D&D 5E Dual-classing house rules?

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Almost. One of the key differences is that the Bladesinger subclass's Extra Attack feature IS NOT the same as the Fighter's Extra Attack feature. Specifically, the Bladesinger's Extra Attack stipulates:

Starting at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. Moreover, you can cast one of your cantrips in place of one of those attacks.

Thus, a bladesinger who got all their Extra Attacks via cherry-picking those fighter levels would NOT be able to cast cantrips in place of one of their attacks.

Edit: Ahhhh, it's at 6th level - that is a curveball.
It's a tough challenge. I've seen several posters take a run at "two classes at once from level 1" multiclassing over the years, and there's just a ton of possible exceptions that pop up.
 

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aco175

Legend
I had a n idea to make the 3rd level subclass one of the other classes. I never put much into it though so not sure where to make the powers. Say you wanted to be a fighter/wizard. You could take fighter class and at 3rd level take wizard subclass or go the other way with more wizard and less fighter. It would not be a true split, but more one class with some flavor of the other.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Yeah, that's a more generous interpretation, and ameliorates some of the ideal options like fighter/artificer as @jmartkdr2 mentioned. Of course, this whole wild idea is definitely breaking up the core class structure and is hugely prone to abuse like @Clint_L pointed out.

I'm trying to get a feel for is it breaking within manageable parameters, such that the increased fun options could be worth a little headache? Or is it inviting stuff that's so utterly broken there is no "sane management option"? Basically, where am I on the 1-to-10 scale of This Is Nuts?
About 7.5. :)
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Here's a stab at comparing an 11th level dual-class Fighter/Wizard (prioritizing extra attack) to a multiclass Fighter 2/Wizard 9 like @Clint_L was suggesting...

Character LevelDual-Class
costs 1 feat

requires Dex/Str 13+ and Int 13+
Multiclass
requires Int 13+
1WIZARD (1st level spells, Arcane Recovery), 1d6 hpFIGHTER 1 (Fighting Style, Second Wind), 1d10 hp, armor+weapons
2WIZARD (Arcane Tradition: Bladesinging = Trained in War and Song, Bladesong), 2d6 hpFIGHTER 2 (Action Surge), 2d10 hp
3WIZARD (2nd level spells), 3d6 hpWIZARD 1 (1st level spells, Arcane Recovery), 2d10+1d6 hp
4WIZARD (Ability Score Improvement), 4d6 hpWIZARD 2 (Arcane Tradition: Bladesinging = Trained in War and Song, Bladesong), 2d10+2d6 hp
5FIGHTER (Extra Attack x2), 4d6+1d10 hp, armor+weaponsWIZARD 3 (2nd level spells), 2d10+3d6 hp
6WIZARD (3rd level spells, Arcane Tradition feature = Extra Attack allows swapping out attack for cantrip), 5d6+1d10 hpWIZARD 4 (Ability Score Improvement), 2d10+4d6 hp
7WIZARD (–), 6d6+1d10 hpWIZARD 5 (3rd level spells), 2d10+5d6 hp
8WIZARD (4th level spells, Ability Score Improvement), 7d6+1d10 hpWIZARD 6 (Arcane Tradition feature = Extra Attack allows swapping out attack for cantrip), 2d10+6d6 hp
9WIZARD (–), 8d6+1d10 hpWIZARD 7 (4th level spells), 2d10+7d6 hp
10WIZARD (5th level spells, Arcane Tradition feature = Song of Defense), 9d6+1d10 hpWIZARD 8 (Ability Score Improvement), 2d10+8d6 hp
11FIGHTER (Extra Attack x3), 9d6+2d10 hpWIZARD 9 (5th level spells), 2d10+9d6 hp
 
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Clint_L

Hero
Yeah, that's a more generous interpretation, and ameliorates some of the ideal options like fighter/artificer as @jmartkdr2 mentioned. Of course, this whole wild idea is definitely breaking up the core class structure and is hugely prone to abuse like @Clint_L pointed out.

I'm trying to get a feel for is it breaking within manageable parameters, such that the increased fun options could be worth a little headache? Or is it inviting stuff that's so utterly broken there is no "sane management option"? Basically, where am I on the 1-to-10 scale of This Is Nuts?
That's my question, too. Mind you, none of my main players are hardcore optimizers so this is more of a theoretical discussion for me. If it works at someone else's table, awesome!

I guess my main worry is that the only reason to do multi-classing like this (because that's what it is; it doesn't resemble 1e dual classing at all) is that it seems designed for cherry-picking the most broken combos imaginable. There's a reason, for example, that the current rules require you to do five full levels in a martial class to get that extra attack: it's really powerful! There are a few levels of every class that are clearly the most important, and being able to grab those is going to create some extremely powerful combinations, but will probably also lead to less character variety as everyone goes for the most powerful options.

That's one thing I've found in character creation systems that allow for maximum customization: they tend to result in much more homogenous character designs as everyone homes in on a few optimal builds. I like that the class system forces diversity, so that the characters have to rely on each other to balance out strengths and weaknesses.

Edit: If such things matter in your games, this way of multi-classing is a bit confusing at a narrative level - why does someone who had never done much combat before get to jump right in with a high level fighter ability? Or vice versa for magic?
 
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Quickleaf

Legend
I guess my main worry is that the only reason to do multi-classing like this (because that's what it is; it doesn't resemble 1e dual classing at all) is that it seems designed for cherry-picking the most broken combos imaginable. There's a reason, for example, that the current rules require you to do five full levels in a martial class to get that extra attack: it's really powerful! There are a few levels of every class that are clearly the most important, and being able to grab those is going to create some extremely powerful combinations, but will probably also lead to less character variety as everyone goes for the most powerful options.
I agree with what you're saying about opening up cherry-picked combos for powergaming – I don't think that's the only thing it does, but it definitely does that more than existing rules.

The other reason is to provide more control in realizing character concepts. Just looking at those first 5 levels, there are different character stories being implied – the dual-class character is squishier, a liiiitle more magical in feel, but also quick with the sword cuts. Whereas the multiclass character is sturdier, possilby hits a bit harder (Duelist fighting style), and can pull off some incredible stunts or alpha-striking.

The intent – which I don't think I've quite captured yet – is more of a fusion between classes. "Dual" class in the sense that the character feels like both class X and class Y coming out the gate.

That's one thing I've found in character creation systems that allow for maximum customization: they tend to result in much more homogenous character designs as everyone homes in on a few optimal builds. I like that the class system forces diversity, so that the characters have to rely on each other to balance out strengths and weaknesses.
I definitely agree with that. This is why in my rough draft I've gated this option behind a Feat. Not that I think a Feat is a huge price to pay for some of the combos I'm sure are possible, rather it's differentiating between players who are interested in exploding their options vs. players who are content with being "The Rogue" and not needing all the complexity this approach entails.

In the big picture, I'm trying to set up a "complexity dial" whereby a player can choose a Sidekick Class, a regular Class, engage in Multiclassing, or "Dual-classing" depending on how simple vs. how complex they want their character.

Edit: If such things matter in your games, this way of multi-classing is a bit confusing at a narrative level - why does someone who had never done much combat before get to jump right in with a high level fighter ability? Or vice versa for magic?
Well, the intent – and I agree it isn't quite there yet – is that you'd be a Fighter/Wizard or a Rogue/Cleric right out the gate. That was why initially I'd (broken from what I'd written) put Spellcasting at 1st level.

So I guess there would be a level of the GM trusting the player to play to their character – so if I'm playing Jonah the Rogue/Wizard dual-class character, and I'm focusing on Rogue stuff initially my GM would trust me to create/play Jonah with an eye toward the intended character concept – e.g. taking Arcana proficiency, flavoring some of his Expertise skills with a bit of folkloric/minor magic, maybe "identifying" items with a bit too much confidence for his britches, etc.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I use a system based on 2e multi classing (which I refer to as hybrid classing). It delays the acquisition of higher level abilities in exchange for broader versatility. I actually offer a lot more in terms of options, but that would be a REALLY long post.

It has seen limited play testing, during which it more or less worked but (surprisingly) felt a bit underpowered. I've since added an additional HD when an Ability Point is gained, so maybe that will help.

Since it's based on XP, this obviously won't work for groups that prefer something like milestone progression, but my players (for some confounding reason) are vehemently against milestones, so I don't have that issue.

Hybrid classing must be chosen at creation, and cannot be combined with multiclassing.

  • Each level, gain one HD of your choice from your classes.
  • Gain all weapon, armor, and tool proficiencies from both classes, as well as languages.
  • Choose one common save (Dex, Con, or Wis) and one uncommon save (Str, Int, or Cha) from among your classes.
  • You gain the higher number of starting skills from your classes, and can choose any skills from your class skill lists.
  • If you would gain more than one ability score improvement at a given level, you only gain one.
  • If more than one class grants spellcasting progression, you don't gain spell slots for both classes, however, you do gain a few additional spell slots (see below).
1000011821.jpg


1000011822.jpg
 

Horwath

Legend
My solution is a version of dualclassing that gives more total class levels than character levels(proficiency, number of HDs and HPs still stay at character level).
You just gain extra "class feature" level at levels 5,8,11,14,17 and 20:

Dual classing 5E.jpg



With one exception, no dual classing of two full casters.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I use a system based on 2e multi classing (which I refer to as hybrid classing). It delays the acquisition of higher level abilities in exchange for broader versatility. I actually offer a lot more in terms of options, but that would be a REALLY long post.

It has seen limited play testing, during which it more or less worked but (surprisingly) felt a bit underpowered. I've since added an additional HD when an Ability Point is gained, so maybe that will help.

Since it's based on XP, this obviously won't work for groups that prefer something like milestone progression, but my players (for some confounding reason) are vehemently against milestones, so I don't have that issue.

Hybrid classing must be chosen at creation, and cannot be combined with multiclassing.

  • Each level, gain one HD of your choice from your classes.
  • Gain all weapon, armor, and tool proficiencies from both classes, as well as languages.
  • Choose one common save (Dex, Con, or Wis) and one uncommon save (Str, Int, or Cha) from among your classes.
  • You gain the higher number of starting skills from your classes, and can choose any skills from your class skill lists.
  • If you would gain more than one ability score improvement at a given level, you only gain one.
  • If more than one class grants spellcasting progression, you don't gain spell slots for both classes, however, you do gain a few additional spell slots (see below).
View attachment 346258

View attachment 346259
Correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but your version seems like a gestalt character that is objectively superior to a non-dualclassed PC? Is that the intent?
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but your version seems like a gestalt character that is objectively superior to a non-dualclassed PC? Is that the intent?
Yeah, they're close in concept to gestalt. No on the more powerful (unless you're running a one shot at level one).

The increased XP requirements mean that they get a broader array of abilities, but at a significantly slower progression. The ECL column shows what level a standard character is when a hybrid reaches X level, although it's just a snapshot. In my testing the hybrids underperformed compared to standard characters, such that the design I posted is somewhat more generous than the original playtested design.

For example, let's compare a standard wizard vs a fighter/wizard hybrid. At 6,500 XP the standard wizard is casting fireball, whereas the hybrid is limited to flaming sphere. The standard wizard will hit 6th level before the hybrid gets access to fireball and extra attack.

IMO, while someone could probably power game it, it's harder than with standard multiclassing. Playing a hybrid requires a commitment to all of the classes you are playing. Whereas with multiclassing, it's trivial to dip a level or three and pick up something synergistic that really amps your power. The reward for the hybrid is that you get more of each class than if you were multiclassing.

Take, for example, a gish concept that is equal parts fighter and wizard. Using multiclassing, you end up with F10/W10, which is just terrible. You're not good at fighting, nor are you good at magic. (If you're smart and willing to compromise the concept slightly, you do X9/Y11, but even that won't be amazing.) Whereas the hybrid gish ends up with most of the features of F14/W14, and is serviceable in both capacities, albeit not to the same extent as a 20th level fighter or a 20th level wizard in their party (with respect to their particular roles).

Edit:
I'd like to clarify that concepts like the gish above are why I added this option for my games. I feel like multiclassing supports concepts that leverage dipping a few levels, but falls short when a player wants a concept that's equal parts X and Y class (which are usually quite weak, with rare exceptions like paladin/sorcerer X9/Y11).
 
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