D&D General Do We Really Need Multiclassing?

Perhaps something like the following (provisionally), a Basal Technique (something you can take at an early level.)

Grasp of the Storm
Range: 30'
Target: One creature
Action: Attack (can replace one attack in the Attack action)
Combat: Make a spell attack against a creature you can see within range. On a hit, deal your weapon's damage as lightning damage, and pull the target adjacent to you. You have advantage on this attack roll if the target is unable to move under its own power. If the target is physically fixed in place and cannot move, it instead takes an additional 1d8 bashing damage, and does not move.
Utility: Outside of combat, you may use this technique to pull willing creatures or objects across gaps or hazards, and with enough skill, do so without any harm done to them. Instead of an attack roll, make an Arcana check against a DC equal to the target's weight in pounds divided by 10 (minimum 5.) On a successs, the target is pulled up to 30 feet to a space adjacent to you. If the roll fails by less than 5 points, you still pull the target to you, but it takes lightning damage equal to your weapon damage. If the roll fails by 5 or more, the target does not move but also does not take damage, and is immune to this technique for one hour due to static electric buildup.

This provides niche but useful utility outside of combat, while still capturing the core essence of the effect. It notably does not use a saving throw; hitting with the attack is enough. Dealing weapon damage as lightning damage also means that a Swordmage with beefier weapons has scarier attacks, which seems reasonable to me.
Nice. :) Could a Swordmage use this magical combat maneuever every turn like a cantrip, or would they need to take a short or long rest before they could use it again? It looks like this maneuver blurs the line between fighting with a weapon and spellcasting.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Nice. :) Could a Swordmage use this magical combat maneuever every turn like a cantrip, or would they need to take a short or long rest before they could use it again? It looks like this maneuver blurs the line between fighting with a weapon and spellcasting.
This would be every turn, which is balanced against the fact that it doesn't auto-scale the way cantrips do (and, well, the fact that the utility effect is only really useful if things aren't already adjacent to you.) But yeah if you (say) went Fighter 2/Swordmage 5, you could potentially pull 4 enemies to you in a single round if you hit all of the attacks.

And yeah, the idea is to have a class where you can't necessarily disentangle the sword from the mage.

There's a conversation in GW2 that I find very meaningful on this topic. Two humans are discussing their problems with centaur bandits, and one is trying to be open-minded in a painfully naive way:
Villager (1): I just don't understand centaurs.
Villager (2): What's there to understand?
Villager (1): They're half human. By attacking us, they're attacking half their own kind.
Villager (2): I don't think they see it that way.
Villager (1): If they're not half human, then what are they?
Villager (2): In their minds, they're not half anything; they're all centaur.

That's how I imagine a properly-designed Swordmage vs a really good "half and half" caster-fighter. The difference between being "half human, half horse" and being "all centaur."
 

This would be every turn, which is balanced against the fact that it doesn't auto-scale the way cantrips do (and, well, the fact that the utility effect is only really useful if things aren't already adjacent to you.) But yeah if you (say) went Fighter 2/Swordmage 5, you could potentially pull 4 enemies to you in a single round if you hit all of the attacks.

And yeah, the idea is to have a class where you can't necessarily disentangle the sword from the mage.

There's a conversation in GW2 that I find very meaningful on this topic. Two humans are discussing their problems with centaur bandits, and one is trying to be open-minded in a painfully naive way:
Villager (1): I just don't understand centaurs.
Villager (2): What's there to understand?
Villager (1): They're half human. By attacking us, they're attacking half their own kind.
Villager (2): I don't think they see it that way.
Villager (1): If they're not half human, then what are they?
Villager (2): In their minds, they're not half anything; they're all centaur.

That's how I imagine a properly-designed Swordmage vs a really good "half and half" caster-fighter. The difference between being "half human, half horse" and being "all centaur."
If Swordmage was a 5e class, I could see a member of this class as someone who can tap into the 'magic of the blade'. :)
 

The campaign I am in now has 6 players, 3 of which have multiclass characters. I am considering being the 4th.

The "subclass" mechanic helps a bit at reducing multiclassing but it's not great at "situations changed". I may pick up another class to get better AC as the foes are targeting the loremaster bard more than they did before.

I would be happier if there were 2 or 3 subclass bands (2-8, 9-14, 15-20). Maybe then I could decide to give up some Loremaster abilities for some Valor armor usage without multiclassing.

The 5.5 cleric had something similar where you could choose scholar vs warpriest at low levels, but would get the opposite's abilities at high levels.
 


Something Ive noticed in writing LNO is that, given I have 20 Base classes and 80 subclasses between them all, multiclassing doesn't feel all that necessary to include, for obvious reasons.

However, due to how I approached class design (2 Core Ability Chains and 2 Secondary Ones, plus 1 Subclass) actually lent itself to an easy way to include it, which arguably would not only be pretty balanced, but would also accomplish something I think is missing from DNDs take on it.

Namely that DND doesn't always deliver the "core" of whichever class makes up the minor of the multiclass. While one can make up a whole thats ultimately satisfying, oftentimes whichever class you have the least investment isn't contributing much of its core experience.

Some do, and its often that these end up being the ones that get "dipped" most often. Your Hexblade and Fighter dips are so front loaded that having a limited number of class levels doesn't rob you of much.

So, in LNO, the idea for how multiclassing would work is that you'd drop your two secondary ability chains in favor of the two core chains from another class.

Rather than one class (or even both) being robbed of its core experience, you get both in full, and instead only lose some supporting abilities as opposed to the things the class revolves around.

That, I think, will prove a much more satisfying way of doing things, as while it won't have the granular crunch of picking and choosing what levels you get and when, you'll get much more out of the combinations you can make.

For example, one of my favorite multiclass builds in 5e was Drakewarden 15, Ascendant Dragon 5.

In LNO, without a MC rule, there'd be no real means to emulate that particular combination, despite its constituent parts more or less existing.

But with the MC rule, I could start as a Dragon Rider Beastmaster, and take Monk as a multiclass. Id get what is essentially the 5e Drakewarden, but then Id also be getting the Psionic-based Monk, which would blend just as well with the Beastmaster as it does in 5e, particularly if I were to roleplay the same character and backstory that I did originally, but actually go quite a bit farther simply because I'm more or less a full Monk in addition to a Beastmaster.
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
Personally, I enjoy using multi-classing to build characters that aren't a carbon copy of every other vanilla toon that gets mentioned when chatting with other players. "Oh, you are playing a paladin too? Yeah, mine can't smite, but he gets to rage and use bardic inspiration." Flavor is free, after all. Is my Bard-barian OP? Hell to the no, but he's fun and more effective than I expected. Is the Hexblade/Paladin overshadowing me? Only in damage, and that's OK. Let him have his moments in the sun. I'll be busy ripping apart mooks while he novas on the boss.

So, why not allow multiclassing?

It's OP. Well, no. You can't make a multiclass character that's better than a wizard, but you can make fighters and rogues viable in play.

The flavor doesn't fit. Ok. Maybe, but since when can't you can't change fluff? Having the mechanics of a warlock doesn't mean your patron can't be a carbon copy of what your clerics, paladins and druids are getting power from. Samurai mechanics don't require using an eastern themed campaign. Neither do assassins require a quasi-religious cult of death. Fluff is just like seasoning. Use it to taste.

WhErE dId ThE tRaInInG cOmE fRoM? The same place your casters' new spells came from, or any other feature that you didn't have last level. This is probably the most ridiculous argument against multiclassing. Its a fantasy game. Be fantastic.

The only real problem with multiclassing is that dips can take advantage of front-loaded classes. Dips of cleric, fighter, barbarian, warlock, and paladin are popular simply because 1-2 levels are all you need from them. The 2024 release looks like it deals with that by pushing abilities and subclasses to slightly higher levels. Other solutions might be class features scaling only with levels of that class, having a transition level that added HD and Proficiency Bonus, but nothing else before you could add an actual level in the new class, feats to pick up features from other classes, 0-level class abilities at your first level in the new class, or swapping features from one class for features from another. Personally, I like the UA model that we are looking at for the re-release, but there are tons of other ways to do this.
 

I think the 4e system of take 1 class and pick up additional stuff from a small list from another with feats is a better take then every level picking a new class.
Not to the That Guy (PF2 shill edition) but, well, Pathfinder 2nd edition does this pretty well.

I think they have too many archetypes and not enough feats per archetype, and some I'd like more feats for all categories before they go nuts with new categories (again), but the approach is just generally better.

I think to really switch to feat-based multiclassing for 5e though you'd need to offer more feats in general.
 

Undrave

Legend
So what am I saying with all this rambling? Basically, that multiclassing is not necessary for the game (or if it is, that's a problem), but it might be necessary for the characters, when their concept otherwise fails them.*
I think multi classing is a fine concept, but I don't think it's current incarnation is that great and I would rather have a different feeling one that doesn't mess with level scaling.
Perhaps, to help the explanation, it would be good to note that I would prefer that Paladins, Rangers, Psions (or whatever we call them), and (possibly) Shaman not cast spells. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have supernatural abilities, mind. Just that their supernatural power should not be the narrow, highly specific thematic-mechanical structure that is "spellcasting." So I would likewise want Swordmages to definitely use magic (it's right there in the name, "mage"!) but NOT cast spells in the sense of having a set of slots, preparations, etc., etc., instead having something like magical maneuvers that are skill and supernatural combined.

And yeah, the idea is to have a class where you can't necessarily disentangle the sword from the mage.
Oh yeah! I'm REALLY not a fan of the Eldritch Knight and it's 'Sword in one hand, cantrip in the other'. They should be doing both at the same time!

It doesn't help that a lot of Ranger 'spells' are basically just stuff like traps or 'shoot a lot' because making new spells is easy I guess.

I think Paladins should get 'Miracles' and can spend those 'Miracles' on stuff like smites or a series of utility spells. Basically reverse the current paradigm where you sacrifice spells for smites: you sacrifice smites for spells. It would feel more thematically appropriate and DIFFERENT from the Cleric.
 


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