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    BardGuy

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    Default Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Multiclassing: Classes Ala Carte

    Most people are quite content to go through their entire careers with a single class, and maybe a couple of PrC's to help it along. But not you... no, you like to think outside the box, to mix and match... the PhB is your Ala Carte menu, and you like it that way.

    There's a lot of gold mines here, but for every gold mine, there's a dozen traps. It's a real minefield out there, and generally by the time you realize you've horridly nerfed yourself, it's far too late to change it.

    Of course, listing the various merits and flaws of every single theoretical possibility is... simply not possible. Well, theoretically it is, but the amount of time involved with the project would be truly staggering. So instead, I'm going to hit the highlights, and give you some general rules to keep in mind while multiclassing.

    The basics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    First, some basic things to keep in mind when you decide to multiclass:

    • Look for Stat Synergy. One of the worst problems with multiclassing is that it can get very MAD (Multiple Attribute Dependent) very rapidly, particularly if you are dragging in a class already known to be MAD (Monk, I'm looking at YOU here). For example, Sorcerer and Paladin make a good base for a 'gish' build, because the Cha-based casting of the Sorcerer is leveraged into your saves with a Paladin dip. Paladin and Wizard, however, becomes very MAD, because you'll need your physical stats to be a good 'gish', Wis if you want Paladin casting, Int for Wizard casting, and Cha for saves... literally Every Attribute Dependent.
    • Blend passive abilities with active ones. No matter how many classes you have multiclassed into, you still only have one round's worth of actions, even if you do... gently manipulate action economy with other tactics. So, when multiclassing, it's best to have only one set of active abilities, with synergistic or complimentary passive abilities thrown in. For this reason, while Sorcerer and Paladin do good, and Bard and Paladin do good, Sorcerer and Bard don't, because both are mostly active ability classes that require actions to use, even though they have good Charisma synergy. However, your caster stat to all saves is a passive ability which significantly improves your survivability against Save or Suck attacks.
    • Look for Feat or PrC synergy. There's a list of feats spanning several splatbooks which gives certain progressions from two different classes the ability to stack both classes together when calculating the progression. Likewise, there are many PrC's designed specifically to help blend two or more classes together. These are going to be crucial in making your character mechanically viable, without being a 'Jack of All Trades, Master of None'.
    • Be aware of alignment restrictions and multiclassing xp penalties. Many GM's handwave one or both of these, so I lump them together, however for the GM's who don't... these can very often bite a build in a very uncomfortable location. For example: Bard + Paladin... only Bards have to be non-lawful, and Paladins MUST be LG. Some GM's don't like alignment hopping without a darn good reason, which must be kept in mind. Likewise, multiclassing xp penalties hurt... it's like item crafting... without the items.
    • Half of two different progressions does not make a whole progression, it makes you half a character. Unless you can synergize them exceedingly well, x10/y10 is almost always going to suck, mechanically, because you have half the class progression from two different classes. Even with a feat that lets you synergize some of your abilities, you still generally want to focus on one side or another.
    • Know what you want to do before you do it. Do you want to be a caster that can fight, or a fighter that can use some magic? Do you want to be a skilled scoundrel with a bag of magical tricks, or do you want to be a caster who has some extra mundane tricks up his sleeve? Knowing your concept, and where you want to focus, will help you focus your build.
    • Do everything you want and get away with it build? Not likely. It's hard to get a build that can do everything. A build that can do one or two things well, sure. But be realistic in your expectations. Occasionally, there are competitions for 'party of one' builds, but generally either they are Gestalt, or they tend to lack in some areas. Or they're a Cleric.
    • Know your material. Most multiclassing builds tend to use a plethora of splatbooks to get to function properly. Don't be surprised if your 'simple concept' ends up needing a half dozen books for source material. Making two classes work together isn't easy, sometimes... additional steps are necessary.
    • Don't Monk it up. Allow me to explain this concept before yet another 'monk debate' shows up. The Monk looks good on paper, but it has several active abilities which are generally mutually exclusive with no synergy between them. They have okay defenses at low levels, but have no way to supplement their primary offense or defense with gear. They are extremely MAD, needing every stat except Charisma to be decent, and are unable to apply their active abilities effectively in combat. This also describes a large number of multiclassing builds I could name. Defenses are all well and good, but defenses don't kill opponents. If you are not effective at applying something unpleasant to an opponent, you will simply be ignored in favor of more dangerous targets.


    The Gish: Being the Red Mage


    One of the more popular multiclassing build archetypes is the 'Gish', or 'I can cast and I can hit people and be effective at both'. The term originally comes from an edition long ago when the Githzerai could both cast and fight, and the term 'Gish' was used to describe those who could.

    There's two types of Gish builds... the standard Gish which fights and uses magic, and the SkillGish, which generally incorporates some skillmonkey into the mix.

    All Gish builds depend on PrC's to get going, and they all tend to develop later in the build. Why? Spell progression. Every level that doesn't have spell progression hurts you far more than every level that doesn't advance BAB. Or, if you just want to be a beatstick that can use some magic, it takes a while to get a relevant amount of magic and still retain your beefy beatstick role.

    The 'litmus test' for a Gish build is +16 BAB and 9th level spells by level 20. Mind you, that's not a hard and fast rule, and not meeting these requirements doesn't necessarily mean your build is bad, however that is the standard most people expect to see when you say 'gish'. Be prepared to defend your build if it doesn't hold up to this standard.

    Gishes can get very MAD if you aren't careful. Generally, you have your 'casting stat', and your physical stats, to watch.

    The Sorcadin - Paladin2/Sorcerer x/PrC's

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    It is a decent chassis for a classic 'gish' build. Paladin gives you all martial weapon proficencies, necessary for some Gish-type PrC's, and your primary casting stat to all saves. With the various paladin alignment variants, you don't necessarily have to have the 'stick up your pigu' class feature, assuming your GM permits them. SpellSword is a good one-level dip for -10% ASF, and both casting and BAB. But it's only a one-level dip. Ever. Abjurant Champion is a perfect Gish PrC, with full BAB and full casting over five levels. From there, it depends on what you want to do with your character.

    Pros: It's a bit harder to land Save or Suck effects on him, making it easier to survive the 'rocket tag' which later levels tend to become. He can wear Mithral Chain Shirt without any ASF problems, which is a good thing if you have a good dex.

    Cons: It's a bit of a late bloomer. It's also very difficult to get 9th level spells by level 20, due to the two-level dip in Paladin. You have literally no room left over in your build for levels that don't advance spellcasting if you want to make it.


    The Martial Mage Warblade1/Wizard/PrC's

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    This build doesn't have the defensive capability of the Sorcadin, but it develops casting two levels faster, which means it's always, level for level, going to be a full spell level ahead of it. That's... pretty amazing. It can also have fewer spell levels lost. So this is more of a 'caster who can also fight' type build. With Warblade, you can slide into Jade Pheonix Mage without many problems, although a bit of a feat investment for them (Crusaders can get in easier), which is pretty much made of win.

    Pros: Gets casting earlier, faster, harder. Combines ToB with Magic to make a very powerful character.

    Cons: Not every GM likes ToB.

    Variant: Using Swordsage makes this more of a SkillGish, but it can also work out well.


    Sneaky Bastard Rogue/Wizard/PrC's

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    This is your classic SkillGish. Straight Core, the build is Rogue3/Wiz5/Arcane Trickster10/Archmage2. For more of a 'rogue with a bag of tricks' type build, you can consider pairing Rogue with Sorcerer for Cha synergy, or even pairing Rogue with Warlock for some at-will action and a ranged touch attack you can sneak attack with.

    Some people see that you can sneak attack with certain spells, and go all crazy for an 'amazing sniper build!', however that is almost always doomed to failure. Sneak Attack isn't the easiest thing to activate with ranged attacks after the surprise round.

    Pros: You don't need to spend gold and UMD on magic. If you focus on utility, you can be quite an asset to the party.

    Cons: You don't have as much defensive or offensive capability as a typical Gish, so be careful around combat.


    The Melee Who Could - Warblade/Suel Archanamach/SpellSword/AbChamp

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    This is a case of importing Nice Things into a melee build. It doesn't try to pretend it's a full classic Gish, but it's got good self-buffing ability, with the potential for some area-effect lockdown Save or Suck type spells. Good Int synergy. One cute trick: AbChamp5 has a nice ability which makes your Effective Caster Level equal to your BAB. Since most of the classes in the build are full BAB... this is in every way to your advantage. Then Suel Archanamach gives additional bonuses to Caster Level on certain spells... fun times.


    PsiStomper Warblade/Psion/Slayer
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    Good Int synergy, good power selection from Psion, and Slayer has full BAB, 9/10 manifesting, and a decent selection of special abilities. Getting the skills requirements for Slayer in time may be tricky.

    As an alternate, Ranger can be used to qualify for Slayer very easily, since all the skills required are Class skills, and you get Track for free. However, Warblade makes for a much nastier combatant, with some good Int synergy.


    Smack Build Ranger/PsiWar/Slayer
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    Hear ye, hear ye! The Royalty of Smack has arrived! Originally named after a Theoretical Optimization build called the 'king of smack', this is the watered down, more game-friendly version. Ranger lets you qualify easily, PsiWar gives you the powers you actually want, Slayer combines the two mostly seamlessly. It's hard to go wrong here, with solid damage output and a variety of tricks available to you.


    Wildadin Paladin/Wilder/Slayer
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    Remember the Sorcadin? This uses Wilder instead. Casting stat to Saves and to Touch AC, what's not to like?


    The Urge to Theurge


    When you want to cast out of more than one class, typically both arcane and divine, the term is 'theurge', for the Core prestige class Mystic Theurge which advances both casting progressions.

    WARNING: Theurging is extremely difficult to pull off properly without horridly nerfing your ability to be effective in anything. Be prepared to use moderate to extreme cheese just to make the build viable.

    Want to know why your classic Wiz3/Cleric3/MT10 build sucks? Here's why:

    First off, you're going to be two spell levels behind any full caster. That's... crippling. For example, a Wiz3/Cleric3/MT1 is a 7th level caster who can cast as either a 4th level Wizard or a 4th level Cleric. So you have 2nd level spells. Meanwhile the full caster just got 4th level spells. Ouch. While you are tossing around Scorching Ray, he's tossing around either Orbs or Enervation. Or he could be tossing around Empowered Scorching Ray. He's also got access to Haste and Slow and Greater Magic Weapon... all powerful force multipliers. You... don't.

    Higher level spells = win. Being two full spell levels lower than your opponents = fail. It's... really that simple.

    There's two ways to Theurge in a mechanically viable way:

    1) Early Entry tricks. This carries the shadow of Extreme Cheese and may not always be accepted by GM's. But basically, it lets you get into the theurge-type PrC's earlier than the designers planned. This lets you get almost full casting progression on at least ONE side, and typical progression on the other, so at least you'll generally end up with 9th level spells somewhere before 20.

    2) Rapid Progression PrC's. UrPriest, I'm looking at you. Goes from 1st to 9th level Cleric spells over 10 levels. There's others that do this as well. So, a Wizard/UrPriest/Mystic Theurge will get at least 9th level spells on the Cleric casting side, and probably have a lot more Wizard casting as well, ending up in a possible 9th level spells on both sides.

    WARNING: PrC's that advance another spellcaster's progression does not have it's own spellcasting progression, and thus you cannot use another PrC to use it's progression. For example, if you go Wizard3/Cleric3/Mystic Theurge 1, you can't use another PrC to advance Mystic Theurge's dual progression, because it doesn't HAVE a casting progression of its own. But classes like Ur Priest, which have their own spellcasting chart, can be advanced safely. I warn you of this now, because every so often, someone comes up with 'ZOMG AN AMAZING BUILD' which tries to illegally advance classes that don't have their own spell progression, typically trying to dual-advance a pair of dual-advancing PrC's (Yo dawg...) and generally makes a huge fool of themselves. I wouldn't want you to make that mistake.

    The Rest: A collection of odds and sods


    Basically, those two categories are the most clearly defined, the following is the rest of the multiclassing options i consider viable, and why.

    Swift Hunter Scout4/Ranger16

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    The build is named after the feat that makes this build viable. It lets Scout and Ranger stack for purposes of determining Skirmish damage, AND it allows you to apply precision-based damage to Favored Enemies, even if they are normally immune to it. So now you have actually appliable bonus damage per swing, and suddenly TWFing and Archery become options.

    There's one fly in this ointment: You need to move 10' to activate Skirmish. However, you need a full attack if you want to take advantage of TWFing or Archery. For this, my friends, we have several solutions:

    1) Improved Manyshot. Since you're getting all the prerequsites for free from Ranger bonus feats anyways, it's not that expensive to pick up, and while it's not quite as good as getting more shots, it's still a good way to get something like a full attack off with a standard action.

    2) Dip. For melee, dip WhirlPounceBarian. For ranged, dip Cloistered Cleric with Travel Devotion and Knowledge Devotion. Travel Devotion lets you move a full move action's worth of movement for the price of a turn attempt without eating up your actions, so you can move, then full attack. PounceBarian uses Spirit Lion Totem from Complete Champion to replace their bonus 10' speed with the ability to make a full attack on a charge. Cue Shock Trooper.

    3) Training Dummy of the Grandmaster. Requires a steep UMD check, but lets you take a 10' step instead of a 5', letting you Skirmish.


    Daring Outlaw - Rogue4/Swashbuckler16

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    Another build named after the feat that makes it possible. It gives Swashbuckler full Rogue sneak attack progression, with the full BAB of a Swashbuckler to make it count.

    Occasionally, Duelist finds its way into the build, but it is by no means necessary.


    BardBlade - Bard4/Warblade16

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    I know, Bards are a casting class, you're probably wondering why it didn't get included as a Gish. The answer, my friend, is simple: it doesn't really cast anything other than one spell, because that's not what this build does. It does, however, give absolutely amazing party leverage by dramatically increasing the damage output of every melee build in the group. This uses Inspire Courage and Dragonfire Inspiration optimization tactics, found in several guides around the internet,

    The War Chanter version uses Inspire Legion, which lets everyone in the party act as though they had a full BAB... which can be phenomonal if you have party members who had to dip a bunch of 3/4 BAB classes, and saw their BAB suffer as a result. Mind you, this also lets the casters get full BAB as well, which means they're not ever going to miss with ranged touch attacks (split ray empowered twinned Enervation, anyone?), and if someone tries to get close to them, they get full iterative attacks with ridiculous bonus damage. If you have even ONE party member who focuses on minions (summon druids or Dread Necros mostly), you suddenly become an enormous force multiplier, since every single random mook ally you have suddenly has a full BAB and insane damage bonuses.

    Variants: Bard + Crusader works just as well. Bard + Paladin can work, if you get an alignment variant paladin (CG Paladin of Freedom works well). Same basic concept applies. The Bardadin gets Cha to all saves, which is always nice. The Bardsader gets access to Devoted Spirit maneuvers and stances, which can be valuable if you want to do Area Denial with Thicket of Blades. Bard + Barbarian also works quite well, if you get the pounce variant of barbarian. Shout your war chant, then leap into the fray...


    The Shiv - Rogue/Swordsage/various PrC's

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    This guy is very good at one thing: sticking lots of pointy objects into opponents vitals. He's a TWF build who makes extensive use out of Diamond Mind, Tiger Claw, and Shadow Hand. Pouncing Strike, for example, lets him make a full attack on a charge. And he tends to get a lot of attacks. Island of Blades helps him flank easier, and Assassin's Stance is more damage output, then Shadow Blade since you're in a shadow hand stance. PrC's depend on what you want to do with it, but generally, choose ones that advance sneak attack, or provide passive benefits you are looking for.

    Be careful you don't sacrifice too much BAB with your dipping for more sneak attack, unless you have a Bardblade in your party, in which case, have fun go nuts.


    Miko v2.0 Monk2/Pal2/Bard4

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    Very diptastic, but amazing Charisma synergy. Ascetic Mage, I believe, works with Bard, being a spontaneous arcane caster. Charisma to Saves and to AC.

    This build works better with an Unarmed Swordsage instead of Monk, because you can do it in Light armor, which means Mithral Chain Shirt, but if ToB is not an option, monk works well.

    You need to include something with damage potential if you want this to be a viable build. He's got some interesting defenses, but without a way to negatively affect opponents... everyone simply ignores him. With a build like this, you can go into a BardBlade build for party buff fairly effectively.


    Wrapping it up


    I hope this guide has been informative for you. I think I've spelled out most of the things to do, and pointed out a few traps as well. This guide will probably be expanded further as the many dozens of other examples are mentioned, but I think we've covered the basics, and the concepts, involved with multiclassing.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-12-16 at 05:54 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
    All hail great Shneekeythulhu! Ia Ia Shneeky fthagn
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Feats of Multiclassing: Making 1+1=3


    Not all multiclassing feats are created equal. Some, like Swift Hunter, Daring Outlaw, and Master Spellthief... are awesome. Others, however... don't. I'll be giving you a quick run-down on how useful these feats actually are, sorted by source.

    Complete Adventurer
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    Ascetic Hunter
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    Really, the big thing here is monk and ranger levels stack for unarmed combat damage. So you dip a level of Monk, then go Ranger. This can be worked into a Swift Hunter build if you are going melee, depending on how your GM allows Unarmed Attacks to work with TWFing.


    Ascetic Knight
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    If either class was worth more than a dip, it might be worth taking. Sadly, Monk stops at level 2, and Paladin stops at level 4 at the latest. If you can convince your GM to let this work with Crusader, then it would have use, but as it stands... pass.


    Ascetic Mage
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    Want your casting stat to touch AC? This is how you do it. I don't know why you would particularly care about it, but the option is available.


    Ascetic Rogue
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    Sadly, it improves the wrong side. Rogue is worth taking more than two levels of, Monk isn't. However, it advances sneak attack rather than unarmed damage. Pass.


    Devoted Inquisitor
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    NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPAN... ahem, sorry. Those responsible for the sacking have been sacked.

    Dazed is surprisingly difficult to be immune to. Unfortunately, getting this feat to trigger is too. Combine with limited number of uses of Smite Evil, and you have a trap in tinsel.


    Devoted Performer
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    Want your casting stat to your saves? This is a good way to synergize Paladin and Bard further. Only problem is that you'd probably get more Bard Songs per day from Extra Music feat, since you've probably dipped Pal2. You'd need more than four levels of Paladin to make it equal to Extra Music, and we all know that isn't going to happen.


    Devoted Tracker
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    So basically, to get much use out of this feat, you need at least Paladin5. Of course, then your mount isn't going to be out very much, because Paladin and Ranger levels don't stack for the duration of the mount, despite the fact that we are beefing it up with Animal Companion stats.

    It's a shame it wouldn't let your Animal Companion be counted as your Mount, rather than the other way around, and have the levels stack. That would be worthwhile. As it is... pass.


    Complete Champion

    There's a series of Domain Devotion feats. I mention these here because if you took a one-level dip in Cleric for something in a melee build, you probably have a lot of turn attempts, and not a whole lot to use them on. This lets you use them. Knowledge Devotion and Travel Devotion are the two most common, by all means, but check them out if you have turn attempts and nothing to spend them on.

    Complete Divine

    There's a series of divine feats which lets you blow turn attempts to do various things. I mention them because if you end up with a bunch of turn attempts, and not a whole lot to use them on (like, say, a Cleric dip in a mostly melee build), it can be a way to use those.

    Complete Mage

    There's a few reserve feats that are useful for some multiclass builds

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    Acid Splatter
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    I know what you're thinking... why bother with weak acid damage? Well, there's a reason why. It's called SkillGish with Rogues that have Sneak Attack. It's pretty much a 2d6 ranged touch attack that you can sneak attack with. Here's the really fun part, though: It isn't called out as a spell-like ability, or a Supernatural ability. That means that it can, technically, even be used in an AMF, since it default to an (Ex) ability when not explicitly called out. Bad editing, I'm sure, but it works to your advantage.


    Blade of Force
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    Free Ghost Touch? Sign me up! This is for the Gish builds.


    Dimensional Reach
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    Slight of Hand something from across the room? Yes, please. SkillGish builds focusing on being a sneaky bastard can find a thousand and one uses for this. Just remember, it has to be unattended, so no stealing weapons out of people's hands.


    Dimensional Jaunt
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    Your GM wouldn't let you have Abrupt Jaunt? This is the next best thing. Particularly useful in ShadowPounce builds, but just about anyone can find a use for unlimited-use teleportation.


    Face-Changer
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    What sneaky bastard SKillGish doesn't want unlimited use Disguise Self? Come on, ya know ya wanna.


    Invisible Needle
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    Downside? It's an attack roll, not a touch attack roll. Upside? It's a force effect, which means it works just fine on Incorporeal critters. Is it worth it? That's up to you.


    Somatic Weaponry
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    Are you a Gish? Do you like to use a two-handed weapon, or a weapon in each hand, or a weapon and a shield? This makes sure you can still cast, even though you've got your hands already occupied.


    Complete Scoundrel
    This has the other half of the multiclass feats
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    Ascetic Stalker
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    Monks suck. Ninjas suck. Suck plus suck equals... more suck. Next.


    Daring Outlaw
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    Like being a Rogue who can swishy-poke? Don't like the 3/4 BAB? Rogue4/Swashbuckler16 plus this feat is your solution. All the sneak attack goodness, but only losing a single point of BAB.


    Daring Warrior
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    IT'S A TRAAAAAAAP!

    No, really, it is. You don't get the Fighter's feat progression, which would've been actually useful. No, all it does is let you qualify for fighter-specific feats. Which, as we all know, suck. Pass.


    Martial Stalker
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    Fighter... sucks. Ninja... sucks. Suck plus suck equals... paying a feat for the privilege of sucking harder.


    Master Spellthief
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    You know how Daring Warrior was a trap? This is... the exact opposite of that. Amplified.

    The problem is, the writer didn't expect some of the diptastic builds we've seen, or how it interacts with certain PrCs which have massive bonuses to CL because it's expected that they normally have an abysmal one.

    The exact phrase is: Your spellthief and arcane spellcaster levels also stack
    when determining your caster level for all arcane spells.

    If you can't think of how to break this, you aren't thinking hard enough.


    Mind Drain
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    Effectively a psi-skill-gish kind of a feat, but also kind of a trap. How often do you run into psionic opponents anyways?


    Swift Ambusher
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    Not too useful, actually, since both classes are 3/4 BAB. Only Skirmish dice stack, which means you're taking a lot of levels of Rogue, and ambush feats generally aren't too useful anyways.


    Swift Hunter
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    Do you like hurting people? Do you like being highly mobile while you do it? Do you want to have a nearly full BAB and have lots of damage boosting per attack? This is how you do that.

    But wait, it gets better. Not only do you get Skirmish damage, but if you order now, you get to apply precision-based damage to targets normally immune to it, for the low low price of making them your Favored Enemies! So favor Undead, Constructs, Plants, and Oozes TODAY!

    Scout + Ranger + Swift Hunter = win. That is all.



    Complete Warrior
    There's a Gish feat and some more divine feats here
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    Arcane Strike
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    It's a free action to add a small amount of damage to your weapon strikes. The good thing is that it does so to ALL your attacks with that weapon, so if you TWF (since it's a free action, you can blow another spell to drop the bonuses on your other weapon) or otherwise have lots of attacks, this can be a good force multiplier. If you've got more spells per day than you know what to do with, this isn't bad.


    Divine Might
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    Well, it's a free action. If you've got more turn attempts than you know what to do with, this provides a static damage bonus to all your attacks this round.


    Divine Shield
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    Unless you work at it, shields normally suck. This, however, gives you Cha bonus to AC with one, so if you already use one, and you've got spare turn attempts laying around, why not?


    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-12-20 at 10:14 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
    All hail great Shneekeythulhu! Ia Ia Shneeky fthagn
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Dips and Splashes: Classes that multiclass well


    This is, by no means, an exhaustive list, but it contains the most common classes, and various 'jump out' points.

    Core Classes

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    Barbarian

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    It's a wonderful class to dip or splash, depending on what you are doing. D12 HD and full BAB make it an obvious go-to for beating things down. Rage can also be quite useful as a stat-booster.

    The most common use is a one-level dip. This is generally for variant class features... mostly used for Spirit Lion Totem for adding Pounce to a melee-centric build, although Whirling Frenzy variant is also common as a means of gaining Haste without needing to cast. Since both sacrifice something different, both can be used at the same time, and is often done so.

    Generally, for multiclassing purposes, it's only good for a one-level dip. More than that, and you are typically building a 'barbarian' build, like a Bear Warrior or a Frenzied TPK.

    Occasionally, for a tripper build, Barbarian2 with the Wolf Totem is employed to bypass the Int and Weapon Expertise prerequisites for Improved Trip.


    Bard

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    Most multiclass Bards combine with some full BAB class. If ToB is on the table, it's almost always either with Crusader or Warblade for White Raven Song synergy. Bard and Paladin go well together as well, for good Charisma synergy. It does abysmal with any caster, though. It doesn't have the skillset to truly make a good SkillGish, and it Theurges abysmally due to its already stunted casting.

    Bard4 is the most common jumping point, that's when you get the most bang for your buck, and with minimal loss of BAB.


    Cleric

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    Geez... what's not to like about the class? It's amazing, either for a dip or for the long haul. It's pretty much every role in one, if you build right. I guess that's why they call it a Tier 1 class. It can Theurge, it can Gish, heck it is a Gish with Divine Power. But hey, this is a multiclassing guide, so let's look at it.

    A one-level dip, particularly for Cloistered Cleric, can be phenomonal. You get Knowledge + 2 domains of choice. Lots of Domains have good options... some have granted abilities that are useful, some have granted abilities that are feats (making it twice as useful as Fighter, since it can get two bonus feats for a one level dip), or even trading out for the Devotion feat, which are variously useful.

    A three-level splash is generally used for Theurge builds, or for Gish builds where Cleric is the caster side.

    More than that, and it's generally a full Cleric build, with various PrC's to taste.


    Druid

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    Druids are another Tier 1 class, but the multiclassing here is... not so good. Druids just get too many nifty things you just can't get anywhere else, but scale with class level. You might dip something and THEN go the rest into Druid, but almost never the other way around.

    On the whole, they don't usually Theurge well, although it's certainly possible to. But half of the class's powers are in the class abilities, which are not advanced. Not unless you are going Planar Shepherd, in which case, you're not a multiclass character.


    Fighter

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    About the only thing fighter IS good for is a two-level dip for a couple of bonus feats. Well, there IS Dungeoncrasher or Zhent... but that's less of a multiclass build.

    Fighter 2 is the typical breakoff point, although some only need the one bonus feat so only take Fighter1.
    Fighter6 is the Dungeoncrasher cutoff
    Fighter9 for Zhent


    Monk

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    No, I was not bashing Monks when I told people to not 'monk it up'. I was pointing out just how widely diverse and contradictory the class abilities are. However, a two-level dip, particularly if you use the various different styles found in the SRD, can be just as strong as a 2 dip in Fighter. Sometimes even more so, because they get to bypass prerequisite limitations. For example, Overwhelming Attack style gets Power Attack, even if the Strength is below 13.

    Of course, there's also Tashlatora... but that's effectively Gestalting with PsyWar anyways.

    Monks can pair off surprisingly well with a melee heavy build, with Overwhelming Style. A two-level dip nets you Evasion, all three good saves, two bonus feats... not the worst thing to happen to a build. It's even passable for Gishing with. Paired with Sorcerer, can give your primary casting stat to AC, with a feat. Carmindine Monk lets you do the same with Wizard.

    Monk2 is the drop-off point for 99% of builds containing monk. This also lets you qualify for Enlightened Fist (requires Stunning Fist), which is a monk Gish option. I don't much care for it, but some do. This is also the break-off point for Sacred Fist, which is the other monk-gish option.

    Monk3 is required for Psionic Fist for a psi-gish, in case you aren't allowed Tash.


    Paladin

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    The only class in Core with 'stick up your pigu' as a class feature. There are several possible breakaway points. Going for more than five levels, for any reason, is never worth it.

    Paladins pair off well with Sorcerers, getting your Casting Stat to all saves, and with Bards, with a feat to combine them for Bardic Music uses per day with nice Charisma synergy.

    They pair off less well with wizards, and have problems in most melee heavy builds in general, since most melee heavy builds lack the Charisma to leverage their saves up.

    Pal2 is the most common breakaway point. Charisma to saves, good for Gishing or for Bardadins when you don't have ToB available.

    Pal3 is occasionally used, if immunity to Fear and Disease is important

    Pal4 is very rarely used, simply because a one-level Cleric dip does so much more than going from Pal3 to Pal4. The only thing you get is Turn Undead.


    Ranger

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    Rangers make decent dips, with a bonus feat at level 2 that ignores prerequisite stats, but the most common way to multiclass Ranger is probably the Swift Hunter with Scout4/Ranger16, since Ranger is full BAB.

    Ranger2 is probably the most common jump point. You get Track, and either TWF or Rapid Shot. You'll find this a lot in PsiGish builds to meet prerequisites for Slayer easier.

    Ranger5 generally only happens when you take Wildshape Ranger, in which case, you're almost certain to go MoMF... which isn't really a multiclass build.


    Rogue

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    A little bit of Rogue can spice up almost any build. Sneak attack can be useful, Evasion is always nice, and Trapfinding plus 8+Int Mod skill points can turn almost any build into at least a passably competent skillmonkey. Season your build to taste.

    Rogue2 is a very common drop off point, simply because you get a hint of Sneak Attack, Trapfinding, Evasion, and a pile of skills.

    Rogue3 is for those who want a little more Sneak Attack for seasoning, if they don't want to dip for something else with sneak attack. This is where most of your SkillGish builds jump out.

    Rogue4 is rather unusual for a jumping out point, but Uncanny Dodge does have its advantages. This is as far as any BAB-centric build wants to go without losing any more BAB


    Sorcerer

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    The go-to guy for casting on the fly with style. Pairs well with either a 2 level dip in monk or paladin (although please, not both, for the sake of your spellcasting progression) for a good base for Gishing it up.

    As a full spellcasting class, you don't want to stray too far from your spellcasting progression, so either you dip for a couple of spells that could as well be times a day spell-like abilities, or you go whole-hog.

    Sorc1... if you just want one or two first level spells usable a couple of times per day, it's not... the worst idea... I guess.

    Sorc4... barring early entry tricks, this is the break-off point for most Gish and Theurge builds incorporating Sorcerer


    Wizard

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    Not as good a dip for spells, since you have to go through the hassle with your spellbook, but it is THE go-to for the most powerful of Gish builds, since you get your new spell levels an entire level earlier than Sorcerer. It can pair well with Int heavy builds, generally Factotum or Duelist builds, sometimes even Warblade, to be able to get access to things like Shield to defend yourself against Gatling Magic Missile Mages early in your career.

    Wiz1 - with early-entry tricks, this can get you into a Theurge or Gish build...

    Wiz3 - without early-entry tricks, this is where most Theurge or Gish builds exit.


    SRD Psionic classes
    Psionics can be a lot of fun, and there's a lot to them that lend to PsiGishing it up. A couple of powers picked here and there can also spice up many builds, making it popular to multiclass with. I will also try to appropriately handle the biggest trap in the entire section.

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    Psion

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    The psionic version of a Wizard, but due to how powers work, a lot more friendly to dip in for certain powers. However, when you see this in a multiclass build, it's generally the 'caster' side of a PsiGish build.

    As far as where to get off the bus? Depends on what powers you want. You're dipping this class for powers, not for class abilities.


    Psychic Warrior

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    A very good class for any PsiGish class with a focus on beating things up. It's only got up to 6th level powers, but it's got actually viable ones for the goal it has. Combine this with a pair of bonus feats at 1st and 2nd levels, and you have a VERY strong 2 level dip for anyone who wants a couple of Powers.

    PsyWar2 is your typical dip point, because you get two bonus feats and two 1st level Powers. I hope your Wis is high enough to provide bonus PP for them, because you sure don't get enough from the class itself.

    PsyWar4 is another jump off point, usually for Psionic Lion's Pounce if PounceBarians are not allowed. It's also as far as you want to go without hurting your BAB further. This is also generally where you end up in typical Slayer builds.


    Soulknife

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    No. Just... no. And remember, no means no. Click on the spoiler button again, and go find another class to look at. To call this class a Trap would be an insult to traps.


    Wilder

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    Your charisma-based Psionicist, for those who like the feel of the Sorcadin, but want to Psi it up. Like the Psion, you're probably using this as the 'caster' side of a PsiGish build. Like the Psion, you are probably going here for specific powers, although there is a couple of neat class abilities you may wish to consider:

    Wilder2 is a surprisingly powerful jump-off point for a rarely known but surprisingly strong class ability that allows them to add their casting stat (Cha) to their AC against touch attacks. That's... pretty damn handy, actually.


    Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Arguments

    Not every table allows ToB. Personally, I don't know why. It makes melee actually viable. In my opinion, the three base classes found in this book are direct replacements for the Paladin, Monk, and Fighter.

    These classes are very good for dips and splashes and multiclassing, because other classes give 1/2 initiator level. So, if you have, for example, Rogue8/Swordsage1... then the Rogue8 gives 4 initiator levels, plus one from Swordsage, gives IL 5, which means he can pick up maneuvers and stances up to 3rd level for which he meets the prerequisites, which means Assassin's Stance.

    For these reasons, ToB is featured, or at least mentioned, in most of my suggested multiclass builds, and I cannot suggest it highly enough.

    An often overlooked point which simply must be made, and this goes for all three classes: The stance you pick up at 1st level with any of the ToB base classes MUST be a 1st level stance. You can pick up others later, you can pick up others with a couple of feats, you can pick up any other stance that you have the IL for with any other stance slot, but that first one HAS to be a 1st level stance.

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    Crusader

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    When you say Crusader, I hear 'Paladin, done correctly'. Mind you, I'm not knocking the value of a Pal2 dip for Cha to saves, but this class has actually sustainable abilities, rather than being front-loaded. These guys can take a licking and keep on ticking. Oddly enough, despite the fact that they actually have a slightly smaller HD than the Warblade (d10 vs d12), with their ability for self healing through various stances and maneuvers, Steely Resolve class ability, Zealous Surge's ability to re-roll a save, and Mettle... it's surprisingly hard to take down a Crusader.

    Dipping is always an option, as with any of the ToB classes. Wait a few levels, then dip a level of Crusader to pick up some key maneuvers and stances. Thicket of Blades, in particular, is massively useful in any 'lockdown' or 'gattling tripper' build.

    It multiclasses well in any situation where you want to carry a big stick. Bards and Crusaders go phenomonally well together to be an amazing lockdown and party buffing leader. A Crusader dip in ANY lockdown build can only make it better. It fares less so in a Gish situation, but even there, it gives you strong options for your standard actions once you run out of spells, or if you just don't want to waste spells. Crusaders have, bar none, the BEST recovery method, since it requires no actions on their part at all. Leverage this in any Gish build for solid options so that your spell list can be used when it is most convenient, rather than as your first action and run your guns dry.

    It's really hard to give a definitive point of when to jump out of Crusader, because so much of it depends on where it is inserted. If you wait for ten levels, dipping Crusader can net you Thicket of Blades with a one-level dip. However, the more levels you take, the more maneuvers you get. Martial Spirit is a good 1st level stance for some self-healing that doesn't eat up actions.


    Swordsage

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    What can I say? It's how Monk should've been. Seriously, if ToB is on the table, there is literally no excuse for using Monk in any build, because it is, in every way, either equal to or superior than, that poor red-headed stepchild.

    It works phenomonally well as a dip, with allowing Wis to AC in Light armor, A bonus to Initiative, and Weapon Focus. It is a strong skill class, having 6 + Int Mod (let's not get into the typo about the first level), and a very good skill set, making them very valuable to any scout or skillmonkey build who is concerned about their fragility.

    Swordsages have the most options, when it comes to maneuvers and stances... and that flexibility is astounding, considering you can completely change it up in a full round action with the right feat. This makes them, to a certain extent, the Batman Wizard of the melee classses.

    Need some offense? Go into Tiger Claw for extra attacks, for pouncing, for more damage. Need some defense? Well, you *could* go Stone Dragon, but I'd much rather suggest Setting Sun. Baffling Defense + Shifting Defense = immune to a full attack. Want something a bit more sneaky? Shadow Hand, and apply precision-based damage, or teleport around the battlefield. Diamond Mind gives them the ability to say 'No', by replacing a Concentration Check with a given saving throw. No matter what you want to do, if 'full caster' is not your description, Swordsage can meaningfully contribute to it.

    Swordsage2 is the most frequent dip, due to getting Wis to AC in Light Armor, although again, it's hard to say where a good cut out point is, because it depends on what you are wanting from it, and what you intend to get into and out of it.


    Warblade

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    Do you want to kick ass and chew bubble gum, but you're all out of bubblegum? Do you want to leverage your above-average intellect while crushing the skulls of your opponents in your bare hands? Do you want to pair a d12 HD with Diamond Mind's ability to replace a Concentration Check to slam-dunk an iffy save and Tiger Claw's damage output and White Raven's party boosting ability?

    Then there's only one question I should ask you: Why haven't you gotten into Warblade already? Well, to be fair, the answer is probably because "Because I want a dip for x higher-level maneuver/stance", because like the other two, delaying entry can net rapid access to mid-level stances and maneuvers.

    It's a full BAB class, with solid abilities, both offensive and defensive, with enormous potential for party boosting as well, and is a welcome addition to any build which wants to hit things, and then hit them again.

    It synergizes amazingly well with Bard, so much in fact that the BardBlade is a staple 'leader' archetype. It also synergizes amazingly well with Wizard, with good Int synergy, covering the otherwise poor Fort or Ref save with a Concentration check that, as a caster, you should be able to make in your sleep, and IRON HEART SUUUUUUUURGE anything else away.

    Like with the other ToB classes, how long you need to be in it depends largely on which stances/maneuvers you want, and when you enter and exit. However, Uncanny Dodge at 2nd level is very attractive, since that also means you get your Int mod to Reflex saves, and the enormously flexible Weapon Aptitude ability.


    Complete Adventurer
    Three classes here. One doesn't do so well except as a dip, one works out very well, and one is, depending on how you read certain abilities, completely broken.
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    Ninja

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    Actually... not so hot. Sudden Strike is inferior to Sneak Attack, because you can't flank to activate, you need to deny opponent dex bonus to AC. The special abilities all run on uses of Ki, and largely are sub-par compared with what you can get elsewhere. On the whole... I'd prefer Rogue when filling this archetype.

    If you are looking for one-level dips to add precision-based damage to a build, this can work. That's about all it is good for.


    Scout

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    Not a bad class, overall. It blends the flavor of Rogue with Ranger, and doesn't do a bad job at it. Unlike Sudden Strike, Skirmish is pathetically easy to activate. It dips well, good for multiclassing where you're wanting a mobile skillmonkey who can be a good scout as well as bring the pain. It's also a solid class for the long haul.

    Scout4 is the most common dip, for a Swift Hunter build, however if you aren't using Swift Hunter, then Scout5 isn't a bad choice for Evasion and extra Skirmish damage. If you don't want much, a two-level dip nets you Uncanny Dodge, Skirmish (1d6) and Trapfinding.


    Spellthief
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    Originally, it was thought to be decent for a dip for sneak attack and a few tricks. However, with the feat Master Spellthief, it became... quite a bit more, allowing you to Caster Level stack to some very insane levels very rapidly. Personally, I tend to avoid this, on the grounds of a cheese allergy, however for those who want their build to be Gouda... it's there.

    Generally, only used as a one-level dip for sneak attack and Master Spellthief, although sometimes the second level is also taken for Detect Magic.


    Complete Arcane

    Three classes in this book, which have varying degrees of usefulness.
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    Warlock
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    You know, it's actually one of my favorite classes. It's just a crying shame that it's so difficult to multiclass with, other than Theurging with either arcane or divine, which, thanks to a couple of PrC's, it does surprisingly well.

    The reason it doesn't multiclass so well is that it uses Spell-Like Abilities, rather than traditional casting, and that means it can't qualify for 90% of the classes generally used to 'gish' with. If it is going to remain within spitting distance of any build, it needs to advance spellcasting progression so it can get access to the bigger and better Invocations. However, there's precious few PrC's that they qualify for, since they can't cast spells of X level, and none of them blend Warlock with anything other than another caster.

    However, they DO have some very handy and useful abilities, even at low levels. Unlimited ranged touch attack, even if it only does 1d6, can be very useful for a Rogue wanting a couple of magical tricks of unlimited use. Some of the Least invocations can be very handy for them as well (Spiderclimb, See The Unseen, Darkness/Devil's Sight for HiPS shennanigans).

    As a suggested houserule, if you want to make things more friendly for multiclassing with Warlocks, allow a Lesser invocation to meet the qualification of needing to cast a 2nd or 3rd level spell. However, this is a houserule, and certainly NOT RAW, or even probably RAI.

    A one-level dip nets you Eldritch Blast 1d6 and a Least Invocation, which can always be handy

    A two-level dip nets you an additional invocation and Detect Magic at will

    A four-level dip nets you a third Least invocation, Eldritch Blast 2d6, and the ability to Take 10 on UMD checks. It's also as far as you can go without losing another point of BAB

    Due to the lack of multiclassing love they get, it's very difficult to go any further into Warlock if you plan on multiclassing.


    Warmage
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    Well, it's not completely useless. I think. They are a spontaneous charisma-based casting class with the significant advantage of being able to cast from their entire spell list, without the silliness of 'spells known'. The disadvantage is that their spell list... sucks. Someone forgot to give them the memo about how blasting really isn't all that effective, because that's pretty much their entire shtick.

    If you can find ways to get better spells wielded into their spell list (Rainbow Servant, for example, tacks on the entire Cleric spell list), then they do a lot better. And they actually do fairly well as a Gish, since they do get 9th level spells, and can cast in Light armor. With a feat, you can make that Medium armor, which means Mithral Full Plate.

    One of the interesting things about the class is that their Advanced Learning class feature lets them pick up Evocation spells, but doesn't limit it to Blasting. So you could, for example, pick up handy spells like Wall of Force, Contingency, or Wind Wall.

    Like Sorcerers, you either pick this up as a one-level dip for a few 1st level spells, or you have to wait until 4th and 2nd level spells before multiclassing out for Gishing. I will warn you, though... they make poor Gishes unless you can find some way to incorporate more useful spells into the build, since you will likely be doing more damage with your sword than with your spells.


    Wu Jen
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    A rather odd duck of a class, actually. Prepares and casts spells like a Wizard, with the same spell progression. An odd assortment of spells, though, and they don't get many options to get new ones not on their list. If you are going here, you probably were either enticed by the Spell Secrets, or you were wanting to play a non-standard arcane class.

    Wu Gen fits most Gish and Theurge PrC's that Wizard does. And its spell list can support a Gish build quite well. Do yourself a favor and check it out.


    Complete Divine
    Three more classes found here. I suppose they'd seem more powerful if they weren't being compared to Cleric and Druid, two of the most powerful classes ever published. None of them are Tier 1, but none of them are actually bad either.
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    Favored Soul
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    Most frequently referred to as the 'divine equivalent of Sorcerer', and for the most part, it's a fairly accurate comparison. They draw from the Cleric spell list, spontaneously cast, and have a limited number of Spells Known, and cast off of Charisma. They do get a bit of MAD, though, because the DC's of their spells is based on Wisdom, not their casting stat.

    Well, what can I say? If you are considering this, it's because you are wanting something Divine and Charisma based, probably. Either that, or you just want a simple Spells Known list rather than shuffling through six splatbooks to set up your spells for the day.

    It's strictly less powerful than Cleric, but that's not always a bad thing. Just remember that it is, undeniably, true.

    They don't multiclass well, though. It's hard to consider Gishing when you can simply pick up Divine Power and Righteous Might and do a better job of it without needing to multiclass. And they Theurge less well than Clerics do, simply because they get new spell levels a level later.


    Shugenja
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    A very odd duck of a class, definitely oriental in flavor. They have a Spells Known list, but it is a very limited one. They have an additional limitation in that they must choose an element, and half of their spells known have to be from that element.

    Like the Favored Soul, they don't do very well in multiclassing, simply because they have no need to multiclass to be an effective Gish, and with their odd spell progression, make poor Theurges. However, it is, by no means, impossible to do so. If you want an oriental flavored build, this is definitely on the menu.


    Spirit Shaman
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    Like Druids? Don't like DruidZilla? Check this class out. It casts from the Druid spell list, but doesn't have the Wildshape or Animal Companion to turn it into a Tier 1 class.

    It's an odd spellcasting class because, while they have a Spells Known list, they can change this list daily. I suppose this was an attempt to blend the spontaneity of Sorcerer with the flexibility of the memorization casters.

    They get a range of interesting and flavorful abilities, which doesn't help them multiclass, since you miss out on most of them if you do.

    Druid is strictly more powerful, but if that's a problem, this class may be your solution.


    Complete Psionic
    Yes, I know, this book shouldn't exist for several reasons. But... it does. So, in the interests of completeness, I'm including the three classes found here. Beware the traps, my friend. These do not multiclass well.
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    Ardent
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    Well, they're similar in nature to Psions, except with fewer Powers Known, but they gain Mantles to make up for it. Think of Mantles like Domains for Clerics, and you're getting close. It's Wis based, and I think the attempt was to make a 'psionic cleric'. The result was... a mixed bag.

    It multiclasses interestingly. You see, while you don't get any more Mantles, meaning you can quickly run out of Powers you are able to learn, but due to poor wording, you can actually keep picking up higher level powers if you use Improved Manifester since you are only limited by your Effective Manifester Level (actually, by the amount of PP you can spend on a given Power). Do keep in mind that this does not extend to your Powers Known or your PP pool, so you could theoretically end up with a Power that you did not have enough PP to actually manifest, even though you theoretically could if you had enough.

    In short, if you use PrC's to multiclass with, it won't perform well because while your powers known is advanced, your Mantle selection doesn't, so you could end up running out of powers you are allowed to purchase. However, as a dip for a couple of powers, it bears merit, because you can pick up one or two higher-level powers without much of a dip at all, much like ToB classes.


    Divine Mind
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    Clearly, an attempt to make some kind of psionic-paladin thing. But unfortunately, doomed to failure. The bonuses the auras give are far too small to be meaningful, and unlike Inspire Courage, are almost impossible to boost. Their powers known and power points are crippled. In short, it was a fun concept, but completely failed in execution.

    They multiclass exceedingly poorly as just about everything worth bothering with the class about is not going to be advanced by a PrC.


    Lurk
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    Surprisingly interesting class, with some good concepts. The Augments are a flavorful bunch, none too powerful, although the ability to do mental stat damage at 5th level can be quite painful when combined with the ability to augment the damage with power points.

    However, their primary 'cool' factor is not advanced with PrC's like Slayer, and it multiclasses very poorly as a result.[/b]


    Complete Warrior
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    Hexblade
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    A solid class for dipping or multiclassing. The Hexblade's Curse is a handy debuff. Arcane Resistance nets you Cha bonus to saves (vs spells only, but those are the important saves anyways) which stacks with a Paladin's bonus, and at level 3, you net Mettle, which is always fun. 4th level can also be fun with an ACF that lets you really stack some debuffing power.

    They don't get many spells, and not very powerful ones. They're often seen as a 'gish in a can', but don't mistake them for being any kind of a decent arcane spellcaster. Dip for the front-loaded abilities, then move on.


    Samurai
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    What is there to say? Ummm... there's a reason it's often listed as a Tier 6, sometimes listed as a Tier 5, class. It is made of so much Suck and Fail that it isn't worth getting into in the first place.

    Now, there is an exception to that. That exception, listed in my sig, is Takahashi no Onisan. Basically, he goes all the way down to Samurai 10 for Mass Staredown, which is the class's one saving grace, then went into Exemplar and a few other places to be an area-effect lockdown specialist.

    But if you don't want to build an area-effect intimidate lockdown specialist? Find a better class.


    Swashbuckler
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    Full BAB, d10 HD... not bad. The Daring Outlaw has rather pidgeonholed this class into working well with Rogue. Don't bother with the feat that fails to try to wed it with Fighter, you don't get anything meaningful from it.

    Do you want to swing from a chandelier and swishy-poke better than anyone who ever buckled their swash? Well... here you go. Pairing it with Rogue and Daring Outlaw makes this a potentially lethal build, with the sneak attack advancement of Rogue and the full BAB of the Swashbuckler.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-12-19 at 02:19 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
    All hail great Shneekeythulhu! Ia Ia Shneeky fthagn
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Posting subscription.

    I have to ask; what about less common combinations and archtypes?

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by NineThePuma View Post
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    I have to ask; what about less common combinations and archtypes?
    I threw in the most common ones because those were the ones I could spout off the top of my head. By all means, if you come up with an unusual, but mechanically viable, build... post it. I plan for this entire thread to be a valuable resource for anyone seeking multiclassing advice.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I threw in the most common ones because those were the ones I could spout off the top of my head. By all means, if you come up with an unusual, but mechanically viable, build... post it. I plan for this entire thread to be a valuable resource for anyone seeking multiclassing advice.
    Daring Outlaw comes to mind as a fairly frequently suggested build (like, everybody somebody asks how to optimize a Duelist), and would fit in with Swift Hunter.

    Maybe something about dipping ToB in otherwise core-ish builds, which I think is pretty common practice?

    Very cool guide.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    I'm pretty sure the term 'gish' actually came from one of the earlier editions as a Gith term for... well, a gish.

    Also, Bardblade/Bardsader builds don't generally include War Chanter; it just isn't as good as more maneuvers. It generally goes Bard 4/Warblade or Crusader 16.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2011-12-15 at 06:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Looks good. I didn't realize that mostly people were looking for gish in multiclass. I figured there would be more variety.

    As far as the Sorcadin goes, what kind of point buy would you stick into it? Is it only worth doing Sorcadin for gish or can you go pretty much full spellcaster afterwards?

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Needs more Spellthief. It's like Master Spellthief is in the top percentage of all feats.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    You should really include more useful monk info in your post, instead of just bashing it. The monk uses, as I see it:

    1.A 2-level feat+feature dip, is handy, but should be considered no more useful than fighter 2, except in specific cases, like Druid 18/Monk 2, where its definitely superior to Fighter 2.

    2.The monk-gishes(Sacred/Enlightened Fist and Tash), which are all quite powerful.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    I think 'don't monk it up' means don't be like a monk, not don't use a monk. Don't grab abilities without synergy. Don't go MAD.

    But yeah monks really should be included. People like the flavor. If we didn't care for flavor all we would brew would be pun pun. At the very east you should explain how a Tome of Battle class using unarmed strikes is a better monk than the monk. Something so that people can monk it up as well as a monk can monk things up.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by MukkTB View Post
    I think 'don't monk it up' means don't be like a monk, not don't use a monk. Don't grab abilities without synergy. Don't go MAD.

    But yeah monks really should be included. People like the flavor. If we didn't care for flavor all we would brew would be pun pun. At the very east you should explain how a Tome of Battle class using unarmed strikes is a better monk than the monk. Something so that people can monk it up as well as a monk can monk things up.
    If people like the flavor, they can play an Unarmed Swordsage... which has exactly the same flavor, with actually useful class abilities...

    However, i will be going in and putting in a list of 'Dips and Splashes', and include Monk on that list.

    Spellthief and Master Spellthief will also be mentioned in their respective sections... don't know how I forgot about them...
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Weapons of Legacy has a PRC in it that progresses anything. Interesting to look at. Could be good for theurging, since Spells per day are class features.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Despite what some people say, multiclassing a spellcaster is not the most terrible thing to happen since Bambi's mother got shot. It is obviously true you will not be as strong a spellcaster as one who remained single class, but that is not the point. You aren't a "spellcaster". You're a character who can cast some spells.

    Your spells augment your other class. Spell synergies abound. A rogue/wizard wouldn't mind Invisibility or Spider Climb despite not casting Evard's Black Tentacles as soon as a single class wizard would or never being able to cast Gate.

    However, even when multiclassing a spellcaster you should avoid builds that will hurt you anyway. Don't multiclass 10 spellcaster/10 whatever. At that high level play, your lack of spellpower will be a hindrance and your other class will not make up for it. You should be looking for a prestige class that combines your multiclassing. Arcane Trickster is one that facilitates a rogue/wizard. Abjurant Champion is a nice warrior type/wizard combination. Not getting full spell progression is not the Apocalypse, though do make sure the prestige class abilities you are getting are to your liking.

    Especially if you're not getting full spell progression, try to avoid spells that scale with caster level in their effect. They won't be at the strength needed for your total character level. Creatures with spell resistance could be a problem when attacking them with spells. However, there are solutions. 1) For those particular combats you can't get past the spell resistance, that is the time to use your other spells. A buff spell on a party member is a good tactic. Help make that character kill the monster better. 2) Cast attack spells that aren't subject to spell resistance. They exist. 3) The spell Assay Resistance and the feat Practiced Spellcaster help. 4) Don't worry about it. Not every single monster you face will have spell resistance. They can come up time to time but not every single time to shut you down to buffing duty. It is an obstacle to overcome, not bash you in the face.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    I'm pretty sure the term 'gish' actually came from one of the earlier editions as a Gith term for... well, a gish.

    Also, Bardblade/Bardsader builds don't generally include War Chanter; it just isn't as good as more maneuvers. It generally goes Bard 4/Warblade or Crusader 16.
    Gish is a Githyanki term used to describe the fighter/mage multiclass back in AD&D type days. Today the term has been expanded to mean somebody who can cast spells effectively and fight effectively with weapons.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Well you didn't imply that you'd be covering dips. I mean Sorcadin is a sorcerer with a two level paladin dip. And there's a world of difference between saying the monk is underpowered and implying that people who try to play it are bad.

    What if someone's DM doesn't like ToB? On the forum we agree its a good book but we can't make him include it by browbeating him. So that guy is gonna need to do some monk if he wants that flavor. I just don't see any reason to be overly hostile to that class. Yeah it sucks. It also sucks to be a fighter. In highly DM optimized games it sucks not to be a tier 1. Well...

    I mean idiots who go around claiming the awesomeness of the monk is one thing. People who just want to play the class are another thing. I don't see rogues getting dogpiled even though they could be doing the same role better in a tier 3 class.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Gish is a Githyanki term used to describe the fighter/mage multiclass back in AD&D type days. Today the term has been expanded to mean somebody who can cast spells effectively and fight effectively with weapons.
    Yes, this is what I was thinking of. (Did you quote that from somewhere? I could've sworn I've heard that exact wording before.)

    Again, Bardblade =/= War Chanter. There's very little reason to go with a War Chanter as a Bardblade; you already get full Inspire Courage progression and full BAB, and the War Chanter songs are not worth ten levels' worth of maneuvers.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    Yes, this is what I was thinking of. (Did you quote that from somewhere? I could've sworn I've heard that exact wording before.)

    Again, Bardblade =/= War Chanter. There's very little reason to go with a War Chanter as a Bardblade; you already get full Inspire Courage progression and full BAB, and the War Chanter songs are not worth ten levels' worth of maneuvers.
    I strongly disagree... Song of Legion is worth an entire progression of maneuvers in the right group.

    Anyways, Core Dips and Splashes are up.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-12-15 at 08:35 PM.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by MukkTB View Post
    I think 'don't monk it up' means don't be like a monk, not don't use a monk. Don't grab abilities without synergy. Don't go MAD.

    But yeah monks really should be included. People like the flavor. If we didn't care for flavor all we would brew would be pun pun. At the very east you should explain how a Tome of Battle class using unarmed strikes is a better monk than the monk. Something so that people can monk it up as well as a monk can monk things up.
    In my very limited experience, one of the best ways to make use of Monk dips is to look very close at their ACF's and alternate fighting styles, you can get some interesting stuff from the monk. Especially if one of the alternate fighting styles matches up with feats that you'd want to take to augment your base style.

    My example being a stealthy character that also likes to trip.

    I took two monk levels and the Passive way fighting style, giving me two of the feats I need (combat expertise and improved trip). Then, because I have evasion from my other class, I ACF'd that into the Invisible Fist feature, allowing invisibility once every 4 rounds. As a nice little bonus, as my Char is a spiked-chain tripper, in the event that I have to drop my chain on a failed trip I'm not unarmed and could even get a Decisive Strike in, instead of just taking Fighter 2 for the extra feats and then getting a bunch of junk weapon and armor proficiencies that are going to be worthless for my character.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Divine Gish options might be worth poking at, but it isn't really a "multiclassing" build. This is very valuable. Thank you.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by NineThePuma View Post
    Divine Gish options might be worth poking at, but it isn't really a "multiclassing" build. This is very valuable. Thank you.
    There really isn't such a thing as a 'divine gish', unless you mean a CoDzilla... due to Divine Power/Wildshape, there doesn't really need to be.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    True. I guess.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I strongly disagree... Song of Legion is worth an entire progression of maneuvers in the right group.
    Yes, but:
    1. It doesn't come online until 16th level there.
    2. It requires the right group layout, whereas a straight Bardblade or Bardsader is good in any group with a couple melees. Hell, most combat types have full or near-full BAB anyway; they certainly shouldn't need the extra to-hit, they'll get the fourth iterative soon if not already so that part's only useful for a couple of levels at most, and the damage is easily outstripped by simple Inspire Courage, not to mention DFI.
    3. It isn't really a Bardblade. You're not really getting maneuvers, just a couple of low-level tricks.
    4. It isn't simple, and it isn't the standard build. You can mention it as an option, but it's really more helpful if you just plot the standard build (Bard 4/Warblade or Crusader 16) and put it in as an adaptation.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    You touch upon this, but it's worth noting that multiclassing heavily is generally a very good strategy in low ECL games (when you can take the first couple of levels of many front loaded classes) but a bad strategy in mid-high level campaigns (when the scaled abilities of magic, psionics, vestiges, soulmelds, and disciplines out pace them). I put the break point around ECL 7 (when 4th level spells et al kick in), although it's obviously debatable.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Bard2 is when you get 1st level spells. You get a 2nd level spell at Bard4.

    I agree that Bard4 is the jumping out point. By that time you have IC+1, Insipre Competence, so that you can take Song of the Heart, a 2nd level spell, and it is the last level before you eat another hit to BAB. You can also hit IC+2 from there with a Vest of Legends.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Since this is for newbies, I'm guessing you're going to update post #2 with a thorough list of PrCs which help in your multiclassing endeavors? For instance, Spellwarp Sniper and Unseen Seer make for great wizard/sneaky multiclass characters. You touched upon this already with the theurge stuff, but ultimately at higher levels, the key to multiclassing is to get into a good dual-advancing PrC as quickly as possible.
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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Yes finally a place to direct my players to instead of them asking me "which multi-classing works" or "whats the best combination of classes to do this" i may have a few books memorized but I'm not an encyclopedia. I plan on making suggestions after thumbing through old characters.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    I'm pretty sure the term 'gish' actually came from one of the earlier editions as a Gith term for... well, a gish.
    It was specifically a githyanki term and role, in fact. Githzerai didn't have anything by that name. 4e has reinforced that in its Monster Manual ("githzerai gish" is a specific monster type), though several of the edition's base classes are inherently gishes in the genericized sense that it's used in forums today.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    No matter how many classes you have multiclassed into, you still only have one round's worth of actions
    Unless it's Factotum or RKV.

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    Default Re: Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    I'd like to see some more psionic multiclassing help, if you don't mind Shneekey.
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