No multiclassing penalties?

Should there be multiclassing penalties?

  • Yes, multiclassing penalties are an important balancing factor

    Votes: 68 20.9%
  • No, even without multiclassing penalties it would be balanced.

    Votes: 236 72.6%
  • Other (state below)

    Votes: 21 6.5%

Kurashu

First Post
I don't enforce them. My old DM did from time to time, but it seemed like he mostly forgot about them (then again, this is the DM that thought DR/magic applied to everything but spells).

Then again, the people I play with aren't optimizers, as the fun thing to call them these days, "munchkins."
 

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Shade

Monster Junkie
Glyfair said:
I think if these aren't issues in your game they can easily be discarded. I think the half-elf needs something to replace their "favored class: any" advantage. The human, IMO, is still attractive without it (the bonus feat at first level is possibly the best racial ability in the game).

I'm in full agreement with you.

My solution was to dump the half-elf as a separate race. I've never understood the need for them. If anything, they should be a background feat for a human or elven character, similar to Jotunbrud, the heritage feats, or any of the other "you are descended from X" feats.

I agree that humans, with the bonus feat and skill point per level, are unfazed by dropping the multiclass penalties.
 

Glyfair

Explorer
Shade said:
I'm in full agreement with you.

My solution was to dump the half-elf as a separate race. I've never understood the need for them. If anything, they should be a background feat for a human or elven character, similar to Jotunbrud, the heritage feats, or any of the other "you are descended from X" feats.

I agree that humans, with the bonus feat and skill point per level, are unfazed by dropping the multiclass penalties.

I have to admit, if I was redesigning D&D from the ground up, I would take a page from Fantasy Hero and separate racial abilities into genetic and cultural. A human raised by dwarves would have the human genetic abilities and the dwarven cultural. Of course, the would require a major rebalancing of racial abilities.
 


Thunderfoot said:
I use the penalties, but currently, no one is multiclassing (or for that matter even shows an interest in it.) I guess my biggest concern for multiclassing in 3E is plausability. Tom the mage studies for many years, being an apprentice to learn the proper incantations and just the right balance of fluff and crunch to make the 'magic' happen, finally earning the right to practice on his own. Meanwhile Bob the fighter happens to look at Tom one day and says, oh, I can do that and boom, he's a fighter/mage... Suspension of belief has been flushed down the toilet.
Actually Bob the fighter went to magic school. Studied for a while but never succeeded in spellcasting. Still he has the books and when he gets the chance he tries to study them. A few months hanging out with Tom were all it took to turn the theory into practice. One day boom, it all clicked and on that morning he prepared a spell and successfully cast it later that day.

Of course, this means the Bob character sheet should have always had a spellbook and spell component pouch on it. But most people like to plan out their character's progressions so the above at least is plausible.

Oh, and we don't use the penalties. There's a rogue-27, sorcerer-25 (+2 LA), Fighter-15/special PrC-10 (+2 LA), fighter-8/cleric-9/radiant servant-10, ranger-14/rogue-9/thief-acrobat-4, and my custom class-20 (from my book)/custom PrC-7. Of those characters, only the thief-acrobat involves dipping and those levels were taken during levels 21-24 (levels 25-27 are the ranger levels 12-14).
 
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Aeric

First Post
Multiclassing is often its own penalty. Some classes are complimentary, while others are not. No fighter/wizard is going to be as good at fighting as the single-classed fighter, or as good at magic as the single-classed wizard. That's why we're seeing a lot of new core classes like the warmage or duskblade--so people can have their cake and eat it too.

Some classes do well together--fighter/rogue, for example, or sorcerer/cleric. However, theirs is a lateral expansion of abilities rather than a vertical one. The sorcerer/cleric has a much greater repertiore of spells than a straight-classed sorcerer or cleric, but his power level takes a hit. It's a trade-off, but a reasonable one.

I recently played a fighter/swashbuckler/scout. The combination worked much better for my character concept than any one of the classes could have. Playing leapfrog with the levels in order to avoid an XP penalty was a pain, though.
 


Drowbane

First Post
No

KrazyHades said:
I've wondered whether multiclassing penalties should exist, and I'm considering eliminating them from my game. My reasoning is that one is sacrificing growth in one class to grow in another area. For example, you get fewer spells per day if you're a wizard taking a fighter level, but you get an improved BAB and Fort saves. However, I can see the point of view saying that multiclassing penalties are important because it discourages people from taking a few lvls here and there to take advantage of some powerful class abilities, this letting them create a broken character. What do you think?

EDIT: grammar

Multiclass penalties do nothing but punish those too new to the game to know thier way around them.

Just drop the false penalties and keep an eye on what your players make.
 

RFisher

Explorer
The more I think about, the more I dislike the fact that 3.5 tried to discourage dipping by giving the classes less at first level. You shouldn't change the classes to fix multiclassing (any more than 3.0 already did). You should change multiclassing instead. (Assuming that you think dipping was a problem in 3.0, of course.)
 

Agamemnon

First Post
Plane Sailing said:
I liked those rules so much that I used them in my last D&D campaign. Basically every full 5 levels in your favoured class and you gain a bonus feat. Humans and Half-elves get to choose whatever favoured class they want.

The dynamic it creates is that races often tend towards specialising in their favoured class (rather than being more likely to dabble in their favoured class, which is the way the existing rules work, and seems counter-intuitive to me).

It is an interesting proposition, certainly. A "full" bonus feat with no limitations is kind of a big benefit, certainly, and certain races are already well-disposed towards taking levels in their favored classes (Dwarves). I'd be persuaded to do something like that for PCs who take a lot of base class levels instead of opting for PrCs, myself.
 

jmucchiello said:
Actually Bob the fighter went to magic school. Studied for a while but never succeeded in spellcasting. Still he has the books and when he gets the chance he tries to study them. A few months hanging out with Tom were all it took to turn the theory into practice. One day boom, it all clicked and on that morning he prepared a spell and successfully cast it later that day.

Of course, this means the Bob character sheet should have always had a spellbook and spell component pouch on it. But most people like to plan out their character's progressions so the above at least is plausible.
<SNIP>
And if a player approached me with that during character creation - I would let that fly like a bird - absolutely plausible. My problem is when after four levels of fighter, Bob suddenly wants to sling spells instead of swing swords because that looks cooler and does more damage. Sorry, I don't think so. :)
 

Ranger REG

Explorer
RFisher said:
The more I think about, the more I dislike the fact that 3.5 tried to discourage dipping by giving the classes less at first level. You shouldn't change the classes to fix multiclassing (any more than 3.0 already did). You should change multiclassing instead. (Assuming that you think dipping was a problem in 3.0, of course.)
Wasn't there a discussion about the problem of front-loading class features at low level?

I mean, I don't mind having the ranger's combat style at 1st instead of 2nd class level, or that fighter should be able to specialize at lower than 4th.
 

RFisher

Explorer
Thunderfoot said:
And if a player approached me with that during character creation - I would let that fly like a bird - absolutely plausible. My problem is when after four levels of fighter, Bob suddenly wants to sling spells instead of swing swords because that looks cooler and does more damage. Sorry, I don't think so. :)

Right. Because retconning--even while staying within the rules--so that the player can enjoy his PC more is just wrong. (^_^)
 



Voadam

Legend
Glyfair said:
I think they are a great tool with two main effects. First, they limit min max players who like to "dip" into classes for abilities.

I think a Ranger 2/Fighter 2/Barbarian 2/Rogue 2 is a pretty strong dipping character path for levels 1-8 and can be done by any race without xp penalties. At 9th+ levels they then can qualify for most strong warrior prcs with most any BAB, feat, or skill prereq if they planned for it.
 


Woas

First Post
Arcana Evolved has done away with favored classes and multiclassing penalties completely. Removing those two things is just fine. It works great for the DM just as much as the PC because you can whip up some very interesting BBEG NPC without having to feel bad at breaking the rules in the first place to do it.

The only thing I've noticed that can be a problem is that saves can quickly become a little crazy. But even then the problem only becomes apparent if a character has like 3+ classes and they all share a "Very Good" (+2 at 1st level) save type.
 


Gabester

First Post
Yes, get rid of those stupid rules. They are arbitrary and usually just get in the way.

However, I selected other. Although these rules are very poor at what they are trying to do I do think that it is good to provide a bit more structure for multiclassing. My general guidelines:

1) Do NOT let players pick any classes they want. Many classes are poorly writt.en and poorly balanced. Also, a lot of classes won't make sense in your game world. Spend the time to vet which base classes and prestige classes you will allow In general multiclassing is very well balanced among the core classes and usually only gets really out of hand when players bring in that crazy-broken class they found in a Dragon article or some sourcebook. If restricted to core classes, multi-classing usually reduces overall power -- taking all your levels in the same class generally is the best min/max approach (not always, and there may be temporary boosts to multiclassing but generally it's pretty balanced).

2) Make your characters create a character concept when they start out and stick them to it (unless they do a good job of roleplaying a change in heart). It can also help to create some general limitations on multiclassing. Good rules for that: your first level class must always make up at least half of your base class levels and you can only take a second prestige class if you have at least 5 levels in your first (or max out the levels if there are less than 5).

3) After the revamp of rangers the biggest abuse in the core multiclassing rules is the ability to pick up armor/weapon feats retroactively by taking a level of fighter. You don't get the 4x skills retroactively and you shouldn't feats either. So don't allow this. Taking a new class should never add feats unless they are granted as 1st level abilities. If you want to get free access to all the fighter weapon/armor feats then you're also going to have to take their crappy skills for your first level. Or take Paladin and get stuck with all of their restrictions.
 

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