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Cheiromancer
2013-07-22, 01:54 PM
Allow me to present an alternative to mystic theurge, arcane trickster and other such synergy classes. I seem to recall reading about this idea years ago. If you know the source of the idea, please let me know so I can acknowledge it.

I'll present the mechanism as a general feat. It might need to be restricted to particular combinations of classes (Hedge Wizard = wizard/druid, etc.) if some combos are too powerful. In a particular campaign no feat might be required, but the corresponding prestige classes might well be unavailable.

Dual Classed (General Feat)
You advance simultaneously in two classes.
Benefit: Choose two base classes to count as dual to each other. To determine level dependent abilities (including spellcasting and bonus feats) in either of these classes add a bonus to your level in one class equal to half your level in the class dual to it. Repeat for the other class. You must have at least two levels in a class to gain a bonus from it, and your bonus to a given class cannot exceed your actual level in that class. Round fractions up.
Special:This feat may be taken more than once. A different pair of classes must be taken each time. Multiple applications of a bonus cannot raise your effective class level above twice the actual level in the class.

Notation: Dual Classes are designated with a double colon. Thus a dual class character with 7 cleric levels and 13 wizard levels is a Clr 7::Wiz 13. The effective levels can be shown with an asterisk unless this is already clear from context. The Clr 7:: Wiz 13 has the abilities of a 14th level cleric and a 17th level wizard and this is written Clr 14*/Wiz 17*

In the following table a rather unimaginative build is used to compare how a dual classed character compares to a mystic theurge.

{table=head]Level|Clr/Wiz/MT|Effective level|Dual Class|Dual Class Effective Level
1st|1/0|1/0|1::0|1/0
2nd|1/1|1/1|1::1|1/1
3rd|2/1|2/1|2::1|2/2
4th|2/2|2/2|2::2|3/3
5th|3/2|3/2|3::2|4/4
6th|3/3|3/3|3::3|5/5
7th|3/3/1|4/4|3::4|5/6
8th|3/3/2|5/5|3::5|6/7
9th|3/3/3|6/6|3::6|6/8
10th|3/3/4|7/7|4::6|7/8
11th|3/3/5|8/8|4::7|8/9
12th|3/3/6|9/9|5::7|9/10
13th|3/3/7|10/10|6::7|10/10
14th|3/3/8|11/11|7::7|11/11
15th|3/3/9|12/12|7::8|11/12
16th|3/3/10|13/13|7::9|12/13
17th|3/4/10|13/14|7::10|12/14
18th|3/5/10|13/15|7::11|13/15
19th|3/6/10|13/16|7::12|13/16
20th|3/7/10|13/17|7::13|14/17
[/table]

As can be seen, the dual class character is better than a mystic theurge build at lower levels; at level 6 the 3::3 build already gives third level spells, while the MT has to wait until character level 8 for its thirds. The lead narrows until level 13 and 14; thereafter the MT pulls ahead slightly, until at level 16 the MT has 7th level spells in both classes, while the dual class character has a 7th in one and only a 6th in the other. At level 20 the dual class character has pulled ahead slightly.

Of course the dual class character has slightly better hit points, turning and BAB than the MT, since there are more cleric levels in the build. This amounts to 8 hp, +1 BAB and +4 turning levels. In exchange for this (and +1 CL for cleric spells) the Dual Class feat has to be taken.

Mystic Theurge is not a strong prestige class, at least when used with wizard and cleric (as opposed to wizard and ur-priest), and is notoriously bad at low levels. The fact that the dual class mechanism helps a lot at low levels but is more or less equal to MT later on is a sign, I think, that the basic mechanism is balanced.

I am not sure that the feat is worded as clearly as it could be. The rule for fractions is so that 13::7 splits result in 17*/14* abilities, and thus 9th level spells in one class. An exception is made for a single level dip in a dual class, since otherwise a character would gain 2 levels worth of class abilities for no cost beyond the cost of a feat. By having to take 2 levels there is at least a sacrifice of a single level of effectiveness in the 'main' class.

It is hard for sorcerers to get their 9th level spells. A 5::15 mix will do it, but this results in a 10*/18* character; as compared to the 14*/18* of the 7::13 mix of a cleric/wizard. Mind you, MT is bad for sorcerers as well. If the sorcerer dual classes with two other classes a 3::3::14 mix will result in 6*/6*/18*. (Maybe sorcerers could dual class without the cost of a feat?)

If MT were used in addition to Dual Class, you could build a 4::6/10 (Clr::Sor/MT) mix that had 17*/18* spellcasting. That's a very easy way to get double nines, a goal of a lot of optimization builds. It might make this goal too easy to achieve, though.

Anyway, this feat seems to look alright as an alternative to mystic theurge or arcane trickster. If the dual class feat is used in combination with these classes it might well be too powerful. Dunno.

Comments welcome.

[edit]Changed wording to prevent confusion about how fractions are to be handled.

erikun
2013-07-22, 02:04 PM
Your example doesn't work very well. 7::13 would result in 13th on the one side (7+13/2, or 7+6=13, or 13 rounded down) and 16th on the other side (13+7/2, or 13+3=16, or 16 rounded down).

I'm not sure what you mean by "Fractions are rounded up except for , which is rounded down" because when you're taking half of the levels, all values are going to be either or a full level. Also, it just seems odd that would be rounded up but is still rounded down.

rowtuh
2013-07-22, 02:12 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by "Fractions are rounded up except for , which is rounded down" because when you're taking half of the levels, all values are going to be either or a full level. Also, it just seems odd that would be rounded up but is still rounded down.

I'm not Cheiromancer, but perhaps it was meant as "When the fraction is exactly 0.5, it's rounded down." Emphasis on the 0 part of 0.5.

I'd only suppose this, though.

Cheiromancer
2013-07-22, 03:20 PM
I'm not Cheiromancer, but perhaps it was meant as "When the fraction is exactly 0.5, it's rounded down." Emphasis on the 0 part of 0.5.

I'd only suppose this, though.

Right.

1/2 -> 0
3/2 -> 2
5/2 -> 3
etc.

zhdarkstar
2013-07-23, 08:22 AM
Allow me to present an alternative to mystic theurge, arcane trickster and other such synergy classes. I seem to recall reading about this idea years ago. If you know the source of the idea, please let me know so I can acknowledge it.

I believe that you may be referring to this thread here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233130

Cheiromancer
2013-07-24, 06:22 AM
Thanks, zhdarkstar for the link. As far as I can tell, I hadn't seen Ulya's Dualclassing/Tripleclassing (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12737035#post12737035) thread before, but I liked the discussion of it. Especially posts 4-6, regarding the "explosive beginning" of the class (it gets 2/1 progression there), and its use for qualifying for prestige classes.

Awkward wording aside, my rule about rounding up except at 1st level is intended to avoid an explosive beginning while still allowing 9th level spells.

Absol197's rule of thumb that a 10/10 multiclass should have the abilities of a 15/15 is in perfect agreement with these rules. However a 7/7/6 would, with an investment of three feats - one for each class pair - have 14/14/12. I don't know if that is a problem or not.

Dual classing with classes like rogue and fighter results in something that seems strictly better than single-classing; if there are no capstones there is nothing really to lose. But I think this is more a problem with the rogue and fighter classes than a problem with the Dual Classed feat. In fact, this system of dual classing might be added to the endless list of 'fixes' to the lower-tier classes. It is actually a bit like a watered down gestalt, now that I think about it.