D&D (2024) How to fix multiclassing?

Amrûnril

Adventurer
Your pro-MC argument is exactly why multiclassing leaves a bad taste in most DMs mouths.

I don't see any evidence that this is the view of "most DMs". Some certainly feel as you do, but this thread is also full of DMs who love the current system.

For my part, I'd say @ECMO3 's experience here is an example of the system working as intended. A player who enjoys the system of customization combining subclasses I never would have thought of combining to create a character with clear strengths (AC, effective use of Hypnotic Gaze) and clear weaknesses (no access to 5th or 6th level spells).
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Snip.

I don't object optional rules.
My answer was specifically to the idea that when you multiclass you should only get your prof bonus for your lowest class level.

This is what I meant with needlessly punishing people who multiclass, just because someone thinks you should split evenly.
If you object the word "punishing", use needlessly penalizing. If you as DM don't want people to not use the optional multiclass rule, just disallow multiclassing and don't add so many penalties that it equals outright not allowing it.
One is honest, one is not.
I think this reveals a second pretty significant disconnect over function of the rules this discussion. The rules should not present players with a 5e style madmax free for all & should at least have occasional limits like the prerequisites 3.x had the exp multiplier like 2ekinda* had or something else like a hit to proficiency bonus. Too often 5e chooses to balance the "maximum fun"<-->"good for gamist or balance reasons" spectrum with "ask your gm" and/or by placing a not really optional at all "optional" footnote on it in like was done with 5e's multiclassing.

Dismissing one end of that spectrum too often creates a situation of the very dishonesty you tossed out because the GM is now forced to be the bad guy & act as the fun police to reimplement basic rules structures & limitations the rules didn't bother to present. In the process of doing those things the GM is subjected to accusations along the lines of of "punishing" their players or getting told that they should just ban the not at all optional thing rather than placing restrictions that might stop it from being most optimal.

The trick in avoiding that problem is for the rules to start with a point where multiclassing has gone too far. Sorlock & hexadin are probably a bridge too far for that & some of those builds have already been called out as such in the thread so they make a good point of being "too far". In keeping with 5e's self wounding simplicity at all costs it's simple enough to just assign each class a multiclassing penalty of 1-N points & apply that penalty to the character's proficiency when they make a multiclass build using that class. The penalty could even be designed in such a way that it only applies if the lower class is more than a specific number of levels behind the higher or so that it changes after some class specific number of levels have been reached. That's the job of a rulebook not punishing the "ask your gm" with a totally "optional" not at all optional rule.

o show how not "optional" the MC rules are
Multiclassing
Multiclassing allows you to gain levels in multiple classes. D oing so lets you m ix the abilities of those classes to realize a character concept that might not be reflected in one of the standard class options.

With this rule, you have the option of gaining a level in a new class whenever you advance in level, instead of gaining a level in your current class. Your levels in all your classes are added together to determine your character level. For example, if you have three levels in wizard and two in fighter, you’re a 5th-level character.

As you advance in levels, you might primarily remain a member of your original class with just a few levels in another class, or you might change course entirely, never looking back at the class you left behind. You might even start progressing in a third or fourth class. Com pared to a single-class character of the same level, you’ll sacrifice some focus in exchange for versatility
Prerequisites
To qualify for a new class, you must meet the ability score prerequisites for both your current class and your new one, as show n in the Multiclassing Prerequisites table. For example, a barbarian w ho decides to multiclass into the druid class must have both Strength and W isdom scores of 13 or higher. Without the full training that a beginning character receives, you must be a quick study in your new class, having a natural aptitude that is reflected by higher-than-average ability scores.
You might have noticed that at no point does it present the option to use MC or not as a topic where the GM should be consulted. For that you need to look above the great big 30ish point Multiclassing header...
THE COMBINATION OF ABILITY SCORES, RACE,class, and background defines your character’s capabilities in the game, and the personal details you create set your character apart from every other character. Even within your class and race, you have options to fine-tune what your character can do. But this chapter is for players who—with the DM ’s permission—want to go a step further. This chapter defines two optional sets of rules for customizing your character: multiclassing and feats. Multiclassing lets you com bine classes together, and feats are special options you can choose instead of increasing your ability scores as you gain levels. Your DM decides whether these options are available in a campaign.
Which goes back to the "dishonest" label that you raised... There's a famous quote about Lies, damned lies, and statistics... layout could fit in there.

*multi/dual classing was straight even split yes but different classes used wildly different exp tables. It's not a perfect 1:1 so much as an example
 

I think this reveals a second pretty significant disconnect over function of the rules this discussion. The rules should not present players with a 5e style madmax free for all & should at least have occasional limits like the prerequisites 3.x had the exp multiplier like 2ekinda* had or something else like a hit to proficiency bonus. Too often 5e chooses to balance the "maximum fun"<-->"good for gamist or balance reasons" spectrum with "ask your gm" and/or by placing a not really optional at all "optional" footnote on it in like was done with 5e's multiclassing.

If you prefer boring instead of fun, that is on you.
I have yet to see something as imbalanced as 3.x.
I for my part have not seen a single combination where barring intentional misreading of the multiclass rules or using classes that are imbalanced themselves have created a problem in my games.

The only thing that created problems were the rest rules, as my games tend to not have that many encounters in a single day. Thus, any multiclass that relies on few powerful daily spells are better than martials... but they paled in comparison to full casters...

To the rest of your post: do as you wish. If you think penalizing people arbitrarily is the way to go... do it... but let me play as I wish...

Edit: and I don't see how any of your quotes prove that multiclassing is not optional.
 

Pauln6

Hero
I think this reveals a second pretty significant disconnect over function of the rules this discussion. The rules should not present players with a 5e style madmax free for all & should at least have occasional limits like the prerequisites 3.x had the exp multiplier like 2ekinda* had or something else like a hit to proficiency bonus. Too often 5e chooses to balance the "maximum fun"<-->"good for gamist or balance reasons" spectrum with "ask your gm" and/or by placing a not really optional at all "optional" footnote on it in like was done with 5e's multiclassing.

Dismissing one end of that spectrum too often creates a situation of the very dishonesty you tossed out because the GM is now forced to be the bad guy & act as the fun police to reimplement basic rules structures & limitations the rules didn't bother to present. In the process of doing those things the GM is subjected to accusations along the lines of of "punishing" their players or getting told that they should just ban the not at all optional thing rather than placing restrictions that might stop it from being most optimal.

The trick in avoiding that problem is for the rules to start with a point where multiclassing has gone too far. Sorlock & hexadin are probably a bridge too far for that & some of those builds have already been called out as such in the thread so they make a good point of being "too far". In keeping with 5e's self wounding simplicity at all costs it's simple enough to just assign each class a multiclassing penalty of 1-N points & apply that penalty to the character's proficiency when they make a multiclass build using that class. The penalty could even be designed in such a way that it only applies if the lower class is more than a specific number of levels behind the higher or so that it changes after some class specific number of levels have been reached. That's the job of a rulebook not punishing the "ask your gm" with a totally "optional" not at all optional rule.

o show how not "optional" the MC rules are
Multiclassing
Multiclassing allows you to gain levels in multiple classes. D oing so lets you m ix the abilities of those classes to realize a character concept that might not be reflected in one of the standard class options.

With this rule, you have the option of gaining a level in a new class whenever you advance in level, instead of gaining a level in your current class. Your levels in all your classes are added together to determine your character level. For example, if you have three levels in wizard and two in fighter, you’re a 5th-level character.

As you advance in levels, you might primarily remain a member of your original class with just a few levels in another class, or you might change course entirely, never looking back at the class you left behind. You might even start progressing in a third or fourth class. Com pared to a single-class character of the same level, you’ll sacrifice some focus in exchange for versatility
Prerequisites
To qualify for a new class, you must meet the ability score prerequisites for both your current class and your new one, as show n in the Multiclassing Prerequisites table. For example, a barbarian w ho decides to multiclass into the druid class must have both Strength and W isdom scores of 13 or higher. Without the full training that a beginning character receives, you must be a quick study in your new class, having a natural aptitude that is reflected by higher-than-average ability scores.
You might have noticed that at no point does it present the option to use MC or not as a topic where the GM should be consulted. For that you need to look above the great big 30ish point Multiclassing header...
THE COMBINATION OF ABILITY SCORES, RACE,class, and background defines your character’s capabilities in the game, and the personal details you create set your character apart from every other character. Even within your class and race, you have options to fine-tune what your character can do. But this chapter is for players who—with the DM ’s permission—want to go a step further. This chapter defines two optional sets of rules for customizing your character: multiclassing and feats. Multiclassing lets you com bine classes together, and feats are special options you can choose instead of increasing your ability scores as you gain levels. Your DM decides whether these options are available in a campaign.
Which goes back to the "dishonest" label that you raised... There's a famous quote about Lies, damned lies, and statistics... layout could fit in there.

*multi/dual classing was straight even split yes but different classes used wildly different exp tables. It's not a perfect 1:1 so much as an example
The 1e mutliclass rules had all sorts of limitations that current power gamers would find unpalatable. Level limits, hit points averaged and rounded down, variable xp tables and hard racial restrictions on certain combinations. Maybe there is an element of 'make multiclassing great again' that has no basis in reality.
 


Clint_L

Hero
Perhaps the reason that the current rules is fine with me is that I don't really do power gaming, and strongly discourage it at my tables. I can see that the current system allows for some powerful combinations, but frankly the alternatives being mooted also allow for some powerful combinations, maybe more so. Any complex system is going to offer opportunities for optimizers to optimize.

And for some folks, that's super fun. So I don't wanna harsh their vibe at their games.
 


mellored

Legend
I wonder if changing the way crits work is one of the key limiters on power combinations. That and paladin smites.
They changed them back.

And no, even if you got advantage and crit on 19, it's still not a huge boost. Especially since they are random.
People remember the time you crit the big bad on turn one. But forget the time you crit the minions that had 2HP left.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
The 1e mutliclass rules had all sorts of limitations that current power gamers would find unpalatable. Level limits, hit points averaged and rounded down, variable xp tables and hard racial restrictions on certain combinations. Maybe there is an element of 'make multiclassing great again' that has no basis in reality.
I agree (and remember) that they were built for a very different game even in 2e so a new version would need some fairly significant changes to shift away from the combo specific rules & maintain the benefits of existing MC without giving up the benefits of an alternate method people might actually use.
My rough draft "this looks maybe more solid than jello" stab at it is this. Dual classed characters can take levels in two different classes. Once doing so they are subject to the following mathy shifts:
  • 1: The experience required for either class is multiplied by 2.5
  • 2:The hit points gained at each level for each class are halved(this is retroactive. Both classes get to start with max hp at their L1 before the total is halved just because it will start working out after that first session
  • 3: Proficiency bonus is equal to the bonus for the highest class minus the gap between it & the bonus for the lowest class.
  • 4:gaining additional levels in the first class after dual classing with a second requires you to gain the 2.5x cost for the next level PLUS the missing part of the 2.5x multiplier for ALL prior levels. The alternative is dual classing can only be done at first level or if the back cost is ignored munchkiny incentives are introduced.
    • For example: A lice has a level 10 PC with 64,000xp & would need an additional 21,000 to reach level 11. She instead decides to take 6 levels of a second class for 35000xp as a goal. In order to resume taking levels in the first class she would need to gain an additional 147,000xp.
    • Bob chooses to dual class at level 1 & begins with the usual +2 proficiency but half the max HD hit points hit points of both classes. He will need 450xp to get 2/1 2250xp for 3/1 or 900xp for 2/2
  • 5: [edit: not sure about spell slots: My first thought is prep & cast them separate 3.x style. The alternatives of no dual classing casters & stacking both sides seem needlessly restrictive & inviting problems from the pressure to dual class for max gain returning]
and here is an interactive spreadsheet doodle with vlookups for seeing it inaction. The 2.5 multiplier might be a bit high but lowering it starts introducing extreme incentive to dual class & a need to go back towards the 2e style combo specific rules because of how the unmodified exp targets grow so quickly as levels advance. Yes these rules could result in a lot of saves but it seemed like leaving them might be a fair trade, I'm not sure what to do about skills but allowing both might be ok given the reduced rate of advancememt & reduced proficiency bonus over a single class pc


The current MC system of extreme permissive extreme flexibility that 5e has in place as the exclusive method is a big part of the reason why suggesting or attempting to alter it results in phrases like like "Punish" "dishonest" "boring instead of fun" being hurled at a GM, having an alternate method would change that and gasp open up new routes for character customization.
 
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Pauln6

Hero
They changed them back.

And no, even if you got advantage and crit on 19, it's still not a huge boost. Especially since they are random.
People remember the time you crit the big bad on turn one. But forget the time you crit the minions that had 2HP left.
When did they change them back? We have only been doubling damage from class features and not item damage. The main problem is the damage spike from paladins but I think that can be overcome by applying a flat +4 damage instead of +1d8 so that only the initial 2d8 is doubled, which is still decent. I think casting the spells should be more effect and more fun than damage layering so reduction of damage to +3 per level might be enough.
 

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