D&D 5E Multiclassing in Next


Here's how I think it'll work. This is the multiclass wizard:

Level 1: 1d4HD, MA+2, WA+0, Spell DC 10+INT, Arcane Magic, Spellbook
Level 2: 2d4HD, MA+2, WA+0, Spell DC 10+INT,
Level 3: 3d4HD, MA+2, WA+0, Spell DC 10+INT, Cantrips
Level 4: 4d4HD, MA+3, WA+0, Spell DC 11+INT,
Level 5: 1d4HD, MA+3, WA+0, Spell DC 11+INT,

Spell power (based on total level)
Level 2: 1 1st level spells
Level 3: 2 1st level spells
Level 4: 3 1st level spells,
Level 5: 4 1st level spells, 1 2nd level spells
Level 6: 4 1st level spells, 2 2nd level spells

What does it mean?

A 3rd level fighter multiclasses in wizard. She gets:
a 1d4 HD
+0 to Weapon Attacks
+2 to Magic Attacks when casting wizard spells
the ability to cast Arcane Magic
A Spellbook
3 1st level spells casted as a 4th level wizard with a DC of 10+ her INT mod

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There is one other possibility that could work, but which would add an additional layer of complication to spells: anyone who wants to learn a spell must meet certain prerequisites. This is an approach that was previously tried for the maneuvers in the 3.5e Book of Nine Swords.

Trailblazer (a d20 variant) has a neat take on this. Casting ability stacks by giving casting classes a "base magic bonus". In order to cast/learn a spell of level X, you must have at least X levels in a class that has that spell on its list and 10 + X in the relevant ability score.

I've recently been musing about creating an AEDU/Vancian hybrid system using Bo9S abilities as melee "spells" to let all multiclassing and classes work this way. Maneuvers and Spells would be Stunts that would follow one universal chart based on character level. Prolly have to make up a Stunt list for rogues, etc. though....lotta work, that. Maybe too much.


I see a lot of references to how Star Wars Saga Edition does multi-classing. I ran a long running campaign and I'm playing in one now. Multi-classing in D&D should be different than Star Wars.

In SWSE, everyone multi-classes their characters. I don't know anyone that sticks with the same class with the exception of a few jedi. Most jedi players I know tend to dip in either noble or soldier. My armored soldier dipped into scout just so he could get the Evasion talent. Mult-classing in SWSE is how you optimize. It works for SWSE, but I don't want that system for D&D.


First Post
Multiclassing was done right the first time. Every version since has either been weaksauce or overpowered. Looks like 5e will be no different.

You ain't wrong, but I think there's a nuance I could explain better, so lemme try.

Often, especially when you're new, picking a given class is more a matter of archetype and "cool toys" than it is anything else. If I decide to play a fighter, it's because I like the idea of being the dude who can walk up to the dragon and stab it in the face, and because I like what the fighter gets to do to help them do that (stunts in 5e's current iteration) -- maybe I saw that at level 7, Fighters get to throw creatures around like ragdolls, and I think that's awesome, and want to do that, so I pick "Fighter."

Those elements are part of the fun I get from the game. I get to pretend to be a badass warrior. I get to throw people around.

Now, when the rest of my party reaches level 7 along with me, the rogue grabs that ability, too.

Suddenly, my strength isn't special anymore. Anyone can learn to do anything.

Now that makes a little more since. And the fighter is a much better example then the wizard. I dont want to see that multi classing eaither.

A 8th level fighter who takes his 9th level as wizard, and gains 2 spells.per day but they can be 1 second and 1 3rd seams fine to me, he still isnt close.to the power of a wizard. On the other hand a rogue 8 who takes 1 level of fighter and gets 2d6 combat sup at will and any 2 manuvers sounds way over the top.

Takeing level 1 of a class at level 9 should give you some cool level aprprate tricks, but it should always be less and worse then a level 9 of that class.

To go back to your example, a rogue should not be able to throw people like a rag doll as easy as a fighter, but at some point if he is multi class he should be able to get a lesser version of it


"You can expect that the multiclass rules will break out abilities so that a player cannot take a single level in one or more classes in order to combine a number of signature abilities."

It looks like R&D finally hit upon the real problem with multiclassing in 3e: cherry-picking. I like where Mike Mearls is going with this so far. I think the concept is great so far. I am interested to see how it develops further.


Victoria Rules
First of all, the cost you paid for an off-class level increases retroactively as you level. Fighter 1 / Thief 1 doesn't seem like a big deal. You pull from the table for a single level at Level 2. By Fighter 9 / Thief 1 that Thief level is costing you Fighter 10. Are you still only getting what you got at second level for it? If it isn't scaling then multi-classing would be a sucker's bet.
That's because your thinking is stuck in 3e mode, where everything is additive and a "10th level character" might not have any actual levels higher than 3, as in Ft-3/Wz-1/Rg-2/Cl-2/Bd-2

It shouldn't be that way.

First off, 5-class monstrosities like my example simply should not exist, period.

Second, if the levels advanced independently of each other and a 9-1 was thus only trivially different from a single-class 9, your issue would go away.
Dannyalcatraz said:
The main reason I disliked AD&D multiclassing- after the racial restrictions that need not be dragged along- is that it only supported one kind of multiclassing PC concept, namely, someone who has always mixed their adbvancement and always will.
This is trivially easy to work around. All you need is some guidelines for how one might pick up a class during one's career - I'd suggest it would involve at minimum a half-year's training (i.e. adventuring downtime) to become a raw 1st with 0 XP in the new class. Then, you carry on as if a 1e multi from there.

Example: I start off as a straight Fighter for the first 5 levels (say, 20,000 XP worth), then decide I want to pick up a bit of MU on the side so I can do my own Identify spells on my armour and weapons. I take 6-12 months off from adventuring and spend this time instead in a crash course in spellcasting*. When I come back I'm a F-5/MU-1 and my XP are split at 20000-0. I decide from here on I'm going to divide my earned XP 50-50 between my two classes.

Next adventure earns me a total of 6000 XP; so I'm now at 23000 on the Fighter side and 3000 on the MU side, which bumps me to MU-2: I'm now F-5/MU-2. And I carry on from there.

Point is, using 1e as a jumping-off point doesn't necessarily mean you have to multi right from the start.

* - some sort of lengthy training time is essential - this business of just jumping into an entirely new class on a whim when you bump (as in 3e) is so lame it can't stand up.



Staff member
Next adventure earns me a total of 6000 XP; so I'm now at 23000 on the Fighter side and 3000 on the MU side, which bumps me to MU-2: I'm now F-5/MU-2. And I carry on from there.

OTOH, if you gain more than that, you might pop up a couple of levels in MU. Not sure I like that.

Nah...still prefer 3Ed's version.


I really can't agree that a F10/W1 needs to be "balanced & useful." He's a fighter who learned some minor magics, so he should be a little bit better & more flexible than F10, and a lot tougher than W1. That's it.
The problem is that, in 3E, the XP paid for that level were much higher than if (for example) it has been acquired as a F1, or a F5.
[MENTION=29398]Lanefan[/MENTION]'s idea seems better to me in this respect - of decoupling class levels and not treating them as additive - although it mucks up hit dice (as you also note in your other thread).


Staff member
The problem is that, in 3E, the XP paid for that level were much higher than if (for example) it has been acquired as a F1, or a F5.

The XP cost is essentially immaterial- the REAL cost of multiclassing into a new class is the lack of access to higher level abilities within your original base class.

IOW, whether your fighter PC takes Wiz1 at 2nd level or 19th, the most important cost isnt the XP cost, it is the opportunity cost of losing the list of benefits gained as a level 20 fighter. (And as Dandu might point out, this is more obvious if it's a Wizard dipping for Ftr1...)

Li Shenron

The risk is also that the same fighter who takes Level 16 of Cleric only gets first level magic that's useless against the 16th-level undead he's fighting.


The problem can be partially solved like this: you have a character level that measures your overall vertical power. Your assortment of class levels measures your overall horizontal power.


The above illustrates one of the more critical problems with this: you loose one of your main motivators for gaining levels.


So there needs to be some refinement of that idea.

I think this post was very good!

For me the idea that a 15th level Fighter taking a level of Wizard should get a 16th level Wizard ability goes against my suspension of disbelief big time, and it's very much a dealbreaker (just for using multiclassing in the game, not for 5e as a whole!).

It's the old example of "pianist surgeon" IRL. There is nothing in the world that prevents an experienced surgeon to pick up piano lessons, or a professional pianist to enroll to a medical school.

But the 15th level surgeon just can't pretend to suddenly play piano at the same level of the professional pianist, even if all the surgeon can play is ONE song. And the professional pianist just cannot be able to suddenly perform a surgery at professional level, even if it's just one specific surgery. They both can try something but their results just cannot be quickly brought up to a professional level, by a large margin.

So rather than sacrificing reason and believability for "balance", let's go back to your first sentence (highlighted) and see that what the 5e designers really need to do, is make that 1st level magic still useful at 16th level.

The problem is really only with damaging spell, but if gamers keep reasoning only with "damage output" in mind, this is going nowhere. A Fighter should not be entitled to suddenly pick up a 100-dmg spell because it's plain ridiculous. But if the same Fighter picks up Burning Hands, this has only a very minor impact against a 16th-level monster. So what? It just means that this choice is a bad strategic choice for a Fighter, and what is wrong with having some bad strategic choices in the game? Why does every conceivable strategic choice always be as good as others? Trying to be a professional surgeon and a professional pianist is not normally a good life strategy (tho there have been rare people successful at both, but not starting their second career after 20 years in the first) why should it be so in D&D?

But OTOH is said Fighter picks other spells that by their nature are not damage-dealers but useful for other circumstances, there are actually dozens of valid options. Or he can even indeed pick up Burning Hands, and use it against minions only (which we know will still be a threat at high levels in 5e, so it's not a moot point...).


First Post
Edit: I think I meant to quote some other part of Li Shenron's post above. I may come back and fix that later!

But OTOH is said Fighter picks other spells that by their nature are not damage-dealers but useful for other circumstances, there are actually dozens of valid options. Or he can even indeed pick up Burning Hands, and use it against minions only (which we know will still be a threat at high levels in 5e, so it's not a moot point...).

There might be something we can steal from 4E's race designs here.

4E's racial powers were generally designed to be moderately useful, but to scale inherently.

There are a variety of abilities in D&D that affect the game in ways that aren't affected by the maths scaling of to-hits and hit points. These abilities can be as useful to a 20th level character as they were at 1st level.

These kinds of abilities:

1) Getting re-rolls in specific circumstances. D&D Next already has a generic mechanic advantage/disadvantage for this. A class feature that grants advantage or forces disadvantage is useful at any level.

2) Extra actions. Class abilities that allow you to combaine or add actions scale well because you can always pick your best actions.

3) Conditional bonuses. A +1 or +2 is nearly always welcome, and in the bounded accuracy system is a big deal. However, this is where some abuses of 3E's system have crept in - it doesn't work where all the classes simply add differing amounts to the same things. The bonuses involved need to be relatively unique to class-specific effects, and where classes overlap, they cannot be front-loaded into level 1 multiclassing.

4) Special forms of movement.

5) . . . er, help me out, I'm sure there are tons, but I need to stop for now :)

. . . if classes each have some of these abilities, and multi-class options picked them out and favoured them, this would go some way to making multi-class dipping relevant at any level.

Some of the stuff mentions that it may take a few levels to get signature abilities. I believe somewhere else said that a level of Wizard may only get the ability to use wands. Which could mean only 1st level spells after 2 levels, or only combat superiority or sneak attack after 3 levels. Though I am not sure how this could mean that the higher level you enter a class the more powerful that one level is.

I suspect there will be 2 tables of multiclass advancement, one based on number of levels in the class, and the other based on character level.


So rather than sacrificing reason and believability for "balance", let's go back to your first sentence (highlighted) and see that what the 5e designers really need to do, is make that 1st level magic still useful at 16th level.






This philosophy is what got us quadratic wizards in 3E. It's what got us into this mess in the first place. "Glitterdust is always useful! Grease is always useful!" Well by the time the wizard hits level 16, he has like 30 useful spells! He's not a limited caster, he's the goddamn Batman!

If spell slots are just as useful at level 16 as they are at level 1, Wizards better get them reeaaaaalllll slowly (like, starting with 4 at first level and moving to 8 at 20th, with no spell being higher than level 3).

If conceivably 1 level of Wizard did give access to 1st level spells (which may not necessarily be the case), it could be at later level "you get a first level spells that you can prepare as a higher level spell". If there's one thing we haven't seen in the system yet, is preparing lower level spells as higher level that they've mentioned. So it's possible that a fighter who took a few wizard levels might do 10d6 damage with Burning Hands (which would probably be less than what they can do with Combat Superiority Deadly Strike to a single target), even though I'd feel they'd be better off using their prepared spells on something else like Expeditious Retreat, Jump or Shield.


Staff member
It should be up to the Wizard's player to make his low-level spells useful later on in his life, not something hard-coded into the spell.

And a Fighter with 3 levels of Wizard should not be getting more OOMPF out of a spell than a 3rd level Wizard, if for no other reason than it makes "Level" a meaningless term. Why should levels of Fighter make his Burning Hands better? My years of bowling don't make me a better lawyer, after all.
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First Post
So, if a 10th level fighter / 3rd level wizard can't cast any better than a 3rd level wizard, can they fight better than a 10th level fighter?

How about a 10th level fighter / 3rd level rogue compared to a 10th level fighter (or 3rd level rogue, whatever)?


That's a heck of a double standard... and more and more reason not to use 3rd edition's multiclass model by default, to dodge it :)


First Post
The models presented for XP buy-in so far look like disasters waiting to make land-fall. With those models eventually the math plays out so that it becomes empirically superior to dump 10,000 XP into a handful of multi-class levels instead of a fraction of a single higher level - even if it is just for the sake of hit dice and attack bonuses.

No, if multi-classing even vaguely resembles what the articles have already described then it is going to be a hard level-for-level trade. The only way to make it work is to have the worth of multi-classing escalate based on two variables: 1.) Total number of levels in [Multi-Class Class XYZ] and 2.) Total character level - IE F10/(MC)MU2 = Level 12.

Basically having 1 level of Multi-Class Magic-User means something when you are F1/(MC)MU1 (Level 2) and something different 4 levels later when you make F5/(MC)MU1 (Level 6). F4/(MC)MU2 should be demonstrably different from F5/(MC)MU2 as well, but completely comparable in power level due to both being 6-level builds.

I can't see any reliable scaling math that holds up over time free-range. I think they'll at least need to be a constraint that you can't have more Multi-Class levels than your primary class levels. That might at least make things manageable. Even then, though, to make sure things scale relevantly with level trades you'd need multiple tables: one for each level of Multi-Class (Whatever Class), with an relationship of character level vs. benefits.

For example:
<table> <caption>Multi-Class Cleric Level 1</caption> <thead> <tr> <th>Character Level</th> <th>Benefit</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>Channel Divinity 1d8/day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>Channel Divinity 1d8/day, 1 Minor Spell</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>Channel Divinity 1d8/day, 1 Minor Spell, 1 First Level Spell /day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>Channel Divinity 1d8/day, 1 Minor Spell, 2 First Level Spell /day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>Channel Divinity 2d8/day, 2 Minor Spells, 2 First Level Spells /day</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

Etc. Ad Nauseam up to Character Level 19.

Then you'd need another table like this:

<table> <caption>Multi-Class Cleric Level 2</caption> <thead> <tr> <th>Character Level</th> <th>Benefit</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>Channel Divinity 2d8/day, 2 Minor Spells, 2 First Level Spells /day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>Channel Divinity 2d8/day; 2 Minor Spells; 3 First Level, 1 Second Level Spells /day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>Channel Divinity 2d8/day; 2 Minor Spells; 3 First Level, 2 Second Level Spells /day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7</td> <td>Channel Divinity 2d8/day; 2 Minor Spells; 3 First Level, 3 Second Level Spells /day</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8</td> <td>Channel Divinity 2d8/day; 2 Minor Spells; 3 First Level, 3 Second Level, 1 Third Level Spells /day</td> </tr> </tbody></table>

All the way up to Level 18. Then you need a Multi-Class Cleric Level 3 table that runs from levels 6 - 17, a Multi-Class Cleric Level 4 table from 8 - 16 ... up to a Multi-Class Cleric Leve 10 entry that's only one row: Character level 20: Benefits comparable to losing levels 11-20 of your primary class.

Like I said, metrics that don't create obvious scenarios where Multi-Classing is categorically better or worse than playing a class straight are going to be ridiculously tightly controlled data-point by data-point, not some willy-nilly combination scale like 1st Ed or 3rd Ed used.

1E scale was weak sauce except for level caps: two CL3/MU3 in a party were nowhere near as powerful as one CL6 and one MU6 (yes, I know I have the XP by class scale over-simplified).

3E scale was broken except that dedicated casters were Quadratic and thusly head-and-shoulders better than any non-casting multi-classer while multi-classing was terrible for casters.

Let's face it, Dungeons and Dragons has never had a balanced, elegant, or effective multi-classing system. The most popular variants were only held together by existing rules defects that nobody wants to see come back. Doing it right is going to be ridiculously difficult and detail-oriented work.

- Marty Lund
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