D&D (2024) The state of Multiclass-Dips in One D&D

Pauln6

Hero
I still don't see the problem with dipping.
In ADnD, a fighter mage was only 2 levels behind in both classes...

So dipping 2 levels of fighter in exchange for abilities, which will turn the wizard into a halfway competent fighter mage seems reasonable to me. NOT getting a subclass and one/two less feats and being a bit more MAD too.
I really don't get, where all the dippophobia comes from?

Dipping is a feature, not a bug. Getting strong features is necessary. It is just that those features may not be too strong.
Channel divinity as written seems to strong. Old Hexblade always was too strong. But those are specific problems, not general ones.
Yeah I'm not sure either. I played my character to level 3 as a rogue in 2e and then switched to 0 level wizard and worked my way up. My 5e version also has 3 levels. It gives great versatility but my spells are more lacklustre. I thought that was working as intended.
 

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Yeah I'm not sure either. I played my character to level 3 as a rogue in 2e and then switched to 0 level wizard and worked my way up. My 5e version also has 3 levels. It gives great versatility but my spells are more lacklustre. I thought that was working as intended.

Yes, 2e dual class was way more powerful as 2e multiclassing or 5e multiclassing, as the few xp you lost in the beginning were meaningless compared to the xp you needed later.

The downside was that you had to be the worst specie with 0 bonuses, you had to have extraordinary stats and you had to get along with level low level abilities until you surpassed your first class.

So opting out a bit earlier was the safest way to multiclass.

Human fighter level 1, 2 sor 3 and then switching was not the worst idea to make a useful fighter mage. You get along with thaco 18 (which a mage would not get before level 7, when the lost xp are starting to get meaningless).

edit: you had to be level 2 as fighter, as seen in my last post.
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I still don't see the problem with dipping.
In ADnD, a fighter mage was only 2 levels behind in both classes...

So dipping 2 levels of fighter in exchange for abilities, which will turn the wizard into a halfway competent fighter mage seems reasonable to me. NOT getting a subclass and one/two less feats and being a bit more MAD too.
I really don't get, where all the dippophobia comes from?

Dipping is a feature, not a bug. Getting strong features is necessary. It is just that those features may not be too strong.
Channel divinity as written seems to strong. Old Hexblade always was too strong. But those are specific problems, not general ones.
Some people look at character classes as LEGOS; you can just grab the pieces that make your character concept work. Thus your "Pirate" might be a Barbarian/Fighter/Rogue/Ranger, if that gives you the abilities you feel you should have.

Other people see character classes as the core of a character's identity. Your character is a Fighter. Or a Wizard. Or a Barbarian. Not some Frankenstein cobbled together out of the best parts to create an abomination.

In AD&D, if you were a Fighter/M-U, that's what your character was. You never stopped being that, and it wasn't like you could grab a few levels of something else on top of it.

*With the notable exception of dual-classing, which was required for the 1e Bard build. Despite the name, you could pick up multiple classes with dual-classing, though constantly having to go back to level 1 and having to pretend you didn't have any other class abilities had it's own issues- I don't know of any insane dual-classed characters, but now I wish I had an AD&D game to join to see what's possible!

On top of all of this, there's the issue of balance.

If a Paladin/Sorcerer or a Paladin/Warlock seems to be more potent than a Paladin single-class, the question becomes, why should anyone be just a Paladin?

I personally like multiclassing, and the ability to do it, but for some classes, reaching the highest levels doesn't seem terribly rewarding. Especially when you consider how few games go on to those levels in the first place.

Even if [Class] 20 is more powerful than [Class]8/[Class] 12 in the long run, if [Class] 4/[Class] 4 is stronger NOW than [Class] 8, and the campaign is unlikely to go past level 11-12, what's the better choice?

If the better choice is multiclassing, that presents a problem. And yeah, especially in 2e, multi-classed characters did tend to be better than single-classed characters, because the few levels you lost didn't tend to give you that much once you hit high levels, in exchange for a lot of versatility- but at the same time, the low levels were a real grind.

In 5e, maybe waiting a level for that new spell or extra attack seems painful, but it's a lot less painful than a Half-Elf Ftr/Thf/M-U desperately waiting to earn 3,750 xp to get his 1/3 of a d6 hit points!
 
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Some people look at character classes as LEGOS; you can just grab the pieces that make your character concept work. Thus your "Pirate" might be a Barbarian/Fighter/Rogue/Ranger, if that gives you the abilities you feel you should have.

Other people see character classes as the core of a character's identity. Your character is a Fighter. Or a Wizard. Or a Barbarian. Not some Frankenstein cobbled together out of the best parts to create an abomination.

In AD&D, if you were a Fighter/M-U, that's what your character was. You never stopped being that, and it wasn't like you could grab a few levels of something else on top of it. If you dual-classed, you could only do that once.*

*Yes, the 1e Bard, but that was the only way to do something like that, it was optional, and how many people actually got to play one, or tried to?

Are you sure about only being able to dual class once? I remember that you could do it as much as you wanted if you had the stats and if you always surpassed your highest class. And each reset was a setback at ever increasing level so the risk/reward became always higher.
 
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In general (and at the end I will show an exception so no one thinks I think this means always) it depends on how long you expect to play. If I plan on playing for 7-10 levels taking 2 classes 1 as a dip sounds fantastic because in general I am not missing out on much. I get more options (always a plus in my group) for a slight power hit.
Lets say I play in a game that will be level 3-level9 (so 6-7 level of actual play) taking cleric or druid from 3rd to 9th is very powerful with 5th level spells in the end game, but taking a 2 level dip into paladin for divine smite and a fighting style and some spells that I can't cast can be a lot of fun... the extra on average 1hp is a bonus.
If I am going to play that same character to level 15 or 16 yes that 2 level dip is still just 1 level of spells known but the high level spells get hit much longer... I am 2 levels behind not just in 5th level spells but 6th and 7th and might negate 8th level spells from the end game.

So the cost of 5th level spells for a level or so and delay 4th and 3rd level spells for a bit is counter balanced for the bonuses of the other class... BUT that same dip effects much longer at almost double the # of levels.

EXCEPTION:
I played a 20+EB game. We started at 3rd and in the end I had 4 or 5 epic boons. I started as a fey pact tome warlock who was trying to collect as many at will spells as I could and use them as creative as I could (I even didn't take Eldritch blast just to prove a point) However the warlock last few levels stink... so I took 3 levels of divine soul sorcerer. I got some sorcery pts (and more with a feat) and more at wills and some divin spells (I already had magic adept druid) so it was a HUGE boon to my power.

Now to contrast (and go back to my point) I took 3 levels of battle smith artificer and 2 level of blade singer wizard to start my 5th level character (we just hit 7th level and I am still just going up wizard) and yeah, a 7th level bladesinger would have more spells and higher level slots, but those 3 levels of BS art gave me the ability to use my 20 Int for attacks with magic weapons, and to infuse my sword to BE a magic weapon until I picked up my magic 'Dragon Soul' sword... and then it switched to being on my armor (that is insane for my level when I blade dance). BUT it is a newish DM that is already not showing signs of being in this for the long haul... so in exchange for only having 2nd level spells I know a boat load of 1st level ones (including cure wounds) I still have 3rd level slots to up cast, and I have more HP (3d8 over 3d6) a better Con save (artificer is prof + in blade dance I get +Int if it is for concentration) and that big buff in melee attacks. The 7th level cleric has more umph then me but less options (and can't auto succeed on base concentration saves like I can) the warlock is in a similar boat to me she multied for 1 or 2 levels of rogue, and the others aren't even casters so they at best are my equal but the new player already is upset that fighter isn't as much as our three casters (two multi classed) in combat... now this is MAYBE a bad example since the DM had us roll for stats and I blew everyone away with mine...

1670950037424.png
 

Pedantic

Legend
I'm confused as to why multiclassing is the underlying problem here. It very much feels like we're making an intrinsic argument that dips in and of themselves are bad, not in the pursuit of some particular design reason.

If a Fighter 1/rogue 7 is better than a rogue 8, that suggests whatever rogues get at 8 isn't particularly impressive. I don't think we can evaluate higher level class features as generally "worth" putting up with less impressive mid-level features, because it's very much not a given that any game ever uses them. With that in mind, I think it's much more pointing to a need to make class features after level 3 more compelling than the 1-3 features of other classes.

Honestly, I don't think there's much wrong with a lot of the classic dip options. Hexblade, for example, isn't really that overwhelmingly powerful; you're just adding "attack with a weapon" to the most of spellcaster action options at expected accuracy. Given that it's an action cost vs. casting spells (and excludes clerics and wizards), I think it's honestly a better argument that "attack with int, wis or cha" should probably be a feat instead of requiring multiclassing.
 

Pauln6

Hero
I'm confused as to why multiclassing is the underlying problem here. It very much feels like we're making an intrinsic argument that dips in and of themselves are bad, not in the pursuit of some particular design reason.

If a Fighter 1/rogue 7 is better than a rogue 8, that suggests whatever rogues get at 8 isn't particularly impressive. I don't think we can evaluate higher level class features as generally "worth" putting up with less impressive mid-level features, because it's very much not a given that any game ever uses them. With that in mind, I think it's much more pointing to a need to make class features after level 3 more compelling than the 1-3 features of other classes.

Honestly, I don't think there's much wrong with a lot of the classic dip options. Hexblade, for example, isn't really that overwhelmingly powerful; you're just adding "attack with a weapon" to the most of spellcaster action options at expected accuracy. Given that it's an action cost vs. casting spells (and excludes clerics and wizards), I think it's honestly a better argument that "attack with int, wis or cha" should probably be a feat instead of requiring multiclassing.
Thematically, paladin and warlock abilities don't feel like they should synergise. The power sources don't seem compatible. If you could only use paladin smites when attacking as a paladin, this would exclude using charisma, since you only use that when channeling warlock pact blades. Would that be enough to kill the overpowered combo or would it be going too far? Personally, I think spell smiting should be a bonus action and there should be a flat bonus damage for higher level slots rather that additional dice.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Are you sure about only being ablento dual class once? I remember that you could do it as much as you wanted if youa had the stats and if you always surpassed your highest class. And each reset was a setback at ever increasing level so the risk/reward became always higher.
Well, my thought was, it was implied because they called it "dual" class, not "switch classes as much as you want". I have no actual evidence either way, other than what happened when I tried to dual class a second time in Baldur's Gate I (nope!), though I'm not saying we should take the rules of a computer game as evidence.

EDIT: checking the 2e PHB however, to my surprise, it actually does say there is no limit to the number of classes a character can acquire! I will go back and edit my earlier post.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Well, my thought was, it was implied because they called it "dual" class, not "switch classes as much as you want". I have no actual evidence either way, other than what happened when I tried to dual class a second time in Baldur's Gate I (nope!), though I'm not saying we should take the rules of a computer game as evidence.
dual class was two classes only. Multiclass was highly restricted & mostly two classes only but an elf or half elf could go with a fighter/mage/thief combo for 3

edit: I stand corrected
 
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If a Fighter 1/rogue 7 is better than a rogue 8, that suggests whatever rogues get at 8 isn't particularly impressive. I don't think we can evaluate higher level class features as generally "worth" putting up with less impressive mid-level features, because it's very much not a given that any game ever uses them. With that in mind, I think it's much more pointing to a need to make class features after level 3 more compelling than the 1-3 features of other classes.
this is a BIG issue with those classes... a fighter 2/Rogue X can most likely do anything a Fighter 2+X or Rogue 2+X can do but better... at 20th level a 6th level fighter (eldritch knight) Rogue (arcane Trick) 14 is a 6th level caster with access to the best spell schools and 7d6 sneak attack with 2 attacks or 1 attack and a cantrip (like say a green flame blade) can wear heavy armor or light if you have a good dex.
The sad part is that a Fighter (EK) 6 Rogue (AT)6 Bard (sword or valor) 8 is better still with 2 attacks (or 1 attack+cantrip) 3d6 sneak attack and 12 caster levels (although only 1st level spells from the 2 EK/AT and 4th level spells from bard)... you can trade 2 levels from F and R making them 5/5 (giving up the 2nd caster level from each) take 2 more bard levels and get the spells bad but now access 5th level spells...
this is just sad.
Honestly, I don't think there's much wrong with a lot of the classic dip options. Hexblade, for example, isn't really that overwhelmingly powerful; you're just adding "attack with a weapon" to the most of spellcaster action options at expected accuracy.
My problem is that paliden SHOULD have 'use cha to attack' also... becuse a level 17+Paliden is no where near as cool or useful as paliden 6 hexblade 11+ that synergy is just too amazing.
The monster I saw that was paliden 3/hexblade 3/ divine soul sorcerer X or Bard X was crazy powerful compared to a paliden of equal level.
Given that it's an action cost vs. casting spells (and excludes clerics and wizards), I think it's honestly a better argument that "attack with int, wis or cha" should probably be a feat instead of requiring multiclassing.
I think it should be (and I know I get pushback) just baked into the game... attack with any stat, here is the fluff to go with it. Want to make a fighter attacking with Wis, go for it, want your Rogue to attack with Cha, cool, want your ranger or barbarian to attack with Con (the hardest to justify but not impossible) yup.
 

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