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5E To MC or not MC? That is the question!

Does your game allow multiclassing or not?

  • Multiclassing is a way of life.

    Votes: 4 3.4%
  • Most PCs are multiclassed.

    Votes: 4 3.4%
  • Maybe half the PCs pick up a second class or more.

    Votes: 15 12.7%
  • Sometimes a PC will multiclass.

    Votes: 46 39.0%
  • It is pretty rare for a PC to multiclass.

    Votes: 34 28.8%
  • We don't play with multiclassing (or no one does it anyway).

    Votes: 14 11.9%
  • Other. Please explain below.

    Votes: 1 0.8%

  • Total voters
    118

cmad1977

Adventurer
I've found that with groups that actually play every level, rather than start at a higher level, multiclassing drops a lot.

I suspect it's because there is always something good coming up in the next level that you don't want to delay/be behind the other players. For example, getting an ASI is pretty impactful. And what fighter wants to stay at one attack per round when the others now get 2 at level 5? So they put off multiclassing.

But start at level X? Much easier to do a multiclassed build since you don't have to actually experience those delays
I was always tempted to multi class my barbarian but those sweet sweet abilities just kept popping up.
 

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Olrox17

Adventurer
Or an even better way - allow it to be played as is until the session is over and then talk about it and reach a compromise after.
Keep in mind that, in my experience, these kind of problems never arise during the game, but rather during character creation, before the game even takes place.
Still, I'd rather have the rule in place, clearly laid out in advance for everyone. It might have to do with the fact that we had to deal with some munchkin-y behavior in the past, and this rule worked nicely as a solution to that.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Keep in mind that, in my experience, these kind of problems never arise during the game, but rather during character creation, before the game even takes place.
Still, I'd rather have the rule in place, clearly laid out in advance for everyone. It might have to do with the fact that we had to deal with some munchkin-y behavior in the past, and this rule worked nicely as a solution to that.
My suggestion was a clear rule in place to fix it after the session it became apparent it was a problem in.
 

Olrox17

Adventurer
My suggestion was a clear rule in place to fix it after the session it became apparent it was a problem in.
Ok, so the disagreement here is that I'd rather have the ability to modify something problematic on the fly and discuss about it after the game, and you'd rather keep it RAW during a session and only make changes in between games.
 



Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
I hate a-la-cart multiclassing ("I'll take a little fighter here... a little rogue there... mm... a little more fighter, I guess... and maybe a little bard on the side"). I hate it especially because it tempts people away from their character concept for the sake of optimization. They start out as a pure-class Warlock, but then they see that they'd get a nice little DPR upgrade if they took a few levels of Sorcerer, and suddenly they're considering compromising their character's principles just for a little more DPR. Awful, awful, awful.

Multiclassing worked so much better in AD&D. If you were a Fighter/Mage, you were a Fighter/Mage for life, starting at level 1. I wish they'd go back to that system.
I could understand that some pure-class Warlocks might be fanatically devoted to their patron, and thus anything other than continuing to learn how to be the perfect student would violate their principles. But many other Warlock concepts aren't devoted to their patron in the slightest: their pact may be the result of opportunism, a past indiscretion, or even have been inherited (or otherwise acquired unwillingly). How would it compromise any of these characters' principles to work on honing their sorcerous power?

From my standpoint, al a carte multiclassing simply enables one to mechanically represent a wider range of character concepts than are possible with single-classing (or 2e-style multiclassing). Here are some examples that don't work as well without al a carte multiclassing:

  • The Midlife Crisis (e.g. the repentant faustian Warlock, the emergent Sorcerer, the crisis-of-faith Cleric)
  • The Specialist (e.g. dipping fighter to make a particularly martial War Domain Cleric, dipping rogue to make a wrestling-focused Barbarian, dipping Wizard to make a spell-focused Eldritch Knight) Note: taking a dip to emphasize abilities a character already has doesn't require an IC change in focus--the character is just temporarily training particularly hard on a subset of their existing skills. They don't stop being a "pure" (e.g.) Cleric/Barbarian/EK concept-wise.
  • The Character-Defining Mechanic (e.g. skirmishers of any class need the Rogue's Cunning Action, alchemist Wizards needs the Thief's Fast Hands, some shaman Druids may need the Totem Barbarian's Totem Spirit, anyone with a key heirloom magic item may need the Warlock's Blade Pact or Tome Pact)

For reference, almost all of the characters I play are multiclass, in every edition (hybrid in 4th). I usually DM, however, and at my tables more than half of the PCs multiclass. I actively promote multiclassing, however, so this is not an unbiased sample. (I find promoting multiclassing leads to more multi-dimensional characters that are less defined by their race/class combo.)
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I could understand that some pure-class Warlocks might be fanatically devoted to their patron, and thus anything other than continuing to learn how to be the perfect student would violate their principles. But many other Warlock concepts aren't devoted to their patron in the slightest: their pact may be the result of opportunism, a past indiscretion, or even have been inherited (or otherwise acquired unwillingly). How would it compromise any of these characters' principles to work on honing their sorcerous power?

From my standpoint, al a carte multiclassing simply enables one to mechanically represent a wider range of character concepts than are possible with single-classing (or 2e-style multiclassing). Here are some examples that don't work as well without al a carte multiclassing:

  • The Midlife Crisis (e.g. the repentant faustian Warlock, the emergent Sorcerer, the crisis-of-faith Cleric)
  • The Specialist (e.g. dipping fighter to make a particularly martial War Domain Cleric, dipping rogue to make a wrestling-focused Barbarian, dipping Wizard to make a spell-focused Eldritch Knight) Note: taking a dip to emphasize abilities a character already has doesn't require an IC change in focus--the character is just temporarily training particularly hard on a subset of their existing skills. They don't stop being a "pure" (e.g.) Cleric/Barbarian/EK concept-wise.
  • The Character-Defining Mechanic (e.g. skirmishers of any class need the Rogue's Cunning Action, alchemist Wizards needs the Thief's Fast Hands, some shaman Druids may need the Totem Barbarian's Totem Spirit, anyone with a key heirloom magic item may need the Warlock's Blade Pact or Tome Pact)

For reference, almost all of the characters I play are multiclass, in every edition (hybrid in 4th). I usually DM, however, and at my tables more than half of the PCs multiclass. I actively promote multiclassing, however, so this is not an unbiased sample. (I find promoting multiclassing leads to more multi-dimensional characters that are less defined by their race/class combo.)
All class concepts are possible with single classing. We just need more classes ;)
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
All class concepts are possible with single classing. We just need more classes ;)
:) Excellent point. I envision a multi-volume tome of a PHB where you find the class that models the concept you're looking for by looking through a dedicated, multi-dimensional index. "Ok, classes that represent faustian Warlocks who turn to Paladin to seek redemption early in their career are in volume XVIII, chapters 4-20 and 31-33. The ones who focus on alchemy and get the ability to use items as a bonus action will have green-gold-red color markers on the lower edge of the page, in the second flag position. But I'll avoid the ones with the Greek character Tau in the third flag position on the top of the page--those classes eventually relapse back to their fiendish ways and that doesn't fit my concept."
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
:) Excellent point. I envision a multi-volume tome of a PHB where you find the class that models the concept you're looking for by looking through a dedicated, multi-dimensional index. "Ok, classes that represent faustian Warlocks who turn to Paladin to seek redemption early in their career are in volume XVIII, chapters 4-20 and 31-33. The ones who focus on alchemy and get the ability to use items as a bonus action will have green-gold-red color markers on the lower edge of the page, in the second flag position. But I'll avoid the ones with the Greek character Tau in the third flag position on the top of the page--those classes eventually relapse back to their fiendish ways and that doesn't fit my concept."
Oh I definitely think there's usefulness to multiclassing. It's for those sudden character changes. Like where you are a paladin that makes a deal with the devil.

That said multiclassing does a terrible job of hybrid style characters - which is what most people want to use it for.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Oh I definitely think there's usefulness to multiclassing. It's for those sudden character changes. Like where you are a paladin that makes a deal with the devil.

That said multiclassing does a terrible job of hybrid style characters - which is what most people want to use it for.
I understand where that perspective comes from, but I personally don't agree with it. Yes, 2e-style has the virtue that one is accumulating xp towards multiple classes simultaneously, so even though you still level up each class sequentially it feels like making progress towards both, whereas in 3e/5e style you have to alternate. I get that, but the 2e approach comes at the cost at locking in the ratio in advancement at an even split, whereas in 3e/5e style the player can choose any ratio they want for their hybrid.

Also, the "Specialist" and "Character-Defining Mechanic" examples I gave above often require dips to work, which just isn't possible in 2e-style.

To me, those extra features of 3e/5e style multiclassing are worth the price of slightly increased difficulty fluffing OOC-sequential advancement as IC-simultaneous.
 

Does that also go for people who optimize their characters to not be overly powerful? Inquiring minds want to know.
So are you saying their is an optimum mediocre? How would I know if someone were do such? Maybe if they make the absolute median character? Or would we want to calculate the mean or some other statistical average? I don't know how I would even know...
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
I don't know about everyone else, but our players will gnash their teeth, dig in their heels, and fight to the death over the ability--nay, the right-- to use the Multiclassing Rules. And then they will never use them.

Seriously, in all three of my gaming groups--with 5 to 7 players in each--we have only one multiclassed character. And it's mine.

Are we the only ones?
I think the option SHOULD be there, so that the players can choose not to use it, if you get my meaning. Take it away, and people will fight for it. 😁
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
So are you saying their is an optimum mediocre? How would I know if someone were do such? Maybe if they make the absolute median character? Or would we want to calculate the mean or some other statistical average? I don't know how I would even know...
Typically they would make the absolute best character that would pass your "I hate optimizers - smell test" or whatever you do. People are smart. They pick up on what sets you off and what you are good with. So I guess you have no way of knowing for sure if they optimized that way... ;)
 

GlassJaw

Adventurer
I love any mechanic that allows for character customization. I voted "It is pretty rare for a PC to multiclass" because the 5E multiclass rules significantly weaken most characters.

Note I said "most". Since multiclassing has such a cost, it has resulted in players seeing the most optimal "builds" instead of actually using multiclassing to bring their character concept to life. So you end up with paladins splashing warlock and junk like that.

The great thing about 5E's bounded accucary is that it has made options so modular. I'd like to see multiclassing go the route of 4E and use paths and subclasses to emulate multiclassing.

So if you want to play a fighter/rogue, you can choose fighter as your class and rogue as your subclass or vice versa.
 

Sometimes multiclassing is the only way you can create the character that you want to play. My glamour bard/ order domain cleric/ Mastermind rogue wouldn't be considered a min-max character by most people's standards but it does what I wanted it to do both conceptually and narratively.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Sometimes multiclassing is the only way you can create the character that you want to play. My glamour bard/ order domain cleric/ Mastermind rogue wouldn't be considered a min-max character by most people's standards but it does what I wanted it to do both conceptually and narratively.
I don't see anything about the character you mentioned that couldn't be better handled by a class specifically designed to capture the character and playstyle you wanted.
 


I haven't outlawed it, but so far nobody has mentioned wanting to multi-class. We are all still relatively new to this, so people are still figuring out the rules. It wouldn't surprise me if it pops up at some point, though, since our goal is to play through level 20.
 

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