D&D (2024) How to fix multiclassing?

Yaarel

He Mage
By splitting the features at level 1 into level 0 features + level 1 features, a multiclassing character can take the level 0 features when starting a secondary class, before later leveling up to level 1 and beyond.

Starting with level 0 helps a smoother incremental improvement when gaining the features of different class.

Dipping requires an additional level of investment, whence more narrative description of improvement when learning a new class.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
By splitting the features at level 1 into level 0 features + level 1 features, a multiclassing character can take the level 0 features when starting a secondary class, before later leveling up to level 1 and beyond.

Starting with level 0 helps a smoother incremental improvement when gaining the features of different class.

Dipping requires an additional level of investment, whence more narrative description of improvement when learning a new class.
It doesn't seem like many classes get a whole lot of things at level one that could be easily split, what would that look like? Is level 0 just a hit die?
 

mellored

Legend
By splitting the features at level 1 into level 0 features + level 1 features, a multiclassing character can take the level 0 features when starting a secondary class, before later leveling up to level 1 and beyond.

Starting with level 0 helps a smoother incremental improvement when gaining the features of different class.

Dipping requires an additional level of investment, whence more narrative description of improvement when learning a new class.
They did this with giving everyone a level 1 feat.

So a fighter 1 might have more fighter stuff than a Sorcerer 3/fighter 1.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
It doesn't seem like many classes get a whole lot of things at level one that could be easily split, what would that look like? Is level 0 just a hit die?
Where each new level has about one feat worth of content, level 1 front-loads with at least four feats worth of features.

It is easy to split level 1 features into several separate levels, nevermind a single level 0 "intro" level.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Where each new level has about one feat worth of content, level 1 front-loads with at least four feats worth of features..
Maybe I was unclear because that like reads like asking for directions only to be told that the directions to arrive at your destination are to drive to your destination without actually being told anything about the route. I'm asking what such a split would look like specifically. What would an actual class (pick one) with it's level 1 split into level 0 & 1 abilities look like? What specifically would that class give a player multiclassing the level 0 & level 1 abilities?
 

mellored

Legend
I'm asking what such a split would look like specifically. What would an actual class (pick one) with it's level 1 split into level 0 & 1 abilities look like? What specifically would that class give a player multiclassing the level 0 & level 1 abilities?
Level 0 is a bonus feat and some skills, and a race feature.
 

Where each new level has about one feat worth of content, level 1 front-loads with at least four feats worth of features.

It is easy to split level 1 features into several separate levels, nevermind a single level 0 "intro" level.
I really disagree that each level has about one feat worth of power even if it might have a feat's worth of description. For example for any primary casting class (i.e. Wizard, Sorcerer, Bard, Druid, Cleric, and arguably Warlock) every odd numbered level up is really powerful compared to first level in another class. More powerful spells are (unsurprisingly) more powerful than less powerful spells.

For the more martial characters levels that are almost certainly more powerful than another first level class are 3 (for your subclass assuming you aren't e.g. a Champion) and 5 (for the extra attack) and frequently 11.

For Paladins I'd throw in 2 (spells, smite), 6 (cha to all saves), 9 (2 third level spells), 13 (your first 4th level spell - the most arguable case), 17 (+1 4th level, your first fifth level), and 14th (Cleansing touch). Oh, and more lay on hands. For Tasha's Rangers again I can throw in 2, 9, 13, and 17 for the magic (including the extra free beast-themed spell), and 10 for nature's veil. And paladins and rangers already have pretty complete kits. Of course I'm not looking at subclasses here which may add things.

However. Not all feats are equal, and class features are even more uneven. To take one example Savage Attacker is an absolutely bargain basement level feat (and there are only a tiny handful of feats taken ahead of ASIs anyway). But if it's a choice between Savage Attacker and Brutal Critical (as the barbarian gets at 9, 13, and 17) give me Savage Attacker. Alert is obviously better than Feral Instinct. (And almost every even barb level 4-16 is either an AS/feat or a subclass feature). There's a reason barbs bail at 6. The fighter gets the equally disappointing Indomitable at 9, 13, and 17 - and generally 2 ASIs and 2 feats are full build so the ASIs at 14 and16 are less useful. There's a reason fighters often bail at 13.
 

I think that the fact that multiclassing is so widely used is probably a sign that it is working as intended.

I don't think that logic follows. After all, what sees a lot of play is often what is overpowered, and few developers intentionally create things to be overpowered.

IMO, I think all that can be said is that, with enough system mastery, any designed-in drawbacks to the current multiclassing design can more than be compensated for.

And let's not forget that 1e multi classing wasn't well designed either, balanced by race themed level limits.

No, I think that's wrong. The racial level limits were intended to make humans more appealing because Gygax wanted the game to be human-centric. The multiclassing rules give back to those races, allowing them to do something humans couldn't and allowing them to spend more XP than they would single-classed. Remember, the racial level limits apply to single class characters, too. This means that a single classed elven fighter can only take advantage of 70,000 XP (lvl 7), and an elven magic-user can use up to 375,000 XP, but an elven fighter/magic user can use up to 750,000 XP, even though 300,000 of it literally does nothing at all.

The real trouble with multiclassing in AD&D was because of the XP table. Through name level the amount of XP you need to get to level N usually equals twice the amount of XP you needed to get to level N-1. This meant that while it took 70,000 XP to be an 7th level elven fighter, a fighter/thief with 70,000 total earned XP would be a level 6 fighter. Being single class was just a terrible value proposition in AD&D if you had MC access. The tables weren't 100% lock-step like that, but they were close. The 375,000 XP vs 750,000 XP in the prior paragraph sounds absurdly different, but the 750,000 XP is what makes a fighter 7/magic-user 11 or... a single-classed magic-user 12 or single-classed fighter 11.


The ultimate fix would be making all classes gain subclass features at the same levels (like once in each tier of play for a total of 4 subclass features), so they could create multiclassing subclasses (instead of multiclassing with, say, sorcerer, you take the sorcerer subclass on top of whatever your base class is, at level 1) and be done with multiclassing entirely.

I think that could work, but it would require a vastly different design than the one in place. It would also only support dipping multiclass.

No to all of this. MC works fine with the exception of warlock. Maybe tune things there and most cheese goes away.

I think you're ignoring the biggest cost of MC in the rules: The fact that classes don't get going until level 3. If there were no multiclassing, then the game would just start at level 3. Level 1 and 2 wouldn't exist. Level 3 would be level 1. You'd maybe even start with 3 HD for survivability, and you'd go from there. That's why character level 1 takes exactly 1 adventuring day to complete, and character level 2 takes 2 adventuring days to complete. Both character levels 1 and 2 are meant to be over with immediately. Class levels 1 and 2 are designed to be a multiclassing tar pit. This is all so that the game can let you do a la carte multiclassing, and punish you by making it cost 2 null levels to do it. The problem with 5e is that some classes (Warlock, Paladin) are still too front-loaded. Warlock is even worse because the class feature table feels empty from level 4 to about level 11.

Personally, I think I would be happier with multiclassing if there were benefits to keeping the classes within 1 level of each other. I'd even be a fan of making all the classes 10-12 levels long and then requiring multiclassing to progress past level 10-12. Given that most features you gain at those levels seem to be either wildly useful or completely pointless or else totally broken (e.g., 7th-9th level spells). With each class capped, the optional multiclassing rule becomes whether you require players to complete the first class before beginning the second, or else if you allow players to start swapping back and forth immediately. Unfortunately, I don't think it would be accepted as D&D.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I don't think that logic follows. After all, what sees a lot of play is often what is overpowered, and few developers intentionally create things to be overpowered.

IMO, I think all that can be said is that, with enough system mastery, any designed-in drawbacks to the current multiclassing design can more than be compensated for.



No, I think that's wrong. The racial level limits were intended to make humans more appealing because Gygax wanted the game to be human-centric. The multiclassing rules give back to those races, allowing them to do something humans couldn't and allowing them to spend more XP than they would single-classed. Remember, the racial level limits apply to single class characters, too. This means that a single classed elven fighter can only take advantage of 70,000 XP (lvl 7), and an elven magic-user can use up to 375,000 XP, but an elven fighter/magic user can use up to 750,000 XP, even though 300,000 of it literally does nothing at all.

The real trouble with multiclassing in AD&D was because of the XP table. Through name level the amount of XP you need to get to level N usually equals twice the amount of XP you needed to get to level N-1. This meant that while it took 70,000 XP to be an 7th level elven fighter, a fighter/thief with 70,000 total earned XP would be a level 6 fighter. Being single class was just a terrible value proposition in AD&D if you had MC access. The tables weren't 100% lock-step like that, but they were close. The 375,000 XP vs 750,000 XP in the prior paragraph sounds absurdly different, but the 750,000 XP is what makes a fighter 7/magic-user 11 or... a single-classed magic-user 12 or single-classed fighter 11.




I think that could work, but it would require a vastly different design than the one in place. It would also only support dipping multiclass.



I think you're ignoring the biggest cost of MC in the rules: The fact that classes don't get going until level 3. If there were no multiclassing, then the game would just start at level 3. Level 1 and 2 wouldn't exist. Level 3 would be level 1. You'd maybe even start with 3 HD for survivability, and you'd go from there. That's why character level 1 takes exactly 1 adventuring day to complete, and character level 2 takes 2 adventuring days to complete. Both character levels 1 and 2 are meant to be over with immediately. Class levels 1 and 2 are designed to be a multiclassing tar pit. This is all so that the game can let you do a la carte multiclassing, and punish you by making it cost 2 null levels to do it. The problem with 5e is that some classes (Warlock, Paladin) are still too front-loaded. Warlock is even worse because the class feature table feels empty from level 4 to about level 11.

Personally, I think I would be happier with multiclassing if there were benefits to keeping the classes within 1 level of each other. I'd even be a fan of making all the classes 10-12 levels long and then requiring multiclassing to progress past level 10-12. Given that most features you gain at those levels seem to be either wildly useful or completely pointless or else totally broken (e.g., 7th-9th level spells). With each class capped, the optional multiclassing rule becomes whether you require players to complete the first class before beginning the second, or else if you allow players to start swapping back and forth immediately. Unfortunately, I don't think it would be accepted as D&D.
100% on all of this, especially the bolded bit. I find that a 2.5x multiplier on both sides of the exp track makes it work out okish compared to single class. Testing the old 2e style works really well since we have ~8years of seeing how multiclass combos play out at the table & just need to scale the costs so a single class PC outpaces the combo MC/DC PC at a rate that should keep both players happy with their choice rather than feeling pressured to choose otherwise
 


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