D&D 5E Q&A: Mage Cantrips, Multiclass req., and the Psion

Dausuul

Legend
IMO, the multi-classing prereqs are a roundabout way to address a problem that should be tackled directly. You want to prevent people from dipping six different classes? Then cap the number of classes you can have at three. Boom, done. I have a very hard time imagining a character concept that you can't build with three classes.

Right now, not only do you have to plan out your stats in advance, but the system invites all kinds of shenanigans around the fact that stat requirements don't apply to your first class. If you want to have a "dip" class that you don't commit to heavily and a "main" class that you sink most of your chargen resources into, the way you do it is to take your first level in the dip class and then multiclass into your main class. So if you want to be a rogue with a dip in wizard, you max out Dexterity, take an Intelligence of 12 or so, spend your first level as a sucky wizard, and then start learning to be a rogue. This is silly.

One of the hazards of game design is the desire to get really clever and do everything with elegant, interlocking mechanics that cause all sorts of fancy emergent properties. The problem with this is that it's a very fragile way to build a game. As soon as players and DMs start tinkering with the rules, or finding combinations of the existing rules you didn't foresee, your emergent properties crash and burn. Likewise, it gets very hard for designers to keep track of all the little interactions that result from any change. It's better to avoid relying on emergent properties and build instead with "dumb" mechanics that don't depend on other systems to work right.
 
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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I don't mind the scaling (they don't scale very well and will not be good choices to use at higher levels, I think). But I agree with you they should require more buy-in.

I like your idea that they must be tied to a wand. It makes little sense to me that the lowest level wizard knows how to use an infinite number of a spell, but the highest level of wizard still never learns to do that with any more advanced spells. How is it than an apprentice knows how to cast ray of frost at-will but a 20th level wizard cannot cast magic missile at-will?

Tying it to a wand, staff, rod, orb, or other implement makes sense. It's a focus they must use to utilize that power in that way, which can only handle the lowest level of magic (regardless of caster level). That way, they risk losing the focus, and must use a hand to hold the implement to cast it. It also provides a stronger tie to the background of being educated as a wizard - they must have undergone a task to manufacture this focus, or received it on graduation from their teacher, or something that hands it down or ties it to them prior to becoming a full wizard.

I am pretty much unabashedly pro linking cantrips to equipment.

"I buy a crossbow and get a ranged attack that deals 1d8 piercing damage. Requires 10 DEX."
"I buy a magic wand and get a ranged attack that deals 1d8 cold damage. Requires 10 INT."

Heck,

"I buy a magic holy symbol and get to touch my ally and heal 1d8 damage. Requires 10 WIS."

Makes it a lot easier to mix and match minor spells and basic effects that any character should probably have access to.

And if you want a world where those things don't happen, you just get rid of the particular offending items, much like you'd kick out, say, katanas in a non-Samurai setting or somesuch.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
But if your complaint is about planning characters out too much from the start, there is certainly no evidence that largely unrestricted multiclassing encouraged players to not plan their characters out in detail from the start.

People who like to plan will always plan regardless of whether it is encouraged or not, but people who want to react and adapt over time have a harder time when planning is required. I personally don't like being restricted from changing classes at later levels by unexpected developments of the campaign and my character because I didn't planned for it from day one. Being forced to plan too much ahead from day one and have every turn and change in the development of my character so heavily scripted is a big no sell for me. Being dennied the chance of having a character change outlook on life "because only paragons are allowed to do it" is a big let down. In 3.x there where no limits to multiclassing, you were allowed to go from outstanding rogue to lousy cleric and allowed to develop into a better one as you wisdom increased over time, being forced to expend five or so levels developing a class you are ready to forsake just because "you are not tall enough" to make a change runs counter to it and denies the right to play the character you want to play. Why should the assassin who wants to repent and change ways be forced to go through other eight levels of killing people on their sleep because didn't planned to become a cleric from level one and thus didn't put a 15 on wisdom from day one? why do you have to become more evil before being allowed to be good?
 

Kinak

First Post
I am pretty much unabashedly pro linking cantrips to equipment.

"I buy a crossbow and get a ranged attack that deals 1d8 piercing damage. Requires 10 DEX."
"I buy a magic wand and get a ranged attack that deals 1d8 cold damage. Requires 10 INT."
I'm a big fan of this. I ended up doing something extremely similar for an Eberron homebrew and, although Eberron is obviously dripping with wands, it fits my mental image of basic attack spells very well.

Q&A said:
Mike mentioned in Legends and & Lore that sorcerer and warlock were back to being full classes instead of mage subclasses
Huh, wow, I totally missed that.

It's good to hear, though. I hope the sorcerer ends up grabbing some concepts from the one we got for one packet. It's my favorite class design out of this edition.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Celebrim

Legend
People who like to plan will always plan regardless of whether it is encouraged or not, but people who want to react and adapt over time have a harder time when planning is required. I personally don't like being restricted from changing classes at later levels by unexpected developments of the campaign and my character because I didn't planned for it from day one. Being forced to plan too much ahead from day one and have every turn and change in the development of my character so heavily scripted is a big no sell for me. Being dennied the chance of having a character change outlook on life "because only paragons are allowed to do it" is a big let down. In 3.x there where no limits to multiclassing, you were allowed to go from outstanding rogue to lousy cleric and allowed to develop into a better one as you wisdom increased over time...

Lets say that there are no restrictions on multiclassing and no prerequisites.

Well, if your thief has an 8 Wisdom, he's not technically forbidden from being a cleric, but in practice he is because even singing an orison correctly takes a 10 Wisdom. You end up being a cleric with no class features. So now, if you want to cast spells you have to start planning for the future. If you up and decide spontaneously to pick up a level of wizard, you end up a muddled mess.

As I said, the only way to avoid that is remove all benefits and dependencies related to a class from the ability scores, which means that clerics have no reason particular to be high wisdom. In fact, with good Fort saves they might well be encouraged to dump stat wisdom. That isn't ideal either IMO.

But considering your case of a Rogue that wants to multi-class into cleric spontaneously, my rules require only a minimum 11 Dex and a 12 Wisdom to make that combination. That is far from 'only paragons' are allowed to do it. You just have to be a bit above average. It sounds to me like the problem isn't so much prerequisites but rather that the particular implementation you are complaining about is too punishing and too strongly discourages multiclassing. That's hardly surprising. Almost every edition since 3e has featured far too much overreaction to the mistakes of the prior edition, rather than trying to find happy mediums.
 

Sadrik

First Post
I am pretty much unabashedly pro linking cantrips to equipment.

"I buy a crossbow and get a ranged attack that deals 1d8 piercing damage. Requires 10 DEX."
"I buy a magic wand and get a ranged attack that deals 1d8 cold damage. Requires 10 INT."

Heck,

"I buy a magic holy symbol and get to touch my ally and heal 1d8 damage. Requires 10 WIS."

Makes it a lot easier to mix and match minor spells and basic effects that any character should probably have access to.

And if you want a world where those things don't happen, you just get rid of the particular offending items, much like you'd kick out, say, katanas in a non-Samurai setting or somesuch.
Yes, I completely agree. The question is then if cantrip attacks are made wands and other implements what do you do with the current catrip system then? Remove them and incorporate them into 1st level spells? Many of them could be rituals which could make them virtually at will anyway. Hmm, I like this approach.
 

Sadrik

First Post
Feat and class and equipment and other requirements need to die a horrible death. Crafty game design needs to be put in its place. The more wise you are the better cleric you will be the stronger you are the better power attacker you will be. The stronger you are the better you can accommodate the heavier armors. Arbitrary hard requirement need to be removed to allow open and fluid development of characters. Rather than a hard level requirement make it more powerful as it levels up. Crafty game design.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Lets say that there are no restrictions on multiclassing and no prerequisites.

Well, if your thief has an 8 Wisdom, he's not technically forbidden from being a cleric, but in practice he is because even singing an orison correctly takes a 10 Wisdom. You end up being a cleric with no class features. So now, if you want to cast spells you have to start planning for the future. If you up and decide spontaneously to pick up a level of wizard, you end up a muddled mess.

As I said, the only way to avoid that is remove all benefits and dependencies related to a class from the ability scores, which means that clerics have no reason particular to be high wisdom. In fact, with good Fort saves they might well be encouraged to dump stat wisdom. That isn't ideal either IMO.

But considering your case of a Rogue that wants to multi-class into cleric spontaneously, my rules require only a minimum 11 Dex and a 12 Wisdom to make that combination. That is far from 'only paragons' are allowed to do it. You just have to be a bit above average. It sounds to me like the problem isn't so much prerequisites but rather that the particular implementation you are complaining about is too punishing and too strongly discourages multiclassing. That's hardly surprising. Almost every edition since 3e has featured far too much overreaction to the mistakes of the prior edition, rather than trying to find happy mediums.

Things a wis 8, rogue x/cleric 1 can do in 3.5:

-Use wands with cleric spells
-Use scrolls at a failure chance
-Turn undead
-Use domain powers
-get a periapt of wisdom to suplement his low wisdom and gain orisons, use the 1st level slots to cast more orisons

Things a wis 8 rogue x/cleric 1 (if allowed) could do in the current package:
Actually pretty much everything spells would just be too easy to resist

Hardly "not being allowed to" or "lacking any class features".
 

sidonunspa

First Post
Cantrips still bother me. Unlimited non attack magic is appropriate, though I would still like to see buy in by the player to make certain things unlimited (wand, higher level spell, feat). The problem is the unlimited attack spells and the auto-scaling nature. Unlimited minor illusion is no big deal, but an attack spell that deals more damage than weapons is something mages should have they just need to be something that they dont begin with...


Sadrik if you think they are dealing more damage then a fighter with a weapon, your not reading the same packet I'm reading... yes it can deal some nice damage, but a fighter will out damage a cantrip every round.

Giving them something to fall back on is a good idea, unless you WANT to see them have to fall back to cross bows or daggers....

but hell, as a GM, you can always say "no attack cantrips" or just not let your players find them in the first place (they can be UBER rare in your world)
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
KaiiLurker said:
Hardly "not being allowed to" or "lacking any class features".

The idea is to prevent "accidental suck."

I'm a fan of the requirements as a default for this reason. If the game lets you be a really crappy cleric with 8 WIS, some folks who don't have system mastery are going to be a really crappy cleric, and that'll be surprising to them that the game lets them do something so very ineffective.

Better just to take the option off the table as a default.

I don't think there's going to be much an issue with dropping that requirement.
 

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