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    Default Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    So I've been introducing a new player to 3.5 D&D recently, and upon hitting the multiclass system, I essentially had to tell him not to bother with it until he knew the system better... that if he had an idea for a sorta-kinda Wizard, Sorta-kinda Rogue, he should look at the straight-class amalgamation like Beguiler.

    This got me to thinking... maybe the way the core multiclass system works just does not accomplish the goals of representing people with split attentions, or those who pick up new professions after having adventured for some time, since careless, organic or seemingly obvious choices lead to terrible, unplayable characters and sometimes careful choices lead to extremely powerful characters.

    I began thinking... maybe there could be a multiclass system more in line with 2nd edition D&D, where you split your experience in half and contribute them to two or three separate xp pools that you advance in several characters simultaneously could serve better. It's possible XP costs don't rise fast enough for that character to stay competitive, but there could be an easy multiplier to balance things out.

    Is this a well-explored area of discussion, fundamentally impossible, just plain a bad idea or otherwise a dead end?
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    No matter how I cast this, I can't imagine it addressing the problem better than the normal FirstClass 3/SecondClass 3/IntegratingPrC 10/FirstClass 2/SecondClass 2 (and that's not even usually the best way of dealing with things).

    The older style of multiclassing adds extra class features at low levels in exchange for lower HD. By mid-levels, it turns to a straight HD loss with no major difference in abilities, and by high levels, both HD and class features fall behind. HD loss is notable for directly tying to HP, saves, skills, BA and feats, unless major system alterations are involved. This makes it hard for me to call it an improvement over substandard class combinations in the default system, and makes me think changing it to be appropriate would only be adding needless complexity to the rules.

    What might work better is playing gestalt, which works similarly to ubiquitous old-styled multiclassing, but which would allow focused practitioners of a single concept could build along similar classes, like Warblade//Swashbuckler or Monk//Ardent, leaving more disparate pairings like Sorcerer//Rogue more conspicuous as "multiclasses." It would at least keep characters' baseline chasses and advancement progressions on the same level.

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    I'd echo what eggs said. Basically, its not worth it. Gestalting with the fairly commonly accepted +2 ecl penalty homebrew makes a fairly balanced character that comes fairly close to matching the old school feel of multiclassing.

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Have you tried Pathfinder? It's basically 3.5, except you don't feel like you need to multiclass since there are many more incentives to stay in your base class.

    And all the rules are available for free, legally!
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Have you tried Pathfinder? It's basically 3.5, except you don't feel like you need to multiclass since there are many more incentives to stay in your base class.

    And all the rules are available for free, legally!
    Not what the thread is about.
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Not what the thread is about.
    It's a suggestion. You're free to disagree, but in the absence of a "No PF" from the OP, I'm free to make it.
    Last edited by Psyren; 2012-10-26 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Tone
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
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    Second, the whole "blue text" thing is not a forum rule or even a recommended procedure. If someone wants to do it in their own posts, fine, but everyone should stop telling people that they "need to" or "should have" posted in blue just because they're being sarcastic/ironic/whatever.

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Maybe use gestalt, but give the gestalted character a level adjustment? So he'll be sacrificing higher power in favor of versatility. Dunno what LA would be appropriate (ignoring the Tiers for a moment).
    Last edited by Darius Kane; 2012-10-26 at 09:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    It's a suggestion. You're free to disagree, but in the absence of a "No PF" from the OP, I'm free to make it.
    Your suggestion is "avoid having to multiclass," while the thread is about tweaking the multiclassing system.
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Your suggestion is "avoid having to multiclass," while the thread is about tweaking the multiclassing system.
    That's a symptom, not the underlying problem. Why'd the player feel the need to multiclass in the first place? The most obvious answer is that staying straight-classed in 3.5, for many classes, has no benefits.

    Anyway, suggestion made, so it's up to the OP if he's interested or not. I won't exactly lose sleep either way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    First, please don't start threads with ideas you don't support just to see what reactions you get. That's almost the definition of trolling.

    Second, the whole "blue text" thing is not a forum rule or even a recommended procedure. If someone wants to do it in their own posts, fine, but everyone should stop telling people that they "need to" or "should have" posted in blue just because they're being sarcastic/ironic/whatever.

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Enough pathfinder talk. Not what this thread is about.



    I think some sort of "even level gestalt", where at every even level you can pay some amount of xp and gain a level in a secondary class. Maybe 1/2 the xp needed to gain a level you spend on the secondary class? Or 1/3?

    Would have to look at the math.

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by eggs View Post
    No matter how I cast this, I can't imagine it addressing the problem better than the normal FirstClass 3/SecondClass 3/IntegratingPrC 10/FirstClass 2/SecondClass 2 (and that's not even usually the best way of dealing with things).
    The reason this doesn't appeal is that you have to have the knowledge of what PrC integrates your combo before you start planning your character, and not all PrCs are created equal. You also need to know what feats benefit you and just in general need a pretty solid handle on how both classes operate and how to synergize them. It's something that requires a good deal of system mastery not to screw up.

    Second, it means that at the crucial 5-7 area, where most single classed characters are hitting their stride and getting their first powerful abilities, completing their schtick and starting to really shine, you're at your very worst... before the power of the PrC kicks in. By the end of your PrC you're pulling your weight again, but unless you're playing the character to the late teens, you're spending most of your career behind.

    Also, isn't the idea of PrCs designed to integrate otherwise totally inviable combinations as a patch actually further implication that the multiclass system fundamentally doesn't work?

    The older style of multiclassing adds extra class features at low levels in exchange for lower HD. By mid-levels, it turns to a straight HD loss with no major difference in abilities, and by high levels, both HD and class features fall behind. HD loss is notable for directly tying to HP, saves, skills, BA and feats, unless major system alterations are involved. This makes it hard for me to call it an improvement over substandard class combinations in the default system, and makes me think changing it to be appropriate would only be adding needless complexity to the rules.
    I realize this, but would suggest that the 2nd edition xp scale was the solution before... where essentially the cost for each new level rose quadratically, so the linear halving of xp gain meant only a level or two sacrifice for the 2nd edition Fighter/Mage compared to the 2nd edition straight Mage.

    So perhaps there could be a different calculation for XP for next level in this rules modification.

    What might work better is playing gestalt, which works similarly to ubiquitous old-styled multiclassing, but which would allow focused practitioners of a single concept could build along similar classes, like Warblade//Swashbuckler or Monk//Ardent, leaving more disparate pairings like Sorcerer//Rogue more conspicuous as "multiclasses." It would at least keep characters' baseline chasses and advancement progressions on the same level.
    Gestalt might be a more elegant solution, I'll admit, but it seems to facilitate specific combinations more and raises the overall power level in a way that seems like it would vastly reward those with more system mastery, and what I'm looking for is a solution for new players with very low system mastery.

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    I'd echo what eggs said. Basically, its not worth it. Gestalting with the fairly commonly accepted +2 ecl penalty homebrew makes a fairly balanced character that comes fairly close to matching the old school feel of multiclassing.
    This seems like a good solution, but still prevents level 1 multiclassing... it'd be an option only for games beginning at level 3, and in those circumstances you'd have a Mage/Thief with 8 HP and a Mage with 14 HP. It'd balance out eventually, but it just seems like without specific multiclass combinations that work wonders together, you'd still be shooting yourself in the foot.

    Still, Gestalt does sound simpler than essentially rewriting the XP charts from the ground up with the intent of essentially getting Gestalt, but with slightly different math.

    But to move on... what about old school Dual Classing? Abandoning advancement in a specific class to gain faster advancement in a new class, being behind in xp versus a single classed character only so far as the numerical value of xp invested in the original class? It sounds broken as heck in 3.5, but it sounded broken as heck in 2nd edition and wasn't really that bad... what do you think?
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    greetings,

    I'm not a regular poster here, though I read a BUNCH... nor am I an optimizer by any means... I look for interesting character concepts and play them...

    as background, we don't build throwaway characters... we start at first level, play til we've had enough, and start again... with a different adventure concept and all new characters... we've been doing 3.5 for about seven years or so... there was a bit of 3.0 at the beginning of that, so that's where 'about' comes from...

    to the question at hand...

    I LIKE the first edition multiclass system... and have simply 'scaled' the xp charts from that edition to match 3.5... cuz one xp is not always one xp... it works just fine for My table... for the prestige classes, I look at the closest 'core' class xp table, and just go with it...

    yup... characters fall behind... so what?... if the PLAYER is enjoying his concept, we'll work the rest of it out... as a side note, it's sometimes QUITE interesting to see the turns some players take with their characters...

    feel free to poke at this, but keep in mind, it works for us... simply offering a bit of experience to someone who asked a question...

    I wish you well,

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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Actually, I think PF might be an interesting idea - especially some Pathfinder homebrew. The Multiclass Archetypes (originally of the Paizo forums) could be an interesting discussion point; if not for the specifics, for the general. Basically, it's an attempt to combine various classes into new archetype-like base classes.
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    That's a symptom, not the underlying problem. Why'd the player feel the need to multiclass in the first place? The most obvious answer is that staying straight-classed in 3.5, for many classes, has no benefits.

    Anyway, suggestion made, so it's up to the OP if he's interested or not. I won't exactly lose sleep either way.
    It sounds like the main issue is rather how do you represent a character that is a composite of the ideas behind several classes, but isn't a fit for any established class? Or explicitly had more than one background?

    It reminds me of an old character of mine - a former thug that had reformed after spending time at a monastery. So she had both some street-fighter skills and some healing and inspirational abilities from the monastery. Not a neat fit for any class...
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Temji View Post
    yup... characters fall behind... so what?... if the PLAYER is enjoying his concept, we'll work the rest of it out...
    It's great that you're enjoying it, but uh... how does 'Player A is higher level than Player B' help your game?

    Most games I've seen with noticable level imbalances just result in 'Aw man, my poor level 6 fighter can't do very much against these level 12 enemy fighters the way your level 12 ranger can' (This specific example happened to me.)

    I mean, I didn't complain, but I can't say it helped anything for my fighter to collasp when a mild breeze went in his direction. It then got kinda annoying in an out of character sense when one of the players started lording his superiority over everyone else.
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Hm... for a Rogue/Wizard, I would check to see if Factotum from Dungeonscape fit his character.

    That said, the way 3.5 is set up makes it difficult to implement a system like AD&D's multiclassing or dual classing. The experience charts don't allow for split class multiclassing, and dual classing is far too powerful due to how useful some low level abilities, like Maneuvers or Sneak Attack, can be at higher levels. The best way to do it is probably through the use of feats like Daring Outlaw, Swift Hunter, Song of the White Raven, and Tashalatora- things that progress some class abilities through both classes. This captures some of the benefits of AD&D multiclassing, while still fitting in well with the system. It also gives immediate benefit, unlike Prestige classes, and can be viable in all levels. You're behind in a number of class based abilities, but your HD remain constant, and the important abilities that keep you relevant in combat scale well. In my opinion, it's probably the most elegant way to get the feel of AD&D's multiclassing system.
    Last edited by DMofDarkness; 2012-10-31 at 01:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Oldschool D&D style Multiclassing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Temji View Post
    snip
    Hey Temji, you are right in that if you are enjoying your character and concept then you may not really care if you are effective. That said the person the OP is referring to might, and so might many people. We all play for different reasons, some like to kick ass and others want to do a character piece, and that's fine, one of the best things about tabletop games is that everyone can play for their own reasons. However from personal experience, most people may enjoy the character concept and the character, but not have fun when it comes to doing things, because the character fails at what he wants to do, even on a conceptual level.

    For that reason we are trying to find a way to make a new multiclassing system that allows him to immediately play his character concept of level 1 Rouge/Mage and allow him to have fun in the game

    As for multiclassing, I love 2e and I miss it in many ways. I agree the the CL+2 penalty for a gestalt is probably more than fair, but if doesn't help much at level 1. You could have him gain experience slower until he is 2 levels behind, and then let him gain experience normally, but that can be messy. Dual-classing probably won't hurt the balance too much considering that balance has broken every bone it has.

    On another note have you thought of making a PRC into a full class like the book suggests, a home-brew arcane trickster base class may be what you want.
    Last edited by Nabirius; 2012-10-31 at 03:30 AM.

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