View Full Version : Gestalt: the Re-Hashing

2007-09-12, 07:38 AM
This is a topic began in the regular d20 forum and moved here as it represents a homebrewed clarification of what rules people use for the Gestalt variant (Presented here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/gestaltCharacters.htm)).

While gestalt has become a fairly popular variant, the rules on it that exist at the moment are vague in many instances and can easily be interpreted or misinterpreted in a variety of ways. Thus, this thread.

Anyone may feel free to offer their interpretation of something or suggest a different wording.

Philosophy of Gestalt:

- Heterogeneous: Progressions are entirely separate, prestige classes must be qualified for using only one 'side'. Abilities from opposite sides do not interact.

- Homogeneous: The 'sides' are an abstraction, the character has effectively only one class each level, but that class is the combination of two. Prerequisites can be taken from either side, abilities interact at the DM's discretion.

Note on trends: a lot of campaigns will fall into the middle, this is not an either/or situation.

Low powered trends:
These are for people who feel that while gestalt would be helpful for their campaign, they don't entirely trust the players with their newfound powers or simply want to keep the madness to a minimum. Generally will not affect CR's encountered by more than a point or two.

-Level adjustment and racial hit dice applied to overall character level, effectively taking up both sides. Strongly discourages the use of anything other than ECL zero races (which can be good or bad). It may be better to simply disallow races with these than force the players to use this, as survival of anything with an ECL adjustment of more than three is significantly hampered.

-No prestige classes/highly restricted prestige classes. Some DMs take the 'no dual progression' suggestion in the gestalt rules to mean that any class advancing more than one trait (melee/skills/spellcasting) is off limits. In any case, the rule of only one prestige class is generally upheld.

High powered trends:
Recommended only for DMs who are comfortable with adjucating situations on the fly and prefer a higher level of abilities for the players. Will affect CRs in varied ways and can seriously unbalance play.

-LA and racial HD on only one 'side'. While easily abused with templates, it may make some races with ECL adjustments more playable than in standard campaigns, as the players are left with at least one hit dice per level.

-Prestige classes may be taken on both sides/Dual progression classes allowed with unrelated class on other side. Creates a massive increase in versatility. Adjucated with a bit of common sense (not allowing more than one caster level per character level, for instance) can work fine.

My personal experience, as both DM and player, is that the power level of the campaign can range anywhere along the scale and still work with cooperation. As a DM, I've used all the high-powered variants at once, and was still able to challenge the PCs in a small group (three players) without going over the top.

Duke of URL
2007-09-12, 07:55 AM
I think we also need to discuss the effects of multiclassing penalties as well, especially since this was the topic of the original discussion.

Under the "homogeneous" approach, it probably doesn't make much sense to enforce multiclassing penalty rules at all (someone correct me/show me how if I'm wrong), so I'll be looking at the "heterogeneous" approach only.

The options as I see it are:

Ignore multiclassing penalties altogether -- gestalt is a high-powered variant, and MC rules are often waved in high-power games
Apply standard penalties to the entire character -- rough, but useful if you want to strictly enforce favored classes
Apply standard penalties to the entire character, but halve them -- if only one side is out of balance, but not the other, a half penalty may be more appropriate
Apply standard penalties, but only to that side of the gestalt -- more book-keeping, and would result in potentially uneven leveling of the two sides, but probably closest in matching the intent of the non-gestalt rules

Edit: Also, I think the purpose of this topic should be to discuss the possible variations on each rule, and to come up with a small set of base "gestalt packages" that are collections of those variants. DMs would then be able to choose a package and further tailor it to their needs, while getting to see the tradeoffs that go into each choice.

2007-09-13, 12:48 AM
I despise gestalt, but for some reason all the old 2nd Edition players in my group demand to play them (we do a sort of round robin DM system.)
My main problem is that the players in question demand to be allowed to play gestalt characters alongside those that are not.

I have been able to reach only one compromise, and that is that a gestalt character must gain double normal experience than non-gestalt, and that his ECL is equal to what level he would be at his experience total. For just about everything else, the players assume that gestalt is a free pass to multiclass and prestige class with wild abandon. I tired instituting a rule (and this was rejected by the group) that anytime you prestige class, you must take 2, and they must be as thematically similar to the base classes they currently have, allowing some exceptions for all the "gish" combinations there are.

All in all, I wish gestalt were never introduced. That, or that my 2nd edition veterens did not demand to "bring their characters back as close as possible."

2007-09-17, 11:20 PM
My dm talked to me and said he didn't have enuf time to prepare due to unforeseen circumstances. Thus i now have the dm role. This is after 1 mth of planning my character along with 2 newbie player's characters.

Im taking the no multiclass penalty road for this one since i 2/3 of my party is newbies.