster level of 5, with a number of cantrips, wizard spells and spell slots as a 5th level wizard (but with the AT school restrictions). But not arcane recovery or ritual casting, nor a wizard subclass.

Then, if they went back to rogue, they'd get additional expertise at 9th, followed by evasion and a caster level bump at 10th (per 1/3 of 7 rounded up), giving one more 3rd level enchantment/illusion spell known as at AT 16.

So at 10th, you'd have 7th level rogue features and a limited version of 5th level wizard features: 11 spells known of 1st-3rd level, 4 wizard cantrips, and 4/3/3 spell slots.

Compare to an AT 7 / Wizard 3 under RAW, who has 11 1st level spells known, 4 2nd level spells, 6 cantrips, and 4/3/2 spell slots, ritual casting, two spell levels of arcane recovery, and a level 2 wizard subclass feature.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
I love it, and honestly, it's essentially the same idea I've been working on myself (a sign of good design is when multiple people come up with the same idea independently). I've actually been working on a long post on this very topic.
Cool! Glad to hear it. I'd be interested of course to see what you have as well.

One of the things I wish was done in 5E was to keep the archetype feature awards consistent across classes. Most start at 3rd, then around 6th, 11th, and 14th ot 15th roughly. Some are much different though.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
For AT and EK specifically, I've kicked around a variant multiclassing option along the lines of the following: when you level up, you can choose to devote a level to your casting ability. When doing so, you do not receive any new features from your class or subclass, but your caster level is increased by 1, which bumps up both your spell slots and your spells known as if you had attained 3 levels in your class.

So it would basically be like taking a wizard level, but you don't start up a second list of spells known and you don't get wizard class features; instead you accelerate your caster progression from your main class.

So, for example, an arcane trickster could take a casting level at 6th, delaying expertise but learning two 2nd level spells as if they were 8th level in AT, one of which must be enchantment or illusion.

If they took two more caster levels, they would get another cantrip, 3rd level slots, two more 2nd level enchantment/illusion spells known and two 3rd level spells known, one of which must be enchantment/illusion.

They are now 8th level but have a caster level of 5, with a number of cantrips, wizard spells and spell slots as a 5th level wizard (but with the AT school restrictions). But not arcane recovery or ritual casting, nor a wizard subclass.

Then, if they went back to rogue, they'd get additional expertise at 9th, followed by evasion and a caster level bump at 10th (per 1/3 of 7 rounded up), giving one more 3rd level enchantment/illusion spell known as at AT 16.

So at 10th, you'd have 7th level rogue features and a limited version of 5th level wizard features: 11 spells known of 1st-3rd level, 4 wizard cantrips, and 4/3/3 spell slots.

Compare to an AT 7 / Wizard 3 under RAW, who has 11 1st level spells known, 4 2nd level spells, 6 cantrips, and 4/3/2 spell slots, ritual casting, two spell levels of arcane recovery, and a level 2 wizard subclass feature.
Hmm... that isn't a bad idea, but for me it doesn't change what I would like: mainly getting full-spell access instead of limited, more like true mulitlcassing. Also, I don't know how well some people would be able to follow the process.

Of course, many people like the archetypes, so wouldn't like my idea because it replaces archetypes with a multiclassing option.
 

Esker

Explorer
Hmm... that isn't a bad idea, but for me it doesn't change what I would like: mainly getting full-spell access instead of limited, more like true mulitlcassing. Also, I don't know how well some people would be able to follow the process.

Of course, many people like the archetypes, so wouldn't like my idea because it replaces archetypes with a multiclassing option.
Yeah, my idea is meant as a variant alternative, not a replacement. For my character I wanted faster magic progression than the base AT, but multiclassing into wizard requires too many levels to actually get higher level spells than you'd have single classed. So the idea is to allow a sort of slider where you can accelerate your casting at the expense of your base rogue features without having to start over as a caster in another class.

As for the complexity, I think I made it sound worse than it is. Take your regular levels and add 3x your caster levels. Your spells known and spell slots are as a single classed AT at that level. Your other features are based on your regular levels only.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
So, I got this idea after being inspired by another thread. If we think of archetypes like Arcane Trickster as a pseudo-multiclass character, how about a simple multiclass-theme archetype to replace multiclassing (or offer another option)?

My idea is this: you take the features for each class using levels 1 - 6 or 7, and turn them into the features for the archetype. Every class can use a multiclass archetype for any other class. Whether or not prerequisites are required is up in the air, but probably not.

Example: a Ranger gains archetype features at 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th. So following the Barbarian archetype adds the following:

Starting at 3rd level, you gain rage and unarmored defense.
At 7th level, you gain reckless attack and danger sense.
When you reach 11th level, you gain extra attack (won't help a ranger...) and fast movement.
Beginning at 15th level, you gain feral instinct.

Applying the Barbarian archetype to a Rogue would be at 3rd, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels. The rogue would benefit from the extra attack, but not until 13th level.

I kind of like this idea because you can gain some features for a second class and it would replace having to make an archetype choice (which our table is rarely thrilled about, with notable exceptions...).

Obviously this would have to be worked up for each class to become an archetype-multiclass option. Spell progressions would be similar to Eldritch Knight/ Arcane Trickster, some features might not translate well, and so on. This is just sort of a jumping-off point.

Thoughts? Comments?
Check out this post I threw up there in 2015. It's one aspect of what you're proposing here.

I've used the intraclass multiclassing, what I call "multipathing", since 2015 and it's been great for players.

Allowing people to just grab abilities from other classes... not sure how that would play out necessarily, but it would be interesting to see in play.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Allowing people to just grab abilities from other classes... not sure how that would play out necessarily, but it would be interesting to see in play.
What you are describing is a generic class system, either Warrior/Adept/Expert or Strong Hero/Tough Hero, etc (the d20 Modern system). Class abilities are then selected a la carte from a subset of abilities based on the base class.

Because of BA and modularity of the subclass system, 5E could handle it fairly well. From a design standpoint, I find the power equivalency to be much more transparent in 5E. In addition, balancing power is more forgiving because the overall power scale has been toned down and players have fewer customization knobs to turn.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
What you are describing is a generic class system, either Warrior/Adept/Expert or Strong Hero/Tough Hero, etc (the d20 Modern system). Class abilities are then selected a la carte from a subset of abilities based on the base class.

Because of BA and modularity of the subclass system, 5E could handle it fairly well. From a design standpoint, I find the power equivalency to be much more transparent in 5E. In addition, balancing power is more forgiving because the overall power scale has been toned down and players have fewer customization knobs to turn.
I feel like just opening up the buffet so to speak will have more repercussions than anticipated.

First one on my mind is probably Sorcerer picking up the Assassinate class ability without actually sacrificing three levels of sorcerer spellcasting to get there.

It's situational, and nova, but when it hits those extra three levels of spellcasting boost the potential damage output of whatever spell they cast for the feature.

And I haven't fully thought out the implications in those two things, I might be missing something that tames it somewhat, but that's why it was my first thought :)
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Not trying to derail but this thread definitely highlights for me my dislike of the way 3.0/3.5/5 multi-classing is handled.
So, do you like this as an alternative for multiclassing then?

I can share our current house-rules for multiclassing, but it leads to very powerful characters. Our game is geared for that, but if yours isn't it can unbalance things. Let me know if you're interested.
 

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